Saturday, October 30, 2010

Keeping up with The Joan

Ah, muse.

Nobody else dressed in costume at the office yesterday, but oh well.  Maybe they didn't think I meant it when I said I would.  Maybe nobody was really in to it.

No matter.  It must be this 1950s house I'm living in.  Or maybe it's not having bought new clothes for 10 months now & suddenly having the chance to dress up & play someone else.

Guess I did the Time Warp yesterday.  Twice.

It was really fun at first!  Getting ready certainly took awhile though.  Not really sure how those ladies in the 60s handled the false eyelashes.  They kept getting stuck to my eyebrows as I was applying them.

Folks kinda gave me weird looks at the office, too.  Maybe because it was only kind of a costume.  Even Maria, the sweet cleaning lady who helps me practice Spanish, saw me and exclaimed, "Oooh, que guapa!!!" It's a costume, I explained, not my real look.  

By 6pm I was exhausted--my eyelids were actually tired from blinking with those fuzzy caterpillars glued to them all day, and I longed to walk free of pencil skirt constriction and high heels.

Luckily Nichole and Clay were willing to take a quick photo of the costume when I showed up at their ever-welcoming house for pumpkin carving.  It was time to move on to the jeans and sweatshirt; in this photo I was ready to leave Joan for the much easier persona of Shannon:

I peeled off my terribly-applied eyelashes, washed off the eyeliner, stored the pen-on-a-chain, then relaxed with good friends, wine, fondue, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

It seemed the most appropriate movie to watch while carving pumpkins and drinking wine.  The husbands and I had never seen it (though I've recently seen Glee pay tribute, and having any contact with the drama kids in high school means I've watched the Time Warp, oh, about 1,000 times.)

And after lounging on the floor in jeans and sweats and digging around inside a slimy pumpkin, I think I'm okay with putting the Joan costume away for awhile.  It was fun to channel her for a few hours, but I prefer the time warp that involves humorous friends and a silly dance.  And no false eyelashes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Settling In

I'm mad at my clothes.

They are the last thing I have left to unpack.  They taunt me.

It's getting pretty ridiculous now as I look for things to wear to work.  Yesterday a very summery sweater ended up accompanying me to the office, along with a very wet head of hair for having spent so much potential styling time rummaging around for some freaking underwear.  I still consider myself new at my place of employment and frown upon showing up disheveled and...pale yellow. In October.

But there are no drawers yet to put these clothes, and at some point Brendon's pants and my sweaters took a page out of Genesis and got really really fruitful and well...multiplied.  And now I have box upon box of clothes, 3 closets, and a handful of hangers.  The Container Store taunts me with its Elfa solutions, but I just can't go to that point yet.  I still daydream of antique dressers and old chests of drawers with class and character for storing our clothes.

I also daydream of chucking them all.  Perhaps it's the house and all it has to offer, but I'm just not that excited about wardrobe right now.  All I can think about is organizing things and how to redo the yard landscape and repainting that awful maroon wall.

I'm consumed with everything but clothes.  What does that mean for this blog? Dunno, but for the moment it means you'll be subjected to my household puttering.

Saturday.  I spent the day lining the kitchen shelves--hugely satisfying to an organization junkie!  What a difference.

You may notice something there on the top shelf.  Yes, it's a pipe. Thank you, previous occupant, for giving us a glimpse into your life by leaving both that and a baby toy in the kitchen cabinets.

I actually agonized forever at the Container Store over the proper shelf lining.  That store just has too many options.  It's really overwhelming.  How many brooms must one choose from?  Why can't life be simpler than 25 different shelf lining options?  How did we get to this point?

More existential questions were cast aside for the day, and foamy taupe liner was purchased for kitchen and canvas liner for the bathroom.  No trumpets sounded upon making that decision, but the checkout lady approved of my choice.  I'll take that.

Not bad, eh?

On to the bathroom!

Before loading the shelves with our fluffy Anthro toallas, I hauled all the towels down to the little laundromat and had a little cup of tea across the street at Thunderbird Coffee while I waited.  There the owner and several locals gathered for their Sunday morning Review of What Happened Last Night, which they included me in on (though I did not share that I had my own private Glee marathon). 

They were super nice and welcoming, and I felt like a happy new kid at school getting picked for a team or something.  Who knew you could still get that feeling at 27?

