Sunday, June 29, 2008

Diverse TV Follow-Up

I said I'd give my own favorite diverse TV shows at the end of my post on Why Is TV So White?

Just a note to clarify the population statistics: you will sometimes see stats that whites make up almost 80 percent of the U.S. population, but that's because being any race and "of Hispanic origin" is not counted separately. If you break it out, Hispanic or Latino makes up 14.4 percent. Black or African American, 12.8 percent; Asian, 4.3 percent; and so on according to this census chart. As the article on TV said, 1 in 3 Americans is now a minority, but TV is not even close to mirroring that. And then there's the issue of how the minorities are represented--if all the Arabs are terrorists, that's not really the diverse role models we were looking for...

You guys mentioned three shows I don't watch: The Unit, Grey's Anatomy, Dancing with the Stars. I do think a lot of the so-called reality shows are diverse (sometimes naturally, sometimes due to producers' manipulation? but hey, it's TV, it's not that real). I always love that American Idol gives us singers of all races and backgrounds, immigrant families, interracial families, you name it (although there has yet to be a black country western singer to make everyone's minds explode). I have to say I'm a sucker for any black girl rocking natural hair. Then they straighten it. Sigh.

I also agree with Heroes. Loved season one especially; love Hiro and Ando. Seen any other heroic Japanese main characters lately ever? However, there's a danger of stereotyping here (such as the nameless Haitian magical Negro), as sometimes observed in interesting episode recaps on the site Racialious.

Everybody Hates Chris--These are piling up on my TiVo because I never have time to watch, but I think the cast is superb and it works on the level of family sitcom (strong solid black family) while the setting/narration also lets Chris Rock give a little subtle commentary on black/white relations and cultural differences (in 1980's Brooklyn but tied into today). One the kids can watch fairly young.

Ugly Betty--What I like about the diversity here is that it is both incidental (characters whose race isn't important) and intentionally culturally specific (Betty's Mexican family traditions, etc.). Characters also represent differences in nationality, sexuality, class, and obviously values and ethical standards! And to go along with the point of the article, a show like this probably wouldn't have been possible, or the same anyway, without minority producers like Salma Hayek and Silvio Horta guiding it. (This one's sure beyond PG sometimes, though, so the kids will have to wait a while to watch, but "hasn't had a welcome mat since the nineties"?!--oh my word, it cracks me up!)

Any more we missed?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some Kind of Regular

(No, this isn't a poop post. In my head it's sung to "Some Kind of Wonderful," okay?)

Aaron made it back Saturday evening in an exhausted heap. We're getting back into a regular life groove again. In summer he's home more evenings, which is nice except that he kind of likes to eat dinner and is here to notice that there's no food parts that make a whole meal. I think I'm going to have to hit the store today.

Sunday afternoon's bed races were the usual SmallPort spectacle. This is such a funky little town. This year there were four entries and a new champion was awarded the coveted Golden Pillow. (Crowd favorite The Bed Wetters retained the Golden Bedpan yet again.)

Our "neighbor" (a few streets up and over) recently adopted her little girl from Ethiopia. We swung by their welcome home party last week to see her and they stopped by Saturday morning to drop off things they'd borrowed and things she brought me from Ethiopia, including a traditional outfit for Anna and some jewelry that's different from what I'd bought. Let me tell you this girl is beautiful. Did you think Anna has big eyes? No--this girl has incredible eyes! All this has left me missing Ethiopia again. I will try to get back to blogging about our trip soon.

I also have to get going on those readoption papers. I know, I know--you've procrastinated this long?! Of course. I realized, however, that I don't have any government ID with the name I told the airlines she's flying under. I called NWA and it's no problem for July, but I think United might be more picky.

I know I shouldn't be intimidated by this stack of papers because it's supposedly an easy process, but I am. I don't know if it's mommybrain or what, but sometimes I feel like I've lost the ability to tackle such things. I think it's partly a symptom of a cluttered desk and office. I need to dig out.

On with the show day, this is it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Anniversary Parade Day

Happy 11th Anniversary to us! The town is throwing us a parade. Okay, not really; it's Beachcomber Days.

