Friday, December 20, 2013

Day 298: Questioning?

It is January Literary Analysis time—time to think about what's going through my eyes word-wise. A couple of exciting things happened to me book-wise in the last month. I was given a Scribd subscription for Xmas (read about that here) and I got my first Quarterly box from Book Riot. Today. After I had, just a couple of days ago, sent the email to say my box hadn't arrived. It is like a weird phenomena that happens at work: people wait for all sorts of different amounts of time to report their loved ones 'missing', but as soon as they do, they turn up. Same with my box. Quarterly kindly refunded my card, and then, knock, knock, there it is. I crawled back to them apologising for jumping the gun and they ended up charging me only for the box and not the postage. Good customer service. [And just so you don't think I am a free-loading whiner, the approximate due date of the box was mid December—I did wait a decent amount of time before penning a friendly but questioning note on its whereabouts.] The box is like a little present to myself every three months, and the main inclusion was Max Barry's novel Lexicon: A Novel, complete with post-it notes throughout the book which add a little to the writer's vision. I also got a calender, an excert from Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney and a notebook and pencils. All very word-nerd. I'm reducing my reading pile, but surely the Quarterly book needs to be added straight away. Surely?

Q: What are you reading right now? Tell us about it.

A: The pile-reducing project continues. I want it to number a lucky thirteen. Currently the number is thirty-eight. I finished Chuck Palahniuk's Damned and immediately replaced it with his Invisible Monsters Remix (a disconcerting book—read the intro and then do what it says to do: it is quite hard!). I also finished Anna Funder's All That I Am. Two down, yay! Well, one really. But I put four new ones in: Lexicon, the two books I am reading on Scibd (Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, The Tangled Story of English Spelling (anyone who doubted my nerdiness before can rest assured of it now!) and Girl in a Coma) and my Goodreads win Dean Blake's Surface Children. I have to be honest with you (because what is the point otherwise?) but I had a very bad thought the other day when I was reading The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore and thinking how it paralleled Flowers for Algernon. I thought: maybe all the books are starting to seem similar to each other, and then, is there any reason to keep reading?? I know. Pure evil! But then Douglas Coupland's Girl in a Coma took such a strange twist that I had to recant. I had briefly skimmed the synopsis (as I do; I didn't want to know too much), seen the word 'apocalypse', and assumed a certain amount of hyperbole was being employed to sell the book. But what started as a sort of word version of 'The Big Chill' has flipped into a completely different generic dimension. It's wonderful. And it reminds me that even if two people sat down to write exactly the same book, the end results would be two completely different books. Similarities enrich the literary matrix. No more bad thoughts. But definitely need more reading hours because the two-out, five-in equation does not bode well for going in the right pile-reduction direction.

List_Addict               Irene

Q: Out of the 16 books that will be turned into a movie adaptation, which one are you most looking forward to seeing this year? (Article Link)

A: Interesting question. Without reading the book first, I would probably choose Serena with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper—mainly for that reason. I am having to try and let go of my initial judgement of Cooper as a himbo. On personal interest, but not sure how well it would work, I'd toy with Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, because I would like to walk it myself. But if I read the books first, then it would be a competition between Divergent, Dark Places and Gone Girl. Gillian Flynn is doing alright for herself, isn't she?


Q: What was the worst book you've ever read?

A: I'm blessed with amnesia regarding this. Looking through my current 'read' list on Goodreads there are maybe two (from sixty-six since I started my account) I 'wasn't enamoured with' but I would hardly say the were the 'worst'. I find something in every book, even if it is a stockpile of what-not-to-do's for a day when maybe I change over to the other side of the written word.


Q: What foods or beverages have you spilled on a book while reading? Anything good?

A: I think I squashed a mozzie on a book once. I hope it was a murder mystery. A little bit of blood never goes astray on one of those. The most likely food substances on books for me would come from chocolate biscuit smudges. I read a bit at meals on solo travelling jaunts, but that is usually on a kindle or iPad and a damp cloth quickly fixes that.


Q: Do you pictures characters as popular film or tv actors? Or do you create a whole new person in your head?

A: Currently I am reading the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and I am annoyed that characters already have looks and even voices. I prefer hand picking them from the detritus in my brain.


Q: Out of all the authors you've read books by, who's brain would you want to pick the most?

