OK, these photos do NO justice whatsoever to Alana's gorgeous dresses, but I said I would post them today and I can't go back on my word (only an hour to go!). This has been the craziest day (book meetings, hair appointments, visitors, everything taking longer than expected...) and I'm completely frazzled. But I HAD to tell you all that yesterday a big, bright package landed on my doorstep, and in it were the two cutest toddler dresses - bar none - that I have seen to date! Now, people, these are apparently hand made by Alana. She should be famous (maybe she is!). These are so cool and so cute and so beautifully made!! Not only that, but they are reversible!! I don't know if you can see (I swear I'll take better pictures in the daylight) but the one in front has pirate flags on it...because Alana knows. The one in back also has the cutest green grosgrain bows at the shoulders which slide in and out of button slots when you need to reverse the fabric. I tell you, I could not believe my eyes when I opened this package. And here's the kicker: Alana wasn't even my swappy pal in the gift exchange. My real swappy pal had a bad accident and was in too much pain and too busy recovering to fulfill the rules of the swap this past month. This I did not mind at all! I had fun finding gifts for my assigned pal (hi LM!) and did not by any means desperately need to receive gifts of my own! And yet Alana, who knew that my pal was "out sick", felt the need to do a gift box for me by way of compensation! Crazy redhead!!
But you haven't seen it all yet. There were also two books (one pirate-themed, and the other so sweet and real and heartwarming that it actually made me cry) and this beautiful handmade blanket. This blanket that was made by Alana's own mother. Since Alana and her husband have since accepted the unexpected referral of a beautiful baby BOY, and since she knew her mom's blanket was too beautiful and heart-felt to go to waste, she passed it on to me.
Now, Alana knows that I have in the past expressed an objection to the color pink, so in spite of all the sentimental and artistic value of this incredible gift, she felt the need to apologize to me for having included something pink in my gift box!!
So let me just set the record straight: the pink thing? It's not really to do with the color. I actually kinda like the color pink, and even have a pink sweater in my closet (which I almost wore for the pictures, but was too lazy to hunt it down). What I object to is the more abstract concept of pink.
My problem is with what I call "Barbie pink", the pink that has become the exclusive property of the Disney Princess mafioso. Now, I can't in good conscience call myself a tomboy. My mom is the tomboy in the family. I have way too many dresses in my closet to make that claim, and when the occasion arises, I am the first one to dress myself in a ballgown. I'm an aesthetic junkie, and by the same token I love beautiful clothes. But I'm also a camper and a hiker, I love to sleep on the ground under the stars, and have more than once gone more than a week straight in the desert without showering (OK, I know that sounds gross, but in reality you get used to it very quickly!) I believe in having the ability, the thick skin and the self-confidence to rough it. I embrace my boyish side as readily as I indulge in my feminine side, and ideally I would like my daughter to be able to achieve a similar balance. I have trouble with the idea of a girl who can't set out on a journey without a hair drier and a makeup kit.
I'm also pretty attached to the natural wonder of the planet we inhabit, and so I have a bone to pick with the shameless merchandising that has been inflicted upon the current generation of children. How many toys does one small person really need? And where in our value system is the wonderous and limitless power of the imagination?
Maybe you can understand, then, why I have trouble with the whole Disney Princess marketing empire. I am a bit frightened by the universal call for each and every eight-year-old girl to aspire to princess-dom. The whole princess thing is a bit too Valley-of-the-dolls for my taste. Hence my objection to the color pink, and all the trappings that go with it in today's marketing world.
(When, by the way, did pink become the color associated with princesses, anyway? I don't think that, historically, it has been a standard color associated with royalty, with the possible exception of 18th century France and the Rococo period of design, and - well - Fragonard. And I'll leave you to pass your own judgment when it comes to Fragonard.)
Pink as a color, however, disassociated from its modern-day implications? Just take a look at Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus", and you'll see where pink can go without being either garish or overwrought.
Bottom line: Alana, I love and treasure that blanket. You are amazing! I am in your debt.
PS: the flash on my camera also does not do justice to the blue in our bedroom, but since so many people have asked (based on the far better photos I posted earlier this week) here is the paint color:
Glidden Evermore premium flat latex in "Blue Symmetry", from the BL53 color set. I found it at H@me Dep@t. And I have never for a moment regretted it.