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I love how I can rely on my friends and readers for interesting prompts for the Random Thursday blogs. This one came out of a Twitter conversation on how frustrating I find it to try to shop for work clothes, given the number of intersecting constraints that fall out of my life choices, including the need for bicycle compatibility. (And that’s before we get into my relatively strict preferences for fiber types and color patterns.) When a couple of people mentioned bicycling in skirts and I noted that I Don’t Wear Skirts For Work and that the reasons were complex enough they’d need a blog rather than Twitter, the response was, “OK, do it.”

I was born in 1958 in a middle-class American family. That context means a lot of things, but in particular it means that—as a girl—I was put into dresses pretty much from the cradle and that the schools I attended required me to wear dresses at school almost all the way up through the end of high school. (If I recall correctly, they changed the dress code at my high school the very last year I was there.)

This did not sit well with me. For the first part of my life, it wasn’t about gender presentation, it was about mobility. The family story goes that I never really crawled “normally”, I started out with a sort of “up on all fours” locomotion with hands and feet rather than hands and knees. Well, duh! Have you ever tried to crawl with skirts on? Once I got to school age, I would change out of dresses as soon as I got home into something more compatible with running around in the yard and building forts out of picnic tables such like. (There’s another vivid memory from this era: one time in kindergarten I decided it would be more practical to wear my shorts and t-shirt underneath my dress to go to school so it would be simpler to change when I got home. I recall being frustrated at not being able to explain the perfectly reasonable logic behind this to my mother’s satisfaction.)

It was never so much that I actively disliked dresses—my mother designed and made a lot of my school clothes and I rather liked that—but I disliked compulsory dresses. And as a shy loner I never got into performing femininity as a bonding activity with friends. (No friends.) Long after I was out on my own, there were delicate family battlegrounds about what I was going to wear to special events like weddings and anniversaries. When I got to college, I pretty much ditched skirts entirely as everyday wear and never looked back. Except for costuming, of course. That was also when I discovered historic re-creation and an outlet for the creative sewing I’d always enjoyed. And it was also when I started figuring out that I wasn’t heterosexual. Clothing started getting even more complicated than before.

I’m going to skip a lot of the rest of the autobiography and style development and jump to the present status. As a costumer, as a student of social sciences, and as a participant in corporate and academic cultures, I’m strongly aware of the use and unavoidability of clothing as a communication medium and a social signifier. I don’t fight this; I embrace it. But I embrace it on my own terms. When I switched from being just a grad student to being a teaching assistant, I made a massive shift in my wardrobe to symbolize “I am an authority figure and need to show respect for my position.” When I switched from having biotech jobs that entailed scrubs and lab coats to ones that involved desks and meetings, I made a similar shift for similar reasons. I’ve even gone through a few periods where I played with upping my game to blazers and scarves (though that has some practical aspects given the irregular temperature control at in the building). But what I don’t do is wear skirts or dresses.

Some of that is practical. Both my grad school time and my corporate time have typically involved a certain amount of bicycle commuting. And—with a nod to my abovementioned friends who are happy riding bicycles in skirts—I’ve never been comfortable doing that, purely on a physical basis. But a lot of it has to do with specific signaling regarding gender relations.

It may be simplest to jump over to talking about historic costume first. Most of my historic dress is in the context of the Society for Creative Anachronism, which allows for (let us say gently) a lot of personal expression in the re-creation of historic clothing styles. It was also in my first few years in the SCA that I figured out that it wasn’t just that I wasn’t interested in boys, but I was actively interested in girls. I was way too shy and socially inept to really be able to communicate this directly to other people. But in putting on costumes and trying out personas, I could test the waters.

In a modern context, it’s been a long time since jeans and a t-shirt coded as “masculine” (as opposed to coding as “not femme”), but in the context of historic clothing, there are both much clearer distinctions between masculine and feminine styles, and (at least in the SCA) the potential for mixing those signifiers in ways that don’t map directly to modern expectations. From the beginning, I’ve done a lot of cross-dressing in the SCA not only for practicality (mobility, etc.) and for the sheer joy of creating a multiplicity of garment types, but for gender signaling. (See my article on this topic for a much more detailed discussion.) Because the SCA is about a sort of role-playing all the time, there’s a lower bar to trying out (trying on?) different roles than those people expect from you, and thus shaping their expectations. Back when I was still trying to figure out how to come out (which was harder than you might think in the ‘80s if you didn’t actually have a partner to be obvious with), wearing masculine-coded medieval clothing enabled me to break heteronormative expectations in the ways in which I interacted with women…and declined interactions with men.

