Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why Was I Never In A Beauty Pageant?

My friend Cristi (or rather my sister’s friend who I now claim as mine) is a teacher and has assigned a research project to her 90 or so students in which they need to reach out to adults and ask them a series of questions on a wide variety of subjects. (When I called Cristi on Monday to discuss, she told me that she got the day off.  Why? First day of Hunting Season.  I’m surprised Jackie didn’t come up with that holiday—oh wait.  She’s from NY.)

Anyway, I got a couple questions on over population (I might have answered “Nothing a good plague can’t fix.”  I told Evivova about it, and she volunteered to also answer questions.  Before I knew it, Rose had sent us the same questions on the subject of “Beauty Pageants.”  Frankly, I thought they were a little leading.  I also had no doubt that she’d be getting two very different responses – because after 25 years of friendship, the one thing I can count on, is that Evivova and I won’t agree.  (I still stand by the FACT that at the end of the 12 days of Christmas, the person receives 30 Golden Rings.) 

Here are our answers.  I hope you find them as amusing as I did.  

Hi Rose!

I am really glad that you are also talking to Eva Richardson, because I have a feeling that you are going to get two wildly different perspectives. 

These are the questions I have for you:
Do you believe that beauty pageants and contests for little girls are demeaning?

I don’t think beauty pageants or contests are demeaning for little girls in and of itself.  I think little girls like to dress up, whether it’s for a contest or just to play with friends.  In a perfect world, beauty pageants would simply be an opportunity to get dressed up, show off your special talent and have fun.  In fact, if conducted in the right spirit, a beauty pageant could even be a confidence booster for little girls -to have a moment on stage to shine while they are singing or dancing or whatever it is that they are especially good at. 

Do you think beauty pageants and contests are bad for young girls who compete?

Given the way you are phrasing these questions, I would imagine you do think that they are very bad indeed for young girls.  I believe that the pressure that parents put on young girls during these contests can be very unhealthy.  The emphasis on beauty, and only beauty, to validate who you are isn’t something that I believe is good.  But, as I said, I do think that there are some excellent potential in beauty pageants.  For one, the preparation for such contests often gives a young girl an excuse to work and spend time with her parents.  If we strip away the pre-conceived concept of the overbearing mother who is having her 5 year old diet so that she can look good in a swim suit – I think you’ll also find there are parents who are having a good time picking out dresses, practicing a dance routine, or teaching their child how to play the violin.  Those are all quality moments spent with your child.  I suppose it depends on how competitive the parent is.  If a child can learn what it’s like to compete and aren’t chastised for not getting first prize – there is the possibility that they can also learn how to enter into competition for the fun of the competition just like if you were to enter a race or an ice skating competition. 

In your opinion do you think it is wrong for girls to wear make-up that makes them look like they are adults?

Maybe it’s because my mother gave me lipstick to wear at a very young age, but no.  I don’t think that wearing make-up is intrinsically wrong. I believe teaching your child that they have to wear make up to look pretty is a terrible message.  I could argue that we put stage make up on small children during plays and recitals – be it to look like a lion or simply because in order to see your facial features you need to add make up on stage.  Putting on make up to look like an adult during a beauty pageant is just another way to dress the part on stage. 

Do you believe that when the girls who compete grow up, they will care more about their looks than anything else?

Again, I think it depends on how the parents treat the competition.  In some cases, in which parents have taught their child that only beauty matters, or beauty is the only thing they have to offer this world, then yes.  They probably will have their self-esteem wrapped up in their physical beauty.  I think other children will go on to the other things, will grow out of wanting to dress up, might even focus on the talents that they started while competing.  I also think with or without the competitions, emphasis on the superficial happens.  I also think the opposite effect might occur – a rebellion or realization that beauty isn’t the most important thing – due primarily to entering these contests. 

What do you think of the girls when they dress up and end up looking like adults?

