Let It Be

A section of dried vine.  It was in turn a staff (which turned into a snake,) a plow, a lawn mower, a whale's tail.  Lift it -  slap it  on the gold and orange ocean - so like the sound of water being broken.  He sings a whale song with amazing mimicry.

We made our way from one trail marker dab of paint to another - like so many bindi on the trees' foreheads.  He saw a face on one rotting trunk.  "Look, dad!"  Ridges on felled trees made by beavers.  Rapunzel vines sinuously, sensually wrap around a beech tree.

Miles Standish, Powhatan, Plymouth fill his history slot.  "Let's be Indians, dad!"  He yells and his voice is clear, perfect.  Like God is listening.  God is listening.

The shu!crunsh of our steps, the lapping of the lake, the coos of birds.  And only the slightest Doppler woosh of a car assuring me civilization is near.

Stooping over moss or a rock I see eternity; looking a mile back to where we started and I see a moment. The closer I look, the deeper I see.  Moss jungle, bark canyon.

And to an 8-year old, a vine can be anything, if only you let him.


Pipe Dreams

I just think it's funny that an 8-year old thinks about stuff like this:

Comment by my mechanical engineer brother:
1. Left side animal is propelling the gear for the well gear.
2. The gear is related to the pulley on top of the well which operates the bucket.
3. When the bucket reaches the top, the automatic tilting mechanism pours bucket into a trough into a spigot.
4. Right side animal opens the spigot knob if he wants a drink.
5. Whenever the bucket gets stuck in the well, the right side animal takes the elevator down to fix the problem.

It seems so obvious and logical to me!

Great minds think alike.  Apparently.


Che Sera Sera

"Mom, I'm going to miss you when I marry my wife."


My Thoughts on Halloween

I did not grow up trick or treating and we don't do it now with our 8-yr old son.  My parents were not religious, but they didn't want their daughter going to strangers' homes in the dark to bring home candy.  I never felt like I was missing out either, when all my neighborhood friends went.  That was just me.  I've always had an independent streak.  Finally, when I was 15, I agreed to go with a group of girls.  They made fun of, and played pranks on the older folks. I'm stuffy like that. I did not enjoy it and never went again.  In fact, I think I left them early.

I have a friend who tells me to "lighten up," and in general I could probably lighten up a bit.  But I personally feel that it is not OK to "lighten up" about Death, which to a Christian is the Enemy, no matter how fun and pretty or cute this society makes it.

Our pastor is preaching on 1 Corinthians 8, which has something to do with Christian liberty - as in living your own conscience (based on the Bible.)   I do not condemn my Christian friends who feel differently than I do, and I am in no position to judge people who do not have the same belief system as I.

Our church asks us to consider using this time to interact with neighbors. They ask us to stretch ourselves so that we are living IN the world; not segregated from it.  I totally agree.  However, using Christian Liberty, I understand that others don't or can't feel comfortable going to a bar.  I have no such compunction.  I remember one of my most interesting conversations about my faith occurring at a steelworker's bar in Pittsburgh over a couple of beers.  I, in turn, don't feel comfortable being in the Halloween setting.  It's not because I'm weak or in denial; it's something that I've come to believe over decades of thought.  Cuz, you know, I think a lot!  We choose to interact with our neighbors throughout the year.  For the last two summers, Boo and I would go strawberry picking (at local organic farms,) then bring a pint to several of our neighbors.  It is a delightful time for mother and son, and a delightful reason to talk to our neighbors.  I hope it is a great lesson for our son to learn the joys of giving, the joys of relating.

Wouldn't you know?? even though we are very low-key about why we don't celebrate Halloween, ("It's just not something we do."  "We don't celebrate death.")  our son is endlessly fascinated by it. (insert eyeroll here) But at this point, it's a non-negotiable for us.  How will we handle it in the years to come?  I don't know, but I know this:

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet*" and I will trust our God will guide us, step by step, like the soft, gentle light from a lantern.

*Psalm 119:105


That's Italian!

Every night is our special time, Boo and me.  We snuggle, we read, we pray.  Tonight, we opened up a book by an author by the name of DiPaolo.

"That sounds like an Italian name," I say casually.

Boo:  "Mom, do they speak Italian in Italy?"
bb:    "Yes, they do."
Boo:  "I knew it!  I was checking to see if you knew."


Fashion Friday: Making My Own Skinny Jeans

I took this pair of bootleg jeans....

 and made meself some skinny jeans!!

If you want to know how I did it, then read on.

So I've been looking for some skinny jeans that are appropriate for me: 50, chubby, 5'3", muffinable, Korean proportioned me.   Oh, and cheap.  Blackbelt shopping cheap.

I went to Chicos because their jeans will keep the muffin from overflowing.  But at $79-89?? and literally needing to cut 8" off the bottom??  Every other pair I looked at had the additional problem of being low-rise.

This past week, I opened up my winter pants drawer and found a pair of jeans I'd forgotten about.  They have a touch a Lycra, a deep rise and are a dark wash boot leg jeans.  They were the perfect length and the perfect price: $7.  Seven dollar jeans??  Yes! at the thrift store.  (Check back for my post on shopping thrift stores.)

1. Make sure they fit well at your waist and hiney.
2. Make sure they have Lycra.
3. Check all seams along the legs to make sure they are single stitched like this:

not double top stitched like a lot of jeans:

4.  You know they can't have pleats, right?  Right??
5.  They should be black, dark denim or white, without any bling.
6. Flip them inside-out, start pinching and pinning to what you are comfortable with.
7. Keeping the stitch length as long as your machine will allow, sew.
8.  Flip them back right-side-in and try them on.  Do this as often as you need to get it right before making your final stitching run.



