Moms…and schweddy balls.

Dear Moms across the United States,

You have too much time on your hands.

This irrevocable fact has been spelled out for me in so many ways, not the least of which being this article:

http://news.yahoo.com/stores-freezing-ben-jerrys-flavor-213431173.html

Schweddy Balls? Sounds good to me!

No, really. The flavor sounds delicious and the name is hilarious. Maybe I find it funny because my kids can’t read yet. Maybe I find it funny because it IS.

Also, it’s ice cream. If you’re concerned your child is going to start using “locker room humor”, perhaps you should buy them a carton of vanilla and call it good. Or, better yet, don’t buy them ice cream at all! (Novel idea, right?) Something tells me your grade schooler isn’t going to be trolling the ice cream aisles of a supermarket during their free time, expanding their vocabulary by reading the words off of cartons.

And here I was, already thinking about the moms who have too much time on their hands as I dropped my daughter at preschool this morning. I had to roll my eyes at the moms who were dressed to the nines …at preschool. Yes, some of them are on their way to work, I get that. But I know for a fact that many of them aren’t. Many of them, like me, are going back home after dropping off their child, either to tend to another child, or to sneak in an extra hour or two of sleep.

So why the perfectly-coiffed hair, the nylons and heels? Also, is it really necessary for your child to have four bows in her hair?

I may sound bitter. I’m not. I honestly feel bad for them, because it must suck to spend so much time getting ready in the morning, for little to no purpose. Me, I’m lucky if I can find some clean clothes to throw on and a hat to cover my bedhead before shuttling my kid off to school. Once there, I see a handful of people on my way in and out of the building, and then I’m back home where I started. That half an hour or less is in no way worth showering, straightening, hairspraying, eyelining, etc, for.

These moms are the same ones I see raising hell at school events, too, or even first thing in the morning before school. They’ve always got something to “talk” to the teacher about, some special need for their child or passive-aggressive suggestion for how the class should be run.

I suspect that these are also the same women who form large groups via the Internet and set out to attack anyone they believe is “pushing the envelope”.

Like pushing it with Schweddy Balls.

Believe me, mothers across America, I’m recoiling in horror along with you. How dare Ben & Jerry’s release an ice cream with a name most kids won’t even be able to read, let alone pronounce? How dare they assume that an SNL-themed ice cream will be humorous to adults, the primary purchasers of B&J products (and, assuming you regulate what your precious, impressionable children watch, the primary viewers of SNL)? How dare they create a product that is a play on non-family-friendly-words, when they’ve clearly never done it before (Karamel Sutra, anyone)?

Oh, the horror.

Might I suggest you all grow….

…a sense of humor?

Oh, Bristol.

Okay, so I recently finished reading Not Afraid Of Life: My Journey So Far by Bristol Palin. (Well, not actually by Bristol Palin; she had a writer. Which, frankly, kind of blows my mind considering the simplistic nature of the writing…but anyway…)

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Let me start by saying that this book was 90% off at Borders. Had it not been, I’m sure it never would have ended up in my hands. But due to my constant effort to shake up my reading choices, and the fact that I generally do enjoy memoirs, (and that, as a rule lately, I am broke and desperate to “shop”) I figured I could fork over $2.59.

It was $2.59 well spent. I’ll be honest: the writing is fresh, it flows well, and there’s enough drama (duh, it’s the Palins!) to keep things interesting all the way through. Even though I’ve been super busy lately and still have library books that are both partially-read and overdue, I somehow found the time to read this whole thing in about 4 days.

So you’re probably wondering, why did I bother to blog about it, since I sound mildly conflicted about whether or not it’s actually worth reading (and/or paying full price for)?

Well, here’s the thing: I get that the Palins have had to do a lot of damage control over the last few years. In the brouhaha that was the presidential race, a lot of shit went down, and we all know by now that Sarah Palin lost a lot of popularity along the way. (We also know that she has decided to not run for President in 2012, a fact that surprised, I think, almost no one.)

