Sunday, November 4, 2012

First Things First - Third Party Candidates Later

Every 4th of July, my family gathers around to watch the 1972 movie of the musical "1776." Over the years, its lines and lyrics, many of which are direct quotations from the founders' assorted writings, have become an entrenched aspect of my meditations on American politics. Over the last few weeks while discussing the upcoming election, one particular exchange between John Adams and Benjamin Franklin has been on my mind:

(Quoted lines start at 2:45, if you are low on time)

John Adams:
"Mark me, Franklin... if we give in on this issue, posterity will never forgive us."
Benjamin Franklin:
"That's probably true, but we won't hear a thing, we'll be long gone. Besides, what would posterity think we were? Demi-gods? We're men, no more no less, trying to get a nation started against greater odds than a more generous God would have allowed. First things first, John. Independence; America. If we don't secure that, what difference will the rest make?" (emphasis mine)
These lines mark the monumental compromise made by the first Congress regarding the legality of slavery, a decision that sowed the the seeds for the Civil War eighty years later, but allowed for the creation of the independent United States. Our history since is spattered such compromises, agreements struck between the abhorrent and the ideal. This Tuesday, I will be one of the millions of Americans making their way to the polls to decide, among other things, who will be the next president of the United States -- and I will have to accept a compromise in order to move forward.

Friday, October 19, 2012

'Etc.' Is No Jonathan Swift - How the Wildcat Cartoonist's Attempt At Satire Fell Flat

TRIGGER WARNING: The following post concerns a comic that discusses the murder of a person for their sexual orientation. I do not condone the content of this comic, or the decision of the newspaper to publish it. If you feel that this may be triggering to you or make you feel unsafe, please feel free to stop reading at any point. Thank you!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Procrastination: A Diet's Tale

Actually, I could have titled this post, "Procrastination: [Insert Relevant Topic Here]" - because let's be honest: my procrastination isn't just contained to a diet. Or my homework. Or my ::gulp:: blog posts . . . (sorry!)

No, procrastination has been my buddy through thick and thin, through grade school, high school, college, and beyond - and I have a messy bedroom, a bunch of unfinished projects, and roughly 40 pounds of extra body fat to show for it (not to mention the missing blog posts . . . oops!).

So why is this post about a diet, you ask? Two reasons:


And This. (Okay the photoshoot actually happened second.)

And actually, one truly lovely evening out on the town with the positively lovely Gigi Verrey, the author of Okay, So I Got Fat, and a woman who I only hope I can match one day in class and strength of character. Gigi and I got to talking at the publishing conference we we were both attending. I've been meaning to switch over to whole foods and organic eating for a while, and I've been trying to lose weight since I first figured out I had a body somewhere around 6th grade . . . and even though I'm big on the body positivity these days and don't feel like I need to lose weight, I still would like to. Therefore:

I've started a health-and-exercise Tumblr. over here, where if you want, you can check out all my ups and downs and crazy experiences with working my way through Gigi's book, and probably through a workout or two along the way. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

She's Back!

Hello, my lovely darlings! After a long silence, I am returned -- and I don't think you're going to see me disappearing again anytime soon. There are a number of reasons for that, but first, a recap:

When last I wrote, things had picked up at the Mrs. Degree household - in a very good way. Well, that trend is continuing: nine months out of college, I've found myself in a job that is perfect for me - I mean, really perfect for me. You know that feeling you're supposed to get when you meet the love of your life, where you can see tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and the year after that until forever, and somehow you just know that things are going to work out, but you still get a stomach full of butterflies anyway because you just can't quite believe it, and you're just so darn excited anyway? Well, this is kind-of like that -- except instead of picturing kids and a minivan (because who doesn't picture that, amiright?), I see a place where I can be myself, where I can feel valued and respected doing work that I value and respect, and I don't glance over my shoulder every five minutes to see what kind of trouble is coming my way.

What is the heaven-sent job, you ask? Did this bright young woman actually find a way to get paid to bake pies, make beds, scrub the floors, polish the silver, and still have every hair immaculately in place to welcome home the hubby after work?

