Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Literal Video. Enough Said.

I Heart Guts

I got through Christmas with a continuous cocktail of Day-Quil / Ny-Quil (I know, you can't make a cocktail with pills, but leave me alone, I'm sick!). I've been sick now for three weeks, and keep having to clear my throat, so during meetings at work everyone keeps looking at me expecting me to make some kind of announcement. I've also been feeling dizzy and generally stressed. Anyway, Happy New Year!

For Christmas my brother and his fiancee got me the T-shirt to the right. It's made by a label called I Heart Guts, and since I've been sick I have a greater appreciation for my guts. This one says "womb service". All the designs are based on cartoon organs. Here is one that says "I'm a liver, not a fighter." I like their descriptions too; here is one for a brain t-shirt:

Hey, smartypants, you've lived long enough without a happy shoutout to your neural network. Celebrate your fabulous brain (yes, yes, we know it's technically not a gut) with this tee silkscreened on a heather gray 90% cotton/10% poly American Apparel tee.

If, unlike me, you live in a city that has culture, you might find them at Bazaar Bizarre as well. I Heart Guts offer plush toys as well, though I'm not really sure what you do with plush internal organs, and my kids don't really like to role play "kidney" and "lung".

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Many Travels

We have a lot to catch up on. By "a lot" I mean approximately the ten pounds I've put on in the past week. The other day I took off my jeans and I literally had welts along the waistline and the thighs because they were so tight.

It started out early next week (and by early, I mean 4 AM, which is when I got up to catch my flight) when I made the trek from San Diego to Hartford, CT. There is no direct flight between the two points, so much of that day was spent stuffing airport food and snacks into my mouth in between and after flights. Our corporate partner put us up at the Saybrook Point Inn in Old Saybrook, CT, which was surprisingly nice. Old Saybrook is a cute little New England town, where as far as I could tell people never left. The Inn was lovely -- the photos that you see in the Photo Gallery link on their website is actually very representative of the facilities. The rooms were huge, and best of all, the bathrooms were spacious and incredibly well-lit (and as someone who is prone to such strange afflictions as the occasional zit on the eyelid, I can attest that the lighting was adequate for the alchemy required to cosmetically remedy my maladies). The photo above was the view taken from my room. I should have had a really good nights' sleep but there was this nautical mirror in the room which gave it a sort of shipwrecked/haunted feeling, which resulted in paranormal paranoia and thus insomnia on my part in what should otherwise have been an incredibly romantic environment. In short, the inn is great for couples, not so good for the paranoid.

I took this picture at the restaurant at the hotel, Terra Mar. The food was surprisingly good; I had pretty low expectations of a small-town operation, but then again, I do come from a town with not much to brag about in terms of restaurants. I started off with the Maine Lobster Bisque, which was delightful, and followed up with the Stonington CT Seared Sea Scallops, which were a bit overdone but otherwise good. Breakfast was hearty and satisfied me well into lunchtime (which was fortunate since the salad we ordered in, from a local lunch place, was basically rabbit food with no dressing).

That evening, we proceeded on to New York, where we stayed at the Westin Times Square, whose rooms are not nearly as nice as depicted on their website. I suppose they look roughly like the photos, but the pics have clearly been photoshopped to appear a lot more upscale than they actually are. The common terminology amongst the group when describing the restroom was "prison bathroom". It wasn't terrible by any means, but compared to the Old Saybrook Inn it was tired and certainly a few steps down.

We headed over to Valbella in the Meat-Packing District for dinner, where an acquaintance arranged for us to get a room in a private wine cellar. There was a vault-like door, which, once closed, made the room completely silent, and I felt like we were a bunch of teenagers at prom in a restaurant at which we were much too young to patronize. The waiter there confirmed my sentiments. I don't recall too much detail on the gastronomic joys of the dinner (being surrounded by hundreds of bottles of wine might have had something to do with that), but I did discover that 1) the President / COO of our partner company loves beets as much as I do, and 2) I pretty much could not fit another bite into my body due to clothing constraints. The food was good, but I'm not sure it was commensurate with the price, and all that was blunted by the haughty attitude of the waiter on staff.

The next day, after a sleepless night and waking at 3 AM PST for a day of meetings, we went around town and met with other business people. Without going into too much more detail, let me just recommend Quality Florist if you ever need a florist in New York (they do a great job, and really care about their customers), and Schweitzer Linen if you're in the market for luxurious sheets. There was then a trip to the airport, and then 7 hours spent at JFK while our flight was perpetually delayed and I was ready to slit my wrists with a plastic knife. I swear the plane we took back was made of Legos and had half the space of any normal plane.

I was home then for a day, and then headed out on a spa getaway weekend with a friend of mine from business school. We went to Palm Springs and stayed at the Westin Mission Hills , which was a nice-enough-looking resort but could have been better on service. We were first booked into a room with a King bed, which was annoying since 1) we had specifically requested a room with two double beds, and 2) as two working moms looking for a break, we were really looking forward to hogging up an entire bed and sleeping spread out into a star shape. We were eventually moved into such a room, only to discover that we had a room with a leaky sink. The resort was pretty dead -- probably reflective of the economy. The restaurant at the resort was ok -- nothing that blew me away.

We ate one evening at Thai Smile, which, despite the alarming lack of Thai people, was actually pretty good. We also watched the latest Bond flick, Quantum of Solace, which eliminated any doubts I might have had that being a secret agent is a very family-unfriendly job. After a week back at work, I'm ready for another vacation. Sadly, there are none on the horizon. Ah well, there's always wine.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Got the Boot

Whoa, I didn't mean to make the image that big. But I also can't seem to figure out what I did wrong, so let's move on.

I haven't posted in a while, so you (I do have a realistic perception of my readership, so yes, that would be "you" in the singular) may be wondering what I've been up to. The truth is, I can't really remember. I blame my children. I have this theory that while you're pregnant, the child, in addition to sucking all the nutrients out of your body, also drains away the ability to ever wear dresses made of knitwear and your short-term memory. The worst question anyone can ask me on Monday morning is, "What did you do this weekend?"

