Friday, January 27, 2012

Marriage Equality

Though its been out for quite a while, and I've had it sitting in my "to-read" pile for a long time, I just started reading "Committed" by Elizabeth Gilbert.  (Most people will know her for her book, "Eat, Pray, Love".)  From what I've read so far, this book is about the history of marriage.  (It's definitely about her path to marrying her love from "Eat, Pray, Love", but so far this is what I've gotten out of it.)  It's a very interesting read.  And with the election coming up, the discussion of gay marriage has been in the press even more than usual, with candidates expressing their views on the subject.

What really got me thinking about how Gilbert's book relates to the politicians was this quote from Newt Gingrich, where he compares gay marriage to paganism:

"It's pretty simple: marriage is between a man and a woman. This is a historic doctrine driven deep into the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and it's a perfect example of what I mean by the rise of paganism. The effort to create alternatives to marriage between a man and a woman are perfectly natural pagan behaviors, but they are a fundamental violation of our civilization."
You can read the rest of the article, from the Huffington Post, here.

Really Newt?  REALLY?  Ugh.  He pisses me off.   He's using his Christian religion as a way to validate his homophobia and his reasoning of why gay people shouldn't be allowed to marry.  

Also on this day, I read a part of Gilbert's book about the historical views Christians had about marriage and I really need to share it:

"So that was to be the new human paradigm, as modeled by Christ's own example: celibacy, fellowship, and absolute purity."  (This was around 730 A.D.)  
"This rejection of sexuality and marriage represented a massive departure from any Old Testament way of thinking.  Hebrew society, by contrast, had always held marriage to be the most moral and dignified of all social arrangements (in fact, Jewish priests were required to be married men), and within that bond of matrimony there had always come a frank assumption of sex."  "Sex, after all, was how Jewish babies were made-how can you build up the tribe without making more Jewish babies? 
 But the early Christian visionaries weren't interested in making Christians in the biological sense (as infants who came from the womb); instead, they were interested in converting Christians in the intellectual sense (as adults who came to salvation through individual choice)."  "Since there would always be more potential Christians to convert, there was no need for anybody to sully himself by generating new babies through vile sexual congress.  And if there was no need anymore for babies, then it naturally stood to reason that there was no need anymore for marriage.  
Remember, too, that Christianity was an apocalyptic religion-even more so at the beginning of its history than now.  Early Christians were expecting the End of Days to arrive at any moment, perhaps as early as tomorrow afternoon, so they were not especially interested in launching future dynasties.  Effectively, the future did not exist for these people.  With Armageddon both inevitable and imminent, the newly baptized Christian convert had only one task in life: to prepare himself for the upcoming apocalypse by making himself as pure as humanly possible.
Marriage = wife = sex = sin = impurity.
Therefore: Don't marry.
When we speak today, then, about "holy wedded matrimony," or the "sanctity of marriage" we would do well to remember that, for approximately ten centuries, Christianity itself did not see marriage as being either holy or sanctified."
"So when modern-day religious conservatives wax nostalgic about how marriage is a sacred tradition that reaches back into history for thousands of uninterrupted years, they are absolutely correct, but in only one respect-only if they happen to be talking about Judaism.  Christianity simply does not share that deep and consistent historical reverence toward matrimony."

I find the history of Christianity's views on marriage very, very interesting.  I think Newt should educate himself a little more about it.

The next day I read Gilbert's chapter about same-sex marriage.  The way she put it was exactly how I would put it if I was eloquent and was a published author.  And had done all the research she did.  And was much smarter and more intellectual than I am.  :)  I'm going to quote a couple pages of her book here because I think it's so important and well-put.

