Sicilia

Sicily
Picture it…a beautiful beach in southern Sicily, the olive-skinned locals sunning themselves. All the men are in tiny Speedos, and all the women are in tiny bikinis, no matter their age.

Now picture one pale Pacific Northwest family barging onto the scene with their hats, umbrellas, swim shirts, nine types of sunscreen, and full coverage bathing suits. And, oh yeah, did I mention the GIANT PINK FLAMINGO?

A little background: My big, loud, Italian-American family is in Sicily this week to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary. We are here to watch them renew their vows in the little town my great-grandparents emigrated to America from in the early 1900’s.

There are no other Americans in this town. There are no other Americans on this beach. There are certainly no other people running into the Mediterranean Sea carrying eggplant parmesan and focaccia bread high above their heads yelling to their siblings, “C’MERE YOU GOTTA TASTE THIS!”

And there is definitely no other mother/grandmother riding on a giant pink flamingo and striking up a conversation with literally every single person she floats by. Honestly, I think my mom talked to more people on that beach in 3 hours than I talk to in six months.

Never mind that she doesn’t speak any Italian and they don’t speak any English. She gestures wildly, they gesture wildly, everybody laughs, and long story short, I’m pretty sure a guy named Luigi and his family are coming to our rental house for dinner.

“Laughter is the same in any language”. – My mom

The Story Of My Life…In Jeans

Inspired by a deluge of “clear the clutter from your life” articles, I finally got around to the arduous task of cleaning out my closet.  I was determined to do it the “proper” way and actually purge stuff, as opposed to my usual way of simply moving all the crap around in seemingly neater piles.

I began trying on all of my jeans and came to a stunning revelation…

JEANSMEMEFINAL

I mean, we all have that one pair of jeans that we refuse to part with because one day, just maybe, either by some miracle of modern science or horrible stomach flu, we’ll fit into them again.  But this was more than a pair, this was many pairs of false hope on a shelf.

So as I was quite literally stepping into and out of the many threads of my past, I pondered my unwillingness to let go of these old, ill-fitting articles.  

You see, I’ve never been much into fashion…I was a jeans and sneaker wearing kid who turned into a jeans and sneaker wearing grown-up.  To the point where I pretty much plan my social life around the acceptability to show up in jeans. My first thought when I’m invited anywhere is “can I get away with jeans?”  Me having to wear a dress or skirt to an event is the equivalent of forcing a 6 year old boy into a suit and tie.  I will whine and complain and tug at my clothes until somebody gives me some ice cream to shut me up.

Me and Jeans:  A Timeline Of Our Love Affair

Late 1970’s/Early 1980’s

I was just a grade schooler and Jordache and Sassoon were all the rage.  I remember begging and convincing my mom to buy me a pair…no easy feat since they probably cost four times as much as the Sears brand jeans I usually wore.

Late 1980’s/Early 1990’s

My high school and college years.  Acid washed Levi’s and maybe I’d find a pair of the higher-end Guess jeans under the tree on Christmas morning.  I remember the teenage me always wanting to lose a few pounds, but man, hindsight really is 20/20.  And in that I mean that my middle-aged knee probably couldn’t get into my high school jeans now. They were tiny.

Mid-Late 1990’s

This was a dark time in our relationship, as I spent those years working in a professional office environment (translation: no jeans).  Every morning as I grudgingly slipped on my maroon shoulder-padded suit jacket and pants (why, just why?), I would stare longingly at the pile of jeans in my closet thinking “someday we’ll be together again.”

1999-2008

My child-bearing years.  I was so excited to be pregnant with my first child that I could not wait to fit into a new kind of jean…maternity jeans!  And five minutes after that sweet little baby was born, I could not wait to get the hell out of them.  And so it went through three kids and eight years, maternity jeans, regular jeans, back and forth.  As a stay-at-home mom during that time, jeans and I rekindled our romance and we were together every day, comfy and happy. And those jeans got spit-up on, colored on, and tugged on, and still they’d come out of the dryer, softer and more appealing, despite the abuse they took on a daily basis.

2009-2018

Ok, I’ll say it.  Sigh.  Mom jeans.  Well, maybe not total mom jeans, but close enough. A couple of years ago, I was jeans shopping (surprise) and couldn’t find anything I liked in the women’s section.  Being petite, I had the bright idea of heading to the Juniors section of the store.  Let’s just say it was a quick lesson in humility that had me fleeing to the old lady petite department in the hopes of regaining a shred of my self-confidence back.

And throughout all the better, brighter, bolder fashion fads over the years, I’ve never cheated on jeans.  Not with parachute pants, not with corduroys, not even with Lululemon leggings.

