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June 22, 2006

I had occasion to attempt clothes shopping yesterday. It's always been a daunting task for me, now more so since Caitlyn thinks that department stores are for running in. She knows she can get around (under) the clothes faster than I, and it amuses her no end to have me chasing after her.

I've never really gotten into shopping for shopping's sake, although I certainly tried when I was a teenager. The chief problem is that I'm tall and narrow, and while the models and fashion industry say this is what women should look like, it's still impossible to find clothes that fit right. Or, maybe not impossible, exactly. I would just have to take two whole days, try on everything in sight, and be ok with dropping $150 on a pair of jeans.

My fashion sense has evolved into something pragmatic. Basic. Classic. Hemlines go up and down, skirts go full and straight. I wear the same things day after day.

So, here's what I want: a section in at least one department store (or a specialty store) where regardless of season or fashion, there are the basics. Jeans that sit at my waist and go to my ankles. Solid cotton skirts of middling fullness and length. Shirts I can tuck in. Long sleeves that go to my wrists. All in basic mix-n-match colors: black, white, cream, blues, burgundy, green.

Give me comfortable, affordable basics that I can wear around the house or around town, reading on the couch or chasing my kid. If I could get that without hassle, I might be willing to indulge in something "fashionable", like the over-embellished shirt (printed! painted! glittered!) that no one would be caught dead in at the end of the season.

June 21, 2006

The conversation vered toward local traffic over the weekend, with an out-of-town guest surprised at the number of cars on the highway - at mid-day on a weekday, no less. I was rather inarticulate in saying that yes, there are lots of cars on the road and that's ok since we need people to get fed up with driving so we get some comprehensive public transit in place. D. thought that there'd be fewer people on the road if property and houses weren't so expensive closer to the city. If people didn't have to go so far just to find a house they could afford, traffic would be better. A. pointed out that she's paying $70 per week on gas (nearly $300 per month) and then you add wear and tear on your car, you're not saving anything by driving so much. She thought that if the businesses and therefore the jobs weren't all concentrated in one area, then there'd be fewer cars on the highway since they wouldn't all be trying to go to the same place at the same time.

Which got me thinking about expectations. How many people expect that they should have a large house on a large plot of land? It's an expectation we get from our national history, when filling the vast empty spaces of the country with farmers and taxpayers was an imperative. Is it still a widely held expectation? In today's culture, is this still something people think they want regardless of how little they are actually going to do with the land? With all the time spent at work and commuting, how many people raise produce or animals on their property?

Certainly, some people do. But I wonder about the people with the large house and the large plot of unused acreage. Sometimes, of course, that acreage is simply green space, a necessary and welcome thing. But often, it seems, it's all more of a status thing, a declaration of "I can afford this". And I find I miss the (romantic) sensible-ness of pockets of density surrounded by farms and green space. Nature, neighbors, and nutrition all conveniently located. No need to spend an hour or more on the road, alone in the car, surrounded by lots of other cars, all going the same way.

June 09, 2006

The other day, I noticed a billboard advertising Nestle's new CoffeeMate, now not just non-dairy but soy. The ad was making a connection between the curved shape of the CoffeeMate bottle and the curved shape of a toned female waist. One more product pushing the miracle of the soybean... lose weight, stay in shape, be hot and sexy all by adding Soy CoffeeMate to your coffee.

I thought it was all a bit ridiculous really. Nothing against the soybean, but it's hardly a miracle food that can cure everything. Still, I wasn't expecting to be validated quite so soon: The Seattle Times recently ran an article summing up some recent studies which indicate that while soy is certainly good for you and a near complete protien, it doesn't cure cancer, reverse heart disease or relieve hot flashes. They didn't say it, but I think it's safe to assume that soy products alone will not make you lose weight or give you a nice trim figure without all that pesky exercising.

Sorry, CoffeeMate. I'll go have myself a latte, with whole milk, and sugar, and hazelnut syrup... because when I drink coffee I'm having a moment to enjoy myself, not obsess about how this might be the gram of fat that does me in.