Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tuesday Pants and Free Pajama Jeans

Comfort is my key to happiness. You will never find me wearing heels and during my work at home days, I'm always in soft pants. Zippers and buttons put me in a bad mood.

This proclivity toward particular pants has been a constant throughout my life. During college, I organized my schedule so that I was on campus for the minimum amount of time possible. On my days off of school, I worked 8:30-5. For a while, it was school on Saturday and work Monday through Friday. Marketing classes weren't offered on Saturday, so I eventually had to switch to alternating school and work days during the week.

This led to the rise of the Tuesday Pants.

My Monday course load combined with the hour commute to college kept me out quite late and made Tuesdays at work a miserable, fatigued wreck. My professional business attire only included four different pairs of dress pants with a rotating cast of dress shirts and sweaters. I found a pair of fleece drawstring pants that were gray and fit, I thought, the same as any dress slacks in my wardrobe. They put no pressure on my waist and made life a little easier. I took to wearing them on Tuesdays to compensate for the difficulty of my schedule.

And so they became my "Tuesday Pants."

A couple of years later, I found myself a college graduate in a different office. I'd wear the pants on Tuesday just for the nostalgia. Nearing the end of my days in the office as I anticipated the birth of my daughter, I wore the pants on other days of the week. I resisted a maternity wardrobe and those pants still fit. Sort of.

Eventually, the belly won out. My Tuesday Pants burst at the seams. Their retirement was difficult. The taxing days of mothering a newborn could have really used some comfortable pants.

I learned about Pajama Jeans via a television ad. Jeans that feel like pajamas but look like, well, jeans? Count me it! I began to lust after the comfort.

Alas, I am thrifty (read: cheap) and though I stalked stores and online shops, Pajama Jeans were always too big of an investment. I found another pair of Tuesday Pants at Target just this year. They're just like the old ones and I figured I really wasn't meant to have legwear that transitioned from in-home comfort to public acceptability. Tuesday Pants only ever looked business casual in my mind. I decided to keep my $40 and keep changing out of sweats and into jeans to go to Trader Joe.

The Pajama Jeans mailing list promised coupons, but they were never enough to get me to buy a pair. I entered my junk email address and deleted free shipping offers with regularity.

Then, just weeks ago, an offer for an absolutely free pair of Pajama Jeans! What luck! What comfort. I danced around my house that day. Think how my life was about to change.

The pants came on Election Day. I put them on immediately right in my kitchen. My very first impression was positive. The material was soft, probably should have been washed before the first wearing, but comfortable.

The day wore on and I began to notice things about the pants. The waist was small and high. There was pooching extra space for wide hips that I don't have. My husband asked, "did they send you pajama mom jeans?"

After four hours in the Pajama Jeans, I felt as prickly as a girl that's been wearing stiff denim all day. The drawstring waist was made to look like a pair of jeans. It was all the inconvenience of zipperless pants with none of the benefit. When evening arrived, I was eager to change into real pajama pants.

"If they wanted you to like them, they should have sent you nicer ones," my husband remarked.
"Maybe they need washed," I said, ever hopeful.

But they just don't fit my body. Even if they did, they're more jeans than pajamas. My only consolation is that I didn't part with $40 for this disappointment. And I still have my Tuesday Pants.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

#IWSG -- Writing and Creativity

It's November. Finally. The midterm election is over and my mailbox can go back to its usual condition: empty.

A new month brings another round of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Read all about it and sign up here.

November 7th Question - How has your creativity in life evolved since you began writing?

The awesome co-hosts for the November 7 posting of the IWSG are Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor, Ann V. Friend, JQ Rose, and Elizabeth Seckman!

To adequately assess the evolution of my creativity after writing, I'd have to pinpoint when I actually started. 

Was it when my mom gave me a tiny blue diary covered in pink bunnies and told me to start "journaling like Oprah?" That was just after I learned to print letters.

Was it when my first-grade teacher encouraged us to write stories that she'd laminate or publish by enclosing the typewritten pages in fabric covered cardboard? Those stories captured my six-year-old understanding of the world. "My mom likes to go to the mall and take naps," I wrote. 

Or it could have been in the fifth grade when my teacher, Ms. Guzowski, presided over "writer's workshop." I read a delightful work of suspense to the class about a slumber party interrupted by scary noises.

Each of those starting points is early enough that I consider all of my creativity to have developed after writing. I was writing before I had anything to write about. 

I feel myself getting less creative as I get further from childhood. I blame dishes and laundry and the never-ending repetitive cycle of stuff that gets in the way of true creativity. In a world where it feels like everything worth doing has already been done, I'm apt to look at Pinterest when I need an idea. Inspiration of my own can be quite fleeting.