The good news is that I have been taking pictures, so those usually help me with recollection. And I do remember that two days ago, I got into work, reached into my bag to pull out my laptop, and promptly got a deep wide paper cut from a manila folder that I had also shoved into my bag. It was on my fourth finger on my right hand. Before I went on my trip to Colombia I went through the exercise of carefully selecting a fingertip to have lopped off if my kidnappers were to do so in order to prove that I was in their custody (this also assumed that they would have taken requests, but I would think that most kidnappers would). I'm pretty sure that at the time I went with the fourth finger -- probably on my left hand. Having cut the fourth on my right hand, however, I'm sort of reconsidering. The fourth contributes more than you think -- it really helps to balance your hand when doing a variety of tasks, ranging from slicing vegetables to styling your hair. So I'm really not sure what I'd pick. The pinky? That one's pretty important too -- especially for capitalization on a QWERTY keyboard. Tough call. Maybe best to leave it to the kidnappers.

Speaking of business trips, I have another one in about a week. I'm going to Connecticut and New York. After I booked the trip I realized that I had no closed-toe shoes. See the photo above to find out why. So I embarked on a mission to find ankle boots that met the following criteria:

  • I can comfortably spend 12 hours on a plane in them.
  • They are not totally boring and devoid of style.
  • They are no more than $300, since the majority of their useful life will happen on this trip.
  • I can walk around NYC in them while lugging a laptop, luggage, and a handbag that I would have rubbed with Apple leather cleaner prior to departure.

Since the local selection is pretty limited, I ordered a total of 8 pairs of boots from the following retailers:

As my forecast expected, only one of them really worked out. To my surprise, it was the cheapest of them all -- they were so cheap, in fact, that I almost didn't order them. So the winner is: Audrey Brooke's Jimmie Leather Ankle Boots -- at $69.94!!! They're cute, incredibly comfortable, and practically free! A close runner up was the Boutique 9 Coda ankle boot from Bloomingdales -- going for $195, it had superior materials and craftsmanship, and surprising comfort level given the height of the heel -- but I think the boots run a little big, so the pair I got was way too loose. If my trip weren't next week I'd consider exchanging, but the Jimmies are so comfortable that I'm not looking back.

And kudos to DSW, from whom I've never purchased: they shipped everything quickly and packaged it beautifully. When it came time to return one of the pairs of boots that didn't work out for me, they made it really simple: there was a DHL label enclosed, and best of all, you can schedule a pick-up from your home free of charge. That's so lazy -- I love it!

But to answer your question, I have sometimes been taking the kids to the beach (see above). I think part of the reason I don't remember much is that nothing really happens to me anymore. Does going to the grocery store happen to you? Does being tired all the time count as happening? Anyway, I've also gone to Legoland recently, but I'll write about that another time.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

$700B Bailout Fashion

One thing a bad economy can do for you is to make you more industrious. When it comes to fashion, I like to think that I'm a survialist. That is, rather than revert completely to classics (I'm just not sure I understand classics. The idea behind classics is that they never go out of style, right? Which means that they're either non-descript enough to go undetected, or you never have to buy new clothes -- neither of which interest me.), I rise to the laid-off-spouse-induced challenge and force myself to innovate! So here are a couple of things that I did recently to make lemons into lemonade. Um, they didn't all end up being lemonade; some turned out more like pee. But anyway, maybe it will trigger some ideas for you:

  • Restructured my jeans collection. I have about six pairs of jeans in rotation, two of which I wear pretty regularly. That doesn't seem right; I should want to wear all of them. My analysis told me that the two pairs I wore were hemmed for wear with heels. Which means that half the time I'm forced to wear heels just because I want to wear those nice jeans. But I also want some pairs to wear with flats. My flats jeans were all faded and on their last threads. So I took a few of the other pairs that I wasn't wearing, mostly because I didn't like the fit or leg width quite as much, and brought them to the tailor to have them re-made into jeans for flats. Voila! Three new pairs of jeans at a fraction of the cost of new ones. My current favorites are Joe's Jeans, so I made sure that I had one high heeled pair and one flats pair. And I just love dark washes -- they make you look so skinny!
  • Lopped off my capris. I had several pairs of capris that I bought about three years ago that just didn't look right anymore, and a pair of Burberry-print slacks that had just too wide a flare. One boring evening (out of many) I took a pair of scissors to the slacks and hand-hemmed them to be knee-length shorts. Suddenly my tired looking slacks became a set of cute shorts! Except for the questionable workmanship. So the capris are getting the same fate. Perfect for wearing with my cream-colored nubuck cowboy boots that I got on super sale at a boutique last month.
  • Belted it out. Being on spending moratorium wasn't much fun, but in my book, spending money on belts doesn't count! I acquired three new belts: 1) a patent leather wide belt in a royal purple, 2) an amazing and cheap reversible (!) studded leather belt from Steve Madden -- black on one side and brown on the other, and 3) a thin, stamped python belt from Betsey Johnson. Sticking a belt on all my tops suddenly transformed my clothes -- and I like belted tops over skirts. I've been wearing loose-fitting, billowy tops for the past year or two, both capitalizing on the trend and taking the opportunity to let my gut hang loose, so belting these tops was a nice change. As a bonus, I took the Steve Madden belt to my local cobbler, and he pounded a new buckle hole into it for me at no charge.
  • Accessorized. I'm a big fan of long necklaces -- 32 inch and 34 inch ones -- layered. I just think they look so great over the longer tops that are around now (and that I hope will stay around til I die. Fashion gods, please do not allow the cropped tops of the late '90s to come back unless I get a personal trainer!). I have a few in my regular rotation that I got from Target, which has a surprisingly fresh and trendy accessories section -- and J. Crew is currently having a final sale online where you can get pretty decent deals on gold plated jewelry for layering. I also bought a giant flower pin made of feathers that I am sure is going to look right any day now.
So good news: my husband got a job! It's a 3-minute commute from our house and his office will have lavish facilities like windows, in-office closets, a beautiful gym and a really nice cafeteria. I am jealous. He starts in two weeks. Just in time to save me from the classics.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Have you ever had a day that felt like a movie? The kind where at any moment, you could burst into song with choreography and colors seem uncannily vivid? (And not the kind of movie that I typically live, which would be a low-resolution film docu-drama comprised of 10,000 hours of me sitting in front of a computer monitor.) I had one of those days today. It was probably 70% of the excitement level of what is pictured to the right: when we had Sleeping Beauty show up at my daughter's birthday party, and kids' mouths just fell open when she walked through the door. I'm talking A-list-princess-starstruck, like these kids just couldn't believe it -- I guess the comparable for me would be if Conan O'Brien suddenly appeared at my door, because I think he's so funny it would suddenly make me completely un-funny and I wouldn't know what to say and would kick myself later after thinking of all the funny things I could have said and come to think of it would be a pretty bad experience. Anyway, it wasn't like that. But it was 70% of the way there.

It started off with a pretty good night's sleep...and successful completion of work-related tasks I won't go into. So I felt really giddy all day, like George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life after he comes back from his, uh, hallucinations and goes around hugging people and giving them money (or do other people give him money? Hey...the movie is better). And strangely, when I picked up the kids from school, they seemed to sense this mom-doesn't-seem-crazy-today vibe and were happy and laughing...and after school, because I no longer had this hanging over my head nor had to log onto my computer as soon as I got home, I actually played games with them and interacted with them for the first time in, well, forever, and it was fun. I even put a jazz CD on while I was doing the dishes after dinner, and it was strangely pleasurable, clearing up the kitchen. So maybe I have developed some kind of chemical imbalance in my brain.

Anyway, I also brought a cute little gadget with me to work today. It's a tea pot with an infuser like the one I've linked to here except that the one I bought came from a Chinese grocery store and cost $5.99. I've been a fan of drinking green teas lately, particularly the ones with loose tea leaves that unfold when infused into enormous leaves like some kind of magic '80s toy, with the idea that somehow the anti-oxidants are going to eventually turn me into a 20-year-old. They're really messy if you don't have a removable infuser. Plus, with these types of tea leaves (available at your local Asian grocery, but in my case, purchased from Taiwan) you can re-use the tea leaves a few times -- probably somewhere around three. I think my new little teapot added to the excitement of the day. And maybe there were hallucinogens in the tea.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Apple Leather Care

Don't you think that the following things should really count as "income"?

  • Merchandise returns

  • Flexible Savings Account claims

  • Expense reimbursements

  • Discounts from sales and using coupons

If I ran the world it would be a very different place.

Now if you've funneled all that "income" into a new leather bag, you probably want to extend the life of the bag as long as you can (or at least til you get sick of it). Being that Botkier bags are currently the core of my existence, I did a lot of research on products that would be appropriate for use on this most exquisite lambskin. There are leather conditioners / cleaners out there that should not be used on soft or exotic leathers.

The best source I found for information on fine leathers were the discussion boards on The Purse Forum. And pretty much unanimously, people like Apple Leather Care. I bought it from Paradise Pen, with whom I had a great experience -- not only did the product ship quickly, but enclosed was also a thank you note for my purchase written in calligraphy. Uh huh. Nothing says "thank you" like summoning the image of a bunch of monks in the Sistine Chapel slaving over your note. The Apple Leather care doesn't leave a residue (which is apparently bad for leathers by preventing "breathing"), and as a side note, my hands were silky smooth after I rubbed the lotion on my bags. They were probably embalmed, but I'm a glass-is-half-full type of person.

Friday, August 29, 2008;

How did I ever live without the internet? What else could provide hours of self-absorbed, sedentary entertainment while stimulating the economy? On a side note, is it bad to re-order my contact lens prescription online before it expires in order to avoid going to the optometrist?

So I was shopping on RueLaLa , a designer sample sale site like Gilt, and saw that they were part of Retail Convergence, Inc. Working in online retail myself, I was curious to find out more about them, and saw that they also owned SmartBargains. They bill themselves as "your personal bargain hunter", and I have to say that they do have the most remarkable bargains on designer items. Some of their designer shoes are up to 80% off, and they have a pretty good selection. I haven't explored other categories closely yet, but it certainly seems like a good place to check out if, say, your husband is laid off (ahem).

The other site I've been using is TheFind. It's like Google for shopping -- you get pictures of your results, as well as a summary of retailer and price. It's a nice idea, but I've noticed that it's not as updated as it should be. For instance, I saw a few Botkiers on super sale listed, but when I clicked through those items were out of stock. It's probably a tough algorithm to catch out of stocks, particularly if the retailers aren't actively updating their data feeds, but I'd give it a 70% score on accuracy. I like that all the results are aggregated and you can visually discriminate between things you want to look at and things you want to ignore.

On another side note, I was flipping through the J.Crew catalog and saw a bag that, though not a Botkier, is also cute: the Quincy in patent leather. It has a bit of Chanel knock-off to it, but for $298, might be something to consider if your husband is laid off, for instance. Again, not a Botkier, but not bad.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Coach Carly and the Nordstrom Shoe Sale

My husband should really know better than to leave me alone on a Thursday night with a computer and a credit card. He is out playing poker, hopefully winning enough for me to cover my next purchase. Which will be determined in the next 30 minutes.

Anyway, I'm not the biggest fan in the world of Coach bags (Though I did have a particular old-school coach I bought in the early '90s that I still have that brought me great comfort. I used to have a job where I traveled a lot, so on planes I would rub the buttery soft strap like a security blanket, and when no one was looking, I would smell the purse. This is why I do not post my name on this blog.), but this Coach Carly signature bag (at Nordstrom for $348) is awfully cute. There's something about the giant letters and slouchy hobo shape that I really like. I like some of their Legacy collection bags as well . In any case, if you live in a big city, you've probably seen this bag quite a bit -- I saw it when I was in San Francisco last weekend. But if you're in a town that has terrible food courts like San Diego, this might still be somewhat exciting to you. So those of you out there who try to minimize the leather you buy because of animal rights, take a look at this option. It has some leather, but not a lot. The rest of you, keep looking at Botkiers.

As a side note, Nordstrom is having a 40% off shoe sale online. I am trying to decide whether I can walk in shoes that are 3.5 inches high. Without falling, I mean.

Monday, August 25, 2008

San Francisco and the DNC

Did you happen to watch the first night of the Democratic National Convention? I'm not super interested in politics, and even less interested in discussing them, but -- wow. Since when did the DNC become as effective a tear-jerker as a chick flick? I was teary when Jimmy Carter was interviewed. I was teary during the Ted Kennedy tribute video (and when Maria Shriver was teary). I was teary during the Michelle Obama video, her brother Craig's introduction, and I outright bawled when Michelle Obama gave her speech. What an awesome woman! Anyway, whatever your political leanings, the Dems put on a great show. Afterward, a commentator said he felt Michelle Obama missed an opportunity -- this was her chance to describe what Barack was like at home, and what he was like as a regular guy. Frankly, I don't really care. I mean, I'm happy that he seems to be a decent guy, but I'm not going to be living with him. I'm more interested in what his plans are for the country, his approach to solving problems and his ability to execute. But enough about politics -- on to the important stuff: food!

