Archive | February, 2014

The Grandma Dress

7 Feb

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Every so often, my grandmother opens her considerable closet to me and my sister Jessica and it’s like Christmas, only better.  My Christmases don’t usually include authentic, floor-length hippy dresses straight from Farrah Fawcett’s past, and my grandmother’s closet most certainly does.

My grandma is something of a collector of clothing, and these open closet sessions are some of my favorite memories with her.  Nothing bonds people quite like, “Are we thinking yes or are we thinking yes to this prairie dress?” if you know what I mean.

Jessica and I often fight over the best pieces in my grandma’s closet(s), bartering for flannel, calling dibs, over-complimenting one article of clothing so we can steal the next i.e.

“That just looks SO fantastic on you, you must have it. I insist.” (martyr-like tone)

“And THAT ruffle number, I mean, I wish I could pull it off like you do.” (faux enthusiasm)

(We both reach for the same shirt we actually want.)

There’s an added level of excitement when I fall in love with something in my grandma’s closet and it then, miracle of miracles, it actually FITS me. My grandmother is a full six inches shorter than I am and the fact that I can wear anything she ever wore defies logic and reason and plain old science.

But it happens.

And when it does it’s something of a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants situation.

Fate.

There’s an element of fate.

And maybe a coming-of-age novel about it in my future, who even knows.

Wednesday I went to the San Diego Zoo and I just felt in my heart it was time for this gem of my grandmother’s to have its day in the sun.  My grandma is an avid zoo fan and lived most of her life in San Diego, slowing collecting her year zoo memberships pins and putting them on one fabulous sweater.

(The zoo sweater is not up for grabs in our closet raids, unfortunately.  Jessica and I have both tried.)

Wearing this 80s floral number only seemed appropriate.

The past few days have been a blur of crazy and happy.  I don’t feel I’ve even really been able to soak it up because each individual day is at least four regular-sized days all crammed into one and I am so full and tired I’m not exactly sure what time it is or what I need to do, I only know that this is good.

Right now is good.

Wednesday Hilary and I celebrated her birthday in spectacular birthday fashion, from Sprinkles cupcakes to 45 minutes of “It’s All Coming Back To Me,” to magical moments with baby orangutans. It would have been a wonderful day on its own, and was a wonderful day on its own, but to cap off its wonderfulness, Hilary’s brother decided to fly in and surprise her last minute and I got to be in on the whole deal.

Several hours and dozens of secret plans later, Hilary’s brother arrived in LA and watching the two of them interact was so sugary sweet I was practically in tears the whole time.   We spent the night at a pizza place laughing and friending and talking about why we love Hilary.

 Every birthday dinner my family has a tradition.  We take turns going around the table and saying the reasons why we love the birthday person.  My mother always starts off with, “I could go on and on…” and the family always collectively groans, and there’s always an awkward moment when you have to say what you love about yourself.

It is, without question, my very favorite family tradition.

Always.

And so I’ve taken this tradition and squeezed it into my friend group here in LA.

Wednesday was Hilary’s turn.

I have been doing these birthday love sessions my entire life, and I have to say I have never seen a session quite like the one for Hilary.  Hilary inspires superlatives.

I’ve often heard, “You’re very happy,” but in Hilary’s case it wasn’t just, “You’re very happy” it was “You are literally the happiest person I have ever met and just being around you makes my cynicism go down by 80%.”

All of her compliments were things like: You are the kindest person ever.  You are the the best human being.   You are the most genuine girl in the world.  And it’s all true.  Hilary has that slightly not-of-this-earth quality where she’s a fully developed person and yet just a bit better than the rest of us.

She’s the Peeta of the group.

And so, when Hilary’s birthday ended and I flipped through the millions of zoo photos I took with her I couldn’t help but think that maybe I had had such a great day, not because of the fated grandmother dress, but because I was with Hilary.

Being around her brings out the best in people, you know.

Thus it was said in her birthday love session.

Thus it is written.

Girlfriend Selfies

5 Feb

There’s a particular breed of selfie out there that I’ve dubbed The Girlfriend Selfie.

