Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fashion...Baby and Post Baby

As the weeks grow between the time when I weighted almost 200 pounds and was growing out of many of my maternity clothes and the present I have been enjoying wearing my "normal" clothes again.  As many of you know, I have alot of clothes and have constantly lamented about my small closets and lack of storage to accomodate these clothes.  It has been great to wear them again.  Getting dressed in the morning is still fun after all these weeks!  I guess I should clarify that wearing my shirts is fun after all these weeks.  The jeans situation is not too good...I have three pairs of jeans out of the towering stacks in the closet that fit.  I got out my summer stash and have one pair of capris and a few pairs of shorts that actually zip and a whole tub that still don't work.  Fortunately, I have several elastic waist skirts and a selection of gym clothes to fill in the holes. 

Another positive (or maybe it's a negative since I don't have a job!) is that shopping is fun again and I can actually try things on.  The merchandise in the stores is kind of fun this spring and there is a crazy trend that makes me feel pretty old but also intrigues me...neon colors are back in style again!

They were last in style back in the early 1990s which corresponds with an exciting time in my family's January of 1990, as many of you know, we travelled to the middle east, specifically to Sanaa, the capitol city of Yemen, for my dad's job as a petroleum engineer.  I was in first grade when we left the cold midwest and also left our winter coats, boots, and flannel sheets and took with us huge duffel bags from a military supply store filled with our wardrobes of warm weather clothes. 

Somewhere along our flight to Yemen the duffel bag with my wardrobe in it got lost (if you think a lost bag in the U.S. is a challenge imagine the challenge in the Middle East!).  So we arrived, jet lagged and disoriented, and I didn't have any clothes besides what I was wearing and the spare outfit in my carry on.  And almost right away we had a party to go to, thrown by the other foreign families, to welcome us. 

Here is me and Andrea at the party in our fabulous neon 1990 outfits and if I remember correctly I think my outfit was actually one of Andrea's outfits because I didn't have any clothes.  Our hair is stringy and straight because that day the electricty went out, which was a common occurence in the city, and we couldn't head the curling irons.  I don't remember this, but my mom, embarassed to meet new people with unfixed hair, heated the curling iron over the gas burners in the kitchen and fixed her hair but let it slide for us!  Years later, during my first days in Norway, I tried this same trick when I didn't have the proper adapter for my curling iron!

So anyway, back to the clothes.  Just looking at that picture makes me want to describe everything, such as how our houses were in traditional neighborhoods surrounded by walls and people would beg at our gates believing that as Americans we had money to spare.  We were like a freak show to the other people in the neighborhood.  I remember looking out my bedroom window and the whole family in the garden next door was waving up at me.  So of course, I waved back!  With my red hair and winter white complexion I was quite an oddity.  And I guess, compared to the people at the gate, we did.  Instead of grass, as you can see, the yards were made of marble with garden beds and at our house the beds contained the usual annual plants we know, like geraniums and snapdragons, that never died because it never got cold, and they grew into large bushes that you watered by filling trenches since rarely rained.  We didn't have to take care of this duty because we had a gardener that came every week and also a housekeeper named Amina who would come and clean the vast expanses of marble floors and also became our favorite babysitter when my parents went somewhere at night.  But I could tell details about Yemen could be its own blog.  The short conclusion is that we ended up cutting our time their short when the Gulf War started escalating and my mom and siblings and I stayed in America after a late summer trip home after my dad got called and told to make arrangements for us to stay because it wasn't safe there anymore.  He stayed until the following spring, through the January escalation of Operation Desert Storm when he and his co-workers gathered their essential belongings and documents and gathered in one place for a few nights in case they needed to make a fast escape when the bombing started not too far away in Saudi Arabia.  Meahwhile, I was oblivious to this detail as my mom talked on the phone out of earshot and I watched the green night vision footabe of bombs and missles blasting over Iraq.  As you all know, he made it back safely and bombs never fell in Yemen and he returned to the U.S. on April 4 of 1991 which is also my birthday!

Right...the clothes...when we exited the plane in Chicago for that trip home in July of 1991 I was greeted with neon everywhere!  It was like a party for the eyes after living in the ancient earth toned (and beautiful) city of Sanaa with not a Target store in sight.  My suitcase had eventually been retrieved after my dad went to the airport and spotted it behind a desk in a cavernous warehouse containing mountains of bags.  After trying to reason with the man at the desk who probably didn't speak much English he finally walked back there and took the bag which probably would have caused him to be arrested in the U.S. and when I returned from school that day my clothes were neatly folded in the living room and I was thrilled.  I had since obtained several cute outfits from the stores in Sanaa which included cute denim shirt and skirt sets with fun beads and sparkly embelishments and if I remember correctly my mom had made a few dresses from some pretty fabric from the markets there.  Although I don't know where she found a sewing machine!  I can't remember if she had one or not because all of our belongings that had been shipped showed up late like my suitcase.  When I saw the crazy neon colors in the airport I immediately knew that I wanted neon and lots of it!  I wanted neon shoes and ovesized neon t-shirts with those lame rings for cinching them at the side like a knot and leggings and whatever other dumb crap people wore in the 90's.  And soon I had it...I even had spandex shorts with an attached skirt that was leopard print with a multi-colored neon background and my cousin and sister had matching ones which we wore as we spent the summer watching "The Little Mermaid" every day in our grandparents' basement and eating dairy bar ice cream treats after swimming at the pool and pretending we were mermaids. 

So this neon trend really brings me back to a unique time.  I can truly say that every time I see neon I think of that summer of our vacation/permanent move home from Yemen and the months to follow when my dad was still there and the middle east was all over the news and I was starting my 3rd new school in a year.  I like the neon this time is understated and mixed with neutrals like black or grey.  All you need is a little splash of it here or there!  It is even showing up in baby clothes!  Ben has several items with neon...

This picture was taken when he was about 4 weeks old I think...he wore that sleeper last night for probably the last time because the length was at capacity!

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