Monthly Archives: November 2013

Turkeys and Breasts

So, I am going to share a “girl thing” and if you “boy things” are not interested, you should be.  Because your wife or significant other or future significant other or your cross-dressing significant other has or will feel this.

Ok, so deep breath.  I am going to pour this all out there, grain and chaff together and hope that a faithful friend will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and blow the chaff to the wind.  (Isn’t that a sweet quote?  My mom always said that to me, but not in this context.  But I worked it in, nonetheless.)

Last week, I was switching all my summer to winter clothes to my guest room closet (summer out/winter in) and I decided to try on my last year’s winter’s clothes, just for shits and giggles.

Bad idea.  First of all, some of the the pants did not zip (those that did not were quickly ferried off to my eldest daughter) and on the jackets, oh my beloved jackets, the darts for the boobs had moved.  Yes, the seam in the front around the chest area of the jacket that used to point upward toward my breasts were now pointing upward toward my chin. Yeah, picture it.  That means my breasts are inching toward my waist.

So, not to panic, I went to the women my friends have affectionely called the “Bra Nazis” and forged ahead, head held high, hoping my bustline might rise with it.  The store was empty. Just me and Hildegaard.  First she took a pink measuring tape to evaluate my size, shape and front or back clasp preferences–tilting her head side to side, stepping back and quinting one eye, pulling out everything but a slide rule to surmise the gravity (pun intended) of the situation. The dressing room had a peep window that my comrade started handing me bra after bra through, like her measuring tape, a pink seersucker curtain.  At first, the trades through the magic curtain went smoothly, bra in, try on, bra out, another option until the bra outs outweighed the bras in and Hildy ( we were on nickname basis by now) stepped in to get this show on the road.

Standing between me and the mirror, she suggested I was not perhaps bending over properly to get “the girls” in place and giving my options a proper chance.  My girls live with my grandsons in suburban Chicago and in LA respectively, so the reference to my drooping body parts as some sort of sorority sister set me slightly on edge.

Then the dreaded words slipped from her bright red lip-sticked lips, the words that will be indellibly etched in my mind for eternity, “Perhaps we should go up a cup size for the loose skin.” Huh?  Did she say go up a size because I am a perfect 10?!  I have this ringing in the ear thing that sounds like someone left on five tea kettles at simmer in the background of conversations all day long, so words get muffled.

“Excuse me?” I asked as politely as my naked half-upper body could muster.  “Yes, the lose skin.  We all have it. Especially in the back as we get older. We need to accomodate for it when we measure for the cup size. Let me get some more options.”

With this turn of events, the options went from something to harness “the girls” to something resembling small matching hammocks or the bras I used to see on the sale table when shopping with my mom that looked deep and nestlike; something I wanted to curl up and take a nap in.

Needless to say, the “girls” and I were not in a happy place, worse than the one we started in at my closet.

Waiting between curtain-surprise options, I looked in the mirror and realized my mother had secretly attached her hands to the ends of my arms.  My once slender fingers had developed rather gnarly joints that were surrounded by small islands of spots that floated on the tops of my hands like tiny brown inkblots.  I thought of the horror of my image on Face Time with my kids and understood once again why they are only allowed to see an empty couch or my unmade bed rather than me during these sessions.

Seriously, if I look like my image on my phone on Face Time, it’s time for a face lift.

So when option fifteen popped through the curtain in all its slightly-padded parachute back strap glory, I was no longer in the mood for a bra. I wanted the last twenty years back and a stiff drink.

Rather than run out topless in a blur of tears, I gathered what was left of my ego off the floor, picked up the three maybes on the chair in the dressing room and walked out $200.00 poorer with, of course, a pink plastic bag filled with mammoth-cupped bras stuffed with pink tissue.

