24 April 2010

Many a man's been kilt, for calling it a skirt!

Today we went to the NEFFA folk dance festival.  We watched a sword dance, a morris dance, participated in a circle dance (hard to do with a two-year-old on your hip, I found), and attended workshops on children's folk music, a scottish concert, and drumming. 

We drove about an hour and a half to get there, and it made for a very long, tiring day.  My children were a bit underwhelmed, I think, with being in the car yet again.  The biggest hit of the day was when we got home and they got to sit on Uncle Aaron's motorcycle, and launch rockets with him. 

I had a really good time, however, and am looking forward to the day when I can take my children to such an event and we will all enjoy ourselves.  I love contra-dancing; it's what the Mad Scientist and I did at our wedding, and everyone had a ball.  It is so much fun!!

I just have one more thing to say about the festival:  I have never seen so many men in skirts at one event.  Men in skirts, everywhere!  I don't find skirts that comfortable, and I don't really understand the appeal.  And just to clarify, I do know the difference between a skirt and a kilt, and, while there were several kilts in attendance as well, I am talking about skirts.  Long, ruffled skirts.  Shorter, handkerchief-style skirts.  I don't have a problem with it.  I know that men in lots of other cultures wear skirts (probably by different names).  But I don't understand why they would want to.  I'm certain someone can enlighten me.

21 April 2010

On crabbiness

Yesterday, after my little jean-buying expedition, I returned to a house full of crabby children.  My children have been getting progressively more crabby since the Mad Scientist left.  Only a third of the way through this little experiment (not quite, actually) I am not at all happy to note that tantrums are increasing exponentially.  I don't really blame them.  I feel like pitching a few myself.  But that doesn't make theirs any more pleasant to deal with.

One of the first things that happened when I got home was, I was presented with my glasses.  Monkey3 had snapped the temple off.  They were two weeks old.

The glasses they were replacing had been purchased before I married the Mad Scientist, which is to say the prescription was a bit out of date.  Also, in an attempt to assist me in putting them on one morning, Monkey3 had bent the frames so they sat funny on my face.  All this meant that, previous to my new pair, wearing my glasses inevitably meant a headache, which produces a crabby mama.  It's a no-fail formula.

It turns out that breaking the glasses that replaced the crappy ones I've been putting up with for the last six years or so (they're older than that, that's just when they started being crummy glasses) also produces a crabby mother.  Now instead of wearing crummy glasses, I'm totally without, because I had to mail them back to my optometrist for the warranty to be honored.  (They have to physically verify the break.)  So, when I take out my contacts in the evening, I'm basically blind as a bat.  Which, incidentally, also produces a crabby mother.

Right now, being a mother involves a tremendous amount of crabbiness.

20 April 2010

The Search for the Perfect Jeans

Have you looked at any Old Masters' paintings lately?  Once upon a time, people knew what a woman was shaped like.  Once upon a time, they understood that stomachs don't stay flat (if they ever were to begin with) and that thighs can be both round and beautiful.  Once upon a time, a woman with curves was oh, so wonderful to behold.  This is as opposed to our current aesthetic, which idolizes a shape resembling a pair of balloons attached to a stick figure.

I was thinking about this today, as I returned to my hunt for a perfect pair of jeans.  It's something that I engage in periodically, just for my own amusement because I need pants.  I've tried the "skirts only" thing, and it doesn't work for me.  So, I have a list, and I hunt through the racks to see how many items I can check off before I admit defeat.  I never get the whole list.  That's the way the game goes.  It isn't that it's long or difficult, or that I'm particularly difficult to please.  It's just that fashion designers (apparently) don't know any real women.  So, as a favour to the fashion industry which is naturally hanging on my every word, I present Requirements for a Perfect Pair of Jeans:

 The perfect pair of jeans would be loose enough through the seat and thigh that I could sit down easily, but tight enough in the waist that when I did, I wouldn't have to worry about what was showing from behind.  It would be a dark color, to minimize my lower half.  It would be boot-cut, to balance my hips, and sit at my natural waist to cover my mommy-tummy. 

Is that so difficult?

(True story:  I was nursing Monkey3 the other day, when Monkey2 walked in and started poking at my stomach.  "Mama, are you growing another baby?" she asked.  "No, why do you ask?" I replied, because I'm a sucker for punishment.  "Because," she poked me again, "just look at this!"  Then I wrote her out of my will forever.  The End.)

