Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Extremely Popular

#NatureTwinning Part 14:

Purple Water Lilies in Linnean House Pool--Thursday, 11/16/17

Damn, I completely loved everything about this outfit.  How do you make a pink floral skirt fall/winter compatible?  Dark colors.  How do you make it awesome?  Moto jacket and kick-ass boots.  How do you make it not feel lonely in all its pink-ness?  Pink peacock pendant.  It's that simple.

*Pink/burgundy/green floral skirt (JCP), $13.99

OCPW: $24.72

More pink/green/flowery goodness from a botanical garden pool.  I see a lot of nice water lily covered pools, but the gardeners really outdid themselves here with the plants around the edges of the pool.  The lilies are still the centerpiece (you know, being literally in the center) but the overall picture is just wonderful with the variety of sizes, colors, and textures they added all around.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Sable Antelope at African Grasslands--Friday, 11/17/17

I managed not to photograph this outfit which very successfully combined black, brown, and denim.  Wearing cognac boots with black tights/skirt is not natural for me, but wearing a scarf with both shades in it helped a lot in giving it that "yes, I'm wearing brown and black together on purpose" look and not the "I only own brown boots" look.

--Black long-sleeved T, blue denim jacket, black and white polka dot skirt, brown leopard scarf, black leggings, tall cognac boots.

OCPW: $17.07

I'm going to have to ramp up my black-with-brown outfit numbers if I'm going to #naturetwin all the lovely zoo animals that wear these colors like a champ.  Or in the case of this sable antelope, like a chomp?  I know, I know, antelopes don't spend all their time eating grass.  Sometimes they lie in the grass like this, waiting to be photographed.

Henry Doorly Zoo

In other news...As a person with a first name that is both uncommon and yet extremely familiar, I was interested in this article in which a woman named Sarah considers the effects of growing up with an extremely popular name.  (She could always start going by Sally instead, you know.)  Does this ring true?

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


#NatureTwinning Part 13:

Hard to Photograph Hippos - Baby Fiona--Wednesday, 11/15/17

This is a pretty low-key outfit despite the striped top with + leopard/floral print scarf  combination (each side of the scarf has a single pattern and I tied it to show the leopard print).  It's instructive to see that when your boldly mixed prints are in very similar shades, the whole thing is toned down.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $21.55

One of the prizes of any zoo trip is, of course, zoo babies!  We got to see quite a few of them, including the amazing baby Fiona, swimming around with one of her parents in the photo below.  It was maddeningly difficult to get a photo of them, but trust, Fiona is a blast.

Cincinnati Zoo

This 2-minute news clip tells a bit of Fiona's backstory (she was born a premie on January 24 and is the smallest hippo known to survive) and shows her at a little over 2 months old, when she met her parents for the first time.  It also talks about the Fiona mania that took hold in the city of Cincinnati.  Excellent photos and videos can be found on Fiona's zoo page that continues to be updated daily, as mentioned in the newscast.

It was sad to learn that Fiona's dad Henry was euthanized on October 31 after failing from an infection for some time.  We were lucky to have visited the zoo during a period when Henry was ill but doing well enough that they could have all 3 hippos were together.  Henry was 36 years old, and the median life expectancy for a male Nile hippo is 35, so he was "already in his golden years," according to his caretaker.  Prior to coming to the Cincinnati Zoo in July 2016 when the Hippo Cove exhibit opened, Henry lived at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield for 34 years.  He had lived there alone for 20 years before moving to Cincinnati, where he was introduced to 18-year-old Bibi (from the St Louis Zoo) and quickly fathered Fiona.  The zoo's curator for mammals said, "The girls will be fine as a bloat of two, but they will notice that he's not around and may wonder why he isn't making his contact calls."

Monday, November 27, 2017

Nearby Farfetch'd

#NatureTwinning Part 12:

Cabbage Tree in the Climatron--Monday, 11/13/17

Wearing a sweater vest, skirt, tights, and Hush Puppies shoes makes me a feel like I'm channeling my inner Amy Farrah Fowler.