I am, and always have been, very indifferent about the Palins. I don’t love them, I don’t hate them, and for the sake of this blog, I’m not going to bother stating whether my vote went to the Obama or McCain ticket in 2008.

So, I dove into this book knowing that Bristol had a lot of cleaning up to do. This was her chance to speak her side of the story – to clear up miscommunications about her family, to dispel misconceptions about what really happened between her and Levi Johnston, and to try and (hopefully) leave people with a good taste in their mouth about the Palin family name.

I think she accomplished that as well as she could. There were anecdotes shared in the book that couldn’t have been easy to share – some of them were probably embarrassing or downright mortifying. But it would appear Bristol went about telling her story as frankly as she could, in an effort to woo people to her side with honesty and humility.

Here’s what I don’t get: in a book that seems to overflow with desperate honesty, there are some glaring question marks.

I almost choked on the story about Bristol losing her virginity. We get to hear the gory (or, not-so-gory, as it turns out) details near the beginning of the book. She claims to have lost her virginity to Levi during a camping trip with friends…a trip her mother thought was merely a sleepover at a girlfriend’s house. Okay, sounds plausible enough. But the actual details of the story?

Pathetic.

Bristol claims (through words written by Nancy French, of course) that she was just a happy, innocent bystander in an evening gone awry. She actually describes it, at one point, as unknowingly descending into “the quicksand of sexual sin”. Really?

First off, how am I, the reader, supposed to swallow that? I don’t believe any teenage girl thinks in those terms, in those phrases. No twenty year old woman uses that kind of language, either, no matter how much maturing she’s had to do in recent years! It’s like a phrase torn straight from a church pamphlet, or, as I like to suspect, spoken from the mouth of Mama Bear Palin.

It gets worse.

Bristol claims she remembers nothing from the moment she “surrendered to their woozy charms” (‘their’ being the wine coolers that “Levi kept replacing…from his large stash”) to the moment the next day when a girlfriend told her, “You definitely had sex with Levi.”

Wait…I’m sorry, what?

That’s it?

It’s magical how Bristol can remember nothing from the moment she was sitting in a camp chair drinking wine coolers to the moment she woke up naked in someone else’s tent. Nothing? I’m sorry, but for the sake of honesty here, I’m going to tell you that I can remember a hell of a lot of details from my two worst drinking binges (even the one that put me in the hospital), despite forgetting the majority of what happened those nights. There are still details. Snippets. So, total oblivion, memory erased for good? 

I don’t buy it for a second.

I also don’t buy the idea that Bristol was taken advantage of against her will, in a group setting. Something tells me that if poor wittle Bristol, the good, Christian, abstinence-til-marriage girl, had passed out in her camp chair from drinking, and Levi Johnston attempted to carry her limp body to his tent, one of her girlfriends would have said something.

The whole story reeks of BS.

I’m not saying she made an educated decision to have sex. I’m not saying she got drunk and horny and jumped Levi’s bones, either. But what I am saying is that Bristol’s attempt to absolve herself of responsibility for committing that first “sexual sin” just doesn’t ring true. 

She takes full responsibility for the rest of the premarital sex – right down to when she got pregnant with Tripp. But that first time? Nope. It was allll Levi and the wine coolers.

Right.

The rest of the book didn’t piss me off so much. (Unless you count the tales of Levi Johnston’s constant douchebaggery – which, trust me, would be difficult for even a Palin-hater to enjoy. That guy is moose shit dipped in whale sperm.)  

I’d even go as far as admitting that the book left me feeling a little sorry for the Palins, and impressed with the way they handled the election/pregnancy shitstorm.

But there was one more tale that left me irked.

In the recounting of her stint on Dancing With The Stars, Bristol makes a point of talking about how she felt out of place in California because “the people I met…were so obsessed with their bodies, their clothes, and their cars.” She later adds that being at the opposite end of the spectrum – on a trip to ravaged Haiti – was an eye-opener, and wisely states, “‘Body image’ problems only exist because of our country’s wealth, our prosperity, our laptops connecting us with blog accounts, those pesky cameras that add fifteen pounds, and those airbrushed magazines that take off thirty.”

