Friday, February 26, 2010

Fancy Pants

I’m not into labels, unless we’re talking about the inside tag of an "oh so soft" undergarment.  My favorite line of intimate apparel is a brand called Natori.  They are not, by any means, the most expensive line of lingerie.  That would be a tie between Wolford and Hanro. Back in my days of frivolous, pamper me purchases, I’ve been known to acquire a pair or two.  The average cost of a Hanro pantie is $58.00.  A Wolford will run you anywhere from $60 to $120.00. That’s one hundred and twenty dollars for two panels, and a crotch.  Sure, they’re comfortable, and oh so alluring, but unless we’re talking mink or a fine grade of Italian leather, I can no longer justify the cost.  Imagine if you accidentally soiled a pair, or your pup ate the crotch (pugs will do that).

I stopped buying them the day I calculated how long I had to work to buy a pair of those fancy pants.  I’ve tried the brand known as Hanky Panky, they were HUGE last year. Great name, fun colors, but they don’t hold up well in the wash - even if they never see the inside of a dryer.  Mine only averaged 6 and a half delicate cycles before the seams starts to unravel.

My favorite style of panties is a low-rise, boy-cut brief, in a silky spandex blend with a soft-touch laced waistband.  Pretty, sexy, in an understated sort of way.  They fit my 50 year old frame and my personality.  Typically, I wear a shade called “champagne” (a fancy way of saying beige).  I have a hard time buying only one pair.  “I‘ll take a bottle” I told the sales associate. She quickly shot back with, “don’t you mean a case.”  I hate being out humored while shopping.

I lost my desire for the hot pink and chartreuse print panties somewhere in my late 30s.  If I’m feeling wild, I’ll wear black.  I own one, well fitted black bra, and 2 matching panties.  Lets just say, that my “special occasion” days are limited.

I still have the slate blue sheer laced thong I wore on my wedding day - my “something blue.”  Pretty to look at, but by far the most uncomfortable undergarment imaginable. They gave me a rash! (enough said)  Note to the manufacturer…stiff ruffed lace on delicate skin is NEVER a good idea.  When I hold them up, I can’t believe they once caressed both my legs and my waist.  I suppose cheese and wine, and thong, don’t mix.  I know I somehow, shimmied them past my thighs because I distinctly remember the uncomfortable ride.

I never understood the appeal of a “thong.”  I don’t even like the word THONG.  Which reminds me, my second husbands last name was Fong.  Did I wear thongs back when I was a Fong?  I doubt it.  Too poetic for my taste.

Oh, and here is a secret for my male readers (if you’re out there) don’t think you’re doing your lady any favors when you shop at Victoria Secret. Lets just face it - its not for her, its for YOU.  You want her to look just like those stiff, plastic manikins in the storefront window.  You know the type - tall thin, never ending legs, long flowing hair and a mouth that doesn’t move.

If I want to shop locally for intimate apparel, I only have a few choices.  Saks, Victoria Secret (not a chance) and a chic little boutique that is so welcoming even Mark (the husband) will walk in.  The owner is, of all things, a MAN.  Something I never, in my life, would have thought was a good idea.  He’s knowledgeable in a way that doesn’t make sense, and not at all intimidating.  He is an expert at woman's body’s.  He knows what style of panties will fit you best, and, with both hands tied behind his back, will size you up for the perfecting fitting bra.

Sadly, I have been informed that he is no longer carrying the Natori brand.  Something about a manufacturing meltdown.  Out of sheer desperation I drove out of town in search of my favorite panties.  The cold, cruel reality is that they are now, officially, extinct.  Once again, I have fall in love and completely dependent upon an item that is discontinued.

I came home and googled Natori, hoping to find a close out discount website like Zappo’s or Direct Buy, for panties.  I came up empty.  I decided my only choice was to give up wearing panties all together.  Its winter, so its easy to transition from panties to cotton crotch tights.  But what do I do come spring?

Spanx tights are flattering, but when combine with dry, wintry skin, the comfort component is removed.  Perhaps if I found the perfect moisturizer. Something that will allow the spandex to glide over my not so silky smooth legs.  And again, for you men who are wonder what a “Spanx” is - sorry, I can’t tell you (and no, its not what you‘re thinking).  It’s a middle aged woman’s best kept secret. Forget I mentioned it.

It was there, beside the ultra hydrating Lubriderm, and moisture masking Eucerin, that I spotted the drug store pantyhose.  Did you know they still sell L’eggs but they’re no longer packaged in eggs?  When exactly did that happen?  Did the popularity of Spanx overcome the egg?

I studied the hosiery items - reading the fine print and inspecting the packaging as though I was standing in the mystery section at Barns and Nobel.  There, next to the L’eggs, were the “not so fancy panties”  - Hanes cotton briefs.  They were labeled as being “soft, comfortable, underwear that feels good all day, every day with a superb fit, wash after wash.”  As appealing as this sounded, I was completely turned off by the price tag.  Three  pairs for $6.75, that’s $2.25 per pair - a dollar per panel with a .25 cent crotch.  There is no way I’m going to buy these, my ass is way too spoiled for practical panties!

