Tall Poppy Diaries

Observations and musings on life as a happy high-achiever (or what the Aussie's call a "Tall Poppy" ). "Unless you choose to do great things with it, it makes no difference how much you are rewarded, or how much power you have." --Oprah Winfrey

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

 

  These Are A Few Of My Favorite (Face) Things...

Yesterday as I was sprucing my face, I thought about how much I ABSOLUTELY LOVE a few of the products I use. And two of them are recent discoveries. I am a low-maintenance skin-care kind of girl--it's gotta be easy to appy and easy to buy (in the grocery store) or I'm not getting it. Most of my friends swear by expensive designer brands that you have to buy at the mall (I hate malls) or order from NYC (why?). But I learned long ago that all of the pros use the inexpensive stuff, and quite frankly I like the cheap stuff better. So, in the spirit of Oprah and Annie, I present to you today...

MY THREE (current) (relatively inexpensive) FAVORITE 'FACE' THINGS

1) L'Oreal Refinish Home MicroDermabrasion Kit: NEW DISCOVERY! I just bought this a little over a month ago and I LOVE it! I have used Alpha-Hydrox products for years, so my face may not be as sensitive as yours--use a light hand your first go. But it really does work. I have decent skin anyway, but this two step kit includes the Exfoliator (to scare away dry skin and fine lines) and a really GREAT moisturizer with SPF 15 and Vitamin E. It's quick (5 mins 2-3 times a week), relatively painless, and at $25 or less (a little over $1 per use) is significantly less than a $200-per-visit in-office microdermabrasion. Good plan, I say.

2) Revlon Eyeglide Shimmer--NEW SINCE JUNE--I LOVE this stuff--but I use it on my lips more often than my eyes. I own it in three shades--Nude, Bronze and Sandstone. (TIP: If have small girl children hovering about, you can convince them to do all sorts of cleaning and other cooperative tasks if you promise to give them a bit of your "Fairy Glitter" when they're done. I have one tube that I keep JUST to barter cooperation from my Sunday School class). When I use it on my eyes, I put a tiny bit on my finger and dab it across the bony area just above the crease in my lid. It adds just the right amount of sparkle. But mostly I use it on my lips over my lipstick. It stays as long as your lipstick does. I put on my Colorstay Lipcolor and then put a bit of the "shimmer" in the center of my lip-top and bottom. I keep the shimmer on the inner half of my lips (part closest to the opening)--makes my lips look moist and a tad bit luscious, I think.

3) Wet 'n' Wild Ultimate Bronzing Powder-- ( I couldn't find the link to the bronzer, but it looks just like the blush shown in the link except that it says "Bronzzer" across the clear area). I have been using this powder for about 10 years, and I NEVER leave home without it. It costs 2.99 at any grocery or drug store. BUY IT! I have fair to light skin and use the Light/Medium. This and mascara are the two things that I even wear to the gym. A couple of years ago, I did "The Today Show" and decided to let their make-up artist do my make-up. As I was sitting in the chair, I was checking out what she was using and, Ta-Da!--THERE was my favorite Wet 'n'Wild Bronzer on the makeup tray. I'm telling you, it's worth the three bucks to have that Sun-Kissed look goin' for you year round. And by the way, Katie swears by this mascara, but it 'runs' on me. So I prefer this mascara, which actually stays on my lashes--most of the time.

So, there you have it...a few of my favorite things for the face. Tomorrow? Well, I don't know. How 'bout we wait and see, shall we?

Monday, November 29, 2004

 

  Lessons Learned at Gap This Week

I'm not a Gap kind of girl. I don't like meeting "myself" as I walk down the street, so I don't generally shop at one of the world's largest clothing retailers for my "individual" look. However, this weekend I made an exception. I bought a few things and I learned a few things. I hope I don't sound like Bush 41 buying a carton of milk here, but what I am telling you here was news to me. And if you are married with young children, it just might be to you as well.

Let me set this up for you: I am almost 5'10'' and normally wear a Size 12-14 (depending on the holiday). Since I have had children, both my waist and lower belly have increased considerably from my Size 6 days. If any of this sounds remotely familiar, read on. I have a few tips for you that could save you HOURS in the dressing room....

First, throw convention to the wind: Ya' know those jeans that say Ultra Low Rise? The ones that conjur visions of Lindsay Lohan with a Brazilian wax that you feel like you can see? Well, step aside Lindsay--those jeans were made for hippy (in the physical sense) 30-something's with several pregnancies behind them. Now understand, Gap's idea of Ultra Low wouldn't pass the wax test of many youngsters these days (I think the EXTRA low rise might fit that bill). But the Ultras sit on your hips just right so that there is NO WAISTLINE BULGE! NONE. GONE.


I have never worn women's jeans--EVER. I have only worn men's jeans, because even when I was a stick, I hated the look of waisted pants and skirts on me. But I'm tellin' ya', you need to check out the Ultra Low Rise's. They are fab. I bought one pair of low rise and one pair of Ultras, and the Ultras are my fav's--hands down. And, by the way, the ultra's are on sale for half of what the regulars cost, as are the fab cords, so I bought this pair of cords which (at the prices) I basically got for free! (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it...)


Oh, and one more thing on their pants: If you are LONG legged like me, they have Long pants and jeans that (are you sitting down?) are actually LONG ENOUGH that you can wash AND dry them. Weird, huh?

Second, I don't know who they size their sweaters for, but an XL Gap sweater is very clearly sized for someone who is a Size 10-12 with no breasts. And this sweater--with the adorable rhinestone buttons and the sash tie?

Unless you are a stick--don't. Cute, cute...I know. I tried it on three times. But trust me--Don't. Even in an XXL and in Black. Just because they make it "in your size", doesn't mean you should wear it. The sash is SO wrong if you have any curves. Buy it for your neice who just had her second baby and came home from the hospital in her whomping Size 4's (I still love her!) and call it good.

I did buy a really cute button-up cardigan with a flower on the shoulder, which I will most likely wear OPEN since it seems a bit tight in the chest as well (and I am NOT particularly "busty". But there isn't a pic online.

The skirts were the big disappointment, though. They were so cute on the hanger--and SO WRONG on the body. I tried on
this, this, this, this, this, and this. Only the last one looked right on me, but it wasn't well made (I think it was cut slightly off kilter) and had bulges all the way down the seam on both sides. The problem with the skirts is the length--it couldn't be less flattering. I would say that they looked like Granny skirts, but my grandmother wouldn't wear those lengths either. So you either have to go short, or shop somewhere else IMHO.

The next piece is, hands down, my favorite piece that I bought. It is supposedly THE jacket for winter this year, which would under some circumstances have me running shrieking for the door. However, it is so versatile and looks great with so many different pants and skirts that I am going to love wearing it--even if I see 20 other people wearing it on the same day. It is adorable on--very flattering and very slimming.


But I must admit that ...(drumroll please)... I bought it in a Size 16. (GASP!) And let me explain why: First, the Size 12 was WAY too tight. The 14 fit perfectly. But when I put it on over a turtleneck and jeans, it didn't look right. I learned long ago that you look slimmer if you're clothes are slightly larger than they should be rather than smaller. So I took into consideration that it IS the holidays and I want to be able to fit into it a month from now, and I bought large. Just trying to save you the trouble, here. Try on the larger sizes FIRST. With a shirt. And jeans.

