Saturday, August 15, 2009

Project: Me?

Project Runway will be starting a new season very soon, and I have a decision to make: am I willing to become a Lifetime woman in order to watch?

Before Project Runway, I could very honestly and proudly proclaim, "I don't watch 'reality shows.'" The whole Survivor thing totally passed me by. It puzzled me that people would find that sort of thing interesting.

Okay, I did watch the first season of The Real World, when I was still in high school. Back in those days I would have watched anything if MTV aired it. I was also a fan of Beavis and Butthead and Liquid Television (were the animated series Aeon Flux began). But that's not "reality television," because the term didn't exist then.

All right, I followed one of the seasons of Big Brother, I'm not sure which, but it was in the single digits. My defense for that is our lack of cable television at the time. Beaumont, Texas only had five stations that were analog broadcast; we didn't even get the WB!

But I never really got "hooked" until my 2 a.m. feedings with Princess introduced me to a giant maniac named Santino and the gentle wisdom of Tim Gunn. I became an avid follower of Season 2 of Project Runway (still, in my opinion, the best season) and have never looked back.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, here's a quick tutorial:

1. Heidi Klum: Host and judge. Heidi plays the role of "everywoman" on the judging panel; she has no experience designing or sewing, but she spots things that would be visible to most supermodels capable of walking the runway at a Victoria's Secret fashion show eight weeks after giving birth. You know, just like you and me.

2. Tim Gunn: Mentor. Tim Gunn is the most fabulous being ever created by reality television. He uses wonderful big words like "egregious." His job is to help explain the challenges to the designers, oversee their shopping trips, and give feedback about their designs-in-progress. He always gets teary at just the right moments. He defines "unflappable." I love Tim Gunn.

3. Michael Kors: Judge. Michael Kors is a well-known American designer who has dressed many celebrities and important persons. He uses phrases like "I'm underwhelmed" and "I feel like the Pope at a sex club," though I'm fairly certain those were in response to two different challenges.

4. Nina Garcia: Judge. Nina is a bigwig in the fashion magazine industry, first as fashion editor of Elle magazine, then editor-at-large. Nina is completely bored with everything anyone has ever worn ever, and wants something new. She scares the contestants more than any other judge.

5. Guest Judge: Sometimes celebrities (Natalie Portman, Sarah Jessica Parker) but usually fashion insiders, these guest judges are generally connected to product placement or sponsorship in some way. They can be entertaining, but rarely.

6. Designers: Each season starts with 13-16 designers who, each show, must create a garment (or outfit, which they call "a look") within certain parameters. At the end of each show, one designer is told, "You're out," by Heidi, and that poor sucker goes home. The final three (or four) show a 12-13 piece collection at Fashion Week in New York.

Naturally, a lot of the show is drama between the designers. Sometimes they have to work in teams. One time they had to dress themselves, another time they had to dress each other. Tempers run high and artistic temperaments break down. Delicious.

Seasons 1-5 of Project Runway were on the Bravo Television Network ("TV for Gay Men and the Women Who Love Them"). The focus was on the snipy, the snarky, and the fabulous. Season 6 of Project Runway will air on Lifetime ("Television for Women Who Cry Soft Tears and Hold Each Other Gently"), which is not my thing at all.

Will this change my beloved PR? Will they begin to focus on the female designers, as though female designers are capable of any sort of personal feeling? Will they have to dress women who weigh more than 82 pounds?

I don't know. The premiere is Thursday, August 20, and all I can say is, I'll try.

Now pass me that Kleenex and hold me. Gently.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Blogging Through the Pain

I just dropped Princess and Dexy off for their first day of day care for the 2009-2010 school year.

Sven drops the kids off, as a rule. He can do it. I break down in tears every time I have to leave them. The only time I drop them off is if Sven is sick.

Except, of course, I go on the first day.

Dexy was very concerned when we got there. His little brow furrowed, and his cheeks puffed out as he held on to his lower lip, struggling not to cry. He hates to cry when he's scared. Fortunately, the wonderful Miss DeeDee said the magic words ("Would you like some breakfast?") and he went to her. He clung to my neck when I hugged him good-bye, but there were no tears. From him, anyway. I left too quickly for him to see mine. I risked a look back, and he was examining breakfast with Miss DeeDee, his arm around her shoulders, Mommy and Daddy forgotten for the moment.

I should have felt better.

