Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Travels

I took the LSAT.

They...and by "they", I mean Kaplan test prep and every other source of advice I saw, heard, or read, that one should under no circumstances do either of the following two things the day before their LSAT: drink excessively and study. It is strongly advised that one not even "crack a book." The morning of is a different story. Then you should drink all you want. Just kidding. Then you should, if and only if you've found you score less well on the first section of a full-length test, no matter what it is, do a few practice problems as warm-up with your hearty well-balanced breakfast.

I had to take the LSAT in Salem, the capital of Oregon and about fifty miles from where I live. I decided that I didn't want to risk oversleeping or hitting weird traffic or anything else that could arise in fifty miles, so I booked a hotel not too far from the test site. Handsome Man accompanied me. We decided to turn it into a mini road trip weekend, a "romantic getaway" to the capital city. (For non-Oregonians, I should note that general consensus of those around me is that there is not much worth seeing in Salem. Picture a romantic weekend getaway to...Trenton. I imagine there are similarities.)

We took a meandering route to Salem, planning to do at least part of the Silver Falls Scenic Route. I would like to note that the northern half, the half which made sense to do on the way to Salem, is not very scenic. It seemed to be pretty dull until we got to Silverton, a place I'd like to visit again and where we unfortunately had to turn west toward Salem.


Handsome Man included for scale.

Handsome Man once non-seriously suggested that we make it a goal to visit every microbrewery in America. I took this suggestion seriously, so on our trip we visited three breweries and one winery. The above was taken at the tap room at Seven Brides Brewing in Silverton, which I recommend. Their seasonal beers, the ones I haven't seen in Portland, were great. The beers I have had in Portland were extra good at the brewery. Does that really happen, or did I imagine that? My Rain Man memory for numbers is failing me at the moment, but I remember that we were both very surprised at how inexpensive the flight of beer samplers and the nachos we split were.

We didn't take any dark blurry pictures at Gilgamesh Brewing in downtown Salem, where we had dinner and another flight of beer samples. (Note: Splitting two sampler trays does not count as heavy LSAT Eve drinking.) Again, we were impressed by how inexpensive everything is outside of Portland. I had a very fancy and amazing delicious chicken thing, and if I weren't writing this two months later, I might have remembered more details.

On Saturday, I took the LSAT. I might have been the happiest LSAT taker in all of Salem. Halfway through the test, I started beaming as I bubbled in answers, so happy I was that this day had come and even better, would soon be in the past.

This was after walking around our hotel parking lot as the sun rose over I-5, hugging a stack of books to my chest and telling Handsome Man that I didn't want to go at all.

Handsome Man arrived at the test site shortly after I finished the test with a potted miniature rosebush and a hazelnut iced coffee. He asked what I wanted to do to celebrate, and I told him I didn't want to go home. We discussed completing the Silver Falls Scenic Route and maybe going to Albany; after all, even though I have, Handsome Man has not yet been to the Calapooia brewery. We discussed heading west and picking a beach. Suddenly, I remembered that I promised two different people I'd pick up wine for them at Honeywood Winery. So, with no plan for the rest of the weekend, we stopped at the winery.

Honeywood Winery has a special place in my heart, because it is one of the first places I visited the first time I came to Oregon on my cross-country road trip in 2008 with my friend from Germany, whose code name is Broetchen. First of all, they do not have a tasting fee; you can sample five wines at no cost. Second, the wine is good. Third, they have a cozy yet large gift shop with many local products, such as a hot sauce from Eugene (the name of which escapes me at the moment) which HM and I love. Fourth, some of the wine has dogs on the label. I think they donate some of the profits to dog-related charity. Honeywood Winery has been a stop on many happy road trips (to San Francisco, to Crater Lake, to Eugene) and so I think of it with the combined happy memories of all of these trips. I think I also like bringing people to a winery that looks like it is in a warehouse, instead of an idyllic field of flowers and grapevines, and surprising them with what's inside.

