Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Disney does Dress Porn

The most recent live-action retelling of Cinderella allows the viewer to get as up close and personal with red carpet style as one can get without attending the Oscars or Golden Globes.   I watched most of the movie with my mouth slightly open... it was Canada Day with silk and taffeta fireworks.  I've been told by almost all media outlets with any sort of feminist bent that I shouldn't have enjoyed the film.  And I'm definitely not supposed to lust over Sandy Powell's haute couture costume style, especially as it clads the body of the incomparable Cate Blanchett.

My mouth should not salivate at the swish of layers upon layers of princess tulle undulating on a dance floor.

And yet...

Upon watching the Cinderella ballroom scene, bibbidi-bobbidy-fucking-boo if I didn't want to swish across a parquet dance floor in layers upon layers of my own tulle-crinolined dress, in the arms of a man who knows how to truly lead.   I could feel my inner proactive feminist dying and I DIDN'T CARE.   

Sparkly blue princess dress...  Must have sparkly blue princess dress.

I don't even like  princess dresses, but this dress? It hypnotized me. 

What the fuck???  

It's been drilled into our heads that corsets are bad for women, corset training is akin to binding feet.  Promlem is?   I love the feel of wearing one - I like how it lifts my girls up, gives me a breast-shelf at nearly chin level upon which I can eat.   I enjoy the feeling of containment while in a corset.  I like that my devolved sitting-in-front-of-a-computer posture can be brought back from its near-Neatherthal state while wearing a corset.   I like that my back fat disappears in one.  I don't want to wear one 24-7, but for special occasions?  I adore them.  I'm not saying every woman should wear one - but if they work for you?  If you're not destroying your internal organs when you wear them on occasion?  Go for it.

Most of these hand-drawn or computer-generated fairy tale female characters could never be imagined as human.  There was even speculation that Cinderella's waist in this version was CGI'd.  It wasn't.  In this live-action version (filmed almost shot for shot like the 1950 animated version), Lily James's already tiny real life waist is corseted, thereby shrinking it by another 5 inches, and pushing her boobs up to her armpits.  The dress's voluminous skirt then makes her tiny waist seem even tinier with its yards and yards of fabric floating around her hips.  Lily James did not go on a prolonged liquid diet as most headlines are screaming.

"When [the corset] was on we would be on continuous days so we wouldn't stop for lunch or a lovely tea like this—you'd be sort of eating on the move. In that case, I couldn't untie the corset. So if you ate food it didn't really digest properly and I'd be burping all afternoon in [Richard Madden]'s face, and it was just really sort of unpleasant. I'd have soup so that I could still eat but it wouldn't get stuck."  Source: E-News

This 'diet,' this particular dress, its corset and Lily James's waist have unfortunately smothered the message of the film with talk of too much tulle and boning. 

Cinderella's dying mother tells her to:

"Have courage and be kind."   

This credo, especially in our 2015 of net shaming and cyber bullying, is something to which all children should aspire.  Yes, I still wonder why Cinderella allows herself to be doormatted under the heels of her step-mother and step-sisters and yes, I still prefer the screenplay of  1998's Ever After,  which gives Drew Barrymore's character more... character...  But having courage and being kind?  How can anyone not want to share that notion with the children in our world?  It's a great way to live one's life... whether you dress in a corset or not.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kitty Parkour

In our old house, which had six staircases (two to the basement, two to the 2nd floor, two to the attic), our three cats never laid across them.  They never lolled, never reclined, never became a stair obstacle.

Our new house with one staircase to the 2nd floor?  Is the cat equivalent to the local mall.  Our three beasts loiter for days upon these stairs.  They stretch, they 'downward dog,' they make it their day's work to create peril where once there was none.

  (Can you see three cats in these photos?  Neither could I.)


"What?  What happened?"  Rissa asks.

"Sorry!  Sorry.  I mean HOLY CRAP!!!"

"Why?  What's going on??"

"Cats!  EVERYWHERE!!!  As far as the eye can see - except the eyes CAN'T see them, at least not in the dark, on this staircase.  It's okay for Steve - he's an orange tom, but freakin' Minuit and Lola are black cats!  Do you know how difficult it is to see black cats on a staircase in the LESS THAN ADEQUATE LIGHT?!?"

"I know Mummy.  I know, just the other..."



"Sorry!  Sorry!  CATS!   Why must ALL of the cats lie upon the stairs?"

ps.  This also happens...

