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The Post in Which I am Thankful
Nov 30th, 2009 by Christina

It’s not always easy to come up with ideas for blog posts, so when a holiday like Thanksgiving 2602363529_aa2be7a127rolls around, it’s like a freebie from the blogosphere, a no-brainer. You simply write a post about being thankful, even if everyone else is doing the same thing, and even if the holiday was four days ago.

So, while this blog has chronicled the assorted forms of emotional and financial devastation for which I am decidedly not thankful, I am also genuinely grateful for many things in my life.

Here we go:

  • I’m thankful that I get to be the mom of two whip-smart, sensitive and stunning girls, and that the three of us are somehow finding our way. So what if the man of the house is now our pet betta fish, Bobby, who can’t even open a jar?
  • I’m thankful for an ex who participates in a true 50-50 custody arrangement, something not all women in my position enjoy.
  • I’m thankful for the Red Hook Ikea, which opened just when I needed the uplifting feeling that only decorating-on-a-Swedish-shoestring can bring.
  • I’m crazy thankful for my devoted, supportive, smart, funny, loving and loyal bunch of friends–and some pretty cool family members as well.
  • I’m thankful that, apparently, I am not too jaded to try this love thing again, and that such a creature as S exists.
  • I’m thankful for the kick-ass sandwich I made with Thanksgiving leftovers that my ex-in-laws sent home with my kids.
  • I’m thankful that, no matter what my future brings, I will never again have to live through the months spanning Fall 2007 through Summer 2009, A.D.

Oh, and one more thing: I’m very thankful that I got over my blog-aversion, read WordPress for Dummies, and created this blog, which I enjoy working on more than almost anything else I do all week. Mostly, I am thankful to you for reading it.

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It’s a Guy Thing
Nov 23rd, 2009 by Christina

Here is a sentence I never thought I would write: I am in New Jersey sitting on the couch with my 225665357_d73cb83b14boyfriend, who is watching football.

The two words that leap out at me are boyfriend and football. (I was going to make a crack about New Jersey, but that’s so cliche at this point, plus it’s really not that funny. It’s just a place where people live–some of my favorite people, in fact, so I say let them live in peace.)

And I know I’ve already mentioned S-the-boyfriend, so maybe that’s old news. But I still find it kind of a bug-out that a) omg, I have a boyfriend; how did that happen?, and b) I can say it openly, especially given that, technically, I still have a husband.  I have a husband and a boyfriend! Look at how far we’ve come that I can say that on a public forum without fearing that I’m going to be burned at the stake or forced to parade around with a scarlet A on my chest. To add to the excitement, my husband has a girlfriend, whose husband has a girlfriend, etc. We are all so out-of-the-box evolved, aren’t we? Why, it’s just a matter of time before we’re all vacationing together on cruise ships for the amicably divorced.

But I digress–because what’s most remarkable here is the football thing. I know: Guy who watches football describes 97 percent of men in this country–yet I have never had a boyfriend who was into football. Nev. Er. I’ve had boyfriends who wore eye make-up and/or trendy hats, and I had a husband who watched the Superbowl–but he’s of the breed who is in it for the commercials and the snacks.

Not only is S into watching football in the can’t-miss way that some of us watch, oh, Mad Men, but, because he has a Y chromosome, he actually understands what’s going on. He insists that no, it’s not just a bunch of over-sized brutes running into each other and knocking each other down until they become brain-damaged. He talks about it as if it’s a chess game, using words like strategizing and premise and intelligent. Yet, try as I might, I cannot see anything but a bunch of big lugs randomly bumping into each other–and from an informal poll, it seems most women are equally perplexed by the appeal of this sport. Are there women who really get football? If you’re out there, please reveal yourselves. (And, btw, I don’t want to hear about how you like soccer, baseball, basketball or tennis. I’m only interested if you’re a woman who actively enjoys watching football and can explain why.)

Usually this is the point at which I reach a pithy, often touching conclusion, but I don’t have one for this post.  All I can say is that I don’t get football, but I do like sitting on a couch in New Jersey with a certain guy who does.

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Mad Men’s Marital Problems
Nov 9th, 2009 by Christina
Being Mrs. Don Draper could turn anyone into a Mad Woman.

Being Mrs. Don Draper could turn anyone into a Mad Woman.

I’ve been toying with writing a Mad Men-inspired post for weeks, and now that the season finale has occurred (leaving so many of us questioning if life is worth living until the show resumes next summer), it’s time to get down to it. The show is so chock-full of marital woes that it would be irresponsible for me not to weigh in.

(Oh–here’s the part where I warn you that I will be revealing plot details–aka, “spoilers.” If that matters to you, stop reading, go back to whatever it was you were doing, and come back when you’re caught up.)