This visit was no exception. The person in charge of the tastings was enthusiastic, pouring liberal samples that definitely exceeded five per person. The result was that I got pretty drunk. We could say that post-LSAT brain exacerbated this effect. I happily handed my credit card to Handsome Man, who filled a case of wine with not only that which we promised to bring back to Portland, but several additional bottles for us. We left Honeywood, and I fell asleep almost immediately once we had gotten into the car. I woke up in Lincoln City. We were just in time to see the sun set.

We had dinner at Roadhouse 101, the restaurant of Rusty Truck Brewing, where everything was good despite weird Yelp reviews.

The next day, I still wasn't quite ready to go home, so we detoured from 101 to visit Pacific City.


Please note that there are motor vehicles on the beach.

We had lunch at...yes, another brewery. Pelican Brewery was impressive in every respect. I am only writing so little because I have run out of steam.

I write this, my first blog post in two months, after a very long day. This is a statement of fact and not a complaint. I stayed at work an extra two hours to avoid unforeseen traffic, but the traffic reports only got worse, so I abandoned my car at the office and walked. I kept missing the streetcar or the bus by just a moment, so I kept walking. Two miles later, I had crossed into the time when the streetcar line that I needed switches to a less frequent schedule. I had thirty-three minutes to wait. Furthermore, most of the food carts in the pod nearby close at 3pm! It appears I may never be able to try them, open only for lunch on weekdays, not unless I happen to be downtown on a day off. Not all were open; fifteen minutes of my wait disappeared in my indecisive circling of the food cart before settling on pierogies for $4.50. It was a good choice. I believe the money I save by taking the streetcar may soon disappear into food cart pre-dinners. My next food cart dinner is going to be Fijian Indian curry!

The wait stretched on. I began to hear insensible yelling from somewhere within the same block; I never located the source. It was angry and ongoing, so I nervously moved to a stop two blocks further north. The streetcar, when it finally arrived, was peaceful until a loud drunk man boarded, he too insensibly shouting. It was when he became angry that his words became comprehensible. I disembarked a stop early just to get away from a repeated, "I PUSHED THE STOP BUTTON! C***!" Over and over again, the angriest c-word I've probably ever heard. When he exited, it was with a clipped maniacal laugh--"HA!"

I hurried home, suddenly hit with a chill. I should also mention, to complete your mental image of this adventure, that I was dressed kind of like a kook. I think I avoided harassment by any street crazies because I resembled one myself, by the time I got close to home, bundled and shrunken into my clothes, arms folded, shaking a little bit. And also wearing a bizarre mix of layers and bright-colored patterns and gray sneakers--because there was no way I was walking 2.8 miles in the heels I wore to work. Passing Safeway, I took pity upon myself and went inside.

There I found Kona Brewing Pipeline Porter on sale for about 75% of what other stores normally charge. This and the pierogies are vying for the best part of my day.

I am fully aware of the sad news coming from this region today, but I am writing these silly stories as a diversion, a break from bad news. I plan to continue to write about my travels of this fall, but for today, I just give you LSAT Weekend: The Beer Version. I will conclude by saying that this was the best possible LSAT weekend ever, that I wish everyone could have such a nice weekend surrounding a career-and-life-determining four-hour test, and that it was probably once of the nicest weekends I've had all year that just happened to have four or five hour of it occupied by a career-and-life-determining test.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Another think I just memoried

The above is what I titled an e-mail to a friend shortly before an academic deadline. It was about the specific sort of mental fatigue I exhibit when overloaded and stressed out. My sentences trail off into long pauses, after which I forget what I was saying. That's common, but I'm not sure I've met anyone else who experiences the other half of it. Which is mixing up words in a way that makes no sense. It's not simply calling someone the wrong name. Or mixing up two related words, or even words in the same sentence. It's substituting a completely unrelated word for the word I want. I'm sure it was in my mind somehow, like part of some background thought I'm having. For example, I might be sitting at a desk, on a chair, looking at a computer. I remember, right before writing this e-mail to my friend, my boss Normandy* walked into the office and I said something like, "Good coffee, Computer!" instead of, "Good morning, Normandy!"

*Not her real name.

This time, two days away from the LSAT after giving myself four extra months to practice (and therefore insisting to myself and others that I would not become irrationally stressed out, which in a way becomes its own thing to stress out about; this week, as I began to experience what is probably normal levels of stress, I found myself thinking, "Don't let everyone see how stressed out you are!") what seems to have happened instead is that my inner censor seems to be lapsing a bit.