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Going blind in the Bingo Hall

Those of you who spend thousands of dollars a year so that your child might dance, play hockey, sing in a choir, partake in tae kwon do, horseback ride, be part of a softball, archery or swimming team - might be familiar with Hometown Bingo.  Hometown Bingo is legalized gambling where local groups/charities work each bingo and then the bingo hall distributes a percentage of that cash earned to each group/charity.  Yes, Hometown Bingo - where smoking has been banned for years, yet its lingering stench remains embedded in the DNA of the building and one can find at least adozen handicapped parking spots out front. 

David worked a shift one night and, upon his return home, immediately donated $50 to a gambling addiction charity.

"This is MESSED UP," he said.  "Those people look like they don't have two loonies to rub together and they are plunking down $50 on Bingo cards."

"I know.  Crazy."

My job at Hometown Bingo?  To run to those who call "BINGO!!!" and then convey the card number on their winning card to the bingo caller, by using my big-ass diaphragm to read them out:


"That is a good bingo.  Any others?  Going once, going twice... this game is now closed."

This bingo runner job is a tad more difficult to do when one has gone blind.  Not 100% blind, mind you, but 50% migraine-induced-travelling-blindness, taking out one's peripheral vision and making the rest of the world seem like Swiss cheese on LSD sort of blindness. This particular bout of blindness hit me unexpectedly,  possibly due to slightly flickering fluorescent lighting in the bingo hall.

I bent down to grab money from my purse and knew when my frontal lobe started feeling funky that I'd better reach for my drugs at the same time.  By the time I came out of my purse with a toonie for a Twix bar and two travel vials of drugs - my vision was abandoning me.  Sucking back some water, I easily swallowed the ibuprofen, but the round, red acetaminophen pills - three of them, I think - were stuck in the bottom of the travel vial.  I banged the container on my hand.  No luck.  I banged it on the desk.  Nope.  I found a plastic knife and tried to dig them out.  What I really needed was a skewer...  Fuck it!  I threw the vial on the floor behind the desk... after four tries, I finally heard the pills rattle loosely inside.  I had just managed to swallow two pills when I heard "BINGO!!!"

I looked up and tried to see where the voice had come from.  I couldn't see anyone's hand up.  Where was she?  Where was... There was a hand... over... there... I thought.  I started walking towards her, hoping that I wouldn't run into a pillar if it suddenly disappeared from my vision.  I walked as quickly as I could without losing my balance and approached the woman.  She proffered a small rectangular piece of paper.  This was not a bingo card, it was a Pick 8 receipt - about 4 x 3 inches.  I'd never had to read this type of card - what the hell was I supposed to do with it?

"Read the date," the woman whispered to me.

The date... the dancing, wobbly date...  "MARCH 23RD!"

"Read the session," she whispered again.

"The session?"

"Here...  evening."


"You have to go over to another player and double check the numbers on the top."

"I have to what?"

The bingo caller  now jumped in, "You have to verify with another player."  Then I think she indicated moving somewhere with her chin - or her shoulder - might have been a breast...

I staggered over to another little old lady.

"You need to read these numbers here," she whispered, pointing.

Right.  Line after line of numbers all dancing before my eyes.   I opened my eyes very wide, hoping that might help.  Okay, I could do this.  The date was up at the top and the numbers were...  "Which numbers?"

"These, dear... 36..."








The little old lady was looking at me like I was on crack.

"13, 26, 35, 42..."

 "13, 26, 35, 42!!!"

"That is a good bingo.  This game is now closed."

 I couldn't see their looks of pity, but I could feel them.  And as I walked back to the desk I heard, "Poor dear, she can't read."

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Thyroidosaurus vs Perimenopauseratops

WARNING:  Female issues will be discussed.  

You get to be a certain age of woman and you don't put up with as much shit anymore.  You've made it through early parenthood and you're still standing.  You've mostly got it down, you know what works and what doesn't.  You've developed a rhythm and that rhythm generally lets you get through the day, the week, the year.  You are at one with your body, mind and soul... ish.

And then you hit middle age and it all fucks up.

Used to be that women just kept their mouths shut.  Female 'issues' were not discussed in polite society.  As a result, generation upon generation of women had no one with whom they could commiserate.  We all just kept it bottled inside thinking we were going insane as our medical issues became conveniently labelled as 'hormonal'.  After you've been living in your body for a few decades, you pretty much know how it works.  When things don't seem normal?  They aren't.

You should NOT be losing hair in handfuls.  Take what ends up on the shower wall and show the doctor exactly how much you lose EVERY time you shower.  Offer up that guinea pig-sized example of 'normal' at eye level and then watch them try to dance out of it.

