Saturday, July 23, 2011

cotton t-shirts

Hubby and I love our cotton t-shirts literally to their death. There is something about a perfect soft well-worn, broken-in t shirt that beats any other garment in our drawer. I am not always sure at the time of buying a souvenir shirt what that magical 'it' quality is that will be revealed slowly over time to make the ideal shirt. It is not obvious at first. Only a hundred wearings and washings will show which is our favorite. We wear our favorites faithfully every week until they perforate, pit-seams rip, and the decal is illegible. And then we wear them some more. We wear them until they give out. Until one can read print through them. Until we are just too ashamed to be seen by each other in them. And only then do we grudgingly give them up. With a sigh that seems to say...I remember not when you were new, but when you were whole and I could read where I bought you, and you didn't embarrass me, but that was a long time ago. "I wish I had gotten two of you," I have thought on many occasions.
They are not all the same brand. They are not all the same fit and size. They are from here there and anywhere in my travelling history. They must be not too tight. They must be not too loose. They must not be too short. They must not have stitching, only an iron-on. The iron-on must not be too big, nor too stiff, nor sticky, perhaps the best ones are screen printed and the location is right in the fabric. They must not be too heavy to start with or they are too hot to wear often. They must not be too thin to start with or they wear out before they start being great.
I think I have this formula in purchasing a shirt. I will think to myself, "this has all the qualities I am looking for". Alas, there will be no dressing room in the outdoor markets, booths, or touristy shops for trying it on. I will get it home and try to wear it lovingly, faithfully. And I will fail. Or it will fail me. It will be too hot (deadly sin in the south). It will be too dense and won't breathe. It will have too long of a sleeve and my arms will be hot. It will be too tight in the chest. It will shrink. The neck-hole will strangle me. The decal will be too hot either in the front on my ample bosom or on my back. It will fit weird, and be too tight on my hips. Sometimes its just the wrong color. It might even be too long. I have a stack of shirts that I wish I could love from places I enjoyed going. But the touch of any of these on my skin makes me itch, yank, pull, chafe, sweat, and swear in vain. I will continue to loath their touch, and no amount of washing, wearing or even stretching and sewing will turn them into a favorite.
I can't predict which ones I will love and which ones I will continue to re-stack in my shirt drawer, shifting them around, only wearing them on laundry day, shedding them as soon as my beloved shirt is clean and dry.
Last year I returned to the place I got one of my favorites seven years before. They didn't have the same ones. Even if they did...would it have worked out just as well? So I continue the search for new ones - future favorites. I continue to mourn the passing of a favorite. I continue to revile those who failed to please.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

summer fun

It seems like this summer is flying by so fast, especially when I look back and see how much has passed, and then look forward and see how little time is left. And yet, in the middle of the day, in the middle of another major whine episode, in the middle of another "Mom, play with me" demand (not request), its like a walker in a oasis in sight. The summer started out pretty fine. We had more than a week where nothing was planned, and we ended up going to my mom's house, swimming in the pool, eating healthy food, going to her community center gym. It was actually really nice. I usually like to plan trips and outings and have something on my schedule. I really wanted to go camping or on a road trip right after school ended, but I was feeling broke, I am not sure how much more my car will realistically take, and daughter was completely against the idea. I admit to some disappointment that my daughter is not the outdoorsy camping adventurous type that I was hoping, that I saw glimmers of three years ago. So I couldn't realistically plan a trip without her, nor could I change her mind, so we did the gra'ma's house thing, and it worked out well. We also went to Weeki Watchee which is a state park now. It was as good as I remembered it. Laugh at those mermaids if you dare - they are some of the strongest, bravest, prettiest women I have ever seen! We also go to see (and pet) a pine snake, a king snake, and an alligator.
The second week of summer was scheduled, with me painting minis and daughter going to horse camp. Camp is at a great local stables, is day-only, but with up to three riding sessions per day, plus games, grooming, and occasional movies. Daughter loves it, but it is very hot and tiring for her. She is good the entire day there, and when she gets home, she puts on her devil horns and gives us hell the rest of the night. Still, its worth the 50 per day for her to do something she loves and for me to have time to myself. I wish I spent my alone time more efficiently, but I do the best I can. Unfortunately, this week was extra hot in town, with highs in the high nineties, before our summer rains set in, and daughter got a touch of heat exhaustion on Thursday, so I had her home on Friday.
The third week was unscheduled, but not for lack of trying. I wanted daughter in a half-day gifted program, but they ended up being full, and no one dropped at the last minute, so she was home. I got ZERO mini work done. I don't know how Cynde was able to work with kids. Although she says that they entertained each other, but I think she just put her foot down and forced them to, because I am not as firm, but I am failing miserably at getting even the most simple things done. It didn't help that we were battling fleas at the time. I was vacuuming every other day at that point, and constantly washing something... rugs, clothes, and cats.
The fourth week was supposed to be spent in the gifted program, too, but since that didn't pan out, I found another job - cat-sitting for my mom while she went to visit the Chicago grandchildren. It was nice having her big, pretty house to myself (and my daughter's self) for the week. Her cats didn't appreciate us much until about the fourth day in, but we got to swim in the pool, hang out with my aunt for fourth of July, eat frozen yogurt at Yogurt Mountain practically every day, but otherwise eat fairly healthy from my mom's extensive food stores. Plus, I got paid! The only thing I didn't get much done of was minis, but as with most things, if you keep going at them, eventually you make progress.
The fifth week (last week) was another session of Horse Camp. This time daughter made it through the week. It was a lot less hot, and some of the time activities were rained out, but she was still plenty sore each night, but stronger each morning. I made a point of making her drink water more often, and that seems to have had a good effect. Daughter really wants horse riding lessons - through the year, so I will be spending my money on that, but she will not be able to get as much other 'stuff' as a trade-off.
She also saw an episode of "Toddlers and Tiaras" and wants to enter beauty pageants. I told her she might get a chance to enter a horse show 'which is just like a beauty pageant...only on a horse'. I had no idea how true that was, but it really is!!! Part of the reason the owner of the horses wants my daughter is because she fits that stereotype of thin, blond, poised, horse-crazy girl that is successful at shows. Pair her with a pretty, well-trained horse and you have a recipe for trophies and ribbons.
After two more weeks, we will be going on my birthday vacay - okay, also for my cousin's wedding - out to Washington State, then Vancouver, and then a cruise to Alaska and back to Seattle. We will get back in the night before school starts. Coincidentally, Cynde and Ron will be in AK the same time we will! At least I don't have to feel too guilty about slacking off on minis then!