Place your bets: Cyrus versus Syria

If you have a TV or computer or even just walk among the living during somewhat normal hours you have probably heard about Miley Cyrus at the VMAs on Sunday night.

You can narrow social media response to a few main categories.

The die-hard fans: Mostly tween and teenage girls… and their mothers. They either don’t care about how unusual her performance was or they loved it to pieces so just leave Britney alone already.

The turncloak fans: Mostly tween and teenage girls and definitely their mothers. These are young girls who didn’t realize that the lyrics to the song they loved were about drinking and drugs. I feel for these girls, not so much for their mothers. Were you really fooled by that wig? You thought Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus were the same person? She is a grown woman, if you are going to get your panties in a Miley sized wedgie over their music then maybe you should listen to it before you let them buy it on iTunes. These are the actual lyrics to the song, referencing dancing like you are in a strip club and doing lines in the bathroom. She did not sneak these lyrics in for the VMAs. AND if you are letting your children listen to Blurred Lines and watch that ridiculous video then don’t cry foul about Miley’s performance.

The slut shamers: Many of these are the same moms mentioned above and unfortunately their daughters are following their lead. Some of them are grown women with no children (of that age) that have no business watching the VMAs. I mean, do what you want with your Sunday night, but I was only watching it because Beauty turned it on. I personally don’t care what Miley was wearing or even that she was twerking her cute little booty off. I was more upset about the teddy bears and the horrible choreography than her wardrobe. Okay, those panties were a little weird and the simulated rim job was not my taste. (pun not intended but left for amusement) She is an adult now and as she says in her song,

It’s our party we can do what we want to
It’s our house we can love who we want to
It’s our song we can sing if we want to
It’s my mouth I can say what I want to
Yea, Yea, Yeah

So, yeah. Take that. It’s MTV. If you were looking for reserved try The Cooking Channel. I’m just guessing, I don’t actually watch cooking shows.

The clueless: This is mostly older adults with no teenagers or young parents with young children who only knew something happened at the VMAs, or that the VMAs still exist, because on Monday morning their feed was flooded with updates. If they posted about Miley at all it was to ask, “what is twerking?”

And last, but not least, in fact, the focus of my writing,

The “what about Syria” crowd: For every two Miley posts like the type above there was at least one “all you people are talking about Miley Cyrus while meanwhile in Syria…” post.

Show of hands (via comment), did you actually forget Syria existed while you were talking about Miley Cyrus? If so, and be honest, did you even know something was happening in Syria before the twerk scandal?

Here’s my opinion. You may not agree and you may not like it but don’t pretend it’s not what you came for. I don’t report the weather here, folks.

If anything, a well known white pop star licking and smacking black people, dancing provocatively on another controversial pop star, and saying, “hey, we do what we want and you can’t stop us, we can’t even stop ourselves” is exactly what we need, especially to draw attention to Syria.

I have seen more conversations online about racism, slut shaming, the state of our music industry, the direction our daughters are headed and rape culture in the past few days than I generally see in a whole year. (And that is saying a lot because I follow a lot of left leaning pages and my friends are the kind of people who care about this stuff.) These are conversations we need to have. We should be having them daily.

Now that we understand and agree that discussing Miley Cyrus’ tongue and twering is important, back to Syria. No one who knew there was conflict in Syria forgot about while discussing these other, also important issues. Maybe they prefer not to discuss it online. Maybe they were talking about both and Facebook does that thing it does where it hides the stories getting less comments. Maybe they were discussing it in private groups. *raises hand* But I assure you, no one forgot Syria existed.

However, people who have previously been hiding under rocks or forced to watch Dora all day, and the percentage of teenagers that just don’t care about things outside the halls of their high school, were suddenly bombarded with “what about Syria?” posts, and asked themselves, “yes, indeed what about Syria?” They may have even looked it up or asked someone or read the posted article.

