Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Two Grifters Off to See the World: Watch the Scam Car, Please

The other night, I watched Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, that 1989 classic comedy about two grifters who charm heiresses out of their fortunes.  Although I'd (somehow) never seen it, the casino and train scenes seemed familiar.  But it wasn't until Michael Caine led his wealthy, would-be wife to meet Steve Martin masquerading as his two-fries-short-of-a-Happy Meal brother that I realized it was almost exactly the same as 2019's The Hustle with Anne Hathaway and Rebel Wilson.  It was weird to stumble upon the original of a movie that I didn't even know was a remake.  Even stranger, I'd watched The Hustle last spring, around the beginning of the quarantine.  And that made me wonder: why was the universe sending me its funhouse mirror image three hundred and sixty-five days later?  To tell me that 1) the secret to life is scamming people, 2) Michael Caine is more than Batman's butler, or 3) Steve Martin and Rebel Wilson are just a wig away from being the same person?

Or, the more things change, the more they stay the same?

Yeah, it's probably that one.

Another thing that won't change this spring (or ever) is my disdain, not for trains, but tram cars.  It all goes back to the time I was six and was abandoned on a tram with a mime.  No, that's not true.  But this is the second consecutive post in which I've mentioned mimes.  I just don't like them (tram cars, not mimes.  Wait, no, it's tram cars and mimes).  It haunts/amuses me that trams are probably still running all over the East Coast and beyond, their tinny warning ("Watch the tram car, please!"  "Watch the tram car, please!") as unwelcome as a parole officer at a pig roast.  

That said, this pic of regular cars on a regular road instead of a tram car parting a sea of sunburned suckers on the boardwalk will have to do.     

Because diamonds to doughnuts, if it's a scam -- I mean tram -- car, then it's got its share of scoundrels onboard.  And I don't want to be tricked into a game of eat or be eaten; I want to live and let live.  Like in The Lion King.  

But while we're on the subject of eating -- and doughnuts -- I wouldn't say no to a glazed Krispy Kreme.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Mad for Plaid, Psyched for Stripes

Sweater: Omg!, JCPenney

Shoes: Nine West, Kohl's

From top: Zulily; Plymouth Plantation gift shop; Mystery beach shops for our trio of beaded daisy friends; Wild Fable, Target 

Bag: Elizabeth and James, Kohl's; Cherry charm: Carole, JCPenney; Grape charm: Charming Charlie

Sweater: Pink Republic, Kohl's

Skirt: Dickie's, Dolls Kill

Bag: Betsey Johnson, Boscov's; Bracelet: Amrita Singh, Zulily; Ring: Miami accessories cart

Skirt: Amazon

Boots: Mix No. 6, DSW

Sweater: Delia's, Dolls Kill

Bag: Olivia Miller, Amazon

Jumper: Derek Heart, Zulily

Geometric Jam Necklace

Bag: Amazon

Ask anyone on the street what she thinks when she hears stripes, and nine times out of ten, she'll answer Beetlejuice, mimes, and/or old-timey prisoners.  But if you said plaid, then he'd answer Scots, schoolgirls, and Christmas.  (It's not lost on me that the "she" changed to a "he" just in time for the schoolgirls.)  So two prints, two worlds, one dark and dangerous and the other straight from Norman Rockwell.  Still, both are undeniably classics.  And here I am in both, in one outfit at the same time. (Yes, that's a lipstick shooting up from the dead plant.  Apparently, makeup brightens more than faces.)  

If that doesn't say here comes trouble, then I don't know what does.      

No, wait.  I do.  It's Beetlejuice wearing a kilt and brandishing a Christmas tree.  

Damn you, Michael Keaton.  You win every time.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

The Fate Beyond: Moon Dreamer Creamer

Top: Self Esteem, Macy's; Skirt: Delia's, Dolls Kill; Shoes: Worthington, JCPenney; Bag: Charming Charlie

When people say "out-of-this-world herbs," they're usually talking about something stronger than tea.  But for me, the wonders of the galaxy never seem more majestic or clearer than when I'm curled up with a cup of Celestial Seasonings cinnamon apple spice.  (And no, as always, this isn't paid advertising.  Although also as always, Celestial Seasonings, I'm game if you are.)  

Knowing that you're part of something bigger than yourself (in this case, outer space, not tea drinking) is miraculous and yeah, kind of comforting.  It makes you realize that insulting your boss's husband's bowl cut, having an always mildewed tub, and/or inhaling Chunky Monkey when you're supposed to be eating kale chips aren't that serious in the grand scheme of things.  Unless, of course, cheating on your diet eventually leads to a heart attack that kills you.

That said, I really enjoyed the zen-ness of zoning out and making this celestial-themed jewelry.  The star, planet, and crescent moon charms made me feel connected to the universe and reminded me of those adorable '80s dolls known as Moon Dreamers.  Even if, unlike those dolls, they don't have hair that glows in the dark.

Celestial Star Necklace

Celestial Star Earrings

Celestial Star Bracelet

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to make my tea and howl at -- er, stare at -- the moon.  No need to consult your Farmers' Almanac to check if it's really out in my corner of the world tonight.  Because it's always there in spirit.  

