The November 18 Birthday Girls’ Parties

As I’ve blogged before, Kelly and Shiaw-Ling share the same birthdate, exactly 21 years apart. And Shiaw-Ling always throws great parties, in the vein of great party givers, who know a great party requires a theme.

This year’s theme was “poverty.” Very kindly, Shiaw-Ling held off on the fashion portion of her party until we got there, because as it turned out, 3 of our 4 family members were to be 3 of the 4 models for theĀ  show. And both Loretta and her sister, Maureen, became the designers. Can we see dynastic lines already forming? The only outsiders trying to break into this cabal were Joe (as model) and his girlfriend Mimi (as designer, as I volunteered her.) The challenge was to create a high-fashion design made completely of garbage Shiaw-Ling had placed on a table.

We all knew Loretta, seamstress/designer and Project Runway maven extraordinaire was the odds-on favorite. Peter and Neil won spots on her team, though Maureen managed to snatch up me (and Kelly.) Loretta quickly came up with cyberpunk outfit that would have made Vivienne Westwood proud:


Maureen got everyone’s ire by stealing the plastic tablecloths, but it was perfectly within the rules. So she had more conventional materials, so to say, to work with. And it sure didn’t hurt that Kelly insisted on becoming part of the show, and Maureen had her assistants fashion a complementary outfit for her. And then, when introducing her design, Maureen presented it as a complete concept: trailer trash prom queen and her illegitimate daughter. We threw rubber bands out to the judges and walked along the runway. And even though I had no idea what I looked like, I worked those tablecloths and wire hanger crown, which wasn’t always easy as it was sticking against me.


My team won, but that was perhaps only because it was Neil’s first runway experience, and he didn’t have the male model swagger. If we’d let him watch the American “Make Me a Supermodel” with us (not to be confused with the fat-girls-and-waddle-walking-boys British version), I think the challenge would have been even tighter. Joe and Mimi put on a good effort with a daring 21st-century Kabuki look, but it’s tough when you’re up against Bickfords and Beavers. Joe was a very good model, but I don’t think he’s going to drop his plans for a career in aviation just yet.


The next day, our whole family scrambled to put together a party for Kelly. As I posted earlier, it miraculously came together, and Kelly and her friends had a good time, and lots of sugar.


I was bittersweet, though, since I pulled her out of school the next week–especially when I realized at this party, that the girls Kelly chose to hang out with were the bright and behaved ones. I still miss her having regular playmates, though the homeschooler’s young elementary park day and our two weekly storytimes are helping make up for it.

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