Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude

What is it about women and sex that men just don’t get?

**Warning, this post involves a small spoiler about the movie Skyfall.**

Friday night, my friend Kristen and I went to see Skyfall.  We both enjoyed it quite a bit (probably more than or as much as the jumbotron bag of popcorn we split).  The movie did a lot of things right.  There was a great action sequence where Daniel Craig and his attacker were backlit.  The film hearkened back to the Bond films we all grew up loving, including a classic opening sequence.  And, best of all, Daniel Craig wore some really great suits.  (I love Tom Ford!)

Unfortunately, there was one thing I couldn’t get past.  Let me tell you about it.

While hunting down Silva (Javier Bardem’s baddy), Bond runs into a woman, Severine (played by Bérénice Marlohe).  Bond notes that Severine is scared of the man she “works” for.  He then uses his Bondly deduction skills to figure out that Severine was a victim of a sex-trafficking organization and is now victim to Silva, who owns her.  Bond, in turn, promises to save her.

She admits she is scared of her owner/jailor, and admits she’d like Bond’s help.  An hour later, Bond offers his help – by unexpectedly jumping in the shower and getting it on with her.

I’m sure men all over the globe cheered on this sex scene, and wished they could trade places with Bond for that one shower because Severine is hot.

And therein lies the problem.  We have a woman who’s been sexually victimized her whole life, and her savior comes in the form of… a guy who has sex with her.

The three writers of Skyfall are all men, so I’m assuming they just don’t get how that’s not cool.  What is it about men that makes it hard for them to understand how sex can affect and damage a woman?

From comments about “legitimate rape” to people suggesting women are to blame for rape, it seems that many men trivialize the role of sex in a woman’s life.

I’ve never suffered a sexual trauma (thank heavens), but I can see how this would be a life-changing and majorly devastating event.  I realize that for Severine, a true hero would have chosen NOT to have relations with her but instead maybe had a conversation.  (Go figure!)

How do we, as women, get men to understand these perceptions?  How do we get men to see how sex, in a negative sense, can be the worst thing to ever happen to someone?

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Thank God for Unanswered Prayers

As I perused Facebook this evening, a ridiculous political status popped up in my news feed. It was penned by a guy I had a crush on over a dozen years ago.

For a moment, I toyed with writing a response to call the status-writer out, but then the moment passed. Instead, I had the sudden thought, “I’m so glad I didn’t end up with him.”

Two days ago — again on Facebook — a picture popped up in my news feed. It was of my major college crush. Back in college he had the potential to really be something, but he never got past the college-guy lifestyle. He’s now wallowing in a crappy job, drinking and smoking his way to major unhealthiness, and looking plain old worn down by life. I really dodged a bullet with that one.

There are other crushes whom Facebook has allowed me to see, and they’re all the same — guys I’m glad I didn’t end up with. Not because they changed, but because I changed.

I’m not a huge Garth Brooks fan, but he has this song called
Unanswered Prayers.” Never has a song spoken more truth.

I remember times in the past, wondering why this guy or that guy didn’t work out, praying they would. Being sad, and miserable, and just wanting God to make a relationship work out.

But now, when I see Hubby giving Buddy an arm-chomper or changing a diaper, or laughing at me because I’m singing a song without knowing the lyrics, I know to thank God for those unanswered prayers.

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For Buddy

This one’s for Buddy and Hubby.

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ALERT: Get your kids away from Elmo, NOW!

**********UPDATE**********

The Elmo pupeteer’s accuser recanted his allegations of sexual abuse (click here to read more.). So, if the accuser was 18, instead of 16, when he and Clash started their sexual relationship, does that make everything okay? It still means an almost 30 year difference exists between the two men. If the accuser was a young female, would that make a difference? Or, what if the accuser was a young male having a sexual relationship with a “cougar” who is 30 years older? If 2 teens are having a sexual relationship, and one is 18, should the “adult” (male or female) go to jail? I don’t know…something about this still doesn’t sit right with me… I’m curious if you feel the same way. Either way, let me know in the comments below.

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Parents beware: Elmo is not the lovable, furry, red friend you thought he was. Instead, he is now merely the puppet behind an alleged pedophile.

Yep, you heard me correctly. Does this make you want to cry? Does it give you that nauseous, almost-puking feeling in the pit of your stomach? Are you now dreading the fits that will ensue when you attempt to remove Elmo from your toddler’s existence? Me too…ughh.

