Monday, February 8, 2010

Modesty + Stress = Modest Stress? Not so much. But loving Julie & Julia...

This weekend, I wasn't as relaxed as usual on my days off from work. I have a bunch of work-related tasks on my mind, including my ever sweat-inducing nemesis, teaching, as well as my worry for Shauna'h's situation. I tried to think as positive as possible, but sometimes that flat out doesn't work.

All weekend long, I was fielding phone calls from my mom and my sisters. When one of us is in crisis, the phone lines are always burning up:

"Yes, YES, Mom, I know. I agree. I think she should do that too. But we can't...Hold on, my other line is ringing. It's Rhonda. Hold on...Hi! I'm on the other line with Mom. I did talk to Shauna'h. Yeah, she told me that too. Hold on...I'm getting a text. It's Shauna'h! I'll call you back."

So, that was on my mind. Work has also been kind of crazy, as I've mentioned recently. I have 5 classes to teach in the next 2 weeks, plus a column to write for the university newspaper, plus a national committee deadline, plus a million other small things. I had one of the classes today at noon, so I was worried about that all weekend. It ended up going pretty well, but that certainly doesn't stop the worry machine, oh no sir.

Yesterday, my parents came over to have a small Super Bowl gathering with us. My mom brought sangria, and given the above, I was jonesing for a glass from the moment she got in the door. She pours me a glass, and I gratefully take a sip.

"Oh wow. What's in this?"

"Oh, lots of stuff."

"Like what?"

"Oh ,you know. Brandy. Wine. Triple Sec. Champagne. I got the recipe off the Internet."

Clearly, my mother was trying to get us all HAMMERED yesterday. By sip #3, I was feeling all buzzed and chattty. I will say that I did feel more relaxed. Bonus.

In happy happenings, I managed to finagle a Henry-less trip to Target yesterday. It makes Mike's eyes goggle to even contemplate spending 2 hours in Target, so my motivation for wanting to go solo is pretty clear. That's not even getting into the inevitable:

"Mommy, MOMMY. What's that? A waffle maker? What does it do? How does it work? Can we get that Mommy? Why?"

The boys stayed home together and were thrilled to do puzzles together.

We needed a couple of household items, and we had a gift card. Naturally, I spent forever looking through clothes as well, since Henry and I both need some new spring things. And I could do so blisffully uninterrupted :) I found a few shirts for Hank, and I happily found a few things for myself. In my quest to incorporate a few modest skirts into my wardrobe, I browsed carefully. I did end up fetching both a dress and a skirt. Both are made of this really flattering stretchy material that flows really pretty and is super comfortable. I wish the dress were a tad longer, but it does come to my knee. It's pink and brown, really pretty, with short cap sleeves. I'll be able to layer it easily with a shawl or a long cardigan.

So, the skirt. This is a saga that warrants it's own anecdote. There weren't many skirts to choose from. That is, not many that were longer than mid-thigh. I'm not trying to be prudish here, but if one lives in fear of revealing one's underwear should they dare to sit down, this means your skirt is too short. I found one, in the aforementioned stretchy material and in a pretty style, and it happily went to just below my knee. They didn't have my size in brown, so I grabbed a black one and put it in my dressing room pile. I wanted a medium, but they only had a small. I can often fit into smalls, so I hoped for the best.

I got into the dressing room and purposely avoided the mirror for a bit. Doesn't it always seem that dressing room mirrors are purposely designed to reveal every stretch mark, bit of cellulite and other things that every female in the universe wants desperately to keep hidden? They *do* want us to buy the clothes, right? So, my back to the mirror, I step into the skirt. I'm quickly flummoxed by the fact that I inexplicably seem to be stepping into a pair of shorts. This is a *skirt*, right? The sangria came AFTER the shopping trip, I promise.

Suddenly, I catch sight of the tag, which advertises boldly that this is a SLIMMING skirt with special SLIMMING properties. Ah ha. The "shorts" are actually these industrial strength nylons inside the skirt designed to SLIM MY WAIST. Hum. I would rather not have such properties, truth be told. I think my waist is A-ok, plus I soon discover that the slimming nylons are asphixiating me. Determined to give the skirt a try, since I otherwise like the style and length, I yank it up. I will admit that I looked particularly slim. But apparently SLIM and COMFORTABLE are simiply not permitted to coexist. Plus, the effort it took me to shimmy into this thing was downright comical. I can only imagine Mike's reaction. Skirt With Chastity Belt: even husbands can't break through this baby. I mean, this could be the new revolution in family planning clothing:

The Virtuous Skirt - By the time you can remove it, you remember that you have serious reasons for trying to avoid. Let's just head downstairs to watch a movie instead before the baby wakes up... I think I'm onto something. I should get a patent, right?

All that aside, I did love the way the skirt looked, and that length is apparently so hard to come by. When I got back out to the racks, I examined a few skirts that weren't on size-labeled hangers. Eureka! A medium. Life is good.

I also found a gauzy, long gray cardigan that will layer perfectly over things, and a cute elbow-length sweater with an argyle design. I chose a plum color, and would have loved to have gotten it in a few other colors, but no dice - not in the budget.

Ok, finally. Movie news. This weekend, it was my turn to pick a Saturday night movie, and I chose Julie & Julia. I could tell that Mike was exerting a Herculean effort to try and appear enthused by my choice, and for this he receives many husband bonus points. HOWEVER. We *both* loved this movie. This was wholesome, engaging and entertaining. Rated only PG-13, it sports only a few instances of adult language and some scenes of inferred intimacy between married couples. It was so charming and funny that we both laughed out loud at times.

The story chonicles two women - Julia Child when she first went to cooking school and subsequently published her famous cookbook; and a modern twentysomething named Julie Powell, who escapes from her bureaucratic nightmare of a job to cook at night and blog about making all 524 recipes in Julia Child's cookbook in one year. Julia Child's story was by far my favorite, and her portrayed relationship with her husband was just so endearing and sweet.

One of my favorite parts of the movie was when she first enrolled in this prestigious cooking school. She was the only female in the class. The are assigned a task, and they all set to work, chopping an onion. The men around her chop their onions in 3 seconds flat, and meanwhile, Julia is methodically slicing her onion slowly, with the utmost concentration. Everyone turns to stare at her. Later that evening, her husband comes home from work. Julia is at the kitchen island, chopping onions, trying to perfect her technique so that she can chop as fast as the men.

"chopchopchopchopchopchopCHOP!!" The pile of onions reaches at least to her chest.

Before he can even cross the threshold, her husband's eyes begin to water. "oh, oh, honey. What are you doing?"

"I'm chopping onions. chopchopchopchopchopchopCHOP!! Are you hungry, dear?"

Husband, wiping his eyes and backing away. "No, No."

"Good. chopchopchopchopchopchopCHOP!!"

I loved it. Highly recommended.

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