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I Hate Celebrity Culture (VIDEO)

While scrolling through Facebook on the bus to work this morning,  I came across a video my brother posted. It’s a bit longer than most viral videos at 29 minutes, but do yourself a favor, forgo an episode of The Bachelor on tonight’s DVR and watch this instead. This wise beyond his years young actor pretty much states exactly how I feel about celebrity culture. After my ego had quite the awakening as a result of my engagement (actually perhaps my ego had a death and my soul did the awakening) I kept thinking about our deification of celebrities and how it must be affecting our culture as a whole. I won’t say any more, because this kid says it all so much better; and he’s much more charming to boot. So watch, and then let me know what you think. I think this discussion is especially relevant as we embark upon yet another awards season. His point of view has made realize that I need to resist the urge to be cynical and judgey when it comes to our obsession with fame, but rather turn my attention inward, focus on the soul and the self, and encourage others to do the same not with bitterness, but with intellect and love. Check it out.

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Picking Up Speed

Got some good news today to continue the positive momentum of 2014. The waivers are now available for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon and I discovered that Brad and I have graduated to Corral C! Woo-hoo! So what does this mean to the non-runners out there? Basically it means we’re getting faster. When you sign up for a runDisney race you have to provide your estimated finish time. For logical and logistical reasons they organize the corrals with the fastest in the front and the slower folks bringing up the rear. We have been in Corral D for every singe race since we started 4 years ago, so this feels like a significant leap forward. Corral C out of F! Not bad.

Now all we need to do is get Brad healed before race day. Poor guy got hit with the flu last weekend and a temp of 103! Scared the crap out of me. Seems he’s on the mend as of today, so please send prayers of healthiness his way, and prayers of immunity mine.

Nursing my sick fiance all weekend really helped me keep up with my New Year’s Resolutions. I cooked a new recipe (Hot and Sour Cabbage Stew with Tofu. Yum!). I made dinner two nights in row. I bought groceries. I cleaned the kitchen thoroughly including doing all of the dishes. I cleaned the cat box myself. I made the bed (whenever Brad wasn’t relegated to it). And since I couldn’t sleep in said bed with my germtastic fiance, I spent the evening in the living room, on the couch, catching up on my first book of 2013, “The Alienist.” All of that and I still managed to squeeze in my 11 mile run yesterday. Kind of a supergirl weekend for me. Hopefully I can keep it up!

In other Tinker Bell news, I’ve been trying to think of a costume for the race. I feel compelled to stay within the Neverland realm, but I don’t want to dress up as Tink yet again. I kinda sorta really want to go for Tiger Lily, but something about it just feels wrong; in the same way that the song “What Makes the Red Man Red?” is now painfully wrong when you watch/hear it. A white girl dressed up as a cartoon representation of a Native American? I just don’t know.

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She is my second favorite character in Peter Pan after Tinker Bell. Maybe I’ve just become overly sensitive after years of working in Human Resources. I figure it’s better to be sensitive than totally offensive. Though this does spiral me into all kinds of questions about racism and racial stereotypes. If I had brown skin and I dressed up as Tiger Lily people would probably not bat an eyelash. But that’s kind of weird too, isn’t it? Just because someone has brown skin it’s acceptable? Let’s say that someone is Latina or Indian or Filipina, that doesn’t make them any more Native American than me. Is it perhaps worse that all brown skin people may dress up as other brown skin people because they are lumped into one acceptable group of “brown-skinned people?” No. I think that’s terrible. So following that logic, the only group of people who could acceptably dress up as Tiger Lily are actual Native Americans. That also doesn’t seem right since it is in fact a cartoon, and a caricature, and not an accurate representation of Native American culture, so to relegate the costume to actual Native Americans almost makes it seem like the presupposition is that Tiger Lily is a valid representation of a Native American girl. Since she is not, since she is a cartoon, since she is complete fantasy, shouldn’t anyone of any color acceptably represent her? One thing I love to see in the Disney parks, actually, is how the characters tear through racial boundaries especially among kids. I see little white girls dressed as Princess Tiana and little black girls dressed as Ariel. A blondie dressed as Mulan, and a girl with bright red hair dressed as Snow White. Girls dressed as pirates, boys dressed as, well, pirates. I’ve yet to see a little boy dressed as a princess though I’m hopeful the day will come when that is not taboo. If a little girl can dress up as a boy pirate and no one bats an eyelash, a little boy should be able to dress up as a fairy princess and no one should care. And if you care, what you’re saying is that dressing “like a girl” is somehow shameful but dressing “like a boy” is universal. I get very passionate when it comes to gender stereotypes as they apply to children because I’ve seen the shame that plants and seeds when a little boy is told to “act like a man,” whatever that means. Girls can be tomboys and they’re cool. Boys act like girls and they’re “prissy.” Drives me crazy.

