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The Misadventures of Mrs. B

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The Misadventures of Mrs. B: 2010-07-04

Cook. Writer. Wife. Daughter. Sister. Friend. Klutz.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Thoughts From the Bridge

Many moons ago, when I was young(er) and single and just figuring out how to get life started, I shared an apartment above a pizza shop in Philadelphia.  It wasn't quite Center City and it wasn't quite South Philly.  It was on South Street.  South Street is a world unto itself, as many who've visited will tell you.

Sure it was infested with mice (I don't want to think about the fact that they were finding their way upstairs from that pizza shop...the pizza was so good).  But it was larger than most apartments of people I knew in the city, and way cheaper.  Plus, you couldn't beat the location.

Or the noise.  Oh my lord, the noise.  The first night I spent there, I'm pretty sure I didn't fall asleep until after 3:00...and then the street cleaners passed by at 4:00.  It was not a good night.  But we grew accustomed to it quickly, to the point where we could nap in the living room with the windows open on a Friday night prior to going out (gotta get that disco nap in there!). 

One thing we never, ever grew accustomed to in the two years I lived there, though, were the "Ride the Ducks" tour boats, land and sea vehicles which take tourists on a trip around historic Philadelphia and then on a short ride down the Delaware River.  They were literally the bane of my existence.  I would curse them with all my might as they disrupted an already noisy Saturday (again, THAT kind of noise I could handle) with sounds of obnoxiously loud party music, a tour guide letting everyone know that Larry Fine of the Three Stooges was allegedly born right across the street from my apartment, and those damn stinking duck noisemakers:  Quaaaaaack quaaaaaaack quaaaaaaaack!

Now imagine 35 people blowing them all at once and you'll understand just a small part of my personal hell.  35 people stuck in slow-moving traffic.  One boat could be audible for 15, maybe 20 minutes at a time, depending on how bad traffic was.  South Street gets just a little congested.

We came up with all sorts of ways to retaliate.  My favorite was the plan of purchasing super soakers and attacking from our 3rd floor window.  In our minds, we would become the stuff of legend.  "Hey folks, if we're lucky, the Super Soaker Strikers may attack, you never know!" Imagine the squeals of delight of the children in between the quacking of those damn stinking duck noisemakers.

I guess my history with the boats is why I gasped so loudly when my old roommate texted me on Wednesday to tell me that one of the boats had been struck by a barge on the Delaware and sank.  I had seen hundreds and hundreds of people sitting in them over the years - and there were always, always children.  Immediately I started to pray for everyone to be okay, especially any kids.

And over the course of the day and the days since then it's been determined that two people drowned in the accident - 16 and 20 years old, both from Hungary, both touring with a church group.

I pass over the scene of the collision every day, back and forth over the Ben Franklin Bridge.  This afternoon I sat in my seat and looked out across the water to where it happened.  I can't imagine seeing something so large bearing down on me and having nowhere to run, being trapped in a small boat in the middle of a river with a strong current.  I thought about the two young people whose bodies were found today, and how they had no idea when they woke up on Wednesday that it would be for the last time.

But people don't know that, do they, those who are lost in such accidents? I guess it's a blessing - such prior knowledge would drive a person crazy, I imagine. 

I thought about them, and about how if such a thing happened to me, my last thoughts would be (aside from Rob and my family), "No fair - I didn't have enough time".

I guess many people would feel the same way.  We assume we have tomorrow, next week, next year.  Not just us, but everyone around us.  I think of Rob's dad, and that judging by how he was found by his neighbor, he was just getting ready to go to work like any other day.  Then something burst in his brain and life as he knew it was over.

To be honest with you, I'm not totally sure where I'm going with this.  Suffice it to say I'm thinking about time, and about living the best way I can, and about wanting to face eternity, someday, with no regrets.

Don't we all?


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Happiness Project: How Do I Look?

I had an interesting experience this weekend while shopping for clothes.  Actually, it all started last week when Rob asked the innocent question, "If I were to go shorts shopping for you, what size would I look for?". (See, I lost a bunch of shorts during the move - they must have ended up in the "giveaway" bags - and he was already planning on going shopping for himself that day.)

First let's focus on the terror that that innocent question brought upon me.  I actually had to admit my size! Eek! Rather than do so, I tried to sidestep by telling him that I'd like to try them on first.  And as any woman knows, that's a totally reasonable assertion.  No two designers are alike, and sizes can be kinda crazy inaccurate.  Plus women have a lot more curves than men (duh) and you have to take that into account.  In many to most cases, a trip to the fitting room is a must.

Then I told him my size anyway because he wouldn't leave me alone about it.

And the man came through, I'll give him that.  I made him take pictures of everything he purchased and email them to me so I knew what I'd be coming home to.  He did a good job! And everything fit, go figure.

But another issue was raised prior to his shopping expedition: what he likes to see me in and what I like to see me in.  He, being a reasonable person, likes to see me in flattering clothes which may just happen to be colored something other than black, gray or brown.  I, being a self-conscious and oftentimes lazy person, prefer to wear dark colors and shapeless cuts.  Things which conceal rather than accentuate.  Because I'd rather not display my thunder thighs or big booty to the world.  It's bad enough they're there - I don't need an arrow pointing at them.

