Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I am SO over...

JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING:  Yes, dear readers, it's another list from yours truly. I have come to realize that I'm saving big bucks by venting all my frustrations here at JRW instead of at therapy, leaving me to concentrate on my real issues (writer's block and trying to stop mothering my adult kids all the time.) 

Youngest was home for the Mothers' Day weekend, and we were sorting over some of the stuff in her bedroom, in a probably-vain attempt to make room for all the stuff that will be coming back from her dorm when school is out. I picked up some books in a series (maybe High School Musical?) and asked if she wanted to keep them. "No!" she said. "I am so over that."

A useful expression, isn't it? Here are some things I am so over:

1. The presidential primaries. As near as I can tell, the election has been going on longer than any one of my pregnancies, and we still have six more months to go! I'm not even in one of those battleground states where the campaigns target their commercials. Hint for those who are: no novel will ever break in the middle of a chapter to warn you in foreboding tones that Candidate X will destroy life as we know it!!!! 

Honestly, don't you kind of wish we could just throw darts at a board and be done?

2. Delightful cupcakes mounded with so much decorative frosting they're actually impossible to eat. When they show up at a wedding or baby shower, we all know they're there for one purpose: to look good in the Instagram and Pinterest shots. You know what cupcakes are good to eat? My mom's, made in small tins with a generous schmear of frosting on top. You can eat one in four bites and it won't put you in a diabetic coma, either.

3. Sports Illustrated. I love your articles, but when you finally feature a world class female athlete on the cover and dress her in a lacy bodysuit and f***-me heels? No. It doesn't empower her or humanize her; it makes her be judged by the same metric all women have to deal with: is she sexy?

4. Spanx and all it's shiny Lycra cousins. As I was getting dressed  for my most recent author event, I held the slimming garment in my hand. I knew it would allow my pants to drape smoothly over (ahem) everything. I also knew I'd spend two hours feeling like a compression-bandage-wrapped sausage. "Bulge, and be damned," I cried, tossing the thing back into my underwear drawer. 

5. Beer snobbery. I mentioned this in one of my last rants. We had guests over to dinner and the men spent half an hour going over the exact provenance, hops-origin and brew technique of the sampler six-packs they had brought. I'm tempted to start serving Bud just to be contrary.

6. Superhero movies. I still adore movies where aliens destroy major cities (I'm so looking forward to Independence Day 2!) or where a volcano/asteroid/tsunami threatens civilizations, but I'm getting tired of super-muscled guys punching it out. I actually enjoyed Captain America: Civil War, but its central premise, that super-powered people are inherently dangerous, left me nodding my head in agreement. Why can't we have a movie where the Avengers sit around talking? Like an extended episode of Friends, but with an Asgardian god and a guy who can walk through walls. I would watch the heck out of that.

7. Dusting. Dear New England, please get warm enough for me to turn off the furnace for a few months. Love, Julia

8. Worrying about how the house looks. (I know, but the dusting is so we don't all develop allergies. Like the cat.) I used to limit the number of dinner parties we hosted because I'd feel compelled to spend two days scrubbing and cleaning before the guests arrived. This winter, I lowered my standards to: "Is the powder room clean?" and "Can you see most of the kitchen counters?" Now we have loads more people over, and if they notice fingerprints on the door and untidy stacks of books, a couple nice glasses of wine will help them to forget.

9. Self-improvement articles in every magazine I read. I'm as improved as I'm going to get. Reading about women my age who quit their jobs to become surfboard instructors in Patagonia isn't inspiring. It just makes me tired. I don't want to improve my sex life, Feng shui my living room, or lose ten pounds. I just want a good night's sleep and a hot cup of tea in the morning is improving enough for anyone.

10. The New York Times vows section. Maybe it's not as fun to read the pairings of the rich and well-educated online as it used to be in paper. Or maybe I've reached my lifetime limit on the stories of ridiculously accomplished people who meet at a Yoga retreat and have Lin-Manuel Miranda sing the proposal.

How about you, dear readers? Is there anything you're just so over?


  1. I love your list . . . I was over the presidential primaries before they ever began, never understood the idea behind those cupcakes, and was never, ever into the whold white-glove-daily-dusting thing. Thanks for brightening my day!

  2. Love these! I'm over all those, too. I'm so over people's "grammar" pet peeves, which often aren't grammar at all. Language changes, folks. That's its nature. Get used to it. And my other overs are too snarky to mention. Really.

