Saturday, January 24, 2009


Don't ask me how it happened, but I have chapped lips. I live in one of the wettest places imaginable, and my lips are dry and chapped. And I don't mean "chapped" as in sexy, swollen, and red:
I mean chapped like this:

Chapped lips bother me. They are, for me, the Waxy Yellow Buildup of facial skin ailments.

Remember Waxy Yellow Buildup? That was in the second category of that school of 1970's advertising that I call "Sell Through Self-Esteem Slaughter." Category one had the products you needed to get your man. These were the days when you had to have the following in order to get a husband:
  • White teeth (toothpaste)
  • Fresh breath (mouthwash, mints)
  • Moist, inviting lips (Chapstick)
  • Dry clothing (dress shields)
  • Complete lack of body odor (deodorants)
  • Invisible panty lines (Underalls)
To keep your husband, you had to maintain everything from category one, but heaven help you if you didn't ward off category two:
  • Waxy yellow buildup on your kitchen or bathroom floor
  • Incorrectly brewed, weak coffee
  • Ring-around-the-collar or some other repulsive laundry condition
  • Absence of "freshness."
You just knew, back in the 1970's, that a man coming home to a dirty floor, weak coffee, dingy laundry, or expired wife would be out the door immediately. Of course, they told us the way to keep that same man happy was to harp on his lack of fresh breath or white teeth in front of company. They also said you should criticize your girlfriends by boldly yanking up the collars of their husbands' shirts to check for the telltale signs of laundry deficiency.

I was a child, but I remember those commercials vividly. Of course, today's commercials are far more explicit, blatantly using words like "absorbent," even in the dinner hour. I suppose I'm grateful the 1970's commercial style was long gone by the time these subjects became acceptable ad fodder...but wouldn't something like this be great?

Pam: Would anyone like a second cup?
Jim: I would!
Rose (voice over): Jim never has a second cup at home.
Pam: Anyone else?
Rose: Yes, please. Give me a second cup of the world's best coffee. (Exaggerated sip) Oh, my, what amazing coffee. So much better than mine.
Jim: Rose, cool it.
Rose: No, you cool it. You cool it.
Pam: Maybe I should...
Rose: No, you stay. I'll go. You two can have all the coffee you want. (Slams door.)

Brought to you by the American Tea Lover's Association.

And now, I've gotten so sidetracked that I've forgotten all about my chapped lips. My next entry will bring you the plethora of products I'm currently employing to return my lips to their normal moist state. While I'm at it, I'm going to attack my kitchen floor...

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I have to confess: I'm old.

Not in years, perhaps, though I am rapidly approaching my last birthday that can be considered "early" thirties.  However, in our new, 67-is-the-new-44 society, 34 just isn't old.  I mean, look at Jennifer Aniston.

No, don't!  She's naked!  I think you get my point, however.  Jennifer is 40, or close enough to it that they call her 40, and she looks good enough that people pay money to look at her naked.  I have no doubt that Jennifer knows about cool pop culture things, too, which is why she has a cute hipster musician boyfriend in his 20's.

I know what you're thinking.  "Deb," you're thinking, "what are you talking about?  You're a young, vital, happening kind of lady who gets it."  (Don't argue with me.  That's what you're thinking.)  I know I often give that impression, but I've been fooling you all for years.  Here are the reasons why I am so very, very old.

1.)  I have become one of those people who sees a really great movie about three years after everyone else, and then I go around telling people about it like it's brand new.  Isn't that terrible?  I used to hate people like me.  I remember when people started "discovering" Pulp Fiction, months after I saw it at a special midnight show in a basement theater in Houston.  I hated those people, and now I'm so much worse.

Here's my example:  I just saw a movie called The Queen.  It stars Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II and centers around the Queen's handling of the death of Princess Diana.  This is an awesome movie, but I'm embarrassed to mention it to anyone, because it's such old news.  I mean, I saw it on USA, for goodness' sakes.  However, since this is my "safe place" I can tell you all that this is a great performance, and Helen Mirren totally deserved that Oscar that she may or may not have won some amount of time ago.

2.) I don't understand The Hills.  I mean, I don't understand anything about it.  What is this show supposed to even be about?  Is it supposed to be reality?  It's poorly written enough to pass as reality, I supposed, but please.  And why do they chew so much?  Honestly, the one time I tried to sit through an episode of this dreck I endured 47 minutes of chewing followed by a commercial for Pro-Activ.  I know this show must be vitally important to our popular culture, because E!, People, and other pop-watch media spend just oodles of time telling us how Audrina was mad that Lauren ate Spencer, or something like that, but I just don't get it.

3.) I don't get all of the "hip references" anymore.  I can't even cite any examples, that's how un-hip I am.  

4.)  I have become living history to my students.  I remember the first year I was teaching, I was shocked that I had to explain to my students what communism was.  I was only 21 years old, but I was teaching students who had been born around the time the Berlin Wall fell, so they hadn't grown up with the Cold War as a daily reality.  It is so much worse now.

