I'm Ok

So I was rear-ended. It sucks, but gratefully it appears that the greatest tragedy, at least 5 hours post, is the inconvenience. I am fine. The other two drivers forming the chain of SUVs ramming into Claire (who was stopped waiting for the vehicle two cars ahead to make a left turn) are ok too.

A coworker who lives in the city was able to stop by and wait for me to finish with the cops and then drive me home. (My boss, actually, so I guess I should think of him big-time next Boss' Day. One World's Best Boss Mug, on order!) The adjuster should call me tomorrow and we'll know the damage. Poor car, seven years old and not even 70,000 miles yet. Tonight we are also grateful for the multitude of public transportation options: bus, el, train, and generous friends with cars, which may allow us to go without even a rental for a week or so. But we are also happy to hear our car insurance has a pretty darn reasonable rental coverage.
Most of all, I am grateful to be ok.

Pet Peeves:Figurative Jewelry

The irk of the seasonal jewelry commercials, and their contrived saccharine scenarios, has a deeper level for me.

One of my pet peeves: figurative jewelry. Jewelry is pretty by itself, it doesn't need a story and an explanation to go with it, like Jane Seymour's "Open Hearts" Necklace.She uses numerous 30-second spots on television to explain to us what this piece of jewelry means. Good jewelry speaks for itself.

I can say this with impunity since most of our family is not exchanging gifts, and Jason has been briefed on my thinking on this topic. To his credit, all I had to say was "figurative jewelry" and he knew what I was talking about.


We'll soon be off for a cruise to the Western Caribbean. It puts me in the curious position of wanting to see more cold and snow here so that the sun of the tropics will be more welcome and refreshing. But I'm sure it'll be nice either way.

Remembering that we'll only be away for a week, there's not too much point in stocking up on a new wardrobe of cruise wear. But it doesn't stop me from window shopping for cruise "essentials."
Floppy sun hatGreat big fashion sunglassesNautical attireWide-leg white pants for swishing about the deck Embellished Sandal
And can't forget my swimming cap for the ship's lido deck!

Bundle Up!

The days are turning grey and colder, it's time to bundle up. I have a basket full of scarves, mittens and hats at the end of our hallway, but it doesn't stop my window shopping.

Knitted Cowl (I'm working on knitting my own, and although it had an auspicious start while I was visiting Philadelphia, I think my gauge was off so I may be pulling it out.)

Brimmed Hat

"Furry Paws" I was standing in line at the shoe store and overheard a girl and her hipster boyfriend looking at gloves like this, "They're called smoker's gloves," he explained. And I thought to myself, "No, they're Blackberry gloves" which may sum up our age/place-in-life divide.

Coffee Cup Cozy, which is not a bad stocking stuffer.

Don't forget to bundle up your apples, too.

Still Coughing

In case you were wondering, it's not a good idea to watch House when you're sick. The other night I was admittedly probably a little delusional from chills and coughing that I began imagining myself the victim of something more serious than the seasonal flu.

Or maybe is it the fabled H1N1? I did get my regular seasonal flu shot earlier, so by process of elimination, what other type of flu could it be? I haven't had it tested, since the CDC's advice is that if you think you have the swine flu, you should really just stay home. Makes sense, why drag yourself and all your germs to the hospital (full of already sicker and more vulnerable people than you) just to be sent home with directions for rest and fluids?
If so, I'm happy to learn that you can't get H1N1 twice, so at least this is maybe an inoculation, the long, painful way.

I'm finding the Yogi Throat Comfort tea very soothing. My college voice major roommate first told me of the value of slippery elm for a bad throat, and it is a lovely thing. If only I could hook up an IV direct to my throat as I sleep. The tea bags also each come with a small piece of philosophic insight. But no suggestion of the cure for the flu.

Cough, Cough

After Jason was feeling sick earlier this week, it was probably only an inevitability that I'd be coughing soon too.

I'm regretting not making it over to the Philadelphia City Health Clinic when I was visiting Juliet & Hugh, since apparently there's lots of H1N1 vaccine to be had there.
Which is not to leap to diagnose myself with this year's hottest virus. This could just be a cold, or the regular flu. But I did get my shot against the traditional flu.