So I spent the weekend in San Francisco, and WOW and double wow! Let me just begin by telling you how depressing it is to have to leave a place where the food court fare is of equal or higher quality than the priciest restaurants in San Diego. I went to the food court at the Westfield in Union Square (I think they call it "Restaurants under the dome" or something like that, but it's really a food court). I cannot even begin to describe how awesome it was. I don't even like to use the word awesome. But here are a few pictures. Look closely. Remember, this is a food court at a mall.

My husband got a delicious moules meuniere and the kids and I had Thai food. Speaking of Thai food, we also stumbled upon King of Thai Noodle House, in Union Square at Powell and O'Farrell. It's been a long time since I've had good Thai, so I was really really excited to have extraordinary Thai. I had the Pad See Ew, and it was exactly what I wanted, cooked to perfection. It's a no-nonsense kind of place -- like the good Chinese restaurants with the bad decor -- but you know it's good if it's packed with Chinese people. Anyway, this was the best Thai I've had in a looong time. King of Thai indeed! Apparently it is also the first Thai restaurant in San Francisco. That might just be restaurant propaganda though.

We also went to Pizzeria Delfina in the Mission District for the most amazing pizza (I've lived in NYC and had NY pizza; Chicago with Chicago pizza and New Haven with Sally's and Pepe's -- but I think this is the best pie ever). I had a prosciutto and arugula pizza which defied expectations. It inspired me to make a potato salad at home with argulua -- potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fried bread crumbs and arugula -- yum!

Another highlight was Katana-Ya, a Japanese restaurant on Geary. The chef there is a ramen master -- apparently real ramen requires years of training to produce the ultimate ramen noodle -- and it didn't disappoint. I had the ramen in miso soup with the fried chicken pieces and wanted more.

Ok, back to the Mission District. We wolfed down an ice cream while we were there, at the Bi-Rite Creamery, a wonderful place where you get two scoops of ice cream when you order a single. The flavors are as funky as the Mission District, with Balsamic Strawberry and Salted Caramel being my favorite. And the ice cream is creamy. There's a long line.

You will be shocked to discover that with all this eating and my sedentary lifestyle I am very out of shape. I am so out of shape that my abs and thighs hurt after walking around the city in order to eat.

I also hit the only place in the world where the dollar isn't weak , H&M. I went to Zara as well, where I scored a trench for $25! One of the world's greatest mysteries is why every city doesn't have an H&M and Zara.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Not-In-Bschool Blues

So my friend Liz is in her first year of business school, and I am soooo jealous. I keep saying things to my husband like, "I don't think I really made the most of my b-school experience" and "I wish I had really cherished every moment" and he keeps looking at me like "What is wrong with you?" (knowing full well the total hours I logged at the pool, lying in bed, and otherwise being a drain on the environment). Liz says that at least I'm not poor...but since my husband's been laid off I am on a Botkier moratorium so I am poor and not in business school!

Anyway, she is going to the same b-school that I went to, except that things over there are way better now. For one, they have more than three women's stalls in the classroom area (most of my class breaks were spent standing in line hoping to get into the bathroom before class started again). For another, they have now figured out how to properly leverage the "information superhighway" (aka the "internet"). And most importantly, there is a decent salon in town. I know this because one of my b-school classmates, who witnessed my painful assortment of haircuts referred to as "The E.T." and "The Mushroom", opened it. Liz went there and got a normal-looking cut and color. I also once got my brows done in town and that result was best described as "Peking Opera." Having a good salon in town and more than three stalls would have made my b-school experience perfect. My toughest decision of the day was usually when my friend Becky (who also lived next door to me) called and said, "What kind of iced tea should we have at the pool today?" It would turn into a "I don't know, you decide" / "No, you!" / "No, you!" type thing and would conclude with us poolside. The fact this 2-year vacation is a 20-something's ticket to a six-figure salary is just incredible.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ode to Botkier

To the right is a Botkier Stevie Hobo. It is on my current To Stalk list, but I want it in persimmon instead of black. Isn't it lovely? Don't I need it? Wouldn't my collection be almost complete with a Sasha convertible duffel as well?
Before you judge me, let me throw one of my friends under the bus first. This friend, who shall remain unnamed, was so struck by the beauty of the Botkier that she composed this poem (cue lute music in the background):
I love Botkier handbags you see
If you could feel and see them, you'd agree with me
They are beyond description
Sometimes I think I need a prescription - to get over my addition
I am like a jaguar, prowling the night...
on eBay and other sites, willing even to fight
Today I stalked the FedEx tracking
first twice, then five times, now my mind is cracking
For you see, a new Botkier arrives - hooray!
it left the local facility at 4:40 AM today
Now it is 9:30 AM, i am tempted to drive around to look for the FedEx Man
What if he's lost, can't find my house, drunk at the wheel...or in the Can?
Somebody please help me!
A work of beauty if I must say so myself. My husband says that when he sees me he can hear my thoughts very loudly: "Botkier...Botkier...Botkier..."
My friend Patricia just bought her first Botkier today - an Emily tote (cute!). Now she's watching a Nomad satchel and a Sasha duffel. See, they're like can't have just one.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Julia Child Was a Spy!

So Julia Child was a spy! Can you believe it?!?

I guess things aren't always as they seem. One of our vendor partners at work was telling me last week about a hire they recently made. His VP of Ops interviewed her, said that she presented herself very well, and asked permission to make an on-the-spot offer. He granted it, but they still ran a background check afterwards. Lo and behold, she did have a criminal record -- prostitution. My vendor partner asked for the date of the charge -- perhaps it was ten years ago, and she'd had a life change since then? Charge was in April. He asked his VP of Ops, "Well, how does she look?" and he responded, "Between $75 and $100." Nice!

