Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Megastore Recommends: Outfits Edition.

The people, I have a lot of sweaters. And the sweaters I'm talking about are my winter sweaters, not even all the sweaters. There is a whole nother subset of summer sweaters and spring sweaters. I'm just saying, sometimes when you have a big day and it's 11:30 at night, the sweaters might be a little overwhelming.

But the big day demands it: the outfit must be assembled, the sweaters must yield one of their kind to complete the ensemble, and a scarf must rise from all its sisters folded in the scarf box. In other words, the 'what to wear' of the big day must be prepared, just as the documents for the big day have been organized into their Google Drive file, and the sandwiches have been ordered, and the schedule has been published high and low, and individual emails to a billion people have been sent. For clothes maketh the woman, or something, and also: shoes maketh the big day bearable to contemplate, if they are comfortable.

Did I say I was going to recommend some things? Okay, I will recommend:

not my dress.
1. A new dress. I'm recommending this even if you have a lot of old dresses, as I do, or if you don't wear dresses, then a lot of old whatever it is you do wear. (No offense.) Sometimes, a new dress just crystallizes a moment. It speaks to you. It says: Wear me and you shall feel polished, pulled together, efficient. It says: Wear me and there shall be no residue of old, ordinary days.  I know: my clothes should probably not be taking this hortatory tone with me. But when you have an immanent big day, you'll take the wisdom you get, even if said wisdom emanates from a plain but stylish gray sheath dress with slash pockets, which is what sold it to you in the first place.

not my scarf.
2. Silk scarf. Will never go amiss, and that is no overstatement. How light! how shimmery! How very bright and yet elegant it is. It came from someplace exotic, it was brought home to me by a friend, I bought it at T.J. Maxx--whatever its provenance, it's silk and silk means business, scarf-wise, and in terms of pulling the outfit together.

cute! (but not
my cardigan.)
3. Cardigan. Have I shared with you my love of the cardigan? Perhaps not, so let me just say: I have become a collector--it's exactly the right word, not to say hoarder--of cardigans. I like them a little on the long side and sometimes a lot on the long side, and I like them thin, and I like them in all the colors. Despite the fact that I have a lot of cardigans (see above: I have a lot of sweaters), I am not sure that I have all the cardigans I need. For instance, I may or may not have enough pink cardigans. Be that as may be: I am lucky that a persimmon colored cardigan spoke from the depths of my sweater cupboard and reminded me that gray and orange are a good combination, especially in the spring, and especially for a big day, when a shot of color may just be the thing that gets me through.

you know I wish these
were my shoes. (but
these are not my shoes.)
4. Snappy shoes. Also may be the things that get me through, especially if they are (a) pearl gray, and (b) low-heeled. Which mine are. So, I'm just saying that, with these shoes and the other outfit components I have recommended above, the odds of my big day tomorrow going okay seem ever so slightly more likely to be be in my favor.

Either that, or I'll have to fight to the death in The Hunger Games. But, you know, that scarf--it can probably be used as a slingshot and a garrote--it's that versatile.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Short letters.

Dear my neck,

I feel I should apologize to you, for the fact that you have been aching for four days. I'm sorry, truly.

But I also feel like the two airplane flights I took on Sunday should apologize to you. And the people whom I was sitting next to, against whom I did not want to lean, and therefore leaned hard the other way--maybe they should apologize, just a tiny little apology, even though it was I who, in fact, did the leaning.

Also a strange hotel bed, and sitting in uncomfortable chairs for three days--all should apologize to you, my neck, for making you sore, and compounding the soreness.

However, my neck, today, the 100 emails I wrote should apologize, and abjectly. One hundred emails is too many and I am certain that they should, collectively, own up to their share of the hurt.

In the end, though, apologies only go so far. After that, it's got to be ibuprofen.

Okay, I'm getting it right now,



Dear fire alarm,

I admit, I was annoyed to hear you go off, after I had just put on my gym clothes to work out. Sometimes, when one is feeling tired, a little bit of mental twistiness needs to happen to make the workout actually 'happen.' Fire alarm, I think you'll have to admit that you pretty much created an insurmountable obstacle to my best intentions.

No, really: I want you to admit it.

I will, in turn, acknowledge that I did appreciate the fact that, if you had to go off--as in, I guess, a real alarm situation--you waited until after all my clothes were actually on.