Girlfriend Selfies are taken with the express intent to send to your girlfriends.  They are not meant to be seen by the public.  They are not meant for the boys you like.  They are meant, and exist only in the world of girl.

I most often use my Girlfriend Selfies to:

  1. Show off a great outfit
  2. Show off a bad outfit
  3. Show off a great hair day
  4. Show off a bad hair day
  5. Garner opinions on a new muumuu

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Boom shakalaka panda muumuu shakalaka I BOUGHT THAT THING.

The line to crazy town may have been crossed.

Girlfriend selfies are the greatest of all selfies because there is no thought put into them.  No lips are puckered.  No filter is applied.  No mirror is wiped down.  It’s just pure you and the moment you need to have someone validate.

For the record, I only ever send Girlfriend Selfies because other selfies seem like a lot of work.  Also, I try my best not to pucker my lips.

Here’s a Girlfriend Selfie I got from Cait and whoa would you look at her bomb eyelashes???

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(Example of the Girlfriend Selfie validation).

I sent Cait a particularly crappy sunglasses selfie earlier this week (after I sent the pic to Ash, who had sent me the sunglasses, to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I don’t know why she swallowed the fly) and Cait said, “Love juuu.  Take many pictures today. And off to McD.”

10 minutes later I got the following text: “Just did a riveting performance of Javert’s suicide.”

And thus ended our communication for the day.

We didn’t need more.  Our Girlfriend Selfies had done all the talking.

Two Words To Tell My Younger Self

3 Feb

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A friend recently asked, “If you could write your younger self a note, what would you say in only two words?”  I discussed this with my writing group and we came up with a few potential notes:

Be kind.

Worry less.

Smile more.

You know.

And these are all good messages, but I know my younger self and I know my older self, and young Jill would absolutely pitch a fit if she got a note that said, “Be kind, love 2014 Jill.” She would complain that her older self didn’t understand her at all and had changed beyond recognition and “Be Kind” was the most general thing she could possibly say and what she wanted was ANSWERS.

And I know this about myself (my former self and current self) and so my first thought was in my two words I would create a complicated anagram.  An algorithm of sorts that would, after three years of intense research and dedication, reveal important information to young Jill about her future/the lottery winnings/the meaning of life!

(It is important to know that most of my struggles in life come from unrealistic expectations.)

My second thought was this note:

No Frank.

(Frank now being the universal name for a boy I once dated.)

“No Frank” is the closest thing I could come to actually hinting at the future for young Jill in two words.

Do not get involved with Frank, love 2014 Jill who wishes she could tell you more.

Of course, I know my younger self and this note would not stop her, if anything this would fuel her fire.  But Frank is so gorgeous!  Frank is so wonderful!  Frank is everything and now I must have Frank AT ALL COSTS!

And so my warning would fail. Would propel me towards Frank, if anything.

I’ve never been good at trusting myself.  Even if I held a note FROM MYSELF that explicitly said something was a bad idea I would think, “I can change those odds.  I can just try harder.  Probably I didn’t give enough and this time I’ll fix it if it kills me.”

Which thinking is a whole other set of issues.

But you know what?

I’ve decided it’s OK.

Because no matter how I look at my life story, Frank is there.  No matter the warnings or the do-overs, it all comes back to that and I must take it.  Frank is a thread in my life story that is woven into so many things that to try to unravel it is not only silly, it’s impossible.

I can’t warn myself away from him.

I’m not even sure if I would want to, for certain.

I just know I would want to save younger Jill all the pain I could.  I know the tears she’s about to have and how awful it all was and I’m still not entirely positive it has made her/me “stronger.”  What does “stronger” even look like?

I constantly wonder that.  What, exactly, is “stronger”?

I do know this though:

“Be kind” was never a bad message.

Being kind doesn’t propel me towards foolish decisions.

Perhaps Be Kind is the answer, after all.

That, or a complicated algorithm I spend the next four years of my life crafting.

For now, though, I’m going with Be Kind.