"....the only thing that marriage has ever done, historically and definitionally speaking, is to change.  Marriage in the Western world changes with every century, adjusting itself constantly around new social standards and new notions of fairness.  The Silly Putty-like malleability of the institution, in fact, is the only reason we still have the thing at all.  Very few people-Mr. Talent included, I'll wager-would accept marriage on its thirteenth-century terms.  Marriage survives, in other words, precisely because it evolves.  (Though I suppose this would not be a very persuasive argument to those who probably also don't believe in evolution.)
In the spirit of full disclosure, I should make clear here that I'm a supporter of same-sex marriage.  Of course I would be; I'm precisely that sort of person.  The reason I bring up this topic at all is that it irritates me immensely to know that I have access, through the act of marriage, to certain critical social privileges that a large number of my friends and fellow taxpayers do not have."
"What I can say about this subject, though, is that legalized same-sex marriage is coming to America.  In large part this is because non-legalized same-sex marriage is already here.  Same-sex couples live together openly these days, whether their relationships have been officially sanctioned by their states or not.  Same-sex couples are raising children together, paying taxes together, building homes together, running businesses together, creating wealth together, and even getting divorced from each other.  All these already existing relationships and social responsibilities must be managed and organized through rule of law in order to keep civil society running smoothly.  (This is why the 2010 U.S. Census will be documenting same-sex couples as "married" for the first time in order to chart clearly the actual demographics of the nation.)  The federal courts will eventually get fed up, just as they did with interracial marriage, and decide that it's far easier to let all consenting adults have access to matrimony than it is to sort out the issue state by state, amendment by amendment, sheriff by sheriff, personal prejudice by personal prejudice.
Of course, social conservatives may still believe that homosexual marriage is wrong because the purpose of matrimony is to create children, but infertile and childless and postmenopausal heterosexual couples get married all the time and nobody protests.  (The archconservative political commentator Pat Buchanan and his wife are childless, just as one example, and nobody suggests that their marital privileges should be revoked for failure to propagate biological offspring.)  And as for the notion that same-sex marriage will somehow corrupt the community at large, nobody has ever been able to prove this in a court of law.  On the contrary, hundreds of scientific and social organizations-from the American Academy of Family Physicians, to the American Psychological Association, to the Child Welfare League of America-have publicly endorsed both gay marriage and gay adoption.
But gay marriage is coming to America first and foremost because marriage here is a secular concern, not a religious one.  The objection to gay marriage is almost invariably biblical, but nobody's legal vows in this country are defined by interpretation of biblical verse-or at least, not since the Supreme Court stood up for Richard and Mildred Loving.  A church wedding ceremony is a nice thing, but it is neither required for legal marriage in America nor does it constitute legal marriage in America.  What constitutes legal marriage in this country is that critical piece of paper that you and your betrothed must sign and then register with the state.  The morality of your marriage may indeed rest between you and God, but it's that civic and secular paperwork which makes your vows official here on earth.  Ultimately, then, it is the business of America's courts, not America's churches, to decide the rules of matrimonial law, and it is in those courts that the same-sex marriage debate will finally be settled."

Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, for saying what I want to say about this subject.  I really hope I can make it through this next election and that we don't end up with an extremely prejudiced President.  (Vote Obama!)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Golden Globes Fashion - Part 2

Finally finishing my take on the Golden Globes dresses!

I seem to be in the minority with my opinion of Octavia Spencer's dress. I thought she could look better.  Here are some of her other dresses from the week leading up to the Globes.

This seems so much better to me.  Imagine this long and it would have been perfect for the Globes.  There is not undue attention to her mid-section but the belt slims her.  Her hair is fresh and pretty.  Much better than the stodgey up-do she had at the Globes.  Her girls look nicely supported and her posture is good.

This one is also more flattering.  It has draping that makes it a little bit similar to her Globes dress, but there is much less of it so it's less eye-drawing to her mid-section.  Although I do think she could've used a better bra here.

Now, on to the other ladies.  Not in a preference order, but alphabetical by first name (because that's how my computer saved them). 

Angelina Jolie
Ms. Pitt here got mostly raves for this dress.  And I don't particularly love it.  It was expertly fitted, but I thought it seemed stiff.  And I didn't like the pop of red on the turned collar.  I think I would've liked it with a more open neckline and without the red.  I did like the red lips and purse, though.  It seemed very different for her, as lately she's been wearing lots of flowing, billowy dresses, so the change is nice.

Julie Bowen
This dress has been getting mixed reviews.  Some saying it's a little tween or costumey and some saying it's been done before.  But I love it.  I think it's romantic and flirty and soft and feminine and pretty.  I think it looks good on her and I like her hair and her clutch.  So there.

Laura Dern
I really like this dress.  LOVE the color and the beading, the neckline, and the belt.  The color is good with Laura's natural paleness and light hair.  I think Laura lacks curves so the belt is helping to define her waist.  I do wish she had done something different with her hair though - it's quite boring.

Lea Michelle
Ugh.  Really?  You're not J. Lo.  And you're not old enough for this.  You couldn't just stand there and look good, you had to pose and throw your shoulders forward to make it work.  No.  But your hair and makeup were pretty.

You can't really see it in this picture, but this dress was way too tight on Madonna's boobs.  They were popping out and she looked like she was suffocating.  I rather like the top of the dress, but the bottom was a little too Cinderella's step-sister for me.  And the single glove - why?

Michelle Williams
Again, ugh.  She is so much cuter that this dress could ever hope to be.  It is not a flattering cut.  The color is okay, but the fabric (which I think was a sparkly velvet thing) is awful.  And the headband is stupid.  She's done her short pixie hair much better than this.  For someone who was up for and won a Globe, she should have put in way more effort.

Mireille Enos
For those who don't know who this is, she was on Big Love and The Killing.  Yellow was a trend at the Globes and I think this dress was one of the best.  I think it looks great with her hair color.  I like the loose top over the nipped in waist and the not-too-full skirt.  I think the white/shimmery aspect is beading, which is done to nice effect.  I also really like her red lips.

Nicole Kidman
I really like this dress on Nicole.  It has some really fun detailing with all the studs.  It's fancy without being over the top, especially since she wasn't up for any awards.  It is perfect on her body.  Some people thought it was too light with her skin tone, but I don't agree - you wouldn't be able to see all the studs if it was too much darker.

Sarah Michelle Gellar
Ummmm...  This looks like it was a serious dye accident.  I don't have anything nice to say.  I don't like the style of the dress, nor the fabric.  I kept thinking it would be okay if it was all one color or maybe a real print instead of this... but I think the silhouette is too bridal and a real print would probably be too busy with all the tucks on the "apron" piece.  Supposedly her daughter liked it so Sarah wore it.  Word to the wise - don't let your children pick your red carpet attire.

Tilda Swinton
So, Miss Swinton here is usually very androgynous with her clothing selections.  Lots of suits.  I think this is a beautiful way to keep her signature style and glam it up for the red carpet.  It's amazing on her.  It's a beautiful color with her skin tone and hair.  The silk jacket has great details and the chiffon fish-tail skirt makes her look 12 feet tall.  She has fun, funky jewelry for a little sparkle.  Good job.  Well, except for the hair.  It's very Flock of Seagulls.

Connie Britton
Lastly, I had to include Connie Britton, since I LOVED her last red carpet dress so much.  This is what she wore to the Golden Globes.  Not a luncheon the day before.  Not a kids movie premiere.  The Globes.  Really. Not. Okay.

That's it.  That's all I have.  But since it is awards season, I'm sure there will be more soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Soooo Yesterday

John recently pulled an article out of a magazine for me to read and I liked it so much that I thought I'd share the info.  From Utah Style and Design, a list of outdated decor:

  • Matching "sets" of furniture
  • Overly coordinated fabrics (I have to include their note here because I find it funny - Ditch the Laura Ashley mentality.  If your toss pillows match your drapes and place mats, you have trouble.)