I think my opinion on this is the same as the make-up question.  Plus, little girls love to imitate their adult counter parts.  They don’t need a pageant to do this.  This particular question doesn’t actually apply to pageants though, and I could bring up the fact that I just bought skinny jeans, a leather jacket and Van’s for a new born – and he’s going to look adorable in them.  We buy mini versions of adult clothing all the time for little kids.  We have Mother-Daughter outfits that we ooh and aah over – and honestly, I have no problem with any of it.  

Sorry, if this wasn’t what you were looking for.  Given your leading questions, you clearly wanted me to argue the other way – but as I said, that’s why I’m glad you asked Eva also. 

Have a great week – and let me know if you have any additional questions. 



Evivova’s Answers:

1.      Do you believe that beauty pageants and contests for little girls are demeaning?

I believe that beauty pageants send the wrong message to little girls.  They convey the message that their looks are of the utmost importance and that the girl with the best “look” will win the pageant and praise from others.  This is a dangerous message to impart to children, particularly girls.  

2.      Do you think beauty pageants and contests are bad for young girls who compete?

I think that beauty pageants have negative effects on young girls.  Young girls should be exploring their environment and playing with other children.  They should not have to worry about presenting themselves to adults in the best light and their looks and presentation should be the last thing on their minds.  Beauty pageants rob children of the essence of childhood.

3.      In your opinion do you think it is wrong for girls to wear make-up that makes them look like they are adults?

Absolutely!  Make-up is used to enhance those features that the opposite mate finds attractive.  This should be a non-issue for girls!  Wearing make-up sexualizes them and may impart the message that, again, they need to focus on and enhance their physical appearance. 

4.      Do you believe that when the girls who compete grow up, they will care more about their looks than anything else?

They will either grow up and worry about their looks or rebel and care less about them.  Beauty pageants are not normal to child development.

5.      What do you think of the girls when they dress up and end up looking like adults?

It’s creepy.  It sexualizes them and sends the wrong message to them and to other adults.  It is confusing to look at a child and to see the makings of a child but the couture of an adult. 

 And in case you haven’t seen it already, here is Tom Hank’s personal expression of how he feels about Toddler’s and Tiaras:

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yo! Yo-Yo!

On Wednesday some work folks went to the Original Pancake House, where we all drew our own versions of a Turkey. Then we proceeded to put them up on the office refrigerator, like the professionals that we are. 

I have two Jackie O (my 10 year old niece) stories this week.  Her teacher asked the class to name two holiday's in November.  One child raised his hand to say, "Thanksgiving."  Then Jackie raised her hand and said, "Black Friday."  :)  (For those of you puzzling, the correct answer was Veteran's Day.)

Last week, the students were handed their report cards.  The grades go form 1-4, 4 being the highest.  The teacher asked the class to look over their grades and to let him know if they had any questions or concerns.  Jackie O quickly raised her hand to say, "Yea.  I got a problem with this."  Her teacher, very surprised, asked what her problem was. "You gave me all 2's and that's not acceptable.  I should be getting 4's."  And, she was correct, the teacher had given her the wrong grades and she had all 4's.  Jackie, however, brought home the original report card to her parents to show them she got all 2's.  Then, just as they were getting upset, she said, "JK! I told him to change it to all 4's. "

A couple of weeks ago I was tagged in a post on Facebook that said, "I'll just have to hope that Tiffany invites us to Thanksgiving dinner." 

Me: We would like to invite you to Thanksgiving Dinner.
Jen: I am SO surprised that you would think to invite us!
Me: I was equally as surprised by the invite.

This year was significantly more intimate going from 40+ guests in the past to 27 this year.  While this might still be a large number for others, for myself at least, it was totally manageable. Dawne even had time to take pictures of us all cooking. :P  This year's craft was "What I'm Thankful For" in felt. 

(This was my silhouette of Jen – first try!)

Jen: It’s not fair! Shane should not be able to be so incredibly talented and be able to create something like this in felt. It’s not right.”

