Wardrobe remix

in which I continue to be back

The process of becoming Extremely Online again is going just fine, thank you. I updated my About page to reflect that fact that Let’s Panic went out of print last spring, after seven years of unrivaled success in the pregnancy-and-parenthood-expert mockery section of your local bookstore that probably closed two years ago. Actually, it feels like independent, brick and mortar bookstores may be on a bit of an upswing. That is my perception, it’s what I sense from my tiny perch on this stool in my attic office overlooking a hedge and three garbage cans.

I have that sense because now that I’m on a break from writing I am reading actual novels again, stories printed on paper, like some sort of literate person. I just finished Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, and have finally begun reading that classic True Grit. Neither book is all that recent, but I think any author would hope that their published work would last in the public consciousness at least as long as it took for them to write it. Even if the financial return isn’t that great, it seems like the energetic output you make ought to balance out somehow. Said the woman who just spent six years writing a novel and has been waiting five weeks to hear what her agent thinks of this latest draft.

In becoming online again I also made the terrible discovery that all my Yogabeans photos had vanished. I was pretty upset! Once upon a time I’d put a fair amount of work into that site and found a lot of chuckles in the writing of it and in the comments I got, so I never backed any of it up. I trusted the Internet to keep it forever. I deleted every single carefully posed action figure photo from my photo library to free up the space on my laptop.

You know how sometimes you go to a thrift store and find a thing that you didn’t know you needed and wanted with all your heart until you saw it?

You know how sometimes you go to a thrift store and find a thing that you didn’t know you needed and wanted with all your heart until you saw it?

Miraculously, Squarespace unearthed the whole site somehow and now the whole page is restored! That was Saturday, and now it’s Thursday and I still haven’t downloaded and backed up any of the photos. Will I? Who knows!

I was pretty depressed over the weekend and it took a while for me to grasp the source of it. The news has been terrible lately. Children are starving to death in Yemen and politicians got pipe bombs in the mail and a Pittsburgh synagogue got shot up by a deluded idiot, and also people I know had loved ones get sick and die, and it all leaves behind a lot of intense grief. I took on just a small part of this global and national and personal grief in an unconscious and unproductive way and was quickly swamped by it. “Do I need to get a divorce?” I thought in my darkest moment, wondering if this deadened feeling I had was because I had no one to turn to because my husband had spent most of the weekend doing his own recovery by watching a shitload of sports TV. And then I realized what I needed to do to feel better was mail in my ballot for the mid-term election because fuck all the awful people who shouldn’t be in charge anymore.

If I were in charge I might dress like a bee every day. 


Not shown are the little bee antennae I wore for the bee ball that night, and I just realized that my slippers were criss-crossed on my feet so the bee prince will never be able to find me now. OH, well.


After seeing the Bill Cunningham documentary and being sort of jealous that he wore the same blue jacket every day, and then reading that article by the fashion editor who bought five of the same blouse and slacks for work, I've been wondering if somewhere in the world there waited for me an outfit I could commit to five-to-seven days a week. AND THEN IT HAPPENED. Last month I was cruising the J. Jill sale rack and out leapt at me a dress that, in person and on my person, is the perfect, roomy, pocketed dress equivalent of the Cunningham blue jacket. I seriously considered going to the website and buying four more of them but in the end settled on just buying one more because the fabric is too heavy for summer in an office in an old building without air conditioning. And because I am not Chairman "Let's All Wear The Same Jacket Forever" Mao, there will no doubt come a day when I am so sick of those dresses that I will want to douse them all in gasoline and burn them on the barbecue.

So then I continued on to eBay and bought all the black cotton dresses.

I have zero problem wearing used clothing.