It's the kind of weekend when it's great to live in a small town. We can go to the parade, see lots of people we know (in it and watching), and hopefully have an elephant ear, yet not have to deal with huge crowds. Tomorrow there are the sandcastle contest and the wonderfully silly bed races.

I'm meeting friends for the parade and I'm excited to zip Anna around in the stroller and see how she likes her first parade (though I suspect fire truck sirens may not be a hit). And yet I'm a little sad that Aaron's not here for it, especially since it is our anniversary.

It's not that we're big mushy-gushy anniversary-celebrators; we're usually really low-key. But last year was our 10th and what did we do? I don't even specifically remember, but I think that's because the answer is NOTHING. Aaron had only been home from his heart surgery a week. He was still drugged up and tired. I was charting his drugs and holding my breath for adoption travel plans. I do know that last year I went to the parade with my mother-in-law, who was out here for the surgery, and everyone was asking about Aaron.

So it's kind of a bummer that he's not here today, but he returns tonight and will be happy he at least won't miss the bed races tomorrow. I will just be happy he's here! But Anna has been great for me, really, and we've gotten out and done a lot--walks, beach, playground, trying a friend's Wii Fit (I shalt covet!).

Okay, enough whining--time for a parade!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why Is TV So White?

Here's an interesting article I ran into a few days ago:

Diversity in Entertainment: Why Is TV So White?

I think this does a good job of showing why it's not necessarily as easy as saying "TV should be more diverse" (although it should be). It's storytelling, so the actors have to fit the roles. And if you want the roles to represent cultural diversity, you need writers, directors, and producers who can make a good show where those cultural nuances are believable and not stereotypical--and get the show pitched, sold, made, and put on a time when more than seven people will see it. And where are you going to find the minority power players to make that happen if you don't have so much as a minority intern you can train up in the craft?

This reminds me, actually, of the age-old question at my old employ, "Why is this Christian publishing house so white?" Short answer: Because Dutch people are white. (Ha ha.) Longer answer: Because people who apply for Christian publishing jobs mostly come from local Christian colleges (or other Christian companies), and people at local Christian colleges are mostly white, because people who apply for local Christian colleges are mostly white and often from private Christian high schools, which are--you guessed it--mostly white. (And this, my friends, is reason #273 why I think public education is the great democratizer which Christians should overwhelmingly take part in. But I digress.) So it's not so much racial prejudice but racial separation that keeps an industry (or a niche of an industry, or a subculture) looking virtually the same even as the rest of the world around it changes.

That's my thesis for tonight, anyway.

What TV shows do you like that represent a different cultural group or mix (than the typical white bread sitcom) or that have a diverse cast? Y'all start and I'll chime in.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Here I Go Again On My Own

Aaron’s off to Michigan again, this time for his grandmother’s funeral. He didn’t want to go but he wants and needs to be there. So off he goes.

Nobody here but us girls. And you know us; we just want to have fun.

You and me, babe, how about it?

I hope to get as much work done as I did last time he was gone. I actually did more than usual, probably aided by having no life and a tight deadline. Right now I have a loose deadline, which is very bad for me. I am much faster under pressure.

“Never mind creativity, man. Just give me a deadline.” —Louis Armstrong

Also please give me some more Chinese take-out. It has magical properties.

We had a very nice Father’s Day. Aaron’s sermon went very well—except for him saying “sucks” and then drawing extra attention to it by talking about how he tries not to say that kind of thing up there—and for whatever reason there was a whole lunch’s worth of food after church. Then, in a kind of throwback to the ’80s/pre-kid life afternoon, we went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Who Cares If It Makes Sense, Harrison Ford Is Still Hot.

By the way, are we sure this Shia LeBouf kid is not John Cusack’s love child?

The girl sleeps - work I must!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

For Anna on Father’s Day

Dear Anna,

Do you know how much your Daddy loves you? You can’t possibly. You don’t hear him whisper “She is so adorable!” when you’re chattering away to yourself or see the goofy grin on his face when you hug him after he’s been gone. He loves you more than anyone and anything. And you think he’s the greatest thing in the world.