Under further inspection I uncovered the “will stay in place or your money back” guarantee. Not sure what side of me found that appealing - probably the side that wished I had applied myself more and become a lawyer.  However, as much as I enjoy a healthy debate, what would I do if they didn’t stay in place? Repackage them (after/before washing?) and ship them back to the manufacturer?  After much deliberation, I decided I was up for the challenge.  I casually tossed them in my basket, then hid them under a pile of moisturizers.

Two days passed before I decided to give them a try.  I wore them under my “Not Your Daughters Jeans” (denim blended with spandex - a true miracle) sat in them at my desk, for almost 6 hours straight.  Came home and  recovered them with well worn sweats and ran (walked, trotted) in them for one and a half miles.

I’m here to report that these not so fancy pants are true to form.  Comfortable, non- binding, AND they know their place better than any pantie I have ever owned.

I went back the next day and bought 3 more packs, this time in a crazy array of patterns and colors.  If I am going to be fiscally sensible, I am going to need to step up my style! 

Please don’t judge me by my practical panties, underneath, I am still an adventurous, free spirited, 50 year old - comforted by the soft touch of cotton.

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Domino Effect of Giving

“I get along well with those who know tragedy, and grow from it.  It expands a persons view.  While most see the straight growth of the stem, we understand the struggle of the roots and the triumph of the flowers."      Jesse Fowler


Yesterday, I had an early morning eye exam. It was snowing, hailing, and sleeting. I was 12 minutes late (I am often late). The receptionist greeted me like a mother would greet a spoiled teenager who missed her curfew.

“YOU’RE LATE!” she scolded.
“I am aware of THAT!” I replied.

In the spirit of a defiant, unruly adolescent, I explained that my delay was due to inclement weather (not true). She then handed me my punishment. I was told that I would have to wait for AWHILE, and that next time I should call if I know I am going to be late.

I was totally annoyed. I thought about leaning across the counter and slapping her - instead, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that this was about her, not me, and I didn’t have to react to it.

"Best if I reschedule," I told her, "I call you when the weather warms up," (translation - when hell freezes over).  I’m down to 3 days worth of disposable contact, so it wasn’t the best move on my part.

Regardless of what I told myself, I was clearly aggravated. I drove to the drugstore and picked up some contact solution. While waiting in the check-out line, I overheard the man next to me ask the cashier for directions to the bus stop. Without eye contact, she brusquely answered, “I don’t know.”

As he walked out the door, I noticed he was carrying a plastic Greenwich Hospital bag - a clear sign that he had just been discharged.  I thought about offering him a ride, after all, it was snowing, hailing and sleeting - but he was a man, and he was wearing a hood, and he looked sort of creepy (not really).  What if he was a mental patient or, what if he was a recovering drug addict?  What if her robbed me, or killed me, or worse - snatched my sweet little shihtzu, Lucy that patiently waited in the car?

I watched him walk out the front door, and I exited through the back.  I sat in my car, took a deep breath and asked myself, out loud, “What Do I Do?” As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I remembered a recent request I made in a blog posts...

Please take the time to reach out to those who may be suffering. To listen, validate, comfort, and be present with them. Allow them to be vulnerable, honest, and awake; and engage them with hope.

I turned the corner just as he was heading down the Avenue. I pulled over and asked him if he’d like a lift. I explained to him that I had been standing in line next to him, and I apologized for not offering him a ride immediately.  He hesitated, just for a moment, before accepting my offer.

Lucy greeting him warmly and he smiled at the sight of a 5 lbs dog wearing fur.

Neither of us knew where the bus stop was so, instead, I took him to the train. We sat outside the station and I listened as he explained that he had been in dialysis all week and that his younger sister has been going through dialysis for 7 years now, and how difficult it all was.  He told me his legs felt very weak and how grateful he was for the ride. When he was done talking, he thanked me and went on his way, this time with a smile.

When I told this story to a dear friend, she commented,  “It’s the domino effect.  What would the poor man had done if you didn’t miss your eye appointment.”

Yes, its the domino effect. The Domino Effect of Giving - a linked sequence of events that are rooted in emotion, and grow from the heart.

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Over the Rainbow

Just because he isn't here, doesn't mean he's gone

The first time I openly shared something I wrote, was when I read my son's eulogy.

Kerry continues to guide and inspire me.

He is everywhere...

in the strong, steady warmth of the sun
in the gentle guidance of the moon
in the bend and ripple of the river
in the glistening sting of pure, white snow
in the breath of song birds and
in the fresh, sweet buds of spring

Kerry is everywhere.

 what an old soul looks like at birth

Dear Kerry,

February 16, 1979 - your Dad and I watched you take your first breath. One year later, we enrolled you in a aqua-baby's, tossed you in a pool of blue water and watched you swim.

