29 May 2008

Bernstein Man-Haters

Last night I stopped in at bedtime with the Jexies. Elizabeth had swiped (with permission) a few Bernstein Bear books from Ma and Pa Eatonsky. These books were the soy to my milk during my childhood.

But there's something funny about re-visiting well used children's books as an adult, just as there is with watching children's movies. You finally get what's going on, or you just see huge un-PC red flags. With ugly neon orange.

Ex: Re-watching Disney's Robin Hood (in my ever loyal opinion, one of the most cleverly scripted animated movies ever to hit the eyes of the young and old), I realized that Plucky was actually saying, "You heard what he said, Bushel Britches!" When I was a wee bairn, it was just a jumble of shouted words I couldn't understand at all. I gave Plucky the benefit of the doubt in those days. Or with Disney's A Little Mermaid, when Ariel's sister says in a pitying tone, "Oh, she's got it bad." I was SO SURE she really said "Oh, she's got a pad." As in a pad of paper, and I had a really great and profound explanation as to why a love sick girl would have and NEED a pad of paper on hand 24/7. Watching them with a bit more wisdom added to my bad self, I realized what the words truly were.

So in my adult-hood, reading these books again with the little niece and nephew muffins, I realized:

1) Holy CRAP! These books do NOT paint a good picture of the male breed. (Maybe the writers of 24 are getting back at these books, and that's why they make every female except Chloe such a dim-witted, plan destroying ninny.) While the cubs are presented with the task of overcoming would-be destructive habits such as Too Much TV, or Too Much Junkfood, they don't always initially take kindly to the tasks or the detox plans. But Papa Bear is the crowning jewel of family disappointment, always attempting to 007 his way around the new rules, and he fails miserably every time. Why did Stan and Jan, authors and lovers, feel the need to paint such a pathetic picture of the father? But, as Elizabeth generously pointed out after we witness the superior construction of a tree house for Sister Bear, "He may be an idiot, but man, he can build." Kudos.

2) You just can't use certain phrases anymore. In answer to one protest of no more TV, Mamma Bear said to Brother Bear, "And never mind the buts!" As soon as Elizabeth read those dangerous words out loud, Sam fizzled into a fit of giggles and kept repeating, "Never mind the butts?!?!?" (Where did he learn that word, by the way?? Elizabeth's home is a refuge for the kind of speech...I'm not even allowed to say "stupid.")

Anyway. Readers of Bernstein Bear books, beware. What messages are we REALLY trying to send to our children? It's a miracle I myself am not on the streets right now peddling for my next fix, or going the way of Gloria Steinum.


Cup o' Mistake

Maybe not everyone wants to read this.

Just a few little days ago I thought I'd become acquainted with a heart, body, and wallet bermuda triangle of the blissful sort. As I perused the aisles in search of something healthy and cheap and microwave-at-work friendly, my eyes were pulled to the offensively neon orange sale tag. (So the marketing big shots have discovered that humans instantly and ever look at things they know will be incredibly heinous or incredibly beautiful, huh? Actually I don't think that's in any way a recent thing. They've been getting us with that for years, haven't they. Darn it.)

Neon Orange Screams: Vegetarian soup, 20 oz. can, for $1.33....?!?!?!?!

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Puff and smoke I did. I loaded up with 4 cans, and such was my excitement that my brain synapses alloted for reminding about my need for cotton swabs and spray butter went out the automatic sliding doors with the now broke peeps who'd been sitting on their pillows yanking on the slot machines since 9 am (I live in Vegas, may I remind you, the place where you can't swing a dead cat without whacking it into some gambling safety zone).

So I cheerfully consumed.

The next day with the onslaught of problems within, (how do you gain 6 lbs in one night?! And beyond!) I fled to go check the ingredients and nutrition facts. The sodium quantity was in the 4 digit region!!! That's more than soy sauce, the "low sodium" version of which is 400 mg!!!!!!


Never put that in your pipe and smoke it. Never ever ever again.

Soup. A danger of the 21st century. Bleh.

24 May 2008

Grandpa Brushing my Hair

“Huh?” The offer had surprised me. I only allowed grooming devices to meet my hair follicles straight out of the bathtub or during Mom’s morning ritual. The AM primp session was a torturous one -- the clock would swing frightfully close to the hour of YOU’VE MISSED THE SCHOOL BUS, SUCKA, school goers Elizabeth and I ran panicked, looking for lost assignments, younger siblings would sing or scream from high chair and booster seat, (though I’d learned after 5 years of big sister-hood to drown out the wee ones’ ruckus,) and our sensitive scalps turned a common hair brush into a weapon of mass destruction. It was your daily Perfect Storm. Boar bristle brushes were the most palatable to our finicky heads, and so Mom had accrued a small supply of them, and we had dubbed these tools “soft brushes.” Even so, the mornings Mom generously gave of her time and energy to spruce our young heads were the most noisy mornings on the block. Mom always wondered when our shrieks of pain would push the neighbors to calling Social Services, for our lung capacity then was already indicative of the singing capabilities that would manifest themselves full-blast only a short time later. Because the scalp pain seemed to only be the foreshadowing of upcoming battles with Mathematics and Fair-Weather-Friend Tawnya Allday, hair brushing and styling was my elementary school bad omen, my least favorite moment of my precious few spent in my 65 Diamante haven.
But Grandpa wanted to brush my hair. I had slinked my lanky 9 year old frame into my floral jammies and had slumped into the bathroom to brush my teeth. Grandma and Grandpa would be returning to their palace in Palo Alto the next morning, and as with every visit, I had loved thinking all week that this time of departure wouldn’t come, until, as always, it did. For this reason I slumped. I squeezed the toothpaste tube with my primitive supply of arm muscle, and the Colgate fought around the dried product caked around the bottle opening, and I dragged it onto the Disney character toothbrush.
Plaque already under attack, I glanced up and the mirror reported that Grandpa stood in the doorway with a slight smile.
“Who’s that pretty little girl over there?”
I gave him a toothpaste bubbled smile and an ever so slight yet naturally occurring roll of my grey eyes.
He shuffled in his brown loafers a bit closer behind me.
“Can I brush your hair?”
I hesitated 2 quick seconds. “Uh, sure.” Why would anyone brush hair or allow hair to be brushed when they were about to mess it up in a heavily shifted slumber? But it was Grandpa, and I felt a refusal would be disrespectful. But this was all very strange, I’d have to ask Mom about this after they left.
He picked up the Soft Brush that sat on the counter. I could see him moving the brush from the top rear of my head to just below my shoulders where my hair ended tragically shorter than all the other girls’, but I couldn’t feel a thing! “No pain, no gain” was a saying applicable to hair amidst the Eaton daughters. I quietly sighed, What is he doing? This isn’t even getting any knots out. There. I felt that, a slightly less negligable brush stroke, a few more strands of hair were smoothed. I wondered if he was building up momentum before he’d really attack my mane.
But then I saw him again through the mirror. His work-horse Idaho farm boy arm muscles were flexed, keeping his motion perfectly controlled, soft, and delicate. His eyes were fixed on the top of my head, and the complainer within me hushed quiet. He was the quintessential Merzy fan, taking a minute to showing me he was such with a Soft Brush, and contented, adoring Grandparent eyes, a small act of service.
And a quintessential fan such as him would need to be mine forever. And just as he showed me every visit that time speeds up in moments of secure, unadulterated enjoyment, he was teaching me just how wonderful it is that a forever is really ours.