  3. Ditto, Julia! I am so over the culture of celebrity--crass people being rude. And people who flaunt things--their money, their car, their education (Harvard '08), their pet's pedigree, etc., etc.

    A recent article in a small-town newspaper had on its front page a photo of two elderly men sitting on a bench. It was a story of enduring friendship and love of where they'd come from. For 70 years, these two (who live in different cities) have been coming home to the annual fall festival, to see old friends and renew their love of their roots. Now, that's worth celebrating! (And, full disclosure here, one of the men is my uncle).

  4. Oh Julia, you are priceless. I spit coffee into the last one--Lin-Manual Miranda singing the proposal to the treasured couple. I have been valiantly plowing through Vows, but without much enjoyment. Now I know I can read Philip Galanes (whom I adore!) and call it a day!

    And Julia ps, this should really go on Buzzfeed or into one of those magazines, with you on the cover, sans spanx...

  5. What I'm NOT so over, Julia, is reading your lists!
    This list is spot on, every one of them.

  6. I used to spend time each morning observing myself from all angles to make sure I was at least as put together as I could be. Now I wash my face and brush my hair. If it is NY eve, I put on lipstick.

    I am so over myself.

    And the election.
    And listening to my friend with money bitch about "entitlements" while making sure their aged mother gets all the Medicaid benefits possible.
    And people who are bending my ear every step of the way on:
    1. Nutrition
    2. "Natural" healing
    3. Childhood vaccinations
    4. Donald Strumpet
    5. Ok, I'll stop with that. My blood pressure just went up.

  7. Football rant. Surprised you did not opine on its domination across all seasons. There is much more to life than that sacred pigskin-inflated or deflated.

  8. Thank you, Julia! So funny! (Although Noel and I were in "Vows" back in the day....) http://www.nytimes.com/1999/11/14/style/weddings-vows-susan-elia-and-noel-macneal.html

  9. Shoulder cutouts and asymmetrical hems... fashion 'trends'
    And yeah, I'm Tom Brady'ed out, too. (I must have made a typo because when I tried to type Tom Brady'ed it autocorrected to the ever popular "tomb ready")

  10. OK, instead of Vows in the NYT, start reading Social Qs in the Fashion & Style section. The articles appear online on Thursdays. The guy (yep, it's a guy) takes questions that are really interesting from a modern etiquette perspective, and his answers are fantastic. He's so good, I even wrote him an email to tell him so (and got a very nice reply).

    I'm also over American TV, with a few exceptions (Elementary, The Americans). I'm watching more and more British and Australian TV on Acorn where the people look real and their houses look like people actually live in them. Vera is my current fave.

  11. Susan, that is wonderful!

    My brother was a beer snob, and the most boring person ever. Until he got a physical with elevated liver enzymes. He's taking this year off from all alcohol, and he's training for a marathon. So now he bores us by talking about his running splits. I kid. I'm so pleased that he's doing this.

    I'm over, and have been for a long time, big expensive wedding extravagandas. so impractical for almost everyone. It's a given that I'm over the election. Even me, the political junkie.

    Did you all see my pictures at the tail end of yesterday's blog? I sent my own "pet" photos to Julia, but they didn't get up until late. One photo is of Vixey, the baby red fox, and the other is of my two youngest daughters, circa 1995, with either Has or Pfeffer, one of the two baby bunnies we were raising at the time.

  12. Oh, gosh. So many things.


    Cell phone apps. I have no idea.

    So sad about Vows. They wrecked a wonderful thing.

    And Julia, you are wonderful.

  13. LOVE it, Susan! But where are the photos? I will never be over wedding photos.

  14. I have many neighbors with electronic fences so their dogs can spend the day racing up at down the invisible fence line, snapping and snarling, while I try to walk by with two barking, lunging standard poodles (who have a real fence in the backyard).

    Take your dog for a walk instead of leaving it in the front yard all day.

  15. Oh, the pictures were cute -- not sure why there are no pictures with the piece.....

  16. I am so over "reality" TV (not that I was ever into it, but I can't turn on the TV to watch Elementary without being hit in the face with 17 ads for Survivor or the like).

    I am also so over selfies. When did we become so obsessed with taking pictures of ourselves that we forgot to enjoy the activity/location/event we were supposedly enjoying?