This afternoon, at work, I was sitting at my desk, working. I was moving the mouse and typing with one hand, while leaning my chin on my other hand while simultaneously twirling a piece of hair. The sound of the door opening caused me to look up toward the screen on which I had been so intently focused; it was a delivery man. As I was about to greet him, the phone rang, and I grabbed it, causing my co-worker September* to be the one to sign for the package.

* Also not her real name

When I got off the phone, the delivery man said to me something I didn't quite hear all of, so I asked, "What?"

He replied, "When I came in and you were playing with your hair, you know, you had it in front of your face--I thought you had a mustache at first."

And you know what I said? Do you know what my response was to this STRANGER?

"I do have a mustache."

Yup. I told a stranger, in my place of work, that I have a mustache.

He left without saying anything.

I think I said that, trying to be dryly witty, but instead I just frightened the guy. I also think I said that because in the moment I thought, "Why is he saying this? Doesn't he know that many women do have mustaches they just wax off? What if I did have a mustache? Why would that be so weird and funny?" Either way, it's a weird thing to bring up to a stranger.

If I have any panicky moments during the test on Saturday, in which stress threatens to halt my progress, I'll just remind myself of The Mustache Incident, laugh, and keep going.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I may have dislocated my shoulder, but it's a good day anyway

I have to go to the doctor tomorrow for my shoulder.

While this is not a good thing, and could end up being expensive, I have had little trouble finding reasons to be positive this evening.

First of all, I got sent home from work today with a gift of wine. I came home to an apartment without HM, who is out, but with the results of his shopping trip; when he called me at work, in the height of shoulder pain, I asked him to buy "cheese. and band-aids, the really big ones for big cuts. Oh, and also beer!" And he did.

There is a cat that lives in our neighborhood who, by the collar she used to wear but now seems to have lost, we know is named, "Mariposa." Mariposa is brown, white, fluffy, and friendly, with a high-pitched mew. Mariposa often hangs out in the driveway that is shared by the house I live in and the next door neighbor's. She rolls around in the sun, mewing, waiting for someone to pet her. Other times, I see her marching down the sidewalk purposefully, as though she ought to be carrying a briefcase. Sometimes, we meet each other on the sidewalk in the morning--Mariposa heading east, purposefully, as I head west, toward the bus stop. I stop to pet her and say, "Well, Mariposa, I really need to catch my bus," and it is only at this time that she agrees as exhibited by her, rather than flopping on the sidewalk and rolling on her back, instead commencing her deliberate eastward march.

Most of the residents of my building adore Mariposa. To see her in the driveway or on our front stoop, waiting to be pet, is a treat.

Today, as I came up a side street from the bus stop, headed toward home, I saw a cat perched on a wall, asking to be pet. The cat was brown, white, and fluffy. I thought, "Is this Mariposa? She looks different!" It looked a bit chubbier, but that could have just been excess fur fluff. I pet Mariposa for awhile before saying, "OK, Mariposa, I have to go home! See you later!"

As I approached the house, however, I saw Mariposa, headed from an angle which would have been impossible for her to have come from where I'd just seen her! Also, she'd lost weight in the last five minutes!

And that was how I realized that the first cat was not Mariposa, and that we have not just Mariposa, but also a second fluffy, friendly, brown and white neighborhood cat.

I got to pet Mariposa and her Doppelganger in the same evening!

So, despite an owie shoulder, it's a good day!

Also, the Eastside Streetcar line opens on Saturday and is FREE all weekend!!!! I plan on going to Cool Moon (ice cream place accessible by streetcar) on one of those days!!!! Just two more things to celebrate! Hooray!

The circumstances of how I injured my shoulder and the ridiculous resulting circumstances will appear in a different post soon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

When Big Brother looks past stereotypes, then maybe I'll start to worry

I have heard and read much concerned discussion of popular web organizations such as Google and Facebook having excessive access to our personal information and insufficient regard for our privacy. I've heard unhappy and nearly paranoid descriptions of the "hundreds of pages" of data supposedly stored by Facebook to convince marketers that it is successfully targeting their ads to potential customers.

