Monday, January 24, 2011

Oscar The Grouch...

...loves trash.  After today, so do I.  I started a new job at G&C Waste, and I learned more about trash than I thought possible.  The pace was whirlwind...but that's how I best operate. Talking trash, taking names. I loved it!  And the best part, a dear friend sent beautiful flowers and a note that I'll cherish always.  It's a good day.

My desk is littered with family pictures, and an awesome yankee-ninja candle.  Not Yankee fans, Yankee Candle.  Peshaw.  As it should be.  I have an Oscar The Grouch in my desk drawer.  I'm surrounded by people and things that make me smile.  I wish everyone was that lucky.

Goals for 2011, the Year of Change:  New job, new name, new belt.  One down, one booked, one in the works.  Carpe Diem.  Make it yours.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Formal Lingerie

Yes, you read that right.  After yesterday's excursion, I believe there is a new subgroup in the lingerie industry, called "Formal Wear".  It's what is marketed to teenagers as "formal party dresses".  Oh. My. Word.

My daughter Kate was invited to a "Sweet 16" party at a swanky golf club.  The invitation said it was a "Red Carpet" event.  The invite then went on the state "Dress in your best, and bring a guest!"  There are 200 kids invited, so feasibly, there will be up to 400 kids there.  Now, I'm thinking "Okay, party dress.  Sweet cocktail dress, heals, sparkly purse, she's good to go."  We head to the mall, since I needed to buy some new things for my new job starting Monday.  After wearing basically my pajamas to work for five years, I decided to treat myself to some new tops and a new pair of rockin' boots.  I took Kate, figuring we could get what she needed for next weeks party as well. 

It took me 25 minutes to pick out 12 tops and sweaters (LOVE Macy's deals...didn't pay more than $8 for any of them!) and a sweet pair of high black boots with a low heel and buckles.  I could hear my girlfriends voices while trying them on...oooohhhhhh yeeeeaaaaahhhh.  As I said, 25 minutes and I was done.

 It took Kate 2 hours to pick one dress, one pair of shoes, one pair of earrings.

We went to a place called Body Central.  I had a hard time concentrating on the clothes because of the instant headache from the overabundance of Juicy perfume.  Ladies, specifically young ladies, a little dab will do ya.  You don't need to shower in the stuff. Once my olfactory senses were completely numb, I was able to see some of the things hanging up.  Pretty little napkins on hangers.  Tiny pieces of material stretched over unrealistally proportioned mannequins.  Excuse me?  These are CLOTHES?  Marketed to TEENAGERS?? Surely not.  Surely these are fabric swatches you can select and have your complete dress made from. Sadly, that wasn't the case. Our kids have become the target market for skankwear. Somewhere, someone decided that they need to grow up way too fast, and no one objected. I took a deep breath, looked at Kate and said "Here are the ground rules.  They haven't changed.  Your birthmark needs to be covered, and I'm not buying anything I don't approve for you to wear in public."  (She has a birthmark on her outer thigh that God placed there for the simple purpose of measuring skirt length.  If the birthmark shows, it's too short.)  Fortunately, she and I agreed on that point.  Twenty two dresses.  Yep, you heard right.  Twenty two dresses.  Some of them she didn't even show me.  She found a beautiful black top with one sleeve that looked gorgeous on her, but she felt uncomfortable in it because of all the heavy beadwork on the top.  Sigh.  She finally chose a leopard print one shoulder thing that could be worn short or long.  Definitely not my choice, but her backside wasn't hanging out, her chest wasn't hanging out, and she didn't look like a sausage.  Then she picked some really sweet peep toe boots.  Again, not my choice for a dress, but cute nonetheless. 

While she's trying things on, I was just taking it all in.  There was a young girl next to me going through racks of dresses, tried one on that looked like someone wrapped her in bandaids.  She thought she looked fantastic.  The sales woman LaShanna, a no-nonsense woman who reminded me of the housekeeper on The Jeffersons tv show, said "No baby, that just ain't working for you.  You need more material to keep those curves in place."  She told me later she tries really hard to steer the young girls away from the trashier side of the store, and lead them to the more modest sections.  I asked her why did she do it?  She said "Someone's gotta.  Their mama's ain't tellin' them what's modest or appropriate. They're just givin' them permission to grow up before their time.  I had a mama put her 10 year old girl in that short short jumpsuit, and tell her baby she looked good and sexy. I lied and told the mama that suit was gonna fall apart after the first wash and she'd be wastin' her money so she wouldn't dress her baby up like that. Makes me cry."  I liked her alot.