From bigbangtheory.wiki.com

But with my elegant bird blouse instead of a plaid shirt, I hope I'm nudged toward "Amy's slightly cooler cousin."

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $12.10

Today's green and burgundy twin is this spiffy foliage in the Missouri Botanical Gardens Climatron, which has an interesting history.  Built in 1960, it is the first geodesic dome to be used as a conservatory.  It's 70 feet high in the center, 175 feet in diameter at the base, and encloses about 24,000 square feet.  In 1976, it was named one of the 100 most significant architectural achievements in US history.  And it makes a kick-ass greenhouse.  (It's the building in the distance in the last photo on this post with the glass onion sculptures.)

Missouri Botanical Garden

Coral with Orange Fish--Tuesday, 11/14/17

Another day, another outfit with this black blouse.  I'm enjoying the last gasp of weather just warm enough that I can wear a top like this in my office without an another layer.

OCPW: $17.06

The swirling blue and lavender of that scarf put me in mind of this eerily-lit underwater scene, featuring a bold orange and black fish for that "pop of color."

Newport Aquarium

In other news...Did everyone have a good Thanksgiving weekend?  Mine was pretty good.  We had a full Thanksgiving dinner--cooked by the grocery store and heated up by Robert--for the first time in quite a few years.

I was sad to have a migraine Thursday afternoon/evening, but we played a lot of Pokemon Go on the other days and we were lucky that we didn't have cold weather.  Friday I was out in a lightweight cotton jacket, of all the crazy things.  The relatively warm weather will continue this coming week with highs in the 40s and 50s, which is welcome.  Today (Monday) it was almost 60!

Over the long weekend, they had the Global Catch Challenge in Pokemon Go, in which bonuses were unlocked as the total number of Pokemon caught during the challenge increased.  We reached the final goal of 3 billion Pokemon on Saturday evening, so they released the regional specialty Farfetch'd for a 48 hour period.  When Robert first saw one show up down the street from our apartment, we quickly put on shoes and jackets and got ourselves down the block.  I ran at just about my highest speed, which meant that Robert was able to easily keep up by speed-walking (sigh).  But we caught it!  And then ended up catching about a dozen more the next day.

Robert thinks Farfetch'd looks like a Groucho Marx duck, which he kind of does, you know?

A duck carrying a green onion seems like an odd thing even for Pokemon, but it makes a lot more sense when you understand the history.

Friday, November 24, 2017

The Tortoises and the Hares

#NatureTwinning Part 11:

Leopard Tortoise--Wednesday, 11/8/17

It'd been a while since I'd worn this skirt, so I decided to try it with my new blouse that I'm wearing with everything plus some kick-ass accents.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $13.48

I felt a bit like one of these bad boys--leopard printed, slow moving yeah, but utterly awesome.  This is a good one for clicking on the photo for the screen-sized view.  My pic doesn't really do them justice but these guys are amazing.  They are the fourth largest species of tortoise in the world with typical adults reaching 16" and weighing 29 lb.  And they pack a lot of attitude. 

Henry Doorly Zoo

One thing that really hit home with me on this zoo tour is that I love turtles.  I could not get enough of watching them.  Of course it's well established that I am a fan of Clyde from Elementary, for example, and always get a little bit of this "well now I want a pet turtle" feeling when I watch it.  But the turtle obsession has gone into overdrive after seeing all the cool ones at the zoos.

Desert Cottontail at Desert Dome--Friday, 11/10/17

I don't think I've tried my rabbit blouse with the cream colored vest, but it's a great combination you'll be seeing again.  I went low-key with dark brown leggings and tall boots and a denim skirt, so all the attention is on these lovely buns.

OCPW: $13.58

It is basically impossible to overstate how great the Desert Dome at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo is.  Some basic facts:  It is the world's largest indoor desert (84,000 square feet over two levels).  It is the world's largest glazed geodesic dome (137 ft above the main level and 230 feet in diameter with 1,760 acrylic windows).  Here's what it looks like on Google maps.

