Lessons Learned from a Snake

I do not hate snakes. That being said, I’d just as soon not encounter a venomous one in close proximity to my home, as I did one day last week.

The night following the encounter that cottonmouth occupied my dreams every time I closed my eyes to sleep. In my waking hours I mentally retraced the steps I took prior to noticing his presence next to the garage and realized I’d likely come within inches of stepping on him. It was a sobering thought.

I’ve changed some of my habits after my snake experience, and I thought the lessons learned might be worth sharing. If nothing else, they’ll help me solidify what I gained from the experience.

  1. Don’t walk and read simultaneously. The mail can wait to be sorted once you’re in the house. What a sad tale it might’ve been if I’d stepped on a viper while perusing a Talbots mailer.
  2. Not all bad guys give a warning. If my snake friend had been a rattlesnake, chances are I’d have been warned off from the start. This guy lay silently, coiled and waiting for some clueless broad walking and reading a Talbots catalog to blunder into its sharp fangs.
  3. Scan your surroundings. There’s a mnemonic acronym motorcyclists use to help avoid accidents–SIPDE. That stands for Scan (keep your eyes moving), Identify (note possible hazards), Predict (make an educated guess as to what the hazard might do), Decide (plan a course of action), and Execute (make it happen).
  4. Please note that we Executed the snake. That’ll teach him.
  5. Don’t trust your eyes, but scan anyway. He was camouflaged fairly well in his driveway matching color coordinated way. Look twice, then look again.
  6. Always carry a bazooka. (Note to self: buy a bazooka.)
  7. Don’t assume a snake is asleep just because it doesn’t respond to outside stimuli. It’s probably playing possum in hopes that you’ll be lulled into complacency. Or that you’re admiring a skirt in a fashion catalog.

I’m sure there are other lessons to be gained from my interaction with the snake, but thinking about it too much gives me the heebie jeebies.

Peace, people.

(I found the photo directly above on twitter in order to show off the cottonmouth’s cotton mouth.)

A Fuchsia Suit

When I picture my mom I usually see her as she appeared in old black and white photos, many taken at family gatherings. In some, she’s smoking a cigarette, in others shyly smiling. At a little over 5 feet and 11 inches tall, Mom was self-conscious about her height, but until she became very ill she never slumped. When her image comes to me unbidden, I see her standing straight, shoulders back.

Mom wasn’t a flashy dresser. She always looked put together, but she never wanted to attract too much attention. I always felt she was more comfortable in the background than in the spotlight, but then what does a daughter really know about her mother?

One year for her birthday Daddy brought Mom a beautifully wrapped box from a higher end department store. That in itself was a big deal. We were a Sears family. Our clothes often came packaged in “3 for $10” sets, so when Mom began unwrapping that elegant box her hands trembled.

When she peeled back the layers of tissue paper surrounding her gift, some of her enthusiasm had waned. She smiled wanly as she lifted up a bright fuchsia knit skirt and blazer. Of course I thought it was beautiful, and obviously so did Daddy, but Mom didn’t seem to share our enthusiasm.

She thanked Daddy who was beaming with pride, but later I overheard her describing the suit to a friend as gaudy. I wasn’t sure what “gaudy” meant, but by the tone of her voice I knew it wasn’t good.

Nevertheless, Mom wore that suit. At first, trepidatiously, but later with confidence. I hope I told her how gorgeous she looked. I hope she felt beautiful in her fuchsia dress.

I’m pretty sure that’s not the suit Mom was wearing in the photo above, but the time frame is about right. Weren’t we precious?

Peace, people!

It’s No Ugly Sweater, but…

I’m usually not snarky about such things. I mean everyone has a right to make their own fashion choices. However, the owner of this handbag monopolized the cashier for over fifteen minutes arguing over a 28 cent difference in what the total was and what she thought it should be. She was wrong and so is this handbag.

The Lady Wore Heels

Studly Doright and our son, Jason, spent the past three days playing in a member/guest golf tournament at Prestonwood Country Club in Dallas, Texas, while I did some shopping and spent time with the Texas grandkids. After the first day of the tournament my guys were third in their flight. On day two they took the lead, and on the third day, Jason sunk a six-foot putt to win their flight in the tournament on the first hole of a playoff. Exciting stuff!

The tournament culminated in a dinner for players and their guests at the club. Since my daughter-in-law was out of town for the weekend, I was on my own with these two chumps, er, champs for the event.

Studly had his eyes closed, but I still love this photo of these two.

Those who read my posts know I’m not a dressy kind of girl. It’s almost impossible to get me out of flips flops, but guess who wore heels on Saturday?

Yep, these are my actual feet.

We had a lovely time at the dinner. The menfolk received a great many pats on their respective backs and I basked in their reflected glory. It’s good to be queen.

Studly will leave Dallas on Sunday morning, but I’m hanging around for a few more days of fun with Jason and his family. I’ll miss this guy, though.

Peace, people!

A Fashion Fine Line

My clothing needs are simple most of the time. If I have a couple of pairs of jeans and/or capris that fit me, enough shirts to get me through a week without having to do laundry, and appropriate footwear for the season, I’m good to go. Occasionally, though, like now, I require something for a special occasion.

When I was younger, it was easy to find a cocktail dress for an evening out. The problem then was finding the money to buy it. Now that I have the money, my body nixes just about any dress that I find appealing, and every outfit I’ve tried on is either too hoochie coochie-ish or too funereal. I look like I’m either trying to get picked up or have already been put down.

I’m not panicking yet. The upcoming event is still several weeks away. And I did find one outfit I really liked. What do y’all think?

Peace, people.