A: Mmm. I am so bad at talking with people. I always find these types of questions so hard to answer. Do I have to have dinner with three awe-inspiring people? Do I want to be marooned on an island with my nomination of the world's most interesting person? If I have seat 2A in the pointy end of the plane, couldn't I just watch movies from a horizontal position while alternatively drinking glasses of champagne and water through a straw amd eating with non-plastic cutlery, rather than spending this rare opportunity chatting? Could Chuck Palahniuk or James Joyce or Neil Gaiman maybe just send me an email of things they are thinking occasionally? I am happy with that.


The Outfit
Clearing the Closet: It’s time to go demin skirt, falling apart, much loved. I will miss you.
Jumper: SheInside
Skirt: Op-shopped
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Sparkly Cosmo'


Photographer de Jour: B——


Who wore it better?

Sharing the love with:

Pink Heels Pink Truck




Lena B, Actually


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Day 328: White on White

The title doesn't correspond to the fashion. I am, increasingly, a fashion blogger who never speaks about fashion, or a general-rambling-on blogger who wears outfits and obsesses over outfits and who would consider contents insurance because the cost of replacing her shoes is prohibitive. The loss of unique thrifted or op-shopped clothing is uninsurable and unfathomable. The title is about snow. Although, when you look at the 'fashion' photos, the white dots in this odd, much-loved, new jacket of mine do dominate and pick up the white of the dress. I wish it was snowing here. I have done nothing, zero, zilch, nada! for four days because, for the last four days, this has been the daily high: 42.8, 41.7, 43.9, 43.9. For you in the fahrenheit world that is: 109, 107, 111, 111. That was accompanied by lows of: 28.6 (83), 27.0 (80), 25.6 (78) and, even after the cool change, 21.5 (71). We don't have insulation, let alone air-conditioning. Our wooden box of a house is hotter inside that out. V——'s car temperature after a day of work was 53! (127!) This is weather that makes me cry. If I had some fluid in my body, I would cry. Tears had to be the things that ran down my spine, my face, or pooled in odd places while I just tried to exist my way through the days. I would take snow over this any day of the year!


The second largest canyon in the United States (such a disappointing moniker; if you worked there you would be yelling out 'erode, damn you canyon, erode, you're only thirty-three thousand cubic meters away from losing the 'second') is in the Texas Panhandle. It's called Palo Duro, and it looks amazing. It has a road that goes right down into it, and we (read 'I') thought it would look even more amazing with snow on it, so this morning we headed out on the frozen freeways, secondary roads and farm-to-market roads to see it. Only to find it was closed due to inclement weather. What! How can you close a hole in the ground because of weather? So we played badmington in the car park. Americans are funny. A car stopped to ask if we were okay: our car pulled over in the snow, us out playing with a white shuttlecock in white snow and a wind. 'Yes, we're just playing some badmington.' 'Oh, you got it bad!' What have we got?


The rest of the day was wet, slushy freeways and a not-well travelling companion; sunday football playing during a mexican lunch (cor' how many games play at once!); Buddy Holly's birthplace with no sightseeing about Buddy Holly at all. I went to Savers. V—— waited in the car because he wasn't well. We used the pool and spa again, even though V—— wasn't well. He finds the warmth therapeutic. I am not sure how he justifies the immersion in the cold swimming pool though. This one was really cold. It is a strangely desirable torture. We had dinner in a (bikie?) bar which seemed to have an odd code-gesture required for entry which turned out to be the international sign for ID(?). And then we slept the night away in the best bed of the trip. A quietly and unassumedly pleasant day.

Clockwise from top: Farm-to-Market Road, Texas Panhandle; our car this morning in Amarillo; Badmington at Palo Duro National Park

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Jacket: Thrifted, Salvation Army, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Charm Bracelet: Fossil
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Can't Touch This'


Photographer de Jour: B——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:



I Feel Pretty

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Day 327: Every Night I've Been Hugging My Pillow

Irene               List_Addict

The snow came. We would, later in this trip, be ill, and it was possibly no surprise. The hotel in Roswell had a pool and spa and so we decided to go for a soak. But then the foolishness kicked in. A warm spa was warmer after a dip in the cooler pool, and then even warmer after standing, on a dare, for a minute, outside, in bathers, while it snowed on you. In the morning the car was covered. Another night of speculating on direction meant we were headed towards Texas, following Neil Sedaka's way to Amarillo because the song had got stuck in V——'s head. Are there more justifiable ways to choose destinations? Two things about snow: you don't expect, as a non-national, to see it in Texas! and, it precludes most outdoor activities and random stops along the way for general sightseeing or simply 'being' in a place. We did, however, manage to make two stops for the day: the Roswell UFO Museum and the Roswell Goodwill Store.


