Jeannie’s High/Low Stocking Review

Back in the day, when I had money to spare, I’d spare no expense on things important to me.  I’ve had to cast off my extraneous spending and that’s been okay.  Fortunately I can keep the hair and nails in budget but here’s something I rediscovered that is every bit as good – no, really – better than its pricier counterpart.

Silken Mist stockings.  Sort of a ‘Sheer Energy 2.0’ brand.  Updated for the 2000s.

Remember those?  Yep, the grocery store “pantyhose” from a lifetime ago when they came packaged in cheap, silver eggs.  A la L’eggs.  

When I discovered Donna Karan’s most awesome opaque tights in killer black, I wore them for years and years and swear by them still.  Despite the cost I can never give them up.  Trust me, they will die from washing-and-wearing before something like a run would happen to them.  They are a staple in my closet – even my Florida closet.  

But stockings are another story.  There are times when the opaque look just isn’t right and the occasion calls for sheer.  So I did what any other Donna Karan evangelist would do:  bought the sheer black stockings, choking down the price of close to $20 (could be more, these days) for a pair of oh-so-sheer, dangerously sheer, black stockings.

I was truly afraid to wear them.  These are not rough and tumble, like my beloved tights.  These are for grown up dresses and better shoes.  But what if they run?  They cost $20.  Trepidation.

Also, I’m the sort who likes to be prepared: I carry a second pair just in case, or at least, the requisite clear nail polish to salvage a potential tear.  At $20 a pair, though, now we’re talking forty dollars for just the stockings!  Never mind the right dress and shoes to wear with them.  Suddenly it’s all about the stockings and what about the outfit?

So one night in last minute desperation, when I needed stockings for a morning dress-up occasion and the tights would not do, I rode my bike to the neighborhood K mart (oh Target, I’m so sorry, please forgive me), determined to buy whatever cheapo stockings they had, damn the consequences.

I couldn’t believe I was back in the land of L’eggs but there they were, in all the shades I remembered: nude, suntan, black.  All priced in the $4 range!!  I snapped up two pair of ‘black mist’ thinking how bad could they be? and rode home gleefully.

Friends, I’m here to tell you that L’eggs Silken Mist in Black Mist or Jet Black sheer stockings are a value and a half. They fit like Spanx for the legs, from waist to toe.  They are sheer enough for a nice dress and I’m no longer scared to use the ladies room while wearing stockings for fear of snagging or tearing them each time I pull them back up!  And black is always chic – be they a Silken Mist L’eggs black or a DKNY black.  And while I’ll never give up my opaque Karan tights no matter the cost, you can have your pricey sheer stockings and I’ll stick to black L’eggs Silken Mist stockings.  

I haven’t had occasion to try the ‘nude’ stockings yet…but I know this:  if I show up in ‘suntan’, please understand that something is seriously wrong,  and get me to the doctor at once.  I do have my limits in taste and style.

My December Moon

Another thing I love about living at the beach is that you have a clear view of the moon rise in the eastern sky.  You can watch it come forth from the ocean, especially stunning in full moon phase when it hovers low and oversized and golden over the ocean waters at twilight.  Really spectacular moon risings at just the right time happen only a few times during the year.

You have to catch a rising moon in its early moments because it quickly loses its luminous quality and jumbo size and becomes ordinary.  The kind you notice but rarely give a second glance.  Today’s moon was (supposed to be) different:  it was predicted that this December moon would appear 14 % larger and 30 % brighter than the 11 previous full moons of this year.  This was due to the moon’s certain proximity to the earth and whatnot.  Moon rise was 5:26pm and skies were clear, which promised a great view and sunset hues. I was excited because a killer moon rise at sundown is something I manage to see about once a year.  Having waited on the beach to see the Harvest moon rising into a night sky back in October and being underwhelmed (last minute clouds formed at the horizon obscuring the moon’s arrival for several minutes so that when it was finally visible it had lost its magic) didn’t diminish my interest in this December moon.  After all, this moon was to be the biggest and brightest moon of all.

Two things.  I didn’t make it to the beach entirely on time for the moon rise.   Too much vacillating at home about whether or not to go meant that I missed the first several minutes of the full moon rising and therefore, its spectacular debut.  Secondly, the Canon Elph.  It’s no Canon Rebel.  My little pocket camera has been entirely satisfying in most ways but when you need a telephoto lens it just won’t do.  Absent the desired digital SLR and my late arrival, I snapped a few pictures of the moon that just…wasn’t. Pretty, yes,  it reflected onto the water romantically, and it was a perfect December evening at sunset with a nice Florida chill.

Don’t get me wrong.  I liked this moon even if it wasn’t the spectacular moon I’d for.  But, the Elph did this moon no favors.  Still, it didn’t appear to me to be 14 % larger or 30 % brighter… but it was a lovely moon. Certainly lovelier than the Elph conveys.

