The Weekend Recap

July 6, 2008

Fourth of July weekend was a busy weekend, indeed, and I most certainly welcomed a paid holiday, a little bit o’ rest, and some great memories made with wonderful friends. I told someone over the weekend that L.A. feels a little bit more like home each day, with a few exceptions, and the time off afforded me a chance to get to strengthen some great friendships. It was a busy, busy weekend. This morning at 11 a.m. I had brunch with the Ladies Who Brunch from my church small group at the lovely friend K’s home. Since then I have spent the entire day in my apartment resting, reading, and eating, save the 15 minutes I spent only a moment ago at the gas station. I filled my entire tank for $50 at $4.55 per gallon. My goal is to make this tank last for 2 weeks. Let’s see how I do.

Thursday D invited me to the wrap party for the film he and his brother G have been working on. D has been working as the producer’s assistant, and G is some type of coordinator. They have been working long, hard hours for the past several weeks, and the wrap party provided them the opportunity to bring their very supportive girlfriends to hear some good music, eat some good food, and schmooze with the Hollywoods. And, thanks to the fantastic outfit suggestions of several friends, I purchased this dress at Forever 21 before the event. It was cute, vintage-ey, cheap, tasteful, hip, and  fit me perfectly. Unfortunately, Forever 21 makes crap clothing, and the zipper broke while I was frantically trying to get ready after work. Hence, I had to throw together a different outfit with stuff I already had. But this conundrum afforded me the chance to wear my new hat. Also, at the wrap party, Tea Leoni touched my shoulder. I was pretty un-star-struck about the whole thing. She was trying to get people who were standing outside to come in and hear Billy Bob Thorton’s band play. I heard one song, and it was great, but I was there to hang out with my friends, and it was too loud in the room to really talk.

All dressed up and ready to go, but apparently D is sulking. Perhaps he wanted to wear a hat too.

Galen ruins everything.

Billy Bob Thorton’s band provides the entertainment for the evening.

We like each other. Sometimes.

After all of this, I realized that I didn’t get any pictures of me with G’s girlfriend N, who is an awesome little lady, and I had such a fun time with her.

Friday the four of us went to a pool party hosted by a co-worker of our friend AB. It was a great time and the perfect setting for a hot day. Yay, hamburgers! Yay, America! Happy Independence Day! Afterward D and I both took naps because we were exhausted from our cavorting, and then we watched one of my favorite movies, a little-known Steve Martin film called Lonely Guy.

Saturday a whole cohort of D and G fans (not Dolce and Gabbana — D and his brother) came over to my apartment to read through the script of a little project they are working on. The friends gave feedback on it, and the boys got some very helpful critiques. Again, I was so busy hosting that I totally forgot to pull out the camera. Another great photographic opportunity is lost for the sake of etiquette. That evening the boys, N, and I went to a new favorite restaurant, Natalee Thai on Venice Blvd.

Today I had the aforementioned brunch and have been lazy all day. It’s been a welcome break. I wish the time didn’t fly by so quickly.

And while we’re in photo-posting mode, here are a few photos from last weekend, when D and I went to his former roommate C’s wedding. It was an outdoor wedding at a country club, and I most certainly wore a hat.

D found it so attractive that he had to try it on himself…

…and again. notice the finger he recently slammed in a car door.

And here is Blue-Eyes looking a little more masculine.

I’m so California.

Gone in 60 Seconds

April 6, 2008

Friday night held the birthday party of the millennium at my apartment, during which around 20 people came over to pay their birthday respects to D and his brother G. Much merry-making took place, much cake-eating from a marvelous cake G’s roommate A made, and talking, laughing, etc. It was a good time. Toward the end of said party, friend DH told a story of how has car had been stolen two weeks before and returned a few days later. It was stolen right out his apartment garage, which was not locked, but the door was closed. The police picked it up a few days later, and while it was not harmed, DH received the bonus of drug paraphernalia and actual methamphetamines stashed in the car. At one point in the conversation, my D made the comment that he always tries to park near Lexi (the plural of Lexus) and Mercedes so if someone decides to run off with a car, that someone is more likely to choose the luxury option.

