Exotic fashion trends wear out their welcome

I am too practical to ever be cutting-edge fashionable.

When I saw a picture of Kylie Kardashian wearing a simple black dress with an enormous life-size faux taxidermy lion’s head attached, my first thought was: Will she be able to pull up to the table when food is served?

How can she keep her balance?

Will she be able to navigate that monstrosity in a restroom stall?

I’m so mundane, I check the weather app before deciding what to wear. My go-to fashion adviser is the local meteorologist.

I’m so void of imagination that never once have I surveyed the possibilities in my closet and thought, “I wonder how an artist’s rendition of an animal head would look strapped to that?”

The faux taxidermy accessory may be a trend that falls under the heading of “fashion regrets.” Far be it for me to cast the first shoulder pad; I live with my own fashion regrets.

Granny dresses with long skirts and big sleeves were popular when I was in high school. I felt wonderfully fashionable swooshing down the hall between history and math. I looked like one of the Ingalls girls from “Little House on the Prairie.”

In my early motherhood years, big lace collars on dresses were the trend. They were feminine and fancy. I tried to talk my mother into getting one. She refused, saying it would look like she rammed her head through a tablecloth. I immediately knew why I always felt like eating off the china when I wore that dress.

Mom jeans were one of the few fashion trends I was in step with. I just heard they went out of style some time ago.

Big hair had huge staying power. That’s the only trend I was ever on top of. Big hair is past, present and future, as my hair correlates with the humidity. Again, with the meteorologist my fashion adviser.

Jane Fonda workout videos popularized leg warmers. Leg warmers were like long evening gloves without the part for your fingers, only you wore them on your legs.

Even now, I ask myself, why? What were we thinking?

Were we thinking?

Today I read that the big blazer is the latest rage; everybody who is somebody is going to be swimming in one. True to its name, the big blazer is huge, with huge, oversized sleeves, and a trapeze cut so generous it could house you and three friends.

If I wore one of the big blazers, one of the grands would ask if I was playing dress-up. Someone else would ask if I wasn’t too old to go trick-or-treating, and I would ask myself if I seriously thought I could get a seatbelt around all the fabric.

One designer was quoted telling women, “. . . embrace the over-size fit and it will suit you.”

That’s exactly what I’m worried about.

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I didn’t see this coming

If life is a pie chart with different size slices for “eating, sleeping, working,” etc., the biggest slice of my pie would be “looking for my reading glasses.”

I have a main pair, a backup pair in the kitchen, a backup pair on a bedside table and an emergency pair in my purse. It’s not like I didn’t see this coming.

The thing is, I don’t like to resort to a backup pair because that is an admission of failure that I cannot find the main pair.

I’ve stopped asking my better half if he has seen my glasses, because the answer is always the same. Without even looking up, he will say, “Did you check on top of your head?”

OK, so maybe that’s where they are sometimes. Maybe that’s even where two pairs are sometimes.

The man is completely without sympathy, and I can tell you why. He lives in a world with pockets. Nearly every shirt he owns has a pocket—a pocket for glasses. My shirts and sweaters do not have pockets.

The second largest slice on my pie chart would be “looking for my cell phone.”

Pocket inequity is why I also dash about yelling, “I can’t find my phone! Somebody call me! Somebody call me!” Someone whips out a cell phone to call me and I suddenly remember that I put my phone on silence.

To divert attention from the fact that no one will be able to hear my phone, I quickly switch the back to, “Has anybody seen my glasses?”

The third largest slice on my pie chart would be, “Looking for my car keys.”

Ninety-nine percent of the time, my car keys are in my purse, but it is a large purse. Think 50-gallon flex steel trash bag. It is the Bermuda Triangle. I once found a plane in my purse. It was made of Legos, but you get the idea.

I have a memory foam pillow but not even that helps.

The real problem is leaving home without one of the big three. If I leave without glasses, the phone is useless. If I leave without my phone, the glasses don’t matter. And if I leave without keys, but remember my phone and glasses, I wind up sitting in the car catching up on texts on my phone.

