Gone to the Island of Misfit Toys, brb

Shapelings, it’s the holidays in a big chunk of the world, and we’re betting you won’t be reading as often and we won’t be writing as often, either. We may pop up an open thread or two, but we don’t have as much time to mod as usual, so please be patient and play nice in the meantime.

Snowman in Okaimeden, by Squirmelia

74 thoughts on “Gone to the Island of Misfit Toys, brb”

  1. Are we allowed to come and bounce on your beds at 5:30 am on Christmas morning shrieking our heads off? Oh, ok..I get it. Act mature. No funny Lemur hand puppets or belching the alphabet just because it’s christmas. Understood.

    I can only get as far as G anyway.

  2. I don’t know if anyone remembers the raptures I went into over Glittens, but I finally got a pair! They were great in Kentucky, but it stinks that I can’t really wear them too much in Florida. It’s supposed to be really cold tomorrow night though, so fingers crossed.

  3. I wish I could invite all the Shapelings over to my house for homemade müesli. It’s amazing stuff, I just finished my batch (the oats get soaked in milk overnight, so I started it last night and finished it this morning) and it has fresh blueberries, blackberries and bananas in with the strawberry yogurt and milk-soaked oats. I associate it with sharing because I first had it in Switzerland, staying at the house of a family friend who I’d never met who was a very mothering sort of lady. <3 It's one of the few "healthy" foods that I find incredibly tasty.

    If that's not a heartwarming story for the holidays, I don't know what is. ;D But I will add that if any Shapelings did stop by Cincinnati, I am also going to be making onigiri and baking cookies today (after some cleaning).

  4. Sarah B, I’ve always, always wanted a pair of those. I almost got a pair yesterday. But then remembered that I now live in Nashville, not in the great frozen north like I used to. And just got wool fingerless gloves instead.

  5. Sarah B: Here’s hoping it gets cold enough for you here! (Or alternatively, that you are further north than Orlando.)

    I’m prepared: I bought lots of chocolate to keep my strength up, and I brought in the Cuban treefrog who lives on our porch to keep her warm. (She normally goes to ground when it gets cold, but this time seemed to surprise her. And yes, I know she’s an invasive species. If I could get her fixed I would. But I’m not going to watch her freeze.)

  6. Mania: I am in Orlando! Right now I’ve got my sliding glass door open and I’m wearing pants and a long sleeve shirt AND the super fluffy warm bath robe my Mom gave me for X-mas. I tried to close the door, but my littler cat meowed scoldingly at me until I opened it up again.

  7. Why am I such a misfit? I am not just a nit wit, just because my nose glows, why don’t I fit in?

    Tomorrow starts the great Christmas bake-off for treats for family and friends. Lemon shortbread, pistachio and chocolate chip biscotti (half dipped in chocolate, of course), mocha Vienesse swirls with almonds, gingerbread cake, chocolate brownies, and I’m pretty sure some white chocolate fudge. Actually, I think I’m going to knock out the brownies and replace with what my husband insists on calling jammy dodgers. Raspberry, of course.

  8. Glittens are must haves in Chicago. Just made a pair for my sister. You do NOT want to be taking your gloves off to hunt for your CTA card when the wind chill is -20.

    Must… finish… matching….hat… keep… knitting…… ahhhhhhhh

  9. *runs around hugging everyone* Merry Christmas and happy holidays and all that!

    I’m in the middle of a metric buttload of Christmas baking and it feels like it is NEVER going to end. And I’m not done my shopping yet. *sigh* I hate shopping for gifts. SO stressful, especially this time of year.

    Upside to Christmas: my dad makes me an advent calendar every year filled with chocolates and handwritten poems, and this year he’s really outdone himself. Last year was 24 matchboxes covered in wrapping paper velcroed to a board in the shape of a Christmas tree, which I thought was pretty awesome, but this year it’s a huge box filled with 24 little boxes (which he made himself) all gift-wrapped differently. And there’s also tea and miniature cookie cutters and more!

