Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Training Bra

I will never forget when Princess was 3 years old. She and I went to Walmart to purchase her a very casual play outfit. I found a very cute skort and matching top. The whole thing was just $5. She needed something she could get dirty in, and she was so tiny it was not always easy to find clothes. I remember this outfit was a 2T. We arrived home and I put it on her. The top was a mid-riff. I was appalled. What business did a 2 or 3 year old have wearing a mid-riff??!! Since then I have been horrified at what styles are out there for little girls. High heels, more mid-riffs, slits, low cut tops, fake leather. Anything to make them look "sexy."

And the truly awful thing? Low cost clothing for little girls always tended along the Britney Spears line. It was very difficult to find appropriate clothing on a budget. There were and are age appropriate clothes - but always in higher end stores. If someone had the money, they could dress their little girl like a little girl and not mini-Britney Spears. Sexist and classist.

In recent weeks, I realized Princess was ready for her first training bra. Since we just needed the beginning basics, I didn't want to spend much money. So we went to Walmart. (I am very glad they are around in this economy - please understand Restless.) We were looking for the smallest beginning bra. And did you know that one can easily find a 30A training bra with padding and underwire? Black, red, hot pink - you name it. We managed to find a cute little white one that was appropriate, and then some sports ones - but no little girl in a training bra needs push up padding with underwire in sexy colors!! It's no wonder that girls have so many problems with self-image. Before they even know what sexy is, their clothing choices are supposed to be that. And if one is on a limited income, it's even more prominent.

Wish I could design an appropriate girl line for a discount store and get rid of all the inappropriate stuff.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mamma Mia!

Friday was the day. I finally got to see Mamma Mia! For years I have wanted to see the stage version. Who doesn't love ABBA? And the songs always remind me of my childhood in the '70s. I'm not really a big fan of the modern musical (Howard Keel and Jane Powell were stars of the last musicals I enjoyed), but centered around ABBA songs - it just had to be good.

The story is fairly basic - a 20 year old woman is ready to marry on her Greek Island home. Her mom, Donna, (Meryl Streep) has never revealed her father. Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) finds Donna's diary and realizes there were three distinct possibilities. Unknown to her mother, Sophie invites all three men (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard) to her wedding, hoping the truth will be revealed.

I believe I have not been a big fan of the modern musical because they take themselves so seriously. They are trying to come off like a serious and artistic movie with songs written to tell an exact and specific story. Dance steps are choreographed to the hilt, and it is just way overdone. Shouldn't a musical just be fun? Shouldn't the songs just be catchy ones to sing instead of melodramatic or greatly verbose ones? The songs here are obviously some of the best from pop culture history. One who have to be a dead piece of wood not to sing along (and I certainly did - admittedly, not very loudly). The setting was perfect. The Meditteranean and the Greek island were a visual feast. I was transported back to the couple days I had on Crete almost ten years ago. And then the movie did something really right - it casted stars who are true actors and can sing okay (not great, but good enough). Having really gifted actors makes all the difference in the world. Streep could not have been any cuter or appealing - it makes me feel better about heading into my middle age years. Brosnan and Firth - can't even say any more than that. And Julie Walters and Christine Baranski are always magnificent. I had only seen Seyfriend in Mean Girls. She has a sparkling voice that was perfect for this young, hopeful woman with such a generous heart.
Some of the most fun I've had in a while. And after the gore and angst of some recent movies, everyone needs some fun. Life should have some fun, some gifted and good looking middle-aged actors, and always some ABBA. My grade - A

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

I have for many years been a proponent of absence making the heart grow fonder. Familiarity breeds contempt. Too much of a good thing... You get the idea.

During the summer months, Hubby and I both are at home (since we both work an academic year). However, this summer I have been diligently working on a chapter for a book that is due in a few days. I was honored to be asked to write this chapter and have tried to put my best effort into it. Not an easy task with all the family around.

