Monday, September 21, 2009

Checking In, and Honest Scraps!

I hope all my online friends haven't left me. I have great ideas for entries when I'm walking to work (or biking and flashing traffic--haha), but obviously haven't put pen to paper lately.

But I've been busy! I'm teaching cute little first-year law students ("1-Ls") this semester. Last week I saw the tremendous baritone Nathan Gunn perform, accompanied on the piano by his talented wife, Julie. I also attended a local music festival which culminated in a lovely, if rather maudlin, performance by Iron & Wine. I had drinks with my oldest son's roommate and friends who were in town for the festival (older son stayed in Chicago--he has a new girlfriend ;-)), and dinner with younger son. I watched the Steelers lose to the Bears (Wah!).

Other goings-on: Last weekend my husband hosted a guys' absinthe, oyster and cigar party. My girlfriend and I went to a guitar festival and by the time we got back to the house, there were green fairies dancing around my garden and the boys had achieved a wormwood epiphany. (In reality, they were fiercely soapboxing on politics. Yawn.)

Best of all, the beautiful Daily Connoisseur awarded me the Honest Scrap Award! Thus, I shall list 10 honest scrap things about myself. Now, then:

1. I'm not a night person at all and prefer to be in bed by nine, ten at the latest. I don't like this about myself; I think I'd get a lot more done if I could stay up.
2. I'm an indie. I want to do what I want to do and I don't mind doing it alone if no one else wants to join in. Luckily, my husband is usually game except when it comes to dancing. I wish I had someone to dance with!
3. I live to make lists. What would I do without my Filofax and all the ongoing lists within??! It's funny, my younger son is the same way. I am always finding scraps of paper with his lists around the house.
4. My parents and four other siblings are all Republicans; I'm a Democrat. My nieces and nephews, as well as my own children (of course), have *mostly* come over to join me on the left, though.
5. If I am flipping through the channels and a World Wrestling Federation event is on, I'll stop and watch for awhile. I used to know all the wrestlers, but I'm a little rusty now. I wouldn't mind being a professional wrestling announcer, like Mean Gene Okerland. I love yelling "Look at the Carnage!" and "Clothesline!" at appropriate times. I met Stone Cold Steve Austin once.
6. I've collected Halcyon Day enamels, stamps, apples, Match Box cars, matchboxes, and handkerchiefs at some point over the years.
7. I have a birthmark on my lower back that would make a great setting sun in a tattooed beach scene. (But it's not going to happen.)
8. A perfect Friday night includes a Hendricks martini with bagel crisps, goat cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto.
9. The best part of a box of Life Cereal is the "dust" at the bottom.
10. I have perfect eyelashes. No, really. They're awesome.

I wish I was more interesting. Reading this, I realize I'm really just odd. Or let's say "eccentric," shall we? In any case:

Thank you, Daily Connoisseur for honoring me with this award! If you haven't yet met this elegant and erudite blogger, please visit her and introduce yourself!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sense of Smell

This morning, over our first cup of coffee, my husband and I were discussing our favorite smells.


his wife (me!) after she's been out in the sun all day
bacon sizzling
fresh tobacco
the forest after a rain
autumn leaves


my husband (him!) when he first wakes up
my babies
Santa Monica in the spring: jasmine and honeysuckle and sea air
a bookstore

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Riding My Bike to Work in a Skirt and Manolos actually pretty funny. I live just over a mile from work, and when the weather is fine I ride my bike.

I could walk--which I sometimes do. It's a lovely walk through my tree-shaded neighborhood and across campus, and if my timing's right I can walk in with my husband. But then I have to carry my shoes. (I made a couple of cute shoebags for this purpose.) I just won't walk a mile in my Manolos: instead, I wear red leather Born maryjanes (which are cool, I think, in an Olive Oyl sort of way), or red Wellies when it rains, or fluffy Lands End boots when it snows.

I could take public transportation--which I sometimes do. I do have to walk a few blocks to the bus stop but all-in-all it's a nice alternative. The problem is WAITING for the bus. Why is it always late when you're early and early when you're late? And waiting for the bus in the dead of winter on a wind-swept prairie is disheartening, to say the least.

I could drive. But then I would have to pay for parking and gas and wear-and-tear and it seems foolish when I have more economical and environmental options.

So I bike. My bike is a Trek 720 hybrid that I bought years ago when we lived in Monterey for riding through the hills of Fort Ord with my girlfriends. I never bothered to transition it to a city-appropriate bike until finally this summer when I added two folding baskets on the back and replaced the seat with a more comfortable lady-friendly one. It's still not perfect--the gears are such that I could never ride it on hills. And there are other issues:

It's a man's bike, with a horizontal center bar. I intentionally bought it this way because the bike guy said it would be sturdier this way and at the time that was my priority. Now, it just makes it more difficult to wear a skirt. First, it's hard to get on and off gracefully. I've become inured to embarrasment on this front and now I just hike up my skirt (wherever I am) and fling my leg over. (The Elegantologist probably just swallowed his tongue reading this--sorry.) Second, there's no chain cover. Although I wear dorky velcro tapes around my pant legs, all my light-colored pants have permanent oil smudges on the inner right shin (BTW, soaking in Oxy-clean helps...usually). Argh my poor white Goldschmieds! Finally, I feel a bit guilty jamming my beautiful leather handbags into the wire baskets. But I still do because it's, well, convenient.

Bad bike habits I have:
  1. I don't wear a helmet. I own one, from when my sons were small and I tried to set a good example, but I bagged that once they stopped listening to me (ie became teenagers).
  2. I wear inappropriate shoes. I could carry my shoes in my cute little shoe bags, but then, like a helmet, it interferes with the convenience of having a bike! So, yes, I wear my Manolos while biking. Not only does it probably look ridiculous, but it's dangerous. Especially mules, which tend to fall off at inappropriate times, like when one is crossing an intersection. This happened to me already twice today. I was heading back to work after lunching at home, and of course I was in a hurry. I pushed off and my right shoe clattered to the pavement! By the time I stopped, it was three yards behind me. Being lazy, I didn't get off the bike; instead I gingerly backed up on my bare tippy toes and wobbily retrieved my black mule. My mail-person, who was watching all this, hollered at me from her truck, "You're supposed to keep your shoes on when you ride, Cashmere!" Uh, yeah.
Then I lost a shoe again in the parking lot. You can see how this might be a problem when one is crossing a busy street.

Aside from my shoe problem, I've developed some techniques for riding a bike in a skirt. At first I attempted to devise a strap that connected to the middle bar and pinned to my skirt, to keep it from flying up as I zoomed across campus in front of all those undergrads. And if I ever do get it properly engineered, I plan to market it on this website and make a lot of money! But right now it's not quite right. There's not enough elastic in the strap to keep up with my vigorous pedaling, so inevitably the pin pulls loose from the dress (although I haven't ripped a skirt yet thank heavens). Plus it's awkward unpinning it before I get off the bike--I'm always afraid I'm going to lose my balance and fall over.

My new strategy is to wear Spanx under my dress and hope that everyone who might catch a glimpse of my "big panties" (Aka Bridget Jones) thinks it's a bike short. Or I tuck the bottom of the skirt into the bottom of the Spanx. Or I simply let my skirt fly up and figure that anyone who's interested in looking up a 43-year-old woman's dress can just have at it.

I know I need a new bike. Specifically, I want an Electra Amsterdam. But, as you know, lately all my disposable income (as it were) has been going to Hermès. So I'll wear my Hermès (I like to think I look pretty fab riding briskly with my gorgeous scarf trailing behind me) and continue to ride my crappy bike.