the next watch / purse accessory / retro hipster look

My friend Suzi has the greatest purse accessories. Her wallet, change purse and checkbook are different bright shades of leather, her comb is tortoise-y plastic but in a great small shape, and the little antique powder box she uses to check her lipstick bears an enamel portrait of a lady who is probably not Marie Antoinette. I tease her that she carries a bag of toys around with her, and she replies "Of course!" Her iPhone looks like every other iPhone, which is something she's decided to address when she sees a cover that she really likes.

I was thinking about Suzi's pocketbook on the bus the other day when I took out my phone to look at the time, and the lady sitting next to me remarked, "Your generation has no need for watches, do you, you're always looking at your phones." Of course I thanked her for the "your generation," because my real generation was raised with some manners, but then I remembered how "off" I feel on those days when I forget the phone, or can't wear a watch for whatever reason. Or when the phone just takes some personal time, turns itself off, and hides out between cushions. I'm one of those people who needs to know the time.

Suzi occasionally wears antique or elderly watches because she loves them. Sometimes I wear one too. Thing is, they don't really keep time, even if you wind them carefully and properly. They're lovely and decorative, but you still need to look at the phone to stay on time.

Here's what I'd like - no batteries, no winding, no charging.

Yes, they are portable sundials! Really! I saw them at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this morning. The small one is about the size of a smartphone, the larger one is not quite the size of an iPad. And the smaller one would be perfect company for the other adorable gadgets in Suzi's bag.

Later, back at my desk, I found an email from our current Internet-phone company out at Flintstone Manor, apologizing in advance for a month or so of predicted "sun outages," in the event of which we should just wait for the sun to feel better and not call the cable company. No, the sun will still be working, but its workings, whatever they may be during the predicted period, may interfere with satellite service. This is perturbing because our provider is a cable service, not a satellite service. I'm adding this email to my collection of "Fables of Utilities and Transport, Old and New." And I'll wait to see just how disturbed the sun really is before I start pining for a little gold and ivory 16th century pocket sundial.


  1. I've always wanted a gorgeous stone sundial in my backyard garden for years. But considering I have no backyard, this may be a nice solution for my deck (aka, the place where the grill and two dead potted plants live).

  2. If I saw someone pull out a personal sundial, I would probably get a case of the Fabulousness Vapors and pass out.

  3. We have a bronze sundial on the deck of the country house and I use it because I don't wear a watch to do the gardening. These portable models are cool, I assume that is also a compass to ensure you have aligned the sundial correctly but also useful orientating yourself if you get lost.

  4. Hi, Lisa! I was actually given a small sundial which lives on the terrace in a planted container. It's mainly decorative, but it's there.

  5. Hi, Raina, ah, yes, the Fabulousness Vapors - I suffer from attacks of such with regularity. It's a wonder I ever get anything done.

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  7. Hi, xoxo, not sure about the function of the little white dials at the front, generally in the 16th century the sky was the compass. I looked around, however, and apparently some 20th century astronomer has invented "sundial rings" which function on the same principle as Stonehenge, but are small and light enough to fit in a pocket or to wear as a pendant. Which is good, because I'm not much into moving boulders.

  8. Raina's comment was brilliant! I would too, it would make my week, bring them back!

  9. hi, Tabitha, well, if you stand still long enough in New York, you will see everything, so now I'm waiting for a gentleman in cape, tights and short puffy pants to stop on my corner to check the time. whoa, there goes one now -- no, just another disciple heading into theJC collection store.

  10. Sunstorms interfering with cable? Ha! Maybe you'll have the associated northern lights there too.

    I have no cool purse accessories, but the lady at the phone place looked at me and immediately linked me to a leopard cover for my IPhone ,not an association anyone would make with me. But I love it, my only leopard.

    Wait, I now have "abstract leopard"! I was in the South over the weekend for a meeting so actually got to a JC store ( we don't have) and purchased the Fabiola dress. Nice structure, is above the knee on me. I had no idea it was "abstract leopard" until I thumbed through the catalog. Really, it it more "dapple forest floor".

    V. time dependent too. And temperature-- must know at all times. If you are There, must know temperature There, too. Data geek.

  11. Hi, Lane! Glad your trip wasn't all business. I think for weather and time, I'm totally iPhone-dependent.

    I love "dapple forest floor," thank you, since every time I see an animal print outfit my mind gets stuck on Peg Bundy.


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