The sure way to guarantee a rumour persists is for a large government body to actively deny it. That is Roswell in a nutshell. Deny it, and then come up with a ludicrous alternative theory that insults everyone involved's (dubious) intelligence. I'm not good at museums. Four years of travelling through Europe cured me of them. Them, and churches. They can hold me a little longer if they have audio. I don't mind information directed straight at my brain via my ear canals, but having to read it doesn't work well for me. Maybe I do have ADHD. I usually just wander about and get bits of the story. There were some interesting bits. There were some tacky bits. It was just as I expected.

The Goodwill store, discovered last minute on the way out of town, was much better than I expected. I had a time limit (there is only so long I can go for before guilt about leaving V—— in a car while I spend hours in a thrift store becomes prohibitive to my thrifting enjoyment) and so I had to be focused and ruthless: straight to dresses, then vintage, then skirts; nothing more (except a glance at some jeans and a jacket), no time for trying things on; go with your gut instincts. The dress section was awesome—got an amazing chintzy-couch fabric, eighties retro dress and a denim dress. Vintage was overpriced. Skirts were great. Thrifting in the States wasn't, at first, what I envisaged it was going to be, but when I opened my heart to it without expectation, it surprised me over and over again. Today's dress, for example, looks terrible on a hanger. But put it on and I shimmey and laugh everywhere I go. I wore this on New Years Eve (even though all I did was go to dinner at my defacto-in-laws). It weighs a ton and is handmade, but it feels a million dollars when its on. I wish my pockets and my closets were limitless. I'd never stop thrifting.

From top: Snow on car; Aliens in Roswell; Snow on Texas

The Outfit
Dress: Thrifted, Lubbock, Texas
Necklace: Bead Shop, Highpoint
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Magic Pony'


Photographer de Jour: B——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:



Lena B, Actually


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Day 302: I've Sub-Scribd

My new words for today are mostly from books located on my Christmas present. My boy gave me a one year subscription to Scribd. It's the Netflix of books. For a year I can read as many books as I possibly can from their apparently extensive (like, over a hundred thousand) collection. I have started with two: David Wolman's Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling (who would have thought spelling could be so entertaining to anyone other than an extreme word nerd like myself), and, Douglas Coupland's Girlfriend in a Coma (a sort of 'The Big Chill' of books). I am in the process of nutting out an elaborate and complicated selection criteria for the next book to read, based on recommendations, which will hopefully have me reading things I may not ordinarily have. I'm spend way too much time looking at what the possible next books will be. Too exciting. But in the meantime I have discovered some new words and one (nascent) who's definition just won't stay with me for some reason, no matter how many times I look it up. Have you come across any interesting words lately? Come over and share them at Wondrous Words Wednesday.

orthography: spelling considered to be correct; the principles underlying spelling

Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling; David Wolman

'America was at war over words. The composition of words, to be precise—what some people call orthography and the rest of us call spelling.'
Or,
'Orthography, and irregular spellings in particular, retain the etymological fossils that give words historical richness and poetic power, and in turn give philologists something to do with their time.'


jeremiad: a prolonged lamentation or mournful complaint

Girlfriend in a Coma; Douglas Coupland

'During one particularly fevered patch of vegetarianism in the seventies, I made the mistake of saying I'd been to Benihana's Steak house; a brisk, half-hour, anti-meat jeremiad followed.'


nascent: starting to grow or develop; being born

Righting the Mother Tongue: From Olde English to Email, the Tangled Story of English Spelling; David Wolman

'He [Noah Webster, of the Webster Dictionary fame] was a political animal, and in this sense he didn't think of his Speller as something that was merely about the lettering of words. It was in fact Phase 1 of his mission to help stitch the nascent nation together with words.'

Irene               List_Addict

And from a completely different book in a completely different format (Kindle) comes a word I have to warn you about. Don't proceed if you are squeamish or put off by bodily fluids or mentions of rather icky diseases, because the word that follows is of that ilk. It always fascinates me when a bigger group of 'thing' has exceptions known by a more specialised name. Like the differentiation of 'guano' from the larger group of general 'poops'. This is another:

gleet: a watery discharge from the uretha caused by gonorrhoeal infection

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; Mary Roach

'I don't mind Theo's matter-of-factness. Life contains these things: leakage and wickage and discharge, pus and snot and slime and gleet. We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget.'


The Outfit
Clearing the Closet: It’s time to go grey jumper dress. You unflatter me!
Jumper Dress: Op-shopped
Jeans: Primark
Earrings: Old as time
V——: Looking like he wishes this would end. Soon. Please!
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Cheeky Moose'


Photographer de Jour: B——


Who wore it better?

