Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Horror of Skinny Pants

Am I the only woman on the planet Earth whose legs look nothing like this?

I doubt it, yet it seems as if every clothing designer this side of Mars has decided that enough women have skinny legs  to warrant manufacturing skin tight pants galore, leaving the rest of us poor slobs to don painter's pants or bell bottoms from the 1970s.

I've been to a half dozen stores looking for pants.  Now, I'm not stupid.  There are many pants that, upon a quick glance, are clearly too damn small.  But there have been others that showed promise.  Still, I've wiggled and tugged and considered using scissors to open leg seams to no avail.  Not one pair fit.

Okay, so you're thinking:  This woman must be large.

A tad overweight . . . Maybe.  But fat?  No way.  In the other world I used to inhabit, I routinely wore a size 8 or 10.

Is this yet another fashion conspiracy like 6" stiletto heels?  Bulky shoulder pads?  Humungous purses that throw off a woman's back alignment and send thousands to a chiropractor for treatment?

I hear rumbling from some out there about spending more time at the gym or settling for sweats that come in sizes to fit even the largest of us.

That's just not fair:  Most of the women I know DO exercise regularly and, if they don't, many were blessed with skinny legs.  (Damn them!)  And no one disagrees that sweats are comfy and cozy and all of that.  But there are times when we want to look a bit more presentable, even sexy.

Of course, there's the possibility that this is all about age.  Women over 50 are supposed to suck it up and cover up.  They shouldn't be wearing pants in the first place.  Maybe wide skirts that hang to the floor?  Housecoats?  Moo Moos?  Tents? Birkas?

Phooey!  Hollywood icons like Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and then Katharine Hepburn set the stage by wearing trousers in public well past their movie star prime.

“I dress for myself," Dietrich said.  "Not for the image, not for the public, not for the fashion, not for men.” She was a habitual wearer of loose trousers, and managed to look effortlessly striking.

Loose.  Hear that all you fashion designers out there who have collectively squashed the modicum of positive body image I and many others have salvaged? 

I can only hope that this skinny pant thing is one of those passing fads like hot pants, go-go boots, and culottes.  May they find their way to the vintage store or, better yet, in the garbage.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins had my number today in her piece titled "The Last Election List."  As far as I'm concerned, her fourth item on the checklist following fretting or not fretting about the electoral college and Donald Trump's "worst tweet of the election season" said it all:

4) Stop obsessively checking the polls.

"This has been going on way too long. Stop torturing yourself! Whatever Colorado is going to do, it’ll do it on Tuesday. Clean the basement. Read a novel. Consider purchasing a new pet. If it’s an Irish setter, you can name it Seamus."

Well, buying a new pet isn't on my list.  I have two Maine Coons, thank you.  Who wants to walk a dog?

But this obsessive checking of polls?  I'm guilty as charged.  I shudder to think how many times over the last few months I've logged on to the Huffington Post and, more recently, to Nate Silver's  "Five Thirty Eight" blog in the New York Times to check to see which states are leaning which way and the percentage point calculations.  All I do is type in "N" for Nate in my search bar, and Google takes me where I want to go.

And talk about obsessive!  It's not out of the question that I might check these sites multiple times a day, sometimes within an hour of the last check.  I'm like a woman on diet pills who steps on the scale to see if she's lost or gained an ounce after drinking a glass of water.

Enough is enough.  Collins is right: No amount of obsessing is going to change the electoral map or the final popular vote.  I did my part, donated money and time, and voted early this Monday. 

So I took Collins' advice and got a life:  Instead of obsessively checking the polls, I obsessively cleaned out the garage in preparation for winter, put the remainder of my garden "to bed," and stood on a ladder and finally cleaned the two ceiling fans with blades covered in many months' worth of dirt and grime. 

If only the election were tomorrow . . .

Friday, November 2, 2012

Moving Forward

Yep, that's what I'm gonna' do:  I'm moving forward.  That's what the Dems have told me to do, so who am I to disagree?  "Sweet dreams are made of this."

And sweet dreams are made of following our passion and doing in life exactly what we want to do.  Yeah, I know.  A lot easier said than done.  And believe me, these last couple of months during the 2012 election have put folks like me in super stress mode.  I'm lucky if I just make it through the day.

But enough is enough.  I'm moving forward.

And this time, I'm exploring a new career as one of those creative types who uses audio to "paint" stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  I've wanted to produce audio documentaries for the longest time.  And I've made small efforts to get my show on the road.  But something always got in the way, whether it was my age or money or just not making the right connections.

This time is different.  It's different because I just spent almost $500 on equipment.  So no wimping out, no turning back. 

As a writer, I know how to write a story.  But there are so many times when I've wanted to "hear" the story . . . to hear exactly what someone sounds like, to embellish the story with music and ambient sound, to hear when someone gasps or hems and haws or even cries. 

So, now I'm entering the world of microphones, tape recorders, headsets, computer editing programs, and who knows what else.  I'm not a techie by any means.  But I own enough Apple products to open a mini-mart, and I actually know how to use all these gadgets we can no longer live without.

Sure, I'll face times when I'll press the wrong button and stop recording right in the middle of the most important thing the interviewee has ever said.  I'll get tripped up in all the damn audio lines and land on my face.  And I'll probably be disappointed in my initial effort.

But the challenge of learning something new and of finally pursuing a passion I've put on the back shelf for far too long will compensate for the ups and downs along the way.

Scientists long ago proved that perhaps the best hedge against the pitfalls of aging is to keep our minds (and bodies) active by learning something new - something that excites us, makes us happy, gets our minds and our hearts moving full speed ahead.

Moving forward.  Amen to that!