The dog days of summer

I went to my parents’ house in South Dakota over the weekend in order to do some school shopping.  I wouldn’t have wasted my time if I would have known what a bust my shopping trip was going to be.  HOURS of shopping, and I bought . . .


. . . one pair of black pants.  All those great sales, and that’s all I could come up with.  And believe me, I tried on tons of clothes.

What’s  my problem, then?  Well, it’s simple.  I hate the curent styles.

Really.  I don’t know how many T-shirts I saw that have ruffles down the front, or button-down shirts with ruffles down the front.  Obviously ruffles are in, but therein lies the problem.  I hate ruffles.  I hate them even more on a T-shirt.  I supremely hate them on a button-down shirt.  I just hate them.  Period.

My second gripe of the day: stretch fabric.  Now, I love stretch fabric in certain types of clothing.  Pants, for example, look much better with a wee bit of stretch in them.  My problem, however, comes when I am trying to find a button-down shirt that fits nicely.  A little bit of stretch is OK, but it seems that all the shirts are beginning to go overboard in the stretch department.  I usually buy a large in button-down shirts because of . . . well . . . certain inherited features of my upper-mid region.  And a large button-down shirt will, without stretch, fit perfectly, with just enough room to move.  But with the stretch added in, it guarantees that any time I move my arms, the fabric pulls at the buttons, which it turn looks like I’m going to bust out of the shirt . . . no pun intended.  And yes, I would just buy an XL, and that would just solve all my earthly problems.  The problem is that an XL is too big.  They key, of course, is either finding a shirt with just the right amount of stretch or no stretch at all.  And in today’s fashions, that is getting to be impossible.  EVERYTHING has stretch.  Or ruffles.

Walking through the mall, I’ve found, makes me feel incredibly inept.  Perhaps it’s my age talking here, but when I walk by the stores designed for today’s teenagers, I can’t help but feel initimidated.  The music pulsing out of its doors, low lighting, and shabby-looking facades are all designed to keep parents out and lure in the young and trendy, and it works.  All I have to do is walk by the stores and I feel my coolness level drop dramatically.  (Not that I ever had much to begin with.)   Long gone is the hippie-inspired green and pink trim along the store I used to shop in as a teenager.  Now it almost seems that you need to flash ID before entering such stores.

Shopping is no longer a peaceful experience for me.  As I walked down one corridor after another, all I could hear was the boom boom emanating from the trendy clothing stores.  One genre of music blended into another, clashing, meshing, but ultimately all sounding the same.  Since when did clothing stores have to sound like clubs?  How is one supposed to converse with the sales clerk (much less the person you went in there with) when the music drowns out everything?  Maybe that’s the point.  No need to converse, really.  Just text your comments to the person next to you!

It was one of those weekends with hot, humid weather — the sort of weekend where you feel somewhat guilty because you’re sitting inside, enjoying the air conditioning, but the second you step back outside to assuage your guilt, the heat suffocates you until you no longer feel guilty.  High, high, high humidity and 80-something degree heat = misery.  It truly was miserable outside.  I love going for walks around my parents’ farm when I’m home, but the second I started walking down the driveway, I had to turn back.  It was too much.

The heat and humidity also made for some great storms, although none of them hit our area.  They went north, they went south, but none of them hit straight on, and that’s perfectly fine for me.  Given the fact that these storms were producing baseball-size hail, I was perfectly content to have the storms go in a different direction.

Driving back to Iowa, the sky swirled around the heat and humidity, constantly threatening to send down rain, hail, tornadoes, or a combination of all three.  I get horribly nervous when I drive in storms, so I was constantly scanning the radio stations for the updated radio report, but the sky pretty  much looked like this the entire time:


As you can see, I am demonstrating my immense talent at driving and taking a picture at the same time.   I finally bought another small point-and-shoot camera to use in times when I didn’t want to lug my Canon DSLR around.  In the above instance, it would have been rather difficult to look through the viewfinder and shoot a picture while trying to keep the car on the road.  (Chances are that the next few pictures would have been of the grass, the sky, and broken glass as my car rolled into the ditch.)

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3 Replies to “The dog days of summer”

  1. Ah, ruffles. Jen, everything old is new again.

    Back in 1962-63, while Liz Taylor was filming Cleopatra and boinking Richard Burton (keeping Eddie Fisher clueless), she started a new fashion trend:


    Most of them included ruffled collars, too, along with a row of vertical chest ruffles; some blouse bottom edges also were ruffled. Somewhere I have a photo of me wearing a sleeveless turquoise “Liz Taylor” blouse with matching skirt.

    About the same time, the other Hollywood-inspired trend was “Dr. Kildare/Ben Casey” shirts. Lots of teen girls bought them (although I didn’t–Liz Taylor blouse was enough). Looking back, we probably all resembled a corps of dentists in training!

    I’m with ya on the heat & humidity. Last weekend, here in western Iowa, it was wicked. Harking back to my childhood, we didn’t have so much as a window air conditioner. Just an ancient fan with brass blades that my dad got to sleep with—after all, he needed to get up rested for a fierce day of farm labor. I remember my mother and I would come downstairs in the middle of the night and lie on the parlor rug, hoping for a breeze from the south porch screen door.

    1. NeeNee, I think the ruffles have been in style about every twenty years, roughly (60s, 80s, and now) so they’re a tad overdue, but yes, here they are! Hilarious that you mention Cleopatra. I KNEW I saw those ruffles somewhere! 😉 I still don’t like them on the front of a t-shirt, though. It just seems like a cheap ploy to dress up a t-shirt, and nothing else.

      Hasn’t the humidity in IA been terrible? I feel so guilty running the air conditioner, because there is always this thought that that my ancestors (in their small log cabin in South Dakota) somehow survived with this heat, and I can too. There was one day that I turned to my husband and said, “How did they do it?” (meaning my ancestors) because the heat (and humidity) was so stifling and uncomfortable. I honestly still feel guilty running A/C because I know that we could (if we wanted to) do without it, so I keep it turned way up (or down? Isn’t A/C-speak kind of backward?). Then there are other days when I realize that my ancestors would have sold the family jewels (had there been any) to have A/C back in the day, so I shouldn’t feel that bad about it all.

      On goes the battle in my mind. I will let you know if it is ever won!

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