Well, I am here to tell you that their algorithms are wrong. In my experience, they rely too heavily on tired stereotypes that simply do not represent reality. If this is any indication of how the computers of Big Brother are gathering, prioritizing, and interpreting data about us, we have nothing about which to worry.

For example, did you know that single women over twenty-five want to get married!? Even if they're not engaged!!!! Even if they don't have a significant other! Ads for engagement rings or pre-engagement rings started popping up on my Facebook when I was around twenty-five, and not only uninterested in marriage but also militantly opposed (for reasons that don't belong in this post) to engagement rings.

Other than that, it was mostly ads for ModCloth.com and that Shoe of the Month club that has to do with some celebrity--a Kardashian, maybe? Because all women want is clothing and shoes.

But it was when I changed my relationship status to "Engaged" that things really got crazy. And in some cases offensive! In others, just puzzling.

In the past six months, based on the ads it has most persistently shown me, Facebook has thought I am:

* Interested in gaudy rings

* Interested in developing and maintaining a negative self-image in relation to my upcoming wedding day: weight loss, magic diets, weight loss drugs, weight loss plans, exercise for the purpose of weight loss, bridal tanning packages because only my dress should be white!, teeth whitening (oh yeah, those should be white, too!), and laser hair removal. Hey Facebook, haven't you noticed my "Like"ing of things like Bitch Media!?!?!?!?

When I started to flag these as "offensive," for about one day, Facebook retaliated by flooding me with ads for plus-size fashion.


* Jewish

* Also, Jewish and marrying a non-Jew. Facebook thinks my interfaith wedding needs a rabbi.

* A Republican. I keep getting ads suggesting I "Like" Paul Ryan. Again, Facebook, are you paying any attention? Look at my "Like"'s. Feminist and marriage equality organizations. Social conservative I am not. It's PRETTY OBVIOUS.

* Interested in another bachelor's degree. HELLO FACEBOOK I HAVE TWO ALREADY.

A new strange twist is that within the past month, Facebook decided I was pregnant. I started to see ads for diapers, children's clothing, baby toys, and birthing centers.

After clicking, "Uninteresting" to a few of these, Facebook seemed sure of the reason behind my actions.

Facebook switched to showing me ads for open adoption services. Not to adopt, but to give up my (nonexistent) unborn child for adoption.

I miss the good old days of "Pinecones Under Glass." Like they used to say, "The want is real."

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Fashion

Recently, an acquaintance from high school pinned to Pinterest a picture of a poofy skirt with a top layer of gauzey black fabric. I thought, "That looks a lot like a skirt I used to wear in high school!" and then realized she had pinned it as a Halloween costume idea. That is how I got the idea to write this post.

[Ed. note: I added links and colored text in some places because the reader I asked to critique this post pointed out that some people won't know what fashion terms like "pleat" mean.]

It probably surprises no one who knows me in my adult life that when I was a kid, I was weird. Really, really weird. In high school, my creativity manifested itself in a fashion sense that at some times, got me compliments, and at other times, had me going to school in what looked like a Halloween costume. Because of this, I often have someone check over an outfit before I debut it. HM will tell me if I look like a "kook." If he's not around, I will send a picture message to my mother.

How I got to my everyday's-a-costume-party teen years can be not understood, but somehow illuminated, by tracking some of my early life's fashion trends and highlights.

I'm told that when I was little, I only wanted to wear dresses. Every day wasn't a costume party, but a fancy party. I have hazy, distant memories of trying to sneak to preschool in a velour Christmas-at-grandmere's dress, but somehow my mother noticed before we got to the car!

Throughout my preschool, elementary school, and middle school years, I recall some mostly unremarkable fluctuations between wanting to wear a dress all the time to refusing to wear a dress ever and wanting to wear sneakers all the time.

Then, in third or fourth grade, my best friend--for this post, I'll call her Topaz--informed me that I was NOT popular. She wasn't either, but I was even less popular. Somehow she managed to convince me that popular was a thing I wanted to be, and that it depended on our outfits. It was then that fashion became important to me. Not just clothes, but what other people thought of one's clothes and what clothes were, like certain people, popular. So I started going to Kids 'R' Us and begging my mom to get me the things other girls were wearing, the things that were NOT on the sale rack only. One thing I remember in particular was The Cow Outfit.

