We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Inspiration

It’s Sunday night, and because I’m supposed to be doing my homework, I’m scrolling through my social media. By now, you know my ability to task avoid could win me a gold medal if it was an Olympic Sport; on this particular Sunday I am outperforming my usual excellence in not doing what I tell myself I’m supposed to. I begin watching a sweet video about people giving advice to their younger selves; I had just begun the inspired rapid eye blinking that signifies a heartfelt “Awwwwww” is about to escape, when my husband interrupts me with the dulcet tones of, “Whatareyoudoingwhat’sfordinner?” He says this as if it’s one word, so read it that way.

We pursue our inspiration differently, my husband and I. His is more along the lines of finishing a project and finding satisfaction in a job well done. Mine comes from looking around, taking stock, celebrating the moment, and sharing that with others, usually the family. Sometimes that blends, sometimes it doesn’t. Sunday night, for example, he has taken a break from his newest project related to restoring an antique Ford pickup truck (forest green, 1963 F150 for those of you who speak Car and Truck). He’s inspired, gratified, motivated, and quiet obviously, hungry.

If I were a subservient wife, I would stop watching my video clip and hunt/gather/prepare dinner. I am not such a person. Make of this what you will. I finished watching the clip, and then called husband and son to help me with dinner. What we lack in culinary prowess, we more than make up for in ability to transform a humble meal into a social occasion. We eat in the dining room this Sunday evening, largely because my homework occupies my kitchen table. We don’t’ light the candles, but we sit and visit, laugh and tease, have a serious discussion about adulthood, and a lighter one about my unfinished sewing projects.

We clean up the table together and retreat to our own caves: Husband into the garage, though he welcomes us all to join and grab a wrench; Son to his room to listen to his newest music find (Salsa? Calypso? I can’t quite tell which); me to my homework to wrestle with the twin desires of completing work ahead of time and the equally provocative notion of finishing the book I’ve been reading.

I finish the homework, smug and self-satisfied for completing it early, and then grin when I realize what I would have contributed to the video of what I’d tell my younger self.

“Hey! Son!” I holler over the salsa/calypso/happy music playing in his room.

“What?”

“I love you, and I think you’re really great!”

He doesn’t respond because that’s not his way, but his happy chuckle is better music than the tune on the radio.

“Hey! Husband! I love you!” I call over his swearing at the truck’s reluctance to part with some mechanism or other.

His grimy, smiling face pops out from under the truck. “Love you too. Will you pass me that wrench?”

Task accomplished, I am now ready for my turn on the video. My advice to my younger self: don’t miss a chance to tell people you love them.

An Uncluttered Yet Fashionable New Year

On New Year’s Eve, while Times Square glowed with overcrowded exuberance and California was rockin’ with Pitbull and his sparkly backup dancers, I was at home merrily trolling YouTube and researching the uncluttered lifestyle, particularly as this relates to clothes. I am a fan of clothes, mostly because they cover my person and keep me from causing people to get into accidents because they are laughing too hard at the nekkid middle-aged woman getting the mail or going for a Mocha. If I didn’t have my clothes to absorb the coffee I invariably spill as I run my errands, I’d burn myself. Clothes are a practical, useful invention. That they can also be pretty is a bonus.

After spending about 20 hours studying and note-taking (yep, I really did), pondering my own fashion steps and blunders, I arrived at some pretty good conclusions about clothing, fashion, and wardrobes. I am now going to share all this knowledge with you. Consider this the abbreviated version of my research:

  1. Buy undergarments that fit. Men and women, please respect your parts. Make them feel special. If you choose to go all-natural under your clothes, then make sure those clothes can accommodate that. For women, clothes don’t look right if “the girls” are not secured appropriately. While nothing feels better than removing the bra at the end of the day, nothing looks worse than clothes that gap/poke/sag in the chestal region. If you are one who doesn’t wear a bra, great. Again, just make sure your clothes can let you fly free without any bits and parts showing or playing peekaboo.