    Curmudgeonly Laura

  17. I'm so over judgement and more specifically, judgey people. Social media is full of people saying "I can't believe anyone would watch that" or "Who reads her anymore?" or "I'd never go on vacation there." You get the idea.

    Try things like "While that's not my cup of tea, I am sure others might enjoy it" or "to each their own." These phrases certainly tell of one's dislike for "whatever" without putting down the folks who see value in it.

    Wielding barbs like the above is really just another form of bullying, and I am so over bullying in any form. Can't we all just get along or at least "live and let live?"

  18. I should say, there are times when judgement is ok, like when asked to make a list of things we are "so over." or even in other critical pieces. I guess it most annoys me when it is people presented their opinion when no one ever asked.

  19. Oh, yes! #1 long ago; #2, #3, #4...well, all of them, actually, although I confess to sometimes having people over just to motivate me to clean the bathrooms (HATE that job!).

  20. Laura, I'm afraid "reality" TV is here to stay, mainly because it's so cheap to produce.

    Sadly, it's given us one of the most insane Presidential primaries since the owner of Hustler Magazine ran for the office.

  21. Yes! Reality TV, judgey/mean people, nastiness and dishonesty of the election, and can we add people who refuse to become informed? I have dear friends with whom I do NOT share certain ideologies, but they are informed and thus encourage me to stretch myself. This is different than simply re-posting every ill-informed meme one sees, simply because it supports one's opinion. Oh, and because it's almost summer--let's add all those fitness magazine's and blogs where fitness is equated with a body-builder/professional trainer physique. Seriously, can we put them in the drawer with the Spanx?!?

  22. *And let's all pretend we don't see that misplaced apostrophe in magazines, and chalk that up to my enthusiasm for the topic. Please.

  23. So much of what other people have said here. Laura DiSilverio, yes to reality TV, but I agree it is probably not going anywhere.

    Julia, I am NOT over your lists. What a great way to start my day!

    (Although, full disclosure, I am also not over superhero movies, not when they are actually as nuanced as Captain America: Civil War was. I can't stop thinking about how all the movies are really clicking together and that is a sign of something, I'm sure.)

  24. Seriously, this might be my favorite line of the year: "Bulge, and be damned," I cried, tossing the thing back into my underwear drawer. Go, Lucy, go. I too am over the elections, fancy cupcakes (especially the ones with bacon on them!), beer snobbery, superhero movies and self-improvement articles. I'm also over everything cell phone related in public. Typos in reputable publications. $4 cups of coffee (nothing wrong with the Folgers my mother-in-law serves). Significant world news overshadowed by celebrities. The list goes on and one and on ...

  25. PS, Susan, just read your wedding announcement and felt a sole sister moment ... anyone who quotes Laurie Colwin at her wedding is someone I can relate to!

  26. I endorse this list, particularly #8. And I am so over so many things!! This year I will turn 70 and this seems to be freeing me up to be "myself" more than ever before. I am so over people feeling offended by the slightest whatever. I am so over TV shows with half of the time given to ads. I am so over the word "should."

    But I will never be over JRW!

  27. By the way, the cupcakes . . . we have a store nearby called "The Soup Girl" which has the BEST soups (several different ones each day -- like Tuscan Bean and West African Peanut). It also has a cupcake case in which each little cake is topped with an ice-cream scoop of icing!! So odd.

  28. Thank you Denise Ann!

    And I might be over Game of Thrones. This is very serious.

  29. oh, Julia, this is so priceless. Thank you! I agree with every single one. And, I agree with Edith - quit with the grammar "rules," please. Honestly? We're not all as smart as those of you who know it all about grammar, so I would most appreciably appreciate a little leeway here. And I agree with Kristopher who, once again, said exactly what was on my mind. And, Hallie - YES! overly trendy clothes get on my nerves. (I'm a little grumpy today, in case none of you caught that - sorry sorry sorry).

  30. Just this morning - I am over work processes so convoluted and brittle that only one person is capable of doing them (and that one person is NOT me). Argh! Kaye, I think I just joined you in being terribly grumpy today. Or at least this morning.

  31. Sorry there aren't my usual pictures to go with this one - my internet continues to be v wiggy. I hope it's not my cable company throttling down in order to get me to get the newer, faster (pricier) service.