So, come down off your high horses friends, and discuss Miley Cyrus with us. I bet her horse Blue Jeans gets high, too. (Wait, that was Miley Stewart. Her multiple personalities get so confusing!) We promise not to forget about…. that one place…

Just kidding. In case you have no idea what all the Syria talk is about: this should be easy to understand. 

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How I Know My Family Is Out To Get Me: Kitchen Edition

Recently I was informed that my family insisting on three solid meals a day AND snacks is not actually proof they are out to get me. Fair enough. Surely this list will convince you.

  • Wet, bloated macaroni noodles hiding under a plate in the sink. If you didn’t want to touch it when it first fell out what makes you think I want to pick it up the next day? It looks and feels unnatural.
  • Lettuce. Lettuce is my nemesis. That my family continues to consort with my sworn enemy is proof that they are not on my side. It falls on the floor and apparently becomes invisible. It sneaks into the dishwasher and adheres to plates so thoroughly I have to scrape it off with my thumbnail. Ick.
  • Wet meat. I want to hurl just typing that. That little pile of goop caught in the sink drain catcher is bad enough with a bloated noodle, but wet meat? Gag. You don’t do that to someone you love.
  • Standing water. It stands to reason if wet meat and a bloated noodle turn my stomach then reaching into water someone else left sitting with any possible combination of disgusting mystery ingredients is not going to please me.
  • Dirty sponges. This is just evil. Sponges are gross. No really, sponges are gross.

A sponge that’s been in use for no more than two or three days in a kitchen will harbor millions of bacteria,” said Elizabeth Scott, co-director of the Simmons Center for Hygiene and Health in the Home at Simmons College in Boston. That’s a problem, she said, ”if you pick up the pathogen or a pathogenic E. coli, salmonella or campylobacter on the sponge.”

She added: ”That means that any time you use the sponge to wipe up a surface you are potentially spreading those pathogens.”

  • Dishes Jenga. When I walk into the kitchen and the dishes are piled haphazardly in the sink, likely to fall at any moment, I just walk back out again and hope it was a bad dream.
  • The set of measuring spoons tethered together by a ring. I find it suspicious that this is the only dish ever thoroughly rinsed, therefore I have to wash each spoon because I have no idea which one was used.
  • The glob of jelly on the counter. The paper towel is right there.
  • The last smudge of something leftover from last week. I open the fridge, delighted to realize there are leftovers I can serve instead of cooking again, only to discover not only is there not even half a serving left, but now I have another dish to rinse and clean.

That’s how I know. 

Sappy Wedding Post

We went to a wedding this weekend. It was two hours away in a tiny town that was almost in another state. We were running late. The kids were hungry and a little whiney even though I made a big beautiful breakfast. I scrambled eggs, anyway, and toasted some waffles. I should probably mention that we were at Our Bar the night before the wedding, too, and The Barkeep was actually in the wedding, so we kind of needed to get there on time, which meant leaving at 8am and not stopping every half hour for drinks and gas and an SD card for the camera. I don’t wear dresses for very often, especially not dresses that require a strapless bra, but I wore one Saturday and I even made myself a pair of what I have decided to call my “east side Spanx.”  My dress material was not very forgiving so I cut the legs off of an old pair of control top panty hose. I left enough length on the thighs to control them, too. (I’m a 37 year old mother of four, sometimes parts of me need control.) These were 10 times more comfortable than the bra. I felt fabulous.  Just try it some time. Hike them up as high as you need to to feel hot and never write a blog telling your closest friends and complete strangers the secret to your sexy dress.  Anyway, east side Spanx, strapless bra, whiney kids, teenagers obsessed with boy bands, it was quite the ride.