I do not know why this was such a cool outfit to the third graders of Sparta Alpine School in 1993, but I do remember that many girls had it, and eventually, so did I. It consisted of cow print legging-tight shorts with a baggy shirt that depicted two cows eating grass. The cows were in people clothes, and this varied from outfit to outfit. (Kids 'R' Us actually made multiple cow outfits.) The cows wore things like colorful headbands and giant hoop earrings. [Ed. note: I searched far and wide on Google for a picture of this outfit, and all I have to show for it is the knowledge that variations of "1993 Kids 'R' Us Cow Outfit" yields an incongruous assortment of images of cow costumes, Babies 'R' Us items, and beef dishes.]

In addition to the Cow Outfit, another one of Topaz's ideas for being fashionably cool was to dress like a different Babysitter every day. For those of you who were not girls or male relatives of girls in the early 1990's, I am referring to Kristy, Claudia, et al., of The Babysitters Club, the series of books by Ann M. Martin about a group of entrepreneurial best friends who maintain a successful small babysitting business which survives their unfortunate mishap with the time warp that forces them to repeat the eighth grade over and over and over again. Topaz's idea was that we would dress like Kristy on Mondays, which meant we'd be casual, in jeans and sneakers. Tuesday was Claudia Day, which meant we dressed WILD and TRENDY. I can't remember the others, because I don't really remember the names of the other Babysitters or how one could possibly dress like them, and honestly...Claudia Day was my favorite. Claudia Day eclipsed all subsequent days. I wished every day could be Claudia Day.

In fourth grade, however, came a dark day. Picture Day. The day of The Unfortunate Bell Bottoms Incident. You see, in the summer of 1993, hippie fashion was IN. At least it was in among all the big kids my other best friend--who will be called "Charity" for this post--and I observed hanging out on the boardwalk, smoking cigarettes and saying bad words. They wore choker necklaces, shirts with flowy sleeves, and bell bottoms. I loved those clothes, and I wanted to dress like the big kids. Unfortunately, stores weren't selling many chokers or bell bottoms for nine-year-olds.

Then, while back-to-school shopping at Ames, I saw it. The outfit was a white shirt with black polka dots, a ruffled V-neck collar, and sleeves that flared at the wrists. The pants--black bell bottoms. My mother bought it for me, and I proudly wore it to Picture Day.

The taunting was ceaseless for the entire day. When I protested that hippie fashion was in, I was told that was only for big kids or that it was only for the summer. And besides, either way, it was not in for a fatso like me. One of the boys, a new kid, won himself some respect from the other fourth-graders by coining for me the unfortunately clever nickname, "Hippie Hippo."

I felt betrayed when a friend, who I knew have bought the same outfit, wore the top to school several times but with different pants.

I did not outgrow that nickname until I left Sparta. In high school, that same kid still called me Hippie Hippo. I bet if I went to my high school reunion next weekend, someone would still call me that, except I'd like to think it would be in a congenial, nostalgic way.

A few years later, in middle school, plagued by frizzy, unruly hair, a big chubby face, and flab everywhere, I just gave up. I went through a phase where I would only wear baggy T-shirts and pants, my hair pulled back into the tightest ponytail I could manage. I was unaware that this only highlighted what I was trying to hide. My hair escaped from its shackles of scrunchie, forming a halo of frizz around a face made more moon-like by dead-center part. It's unclear if the baggy shirts made my stomach look larger, or merely drew more attention to it because they were tie-dyed. I was never good at blending in.

The following summer, however, I magically lost weight. At least, it seemed like magic to me, although my mother could probably tell you the real reason. And so, in high school, I became a dresser, a person who selects their clothing and accessories and very intentionally combines and coordinates them. A dresser need not, however, be fashionable.

