Today is just one of those days when everything seems too awful to function. I’m supposed to be finishing my part of a year-long project that was due yesterday (in fact, should have been done weeks or months ago….) and I’m sitting at my desk, paralyzed and crying re: the NEH, the families of Manchester, this woman/mother/grandmother/wonderful letter writer, and just feeling everything too much, in that “maybe I should leave work and go pick up my kid right now because I can’t shake this pound of dread in my gut that something awful is going to happen before I can get to her” kind of way.
Is it only Tuesday?
I’ve encountered two things today that are helping me power through, and that also seem in direct tension with one another:
“What If We Cultivated Our Ugliness? or: The Monstrous Beauty of Medusa” by Jess Zimmerman–about owning yourself and your power; agency through ugliness–and, well, “Put on Your Sunday Clothes,” which is all about fancying up on the outside to force momentum on the inside. Well, and Babs, which may be the real point.
Today my Tuesday clothes are all black head-to-toe with an oversized sage green men’s travel shirt (my dad’s) and a wide black belt.
According to a co-worker (who never fails to notice my fashion choices in the worst way possible, like telling me that my yellow wool coat evokes Dick Tracy, rather than Audrey Hepburn in Charade. Problem was, he’s not wrong…), I look like a jaunty swashbuckler.
Unfortunately I was kind of going for, like, Doris Day doing casual yardwork.
So. All this to say, not a lot of buckle swashing going on round these parts, despite all effort to the contrary.
Great news! I finally got some clunky, Danish-style clogs. So I guess I can (finally!) be a real librarian now.
What I’m wearing:
- J.Jill taupe jersey blazer thing, gift from MIL ca. 2012
- Burgundy swingy tank top thing, Target, 2006 (oh God this tank top is 10 years old probably not OK to wear to work…)
- Black linen cropped pants, Old Navy, 2016
- Sanita “Professional Dream Work” (a-what now?) clog in in red
These shoes come in European sizes and I am almost certain I should have sized up. I normally wear 8 1/2. Tried a “40,” which seemed like the right conversion, but it felt like a boat on my foot, so went 39, which at least stayed on. But now after a day of wear, they seem pretty snug. Oh well: we’ll let ’em break in, stretch, etc.
Last night at DSW I was supposed to be getting new gym shoes, but I put them back in order to justify purchasing these.
I felt remarkably steady on my feet this morning as I crashed down the steps with three bags and a toddler on my hip, but then, wouldn’t you know it, later in the day I completely tripped and rolled my ankle while carrying nothing at all. So, you know. Walking: still dangerous.
No I would never coordinate my outfit with an infant’s what are you even talking about
Here’s one thing I didn’t anticipate about parenthood: that I would take so many pictures of the inside of my house. One thing that I’ve really noticed is all the stuff in these pictures. I feel like it’s common to look back at pictures of grandparents and say, “I remember that table! That rug!” but what about the books? The gadgets? The garbage? This stuff shines a light in the corners of who we are and what we do. How we spend our money and our time. How we construct our space at this moment in our lives.
An observant viewer could pull a life out of this background. And since I am no minimalist (ha!), there are plenty of clues. Here are some of the more telling examples.
Sodastream bottle. Bin of rubber Wii remote control cases, peeled off and turned inside out to “borrow” the batteries out of the controls for other purposes. Apple TV remote. Half-drunk Stella Artois Cidre. iPhone 3, handed down from brother to father to mother to son. Monet’s Table, a used cookbook of recipes prepared at Giverny that I bought on impulse and never opened.
More of the same: iPhone 3, Apple TV remote, beer stein and travel mug unmoved from the previous picture. MacBook Pro. iPod Mini. Baby 411 and Be Prepared: a Practical Handbook for New Dads. Daisy in her usual position on the couch. Soothie pacifier. Fake fireplace space heater insert.