Cripes, could there be a more miserable portrayal of matrimony than the unions depicted on Mad Men? I mean, the writers won’t even pretend that there was such a thing as a happy, fulfilling marriage in the early 1960s. It’s just one smoky, alcohol-soaked, sexist nightmare after the next. Let’s have a look:

  • Joan and Greg. Supremely hot, always-aquiver, yet also smart-as-a-whip Joan weds moody, dull, self-centered Greg Harris just because he’s a doctor. Does this guy have any redeeming qualities, anything at all that makes him worthy of her? He rapes her, he’s needy and childish, and still she’s loving and supportive, sweet and sexy, and puts dinner on the table. How could you not think “yes!!” when she casually smashed a vase against her hubby’s head? He survived that, but now he’s joined the army and will most likely be shipped off to ‘Nam pretty soon. Oh well.
  • Roger and Jane. Roger is a snake, but he’s grown on me this season. He’s shown some vulnerability, what with the woman who resurfaced from his past, his enduring affection for Joanie, and his public praise of ex-wife Mona at their daughter’s wedding. He’s already done with tipsy trophy-wife Jane, that’s clear–but she’s even ickier than he is and I find myself not caring about her at all. Mona is obviously twice the woman Jane is and Roger knows it. But Jane is younger and prettier, so at least he has his priorities straight.
  • Pete and Trudi. Will cheerful, lovable Trudi, silly lampshade hats and all, come to her senses and realize that her husband is a slimy weasel? I doubt it. She’s a loyal wife, oblivious to the fact that Pete fooled around with the neighbor’s au pair and knocked-up Peggy in the first season. He showed a touch of broken-down sweetness in the finale, though, so just maybe there’s hope for them.
  • Peggy and Nobody. She’s the smart, ambitious career girl–too savvy for most guys her age and a threat to most men. She’s left to a life hooking up in hotel rooms with creepy guys named Duck–unless, maybe, she can hang in there until the 1970s.
  • Sal and Kitty. Poor Kitty doesn’t understand why her little negligees have no effect on her husband. Will someone please just tell her that it’s because he’s gay?
  • Don and Betty. Oh, what is there left to say about these two central characters, whose extreme physical beauty refuses to shield them from extreme mental misery? It was high time Betty got fed up with Don’s philandering ways and newly-discovered phony identity. Personally, I think boarding a plane to Reno with Henry Francis for six weeks was a big mistake (and wtf made her take baby Gene with them? There’s no way she’s breastfeeding).I think they’re doomed, but those were different times and she didn’t have many choices. She couldn’t, for example, start a blog about making over her life post-Don. In fact, she couldn’t even say the word blog, because it didn’t yet exist. What a concept.

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Did the Devil Make Me Do It?
Nov 2nd, 2009 by Christina
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Feeling devilish

I abandoned costume-wearing on Halloween when I was around 16 and remained completely uninterested in the holiday until my older daughter turned two; at that point, my urge to dress her as the world’s cutest pumpkin overcame my vague disdain for October 31.

But we were never one of those zany families where the whole gang gets in on the act—mom and dad as Princess Leah and Luke Skywalker, the kids as Yoda and R2D2—or everyone as a different-colored M & M. In fact, I’ve always rolled my eyes a little at adults who go all out on Halloween. (I’m not sure why, but there it is.) As parents, our role was merely to provide the ordinary, everyday backdrop against which our adorably-clad little darlings could stand out.

And then, last year, on my first post-separation Halloween, I felt an overwhelming urge to dress up. But I wasn’t going to wear just any costume–no fat suits or cardboard boxes for me. Inventiveness was the last thing on my mind. I just wanted an excuse to parade around in public looking sexy.

I’ve been tsk-tsking for years over how girls use Halloween for this purpose at increasingly young ages. I was not at all happy to see my 13-year-old strut out of here on Saturday evening looking like Minnie “She Works Hard for the Money” Mouse. And I would never wear those truly slutty costumes sold at Ricky’s—you know, like Nurse Kandi or Pocahottie. (Well, I might, but not in public.)

So at the last minute, I was trying to throw together a costume. Since we had an assortment of ears and tails left over from Halloweens past, I decided to go as a cat (look, I told you I was not trying to win an originality contest.) This would require me to wear black leggings tucked into my black pointy boots and lots of eye makeup. Perfecto!

In retrospect, Halloween ’08 was a pivotal moment in my midlife makeover, one in which I started to shed my somewhat-neutered married persona and began to embrace a somewhat-sexier, available one. Maybe donning kitty-cat ears and a tail wasn’t the most liberated way to get my groove back, but it worked. I felt a resurgence of a side of me I had lost touch with. Whether it was the cat costume that brought it on, or vice versa, I don’t know–but, curiously, just around a week later, I had embarked on my rebound fling.

I hadn’t planned to dress up again this year, but by the time the trick-or-treaters got going at around 4pm, I was infected with Halloween spirit. I ran to my closet, remembering a long red dress I’d forgotten about, grabbed the extra set of devil horns and the pitchfork we had lying around, and turned myself into a rather elegant devil.

I felt less invested in how I looked than I did last year, but maybe that’s a good sign. Maybe it means I’ve gotten used to having my groove back.

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