Versatile Blogger Award!

Apparently, I need to check my comments more frequently, because I discovered that in March Aurathena nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award. I’m a bit late, but I wanted to pass it along despite my tardiness.


To accept the award, I am supposed to do three things: thank the award-giver and link back to them in my post; share seven things about myself; pass the award on to fifteen others; and let those fifteen people know.

Step One: Thank the Award-Giver

As I stated above, the award was given to me by Aurathena, whose blog West End Singleton would be first on my list if she hadn’t already won it. Thank you so much for nominating me; it’s great to know that someone gains something from what I post here.

Step Two: Share Seven Things about Myself

  • I am a Christian who tried to commit all of my actions to the glory of God (though I don’t always succeed).
  • I have over four bookshelves crammed with books.
  • I am a tea enthusiast. When I am an old lady, I will spend my free time in flea markets, shopping for tea sets.
  • I have wanted to be a professional writer since I was in the fifth grade (when I started my first novel, about a girl who finds a portal to another world in her school’s basement).
  • I have an extremely organized schedule, but my material possessions are always chaotically placed.
  • My favorite genres are dystopia, dark fantasy, and fairy tale retellings.
  • I’m fairly certain that I am face blind.

Step Three: Pass on the Award

Here are fifteen of my favorite blogs:

The last few aren’t WordPress blogs, but they are some of my favorite (Is that allowed? I don’t know).

Step Four: Tell These People They Have Been Nominated

Dislocation

The good news:  I didn’t break my toe.

I sat in the x-ray waiting area as the technician finished what she was doing. When she finally turned to me and smiled, I gave her my name and she led me back to the x-ray room, a stark, white and grey space with a counter for equipment and a hard bed, which I was to lie on while the bone pictures were taken.

“What did you do?” she asked.

I explained about the couch, how I didn’t turn on the light when I got home and ran straight into my mother’s blue couch. Then I signed a piece of paper that assured everyone involved that I was not pregnant and took my place on the sterile bed. I was unconcerned until the event was over, when I saw the blue lead apron hanging on the wall, and the thick partition that separated the technician from the radiation. X-ray machines are dangerous things to keep in a clinic.

After it was done,  I was lead back to the examination room. I am usually a fast walker, but I struggled to keep up with the nurse as I hobbled down the hall. I suppose I should have used the crutches in the attic, but I hate crutches. They make me feel conspicuous, more so than limping around while wearing one shoe. I sat in a plastic chair and was told that the doctor would see me in a moment.

Surprisingly, it was only a moment before my general practitioner rapped on the door and entered. She is a pleasant woman with a strong South American accent and stronger maternal instincts. After a few pleasantries, she gave me the good news. “I don’t think it’s broken; just dislocated. My husband is a podiatrist, and I’m sending the x-rays to him, for his opinion.” She examined my actual foot, just to make sure, then taped it up and gave me further instructions and the promise of a prescription (anti-inflammatory, for the pain and swelling).

Now I sit at my desk, my swollen foot elevated, the rest of me restless–it is my right foot; I cannot drive–and I am thankful it was not a break.

 

Strip Poker

Each word bares more skin until

 you sit at the table naked,

wondering drunkenly what

happened to all the aces.

There were four of them.

At least one should have made it

to your hand. Instead, you rake

your ink-stained fingers through

already tousled hair and curse

          the media for giving you a stupid audience.

          the critics for bludgeoning you

          the dollar for avoiding you.

          and the muse for abandoning you.

Copyright © 2011 Amanda Jean Partridge

In Defense of the Disney Princess: Part II

Disney Generations

I found this on Google. It describes the generations of the Disney Princess.

Earlier this week, I began my defense of the Disney Princesses with the classic generation: Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty). You can read that article here. In part II, I will focus on the ’90s princesses: Ariel (who is technically 1989), Belle, Jasmine, Pocahontas, and Mulan. In the ’90s, the princesses begin to be independent. Rather than being orphaned or separated from their parents, these five princesses love their fathers (only Mulan seems to have a mother). Even so, they are willing to leave their families in order to grow up. Continue reading

In Defense of the Disney Princess: Part I

I have seen an increasing level of distaste for the Disney Princesses–many look at the princesses and say that they teach girls that physical beauty is the only thing that matters and that women have no power at their disposal outside their sexuality. I would like to argue. Despite the fact that most of these films are based on stories by the Grimm brothers (who did not seem to have a high opinion of women, primarily because of the view of women in their time), Disney managed to give their princesses varied personalities. Many of the princesses were strong characters who overcame adversity. Disney walked a very thin line of staying true to the stories while giving the princesses character and strength.