I don't want to feel like a pariah. Recipient of the same angry glares that I gave the guy in the airport gate who let out a huge AAACCCHOOO! sneeze without covering his mouth, or the guy at the supermarket who coughed directly into the freezer!! He was on his cell and his other hand was opening the freezer case door, so I guess he didn't feel like he could cover his mouth? It perturbs me how ignorant people have been in their daily habits when there's the swine flu about. And now I may be their victim.

You'll find me on the couch today, with tea and water. Right now, I'm feeling just mildy bad and hoping I can nip this with early rest.

Baby Love

I was delighted to meet my new little niece this weekend!
She is adorable and snuggly.
She has cute little fuzzy sleepers with polka dots and polar bear feet.
She moves her arms about in funny little haphazard ways.
She has an aunt who was perplexed by the many diaper choices at the supermarket and came home with the wrong size. (She'll grow into them!)
She has two doting wonderful parents who are doing an impressively good job already with things like "tummy time" and interpreting baby noises.
She's the best!

(Photo credit: Hugh!)


Just after I declare my love and affection for my new bamboo tights, the Wall Street Journal arrives on my morning doorstep* with the headline article of the Life & Style section reading, "Picking Apart Bamboo Couture." Not that I consider my grey and black tights couture, and although it's perhaps non-PC to admit it, I didn't buy them for the "eco" label. I just wanted tights.

Good thing, because that's apparently the sham that was revealed in an FTC report, "Have You Been Bamboozled by Bamboo Fabrics?" Apparently, bamboo is essentially really just rayon, and furthermore:

"The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know that the soft “bamboo” fabrics on the market today are rayon. They are made using toxic chemicals in a process that releases pollutants into the air...Even when bamboo is the “plant source” used to create rayon, no traits of the original plant are left in the finished product."

Huh. Maybe that's why my tights had been sold off to DSW. The label can't say "eco" enough times! That's apparently now very frowned upon, to the point that companies have been sued for these claims. Did I purchase material evidence?*Please note that the WSJ subscription is a freebie from frequent flier miles. While it is handy to have some business talk in my back pocket at work, to nod knowingly when someone mentions an article, there are times when it feels out-of-character. Gloria Steinem said, "A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual."...which might also feel like an Oberlin grad reading the Wall Street Journal?

New Love

I have found something wonderful that I think will carry me very well over the coming winter: bamboo tights!They are soft, comfortable, and warm. A direct opposite of everything I remember from tights when I was a little girl: hot, uncomfortable and itchy.

The impulse purchase in line at DSW was a good choice.

Why Claire is Not an Early Adopter

This Sunday I picked up the new Droid phone. Jason was very happy. I am still deciding.

It's the phone that Verizon offers because it doesn't have the iPhone. It's brand new, just launched this weekend.

I figured I'd like it because it has both a touch-screen keyboard and the little real keyboard that slides out. After trying to text on Jason's iPhone, I'd learned that those iPhone keyboards are tricky. It also has turn-by-turn navigation, that talks to you to say turn left, or that's it's recalculating since you missed that left turn. It has a weather widget, so I don't have to ask Jason every night as I'm deciding what to wear to work the next day, and hear his reply, "45 degrees and cloudy... and you should get an iPhone."

I'd read the reviews, which after Day 1 of Droid I am reflecting were probably mostly written by geeks that would be super-excited about a new gadget, regardless.

Regardless of the fact that on the morning of Day 1, I got an error message in the midst of my alarm going off. Being really drowsy, and reminded of how annoying all the Droid alarm sounds are (lots of WYAAH WYAAH WYAAH obnoxious jarring tones), all I could think was, "I should just get an alarm clock." Because paying so much for a phone wasn't enough.

Regardless of the fact that it took 45 minutes for the Best Buy salesgirl to finally conclude she wasn't able to get the contacts to transfer from my old phone to the new one. 15 of those minutes she had spent wandering away under the "I'll be right back" promise to help someone else instead, while I sat. When the "Inventory Control Specialist" stopped us at the door to check our receipts I grumbled that if I could have stolen something from Best Buy at that point, I would have readily, since I'd lost all patience. I'd gone there for the instant rebate, which I felt like I'd earned every penny of -- plus, after the interminable process of buying the phone there. (The 45 minutes had been preceded by about a half hour of the salesgirl trying to figure out the computer prompts to set up the phone and my account.) Reminder: Go to Verizon instead next time. Mailing in the rebate would have been sooo much faster, even including time to find the stamp.

