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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What were you thinking?

Remember that scene from "Sex and the City 2" when Miranda quits her job as a corporate lawyer because her boss refuses to listen to her. He even goes as far as to put his hand up to her face when she tries to contribute at a meeting. Then halfway through the movie she has a revelation and says, "It's not that he didn't like the sound of my voice. It's the fact that I HAD a voice!"

Well last week I felt like Miranda Hobbs!
While flipping through the Sears catalogue I came across two pages of Playboy items which are now being marketed in pink and white. It was obvious to me that they were targeting a very young female audience. Not a lot of grown women want pink flannel sheets  or hot pink plastic purses with the Playboy logo on it.

I honestly though my handful of loyal readers would read it and be as outraged as I was. I had no idea I was lighting a fire storm that went across the country.
Almost 10,000 of you heard about my blog and sought me out. I know as a busy, working mother there's not a great lot of time left over at the end of the day to read blogs or anything else. So I truly appreciate you taking the time.

The comments were wonderful. So many women and men from all over the planet took the time to add their voice. Chrissy brought children's Halloween costumes to our attention. That's something that has been bugging me for years. We went from home-made costumes to being able to buy exact replicas of every TV character on the tube! Then it started to change. The French maid costumes changed to the slutty pirate costume. Then they just morphed into Happy Hooker costumes. You couldn't help but raise an eye brow or cover your eyes completely when you see the normally sane soccer mom prancing down the block Halloween night dressed in fishnet stockings and a plastic hooker costume. It is scary.
Then the costumes got younger. Teens were being targeted to be a "Sexy Witch" or a "Sexy Pirate." Then it got even younger. Now you can get the sexy witch with the fishnet stockings in size 6X!

I'd think to myself, "Who would put that on a child?" Then the Toddlers and Tiaras show airs with the toddler dressed as the hooker from "Pretty Woman" for a pageant. People were outraged. The mother didn't understand what the fuss was about, "It's just a character from a movie!" she exclaimed.
Really? Just a character from a movie? Why didn't you pick a Winnie the Pooh costume? Oh, because that's not sexy enough to win a toddler beauty pageant. She needed the spray tan, fake teeth, fake hair, fake nails and hooker costume to look like a natural little girl.

I love talking. My husband will tell you I even talk in my sleep. Nothing gets me excited like a good discussion and it's no fun unless someone disagrees with me. I love a good battle of the wits, but I would never fight with an unarmed person. Why would people take the time to seek me out and read my blog just to tell me I am not entitled to my opinion. Comments like, "Anonymous ~ this chick is just jealous because...well look at her picture dear. No way would she fit in with the 'Playboy' image. Ever notice how it's the unattractive people who complain about Playboy the most?"
First of all let me say, I am a 5'7" supermodel! I am Curvy like Beyonce and I have the moves like Jagger. Just ask my husband of 18 years. He tells me every day that I am the most beautiful woman in the world. As a matter-of-fact. He loves me so much we got remarried again two years ago at the Elvis chapel of Love in Las Vegas baby! My son told me when he was five that I was "The most beautiful Mommy at school." My daughter watches every move I make and copies everything I wear and do - imitation is truly the best form of flattery.  I posted a blog in July called "Girls Night" about the special relationship I have with my daughter. It talks about how daughters study their mothers so they can be just like them, or  be the complete opposite.

My friends are the main readers of my blog and my friends  are the dream-team of supermodels. They come  in every size from zero to 22. When we go out it's like Fashion Week for Mammas! We are successful career women, stay at home mothers or a bit of both. We are doctors, journalists, house cleaners, lawyers, computer programmers, check-out cashiers, you name it, we do it. We are fierce. We are the hand that rocks the cradle and we are the hand that rules the world. And that hand will bitch slap anyone who tries to sneak something past us that could put our kids at risk.
So when you say, "She don't fit in with the Playboy image." Think again. Playboy doesn't fit in with my image. Which by the way is not Photo- shopped, distorted and no one removed my flaws or wrinkles. I've earned them both. They make me beautiful.

If you're going to argue with me, stick to the conversation. Don't show your stupidity by attacking the person. But I did learn a lesson. I will take the anonymous option off my blog.
To those who said I couldn't change the world with my blog. You're wrong. I just did. Families coast to coast agreed with me. They told their friends. They told their friends and they told their friends. It will impact the sale of Playboy items in Sears Christmas Wish Book. We'll have to wait to see if it is in next year's catalogue.