Putting a link on with:

STYLELIXIR Style Sessions


I Feel Pretty

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Day 331: What You Can See From Space

Last year, for those who may not know, I went on a holiday to the States. (Have a look in my archives for days starting the tenth of November for a blow-by-blow—I know you haven't got anything else to do!) I'm quite—how shall we put this?—um, 'anal', I suppose. And so I am still trying to get days from last year written up on this blog instead of letting time flow it's organic course. Oh, well. Acceptance of one's foibles is a good thing, isn't it? Foibles are what give us character—even if that character drives our nearest-and-dearest absolutely batty.

Irene               List_Addict*

* And Mr Pickles


This day was a little bit like being abducted by aliens again. (Did I mention the last time? I looked up, saw two signs in sequence that announced a street to the right and a speed limit. Then I looked down, looked up again quite a few seconds later and saw the exact same combination of signs after what should have already been the turn-off. The only explanation: a microscopically mistimed re-entry after alien abduction.) Only this time, the aliens had no care how large the gap was between taking and returning. It extended from just after visiting the Pima Air Museum to dinner (which I only recalled when V—— just reminded me a few moments ago—you think I am anal, he has what we had for dinner every night in his diary). There is another explanation. Possibly. I was rather unwell. The first story is more exciting. But even though I mostly sat on a chair (in a museum or in a bus) for the most part, I do think it is worth telling you about this amazing place: The Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.


There are some mind-boggling things that you can see on Google Maps. Diagon Alley for example. Or the pirate's face if you zoom in on the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. Or just lots of people doing odd things while the Google truck goes past (see a summary here at Mashable—be warned, there are some rude ones so don't look if you are easily offended.) It was Google Maps that brought us to Tucson. For this. The Pima Air and Space Museum, along with having lots of very cool planes on site—like the Blackbird: highest (25 kilometers), fastest (3500 km/hour)—also conducts tours onto the base which houses the Boneyard (AMARG: Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group). On one side of the highway (the left) you can see there in the middle of the picture are the planes being kept in storage for re-use; on the other is the true boneyard where parts are farmed to repair planes still in action. The guide was amazing. So many stories. I won't tell you too much because I think you should check it out if you ever find yourself in the vicinity. Now I am intrigued now by the paranoia of the Cold War. I think I'll read about that a bit. It sounds like it has foibles aplenty.

Clockwise from top left: Planes and hills; Planes and sky; Planes and sky; Paper planes

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Jacket: Thrifted, Savers Las Vegas, Nevada (yay, a demin one at last!!)
Earrings: Lovisa
Shoes: Irregular Choice 'Felt Attack'


Photographer de Jour: Moi——


Who Wore It Better?



Sharing the love with:



Lena B, Actually


Friday, November 22, 2013

Day 326: Minus Seven

List_Addict               Irene

For the information of anyone new, transient or lost, my posts are all over the place. I wanted to post on this project, everyday, for a 1001 days, but am hopelessly behind and flailing like a just-caught pike to catch up. Posts in the early day-three-hundred-and-teen or twenties, like this one, are all about my recent million-years-ago holiday to the States. Unfortunately, though, I have run out of pictures of me wearing things in the States and so for the rest of the tale about my trip, we are back to 'Who Wore it Better?', featuring clothing items thrifted on my holiday. Today is the first such day. I picked up this little dress at the Savers in Lubbock, Texas (claim to fame: birthplace of Buddy Holly). Poor V—— was ill. Stoicly he waited in the car for me to spend ages looking for clothes and I certainly ended up with a trolley-worth. But a trolley worth of items I was instantly in love with comes with the five-items-at-a-time change-room dilemma. What happens to the treasure-trolley? People will surely covet what I have and steal it while I am in the cubicle. (Yes, I do have a low judgement of my fellow humans.) So I tried on as much as I could in mirrors around the store, and then I spent some (futile) time trying to get V——'s attention through the window of my store and his car so he could security-guard it, and finally I figured it was worth the three dollars to take it home untried. It is a hundred percent plastic, but a hundred percent colour too, so I think it was three bucks well spent.


