New Traditions for a New Year

This year I felt enhancements to our New Year traditions were in order.  Our ritualistic purging is commonplace; out with the old dust bunnies and unworn clothing, make room for the new year’s new dirt, new ideas, and new fashion.  2011 was anything but commonplace in the Schultz household, and I have a strong feeling that 2012 will be chocked full of more surprising, yet positive, change.  While I did not want to give up our tried and true merrymaking recipe,  I did want to add more symbolism to the mix following a more dramatic purging than in past years.

Every time I clean out the closets I spy my wedding dress languishing in plastic and think what a waste it is to have such an exquisite gown that I just cannot bring myself to use as a  zombie bride costume.  Our daughter married in 2011, giving us a new appreciation for the cost of a wedding.  So, this year my dress is in the donation pile hoping to be worn again by a happy bride on a budget.

Not purposely, I purged my job, and more importantly my paycheck in 2011.  I naïvely asserted my rights under the American with Disabilities Act, urged onward by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission who assured me that it really was the right thing to do.  Not the practical thing, but the right thing.  I think some of the dressy items I wore to work will be appreciated by a woman who does not have associated bad memories attached to these blouses and jackets.  My next job is still unknown, but surely it will require a new-to-me wardrobe.  In the meantime, I received comfy clothing for Christmas that better fits my current writing persona and requires the space taken by old items reserved for annual events I will no longer attend.  Out with old, out with the old, this year’s purging may take a couple of weeks.

After cleaning and organizing much of our nest, I turned to my right-hand-man (Google) for symbolic new year traditions practiced around the world.  There is a Scottish custom called “first-footing” whereby after the stroke of midnight a young, handsome, dark-haired man brings coal, money, bread, salt, and whiskey to your door for good luck, wealth, and good cheer.  We could not adopt this tradition because good-looking dark-headed gentlemen are hard to find, while blondes and red-heads are plentiful around here, but are considered bad luck in this Scottish tradition.  As the only handsome dark-haired guy in the neighborhood, I couldn’t have my husband visiting our neighbors all evening giving away our whiskey.  The Ecuadorian tradition of burning things that you do not want in the new year sounded more promising as long as we subtracted jumping over the fire and courting an emergency room visit.  I put out the call to my Mom to print pictures of unwanted 2011 ideals and absurdities.  Throwing joblessness, disease, food lines, and fat cats in the fire pit was as cathartic and celebratory as I hoped.  If we do not wrestle with those problems in 2012 it will be even better.  A new year is a time for new hopes.  In that spirit, I alerted my family and friends to the South American tradition of wearing brightly colored underwear for good luck; red for love, and yellow for money.  Everyone agreed that if they could not find red and yellow underwear they would settle for yellow, perhaps because we are already blessed with love and those that are single figure they can easily find romance once they have loads of dough.  I anticipate how lovely it will be when all of us receive a windfall in 2012 and will let you know when the cash starts rolling in so you too, can wear yellow underwear next year.

Our older traditions of drinking, feasting, and kissing excessively were still loyally held to, a sign that not all old things need to be purged, perhaps just embellished a bit.  I hope that your 2012 is filled with new possibilities and stripped of the 2011 things you no longer want or need.  Happy New Year!

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Power on a chain

I instantly wanted my own pistol necklace when I spied Whitney Cummings’ version on TV.  My husband, amused by my Christmas wish, warned me that I would not always want a pistol necklace, meaning that I would not always feel a deep need for justice like I do today. But, the necklace is not a symbol of justice or vengeance, but one of power.  If you have ever felt the frustrating impotence of victimization I highly recommend target shooting.  It is cathartic to load, aim, and shoot a gun, more so when I hit the intended target.  Just so we are clear here: I am not referring to a psychotic break during which I shoot people who have done me wrong.  The calculated process involved in successfully hitting my target requires concentration and discipline, attributes that madmen typically lack.  My mind cannot be sullied with bastards and bitches while focusing on my stance, breathing, grip, sighting alignment, and follow-through.  The experience is all about me and I do not think of anything else while shooting.

