Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I love this skirt, because not only is it swishy and light and silk chiffon, it is the same color as these Talbot's cords - ginger! Which also happens to be my favorite spice. Gingerbread, ginger ale, candied ginger, ginger tea, pickled ginger; I love all of these things.  It's also very good for you. 

Anyway. The skirt was free (Christmas gift card), the cashmere sweater was 10 bucks on eBay, and the scarf was a gift from my mother. I love blue and brown together; excuse me, blue and ginger.

Please notice that you can see my FEET, as I got a little tripod to hold my phone, and no longer have to perch on the island. I can still pet Riley while the timer ticks down. I have to point out my shoes, which I love for a variety of reasons. They're from Golc (clog spelled backwards!) and they have that great 40's style, like character shoes. Very comfy, European sizing, and that warm brown color that is sort of cognac, and sort of . . . ginger.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Me Wear Purple

This outfit owes something to Neanderthal-Speak, which actually started at the Reference Desk ("Where Heidi? Heidi gone!"), and lives on in day-to-day statements like a whispered, "Holly MAD" or "Roberta hungry."

Or sometimes in getting dressed when I am seized by a desire to wear a particular color, and the outfit builds from that point. In this case I had a purple Athleta skirt, and a matching Talbots tee. I threw grey at them with tights and shoes, and resurrected a lovely eBay find in the form of the Dana Buchman jacket. I used to looove that designer, but in 2008 she discontinued her higher end line in favor of the Kohl's brand. The Kohl's brand is fine, but of course on eBay they all get muddled together and it's hard to tell what you're getting.

You can't see the shoes, which doesn't matter, as they're reliable Anne Klein pumps but nothing to write home about. However, the pic does not do that jacket justice. It is a charcoal pinstripe, has a black velvet collar, is fitted to the waist and then flares out slightly. I feel very important when I wear it. I also like it because it was too small for me for a couple of years, and now it fits again. Yay! 

I learned another valuable lesson looking at the pictures, which is to BUTTON UP. I had the top button open during the day, and in the pic, it just looked sloppy. Pinstripes = buttoned up. Also, I have tiny little T-Rex arms and should think about getting the sleeves turned up. Just a thought.

Sadly, I am yet again wearing a pin too tiny to make an impact. Perhaps I should start shooting the details, like Sheila does.  

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Chambray in Winter

I found this dress on eBay last summer, when I just wanted something light and cool that would not stick to me in any way. I can't remember how I wore it, other than with a belt. Heather liked it, and said "You could totally wear that in the winter with tights and boots."

I'm cautious about layering long under short sleeves. There's something surfer dude about it - or Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory - at any rate, MASCULINE, that I am leery of. But I got several compliments, so it must have worked out all right.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Since this is what I look like most weekends, I thought I'd talk about books instead. I've been asked to fill in for a sudden gap in a genre fiction panel at PLA in March, to talk about Science Fiction. I'll have fifteen minutes to list five authors and five books that new readers advisers should know, as well as five up-and-comers.

This made a nice change from thinking about personnel and policy and board meetings! Just to think about fiction and why it is important reminds me of all the reasons I became a librarian; to think about Science Fiction reminds me of all the reasons I love to read. My favorites (at least this week) are:
  1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
  2. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson
  3. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin
  4. Eyes of the Calculor by Sean McMullen
  5. Ringworld by Larry Niven
They're all books so rich in imagination and scope that I could and do re-read them; in fact, I brought home Eyes of the Calculor again this week. I feel close to the authors, although I've only been introduced to Card and Robinson. in the last decade I've been much more inclined to read fantasy than SF, so digging into the state of the genre was also rewarding.

At least tonight's board meeting will be brief, and I can go home and get cozy with my mate, Sean McMullen. He's from down under.  

Friday, January 20, 2012

How Young We Were, How Young

This is me around 1982, a theater major at Kent State University. Black on black was more or less my uniform; a lot of dance clothes and ripstop track pants. I remember these particular pants - they were awesome! They had zippers running the length of the outseam, revealing bright purple fabric when you unzipped them. Of course, they were pegged at the ankle. I cannot tell you why I am wearing such bright white sneakers.

My hair color was Sparkling Sherry and I had on a slathering of Biba eyeshadow. Remember those little pots of eyeshadow in wondrous colors that you could buy at Paul Harris? I must have had 40 of them on my dresser in a big ceramic bowl. Now I want to tell that girl, "A little less eyeliner, honey! You're 20!"

Other fashion highlights from this party's photo reel include poodle perms, macrame vests, high-waisted jeans, and lots of very big glasses (which I had taken off for the photo). 

By the way, Biba has recently come out with a very limited makeup line which looks kind of fabulous. Of course, they are only available at the House of Fraser, but what the heck - they're on sale! Color me tempted.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

One Way to Get Dressed

Wake up late, grab three favorite items from your closet, think they are funky but chic together.

It seemed like a reasonable idea. Certainly the leopard print Boden jacket went with the golden brown cords ("ginger", from Talbots). I thought the small B/W polka dot tee was a pretty good match in tone and scale of print, especially when leopard is practically a neutral. And I love those three pieces of clothing, and felt comfy and cute and thrifty all day.

I thought I detected an odd look or two at work, though. "Did she dress in the dark?" "Is she mildly colorblind and thought the tee was dark brown?"  Especially since the previous day I was complimented a half dozen times on my outfit.

How much do we dress to please others and how much to please ourselves? For me, there isn't much difference. I get a lot of pleasure from a friend's compliment, and as I said above, wearing favorite pieces is like a snuggly (but not itchy) sweater in January. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This picture makes me so happy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Closet Therapy

I'm not good with money. I've always known that I would never make a lot of it, and I figured out pretty quickly that I was going to spend what little I had. My brother is the ant and I am the grasshopper; he's never had any debt to speak of and can make a nickel beg for mercy, which is good, as he has four kids to put through college. 

Fortunately, when I was married, my husband wasn't good with money either, so we never fought about it. We got our paycheck, went out to dinner and shopping, and then two weeks later ate potato soup while hoping we didn't bounce any checks. Thank God we only had one child to put through college.

Right now, I am doing a little better. A year and a half ago I sold my house and downsized in some major ways (like, selling my car). I still have big debts, though, and I oscillate between feeling proud of how much I've paid off ($17,000 in 2011!), and panicking at the thought of how much I still owe and how old I am and what happens if Ben gets sick or I lose my job I DON'T EVEN HAVE A CAR TO LIVE IN!?! Breathe, Roberta. 

One small goal in my financial/emotional life for 2012 is that when I feel panicky and anxious about money, I no longer will go out and buy something. I KNOW that I was/am crazy to fight feeling poor with spending money, but hey, that's why we have old friends - new ones wouldn't put up with our loony ways. Now, I go to my closet and shop there.

Because I don't need anything more to wear, truly I don't, and my hope is that a month or six from now I'll be able to read this blog post and say, "Yup, I still don't need anything, and that means hundreds of dollars I can eventually spend on a couch because I didn't spend it on clothes AND I still paid off $1400 in debt every month.

So pretty. 

Got MLK?

I know, that's a cringe-worthy headline, but I kept seeing the Sears MLK Sale ads on TV this weekend as Sears MILK Sale. Something about the font they used. Perhaps it is because I tend to see and hear food everywhere. My hearing loss once led me to hear "ordering donuts" when the speaker actually said "organ donors." Of course, last week I heard "nude man" instead of Newt Minow," so perhaps my mind isn't always on eating.

One of my favorite blogs, The Salt, has a great, brief column today on the importance of food in the civil rights movement.


Friday, January 13, 2012


Most of what is useful to me in my personal life, I learned on the job. For instance, don't just sprinkle commas into your paragraphs willy nilly (thanks, Eugenia Bryant!), and your collection will feel fresher and circulate more if you systematically weed out some items.

1. Condition. That Sandra Brown paperback is wildly popular - and it looks it. Throw out anything that is frayed, limp, stained or nonfunctional (broken zipper, missing snaps). There's a brand new edition of Texas! Chase available to purchase for your patrons.

2. Dated Style. Diva, Lola, Luna etc. (the crime novels by Delacorta), were fantastically popular in their day, but that day has passed. If you loved them, it makes it even harder to face that fact and take them off the shelf. That ladylike pink tweed jacket that you embraced when you were a new manager is starting to look a little 90's prim. In
fact, don't you have a LOT of lady jackets? How many of them have shoulder pads, hmmm?

3. Fads and Duplicates. Maybe your library has the definitive macrame collection, or perhaps has four shelves of feng shui books, but that doesn't mean they're still needed or appropriate. If you have 19 of anything and you notice nobody else seems to be wearing that style, pick one or two that you just love and put the rest aside. If you have harem pants, shame on you.

I'll post a pic of the pink tweed jacket tomorrow. Carol liked it and voted to keep it. Heather liked it as well, and had some ideas about styling it. The snap below is just for fun. Denim Boden shirt, Athleta cord skirt, fabulous Miz Mooz boots. Riley was completely mystified as to why I kept leaping on and off the island and smiling at that clicky object.

What a big furry fellow!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Olive and Navy

I often wonder how I got dressed in the morning without the help of a color wheel. Google suggests about 406,000 variations on the classic wheel, but this is the one I have taped to my closet, courtesy of AcademicChic (now dormant). The wheel seems to say "Science! You can trust me!", and I pull the appropriate colors from my closet and go forth filled with confidence.

Yesterday morning I rediscovered a favorite olivey-brown (breen!) waterfall sweater in my closet, conveniently hung up with a corresponding tee underneath it. Hmmm, what would be interesting with olive? I tend to pick something in the complementary triad (in this case orange or purple) or one of the neighboring hues (yellow or navy). That sweater's waterfall style requires something fitted on the bottom, and I lack any navy cold-weather skirts of any kind. That's a blog post for another day.

I chose navy boot-cut velveteen pants and gold jewelry. The tee has some embellishment which added some interest. Perched on the island again:

Oddly enough, I think this pose makes my legs look longer. I'm all for that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rust-Colored Boots and an Awkward Pose

I was musing idly yesterday about what I would wear today, and realized that I would be photographing the result. Ack. Suddenly what seemed comfortable and potentially cute was fraught with danger. Why is what the camera sees so different from what I see? After all, my eyes (with glasses) are waaayyy better than my phone.
This is the result. Athleta dress, Talbots jacket, Naturalizer boots. I ended up perched on the kitchen counter in an effort to show the boots (I kept cutting off my feet and getting way too much ceiling). Seeing the photo, I realize I need a big-ass flower pin, as the red necklace (and hair) is not enough to connect with the lovely rust suede and leather boots. Most of my pins and brooches are small, and they seem fine when I look down at them from eight inches away, but the camera points out the truth - they are invisible to anyone who is NOT making out with me.

Trust me, this was the best of the dozen pics I took.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Blog Reboot

OK. It's a new year - again - and my avowed intention is to get this blog back on its feet. What knocked it off the rails before were the annoying mechanics of the photos. Camera, memory card, USB, phone, positioning, available light, blurry, practice, ugh, my hair.

  • to evaluate my wardrobe in the cold eye of the camera, because, truly, my closet is about to EXPLODE.
  • keep track of the exciting events of the year - like the CST play Elizabeth Rex I saw on Saturday (1/7/2012) with Ben.
  • count my blessings over and over and over (see above, re: Ben).
  • muse about work and my profession.
  • whatever else I feel like, dammit.
So, this week I'll be working on the mechanics. Today I took six variously grainy, blurry, footless phone pix of me in my office. I'll try at home too, and with the camera at work, which might be better. Heather offered, but I find the process too embarrassing and self-indulgent to involve anyone else. I want the phone to work out because of the afore-mentioned memory card, cable, blerg. I've seen Gorillapods that promise to work with the camera, at least. In the end I asked Heather to help, of course.

Today's outfit is . . . fine. I think I look so stubby. All torso, no legs. Is this the outfit, or lack of heels, or my posture? Green tweed jacket, green cords, cognac ankle boots, a little matchy and no significant jewelry. All eBay purchases except the pants which were 50% off at Talbots.