08 November 2009

Stop your sobbing

I am crying. I am crying my eyes out.


I'm making French onion soup (of course), and sliced the red onions thinly with my food processor.

Oh my. Eyes are burning.

(I'll post my version of the recipe tomorrow. It came out quite well and may have been what the doctor ordered. I've really only eaten soup all weekend. Not much else has appealed. And if I'm still not healthy, I'll make my favorite flu killer, Tom Yum, which I've been crediting for 25 years or so for keeping me more or less healthy.)


The daughter has conveniently grown out of most of her clothing, and she's right at the age and size where kid's clothes are too small and women's clothing is too old and large. There's not much in the way of junior stuff anymore (what ever happened to those stores?), especially not clothes that are in any way appropriate for a 12-year-old. And she's gotten tall and, well, female, so I really needed her to actually try clothes on.

So off we went to that great Mecca of shopping South Coast Plaza.

South Coast Plaza styles itself as a destination, and yup, you see the tour buses dropping off mobs of tourists on any given day. It really isn't that different from most other malls, though I have to admit that living in L.A. for so long, I got used to the Beverly Center and I trundled past Rodeo Drive every day for years. And I'm not much of a shopper anyway, so Cartier and Cole Haan and their ilk hold little fascination. And the point of going to South Coast, since I'd just spent most of Friday at the Spectrum, were the Temples of 'Tweens, Abercrombie and Justice.

We arrived at the mall just before 11 a.m., which is when the majority of stores open (Sears was already open and I threatened the daughter with a Snuggie to no avail). We'd landed right smack in the wing with the stores of desire, and I asked the girl which one she'd like to visit first.

"How about lunch?" she asked.

"Er...lunch? I thought we were here to shop."

"I'm hungry," she announced plaintively.

"Didn't I just make you about a 1,000 calories worth of scones?"

"Yeah, but I'm hungry."

Eating wasn't on my agenda, but when little Miss Skinny gets hungry, it's best to feed her.

Since we were standing right next to Abercrombie, I suggested we at least look there as the nice young woman was opening the door at that very moment.

The store was dark. And loud. And one of the sales people had spent an inordinate amount of time spritzing the outfit's new fragrance around. I was regretting my misplaced enthusiasm almost immediately.

The daughter poked at piles of clothes in a desultory way.

"Look!" I said brightly, pointing at a shelf. "Didn't you want a new hoodie?"

"No," she sighed. "I'm fine."

"Now, wait a minute," I said. "You just told me that your old sweatshirt doesn't fit."

"It doesn't," she said, her voice trailing wearily away.

"Then you are not fine. I brought you here to shop, and 'I'm fine' isn't going to cut it," I told her. "Shop!"

Eventually, grudgingly, she left with a bag, which contained a new sweatshirt, a pair of pajama pants and the one t-shirt I could find that wasn't cut too low, though the construction seemed quite flimsy.

(The men and women staffing the store were uniformly kind and enthusiastic and helpful. Bubbly, even.)

Next we stopped at Justice, which was glaringly bright. And loud. And smelled of some sort of cosmetic. The daughter began to poke at piles of clothing in a desultory fashion. Once again, I found myself faced with inappropriate and badly made.

Still, I suggested. She dismissed. Eventually, I got her into a dressing room. She slipped on the pair of jeans and tunic I'd said might be cute to wear to the dances the school holds.

She looked in the mirror, and it was then I saw her face change.

"I can wear this," she said.

"Mmm-hmm," I replied.

She struck a pose and looked again.

"I look cute," she mused.

"You do," I agreed.

She stopped. Posed again. Looked.

"Mom! I look cute!"

I nodded in agreement.

She looked in the mirror and posed once more.

"Don't worry," she said seriously. "I won't let it go to my head."

I burst out laughing.

And it's true. I know she won't.

Go listen to some music: "Stop Your Sobbing" from the album Pretenders by The Pretenders. Don't worry. I gave her lunch, too.

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