Sunday, June 24, 2012

Do these Shoes Make my Mortar Board Look Big??

Commencement Fashion woes… they happen. It wasn’t actually “my” mortar board, but I was painstakingly selecting shoes and corresponding ensemble for a graduation I attended, my Son’s! I am the proud, very proud, Mom of a College Grad!  Double - U. T. F. Now when “they” say “time goes by quickly,” “they” ain’t messing around. Not sure who the hell “they” are but “they” knows what “they’s” talkin’ about. That it does. That it does. Speedy Gonzales kinda fast, "¡Andale! ¡Andale! ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba!"

Being “that Mother, oh-so-full-of-pride,” and eager to give proper reverence to this very solemn and celebratory occasion, I wanted, bordered on needed, to pick the perfect outfit. Not every day your kid graduates from college! Ya know? I’m not a high-maintenance kinda girl when it comes to most things, but when it comes to clothes, shoes and accessories; I’m all kinds of girlie-girl. My closets runneth over. That “s” on “closet” is no typo, intentionally plural, as I have a pretty substantial overflow situation going on and am now stuffing crap into other closets in my house. If only I had a walk-in closet the size of my neighbor’s pirate flag. Sigh…

O -H

I – O  (Hoping there’s some Buckeye fans out there who didn’t leave me hanging on that one)

My son graduated from “The Ohio State University.” Go scarlet and grey! Being “that Mother, oh-so-full-of-pride,” my immediate thought was that I wanted my outfit to match the school colors. I didn’t want to look like I was going to the prom with Brutus Buckeye or anything but I did want a little splash of school spirit.
I guess he’s kinda cute, but not really my type

I opted for a black dress with a geometric-ish print of cream, red and black on the top half and paired it with red patent shoes with mere 5 inch heels. “Scarlet.” Perfect. I did NOT, however, opt to take into any consideration whatsoever the venue, the climate or the mileage to be trekked by foot on this most joyous of occasions. Proud Mamma wanted to be “fancy” and the decision making process started and stopped at “fancy.” Done. Fashion first; common sense second (or not at all).
My girl Jessica Simpson…She. Gets. Me.

Based on the hard fashion lessons I learned on this momentous day, this here is gonna be a few basic, nonetheless important, guidelines. Sherrie Sherrie’s “What NOT to Wear to a Commencement,” if you will.

I made the drive down from Cleveland to Columbus the night before the ceremony. It started at noon on Sunday and I didn’t want to have to drag my ass outta bed at the crack of dawn and deal the lovely orange barrels that are a customary symbol of springtime in Ohio or with the traffic they were forewarning you of for this event. There were 10,462 graduates and approximately 60,000 people in attendance. Just a small affair, right? I had my morning coffee in Columbus, not en route in my car. So far, so good… using my noodle.

The ceremony was at the Ohio Stadium, home of their football team and affectionately known as “The Shoe” or “The Horseshoe.”  Tips #1 and #2, for events taking place outdoors, duly note the weather conditions, including temperature and amount of shade. When the thermometer hits or exceeds the mid-range of the sweltering 90’s and the expanse of shade is zilch, dress accordingly Dumb Ass. The “Ass,” here, being my own.

I was nonchalantly informed by my son that due to the stifling heat he was going to wear shorts, a t-shirt and flip-flops under his black, long sleeve, synthetic, heavy gown. I nearly dropped my Columbus brewed coffee. I’m beside myself, “You are graduating from college! You can-not wear shorts! That will look ridiculous!” Being a communications major he wins the extensive Mother – Son fashion debate that ensues. Ahhh, like old times. My daughter’s boyfriend, who is my son’s roomie and who also graduated (Summa Cum Laude by the way, with all kinds of impressive awards and extra tassely sashy thingies), also wears shorts, and, I have to admit, they looked cute. Losing this argument turns out to be something I became overwhelmed with gratitude for over the course of the day… many, many, many times over in my head I reiterated, “Thank God I didn’t make him wear pants. Thank God!” “You WILL wear dress pants, socks, real shoes and a black Hefty bag frock whilst baking in the direct sunlight for nearly 4 hours and you WILL like it” is boarding on child abuse. Panning all the graduates, it was a virtual a sea of naked shins. Nary a pant leg to be seen. “Thank God I didn’t make him wear pants. Thank God.”
The boyfriend in all his tassely sashy thingies glory