That's why I was struck by how uncomfortable I was that he purchased - wait for it - two tee shirts which were NOT black, gray or brown.  In fact they were light purple and light aqua.  I almost died.  I mean, hello! Bright colors = people might look at me! What was he thinking???

Rather than lose my marbles over this, I chose to think about just why I was so put off by those colors, and why I didn't want people to notice me.  And I thought about it for a few days.

Then we went shopping on Saturday.  At first I was sorta cranky and not in the mood, but once the ball got rolling my wallet got a bit greased up and it was easier to slide the card in and out of it at the register.  We eventually stopped in a plus-size store because I wanted to pick up a tank top to go under my outfit for the evening.

Instead I wound up buying an entirely new outfit, the one in which I was pictured in my last post.  I did buy a tank, thus fulfilling my original intention, so I felt a little bit better about the whole thing.  I even bought - GULP! - skinny jeans! The kind which are skinny! Actually, I had to go up a size in those because lord almighty, I almost wrecked the dressing room just trying to get my legs into them.  They fit great at the waist but holy moly they were tight.  And then trying to get them off...! I've had an easier time getting out of cowboy boots. 

And I need help to get out of cowboy boots.

When the time came to get dressed and go out, I felt good.  Yes, I was still a fat woman.  That's not gonna magically change.  But at least I felt good about myself.  And judging from the reaction I got when I texted Rob that picture (he was already waiting in a hour-long line for a cheesesteak, like a tourist) - well, let's say he thought I looked pretty good, too.

What did I learn? Well, I think I learned and am still figuring out that it's important to accept who I am, right now at this moment.  And I've read a lot about this in the past and naturally it makes perfect sense.  So why then is it so much easier, even when it's more painful, to try to hide? To tell myself that I'll like me better at this-or-that time, when I'm a lot thinner, and then it'll be time to start living? I mean, who am I trying to kid? Like I said before, I'm a fat woman right now and that's not going to change regardless of what I wear.  I don't need to go over the line and dress completely inappropriately, but there's no need to wear a sackcloth either.  In fact in many cases, wearing baggy or shapeless clothing makes things worse and actually puts on extra perceived weight.

I think this is all a big step in my Happiness Project.  Perhaps I should create a resolution which pertains to this, and to making an effort to dress more flatteringly every day.  Not to mention creating a regular makeup routine which extends past mascara and chapstick, regularly touching up my gray hair (I always say I will keep up with it but I always let it slide until it gets crazy scary), and keeping up with my home mani/pedi's.  You know...just trying to be prettier.

Now I want to go shopping again.  My wallet says "no, no, no" but the sale emails in my inbox say "yes, yes, yes".  We'll see.  I'm sure after a glass of wine or two that wallet will loosen right up and be a lot more fun.

What do you think? Have you ever gone through a time when you just don't want to show yourself off? What little steps do you take to feel pretty?


Monday, July 5, 2010

Fabulous Philly Weekend

Hi friends!

How was the holiday weekend for y'all? I hope it was full of all good things for everyone.

Our weekend was a great one, and much-needed.  Long story somewhat shorter...

I was already scheduled to go to a bachelorette party on Saturday night in Center City, Philadelphia.  Last weekend I mentioned in passing to Rob that it would have been nice to get a room in town together if things were different - not a good idea to leave his Dad alone, obviously, but a girl can dream. 

Before I knew it, Rob had spoken to his brother about taking their Dad for the weekend so we could get away! So we booked a room for Saturday night, and then spent the rest of the week looking forward to our getaway.

It was a wonderful and rejuvenating weekend, for sure.  It was great to be able to walk around without worrying about when we needed to get home.  We did a good deal of shopping, and HELLO 4th of July sales (there's nothing like buying cute new undies for very little cash thanks to killer sales - can I get an Amen, ladies?).

And can we discuss the greatness, the pure bliss, that is the Heavenly Shower at Westin hotels? If it were up to me I'd still be in there, pruning up and sighing with delight the whole time.  Not to mention the Heavenly Bed.  And yes, that is actually what they call the shower and the bed.  Deservedly so.

In closing, things I've learned about myself this weekend:

- I just can't "hang" anymore.  After dinner on Saturday, the music got way louder and the place got way more crowded.  I couldn't hear anything, I practically had to mow people down to get to the bathroom, my head started aching from the noise.  I can't believe I actually went out and experienced that all the time at one point in my life.  What was I thinking?

- Speaking of things I can't do anymore - drinking, eating and sleeping do NOT mix for me now.  To place this discovery in context: I used to go out til 2 or 3 in the morning, get a pizza with my roommate, eat a few slices and go to sleep.  On Saturday I had a total of 3 drinks, ate half an order of french fries, and was tossing and turning all night.  It was sorta depressing (and, let's face it, a real waste of a Heavenly Bed).

- It's okay for me to shop for flattering, attractive clothes.  There ARE outfits which don't look too bad on me.  Believe me, this is a long-standing issue which I will be delving into in the near future.

As I said, I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and that week will prove to be a great (and fast!) one.