Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder...

Our big project this spring was preparing Donald for his first trip away from home. He's not a big overnight guy (he can actually get homesick in his own bed), so it was a rather huge deal.

Now I'm the editor of the 5th grade yearbook, and get to stitch together the memories of the entire class. Donald's cracks me up:

"During cabin time, everyone but me liked wrestling. That's the only thing they did besides cleaning their area. I preferred GaGa Ball. It was fun to watch them wrestle from Jason's top bunk bed. I admit that I once jumped on someone as they came in the door. My feet left the bunk bed and touched down on Jason's leg as he screamed, "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!" It happened in two seconds flat.

"It was fun to watch Brendan use Freddie as a battering ram and Nick smashing Anthony against the doorway. That's one of the reasons that I slept in the infirmary on the first and second night. Everyone was way too hyper, and I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, missed my parents. Anyway, I eventually felt better. On the fourth night, our cabin leaders disappeared, but I slept through that."

Do you think we've let him see too many Tom & Jerry cartoons?


Mama's Got a Brand New Slog

As you may or may not know about me, I am plagued with a glorious chorus of clamoring muses. I've always wanted to offer them a regular pulpit, but seem to be too lazy, or too shy, or too busy, or just too distracted to submit my writing for a regular column somewhere. I blog irregularly (sorry, that sounds like T.M.I.) and randomly, but I never tell anyone about it.  Read More...


Is it hot in here? Or is it just me?

This spring, I became a fashion writer when the editor of The Sophisticate invited me to do the feature piece on local Deco designers and vintage stores. It was fun to write. Every dress tells a story, and if you can't wear them all, at least you can read about them. Click here to read the article...

The huz was very enouraging, sending me the "Lady in Red" Bouquet for Valentine's day, and patiently sitting through endless repetitions of the Busby Berkeley version of the song.

The article was intended to promote this year's Art Deco Preservation Ball, which had a Spanish theme, "La Fiesta Grande." I got to attend wearing a gown I borrowed from Barbara Grigg of Vintage Vogue, a fa-habulous vintage store in Calistoga. It was this amazing gown that could only be worn to something called "La Fiesta Grande." It should have made it into the article. This the sales copy I would have written:

"Vesuvius" by Kristen Caven

In the 1980s, Diane Freis designed this volcano of a dress that embraces the classic Spanish styles of the past, makes a statement of style that will never look dated, and will stand out at any future fiesta.

The fabric, a sumptuous flame-red satin, is appliqu├ęd with black velvet fretwork in a wide cracquelure, and painted with metallic gold to evoke glowing hot lava. Three layers of flounce flow from the shoulders, and a gathered elastic bodice flatters any waist from 8 to 18. A long, red-reversed sash creates a generous bow at the bustle and holds the dress firmly in place, while layers of sensuous black silk and netting swish and rustle about the legs. The petticoats give an abundant flare to the double-tiered skirt, which swirls six feet wide when dancing in the moonlight.

"Vesuvius," for all its designer detail, is well-constructed and unfussy, and the stretchy rows of elastic that form the bodice make it easy to wear. Plus, the molten mamacita who models it will whisper to the buyer her steamy secret: this gown is also easy to get off!