  • Silk ficus trees
  • Burgundy, hunter green, and navy blue together
  • Wallpaper borders
  • Distressed finishes and forced antiquity
  • Overly patterned granite (Funny - Any countertop surface that makes you dizzy and camouflages what's on top of it is out.  Though sometimes a statement piece is beautiful - my favorite granite is leopardy print.)

  • Silk plants, baskets, and stuffed roosters on cabinet tops
  • Faux finishes
  • Giant eucalyptus wreath displayed above your fireplace (Again, funny - It's dusty, dated, and simply wrong.)
  • Tiebacks, balloon shades, and draperies skirting the floor. And please, no swags, tassels, or fringes either (This one I have to partially disagree with - in some homes and for some clients, curtains pooled on the floor is perfect.)
  • Vanity bar lights with large lightbulbs
  • Wide grout joints
  • Bedspreads
  • Upholstery with bun feet and rolled arms (Again, I have to partially disagree.  Some rounded arms are still completely appropriate, especially in traditional homes.  Straight, simple, and clean lines are usually most beautiful and more stylish, but not always right.)

Hope this helps!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Golden Globes Fashion!

I actually got to watch a good amount of the red carpet arrivals this year.  I almost had to mute the hosts though because they were so annoying!  I also kept changing channels from NBC to EW so that I wouldn't have to listen to Ryan Seacrest when he was on EW or some chick in red on NBC.

Here are some of my favorites so far and some misses as well:

Sofia Vergara
I really like this dress on her.  The color is lovely, the details are really interesting, and the fit is good.  Sometimes I think she wears things that are too tight on her chest and it makes her boobs pop out, but this one fits well.  I also like that she has simple hair since there is so much going on at the bottom of the dress.

Charlize Theron
Beautiful!  I love this dress - the color, the details, the high slit that's made more subtle by the bow/flounce thing.  The color is beautiful on her.

Claire Danes
Love this dress, too!  It looks relatively simple from the front and the back is dramatic.  And of course her body looks fabulous in it!

Emma Stone
I think the colors of this are fabulous.  I think the plunging neckline is a little too old for her and the puffy shoulder caps are a little weird as well as the belt with the eagle on it.  But the colors are awesome and great for her skin tone and hair color.  And her hair and makeup looks fabulous.  I want her hair.

Julianna Margulies
I actually don't really like this dress.  The back makes it tolerable, but I don't think it's the most flattering.  But I love her earrings - gorgeous color!

Viola Davis
Love this dress!  It's kind of similar to that one red dress I loved on Connie Britton.  I wish I had paid more attention to the designers!  The color is fabulous with her skin tone and very flattering on her - the one shoulder shows off her awesome upper body.  Her hair looks great and I like the clutch.  I think the shoes are a bit clunky, though.  I think some delicate gold sandals would be better.  In fact, Connie's shoes would be better here!

Evan Rachel Wood
I love the bottom half of this dress.  Beautiful colors, sequins, and feathers.  It's so different than anything anybody else was wearing or has worn ever - I think that's why it's so stunning to me.  The top is a little boring in comparison, but not the most awful.  I dislike her hair this short, but that's just personal preference. I know most critics like it on her.

Reese Witherspoon
I usually love Reese and her dresses, and this one has so-far gotten raves, but I don't think it's all that great.  First, I don't think it fits all that well.  It seems too tight on her hips, too long (it's bunching weirdly on the floor), and the bodice looks too big - like it's standing away from her body and if you were close enough you'd get a good look at the girls.  Also, I think her hair looks too beachy, it's not fancy enough for this event.

Melissa McCarthy
Oh, Melissa.  Why aren't designers doing you justice?  I like that she's got a v-neck this time and it's got some detail, but I wish that same detail was under the bust and maybe even on the wrists as well.  It's just so boring!  At least the color is good on her.

Octavia Spencer
I can't figure out exactly what is wrong here, but I suspect it must be a combination of things.  One, her posture sucks.  Is it because her posture is always bad or she's uncomfortable in this dress?  Two, the style of the dress is a bit matronly and not the most flattering to someone who carries her weight in her chest and belly area.  I've seen her in formal attire lately and it's been way more fashionable and flattering than this.  And three, I suspect that she's not wearing the best, most supportive undergarments.

