Monday, November 29, 2010

What Not To Wear No Matter What the Ads Say!

"You look so hot."

As I stood before my husband of twenty-plus years, I waited with anticipation for him to say those words.  I was standing before him in my new "Not Your Daughter's Jeans," the jeans I had contemplated buying for so long and finally splurged on, paying a whopping $100.00 for.  The sales lady did a great job, as did the manufacturer of the jeans; I fit comfortably into a whole size smaller than what I usually wear.  I've been wearing these jeans proudly for two weeks, wearing them in place of all others because I knew how they flattered me, held in my curves and gave me the confidence to accept my 53-year-old, middle-aged spreading body. "I look hot!" and I strutted like I knew it!

So, after a trip to the mall where my husband pecked me on the lips - in public! - something he hasn't done in ages, I just knew it was because of my jeans and the body they gave me. 

So, when he asked, "Where did you get those jeans?" I couldn't wait to gush after he told me just how good I looked. 

Then, he said, "They don't flatter you at all." 

He apologized for having to tell me, told me my figure is so much better than what the jeans do for it and added, "YOUR HIPS STICK OUT AND WHEN I WALKED BEHIND YOU YOUR BUTT LOOKED HUGE!"

I was mortified, truly mortified and all the pep talks I've been giving myself to accept myself just the way I am went right out the window.

I laughed it off, told him they were supposed to be the best fit, marketed to women like me, and of course I never mentioned the price I'd paid for them because he wouldn't believe it.  I am the ultimate thrift store shopper, I never, ever, ever pay regular price for clothes, except this time I paid a hundred dollars for a pair of jeans that prompted my usually always complimentary husband to tell me I looked fat! 

I don't care if I've washed the jeans a couple of times, cripe I've worn them so often I've had to, but that store is getting their jeans back and I'm taking my $100.00 and going to Target and buying five pairs of the men's Wranglers for twenty-bucks I've been wearing for years. 

Buyer Beware!  Take a girlfriend or a husband with you when you shop so you can get the truth when you try on clothes and they will be sure to tell you "WHAT NOT TO WEAR!"

Friday, November 19, 2010

Domestic Goodness

When it’s cold, which Las Vegas has thankfully become, I become very domestic. I bake bread, make hearty meals and lots of soup. Our friend, Tom, who visits often from his beachfront house in Key West, Florida said, “Boy, when the weather changes, you cook a lot” and he’s right. Although I am always complaining I haven’t enough time in the day to do things, I always manage to whip up a three-course meal. The trouble is, there’s only the two of us so I share as much as I can; otherwise I would be as big as my (bless her departed soul) Italian Aunt Jean who was a wide as she was short. Nothing makes me happier than making food and feeding people, but I will admit I wouldn’t want to do it every single day.

Recently my daughters came for a visit, as did a couple of out-of-town friends. Their arrival happened on the same day John and I had returned from our recent road trip. Needless to say, it was the beginning of a very hectic, physically and mentally taxing weekend. In addition to all the things I had to catch up on after a vacation, I had people to feed. By Sunday evening’s dinner I was completely exhausted. But the meal was, if I do say so myself (which I am as I’m the one writing this), amazing: Roasted penne pasta in my homemade red sauce, baked squash, fresh brussel sprouts, toasted garlic bread, bread pudding (I had to use up stale bread), and homemade pumpkin pie.

Table set and ready to dig in
As I sat back with a full belly and an even fuller glass of wine, I watched my guests eating and talking with complete exhausted contentment. I did this. I brought these people together in my home and made them feel welcome. I admit it; I had tears in my eyes and a smile on my face (I’m sure the wine was having an effect). This is what life and family and the human experience should be all about. One of our guests said that I should live in a compound where all my family could live in close proximity of one another and I said that’s exactly what I have wished for. Unfortunately, these gatherings take place only on occasion.

When my husband owned and operated Signature Café in Attica, New York from around 1999 to 2001, I had a similar experience. I made five soups a week, which our customers raved about. Along with John, I fed the masses that frequented our establishment with homemade, hearty meals and shared in gossip, everyday talk, and friendship. We loved it. Unfortunately, too many things prevented us from staying in business: high taxes, high cost of operation, and not enough income to sustain us. The memory of our little café in the little village will always remain one of our fondest.

