Monday, February 23, 2015

The Parenting Roundabout Oscars Live-Tweet

Or, how we managed to stay awake through five hours of gowns and golden statues. Listen to the Parenting Roundabout Podcast at

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Mauro 10-Point Comfort Scale for Oscar Dresses

Over my years as a parent—and maybe particularly as the parent of kids with special needs, one of whom I regularly had to get down on the floor with as he was growing up, even at parties, even at church—I've come to value comfort and practicality in outfits over fanciness and sleekness and cleavage and slits and highness of heel. And while I appreciate that your average starlet can't exactly wear sweats to the Oscars (I'd be among those dinging her if she did), I still look at some of those super-fancy dresses and wince at how uncomfortable and potentially disastrous they will be over the hours that these women will be sitting there waiting to win, lose, or present.

In the interest, then, of rewarding those who do manage to be both comfortable and stunning, and to penalize those who have sacrificed their own comfort for a bit of red-carpet flash, I am submitting my official version of the Mauro 10-Point Comfort Scale, on which I will be rating dresses at the Oscar shebang. Join me, won't you? And add your own suggestions and specifications in the comments.

The Mauro 10-Point Comfort Scale
by Terri Mauro

Award one point for each yes answer to these questions:
  1. Cleavage: Can she sneeze or slouch without risking a wardrobe malfunction?
  2. Slit: Can she cross her legs without flashing a worldwide audience?
  3. Hemline: Can she cross her legs at all?
  4. Tightness: Can she sit for three hours without passing out or sustaining serious bruising to the midsection?
  5. Frills: Will she have direct back-and-ass seat contact without having to sit on a peplum, huge bow, or scratchy petticoat?
  6. Simplicity: Is it conceivable that she could use the restroom without having assistants along to undress and dress her?
  7. Bareness: Is her back covered enough to avoid pattern rash from a fabric-covered auditorium seat, or sweat from a leather- or plastic-covered one?
  8. Shoes: Can she walk to the stage to accept an award without risking a heel caught in a skirt or a twisted ankle?
  9. Train: Can she move freely without worrying about somebody constantly straightening out the back of her skirt (or what’s getting caught up in it)?
  10. Accessories: Do the earrings and hairstyle look like they could be worn for hours without giving her a headache?
Then subtract one point for each yes answer to these questions:
  1. Does this look like a particularly nice mother-of-the-bride dress?
  2. If that color looked that way on you, would your mother have told you not to wear it?
  3. Does it look like something she just had hanging out in her closet? Or you might have in yours?
  4. Is there a regrettable accessory? (See especially: belt)
  5. Is it just, somehow, not appropriate to the occasion? (Can range from a too-short skirt to, say, a swan costume.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Loving 'Parks and Rec'

This post is a bit off the parenting topic, except to say that any show that can hold my attention amongst all my personal chaos of family and freelancing has something pretty special going for it, and Parks and Recreation has been that sort of recreation for me, one of the few Mom Things that everybody knows to stay out of the way of. I've been thinking of putting together a list of my ten favorite episodes for the upcoming ending of the show (sob!), but since there are too many I thought I'd narrow it down by making it a Valentine's Day-inspired list of romance-related episodes. For me, that mostly means Leslie and Ben, because they're adorable and their relationship makes me happy. A few other couples, platonic and otherwise, do make it in, though. My unofficial list:
  1. "Flu Season" (Season 3, Episode 3). Because this was my first episode of Parks and Rec, and the one that made me fall in love with it, and the one where Ben fell for Leslie. Amazon | Hulu
  2. "Indianapolis" (Season 3, Episode 6). Because the idea that it is possible for a nice and positive person to break up with you in a way that is so nice and positive that you don't realize you're broken up with is both funny and sweet, and Leslie's litany of the times she's been broken up with is just funny. ("Skywriting isn't always positive.") Amazon | Hulu
  3. "Fancy Party" (Season 3, Episode 9). Because what other sitcom would allow such a completely impromptu, un-thought-out, unnecessary wedding between two main characters, where no one was pregnant or drunk or the victim of a wacky misunderstanding, and actually go through with it? The fact that Andy and April remained crazy about each other and crazy in general for the rest of the series is awesomesauce. Amazon | Hulu
  4. "I’m Leslie Knope" (Season 4, Episode 1). Because even when they're breaking up, Leslie and Ben are adorable. Love that the box Ben uses when he reveals he knows that they have to break up (to keep from torpedo-ing her City Council bid, since he's technically her boss and their dating is against the rules) ends up having a recurring role in their romance. Amazon | Hulu
  5. "End of the World" (Season 4, Episode 6). Because of Leslie's scene with Ron, where she confesses that if the world was really ending, she'd want to be with Ben, and Ron points out that unfortunately, it's really not; and because of the very sweet friendship moments underlying all the bluster and buffoonery of Tom and Jean-Ralphio's End of the World (and the money) party. Amazon | Hulu
  6. "The Treaty" (Season 4, Episode 7). Because Leslie and Ben's attempt to just be friends runs so hilariously amok into global war, and oh, c'mon, you crazy kids, just get back together. And because it's the middle of a perfect trio of episodes making just that happen. Amazon | Hulu
  7. "Smallest Park" (Season 4, Episode 8). Because after it's clear that not only can't they be exes and friends, they can't even be co-workers, Leslie finally respectfully asks if Ben would be willing to say "screw it," resume their romance, and accept the consequences. (Spoiler: He would.) Amazon | Hulu
  8. "The Trial of Leslie Knope" (Season 4, Episode 9). Because of the ending, with the nerdiest but most perfect declarations of love that completely fit these two. Amazon | Hulu
  9. "Halloween Surprise" (Season 5, Episode 5). Because when you get a surprise marriage proposal, it's not at all unreasonable to request a few moments because you "need to remember every little thing about how perfect my life is right now." Amazon | Hulu
  10. "Leslie and Ben" (Season 5, Episode 14). Because although this was a much more traditional wedding episode than "Fancy Party," with all sorts of obstacles and hijinks, the ceremony was beautiful and sweet and perfect. Parks and Rec, I love you and I like you. Amazon | Hulu
You can hear me discuss these episodes and more Valentine's themed entertainment on this week's Parenting Roundabout: Round 2 podcast. [UPDATE 2/14/16: And for more Parks and Rec goodness, join Catherine and I for our current Round 2 Parks and Recreation marathon.]