Birthday!

Sunday, October 16th, 2016 09:11 am
chanaleh: Snoopy and Woodstock, celebrating (birthday)
My birthday was October 6, so I'm 44 now. It sounds a lot older than 43.

In mid-September, [livejournal.com profile] etrace said, "My mom wants to know what to get you for your birthday. We looked at your Amazon list, but she doesn't like it." "She doesn't like it?" "Yes -- nothing on it is anything she wants to get you."

We've had this discussion before, and part of it is that she has this notion that anything that's been on the list for more than a few months is Not Interesting. (For me, the fact that I've wanted something for over a year without getting it might make me MORE excited about getting it, not less. But whatever.)

So I looked at my list, and... huh, there was not much on there that I would be excited about getting for someone, either. Except for the Hamilton soundtrack, which I still had never even heard but was dying to. I promoted that back to the top of the list. Everything else... enh. So I spent a few minutes looking for things that were more fun/indulgent, and put those on the list. Only, then, [livejournal.com profile] etrace and [livejournal.com profile] jessruth got me all the new fun things, and my gift from MomTrace ended up being... a renewed subscription to the New York Times crossword app! This was genius because I really did enjoy doing it every day until they doubled the subscription price in early 2015 and I gave it up.

My dad, meanwhile, gave me some cash for my birthday -- also a couple weeks early, because he was having retina surgery in the meantime (oy!) and was not going to be able to visit for most/all of the month of October. I ended up spending ALL OF IT on clothes, because I've replaced most of my pants by now but I have still been trying to squeeze into my old shirts, and it's exhausting. But more on that topic in a later post.

I get my birthday as a paid holiday off work (yay!), but since that Monday and Tuesday were Rosh Hashanah, and then my birthday was on Thursday, I thought it would be better to take the Friday instead. Oh yeah, and SisTrace and her younger son (now age 20) happened to be coming up from Louisville from Thursday to Sunday, since she had a long weekend. So I worked that Thursday and then we all went out for deep-dish pizza; came home, put tired baby to bed, and had birthday cake and presents. And then on Friday I got to go out for a WHOLE AFTERNOON by myself. I got a pedicure (the first since Aria was born) and a haircut; and I went to Starbucks and got my free birthday PSL; and then I went to Kohl's and had the luxury of puttering around trying on clothes for like 2 hours. It was delightful. The only problem is that now I want to do it again. :-}

And now I have listened to Hamilton a couple times, and while I wouldn't say the appeal stems from the music per se, I can begin to see how people get obsessed with it and how transformative it is.

Also in there, there were holidays and tonight is Sukkot, and those all merit a separate post too probably. One of these years I would like to start building our own sukkah, but this is not that year.

Arisia or bust!

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 12:12 pm
chanaleh: Muffin the Vampire Baker: "It's him, Muffin! You have to protect him at all costs!" "I'M ON IT!" (i'm on it!)
Stayed up til 1:30am last night finishing complete revised page proofs on the book project. Now I can leave for [livejournal.com profile] arisia with a clear conscience! Then I got up this morning and spent another ~3 hours getting the button supply ready to print up.

Here is what my anticipated Arisia schedule looks like: I should really copy this into the master calendar for future reference, too )

So if you want to run into me, you have some idea of where to find me!

I have some additional stated goals for this Arisia (interestingly, all of them self-care related):
  • To pack myself off to bed as early as I damn well feel like it, instead of feeling socially obligated to stay up until 3am
  • To get in some hot tubbing, in either the Renaissance (where I will have a room key) or the Westin (where I won't, so only if with others who do)
  • To treat myself to an actual restaurant meal on Saturday night, between 7pm close of dealer's room and the 10pm Chantey Sing

    So if you feel like joining me for either of those latter two things, speak up. :-)

    PS: I keep forgetting to ask: is anyone interested in buying a full-length full-circle brown polarfleece cloak from me? I bought it from Cloak & Dagger five or six Arisias ago, and I love it, but it turns out to be a bit too bulky/warm for my personal costuming needs, so I've probably only worn it out of the house three or four times total. I paid about $120 for it on sale. I'd love to get $50 for it. Let me know, and I can haul it with me.
  • chanaleh: Muffin the Vampire Baker: "It's him, Muffin! You have to protect him at all costs!" "I'M ON IT!" (i'm on it!)
    In my last post ( LJ | DW ) a week ago, I mentioned that I was pondering scaling my wardrobe down by half.

    So today, rather than work on books (either writing or layout), I spent a few hours inventorying every single piece of clothing I have. Seriously.

    The total comes to 715 pieces. That's including shoes, socks, underwear, the works. )

    Which sounds like a LOT, but when you look at everything together, it doesn't really LOOK like a crazy amount.

    ([livejournal.com profile] justom: "I don't think you're allowed to tease me anymore about the number of dress shirts I own!" Me: "Yes, but at least now I'm embarking on this purging process!" Him: "Mm... true.")