You had another father too, in Ethiopia. Even though it’s easier for me to imagine your mother, I try to picture you with your father, and I can’t help but wonder if you’d be a Daddy’s Girl with him too. I think so. Even though we don’t know anything about him, I’m sure he loved you too. I’m sure that if he could see you now, he’d be awestruck at how much you’ve grown and how beautiful you are. If he could carry you on his shoulders and teach you new things, his chest would swell and his face would beam with pride. If you could come running to him, his face would light up and his worries would fade away.

If he were here with you, he’d make you laugh like no one else can, and you’d bring the biggest smile to his face. You’d be your daddy’s little girl . . . just as you are, here, screaming at tickles and running for hugs, your daddy’s precious, treasured girl.

Both your fathers have blessed me so much. I’m thankful today.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Going to Say Goodbye

Aaron’s dear grandmother passed away last night. She had been fighting cancer for months and we knew the time was close. We are thankful Aaron was able to see her a few weeks ago—she even made it to his brother’s wedding. He has an awesome picture of her wearing his sunglasses. Grandma was always so full of life and energy, so caring, so dedicated to praying every day for each of her family members, the hub and the rock of the family. She will be greatly missed. And Grandpa is struggling with changes in his life due to his failing memory as well as this loss. We appreciate your prayers for the whole family.

So Aaron will be going back to Michigan this week to join the family in saying goodbye. We are not sure of the details yet—they are trying to make sure Aaron’s cousin who is in the Marines can make it from California—although I scouted out flights today. They do still offer bereavement fares . . . but they are still really expensive. But eh, what can you do?

Aaron has to give the sermon tomorrow. Then we are going to try to get out to see Indiana Jones, I think, for a little down time . Harrison makey everything better.

Friday, June 13, 2008


I'm on da Twitter! Twitter me! Twitter it up! Let's Twit it on!

I don't know why this seems like such fun to me but I love it already. I like that it's simple. Yeah, that's how it starts. Next thing you know I'll be on the MyFaceSpaceBook.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

In Your FACE, United Airlines

Yesterday I went ahead and booked our flights for July: heads up, GR, we're coming at you July 15-26. Let there be gatherings and festivities and low humidity for all!

And now, in an unprecedented act of advance planning . . . I just bought our tickets for Christmastime (Dec. 26-Jan. 7). This is stunning. I won't know what to do with myself all through October and November without this purchase to debate and rage about. The Grinch part of my heart grew three sizes today.

Even more shocking is that I was actually able to get two tickets using our frequent flyer miles. They seem to make it as hard as possible. For Aaron's last trip I even transferred miles from my account to his, which costs money, so he could go using miles--but by the time the miles were in his account, no "reserved for mileage plus" tickets were available. Grr! So rather than play that game again, I bought our tickets with miles and Anna's with money (well, credit!) and will try to use what remains next time.

For some reason I feel like I'm really gaming the system even though hello, we've been flying across the country at least twice a year for five years and also flew to Africa, first class--you'd think getting one lousy trip out of it would not be that hard. Oh, but today I am victorious.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Just Another Schlumpadinka Monday

Six o'clock already / I was just in the middle of a dream . . .

I decided yesterday on a whim--because that's how I make all my big decisions I have no intention of following through on--that I should get up at the same time every day, and that time should be 6:30. As in starting my day at 6:30 a.m., not getting up from a nap at 6:30 p.m. (not that I do that, but it sounds dang good right now).

Someone should really clue my daughter in that this means I'd like to sleep through the night until 6:30.

The result? Well, I'm tired, and I never made it out of my, er, "exercise pants." I realized I'd probably feel better if I did, but it was rainy. And one of the secret rules of working at home is that you are allowed to stay in your schlumpadinka sweatpants all day if it is rainy.

Of course the point of all this early rising is to try to make myself more productive-- oversleeping 30 minutes a day eats up 180 hours a year!-- and yoga pants don't really compliment that goal (unless of course you're a yoga instructor). But the realization that if I can add just 30 minutes a day of productivity (work) to my life, I could contribute a lot more financially to this outfit, well, I have to give that a shot, because we've got plane tickets to buy.

