March 28, 2005
Right or Wrong?
1. Is it bad to sing along with Apollonia’s “Nasty Girls” (from the movie Purple Rain) as you pull out of the parking lot of your daughter’s Christian preschool? “Girls…it’s time to jam…nasty girls, dance, dance, dance!”

2. Is it wrong for an intelligent person to believe that there’s no way that tiny chocolate eggs or pastel m & m’s could cause any fatness? I mean really believe they don’t count, they just couldn’t?

3. Is there a “right” number of computer solitaire deals to expect before playing a winning hand? Winning too quickly isn’t fun (plus you feel like you now should go do whatever it was that you were avoiding in the first place). Waiting too long for victory is also annoying because just how much time do you want to waste on this game anyway?!

4. When coming across some old work-related documents on your computer, is it wrong to laugh out loud diabolically because you no longer have to do those reports? If so, I couldn’t help myself.

5. As spring break starts, is it right to feel minor dread (mixed with gladness, of course) to be with the kidlets all day long for days and days, possibly while it’s raining?

6. Is it wrong to eavesdrop on the girls while they’re playing, if only to listen to the cute things they say when grown-ups aren’t in the room? Where do they get their ideas from??

7. Is it improper to hate Mari Windsor and her inane babbling during the Windsor Pilates exercises while I’m breathing in and out, trying to stabilize my “powerhouse”?

March 21, 2005
Love is a Laptop
There is an unopened box downstairs with a Sony Vaio inside. My birthday’s not for five months, but what the heck? Sometimes it’s good to get things a little early.

I’ve been thinking about getting a laptop for awhile but strangely, K.’s the one who’s been pushing me to pull the trigger. Yesterday the stars aligned; the model we’d been considering went on sale and there was tax return money, and voila: it’s sitting in my kitchen. Next to the skinny brown box is a bag full of software, a wireless mouse and the phone number for the geek squad who will come set everything up tomorrow evening.

The reason that I’ve been putting off the laptop decision is that getting one makes me face my writing goals. Yes, it will be nice to check e-mail, shop online and read blogs while sitting outside this summer as the girls play. But the laptop represents potential writing projects, whatever they may be. Will I have to now take some bigger steps?

K. doesn’t sense that fear in me, or at least he believes in me enough to ignore it. You can’t discount his passion for buying anything electronic for any reason, anytime, that’s true. But to me, this purchase really means that he supports me and whatever writing I want to do. He doesn’t understand it, I don’t think—my need to write—but he sees how important it is to me and he thinks I should go for it.

My ambivalence about the purchase is giving way to enthusiasm. I’m excited to open the box. As James Stephens said, “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.”

March 14, 2005
The Power of a Good Title (This is Not One of Them)
Have you ever wondered who gets the job of naming beauty products? Who gets to come up with the names for lip gloss shades, like “Blabbermouth” and “Slander” (Too Faced Cosmetics’ Gossip Glosses) or “Bing My Cherry”, “Water My Melon”, and “Spike My Punch” (The Balm lip plumpers)?

I’ve read that often it’s the marketing/product manager (MBA usually required) who creates the names. At some cosmetic lines it’s the company founder who does it, alone or with a team. At Benefit--a beauty company with great names like “Buh-Bye” for their zit-zapping cream and “Looking For a Good Man-darin” for a lipstick--they apparently hold meetings to come up with product names. On, Benefit founder Jean Ford describes the process:

"Product naming sessions at Benefit typically take place on Friday afternoons. There are usually about 10 of us gathered around a table in the art department, munching on M & M's. The naming process is always done by democracy, everyone needs to buy into the name, whether it's a product name or shade name. Everyone votes, there are no egos and when we get it right everyone just lights up. We start by blurting out name ideas, then we vote thumbs up or thumbs down for our favorites. We don't try to be clever or witty, we try to come up with names that will make people laugh. At one meeting several years ago, we were all sitting around the table trying out a new body cream. It was really rich and creamy, and we all kept massaging it into our skin. It was a very seductive cream; it felt so silky and soft to the touch. This cream wasn't passive; it needed a more aggressive, action-oriented name. So, I said to the group 'We need a name that screams touch me then try to leave ... I dare you!' There was a brief silence, then everyone burst out laughing. My sister Jane turned to me and said, 'Jean, there's our name.' And so our Touch Me Then Try To Leave ... Cream was born."

Sounds better than any of the business meetings I’ve been part of (although we did have bagels sometimes).

If I were to hand out awards for best beauty product names, the envelope would have go to the ever-clever folks at OPI. For example, look at their newest nail collection, called Simply Zen-sational:


The names of these polishes are:

• Miso Happy with this Color
• Osaka-to-Me Orange
• Dress to Empress
• Have a Tempura Tan-Trum
• Color of the Zen-tury
• Let Them Eat Rice Cake
• Holy Pink Pagoda!
• 18K Ginza Gold
• Most Honorable Red
• Suzi Sells Sushi by the Seashore
• You're Such a Kabuki Queen
• Don't Be Koi with Me

I’ll never look at miso soup the same way again.

March 07, 2005
In My Mind
There are things stuck in my mind that shouldn’t be there.

Inane melodies push their way to the front so that, for example, when I remind my kindergartener to bring her backpack to the car, I burst out into Dora the Explorer’s song, “Backpack, Backpack! Backpack, Backpack!” Of course, almost any children’s show that we view repeatedly results in brain takeover. “Wiggly party. (Party, party, party!)” from the Wiggles; “Get up on your feet and to everyone you meet, say hello (Hell-o, hell-o, hell-o)” from Dragon Tales; “Champion Charlie Brown!” (the one the Peanuts gang sings when he wins a spelling contest).

Often when I should be doing something, my brain makes associations and overtakes my train of thought. As I work on a writing class assignment where we are to come up with a bunch of “You can tell by the way…” philosophical statements—in my head, I keep hearing Maurice Gibb’s high-pitched voice singing the Stayin’ Alive song: “Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man: no time to talk. “ At least I was smiling as I wrote.

Sometimes, though, I think my subconscious is hard at work and actually trying to be helpful. Random songs will come to me at odd moments throughout the day where I’ll find myself humming or singing to myself. Once it was Cheryl Crow’s “All I wanna do is have some fun”—and when I stopped to think about the lyrics, I realized that at that time I really did need more fun, I was working too much. One time as I pulled my car into a parking lot, out of nowhere Bob Marley hijacked my mind and I heard, “Don’t worry, bout a thing, cause every little thing, gonna be alright.” Immediately, I stopped fretting about my crazy to-do list.

Maybe my problem is a mixed blessing.

March 01, 2005
There's no party without you
Looking for a gift idea for someone? Since I get a bazillion catalogs in the mail, let me help you out. Consider one of these:

For your wine-loving friends…

For your alcohol-in-general-loving friends…

For your sibling…

For the moms you know…

For a spouse (toothpaste device) …

For the cook in the family…

This one’s for me (I really like quiet)…

For anyone you love (or want to mock)…

These “compliment stones” have messages, in case you can’t read them from the picture:

Have you been working out?
You never have a bad hair day.
There's no party without you.
You are one smart cookie.
You look fabulous today.
You're setting the world on fire.
Your mother must be so proud.
Nice shoes.
Everyone wants to be you.
You are so easy to love.
You are always right.
You are a superhero.
You rock.

Just give me the one that says, “You are always right” and we’ll be fine.