Once Upon a Dream

April 29, 2008

I left work at mid-day today, struggling with a migraine. I’m not even sure what I told my boss before I left. It probably did not make much sense. I had to stay about an hour later to process a few orders and make some phone calls. Now, after 3 hours of sleep, an overdose of ibuprofen tablets, and a hot shower, I finally feel better. I cannot tell you how much I wish my health would return to me. I’ve always been a naturally tired person (need naps!), but I haven’t felt 100% in a long, long time. I need to start exercising, but I think I might have mono, and I don’t want my spleen to erupt. How’s that for an excuse?

All that aside, I love my apartment. It was a glorious day, and now the wind is blowing through the palm leaves and into my bedroom through the balcony door. I especially love the night-time. Summer evenings are some of my favorite things. I can’t wait to return to Minnesota for a family reunion in August. We’re totally camping at this hoe-down of a fair called the Threshing Bee, which celebrates old methods of farming. My grandfather built a windmill on the grounds where the Bee is held, and one of his tractors, an old green  and yellow John Deere is one of the focal points of the train, tractor, and antique car parade. It’s a great ol’ time of threashin’, blue grassin’, and barbeque-in’. I am trying to convince D that it will change his life. We have been dating two years this July, and he has still not been to my hometown. He has still not met my dad. Send him nasty notes, please.

Speaking of D, the other day someone googled “my boyfriend is a model,” and it led them to my blog. It showed up in my stats, and I felt this amazing breadth of anxiety fall from my weary shoulders BECAUSE IT’S ABOUT TIME. IT’S ABOUT TIME SOMEONE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT MY BOYFRIEND IS A MODEL.

(thank you)

And also speaking of D, I am going to be single this weekend. D is going to a retreat for a class at school, and that means plenty of margaritas and inviting the pool boy up to my bedroom to fan me with palm leaves. It also means that I am going to spend the whole weekend sleeping, eating ice cream, and looking very, very closely at my cuticles. Oh, and I’m hoping to go to the one and only Newport Beach community garage sale to see if I can find, among other things, a bicycle built for D. That, and a Free Box full of Gucci bags. Oh wait. I am not really looking for that. That was just what I dreamt about last night. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure if I actually have a pool boy.

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On New Year’s Eve, after dropping my mom off the airport, D and I drove to Santa Monica to enjoy some of the 70-degree weather on the beach. It was amazing. Shortly after, rain fell for about three days straight. I’m glad I got that first little dose of California weather so that little surprise of rain didn’t daunt me. It was actually kind of nice.

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The City of Santa Monica from the beach

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Last week D and I drove to Los Angeles proper to meet up with G, D’s brother. We parked on a side street, and as we were walking back to the car, D stopped and said, “Whoa!”

“What?” I asked.

“Look,” he said.

I looked where he was looking, and lo and behold, three black cats sat statue-still, staring at us with their glowing yellow eyes.

“Creepy,” I said. And then I promptly pulled out my camera, hoping no drug dealers lived in the house and became suspicious about why I was snapping pictures of their cats.

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This is my new purse, the one I mentioned yesterday. I love it.

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D’s roommate JC and D sing karaoke at our local haunt, The Sunset Lounge. The Sunset Lounge is a little dive bar in Fullerton, boasting one room full of pool, darts, smoke, noise, and mostly terrible but fun karaoke-ing (karaoking??). D and the other members of the Six Men Who Rule the World From Three Bedrooms enjoy coming here to kick back and do boy things. I enjoy it as well, though my nicotine allergy sometimes prevents me from staying too long. The people are nice, no one is hitting on anyone or trying to impress anyone, and it’s so loud that I can just sit and watch without scrambling to make conversation. I tend to go on sensory overload whenever I’m in a busy place, and I like to just sit and watch and memorize the details of a place… the haphazard plaques on the wall that haven’t been dusted in years and the man in the leather jacket who reminds me of Spanky from The Little Rascals and the way that D smiles when he is having fun with his friends.

They keep trying to get me to do karaoke, but long ago I made a vow, a principle for my life, that karaoke would never spill from my lips.

“Ann, are you going to sing?” They always ask.

“Ann Clipperton and karaoke do not socialize,” I say.

Someone always pipes up with a point about how you don’t have to be able to sing to do karaoke.

Obviously.

“It’s not a question of whether or not I can sing,” I say. “It’s a question of principle and personal choice. Are you trying to compromise my ideals?”

So, nights after nights pass where Ann Clipperton refuses to socialize with karaoke, and D again suffers the embarrassment of having to sing Sonny and Cher’s “I’ve Got You Babe” with his brother.

My highlight of this past week has been D’s roommate JC singing “Blower’s Daughter” by Damien Rice for karaoke. When he first chose the song at the prompting of a new, terrific girl I met the other night, AM, I thought, “Hmm, that’s an interesting karaoke song.” But the second JC started singing, everyone at the table: B, AM, RS, D, G, and I all started singing along, with passion and flare. My favorite moment is when I started singing the tear-jerking, gentle chorus to D’s roommate B: “Can’t take my eyes off of you/Can’t take my eyes off of you…” and how we kept glancing innocently at D, who was glaring at us with his hands in the air, like, “What is this?”

