Sunday, September 23, 2018

Reliving the 80s

Once a year, Yam gets to take a guest to a party. This party is for county workers (and their plus one). It is the county's way of saying thank you. Last year The Colonel was Yam's guest and I was her guest this year.

The county parties are thematic. Last year's theme was Hawaiian/Tropical and this year's theme, The 80s.

Yam and I went shopping a couple of weeks prior to the party. We hit all of the local Goodwill stores, looking for anything that might simulate a 1980s outfit. Yam asked me what kind of things we wore back then. I told her I remember we wore everything big: big eyeglasses, big hair, big shoulder pads and big earrings. It has been nearly 30 years since the 80s ended and frankly, even though I lived through them, I had to Google 1980s fashions to jog my memory. I was a teenager (19) when the 1980s commenced and a young adult (28) in their final year.

Google searches showed lots of neon colors and leggings. There were also slouch socks and white Keds. It was all coming back to me.

Yam found a cute neon top to wear with her leggings and I found a cotton sweater with bright colors. I also found some jewelry to accent my costume. My slouch socks ended up being Dr. Scholl's socks from Wal-Mart (good thing I could use them later with my current feet are nearly 30 years older now).

I showed up early at Yam's house so that we could do our make-up and hair. I had gotten a large can of Aqua Net hairspray so that we could "cement" our hairdos in place once we had them the way we wanted them. I wore my hair short in the 80s and have never been one to mess with my hair much, so it was a bit of a challenge to take my hairstyle back in time. I tried to help Yam with hers too but my skills are nearly non-existent. Even when Yam was a little girl, my skills pretty much extended to ponytails, braids and barrettes. Thank God Yam was not a girly-girl (I never was either).

We looked 80-ish enough by the time we headed out the door.

We arrived at the event center where the party was held. Yam pulled out the tickets as we walked up to the check-in table. These characters welcomed us.

After check-in, we walked into the huge room where the party was taking place.

The room was filled with large, round tables, two food lines, a coffee/dessert table, a dance floor and a photo area. On each table were items from the 80s: Rubik's cubes, Pop Rocks candy, funky eye shades, glow-in-the-dark bracelets to mention a few items.

Yam and I stood in line to get our pictures taken. We did not know the camera was already taking our picture, so in the first photo you can tell we were not ready with a smile or a pose.

There were many women dressed as Madonna, a man dressed as Crockett of Miami Vice, men with mullets and even a man dressed like Prince (or is it The Artist Formally Known As Prince?).

After we ate our dinner of fried chicken, roasted veggies and ma'n'cheese bombs (little balls of fried mac'n'cheese...yummo), Yam and I hit the dance floor a couple of times and even joined the Conga Line that was lead by Beetlejuice. Later we had ice cream and a cookie. I also had some delicious coffee.

We shared our table with two other county workers and a spouse. One worker happened to be the woman who runs the county's historical programs that The Colonel and I volunteer for (she brought her spouse) and the other worker was the county historian. We had a fun time together.

The party lasted until 10 p.m. but Yam and I, as well as our table mates, called it a night before that (heck, 10 p.m. is when I get into bed for the night...remember I am no longer the young adult I was in the 1980s).

Yam and I had a great evening as we ate, laughed, talked and danced. It is spending time together like this that makes me very happy and grateful to have Yam living so close to us.   

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Throwback Thursday

I have been looking through some of my pictures, in hopes of finding some more for my new "Throwback Thursday" posts. As I was rifling through some stacks, I saw the colorful snapshots below.

I painted these coconuts when we lived in Key West (1998-2001). There were plenty of coconuts on the ground around the island. The Colonel, the kids and I gathered some and I thought they would make great Halloween decorations.

Once they were painted, I placed them in the garden, in my front yard. I liked them so well, I left them there until we moved. By that time, they were sun bleached and peeling. It broke my heart to have to consign them to a garbage bag.

I closely examined the coconuts in each picture. Of course I remember painting them, but I had forgotten how they came out. I was and am very pleased with the end products. I do not want to sound like I am tooting my own horn, but normally artists (especially me) are never completely satisfied with their work. I really like these decorated coconuts (probably why I left them in the garden loooooong after Halloween).

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

The Alien: I had eight coconuts to paint and The Colonel asked me to make one an alien. Its eyes were not so empty (and scary) looking once I added little dots of white to them.

The Devil: This coconut was an homage to a Halloween mask of my youth. Everyone around my age (50-something), wore the plastic masks to go Trick-or-Treating. Remember the smell of the plastic?

Image from the Internet

The Mummy and The Skull: Because you have to have a mummy and a skull for Halloween (I think it is the law).

Frankenstein's Monster: Well, if you have The Mummy you definitely must have Frankenstein's Monster too. I like the way I painted his eyes...makes him look slow-witted or maybe just sleepy.

Quasimodo: Disney's movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, came out in 1996. Yam, always the Disney fan, asked me to paint one coconut like Quasimodo. I think I did a pretty decent job.

Image from the Internet

The Pirate: Living on Key West, I had to paint a pirate coconut. There is a Pirate's Well on the island after all.

The Parrot: If you have a pirate he must have his parrot. I like the way I painted his thousand-yard stare. He must have gotten that from witnessing all of the piratical activities while perched on his pirate's shoulder.

I will be perusing more pictures from the past...stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Friday, August 31, 2018

Synophrys or Better Known as the Unibrow

A while back, Yam was looking through some old family photos and asked me on whose side of the family came the unibrows? I said they came from Granddad's side (which is surprising, as the bit of Greek DNA that is coursing through my veins is from my mom's side...more on the Greeks in a bit).

Here is a high school picture of my father. His unibrow is present. It is not a heavy unibrow, but still a unibrow.

This is a baby picture of unibrow visible...yet.

By the time this school picture was taken (I think around second or third grade), I was sporting a faint unibrow.

In ancient times, unibrows were held in high esteem. In the Arab culture they were a sign of beauty as well as purity. The Greeks thought that unibrows were a sign of intelligence or wisdom. Women would use makeup to draw in a continuous brow if they did not posses one naturally.

 image from Internet
image from Internet 
 image from Internet

It was during the middle ages in Europe, that foreheads of women became the focal point of beauty. Women began to pluck the hairs of their eyebrows. They plucked them into thin lines and separated any continuous brow. Throughout the ages, women's eyebrows have gone from bushy to thin to bushy again (who can say Brooke Shields?). The artist, Frida Kahlo, was famous for her case of synophrys (as well as a faint mustache) and there is a Greek/Cypriot model who wears her unibrow very proudly.

 image from Internet
image from Internet

Thank God my unibrow was never as dark or heavy as the two ladies above. With that said, I did not like sporting one. When I was growing up (before Brooke Shields became so popular), it was not cool to have thick, natural eyebrows. I allowed one of my older sisters to gain access to my brow(s). She wielded those tweezers in an Edward Scissorhands-like fashion. By the time she was finished, I was in pain, had watery eyes and barely any brows left.

My eyebrows never fully recovered from the "defoliation" that they were subject to. Throughout the years I have been trying to grow back some of my natural brow line (minus the hairs over the bridge of my nose). Some areas just did not grow back. In the picture below, my brows are in a more natural state.

Alas, now that my brows are back to "normal", they are beginning to turn gray in places. The gray makes my brows look thin and stunted. Like the ladies of old, I have to resort to makeup to add more brow...I will "draw the line" at a unibrow though!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Daughters and Dots

My Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) chapter does not hold meetings from June through September. Our yearly meetings run from October to May. Some of our chapter members are Snowbirds and they head back up north for the summer. We locals, if we are not on vacation, get together a few times and have fun during the off months.

Back in July, we met at our Regent's (president of our chapter) house and had fun painting wine glasses. For under $30, an artist came to the house with all of the supplies (including the glasses) and guided us on our foray into glass painting. She had plenty of templates for things we could decorate our wine glasses with: shells, turtles, pineapples, starfish, palm trees, to list a few. One lady decided to free-hand a flamingo for her glasses. She did a good job too. I  chose to paint starfish on my glasses.

When I was in high school, I took art classes. I remember when I was first exposed to the painting technique called Pointillism. It is the process of using pure dots of color to create a picture. I like the look of Pointillism and it is a forgiving technique. One of the first pictures I created with dots in high school was this picture of peppers.

I eventually had it matted and framed and entered it for a 4-H Fine Arts competition. It won an award that allowed it to go to the state fair. My peppers won a Reserve Grand Champion ribbon at the state fair...the picture that won the Grand Champion ribbon was created by one of my sisters. I still create Pointillism pictures once in a while. The picture of an Ibis below was created a few years ago and it hangs on the side of my fridge.

So, back to my starfish on glass...The paint I used was acrylic and I used one of the templates our instructor had provided. She told us to take the little pieces of paper that had the patterns on them and put them inside the glass. Once the pattern was pushed against the inside of the glass, we stuffed paper towels in the glass so that the patterns did not move.

We each had two glasses to paint. I decided to paint a different color starfish on each of my glasses, one for The Colonel and one for myself (Heaven forbid we get our glasses mixed up and he drink from mine or vice versa...even after nearly 32 years of marriage I find it distasteful to drink after him).

It was a fun evening with the other ladies. We laughed and talked as we created our artworks on glass.

I was pleased with my paint job. I was eager to take them home to show The Colonel. He liked them. There were two ways we could "set the paint" on the glasses according to our artist guide. One way was to let the paint dry for three weeks. The other was to put your glasses in a cold oven and then bake them at 350 degrees for thirty minutes and finally let them cool down in the oven. I chose the oven method...who could wait three weeks to drink wine out of their works of art?

Not me!