Thursday, June 30, 2016

FML: Kidney Stone Edition

"Pink Butterfly Overlord"--Thursday, 7/1/16

I agree with this blogger that wearing the same top close together in time is a nope.  But I can get on board with black + grey + bright pink + leopard print.


For grey top, I chose a stripey one that I bought recently at Goodwill. I wore it with one of my Work the Wardrobe Cardigan MVPs, this bright pink one worn 5 times during the challenge.

Bright pink drapey cardigan (Macy's), $2.18/wear
*Grey/black striped T (thrifted, Target), $2.50/wear
Black shutterfold skirt (Kohls), $2.11/wear
Leopard flats (Nordstrom), $2.63/wear
Black/grey/pink big butterfly scarf (Kohls), $3.50/wear

Outfit total: $12.92/wear

And any excuse for a bright patterned scarf, you know?

In other news...I've been dealing with this kidney stone situation for more than a month now.  (I first wrote "disney" for kidney--I wish an overload of Disney was my biggest problem.)  Yesterday evening I had the most excruciatingly painful 2-3 hours of my life, including the pain that sent me to the ER a month ago, the time I had the stomach flu while having cramps and couldn't take any painkillers for it, and my bleeding ulcer.  It was definitely stone related (one of the areas of greatest pain was my back in the area of the right kidney), and with the pain from that there was sympathetic cramping in my entire abdomen.

After that first long, horrible stretch of pain, I had moderate pain for the rest of the evening into the night and didn't get to bed until quite late.  So another workday, another sick day.  I'm glad that I got 99% done with my only pressing project before I went to the doctor's office so I could just email this morning and tell the person I was working with the one thing that needs to be checked before the reports are ready to go.  This is the slowest time of the year for me, so I guess if this shit has to happen, at least it's well timed.  I'm also lucky that my manager (and Robert's) have been very understanding and supportive of how much time I've needed to take off recently.

Today was marked by strange urethra-burning and digestive upset that lasted a couple hours after each meal.  It's like, Oh, I see, here is yet another way for life with kidney stones to suck.

I'm probably one intense pain episode away from begging people to pray for my recovery.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Mixed Bag

"A Whole Lotta Pattern Mixing Going On"--Wednesday, 6/29/16

I enjoy a good polka dot/stripe combo.  This outfit's pattern mix is actually pretty subtle (it's the skirt that has polka dots), but it makes up for that with exuberant color.


This turned out to be a good opportunity to debut one of my purchases from the Goodwill gift card shopping trip--this very basic but welcome light blue short-sleeved top that coordinates with the blue stripes in the cardigan.

Blue/black/white striped cardigan (JNY), $4.41/wear
Black polka dot skirt (Walmart), $6.44/wear
*Light blue short-sleeved T (thrifted, Walmart), $2.99/wear
Blue/black sparkly flats (thrifted, Target), $1.75/wear
White/blue/yellow floral scarf (Target), $4.00/wear

Outfit total: $19.59/wear

Plus I wore these sparkly flats again.  When I first saw them, I thought, Oh, too bad I didn't have these to coordinate with my outfit for Robert's mom's wedding--the black dress and blue/crystal necklace and peacock bag would have worked really well with some sparkly black and blue patterned flats.  When I tried them on, I was surprised at how comfortable they are because I have found Target shoes to often be immediately uncomfortable--like, "I think my foot is about to bleed as I try to extract it from this ballet flat" level of immediately uncomfortable.  And it wasn't because someone had broken them in for me, either--they were new shoes.  So despite the fact that I don't have a lot of occasion to wear sparkly statement shoes, I was like, Screw it--I'll find a reason to wear them, even if it's just to go to work on a random Wednesday.

But this wasn't just ANY Wednesday, of course--it was Stent Removal Wednesday!

Having the stent removed and the feeling after was uncomfortable in the way that a pap smear is uncomfortable.  But it's nice to no longer have that stinging/irritated/UTI feeling that I had with the stent.

However, it wasn't the magic bullet because about an hour afterwards, I had a severe pain attack (on the side where the stent had been) that I had to take 2 painkillers to find bearable.

Robert called the doctor's office and they said that it can take 24-48 hours after the stent is removed for things to settle down.  The pain was very much like (though less intense than) I had after my surgery, which I think they said at the time was probably bladder spasms.  It makes sense that this was some kind of spasms--it had a similar feel to other kinds of spasms I've experienced.  They have prescribed another 15 painkillers, which Robert will pick up at the pharmacy this afternoon.

Doing a web search on "kidney stone stent removal" + "pain" or + "recovery" I found information suggesting that it's not uncommon to experience some pretty bad pain after having a stent removed.  Something like 33% to 50% do, based on different sources.  That's reassuring, I suppose.

Anyway, here's the bottom line:  It's good to have my stent gone.  I'm still having pain but I hope it goes away soon.  I'm still not sure whether I have passed all the stones or not yet, though!

While I was in the office, we scheduled a follow up at the end of September (3 months from now) for me to undergo more intensive imaging to figure out more about the "constriction"/"obstruction" and decide whether I need to have that fixed. 

Update:  Oh, I forgot to mention, they were able to determine during the surgery what kind of kidney stones I have.  (Tam, this is why they didn't ask me to strain my urine for them.)  It's what we figured: calcium oxalate.  Check out this depressingly long list of high-oxalate foods to avoid.  Just what I needed--another set of dietary limitations.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Surviving But Barely

"Titmouse Season"--Tuesday, 6/28/16

A peach/coral print top, a white blazer, and a polka dot skirt?  Don't mind if I do.  I don't even care if this inspiration photo dates to the summer of 2012!  I'm a pattern mixer for life.


It's a good opportunity to bring my titmouse blouse out to play again.  Well, if by "play," I mean: watch me go to work and analyze data/create reports/build dashboards and try to stay comfortable on my last day before going to the doctor for stent removal (knock wood)!

Peach titmouse blouse (Kohls), $4.00/wear
Grey polka dot skirt (Kohls), $2.80/wear
White knit blazer (Nordstrom), $4.43/wear
Light grey wedges by BCBGeneration, $6.36/wear
Grey planet necklace (Macy's), $5.00/wear

Outfit total: $22.59/wear

This is an unusual outfit in that it is comprised of zero thrifted pieces.  I'm getting my cost-per-wear down on these puppies birdies.

In other news...Speaking of birds, my manager told me today that a turkey vulture landed on the ledge outside an office he was in for a meeting yesterday and kept staring in at people and freaking them out.

I actually made it through a whole day of work today, but god, I am paying for it now.  I did well until about 4:00, at which point my pain ratcheted itself up several notches.

I learned of a data disaster today that is delaying my end of year analysis by about a month as some people have to go into the database and check/correct thousands of records one by one.  For some reason, the people who are the "functional owners" (a term that is always said with with verbal air quotes because although this is the official line, it is in no way true) of our database of record thought it was perfectly OK to instruct people at sites that they can enter/correct/update scores in a database that is NOT our database of record.  So people were entering/correcting data in two different systems according to their whim.  And for a dozen reasons I don't fully follow, it's not possible (or at least not easy) to update data from one place to the other.  It is not yet clear whether in the end, the data will be consistently entered in the correct places in the database of record to ensure that my dashboards are working correctly either.  Getting these people to get the data right has been one clusterfuck after another this year, with different, irritating problems emerging every quarter (variations on the theme of the data aren't entered/the data are wrong/the data are mostly fixed but a week late), but this one would make me want to Hulk Smash if I weren't in way too much agony to engage in any kind of physical activity.

Seriously, I'm functioning at one level below crying-with-pain right now.  Disapprove.

Monday, June 27, 2016


I spent the day in pajamas...and much of it in bed asleep after being up most of last night.  Oh god, first the coffin pose, now sleeping all day.  Are kidney stones turning me into a vampire?

I cannot wait for this stupid stent to be removed.  I am really, really going to try to go to work tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

And enjoy this weekend outfit post.

"Summer Flora and Fauna"--Sunday, 6/26/16

In a 2014 post about changing up basic work looks with accessories, Bridgette pairs a white top and black skirt with a bright pink cardigan and floral purse for a sweet, feminine look.  Perfect for summer, no?


And perfect for the weekend, too!  Made even perfect-er with the addition of a bird scarf.  And with the last minute substitution of my white Alice graphic T (sorry, not pictured here, but you'll be seeing it soon).