Finally, I bought a
scarf and three pairs of socks (no pic available). Cost me $30 for just those items--ON SALE. Then, I went to Wal-Mart and found scarves and socks--just as cute, just as colorful--for less than half of what I had paid at Gap. And remember that adorable rhinestone sweater with the sash that didn't "work"? Check this out--from Wal-Mart. $15.97.

And click here, then click on the inset to see the cute buttons. Had to have it. And the shell to match. AND two additional scarves and three more pair of socks. Total at Walmart? Under $50.

And so, there you have it: The lessons I learned at Gap (and Wal-Mart) this week. Hope it saves you a bit of time and trouble this season. Cheers!

Sunday, November 28, 2004

 

  'Tis The Season...

for the "Is Santa Claus Real?" discussion...

On another blog, Annie was saying how she dreaded having this discussion with her fourth grader this year. And, boy, do I feel her pain. THIS is the discussion that occurred in my car this afternoon. Let me set this up for you: We just saw Polar Express on Saturday (which refreshed my children's brains on the topic). The boys were discussing Santa Claus and whether or not they were "going to believe in him this year". All-knowing eldest Son 1 is 9. Younger Son 2 is 7.

Son 1: Mom, why is it that some people don't believe in Santa Clause.
Me: Well, there are lots of reasons that they don't. A lot of times, their parents didn't believe in him, so they don't ever learn to, either. (A brief history of Saint Nicholas follows). But I always feel sorry for people who don't believe in Santa because then Santa doesn't ever come to visit them.
Son 2: Yeah, and that's why the next time my friends tell me that there isn't a Santa Claus, I'll just be quiet so that they don't make fun of me. But then I'll show them the presents I got from Santa after Christmas. They may change their minds when they see THAT.
Son 1: They'll just say that your parents gave you the presents. So then you'll have to tell them the truth: You'll have to admit that even your parents still believe in Santa Claus and THAT'S why Santa still comes to our house. But trust me...It's embarrassing.

I have but one request...don't judge me until you've walked a day in my shoes.

Friday, November 26, 2004

 

  Thanksgiving Round-up


We're waiting...and we're waiting...and..."Isn't it done YET?"

First, let me say thank you to all of you who came by to say "Hello" yesterday, whether Michele sent you or you came by of your own volition. You showed why I am so thankful for THIS community...and I am indeed TRULY grateful.

Second, I will be returning to Ogden later today for part two of this. Will be back late tomorrow and will be checking in with everyone then.

Third, just wanted to follow-up on the second part of this post and let you know that Thanksgiving WAS, indeed, a laid-back one. I did find it necessary to spend several hours polishing silver and pressing linens. However, these are things that I consider to be prep work for the rest of the season, so it was time well spent.

We had our smallest Thanksgiving ever. I've never attended a Thanksgiving with fewer than 30 people present, with 40-60 being more common. This year, there were only five of us. But it was great. Hubby did all of the cooking and vaccuuming; I dusted, polished and pressed. Pretty easy. I also put two really tall topiaries two-thirds of the way down the table to cozy things up a bit. Without them, the table reminded me of those cinematic shots of a table that seats 40 with a lone man sitting at the end eating his dinner. I think it worked....

AND, yes, I DO toss my 170 year old silverware in the dishwasher along with my Wedgewood china and Waterford crystal (all on a "gentle" wash), and I don't think twice about it. I'm not afraid to admit it. My mother always did the same, and we haven't seen any problems. I also machine wash all of my linens. All but the tablecloth go in the dryer. Life's just WAY too short to spend half my holiday seasons cleaning up from the previous merriment. NO FUN! So in MY slightly unconventional world of Thanksgiving clean-up, life's good.

In response to Alex's comment about children who prefer to eat with straws rather than silverware on this post, I felt the need to share this:


My nine-year-old DIDN'T choose the straw, but he did find a clever way to put that extra fork on the left-hand side of his plate to good use. Hey! Give him a break...the guy doesn't like salad. That extra fork should be good for SOMETHING!

Well, we're off to Ogden. Only a light dusting of snow rather than the reported blizzard they were expecting earlier. See ya' Saturday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

 

  THIS Year's Community Thanksgiving Celebration...

As I began writing this Thanksgiving post, my mind wandered back to last Thanksgiving Day. It was memorable, for sure. The day began at our neighborhood Thanksgiving Service, where Hubby was to give the Thanksgiving Address. We arrived early because we knew that seats would be scarce. Hubby's a pretty decent speaker, but he wasn't The Big Draw. The person the entire neighborhood would be coming to see was our own neighborhood miracle--Elizabeth Smart--who would be playing her harp at the Service.

Our neighborhood has never fully recovered from the fear and turmoil that enveloped us when
Elizabeth was abducted from her bedroom in June of 2002. Even today, when you drive through our neighborhood, you rarely see children out playing. Everyone has alarm systems that they actually SET every night. Our children have code words, and handsigns, and "safe houses" and every imaginable personal safeguard rule and device at their disposal. The relative "innocence" of our entire neighborhood was sucked away the night Elizabeth disappeared. And oddly, in addition to being thankful for Elizabeth's return, I believe that many of us were secretly hoping for some assurance from teenage Elizabeth that it was okay to be "okay" again.

Elizabeth--sweet, intelligent, talented, and lovely-- was clearly back. She was no longer that young girl in the picture on the telephone pole. Unlike most little girls who are taken from their families, she actually came back. It was a miracle. But even eight months after her return, it didn't all seem "real". We all wanted to see her TRULY normal, happy and well--and we weren't disappointed. After some opening remarks, Elizabeth went to the raised pulpit area where her Dad had placed her harp. With remarkable composure and charm, she played a jazzy arrangement of several Holiday favorites that had us all smiling and keeping time to the music. I told her mom after the service that I never knew a harp could sound like so many different instruments! It was delightful, and it all finally seemed real and "okay".

Then it was Hubby's turn. Tough act to follow, for sure. However, Hubby rose to the occasion and gave a wonderful address recounting the history of Thanksgiving in America as well as talking about the REAL meaning of the holiday entitled simply Thanksgiving Is For Giving Thanks. (Can't get this link to work. If you want to read the address, let me know and I'll e-mail it to you. It's a great historical resource. What can I say? The man's a Thinker...) At the end, when he spoke of Elizabeth's return, he and virtually everyone else in the church got choked up and teary. When Hubby was done, we sang a Thanksgiving hymn and went to join our respective families for Thanksgiving festivities.

That day began with such a remarkable spirit of Thanksgiving that we couldn't help but carry that spirit with us throughout the remainder of the weekend. And the neighborhood seems to be breathing a little bit easier since. And so today, I caught myself wondering for a moment if future Thanksgivings might not seem ever-so slightly anti-climactic in comparison? Then I realized that what made last year unique for me is that Thanksgiving is usually a very PERSONAL holiday--and last year it was a COMMUNITY day of celebration. Different? Yes. Better? Not necessarily.

This year, as in other years, I have MUCH to be thankful for. And I do believe that what I will remember as being unique about this year's celebration will be that 2004 was the year that I discovered the wonderful world of Blogging! I'm not kidding. I was late out of the chute--didn't know about blogging until I heard it mentioned during the DNC in July. But the internet friends I have made over the last few months have truly been a highlight of my year. Yes, I'll be thankful for all of the same things I'm always thankful for along with a few other new items on my list. But as trivial as it may sound, I am certain that years from now as I look back at Thanksgiving's past, 2004 will be remembered as "The Year of The Blog" for me. And what a year it's been!