Lisa and John standing proud in their cafe

Signing the wall in Signature Cafe
Again, I admit I wouldn’t be able to, nor want to sustain the amount of work it takes to feed so many on a regular basis, but oh, how I loved doing it.

Things are quiet around our house now but the holidays are upon us and I know that I will have good smells wafting from my kitchen and jumbled conversation from the full house of guests soon enough. I’m looking forward to it but am enjoying the peace and quiet while again.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Truth Be Told

Recently our eight-year-old grandson Aiden hit a milestone; he learned about telling the truth.

We, meaning Papa John, Nana (Me), and Aiden were on a road trip this past weekend. The three of us always have a good time; Aiden just happens to like his grandma and grandpa enough to spend a lot of time with us.

We had stopped to eat lunch and when back on the road we noticed a produce stand, which I always have to stop at like some people have to go to yard sales. Aiden and I got out of the truck while Papa stayed in. While I shopped Aiden, being the little boy he is, tromped out to a nearby plowed field. When I finished the two of us piled back in the truck and we headed out of town.

About five miles out I said, “Where’s my cell phone?” It wasn’t in the little slot where I keep in on the dash when we are driving. I looked on the floor, on the seat, in the bags, and in my purse to no avail. I didn’t recall taking it with me when I went to buy the veggies, but I could have.

After searching in vain, John pulled over on the highway and I did a more thorough search.  I got a sinking feeling that I’d lost my $200.00 phone and preparing myself for the hassle ahead, not to mention the embarrassment of doing something so careless. Aiden kept saying, “Calm down, Nana.” He also said, “You know you are forgetful because you're getting old.”

A day earlier he had made me laugh with a similar comment. When I did something, I can’t remember what. he’d patted my arm and said, “Its age, Nana, its age.” I laughed at that then but this time I feared he was getting a little to close to the truth. Apologizing to my husband as he made a u-turn so we could go back to the stand to look, I felt like I was too old to be making such a mistake.

When we got there the people said they had not found my phone. It was then that Aiden tugged on my sleeve and said, “Nana, when we got out of the truck before I took your phone and put it in my pocket.” He said he did it because he thought “someone might call,” which of course was his cover story; he took it just because. He showed that the phone was no longer in his coat pocket and it was then I remembered he had been running through a plowed field. I motioned for John to come and told him the story; if anyone can find a needle in a haystack or a black cell phone in a field of dirt, it’s my husband. Luckily, with the help of the others we located it quickly – and I mean luck because I really believed we were out of it.

Back in the truck a silent Aiden received a tongue-lashing from a Papa who very rarely disciplines him. As we continued on our way Aiden felt the weight of our disappointment and kept quiet for many a mile. Sometime later I spoke up. I told him I was very upset not only because he had taken my phone without permission, but hurt because he had made me feel as though I was responsible. He had also made it seem as though I was old and forgetful (a mortal sin in itself!). However, I continued, he had been brave enough to tell us the truth; he’d made a mistake and admitted it and for that I was very proud of him. I told him that we all make mistakes and the mark of a person with character is when they can admit it and face the consequences.

Eventually, our boy came around and he once again participated in our road trip adventure.

What his actions reminded me of is when I was around his age I did something that caused me to tell a big ‘ole lie that I eventually had to admit to. It was awful and a memory that is seared in my mind.

My childhood caregiver was my grandmother.  While she worked during the week I came home to an empty house every day after school. One day I was at the top of our stairs playing with a basketball when I lost my grip on it. It bounced down the stairs and right through the window of the front door, smashing the glass. I was horrified and didn’t know how to explain it when my grandmother came home. So, I made up a story that someone had tried to break into the house.  My grandmother called the police. That little lie kept getting bigger and bigger until I could no longer contain it. 

I was terrified because I didn’t know how to get myself out of it. I eventually told one of my brothers the truth and he acted as my buffer, telling the police and our grandmother that it was me who had broken the glass.

I don’t recall getting punished or even a lecture, but I do know I learned a big lesson that day: Telling the truth is scary but a lie takes on a life of its own. 

I hope Aiden retains this memory so when his own child has to decide on telling the truth or not, he or she will have enough faith and trust in their father to make the right choice and Aiden will remember his own childhood moment of truth.