Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pa Ingalls and My Responsibility Project

So there's this thing going on at right now called The Responsibility Project. Spurred by a Liberty Mutual commercial of all things, the site features a bunch of short films about personal responsibility. And I'm so on about that.

I hate it when I see kids litter in the subway. I saw a teenage boy hand a half-full can of grape soda to another kid right before getting off the train. The other kid, a girl, didn't want it, yelled loudly in response, and held the soda can very briefly like it was a dead animal. I'm pretty sure the boy had a crush on her and thought handing her his garbage was a good way to show it. Have I mentioned I didn't have a high school boyfriend? In retrospect, maybe not so bad. Anyway, the girl then put the can on the floor under a seat and got off at the next stop.

Not surprisingly, within minutes the can overturned, and a narrow, shallow, sticky river of grape soda began to run the length of the subway car. I watched it all happen, and I was so mad about it. Mad when I watched people having to step around the mess. Mad when I saw people step right in it. Mad when a diverging stream ran into the open-toed shoes of someone innocently reading a newspaper, not noticing.

Finally a woman picked the can up and exited the subway with it. And I wanted to get her email address and send her a thank you note. That woman exercised the kind of personal responsibility that germaphobic me was not willing to do (Pick up some kid's yucky, germy, discarded soda can after it rolled around on the subway floor? No thank you. I will just sit, watch it obsessively, and steam).

So will my baby girl leave half empty cans of soda on the subway when she's a teenager? Gulp.

As a parent, my inherent, goody-two-shoes, nerdy to a fault, Presbyterian, "follows-directions-well-ness" has kind of exploded. The sense of responsibility I feel towards this small person is kind of staggering. I think this feeling is probably why I have obsessively posted videos and photos about cutting her bangs too short--for an entire MONTH. She was fine. Then I took scissors to her and mangled her hair. Fairly harmless in the grand scheme of things. A spilled can of grape soda on a subway train. But when it comes name it. Making medical decisions. Protecting her financial future. Keeping her from hurting herself. Even teaching her not to litter. Am I indiscriminately wielding craft scissors?

So, Liberty Mutual (and I am so not selling anything for them or getting paid by them...I just watched this movie after the link was sent to me) is sponsoring this film project to get people talking about individual responsibility. And I find it so refreshing. In this age--heck in this election month--where many are passing the buck, many are blaming our problems on everyone else, here's a company using film to raise the issue of individuals choosing to stop the buck.

Here's the movie I watched. It's called "Tony." I watched the whole 13 minutes of it, which is rare for me, and actually found it kind of touching. I'm a new mom so I guess that's not too surprising. I'm not sure about the end...but I've only been a parent for 14 months. Talk to me in a couple of years. And did the boy need to be sick to make the story work? I'm actually not sure about that either. Maybe yes. Again, talk to me in a few years.

But all this is really about me of course, and my penance for hacking the baby's bangs. My crazy sense of responsibility which is hitting me so hard that I feel the need to post photos for a month featuring very blatantly "the bad thing I did." So here's the latest, and let me say also the final, one.

And here's a sneak peek of the little bean in her Halloween costume. She's going to be Laura Ingalls (before the "Wilder" when she was still "Half Pint"). So how did Ma and Pa teach those kids to be so darned responsible? I guess they had no other choice. Everyone pitched in or they wouldn't have anything to eat after Plum Creek froze in November. Minnesota winters in a poorly insulated homestead slap some responsibility into you pretty quickly, I guess.

None the worse for the wear. Still the biggest responsibility project I've ever undertaken. And I love her.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bangs Week 3

How's the diet going?

(While eating a brownie) Not well. This afternoon I binged on organic vanilla alphabet cookies.

At least the baby's hair is looking better.

Those vanilla cookies friggin rock.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Makes Me Not Want to Chant "USA"

So remember how I was all charged up about there being a woman and a black man running for the highest offices in our nation. I wanted to chant USA.

Yeah not so much any more.

I'm frankly appalled by what's happening. I feel that this woman is being used, and actively allowing herself to be used, in some of the most shameful hatemongering that I've had the misfortune to see. Hatemongering so appalling that even John McCain had to silence his own supporters who have taken to shouting out that Obama is a "terrorist" and remind them that he's a good and decent man. It's shocking and appalling and upsetting and frankly, I am no longer all that excited that my daughter will learn about it one day in school. At least, not what the minds behind the Republican campaign have done during the last few weeks.

But it's been a kinda lousy day. I had an audition for an agent tonight. Not getting rid of my sweet manager--in fact he set up the audition. Just considering adding another person (read, deducting another %15) to my "team." Let me tell you, it was friggin' sobering. First of all, I didn't really do my audition pieces too well. As the Red Sox proved tonight, you can't always hit them out of the park. And I so didn't. But that aside, what followed was a respectful, but painful interview in which I answered frankly questions about whom I do not know in this industry. Pretty much, I discovered, I know no one. I mean, I know some people. I've met a lot of people. But "know know" if you say my name to them will their eyes light up with happy recognition? Yeah, not so much.