I can't remember who said the following quote, but I like it:
Can one person change the world? Usually that's all it takes!

We have a voice. My father fought in the Second World War to ensure I would grow up in a country where a woman can speak up and give her opinion. 
So what was I thinking? I was thinking selling Playboy to kids is wrong. That's all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Wow! Thanks for supporting me!

Hi Friends!

I can't thank you enough for reading the blog on the Playboy products in the Sears catalogue. I know how busy we all are. I really appreciate you taking the time to search out my blog and read it. I think I have my Christmas spirit back!

Thanks for all your comments. Even those who think I should be stopping war and feeding the hungry. (I'll get to that tomorrow) For those who think I should get a life, I have a wonderful life. I don't see stopping kiddie porn products as a waste of my time.

If you're interested Global TV in Toronto interviewed me today about the blog. Here is the link:

I am watching Sears catalogue controversy on Global News via @globaltvnews


PS. Next week I will get back to writing about my menopause night sweats and granny panties. Right after I solve that world peace problem.

Monday, September 17, 2012

There's nothing funny about this blog, as a matter of fact, I am pissed!

Nothing gets me more excited than finding the Sears Wish Book in my mailbox. Every since I was a kid I loved this catalogue more than any other. It meant Christmas was coming. A week after it was delivered I would have every page memorized. My children carry on this same tradition. When I came home yesterday and found the 2012 Wish Book in my mailbox I was delighted. I boiled the kettle, poured my tea, ripped off the plastic cover and began to study each page.

Until I got to page 18. Then I was horrified!
It started out innocently enough. Pages 10 and 11 are full of Hello Kitty lunch boxes and snowsuits. Pages 12 and 13 are full of Star Wars. Who knew the light saber would last this long? Pages 14 and 15 are all super heroes. How often can Batman be reinvented? Pages 16 and 17 are rock-n-roll gifts. Pages 18 and 19 are full of Playboy....Playboy? What the hell?

Why are Playboy products being advertised in the Christmas toy section? Did I miss something. I flip through the pages again. No. Right in between Rock-n-roll T-shirts and hockey stuff is Playboy! And not just the usual Playboy stuff. This stuff is in bright girly pink and white. Directly marketed at tween and teen girls. The products include Playboy flannel sheets, Playboy 3-Pc comforter set, Playboy hanging organizer and Playboy bunny bling handbags. The page features a girl who looks to be around 12-13 years old with the bunny bling handbag over her shoulder.
The products have names like etched leopard, Leo hart bunny, Playboy Prep and bunny bling!

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I am no prude. I will be the first one to stand up and defend a women's right to her own body. I completely believe what a woman does with her body is her own business. And what consenting adults do is their own business. As long as it does not involve children or animals, I don't care how you get your jollies.

But I draw the line when a men's magazine that features nude women starts direct marketing to tween and teen girls. I am also in the marketing business and I have to admit, Playboy's strategy is smart. They are target marketing their products to the 10-19 year demography.
But why? Why dumb the product down and target young girls? Easy one. To desensitize them and their parents from what their magazine is really about. The worst part is, there are parents who are stupid enough to buy Playboy products for their tweens and teens.

"What' the big deal? It shuts her up. It's not like she's posing for the centerfold."
Really? You're ok with a 12 year old girl going to school with a Playboy bunny logo on her. What do you think that tells boys about her? Or other girls? But the most important question is, what do you think it tells her? I just keep hearing PInk's song "Stupid Girls" in my head and the line "What happened to the dream of a girl president?"

I have nothing against Playboy bunnies. I admire what Hugh Hefner has built. He is a visionary and a smart business man. I don't even buy into the notion that the bunny costume is insulting to women. Once again, it's a women's body. Get your nose out of her cleavage.
The thought of a parent ordering Playboy flannel sheets and the bunny bling bag for her 12 year for Christmas upsets me. This will be one of her first introductions to what she thinks a boy wants. A Playboy Bunny, not a girl President.