Wow. I really went off on a tangent there didn’t I. What I’m trying to say is, if I had a little girl; a little blonde fair-skinned girl; and she wanted to dress up as Tiger Lily for Halloween. What would I do? Would I encourage her to learn about real Native American culture instead so she knows the difference? Ok, well maybe she does that and then tells me she wants to dress up as Pocahontas. Or Sacajawea. Wouldn’t I want her to be able to dress up as such interesting historical women? I just don’t know. I guess I’ll find out when I’m a parent.

Anyway, back to my dilemma!

With my obvious confusion on the subject, limited time (the race is Jan 19), and my lack of confidence to dress as Tiger Lily despite my love of her, I’m leaning towards this guy:

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Gotta love Smee, in all his bumbling tomfoolery. I’ve got a soft spot for the klutzy guy in a perpetual state of clueless. Not to mention this costume could translate very easily into running clothes.

red capblue stripe shirtBlue running shorts

What do you think? Are you team Tiger Lily? Or Team Smee?

2014: The Year I Slay the Dragon

As much as I await and adore Halloween, as much as I relish and savor Thanksgiving, as much as I swoon and smile for Christmas, this particular portion of our 365 trip around the sun just might be my favorite. The potential, the ambition, the planning, the hope. A New Year. I’m reminded of my favorite quote from musical theatre:

“White. A blank page or canvas. His favorite. So many possibilities.” – Sunday in the Park with George

This is everything.  A clean slate. Potential energy. An annual invitation to become the person you were destined to be. If you missed the party last year, the New Year’s Fairy doesn’t care how many times you decline, the invitation arrives again and this time you RSVP. This year, 2014, I plan to attend that party. I am especially energized.

Maybe it’s because I say goodbye to my 20’s this year. Maybe it’s because I get married this year. These two rather significant rites of passage have me at once mourning a chapter of my life coming to an end: my roaring 20’s, my life as a bachelorette; and yet prepared to say goodbye as I embark upon richer seas. I look forward to the added accountability that comes with being thirty-something. I look forward to being taken a bit more seriously. I can’t wait to be someone’s wife. To have my own beloved. A guaranteed partner in life’s adventures. Brad and I have been together for 6 years and the past few of those years have felt pretty darn close to marriage, but they weren’t. It’s different. This is a topic for an entirely different post, but through being engaged and planning a wedding I’ve discovered that the piece of paper matters.

I want to be more truthful this year. I want to write more truthfully. I need to get at the heart of myself. This blog helps with that. I appreciate Facebook in that I get to stay in touch with people I care about who I otherwise wouldn’t connect with for months at a time due to geographical realities and my fear of the telephone. I also appreciate that it gives everyone the opportunity to project the ideal version of themselves out into the ether; but we must remember that it is just that: a version. Life is at times messy, complicated, and painful. We all log on to Facebook and get the impression that everyone else we know is doing just fine, great actually, thriving. We’re comparing ourselves, warts and all, to everyone else’s highlights; and rest assured they are doing the same with us. I respect a place that allows us to create an ideal picture of ourselves. There’s value in that. But it’s the messiness and the pain that bonds us in empathy and compassion, and Facebook isn’t the place for that. This is why we need art. It’s not perfectly manicured and edited. It’s a truth, warts and all. I need more truth, from myself and others. I plan to immerse myself much more creatively this year and I plan to articulate my life, messy parts included, either here on this blog or in my own personal journal. It will be documented so years from now when my great great great grandchildren research the life of Rebecca Marie Sigl, they’ll see all the truth that was underneath that Facebook page.