Black knit hiking skirt (Patagonia/REI), $4.00/wear
White Alice graphic T (Disney Alice/Kohls), $10.80/wear
Bright pink short-sleeved cardigan (JCP), $7.65/wear
Bright pink bird scarf (Nordstrom), $5.00/wear
Cream floral flats (Payless), $1.44/wear

Outfit total: $28.89/wear

But what is pictured?  A very surprising Cooper's hawk!  This is my last bird photo from our national wildlife refuge trip last month.  I am quite happy with how this photo turned out.  (I mean, I took about a dozen of them and kept the best of the bunch, but still, I didn't expect any of them to be good at all.)  He was a cooperative bird, and not too terribly far away, yet I still believe that my camera with its mega-zoom capability continues to prove its worth in situations like this one.  I like how he has a kind of looking-over-his-shoulder "Ye-es?" vibe going.

This hawk would totally speak with a British accent in the cartoon version.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Another Saturday

...another day of sitting around in pain watching TV.  This shit is getting old, people.  I watched a bunch of episodes of the new season of Orange is the New Black, and wore an outfit that accidentally matched the color scheme.

"Lions and Tigers, No Bears"--Saturday, 6/25/16

Kate shows off her $2 cardigan with a coral top.  For once, someone is wearing a cardigan that was cheaper than mine!


Mine was still a good deal ($11.04), though.  For the weekend, I decided to wear it with both my tiger graphic T and my lion charm necklace.  Kate will be disappointed that I didn't bring any bears (her favorite animal) into my outfit, but I don't own anything with bears on it.  I still think 2 of 3 ain't bad.

Coral tiger graphic T (Kohls), $3.44/wear
Black knit hiking skirt (Patagonia/REI), $4.29/wear
Black and grey striped cardigan (Kohls), $1.58/wear
Grey/rust/tan tribal flats (Payless), $2.00/wear
Lion charm necklace (thrifted), $1.25/wear

Outfit total: $12.56/wear

This skirt is my #1 Skirt MVP from the Work the Wardrobe Challenge with 10 wears.

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. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Is Authenticity Overrated? + Pain

"Pearls and Polka Dots"--Tuesday, 6/14/16

Anja's bird print skirt kills me every time.  She almost got rid of the skirt until she thought to pair it with her new apricot blouse.  I'm glad she held on to the skirt.  There can't be enough bird print items on the blogs I read!


Sadly I do not have a skirt like this, but I thought I could do a tamer version using a grey polka dot skirt and a coral top.  I also made my outfit a little more work-strict and a little less romantic by substituting a blazer for the cardigan.

Coral shell (Nordstrom), $7.80/wear
Grey polka dot skirt (Kohls), $3.20/wear
Dark grey blazer (JNY), $3.57/wear
Double strand pearls (Macy's), $4.60/wear
Grey ribbon flats by Louise et Cie, $3.85/wear

Outfit total: $23.02/wear

But I kept the pearl necklace of the original!

On our national wildlife refuge visit a few weeks ago, along one stretch of path I kept thinking I was seeing butterflies landing on the ground, but Robert didn't see them.  For a while, I thought I was losing my mind, but I finally caught sight of one with its wings open.  Here is the proof:  One delightful red admiral.

In other news...Much to think about in this article about NOT being your authentic self.  The idea of sincerity over authenticity was a particularly interesting one.  I have a lot of Candor leanings but am definitely opposed to the idea of sharing too much of one's often-fleeting feelings.  I'm easily irritated and often grumpy, and the world really doesn't need to hear all about it all the time.  I am unlikely to pretend to have beliefs and values that I do not have (though there are times it's prudent to not fully express the beliefs I do have) but am in favor of pretending to be nicer, more cheerful, etc., than I am actually feeling, particularly at work.  For example, going into work this morning in quite a bit of pain, I was greeted by a random colleague with a hearty Good morning!  I (more or less automatically) responded in my best cheerful voice Good morning!  I do not believe I was being inauthentic by doing so.  I was temporarily feeling really grumpy and at odds with the universe but it wasn't her fault--my better, more "sincere" self does hope that she has a good day, even if my momentary self-preoccupied self pretty much wants the world to fuck off, and I have worked to make being friendly, generous, and engaged (pushing the limits of my introversion) with people at work my dominant response.  Both my mom and a good friend at a previous job have made the case for "fake it until you make it" in various contexts, and it works surprisingly well (a personal observation that is backed by science).  I try to limit my full on Grumplestiltskin mode to interactions with my closest friends and family members.  This is still a work in progress.

