Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Beginning of Pants Season

#NatureTwinning Part 55

African Spurred Tortoise at African Grasslands--Monday, 4/23/18

How nice is it to introduce Pants Season with a no-socks look?  These smoking slippers provide pretty good coverage, but still, it's a major improvement to be able to expose any foot at all to the elements without risk of freezing.  It's the end of Tights Season and the end of Mandatory Socks season!

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $9.53

This was a magnificent one to watch in action.  It's the third-largest tortoise in the world, with adult weights up to 230 pounds.

Do you know the differences between a tortoise and a turtle?

I know that Robert knows because when I use "turtle" as a general term, he will correct me when it's really a tortoise. 

I now feel totally vindicated, however, as I read that "in North America, all chelonians are commonly called turtles....The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists uses "turtle" to describe all species of the order Testudines, regardless of whether they are land-dwelling or sea-dwelling, and uses "tortoise" as a more specific term for slow-moving terrestrial species."

It's interesting that the terms Chelonii and Testudines are both used as the scientific name for the order to which these animals belong.  (OK, and Chelonia and Testudinata, apparently.)

Henry Doorly Zoo

Golden-Headed Lion Tamarin--Tuesday, 4/24/18

Wearing white, navy, and coral is very much a Get Your Spring On combination to me.  I mean, I absolutely would wear it any time of year, but it feels most right in the warmer months.

OCPW: $15.12

They named both Cincinnati (sorry, inside joke) and the golden-headed lion tamarin after Tam.

Cincinnati Zoo

In other news...This article describes some of the changing to the housing market being driven by the increase in retirees.  Meanwhile, this one shows a map of the most and least expensive places to live in America, where I didn't see any big surprises.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The End of Tights Season

#NatureTwinning Part 54:  Brought to you by New Guinea

Purple Impatiens--Wednesday, 4/18/18

This is the first time I'm showing this blouse on the blog, though it's the second time I wore it (previously: on a Sunday with skinny black jeans for easiest weekend outfit).  It's the third blouse of this type I purchased--along with the plain black one and the teal/black floral one.

Black/purple/pink floral blouse (JCP), $12.76

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $13.61

I felt pretty happy that I recognize impatiens.  After all, Google thought these were petunias (which I can kind of understand, actually, as both flowers have similar dark areas, though impatiens are flat and petunias are not), so it's not a given.  But then I read that impatiens is a genus of 850-1,000 species, so I wasn't narrowing things down a lot with that label.  However!  These are surely the popular garden flower New Guinea impatiens, no?  I mean, when I say "impatiens," I basically mean "New Guinea impatiens," as that is, indeed, the only kind I know.

The scientific name Impatiens (Latin for "impatient") and the common name "touch-me-not" refer to the explosive dehiscence of the seed capsules. The mature capsules burst, sending seeds up to several meters away.

Science has some of the greatest terminology ever.  Explosive dehiscence!

Missouri Botanical Garden

Gentoo Penguin in The Wild--Thursday, 4/19/18

It feels right that my last tights outfit of the season features this white skirt that I prefer wearing in the winter with contrasting tights.  Here even the shoes are a different color (purple to match the blouse), breaking the 2-of-3 rule (tights should match skirt and/or shoes) in a fun but low-key way, I think, for my business casual workplace.

Have I praise-god-hands-emoji'ed the wonders of chain necklace extenders recently?  I think I clasped two of them together at the end of this necklace so that I could wear it lower, on top of the blouse but below the collar, which I thought looked terrific and had the added advantage of kind of holding the blouse and collar in place.  These extenders are like $5 apiece and make necklaces a lot more versatile.

OCPW: $13.74

Nobody knows how this penguin got the name "gentoo" but the scientific name for the genus, Pygoscelis, means "rump-tailed" and is a reference to the side-to-side sweep of the relatively long tail as it sticks out behind a waddling gentoo.  The species name papua is based on the initial erroneous belief that the bird lived in Papua New Guinea.

St Louis Zoo

In other news...I am working on a rabbit-photo version of the musical Hamilton called Hamilbun.  I have officially lost my mind.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Blood Red Feathered Fantasy

#NatureTwinning Part 53

Unknown Pink Flower in Demonstration Gardens--Monday, 4/16/18

Brown and pink is a lovely combination, and this outfit was marvelously simple perfection, topped off with such a neat overhand-knotted scarf.

I like to experiment, force my hand, and generally push myself just a bit into the new with my outfits, but man, when something is easy and right, that's it's own joy.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $9.84

Google identified this flower as a peony, and I think that's right.  According to Wikipedia:

The peony is named after Paeon (also spelled Paean), a student of Asclepius, the Greek god of medicine and healing. When Asclepius became jealous of his pupil, Zeus saved Paeon from the wrath of Asclepius by turning him into the peony flower.

Missouri Botanical Gardens

Flamingo in the Food Trough--Tuesday, 4/17/18

Black and white and a pop of color is kind of spectacular when that pop of color is a nearly-neon salmon-pink skirt.  I'm also enjoying the lovebirds blouse with silver feather pendant as a bit of matchy-matchy goodness.