The party went late, so D crashed on my couch that night rather than driving 45 minutes south to where he lives. The next afternoon he went out to get something out of his car, but returned to ask, “Did you move my car this morning?” I shook my head. “No, I didn’t.”

He pointed out the window to the empty curb space not fifty feet from my bedroom balcony. “It was right there last night.”

“Are you sure you didn’t park it somewhere else?” I asked.

“I don’t think so.”

We went outside to survey the situation further. We walked around the block but didn’t see his car anywhere. We looked around the vacant space for evidence of broken glass. Nothing.

We were supposed to go on a long fun date that afternoon, taking the bus to the Grove mall and using our free movie vouchers to see Leatherheads, after which I was going to take D out to dinner. We were supposed to go to the Laurel Canyon General Store way up in the winding Hollywood Hills to see the special mystery guest who would show up… alleged to be Joni Mitchell but not for certain. Instead, we spent the afternoon waiting for phone calls and sitting in the police station, working on filing a report and feeding change to the parking meter outside every half hour. I was pretty upset about D losing his car all day, and I was amazed at his positive attitude all afternoon. “We’ll get the car back,” he said. “It’ll all work out.” He was so positive that if he hadn’t started getting a little upset about it right after I took him out for dinner, I was going to tell him straight up, “It’s ok to get mad, D.”

We are sad that his car is missing. I am disturbed that it was right outside my house and angry that people can be so selfish. D is a student. He doesn’t have any money. And one of the worst things about the situation is that his school books and information he needs for his job as a Teacher’s Assistant are in the car. Now, not only does he not have wheels, but he also does not have the stuff he needs to function in his life.

That sucks. D’s brother G is boycotting society. And I’m just really, really sad.

If you see a Suzuki Verona in the LA area with Texas license plates and a dent in the driver’s side door, call it in. It’s probably D’s car.

All of you who are praying people, please pray that something good will come out of this. Please pray that if the car doesn’t show up abandoned somewhere or if the police don’t catch the people who took it, the insurance money will cover it.

And please pray for my boyfriend.

Back On the Internet

February 10, 2008

Hi, Friends. This is a post I wrote about a week ago while living with D’s brother G in Hollywood. Since then I have moved into my own apartment — today is day 2 living at our fabulous place! I haven’t had internet access except at work for quite a while, so I haven’t been able to post. Now that things are getting much more settled, and now that I have my own place, I should be able to post more frequently again. Without further ado:

Today was a day of firsts, full of Big City fodder. I am having trouble making my brain work right now – have not started having new job dreams at night but am betting they will seep into my sleep tonight – and I hope I can make sense of all this, because I can’t tell you how awesome the last few days in the big city have been. I might just have to write a list for the sake of letting my mind rest. That’s what you get when you work a largely financial job. I am enjoying my work, but man, there are a lot of things to learn, and many of them require me to stretch my thinking. I look forward to the day when all this comes easily, and I come home from work aching for a creative outlet rather than aching for a shower and a bed.

Today I had my first celebrity sighting since moving here. This might be my first celebrity sighting ever. Actually, no, I take that back – I once saw Kevin Garnett at the Target Center (former Minnesota Timberwolves basketball player), and David Robinson (former San Antonio Spurs basketball player) allegedly waved at my brother and me at another Timberwolves game. We aren’t certain, but it just might be so. Also, when I was little, I met Christine Wyrtzen and got her autograph. Now, maybe you don’t know who she is, but we certainly did as children. She hosted a kids’ program on Christian radio called Critter County when I was little, and the only disappointment when I met her was that she didn’t bring Sydney the Squirrel. And yes, friends, I still do have Ms. Wyrtzen’s autograph.

Anyway, my first REAL celebrity sighting took place this evening, and it’s a good thing D’s brother G was in the car with me because I totally would not have known who the person was unless G had said it. We were driving down Hollywood Boulevard on our way to Los Feliz to find a diner after I got home from work. I had a hankering for some pancakes. We saw the limo and the flash bulbs and slowed enough to look over and see who got out of the limo. She stepped away from the photographers and to the fans to sign a few autographs, and there was this tiny, cute little lady in a bright green dress, whom was none other than Beyonce.