Sadly, no -- I've sold my soul (more like lost my preconceived notions), and gone to the dark side. I'm working in marketing.

I guess there's some value in trusting that the universe is going to work things out, after all.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Baking Break!

Or more accurately, a posting break. Things have gotten a little insanely lucky around here, and I just can't keep up with my dusting and work full time and complete commissions and blog. I need my beauty rest if I'm going to keep it up, after all - so at least for a little while, Mrs. Degree will be taking a break. But don't worry - I won't keep my buns in the oven forever!

They might be a little well-done, though.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Confessions of a Shopgirl: Luck Unlooked-for

You may be wondering how my job is going -- and even if you're not, I'm far too tired to come up with a different idea for a blog post. As to my job, it's actually going really well! I like the people I work with (for the most part), I loooove the part where I get to do makeovers on people, and I'm really gaining a great deal of experience and knowledge with all the ins and outs of cosmetics (which will be very useful in my future part-time gig as a makeup artist). BUT, the transportation situation to get Mr. and I to work is positively unsustainable, and I don't just mean in the environmental sense -- so thus again go I into the breach, to find a job with better hours and a shorter commute.

Yet I cannot overemphasize how lucky I have been in getting this job - not in working it specifically, but in how this job has modified my story arc in wild and wonderful ways. First, there was the day I showed up an hour and a half early (I'm still getting used to this shifting schedule thing). Grumpy and at a loss for what to do, I wandered over to the craft store to pick up some holiday decorations and gift supplies - when lo and behold, I stumbled across a "2 for $1.00" one-day sale on mini ceramic casseroles. They were the perfect size and color for gifting little loaves of bread, so I snatched them up before any of the other deal-sniffing ladies that frequent craft stores could grab them.

Then there is the whole makeup application aspect of my job -- I'm learning about prepping the skin, matching and applying foundation, taking care of multiple-person-use products (aka testers) and more, all while getting paid for it instead of attending beauty school. Score!

But finally, and most surprising out of the bunch, is the unexpected arrival of an opportunity for me to pursue my *real job* - my job of being an artist. Through talking to one of the other employees, I found out he's in a band and that they're releasing an album soon. When I suggested that I might be a great person to do their album artwork for them, he picked me up on it, and now I've got a tidy little commission project tucked away to finish this next week! That, plus the incredible stroke of luck the Mr. and I had in landing a graphic and web design gig for a local candidate, has equaled many nights of sleeping far less than what qualifies as 'beauty sleep' - in fact, judging by the way I look and feel in the morning I suspect I'm only getting as far as 'ugly sleep' - and finding my social life and leisure time almost entirely taken over by work on my 'second' job. But, this is exactly what said I could expect, so I'm going to take it as a sign that I'm on the right track. And of course, had I not been working at the makeup counter, I never would have started talking to my new client for the CD cover, and had I not been unemployed at the beginning of December, I never would have thought I'd have the time to build logos and a website. But here I am, with even less time than I had then, and I am doing it, and I'm having a great time, and it sounds like some of my job prospects are opening up as far as finding something that fits more reasonably into my schedule. Otherwise, I just need to keep on chugging and remember, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This Year, I Resolve to Dump My Resolutions!

Ah, the shivery start of January, the first day back at the gym after eating nonstop from Thanksgiving to New Years, the clusterf*cks that are the Iowa caucuses, the retrospective looks back at the year gone by, the resolutions to somehow make this one better. Personally, I love January -- wintery weather making hot tea and sweaters a necessity, feeling like the nighttime lasts forever. But I don't love New Year's Resolutions. In fact, as my grandmother once told my husband over a particularly heated game of Monopoly, they "can go South, butt thunder, and chew monkey tails!" Here's why in a nutshell, with the breakdown after the jump:

1) The New Year's Resolution is Overly Ambitious
2) New Year's Resolutions Allow Us to Be Lazy the Rest of the Year
3) They Don't Work