If the dress fits…

As if the weekend shopping in Chicago wasn’t torture enough, the girls and I went shopping again a few days later.

We didn’t intend to go prom dress shopping that day. Back when Angel was a junior in high school, the going rate for a prom dress was $600. We decided to go to a bridal/prom store just to get some ideas. Thankfully (due to internet competition) the going rate for a prom dress is half as much as it was a few years back.

Estelle, our foreign exchange student from France, fell in love with a dress on the mannequin. It shimmered white like freshly fallen snow. Once she put it on, she didn’t want to take it off. It was the second dress for Clara, our foreign exchange student from Germany. However, my daughter Arabella tried on dress after dress until the sky grew dark and the cows came home in Wisconsin.

Last year right after Arabella’s 16th birthday she decided to go on a diet. She was over 250 lbs. Since then she lost around 45 lbs. Sadly none of the weight fell off her chest with a cup size halfway through the alphabet. None of the dresses fit her body shape. It’s been a problem since middle school. I was really concerned she might not find a prom dress in a dress store full of options.

Arabella found a dress she liked. The store took her measurements and said they may be able to special order it in her size. I was concerned that the dress, although pretty, would not fit her right even in her size. By this time the other girls had their dresses purchased and were in bags. The clerk looked up the dress she wanted to order and said it wouldn’t be delivered until April, the week of prom. Apparently shopping three months in advance is not enough.

At this time Arabella was close to tears. The clerk kept bringing out more and more dresses, big sizes that were 20+. I’m so sorry for you bigger girls out there. The dresses were hideous. Seriously, who wants to go to prom looking like a zoo animal?

Then Arabella found ‘the dress’. It looked like something Cinderella would wear to the ball. It was shimmery light blue, size 16. I was worried she would be crushed if the dress didn’t fit her. She was already close to tears. Thankfully it fit and she looked like a princess in it.

One last thing the prom store does is make sure that no other students from the same school wear the same dress. Before leaving I had to make sure the dress she loved was still available. The clerk said even if it wasn’t available, she could buy it. The clerk felt bad dress shopping was so difficult because of her body shape. The other girls had an easy time because they have an average body type. I never appreciated being average as much as I do now.

Later that evening Arabella begged me to allow her to get reduction surgery. She hates her body and how she looks. For this, I feel sad. Body image is hard enough for a teenage girl as it is. Reduction surgery is a major surgery and at this point I don’t think I want her to go ahead with it until she is an adult unless she is having serious back problems. Parenting can be hard when you don’t know what you are doing.


Thailand, Day 2


We arrived in Bangkok around noon. We were greeted at the hotel with a glass of sweet juice in a flavor I never tasted before and a washcloth. We were tired from the long flight, but not overly so. We decided to walk around the hotel. This is the view of the river from the hotel. It was a beautiful view while eating breakfast outdoors in the morning.


Since we had a light schedule the first day, we decided to head down to the pool. I went down by myself at first clad in my swimming suit covered with a robe. I didn’t know how to get out of the hotel. The obvious exit to the pool had a sign that said fire exit on it. I was afraid that if I went out this way, I would set off all kinds of alarms because that is what would’ve happened in my country. I wandered around in my robe through the dining area and got a couple of  looks. I finally asked how to get out and the man pointed at the fire exit door directly in front of me.

We weren’t exactly sure how to use the outlets either as they didn’t look like ours at home. A few sparks flew that night. Here is what some of the outside wiring looked like.


The day we arrived was the coolest day that we had there. There weren’t any reclining chairs in the sun. It was windy and the pool wasn’t heated. I just dipped my feet in and ordered a drink. They really didn’t have any wine to select. The common beers were Chang, Leo, and Tiger. They all tasted like Bud Light. I’m spoiled by every flavored craft beer at home.


That evening we decided to check out the nearby night market. We decided to eat supper there. Paul bought some sandals, something we couldn’t find a good selection of this time of year at home. I fell in love with a red cashmere shawl, Paul liked the black one on me better. We bargained down to 2,000 bahts (which is approximately $70 at home). Just getting off the plane, 2,000 of any currency seemed like too much money so I walked away.


We couldn’t decide what to eat. We really weren’t interested in the above delicacies. We decided on a restaurant and were seated without a wait.

The server gave us our menus and stood by waiting for us to order. They don’t just drop off the menus and come back later. I ordered the salmon dish and it was excellent. It came out in 1/4 of the portion size that you would get in the US.

As we were eating, a cat roamed by our table. We saw several apparently owner less animals wandering around. We left after the meal, forgetting Paul’s old shoes in a bag by the table. The server chased us down quite a way from the restaurant to return Paul’s old shoes which was very kind.

We went to bed early that first night…exhausted.