Which really got me thinking, you know. Not about Beyonce, really, or even green dresses even though I want to look up a picture of the dress she was wearing once I have stable internet access. What I was really thinking about was a flannel graph. You know… flannel graphs… those felt boards that Sunday School teachers used to use with all kinds of felt characters and felt settings to illustrate Bible stories. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to set up a flannel graph in my apartment, with scraps of felt nearby so friends who come over could leave their mark on my apartment by creating something for the flannel graph before they leave. Now I have another idea for the flannel graph. Once I move into my apartment, which should be Thursday (!!!!), I need to make that flannel graph, and part of its purpose will be to chronicle my celebrity sightings. For every celebrity I see, I will make a flannel graph character.

Incidentally, Beyonce is the only celebrity I’ve seen so far, though I narrowly missed Donald Sutherland the other day when roommates J and J and I were having lunch at Subway in Santa Monica, just a few blocks from where I work. However, I keep thinking that I see celebrities, or rather, one celebrity in particular: Stephen Spielberg. This phenomenon has gone on since even before I arrived in California; indeed, it has been a years-long occurrence where not a few months pass before I think I see Stephen Spielberg. My Stephen Spielberg sensors have been even more acute lately, now that I am consistently in Hollywood, and I drive through Beverly Hills on my way to work. I find myself staring at important-looking bearded men in BMWs or Lexi (plural Lexus), or sports cars, all the while thinking, Stephen Spielberg? STEPHEN SPIELBERG?

I’ve yet to see him. And even if I did see him, I’m not convinced that I would believe it’s him. I also thought I saw Dustin Hoffman in Panera the other day. G got up and pretended to get more coffee just to get a closer look. No Dustin Hoffman, but at least in that case, G verified that the guy did look an awful lot like Dustin Hoffman.

Today I also wrote a check for more money than I’ve ever spent in one check in my whole life: $1,647.50. Welcome to becoming a renter in Los Angeles. The good news is that I totally planned the exact amount I would need to get started in L.A. whenever I was saving money to get here. That is a huge sigh of relief. The roommates and I signed a lease today, and we can move in on Thursday. The apartment is way more than I wanted to spend – I’m not going to tell you how much per month because it will give you an aneurism, and I can’t be party to your death – but suffice it to say that I will have to make some major sacrifices. But it’s okay. My roommates and I might consider taking on a few more roommates in the future. I can afford the place. It’s in my budget. But it would be nice to have a bigger cushion.

Yesterday I yelled for the first time ever in a football game. How could one not get caught up in the triumph of the Giants’ final touchdown in the Super Bowl? For the first time in my life, someone took the time to explain to me what was going on in a football game. Millions of doors opened for me, and the light shined in. D has enlightened my life in so many ways, but perhaps the most important was on that momentous occasion, when a Great American Pass Time finally made sense. It changed my life.

And Another Thing…

January 14, 2008

Did anyone watch the Golden Globes last night? I mean, the press conference that was on in place of the Golden Globes? Because it was a little ridiculous.

The announcers should’ve realized that you really can’t make jokes about the writers’ strike as an MC at the Golden Globes. Seriously. Just don’t do it. It’s not funny. Especially when you try to laugh at your own jokes. Just read the results. No one wants to laugh about it right now.

I realized just how out-of-touch with reality I am when I hadn’t seen any of the movies that won or were nominated except Juno. Incidentally, I’m glad that Ellen Paige didn’t win. At first, her character annoyed me a little because she was just too hip. Her vernacular was contrived. The slang needed to be broken up with a little real-talk. As the movie continued, I believed her character more and actually liked her, but if any actor should’ve won anything for Juno, it should’ve been the guy who played her boyfriend. He was magnetic.

Anyway, I need to see No Country For Old Men. And read it, along with everything else Cormac McCarthy has ever written. D had me read a passage from Blood Meridian today, and it was awesome. I want to write like him. I need to read more of his work so I will finally be inspired enough to write that novel. You know. The one about bigfoot.

