Archive for February, 2010

Earlier this week my brother in law Nick wrote an awesome post about how music was back in his day. It doesn’t seem like that long ago we were all rockin’ giant Walkman tape players, but as we push towards 30 (30?!?), we realize how retro we really are.

As this post got me thinking about how things were back in the day, I thought I would write a companion piece about clothing trends from my youth. Everybody ready to relive some horrible fashion? Let’s go!

Trend # 1 – Jelly shoes:
When I was a little kid, I had a pair of these. I think they were purple. I’m not sure why people thought that footwear made of traction-less, transparent plastic was a good thing but they were all the rage when I was about 5. Hey, everybody! Check it out! You can see my dirty feet through my shoes! The marvels of science!

These are striking similar to the pair I had back in the day. Vented for extra aroma!

Trend #2 – Snap bracelets:
Remember snap bracelets? They were flexible pieces of steel covered in some sort of cheap fabric that, when you slapped it against your arm, would curl around into something resembling a bracelet shape. I remember spending my entire allowance on a giant roll of snap bracelets when I was in the second grade. I had them in all sorts of bright colours AND I had a sparkly gold one. You know, for fancy/classy occasions. They ended up getting banned but their snapping was pretty much the soundtrack to 1989.

There was a rumour that some kids sliced open their wrists with these bracelets, but I never found out if that was true.

Trend #3 – Neon colours on freaking everything:
It seemed like when 1990 hit, as a way of showing we were somehow moving into a new and futuristic era, neon colours were slapped onto everything. Hot damn, we were blindly ugly back then.

The fact that this stuff is coming back into fashion scares me.

Trend #4 – Wearing T-shirts so big you couldn’t see your shorts underneath them:
My friend Snuffy did this more than I did, but I do remember stealing some horrible cotton candy pink shirt with fish on it from my mom’s closet and belting it like it was a dress. Oh, mini-Girl, why?

Get some pants, woman!

Trend #5 – Hyper-color shirts:
A shirt that changed colour when heated up! I wanted one of these when I was a kid so badly but my mom wouldn’t let me get one. And as a 27-year-old woman, I sincerely thank my mom for this. I mean seriously, why do you want to pointout you have pit stains in vibrant tie-dye?

Now you too can let people know when your boyfriend's been groping you! Wear it around your parents! They'll love it!

Trend #6 – Biker Shorts (when not riding a bike)/Leggings as pants:
There’s never been an easier way and more convenient way to show off your VPL (visible panty line). I remember my friend Jenny had a black pair with a neon pink stripe down the side and we both thought they were quite fetching.

The idea of sticking my lumpy bottom into a pair of these frightens me.

Trend #7 – Hot pants under skirts:
While the concept of wearing mini shorts under your skirt makes sense, it’s also hella ugly. I actually remember wearing a dress that had hotpants sewn into it if you can believe it. The dress was checkered black and white and the hot pants were bright pink with lace trim.

I can't find a picture of anything quite as ugly as I am describing here, but this is a semi-accurate example of the mechanics of it.

Trend # 8 – LA Gear sneakers:
I had two pairs of these. The first pair was white with peach and mint green laces (for some reason, it was better to have more than one pair of laces in your shoes at the time) and the second pair were made of . . . wait for it . . . purple suede. I remember thinking they were supercool because they came with little license plates. Ugh.


A Foursome of L.A. Gear ugliness. Oh, the coloured side ridges! I'd forgotten about them!

 Trend #9 – Baby doll dresses (usually of the floral or plaid variety):
Even though I did not watch the show when it was originally on air, I blame My So Called Life for this.

You can see part of Angela's dress hanging out from under her sweater. Oh Jordan Catalano . . . "I just love the way he leans."

Trend #10 – The giant Blossom hats:
Mayim Bialik, I shake my fist at you for making me think this looked cool! I had two different hats. One was dark purple and I pinned the brim up with a pin I got from Northern Reflections and the other was black velvet and had a rose covered in fake plastic dew on it. I thought the dew was soulful looking. *snort*

If you think about it, it's actually pretty impressive that a television show convinced an entire generation of girls that it was cool to dress up like The Mad Hatter.

Trend #11 – Bodysuits:
They were basically the adult sized equivalent of a onesie, complete with crotch snaps. Yikes.

Thanks for bringing this one back, American Apparel. I can always count on you when I want to dress like a slutty jazzercise instructor!

Trend #12 – Knee high stockings:
I think the influence for this was part Catholic School Girl and part the movie Clueless. I think I tried it once before realizing that it was not a trend that suited the skinny and knock-kneed.

Yes on Alicia Silverstone, No on 12 Year Old Me.

Trend #13 – No Fear Shirts:
I never owned one of these but they are exactly what they sound like – shirts that said No Fear on them in a scratchy looking font. I think almost everyone in my 8th grade class had one.