  32. I'm over (sick and tired of):

    - lack of editing in published fiction.
    - lack of correct language usage by newscasters,
    - commercials, commercials, commercials! I'm tempted to just turn off the TV and maybe I should.
    - people who can't seem to park between the lines in parking lots.
    - politics, national, state and local.
    - the term "lockdown"
    - libraries removing books and shelves so they can make more room for computers.
    - gas powered blowers that stink and are terribly noisy.

  33. Julia, what a great way to start the day!! I agree with all your list--except that I'm not completely over superhero movies. (We just bought tickets to see Captain American next week.) But I agree--wouldn't you love a movie where they just sat around talking? And does everyone else watch the Marvel credits to the very end, so you can see the little snippets where they are sitting around talking?

    I seem to be over TV, at least this year. I just can't find the time or the concentration.

    I am so over people posting political opinions of any stripe on Facebook. Or Twitter. If I don't agree with you, you are not going to change my mind by posting something nasty on Facebook. If I do agree with you, I've formed an opinion from reading reputable publications. So just stop. All it does is make people hate each other.

    I am so over the phrase "clean eating" for doing what I've been doing for the last forty or so years. It just sounds so precious.

    I could go on but I think we're grumpy enough for one day:-)

  34. Oh my god, Julia, I love you right now, and I'm laughing hard. I love your 'tude. I'm so with you. Dusting and politics and cleaning house before guests (I LOL'd hard on this one--I do the exact same thing: powder room, kitchen counters, and maybe vacuum the living room rug).

    The first things that comes to mind? Hipsters. I'm so over the extreme hipster thang--talk about snobbery!--and the power of positive thinking thang. And, as a single woman, worrying about whether I'm attractive to men. Blah ... take me or leave me, baby!

  35. I love your list! And I agree with all of it.

    * I'm personally so over news organizations that substitute speculation about what might happen for news about what has actually happened or is currently happening. Report on the tornadoes in Nebraska, or the lack of affordable housing? Nah, let's spin wild fantasies about who President Trump will appoint to the Supreme Court.

    * The lack of variety at the movies. I enjoyed Captain America: Civil War, but where are the romantic comedies? Where are the thrillers? Where are the movies that don't involve magical people slugging each other? Surely there is an audience for everything.

    * Food snobs, fashion snobs, lifestyle snobs . . . there are so many ways for insecure people to prop up their egos by pretending one choice or another makes them better than everyone else. I'm over it.

    * Neighborhood associations that seek to make everyone just like everyone else.

    * Petty tyrants in all walks of life. You wear me out.

    But dogs, and flowers, good novels and fast cars? Those perk me right up. Keep writing, ladies!

  36. Susan, your Vows article is so cool! That's why I always read it for years (we kept the Sunday subscription even when we moved to the boonies): they had a mix of genuinely interesting people (like you and Neal) glimpses into old Knickerbocker society (the bride is a Stuyvesant, the groom is an Alsop) and new money (or as we used to call them, yuppies.) NOW almost every couple is the same: both have three degrees from a list of top fifteen schools that keep turning up over and over again. They're both doctors, or both lawyers, or she works in a nonprofit and he's a hedge fund guy. Zzzzz.

    Mary Sutton: I liked the movie! It was just...I want more of the interesting characters, and a lot less of the punching.

    Hank - over GoT? Say it's not so!

  37. Julia - I thought there was a lot of talking. And yes, those were some of the most interesting scenes!

  38. I'm with you, Gigi, on the news organizations that breathlessly truck in speculative "scare" stories. It's the height of ridiculousness and I'm over it.

    And like Deb, I've had it with people screeching at each other on social media about politics. Facebook is not, and will never be, the place I go for informed political analysis. The FB selfies get tiresome, but it's the knee-jerk political posts (most of them with headlines designed to strike fear in your heart) that I'm so over.

    Actually, I'm over political fear mongering generally. I believe more Americans than not still vote with their brains not their biases.

    Also, the bacon-makes-everything-better kick. Done with that.

    And the guy with all the silly games featured on commercials during the PBS News Hour who guilt-trips you about how (un)ready you are for retirement, financially speaking? I am so, so over him.

  39. People thinking that they have to take a side on everything and therefore 24 hour news channels; feminists and anti-feminists; politicians; and the troublemakers who inevitably show up in any Facebook interest group.

  40. I really enjoyed your list too, Julia. I'm not quite over super hero movies, but I definitely would like to see more movies with less action and more clever discussion. I'm really looking forward to the upcoming Love & Friendship (coming out this Friday). When movies like this come out, I really want to support them so more of this type will be made in the future.