Thanks so much to all of you who come and chat with me, and who provide me with an endless source of entertainment on your sites. I am truly Thankful for all of you this season. And interestingly, as I look around at my favorite blogs many of them seem to be saying the same thing--Which I guess makes this my second "Community Thanksgiving Celebration" in a row. I am truly blessed....

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

 

  The REAL Secret of the (holiday) Universe....

Wish me luck...later this afternoon am off to "camp out" at the second home (40 miles away and sans furniture--long story) with Son 1 and Son 2 for the week. They are performing in Ogden this week in the traveling production of Ballet West's "The Nutcracker". (No, they're not dancers--but for the next three weeks they get to do a really great job of pretending like they are). Then they'll perform for two weeks here at Capitol Theatre. I decided that it would be better and more fun (I'm weird that way) to camp out in a house with no furniture two miles away from the theatre there than to stick them on the Ballet West bus twice a day to arrive home in SL at 10:30 pm.--pitifully tired and cranky. And so we go....

Which puts our plans for Thanksgiving totally up in the air. And (thump me now...) I'm just fine with that. You see, this post over at Mad Mommy Chronicles reminded me of the lesson that I learned Thanksgiving, two years ago. And it was one of the best gifts I could ever give to myself or my family, though at the time I couldn't have imagined I would ever feel that way.

I will not relive the horrid details of Thanksgiving two years ago here...today, anyway. That would be the Thanksgiving where I left home on the Sunday before Thanksgiving at the spur of the moment, with my father hospitalized, to clear out my parent's home in Alabama in four days time AND move them and all of their worldly possessions 2,000 miles away to Utah. The one where I checked my father out of the hospital, took him, my mother (Remember Dory in "Finding Nemo"? THAT is my mother--as a result of a series of mini-strokes) and my 11-year-old nephew (who came along to make the transition easier for Mom, and then returned home the next week) to the airport, flew to SLC, landed at 10 pm. and arrived home exhausted, physically and emotionally, to find out that my husband had invited his entire family to our house for Thanksgiving--the next day. That would be the Thanksgiving that almost spelled the end of my marriage. AND the Thanksgiving when this little Pleaser Poppy learned to "Just say "NO!".

Nancy Reagan once said, "A woman is like a teabag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water". The night that I was able to stand up and say to my family (admittedly less eloquently than Miss Nancy), "I will die and burn in Hades before I will host Thanksgiving here tomorrow" was one of the pivotal moments in my life.

I have never been a doormat. I've always been quite outspoken, actually. But I am also a pleaser. Like Emily at Mad Mommy Chronicles, I want everyone to be happy. I want things to go smoothly. But sometimes the greatest gift a woman can give her family is to define very clearly for them the limits of what's acceptable.

No matter how much I love getting together with my family (and I am lucky--I have the best in-laws of anyone I know) and no matter how happy I want everyone to be, I no longer feel extreme angst over the preps for Thanksgiving. This year, Hubby's mom is in New Zealand. My Daddy is in Alabama with my siblings. Mom is here with us (they live six blocks away in a shi-shi "Home for Elegant Retirement Living"). I will be driving back with the boys late on Wednesday (evidently in a blizzard) to celebrate Thanksgiving with Hubby and Mom. And I don't plan on staying up the rest of the night cooking and preparing for a noon luncheon. Besides, I'll still have another blizzardy drive back to Ogden the next morning and two nights of sleeping on the floor to look forward to. I'm gonna need some rest! In a real bed!

So Sunday I asked Hubby, "What are we doing for Thanksgiving?" He replied, "I don't know. I don't plan Thanksgiving's anymore because when I do, I just get in trouble." I replied in my sweet, precious, smiling Steel Magnolia voice, "No, you only get in trouble when you're thoughtless and inconsiderate, and then have the audacity to say mean and nasty things to me about it". To which he replied, "Well then, I guess the answer to your question is 'I don't know'". And, ya' know what? That's good enough for me!

Hubby likes cooking for Thanksgiving. So maybe he'll surprise us and cook the dinner for us this year. He'll have two days at home with NO little distractions. Otherwise, I guess we'll go to Mom's like we did last year and have Thanksgiving courtesy of their chef. The food at their place is absolutely DIVINE--and we get to leave it to the professionals! Either way, I can look forward to feeling thankful on Thursday, rather than harried and bitter. I'll relax, laugh, eat and enjoy my day of Thanksgiving and remembrance. I may even host Thanksgiving dinner some year soon. But I finally know The Secret of the (holiday) Universe--You can "Just Say 'NO!'" to cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 40...AND live to tell about it. And, in the word's of 'Martha', "That's a REALLY GOOD THING!"

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you...and remember: Thanksgiving is a time to give Thanks and enjoy the company of family and friends. Give yourselves a break. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Keep things in perspective. Remember what's most important. And never be afraid to, well, you know exactly what to say....

Sunday, November 21, 2004

 

  "The Nanny's" Return--A Tall Poppy Tale...


Nicola Krauss and Emma McLaughlin
Authors of "The Nanny Diaries" and "Citizen Girl".
Photo by Klauss Schoenwiese for the New York Times

I generally keep the romps through Tall Poppy Diaries pretty light. I want TPD to be a comfy haven for all of you fabulous Tall Poppies whose savvy and 'wonderfulness' might be unappreciated and even undesirable in lesser company. Here, we can enjoy, with wreckless abandon, fun and sassy discussions of all sorts of seemingly inconsequential matters without fear of rebuke. After all, we understand the importance of such "trivial" matters, now don't we?

Yet, today I felt a call to action on behalf of two Tall Poppies who are under attack. Yes, it's ugly. We've all been there. You get a little attention... or popularity... or fame... or fortune... and envious Weeds start lining up to chop and choke you back down to size. They don't believe you've earned the right to be who and what you are and they are willing to go to great lengths to prove that to anyone with half an open ear.

This NYT article ensured that I would be buying the new book "Citizen Girl" by the same dynamic duo that brought us "The Nanny Diaries". (I print the article here in it's entireity because I don't want you to miss a word, and because the NYT makes you give it ALL up just to read a link). These young women aren't trying to be anything they're not. What they are? Authors of an international best-seller. What they're not? "Professional writers"...by their own admission.

So, I pose this question: If a writer (or writing duo) makes it big with her first novel because she is clever, witty and oh-so-fabulously mysterious, should a group of envious (and "more experienced") writers and journalists be allowed to determine the fate of the less experienced but more marketable writer(s) just because said writer hasn't "paid her dues"?


I, for one, don't think so. And I plan to let my voice be heard in the only "review" that really matters--the open market. Read the following and let me know what YOU think....

The Post-Nanny Diaries
By ALEX WILLIAMS
The New York Times

Published: November 21, 2004

It is not that a few people out there aren't hoping that "Citizen Girl" tanks. Let's take a look at the likely suspects who just might be rooting against this book, the much-anticipated follow-up to "The Nanny Diaries" by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus.


First, there are all those Park Avenue mothers who thought they had enough to worry about with the help before the publication of "The Nanny Diaries," a juicy, tell-all novel. Now they have to worry about getting the au pairs, nannies and maids to sign agreements forbidding them to reveal household quirks. Then there are the legions of underpaid journalists and neglected authors, who are sick of hearing about how two young nannies produced a nationwide best seller and, as if that weren't enough, went on to win the literary lottery: a seven-figure deal for their second and third books and a $500,000 movie deal from Miramax.