I am so upset with Sears for going along with this that I threw my Wish Book in the garbage. On the inside cover, the President and CEO of Sears Canada Inc., Calvin McDonald, talks about the Wish Book as a Holiday tradition for millions of Canadian families. He talks about delivering the catalogues as a young child. Then finishes with how proud he is be part of this iconic Canadian Holiday tradition for so many families.
So, he does understand that families mean children right? He does understand that children will be making up their Christmas lists while reading the Sears Wish Book right? Is he ordering the baby pink Playboy Satin Sheet Set for his daughter? Will his daughter be sporting the bunny bling bag in the new year? Should I expect Hustler to have a two page layout in next year's Wish Book? Maybe Sears can reach that 10-19 year old male demography with some cool blow up dolls. I mean why stop at Playboy. It's just an innocent name like Nike or Pepsi.

Or is it?
Nike's advertisement campaigns target young people and inspires them to get active in sports. To "Just Do It." The Pepsi generation is happy and can do anything. (I know. I don't let my kids drink it either.)

Playboy. That's where young girls take off all their clothes and pose naked. Where you lay spread eagle on a fur rug in the centerfold, if you're lucky, with a staple in your vagina.
Where do we sign our daughters up for that? Let's start at Sears.

Is it bad parenting to buy Playboy products for your tween or teen daughter? Well, if you saw a 14 year old girl standing on the school playground when you dropped off your child and she was wearing sweatpants with Playboy written on the butt and a bunny bling bag over her shoulder, what would your first thoughts be? "There's the girl I hope my son marries!" "Boy I hope my daughter hangs out with her!"
Are we sexualizing young girls too soon? Can't they have a childhood anymore?

I know raising teenagers is hard. I know you get tired and sometimes it's just easier to say "Yes" to get them to shut up and leave you alone, but sometimes you have to hold your ground and fight.  I am not a crazy church lady or a hard core feminist. I am a Mom of a 12 year old girl. I also remember what it is like to be a 12 year old girl. We negotiate every day with skirt lengths, see through blouses and eye-liner. But Playboy is out of the question. My daughter will not wear the Playboy logo.
I am so disappointed in Sears' bad judgment on this. I trusted Sears to be a family store. I welcomed the Sears Wish Book into my home as part of my Christmas tradition. Now I feel betrayed.

Mr. McDonald you snuck one past me. You threw a men's magazine into the toy pile when I wasn't looking. You are the Grinch that stole.
I am pissed at you.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

September Blues

I love September. I always loved the beginning of the school year. New books, new clothes, new teachers and catching up with old friends. Remember sharing a pack of smokes in the Holy Heart parking lot? (I hope my kids don't read this.)

I love Fall. It's my favourite time of the year. I am in my glee when the leaves start to turn orange, red, brown and yellow. There's nothing better than a walk on a cool, brisk Fall day through Bowring Park. Running through my husband's freshly stack of Fall leaves like a woman off her Prozac.
Except for this year.

This year September and Fall sucks. I can't seem to get my Fall grove into action and I know why. This is my son's last year of high school and my daughter's first year of junior high. It feels like the Mom Club of Canada has issued me my "Notice of Lay-off" pink slip. My days of complete control over my children are slowly slipping away and I was just getting good at it!
I got a taste of this a few years ago when my step-son finished high school and joined the Navy. It was a great relief when he picked a career but it was hard to see him go. I really miss him supper time when I see his empty chair at the table and his crazy sense of humour. My favourite was when hubby gained a little weight around the middle and son pointed it out to him. Hubby protested that he had not gained weight. Son says, "Oh ya. If you were standing on a beach and there were a pack of whales in the water they would all stand up and start singing 'We are Family'.' It made me snort milk out my nose.

God knows when I first became a mother I did not know what I was doing. It took years to get a good system in place. I got to practice on my step-son and thought this is pretty easy. You just play with him all weekend and then send him back to his Mom on Sunday. It wasn't hard at all. No fighting about homework, or temper tantrums. Just feed him McDonalds and pack up his bag. He made it look so easy I decided, "Sure lets have one." Then I realized there's no one coming on Sunday to pick this one up.
Now, 16 years later I got a good feel for the job. If either kid filled out a "Customer Feed-Back" card I am pretty sure I'd be kept on and may even get a little raise in the next cheque.