The Classic Princesses (Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora)

The criticisms against these three princesses are valid, in some ways. Snow White, Cinderella, and Aurora do spend their days dreaming that a prince will someday come and carry them away from their lives. However, in the mid-1900s, that was the norm. It was expected for girls to grow up fantasizing about their weddings. Isn’t that the case even now? I know that my friends don’t believe me when I tell them that my wedding hasn’t been planned since I was five, not do I currently have a dream wedding envisioned. If that is the thought now, how much stronger was it in the 19030s and ’50s? Continue reading

Excuses and Happy Accidents

“[T]he moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I know I’ve been MIA for a while, but I have a good excuse, really.

Over the years, there has been an ever-growing list of things I wanted to be when I got out of school and had to join the real world. The list was as varied as my interests were: Egyptologist, secretary, editor at a major publishing company. Under all those things, though, was my love of books and writing. More than anything, I wanted to be a writer. I knew, however, that writers didn’t make money (neither did archaeologists or secretaries, for that matter), and so I needed to find another profession, one that could feed and house me. After all, I am fond of food.

When I accidentally became the on-site coordinator for RJ‘s wedding (and loved it!), I realized that I could be an excellent event coordinator. It requires organization, the ability to multi-task, and flexibility when it comes to working hours. In many ways, it is the perfect job for me. Those of you who know me know that I tend to take on too many projects at once. I love being busy, and I like to be actively involved in organizations of which I am a part. This lifestyle of acquiring stray assignments means that I have all of the prerequisite traits of an event coordinator. The only flaw is that I hate crowds; parties, therefore, are not my ideal setting. I was determined, though. I had found a job that I could do. The only thing I needed was a client base (and a network of vendors).

Then one day, around two months after I received my BA, I was approached by an acquaintance of mine who owns a business. He needed someone to write articles and do website maintenance for his business, and a mutual acquaintance informed him that my degree was in English, and that I enjoyed writing. This began my career as a freelance writer and editor.

Since that time, I have been working to build a website to advertise my freelance services, as well as taking up writing and editing jobs that come my way. The work that has been my dream since I was eleven has finally become reality, partially through hard work on my part and partially through happy accident (also known as God). I now have the job that I have always believed was my calling.

What do you think? Is it a good enough excuse?

Amandine Rose

If you are a tea-lover and have not been to a Teavana, you are depriving yourself of a wonderful experience. If you are not a tea-lover, then you will find this post utterly boring.

Teavana is a magical place filled with delightful smells and lovely tea accessories. There are sample stations scattered around the store so that you can sip while you shop (in every Teavana I have visited, the samples are the same). They have cast-iron teapots, British-style tea sets, special tools for making the perfect cup, and even books about tea. The salespeople are rarely hover-y, but if you ask, they are more than willing to discuss their favorite teas with you. I give only one rule to poor tea-lovers like myself: do not look at the prices. If you do, the spell will be broken. Checking prices in Teavana is akin to touching treasure in the Cave of Wonders. If you refrain from peeking at the little white stickers, the experience will be wonderful.

I go to Teavana whenever I get the chance, just to take in the sights and scents. The employees at the one in Memphis are beginning to recognize me. Last week, however, was the first time I bought anything.

I was online the morning of my visit, looking up various types of teas, not just on Teavana’s site, when I came across it: Amandine Rose. Teavana’s site describes it thusly:

“Travel the globe to faraway Scandinavia where we’ve found the creamiest of marzipans and added a scrumptious decadent mix of toasted roasted almonds from the West, nutty cinnamon and sweet saffron from the exotic East. This truly delicious dessert tea adds a pale blush of red rose petals taking you far away on a decadent black tea journey…Full-bodied nutty infusion with cinnamon and rose undertones.”

I was in love. I was already planning to go out that day–in fact, one of my errands was right across the street from Teavana. My parents needed to go to that part of town as well, so they dropped me off and said they would meet me later. When my errand was finished, I couldn’t resist the call of Amandine Rose. I made the trek across the street (which was made more difficult by construction, a busy intersection, and a decided lack of sidewalk). Once inside, I asked the saleswoman if I could examine the Amandine Rose. It smelled as amazing as its description promised. “I’ll take two ounces,” I told the saleswoman. She measured the appropriate amount into a canister and pressed on a label with instructions for brewing.

I exited the store triumphantly, my first Teavana purchase swinging from my arm. When I returned home, the first thing I did was prepare a cup of it. The result was heavenly. As I told a friend, my firstborn will be named for this tea. The photograph below is of me with my tea (and my tea ducky, because my tea ducky is adorable).

 

 
 

 

Crime Drama and Feminist Paradox

I do not consider myself an avid watcher of television, but there are a few shows that I make a point to watch, and several others that I’ll watch if they happen to be on when I want a distraction. The Mentalist is one such program.

It was on the other night, and my parents were watching it, so I joined them. I had only seen one or two episodes before, so Jane was the only character I could identify. I watched the episode for some time before I realized that Teresa Lisbon was the senior agent. This came as a shock to me, and I immediately asked myself, “Why are you surprised by this?” There are plenty of crime dramas in which a woman is in a position of administrative authority. After a few moments of reflection, I figured it out:  Lisbon has long hair, and is, in general, feminine. In most shows, powerful women have short, masculine haircuts. Director Shepherd on NCIS is a good example of this. Her relationship with Gibbs is the only facet in which she is shown as a feminine figure. Her short hair is a symbol of her masculine authority. In Bones, Cam has long hair, but it is pulled back when she is at the Jeffersonian. She may be a woman in her personal life, but at work, she is a masculine figure.

