15 December 2014


So, in the spirit, as previously mentioned, of occasionally Dressing Like a Professional, I now own a couple of shells to wear under suits. Specifically, I own two silk ones and one that I originally thought looked and acted like silk, but now I know better. (Polyester = static. NEVER AGAIN.)

I'm sure you can imagine exactly how much damage I can do to silk.

One of them is black, so that one is a little more indestructible.

The other one is a nice bright blue, and the first time I wore it, I went to an event after working hours. I got a glass of club soda, but the nice people behind the bar added some cranberry juice for flavor. I  also got a straw. Everything tastes better through a straw, especially when the glass has ice in it. (Because otherwise you have to try to sip around the ice when you tip the cup.)

Of course five minutes into making small talk with other lawyers, I flipped the straw out of my glass, spattering cranberry-soda onto my silk shell. My dry clean only silk shell. Lovely. 

Cue ridiculous amounts of googling regarding dry clean only silk and whether hand washing it would send it to instant doom. 

Googling suggested that there is only one kind of silk that truly cannot be hand-washed. The rest is just over-cautiousness on the part of the manufacturer, who does not want to be blamed when you ruin your clothes. 

I decided to risk it. This shell cost me $6. (I had rewards from b@n@n@ republic.) At $6, I could almost just buy another if I ruined this one. I did, however, go purchase Ivory dish soap for the gentleness factor. (Googling tells me that I should have bought the Ivory laundry detergent. Blame Target. They didn't have it. Or any other gentle detergent.)

Here is what I did (in case you ever have a similar dilemma): I put a light dusting of Borax into the bottom of a big metal bowl. I added cool water and a bit of Ivory dish soap. I dunked the silk shell a couple of times, then emptied the bowl and rinsed the shell a couple of times. I did not scrub it or ring it out. Instead, I laid it on a towel and rolled the towel up around it, squeezing the towel roll. Then I hung it up to dry.

It worked miraculously, until late that night after I had taken out my contacts and, to see if the spots were all gone, I leaned too close to the shell and touched my nose to it. My nose that was still wet from the sinus rinse I had just used.

I had to wash it again (yesterday) to get the waterspots out. 

I wore it today. Guess what I had to do tonight?

I cannot be trusted to avoid spills. 

12 December 2014


I went to put fuel in my car last night (it was either give in and fill the tank or test just exactly how much fuel I have left after the fuel light starts to come on intermittently), and the guy working at the gas station was young, friendly, and black. He was wearing a lumberjack hat with flaps down over his ears that flopped around when he turned his head. 

I was struck, again, again, again, by the fundamental unfairness of the world. 

It is not fair that this nice young man (I feel old) should have to worry when he goes out into the world that he will be stopped by the police for things that I can do without concern, and that after he gets stopped he has to worry that if he doesn't keep his hands in exactly the right place and act exactly the right level of compliant, he might be arrested or shot. It is not fair.*

It happened again today. I read this article in the New York Times about how black girls in school are punished more harshly than white girls, and darker-skinned black girls are punished more harshly than lighter-skinned black girls. It is not fair. 

Sometimes I just want to go out into the world and show people, and say, "See? It isn't fair." I want to believe that everyone would see that if I showed them, and everyone would want to fix it.

It isn't fair. 

And it should be.


* Note that this is not a criticism of police officers. It is a criticism of institutional racism that permeates all of us, including police officers. See, for example, this article on How Our Brains Perceive Race. In order to change things, we have to fight the patterns with which our brains have become comfortable. We ALL have to fight the patterns with which our brains have become comfortable. 

And the thing about comfortable patterns is that it is hard to break out of them. It is hard even to want to break out of them because, well, it's uncomfortable. But we have to do it, if we want to make this world better.

I want to believe that we all want to make this world better. 

11 December 2014

two randoms

I randomly really like Taylor Swift's new song Blank Space. 

Only, true confessions, that line where she says, "Got a long list of ex-lovers"?

Until I looked up the lyrics a week ago, I thought she was saying, "Gotta love my Starbucks lovers," and I thought she might be talking about writing the guy's name on the coffee cup in the, um, blank space. 

Even now that I know the truth, I sing along incorrectly about half the time. 

Yeah, that's embarrassing.

(ETA: Or not so embarrassing. I am not the only one.)


Driving home this afternoon, I was on a pretty main road, the sort of road with two lanes in each direction and a middle turn lane that occasionally turns into islands to keep the pedestrians safe.

Suddenly there was a man walking down the middle of the street, brown hair blowing in the wind, with his hands out like he was holding bicycle handlebars. 

And he wasn't just walking. He was grinning, turning the handlebars and his body like he was speeding down a hill.

10 December 2014


Hours spent on the phone with various health care providers and health insurance companies today: approximately 2.5.

Why: I paid extra this year for an insurance plan that purported to have better prescription coverage, only to find that the company excluded a bunch of my prescriptions from their generic coverage (even though they ARE generics), costing me even more than the extra I was already paying for the insurance I thought would cover them.

Result of prior insurance coverage: I am currently not taking most of my allergy medication. I have sinus headaches on the regular again.

Result of today's 2.5 hours on the phone: an insurance plan that is $60 less per month and covers everything I need at generic prices, with one or two necessary prior authorizations.

Further result of today's 2.5 hours on the phone: I now know that no one really knows how health insurance works. I had to piece together whether my prescriptions would be covered with information from two insurance companies, two doctors' offices, one pharmacy, and one medical records company.

09 December 2014


State of Happiness is the land of rainbows. We do not have to content ourselves with the occasional pretty spectrum of colors in the sky here, because it so often rains and suns at the same time that rainbows are numerous and brilliant. Double rainbows are not uncommon. 

Today, driving back to Gone West from a meeting, there was a short but very wide and very bright rainbow over on the right side of the highway. I'm actually not sure I've ever seen another rainbow like it. It was nearly as wide as it was tall.

I tried to take a photo through my windshield, as one does, while driving 60 mph on the highway (I was merging, otherwise I would have been driving faster), but it was too far away and the iPhone does not exactly specialize in zoom. 

You will have to settle for my description: short, wide, bright. 

07 December 2014

pingety pongety

I went to play pingpong today at the invitation of a new friend. 

It had probably been 20 years since I last played pingpong. We may (?) have had a pingpong table in our basement at one point, but we didn't play much. 

Initially, I was terrible. I couldn't return the ball at all. I couldn't have returned the ball if someone offered me one million dollars. (I wish they had offered me one million dollars, though.) I kept swinging too early, just as the ball came over the net, and then swinging again as it passed me, missing both times. 

"I don't know how you manage to get two swings in!" my new friend said, as I actually hit the ball on the second swing one time. 

The game came back pretty quickly, and within a few minutes I was hitting the majority of the directly lobbed balls. By the end of the night, I could sometimes even keep the ball relatively low, rather than letting it bounce high into the air. I still missed it when my opponent had any skill at spin or aim, and I have a bad tendency to swing too hard. 

It sort of makes me miss real tennis, although I would probably need an occupational therapist on speed dial if I ever decided to use my golf elbow arm that way again.

05 December 2014

tins #4 and #5

Tin #4 of the Advent Calendar (which I forgot until tonight because I spent yesterday evening helping a friend move) was full of Trader Joe's Coconut Flakes. So delicious.

I immediately opened Tin #5, even though I thought about saving it for tomorrow so as to save the treat, only it wasn't a treat! It was cute little gold-and-green earrings left by Sinterklaas, because it is Sinterklaas Eve.

I will take little surprises every day all year long for $800, Alex. This is fun.