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December 12, 2007

Last Night, At The Band Concert

I was a dismal failure as a spectator at Finn’s Holiday Band Concert last night, earning at best a D in my latest rite of passage into teen parenthood.

Up until the concert began, the information I’d received from the band had been sparse: mandatory attendance at concert rehearsal on Thursday (check), strongly encouraged “donation” to band account (check written), and reporting to auditorium for concert in black pants and solid shirt, with instrument, at 6:40 for 7 pm concert.

I was under the impression that the concert was going to be sixth-graders only, and this seemed to be  confirmed by the casual dress code.  Finn assured me that collars weren’t required.  We focused on the “Band” portion of the Holiday Band Concert, and he chose a long-sleeved black T-shirt that whispered, “CBGB may be defunct, but this ass will see plenty of other smoky bars before my drumming career is over.”

CBGB apparently wasn’t factored in the fashion choices of any other band members, all of whom concentrated on the “Holiday” aspect of the event, and sported bright green or red shirts (mostly collared) or the traditional band (and waiter) costume of black pants and white shirt.  Finn looked cool but suspicious.

The concert took place at the high school auditorium, which is a beautiful facility except for the omission of a center aisle running from bottom to top, a problem I didn’t discover until Porter and I had walked across the seats and stood looking at a row of four seats together with no way to reach them, other than to mountaineer over, which is what I did.

My seat climbing skills are somewhat rusty, and I garnered a fair bit of attention, but soon Porter and I were settled in primo seats.  I saw that many audience members were obviously much older than I.  I deduced that they were present to hear their high-school children perform, teens whose antics have caused their parents to gray and wrinkle, and it was all extremely distressing to behold.

My neighbor confirmed that the elementary schools would perform, followed by the junior high and then the high school, and the entire concert could last two hours.  Knowledgeable parents of elementary students sit on the aisles for easy escape after their offspring’s final note.

It was too late for me.  The aisle were filled, the center was empty, and the lights were dimming.  Bill and Drew walked in just in time to jump into the seats I’d wasted so much energy claiming.

The band director kicked the show off with a tepid welcoming speech, then added, “I’ve
noticed a disturbing trend of parents leaving after their pupil has performed, and we discourage that.  We ask that you enjoy this lovely auditorium and hear all the players perform.”

That was fine for him to say, but had he left a hastily purchased Stouffer’s Lasagna cooking in his oven at home?  It is one thing to sit through a concert played by strangers when you plan on doing it, but another thing entirely to land in the middle of a two-hour concert
unprepared.  If the director needed me for two hours, he should have told me that much sooner, so plans could be made.

My stomach was grumbly, unsoothed by gin.  My temperament was, too.
I weighed the embarrassment of getting up from the middle of the auditorium during
the concert, despite the conductor’s plaintive directions, against the humiliation of burning my house down with frozen food, and it wasn’t even close.

But when the music began, I perked up.  The sixth-graders played their first song, and Finn’s bells rang out truer and sweeter than the rest.  He switched to drums for the second tune, and his beat was steady and firm.  At the end everyone clapped and I yelled, “Go drums!” and Bill elbowed me.  No one else was shouting,”Horns Rule” or “Toot that flute, baby!” but doesn’t everyone appreciate positive feedback?

The duo and I snuck out after Finn’s part was over (“Excuse me, pardon me, we’re new at this”) and made it home to enjoy a succulent Stouffer’s chicken, noodle and chemical combination and head for bed.

As I drifted to sleep, the thumping drum beat of The Hannukah Song rang pleasantly in my ears.

Drums Rule!

********************************

This next post got lots of attention when I first published it on iVillage– apparently y’all are better at laundry than I am.

Two Years Ago in My Tiny Kingdom: What I Haven’t Been Doing

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 10:25 amFashion: Turn To The Left!,Faux Pas,Festivities & Celebrations,Music: Give Me A Beat!,School Today: Eraserboard Jungle11 comments  

November 20, 2006

Wilderness Week- and More Underwear

The Tiny Kingdom has a long tradition of sending its entire fifth grade off for a week-long stay at a nature camp, where they learn about Alabama’s plants and animals and the state’s earliest settlers. The kids wade in the river and collect wiggly specimens, and they hike for hours over unforgiving terrain to see breathtaking scenery. Sometimes they learn about things that are not on the planned curriculum.

Finn left Monday, with plenty of outdoor gear and the few pair of underwear we were able to scrounge up for him. Although the boys and girls stay in separate cabins, I stressed to him that he was to be extremely careful about wearing appropriate clothing at all times.

As Finn and I were packing, I said, “Whenever you’re around the girls, I want you to wear more than just underwear. I want you to have on pants and a shirt, too.”

