Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Disappearing Series - Post #2

At the risk of being labeled something uncomplimentary, I venture into the second post of the Disappearing Series.

There used to be racks and racks of them in the lingerie department of May Co, Macy's and Sears:


In a variety of styles:

full length
knee high
mid length

                                                                                        with a myriad of trims and ribbons and fabrics

Lace hemmed

When I mentioned this missing-in-action item to my 30 year old daughter, I was surprised someone from her generation would reply, "I know mom, I went shopping for one the other day and could not find them anywhere!  She was a victim of 

The Disappearing Slip!!

Full ones that include a bodice (certainly out of underwear-style now) make great warm weather nighties.

AND they had a practical purpose. That's right, a sartorial function.

What to do when the underwear lines are showing through a clingy or sheer dress??? Put on a slip.

Yes, that's right, put on a silky piece of lingerie to smooth out the dimples and dumplings our less than perfect bodies develop when squeezed by elastic-edged undergarments.

Now a strange thing has developed in our freer-than-ever couture culture. Instead of putting ON another piece of underclothing to hide the lumps and bumps, we simply take what little underthings we are wearing.

And replace them with stringier, abbreviated versions, thereby leaving less between us and the view of the whole wide world.

I hate to say it but, we have a problem here. Because most of us could use a little fabric between our skin and the weather. Very few of us possess the body tone to carry this look off without attracting attention to the repeated movement of extra flesh.

For everyone's sake, girlfriends. 

Let's still the jiggle. 

If you are more inclined to take advice from an 80 year old than a 30 year old, here's this: On Christmas Eve, my mother in law recounted that while removing gifts from her trunk, a stiff breeze was blowing. Neighbors gathered across the street on the driveway. An unexpected gust blew the swishy part of her dress practically waist-high. Had it not been for the slip under her skirt, the neighbors would have had an eyeful. It was a close call, she giggled with a Santa-like twinkle in her eye. The wonders of the slip demonstrated!

Likewise, the  absence of this item can produce embarassing moments. (Presuming blushing still exists). Once a month families gather on stage at church for baby dedications. The singers, of which I am a part, and band remain on the platform during this important moment in a parent's life, to provide a little underscore of music.The young moms in clingy stretch cotton-T maxi dresses, front lit by the stage lights, leave nothing to the imagination, due to what's (not) underneath.

The band guys fidget awkwardly and try to figure out what to do with their eyes.

The 1960's full slip was featured in Mad Men's Maidenform episode. And had a brief come-back about 5 years ago when someone got the novel idea of turning the underslip into an outer dress. By adding glittery sequins, pearls and other embellishments, it was marketed as a cocktail dress....didn't hear or see anything about them afterwards...just an interesting article of a wannabe trend that never took off.

It's very likely I'm behind the times. That I'm going 20 in a 60 mile-an-hour fashion runway. Just as was Scarlett O'Hara when Rhett Butler chided her that pantaloons had long gone out of style. Even so, back then they had nine yards of fabric to maintain their modesty. Seems that's a fading fad, too.

Enough of my futile rant about limping lingerie in the 21st century.

Here's to a Merry Christmas and a stylish 2013.

May Santa slip a slip in your stocking.

Otherwise, I think you can find them online.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Disappearing Christmas Card

What is it about this stage in life where one constantly looks back, rather than forward??
Immersed in photos and life stories of my ancestors rather than the current living, I obsess with remembering the good ole days instead of happy expectation for the days to come. Why not relish the beauty of the present, rather than lament the loss of the past.

It's not healthy. One should focus on today and looked forward to the future.
After all God is a God-of-the-Now and we should walk in that. Carpe Diem! Live in the present.

However, with the soon passing of 2012, allow me to indulge myself (It's-my-blog-I-can-cry-if-I-want- to) and launch a stream of posts called

The Disappearing Series 

Here I will remember and maybe mourn the loss of items, customs and events that  have gone out of fashion. Things that made life more polite, civilized, rich and genteel. (Now there's a word straight out of "Gone With The Wind")!!!

So, first: The Disappearing Christmas Card.

Sorry, but an email just doesn't cut it. Those animated cards from American are cute, I admit. But there's nothing like the surprise in the mailbox that is not a bill or advertisement. 

