My Mother’s Dresses

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I thought I was going to tell the story of how my mom had her own personal seamstress that lived in her family’s house when she was a teenager growing up in Japan. But it turns out these dresses are not those dresses. These are Dynasty dresses made in the Hong Kong (the British Crown Colony says the tag)  that her mom (my grandmother) bought her from the Navy Base Exchange. It’s not as good of a story but they are still very interesting dresses. Mostly because they are from 1968!BugIngles-7

I remember when I was a teenager, I tried to wear these dresses too but they didn’t suit my late eighties taste so I never actually wore them. I was more into guess jeans and Esprit t-shirts, scrunchie socks and those mix-and-match knit sets. I shudder at the memories.

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It brings me joy to see Bug wearing them. They look so pretty on her and she actually likes them too. When my mom gave these dresses to me to clean up and sell on eBay, they were a wrinkled mess. They have so much tailoring on them I was dreading the ironing job so I took them to the dry cleaner instead, which was the best decision ever! They came back so perfectly pressed, I found myself marvelling at how finely made they were. I decided I don’t want to sell these pretty dresses. I want to keep them! I don’t know if Bug will ever get a chance to wear them outside of our front yard photoshoot but I can daydream. Wouldn’t they be perfect for a garden party or a spring wedding?

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For now we just have fun taking photos. I will tuck the dresses away safely in my closet and maybe someday we can take them out. Or maybe we’ll keep them around for the next generation if the world doesn’t end.

Isn’t it crazy that we have thoughts like that now? I think this pandemic-apocalypse-paranoia is getting to me. I’m pretty optimistic for the most part but I would be lying if I didn’t admit to taking a long hard pause when I start to think about making plans for the future.

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For now, I’m just enjoying the beauty of today. I want to bottle Bug up with her silly red hair and keep her at this age forever. Sigh…

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You’d never know she’s usually a gamer chick with a headset on, hunched over a computer playing Minecraft all day while she talks to her guy friends on discord. I really hope they have careers in gaming in her future because that’s what she seems to excel at.BugIngles-1

But for now, I’ll pretend we are back in time and she’s actually reading a Jane Austin novel. It’s a nice daydream.

Each Covid-ing in Their Own Way

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Here we are at forty-something days into social distancing and doing pretty much the same. (I am better from my stupid cold from hell though!) I feel bad posting photos of us doing well and enjoying the nice spring weather when so many others are cooped up indoors and doing badly.  Things could be so so so much worse. But I thought I should check in anyway with a catch-up for my own documenting posterity.

The weather has been extremely nice. Spring is here with a flourish. Flowers are exploding and birds are going bananas. I’m just waiting for the other foot to fall and the bugs start coming out. So far, so good.

I’ve taken to walking the dogs in the early morning and chatting with my dad through our earbuds. We both have been remarking at how much we notice the bird sounds that we can hear from each other’s ambient sound. Earbuds are amazing. That’s one thing that this pandemic has really helped. We are all learning new ways to stay in touch with new technology and it is awesome.

My dad has discovered Zoom and is the new self-designated AV guy for his church, bringing God’s word to all the shut-ins (of which there are many, naturally). It’s just as awesome as it sounds. I think he’s found his calling.

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The girls are managing through long-distance learning with ease. Again, we are stupidly lucky compared to so many and I feel guilty. (Is this a thing? That I constantly feel like I should be suffering more? I should just shut up and enjoy it but I do constantly feel guilty.) The girls are both self-motivated and get good grades without much antagonization from us.  It’s great. They are not taking advantage of all the links to extended learning that their uncles are sending them neither are they visiting virtual museums. They are not helping around the house or sewing masks for the homeless. They are becoming really good at gaming, binge-watching Netflix and occasionally baking.

To each their own.

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We are getting used to masks. I need to step up my sewing game but I am severely side-tracked because I started sewing some wide-legged trousers out of some old sheets. The project is going very slowly and I am hating it. I have never followed a pattern before (outside of that one dress in home-ec in 7th grade) so I thought I’d take this time to teach myself. It’s taken a few facetime calls to my mom and I’m stuck at the bias tape stage. I should finish soon but I don’t let myself work on them during work hours so it’s slow-going.

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I’m getting really good at snail mail though. I’ve added it to my daily routine with my daily coffee.  I need more routines like a hole in my head. I spend probably half of my day doing little routines and rituals and never really getting down to work. I doodle and glue and tape and send off little messages of love to whoever wants one. I’m not sure if it brings me more joy or the recipients. Right now I’m focusing on creating art with recycled cardboard and bits. I never look at a cereal or pasta box or cardboard from a pack of sparkling seltzer water without thinking about how many postcards I can cut out of it. It’s kind of silly but fun. I mean, why not, right? Who needs to be buying chip board right now when our recycling bins are over-flowing?

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We have fallen off the Die-t wagon pretty bad. There may have been a few nights where pizza was ordered and chips and salsa were devoured. I am feeling pretty crappy about it. But I’m vowing to get back to it. It’s a marathon, right? Not a sprint. Slip-ups happen and we have to not give-up. I love making up meals ahead of time. I make big batches of lentils and coleslaw and pack them away in individual serving containers. It definitely helps with lunches and dinners when the kids just want mac and cheese or worse, take-out.

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The other night we actually barbequed outside and it felt like a field trip. I miss traveling and planning camping trips. It’s terrible that my Little Hoo Goes Camping book is coming out soon and I can’t even promote it because it just doesn’t make sense right now. But when this is over I am throwing the most fun camping-themed book party EVER!

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How long will this be the new normal? One year, two years? I miss the old normal.