Category Archives: romance, relationships

Shacking Up

Image via PostSecret

The New Boyfriend* asked if he could move in. I said…well, I said quite a lot of things, over the course of a few days/weeks, and none of those things were “yes.” I have concerns. Lots of them. But he heard me, and he has shown discernible effort. Around the same time as this was all under consideration, I found a spare key that I didn’t know I had, and also saw on PostSecret the postcard shown at right, and I figured I should just say “yes.” So I did.

I still have a lot of concerns. Because if there’s one thing I’m good at (there are many, actually, but work with me here) it’s worrying.

When he stopped hinting around and finally came out and asked (or rather, strongly encouraged me to ask him because he didn’t want to invite himself) I pointed out that I’m pretty sure co-habitating usually develops when a couple already spends so many nights at one or the other’s place that they figure it will be easier to drop the commute and bag-packing. While he hates to commit to a plan, his life definitely runs on a schedule. A schedule that he does not notice, and denies when it’s pointed out, but come ON. Here’s our schedule-which-he-denies-is-a-schedule: Friday nights at his place. Saturday nights at mine. If he can fit me in, there will be a “bonus” night at my place during the week. Do you see how this might not lend itself toward me thinking “hey, let’s shack up”?

Last night was one of the mid-week nights and twice I woke up because his hand was over my face. He’s already trying to kill me, and we haven’t yet spent more than 3 nights in a row together.

Okay, some of my real concerns: He is very tidy, and I am…decidedly not. I will try to live up to his desire for cleanliness, but look, if I can’t manage to organize for my own sanity, what makes anyone think I’ll suddenly do it for him? We’ll have to develop an equitable division of chores, with the things most irk-y to him on his to-do list.

A plan! A vague but workable plan!

Shoes and Pie Test Kitchen blah blah blah, I have hot-air-popped popcorn for dinner more nights than not. He doesn’t even like popcorn. So I’m going to try this thing wherein I plan meals in advance. Crazy, I know. There are a handful (or more) of sites that specialize in meal planning services, wherein the company takes your dietary needs/preferences into consideration and gives you weekly shopping lists and yadda yadda it all sounds very good. But I’m kind of “into” the retro food thing and that is never an option with these plans, so I’m going to try to wing it myself. And do you see all those WABAC Wednesdays on that there calendar? Time permitting, those should turn into some enlightening Thursday blog posts. I’m counting on leftovers or the occasional dinner out for all those days left blank.

Another worry: I love to visit Europe. Which sounds fancy, but it’s not as though I go at the drop of a hat (I wish!). However, I have managed to travel overseas on four (edited: five. At least.) separate occasions. He, on the other hand, has never had a passport. Five generations of his family have all lived within 100 miles of Denver, while I now live 1,800 miles from my own birthplace, let alone that of my parents/grandparents/great-grandparents. I grew up with NYC in my backyard, and he thinks Denver is too busy. None of this is really a concern, as he’s a willing sponge who likes to explore and learn. The problem is that he doesn’t know what he’s missing, so he doesn’t ache to return to New York-London-Paris-Munich the way I do. I’d settle for a trip to a resort in Mexico, where I’ve never been (but he has, so there’s that). Also: all of his vacation days are saved for racing and race-related events.

Which brings me to another thing: everyone thinks it’s so cute/amusing/funny to say that drag racing is his number-one priority. Except that it is. It really, truly is. I get a bang out of how much he enjoys it, and I’m happy that he is both co-driver of the #1 car and crew chief of the #2 car for the 2012 season. But running two diggers takes twice as much time as running one (which takes a lot of his time as it is), and I’m so very tired of fighting the dragsters for his attention. Tired? Hell, exhausted. Fed up. I do not see a long-term solution to this. Which in no way segues to:

Swing-Along, 1963. Click for gigantoring.

