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    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    Maxi Dress or MuuMuu? You Decide

    I noticed the Maxi dress trend last summer. Maybe the long, flowing sundresses were around before, but my fashion awareness went down a notch with each child I bore, leaving me not so much oblivious as simply late.

    Anyhoo, I liked the idea of a long summer dress. I’ve always liked dresses, except for during that stint working for They Who Must Not Be Named where I was required to wear dresses and nylons every day. Can I just mention here that I’m pretty sure nylons are the handiwork of the devil?

    I got excited about the Maxi dress because this dress, unlike most sundresses, would cover my ankles. Specifically my right ankle, which looks like an about-to-burst water balloon.

    For reasons I can’t quite pinpoint, I did not buy, or even try on, a maxi dress last summer. And so it is that my first Maxi Dress Encounter occurred a few weeks ago when I was out shopping for Easter clothes for my boys.

    A brief rant: Why don’t the stores carry anything cute for boys around Easter? I had the hardest time even finding an interesting button-down shirt that wasn’t boring old blue oxford cloth. Hello! Moms of boys want to buy cute clothes too. Turns out, I needn’t have bothered. It snowed soggy cotton balls all day on Easter Sunday.

    Back to the Maxi dress: Chunky and I had already hit the boys’ section of the department store, and I felt it couldn’t hurt to swing through the ladies’ area. Despite the fact that winter lasts till May here in Colorado, the store already had an optimistic selection of summer wear on display. And there, on the rack, was a flirty, Bohemian-style Maxi dress.

    Chunky agreed that Mommy should try on the pretty dress (after I promised to visit the toy section later.) In the changing room, I slipped the long dress over my t-shirt and jeans. Chunky, who is prone to flattery, said “It looks bewful, Mommy. You should buy it.”

    While I hate to dampen any form of shopping enthusiasm in a male, especially a young and impressionable one with such potential to be molded into the perfect, indulgent future husband, I had to disagree.

    What I saw in the mirror was not myself in a slimming, graceful ankle-length dress, but rather, me in a floral tent. And then I knew that, like so many things that claim to be flattering to curvy girls like me (ie., stretch pants), the Maxi dress is really an imposter.

    Designed for skinny girls who don’t have to hide their sausage ankles, the Maxi dress can still accommodate those of us who are more substantial. But the truth is, in its expanded form, it closely resembles its ugly cousin, the MuuMuu.

    Wednesday, April 15, 2009

    Top Ten Things to Enjoy when your Husband is Laid-Off

    In case you missed the Twitter announcement, my husband was unexpectedly laid-off last week. While this is absolutely no fun for a shoe-addicted, mocha-guzzling, Amazon-ordering Stay At Home Mom like me, I know of some families who have experienced far, far worse recently. I can't help but think of myself as fortunate.

    So, here's my little twist on our current less-than-splendid situation.

    Top Ten Things to Enjoy when your Husband is Laid-Off

    10. Rediscovering good movies in your own DVD library. (Fun with Dick and Jane currently tops our list.)
    9. An extra driver for kid pick-up and delivery duty.
    8. Cultivating your inner frugal chef ("Would anyone like some more Herbert?" In case you missed the post, Herbert is the name we gave to the butchered cow who now resides in our freezer.)
    7. Skipped calories from forgoing expensive Starbucks drinks.
    6. An ever-ready, appreciative audience (Dad) for boys’ burps, farts, wrestling and other manly pursuits.
    5. Hubby is never late for dinner. ("How did you cook Herbert tonight, Honey?")
    4. Already bought all four books in the Twilight series. (Phew! Now that would have been a hardship.)
    3. A rock-solid reason for sending door-to-door salespeople packing.
    2. Incredible support of friends and family.

    And the Number One thing to enjoy while your husband is laid-off . . .

    An extra 2.5 kisses a day!

    Sunday, April 5, 2009

    Wii Are Not Fit

    I’ve long suspected that those awful weight charts littering medical offices are developed by twiggy dieticians who actually think their low-fat nutrition regimes are responsible for their teeny figures and not the fact that they won the genetic lottery. If you are one of those people, please be advised that I will consider your sanity on a case by case basis. I happen to know at least one nice registered dietician. Yes, she’s an infuriating size 1, but it’s not her fault, and she never claims that her eating habits are responsible for her body type.

    Perhaps you’re wondering what brought on this rant. Or, if you happen to be my husband, you’re just saying, “Here we go again.”

    The other day, my mother brought home a Wii. The thing was an immediate hit. We all loved bowling, golfing, and such because, unlike in real life, we’re actually good at it on Wii.

    But when we broke out the Wii Fit program, things got a little ugly. In order to use the various training opportunities, you must first go through the horrific and painful Body Test. You enter your age and height, indicate that you’re wearing extra heavy clothes, then step on the balance board. A tiny automated voice groans when your foot makes contact. That same voice then squeaks “measuring.”

    After the measuring, your Wii Fit will tell you where you fall on a scale from amoeba to elephant. Then, to add insult to injury, after a few bogus balance tests, the helpful gadget will give you your Wii Fit Age. I knew when my seven-year-old, beanpole son came up as 27 that I was in trouble.

    But here’s my protest. I think all this should be relative. The Wii asks me how much my clothes weigh and BELIEVES me when I tell it I’m wearing a parka instead of my shorts and t-shirt. So why doesn’t it ask me what my stress level is? How often I exercise. If I’ve had children. (Yes, I’ve had five, thank you very much.) And if I’ve won the genetic lottery or am, in fact, descended--not from gorillas--but hippopotamuses.

    We know all the above factors affect weight, so why are they not calculated?

    It should go something like this. Say my actual weight is 150 pounds. Wii Fit asks me what I’m wearing and I say, a hazmat suit. It subtracts, what, 10 pounds? (150-10=140) Next Wii Fit asks if I’m stressed. Why yes, I am. So Wii Fit subtracts five pounds for water weight and such related to being stressed and having eaten half a bag of potato chips purely because I needed to unwind. (140-5=135)

    Next Wii asks me if I exercise. Of course I do. It never seems to help, but Wii Fit gives me points for trying. Another five pounds. (135-5=130) When Wii Fit asks if I’ve had children and I say 5, the little squeaky voice says, “Oh my goodness!” and takes 20 pounds away. (130-20=110) Finally, when I reveal that my ancestors didn’t swing from trees, but lumbered around in muddy rivers, the Wii Fit takes 10 pounds from my actual weight because they shouldn’t count. It’s genetic. (110-10=100)

    There you have it, folks. My actual weight minus all those crappy, unavoidable factors like leftover baby weight and genetic blubber. 100 pounds! And since, according to Wii, I have the balance of a 44-year-old, I’d say I actually need to put on some pounds. I should definitely increase my ice cream consumption. It’s never too early to start worrying about osteoporosis, especially for someone with my tiny stature.