One, my husband’s Parkinson’s disease. It’s a tough break for such a splendid man and in spite of all the stiffness and fatigue and slow-motion, he’s Mr. Positive. But then you’ve got to be with this stuff, or you’d never get out of bed in the morning. You’d surrender to your cement-filled joints and then allow yourself to sit around recovering from a hellish morning of rising but not shining. Television would soon rule your life and there’d be hell to pay for anyone who nudges you to do more. You’d sit there, stone-faced and barely moving. You’d be the rusty tin man without oil-can relief.
When Steve was first diagnosed back in 2003, both of us were cool, calm and accepting. We were sad but not yet mad, and I remember my sunny husband saying, “If I had to get something neurological, I think this is a good one to get.” Really?
I had just lost two parents to cancer, and as I sat across from him in the diner I almost thought he made a good point. Parkinson’s wasn’t going to steal him too soon, just make his everyday movements torturous and sometimes dangerous. Like hopping in and out of a car, eating a salad, pulling on underwear or threading a belt through the loops of his pants. It made me mad to witness the downshift in his life’s power and pace, but I had to put a sock in it. Tamp it down. Squash it. Steve wasn’t to blame. No one was to blame. His brain wasn’t making enough dopamine. Should I be upset with his nerve cells? OK. Works for me. It’s their fault.
I will cancel my membership to L.A. Fitness next week. I’ll be moving at the end of the month, and I’ve calculated that I would burn more gas on my way to the gym three days a week than I would calories once I got there.
I’m sure the staff will try to talk me into staying. The curly-haired dynamo at the reception desk will remind me of the Monday morning spin class I never attended, the world-renowned personal trainers I never enlisted, or the squash courts I never entered. Or the whirlpools to soothe my aching muscles after spin class, training sessions and squash games.
But my mind is made up. I will cancel my membership. Continue reading
Dear Fashion Industry,
It’s time we opened discourse on a rather seedy subject in your world: prop clothing. Like the prop food adorning model furniture, prop clothing creates an illusion of actual clothing. The prop jacket may look as though it is completing your ensemble, but, unlike real outerwear, it offers no warmth.
Prop clothing comes in many forms- the super cute studded pleather “jacket” that’s “perfect for fall” but cannot keep one warm within the acceptable temperature range of fall in your region is a failure as clothing. It is a collection of cloth merely pretending to be a jacket and it may look like a jacket to all appraising eyes hence pulling off a “look”- but that is all and thus it is a prop.
Nutella is a problem. Sure, it’s creamy and fucking delicious, but it is just way too accessible. It’s the lazy person’s dream come true when it comes to instant sugar gratification. Open jar. Insert spoon. Emerge minutes later in a sweet stupor – with a gross, waxy taste in your mouth.
Nutella, I can’t quit you. Although once I did. I put a ban on Nutella (got legitimately pissed at my husband when he thought I was kidding and brought home a family-sized jar), and after two weeks of Nutella abstinence, my cravings legitimately diminished. Apparently two weeks is the average amount of time needed to kick an addiction. Heroin, crystal meth, Nutella. All the same really.
When I was younger and less intelligent, I blissed out in my ignorance of sugar’s nasty conversion into fat, and regularly ate strawberries and Nutella for the sake of protein. Like, “I’m feeling a little low-energy – I need a protein boost. Grilled chicken? Tuna? Eggs? No. Let’s go with the jar of dessert disguised as a critical part of a healthy, well-balanced breakfast.” What are we talking here? 2 grams, 3 grams of protein? But yeah, I’m just forcing this glob of chocolate down because I need my daily allotment of protein. Uh-huh. Continue reading
YA: young adult, teen, tween, advanced child, less-advanced adult, emotional human
Novel: story, book, doorstop
I know a lot about books, I’ve even read a few. One genre of book that sells well is “Young Adult” (or YA) “literature.” I have read at least one YA novel and I have seen trailers for The Fault in Our Stars, so I’m going to let you in on the secret of how to write a YA novel and make more money than JK Running.
What you’ll need:
- Mac computer
- leather notebook
- fountain pen
- loose papers
- coffee shop
There are three types of YA novels you can choose to write about.
1) post-apocalyptic dystopian romance novel
2) magical/fantasy/vampire romance novel
3) 21st century American teen coming-of-age, cancer romance novel
by Meg Thompson
During the lead up to the 2008 presidential election, when I was an English Instructor in western Missouri, a student said to me, shaking his head, “A woman and a black man. Can’t we just have a normal person run for office?”
