Tuesday, May 22, 2007

All My Clothes Are Fat Clothes

One of those funny emails making the rounds says, "Things only women understand." Things like, "crying can be fun," and "fat clothes."

Who of my readers can understand this? All my clothes are fat clothes!!

Fat clothes-- those forgiving, figure-concealing larger-than-usual garments that as Peg Bracken put it (or was it Jean Kerr?) "protect the community from the spectacle of our bulky contours." They have no waistline, they're comfy, you wear them on days when you can't fit into anything else.

Then comes the day when even your fat clothes don't fit! The day you have to buy the raincoat in a larger size, the day when your bathrobe is too tight.

You even spill out of your rings and your shoes. God forbid it should happen to you. But if you want a future as an older woman, you have to get used to wearing larger size clothes. Unless you are one of those "birds" (as in horses, birds, and muffins--I forget who coined that one).

The day your fat clothes get too tight used to be the day you would start a new diet. (See earlier blog, "Pru's Diet Book.")
Now, though, I tend to skip that stage of things and go straight to the point where my fat clothes become my thin clothes and I buy new fat clothes. So maybe it would be more accurate to say, "All my clothes started out as fat clothes."

Eventually the old fat clothes will follow the parade to the back of the closet and then finally, ten years after they last fit, out the door to the Salvation Army. But as I write dear reader, I'm wearing my fat pants, black ones from LLBean. They are size "Large-Petite," and I'm happy to say I need a new pair in the same size. These are worn out which is good because I can't fit into any of my painting clothes any more.

As my daughter Winifred says, "It's never over."

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor
New York Times Book Review

Re: “In God, Distrust” (May 13, 2007)

Oh my goodness. Did you even try to find someone theologically literate to review the Hitchens book? ["God is Not Great: How Religions Poison Everything"] Michael Kinsley, a columnist for “Time,” accepts too readily Hitchens’ atheist fundamentalism, e.g., God = religion = biblican literalism. That premise displays intellectual sloppiness. Hey! We have science now! Hey! There's evil in the world! Wow, what news.

Another example: "How could Christ have died for our sins when supposedly he also did not die at all?" The Christian kerygma states: "Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again." Don't know what kerygma means? Kinsley admits he's out of his depth: "Whether sallies like these give pause to the believer is a question I can't answer."

Where Kinsley knows his stuff-- background on Hitchens’ personality and work-- his review is highly entertaining. However, to critique Hitchens' ideas you should have found a theological writer, someone like Martin Marty or Madeleine L’Engle. Or at least an atheist with accurate information about what he is rejecting, like the Jew who wrote, "Why I don't believe in G_d."

That you did not reflects badly on your editorial judgment.

Sincerely yours,

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Yard Sale Pentimento

At one point I visualized a Norman Rockwell painting of it: Men, women, and families in Saturday clothes poking around a driveway full of old typewriters and camping equipment, handing over cash for used books and appliances and toys. Meanwhile, my son Nick and I sat in lawn chairs, enjoying the spring breezes and counting our cash.

Buyers descended in bunches, they flocked and haggled, in the casual mix of socializing and commerce. My late husband's tools brought a good price, and so did Nick's huge flowerpot. A young couple bought the little toy kitchen for their one-year-old girl with wispy nearly bald hair; a stocky two-year-old grrrrred off with a toy red wheelbarrow; how like my Nick 35 years ago. My favorite sale was to the woman who bought the booster seat for her grandson and a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook from the 1950s (with ghastly looking photos of real food, before they learned to stage it). She handed me three dollar bills, saying, "My mother cooked out of this book, and I'm going for shepherd's pie tonight!"

Eating doughnuts in the sun and watching strangers carry off my worldly goods turned the imaginary Rockwell painting into a shimmering pentimento. Behind the scene in front of us tumbled images from the past. I was picturing my granddaughter Megan at age one with her wispy bald hair opening and shutting the cupboards of the toy kitchen. My granddaughter Amelia, who is now wearing high heels, seemed to be laughing and painting as a four-year-old at the small easel. Her brother Isaac appeared in babyhood one last time in the umbrella stroller that a pregnant mom took away for five bucks. Meanwhile, two adolescent boys gave me $10.00 for Beatles albums that our daughter Tory stored in our basement when she left for Yale in 1984. Right next to Tory's adolescent ghost playing music into a summer night with her friends, I imagined my Den in torn khaki pants with knobby ankles protruding, covering his white beard with dust while whirring away at one of his projects with those power tools. All our times jostled together in that dust, and today's spring breezes seemed like the winds of time. Oooooh!

Afterwards Nick and I carried all the unsold stuff into the garage, and there was still a lot left over. I have plenty of time to indulge nostalgia over our old camp stove and the outgrown crib. Nick took some of our $237.00 proceeds for gas money, kissed me good-bye, and drove away. I had a sunburn. The next sentimental journey will be to the dump.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

The Republican Beauty Contest

Good citizen must watch other party's debate, keep mind open, listen to other points of view. So I tuned in to a debate of Republican presidential hopefuls. There were 10 of them spread out along the stage with at least one more (Fred Dalton Thompson) in the (metaphorical) wings. The contestants did not impress.

McCain was old; Romney was a well-spoken glamor boy. Mike Huckabee had a memorable name, which is a decisive factor at the polls. All positions on the war sounded like, "If we pull out of Iraq the result will be chaos" and "The Iraqis have to stand up." So the ideas were old, too, and they were not pretty.

If you said it's one of these or Dick Cheney, I'd have to pick Guiliani (sp)? He was the only one unable to wax poetic over the beauty of forcing a woman to bear an unwanted pregnancy.