Just like your zinger about the bowl cut.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Trash Bash: Celebrating (and Berating) Stinky


In the spirit of revisiting the nostalgia and wisdom of TV shows from my childhood, I finally took a gander at The Pursuit of Grouchiness: Oscar the Grouch's Guide to Life, which is a gift book I got last Christmas.  Now, there are only three other famous Oscars that I can think of: Oscar from The Office, Oscar Mayer, and that gold statue that everyone in Hollywood covets come award season.  Needless to say, this book isn't about any of them, but the not-so-loveable character who lives on the seamier side of Sesame Street.  Everyone knows that Oscar the Grouch is a misanthrope in Muppet's clothing, a naysayer of the first order who's probably been kicked by life even more than his trash can.  

This would probably be a good time to reveal that I've spent most of my life as a pessimist -- in other words, a better-smelling Oscar, but an Oscar all the same.  These last few years, though, I've turned a corner into optimist territory, and I'll be the first to admit that it's a much brighter, more beautiful, and all around easier place to live.  Nevertheless, the snarky ghost of Tracy past couldn't help cracking a smile at some of Oscar's less-than-sunny-sentiments.  Here are some of my (her?) favorite parts.  Even if one is the about the author page.  

"We're grouches, we can only be happy when it rains."

Whoa.  A garbage can dweller who's only happy when it rains?!  Is it me, or was Garbage front woman Shirley Manson inspired to name her band and first hit single after the original Dumpster diver?   

"Morning people annoy me.  So do all other people."

I think this one speaks for itself.

"Oscar the Grouch doesn't need to explain himself to you.  

He lives in a trash can on Sesame Street."

I like this one because I still struggle to not explain myself.  

And finally, here's the incongruously upbeat bookmark I used to mark the aforementioned Oscar and friends (enemies? frenemies?) page.  Tricked out with the neon peace sign, yin yang, and happy face that were the poster child trio of '60s-turned-'90s pop culture, it stands for pretty much everything that Oscar doesn't. 

That said, the, ahem, Oscar (Emmy?  No, just go with the bit) goes to . . .

. . . Oscar the Grouch for his portrayal of a curmudgeon on Sesame Street

 Because anyone who expends that much enthusiasm for being miserable is, deep down, loving life.  

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Eek! It's Easter!

Dress: Macy's

Bag: Current Mood, Dolls Kill

Fascinator: Amazon

"Eek! It's Easter." is like "Eek! The Cat."  Or better yet, "Eek! The Easter Bunny."  Because as cute as that iconic cartoon cat is, he doesn't bring you Cadbury cream eggs.

Now that the egg hunt is afoot (I mean this, of course, metaphorically; although, if you know of an egg hunt out there, then let me know, and I'll be there stat), it's time for my time-honored tradition of topping off my Easter ensemble with a fascinator.  And by time-honored, I mean that I wore a pink one last Easter and a yellow one the Easter before that.  I got this year's lime number from Amazon and clipped my balloon bow barrette to it.  Because on Easter Sunday you have to bring it, and bright lime feathers just aren't enough.  

On that note, whether you wear a fascinator, bunny ears, or no hat at all, I wish you a wonderful Easter.

And also, a boatload of Cadbury cream eggs.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Twice in a Blue Moon: Oh, Spunky

Flannel: So, Kohl's; Skirt: Mudd, Kohl's; Boots: Betsey Johnson, Macy's; Bag: Delia's

Tee: Self Esteem, Macy's

Gummy Bear Flair Necklace

Calling all '80s babies: The Punky Brewster reboot has landed on Peacock!  Although to be fair, Penelope "Punky" Brewster herself, a.k.a. Soleil Moon Frye, says that it's not so much a reboot as it is a continuation.  (I recently saw her on Kimmel and thought, hey, where have I heard that voice recently?  Oh yeah, from a rerun of Friends where that pint-sized brunette beat up on Joey!).  Because in the Peacock spin-off, America's favorite foster kid is all grown up with four kids of her own.  Two are adopted, and one is a foster kid who's a mini Punky, rocking the same scruffy-cute style, only with a blue hair streak and a beanie standing in for the vest.  Izzy is streetwise yet sensitive, a lost little girl in need of a home.  And in the tradition of Punky's own foster father Henry, Punky and her musician ex-husband Travis (Freddie Prinze Jr.) are just the good Samaritans to take her in.  Also like Henry, Punky's a photographer and even lives in his -- now much more colorful -- apartment.  With her bubbly, no-holds-barred approach to life, she's a rock star at tackling parenting issues including gender identity, dating, and drugs.  Travis, the actual rock star, is less talented.  When their daughter's boyfriend denies ownership of a joint on the grounds that he has asthma, Travis quippily reminds him that they make edibles too.  SPOILER ALERT!  The joint turns out to be Travis's, an allegedly forgotten relic from his partying days.    

