Friday, December 27, 2013

Last Purchases of 2013

This year I realized I'd had it with freezing knees, those square inches between the hem of my wool skirt and the top of my boots. I'm not wearing long skirts like I used to, and I am cold. The object of my affection was a thousand dollar Fleurette coat at Nordstrom's, though I realized that was not happening.

Fleurette Cashmere Long Coat
But there were some more reasonable possibilities at Lord and Taylor and Macy's; Anne Klein, Jones New York, etc. There was even a Cinzia Rocca coat that I might have gotten up the nerve to charge on my card.

Cinzia Rocca Due Wing Collar Alpaca Coat
Some of the more affordable coats were blends of wool and nylon, and I suspected they wouldn't be all that warm. Some seemed warm, but were itchy around the throat. One Forecaster of Boston coat was gorgeous, but had shortish sleeves, which made no sense to me.

Then I found it. (Though mine is black.) 

Portrait Mixed Media Coat at Lord and Taylor. The model's picture, for a change, does not do it justice. It has a detachable hood. It has deep pockets. It is easy to button. It is not too heavy. The cuffs unfold to keep your hands SUPER warm. It is incredibly soft around my neck and face. It was 60% off (and even more marked down now).

I wore it home. I may have taken a nap under it. I wore it Christmas Eve downtown in single digit temperatures, and was toasty. And it even moves well when I walk (down is so stiff). I feel like I'm in the Narnia wardrobe when I'm wearing it.

Then, being on a tear, and in utter contrast, I bought this:
Anne Klein Asymmetrical Quilted Coat

It was 60% off at Macy's. I've wanted a quilted leather jacket since my former boss showed up at work in one about a decade ago. She wore it like a blazer, in a tough but sweet outfit. Moto jacket, floral skirt.

And it is pretty darn cool. It's hanging in my bedroom, letting some of the packing marks relax, letting the leather bloom, as it were. I have a gray and white floral challis skirt that might be good, and an orange pleated silk skirt that might be good too. I kind of like the idea of schoolgirl plaid with it too (which, ahem, I don't own).

So, my last purchases of 2013 are all about NEED (warm, long, soft, affordable) and WANT (short, leather, cool). Here's to a little of both for all of us in 2014!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Buffy and Buttered Toast

Fifteen years ago, our very elderly cat had to be put to sleep. For about a day we caught our breath, and then I saw a mouse in the kitchen. It's not like Keisha could catch them anymore, but apparently her presence was enough to keep them out of sight. Three days later, a friend asked me if I would consider taking in a stray kitten that was living under her neighbor's garage. I would.

She had to be tempted out with a can of tuna, but she was very hungry indeed, so I wrapped her and her needle-like claws in a towel and brought her home. I watched her for a couple of days, cautious but fierce, with a glamorous tortoise coat of bronze and brown. It was 1998, so of course I named her Buffy.

She proved herself an efficient slayer, but a bit anxious and neurotic. She was particular about her food, and I worried that she didn't eat enough. Sometimes she could be encouraged, and I would find Ben sitting on the kitchen floor. "Buffy wants me to watch her eat." Ben even allowed her to sit on his lap at dinner once in a while. I would see a long paw snake past his fork to snag a green bean. Then Ben would sigh, and mutter "I'm putting Buffy away." Too often we forgot about her, and opened the bedroom door guiltily to see narrowed eyes glaring at us from the bed. Every morning she would intently watch me eat a muffin or toast, and then finish off the crumbs. Buttered toast was her single favorite food.

Buffy patrolled our yard in the evening, and occasionally went off to cat bars to meet her admirers, but only brought home her prey once; a noisy cicada. I asked Ben to take it from her, but he called up from the basement, "There's nothing left to take, it's like KFC down here, just legs and wings!"

She lay on our computer back when they were big enough to drape a cat on.

When flat screens came along, she lay in front of the monitor to distract us, and if I leaned close to her, nibbled my hair. If I ignored her, she would reach over to the keyboard and tap my fingers.

She was a very shy animal, and cat sitters commented that they rarely if ever saw her (and then she was backing away from them), but she liked a chosen few friends and would allow them to pet her. My lap would do until Ben came home, and then it was all about The Boy.

She had company nearly all her life in the form of big Riley, but it was detente more than friendship. In the picture below, she (on the right) is about to bite him.

We moved only once in her life, a good thing, because it was traumatic for her, and for weeks, if there was an odd noise (like construction or the trains), Buffy took shelter in the sink.

She liked cool spaces, and usually sat near an open window, where as Riley would bask on our heated floors in the winter. I'm with Buffy, it's too damn hot in the condo most of the time.

Right before Christmas, she wouldn't eat any breakfast, and was breathing hard. I took her to the vet that morning, and she died at home that evening. It was heart failure - nothing to be done. I am glad she didn't suffer for long, glad to have given her a home, and very glad to have known her, my beautiful little slayer.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Ben spent Thanksgiving in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, traveling with his Dad's family. They were refreshing a decades-old family connection between Ben's grandfather, Brace Johnson, and the church he helped to establish. Ben had a great time, as you can imagine, and also found the church compound very peaceful and refreshing to the spirit.

He spent several happy hours with elephants.

Including watching them paint, which he found fascinating.

He learned to be cautious of the food (despite loving American Thai restaurants):

And when he got to my house he was very, very tired.

So Riley made sure Ben had a thorough rest.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Day After Outfits and Houndstooth

This is what I wore the day after Thanksgiving, when no one wants anything feeling tight anywhere: my Dana Buchman jersey dress, leggings, a cotton cardigan, and Born boots. Aaaaaaaah.

I got my new Ann Taylor houndstooth skirt in the mail and wore it the very next day. This is a sign of true affection. The only minor drawback to this lovely item is that it does not have a kick pleat, and makes it hard for me to take my usual long strides. If I had know that . . . I would have bought it anyway, as it is precisely the length and print and fabric that I wanted. I think the skirt has rotated slightly in the above picture, which is why the pattern looks wonky on one side.

My little tripod gave up the ghost after a year of faithful service. Not bad for seven dollars. I never plan to make any more effort than pointing my phone at myself in the kitchen, so I don't want to invest in real equipment. Right now I'm looking at a flexible coil or feet with little grippy hands at one end, something like this:

Cyanics i-3 Flexible Portable Stand

But until that arrives, I'll post pictures of Ben and anything else that comes to mind.