Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back to School Guide for Goddesses

I was recently privileged to receive a truly extraordinary catalog.  Obviously this company knows me; my fame and renown have surprised me for years now, so I suppose I should have been expecting this sort of thing.  Sure, they put "or current resident" on the mailing label, but that was only to distract the autograph-seekers and celebrity-stalkers who make up 88% of the US Postal Service.

I cannot question the serendipity of the catalog's arrival.  Just as I was asking myself, "Where can one find a quality floor-length reversible hooded cloak for the everyday working woman?" my cosmic wishes were answered.  Herein I present my back-to-school wishlist from The Pyramid Collection, a company offering sensible fashion solutions to satisfy your Inner Goddess.  I devoured this catalog with such reverence and avidity that the moist snorts of my avidity could be heard for several blocks, and the high, quavering mewls of my reverence prompted my son to ask, "Who let the cat in?"

(For those of you who instantly thought of Fifty Shades of Grey upon reading the term "inner goddess," shame on you.  I sentence you to read Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With the Wind, which achieved total drivel status without a single pseudo-erotic scene involving a feminine hygiene product.  If you, like me, read it ironically, I commute your sentence.  But you should still read it anyway, it's totally cool.)

Of course, I have always been interested in that magical world of fantasy in which corsets are outerwear and a garment's chief asset is "flowiness."  I have done extensive research, consisting of reading The Mists of Avalon several times.  I have also purchased several of the Game of Thrones novels, and I can attest they are level and will hold a beverage upright for several hours.  As if that were not enough, I also played Dungeons & Dragons in my youth, and still own at least one 20-sided die.  (Parenthetically, Princess has been using my Monster Manual for reading practice, which I'm sure will necessitate a meeting with her teacher at some point to explain why she can't read "light" or "laugh" but does fine on "lich" and "lycanthrope.")

My wishlist shall be divided into three categories: clothing, outerwear, and accessories.  I think you will agree that I have assembled a totally professional wardrobe that not only conveys calm authority but warmth and approachability.

In the field of clothing, I give you this:

The Midnight Lace dress.  Nothing says "Trust me with your children" like red lace and corsetry.  I plan to snazz it up with a voluminous red tulle petticoat for that extra bump of style.  I hope no one mistakes me for administration!!

For outerwear, there is only one choice:

Nothing beats a cape for versatility.  Do you want to shield yourself from the cold?  Reenact scenes from Excalibur?  Stalk an unsuspecting love object?  This cape does it all.  I can see myself sweeping down the majestic, cobweb-festooned halls of Hometown Junior School.  I imagine its primary benefit will be recruitment; everyone wants to be in the class of a cape-wearing teacher.

Accessories are, of course, those extra touches that separate the eccentric from the possibly dangerous.  For shoes, my only choice is this pair:

I know they're subtle, but the secret to fashion is not going overboard.

As my regular readers (hereinafter known as "devotees") know, I adore jewelry.  In the spirit of keeping things understated, I offer these:

I adore statement pieces.  For me, there is no greater message I can send my students than, "I'm festooned with possibly poisonous spiders."  Maternal?  Trustworthy?  Oh yes.  I can just imagine the confidences my new attire will inspire.

See you on the 27th, children.  Hopefully the fang glue will be set by then.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

In Which Deb Is Annoyingly Pollyana-ish

I have discovered that there can be a lot of truth in some cliches.  One I hear a lot is "You get what you give," which seems to be a simplistic way of defining what we casually call karma.

On a discussion forum which I used to frequent, posters often lamented the rudeness of most people they encountered.  Cashiers at Wal-Mart who have a surly demeanor, for example.  Salespeople at Macy's who are more interested in having a conversation than helping customers.  Starbucks baristas who screw up orders and roll their eyes when asked to correct their mistakes.  Reading this forum would work me into a state of despair so severe only pounds of chocolate and several hours of gazing at Robert Pattinson pictures could ease my pain.

Though it took me an embarrassingly long time to notice it, I eventually realized that the world was not in such a severe state of rudeness.  Several stories on the forum were exaggerated (or outright made up), but even in the case of stories that were true, most had something in common: the poster was looking for reasons to be offended and/or the poster never spoke up to help the situation.  I began saying to myself (shouting at the computer screen): "Why didn't you just ASK THE CASHIER TO CHECK THE PRICE?" or "Was there a reason you couldn't clear your throat and ask for help?"  If people would speak up in a positive way instead of passive-aggressively fuming about the way others can't read minds, the results would be very different.

