My husband Kurt has held a grudge against one of our local meteorologists since February 21, 2001. Every time he would see her on television, he’d mumble under his breath, “$%*&@# Cindy Preszler.”
Kurt proposed to me on our three year dating anniversary. He had an elaborate day planned for me, starting with him surprising me at my house early that morning, telling me that he had arranged for me to have a day off of work. He was whisking me away to Chicago. Guys, it was like the stuff movies are made of. But being a control freak, surprises can make me a little uneasy, so he wanted to demonstrate how well he had planned this out so I could relax and have fun. As we were parking at the airport, he told me that he even made sure he was prepared for whatever weather Chicago was having (it must have been before you could just google this stuff). He had called one of our local news channels and was shocked when he was connected to one of the actual on-air meteorologists, Cindy Preszler. He relayed the story to me:
The best thing happened yesterday morning. I opened up my Facebook feed to find my friend Emily had randomly posted this old Sesame Street video of how crayons are made. If you grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, you know EXACTLY which video I’m talking about. It was amazing to lay eyes on it again after all these years. And of course, it took me down a rabbit hole of watching other old Sesame Street videos that, despite being dormant for decades, were able to come to the forefront of my memory with a readiness that was both comforting and eerie. As the words to the songs fell easily from my lips, and the images put me right back to being in front of a rabbit-eared television set, I marveled at how so much of my childhood could be encompassed in a few video segments. And how my entire generation was molded by these sights, sounds, and concepts. Continue reading “Everything GenX Knows, We Learned From Weird Sesame Street Videos”→
Hey moms and dads. I know you know where I’m coming from. It is the background music to the soundtrack of this phase of our lives. I’m talking about kids’ shows. And I believe they fall under the genre of annoying.
But why wouldn’t they be? Their target audience is kids…and to be blunt, kids are annoying.
I was one of those savagely underprivileged children who did not have cable growing up. Thankfully, I had grandparents who did, and it was at their house where I would gorge myself on Nickelodeon shows like “Mr. Wizard”and “You Can’t Do That On Television” to hold me over until my next visit. And, like any good red-blooded preteen of the time, I wanted my MTV.
I should have known it was going to come back to bite me in the extremely round and prominent rear end. I mean, it IS Kim Kardashian. Two weeks ago I proclaimed Kim K. to be “The Patron Saint of Puffy Preggos Everywhere.” While I feel my reasoning is still sound, I distinctly remember ending the post with this statement:
I am happy to report that I am really super busy with no time for blogging at the moment. Why does that make me happy? Because it gives me a reason to have my buddy IrishWriterGirl75 guest post on my blog. She has some wicked talent ya’ll. Enjoy!!
The Pleasure Who’s Name May Not Be Spoken (Or “How I Learned to Stop Feeling Guilty and Love Reality TV”) by IrishWriterGirl75
Though it has been noted for centuries that those of the Catholic or Jewish faith have the market cornered on guilt, the notion of predestination in the Presbyterian doctrine evokes nothing short of crippling self-awareness and over-analyzation of every waking action. “Did I remember to tell everyone at the potluck that there are pistachios in the Watergate Salad?” “Did I sit rigidly enough on that hard pew during the sermon or did I kind of sway when we sang “The Church’s One Foundation?” “Will I ever learn all the words to “God Be With You” even though I heard it, like, 250,000 times? And will there be a quiz?” The most anxiety inducing facet is, of course, no matter what you do, or don’t, those who have been chosen to go to Heaven have been picked long before they were born, so… good luck with that. It would be just like a bunch of suspicious Scots from the Highlands (which are cold, I mean blustery cold, made even colder with no leggings to wear under kilts) to create this belief. With that said, I’m still proud of my heritage and have really fond memories of our sweet, small, limestone church in my tiny hometown. But that guilt…well, as they saw about polyester and insulated casserole carriers, it travels well.