Did I tell you that bad weather in the States seems to follow us? We went to America in 2010 and drove from Florida to Washington, D.C. On the evening we got to Washington, there was a blizzard. I was driving. We are talking about people who do not see snow, let along drive in the stuff, on a normal day to day basis. Or ever. Poor V—— had to hang out the window of the car to tell me if I was in a lane on the freeway. We just made the last train from the drop off point for the vehicle at the airport before they closed down the train system and we spent a day in the city where not a single thing but one Starbucks and one McDonalds was open. I believe the White House is, but we couldn't see it against the snow. Same thing happened this trip. An unseasonal 'cold snap' hit the states which I thought were the ones free wheelin' American retirees pointed the noses of their RVs towards for the winter months because they are warm. Reports said the storm would hit overnight. In the morning we found ice on puddles but no snow. As we headed out of Santa Fe towards Roswell, we started to encounter snowy roads and the dashboard instruments kept warning us of 'low outside temperatures'. We spent the majority of the day at minus seven. Celsius. We didn't pack well for this. It is generally okay. You can't spend too much time outdoors, but you can bounce from heated vehicle to heated building. The only problem for the day was that there wasn't that much between here and there, and so when that (girly) point was reached, the one where it was 'I need to go to the bathroom—NOW!!', the only option was a turn off onto a quiet country road and a run into a bush. At minus seven with a windchill factor of 'eek', that wasn't a pleasant stop. We also made the rooky mistake of thinking that some water on the windscreen would make visibility clearer. Mmmm. No. Sheet of ice. But despite all this coldness, we still managed, after a dinner accompanied by the largest and yummiest michelada ever (for the uninitiated: Tabasco, other spicy things, piles of lime juice and ice, a salted rim, and with a dark Mexican beer poured on top; the Mexican version of a Bloody Mary and simply divine), to stop in at Dairy Queen for an ice cream. It wasn't busy in there.

Clockwise from left: Our views for the day; the bush; colour in the snow: cool/tacky roadside souvenir stores

The Outfit
Dress: Thrifted, Lubbock, Texas
Kinomo: Op-shopped
Shoes: Myers


Photographer de Jour: Moi


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

pleated poppy


button



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Day 325: O.K.

I always felt an affinity with Georgia O'Keeffe. I couldn't put my finger on it. But maybe the docent at her museum in Santa Fe narrowed it down for me. She wasn't, it seems, that enamoured with people. There are very few in her paintings; she lived this amazing life (when she finally could) in the vast spaces of New Mexico; and she famously said: I wish people were all trees and I think I could enjoy them then. I love the word docent. It's new to me, but prevalent in museums in the States, it seems. It's a quite, soft word. A storyteller word. I once did one of those tests where they work out what kind of a learner you are—visual, tactile, auditory—and I ended up as the last. I love to listen to stories, but only those told by a real person in my presence. And in fact I prefer to be an anonymous listener—not one on one. An eavesdropper, if you will. But the docent at this museum was magnificent and I could have sat on that hard little bench and listened to him all day. The subject matter helped. Goergia was a feisty thing, driven, opinionated. The men of her day all thought she was this magnificent female voice of the Freudian, speaking out for the repressed feminine sexuality. But she just liked to paint flowers, and shapes. There is a great painting in her series of Arum lilies which she dedicates to her husband Alfred Stieglitz, a prominent art promoter, photographer and proponent of Freudian themes in her work, but in which the phallic part of the flower is, shall we say, foreshortened. Funny lady.

List_Addict               Irene

We visited three types of second hand place today: a second hand cowboy boot shop, a standard thrift store and a consignment store. The last was an interesting experience and I spent much too much. I couldn't work out how the tags worked. There were subtle variations of colour which represented different percentages of discount. 'The peach ones are thirty percent off, but the apricot is full priced', for example. I re-scanned everything once I thought I had worked them out and selected a couple of pieces which then seemed to be charged to me at full price at the register. I left confused and willing to stick to thrift stores. The boot shop was lovely, nice people, heaps of boots. But because I have one pair now (here, here or here), the second pair I want is a fantasy pair based on ones I saw someone wearing years and years ago, which I can't quite recall, but which I will know when I see them. I didn't see them. And the last store, a Salvation Army, had an interesting clientele. It was prime eaves-dropping real estate and a great source of cheap leathers for skinny people. I indulged in the first, and except for a doesn't-quite-fit-but-can't-pass-it-by purple suede and snakeskin eighties iconic jacket, I didn't indulge in the second. I vacillate often on the topic of buying things that don't fit, but that I love and hope to one day squeeze into. It's why I have just as many unfitting clothes as fitting, and why this blog must go on beyond it's planned three hundred and sixty-five days, and until I have worn everything. Oh dear. What have I created? The definition of infinity?

