I Can’t Help Myself Friday. The State of the Union.

So this past week Meg and Leo celebrated a full year in Texas, and the POTUS delivered his traditional State of the Union address. Meg thought it would be a fun exercise to compare and contrast the President’s speech with her year, kind of like you had to do in AP High School English class! Shall we begin?

Meg thinks she has somewhat settled in after a year. And by somewhat, she still laments the lack of green trees and the Atlantic ocean, good pizza delivered on 10 minutes notice (with a side Greek salad, OK?) and crazy ass politics.

But wait, there *is* crazy ass politics down here!

Over the past year, Meg has sat back and observed the social strata quite a bit. She has managed to create opportunities in many ways, meeting fellow dog lovers through walking and trips to the dog park, joining yoga and pilates classes, working on an art journal with creative and crafty people, and belonging to a book club and a civic organization. She is even hosting a giant party for the HOA (Home Owners Association) and opening her house for all newcomers to her neighborhood. It’s a sense of accomplishment and relief she has met kindred spirits and formed lovely friendships.

But, one thing Meg cannot comprehend is the state of politics and religion. Meg is constantly untangling the delicate (or NOT SO DELICATE) fabric of these two subjects; two mighty topics that define the Lone Star State.

Let Meg share come personal thoughts, some from from herself and some from various nice folks she knows:

It is almost impossible to leave religion out of the classroom. Teachers post Bible quotes, and creationism is taught in the public school classrooms. (Meg knows this because she worked for a educational book publisher in Boston and had to review the Texas State guidelines for science). To boot, being gay is considered a mortal sin, and she has often overheard people saying “gays should be shipped to another state”. Uh-uh. PTO parents rail against homosexuality in their kids classroom, in front of children who aren’t even old enough to understand what the concept means. Second graders ask their other classmates “are you a Christian or a Devil“?

So let’s turn to politics. Meg is super annoyed because this keeps appearing in her Facebook sidebar:

The little symbol also contained a blurb shilling for a candidate, namely for the Justice of the Peace.

You see, Meg was trying to understand home come so many people here were running for Justice of the Peace, and why it is an elective office? So Facebook, stop assuming I like a candidate when I am only trying to figure out who these candidates are and can I even vote for them?

I’m sure you guys have all seen Sen Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on TV reading “Green Eggs and Ham” during last year’s goverment shutdown. And yes, I am technically a constituent of his. So here’s the deal kids. If you calls Ted’s Texas office to register your support for the Affordable Care Act (the one he keeps trying to derail) you can get an actual person on the phone that will tell you:

The President of the United States of America based that program on ones that were similar to what Hitler proposed in Nazi Germany, and that is why Ted works so hard to squash it. And P.S. he NEVER shut down the government. Obama did it.

A few months ago Meg attended a festival, and there was a great booth set up to help people sort though their medical choices and enroll in a plan that would work for them. And you know what Meg heard? “You people should be ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES for selling Obama care”!

Meg could go on, but she is going to let her fake husband Jon Stewart do the rest of the talking this Friday.

Wish Meg luck as she continues to navigate the tightrope walk over the river of politics and religion. May she be graced with the ability of a Flying Wallenda.


Stand Up Straight!

Remember when you were a kid sitting in church, or at a nice restaurant with relatives and your Mom would nudge you and say:

For God’s sake, sit up straight!

And you know that’s still in your head even to this day, right? Every time Meg tries on clothes, she had to remind herself to stand up straight, tuck her pelvic muscles in and walk with authority. Or walk like she has Spanx on. Oh wait, she probably *does* have some Spanx on.

Meg studies posture a lot, because hers is so incredibly bad. After years of hunching over a computer, she constantly has to throw her shoulders back and remember to walk upright, and not like she is a throwback to the Mesozoic Era.

Recently NPR featured a segment on posture with Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist who teaches at Harvard. She says by changing your posture for just two minutes, you can change your life.

After studying body language and non-verbal cues for years, Cuddy says you can shape (or re-shape) who you are. She ran studies that showed by posing a certain way, it literally changes a woman’s hormone levels and pumps up their testosterone!

So, let’s review our best poses and think about how we can empower ourselves:

Vogue. No, we are not going to strike a pose like Madonna. (Nor we will dress like crazy Amish people when attending the Grammys).

Also, let me count the ways I love Lena Dunham, but not when she looks like this:

I know she is smart, funny and talented. She is kind of rocking a stance (which I discovered was “stand like the letter S“; advice from designer Zac Posen) but her shoulders clearly distract. It’s like she’s poring over a script and forgot she was standing on the red carpet. And for those of us with those kind of shoulders, I recommend a sleeve of some sort. A bolero, a cropped jacket, a shawl. Anything but an over-sized tattoo that you are so going to regret one day. (Also, don’t let me catch any of you tattooing song lyrics around your neck.)