True Value

I believe that all humans are valuable, having been made in the image of God.
I believe everyone is gifted in different ways.
And those who are less gifted have something important to give to the world.
I believe God has a place in this world for each one of His children.
I believe that no matter what you are given in this life, you can rise above it, or rise because of it and triumph.

I can give a convincing argument and actually believe all that.

But when it's my own son, I have to face that what I really value is intelligence.  The kind that gets you into an Ivy League university and hired into a corner office.

When we were getting ready for Boo, HH and I prayed that he would be smart.  That was the only thing we prayed for.  Yes, yes, healthy.  But above all, smart.  We didn't ask for athletic or pretty or tall or charming.  We asked God for Smart.  I am sure HH meant it when he said because it would be the right fit.  And I must have believed that too.  But dig a little deeper and I meant I wanted Smart because Smart means an Ivy League education, a nice marriage and a house in the suburbs.

Last summer, a dear, sincere friend and I were laying on our chairs at the pool chatting about this and that.  She knows about Boo's struggles and asked me if it was harder because I was smart.  I have long believed that to know I was intelligent was to understand I was merely the recipient of good genes that were passed down to me; that it was not my own doing

Even as I answered, "Yes...."  Even as the word came out of my mouth it rang false...dissonant...arrogant. 

As the week went by, that exchange kept coming back to me.  Raising Boo is NOT hard because I am *so* smart!  It is hard because I am Impatient.  Is impatience linked with Intelligence?  No!  May it never be!  Quick-tempered by nature,  I get impatient with this child, this special treasure, this precious one because....?  Why?  Merely because of my nature?  or is there something stinking in the cellar?

Here's what I learned: I get impatient because I am not actually interested in helping him learn, but because I want him to fit into my world.  Fit into my mold of Smart = Valuable.  Fit into this peg, dammit!

Fill in the blank.  Push the right button.  Pull the right lever.  Ding! Ding! Ding!! Then you will be of True Value.  In my eyes.

 And that is just. plain. dumb.


Fashion Friday, or Shift Picks for the the Body Shift

There are so many great dresses out these days.  For me, I'm glad we've moved on from the flowey and flowery to the Structured Shift.  I have never pretended to be a fashion blog, but I'm so happy about this turn in fashion, I thought I'd share!

Although I've lost 7 lbs, I've got about 20 more to go.  I've found as the years go by that I can't be wearing the flowey polyester fabric that clings in the wrong places.  And it's always the wrong places, isn't it??  And there seems to be more "wrong places" as my body shifts in ways I never would have dreamed.  I always needed clothes that were a heftier fabric, and designs that were more structures, and now more than ever.  And were I so blessed to be a svelte older woman, I would still have to consider whether certain styles were appropriate for me, as an older woman.  The shift is not, like anything else, a cure-all.  And hence, not all the styles below will work for everyone.  Heck half of them might not work for me!  But I heart them!

Were I down by 10 more pounds, I'd be maxin' out my cards* for these**:

Carolina Herrara Spring 2011 Runway
There seems to be a lot of gray this season, but it's a great color. I love me my black, but gray can seem a bit more casual and less severe. (And on a blog, it's easier to show the details in something other than black.)


Calvin Klein
This dress if not technically a shift, but I thought it would be flattering for some of us that might want to hide the middle area and upper arm area, without looking like we're hiding something.
Suzi Chin
Here's a shift that might not be to a lot of people's liking but I've always loved color blocking in that retro 60's or 70's style. This particular take on it would be really slimming because of the bold stripe of white in the middle, the black along the sides, and the slight A-line of the shape:

9 West
I was debating whether this looked a little Mother-of-the-Groom-ish, but hey, I'm at the Mother-of-the-Groom age!  although Boo has another 17 years or so before he's the marrying age.  In the end, I put this in because this dress would be very flattering on almost anybody, as long as you're not spilling out of the scoop neckline.  And how you style an outfit can make or break it:
Suzi Chin
God save the Queen and all, but this is NOT the look we're going for:

I mean, when you're the Queen of England, wear what ever you want.  But for now, think about these options.  This is what I'd recommend:
  • I would NOT buy this in purple but try it in the lovely berry, or preferably, the black:

  • I would NOT accessorize with pearls that your mom gave you.  Or the ones you wore at your wedding.
  • I would NOT have anything satin near me
  • I WOULD try for edgier, fashion current accessories such as:
    • textured hose
    • strappy modified gladiator sandals or embellished pumps:
Various brands all available at Macy's
 or if that's a bit much for you, then these more modest, trendy pumps or sandals:

    • a funky clutch
Matchy satin clutch?  No.  Edgy lace clutch?  Yes!

    • and slightly over-the-top jewelry
    Betsy Johnson, Jessica Simpson or Givenchy.
     But not all at the same time, you understand.  A pair of wild trendy shoes would be plenty, so keep your other pieces more sedate.

    I love animal print.  But I wouldn't wear a whole dress of it.  But this giraffe print I like, because it's not literal in that child's coloring book way, but a bit abstract, more like shattered glass:
    Eliza J

    I thought you'd want to know that I took each of those images and "fattened" them up by 20%. (All their heads look a little squished, right?)  I wanted the dresses to look a little more realistic.

    So there you have my shift picks for the shifting body! (Do not say that 3 times fast.)

    * Jk'ing cuz I'm not that kind of shopper, and also because some of these are not affordable by this mere mortal.

    ** All items except Carolina Herrara runway found at Macys.com