Sounds like a girl who’s got her head screwed on straight.

Oh, wait. Speaking of her head…

2010    vs    2011 

According to the Palin camp, what we see on the right is the result of “corrective jaw surgery”.

Oh, my mistake. I originally mistook it for “sickening hypocrisy”.

For a girl who loves to talk about “Alaskan girls” and their “Carharrts and jeans”, Bristol sure took to a different road as soon as she had cash in her pocket. I don’t care if she really did need “corrective jaw surgery” – fine. That would have changed the alignment of her face slightly, creating an altered appearance. What it wouldn’t do, however, is give her a visible chin implant, suck the fat out of her cheeks and neck, plump her lips, widen her eyes, and shape her eyebrows.

That’s some damn specific corrective surgery!

At the very least, considering this book was written after Bristol had gotten her “hefty check” from Dancing With The Stars (her words, not mine), she should have toned it down in the piety department. There had to have been some part of her that knew she intended to get plastic surgery – perhaps she’d already scheduled the recovery time – because there simply was not a big enough time gap between DWTS, the creation of this book, and the dramatically-unveiled results for Bristol to not have known. In fact, I suspect (though it’s difficult to be sure due to the angle) that one of the last pictures in the book already shows Bristol sporting her new chin.

So c’mon. Had it not been for my overall enjoyment of the book, and the fact that I paid an absurdly reduced price of $2.59 to purchase it in the first place, I would have felt misled.

Had I paid the full $25.99 cover price? I probably would have wanted a refund.

And speaking of refunds, Bristol Leno might want to consider asking for one herself.

I’m just sayin’.

Yikes.

Playlist du jour. (Part drei).

This is a shorter playlist than normal, but a few long explanations, so bear with me. 

There’s pretty much nothing I love more in this world than a song that gives me goosebumps. And since this one has given me the goosies every single listen-through, it’s worth a post. The concept of the video is beautiful. (Pretty obvious through the similarities in his videos that David Guetta wants to unite the world through music – a concept I can fully get behind!) Also, Usher’s voice is stunning. (Many people seem to forget the guy can actually sing!) And nobody makes jumping up and down look more tempting than David (@1:16)…gimme some glow sticks and let me go!

David Guetta feat. Usher ~ “Without You”

 

It was really only a matter of time before this next song made it to my blog. I’ve loved it since the day it was released (I literally yelled “Oh hot damn!” the first time I heard it), but it wasn’t until I saw the music video that I had to put it on here. The general reception to the video seems to be disdain. However, it leaves me completely tickled pink. I grin like an idiot – and dance in my chair – until about 3:16. Then Madame Xtina shows up, and Adam Levine puts his shirt back on. (What’s the point after that?!) Really, my only problem with Christina is that I don’t feel she fits the song. I never have. I think she’s a ridiculously talented woman, but her voice showing up out of nowhere in this song just irks me. (Also, I kind of wish she’d at least try to lose a couple pounds so we could see her in something other than long shirts and leggings these days. There. I said it. Makes me sound like a bitch – especially since I usually love women who are willing to carry a few extra pounds on their frame – but c’mon. Xtina’s only like 5’2″. Pull out the Stairmaster, put down the martini, and buy yourself a sexy minidress, honey!)

Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera ~ “Moves Like Jagger”

 

