Monday, May 24, 2010

Doughnuts and Tents; or, My Weekend

When I was about 10 years old, my Grandmother made doughnuts with my little sister for a school project.  Hot, with a crispy outside and cakey inside, they were AMAZING.  Every once in a while, I try to recreate that experience, that recipe, but I'm usually unsucessful.  Enter Saturday morning.
We are (still) out of maple syrup, so pancakes were out of the question for breakfast, as were waffles. The same sister who made doughnuts with Gram has my aebleskiver pan, so those were a no go as well.  (I say that like I have more than one sis, lol.)  Decided to try the doughnuts again, and at least E was excited about it.  (See photo!)
     I used my newly aquired candy thermometer to get to oil to the right temp, which took FOR-EV-ER.  That must've been the problem with my previous attempts; without the thermometer I had no way of know that the oil wasn't up to temp.

The final result was fantastic!  Just the right consistency.  You should go buy a candy thermometer, right now!  Or ask for one for your birthday, which is how I got mine.  Thanks Gram!

Here's a tip: pitch your tent before you go on a trip, just so you know how to set it up and have all of the pieces.  Tip#2: don't do it in your living room.
We're preparing to go on our first camping trip and have a new tent, it seemed like a good idea to try and set it up.  Inside.

Haha.  Even with all of the furniture moved around, the tent was still a bit tweaked.  But hey, all the pieces were put together!  A & E got a kick out of playing in the tent with their new sleeping bags.  Makes me wonder if they'll actually sleep in them.  Guess we'll find out soon!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sexy Dancing or Pushy Parents?

Have you seen this video recently?

GOOD GRIEF.  The dancers in that video are seven and eight year olds from a dance troupe out of Orange County, CA.  I started to cry as I watched the video for the first time; how could this have happened?  It's easy - now that the video has gone viral and been on several news shows- to point the finger of blame at the coach and parents.  Obviously they shoulder the blame for allowing this to come to fruition, but society is the real culprit.  Multiple organizations failed to prevent this performance.

The parents of some of these girls were intereviewed on Good Morning America on May 14th and asked to respond to comments about the suggestive dance moves and costumes.  A comment from World of Dance spokesman Larry Peters pretty much sums up what they had to say "there was NOTHING provocative about what they were doing."  It's clear that both the parents and the organization who sponsored the dance event, World of Dance, see this as nothing out of the ordinary.  I would have to assume the the coach/choreographer feels the same way as the parents, and the administrating organization who runs the dance troupe.  I have to assume that the dance costumer who designs and manufactures lingerie-like costumes in seven year old sizes has no problem with any of this either.  It would be nice if this issue was isolated and we could blame the parents, then move on.  I believe the reason people are so riled up is because this is an epidemic, not an isolated incident.

In the last year we've seen multiple headlines centering on "outrageous" actions of young celebrities; everything from Vanessa Hudgen's nude cell phone pictures and Miley Cyrus' racy photo shoot to Lindsay Lohan's descent into further debauchery through drugs, partying and promiscuousness.  But I have to ask, is it really that radical if it happens so often?  Skimpy dresses and unbecoming conduct that caused Marilyn Monroe to be called "vulgar" by Joan Crawford are common media fodder for teen girl celebs now.  Dancing styles once limited to MTV music videos and pop stars are now being emmulated by grade school aged girls.  It's not just dance troupes either, check this out:

Our culture promotes the sexualization of girls, and it's reaching progressivley younger audiences.  There's a show on TLC called "Toddlers and Tiaras" about beauty pageants for kids.  Like JonBenet Ramsey, these girls are made up, perfectly coiffed and paraded around by their parents.  Is it any shock that girls have gone the road of Abigail Breslin's character in "Little Miss Sunshine" who danced a burlesque number as her talent for a pageant?  Parents have defended this by saying the grils are just doing as they're told and have no understanding of the moves some consider provocative.  So that makes it alright?  Who benefits when these young girls dress suggestively, act suggestively and dance suggestively?  Certainly not the girls who are being taught and shown that without exploiting their looks and "femininity" they won't succeed at anything!

So who's to blame here?  Everyone.  And without a dramatic cultural shift, seven year old being taught sexy dance moves is only going to be the beginning.  Let's re-examine ourselves, stop teaching our youth to misuse their bodies and model good behavior for them.  If one of those parents had watched their daughter practising "Single Ladies" and said "Not MY daughter!", how might things have turned out differently?  We'll never know until we try.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What did you want to be?

The preponderance of social networking sites has allowed me to reconnect with people I didn't think I'd ever hear from again, people I haven't seen in a REALLY long time. The question is always the same when you first accept the "Friend" request; what have you been up to? what the heck am I supposed to say to that? "Me, oh, I don't work and have a hard time leaving my jammies behind in the morning." LOL. Try feeling confident saying that to your friend who just passed the bar or got multiple offers from publishers on his new book. Or that you can make a mean lemon tarte. Yargh. So I think about the person I was last time we were together, usually young, naive and slightly egocentric. And quirky. I figure if they got along alright with me then, they'll probably like me now too, despite my apparent lack of progress into meaningful adulthood. I can usually one up them on buying a house though!
I found a MA program at UCSD in fiction writing I'm thinking of applying for. I don't think I'll put this blog on the application when I submit it (next year) since the writing here is unedited and generally atrocious. I want to post more often and see if I can work some of that nonsense out. Being a writer is the most challenging thing I can imagine, maybe that's why I'm drawn to it. We shall see.