I am a huge believer that a woman needs to have marketable skills. In my opinion, (and since you're reading this I'm assuming you want my opinion,) the ability to be financially independent is vital to the long term well being of any girl, let's face it - stuff happens. Because this is a subject so dear to me I have worked long and hard and can now do... absolutely nothing that anyone will pay me for. Until now. One word. Pirate.
How, you might ask, have I settled on this lucrative career in "open ocean asset liberation"? Well, I attended the Portland Pirate Festival this weekend with my family (yes there is such a thing - my people are very organized), and I have seen the future. Judging from the other attendees, whom, I can only believe, are pirates themselves, I need only three things -
1. A really bad English accent - I should actually call this a "British" accent, because I heard bad accents from every corner of the Queen's realm. Irish, English, and I'm presuming Welsh. (I don't really know what the Welshies sound like. Do you? Well neither did the people imitating them.) Also, there were many psuedo Scotts there doing great injustice to this lovely accent. Many of them, men in kilts. Many of them playing bagpipes (ok - actually only one with bagpipes), but bagpipes are loud, so I just pretended. Regardless, I can do a bad accent with the best of them, so...check.
2. Boobs. Apparently, girls are totally allowed to be a pirates, (the bad luck on ships thing is a myth, we like diversity aboard), but only if you wear a dress that is too small, with a corset that is too tight (it is best if the clasps make a creaking noise when you move), so as to heave your boobs as close to your collarbone as possible. This must come in handy during hand to hand combat - distraction technique.
Bra in the way? No problem, totally optional, simply toss it into the sea. Go ahead, take the girls out for a walk without a leash and get the most bounce possible. (Also, all those bras lying on the seabed make for an excellent reef starter.) Didn't know pirates are eco friendly did you?
Obviously, I've got the equipment for this but I will need to invest in some new pieces for my wardrobe. (I think I will keep the bra though. Maybe those other pirate gals haven't nursed three babies, but I have. So, there you go).
3. Complete lack of concern for hygiene. I admit, this will be the biggest challenge to my getting ahead in the pirate world. I really like showers. Also, I like pedicures, all manner of high end moisturizes and really good makeup. (I think I can keep the makeup as long as I use every product I have when I wear it. Pirates don't do the "natural look.") I'm pretty certain that they will confiscate my deodorant though. Maybe they have the same rules as the airlines - no gels or liquids over three ounces. Stinky, but safe.
As you can see, I am totally qualified for life on the open seas and may be seeking employment soon. So don't be surprised if I'm looking like a true career woman in our family Christmas card this year. I'll be the one in the velvet corset.
The list goes as follows:
1. All the women must wear hats. Good, big hats. I want it to look like that scene in My Fair Lady when Eliza Dolittle (or Doolittle or Dulittle) goes to the races with Henry Higgins and ends up embarassing herself with her big mouth (clearly this is my kind of girl). Let it be known - no hat, no death party. Men, the jury's still out on whether or not you get to wear a hat - but I'd better not see any baseball caps (not even the Red Sox.)
2. Glitter. I want to be covered head to toe in lovely, finely ground, clearish-whiteish glitter. I absolutely believe in the Resurrection and I want to come forth luminous and looking well-rested. I want all those other recently-dead folks around me to wonder how I kept so well, and I also do not want to go to Judgement with dull skin. You might think that I won't care about this when I am actually at Judgement, but, trust me - I will. Remember, you only have one chance to make a first impression and I want that impression to be "Wow - she's really shiny. She must have been good".
3. (I stole this one from my sister Nika - If I die first, too bad for you, Nika!) I want a plain white coffin that everyone in attendance can sign with those smelly markers and (you guessed it) glitter pens. I want their "entries" to resemble what you would read in your high school yearbook. Things like: "Don't ever change", "Keep in touch", "Stay sweet", and "In case you haven't noticed, I'm in love with you and have been since the first time I saw you". (Someone actually did write that in my yearbook in 8th grade - despite my unfortunate eyebrows and fashion choices. It still makes me smile and I bet it'll make me smile when I'm dead, too. I'm not saying who he was, so don't ask.) Anyway, I want that baby covered with love graffiti. (By the way, I liked this idea so much it actually trumped my desire to be put in a boat, pushed into the Pacific Ocean and lit by a flaming arrow like my Viking ancestors were. So there you go.)
4. Catered food for all - mostly desserts. I want to send the message that sometimes it's okay to drown your sorrows in chocolate, caramel and cream in varying stages of whippyness.
5. Someone must do my roots after I die. This way I'll have no gray. Again, a girl needs to look her best on these big occasions. This also goes for any essential hair removal. If I am buried with a mustache, someone is signing up for some serious poltergeists.
6. Everyone must sing all 7 verses of "How Firm a Foundation". My mom used to call on me at every family home evening to pick the hymn, and this is the one I picked every week for like 6 years. It was one of those twisted kinds of family traditions that everyone both hated and loved at the same time.