Reading this article actually made me quite sad (Click here to view the article.), because I love Elmo too! I’ve loved him ever since I was a kid. He’s bright red (my favorite color), his shrill is too cute, and he’s the most irresistible teacher that I’ve ever met. Wait, this startles me even further. Isn’t that what pedophiles do…lure their victims in with something too cute to resist? Again, I want to vomit. Just last night, my husband and I were woken up by talking Elmo, who our son was squeezing a little too tightly. Our son loves Elmo so much that he takes him to bed with him! And, right now, it’s the only thing that calms him down when I am trying to make dinner. He even requested an Elmo cake for his birthday…sigh. Why, Elmo, why???? Why are you doing this to me and every other child and parent out there???? Time to slowly transition him to Little Einsteins or something, I guess…grrrrr!

Despite the fact that the alleged charges haven’t been proven, I don’t think I will ever be able to look at Elmo the same way again. And, the thought of my son idolizing and playing with him now makes my skin crawl!

Is this Elmo’s demise? Will he ever recover? Will we ever be able to feel the same about him again? Or, (reaching here) is this some political conspiracy to get rid of Sesame Street funding? Seriously Mitt, you lost the election already; time to get over it!

At least the kids thought it was funny (the joke about Mitt…)!

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eVictimized

You’ll never believe what Jill emailed me!

A little after midnight on Saturday, I checked my email. Big mistake. For the next hour, I would toss and turn, for I had been the victim of The Unpermitted Email Forward.

You see, on Friday I sent an email. It asked a question of someone in authority. The email was in no way, shape or form disrespectful, secretive or scandalous. On the scale of email excitement, it barely clocked in at a 0.001. Yet when I saw that this mild email had been forwarded – without my consent – to a third party, my blood began to boil. The third party (let’s officially call them Third Party), responded to both the Forwarder and me. Third Party wrote a lengthy (and I mean lengthy) response to the question my original email had asked, but that did not matter to me. I cared not a whit about what their email said. They could have rewritten the Treaty of Versailles for all I cared. I was super POed that Forwarder sent my email on to someone else without my permission.  Even though my email didn’t say anything I wouldn’t have said to Third Party, I didn’t want to include Third Party in the conversation.

I long for the glorious days of yore, when email didn’t come in to play. Do you remember that? You could say something and not worry. If someone repeated your words to another person, there was never any proof that it actually came from you.

Now, with emails, your words are there for everyone to see. And unlike the Glorious Days of Yore, email forwarders don’t feel guilty about the act of passing along an email. Nope. Why would they? They’re not gossiping, they’re spreading the truth.

Come on, admit it, you don’t feel bad about it. You forward emails all the time without asking permission. Not a day goes by when I don’t send hubby at least half a dozen emails that were addressed to me, not to him. I write it off under the guise of “Well, I’d tell him about it anyway.” And most of the emails I forward are jokes, or political emails from people who should know better than to send me political emails.

But still. It’s a bad thing. When we talk to someone, we do so with a specific purpose in mind. When I’m at the grocery store and I say to the clerk, “It’s almost 11, you’re soon off duty!” I want them, and only them, to be the recipient of my words.

The same is true when I write an email. But with one click of the mouse, my words can be sent to 10, 15, 20 million other people, all without my knowledge.

I’m sure you’ve been burned once or twice by the Unpermitted Email Forward. It’s happened to all of us. My husband once famously forwarded something to me from a romantic rival (we still laugh about the fall-out from that…). For the most part, I’ve learned to be cautious with what I write in an email. Heck, some of my friends and I even have code names for people, so that if emails ever left our hands we couldn’t be held accountable. But it still upsets me when it happens. It still ticks me off. No matter how unimportant my email was, the sheer act of pushing it forward is sneaky. It’s duplicitous. It’s. Not. Very. Nice. And you can quote me on that.

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Adrenaline Rush, Baby!

Pedal to the metal…music pounding…singing to the beat…blurring into the distance…adrenaline rush, baby! I love it!!! I love it so much, in fact, that I could probably start listing my collection of speeding tickets as one of my great accomplishments! Okay, maybe it’s not thaaaaaaat bad, but I have earned my share of warnings and fines over the years (Sorry, officer brother-in-law and insurance-sharing husband!!).

Now, before you start freaking out about how I have kids, and I’m putting everyone else in danger…blah, blah, blah. (Give me a break; I’m obviously in complete control!), I save my speeding addiction for the very, very, very, very, few times I am in the car without my kiddos, which explains my most recent ticket after a fantastic night out with the girls…ughhh…total adrenaline crash.

