Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Did you ever see Girls Just Want to Have Fun starring Sarah Jessica Parker? It’s goofy, and I knew that even when I watched it over and over again in third grade. It’s about a young girl who loves to dance, but is restricted by her conservative father. She sneaks out to have a boyfriend and compete on a TV dance competition, which I believe she wins to the song “Dancing in Heaven.” I still remember these lines:

Father: We made a deal!
SJP: We made a deal when I was seven years old and nightlife was The Muppet Show!

SJP: I can’t believe I have a boyfriend!
Boyfriend: Who’s your boyfriend? Tell your boyfriend to get lost because you’re going out with me tomorrow night.

I couldn’t believe these were actual lines in a movie, they felt grade D even then, and yet I couldn’t tear myself away. It was like High School Musical for 80s children, crack TV.


When I took painting class with my friend Martina in college, she showed me a cool trick where you paint the sky after you get the tree or whatever else you have going on, and when you do that the blue really pops. After that, I did it in every painting, and I just love it. Every time I see the sky through a web of tree branches, I just think it looks so cool and I heart the sky. I’ve started sketching (just yesterday), and am going to try to do a daily little sketch and try a little bit of poetry (this is all inspired by Maira Kalman). I have a long way to go to get back to where I used to be, but whatever (this word is forbidden in my sister-in-law’s house, which is understandable since she has a preteen daughter, but here, I can say it freely). Whatever, whatever, WHAT-EVER. Ha ha.

Welcome to the sickies

Wow, I didn’t really get how fully having a baby wreaks havoc on your life. Our apartment has always been messy with occasional breaks of organization, but no more. Whenever I look around, we are constantly surrounded by piles — sometimes clean, sometimes not. It looks like someone broke in the place.

Also, they warn you like crazy to get the flu vaccine, etc., once you have a youngun in your life, but they didn’t mention that it’s for your protection. Baby has been battling colds off and on, since he started day care, and I’m used to getting sick now and again. I spent last night with a plastic bucket by my head (so romantic), but Husband caught the bug too, and in all the years I’ve known Husband, he’s never been sick.

And tomorrow, we leave for the airport at 5:30 a.m. to visit Husband’s family for Thanksgiving. Finally finished packing by midnight. Wow. This parenting thing so thoroughly kicks my arse.

I wonder who writes these

Too much time on my hands? So sleep-deprived that my judgment is off? I read the entire spam message and was enchanted. Well, not really enchanted, but I did read it, and wondered who wrote these things? Are these spam letter generated by computers? Why do they always come from Ghana or Nigeria? Why not Paris or Canada?

For your reading pleasure:

From: Mrs. Elizabeth Cooper and FAMILY,

East Logon Accra Ghana.


I know you will be surprise to receive this mail from me as we do not know each other; nevertheless I am Mrs.elizabeth Cooper from Liberia presently residing in Accra Ghana.

I would like to apply through this medium for your co-operation to secure an opportunity to invest and to go into joint business partnership with you. I have a substantial capital I honorably intend to invest jointly with you into a lucrative business venture based on your advice and directive.

The essence of this mail is to open up communication with you to enable us know each other as regards to our plan to invest our money judiciously with you.

Please feel free to email me for further clarification on my intention to partner with you. God bless you as I will be looking forward to hear from you.


Mrs. Elizabeth Cooper AND FAMILY.

Spa Castle

What on earth is Spa Castle? I mean, I can google it as well as the next person – it’s a multilevel spa/bar/food court in Queens, and it’s open like 9 a.m. till midnight, so you could technically spend the entire day there. They have like saunas, massage services, and lots of pools that seem to be kind of warm. On one hand, it’s so wildly different from my everyday life, that I’m curious to go. On the other hand, drinking and eating, while getting massaged or right after/during sitting in a hot pool sounds horrible to me. And hey, it’s owned by Koreans! Yeah, that didn’t sell me either. But to be non-sequitor girl, you know what pang for Korean stuff I had recently? Korean blankets. Nothing is better than those mega-dense, cotton blankets. I think my folks got rid of their lifetime accumulation of blankets when we downgraded them from house to an apartment, which makes me sad, because I just love them. When I tried to see if I could buy one online, this is what came up.

