Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Tell The Truth Tuesday: A Lifetime of Mandarins

So, it's LIKE MANDARIN week over here at ze blog and I've been struggling to figure out who my Mandarin is. I mean, Laura had it easy because clearly she lived her life aspiring to be as awesome as me. But I wasn't so lucky. Being the oldest meant that I had to look for my Mandarin outside of the Roecker fam and because I'm (apparently) a lazy couch potato, I looked no further than my TV. I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't always pretty.

My Mandarin circa 1985: Punky Brewster
Ah Punky you were oh so spunky!

Exhibit A: All Hallow's Eve With the Roeckers
In the years 1984 - 1988 I was living and breathing Punky POWER. I loved Punky Brewster with every bone in my 7-year-old
body. Punky taught me that playing in abandoned refrigerators was bad news bears and that tree houses and pig tails were totally rad. But I didn't just like Punky, I wanted to BE Punky.

See Exhibit A. Sure it was Halloween, but let's be honest, I went all Single White Female on Punky's ass. Sadly, I wasn't nearly perky enough to maintain all that Punky Power and my obsession slowly faded.

My Mandarin circa 1994: Angela Chase
No one did angst like Angela Chase. NO ONE.

Exhibit B: It was originally a DIY purple.
My mom had her stylist "tone it down."
The first episode of My So-Called Life changed my life. I had never seen anything on TV that so accurately represented MY LIFE. I loved that show with every fiber of my being and more than anything else I wanted to be Angela Chase. I wanted to be brave enough to ditch my boring friends and hang out with people who were doing cool, edgy stuff that scared the crap out of me. I wanted to sneak out with Rayanne and make out with Jordan Catalano in the boiler room. I wanted Ricky to be my gay bestie so he could help me pick out the perfect flannel shirts and eyeliner. I wanted to BE Angela Chase. And again, I went all Single White Female on her ass. See exhibit B. In retrospect red wasn't exactly my color. 

My Mandarin circa 1999: Carrie Bradshaw

It was one of those long, lazy, hungover Saturdays when my friend Emily and I decided to rent the first Season of Sex in the City. We watched the entire season IN ONE DAY. And thus began my obsession with Carrie Bradshaw. She was a writer living in New York City wearing shoes that cost more than the rent for our crappy college house for an entire semester. I was in Oxford, Ohio living on a steady diet of pizza and beer and traipsing around in shoes that looked like THIS:

The character of Carrie Bradshaw had a profound impact on me. She was a completely independent woman, living in an amazing city with amazing friends and an endless stream of boyfriends. She said what was on her mind and wrote about sex for a trendy newspaper. She was shocking, provocative and engaging and she inspired me. So when I moved to Chicago after I graduated from college I rented a tiny little studio apartment all on my own. Sometimes I was lonely and scared and my life was absolutely nothing like Carrie's, but it was all mine.

My Mandarin circa 2011: My Mother

Me, my thumb and my mom.

OK, this isn't easy for me to admit, but while these fictional women all had a profound impact on my life, no one impacted me quite like The Regulator. I look like her, I talk like her, I REGULATE like her. Guys, I'm turning into my mother and I'm actually kind of proud of that fact.

My mom wasn't like other moms. She worked four days a week. She had a life of her own that included everything from bowling to bunco. She parked us in front of the TV and made angry faces at us when we bothered her when she was on the phone. She yelled at us for eating all the Ho Ho's within hours of her weekly grocery trip and she managed to strike the fear of God into us with four simple words: I'm disappointed in you. She even fielded insane phone calls from us at work that went something like this:

10-year-old Laura: Hi, is Joni Roecker there?
Receptionist: Sure...Joni, it's your kids. Again.
Mom: What do you want now?
10-year-old Laura: Lisa threw all my underwear out the window.
Mom: Put her on the phone.
12-year-old Lisa: I only did it because she waved my bra out the front door like a flag.
Mom: I put you in charge! Do I need to call a babysitter?
12-year-old Lisa: It's not my fault. God, I hate Laura! Why did you even have kids! You hate us so much!
Mom: Just don't burn the house down.
12-year-old Lisa: Whatever, if it burns down it will totally be Laura's fault.