Honestly, every once and a while I NEED an adrenaline rush. It makes me feel alive and young and free. When I met my husband, he provided constant rushes of adrenaline that I had never experienced before. He was new, exciting and opened my eyes to a totally different world – a world of fun, adventure and freedom, where it’s okay to think about yourself every once and a while. Hands down, it’s one of the top five reasons I married him and what still makes my heart skip a beat.

Although having kids has seriously slowed that part of our journey, we both still crave that feeling of freedom and blood-surging exhilaration.  Because I understand this longing, I cannot be too upset with my husband right now, who rushed into a hurricane devastated and dangerous part of New York City Friday night, in order to help a struggling company (sigh, shake, gasp…worry). He needs to feel alive, just as much as I do. And, secretly, I think my husband has always wanted to help save the world. This is his chance to do something meaningful. By helping this company, he also helps the people trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy. I can’t fault him for that, can I? Afterall, if I didn’t have the kiddos, I’d be right beside him.

Here are a couple pictures from his trip (minus a video that refused to play upright of a mile-long stretch of cars waiting for fuel):

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Social Conditioning

10 things I need to know about life that I learned from the interwebz.

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My mother in law sent a text yesterday in all caps. I think I physically flinched while reading it. I immediately shot back a reply that went something like this: “Cool your jets woman!” Well, that’s what I wanted to say. Instead, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that technology is a language and our parents are Second Language Learners. If you wanted to get super linguidorky, we “speak” a creole and our children are the first generation who can truly call themselves native speakers in technology. But, I digress.

Being a part of the evolution of the technological dialect has actually molded my character a bit. One tends to try to think before speaking a bit when the entire planet is your audience. I’ve either learned or reaffirmed the following lessons through Facebook, email, chat rooms, AIM (remember that?!), text messaging and Google.

1. Don’t Be Too Unique
Sometimes, when I Google things that should be simple to find, I get zero results. If, however, I replace my query with more common wording, I have pages and pages of results. We are all hard wired more or less the same and process things similarly (which shouldn’t be a shocker). If this weren’t the case, memes like LOL Cats and Someecards wouldn’t flood your wall. Lesson learned: We are a society. A certain amount of thinking alike is not only expected but required for survival.

2. If You Can’t Say Anything Nice, Wait For Someone Else to Be Rude and Agree
More than once, I have seen people flamed to the high heavens for a simple mistake or slightly less than perfectly researched error. The first half dozen responses tend to give the benefit of the doubt and then someone inevitably calls the OP out on his/her idiocy. After the dam is broken, it’s on! Scores and scores of other posters chime in with, “Yeah! What he said!” until the OP dramatically announces that he is going to close his account. This backfires (imagine 200 buh-byes and don’t-let-the-proverbial-door-hit-yas) and he is forced to create a new screen name. Lesson learned: Bullying is everywhere. Humans are not above ascribing to pecking orders and gang mentality.

3. If You Want to See Sunshine, Take Off Those Morbid Dark Sunglasses
If I post a rant or vent, I may get a couple raised fists and thumb up but a simple, “It’s beautiful out today” will have my notifier vibrating itself silly for the rest of the day. Lesson learned: People like happy. Smile and the world smiles with you; frown and frown alone. A

4. There’s No Such Thing As Right
Before the Internet, I often felt like my opinions were correct. This is, of course, a contradiction in terms but I didn’t know that until I got my smug butt handed to me by 300 strangers a couple times. If you want to test out a theory quickly, type it up as fact and post it in a chat room. You will quickly see every possible hole in your hypothesis.
Lesson learned: Seek first to understand.

5. Be Very Clear
When your interlocutor cannot see your face, seemingly innocent expressions can ignite WWIII. There is no room for sarcasm in text messages or online.
Lesson learned: Don’t assume the other guy got the message you meant to send.

6. Silence is Golden
If you are in a text messaging fight, nothing will tick off your opponent faster than a few harsh words – except for a lack thereof. If you simply commence radio silence, the guy in the other corner of the ring will text himself silly wondering where you went. Wait through all the threats and curses and you’ll eventually get the “OK. I’m sorry. Call me?” Works like a charm.
Lesson learned: Let the other guy blow off steam before you step into the ring.

7. Body Language is Critical “No!!! >;;;:(” does by equal “No :-P” nor “No ;)”. There is more to words than the letters that compose them. We need to see each others’ faces and hear each others’ tone of voice in order to effectively communicate. Have you ever pondered the irony of the fact that in half the time it took to invent a purely mechanical means of communication, we created a way to turn black and white text into faces, hearts, roses and more? Humans need body language more than we need words. Lesson learned: People can read you like a book. Make sure they aren’t judging you by a cover- be true to your message by making your body language reinforce your meaning.