And this is, as I have stated before, not an industry that takes kindly to aging. Particularly to women aging. So as the years have passed, and I have lived in this unforgiving city, and my career has moved at it's own leisurely pace (note my passive voice in discussing if "it" not "I" were moving so slowly) I find myself in a bit of a pickle, pushing...well pushing the age I am pushing. "Opportunities for women 40 to 60 in this country" as I heard a wonderful, creative, imaginative and smart casting director say the other day, "are limited." I nearly fell over. Did he actually lump 40 - 60? This very smart man whom I respect a lot and knows this industry inside and out? Me with my mother? Yup. He so did.

So this all brings me around to what the people who are running this campaign are doing to this former beauty queen and sportscaster. Let's face it, she was lifted out of the entertainment industry to feed the entertainment industry. She's as much a player in a drama as I am. Here was an opportunity for a woman 40 - 60. A huge one. And it has become a punchline. No worse. It's become dangerous.

And that so does not make me want to chant U.S.A.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bangs Week 1

Well since I hacked the baby's bangs off...not much has changed. They still look horrible. I've just become somewhat numb to it. I almost can't remember how they looked when they were long, wispy and adorable. Before I got out the craft scissors.

And I've been using product to keep them swept over to the side. She looks like a little 1950s baby when I do that. And I ignore what the gel is probably doing to her sweet skin. For the record, I barely use any at all. But to continue to do my own penance, I must, weekly, return to the scene of the crime, brush the bangs straight down, photograph her, and atone. So that I never ever ever try to cut her hair again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Elusive Icelander

They have begun construction on the next door apartment upstairs. I just left the sleeping baby (MIRACLE!) to go and check it out.

Last year at this time they began work on the apartment next door. It is a three bedroom...count em 1 - 2 - 3 friggin' bedroom apartment. Something so rare in New York that I am considering charging admission for people to simply peek in the door when the occupants leave for jogs. And as loud as the constant banging is upstairs right now, it was three times as loud last year. I guess...hard to say. It's pretty damn loud right now.

So yeah, last year our neighbors left (a very nice family who were sweet and friendly but seemed to have no interest in actually becoming our friends) and men began systematically dismantling their apartment. They stripped the place. Floor to ceiling. Removed molding (lead paint fears I guess), appliances, floors...caused teeny tiny nasty piles of toxic dust to seep under cracks in the molding and form inside our apartment.

But I was actually kind of excited. A small family had left, I could only imagine a small family would be moving in. After all the apartment has (have I mentioned) three bedrooms! Maybe they'd have two kids. Maybe we'd end up watching "Project Runway" together and sharing babysitting. Maybe we'd actually have friends next door.

So after months of wall-shaking banging and floor vibrating sanding and nauseating noxious odors, the apartment was done. And the guys who work in the building confided to me that it's all top of the line! Stainless steel appliances, fancy light fixtures, custom everything. I was flipping ecstatic when I got to choose the paint colors in this place. And then didn't have to paint them myself. But no one was offering me granite countertops, believe you me.

And the people who moved in? A young couple. I have seen the husband maybe three times in the last year. The wife I have never laid eyes upon. So far as I know. The university which offers us this housing (not for free mind you) apparently thought that his coming here from Iceland merited a complete overhaul and three months of constant noise. And possible lead paint exposure. So he and his wife (? I assume) could spread out their Icelandic stuff over three bedrooms.

So is it just sour grapes? I mean, no shared babysitting. No pizza and reality TV. No friends. No sightings even for months on end. Which is the truly amazing thing about New York. For as much as we live in each others' laps...we never ever ever lay eyes on our neighbors. Ever. We smell noxious things from their apartments wafting through the walls (don't get me started on the lovely Asian couple who cooked some kind of cabbage stuff daily while I was so "morning" sick that I couldn't leave my couch for weeks), we see their strollers in the hallway, but we never actually see them. Let alone exchange holiday gifts.

And it's kind of sad and lonely.

So (and now the baby is awake and chattering in her crib) I now have to put up with months more of deafening noise while they renovate another presumably gigantic apartment (it's directly over the one next door) for another person? couple? family? who I will most likely not lay eyes upon.

I miss seeing people in the driveway or working out in their gardens. I fantasize that if I lived on a regular street I would exchange plant clippings and invite them over for bbq. Rather than simply say (if I do happen to lay eyes upon my neighbors) "oh we should really get together sometime."

Because we never ever do.

The baby is totally awake. And it sounds like the guys upstairs are jumping around on pogo sticks. It's gonna be a long couple of months.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Lock Up Your Craft Scissors

Note to all you Moms out there, if you don't have any hairdressing training or experience, take a moment before you take scissors to your child's bangs. Even if they are full of toast and yogurt and spit and gunk and getting in her eyes...start very very very very small. Or better yet, take her to someone with some training and expertise.

Do not...I repeat do what I did.

I am tormented by this brief horrible moment with a pair of craft scissors and a Winnie the Pooh comb. I snipped her bangs once before in her short life. Just a tiny bit. A wee itty bit. And it was fine. How did i manage to turn her into Moe from the Three Stooges?

How do I solve this? Do I take her to a real haircutting place and have them try to fix it? Honestly, I can't bear to tell anyone that I did...this.