Saturday, August 30, 2008

Things I Want To Buy

Or, Thing I Want to Buy Based On The Misguided, Consumerist Idea That Weather Changes Require An Entirely New Wardrobe.

Nail Polish: Yesterday, a very tall stranger and I had a long chat about the unavailability of Sephora by OPI nail polish in Metro Chic. It's a dark purpley grey color, and apparently it's all the rage. Like that one time Chanel made a black polish and it was sold out instantly (only this time $9 instead of $20-something). It's the only color of 50-something sold out online. Then the tall stranger looked down at the polish I was holding, the closest matching color, and said, "Oh, and I see you've got the last bottle of that one." I mumbled and looked around awkwardly, then walked to the register quickly.

Tights: Specifically, these ingenious two-toned tights from Chanel. Maybe they are a little theatrical, a little court-jester, but they also seem like a fantastic alternative to the current options of plain black or figure-distorting lace/net tights.

Unfortunately, the real Chanels are $230 dollars. Fortunately, they seem popular and interesting enough that I hope Urban Outfitters or H&M will have a knock-off available by the time the weather actually requires tights.

Speaking of H&M: It opens within walking distance on September 12. I'm two weeks away from the fulfillment of a dream that has waited many years. Equal parts joy and fear that constant proximity will dull the sharp fabulousness of what's been till now only an European and New York experience. But I'm happy to think I'll have more time for museums and friends, being less compelled to madly race around Manhattan gathering cheap stylish garments, when I visit in December.

Giant handbags: I saw two really fabulous, really large, leather bags at Gap in U Village. When I asked the man at the counter when they might go on sale, he said not for a while, if at all. Maybe I will find a friend who can give me a discount. Or maybe someone will think my birthday is actually in early September and buy me an inexplicably generous present. If people will actually pay $230 for tights, anything can happen.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Autumn Tour of Friends Who've Left Me

I bought plane tickets to Chicago and New York! That's half the transportation for my Autumn Tour of Friends Who've Left Me. I'll buy tickets from Manhattan to Northampton and home from Boston once Jill confirms exactly which days she'll be available -- hopefully soon. The Alaska flight I want home is still empty, but I don't want to wait too long.

Autumn quarter will be exciting, and will go very quickly, but right now November 27th seems a very long way away. I didn't realize till now that I'm exactly 3 months away (or, was yesterday) from departure.

I'm already planning what to pack. I hope to take only a large purse + carry on. Lysondra says she's heard horror stories of Chicago winter, and I can't imagine NYC or Boston will be any warmer. I plan boots and sweaters and maybe skirts with thick tights. Pants would be warmer, but I hate that they drag in puddles. And, of course, the big MJ coat I found at the Rack a few weeks ago. I wore it around the house last night, watching Sex and the City and cleaning my closet.

I called my mom to tell her we'd need to reschedule Thanksgiving, and she said, in a very low voice, "Ooh, Raven!" Though I don't think it's a huge deal, Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday. But it felt kind of good to elicit some response beyond our usual polite conversation, to be the high-maintenance daughter for once. Caitie just turned 21, and has started skydiving. It's hard to compete with that.

Scheduling time with friends made me feel a bit like a parent juggling favorite siblings -- on my spreadsheet of expenses, timeline, and details, I charted how many days I'd get to spend with everyone. Manhattan and Kelsey win by a landslide -- I can explore easiest on my own while Kelsey and Graham are at work, Brian will hopefully come for part, and Manhattan is of course the most exciting place. Half my time with Sarah and Jill will be spent in the smaller college towns of Ann Arbor, MI and Northampton, MA. Of NoHo (as Jill called it), I've only heard one vivid description: the dustiness of a bookstore.

Nonetheless! I am enthused to visit friends, and cities with a history. The Wikitravel page for Boston talks about the battles of Lexington and Concord, and the first public school in the States. It makes me want to read some Sarah Vowel on the plane.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Weekend Away

In preparation for our weekend away, Brian asked if there would be Internet. Melissa referred to the house as a "cabin." And I thought Cle Elum's Historic Telephone Museum might be the height of excitement.