It's a human touch
written with 
 the energy of a loved one's hand, 
 thoughts of their mind 
living emotion of their heart

all encapsulated in the handwritten address.

Walk to your mailbox.
 Reach in the cool tin hollow. Feel the texture of linen paper. Hear the seal snap.  Anticipate the contents while you tear it open with dinner knife, letter opener or index finger. 
Let your heart be tickled.

Sadly at my house, laziness has won with printed names and photos.  The Costco picture cards are getting old, but they are so time efficient. My mother would pore over each card and add a personalized note. The envelopes trickled out as she completed a few each night. 

An annual message of care at Christmas goes a long way.  Traditionally the list begins with the wedding guest book and grows over the years.  

My list has shrunk.  There are names in my Christmas Card Record book, I don't even recognize anymore. Were they college friends in LA, young couples from our Newport beach days? Or folks from our child rearing era in Thousand Oaks, California. After 14 years in Florida even friends have changed. Hard to keep up.

Perhaps that's one of the things we'll do in heaven. A thousand years to rekindle relationships.

While on earth, Christmas Cards keep them going. 

A text message is better than nothing,  I guess. "Merry Christmas to all our Friends" sent out to all your contacts says something, for sure. Try to respond to the group text and you've launched mass confusion rather than stoked the love.

Social networking has captured our complete attention. So much faster than a card or letter. But has it made us more loving and caring and really fostered meaningful friendships? Has it really improved our social or family life? Maybe some say yes.

Did you read the article where the person with 400 friends tried to have a get-together and none of the 400 'friends' came? 

The Shaws hang our Christmas cards on two long ribbons on the front door. The space needed is less and less with each year.  Where once there were three ribbons, now there are only two. 

Four cards are hung to date with ten days left till Christmas.

Multiple trips to the photo counter, and arguments with husband over photos and wording made it truly a labor of love. But so worth it!

Oh, and in case you didn't get our card in the mailbox at then end of your driveway....

consider this post your Holiday Greeting.



Saturday, December 8, 2012

lost in the forest of seventeen

They say it happens at age fourteen for girls. Overnight some alien starts inhabiting their bodies, replacing the girl that was known and loved with an impossible, emotionally charged, otherworldly being. This lasts for about 3-5 years before the old girl returns and the family is once again right side up.

For boys it happens around seventeen. They enter this forest preceding adulthood, leading the parents into the woods to find their lost son. Whatever moral compass or map they seemed to own in childhood is suddenly lost as they discover a world of new senses, experiences and manly power - a dangerous combination.

Attempting to rescue and prevent impending disaster, I follow blindly into the woods.

And soon we were both lost. Vision truncated to a few feet in front of me. Occasionally a trace of his whereabouts as I stumble in the dark and sunless green.

This forest of seventeen.

Gnarly roots protruding, I trip on clues. Like Visine-to-get-the-red-out, odd items hidden under hedges and behind pots, getting sick on the bedroom couch in the middle of the night....because you ate something bad last night??? Couch is put out for bulk trash. Stunned, my face hammers into a pillar of bark. Smack hard,
staggering, dazed,
wondering what just happened.

I wonder all the time.

Conversations are spoken as if through a smoky glass. Furtive glances replace eye contact. Garbled words for plain answers, lacking logic. Stories don't line up. Reality warped and stretched like carnival mirrors - shapes distorted and confusing.  The fog lays heavy, through the thickly growing arbors.

 I brush him sometimes and sense him near, but not really. The light has left his eyes.

Some mothers, less sensitive to privacy,  break through by scanning text messages and caller ID to confirm the bad friends and suspect girlfriend. I sum up the sketchy evidence and draw frightening conclusions that may or may not be true.

Knees are raw from praying, heart sore and eyes empty of tears.

I'm not sure when we will see light again.

Did you leave a trail of stones or bread? Anything to help us find our way out to

clear skies and

cleansing sun,

honesty, truth, innocence.

So far, not even a dot of light on the charcoal horizon...

(Note to concerned readers: We are not in crisis. After raising 4 boys, this is a collective, general reflection of a stage I've noticed some sons go through. We are fine, though never without need of God's grace and guidance.)

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