Dazzled by their fortune, the two authors seemed to transform from Cinderellas to prima donnas, firing two literary agents and their publishing house, St. Martin's. "You could almost hear the words `sophomore effort' within seconds of `Nanny' hitting the best-seller list,'` Ms. McLaughlin, 30, said wearily, seated in a conference room at the Midtown headquarters of their current publisher, Simon & Schuster. "There was this schadenfreude already," piped in Ms. Kraus, also 30. "How could we do it again? We're not novelists." She later added: "At the end of the day Emma and I wrote a book about 4-year-olds. It's funny that we invited a level of scrutiny as if we were slumlords."

The scrutiny is not likely to stop now. "Citizen Girl" was already in its second printing before it hit the bookstores on Tuesday, so strong were the advance orders. But the pre-publication talk was far from ideal. "A royal bore," Entertainment Weekly called it. USA Today speculated that the authors could come to define the term "one-hit wonder."

Was it really only two and a half years ago that Ms. McLaughlin and Ms. Kraus, who met in a theater history class at New York University, were compared to Dorothy Parker in Time magazine? Since that brief moment of rave reviews, the darlings of the book industry have been poked, probed and dissected by the unforgiving New York literary world. No sooner had they handed in a manuscript for "Citizen Girl" than the news media were crackling with rumors that it was a mess, and that the nonwriter writers were soon to be exposed as precisely that. The authors have a ready-made response to the critics: We wrote the book we wanted to write. Now, let our public decide. "This was just something we felt incredibly passionate about," Ms. Kraus said, "to the point where we looked at each other in the eye and said, `O.K., if we never do another thing, if this is our swan song, we need to go to our graves knowing that we put this out there.' "

"Citizen Girl" bears a certain similarity to "The Nanny Diaries," although that book was written largely in e-mail dispatches between the authors over several months, mainly because each was so busy working at other jobs. With "Citizen Girl," the two actually had the freedom to sit side by side at a computer to write for substantial stretches. Like "The Nanny Diaries," the new book is a pointed social satire about wry young women with integrity dropped into a swirl of Manhattan money and ambition.

In this case the protagonist, the generically named "Girl" (just like "Nan" in "The Nanny Diaries," except that this character seems to represent an entire generation of young professional women), hits the town after graduation looking to put her ivory-tower feminist ideals to good use at a nonprofit women's organization, but ends up landing a dream job at a ruthless new-media company that sells out its original feminist mission and eventually women themselves.

Most of the early reviews have been tepid, but that in itself is not fatal to the book's chances, said Daisy Maryles, executive editor of Publishers Weekly, the trade magazine. The first book, after all, was the quintessential word-of-mouth sensation. "People who read the other book are going to try this one, and if they like it, going to pass it on to friends," Ms. Maryles said. "But first-book sales don't always guarantee second-book sales." For one thing, the new book does not have the built-in publicity hook of the last one. From the first appearance of "The Nanny Diaries," the media couldn't get enough of its back story: poor put-upon worker bees finally find the courage to sting the queen bee.

After "Nanny Diaries" hit, tell-all books on imperious, if stylish bosses, were the rage ("The Devil Wears Prada," inspired by the author's stint as an assistant at Vogue; "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People," a revenge memoir by Toby Young about life at Vanity Fair).
Along the way to selling more than two million copies worldwide in hardcover and paperback, "The Nanny Diaries" spawned a parlor game of sorts, where members of the Upper East Side peerage tried to guess the identity of the real Mrs. X, Nan's employer. (The authors insist all the characters are composites.)


The Nannies, as the authors may forever be called, may have been a bit overmatched for instant money and fame, but they seem to have wasted little time in learning to swim in those waters.
Starting from the moment in 2000 when their first agent, Christy Fletcher, secured for them a $25,000 advance from St. Martin's Press for "The Nanny Diaries," they went into overdrive. They soon dismissed Ms. Fletcher for a new agent, Molly Friedrich, and less than two years later, after the success of "The Nanny Diaries," they left Ms. Friedrich for Suzanne Gluck, a senior agent at the William Morris Agency, who helped them win the two-book deal with Random House, which the authors say was for $2 million.

Soon after they signed the deal, Ann Godoff, Random House's president and publisher, was dismissed from the company. As a new regime tried to figure out what to do with the project, disagreement festered. Accounts of rejected manuscripts made their way into the press, where the authors were portrayed as divas, demanding hair appointments before each promotional appearance. The same image that had made them easy to market in the first place — they're not writers, they're nannies — made them easy targets. While they had worked as nannies for more than 30 couples starting in their teens, continuing through college, each had another career when they began writing.

Ms. McLaughlin lives on the Upper West Side with her husband, Joel Gibson, whom Ms. Kraus introduced her to. She grew up in Rochester, a daughter of a philosophy professor and a landscape designer. Ms. McLaughlin said she had a job as a business consultant when she and Ms. Kraus started writing the first book.

Ms. Kraus, who is single and still lives in the same East Village apartment she did when "The Nanny Diaries" was published, grew up at 1000 Park Avenue. Her parents run Ursus Books and Prints, which sells art and antiquarian books in the Carlyle Hotel. She attended the Chapin School, and when she began "The Nanny Diaries," she was trying to start an acting career while working in advertising.

After publication, "people were expecting 21-year-old nannies, and we were 27-year-old people," Ms. Kraus said. "Emma was starting her master's at Columbia at that point."
Of the problems with Random House, Ms. McLaughlin said, "They essentially wanted `Nanny Diaries 2.' " With so much money at stake, the writers were quick to learn that commerce took precedence over art. They would sit in a boardroom with an editor and directors of marketing and promotion. Each, Ms. McLaughlin said, had equal say on the book's direction. After several efforts to rework the manuscript of "Citizen Girl," the two sides reached a dead end. The publisher, the authors say, found much of the material-- prostitution, corporate downsizing, Internet pornography -- too dismal for a "Nanny Diaries" audience. But the authors insisted on writing a book they felt captured the hazards facing professional women in the "post-feminist" workplace.

"We don't want to go into detail," Carol Schneider, executive director of publicity for Random House, said. "But we didn't publish the book because we reached an impasse on editorial matters." The deal eventually unraveled, and as Ms. Gluck, their agent, said, the authors "voted with their feet," deciding to shop the manuscript elsewhere. (While the authors will not discuss the details of their settlement with Random House, it is customary for authors to give back whatever money has been paid out if a book is rejected.)

Ms. Gluck offered the manuscript to a few different publishers, and Atria Books snapped it up for a more earthbound sum, $250,000 — split two ways of course. While the money was most welcome, both authors said they found the perception that they were wallowing in riches rather amusing. The primary thing they have been able to afford is the freedom to write full time, they insist.

"Both of our parents are very frugal; they really drummed practicality into our heads," said Ms. Kraus, who lists a new computer and two Maltese terriers as her major splurges. They apparently hope to settle into a long-term home at Atria, as well. "It was love at first sight across the gym at the prom," Ms. Kraus said.

Atria executives sounded nearly that happy, too, both with the book and with their authors.
Judith Curr, the publisher of Atria, said that she was aware of the authors' reputation, but that she had found working with both women a delight. From the moment they walked in the door, Ms. Curr said, they've been charming with everyone, from top executives right down to the secretaries. Which matters, Ms. Curr remarked.

"You can often tell a lot about people in how they treat assistants," she said. Ms. McLaughlin and Ms. Kraus don't need to be told that.