Recently, I discovered a fix for making sure I have my three essentials before leaving the house. The key is mnemonics. Song and hand motions are a must.  Remember singing, “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” with your kids? Tweak it a bit (eyeglasses, keys and phone) and you will never again leave home without the essentials.

Just be careful when you do the arm motions and bend over that your glasses don’t fall off the top of your head.

(If you find Lori’s glasses, phone or keys, please email her at [email protected])

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Talent show leaves lingering glow

Once a year our entire family spends a long weekend together with the highlight being a “talent show.” Talent, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Take the one who asks for volunteers and when his sister, a brother-in-law, a 6-year-old nephew and his own 13-year-old daughter go forward, announces he will guess their weights.

I’m not saying the talent pool is thin, but sometimes you may not be sure what the talent is. Last fall, a 6-year-old tossed a rumpled sheet on the floor, got beneath it and crawled around as others tried to guess her talent.

She was a mole. When you knew she was a mole, it was a pretty good reenactment of a mole.

We’ve had some semi-quality acts and even a tearjerker or two. There was the year a son-in-law played guitar while his three little girls sang “The Best Day” by George Strait. “We loaded up my old station wagon with a tent . . . some fishin’ poles, a cooler of cokes . . . going campin’ in the wild outdoors. As we turned off on that old dirt road she looked at me and said, Dad, this could be the best day of my life . . . I’m the luckiest girl alive. This is the best day of my life.”

That tender moment was quickly offset by a headstand demonstration, which resulted in an entire weekend of people dropping to the floor, doing headstands and asking others to time them.

There has been singing, dancing, a jug band, magic tricks, an escape artist demonstration, poetry recitations, extreme pushups, and a kindergartener spelling hard words like chrysanthemum, dandelion and Tennessee—backward!

A highlight last year was a 4-year-old in a dress-up evening gown and oversized plastic high heels. She stood with hands on her hips, someone cued the music with a thundering bass beat and she began her “model walk.” A model walk is where you dramatically kick one foot back, out, and around while jerking the corresponding shoulder. Left, right, left, right. It’s a high-spirited walk that takes grave concentration and is complicated by periodically jumping in the air and turning a complete circle. Each jump was breathtaking, but she landed upright in pink heels two sizes too big each and every time.

With a talent bench this deep, the husband and I have been reluctant to participate, although one year he called me forward, I went and said, “But we don’t have a talent.”

“Yes we do,” he said.

“No, we don’t,” I said.

“But we do,” he said.

“We don’t,” I said.

“We are doing our talent right now,” he said. “Bickering!”

Funny. Very funny.

Last year we upped our game. Wardrobe, lighting, the whole shebang. Wardrobe involved black clothing and glow sticks taped to our torsos, arms and legs. The lights were cut, Frank Sinatra was cued and we did a glow-in-the-dark grand entry followed by a dance routine to “Fly Me to the Moon.” It bought down the house, not to mention a few pieces of furniture.
We have booked our family weekend for this fall and talent show ideas are rippling through the troops. We’re at a loss. It was probably a “once and done performance.” It may be best to quit now and end on a good note and good foot.


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Sizable regrets over buying in bulk

I don’t want to point fingers or name names, but you-know-who is the reason I shop Costco alone. If someone else goes along, we are likely to be pushing a cart so loaded you can’t see over the top of it.

I remind him that the reason we joined Costco was because prices at the pharmacy were good when we self-insured.

Well, that and for the rotisserie chickens.

If I had to choose between prescription meds and rotisserie chicken, I’d choose the chicken.

I’d die happy.

He reminds me that we also go for cheap gasoline.

We do. Except that gasoline can be costly, as in, “Since we’re here for gas, why not run in and pick up a few things?”

The last time we went in for a “few things,” the gasoline came out to $17 a gallon. We can’t afford to keep saving money.

In a recent lapse of sanity, we went to Costo together.

I explained that when you shop at a warehouse store you have a list and stick to it. You do not wander around and browse. Browsing is how you wind up with 12 pounds of cashews, evergreen bushes and a 7-piece sectional sofa.