So, I'm not a tech geek. I don't get excited by blogs posting photos of the "unboxing" of a new phone. (Seriously.)

I just want to figure out how to get a better alarm tone. And that's really not very obvious. Ironically, the droid website is all marketing pizazz and little helpful content. My own Marketing brothers and sisters leave me stranded! *Shaking fist!*

Either I've been outsmarted by my smart phone, or I really should only get phones that Jason already owns so that I have an in-house phone mentor.

And it's not like I pull out the phone and get sideways glances full of envy like the launch of the iPhone. The phone kind of looks just like any other Verizon smart phone.

I'm hoping Droid proves its mettle soon, since this is not what all those tech writers promised, at least not yet. And I have to figure out how to wake myself up tomorrow morning.

Grass is Greener

A small home project that was timely with the coming of the colder temperatures is the apothecary jar terrarium.

I had this glass jar sitting on a shelf, inching towards the box for Salvation Army.

I was also wondering if there was a way to grow our cat's favorite grass, indoors. (Since this is their castle and we are their servants, and the deck has been packed up for the winter.) It took a little while for the grass seedlings to take. I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be a post about failed home projects. But as you can see, it soon took off. And it was enjoyed.

Shaping Up

Look what's starting to take shape! It's my summer scarf,...just in time for winter.
Just in time to start my winter neckwarmer.

Unfortunately my primary knitting advisor, Abby, has her hands suddenly full with a newborn daughter, but maybe she can take a look at these photos to see if I'm doing this blocking thing right? I love the colors, and the lacy look was so simple to achieve with my basic knitting skills.

Series Tied at 1-1

Whatever the result of the World Series may be (Go Phillies!) I am happy that there's another Philly vs New York Yankee series, which has tied at 1-1.
Congrats to new moms: Juliet with a little Philly Phanatic, and Abby with a new little Yankee fan -- who already has her own home and away onesies. Which are darn cute, I have to say. But maybe not more than a Philly Phanatic onesie!

Gifts for the Goo-Goo Ga-Ga Set

Besides the burp clothes that I've begun producing on a manufacturing level lately, there are other favorite baby gifts I keep in mind for giving. Rules I try to follow: unique and unbranded by trademarked characters. Of course: cute too. But it's pretty impossible to find a baby gift that's not characterized by its adorable impish smile or soft fuzziness.

Here are few of my favorites:Lucky Wang baby kimonos Or snuggle sacks for winter babies.Handmade animal mobile from etsy. I picked this one for Juliet & Hugh, but it was a hard decision! The Counting Sheep were so cute.Piggy banks, for early college fund savings (either the traditional piggy type or this owl.)Floppy stuffed cats from Jellycat , which were a gift for little neighbors who were fascinated by our cats. I wrapped them with the long tails hanging out of the wrapping paper, a hint to what was inside.

Perfect Day for a Football Game

Growing up watching football games (if ever) on tv more often than live, I never really thought much of the characterization of a perfect, crisp fall day as idyllic for football. Pumpkin carving, yes. Cider, yes. Kicking fall leaves on the sidewalks, perfect!But it was as I was kicking those fall leaves on the sidewalks of Evanston on the way to a Northwestern v Penn State tailgate, football started to fit into the picture.

Ryan Field is so small that it's like seeing your favorite stadium concert musician playing in a little local bar. (Unfortunately this time surrounded by loud Penn State fans.) We decided to cheer for Northwestern, because they were the underdogs, as well as that we were given free foam wildcat paws. High-fiving is much more fun with the foam paw.As the sun began to set it became colder, but Northwestern was remarkably holding their own -- even ahead for much of the game. I made a deal with my friends that we'd leave either by the end of the third quarter, or as soon as Penn State scored. In the end they scored big to win the game 34-13, much of the action occurring after we'd headed back home on the el. (I'm happy to report CTA decided to turn on the platform heat lights a day early!)

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