FYI - you should NOT be bleeding through three three pads or tampons in an hour.  You should not have to take a towel with you to sit on... anywhere... EVER.

You should NOT want to go to bed at 7:15 p.m.

In the 50s, women coped by drinking.  In the 80s, it was Valium.  Fast forward to 2015.  Most gals attempt to stay 'natural.'  HRT with its frenetic dance back and forth between between being a Godsend and causing cancer, scares the shit out of most women.  And although the conversation about mental health is becoming more public - often we strive to be self-sufficient women who can 'have it all,' remaining stoic in the face of major shifts in personality and health.

I seek and offer COMMISERATION.  My body is one brutal hormonal cocktail.  Between thyroid disease and peri-menopause, there are times I want to crawl the 163 feet to the back of my property, cover myself in a blanket of snow and become a cautionary tale for those who make the trek past me.  I exercise and exercise and exercise, I eat sensibly and still find myself  30  pounds overweight with back fat that, in my twisted self-image, I am convinced could feed a family of 12 for a week.  I pass blood clots the size of toonies through my hooha.  FUCKING TOONIES!!  I have days mired down in despair, panic, apathy and bone-crushing exhaustion.

I am one 46-year-old woman amongst billions.  There are BILLIONS of us.  You know what that means?  You're not alone.  We can be in this together.  We should be cognizant of the fact that we're all doing the best we can, treading water with a medical system that pooh-poohs women issues as something to 'get through.'

So here's my suggestion folks: everyone who has a child out there interested in medicine... encourage them become doctors, researchers.  Encourage them to specialize in women's health issues.  Encourage them to find the solutions - to support women's health, to foster a health care system that makes it easier to move through middle age if you happen to sport a vagina.  We exist in a world where our life expectancy allows us to become octogenarians, if not centenarians - wouldn't it be great if the last 30-50 years of ours lives didn't suck??

Monday, March 9, 2015

If I were a dude, would I be a douche?

"Rissa, if I were a dude, would I be a douche?" I ask - brushing through my hair after my morning shower.


"If I was a guy, do you think that I'd be the type of guy who'd be kind of douchey?"

"Other parents don't ask these questions."

"I just had this thought, is all."

"Imagining that you were a dude?"

"Well... yeah..."

"David!" I call out into the hall.  "If I were a dude, would I be a douche?"

"What did you just ask?"  He stops in the doorway.

"If I were a guy, would I be the kind of douchey guy who'd want to sleep with as many women as he could?  You know, leaving behind me a wake of broken hearts?"

"Are you that kind of woman now?"

"Well, no... but I do have a pretty high libido, so I'm thinking if I were a guy..."

"THANK YOU!" says Rissa.  "Seriously, NO other parents talk like this."

"Are we still married?" asks David.

"Well, no...I don't think so.  Would you then be gay?  Would I be gay?  I think I'm just some unmarried dude, possibly unable to commit, who digs chicks." 

"Do you think that your personality would completely alter if you were a guy?"

"I don't know, that's why I'm asking.   If I was a somewhat attractive dude, who knew that he was attractive, and women were falling all over themselves to be with me, would I let it go to my head and make my way through as many of those women as possible?"


"Okay.  Good.  Thanks."

"Glad I could clear that up for you."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My cat is stealing my drugs

"Have you seen my puffer?"

"I think it was in the bathroom."

"I've checked there."

"Have you checked on the kitchen table?"

"I've checked on the kitchen table.  I've checked under the kitchen table."

"Have you checked on the bathroom counter?"

"I've checked on the counter.  I've checked behind the counter.  I've checked in the cupboard above the stove.  Rissa!!!  Have you seen my puffer?"

"Have you checked the bathroom?"


"I think that's where it was last.  Wait!  Have we figured out where Lola hides things in this house?"

At this point I turn to our cat Lola.   We have been in this house less than a year - we have yet to find her secret cache of toys.  You know, the toys that she decides are hers: the hair elastics, the sponges, the caps from pens, the bobby pins...  I pick her up.  Lola hates being picked up.  She gives a pitiful meow - if you were listening from the next room you would think that I am trying to  disembowel her.

"Dude.  The puffer.  I need it."  She meows again pitifully, but alas does not lead me to the drugs.


"I think that my, uh, my cat stole my puffer."

The pharmacist doesn't even blink. "I'll give you the official receipt, but I don't think your insurance will cover  that."

Later, as I am about to seek out the replacement receipt - I hear and odd mechanical grinding noise.  It takes me a minute to place it - it is the paper shredder.

"Lola!!  Seriously??"