Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Friday, May 13, 2011

Stand up in your stilettos and be counted!

So, this morning, I was watching a news piece on the Today Show about the new age “expirations” on certain fashions for women. Below is the list that, according to a large group of well-dressed Britons is what is fashion and age acceptable in today’s world(flashback to Princess Beatrice’s “statement” hat at a certain recent wedding – not sure I’m ready to take my fashion cues from the Brits.)

Bikinis: 47
Miniskirts: 35
Stilettos: 51
Knee-high boots: 47
Leggings: 45
Tight vest: 44
See-through blouse: 40
Long hair: 53
Ponytail: 51

Ok, I’m looking at said list and…hmmmm…I’ve already violated three of these new “laws”. It would have been four, but I’m not a vest person, unless I’m wearing chainmail on Halloween. I’m on the ragged edge of the “bikini” law and the knee-high boots law, although I’m really not worried about the boots because in another year or so knee high boots will be “out” and no one will be wearing them anyway. As it is, I have one pair, and I usually pull them out once a year, maybe, if it’s the right occasion. That doesn’t happen often.

Now I understand where the folks that make up this “fashion taliban ” are coming from with their new age limitations, but I think they are truly missing what the REAL issue is – it is not an “age” thing. It is a “reality” thing. Everyone’s reality is different, of this much I am sure. Indeed, I have seen 55 year old women who ROCK a miniskirt AND knee-high boots, TOGETHER even (oooh, the horror!) I have also seen twenty year olds who should not only retire their miniskirts early, they should have never contemplated one in the first place. Clearly, they either do not own a mirror or they have no semblence of what is tasteful.

It’s not that I am still willing to don a 17 inch “belt” and call it a skirt. Those days are long gone for this girl, and good riddance. I’m not sure that it was ever a good idea in the first place. However, I will put on a 19 inch skirt (which is mid thigh on me since I am only 5’2”) and think nothing of it. I’ve got nice legs, and a fair amount of confidence to pull it off. I also have no problem putting my derierre in a bikini, although five years ago at nearly a size 14, I wouldn’t have dreamed of it. See my point? Not an age thing. For me, it was a SIZE thing, and there is nothing attractive about a middle-aged overweight woman trying to stuff her butt in a two piece…not a good choice and let’s just leave it at that.

I look at women like Jennifer Aniston, whom I consider to be one of the most elegant women of my generation. Yes, she is unbearably thin with a personal trainer, chef, and incredibly gifted stylist. But that still does not erase the fact that she is 46 years old. So according to the fashion taliban, her miniskirt/short dress days are long gone, and she should really at least start considering cutting her hair. And make it what style??? That crappy boufant hairdo all of our grandmothers sported??? Please…(insert rolling my eyes here.) She is gorgeous and looks hot in whatever she puts on…there is no doubt she could do justice to a burlap sack with a piece of rope around the waist. And I am damn sure that if she did wear said sack, she would be wearing a hot pair of stilettos with it, not a pair of birkenstocks (not that there is anything wrong with birkenstocks…ok, let’s just say they’re not my “style statement”).

As for myself, I will be easy to spot. I will that seventy-five year old woman in stilettos, cruising around on her jazzy (complete with custom paint job and cupholder for my cocktail.) Bill is on notice, not only do I wish to be buried in a pair of unbearably high Gucci pumps, but I am taking ALL my stilettos with me. I will wear a bikini until gravity takes its full effect, and I can see in the mirror that it is no longer a “good idea”. I will wear my hair long and big (I am and always will be a “child of the 80’s), and I while I may drop the hem in my miniskirts, they will always be above the knee. Fashion is an attitude, like so many other things in this world. For me, if I want to feel every bit of my 46 years, then I’ll go slip into a pair of mom jeans and an oversized shirt that hides every bit of feminity I have. Not only will I look like crap, I will feel like crap…not what I want for myself. I want to wake up and feel wonderful, bordering on fabulous, every single day.

Wear what you’re happy in...wear what you feel good in...wear it with confidence and a smile. If comfort is your priority, then it’s all good. If you’re looking to make a statement, that’s great too. As long as you are tasteful, elegant, and classy, it is of no concern to anyone else. Chances are, any finger pointing comes from a place of envy on the part of said finger-pointer who does not have the guts to be their own woman and have their own style – or perhaps they have no style at all.

Life, like fashion, is a state of mind, an attitude that defines us. Live it on your own terms, and to hell with the rest of them.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

90% me & 10% someone else...where is the equity in that???