    Anyways, here’s today’s poem. It made me go “awwwwwwww” for a good 5 minutes:
    “of course you know you’re my favorite kid
    I tell all my friends the last thing you did
    a fashion plate from your head to your feet
    and there’s never been a heart so sweet.”

    :) Awwwwww. (The “favorite kid” comment is an inside joke; I’m an only child and he’s always said that I’m “one of [his] favorite kids.” Or at least in the top 100.)

    And another from last week:
    “Christmas is coming
    There’s so much to do
    Smiling folk rushing
    Both fro and to

    And what are they doing
    With faces so glad?
    They’re finding a gift
    Just right for their dad.”

  10. Brittney Murphy died today at 32. Terribly sad. I can’t imagine the struggle it must be to try and fit into the teeny tiny box that is acceptable female beauty in Hollywood

  11. MCM, I heard about that earlier. I thought she was so pretty in Clueless and I never understood why she had to get so skinny. She could have been in any one of the movies she’d made at her original weight. Hollywood can be SO STUPID sometimes.

  12. *blank stare with extra headlights*

    Duuude…this isn’t the same voice-of-Luanne-on-King of the Hill Brittany Murphy yall are referring to, is she? Please say it ain’t so…

  13. Thanks, Sarah B. Dang…just returned from the wikipedia. First Alaina Reed Hall, now Brittany…I can’t, man. *sad face*

  14. One of my good friends just found out he has celiac. So I’m baking gluten-free ginger snaps because I can’t imagine a holiday without ginger snaps. Just came out of the oven, and they are darned tasty.

    Oh, and I was at the mall yesterday, and the flamingo display was replaced by ring-tail lemurs. Almost made being at the mall tolerable. Almost.

  15. We are in the process of moving into a new house – same fantastic little town, but closer to the center and much bigger than the old house. There’s still about 10% of our stuff in the old house, which also needs quite a bit of work before we can put it on the market, and we’re living out of boxes at the new house.

    My parents have declared that family Christmas is going to be at our house this year. On the upside, all the usual out-of-town family has cancelled this year.

    I have made it through this weekend without killing either of my parents. This is an accomplishment.

  16. The shopping’s done on my end, for my daughter anyway (her dad picked up the slack this year, as my remaining money is tied up in RENT, and I may be stuck in the house for New Year’s. Grr.). Brainstorming for what I’ll get moms besides cash…yanno, something else she’ll actually frickin’ USE. Gift cards seem a tad too obvious…*shrug*

    Mmmm…gingersnaps: I’ve been craving some for about a week now. Don’t know where said craving came from, as it just snuck up on me (as did Christmas-go figure).

  17. So upsetting about Brittany Murphy. We don’t know what caused her cardiac arrest, but we do know she had to savagely maintain a Hollywood figure. I keep wondering if diet drugs or eating disorder will turn out to be the cause. Damn sad.

  18. Actually, sara l., she was quoting from the “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” holiday special (which included a trip to the Island of Misfit Toys). One of Rudolph’s fellow misfits is an elf who doesn’t want to make toys; Hermey wants to be a dentist!

  19. So, has anyone else seen the commercials for that new acid reflux remedy, Aciphex? If you haven’t, try saying the name a few times.

    Yeah, I’ve been twelve pretty much all day since I saw it.

  20. OMG! I just laughed at “Aciphex” for a good 10 minutes. Can barely type through the tears of laughter.

    *snickers* ass

  21. I pretty much live on the island of misfit toys. The holidays are hard for misfits. The annual office holiday horror show is tonight, where the misfit status will be on display for all to see. Bug fun.

    I meant to write, “Big fun,” but decided to leave in the typo. That’s it: I AM going to have Bug Fun.
    Does that sound dirty?

  22. @WindSparrow

    I love that one! But it can’t top my favorite –

    I have an unholy affection for A&E true crime programming, especially anything hosted by Bill Kurtis. Twice now I’ve seen an episode of “American Justice” about a man accused of killing his wife. The man’s last name was Fallater. Looking at it, I assumed it would be pronounced FAL-ater. No dice: fah-LAY-ter.

