The Graves’ Girls Matching Christmas Outfits and Gowns Fashion Show.

by admin

Two little girls with two little curls in two little dresses making two little twirls…

I think it is universal that mothers with two girls dress their daughters alike when they are younger. It is just too fun to not do this. There is one Easter where all Graves girls, GG included, had beautiful matching Liberty-of-London looking print dresses, Gina and Paula with white hats and collars.

This works pretty well until the younger sister gets wise to the fact that she will have to wear this same outfit again in a few years and then it doesn’t seem so fun. I can’t imagine what it was like for people like Marthe Dreher who had four sisters in her family. Poor thing, she probably had to be pictured in the same dress for like a decade.

A whine about hand-me-downs.

There is a picture of me wearing a red kind of one-piece stretchy number that I DISTINCTLY  remember was a hand-me-down because there was a patch of several stars at the knee which covered a hole that I DID NOT MAKE. Double-insult!  I think I probably only really had to wear a “matching outfit deux fois” seulement un fois. But that has always been enough for me to complain loudly. So, I’ve gotten that out of my system, let’s begin the fashion show.

Oh, one more thing about doing this in the Adams Family.

I didn’t ever dress Jack and Lacy alike. They tend to look kind of alike when they are working with boots, jeans, and their rain-wind gear always happens to be blue. I’ve never was organized to exert much control over the whole visual picture thing as witnessed in my engagement picture in the Independent. I am wearing a black, yellow, red abstract print and John Adams is wearing plaid madras. All I can say is Thank Goodness it wasn’t in color.

Lacy Adams had a brother and two boy cousins, so in her case, the dressing alike at Christmas was really only one Christmas. It was a three-sweater-some ensemble which my mother put together for a Christmas of the Graves, Lloyd, Adams in KC. I can’t put my hands on the picture right now, but I think they all said “Cowboy.” It’s okay, GG bought me one of the coolest sweaters I ever had (it was pictured on Torey Time with me and GG) at the boys department, at Jones I think.

Lace, Boy, Boy.

Oh, wait, I just saw one picture of the three Graves grandchildren in red longjohns at Christmas so I will put that in. The boys got a “boy” label, but I suppose Lace didn’t because no one has ever mistaken her yet for a boy, though she does look quite a bit like her father.

 And on the runway…

Scaary! It's a better effect when both baby and doll eyes are wide-open.

I have to put in a few of these of just me from the first Christmas when I was alive, mainly because they are probably universal family traditions. Well, maybe not this first one, but if it is with your mother’s sense-of-humor please post.  Which is, 1) to put the live baby by the plastic baby (preferably a vintage doll or least requisite to have those blinking eyes) and photograph them together.Often, it is difficult to differentiate one from the other. It has never really been discussed. But my mom kept the scrapbooks and thankfully continued to feed with the best pictures and has continued to add these of grandchildren and cousins. Don’t you think it’s jarring?  Probably PTSD from a nightmare about some doll baby that talked on Dark Shadows or an old pre-chucky flick.

2) The baby opening the package at First Christmas Picture. 

Everyone has one of these in their scrapbook.

3) The Mother Holding smiling baby in front of tree picture. 

New second time mother with bouncing baby on lap in front of Christmas tree.

I think I will just carry on with the tradition theme.

4) Being pictured with a Great-Grandmother and two girls in architectural Chair. The first part is pretty darned important and we all know why because we’re getting closer every day. The second part is because these funky chairs seem to follow around the child who most needs the extra furniture which was moi. This one has a name, but my dad or mom will have to post that. It’s like a big round ring and kind of woven, sits low to the ground, Danish Modern. I think it is still over at the bunkhouse at the East Ranch, I might want this back. I want to say Bertoia but that is a batwing chair that is in the master bedroom at the XIT Headquarters.

 

Paula with ball-a, Gina, Nano, Paula, Gina and Paula in chair.

 5) Pictures of evidence of someone baking and hints of future food issues. Later these become more evident as worn directly around the waistline. I am sure many people have these in their albums, and all I can say is that there is a bonus to identifying the problem early on.

a Picture documenting seasonal cookies and eating habits.

6) Picture documenting how girls go from baby dolls to hard stiff little dolls with great clothes and accessories. Personally if it were my choice, there would be a soft cuddly baby girl dolly with really great clothes. At least that would be my doll role model. 

