tisdag, juni 27, 2006

Paige Elyse

Her classmates voted her most likely to be famous. She graduated from high school on her 18th birthday. She started her first job today. She begins college in New York City in less than two months.

I have picked on her mercilessly, my little Morning Nazi.

I am so proud of her.

fredag, juni 09, 2006

Closet Reorganization and Travel Packing

Closets disable me. Most of what I own ends up on the floor as I switch and stress. Suitcases mean packing for a trip, which means knowing what to wear ahead of time, which means stress in a box on wheels. For about a decade I got around just fine in a backpack and lived in cubicles. Suddenly, having more meant losing perspective.

So I decided to confront the issues. Issue #1. My closet is small and must hold everything. My stone basement invites mold. Small animals take up summer residence in the attic. So the unseasonable goes into zipper cloth boxes that rest on skinny shelves at overhead arm-length high. Twice a year I pull them down, pull out and go "aaauuuuuwww," as if I had found long lost friends or a bundle of cute bunnies. Actually, either event would make me scream, but the transfer is a little like getting new clothes in highly acceptable economic terms. This still didn't keep everything off the floor or flung over a rod.

Did I need a closet therapist at $450 for every organizational hour needed to fold and hang? It didn't matter if I needed them. I'd never even get them in the front door. My labels are not statusy enough. How about the multiple zeros it would cost me for a closet s-y-s-t-e-m for my space. The system I had been using was turning off the light and closing the door. I could afford that system.

In my searching I found a Closet Carousel. For money, my 5' x 6' space could look like a drycleaners. Or wire structures, just like the surrogate mother monkey experiments. I found more attractive closet shelving units, but who was I kidding. It wasn't so much the closet itself that was the problem. It was the living tornado who could never find the right thing to wear and then reuse a hanger in the process. These systems must have been designed by the clever marketers who knew that sloppy, busy, distracted, unfocused, harrassed people such as I would embrace the delusion that the problem wasn't with my habits. The problem was my closet.


Next, I considered, briefly, the prospect of having multiples of the same outfit. Find something good and stick with it, like the Jeff Goldblum character in The Fly. Make people pay attention to me and not what I am wearing.


So then I came up with something a little easier: Own less.

1. If its not worn in a year, gone.
2. If it at best looks "fine", gone.
3. Of what remains there should be only four high end pretty dresses, two pair of jeans, two pairs of some hip pant, three skirts, three pairs of shorts, six tops and four tees.
4. Add to this only what my job, sports, and severe weather may require, but keep it light.
5. Wear the same thing a lot.

I found Number 5 to be the most crucial. There is never any downside to rewear if it looks great, and once the item is worn past its prime, I can justify buying something new.

Now that is real simple.

Unfortunately, I did not have the same luck with figuring out how to pack for a trip. I tried to always take as little as possible, feeling bohemian and worthy. I read an article once where the owner of some big important company felt that he could only fall in love with someone he happend upon in an airport traveling with only a small carry on. I wanted to be that person.

Then the brick hit my head and I decided to get real and I figured out that that guy was a shallow own-everything who buys whatever he needs once he gets to his destination. He does not, I was fairly certain, have three daughters, a goldfish, and a lawnmower with his fingerprints all over it. Still, I tried to pack light and all it got me was feeling invisible. I knew that I was going to have to learn to take more.

"You're right," my friend said to me, after a family vacation. I had warned her of what I was discovering: What you think you will wear, you won't. Something about the weather, the location, the scenery, the event, the people you will end up being surrounded by - all variables more beyond your control than you think - will impact on what you ultimately pull out of the hotel dresser.

I was also finding that the older I got, the more important it was to be less practical and more inspired. One trip advisor in a fashion magazine said, "I always pack a pair of bermuda shorts, a pair of smart shoes, a pair of heels, a designer sweater, and a few polos. The heels allowed the outfit to go from day to evening" Yeah, ok, but what if you want sex on the trip? I mean, I don't want to look together and boring and unapproachable, anywhere.