P.S. There is an “explicit” version to that video, which includes a couple of boob slips from the dancing girls. However, they’re very boring, blink-and-you-miss-them, and the editing on that video just isn’t as good. So feel free to hunt it down if you’d like. I prefer the above version.

~~~

Okay, this next song requires some lengthy explanation, so I apologize. When I first heard it, performed by Haley Reinhart on American Idol, I liked it. (Which is probably saying a lot, since I couldn’t stand Haley.) Actually, I had heard it before then, via recordings of Gaga concerts, and I knew I loved the song. It wasn’t until a dear…er, we’ll just say relative of mine, sang this song’s praises to the moon and back, gushed about it incessantly, and sang along so loud that I literally couldn’t hear anything coming out of the car speakers that I took a disliking to it.

Really. For a good month, I couldn’t stand this song, just because of that. I found the whole incident in the car with my relative that irritating. (Especially since I may have known ulterior motives for that person’s being so obsessed with it.) But I digress!

I’m back to loving it. Because, really, it is one of THE most fun songs to belt out. (Just please save it for your alone time in the car, like I do. And don’t pretend it’s a once-in-a-lifetime musical masterpiece, because it’s not! Kthx.)

One thing that irritates me is that radio stations insist on playing a version of the song that changes “my cool Nebraska guy” to a badly-edited “my cool insert-whatever-state-we’re-in guy”. It’s so fucking lame. The lyrics are Nebraska guy. Not Florida guy. Not New York guy. Not Washington guy. What the F ever! It’s Nebraska! I’m actually ashamed for Lady Gaga that she was willing to desecrate her own song to record those different versions. Le sigh. But again, I digress.

Do yourself a favor and listen to the song before actually watching the video. As with most Gaga videos, it’s an absurd spectacle that has little to nothing whatsoever to do with the song. I was a little disappointed. I know, it’s Gaga. She wouldn’t want anyone to think she’d gone soft, but still – I would have been so happy with a black-and-white video of her pounding this out at the piano. This song begs for that treatment.

The one thing I do like about the video is the appearance of Gaga’s male alter-ego, Jo Calderone. (Is it weird that I like her better as a chain-smoking dude? Eek. I’m not going to try to delve into that one psychologically.)

Lady Gaga ~ “You and I”

P.S. Yes, I realize the “u” in that title is supposed to have an umlaut over it, but I couldn’t remember for the life of me how to type one. So there.

 

Okay, I was going to post a few more songs, but I’ve been much too longwinded today. Plus I’ve got to go practice my Mick Jagger moves, so…

Chez hydration.

I’m a person of relatively few pet peeves. Most of the pet peeves I do have tend to revolve around common decency – manners like “please”, “thank you”, and “excuse me”, holding a door for someone if they happen to be entering right before or behind you, not interrupting people when they’re speaking, etc. (Even I have trouble with the last one – blame it on growing up in a family chock full of women who love to talk!)  Anyway, I just expect people to act civilized, and I’ve never been able to lower those expectations.

But sometimes…sometimes my pet peeves are a little on the silly side. We all have them. The things that irritate us more than they should, that can ruin a conversation or an evening or even a whole day.

Well, in my case, it’s a ruined meal.

I enjoy eating out. There’s something nice about relaxing with friends/family, enjoying a nice meal, and not having to cook or clean up after the fact. I don’t get to eat out as much as I’d like to, especially in recent years. So maybe that’s why my pet peeve has escalated to a fever pitch.

We got the chance to eat out not that long ago, and it was nice. It was nice until halfway through the meal, anyway – by then my food tasted terrible, I was cranky, and found myself wishing I could leave without paying.

It pretty much boils down to one thing.

Refill my damn drink already.

Okay, I warned you it was stupid.

But honestly, I am not one of those people who can wolf down an entire meal and then have a glass of water after the fact. I remember my grandmother always doing that, and it blew my mind. As she sat at the table to eat, she didn’t even have a glass of liquid next to her plate at all! Maybe it’s because I am easily dehydrated in the first place, but I drink like a fish. (And no, not the kind of drinking-like-a-fish you’re imagining. That only dehydrates me more, silly.)  I can’t enjoy a meal unless I drink tons and tons of water, tea, or soda with it. Period.

