Monthly Archives: June 2008

Do you have a Frada?

I was very surprised, shocked to say the least last night when I attended a Free Ladies Night bazaar sponsored by a reputable Garden here in town to see counterfeit purses being sold. Granted, I really wanted to buy one of the purses until the ladies who were trying to sell it to me started “ripping” me off – first, by adding a shipping charge and then by removing my 5% discount because I was paying with a check instead of cash. For a moment, as I was haggling with these women, I felt like I was in India or the streets of China or Korea, buying counterfeit goods for half the price. Then, I realized, if I was in India, China, or Korea, the same purses would be way cheaper – perhaps even 1/3rd of what these counterfeiters were charging me. As I decided to pass on buying the imitation Coach purse, it started to occur to me that I felt very weird. I started to think to myself, “where am I?” Am I in the United States of America? Isn’t trademark infringement illegal, especially when sponsored by a major business like this one? They gave these women a booth to sell their counterfeit, gray market goods. Oh my God! I thought, I wrote a paper on this exact topic not too long ago. I cannot believe I was about to purchase a counterfeit item at a Ladies night event which was lauded as quite the event.

I was thinking about how the other vendors felt about the counterfeit goods. There were several vendors there who were selling their own work of art, or their crafts. A few vendors made their own jewelry and were selling it. A few cosmetic companies (not counterfeit) were also present. Another lady was selling scrapbooking items. A gentleman who represented a reputable knife company was displaying his products. How did these artisans and businesspeople feel about the counterfeiters? It seemed like most of the people who purchased items were buying the counterfeit purses or just standing around for free food and drink. I am not sure what bothered me more – the fact that the counterfeit purses were being sold in the first place or the fact that this garden was permitting them to do it in their establishment with consent and full endorsement. It seemed … well, it seemed… wrong! In this day and age, when gas is $4.00 a gallon, and carrots are $3.00 a bag, it is often hard to forget the difference between right and wrong but this just seemed wrong considering it was not in a private home but rather in a publicly announced event where over 200-300 ladies were present. More than anything, I wanted to call attention to this but I did not know how. I look for blog fodder daily and this to me was blog fodder. In the end, I went home to my family but I could not forget what had just happened. In the future, I wonder, it is the right thing to say something or just bury my head in the sand? I do not want to cause trouble for people who are doing legitimate business but to me, selling counterfeit purses at a public event does not seem like a legitimate business. The ironic thing is that if I did report this, would anything have even been done? Interesting research … for the next time this occurs.

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What’s your hobby?

Recently, my husband and I have had some disagreement regarding the term “hobby”. It has stemmed primarily from the fact that ’til recently, I figured people just did things for the sake of doing them – running a marathon, scrapbooking, skiing, collecting coins, etc. I was intrigued by the word “hobby”, so I decided to do some research. Dictionary.com defines “hobby” as “an activity or interest pursue for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation.” Some examples follow: stamp-collecting, woodcarving.

When you cross reference dictionary.com with other definitions, worldnet for example, defines it is an “auxiliary activity”, and Kernerman’s English Multilingual dictionary defines it as “something a person enjoys doing (usually frequently) in his/her spare time and not for pay.” Interesting, so now we have the added twist that is not for pay, not just a “main occupation” so if you work at Starbucks on the weekends because you enjoy making coffee and meeting new people, it is not a hobby because you get paid for it.

I really enjoyed my research project into the word, “hobby” and of course, wanted to look up origins and other things but this blog would then turn into something a bit tedious. Instead, I started to wonder what my hobbies really were. Granted, I do not like that term because it seems that I cannot count sleeping and eating as hobbies since they are necessities. I enjoy both activities immensely but do not seem to get enough sleep these days or good food often enough. I get pleasure from massages but do not seem to get them often enough. For now, the hobbies I think I can honestly say I get pleasure from but may not get to do it often enough – well, writing this blog of course, playing Sudoku, watching movies, and scrapbooking. Pre-baby, my list was a little more extensive – yoga, writing, reading, scrapbooking, watching movies, and my favorite shows and serials, but nowadays it seems like my hobbies are dwindling. I wonder if it is because I get more pleasure from spending time with my daughter than doing my hobbies or am I truly not getting the opportunity to relax. Balance is a fine art – balancing work, home, and hobbies which may truly help one relax. I have not found that balance since the birth of our daughter but I am hoping I can find that amidst the pangs of guilt I feel when I am away from her, possibly pursuing some of the hobbies listed above. In the meantime, until I can find that balance, I will just take a deep breath, hold my baby as she holds me back, and think about all the things I can pursue for pleasure and relaxation… soon!