Again, the organizing need in me rejoices at the sight of folded, stacked towels.

Of course, then I got a little busy.  Tired of having nowhere to put the keys when I walked in the front door, sick of having nowhere to set my coffee cup, and nonplussed with the old, tired rugs we still have from Ikea, I have scoured Craigslist for some help.

And found it.  And managed to load it all in the Yaris.  Well done, little car!

So the little space by the window, before:

And then after.  With the addition of silly little antique table, complete with funky little feeties at the pedestal base:

And the living area, post-rug purchase:

And the funky little guy I brought home to hold the purse and keys by the front door:

Finally, news about the neighbors.  My first night in the house I got a knock at the front door.  Someone had left me candy on the stoop, along with a sign that said, You Got Booed! and instructions to put the sign in my window, then leave candy for 2 more neighbors, and then they would do the same.

Of course I'm going to participate--I must show that I am a fun neighbor!  Except I didn't want to knock and run; this might seem creepy to folks, my being new and all.  So I put some treats together and walked to each neighbor's house to say hi.

Yes, it takes wine and olives to make Boo packages.  For the craftswoman, not the packages themselves.

And the neighbors are awesome.  I explained about Brendon being gone 2 weeks at a time offshore, and each set of neighbors said they like to sit outside in the evening and cook/drink beer/wine.  And they said they'd invite us over!

Again, feels like being picked for the team in school.  Awesome.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I used to kind of scoff at that cheesy line in movies.  You know, when the sobbing actress claims she's crying tears of joy.  

Who cries when they're happy?

Well I'll tell you.  

I do.

Never before last night.  But last night was a little different.  I left work and did not go to the Comfort Suites. Instead I cruised down the freeway into Austin.  I exited and drove through a funky little area of cool businesses (I still maintain that I want to buy something at Smith & Robot.  No idea what they do, but they must be awesome).

Turned into a little neighborhood with small houses and happy, dog-walking folks out enjoying the cooler dusk air.  Pulled in front of the little casita at 1717 and ripped the "For Sale" sign down, opened the door, and was promptly picked up and carried inside.

Brendon and I are home! 

Home, not residing at or staying over or camping out.  Our silly couch is in this living room, our "beds" (mattresses stacked on box springs = bed, right? ha ha) are in each of the bedrooms.  One of the towels we could find among the boxes hangs in the bathroom.

If I could find my camera and usb cord, I swear you'd have photos of all this.

I was overwhelmed. And I cried. I had been nervous all day about coming home to the house, about how it would feel after all this pushing to get in.  But Brendon moved in all the boxes and few items of furniture while I was at work, signed the closing papers, and had things ready when I got home.  

And it felt just so good to be here.  It felt right and comfortable and really really good.

I can't tell if it's because we've been in limbo for so many weeks, or if it's because this is the culmination of a lot of changes at once, or if it's because it's just ours.  But I don't think I've ever been so happy to be anywhere before.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Job, Wedding, House...Done, Done, and (almost) Done!

Hm, what does this post have to do with clothes?

I'll tie it in: I wore the Anthro dress for the reception, and thankfully it fit.  I even think it looked nice!

And then...still experimenting with the dress code at work.

And finally...buying a house.  It's not clothes-related, but definitely purchase-pertinent.  Still can't believe we're doing it!

But let's start at the beginning.

They're still asking me back to work.

Three weeks now and no one's asked me to leave.  In fact, they're given me a badge and a computer, both very positive signs that I'll interpret as "please continue to come in."

There is a lot of technical jargon flying around in that office, most of which is very far above my head.  But I shall persevere by using my social skills to just figure out who the folks are who know the technical stuff.

Like...yesterday: I stood on my chair and called across the cubes for some information, and I actually ended up with a very good answer for my acrobatic trouble.

In the absence of technical knowledge I find that it is simply helpful to maintain a good attitude.  I am grateful every time I walk in the building, so I just let it show.  Now there is a regular stream of people coming by our cubes (I work with 2 other ladies on a floor of 95% dudes), and I've made it my business to say hi to everyone, and by name.

Of course, we're situated right by the bathrooms, which could explain the foot traffic.  But still.  Maybe I'm having a little positive influence.

