Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ugly Pajamas

After a careful analysis, I have come to the conclusion that I have ugly pajamas.  Just this morning, I caught a glimpse of myself in my gray striped Nautica nightwear, and it wasn't pretty. I looked like a convict.  Studying my nightie drawer, I gave the contents an objective grade. Failure.

My Ralph Lauren number is even sadder. The print looks like a Victorian grandmother. And the T-shirts ( General Custer, Soft Kitty, and something so faded I've forgotten what it says) don't help the situation. My flannel set looks pretty tragic, too.

I remember the days when I bought matching Barbizon nightgowns and peignoirs. Embroidered, bowed, rosetted, and cute as a button, I wore the tar out of them. Then I tried to buy some more, and discovered I was outta luck. The Barbizons still on the racks were designed for older ladies and definitely not the wonderful soft cottons I'd grown to love. Polyester only, or a blend thereof.

My only requirement for sleepwear has always been cotton. Can't stand to sleep in anything else. Hence my current array of ugly pajamas. At least they're all cotton.

How I wish I had my old Barbizons. At least my Beloved doesn't give a fig.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Believe in Me

A friend sent a link to a Barnard Poetry Slam in which a young woman condemns her mother and how her family raised her. In short, her mother dieted ferociously, taught her daughter to eat like her and keep her mouth shut. The brother spoke his mind without filters and ate whatever he wanted, just like their dad. The daughter felt like a maimed second class woman.

I found it infinitely sad. I don't remember my mom ever dieting, except she said she once gained five pounds and lost them when she cut out her Coke every afternoon. I was too young to notice or care. Quite honestly, my mother's weight never entered into how I saw her, or myself. I was more than lucky. My parents raised me to believe in the power of hard work, intellect, education, and myself. So what if I was a girl - if I wanted to do it, I was encouraged to try, whatever it was. I once built, when I was about eight, a race cart for which I carved wooden wheels from scraps of lumber. All by hand. My downfall was the broom handles I used for axles. Lesson learned. The integrity of the material matters. No one said, "girls can't build a race cart by themselves." I was given free rein in the shed and any tools I could handle myself.

Once, on a rare visit to the Georgia grandparents, I said I wished I could learn to paint. My grandfather drove me right then and there to the art supply shop, where he bought me a full set to get going, along with books that I could use to teach myself. I was never very good, but I learned basic lessons about perspective, light and shadow.

To everyone who supported, encouraged, and gave me a push, my eternal thanks. How I wish all young girls grew up with the backup to get where they want to go. And to hell with diets.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Seventies and Rush

We saw RUSH last night, and I loved it. Ron Howard can do no wrong in my book. I notice he loves to direct stories about people - their lives, their eras, their way of fitting in. A BEAUTIFUL MIND delved into the same kind of personal story as RUSH - a man with demons. For those not interested in racing, RUSH is about the James Hunt/ Nicki Lauda race for the Formula 1 championship in 1976. I'm sure there's a bit (and probably more) of Hollywood manipulation to make the story more cohesive, but I don't care.

The relationship between the two men is delineated clearly in the scene in the airport hangar where Lauda and Hunt talk for the first time, without ego and with brutal honesty, about their different philosophies of life. In many ways, this is Lauda's story, and he is, after all, still alive to consult with the scriptwriter.  His is the more compelling story, mainly because he's maimed in a fiery wreck, and also because no one really liked him. Hunt is the bon vivant, the Lothario with devastating good looks, who can sway a drivers' meeting to race in a dangerous rainstorm on a terrible track where Lauda almost dies.

I remember those early-mid-seventies vividly. I graduated from law school in 1976. Excesses were popular for those who could afford them, monetarily and professionally. It wasn't uncommon for lawyers to partake of illegal substances at office Christmas parties. (Not me, just to be clear!) I won't go into the prevalence of sexual peccadilloes. All in all, for those of us on the straight and narrow, we felt pretty much out of the mainstream. Thus identifying with Lauda's work ethic and downright puritanism is easy for me. It's not easy being a fish out of water when it seems all the other guppies are having a damned good time. That's Lauda's cross to bear and he never complains about it.

Now, I'm of an age where I don't care what's going on around me in society. I do my own thing without worrying about how it looks or what anyone else is doing.  My books are reflecting this freedom. I'm writing with a new ease, a certainty that what amuses me will amuse someone else, and if not, well, them's the breaks.  No fiery crashes for me, and I'm having a good time.

The straight and narrow can be a hell of a lot of fun.

Thursday, October 03, 2013


Okay, so I must confess: my HOMELAND marathon gave me nightmares. Just awful. I'm not one to worry about dreams, but this gave me pause and forced me to consider the rising level of violence in our entertainment.

By that, I mean myself, as well. I'm not one to shy away from a bit of blood and gore in a good mystery or western. However, I'm rethinking my stance. I've always said that if the story needs it, then the story gets it. Yeah but . . .

Television long ago crossed societal boundaries on sexual content, and it's becoming clear to me that the violence level was left in the dust without my noticing its departure. I couldn't watch WALKING DEAD the first season because of the constant bombardment of guts and brains. Or what was left of them. Don't get me started on BONES. Peeling faces from  skulls? Really? And now HL. Great writing and acting aren't enough, I fear, to get myself past the bullets and torture. I'm wimping out in my old age.

I now understand the attraction of the Jessica Mitford books. Personally, I find them very slow and not terribly interesting,  but I can see how they're a respite, a shift back to a simpler time, a gentler people. Why has Jane Austen  persevered with constant popularity? Her witty repartee, her droll take on stuffy characters, a lancet-like dissection of the manners of her time, still sparkle. And there's nary a drop of blood on any page.

There's a book, a movie, a TV show for every taste level and sensitivity. Mine has shifted, and I'm staying away from the bloody, the ugly, the sick and twisted.  I need a good night's sleep.