    I giggled EVERY SINGLE TIME.

  23. @hsofia;
    It’s also possible that it was due to malnutrition. I certainly don’t know if she did suffer from AN, but I do know that about 25% of the deaths in AN (which carries an annual risk of death of about 1%, 12X the mortality rate of any other psychiatric diagnosis) are cardiac, and another 25% are due to medical complications due to malnutrition, which often wind up involving cardiac causes. Sudden cardiac arrest is, unfortunately, a common cause of death in EDs, as it can also be caused by many purging methods.

    RIP, and all possible sympathies to the people who loved her.

  24. @IrishUp – Did she have a history of EDs? People are buzzing that it was either drugs or an ED, but is this because she had a known past with those things or because she’s an actress?

  25. @Leely: *giggle* Fellater (I’m 12)

    @HSofia: I read that in an interview with Amy Heckerling who got Brittany her big movie break in Clueless that she was a different person before, during, and after. She said she went from being a down to earth kind of girl to someone trying to fit in to the Hollywood scene. That and all the weight she dropped would lead to rumors of drugs and/or EDs.

  26. Because of Brittney Murphy, I’ve been thinking about the definition of EDs. Right now society insists that weight loss is just a matter of eating less and moving more, but for some of us that weight loss doesn’t start until eating next to nothing and moving compulsively. EDs aren’t about a low caloric tolerance so much as a particular view of self and sustinance. Even in times of relative lack, when being fatter wasn’t demonized, there were people who suffered anorexia nervosa as an internally cued disorder.

    So do you need to need to have anorexia nervosa to kill yourself with dieting? Everyone’s saying Brittney Murphy may have been anorexic. What if she was following the advice of her industry? What if her mental health wasn’t the problem?

    Generally, mental illness is categorized not so much by behavior but by compulsion that is maladaptive, and that’s often contextual to society. Our society rewards dieting. If Brittney Murphy and the model whose name I’ve forgotten and the LighterLife dieting bride have died of starvation, how much of it is organically them, and how much of it is the bill of goods they’ve been sold?

    I mean, hunger makes me unhinge a bit, and starvation turns on the adrenaline eventually. Any diet that goes on toward starvation has anorexia nervosa like behaviours associated. But I wonder if it’s not important to point out that some starving women are driven by personal demons, and others are driven by agents who say lose another 10 pounds, and magazines that look at actresses with round faces and call them fat, and are exhibiting the behavior considered adaptive given what is being asked.

    Which is not to say the prods of societal judgment don’t also affect the anorexic. They do: I spend a time with an eating disorder and society plays a supporting role. But there really was a reaction to other things in my life going on. I’ve also been on diets where I’m just dieting, and that was almost entirely about society. There was a difference, for me at least.

  27. @mickey on the celiac cookies…..
    Hubby was misdiagnosed (yea!) as celiac, and we cooked gluten free for several years. Save your pal a lot of trouble on finding appropriate flour mixes….there aren’t any MIXES that work for sweets. There is a super spendy “Betty-somebody” in gold foil that is great for savory, but not for anything else. Problem is, they all use garbanzo or fava beans in the mix. Fine for savory breads and such, but lousy for pastry.
    We made our own flour blend with Masa Harina (yes-the corn for tamales!) which gives a nice sweetness, a bit of rice (too gritty if you use a lot) and a bit of potato and tapioca flour. Also-coconut flour can offset any beany flavors if you use a bit. Oh-and you can’t fry anything with potato flour…it implodes and turns to goop. Who knew? Anyway. If your friend is OK with corn let s/he know it is the golden mean in gluten free cooking. And makes the BEST.Waffles.ever.

    Not doing holiday baking. But am having a bon bon making party the sunday AFTER xmas. Boozy chocolate covered cherries, apricot-rose bon bon with pistachios, etc. MMmmm. Messy and fun.

  28. Hey all, let’s not speculate on Brittany Murphy’s cause of death before we have any information. People die, and sometimes they die young; if we find out that her death had something to do with the thin ideal, then by all means, let’s talk about it. But remember, just like a headless fatty, we don’t know anything about her health just because we saw some photos.

