No Real Plot.

Month: March, 2014

Be Strong.

I first posted this last year.  But March marks the annual invasion of the bikini catalogs, so it’s a good time to revisit first principles:

This woman gave birth one month ago.


She’s stunning, of course.  But for merely mortal mothers, this is not helpful. Instead, I draw inspiration from the great moms of literature.  Like these:

Sal's Mom in Kitchen

Sal’s mother has a real J.Crew-meets-Etsy-Vintage vibe that works for most of us.  Note the chic choppy bob and her sheer cheek color, from her afternoon out rescuing Sal from blueberry-drunk bears.

Olivia's Mom in Talbott's

Here, Olivia’s mother wears a day-to-evening sheath, which adds authority to her bedtime negotiations.  By day, she’ll out-shine the other moms (“Is she working again?”) on her urban school run and, perhaps, be photographed for a street-style blog.  She also knows how to get on with the business of wearing a bathing suit, even when she might rather not.  Similar sunglasses by The Row available at Barneys New York and Net-A-Porter.

Olivia's Mom in tank

For dressing up, it’s hard to beat the mother of Iggy Peck, Architect.  She’s like Edie Sedgwick married to a banker instead of mooning after Warhol. Love how the haircut complements her look of constant consternation.  Now, that’s real mom style.

Iggy Peck's Mom in 60's print

She also wins the prize for fully committing to date night.

Iggy Peck's Mom in Evening

Finally, a word about accessories.  One great statement piece can really make an outfit, define your personal style, and lift your spirits.  None better than this knockout necklace on Ferdinand’s mom:

Ferdinand's Mom

Most covetable of all, that smile from knowing she’s “an understanding mother, even though she was a cow.”  I vote we all aspire to that.

Bossy’s Days are Numbered.

News Flash: Sheryl Sandberg and Beyonce launch campaign to ban calling little girls “bossy.”

Okay, so I guess I must confess: I call my young boys, repeat BOYS, “bossy” all the time, and not in a good way.

I call them “bossy” when they insist on having their way about (1) what they’re required to eat at dinner; (2) what movie we all watch together; and (3) where they sit in the family van. I call them “bossy” when they demand supreme unilateral power to enforce the rules for Risk (who actually knows how to play that game, anyway?). I call them “bossy” when they try to bulldoze a brother into swapping an esteemed Star Wars guy for a handful of cast-off Legos. They’re “bossy” when they argue with me about lights-out, no matter how few pages to the end of their chapter.

ban_bossyIn fact, I call them bossy, in a bad way, whenever they act like their needs and desires matter more than anyone else’s in the room. When they insist that every environment and every other human adapt to suit them, first and foremost, including their paper-thin skins. When they claim to know everything, all the time. When they disregard the effect their conduct has on other people’s feelings, as we all make our way in our shared world.

Yes, being called “bossy” is a bad thing, but that’s because being “bossy” is a bad thing. It’s uncomfortable behavior coming from anyone, woman or man, girl or boy.

In the twenty-five years since I graduated from law school, I’ve had great bosses — truly great, inspiring leaders, teachers, supporters, and friends — who would have been mortified if anyone thought their work behavior was “bossy.” Not because being called that would have intimidated them from taking on the mantle of true leadership, but because they knew true leadership is not about bossing. It’s about compassion, patience, and the habit of thinking about others and not just your own self. It’s about that most endangered human quality, in our self-regarding culture: kindness.

Wouldn’t it be something if we could all lean in to that.

Growing on Me, Part 2: Our (Questing) Town.

Here in Boomtown, we’re all hepped up.

Last November, Travel and Leisure magazine named us — yes, our own Nashville — as Number 8 in their definitive list of  “America’s Best Cities for Hipsters.”  We came in only three spots behind New York City (that includes hipster mothership Brooklyn), and we completely smoked poor old Seattle, which dropped to Number 11 from being Number 1 just last year.  Ouch.

About 625,000 people live in Nashville today.  We’re expecting a million newcomers in the next 25 years.

That’s a lot of artisanal cappuccino.

the_goose_that_laid_the_golden_eggsOf course, they’re all welcome, bless their hearts.

Still,  I treasure any vestige of authentic Nashville.  Like last Tuesday’s policeman.

I’d been reading The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright. It’s an engrossing study of how human societies — at least those we can somehow observe — have always included an idea of extra-material, even supernatural, forces in their understanding of the natural world and humans’ place in it. Wright argues that humans’ ways of envisioning that extra-material force, our ways of talking about gods or even God, have changed over time to keep up with our advances in science and technology.  As our cultures have evolved, so has God.  Wright thinks this is a good thing: good for us, good for our idea of God.

EvolutionOfGodI took the book to read while getting my toenails painted.  From there straight to a friend’s birthday lunch, the book stayed on my front passenger seat.  It was still there when I left lunch and headed home.

Just past a stop sign, the dreaded blue lights.

The policeman was young, trim, and wearing — yes, he really was — mirrored aviator sunglasses.  He approached my passenger window and politely asked, in a strong Tennessee accent, whether I agreed I’d rolled through that last stop sign.

It never does to argue.  “Yes sir,” I said.  “I’m so sorry.”

He leaned in and cocked his head.  “What’s that book?”

I handed over the Robert Wright and described what it’s about.  The officer turned it over, read the back cover, flipped through to the introduction, and read for a minute.  He reached it back in.

“I’m reading a book,”  he said, ” about inerrancy.  Five views on inerrancy”

Now, you probably already know, “inerrancy” is an Evangelical Christian doctrine claiming that the Bible, in its current form, is accurate and totally free from error of any kind.  The Bible, dictated by God, does not affirm anything that is contrary to fact, scientific or otherwise.  So, really, anything the Bible says happened, happened, and in just the way the Bible says, and has always said. No room for evolution here.  Really, not that hipster.

biblical_InerrancySo there we were.  Robert Wright, with a God we’ve fashioned ourselves to quell uncertainties about our real world.  And the Evangelical Christians, with a God who’s revealed Himself and His creation in the Bible, one truth, once and for all.

We nodded at each other.  “That sounds interesting,”  I said.  “I should learn more about it.”

“Me too,” he pointed at the Wright, back on my van seat.  “And I’m not going to give you a ticket.”

Metro Nashville-v2“This time.”

%d bloggers like this: