Friday, June 24, 2016

Coffin Poisson

"Fish in the Coral"--Friday, 6/24/16

It's a little intimidating to consider putting together something inspired by one of super-chic Angie's personal outfits.  But seeing this coral blazer and black polka dot top with jeans...well, it was too perfect a way to try wearing my sorta-fancy-seeming blazer in a more casual Friday compatible manner.


I did not even try to get anything like the apple-green eyeglasses or sky blue purse into my mix.  I kept it really straightforward.

Coral blazer (JNY), $6.19/wear
Short-sleeved black polka dot top (Liz Claiborne/JCP), $5.00/wear
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, Kohls), $0.47/wear
Black buckle flats by Me Too, $2.82/wear
Gold fish charm necklace (Ann Taylor), $3.86/wear

Outfit total: $18.34/wear

My touch of visual interest/whimsy was this fish charm necklace.  That was enough for me.

This polka dot top is tied for Shirt MVP #4 in the Work the Wardrobe Challenge with four wears.

If I can move away from this ocean theme for a moment, this male red-winged blackbird is sporting a similar color combination...although he doesn't look very happy about it, does he?

"Get off my lawn!"

In other news...Today has been the best day yet, pain-wise, since my surgery.  I'm still taking a lot of painkillers, but not the maximum dose every single time, and I have been able to tolerate sitting at a desk chair better than before.  I still came home about an hour early and am now feeling very tired and ready to practice my Coffin Pose for a while #kidneystoneyoga

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A Partial Work Day

"Together Again for the First Time"--Thursday, 6/23/16

I am always on the lookout for ways to wear this navy bird print top.  I realized that something I hadn't yet tried was pairing it with my diamond cardigan--which has black in it but against the white background, I don't think it's all that noticeable.

It was hard to find a Reverse Inspiration for this combination, but I did not allow that to sway me from implementing my plan.  Instead I let Alice's white/teal/navy outfit and big smile cheer me on.  She is wearing white jacquard pants in the fall with a screw fashion rules attitude that is inspirational.


What do you think of the result?  Not bad, to my eye.

Navy birds shell (Nordstrom), $7.80/wear
Black and white diamond cardigan (JNY), $6.90/wear
Bright teal skirt (JCP), $1.73/wear
Nude wedges by Cole Haan, $11.99/wear
Silver feather pendant (JCP), $3.42/wear

Outfit total: $31.84/wear

Surely I get credit for reuniting this silver feather pendant with some (not-silver-but-whatever) birds, right?

This diamond cardigan is tied for Cardigan MVP #4 with four wears during the WtWC.

In other news...I went into work this morning and read an increasingly mind-boggling email chain between two people in my department and the person in charge of posting some end-of-quarter data to our database (who for the record is NOT part of our technology department).  The data should have been final last Friday, but (as usual) it wasn't.  The email exchange this week went like this:

My group:  Is the X data posted for all sites?

Them:  Yes.

My group:  I am seeing data missing for sites A, B, C, D, and E.

Them:  OK, I've posted that data now.

My group:  Site C is still missing several hundred records.

Them:  Just posted 300+ records for site C.

My group:  Has this taken care of the known issue with site F?

Them:  Still waiting for confirmation from site F.

Etc. Etc.

Talking to my colleagues today, I found out that apparently this person who posts the data has permissions to post the data but does not have rights to query the database herself to see if the data posted.  WHAT?  So in the future, the person in technology who used to be responsible for posting the data will run a query once they think all the data is posted and see if it really is.

But from what I can tell, the issue has not been that they tried and failed to post data for all those sites.  It's that they simply didn't even try to post the data for some of the sites--just forgot or overlooked a bunch of sites--and then when asked about it, answered "YES" regardless.

I also found out that the board has negotiated with the head of our organization to buy out her contract (which runs until December 2018) effective in mid-July.  At least the person who has been chosen as interim Big Cheese is a retired Big Cheese from another organization in the area.  It seems like a good choice--this person has a very solid reputation and all internal candidates are viewed as the deplorable minions of the soon-to-be-ex-chief by many constituencies.

I started feeling pretty bad around lunch time, and after eating lunch (and waking myself up a bit), I came home.  Of course, I was out of it enough that I didn't realize until I got to my car that I'd left my purse in my desk upstairs.  That was fun because as I mentioned yesterday, walking is the pain-maximizing position for me these days.  By the time I got back to my car with my purse, I was in very bad shape.  Once I got home, I took 2 Percocet and laid down in what my office mate called the "coffin position" (after I told her how that is my most comfortable position) and took a nap for about an hour.  

I had considered bringing my laptop home in case (1) I decided to work some more this afternoon or (2) I decided to work from home tomorrow, but it was installing 88 updates very slowly.  I took this as a sign from the universe that I should just go home and flop out.

I'm just taking things one day at a time.  At least the new season of Orange is the New Black came out on Netflix so I have something to keep me occupied in my recliner when I am feeling well enough to not be lying coffin style but not well enough to sit up in a normal chair.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Today I discovered that lying down flat on my back in bed with my legs straight and my arms over my midriff is the pain-minimizing position.  Standing up and walking around is the pain-maximizing position.  Sitting in my recliner wasn't too terrible.  Sitting in an office chair was bearable for short-ish periods (with my heating pad).

I really need to get back to work tomorrow.  Since I do not have a job as a mattress tester, I hope that the range of activities that do not cause awful pain and discomfort are broader than they were today.  I want to at least make it in to the office tomorrow morning to pick up my laptop so that I can work from home if the sitting isn't working out for me.

I wore yoga pants and my "Nope. No sir, I don't approve." Disapproving Rabbit t-shirt for today's activities inactivities.

Here is a more photogenic outfit from last weekend:

"Orange You Glad"--Sunday, 6/19/16

Another day, another 88 cent skort--orange this time.  I love orange with navy (it's like orange with black only without the Halloween associations) and I love stripes, so I immediately glommed onto this inspiration photo I found on Pinterest (by a Spanish blogger).


My weekend casual version has chambray flats (which I just love with a rich solid color or with navy, so this was a "double your pleasure" opportunity)...

*Orange skort (thrifted, Walmart), $0.88/wear
Navy short-sleeved striped top (JCP), $2.66/wear
Navy cardigan (Kohls), $3.52/wear
Chambray flats (Payless), $3.40/wear
White/blue/yellow floral scarf (Target), $6.00/wear

Outfit total: $16.46/wear

...and in the place of her magnificent coin statement necklace, an Easter present from the Easter Bunny.  I like how depending on the way you arrange and tie it, the scarf's colors can look different.

Crying in the Post Op

I had my surgery yesterday afternoon and woke up feeling horrible pain (and immediately started crying, not big dramatic sobs but silent tears down a grimacing face).  Despite getting like a gazillion types of drugs, I was still hurting when I left...and all evening...and all night (though I was able to get some sleep)...and all morning so far (though today has been a slight improvement).  I don't even want to get into all the ways I'm suffering.  I'm glad that I went into the surgery thinking it would be the end of (or close to the end of) my troubles--if I'd known how bad I'd feel after, it would have been much harder to face doing it.

They successfully zapped the big kidney stone with a laser and broke it up into smaller pieces.  However, due to a narrow spot (but thankfully not constricted, or I'd be facing a surgery that requires cutting into the abdomen) in the tube, they were not able to get something up there to remove the pieces.  I will have to wait for them to pass on their own--boo.  Robert and I suspect I might have passed some of it last night during a particularly excruciating period.

They also had to place a stent (to keep the urine flow going), which about 5 different nurses warned me would be quite uncomfortable.  The plan is to remove it at my follow up appointment next Wednesday.

So I'm home all painful and grumpy today.  I am not spending much time at all on the computer the last few days but in that brief period of only moderate pain that occurs when the two narcotic pills kick in, I decided it was easier to mass-email work than to try calling people until I found somebody not on vacation or at a conference today.

And I also decided while I was here (using my new heating pad that Robert got for me) to check a couple blogs--I saw this and it helped a bit (it would have been better with bunnies, of course).  (Hat tip:  I especially liked #8 and #14.  #16 reminded me of Robert--that was his childhood career aspiration.

I'm going to start catching up with outfits I wore last weekend, before I was living in yoga pants, t-shirts, and this kind of awesomely non-constricting mesh underwear they gave me in the hospital.

Hurray for pre-written blog content!

"Forgetful Pink Floral Overlord"--Saturday, 6/18/16

I don't have long enough hair to replicate her 'do, which she calls the "Frun" (it's a bun with extra frizz--easier to do if it's humid and you have a 4 month old baby).  But I'm all over the floral skirt + denim jacket combination.


Well, floral skort, actually.  This is one of 3 skorts, new with tags, that I picked up at the 88 cent thrift store sale with my mom last year...while it was still the very early stages of winter (i.e., December) here in Coldville.  But with amazing dependability, it does become warm weather season again, even up here.  So now it's time to debut this sucker!  (But note that I forgot to wear the denim jacket in the photo--argh!  I did wear it on and off during the day.)

*White/pink/floral skort (thrifted, Walmart), $0.88/wear
Pink short-sleeved T (thrifted, Target), $0.75/wear
Blue denim jacket (Liz Claiborne/JCP), $5.38/wear
Pink/tan/black striped flats (Payless), $2.66/wear
Pink floral necklace (Target), $1.10/wear

Outfit total: $10.77/wear

And hurray for bringing the cost per wear down from #DIV/0 to $0.88!  Wish it were always that easy.

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Dullness of July

"An Instance of Harmonious Clashing"--Friday, 6/17/16

This saturated-pastel tweed jacket with a graphic T combination is so, so cute.


I'm not sure that the cauliflower-crust pizza she talks about in the post inspires the same level of enthusiasm, though.  I have a bad history with fake pizza crusts--at best, they have tasted like cardboard; at worst, they are a sodden mess.  I appreciate that she observed, "That shit isn't pizza."

So I decided to skip the pizza recipe and try my hand at a version of her outfit using this floral graphic T that I just can't quit despite the fact that it faded egregiously on the back after so few wears.  The print is irresistible.  Even when I say, All right now, I'm getting rid of this thing, I can't stick to it.  It's flawed but lovable, which isn't a bad thing to be.

I thought this top and jacket played well together with those bright pink/coral and orchid colors that don't match but create a bit of extra visual interest.  I tried some more dramatic colors of shoes (e.g., bright teal) but settled on these orchid ones that match the top.  There was already enough going on in this outfit.

Beige graphic T with floral design and stupid faded back (Eddie Bauer), $3.75/wear
Coral tweed blazer (thrifted, Chico's), $2.33/wear
Trouser jeans (thrifted, JCP), $0.63/wear
Orchid flats by Born, $1.79/wear

Outfit total: $8.50/wear

Speaking of interesting pairings, here is a photo of an American robin (top) and a song sparrow (bottom) for your enjoyment.  I had been chasing the song sparrow with my camera and just happened to catch him after he settled on the path next to the robin.

In other news...This "Style Sudoku" is incredibly cool.  Kind of makes me want to give it a try!

This evening while eating dinner I finally finished The Madness of July by James Naughtie, which is "A Thriller" according to the cover (also "an explosive, brilliantly written spy novel...a spy novel for the ages").  I had gotten this book in advanced reading copy from my mom's library.

To call this book the Crossing Guard of spy novels would be an extremely generous gesture.  At least The Crossing Guard had the 2 minutes of excitement (albeit that we saw in their entirety during the preview).  This book was utterly dull all the way through (so I suppose we can give it credit for its consistency).

It was boring, but I read on, waiting for the big reveal at the end, but everything remained vague.  Even when the characters themselves act as though huge secrets are being shared, unspeakable truths are being admitted, and loose tongues are out of control...well, they really weren't saying anything.  I mean, we did find out that Character X was trying to undermine Character Y (for unknown reasons) but I didn't really have any sense of who X and Y were because with a couple of minor exceptions (a secretary, the main character's wife), all these people--well, all these men--were interchangeable. 

Even at the very end of the book, I wasn't sure what had happened.  There was some mysterious deep political/spy kerfuffle, cloaked in fog and studded with banality, that resolved itself when we find out that this one minister murdered someone, then he kills himself.  I'm still not really sure why, though, nor do I understand how any of it links up with the events in Berlin (I also don't know what they were but "Berlin" is a word with a super-mysterious aura about it, invoked with ominous significance by various characters).  There are a bunch of different, possibly inter-related secrets and mini-scandals that never lined up for me at all.

But wait, against all efforts, I am making this book sound more interesting that it is.  OK, yes.  There's murder!  There's suicide!  There's an old rape!  There's drug use!  Yeah, we get to hear a bit about that.  But mostly we follow this minister/ex-spy as he calls people on the phone or visits them in person and has iceberg conversations in which 90% of the meaning is beneath the surface (and remains entirely obscure to the reader).

Here is a typical exchange:

"Jackson...Will Flemyng.  I'm terribly sorry to ring you on a Sunday."

The response held no hint of caution.  "Will!  My pleasure.  I'm afraid I'm half naked in my garden, but you'll be relieved to hear that we don't run to a pool.  I'm enjoying what I'm told is going to be the last of summer.  How're tricks?"  He knew Flemyng would enjoy the friendly shamelessness of his greeting, as if nothing was disturbing the Wherry weekend.