Anyway, on to the more important things in life: to the right is a family portrait of my Botkier bags. I'm thinking about putting it in a frame for my desk at work -- you're supposed to do that with loved ones, right? (From top left: Botkier Stirrup Hobo, Botkier Bianca Small in Metallic Silver, Botkier Bianca Medium in Nude Python; Second row: Botkier Sophie in Honey Tan, Botkier Sophie in Raisin, Botkier Bianca Medium in Cherry.)
A couple of weeks ago, I got this email from my friend Nina, who had just purchased her first Botkier:
It came today. It is absolutely stunning. I am speechless. I have Louis. I have Guccis. There is no comparison. The soft leather. The new smell. The nice "thank you" note that came from the seller. I am absolutely in love.
The indigo blue, is a nice, dark (denimy) blue. It is absolutely perfect. Now, I am officially addicted.
This is all your fault.

She wasn't kidding about being addicted. Over the next couple of weeks there was an eBay emergency (I got texts while I was at work), another Botkier purchase, the spread of the Botkier addiction to an unnamed local news anchor, the neglect of children in the incessant and desperate online search for out-of-production Botkier styles. I am familiar with all these symptoms. (Nina, by the way, also recently sent me a family portrait of her Botkiers.)
If you're not willing yet to shell out about $700 for a new Botkier (or $300-400 on eBay), check out the Botkier collection at Target. In particular, from the research I've done, the Satchel in Gray Python seems to be the best in the collection, both from a design and quality perspective (comments indicate that some of the other PVC bags look and feel cheap). In fact, I pondered ordering one of these just because it's only $49.99, but my fellow Botkier lovers talked me down so I resisted. I guess for me (a real Botkier addict) it would be like having fake boobs -- there's nothing really wrong with it, but even if the fake python looked real, I would know, and other Botkier addicts would know (in the words of my friend Alice, "Don't forget -- these say Botkier for Target -- true Botkier lovers will notice right away!"). And for me, part of the joy is the quality of the leather -- and the smell of the leather. I remember the first Coach bag I bought for myself in the '90s. I think I went around smelling it more than I carried it. I'm currently stalking a Botkier Stevie Hobo in Persimmon -- lovely!
I feel like I need to say something about the Olympics too, which I'm watching in the background. Synchro diving: who made that up?!? It's so amazing to watch, but isn't it nearly imposible to do? Wow.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

So I was stalking the web for Botkiers again and I came upon this site called Here is their return policy:
If for any reason, you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, you may return it free of charge for a period of 365 days from the original purchase date-- we'll even pay for the return shipping. Merchandise must be unworn and in the original packaging, and accompanied by the original packing slip. We'll also accept the return of incorrect or defective merchandise that meets the guidelines below.
A year!
In this neither witty nor insightfulpost, I've included a photo of the inside of a purse. It's one of the purses I'm selling on eBay (a Botkier!). I'm hurting for images. Send me some interesting ones. I will blog about them. I will even write a haiku if you request it.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Now that I've been implementing my own economic stimulus plan through my crack addict purchases of Botkier handbags, I've joined Even though we offer this program through the company where I work, I was (and am) skeptical of anything with the word "free" in it. So let's be clear: the program is not free. It can, however, be financially beneficial if you shop online.

Here's how it works:

1) Membership is $6.99 / month, billed annually -- so $83.88 a year. They currently have a 30 day free trial so I'd recommend doing that -- why not. You can cancel the membership anytime. You can get up to $500 / year in shipping rebates, including return shipping.

2) When you shop, log in to and search on the merchant you plan to patronize. They have over a thousand merchants, big and small (I'd say they capture about 65% of my online purchases). Click on the merchant you are shopping, and you'll be sent over to their website. Complete your transaction.

3) Go back to FreeShipping and make a claim. This does require printing out your receipt and mailing it in, and I suspect their business model relies on the laziness of people and their inability to mail something in even if they get money back for it, but it's a great program for the miserly people who get profiled in the Famously Frugal section of Real Simple magazine. Or people like me, whose husband just got laid off, but who believes that by sending in these rebates I am actually earning money and therefore am entitled to another purse. $500 would buy me a mighty nice Botkier on eBay.

Look for more money-saving tips as I head toward financial ruin!

Designer handbags at less than full price (it's ok then!)

So a few weeks back, when I was struggling particularly hard with my purse habit (ok, I bought 8 purses to be exact, but this is how I feel when I buy a good purse --how can something that feels so right be wrong?), I had this idea for a purse exchange -- it would be a closed community of designer purse collectors, who, when they tired of their bags, could auction them off or exchange them for other high-end bags. The challenge of course would be to get a critical mass of users to make the place interesting. I did the economics and unless I charged what I thought were somewhat unreasonable prices, it was definitely going to be more of a hobby than a business venture.

Anyway, as with all my good ideas, someone else already thought of it. BagBanco, which is a venture of From Bags to Riches (a Bag, Borrow or Steal competitor), has put a marketplace together for gently used bags. There's no auction function -- they basically sell for you on consignment for cash or for credit -- but it's pretty close (I have to say I think the subscription fees are high, but based on the model I built I think they have to be this way in order for them to be reasonably profitable). I had purchased the URL with the idea that I might actually build this thing, but for now it just lists the bags I need to sell in order to make room for my 8 new babies -- I'm sort of like the Angelina Jolie of purse collecting (at least one of each color, from multiple continents). Anyway, the other side benefit of staring would have been the need to build an initial stash of inventory in order to start activity of the site -- purse start-up capital, if you will. Now I'll just have to build my stash with no good excuse at all.

I know it's bad when you have to give away clothes in order to make space for your bags. My friend Jenny clarified that it's perfectly ok to give away your husband's clothes in order to make room for your bags -- but she also suggested selling my platelets to fund my bag habit. The thing that makes me feel better about it is not paying full price for a designer bag (then, as my friend Nina says, you'd be losing money if you don't buy it!). Here are the best sources I've found for discount designer purse shopping:

  • eBay: When I was doing research around, the biggest stumbling block I came upon was how to compete with eBay. They are simply the largest and most sophisticated forum. And there are some really great deals on bags -- be careful though because there are fakes -- try the Authentication Forum at if you're not sure. They also have a nice search option that enables you to get automated messages when items that meet your criteria are listed.
  • Bag, Borrow or Steal: They've got an outlet section (you have to register in order to view it) where they sell you refurbished bags with a satisfaction guarantee. Prices are typically higher than I see on eBay, but you're guaranteed authenticity. They get new inventory in each Wednesday, with additional discounts on Fridays.
  • BagBanco: I haven't bought from them yet -- they don't have a critical mass of products yet , but the prices seem reasonable and you are also guaranteed an authentic bag.
  • Bluefly: They have a decent selection, but I am somewhat prejudiced against them because they don' t have Botkier, though they do have Kooba. Average discount is between 20-50% off retail. I see the same selection on eBay, so I think eBay still wins out on price overall.