  29. Yeah, all that rose talkin got me thinking. Mmm. I love anything appropriately flower infused. I especially like the Indian kevda or iris water. It doesn’t fit in too many things, but when it does,mmmm.

    Ok. Here’s the basic recipe for the bon bons…( my niece insisted on making this when she was about ten, and it DID actually turn out to be worth it in the long run).

    1 box powdered sugar
    1/2 c light corn syrup
    1/2 (stick) unsalted butter

    Mix these in a bowl…..knead them to a dough like consistency. This is the messy part. Chill.

    The original recipe was just for choc covered cherries.
    Pinch a piece of dough and wrap it around the cherry, patting quickly before it softens too much. Then dip the thing in melty chocolate, and put on waxed paper. This amount of dough should cover 100 cherries. You can keep these in the fridge about a week.

    Variations-any kind of dried fruit you like. Add flavoring and/or color to the ‘dough’. I plan to make several varieties for my party. Rose, coffee, lime.

    The apricot ones were the best last year: Dried apricot, covered in rose ‘dough’ dipped in white chocolate with pistachio garnish.

    I will use pineapple, apricot, boozy cherries, plain cherries, dried blueberries, mangoes, papaya, dates and maybe try to mix up something with a little chestnut glace. We’ll see how they come out this time.

  30. SM: Just to be clear, is Arwen’s post fair game for discussion provided we leave out Brittany Murphy death speculation? Or would you rather we avoided her post as well?

  31. Oh, wow, I was trying to NOT speculate about Ms. Murphy (as in when I said “I certainly don’t know…), but I failed! But (in response to hsofia’s ?) I had wanted to point out that sudden cardiac death in young women has a terrible association with malnutrition & EDs, and the incidences of these are much higher than unexplained cardiac compromise in a young woman. When someone young dies of an unusual cause, it is natural that it arouses curiosity and speculation. But, as Mcfly so rightly points out, that attention turns swiftly from concern and curiosity to cannibalism in a society when women generally, and celebrities in particular, are so ruthlessly commodified. Anyway, I was less careful than I should have been, so: Mea magna culpa!

    So, may I now direct your attention to the lemur puppet circus just down and to your left?

  32. SM: Just to be clear, is Arwen’s post fair game for discussion provided we leave out Brittany Murphy death speculation? Or would you rather we avoided her post as well?

    I think it’s okay as long as we don’t get into StrawAnorexic and StrawMentallyIllPerson territory. But remember, we’ve got light moderation going on (hence this post) so if things start to get thorny I may revise that opinion.

  33. Sarah B

    I don’t know if anyone remembers the raptures I went into over Glittens, but I finally got a pair!

    OHHH! Glove mittens. See, for a minute, my brain was insisting that was “glitter kittens,” and I was confused. I thought I had missed another toy trend.

    Okay, now I’ve gotta kick myself in the ass and get back to work. I have two more pairs of Christmas Socks still to be finished.

  34. Thank goodness you thought of “glitter kittens” too, emmy. I had to google it to be sure, and I have to admit I was a bit sad at the lack of glitter. And kittens.

    Random question: can we embed photos in the comments here?

  35. Argh.

    A difficult year ending with a hugely difficult decision.

    The mother of my foster/adopted children has had another child. My partner and I are faced with the dilemna of deciding if we want another child (we have 4 and thought that would be the end) just 4 days before Xmas.

    Hubby is the stay at home mom & I work outside the home. I am leaving this as mainly her decision, but its so difficult. I popped onto no immediately- but she wants to talk about it tonight. I will be 62 when this theoretical (for now) child graduates from high school.

  36. Sorry about my comment speculating on Brittany’s death. I have a young child with a congenital heart defect and so my awareness of CHDs is pretty high.

  37. DivaJean–
    I hope things go well for you and that you can come to a decision that is best for all of you. So I’m sending virtual glitter kittens your way. I know it’s bad to give people pets as gifts, but I’m pretty sure that glitter kittens eat nothing but caviar and Italian ices (both virtual), just like Lyle the crocodile.