My daughter, being “that sister and girlfriend, oh-so-full-of-pride” and also being in a congratulatory state-of-mind, selected a cute summery spaghetti strap blue dress of a light-weight breezy fabric. Clearly, this girl is smarter than her Mamma. Tip #3, breathable fabric, wear it. My dress, I believe, was constructed of a material similar to that of duct tape. No air was getting through that shit, unless I cut holes directly through it. Had I any scissors in my purse I would have done just that. Snip. Snip. Snip. Music to my ears. No such luck. Scissors R Us not to be found.

Her dress choice? Far superior to mine when utilizing Tips #1 - 3, but here’s where the apple didn’t fall from the tree… the SHOES! She paired the sensible outfit with even higher heels than mine, strappy blush colored patent sandals. “Do you think these shoes are OK,” she inquired. Oh, SO much better than OK, Honey! Loved them. I bowed my head in admiration. This shoe woman was proud. Tip #4, wear comfortable shoes! We wouldn’t normally wear shoes of this kind while going to a football game or any event at a sports arena, so why we thought these were prudent footwear choices is beyond me. We could have easily stashed several pairs of flip-flops in our very bulky purses as back-up, just in case, but that would have just been way too logical. Fashion first; common sense second (or not at all).

Mother and daughter set off to see their soon-to-be alumni graduate, Ms. Fancy-Shoes and her Fancy-Shoes daughter. We park in a gravel lot about 2.7 miles away from the stadium (I’m only slightly exaggerating here). We demonstrate some our best skateboarding and surfing moves (we have done neither in our lifetimes) while balancing our platforms on the uneven rocks that “paved” our way to the mirage ahead that is the sidewalk. Ahh… cement… you are a beautiful, beautiful thing. I refrained from actually getting down on my hands and knees and kissing it. We walked swiftly at that point on the smooth even surface. It's damn near tropical in O-hi-o, but we were only “misty” or “dewy” or something of that refined nature, not sweating yet.

We finally get to this “Shoe.” Guests are only allowed in through the one entrance and we are no, no where near said secret passageway. Now is that any way to treat "guests?" Walking around the shoe. Walking around the shoe. Stop. Stand and wait while swarms of graduates filter in their “special” gates. Roast in sun. Repeat this process 20 times. This “Horseshoe” they speak of? Clearly fashioned for a mutant Clydesdale. Mile marker 4.1. My oversized sunglasses are preventing any air from circulating in and around my eyeballs and I feared they may burst from the heat. Remove glasses, fan eyeballs, blot eye sweat. Repeat this 10 times. My duct tape dress was not very absorbent. Go figure. It did not wick a single drop of moisture away from my body so sweat was dripping down and pooling into crevices that I didn’t even know that I had. How’s that for fancy? Full-fledged sweating and we aren’t even at our seats yet. “Thank God I didn’t make him wear pants. Thank God!”  

Finally inside! Walking inside the shoe. Walking inside the shoe. Arrive at a gate, “Graduates only.” Damn. Keep walking. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Ahhh… a guest gate. FULL! Are you kidding me? Keep walking. We are forced to try the next level up… that means stairs. Countless, endless, steep stairs. Picture Rocky Bolboa’s famous stair climb, only at a turtles pace, with a death grip on the handrails due to the potential to fall backwards off our modest heels and with multiple rests to fan off, catch breath and rehydrate. So, yeah, exactly like Rocky, even raising our arms in triumph when we finally got to the top, but that was more to air out the pits than for any celebrating. Muah! Mentally kissing cement once again, hell, bona fide making-out with it.

By the grace of Jessica Simpson, my feet were faring well. My daughter’s? Not so much. Tip #5, break-in new shoes prior to wearing. Her title now, “that sister and girlfriend, oh-so-full-of-blisters.” We bummed a few band-aids off a sweet lady but not before her barefoot gets stomped on and the flesh is ripped from her big toe. Hot, sweaty, injured, we, at last, end our long journey and make our way to our seats, silver roasting rack bleachers in the oven that is the Ohio Stadium set at broil. I pray (no joke on this one) for the elderly people who needed medical assistance and were wheeled or stretchered off. God Bless them for wanting and attempting to see their loved ones graduate in that heat. Amen!