Onward and upward, I stopped off on the way home to pick up the Thanksgiving turkey.  I do this messy but worth it brining bag thing that takes 24 hours of ice and herbs to seal in the juices and pop out a golden brown bird everytime.  I was busying myself  in the kitchen with turkey prep, pulling out the bag of gizzards and rinsing the old girl, patting her dry and it hit me.  This bird and I had a couple of very obvious things in common.

Loose back and neck skin.  And rather large breasts, I thought, as I stuck an apple and an onion in her now empty chest cavity.

And better still, I could have saved myself all that undergarment agony if I had just done the same with my bra. Round fruits and veggies stuffed in my bra could make for some pretty perky “girls.”

And I’d only have to shop at the grocery store where nothing is bagged in pink.


Dressing Up

Halloween or no Halloween, I am not much of a costume dresser upper. Even as a child, it was my mom, not me, who put thought into my Halloween costumes.  And more often than not they were one of a kind, handmade outfits her mother, my Grandma Kyle, had whipped up on her trusty treadle Singer. I was a circus clown, a Dutch girl, Pow Wow the Indian girl, all of which made it to the third generation as my daughter wore the same costumes gently preserved in tissue in a trunk at my mother’s house.

My grandma was a true seamstress. She made my mother’s wedding gown,and her sisters’, and even fashioned a woman’s wool suit out of a suit of my father’s which was the rage during WWII, I am told.  I suppose it was some sweet way to make all the war-torn marriages feel closer together, men in their dress blues and women in wool pinstripes.

Anyway, my grandsons this year were quite the adorable pumpkin and pilot. Not quite, I mean seriously adorable.  The oldest pulled a small airline suitcase to hold his candy and his dad said people on the street were calling him “captain” and asking when his next flight was going out.  The younger, whom we all agree is rather sturdy or borderline plump, probably just felt relieved that his mother finally dressed him in something that fit.

Kids and most adults just love Halloween.  But channeling my best Andy Rooney, I do not. For many reasons, but to save face and space and keep it to the last five of “60 Minutes,” I will highlight only a few of my Halloween aversions.

First, my idea of dressing up as someone else is when I wear jeans with holes in the knees that make me feel 18 or an old black vest that makes me feel like Annie Hall.  Similarly, I love my Meg Ryan thick-soled boots and miss my Princess Di haircut as much as I miss her. I suppose I work so hard at trying to stay age-appropriate and look like my preserved mental version of myself that the idea of taking on a whole new persona is overwhelming to me. Not to mention the self-confidence it takes to wear a costume that makes you look old, fat or ugly.

Oh no.  I work waaaaay too hard not to be any of those all day long to, God forbid, do them on purpose.

Nope, that costume thing? Not for me.  I’ll leave that to the confident, relaxed girls who love blackening a tooth to be an evil witch or wearing their daughter’s push-up bra to be a “waitress.”  I’d rather be wicked or sexy on my own terms, not for some overblown, out-of-control holiday that celebrates the night all the evil spirits emerge from their dark inner sanctum and haunt the earth before they are caught and shoved back where they belong by all the blessed saints on November 1.

Which brings me to another gripe I have with all our holidays, religious or otherwise.  When did we allow commercialism to let them become so over the top and out of whack?  I mean, really, there were pumpkins in Walgreens beside the back-to-school-supplies.  Santa’s reindeer were flying over rooftops in television commercials  on October 29 and do we even remember Thanksgiving anymore?  Other than that it’s the busiest weekend at America’s airports because all the college kids return to mama’s arms for the weekend?

Actually, I’m with Benjamin Franklin who wanted the founding fathers to move Thanksgiving to October with the harvest  where it makes sense like our more intelligent northern neighbor, Canada, does it. But no, that wouldn’t work because Walgreens would have to put the candy corn beside the turkey-and-gravy scented candles before July 4th sparklers and then that would push back Memorial Day flags into Valentine candy and we’d be wearing 2014 glitter glasses as Halloween costumes.

Now actually, that’s one dressing up idea I might oblige.