Saturday, November 20, 2004

 

  Honey, NO! Fashion Disasters Extraordinaire...

Oh my goodness! I smell yet another book deal in the works. My friend MR Hester gave me the head's up on this site--Honey, NO!--and it is HIGHLY amusing. Are you a Fashionista or Fashion Disasta? Either way, you'll enjoy Honey, NO! Thanks MR, you diva, you.

Friday, November 19, 2004

 

  Favorite Purses--A Five-Fer

What a bargain I have for you today. Back in October when I did this post, I responded with six rather than only three photos that were requested. Then I had to take that post down because of some unwelcome visits from a Creepy Stalker Guy (and, yes, the photos I posted yesterday will be short-lived online as well for the same reason). But I digress...

During that little "request period",
Annie said:
I would choose a photo of your house, because I like to see where people live, your office because I like to see people work, and your favorite handbag, because I think you probably have really good taste!

Well, I have finally gotten my act together and taken pics of my favorite handbags. You see, I couldn't choose just one. So here are three of my four favorite handbags.


Wild Poppies by Isabella Fiore--This purse is my favorite everyday bag from late Spring to early Fall. It is big enough to fit entirely too many things inside, and it goes with virtually anything in my Spring, Summer, and Fall wardrobes--except pink. You might think this would be a problem. However, I have been known to carry it with some of my pink stuff, too. And oddly, it works. Not only is this the most fun AND versatile handbag I own, but it is a sentimental favorite as well since it was a gift from my fabulous in-town friend Gail (who is here EVERY DAY, but refuses to let her presence be known--maybe the rest of you can shout her out?) and my wild and wonderful Aussie buddy Susan. Can you say L-U-C-K-Y in the Friends Department?


Okay, I admit it--it's an Embarrassment of Riches. This little bag was ALSO a gift from a soulmate. My sweet precious friend Laura, who is one of the most outrageously stylish people on the planet, made this bag for me--in my favorite colors, Pink and Green. (That gives me an idea for a blog post--"10 Lessons I've Learned While Traveling with Laura". Oh my. You'd be so amazed) The Flower and Leaves are silk ribbon. It's tiny, but I can fit my credit cards, i.d., lipstick, cell phone, powder and brush inside. And it gets A LOT of attention.


This morning as I was posting the pictures, I realized that my "favorites" are currently out of season. So I thought I would be lazy and go on the Brighton website to show you the two purses I carry all winter. Unfortunately, one of them is out of production. But this is "Helen"--my other winter favorite. It is black, big enough to stick paperwork in, and goes with pretty much everything. My other favorite is also a Brighton and is brown woven leather with black woven leather trim.

Next, as I was taking my purses off the wall for their moments in the glare of the camera, I saw my favorite hat hanging patiently--waiting for her moment of glory. How could I refuse? So below you will find a picture of my favorite hat. It's a dark exposure, but the hat is lavendar and beige hand-dyed with lavendar and beige silk-satin bows and flowers. I hardly ever wear lavendar, but this hat just screams to be placed on my head! So I have a lavendar suit and a lavendar linen shift dress that I bought so that I could wear the hat.


And here she is...my favorite topper!

Finally, I got an e-mail from Brighton today that I thought was kind of cute. It lists all of their purses by name so that you can look up your name and see the purse that goes with it. So here's the link in case you're curious.... Have a happy day!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

 

  Seen While Surfing--Explanation Please. Now.

Today while I was surfing BlogExplosion, I came across the following introduction on a woman's blog:

Description: Divorced, (though by necessity, not by morals), mother of a five-year-old daughter, ......

I wrote it down word for word, just as it appears on her site. Could someone explain to me what the heck "not by morals" means? THIS is REALLY bothering me. Was she divorced by Necessity, but concerned that someone might blame Morals? Were there two virtues in the running here? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Is this a new option we have now--sort of like "re-virgination"? Please help me. It's only a few hours 'til bedtime here and I would hate to lose any sleep over this. Please. Help. Me.

 

  Feeling A Little Bitter Today...

Remember this post from August? The one where we got invited to "the big event", complete with VIP passes to every event of the week? The one where all of our friends would be mingling and partying while Aretha and Bono belted favorite hits from the stage? Well, it's all happening this week--and I'm not there.

I never voted for Bill Clinton for President. But I honestly adore him as a person. I also believe that he was a great president. And I had a history with the Clinton Administration totally separate and apart from my husband. And so, though I know that the invite was extended as a result of his relationship with my husband, I have very personal reasons for wanting to be in Little Rock to check out the library this week. And I am feeling quite bitter about missing it.

In '92, I was submersed in the Bush camp. I was a veritable Bush White House groupie. But when Clinton won that election, I was "volunteered" by my employer to work in Clinton's PIC (Presidential inaugural Committee). Through some realignment of the stars, I ended up with one of the most powerful positions in PIC. I was one of two people assigned to a "black office" (an office that doesn't officially exist) to oversee the production and distribution of all of the "free passes" to every official event of the Inauguration Week. Everything. We worked directly with the Secret Service and the FBI and didn't report to anyone else except the head of PIC. The FOB's (Friend's of Bill) passes, credentials to private events, all of the backstage passes for talent (which included Oprah, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, and about 1,000 other performers), VIP passes, etc--It all went through our office.

Needless to say, once people finally figured out who was holding the credentials, we were VERY popular with administration insiders, Members of Congress (many of whom couldn't even get tickets to the balls), and others who set their sight on events that they couldn't wrangle a ticket to. This was how I met John Kennedy, Jr. He needed VIP tickets to the Inauguration and a couple of the other events (yes, you would think he could have gotten them otherwise) and his cousin (who was a friend in our singleton days) knew that I had what they needed and Voila'! Instant friend.

So by the time I had met the Clinton folks, I decided that they might not be such bad apples after all. And they humored me, as well. I was invited to several White House events over the subsequent two years before I married my husband. When the President held the White House Rose Garden ceremony celebrating the University of Alabama's national football championship, I was invited. That's where I met Jim (Mik) Miklawzewski from NBC, who became a friend and personal political prognosticator. By the way, I always thought that it was funny that when I would call Mik at work, Andrea Mitchell (you know, the wife of the most powerful man in the world) would answer the phone! You would think that they would have secretaries and such. Nope.

And so it was that, by the time that Hubby and I started dating in '94, I had already known Clinton et. al for over a year. And for the record, there was never ONCE when I felt uneasy around the President. Never once was he the least bit inappropriate. The truth is that Clinton treats everyone (men and women) like they are his best friends. And I know of NO ONE on the planet who has a memory for details (names, faces, events, conversations, etc.) like Bill Clinton. He is amazing that way.

One day, Hubby (who was just the boyfriend at the time) decided to surprise me. He took copies of all of the pictures I had of me with the President, had them blown up to 8x10, and carried them to the White House for a budget meeting with Clinton. At the end of the meeting, he whips out this manilla folder of pictures and hands them to the President, asking if he will autograph them to me. Clinton opens the folder and says, "Hey, I know her! How do YOU know her?" Hubby says, "She's my girlfriend." And from that point on, he would joke and say "Oh, here comes "Girlfriend". How's (insert my name) today? And he STILL hasn't scared you off?" When I was pregnant (twice!) and looking even worse than I felt, he would say, "And how's "Little Mama"? You look fabulous!" And then he would giggle. Not in a mean way. It was just that he was lying, and he knew he was lying, and he knew that WE knew he was lying, which made us all laugh VERY hard.