So there you have it…the story of my life in jeans.  And I wonder, am I alone in this?  Are there other women out there that have this allegiance?  If so, perhaps we could all meet up someday.  I imagine you’ll see us coming from a mile away…women of all ages, shapes and sizes, united in their devotion to (and of course, wearing) JEANS.

This post was originally published on Her View From Home. https://herviewfromhome.com/the-story-of-my-life-in-jeans/

 

Me vs. Van Gogh

I knew it was risky.

I knew it could end badly.

But they told me it couldn’t be done.

They said it was impossible.

“You’re crazy,” they said.

I took that as a challenge.

I began on a Thursday.

“Patience is a virtue,” I said.

“Huh?” my daughter said.

“Slow and steady wins the race,” I said.

“Stop saying weird things, Mom,” they said.

I worked for hours. Hours turned into days. Days turned into weeks.

“We’re hungry,” they said. “Are you ever going to cook again?”

“Give a man a fish, he can feed himself for a day. Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for life,” I said.

“Why does she keep saying things weird stuff we don’t understand?” they said.

“It means…make your own dinner,” I said.

I soldiered on. Late nights. Early mornings.

“Nobody has clean socks,” they said.

I kept at it.

Finally, only five were left. Four. Three. Two.

Still two.

Oh, no.

No. No. No.

“It cost fifty cents,” they had said.

“It’s USED,” they had said.

“There’s NO way the pieces are all there,” my husband had said.

They were right.

But.

My 9 year old.
She bought it for me at the school holiday shop.
With her own fifty cents.
She put it under the tree, all wrapped up.
She couldn’t wait to give it to me.
She was so proud of her gift.

I had to try.

And then. Under the table. I see it.

The last piece.

“I can’t believe you did it, mom.” she said. “That was like the hardest thing ever, but you never gave up.”

I smiled.

Success.

puzzle

The Costco Return Line

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If Costco were a religion, I’d be a believer. When I first became a member in the early 90’s, it was called Price Club, then PriceCostco, then eventually Costco. That’s how long we’ve been together. Also, that’s a clue as to how old I am. Seriously though, I am a huge fan of the company for many reasons. They sell quality products that are responsibly sourced, they treat their employees well, and their return policy is incomparable. Really, no return seems to be too absurd for them.

I once bought a vacuum cleaner, and it died after I used it for two years to vacuum up more hair than you ever thought could possibly come from one Labrador Retriever. I could have created a whole second dog with that sweet Lab’s hair. Everybody told me, “It’s Costco…return it!” I was reluctant at first, but when I took it in, they issued me a full refund (two years later!) – no questions asked.

Even bigger than a vacuum, I returned a king size mattress that didn’t live up to its promise of a good night’s sleep. In hindsight, it’s possible the bad sleep was caused more by my toddler and infant at the time than the mattress, but, hey, I couldn’t exactly return the children. Or could I?

I had a friend that once bought an entire living room set, moved six months later, and when the furniture didn’t fit in the new house, returned it for a full refund.

Then there are the infamous stories…the woman who returned an empty bottle of wine because it “gave her a headache” and the lady that returned a frozen fish that was in her freezer for 13 years. And Costco doesn’t bat an eye.

On a recent outing, the return line was exceptionally long and it seemed each customer’s situation was more complicated than the next. I was waiting impatiently, receipt and membership card in hand, ready to go, like the good customer I am.

But these other people were up there with all kinds of problems and stories, going on and on about one thing or another.

One lady was returning a printer and they unpacked the box to make sure everything was there. And the printer cable was missing. So the clerk asks her where the printer cable is and she feigns innocence like, “What? Oh? Really? I didn’t realize. Cable? You see, my husband…..” Blah, blah, blah. When lady, we are all thinking you bought this thing so you could return it and get a free printer cable. Really, now.

And so it went, one long explanation of their return after another. The whole time in line I was annoyed because I couldn’t see what the lady in front of me was returning and I was curious. So it’s finally her turn, and as she goes up to the cashier I see her unwrapping a small item in her hand. I nosily re-position myself to find out what her item is and I see what appears to be a quarter of a salami on the counter.

Lady, are you freaking kidding me? You just waited in this line for 30 minutes to return your half-eaten appetizer?! First of all, it couldn’t have been that bad because somebody ate most of it. Second, unless all your Christmas dinner guests died of food poisoning and you are turning this hunk of meat in for lab analysis…this is a WASTE OF EVERYBODY’S TIME.

But at least it explained the weird smell wafting through the line.

