Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hosiery Dilemma

I don't know about where you are, but here in Philly, it's an Endless Winter. I faced a Real Dilemma on Easter Sunday with my hosiery choices. I had a pretty, long-sleeved, brown flowey dress from Ann Taylor Loft, since Easter is often chilly in the City of Brotherly Love.

I had bought these lovely open-toed metallic shoes, but forgot they were open-toed 'til the morning of. Getting the troops ready for multiple Easter-egg hunts, and dressed for church was a real struggle.

But - top of mind for me? Hose or bare-legged with the shoes?? It was cold out, but would be nice and toasty in the church.

I figured my options were 2: brown fishnets or bare, clean-shaven legs. I liked the look of the fishnets, but I don't like to see hose through open-toes [at least they weren't "reinforced," but still].

However, in my view, an even bigger faux-pas was the fact that I hadn't had time to paint my toe nails! For open-toed shoes! What was a girl to do??

I went sans hosiery. It's true that a portion of the congregation could have been blinded that morning given the whiteness of my sun-starved legs, but we all survived. And the outfit looked great!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

War Paint

Ladybird and I talk about this all the time - about how neither of us feels "dressed" without make-up on.

Now, a lot of discussion about the patriarchy happened at my suburban Seven Sisters college when I was a student. I listened. But I still never went to class without eye make-up. I just didn't feel awake, prepared, fully present without it.

According to feminists, that probably means that I am not fully individuated, or that I am oppressed by men. And they could be right.

I think of make-up as war paint, body decoration that readies me for the battles I get into every day. It is a ritual I undergo each morning. I don't have to look perfect, but I have to show the world that I am ready. By applying eye-liner, I am defining my eyes and myself as ready to go.

Warriors from lots of different cultures apply war paint. I studied them, and wanted to do my undergraduate thesis on body decoration. That wasn't in the cards, but I learned lots about the Melanesian peoples, their personal ornamentation and warfare. And that's why I don't think that wearing make-up is a bad thing.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Easter is usually an emotional service for me. I think about all the people I've known and loved who have died. I remember them all during the service. Especially at communion. I feel like that's the most spectacular aspect of communion - that the same ritualized meal has happened for more than 2,000 years and all the people before me who partook of it are, in a way, present with me when I'm at the rail too.

The music also grabs me, the Welsh hymns in particular. This year we didn't have any, but whenever we bust out with "Cwm Rhondda" I think fondly of my Mam-gu who could play the piano by ear and was a real church-goer.

But recently I've been thinking about my lost pregnancy. I guess it started when I read my friend Jessica's extremely eloquent and poignant blog post about miscarriage. She addressed the feelings of loss and what-might-have-been so well. When I was going through that terrible experience, there were two things that helped me through it:
  1. Realizing that I wasn't alone - that other people that I know and love had also gone through it. They talked to me about it, and told me that the pain would, one day, lessen.
  2. Naming the pregnancy.
To help me with the mourning process I named the pregnancy Veronica. Josiah and I had used botanical names for our other children, and I love the veronica flower. But I also felt that the miscarriage experience had led me to see God's face. Through the pain and sadness, little Veronica would be a reminder that God is there. Like when St Veronica wiped Jesus' brow and his image appeared on her cloth. I felt that by acknowledging God in my life, just barely touching God's presence and awesomeness, I could come out the other side of my grief with a tangible reminder of God.

Being pregnant had already made me feel the presence of the divine - it's a miracle that babies get born, period! The miscarriage made me realize that I have faith in God [a minor miracle in itself]. And that life comes and goes. I'll always remember what might have been with little Veronica.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Spring, Happy Easter

It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation. *
With the scriptures it is a matter of treating about the faith. For that reason, as I have noted repeatedly, if anyone, not understanding the mode of divine eloquence, should find something about these matters [about the physical universe] in our books, or hear of the same from those books, of such a kind that it seems to be at variance with the perceptions of his own rational faculties, let him believe that these other things are in no way necessary to the admonitions or accounts or predictions of the scriptures. In short, it must be said that our authors knew the truth about the nature of the skies, but it was not the intention of the Spirit of God, who spoke through them, to teach men anything that would not be of use to them for their salvation. **

The Literal Interpretation of Genesis (408, AD), St. Augustine,
* 1:19–20, Chapter 19
** Chapter 2:9

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Slutty mom or Frumpy mom?

Is there no middle path? Now, I may be drawing the dividing lines pretty heavy and thick, but, seriously, the style options out there for moms are slim!

I mean, I am happy to be the size I am now and I want to celebrate that. I don't want to be hidden in the suburban burqa - the matching sweat suit and sneakers - no matter what J Lo has done for the tracksuit. Nor the frump-o-rama of matching cutesy-poo. Does that mean tight clothes and belly shirts (when will the belly shirt go away??)?

I grew up with the idea that the belly stays covered. Legs should show, and if you have cleavage, then flaunt the décolletage. But that paradigm is all topsy-turvy now. The Kids are wearing belly shirts w/skinny low-rise jeans. I mean, I'm fine w/my Tiger Stripes, but the rest of the world doesn't need to see them. Plus, I'm not a kid, nor am I a slave to fashion. I want to look good.

So, if I show some décolletage, show some leg, (but not in a mini-skirt), wear some heels, does that automatically make me a "cougar"? What's a cougar, you ask? This may be nasty 20-something bar slang, but a cougar is a middle-aged woman who dresses "slutty." Jill Foster Chancellor Brooks Abbott of the Young & the Restless is a classic cougar. Especially in the days when she was seducing Brad Carlton, but that's another story.

I guess when it comes right down to it, I'd rather be the Slutty mom than the Frump.