We took some time over the weekend to look around his place and try to figure out where everything will fit into my place. He doesn’t collect “stuff” the way I do, so there isn’t too much that will have to be jammed in, but there are a couple of large-scale items (vintage pinball machine, vintage cigarette vending machine) that really should go in my basement tiki bar except that the tiki bar has been completely overrun by photo studio equipment for the shop, and there is NO MORE ROOM. Consider this an open call for home organizers who will work in trade for fabulous Jell-O salads. Or photographers who will work for same. Or cookies. Or pies.

Oh yeah, and that whole “my place” thing? Mine has been the only name on my lease and/or mortgage for almost 13 years now. There have been a few short-term roomies in there (hi, Scott! We still need to make a phở date), but they were my tenants. This is not the same kind of relationship. I’m going to have to try to remember that this will be our place, not my place. If anyone has recommendations for helping that work, please do share.

Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward, 1958. The couple, married for 50 years until Newman’s death in 2008, wed at the El Rancho Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Upon hearing of our plans, my mother asked if we were getting married. Not that she feels marriage is a moral requirement for living together, but to be “kept in the loop.” Now, given the topic of conversation, wouldn’t you think that if we were engaged, I’d have mentioned it? Or, seeing as I hadn’t, that there was a reason I hadn’t and asking me was therefore putting me in an uncomfortable situation? (We are NOT engaged.)

BUT…I don’t want to be a girlfriend forever. The word “wife” kinda flips me out, but this whole being-single-forever thing is wearing on me. So if we can make this work and get along, I want a ring, dammit. He, on the other hand, is quite vocally against marriage. Between anyone. He is of the very firm belief that approximately 95% of all marriages fail, so why bother in the first place? Most of the marriages in my immediate family have ended in divorce, so it’s difficult for me to argue. And yet, in spite of it all, I do believe in marriage. I can’t rationally explain why, but I promise it is more than simply my desire to do something useful with my grandmother’s diamond, and an excuse for an elaborate cake. But then again, you know, cake.

So it is with no small amount of trepidation that I ahem, we enter into this arrangement. And I hope that he doesn’t smother me in my sleep.

_________________

*We’ve been dating for what, a year and a half? He shall apparently be known as The New Boyfriend until such time as his status is no longer “boyfriend” for whatever reason.

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Filed under life-threatening clutter, romance, relationships

15 years: a recap

Hitting the road, 1995

A Twitter-friend wrote a post today about his 10 years in Boulder, and it occurred to me that this month marks my 15th year in Colorado.

In September of 1995, I packed up my belongings into a Ryder truck shared with two other wanderers (whom I “met” online, call me an early adopter) and headed west for what I thought would be a 2–3 year adventure before I either returned to NYC or continued on to San Francisco. But I never left. I called Boulder home until 2003, when I tired of renting and bought my own place in a suburb nestled just north of Denver.

In Ef’s post, he outlines some highlights and lowlights of his decade in the self-contained universe that is Boulder. My own memories are difficult to package so neatly. I’ve had five different mailing addresses. Every member of my immediate family has moved at least twice. I’ve flown in jet planes, turbo-props, and most memorably a Cessna. I’ve lost family and friends to age, disease, and tragedy. I’ve gained family and friends by birth, marriage, and sheer luck. I’ve had delicious meals, and regrettable ones. I’ve survived with only a scar what, by witness accounts, should have been a devastating car accident. I’ve been in love, and I’ve been heartbroken. I’ve visited other countries and other states. I nearly continued my original emigration to NorCal, albeit a decade late, but it wasn’t meant to be. Colorado will continue to be my home for the foreseeable future.

And I still can’t find my way around.

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Filed under family, friends, nostalgia, romance, relationships

Well, Yellow There!

Friend and fellow Twitter-er Betty Red asked today, “Why is so hard to find cute, yellow retro lingerie!?”

My first thought was that yellow can be a difficult color to match against your skin tone and as such is often overlooked by clothing manufacturers. But for those of you who are confident in your ability to wear yellow, I present the following uncommon treats:

Click on the photo to go directly to the Etsy treasury where all of these vintage lingerie items are available for purchase.

