Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Bra

I wrote this story in a curriculum training yesterday.  It was a story that I would not have remembered if it were not for the fact that I had to write a prompt, and being my smart-ass self, I wrote down the word bra.  I ended up using my own prompt to write, and this is what happened.  Oh, and I made the card last week. So apropos for the blog!

I think that every little girl dreams about their first bra. 

I dreamed about it for years. As I entered fifth grade, there were girls who started “developing” and their mothers bought them their first bras, which were proudly seen through their white Catholic School peter-pan collared shirts.

I, on the other hand, still wore undershirts.

When I moved up into Jr. High, into a new school in the Catskills, I looked forward to wearing my first bra. But my mother took one look at me and said: “you don’t need one yet”  I was forced to keep wearing undershirts.  And frustrated with my body that seemed to be permanently in the pubescant stage.

It was embarrassing in gym, where you had to change in public, where every girl had bras no matter whether they needed them or not, and I still had a stupid undershirt.

It got to the point that if I could not have a bra, I was NOT going to wear an undershirt, so I went braless.  No one could really tell,  it was 1969, and many of the “Woodstock” girls were not wearing a bra anyway.

One day I wore a sheer white shirt to school, without the dreaded undershirt on.  I came home and caught my mother staring at me.  She said WHERE IS YOU UNDERSHIRT? I replied while wailing: “I don’t like them and everyone else has a bra so I am not wearing one.”

You KNOW the next time we went shopping I got my first bra. It was a bit embarrassing going with my mother to find a bra that was the tiniest one available. We settled on a tan one, with off white lace around the edge.  To my horror, my mother slipped it into her purse and continued shopping.  MY FIRST BRA WAS STOLEN GOODS and tainted.  I was appaled and was sure that I was going to go to hell for wearing a stolen bra.  (later on I found out that my mother did this with many things that we needed as she was on a fixed income for four kids, and she was not allowed to go over her food budget by my father. It was a shame I carried for years.)

Then one of my school friends told me she had some extra bras and I could have one.
She was about 50 lbs heavier than I , but I could not refuse such an offer. 

The bra I got from her was once white, but now had turned a dingy grey.  The cup size was much bigger than I needed  and they came to point, with stitching that ran in concentric circles staring at the edges and working in to the center.  When I put it on it hung there limply, like a deflated balloon.  I tried stuffing it with socks, too lumpy, and then with tissues, standing in the mirror trying to see what I might look like in clothes with breasts.

Years later, my sister reminded me of that bra, and how SHE went though all my stuff, tried on that very same bra, and read all of my diaries, which was the whining of a teenage girl who had not been kissed and was ready to get a taste of what others were having. (That is for a different story. )

Now as an adult, I have a lovely bra collection. They all fit, none come to a point, and NONE have stitching.  And finally, after 54 years, I have something to put in it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sunset, Kingston, NY

Tonight's photo was shot while I was riding down Broadway at sunset.  Taken with my Droid, cropped in Photoshop, and special sepia effects in Vintage Scene, one of my fave iMac photo apps. 

I love how the car looks like it is flying through the air. You can get some pretty interesting shots while shooting from a moving car. 

And ahem, I was a passenger...though I have been known to do a few drive-by shootings, lol. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

How Patti Got Her Groove Back

Seven years ago I had an accident that changed my life forever. And my body.  And it's shape.

Summer vacation, the year of Katrina.  Had an appointment with the mechanic, the skin doctor, and  something else.  Cup of coffee in hand, wearing a perky blue skirt, and those oh-so-pretty new leather Gap sandals. 

Down the stairs I flew, clack clack clack of the leather on the wood. At the bottom stair I went flying though the air, landed on my ankle, and when all was said and done, my ankle was at a very odd angle and turning blue.  And pain that made childbirth look like a head cold.

The doctor said:  "Tri-malleolar fracture. Too swollen to operate. Will do surgery in three days." Which later I was told equated: "you have the worst bone breaks a person can have."   I ended up with two plates and a dozen screws patching up my leg and ankle bones. It took 6 months to walk again and a few years to get rid of the limp.  And the pain......

Since then I can no longer run, ski, or in-line skate. My hips have developed bursitis, I have shoulder issues from all the crutch work/wheelchairs/scooter. The ankle still swells, and I have forgotten how I looked in heels.

But I can walk. And seven years later I am ready to reclaim my fitness, muscles, and strength.

First I did a cleanse/detox diet that helped me lose some weight and deal with some digestive issues. I think of food very differently now and am eating farm/garden to table as much as possible, cutting out some of the bad guys in the dairy and gluten. Oh and alcohol. Thought I would really miss it, but it's been ok and I allow myself a drink every now and then.

I have been going to killates every Saturday morning faithfully for a few months now.  Today I went back to yoga now that my "core" is stronger, and I can stand on my ankle without falling down.   For the first time in my life I have to watch what I eat very carefully, and increase my cardio workouts so that I can eat more and not gain weight.

It's not all been that easy. It's work to give up things you LOVE LOVE LOVE and WANT WANT WANT. But I feel so much better, and I am loving going shopping in my own closet, trying on  old clothes that didn't fit for a year.

Off to the bathtub to take a nice long hot bath with some fragrant salts to fix any aches that are developing, then bed.  I hear loud noises upstairs and I am afraid to see what Larry is doing in the attic. 

The attic...that's for another blog....

oh and the photo..silly self portrait while walking the trails at Mohonk..using some strange phone app.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Summer is Here!

It has been a long time since I have taken up writing on a regular basis.

I have come to accept that I can't do it all, but with school having let out, I have more time to do that which I had given up, and then some.

Tonight's photos are a newly published group from a mini-series I did called "Tears Along the Hudson".  Let me start out by stating I AM NOT A PHOTOGRAPHER.  It is my husband's medium, and he has taught me much about seeing, shooting, and expressing myself through that medium.  I use it for documentation and as reference for my art, or to post my art on various social media sites.  But once in a while, the magic happens. And I can shoot hundreds of photos before I get "the one".  The five shown here were culled from 40 shots. I guess one out of 8 ain't bad...but good thing this is not the cost of developing these days!

The story: I had just gotten my new Droid prior to a trip I was making to NYC to visit some friends. Before I took off I received a  call from my daughter. She had gotten some bad test results, and was having a hard time processing it. 

When your child has had cancer a few times, bad test results are like getting a hard right to the gut.  Your heart feels like it is getting squeezed, and you have flashbacks of chemo, radiation, and watching your child crawl around on their hands and knees after their most recent round of poison. My friends told me I could cancel my trip, but I decided that I was going anyway, knowing that I had no control over anything, and that I had better enjoy my life while I have it.

It was a rainy trip, and though I enjoyed myself the best I could, it was clouded by a shroud of uncertainty, fear, and sadness.  I shot these photos while on the Metro North train, which travels along the Hudson River.  I used my Smart phone, a Droid X, using the sepia option of the camera, and did some fine tuning on the phone using Photoshop Xpress, and later on at home, a final tweak or two in Photoshop.  The square format photo was done using Retro Camera, an Android App.

I think it is a fine series, and they hold their own in spite of my not being a photographer.  Being an artist means you make art out of whatever medium is at hand; therein the challenge and creativity lives.

And as an aside, I often make the best art and write the best blogs, when I feel the deepest pain or the highest ecstasy.  I wish I could make really great art somewhere in the middle, as being peaceful and centered is much preferable to being manic on either end of the spectrum. I guess learning how to do that is  part of the journey.