Tuesday, June 27, 2006

fashions from the edge

Do you remember the day that you set foot on your new college campus? When you were there to register and be "oriented" with all the other new students? Do you remember how you kept trying to ditch your parents, and kept praying that your mom wouldn't cry too loudly?

But most importantly, do you remember what you wore?

I bet most young women do. I wore a pair of predominantly blue and green madras shorts, a white Izod, and white canvas Tretorns (sans socks, of course). I carefully planned my ensemble - I was making a first impression after all.

One of the joys of working on campus is seeing all the assorted fashions. It's been particularly interesting of late when new students are coming in for their first two days of "Orientation." I know most of these young women carefully selected their clothing to reveal the kind of person they are to others. Some of my favorite choices in the recent weeks of orientation days -

*cut-up, layered tank tops with a very short red plaid skirt, black tights, and combat boots
*very low rise ripped jeans with a tiny white tshirt
*low rise, slim fit madras shorts (just a different take on mine from 20 years ago) and tiny Izod shirt
*long, flowing gypsy skirts with tiny tank to reveal belly button ring
*tshirt proclamations like, "All I needed to know I learned in kindergarten," "I do all my own stunts," "I'm the only hell my mama ever raised"
*tiny white tshirt with very low rise blue jean skirt that has ripped edge (I know that's how they come these days) that is precisely 1 and 1/2 inches below one's bottom)

Just some of my favorites. I could do another article on what some of the moms are wearing. Sonny Boy was with me one day and was impressed by a dad who wore day-glo orange Nike bball shoes (and had to tell the dad how impressed he was).

All interesting sites and impressions...

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wimbledon - get rid of the old guys!

Being such a tennis lover, I once again anxiously await the first ball hit of a Grand Slam this Monday morning - The Chamionships at Wimbledon. Of the four Slams (US Open, Australian, and French), many consider Wimbledon the most prestigious. Yet, in one very important circumstance - it seriously lags behind.

Wimbledon is the last of the Grand Slams not to offer equal prize money to men's and women's champions (read article). Their reasons? Men don't normally play doubles like the women do (and don't earn as much money there), and then men play 3 out of 5 sets while women play 2 out of 3. Since when do these old guys not realize that different does not mean one is better? Hubby normally mows the lawn, and I normally do the laundry - they're different, but does that mean one of us should get paid more? And just look at ratings - in recent years, it's the women who are watched more than the men. As much as I want to see Roger Federer win everything in sight, thank goodness for Rafael Nadal who adds some spark to what has become a rather predictable men's game. The women have a whole host of exciting players who could win anything.

Women in Britain earn 17% less than men working comparable jobs. About 80% of Brits want Wimbledon to offer equal prize money. It's 2006 and time for the old guys to go! 80% of the population realizes the year and what's going on in the rest of the tennis world - time to get some of those people in charge of things!

My daughter is different from my son. But I love them both equally and pray that will be treated equally in the world. I pray my daughter will not be forced to earn less one day because she is different from a man. Thank goodness for the differences in the world - it's one of the things that makes this an interesting planet.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Summer Solstice

Yesterday was important for two reasons - June 21 is the anniversary of Princess' baptism (something we always remember as a family), and it was Summer Solstice. Princess and I were driving around yesterday, trying to stay in the air conditioning of the car, when I noticed a sign for a Summer Solstice celebration at the Arboretum. We happen to live about half a mile from the back entrance, so I thought it would be a great way to celebrate.

I felt like I was back in Asheville. People were dressed alternatively and appropriately for the day (I did feel a little out of place in the pink Ralph Lauren shorts and matching pink stripe top, and Princess was wearing a tennis skirt since she just came from her tennis lesson at Parks and Rec - but we weren't the only preppies walking around!) Everything was free, and there were lots of great things for the kids - flowers and hair accoutrements, body glitter, face painting. Drums were played at various spots, with accompanying dancers, fire dancers, and the best hoola-hooping I have ever seen. Mosquito nets were under a number of trees, with free massage or healing touch offered.

We did run into a couple people we know - one family from school and one family from church. I saw the mayor there as well (not that he would have any idea who I was). I thought he was smart to be there - there must have been 2500 people walking around on the late summer's eve.

I have been in disbelief since last November when one local journalist called Greensboro a granola town. It's still most certainly not, but it's good to know there is more diversity than one sees on the surface.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The New Pele

In the next few weeks, if you head into your favorite Mexican restaurant, the service may not be as good as usual. The Men's World Cup will be in full force, and the world (apart from pockets of the USA) will be watching. The SuperBowl is nothing compared to this event. The Christian Science Monitor ran an article about this dynamic recently.

The Monitor talks about this great national divide - how our country alone does not have the love of soccer (football, for the rest of the world). It asks where the next Pele is - and then recounts the history of male soccer players and teams.

Where has that reporter been? It was years ago the US Women's team played (for the second time) in the World Cup Final against China and won an exciting match. Mia Hamm was proclaimed the new Pele (by no one other than Pele himself). If you see a soccer player on tv in ads (and you do), it's Mia. All of our kids are playing soccer, and can name various US female players. Ask for a man - and Brit David Beckham is the only one they can remember.

The revolution has come. The new Pele is here. But she's a woman. Too bad too many men can't see past Title IX.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Dame Margaret Kerr Series

The woman to the right is good - I mean really, really good. Candace Robb

A number of years ago I fell in love with Ellis Peter's Brother Cadfael series. I had never been a big mystery reader, but she combined mystery with medieval history and interesting characters - and I was hooked. With her passing, the series of course is complete. I kept spending time in the small North Asheville library, looking for something else in that genre. I unfortunately tried a few very poor imitators (please, please - ignore the Dame Fresise series for your own health).

Then I stumbled across The Apothecary Rose - the first in the Owen Archer series. I still think that initial book is the best in the series. It follows a 14th century Welsh archer who becomes a spy. I felt like I lived during those times, and wished I knew Owen and Lucie and Magda. Old cities came alive from the page. The mysteries were intriguing. I ached with the characters, and felt their joy and pain.

Robb then started a new series (and she is supposedly not done with Owen, thank goodness). I found the first book in the Dame Margaret Kerr series a few years ago on a close-out table at Barnes and Noble - A Trust Betrayed. A 19 year old woman from Perth, Scotland in the 13th century - seemingly abandanoned by her husband during the time of war with England - goes to Edinburgh in hopes of finding him and discovering who has murdered his cousin. I finished the book and was hooked. I kept checking the website and bookstores, waiting for the next in the series. I finally clued in recently - even though the next two are not published in the States (yet) - Amazon can get anything. I had them airmailed from England.

The Fire in the Flint and A Cruel Courtship are great. Robb is doing her best writing ever. I can barely take in the details of the page because I am dying to find out what will happen next. Scotland of yesteryear comes alive so incredibly. The characters are so real. The history of that time finally makes some sense. I have no idea when the next book in the series will come out. In this series Robb is dealing with some new issues - the ancient Scottish belief in the Sight - women who have vision or foretelling. She presents the spiritual dimension with the practical quite well. The stories are compelling and rich.

Candace Robb is good - really, really good. Take your mouse and head straight to her website (link in first line of this entry) and then head straight to Amazon. Then let me know what you think!