Thursday, November 21, 2013

Of flappers and fashion

I have a great fondness for that period of time post-Edwardian era when corsets were on their way out and the flappers were just beginning to make themselves known.

Dresses were getting roomier but with a slimmer, straighter shape.

But I overwhelmingly prefer the 1920s. Besides all that beautiful art deco beading, dropped waists were de rigeur, which is great for me because I'm surprisingly long-waisted for someone as short as I am. This means that the waists on regular dresses usually hit me way up on my ribcage, with my natural waist falling anywhere from two to four inches below the waist on the dress, which besides being incredibly uncomfortable is also terribly unflattering.

Also- look at those shoes- sensible heels! High enough for shape, but not so sharp you could use them as a weapon. Your ankles aren't in danger from snapping when you wear these beauties. You could run for a bus in these shoes.

Cute hats were an important part of 1920s fashion. I love a good hat.

Beyond the 1920s, I also dig Katharine Hepburn in a pair of flowy trousers,
Audrey Hepburn in a simply cut little black dress. And a hat.

 Mostly because my hair is growing out and getting kind of wild, I've been intrigued by Stevie Nicks/ Jean Shrimpton in the 70s with their long flowy dresses, shawls and big boots. I love boots almost as much as hats.
But truthfully, I'm happy to be existing now with fewer fashion rules than we've ever had. You're free to pick from all these past decades and choose what you like and how you want to combine it. Yes, there have been some damn ugly trends (those platform stiletto heels that make you look like you fashioned a pair of shoes out of a couple kleenex boxes, the unfortunately ubiquitous flip flop, flesh-colored pantyhose, jumpsuits) but we're a lot healthier about what we'll do to ourselves in the name of fashion.

I'm appreciative every day to live at a moment in time without corsets, foot-binding, hoopskirts, or towering powdered wigs.  

 It's a helluva lot safer, too.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Of Breakfast Meats and War Movies

Olivia Pope don't need no nickname.

My first name is "Kerry" and that, along with its spelling, does not lend itself easily to a nickname. In its other variations, it usually is a nickname of itself.  "Carrie" is usually short for "Caroline," for example. But "Kerry" is not short for anything, even though I've met several people who insisted it couldn't be, it HAS to be short for something and why won't I just tell them my full name?? What am I trying to hide from them??? (I don't see anyone pestering Kerry Washington about this.)

My sister is in the same boat. Her name is Katie. Just Katie. Not Katherine, not Kathleen, not Kaitlyn. Just Katie. I should know; I named her. (If she was a boy, she would've been Busy Timmy. YOU'RE WELCOME.)

So I've never really had people try to shorten my name to a nickname. There's been the occasional "Kerr" thrown out there in casual encounters (and never repeated after the initial experiment because 1. it sounds weird and 2. dropping the "y" at the end does not really shorten it much). I had a teacher in high school who called me "Kerr Bear" like the Care Bears, which was a little perplexing but I think he was just grasping at straws.

The only real nickname I've ever had is the one my dad gave me when I was baby:  Hamchuck.

Yeah, it's right there in the title to this blog. The irony is that I hate ham. I don't even like Canadian bacon because it's too hamlike. Hamlike? Hammy? ( I love the Denny's breakfast special named "Moons Over My Hammy." But only for the pun. I'd want to substitute sausage for the ham. But "Moons Over My Sausage" just sounds really, really dirty and too unpleasant for breakfast time. Although in doing a quick search just now, I learned that Moons Over My Hammy is actually slang. I'll let you find out for yourselves. And yes, by the way, I do eat other pig products. I like bacon; I like sausage. I will even eat ham if it's chopped up in teeny tiny bits and used primarily to flavor another dish, like mac & cheese or even split pea soup. But ham on its own is gross. So are pork chops. But I digress.)

My dad, however, LOVES ham. Loves it. (Even in Spam form, god help his liver.) So much so, that I always assumed that's why he called me Hamchuck. He loved me, so of course he'd call me after his favorite meat product, right?

Well, turns out it's not quite that cute.

A few years ago, a friend of the family read my blog post about chasing after a bat in my parents' house after bringing my dad home from knee surgery. He informed me that "Hamchuck" is actually a character's name in the John Wayne movie "The Green Berets." Hamchuck (or alternately "Ham Chunk") is a Vietnamese orphan who is taken under the wing of one of the main characters, Sgt. Petersen.

Here's what IMDB said about the film:

Hamchuck is the one on the right.
"Petersen befriends a young native boy named Ham Chuck, a war orphan who has no family other than his dog and the soldiers at the basecamp. As the battle rages, the dog is killed and the boy tearfully buries his faithful companion. Symbolically, the boy uses the stick he had used to dig the dog's grave as the tombstone. As the soldiers rush to their defensive positions, the stick is knocked away, leaving an unmarked grave."

I think I preferred the pork product reference.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Screw you, Dorothy Hamill.

Was it this one?

Or perhaps this one?

Nope. Definitely this one:
This one right here. 
Hellllooo, headband.