Even now, decades later, when pretty much anybody who knows me by my medieval name knows my sexual orientation, there’s a palpable difference in the sexual overtones of interactions with both men and women based on whether I’m wearing male-coded or female-coded costumes. Even solidly heterosexual women are happy to flirt and make admiring comments when I’m wearing a male-coded costume. And men who barely say hello to me under ordinary circumstances will come up and compliment me when I’m wearing strongly female-coded costumes.

And that last point gets back to the topic of modern, everyday clothing. I’m not actually interested in having men notice what I’m wearing or feel that what I’m wearing gives them an invitation to interact with me on the topic of my appearance. I’m not doing it as a display for them. I’m not doing it as a social invitation to them. And frankly it makes me uncomfortable. In the context of the SCA, it’s an amusing sociological observation. At work, at family social functions, going through my everyday life, I choose to wear that shield of clothing that signals my opting out of heteronormativity. (Mind you, I don’t actually wear anything that would be unexpected if worn by a heterosexual woman—but I avoid wearing things that would tend to be interpreted as inviting male attention.)

And yet, I do wear dresses. I love wearing dresses. I like swirly skirts and sweeping lines and necklines that show off my awesome collarbones. But I wear them in contexts where I either know or trust the people around me not to interpret them in unintended ways. (I think I surprised my girlfriend by wearing a dress for last year’s Golden Crown Literary Society awards banquet. But you know? A lesbian publishing conference is the perfect example of a place where no one is going to think I’m signaling heteronormativity! It’s probably one of the most comfortable places I know to wear dresses.) But I’m not going to wear them at work, whether I’m bicycling or not.
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So the theory was that I was going to spruce up my Spring/Summer work wardrobe at the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale, like I have the last couple of years. But somehow I went astray. )

I'd been noticing this year that an awful lot of my friends were talking about having gone to various of the advance sales and asked one of the volunteers about that. I guess in addition to the Preview Sale in January (for which I think you have to be a museum society member) you can get in to the advance sales by donating a certain value of items for the sale. I think I'll have to look into how that works. Given the stuff I find on the one "official" sale weekend, it's intriguing to think what might be there before things get picked over.
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I'm looking forward to tomorrow's "let's play with cooking medievally over an open fire" thing. Just need to make sure I have my test recipes transcribed and all the relevant ingredients and equipment packed. (One shortcut is simply to pack my usual camp kitchen, although it doesn't normally have the ceramic cookpots in it.)

At work today I got to participate in the sort of investigational interview that includes someone from HR and a union rep. (Although I was technically the investigator, I let other people ask most of the questions.) In the end, the conclusion was that there were no data integrity issues, but it was a bit tense for a while.

My refinance proceeds smoothly so far. Today I got locked in for 4.875% (down from my current 6.5%) -- woo hoo! The only possible glitch will be if the house's appraised value has decreased too much for me to be within the desired equity limits. I think I'm ok -- I did some online research on and found at least one extremely comparable property in the near vicinity (but actually in a worse neighborhood) that sold last month for more than what I need to get appraised for, and as it turns out the house just opposite my back fence is listed on zillow with their "zestimate" also at comfortably more than the appraisal I need. Not a guarantee, but definitely confidence-building. And in any event, there's no real down side -- worst case is I continue with the current (fixed, 30yr) mortgage. But it would be sweet to get the lower rate.

Finished one of my alteration projects and almost have the gothic fitted dress finished. (Just need to add a couple more lacing holes and finish the hand-sewing on the sleeves.)
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A reasonably nice haul from the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale today. Like last year, I went mainly for the clothing this time, in the interests of working some more on overhauling my wardrobe. (Especially my work wardrobe.) Read more... )
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I may not have a date for the work gala dinner, but I have new pants. I decided that "semi-formal" does not encompass anything purchased in the work-clothes department of Orchard Supply, so I ventured forth to the Bay Street Mall and steeled myself to enter actual clothing stores. It was ... surprisingly painless. Both stores that I checked out had at least one style that I was interested in wearing at a price I was interested in paying. (Both ended up being on sale over and above that.) And both stores had this startling notion that I wear size 10 pants. (I think this is part of the "you pay a little more, you get to wear a smaller size" phenomenon, because the OSH size 12 pants don't feel significantly too large.) The ones I got for the dinner (to go with the electric blue silk shirt) are black velveteen. I realized one significant oversight in my plans when I got home and went to try them on again. Black velveteen pants. White cat. BLack velveteen pants. White cat. The ankles of the pants were coated in white hair before I even had the fly zipped.