Dollies gets dollies in sage green velvet with lace top and bows.

A Scottish Tradition.

7) Everyone has to have a Highland Christmas Fling. This was before I went to Highlands School, though. The Adams Family is actually Scotch-Irish but I’ve never really seen any of those Adams Cowboys or Sisters wear any kilts or even a plaid cummerbund. Anne Cornwell Gall had some Scottish Plaid boxers and a wool plaid fringed scarf which she would don in the Theta House lounge with just her bra when appearing as, “Tartan Girl.” Wish I had a picture.

Florence Eiseman

 8) In our Florence Eisemans. We had several, but I felt like this particular time period was really smash with the simplified appliqués and jumpers that tied on the sides. Very contemporary as it was 60s for what is usually a very traditional clothing line. I think store on Plaza was somewhere over by hmmm…changes so often…a chain rib place, Buca di Beppo, Steve’s,  one of those stores like Abercrombie that used to be really nice and kind of mass-marketed….Anyway, what was there in my day was a Bennet Schneider, a place to buy and get fitted for shoes where you stood on a platform and had feet squeezed, and Cricket West. Or so we can all get located with something that will always be there, across from that triangular block with the shoe repair.

Green velvet pantsuits.

9) The year we all had pantsuits Christmas.  These were beautiful and not too long after that my mother had a purple velvet pantsuits. She wore it to dinner at Putsch’s 210 and I think maybe she had to go home and change into a dress. Hadn’t come to KC yet, I guess.

A nod to the Germans.

 10) More ethnic Christmases…a nod to our German brethren and a slight strain I have to admit in my own. Sometimes comes out in rigidity and a leaning tendency towards Paternalistic Systems. 

 

Wow, 2 dirndls....Good work, GG!

I had to put in this other one I found when I was younger. It actually looks pretty authentic, so I am wondering if my parents or Grandparents had taken a trip. I think maybe Gina had one, too, but that pic’s in her scrapbook. Her’s was blue.

Handmade nightgowns!

11) Grandmother Handmade Gowns that were better than Lanz! My tiny talented Grandamartha Graves made us these beautiful handmade nightgowns, every year and more. She was amazing with colors and prints. They were softer than soft and big and cozy and never had scratchy places in the inside like Lanz gowns can have with the lace. I think they all had a ribbon at the neck.

Grandamartha also had the best embroidered hankie collection I’ve ever seen, was a master at découpage which I learned and used on a handpainted cowgirl dresser in Lace’s bedroom, and had these great little soaps all over that had some kind of little applique that she would put on them. I loved staying with Grandamartha as we always made stuff and I got to watch soap operas on TV while she ironed downstairs in the basement.

a picture counting down to Christmas on Christmas Day!

12) The Advent Calendar and Old Maid Coffeecake. Traditions. My mom made these Advent Calendars. They were appliqued and hers were very contemporary as they were a stylized tree (felt?) on a burlap background. Each little pocket below had a tiny ornament in it and she also found the neatest most special little things with meaning. From the first of December to Christmas Day, we would do this in the morning before school. We always ate ate breakfast together in the kitchen.  Gina and I would take turns taking out the little surprise in each pocket to tie on the tree. It definitely taught me a love for tiny things and also the rewards of anticipation and delayed gratification! 

The Old Maid Coffeecake is another tradition from my Grandmother and maybe her mother…?  It is basically flour, salt, butter, eggs, sugar, pecans, brown sugar, maybe some baking soda. Lots of good stuff in proportion to the batter so every bite is delish.

Well, that is it for the Fashion Show which turned into Graves Family  Christmas Traditions. Thank you mom, Ginny Graves, for all of the photographs taken and so well organized in our Webway albums. You are amazing!

Merry Christmas in Pictures! 

Ode to Jack Lloyd Christmas.

by admin

 

The adjacent building to The Stanley Hotel in Estes. Jack, John, Lacy Adams on the steps.

"DUMB AND DUMBER"
by Peter Farrelly,
Bennett Yellin and
Bob Farrelly
FADE IN:

We went to movies on Christmas Day at the Ranch.  One year, John and I went to Dumb and Dumber with his funniest brother and our funniest Uncle Charlie Adams. I think it was pre-kids, don’t know the year. Our abdominals ached for a week.

