Resolution 2008 Update. Letters written Feb 1-10

  • Feb 1. Erin. Congratulations on her new house.
  • Feb 2. Commissioner Randy Leonard about his dumb idea to ban duct taping spots for the Rose Festival Parade. Stirring up trouble where there was none, that’s what he’s doing.
  • Feb 3. Chris. Thank you.
  • Feb 4. State Senator Margaret Carter. No on UO Basketball Arena financing plan.
  • Feb 5. Rose Quarter Ticket Sales. Good service.
  • Feb 6. State Representative Tina Kotek. No on UO arena.
  • Feb 7. Chelsea Cain. Because I love her books and her weekly feature in the Oregonian.
  • Feb 8. Felicia.
  • Feb 9. The Editors of the Oregonians HGNW. I suggested a story idea.
  • Feb 10. Dr. Cottrell.

I’ve also started keeping track of who wrote me back. I’ll have a report next time.

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.

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.

Lint update. Reseach and planning.

In my world, every great project starts in the library. This one was no different. I wanted two things from the library. One was a book that lists a basic wardrobe. The other was some sort of primer about dressing, how to avoid the five separate outfits, no mix-and-match problem that I’m having.

I started my search by looking for a book I used to own. It’s by Kim France and is called The Lucky shopping manual: building and improving your wardrobe piece by piece. I searched for it because I knew I could use the subject headings to find other books like it. Sure enough, the subject heading called “clothing and dress” brought me to exactly what I need.

For the first time, I used the “add to my list” feature in the catalog. It was pretty handy, I just checked a box on every book that looked interesting and then was able to email the list of books to myself. I could have printed the list, too. Then after work, I ran to the library, found the call number of the book I found the most interesting, and looked at the other books on the same shelf. From entrance to exit only took 15 minutes. I ended up with these five titles:

  • 10 steps to fashion freedom: discover your personal style from the inside out.
  • Business casual made easy: the complete guide to business casual dress for men and women
  • Ready to wear: an experts guide to choosing and using your wardrobe
  • Secrets of style: the complete guide to dressing your best every day
  • The look.

I’m making my way through both Ready to Wear and The Look. I’m a bit nervous because Ready to Wear wants me to go through my clothes and put back only the things I love and am currently wearing. I can envision two things that I love and am wearing. This may have to be amended to “like” and am wearing.

On the shopping front, I received notice that my favorite consignment store, Here We Go Again, is having a sale on Valentine’s day. Matt has class on Valentine’s day, so I made plans to go there after work but before my class on that night. By then I will have read more of the primer books and have a better idea what I need. On Sunday, I will stop at what I call “the fancy Goodwill.” It’s right on my way home from church and it is a Goodwill that only has the better designers. I will look for pants while I am there, as I am in dire need of them.

What I’m doing for Lint.

Yes, Lint. I observed to someone yesterday that I’m always pronouncing “Lent,” the liturgical season, as “lint,” the stuff found in your pocket after you do laundry. And since my religious tradition doesn’t really celebrate Lent, and I’m going to do something a bit different this year, I’ve decided to celebrate Lint.

Last year I gave up eating out. This year, I’ve decided to do the more superficial, but very necessary, task of dealing with my wardrobe.

I don’t like to shop. I didn’t like it anyway, but when my size expands, as it has now, to the very verge of “normal” clothing stores, I really hate to shop. I can never find pants that fit, which means I have one pair of nice pants and one pair of nice jeans to wear to work. The other three days I wear skirts. I’ve got some good skirts, but my tops haven’t been replenished for some time.

Clothing used to come to me. My roommates gave it to me, or people would leave it on a donation table in my apartment complex. Now my Aunt gives me clothes, which is nice, but she is 30 years older than me, which means my wardrobe has slowly been creeping toward matronly for some time now.

I also don’t like to spend money on clothes. I think they are too expensive. So I buy my stuff in thrift shops and consignmet shops. I like shopping there because I’m supporting a local business or charity and avoiding the whole “made in a sweatshop” guilt entirely. But thrift/consignment shopping means there isn’t as much choice so I have to go to more places.

I absolutely HATE buying underwear. That I buy new. Thrift shop underwear is where I draw the line. The other day I figured out that I last bought underwear in 2004. It’s sort of holding up, but not well.

I usually shop about twice a year, but it’s been awhile. I supposedly don’t have time. I was supposed to go shopping over Thanksgiving break, but I didn’t. I was also supposed to go shopping over Christmas break. That didn’t happen either. So for Lint this year, I will go shopping six times. Ideally once per week-ish. Three times during the week I will evaluate my wardrobe for what I need and what I need to get rid of. I’ll see what the library has for wardrobe books. I’ll update you on my progress. Things will happen. It will be a good Lint.

Wish me luck

Letters written in January.

14 January–Linda. Thank you note
15 January–Peter Ames Carlin. The excellent TV columnist in The Oregonian.
16 January–Jenna. My ex-roommate who does write letters.
17 January–Eugenie Olson. Author of Love in the time of taffeta.
18 January–Sara. Also writes letters.
19 January–Jim Carmin. Author of “Dear Readers, the Letter Must Not Die
20 January–Jan B. Thank you note
21 January–Susan. Sporadic letter writing college friend.
22 January–Mary. Apparently she got married. I wrote for details.
23 January–Mom. Sent a word search I created so she could entertain herself while recovering from surgery.
24 January–Inara Verzemniks. Reporter for The Oregonian. I love her writing style and subjects.
25 January–Cindy. I’m not holding out hope for a letter back, but they do come sometimes.
26 January–The Oregonian. I was annoyed that they don’t tell us where missing features are.
27 January–Alison Bechdel. I loved this week’s comic, and I wrote to tell her so.
28 January–Teresa. I’ve sort of lost touch with her. Maybe this will revive.
29 January–Graham. Thank you note.
30 January–Matt. Some days dashing off a postcard to someone you live with counts as writing a letter. I mailed it.
31 January–Mark Edlen. I liked the idea of small downtown condos as reported in this article, but disagreed with his definition of “moderate income”

Resolution 2008

I usually make resolutions for the start of the new year. Some years I pick five or six things to work on. Last year I made none. This year I decided to go all out.

I write a lot of letters. Letters to friends far away, letters to the editor of The Oregonian, letters to authors I read, angry letters to companies, my congressional representatives and people I am not liking at the moment. The only problem is that all of these letters get written in my head and none of them make it to paper, much less into an envelope, addressed, stamped and put in the mail.

I used to write letters all the time. I had email the last two years of college and my friends and I would email back and forth, but we still wrote letters. In my mid 20’s the letters started tapering off, replaced with long emails that were printed out and saved as if they were letters. Then the emails tapered off, and what did come, got deleted with all the other email. I realized awhile ago that I hadn’t written an actual letter in years.

There are so many steps to letter writing. There’s the letter being written, which assumes paper, pen and legible handwriting are present. Then there is the finding of an envelope, the correct address, a stamp and a mailbox. Somewhere along the line those steps became overwhelming and I stopped doing them.

I have a few friends, two exactly, that still write letters. Jenna never really stopped, and I can remember when we were roommates, having a discussion about how people didn’t write back when she wrote. After I moved out, I became one of those people.

My friend Sara sent me a letter last year that reminded me what fun letters are. Sara’s letters are always covered in stickers. They are written longhand and in fun colors of ink. They discuss what is going on in her life and asks about mine. I wrote her back. And she wrote me back. And then that letter sat on my desk waiting to be answered. For two months.

So, this year, I pledged to write and mail one letter per day.

If I had written this entry at the beginning of January as planned I would have outlined my fears:

  • It would take too long
  • I wouldn’t have enough people to write
  • What the heck am I going to say?
  • I wouldn’t ever get a letter back

My plan was to assemble a letter writing packet. It would have envelopes, paper, postcards, favorite pens, addresses and stamps. I did that.

My fears and assembling the letter writing packet had me paralyzed for the first two weeks, and I didn’t get started until January 14. But now I have been writing a letter per day. Here’s what I have learned.

  1. Having the letter writing packet is key. Writing a letter can take as little as 10 minutes and when you have all your supplies in one place, it only takes a minute or so more to have it ready to go out the door to the mail box.
  2. There aren’t as many mail boxes as there once were. I read awhile back that the post office has been removing little-used ones. We have none around us that are on the way to anything, though we do have a branch post office in our neighborhood.
  3. Even though I’m not thrilled with my handwriting, I actually enjoy hand writing letters. For some reason, sitting in front of the computer typing a letter seems like work, while sitting at the table or on the couch or in the doctor’s office with a pen in hand is fun.
  4. I do feel awkward writing people I know who I’ve never written to. I worry that they will feel pressure to write me back and my letter will become a bundle of guilt sitting on their desks. While it would be nice for everyone to write me back, it’s not super necessary, nor do they have to write me via the post office. Email works too.
  5. I hate writing my return address. I get all clench-y when I am writing it, and find myself holding by breath. I just printed out return address labels this weekend.
  6. Writing can be cross marketing. I included this blog address on the return address label.
  7. I enjoy dashing off letters to authors and people who write for the paper or magazines. The internet actually helps with this. It is very easy to find a mailing address for any author you might want to write you.
  8. I will get letters back. Just yesterday, the author of a newspaper article I wrote to wrote me back. “Who the heck is this?” I wondered as I opened the mailbox. Then I was delighted to read his letter.

Do you want to get a letter from me? I need your address. How do you know if I don’t have your address? You would know because you didn’t get a Christmas card from me. If you want me to write you, there are two options. If you have my address, write me. Or just email me your address and I will add you to my address list. My email is (disguised here, see if you can break the code:-): stenaros. shift 2. the free email provider that starts with a “y”. dot com.

For blogging purposes I will publish a list now and then of who I have been writing too.