    But having decided to do it this way, I think, honestly, that a 50% reduction is an unreasonable goal. Maybe from where I started last year before moving, I could have done it... but to get down to 358 items? I'm halfway up to there in socks and underwear alone! (I suppose that's part of the point, yes, but still.)

    Thus, I am setting the official goal at 400 pieces, which is about 60% of the current total, and naming this the Wardrobe 400 Project.

    If I can cut more than that, I will earn myself the right to buy a few awesome (well-constructed and properly-fitting) replacement pieces. ;-)

    Note that I also have an entire bin (probably really two bins' worth, at this point, it's so overflowing) of costume pieces which I have not yet inventoried -- I thought I might try including all of those in the count as well, but I think I will have to treat that as a separate effort.

    The 50% Project

    Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 10:06 am
    chanaleh: (Default)
    As a project in the vein of decluttering and voluntary simplicity, I have started toying with the notion of cutting my wardrobe down by half.

    The motivation for setting this particular benchmark is basically as follows: There is a large swath of my clothing inventory that I just don't need or wear that much, but am loath to part with because it's basically still good or I might eventually need/want it again. But a different way of breaking it down is: if I had to choose between A and B, and could only keep one, which would I keep? And when I frame it that way for myself, the answer is almost always stunningly clear.

    The funny thing about it, though, is that much the same dynamic plays out on the local level of choosing what to wear every day. If I could wear either A or B today, which am I going to wear? And if I can acknowledge the truth that I would rather wear A on six occasions out of seven, how many B's do I really need to hold onto? Couldn't I retire six B's and replace them with one more A, which I will love six times as much in the long run?

    The corollary to this is: If I didn't have this piece, and saw it in a store tomorrow, would I even try it on? and if I did try this particular garment on, would I like it enough (in terms not just of style, but of fit and of my current needs and habits) to buy it? Very often, if there's a garment I own that I pull out and then decide against wearing over and over again, it's because the fit is not quite right or even downright unflattering. Sometimes, especailly when trying to get dressed for a special occasion, this even leads to the realization that there is never a time when I would choose to wear B in favor of A -- usually because of the fit -- and that's when I definitely send B to the giveaway pile.

    Sidebar: When I first mentioned the idea to [livejournal.com profile] justom, he said "Ah, great! Then you'd have room for a whole bunch of NEW things!" I said "I like the way you think, but I don't think that's my goal here." :-) Admittedly, it's kind of like the notion that you should lay off a certain percentage of your workforce each year, in order to "cut the deadwood"... thereby freeing up space/resources for new growth. But I think the idea of reducing the total mass is also essential to the plan -- at least, for me, at this time.

    Now, it's tempting to try to stage a one-day blitzkrieg where I would pull every stitch of clothing I own into one giant mountain and force myself to divide it into two giant mountains, In and Out. While this would be tremendously satisfying in some ways (and could make a great promo episode for Jerica Life Counseling), I don't think it's practical. So I'm thinking I might make it into a longer-term smaller-bites project by (1) first taking a complete count and inventory of my current wardrobe and (2) tracking gradual reductions by the numbers. This would allow me to prune the low-hanging fruit all at once in a few early sessions, and then get gradually more ruthless as the weeks wear on.

    Mind, this means I would probably claim in my initial count the handful of items that are already sitting in a giveaway pile on the floor of my closet, just to give myself a head start. :-}

    Thoughts?

    Shiny!

    Tuesday, July 10th, 2012 12:29 pm
    chanaleh: (leila)
    Things which I, like anyone, end up having to buy on short notice while out if I have not had the foresight to bring them:

    1. Snacks
    2. Beverages
    3. Warm clothing (e.g. sweaters)
    4. Lip balm
    5. Nail clippers

    Moral of this story: Be prepared.

    Things which, on seeing them, I invariably have a strong craving to impulse-buy unless I am already physically wearing instances of them:

    1. Toe rings (in season)*
    2. Scarves
    3. Hats
    4. Other jewelry (rings, bracelets)
    5. Nail polish

    *I.e., sandal weather, which for me is approximately May-October

    Moral of this story: I should make a more concerted effort to use and enjoy the pretty things I already have.
    chanaleh: (Default)
    Whew. Another whirlwind Boston weekend.

    Oh, before I forget (since it already feels like weeks ago): I posted my July 4th notes (link to LJ version) on the date more appropriate, so as to try and get back in the habit of posting things more promptly instead of huge catch-up entries every several weeks.

    So, Boston weekend, the third in four weeks )

    ETA: The bus! Which took SEVEN HOURS to get from South Station to Penn Station! If [livejournal.com profile] awhyzip hadn't packed me that fruit salad for the bus, I would have been a lot sadder by the time we landed. As it was, within a few minutes after I got home, I was standing over the stove literally eating sausages (okay kosher Moroccan lamb kebabs om nom) right out of the frying pan because OMG STARVING. I think [livejournal.com profile] justom is right that in the summertime it's just not worth trying to leave in either direction before 6:30pm, because you can't get there before 10:30pm no matter what you do.