Technically, the one on the far right is wool, and I'm here to tell you that the best time to be the only person to put a lowball bid on a wool dress is in the middle of summer. They are, from left to right, Eileen Fisher, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Hanna Andersson, and another J. Crew and three of them have pockets and they all fit because the sellers posted the measurements, thank you, sellers. I have been curious about Hanna Andersson forever because the catalogs are like a children's fantasy of adorable clothes that you'd wear to a gingerbread party in the parlor of the nicest grandma who loves you more than anyone who ever wore sparkly clogs, and she gave you those clogs even though your mom said they were too expensive. So it was nice to find a H. Andersson dress at cut-rate eBay prices and discover that the quality's really good and who gives a shit if you're wearing a cosy, shapeless black sack? It's a shapeless black sack with pockets.

So that's what I've been up to, gearing up to do a full Georgia O'Keeffe (she's another one, everything in black or white, lots of shapeless smocks, oh my god, SMOCKS) while the ghost of my mother looks back at me from the mirror and says, "But don't you want to wear a little color with that?" 


Mr. Wazz-ma-tazz (after he peed on the rug) (he was ashamed, but I blame the increased dosage of diuretics)


I, as a completely sane pet owner, both sing and talk to my dog pretty much constantly, because obviously he understands me in ways other cannot. I often find myself standing in the kitchen rinsing the dishes before they go into the dishwasher with Peewee sitting nearby, gazing at my ankles while wondering why I throw out so much food that could be going quite comfortably into his mouth.

"You're allergic to chicken, Peewee, so stop sending me your mind thoughts!" I'll say.

Peewee will perk up his ears. He heard his name.

"I know you love chicken, Peewee, but it gives you itchy scabs," I'll say. "Itchy scabs are the worst. Right, Peewee?"

And then from the living room Jack will say, "Right, mom, you're the best."

I'm starting to think that someday Jack will understand me as well as Peewee does.

Garden party Wee

I hate shopping more than life itself

Here's the latest: if you ask me to draw "an animal," you may end up with a picture based on a picture of Steve Irwin holding a wombat that says, it's a wombat. Because if you put your framed drawing of Steve Irwin holding a wombat someplace people can see it, then you're not going to want to answer the question, "What IS that?" over and over again, are you? Unless you are, in which case I've ruined this drawing's purpose as a conversation piece. wombat

I don't know where his right elbow came from, it's not in the photo. At some point I realized that I'd gotten the proportions all wrong so I started making uncanny adjustments, and now here we are. I'm not apologizing!

Next, a request for a "random landscape" took me no further than my own back yard. Sure, I could have gone to the beach, but then all you'd have would be a drawing of a horizontal line, and if you complained I'd be all, "Haven't you read Harold and the Purple Crayon?" Plus, I've had a terrible cold. Yes, that's supposed to be Peewee. He was added as an afterthought. Clearly.


Anywho. What's been going on? Well, Jack came back from his mother's house with a pile of old photos. We organized as much as we could, they were mostly family photos but we found some modeling proofs and tear sheets. Such as this, which was taken when Barbara was around 18 years old:


No, that's not Jack as a baby, it's a model baby. A baby model, to be more accurate -- I know nothing about that baby's character or achievements so it is incorrect to call it a Model Baby. But mostly: can you conceive of an 18-year-old woman looking like that today? I'm trying to imagine your average high school senior wearing a peignoir and getting excited about doing her baby's laundry and it's just not working.

companion cover

The Ivory Snow ad was on the reverse of the cover of Woman's Home Companion, but Babs had just saved the cover, not the whole magazine. If only she'd been a bigger fan of women posing with Furries, or of MEAL-PLANNING.

What else is new? I bought some blue jeans. I was going to write yet another post about how meaningless size tags are on clothing, because I gained some weight and needed new jeans. Usually I am able to lose my Christmas padding but as of April I still couldn't squeeze into my old size 10 Lucky jeans without bursting my own appendix. So I went to the Levi's outlet and grabbed some Cropped Whatevers off the rack. They fit okay (meaning: I could button them!), so I bought them in what also turned out to be size 10. "Well, that doesn't make a lot of sense," I thought, "but different brands size their jeans differently, so what do I care?"

