how an endangered species list develops - and more words of wisdom from Mildred, remember her?

If I decide I like a particular cosmetic, it will be discontinued within 13 months, or the manufacturer will be acquired or go out of business.

If I like a particular style of tights - same thing.

Or my size will disappear, or at least disappear from my price range. No joke, when was the last time you saw a ladies' shoe in a AAA width? Or a ladies' hat in numerical sizes?

Am I a harbinger of retail doom? An old friend who wishes to remain unnamed has tried to reassure me by claiming that after Ali MacGraw wore clothes by Villager in Love Story, that company had had it. Oh, she admitted, it lingered, but it lingered in pain. And then there was one hell of a Going Out of Business Sale. I didn't find this comforting - I don't want places to lose cachet and then lose money and then close their doors. I want them to be there when I need, well, anything. Otherwise I'd have to build a loom.

And now fabrics and notions are on the endangered species list. I'm afraid to like stuff. Or, like a certain drugstore brand of makeup, I pro-actively buy multiples, knowing my choice will disappear, and then I decide I like something else better and am stuck with - let's call it emergency back-up makeup. There's a lifetime supply on hand.

Is it possible that the elderly homeless are so badly dressed because all the stores and companies they knew have gone out of business?

On a happier note, here are some rules and fashion pronouncements that I learned/heard from Mildred, she of the muscular arms and whiskey-sour lunches:

                 Only sluts wear half-slips.

                 No matter how hot it is, in this office 
                 there will be no sandals, no open-toes, 
                 and no bare legs.
                 Mascara is not daytime makeup.

Well, times change, some of the time at least.
some things don't change --
where's his other hand?
and where will it be if she
doesn't take that step forward?

And here are some of Mildred's rules for general health and safety. Mom said Mildred was dead right about the watch and the coat. I didn't discuss the drink thing with Mom.

                  A lady does not wear diamonds during the day or 
watches in the evening, 
so if some chump wants to buy you a diamond watch, 
that's enough to tell you his life history.

 If you've never heard of a drink, 
don't try it for the first time on a date. 

Don't let a man help you on with your coat. 
If he won't let go of  it, take a step forward
 as your hands reach the sleeves, 
and shrugit on by yourself, 
with another step forward and to your open side.

The Little Top of Ambiguous Colors and Fibers has arrived. The spirit of Marie Kondo has left the building.

A package arrived! The Little Top of Ambiguous Colors and Fibers is here! In the size I ordered!

Here are the details. I'm afraid that my phone snaps are not going to clear up the question of colors, but I'll try to explain.

The fabric is a thin 100% cotton knit, about the weight of the Vintage Tees, so I'll probably wear the thing over a silk cami. Well, it's snowing after all.
The sequin work is nicely done.

The colorway was described as "pewter mint burgundy." The dark sequins are the burgundy. Easy.

The mint appears as sequins, as does a kind of pearly white. There are also pink sequins.

OK, that leaves pewter. The pewter is the background (fabric) color and to my eye,
 although not to my computer, it reads as a very pale lavender. 
This is a good thing.

Here are views of the jacket, through an iPhone darkly,
slipped over the shirt, and here's the bottom of the skirt.

I have to ask you to trust me on the color of the skirt and jacket, but they really are tones of pale sage green. I now feel sorry for catalog photographers trying to replicate color. In future, I'll try not to complain about misleading color values. The clips on the front of the jacket are some kind of oxidized-looking metal filigree, whatever, they won't be touching skin.

I won't wear any jewelry, as the little stacks of sequins protrude and would catch on chains or necklaces, and the knit is too thin to support pins or broaches. I'll just let the sequins do their job.
The stacks of sequins reminded me of Intergalactic Cauliflower. In a good way, of course.

It turns out my top is the poor relation of this top, which costs about 10 times as much, mine having been grabbed on a 25% promo while the other is sitting around awaiting markdown activity. There's also a pencil skirt, and I think I'd love both pieces with, say, a blush pink leather jacket. Definitely not with the sweatshirt (those little stacks get around!)

