Friday, January 20, 2012

Brian Ottomas Ch. 13 Winter Blues

This is another "longie", but it's one conversation basically and I just did not want to cut it in half. Contains important info though for those following Brian's story~~Author

After Christmas the cold weather continued and indoor play was mostly the rule. Many times there were twice as many children as usual crowded around the small dining table. When his mother was busy with Rocky or household duties she allowed Heath to microwave leftovers for his sisters and their friends. Comfort food like grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers or spaghetti were popular along with that most favored of children's meals; macaroni and cheese. Tina Traveler, Ryan Blackford and Christopher Cooke were three frequent guests, sometimes on the same day.

One fairly quiet afternoon when the kids and their friends had eaten and were upstairs in their playroom, Brian asked Meadow to sit down with him. He had something he wanted to discuss with her and now was the time while Rocky was napping.

He looked so serious that Meadow became a bit apprehensive. Brian was almost always laid back and joking, although he was quick to action when it was necessary.

"Do you remember years ago, in school, hearing about 'the Ottomas twins' curse'?" he asked quietly as he sat down at their dining table, "I know you must have heard the rumors."

Meadow nodded, then shrugged, 

"Yes, I heard, but they were so ridiculous I just dismissed them as a bunch of crap spread by people who were jealous."

He smiled a little,

"Yes, mostly that's what they were, but almost every rumor has a basis in fact. I've never told you this story before because, well, one, I hoped I wouldn't have to; I hoped you'd tell Heath about his father without me prodding you further--"

Meadow frowned and started to interrupt him,

"Sweetheart, hear me out. I understand your reluctance if anyone does. The second reason I didn't tell you was that it's not really my secret to tell. I've checked with Momma though and she said I could proceed at my own discretion."

By now Meadow was totally bewildered. What could Brian possibly be talking about?

"Momma has a secret?" 

Meadow had loved Brian's mother ever since the beginning and with her own mother now only a painful memory she easily called Samantha "Momma" as Brian did.

He didn't answer directly, just began his story, 

"When Momma and Daddy moved the family to Pleasantview from Crystal Creek Dylan was in high school, Sharla was in elementary and Tommy was only two. Our grandmother still lived with us--this was before all her plastic surgery and her military career, but that's another story for another day. They lived in that big house that's still empty over on Chalfont; the one you and I took a look at last year."

"The real reason the family moved was that Momma had an affair in Crystal Creek. She ended it but then she found out she was pregnant--with Bridget and me. Pete is not our biological father. Momma went to Daddy and confessed and begged his forgiveness. He agreed that they should start anew; that he could love the baby she would have and raise it as his. Of course he did not not know he'd be getting two for the price of one, but he kept his promise and was a real father to Bridget and me--but, of course, you know that. The man in question still lived near Crystal Creek then so Momma and Daddy wanted to relocate to Pleasantview."

All during this Brian's voice and his eyes were calm as he watched Meadow's face to gauge her reaction. She was speechless. Samantha was so devoted to Pete and to her children that it was hard to imagine her ever caring for another man. Her mother-in-law and father-in-law had moved to their current house when Brian's younger brother Damon was still in grade school and Meadow and Brian were first married. She remembered Samantha bustling around her kitchen with her pert blond ponytail swinging. Now of course, Damon had gone on to University. The role of fallen woman just didn't fit. Especially now that she and Pete were seniors with silver hair.

"I know what you're probably thinking. She did love Daddy, but he was working all kinds of hours then and when he wasn't working he was out. It wasn't that he was running around with women, but he bowled on two different leagues, coached little league and always seemed to have activities going on that excluded her. Actually he recently told me that, looking back, he realized he was having a hard time accepting the responsibilities of parenting three kids and just avoided the reality whenever he could. He figured then that he worked hard, his mother helped Momma with the kids and household chores, so he ought to be able to have fun with his free time. Basically he neglected her. That doesn't make what she did right, but I guess it makes it a little more understandable. And then, there's the fact that the guy she fell for was evidently a charmer who cut a wide swath through Crystal Creek," he said this last part sarcastically and then paused and looked down at the table. Whether he was gathering his thoughts or gathering his courage Meadow was not sure.

She naturally wanted to ask "who was he?" but she did not. She just leaned toward Brian and put her hand over his. He looked up again,

"You know how I told you once that I was distantly related to Bobbi Jo Broke? Well, her name is Cooke now, but do you remember?"