Clockwise from left: adobe, colour, and the New Mexico flag; Santa Fe main street and law enforcement; street art

The Outfit
T-shirt/holiday pj's: Thailand market stall
Cardigan: Op-shopped
Skirt: Op-shopped
Leggings: Target
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

Totally Posted Tuesday

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Day 324: How to Kill a Bargain

Irene and I could not be any further apart than this moment. I'm dressed for the snow. She, if you aren't aware, was spending her holiday in Thailand, lazing on a beach, drinking cocktails and ending up sore and pink every evening, covered in aloe vera. I mean, look at her skin. Pure alabaster. She shouldn't be outside without a golf umbrella. And at least three layers of zinc. Actually, maybe that is three layers of zinc.

This day on the (now past) holiday consisted of a thrift-stop in Alamosa. The store was divided into two parts—very cheap horrible stuff, and prize-picked and over-inflated-ly priced stuff. I managed to salvage two pairs of cropped jeans (patterned pink ones which have since been described as looking like pjs, but I like them, and my first ever white pair—eek!) and then find a fantastic boxy fur jacket. The jacket was thirty dollars, but afterwards I found a thrift-shop label in the pocket which said fifty. My theory: they put a label in the pocket as a fool-safe for people who change the outer label. But no-one checked the pocket at the checkout. I was happy with the price and started wearing it straight away. I felt a little sore-thumb when we stopped in a hippy-vegan coffee shop for the morning lattes, but I soon discovered it was a fake and so I am okay with wearing it around non-fur-lovers. I would, two days later, leave this jacket in a hotel room in Santa Fe and have to call them to get it sent home. I like it. The bargain coat cost me eighty dollars to get shipped to Australia. Not such a bargain any more. I still love it, but it does look a little shabby for a one hundred and ten dollar jacket now.

List_Addict               Irene

We stopped in Los Alamos, the secret location, for so long, of the Manhattan Project. I suppose we have to have these museums to sadness. Museums like Ground Zero, or the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City. Museums that show us the infinite cruelty of man to man. Museums like the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos, which details the history and science of the Nuclear. For much of the exhibit, there is an attempt to look at the advantages of nuclear technology, and the other work done by the labratories in the area to make life better for people (eh, questionable?), but you can't side-step the fact that they made two enormous bombs because of the minds in this area and dropped them on hundreds of thousands of civilians. People ask how else they would have stopped the war. I don't know the answer. But there appears to be reports that the Emperor of Japan was not against surrender, but rather against wholesale surrender on the Allies terms. Surely that implies some discussion could have happened without this resort. And what about the fact that the people in the know regarding nuclear weapons were not really sure what would happen if they let one go, but they did it anyway. But do you know what the worst thing about this museum was? Do you? They had all these kiddie sections with mind puzzles where you had to sit on tiny kid's chairs and get a sore back. And neither of us could do the damn things! So annoying. But seriously. Sad place.

We booked into a hotel in Santa Fe for two nights. We're having a rest day! Whoo hoo. And we spent the evening doing laundry. I love laundries. They're like waiting at airports or sitting on trains. Times when you can't do anything else but peacefully wait for the finish of the spin cycle.

Top to Bottom: It was a cloud-watching kind of day, around Alamosa and Los Alamos

The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped (and now cleared from the closet as well)
Fake Fur Coat: Thrifted, Savers, Lubbock, Texas (not the one spoken about above, another one)
Jeans: Target
Scarf: Op-shopped
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: Moi


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

Thrifters Anonymous


stillbeingmolly


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Day 323: Ordinary Days

Some days on holiday are 'nothing' days. Astonishing things don't happen; epic sights aren't seen. Some days you have quiet lunches in little diners and read a quote that moves you in the restroom (what was it again V——?). Some days you find out there is a thrift shop down the road and spend a little time browsing and eavesdropping on the volunteers talking about the flatmates that annoy them and the horror movies they are going to watch tonight, and then hear them telling someone they can have the unpriced box brownie camera for ten dollars because the other camera they have in is fifteen and it has a case—the sensation that comes with that person knowing they just scored a major bargain is palpable and joyous.

List_Addict               Irene

Some days you drive across the flatness between two lots of mountains and when you approach the range on the other side the sky is piled with clouds that have crashed up against it and formed lenticular clouds (see below) that explain the numerous sightings of 'ufo's' on this extraterrestrial highway. And you stop in petrol station/shop/cafes in towns, with populations in the two figures, where the local constabulary and sundry are gathered around the only table and everyone stops talking and looks your way when you walk in. There is an Australian women serving there? In her fifties at a guess: she tells us she ended up here on her spiritual quest. She wears a name badge with 'Shell I Am' on it and takes it in her stride when, on returning the 'why are you here?' question, we tell her 'to look for spaceships'. 'Yes, the best spot is under the mountain over there. We meditate and it brings them to us. I've seen them, big as football fields.' Some days you pick the motel in Alamosa that has the best internet coverage all holiday, and walk out in the freezing, full mooned night to have Italian dinner as the only diners in a place the other side of the Rio Grande when it is still a little river underserving of it's name. Some days are extraordinarily ordinary.