Shailene Woodley
Last for today, this young girl.  I think she needs a couple extra inches of bodice to make this look like it's not falling off her.  I think that must be why she's hunching - she doesn't want her girls to pop out.  Also, I wish she was wearing a great color.  She's young, she's fun - she can pull it off!

Hopefully I'll have more tomorrow!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Tribute to My Grandma Ann

Some days it really hits me how much I miss my Grandma.  She's been gone a few years now, but today while cleaning out a stock pile of old Christmas cards, I came across one from her.  Probably one of the last she sent.   First it made me laugh and then it made me cry.

Grandma had a thing for Lulu.  She would address most cards to both of us and would always ask how she was doing, like she was her great-grandchild. :)  She had a wicked sense of humor, too.  I have to write what she wrote in the card:

I suppose you know they gave me a new walker.  It was such a surprise. Besides easier to navigate, it also comes with a flip down seat. Just ask any time you wish to use it.  I could offer Lulu a ride in the basket under the seat, but know she'll refuse.

She seriously cracked me up.

 She was a very interesting woman.  We often didn't know something about her until she would randomly tell us and surprise everyone.  Like the time she told us her name really wasn't Patricia Ann.  WHAT?!?  How is that just coming out now, when you're almost 90?  Her given name was Volasta Anoushka.  But her parents decided one year that they should all Americanize their names.  The closest translation to Volasta was Patrick, so she chose Patricia.  And since she went by Annie (from Anoushka), she chose Ann as her middle name.  We were all in shock when she told this story, and laughing because it was so ridiculous that we didn't know this!

When I was traveling a lot for my job, she wrote me a letter that to this day is my favorite letter I've ever received from anybody.  She was talking about how different travel today is from travel when she was young.  She wrote about how she and a friend once took a train trip to California.  The dining car was very crowded and the porter asked if he could seat two gentleman with them for dinner.  Of course they obliged - the boys were good looking!  The girls had such a wonderful time with the boys that they made plans to hang out in San Francisco.  They boys bought them an amazing dinner on the wharf and they drank sweet wine into the wee hours.  She said it was one of the best and most memorable trips of her life.

Again, nobody knew that story, and I felt so special that she had shared it with me.  I brought it to the first Mothers Day that she wasn't around to share it with my Mom and other Grandma.  It was a hit.

Grandma Ann really liked to gamble.  She shared this addiction with her oldest grandchild, Kristen.  And only Kristen; it was their special time together.  They would take the bus up to Central City and play the slots.  Then she'd give all of her winnings to Kristen.

Growing up, Kristen and I always liked visiting Grandma Ann.  She had tons of coloring books in the cabinet under the tv for us.  She'd let us watch tv in the other room while the grown-ups talked and smoked in the dining room with the main tv.  We'd play in the back yard and under the car port.  She'd let me paw through her jewelry drawer.  She rarely made us eat something we didn't like.  There was always chocolate somewhere in her house.  She'd also take us to the Senior Center for lunch and we'd have chipped beef on toast.  Though I'm sure it's actually a disgusting tasting food now, it's a wonderful memory I have of my time with her.

Grandma married rather late in life.  In her day and age, she would have probably been considered an old maid.  But she obviously loved my Grandpa very much.  He died in 1977.  She wore her wedding ring until the day she died and never dated anybody else.  She was buried next to him, their names on opposite sides of the same headstone.  She was always faithful to him.

That's what my tattoo says in Polish.  My cousin got the same tattoo but hers is specifically in honor of our Grandpa (from the other side of the family), who died a few months before my Grandma.  It reminded her of him.  For me, it had slightly different significance.  The words made me think of the relationships of both sets of grandparents.  They were always faithful to each other.  My tattoo is in honor of all of them.  Zawsze Wierni.

Love you and miss you always Grandma.