This is an interesting aspect of our culture. For a woman to have power, she must masculinize herself. Even in the mainstream feminist movement, this is the case:  many feminists display their feminism by becoming masculine. Women who are feminine are sometimes scoffed at for being weak. This strikes me as odd. Isn’t feminism about celebrating the feminine and placing it alongside the masculine in value? So why do we take the feminine out of feminism?

I’m not saying that women should live in the kitchen and spend their lives waiting to be saved by a man. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with women having short hair or other attributes typically associated with the male—on the contrary, I have short hair because I look ridiculous when my hair is long. I am wearing a tie as I write this, because I look good in them (actually, I look more feminine in a tie than I do in a plain t-shirt). What I am saying is that women should not be looked down upon by butch feminists for being feminine. Being masculine so that you can be considered equal to men is devaluing the feminine. Femininity has different strengths than masculinity, but that is not to say that femininity is not just as strong.

I believe that true feminism is giving women value equal to men without removing their feminine nature.

 

Single, Not Broken

As soon as I began college, it started. My friends paired off and married, two by two. There was a period of almost a year in which I attended at least one wedding a month. While I still have some unattached comrades, most of my friends have said their vows and joined the League of the Married™*. I believe that for them, that was the right decision. It fit into the life that they wanted and involved attaching themselves to someone who was good to and for them. I am happy for my married friends. But I want something different.

Twenty-one and single, however, is not something that my culture accepts. Since I was in high school, I’ve been pushed toward relationships:  relatives ask at every family gathering why I don’t have a boyfriend, and friends take on the responsibility of telling me who to date. Now, most of my friends are engrossed enough in their own romantic lives that they leave mine alone, but the stigma of singleness remains. One friend of mine frequently told me that he was afraid that I would be a crazy cat lady, and so always tried to set me up with his friends.  I’m not even seeing anyone, yet my mother wanted to buy a coffee mug for my future husband. I won’t even start the list of people who have talked about my future as a mother. I feel like Eleanor Dashwood, pitied as a spinster despite her age of nineteen. When I look at the expectations pertaining to marriage in this culture, I can’t help but wonder, “Why?”

The current couples’ culture that exists in the States devalues the individual by declaring that if someone, especially someone female, does not have a significant other, that person is somehow defective. If a person does not place the same irrational value on romantic relationships as everyone else does, they are viewed as hard-hearted. I don’t agree with that view. I believe that a single woman (or man) has just as much value as a married one. I don’t have to be married to be a good person—or an important one. Marriage isn’t my focus in life. My focus is to learn, grow, and establish myself as a writer and a member of my community.

Being single doesn’t mean that you are a bad person; it means that you are moving in a different direction.

*The League of the Married is not an actual trademark (at least to my knowledge).

Jane Eyre: The Movie

After RJ and I finished Jane Eyre, I decided to watch the movie that recently came onto DVD. As with most movies-based-on-novels, it wasn’t as good as Brontë’s classic. However, I believe that there are legitimate reasons for this. It is, in my opinion, impossible to condense a thirty-eight-chapter novel into two hours of cinematic experience without losing something. If they were to stay true to the book, the film would take far more than one hundred and twenty minutes.

What suffered the most was the dynamic between Jane and Edward. Scenes of the main couple interacted are the obvious things to cut, since there are so many of them. However, if I hadn’t read the novel, I’m not sure I would have been as fond of the two of them as a couple as I am. Granted, the makers of the film probably assume that most viewers will be familiar with the novel, since a) it is something that every high school student (except, apparently, me) is required to read; and b) why would you be interested in the movie if you were uninterested in the novel? So it makes sense to take for granted the relationship between the two main characters. The interaction that was portrayed was very strong. I am not a crier at movies, but when Jane pulled away from Edward after she learned of Bertha, my eyes were a bit watery. It was a very powerful scene.

They cut out the revelation that Jane and the Rivers were cousins, which was, I suppose, due to modern sensibilities about cousin marriage, since St. John proposes to Jane. That wasn’t really an issue at that time. While I do understand the reasoning, I thought it an important plot point that Jane finally finds family.

Adele wasn’t exactly as I pictured her (I pictured her as a younger, Frencher Georgiana Darcy of the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice), but she was still adorable. Bertha was as eerie as promised (though I’m not certain the vampire rumors were necessary).

At the end of the film, I was satisfied. The writers managed a much more successful conclusion than Brontë had (read RJ’s last post for more on that subject), and the story ended happily, not perfectly (perfect endings leave a bad taste in my mouth). I would suggest this film, even for lovers of the novel.