Tomorrow = upper body work, I guess,



Dear soup,

Today, you were the 'on the other hand,' the compensation for a disruption of plans. When I waited outside the gym to see if the alarm would cease its decibelitude, I thought: well, if it doesn't stop, I'll go home and maybe I'll take a walk.

Then, when the alarm kept ringing, I thought, maybe I'll go home and take a rest, and then take a walk.

When the fire truck rolled up, I got in my car and thought, Maybe I'll go home, soak beans for soup, take a rest, and put the maybe-walk in brackets.

Soup, today I constituted you out of sophisticated white beans soaked with bay leaf and coriander seeds, then cooked in broth with sautéed red onion, sliced carrot, jalapeño, and a little bit of chopped kale. A pan of perfect cornbread did not go amiss.

I'm not saying I didn't need that walk, or the workout. But tonight, soup, you were hot and soothing and savory and delicious.

Could my workout have said the same?


Monday, March 23, 2015

Wild ones,

Why have we returned

from our flights across continents, our
being-above-clouds, our seashores and jasmine,

to this: emails, interfaces, documents,

to being belowground?

why these, blue Monday, these abrading
and ill fitting uniforms,
and not the indolent spring changelings

we felt ourselves to be only yesterday?

at least the wind is whipping
the night. at least

the street smells of rain and the blossom
on the tree looses its attar

at least our bare legs know the chill
of March, which is just

future April's backward look

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Top 10 things about being home.

1. I located the following in my kitchen, without having to give any of it a thought: box of pancake mix, egg, milk, sunflower oil, maple syrup, griddle, plug for griddle, butter, knife. My favorite mug. A yellow plate.

2. I slept till the blessed hour of 10 a.m.

3. The comfortable bed in my study.

4. Quiet morning.

5. Buying groceries for the week.

6. The sounds of my son's friends downstairs.

7. Going to my daughter's for 'hodge podge bbq,' her words, and eating outside while the children played and ran around, as if it were spring or something.

8. Bruiser, ever faithful, ever waggy, ever at the door when I'm carrying the groceries in from the car.

9. My bed, ever faithful, ever cozy, ever the best night sleep guarantor. Well, usually.

10. The whole street has burst into bloom.

(the item that is without number): Seeing the historian at the airport, and when I woke up. Taking a walk in the morning and evening with him and Bruiser. Listening to him at his desk in the next room. Watching television together.

Tomorrow: work. But today: home.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Airport action.

(I feel a series coming on, possibly.)

It was admittedly lame, but I just couldn't come up with a plan for the last afternoon I had, several hours unspoken for, in Tampa. I walked along Channelside Drive to what was ostensibly a shopping area, despite a web review that had warned of its decline. Oh yes: I could feel its declension from the moment I spotted its anchor chain restaurant, a Hooters, from a block away.

Still, I walked around its offerings, and then walked back. There was nothing there for me. What would I do? I felt tired, and I didn't feel like navigating an unfamiliar city on my own. I went back to my hotel--although it was not exactly my hotel, not since I had checked out a few hours before. So I scammed off their free lobby wifi, graded a little, and read a little, and stewed a little, stewed myself into feeling (a) a little hungry and (b) like maybe I should go to the airport, even though it was early.

Here are the things I've done since I was at the Tampa International Airport:

1. waltzed through security because I have TSA Pre status, which never fails to make me feel special.

2. considered all of my airport dining options by cruising them several times each. I ultimately opted for an airport iteration of what is apparently a Tampa establishment, if its own PR is to be believed. I had some tapas--champiñones rellenos and coca de langosta--and both were pretty darn good. You know, for airport food.

3. graded two discussions.

4. shot this tiny Hyperlapse:


I think I feel more settled at the airport because I know what's what at an airport. I don't have to decide whether to learn how to deal with a trolley system and where it will take me and if I will be too far to make it back to grab my stuff to get to the airport on time. I don't--and this is key--have to talk to a person who will give me human-sized, and therefore unverifiable except through trial and error, advice about these matters.

I am not impressed with my own thinking here. On the other hand, I'm also recognizing that I've been at max effort for so much of the time this semester that I kind of needed a less than herculean effort this weekend. Hence the opt out, eat in philosophy which I have embraced so wholeheartedly. Hence the current acknowledgment  of my inner hermit, and letting that hermit take the wheel, as it were. If I had a car. If I had had a car, maybe I would have mapped out an itinerary instead of making the airport, at the end of my conferencing adventure, my home away from home.


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