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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Birthday Nostalgia

So I had a birthday this week and it got me thinking about where my life is going and where I have been. A messy, howling, crooked journey filled with love, loss, life, motherhood, careers, and friends who have come and gone.

It also got me thinking about how design and fashion play such a large role in our memories. I consider myself a child of the seventies, a generation so overshadowed by the baby boomers who where coming of age in the 60s as to be almost forgotten. I am technically considered a boomer because I was born in 1962, but I was a one-year old in diapers when Kennedy was shot and I was a seven-year-old watching cartoons during Woodstock and the hippy movement. Still, I do remember the clothes of my early childhood. They went from these peter pan and bib collars that look like a page ripped straight out of my old Sears catalog:

to this:

I tell you ladies, foxy brown in the bell bottom jeans was rocking it! I so remember those suede fringe purses and huge hoop earrings. Maybe it was junior high. I actually get nostalgic for maxi coats and seeing fros on black people. I know, I called them fros and I did not call this model "African American." And no matter how "they" try to sanitize and scrub our language (I was an editor for a major book publisher. I know), I don't feel any culpability in this vernacular. We were white, they were black. I lived it and I was there. Just saying.

Like all of my prepubescent friends, I was fascinated with "Charlie's Angels." It wasn't just that Kate and company were beautiful, this was the very first prime-time show that portrayed women in a role other than wife or mother except, of course, Angie Dickinson's "Police Woman" and Hot Lips Houlihan in "Mash." It was progress, but not much. The sexism of these old shows makes me cringe in embarrassment so I am not proud that people of my age are nostalgic for a TV series like Pan Am.

All the girls in my high school had "feathered" hair like Farrah. God, I hate that she is gone! Life is so fleeting, but so, alas, is youth. As I walk through these "middle" years, I am learning a lot about myself, including what it is like to be invisible. No one ever shared this little secret about middle-age. It goes something like this: no matter how you dress or how much "help" you get with your skin and your clothes, you will still be a middle-aged woman with good makeup and a great bag and hair.

Unless you are extraordinary in the hotness department like Demi Moore, you will become invisible. Gone are the days of a full nest, admiring glances from men, cat calls, or just plain animal attraction. And it isn't just the men.Young women ignore me, too. They glance over me and within seconds I am deemed a non-threat and a loser in the fashion department like their own mothers. Dang, I am not even thought of as interesting. I am not in the PTA but I don't qualify for a seniors discount yet. WTF? Who am I? It's like being 13 years old again. I understand that I have left behind the years of procreation, but I am not dead yet! Heck, I think I am still a bit sexy, just not as sexy as Angie.

As I have walked these last few years in my forties, I often find myself in this strange place of reflecting on the past and mulling over who is inside this physical body I always took for granted. I am no one's lover, mommy, or "hot" girlfriend, yet I am a mother, someone's daughter, best friend, and a woman who has gone 10 rounds with the world and life has not grown bitter or given up but has gotten smarter, more humble, more patient, wiser, and kinder.

Rest assured, I will paint on my face every morning before leaving the house because it doesn't matter if I am invisible to other people. I have reached that happy place of self-acceptance that I never had as a younger women. And guess what? I kinda like me!

Okay, enough of the whining on my lack of hotness, let's talk design! Now this is some far out, groovy decor:

But I must admit that most of my girlfriend's homes looked a lot more like this little gem:

Yes, Virginia, there was a wallpaper monster with a penchant for colonial and DayGlo orange Formica.

While we were practicing applying just the right amount of blue eyeshadow to our lids and rolling our hair in hot rollers, one of our parents thought this looked good:

And if by chance any of my childhood girlfriends are reading this and remembering when, life IS a celebration, only now we are just mature enough to appreciate it. Let's have cake!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cool Weather? Bring It!

Fall is my favorite season, so I usually can't wait to decorate for it. This weekend, I put away my seashells and foraged outside for some acorns and pine cones to put together a new arrangement for my dining table. I have always enjoyed the change of the seasons, but here in the South, I really start yearning in September for a break from the heat and some crisp fall air. Cool weather? Oh yeah!

It seems that so many people decorate for Halloween and Christmas but treat fall decorating like the poor red-headed stepchild. Share with me what you do to decorate for fall, if anything. Personally, I love everything about autumn: the foliage, the comfort foods, mums, football, pumpkins, and taking long walks in the frosty air.

And since I had a rare weekend of not keeping the roads hot, I also practiced  making my Hillbilly Housewife's "Beginner's Bread," recipe. I must say it is so easy a suburbanite can do it!

My daughter hung out with me this weekend and she did the cooking on Sunday. She made an excellent beef-tip stew that we ate over brown rice with my homemade bread. We talked about our mutual hatred for artificial ingredients, Monsanto, and GMOs, which brought me around to sharing with her another of my fantasies, that is, learning to make my own soft cheese once I have mastered a few bread recipes. Looks good, huh?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Feeling Blue

Blame it on Rio! Not! Blame it on my new navy blue Guess bag. And my impending birthday. Are you ever too old for blue toenails? I think not. I am NOT going to go quietly into the good night. Especially when you score a bag like this for less than $15. I ain't called the girl for a penchant for yard sales for nothing. If I have to move into middle age, maybe I can at least be the eccentric old aunt.

Indulge me, okay? I love a bargain and I love having something land in my lap that I could never afford. It feels like a Big Cosmic Blessing.

Speaking of being an eccentric aunt, here are my lovely nieces and lone nephew who may, in fact, view me just that way:

Are they not the cutest bunch of twenty-somethings you've seen since "Friends?" Seriously, I love these kids. I do have a motive in showing you their picture though. I wanted to boast on these great bookcases I picked up this summer at a yard sale. I was going to paint over the oak but later decided I really liked them just as they are. I am certain it is NOT nostalgia for oak. Rather, I think I am just rebelling against the modern look that is so everywhere today that you can buy most of it at your local Wally World. I appreciate modern as much as I do true country, really I do, even though neither of them are my cup of tea, I just simply cannot ying when everyone else yangs. It's just how I roll.

Every item on these shelves has meaning. The masseuse sculpture was purchased at the Charleston slave market during a weekend outing with my daughter. We took a Charleston ghost tour in the pouring rain but still soaked in all the beautiful architecture and seafood this historic town had to offer. A beautiful time! The Tiffany lamp was a gift from my aunt that I got before most of her belongings were destroryed by Hurricane Katrina. I picked up the little carved turtle the weekend my best girl friend and I spent two days at Myrtle Beach, basking in the sun, drinking beer, and just being best friends. The "pumpkin" basket was a gift from my daughter. Fill your home with things you love and remind you of special times, you won't go astray.

So the weekend plan is to get the grass mowed tomorrow (thank you Sweet William for fixing my lawn mower!) and clean some windows, but then have some home fun, which for me means decorating for fall.