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Free to be You and Me

I feel like I have just walked into the twilight zone. Translation: I am walking into unchartered territory. I know this will not be the last time this happens to me but I wonder why it has to happen in the first place. I had to have a confrontation with a “friend” regarding a social and cultural issue –frankly, an issue that permeates in our society and ends up being a balancing act between personal choice and respect of others. Breastfeeding in public is a contentious issue. There are state laws in some states which protect the woman’s right to publicly breastfeed while other state laws are silent on the subject. There are countless blogs devoted to this topic and you will often find women on all sides of the issue – pro, militant, anti, and so conservative about it, they will pray for you if you do it. You get my point. The issue is contentious because we live in a male-dominated world but more than that, we live in a society which still seems to be conservative about nudity in public. For example, in Europe, a breast will be displayed like it is no big deal during a deodorant commercial. I know, I used to live there and a body wash commercial, well, you may get a peak at all body parts. It is just something open and out there. In Europe and Asia, you can catch a glimpse of men urinating on a wall or on a street side, but you rarely witness any of the above here in prudish America. It is a product of the society we live in and the culture does not promote that. Obviously, as times change, things will become more comfortable although I still hope to never see a man pulled over near my office building peeing on the brick building – yikers!

Needless to say, this friend told me how strongly she believes in public breastfeeding that if she knew she were invited to an “unfriendly” breastfeeding home (mind you, private not a public place) for a child’s party, she would not have attended in the first place. Fair enough. I guess I do not freely visit Afghanistan because frankly, I could not stand covering my head and my legs, and see women being mistreated. I would not choose to go to Iran either and personal choices should be respected. So, that is the issue really isn’t it? When did Sara and Jessica stop being free to be Sara and Jessica? Why is Jessica being judged because Sara does not agree with her? I am not sure why women bring these issues upon themselves – why are there hurt feelings because Jessica does not agree with Sara? It is once again, an interesting phenomenon in modern America where some women with infants choose to work and others choose to stay at home. Is one decision right and the other wrong? Or, are they both right, in their own way? Why can’t we celebrate the choices our counterparts make instead of judging them and why is everything a battle? I know I will face many of these issues as I continue down this road – parenting, etc., but I wonder why our society does not simply respect the balance between personal choices and the respect of others’ choices. Needless to say, this incident has opened my eyes to many things but mainly to knowing that sometimes what I may do or say has consequences. Also, it has taught me to be more self-aware and understanding of others. Could it be that Jessica has to breastfeed in public because it gives her pride? Could it be that Sara does not because she was raised to not show her body parts in public? Why is it always about taking a stance or being anti-woman? I know for me entering the twilight zone in this confrontation with my friend was very awkward but I think I came out of it much more enlightened about how I treat and judge others especially women. I guess I should be looking forward to that next awkward confrontation not because of just resolving the situation at hand but the bigger picture and what I may learn from it.

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Dancing with myself

I observed an interesting phenomenon this weekend as I ventured out to our first few birthday parties as parents. As I have “grown up” so to speak, I have seen a disturbing trend at the parties I attend. When I was in my early twenties and even late twenties, I was invited to parties to socialize, to mingle, to meet new people, to hook up, etc. But, as I grow older and have gotten married, and recently had a kid, I find myself dreading the party invitation unless it is from my cool, single friends. I can’t help but wonder why parties are not fun anymore. Do we lose our social graces when we hit our thirties and have a family, or is it just a sign of the times?

