Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Show Us Your...

So you've noticed I have a thing for ... dot dot dots. Also air quotes. But those don't translate as well in writing. Just know that when you see "this", I'm actually doing "this".

Any subscribers to House Beautiful out there? It's my favorite design magazine. Well, magazine period. Not too whimsical, not too rustic, not too pretentious (are you reading this, Elle Decor?). Just jaw-dropping perfection on every page. They have a little segment called "C'mon, Show Us Your..." where they have different designers send in photos of something in their house--their entry table one month, or their favorite vacation memento another, stuff like that. And of course I lo-o-o-ove it. I don't like the styled, professional shots some of em send in, but I ado-o-o-ore the honest, snapshot peeks into a real life. And as I leaned out of bed one evening to pull a little somethin' fer snacking out of my bedside table drawer, I was overcome...

...WITH OPTIONS!!! And also with the idea for this post. So c'mon. Show us your bedside table. Well, describe it anyway. Oh, and as a bonus, if anyone can outdo me in sheer volume of snacks, I will mail them the treat of their choosing. It will be so worth the validation. And I'll be in the candy aisle anyway.

P.S. Other things on my table: phone charger, Lands' End and Ballard Designs catalogues, tissues, and my Nook. Now you know.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Am I the Only One...

...who thinks "ex-pat" is the most pretentious word? At first I typed it in the title and then I was all--what? Wait! I hate that word!

I used to be a California girl and proud.

Oh really?! What part?


What's that? Couldn't hear you.

CENTRAL! You know, FRESNO? The wet European armpit of the Golden State? Two steps up from Bakersfield, but 13 steps below everything else? The jewel of the 99? And speaking of 99, if the thermometer registers anything below that between the months of June and October, it's considered "balmy".

I'm going on my 17th year out here in the promised land. Year One was rough. Brutal. My Beatles sweatshirt and penny loafers (aka my "winter gear") got me through mid-September then it started getting all...cold. Like...cold. You wouldn't believe it. It started snowing and just never stopped for seven months. And you know what? I found I didn't care for it--snow. No, not one bit. People would be out all over campus having snowball fights and playing in the snow and pushing people into the snow (but only if they really liked 'em)...ugh, can you imagine? Horrors!

And then....well....

Like so many other things I've been morally certain about for decades only to find myself making a grand about face-- I about faced. You wanna know what? I realized the cold isn't so bad. It's actually kind of...okay. It's true I've birthed four babies. Weight and hormones in a general tizzy for ten solid years surely had something to do with the change. But change I have. I like a little nip in the air. And the snow is just not awful anymore. I even made a snowman one year. Okay, now that still stunk, and let it be noted that if you throw a snowball at me, you will die--slowly and at a time when you do not expect it--but then I just went inside, got snuggled up in a squooshie blankie with some hot chocolate and extra whipped cream and things just got so so nice again. I find I like winter, I do. Winter's all sweaters and Christmas and long nights and dreams of tropical (yet balmy) vacations and baking and homey-ness. The anticipation gathers during the fall, when the temperatures begin to drop and the urge to make large pots of soup propels you into the kitchen. You know you will have time to read--the great, long epic novels that take full concentration and plenty of chocolate to get through. Because when the sun sets at 4:30, what else are you gonna do? Kids get cuddlier, dessert stops being optional, good night kisses get more interesting more often, the charm of old movies becomes irresistible, and life turns decidedly sweeter.

It's long, I'll admit, and it can get tedious, but then just when you think you've had enough and you must have vitamin D or truly die, you get a day of 45ยบ and weak sunlight and it's just enough, that brief reminder that warmer days are ahead. Several months of hinting, whispering, fluctuating up and down the thermometer, eases you back into the warmth. And how I love that tease of Spring. A time when you never know what the weather will be like from day-to-day. Well of course you could know if you checked the forecast, but some of us like the suspense. I love cardigans, scarves, and sandals together, running from the parking lot into the store because a storm broke out as you were driving and you didn't bring an umbrella, canceled soccer games (and how!), wind and hail and low rumbling thunder. The air is clean and wonderfully breathable again.

And then, just like *that* all that lovely cool is taken down by a quick sweep to the leg by ugly horrid beastly summer. No one likes a bully. Hot, swampy and purely dreadful, it saps the will to live and move right out of your sticky odorous body. Languishing on the couch with the fan on is really the only appropriate activity under such circumstances, but one's children seem to think that one must still feed them. And one's husband finds it more than a little interesting that when he arrives home in the evening, one is still in the exact same spot he left one in that morning, although in shockingly more deplorable surroundings. What has one been doing all day, he may be tempted to ask. And if he gives into temptation and does indeed ask, one cannot even respond in tones of righteous indignation and miffed sarcasm, because the answer is so obviously NOT A DARNED THING.

Except for the sweating, of course. Oh how unattractive! Oh how undemure! Is there anything more uncomfortable than sweat-soaked clothing sticking to sweat-soaked skin? If you can, for whatever reason, spend your days in a bikini I don't think you have room to complain. I myself cannot and do not. Wear a bikini that is. Nor should I. Not only for the purpose of modesty, but for the perpetuation of the species do I remain covered. And not only covered, but cinched, hefted, and redistributed through the use of highly developed undergarments, belts, and pulleys. No innocent young woman needs to know what happens to all her buoyant femininity once the babies come. Because the babies need to keep coming, or so I've heard. Especially if one more of my own darling babes sweetly asks me in a tone of horror what all those gross lines on my stomach/back/legs are. Or if there's a BABY IN THERE!!! Overly curious children don't tend to live long enough to pay off the national debt and absorb all the nuclear waste. Stop poking at me and just SWIM already!!! For those who must wear clothing, summer isn't just hot, it's hellish.

Is it any surprise then that I am secretly grateful for this long chilly drawn out spring we've been having? I will keep the obnoxious smile from my face as you moan about the cold, but know that inwardly I cheer. Oh yes, this Utah girl cheers.