–EDIT–
I should also mention here the Etsy shops that are represented in the above collection. Reading left to right, from the top:
VintageFray
lexismonkey
TavinShop
thedabara
sewninpieces
KitschAndCanoodle
tiddleywink (that’s me!)
vintagerunway
ShonnasVintage
wunderlustvintage
fadedfrocks
HartsCloset
FancyPantsAndMore
GeneralWhimsy2
sewingmachinegirl
CapricornOneVintage

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Filed under collections, fashion, romance, relationships, shopping, vintage

Stocking Stuffer: Stockings!

shq_vintage_ad_0067

In love with a vintage gal? Looking for a stocking stuffer? I suggest more stockings. And none of that Leg Avenue garbage, either. I’m talking about the real deal here. Full fashioned, keyhole-welted, seamed, reinforced.*

These specialty items are difficult, although not impossible, to find at brick-and-mortar stores, but are readily available online. This close to Christmas, shipping times are an issue so while many vendors ship overseas, you’ll probably want to stay closer to home for now. The top of the heap for U.S. customers has to be Secrets In Lace, which carries Dita Von Teese line as well as a broad selection of other stockings and a full selection of underpinnings. In the U.K., What Katie Did will be glad to help you out. These companies are fully engaged in what they do, and they carry quality products. They’re not the only horses in the barn, though. You may also find just what your gal wants at MyTights, Christel and StockingsHQ (U.K.), or StockingStore, StockinGirl, GirdleBound, or Alexis4U (U.S.). A search for “full-fashion stockings” on Google will bring up a bevy more.

While you hunt around, you may run into some terms that you’re unfamiliar with. Here’s a quick glossary that I hope will help un-muddle your head while you shop:

  • Cuban Heel: A reinforced heel that is blocked (squared off) at the back of the ankle
  • Denier: Unit of weight by which yarn is measured, used to describe the sheerness of hosiery
  • French Heel: A reinforced heel that comes to a point at the back of the ankle, also called Point or Pyramid
  • FF, Full Fashioned: Nylon stockings, knitted flat and shaped to fit the leg by decreasing the number of stitches towards the ankle, sewn together at the back to create our beloved seam
  • Hold Ups: See Stay Ups, below
  • Keyhole: Formed by doubling over the welt and then leaving a small section un-seamed, a foolproof way to determine if the stockings are full-fashioned or circular-knit
  • Manhattan Heel: A reinforced heel with a decorative outline
  • Pantyhose: Hosiery with an attached panty. Not what we’re discussing here.
  • RHT: Reinforced Heel and Toe
  • Stay Ups: The U.K. equivalent of the U.S. Thigh High. These are elasticized to “stay up” on their own, without the need for garters (suspenders in the U.K.). And what fun is that?
  • Thigh Highs: See Stay Ups, above
  • Tights: See Pantyhose, above
  • Welt: Knit in a heavier denier yarn and folded double to give strength for supporter fastening

Remember, FF stockings don’t have much stretch, and are therefore not one-size-fits-all. Don’t try to do this without at least some insight into the recipient’s actual size/shape, or the stockings may come up too short on the thigh, and/or bag at the ankle. I myself have, ahem, fuller thighs and honestly don’t mind occasionally giving up the authenticity of FF in exchange for a better fit. Additionally, there are very few of the original machines left that can still knit full-fashioned stockings, and the prices reflect that.

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*Leg Avenue makes at least one model of FF stockings, and I can tell you from personal experience that they are awful. Terrible fit and they ran the first time I wore them. Unless you have thick ankles, skinny thighs, and glass-smooth skin: stay away.

