Summer’s Hottest Trends: Fashion Deja Vu

photo by Dorret

photo by Dorret

Last weekend I got dressed for a party and selected a shirt at my daughter’s urging. This shirt was purchased at my daughter’s urging in a moment of merciless exhaustion. The kind of exhaustion one experiences after shopping with one’s teenage daughter for long hours with a no-end-in-sight spirit. Hours linked together by caffeine runs and bathroom breaks. It was the kind of purchase necessary so that mother and daughter could walk through the lovely vacation town with synchronized swinging bags their our grasp.

This shirt has proven my long-held belief that certain things which appear attractive on vacation, very well may let you down in the real world. (Of course the origin of that belief refers to vacation boyfriends, but clothes and accessories also apply.)

I had been fortunate enough to keep this garment under wraps in my closet for months.

Until the day of the party.

I was naively unaware that it would take thirty minutes, certain special undergarments, a roll of fashion tape and an owner’s manual to get into it. Certainly I would have chosen something else to wear. I also would not have chosen the shoes, worn at my daughter’s urging, which demanded I walk with both arms outstretched, as if I were an airplane, just to keep my balance and dignity. Nor would I have worn my hair in a style, at my daughter’s urging, which only looked good standing in front of a fan or if I were to sprint the perimeter of the backyard party in order to simulate the wind-swept carefree, effortless style. A forewarning: sprinting is not the preferred option here, as it will certainly cause you to “glisten” in all the wrong places. Forewarning #2: fashion tape does not hold up to a deluge of perspiration. Once the tape gives way you are limited to very few body positions and stances, and for God’s sake, do not sit down! Unless, of course, you have the posture of a brick wall. Also, needless-to-say, once the deluge has begun it’s best to put your arms down.

Forewarning #3: wind-swept hair only looks good while the wind is still sweeping. Once the wind dies down you will look something like Lindsay Lohan after a breaking-probation-all-nighter.

Did you know that it’s beyond chic to wear a different nail color on each of your ten fingernails? I was urged to do just that in order to complete my insanely current ensemble.

As I stood there at the party, wearing a shirt meant for someone else, heels that made my ankles wobble, a hair nest I was certain living things had found refuge in and a rainbow manicure, I had a strange deja-vu. It took a few minutes for me to crystalize the faint recollection that I had been in this position before. But when I did it brought a smile to my face.

It was kindergarten. With a jumble of five-year-olds at the dress-up box.

Got Multiples? Baby Names for a Brood

red baby names 007

Practically every time I turn on the computer, I see this headline: “Hottest Baby Names for 2013.” I could’ve used that fourteen years ago when I was pregnant with my first. I knew for nine whole months that a baby would be coming at the end of it, sufficient enough time to figure out a potential girl name and a potential boy name. I blew it. I was on my way to the hospital for a scheduled c-section and I had nothin’.  Well, that’s not entirely true. I had three baby name books packed in my hospital overnight bag. The c-section gave me two extra nights and two extra days in the hospital to pour over the books. Still nothin’. As it turns out, you’re not permitted to leave the hospital with an un-named newborn. Found out the hard way. They wheeled us back from the elevator.

This would seem odd for a person who writes fiction. Many characters in many of my stories have needed names. And none of them have gone nameless. So why the trouble with my own kids? George Foreman also buckled under the pressure and ended up calling 5 of his 10 kids the same exact thing: George Edward Foreman.

I started thinking. What family had the most kids? What did they do? We’re all familiar with Kate’s 8, Octomom’s 14, and the Duggar’s 19. But when I dug a little deeper I discovered the most kids born to one family was 69! I nearly stopped breathing. 69 kids? From one womb? Are you pulling my fallopian tubes? From a total of 27 pregnancies, this woman gave birth to 16 sets of twins, 7 sets of triplets, 4 sets of quadruplets. She lived the better part of her life in a hormonal cloud with no waistline.

Let’s put aside the cooking, cleaning, diapers, terrible two’s, (x 69 = 138?) teething, nursing, sleepless nights, whining that “he won’t give me the remote!” Oh, actually, I should point out that this family lived in the 18th century, so that thing about the remote probably didn’t happen. It was more like, “He won’t let me play with the stick!” Regardless, how the heck did she name 69 kids?!?

I have a theory. After she had ten or so kids, she decided to just number them. Genius, right? “Hey, 14, you give 27-32 a bath tonight.” Like that. Not to say that was easy. Please, I couldn’t even remember my high school locker combination. And that was only 3 numbers! (Still causes nightmares.) I’m sure there were days when she mixed up 34 with 43. (Especially since both were redheads.)

Legend has it she provided the world with more than just a mass of descendants able to fill Yankee Stadium. One day, 57 came home from school and sat on the floor to untie his shoe laces. His mother said, “57, why are you taking your shoes off? You get to keep them until tomorrow morning, when you give them to 45 so she can walk to school.”