"I guess you did say something to that effect but you never explained it and I forgot about it."

"My biological father was Frank Newbie, he was a cousin to Bobbi Jo and related to a ton of people in the tri-county area. Since they were first cousins I suppose it's not that surprising they looked so much alike."

He pulled out an envelope and began taking a few candid photographs out of it. Old photographs.

"My mother took these two pictures one of the last times she saw Frank at his apartment. And the other one is an ID photo she actually ripped off out of his wallet."

He handed them to Meadow who set them down on the table to look closely. She was fascinated. Frank looked just like the kind of guy who would charm women. Brian then pulled his weather-beaten wallet from his back pocket and fished out his driver's license; throwing it down next to the ID photo of Frank Newbie. Right after that he put wallet photos of Samantha and his sister Bridget,

"I look a lot like him, Momma says. I don't know...maybe, except for my big jaw. Bridget looks just like Momma, but she has his black hair and grey-blue eye color; we both do."

Frank Newbie:

                                      Frank Newbie                   Samantha Ottomas

 Brian and Bridget Ottomas:

"You really do look like--" Meadow started to say then glanced at Brian's ripped up and bulging wallet, "Oh, Brian. For heaven's sake. Why are you still carrying that horrible thing around? You need to start using the new wallet I got you for Christmas!"

"I keep forgetting..." 

Meadow returned to the subject,

"Well, you really do look like him--it's amazing. Does that...does that bother you?"

"It used to, but not any more. Anyway, somewhere along the line someone noticed we looked nothing like Pete and that I didn't look much like Momma either and there were whispers from people who knew Frank and guessed about the affair and that Bridget and I were the possible outcome. So 'something is not right about the Ottomas Twins' began to circulate and then eventually became 'the Ottomas Twins Curse', I guess. 

But the point that I'm coming to is this: Momma didn't want to tell us either, she was ashamed and she was very afraid Frank would find out. She never told him even though Pete said she could do so. When she finally got around to telling us, we were in high school. Bridget cried but seemed to bounce back right away, but I was really torn up about it. I adored Pete and I didn't want some other guy to be my father. But part of me wanted to know Frank. To see if some of the things about me were from him. Momma said my love of music definitely came from him. Anyway, she said she would try to find out from his family where he was. He'd been gone from Crystal Creek for years by that time. I was angry with her, I was angry at Pete--like any of it was his fault--and I was angry at Frank for not trying to find us even though, as far as we know, he was completely unaware that we existed. And then I found out I could never see Frank, never talk to him. He was dead."

"Oh, no." 

Brian nodded,

"Yeah. Probably if I'd met him I would have found out he was a jerk; he might not even have wanted to see me. But I'll never know. I guess he moved around a lot once he left Crystal Creek and was in trouble with the law from time to time. He mostly hung around taverns and dives, gambling and drinking," the corner of Brian's mouth went down, "He died in a stupid barroom brawl over some woman. He was pretty good at taking care of himself, Momma said, he was black belt karate and could throw a knife across a room so fast it looked like an illusion. But you've heard the old saying 'he brought a knife to a gunfight', well, evidently that's exactly what happened. He was shot to death. Turns out he'd been dead about a year when Momma tried to find him. His family told her that they'd thought of contacting her, but didn't know what to do; he'd kept a photo of her in his wallet. After all those years."

"Remember when we were in Three Lakes I told you I'd stayed at the campground with Nicky Ferguson and Adam Brecht?"

"That's right. You said you'd tell me about it when we got home."

"I was so upset when I found out Frank was dead I didn't know what to do. I had to make some sort of gesture to show my hurt and anger. So I stormed out of the house and called Nicky and Adam--Adam had an old car he'd just finished working on that we could use and we headed for the mountains and we didn't tell anyone that we were going and certainly not where. We didn't have much money; just enough for gas and we stocked up on soft drinks and junk food at a 7 Eleven along the way. We knew we could stay at the campground for free. Nicky brought along survivalist stuff he always kept stashed away, just to be "ready for the revolution", so we thought we had all bases covered. 

Even though I'd left angry, I knew Momma and Daddy would just think I was hanging out at Sam's Snappy Service with friends. They didn't get really worried until it was morning and I was still not home. The cops caught up with us the second night we were at the campground," he had to smile a little, "We were pretty scared that our parents had sent them after us. We actually thought we could forget about school and our homes, get jobs in Three Lakes and live full time at the campground. That was our plan. We had the nerve to be surprised when our parents arrived there, worried and angry."