I try to give my students a frame of reference.  When we are talking about the 1980's, for example, I start with, "This was before the internet."  The gasps are audible.  You would think I said, "This was before indoor plumbing," or "This was before multi-cellular organisms exited the primordial ooze."  Then, the tentative hand-raising begins.

"Miss," they begin (I let them call me Miss because it makes me feel younger), "was this before cell phones?"

"Yes," I smile gently, making sure my dentures are in place, "it was before cell phones."  The cacophony swells.

"What about DVD players?"
"Was it before iTunes?"
"Did you have a television?"
"Were there cars when you were a kid?"
"Were you alive during slavery times?"

I hold up my hands, adjust my half-glasses, and pull my shawl close around me for warmth.  I know, deep in my heart, that I am not the old woman I must seem to them...but sometimes, late at night, when Extra is attempting to convince me that Heidi Montag is, indeed, a celebrity, I doubt myself.  That's when I'm sure that, for better or worse, I'm old.  Now get off my lawn.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

To Francesca, With Love...

Recently, I was given some blog love from one of my favorite online gal pals, Francesca of Three Bay B Chicks. Francesca listed me as one of her 10 favorite blogs. I looked at her recommendations, and now most of them are listed on my sidebar. (Go ahead, check them out, they are awesome.)

I am new to blogging, so I don't have many blogs that I read, so instead, I'd like to honor Francesca's honoring of me by honoring a request she made in the comments section of my "Inside the Actor's Studio" blog. (I know, I've used the word "Honor" too much, but it makes me giggle.) Here, now, are my answers to James Lipton's Ten Questions:

1) What is your favorite word? Kerfuffle. I use it a lot.

2) What is your least favorite word? Any explicit anatomical term makes me cringe a little. I was raised to believe that was vulgar; of course, I now have a three-year-old daughter who strips naked and runs through the house shrieking, "Look at my butt!"

3) What turns you on? Really well-prepared, semi-complicated food.

4) What turns you off? Flabby hands.

5) What is your favorite curse word? It's too filthy to print, and I only use it on occasion. Tom Cruise said it in Tropic Thunder, but I've been using it for years.

6) What sound or noise do you love? Silence.

7) What sound or noise do you hate? The wheezes as my son struggles to breathe.

8) What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? I would love to be a professional writer. I'm working on a novel, it's up to 50,000 words, but I'm stuck...

9) What profession would you not like to attempt? I would not like to do anything where I have to be dishonest, or compromise on really important things. So, no future for me in politics or school administration!

10) If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? I answered this in my blog post earlier, but here's a new one:
Welcome to Heaven. Your mansion is three doors down, to the right. Brad Pitt is cleaning the pool.

Imagine the rest of the staff...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inside the Actor's Studio: The Imaginary Interview

Imaginary James Lipton: Good evening, and welcome to tonight's imaginary edition of "Inside the Actor's Studio."  Our guest tonight has made imaginary history, becoming the first artist in history to receive the Oscar, the Tony, the Grammy, the People's Choice, the SAG, the Golden Globe, and the Critic's Choice award in a single year.

Imaginary students cheer wildly

IJL: She has accomplished all of this while remaining a devoted wife and mother, as well as publishing three best-selling novels.  Truly, the Actor's Studio is honored to welcome tonight's distinguished guest, Deb Amazing Pants.

Standing ovation.  Deb enters, blushing modestly at the acclaim.  She embraces Lipton and sits, motioning the still-cheering audience to quiet.  Eventually, they do.

IJL: Welcome, Deb.  It is an honor to have you here.

Deb: No, please, it's my pleasure.

IJL: What an amazing year you have had.  Tell me: among all of the honors and accolades, what stands out the most?

Deb: I believe it was the personal triumphs I experienced.  I think personal achievement trumps professional accomplishment any day.

IJL: Can you tell us what triumph you're thinking of?

Deb:  Oh, I don't know... George Clooney proposed to me after we wrapped our last film together, and I found that to be very validating.

IJL: What did you say?

Deb: Oh, I let him down gently, of course.  I'm very happily married, but George is a great guy, I'm sure he'll find the right girl.

IJL: Indeed, he must have been heartbroken.

Deb: Well, you snooze, you lose.

IJL: You are delightful and a breath of fresh air.

Deb: Back atcha.

IJL: If I may ask about your process: how do you establish a character?

Deb: The truth is, James, acting is just pretending.  The secret is, I pretend to be another person, and then say whatever the script says.

IJL: Brilliant!

Students applaud wildly

IJL: We'll conclude with the question I ask everyone on this show: if heaven exists, what do you want God to say, when you arrive?

Deb: You'll be skinny forever, here are the cupcakes.

Students applaud wildly, some spontaneously combusting.