OCPW: $16.40

Let's face it--it's a little hard to look dignified when you're a flamingo...especially when you have chosen to stand in your food trough.  I laughed when this guy walked over to the trough and put himself in there, but on reflection, it's not as strange as it first seemed.  He is a wading bird, after all, so standing in a few inches of "dirty" water probably feels very right to him.

The word flamingo came from the Portuguese/Spanish "flamengo" for "flame-colored" or from the Greek, "blood red-feathered."  As you probably know, flamingos are pink-to-red because of the carotenoid pigments in the food (in the wild: algae, crustaceans; in the zoo: pellets enriched with carotenoids) they eat.

Surprising flamingo fact:  "Living flamingos demonstrate substantially less body sway in a one-legged posture [as opposed to standing on two legs]."

Indianapolis Zoo

In other news...One of the best fantasy-novels-for-adults that I've read in the past few years is The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks.  Yes, she got the idea for writing a historical fiction about the biblical King David from the Leonard Cohen song "Hallelujah" which her son played on the harp at his own bar mitzvah (which strikes me as strange AF but okay).  The end product was compulsively readable, even though many/most/all of the main plot points will be recognizable or known in advance to readers with a basic knowledge of the Bible. 

Of course, Brooks doesn't frame her story as fantasy, but it worked for me extremely well conceptualized in this way.  Reading this book as fantasy really pointed up the limitations in most fantasy fiction, the primary one being the lack of moral complexity in the protagonist--in their person and in the world they create/support.  This is not something lacking in the story of David.

Here are a couple very different reviews of the book that I enjoyed reading.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wayward Scaup

#NatureTwinning Part 52

Lesser Scaup--Thursday, 4/12/18

It's nice to have some interesting blouses that can be worn with a pair of pants and some shoes--boom, work outfit done.  I decided to add a bit more to the outfit with a completely unnecessary multi-strand necklace.  I like that this necklace has (fake) pearls and a mix of metal colors, so it's very versatile (for those of us who have to take a deep breath when considering wearing a necklace with silver and shoes with gold, for example).

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $8.63

It's always a special pleasure to post a wild bird photograph.  Look at this jaunty lesser scaup in his breeding plumage.  The Cornell Lab identification states: "Head is purplish-iridescent, but is only visible with ideal lighting."  I guess I approximated the ideal here because I can definitely see that gleam in his feathers that always reminds me of the colorful sheen of a pool of gasoline.  He's also totally sporting a pompadour like a 50s Elvis.

Upper Newport Bay

Birds Fountain at Maritz Apple Allee Demonstration Garden--Friday, 4/13/18

This was a day I worked from home, in a supremely comfy oversized knit blazer, jeans, suede flats, and a t-shirt and flowy scarf.  I totally would have worn this to work, if it had been warm enough to go outside without socks.

OCPW: $10.18

I'm telling you, that outfit title was hard-won.  It took a bit of investigation to figure out where this dancing goose fountain was located...a lot more effort than identifying the lesser scaup (a well-known fellow, even though he moves around rather) and probably more effort than it was worth.  So I need to take a moment to savor the pleasure of having put the proper name on something.

Missouri Botanical Garden

In other news...A few months ago, I told you to read Every Heart a Doorway, the first novella in the Wayward Children series.  I have since read #2 Down Among the Sticks and Bones and #3 Beneath a Sugar Sky, so let me revise this instruction:  Go read these books right now.  So very, very good.  The second one, telling the backstory of Jack and Jill (not at all what you'd expect) was my favorite, but I have very high hopes indeed for upcoming #4 In an Absent Dream.  I mean, get a load of this brief but attention-piquing description:

This fourth entry and prequel tells the story of Lundy, a very serious young girl who would rather study and dream than become a respectable housewife and live up to the expectations of the world around her. As well she should.
When she finds a doorway to a world founded on logic and reason, riddles and lies, she thinks she's found her paradise. Alas, everything costs at the goblin market, and when her time there is drawing to a close, she makes the kind of bargain that never plays out well.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Ding an Sich

#NatureTwinning Part 51

Butterfly and Bee on Coneflower--Thursday, 4/5/18

This scarf has so many nice neutrals in it, but not much in the way of a proper brown, so naturally I had to wear it with brown pants.  Luckily when you wear a bright pink velvet blazer and a showy butterfly scarf, nobody notices your pants.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $13.83

Coneflowers are among my favorite flowers.  They are so big and vibrant and bold and simple.  And insects love them, too.

Coneflowers are the genus Echinacea, from the Greek for "hedgehog" (referring to the spiny center).  Yes, that's the Echinacea that is the stuff of herbal remedies for the common cold.  I don't know about that, but I find they are a palative for winteritis, a malady of northern climes.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Orange Clownfish and Bubble Tip Anemone--Monday, 4/9/18

This is what happens when you wear a bunch of things in different shades of blue.  I can't tell if it's a disaster or what.  I was kind of losing my sweater + vest + scarf mojo at this late point in the winter, I think.  I did like the skirt and boot combination, though.

OCPW: $11.49

The symbiotic relationship between anemone and anemonefish (clownfish) is one of the cooler things in nature.  Somebody should make a movie about a clownfish.