The Regulator and Ben. 
And now she's pretty much our biggest, most supportive fan. She's been by our side for every single step of the crazy journey of getting our first book published. She reads all of your blogs and tells us what's going on. She follows you guys on Twitter and makes sure we know when there's good news to celebrate. She watches our kids when we're out promoting the book. She listens to us worry, celebrate, laugh and cry whenever we get big news.

She may not have Punky Power or Jordan Catalano and she definitely doesn't roll around in sexy heels, but my Mandarin is my Mom. I couldn't do any of this without her.

Are you loving the #IWantToBeLike love as much as we are?

We've joined forces with the AH-MAZING Elana Johnson to bring you some amazing LIKE MANDARIN events this week.

1. NON-blogfest on Wednesday, March 16. You can blog about who you would have given anything to be like when you were a teenager. Use this graphic, and make sure you participate in Kirsten's "I Would Have Given Anything To Be Like..." blog tour. You could win a LIKE MANDARIN swag pack and/or a signed copy of the book.

If you participate in the NON-blogfest (there will be no Linky! This is not a blog-fest! However, if you email us your link, we will tweet it. Better yet, tweet it yourself--see #2 below), you'll be entered for a copy of the book as per Kirsten's guidelines.


2. Twitter. Use the hashtag #IWantToBeLike any time this week, and you could win one of two copies of LIKE MANDARIN. We'll be drawing two winners on Saturday, March 19 from the#IWantToBeLike feed for a copy of this amazing book.

3. Stay tuned to our blog -- as well as Elana's --this week for other fun LIKE MANDARIN giveaways!

So, tell us the truth this Tuesday, who would you have given anything to be like?
Just for commenting, you'll have a chance to win some Mandarin lip gloss. YUM!

PS: The winner of a brand new bottle of Mandarin nailpolish is Heidi! Congratulations! Email us your address and we'll order ASAP.

PPS: The Liar Society blog tour of RANDOM continues at La Femme Readers and It's All About Books. Check it out!


Unknown said...

I'm so looking forward to tomorrow to see all the entries across the blog about LIKE MANDARIN. I am loving the novel and love the piece I created for tomorrow!!!

That being said this was so bad ass and I too was a fan of Carrie Bradshaw and her awesomeness... too bad I was a lot like you, crazy shoes and living in Iowa.

Jill Hathaway said...

Angela Chase and Carrie Bradshaws are totally my Mandarins!!!!!! You rock. So hard.

Tracey Neithercott said...

I said Punky, too. I mean, she was allowed to wear mismatched clothes. To seven-year-old me, that was SO COOL.

And I loved Angela, too, mainly because this one time she had a massive zit on her chin in an episode and it happened to be the week I also had a massive zit. I thought it was a sign we were meant to be best friends.

Little Ms J said...

I love the Regulator! I also love how your life was almost entirely shaped by bad 80's/90's TV.

Punky Power!

- said...

i have also watched a full day's worth of sex and the city- in oxford, ohio no less ;) i wanted to be joey potter from dawson's creek, which stopped being true when the aliens got to katie holmes. but i'd still date the heck out of pacey witter.

Unknown said...

Great choices. I dressed up as Punky Brewster too for Halloween one year. Which wasn't really dressing up all that much since I pretty much tried to dress like Punky when I wasn't wearing my school uniform.

Margo Berendsen said...

I've been racking my brain all week trying to think of my #IWantToBeLike - and this confirmed it. I want to be like my MOM too. (okay, maybe not 100%) and I wouldn't have ever admitted this until my *cough* later thirties. I think that is SO AWESOME that you love your Regulator and want to be like her.

The other one I've been thinking of is Gandalf. Is that too weird? Can anyone picture a female Gandalf or does the long beard just really get in the way??? (I should delete this, I really should)

erica m. chapman said...

Love this! Love your list too. I was SO into Punky and My So Called Life. Methinks we're probably the same age, Lisa *wink* twenty-three right? LOL

I love that you picked your mom er, the Regulator in the end. What a great post!!

The Regulator is pretty much the awesomest... and I only met her briefly, so yeah. I dig it ;o)

Nicole Zoltack said...

Aw, what a great and funny post!

Tere Kirkland said...

Oh, man, Lisa, I think I wore the same exact Punky costume that year. How embarrassing! ;)

Love these posts. I'll be doing one tomorrow, too!

