Requiem for an apron.

I don’t normally steal things, but when I knew I was quitting Bread & Circus, Whole Foods Market, I did take home this apron. Though part of working at B&C was a low point in my life, another part of it was something I look back on with nostalgia. One of the better parts was the uniform. I liked wearing the chef coats and the crisp white aprons.
I cooked with this apron for years, but my whitening powers are weak and it quickly faded into a grubby gray, then got even dingier and I had to stop using it, for fear that no one would eat anything I made while wearing it. It sat in my closet for a few years because I didn’t want to just throw it away. Today I did, but not without taking a picture.

Lint Progress: Savvy Plus

I love Savvy Plus. One of the things I hate about shopping is that it is so uncomfortable. In retail stores, I tend to feel grubby and worried that I “shouldn’t” be shopping there. It’s mostly all “me” stuff, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Being on the top end of normal clothing stores isn’t fun, either. I tend to feel huge in normal retail stores. Savvy Plus is the solution. It’s a clothing store for sizes 12 and up with resale and some new items. Both are reasonably priced.

And, it is run by Gaya who completes the package. She’s very nice and full of good energy and also has my favorite combination of leaving me alone to navigate the store, but also providing more attentive service if I want it. She let me take her picture, even though I could tell she doesn’t like to have her picture taken. Who wouldn’t want to buy clothing from someone so great? It’s also the kind of store where people pipe up with their opinion if something looks great on someone. The whole experience is shopping without all the baggage.
I hit the pants first. Gaya nicely told me to leave whatever didn’t work in the dressing room. I appreciated that, as it is one of those things I’m often not sure about. I tried on six pairs of pants, but nothing worked there. I wandered around the store looking for a new black sweater that fits. I found a sweater-like thing that ties in the front. It was 50% off so only $7.00. When I got home I banished the “bit too small” sweater from my closet to the donate pile. That was a nice feeling.
I also found this jacket which fits very well and has both black, white and gray in it. It was 30% off and came to $16.80.
Savvy Plus. If you are female, size 12 or larger and live anywhere near Portland you must go there. Don’t delay.

I’ve just realized that I might not need any more blazers/jackets/sweaters. I think I need to do step two of Ready to Wear before I shop again. That would be figuring out how many outfits I have in my closet and generating a list of what I need. I’ll do that tomorrow.

Lint Progress: Closet Cleanout.

Today I did the big closet clean out as recommended on Ready to Wear. The plan was to go through everything and only keep things that I love and I am currently wearing. The rest go into piles and get put some where else. My piles were: Out of Season, Tailor, Donate, Other Closet, Like.

Tall order. I suspected that I wouldn’t love many of my clothes. Thus, the “Like” pile.

The closet before:

And with everything I love. That gives me 3 skirts, one pair of pants (I was wearing them) two tanks, 2 shirts, 4 sweaters/jackets. I added back in a lot of the “like” stuff. Loving everything will be a goal for the future.
I then moved onto my drawers. Before:

And after:

Here are my plies:
This is a pile that cropped up mid-sort. It is the “cut these t-shirts up to save for the quilt you are making someday” pile.
Here’s the “like” pile.
The “summer clothes” pile on the left and the “put it somewhere else” pile on the right.
On the left: the “donate” pile. On the right: I had nothing to go to the tailor, but these shoes are going to the cobbler before spring arrives. I love them.
Shoes I like that went back into the closet.
The following is a list of the “like” items I put back, and the reasons I’m not in love with them:

  • 2 black tank tops–cut a bit too low for work.
  • Orange striped shirt–faded
  • Green sweater–nothing to wear with it. It also draws attention to the psoriasis on my arms
  • red long sleeved shirt–faded
  • black sweater–is a bit small, but I need it to complete outfits, so it has to stay for now.
  • straight long black skirt–I wear it all the time, but I know it isn’t the most flattering thing.
  • khaki pants–I had them hemmed before I washed them and they are a bit short. I’ve also gained weight since I bought them and so they are a bit tight. Until last week, my only pair of pants.
  • black skirt–I’m on the fence about if this is a flattering skirt or not. Also, I don’t think it looks very good with flats, but I don’t wear heels.
  • Long black skirt, a-line. I keep reading that short people shouldn’t wear long skirts.
  • Running shoes–I really need a new pair, but if buy any new ones, I will destroy my clothing budget.
  • Black heels–I hate heels because they hurt my feet. Still, it’s good to have them on hand, and these are more comfortable than most.
  • Old running shoes–I wear these for project work. It doesn’t matter if they get paint or sawdust on them
  • black birkenstocks–I’ve been wearing these every other day in fall, winter and spring since 2004. I’m a bit tired of them, but buying new shoes would (as above) destroy my clothing budget.
  • sliver heels–I actually really like these shoes a lot. They aren’t really the kind of shoes you can walk in though, so they aren’t practical. I tend to carry them to events where I wear them. Then I don’t walk too much.

Now my closet is much less cluttered and I have an entire empty drawer in my dresser. The next step will be making outfits and generating a list of what I need. I’m starting to suspect that this project will be longer than 40 days.

Ready to wear: an experts guide to choosing and using your wardrobe. Mary Lou Andre

This is the first book I’ve finished of the slew of wardrobe-choosing books I’ve checked out from the library. I liked it a lot and have made it my main “planning my plan” book for my Lint project. Mary Lou Andre first suggests removing all clothing from your closet and keeping only the items you love and are currently wearing. Then she has you shop in your closet for outfits and write down those outfits on a handy chart she includes in the back of the book. As you shop your closet and see which items are missing, you then make another list of what you need to take shopping with you. This makes sense to me and solves one of my biggest problems, namely going to the store and dithering about what I need.

There are also fun stories from her business and descriptions of essential parts of your wardrobe as well as smart tips. My favorite was that once your tights get a run or hole in them, to slit the label.

The History of Love. Nicole Krauss

Most novels I read are stories. That is, they have characters and a plot and plot devices and everything gets wrapped up in the end. They are sort of like real life, but not really. Real life never really wraps up as neatly as novels. You meet the guy, you find each other and pledge love and at the place where the novel of your life would end there comes a whole life of dishes that need to be done and bills to be paid and work to go to. Even on gray rainy days.

I loved this book because it was a slice of life. In real life people may never know what happened to this or that dropped plot line in their life. They may know each other. They may have said goodbye forever only to discover each other, by chance decades later. They may have a chance meeting with a stranger that connects dots for them. Or maybe everything is murky.

I loved this book because Leo Gursky, the character we meet first, is such a force of nature. An old man, retired locksmith in New York City, never married, who carries a note in his wallet explaining he has no family and where to bury him. Seeing the world through his eyes is a reason to read fiction.

Other characters were also wonderful. I can’t say enough about this book. I don’t even resent that someone the same age as me could create such a perfect thing. Read it.

Lint Progress: Here We Go Again

I’m a big fan of Here We Go Again. Despite the slightly awkward name, it is a very good consignment store. When I lived in SW I liked to go to the store on SW Carolina. Since the move to North Portland, I haven’t been, but they recently closed their Barbur Blvd. store and opened one on NE Broadway which is closer to me.

I’m on their mailing list, so I knew that they were having a sale that started on Valentine’s Day at the Carolina location. I got off work at 4:30 and had a class at 6:45, but I figured I could navigate public transportation and still have 40 minutes of shopping.

Alas, it was rush hour and the bus was running a bit late. I had about 30 minutes of shopping. The sales staff was wonderful as always. They are very nice and leave me alone, which is what I prefer, but I get the feeling they would love to help me if I wanted that. Every colored tag (about 80% of their merchandise) was 40% off and white tags were discounted too. Once again I concentrated on pants.

The selection wasn’t as good for me this time as it has been. There were a few size 12 and even fewer size 14 pants. Larger sizes must not be consigning there as much lately. It didn’t take me very long to try them on, but nothing fit. I grabbed a few dresses too, just for fun, but struck out there. I went through the jackets and there was a very nice leather jacket that I really wanted to fit, but alas it was a tiny bit too small.

I ended up with this bag. I’m pretty excited about it, because I’ve been carrying things in a backpack with a duct-taped strap. The backpack is a very roomy bag and when I was going to the gym could hold my food, my newspaper and all my gym stuff. However, since I haven’t been sleeping I haven’t been going to the gym and the duct-tape strap, even though I specifically bought black duct-tape to match the bag, makes me feel a bit shabby.
Backpacks are better for the back, but I think this bag won’t be too hard on my shoulder. It’s big enough to fit my lunch and thermos as well as my camera, wallet, and my letter writing kit. I also like the green lining. With my 40% off, it was $15.00.