Stitch Fix Trial Run

One of my favorite bloggers, “LA” at http://wakinguponthewrongsideof50.wordpress.com has repeatedly sung the praises of the styling company, Stitch Fix. I don’t know LA personally, but she seems smart and extremely organized, so I pay attention to her recommendations.

I’d read the Stitch Fix ads on Facebook for months, and had even gone so far as to complete their questionnaire, but couldn’t quite bring myself to submit the form. That is until a week or so ago when the need for something new and adventurous hit me like a sledgehammer.

Once I’d tapped the order button I became excited about the impending arrival of new clothes. It’d be like opening one of those grab bags in the old days where you didn’t know what you’d bought until you got home. Only in this case, I’d only be paying for the items I wanted to keep. I felt like Christmas was approaching.

My box arrived on Saturday:

Studly was out having lunch with his golf group, so I tore the box open, stripped down in the middle of my kitchen, and started trying stuff on. Don’t worry, I won’t share any of the those photos!

Here’s what I received:

A great, and I mean really great pair of Warp + Weft jeans. They’re a perfect length, and they fit as if they were made just for me. Definitely a keeper.

This adorable button down by Kut From The Kluth:

An interesting shirt dress from DM Collection:

The dress fit me, but I don’t wear dresses often (as in once a year), and the pattern is a bit busy for my taste. I probably won’t keep it, but I’ll see what Studly thinks first.

Then there was this V Neck knit top from Market & Spruce. It’s a green-hued grey, and I think it might be a bit muddy for my complexion. It looks a lot better on my frame than on the hanger.

The top above would be great for Tallahassee’s mild winters, though. It might make the list of keepers.

Finally, the box included a cute necklace from Marlyn Schiff:

I’m on the fence about it simply because I own dozens of necklaces, but I tend to wear the one I purchased in Ireland every single day. Chances are it would spend many more days inside my jewelry box than around my neck.

Purchased separately the items would cost $362.00, but if I bought the whole lot I’d get a 25% discount, bringing the total to $271.50. I’d already paid a styling fee of $20.00 which is deducted from the total bringing my cost to $251.50.

Studly came home as I was writing this. He liked everything except the dress, concurring with my assessment of the “busyness” of the print. So, the dress and the necklace will go back and I’ll have two great new tops and a pair of jeans I already love for about $210.

I’ll provide feedback to the Stitch Fix folks on the items I’m returning, so the stylist can adjust my profile for future shipments. Overall, this was a fun experience. I needed some fun right now.

Peace, people!

Fashion Sense-less 

Why is it that when I try to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw…

Me trying to emulate Carrie Bradshaw (aka Sarah Jessica Parker) is akin to a mealworm trying to emulate a butterfly.

…my outer Phyllis Diller shows up?

I loved Phyllis Diller. Apparently my style reflects that.

The Fabric of My Life

My first pair of blue jeans, begged for and purchased in my 14th year of life, came with a double pronged tongue lashing from my mom: 

1) Those #%*!@ jeans will have to be ironed, and 

2) She wouldn’t be doing the #%*!@ ironing.

Apparently Mom had been traumatized after being forced to iron her elder brother’s jeans during their own teenaged years.

I didn’t care. Never mind that in 1969 the only jeans I could find that fit me were made for boys. Although Levi’s for women were marketed as early as the 1940’s, the handful of stores in my little town didn’t seem to carry them in string bean size–I was all legs, no hips, and so out of luck unless I shopped in the young men’s department.

But the moment I broke in that first pair of jeans–sitting in a bathtub filled with icy cold water while the pants shrunk to fit me–I fell in love. There was simply no going back. 

For the very first time in my young life I was making a statement about who I was and what I wanted to wear, rather than what my mother thought about such things. Jeans equalled independence and freedom, well as much freedom as a 14-year-old girl in a one horse town could have.

And I never ironed the darned things, having found that an extra tumble in the dryer with a wet towel smoothed out the worst of the wrinkles. That made me feel immeasurably better at solving problems than my teenaged mother had been. You see, I didn’t realize that the clothes dryer of her youth was a line strung between two poles.

Now in the last year of my fifties I find myself still in a mad love affair with denim. I own three nearly identical pairs of  cropped denim pants from Chico’s and my only clothing dilemma is which tshirt to pair with them on any given day. 

Thanks to modern fabric blends, these jeans don’t even need an extra tumble in the dryer, or if they do, I have a steam setting to de-wrinkle them. We have come a mighty long way since then, and most of it was in jeans.

Ode to Blue Jeans

Faded blue or indigo

Cuffed or frayed or pressed

Even with a rip or two

My jeans remain the best.

At break of day I slip them on

To wander hither and yon

I’ve napped in them and swum

In them in someone’s backyard pond.

Take away my beer and wine

Confiscate my magazines

But keep your damned hands off

My ever-loving jeans.


What Do They Know That I Don’t?

There’s a trip to Disney World in my near future. I’m meeting my niece CB and her family in Orlando to join in on their fun for a couple of days. 

No matter how old and decrepit I get, Disney World will always be one of my favorite places on earth. When I’m too ancient to walk I hope they’ll just wheel me around the parks like a load of ripe cabbages. 

I’ve been to the Magic Kingdom and its satellite parks on more than one occasion, and the one thing I have yet to perfect is the carrying of money/tickets/lip gloss/sunscreen, etc. I need something that will allow me to stow all of the above without impeding my ability to spiral upside down multiple times on Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster.

Someone suggested a fanny pack, that ridiculously non-glamorous fashion faux pas from the 80’s. So being the rabid fashionista I am, I immediately googled “cute fanny packs.” Surprisingly, there are some nifty designs, but this suggestion also came up in my search:

Attends? Really? Do they know something I don’t? Just in case, I sense a shopping trip in my future.

 Peace and continence, people.