A few days later I went down to the Lucky Jeans store and saw they had a rack of the same style of jeans, the Cropped Whatever style ("For when you just don't give a shit anymore"). I decided to try them on out of curiosity. Since they were Lucky jeans, same brand as the ones my ass grew out of, I reasoned that I should go a size up, so I took a size 12 into the dressing room.

Now, I don't have much experience with male sales assistants, but when he saw I was serious this buff young fellow assigned himself to me, so I just went with it. What are you going to do? If only I weren't such a flaming hot middle-aged librarian.

"Those are too big," he said, crossing his arms. Lucky Jeans doesn't put mirrors in the dressing room, they insist you come out to assess yourself in their one giant mirror in the middle of the store. "See, it gaps at the waist."

"Weird!" I said, frantically brushing my hair out of my eyes and trying to look like I was comfortable staring at my own ass in a giant mirror while various shoppers and sales assistants looked on.

My sales boy -- let's call him Tyler -- then gave me the same jeans one size down (size 10, the size I thought I no longer was) and sent me back in to change.

I came out of the dressing room, again with the frantic brushing.

"Still too big!" said Tyler. Even though the jeans were in the fitted range, the waist was still gapping? gaping? at the back. We did the size lower thing two more times until I walked out of the dressing room sweating and wearing jeans three sizes smaller than I thought I was.

"Yes!" said Tyler, raising his arms in victory for having squeezed one more unsuspecting woman into denim sausage casing.

And yet, oddly, my appendix was not in danger of emerging whole from my throat. The size six jeans actually felt pretty good.

I could no longer hide my suspicion.

"You've added stretch to these, haven't you?" I said.

"Of course. Are you kidding?" he said.

When he realized I wasn't going to submit to trying on any more jeans (Cigarette? Matchstick? Bongwater?) he tried to sell me two half-price tops that made me look like Janis Joplin's uncooperative roadie. Tyler, who was born in the year I quit film school, grew up in Gilroy, California. He seemed somewhat dazzled that I could identify his hometown as the garlic capital of the world. It's not an impressive fact, anyone who's driven up the 101 using their eyes knows that, but I guess if you're paid to flirt with the customers you feign excitement about all kinds of little things.

My point in posting this is merely to say that Lucky Jeans is full of shit because they're labeling jeans three sizes smaller than they used to, that's all.

10 and 6Size 6 Luckys on top, size 10 Levi's on the bottom

I still like Luckys, and even though they're twice the price of Levi's they seem to last twice as long.

Did I just write a product review? Goddamn it, I did.



But while we're at it: those Fluevog boots on the left are size 10 and the Dansko clogs on the right are size 12. My feet have the same issue as my ass does! What a surprise!

Day Seventeen

I'm really falling down on my promise to do some ShoeMo/wardrobe remixing here this month, but I did remember to take a picture of what I wore to work today, aren't you lucky. I was kind of a hit among both the middle-aged and preschool patrons; I got gawked at by a couple of teenagers, but they were far too cool to admit what they really thought. I only mention that because when I'm happy with what I'm wearing, I don't really give a shit about your approval, and that's how I felt today. Yes, when teenage library patrons looking for books on raising chickens can't touch you, you know you're all right. Red cardigan: Gap Gray t-shirt under red cardigan: Gap Skirt: Banana Republic Tights: unknown brand, bought at The Sock Drawer in San Luis Obispo Mary Janes: Dansko

Pardon me for turning this into a page from a Flickr set. It's NaBlo, you do what you have to do to keep your head above water.

Also, let me direct you to some other things I've posted this week:

1. I know, you only had one glass of wine, the yams were burning, and the baby started crying -- what else were you supposed to do? Ask for help? 2. Some holiday films that I'm praying won't suck this year. 3. The Many Ways Children Can be Disgusting: A Timeline 4. When I read whatever parenting magazine may be on hand at the pediatrician’s office, I am consistently underwhelmed by what they assume that I and my vagina are interested in. (Part of a Babble Salon on the rise of mothers and the ostensible marginalization of fathers.)