Hey, you never know -- someday I may venture far enough outside the box to buy pants in some color other than black. (But they go with everything.)
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You know that thing with powerful magnets where the closer the similar poles get together the more powerfully they repulse? That's my attention and an "owed" project the closer it gets to completion. But I will -- I absolutely will -- finish the book review before walking out of the Sweet Adeline cafe this morning, and I will -- I absolutely will -- finish the presentation for "Cuisine Without Cookbooks" before going to bed tonight. This probably means that tomorrow I'll decide to veg out entirely and get nothing useful of mine done. (Ok, so in what sense is the cooking class "not mine"? I volunteered. It will be fun. It stems from topics and approaches I feel passionately interested in. Nobody held a gun to my head. And yet ... and yet ....)

I think I shall sew tomorrow. I took the 14th c. "party dress" to one of [ profile] etaine_pommier's sewing nights and ripped out all the body and sleeve seams then got help pinning it up for alteration. The other morning I tried on the gray flannel suit coat and realized that I could make it fit again by virtue of taking in just the back and side seams and resetting the sleeves. This same approach may work for the forest green brushed denim coat, but I'll leave that for another time. And last weekend I picked up a handful of blouse-lengths of deep-discount "necktie silks" from Discount Fabrics (plus one polyester that snuck in on me and will be rejected). After last weekend's heat wave, it's been feeling like autumnish weather all week and I have a desire to get my colder-weather work wardrobe in shape.

So far the program to start waking up early enough to work out in the mornings has been successful. Two weekday mornings of waking up at the 6am radio and not drifting back off to sleep again. The second step, of course, is getting myself out of bed and out the door on a reasonable schedule. I have until October 1 to work up to being up and out the door by, oh, say 6:15, which theoretically gives me time for an hour workout, shower and change, and get to work by 8am. (Which is only a target, not a deadline -- my fixed commitments don't start until ca. 9am, but if I let my workday slip that late, then I'm getting off at 6pm and have lost much of the advantage of the morning workout.) Yes, I really do strategize this intensely over trivial details of my daily schedule. It helps overcome the magnetic repulsion force.
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The impromptu dinner party went off swimmingly, despite the last-minute substitution of the Downstairs Tenant for [ profile] klwilliams (who was feeling poorly) and a minor delay due to [ profile] scotica time-shifting the event in her memory. [ profile] cnewsonsmith filled out the fourth. We started with an appetizer of green olives and prosciutto-wrapped melon then moved straight to the main course of roast pork tenderloin encrusted with herbs de Provence, steamed crookneck squash with Hollandaise and grated cheddar, and green beans braised with garlic and brown mushrooms. By tradition, I forgot that I'd been planning a mixed-grain pilaf, since I pretty much reflexively omit grains and starches these days. We finished with the barest taste of red-currant pudding, topped with creme fraiche and shaved chocolate, with coffee to accompany. After-dinner entertainment was a word-category game and a debate concerning the U.S. healthcare system.

Remember how I've been whining about how I'm bored with my wardrobe? Well, I made it to the Oakland Museum White Elephant Sale today and started making a stab at the problem. For those not familiar with it, this is the annual fundraiser for the Oakland Museum -- basically a gigantic rummage sale ... with really nice rummage. I piddled around for about 3/4 of the warehouse area spending 75 cents on some bentwood boxes, finding no interesting books, and reminding myself that furniture was right out because I had to carry everything back on BART. I took note of an electric rotisserie (but it was gone when I went back later, which I took as A Sign). And then I got around to the clothing section, which I've generally ignored in past years. But it occurred to me that I should poke around and see if any of the shirts and blouses appealed. The next thing you know, I'm having to make a rule that when I can no longer get my hand around all the hooks of the hangers, I have to stop and find the cashier. To try to get around the problem of always buying the same old same old, I tried to stick to a simple two-part filter: it had to be good, quality, natural fibers (basically silk or linen), and it had to fit. I ended up with 12 (twelve) tops at $2-5 each. I think it was 5 long-sleeved silk button-down shirts, 2 ditto of linen, 2 china silk shells, 2 silk knit sleeveless thingies, and one silk knit t-shirt-like-object with embroidery. Oh, and I fell in love with a coat. A gorgeous tailored, 3/4 length dark gray herringbone tweed coat by Cable Car Clothiers. (They aren't showing this particular item currently on their web site, but based on other stuff listed there, the chances are I got a $500 coat for $28. Oh, and did I mention it's gorgeous?) So I think I've made a good start on un-boring my wardrobe. I would have tried on some pants, but I had to get home to start dinner, and besides which it would have involved a lot more time and effort to try them on (whereas the shirts could be tried on over what I was wearing, standing right there at the racks).
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1. I have the Tree Guy scheduled to come out tomorrow morning to discuss a quote for various tree-related operations. I really do get around to these things eventually.