P.S. My friend Lee Ella posted a terrific essay on her blog about her trip to California a few years ago. She dedicated it to me. I’m honored. Read it.

For Reals?!?

December 21, 2007

The shower is generally a prime location for deep thoughts, and this morning was no different. Today it occurred to me that most reality shows on television are about people who, in many ways, don’t have a lot of common sense or may lack some of those down-to-earth qualities that average people have. Do people ever get turned away from reality shows because they’re too smart? Do the producers meet their quota for smart people after just a few and send the rest home? Or are smart people just too smart to even want to be on the show in the first place?

Now, you may or may not agree with me on the brain-state of most reality TV stars. But let me support my assertions by naming off just a few of the many reality shows featuring people who are less-than brilliant: America’s Next Top Model, The Real Housewives of Orange County, The Girls Next Door, and even America’s Most Smartest Model is pretty iffy. If you gauge smarts on whether or not you can name a river in France (and most of the contestants can’t) or whether or not you can name an Italian designer (um, think just about any designer… Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, Roberto Cavalli… and most contestants can’t), well, then I guess these models aren’t really smart. Would they even be considered smart if they could merely recall rote knowledge, as the questions ask them to?

I haven’t watched any of these shows extensively except ANTM, but they all have the same idea. America likes watching stupid people compete, or watching rich people who are also stupid live their daily lives. Now, these rich people may have the tenacity or insanity to make a lot of money, but they do not have the intelligence it takes to raise smart, hard-working children or solve conflicts within relationships.

So, what if we created a show called Smart People, and it was all about, well, smart people. My first though was that I should have a reality show made about me, moving to California. Because I’m smart. And I have smart friends. And we’re funny. It would be about a writing group that gets together for editing, or what we talk about on the weekends, or about the huge argument D and I had the other night about the meaning of the word prolific:

Ann: No, you’re wrong. Prolific has nothing to do with quality. It’s all about the quantity of things. When Dr. B told me I was a prolific writer, she didn’t necessarily mean that it was good — she just meant that I do it a lot.

D: No. When you call something prolific, you mean that it’s good.

Ann: No, D, let’s look it up in the dictionary.

D: I am looking it up in the dictionary.

Ann: So am I, but my dictionary is better than your dictionary.

D: What makes you say that?

Ann: Mine is a $2 dictionary I bought at an antique shop, and it’s like 8 inches thick.

D: Whatever. Yours is just old. Here, let’s ask John [D’s roommate]. John has his master’s degree. You should listen to him. Hey, John, what would you say the word prolific means?

[John’s muffled voice is in the background, but I can’t quite hear what he’s saying]

D [speaking to John]: So, you wouldn’t say that it has anything at all to do with quality?

Ann: YES! I KNEW IT! D, JOHN HAS HIS MASTER’S DEGREE, SO YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO HIM!

Our reality show could also feature us taking IQ tests and looking up things in our dictionaries. We could have specials about writing research papers, and subtitles with definitions of the words we use so the common public could understand what we’re saying. This would especially be helpful with D’s Philosophical Phriends. And if we ever got into fights, the show would feature us having debates in suits, with notecards.

EDIT: My friend Lee Ella posted this video on my MySpace in honor of my upcoming (5 DAYS!) move to California.

The funniest part about this is that the cows’ accents are exactly like those of the middle-age farm wives I worked with at the fruit packing company.

Subtarranean Homesick Blues

November 21, 2007

I just began writing a post about Superman, but given my state of mind after working a half day and then sitting in my mom’s massage chair for three rounds and then taking a long, gloooooooooooooooooooorious nap, this is all I’ve got for you:

Today at work while tossing thousands of bags of beef sticks in small cardboard boxes on an assembly line, I got to thinking about this music video, a favorite of mine. I saw it for the first time on a television screen at a restaurant on Biel Street in Memphis when I was on a weekend trip with a favorite college professor and a gaggle of my fellow terrific English majors. It’s Dylan. It makes me smile. Call me crazy, but I find the young Dylan very attractive. Here’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues”:

Since college, the only learning my brain has absorbed has been sadly fact-less. I’ve learned a lot about my work style and about people and about computer programs, but that rote knowledge that I used to cherish hasn’t been flooding my brain… until I came home and started hanging out with my dad, who is not necessarily a Trivia King, but the stuff he knows, he knows well. Like stuff about big boats and airships.

