Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just Stay Away from My Pic-a-nic Basket. And my Charmin.

Black Bears have successfully been reintroduced into the bootheel of Missouri. If you are not from around here, the 'bootheel' is that area of Missouri that sort of acts like a ...well, a boot heel. It holds up the rest of the state with lush Ozark forests and beautiful Ozark lakes. More importantly, it provides a nice little vacation spot for the Coast of Illinois when there is not enough time to drive to other vacation spots. With white sand beaches. And salt water. And that delicious tuna dip served on the deck where you can watch the dolphins at sunset and they bring you mojitos in coconuts carved to look like monkeys...

But, I digress.

Understanding the way of the bear and its total disregard for personal space (ie - Bear hugs), and its apparent need for extremely soft toilet paper, we here at the Coast of Illinois would like to post a sign:

Number of days since last mauling: 36500*

You're Welcome.

Truthfully, this reintroduction is wonderful news. Black bears were indigenous to this part of the Coast but have been missing for nearly a century. Their return signals an improvement in forest conditions which were set off balance by logging and other human development. They do not normally attack people.

Picnic baskets are a totally different story.
*This an actual sign. Seriously. But, I am not going to tell you where it is posted. You have to guess. There might be a prize. Or a bearhug. But that's doubtful. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Smoke? No, just me thinking again...

Just a small observation from a recently attended wedding:

A thong provides little protection when dancing to the song "SHOUT". *

Okay, sorry guys. I am not intentionally trying to alienate you. Yes, it is unfair to mention 'thong' right at the beginning of a post without it leading into a discussion of other flimsy undergarments or at least Kim Kardashian.** But, unless you men have ever worn a thong, you have no idea of the implications.

Especially if that thong is combined with those latex tubes known as shape-wear...think about it.

Also, just how often do you see men actually out there dancing to "SHOUT"? (I am talking about wedding reception dance floors here. Not beer soaked frat parties or our basement on DDR night.) Statistically the dance floor is made up of half the wedding party with the rest of the dancers being two thirds small children and toddlers and one third women. (and of those two thirds of small children and toddlers, a full three quarters of them are girls.)

So just where am I going with this?

Ladies, should you find yourself in this position – thong+SHOUT+/-shapewear – and suddenly realize the truth of the above observation, I suggest you follow these steps:

Grab the nearest toddler (most likely a girl)
Hug her closely and say in a moderately loud voice, "Oh, honey, its Okay. Lets go find your Mom."
Gracefully sweep her off the dance floor while moderately loudly announcing, "I think she had a little accident." 
Walk determinedly towards the bathroom, dropping the confused little girl in the tutu next to a hunk of wedding cake.
Disappear into the crowd.

No need to worry about the toddler. She will have forty-three years to get over the trauma before experiencing her own issues with dancing to "SHOUT" and wearing thongs.

*I feel well qualified to discuss the inherent danger of dancing to SHOUT as I am close personal friends with Ron Isley. Okay, actually I sat two tables over from Ron at a Blues review. And even though I didn't recognize him until he took the stage, it was clear he was someone extremely cool and famous.

**I have no idea if Kim Kardashian wears thongs or shape-wear or any combination of the two. I have my suspicions but since the poor girl just had a baby I am willing to cut her a break. Plus, she is well on her way to understanding exactly what the implications of the above observation truly are. 

Ps - Congratulations to my sweet friend Sarah and her new husband TJ. And just so you know, this is just an observation and in no way is an admission of damaging the carpet at your reception venue. My offer to dry clean the rug was just part of my wedding gift to you.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

St. Louis Blues...

Here at the Coast of Illinois, I am all about creating a little oasis amid the energy-depleting routine of day-to-day life. This is why I have a bright blue deck (well that and the fact that I am pretty sure it drives my neighbor, with the security motion sensor lights that sign into my bedroom window at 2AM, crazy). It is also why I have a gigantic palm tree in my living room and why I favor tropical blue and green eye liner over the more age appropriate brown.

I was recently invited to experience another's oasis. And it was fabulous. This one is a tribute to the Art Deco furnishings of years past. In fact, it is sort of a re-creation of that entire glamorous Deco-Gatsby-Studio Contract- Hollywoodland days. Oh and there was music.

Actually, the music was the real focal point. Through a series of random barroom appearances and the wonders of social media I have been lucky enough to get to know the amazing talent of Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes. Miss Sarah Jane hosted a CD release party and concert on the roof of her uber-cool home which also doubles as that Art-Deco Oasis I mentioned earlier.

A shining bar in shades of pink and black tempted me to take a spin on a bar stool where Clark Gable and Carole Lombarde would have felt at home sipping whiskey.

Gin Fizz please, and Jimmy Cagney would like a steak for his black eye.

 A raised bandstand glowed in the orange light of early evening, waiting for the Marx Brothers to wonder 'why a duck?'
Up next Ricky Ricardo!

 Halfway up the stairs an Egyptian doorway threatened those who dare enter.

Knock Knock...

 Of course, I didn't actually realize this was the personal HOME of our hostess until I had barreled in the door and began taking pictures.

Once on the roof I was welcomed by banana trees, fountains and an octogenarian flamingo who really wanted to ride home in my bag. Guests milled about sipping wine and admiring the view while a curious helicopter admired us. 

My flamingo Harvey is urgently needing to meet this guy.

The music began courtesy of Tom Byrne and his amazing guitar. Beautiful notes and melodies wrapped around us as the sun set.