So when I eat out – especially at a place that serves heavy and/or salty food – I expect a drink refill. Depending on the size of the glass, I could easily down 3 or 4, but I’m satisfied with 2. That means ONE measley refill. Just one.

It’s all I ask!!

If I can’t get a refill, the meal is pretty much ruined for me. I start feeling sick, I lose interest in my food, and crankiness sets in.

Let’s be honest. Anyone who has eaten out in their life – and especially anyone who’s served before, like me – knows that there’s no excuse for not refilling a drink. At the least, a server should return to the table once after the food’s been served, to check in and ensure diners are satisfied. That’s at the very least. I’m not particularly fond of the “one-and-done”, myself. I think it shows a lack of desire to actually earn a good tip, and a disregard for the guest as a whole. But if a “one-and-done” is what I get, fine.

I tip well. I’ve worked in the industry, I know what it’s like – plus, I really do appreciate good service. Eating out is so enjoyable to me (when it’s done right), I want to make sure the server knows that I left pleased.

In a “one-and-done” situation, I leave a smaller tip. It’s still more than acceptable according to industry standards, but it’s less than I would normally leave. I guess it’s my way of consoling myself for feeling slightly put out.

However, in the situation of (God forbid!) nothing whatsoever after food is delivered, that server should count themselves lucky if they get a couple bucks. It makes me livid. There’s no excuse for this at all. It’s revolting. It ruins my evening, and yet I’m still expected to pay the same amount for the food as I would have been with a great server working my table?! Ugh. It makes me see red.

Not to sound petty and petulant, but if I wanted someone to just shove my food at me and then make me pay, I’d go to a fast food joint. Table service without “service” is just…like fast food without the ‘fast’.

Naturally, the “nothing whatsoever” is what happened on that one blissful evening when we were able to go out to eat recently. I realize the restaurant was busy, it was a casual, family-dining type place, and there was one server being overworked, but it still infuriated me. (C’mon, it wasn’t that big of a restaurant. I could see every other table from ours without even craning my neck!) She brought our food to the table and we never, ever saw her again. Not so much as a check brought to the table.

I tried not to be angry about it, but I was. Because no matter how hard I try to look at that type of thing from every angle, I can’t make it seem reasonable. We weren’t in an obscure part of the restaurant – in fact, we were the first table she walked by every single time she entered the dining room. She had to look directly at us as she walked out of the kitchen. By the time we left, I was wishing I’d counted the number of times she walked by our table without stopping. It had to have topped two dozen! We never got so much as a “how is everything?” or “can I get you anything else?”… just nuthin’.

Oh well. It’s not the end of the world. But for someone who really treasures meals out of the house, it was definitely the end of the meal…and the escalation of a formerly mild pet peeve into a major one.

Simply put.

I like that the simple things make me happy.

Even when I’m feeling low, a little thing like a hot cup of tea can make me feel better. Or a hug. A song. A chapter in a book. A walk.

There are millions of things that can make me happy.

That’s why it blows my mind when people lose sight of the little things. When their lives are so completely blown out of proportion, they think their privileged life isn’t worth living. There are a lot of people who suffer from this malady, which, in this day and age, in this poor economy and the environment of everyday life that our country is struggling through, is an utter shame.

It’s almost offensive, in some ways, that a person can complain about things like the installation of their new kitchen not going as quickly as they’d like, or about it raining on a day when they have to work outdoors. Yet, I see/hear these complaints regularly posted on Facebook or Twitter, or uttered in conversation. (Oh, how the world has changed since social networking allowed us to air our every grievance!)

I’m far from a saint in the complaint regard. I have to keep my complaining in check, because the urge strikes often.

But the more time I spend at a place in life I don’t very much care for, the more thankful I become for the things I have. And that’s good. I’m thankful for the thankfulness. I’m thankful that when I do complain, it’s because I can’t provide for my family in a way that I feel they deserve, or because my situation has stressed me out so badly that I take it out on someone else who doesn’t deserve it. Those, I feel, are valid complaints. They affect others.