Then in 1996, Gore and some of his enviro-minions were trying to push through a national monument designation that we knew would cost Hubby his election. That was bad enough--A dem administration screwing over the only Democrat between the Mississippi River and California to survive the '94 election. But the worst part of it was that they LIED about it. To Hubby's face. On numerous occasions. Clinton called Hubby several times the week the designation was to take place, and Hubby told him, "You do it, and you will kill any chances of my carrying this election". The next day, the designation was made. Clinton felt his "hands were tied by Gore". I felt Clinton was a wuss. And so, once again, I couldn't vote for Clinton.

After Hubby lost that election by less than a point, we moved on. Clinton called Hubby to advise him during "the unpleasantness", and we have seen him several times since. I am bitter toward others in the administration regarding their callousness over the monument designation--but I've never really been bitter toward Clinton. And I find him to be one of the most fun and most fascinating people I have ever known (and I have known LOTS of pretty interesting characters). Which I guess is why I AM bitter over not being in Little Rock this week.

I would LOVE to be at the library to see what they have on display about that first Inaugural Week that I lived and breathed for two months in '92. I would love to see if Hubby or I pop up in any of the 2 million pictures they have computer filed (surely...you would think...2 million pics? We've GOTTA be there SOMEWHERE...). I would LOVE to read the documents pertaining to that outrageously ill-timed monument designation in '96. And I'd like to be shaking hands, hugging friends and having some fun. Instead, as Hubby so eloquently said in
this post, we'll just be watching it on TV. And, yes, I'm still feelin' a little bitter about it....

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

 

  Sharing the Joy

In the interest of Sharing the Joy, I want to share a few things that have made me smile this morning. I'll add to it throughout the day:

1) Michele (did she send YOU here, too?) features Tall Poppy Diaries in her "Aortal Promote a Wonderful Site" box today. I don't know what that is, but it sounds REALLY good...as does virtually everything else that Michele says. Simple things become curiously fascinating when Michele writes them.
2) Oh, and speaking of Michele--have you stopped by her party? All the cool kids (77 of them at last count) are there. Drop by, grab a drink and make a few new friends. And...tell her Pink Poppy sent you.
3) Christie's latest e-catalogues for this auction and this one. Will I buy anything offered here? Probably not. But it makes me happy to be able to see these works of art as they pass from one home to another. And, seriously, a lot of these pieces are very affordable. Christie's catalogues are glimpses of beautiful objects that I would never see otherwise. And the portraits of children, especially, make me smile.
4) The commercial for Spanglish.
5) Ellen DeGeneres.
6) Africanuck's posts about her new home in Cairo. Can you imagine just looking out a window and being surrounded by pyramids? Read all of the posts from the bottom up on the main page. Too cool.
7) This post by Kelly over on FFS. Too funny. And sadly true.
8) This post by Dooce. Sort of an inside joke. And I shouldn't be laughing. Please don't tell anyone West of the Mississippi that I was laughing.
9) This post from Melissa at Suburban Bliss.

More later....


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

 

  And The Winners Are....

The answers to the Fall Coat Quiz are:


Coat 1--For Everyday. I LOVE this color! That would be enough to grab me right there. But the unusual design features (the tucks, the collar and the slightly flared sleeves) had me at "Hello". Good guesses Michele, Annie, Kate and Pink Sun Drops (whom I am SO happy to see back after a very long sabbatical). Honorable mention to Kelly (who obviously KNEW the answer but didn't vote) and Emily (who loved THIS coat best, but thought I would choose #2).


Coat 5--For Fun! Yes, this did remind me of this post (a hot trend that I still have yet to buy into). I could see this coat worn over a black velvet shell and black velvet pants. I would SOOO wear this. A lot. Good guesses to Emily, Elisa Michele and Stumblebee.


Now, this one stumped everyone--but me, of course. Should I wonder about my Style Quotient? Is it so obnoxious that nobody else on the planet would wear it? I would wear it--to Park City. AND I would SOOO wear it to Sundance, if I were willing to spend $5000 on a coat that I'd wear a few times a year. It's...


Coat 7--For Posh Resort wear. Since I gave up skiing on my first date with Hubby (a former ski racer/patrolman who walked sideways down the mountain with me for 3 hours while our friends-- and several pre-schoolers--whizzed past us), I DRESS to go to the mountains. I LOVE all of the beading on the sleeves and on the silk belt (click photo to enlarge for better detail). I'm not crazy about the heavy stones that trim it (I would prefer a continuation of the pretty sleeve beading instead), but I would wear this out for the evening up in the mountains, for sure.

Now, it seems that Elisa, Michele, MR Hester, Kate and Girl from Florida all thought that this coat would be my other favorite:


Coat 6

I will admit that, the more I looked at it, but more it grew on me. I would probably wear it over solid black if it mysteriously appeared in my closet. But living in the freezing cold Rocky Mountains, Coat 7 seemed the more practical choice.

As for the other coats, they would have been SO unattractive on me. I am tall (5'10") so I can wear lots of odd and funky things. But I gave up my Size 6's after my first child was born and am now a comfortable Size 12. Unless you are a size 6 or smaller, none of the other coats would be very flattering IMHO. Wide, horizontal lines? Monstrous plaids? They would be SO wrong on me. #2 isn't bad. It's actually quite nice. However, that peachy pink is a little ho-hum for me.

And so, this latest game comes to a close. Nobody chose #7 (hmmm. A hint, perhaps?), but both Michele and Emily got 2 out of 3 correct. And so, during the course of the week I will find a clever way to link to each of you AT LEAST once and will BlogRoll the rest of you for being such clever and courageous fashion divas. Thanks for playing!

Sunday, November 14, 2004

 

  Play the Game. Win the Links.

Dear Readers, Today's New York Times features a "Fall Coats" slide show (photos below) that I found less than inspiring. I confess--I would wear ONE of these coats almost any day of the week. There are two additional ones that I would LOVE to have to wear for fun. The rest of them? NOT!!!

So here is your challenge--
Guess which coat I would LOVE to have to wear almost every day AND which two I would love to wear for fun. I will BlogRoll you (if I haven't already) if you leave your best guess. If you get all three guess right, I will find an inspired way to link to your site every day for a week. So get busy guessing. The game ends Monday night (tomorrow) at midnight.

Click on pictures to enlarge them.

Coat 1--Charles Nolan, $648 at Saks Fifth Avenue


Coat 2--Banana Republic, $298


Coat 3--Trina Turk, $400, Saks Fifth Avenue


Coat 4--Postcard, $658, SearleNYC


Coat 5--Nanette LePore, $482, call 212-219-8265


Coat 6--Biya, $749, Gatsby's in Great Barrington, MA. Call 413-528-9455


Coat 7--Maurizio Pecoraro, $8,298, Henri Bendel


Coat 8--J. Crew, $398

Hint: One of these coats would be perfect were participating in the activity that Bridget Jones traveled with Mark Darcy to take part in "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason". Unfortunately, since there are gross similarities between Bridget's performance and mine, I smartly choose to refrain from such participation which makes that particular coat an unnecessary component in my wardrobe.

Friday, November 12, 2004

 

  A Day (or SIXTY) Late, Maybe?

WHY? Why, I ask, are so many people coming over here looking for the Miss Universe Wardrobe Malfunction? Today?

