Sunday, March 1, 2009

Birthday countdown

"A light exists in Spring
Not present in the year
at any other period
When March is scarcely here."
Emily Dickinson

For some the month of March is all about climate change. Winter's cold and dreary doggedness is pushed aside by sunshine and budding plants. Jon Katz writes of the "mud" season. Hopefully even in upstate NY and New England, the days will soon become warmer and the mud will make way for green, green grass. I live in Florida where we won't have much of a mud season. The temperatures will rise overnight, the azaleas will bloom, then it will be hot.

For some March is synonymous with basketball. Not me. Even though Wendy played basketball in high school, I never did learn the rules, positions or strategy other than to get the ball in the basket. March Madness makes me think of Zubin, not basketball. Actually, March in general makes me think of Zub, who we lost too soon too long ago. After he died, Wendy and I went to the daffodil farm to celebrate my birthday. In a weird juxtaposition of happy and sad I associate March with daffodils and Zub and being filled with gratitude for life.

Naturally I look forward to March because it is the month of birthdays in my family. I've been known to celebrate "MY" day for the entire month. It's totally narcissistic and verges on the egomanical. What can I say? I wholehearted believe that God gave each one of us a day to call our own to celebrate our life - who we are, who we are yet to be. Some people believe birthdays are just for kids. Not Merry ME.

I like birthdays but please don't think it's all about the gifts. I am actually better at giving than receiving. I've been known to give other people presents on my birthday. What I really like about a birthday is being celebrated. And even though it's great to get cards, and cake from other people, what I especially love is looking in the mirror when I get out of bed (if I get out of bed, because it's my day and I can make all the rules!)and saying, "Happy Birthday my friend."

Don't get me wrong. I do like gifts, I just have a hard time feeling worthy. That's strange. Here I am talking about being celebrated and not feeling worthy almost in the same paragraph. Very strange! Dad offered to buy me a new outfit, dress (dress?) shoes, purse ... the works. I've been doing a jig trying to arrange things just right so I could go shopping. Using Dad's credit card is not quite like having carte blanche but it's as close as I'll ever get. Spending someone else's money has always been one of my favorite things. When deciding what we were going to do yesterday, Sweetie politely declined tagging along whilst I shopped.

So today when the boys were abed, I went to the mall. I will spare you the details of looking at myself in a three-way mirror. It didn't take long to determine that the cute, little, sleeveless, sundresses that I used to make for myself back in the day are meant for younger girls, not matrons who are edging ever closer to 60 years old. Yeh, the dresses come in Plus sizes but every mature woman who tries them on must sit right down on the floor and shed a tear for a youth long gone.

I've had this dressing room melt-down more than once. I don't know why it always surprises me to see myself in my white cotton big girl pants, big girl brassiere and black socks. I know I lost my girlish figure around the same time I gave up anorexia and my membership to the gym back in 1985. In my mind's eye that hot mama is still around somewhere. She does not, however, tag along with me when I shop for clothes.

I was somewhat prepared for the mirrors today. What I wasn't ready for was the color of the season. Who is in charge of these things? Is it Tim Gunn and Michael Koors? Liz Claiborne or Donna Karen? Do designers throw darts at a room-sized color wheel or take turns coming up with stinky combos. There is no way dressmakers can possible please every buyer, but let's face it, pretty women Julia Roberts, my daughter and Ivy Jane Wichansky are the only ones I know who can pull off brown.

Brown and limey green with some turquoise and orange thrown in the mix. These are not the best color palette for a 50-something woman.

So, in full brown rebellion, I tried on a pink-flowered thing. I looked like something out of the movie Fantasia - scary!

I tried on a red a-line dress with a jacket that could have done without the ruffles right at the waist line. I looked somewhat like a fire engine.

I tried on a gray shirtwaist thinking I could maybe pull off a monochromatic look. I looked dull and drab, not colorlessly chic.

I cried uncle. I slipped on a brown polka dot dress and decided it was the least hideous so far. Maybe I could doll it up with a double string of pearls a la Barbara Bush.

I think Oprah said that there is a certain age when a woman should no longer wear polka dots. me, that was probably a few years ago. Too bad. By the time I got to that dress, the dressing room was littered with rejects and I was tired, depressed and need a bathroom. I didn't want to shop any more, even with Dad's money. I still had the shoe department to check out. I probably should have packed myself up and taken myself home, but I was determined. My window of opportunity for shopping is limited. I felt some pressure.

In the end I brought home 2 dresses, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 sweaters and 1 skirt. I think I'll turn the living room into a fashion runway. I'll suck in my gut, throw my hips out from side to side as I walk. I'll hear Roy Orbison sing as I prance around in my dotted dress. I'll ask the boys for their honest opinions and try not to cry if they mention my dress and dog poo poo in the same breath.

I just finished reading a delightful little photo book "Crowns: Portraits of Black Women in Church Hats" (Michael Cunningham). After watching the Inauguration, I was one of those on the affirmative side when discussing Aretha Franklin's hat. I love hats, but rarely wear them because I have a pin sized head and basically look like a dork. Still, I love millinery confections with veils or feathers or big bows. If I don't take the dresses I bought today back to the store, I might treat myself to a fancy birthday hat/Easter bonnet. Here's hoping trying on brown hats is a lot less depressing than brown dresses.

Stay tuned, Merry ME

1 comment:

terri st. cloud said...

so when is the EXACT date of this birthday of yours???