Still, as much as I'm enjoying this revival about the ragamuffin turned sweetheart, the original series aired when I was too young to remember much of it (not that that stopped me from having the doll, purple vest and all).  So I delved even deeper into Peacock's plumage and watched the first three episodes of Punky 1.0 to find out how Punky and Henry came to be.  The opening shot of Chicago's bleak cityscape emblazoned by the words Punky Brewster in wobbly Crayola letters (so symbolic!) jogged my memory, but Henry's struggle to first accept Punky and then go through the system to become her foster parent might as well have been brand-new.  So I soaked it all in, along with the '80s era screen quality and music.  Although I initially found them to be kind of cheesy, both quickly won me over, eclipsing a story that could've easily been a soulless after-school special to reveal a tale with a bittersweet heart.  Style-wise, it was fun to watch too, what with Punky and pal Cherie's "sophisticated lady" photo shoot, not to mention the social worker's prim pastels warring with Punky's rumpled rainbow.  Same goes for the reboot -- er, continuation -- which features thirty-six-year-old Punky in tie dye, rocker chic tees, and, of course, denim vests.  What's more, her daughter is an aspiring fashion designer who's always whipping up eclectic looks.        

So I was inspired by both shows', ahem, punky and playful palettes to curate this outfit.  The pink flannel, daisy-print baby tee, and granny square bag are part girly '90s, part boho, whereas the ripped denim and (admittedly pink floral) combat boots (Private Punky, reporting for duty!) give it a smidgen of edge.  (True, there's no vest.  But never fear; you can find one back in time here.)  I topped it all off with my new Gummy Bear Flair Necklace, which is a bit of a black rainbow, its juicy bright bears and baubles lighting up the midnight beads and cameo.  It reminds me of another '80s classic TV show, namely the animated Adventures of the Gummi Bears

Speaking of cameos, it would be rad if one of the bears visited Punky.      

Provided, of course, that Travis doesn't get confused and eat him.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

A Shot in the Arm to Ward Off All Harm: Vaccination Jubilation

This past Sunday, the husband and I got shot up full of Pfizer while Gloria Estefan's "Conga" played in the background.  Or, as the husband likes to put it, we got our "Fauci ouchies."  Because I'm not the only one in this duo who uses humor to combat tribulation.

When I first heard about the vaccine rollout in January, I thought, good, finally.  But also, somewhat perversely, that was fast.  Because I felt a little uneasy.  What if this miracle drug made me sprout a third eye or something?  It turned out that the husband felt the same, so we decided to wait to get it.  I rationalized this decision by reminding myself that only people older than sixty-five were supposed to be getting it at this point anyway.  But then, these last couple of weeks, I suddenly felt like we should get it as soon as possible.  Maybe it was the reports of the new, more serious strains.  Or even just the fear that they'd run out of vaccines.  Probably it was both.  But mostly it was my gut telling me that the husband's luck couldn't hold up forever.      

As you know, I've been working from home since last March and have ventured out of the house only a handful of times to visit my parents, plus once to the office to fix my computer.  The husband, on the other hand, has been working out in the world every day.  He's a painter, which means that he's in and out of people's homes.  This drove me crazy, especially when the pandemic first started.  I tried to convince him to go on hiatus, but he was concerned that his business would dry up and never recover.  Then a few months in, I was like, he's being careful, it's fine, we haven't caught it yet.  Because I couldn't be angry and scared all the time and had to make some sort of peace with it.

So, a couple of weekends ago when I announced that I was starting to look into vaccination scheduling, he was surprised -- but not really.  Deep down, we both knew that he was the one warier of the actual vaccine, whereas I was the one warier of rejoining civilization.  Getting vaccinated would bring me one step closer to saying see ya to the recluse life to which I'd grown so accustomed, and that made me anxious.  Still, my fear of contracting the coronavirus was bigger, and I wanted that shot.  The husband knew that.  So he agreed to get vaccinated, for me.  I thought that was very heroic and romantic and, at the end of the day, just plain kind.    

At first, I was overwhelmed by the scheduling logistics.  I didn't even know if we'd get appointments, and on the first try, we didn't.  By the second time I'd learned more about the ins and outs of the system and was able to secure us back-to-back slots for the following Sunday, bright and early, at the Atlantic City Convention Center.  I felt like I'd won the lottery, or at the very least, Air Supply tickets.  When Sunday rolled around, I was so glad that the husband and I were climbing into my Honda together.  We always go to the dentist, dermatologist, and optometrist as a pair.  Why should the vaccination of the century be any different?

I'm happy to report that the whole process ran like a well-oiled machine.  (My car, not so much.  After barely being driven for a year, it now sounds kind of clunky.  But, as Chandler Bing would say, one ridiculous problem at a time.)  The Atlantic City mega site is run by the National Guard, and they, along with the nurses, were so efficient and upbeat, which helped to make it all seem more normal.  As did the selfie station on the way out.  Its bright colors and snappy sayings really brought the carnival flair, befitting a vaccination site located in a city once known as America's Playground.

So, yeah.  One down, one to go.

My only regret is that I didn't wear a snazzier mask.

Also, that I never got to see Air Supply.