Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Essays and Banjos: An Interview for Rock & Sling

I recently had the chance to interview friend and writer Jessie van Eerden for Rock & Sling. It's up on their rad blog:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Liberace Western Wear

When I moved to Spokane last summer, my thrifting focused mostly on housewares: dishes, a couch, a coffee table, latch hook art and gewgaws for home and office.
Yours truly models
a snazzy Rockmount Ranch
Wear blouse.
My quarters are in pretty fine shape now (dust topiary notwithstanding), so I’ve returned to my first love: clothes.
This week I’ve been in L.A. on Spring Break with my guy, John, my mom, and my brother. We nosed around some shops in Santa Monica and the Beverly Center, but I approach a Coach store or Tory Burch boutique more like little museums than places where I would actually transact business. I can’t even set foot in one without worry that I’ll set off some kind of hillbilly detector.
I felt most at home at Buffalo Exchange on La Brea. I know I’ve rhapsodized about BE before, but they’ve got my number. I visited that store last spring on a Friday night when the karaoke machine was fired up (patrons received $5 off their purchase if they signed up to sing).
I spied this white Rockmount Ranch Wear shirt and was seduced by its pearly snaps and tablecloth feel. At $4.50 (yay for 50% off tag!), I knew that even if I'd only wear it a couple of times this semester, I’d get my money’s worth.
Though I enjoy reading fashion blogs such as Fashionable Academics or Kendi Everyday in which the bloggers post pictures of themselves in their stylin’ outfit combos, I’m not ready to set up a tripod nor do I live with someone who can snap photos of me just-so. (I’m also not sure if this is a fashion blog or not, but my blog’s identity crisis can wait for another post).
To facilitate the clothing photography, I plan to make my own dress form one of these weekends. My artsy craftsy friends assure me it’s not that hard, and I think they'll come to my aid if I provide the cocktails.
But here I am in these photos. Why yes, that is a robin’s egg blue bra I’m wearing. My concept is Rihanna meets Liberace Cowgirl.
Note too the frilly cuffs and the sleeves (great joy) that are long enough for my dental floss arms!! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

reddish / purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy / stuff (thanks, WCW)

Almost a year ago to the day, John, my friend Barbara, and I ran the L.A. marathon. I wore my burgundy-brown Nike via Thrift Town shorts even though Barbara and I called ourselves Team Capris during our training. (Our alternate name was Team Velveeta, reflecting our love of post-run grilled cheese). In the race, I wore my water bottle fanny pack, removing the bottle for a baggie of pretzels and Cheez-its. (Why can I not write about running without also writing about food?)
The 2011 L.A. marathon was yesterday. I spent most of the day on the couch at John's parents' house, winnowing down a stack of grading and staring at gray sky, glad we'd picked the right year for that race.
The truth is that I probably haven't run 26 miles total this year. I hope to come out of hibernation, get some new running shoes, pick a race, buy some Teddy Grahams, get moving.
In one of my classes recently, we read William Carlos Williams' poem "Spring and All." One of the things I appreciate about this poem is its un-Hallmark look at the season. In place of daffodils or Easter grass is the "reddish / purplish, forked, upstanding, twiggy / stuff of bushes and small trees / with dead, brown leaves under them / leafless vines--"
Before spring erupts, Williams suggests, one must face winter's brush. In the clutter, "[l]ifeless in appearance, sluggish / dazed spring approaches--" Spring is a resurrection, but not much to look at when it first shows up. Spring is here, especially in the green folds of Malibu. It's spring break, after all (I hope I never outgrow spring break). Although I look to Williams' poem as a reminder that spring's is a slow approach, I'm also struck by how signs of spring do show up overnight. Just last week at my school in Spokane, one day the courtyard was mulch. The next day, crocus.

OK, there's some shopping and thrifting to do in L.A. I'll ease up on the kum-ba-yah about the seasons and get back to business.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Mental Math

We’re getting more light in Spokane (by nearly three minutes a day!). Tonight I drove home from work at twilight. Glorious.
I rode the bus earlier this week because of the freezing rain and snow. I do realize that for a blog that’s purportedly about thrift shopping, I put a lot on here about weather and food. Know that there are some clothing posts to come. I was in Portland last weekend, and found some fun recycled items. I’ll need warmer weather to break out the floral dress and silk blouse and two-toned pink t-strap shoes.
One evening this week on my ride home, I was reading under anemic bus lights with my paperback close to my face. I didn’t pay much attention at first to a woman and two teenagers who boarded. The woman wore grayscale camo skinny jeans and black hightops, which I can respect. One of the girls wore a trucker ballcap kittycorner on her head. The younger, blond one didn't wear any distinguishing accessories. She seemed not to have realized yet that she's pretty.
I should say that eavesdropping on the bus is one of the greatest perks of riding public transit. Attempting/pretending to read is a perfect cover. The girls were asking the woman about what she was like when she was younger. “I was like a girl looking down, with her nose stuck in a book,” the woman said. “I was so shy, not like I am now.”
The girls were teasing her about a new gentleman caller. “He tried to kiss me,” she said, “but I turned away.”
They wanted to know how and why she got pregnant with them when she was so young. “Your dad would just sneeze near me, and I’d get pregnant again.” The woman had much more humor than regret.
Why this family chose this bus on this evening to ask about the stories of their conception, I’m not sure.
But I was sure this was more interesting than my book.
I studied more closely the woman's face. My first thought: she looks like hell. I was trying to figure out how old she was to have teen daughters. 
Maybe she could sense my computations.
“I was pregnant at 16 with your older sister, in 1992.”
Then I realized the woman is one year older than I am.
I couldn’t help but salute her as we exited the bus, young mom and her hatchlings from the front of the bus, me slipping out the side.