And See What You Found Was

Siobhan: Didn’t you just buy jeans?
Tata: I bought three pair three weeks ago, yep.
Siobhan: Why are you buying jeans, then?
Tata: Remember last time we went shopping? I said, “I can’t go home without clothing because I have none.” Remember that? I’ve decided I can avoid Pants Emergencies through preemptive procurement.
Siobhan: Right, then. No more Pants Emergencies.
Tata: Speaking of which, don’t ask what I’m wearing.

Sometimes, I’m broke and eschew clothes shopping in favor of bill-paying. Sometimes, I don’t like what I see in the stores and make do with a little of this and a little of that. I don’t like owning more clothing than fits in a dresser and a small closet; I change sizes often and give things away the moment they constrict movement at all. Siobhan has threatened more than once to turn me in to What Not To Wear when I appeared at her door in a raincoat, a pajama top and –

Siobhan: Are you wearing a duvet cover?
Tata: Yes, but I stole it.
Siobhan: A stolen duvet cover! That’s still not at all clothing!

Siobhan really just wants the best for me.

Tata: When I turned up in a red vinyl mini skirt, what did you say?
Siobhan: “Where’d you get that? Off the body of a dead hooker?”
Tata: And that Halloween the gold coins wouldn’t stay glued to my boobs?
Siobhan: “Caramel sauce is not outerwear.”
Tata: Have I not worn bubble wrap to parties and a gold lame toga to bars? A red sequin dress with combat boots to an airport? My grandmother’s black velvet bathrobe to a funeral?
Siobhan: You have, and if you darken my door in sweat pants, it’s Clinton and Stacy for you!

So…yeah. I put on underwear, which is always a special occasion, and found a pair of Levi’s that actually fit at Sears for $12.98. Siobhan will believe that when she sees it.

And Be One Of Us

Don’t kid yourself: I’m a freaking prize, especially if you have to live with me. I get up at a stupid hour, push myself like riot police and demand a lot from the people around me. Pete was having back trouble so I sikked a Pilates teacher and two massage therapists on him before he decided to join me on my bike ride to work every morning. He rides with me, rides around the park near the library and rides home and – hooray! – Pete’s exercising three or four more days per week. My powers: they work for Good! On the other hand, one of my friends allowed as how she got kicked out of the Jehovah Witnesses, was excommunicated and everything. I’ve been tossed out of bars, fired from jobs, asked to leave one high school, two colleges and a religious retreat; I’ve cheated on boyfriends, slept with half a town, including married men and women, and I’d do almost every wicked thing I’ve ever done again, but even I have never been kicked out of an entire religion. What’ve I done wrong?

In Early Memory Mission Music

Spain. Not actual size.

This year’s Vuelta a EspaƱa has been chaotic, with moments of real brilliance and monumental dumb bunnyness. About a week ago, Andy Schleck, one of the best bike racers in the world, got tossed out for a late night of drinking, which has got to be the very height of What were you thinking? Yesterday, a crash took out race leader Igor Anton, who got up from the ground but didn’t even get back on the bike. The weather in southern Spain was sunny, with temperatures between 90 and 105 degrees, but at the start of today’s Stage 15, there was rain, fog and about a 50 degree temperature drop. This evening, it’s rained here in New Jersey and the fire’s gone out of the summer. Topaz rests on my lap, content to hold very still, watching, watching.

Like Madness In the Spring

Photo: Bob Hosh

Tata: Bob, would you mind if I blog your photo, crediting you, of course?

Bob: As long as you mention its unusual naughty bits.

Tata: Would you care to write your own description of these naughty bits?

Bob: Today’s flower is the “Mexican Sunflower” or “Torch” (Tithonia rotundifolia). It is a native of Mexico and is usually grown as an annual in North America; it will grow 6 feet tall and butterflies love this flower. Photographed at Solebury Orchards Cutting Garden, Solebury, PA. Enjoy and have a nice day!

Who Knows the Meaning of Uh

Did you know nail color has seasons? This is as out as last winter's bunny slippers.

Nails wet! Need new top coat! Nothing could be less important, of course, except that I am a middle-aged Italian-American woman with a white collar job in a temperature-controlled pressure cooker, and I never – never – leave the house with chipped polish. An hour into my work day, I may discover my sweater’s inside out or I’m wearing different jeans than I thought, but my nails are done, which may be the only thing about my entire day over which I have an iota of control. Omigod, what am I wearing?

This season's colors, soon to be sticking out of my formal bicycle gloves.

Pete and I live very austere lives for Americans: we work six days a week, use eco-friendly products, hang-dry our laundry, bicycle all over the place, reuse stuff almost to the point of obsession; we compost and stay home for fun because our cats let us. Our means are modest, as are our needs: we save up, buy good gear and plan to use it for years, which is a healthy way to regard buying good shoes, but a terrible way to buy nail polish. I find myself perpetually in need of newer, stranger and more exciting colors, which I attribute to my failure to manipulate lactose-intolerant Pete into making me a tasty cheese fondue. So blue polish will now remind me of long-lost gruyere.

Three Little Birds Pitch By

It's like a postcard from Ta's Brain Works Again Camp.

As soon as I’m done writing, I’m going to don my glad rags and throw a jar labeling party. Woohoo! Pete jarred marinara; I jarred peppers in oil and Minstrel Boy’s Canned Peaches, spiced with Ras el Hanout. Sure, we’re having an adventure in playing with our food, but for me this is something more: after the dismal fog of depression, medication and brain damage, it feels fantastic to be able to learn again.

Smart is sexy.

Seems like most folks learn jarring and canning at Grandma’s elbow, and, sure, I recall being impressed into peeling and dicing service as a young teenager, but I didn’t really learn anything except that you really, really don’t want hot wax making contact with your youthful epidermis. One also learned that food preservation is an investment into a secure future based on past privation: my step-grandmother, who grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania, jarred watermelon rinds. For a kid from the middle of New Jersey in the seventies, this is the beginning of examining a plate of food for meaning and not knowing enough to put on gloves.

Should you have occasion to buy me a present, this offers a lovely selection of yarns terrific for cat blankets that benefit the people who are cats, and the people who recycle silk or grow alpacas, via the Greater Good store. That kind of gift rocks: it passes through my hands on its way back into the world.