The next morning Dawne was feeling pretty good about a successful Thanksgiving.  I, on the other hand responded with an agitated, "What are you talking about?! We didn't stay on schedule!  We were an hour late with Miracle on 34th street, 1 1/2 late on crafts, and we had to skip the last two activities!"  But sure, other than that, it was pretty great. 

Lucas and Matty spent some time on Thanksgiving evening playing music and working on their "Yo! Yo-Yo" musical career.

They then came up to the kitchen to Yo-Yo.   Lucas explained, "You need to walk the dog... like Casper, when you walk in the door and then he pees on you."  (True story.  We now greet him outside because we don't know how to prevent the excited accidents.  Though, I'm not sure how this translates to the Yo-Yo trick.

Right before Matty left, Lucas said (referring to Yo-Yoing), "Work on this. You should invest in one. It changed my life. I've lost 5 pounds." I don't know how to break it to him that Yo-Yoing is not a sport (beyond yelling, "YO-YOING IS NOT A SPORT.)

We went to see The Muppet Movie (AWESOME!), Arthur Christmas (Cute), and Hugo (visually it was BEAUTIFUL) this weekend.  We also did quite a bit of online shopping and other Christmas related prep while watching 5 other Christmas movies.  During one of the animated shorts there was a box of adorable puppies with a sign saying, "Free Puppies."  To which, Lucas leaned over to whisper, "Don't trust those dogs. They have hepatitis a b and c."  We also so a commercial that was talking about something that had endless possibilities, to which Luke said, " It's not endless; you can do the math."

We had a guest staying with us this weekend so we took Mila for a walk to the Dog park before she had to catch a plane.  Lucas wanted to go to the Skate Park instead, which meant we needed to drive past the park to head to Starbucks and the Skate Park.  Casper had made his way onto Lucas' lap, and as we passed Marymoor, Lucas whispered in Casper's ear, "You see the doggy park don't you? See, we have some priorities and those priorities are LUCAS, then Casper...then Nala."

As if cooking Thanksgiving dinner wasn't enough, (I didn't cook the Turkey, but I did cook the ham and other dishes), Friday I made Split Pea Soup.  While I was making soup, the fam went over to Bellevue to go Ice Skating.  Apparently there was a reporter - so naturally, Lucas fell down wildly behind the reporter every time he skated behind.  According to Matty and Nate, he also tried to wave while he was falling to the ground.  Totally natural.  I also had a lovely lunch with Baby Fynn and his parents on Saturday.  Did I mention how adorable that kid is? :)

ALSO! Go Go Kiddo was released last week.  If you haven't already downloaded the app!/id462821593?mt=8, played and written a glowing review (though, you'll have to be more creative because Jen already used "Glowing Review") I highly recommend it.  The app is a super fun and educational for little kids.  I was a bit addicted to the "Trace and Race" portion.  However, I did get stuck on "29" and "32" on Wednesday night, whining, "No Fair! I haven't eaten or slept in weeks - my brain is atrophying!"  I think a healthy 4 year old, or a normal adult, will do just fine with it though. :P

And one last Luke quote to finish us up, "I'm going to start a company with "Generic" as the brand name and then I'll buy everything Generic.  That way, I'll add the spice to my life with my creativity. I wonder what I'll do with my Generic toothbrush..."  

Monday, November 21, 2011

I'm Very Well Rounded

Frita called me early on Tuesday to let me know that he found a place for my wedding.  Bear Mountain has announced they are open for events – and in case I wanted to invite more than 300 people, there are additional accommodations in the cabins behind the main building.  Plus, and my dad forgot to mention this, Ice Skating and a Carousel is ALSO a stone’s throw away.  Dawne also did a trial run of my wedding invitations this week – what do they know that I don’t?

We moved offices last week.  Before we left the Redmond offices, I came into my boss’s office incredibly cheerful (as usual).

T: I hope I’m sitting next to you in the new office.
Me: OMG! Me too!  You’re being facetious – but I’m serious.
T: Oh yea.  Totally.
Me: RIGHT!? I better get in early on Wednesday so that I can rearrange the desks to make it so. 

