Thursday, May 29, 2014

My Summertime Fashion Public Service Announcement

Summer is back! Time for grilling, bonfires, playing at the lake and my least favorite thing: short shorts!!  I really only have two soap boxes, one being leggings, and the other short shorts.  I've already expressed my thoughts on leggings, and now is perfect timing to share my observations on the most unflattering fashion fad, the short short.

Though I have no proof, I believe the concept of short shorts was hatched in some parents' basement by pubescent males whose only reference to the actual female form came from their sister's Barbies or Candace from Phineas and Ferb.  The concept works for approximately 1% of the female population.  The problem I see comes down to basic geometry.  If I learned anything from da Vinci's (naked) Vitruvian Man sketch is that the human leg is wider at the top than it is at the knee. That is how it is supposed to be.  When one takes a line ( a short shorts hemline) and run it straight across the widest part of the leg, it is not flattering. Ever. And besides that, I just don't want to the bottom of bum cheeks anymore! 

To help young women decide if their shorts are too short, here are some helpful questions to ask oneself in front of a full length mirror.  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, remove your shorts and give them to the nearest 6 year old, because they are probably the appropriate length for her.  Are my shorts WIDER than they are LONG?  Coincidentally, this question applies to skirts also!  Do you feel the need to use Glide or vaseline to prevent a friction burn between your thighs, like runners do?  Do you feel the need to tend to your bikini area before wearing your shorts?  Do your shorts make an inverted "V" where your inner thighs meet?  However if this question doesn't apply to you because you have a "thigh gap," I concider you as mythical as Sasquatch.  I came out of the womb rocking no thigh gap and with a mid-thigh wrinkle.  Luckily I've lost the mid-thigh wrinkle... And lastly, are your pockets hanging down longer than my actual short?

I just wish young women would realize that just because something is a trend, doesn't mean it actually looks good or even works for the majority of the population.  Just take polyester leisure suits, quilted cat suits, low saggy pants worn below the butt, ruffly pirate shirts, big hair (this wasn't even good for the environment... sorry Ozone layer...) shoulder pads, and MC Hammer pants.  And I would like them to know that sometimes, more is more.  Where does fashion go from the short short, because it can't go much farther up!!

As a favor to the humanity's sight, and to prevent further seeing of things we can't unsee, I offer a bit of advice.  I swore to my friends who had also discovered this little secret that I wouldn't share, but I feel it is my duty to womankind.  The alternative to the hideous short short is called a dress or skirt.  There I said it. Now many woman are of the belief they don't "do skirts," but hear me out.  I have been in recovery from shorts for about 4 years now because I found out that maxi dresses felt like I was essentially wearing my pajamas all day!  People have this perception you are "dressed up." In reality, I roll out of bed, lift my arms up and slide on a maxi dress.  They are an extremely forgiving article of clothing.  Swollen from too many sunflower seeds? No problem.  Haven't shaved your legs in 2 weeks? Maxi dress has you covered.  A knit skirt is also your friend.  They do not have tight waist bands, they are cute and give the impression you actually made an effort into looking "put together" which you didn't. They don't wrinkle, they are light and breathable and they also stretch, for those days when one less s'more would have been a good idea the night before.  

Short shorts are marketed as sexy.  However the reality is the sight of an inner thigh friction rash, butt creases and crotch wedgies are not sexy! Fashion fads are not always our friends, are they, home perms?  I invite young women to join us lazy fashionable moms and make this summer the one of wearable pajamas dresses and skirts!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Icky Mouse and Pantless Animals

Late Tuesday night our family returned from the Happiest Place on Earth. No, not Chuck -e-Cheeses, but the other mouse place, DISNEYLAND.  I can say without a doubt my husband and I were more excited about this trip than the kids were. How do I know that? Because they didn't know about it. At all. Why didn't they know? Because we didn't tell them until we were sitting in the Denver airport. We had whisked them out of their beds that morning, telling them we were going to Fargo and it wasn't until we were about 30 minutes into the hour drive that the oldest realized it was only 7:15am.  And why didn't we tell them? Because first off, this ain't our first rodeo and neither of us wanted to endure 24/7 questioning about Disneyland and would we take an airplane there and where would we stay and are we going to California or Florida and is there McDonalds in California and is there a swimming pool at the hotel and would there be a waterslide at the hotel and would they get to see Micky Mouse and would there be princesses there and can we go inside the castle and if they are REALLY good could they get something and can they go swimming and on and on and on....