Getting malled

This morning…like really early this morning before I woke up…I received 2 emails from a large online company saying that they had a technical error and couldn’t send me an item I ordered on cyber Monday. I try to avoid the mall if at all possible. I’ve never even been black Friday shopping. Maybe I should go next year if I can’t run a marathon…it might give me the same feeling…waiting in line and then running as fast as you can towards the prize. Although I probably wouldn’t get the ‘free’ banana. I’ll have to rethink that..

Anyway…as I was saying, this company couldn’t complete my order but they didn’t tell me what item(s) out of the 25,000 that I ordered they weren’t sending…I tried to contact customer service, but didn’t see the option to choose that I received an email saying they couldn’t fulfill my order. I got a reply right away when I emailed them under the category of fraudulent email. It didn’t seem legit to me anyway. Two emails sent in the middle of the night with an order number and no product description. They sent a quick reply stating that they couldn’t send me an immersible blender. (Although I do still see it for sale on their website at 4 times the price I paid).

The immersible blender is the one item that my mom said that she wanted from me for Christmas. An immersible blender?? What??

This weekend I will be heading to the mall with half the population of Wisconsin to try to find an immersible blender. Did I mention that I HATE SHOPPING!! But before you start to picture me in your mind limping around…there is hope. I will go to the mall during the Packer game. Hopefully the mall will be packed only with pissed off sales clerks that will be missing the game. Fingers crossed on that one!

I feel really blessed to live around a large population of Packer fans when I don’t care about football. Please don’t let the word get out…I get a little nervous if I accidentally wear the opposing team’s colors to church as I am surround by people in Packer jerseys. It is almost like a cult.

Wish me luck on finding an immersible blender without getting mauled by a zillion Christmas shopping mall goers this weekend..

Yeah, good luck with that! I’ll let you know how it goes..

Shopaholics amnotathis

I have a confession to make…I hate shopping!

I can almost hear your collective gasp…

I don’t own a million pairs of shoes.

Maybe it’s the bright lights. I feel blinded when I walk into the store. Then the changing rooms! There is nothing like trying on clothing while in a bright spotlight that highlights your every blemish and flaw. Seriously, maybe stores would sell more clothes if the rooms were dimly lit. But that makes me think of a swanky run down lingerie store with one buzzing flickering light bulb. You just can’t seem to win that one!

Then there is always the mother with tons of crying kids…Do you need to get out that bad?..the elderly health nuts that use the mall as a track for fast walking…Can you not afford a gym membership??…The teens that are trying to look cool…Do I have time to do a survey??…Would I like a “free” sample??…Messy changing rooms…Long check out lines…Aarg..

Plus shopping is sooo boring. Rack after rack and row after row of boring drab garb that lacks inspiration.

Oh, and my ex-boyfriend Brad owns a sword kiosk at the mall. There’s that! I have seen him there before and quickly walked by looking in the other direction. Sometimes I imagine Paul and Brad swirling around the mall in a sword fight. Now that would be exciting.. I probably would need something new to wear for that.. Hmmm.. Yeah, no..

Maybe I don’t like shopping because my mom would take me clothes shopping for 12 hours straight when I was a kid. She always made me try on ugly clothes that she thought were sooo cute. Then if they fit, she would buy half of them. I would end up carrying heavy bags of clothes I didn’t even like around the mall for hours. I would go home sore and miserably exhausted.

I always felt guilty when my mom would buy things for me. I still feel guilty about buying things today regardless of whether I can afford it or not. Do I really need this?? I know the one I have is falling apart, but there is duct tape. Okay, maybe I am not that extreme..

Do I $80 like how this dress looks on me? Probably not.

I don’t like grocery shopping either…

Online shopping, barely tolerable.. I could sit and think about what color to choose for hours and by the time I decide, the item is gone..

But I had to break down this week and go shopping at the mall with Paul for dress clothes. He apparently does not know how to match clothing. Also, I’ve heard that athletic shorts and old race shirts don’t exactly make for proper business attire. Our sales guy said that he was sick of seeing Paul in the same old dress clothes that he has been wearing for years…

Paul will be traveling a lot this next month. It all starts this weekend with a conference on the west coast, then a few weeks after that he will be flying out for a meeting on the east coast. In between all of this there are trade show booths and public speaking.

I had to take one for the team. But I had a little help. I violated my general principle of no drinking during the week and went on a beer flight. Cindy said that having a few cocktails always helps her tolerate Christmas shopping. Not bad advice since I find shopping to be a mild form of torture.

I am happy to say that I made it through shopping with my husband (who hates shopping too)!

Then, after I got home, my son came up to me and said that we needed to go shopping for dress clothes for homecoming. Twice in one week!!

I hope I survive!