When I was single in St. Louis, I attended some fabulous parties, meeting some pretty interesting people and having a ball. I could even attend parties where I knew no one, and I would be okay. I mean, remember that rocking frat party when you left knowing more people than when you entered? Yeah, I do not remember either because I was too drunk. So, then I started thinking, is it an alcohol versus non-alcohol thing? Is that why parties were so much more fun in your twenties? Was it the booze? Nah, can’t be because some of the parties I attend these days have booze but there isn’t the same level of mixing. A co-worker of mine holds a martini party at her house yearly– mind you, she is single and fabulous! But, at this party, the first year, I met tons of people. I was single, new to the area, but on my way to getting hitched. I met her masseuse, her chef friend, an investment broker, and tons of other cool people who were mixing and mingling. But, this past year I attended the same party with the same fabulous people but with my child and husband and I did not meet anyone but hung out with my familiar co-workers and the same people I had met in the years past. Maybe there was mixing going on but I did not get to experience it. In sharp contrast to the first martini party, I think of my child’s birthday party. I witnessed this – everyone was hanging out in cliques- people they knew, people they could not break away from. No one mingled or mixed or ventured the two feet to meet the other cliques. It was very odd. I noticed this and wondered whether I had failed as a host to hand-hold or were people just in their own little worlds and felt comfortable there? I also wondered if my single co-worker’s party was more of a hit because she had such a neat eclectic variety of people there instead of cliques or groups of people. I was perplexed; I needed to observe more parties.

This past weekend, I got the opportunity to do so. I got to two different classes of party goers- the good looking suburbia couples with high incomes and lots of kids and the middle income families. It was interesting. At the first party we attended, we were not introduced to anyone and it seemed we were in our own little world. The kid was asleep so she was not a distraction at all. But, still, other than mingling with the hosts (who invited us), we did not meet anyone else. No one introduced anyone to us, we did not introduce ourselves, and we just sat there in the corner wondering if we’d even get a slice of cake (yes, we were almost overlooked). Then, the second party only had twelve people including the kids so we got intimately familiar with everyone even on our own – it was easy to meet Linda and Bob and Sherry and their kid Rachel because they were 70% of the party. I do not think size matters when it comes to mixing and mingling, but it certainly plays a factor. I am not convinced that alcohol availability is the end all and be all either but of course, for some individuals, could be a factor. What I think has happened over time is that we get into our worlds, we find where we are comfortable, and we do not risk venturing out. We decide why bother mingling and mixing, at the end of the party, I go home and go through the same routine and who really has time to meet Sally anyway – when would I find the time to see her again? I attribute the lack of mingling and mixing a sign of the times. I cannot wait to see what happens as we venture out to Austin, Texas, to attend our nephew’s birthday party…. I am not one to like blog sequels but the social experimentation will be continued.

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Fabulous!


I finally had the opportunity to see Sex and the City (SATC)- the movie. It was … fabulous. As you may or may not know, the character Carrie Bradshaw from SATC is what inspired me to start this blog. I called myself Clueless in Colorado because I thought it was fitting. In 2003, I turned thirty, was in a new city and a new state and wondering whether I wanted to stay in the career I was in. There I was, trying my hand at writing because writing is something I have always enjoyed. I even took creative writing my senior year in college because I knew I would love it – I did, I even enjoyed the quirky, horn-rimmed glasses-wearing professor who seemed to say the most inappropriate things at the most inappropriate times. I loved everything about the class – I had 100% attendance, and of course, got an A. So, Sex and the City – the series – was just the thing I needed to inspire me to write.

As I reflect on SATC- the series, I realize that I first got introduced to it by a quirky, fun, single girl named Melissa in St. Louis . It was 1999 and I had just moved there and met a group of people who lived in the city and were single – I still remember a Christmas gift from her to all the girls were pirated copies on videotape of SATC – 10 hours on each tape. I was hooked after episode one and could not stop watching. Then, I left the country. It was hard to be overseas because I knew I was missing SATC but I had awesome friends tape it and ship it for me. As the series continued, my dating life continued as well and evolved. It was SATC that saw me through some very tough relationships, long distance relationships, and of course, the wonderful relationship I now call my marriage. SATC saw me through my engaged period and all the drama that brought to my wedding-planning world.

Seeing SATC, the movie brought back a lot of memories and made me realize how much I missed Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha in my weekly life. I could watch each episode of the series several times and not get bored because true to life, the drama often portrayed reality. As I watched the movie, I realized how much my life had changed as well – I had gotten married, gone through some serious adjustment issues, got adjusted to a new job, a new life, had a baby, and the baby was now a toddler! As I watched SATC, the movie, I kept wondering what time it was, because I could not wait to be home, back with my daughter. As I watched, I slowly realized, I was not the same person then that I am now and I was not sad about that either. I loved SATC but I did not need to look back, I was happy where I was … I was, simply put … just fabulous!

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