He looked at me with that special pre-teen look that is simultaneously condescending and compassionate, the one that says, ‘My mom has lost her mind but I’m going to let her think she’s perfectly sane.’

He said, “Yes, ma’am. I usually wear clothes, you know.”

“Even if y’all have some kind of get-together in your pajamas, I want you to be completely covered up. Everywhere. With something over your underwear,” I emphasized.

“Mom, I don’t really want anyone to see me in my underwear. And I think we’re a little old to be hanging out in our pajamas,” Finn sighed as he rolled up his sleeping bag.

I realize that my directive sounded bizarre to him, but reasonable to me because of my own experience on the same trip.

Back in my day, we went on the field trip in the seventh grade. I went in 1979, the year of “I Will Survive,” “Heart of Glass,” and “Le Freak.” Along with my hiking boots, I’d packed Tickle deodorant and Love’s Baby Soft, because twelve-year-old girls must stay fragrant at all times, even when enduring life in the woods.

I was thrilled to be in a bunk next to the girl with the glass eye. I had always wondered what she did at night– whether she slept in it or whether it had to be put through a good cleaning every so often, like a retainer. It turned out that she understood the drama of her situation. When it was close to lights out, she extended her toilette so that she was the last one to get in bed. The rest of us were already in our bunks, anxiously peering at her. She got in bed, put a hand to her face, pulled out her eyeball with a theatrical gesture, and plopped it into a glass on the window sill. It sat there all night, unblinking.

One day we toured an old schoolhouse that pioneer children had attended. I doubted that the leader would be able to teach me anything about schooling in the 1800s that I didn’t already know. I’d read each of the The Little House on the Prairie books several times and considered myself an expert on primers and old-fashioned spelling bees. I had to sit through one anyway and was forced to learn to spell “rhododendron” at lightening speed, a talent I’ve never used until this very moment.

I dimly remember hearing about the four Indian tribes that lived in Alabama (Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek), and watching the boys bounce the spongy scrambled eggs we ate for breakfast off the cafeteria table, but I must confess that my most specific memory, as vivid to me today as if it had happened yesterday and not twenty-seven years ago, had nothing at all to do with Indian lore or spelling.

I don’t know who thought it was a good idea to have all the seventh graders change into their pajamas before we met in the dining hall for one last class, but those were our instructions. The girls came out in an assortment of Lanz flannel nightgowns, while most of the boys wore sweatpants or flannel pajama bottoms and T-shirts.

One boy, however, sauntered into the dining hall clad only in boxers. The girls looked at him and let out a collective gasp. My best friend and I only had sisters and we were thrilled to see a boy in his underwear. We’d read Forever (we took off the book jacket and replaced it with the one from The Diary of Anne Frank) and thus had read about penises, but this was as close to one as we’d come in real life.

I don’t remember what happened next– whether he remained in his underwear while we sat in a circle and shared our favorite memories of the week, or whether he was asked to cover up, but it doesn’t really matter. The image was, and is, indelibly seared in my memory.

That’s why I took special care to make sure Finn kept his family jewels covered at all times. I loaded him on the bus with the assurance that in 2033, when Finn is coaching one of his classmates’ children in baseball, she’ll think of him first as Coach Glamore, and not the boy whose penis she almost saw at nature camp in fifth grade.

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 9:15 amFashion: Turn To The Left!,Inventions, Creations, Experiments,Tiny Kingdom Exclusive6 comments  

November 14, 2006

In Which The Gap Fails Finn (And Pre-Teen Boys Everywhere)

For reasons too complex to delve into, Sunday I had approximately twenty-four minutes to purchase Finn some underwear that he needed ASAP. I didn’t have time to drive to Target to buy his favorite Fruit of the Looms, so I squeezed in a trip to the mall between fixing some Santa Fe Soup and getting everyone presentable to go to Aunt Su’s. Aunt Lulu and her baby were in town, and the boys had to meet their new cousin.

I ran into a couple of stores, neither of which carried Finn’s size of underwear. It seems that while I have uncommon breasts, Finn’s fanny is a popular size. The Gap was my last option.

I found one package of XL underwear quickly. It was perfect, containing one pair of gray knit boxer briefs, and one pair of white.

gapplain

The Gap knit boxer, size XL, in white and gray. Perfect for the 87 pound fifth grader.

I figured he needed at least two more packages, and I continued to scan the shelves. As I did, I was assaulted by a dizzying array of colors and designs, not only in XL, but XXL and perhaps higher. My mind began reeling and I felt as if I was back in college, listening
to “L.A. Woman” in a smoke filled dorm room festooned with psychedelic
gauzy sheets on the walls. My heart started racing as I struggled to make sense of it all.

Here were the other designs available for fifth grade boys who know about sex, use deodorant and acne wash, are keenly aware when girls wear perfume, and conduct nightly searches for manly hairs in their armpits:

gapskate

gapboard

gaphockey

gapski

And most disturbingly:

gapcamo

I gasped, and hailed a saleslady to look in the back for some plain XL underwear. While she was gone, I fumbled in my purse for my Klonopin and swallowed half a pill right there.

If you are wondering what is wrong with this underwear, I can only conclude that you design boys’ underwear for the Gap or do not have a preteen.

First, when little boys are transitioning from diapers to the potty, a mother’s number one weapon looks like this:

carsundy

thomasundy

wigglesundy

spongebob

dinobrf

bobundies

If you don’t go in the potty, you wear a diaper. If you go in the potty, you get to wear big boy pants with Sponge Bob on them. Whee!

Translation: only boys who are being rewarded for properly using the toilet wear underwear with little designs.

Second, a boy does not wear words on his butt. Girls can wear panties with words on them:

vicsec

urbanpanties
Remember when Bloomies made the day of the week panties? I had some. Did you?

And, of course, ladies can wear underwear with words on the derriere:

tuespant

vicsec2
This is pretty much how I look in my underwear every day of the week!

Consequently, men do not wear underwear with words on them. I left the Gap with only two pairs of plain underwear.

According to its web site, the Gap’s corporate purpose is to “make it easy for you to express your personal style throughout your life.”

I’d say the Gap failed pretty miserably in making it easy for Finn to express his personal style on his ass.

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 6:02 pmFashion: Turn To The Left!17 comments  

September 21, 2006

Finn’s Fashion Wisdom

This morning as we were getting ready for school, Finn said, “Mom, I really love this shirt. It’s so soft and comfortable.”

“Great,” I said, as I brushed a big tangle out of the back of his hair. I think it looks pretty good myself, considering it cost around $10 at Target.

“The girls dig it, too,” Finn remarked, as he started packing up his backpack.

Bill looked up from his Special K with a look of confusion. “How do you know the girls ‘dig it?'” he asked.

“Well, when I wear it, the girls flirt with me,” Finn said, handing me his agenda to sign.

“How do you know they’re flirting?” Bill asked.

Finn looked at Bill pityingly. “Dad, you just know. I mean, when I wear it, they’re like, all over me and stuff.”

“All over you?” I yelped. “Surely you’re exaggerating.”

“If he is, I don’t have any idea at all where he got that from,” Bill said.

“I don’t mean they literally climb on me,” Finn said. “What they do is, like, Kristin will be on the other side of the room, and she’ll say (and here Finn used a high-pitched voice) ‘Finn, would you mind bringing me a pencil?’ Or sometimes they’ll ask for a book or help reaching something on a shelf, but you know they could’ve gotten it themselves.”

“So what do you do?” I asked.

Finn shrugged. “I’ll tell them it’s no problem and I’ll go get the pencil or whatever. What they really mean is that they want to see you walk across the room and use your manly muscles. I figure I’ve got ’em so I might as well show ’em off,” he said nonchalantly.

I turned my back to Finn and pretended to be very busy pouring another cup of coffee so he couldn’t see my face.

“So dude,” Bill said, “do you really work it?”

“Oh yeah,” Finn answered. “I make sure I flex my muscles while I walk across the room and back, because that’s what the girls really want to see. The pencil is just an excuse.”

Just then Chatty Mom drove up and honked and all the boys ran out the door.

Bill and I looked at each other, processing this new information.

“Honey, do you think we ought to go ahead and start saving up for a home condom machine?” Bill asked. “I think we might need it for peace of mind.”

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 6:20 amFashion: Turn To The Left!,Inventions, Creations, ExperimentsComments are off  

September 17, 2006

In Which I Declare Myself The Victor In The Breast Wars

Here’s a multiple choice test to get you in the mood for today’s column. If you saw this, what would you do?

chicken

1. Grab a frying pan, a mallet, butter, capers, lemon juice, and wine and make a delicious chicken piccata.

2. Say, “Modern art doesn’t interest me very much, but I hear there’s a fabulous new lunch place down the street.”

3. Slap those suckers on your chest and strut your stuff like Dolly Parton.

All are good answers, but in my world, the correct answer is 3.

Behold: the NuBra.

Those of you who have been keeping up with the replica of my breast I made out of food and the embarrassment I suffered when I tried on approximately forty bras with Bill’s help due to a roller-blading accident (rather than privately as I had planned) will be happy to hear that the Breast Wars are over.

First, a little background on my bra situation prior to the beginning of the wars. Before I discovered that there is a bra for women like me (women with itty-bitty titties topped with fireplug nipples), I was resigned to the fact that if I wanted a bra that actually fit, I’d be wearing two triangles of fabric with a little rosebud centered between them. This is the kind of bra you buy in the preteen section at Macy’s–the ones where the package shows some girls at a sleepover painting each others’ nails. When the wars began, at a minimum I hoped to purchase a bra from the women’s department bearing a tag that pictured an actual grownup wearing the bra (preferably a woman).

The best solution I had found to hide my perma-nips was the NuBra, which is a sticky, gel-like breast form you stick on top of your boobs. You can use it as a regular bra or a strapless bra, if you’re small-breasted, like me. As long as you wash it off after each use, you can wear it over and over.

The NuBra has two drawbacks. One is that it’s funny looking, which is why Bill often says,”You wearing those chicken breasts out tonight?”

The other is that the forms don’t stick so well when you have sweaty boobs.

Aunt Lulu had a lovely outdoor wedding on a sweltering day in May 2004. In Alabama. Here is a picture of me just before the ceremony, when both sides of my NuBra were firmly attached to my breasts, sort of filling up the front of my extremely pink dress.

Nubraon

There were four bridesmaids, and we all stood in the searing sun wearing our chicken breasts as Aunt Lulu and her husband promised and vowed. Just as I felt a trickle of sweat run down my back, I heard a thwa-kink! and another thwa-kink! and I realized that my NuBra had popped off and was nestling in the band of my dress between my boobs and my stomach. A moment later I heard several fainter, but unmistakable thwa-kinks! on both sides of me, and soon there were four bridesmaids standing up front with eight uncovered nipples in thin Pepto dresses. We walked down the aisle with our NuBras lying limply at the bottom of the bodice of our dresses.

I tried to stick it back on several times, but it was a hot day and I was dancing and sweaty and therefore unsuccessful. Here’s a picture of me later, after I stuffed the chicken breasts in my purse and resolved to party all night, regardless of nipple protrusion.

nubraoff1 “My dress is caving in and I don’t care! Cheers to Aunt Lulu!”

So the NuBra is good, but not great in my climate. A real bra that fastens with straps and snaps would have been helpful in that circumstance.

Another recent discovery I’ve made is this product:

Low Beams are basically flower-shaped band-aids that you put on your bosoms to paste your nipples down. They certainly flatten my Tootsie Rolls, but they don’t add any fluffiness to my pancake. And at $9 for 5 pair, I find them pricey. I do like the package, though, which has a key ring and the slogan “Headlights are for cars.”

Because neither the NuBra nor the Low Beams fully met my boobie needs, I whiled away an afternoon at a lingerie shop while I was in New York waiting on Aunt Lulu to have her large bundle of joy. There an elderly woman measured me and pronounced me a 34AA, not a 36AA as the last three “breast experts” had. My bust size is difficult to assess, not because I’m uncooperative or unduly modest, but because I have a hump under my right shoulder blade because of my scoliosis, and even my second spine surgery didn’t reduce it. Apparently I stood different ways for the various women who measured me and that accounted for the discrepancy in the calculations.

The difference between a 34 and a 36 mattered because the cups in a 34AA are smaller than those in a 36AA, and tinier cups were exactly what I needed, as I illustrated with fruit in the second part of my description of the wars.

Once I had the correct numbers and letters to work with, the sales lady advised me that Wacoal is great with petite bras, and her suggestions were right on the money.

To my great delight, I arrived home with five bras that fit.

I bought this bra in ivory and nude:

boringbra

You can just take my word for it that it doesn’t mush in if you press on it, and there’s no extra room for an avocado or turnip in the cup.

Then I bought this bra because it has a bow:

bowbra

You do remember that Bill has a thing for bows, don’t you?

That’s why I think he’ll go wild for this bra, which I bought in nude and black:

sexybra

That’s not just a bow; it’s a lace-up mini-corset looking thing, which is far sexier than anything I’ve ever worn on a bra before. I don’t think this ad gives you a true picture of the vixenish quality of this brassiere. For a lady used to slapping silicone chicken breasts on her front and calling it a day, this is a definite improvement.

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 2:57 pmFashion: Turn To The Left!,Suffering for BeautyNo comments  


Welcome to the Kingdom

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I'm Anne Glamore, wife, mother, lawyer and blogger. I have three boys, and I'm desperately trying to train them to become Southern gentlemen, but that may be an unrealistic goal. At this point I'd be ecstatic if they'd quit farting at the dinner table. If you're new here, check out the Readers' Favorite Posts below or browse through the Categories. I write about my attempts to teach the boys about peckers and sex (which we call "making googly eyes"), my struggles with hepatitis C and spine surgery, the boys' adventures with fire and pets, my mom's death from ovarian cancer, my love of cooking (with plenty of recipes) and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me on Twitter or StumbleUpon or Email me. I'm happy to speak to your group or club.

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