Monthly Archives: May 2012

WIWW: Re-Entry Edition

It’s time for another round of What I Wore Wednesday.

pleated poppy

I did not get good pictures every day, because I was traveling, although to my horror, several people at my college reunion asked if I had enough outfit pictures for my blog.

OH, THE SHAME.

On Friday, Tyler and I flew to Massachusetts and then changed for dinner:

That’s my friend Amy. We met on approximately that spot in August of 1998. Amy studies regret. I hope the two are not related.

Saturday I wore my homemade maxi dress all day (and managed to get zero pictures of it, and wore this black seersucker dress at night:

Sunday we were invited to two outdoor parties, so I stayed comfortable:

Monday involved a delayed flight, an airplane landing in a tropical storm, and a harrowing drive from Jacksonville to Tallahassee in the same storm. I wore a t-shirt and yoga pants, I’m not going to lie.

Tuesday I was back to work. The cane was our class gift at Reunion. Yup.

And today I’m re-acclimating to our tropical climate:

Have a great week.

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Oh, Amherst, brave Amherst

This afternoon I will leave Tallahassee for my 10-year reunion at Amherst College, in Amherst, MA.

I haven’t been to Amherst since my five-year Reunion in 2007.

Some things have changed.

This is Tyler in 2007:

Some things will be unchanged.

This is Johnson Chapel in 2007, but it could be 1907.

I am changed. In 2007 I was married to someone else, and brutally unhappy. I was thrilled to get away from him, even for four days. This year, I will miss Jason terribly. He is not able to come with me, so I’m taking Tyler as my date.

I am so much happier, deeply happier, than I was in 2007. I am finally comfortable in my skin. Not necessarily thrilled (hello, saddlebags. howyadoin, laugh lines.), but comfortable.

My Amherst friends have been listening to Tyler stories since the day he was born. I hope they’re excited to meet him. I’ve told him to be prepared for total strangers to know exactly who he is, to know all the funny comments he’s ever made.

I can’t wait.

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WIWW: Impending Monday Holiday Edition

Welcome back to What I Wore Wednesday, where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter.

pleated poppy

Thursday I was thrilled to realize that my favorite flip-flops match my favorite bright yellow cardigan. Hoo-ray.

Friday I could not find a bird, so had to make do with putting a duck on it.

Saturday, Tyler and I gave you the side-eye before heading to the baptism of a friend’s baby boy.

Sunday: This was a bit of an outfit fail. I bought the navy top from Victoria’s Secret a few years ago, and it’s just…..too much. Too long, too blousy. It hits me at exactly the wrong spot, but I keep trying to make it work. Back to the drawing board, I suppose.

Monday: I love this shirt. Love, love, love. I may buy all my button downs from Land’s End.

Tuesday: little black knit dress, cardigan, flats. Done and done.

Have a great long weekend!

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I shall call her “Gertrude”

I cannot resist the siren call of free furniture, even when the furniture in question is of the office variety.

Internet, meet Gertrude.

Gertrude is an elephantine filing cabinet that my office was going to donate to Goodwill (can you believe it?!). She weighs approximately four bajillion pounds and cannot be killed by conventional means.

I have dealt with heavy office furniture before – last year I transformed a printer cabinet into a respectable storage piece.

She doesn’t have drawers, like a regular filing cabinet – OH NO. Those panels are hinged at the top, and slide into the cabinet, and inside are trays that slide out.

We’ve had Gertrude for two weeks now. She’s still empty. I have so many ideas – for the inside and the outside – that I can’t settle on just one. I would like to make the exterior look less office-tastic with some paint and a stencil (or vinyl decals). I think I will use it to store photographs and memorabilia – yearbooks and old journals and whatnot. There will be plenty of room left over for, perhaps, papercrafting supplies or sewing patterns or knitting books. The possibilities, they are endless.

Gertrude is currently lurking in the corner of our guest room/office, which keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list of Things That Need Fixin’.

To be quite honest, I’ve been running short on motivation/time/funds to complete projects recently. I’m hoping that Gertrude, the elephant in the room, will help me clear this particular speed bump.

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What about your frieeeends?

Even if you’re not divorced, you probably know someone who has been divorced, or someone who is currently going through that trial by fire.

How can you be a good friend to someone who is getting a divorce? Whether your reaction is “WHAT?!?!” or “I TOLD YOU SO!”, your friend will probably turn to you for help.

While everyone deals with their own separation/divorce differently, and not everyone needs the same things (although “chocolate” and “Kleenex” show up frequently), here are a few guidelines:

1. Have a short memory.

Your friend is in a bad, bad place – even if he or she is the initiator of the divorce. Give them a little slack (temporarily!) when it comes to normal social interactions. You may be out for dinner and suddenly she dissolves in tears. Or you may find that he’s forgotten how to shave on a regular basis. These things will pass. Let them go.

On the other hand, if she’s still crying in public after a year, or he goes full Mountain Man, you might need to have a talk. The bad time should be a speed bump, not a permanent condition. It’s difficult to deal with a person who wallows in their own misery.