In the past few years I have been dancing around a sleeping dragon which I alluded to previously. In 2013 that damned dragon woke up and it was fight or flight. I’ve been fighting. The battle isn’t won yet but I am pretty damn close to slaying that dragon. I apologize for speaking entirely in metaphors but details will come. Let’s just say the dragon is almost lost and I look forward to exploring the castle beyond. What riches might it hold?

2014 is going to be quite a party. How does one plan for such an event? With resolutions of course. They are the party dress we wear out into the world. The rate at which resolutions get thrown out the window by February 1st has many people poo-pooing the entire notion, but I for one am entirely pro-resolution. This year I take a different tack. In the past I’ve focused on one main goal but my sights are bigger now and I can’t repress them. I’m just so damned excited about the future that I’m going to set as many resolutions as I want and I’m going to kick their butts. Because I am taking 2014 by the horns, damnit, and I am going to mold it into the life that I want to live. And I’m going to start right now. So here they are, my myriad of resolutions for 2014. I plan on doing every single one of them. I’ll keep you posted.

  1. Be more creative
  2. Read 52 books in 52 weeks
  3. Paint monthly
  4. Take a drawing class
  5. Never leave dirty dishes in the sink
  6. Make bed every day
  7. Clean kitty box every day
  8. Purge unwanted clothes/things
  9. Run 4 times a week
  10. Write one new story a month
  11. Don’t give up on strength training
  12. “Do” my hair at least once a week
  13. Save money for the future, build up that nest egg
  14. Make my lunch for work 3 times a week
  15. Eat breakfast everyday
  16. Pay off credit cards
  17. Lose 15 pounds
  18. Be kind to everyone
  19. Say no to fear and anxiety
  20. Write in my blog at least once a week!
  21. Acting. Decide what I want to do about it.
  22. Be efficient at work.
  23. Reduce time-sucky Facebook usage
  24. Clutter clear and clean our apartment
  25. Run 4 half marathons
  26. Sign up for a full marathon
  27. Make one new Whimsy Do creation a week
  28. Get married
  29. Breathe
  30. Have faith…
Skiing in Colorado just one week ago. Cross that off the resolution list! Pretty sure I made that one when I was 12. Doesn't matter how long it takes, goal achieved.

Skiing into 2014 via Monarch Mountain in Colorado just one week ago. Cross that off the resolution list! Pretty sure I made that resolution when I was 12. Doesn’t matter how long it takes, goal achieved.

 

What are your new year’s resolutions. What is your outlook on the new year? Please share by commenting below.

30 Days of Thanks – Rites of Passage

Day 30

That’s it! Today is the day! 30 Days of Thanks. We made it. I feel like today I should somehow reflect on all the days previous and choose something to be thankful for that perfectly encapsulates EVerything that makes my life grand. But in all honesty I can’t get one thing out of my mind.

My wedding gown!

I said yes to the dress today.

I didn’t think it would happen. I didn’t really buy into that whole Say Yes to the Dress myth even though I watch that show like a junkie. I figured that although it’s entertaining, it’s not really me. I’ll just find a gown online, or at a little vintage thrift store, or at Ross. Whatever. I figured that would suffice. And it almost did. And it probably would have been fine. But I still wanted the experience. The bridal gown miles of chiffon champagne mother-daughter dress shopping experience. I figured I only get to have the experience once in my life and I want to know what it feels like to wear a designer gown. So I made an appointment at Miosa Couture in Sacramento this afternoon and went in with my mom and my Maid of Honor with zero expectations. I just wanted to have fun. The experience.

Then I started crying.

Then my mom started crying, and Dana started crying, and I felt like a bride. And I realized I didn’t want a dress from Ross. I’m much too much of a romantic for that. I want to feel like the most “Rebecca” version of Rebecca on my wedding day, and I realized today that the dress will help that happen. This dress.

The moment I put her on I knew. It is the most perfect dress I could imagine. I want to wear it for the rest of my days. It is everything I want in a dress and everything I could dream of. And while it is more than I planned on paying for a wedding gown, it is not going to break the bank, and I love it. I love it so much.

So today, on this last day of November and the 30th Day of Thanks, I’m thankful for rites of passage. For little rituals we’ve created to take us from girls to women, to bond with our mothers, to celebrate our sisterhood. It’s just a dress, but it represents so much more.

And no I’m not posting a picture. You’re going to have to wait until July 🙂

 

Probably won’t see ya tomorrow. Probably gonna take the day off. Probably see ya the day after.

30 Days of Thanks – The Colors of Fall

Day 29

This afternoon we drove up to the real Apple Hill and I instantly remembered why even though Oak Glen is a lovely placeholder, it’s just not the same as the real thing. The vibrant colors of the leaves on the trees made this abundantly clear. I instantly realized how much I miss fall; how much I miss the oranges and the goldens and the reds and the browns. Oh those colors. Nature’s masterpiece.

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My soul feels at piece in a landscape like this.

See ya tomorrow.

30 Days of Thanks – The Day Itself

Day 28

Thanksgiving. The day itself. I’m thankful that a day exists to stop and reflect on our gifts, our blessings, our accomplishments, our dreams, our loved ones, and our values. Abraham Lincoln said it best:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

Whether you relate to the presence of God that Lincoln spoke of in reference to Thanksgiving, no doubt we can all agree that perhaps even more importantly than taking a day to acknowledge all that lets us count our lucky stars, we must also remember all that needs to done; all who need our help. For those with a void of things to be thankful for, we must create those things. So today I’m going to list some things I’m not thankful for, and I’m going to vow to do what I can to make the list shorter this time next year. Not thankful for:

Hunger, not just in the third world but in our backyard. I’m surrounded by hungry faces every day in downtown L.A. and Venice Beach. I can do more.

Disease. I’m tired of losing people. I’m tired of sick friends. I’m grateful the list is short, but one friend lost is one too many.

Access to healthcare. Goes hand in hand with the above. I lost a friend earlier this year and partially due to the fact that he did not have affordable access to healthcare. This makes me sick. I hope it changes. Obamacare, you give me hope. Please work!

Anxiety. It weasels it’s way into my life too often. Away with you!

That lady who killed that lion and sits next to it like a trophy in that picture with that ugly smile on her face. Ugly. Face. Ugly. Ugly. Don’t like her.

 

The endless battle of opinions. I think it’s grand how the internet has turned us all into experts on everything; but I think it’s important to remember that none of us actually knows anything about anything. While it’s great to have opinions and to get engaged, I wish we did so with more respect. I enjoy engaging in debate with friends on Facebook, but I insist we keep things civil. This country is currently led by a bunch of buffoons who can’t stop name-calling. Let’s do it better. Don’t let the anonymity of the computer screen zap all of your empathy.

I won’t go on and on, I just wanted to list a few things that I’d personally like to focus on in the next year to enrich not only my life, but hopefully my neighbor’s as well. Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I’m thankful for you!

And I really strongly dislike that lady with the lion.

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See ya tomorrow

 

30 Days of Thanks – Road Trip!

Day 27

Today was rather stressful, and judging from our itinerary, a total failure. I worked a half day in the office filled with several hard deadlines coupled with the hard deadline of leaving the office by 3:00. Thankfully I got all of my work done (damn that feels good, doesn’t it?) but still we managed to hit the road an hour late. The plan was to get on the road as early as possible to skip rush hour traffic and make our way up to Sacramento for a fun-filled Thanksgiving weekend. Despite running an hour late, and despite the fact that I think Brad’s zippy driving gave Dana a panic attack, I still love me a good road trip. We blasted some vintage Shania Twain followed by the Dixie Chicks, picked up some Subway sandwiches and made our way for the Grapevine. Perhaps it’s the anticipation of the fun vacation to come; there’s just something I love about a road trip!

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See ya tomorrow.