That’s not to say that someone should be happy their new kitchen isn’t being installed fast enough, or that they should do a happy dance in the rain they so despise, but it is to say that those people could do with a healthy dose of perspective.

I love the little things.

I love life.

I really, really love having perspective.

Playlist du jour.

I love it when I feel like I’m stuck in a musical rut, and then it just……shatters. Suddenly, amazing music flows in from every angle. Even songs that I’ve known and/or liked forever seem to adapt new meaning. This is usually a direct reflection of my emotional moods; which one influences the other, however, is the real question.

Coldplay ~ “Lovers In Japan”

My sister recently tried to tell me that Coldplay is better than Muse. Er…okay. That’s one of the bullshit comparisons I hate. It’s the same as Harry Potter versus Twilight, the Beatles versus the Stones, chocolate versus vanilla – I mean, they’re both fuckin’ delicious ice cream, are they not?! And, really. You can’t pit two bands against each other simply because they’re British and they both play music. It makes no sense. Coldplay and Muse are vastly different, and they appeal to vastly different audiences. Unless, of course, you’re me. I love them both. (But if we’re using ice cream references, Muse is Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But The…” to Coldplay’s plain vanilla, IMHO.)

Anyway! Now that I’ve got that off my chest…the first song I’m diggin’ this week:

 

Demi Lovato ~ “Unbroken”

My girl is back, and she’s better than ever. ‘Nuff said. (Also, screw the fact that every time an album I’m dying for comes out, it’s the week I’m flat broke. Damn YouTube and their slightly-sped-up versions to avoid copyright infringement. Whatev. This song still rocks, even at an altered speed.) Love you Demi! ❤

 

Daft Punk ~ “Derezzed”

For someone who loves meaningful lyrics and passionately-composed music, I should probably be ashamed that I love any form of  house music whatsoever. But I do. I ❤ Daft Punk. Back when I found out they were going to be composing the TRON: Legacy soundtrack, I nearly passed out from sheer bliss.

 

Creedence Clearwater Revival ~ “Commotion”

CCR was one of the bands that changed my life as a teenager. Forget the fact that I wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye when these songs were recorded. Time means nothing when it comes to music…especially when it comes to great music.

 

Kelly Clarkson ~ “Mr. Know It All”

I am notorious for disliking American Idol winners. I didn’t start watching until the second season, so I missed the crowning of Ms. Kelly Clarkson, but since then the only winner I’ve been 100% behind was David Cook. So, yeah. Kelly and David. That’s about it for me. I can’t stand any of the other winners, for various reasons. Some of them, because I couldn’t stand them from the beginning (*cough* Fantasia *cough*). Some of them, because they inexplicably beat out people a thousand times more talented than themselves. (Sorry, Taylor Hicks, but…really?! I threw a shoe at the TV when Chris Daughtry was voted off!) Anyway, I digress.

Kelly? Still LOVE. And this song is my theme song of the moment. A-freaking-men.

 

Robbie Williams ~ “Come Undone”

I can’t tell you how many Robbie songs I could have put in this spot. I must have changed it five or six times before just leaving it the way it was. Suffice it to say, I am in a Robbie Williams phase. (Okay, there’s never really a time when I’m not in a Robbie Williams phase.) His voice is lovely, and thinking about his infectious smile automatically makes me smile. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know he existed when I was a teenager, or I would have run away to the U.K. (I wish that were an exaggeration…) Plus, he’s one of those people I admire because he used to be pretty fucked up. Anyone who has overcome personal demons gets extra points in my book.

 

Okay, screw it…I’m posting a second Robbie song. So there.

 

Robbie Williams ~ “Jesus In A Camper Van”

 

Pink Floyd ~ “Echoes”

Oh, what is there to say about Pink Floyd? Nothing, really. There aren’t words enough. It’s better to shut the hell up and listen. “Echoes” is one of my absolute faves. Just…genius beyond genius. And if you can’t commit to the whole thing? Don’t bother.

 

Muse ~ “Knights Of Cydonia”

What, you didn’t think I was going to let Coldplay steal all the glory, did you?! Psh. Puh-leeeez.

I even posted the live version of this song, because…well, it’s fucking BETTER than the recording. Oh, gawd. I can’t handle it. To think that this happened at Wembley in 2007 (as well as Take That’s “Beautiful World” tour – insert high-pitched squealing here), while I slaved my life away at a dumbass movie theater for eight bucks an hour? FML. Where’s a time machine when you need it??

 

Happy October, folks. 🙂