Were they living outside the Universe when it happened OVER TWO MONTHS AGO? Were they in summer hibernation? Is there a newer one that I don't know about? One or two hits a day--OK. But EIGHT in five hours? What am I--A Pimp? Hey, I'm sorry. With the exception of my BlogExplosion girls, I'm outta business. This is it, I say. NO MORE PIMPING!

 

  Lexicon 101

OK, everyone. Why not spice up your posts with a bit of the latest American Lexicon? Here's a brief tutorial, courtesty of Tall Poppy Diaries--AND The Daily Candy: San Francisco. Oh, and yes, it might be helpful to take a few notes. Trust me.

beighborhood n. Area populated by good-looking people. ("Let's go downtown. Fifth Street has turned into a total beighborhood.")

DIZO n. Acronym. Describes (busy, working, all-too-typical) couple: Dual Income, Zero Orgasm.

Earnest Hemorrhage n. A man who is oppressively forthcoming with every thought and feeling. Antonym: Ernest Hemingway, linguistically stingy author.

foxymoron n. One who is incredibly dumb but incredibly cute, who simultaneously attracts and repels. ("I'm so ashamed. I hooked up with that foxymoron last night.")

GHaG n. Acronym. Girl-Hating Girl. The one whose only friends are guys.

hobeau n. A less-than-hygienic boyfriend. ("Better open the window. Here come Gloria and her hobeau.")

nontourage n. A group of undesirable sycophants. ("The party was fun until Justin showed up with his nontourage.")

pharmasecrecy n. The secret bond one has with her pharmacist. ("Only Mr. Myers knows the truth about my little Klonopin/Paxil/laxative habit.")

showflake n. Person who chronically misses every appointment (e.g., haircuts, doctor visits, dinners). ("Is Louisa going to show, or is she pulling a showflake again?")

SoDeeWah n. Socialite/designer/whatever. The model/actress/ whatever of the '00s. You know the type.

staremaster n. Gym dandies who constantly check themselves out in the mirror. ("If that staremaster touches his pecs one more time ...")

helicopter girl/boyfriend (n.) A significant other who finds it necessary to hover around his or her mate at all times. ("I'd love to come to girls' night, but my helicopter probably won't let me out of his sight.")

teenile (adj.) Used to describe someone who is way too old for what she is wearing. ("That 45-year-old woman is wearing low-cut jeans. Is she crazy of just teenile?")

blamestorming (n.) A meeting whose sole purpose is to discuss why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

mouse potato (n.) The wired generation's answer to the couch potato.

carat dangler (n.) A woman who finds it of utmost importance to flaunt her engagement/wedding ring at all times. ("Who does that carat dangler think she's impressing? Like I've never seen a rock before.")

resigoo (n.) The residual stuff stuck to you after a bikini wax.

Girleen (n): 1. A young sassy woman. Also used as a term of affection for a good friend: "Hey, girleen, you are an inspiration to us all."

Swish (adj): 1. Very suave, smooth, or cool: "Wow, you're looking awfully swish this eve," or "Wow, I saw Amy last night, and, gee, she was so swish in her fantastic shoes!"

Shoppings (n): 1. The product amassed from a day out at the shops. (A term discovered at Fifth Avenue and 56th Street on a recent summer day amid of gaggle of tourists. Woman, holding up Barneys bag: "Babette! Look at my shoppings!")

Mwah (v): 1. A sound uttered in protest (when "waaahhh" becomes too whiny). 2. A kissing sound, most commonly used at the close of a letter in lieu of "xoxoxoxo."

Skew-wiff (adj): 1. All messy, disheveled. Colloquial British term somehow derived from "askew" (pronounced Skeeeeewiff): "Her hair was all skew-wiff; she looked like she'd just woken up."

Thursday, November 11, 2004

 

  Say It Ain't So, Hugh....


Photo Courtesy of StarsWeLove.com

I apologise for interrupting "Blogging It Forward" Day (which can be found immediately below this urgent news bulletin), but it is being reported that one of my two FAVORITE actors is growing bored with acting and is retiring! Surely not. Perhaps it's just a phase. Perhaps it will go the way of the furniture store "Going Out Of Business" sales (which generally last 3-10 years here). Or perhaps he's taking a cue from Cher, The Stones and numerous others who have made retirement a lucrative business.

Regardless, I'm shaken. For the story, you can click
here...

 

  "Blog It Forward" Day

Yes, Kelly strikes again, with this post...talking about this post about "Blog It Forward" day, which is when you dedicate a post to linking your readers to a few of your favorite blogs and telling people why you love them. Good plan. Share the love, I say. So here are my picks, in no particular order:

Annie in Montana--My first blogging buddy. Annie was already a seasoned veteran when she took me under her wing and introduced me to Mad Mommy Chronicles, JCanuck, and the virtual universe that IS Rance. The rest, as they say, is history. Annie is a fabulous writer. She is also a fabulous blogger in her spare time. When I read her blog, I feel like I live next door to her...but truth be known, I doubt her neighborhood could handle that.

Kelly at FFS--Kelly is one of the coolest girls on the block! She tells it like it is. She's genuine. (Not Genuine, Gen. The adverb, man! The adverb....) Kelly has the ability to take the most mundane non-event and turn it into the most hysterical thing you've heard (or read) all day. I have a few blogging buddies whom I actually refer to as "my friend _____" when I am talking about them to my friends in the Real World. Kelly is one of THOSE friends. I adore her....

JCanuck--Another of my "First Friends". I love her stories of her life as an ex-pat living in Africa, and now in Cairo. She makes me feel SOOO worldly and exotic. However, it's her spirit that shines through the stories of dusty roads, potholes and man-killing monkeys that makes her so unique. She can tell a story in such a way that I can smell, see and hear all of the places and characters vividly. I feel like I'm there. Yet, she seems like the Girl Next-door. Amazing.

Dooce--I have read Dooce for a while, but only admitted it publicly two weeks ago. You would have to be in my shoes to understand why this might be an issue. Anyway, she's a Southern Belle like Moi'. We now live in the same adopted hometown. We have a few similar issues. And she can say all sorts of things about those said issues that I just can't. In essence, my wicked side lives vicariously through her. Plus, her little Leta is sweet enough to eat. 'Nuff said.

The Moderate Voice--I love him. He keeps me sane. He humors me. He's like my political Dooce. He says (almost) everything I want to say politically so that I can write about Lilly Pulitzer, pink TechnoTunes watches and my favorite purses for fall and leave the other half of my soul (yes, my political side is THAT BIG) to him. Plus, once when he linked to me, I got about 200 hits from him. AND, he's a ventriloquist. What's not to love about all that?

Michele Agnew--She is my newest "First Friend". She is SOOO hip and cool. Plus, not only does she think I'm cool too, but she honestly thought that I was Australian. For like a MONTH! Seriously! I LOVE that. You know how you always hear about bloggers who get book contracts to print their posts? That'll be Michele! And since I was reading her when she only had a few comments per post and now she averages about 50, I like to think that "I knew her when..."

A few other favorites? A few who EVERYONE has on their lists like Rance (now starring Rubber Duckie), Genuine and Amberbamberboo. Some up-and-comers on my personal list of every-day reads, like Kate, Bunny Burrow, and Chasmyn. And one whom I love who is TOTALLY under-appreciated is artist/blogger Aisle Twelve...and check out her cool links list, too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

 

  An Apology...NOT A Gloat...SERIOUSLY

My fellow bloggers, I had planned on spending quite some time today surfing BlogExplosion, visiting sites, making thoughtful comments. I needed to be working, but I had decided to honor all of your efforts with my time and attention.