Feed the habit!

Celebration of Life

Lady with Cigar.
Originally uploaded by **Poof!**
On her birthday, my brother's girlfriend asked everyone to take a picture that day that they believed represented a celebration life. This was my favorite pic from the set. I bet this lady doesn't spend her days working on large spreadsheets.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Early to sleep, early to rise...

Ok, I can't take credit for this idea primarily because Ben Franklin already said it a little while before I did: "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise." (By the way, I don't think Ben Franklin was 100% wise. For instance, he also said, "Eat to live, and not live to eat." I don't think that's right (said the woman who eats mayonnaise out of the jar).). Anyway, I've heard this quote since I was little, but I'm just not and have never been a morning person (but I do happen to be a very good night person). As luck would have it, I took a trip to Europe, and when I returned, operating on UK time, I awoke at roughly 4 AM. And you know what? It was great! I felt so productive. In fact, the idea that I had so much time ahead of me motivated me to be much more industrious than I usually am. I did a yoga workout on video, I made a real breakfast, I went to the grocery store (where I was the only shopper and had to pluck produce out of cartons because they hadn't finished laying them out yet -- and if there's one downside, it's that I couldn't buy lettuce because it was still somewhere in the nether regions of the grocery store) where I was congratulated at being the first shopper in store history to buy a fish from the fish department at 6 AM, and best of all, I wasn't screaming at the kids all morning.

I don't know about you, but mornings at my house are generally crazy. They're probably the worst part of the day, tied with the 5 PM - 7 PM witching hour when the kids start to melt down and I start to look for a cocktail. And one of the reasons I dread weekdays is that they all start off so crazy, trying to make sure everyone gets dressed, brushes their teeth, eats their breakfast, has a lunch packed -- in addition with trying to appear human myself for my appearance at the office. Add to this the fact that there is a punishment for the parent from the school for being late (I won't get into it, but trust me, it is bad), and the whole thing is just plain stressful.

So since I got back from my trip, I've been making myself get up early. And you know what? My whole day is better! I'm relaxed in the morning, I eat a real breakfast, I talk to the kids, and I just have this general feeling that everything is really ok.

The downside is that I'm avoiding social activity, fearing it will interfere with my bedtime...the good sleep habits rule, as suggested by my college professor Dr. James Maas, is that even if you have a late night, you should make yourself get up at the same time every morning. I fear this. I have a known love for sleeping in, and I'm afraid that this will bring me back over to the Dark Side.

Well, sleep tight. I'm sure some of you do this already. I'm a little slow -- it took me about 10 years to notice that Brad Pitt was "kind of cute". You know, by the time everyone else had moved on.


Sometimes I just want to eat mayonnaise. Not just any mayonnaise -- I like regular mayo well enough, as an accompaniment to a sandwich, or a seafood cocktail -- but this mayo from the Ojai Cook -- called Lemonaise -- is so good that I want to eat it on its own. Ok, I confess -- I did eat it on its own. Tonight, in fact. Off a knife. In front of my kids. I put it out as an accompaniment to a poached salmon, but really, it was all about the Lemonaise. It's similar to the mayo you get in France -- and I think just as good as the mayo my mother-in-law, who used to run a cooking school in France (Why does that have such a nice ring to it? Better than, for instance, " a cooking school in Germany?"). Anyway, it's tangy, it's creamy, and it's got mustard seeds in it. It's sooo good. It's so good that you'll see the link I have it going to on this page has it sold out. And one of the reviewers says the only thing she doesn't like about it is that she has to have it shipped.

One of the benefits of living in California is that I can actually find it at my local grocery store (Henry's Marketplace -- I love that place so much it makes me want to cry). I hoard it too -- I always make sure I have at least two spare, because once I really wanted some and they were (gasp) out of stock.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

When you know, you know

Remember when people would tell you that you'd know when you found The One? It happened to me last month. Suddenly, with no warning, I fell fast and hard for Botkier handbags -- until the pure supple lambskin-y, design-y perfection of them was too much for me to handle.

I first saw them online during a sale. On sale they were about $475, so I hemmed and hawed about the Botkier Bianca until they were sold out. I then proceeded to kick myself for missing out, for the Biancas are nowhere to be found on the primary market, and I began scouring eBay for them, losing several auctions in the last 5 seconds because apparently other Botkier obsessed are faster typers than I am. Determined not to be defeated yet again, I actioned on a Buy It Now for the Sophie bag in Raisin (pictured), which is now in my possession. It arrived at my door during a particularly bad my-career-is-in-the-toilet-now-that-I-have-kids kind of day, and as my friend Jenny so aptly pointed out, it would match perfectly with the bottle of vodka I'd be carrying.

Still outbid though on the Botkier Bianca (I wanted it in nude snakeskin), I desperately settled and pulled another Buy It Now on a Cherry colored one. That one is coming on Tuesday, the day before I leave town (it also involved begging the seller to expedite the bag so I'd get it before I left). I then set an auto-search on eBay to show me daily all the new Botkiers that were on the market. This has resulted in two additional bids for Botkiers, as well as a membership in The Purse Forum.

And I can't stop talking about them. I dragged a gay co-worker into critiquing a few I was considering. I email my friend Alice (who just gave birth two days ago) updates and opinion requests. It is truly an illness. Weirdest part is that I was never that into bags.

But then I made a startling discovery: there seem to be a bunch of purse addicts out there, who buy new purses, carry them for a couple of weeks, and then stow them in their original dust covers with their authentication tags, and resell them on eBay once they're back in season again. Brilliant! I felt enabled. Like I had an excuse to buy more bags.

Continuing to troll the net for Botkiers, I stumbled upon the Chloes. Whoa. If Botkiers were my Ivana Trump, Chloes are my Marla Maples. So I'm just waiting for those Koobas to hit me over the head...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

My cup of tea

Maybe I'm a little slow on the uptake, but though I always knew that tea was made of dried leaves, it really didn't hit me til recently that they're really just dried leaves. I guess I had always assumed that something special had to be done to them...why else would you pay money for a bunch of dried leaves? A co-worked of mine who is a bit of a tea freak went to a tea tasting in San Francisco Chinatown, walking out with several $30 bags of tea. What was so special about these teas was that they were whole leaves -- so when you pour boiling water over them, the leaves reconstitute and open up (unlike the shredded bits of leaves you get in standard tea bags). He said that leaves that do that actually haven't been dried for very long, and thus are lower in caffeine. I haven't verified that claim -- just putting it out there.