Clockwise from top: Spaceships or clouds?, morning views from our balcony in Ouray, Samsung Siri getting in on the 'alternative' road name game

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Dalmation Cardigan: Thrifted, Savers Las Vegas
Scarf: Op-shopped
Leggings: Target
Sunnies: Gifted, Oroton
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

pleated poppy






Monday, November 18, 2013

Day 322: Million Dollar Baby

A driving holiday is not as simple a holiday as it seems. Or am I just doing it wrong? The theory is: get a car, get a map, roam around and discover amazing things, have no plan, don't drive all day. But it turns out that an infinity of options is disabling. Big picture, I think it is part of what ails us in the world—when you can be and do anything, anything at all, how on earth do you choose? How on earth do you commit? Too many options and no plan are not liberating, they are cloying. Back to small picture though, I actually got an insight into a possible answer to that question (it would be great if I could adapt that to the big picture sometime soon, as the time for deciding what I want to be when I grow up is rapidly diminishing). I handed the map over to V—— and asked him to decide the general direction we should head in the next day. I had formulated an idea of my own already but wanted to see what V—— wanted to do. The process of watching V—— try to make his own ideas made me realise how, when presented with a great unknown, we can start to make a decision anyway. Literally, and metaphorically, all you can do is look at where you are, keep a thought on where you came from (as it is rarely in your advantage to go back) and then scout around for what sounds interesting going forward, and commit to going there. You can't see everything or go everywhere, you don't know what any one decision will bring over and above any other. There is no way to know that. And so you have to take a hunch and go for it. It is profoundly simple and astonishingly difficult at the same time. On a road trip it means 'let's go to the Four Corners and then head up along the Million Dollar Highway—that sounds interesting'; in life it means 'let's apply for a PhD and spend five years writing a paper with the nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I will be too old to be seriously considered for a professorship when I am finished and so it will all have been in vain'.

Irene               List_Addict

So we went to Four Corners. Samsung Siri confirmed it is smack bang on the point where Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona come together. We lunched and wandered in a little town called Durango. And then we got on the Million Dollar Highway and went skywards to the snow. It is called that because the soil used to build it has gold ore in it (apparently). I think I slightly misread the guide book as to which direction was the best to go on this stretch of road if you have a fear of heights. It has a distinct lack of guard railing as it twists around, at altitude, through Coloradian mountains on roads lined with ice. I thought we would be on the inside hugging the cliff. Turns out we weren't. And given we are used to driving on the left side of the road (ie. the right side of the road, ie. the correct side of the road), driving on the right (ie. the wrong side of the road) means we tend to stray rightwards a bit. This is a little daunting when all there is on the right is a thousand feet down a mountainside. Tense. But beautiful. And life-affirming. And the sun setting slowly made the mountains and the snow look like rose gold and so it really did seem like a million dollars. And we had a twinkie—what is that? We stayed the night in the gorgeous little town of Ouray where two weeks later it would be minus thirty-one overnight. V—— got very excited for me when Annie, at the Ouray Brewery, asked for my ID. Bless her, she played along and called me 'timeless', but I know she would just ask everyone because it is easier than not and missing one!

Clockwise from left: They like big flags around here; Four Corners; We find snow on the Million Dollar Highway

The Outfit
Jacket: The North Face
Skirt: Op-shopped
Leggings: Target
Scarf: Op-shopped
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

stillbeingmolly


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Day 321: Gruff Before Bluff

Even though I am now home, I am still going to tell you about my holiday in a blow-by-blow, day-to-day format. This is an entirely selfish attempt to log what I did before the Alzheimer's kicks in. Enjoy!