Are you a high or low self-monitor?  On this test (developed by one of my grad school professors), I scored in the intermediate range--a 10. That seems right to me. 

Today was the roughest day pain-wise since I went to the emergency room.  Robert had to drive me to work this morning.  At the end of my lunch break, the pain got really, really bad--enough that I sort of scared my office mate.  I was feeling sweaty and light-headed from the pain and thought I was going to have to lie down on the floor.  Then I remembered that the painkiller dosage is 1-2 pills, so I took a second Percocet and about 30 minutes later, started to feel a little better.  Robert picked me up and took me to my primary care doctor for my pre-op this afternoon.  I am cleared for surgery and now have a bottle of 100 Percocet to keep me going until I can get into surgery.  My doctor was appalled that the urology department just suspended scheduling surgeries while their scheduler was out of the office.  Tomorrow she is supposed to be back, so I am going to call first thing and keep hassling them until they get it scheduled. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

A Popular Color Combo

"Magpie Barbie"--Monday, 6/13/16

I just can't do white pants or jeans.  I have tried on a few pairs, but each time, I'm utterly "meh" at best about how they look.  And it's that I think I'm too fat for them or anything because many non-skinny women rock the look.  I just don't care for wearing light colored pants, I think--I'm more a dark or bright pants gal.  But when I come across a promising white pants outfit, I'm happy to adapt it for a white skirt.

This "brightest of outfits" was a great one for me because I am always looking for new ways to wear my (pricey by my standards) blue/pink/white circle print top, and I have a new short-sleeved pink cardigan to wear, too.


I think my version comes very close in spirit to the original (and yay for utilizing some pieces with a high current cost-per-wear!).

Blue/pink/white circles shell (Nordstrom), $13.00/wear
*Bright pink short-sleeved cardigan (JCP), $15.29/wear
White pencil skirt (Walmart), $4.00/wear
Nude wedges by Cole Haan, $14.99/wear
Blue sparkly necklace (Kohls), $1.17/wear

Outfit total: $48.45/wear (whoa!)

And I love me some sparkly goodness.

So wouldn't it be great to accompany this outfit with a photo of an actual magpie?  Alas, it's not to be.  But I do have a jaunty white-breasted nuthatch for your viewing pleasure.  White + blue, it's what all the cool kids are wearing.

Oh wait, I do have a photo of a magpie...a magpie harlequin rabbit!

In other news...The scheduler for the urology department isn't back until Wednesday and no one is filling in for her in her absence.  I've been ranting about this situation all day and am tired of even thinking about it.  But it's hard not to think about it because the pain has been pretty damn bad since yesterday evening.  At this rate I'll have to get another bottle of pain killer before the week is out.

But in less grumpy news, I saw a bunny on my drive home!  That's always a treat.

I also enjoyed this article about 24 things that women over the age of 30 should wear.  There is a definite theme here.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Small School Segregation Rant

"Patriotic Fan"--Sunday, 6/12/16

Beth wore this snazzy outfit for last year's Fourth of July holiday / Friday dog walk.  I don't have any reason to wear red, white, and blue (denim) today other than the sheer awesomeness of the combination, but that's good enough for me.


I like the practice of using a denim shirt as a substitute lightweight denim jacket.  This slightly oversized denim shirt works well for this purpose (though I can't manage to make the tied-at-the-waist button up shirt thing work at all). 

As for sneaking in another little pop of color with this aqua and red fan necklace?  It's all good.

Red mixed-media short-sleeved blouse (Nordstrom), $5.36/wear
*Black and white geometric reeds skirt (JCP), $11.30/wear
Denim shirt (thrifted, Target), $1.00/wear
Black LifeStride flats, $1.23/wear
Aqua/red fan necklace (Target), $1.54/wear

Outfit total: $20.43/wear

These comfy black flats are a somewhat surprising #2 MVP in the shoes/boots category with 17 wears during the Work the Wardrobe Challenge.

