tisdag, september 16, 2008

You Dress Your Age; I'll Dress Your Handicap

Today I put a clean soup plate away in the microwave instead of the shelf. Lex and I looked at each other. The end is near.

An article out of Orlando, Florida tells us to be more covered up as we age. Don't go short or bare or tight after 35. It's unseemly, tacky, trashy, sad. What was sad were the outfits they demonstrated as our acceptable alternative. We are now limited to an up to the chin, three-quarter sleeve, below the knee skirt, and a clunky shoe.

As if.

"Tried and true" dressing tips for women of "a certain age:" "Find comfy but stylish shoes." Here's a writing tip. Never use the word "comfy" in the same sentence with "stylish." It sounds wrongly connected, like "the goofy IRS auditor." Or "learn to drape a big scarf," like over our heads, I guess Ms. Jean Patterson means. "Use a full length mirror." Actually, everyone who cares about how they look, regardless of age, should have one.

I have a better tip. Take your partner with you shopping. Buy something that he or she likes. If your big chested, get a great bra; if you are big-ended, find a jacket that comes down below your glutes. Don't rely on the salespeople at the store to be honest with you, unless you have an ongoing relationship or they are willing on your first meet to tell you that something doesn't work. And buy anything you want, even if it is trendy or a little bit trashy. The trick is more in how you fold it into the mix.

fredag, september 12, 2008

The College Essay

We are down to five schools, with a pretty typical chance spread, I think. One dream school that Lex says is beyond her reach, one great school to which she will apply non-binding early admission, another that would put her in a great place and great school but not the best for her intended major, and two safety schools that I can afford.

We began working on the essay last night. Her first stab two weeks before was back to, "Now I am going to tell you everything I know about penguins" out of nerves. She hasn't written without saying anything in years. So I suggested my favorite technique, an interrogation about a critical and relevant experience. Suggested is an understatement. Insisted is the better word, and I'm constantly amazed she doesn't stab me in the back with the barbecue fork one night.

But there is a reason I'm such a pain in the ass. Sometimes it works. From "I don't remember any of it, Mom" we got five pages of reconstruction (along with two hundred, "Why do you keep asking me the same question over and over; I don't remember"), and some insight into her perspective that at the end made us sit back in our chairs and stare at each other from across the table. "Who knew?" I said. "I never thought of it that way, before. That's so neat," she said. It was like the college choice version of Law & Order, only no one would watch.

Way cool. From here I'll work backwards and forwards.

tisdag, september 09, 2008

Notes from the Stacks and Racks

I have been working for weeks on a fashion shoot at the new Burchfield Penney Art Center, a building that has gotten so much ill-directed dissing because of it's block concrete, oversized appearance. But the building looks so hot to me - and I'm not wrong about architecture, albeit unstudied, that I have to figure out why it seems so right. The finished product on the fashion piece gave me goosebumps, that's how good it was, and now all I want to do is defend the outside of the building. (The inside is not part of the dispute.) In the meantime, if I've had a spare second to post, it's been over at my magazine's blog, Spreeblog, but I so desperately need a place to put things I need to remember for later articles. I have a two foot stack of back reading material and an entire Sunday Times at my side, and Fashion Week to get to.

And then there is my day job and a bunch of family photo requests.

And I want to fix the house up, to prep it to keep the outside out and the inside in. I mean, me doing insulation and foundation grouting and varmit protection - so much goofball DIY, so much need, and I can't get to it.

And the kids say the most damning, funny stuff every day and I'm not getting it down - killer stuff that completely crucifies me, and I'm not recording it. And I reconnected with my childhood girlfriend thanks to the internet, and I need to get back to her.

I miss my quiet dark nights. I need a system.

Anyway, the rest is just notes for me.

1. "A Face Not Even a Plastic Surgeon Could Love" by Camille Sweeney, NY times 9/4/08, on how plastic surgeons must learn to spot a difficult patient (Scarface the Surgery Junkie, Litigious Louis, the Bad Mouth, The Wannabee, Greta X. Pectations, The Whiner) and turn them away. "Many times the motivating factor of someone wanting a change in their appearance has more to do with an emotional issue than the actual physical issue ... they may want to get a marriage proposal, save a marriage or hold on to a job, and no amount of surgery no matter how well done can guarantee that's going to happen," says Dr. Donn Chatham.

Now that doctors have pushed the lawyers around, are they going after those bad, bad patients? There is enough bad plastics results out there to justify sites like Make Me Heal and Real Self. Plastics is practiced for financial gain by enough doctors who don't have the requisite artistic eye, vascular surgery skills, or bedside manner, to make skilled plastics docs to cringe. Heal thyself, Doc, and control the trade performance, Docs, before blaming poor performance on the Wide World of Whacko Women who keep you in Beemers.

2. "I don't want to listen to what's selling," Miuccia Prada, 2007.

3. "It was the one thing that got me out of bed in the morning," said New York artist Slater Bradley. "I could take pride in walking out the door. It was the clothes that held me up when I had nothing else to."

4. "Whenever the economy gets tough, fashion responds by playing it safe," says Jim Moore, the creative director of GQ. Well, maybe the buyers do. See grunge.