Saturday, December 22, 2007

BloomingtonGirl Dons the Hat

Loyal Readers, in these photos, your BloomingtonGirl is sporting a hat she received for her birthday from a friend of hers. I have taken quite a shine to this hat, not only because it is lovely and festive and incredibly cozy, but also because it has fur that looks exactly like our dog Zoe's fur. I think it would be quite funny to tell someone that it is actually made of Zoe's fur and that I had her put down expressly for that purpose. I would say something like, "Well, she was getting older after all, and I did really want that hat. What difference does a few years make? I figured we could always buy another Sheltie." It would be worth it just to see someone's expression.

But, since that might be a bit too far out, I did the next best thing. I wore the faux Zoe hat to the "Y" on the day when I had to renew my locker for the year. I hoped, of course, that Annoya would be my customer service person.

What luck! She was. I walked to the front desk wearing the potentially offensive hat and after greeting our Annoya, I removed my hat slowly and lay it on the counter, almost immediately in front of her. I was careful to hide the label that would give away the faux nature of the pelt.

To my surprise, Annoya was quite accomodating and didn't once ask the origin of the pelt. I have no idea whether she was troubled by the fur on my hat and I'm sure that I shall never know. I tried my best to lean over the counter to spy a glimpse of her footwear to determine if they were leather but couldn't get a good look without looking quite contorted and strange. And, your BloomingtonGirl wants never to look contorted and strange in public. Not in private, either, for the record.

After all this, I have decided to begin a winter hat collection. Not just boring caps, of course, but hats of fun distinction. So far, I have two fur lined hats, a red and black plaid hunting hat with a pom-pom on top and flaps that pull down to cover my delicate little ears and a brown wool hat that has a jaunty little side slant and a rossette on the side. Perhaps if the spirit moves me, I shall post a little fashion show. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Little Rant from your BloomingtonGirl

Admit it. You've missed my little rants. Here goes.

This morning, in the lobby of the Y, I saw an acquaintance of mine, Irina, at the front desk, signing her kids up for a Y program. Irina is a gorgeous young mother - 32 at the most - and is Russian. Her English is heavily accented so it is apparent that she is not an American. She is as nice as nice could be. Gentle and sweet. Just a doll of a woman. And, I mentioned that she was a knockout, right? Ask my husband. He has confirmed it to me more than once. This woman is so genuinely good in her heart that even a middle-aged woman I know who has put on ten pounds since she moved from CT to IN and is feeling most unattractive isn't even a bit jealous of her. I won't mention her name to protect her identity.

Anyway, lovely and pleasant Irina was standing there wearing an absolute vision of a fur hat that made a fashion statement the likes of which aren't often seen in this slice of the heartland. (The picture posted here doesn't touch it, but you get the idea.)

I went over and petted the hat and literally purred, "Wow! This is absolutely gorgeous! I LOVE this hat. Did you bring it back from Russia?"

Irina said that she did. Then, the woman behind the Y desk (let's call her Annoya) said, "Is it an animal?" I braced myself for tension.

Yes," said Irina in a completely unaffected voice, "It's mink."

Then, Annoya said in a voice of disappointment tinged heavily with judgement, "Oh! It's an animal."

Eager to diffuse any tension (though why I always feel that it is my job to do this, I have yet to figure out), I exclaimed (yes, exclaimed), "But, it's from Russia!" I know I sounded like a complete bubble-headed moron, but I didn't care.

Annoya said, "But it is still an animal. I'm such an animal lover."

Before I venture into my commentary about this interaction, let me just give some background information about little Miss Annoya. She is a friend of a friend, and I happen to know that she has a weakness for expensive shoes. And based on my experience with fashionable shoes and boots - which as we all know is rather vast - I can reasonably assume this woman is not wearing synthetic leather on her well heeled tootsies. The shoe price range she's in is almost certainly filled with shoes made of leather from sweet, unassuming cows. Though perhaps not as cute as their little mink friends, they are still animals last time I checked. So, hey Annoya! Where's your animal love?

Which brings me to my commentary. How can anyone who wears any dead animal product, eats animal flesh or by-products (milk, cheese, eggs) even think about taking a position against wearing fur? It is, no matter how you look at it, all the same thing. You might argue that ingesting animal flesh or their products for nutrition is different than wearing fur as an ornament, but that is absolute crap. (Yes, you heard me right - crap.) In this day and age, one does not require meat - or any animal products for that matter - in one's diet to thrive. Similarly, one does not need to wear fur to stay warm. But, many people choose to eat meat and choose to wear fur.

I need to point out, Loyal Ones, your BloomingtonGirl isn't taking a stand for or against using animals for meat or clothing. What I am taking a stand against is people who get all weepy about animals being raised for fur who are not vegans. If one is a vegan, then one can take a stand about it. Otherwise, they should just shut up.

And, I'll even take this one step further. To protest against a beautiful piece of apparel made from furry animals and not protest against eating meat is missing a point that your BloomingtonGirl feels compelled to point out. I do understand the objection to the slaughter of innocent animals, really I do. But, at at least the minks (or chinchillas or whatever) have a chance of being transformed into an object of art and fashion. The meat animals have no such hope. They just get consumed and excreted. The only mark they make is on someone's cholesterol level or on their bathroom scale. How meaningful a sacrifice is that? (Your fitness and fashion minded BloomingtonGirl is happy to answer that question. Not very.)