But this it is a favorite of our family, in part because they also went to Cheley Camp in Estes where parts of the movie were filmed. Before Jack went to camp and we visited Lacy, as well as after camp altogether we stayed at the Stanley, that is The Danbury.

Jim Carrey and cast at The Stanley (Danbury) steps. Is this Jack at the right?

CUT TO:  Hotel Danbury

LLOYD

Surfboards? I thought those were beginner’s skis.

This suddenly makes sense to Harry.

Lloyd opens a box and holds up a SCANTY NEGLIGEE.

LLOYD

Where’d this come from?

HARRY

(sheepishly)

I bought it. 

LLOYD

What for?

(defensive)…I mean, you know, when a woman’s wearing it.

Lloyd inspects it more closely.

LLOYD

Harry, how many women do you know who wear a size XXL?

HARRY

Look, leave me alone. I’m rich now. I’m supposed to have a few eccentricities.

CUT TO:

Legends Ralph Lauren Store. Jack spies, mother cries

you have to get it!”

CUT TO:

Sheraton Circle Drive, CCPlaza, pre-Thanksgiving. 

Mother blissful with Jack Lloyd Christmas and Sis.

Isn't it Great?! GG would be proud. You could be a rug in her home or maybe more of a bedspread.

So in memory of Jack Lloyd Christmas: 

LLOYD

I couldn’t help noticing the accent. You from Jersey?

YOUNG WOMAN

(unimpressed)

Austria.

LLOYD

Austria? You’re kidding.

(mock-Australian accent)

Well, g’day, mate. What do you say we get together and throw a few shrimp on the barbie.

The Young Woman turns her back to him and walks away.

LLOYD

(to self)

Guess I won’t be going Down Under tonight. 

LLOYD

Boy, I’ll tell you, this is one dangerous highway.

You wouldn’t believe all the road pizza –two dead dogs, a couple of rabbits, a snake and some big thing I couldn’t even recognize.

HARRY

That’s awful. Did you see them get hit or were they already lying there?

LLOYD

I hit’ em.

Harry rubs his eyes and looks at the passing FLATLANDS.

HARRY

Funny.  I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a little rockier than this.

LLOYD

I was thinking the same thing.

That John Denver’s some full of shit, huh?

LLOYD

(brightening)

Wait a second, I have an idea.

You go over and introduce yourself.

That way you can build me up so when I come along so I won’t have to brag about myself.  Tell her I’m good-looking and I’m rich and I have a rapist’s wit.

LLOYD

Time out. Where are you going dressed like that?

HARRY

I, uh, thought while you were making your love connection I’d try my luck on the slopes.

LLOYD

You mean you’re gona go out in public dressed in tights?

HARRY

These aren’t tights. They’re fashionable Euro-trash ski trousers.

LLOYD

But you can see the outline of your who-who.

Please take over with your favorite Lloyd Christmas lines. And post!

When Santa came to visit and I wasn’t wearing any underwear.

by admin

Look at my hands! I'm terrified!

 

I actually have quite a few very vivid memories of Santa in person. It seems like many of them are jarring, so I’ll just start with the one that always comes to mind first. Don’t get me wrong, I do love and believe in Santa Claus.

There is really no reason why I shouldn’t just adore to be with Santa in person and here are 10 to support that statement.

  1. He’s a man.
  2. He’s always so up.
  3. He wears my favorite color.
  4. I love black boots and wear them often.
  5. He’s got the perfect wife.
  6. He has always written me great thank you notes about the green wreaths and nutty nougats we left with our lists by the fireplace. That is, he has beautiful manners.
  7. I love his haircolor.
  8. I admire a man who can manage a factory such as he does and like that he favors little people as workers.
  9. I, too, wore stocking caps with pom poms on the end.
  10. Think he was very progressive with the faux fur.

So, that being said, here’s the story and I’ll make it kind of shorter at least:

We were in Hays at my Grandparents house down the street from Fort Hays University. It was picture perfect setting, 60s contemporary stone fireplace across one end of the living room with bar hidden within the paneling, a beautiful huge tree in their tall-ceiling living room library. And nightgowns hand-made by my other GrandaMartha in Kansas City.