In other news...Robert sent this Slate article on "majority minority"/segregated public schools. 

One of the things not discussed in the article, but that I have some recent experience with, is how different definitions of "segregated school" can give very different pictures of schools within a district.  One common definition identifies schools that are either 80%+ white or 80%+ students of color as "segregated."  When you have a district that is close to 80% students of color, it's very easy for your schools to appear segregated--the better your district does at having each school represent the demographics of the district, the more "segregated" schools you will have.  This definition also only looks at white vs. non-white, not the diversity within the non-white category.

Of course, there is no denying that the reason some districts (e.g., many urban districts) have such high proportions of students of color is that white families have fled to the suburbs.  But then you think of something like the McAllen, TX ISD, which is 92% Hispanic--surely all of their schools are "segregated."

There is to me a somewhat strange disconnect between the pressure on districts to have schools that are not segregated and the broader race-based residential patterns in the country.  I mean, I'm sure that most districts could do better than they are at integrating their schools (though the things required to make this happen are often some combination of unpalatable to white parents and logistically difficult/costly), but there is only so much a district can do, particularly when the student population is heavily skewed white or non-white.

There was an extremely annoying article in the local newspaper this year lauding suburban districts for improving the integration of their schools in the last couple decades--i.e., they had fewer schools that were 80%+ white.  The article also lambasted the urban districts for becoming more segregated--i.e., they had more schools that were 80%+ students of color. 

Um, hello, this shift in segregation happened with little to no effort on the parts of the districts--it was a natural consequence of the overall increase in the region in the relative numbers of students of color.  When a mostly white district experiences an increase in students of color, that makes it much easier for schools to be less than 80% white.  (I mean, sure, it's nice that these historically-white suburbs have not created special segregated schools for their incoming students of color, but the change is a natural consequence of the change in the racial makeup of their schools.)  When a mostly non-white district experiences an increase it students of color, that makes it much harder for schools to be less than 80% students of color.

I think that the discussion of racial segregation is an interesting, relevant one at the state or national level, but it's frustrating when districts are targeted and held accountable for the racial makeup of their schools without regard to the overall racial composition of the district itself.

Blah + TV

Yesterday was a tough day with yet another mega-headache.  I only managed to get to my computer long enough to post my FB rabbit.   Otherwise, it was a The Returned, New Girl, Game of Thrones marathon with an afternoon nap for variety.   

The Returned was a really good show--I'm disappointed that it was canceled after one season.  And it had that whole mysterious Twin Peaks/Lost type story in which an early cancellation means that the viewer never figures out what was going on.  But Robert told me that it was based on the French TV show Les Revenants, which is also available on Netflix streaming!  So maybe I'll find out what happened after all.

Last weekend, I watched both seasons of The Riches, which also was canceled, but in that case, I had enjoyed the show but was starting to get tired of it.  (How much of that was due to the material itself and how much was due to my having watched 2 seasons of the show consecutively, staying up all night with pain, is impossible to say.)

"Ditch the Salmon"--Saturday, 6/11/16

I'm always on the lookout for interesting color combinations, and this one really caught my eye.


I made this another fall-into-spring outfit with the autumnal browns.  When I tried my salmon colored top, I realized that the fit of it drives me crazy--it's got a drape neckline but the entire front of the shirt ends up folded up and bunched and annoying.  So I set that one aside and substituted this light pink shirt (that has a high cost per wear).  I really preferred the darker color of the other one, and the double-layer of fabric on the front of this one makes it more awkward to tuck in, but it is acceptable--and at least the outfit reads more "spring" this way.

Navy cardigan (Kohls), $4.11/wear
Salmon drapeneck top (Lands End)
Light pink eyelet top (Kohls), $6.66/wear
Brown pleated skirt (thrifted, Casual Corner), $3.00/wear
Navy owl scarf (Nordstrom), $2.86/wear
Brown pointy-toed flats by Frye, $7.40/wear

Outfit total: $24.03/wear

Anyway, if it were really autumn, I'd be wearing a brown corduroy skirt, leggings, and tall boots, okay?  But luckily owls are applicable to every season.