Thursday, February 19, 2009

Things I Don't Get

Or, The Post In Which I Channel My Cranky Old Lady-ness.

I want to put hangers, with clothes on them, thru these whenever I see them. And I wonder what this will look like when these people are old and saggy. Bleurgh.

These are so expensive. Wouldn't it be cheaper, not to mention more environmentally friendly, to buy the regular package of your snack of choice, take it home and portion it out into little containers? Or am I the crazy one?

I don't even have words. They're just weird. What's the point of them?

On a related note, really? Leg warmers? We did this once in the 80s and it was a bad, bad look. It's still bad. If you're a dancer or a cyclist, fine, but as a fashion statement, with high heels? No. Just no.

Someone please to explain.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I'm all over the place about whether to go to BlogHer or not. It's going to be pricey, especially if I try to do it without a roommate (which, really, I'd rather not do - as much as I like my solitude, a conference like that would be more fun with a roommate or two).

Mostly it's the whole "Will anyone talk to me" bullshit that I get all freaked out over when I start thinking about it too much. I am such a pile of nerves over this that it's ridiculous. It's the main thing holding me back. I worry so much about whether anyone will even know who the hell I am - this is definitely NOT an A-list blog. I'm not even sure it's an E-list blog.

So I dither and I worry and I freak myself out about 10 times a day over this.

Why am I such an idiot about these things? Do other people do this or am I really the freak I think I am? I feel like I'm about to attempt to infiltrate the cool kids table while carrying my big, nerdy pile of books, glasses askew and wearing last year's fashion.


Dither, dither, dither.

Could this post get any more navel-gazey?

ETA: I found a ticket for $118 round trip ($167 with all the taxes and fees), so I booked it. Lordamighty, what have I signed myself up for?

Anyone need a roommate? I don't bite. I might correct your grammar, though.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reason #8,947 Why I Hate People

A few days ago, I was working at The Big Box Store, cashiering. A family came thru my lane - it was slow and they were the only ones there. I could hear the woman berating her children before they got near the registers. Her tone was mean and dismissive and I cringed because I can't stand people like that.

When she got to the register, she had 5 or 6 kids with her, all around the same age. She continued to harangue her kids, who were not misbehaving by any stretch of the imagination. I attempted to tune it out, not very successfully. I could see that the children were not phased by this, acting like it was something they heard often.

Then she turned to two of them and said "If you two don't shape up, I'm going to send you to foster care." I felt my stomach churn and surreptitiously looked at the two kids she'd said that to. They both had bleak looks on their faces and dropped their heads a bit at her words.

As she finished up her order, she told me she'd adopted 10 kids. I murmured something in response and she turned to one little boy and said "But this one is the worst of the bunch. I don't know why I put up with him. I should send him back." The boy just slumped against the wall, looking totally defeated. I was in shock.

She bought about $350 worth of stuff, mostly food and clothing, but also a boxed set of DVDs, which, she informed me, was a treat for herself because she deserved it. As she walked away, I thought "Lady, you deserve something, but it sure as shit isn't a boxed set of Little House on the Prairie DVDs."

Once they were gone, I cried. I felt so bad for those kids. As nuts as my girls sometimes make me, I can't imagine saying such awful things to them. I can't imagine my children getting used to hearing such vile words. And I can't fathom why someone would adopt children when they obviously didn't like them. It breaks my heart.

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Help

I can't possibly be objective about this book. I loved it. You should go buy it, right now. If it's too late to get to a bricks-and-mortar store, order it from Amazon. It really is that good.

Now, for something resembling a review.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is a story of the South during the Civil Rights movement. It's told from the point of view of three women: Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter. Aibileen and Minny are black hired help and Skeeter is a 22 year-old white woman, fresh out of Ole Miss and returning to her home town of Jackson, Mississippi.

The story opens with Aibileen, who has raised 17 white children but lost her own son in an industrial accident. She works for Miss Leefolt, caring for her daughter Mae Mobley as well as the house. Aibileen is motherly and meek, but keenly feels the cuts inflicted by her white employer. She makes a concerted effort to teach Mae that there really isn't any difference between white people and black people, other than the color of their skin. In 1962 Mississippi, this could prove to be dangerous. Aibileen goes about it quietly, though, causing as few repercussions as possible and putting up with blatantly racist treatment along the way.

Minny, Aibileen's friend and a fellow maid, is the polar opposite. She is acknowledged to be the best cook in the city but she also has the biggest mouth and has lost many jobs because of her outspokenness. As the book begins, she has been fired by Hilly Holbrook, the town's social maven, who runs the Women's League and holds most of the white housewives in thrall. Minny, in desperation, goes to work for the Celia, a white trash girl who married well but can't make a dent in Jackson society.

Skeeter is the daughter of well-to-do parents who comes home from college to find that her beloved maid, Constantine, has disappeared and no one will tell her where she's gone. As she delicately noses around, trying to find out, Skeeter realizes that there are stories that these maids have and she begins to see the injustice perpetrated on these women by the white women she calls her friends.

As racial tensions grow in Jackson, Skeeter hatches a plan to tell the story of Aibileen and other maids in town and get it published. Over the course of the book, Skeeter eventually wins the trust of Aibileen and, miraculously, the ever-suspicious Minny, in addition to 10 or 12 other women. It isn't Skeeter who convinces these women to tell their story but rather Aibileen and the murder of Medgar Evars that prompts these women to speak their pieces. Sometimes those pieces are tales of mistreatment but there are also stories of joy and happiness and geniune love between these black maids and their white female employers.

Stockett deftly switches back and forth between the voices of the three main women in this story, weaving in personal tales about each of them in addition to touching on the greater civil rights issues occurring at the time. It is that, the instances of intimate situations combined with the larger, looming tensions of the era, that make this book so compelling and such a great read. These are characters and stories that stay with you, that make you smile and even laugh out loud, all while knowing, sometimes in the background, often in the forefront, that there is this ache going on, this wrong that must be righted in some way.

This is a review for MotherTalk. You can go to their website to read what others have to say about this, and other, books.