I don’t remember how I responded, perhaps because I fainted. Back then, barely a semester out of graduate school, my approach to handling the delicate issues of race and gender veered toward melodrama. Today, when met with similar rhetorical questions, it is not uncommon to find me crouching in front of the student’s desk like I am taking an order at Chili’s, nodding, probing with my little questions: Why do you think that? After class, we would go to the university coffeeshop so we could chat one-on-one, more in-depth.
Now, in 2016, that black man is getting ready to finish his second term and that woman has the democratic nomination in her grasp. My female students come to my office, which is now in rural Oklahoma where I teach, and tell me in hushed tones that they aren’t feminists, but they believe women should be given equal treatment. Continue reading
ABC Family Freeform Network,
How did you do it? Please stop. I’m serious, get out of my head.
Tonight you’re re-branding yourself as the Freeform Network. I know that isn’t just some rando name change. You are tactically teaming up to destroy my life with television.
I’ll be watching tonight, as you launch #Freeform. How could I resist watching the premiere of Shadowhunters? The show follows a young human named Clary as she learns that she is part angel. But it gets better: Clary is just a bit more angel than all the other angel people. Shadowhunters, based on The Mortal Instruments, Clare’s pseudo-original Harry Potter fanfiction, has already been turned into a terribly unsuccessful movie. This feels like a carefully calculated trainwreck, the kind you know I can’t turn away from.
Clary is tortured because she is literally part angel.
I wasn’t always hooked on ABC Family. It begins slowly. Just one episode of Switched at Birth. Wow, the plot seems kind of ludicrous… two families of different races had their babies switched, and one of the parents knew for years but never said anything? This is exactly the kind of content that I, as a young millennial, love to hate-watch. I love to hate-watch it on my Netflix account (that I steal from my dad, obvs). I love to hate-watch it on my phone and my computer, because I am totally hip and free and young. Continue reading
The Rocky Road of Moving Pens
by Janet Buck
I almost die, lose my pen, disappear, come back to life a little bit. Somehow, perhaps by the grace of persistent boredom and a two-minute glance at reality shows, I find that precious stick among tsunami-sized piles of dog hair and shredded Kleenex under the bed, and voilà, the writing world has changed its clothes. It’s been more than five years since I’ve written or published much at all, so I’m hungry for that feeling of putting together a poem without losing a piece of the puzzle to the puppy teeth of our new Yorkie. The Ars Poetica floating on the internet was always a pretty dicey glass, half-empty, half-full, but I was under the comfortable delusion I could hold the cup without it slipping from my hands.
The water is now on the floor, our puppy’s licking up the mess, and I am left in dizzyland. The pastures I’m familiar with have grown new grass and added weeds, thistled ones. Poetry is a slinky woman wearing a thong; editors want short and terse, nothing over 30 lines. A complete sentence in a poem is considered excess grit. The bulk of guidelines threaten me with: “Don’t do that, do this instead, we like this, we don’t like that, we hate the part of reading fifty pounds of subs—and e-mails are a presence that will get you shot, or hanging upside down in the town square, with people throwing rocks at you. We don’t pay you; you pay us. But please submit; we want your work.” I fall for it like a three-scoop ice cream cone in my favorite flavor.
Fairly early on in the game, I was smart enough to realize that getting paid to expose my soul just wasn’t a “happening” enterprise, rather like setting up a lemonade stand at the North Pole and expecting people to fork out a buck for more damned ice. I’m the first to admit I fully applaud the invention of submission fees because journals without fiscal support go down in flames, and I feel sad when I read giant messages on my screen that say, “We’ve drowned and no one came to rescue us.” The fact is that we’re all together standing in the breadline out in the cold.
Ashby, a new comedy about a young boy who befriends an ex-CIA assassin, is not exactly a land mine of diversity. Not a single line was spoken by a person of color, and neither of the film’s female characters, played by Sarah Silverman and Emma Roberts, are given anything to do. Eloise (Roberts) has a mysterious MRI machine in her basement and even though she is really much more interesting than the male lead, played by Nat Wolff, she gets almost no screen time.
However, one thing bugged me even more than this. Emma Roberts, what are you doing with your glasses? Her character has thick frames and brown hair, as befits a young nerd. But the actress seems lost on what to do with them. She wears them like an accessory. In one scene she has her glasses off, and puts them on to read a computer. Why does she do this? Is her character nearsighted? And if so why does she wear them to walk around? She’s supposed to be high school aged. Does she have bifocals?
I’m imagining a new final scene. Roberts goes to an optometrist. “But doctor, I’m losing all my near sight and my long-distance vision. I thought this was an ailment of the middle age?”
“No Emma, this is actually quite common in women of your age.”
Roberts hisses. “You promised me that the blood of orphans you gave me would keep me young. I want to keep playing high school students for another 10, 20 years.”