2. Pursuant to an exchange with [ profile] anotheranon I think I know what sewing project I feel like pulling out and finishing.

3. I decided not to try to brave the Tahoe traffic to daytrip to do some skiing this weekend (especially since there may be active snowing going on), but I've put in a bid with [ profile] scotica to do a ski weekend in February.

4. Given #3, I think I will do my best to get to the Crosston Ball to play dance music. This is credit towards the "play more music" irresolution.

5. Must make sure I have all the presentations, handouts, and materials in order for the classes I'm teaching up in An Tir next weekend. This is Sunday's assignment.
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1. A beautiful warm sunny day calls for doing yard work. (Yes, I know it's still mid-January.) I weeded the strip along the driveway where the daffodils and crocuses are starting to come up, then continued with random pruning until the green-trash can was full.

2. Wah! My favorite bra shop no longer exists. I even looked it up on-line before driving down to San Leandro and all signs indicated that it was still there in the same location, but that storefront now has a dress shop. They were the only place I could trust to not only get the fit right but to have non-underwire bras in my size.

3. The carrot clumps do work nicely on cucumber slices. (And the carrot paste does freeze well.) This is useful information.

4. I have begun on my resolution to shift back into "creative" mode by sewing a pair of silk pyjamas last night. The local discount fabric shop has these weird bolt-ends of silk and silk-like fabrics that appear to be refugees from a tie factory at ridiculously low prices. Not exactly patterns that I'd use for costuming, but the plum with little navy blue paisleys makes nice pyjamas.

5. I have entered women's clothes sizing hell. Sewing pattern companies appear to follow the old standardized sizes, which make me a 20. The catalog companies I've been using lately (Lands End, L.L. Bean) have me hovering between 16 and 18. But the women's section of the Orchard Supply work clothes deparment (my dirty little secret for cheap no-nonsense black pants) claim that I'm a 14 and appear to be right as far as their wares go. Life is easier when I draft my own patterns and sew my own pants, but I'm too lazy for that at the moment.

Grump grump

Dec. 8th, 2007 09:38 am
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Have I whined recently about how deeply dissatisfied I am with my wardrobe? I'm poking through it looking for the specified "festive attire" to wear to a party tonight. I like making fitted, tailored clothes. All my really nice stuff is precisely fitted. And it all fits someone who weighs 50-60 pounds more than I do. Wah! And the rest is boring. Or stuff I just don't like any more. Wah! Whine! And there's no way I'm going to spend a bunch of money or sewing time to do anything about it yet. (I'm even re-thnking whether I want to make something new for 12th night.) Whine! Scowl!
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Started the clean-out of the bedroom closet Saturday Read more... )

At a point when I still had most of my costume wardrobe strewn across the bed, [ profile] scotica called with an invitation to sushi. One should never decline an invitation to sushi. And since we were already planning to go the spoon-making workshop at [ profile] ppfuf's in Menlo Park on Sunday, I just packed an overnight bag. This also led to a spur-of-the-moment brunch date with [ profile] klwilliams Sunday morning.

And then I made spoons. Read more... )

On the Blind Date Project front, I've issued an invitation for Friday's ballet performance, offered first-refusal rights to the next event (Tallis Scholars) to a second party, confirmed a coffee date with a third party, and have two or three other contacts that seem likely to go somewhere. Wow. Amusingly, I've also gotten a response from someone with a Big B e-mail address. (The Craig's List posting has a masked "reply to" address and didn't include my name, naturally, so she had no idea that we were co-workers when she answered.) It isn't someone that I've ever interacted with at work, although quite likely we've bumped into each other at some point.