"I'm so sorry, babe," she was holding his hand by now and he placed his other hand over hers. She knew it was only three years later that he was in the terrible accident where his girlfriend died. It made more sense now that with Corinne's death he ran away even farther and for longer.

"I'm not telling you this for myself," Brian said, "I'm telling it as a cautionary tale for you and for Heath. Don't wait. When he hits his teens his hormones will be in overdrive and his reaction--whatever it is--will be that much stronger. Please work up your courage and tell him and be prepared for the fact that he may ask to meet his father."

Suddenly, holding hands with her husband, Meadow felt calm and sure. She knew what she had to do and she knew somehow she could do it.

"You are his father, Brian. You are. But, I know you're right, I've been such a coward. I will tell him and I will let him meet Lonnie if he asks to do so. Of course, that means I would finally have to tell Lonnie. But I want to talk to Heath first. When I do it will you stay nearby in case he asks to talk to you? I'll tell him alone, but I need you to be available."

"You know I'll do whatever you want."

So it was decided. She would tell Heath and deal with whatever happened. They would both let Heath know they were there for him and always would be no matter what might happen in life.

Next blog update: Brian Ottomas Ch. 14 Heath

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

How The Voting Went

The polls are closed and I thought I would review the results.

The 1st poll was on John Lassiter:

There was a majority vote for him to "confess to Melora, but still keep in contact with his child" (6 votes 85%) Nobody wants to punish the kid, obviously.

Two (28%) votes for him to go with Lalique, but still see Melora.One voter was more than ready for him to "take a long walk off a short pier" (14%) :D

No one thought the women should timeshare him and no one--in this particular poll--wanted him to go off with Lalique and be a father to all of her children.

The 2nd poll was on Melora Lassiter:

The decision on Melora was almost as clear-cut. It seems hardly anyone wanted her to be hasty. There were 5 votes for kicking him out but not making any drastic changes right away. (This was opposed to kicking him out and starting divorce proceedings immediately which got no votes).

The voters were evidently divided on whether she should take him back and try to save their marriage or take him back and make him suffer; 2 votes for each choice (28%).

There was one vote to hire a hitman to kill John, but at least they did not want the "kill him...WITH PAIN" option. I guess the no-pain scenario would involve someone holding a gun to his head and forcing him to swallow a bottle of sleeping pills? LOL

The 3rd and final poll was on Lalique Flynn:

People seemed to be more undecided on Lalique's fate.

There were 4 votes (57%) for letting John know about the pregnancy AND allowing him to help her.

3 votes (42%), however; wanted her to leave P'view and stay his mistress AND let him parent all the children.

This is in direct contrast to the way people answered on John's poll where no one voted for him to go with Lalique and help her raise the children.

Interesting. I think that is possibly due to the sympathy they feel for Lalique as opposed to John. She's a woman who "loved not wisely but too well" while John is viewed mostly as a selfish and horny old codger. Poor guy. I did this to him. :)

2 votes (28%) went for the option to let him buy her a home and then dump him for somebody younger.This is also an interesting idea, although I have to say she has dated almost every single guy in Pleasantview and not found the right one. But as they say; things change.

1 vote (16%) was for her to leave Pleasantview to raise her children on her own and definitely shut John out.

So, all this is fascinating and I've been brainstorming with my sister-in-law, Linda, on the future of these three Sims and how I can get them out of the mess I put them in. Linda never reads the blog, doesn't go online much and never played Sims, but she loves fiction and making up up plots. So we've come up with a couple ideas that will probably stick fairly close to the poll results, but tweaked a little here and there. I'm excited about it actually. Thanks to everyone who voted! This was a lot of fun for me; I hope it was for you, too.

It will be a while until I get back to the Lalique-John-Melora triangle because I have to get a bit of story in on Larry Max and his brood. Then I have some 8 chapters waiting to go on Brian and Meadow Ottomas. Four of them will be published after the Lomax stuff for sure; maybe all 8.

