Monday, April 28, 2014

Clothes on TV

A couple things I've read lately have me thinking about clothes on TV shows.

I've just learned that there is currently in production a live-action version of Jem, the '80s cartoon about an all-girl rock band.  In general, I hate modern updates of things I loved as a child, and the description of it sounds completely awful.  In one article, the producers described it with something like "be true to yourself in a multitasking, hyperlinked, social media world".  Yuck.  But one peek at the hair and makeup here, and I was kind of sucked in.  I might have to check that out.  You can see a slide show of the amazing costumes on the original show here, or just go binge-watch it on Netflix.

Speaking of binge-watching Netflix shows, my sisters have long been fans of Parks and Recreation, and I spent the last few weeks catching up with them.  (Well, almost.  I have to wait for season six to be released in a few months.  Oh the torture!)  An article that Jezebel did last fall took a look at the clothes worn by Parks & Recreation ladies.  (Fair warning: don't open that link if your child can read and is looking over your shoulder; the headline is vulgar.)  How is Ann Perkins able to afford a $395 shirt?  And April for sure couldn't afford all those $400 dresses, plus, shopping at Barney's doesn't fit her personality.  She's a thrifter, all the way.

I saw a clip once with Julie Bowen, who said that they dressed her Modern Family character in a lot of casual "Mom" clothes, nothing too glamorous, you know, Anthropologie and the like.  That made me laugh, as I save my pennies to buy a couple items each year at their annual Black Friday clearance sale.

My So-Called Life is really my gold standard in terms of outfitting characters in a realistic way.  They wear real things, and they wear them more than once.  Unlike Rory Gilmore and her 75 amazing winter coats.
Oh, hello again, maroon floral dress.  Nice to see you again.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Thoughts on unmedicated childbirth

My baby is coming up on his first birthday, which has me in a contemplative mood.  What was I doing a year ago?  I was feeling nervous about my plans to have a baby without an epidural, but determined to give it a try, since my first two deliveries were pretty miserable experiences WITH an epidural.

Matt and I took a childbirth class before Mason's birth in 2005, and it included a little bit of lamaze breathing.  I later mentioned to a friend that I didn't think I was very good at using mind-over-matter to relax and convince myself that the pain wasn't all that painful.  She suggested the Bradley method as more of an "embrace the pain and work with it" approach.   This time around, I checked out Husband-Coached Childbirth and read it until I could bear it no more.  I found it to be absurd and insulting, with such gems of wisdom as this: if only women didn't use so much soap when washing their privates, the area would be less dry and therefore less likely to tear.  There is also discussion of how the author grew up on a farm and watched plenty of cows give birth without screaming and wailing.  (If they can do it, ladies, you can too, as long as you practice my method.)  But this diagram was the last straw:
Transition stage can be intense and crazy; it makes some people barf, so I'm with him on that steep mountain climb.  But.  Second stage, or what is shown above as a lovely plateau where you rest and enjoy the view, is also known as the pushing stage, where you expel the baby from the baby hole.  It's the craziest of all the crazy that happens during a child's birth.  Why is the mountain top flat?  It should be a ninety degree sheer clif, with the woman dangling from a pickaxe, holding on for dear life as she claws her way to the top.  The only way this depiction would be accurate is if you flipped the mountain upside down and slammed that plateau onto the pelvis of the little stick figure lady.

Anyway, enough about Bradley.  I don't recommend his method.

In the end, it was a good thing that I'd planned on going drug-free, because this kid came fast, way faster than his siblings.  I started having strong contractions around 10:30, got to the hospital by 11:00 and had my baby by midnight.  My doctor did not happen to be on call at the time, so I got one of her partners who I'll call Dr. Stoneface.  I don't know if it was the late hour or what, but she had little comfort or encouragement or, really, personality to offer me.  As I cried and writhed in pain minutes before starting to push, Dr. Stoneface sat at the end of the bed and asked the nurse next to me "Is this her first baby?"  Oh, I'm sorry, am I complaining too much?  Am I being a wuss?  I'm pretty sure that on my deathbed, I'll look back on this hour as the most physically uncomfortable hour OF MY LIFE; excuse me if I'm being kind of annoying as I pass through it.

There's a Simpsons bit that captures the feeling perfectly, but the clip isn't on youtube.  You'll have to imagine it. Homer is skiing and his legs have spread way too far apart.
Homer: Ow, my leg!  This is the worst pain ever!
And then as he's flying downhill, his crotch bumps into several mounds of snow in rapid succession.
Paging Dr. Bradley.  I think I've found a better illustration for your book.

Monday, April 21, 2014

It's garden season

"Plant a garden" is perpetually on my to-do list.  I've done a tiny bit here and there, but never gotten a legitimate amount of food as a result.  For example, here's my strawberry harvest of 2012:
Not even kidding.

Ten days ago I bought some veggie plants as a birthday gift to myself.  (That sentence right there just cemented my middle-aged lady status, didn't it?)  My garden spot was a barren wasteland, but I reclaimed some of it after hours of chopping at the packed dirt with a heavy pickaxe.  Incidentally, while I'm glad it's not my day job, chopping with a pickaxe is quite therapeutic and rewarding.  Anyway, this morning I got the last couple plants into the ground, and I'm feeling hopeful that there is at least one batch of bruschetta in this garden's future.

For a long time, I've wanted a path from the back porch to the garden, so that I don't have to worry about accidentally stepping in a dog pile.  I finally just started hauling stones around and arranged them into a rough path.  Nobody's going to be pinning it to their Pinterest boards, but it works for now.

Done is better than perfect.
Done is better than perfect.
Done is better...