Think of it this way: pretend your friend has just had major surgery, and is in the recovery area coming out of anesthesia. They’re confused, in pain, and may say and do things that are totally out of character. Don’t hold it against them.

2. Forget “normal.”

“When will Jane get back to normal?”

Divorce changes a person.  They may change for the better, or for the worse (and in most cases, some of each). If you did not know them before they got married, they may revert to pre-marriage behaviors you’ve never seen. Or they may embark on a journey of self-discovery and develop new behaviors.

They don’t call it “life altering” for nothing.

Think of it this way: pretend your friend is obese, and finally decides to change her lifestyle. She stops joining you for after-work drinks and nachos, joins a gym, and starts bringing salads for lunch every day. While it’s kind of a bummer to lose the “old” friend, it would be totally wrong to sabotage her progress by insisting on nachos. Instead, come find me. I’m always up for nachos.

3. Don’t throw fuel on the fire.

Venting plays a large and vital role in the divorce process. You will probably find yourself on the receiving end of tearful ranting on numerous occasions. You will hear things about your friend’s ex that will curl your hair.

See #1. Remember that you are hearing one very skewed half of a very emotional story. You will never, NEVER, know what went on in their home between them. And it will help no one for you to join your friend in verbally abusing their ex, or worse, treating the ex poorly in public.

Think of it this way: this is not the Jerry Springer show.

4. Don’t become a security blanket.

You cannot replace your friend’s spouse. If your friend begins subtly pressuring you to take on that role, it’s totally fair to draw a line. You are not required to spend every weekend with your divorced friend, or cancel your own plans because he/she is having a bad day. If your friend begins to guilt-trip you into being their full-time buddy, they’re not being a good friend to you.

5. What if you have to choose?

When couple-friends get divorced, you and your spouse are faced with The Choice – Team Mr. or Team Mrs.?

You don’t have to choose.

Let me say that again. You don’t have to choose. If you want to be friends with both, then go right ahead. Don’t share information between the parties, and don’t pretend to be friends to gather snippets of gossip. If your friend is pressuring you to cut ties with their ex, or cuts ties with you because you continue to be nice to their ex, they’re not being a good friend to you.

Think of it this way: by staying on pleasant terms with their ex, you are modeling good behavior for your friend. By refusing to be nasty, or petty, or mean to that person, you are showing your friend how they should behave. 

And if all that fails, bring chocolate and Kleenex. And nachos.

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What I Wore Wednesday

It’s time once again for What I Wore Wednesday, now with even more cash prizes!

pleated poppy

Thursday: I love this shirt. It’s lightweight, and comfortable, and always surprises me by matching more than I think it will.

And yes, there’s my flower pin again.

Friday I went basic – khakis, white tee, scarf. So I accessorized with the kids:

See that somewhat-crazed, almost-the-end-of-school gleam in their eyes? Yeah, me too.

Monday I wore one of my favorite work dresses. It’s so easy to throw on. Of course, there’s the flower pin again. Hey, it was a new week.

Tuesday I woke up early for a run (it’s getting too hot to run after work, plus we’re getting to the time of year where you can set your watch by the late-afternoon thunderstorms) so I went with something comfortable:

And blurry. Comfortable and blurry.

Have a lovely (and in-focus) week!

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The Cemetery of Forgotten Books

“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
– Jorge Luis Borges

Almost every time we go back to Jacksonville, we visit one of my favorite places on earth.

It may not look like much, but Chamblin Bookmine is a magical, magical place. It’s dim, it smells funny, and the aisles look…precarious at best. But if you love reading, and have a good sense of direction, it’s Heaven.

In the novels of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, there is a recurring location called the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I’ve now encountered it twice, in “The Shadow of the Wind” and “The Angel’s Game.” Every time I read about it, I think of Chamblin’s. Only, you know, more Spanish. And probably a little less 1970s-tastic.

I believe the Chamblin’s building used to be some kind of marine or boat warehouse, so it’s enormous. Over the years it has expanded in fits and starts, and now it’s a Frankenshop of maze-like corridors, dead ends, and orange carpet.

AND IT’S SO AWESOME.

You simply can’t comprehend the entire space from any one point, because the aisles run floor-to-ceiling and there are stacks of books everywhere.

I realize this sounds like a nightmare to some people. Thankfully, they have installed helpful signs:

Chamblin’s is less than 2 miles from the house where I grew up, and my absolute favorite summer activity as a child was riding my bike to Chamblin’s and spending the day among the stacks. I’d bring a backpack full of books to trade in, and walk out with a backpack full of books to read.

It’s a great place to re-claim books from your young adulthood. If you want to re-read the entire Babysitter’s Club series, or the collected works of Christopher Pike or R.L. Stine, they’re all there.

If you go to Chamblin’s looking for a specific book, you may be disappointed. Alphabetical order is only loosely observed, and the number of categories under which they put books is astounding. But treasures await those who keep an open mind.

 

 

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