Only, fate smiled upon us, and when I arrived, I didn’t have to change a thing.  :P  I made the observation that apparently I make people uncomfortable without noticing or trying.  In fact, I don’t even know exactly what it is I’m doing to make people uncomfortable.  (I imagine this is when Justin will be nodding his head in total agreement – and I know he’ll also never explain it to me).  Anyway, it happened again the other day – and I mentioned it to Shana.  She told me that of course I do, all the time, but that it was part of my “charm,” which just reinforces why I tell her my problems.  Then, 15 minutes later I told her that a second conversation had me saying to my boss, "Alright. This is fair. I made you uncomfortable and now you're making me uncomfortable."

Someone at work sent a company-wide email saying that they would be coming into work.  There was no end to my mockery that we now needed to announce not only when we would be out, but when we would be IN.  Email’s got “wild”…

Me: Imma leave 3007 now.  I'll be at my desk in approximately 2 minutes.  I'll call you if I run 30 seconds late. 
K: Hair appointment @ 5pm in downtown Kirkland.  Won’t be on mail.
Me: Haircut or color? Additional Deets Needed.  Kthnxbye
K: Both. Been feeling icky, will be a pick me up.
Me: I approve.  You may proceed. Update accordingly. 
K: Hair apt changed to 5:30.  Stylist running behind.
Me: I've consulted with Headquarters.  We approve on the condition that this does not affect your TV viewing schedule. PS Please forward complete viewing line list post haste. 

The following day, hair looking fabulous, she received many compliments.  She also told me that her main goal when going to get her hair done is that it will look so good and different that she will elicit compliments from her father. If her father notices then she’s successful.  Naturally, every time I heard a man, AKA daddy replacement, say something nice about her hair, I announced, “Mission Accomplished.” 

We also had a companywide meeting which I was immediately bummed about because everyone was going to be having lots of beer and cookies the whole time.  When asked what I could have on the diet, I said seltzer.  Which, due to the fact that seltzer is basically air and water, now the new thing is to ask me how I’m enjoying my air.  The answer is always, “Very much, thank you.” 

On our way home from the gym on Thursday night, Lucas was working his yoyo when he told me that he didn’t want to be known as “That guy with the yoyo, but it’s so addictive!”  I can’t confirm or deny this, but seeing as Jordan and Lucas are still being denied haircuts, they are also becoming known as “Those guys” and Lucas is really displeased by the whole thing.  I know it’s serious (Lucas told me how serious it is repeatedly), but I can’t stop giggling about the whole situation.

Friday night, we had another Twilight Party.  Dawne had presented to me an invitation to Bella and Edward’s wedding along with the official prop replica barrette that Bella wears to her wedding.  Dawne replicated these invitations for everyone at the party (which is how she knows what my wedding invites will look like) and I donned my gorgeous diamond and sapphire-esque hair clip. Oh! Jamie brought us all Ring Pops for the occasion.  We had over 25 people which is a perfect turn out.  AND I didn’t get robbed blind during it!

Laina: I'm going to say this one more time then I'll drop it.  That [Regal Theater Ticket Scanner] guy really doesn't care if [the tickets are printed] portrait  or landscape.  
What’s awesome about this, is that Laina really chatted this guy up, as if this was the most critical of critical discussions and not only did he not care, but she didn’t even say this statement to me until 15 minutes later while we were sitting in the theater.  Love that girl. 

Laina: I think I've told you, but I firmly and I adamantly believe I should have been in the matrix.
Rach: That was just poor casting.

Zach also asked me to look over his OKCupid profile and messages last week.  When he brought it up, I told him it would have to wait because I was at work and couldn’t look at anything until I got home.  He proceeded to call Dawne, and basically tell on me.  To make matters worse, Dawne actually agreed saying, “Yea.  Tiffany working is really putting a damper on our lives.” 