And in turn he would enjoy the artifice of their conversation.  Knowing some of what Flemyng must conceal, and aware that there would be much more of which he knew nothing, Wherry relished the game.  "I'm all yours, Will."  Then, upping the pace, "Where are you?"

This kind of thing goes on ad nauseum.  It's like 50% the world's most boring small talk and 50% characters thinking about and reflecting on exactly how the use of a dangling participle in the third sentence of their conversation after a precise 5 second pause will unnerve their opponent and force them to reveal more than they should.  (From a reader perspective, nothing is ever revealed, of course.) 

That's not entirely fair.  The novel also offers detailed physical descriptions of how people stand and move and frequent introspection by the main character on his own mood and his read of the moods of people around him.  That we do not know how to read these physical clues nor can we understand where any of these (not very dramatic) moods are coming from...oh well.  This spy shit is subtle.

Curious what other people made of this book, I found this review in The Guardian.  He nails it when he calls out the book's "atmosphere of portentous abstraction."  I am glad I'm not the only reader to walk away from it feeling "disoriented and decidedly unthrilled."

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Stereotyping + Big Buns

"Not a Maroon"--Thursday, 6/16/16

It's fun to see an outfit you like and realize you have pretty much just the right items to recreate it.  With the purchase of a light pink cardigan, this one looked very doable.  Fonda created this "tone on tone" look for day 1 of last year's GYPO fall challenge.


I am becoming a fan of all the variations of the maroon/burgundy + light pink/blush/orchid color combination...

*Light pink short-sleeved cardigan (thrifted, JCP), $4.49/wear
*White deep V short-sleeved T (thrifted, JCP), $4.49/wear
Maroon pants (thrifted, Lands End), $1.31/wear
Tan captoe flats by Clarks, $3.13/wear
Black/grey/pink butterfly scarf (Kohls), $4.67/wear

Outfit total: $18.09/wear topping off this outfit with yet a third reddish-pinkish shade (the bright pink/magenta in the butterfly scarf) seemed like a way to take this idea one delightful step further.

In other news...Did you notice that I wrote "step further"?  One of the consequences of having a dad who did a stint as a middle school English teacher is that are hyper-aware of the possibility of confusing commonly confused words like "further" and "farther."  I find that it's a bit difficult to decide whether "further" or "farther" is more appropriate in this instance.  "Farther" is a better fit for a description of physical distance, but despite using the word "step," I really am talking about a metaphorical distance, so I'm sticking with further.

This is a nice brief article about Asian Americans and the "model minority" stereotype.  Where I live, most Asians are of lower-education/lower-income variety (as opposed to the "children of Chinese engineers" type, like Robert's cousins), but students still have to deal with many aspects of the model minority stereotype.  But perhaps an even stronger one in play here is the "perpetual foreigner" stereotype.  We have a lot of first-generation Southeast Asians, including many refugees, but even those who are American-born children of American-born parents deal with the never-ending "Where are you from?" reaction.

But you know what's the coolest thing?  Giant bunnies!  (I am so envious.)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

An Unfortunate Consequence

"Summer Penguins"--Wednesday, 6/15/16

For Texas fashion bloggers, the arrival of fall means you can start wearing pants to work again.  Spring has a similar effect on me--it's a nice time to be wearing pants and flats with no socks! Of course, I didn't manage to try out a version of this outfit while it was still spring, so a semi-overdressed summer outfit it is.


Because nothing says summer like a penguin print blouse, right?

Magenta penguin blouse (JNY), $2.04/wear
Black work pants (thrifted, CJ Banks), $2.62/wear
Black pointy-toed flats (Nordstrom), $2.00/wear
Black open weave cardigan vest (JNY), $3.68/wear
Black/silver pendant (JCP), $2.56/wear

Outfit total: $12.90/wear

And I can't resist the opportunity to wear a blouse with a loose cardigan-style vest.  I don't know why I'm all over that look these days.

But I am a little worried that all this open weave vest wearing has Reverse Inspired some kind of sartorial horror in the 1970s.   I AM SORRY, EVERYONE!


In other news...With storms in the area yesterday, Robert was trawling the Internet (I first wrote "trolling" but that was totally wrong) for weather-related news and came across this interesting local tale of tornadoes, retail strategy, and branding.

My mom sends this story about medieval rabbit drawings.  Bunny bad-asses!

And I have finally scheduled my surgery!  It's next Tuesday.