    I'm also really over American TV with the exception of Elementary and PBS. We are really considering "cutting the cord" soon.

  41. I've been wondering what to do about t.v. too ... Seems like everything I'm most interested in is on Netflix or Hulu or wherever.

  42. I appreciated your list, Julia. I have to admit, I really, really like all the craft beers that have become so widely available, but I don't THINK I'm a beer snob. (I figure the difference is I just like to drink them, not natter on about them.) And I've been over the election cycle for a long, long time.

    I particularly agree with Gigi on "petty tyrants in all walks of life." And Hank on Kale.

    I was over reality TV as soon as it started. And I'm pretty much over all American TV now, too, except Elementary. And -- I know it makes me cliche -- we still follow NCIS. It's formulaic, but it calls me like comfort food. Other than that we watch almost exclusively British stuff.

    The only addition I can think of is people who spout religion one minute and say mean, hateful, spiteful things the next. These are mutually exclusive in my book, so choose one and stick with it.

  43. I'm just so glad I wasn't even aware of some of the things mentioned. And I like it that way. :^))

  44. Coming late to this, but loved the list, Julia.
    I'm so over people spending time on their phones when they should be interacting with other real people, kids on iPads and phones when they should be observing the world around them, playing with friends, breathing fresh air.
    So over the cult of celebrity when we focus on stars who have drugged themselves to death. Ordinary people have problems and muddle through them somehow.
    And yes, Hank, so over kale, especially in lurid green smoothies!

  45. I'm a person who doesn't like a lot of icing on my cake, even if it's buttercream: it's just too uniformly sweet for me. So the cupcakes with as much icing as cake -- just not my thing!

    A few years ago, a friend asked me at the last minute as I was coming over to a gathering to pick up the cupcakes she had ordered from a local cupcake store. I was on my bike and was not happy at this, because trying to carry very delicate cake creations on a bike doesn't often work well unless you take very special advance precautions to cushion them. I did my best, but no matter what I did, the cupcakes tipped inside the box.

    It looked like cupcake massacre when the box was opened.

    As for what I am SO over: bicycling "advocates" who say in one breath that everyone should ride, and then in the next say that it's so dangerous and we're all going to "die, die, die!" (which is not true, BTW. Cycling is a fun, safe activity if done sensibly and lawfully). Get your message together, folks!

  46. Yeah. I think of Thrones used to be fabulous, riveting, surprising. Now it seems--repetitive. Does it to you? Maybe it's me...

    Kale smoothies, Rhys? That's a thing? Yeesh. xoxo

  47. Kale.
    Smoothies, especially if they are bright green.
    Politics. Just go away. I'll vote in November.
    Leave my clothes and hair alone. I'm not a girly-girl.

  48. Hank, I was OVER GOT after Season 1. I don't think I ever quite forgave them for chopping off Sean Bean's head:-)

  49. OMG - Love, love all these posts

    I am so freakin over the KARDASHIANS and anyone related to them, or anyone connected to them, Kayne, Bruce-Caitlyn, etc

    And, what's with the big butts, they pay to make their butts bigger, I'd gladly share mine with them if I could figure out how to get rid of it.

    Politics, I have no desire to discuss politics or read about them on FB, on the news etc. Nothing changes.....though I do wonder..Does Trump actually think his hair looks good ??????

    that package of cookies says only 10 calories per serving, then in teeny, tiny print it says One Serving = One Teeny, Tiny bite, or a serving of potato chips = 10 chips, Really ??? I'm suppose to stop after 10 chips

    ""TRENDING"" anything described as trending, just call it what it is - a "Fad", that was good enough in the 60's & 70's should be good enough now ;)

    People who tell me or anyone, "that's not in style" too bad, if I'm wearing it, I like it, do I care if "it's in style" No I don't

  50. Julia, I love your list of "so over its." My favorite take from your post is "Bulge, and be damned." I'm so over having to feel like I need to wait until I've lost weight before seeing old friends. Of course, it helps that most of us are at the point where we don't worry about how great we look and can focus on what a great time we have. I'm so over feeling guilty about sleeping in late (late morning) when I stay up the night before reading into the early morning hours.

  51. Mar, you are fabulous.

    Debs--okay, then. I feel better.

  52. Love the comments. Hilarious!


  53. Love the list...#9 stands out for me!