When I got 3 mystery credits after visiting my second blog, I was happy. When I got 25 mystery credits on blog #8, I almost fell out of my chair. But I continued to surf and enjoy your blogs. HOWEVER, when I hit my SECOND 25 mystery credit jackpot on blog #15, I made the stereotypical Lottery Winner's decision to call it a day. I haven't quit my day job--I simply wanted to stop surfing BlogExplosion and give the rest of you a fair shot. So good luck, guys. May the surfing gods smile upon you as they have on me today.


 

  It's a Two-Fer: A Laugh AND A Lesson

I was all prepared to write something very Tall Poppy-esque. Very trendy. Very helpful. Very witty. And then I read this from my buddy, Michele Agnew, and knew that I had to share it with you. So--Lookin' for a laugh? Wanting to ensure that everyone isn't laughing at YOU? If so, check out "Wardrobe Woes", currently playing over at Michele's place. And while you're at it, enlighten the rest of us and add your two cents worth, won't ya'?

 

  I Loved Yesterday...

And this is why:
  1. I went through the entire day without ever having to change out of my pajama's.
  2. I really like the changes I made to the book yesterday (hope "the powers that be" agree)
  3. Received some really wonderful e-mails from friends, which is SOOO much more fun than spam for Viagra and links to girls doin' The Funky with farm animals.
  4. Made plans to see the new Bridget Jones movie this weekend.
  5. Went to bed at 9 pm.
  6. Did I mention that I never changed out of my pajama's?

Yes, I'm so easily amused.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

 

  Hatemongering, Party Affiliation and the Pearly Gates

Yes, I AM going to get back to the pressing issues of fashion, etiquette, and pop culture. Seriously! I really am. Maybe even tomorrow. However, for the second day in a row I have been inspired by Chasmyn to write a post of a more serious nature. Please bear with me.

I am a political junkie. It's in my blood. During this election season, I have been relatively quiet on political matters for numerous reasons. Thoughtful writing by The Moderate Voice and others who share similar centrist/conservative views to mine have made it possible for me to remain more or less out of the fray and focus more on the lighter, quirkier aspects of American life.

However, one aspect of being a Tall Poppy is being Broadminded. Being able to embrace those who are different than you whether or not they agree with you is critical to being successful AND happy. I think that I'm about as Broadminded as you can get. I am an Independent, having been an operative in both parties and finding myself unhappy with the leadership of both. I am TRULY non-partisan (a term that Fox News has made almost obsolete.) With regard to the issues-- I say may the group with the highest percentage of votes win. No matter what the issue, and no matter which side I am on, and no matter how strongly I feel about it--if you win fair and square, YOU are in the majority. Good for you!

Unfortunately, what I have seen over the last decade is a change in the political structure of our country that is alarming and disgraceful. It has NOTHING to do with the ISSUES that we care about and EVERYTHING to do with pure, unadulterated lust for POWER. I have been the kin, the confidante, the best bud, the employee, the lobbyist and the wife to federal elected officials (wife to only ONE of those, let me add). However, I have never in my life seen such gross divisions between the political parties AND their constituencies on both sides. Though it may have seemed otherwise from the outside, DC used to be a pretty genial place when the lights and cameras weren't around. No more.

I've been an operative in both parties. I know first hand (not just from a hypocritical power-hungry talking head) where the majority of the hatemongering is coming from. It's supposedly all about being a good Christian and having a moral compass--or not. Well, I'm a pretty good Christian, but what I am seeing out in the real world and on the Web isn't akin to anything I ever learned in Sunday School. Until the American people wake up and realize that the Ends DO NOT justify the means, that it's about the issues and not the political parties and that just because someone you agree with politically "says it" doesn't make it true, our country will be in a downward spiral...and I don't think that Jesus or his father are going to be too happy with us.

Most of us were given the gift of discernment by the grace of our God. Judeo-Christians believe that it was first bestowed in the Garden of Eden. When we pay attention to it, we know what is right and wrong. As children, it tells us who is the playground bully and who is a victim. But these days, we're so busy playing that we don't see the bully's first blow. We only see the victim fighting back. And when the bullies cry, "He hit me", we don't bother to listen to the poor kid being carted off to the Principal's office with a black eye. We listen instead to the Bullies pontificate zealously about how sad it is to see "such a good kid drop so low."

If we choose not to carefully read the clues and if we blindly believe everything we hear because, whether it's true or not it "sounds good" and the speaker said they were a Christian, we do so at our own peril. When we only listen to the bullies, we don't realize that WE have become the victims. And the bullies are standing around the corner laughin' their heads off at just how easily we took the bait.

Like millions of other Americans, I left one political party for the other in my teens because I felt that the one no longer best reflected my core values. I left the other a decade ago because I knew that my God would hold me accountable for "the company I was keeping" when I saw the dirty tricks and underhandedness they used to get their way first-hand. It wasn't a tough choice: One party seemed to lack a compass on issues of financial and personal responsibility; the other is led by hypocritical zealots pontificating about Moral Values that none of them follow, but use all manners of Tom-Foolery to convince millions of people to defy the facts and believe that they do. I chose to rid myself of both labels and follow my conscience. I vote as I believe Jesus would--person by person, judging each candidate on his/her TRUE merits and disregarding party affiliation or the gossip-mongers. Good plan. At least I can say my prayers without feeling dirty.

Wrap evil and hypocracy in the cloak of Christianity, the flag, or a piece of lettuce and it's still the same--WRONG! I don't believe that my God cares what political party I belong to. I think he looks at each of us individually and judges us separately from all others. However, I do believe that he will hold us accountable for choosing to put blinders on rather than using the gifts of discernment and discretion that he gave us.

My angst over the election has nothing to do with political parties and everything to do with how gullible the American electorate has become to the dirty tricks of a group of power-hungry (mostly) men. People are so desperate to believe that the Emperor is wearing clothes just because he says he's a Christian (so he MUST be telling the truth!) that they willingly shirk integrity and defy reason to prove to anyone who will listen that second (or third or fourth) hand lies are true. It scares me.

I don't doubt that GWB is a Christian. He's mortal and makes mistakes just like the rest of us. I don't hold that against him. I was a HUGE, HUGE fan of his Dad and Mom. I liked a lot of 41's policies, and I disliked others. But I recognized that he was just a Man and not without fault or sin...and I felt that good or bad, HE was in charge. I voted for GWB and had great hope that he would do his best as well. Instead, he has allowed others to run his White House and the country in a manner that I couldn't have imagined. He surrounds himself with some WAY shady characters who profess to be just to the right of Diety, yet walk on shifting sand. But because they cloak their every word in the mantle of Christianity, people believe that what they say must be true.

I don't fault people for having different views on issues than I do. And I couldn't care less what party you choose to affiliate with. But I do care when it becomes obvious that people are trying to vote for "The Best Christian" or "The Most Righteous Person". If you don't know these people personally, and the moral compass' of those who are talking about them are EXTREMELY sketchy, wouldn't it be best to just stick with the issues rather than bringing a person's eternal salvation into it?

My guess is that there will be lots of folks standing at the Pearly Gates one of these days saying, "But...But...They SAID it on the RADIO, so I thought it had to be true...". Good luck. I'm rooting for you. May the force be with you. But I just don't think it's gonna work.

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