57 said, “Mama, I have to do my math homework and I need my toes.”

“Toes? Why do you think I had all you kids? Use your brothers and sisters to count for 8’s sake!” And hence the human abacus was born, an elaborate counting system using all 69 kids lined up in the back yard. Ten rows of six kids and one row of nine. This classic counting apparatus was later fabricated out of pebbles and wood. Many years later it was sold to Texas Instruments for a boatload of money. Unfortunately she didn’t live to see that happen.

What was her name, you ask? That’s the irony of the story. All of the history books refer to this Russian woman as the wife of Feodor Vassilyev. She had no name of her own. I’m sure that’s because in her husband’s eyes, she was always #1.

Let the Storms Come

photo by StormLoverSwin93

photo by StormLoverSwin93

The wind’s fury can lash bruises across my skin. Uproot my soul.

Lightening can pierce a chasm through my heart, as thunder deafens promises.

The rains pelt my resolve and flood my eyes.

Watch my bearings rattle as the earth crumbles under foot.

An avalanche can bury me.

The light is snuffed but I’m not in darkness.

Because you are with me.

And natural disasters can’t damage like man-made ones.

An Open Letter to Pigs

Dear Pigs,

By the way, may I call you that? Pig? It’s meant with the utmost respect, and after all, it is your name. Believe me. I’ve never used your name in vain when referring to perverts or sleazeballs. I don’t know who started that. Uncool. Nor have I ever said, “go clean up, you filthy pig!” to either of my kids or my husband. Even that time when they were so foul I wouldn’t let them in the house without hosing off in the backyard first. I’ve read that elephants and rhinos are much dirtier than pigs, but the dirtiest of all, obviously, is the dung beetle. Just so you know, whenever possible I do correct people by saying, “go clean up, you filthy dung beetle!”

Okay, that’s not why I’m writing you. I need to talk to you about the state of pigs. I’ve read the news and it’s not good. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, pick up a paper. We’re in the belly of a pork shortage. Nobody’s bringing home the bacon these days. Even Major League Eating has suspended their bacon eating contest. (Side note: the writer of this letter does not endorse the brutish public display demonstrated at MLE events and remains unbiased regarding this vulgar competition.) But that’s the least of your problems.

You’re becoming a rare breed. And not in a way that gives you bragging rights in the barn. Farmers can’t afford to raise you anymore. You’re too rich for the roost. They’re downsizing pigs, buddy. They’re blowin’ your house down, man!

Thankfully for you, nobody knows better than I about raising expensive livestock. And I’m here to help you.

Let’s isolate the problem. You only eat two things. Corn and soy. Right now they’re too darn expensive. Let’s examine the facts. Pigs are natural scavengers.  Meaning you’ll eat any ol’ crap. In fact, I heard pigs will even eat crap. (Just saying.) So what’s with the diva demands? Hanging with Nicki Minaj much? Well, lucky for you no one knows about finicky, stubborn, picky-eater-livestock better than I do. I mean, who can subsist on just mac and cheese? Everyday?!? I don’t think so. Not anymore. Nope. Not when there’s Jamie Oliver’s crispy-skinned chicken thighs with heirloom tomatoes and fresh oregano to be had. And Ina Garten’s beef stew, with aromas that make you weak in the knees. No. Not anymore kiddies. I won’t be shamed by other mothers’ stories about how their kids eat avocados…in their salads!! No more mac and cheese! I can’t! I won’t!

Whoa… what just happened? Where was I? - sorry pigs.

Let’s set up a plan. First thing, mix it up. Try new stuff. If you’re apprehensive about this, experiment with the “just one bite” rule. This encourages the exploration of new flavors. You’ll never know you like something unless you try it! Okay, if that one bite makes you want to puke, pinch your nose and shut your eyes and try again with a massive gulp of milk. If that didn’t do it either, don’t be discouraged. There’s always the “try it 3 times” rule. Go back to this food on three different occasions. You may gag the first time you eat Brussels sprouts, but by the third meal, if you’re not pelting them across the barn at the cows, you just might tolerate them.  If all else fails, proceed to the “deep fry it” or “cover it with melted cheese” rule. Both work like a charm.

What I’m proposing, at times, will be difficult. Stay strong. And don’t, like some of your kind, turn to the bottle. Pigs can become alcoholics. Did you know that? I don’t mean to bring you down; you can read about that here. Seek out smart pigs and form a support group. I heard that one pig farmer was so desperate to keep his pigs alive he fed them candy. And they ate it! (Okay, I never told you about the “one M&M for every Brussels sprout” rule. Guilty as charged.) Anyway, those are the kinds of pigs you need to surround yourself with. The resilient ones. Remember, survival of the fittest. We want you around. Don’t be pig-headed.

Fondly,

Roast Pork Loin with Garlic & Rosemary Lover