Sunday Scribblings: Collector Personality

The thing about hats and shoes is that even when your weight fluctuates, they always fit. I like shoes as much as anyone with fashionista tendencies, but I am a klutz with weak ankles, so much of my shoe lust happens from afar.

Hats though. Hats are my thing.

It takes a special quality to be a hat person. I don’t mean just having the right hair or the right shape to your face, I mean, you have to be willing to be noticed, and you have to have a personal sense of style, even if it’s not a conventional sense of style.

Also, having big eyes helps.

I blame my grandmother and her endless warnings to “put a hat on that baby,” for my love of hats, but my mother certainly never discouraged my appreciation of headgear, and my great-aunt Violet never appeared in public without her “tam.” If fashion is genetic, I get my hat gene from the maternal line.

My collection of hats is diverse. There are berets of course, in many colors (though I still need one in warm mustard gold), and I have a second collection of brooches that I use to dress them up a bit. One is a gold star, another is the planets around the sun and a third is hammered copper with African animal charms dangling from it. The latter two were both presents from my step-father – he has a knack for finding cool things like that for me. I used to have a black velvet beret that was my writing hat, but I set a hot curling iron down and it rolled and the velvet melted, so I had to toss the hat. I miss that hat.

I have two fedoras, one black (of course) and one forest green, I have a brown bowler, and a red hat that is sort of like a bowler but softer, more feminine. I have a traditional straw hat complete with a satin ribbon, and a newer straw hat from earlier this year that is a cross between a pillbox and a flapper hat, and has silk flowers on it.

I like newsboy caps, and have two, one of which is tweed, and the other of which is purple and green plaid iridescent velvet, which I know sounds awful, but trust me, it works (they’re deep jewel-toned versions of these hues). I have another iridescent velvet hat by the same designer, a company called Hatterdashery based in Seattle. That hat is a crushable top hat, the top of which is embossed black on black, and the brim of which is deepest blue.

I have a black “rasta hat” that is adorned with green, red, yellow and orange and looks rather like something Guinan would wear, and I have a leopard print crushable pillbox. I have a denim “Blossom” hat – the round hats with the flowers that were popular in the late eighties and early nineties and I have a velvet version that my mother made. And I have baseball caps, too, not from teams, but that style. One is black velvet and I have a giant dragonfly brooch I often pin to the front.

I don’t have a favorite hat. I love them all, but I wear some more than others. A green knit beret made for me by a friend was my staple this spring, and my indigo beret (with the planet pin) is also a frequent part of my wardrobe.

People often ask where I buy my hats. Some are from accessory stores, while others were gifts. Two were purchased at Scarborough Faire, but not the same year, although they were from the same person. Two were from the same milliner – the afore-mentioned Hatterdashery. My mother made several, and others simply appeared, or were liberated from my grandmother’s closet. (The tween newsboy was my grandfather’s actually.)

Hats are a way I express my moods, hide my hair when I don’t feel like washing it, or just complete my outfit of the moment. The only thing in my house I have more of than hats is books.


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Card Sharp

Working in the mortgage industry, I got to see a lot of credit reports, and I got into the habit of noting which of our clients had which cards. Discover, for example, was usually carried only by older clients, or people who had lived in the Midwest, where Sears was still a major store.

Small Business Credit Card holders were generally the dot-com crowd, the folks who worked for Adobe and Yahoo and Google before they had capital letters or huge amounts of VC.

I never asked how they made their choice of which cards to use – assuming that like most homeowners they had been inundated by offers shortly after moving into their new homes.

It wasn’t until much later that I learned about CreditCardSearchEngine.com, a company that helps you identify and apply for credit cards that fit your needs. Aside from cards specifically designed for small business owners, they also have lists of credit cards for students, or people with dented credit. As well, they’ve been online for a long time, so they have sticking power, which is always good when dealing with an internet company.

Their information on each card includes the apr, any fees, and any specific terms that you should be aware of before applying, and the online response times are generally pretty fast.

I have no need of any more credit cards, but if I did, I’d check out CreditCardSearchEngine.com to see what options were suggested for me.

Hunger Induced Pathos

When I’m busy, I forget to eat, and then I get cranky and whiny. I don’t like being whiny. One of the reasons I don’t like weight watchers meetings is that every one I’ve been to has been a bunch of people whining about their lives. If I don’t even like to hear MYSELF whine, why would I want to sit in a room with whining strangers?