So here’s how we should start our days, ladies:

We are going to get that testosterone going, look our best, and remember:

You want to feel that you have the power to bring your full, spirited self to the situation, stripped of the fears and inhibitions that might typically hold you back“. Amy Cuddy

Be the strong person you are. And oh, don’t forget the Spanx.


Potpourri for $300.

As you know when Meg has a lot of random thoughts, she pulls out her Jeopardy card and calls her blog posts “Potpourri”. The stakes aren’t high, but read on for a few laughs. Without further haste, let’s begin:

****************

I’m on a cleanse this week kids! Actually, it’s called the “flu” and so far Meg has ingested nothing but ginger ale and Nyquil for the last three days. She got some Tamiflu and antibiotics from the doctor and is on quarantine for the remainder of the week. This is what happens when the weather is all crazy ass, being 70 for one day and 30 for the next five. She would just like to temperature to remain cool and calm like a flower refrigerator for the next month so all the germs go away. In the meantime, hurray for weight loss, even if it’s in the bad way!

****************

Meg recently helped collect Christmas gifts for a group foster home, which was supposed to be a collaborative experience involving a committee. The committee turned out to be a committee of one, which was Meg. I think Dolly from the Family Circus sums it up best:


****************

Meg has been attending a series of lectures called “First Fridays” hosted right here in her suburban dome. The topics so far have been interesting; with the latest being “Communicate Positively About Money“.

The talk was actually quite amusing, and the hosts brought several people up on the stage that fit various profiles, like Spender, Saver, Flyer and so on. The Saver said the thing that gave her the most pleasure was logging into her Roth IRA account each and every day to see how her fund changed.

The second person down the line was the spender, and in spectacular fashion, she proclaimed she had “absolutely no idea” what a Roth IRA was. Rather funny, no?

The presentations come about via a 501(c3) non-profit, and the thing Meg wonders about is the introduction of God into the programs. The literature say the lectures are to help women live up to their “God-given potential”, and then there is a quote on the series flyer:

Jesus came that you may have life, and have it abundantly: John 10:10

That is something Meg is still getting used to in Texas, the introduction of God and Jesus into many aspects of everyday life. Having recently been part of the archdiocese of Boston, she has a healthy disrespect of the Church, although she considers herself a good person and spiritual in certain ways.

In any case, stayed tuned as she attends next month’s topic:

Hot and Holy, Straight Talk About Sex

Meg only hopes it’s a real Jeopardy question at the lecture.


Doing What We Do Best…

That was the jingle refrain from one of American Airlines most famous marketing campaigns:

“We’re American Airlines, doing what we do best!”

Meg did an incredible amount of traveling during the holidays, racking up 20 days away from home between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Rather than bore you with a travelogue, Meg decided to explore the good old days of airline travel, when airline personnel were actually nice to passengers.

Remember when the airlines advertised on TV extensively? What do you remember seeing? Meg pictures gorgeous stewardesses with big hair and white go-go boots (I’m still not OVER not getting a pair in third grade), bountiful hot meals being served on spacious fold down trays, and an endless stream of cold martinis. I kid you not young ones, it used to be luxurious experience when you flew the Friendly Skies of United Airlines.

I told you guys there were boots involved. I just forgot about the safari outfit.

Uhh, right, Nancy. The last time Meg asked for a lime or a lemon wedge Meg thought she was going to get her head taken off, never mind asking for an extra ice cube.

Meg has never flown British Airways, but this commercial reminds her of all the selfish a**holes that drag oversized luggage on the plane, and take up every inch of overhead compartment storage.

She knows that banker kid was on one of her flights.

Meg was always nostalgic about Pan Am. She never flew on them, but loved their logo and flight bags:

See, she wasn’t kidding about real food being served on a plane!

Meg’s most recent two flights were on American Airlines, which was a decidedly crappy experience. Cramped seats, no music, no TV’s, no movies, no snacks. And I witnessed a lone bag of Chex Mix being fought over like it was a shrimp cocktail. The flight attendant stood there while we were disembarking the plane and stared at his iPhone while saying “buh-bye”. And then we waited for AN HOUR while our luggage apparently had some nice airline spa time in the cargo space beneath the plane.

When American sarcastically says they thank you for flying them, because they “know you have a choice“, that is dead wrong. I flew them because it was the only way to get to my destination, and I paid extra money to sit in the 2 seat configuration of the plane rather than the 3 seat, just because I didn’t want the guy with MC Hammer pants sitting next to me. (You know that guy is on every flight, right?). I paid $50 bucks for 2 pieces of luggage checked, and then walked my own bags over to TSA and loaded them on the conveyor.

That is NOT doing what anyone does best. That is ripping passengers off by charging them for NOTHING, having disengaged employees serving their customers, and making me as a passenger do anything I can do not to fly your shit-tastic airline again.

Welcome to 2014, kids! I hope it’s not a bumpy ride like my last flight.