Another favorite thing about this adventure in California is how much I like D’s friends. I feel so comfortable and safe and accepted with all his roommates. I love AM, the girl I met last night, and now I’ve got her digits. Our JBU friend RS flew in yesterday. D’s brother G remains an all-time favorite of mine. Spending time at G’s house in Hollywood with his roommates has also been grand. My fabulous roommate JS arrives this evening. I am so thankful to already have a solid network here on which to build. It only gets better from here, right? That would be terrific. Because here is already pretty good.

LOST and Savers

January 9, 2008

Today the job search continues.  Next week I think I will just go up to the Santa Monica area and scout and drop by a few of the places where I applied that didn’t specify “No walk-ins.”  This morning one of the relatives I am staying with told me that I don’t need to be anxious. “The right job is waiting for you,” he said.  Last night when I got home, I shared with the relatives that I’m the type of person who is very focused and likes to know what she is doing when she is doing it.

Yesterday I was feeling anxious, so I indulged in two things that always make me feel less anxious: purse shopping at a thrift store and watching several episodes of a favorite television show on DVD. The purse shopping I did in the morning, on my own, after spending about three hours at Panera searching for a job via the internet while intermittently playing Scrabble on Facebook. D took me out to Chick-Fil-A for lunch the other day (what a guy), and we drove by a giant thrift store called Savers. Yesterday I decided to return to Savers, thus widening my radius of daily activities. I tried on some clothes but found that Savers is a little expensive for a thrift store. In fact, I probably have the money-saving savvy to find similar items brand new for the same price or less by shopping end of season sales (I’m little, so I generally have good luck finding extravagantly cheap prices in my size, especially in shoes). If I would buy anything at Savers, it would have to be exceedingly unique and a perfect Ann-item. I found just such an item in a beautiful needlepoint purse. I forgot to bring my digital camera to Panera with me this morning, but I will try and remember to take a photograph of my new bag for my post tomorrow. It was made somewhere in China, which really isn’t that remarkable, except that it was probably sold in China as well. The tag brand name is written in Chinese characters. It’s super cute and very much my style.

In Savers, a woman about my age was ushering around an elderly woman (probably in her eighties) who was blind. I noticed them when I was flipping through the skirts, but didn’t overhear their conversation, so I didn’t realize that the woman was blind. When I was looking at the purses, they were behind me perusing a rack of jackets. The younger woman was enthusiastically describing a soft, cream-colored jacket to the older woman. She guided the woman’s hand to the jacket, and the woman touched it, murmuring at its softness. “This is so much fun,” the older woman told the younger woman.

After that I went to D’s house. For Christmas 2006, I bought him the first season of LOST. It has taken him this long to watch it, probably because I have scared him away a little bit through telling him all about how he’ll get addicted. I’ve never before encountered a more addicting show. Let’s not mention here how many classes I skipped that week I watched the first season a few years ago. After D and I were done with the first four episodes, three of his roommates watched the first disc, so we are all at the same point today and can watch the second disc together. I’m excited. Even though I don’t have a job yet, people have been encouraging me to savor this time of unemployment. The relatives reassured me of it yesterday evening. I’m welcome to stay there as long as I need to.

I am so very thankful for the people in my life.

A Little Splurge

October 8, 2007

For the most part I’ve been very good about saving money for the past few months. A few hurdles have risen out of the ground, but financial discipline is starting to come easier for me. I’ve eliminated most eating out except for a few evenings with friends. My relationship to shoes, bags, and clothes has become one akin to Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie: Once we were the best of friends, but now we avoid each other. I’ve even been excellent at not buying things from the GAP, where I work part-time, even though I have this terrific discount. There was that one time I bought a pair of khaki pants off the sale rack for $6, and then that other time I found a pair of jeans for $5 off the sale rack. Just about anyone would agree, however, that those were wise buys.

Over the weekend, I did a little shopping.  I am the Maid of Honor in my dear cousin Sara’s wedding in about three weeks, and I had to find some brown shoes to go with my dress. I found a terrific pair at Dillard’s. But seriously. Did you see the price on those? Yeah. Saving money does not include spending $100 on shoes (Arkansas sales tax is around 9%).

So, I headed over to F-Town, the only place nearby that has a Target. Translation: cute shoes that are also cheap! Isaac Mizrahi has revitalized the life of many-a woman. I found these fantastic shoes, which, like the expensive Antonio Melani ones, were just what I was looking for — cute, subtle details with a sleek, professional look. And they were on sale! For $25! And that, of course, meant that they didn’t have my size. Being a former Target employee, I happen to know that you can take an item to the service desk and find out the closest location of another store that has the item. Because there aren’t many Targets in Arkansas (this is Wal-Mart country, y’all), I asked them to check in Minnesota (it is Target country, you guys). And bingo — they had them. My mom picked them up last night for the sale price. Boo-yeah!

I also bought a few other things because there were some incredible sales going on. I also need a few warm things for my move to Minnesota. I’m getting there just in time for winter. So, I found this at Target:

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I bought these glasses at the ACB Thrift Store here in Rogers. Unfortunately, I can’t wear them for anything but photographs because they keep sliding off my face. I wonder if ladies in the seventies had this problem. I’m usually not a big fan of faux-vintage clothes, but in this case the colors and style worked so perfectly that I had to run with it.

I’m generally also not a big fan of Charlotte Russe: Home of the Skanky Clubbin’ Outfit. But there was this:

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(Again, model face.) A bag. For $3. And look how terrific it looks with that stripe of tubing between the two bold colors.

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And then there were the shoes. The T.J. Maxx shoes. $15 for a pair of Michael Kors shoes is not something a girl can pass up.

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Fab. u. lous.