Then at that point I'll probably get back to the triangle. Meanwhile, Lori and Harvey are waiting around to be played and all 10 kids at University are wondering when they will be able to begin their classes. Oh, dear, so many Sims poised for my command. Isn't it fun to wield such power as you have with this game? Sometimes I get a little weird about it (a little?) It's like "I am the sim-god; she who must be obeyed". Then again, just when you think you have things under control, your simmies find a way to blow your plans and your mind at the same time. ROFL!

Monday, January 16, 2012

SPECIAL UPDATE! The Lomax-Hammond Family Tree

The Lomax-Hammond family tree is more like a Harry Lauder Walking Stick and it branches out so wide it will be tricky to get it all one one page! 

A couple of these photos (the ones of Meadow and Heath) are "old"; that is, they were taken before I changed the default skin and eyes on my Sims. This has made such a difference with Meadow and Heath that I didn't use the new ones of them with this page. It seems to happen mostly to any Sim with a darker complexion. The new skin creates shadows that add to the 3D illusion, but on the "tan" Sims it makes the area around their eyes very dark, almost bruised-looking. It is weird on toddlers, too, which I'm not happy about at all. Still, I like the look of the new skin, I think it's an improvement overall. But the photos of the Ottomas family are a bit premature and that's another reason I used old pictures of Meadow and Heath. All the other photos are using the new skin and eyes. After the story catches up to the new look I'll swap the two old photos. 

The afore-mentioned Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus avellana Contorta):

When Larry Max and Jenny moved to Pleasantview their son, Mike, was about 14, Chelsea and Corky were in elementary school and Andy was a toddler.
Larry Max and Jenny.

Mike and Chelsea as adults:

Corky and Andy as adults:

By the time Chelsea was 13 or 14 Jenny was running around on Larry Max while he worked and went to culinary school. Mike went on to University and then Larry Max and Jenny divorced; it was a very nasty breakup. But first, the Lomax children's part of the tree:

Mike married his college sweetheart, Lucy Burb; so far they have no children (but that's going to change soon!)

Chelsea married Trey Lassiter. Chelsea owns and operates Flowers by Chelsea and Trey resigned as mayor and just bought the Galaxy Arcade. At the moment they have no children.

Corky married Elle Broke, adopted daughter of Bobbi Jo (Brandi) Broke. Elle owns and operates the Art Gallery in Bluewater Village, Corky is Dr. Courtney Lomax, a medical researcher. They are childless as of this writing.

Youngest son Andy married Holly Ferguson (Harvey Ferguson's twin sister). They have three children; Arliss and Alexa are toddlers and Bradley is just a baby so no pic of him yet.  They claim they want six children, but I'm sure my nerves can't take it. They have a live-in nanny, Mrs. Georgia Buckley.

Arliss and Alexa:

 Mrs. Buckley:

Jenny married former playboy Lonnie Hammond. Lonnie owns and operates Le Magnifique! a fine dining restaurant in Bluewater Village.

They have two daughters together; Loni Faye and Liara Kaye. As for the tree, Loni Faye and Liara have four half-siblings on the Lomax side and one half-sibling on the Hammond side; none of whom do they know about.

Now the other branch is a little trickier. Unbeknownst to him, Lonnie has a son. Before he was married he dated Meadow Thayer (who was also single then) and she conceived a son, Heath. When Heath was an infant Meadow married Brian Ottomas and Brian adopted Heath and is raising Heath as his son. Lonnie doesn't know about Heath, Heath doesn't know about Lonnie. So far.

Their son, Heath Ottomas. (As you can see, Lonnie has some strong genes while Meadow only seems to pass on her dark complexion, even to her other children with Brian Ottomas).

So...Heath Ottomas has two half-siblings on the Lomax-Hammond side and five half-siblings on the Ottomas side. Again, he doesn't know about his two half-siblings on the one side and he does not know that the siblings he lives with are actually half-siblings. 

Next Update in three days.

Jenny Lomax-Hammond Ch. 8 Loni Faye

A wonderful thing had happened; at long last Jenny received a call from her oldest daughter, Chelsea, who sounded tentative, but asked if she and her husband, Trey, could visit and meet the girls. 

Jenny was almost overcome with emotion and now had to explain a little more to her daughters about their sister. Jenny had told them that she was married before and had children, but left them with the impression that her ex-husband, Larry Max, and her kids lived out of state or at least far from Pleasantview. She didn't want them to know that her only other daughter refused to meet them or to even see Jenny. And she didn't want to tell them why that was. Now she revealed only that their older half-sister was here and wanted to meet them. Loni Faye was very excited but, quieter, shyer Liara naturally didn't say too much.

