Without the stress of corporate life and pushing the clock to get more out of the day, I have finally been able to look forward to an evening of watching TV and not falling asleep before the show is over. Something I haven’t done much of since my early teens. In those early years, the line up of shows I would enjoy included those with simple humor, Dobie Gillis, whose fruitless search for the love of his life never got him anywhere, the manliness of Bonanza (I think I had a crush on Little Joe) and the ever funny I Love Lucy (how could you not like her). Not that I haven’t watched anything since, but it seems I can’t find my niche in this reality TV world.
I have never been able to stick to a consistent schedule of reality show watching. I may be snobbish about that but the likes of Dancing with whoever, somebody’s Voice and the guy who made a name for himself by firing apprentices never drew me in. I did watch Housewives of NJ for a while but it hasn’t held me since the table flipping episode. I like slapstick drama.
So after spending 15 minutes scrolling through all the hundreds, or maybe thousands, of stations I am paying over $50 a month for, I am left with a safe bet – some movie I have seen before and were from before 1982.
I’m still drawn to the sarcasm of All About Eve, the transgender humor of Some Like It Hot, and the sultriness of On The Waterfront (I could cry over the part when he could have been a contender). Yes, I know I’m quoting movies from the 50s. I just can’t think of any TV show that I followed regularly. Correction, I did binge watch House of Cards and of course there was Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones but damn it, neither of them are on!! Just when I get into a show, it stops for what seems like 2 years before it picks up again and then I can’t remember what happened before.
In a few minutes, I will succumb to watching the pinnacle of reality TV, the Presidential debates. As candidates, I can’t say the choice is definitive. As a TV show, this could be the best program produced all year. I will plant myself in front of the TV and watch the former star of The Apprentice and the former lady of the house try try to make each other look unqualified, uneducated and stupid. Unless one of them throws up on the carpet, I am sure it will not change anyone’s mind as to who they will vote for. But, it should make for a good show.
As if the calendar has a magic switch, on the day after Labor Day the days become less humid, the nights are chilly, and the September issue of Vogue comes out. I buy it every year thinking it will give me inspiration as to what to wear and how to wear it. Weighing in at over five pounds and 800 pages, I finally found the table of contents on page 245 where it indicated that the fashion spread would start at page 672. Models with pissed off pouty faces in artistic poses against dreamy backdrops wearing $895 blouses and platform shoes not made for walking is a long way from what I would wear to dinner on any Saturday night. When will I learn.
I come from a family where clothes were part of our lifestyle. My father was a tailor with a store on 168th Street and St. Nicolas Avenue in NYC. Even to go grocery shopping, he always dressed in a white shirt, Bogey style hat and tie. My mother, however was the star. Her dressmaking talents were unmistakably haute couture. As a young girl, I would watch her use a newspaper to cut a pattern right on her customer and create a garment like no store bought dress could compare. Her custom made dresses included beading by hand like this one:
Hand beaded waistband
Do you blame me for following fashion when I lived with a woman who could make you look like a goddess?
Another one of my rituals is to go to the Met Museum’s annual costume exhibit chaired by the queen of fashion herself (and the editor of Vogue), Anna Wintour. Every year it opens on the first Monday of May with a anyone-who-is-anyone-gala ball (which strangely enough I am never invited to). Every year I marvel at how the creativity of these fashion experts impress me with their talents and every year it makes me miss my mother.
This year’s exhibit was entitled Manus x Machina which interpreted how technology dating from the invention of the sewing machine has evolved. The displays included garments that were done exclusively by hand and those that were machine made and those that merged both. The show never disappoints me and its theme can be surprising broad ranging from the traditional impact of Jackie Kennedy to the influences of punk rock.
Yes, I love fashion. I wish I was younger so I could wear some of the styles more comfortably. Last weekend, I spent a few days with my daughter who has the figure to wear what she wants. At a Friday night happy hour in Miami, most of the women were dressed with short, tight skirts, very high heels and heavy make up. I am proud to say, my daughter wore ripped jeans with a stylish blouse and heels. I thought she was the best looking one there. My mother would have been proud.
There are those suffering in front of you whose pain you want to heal. It is torturous to see them knowing that regardless of medical advancements, there is no guarantee relief for their back aches or ease from the restrictions of their diabetic diet that controls their love of food. They cannot go back to the life they once knew, eat what they want, be as active as they were or be pain free. They can not play baseball as they did or have that piece of cake that once completed the meal. Their life is different and as age and declining health frustrate them, it causes unhappiness.
My brother died last week. He was only 64 but within those 64 years, there were restrictions that crept up without warning. One day, you find you can’t have sugar or salt. Next day, you find your movements aren’t as easy as they use to be. You might have a chance of overcoming these changes if you are strong enough. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy life. It just means life is different. Or you can ignore them and hope they go away.
I think our choices of friends and relationships vary in order to satisfy a part of you but not all of you. My brother hit the part of me that needed consistency. I knew he would always be there. He was in my life longer than anyone else. He was a big man with an even bigger heart. He collected super hero comic books, and baseball cards from the early 60s. He not only was a Yankee fan from as far back as Mantle and Maris but stood loyal through their decline. I’m so glad he enjoyed seeing the team through better times.
He died sooner than I would have liked but I’m glad he isn’t in pain any more. I’m in pain missing you, but that is alright. I have fond memories of our childhood together and beyond. I hope you are comfortable now and are watching the Yankees.