I think the man who channeled Santa Claus’s name was Ed something. Maybe my mom or dad will post his name.  I remember the doorbell ringing. And in he walked. He looked probably the best I have ever seen him look. And I was excited in a good way. Until he came in and sat down on that chair. Then I knew something was making me uneasy.  You can see in this picture that I am wringing my hands.

I often have a hard time identifying my emotions until way after event, sometimes even years, fear in particular. So, we talked to Santa for a bit. I answered his questions and made it through my performance anxiety syndrome which flares up whenever I get put on the spot, practically anytime I am with people.

And then it was time for the picture. He was crouched in front of the tree and I was standing by his knee, closest to Santa.  Santa put his arm around me and placed it on my hip. And then I knew why I was so nervous. Being taught that it was more healthy to go to bed without panties, there was really only this thin flannel membrane between me and Santa’s hand. I think he had even taken off his glove.

I do know I made it through without losing my composure. And honestly, it’s only just now after having flashbacks of this for years that am understanding why and linking together these images and feelings. So I have no real conclusion to this story. But, I do think that I was ahead of my time in sensing when to be leery of men. I am my parents’ daughter and it has served me well on most occasions. I am not suggesting any inappropriate behavior by this Santa; this was in the early 60s and things were different then. Or not.

So while there is always a time for a mother to lecture, “Lacy, you CANNOT wear any underwear with that red dress,” there is also a time for mother’s words at Christmas.

advice: to girls, young and old,

on Christmas Eve and when visiting a shopping mall

where Santa might ask you to sit on his lap. 

Wear your big girl underpants. 

And, if Santa exhibits any inappropriate behavior,

tell him to keep his hands to himself.

Addenda, as that was a bit too harsh.

How about, “Santa, just keep it above the waist?”

-Mama Paula

Jack Adams Santa Claus drawing with Ginny Graves. age 4 1/2.

by admin

Red Christmas Tree, Santa, Green Christmas Tree.

Jack Adams drawing of Santa Claus. age 4 1/2.

Drawn on a trip to GrandaGG’s at 5328 W. 67th St. in Prairie Village. July, 1995.

My mother Ginny Graves was the Art Lady from the Nelson Gallery. She was also the creator and director of all of the Art Programs in the Johnson County Library System.

I got to help her with these things, making stuff, being with other kids, on tv, setting up and cleaning up for classes, even teaching an art Class at Cedar Roe Library when I was 12 one summer.

But, most of all I am most thankful because I got to MAKE STUFF. And it was all organized ahead because she got all the supplies and paints and yarn and whatever for whatever general area of project that was proposed. In my mom’s case unlike grade school art, this was very loosely defined so that the creator could let their mind wander on just a few ideas thrown out.

Plus, my mother gets the best art out of EVERYONE.

Anyway, these are two things my mom will say. It don’t know if she is just magical, or if it is just someone who knows the value in taking the time and the interest to say it to a child or an adult, to ask this question.

“Draw me a picture.”  -Ginny Graves.

“In creating, the only hard thing is to begin.”  -James Russell Lowell.

How flattering that someone feels enough about your ideas to help you start. That is what my mother was called upon to do at this time and throughout her life.

Then later, she will always say this.

“Tell me about your picture.” -Ginny Graves. 

This makes it an even more special picture because both people can then learn about the thoughts and processes of using our eyes and what is inside of our heads to form an idea, a plan, that progressively gets down onto the paper.

“Creation is only the projection into form of that which already exists.” -Shrimad Bhagavatam

When someone cares enough to be interested and feels that they can learn something by hearing what you were thinking when you did it, how you formulated an idea and made it come forth, it is a confidence builder. Feeling your creative is empowerment.

Creative expression in whatever means, sales, business, relationships, doodles, cooking, style, and even working our sometimes wacked out minds-emotions for both positive or not-always-so-positive means involves time and energy. I feel that figuring out how and when and why we are always creating in life, whether conscious or not, and how to harness it is one of life’s challenges. Then, to focus it, to rein it in and put it into positive directions that are better for ourselves and others. That is ultimately, maybe, what we all are striving to do?

I don’t want to get into too many quotes from my yogi book that told me about all the chakras but creativity is your second one (they go from bottom up).

Read below,

good to know“, and

wouldn’t you know?” in a nutshell.

(And then I do want to talk about Jack’s great drawing.) 

SECOND CHAKRA

  • area of body:  sexual organs
  • human talent:  creativity
  • color: orange
  • shadow emotions:  passionate manipulation, guilt
  • element: water

Jack’s Santa. A mother’s thoughts.