Between thought-provoking, funny and touching speeches, we alternated using our programs as fans, stay-cool seat cushions and sun hats. “That Mother, oh-so-full-of-pride,” added to the overall dehydration process with random bouts of tears. Remove glasses, fan eyeballs, blot eyes. Repeat this 10 times. The graduates filed down in a rapid procession and marched onto the field to get their diplomas, like tiny black ants, almost indistinguishable from where we sat. I see my son! I see my son! I wave frantically! I take a picture. Oh, wait… that’s not him. Repeat this 7 times.

I’m not sure if I actually got a picture of him receiving his diploma? However, we took photos after mopping off, cleaning up and a change of clothes for the graduates. See how handsome he looks all dressed up with a tie and pants and real shoes? He should have worn… oh, Geezus, someone smack me… “Thank God I didn’t make him wear pants. Thank God.”

That Mother, oh-so-full-of-pride” & her graduate! :)

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father’s Day Gifts… the Good, the Bad, the Funny…

My Dad hates when I dig deep into my little bag of “Dad Memoirs” and repeat any of my entertaining little stories about him because he thinks I am making fun of him.  I – AM – NOT! I love “My Dad Stories.” What better way to honor him on Father’s Day than to embarrass him in a rather public way by sharing one of my favs?!?

Now  Dad…

Re – mem – ber

We are laughing with you NOT at you!!

Trust me!!

Here goes…

My Dad is always so hard to shop for… you can only buy so many polo shirts, new tennis shoes or BBQ utensils sets before you just start feeling like a shitty daughter. Dhem dhere be some boorr-ring gifts! I’m all about creative and thoughtful gifts and about 99% of my gifts to him have been neither. A mini pizza oven was one of my few frontrunners. An Italian man that likes to cook?!? In the cart that bad boy went! SOLD! It has gotten much use over the years. Winner, winner, pizza dinner!

Mangia! Mangia!
A few years ago I again hit the Father’s Day gift jackpot with a massaging chair cushion. Now this wasn’t any ordinary run-of-the-mill massaging chair cushion. Oh no, it was a “deeee-luxe” version! All the bells and whistles… remote control… multiple speeds… heat… shiatsu…many different programmable options to soothe achy back and leg muscles by simulating countless magical fingers of Asian descent. Number one daughter award right there, Baby! Sorry Sistaaaass… try harder again next year! I got this one!

A few days after Father’s Day, I’m talking to my Dad on the phone; he thanked me again for the gift and jabbered about how much he liked it. He said, and I quote, “I really like my vibrator!”

Complete silence. 

-- Time -- Stands – Still --

It’s one of those moments where you have a lengthy and very logical conversation all in your own head.  Feels like 30 minutes but is actually only around 30 seconds or so.  The ensuing convo with Moi goes something like this:

 “A vibrator?!?!?!?!?!?!?!”

“He did just say ‘vi - br - a - tor,’ right??”

“Just what in-the-hell did I wrap and give Dad on Sunday?!?!”

“Oh my G-A-W-D!”

“A present snafu of immense proportions has transpired!!”

“Uuummm, Dad, I think I will want that back??”

“Uuummm, Dad, I think I will NEED that back!!”

“What – the – Ffffffffff!?”

“Wait… just… a… minute… here…”

“I was there when he opened the gift...”

“I actually saw the unwrapped gift…”

“I even saw my nephews playing with and enjoying this so-called ‘vibrator’...”

“He did indeed receive the correct gift!!!”

“WHEW!!!”  (wiping sweat from brow)  “Wheeweww!!”

“Silly, silly, sil - ly Dad!!!”

“He called his massaging chair cushion a ‘vibrator!!’”


I’m laughing on the outside and on the inside at this point. But not, not, NOT laughing AT anyone at all… WITH… WITH… I’m laughing with!

Best misnomer ever!