The perfect pair of jeans does not exist.  This is true because some idiot in the fashion industry (possibly more than one) decided to bring back acid-wash jeans, like the eighties weren't bad enough the first time around.  Also because clothing designers have yet to discover that, after curving out to accomodate a woman's hips, you need to curve back in (going from the bottom, up) to take into account the fact that we also have a waist.  And boot-cut jeans are too hip to sit at the natural waist.  So, really, it's pretty much a lost cause.

The last time I bought jeans, I got them on sale at Chico's.  You have to love a store where no one is larger than a 3.  I bought jeans that filled all requirements except being boot-cut and fitting at the waist.  Then I took them to a tailor, and had her take in the waist a full four inches.  FOUR inches!!  "Wow" she told me, "your waist is really tiny!"  Actually, the truth is I have big hips, but she's been my favourite person since she said that.

I refuse to believe that my shape is that odd or difficult to fit.  I am a reasonably sized woman, with a very nice, womanly figure.  I don't need to look like Twiggy, and I should be able to buy pants that fit.  Standing in the fitting room (where nothing ever does) I repeat to myself:  "If Rembrandt were still alive, I would be a goddess!"

Maybe I should look into getting a toga.

The Never-Ending Highway

I pulled in to my in-laws' house at 2 a.m. Monday morning.  I should have arrived (by my calculations, which are sketchy, I admit) between midnight and 1.  I have no idea why I was an hour later than I had expected, except to say the the Pennsylvania Turnpike is a never-ending highway.  Like the loaves and the fishes (as my mother pointed out), it was simply creating more highway beneath my wheels as I drove, because why on earth else would it take me an entire extra hour to drive from Wheeling, W.V, to the Reading exit?

It was ok though, because I stopped at a quick-mart for gas, and bought a bottle of some totally disgusting energy drink that promised me 5 hours of energy, without sugar or caffeine, and no let down at the end.  I have no idea what was in it.  It was "grape" flavoured, tasted totally disgusting, and worked.  I'm trying not to think beyond that, about what I might actually have consumed.  I wouldn't have done it if I were pregnant, but since it's just me we're thinking of here, I decided it was worth it.  I was in possession of a car full of tired, sleeping children, and a cat who had been in his carrier (which he hates) since 8:00 that morning.  We got on the road at noon, and he yowled pretty much non-stop, all the way to PA.  (He hates travelling in the car, too.)

My options were the potion, or a hotel.  And there was no way I was leaving my poor cat in his carrier all night, and no possibility of getting him back in it the next day without one of us being scarred for life.  So I drank it, turned on country radio, and drove.

The Monkeys all woke up about 1:20, not too impressed with the fact that we were still on the road.  I promised them the exit was coming right up, and then told them how their Daddy whips around the curves on 568 whenever we're heading this way.  Always makes me nervous, but it's a road he knows and loves.  I was a bit more circumspect, since I could feel my buzz beginning to wear off.  The last thing I needed at that ridiculous hour, in that situation, was to flip us all off the road.  'Though we were wedged in so tightly with everything we packed, we probably wouldn't have moved at all as the car tumbled down the hill.  Ridiculous.

08 April 2010

We now return to your regularly scheduled mayem...

I have lot of things to share with you all.  Easter pictures, trip pictures, me surviving without the Mad Scientist anecdotes.  I'm not putting any of that up tonight however.  Tonight, I'd just like to say one thing:

It's a really good thing my nose works better than my brain:

These were supposed to be hard-boiled eggs for my lunch tomorrow.  I'm driving an hour south, to take a workshop on Natural Dyeing at The Fiber Event in Greencastle.  The directions said to bring an apron.  I have two, but they're both kitchen aprons, and I decided I wanted a dyeing apron.  So I got my eggs started (cover with cold water, then bring to a boil - check), and started working on my apron.

Just as I was finishing it, I smelled something funny.  Yes, that would be the remains of my eggs.  On to round two, in which I will try not to forget the eggs yet again, while typing directions for the sitter.

On the up side, the apron turned out pretty decent.  Not bad at all, really, for being whipped up without a pattern at nine thirty p.m.

A timer for the eggs might have been a good idea.  This has been a public service announcement.