TRUTH IN BLOGGING: None of the companies mentioned above have given me anything in exchange for writing this post. But I wish they would. :)

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Filed under fashion, holidays, romance, relationships, vintage

My Autumn Vacation

Warning: The following post has nothing to do with sewing, cooking, or vintage shopping. I took the weekend OFF, yo. :)

If you read me regularly, you know that my darling boyfriend lives in Sacramento, while I reside in Denver. This, as you might imagine, leads to a lot of travel back and forth. This past weekend was my most recent trip out, and we “accomplished” a bit more than usual. I thought I would share with you all a potentially dull breakdown:

FRIDAY
I arrived in the evening, feeling tired and somewhat unwell, but antsy to go to the Starbucks where Nick and I always hang out with friends. We were lucky enough to see a favorite friend-who-is-a-barista on her break, enjoy our drinks, and as I grew more tired and more unwell, Nick kindly took me home, where I sacked out almost instantly. Fun times.

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SATURDAY
I woke up feeling much better, but Nick now felt sluggish and cranky. We took our time getting ready for the day, and finally headed out to Starbucks (of course) to meet up with our friend Ally who was honoring Nick and me by spending her last day in town with us. The three of us spent a little time playing around in Old Sacramento, reading Christmas cards and looking for t-shirts and trying on amusing hats. Eventually it was time for Ally to go, and we hugged and wished her good luck in her new life in Virginia, with no shortage of watery eyes. Nick and I drowned our sorrows in fried goodness from the Spud Shack (poutine for him, France-style fries for me, fried zucchini sticks to share). We later welcomed our friend Rob over for a dinner of grilled London Broil, potatoes, garlic bread, salad, and still-warm Toll House cookies. Classic comfort food!

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IMG_3100SUNDAY
Nick and I both woke up feeling healthy, but a minor, nagging headache I had kept getting worse and worse. Thank goodness for Advil, and lots of it! After stopping for coffee (at a DIFFERENT Starbucks!) we drove down to San Francisco to meet our friends Rich and Patricia for a dim sum lunch at Yank Sing. It was, as to be expected, absolutely delicious. It was Nick’s first dim sum experience, and he seemed to enjoy it. We practically rolled out on our tubby bellies! Neither of us realized at the time that we were mere blocks away from Miette macarons and Cowgirl Creamery cheese over at the Ferry Building, but I doubt that either of us could have stood to look at MORE FOOD at that point. Instead, we drove a short way to Fisherman’s Wharf, which Nick warned me would be touristy, but hey, I’m a tourist. We squished a few pennies, tried on more amusing hats, watched the sea lions bark and fight and mostly sleep, bought a couple of snowglobes, and decided to head home once darkness descended upon us. On the drive home, I finally got to taste my first In-n-Out burger, ‘animal style’ as instructed by a now-Colorado-once-California friend.

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MONDAY
Nick was back to work on Monday so I washed some dishes, read a little Steven King, watched the season finale of Mad Men, blah blah blah. The treat of the day was dinner with Nick at a Mexican restaurant called Kico’s. Mmmmm, was their salsa ever tasty! Full of cilantro, and so fresh. House-made flour tortillas. Deep-fried tacos. The biggest bottle of Tapatía I’ve ever seen (above, photo by Nick). Our dinner platters were overflowing with food, so the Big Yellow Dog had quite a treat ahead of him on Tuesday!

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TUESDAY
My flight wasn’t until 3, so while Nick was toiling at work our friend Rob kept me company and we hung out, enjoyed a delicious lunch at the old service station which is now Suzie Burger, talked over coffee, and finally parted ways at the Sacramento airport. Time to plan my next trip out!

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Unrelated to anything: My Most Embarrassing Moment

Side Note: Those hands-free mobile phone headsets? They’re very good at transmitting the caller’s voice, and also at voiding out most background noise like traffic, other passengers in your car, and the radio.

Once Upon A Time, there was this guy I liked. Giving you some background but maintaining his privacy, he’s a fairly successful local musician/singer/songwriter, and you can buy his albums on CDBaby and eMusic and iTunes and Amazon. For the rest of this story, remember that he’s a professional singer.

