Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rock It Like You Mean It: Kick it Into Gear (No More Neutral)

Rock It Like You Mean It is going to be a new feature on My Dead Best Friend's Closet. I've been obsessed by fashion blogs of late. Not the corporate-sponsored "Wear our clothes!" kind, but real women that have budgets and non-standard figures and office dress-codes. Sal over at did a Summer Blackout that sounded fantastic, but...I was so busy this summer. Just trying to keep my head above water & make sure I had enough crafts to keep the kids busy.
I realized how sartorially lazy I've become. It is so easy to have a black/brown/denim bottom & just toss on a bright top. I love color & have lots of colorful bottoms in my closet, but they are "too hard to wear". So this week, I made myself a challenge- No black, brown or denim. I would wear COLOR every day. I discovered pieces that I haven't worn in years. It was the ultimate "Shop Your Closet" event. New clothes for no money.
I was complimented every day, by people who knew about my challenge & by people that just thought I looked nice. Whether it was the accessibly-colorful wardrobe, my current attempt to be more approachable or just that I have a super-lovey group of students this year...I was hugged EVERY DAY. I don't mean a quick squeeze in passing. Sometimes I was down-right mobbed. Class had to stop for the hugs.
I tried to not repeat articles of clothing or major accessories throughout the challenge. The effort of planning, ironing, and accessorizing made me feel like I'd put effort into a good start for my day. I felt more on-the-ball at work. I encourage the rest of you ladies to take a serious look at your closet. Don't always make the safe choices. You may discover that the Crayola Box is just as much fun now that you are a grown-up.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

ReTail Spin

I’m caught in the quicksand of consumerism. I was doing so well- trying to save money, but mostly limiting the influx of new ephemera into my space. I had a mission.

Clean up. Clean out. CHUCK!

Then everything started to fall apart. No reason to save for a Chinese vacation when the couple I was planning to go with is splitting up. Mama moved to Mississippi….unsure when she’ll come back. Depends on the health of my grandparents. Back pain gearing up again. And I find myself abandoning my newfound minimalist principles in favor of…
3 huge portraits of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly (not just of the same celeb- the same character)

2 mini cork boards

2 round decorator pillows for my bedroom

2 reams of decorative computer paper
7 purse-size notebooks
3 packs of greeting cards, Scrapbook paper & crafting stickers, $40 Flip Flops, Black rosebud earrings, Silver lariat,Travel size manicure set,Set of 3 stackable “silver” rings,Bib necklace (swapped rather than bought) Purple eyeliner( also a swap & like I need more purple cosmetica) Garage sale signs (no, I’m not having a garage sale)Wrapping paper & colored tissue paperBubble wrapPadded mailersBobbi Brown makeup (which seems to have kicked off the downward spiral)
And at least 33 bottles of nailpolish (of varying sizes)

It’s insane. I can see that it’s insane. And yet, I can’t seem to get control of it. Ironic, since the underlying psychological cause was to gain control of my world.
I get very hung up on funeral attire. I do. It’s something I can control. It’s a way to show respect. And it’s meaningless in the grand scheme of things. When problems are too big to manage, I instead put all my focus into something insignificant.

I can’t fix my friends’ problems. When Nerfherder married the Yellow Rose of Texas, I wasn’t sure they’d be happy, but I was sure that he would be faithful. Over the years of their marriage, I got closer & closer to Rose. Then out of the blue, Nerf decides he wants out & wants in to someone else’s pants. I talked to him. He won’t be disuaded by me. I can’t fix him and I don’t know how to operate in this new relationship where he’s so lost . I don’t know how I’m supposed to be. This situation never occurred to me. Rose & I are figuring out our new relationship as we go. But this reality is harsh & I want to escape into a thousand shades of nail polish.
I can’t control the health of my grandparents. I have very little influence over how my mother chooses to care for them. My relationship with my mother can no longer exist in it’s previous manner. I don’t see her everyday at work. I can’t sit at her lunch table & get a hug or advice. So, I need to figure out the new way that things are going to be. Talking to her is going to require effort now. I have to rearrange my schedule for that.
My retail therapy is sucking me dry of time & money. And what’s the point of having fabulous nails when I don’t have the time to do my hair, I ask you?