So on the road, more was more. Not steamship luggage more, but more.

For some reason, this really bothers me, but too bad. I have tried it on my last two trips and I avoided the family nanny/tourist syndrome. I felt more like I actually lived in whatever city was my destination, and that was kind of cool. (Although maybe not such a desired result in Orlando, but there are always exceptions.)

Bob Edwards is Mine. Mine I Say. All Mine.

I bought a new car. It came with a trial sample of satellite radio, and I am way hooked. I am also having an affair with Bob Edwards. It's pretty much a one-sided relationship. As between the two of us, he does all of the talking, but that's ok. He has the voice, and a bunch of writers keep him fresh and witty. There is no down side. Oh, and right. He doesn't know about me yet. But some day he will. I am going to interview him, get the scoop on what happened at NPR, whether he had something in the works before he signed off on morning edition, what his less than golden-throated replacement is really like there. Then there will be no more talk of NPR, but only XM Satellite and how wonderful it is.

For the longest time, satellite radio only meant that guy with the long hair who likes to get his female guests to show their breasts, and I thought, "So not interested." If I want smut, I have the internet. If I want uninformed, excitable opinion, I can talk to myself. Drive time is rough going for either the libido or for getting riled up into a, I guess, ragey frame of mind. But then, on a road trip to Washington, as I was surfing about, I heard a familiar voice interview George McGovern. After that interview, there was another. Edwards was interviewing a man who wrote a book about the 31 days after Nixon resigned - when young Rumsfeld and Cheney were up and comers. I was floored. Who new. I am not much of a student of contemporary anything. Since then, I have heard Karen Armstrong, Mark Knopfler and Emmy Lou Harris, Allan Altman, Sara Bloomfield, and lots more who are always interesting. He is so good. Now my trial subscription is about to run and I have to figure out how this all works.

Ahhhh. I just researched it. Money. That's how it works.

Catch Up

I have been so much away from the computer, that I actually bought a digital recorder to replace the blog. It doesn't really.

This is all just blather and notekeeping. Ignore.

Insecticide drenched clothing. See permethrin. I think its kind of like a poison and causes cancers, but if it keeps those damn bugs away. See also Tommy Hilfiger, LL Bean, the Armed Forces. Buzz Off Insect Shield makes the material. While studies haven't found any long-term health effects for humans, yet, it is recommended that you don't wear the clothes in areas where there are no bugs or during the winter. Unless of course the shirt is stylin.

I like the new movement underfoot that messiness should be tolerated, that we have more important things to do than make sure there are no dirty dishes in the sink. I tried that for a few weeks this spring, and develped a carpenter ant problem that demanded I coat every surface in my house with Buzz Off contact paper. (No, I don't know if they make it.) Yes, yes, there are more important things one could be doing than cleaning up, but I am not sure people realize the repurcussions of not doing it. For example, got paper? It is entirely possible that a raccoon is hanging out in your living room, hiding out behind the stacks by day and swizzing half empty beer cans and eating the crumbs from the granola bar wrappers during the tonight show after you have crashed. Speaking of raccoons and garbage food, avoid Over the Hedge at all costs. Because I give birth like whales and elephants, only once every so often but never say die, I have 17 years of animation expertise. Actually, as movies go, I know black and white and animated. If Pixar hadn't come along, I would have offed myself by now. Cars opens tonight.

Anyway, where was I. Oh, right, women still do more of the housework in heterosexual relationships. The solution isn't nagging the less than helpful spouse. The solution might be to hire a cleaning team. When I am working, I don't earn money. So cleaning myself costs. Because I am so inept at it, (I pick up a stack of magazines, and find one I haven't read, so I sit down and look through it and suddenly six hours have passed, or I pick up a pair of pants and find a button missing, get out the sewing stuff and decide that what the house really needs is a pair of off white slipcovers and I'm off to the store - I clean house like a squirrel) there truly is only one solution: Someone else must do it. End of discussion. No university study required.