Wednesday, May 21, 2008

POSH

I went to the POSH Sale at the Lighthouse for the Blind last week. It's an annual charity sale with used clothes donated by rich bitches from the Upper East Side. I suspect that if I tried to donate some of my old clothes, they wouldn't make the cut.

It's $10 to get in for one day and a lot of the stuff is too expensive anyway. But I've gotten a few things in the past--some nice tops, etc. This year, I stuck out on the clothes, but once again I scored big in the purse section. I have a small collection of vintage purses now, mostly bought at this sale, that I hardly ever use. I usually stick with one purse that weighs a ton, but I'm going to try to start using some of my nifty ones on the weekends.

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When I saw it, I had to have it. Notice the tag:
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As is? As is, it's fabulous.

Check out the lining:
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And the surprise inside:
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The little mini bag has that old plastic feel to it, so I might not be able to put anything into it without risking damage. We'll see. I'm going to 2 weddings this summer and I'm hoping to bring it to at least one.

I've also decided to start displaying my handbag collection, possibly on a shelf in the bedroom.

What fabulous, but mostly useless items to you collect?

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Frugal Crafter Strikes Again

This time for Mother's Day.

Meet Fang.
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Fang enjoys pina coladas, walks in the rain and biting students who misbehave in class. (Mom teaches junior high--'nuff said.)

I made Fang pretty much the same way that I made Horace. I used a large yogurt container to trace the shape for the template. And then discovered that he was too small for my smallest embroidery hoop. But I cannot be thwarted that easily. I pinned on extra fabric to make him temporarily bigger.
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I took that picture after I was done with the embriodery because I didn't bother reaching for the camera beforehand--bad blogger!
And he fit!
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And that is the story of Fang. Mom brought him to school and the principal and the other teachers insisted that she keep him on her desk in the classroom, along with the note about how he bites poorly behaved students. Just as you always suspected--the teachers do like to mess with the students' heads sometimes.
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Friday, May 16, 2008

Not Quite Charity Knitting

Dame Wendy is trying to get together a blanket to cheer up a knitter with stage IV pancreatic cancer who is currently unable to knit.

Go read. Participate if you can/want to.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Failure

I failed this here marriage test from 1939. Because, you know, I'm perverse enough to take it instead of just rolling my eyes.

On the bright side, HA failed too. But it turns out that he's a better wife than I am because:
  1. he's not a night person
  2. he plays the accordion and piano
  3. he goes to church
 
In contrast, I'm a slobby, gave up on the guitar heathen.

For the record, I scored an 8 and he scored a 23.

I once bowled an 8. I wonder if I get a demerit for that too.

Reunion update:
Thanks for all the support. I spent an hour on the phone with one of the organizers who was determined to pull a jedi mind trick on me and convince me that it didn't suck. If not for you guys, my grip on reality might've loosened. Our class is only about 200 people, so he's planning on cajoling as many people as possible into going. There will be activities and outings scheduled throughout the weekend, so I may just attend some of those. I may attend the reunion after all if I can get over the doucheyness (and the fact that it sounds like people are more interested in the open bar than in seeing each other). I've asked everyone I can think of and no one has ever had a forced donation inflicted on them. The organizers plan on "subsidizing" the people with money issues so they can attend anyway (the offer has been extended to me). This is a definition of the word "subsidize" that I hadn't been aware of: "not force people to make a donation while making them feel like a charity case".

Argh.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Furious

I've barely been able to get anything done today because I'm just so mad.

My 20th high school reunion is coming up this year. I had a great time at my 10th and was looking forward to seeing everyone. For some reason, our 20th isn't being organized by the school, but by a couple of my fellow alumni. Who think that $150 a person is a reasonable price.

We went to a middle class catholic school, not some fancy rich people prep school. Our 10th cost (I think) $30, but it sure as hell wasn't more than $50.

When they first started talking about the reunion on Classmates.com, and they said $150 per person, I said too much money. They replied that they meant $150 per couple. Still too much money and most of us went stag last time and I wasn't planning on dragging HA along just to show him off this time.

But no, it's going to be $150 a person, for (I'm guessing) buffet food and drinks at Turtle Bay--a decent restaurant, but not an especially expensive one. The extra money will be going to the school as a donation in the name of 4 classmates who have died. The e-mail I got today named them and I don't think I've ever heard of one of them. Or class was only 221 people, so I expect all the names to ring a bell--I'll have to check the yearbook when I calm down.

I've emailed the guy organizing it and rather than go into a fresh rant, I'll just reprint it here.

M,

I'm glad that you and C are so successful in your careers that you can spend $150 on an evening out without too much concern. There are so many great fundraising/benefit events that I'm unable to attend because of the prohibitive cost. I'm disappointed that our 20th reunion has been turned into such an event. Our 10th cost something like $30 a person, didn't it? It can't have been more than $50.