Apple has their Siri. Our GPS was actually a Samsung Note adapted into a guidance system, a (defunct) international phone call centre, a wifi hotspot and one other Twister-coloured function button for which I can't, for the life of me, now remember the actual function it performed. So we called her Samsung Siri. She sent us into the middle of the desert. Literally. In the technology version of 'be careful what you wish for', asking for directions simply to 'Monument Valley' takes you to the geographical centre of such said location. The geographical centre of Monument Valley is not the Monument Valley National Park Visitor's Centre (oddly), but the dusty bottom of a valley floor accessed via progressively deteriorating dirt tracks. Have I ever told you why I like maps? It was an adventure though. And proof that God, or whoever it is that is organising all this mess I like to call my life, doesn't approve of using nature as a bathroom. You can guess at which point in the long gap between facilities the one and only other vehicle who maybe had a Samsung Siri directing them turned up in the middle of nowhere to drive past us. Lesson learned: use the wifi hotspot to get a specific address and Samsung Siri will take you right there. Regret: no more random adventures.

List_Addict               Irene

I'm rather fond of my own company. I don't annoy myself as much as most other pople annoy me, I generally tend to agree with most of my own opinions and I share a fairly similar moral, political, religious and supernatural belief system with myself. We get along. This insular little relationship gets more necessary for me as I age. Poor V——. I have to say that I may have had more, and more extreme, 'reactions' to lack of alone time this holiday than I have had on holidays to date. I was particularly grumpy today. Do you ever find yourself grumpier than normal on a holiday? Besides no alone time, lack of toilets time, can't decide what to do time, another serious detriment to a holiday is expectations. We plan holidays, we look forward to them, we get ideas of what may happen, which then develope into things we think will definitely happen. And then, like a fully loaded truck sliding on icy roads towards you, reality hits. And you forget to enjoy yourself as much as you can, regardless of what is happening. You forget that compared to normal life, this is heaven, even if it isn't exactly the way you hoped it would be. The silver lining is that when you do get home again, all this stuff is insignificant, and nostalgia imbues the whole holiday with wonder. So it all turns out okay in the end. These were the expectation I had that didn't quite come to fruition: cheap but amazing vintage clothing in thrift stores; stopping in small towns with great personalities and diners; going slow; taking stunning photos of detail; not being on freeways. So the combination of all these sorts of triggers meant that the main thing I did at the Monument Valley Visitor's Centre was storm around trying to walk off a heavy, heavy funk filled with unreasonable and unexplainable rage. I did also see some amazing scenery and get Wesley a Sheriff's badge and deputise him. So it wasn't a total loss.

The moon is full and it pops out, enormous, over all the amazing rock formations scattered around here. We stayed the night in the cutest hotel in a place called Bluff. Gretchen's Inn is becoming a distant memory.

Clockwise from top: the classic Monument Valley photograph, sunsets in the mirror are closer than they appear; Monument Valley Sheriff

The Outfit
Top: Op-shopped
Jeans: Target
Scarf: Op-shopped
Sunnies: Gifted, Oroton
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

stillbeingmolly






Saturday, November 16, 2013

Day 320: (Nearly) Speechless

You can't describe, adequately, the Grand Canyon. You can't capture it on film (or digitally—film actually has a better chance in the right hands). You just have to experience it, if you can. What more can I say? A very, deep and wide ravine, amazing in the sunlight and shadow play of the progressing day. It would be great to live in the vicinity of the Canyon, or be able to stay over an extended time. I, being a person too spoiled by my chances, have journeyed to the Grand Canyon twice and both times, regretfully, the air was hazy. If you lived close by you could come in every day until that day when the air was crisp and you felt, with intense clarity, the presence of design in nature. It is there anyway, and I am sure there are no bad days at the Grand Canyon.

List_Addict               Irene

The weather is considerably cooler. Writing this from the future, I can reassure our clerk, at the Red Feather Lodge in Tusayan, that he is not quite correct about it getting really warm as soon as we get off this plateau. This will be, instead the start of the cold spell. We can't help but take it personally. Last time V—— and I came to to the States we drove into a blizzard that closed down all but one McDonalds and one Starbucks (or so it seemed) in Washington DC. Yes, that rather large city, completely closed. This time we have a storm in states that are supposed to be desert, a storm so large they actually sat down and named it—Boreas. But that's still a couple of sunny days away. Lucky we packed for all occasions—bathers through to thermals.

We paid more tonight at the Red Feather Lodge. And we got more. Shower able showers, sleepable linen, the ability to walk barefoot.

Clockwise from top left: Fallstreak (cloud collected) in the sunset sky; strawberry margarita at dinner< (with cream on top??); full moon rising over the Canyon

The Outfit
Dress: Op-shopped
Jacket: The North Face
Leggings: Target
Beanie: River Island, London (and it gets a lot of comments)
Boots: Dr Martens


Photographer de Jour: V——


Who wore it better?

Getting linky today with:

stillbeingmolly


My Thrifty Chic