My style in high school was hit or miss, mostly miss, and more than a little alternative. It has been miscategorized as goth or punk, but it was neither one nor both of those. It had elements of both, plus hippie, plus some personal flair that I'm not really sure how to characterize. I shopped at Hot Topic (the website of which I just visited to provide a link, by which I was totally confused because it is not the Hot Topic I remember), but that alone would have been too mainstream for me. Too much like everybody else. I liked to have an outfit include at least one item that was either from a thrift store or homemade.

Sometimes, I got a lot of compliments for some outfits, and not just from other weirdos like myself. Other times, I just looked crazy. Here is a list of some outfits my parents would not let me wear to school:


The Tinlady: This was at least for a literary magazine dressup day, and not a normal schoolday. It involved a shimmery silvery blue skirt, and I decided that my makeup should match, so I mixed some blue and silver eyeshadow for my eyelids. Then somehow, I got the idea to apply this silver eye makeup to my entire face. I wanted to go to school painted silver. When my parents adamantly refused to let me go to school like this, I didn't understand why. I missed homeroom, spending nearly half an hour washing off that silver makeup, the whole time yelling, "This is so unfair, Mom and Dad!"

A Curtain: I was a pretty good seamstress; I made some articles of clothing that I still wear, ten years later, for which I receive compliments. However, sometimes I got lazy. My materials often came from secondhand stores, and included scraps of fabric or unfashionable clothing which I'd "edit," convert into something I liked better. But one lazy weeknight, my starting place was a yellow brocade, white-flowered, pleated curtain. I decided to convert this into a pleated skirt. Here's where the lazy came in-- I just sewed Velcro to two of its sides. The next morning, I wrapped myself in my "pleated Velcro wrap skirt", as I proclaimed the curtain to be. The Velcro wasn't strong enough for the faux-leather and cardboard reinforcing backing I had failed to remove from the fabric. The bottom of the skirt came open a bit, but I proclaimed this to be a fashionable slit.

When my parents adamantly refused to let me go to school wearing a curtain, I argued. They persisted in refusing to acknowledge its new identity as a wrap skirt, or as any form of clothing at all. I was again late to school, shouting, "This is so unfair, Mom and Dad!" as I searched for another outfit.

Here is a list of a few outfits my parents did let me out of the house wearing.


Badass Britney: Potentially conceived before I'd even heard "Baby One More Time." I made an effort to not hear any Britney Spears songs for several months after everyone else had. (It's a talent; I still haven't heard "Call Me Maybe.") Yet I still knew, in that way ninth graders can, that I didn't like her music, and with this outfit, I told it to the world. It was a dark gray sweater over a white collared shirt with a dark gray pleated skirt, heels, and black fishnet stockings. My mother approved, stating that this was a proper use of fishnets.

Breaking the Rules: Whereas now I proclaim, "Black and brown, look like a clown! Black and blue, shame on you!" throughout the streets of black-with-blue-and-brown-shame-on-a-clown Portland, as a tenth grader, I felt differently. I found the "no black and navy blue" rule to be oppressive, like a high school ban on trench coats or DOMA (of which I was aware, as a high schooler, only because I wrote a paper entitled, "Liberty and Justice for Some" on the assigned topic, "Liberty and Justice for All.") So I invented an outfit with that theme in mind. This may have been during the brief time that I had tried to dye my hair blue but since I wouldn't bleach it first, it was just very dark black with a blue tint. In addition to the hair dye, the outfit consisted of black mid-calf lace-up boots (as did most of my outfits in high school), navy blue tights, a black pencil skirt, and a long-sleeved, baggy, tunic-length velour navy blue shirt.

Which reminds me. In high school--just like now--I would sometimes try to tone it down. When I would try to wear something normal, I would still fail. Once, I wore that same navy blue shirt with jeans. I was trying to have a mellow day. Yet throughout the day, I was complimented on my outfit, not because I was finally going to school in something other than a Halloween costume, but because people found the outfit to be unique and interesting. Because even when I wore normal clothes, I would forget to tone down the accessories. The ensemble included something like wacky earrings, or a really big necklace, or I had my hair pulled back in a really severe bun and was also wearing heavy eyeliner and dark lipstick. I couldn't win.

Instead of taking a lesson from this experience, to tone it down and just pair ONE wacky element with otherwise normal clothes, I continued with themed outfits. The following is one I only wore once, because pretty much from the moment I left the house, I knew I looked ridiculous, but I still remember it.