    ... So.

    In some ways I saw a lot more people than I normally might, but conversely, not necessarily in a very focused way. I had several people say "When are you coming BACK so I/we can SEE you??" -- and the answer is, definitely not for a few more weeks, no matter how many social activities I will be missing next weekend! We're coming for sure Labor Day weekend for a wedding, but that's likely to mean time is pretty booked up. But it's possible there will be another visit in the interim. Will advise.
    chanaleh: (Default)
    Apparently:
  • The neighborhood of Chelsea is the epicenter of the global art world.
  • You can print off daily listings of gallery exhibits, events, and openings (this is, I'm sure, a no-brainer, but I'd never been aware of it before).
  • Head-to-toe black (turtleneck, knee-length tiered skirt,tights, motorcycle jacket) plus funky shoes constitutes Artist Drag.
  • "Are you an artist?" is completely a pick-up line.
  • Especially when uttered by guys clasping printouts of gallery listings in their hands.
  • I have crossed a line since moving to NYC where the peak audience for my attractiveness is men aged 45-55. Weird, but observable.

    Oh yeah, and I also learned some new stuff about the behavior of flat surfaces (e.g., paper) when folded on curved creases.

    Plus some things I already knew:
  • Math is cool.
  • The Demaines (père et fils) do incredibly intriguing work.
  • Geeks are reliably the most interesting people in the room to talk to.
  • [livejournal.com profile] gremionis has cool friends, even if he never has any time to hang out with them. ;-)

    I took some pictures, too; will try to post them later this weekend.
  • chanaleh: Muffin the Vampire Baker: "It's him, Muffin! You have to protect him at all costs!" "I'M ON IT!" (i'm on it!)
    All, interestingly, to do with cashflow, one way or another. Mostly Boston-area-specific, though (sorry, everyone else!).

    MBTA minimal-hassle refund
    If you are in the Kendall T station outbound, where there is (at least on the weekend) no longer any attendant on site, and the turnstile takes your money but the gate does not open... posted on the turnstiles is a "help" phone number you can call, (617) 222-3200, where someone will take your info and mail you a new CharlieCard with the amount of one fare on it, as a refund. (Unfortunately, it won't prevent you from missing your train while you call.)

    Cash for your clothes
    If you have unwanted clothes/shoes/bags too nice for Goodwill, you can take them to the Garment District store on Broadway near One Kendall Square (around the corner from ITA Software) and they will buy them from you. how it works ) Edited to add: Finally got my gift card in the mail three weeks later. They condescended to buy one piece out of the two bags I brought in. ONE. (A black Halston blazer, for the record. I loved it but it was too big for me anymore.) Oh well, it's still $12 I wouldn't have had from Goodwill.

    Free books
    In general, remember to use your local library. ;-) Specifically: If you have a Minuteman Library Card, you can log into their website using the number on the back of your library card/tag. Then you can stop using your Amazon cart or Goodreads to remind you of the books you find interesting, and instead start saving them to your list, where you can then request them whenever you're ready to read them. best ways to do this ) You can also renew books online, up to twice, if you haven't finished with them yet. Sweet!

    Free computer recycling
    As a few of you know, I have been traveling with a dead vintage-1997 desktop computer in my car trunk since, oh, last October, meaning to take it for recycling somewhere. Last night I finally went to Staples (the one in Assembly Square), and they took it off my hands for free to recycle. (You can also trade in any computer for $50 credit on a new one from Staples, as long as the original retail on the new one is $500 or more... not so useful to me, since I next intend to buy a netbook cheaper than that, but still worth noting.)

    Postscript: Stay organized
    I have been trying to clean stuff out, and I have already found a number of things I thought lost, including an important receipt I needed to give to Tiger Boy, and (still in my wallet, no joke) a voucher for ~$25 at the Harvard Book Store from my last selling-off of books there a year ago. :-) Now if only I could turn up the gym-membership voucher I won in a Maimonides raffle in March 2009!
    chanaleh: (eleanor)
    Hey, [livejournal.com profile] lillibet, if I buy any one of these, can I wear it for The Margaret Ghost? Can I, can I, huh?

    ... okay, back to work now. X-)
    chanaleh: (sleeping)
    Things of which [livejournal.com profile] chanalehs require an inexhaustible supply:

    Novelty socks
    Umbrellas
    Mary Chung's egg drop soup
    Cobalt blue glassware
    Dichroic glass (jewelry and otherwise)
    Peanuts memorabilia (in general)
    Snoopy Band-Aids (in particular)
    Lip balm
    Mineral bath salts (anything from Epsom to Dead Sea)
    Read more... )
    Sunshine
    Lenience for tardiness :-}

    ... and with that, it's off to the grocery store with me.

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