As far as dress code goes, I'm still erring on the side of dressier.  Like I mentioned before, there are jean shorts are flip-flops going on in there.  But since I've been dressing each week out of a suitcase, my outfits are a little more calculated.  Plus my job involves a big ol' screen on which the CEO could appear at any moment, so I try to stay slightly put together.  I've ever enjoyed wearing heels on several occasions!

I must say that even though we're living out of suitcases, the Comfort Suites of north Austin have been very good to us.  There is cable tv, a free breakfast, and a very relaxing bed with clean sheets every day!

And this week has been particularly relaxing, because Brendon and I successfully celebrated our wedding last weekend with a lovely reception...which means we are no longer planning a reception and can now simply bask in the glorious memories!

We held this pose for a really, really long time.  But I'm glad Jess told us to!

Everyone had really sweet things to say in the toasts.

Emma really stole the show with her superb dancing skills...I was glad to join her!

The lights really made everything look so awesome.  Dad and Blinda just did a bang-up job of setting everything up and making things totally beautiful!

And now all the family is back in their respective cities, no one is asking where to put a particular table or how many tables we want to allocated to which thingy or which song we want to play when...ahhh, sweet relaxation!  

And we're back in Spring to pack things up and move into our little Austin abode!  

Well, okay, now I'm being overly positive.  They have us set to close on our casa this Thursday.  But this is the day Brendon must drive back to the platform, so we've been pushing to close sooner.  I mean come on, I can't pick up a whole sofa on my own!

Also we just want to move into the house.  Thank you, Comfort Suites, but we are ready for our own place.  So we're packing up our stuff here in Spring anyway and driving it to Austin.  I want to park the moving truck outside the mortgage company's office, just so they know we mean business.  Brendon is a little kinder and says this is unnecessary.

But we're really anxious to get in there.  Look how sweet this silly old house's ready for us now!

Seriously, that funky bathroom tile is just screaming for us to be there!

So hopefully we'll be in which point I will be able to turn my still strong desires to shop my heart out at Anthro and Banana Republic into some housey stuff, like where to hang pictures and are we really going to keep using that silly Ikea sofa...stay tuned!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mr. Swan, Pumas, and "Fitting In"

Thank you, Mr. Swan.

Yet again you have transformed a formerly kinda cool jacket into something I seriously adore.  And thank you, Brendon, for helping me find the fabric at High Fashion Fabrics in Midtown.  I admit I am unfamiliar with many of the cooler aspects of Houston, something I may not get to remedy any time soon.

And thank you, pencil, for helping me repair my Pumas.

I bought them for that silly jaunt I took to Costa Rica last summer. I bought some lightweight, easily-packable shoes that were dark enough to not label me as an American (yeah, a redhead with makeup on doesn't look like an American. ha.) but promptly wore out a little at the toe tip on one.  The rubber came apart.  Shoe repair stores tried to glue it back together.  I tried to glue it back together.

And then finally I decided to stitch it back together myself with the tiny needle and brown thread I had on hand.  I couldn't get my admittedly small hands down in the toe of the shoes, but I could get a pencil   in there, and that needle sure did sit just fine on that eraser and then again in the wood of the pencil to thread back in the other way.  First feminine household thing I think I've ever done, other than scrubbing grout and making cookies.  Well done, Mrs. Clark!

And Mrs. Clark I am, though not according to the Social Security Administration, our mortgage, or my new job...that's going to be done later when I have time to breathe.  In the meantime, I'm putting together outfits for work and thoroughly loving it.  I actually saw a pair of jean shorts in the office yesterday, signaling to me that anything goes and I may enjoy putting together whatever outfits I see,, to...well, fit in!

Starting with the super fab Coach shoes.  What a joy they have been!  When I'm inundated with uber technical terms at the office and feel like I'm drowning in a sea of routers and multi point switches, I glance down at their shiny shininess and smile a little.

Yeah, I admit it's straight up vanity.  I am not ashamed.

I'd like to think it's just a little reminder of something familiar, a quick little pop up to the surface for some fresh air: Breathe, Shannon, you can do this.  People just want you to be confident, and you can definitely do that.  Even if you have no idea what folks are talking about.

It must be working, because they keep asking me to come back.  I've made it 5 days, here's hoping there will be another 5!