This little riff of mine might well lead you to wonder where I stand on the issue of meat, animal products and fur. Well, since you asked, I'll have to tell you that I am actually not sure how I feel about any of it. I have a fur swing-style jacket in my closet and another cropped Persian lamb jacket with a mink collar. I plan to wear them both this winter. Both coats were hand-me-downs from my mother-law and mother, respectively. And the swing style jacket belonged to my mother-in-law's mother, so the animals responsible have been dead a good long time. Would I buy a fur? Probably not, especially living in Bloomington. But I have to say that I don't have terribly strong feelings about it.

As far as eating meat and animal products is concerned, I do feel that morally and ecologically, we might (Earth included) all be better off being vegans for so many reason. But, I can't bring myself to make that sacrifice and I am not sure how much difference it would make if I did. I'll tell you that The Ominvore's Dilemma has really opened my eyes to how our food in this country is produced and I am thinking much more about the food choices I make and what I and my family eat. (I haven't been disciplined enough to translate that into healthy and ethical choices yet, but I hope that is coming. But, at least I realize that I haven't yet earned a seat on the fur bashing high horse...) The book should be required reading for any person who eats in this country. It isn't a gross expose of the underbelly of slaughterhouses or anything of the kind. It is just incredibly interesting and eye opening.

Well, that's all from your self-absorbed, mean spirited BloomingtonGirl. More later this weekend. Time for bed.

Kisses to my Loyal Reader in Lille. How glamorous does that sound?

Friday, December 07, 2007

From Eeeewww! to I Love You! & Some Other Thoughts

Loyal Readers, these fine looking creatures are Phil, Skidoo and, of course, Jack. Phil is Katie's young man, whom she met at summer camp when she was about 13. This picture was taken last summer in Phil and Kate's Manhattan apartment. Jack broke out in hives about a half hour later because he is allergic to cats, but I digress.

When I was pregnant for Jack, we were trying to pick out a name for him on the drive up to drop the girls at camp that summer. Kate and Meg went to Forest Lake Camp every summer for years, first as campers and later as counsellors. Kate and Meg were in the back seat, Chris and a very pregnant BloomingtonGirl in the front. We made lists and voted on potential names for Jack, whose name, for some reason, while in utero, was "Spud". Each had the right to veto one name, no matter how popular it was with the rest of the family. Chris and I both liked the name Philip. I liked it quite a lot, actually. But Kate and Meg vetoed it because of the "Phil from camp". I don't remember specifically what their complaint about the camp Phil was, but I do remember the emphatic "Eeewww Phil Shipper!" A few years later, Phil Shipper would take the train up from Manhattan to attend Katie's high school graduation party and a romance woudl began. Funny how things work out...

In other news, I worked hard on the McGary Christmas card today and I am happy to report that I don't think it will sink me like last year's did. If you aren't on our mailing list and wish to be, email me with your address and I will add you.

Lately, when blogging, I start out with many ideas to write about. Then, after a few paragrahs, I just run out of steam and can't seem to find witty words for any of those ideas, which, when writing them, seem tired. But, I'll give it a whirl here and see where it takes us.

Yesterday, in the Kroger parking lot, I saw a bumper sticker that said, "My son is fighting for our freedom". My first thought was, "Yeah. Think what you like, Lady. Your son is fighting for oil, plain and simple." But, to be fair, if my kid were in Iraq or Afghanistan, I suppose that I would want to believe that he was there for some high minded purpose like Freedom, whatever that means these days.

Your BloomingtonGirl has become very sad about the situation in the world and our country's part in it, not to mention completely distrustful of and cynical about our government, its processes and elections. I write my congressmen somewhat often to express my views. (I don't always agree with him but Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar gives BY FAR the most thoughtful and intelligent responses, compared to our other Senator Evan Bayn and our district's Democrat Congressional Rep, that ninny Baron Hill.) I also try to conserve energy and make thoughtful purchases that won't promote the abuse of children in foreign countries and drain jobs out of this one (that is a recent and small but growing effort, sometimes hamstrung by fashion needs), but I have to say that my outlook for the future (when I really make myself think about it) is pretty grim. Add Global Warming to the mix and I can get pretty anxious and negative.

Since your BloomingtonGirl is not at all interested in being anxious and negative - especially about things completely out of her control, she has decided to live, for the most part, with her head in the sand. Figuratively, of course. I don't that having one's head in the sand would benefit one's actual complexion. And, we all know how concerned your BloomingtonGirl is with hers.

In other news, I had a pleasant surprise email the other day. A very long lost and lovely friend living in Lille looked me up on the internet and found my blog. Now, we are back in touch again! Isn't the internet grand?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mama in Her Cap

Good Evening, Loyal Readers. This is a picture of me in bed, taken about five minutes ago. Pretty fetching, eh? I don't know how my husband is managing to keep his hands off of me. Will power, I guess.

It's cold in our bedroom. What can I say? I can't be a fashionista 24 - 7.

I was going to write a whole long piece on all sorts of fascinating observations I have been making in my recent Christmas shopping travels around town, but truth be told, I just got really tired. So, I am going to settle down for a little winter's nap. I promise to write more tomorrow.