7. Bag pipes. I'm not Scottish, but I love these things. They are like the loud and bossy mom of the instrument world, that, even if you don't like how they sound, you have to listen because they drown out everything around them. Plus, they sound a little haunting, and since I'll be a ghost, it seems appropriate.
8. No male pallbearers. With few exceptions, women have born me up in life and they can bear me up in death. I don't care if it takes 30 of them to carry me - it'd better be "sisters on parade".
9. (This should definitely have been #1) If my husband and I both "go" at the same time, my sister Keely gets our kids. She is the best mom I have ever seen and if my kids had any luck at all, I'd die now so that they could be raised by her instead of me. Less therapy, more fun.
10. I want my headstone to say something really funny. None of this sappy quotes business - when people are looking through the cemetery and being all sad and weepy, I want them to have a reason to laugh loud all the way from their insides. I'm taking suggestions if anyone has one - otherwise I may go with a knock-knock joke.
These are important decisions and must be made with care. So people - follow my lead. Plan now... or be remembered for a really lame final party later.
You may not remember me, but I have seen you on TV an awful lot lately, and so I think that this qualifies me to give you some advice. Both personal and political. Don't worry, I have never actually been in politics, but I do have a lot of opinions (just like you) and have spoken in church a lot (which is pretty much like that convention gig - captive audience obligated to tell you they liked your talk) - so don't worry, I'm just the girl you've been waiting for.
So - since there has been so much criticism about you leaving your kids and all to get paid to go galavanting around the world eating fancy dinners and talking fancy talk to fancy people while wearing fancy clothes, and because I am sure you want to avoid such nonsense (the criticism, not the dinners thing) I have come up with this solution (and it's brilliant if I do say so myself) - RUN FOR FIRST LADY.
Now, at first glance this suggestion may puzzle you, especially since your husband is not actually running for president (I'm pretty sure we can get around this), but trust me Sarah Palin, this is going to fix all your problems. You want to serve the country? The First Lady totally serves the country. She has causes and charities and visits victims of bad stuff and diseases and makes speeches to important people and connects with the folks in small town America (you're good at this last part) - all with her children in tow. As a matter of fact, I think Michelle Obama totally makes sure they serve chicken strips and fries at all those fundraisers she's attending to help out Barack. Kids gotta eat too, you know.
You want to travel the world? The First Lady is on the move all the time. Hillary Clinton made 23 trips abroad without her husband (and let's face it - I would have done the same thing if I had her husband) and I'm pretty sure Chelsea must have been with her the whole time, otherwise we would have heard about it from all those political mom watchers that are giving you the "what for". Don't worry, I'm sure you won't catch any heat for spending taxpayer money for extra seats, but be warned - airlines have been cutting back on in-flight snacks and drinks, so you might want to stock up on that stuff (unless First Lady Air Force One gives better service.) I don't know how many trips Dick Cheney's been on, but I'm betting it's pretty close, otherwise there would've been tons more "accidental shootings" in the news.
Then there are the dinners and balls and fancy schmancy stuff you'll have to attend (just like the Vice President) and you get your own staff (just like the Vice President) and there will be big fun changing stuff in the White House, like china (the plates not the country) which is something the Vice President does not get to do. And again, just like Jackie Kennedy, your kids will play around your feet during all of it, reciting their spelling words.
So, Sarah Palin - as long as you're cool with all of the work, but none of the pay - or the power to make any relevant policy decisions (some that might actually help women raising families) - this First Lady thing could be just as good as being the Vice President. The real beauty part is that no one will ask any more questions about who will take care of your family, because as long as you're working for free to build up your husband's career we can all pretend it's something, that like the Jackie Os and Lady Birds before you, can be done on the side while brushing teeth, vacuuming the oval office and driving the car pool.
I told you it was brilliant. Let me know what you think.
5. You can only wear one pair of pants at a time - Seriously - enough already with the political schizophrenia Republicans. Are we kinder and gentler - a folksy party for folksy folks, or are we heartless capitalists looking to exploit the workin' man? Are we in the middle or are we on the right? And since when is China "Adam Smith on steroids?" Aren't we for Adam Smith and against China and steroids? Maybe Congress should roll this into the whole baseball thing for us. (I know this China part has nothing to do with the rest of "#5", but I figured as long as the Republicans don't have a point I don't need one either.)
4. Ross Perot - Since we decided to go "platform free" in '08 why can't we invite Ross to give the keynote address? I mean, seriously, who doesn't love to watch him speak? He may be crazy, but the guy's got passion. Plus he's rich, and I think we are pro gettin' rich. (Hey, maybe we could get Dana Carvey too, which would be a super big bonus and capture the all important "Saturday Night Live voter block".)
3. No more bedazzled cowboy hats - As if I needed to explain...it's ugly (and I think we are definately pro pretty people - Sarah Palin for example) and it reminds everyone of Texas (and I thought we were trying to make a clean break from that wing of the party.)