To my delight I received a pistol pendant necklace, a sure sign that I was on the nice list despite opposing opinions and that my husband supports me even when he thinks I am a bit crazy.  The pistol pendant symbolizes my approach to 2012.  I began taking a beta-blocker to calm those pesky tremors I had since I was twelve, finally accepting that impressions form other’s reactions to me and my tremor was similar to blood in the water for sharks.  My aim has improved, along with my blood pressure.  Back to the bastards and bitches now; in order to hit my target I must focus on aligning the sights rather than the looking at the target.  What is my goal/bull’s-eye?  If I focus on the bastards and bitches rather than bull’s-eye justice, my accuracy will suffer, not to mention my mood.  Good shooting is firmly methodical rather than knee-jerk emotional and not to be rushed.  My pistol pendant symbolizes a disciplined approach and personal power, but the look of confusion on people’s faces when they notice it will be wildly entertaining, too.  I may not wear it to job interviews, though.

Dakota Fanning is deemed provocative in the U.K.

And ad for Dakota Fanning’s Oh Lola! perfume has been banned in the U.K. by the Advertising Standards Authority because they say it sexualizes a child.  The ASA stated that the following helped form their ruling, “We considered that the length of her dress, her leg and position of the perfume bottle drew attention to her sexuality.”  While I would not sport her ultra-girly dress at my age, feminine lace dresses on younger women are a stylish trend created by several designers for the 2011 Fall and Winter collections.  I see them in every fashion magazine I pick up, typically on young stars like Selena Gomez.  In one article I read about the Oh Lola! ad’s ban the author states that Dakota Fanning is wearing a “provocative stare”, which makes me question the author’s vision, as well as my own.  Am I so desensitized to sexy stares that I do not recognize one, or do I not equate sexiness with innocence?  Perhaps a bit of both, but what is deemed sexual is unique to an individual.  That is why people masturbate to images of feet, hands, pudding, or any other seemingly benign photo.

Although Dakota Fanning is 17 years old, they say she looks under the age of 16, which piqued my interest in British teenage style.  On the BBC’s teen fashion site Slink (a provocative title, don’t you think?) it seems on the other side of the pond sequined mini skirts are all the rage on the teen scene .  I would not have allowed my teenage daughter to wear what I term a hooker skirt, even with a grunge t-shirt, but perhaps the hookers in the U.K. wear little lace dresses and go around staring provocatively to lure in their clients.

Also deemed provocative by the ASA is the placement of the perfume bottle, which I chalk up to a natural male tendency to see phallic symbols everywhere.  A woman is more likely to note the blossoming flower atop the bottle.  While I strongly believe in protecting young women from exploitation, the written opinions of the ASA and media exploit Dakota Fanning more than Marc Jacobs with over-the-top sexual descriptions such as the Daily Mail’s “she tilts back lasciviously”.  What they have accomplished is to direct pedophiles to this ad by tying enticingly illicit  and child-like descriptions together.  The below photos of Emma Watson are from a complimentary article in the Daily Mail about her modelling career and a Burberry ad with her little brother in which I easily recognize provocative stares.

What to wear with 40-something legs

A sky-high sexist quotient must be a job requirement for morning DJ’s on Rock n Roll radio stations.  Channel flipping is my mode operandi in the car, but in the morning I am
a bit slow so every once in a while I am subjected to their stupidity.  One slow morning the insidious worm-like opinion that women over 40 should not wear shorts burrowed into the insecure center of my brain.  There are no longer any Rock presets on my dashboard because outrage does not set a good tone for the day.  Besides, I have Whitesnake and AC/DC in my CD player.

At the beginning of the summer I noted that my inventory of shorts has been slowly replaced by Capri’s and the few pairs of shorts I still own belong in the gym.  I wondered if the fashion industry agreed with that DJ when I hunted for shorts that I could wear, meaning they covered my ass but did not have elephant-wide legs.  I settled on one pair of jean shorts from the juniors department and 3 new pairs of Capri’s.  The stores had racks of maxi dresses and strappy cotton sundresses that pretty young things wear without bras.  Bag-like garments do not flatter my small frame and I am only comfortable going bra-less when there are cups in the top.  My lower half has always been my stronger suit.  Can’t a woman in her 40’s still take a small amount of pride in at least one part of her body without reconstruction?  I rebelled this summer by wearing a red bikini… once.  Although I was truly offended by the new trends and their collaborative relationship with a morning DJ, I found that Capri’s and cap-sleeved knit summer dresses did not ride up like shorts do when I sit down.  Strappy heeled sandals paired with either still turned heads and the cool currents circulating under my dresses were much appreciated.  I have relegated shorts to workout wear, but will reconsider if designers create them with 4 inch inseams and narrower legs.

Fall is upon us, so I begin to pack away my summer wardrobe and inventory my collection of tights.  Who would have guessed that the colder seasons would be a preferable time of year to display my 40-something legs?

Leg lingerie