Put the plastic down.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Let me preface this by saying : I am a waterbaby. I love being in the water. My first swim instructor had to hang on to my diaper to FORCE me to come up for air, because I would have swum the length of the pool in 2 breaths. Back when I could swim everyday, the best part of my day was floating in the deep end. I've always drunk water like it was going out of style, condescending to drink cokes or *shivers* ...koolaid...only when there was no other childhood choice. I'd play in the bath for as long as my mother would let me, turning myself into a little prune. The shower became my sanctuary during grief- the only place I could break down was inside those plastic curtains.
So, for me to find a way to be wet that is awful, is...well....awful.
But I'm there. For the last 3 months, almost every night I have wet the bed. Not in the traditional bed-wetting sense. That would be too easily solvable. Adult diapers, though embarrassing, would allow me to sleep through the night. No. This is worse. And worse yet- mysterious. I'm sweating. I'm sweating from places I didn't know you could sweat from. My wrists. Who thinks about sweating from your WRISTS? This is not the neighbor's cat leaving a spot the size of 2 pizzas.My diet hasn't changed. New medications were stopped & restarted with no impact on the situation. I've tried sleeping while wearing deodorant. Even sleeping while wearing pajamas. I've tried lessening my bedding, but all that does is make me cold when dry and freezing when wet. Fixed the ceiling fan to no avail. Except to determine that my ceiling is not level and that the fixed fixture for ceiling fans will ultimately warp the motor of any fan I put in that room. And now, I also have my father's filthy handprint on the ceiling at which to stare.
I'm used to sleeping 9-10 straight hours. I need more sleep than the average bear & I need it continuously. Not doled out in 3-4 hour increments. This up again, down again lifestyle is not for me. The dreams I have are more vivid now, whether that is a symptom or merely a result of waking up in the wrong part of my sleep cycle, I don't know. I wake up and have to blow dry the bed. I got a moisture-proof mattress cover to protect my fabulous new mattress, evidently a prudent purchase. The problem is that since the moisture can't go straight down, it wicks out to the sides. I'm left with a thoroughly damp spot covering more than 1/2 the bed, punctuated with areas of saturation. Sometimes, I try to merely move to the driest spot & continue to sleep, but that is never restive. At first, it was merely a moisture problem, without odor. Now, I'm apparently dehydrated enough to have reached the stage of stinkiness.
My doctor wasn't too concerned about my plight. He ran some blood tests & determined that I was overmedicated for my thyroid disorder. I'm not sure it would be prudent to attack him with water pistols at our next appointment, but it's the only idea I have had to illustrate the severity of my problem. Surely if this were menopause, I would have some waking symptoms. Maybe I've got a split personality & only my sleeping self is going through the Change. Either way, I think I would be content to never sweat again. To quote Joss Whedon- "No body wants to be Moist...a bunch of overactive pores".

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Dead Best Friend's Closet

Today, I started to empty out my dead best friend's closet. Not her actual closet- that was dismantled three years ago. But today I loaded up four garbage sacks full of clothes and accessories. Things that were hers. Things that were mine that she borrowed all the time. Things that I adored in high school. The Christmas gift her husband bought her their first (and only) Christmas. You don't expect a 31-year-old to have lost her best friend to cancer. You don't expect to introduce a twenty-something man as a widower. But it happens. It happened.

I'm trying to purge my disaster-area of a house. Not even a full weekend of homestyle "Clean Sweeping" last spring has made this place free of clutter and debris. But I struggled to separate the memories from the clutter. Some souvenirs are ok. The clothes I actually wear are fine to keep. But it is time to free myself from things I don't need just because they belonged to the dead. And it's not just my best friend. I live in an inherited house that I once shared with my grandmother. She's been gone a little over 2 years. It was only last spring that I really tried to utilize the whole house, straying past the boundaries into what was once 'her' area. There is the unrequested bedroom suite from a dead great-aunt that my mother forced on me and that doesn't all fit into any single room in the house. Besides being ugly and having some carving that might be pineapples, pinecones, or lacerated testicles for all I can determine.

Living in my hometown wasn't the plan. But here I am, in a house I didn't pick out. Not that I'm complaining about owning my own home. It's an incredible blessing to live rent & mortage-free. The house was not gently used by it's previous tennants and isn't worth a great deal, so I feel no stress about teaching myself DIY-techniques. I'm probably NOT going to be able to bring it down in value without actively trying. None of my friends can make such claims. Some are flushing away their paycheck on rent. Some have huge, nice houses complete with huge, nice house payments. Some are living with family. I have the autonomy to make changes as I see fit, without some Homeowners' Association breathing down my neck or my mother complaining about the tackiness of having a purple bedroom.

I'm trying to make a plan, but I know it won't turn out like I expect it. But that's okay. Why keep reading the book if you can figure out the ending in the first chapter?