The "deluxe" top is made of silk organza and fully lined.  So is the pencil skirt. Obviously the skirt's going to sell slowly, it looks to me like the little stacks of sequins with bead on top could cause indentations resembling weird cellulite if one sat down while wearing the skirt.

And then - I've been saving this for last - while I was hunting for the satin tank that disappeared, I turned up a pair of shoes that I had grabbed at an Anthro sale a few years ago, and tucked away, and kind of lost track of and forgot about. This is the kind of delightful surprise that Marie Kondo will never experience.

Look - shiny lavender! Shiny green! Shiny gold!
In honor of the shoes, I painted my toenails Alchimie.

Of course the original satin tank is still nowhere to be found. 
I wish it well on its journeys.

Oh, right, the Little Top of Ambiguous Colors and Fibers runs true to size.
And the armholes are ok.

OK, so I was going to end the post right there, but then I went to sort out a clutch because my trusty black satchel is obviously not going to cut it. Same anti-Kondo experience:
(it was wrapped up in its sleeper bag,
and I guess ... well, I guess I just
forgot about it. Take that, Ms Kondo!)


as we were leaving it was cold and wet and slippery 
so I didn't wear the cute shoes.

the copywriter from space answers the phone - not the mountain I'm gonna die on

And so it has come to pass that Himself and I are invited to a confirmation and related festivities.

With me, it's generally not so much "what shall I wear?" as "what fits this week?"

Fortunately, a pale sage green outfit - silk satin skirt and lightweight silk velvet jacket - was excavated and fits!

However, the little satin tank that went under the jacket has vanished.
Hello, I'm looking at the stacked sequin shell, number c1929, and I have a couple of questions.
blurry small picture
from JC website
Go ahead.

OK, first, the description just says the fabric is "cotton." Can you verify if it's 100% cotton, or if there's anything else in there?

Well, if it says cotton, it means cotton.

I don't mean to be a pest, but the reason I'm asking is that hasn't always been my experience, so I'd thought I'd just check.

We welcome all of your questions, we're here to help.
larger picture from JC website
not so blurry but
color values are confused
So the fabric is 100% cotton?

It's cotton. Did you have any other questions?

Yes, is the fabric a knit or a woven? The description doesn't say.

It's a very fine fabric.

Is the fabric a knit or a woven? 

Oh, if it was one of those, they would tell you.

Um, but they haven't, so that's why I called, to find out about the fabric.

It's cotton.

OK, last question, the color, I need some help here. The color that I think might work with my skirt is "pewter, mint, burgundy." I'm guessing that the darkest sequins are burgundy, but is the mint the color of the other sequins or are they pewter? Or is one the color of the shirt?

Have you looked at it in one of our stores?

I called the store closest to me and they said they didn't have it.
blow-up showing sequins
we seem to have pink, dark red and ?
color of fabric - mint or pewter?

We can check other stores for you tomorrow morning and someone will context you within 48 hours.

Let me think about it. Thank you.

Well, thank you for calling J.Crew.
Later that evening - placed web order with no conversation with anybody. Noone.

in which we fiddle while Rome burns

Periodically Himself frets about what might happen if we outlive our resources, physical, financial, mental...  The older work colleagues who mentored him at his First Real Job have been "dropping off the branch" one by one. It's a rare joy to be invited to someone's Great Birthday Celebration and to be in a crowd of lively intrepid people who are Aged and Intact. Not so lovely to pick up the phone and recognize the caller's voice as he stumbles to recall who he was calling and what he wanted to tell you.

I of course deal with Creeping Post-40 Paranoia and its scary relative, Creeping Post-50 Paranoia, by focussing on a lady named Ninon de Lenclos, whom I consider a role model - and if you didn't read the earlier post I just linked to, take a look now and store it away for dreary days.

But it's not easy to avoid glum social and financial predictions as tax time approaches and papers are being shuffled.

So we went out to lunch at Le Bernardin. What else!