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I love this idea!!! I'll definitely be participating, it sounds incredibly fun. :)
And I went insane, I would change who I wanted to be like a ton - sometimes daily, sometimes yearly. I usually chose music artists or book characters, or *cough* video game characters.

Vivien said...

I wanted to be Buffy when I was a child. She was just so kick ass, and who wouldn't want to slay vampires as a 13 year old? Yea, though so :)

deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

Katherine Longshore said...

At the age of 7, I wanted to be Princess Leia. She could shoot a blaster and always had a snappy comeback. And in high school, I wanted to be Audrey Hepburn. Still do, in a way...

Elana Johnson said...

Oh my heck. I'm tearing up a little. This is the best post EVER.

Loretta Nyhan said...

Love this. And, now having met The Regulator, I totally get it.

I had an Angela Chase thing, too. Only I was, um, twenty-four.

In high school I wanted to be Jim Morrison. I even had tight pants and a concho belt, totally forgetting I was 1. female, and 2. curvy. Uh-huh. Not exactly the Lizard King.

Anonymous said...

Yep yep on the Mom. Mine passed away a couple of years ago, she battled cancer and she was so gracious and funny and caring and loving and incredible in spite of it al--if I can be half of half of her I will be a ROCK STAR man :)

Thanks so much for one of the best posts ever. You guys are great, your mom must be crazy proud of ya. And really happy you don't through around each others underwear anymore :P

Dara said...

That's so hard...I have two that I'm tied between. My Mom is first :) She's done so much for me and my sis and always been there. It's painful to be 3 hours away sometimes but I call her at least once a week and tend to stay on the phone with her a good hour or more. I love hanging out with her too--we have such great times together!

And then there's my little sis who's been a great inspiration for me. We've had so many great times together and I love that she and I have the same passion for storytelling. We like to be super goofy too. Again, it's difficult to be half a day's trip a way, but we talk all the time on Facebook, email, etc.

I don't think I'd be the person I am now without both of them :)

Unknown said...

Great choices. I loved Punky Brewster.

Marsha Sigman said...

I haven't been this weepy since I watched the first season of Ghost Whisperer on cable.

This was beautiful. Yea for Momma's. Mine is a little crazy now(my sisters broke her-not me) but she is still pretty awesome.

Jemi Fraser said...

Perfect. I've had several Mandarins during my life - my mom and my sister are definitely on the list!

BTW - finished Liar Society (in about 3 big gulps!) and LOVED it - hurry up with book 2, would ya? :)

Anonymous said...

Wait...does your mum read *my* blog?



Oh, dear.

Carolina M. Valdez Schneider said...

Dang it! I had a feeling my comment didn't make it yesterday...booger.

Well, here's what I said, really fast because it was in the middle of the night:

It's awesome how we can see the progression of who you were becoming through the people you idolized. But I'm so glad that you are you now. I also want to meet your mom because she seems like an amazing person.

Okay, that's all I said because it was in the middle of the night. I'm sorry, kind of a lame comment. Anyway, lovely post. So touching, and yet funny. I can relate to that conversation with your mom. I'm sure my mom could, too.

Ishta Mercurio said...

PUNKY! I wanted to be her, too. :-)

Great post! And moms are pretty amazing, aren't they?

And YAY for the NON-blogfest! (My post is up on my blog.)

Kimberley Griffiths Little said...

Love this post! Love the pics of you with your Mom - SO TOUCHING!!! (And yeah, um, I was a thumb-sucker, too.)

And I LOVE THE LIAR'S SOCIETY - I'm on Page 100!!!


Kirsten Hubbard said...

I LOVE this post. I absolutely wanted to be like Angela Chase in junior high. I just told someone recently Mandarin Ramey is a little bit Raianne, a little bit Jordan Catalano.

Thank you so much for everything you guys are doing in promoting Like Mandarin! I adore you all like crazy.

Stephsco said...

Jared Leto will always be Jordancatalano (one word) to me. I don't care if he's been in awesome films or tours with a successful band, he is jordancatalano forever.

Much love for Angela/Claire Danes. You all MUST see Temple Grandin if you haven't yet. Claire Danes is simply a wonder in this film; it is done so well, it's so interesting and lively and very touching.

Katie P said...

The phone call recap brought me to tears!!! Hilarious!!

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