It was awkward in the beginning. Fortunately, Lonnie was out of the house, even though it was his day off. The five of them talked quietly at first and the girls asked polite questions like what did "Miss Chelsea" and "Mr. Trey" do for a living and where did they live, all the while staring at Chelsea intently. When she assured them she lived only blocks away, Loni Faye exclaimed,

"Oh, that's so cool!" while Liara was holding her approval in reserve; she was the more cautious child.

As time went by the girls and Chelsea began to feel more comfortable as Chelsea asked them about school and what their favorite things were. Trey seemed to get a kick out of Loni Faye and Liara, he smiled and often looked as though he was holding back laughter at the things they said. 

It did get a little awkward for a moment when Loni Faye spoke up,

"My gosh, Miss Chelsea! You look just like Momma!"

In quick succession surprise, then pleasure then discomfort came over Chelsea's face, but she recovered quickly and smiled at Loni Faye,

"I guess I do. But won't you call us just Chelsea and Trey?"

Loni Faye looked at her mother for permission. Jenny, of course, had seen and heard all this, but she smoothed it over,

"It's okay to call her by her first name, honey. She is your sister."

She had brought the girls up with the old school Southern manners she herself had learned as a child. Adults were always addressed formally unless they were a member of the family; their first name could be used if proceeded by "Miss", "Miz" or "Mr.". 

Chelsea suddenly remembered being taught the same thing by her mother back in the days when Jenny was a stellar wife to Larry Max and a loving mother to Mike, Chelsea, Corky and Andy. Long ago.

On the wall behind Trey there was a large painting of Lonnie holding Liara in his arms with a portrait of Loni Faye in the background and Chelsea had trouble dragging her eyes away. When Lonnie came home Loni Faye rushed up to him and hugged him. He came over and introduced himself, it was obvious that he felt nervous as to how he would be greeted. But it was nearly impossible not to like Lonnie once you got talking with him and Chelsea found it hard to hate him. She still resented her mother, though, and, in Chelsea's mind, the blame for their affair transferred to Jenny now, in toto.

Loni Faye begged Trey and Chelsea to stay for supper. She actually wanted them to stay for her birthday and have cake and ice cream; it was going to be later tonight.

Watching her mother with Lonnie was somewhat painful for Chelsea. She had never actually seen her with any man but Larry Max before. But the girls kept her attention. She helped Liara clear the table and then they played video games.

"Can you stay for my birthday?" Loni Faye asked.

Chelsea dropped her eyes. She'd had a number of birthdays without her mother by her side. Even though she already liked her half-sisters very much she didn't know if she could forgive her mother completely yet for deserting her and then having more children who really did get her attention.

"I--well, Trey and I have to be somewhere. I didn't know it was your birthday of course, or I would have brought you something. I'm sorry, but I hope we'll get to be friends now."

Loni Faye's little face fell and that immediately touched Chelsea's heart. She glanced quickly at Trey who gave her an encouraging look; and she found herself saying,

"I'll tell you what--next weekend you and Liara can come and visit us at our home--if it's okay with your parents. We'll have a cookout and go swimming and it can be like a second birthday for you."

At that both of the girls smiled from ear to ear, then looked at their mother for permission. Jenny nodded eagerly,

"Of course, that would be lovely. I can drop them off whenever you say, Chelsea."

So, on that hopeful note Chelsea and Trey said their goodbyes. Then it was time for Loni Faye's birthday. She made her secret wish and then blew out the candles. 
Lonnie's heart lurched when he regarded his teenaged daughter. She looked so grown up all of a sudden. You could get a glimpse of the adult she would be someday. 

Once she had her cake, Loni Faye ran upstairs to take a closer look at herself. Then she did something she had never done before except when she took a bath and shampooed her hair before bed. She let her hair down and left it down except for a small section she pull up into a little pony tail at the top of her head. She also couldn't wait to use the new mascara she'd been saving in her top drawer for weeks. Jenny came up to Loni Faye's bedroom and said she had another gift for her; inside the box were a cell phone, hand game, and some perfume. She complimented her daughter on her hair and makeup and said she hoped she'd enjoy her new wardrobe which they'd chosen days before. Then she gave her a hug, 

"We're mighty proud of you, Sweetface."