I took a few little snaps of some of the lovely things that came to the table:
glamorous table setting
my first course:
beautifully barbered thin slice of tuna
over thinner slice of toast
spread with foie gras
his main course:
(delicious - but description copied off the menu,
I couldn't make this up)

my main:
baked filet of snapper
Baja-style shrimp sauce
roasted green tomatoes
my dessert - per the menu:
and as we left, we observed this Extremely Large Rabbit right next door.

I'm sure he was there when we arrived, but as I said to a guy named Barry a little while ago, you don't want to get between me and food.

a most unusual day, especially if you're a circle

In their own way, mathematicians all over the world are explaining to other mathematicians - really, who else would listen - why today is a very special day.

Integral! Radical! Mu, DV
Slipstick! Slide rule! MIT!
E to the x, dy, dx,
E to the x, dx.
Secant, tangent, cosine, sine,
Square root, cube root, log base e,
Cheers for math at MIT. 
e to the u, du/dx
e to the x dx
cosine, secant, tangent, sine,
integral, radical, u dv,
slipstick, slide rule, MIT!

Imagine if there were a more precise calendar, like if instead of 365 units of 1440 minutes each, modern calculating instruments yielded a choice of smaller units more closely attuned to sunrise and moonrise, and each unit could have a really cool name.... Then a 10-digit Pi Day might occur more than once a century. Or not.

Enough headaches for one morning?

Enjoy this!

odds and ends - as the snow melts, as the world turns

silk shirt

lined linen jacket
Well, first, the new title block (above) is a tribute to J.Peterman (translation: shamelessly copied from the JP site, where the merch continues to get more and more interesting.) While the catalog text remains improbable and just a touch overwritten, I'm finding myself wanting a shirt here, a long skirt there...

and moreover, there isn't even one snowflake in the sketch!

Next, today's expeditions: both of the wandering packages that I moaned about in my last post have arrived, but their wanderings aren't over yet, because both packages were returned today. The "healing stones" are, sadly, murky and threatening, and not comforting (Teacups, your "sight" is scary!).

The costly skirt from Anthropologie is lovely, beautifully made, and if I ever were to take up forecasting and fortune-telling, it would definitely guarantee me a superior class of clientele. Life being what it is, I have no foreseeable use for the skirt, and it must go back so someone else can pounce on it with cries of joy.

I do my returns in store when I can, because then I know I'll get the right amount credited and it will be credited to me.. The suspense of waiting for my bank to coordinate its cycle with that of some random merchant and its bank strains my delicate sensibilities.
And I no longer do any business with a certain store in Berkeley, because after waiting 4 ½ months for a return credit to show up on my card, getting one silly "explanation" after another, I called MasterCard and asked them to look into it. The MC detectives went to work and discovered that the return had in fact been received and "processed" within 2 weeks of mailing - but then credited to another account. The next day the credit appeared on my card, and I got an email from the store. I expected - an apology? a discount code? a gift card? Well, no, the owner of the store expressed her irritation with my impatience because they are a small store and can get very busy at times and how dare I call MasterCard on them!

How dare I indeed.

I'm bored with winter food, I made a few gallons of The Soup That Cures The Weary and The Woeful  a few months ago, I can't look at another oven stew, and I don't want to bother leafing through cookbooks for inspiration. I should probably cook up more soup, but I want to get on the road. Well, in another week or so I may be able to go without the air cast and among other things, that means I'll no longer be limited to one pair of shoes. Whee.

I've checked out the women's items from a company called The Field, and many seem to have possibilities, although all are very pricey. The look is - let's say, Madewell for grown-ups, done in truly fine fabrics (most of the time), and apparently with attention to detail and not in the sense of "where else can we trim costs". I haven't bought anything from this company yet, but I'm watching with interest and hoping that they'll have a terrific sale soon.  Meanwhile I'm looking forward to lunch. We have plans.
linen-cotton trench, black & white glen
plaid, real horn buttons

wool & cashmere sweater