He said he couldn’t hear me. I said in that case he should go directly to the hearing department.

We got what we came for and then began browsing. Not just browsing, it was full-on meandering. Wandering. Drifting. Roaming. Strolling. From giant HD televisions to vitamins in gallon-size bottles.

“Look! Lime jalapeno tortilla chips!” he exclaims.

It was a bag the size you would take to a family reunion.

“Ghiradelli brownie mix!”

We’d need a forklift to get the box into the cart.

Then came the samples. Garlic kielbasa. “You can’t say no to garlic kielbasa,” he says.

“No, but our doctor would.”

“Deep dish pizza!”

He says it with the excitement of remote tribes the first time they saw a Polaroid picture.

“Pretzel crisps!”

It’s an enormous bag—a bag the size mulch comes in.

“Ask yourself this,” I say. “Will I live long enough?”

Pretzel crisps are in the cart. His father lived to be 97. Apparently, he plans on outliving him.

“Tiramisu!” He’s a kid in the candy store.

I freeze. It looks delectable.

“When was the last time you made tiramisu?” he asks.

I take the fifth.

“Six individual servings,” he notes.

I put my foot down—the one with the running shoe. “No.”

We check out and I calculate the cost of gasoline per gallon.

We get home, unpack and open the ‘fridge to scrounge something up for lunch. He joins me as we stare at a smattering of leftovers staring back.

“You know what sounds good?” I muse. “Tiramisu.”



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Does your phone know you want pizza?

My phone is listening. Yours is, too, but you probably knew that.

My PC monitors my every move. I’m constantly chased through cyberspace by products, services, time-saving gadgets and apparel I don’t want.

Relentlessly, they try to wear me down. Sometimes they win.

Maybe I do need an immersion blender. Maybe a WeatherTech CupFone holder would be convenient. Maybe a quilted vest with a fur collar now 40 percent off would look good on me.

The other day the husband and I were talking about a fraudulent call he had received asking for his Social Security number. Naturally, he ignored it.

Minutes later he opened Instagram and there was an ad from a security company promoting coverage for all his devices.

Social media platforms and search engines say they are not spying on anybody. Internet providers track the sites we visit and how long we stay there, but they’re not spying either. Tons of information can be harvested from social media but social media is not private (hence the name social), so it’s not spying.

I believe them. I also have a bridge I’d like to sell in New Jersey.

They say it’s simply AI, artificial intelligence, and algorithms that can anticipate personal interests.

I’ve tried to limit my “not being spied on” by going to settings and rejecting cookies. I hate it that life has come to rejecting all cookies. It goes against my inner being and my inner baker.

I’ve also read that smart phones and computers can listen through smart assistants like Alexa or Hey Google.

I’ve never had a smart assistant. I’ve never had a dumb one either.

I do use Siri. Siri is so helpful. So convenient. So ready to oblige. But then, so was Benedict Arnold.

I’ve disabled most everything I can disable, but my phone still knows things about me and still sends ads—not just about things I’ve looked at online, but about things I’ve said.

I can’t beat them, so I’ve decided to join them.

When the husband is away from his phone, I talk to it. I tell it things I think he’d like to know more about.

“Spa day for wife.”

He probably thinks about giving me a spa day all the time and just forgets to mention it or follow through. This way I can help him. What kind of woman doesn’t want to help her man?

“Restaurants near me,” I whisper to his phone when he goes out to get the mail.

“Tour Italy!” I shout when he is in the garage looking for a lightbulb.


Specifics are always helpful.

Meanwhile, I’m working on my surprise face. If he suggests going out to dinner or taking a trip, I’ll be completely bowled over.

In the event international travel doesn’t resonate with him, I’ve also picked up his phone and said, “Beach rentals for snowbirds.”

I’m not a beach person but he is, so I’m throwing that one into the mix as well. I try not to be self-centered.

I’ve also mentioned Home Depot and Lowe’s when his phone is unattended just so he doesn’t get suspicious.

I’m not spying or manipulating; I’m just anticipating his interests.

I’m his smart assistant.

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