Come Take a Trip In My Airship
The other night, while babysitting my niece and nephew, Dad and I watched a History Channel special on Zeppelins, which are the older version of the Good Year Blimp but about four times larger. Zeppelins are the largest aircraft ever built. In fact, they are so big that it rained inside the hangers (buildings) where the Zeppelins were kept. And we’re not just talking leaky roofs here. Rain clouds would actually form inside. The Hindenburg was a Zeppelin, and the builders originally wanted to use helium inside it instead of hydrogen, but the U.S. holds most of the world’s helium stores and didn’t want to allow Germany to have it because of their unflattering war records. So they used hydrogen, and the whole thing blew up. Incidentally, the Nazi party funded part of the construction when the Zeppelin Company went bankrupt. This is why the tail fins have swastikas on them. Recent research has suggested that the Hindenburg could’ve burned up so quickly from the use of flammable substances (mainly iron oxide) painted on the fabric.

Bigfoot Is Alive and Well In Canada, Eating Canadian Snuff.
After the special on airships, a program called MonsterQuest came on, which interested me greatly because it touched on one of my favorite topics: Bigfoot. Or Sasquatch. Incidentally, I had a crush on this guy in high school who was very attractive, but also very tall and big, and my best friend Amber hated him because it annoyed her that all kinds of girls liked him, and she didn’t want me wasting my time on such an icon. So, she called him Sasquatch. Perhaps that is why I am so fascinated with the topic today. Anyway, the other night I learned that there is a man in Canada who believes that he was abducted by a family of Sasquatch (Sasquatches?) in the middle of the night when he was a teenager. In the morning, he decided to make some coffee, so he did, and he snuffed some snuff (I am not sure what type of verb goes with snuff). The Sasquatch Daddy took the whole can of snuff and ate it. Then he was so upset that he gulped down the coffee. When he left to find some water, the young man escaped. Now, I’m not going to say whether or whether not Sasquatch exist, but I think this man had earlier discovered something that does exist: Hallucinogens. You should, however, really check out the Bigfoot Field Researches Organization website. Find your state, click on your county, and find all the eye-witness accounts from real people on Bigfoot sightings in the area. Pay special attention to the newest Bigfoot photographs, taken on Sept. 16, 2007:

bigfoot.jpg

Is the image in the photograph a primate, or a “skinny mangy” bear? Here is a quote from the website regarding these newest photographs: “BFRO members are directed to ask around to find one or more skinny mangy bears in captivity, such those that are occasionally brought into wildlife rescue centers. We will direct the caregivers of those skinny mangy bear(s) to coax their bear into smelling the ground so it can be photographed at this same unflattering angle. We also ask BFRO members to go to their local zoo in order to photograph various ape species when they bend over to smell the ground.”

Is “Gypped” a Racial Slur?
The other day D asked me if I knew the origins of the word gypped. I didn’t, but I figured it probably came from the word Gypsy because of the idea that gypsies stole things.
“So is it a racial slur?” D asked.
“Probably,” I said.
He asked why it is more accepted than other racial slurs. “Are Gypsies an actual ethnic group, or is gypsy just an adjective?” he asked.
“I think it’s an ethnicity,” I said, “but I don’t know.”
D asked, “Well, where are they from?”
“Aren’t they nomadic?”
“Yeah, but they had to come from somewhere. Maybe Eastern Europe?”
“I want to say like Turkey or Romania or something.”

So, today, I Wikipedia-ed and found this article.

Perhaps I will stop using the word gypped. I’m not sure that I really used it before, but you know.

