gratitude-a-thon day 25: being a girl

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That’s the thing about girls. We’re really smart.

My friend Jocelyn posted the above HIllary Clinton ad sort of thing sponsored by the Society of Women Engineer’s yesterday on Facebook, and it made me start thinking about the fact that I actually, despite, menstrual cramps, and faulty ovaries, and gynecological mayhem, and PMS, infertility, and pregnancy, and childbirth, and menopause, and having to check and worry about my boobies all the time, and not make nearly as much money as boys do for DOING THE SAME WORK, and being objectified, and glorified, and, beautifIed and dehumidified, I LOVE BEING A GIRL. I like the body better, for one. We girls don’t have THINGS hanging between our legs.(DOES THIS FEEL LIKE IT WOULD BE PROHIBITIVELY UNCOMFORTABLE, OR WHAT.) We don’t have to  shave our faces. (although, as a half Italian, half Jewish girl, you can only imagine, WHAT I HAVE TO SHAVE.) We are not the go-to for shoveling snow, or unclogging the toilet, or helping with math homework, or dragging the smelly trash bins to the street. Anyway, I like to put on pretty clothes, and I don’t mind being the weaker sex sometimes, and if you want to lead when we dance, go right ahead. It’s nice to make men’s head swivel (although not so fun when they no longer do….), and great to bring a man to his knees with your beautify, wit and charm. It’s amazing, life-altering, NO-REAL-WAY-TO-DESCRIBE-IT to be pregnant, making a whole person from scratch right inside of you (If you saw this in a movie, you’d think it was impossible and just plain dumb, WOULDN’T YOU.) It’s incredibly beautiful to be someone’s mother. (which you can’t be if you’re a man.) It’s nice to be a Miss, a Ms, or a Mrs. It must be lovely to be a grandmother. (I will be sure to make sure I am as grand as my name.) I adore being a sister, in a family of only girls, with beauty products and feminine hygiene products, and lipsticks all over the place. I love girl drinks, with umbrellas, and coconut, and girlfriends who will be there when you need them, and make you laugh with juicy gossip and work husbands, and secret crushes and stories of  too much laundry and cellulite, and shapewear, and good movies, and their newest shoes. I adore women, with their strength and seamless ability to multi-task, their compassionate hearts and fierce brains, which often have to be twice as sharp as men’s to get half as far. I love being a girl. It’s good. It’s mostly fun, and there’s no macho crap to contend with. I LOVE MEN, but as for being one, well, I love being a girl.

gratitude-a-thon day 24: movies

Give me a dark theater, or my couch filled with blankets, my family and on-demand, and I’m good. I’m SO good.

I have probably logged in as much time at the movies as Siskel, Ebert, and Leonard Maltin put together.  I am insatiable when it comes to film. And, now with on-demand, I can go to the movies 24/7, naked if I want to. (This is not something that’s remotely attractive to me, or anybody else, but I do like the fact that I could.) Anyway, I love being able to immerse myself in another world, feel someone’s happiness or pain, without having to live it for real. I’m fascinated by good special effects. I can get lost in cool places I’ve never seen before. And who doesn’t get off on an exciting chase scene. But the movies that are most appealing to me, the ones that I generally talk about for days, and tell my sister  that she must see immediately, and should actually stop what she is doing and HEAD TO THE THEATER PRONTO, are the ones that are about relationships. I want an emotional ride, a great love story, a  complicated friendship, or complex family dynamic. And, of course, a good comedy gets under my skin, too. But I’m a pretty harsh critic, judging the plot, acting, cinematography and popcorn, like an academy award voter. I’m no slouch when it comes to movies. When my husband and I were first married, and you had to go to the movie store to rent videos, (can you believe we had to do that, and NOW YOU CAN WATCH THEM ON YOUR PHONE!) we had a whole “old movie” marathon going on. We watched all the classics, like Citizen Kane, Casablanca, All About Eve, Double Indemnity, The original Postman Always Rings Twice, every single one of the Hitchcock movies, and on and on. It was really fun, and I often think about how jealous I am of my kids who still have so many amazing movies to discover, because there’s nothing like the first time. I love the previews, the popcorn,  (I give the popcorn award to Coolidge Corner Theater, plus they have wine!)  and the audience. I find it fascinating to see what makes people laugh and cry. After the movie, I like to analyze, rip apart the whole film, and discuss its flaws and successes. I recently saw Silver Lining Playbook, and boom, a new entry onto the list of “BEST MOVIES I’VE EVER SEEN, ” a select compilation, I don’t add to often. It was deep and funny and explores mental illness, and love, and family. While the New Yorker is usually a reliable source, they didn’t like it, which mystifies me.  But, hey, sometimes even the best reviewers get it wrong. (Unlike me!)

gratitude-a-thon day 21: when a song gets unstuck

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This is me singing. Ok, it’s not me singing, it’s Adele. But it’s how I feel when I sing (and what I think I sound like).

I have a pretty bad case of this thing, which i don’t even really know is an official thing. I”ll call it: “the song that gets stuck in my brain” thing. i can be in a conversation, or working, or watching tv, and my brain is singing, “She’s just a girl and she’s on fire.” The words repeat over and over inside my head on an endless loop. When it’s a song I like, it’s bad enough, but when it’s a song I hate, it’s even worse. Sometimes I wonder if it’s a special CIA torture device to get me to unveil some important national security information–like how much money I spent at Anthropologie, or something. Anyway, good thing I’m not singing out loud and just in my head because well, just ask anybody who’s ever heard me sing. They’ll tell you. If not in words, then in facial expressions. FRIENDS AND FAMILY WHO ALLEGEDLY LOVE ME, mind you. Like mom, like child. My daughter sadly has inherited my pathetic and sad vocal capabilities, but she’s the first to make fun of me (although this has been a bonding moment for the two of us also). I was in chorus until third grade, when my chorus teacher, Mrs. Gustafson told me that she absolutely loved me, but that I couldn’t be in chorus anymore because I couldn’t sing. REALLY, MRS. GUSTAFSON, IS THAT HOW WE’RE GOING TO HANDLE THIS? I was sort of devastated, and asked my mom if I might develop a better voice as i got older. i think she told me yes, which is the right thing to have done, since I was still living in a 10 year old world of “anything is possible.”. The thing is, I have all the intonations right. I know the timing. I can even dance in the perfect rhythmic groove to every moment of a song, BUT I CANNOT HOLD A TUNE, HIT A NOTE, OR EVEN HEAR THAT I’M NOT DOING EITHER OF THOSE THINGS. It’s so sad, because I know I would have been a great singer, you know, except for my damn voice. What I really mean, is that I have the SOUL of a singer. I can feel a song in my gut. Some people can sing, but they don’t’ really feel the music, which is actually as bad as singing like I do (although admittedly, it sounds better). Music is such an emotional endeavor. And I’ve got that part down. Yep, I’m freaking Adele in the shower. Aretha Franklin in the car. Whitney Houston (before she got so into drugs). You should catch my performances in the house when everyone is at school and work. They are sell outs (truthfully, it appears that even Riley thinks I suck). Anyway, I am so grateful when the song that gets stuck in my head (“so call me maybe” ) somehow gets unstuck. It’s like music to my ears (I HAD TO, DIDN’T I?!).