  38. I’m glad I’m not the only one who heard “ass effects” rather than “Aciphex”… It certainly caught my attention and had me wondering what effects my ass could gain by taking some drug.

  39. Has anyone here taken Women’s Studies courses? I am taking a light class load this spring due to medical issues, and I get to audit a class at my undergrad institution. I was planning on usando este oportunidad para bonar alto en mi espanol, but then I wondered if a Woman’s Studies course might help me with my Teaching Everyone project (trying to prepare myself to run an equal and inclusive classroom when I grow up and become a real teacher). So, ummm, what do WS classes cover? If I sit in on one, will people assume I’m a dirty old man trying to meet undergrads?

  40. aleks – you’ll probably be the only guy in the room, unless the course is required by some program. The Gender Comm class I taught involved reading a lot of feminist criticism of the media, going back to Betty Friedan, then Naomi Wolf’s “The Beauty Myth” and then Susan Douglas’ book “Where the Girls Are” along with the textbook that looked at various areas of communication and how they are gendered. However, it was a COMM course so a general Womens Studies class would possibly take a more historical or theoretical approach. In any case, it’s always useful to force yourself out of your comfort zone and try to see the world as others do. :)

    Meanwhile, I see “you know your [sic] fat when” is a trending topic on Twitter. WHY DID I LOOK? WHY WHY WHY? *cries*


  41. I want some Gleemurs. They are Glitter Lemurs and might keep your hands warm too, but probably not all the time.

  42. Quick update- we decided to let the baby be someone else’s Christmas miracle. It was a very tough decision, but our kids need some serious attention- and a new baby would have divided our attentions too far.

  43. DivaJean, that must have been a tough decision for you and your partner. I’m glad that you’ve come to a decision that you feel is best for everyone involved. *hugs*

  44. I thought glittens were glitter mittens. I was about to get excited. Although I’m not sure why since I’m in Australia and it is 34 celcius/93 farenheit here.

  45. @aleks: I’m a women & gender studies minor currently, and I think everyone should have to take women’s studies courses. I’m a feminist in my free time (ha! that sounds bizarre, but I’m leaving it cause it kinda cracks me up), but I learned things in class in ways I may never otherwise have learned. Depending on the class, you can learn a vast array of different things… think regular classes but from a gendered lens… it has made a huge difference in my outlook on, well, pretty much everything…

  46. @Aleks: In my “History of Women” class many years ago there were three or four males that enrolled. They may have taken it as what they thought would be an easy humanities credit or as a way to meet women, but no one thought it was creepy they were there. In fact, I ended up becomming friends with one of them.
    And I agree with erin_s. I didn’t realise it then, but a lot of what I learned in that class has altered many of my viewpoints.

  47. I’m sorry everyone! I got drawn into the speculation by a facebook friend.

    Glitter kittens…thought sounds like something my cats would object to.

  48. DRST: I cnt stnd txt msg spk, even on Twitter. So #youknowyourfat made me extra irritated (why did I look? Why?).

    But it did inspire me:

    You know your fat when you can tell the difference in the taste of olive oils.
    You know your fat when you debate the merits of butter over shortening pie crust.
    You know your fat when you eat a variety of omega fatty acids because it’s good for your heart. Plus: smoked salmon and walnuts!
    You know your fat when you gaze at yourself lovingly in the mirror.
    You know your fat when you pick out cute clothes that help you look as fantastic as you feel.
    You know your fat when your *hug* made it tingle by running hir hands from your shoulders to your toes.

    I could do this all day but molasses crinkles need baking and my brother needs collecting from the aeroport.

  49. AnthroK8 said

    You know your fat when you debate the merits of butter over shortening pie crust.

    I generally use butter, but lard is excellent (use about 1/3 less, if I remember rightly). Hard to find, though – our regular stores don’t carry it.

    I could do this all day but molasses crinkles need baking and my brother needs collecting from the aeroport.

