Monday, August 30, 2010

Where's Auntie?

Nobody gets to see the great Oz!

My Friend Who Shall Remain Nameless For Reasons of National Security suggested that I start doing a "Where's Auntie?" feature. My impression is that he thinks I do a lot of strange and random crap, and I haven't even told him about the afternoon I spend learning about 17th century herb gardens.

This past Saturday I went to Foxwoods for the Green Corn Powwow. In the previous years, the event was held in a field far from the casino, with lots of exhibitors, a huge tent for the dancing competition, and a rodeo ring for bull riding. This year's Powwow was definitely scaled back - another sign of a bad economy, I guess - and it was held at the MGM Grand Hotel at the Casino.

Here's the thing about the Army Dude and me: we have different body types. When we were sitting outside listening to a Native American storyteller, I was warm and toasty and happy, while the Army Dude was rapidly wilting. When we went inside to check out the vendors and then the Casino, the Army Dude was comfortable and I was in Stage I of hypothermia.

I mention this to explain what we were doing in the unending frigid twilight of a gambling casino on a beautiful day. It's because I'm a saint, gentle readers. A sarcastic saint, but a saint nonetheless.

The only indication that the MGM Grand Hotel has a link to a long and glamorous movie-making history is the movie-themed slot machines. I just had to have my picture taken with Elvis and Ann Margaret in Viva Las Vegas, little knowing until I looked at the picture earlier this morning that there was a mullet of Billy Ray Cyrus proportions to my left. I jumped up and down with girlish glee. My friends, you don't see a mullet like that every day.

The Army Dude did a fine job taking the picture, but I cropped it because I look fat from the waist down. (Madras shorts: cute in person, not photogenic. Let this be a lesson to us all.) I did a big favor to the lady on my left, also. I'm a giver.

Dude, the place is dark. The only place you can see outside at all is in the walkways between the buildings or in the faux-downtown dining-and-shopping area. When you look out those windows, you see miles and miles of forest. Then you turn a corner and you're in the dark, standing next to waterfall that smells of chlorine cascading over a bunch of fake rocks. It's bizarre.

The Powwow part of the day was really interesting. The rest of it was too cold, too noisy, too smoky, and had too many flashing lights for an old maid with a cat. When we got back to the Army Dude's house I had to lie on the couch, close my eyes, and listen to the crickets for a while. This prevented me from being able to help him cook dinner.

I said I was a saint. I never said I was stupid.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Problem Solving

I knew the Duluth Trading catalog we got at work the other day was something special as soon as I saw the cover image.

I've never thought of Plumber's Butt as a scourge on our planet, but the folks at Duluth Trading have, and they've figured out how to "restore modesty and decorum" by preventing "rear exposures that upset clients and neighbors." Thank goodness.

That's not the only problem the they can solve:

76%? Really? I'd have guessed more like 100%.

According to a friend at work, this company's products are terrific. I don't know if he's had a need for the "nose hair secret" solution. Maybe he purchased the Anti-Monkey Butt Powder or the "Ballroom Jeans" (quotation marks theirs). I didn't think it would be polite to ask.

So, two things:

1. I want a job writing copy for this catalog.
2. This goes in The Book of YES

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Auntie Maria IS Auntie Mame

I'm still wondering what is the appropriate outfit to wear to my niece's wedding. I mean, I could wear something quiet and subdued and try to blend in with all the middle-aged matrons. Or, I could dress like Rosalind Russell in Auntie Mame, which sounds like a lot more fun.

I was simply born to wear a black evening dress and laquered red lips. As Auntie Mame, I would carry an ultra-long cigarette holder and swan around exclaiming "Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death!" I already own plenty of jewelry to pile on for maximum jingling while I give people air kisses and advise them to "Live, live, live!"

I suggested this idea to my niece when we went wedding dress shopping the other day. I even showed her the perfect hat to crown my ensemble.

She was less than enthusiastic. I'm telling you, kids today have no imagination.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Sartorial Conundrums Of An Old Maid

I found out yesterday that my 24-year-old niece is getting married (by reading her changed status on Facebook. Honestly, kids today). Aside from wishing her every happiness and hoping that this young man is worthy of her, yadda yadda, I am wondering what is the appropriate garb for a maiden aunt in these circumstances. Because really, it's all about me and my clothes.

Right now I'm thinking about a Victorian ensemble in a quiet gray, with pearls and a picture hat. I'd wear a vintage perfume like rosewater or lavender, and carry a lacy, monogrammed, and scented hankie with which to wipe away my tears of joy.