Ok, in all honestly, it is WAY LESS than 10%. Pathetic, I know. Mostly pathetic because I keep making the same stupid overtures, expecting a different outcome. I am pretty sure that is the definition of stupidity in Websters Dictionary.

My mother used to tell me two things. First, she used to say that if there is a “wounded bird” within a fifty mile radius my front door, for sure it would land on my steps. Secondly, she would often remind me that having “doormat” tattooed on my forehead was not only unattractive, it was idiotic. Being nice has its rewards. Being too nice is usually rewarded with punishment of some sort. As usual, Mom, you’re were spot on in your summation.

So, as a result of my very special forehead tattoo, my life has been peppered with relationships that usually left me feeling empty, unappreciated, and taken advantage of on a grand scale. I’ve bent over backwards so many times for individuals that I have developed a talent for being what I like to think of as “emotionally double-jointed.” As a general rule, I never set the bar too high on my level of expectation, so any subsequent disappointment is tempered. Still, sometimes there are people and relationships that I can’t help but expect more from, mostly because I have tried so hard for so long. In the end, while my effort is exponential, what I get in return is usually less than what I would get from anyone else, even strangers.

Such is my most recent experience with someone who shall remain nameless. I am not trying to spare her feelings, mind you, but the feelings of “others” (nameless as well) who hold this person very dear to their hearts. I have heard, ad nauseum, about what a “good” and “family-oriented” person she is. Unfortunately, despite my best attempts to build a special bond and relationship with her, I’ve pretty much been slapped in the face, figuratively, by this “wonderful individual” at every turn. My final conclusion? She is a bitch, in every sense of the word, who can think of only those who she deems useful and necessary in her life. If she isn’t getting anything out of the relationship, then she is putting zero effort into it. Well, guess what, honey? I am DONE, OVER IT, THROUGH WITH YOUR ASS. And once I go down that road??? Well, there is usually no turning back. I will take a lot, but once you cross that magical line in the sand, you are persona non grata to me. That is where I am finally at in my “non-relationship” with this person.

What is sad is the fact that the one who really loses in all of this is her child. She will not have the pleasure and joy of knowing me, or how much love I have to give. She will not be the recipient of my generosity or kindness, because her mother has made it abundantly clear, my services as “someone important” in her life are not required. Nice..glad to see she is thinking of no one but herself. What a special person...I am rolling my eyes now.

In the end, I am sure I will be the one who is criticized for “cutting her off” or “not being understanding” because “she has so much on her plate” and so many commitments to others. Hmmmmmmm…I could be wrong (I’m thinking not) but the only commitment I’ve ever seen her exercise is her commitment to herself and what benefits her or her immediate family. She cares not for other people, and really has no issue with making people feel obligated in order to get what she wants from anyone. Were she not a significant person in the life of someone I love to pieces, I would not have spent ten minutes trying to be good and kind to her. I suspected from the start that she was exactly the way she really is.

I know that sometime in the future, down the road, she will “need” me for something. I will try not to gloat as I tell her to take her “needs” and sleep with them under her pillow, because that will be as close as she gets to her “needs” being fulfilled by me. It may not be the “right” or “Christian” or selfless thing for me to do, but for once, it will feel damn good to not have some undeserving pain in the ass wiping their boots on my very special forehead tattoo.

See? Maybe I have finally learned something useful after all these years. :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Moms and’s a relationship washed in tears, dried in understanding, and wrapped up in a love that defies explanation. In particular, I believe the love between a mother and daughter is not for the faint of heart. I look at my own mother, and realize that while I love her more than any other woman in my life, I caused her endless amounts of pain and grief, worry and anger. It was not something I intended to do, and I have spent many long hours trying to understand my actions and choices as I wandered through my life, sometimes zig-zagging around like a drunken fool. In the end, it all turned out just fine, but WOW, what a rollercoaster ride!

Mom and I have come to a point where, after all the struggle, we are left with a deep and abiding love for each other, a mutual respect for our differences, and a friendship that will carry us through for the rest of our lives. I am thankful for that more than anyone could ever imagine. Along with my sister, she is the person I trust implicitly to be supportive, and more importantly, be honest, even when it isn’t exactly what I want to hear.

