shake your …

July 28, 2010 | 1:31 pm

[To distract myself from my current program of being hungry all the time diet and exercise, I am a little obsessed with clothing and shopping*, mostly of the online window-shopping variety. Hence, some shoe talk is below. Sorry.]

My get-out-of-debt mission is going well. As of today, I am square with the IR$ for 2009. Next: catch up with my quarterly payments. After that: tackle credit card debt. After that: squirrel away moving money. After that: save for retirement. Does it ever end? No? Shit.

A little extra money came my way (reimbursement of my deductible from my car accident from last November) and (to reward myself for being so damn frugal) I set out to spend it on second-tier impulse items — you know, stuff that is useful, but not boring nor outrageously splurge-y. You know, like shoes.

I poked around my newly-purged footwear collection, looking for gaps in the repertoire, if you know what I mean. I quickly talked myself into needing — needing! – a new pair of boots. But first, my two go-to pairs (including these black suede lovelies — scroll down to 2nd pic) were in need of fixing so off I went to my favorite cobbler man in Ventura, Mr. Lee. I’ve been meaning to write about him, which I’ll do, but suffice to say he’s a genius, and he’s going to bring my babies back to life.

On to the new boots. I want (need!) a more casual pair of black boots — mid-calf, sturdy, leather. After a lot (a lot) of browsing (Zappos, Endless, ShoeBuy, eBay), I found what I wanted. Bam, ordered for a steal of a deal from an eBay store. Pow, got ‘em, tried ‘em on. Kaboom — super cute, much sweeter and kick-assier than the photo! BUT: Sigh, too small.

Suddenly I was at a crossroads. Should I exchange them for a larger size, or go completely another direction and get the impractical silver boots, boots that are silver and also black and also printed with flowers? A side-by-side comparison:

Yin versus Ka-Yang!

Where does one turn with a burning question like this? Why, Facebook of course.

Becky Haycox: Great, classic eBay boots arrived, but are a half-size too small. Sad trombone. Is this a sign to return them and get the 100% impractical silver ones from

  • Jill: I think it might be just that sign… silver goes with everything!
  • Judy: how can silver boots ever be impractical! I used to have white ones with silver stripes
  • Jill: Just remember: metallics are neutral, like brown, but much more exciting

Wow, they made me feel thrilled at the notion of owning silver boots! But maybe not these silver boots, boots that are built for someone a little younger and more glam than I am these days (although I feel that I could be up to the challenge to rock them — if they were about $40 cheaper, maybe). And they might be for someone that has more disposable income than I to buy trendy items that will look outrageously outdated some time in the future (winter 2010?).

So I ordered the black ones, but made sure to reassure my friends that they really are superfoxycute, I promise! Jill (my boot advisor and a Fluevog collector herself) says she supports my decision, which makes me feel a lot better. From my niece: you are doing the practical thing, but really you should get both.

By the way, my niece Sarah (she of the FB comment, above) and I have been laughing about this cartoon. Have you seen sandalboots? Bizarre! This has led to us posting links to the ugliest shoes in humanity (far worse than sandalboots!) If I can do it without getting nauseated, I will assemble some of the gems from our exhaustive research.


*does this happen to you? i’m just addiction-swapping, aren’t i?

the quiet storm, soft and warm

July 21, 2010 | 2:25 pm

I recently got to see two of my nearest and dearest, Alison and Danny. Not only did they bring good vibes good news my way (more on that later) but also they directed my attention to something they knew that I would love. And I do.

Behold: Time Life’s Classic Soft Rock infomercial.

Soft-rock heroes Air Supply conduct awkward banter, interact with the standard-issue infomercial lady co-host and sit in a McMansion living room, often behind a weirdly enormous pitcher of what I presume is lemonade. Mellow lemonade. All the while they are presenting (what to me are) the very dreckiest specks of the dreck of music from the 1970s/80s. The uber-laidback music itself is only mildly tortuous (and I do admit to liking some of it!) compared to the banter between the hosts and the clips of the performers.

Here’s a sample of delightful repartee between the Air Suppliers:

Graham Russell: “You know, some people like a fine wine. Others like a nice cold beer.”

Russell Hitchcock: “But in 1979, everyone seemed to be reaching for a … pina colada.

[Smirk, then cue the Rupert Holmes song Escape (The Piña Colada Song)]

If you watch the infomercial (and I urge that you do,) I think I like the way Rupert leaps around the best.

However, there’s also the hair. Oh, the hair.

No, I wanna kiss you all over!

There are also testimonials from “real” soft rock fans with names like Vickory Hexter and Athena Demos. Now you know what to name your next babies. You’re welcome.

Act now! You can “try out” 10 CDs for only 10 bucks, whatever that means!

Thank god that modern mediocrity has not destroyed really, really good mediocrity.

PS. Please stop singing Ventura Highway to me. Venturans don’t like it.

PS2. The title of this post is the motto of that “Light rock, less talk” radio station. Doesn’t remind me of poo, at all!

fun with rashes!

July 7, 2010 | 4:00 pm

So much I don’t divulge here about my sensitive and disorder-prone skin. Future husband, please don’t read this, because Imagonna talk about it now.