LaShanna peaked in on Kate when she had the whole outfit on and had been helping us during the twenty two dress adventure.  She gave her nod of approval, and said "Girl, you have a hip mama.  You should thank her for being honest and telling you what looks good and what don't.  Not everyone has that."  Kate smiled and said she knew that.  Score one for mom.

Kate was getting changed and as I sat for a minute, I got caught up in a group of three girls, who just turned 19.  They were out shopping for one who had a different party to attend.  They were trying to decide on shoes.  Killer, 5 inch silver heels that looked awesome on the girl.  She said "Okay, let me get a total strangers opinion."  That would be me.  I have that kind of face apparently.  I asked her what kind of party it was.  She said "My boyfriend has been in Afghanistan for a year, and he's home for two weeks, and then he goes back over for another year. I haven't seen him since we graduated.  He left for bootcamp the next week."  I swallowed the lump in my throat and said "Get the heels.  He'll never forget them, and come home to see you in them again."

We are indeed expecting all our babies to grow up way too fast.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What's Old is New Again

Raising teenagers is like sailing a washtub through the rapids.  You know the vessel isn't fully equipped for the journey, but neither is it completely unusable.  You find yourself adapting the equipment you have, hoping to get through the white water.  Every once in a while, the water calms, and you can catch your breath.  It's during those lulls in the current that you, and more importantly your child, realize you have more in common than you think. You stop fighting the current, and each other, and rest in the calm waters. My 16 year old daughter and I had such a moment yesterday.  A beautiful realization that there was commonality between us occurred, and she saw me not as her mother, maker of the rules, enforcer of the dress code, mistress of "Is your homework done?", but as a woman, who quite possibly might have someday, long ago, been a teenager.  It all started with a Facebook post from her, that said simply, "Mark Wahlberg is the finest 39 year old alive."

Mark Wahlberg.  Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.  Mark Wahlberg, Calvin Klein underwear model.  My Mark Wahlberg??  My daughter was fawning over Mr. Bad Boy of the 90's?  My baby, who was transitioning into underwear as he was parading around on stage in hs, thought he was fine?  Apparently so.  Carpe Diem.  Sieze the day. 

"You know, I had a crush on him when I was a little older than you."
"Nuh UH!!  Seriously?"
"Seriously.  He's aged well." 
"Wow! I never knew that!"

There's a lot you don't know, little girl.  Quite a bit of it will stay that way. :)  But it makes me laugh when my kids receive the inevitable thunderbolt realization that I'm not that different, and certainly had similar teenage experiences.  The feather in my cap of course, is when they realize that much of what they find interesting and claim for their own generation, is rehashed material from mine. 

What my kids don't fully realize yet, is that teenage angst is universal.  All of us who have arrived at the ripe old age of 40-something, have survived what our parents, at the time, tried to convince us was "the best years of our life."  We knew without a shadow of a doubt that our parents couldn't possibly understand what we were going through, nor appreciate the finer things in life we craved as far as music and culture.  Think Vanilla Ice.  Think legwarmers.  Our children are in the same predicament.  We, as parents, just don't get it.  No matter how we try to explain that we do.  Flares, my love, were called bellbottoms.  Low rise jeans were called hiphuggers.  That whole "shirt off the shoulder" thing?  Flashdance.  We started it.  You just revived it.  Don't even get me started on wedge sandals. 

"Mom, come listen to this beat.  It's SICK!!"  As I start humming the bass line, my daughter stares at me in disbelief.  "How do you know this?  This isn't your music."  I smiled and replied, "Oh sweet child of mine, this hook and most of the lyrics are from "Every Breath You Take", written by Sting, recorded by the Police in 1983, on their "Synchronicity" album.  This is from the soundtrack of my life."  She smiled at me and said, "Mine too."  Then she put her head on my shoulder, and we watched "Three Kings" starring, Mark Wahlberg.

Enjoy the calm waters.