I decided to test my theory.  Wal-Mart was the obvious choice; in many parts of the internet, the brand is synonymous with bad service and trashy customers.  (The fact that most of us are also customers does not stop us from ridiculing them.)  When trapped in a line in one of the two open registers (out of 28), I would make brief eye contact and smile at people.  I helped translate for customers who couldn't speak English.  (I don't speak any other languages well, but just listening patiently usually helps.)  I chatted with the cashiers and made sure to thank them.  I even gave a recipe to a cashier whose husband had just been diagnosed with diabetes.  Wal-Mart is now a very pleasant place for me.

Next stop: fast food.  After a late concert I went through the drive-thru at Jack in the Box.  There were two people working inside and the line was really backed up.  I could tell by the tone of the person who took my order over speaker that they were very harried and stressed out.  I got up to the window and the cashier was very brusque with me.  Not rude, but short.  As I paid, I noticed that she did not make eye contact with me at all.  I decided to try an overture.

"Busy night?" I asked.
"Terrible," she sighed.  "Only two working and we get slammed on a Tuesday night."
"Well, I appreciate you being here," I said as she handed me my drink.  "Saves me from cooking this late."  She looked at me then and I saw a little smile.  I asked for some buttermilk dressing and she must have given me 15 packets.  I thanked her.
"You have a wonderful night, Ma'am," she said.  I wondered how many people had driven through without a word to her.  I also wondered how many grumbled and muttered to themselves about her rudeness or her hostile demeanor without making any effort to improve the situation.

I'm not trying to hold myself up as some paragon or anything.  I'm a scientific person; when I have a theory, I test it.  My theory is that people who are nice get treated more nicely than those who sit back and wait for other people to control the interaction.  So far, I've been proved right most of the time.  There are jerks out there, of course, but I think they are in the minority.

At least in real life.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Stranger Anxiety

If you haven't taken the Meyers-Briggs personality test, you're missing out on amazing insight into yourself.  I first took the test as part of the back-to-school staff development week.  It was a new school, a new district, and a new position: elementary music.  The tester was purportedly there to teach the faculty about getting along with different personality types by understanding the differences that define them.  Her main focus was introverts vs. extroverts.  (If anyone cares, I'm INFJ, which is the rarest type; about 1% of the US population has it.)

An introvert (which I am) finds it tiring to be around people.  We "recharge" through solitary time.  I spend every day with hundreds of kids, so I don't have much of a social life.  I can't be around people all the time.  It wears me out and gives me anxiety.  I always knew this about myself, but I didn't know it was a real "thing"; I just thought I was one of those descriptors always ascribed to introverts: shy, awkward, anti-social.

The tester proceeded to teach us how to get along by dividing us into an extrovert group (about 50 people) and an introvert group (about six, including me).  We were then told to "brainstorm" with our group about ways we could "reach out" to the others and "adapt our style" to make it more acceptable to them.  The extrovert group proceeded to brainstorm, which sounded a little like happy hour at Hooters.  The introverts stared uneasily at each other and shrugged occasionally.  I could already tell my year was off to a great start.

I generally don't like personal interactions with people.  I will sometimes have this conversation with Sven:

Deb: "I saw Whoosits today."
Sven: "Really?  How is she?  What's she up to?"
Deb: "I don't know, I didn't talk to her."
Sven: "Why not?"
Deb: [shrugs, embarrassed to admit that she ducked behind a Velveeta display so Whoosits wouldn't see her, even though Whoosits is great and not scary at all.]

There have been times that I have been upset that people don't recognize me after my weight loss.  Most of the time, however, I'm pretty pleased that a lot of people have no idea who I am, so I don't have to talk to anyone.  I can go anywhere and do anything and there's a good chance no one will know it's me.

Tee hee.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

An Actual Conversation

Time: Earlier this evening

Place: The Folksy House

Players: Deb and Princess

Princess: Mommy, when I grow up I'm going to have teats.

Deb: Well... we don't call them "teats" on humans.  "Teats" are what we call them on animal mommies.

Princess: So what do we call yours?

Deb: Um...

Princess: Boobies?

Deb: Well, no-

Princess: Boobs?

Deb: Uh, that's-

Princess: Mom, just tell me what you call them.

Deb: Breasts.  We call them breasts, honey.

Princess:  That's disgusting.