This is pretty accurate to the kind of shirts they were. It's actually kind of funny that a daredevil style brand did so well with preteens. "Woo! I jumped the curb on my bike! No Fear!"

Trend #14 – Vests:
I had a ridiculous number of vests in my wardrobe when I was like 13. I remember I had one that I spilled Wite Out on once and it broke my heart. Little did I know, the fashion gods were doing me a favour.

I totally would have paired this bad boy up with a short sleeved turtleneck and been good to go.

Trend #15 – Gigantic pants:
There are still people who wear large pants, but they don’t seem to be wearing them as epically large as they used to. When I was in middle school, I remember there was an announcement on the PA for anyone who had trouble navigating the stairs due to the size of their pants to report to the office immediately. I’m not sure whether or not they were trying to smoke out the big pants people or help them, but either way, it was kind of sad. I owned a pair of $80 Silver Tab wide legs when I was 15, but they were never so big I couldn’t move in them.

A diagram of the baggy pants in my day. I remember being at a mall with my mom, seeing a guy wearing his pants like #2 and her worrying he was going to fall over.

Trend #16 – Tearaway track pants (when not playing any sort of sport):
I understood when you were playing basketball or something, but wearing tearaways when there was no purpose in tearing them away seemed weird to me, especially when they made that swishy noise while walking.

Tearaway pants: Appropriate for jogging, basketball and putting on a show at Chippendale's.

Trend #17 – Mini backpacks:
You’d basically be swaddled in miles and miles of bagstrap so that you had a place to put a chapstick and a pack of gum. Because they weren’t big enough to fit anything else.

The mini backpack: You kept growing; your backpack did not.

Trend #18 – Puffy Adidas Jackets:
There was some major controversy about these jackets because there were the authentic ones which had 3 stripes and the non-authentic ones that had two. You DID NOT want to have a non-authentic.

I couldn't find a picture of the ones that were popular in my day so here's a modern one. Note the emblem and three stripes on the arm.

Trend #19 – FUBU clothing:
This trend I felt was particularly weird because the acronym stands for “For Us, By Us”, the us being the Black community, but it was like the whitest dudes in my school who wore it. I remember some dude I liked in the 11th grade (who had an incredibly Irish name and skin as white as snow) walked around all the time in a shiny red FUBU jacket. I should have realized then he was a massive tool, but instead I crushed on him for a couple of more months until our semi-formal when I asked him to dance and he growled “no” at me. I ran off and cried in the women’s washroom but after maybe five minutes, I realized I could do better than a jerk like that, so I stopped, went back out to the party and asked an even cuter guy to dance. He said yes. So suck it Mean Dude* and wherever you are Cutie McNicepants, thanks for being awesome and cheering me up! 🙂

This is not a picture of that high school guy I liked, but it is eerily similar. Scrawny white dude in a coat he should not be wearing.

Trend #20 – Hair mascara:
This isn’t clothing but I had to include it because of it’s ridiculousness. For some reason, in the late 1990s, the idea of streaking colourful/sticky stuff through your hair was a good idea. I can’t remember why just now, but I know I had a tube of Copper colour and that it got on everything.

Yes, this was actually a thing. I love how in the advertisment the girl's looks all crappy and sticky. How accurate!

Now, I can’t be the only one who participated in some really ugly trends as a kid so spill it – what crazy retro styles did you wear?

*I don’t still care about this and I’m sure this dude is probably a nice enough guy now, but at the time, it was pretty rude. I think if you’re not into someone, there’s a nice way to say no. Plus, considering my attention span for boys at the time, I probably would have gotten bored with him in a couple of weeks anyway.

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It’s snowing here in TO. It’s been a long cold week and there’s still seven and a half hours to the work day. So this situation calls for Flight of the Conchords and a little song called “Carol Brown (Choir of Ex-Girlfriends)”. While the idea of a choir made up of my ex-boyfriends terrifies me, when it’s made up of someone else’s exes, it’s pretty delightful. Have a watch!

(The video was directed by Michel Gondry who directed and co-wrote Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind which, in addition to being one of my favourite movies, also tackles the topic of failed former relationships.)

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These last couple of days have been very strange for me.

First I get the mommy thing and then today someone who knows me from the Internet thought I was Asian. I am not in the least offended by this. I have a lot of Asian friends and I think it’s actually cool that I write in a way that doesn’t completely give away my cultural identity. However, if you saw me in person, you would see that this is actually kind of a comical misconception.

I am a white girl. Not only am I a white girl, but my skin is so pale, that when I step outside and the light reflects off of my skin, you could probably see me from space. Plus, I am huge. In bare feet, I am 6’1″ and my winter boots have a heel on them, so when I put them on, I’m probably about 6’3″. So, for someone who is imagining me to be a tiny Asian girl, this would probably be a bit of a shock.