8. Friendship Takes Work I still have letters from my 5th grade BFF, my middle school BFF, my high school BFFs and my college BFF. Yet, I couldn’t tell you what 3/4 of those women are doing today…because they aren’t on Facebook. On the other hand, I can tell you whether my ex-boyfriend is seeing someone new, where she works, how many of my other friends know her and where she got her new tattoo…because they are both on Facebook. I honestly believe that if I had Facebook growing up like my younger sister did, I would have learned more quickly how to patch up a wounded relationship and keep it healthy enough to at least wish one another happy birthday every year. It used to be too easy to let the distance erode friendships. Now, I know more about my friends in Spain than my neighbors, I’ve built a relationship with my second-cousin-once-removed (can you name yours?) and kept a good enough friendship with ex-boyfriends to help one get a very good job. And all it took was the occasional thumbs up when someone posted a photo or a witty meme. Lesson learned: One step goes along way when it is aimed in the direction of a friend.

9. Share
Today, a friend “stole” my Facebook status and reposted it on her wall. One of her friends, in turn, asked if she could copy it and my friend said, “Sure, I stole it, too!” Instead of being angry that my intellectual property was thieved, I was honored that a whole community of people I’ve never met would be chuckling at my wittiness.
Lesson learned: What’s mine is yours, what’s yours is theirs, what’s theirs will come around and be mine again.

10. The Only Constant is Change I can’t remember the first time I read LOL, but I remember rolling my eyes at spin-offs like: ROTFL, FOOMCL, and LMAO (which I can’t stand for some inexplicable reason). Now, kids are typing letter combos that take serious time and thought to figure out. Sometimes, I give up and Google them. Most recently: “tl;dr” which I find a bit rude. It’s amazing how quickly we “need” something that never existed before. How on earth did I ever have a conversation without using OMG or WTF? Lesson learned: Embrace the new, it may actually be improved. Or not, but at least you won’t be hopelessly out of touch.

I remember when technology was a novelty. Now, it is inextricably woven into the fabric of our culture. How many of you had a mini panic attack at the thought of Sandy wiping out your social networking? Have you noticed that malls don’t have pay phones any more? When’s the last time you walked out of a room and said the letters BRB? Technology used to imitate life but now I think life may be starting to imitate technology. Like if you agree.

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I’m going to the prom!

Dress

Or at least it feels that way!! Tonight, the Central Penn Business Journal is hosting their Business of the Year Awards. I am going to the black-tie event with my husband and have to get all gussied up (as my grandma would say). Honestly, I think my wedding was the last time I spent so much time and energy on dressing for an event! There is a stressful part though; I have less than 2 hours to get my hair done, get the kids, get ready and meet everyone else to head to the event after work today. Thank goodness I thought ahead and put dinner for my parents and the kiddos in the crock-pot!

Working ahead (of Hurricane Sandy, especially) is my secret to getting to the event on time…fingers crossed! Last week, I searched high and low for shoes and a matching gown and made sure to have it altered ASAP.  My sister saved me and made an appointment to get our nails done yesterday (so that I was not embarrassed by my wood-chopping hands). Spending money on manicures is not something I usually do, but she recommended I get something called a Shellac manicure, and I swear it’s made of rock-solid diamonds, because it hasn’t chipped yet (even after chopping wood!)! I also made sure to shave in advance (no goose bumps, please!), painted my toes and de-mommied my feet (I know…gross!).

After making sure my hair was big and curly today, I’m having it swept to the side at Downstreet, so I actually look like I took the time to do it nicely (Thank you, Caroline!!)! Because the fashion gene totally skipped me, I didn’t think about needing a purse. Fortunately, one of my favorite friends came through for me and is letting me borrow a really sleek clutch from her Etsy shop, New Old Fashion Vintage! She seriously rocks!!

And, if you think all that and the sparkles I’m adding in accessories aren’t fancy enough, the owners of Premiere #1 Limousine, who are nominated in the 1-50 employee category, are taking all of us to the event in style – by limousine, of course!   I have to say, I’m super excited, and also secretly hoping that the food is first-class!!! Another thing that I am excited about…seeing my hubby in a tux (Oh yeah!!!)!!  I am seriously lacking adult time with my hubby – Can you tell?? Wait, when was the last time we had a date without the kiddos, July!?!

Good luck Premiere #1! The businesses of the year will be revealed tonight, and I am going to enjoy my date!

(Better pictures to follow! Until now, click on the links throughout the article to see my ideas and recommendations!)

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