I've decided that I'm going to capitulate to the need to put some journal posts on a locked filter, simply for reasons of common politeness. So if you would be interested in being on my "Blind Date Reviews" filter, drop me a note. I won't be posting detailed discussions of the results publicly because ... well, how would you feel if you ran across a public posting of someone reviewing a date with you?
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My morning reflexes are always one step behind the seasons. When the Santa Ana hit, I was still wearing turtlenecks and scarves for a couple days, and now that the fog has moved back in I found myself shivering in a polo shirt yesterday. (This is not counting the shivering I do every day at my desk when the bleeping air handling system decides it's time for us to freeze.) Can I please settle down into my winter wardrobe now? It's so much easier not to have to think at 7am. Bad enough I have to figure out what I'm going to wear to my co-worker's wedding tomorrow. (Monterey. Outdoor ceremony. Nothing tailored fits me properly at the moment and I'm not starting in on the alterations until next year. Heavens, I might actually wear a dress.)

If the morning paper hadn't mentioned it, I don't know that I would have attributed my sinus headache and congestion to smoke drifted up from down south. Makes sense, but it could be some local late bloomer after all.

Evenings have been a near-total wash for the last couple weeks. Nothing much in the way of projects accomplished, although a certain amount of running around has been done. I've been thinking that maybe I should try shifting the dinner-and-internet session to the dining room so I don't get the sucked-down-into-the-recliner effect. On the other hand, half the problem is that I don't finish all the errands and chores and get to the dinner-and-internet session until after 8pm in the first place. Well, ok, I have actually started doing a little teensy bit of writing. (But I'm not going to talk about it -- it's much more in the line of "getting back into a habit" than anything that I think is going to go somewhere.)
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I have come to a compromise with my cat about the proper use of a lap when seated on a recliner chair. My theory is that it's for a laptop computer. She disagrees. So when I was perusing the Fry's insert on Friday and spotted an on-sale cantilevered computer tray I capitulated. The computer is now a little on the high side for comfort, but I no longer have to keep shoving the cat off my hands as I type.

I validated the altered pants pattern on a pair of shorts yesterday but haven't started cutting out the pants fabric yet. The living room is still a bit of a mess what with the sifting and sorting process. It has occurred to me that I could greatly reduce the volume of the fur stash by picking the items apart and discarding the coat-guts that I won't be using. That would free up a bin or two. And there are a couple of bundles of cut-out and semi-assembled medieval garments that never went forward because I decided I didn't like them for me, that could be passed on if completed. (Or maybe passed on semi-completed, but that's less likely.)

I did go out and see Becoming Jane, which I'd tried to see on Friday (but got off on the timing) and then had as a fallback on Saturday in case we didn't make the timing for Last Legion. It was a pleasant enough costume flick with excellent visuals, but unsatisfying in some ways. I guess I can understand that some people figure a brilliant, talented, and personable young woman who doesn't marry -- especially one who wrote so ably about affairs of the heart -- must have suffered some tragic heartbreak to turn her to a single path. (Stephanie Barron, in her "Jane Austen mysteries" has taken a similar tack, giving Jane a hopeless romance with a mysterious adventurer.) But I can't help taking it as an insult to all the women across time who simply decided they didn't need marriage to live a complete life.

I spent my lunch hour today talking to the bank about an equity line of credit -- partly with the painting job in mind but partly with the thought that it would be useful to have it set up in case ... well, in case. I'd only meant to drop by and make an appointment, but the person in charge of that topic was available so we got down to specifics. I think he was delighted to be dealing with someone who actually wanted to know all the details about how the process worked -- what the benefits were and where the pitfalls were -- although he didn't quite get the notion that I only wanted to spread out the cost a bit, not to artificially defer it. I'll be going in again tomorrow with a couple of supporting documents and I'll get a much more specific notion of the pluses and minuses of that option so I can compare it with my other option(s).
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Today I wanted to sew some new pants. (Pretty much nothing fits any more except the couple pairs I bought recently.) But I couldn't find the file folder with my pants pattern (I need to alter it -- not recreate it from scratch!) so I started working on the sewing center organization in hopes that I'd find the pattern. Read more... )

[ profile] scotica came over and we went out to see The Last Legion, with the full knowledge ahead of time that this was going to be an unintentional hoot of a movie. Read more... )

