it's almost Hallowe'en. and now for something completely different.

no verses this year.

no costume parodies this year (although I note early signs of a return of feathers).

Hallowe'en can be eerie, can be weird, can be funny, and sometimes can be all that.

So - a contest!

There's a whole body of "literature" based upon the premise that when zombies or vampires or monsters or space creatures or undead first interact with earth-dwelling humans, they - the zombies, etc.- don't quite know how to behave or what's called for in various social situations. This can be humorous or disastrous.

So I was thinking that there may be times when someone in an ordinary job or in a position of privilege or leadership - or just someone who is living in your house with you - does or says something that makes you wonder




I'll give a few examples that really really truly happened in my life:

Himself and I were at an elegant drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres event. We separated to work the room. Suddenly he was at my side, holding my elbow: We have to leave. Now. Fast. We quick-stepped to the elevator, and once we were inside with the door closed I asked why the rush. Because I just put some half-chewed wet fish into (important work connection)'s hand.

When we were safely out the door and in a cab, him muttering ohgawdohgawdohgawdohgawd the whole time, I asked for an explanation. And got one: there were some small buffet tables in the room, one featuring smoked fish appetizers. He popped one into his mouth, chewed, encountered a bone, there were no plates or little napkins within reach, so holding the bone and partially chewed fish in his right hand, drink in the left, he went looking for a place to lose the fish. And the VIP of the event bounded over to him, hand out, great to see ya, how ya doin, and grabbed his hand. Fish and all.

Do you think he'll remember it was me? he asked pitifully.

Another example. A newly widowed friend was receiving fix-up suggestions from her relatives and former neighbors. People she hadn't heard from in years were calling to tell her they had a guy for her. And she got this call:

I think he's perfect for you, he's about your age, maybe a little younger, he's a doctor, he has a nice practice, he lives here in the city, he's tall, charming, nice head of hair, also recently widowed...

By now experienced with calls like this, my friend asked But?

What do you mean, but? He's a lovely guy.

There's always a but. Tell me now or I'm hanging up.

OK, well, nothing serious, not a real objection to him as a person but maybe something you might want to know - um, both his first two wives committed suicide.

Now it's your turn, Dear Readers. Have you ever been in a situation where you suddenly felt you were talking to/surrounded by/about to be abducted by - creatures?

Please share!

emails from Nordstrom's are getting a little too personal

I mean, this speaks to my soul. 
Unless it's meant as a criticism of my personal life, 
in which case they can just wait for their check.

here comes November, but it might as well be spring

Tuesday was cool and sunny although from the terrace we could see threatening black and grey clouds doing what they do, that is, threaten - and overnight I heard thunder, heavy emphatic rain (no sprinkles) and hail. Wednesday it went from wet to dreary to misty to foggy and back to wet without dropping the dreary, and so I am reminded that November is coming. Thursday's rain started with noisy drumming after midnight, followed by hail, followed by more rain, drizzle and clouds.
I finally stepped out on the terrace, sullenly wondering whether if I had stuck to my 7th grade decision to stop getting haircuts, I would have had hair like Rapunzel's by now.
I went to school in Olden Times, variously also known as The Days of Yore or The Dark Ages. Just like the overworked serfs, we had to get up and walk over to the television to change the channel. In school, the class system was feudal: we had poor peasants - girls whose mothers didn't allow them to wear ballerinas to school because they gave the feet no support, boys whose social life was limited by the ownership of only one dinner jacket, teachers who parked their cars in nearby church parking lots and walked the rest of the way to school so they wouldn't be ashamed as they chugged past the students' parking lot. We had freaks, lepers, madmen, saints and outcasts, too, but although there were classes we did not have class solidarity. One learns early that junior high is practice for high school and high school is a brutal combat sport, you play hurt and no prisoners are taken. Rugby is for wimps. Endurance is finishing 10th grade.
Teachers who were afraid of the rose-lipped maids and lightfoot lads assigned Poems rather than ask for original products that had to be graded subjectively and therefore might lead to disagreement. In case you didn't know, a Poem is a collection of words that must be memorized in their exact order so that the words can be recited back on command lest another Poem be assigned.
I was an exceptionally good student in English, but spoke up too often because I had trouble connecting words with consequences. One morning it was announced that the school auditorium was going to be named, with great ceremony, after a distinguished graduate. After lunch in the school cafeteria, I suggested naming the cafeteria Dotheboys Hall. The English teacher was within earshot. In consequence I learned this Poem about November.
No sun--no moon!
No morn--no noon!
No dawn--no dusk--no proper time of day--
No sky--no earthly view--
No distance looking blue--

No road--no street--
No "t'other side the way"--
No end to any Row--
No indications where the Crescents go--

No top to any steeple--
No recognitions of familiar people--
No courtesies for showing 'em--
No knowing 'em!