This is not what I had in mind.


It is so fun feeding Baby solids that I have to restrain myself. I keep wanting to put different things by his mouth to see what he’ll eat, and so far, really, he’ll eat anything. I know you’re supposed to wait three days in between new foods, to make sure they don’t have allergies, but…it’s…so…hard. He ate some of my toast last night, he’s had some yogurt with cinnamon, he had some of Husband’s soy milk, among the traditional baby pureed stuff, but I know, he’s a baby, not a garbage disposal or a goat….even though he acts like one.

Valerie Plame Wilson

So I read about half of Fair Game: How a Top CIA Agent Was Betrayed By Her Own Government by Valerie Plame Wilson, played by Naomi Watts in the movie version (incidentally, there was also a movie named Fair Game starring Cindy Crawford in like the 80s or 90s; I presume it’s the same concept like oy, you’re a target and oy, you’re pretty. Hardy har har. Ms. Wilson is a very good-looking spy, so I can see how the movie and marketing people would get very excited over this dramatic story. Like if she were perfectly normal-looking, it’s doubt they’d plaster her face on the cover.

If you don’t remember the Plame Wilson story, here’s a refresher – Valerie Plame’s husband wrote an article in the NY Times that stated that there was no evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq (he went to Niger to investigate if Iraq bought a bunch of uranium or something and found none), which was the entire reason why Bush declared war there. After that article, Plame was outed as a covert operative and their lives were ruined (financially, business-wise, etc.) I think Libby Scooter (what was his name?) got charged for the leak and then George Bush pardoned him so he never really had to face consequences (which might be fine, since he might have been taking the fall for someone higher up in the food chain). It’s a pretty chilling story, which paints Karl Rove and his other cohorts as vengeful dudes, because there was no reason to out her other than to punish that family. They really weren’t winning anything except the petty satisfaction of showing who’s the boss. Regarding that whole administration? Good riddance.

But sadly, the book is bloodless. Plame is apparently known as a cool, analytical thinker, not a juicy storyteller so the whole thing doesn’t really have a pulse. The author expresses shock at the reaction to her husband’s actions, and part of me is thinking, Really? You didn’t think there’d be any ramifications of your husband publicly challenging your boss? I am not saying that outing her was right -– the Bush dudes were totally unethical and irresponsible, endangering not just Plame and her family, but all her contacts overseas (Really, Rove? Really?), but to not expect any possibility of fallout strikes me as extremely naïve, because I’m just a worker bee, but even I would wonder when the other shoe would drop…then again, I’m not the whistle blower type (too lazy).

In the end, it was a brave act; it was just incredibly boring in the retelling.

Things I’m into Right Now

1) Debussy. Man, “Clare de lune” is a really good song. Give it a chance. I played it growing up, but I re-heard it months ago in a yoga class, and I don’ know if my pores were just extra open that morning, but “Clare de Lune” struck me as extraordinarily delicate and moody, but not in a dark way. More like when you’re in a contemplative mood, and enjoying it, and you don’t want to talk to the outside world, or your mood would change. This is the music that would go inside that bubble, and it’s definitely a song you’d play in the morning. Terrence McNally wrote a whole play with the song in it, so there, I’m not the only one.

2) Eyeglasses. I wore contact lenses for many years, so I couldn’t fully appreciate eye glasses, particularly because the designs were so awful when I was growing up, but are these not a cool invention? I mean, you’re near-sighted, and someone thinks of strapping some corrective glass on your face so you can see? Very clever, humans.