The Black and White Outfit or Even My Dog Could Tell I Looked Ridiculous: You know how sometimes you'll plan an entire outfit around an accessory, such as a necklace you really want to wear? That's how this happened. The accessory was those black-and-white striped tights that Hot Topic sold. I never understood why these were popular, yet somehow I ended up with a pair. It was probably part of a multi-pack of zany and colored tights. Instead of just wearing them with a black dress or something, I designed a "black and white" outfit. I would like to save the so-bad-it's-good best for last, but I don't even know where to begin with this one. All of its parts were equally bad.

The "shirt" was actually a child's dress that fit me like a very flattering tunic. It was long, black, and velour (are you picking up on a theme, here?)

The skirt was my mother's from the 70's, three layers of white, lightweight, flowy fabric.

Then there were the tights. Black and white horizontal stripes.

And then, the black-and-white icing on the cake of fashion horror, the shoes. Black and white saddle shoes.

I could keep going. Did you know I had a pair of tie-dyed jeans? I made them myself. They were the almost bell-bottom-style called Super Flares. I do NOT regret those. They were a work of art, and if I could still fit into them, I would wear them to my job at the law office. If I had the time and inclination, I would tye-dye another pair of jeans to wear now, as an almost-thirty adult. The only lesson to gain from this sartorial story is don't make your most amazing articles of clothing before you're old enough to have hips. Also, don't wear your tie-dyed jeans with a bright orange shirt. Even if there are orange streaks in the pants. (That's probably how Hippie Hippo resurfaced in high school.)

Speaking of I-Made-Them-Myself, I also had a pair of Poetry Tights. That's right. It was a pair of white tights, which debuted at the literary magazine's Open Mic Night/Rock Concert which I hosted. The "dress" I wore was actually an antique slip. Again, my parents argued with me over the identity of this piece of fabric. Those old fuddy duddies insisted it was underwear; I declared its new life was as outerwear. My father relented when I put a heavy coat over it; he seemed satisfied that I would wear that coat all night. (I did not.)

Back to the tights. They were white. With black marker, I wrote on them. I wrote poems. Some were my own, and some were Margaret Atwood's. Some were Sylvia Plath's. The fabric kept moving around when I tried to write on it, so I had to find something solid that fit into the leg of a pair of tights. I used a CD case. Think of the time and dedication this required.

That's not all. The tights had some runs. They were in the knees, and to me they looked cool, like ripped jeans! I used glue to secure them in place, to keep them from running further and messing with my poetry. And then, to draw further attention to the holes (or myself), I dipped the gluey holes in lavender and silver glitter.

One day, the dog, apparently a fashion critic, chewed the feet off of my poetry tights. He chewed one almost to the glittery knee. No matter! I continued to wear them with knee-high lace-up boots!

The One That Got Away:There is one outfit the loss of which I regret. It was definitely not cool in the early 2000's, but a mere five years later, as the 1980's got ironically cool, the outfit and its component parts would have been cool. I regret my decision to donate to charity the knee-length pencil skirt of stonewashed denim (to which I added a border of some folk-arty black and kelly green and red and gold embroidered ribbon) and kelly green blazer with ever-so-subtle shoulder pads. I fondly remember wearing this outfit to the Willowbrook Mall and getting kicked out of Abercrombie and Fitch. Now I would wear the outfit, or maybe its pieces separately, to the law office.

I wish I had pictures to illustrate this post. I hope to do a revision of this post someday with photographic evidence. For now, unfortunately, my pictures from the pre-digital era are all a continent's distance away in a plastic storage container, waiting to be sorted and scanned and posted right here.

I still wish every day was Claudia Day.

MASTHEAD DETAILS

The masthead for this blog was created by Tyler Finkle, using photographs of his own and those of others licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License, the text of which can be found here. The cat on the right was taken from the work of Si Griffiths, the bacon was found here and I am currently unable to locate the name of the copyright holder, and the red book on which my family cat Asia is seated is the work of Dr. Marcus Gossler. If you are interested in having Tyler Finkle design a masthead for you, leave a comment on this blog or send me an e-mail.