Other women warn you not to wish your time away when you have a baby but the first few years have such a steep learning curb. It  seems like just yesterday I learned how to use a Diaper Genie. I still gag thinking about that long line of poopy sausages and the smell that burnt my eyes.  It's hard not to think "I can't wait for you to grow up!"
It seems like last night I wrote the date of my son's first smile in his baby book, the next day he was climbing down the side of the crib, then he learned to tie his shoes and now he's going to finish high school! What the hell?

I could have sworn yesterday I bought my daughter the most beautiful pink frilly dress for her first birthday, then her first tooth came in, then she lost it, then she hated dresses, then she liked them again, then she hated them again, then she dyed her hair black became a tweenager and started junior high. I should send out an Amber Alert! The dingos stole my baby!
I am in a complete panic. Hubby is already taking measurements to see if a hot tub will fit into my son's room. Every chance I get I tell him, "Don't feel pressured to move out" or "You should live home while you're going to university, it would be cheaper." Hubby is praying our son chooses to join the military because he wants to use the RESPs for a European cruise. Every chance I get I have my arms wrapped around him saying, "My baby is growing too fast! Stop it."

I can't let go. I am going to have complete and utter break-down if he chooses to go to university on the mainland. Then God-bless my daughter because all my craziness will be focused on her!
I understand the term "Retirement." I work for thirty years. I retire and take a pension. That's life. But I didn't know your could retire from being a mom. My life revolves around being a Mother! I have gone to great lengths to make sure my kids have an amazing childhood. You should drive by my house on Christmas or Halloween. People actually stop and take pictures of their kids on my lawn (My own kids are too embarrassed to do that anymore.) My week nights consist of driving to and from music lessons, cadets, dance, etc. I should be issued a chauffer's hat.

I have worked hard to instill a sense of family in our kids. One strict rule I have kept since the beginning is everyone eats supper at the supper table and there's no TV, cell phones or any type of electronics allowed at my table. Violating that rule could have dire consequences. I cook a big Sunday supper every week complete with special Sunday dishes. I have always raised my kids as "a team" as-well-as individuals. I make them pick up for one another and to respect each other. When my son says "She's being a pain!" I am quick to respond with, "That's my daughter you're talking about. You better watch your mouth!" As a result, they bicker like brothers and sisters do but they also love and respect each other. We're a team! Teams don't grow up and go away!
Now when I  think of me and hubby sitting by ourselves at the supper table with a small Sunday chicken the waterworks start flowing! What do we talk about if the kids are gone? It's all we know. I can't bare the thought of the kids moving out. How do I become a long-distance-mom? Can I phone my son at military school and ask him if he remembered to brush his teeth before going to bed? Will he remember to separate his whites and darks on laundry day? Will he know that there is a laundry day? Will he eat a vegetable every night if I am not there to supervise? Will his commanding officer cut up his potato for him and put butter on it before it gets too cold? He can't live without me!

I can only imagine after a year of living on the mainland by himself he'll come home 30 pounds lighter, suffering from scurvy, with underwear that have been reduced to just a thick line of elastic around his waist, his teeth falling out from decay and his whites all gray or pink. He'll beg us to let him come home and ask me to take over again and of course I will. I am his Mother damn it. I will live my son's life for him. It's the least I could do. I will fatten him up with tablespoon fulls of butter on his potatoes and carrots, wash his dirty clothes and put them away, make sure he brushes and flosses and then I will find him the perfect girl to marry. That's what good mothers do!
At least that's how it plays out in my mind.

There's still hope for me. My daughter wants to be a Pop star. So she may be home for a while. I may even let her stay a little longer after high school if she grows out of this moody tween stage. She may even let me buy her a nice pink frilly prom dress.
It's scary becoming a new mom but it's even scarier when you realize your days are numbered. I have always believed that the greatest gift you can give a kid is their independence. We raise them to be good people who love themselves and the world around them. We basically work ourselves out of the greatest job on earth.

Luckily I will always have my forth child... hubby. He will never grow up and leave me. He don't know where his socks are without me. It only took twenty years but at least I have him toilet trained now.
The week, months and years fly by, but damn it, the days are long!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Dream Girls!