Secondly, my in laws offered to take the kids for the night, two nights before we were leaving to aid in my covert packing. To stay at her Grandma and Boppa's house for approximately 14 hours, my daughter packed a suitcase, a "Stuffee" full of crap, two blankets and a stuffed animal. All was deemed absolutely necessary for the overnight stay. Given this, we were not feeling up to paying the overage charges on her 2 steamer trunks that a week in Disneyland would have required.

Finally, we were SO excited to surprise them, out of the blue with something like this.  We had a rough spring, as a family, and we wanted some quality, fun time together, just the five of us.  I had it all planned out. The travel agent had given us five Disneyland baggage tags.  I took three of them and inside them slide the words, "You Are" "Going To" and "Disneyland!!" and placed them inside their McDonalds Happy Meals that we had got them inside the Denver Airport. 

My first mistake was not chucking the crappy toys at this point, because when the three boxes were opened, anarchy ensued that all three toys were PINK!  The oldest picked up the bag tag, glanced at it and tossed it aside as he complained the happy meal toy was a girl toy.  Our daughter gleefully claimed all three of the toys as I repeatedly said, "What are those other things? What do they say?" The youngest dove into his cheeseburger coming up only long enough to thrust his milk at me with a disgusted grunt to convey I should open it for him.  When I finally got my daughter to read the three tags in order, I said, "You are. Today. You are getting on a plane to go to Disneyland today!" "Really??" was the reply. "Really?!?"  As we confirmed it, our daughter gleefully cheered "Oh good! Then all the toys are mine!!!" Note to self: in the future, food and crappy toys trump everything.

Prior to going I had been going through a mental checklist of responses I should prepare to questions I may get. Things like, "What language are they speaking?" (anything other than English)  "What is that thing on his head?" (Sikh or Jewish) "Why are those boys kissing?" (a Gay couple) or "Why is that little girl bald?" (A Make-a wish recipient or any cancer patient.) As it turns out, the questions I got were more like "Why doesn't Pluto wear pants but Goofy does?" (I have no good answer for that) and "Can we go back to the hotel and swim now?" (No, I sold my right kidney to afford soming to this joint, so we are staying.)

I guess I was surprised by their collective lack of questioning regarding things I was seeing which were really out of their realm of normalcy.  It made me think maybe I have the most unobservant children on earth. I DID manage to pack two large suitcases without them noticing...  But for the sake of poetic observation, and the makings of a good essay, lets just assume they are pretty normal kids.  Why didn't anything really phase them?

On the one day, there was a steampunk convention at the park.  Steampunk, for those who don't know, is a historical sci-fi subculture which tips its stovepipe hat to the late 19th century Victorian period for dress and inspiration, and looks to a future of technology driven by steam.  Think of it as the old west meets gamma rays.  What this resulted in seeing, for us, was a lot of corsets and decolletage, a lot of goggles, some really amazing outfits fitted with gears, gauges and pocket watches and a lot of fishnet stockings.  I was SURE there would be a gazillion questions, but nada. Not a one.

In any given line, the 5 of us were the minority.  We were surrounded by beautiful shades of brown and olive and gorgeous manes of dark hair I envied.  Our English words commingled with Spanish, German, Italian and others I couldn't identify, but I savored the lilt of the words as they fell from the mouths around us.