Then, we took Princess to Miss Liz. All of the children over three have breakfast together, so the room was full of much bigger kids who were already noisy and playing. Princess got nervous and began to pull against my hand. We took her to the breakfast table, with her chanting, "Maybe we should do this tomorrow."

Then she saw him.


Princess lost all interest in Sven and me. Miss Liz had to prompt, "Say goodbye to Mommy and Daddy," and she threw a casual wave in our direction while smiling invitingly at Tyler.

I'm not sure I care for Tyler.

It took less than 10 minutes. Both children were in day care, seeming secure and happy. I went to the grocery store, thinking about everything I could get done this week, before I have to return to work.

When I stop crying, that is.

Monday, August 10, 2009


When two people meet, fall in love, and decide to spend the rest of their lives together (or at least a couple of months), there are certain things to consider. I'm not an expert, but I watch them on TV, and here are some of the things they seem to feel are important:
  • Common interests
  • Common or compatible career goals
  • Money
  • Sex
  • Other (children, religion, general morality, etc.)
I must say, when one of these "relationship experts" begins pontificating about how "important" it is to "get to know" the "person" you plan to "marry" in so many important "ways," I scoff. I also chortle, guffaw, and occasionally reflux. (It's my diet.) Because they never talk about the things that are really important, the things that make or break 99% of otherwise happy marriages and relationships, according to my opinion:


So, here is Deb's Guide to Petty Compatibility. Understanding your Petty Compatibility, on its own, does nothing. However, if you are compatible on the BIG THINGS, take a look at some of these little, petty things. These are in no way based on my relationship.*

1. Toast compatibility.
A. Toasters: some people like leaving the toaster on the counter, some prefer it be put away, necessitating one partner's hovering over the cooling toaster like an anxious mother bird, waiting for it to be cool enough to handle and/or not ignite the paper grocery bags stored in the toaster cabinet because who puts away a toaster, honestly?
B. Toast Material: some people like Pop-tarts that are hot, frozen waffles, or other toaster fare that is not, exactly, toast. Does your partner ever check the darkness setting? Or does he blindly press the button down and walk away while the last two pieces of bread are transformed into charcoal?

Solution: This problem is far from insurmountable. Visit the home of your intended. Is there a visible toaster? If not, make a casual request ("Say, I feel like some toast right about now."). Observe your beloved as he or she toasts the bread. Be prepared.

2. Bread Compatibility
A. Type: some people like hearty, flavorful, whole-grain breads or those crusty breads that are fresh-made. Others prefer the squashy, white, slightly damp plain white breads devoid of all nutritional value. Who is to say who is right? (Me.)
B. Use: some people prefer to use bread down to the last piece. Others prefer to allow the heel and the "buffer" piece to be discarded. In addition, some people eat the bread "in order," starting with a heel piece, while others save the initial heel to help keep the remaining bread fresh. This can be huge.
C. Storage: some people are casual about their bread bags, giving it a twist and tuck and allowing the little plastic-coated metal wire to go by the wayside. Others are obsessive about tracking that little piece of wire to the ends of the earth, if necessary, and use it to seal the bread by twisting it both clockwise and counter-clockwise 87 times with each use.

Solution: While at the home of your intended, take a casual peek into the pantry, breadbox, cabinet, or cardboard box, provided no one is sitting on it. See what varieties of bread are available. If it is unsatisfactory, send your future partner to the grocery store to get some "good bread" and see what he comes back with. (Ladies, you should all do this anyway. It is loads of fun.)

3. Cabinets, drawers, switches, and appliances
Some people are careless about leaving cabinet doors or drawers open, or light switches on. These people are relaxed, carefree individuals who simply have more on their mind than closing some stupid cabinet or drawer. Others may not appreciate this sort of freedom and, Gestapo-like, prowl through the house ferreting out doors to close and switches to flip.

Solution: I'll just shut the cabinet.

So, there you have it. Three points of Petty Compatibility for otherwise happy couples. I haven't even made it out of the kitchen yet. There are countless points I haven't even found yet, because they haven't come up. But they will. If there is one thing I've learned from my 23 years on earth (quiet, Mom) it is this: people will find things to fuss about. I try not to do it, but goodness knows I'm not perfect. And some people don't even try!

But, compromise is possible, when two people love each other and someone is willing to change.

I put my foot down on the bread, though.

*This is totally about my relationship, as I'm sure you have not figured out by now because I did such a good job of keeping things vague and non-judgmental.