We went caravanned it over to a brunch on Bainbridge Island to meet Missy and Charles’ new edition, Chloe Scott.  On our way over, Heather’s boyfriend was talking about a bunch of stuff, and it was obvious that he was very knowledgeable on a wide variety of subjects.  One of the subjects, we might have comments that he was a big nerd, so he jumped subjects to tell us about something “cooler” he knew a lot about.  I think he might have been a little intimidated by us because all of a sudden he announced, “I’m pretty well rounded.”  This meant that anything else he told us for the rest of the afternoon caused us to say, “Sure. Of course. You ARE pretty well rounded after all.”  Aren’t we a delightful bunch?  

At the brunch itself, I sat down at a table by myself, and before I knew it, I was surrounded by 5 small children.  Finally in my element, I started some conversations.  I met a lovely young lady, Rosie.  She told me she was 3 going on 4, but when she was little (not like now, when she’s an adult) she was bit by a green and purple dragon (which is why she likes dinosaurs, but not dragons.)  She’s ridden a Unicorn before (when she was a teenager), with her brother, but her brother definitely did not like the Unicorn (he told her.)  He did, however, like riding the blue Unicorn.  She has also ridden a FAKE Unicorn that was rainbow colored, but that Unicorn didn’t move at all because it was fake (obviously).  She like’s tigers, but would never wrestle one.  She likes rhinoceroses but not so much elephants because she was bitten by one once.  (I asked if she was just pinched by its trunk, she said no, he used his mouth.  I asked how she got so close to an elephant’s mouth, and she said she didn’t go close to it, the elephant came up to her – and then after it bit her it took its trunk and sprayed her with water.)  But that was all when she was little – now she’s an adult.  And this, my friends, is why I hang out at the kids table. 

I should also apologize to Missy – Sorry Missy.  I was too fascinated to stop her.  See, there were all these book shelves all around, and the books were right up to the edge of the shelves so they looked uniform.  As I was sitting there, Rosie noticed the way the books were on the shelves and proceeded to push them all back to the wall.  She was so completely satisfied; I didn’t have the heart to stop her.  Plus, it made me giggle. 

The rest of the weekend was a lot of Thanksgiving prep and celebrating Matty’s birthday.  Oh! And, Dawne asked us all to think of who we would be if we were Cartoon Characters.  If you would be so kind as to tell me who you think I’d be, that would fantastic!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Diet or Die

We were deciding on what TV to watch on Wednesday when Jordan took charge and put on a British Movie. (We stopped to grab a snack before the movie and Lucas popped some English muffin’s into the toaster saying, "So we can understand the show.”) 
Jordan: It's called "The Trip." It was recommended by Shane.
Me: *Insert Last Name Here*? Last time I watched something with Shane was Piranha 3D.
(45 minutes later.)
Dawne: I feel bad for Cathy at this point.  (Cathy is Shane's wife.)

I got a surprise invite to see the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil on Thursday which was prefaced by dinner at the Melting Pot. We were discussing which celebrities had 4 year olds (so we could get them to play and promote our next project).  I felt like I was a little out of it because I threw out "doesn't someone have a kid named blanket, apple and Silo - let's get those kids."  Lucas replied to me with, "Silo? Why would you name your kid after something that holds dung?" Good question buddy - but maybe these are the folks that know how to draw attention, and that's what we need.   When we got to Key Arena, and Dawne and I showed our tickets to the usher we were given a distinct look like, "Right.  You guys totally can't afford these seats."  They were really good... and so was the show!  Of course, now I have a feeling that Luke and I will be asking Swade Boogie for breakdance lessons - so be prepared for awesome to be brought to the next event that involves dancing. 

I'm moving offices today so on Friday; I took the IKEA green leaf to my car (because I didn't think that the movers would take it for me.) I attempted to walk out of my building, oversized leaf in tow, casually, as if there was nothing strange about what I was doing.  This ultra-cool walk was interrupted when I heard whispered behind me, "You know, I don't think that's a real leaf."