At four - after reciting the alphabet, identifying all the colors in a rainbow and drawling a picture of yourself... smiling - you were awarded your preschool certificate.

That summer, with your fathers gentle push, you learned to ride your bike. From then on there was no stopping you. T-ball, tennis, karate - you even wiggled your way into first place at a break dance contest.

At Julian Curtis elementary school, you set the record by completing 22 pull ups.  The record stood for over 10 years.

From then on it was a steady stream of sports.  Swimming, basketball, football, wrestling - and then of course there was baseball, baseball, baseball.

On the sidelines was your biggest fan...your sister Lindsay.  She cheered you on every step of the way.  In return, you supported her with gentle love and kindness.  Through her you learned to nurture, protect, cherish and adore.

At Central Middle School you began studying the viola and we were thrilled to see your musical side.  Years later you confessed that your strings never touched the bow.  Your only motivation was to accompany the orchestra on their year end field trip to Great Adventure Amusement Park.  

Throughout the years we watched you learn and grow, and mostly...we watched you laugh.  And when you laughed it was deep and hardy... from the belly of your soul.   

When you found Mary, life was sweet. Jackson's arrival brought an endless flood of joy to you and all those lucky enough to be near.  And again, we watched you nurture, protect, cherish and adore.

What we didn't hear or see was your pain.  Your pain was never spoken, only written and never shared. You were intuitive and intelligent enough to hide your sorrow and deliver only what everyone wanted to hear. You gave people what they needed.  You gave everything, every ounce of your existence.  You gave too much. 

For those who say they don't understand, know that depression is a disease.  The conscious experience becomes an endless stream of distressing thoughts and emotions.  Sadly, creative people are vulnerable to depression.

From the childhood tales of the Velveteen Rabbit, to James Joyce's cryptic language in Finnegan's Wake, you loved to read. You were a deep thinker, a writer, a poet.  Through writing you were able to escape. 

May 27, 2002 your daily scheduled, e-mail Horoscope read:

Aquarius - be brave, be adventurous and boldly go where no man has gone before.  Your ideas for heightening the joy quotient in you life should be taken seriously.  You gave at the office.  You've been a terrific contributor to others existences, but now you should shift the focus to that which floats your cork.

Kerry, know that all we see in you, forever, always... good. 

               All my love,

In the background is my father - a long distance runner - cheering on his grandson as he joyfully passes a boy 2+ years older, and wins his division.  His prize....a chocolate foot.  My prize...this picture.  Love that his feet are off the ground.  

...for if you always think of me,
I will have never gone

Terry and Kerry

Kerry and Jackson

...the dreams that you dare to dream...why, oh why, can't I

The first time I heard IZ sing "Over the Rainbow - Wonderful World" was a few days before Kerry died. 

It felt heavy and I cried.

"...someday I'll wish upon a star, wake up where the clouds are far behind me. where trouble melts like lemon drops high above the chimney tops thats where - you'll find me..."

it played in my head - loud and heavy - the day that I found him, dead.

We played it at Kerry's wake.

Now, when it soothes me. 

because the bond between a mother and child is eternal

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dear Valentine


One year, Mark gave me flowers for Valentines day. They were from Stop and Shop. The price tag was still on the cellophane wrapping. Later that night, I picked a fight with him and in the middle of it, I told him that I hated the "half dead, Stop and Shop flowers!"

The following year, Mark gave me flowers for Valentines day. This time they were from Whole Foods. The cellophane wrapper was removed, and I had no idea how much they cost. They were fresh and bright. Later that night, I picked a fight with him and in the middle of it I said, "flowers from a grocery store DON'T COUNT!!!"

The following year, Mark gave me flowers for Valentines day. Red Tulips. They were delivered to me at the office. All day long I complained about the flowers. After all..."who gets tulips for Valentines Day!!!" Later that night, I picked a fight with him and in the middle of it I yelled "I hate TULIPS!!!"

The following year, Mark gave me flowers for Valentines day. A HUGE bouquet was delivered to me at the office and all I could think of was how difficult it was going to be to carry them home.

Later that night I asked Mark not to buy me any more flowers.

The following year, when no flowers arrived, I was disappointed....

Today, I got flowers...from Pro Flowers. com. They were delivered to me by mistake. Together Mark and I walked them to their rightful owner.

I'm home now. Mark just made me lunch. Grilled cheese with tomato. Yummy!!!! We're watching the Olympics and sipping champagne

and I'm thinking....... relationships are a great opportunity to learn about yourself.

I dated (and married) many different types of men before I married Mark. In the end, I picked the man that shows me he loves me ..... everyday. And that means the world to me.

To all my family and friends..... I wish you great happiness today and always....

Here's to recognizing what means the world to you!

Green Monkey Tales © 2010 Shannon E. Kennedy

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison