Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Goodbye, Hello


I have too many clothes. There’s a plethora of reasons I may hold onto something…

~ Because someone I love gave it to me;
~ Because I am waiting for the perfect thing to wear it with;
~ Because I might iron it next time it comes out of the dryer wrinkled;
~ Because I might like it better on me the next time I try it on…
… and so on.

So I’m always on the verge of getting rid of about half of what I own. I devised a new way to say goodbye to clothes I don’t wear so much, but am not quite ready to get rid of: Wear each item one last time before popping it into the clothing swap bag*, and make it as memorable as possible.

The last time I ever wore my pale green World Peas sleeveless tee shirt – the one that has a pea pod on it with tiny earth-peas inside – was a few weeks ago. My friends R and A were en route from Burning Man to San Francisco, playa dust still molding their hair into wild, lovely chunks. They parked at my place and we walked to the Tower CafĂ©. We sat at the angular table outdoors, me at the apex, under the warm white glow of the lights strung in the trees. I had a glass of white wine, and the Caprese salad. My birthday had been the week before, so they surprised me by ordering a lemon tart from the dessert case! When it came, there was a little candle stuck in the top, and the waitress lit it. They sang me “Birthday” by The Beatles; “Happy Birthday”; and “God Danced the Day You Were Born” loudly and joyfully, and other diners grinned at us. One told us it was her birthday, and thanked us for the show. When R & A left, I gave them CDs to listen to for the drive home.

The last time I ever wore my blue plaid skirt was at a dinner party at E’s house last week. W was there, and E’s friends T and N. We laughed so much and had such a great conversation. We drank awesome chardonnay. E made delicious tofu, veggies and rice, and salad with sweet poppy seed dressing. I brought a chocolate cake, which I had baked with Reese’s Pieces, which ended up looking like moldy spots on the cake… it tasted good anyway. We piled onto the couch and watched silly YouTube videos while N tried to fix E’s mouse. I left with a big grin. I’m pretty sure it was the best dinner party ever.

* As most of my friends know I have a clothing swap party with my friend K twice a year.


I feel the changing of the season. I feel the slowing of my world. I feel the way each person or thing is preparing itself for hibernation. I want tea and baked goodies and naps. I am less in the mood to go out, and more in the mood to sit and read.

Goodbye, summer, you sticky, coconut-scented, skin-baking thing. Goodbye sunshine till late evening. Goodbye, swimsuits and sunburns on legs I forgot to shave. Goodbye, choosing which pair of flip-flops look best with my tank top. Goodbye, eternal warm nights on roofs looking at stars. Goodbye, carefree, no-school-havin’ teenagers with highlighted hair and cell phones tucked into bras under aquamarine or orange tube tops. See you all next year.

Hello, autumn, you smoky-smelling, cool-aired thing. Hello, pajama pants, thick slipper socks, and soft glow of lamp. Hello, reason I kept my Netflix subscription through the blur of nights I preferred going out while Tyvek-encased disks collected dust near the TV. Hello, crisp apples and kids crossing the street in school zones and new, sharp-cornered magenta Dora the Explorer backpacks. Hello, crunchy brown and yellow and red speckled leaves falling on rivers and into gutters. Hello, cat in my lap and orange sherbet-colored blanket of cloudy urban night sky. Hello, Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving potatoes, and everything pumpkin. Hello, nutmeg. Hello, long-sleeved top the color of baked yams creamed with marshmallows and butter. How’ve you all been?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Petrichor and Other Autumn Joy

Eleven Cool Things To Love About Fall

A few days ago, I was feeling kind of gloomy about the impending end of summer, and so I posted a status update on Facebook saying as much, and soliciting from my friends things to enjoy about autumn. My friends responded in full (gale) force! What a windfall!

Kel Munger of the Sacramento News and Review thought the list was fun stuff, and posted a condensed version to the SNR's blog, SNOG.

And now, shamelessly stolen from SNOG, I present you with the Top Ten Reasons to Love Autumn in Sacwhich was shamelessly stolen from my Facebook page! Shameless thievery abounds!

10. Walking around without sweating out all your bodily fluids,

9. Wearing awesome socks without melting,

8. Flannel!,

7. Apple Hill! Cider!,

6. Leaving the windows open during the day,

5. Fall colors, followed by the crunching sound of leaves under your feet,

4. Dusting off the Crock-pot and making soup,

3. No more air-conditioning,

2. The sound of rain on the roof, and

1. The smell after it rains!

Read the SNOG posting here, or friend me on Facebook to read the entire status message with all its deliciously detailed comments!

Also, thanks to S, and to Wikipedia, for informing the masses that there is, in fact a word to describe the smell of rain. That word is "petrichor."

The term was coined in 1964 by two Australian researchers, Bear and Thomas, for an article in the journal Nature. In the article, the authors describe how the smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is adsorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, producing the distinctive scent. In a follow-up paper, Bear and Thomas (1965) showed that the oil retards seed germination and early plant growth.

Finally, a haiku I wrote awhile back about enjoying fall without risking the ire of landscaping neighbors:

Leap in piles of leaves!
Jump only vertically…
Don't scuff; leave no mess.

I hope you enjoy fall, friends and readers, and keep me posted on your seasonal adventures!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ode to Oatmeal

We decided to write odes at our writing group meeting tonight. I wrote an

Ode to Oatmeal

O oatmeal,
you simplest
of foods,
you most unassuming
you shy,
bowl of mush.
How insulting
your properties
But how essential
you are,
quietly nourishing
entire generations
and their children's children's children.

O oatmeal,
you never asked
to be dressed up
in apple-sugar
and paraded in boxes
through 10-Items-Or-Less lanes
at Vonn's, Albertson's or Safeway
by soccer moms
with false eyelashes
and purses they can't afford,
by college students,
pulling crumpled dollar bills,
out of front jeans pockets.
No, you gnashed
your teeth
and cringed
and sighed
the day they shook
maple flakes into you
and put you in
brown paper packets,
hermetically sealed
by the crimper
at the end of the
assembly line.

If you had your way,
o oatmeal,
you'd only be
sold in bulky
"rolled oats"
humbly printed
in plain Arial font
on the label.

O oatmeal,
you would be
to live your
out among the
beneath a cloudy
the shepherd's fiery-haired wife
slowly bringing
a boil,
in her cream-colored
wouldn't you?