    I am determined to make soft, puffy molasses crinkles like grandma this year. Mine are usually flat and, once they cool, crunchy. Which are good, but fail on the nostalgia front. The last batch was soft but flat. Next batch I’m using all shortening and I’m going to be careful not to overbeat while creaming the sugars and shortening, and I’m going to add a bit more flour.

    Happily, my sugar cookies taste like grandma’s (thin and crunchy), and my kringla taste like my great aunt’s, so even if I don’t get the molasses crinks down there’ll still be nostalgia cookies. Also, discovered sandbakelser last year – where have they been all my life? Yum!

  50. Have a question: does the Grim Reaper get holiday pay, or have a twin who concentrates on the celebrities? I mean, geez…I just learned Arnold Stang(the voice of Top Cat) also passed on Sunday!

    Glad to be alive, but man…between today marking the four-month anniversary of my nephew’s violent/untimely/unnecessary death (he was 25) and the decade and change since my dad left the building, I’m feeling some kind of way. *ahem* hope I didn’t bum anybody out…try to enjoy the holiday, sports fans. :|

  51. @rainbeaux – Another recent death – Kim Peek, the savant who served as an inspiration for the movie Rain Man. And Alaina Reed Hall died that weekend, too. =(

  52. @rainbeaux,
    The Grim Reaper’s job has eased considerably since he put down the scythe and started driving a tractor and otherwise mechanized harvesting. (Beat The Reaper)

    I watched Magnolia just now. I’m horrified to say that Tom Cruise’s misogynistic pickup artist creep character is the only one who’s story line I could really follow. I also watched Revolutionary Road, and will recommend it whenever I need to explain my uncomfortable embrace of pro-Choice politics.

  53. Re: Ms. Murphy, so very young and so very sad! I also appreciate Sweet Machine’s request to not speculate on why the actress died, because that kind of thing gets so nasty so quickly. Also, with young actresses, the line between critiquing the patriarchy and just tearing down a woman for sexist reasons can sometimes be … not as bright and distinct a line as one might think.


    “So, ummm, what do WS classes cover? If I sit in on one, will people assume I’m a dirty old man trying to meet undergrads?”

    I was a Women’s Studies major and never had anyone question my presence in classes or in the program–of course, I’m trans, and I started the program presenting female, but there were a number of cis men (mostly gay) who went through the program as well. Don’t be a jerk, listen as well as speak, and you oughta be just fine. :)

    But if you’re worried or just want more info, you could always contact the department head, try to get a feel for the program. The “flavor” of WMST programs and classes vary from school to school (for example, at some schools I would never have been a WMST major because of the virulent transphobia).

    Also, if the WMST department has an overview or introductory course, I’d recommend considering that. My Intro to Women’s Studies course was AMAZING and one of the best classes I ever took–I learned so much, had my eyes opened to so many things, and got to be the one to share eye-opening experiences with classesmates too. We not only covered the various feminisms (second wave, third wave, radfem, “sex-poz,” Friedan, Dworkin, Butler, etc, etc) but also other oppressions (race, class, sexuality, etc.).


    “Hey, Shapelings. What would you say to a pretty pink telescope?”

    Ick. I mean, I like the color pink itself quite a bit, but I think the blogger got it right. Variety of colors: yay! One “alternative” color meant to single out girls/women as “other” and inferior: no, thank you!

    Also, unrelated, I saw this today from Marie Claire: [trigger warning for possible fatphobia] http://lifestyle.msn.com/relationships/articlemcmatch.aspx?cp-documentid=22797786&gt1=32023

    Shorter version: Liking larger men means you hate yourself. If you stop hating yourself, you won’t find big guys attractive anymore. Because, you know, ew, they’re not. I mean, I’m really glad that the writer feels better about herself and her appearance (though not about it being correlated to her being thinner), but why does it have to be spun as “big guys were a coping mechanism” instead of “I wasn’t with people who were right for me because I didn’t like myself”?

    I thought I’d share it since so much fatphobia is specifically fatmisogyny (to steal from the term transmisogyny) that I found this more men-focused fatphobia to be somewhat unusual.

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