I had a deadline this afternoon of getting the chapter to my two readers before I send it off to the editor in a few days. And you know what babies men can be when it comes to illness or getting older? I wasted some valuable days last week trying to calm Hubby's fears over his first colonoscopy. For goodness' sake, Katie Couric did it on national tv! So this afternoon I am working hard on the laptop, trying to get the chapter completed. And how many times can Hubby (and kids) interrupt me? The final time Hubby interrupted me was this -

Hubby: "Look at my bicep. I have a bug bite on it." (as he models bicep)

Rio: "That's nice." (while continuing to type)

Hubby: "I think it's deformed my muscle. Look."

Rio: "Looks fine to me. Just a bite on the bicep." (as I glance momentarily at it)

Hubby: "But look at the other bicep! It looks kinda weird too! Do you think something is wrong with my muscle?"

Rio: (through gritted teeth) "Your muscles are fine. They are just old. Please go away and leave me alone."

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Summer Movies

Yes, I have not blogged in a while. I don't work during June and July, except for being a homemaker and referee between my children (which is much more time consuming than heading to my "job" each day and actually having time to blog). I have been fortunate enough to see some movies this summer and here are my reviews -

Iron Man - hands down, the best movie I've seen this summer. I was never a comic book geek, so I didn't know anything about Iron Man. Apparently he was a genius weapon's designer who was also a rich playboy. After being captured by a terrorist group, he creates the Iron Man suit to escape to freedom. Upon reaching home, he reevaluates who he is and what he does. His one true friend is his assistant, Pepper. Robert Downey, Jr. is absolutely perfect as Iron Man. It was so nice to see a fully grown man, dealing with mature issues as a superhero (as opposed to some geeky teenager that is moping around after his lady love). Gwenyth Paltrow can never do wrong and is spot on as Pepper. She very subtlely delivers the best line in the movie about taking out the garbage.

Iron Man was fun, engaging, interesting, and I can't wait for the next one. My grade - A

Wanted - I have been anxiously awaiting this movie for two reasons - Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy. They are far and away two of the most gifted actors out there. And who doesn't want to see Angie kick butt in the cool way only she can do? The movie begins with a wimpy office drone, played perfectly by James McAvoy. His voice over and humor are one of the best things about the movie. Angie is part of an assasins group that is given hits from some kind of mystical loom (yeah, I thought that was kind of weird too - I'm all about the mystical stuff, but weavers as the world's best assasins?)

The action was great - could not have been better. Angie and Jamie offer their usual top caliber performance. Yet, I found myself wishing for more when the movie ended. The movie dealt slightly with the morality of listening to a loom that tells you who to kill before they commit atrocious acts. But there was more to be explored here among the gunfire - why should we trust this information? Who is really playing God when it comes to life and death? What kind of person does it entail to blindly follow orders?

The movie left me wanting something a little deeper instead of the tough gloss. My grade - B-

Hancock - I'm not sure I would have seen this particular one if Sonny Boy had not needed someone to drive him there. Yes, Will Smith is beyond cool, and the premise seemed interesting - a very faulty, drunken mess of a superhero. The first half of the movie dealt with this quite well. It was entertaining. Hancock meets a PR guy who wants to change the world for the better (Jason Bateman), and he helps Hancock redo his image.

Then the second half of the movie starts, and one wonders how someone thought to place the two parts together. It goes from an interesting superhero study with some good action and laughs to a melodramatic, soul-mate, mushy thing. One scene particularly overdoes it with feeling another's pain. It was fine to explore who Hancock really was, but the movie would have been far better served if Charlize Theron's character had maintained the ticked-off, cocky, kick-butt attitude she displays when interacting with Hancock one-on-one. There were better, and more consistent, avenues to be explored there.

The camera angles literally gave me a headache. A large portion of the movie was devoted to very up close shots of parts of the face - Theron's eyes filling the entire screen, Smith's lips and nose, Bateman's forehead. I kept wanting to back up so I could see the entire face. I have no idea if the director thought this was a symbolic way to show that we only see part of others - but it was way overused and I hope never to have to see movie filmed in that way again.

However, Smith, Theron, and Bateman were all quite good. The music was killer. My grade - B-