Did you know that clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites?  They develop into males first, and when they mature, they become females.  Makes a lot of sense.

Newport Aquarium

Cheetah--Tuesday, 4/10/18

A sister to the inexpensive white skirt, this mauve skirt fit well with black and various shades of grey for a little peek of spring to come.

*Mauve skirt (Walmart), $5.50

OCPW: $12.69

You might want to be more careful about a cheetah springing into your car.  This video of a dude frozen in place while a young cheetah investigated the backseat of the vehicle was a classic.  My favorite line: "Luckily the cheetah lurking behind him minded his business and eventually left to eat a gazelle."

Cincinnati Zoo

In other news...The part of this article about "surviving your 40s" (an ill-chosen headline, actually) that resonated the most with me was the uncomfortable realization that I'm the grown-up.

Indeed, the strangest part of the 40s is that we’re now the ones attending parent-teacher conferences and cooking the turkey on Thanksgiving. These days, when I think, “Someone should really do something about that,” I realize with alarm that that “someone” is me.

Yeah, that's a scary feeling for me too!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Data Fix

OK, these late-winter outfits are starting to look crazy given the warm weather recently (though today it only reached 50 F), so let's push on through this!

#NatureTwinning Part 50

Roseate Spoonbills at Simmons Aviary--Monday, 4/2/18

I actually enjoy wearing a white skirt more during tights season than I do the more traditionally appropriate Memorial Day to Labor Day period.  (This may be because I like a degree of contrast that my pale legs do not offer.)  I bought this one from, where they have a strange selection of apparel, often sized like you see for the Chinese market (size up, then size up again).  But for $6.00, I can ignore the label.

I bought these magnificent burgundy/maroon tights during a lucky tights-shopping spree at our Pokemon Go mall.  The end of the season is a good time to snatch them up on discount, and I was happy that multiple stores had a better-than-usual selection of larger-size tights.  (Often, you can only get black, or they don't have ones that will work for women on the tall side, or whatever stupid limitation.)  Seeing this tights + ankle boots combination is kind of making me eager for fall, when I can wear it again.

*White skirt (Walmart), $6.00

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $13.99

It was fun to see these spoonbills, which I associate with the waters of the Texas coast, hanging out on a roof.

Henry Doorly Zoo

Decorative Cabbages--Tuesday, 4/3/18

OK, I recognize that the "mint" of this scarf and the "mint" of this vest are really not at all the same color, but I was fine with that.  I was also mixing up stripes, floral, and leopard print.

OCPW: $10.45

Looking at these cabbages made me wonder at Google: Are decorative cabbages....edible, it auto-completed--yes, I guess that's a common question.  The answer?  They are edible, though they are more bitter than the kinds we tend to eat.  They are, in fact, the same species as edible cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, Brassica oleracea.  To which I say, Wait, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli are the same species?  Apparently this species includes kale, Brussel sprouts, collard greens, and kohlrabi (among others) as well!  It took only a couple thousand years of artificial selection for people to develop all these varied plants from the original wild cabbage. 

I wondered whether this shared history would mean that these veggies have similar oxalate levels.  Looks like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are all fairly low in oxalate.  Collard greens and kale are a bit higher (though still a ton lower than spinach aka The Kidney Stone Maker).  So these are all veggies I could happily eat, though I think I will leave their bitter decorative brethren to beautify zoo landscaping.

Indianapolis Zoo

Baby Giraffe Tongue--Wednesday, 4/4/18

I'm amused by how this salmon-pink skirt, against the light brown + beige background of clothing and carpet, looks like a bit like it time traveled from the 1980s, when neon reigned supreme.

Plus: scarf with overhand knot revisited.  Still liking it.

OCPW: $8.96

No pink in this photo!  The baby giraffe's tongue is that strange purplish-black some animals have as protection from sunburn.

Cincinnati Zoo

In other news...It was interesting to read how central data science is to the Stitch Fix business model.  Also a bit depressing to see how difficult it was for the founder to find venture capitalists to support her business due to their general apathy for retail and women's fashion.  Also sad?  The CEO is kind of proud that 35% of data scientists and 32% of engineers at the firm are women--yes, the numbers are still that low at a company that sells women's clothing.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Visible Figures

#NatureTwinning Part 49: Quilted vests without end, amen

Goose--Friday, 3/30/18

It was cool to realize that I could wear a bright pink (slightly patterned) scarf with this bright pink sweater, especially with some black vest breaking up the Casual-Friday-by-Barbie-ness of it.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $8.66

Although raptors get most of the credit for being avian badasses (due to their predatory ways), geese can be seriously in your face and tough as hell.  I liked the way this goose was giving me attitude.  (I maintained my distance so I was not attacked.)

Upper Newport Bay

Capybara at Rivers Edge--Saturday, 3/31/18

AKA Han Solo in a scarf.

OCPW: $14.95

This guy straight up looks like he's from Star Wars, too.

St Louis Zoo

In other news...From the Washington Post: "Three black teens are finalists in a NASA competition. Hackers spewing racism tried to ruin their odds."  Three black teenage girls.  So of course the asshats at 4chan had to try to shut that down.