If you had decided to charge an amount sufficient to cover food, drinks and the cost of the venue, and then raised money for the school with raffles or an auction, I would've been able to attend. I also would've been able to donate whatever money I could afford, help run the raffle or auction and donate a prize or two.

But I'm currently in the middle of a career change--leaving a high paying job for something that will make me happier, and I'm paying over $400 a month for health insurance for myself alone, so $150 is more than I can justify spending. I'm sure that we have several classmates with kids in school and so on, who are in the same boat. We're going into a recession and although I don't own a car, I'm sure quite a few of us are affected by the rising gas prices. I just got married in November and the reception was in Manhattan and even with an open bar, it didn't cost $150 a head.

I really appreciate you going to the effort of organizing this and I'm looking forward to getting in touch with everyone whose contact information you've gathered and distributed. But I won't be able to attend the reunion because it's way too expensive. I'm sure there will be other people who can't attend for that reason but will be too embarassed to admit it. A reunion is supposed to be about reconnecting with old friends, not conspicuous consumption.


Now, I've been more than willing to bash my education, but the one thing I always liked was the inclusiveness. Rumor had it that the public school down the road had race problems. We were about 50% white/50% black and had no problems at all. The one thing they did a good job of teaching us was how to treat people properly.

And now a few people are excluding everyone who isn't rolling in the dough. And forcing those who attend into making a donation to the school whether they want to or not. It also occurred to me after sending the email that the price is a bit too high for the teachers to attend, as some did for our 10th. Also? Although Manhattan is a better location than way the hell out in Brooklyn (where the school is), the last I heard, our chemistry teacher was running a catering business in the school, so we'd actually be able to hold the reunion in the school (which I had also suggested).

Honestly, I don't think they should just be sending out a list of everyone's addresses, phone numbers and e-mail addresses to the entire class, but at least I'll be able to use it to get in touch with the people I'd like to catch up with. On the down side, one of my former classmates is now a DJ and spams us all about his gigs.

Anybody else have bad reunion experiences?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Time

Thanks for all the cheers and rah-rahs. Hopefully, I'll have a second story to share soon.

But, the writing is why my posting has been spotty. There's only so much time and energy in a day and the career writing has to take precedence. I'm hoping to start using blogging as a warm-up, though. Yeah, right, that's it. Warm up. That doens't sound like procrastination at all.

This morning, I was listening to the April 30 podcast of QN (formerly Quirky Nomads). She read an essay by Clay Shirky that I thought was just fantastic. He talks about how, with the advent of the 40 hour work week, human beings have all this extra time and energy on their hands and we've been using TV to dull the shock of this major cultural shift.

He also talks about something that knitters have to hear all the time--Where do you get the time? He does some geek math and proves that, compared to the time people spend watching TV, a huge project like Wikipedia is not actually all that time consuming. They get the time by turning off the box. Of course, with anything internet related, they're just looking at another box, but they're being less passive.

He's not suggesting anyone give up TV--he calls gin the 19th century equivalent to TV and I'm not giving either one up. (They both go great with pomegranate juice, by the way). But maybe we can dare to dream of a time where we won't get such condescending questions. Because really? Once you've gone through the time and concentration it takes to learn to knit, knitting while watching TV takes the same amount of time as watching TV empty-handed.

Go read it for yourself. And come back and discuss, if you'd like.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion, Part 1 in a Series*

When I first decided to change careers to writing, I asked a few professionals for advice. One person told me not to over look my local neighborhood paper because everyone has to start somewhere.

Good point.

Then I took a class taught by Sue Shapiro on writing for NYC Newspapers and Magazines at mediabistro. After finding out what the first assignment was (personal essay with specific criteria), I spent 24 hours wailing about how I suck and couldn't think of anything (poor HA, for having to listen to me). Then an idea dawned on me and HA had to listen to me go on about my great idea. Then I started writing it and HA had to go back to hearing how much I suck. Rinse and repeat.

I took the first draft to class and Sue said this was exactly the sort of thing Editor X loves for column Y. I rewrote and brought my piece back in because I felt it wasn't quite there yet. After that round, I sent it to Editor X, already planning on sending it to a different publication when it got rejected and wondering where I'd send it when Editor #2 said no.

I sent it our on a Wednesday night. I was constantly nervous and jittery on Thursday because what if he actually bought it? Rejection I can handle, but success freaks me the fuck out. For some reason, I went out drinking Thursday night and was hung over on Friday, managing to get my work done, but not really having any extra energy to indulge my artistic temperament.

And, of course, that's when Editor X called to say he wanted to run my essay.

And so I have my first published piece (since college, lo those many years ago) in a little local paper called The New York Times.

'Scuse me while I try to stop squee-ing.


*with apologies and thanks to Adrienne Martini.