After post-movie sushi we returned to my place to continue my quest for the pants pattern. I succeeded in clearing off several bags of projects from the top of the sewing storage cabinets and cleared out 3 of the 6 drawers that had sewing stuff stuffed into them in a rush back last December. Still no pattern, but I have a bag of assorted trim and similar stuff to pass on to SCAdians with less discerning tastes, a pile of worn out hand-made clothes that I'd been saving to re-use the fabric and have now decided it aint' gonna happen, and with [ profile] scotica's egging on I have formed a pile of "lace-making projects that are never ever going to go any farther than they currently are" and am going to turn them into decoration on throw pillows for the couch. "The pillows of unfinished lace" -- sort of like the island of unwanted toys. And just to prove that I come by my project procrastination honestly, among the unfinished lace projects is a linen placemat with unfinished drawn-work decorations that my mother started back before I was even a gleam in her eye.

And then I remembered that there was a second file drawer upstairs where I kept sewing patterns and found the pants pattern.


Jun. 24th, 2007 11:03 am
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The squirrel follies seem to be in ratings week this morning. To visualize this properly, you have to know that my deck (off the 2nd floor kitchen) has a railing about waist high with posts that rise to about head-height (the builder was planning to trim them to just above the railing but I said to leave them in case I wanted to use them as an anchor for something else at some point ... but I digress) with a variety of trees snugging up next to the railing on the other side. So I'm sitting having breakfast right next to one of the posts when there comes a violent rustling in one of the trees at the other end of the deck and suddenly a squirrel pops out onto the deck floor. Just about nose-to-nose with a very interested cat. The squirrel does one of those teleportation things up onto the deck railing and runs like mad ... straight at me. Says me to squirrel, "Did you really want to do that?" Squirrel teleports to top of post and we have a brief and amicable stare-off. Squirrel then does a backflip into the apple tree and scampers off. Cat stares longingly.

Another squirrel (or maybe the same one) is currently sitting in the birch tree, just in tantalizing distance from the cat, nibbling on seed-thingies. Another is checking the ripeness of the green almonds in one of the almond trees. I haven't quite figured out whether the squirrels actually find unripe almonds nutritious or whether they just nibble at them reflexively all through the season out of habit.

I day-tripped to Crown Tourney yesterday and did the butterfly thing -- if I take a chair, then I'm much too inclined to plunk it down and stay in one place, and one of the benefits of daytripping is doing a lot of circulating and talking to different people. That I did in abundance. Saw the brothers and all the usual suspects. In addition to general schmoozing, I offered the leftover games booklets from the Games Tourney to the Princess, since she's very interested in promoting games in general and she was delighted to take them off my hands to pass out. I've been drooling over [ profile] acanthusleaf's jewelry for quite a while, but nothing had ever quite grabbed me by the throat, although I was quite enamored of the little "hat jewels" she makes and had talked a bit about maybe getting something in that line. Well, I've also mentioned to her in the past that I'm quite fond of emeralds (#1 they're green; #2 they're my birthstone) -- not necessarily the top-quality ones, but I quite like the low-grade ones as well. And she has kept pointing out that they're enough more expensive than the usual run of stones she uses (e.g., in the garnet range of prices) that they're hard to sell. Well, this time she pulls out a little box with four small round emeralds -- just perfect for the corners of a hat-jewel -- and they grabbed me by the throat. So it'll have a square garnet in the center and a pearl drop. Now I need to think about what sort of 12th night dress would go well with it.

In the end, I decided to bug out before evening court, since it was shaping up to be long and late as usual and the peerages that I knew and cared about had been taken care of earlier in the day. So I even got home before dark and got a rather good nights sleep ... interruped only somewhat by vivid dreams of hordes of cockroaches in my house. Not sure what that's a metaphor for.
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Bored bored bored. 90% of my wardrobe is several years old. That's the problem with making nice sturdy blouses. (The pants have a higher turnover, but they're also intentionally boring.) Not worn-out enough to move to the rag bag, but worn too often to still be exciting. I realized this problem when I went to pack my "nicest casual" items for Kalamazoo and realized that I'd packed essentially the same clothes the last three years in a row. I don't want a completely new paradigm, but I want something new. I just don't know what. I want something new and different that's exactly like what I already like. Except not. Yeah, right. (And I just don't do dresses for everyday. That's a non-starter.) Usually when I'm in a mood like this I make a new suit jacket, but I already have more suit jackets than days in the year when I wear suit jackets. Fabric, I've got; ideas, I don't.


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