Saturday, December 27, 2014

44 Days to the Grammys: A Tale of Two Shoes

Sooooo, we’re less than two months away, and Li'l Miss Hobbit is growing apprehensive. Suffice it to say that the dress doesn't fit and the incoming Christmas candy haul is not really working in our favor.  Nor is the two-week holiday hiatus from boot camp, but let’s admit it- these whinings about ill-fitting garments and shredded Spanx are getting just a little bit old. But, as I reminisce longingly about the days that I once slid gracefully into a flowing gown (circa 1993), I find myself taken back to the days when I was preparing to slip into last year’s frock.
And, yes, the shoes were dyed to match.

That brings me back to this fun little story about Grammy prep of days gone by. So for no reason other than the fact that I don’t want to talk about what a poor fit this year’s wardrobe remains, here’s a fun little story from about a year ago.

So, last year roughly around this time, I had purchased my dress but needed to go get all the finishing details. Now, this may sound pretty decent.  After all, the dress was done, yeah?  So, I should just have to grab some shoes and off we go.  No.  That’s not how this works, men.  Turns out my shopping had barely gotten started.  I didn't know this, of course, because Hobbits don’t even wear shoes.  Let alone accessories.  And, I waited until two (yes, two) days before I had to leave to go “grab my shoes.”  This turned out not to be a good idea.  Because I had put this last shopping trip off for so long I had mere hours before I had to get on a plane and try to blend in among the elves and fairies that float along the red carpet.  There was only one way to go: stroller shopping trip.
I knew these wheels would be good for something.

Let me explain something to those of you who don’t have children:  There are few experiences in this life worse than having to take your child shopping.  Those shelves with their enticing brightly colored objects dangling just within your baby’s reach, those windows with their flashing lights and dancing toys designed to get them to beg you for “just one, pleeeeeeease,” those sugary-smelling snacks filling the air with their cinnamon-y goodness beckoning as the only sustenance for miles… all of that is controlled using a careful algorithm designed to break a parent’s spirit at the exact moment when their resolve is the weakest.  Now you add the exponent of having to strap your kid into a rolling cocoon while he fills his pants at will and demands that you whip off your shirt to feed him every half hour or so, and you've got yourself one big ol' recipe for suck.

This exact scenario is what that cold, rainy day in January brought to me and my son.  Alas, babysitters cancelled, but pumps had to be purchased.  So, off to the mall I went with the kid.  We did pretty good for the first three hours or so. I had found shoes, backup collapsible shoes (yes, really), undergarments, under-undergarments, makeup, jewelry, hair jewelry (yes, really), designer duct tape for restraining the kid-feeders, and all I had left was one. last. thing: the bag.  I had broken the bank already and all but decided to use my husband’s tux pockets in lieu of a designer clutch when I realized I had to pass one more accessories department on my way out to the car. This accessories department was of course in the most expensive store in the entire mall so my hopes were infinitesimal if existent, but as I had to walk right through the center of the brightly lit counters I figured it couldn't hurt to swing my head from side to side and check out the wares as I passed by.

You can guess just how much my 15-month-old son loved all those shiny, sequined handbags.  I grabbed one from the clearance pile ($486) and handed it to him to stuff his pacifiers into while I quickly scanned the counters.  Behold, nestled among the diamond-encrusted clutches and hand-tooled hoboes I saw THE PERFECT BAG.  

So perfect, in fact, that I did the unthinkable: I flagged down a shop-girl and swallowed my pride and asked the price.  WHAT?! This thing was only forty bucks! It was displayed next to a $1200 wallet! I couldn't believe my luck. I pointed out a scratch on the gold detailing and politely asked for the bag’s unscathed twin on the pedestal next to it.  While shop-girl ever-so-slightly-snootily bent over to make the switch I engaged in a quiet and barely noticeable wrestling match with the kid to reclaim the beaded purse I had given him and slide it undetected under a pile of studded belts (Yep, I’m THAT mom).  By the time shop-girl had begun to ring me up, kiddo was back to masquerading as the perfect little shopping partner, happily chewing away on the foam sole of my new collapsible shoes.
Just let it happen.

As is inevitable during the wifi-wait for my card to be approved, the conversation had to be had about “what’s the occasion” for which I would need such a lovely and specialized accessory.  This, let’s be honest here, was what I had been secretly waiting for.  It’s impossible to answer that question without a teeny tiny little non-Mennonite spark of pride puffing up the chest ever so slightly as I ever-so-casually toss out, “Oh, I’m going to the Grammys,” and wait for the follow-up.  It’s not that I expect people to fall down at my feet in admiration or anything, but this little announcement usually brings about some sort of reaction akin to the “I’m engaged,” “I’m pregnant,” or “I just won the lottery” sort of banter- it’s a conversation starter.  And, let’s face it, I come out looking all right in this one.  So, I answer her and wait to see where this (usually fun) repartee will take us.  
Something close to this.