Lucas: Can you give me a haircut, Mom.
Dawne: I can't.  I think I would end up with a divorce if I cut your hair before I cut your father's hair.
(I looked at both Dawne and Jordan quizzically.)
Jordan: I'm not getting a haircut until I publish her book.
Nice work, Dawne.  My mother would be proud of you. 

Saturday, we went to the new climbing gym in Bellevue, Stone Gardens.  Oh, sorry, no, I didn't actually climb.  However, I did sit next to Dawne and cheer for the kids when they got to the top.  (Why isn't there a bell to ring!?)

Dawne: We're going to work out at the ProClub after this.  Do you want to come?
Me: Nope. 
Dawne: Wow, you are really lazy.
Me: I have party to go to, b*tch. 
Dawne:  I would never say that.
Me: You're nicer than I am. 
(5 minutes later)
Dawne: I am shaking watching my baby climb.  Literally, shaking.  And my palms are sweaty.  I am so nervous for him.
Me: You are pathetic.  Pull yourself together woman.  You could actually catch him, if he fell right now.  Seriously, Pathetic.  (See, I told you that you were nicer than I am.)
Dawne to Jordan: Tiffany's not going to the ProClub because she is incredibly lazy. 
Me: Okay, maybe not that nice. 

Me: We're going to Karaoke tonight.  I find that I really have found my niche.  Hard-core gangster rap.  It's really my sweet spot. 
Dawne: I'm putting that in the Christmas letter - you finally found a place where you can shine.   

For Shana's birthday, we went to a wine tasting-like-place, followed by dinner at Hudson's and of course, Karaoke.  A friend of Shana's just moved into a place that used to be a brothel, so Shana told her that she was living in a "Whore's Den."  Laura replied, that for how cheap the rent was (which included maid service) she was A-OK with the new "quaint" nickname. 

Jen went to a party beforehand, at which her daughter Lily tried to high-five her little friend but totally missed and another party goer yelled out, "Hey White Girls!" 

I don't know if you remember when Jen made the incredibly epic Jesus-Kitten Cake for Becky's birthday, but for Shana's birthday, she made and equally phenomenal Mary and Dog cake, which I did NOT get to cut into and I feel both disappointed in the fact that I didn't get to cut into this cake and disappointed in myself for wanting to cut into it.  The cupcakes were delish though. 

During Shana's rising rendition of "I Won't Dance", Elvis, in all of his white jumpsuit covered in glittery fare, walked in casually to the bar waving a gigantic American flag.  Shana erupted into a fit of giggles while Jen looked at me to confirm she wasn't the only one who was seeing Mr. Presley himself.  I just replied, "Well, this is happening."

Earlier on Saturday, I was talking to my sister Maureen.  She was telling me that she was having a hard time breathing again, but she didn't want to go to the doctor because they would give her heavy meds.  She also admitted that when she was on the 20/20 diet, she was able to breathe.  I promised her that I would start the diet with her on Monday.  I told Dawne and Jordan that it would be a lot easier for us to stay on the diet with the incentive that if we cheated, Maureen would stop breathing.  Jordan replied, "Is this like 'Buy this magazine or the puppy dies?'" Yes.  Yes, it is.  I then called Becky to go grocery shopping (because that's totally not weird) and stop at the Pro Club to pick up Protein Shakes and Bars.  We successfully got what we needed - all while causing three grown adults to become completely confused in under 60 seconds by asking them to do something that they do all day long.  It's a mutual talent that we have.

When I got home, I actually cooked and prepared all of the food the three of us would need for the whole week, putting everything into cute little Tupperware containers so all we had to do was grab what we were supposed to eat.  While Dawne was excited about the portions and preparations, Jordan walked into the kitchen, saw what we were doing, and announced that he had developed a sudden bout of depression and went to sleep for 40 minutes.  When he came back out from under the covers... we were still prepping, so he knew it wasn't all just a terrible misunderstanding.  Dawne said, "If Maureen dies after all of this, I'm going to be really pissed."  Me too.