 And then the big band started. Three horns, a guitar, bass and drums wailed as Sarah Jane belted out song after song, pulling the crowd into an era long past."Them There Eyes", "Doín' the Uptown Lowdown", "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen";  Billy Holiday, Bessie Smith and the Andrews Sisters watched from a corner, toasting with bathtub gin, tapping their toes pleased as punch.

I have always been enamored of the era of Golden Hollywood and big band soirees. I have always been a little sad that the era had passed. But as I left the party, Humphrey Bogart at my elbow and a Paper Moon shining over head it was clear that my Blue Skies were just a twist of fate away.

Sarah Jane and the Blue Notes new CD (of the same name) is available at their live shows or you can contact the band on Facebook. Follow their appearances at reverbnation.

Tom Byrne can be found around the Coast of Illinois as well. Check his webpage for details.

As for me, I will be sipping a daiquiri on the Coast and keeping a weather eye towards the next opportunity to take a step back in time. 
Oh Cary Grant, you always bring out my good side.

And PS - no matter what certain family members may say - I DID NOT ruin the rooftop party.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Impromptu Blog Post!

I have become a fan of the 'Impromptu' party. You know:

Impromptu Deck Party, my house, 7pm!
Impromptu Swim Party, Sunday!

There is very little pressure with an Impromptu party. You plan to go outside to have a glass of wine after dinner. It is 75 degrees with a gentle breeze. Way too nice to waste the evening so you go on your preferred source of social media and announce IMPROMPTU DECK PARTY.

Sometimes a handful of neighbors shows up. Sometimes no one shows up except the cat. It doesn't matter. You haven't overextended yourself with planning, cleaning, cooking. Its always a surprise. No expectations, no disappointment.

Oh sure, some may argue that the simple act of announcing an Impromptu party takes away from its impromptu-ness. To those I say, "meh." Those people don't want impromptu, they want spontaneous and there is a certain distinction between the two.

With Impromptu, you have a little time to plan. Remember public speaking class? When the teacher clearly stayed out too late at the Doobie Brothers concert the night before and thus has no plan for the day? He would walk into the classroom all fuzzy eyed and 1970's unkempt 'fro and announce "Impromptu speeches!" He would then fling his polyester suit coat over his chair and throw out a topic, giving everyone ten minutes to work out a plan.

An Impromptu party is just like that.

There is a short amount of time to anticipate the soiree but not nearly enough time to redecorate the house, landscape the yard and buy new dishes. At best, there is enough time to stop by the market on the way home for some hummus.

Spontaneous is something all together different and way more dangerous. Spontaneous suggests that a group has already gathered and suddenly BOOM! A party breaks out. This can be fine, like spontaneous dancing or spontaneous singing, if you live in Rogers and Hammerstienville. But for the most part, spontaneous is fraught with pain.

Spontaneous riots!
Spontaneous pneumothorax!
Spontaneous human combustion!

I suppose I might consider a Flash event. Those Flash Mob events on youtube look like fun but I this is what I imagine would happen should I announce a Flash Party on my deck:

FlashParty, my deck, 7pm
Several friends show up, wine is poured.
Flashing begins.
Neighbors complain, except for the one who trims his corner shrub in suggestive shapes.
Police arrive.
Spontaneous Riot erupts.

No thanks.

I'll take Impromptu.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Public Service Announcement!!! If You Don't Read This Someone Could Die. (well, not really but it just sounds to awesome this way.)

Because we at the Coast of Illinois are all about safety and keeping your adult children out of therapy.

WARNING! If you are male this post may cause much distress and possibly place images in your head that you can not un-think.

Hoping to switch up my sleeping attire which consists mostly of large stretchy t-shirts, I bought a new pajama top. It was pinky-orange, supremely soft with a little twist in the front and a seam, suggesting a waist. It was not clingy but not so large that a family of five could camp in it for a weekend. Plus the print was hibiscus which matched my super comfy hibiscus lounge pants.

The first evening I wore the top I felt marvelous. The little knot detail/seam hugged my breastical area as the remaining fabric fell away in a flow-ey, not pregnant-looking manner. I got compliments! From my family! Over my choice of lounge wear!

I put the top on last night, hoping for a little positive reinforcement.


It took no less than four Cirque de Soliel moves to get the breasticals stationed in their appropriate positions. And, the minute I reached for the bathroom door MyLeftBreast* went AWOL and attempted to escape MyRightBreast who was hogging all the fabric thus pulling the knot away from center and putting it more in the armpit area.

Several more moves ala Cirque and everyone was back in position. I found that by keeping my shoulders back, neck straight and chin up, everything stayed where God and Merona wanted it.

Until I bent over to turn the television on. MyRightBreast determined this as the window of opportunity and literally leaped from its tiny fabric ledge and out into the Great Room. Thankfully my family has been conditioned to interpret and ignore the various shrieks I emit throughout the day. As practiced in drill, they averted their eyes and pretended that the Harbor Freight Flyer was the singularly most interesting piece of paper they had ever seen thus allowing me time to shove Righty back in place.

Of course, this entire episode could have been avoided had I simply worn a bra under my pajama top. Everyone from Miss Galbrieth, my 7th grade home-ec teacher, to Carrie Bradshaw has championed wearing bras 24/7. Clearly these women have never worked twelve hours, standing on their feet while wearing the Playtex Kevlar Pretty Woman Brassiere.

When I get home at night I just want to be comfortable. And not send my children to therapy.

Is that too much to ask?

*MyLeftBreast is in no way related to the Daniel Day Lewis movie My Left Foot.
Although it totally should be.