For a summer night it was uncommonly hot. The room was full and the audience was ready to groove. If you closed your eyes, you'd be transported back to 1960s Detroit. Swaying to the new sound coming from 2648 W. Grand Boulevard,  "Hitsville U.S.A." more commonly known as Motown. Except tonight, the unmistakable Motown sound is coming from the Dream Girls production at Spirit of Newfoundland in St. John's.

The lights dim, band leader Bill Brennan recreates the famous Motown driving bass lines. The black music that gave America something to dance to. The Dream Girls take the stage and their voices brilliantly fill in that familiar soul music with the gospel undertones. Everyone in the audience is dancing in their chairs. They know every word and they sing along to every tune.
How could three white girls from Newfoundland pay tribute to three black girls from Motown so perfectly?  Kelly-Ann Evans, Janet Cull and Dana Parsons became The Supremes. From their perfect melodies to their sequined gowns. They take you through the history of how women changed the face of music.

From Martha and the Vandellas to Diana Ross and the Supremes, they bring you the music, the glitz and the glamour. It's still a Spirit of Newfoundland production so it is not without its sense of humour. The only thing missing is a dance floor because many a time throughout the show I wanted to get up and shake my groove-thing.
Kelly-Ann Evans is a performing dynamo! She's well known  in the Canadian music, theatre and entertainment industry as a force to be reckoned with. She brings a tremendous amount of energy to the show. She performs a solo of a Whitney Houston song that brought they entire audience to applause several times and to its feet at the end. It's a performance that leaves you saying "Wow!"

Kelly-Ann is the new owner of Rock City School  where she mentors and inspires young people to entertain. My twelve year old daughter is a student of Kelly-Ann's. I was sitting in my car waiting for her to finish a rehearsal for the final show last year. My daughter came out and plopped herself in the passenger side of my car. Her hair was covered in sweat and her face was beet-red. I asked, "Kelly-Ann wore you out?" She responded with, "Mom, she makes me believe I am better than I think I am. She makes believe I can do this."  Enough said.
Janet Cull is a star in her own right. She was awarded the Music NL Educator of the Year in 2010. She has also won Music NL Group of the Year, Music NL Jazz recording of the Year and Music NL CBC Galaxie Rising Star for the Janet Cull Band. Whether she is singing backup or lead Janet brings the audience to its feet. Her own solo of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", a song she dedicates to her son, will send shivers down your spine.

Dana Parsons is a graduate of Toronto's Sheridan Musical Theatre program. She is an award winning performer and singer with a list of accomplishments including a 2007 East Coast Music Award Nominee for Pop Recording of the Year.  Her debut album "It's You Not me!" garnered five Music Industry Award nominations  and a CBC Galaxie Rising Star Award for new artist. Her new album "Within The Dark" is online at You'll easily recognize Dana's voice and face from Nunsense and other Spirit of NL shows. She's so much fun and can leave the audience in stitches with the smallest of facial expressions.
Unlike The Supremes, it would be hard to pick the star of Dream Girls. They all do such a fabulous job. This is the first show I've seen that had several standing ovations. From the dazzling gowns, to the finely coiffed hair, these sisters of soul capture the sound of Motown. I was still singing along a week later. Berry Gordy himself would have been the first to his feet to lead the final standing ovation.

Simply put, you'll love this show. It's a great night out. The food is delicious, the service is five star and the entertainment is phenomenal. It's the best ticket in town.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

They called it puppy love

I just realized that I would never feed my dog "No Name" dog food, but I buy "No Name" cereal for my kids all the time!

I think she's spoiled. her name is Minnie May (After Elvis's grandmother) and she is a cross between a black Lab and a terrier. If you just picture that for a moment it must have been like Fifty Shades of Gray - the dog version.
She's not a designer dog. I got her off the internet for free. My daughter begged me for two years to get a dog. She promised on her life that she would walk it and clean up after it. That lasted for about a week until she realized cleaning up after it meant picking up poop and putting it in a bag. Apparently she didn't know dogs pooped. She thought they used the toilet like her brothers. So walking and picking up poop became Mom's job!

I was never a dog person. I had one years ago. It was a Dalmatian that a lawyer gave me for free. He was too busy with his law practice to take care of it. I took it not knowing what I was getting into. I should have known better than to take something free from a lawyer.
 I had always been a cat person and cats don't need anything except someone to open the food tin and clean out their litter box. Other than that, they could care less if you ever came home. Dogs are like babies. They need to be walked, cuddled, fed and checked on every few hours.