I'd have to get to work right away on learning to talk like Anne of Green Gables, who had the most INTERESTING way of speaking. I could start peppering my conversation with phrases like "there is such scope for imagination," and "it was so romantic and tragical."

An outfit like the one above would make an excellent Old Maid statement, but I'm a little concerned about the size of the waist. For even an industrial strength corset to get my waist that small, I'd have to give up chocolate for a year. And that would be TRAGICAL.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Getting Personal

One of my hobbies is reading personal ads. It's funny to see what people think of as attractive qualities, and to read between the lines and figure out what they are really saying. I've pulled a few from the Providence Phoenix for your reading pleasure. You've never done this before? Fear not, gentle reader. I am fluent in personal ad lingo.

Let's take the first one line by line, shall we?

"Communicative, extroverted, affectionate, also urban, artsy and very funny" Never shuts up and thinks he's hilarious. If you don't laugh at each and every one of his jokes, he will tell you that you're not sophisticated and urbane enough to understand him. Probably uses the word ironic a lot - and incorrectly.

"Considered very good looking" by his mother, with whom he still lives.

"Looks 47" Vain. (I didn't really have to explain that, did I?)

"Seeking SWF, 40-55" Thinks he's too great a catch to date anyone who is divorced. Is delusional. Also, not the brightest light - most people dating in that age range are divorced.

"To be my future best friend" To be the luckiest woman in the world.

"She is kindest to herself and kind to others" He's just a little bit patronizing. (Okay, probably more than a little.)

Lest you think I only pick on the boys, read on:

Heavily tattooed cougar who never got over the teenage need to impress you because she's "different" is looking for someone to take care of her. She's been too busy going to comic conventions all these years to learn to cook for herself. Note: be sure to ask for more data on snakes. Does she work in the reptile house at Roger Williams Park Zoo, or are the snakes living in her home?

Judgmental bitch.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Come Fly With Me

Last Saturday, my mom and I had the opportunity to get a VIP tour of Leapfest 2010, hosted by our very own Army Dude. For those of you who don't know, Leapfest is an international parachute competition hosted by the Rhode Island National Guard. People come from all over the world to jump out of perfectly good aircraft and plummet to the earth in Kingston, RI.

Mom and I showed up at the appointed hour in our matching khaki capris, tops, and ballcaps (coincidental but amusing). We were then whisked away and given access to the PZ (Pickup Zone), where we learned how the parachutes are donned using the buddy system, then checked by a Jumpmaster who is specially trained to make sure every strap and cord is just so. Then the jumpers wait in a "chalk," which is Army-speak for a group of soldiers waiting to deploy from a single aircraft. The Jumpmaster is also the person in the aircraft who makes sure the soldiers do another equipment check, and decides on the appropriate moment for them to leap out.

Then we headed to the DZ (Drop Zone). It was totally cool to be right out on the DZ, with people dropping out of the sky overhead. We had been warned by the Army Dude to be "situationally aware" lest a stray helmet or buckle or something fall out of the sky and knock us out cold. We did our best to pay attention, but fortunately nothing flew at us except the occasional dragonfly.

I didn't get any good pictures at the DZ because I have a camera designed for idiots. Let's put it this way: the photographers who were also part of the VIP tour had cameras the size of small cars. My camera almost fits into an Altoids tin. I just didn't have the zoom technology.

When we were leaving, I told the Army Dude that I'm completely ready to be a Jumpmaster now. I know it all. He expressed skepticism, which frankly, I thought was kind of rude.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Oil Can.... Oiiiillll...Caaaannnn....

Last night, I took my first ballet class since early June. It's not pretty today, my friends, not pretty at all. My lower back is stiff and sore and the stiffness is spreading, like... well, like rust.

There is a new ballet teacher at the studio. The main thing about changing teachers is that each one has different methods of torture training. This one is all about posture and keeping your shoulders back, and while I - and my future admirers in the nursing home - appreciate the emphasis on standing tall, I'm feeling it today. It doesn't help that I've been lazy for most of the summer.

My inability to retain the sequence of a combination long enough to perform it continues. I watch the teacher, I mimic him, I think I know exactly what I'm going to do, and then POOF! It's gone, and I'm twirling around and flapping my arms and pretending I'm dancing. Nobody's fooled. At one point I was too tired to care what I was doing, so I guess I just stopped thinking about it and suddenly, I was performing the steps. In the right order and everything. Perhaps I'm overthinking things. I'll have to ponder on that.

So to recap: I spent an hour and twenty minutes last night looking like a complete idiot that had never had ballet slippers on before and today I'm in pain. Tomorrow isn't looking very good, either. But you know what? I feel happier than I have in several weeks.

Coincidence? I don't think so.