It features animals from 3 deserts: the Namib Desert of southern Africa, the Red Center of Australia, and the Sonoran Desert of the southwestern US, divided by a 55-foot tall mountain in the center.  At each transition from one zone to the next, we were sure we had reached the end and were quite happy and impressed with our experience...and then headed straight into more incredible stuff.

And the kicker?  The last animal in the exhibit is a desert cottontail rabbit.  I mean, come on!  Could this have been any more perfect?  Desert Dome, you rule the school.  And this bunny rules the Desert Dome.

I was lucky to get several good shots of him at his lunch before some kids rounded the corner loudly and he moved like a flash to a hidden area of his enclosure.

Henry Doorly Zoo

In other news...A while back Robert showed me this video of a real-life rabbit vs. tortoise race.  Does slow, steady, and chomping hay really win out over hoppy and furry?  The perennial question answered in 39 seconds.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Fox Rose

#NatureTwinning Part 10:

Arctic Fox--Monday, 11/6/17

I'm enjoying this blouse a lot--it's warm enough, fits nicely, and has sufficient subtle details (like the smocked cuffs) that it stands alone quite well.  I decided to stick with another neutral palette for its second outing, but added a rather dramatic scarf for a change.  Overall, I think I like the look of the blouse better with a long necklace because the scarf obscures the pleated neckline, but I was happy with how this outfit turned out.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $20.43

I will not be trying this blouse with fox fur collar or even a faux fox fur collar.  I prefer my white fox fur to look like this:

Cincinnati Zoo

Rose Close Up at Gladney Rose Garden--Tuesday, 11/7/17

OK, what can I say, I absolutely LOVED this outfit.  The light pink in the scarf and the salmon pink in the skirt totally didn't match and I DID NOT CARE.

I'm excited about these boring boyfriend/grandpa cardigans I bought at Loft.  Though they are very basic/classic on their own, they make a great foundation for a snazzy outfit.  I really do like living in a place that is a four-season weather town.  These sweaters are a nice middle weight that will work well from fall until spring (including winter with the right layers).

*Navy boyfriend cardigan (Loft), $29.70
*White long-sleeved seamed T (JCP), $9.10

OCPW: $60.40

Oh good, we're back to the realm of pink flowers!

Missouri Botanical Garden

In other news...I'm pretty excited that the new season of Longmire is out this week.  It makes it a bit easier to face the evening exercise bike session.  Now that it's dark by the time I get home from work, we're not playing Pokemon Go in the evenings so we've reverted to our prior exercise bike/treadmill habit.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Like a Boy in Short Pants

#NatureTwinning Part 9:

Giant Owl on My Leg--Thursday, 11/2/17

I really enjoyed this bold color combination, but it was the pants/socks/shoes that took it over the top to perfection.  The cool trouser socks I bought a few years ago from Sock Dreams are still going strong!  (They're a very good source for interesting socks.)  Ankle pants + fun socks for the win.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $5.88

This dramatically-lit Giant Owl butterfly landed on me at the state fair.

State Fair

Pair of Humboldt Penguins in the Wild--Friday, 11/3/17

I seem to be on a roll lately with this whole "It's Friday, time to wear this white moto jacket" thing.

OCPW: $14.12

It was surprising to see these penguins outside in the 80+ F heat...until I realized that the species is from the coast of South America.  Turns out they were happier with the temperature than I was!

St Louis Zoo

Afternoon View of Climatron Dome and Reflecting Pool--Saturday, 11/4/17

I first saw this blouse on a blog I read.  I bought the black one and liked it so much that I placed a second order for this teal floral one that's identical to the top in the blog post

*Teal and black floral blouse (JCP), $18.74

OCPW: $28.47

One of the disappointments of my zoo trip photo stash is that I didn't get nearly enough blue flower pictures.  But this photo offers blue and white and flowers and other cool things.  I had tried to get a decent long-view photo in the morning, but there were too many other visitors taking their own photos.  But when we came by right at closing time, there it was, just for me.  And now you.