What the lawyer didn't tell me was that the Dalmatian was a thief. Insert your own lawyer joke here. Every time I let him out in the back yard he would take off and steal things from the neighbours. Every morning I would find kid's bicycle helmets, tools, teddy bears and other items in my yard. He even stole the steak off a neigbour's grill one night! My neighbour across the street was painting her window trim and as soon as she laid the paint brush down, he stole it! One day he came home with what looked like another teddy bear in his mouth. When he dropped it in the garden it started to run around. He stole a small dog from another yard!
The last straw came during Halloween. I let him out in the yard to pee that morning and let him in shortly afterwards. When I left for work I was shocked to see my lawn covered in orange Halloween garbage bags filled with leaves. He went around to all the neigbour's houses and stole their decorative Halloween bags. I had to run from house to house putting a bag on every lawn. After that I gave him to a farmer in The Goulds. I never told him the dog was a thief.

So I was very hesitant about taking another free dog.
For some strange reason Minnie May bonded with me. Everywhere I went, she went. If I am in the bathroom, she is outside the door. If I am washing dishes, she is asleep by my feet. Last year I had to go to Vancouver for six weeks for work. She wouldn't eat while I was gone. I had to phone home and get my daughter to put me on the speaker phone so I could tell Minnie to eat.

After a while she grew on me. I admit I like the dog more than I like most people. Because of her I now have to go walking everyday, which is good. She has become my personal trainer.
Last summer, I walked him around Quidi Vidi Lake. It was after raining earlier in the day and the pathway was still a little muddy. I keep a towel and a water bowl in the trunk of my car for Minnie.

So I am standing at the rear of my car with the trunk open pouring water into the dog bowl and she jumps up into the trunk. So I dried off her feet and let her drink the water. I was just about to take the towel and put it on the front seat of my car for the dog to sit on when this man sneaks up on me and screams "Take that dog out of the trunk!" I was startled first and then I started to laugh because I thought he was joking. People were looking at us. Then he yells at me "If you close that trunk I'll call the cops! People like you shouldn't have dogs." Then he walks away. I realized he wasn't joking. He really thought I was going to put Minnie in the trunk and drive home.
I couldn't get the words out of my mouth fast enough. By the time I got my thoughts together the man was stomping all the way up the road. People in the parking lot were whispering and looking my way. So I loudly say, "Come on Minnie. If you're finished with your water get in the front seat. Where you always sit. Up front with me. In the heated seats. Cause I would never lock you in the trunk." She happily jumped out and into the front seat. I tore out of the parking lot like I stole the car.

Lesson learned. Dogs aren't as stupid as you think. Up to that day she always sat in the back seat. Now she sits in the front.
When I was recovering from back surgery and on bed rest for ten weeks, Minnie May would  wait for my husband to leave each morning then she would run up to our room and jump up on the bed, curling up on his side and putting her little black face on by chest. She'd sit there all day. Only leaving my side to bark out the window at the mailman. She hates him.

Minnie May is two and a half now and she's grown on me. I just told my daughter we can't afford to go shopping for back-to-school clothes until payday, an hour later I spent $40 on a new red dog collar covered in bling.
She knows what I am saying to her too. I talk to her all day long. Minnie cocks her head to one side and blinks her big brown eyes and I know she's saying "You're right Mom!" You can see it in her eyes.

I still have a cat, Sylvester. They've worked out their living arrangements. The dog doesn't piss him off and Sylvester lets her  live another day. Every now and then Minnie gets a little brave and tries to play with Sylvester.  The cat just gives her the "Oh really!" look and she runs over to me with the "I think he likes me Mom!" look. I haven't got the heart to tell her the truth.
So now I am a dog person too. Every day I walk Minnie around the block and see all the other dog people. Just like motorcycle drivers we wave at each other "Hello dog person." Then we all take the most biodegradable thing in the world and put it inside the most non-biodegradable thing in the world and throw it in a land fill.

I'd be lost without Minnie May now. She has become this women's best friend and I really do like her more than most people. When I think about it, she's the only one in the world who can get me to pick up her poop!