Custom Motwai tile of King Claudius. Literati bookstore shopping bag. Portable toolset. Non-seasonal Christmas lights. Angela’s Ashes. Now I can Die in Peace. The View from Saturday. Wedding pictures. Stories of English. Biography of Audrey Hepburn. Dances with Dragons. The Golden Notebook. Gingerbread houses. Plush strand of DNA. PrestOne windshield de-icer and scraper. Completely synthetic insanely soft microfleece throw. Drawing of a cat done by my cousin when she was a toddler. Heat register.
Random assortment of magnets: Veggie Tales, Wrigley Field, alligator tile from New Orleans, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “Ceci nes pas un pipe” from the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute. Invitation to my own baby shower. Other people’s baby announcements. Magnetic poetry (UGH I HATE MAGNETIC POETRY). Mangled bottle brush. Ninja salt & pepper shaker. Unwashed nonstick pans. “Boogie Board” LCD erasable message board from Brookstone! Irridescent taupe nail polish. Meijer coupons.
Arbonne bath products; gift from Sam’s cousin who is a consultant. Meijer brand hand soap and hand sanitizer. Bottle brush(es). Many faced candle. Small stone hearts with “love” on them in many languages from Kelsey’s wedding shower. Tiny book cut and sewn and bound by yours truly. Snow on the ground outside. Defunct Soda Stream tank. One of the clearest shots ever taken of my tattoo.
OK, this is actually my parents’ house. Brother holding baby, with brother’s senior picture on the wall behind, and brother and sister holding baby cousins 14 years ago on the microwave. Motorcycle jacket. Chicago beanie. Clementines. Angel statuette sculpted by yours truly in 3rd grade. French doors my parents bought when they thought they couldn’t afford to buy their house (and then they did). Dog crate for the uncontainable beasts. Black plastic case, no doubt containing photography eqipment.
Dad’s in-home office. Coffee cup from the coast of Maine. Art deco coffee cup. Coffee cup/pen holder with nude woman diving into it. Glasses on desk, glasses on face. Set of hand drums. Batik hanging from art market in Estonia. Model race cars. Quotable greeting card. Framed poem by me to the left of the iMac. Stylus in addition to keyboard and mouse. Bundle of USB(?) connectors. Samsung Galaxy phone. German short-haired pointer.
Vodka (misleading, actually: the only booze on a low shelf on the wall because it’s the stuff we never touch). Checkered flag shot glass from the Indianapolis motor speedway. Kenyan wooden spoon from a nonprofit Sam’s dad works for. Beer stein featuring Leslie Nielsen in Naked Gun, gift from brother to husband, that should not have gone through the dishwasher. Stroller. Cat tree. DVDs and video(s)! From here I can identify LOTR trilogy, Family Guy, While you Were Sleeping, You’ve Got Mail, and a bunch of Disney stuff. Less than stable antique chair.
This is my first week back in the office full time. And yesterday, my co-worker told me I looked “snazz matazz”:
“And with a kid on my arm I’m still an exceptional earner” ~Britney
- Luna Claire dress, purchased at a boutique in uptown Normal, IL, gift from my mother-in-law ca. 2014. This dress has a super wide neckline and low cut back. In the past, I always found this a frustrating reason not to wear it. I have to have excellent posture all the time or it slips off my shoulders, and I HAVE to wear a tank top under it. But today, I discovered that this is a feature, not a bug. Is it unexpectedly hot out? Just push the neckline off your sholulders, shimmy out of the bodice, and and tie the sleeves around your waist. Boom!
- Navy “tami” tank top, Old Navy, 2013. Because it’s necessary, as above.
- Purple 3/4-length-sleeve shrug, Coldwater Creek, 2007. This was purchased to wear over a strapless dress for my college graduation. Waste not want not! Don’t remember the last time I wore this, but it comes in handy. Just dug it out of the “summer box” was reminded of its existence last week..
- Navy tights, Meijer or something, 2014. By the end of the day it was waaaaaay too hot for tights, but needed them in th echilly
- Purple Doc Martens, Oxford, 2013. Don’t leave home without ’em!
- Babe! 2015. This is after we picked her up from daycare, where she was stripped of her long-sleeved onesie layer and socks. Who needs ’em?
Normally navy and purple is probably not a thing I would do. But I followed the dress’s lead and we all survived.