Why is it that mothers and daughters have such tempestuous relationships? I can see the power struggle starting to evolve with my own daughter, which makes me cringe at what the next several years will bring. I don’t want to be a bitch, and I’m pretty sure she does not want to be a pain in my arse, but so often that is where we end up. Thankfully, both she and I are quick to forgive, and our arguments are short-lived. But they are becoming more frequent, and that part is hard. She wants to be a “teenager.” I want her to stay my “little girl” forever. It’s hard to reconcile the child with the “almost woman” that I can see just around the corner. She is a lot like me, and that right there, is good AND bad, all at the same time. All I can do is give her the tools to make intelligent and thoughtful decisions, and teach her that the greatest gift we can give others is our compassion. To that end, I am very thankful. I am blessed with a daughter whose heart is as big as the ocean, and who’s level of common sense is greater than many adults I come in contact with on a daily basis. She’s stronger than me when I was her age. She stands up for herself and what she believes in, and she doesn’t let the world push her around. Another thing to be grateful for, as it will serve her well in a world full of disappointment and hard knocks. I hope when Tricia is older, she will realize that all I ever wanted for her was the best of everything.

My own mother has made me a better mother, a better person. I have watched her all my life, with an immeasurable amount of admiration for all the adversity she has fought and overcome. I’m so proud of her and her accomplishments. Truly, she is one amazing broad. I just hope she knows that in her own heart. All I want for her now is to be happy, and make choices for herself that are what SHE wants. She has spent a lifetime as a caretaker for so many. Now it is time for her to take care of herself. I tell her that every time we talk.

To my daughter, even when you think I’m just your “mean old mom”, know that everything I say and do if for your well-being. I love you more than you could ever understand.

To my sister, I look at you with such love and respect for the mother that you are. Your selflessness and devotion to you children in nearly unparalleled. I am in awe of you. You are one of my very best friends, and I love you.

To my mother, well, you know how I feel. We’ve had the conversation many times recently. Ours is a bond rooted in something really extraordinary. You didn’t have to love and accept me when you married Dad. But you did, and it changed my life. You saved me, Mom. I love you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the women in my life who inspire me in so many ways. We are all mothers in one way or another, and we are all deserving of beautiful things.

Monday, May 2, 2011

God Bless America...and all those who call it home

Bill never calls at 6am, but this morning the phone rang…

His message was simple…Bin Laden was dead, killed by a team of Navy Seals. It took a moment for the news to settle into my brain, and then I started to cry. It’s hard to even put into words my emotions – relief and joy mixed with haunting memories of sorrow and heartbreak. It was like someone turned on a spigot and all those feelings of 9/11 came flooding back. I remember how beautiful that morning was as I clipped fresh herbs in the backyard, and how I heard a thunderous “boom”, thinking to myself how is there thunder on a perfect sunny day? I hadn’t turned on the tv yet, so I had no idea what was happening. What I heard was the plane hitting the Pentagon not far from my home.

I thought about my then neighbour and friend Jackie. Our two toddlers played together blissfully ignorant of the tragedy unfolding, while we sat glued to the television scared out of our minds. Her husband, Patrick, was stuck on Capitol Hill. No one could get out of the city, and there was that rumor of another plane headed to D.C. My then husband, Gary, was not a half mile from the Pentagon when the plane hit. Indeed, he was to have been at a meeting that morning in that very section of the five-sided puzzle palace. At the last minute, the meeting was moved to another location, thank God. We saw the World Trade Center fall, both of us speechless at the horror we witnessed. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think of that day and not think about what Jackie and I shared.

Likewise, that following weekend, I visited my friend Cathy Kern Rombola at her home in northern Jersey, a reunion that had been in the making for some time. When I arrived, everything was so still so fresh. We drove to a location overlooking the river and downtown Manhattan, what was left still smoldering. We sobbed for what seemed like an eternity. Another image seared into my brain.

For days, I was glued to the television. I didn’t sleep, I didn’t eat. I was addicted to the 24 hours news cycle. It took weeks for me to even begin to show some semblance of myself. But like most people, I was forever changed. I really believe that we, as a nation, truly lost any innocence we may have had. Nothing has been the same since.

So, when I heard of Bin Laden’s demise, I was expecting more of a sense of justice, but it wasn’t there. They said on the news that he was responsible, over the past twenty years, for the deaths of more than 15,000 people, more than 8,000 of them his own Muslim brothers and sisters. How do you ever get justice for the loss of so many innocent lives? Add to that the grief and despair suffered by all those whose loved ones had died, and the numbers of individuals affected are simply mind-numbing. Just wrapping your head around the totality of the situation is enough to make you vomit. There will never be justice for the evil he inflicted on those people, those families, on all of us really.

May the jubilance that so many feel at this bastards death not overshadow the symbolic meaning of his death, the selfless courage of our military and our intelligence communities, and the closure that the families of 9/11 victims so desperately need in order to heal their hearts. I wish them peace, and any comfort they can derive from this moment.

And God bless America.