Lint Progress: Goodwill on 10th

Goodwill on 10th is what I call the “Fancy Goodwill.” They have better-quality clothes in a smaller setting for more money. I find this to be a good thing due to the Expanding Clothing Size Decreasing Quality Theory. That would be the theory, formulated by yours truly, that if you are size 10 and below, shopping in thrift stores is easy, or at least easier, because those are the clothing sizes that women either gain weight and grow out of, or buy in hopes of someday getting into. Or alternatively, women just are those sizes, and are happy about it so they take care with their wardrobe. Size 12 and up, however, it becomes more difficult to shop in thrift stores because women who are that size mostly spend time wishing they were a different size. So they don’t take as much care with their wardrobes and/or wear their clothing until it wears out. In those sizes, there is a bunch of crap at thrift stores. Any place that will winnow out the crappy clothing is a good place, even if it charges more money.

I stopped after church to see what they had in pants. I tried on 10 pairs and found………a pair of khakis just exactly like the ones I was wearing. But pants that fit are pants that fit and I bought them. $14.99.

After the pants shopping ordeal was over, I looked around for other things. They had a rack of coats on sale for $9.99 and I got this coat, marked down from $39.99. I’m really excited about this coat. Its an Ann Taylor rain jacket and it should serve me well this spring. Sorry about the blurry photo.
On the way home, I bought a full-length mirror, you can see it behind me. We didn’t have one in the house and they come in handy. The Ready to Wear book suggests to buy two and hang them in one corner of a room so you can see more than one side of you. I plan to do that, but the store had just one so I’m starting there.

In looking for a picture of Goodwill on 10th I found a post that explained that the clothing at Goodwill on 10th only comes from two stores. Although another article says that they come from a central processing facility. And yet another article says the best days to shop there are Monday and Tuesday. Given that this store is on my way to and from so many things, I may just stop in weekly.

January walk.

So lately this blog has been more “In & Inactive” than “Out & About.” This is due mainly two reasons:

  1. Lack of sleep has kept me from morning exercise so fewer pictures from there.
  2. It’s really dark all the time in the winter here.

This morning, though I walked to the Tin Shed Garden Cafe where I ate breakfast with Jan & Kelly. Here are some pictures I took along the way:

Along this stretch were some nice post-war cottages. Then this tiny little house with a huge front yard and no back yard.
This part of North/Northeast Portland is the only area I’ve found in the city with alleys. Most of them seem to be little used, and some are grown over completely with blackberry brambles.
This shared garage reminded me of houses in South Boston. One owner would update the paint job on their half of the house and the other owner wouldn’t. It was pretty common to see two-toned houses. I’ve rarely seen shared garages in this town, though.
Here’s a cute little post-war house that decided to embrace the swinging 60s with geometrical porch supports, a new door and windows. The sign at the corner of the house says “Suits Me Too”
Along one side street two woman were chatting outside a van. One asked me if I would like to buy tamales. I’d never eaten one, so I took the opportunity to ask the silly questions I’d always been too shy to ask in restaurants. Questions like, “Do you eat the wrapper?” “What’s inside them?” They were selling them six for $5.00 and so I bought some chicken ones. They were good too. I’ve got a card to call if I want more and they will deliver to me.
I like clever graffiti, but this just seems like it needs to be a little more clear. What was hot? It was hot and what?
After Jan & Kelly and I ate and solved the problems of the world we went for a stroll. It was a rare February nice day. Blue sky and warm temperatures. Days like this make winter bearable.
Of course there would be a skeleton in Warrior One on top of a ladder on top of store. Don’t you have one in your town?

Requiem for a long sleeved t-shirt

Here’s another item that went to the great trash can….

Matt gave me this t-shirt shortly after we got together. For years, when someone asked me what McGregor was I told them that Matt got it when he did crew in college because the winning team would take the losing team’s shirts. But I just found out this week that I had completely fabricated that story and that his mother sent it to him when she was at Antioch College. Oh, well okay. So I was wrong about its origins.

For some reason, long sleeved shirts are not plentiful in my life which means that this one got worn a lot, September through June. Whenever the weather was slightly colder in the morning when I exercised, I put on this shirt. The advantage of working out outside in the morning is that no one sees your workout wear. So it didn’t matter when the oil stain appeared.
The other day I was putting it on for perhaps the thousandth time and my elbow ripped a big hole in the armpit. I wore it a few times after that, but the damage was done. I said a sad goodbye to my trusty t-shirt.