In terms of underwear, if you are shaped as a human person, no thong or Spanx-ified undergarment is going to make gravity less of a force of nature. Buy panties that cover what they need to cover. If you have a problem area, rather than thinking that you will drop/gain 20 pounds in the next 10 minutes, deal with the situation as it is and save the thong or boycut undies or boxers or whatevertheheck style for yourself and/or a loved one when the situation calls for something a little sassier.

  1. Buy clothes that fit and only keep clothes that fit. “D’uhhhhh” I hear you say. I’ve said it too. However, and this is a pretty big however, did you ever notice that people tend to think they wear “this” size and only this size? In reality, particularly for women’s clothes, sizes and cuts are different across brands. I am a pear-shaped woman, and the pear is only going to become more pear-like as I age. I’m cool with that, but I also have to accommodate my changing shape. The Dockers I wore before I had kids still technically go on my body, but realistically, they don’t fit. When I go shopping now, I have to allow for the effects of gravity and time on my person. I buy pants with button-flap pockets on the backside to make it appear as though I have a tush, when in reality all I have are pockets. I got rid of those cute little Dockers of yesteryear and didn’t mind; I have adult children who thought it was hilarious that I was putting them on in the first place.

Whatever your body type, please buy clothes that fit. I am not ashamed to say I have a range of sizes in my closet, not because my weight fluctuates, but because the cut of clothes fluctuates. I have learned that, as it relates to pants in particular, if they are lower-rise, I need to size up so that I don’t have to worry about muffin-top because that just looks wrong. I’m a person, not a baked good. In dresses, I wear a smaller size, probably because I don’t have to allow for the pear shape quite as much. I still have to pay attention to whether the fabric pulls across the hips, though. If it does, I don’t get the dress. Money saved.

  1. Buy clothes that make you feel wonderful. As a person who sews, I love the drape and feel of fabric. I do not love the drape and feel of certain fabrics and will therefore not wear them. Clothes that squeeze you, poke you or in any way inhibit your full range of motion might appeal to you on some level, but they will look like you are being squeezed, poked, and inhibited. If that’s the look you’re going for, then okey dokey, but don’t complain to me that your feet hurt or that your pants are too tight.
  2. Own your basics and build from there. Your basics are not going to be my basics. I can’t wear black because, when I do, I look like an anemic mortician. My version of a little black dress is a little purple dress. Maybe your little black dress is blue, or green, or a swirly paisley print. The point is that it’s a go-to dress. Maybe your little black dress is a pair of slacks and your favorite shirt. Whatever it is, if you are older than 16, you should have a go-to outfit that looks good on you. I am still looking for the perfect pair of black shoes, but I have reason to believe it’s because I’m a little fickle in the footwear department.
  3. Own something in your favorite color. I don’t care what the garment is; just make sure you have something in your favorite color. I recently learned that my mother’s favorite color is yellow. She is a beautiful, brilliant bundle of momma-ness, and I am pretty sure the closest she has come to yellow is a peach-colored polo. I will be remedying that very shortly, because there is something very powerful about wearing the color that makes you happy in the first place. My favorite colors are purple and green, and I have two accessories in this combination: a pair of ear rings and a scarf. I wear these on days when I need a little boost, either of confidence or sparkle.
  4. Be true to you. This sounds kinda hokey, but it’s true: aside from workplace uniforms, you’re not going to wear clothes that don’t make you feel like yourself, so don’t waste your money. My daughter’s aesthetic is a bohemian combination of graphic tees punctuated with business attire. It works for her. My husband has a clothing rotation that puts the capsule wardrobe to shame. A friend of mine has a flower-print button down that she wears with the silver and turquoise ear rings a student made for her. Most of my clothes are along the classic/preppy line because, at heart, I’m the embodiment of the girl next door. Whenever I wear a stiletto or a bustier or something slightly more daring, I seriously look like I’m a toddler who’s playing dress up. Classic and unpretentious works for me. I have a couple scandalous pieces in the closet, but they’re not for the public’s viewing.

That’s what I learned as the ball dropped on 2015. I begin 2016 with a sorted closet; and I am wearing my favorite tan shorts and purple t-shirt. I went and got a Mocha without spilling a drop. Not a bad way to start a year.