I am midway through a sandwich. I hadn’t eaten today, as the previous entry makes clear if you know me. The sandwich of the moment is toasted multigrain bread, extra sharp cheddar, tomato, sprouts and mustard. I love mustard, but only the good (read: Grey’s Poupon) kind. Yellow mustard is acceptable only on Boardwalk fries.

Yes, I like mustard on fries.
Except I don’t eat fries any more. When Fuzzy brings home fries, we take turns feeding them to the dogs.

So, anyway, I’m sitting here with my lovely veggie sandwich (crunchy!) and a glass of cranberry juiced mixed with lime Perrier, and I’m feeling slightly better.

Slightly.

Just Hit It With a Rock

My head hurts, and I can’t breathe because I completely messed up our bank account. Thought I’d written a bunch of checks from one account, when I’d really written them from the other, and ended up going negative, in a pay period that was already tight because of the mortgage, and having to pay Fuzzy’s work AmEx and not having the reimbursement that covers our cable bill yet, and, and, and….

Sometimes the best think I can think of to do is to find a really good rock and beat my brains to a bloody pulp and then start over, and I just had to ask my mother if she could loan us money for groceries (she hasn’t yet responded).

What I wanted to do is write all weekend, and maybe take little breaks to surf places that sell digital cameras, because I love the one I have but want something small and sexy that I can slip into a purse.

Yeah that rock thing is getting more attractive every second.

Across the U-Verse

We’d been getting email about it for months, but I never really paid much attention, until last Tuesday, when two charming gentlemen knocked at my door to tell me about it: AT&T’s UVERSE.

As an unwilling customer of Time Warner Cable (I say unwilling because we were happy ComCast customers until some trade agreement forced CC and TWC to flip their regions around, and we had no choice but to have TWC or nothing, because satellite in a place where there’s weather seems pretty stupid.), I was pretty excited in anything that was a) not them and b)not satellite. U-Verse is IPTV – television delivered over fiber optics at least to the last mile, and sometimes all the way to the house, depending on the age and infrastructure of your neighborhood.

It’s also internet, at the same downstream speed as TWC (6Mbps) and slightly faster upstream than what we have now (1Mbps), and the bundle we’ve been quoted includes that plus 400 channels including locals, and 4 set-top boxes (STBs) one of which is a DVR that can record up to four standard def shows at once. And did I mention that we get free access to AT&T wifi hotspots? And the installation and first month are free. And because we’re having it installed on a Tuesday, Weds, or Thursday, we get a $50 credit? And that the modem they bring has five ethernet ports and built in wifi, and is made by Motorola and not some funky off-brand?

I mean, yes, it’s new technology. Channel lineups and IR codes for TiVo (we have two) were just released and are a bit buggy (but really, when you can record four shows at once, who cares?), but it’s also way more than we’re getting for $60/month less, and oh, right, I can cancel my paid-for at&t wifi hotspot account which saves us another $40 a month, and since we actually are AT&T customers what with the bundling and stuff we’ll save even more money.

And I can still keep my DSL as backup.

I’m really excited.
And no, this is NOT a sponsored post.

Shopaholique

I love to shop. I am not a shopaholic in anything approaching Sophie Kinsella-esque proportions, but I do love a good sale, a great bargain, the smell of crisp green cash being exchanged for something new and shiny, especially if it comes in a tiny blue bag.

While much of my shopping involves books, stationery, fancy pens, new music, and froufrou coffee, I also frequently buy clothing – I am, in fact, one of those women who has things in her closet with the tags still on them, purchased years ago, never worn, but kept because “someday I might.” I mean, doesn’t everyone need a gold lamĂ© mini-dress? Yes, I thought so.

It is this very habit of mine, instilled in me at birth by a mother who designed and made all my clothes til I was ten and asked for real jeans, and my grandmother who shopped for Christmas presents all year, and ended up losing them within the house, only to rediscover them in the nick of time, to pile in front of me – I always got the most presents from her – it’s GOOD to be the favorite. (In truth, it wasn’t so much that I was the favorite as that I was the most present in her life.)

And it is this love of shopping that also has me in love with a website: http://www.webbyplanet.com.