She pauses from wrapping my bag in protective paper (can’t have another scratch on the trim), gives me a quick up and down, and without even attempting to mask her contempt, responds with: “Oh, is your husband in the music industry?”




Now let me be clear here.  I’m all Mennonite and whatnot.  I’m all on board with the whole good old family values and woman-heart-of-the-home and even man head-of-household crap.  I’m probably old-fashioned to a fault, I embrace my role as a mother, and I don’t even bother enough with feminism to know which amendment gave women the right to vote.  But LADY.  REALLY.

But is the only REAL solution to this puzzle that my husband must be the one to have pushed open that door?  That somewhere behind every successful man is a haggard-looking woman tagging along trying to look cool?  That somewhere in front of every tired mom is a detached, successful dad who lets her hitch her wagon to his star?  Yeah, that’s not right. 
What, boys? There's someone behind me?

So I brushed the crumbs off of my shirt onto her perfectly polished counter, said “No, I am,” gathered my young ‘un and our wares, and pouted myself out of the store.

As I made my way to my minivan, I thought: Maybe I should clean up just a little, trade up the sweatpants for some jeans, cover up the grays some highlights, consider getting some bangs...

Naaaahhhh.  Too much work.  Pass the bunny slippers.

The BentBeat Team
Call/Text: 503.489.8275
Follow @bentbeat

Monday, December 15, 2014

55 Days to the Grammys: Top Five Picks

Greetings.  The boy here.  I will have the privilege of escorting the Elf to the Grammys in February. That is, as long as she doesn't mind being arm candy for Jack Black.

Yep.  This pretty much sums it up.

In case you haven’t heard, the nominees were announced since our last update.  I thought it would be fitting for our “55 days” update to hit our top five favorite nominees this year.  
Note: I didn’t say predictions, I said favorites.  Mostly in categories that won’t be televised. Which means (back of hand placed firmly on forehead martyr-style), “we HAVE to go to the pre-show awards this year.”

And the Grammy for best tuba solo goes to...

Before I hit the proverbial “fave five,” our five honorable mentions would be:

  • The Band Perry: Up for Best Country Duo/Group Performance (um... isn’t this what “rock” used to look like?).
  • Nickel Creek: Best Americana Album.  Because someone convinced them that they had a good thing going a while back.
    What?  We're cool again?  Quick, record an album before the wind changes.
  • Guardians Of The Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1: Because it’s a “Marvel Universe-meets-great-music mix tape” that GOT A GRAMMY SOUNDTRACK NOD.
  • Paramore: Best Rock Song.  Because, it’s Paramore, people.
  • Meghan Trainor: Because, yes, it is All About That Bass.

No treble.

Now, onto the actual five:

  1. Katy Perry:  Wisely chose to put herself up for consideration in the “Best Pop Duo/Group Performance” for Dark Horse (which she performed at last year’s show, coincidentally).  This is a well-crafted song with some great poetic imagery. For those of you who may not agree, well, you’re wrong.
    Remember back when your favorite songs were a metaphor?
  2. MercyMe:  Since our roots are firmly planted in “CCM,” I will go on record as saying that Bart Millard is one of my favorite artists in the “Contemporary Christian Music Album” category.  It takes great talent to be both witty and deep all at the same time (look for your favorite song in their "cover tune grab bag" here).
  3. Tenacious D:  Speaking of Jack Black, he will be taking on the MONSTERS OF ROCK to seek the coveted Metal Performance spot.  So, it’s essentially Jack Black vs. Anthrax/Mastadon/Motorhead… stop laughing.  Jack is the bomb (proof).
    You never had a teacher like this.
  4. Pentatonix:  For their Daft Punk mash-up in Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella. So, you’ve finally figured out who Pentatonix is, eh?  What?  You haven’t bought their Christmas Album.  DO IT.  Don’t let Taylor walk away with the only platinum album this year.  
  5. Weird Al Yankovic both deserves and will win for best Comedy Album.  It's mandatory. There, I’ve said it.

I'm glad I'm not the one up against Jack Black.

So, there’s the list for today.  Now, please excuse me.  I need to hit the treadmill.  #roadtothegrammys

The BentBeat Team
Call/Text: 503.489.8275
Follow @bentbeat

Thursday, December 4, 2014

66 Days to the GRAMMYs: How’s it going?

I know everyone is DYYYYYYYing for an update.  Right?  I know, you’ve been on the edge of your seat this whole time.  Does the dress fit?  How's the hair?  Are we ready to go? How is the Hobbit’s Grammy Prep Progressing? 

