Sunday, April 19, 2015

Spring Picnic in the Graveyard

I have loved graveyards since the day I stumbled upon a semi-neglected pioneer cemetery in a coastal forest when I was 12. It was beautiful and a bit unnerving---but very peaceful. Recently I went to a different pioneer graveyard, with a friend, to enjoy a spring picnic. I had been to this cemetery once before, with another friend, and had wanted to come back. We dressed in our graveyard finery---the dress I am wearing above was a Goodwill score, a modern take on vintage style. In fact, my entire outfit is thrifted. Straw hat with dingle balls, black floral cross-body messenger bag, criss-cross walking shoes. The perfect outfit for picnicking and ambling amongst the tombstones.

This cemetery has been fairly recently restored. Out in the middle of vast agricultural fields, and a half mile walk on a gravel road, it has a wonderful restful aura. We were there for a couple of hours with our picnic and didn't see another person until we were getting ready to go.

Here in the PNW, we don't have the older European settler graves you can find on the East coast. These graves from the 1800s are about as far back as we commonly get.

Sadly, a large segment of the stones are for children. Life was hard in those days and many children died as infants or toddlers.

This cemetery has the only Women of Woodcraft grave I have ever seen. Typically these are for men (Woodsmen of the World):

Here is something interesting I didn't see the first time I was there:

One of the base stones had been cracked open and a shell fossil was found inside.

This graveyard had been subject to a lot of vandalism in the past.

I really have to hand it to the people who have spent so much time restoring and reviving this place.

One of the great things they have been working on is taking the downed branches from a large big leaf maple and making benches out of them. This is where we set up our picnic.

What's a picnic without a gratuitous cream puff for desert?

 Altogether a lovely day in a beautiful, historic place.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Project 365---Under the Bridge plus a Boring Cemetary

Well, I kind of lost control of my project 365---but I am going to carry on as if I never missed over a month of photos, ha ha!! Here are some from right before I went off the wagon, so to speak:

Two un-housed person's encampments under a bridge and in front of a relevant mural

Appreciating old bananas and their interesting spots. This banana ended up in a vegan lemon bars recipe.

A favorite mug, given to me by a dear friend

Impromptu cat cave made from a paper bag and a pizza box.

A commentary on the afterlife? Nope, just a family name, a name that actually lends itself to a town, Boring, Or, population 8,000. Apparently, their sister city is Dull, Scotland. I jest not.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Sick and Weak is Sexy---So the Fashion Industry Would Have You Believe

I heard a story this morning on how France is taking legal aim at fashion houses that demand and hire ultra-thin models. This was timely for me because as I was browsing Pinterest recently, I was thinking about how terrible the models were looking in the latest high fashion spreads. Not just thin, but sick. I remember the heroin-chic model looks of the 90s, but somehow these recent models are even beyond that.


It reminds me of Crystal Renn's 2010 book "Hungry" where she relates, in painful detail, how she lost 70 pounds and became a fragile, addled anorexic in order to work in the fashion industry. She describes the way she could recognize other models who were also anorexic (as opposed to those who were naturally skinny) by the hollowness in their eyes and the way the skin clung to their bones. By the air of desperation.


It got me to thinking about past extreme fashions and how they relate to the idea of "weak and sick" as sexiness, which is really based on power structures. Take foot binding, for example. This 11th century practice of breaking the feet of Chinese women to make them smaller and more dainty also made the women unable to walk properly and they became totally dependent on their husbands and servants.  Similarly, one could argue that the super tight corsets of the 1800s, which sometimes caused fainting and stomach complaints, were of a similar, although less permanent, tone. Additionally, both of those traditions were more common amongst the upper classes---and the fashions you will find hanging off of super-thin models in current Vogue magazines are priced for the "upper classes" of the modern world. These days the "binding" is done by the requirement for extreme thinness, and the frailty that comes with anorexia is like the hobbling of the past. It might be a stretch, but it could be argued that with all of the DIY and alternative fashion platforms of today, with models (older, bigger, shorter, etc) that no longer fit the narrow window the fashion houses presented in the past, the industry is in some way trying, consciously or not, to regain the ultimate power they once had, the "specialness" they once ruled with,  by demanding models be near-dead thin. Some women are naturally super skinny. Most are not, which is also why fashion houses like to use 12 year olds---many have that classic shape current haute couture loves, the tube body, which is what you get before hormones kick in and curves start happening. And here again we see the influence of the power structure as super young females represent a class of people traditionally low on the power ladder.

It saddens me to see this still going on. But I am heartened by the afore-mentioned alternative fashion platforms I see all over the internet---take the rockabilly scene, for example. The models for many of those fashion sites (like Hell Bunny) span the range of sizes, and curves rule. Valentino and Dior might demand unnaturally thin silhouettes, but fewer and fewer people care what the big fashion houses are doing---and that is what they fear the most. In the vibrant and creative real world, which has already left the iron grip of couture snobbery far behind, variety is mistress now.  

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