And Lastly, a Tribute

Yesterday D posted a link to a Carrie Underwood music video on his MySpace. I told him that his roommates must’ve been hacking into his MySpace posting joke stuff again, so he ought to change his password. He is not a Carrie Underwood fan. I am not a Carrie Underwood fan. We are snobs: Snobs with impeccable taste, although I would not say that D is entirely impeccable because of the Boyz 2 Men, and he would not say that I am entirely impeccable because of Blessid Union of Souls. I am sorry if you are a Carrie Underwood fan, not because I have just insulted you, but because you probably have not had exposure to good music. But we can still be friends. I will respect you as long as we never go on a road trip together.

D, however, was serious, which I later realized when looking at his twin brother’s blog. You must watch. Serious. Pay special attention to the man banging on the five-gallon buckets. Go ahead. Look.

Who was that man? I’d like to shake his hand. That man, my friends, looks almost exactly like my boyfriend. Because it is his twin brother G! And that hat? Yep. Here it is on D:

dhat.jpg

I watched the video and laughed so hard when I saw G that my mom came in to find out what was going on. Congratulations, G.

Ladies, I have his digits.

Yesterday I wrote a post with the title, “The Shoe Diaries Entry 1: I’ve Got a Wedge.” I also write a column at ZIA, an online magazine, about finding affordable fashion. Lately I have been succumbing to the post-college epidemic of Feeling Flaky. You college graduates may know it well, especially if you pursued a highly academic, research-oriented field that throttled you to the highest levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. In college, you had your group of Intellectuals with whom to be Intellectual in class, over coffee, after watching foreign films or reading Proust.

Post-college, you are left with nothing but a desk job and marathons of The Real Housewives of Orange County on television.

My friend Devi writes about important topics on her blog. She writes about politics and religion and oppression, and her writing style is so lovely and straight-forward and well-crafted (and she doesn’t constantly use the word “and” while creating lists) that I want to read whatever she writes.

A few weeks ago at my cousin S’s wedding, I spoke with my cousin’s husband’s brother P for a while. After all, I had to walk down the aisle with him, so I might as well get to know him a little bit. I asked him the general small-talk questions about location and work and school. P works for an organization in Washington D.C. associated with a cause that he believes in so much that his entire Facebook is devoted to it. Now, I must admit that I know very little about the topic other than a liberal-arts-college-American-Government-class understanding, but one must admire his Roman-soldier-like devotion. My Facebook page is devoted to the life of Ann Clipperton, complete with photos of cat Francis and status statements like, “Ann is hungry.” I guess I’m rather low on Maslow’s famous hierarchy.

When P asked me what I’m doing with my life, I told him that I want to be a writer. “What kind of writing do you do?” He asked. “Oh, lots of kinds,” I answered. Because I have. I’ve written poetry and even had some published, and I’ve written short stories and news articles and magazine articles and columns. When I thought of things I’ve been doing lately, I could only think of the blog and the column for ZIA. So I told him, “I write a fashion column for an online publication.”

And for some reason, I felt a little twinge of shame, a little sense of I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world. Let’s get something straight — P did not make me feel that way. He was very kind. It was all me, inside, thinking about what my goals are and wondering about what exactly it is that I’m doing with my passion for fashion. Or even with my passion for intelligent thought. Or just for caring about other people.

Like Kate Hudson’s character Andy in How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days, I would hope that my goals in life stretch farther than writing a “How To” column for a glossy magazine designed for glossy women with little else to be concerned about than color coordination and How to Know If He’s Into You. And I would hope that my goals for writing stretch farther beyond Shoe Diaries or columns about discount fashion. Like to something that really matters beyond Ann’s amusement.

At the same time, I don’t want to diminish the importance of fashion and all the thought-provoking questions that come from it:

Does the act of first wearing and then burning a bra have a significant psychological impact on its owner? Does the wearing of pants influence a woman to have a career more like a man’s? Maybe not today, but did it in the ’50s? Did that individualistic style that emerged in the late 1990’s have anything to do with existentialism and advances in technology that make relationships far less relational (i.e. I imagine that I have never met many of my readers, yet they get a glimpse into my life on a daily basis)?

