Friday, June 28, 2013

Apparently I'm A Hot Mess

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my time at the Grit anniversary party. The next afternoon, Grit had some fun pics up from the get together and I enjoyed looking through until I saw the one I'm in. Aside: yes, you are allowed to end a sentence in a preposition. I know, I was just as shocked as you are right now.  Anyway, when I got to that pic, my first thought was, "Dear GAWD why hasn't someone talked to me about my hair?! Holy crap that stuff is a mess." And while we all are our own worst critic, last weekend I got another dose of reality.

Last weekend, my daughter and her friend wanted to hang out, and I wanted to get out and stretch my legs some, so we decided on a stroll near the Battery etc. About ten minutes into our walk, a clap of thunder rang out so loud that I'm pretty sure I levitated and may have peed my pants a little too. We raced back to the car and reworked our plan. The girls, who are both 11, decided that we needed to go to King Street and window shop. We started at Forever 21, which blows my mind with the sheer quantity of stuff that is in there. Made our way down King to a few random places and eventually ended up back at Charleston Place. Wanting to cool off a little, we meandered through there too.

Here is where things went south. The girls decided somewhere along the line that they were going to "style" me and were playing this game in several of the places we went into on King. I heard whispered pieces of conversation from my daughter about how "she never buys anything, she thinks she doesn't look good in anything, she doesn't like to shop" etc which stung a little but were passed off rather easily, as she is in the throes of tween-dom and lives and dies by TV shows like What Not to Wear, Fashion Star, etc, so I didn't give it much thought.

This game continued as we went into a store in Charleston Place that is actually one of my favorites. Another aside: I have to dress business casual all week long and I have horrific arthritis in my feet. Typically on the weekends I have on little to no makeup and exercise clothes. This past Sunday was no exception to this pattern, and I was planning on a fair amount of walking, so you can imagine what I looked like. Pony tail, hat, workout shorts, sneakers, a v-neck tee and minimal makeup. The very nice salesperson greeted us and asked if she could help, and I told her about what the girls were up to and that we were just poking around. She persisted a little, and then asks me, "Soooo...would you say your style is uhh, (looks at my now sweaty and rumpled ensemble) casual?"


So then, because I'm me, I then felt the need to explain that Ihavetodressupallweekcasualontheweekends blah blah blah etc. Then I bolted. By the time we got home, the girls had decided that they were going to give each other makeovers (which means painting on ridiculous amounts of makeup) on each other and then they were going to share giving me one too. Awesome. They were extremely impressed with my collection of eye shadow which was cool because they are getting to the age where nothing that an adult does is cool any more. And it really was kind of fun watching them slap on the war paint but I was a little worried about the safety of my eyes given the way they were wielding the make up brushes. Yet we all emerged unscathed and looking somewhat reasonable. I thought I was off the hook until they broke into my closet.

Then the whispering cranked up again.
My daughter's friend: she has SO much clothes! My daughter: yeah, but she never wears any of it. She wears the same five dresses all the time. Friend: why? Daughter: same reasons that she never buys anything. My mom never really does anything with herself.

Double ouch. Like, a lot.

I kind of understand what she was saying but I kind of don't. I thought I did my hair (apparently not according to that damn picture) and I know I put on makeup. I do wear my summer dresses constantly because I am hot natured and am an outside sales rep, which means lots of in and out of the car. During the summer that can get, well, gross, if you don't take care with the wardrobe so I aim for as cool as possible. Plus I'm not super charged up about fashion in the first place, and my hair is challenging - thick, long, wavy/curly/coarse. I'm also not made of money, but I want to look nice and be cute and all that.

Not sure how to bridge this gap because it does appear that I'm not exactly knocking 'em dead, but I also am not interested in spending tons of time and dollars on my appearance. Where is the line between those things? Anyone? I need input and suggestions! Shopping secrets? Is my give a damn busted? I don't me, anyone, everyone who knows about this!

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

I'm Turning Into Ouiser Boudreaux

If you have ever had the pleasure of seeing "Papa" Futch perform with the Blue Dogs (above) at Rockin' on the Point, you will know exactly what I'm talking about. He leads into the song with a monologue about waiting for your tomatoes to ripen that's adorable. The Dogs covered "Home Grown Tomatoes" on their Soul Dog Food album and it remains one of my favorite tunes, kitschy as it is.

Why? Because I am completely in love with tomatoes. I am quite fond of the Blue Dogs, too, but tomatoes are pretty much my favorite thing to eat, period. I take growing them quite seriously and basically threw a hissy fit when all the rain we've had lately threatened my heirloom crop that has been doing so well.

When I first started trying to grow them, I asked everyone I knew  how to be good at it. One of the funniest things I heard from a long-time gardener was that everyone who successfully grows tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and such generally runs into a point during the summer where they have given away produce to all their neighbors, family, and friends, and yet the veggies keep on coming. When I asked what the solution was, she stated, "Well, generally I just sneak onto the porch, drop the veggies off and then run." Sounds like a plan to me, I thought. You feel free to just drop that right off at my place.

Thinking she was exaggerating, I didn't really understand what she meant until the first summer after I got married. My father-in-law made us an awesome garden and the cucumbers were prolific. We made pickles. Lots and lots and lots of pickles. We ate cucumbers constantly. The tomatoes, though, were harder to get rid of. Apparently there are some poor misguided souls who don't like tomatoes. And I just honestly don't even know what to say about that. And by the end of the summer, I was indeed about to start knocking on doors and running away.

Tomato growing in the South is an art, and by some accounts, not even an option. In the movie Steel Magnolias, Ouiser (right) tries to give Clairee tomatoes. When Clairee protests about the number in the bag, Ouiser states she doesn't even like them, so someone else has to eat them. The conversation that ensues is the God's honest truth and I have actually heard several variations of it in real life.

Anelle: "Then why do you grow them?"
Ouiser: "Because I'm an old Southern woman and we're supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don't ask me those questions. I don't know why, I don't make the rules!"

About a year ago, I stated that the perfect tomato sandwich would be my last meal  if I were able to chose. I stand by that assessment wholeheartedly. Some of my other favorite ways to enjoy this amazing food (besides the perfect sandwich) is in a tomato pie or in caprese.

So tell me: Do you grow tomatoes? Do you have secrets you'll divulge? What's your favorite way to eat them?

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