Set Me Free

When I heard this song in the car last week, I pictured a bosomy, middle-aged woman singing. So imagine my surprise when I look up the video and discover that Ryan Lochte’s smarter looking twin sings it. Free is stuck in my head, and this guy looks too young to have this much soul, but good for him. Enjoy.

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In the Bag

Busy moms always appreciate some shopping tips, right? Well, I have discovered your new bag. You are welcome. Imagine the looks on the other mom’s faces as you roll up on the soccer field with THIS over your shoulder. Or when you explain that, no, you can’t do carpool today because you are using one of your mini-van seats for your purse. And it probably only costs several thousand dollars. Again, you’re welcome!

One From the Vault

Several months ago, I marked my calendar that on October 2 Disney was releasing Cinderella from “The Vault.” Well, that day is here. When I ordered it from Amazon on Tuesday I actually felt giddy with excitement that I had the opportunity to buy this movie – like I was in on a secret that all the cool moms knew about. Setting aside the question of what is wrong with me, I would like to know, what is wrong with Disney. Seriously. Do they expect us to believe that there is really a vault? And that their movies are in such demand that people will jump at the rare opportunity to pay too much for them? Well, they are right on both counts. I imagine that the vault is multi-colored and has huge mouse ears.

This is the first full-on princess movie I’ve gotten for my daughter. I’ve been a little paranoid about media in general since both of my kids were little, and recent articles like this don’t really help. I’ve also been conscious of the Disney-princess-machine since I had my daughter, and have shied away from princess things. But then I see an ad for Cinderella and I remind myself of two things: one, I loved princesses and Barbie when I was little and I turned out to be a reasonably productive citizen who just happens to be completely dependent on her husband for the time being (oh my god), and two, it’s JUST A MOVIE.

Anyways, I actually think there are some fine lessons for girls in Cinderella. For example, as a girl, it is awesome to get dressed up and go out — Cinderella needed a break, got herself all fancied up, went to a happening place, and danced with a cute boy. Good for her. Also, it sucks to lose a nice shoe. And being mean to your siblings just never turns out well. Beyond that, if my daughter is so influenced by a movie that she thinks a guy is going to solve all of her problems, then I’ve really screwed up, and not just by buying too much princess junk.

But like all things with my kids, I’m probably over-thinking it. As I type this, my daughter is playing dress-up. She dug past all the fluffy pink tutus and dresses and is wearing a knight’s outfit, holding a shield, and chasing her brother with a foam sword.

Maybe a princess movie would do her some good.

Should we salute?

Now that I am no longer officially a “working” mom (oh my god, I know all moms are working, just calm down), I don’t really know what to write about. So for now, I will tell a funny story.

Once upon a time, before my husband and I knew about nap schedules and potty training, we went to Thailand for vacation. My husband has some long lost uncle or something (I still don’t know who he is) who lives in Bangkok, so once we were settled in our hotel, we called him. The first thing we learned about this “uncle”: he does not speak a word of English. And he wanted to take us around Bangkok for the day. We do not speak any Thai, but were psyched to have a native Bangkokian (that’s actually a word, I looked it up) take us around the city. Turns out the language barrier was no big deal – the “uncle” was the perfect tour guide, and drove us to some cool places we’d never heard of. And it allowed my husband and I to openly snark and make crass comments without worrying about offending anyone. It was really a win-win.

So it’s almost dinner time, and through a series of charades, “uncle” tells us we’re going to a nice restaurant. We pull up at a building with a large red sign with one word in English: “Abalone.” “Uncle” points at the sign and nods and says with enthusiasm, “Abalone!” So clearly, we’re going to eat abalone.

The restaurant has a formal, strangely Western feeling — white tablecloths, lots of silverware, American music playing, and lots of waiters and waitresses dressed in stiff white dress shirts and red tuxedo pants. My husband and I sit down and exchange glances to say: what the hell is abalone, why is 50 Cent playing on the radio, and why do the waiters look like they are in a marching band?

An older male waiter comes over to take our “uncle”‘s order. My husband notices the waiter’s nametag says nothing but “CAPTAIN.” He nudges me under the table to get my attention and we chuckle a little, wondering if his name is actually Captain, or if that’s the semi-cheesy title they came up with for waiters at this seafood restaurant. At least we think it’s a seafood restaurant – is abalone seafood? No idea. Still.

After an awkward silence at our table where “uncle,” husband, and I all stare at each other, Captain brings out our food. On my plate are several small, round slices of…something (meat?) that is pinkish and shiny, and covered in a clear, thick sauce. “Uncle” looks very proud and motions for us to eat. My husband and I are something other than proud. But not wanting to offend this man who has been lovely to us all day, we dive in. And it is not good. I mean, it’s not offensively bad, but it is rubbery and lukewarm and dense and kind of fishy. Wait, I think that’s the definition of offensively bad.

So my husband and I are trying to eat this new food without offending “uncle,” we’re jet lagged, 50 Cent is actually playing on a loop, and we’ve been sucking down tuk-tuk fumes for the past 6 hours. Then Captain’s helper, looking lovely and gracious in her dress shirt and red pants, comes to see if we need any water.

And her nametag says, “ASS CAPTAIN.”

For the rest of the meal, it was all my husband and I could do to keep abalone from flying out of our noses. I think the “uncle” took our stifled laughter as giddiness over our food, and everyone else probably just thought we were rude Americans. Which we totally were.

I can’t wait to travel internationally with the kids and expose them to other cultures. But maybe we should do it before they learn to read.

Yay

There is an ad on TV where a woman is constantly saying “NO!” to her family’s shenanigans. Her husband walks out of a dressing room with skinny jeans on and she says, “NO!” Her son tries to bring some slimy creature in a shoebox into the house and she says, “NO!” Her husband asks to quit his job and start a blog and, obviously, she says, “NO!” Because that’s just crazy.

Well, for some unknown reason, my husband did not say “NO!” when I asked to quit my job and start a blog.

I mean, the discussion didn’t go exactly like that. I don’t just want to start a blog, and it wasn’t like I said out of the blue that I wanted to stop working and just see what happened. Well, maybe it was a little bit like that. Anywho, long story short, I quit my job and am taking an “investment interval,” as Anne-Marie Slaughter would call it. I’m still technically a lawyer but I am not currently practicing, and I can’t even explain how good that feels.

This break has been a long time coming. I got sworn in to the Maryland bar in 2004, about six months after I’d graduated. I had already been working for a few months as a lawyer at that big-law-firm-that-shall-remain-nameless, and was beginning to really grasp what I had gotten myself in to. For my swearing in, I put on my best suit. My husband and I drove to a courthouse in Annapolis feeling celebratory and excited, and he snapped pictures while I stood up and took my oath. After the swearing in, I stood in line to get my official certificate that I was now a bar-certified lawyer. And I waited there, in that line of other newly minted lawyers in their nicest suits, and shook my head and cried. These were not happy tears. It was that kind of snorting, pathetic cry, where you’re surprised and embarrassed to be crying, which just makes it harder to stop.

I felt like I had just bought a pair of really expensive shoes that everyone said were beautiful, and I had just finally put them on and discovered they hurt my feet. And even though they hurt, I knew I was going to have to walk in them for a long, long time.

Turned out it was about 8 years.

But today I’m wearing flip flops.