Scampering off the walkway I passed a neighbor in possession of the camera and lens of my dreams, snapping her own photos of my December moon.  I’d like to see her pictures but they wouldn’t be my own, which is the whole point, isn’t it?

Presenting my December moon: an average full moon rising at the end of an above average week.  And that’s good enough for me.

Sure It’s All Fun and Games…

til Someone Gets Hurt, Mother

Recently, we (that would be me) here at Atlantic Beachlife subjected the children to the annual Christmas card photography torture session.  

The good times start with Mother in a calm state.  She tells her children of her plan for the day’s activity which is met with much grousing and bargaining for postponement,  but she will not be deterred. They are smart children.  They know that mother’s calm spirit is a contrived attempt to infuse this obligatory photo session which will be lengthy and repetitive, with false cheer.  That Mother’s happy and upbeat demeanor will crumble at the first sign of their resistance, and she will become the tense and hissing woman they remember from previous family photo sessions. They wisely cooperate.  She promises early to take them to McDonald’s so as to prime their moods and elicit the facial expressions and body language that make for a happy looking trio.  She promises that if everyone plays their part well, it will be over quickly.

Because they are now older children she tells them straightaway that she means to take many photos, like, a lot, like, hundreds, because it takes hundreds, in fact, to get that one perfect shot (the one that will please her).  They get it.   They understand.  They allow their hair to be combed, pony tailed, gelled.  They wear the clothes she commands them to wear.  They get into the car.

All is going well so far.  Mother feels optimistic.  She drives to her favorite site; a place that allows for changes of scenery beachside.  Dune grass.  Palm trees.  Bench.  Sand and sea.  This gives Mother the options she wants.

Soon she has the children posing, and her voice remains friendly, coaxing.  She remembers to smile when she directs them to stand over here, no, no, put her in the front of you two…closer, turn your head just a bit…no, not you, you keep looking straight at me and keep smiling, just keep smiling, now you, will you put your arm across his shoulder, yes!  just like that, great, okay, oops, your eyes were closed, okay you two just stay like that…hey!  look at me, there we go, good, great. No!  Stop doing that, you are trying too hard, look relaxed, don’t clench, okay that’s better. Everyone!  Look at me and smile, okay, let’s move over here, why are you squinting? Okay, yes I can see that, the sun’s in your eyes, let’s move to the dune but no!  Stop climbing the dune, stop it now, it’s a crime to disturb the sea oats so come down now, there we go, now why don’t you all hold hands, keep them low, down by your sides, put the little one in the middle and just hold hands in a relaxed way.  Stop squeezing her hand, that hurts her, oh no.  NO.  Don’t cry, please don’t cry, if you cry it will take longer and I won’t let you get the milkshake, okay?  Okay?  Good, good, here we go now… And so on.  
Mother commands pose after pose, and the children, they are good, they cooperate so nicely. Mother is thinking that this is going much better than last year, when she screeched and berated the children when they fussed and fidgeted.  Mother is determined to be a better mother this time out as she does not want their childhood holiday memories to be of her scowling on the backside of a camera. Mother thinks this should be fun!  And if not fun, at least, bearable.  Capped with a happy memory of a Happy Meal.  Mother is old enough to realize that memories can be selective, so she does her best to maintain her photographer’s composure.  She cajoles them when she feels like snapping at them. She only curses to herself.  (She knows they are only children and cannot read her mind.)

For an hour she has them standing, prancing, sitting, looking at her, looking away from her, and finally, running toward her.  This elicits another round of directions from Mother as she sets the camera to ‘continuous’ and urges them to come running toward her time and time again, back and forth. She shouts the appropriate encouragement: look at me, keep holding hands now, look over at me, look back at me and keep smiling! she repeats, as the camera stutters off round after round of these splendid poses.   And then, it happens:
On perhaps their twelfth or sixteenth pass by her in her favorite ‘running toward me’ pose, the little one skids to the sand.  Face down. 
 This is a child who does not shake things off quickly.  This is the child who generally cannot be wheedled out of a crying snit.  Crying snits come easily to this one.  In an instant she is awash in tears and snot.  And sand.  All mixed up.
Game over.
This injury is more emotional than physical, the humiliation of falling suddenly face down into the sand, mid-run, mid-smile, camera catching her startling thud so perfectly.  She would not like seeing that.
Mother attempts vainly to staunch the flow with soothing words, but she knows this child is unlikely to acquiesce to mother’s urging her toward composure before she herself is ready to leave her wounded feelings behind.  So they quit the session for good, Mother thinking that if she didn’t get at least one good picture from these tens of hundreds she shot, well…
Well, she didn’t have to think of the options.  When Mother transferred the photos she noted that she only shot exactly 201, and of those 201, precisely two made the cut for Kid Photo 2008:
To these lovely children who suffered Mother’s whims all afternoon (because she made them go to Target with her after all that):  thank you.
Mother loves you!