Note the amazing Walla Walla Onion hand-blown glass sculptures floating on the water.  These are a few of the Dale Chihuly pieces that they purchased for their permanent collection about 10 years ago.

Missouri Botanical Gardens

In other news...It's getting too chilly in Coldville for ankle pants, so this article spoke to me.  “We are living in ignorance of the inevitable fact that at some point, for our own health and safety, our pants will have to touch our shoes.”

Friday, November 17, 2017

Impossible Stranger

#Nature Twinning Part 8:

Ruppell's Vulture--Monday, 10/30/17

This was the day I brought out my new purple coat for the first time.  I waited for a 50% off outerwear sale at Lands End and ordered a TON of coats.  Well, they may not have weighed literally a ton, but when we took the returns to Sears, they filled up 3 large boxes, and Robert had to go back to the car for the third box (because of the size, not the weight, though). 

This coat was on a special sale (50% off a discounted price), so it ended up costing about $90.  I have already received multiple compliments on it at work.

It was an accident that I was also wearing burgundy/maroon tights and ankle boots for the coat's debut, but it did make for an interesting tonal look.

The outfit underneath was a bit crazier with the whole bright green with maroon thing going, but I'm clearly not afraid to mix it up, color-wise.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW) $9.61 

For green, black, and a bit of maroon, here is a huge vulture hanging out on the grass.  Dead things, beware.  Or I guess if you're dead, you don't care that much.  Living things, beware--this could be your future.

A fun fact"As scavengers, Rüppell's griffon vultures have the added adaptation of being able to consume rotten meat, even if it contains anthrax, botulism and cholera. Bacteria are then destroyed in the vulture's stomach. A large meal can last at least four days for these vultures."

Cincinnati Zoo

Lorikeet Red--Tuesday, 10/31/17

I know, it was Halloween and I didn't wear any orange with my black.  Will red do?  I guess we could characterize my "costume" as bad-ass bird lover.

OCPW: $6.95

To accompany an outfit featuring a red-with-black bird shirt and an overall tough look, this parrot with the goth-esque dramatic eye liner fits the bill. 

Indianapolis Zoo

Grumpy Old Moray--Wednesday, 11/1/17

I was very pleased to wear my new grey shirt/cardigan duo, which you can expect to see paired again.  Even though the colors don't match, I like it--I'm partial to outfits with several (not 50) shades of grey.  This one was especially nice due to the shoe/sock combination.  Happy pattern-mixing feet.

*Grey long-sleeved seamed T (JCP), $9.10
*Dark grey boyfriend cardigan (Loft), $29.70

OCPW: $46.65

I have no objective reason to think that this eel is either mean-tempered or ancient, but doesn't he just look ready to yell at some kids to get off his grass water?

Newport Aquarium

In other news...This week I completely inhaled the book The Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak, which offered up a heaping serving of mid-80s young-teenager computer nerd nostalgia.  But...in many ways the book irritated me.  There's the fat-shaming, and the dude's asshole friends, and the really stupid thing the protagonist does to advance the plot (though I guess I'm mostly willing to accept that 99% of 14 year old boys are basically complete morons), and the twist that does more to confuse us about a character than it adds complexity to her.  So unfortunately, I can't fully recommend it, though I think those of us with a soft spot for the era will find things to enjoy about it.  But yeah, it's no Ready Player One.  (Of course nothing is another Ready Player One.  I will spend my life searching for one, though.)

However, I can recommend the web game based on the video game the characters invent in the book.  It's cute.  Check it out.