Well, it’s interesting.  First of all, Hobbit Grammy Prep Progression sounds like a Safeway holiday special on aisle 5, which is coincidentally the aisle where all the Holiday Double Stuffed Oreos are hanging out. 

How do I know this? Because I am Holiday Double Stuffed myself right now. Yeah, since the last entry I celebrated Thanksgiving (as in Turkey Day, as in Stuff with Turkey Day, as in I’m Such a Turkey For Stuffing Myself with Turkey and Stuffing Day) and also an early Christmas since our extended family is visiting from out of town.  (So that was Stuff Myself With Chili and Christmas Candy Day.) So yep, Holiday Double Stuffed Hobbit is ready for the red carpet. Almost.
Never tell me the odds.
Let’s check in on my last entry, which I ended with a list of things I was doing to “start” getting ready for the Grammys.  The list was:

1.    “Joined a gym.”  Yep, did that.  Still attending faithfully- boot camp three times a week in hopes of fitting into a dress that is (slightly) sexier than Adele 2013. 
Love the shoes. Mad respect.
I’m not sure how well Boot Camp is working.  I’m also not sure about the efficacy of said Boot Camp- there was a moment this morning where I was in the middle of an exercise called “Spread Eagle Double Crunch” and I did the unthinkable- I took a peek around the room.  With all the ladies laying on their backs and their legs up in the air, it really looked like an entire birthing class had lost its balance and gone turtle up onto their backs. Then I realized I was a turtle myself, and I began to doubt the effectiveness of my workouts. We’ll update on that next time, I guess.

2.    “Budgeted a dress.” This was going to be the easiest of my tasks, as I was just going to cut food and eating out of my budget and save the cash for the frock.  Two holiday dinners ruined that plan- I’m currently working on renting out my kid for “cute weekends” to see if he can bring in any extra cash.
3.    “Began slowly shaving away the outside layer of skin on my foot.” This was, as you recall, to fit into a nice pair of shoes.  So far all I have is a brand new Kermit the Frog bandaid and a bad case of razor burn.

4.    “Began watching Groupon for deals on Spanx.” As you recall, I was aiming for a getting-dressed pair and a backup-for-after-I-ripped-it-getting-out-of-the-limo pair. While shopping on Groupon I found a very legitimate looking muscle-zapper-massager-thingie that promises to electro-shock my pockets of flab away. I bought that instead of the Spanx- asked the hubby for some extra thick Lycra in my Christmas stocking this year. After all, I haven’t left the house without Lycra on these thighs since I was fourteen. 
"You were raised right."
5.    “Started looking for a limo.” Nah, I’ll make the boy do this one instead.

6.    “ Downloaded “1989” because it just seems necessary to have some knowledge of this album before the inevitable Taylor Swift headbanging party begins.” Then I listened to it for a few minutes before the closeup of TS and her gams caught my eye. Between “Shake It Off” and my jealousy of her stupid perfect 20-something legs, it was all I could do not to punch her picture in the face…so 1989 was removed from my playlist.  Sorry, Taylor.
Suddenly, I feel better.
7.    “Got a cold.” Done with that. Achoo. 

8.    “Traded in all my sweatpants for a spandex body wrap.” Looks like two pigs…fighting under a blanket.
9.    “Started looking for a babysitter.” I’m hoping one of those rent-a-toddler weekends turns out to be a lasting relationship for this one- after all, if he can make a little money while I’m out spending it, that wouldn’t be so bad of a thing.

10.  “Began a playlist of all the artists I can’t wait to see in person.” Yeah, Taylor wasn't on this list. Who was? I have no time to elaborate- I have to go for a run.

After reassessing my efforts thus far, I admit I was pretty depressed about the whole thing. There’s no way this wasn't going to end in just an embarrassing self-esteem crushing weekend for me. All that worrying even gave me a new zit, because since I’ve got chubby thighs and frizzy hair (oh yeah, the haircut was a disaster) I need adult acne to help build me up, right? Oh, the humanity! But just as I was about to give up hope, my esteemed partner texted me a photo of the official Grammy invitation. And you know what that means: 
They like us! They really like us!
Because here we are, another year, and we’re IN! So I know one thing for sure- BentBeat’s efforts within the music industry are not getting ignored. That means that I can redouble my efforts on the home front so as not to embarrass ourselves by my Hobbity little presence on the red carpet. 

And if I can’t squeeze into the Spanx, I can always hide behind the Elf.
"Back off my little friend."