Monday, October 29, 2007

Stop Quotation Mark Abuse!

Well I partially solved the winter wardrobe problem by spending my entire savings account at Benneton the other day for the purchase of four sweaters and a winter coat.

Now at least I have the basics.

I didn't even really know Benneton was still around. I do recall shopping there when I was about 12, thinking the sweaters were beautiful, and very-well folded, and exorbitantly expensive. I remember them costing about $200 apiece but this can't be right since they now go for about $40. Perhaps it just seemed that way because back then I only got a dollar a week allowance.

I also remember going on some rant about Benneton ads back in a graduate school class - oh yes - when they were featuring people who were HIV-positive in their ads. I don't remember what I said exactly, although I probably used the word "otherness" a lot because that's a word they like to use in grad school. No doubt it wasn't nearly as entertaining as the oral report (ahem) that I gave on sex toys, pontificating on the sociocultural implications of vibrating dildos as I waved one around in front of the class.

Those were the days.

So back to me. I want to direct to you to a blog after my own heart -- The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks . Those of you who've been privileged to ride up the elevator in my condo with me know that one of my favorite pastimes is dissecting the grammatical errors in the flyers created by the condo board, which are often full of unnecessary quotes. They are fond, for example, of using the phrase "We are sorry for the inconvenience." So clearly they are not sorry at all, not for the inconvenience, and not for perpetrating ghastly punctuation on those imprisoned in the slow (and might I add, dangerous elevator).

Perhaps, like Lynn Truss, the author of the very entertaining Eats, Shoots & Leaves dreams of doing, I should create stickers to post on offending material. "Stop quotation mark abuse!" or some such thing.

Or maybe I should just get a life.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Winter Wardrobe Blues

You know, it's a good thing the paparazzi aren't stalking me anymore because I'd probably end up on some worst-dressed lists, or on Go Fug Yourself or something.

I did OK during the summer with the addition of an all-purpose denim skirt and black capri pants to my wardrobe. Those, along with the many halter tops I seem to own, did just fine.

Winter, however, is another matter. I did buy one nice sweater - a soft, gray, long thing. But it poufs out in the middle and makes me look pregnant (not that there is anything wrong with looking pregnant, mind you, if one IS pregnant). If one can't look thin AND stylish, is it better to look thin? Or stylish?

In any case, I have to wear the thing, because the rest of my sweaters have 1)shrunk in the wash so that they reveal my torso in a very unflattering and out-of-date way 2)are from Value Village and look like it. The winter pants in my wardrobe, moreover, are 1)stained 2)have malfunctioning zippers or 3)give me diaper-butt.

Sigh. How did it get this way? I love the winter but not when I have to go out looking like such a fashion reject. Used to be I had many sweaters, in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I wore miniskirts and tights and boots to work all the time! Have I gotten old? Is that why I don't feel like wearing miniskirts anymore? Or is it just that the pair of Target black boots I have are much too uncomfortable to wear for more than five minutes?

Luckily I'll be heading off to Mexico in a month and I can bring back those tank tops and the denim skirt for a few days. Not to mention my pink bikini, for whose sake I am now working out every day.

But coming up soon I will be taking the stage again so it is more important than ever that I find some cute outfits to wear. That's right, my rock and roll career has awoken from it's comatose slumber! I'm playing keyboards with a country outfit fronted by a very talented songwriter who tackles those good ole country themes like war, drunkenness, betrayal, absent fathers, hardscrabble small towns, and hardworking horses.

And I'm especially excited because I get to sing a song about a woman who 1)takes off her wedding ring than goes to cheat on her husband, but 2)then there's a tornado, and she 3)rushes back to find her house destroyed and is worried 4)that her husband has died in the tornado and 5)that her wedding ring is lost forever but then 6)her husband turns up and 7)so does the wedding ring, and 8)she realizes what a fool she'd been and all she needs is her husband and family to be happy, so screw the damn tornado.

I mean, I was BORN to sing this song even if I've never been in a tornado, or had a wedding ring, or a husband, for that matter. The only question is, what does one wear to sing such a song? Should I follow Dolly's leopard-printed lead?

--Love, Rebecca
Today's blog entry brought to you by numbered lists.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

I Heart Vacation

Why can't all of life be like vacation? Sleeping 11 hours a night, waking up to freshly-brewed coffee, sightseeing all day, ignoring all mundane wordly cares such as bills, where-in-hell-is-your-career-going, that article that's due why you seem to be incapable of love, etc etc.

But, on the positive side of things, all my limbs are intact, bodily organs are functioning, Seattle is awash in fall colors, and they had a copy of my book in the Williamsburg Virginia Barnes and Noble!

Most of the time I don't even LOOK for BreakupBabe anymore because more of than not, she's not there. The thought hadn't even entered my head when I walked into this B&N but then GalPal #2, sneaky little devil that she is, went and looked for it - and found it! So of course I signed it with great ceremony as all her family gathered around and they put the little silver sticker on it that says "Autographed by author."

Thus did I feel the glow of stardom once again, if ever so briefly.

The other highlight of my vacation was spending a day at the Washington DC museums by myself - romping through the National Gallery - so airy and full of bright colors, touching the moon in the Air and Space Museum, stopping for delicious fry bread in the Museum of the American Indian...

There is something very special about going to museums by yourself. All that art for you to take in at your own pace, no one to tug or bug you or tell you they want to leave. The book Artist's Way recommends that aspiring artists go on weekly "artist's dates," where they do creatively stimulating outings by themselves. I love this idea and have always aspired to do the weekly artist's date but have managed maybe twice in the 10 years since I read that book.

That day in DC made up for a lot of lost artist's dates. More sobering was my trip to the Holocaust Museum, and then, following that, dragging myself to see all the memorials in the unseasonably high heat and humidity, practically keeling over as I dutifully joined the crowds at the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial.

Then there was the trip to the Shenandoah Valley. Once the camping portion of the trip began, of course, is when it became freezing cold (AND WHEN WE REALIZED THE FALL COLORS WERE NOT GOOD THIS YEAR. I SAID I WAS GOING TO KICK SOME ASS IF THEY WEREN'T. DIDN'T I? DIDN'T I?) But nonetheless, Dave and I managed to have fun, getting in only one jet-lag induced fight, exploring the Appalachian Trail, freezing our asses off, marveling at the Deliverance-style accents we heard, etc etc.

That's me above, looking oh-so-pensively out at the nearly nonexistent fall foliage from Hawksbill Mountain and deciding whose ass to kick. This is the HIGHEST mountain in Shenandoah National Park at 4,000-something feet, these mountains being all ground-down and rounded by age unlike our youthful and still erect Cascades.