I am, sadly, the poster child for mutant honkies.

I joked about being mistaken for knocked up and Asian this morning on Facebook and one of my friends (who has known me roughly the same period of time as I’ve been together with Boy – she’s his friend from high school) seemed to freak out and wondered if this were true.

I wrote her back and told her I was actually a tiny Korean girl who figured life would be easier on her if she were a tall gangly white girl with 9.5 fingers, so I was secretly controlling this body from the inside via a series of pullies and levers. I hoped that this explained my love of Kimchi and my erratic dance moves (the pullies are stiff).

She hasn’t written me back yet, but I am curious to see how she reacts to this “admission.” 🙂

Maybe in my next life I will be Asian. And maybe I’ll land a foxy John Cho looking husband. That would be pretty cool.

Oh John Cho, you're awesome. I hope they don't kill you off on that FlashForward show you're on.

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This morning I discovered something kind of interesting. I was looking at my blog stats and checking out some refer links when I came across this:

The Knocked Up One Is Always The Last To Know.

Just for the record, this is completely wrong and there will be no stork visiting the Park household any time soon. Unless . . .

Reimagine this poster with Boy as Ahnuld, me as Emma Thompson and Danny Devito as someone less tiny and abrasive.

No, just kidding. Not even then.
I think the world is very tied up in babies right now. As I have mentioned before, my SIL is pregnant and about 13 other girls I know are pregnant as well*. This is a great thing and I will admit that every so often, I look at a newborn or ultrasound picture and have emotional uterus based feelings. But then I realize that it has less to do with actually wanting a baby and more to do with feeling excluded when the conversation turns to nappies.

 Boy and I have talked about kids for a while now and we both have said that we want them. We have names and toys picked out in our heads. We’ve discussed baby shower themes and Halloween costumes. We are both excited about the prospect of being parents.

Some day.

I am 27 years old and Boy is 26. We will mark our 1 year 8 month anniversary on the 28th of this month. We both have relatively stable full-time jobs. But still, we know it is not the time for us.

There are many reasons for this. We both want to do some couple-only traveling. We are still renting. We are finally at the point where we can enjoy some selfish financial splurging. But the biggest one for me is that I saw what it was like for my parents and I don’t want to do that. My mom got pregnant with me before they were fully ready** and it really changed things for them.  I’m not saying that they did anything less than their best, because I do feel like I had good parents in the scheme of things, but they gave up so much to have me. My dad gave up on his music. They had no money. We had to move to a place neither of them liked. There were some tough and unhappy times and the thought of rushing to get to a situation like that scares me.

However, if I’m being totally honest, once in a blue moon, I will look at the preggos around me and worry about not being pregnant. It’s stressful thinking about the whole biological timeline issue. My SIL and BIL tried to get pregnant for a year and a half and then they had to undergo fertility treatment.  The women in my family have notoriously difficult pregnancies. It could be hard. But at the end of the day, I realize there is a lot of time and there are a lot of ways to figure all that stuff out, while there is a relatively tiny timeframe to just enjoy being young and happy and (relatively) newly married.

So for now, we’re waiting. I hope some day to be someone’s mom, and I know whenever that time comes, I’ll be ready, but I look forward to doing it happily and with no regrets.

*The grand total used to be 16, but my best friend from grade school and one of my blogging friends have both popped out babies in the past couple of weeks.
** They got married in August 1981 and were pregnant with me in November of the same year.

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(This morning’s blog post is brought to you by Edie Brickell and 1988. 1988 – the year of the hot pant!)

1980s Songstress Edie Brickell - One of the many one-hit wonder musical acts of that era.

This morning someone asked me a question on Formspring about the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it got me to thinking about my accident and everything that came after.

To just back it up for you folks that maybe don’t know the story, on June 1st, 2002 I got into an accident that left me an amputee. I was at my part time job and I was closing up for the night when the large metal back door got stuck. Thoughtlessly, I grabbed the door by wrapping my fingers around the edge instead of using the handle. My coworker who was on the other side of the door did not see me do this and to help, he put his shoulder against the door and pushed. Because of the force and the sharp metal edge of the door, the tip of my index finger on my left hand was severed and crushed and the tip of my middle finger was crushed and split.

In many ways, I was very lucky. My coworker and my friend Henry (who I’ve mentioned before) rushed me to the hospital which was nearby. I got taken care of right away by a very good team of doctors* who did a beautiful job reconstructing my hand. I had excellent aftercare and I managed to regain much of the use of my hand.

It could have been much worse and I appreciate every day of my life that it wasn’t. I pulled through and that is a good thing.

But thinking about everything this morning, I have to admit, in spite of the fact that I am physically healed, there are times that I realize that the accident did more than alter me physically but mentally as well.