Plane tickets to Michigan are currently dragging my financial plan and sanity to the brink of destruction. I cannot express to you how much I HATE HATE HATE this process EVERY SINGLE TIME I go through it. I go through all the stages of travel grief. Denial: Maybe the prices will drop. Rage: WTF do you mean we can't use our miles AGAIN? Bargaining: A 2000 Suzuki, our dog, and the red-eye for not connecting through Chicago, final offer.

Now, Mister Smart Article Guy says that to become an early riser, I should go to bed now, since I'm tired, so I can jump up like Pavlov's dog when the alarm taunts me again. Too bad I just got my blood pressure up by thinking about those flights.

The good news? We'll see you in July, Michigan friends. Now there's a sweet dream.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Our Holy Ham

When we eat dinner together we pray first, holding hands--or Anna's wrists if she has already started her messy finger food. When we're done we bounce her hands up and down as we say, "A-men! Aaaaa-men!" She thinks it's funny and has come to expect it.

Last night at the end of our small group Bible study, which meets at our house, we were praying for a few minutes. Three of us were sitting on the floor and Anna was wandering around (distracting us, as usual). Just as someone started praying for N., who has been having struggles with her daughter, Anna walked up and took hold of her fingers. That was sweet enough, but then she held N.'s hand with one hand and reached out the other to hold R.'s hand--then bent over and bowed her head! It was so cute, I started giggling. Then she came over between me and R. and did the same thing again, holding our hands and bowing her head/body. I really got the giggles then, so bad I was crying by time someone said amen. Others hadn't seen it so we said "Let's pray!" and held hands again and she did it again. What a little (holy) ham she is!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

This Is the Moment

Last night was the moment: the first black nominee for President of the United States. Whether you will vote for him or not, take a minute to consider that when Barack Obama was born in 1961, he was not guaranteed the right to vote. People died so that last night could happen. I don't know nearly enough about them, but I am grateful. Because of them and many others, my daughter can live a free and equal life in America with me. Because of them my daughter can participate fully in shaping our world through the changes to come.

This is the moment I am sure this is possible.

If we are willing to work for it, and fight for it, and believe in it, then I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment. . . . This was the moment – this was the time – when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals.
-- Barack Obama, June 3, 2008

P.S.: Oh yeah . . . pound it, baby!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Vacation Remainders

Following Aaron's fabulously enjoyable birthday, Friday I did a little work and Aaron and Sami did a little youth pastor work--Aaron had agreed to help "judge" the "talent show" at the high school. Sami will soon be a youth pastor in Tennessee, and Aaron has been her mentor over the years, so she loved meeting our kids and seeing his work. He also made her help clean the garage. Probably less enlightening. After dinner we went to the beach where the waves crash on the rocks. Gorgeous but cold with the wind.

Saturday morning Aaron again used Sami as his own personal intern, helping at the YL car wash, while I got Anna and all our stuff ready to head out SANDBOARDING. Our friend Famous Sandboarder Matt Walton just got back in town and stopped by the other day to say hi and got us all itching to try it out. More on this later, but let's just say it was awesome rad, dude. Or whatever the cool kids who actually know what they're doing say.

Sunday was another full day/work day for Aaron. We've had a wonderful woman serving as our fill-in pastor for two months, and even though we're mad at her for not staying longer (like forever), we thought it'd be nice to have brunch on her last Sunday. So half the church took over the place with the amazing buffet. Endless fruit and sugary carbs? Anna has a new favorite place. I rushed her home for a 45-minute detox nap before I had to wake her up for Baccalaureate at church. Aaron is always in charge of this--much to his chagrin--and this year he gave the little inspiring message too. He really did a great job and it's too bad that for some reason there weren't as many people there. Previously there's been more people every year, seems to me. I always tell him if he wants to get out of doing this thing, he's going to have to do a much worse job. Ya screwed yourself again, Wetzel.

Monday we had to take Sami back to the airport, and I arranged for us to go by our adoption agency for our third and final post-placement meeting with the social worker. I can't believe it--this means it's been almost a year since we came home from Ethiopia with Anna. It's been almost a year since a lot of things . . .

All that made for a really long day in the car, since Anna stubbornly kept herself awake the whole three hours home. I think we are all still feeling the aftereffects a bit today. The party's over.