Ooh, what low expectations. The gatehouse we passed when entering the planned community hinted that we would not officially be "roughing it." A few miles later, we pulled up to the most high-end house I've ever personally muddied the doormat of: high, heavy-beamed ceilings and enormous custom furniture, fluffy bedspreads and champagne in the fridge. This pristine rustic place was like being at once the center of the universe, around which lowly ordinary houses revolve, and being the only thing in existence -- no neighbors in sight.

But it's amazing how quickly awe fades into entitlement. Why shouldn't we drink mimosas with breakfast and lounge around in the sun? If we felt any discomfort at being out of our unimpressive elements, it left us quickly. The second day, we returned from the adjoining resort's pool + waterslides and took over the house with Rock Band at excessive volumes. (Not that any of us are so underprivileged -- we all went to college. Those who are unemployed aren't exactly struggling. Of the seven of us, only one didn't have an iPhone.)

I'd worried a bit about spending the whole weekend together. This group has been getting together regularly for years, for game nights and Lost and holiday parties. But we don't exactly do sleep-overs. Fortunately the time together, and maybe the alcohol or 103° heat, brought out some fun childishness without any cranky juvenile behaviour. Even when things went awry (we discovered the scenic beach was a redneck parking lot of SUVs and large dogs), we recovered quickly. By the end, we'd spend a significant amount of time on underwater hand-stand competitions and Olympics-inspired triple-axle attempts on the patio.

But. I was ready to go home by dinnertime of the third day, and it seemed to take forever to get people moving through dinner and chocolate-chip-cookie baking. Brian and Buster went home the second day, for work and to bark at the mailman, respectively, and an array of other friends is no replacement. I was happy it only took an hour to get back, so I could sit on my own couch. And as much as a hate our scummy carpet and blah apartment, someone else's fancy weekend house is no replacement for home.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Delusions of pregnancy and grandeur

I lazily caught a crowded bus to U Village yesterday (um, very important business). A man began to stand, to offer me his seat, and I told him, "No, that's OK, I'm getting off at the next stop."

He sat and I considered whether I felt demeaned to be offered a seat. I'm younger that he is, I thought. I'm female, I'm not incapable of standing. It's not like I'm wearing heels, or pregnant.

And then, even worse, I thought, What if he did think I was pregnant?

. . .

Fall fashions at Anthropologie consoled me. I was very good and put back even the cheapest sale items (because who really needs another skirt?) until I saw a small purple jacket. Ooh, clothing! Why do you tempt me? You know autumn especially is my weakness.

I spoke with a sales girl all about the new catalogue. Even better: new Nordstrom catalogue. A gorgeous cover by R. Toledo, and pages flooded with dark, cozy, proper clothing. Long coats and big leather bags, and so much deep purple. I showed Brian a $1,395 Fendi watch with my birthdate on the face. He didn't think it was quite the sign of destiny I did. He also said it looked just like my current watch, which I intended as a sign that I quite like the style. Apparently, to some an established personal taste is redundancy.

. . .

I think the economic downturn, combined by autumn's usual influence toward more conservative, vaguely-academic/equestrian apparel, has driven fashion in a pretty classic direction. No shocking new trends. Magazines discuss purchases that will last a lifetime -- wardrobe investments. Flattering shapes, predictable autumn colors, versatile feminine styles.

I don't mind it at all. As much fun as it is to be intrigued by Balenciaga tulip-shaped skirts, or entertained by a glowing lime green MJ bag, my personal purchases have moved consistently toward things I expect to wear indefinitely. It doesn't always work out (I swear, I always think I will wear that magenta Brooks Brothers coat more often, but then it never seems quite right). But at least I can pay more realistic attention to a catalogue full of wearable pieces than some bizarre show of which designer can make us look silliest by "experimenting with form." I don't want my form experimented with, I want it flattered. It has enough trouble on it's own, apparently (see pregnancy entry above).

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Side Effects of Boyfriends Working Late

or, The Foam Roller Experiment Part I.

Perhaps I need to develop my technique.

The Campaign

It's not very often we get to laugh and cringe a little at the same time, but this NY Times headline is like a punchline with no joke attached:

McCain Tries to Define Obama as Out of Touch

Fortunately for the Times, McCain's computer illiteracy will keep him from discovering the media bias in
the actual article.