Every week or two, I spend a few minutes idly browsing the local outlet of an enormous retailer, hoping to find a good pair of boots, a plain sweater, or a replacement bookbag. Along with the usual discounted or discontinued goods, they also offer returned items. Sometimes these returns are complete with monogram; sometimes the monogram is woefully and obviously mispelled.

And that is how, poking through the messenger bags and bookbags, I came thiiiiis close to buying a slate gray messenger bag embroidered with the intersection of sci-fi geek and grammar geek: Doctor Whom.



Evening fades into night. Rain spatters down on the windows of the bus cruising through the outskirts of town. Behind me, three young men mutter and laugh, their chatter punctuated with oneupsmanship and increasingly potent curses.

The “stop requested” light bleeps on. With minimal leave-taking, one of the swearing men alights from his seat and steps out into the rain. As he breezes past my seat, the flaccid leather hem of his coat brushes my calf.

Without moving my head, I glance out the window and take him in: a big slumping hulk of a boy, his rounded shoulders hunched under the too-tight black leather. Instead of floating around him in the windy night like the badass longcoat of an antihero, the coat droops off him, wet and ill-shaped.

One of his friends must be looking out the window, too, but he sees with younger eyes; he says “That’s an L.A. coat, man.”

His friend is unimpressed. “Huh?”

Gamely trying, the kid presses on. “A Los Angeles coat. Angel? You know? Angel?”

They ride the rest of the way in silence.

Polished look

31/365 nail polishSo I can’t wear the new flops out and about without a little color. Okay, maybe a lot of color. I went a tad overboard when I saw the hundreds of bottles to choose from. First I picked blue to commemorate my (soon to be) tenth anniversary with JM. It was one of the two colors I was wearing at the time and a friend later confided that she knew I was the girl for him the moment she saw my toes. The other colors are brown (never had this option before), copper (love the contrast with blue) and pearl. This could be one big mistake.
Click the photo to go to my Flickr photo stream.

dress, success

wildberrydress.jpg For those anxiously tracking my horror at the rigors of online plus-sized dress shopping, you can breathe freely once more! Our long national nightmare is over: I have found a dress.
Three dresses, in fact, as a hedge against future dress deficit.
In desperation after several promising dresses were discontinued or back-ordered or otherwise unavailable, I broke down and ordered a couple of cheapo dresses from a plus-sized clearinghouse, where respectable catalogue companies send their outsized cast-offs to perish.
bluedresswvelvet.jpg I steeled myself for disappointment, fully expecting to send both back in dismay, but to my surprise, I liked them so much I promptly ordered another dress I’d been eyeballing.
All it took was hours and hours and hours and, did I mention, hours of paging through the website. (The site, for any fatshionistas who want it, but be warned: wheat from chaff, wheat from chaff.) I ruthlessly discarded any dress, no matter how promising, if it was acetate or poly, any dress with frippery or geegaws, any dress that triggered the ineffable nuh-uh instinct of the retailer I once was. It’s like panning for gold: you must devote the time, and the payoff is uncertain.
plumalinedress.jpg But I lucked out: three dresses for a total of maybe US$95*, all of much nicer fabric than the price tag would suggest, and all sporting clean lines and blessedly free of what Buff Puff calls “the scourge of fat-lady consolation glam,” which appears as a spray of cheap sequins cast across the bust, or flaccid polyester flowers glued to the bodice, or tatty beading worked into the hemline.
None of that here, just sparely handsome dresses that trust me to doll them up to my liking. Bliss.
*That total includes the 20% off code I used on my second order, but does include the shipping costs.

In a flap

I bought a pair of FitFlops today–the ones in black because they looked good with my jeans (meaning the jeans hid the little FitFlop logo emblazoned on the top of the flop.) With the salesperson’s smooth line “it’s like walking on sand” I was sold because, wheeeeee, I frickin’ love walking on sand. Yes, wet sand, dry sand, preferably not too hot sand, sinking sand, loose sand, tough sand, soft sand, aaaaaahh. Never mind that I have never ever been able to don thong-style footwear in my life. I gave up trying when I was a wee prepubescent because of the endless blistering and I was so much more the geek because of it. Remember the rainbow sided flop of the 70s? Sigh, to be so cool. In actual fact, all shoes at some point cause me pain, and between the toes, ack, mercy! Uncle! Have I learned nothing? Well, THIS time I am wearing them around the house for a few days. Then we’ll try a little further distance. Baby flops, as they say.

bridesmaid madness

The Fella and I haven’t even started planning our wedding yet, and already I’m overwhelmed. It’s daunting to skim the various sources of “offbeat” and “indie” wedding-planning advice; even these pared-down weddings are lavish with frills and fanciness that we simply don’t want.

The more a couple strays from the conventions of planning, the more actual planning it requires: so many decisions! If we wanted a cookie-cutter wedding, with white satin and matching attendants and linen tablecloths and custom-colored M&Ms, planning would be much simpler. The Wedding Industrial Complex provides scores of checklists for such events.

Of course, some wedding parties spiral into madness. “You don’t know who’s crazier, the people who ask or the people who actually go along with it.” The linked article describes the absurdities imposed upon unwitting bridesmaids, who think they’ve signed up to offer loving support and the occasional shopping trip but instead find themselves burdened with lime green satin, Botox, and a taxing regiment of facials and pedicures, to say nothing of expensive travel.

On the flipside is K, who will be standing up with me at my wedding*. She expressed some concern upon hearing that I won’t dictate her attire. She wants some structure and ritual and a prescribed dress code. But I don’t even know what I’m wearing.

I assured her that with her great wardrobe and great taste, I’m certain whatever she chooses will be perfect, whether it’s something from her closet or something fabulous she wants an excuse to buy. I asked her, “Did you really think I’d assign you a taffeta dress with a big bow on the butt?”

K. shot back, “Dear, I will wear a clown suit if that’s what you want.”

A clown suit, you say?

That’s one thing decided, anyway.

* Elli and I decided that the Best Woman duties — hand holding, shoe shopping, smacking me lightly when I become unbearable — would be too difficult at this distance. Instead, she’s The Wedding Muse: she listens to my ideas and whining, tells me when the ideas are crazy (and, so far, stays mum about the whining), and has the twin luxuries of liberal eye-rolling and audible scoffing with no fear of getting caught. And honestly… I’m not sure she’d love the clown suit.