As you may have noticed I'm a little obsessive about efficiency (this drives my apparent zeal for things like recycling, composting and energy conservation, but refer to my previous post for the real story). I get a lot of dried lavender blooms and fallen-off rose petals in my garden. Mostly I throw them into my makeshift compost pile, or chuck them around the garden for slow decomposition, but I'm always looking for new things to do with garden refuse. So I decided to try making my own tea.

My criteria:

  • It shouldn't kill me. Before gathering dried leaves for tea-making, I looked online to make sure there were like things on the market (e.g., other people had tried them, hadn't died, and thought well enough of it to market it to a broader audience).
  • It shouldn't taste disgusting. I also looked online for combos of leaves that, as in the first bullet point, people tried and liked enough to keep making.

I have a little teapot with a strainer for tea leaves, so I didn't have to bother with sewing tea bags or anything of the sort. So far I've made a couple of teas:

  • Lemon verbena. This one gave off a really lemony smell, and was very light. It was a little lemony for my liking, but hey, it was free and didn't kill me.
  • French lavender and rose petals. This one tasted like it smelled. I added honey a little bit of cream to it, but I think I went a little too heavy on the lavender.
  • Ginger. This didn't come from my garden, but I plopped a chunk of raw ginger root into boiling water and added a bit of sugar -- this was delicious. It was a little spicy, and really soothing.

I put in approximately 1 teaspoon dried leaves for every cup that I brewed. My conclusion: you can definitely make your own tea. Do a little research before dropping the leaves into your pot (hemlock, for instance, might be a bad choice), but for the most part, there's nothing to it. Of course there are always leaves not readily available to you that are worth buying from tea manufacturers, but it is another way to use up the stuff in your garden.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

When cleaning should suck

I'm not a vacuum-cleaner hobbyist. I don't particularly like to clean. But I found myself recently in need of a new vacuum, after my old Kenmore lost its suction despite making Darth Vader type noises. Those of you who know me won't be surprised that I spent hours doing research to find my optimal vacuum cleaner -- one that balanced performance with value. (I will spare you the details of my analysis, but for those of you in the market for a great professional-level flat iron I would recommend the Sedu:

Here were my criteria:

  • Vacuum cleaner must be lightweight. I don't like cleaning as it is, and can be easily deterred by something as simple as lifting a heavy vacuum cleaner up the stairs.
  • Vacuum cleaner should last a long time -- 10+ years. I don't want to be researching vacuum cleaners again any time soon.
  • Cleaner should work on both hard surfaces (wood floors, slate) and carpet (I have relatively low-pile carpet).
  • Bonus points if it's cute.
  • Less than $500. I'm not a cleaning pro.

My research resulted in the purchase of a Miele S4 Galaxy Series Carina S4210 cannister vacuum. I love it. It is quiet. It is cute. It's yellow. It sucks like nobody's business. At $389, it's the lower-end Miele but all the reviews point to its reliability (I almost went with an Electrolux cannister -- my parents have had an Electrolux for the past 30 years that is still going -- but read that since Electrolux was purchased by Eureka, they suck a little more and not in a good way. Apparently, leaving the vacuum plugged in when not in use can cause shorts, resulting in a need for frequent repairs). It's good on both floors and low-pile carpets / rugs, and has six settings. If you have shaggy rugs, you'd probably want to upgrade to some of the higher end models. Even the guy at the Oreck store said that he liked Mieles.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

All food, all the time

I just got back from a business trip to Colombia. You will be pleased to know that because of the constant attention of four bodyguards, a bullet-proof car, and an approximate net worth of $50, I was not kidnapped. I was, however, fed, gargantuan proportions of food, approximately six times a day, with an average of four desserts per sitting (I do not exaggerate). To the right you can see a photo of what was an appetizer...that came before the appetizer that came before the main courses followed by the four desserts. By the end of the trip, I was simply too fat to be kidnapped -- no kidnapper could possibly afford to keep me alive given my new nutritional requirements. One of my most enjoyable experiences included shopping for handbags at a mall while accompanied by bodyguards. I believe the appropriate word for that is "weird".

While we were there we had lots of delicious local fruits and vegetables, which were purportedly pesticide-free. They also appeared not to be genetic mutants, which was a nice change. When I got back a few friends and I got together, and the Oprah-watchers among us brought up a recipe for a pesticide cleanser. See here for the recipe. Apparently this is for people who don't want to be slowly killed by pesticides, yet are also unwilling to pay for organic fruit (I sometimes fall into this camp). I was concerned that the vinegar would make the fruit taste disgusting, but a friend of mine tested it and said it was just fine...the only downer was that she had to plan 10 minutes ahead before serving fruit.
So, spray away! I plan to make the concoction sometime in the near future (you can get the grapefruit seed extract from health food stores and the usual suspects). If you make it, let me know how it goes! Then again, do you really want to live into your hundreds?

Monday, March 31, 2008

You know you're fat when...

  • You go to talk to a gay guy at work, and instead of making eye contact with you he makes waist contact with you -- he stares at the muffin-top above your pants the entire time.
  • Someone sets up a meeting using Outlook and lists you as the location.
Both these things actually happened to me this week.

I hate exercise. This was moderately ok when I wasn't middle-aged and when I lived in a city and was forced to walk everywhere, but now on occasion I even have debates with myself on the merits of getting up from my seat to go to the bathroom versus...just not. If I were an animal I'd be a sea anemone. I'd have a symbiotic relationship with organisms that groomed me and would wait for food to come to me.

There was a time when I ran. I only run when I'm depressed. Anyway, I kept waiting for this "runner's high" I kept hearing about. Maybe it's just me, but unless runner's high consists of severe cramping and the flab on your face actually detaching from your bones due to all the turbulence, I never got runner's high.