It was now summer and the water wiggler that the girls had received at Christmas was brought out to the side yard. The pool in the back looked inviting, too, but they wanted to enjoy splashing in the fountain first.

When they came in for lunch Lonnie said that Loni Faye might enjoy working part time at the restaurant, if she wanted to, that was, and if her grades didn't suffer. That was an exciting thought to Loni Faye; to work with her father.

Liara announced that she wanted to become a doctor or maybe a vet and the family considered the possibilities of such an event. All pronouncements from their children were given due consideration by Jenny and Lonnie. They were never patronized.

Jenny had been cool toward Lonnie for a couple days after they'd had their disagreement, but she soon thawed. She was just too in love with him to stay distant; and she certainly did not want to cut off her nose to spite her face.  That was weeks ago, but way down deep her feelings were still hurt.

A stray kitten showed up after lunch that day, the pound was about to take her away when Liara rescued her. Jenny said she might keep the little thing and Liara named her Tangerina. All afternoon she cared for and played with the energetic and entertaining kitten.

That evening Loni Faye had a visitor, Robby Blackford, her old friend and the boy who was crushing on her although she did not know it. He'd heard she was having her birthday and was anxious to renew their friendship and take it to a new level. Loni Faye introduced him to Lonnie who was friendly, but secretly wished that boys were not showing an interest in Loni Faye so quickly.

After Robby went home, Loni Faye had her turn playing with Tangerina...and was falling in love with her almost as quickly as Liara.

They put food down for her and she almost fell into the bowl she was so hungry and so little. Even Lonnie found the kitten endearing.  But Tangerina's favorite spot at night was up in little Liara's room, a little tiny kitten on a huge pet pillow near her bed.

Meanwhile as the weeks went by and Loni Faye grew in loveliness and charm, Jenny kept looking in her mirror and finding small lines around her eyes and mouth. Was that a slight softening around her jawline? Soon she would look noticeably older than Lonnie, she thought. What would she do then?

One by one her previous lovers and boyfriends had married and settled down. Jenny still turned heads when she went downtown, but not as many as she used to and now her ex-husband, Larry Max, was evidently dating various women. She'd never really thought about that and she had to admit she was  somewhat jealous. He'd always loved her since they were kids and had not stopped even though she'd hurt him so badly. But now Jenny was afraid he also would find someone special and forget her. She was used to and expected male attention and appreciation, even when she was happily married to Lonnie. 

Jenny was well aware that she was vain, but somehow could not seem to help it. She was not beautiful in the classic sense of the word at all; she was more often described as striking or attractive and even more often as sexy or "hot". Her figure had remained trim with all the curves in the right place. What would happen once all that was gone? None of these things might have bothered her so much if she'd been sure she was still the focus of Lonnie's world; that she still had his love and attention. However; she had to compete with the restaurant and even her own daughters for that and sometimes she felt as though she were low man on the totem pole. It was something that worried her all the time. Would he revert to his playboy ways once she looked older? And how would she herself feel when she was no longer young and no longer attractive. She could not seem to see that anyone who had aged could be at all desirable. When she looked older...older than Lonnie...she knew she would feel useless and ugly. So she clung more closely than before to the men she thought were most attracted to her and that meant Lonnie, it meant Larry Max and, occasionally when it came to her attention, it meant any other men she'd dallied with before she married Lonnie. And she was not happy if they rejected her in any way. 

She didn't understand how improperly she'd acted with Nicky Ferguson (see Shep Ferguson Family Ch. 11 "Nicky and Allyn" Pt 1 and Pt 2 ), she didn't even remember her behavior except as a vague impression of disagreement with him over what possible subject she couldn't remember. Jenny was ill; ill in her mind, and becoming ill in her soul. And she did not realize it herself. 

"Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity." --Ecclesiastes 1:2 New American Standard

"All is Vanity, by Charles Allan Gilbert (1873-1929) carries on this theme [in Christian teachings vanity is considered an example of pride; one of the seven deadly sins]. An optical illusion, the painting depicts what appears to be a large grinning skull. Upon closer examination, it reveals itself to be a young woman gazing at her reflection in the mirror. In the film The Devil's Advocate, Satan (Al Pacino) claims that vanity is his favorite sin.

Such artistic works served to warn viewers of the ephemeral nature of youthful beauty, as well as the brevity of human life and the inevitability of death."