2. Minnesota? - Really? Was Idaho all booked up? Did Nebraska not answer the phone? Let's face it- no one is going to think we're the party of big fun if we hang out in states like this.
1. Shave Ice - Free Hawaiian Shave Ice to all the reporters and speakers. Happy mouths make for happy commentary. Plus, it would be funny to watch Jim Lehrer and company do their bit with really bright purple, blue and red lips and tongues.
That's all I've got for you Reps - if all else fails just play the national anthem really loud and act like you can't hear what's going on around you.
I was very worried. But in vain... because there was a very nice girl named Bailey who saw Avery when we walked in, came right on up and said "do you want to sit by me?" Just like that, no biggie, no nothing, just friends just because. Adults do not do this. Adults do not befriend someone unless they know something about them first - we need a friend resume. We need to have similarities, we need to have commonality, we need to have a connection. The thing is, we really don't - we just need to be kind, like Bailey.
Maybe she was new once too and remembered what that felt like, maybe not. Maybe her mom told her to be nice to any new kids in her class today, maybe not. Maybe she liked Avery's smile and freckles, maybe not. But it doesn't really matter, she did right.
And so... I am inventing : "the Bailey Prize" to be awarded to those whose acts of kindness effect (or affect - I can never remember) my life - and the first recipient? Bailey.
Your mom gets vetted -(this is my attempt at fancy pants political talk - hope it's the right word) - to be the Vice President of the United States... in an election year... with a viable chance to become the first female in an executive office ... running against the first non-white major party candidate for executive office... and the Clintons (because they always seems to be lurking around) ... and it is beyond a media circus, it's a media... I don't even have the word. If timing is everything, this kid got in the wrong line.
after the initial - announcement to her parents - you gotta know that this girl's private, most personal business, was now being discussed by all kinds of political people (who may say they care about her, but...) and they were trying to figure out if it would damage her mom's political career, (can you imagine the guilt), or if it would be seen as an asset because it would make her seem more "real" or something- how totally mortifying. (Did you want your parents' friends to know who you'd been kissing let alone this?) And then she must, at some point, realize- maybe right away - that everyone, anyone that cares to know, is going to know about this mistake, and that it is going to be discussed by everyone, people she knows and people she doesn't know, and the political mileage that anyone with a cause, or a soapbox, or an agenda (or a blog) is going to get out of this - and the immensity of the consequences must be like the most crushing snowball of realization ever. I don't even have the word.
This poor girl is facing humiliation on a scale that most of us didn't even think existed.
Bristol Palin, if you're reading this, (and I'm pretty sure you are), take heart. It is... what it is right now but this will pass and it could be really good eventually. My grandparents got married when they were 17 (Bristol Palin's age- although under admittedly different circumstances) and they were married well over 50 years when my grandfather died last summer. My grandmother called him "The Old Gent" and she kept asking for him after he was gone. They raised 10 children, my really good mother among them. They were married at 17 and it was not too young to have a long successful marriage and family and life. I hope that for Bristol Palin. I hope that she really loves the boy that will soon be her husband the father of her baby - and I hope he really loves her. I hope they keep really loving each other - even if they look around and wonder "what if...", because "what if" may not have been better - easier maybe, but not always better - and even people that get married a lot older than 17 can understand that.
The 5 things I hate most about moving-
5. moving- Just say the word and people take two steps back. No one likes to pack their own stuff around let alone someone else's. And let's be honest - we've all got too much crap that we don't need but insist on keeping "just in case." (This is why I'm amazed that we got so much wonderful help with our move this weekend. Thanks all - clearly you are just better than I am.)
4. What the heck is that stuff behind the refrigerator - (and washer/dryer for that matter.) If you don't know what I'm talking about then you are clearly a better housekeeper than me, or you've just never looked. Trust me - ignorance is bliss, but it can also be really dirty.
3. No window coverings in the new house- Sorry neighbors, but you're just going to have to watch me... do everything. I can only crawl across the floor like some sneaky Army Ranger guy for so long. Mostly because it hurts to drag yourself across carpet, and if you've just showered you get all linty. I suppose I could run really fast, but I can't really run that fast, and plus... bouncing -yikes.
2. Hanging pictures- How I deal with this dilemma: I don't hang pictures. I prop them against the wall on top of the fireplace, armoires, cabinets and sometimes the floor and call it good. I don't think of it as lazy, I think of it as "artsy".
1. The kids still insist on eating - Like 30 times a day my kids tell me they're hungry (physically impossible I say). And while this is annoying anyway, I find it particularly irksome when I'm in the middle of a project like putting away every last one of our earthly possessions. Come on people- let's show slightly more grit here. Those Donners did okay for a really long time and they moved from way farther away than we did.
Hopefully this will be the last time I have to pack up my pants.