gillis and her big mouth

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Month: October, 2012

Does This Tweety Bird T-Shirt Make Me Look Incompetent?

Sandy has shown me that I’m woefully unprepared for a major storm. Oh sure, I’ve got batteries, candles, food & water, provisions for family and pets, but my wardrobe has nothing that truly says “extended stay in emergency shelter.” I have no dignified lounge wear. Jeans might work for daytime, but who wants to sleep in denim? Not I. Denim in a sleeping bag, on a cot? I think not. And exercise clothes? I’d last 6 hours in a pair of compression leggings before tearing them off and unleashing my cellulite on the world. And don’t you think slouchy, mismatched sweats or pjs just scream “pick me up off the roof in your rowboat” ?

No thanks. None of these ensembles say, “This is an emergency, but I’m okay. I am a competent, adult who is coping in the face of tragedy. Do not pity me for I will endure.” Designers, we need you to mobilize and create stylish, survivalist lines. We will need things that will both inspire confidence and breathe nicely. Fabrics that will not cling excessively in rain or sweat events. Things that will pack compactly and unpack wrinkle free. I’m thinking bamboo crossed with merino. Are you with me so far? If you keep the lines elegant, they will flatter most everyone. A little empire waist on the shirts, some princess seaming and double zips on the jackets. Pants will need a slight bootcut to accommodate a wide range of footwear because many of us will not want to tuck our pants into Hunter boots and look like snowcones as we stare danger in the eye. We will need to feel fierce, and protected, so don’t forget to toss in a water resistant anorak with a hood. The possibilities are endless.

Here’s hoping no one beyond my immediate family will see the outfit I’ve cobbled together today – faded yoga pants and a bleach-stained t-shirt underneath a gray, zip-up hoodie. It fairly screams, “future Red Cross poster child.”



An Unabashed Political Rant Where I Actually Use the L Word

The debate is playing on the tv in the next room and I can vaguely hear some of what is being said. I think I’m hearing just enough to increase my blood pressure to the pound-of-bacon chased by a bag o’ Fritos level. I can’t watch it. I feel crazy sitting there listening to the candidates verbally sparring. The truth is that my mind won’t be swayed by anything either of them says and I feel like I’m riding an emotional roller coaster this election season, truly picking the lesser of two feebles.

I have a hard time understanding how other people could take in the same information that I take in and yet have a world view that is radically different than I. For instance, doesn’t everyone believe that females are the equals of males? And shouldn’t all government policy reflect that belief? Are we intentionally turning ourselves into a third world country by restricting sex education and reproductive rights so that our poorest women end up barefoot and pregnant due to ignorance and lack of opportunity? That’s how I see it. I cannot imagine that there are folks walking this earth feeling that we should have the right to own as many weapons as we see fit, but not to control the destiny of our reproduction. It cannot be. People cannot really think that the government has no place in helping with education and healthcare but it should make decisions about how many babies I have or do not have. And don’t talk to me about personal responsibility. I grew up in a family of seven children. I know what responsibility is and I also know what opportunity is – if you don’t see a way out, you don’t get out.

I’d also recommend that no one get me started on marriage equality. How can the same people who want the government to take away trade restrictions want to keep restrictions on folks who want to make lifelong commitments to one another? Wouldn’t more family stability lead to a better quality of life for everyone? I simply don’t understand it. Argh. I could go on and on…looks like I will.

Yep – I am a liberal. I don’t think I’m overeducated and I don’t feel guilty about any advantages I’ve had in my life, but I do feel the responsibility to pay it forward so that others might climb up a little higher too. I’m so liberal I cannot, in good conscience, register as a democrat because in my mind they simply don’t go far enough to protect the rights of those who need help speaking up for themselves. I live these beliefs each day when I go to work in a public school. I know that I have influence over how students see themselves as learners and citizens and I try to make a thoughtful, positive difference in children’s lives. I know that seeing the world through the eyes of the kids I work with has shaped my belief system immensely. When your work is primarily concerned with imagining the future rather than preserving the past, you tend to see things through a lens of hope and possibility rather than a lens of fear and isolation. I suppose that’s why I feel very emotional when I hear our presidential candidates talking about beefing up the military and slashing benefits for the needy. It hurts. And I think we can do better.

Geek Squad Blues

Am I the only one who believes that the folks who write the “easy install” guides that come with electronic devices such as Blu-Ray players and software to be installed are the same folks who once ran our “AV” clubs in high school? I can hear them wheeling the film projector down to the physics classroom if I concentrate hard enough. I think of this as I try in vain to follow the directions as they are written or displayed on a screen, but invariably, I fail. I picture someone watching this epic fail from a remote location, snickering by the cool blue glow of their screen as I pepper them with emailed questions about where I went wrong. I want to assure them that I am worthy of their help, not their scorn. That I was nearly one of them back in the day- a close cousin- when I ran the light board backstage. That it’s not my fault the cheerleaders wouldn’t look at them. But I say nothing. I accept their scorn because the geeks really do inherit the earth, and I sigh while I write down the new codes they give me over the phone, and try try again.