My children just saw people. People doing what people do at Disneyland, wait in lines, eat, ride rides, and bribe their children (I'll buy you cotton candy if you PLEASE LET DADDY CARRY YOU!) They soaked in the experience and what it meant to them, oblivious of those around them.  They were present, relishing the experience with each other and with us.  They absorbed the sights and sounds, like sticky sun-kissed sponges.  They questioned things, details and facts, but not people.  They made declarations about themselves ("I'm not into Ducks that don't wear pants." and "I wuv Icky Mouse!") but not about others.  I found myself in awe of them.  How wonderful this world would be if we all were more able to see life through the eyes of a child.  How beautiful it would be to experience the world around us like they do, without the veils of judgement that get hung in our minds as we age? What if we were more concerned about our own experiences then those of others? Maybe the happiness would spill beyond the gates of Disneyland, leaving a winding pixie dust trail and making its way around the world, which is a small one, after all.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Shots from Behind

Sometimes what I see from behind expresses so much more than anything I can put in words.



Friday, May 2, 2014

The unexpected aftermath

I am happy to report that life is pretty much back to normal.  I'm driving, walking quite normally and even found  myself running through a parking lot in the recent rain!  I get a bit tired towards evening but that is nothing I am going to complain about.  I am blessed with recovery, health, and wonderful family and friends.  

Going through my ordeal, I had a lot of time to think.  A LOT of time.  One place my mind continued to return to was my children.  It brought me back to the last month I spent with my Mom before she died. Something I don't think I could have ever grasped without experiencing this hiccup in my health was the fear she felt about us, her kids, upon her departure from this physical earth.  I know she didn't fear dying in the sense of where she was going, in fact I think a part of her looked forward to seeing her parents again.  But there was this look she had when she would look at us, her kids; a look created by an emotion of which I have now felt an inkling.  She was worried about US. What would happen to us after she was gone. What has she left untaught? On what experiences would she miss out?  Would she miss the opportunity to hear "Mom, you were right?" a couple more times?

Not knowing what was going on with my health, I spent some time thinking about these same things.  Not the bread and butter stuff about how they would get to school or piano lessons, or if they had their homework signed. I thought about the long term stuff, the stuff that isn't really fitting to discuss at their current ages, but they eventually need to know.  

For instance, I have not yet told my boys to NEVER sleep with a woman before his wedding night.  This isn't for the obvious reasons most would think.  They need to know that NO woman can ever, ever, ever know just how badly they each grind their teeth and thrash around in their sleep before she is legally bound to one of them.  I worry that they will end up as eternal bachelors because the exhaustion a woman will endure trying to catch some REM sleep will be grounds for terminating an otherwise great relationship.  They need to know that on any flight they fly on, they will be asked to stow everyone in their area's bag in the overhead compartment.  So they should just expect it.  They will need to know that the highest shelf in the bathroom is not the acceptable place to store the toilet paper, even if it makes perfect sense to them and is easy for them to reach.  They need to know that many will try to squash their sparkle, and they will tell them to be tough and stoic. They need to know a kind and empathetic heart will make them vulnerable, but it will be worth it.  And so it doesn't take until they are 35 to figure this out, like it did with their father, if a girl walks all the way to your apartment (which is the complete opposite direction of hers) and then offers to bake you cookies at her apartment, SHE LIKES YOU.  Oh, and listen to your sister's opinions about potential girlfriend because she will have insight that only a woman possesses.

For my daughter, there are so so many things I would want her to know. Things about life, love, pregnancy, marriage... the list goes on and on.  For her, I think it may require a book.  I've mulled over  the idea of a writing a book for a while, but never much more than just a fleeting thought.  That was until I went through my crippled chicken-walker phase.  And maybe that is what was to come of that whole event, my rediscovery of my love for writing.  

For about 2 months, my family weathered an unknown storm, and now in the aftermath, I continue to process the experience (which by the way was finally called an Atypical Migraine resulting in physical manifestations, or in my kids' words ' A really, really, really, really, really, really bad headache.') I know that life is too short to leave things undone or unsaid. So, soon I hope to  start to put words to paper (or in reality, fingers to the keyboard) and start expressing the ideas that have played in my head for a while.  A written record of advice for my daughter, and all young girls really, to use as they navigate through the murky and hormonally driven existence of their teens to twenties.  So stay tuned as I begin the adventure of writing a book!