In all actuality, best Father’s Day gift ever. My Dad is not a phone talker, no, no, no. Not his thing. Nope. Normally one minute into any given conversation you’ll hear, “Well, I’m gonna let ya gooooo.” Really Dad? Nice talking to you. So the fact that our post Father’s Day chat surpassed the usual 3 sentence maximum is a testament to my superior gift giving skills. (Polishing my #1 Daughter trophy)      

There is no one-size fits all gift for Dads. Forget about all the stupid Dad trinkets or dumb ties. Think about what your Dad would really want and need. Now if you’d think he’d happen to want something that requires batteries, buzzes and will be delivered in a discreet brown box, who are we to judge? I’m, however, not sharing my trophy if you hit the gift jackpot like I did. It’s mine. All mine!

I want (and probably need) to caveat all this by wishing my Dad a very Happy Father’s Day! He has given me much over the years. He has helped me much over the years. He has fixed much for me over the years. To say I am grateful would be an understatement. Love you Dad. HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to you!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"HOPPY" Birthday to Someone Special!

Twenty years/two decades/one score, like as in “four score and seven years ago,” … eh, scratch that last one… that’s just way, way too formal for me… aaaany who… any which way ya wanna say it… quite a lot of years ago… my daughter was born THIS day! Twenty years old!?! Doesn’t really seem possible?? TWENTY years has past?? Huh?? Really??

Here’s my little Doodle Bug when she was actually “little.” Sigh…
This cutie has bought much “COLOR” and “life” into each and ever year!

Now don’t let this picture fool you!! Oh, she looks all sweet and innocent here… but this was my “wild” child. I can’t exactly attest to it, but I’m fairly certain those cute blonde curls where bouncing around the photo studio milliseconds after the camera went “SNAP!!” Boing… Boing… Boing… Boing…

She had one speed… turbo! Walking was non-existent… dashing perhaps… sprinting, more likely. Or somersaults, even? Why not? This was a normal way to travel from room to room at our house. Frontwards, backwards, roll, roll, roll. TV was watched whilst on her head. Simply sitting was way too monotonous to even be a consideration. Sit? You are joking, right?! How about a nice cartwheel instead? I do not believe I ever read a book in its entirety to this girl, a few sentences in and she was off and on her way. Boing… Boing… Boing… springy curls in action… Boing…

Unfortunately, with this kind of energy came accidents. Plenty of ‘em!! Two broken noses, a broken wrist, head through a glass table, gashed and gushing foot, face plant with most of that “plant” part being on the front teeth, guess that would be a teeth plant then, huh?? Oh, I could go on and on. I attribute each and every one of these accidents to her speed control, faulty as it was. She was and is, in fact, very coordinated. Her fine motor skills at an early age were remarkable. Like watching a squirrel with nut, she could peel open a Hershey Kiss as soon as she could down solid food. Haven’t seen anything quite like that before or since. A downgrade to even a medium speed once in a while could have likely shaved off a few trips to the ER. Ahhhh… all the more time for headstands… or running… or bouncing… Boing… Boing… Boing…

A doll was marketed and sold when my daughter was young.

Her name was “Jumpsie.” A curly blonde-haired doll that came equipped with her own trampoline. HHhmmm. Wait a flippin’ minute here!! My daughter’s name is “Dempsey!” Jumpsie… Dempsey? Blonde curls with a propensity for bouncing? They even looked alike. Coinkidink? I think not!! If this doll was going to steal my daughter’s likeness, they could have at least got the jumping part down right. “Jumpsie” was NOT even good at jumping!!! WTF!! A jump and a half and she would fall off her trampoline. Plop. Pathetic. Hellooooo… your name is "Jump"sie!  Watch Dempsey, she’ll show ya how it’s done. She's a pro! Boing… Boing… Boing… That-a-girl!

So twenty years has come and gone like a blink of the eye. I no longer see a flash of blonde curls go bouncing or zooming by me. Haven’t seen a single somersault in I don’t know how many years?? I miss that spirited girl, but in its place, I now see a beautiful girl, inside and out, a college student, that I’m very proud of, one that has even learned how to sit and actually walk from room to room. That's a blessing... truly. We are still waiting for royalty payments from that doll company (bastards!), but aside from that, it has been a wonderful bouncy ride. Hoppy, Hoppy, Hoppy  Birthday to “my” Jumpsey!! The one and only, genuine, original Jumpsey.


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