pretty

We made it on time, though, and there are some friends that just pulling up beside them puts you at ease. That’s my buddy T-Pig. Beer in hand, shorts and a t-shirt, looking cool and comfortable in the sunshine. We followed him 2 blocks from the park to his family’s house that was also a bed and breakfast. I have been to a lot of weddings. I have been in a lot of weddings. I have never been so relaxed preparing for a wedding. Everyone was milling about eating muffins, drinking lemonade or Coors Light, and chatting. His family opened their home and business to all of us and made us feel welcome. Then we went back over to the park and witnessed one of the most awesome weddings I have ever been part of. (It was worth the two hour drive, especially when you put it in the perspective that they drove 8 hours to have their wedding closer to all of us.) It was sweet, simple and fun. Pinwheels marked the aisles, the kids used bubble guns instead of tossing flowers, one of the couples did a cute dance as they walked down the aisle, and another friend of ours officiated the ceremony. His speech was short but meaningful and interesting. The Bride wrote vows that made everyone cry. We’re going to call her Sparks… like Nicholas Sparks, she writes romantic tearjerkers. Seriously, though, she did it again later at the reception and it sounded completely unplanned and off the cuff. I think she should go into politics.

boys

Sharkboy and Little S dissolved in to tears and wails of agony shortly before the wedding started, so we invented The Tantrum Tree. You can bawl your eyes out, but do it down there by that tree where no one else has to hear it. Every event should have a tantrum tree.

This blog isn’t actually about their wedding, though, it was just their wedding that got me thinking about the inevitable outcome of weddings… marriage.

coors

H-Bomb’s wedding was also amazing, though very different from Sparks and T-Pig’s. It was her minister that told the story of The Itsy Bitsy Spider before their vows. It made me giggle, but at least he was interesting. (I have stood through some boring sermons.) He compared a married couple to the spider, climbing up the water spout, bad days come and knock you down and make your climb seem impossible, but then the sun comes back out and you can climb again. It may sound bleak, but it’s realistic. Relationships are hard work. No two people are alike enough to never disagree and many people were never taught how to disagree without causing damage. On top of that, life is hard. Shit happens. Cars break down. Businesses downsize and jobs get dissolved. Babies are born, or babies are not born in to a home that waits for them. Homes get foreclosed. People get sick. Careers get relocated. So many curveballs. Every couple makes a promise on their wedding day to keep getting back up and to keep climbing together. And they mean it. Right then and there they mean it and they believe it. But life is hard.

pinwheels

Standing there in perfect weather at the perfect wedding I had an epiphany. It started with the subtle idea that in this age of technology we could easily videotape every wedding on a small device and carry it around at all times. When the rain comes and waiting for the sunshine is just too long and difficult, you can open the file right there on your smart phone and relive your promises to each other. That idea took hold and rooted into something more. Every couple needs advocates. Like godparents, if you will, to sponsor the couple and champion them through rough times.  The bride and groom would each choose an advocate to help them with their wedding planning and vow writing. The advocate would pledge to see the couple through the hard times and back into the sunshine to the best of their abilities. Imagine if after telling your friends and family about recent chaos in your home you each got a call from your advocate, they took you out for a drink and talked about how you, as a couple, always inspired them. Your advocate would talk to you about thought you put into your vows and what they meant to you. They would remind you of something else you worked through together back when it was easier, and how good it felt to bask in the sunshine together.

Weddings are beautiful and full of promise. If everyday could be pretty dresses and laughing children, out of state relatives and delicious cakes we would never need reminded of the sunshine. It would also get very expensive and tiring. How do you suppose I make this catch on? Who do I talk to about changing the way weddings work? Wait a minute, hold the phone, I just did a little Google research to remember the name of a celebrity wedding planner (it was David Tutera) and realized there is an entire channel pretty much dedicated to weddings. That is where I need to start. I’ll make it the trendy new thing all the hip brides are doing and it will catch on. In the meantime… maybe we can just take it upon ourselves to support one another. Be an advocate for your friend’s relationship, for your sister’s marriage, for your brother’s family.

corny

I’m not worried about my friends. I know they have advocates and each other and plenty of sunshine. That is my wish for everyone.