Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Yoga Pants

When did mommies stop looking like mommies? When did grandma stop looking like grandma? I pass the grade school where my kids went and I don’t recognize the women. It’s not just that I don’t know them, which I don’t. It’s that they don’t look familiar to me. There is a uniformity to their look or more correctly - a uniform.

Tall, “blonde” and almost too thin, if that’s possible. It’s possible. Add platinum wedding bands, a huge engagement diamond, either Uggs or flip flops (in any weather), a $75 tee shirt and $200 yoga pants. A down vest maybe. Yoga pants worn as day wear - not just for exercising. You have to have a great body to look good in yoga pants. They are most unforgiving, so wear if you dare.

These women obviously take a lot of time getting their bodies into incredible shape. You’d think they might want to show it off in something else for a change. Linen and cashmere come to mind. Or a slim summer sheath with pearls. A few years ago I sold a multi-million dollar house to a woman after showing her over a hundred properties. She was always dressed like she was on her way to the gym. Never was she dressed in regular clothing. Not once. This is not classic style. This is not Mad Men. This is the look of new money.

I am not one for running around in exercise attire. I don’t want to look like all I’ve been doing is playing tennis even if all I’ve been doing is playing tennis. It’s sweaty and clammy and looks like you have yet to start your real day - with real clothes. I change into tennis clothes right before I play and out of them right afterwards. It’s rare that I’ll be caught in the market, or god forbid, a restaurant in exercise clothes. Eric doesn’t understand this. He gets up on weekend mornings and always puts on shorts which can be used for swimming, hiking, lounging or playing tennis. If it’s cold he puts long pants on top of the shorts. He’s constantly prepared for whatever activity might break out. At first he thought we could go straight from the courts to eat dinner somewhere. Now he knows that unless we’re just picking up burritos, I’ll want to change.

I was no fashion maven when my girls were little, but I had an excuse. It was the eighties. Yes, those eighties. At the time I wasn’t aware that I looked like a complete dork, but the photos do not lie. Did I really wear big, red plastic earrings? Why? The hair got a little scary. There was the pixie (a.k.a. the rooster) in l983, the shoulder length perm in ‘85. Then came the mullet with bleached tips- a continuous source of amusement for my daughters. They salivated as they dismembered the photo albums to commemorate my fiftieth. They’re already planning an evil slide show for their father’s sixtieth. Think Speedo.

The hair remains a problem. I get tired of the same old straight, blonde hair, and yes, blondes do have more fun. Thanks for asking. It’s just been such a nasty trip every time I’ve veered into another style . I don’t look good in pixies, perms, mullets or bobs. I stay with this look to save myself from a wild impulse that could be very unfortunate. When I really NEED a change I rearrange the furniture until the obsession passes. These days, without Nicole, I wouldn’t really be blonde at all. I’d be dishwater and gray, but that’s our little secret.

One thinks back and remembers their children looking so adorable. One looks at the photos and sees some major fashion misses. Lucy was all about comfort and ease, not style, until the Guess jeans. When she was around six or seven she was so gangly with such a tiny butt that we couldn’t find any jeans that fit her. Somehow she discovered Guess jeans with zippers on the ankles. They seemed really expensive to me, but she just had to have them and they were really cute on her. Better than some of her matching sweat suits. Lana had her velvet overalls and the hideous, teal green matching warm-up suit that she wore with red Mary Janes. She looked like a small golfer with party shoes on. Allie’s outfits were always the most outrageous concoction of colors and accessories. We were constantly being stopped in stores - even when she was two and three years old and people would comment on her ensembles. I would assure them I had nothing to do with choosing her clothes. I still think she could have a career in the fashion business.

How many times have you seen a woman from the back you assumed to be a teenager, only to be shocked by her actual age when she turned around? Like sixty or seventy but wearing high heeled boots and ultra trendy, expensive jeans. It’s getting so confusing. So many women are getting the little injections into their lips and eyes that it’s hard to tell anyone’s real age. And when did the young daddies get so hot? Hot, if you like mud-splattered, spandex covered sweaty men with numerous logos. Men who have fanned out across the county and taken over every hill and dale, bike rack and coffee house. It would be surprising to see a well-dressed guy strolling through town on a Saturday afternoon - a guy in chinos and loafers. It would be a pleasant surprise. I could go on and on but I have to go out now and I need to figure out what to wear...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Two O One O

Twenty ten. I have a bit of anxiety about this year already because it has a one in it. One of my daughters (ahem) spilled a glass of wine on my laptop keyboard and killed the one. The one shares a key with the exclamation point which is why you will never see one in my writing. I might have the impulse, but I just can’t put a point on my exclamation. It’s not possible. Living without a one wasn’t as bad in 2009. I didn’t need a one for the date. I only needed a one to charge anything by credit card, to access the multiple listing service and for each of my four thousand passwords. In certain situations I can get by using a lower case “l” even though it doesn’t look quite right, but when I need to enter my zip code on an order form it wants a real one. I have gotten quite good at finding ones and highlighting and pasting. I did lots of online shopping by sending emails to myself from my blackberry, copying and pasting. It might have been quicker to go to the shopping center and buy things.

The New Year got me to thinking about the Old Year and that brought to mind the Other Old Years. I started doing a little inventory of the past five years. Instead of counting sheep, I’ve been counting life changes and dramatic events. In the past five years my father died and my mother had a stroke and four surgeries. I split up for the second time with my ex-husband and got married again. Eric had his motorcycle accident which took three surgeries and two years for a full recovery. One daughter was rear ended and hurt her back but she was basically ok. One daughter was in a car at dusk on a winding mountain road when they were hit head on by a drunk driver. A drunk driver who had gone to the same elementary school and left the scene of the accident. They were all fine and oh so very lucky. One of the girls was diagnosed with a bleeding disorder which was extremely scary at first but, fortunately, has not been much of a problem.

More sheep in my head. Two of our children decided that they needed to be tattooed, resulting in a total of four tattoos. Three high school graduations. One college graduation with distinction. One successful training as an aesthetician. One daughter left for school in Scotland, one to the east coast. Trips to Europe (not including going to college) for the various children: five. Trips to Europe for Eric and me: none so far. Brutal breakups with boyfriends: two. Not so brutal breakups with boyfriends: quite a few. Calls from the police regarding underage drinking: three. Vacations in Belize staring down the eye of a hurricane: one. Number of times our street flooded: once. Number of new laptops for the offspring: three. New laptops for the parents: none.

Obviously I don’t need just a new year. I need a new five years. I need to start fresh with a trip to Europe AND a new laptop. I think I'll skip the tatoo.It’s so hard to look at your life and decide whether you’re unlucky or REALLY lucky. So many bad events could have not happened and that would have been most welcome. But so many events could also have turned out just a hair another way and been unspeakably tragic. I’ll take what I have gotten - as if there is any choice. I’ll take it with the profound gratitude it deserves, but maybe the next five could be just a little less exciting?

In one month the teenage years, all cumulative 28 years of them, will be finished. We will have four twenty-somethings. Fifteen straight years of sullen, snarky and self-absorbed. A decade and a half of living with hormone poisoned creatures with partially developed brains who keep vampire hours and do not grasp the meaning of no. I’m really kind of sick of having teenagers and I look forward to this new phase. I admire these new young women. In all their glory - bravely, gamely they are finding their way in this world. It’s their five years to blossom and grow into themselves. Me, I’d just like a little rest.