Monday, July 20, 2009

You guys had some good suggestions, and I'll probably glean from them over the coming weeks. My summer class started today, which means my summer essentially ended. I'm on campus every afternoon for the next two weeks (well, M-F), and then we're off to Michigan for a week, and then my TA training starts, and then the maelstrom that will be my fall semester begins churning and spinning, with me inside. I feel like I'm in that first car of the roller coaster, chugging jerkily up the first big incline, getting ready for that teetering moment on the apex of the hill where you can see just how distant the ground has become, before momentum takes over and down we plunge. This next academic year is going to be one heck of a ride, but there's a reason I got in line for this coaster--I love the thrill. Have I stretched the metaphor too far? Maybe. But I do love what I do, and find academic work and teaching to be: stressful, insane-making, challenging, but yes, thrilling.

In other "news," I'm trying to become more fashionable. I usually find myself standing in front of my closet, surveying the contents with dismay and confusion. I mean, I don't understand where my good clothes go! I shop on occasion, I buy things that I think will look good, and then (inevitably) I get home and they have morphed into something unbecoming, frumpy, ill-fitting.

I have friends who always seem so stylish and put-together, professional and appropriate for every occasion. I have tried to study what they do that looks good, to potentially emulate in my own wardrobe. I've also started checking out a couple fashion blogs: Cardigan Empire and You Look Fab. These blogs each have advice based on your body type/shape. Typically this involves comparing yourself to fruit. Am I a pear? An apple? A banana? A (god forbid!) pineapple? Okay, I made that last one up. Anyway, I don't know what item of produce best describes me because I'm too chicken to pick up the measuring tape and find out. That's what having children does to you.

One thing I can do without measuring myself is learn to accessorize. I'm not good at this. I wear my wedding and engagement rings every day. Before cell phones took over the world, I used to wear a watch. At one time I wore little earrings, the same pair every day. In fact, I didn't take them out. Now I rarely wear earrings...if there's a wedding or special event I might play a fun game I like to call "Have my piercings grown over?" Sometimes there's blood! Woo!

But most of the time I haven't a clue how to accessorize. Purses? Bracelets? BELTS?! Nope.

So this weekend, Jeff and I and the kids headed out to The Legends near Kansas City to meet up with my aunt and uncle, cousin Amy and her husband John and their kids. I didn't really know what The Legends was (were?). Turns out, it's a big posh outdoor outlet mall place. It's very fancy, well-landscaped and lovely. After we had lunch, we all strolled around, admiring the fountains and hitting a few stores. I got a couple things for the kids, but I also bought something for myself, something that wasn't a college t-shirt or a plain colored tank top! I bought necklaces! Two of them!

Today I wore one to class*. When I came downstairs wearing it, Jeff started laughing at me. "Nice bling," he said, laughing and laughing. This, as you can imagine, didn't do much to help my confidence. In his defense, it is gold, and I never wear gold. I wore a gold necklace. Ugh, even typing that sounds gross. It wasn't like a gold CHAIN or anything. It's a longish necklace with little gold...uh, leafy things? Dangly bits? At intervals around the chain? I don't know. I'm bad at this. Anyway, I wore it, and I felt weird and awkward and conspicuous.

See, in reality, I would buy this necklace. That's the kind of stuff I gravitate toward: snarky, faux-hipstery geek stuff, like t-shirts with messages about grammar on them. Worn with the same two pairs of boring old blue jeans. Yawn.

But now I'm in my thirties, and I'm teaching students who pull off the whole hipster-college-student wardrobe thing much better than I do. I feel like I need to look professional, and polished, and not so much like my entire wardrobe consists of t-shirts and jeans, and that I'm secretly glad that I have to do laundry all the time due to Sam's cloth diapers because not only do I only wear t-shirts and jeans, I also only ever wear the same two or three t-shirts.

Wow, this post is long! And potentially boring! I promise to return soon with stories about Charlotte's crush on the keyboard player at our church, Sam's voracious eating habits, and Jeff's gigantic hair (I keep clipping coupons for local barber shops, but to no avail!).

*In addition to my clothing. I did not JUST wear the necklace. Even I know better than that.


Anonymous said...

I loved this post!!! so funny! Hey i am always available to go shopping I love to shop! Of course I have no idea what is in fashion but I love to shop. How did my granddaughter learn about love machines? See you Friday. Mom

Anonymous said...

I can relate to absolutely everything you said and I'm 54.

Jana said...

Mom, the song Love Machine was playing in a store (a kids clothing store! weird, I know) and Charlotte liked the man's deep voice. She asked what he was saying, and I told her. The rest, as they say, is history.

relvalations said...

Sarah said...

oh boy! I could have totally written your comments about fashion and accessories!

Kurt said...

I want to hear about what your TA training is like. My orientation week last year was weird and, I thought, poorly organized. Although we were to have read a handful of pedagogical essays by the likes of Linda Flower, etc., we never discussed a single one of them. Instead we talked about the workings of what is basically a teacher-proofed composition course: the set assignments, the set rubrics, etc. In a way it WAS helpful, as I wasn't used to using rubrics of that sort, but still, it was weird and not at all like our orientation or like 591 at OU: it wasn't about TEACHING; it was about teaching 76-101 at Carnegie Mellon. So, I'm curious what your experience will be.

kanke said...

I hear ya'! I like to find one style of pants that I like and then buy two black pair and a khaki pair, then I can put different shirts with it. I'm a fan of the shell and cardigan combo. Timeless, easy to care for, and if you buy the same style but in different colors you look like you have a million different outfits but with very little thinking! I'm all about very little thinking when it comes to dressing myself!
Kurt: You've totally overlooked the plea for fashion advice or commiseration in this posting. Please provide some to balance the TA talk. :)

Kim D. said...

Love this post, Jana! I feel the same way.