I have a minor rash on my knee that is itchy. All day I’ve been thinking “itchy knee” which reminded me of

“itchy knee sun she go” (which is the vague phonetic pronunciation of one to five in Japanese) which reminded me of

a Japanese talking alarm clock that someone brought me years ago (well before the Wonder of Japanese Technology wore off). You could press the button on top and it would say the time. Which reminded me of

my former wedding/event planner boss who adored that clock and eventually stole it from me which reminded me of

my colleague who worked for the same guy. She was a floral designer named Fern which reminded me of

my current hairdresser whose last name is Balding which reminded me of

tattoos — my current hairdresser works in a heavily rockabilly-skewed salon which reminded me of

allergies to tattoos, which I just learned about and which made me very grateful that I never got one (because I feel certain that I’d have a tattoo allergy) which reminded me of

this perfect rectangle of angry skin on my chest, which remains a week after I spontaneously stuck my name tag there before attending a mixer (this is where networking humor gets you) which reminds me of

what a delicate, delicate flower I am.

pretty vacant

July 1, 2010 | 3:55 pm

If you missed it, I recently moved from one town to another, about 10 miles apart. I temporarily live with an elderly relative. I had been in the place I was living for 6 years, and hadn’t planned on moving as abruptly as I did. I plan to write about the positive aspects of my new arrangement. But for now, the negative.

The trauma of the Big Move is beginning to fade (as the childbirth books assured me it would), but I continue to have nightmares in which the movers are downstairs, there’s junk everywhere, and I have no boxes. Probably also I am naked in front of a crowd and my teeth are falling out and my feet are stuck in molasses,  I don’t remember those details. When I inevitably wake in a pool of sweat, I try to manifest some more friendly dreams, dreams that hopefully involve Javier Bardem wearing coveralls. But I digress.

Everyone, but everyone, has commiserated with me when I’ve said that moving from one residence to another sucks the big one. Which it does, hoo boy.

But it’s not until you’re deep in the reality of it that you remember exactly the many, many, torturous ways that it sucks. AND blows.

The endlessless of packing. There’s always one more closet, one more cabinet, one more rat’s nest to sift through, to stuff into bags, boxes, garbage cans. Days/weeks/eons of packing go by and there is no discernible evidence of progress.  Rip goes the tape, crunch goes the newspaper. Grind goes my gears.

Shame factor. I cannot, cannot believe how much shit I have accumulated. I feel like a pathetic hoarding pack rat. As the boxes mount up and as I assess the many many labels that read “curios” or “tchotchkes” or “collectibles”, I cringe. The friends that have helped out have been endlessly cheerful and supportive throughout the process, but in my darker moments I think I can hear them thinking “Jeezus, got some more CRAP for me to bubble wrap, Hambox?”

Accelerating madness. As I stare down the barrel of the movers’ arrival, the frenzy begins and organization ends — drawers are upended into weirdly-sized cartons scrounged from the dumpster behind the liquor store. Tape is slapped across bulging seams, labels are abandoned. This is also when I start thinking the extra dark (chocolate) thoughts: “What if this really doesn’t end? What if I’m in stuck in some time/space loop? What if packing makes me die?”

The death march. Moving day! No matter how many green, green bills I throw at the situation, I have to carry and hoist and march and haul all damn day. This was a particularly poorly-planned moving scenario, which was my fault. I needed to put more green bills towards a correctly-sized vehicle and a couple hearty movers. Instead, I had a fleet of able-bodied boys but access to only a woefully too-small pickup. Which led to multiple trips (between the old place and a storage unit and my new residence) and a looong day (with yet more green bill output towards meals.) The people involved were fabulous but we can all agree that that was one completely unsexy day of sweat and grime.

Speaking of sweat and grime. I gave up on having any sartorial pride whatsoever. Sweats and sneakers and do-rags, every dingdong day. Packing tape roll bracelets and Sharpies clipped to every neckhole. Horrible. I know, I know, I had an excuse, but to feel at one’s most unattractive during one’s most stressed-out and physically demanding time ever, it just made everything even yuckier than it already was.

And speaking of yucky. And now, we clean — the big Deposit Clean, as Evany puts it. After a backbreaking bout of hard cleaning labor, I did not even finish by the end of the last day of the month, and so had to pay another day’s rent for the privilege of coming back and doing some more. Scrubbing the frakking floor with a frakking nail brush, wiping the sinfully fugly ceiling fans, inhaling many non-fun carcinogenic cleaners, and, at one point, crying in the corner next to the pile of Goodwill stuff. My boss called at some point, idly wondering if I was ever going to come back to work. To her eternal credit, she sensed my tone and showed up with lunch, rubber gloves and a willingness to clean my tub. Now that’s a boss.

Adjustment period. The transition to my new living situation is not something I’ll go into here, but it has not been easy. My elderly roommate is kind of a handful and we’re both still trying to get used to each other.

I’ll also not go into detail about the wrangling with the property manager (who ended up being quite fair with the deposit return, but not before a whole bunch of mind games); the bizarre march of humanity that took away my castaways via craigslist; and that one morning where I really did think I might die, as I stood on a ladder, batting at cobwebs with a broom while enduring a migraine of epic proportions.

I will, however, say thank you to the small but excellent group of friends and family who went above and way, way beyond to help me. Sammy, Shana, Judy, Turq, Dave, Annie (via email), the moving boys — I leaned on you hard and you just smiled and kept digging in.

This was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I wish I were kidding.