Does philosophy influence fashion, or does fashion influence philosophy?

Once my dear and much-quoted friend Ali told me that perhaps I shouldn’t spend so much time reflecting on things because sometimes I dig myself into my own black hole, an abyss of my own making. Indeed, I have 14 years of journals to prove it. Ali also once told me, “Sometimes you just need to talk about cartoons.” These are wise words, coming from one of the smartest women I know, a woman who is currently pursuing a PhD.

Perhaps my Shoe Diaries are my version of cartoons, and I need them as an outlet for the deeper questions. Perhaps my life is a little more balanced when I can set aside those ideas about the over-sexualization of America’s teenage girls and write about “What to Look For in Thrift Stores” in 1000 words or less, complete with quippy jokes about Saved By the Bell and the nineties.

In society, women’s flakiness seems to be the new black. I imagine that I will encounter this to a greater degree in California, but even in the Northwest corner of Arkansas, I noticed how materialism seemed to cancel intelligence. I hope that my posting of fashion items and purchases does not influence others to materialism, the flakiest of all flakes. That is not my intention. My intention is for images to bring inspiration and creativity, as they do for me. My shoes make me see my clothing in different ways. They make me appreciate the new twists I can put on old items rather than going out to buy new things constantly. The contentment they bring is not from having more but from rearranging what I already have. My brilliant Basic Economics professor, a sweet man named Dr. Balla who spent a year in Mexico living among the poor, once said that having a lot of stuff is dangerous. “The more you have, the more you want,” he said. “And the more you have, the more you’re afraid to lose.”

The constant thirst for more is a dangerous place to be because that thirst will never quench. I hope that any fashion ideas or photos on my blog or in my column will influence readers to create rather than covet. Your life is fine without this stuff. Cute shoes will bring fun but never fulfillment.

Recovery

November 1, 2007

In the past several weeks, I have done a whole bunch of stuff, including the following:

1.) Quit my job
2.) Sold 2/3 of my belongings at a large garage sale
3.) Replaced the starter in my car
4.) Got rear-ended
5.) Gave my kitty away
6.) Said good-bye to friends and co-workers
7.) Moved 600 miles with my trunk bungeed shut
8.) Made a dress
9.) Helped with a wedding
10.) Attended said wedding
11.) Baby-sat a niece and nephew overnight

I’m tired. Really, really tired. Today I was supposed to actually unpack my old car. I just can’t get myself off the couch. I’m so, so tired. I don’t start work for another week, so perhaps my body is encouraging me to savor the time while I have it.

Which brings me to my next topic: television. I’m not a big fan, I must admit. I mean, I have shows that I like, but I watch them in entire seasons on DVD. If I have to sit down and flip through television shows and actually CHOOSE what I want to watch, well, that seems like too much work. It seems to defeat the purpose of watching television. I want to be lazy. I don’t want to choose from 75 stations what best suits my current mood. And the thing I mostly run into is that no, I’m never in the mood to watch reality TV unless it’s something like Clean Sweep or What Not to Wear, and if I want to watch something funny, there’s no hope at all unless it’s around 6 p.m. for the double-header of Seinfeld. Or unless I just happen to find a fantastic classic movie on TCM or AMC. I ask you, what’s a lazy girl to do?

I’m sad that reality television is going to be the hallmark of television from my generation. In the future, when people spoof the early 2000’s, they will re-create reality television shows with characters being ridiculously dramatic and saying really stupid things while believing they are being clever, like we spoof the 1950’s today with depictions of joyous and moral nuclear families in the suburbs with convenient product placements. Why is this so sad to me? I mean, it’s not like no good shows have come out of the past few years. In fact, we’ve had some great ones. But I fear the immense quantities of reality television shows will outweigh the quality shows when people look back and remember our era.

I know, I know. Not a big deal. I’ll just go back to watching my Cary Grant movie and eating Reece’s Pieces. Who needs California? I’m staying in Minnesota to get fat.

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:

dscf0721.jpg

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:

dscf0725.jpg

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

dscf0727.jpg

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.

dscf0729.jpg

Fab. u. lous.