I have the kind of life that really, I shouldn’t have to escape from, and that makes me feel guilty. I have a great family, terrific job, supportive friends, an education, a good place to live, and plenty (if not too much, as evidenced by my scale) to eat. But I am also blessed (cursed) with a vivid and overactive imagination. And, in all fairness, I have the kind of job that deals with human emotions and reactions, that it’s like having someone vomit all over your shoes, sometimes on multiple occasions over the course of one day. Though I love to read, sometimes I can’t focus on a story, no matter how good it is. That is when I turn to my vice. Reality TV.
O.K., here goes. My show, like me, is off kilter and, quite frankly, appeals to the 16-21 year old demographic for squealy, dramatic girls and immature, dateless 25-45 year old men. And I judge not, for apparently, for these are my people. My show, like “Urkel” in days of old, emerges on Friday night at primetime and provides cheesy entertainment, met with chortles and eye rolling. But, also like “Urkel” (yeah, I know, it’s “Family Matters” for any sticklers out there), it’s got heart. And eye candy (draw your own conclusions). Since I’m not getting paid to endorse the show, I won’t do it any favors by saying the name, but I will describe it thusly : Three guys of varying maturity levels are locked, on purpose, in places reputed to be haunted, or at least condemned, over night. Their mission: to prove the existence of ghosts, and their own equilibrium (they fall down sometimes because, well, it is dark). My admission: I never miss an episode and I own two seasons of the show. As in, they are part of my DVD collection. The classiness just won’t stop. I should not like this. But I do. Therein lies the guilt.
The lesson in all of this you ask? Our society is full of ways to self-destruct, as well as ways to positively rebuild what has been lost. There’s only room for feelings of guilt, loss, and shame in one these options. As for me, I will fight feeling bad for destroying my brain cells with sugar-coated shows. After all, I could run into someone from the show “on the other side” someday, and we would have to have something to talk about. Ahhh, justification…
IrishWriterGirl75 is new to the blogging world, and she muses over on Dances Like a White Girl. She is smart, funny, and has some mad writing skills…oh, and she does in fact dance like a white girl. I’ve seen it. True story. She also has pretty much the easiest and best laugh in the world. So head on over to her blog, and check her out!
OH, and she (along with this other really cool blogger I know who happens to be me) is also featured in the best book on the market for nursing mothers, Milk Diaries, written by the talented Maggie Singleton. It is available on Amazon!
If you read my last post, you know I had a very important task to do yesterday. And despite being a tad on the side of super-duper-über nervous, I am happy to say that appearing on one of our local morning shows, Great Day St. Louis, actually went surprisingly well.
I have referred to myself in a previous post as being apparently really lame in person, and that I should only communicate my thoughts via my blog, where I can bypass the mockery my mouth always seems to make of the words that form in my head. History has proven that am more likely to flub up than appear cool and graceful in high pressure situations. Thankfully that was not the case yesterday; and I could not be more relieved. Because yesterday held much higher stakes than impressing some celebrity I adore. Yesterday I risked the unforgiving microscope of high def television to help promote Milk Diaries: a compilation of practical, encouraging advice from the “real” breastfeeding experts. You may have seen me mention it before. It is important to me to help get the word out about this book for few reasons:
1. The author, Maggie Singleton, is a very dear friend of mine. But she is also very talented, and I have watched in awe as she has traveled this journey of growing a seed of an idea into a real life book, doing most of the hard work herself. And doing it in a way that is full of wisdom, encouragement, humor, and even a bit of brilliance.
2. I believe in the message of the book. MilkDiariesis unlike any book I ever read as a new mother, and in the best way possible. Not only is it like getting really great advice from your girlfriends, sister, or mother, but it is a non-judgmental exploration in how mothers can succeed at breastfeeding in a myriad of ways. It is accepting of all breastfeeding viewpoints on the spectrum, whether you are a mom who wants to exclusively breastfeed, a mother who wants to nurse her children well past the year mark, a mom who wants to use a combination of breastfeeding and formula feeding, a working mother who pumps, or a struggling mother who is unsure of how long she wants to continue breastfeeding. There is a story in there for everyone, and a voice that will help each mother feel confident in whatever decision she chooses to make.