I live in Southern California, so I have to spend a good part of the year in a swimsuit -- and often times, sadly, in front of people I know. So instead of addressing the root of my problem, I ordered 6 tankinis to try on, figuring, the more coverage, the better. I ordered them from Victoria's Secret, which I knew right off the bat was a really bad idea. It is impossible for me to tell what those swimsuits actually look like because, unlike the models, I do not have breasts that resemble a grown person's buttocks. In fact, I could have stopped the last phrase five words in. But I'd venture to say that outside of Southern California, most people don't look like that. So, it is not possible to tell what the swimsuit actually looks like on any normal person based on the photo. As such, it was shocking when I actually put them on. The most fitting phrase would be "female wrestler". I didn't think this was possible, but I looked even worse in those tankinis than in a bikini with my midsection exposed.

My new strategy is to appear in locations where I am comparatively in shape. For instance, our next vacation is going to be in Palm Desert. Next to most octagenarians, I look young, firm, and in shape. I appear lively and full of energy.

Anyway, I eat well and I try to be healthy minus that moving-around part. You can't win 'em all.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Clean, Either

Ok, sorry for the posting mishap. I think I just made a blank posting. Not that that's any worse than my usual postings.

I'm at home today because theoretically we are getting recessed lighting put in. I say theoretically because the electrician is 2.5 hours late. He called about an hour and a half ago to say that he was going to be here in 30 minutes. It seems (see my previous post) that if left home alone, I stray to the dark netherworld of cleaning supplies. Since I'm down to my last few drops of the Method cleansers I bought a few months ago, I found myself on this website: . Inspired, I decided that I was going to refill my Method bottles (recycling) with some of these non-toxic recipes (cheap). Going down the supply list, though, the only recipe I could make with what's in my house was a 1:1 water/vinegar combo. Then, to make myself feel more commercial, I put in a few drops of red food coloring (which promptly stained my hands to a murderous hue as the bottle, which had been unopened since 2003 which was the last time I baked, exploded). Then, I gave my counter a squirt. I was pleasantly surprised at how little it smelled like vinegar -- and then thought it might be nice to add a few drops of essential oil for fragrance next time (which I would have done if I had any).

Anyway, I'm really excited about these cleaning supplies. They're cheap, and they won't kill you!

Monday, February 18, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Green

So over the past few years I've slowly begun to go green...not for the right reasons, like caring about the environment or anything, but to satisfy one of my neuroses: I have this thing about efficiency. I can't stand it when things aren't efficient. Once when I was in college (and obsessive about recycling; again, because I can't stand waste) I had a dream about eating paper. I was eating the paper because it was too inefficient to throw it away.

I was home from work today because my kids were both sick. It's a really good thing that I'm not a stay-at-home mom because I ended up buying $75 worth of household cleaner (Xtreme Kleen)from a door-to-door salesman after he drank some of the all-purpose-cleaner to prove to me that it was non-toxic (and biodegradable, and environmentally sound, etc). But I just wanted him to stop drinking the solvent. I had already purchased some Method cleaning supplies thinking that it would be better overall for all of us (including the housecleaners I have) to have more environmentally and theoretically safer products. $75 later, I started doing some research on cleaning products. Here's what I found:

  • Manufacturers of cleaning supplies are not required to divulge their ingredients. This makes it kind of hard to figure out if what you're buying is good for your health or the environment.
  • Biodegradable and environmentally friendly does not equal good for your health. For instance, a lot of biodegradable products (like butyl cellosolve) are fine for the environment but can cause a whole host of problems for humans (like liver and reproductive damage, to name a few). Butyl cellosolve happens to be in many household cleaners, including Xtreme Kleen and other more common brands. Method didn't disclose particulars; their ingredient list says things like "biodegradable solvent". Hm.
  • There are no regulated labels for claims like "environmentally friendly" and other phrases that make things sound like they're good for you / the earth. I bought some "environmentally friendly" laundry detergent and the ingredient list was no different from the Costo Kirkland brand laundry detergent I had purchased previously.

So what's a girl to do? The best thing to do is to live in filth. No, actually, the safest thing to do (which I have yet to do, and maybe I'm willing to risk my health in order to optimize idle time) is to make your own household cleaners. If you're inspired to do this, here's a link. It is a whole lot cheaper, but -- let me know how it goes.

Since I won't be making my own household cleaner in the next couple of hours, I was looking for some easier efficiency projects to concentrate on. A few months ago I already switched out 1 in 3 of our lightbulbs for energy efficient types. Surprisingly, it made a pretty significant dent in our electric bill. More efficient! I stumbled upon my latest idea on the National Geographic Green Guide site. I haven't subscribed yet to the Green Guide because 1) I'm lazy and 2) it seems counterintuitive that I would subscribe to this thing that is printed on paper, but I'm sure I'll get over that. The idea is to stop using paper napkins at dinner. I do happen to have about a thousand cloth napkins that get used about once a year sitting in the linen closet upstairs. I don't know why I never thought to actually just use them. I mean, I have to do laundry anyway, so why not. And I'll argue that I don't have to press them because I'll use up less energy using them wrinkled.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mean Girls

It's been a while since I've posted, but since then I've been 1) to Asia, 2) working, and 3) to Disneyland. I will write about none of those right now, but I did want to talk about something else. My oldest daughter, Amelia, hasn't wanted to go to school lately -- and I've recently uncovered that she has a bully! It's like Mean Girls, Preschool Style.

She used to be friends with these two girls, but they have turned on her and now make her miserable. I am totally reliving all the stuff I would just as soon forget. The good news, though, is that having had 36 years of formulating come-backs after the fact, I am now much better at them -- so I have been working with her on rehearsing comebacks. Like when one girl tries to scare her by saying that there is a ghost in the room, and I told her to say something like, "Yes, there is a ghost, and it's your smelly fart!" Or when a mean girl tells her that's she's a nincompoop, I told her to say "I know you are, but what am I?" (that, I know is not very original). I was going to make her wear these funky striped pants (that I would wear were they in my size) but she refused since one of the mean girls makes fun of those pants, so I actually reconsidered (remembering what my mother made me wear) and put her in khakis today.

This is not as bad, though, as a case I know of (I think this took place in second grade) where the mean girls, also ex-friends of the victim at hand, invented a play about the girl they were being mean to. I guess at least nobody created an adaptation of Ulysses for use in my ridicule.

I am realizing that, in a sort of reincarnation, I am going to have to go through everything all over again -- the mean girls, the awkward phases (though no one can outdo me on that one), rejection and bad tempers...I can't wait.