3) Bicycles. I associate bicycles with very deep relaxing, or at least with bike rides I prefer, which is on a car-less road in nature with a granny bike with a basket. I don’t know how I arrived to this point of view. When I was younger, I regularly wiped out head over handlebars on most of my bike rides. (These were unforced wipeouts; I think I just was good at psyching myself out). But a few years ago, at my cousin’s wedding in a small beach town in Delaware, we could use the bikes outside the rented houses, and I hopped on one and took off by myself and it was the closest I’ve come to deep meditation.

4) Abraham Lincoln. I have really become obsessed with Abraham Lincoln. When Baby was in utero, there were several Halloween costume ideas floating around in my gigantic noggin, and one was Abe Lincoln, which is why I ended up doing. Gettysburg Address? Emancipation Proclamation? That’s good stuff, man. I blame Maira Kalman. She did that cool series on democracy in the Times, and did a photo/art essay on how she started to fall in love with Lincoln.

5) Maira Kalman. Like I just said in number 4, this woman has been doing photo essay series, one for the Times on democracy, which is now a book. I love her use of color and the loose feel of her paintings. Like when I look at them, I think about whether she drew first and then painted, or used the paint to structure what she was seeing. (I think the latter, which is such a foreign way to work to me. Like it reminds me when Husband advised my Shakespeare monologue prep to not just memorize the words, but do commit so thoroughly to the character that the words would just come organically. Wow, that boggled my mind.) I like that she chooses to paint things like dead presidents, but also like her lunch from the cafeteria or a dilapidated couch. She makes me want to dust of my ancient water colors and try my hand it. I want to sketch our home (the studio apartment that looks like it threw up on itself) so we can remember later (uh, unless we never move out?)

Parental lessons for…me

These are reminders for myself, so don’t follow my advice, please.

1) Don’t feed your child solids when he’s about to sneeze. (I struggle with this.)

2) If your child prefers your partner, try not to take it personally. As long as you feel bonded with the child, it’s not as essential for the child to feel bonded with you, and they will eventually return the favor. (…unless you’re an ogre?) Don’t complain, don’t whine, don’t write a letter of complaint, don’t compose cranky songs about it. Just accept it and move on. (Oy, I really, really struggle with this one. I’ve asked Mom to have a talk with Baby on my behalf.)

3) When your mother says, “I’m expecting a second one. No pressure,” take her at her word, even if she adds “You said you wanted four.” “When?” “When you were a child.”

4) Though hard to resist, do not pluck the lone booger that hangs, mistletoe-like, in your sleeping child’s nostril. Trust me, it is NOT worth it. If you’re lucky enough to have a child who is sleeping, enjoy. (Still working on this one. Oh, OCD tendencies, be still.)

5) When you change diapers on a boy baby, be aware they have been known to urinate mid-change. Keep a cloth or rag nearby to prevent accidents. (Sure, I’ve been warned about this phenomenon for years, years before I was pregnant and knew a boy was about to enter my world, and yet, I still don’t seem to absorb this warning. Every time the pee shoots out in a rainbow arch on the changing table, I squeal in shock. Our floor now features a fine coat of pee. Guests welcome!)

6) Try to avoid absolutes when giving unsolicited advice to other parents. In fact, don’t give unsolicited advice. (It turns out there is no such rule of “when you do x, then y will happen.” Some stuff works with some children some of the time, and you mean well and you want to help, but it only irritates your friend, so shut it down. Try listening instead.)

7) Don’t let your child watch TV until they’re two (unless you live in a studio and you really need to watch the Project Runway finale.) Don’t let your baby watch TV and eat paper at the same time. (Uh…)

8) When you find masticated paper in your child’s mouth, or catch him eating paper, remind yourself. “Well, at least he’s not choking.” There is always a silver lining. (Fiber.)

9) Do not panic about money, the future, and events beyond your control. Sure, there is something about having a child that suddenly makes the burden of adulthood altogether too real, but the trick of handling serious matters is to remain light. Like have fun, so you remember it’s not worth taking anything so seriously that you make grumpy company for your peers.

10) Let your partner help.