3. If Maggie becomes famous, I fully intend to ride her coattails seeing as how I contributed one of the stories in the book, “The Lactation Consultant from the Black Lagoon.” You know, I plan to be the Solange Knowles to her Beyoncé.
So considering the above reasons, I am glad I didn’t pull a “classic Kelly” moment, made famous by the great Micky Dolenz Debacle of 2011 and the Andy Cohen Catastrophe of 2012. I didn’t even make some ill-informed comment about “legitimate breastfeeding.” Whew. (I did use the word “zest” twice, as if that is a word used in natural conversation. Weird, but not damaging.) And I might add that Maggie was very graceful under pressure, appearing quite “authorly;” and Susan, another contributor to MilkDiaries,further proved that Maggie chose some great moms to share their stories in her book.
I also want to thank the people over at Great Day St. Louis who were very welcoming and not intimidating whatsoever. Their easy-going attitudes definitely put the three of us at ease, and it was nice to hear Virginia Kerr endorse the book as something she wishes she had when she was a new mother.
And now the moment you have all been waiting for…the roundtable discussion of the year. Please share this with anyone you know who is expecting a child, who is struggling with breastfeeding, or who wants to read a book that will make her feel great about being a mom. Let’s make Milk Diariesgo VIRAL!!! Boobs do really well in the viral world.
(P.S. You can find MilkDiarieson Amazon. If you live in the St. Louis area, you can pick up a copy at the Ballwin or St. Peter’s locations of Once Upon a Child or at Main Street Books in St. Charles.)
A few weeks ago, my husband and I took our kids to Elephant Rocks State Park, which is pretty much one of the coolest places on earth. The park consists of 1500 million-year-old granite that has been worn away to create giant boulders. Aside from being absolutely breathtaking, the park is a wonderland of rocky mazes to run and climb about. Naturally, it was also the perfect place to teach our children about the art of parkour.
I may be a few years behind on the phenomenon (which is my typical time frame for picking up on fads), but the only reason I came to know about parkour was because of a television show (which is my typical source for picking up on just about anything). Some of you may remember an episode of The Office that involved Michael, Dwight, and Andy displaying their smooth parkour moves around Dunder Mifflin. Well, I just don’t think I could have lived with myself if, while at Elephant Rocks, I didn’t have my kids do their impression of The Office doing their impression of parkour.
So without further ado, I will let these videos…in a particular order, from real parkour to, um, least real parkour… do the talking.
It’s official. I am 2-2 when it comes to saying absolutely ridiculous things to celebrities. My first moronic blubbering happened when I met Micky Dolenz of the The Monkees last summer. My second just recently occurred at a book signing with Andy Cohen, Bravo television executive and champion of The Real Housewives franchise…who also happens to be a fellow St. Louis native. Because of this, I have decided I should cloister myself away with my computer and only interact with the public via my blog. Apparently, I am really lame in person.
Cohen made an appearance at the St. Louis County Library last Friday to publicize his new book Most Talkative: Stories from the Front Lines of Pop Culture, and my friend Catherine and I thought it would be fun to go see him. We are both guilty of being Real Housewives fans after all, and I have a little soft spot for Cohen. Aside from marveling at his grace under fire during every Housewives reunion special, he is also responsible for bringing the shows Top Chef and Project Runway into my life. One sparked my interest in sewing, leading me to spend precious bonding time with my grandmother learning her tricks of the trade for pillow shams…the other sparking my interest to gain five pounds. There’s also a sense of pride that comes along with seeing a likable homegrown boy make it in the big city. But mostly, I was hoping to get some Housewives dirt. I was sorely disappointed on that front. But “bravo” to Cohen for being smart enough not to bite the obnoxiously blinged-out hands that feeds him. That’s some good old Midwestern common sense.
I like that Cohen is a proud St. Louisan. He often references being a native of The Lou on his live late night talk show, Watch What Happens Live. And he was just as appalled as I when, during a game of Pictionary with a couple of the Real Housewives, Kyle Richards had no idea what the St. Louis Arch was. He is a loud and proud Cardinals fan. And a recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch relayed his feelings on his place of birth: “When I tell people I grew up in St. Louis, their first reaction (is sometimes) ‘Oh, I’m so sorry,’ (…) Here’s what: Apology not accepted — or needed. I loved growing up there.”