Speaking of 80s nerd nostalgia, have you been watching Stranger Things on Netflix streaming?  I avoided it the first season because I'd pegged it as a horror show.  But then when Netflix was advertising the second season just before it came out in October, I got curious about it again and decided to give it a try.  OMG.  So. Much. Fun.  The nights I wore the above outfits, I came home from work, had dinner, and spent the evening watching Stranger Things.  Yep, Halloween episode on Halloween, baby.  If you haven't yet watched it, I envy you the pleasure to be had ahead.

And for a little local tie-in, in an episode of season 2, one of the characters wears a hoodie that was sold in the 80s by the museum a few blocks down the road from our apartment.  The museum decided to re-release the hoodie and sold 16,000 of them in two weeks.  More funding for science education!  Mr. Clarke would approve.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Not Even Remotely

Nature Twinning Part 7:

Apartment Red Trees--Wednesday, 10/25/17

I was initially planning to wear this outfit with a black blazer but I wasn't feeling the structured look that gave.  I would have switched in a black cardigan, but surprisingly, I don't have a nice long-ish black cardigan for fall/winter at the moment.  So I tried this beige one and was pleasantly surprised by the result.  After a year or so of only wearing long cardigans with dresses and more recently skirts, my eye has finally adjusted to the look of a long cardigan with (relatively skinny) pants.  Now that I'm on board, watch that combination go out of style in a month.

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $9.00

If you're talking October and maroon, the fall color in Coldville is where it's at.

In my neighborhood (Oct 2016)

Crane at Simmons Aviary--Thursday, 10/26/17

Given how much I like the burgundy birds and cream/dark green rabbit utility blouses from Loft, it was a no-brainer that when I was looking to add a few new blouses to my fall wardrobe that I ordered several of the new utility blouses.  Well.  They have changed the cut of the blouse so it is now smaller in the bust and doesn't fit me right any more.  When I took them to a local store to return, the very thin and small-busted young clerk said that she too was disappointed by the new utility blouse style and hopes that they return to the classic cut soon.  If you're not fitting a bigger middle-aged woman like me or a thin young woman like her, I'm not sure who the new blouse is made for!

Luckily, I hit pay dirt with two other blouses, including this elegant dark green one.

*Dark green smocked cuff blouse (Loft), $26.70

OCPW: $29.53

You might expect black and green to be a common zoo color combination, but I found upon looking at my photos that it really wasn't.  But I like how this African crane brought in the gold of my tassel watch into the picture with a fringe of golden feathers on its head.  Nice touch, birdy.

Henry Doorly Zoo

Giraffe Eating From Ground--Friday, 10/27/17

This is my third new pair of jeans for fall, so I now have black, dark blue, and medium blue straight leg options for work, in addition to the dark blue skinny jeans that are still in reasonably good shape after 60 wears but that were not going to get me through to next summer's bare legs season on their own.

*Straight leg jeans (JCP), $17.50

OCPW: $31.69

The pattern of this reticulated giraffe must be what happens when my scarf and white jacket are blended together.

Indianapolis Zoo

In other news...OK, remote (or sometimes remote) developers, do you agree or disagree that physical proximity is important for your work? 

I've done a fair amount of collaboration on dashboard development, and it's felt like a huge boon to have my colleagues in the same office.  Well, really, that's been true of basically everything I've done at my current job from day one--it's been easier because everyone in my department is in one building.  I'm not kidding when I say I think I got up to speed on things about twice as fast because I share an office with another analyst who has a lot of organizational knowledge (she's been working there for 16 years) and domain knowledge.  I think it's too bad that colleagues in different but related departments are NOT in the same building...and not just because I hate driving across town for off-site meetings. 

Why does physical proximity feel important for my work?  Partly it's the convenience factor (because it's just easier to discuss things when people are looking at the same screen, and we don't have a great way to do that long-distance), but also something more fuzzy.  The people I see every day, I build stronger relationships with, so there is less of a psychological barrier to stopping by/calling/emailing/Skyping them about something that perhaps isn't critical but that would be helpful to get input on.  It also sometimes is necessary to keep an eye on my supervisor's office so that the moment he returns from a meeting, I can pop in and ask/remind him about something important.  The ability to hunt people down and get answers from them is a benefit not to be under-appreciated.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Nature Twinning Part 6:

DeHaan Tiergarten Formal Planting--Monday, 10/23/17

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $14.25

They call the outdoor gardens adjoining the Indianapolis Zoo a tiergarten (i.e., animal park), which is a kind of amusing play on words.  It has a lot of different parts, but these formal plantings were one of my favorites.