No mail--no post--
No news from any foreign coast--
No park--no ring--no afternoon gentility--
No company--no nobility--

No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease,
No comfortable feel in any member--
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees,
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds,

Thomas Hood         
Adding to the bereft atmosphere that is this week's premature November, there are no more Hallowe'en decorations in the stores, apparently they were sold out by Labor Day. There are no more Thanksgiving decorations, either, except for the themed dishes. It appears that this isn't going to be a year when people decide that their Thanksgiving feast would be more festive if they invested in a set of dishes for 8 or 12, decorated with turkeys. There are plenty of such dishes marked down and lingering even though Thanksgiving is November 27th this year. A really grim sign: stores that were fully stocked with Christmas merchandise a week ago are already starting to mark it down.  I imagine we'll be looking at bunnies in February and back-to-school sales in April.

what happens when Google Translator designs a tee OH NO, UPDATED FOR TODAY'S NEW ARRIVALS!

J.Crew posted new arrivals this morning. 
Some days it doesn't pay to get up. Some days it does.

drunk j.crew. um, j.crew drunk. um, some water would be nice.

Hey, the best thing happened this morning!

I was directed to check out this Tumblr, and I can drive a vehicle that moves on treads not tires more easily than I can operate Tumblr, so - here's where you need to go.

You'll thank me. And I thank Jen.

It explains soooo much.

fashion forecast: winter 2014, spring 2015

Early fall's overdose of gray, light gray, medium gray,
 dark gray, charcoal gray, marled gray and 
related and coordinating tones, now admits
 a pop of another color: taupe.
 Here we see some relaxed silhouettes, 
highlighting the drapey, flowy, not-too-tailored,
 indeed effortless, effects of the interplay
 of dark taupe, light taupe, marled taupe, and umber.

Wraps, scarves and headgear continue 
the color story of gentle neutrals, saved
from utter dreariness by interesting mixes of texture.

Runway looks featured undone hair,
messy hair, straggly hair
and exaggerated contouring.

the past is just around the corner

I have now watched all of the episodes of The Roosevelts.  And no, I'm not going to reflect on war, poverty, child labor, discrimination... Well, actually, I reflect (obsess) on one or more of those topics much of the time, but this isn't the forum for sharing my little and probably unoriginal thoughts on global problems.  Let us proceed to the individual and the personal, where I can comment as expansively or as pettily as I wish.

Even in his own time, Franklin had the reputation of being a "cad," which is the description then accorded a guy who was a rat with women. As more and more years go by, and more and more material is made public, I expect more and more details of his caddishness to emerge. Things like that just do. Eleanor, whose reputation was that of a good person or an interfering do-gooder (depending on how you voted and how you lived), had "special friendships," which were gossiped about, but it seems that even her detractors didn't seriously object to her having "special friends." And good for her!

Everything sped up as we careened past the end of one century and started rocketing towards the middle of the age of unbounded media, so I fully expect to live to see a spate of books and articles in which young women with minor careers and smug smiles trumpet their sexual triumphs with any number of more recent politicians, heads of foundations and other public figures. I'm sad for their children and grandchildren. I read an interview with a woman who worked in the JFK White House in which she seemed to think that what she was doing was serving her country. Who would have expected some of these people to brag about their exploits and get them published?

Anyway, I have now watched all seven episodes, and have decided that History Lite has its place after all. It's a good way to introduce the History Began With Moi generation to the concept of The Past.

On a more cheerful note:  Sagamore Hill is a great place - to go inside you need a reservation, and these can be difficult to arrange, especially during school field trip season. I went there on a school field trip, and again on a family trip, and I recommend it.

If you come to New York City and can't arrange to get out on Long Island to Sagamore Hill, the famous double Roosevelt House at 47-49 East 65th Street that Sara built for Franklin and Eleanor and her Own Royal Self is right around the corner from the J.Crew Collection Store on Madison Avenue at the corner of East 66th Street. The house still stands, although the inside has seen much modification.

I'm serious - when we travel,  Himself makes a list of restaurant destinations and I make lists of the historic and cultural destinations on the way to or from, or in the same towns as, the restaurants. I see no reason why this approach should not be useful for shopping. Or, conversely, for choosing which historic sites to visit.