Given the props Cohen routinely gives to his roots, Catherine and I thought it would be funny and perhaps (not so) clever to make The Real Housewives of St. Louis tee-shirts to wear to the book signing. (Cohen did make clear during the interview with McGraw Millhaven prior to the book signing that there will never be a St. Louis Housewives…for purely selfish reasons. As he put it, he doesn’t want to be home for a relaxing Thanksgiving break and run into the “Ramona of St. Louis.”) So I took a little trip to Walmart (because that’s where any good Housewife gets her apparel) for some $4 tee shirts and printable iron-on transfers. I spent a good thirty minutes or so recreating the Real Housewives logo with our esteemed city name and icon of choice: Orange County has the orange, Atlanta has the peach, New York has the apple, Beverly Hills has diamond-studded sunglasses…what better to represent St. Louis than the Imo’s pizza logo! Not only does it have the Arch, but it is also the symbol of the square-beyond-compare of delectable provel cheese…the cheese to which Cohen confessed to loving, though he touted it as the cheese they put on salads at Cafe Manhattan, not mentioning Imo’s once. What???? I have to admit I doubted he was REALLY from St. Louis for a moment.
Anyway, Catherine and I were totally digging our shirts, despite the fact that we were surrounded by women who were dressed as if they were auditioning for Real Housewives themselves. It’s all good, we thought. All the more reason we’ll stand out. Catherine even dared to hope that maybe, just maybe, Cohen would love our shirts so much he’d give us a “mazel” on his talk show. That was stretching it a bit, but surely he would love our playful sense of humor, right?
So our turn came to get our books signed. I walk up to Cohen and immediately thrust my hip to the side, point at my chest with both hands, and say in a somewhat cocky manner, “Like my shirt?” Oh…my…God. He smiled a little and said “Aw, cute.” But it was totally in the tone someone uses when she first sees a friend who has just gotten her hair butchered at the salon. Really? I spent a good thirty minutes on this tee-shirt buddy! Perhaps to make up for my failed attempt to win his friendship with my shirt, I go on to say, “Thanks for always representin’ the STL.” ……………??????????????? Yes, that was “representin'” minus the “g” and “STL”…not “St. Louis.” I actually used the letters S-T-L preceded by the word “the.” I will no longer comment on this for there really are no words. What I SHOULD have said was, “Please tell Alexis Bellino to stop reminding people she’s from Missouri, because it’s giving us a bad name.”
One of the librarians quickly snapped a photo of Catherine and I with Cohen. I was excited to see it since the librarian kept saying how “adorable” the photo was as she was taking it. She very obviously loved our shirts and found them very clever (aHEM, Mr. Cohen). However, either she was in need of a new prescription for her glasses, or she just thought Catherine and I were more “adorable” if our faces were blurry, because the photo was a pretty big fail.
But all in all, I give the experience two thumbs up. Sure, I wish we had gotten a better reaction about our shirts, but really, it’s not like it was this crazy original idea. And we had fun with it, so that’s all that matters.
In honor of Cohen I will end this post in a similar fashion to how he wraps up each episode of Watch What Happens Live…with my “Jackhole of the Day” and my “Mazel of the Day.”
My “Jackhole of the Day” goes to the crazypants woman from Iowa who expected Cohen to recognize her voice since she had called into his show three times, and who both asked to be his wife and wanted to know what her chances were of becoming a Real Housewife. His response? A very honest probably not thatgood. Honey, if Real Housewives of St. Louis doesn’t have a chance, I wouldn’t hold out any hope for Real Housewives of Des Moines.
My “Mazel of the Day” goes to Cohen himself for giving me something fun to do with my good friend on a Friday night. Then again, the rest of my day consisted of a trip to Walmart, making an unappreciated tee-shirt, and cleaning up my dog’s barf off of our living room carpet…so he really didn’t have all that much competition. Now THAT’S the life of a Real Housewife.