I don’t know if he said this to mom and she told me or if I am just looking at this drawing to try to figure it out.  Probably the first as you know how it is with small kids, sometimes we don’t take the time and this is for what we have Grandmother’s. I like to draw, and did some art stuff with the kids, but I can be a real micro-manager which is counter-productive. I was a better manager-mother in general when I got busy having my own life.

Legs

I would think that the long legs are because Santa has to go down that long chimney.  We are a rather small family in stature, so that’s a pretty long jump from the top of our roof down into the living room at the XIT Headquarters. So, these long legs at least get Santa down through that circuitous shaft that runs from the top of the later second-story roof of the house, through the attic, and to about the ceiling of the living room. He can jump that last flight, that’s nothing with those legs.

Head

I don’t know about all the editing on Santa’s head with just the eyes, the long, thick bare neck, or that shriner’s thing on top of Santa’s head and won’t conjecture.  He has Santa’s black belt.  But you can see, the legs to get down were the most important consideration.

Trees

I think the trees are wonderful.  Instead of thinking about the trunk, it seems like it is just getting the essence of the shape of the tree, very stylized. The tufts of green are both representing, to me, the tufts of needles on the trees but arranged almost like ornaments or lights so it is all in green. And the one tree is red.

Jack and Color. And conformity.

Jack, in another project, never seemed to be bothered that his wine bottle tissue paper reindeer body was red, not brown. When my mom asked him how he chose his color for the reindeer, Jack responded something to the effect of liking red, “of course, GG.” Rudolf did have a red nose, though.

This was also the case in Meade Grade School when the children would color in the line drawing of the Jack o’ Lantern which would then decorate the window of the Stockgrower’s State Bank. All of his classmates would color in perfect orange pumpkins with green stems, with the goal to “stay within the lines.” There would be 22, all lined up where they were displayed. I drove by one day to get money and saw that there was a purple one with some patchwork, color extending all over the paper and I knew that was my son’s. He did make the stem green, so it’s not as if he didn’t have some semblance of respect for context of fellow pumpkin artists.

So, mainly I was thinking about Christmas this year, about my parents, and had this drawing stuck away in a folder to share with everyone this season. So here’s the main point!

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!

XIT Thanksgiving 2010

by admin

The 220 volt to range blew out with all my lights which means horse apples out of luck 30 miles from town the day before Thanksgiving. Just head on out to another domestic structure (the guest house former bunkhouse) and push those hay bales out of the kitchen so I can use that range. Life in the Deep Rural, get over it.

The kids will be home soon….Back to my own Thanksgiving preparation style:

visual/put up lots of lights;

entertainment/write protect everything from Fran Lebowitz to Glee for some good quality family time in the country watching movies;

relationships/attempt to creatively solve any unresolved marital conflict that may erupt with stress of adult and presque adult children arriving today.

"Lace and Jack, at the stove, guest house kitchen"

"Lace and Jack at the stove, guest house kitchen. by Jack Adams."

Since I couldn’t cook, I went to the attic and got out the toys for a little welcome home tableau in the kitchen.

"which one? any? and why?

which, if any? and why?

 

"Lace's choice of men for the girls"

a girl child I knew chose these men for the girls

Elfs… eunuchs, our favorite men? Get real, Barbie likes real guys that like to hang out with women, the gay ones. Look at the clothes….

"quelle nightmare for some, collecting children a la Angelina"

Quelle nightmare for some, collecting children a la Angie

 

"It's important for a woman to have prioritize her possessions:  shoes and bots, sunglasses cell phone and makeup kit.

It's important for a woman to prioritize.

 

Pretty proud of all the matched Barbie shoes but threw in a few singles that were particularly stylin’. Barbie’s cell phones never saw a scale change. They would be smaller than the blackberry chip.  The makeup kit has a blow dryer.

"roasted vegetables"

Roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, acorn squash, brussels sprouts

Made it to Thursday. Prime rib, turkey breast, roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, derby pie and called it good. We all survived the holiday in the country together, 5 people in a house on a ranch on a river, a family of four and their favorite funny Uncle Charlie. That’s a family that stays together in one form or another, however it takes shape, because we are all that we had to survive and make it. Try it sometime!