They played up the "animal" aspect here with the cute statues at the corners.  Of course, I could not resist the rabbit statue (as he relaxes with his carrot)...

And the turtle statue was especially adorable as well.

Female Redwinged BB--Tuesday, 10/24/17

It's hard to tell from the photo, but this blouse has a lace-up section at the top that is interesting-enough looking for me that I did that thing I almost never do--skipped the necklace/scarf in this outfit.

*Black lace-up blouse (JCP), $18.74

OCPW: $26.82

Rock the vertical stripes, girls!  This blackbird is the last of my current wild bird photographs to share (from last May).  Yet another reason to look forward to our southern California birding trip in December...moar bird photos!

MWood Nature Preserve

In other news...My mom sent this post about a horrible piece in a parenthood column in Esquire called "I Don’t Care What My Son Becomes… As Long As He Isn’t Overweight."  What the actual fuck?  His over-the-top bigotry is bad enough--I mean, at one point he literally advocates killing all fat people and rendering them down for candles--but he's directing it at his four year old son.  It defies my comprehension that...
1) A person can really be as horribly bigoted as this,
2) Admit it in public,
3) In a magazine with a national audience,
4) About his own child,
5) Who one day will be able to read this horror for himself,
6) And probably not even be surprised because this asshole is his father who has been treating him like crap about weight/body size his whole life,
7) Unless the asshole's wife gets sick of this whole fucking thing and divorces his ass,
8) Apologizing in her mind profusely to both children that she stayed with the jerk this long,
9) And if she doesn't, she's pretty much signing on to his child abuse.

I think it's kind of creepy when people make a living off their children in any way--columnists, bloggers, whatever.  Commercializing your kids doesn't seem that great to me.  But this is taking the thing to a whole new level.  I'm actually surprised a mainstream magazine published it, rather than it appearing on somebody's AssholeDad blog.  So surprised that even though I trust the blogger who wrote about it, I googled the title to confirm that it did actually appear in the magazine as described...and it did, so I officially do not understand the world.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Nature Twinning Part 5:

The second half of October + bare legs = Yes, it was a stupidly long summer.

Red and Black Butterfly on Orange Flower--Monday, 10/16/17

Outfit cost per wear (OCPW): $6.29

Red, black, orange, green, and white can make for a kind of chaotic color scheme, but I like how it was implemented here.  (I tried a lot of times to get a picture of this type of butterfly, and this was the only one that wasn't mostly a blur.)

St Louis Zoo

Torch Ginger in Climatron--Tuesday, 10/17/17

OCPW: $9.91

This hot house flower is definitely of the "go big or go home" variety.

Missouri Botanical Gardens

A Sandy River Ray--Wednesday, 10/18/17

OCPW: $22.04

Fish tend to be quite mobile, which make them difficult to photograph.  But I caught this ray (which is a cartilaginous fish) as he was coming up from the surface, rippling the front of his body in that cool ray manner.

Eclipsed Eclipse Black Duck and Possibly a Female Pintail--Friday, 10/20/17

*Purple heathered knit skirt (JCP), $17.99

OCPW: $25.52

This photo name confused me (why did I duplicate the word "eclipse"?) for a moment until I saw it larger on the screen--the black duck is both in eclipse plumage AND is being eclipsed in the photo by the other duck.  Visual pun for the win.

State Fair

In other news....Time for another check-in with women in technology, and I somehow have a backlog of articles from last May that I never shared.  So here are a couple articles on historic rejection letters to women engineers and the recruitment/retention dilemma.