Whatever, people…it’s finally my turn. Now, please excuse me so I can return my hair dryer and get the hell out of here already.

“I’m sorry, what? This hair dryer? It came with a mini hair dryer just perfect for travel? Oh? Really? I didn’t realize. Mini hair dryer? You see, my husband…”

 

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Resolutions Vs. Reality

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© Someecards

Though I normally don’t partake in the whole “New year, New me” philosophy, last year I actually wrote a New Years Resolutions list. I just came across it and decided to share a few of them along with updates on how well I fared.

RESOLUTION #1: I will begin an exercise regimen that includes strength training and aerobic activity.

REALITY:
Strength training:  Well, I didn’t exactly lift dumbbells or do, like, a push-up or anything. But I recently had a very bad cough which gave my abdominal muscles quite the work out. I’m waiting for my six-pack to show up any day now.  Also, if you count moving the dead weight of a sleeping 75 pound Labrador from my spot on the couch every night to his blanket, then I did awesome on this one.

Aerobic Activity:  I signed up to run a half-marathon last spring. Paid the fee and everything. Unfortunately, I did not actually run the half-marathon. Or show up at all. But it was months of great fun imagining I was going to do it. In November I did go on a walk. There was a hill and I got tired. Does that count?

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© Someecards

RESOLUTION#2:  I will go to Costco and buy only ONE item. I don’t know if this is humanly possible, as I have never been witness to this feat, but I will try.

REALITY:  I totally did it! In October I went to Costco and purchased only a tub of mini coffee cakes. I know, you’d think my one item would’ve been something more essential, like toilet paper, but honestly, I needed those mini coffee cakes more. And I’m not counting the 14 samples I scarfed down while proudly strolling through Costco with my one item because those were all FREE.

RESOLUTION #3:  I will part with my maternity sweatpants (hey, I just had a baby 9 years ago) even though they are perfect for Thanksgiving and PMS days. Also, it is the only article of clothing I own that used to be too small and is now too big. Sigh. 

REALITY: They’re gone. It was bittersweet. However, my maternity pajama pants were not part of the deal. Those stayed and will stay until they cause me physical harm. I say this because I was wearing them yesterday morning and they nearly did cause me physical harm. You see, the bottoms are all ripped and somehow they got caught in part of the vacuum cleaner and I kind of had to fight my way out of a crazy situation. But I escaped unscathed and we’re still good, me and my shredded pajama pants. Just need to be a little more careful around household appliances, that’s all.

RESOLUTION #4:  I will not charge anything on my credit card that costs less than $3.00.  ***Except when in the vicinity of a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop or other similar emergency.

REALITY:  I am unresoluting this resolution. I hate using cash. I hate cashiers giving me a handful of potentially virus ridden coins and warm dollar bills that were just stuffed in somebody else’s pants. A little family background: my grandfather washed his money. Not in the “money laundering” sense. In the literal sense, with the clean bills hung up on a clothesline to dry. When I was a child I’d go to his house and see the crisp money hanging there in the basement. I remember being like “Wow, that’s so cool”.  Then, as I got older, I was like, “Wow, that’s a little weird.” But the guy had a point…cash is gross.

RESOLUTION #5: I will conquer my fear of spiders, lice, flying, sharks, vomiting, and public restroom door handles. Also, items on the top shelf of the grocery store, which I cannot reach without a full-scale climbing mission. Also, my fear of paying full-price for something because I forgot my coupon. Also, people with really clean cars, I fear them a little. New iPhone updates…so scary, I just keep hitting “Remind Me Later”. You know, this list is getting a bit overwhelming so perhaps I should just enlist the help of a therapist to determine why I have so many damn neuroses.

REALITY:  I have conquered nothing. I am still terrified of every single thing on that list plus let’s now add the aggressive, giant raccoon that shows up every night at our back door to eat our feral cat’s food. Living in the woods ain’t no joke, people.

Screw hiring a therapist…I may now have enough issues to actually become one.

RESOLUTION #6:  I will stop making excuses to justify buying Groupons that I will never use. Am I really going to go on a Segway tour of my local city? Which, upon further thought, would involve a rental helmet and a high-risk lice situation? Hell, no. 95% off tattoo removal? Such a great deal but first I would have to A) get a tattoo and B) grow to hate my tattoo. 75% off a storage unit rental? Fabulous, I can use it to store all my unused Groupons. 

REALITY:  In January of this year I simply clicked “Unsubscribe” and kicked this resolutions ass!

Well, I hope you fared a little better with your New Year’s Resolutions than I did with mine.  Best wishes for a great 2018!

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