The first time I really felt this when when I first got engaged to Boy. I was really happy about it but I felt incredibly self concious showing off my ring because it was on my left hand and the idea of showing people my misshapen hand freaked me out. To add insult to injury, it turned out my skin had a bad reaction to the metal of the ring and somehow managed to turn it (the ring) black and I became paranoid that there was something wrong with me that was poisoning the ring. We eventually used a replacement ring, but anytime I was asked to show it off, I did so with my fingers balled into a fist so no one could see my amputation. What can I say? I know it was ridiculous and insecure, but at the same time, I didn’t want my pretty bride time sullied by a physical imperfection.

A picture of our hands from the wedding. I felt really weird about taking it because my hand was swelling from the humidity.

More recently, I’ve been dealing with an offshot issue from the amputation – weight gain. When I lost part of my hand, I also ended up losing a lot of weight because of the medicine they put me on. No one told me that percocet can be really hard on the stomach so for a while, it was pretty much guaranteed that if I ate something, it was coming back up in about 40 minutes. I went from being thin skinny to emaciated skinny. Twenty pounds in two weeks gone. I lost so much weight that my mother ended up having to take me out and buy me a new summer waredrobe because my pants were falling off my hips, the bones of which you could now see popping out from under my skin because I WAS TOO DAMN SKINNY. I didn’t even want to look in the mirror at myself because I was creeped out by how much I had lost, but at the same time, I felt incredibly aware of my body since I was having to do regular maintenance on it to whip it back into shape. By the time I went back to school, I had gained a little of the weight back, but mostly I’d gotten used to how I looked and was just living with it.

In the past year or so, I have started gaining the weight I lost back. Maybe it’s because my body is finally ready to do that or maybe it just has to do with my age and my metabolism slowing down, but I’ve been putting on the poundage and then some. I’ve gained about 20-25 pounds and I can feel the difference in my thighs and butt (mainly because I now have a butt). Recently, I went clothing shopping and when I grabbed my usual sizes, I realized they didn’t fit anymore . Not only that, but it appeared I had gone up a couple of sizes which stopped me in my tracks. So there I was standing with my ass half hanging out of a skirt when I had three conflicting thoughts:

1) The mildy paranoid/deflecting part of my brain – Stupid women’s clothing stores always changing their sizing and trying to make people feel fat. Why we can’t standardize like men, I have no idea. What does size 6 even mean?

2) The coo-coo nutso/emotional part of my brain – OH MY GOD WHY DID I GAIN WEIGHT? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?  WAAAAAHHH!

3) The rational/over it part of my brain – You guys are both freakin’ squares. I can’t believe I have to share a brain with you. It’s not the end of the world. Just suck it up and ask for a larger size.

A diagram of my brain. I know, I was surprised the High School Math section was that big as well.

While the rational part of my brain won out and I “sized up”, the experience did leave an impression on me. I used to think that women who complained about clothing sizes were a bit wacky, but there I’d been that afternoon, standing in a changeroom with watering eyes because the size I thought I was didn’t fit me anymore.

I’m not writing any of this in a “boo-hoo-look-at-me-and-feel-sorry-for-my-whining-ass” way, but because I think I am finally coming to terms with the fact that not everything about being in an accident like that ties into a little happy resolved bow. About 99 per cent of the time I feel good and happy and strong and don’t even think about it. But then there’s that one per cent of the time, when I feel tired and frustrated and plagued by phantom pain and it’s like my entire field of vision is taken up with my “gimp” hand. And I hate that one per cent of the time, I really do, but it happens and that’s okay.

What happened isn’t my whole life, but it’s part of my life and just as I had to deal with the fact that I have physical scars from this, I have to learn to deal with the fact that I have some emotional ones too. I guess it’s all part of that whole “growing up” thing I’ve been hearing so much about.

Has anyone else out there gone through something like this? If you have, leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

*My cousin’s husband had a similar accident in rural Quebec and because they couldn’t get him to a doctor, he had to settle for a vet.

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I just stumbled across this song the other day and I love it. It’s got this kind of stripped down old school soul quality to it that just hits me in just the right spot. The video is a bit odd (Patrick Bateman at a hippie party?), but I love that a current band is kind of reaching back and cribbing the style of some older acts. Have a listen and dig the groovy sound!

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There are many, many reasons that Boy is awesome, but this is definitely one of them:

Dinosaur fighting a gladiator!

The inspiration for this drawing comes from our love of toy shopping/my love of Playmobile. When we were out a while ago, we saw Playmobile sets of dinosaurs and the Colosseum and we joked that when we had kids, we would buy both sets for our kids to play with together. We’re not kid ready yet, but he whipped up this drawing and I think it’s pretty awesome. I’m rooting for an Octopus Cowboy next! 😉

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