Perhaps this is evolution. I hope not though.

Big Teeth & Clouds went through a bit of evolution a few weeks back and has transitioned into my very own author platform. All of the old Big Teeth posts are still here. I'm just taking on a more professional appearance here on the interwebs. And a custom URL. Fancy. :)

Monday, October 15, 2018

#WEPFF Déjà vu at the Mailbox

I went out to get the mail. The day was sunny and mild. I must have been preoccupied with the newly changed leaves, the crispness of the autumn air. The neighbor across the street had put up garish Halloween decorations overnight. Ghosts and tombstones punctuated their once barren yard. My thoughts turned to my disdain for the whole month of October. Pumpkin spice and horror, not my scene.

It wasn’t until my feet hit the broken asphalt of the street that I noticed. The whole corner of the yard had been wiped out. Nothing but a freshly dug track of dirt where there was once a soaring 50-foot pin oak tree, a low stone retaining wall, and the white mailbox post. Everything was gone save the black metal box which sat post-less at the far edge of the dirt.

Instantly panicked, I ran inside and called for my husband.

“Tim,” I yelled. “Come down here and look at this.”

He ran downstairs, spurred on by my anxious tone.

“The mailbox,” I said. “Everything is gone.”

We went to the window together and looked out toward the street. I reached a new level of horror when I saw everything was perfectly normal. The pin oak, the low retaining wall, and the black mailbox perched on its white post. Nothing had been disturbed.

“But it was just...” I sputtered and broke down sobbing. “I’ve lost my mind.”

Tim and I stood in front of the window as he tried to diagnose my mental state. Had I seen anything else that didn’t make sense? Were my thoughts racing? Was I hearing voices? As we talked, a giant bulldozer drove slowly up the street.

I knew what it was going to do, but I made no move to stop it. My mouth couldn’t form the right words and my husband didn’t hear the noise until the splintering crescendo of the crashing tree caught his attention. The heavy machine crashed through the towering pin oak, the low stone wall. The black metal mailbox flew from its white post and landed at the edge of the torn ground. The dozer rumbled away carrying all of the debris.

Tim rushed into the street in sock feet. As he yelled after the dozer, I remembered something. I walked out and pried open the door of the mangled mailbox. I still needed to get the mail.

--- --- --- --- ---

This is my first time entering the Write... Edit... Publish flash fiction challenge. As you might gather from my story, I don't enjoy horror or really anything to do with Halloween. My entry is based one of my weirdest dreams. I hope the other entries aren't too scary!

Join the challenge here:

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

# IWSG Writing the Major Life Events

It's Insecure Writer's Support Group time again. The co-hosts for the October 3 posting of the IWSG are Dolorah @ Book Lover,Christopher D. Votey, Tanya Miranda, and Chemist Ken!

October 3 question - How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

My novel, No Room for Hondo, is a fictionalized account of the one major life event I've experienced to date.

Major life events (or the one event as it were) have a huge role in my writing. Since my preferred genre is realistic fiction, I find that it's only from living through something that I can write about it at all.

But then there's the issue of being helped through something by writing. I was writing excessively throughout my aforementioned life event. In recent months, I stumbled upon the term hypergraphia. Described as a "compulsion to write," hypergraphia describes one of the many symptoms I experienced after the birth of my daughter.

When I woke in the night to take care of my infant, I'd have the most productive thoughts. All of my ideas seemed excellent (they weren't) and I knew that by morning I'd forget (that part is spot on). So I filled one of those composition notebooks in the middle of the night.

My diary was getting a workout too. Even as mental health treatment progressed, the insomnia was bad. I had this odd dollar store journal with a yellow vinyl cover. I've hidden it away now because it pains me to read what I was thinking. One page features a real gem. In the margin, in a completely different print that doesn't resemble my handwriting, I wrote, "I didn't write this."

Was I trying to write my own horror story?

This is probably what that horrid psychologist was getting at when she told me, "At our next visit, we're going to have to explore whether or not writing is good for you." 

There never was a "next visit." I wasn't ready to explore the possibility that the one thing that made me feel like a competent human was actually hurting me. That therapist also spouted some stand-up comedian-esque one-liners like, "you're really good at being crazy!" Apparently, she ascribed to the theory that people can't be offended during a psychotic episode. And I didn't get the impression that she expected I would ever recover.

She was wrong.

Writing obviously wasn't good for me at that time, but I had a sense that it was a good thing overall. More than just being a positive thing I do, it is what I do. Being a writer is my identity.

So writing has never helped me through any specific life event. It's just what I do during the all of it.