WebbyPlanet is essentially the online equivalent of those coupon exchange tables that grocery stores used to have, where you could pick up coupons for stuff you might actually buy, and leave coupons for those that you don’t. In this case, you don’t have to leave anything but brief contact information, though there is an opt-in newsletter, and you take away coupons for everything from books to baby clothes, fashion to furniture, computers to coffee (by the way, did you know there’s actually a company called 800-ESPRESSO? Now you do).

I’ve had a great time browsing through the coupons and deal offerings, which are divided by category and feature a description of each retailer or e-tailer as well as coupons (general discounts) and deals (special offers) for each company. Some of the grammar on the site is a little awkward, but never so much that the meaning isn’t easily found, and the interface is easy to use.

I like the colors of the site as well, a soft coffee-and-cream color for the background, text in black, hot pink highlights. The overall effect reminds me a bit of a raspberry mocha, if such a drink was really a website, and the speed of the site is excellent.

I’ve bookmarked WebbyPlanet.
You should, as well.

Sleepy

Fuzzy’s still sleeping – and can you blame him? He was up for 36 hours straight, not including a nap on the plane, which finally landed shortly before two AM.

Cleo is sleeping. She had a tiring night, last night, having to run and check to see if Daddy was home, every time the dryer squeaked in the mud room (it connects to the garage), and then she chased a rodent around the dark back yard for an hour. Poor tired doggy. She was so floppy when we went to bed, finally, that even her knees were wrinkly. I love the way that happens to dogs – that they get so tired they can’t even hold their skin taut – it’s cute.

Zorro is sleeping. He was tucked between us for much of the night, but now he’s in a ball at the foot of the bed, nose to tail, the way dogs sleep. He gets very upset when his people are in different rooms of the house, so when Fuzzy was in the living room eating his sandwich last night, and I was in bed reading, he was forced to pace between us and chuff indignantly.

I am awake, obviously, because I haven’t yet mastered the art of blogging in my sleep, though in previous year blogathons I’ve come awfully close. I should be working on my book, or cleaning the kitchen, or any number of other things, but I’d rather stay here in the bed with Fuzzy and the dogs.

Even though I’m not sleepy.

Shiny

I’ve been distracted all day today, as jumpy as my dogs, reacting to Fuzzy coming home. I hate that I’m this clingy little wife when he’s gone. I’m really not dependent on him for happiness, I promise.

As I’d finished all my work-related tasks by noon, clearing my day for the plumber I mentioned earlier, even writing an article in half an hour which seriously impressed the bosses, I had to find some way to fill my time.

Now you might think the logical thing would be to write since I’m all psyched about having figured out the book, and stuff, but no. For one thing, my right wrist was really bothering me, and for another, I was too antsy to sit still.

I spent some time washing dishes, even scouring the bottoms of the pots I’d washed. My cookware is not spiffy metal stuff like berndes cookware, but white ceramic stuff with detachable handles, from Princess House. I like it, but Fuzzy never believes me when I tell him that because of the way ceramic transfers heat he should never turn the burner past 3 or 4, so the bottoms are kind of burnt. A little Bon Ami and some elbow grease fixed the pots, but did not help my wrist.

I sat on the deck and read for a while, but then it got cloudy, and after the clouds dissipated it was hot, so I came back inside, and surfed the net, for a bit.

After the plumber had come and gone, I started to clean the tub to the point where I could take a bath, but then my aunt phoned and we chatted – oh, someone remind me to tell EvilAri@LJ about an interesting reaction to the earrings she made that I gave to said Aunt.

And then I was hungry. And the dogs were hungry. And there was Minestrone and Grilled Cheese. And it was Good. (The dogs each got a bit of cheese, and their usual dog food).

I tried reading, but couldn’t focus. Called my mother. Watched a rerun of Strong Medicine (I confess to lusting after Nestor Carbonell). Folded laundry.

Shiny things – dogs, phones, remote controls, keyboards, kept distracting me, and now? Now it’s 2:36 in the morning, and the dogs are curled up against my hips and Fuzzy is almost home.

Progress

Fuzzy just called. He’s on the ground in Dallas, and waiting for the shuttle to long term parking. He’ll be home within the hour…I hope.

I just made him a peanut butter sandwich, with honey, because I don’t have the energy to make anything else, and I know he’ll be too tired to eat anything else.

And while I wait, I’m watching reruns of Voyager, that tivo grabbed for me.

Heaven help me, but watching it now, I almost like it.