Okay, so we’re hanging out at his place one night, and he asks if he can kiss me. Asks. If he had just leaned in and DONE it, that would have been one thing. But no, he asks. Now, I had only very recently broken up with a long-term boyfriend, so I was still reeling from that. And even though I WANTED to kiss this guy, I fumbled and sputtered and told him “not yet” and blathered out some incoherent, long-winded explanation and when the dust settled and I wanted to curl up into a ball and die, we continued to stay in touch. I wasn’t sure if I’d blown it or not.

But that’s not the embarrassing part. Oh, no.

One night, I’m driving a coworker/friend home from the office. There is an AMAZING moon on the horizon, and I pop in my headset, flip open my phone, and call this guy to alert him to go outside. I get his voicemail. I leave a quick message, and flip the phone shut. My pal in the car and I start singing “I see the moon and the moon sees me…” and when we’re all done with the song, maybe a couple of times, we turn on the radio, where we start singing along with Linda Ronstadt, belting out “When Will I Be Loved.” I’m pretty sure that we got through the whole song by the time I hear my phone beep, and realize that my headset is still in my ear. And discover that my phone does NOT hang up the call when you flip it shut if the headset is plugged in. And that I have just left a 10-minute voicemail serenading this guy, asking When Will I Be Loved. Because he CANNOT HEAR the radio, or my passenger, and does not know that any of this was unintentional.

I never heard from him again.

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Filed under big fat mouth, friends, music, romance, relationships, Ultra Maroon

Ketchup

What did the big tomato say to the little tomato? Hey, ketchup!

So here I am, probably a month since my last post, and where has the time gone?

I haven’t sewn anything since the last post, although I’ve managed to score some more vintage fabric yardage with which to make more dresses, to add to the stock of items in my etsy store. It’s only the actual SEWING OF THE DRESSES that I haven’t gotten around to. But I keep futzing with the pattern I drafted, or rather, I’m futzing with it in my head. What I need to do is futz with it on paper, and get the “final” pattern cut already! Perhaps I should add the Wild Ginger pattern drafting software to my Kaboodle list! Drooool. For myself, I bought a few new patterns: Simplicity 3673, Vogue 8555, Butterick 6582 (which was NOT on sale, and I rarely—if ever—pay as much for a modern pattern as I did for that one, but I didn’t want to wait for a sale and JoAnn was still out of stock, so I had to get it from Hancock and here it is two weeks later and I haven’t done a thing with it), and McCall’s 5382 for which I also bought a lovely Hawaiian-print fabric with which to sew View A. Of course, I already have plans to alter the dress with convertible straps and a contrast fabric, a choice forced by the just-a-bit-less-than-required length of that Hawaiian-print fabric that was left on the bolt.

My over-the-range microwave had a stroke, a fact that I mentioned on Twitter. Minutes later, as I was looking up prices for a replacement, a friend (@fruitlady) tweeted back that she had her old over-the-range sitting in her garage, and I could have it if I wanted. Let us now all praise the magic of Twitter, and the kindness of friends. Friends who offer up their microwaves, and other friends (@jgamet, @ekwoman, and @gogobigred) who offer their services and maintain a sense of humor while uninstalling the old and installing the new-to-me microwave. Complete with a late-night trip to the hardware store only to NOT find all of the bolts I needed, which required a second day of instally goodness when I did get the right bolts. New microwave in its native environment: IMG_0760

I made a dairy-free cake for the lactose-intolerant host of a 4th of July party, and it wasn’t half bad. I subbed coconut oil for the butter in a cocoa cake recipe that didn’t call for any milk in the first place. Filled the layers with cherry jam, and topped it with a meringue frosting which involved no milk, butter, or cream cheese. The cake was a little dry in my opinion, but I don’t know if that was a result of the fat substitution or of my high-altitude cooking adjustments. IMG_0770

I tried to make the cake a little patriotic, although the blue is more “baby shower” and less “field of stars.” I also wore my stars-and-stripes Chuck Taylors, a red, white, and blue Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and our host, an ex-cop, taught us a little about gun safety: IMG_0772IMG_0776IMG_0777

I took my mom to a Rockies game for her birthday. She enjoys baseball, but hadn’t been to a pro game since she last saw the Dodgers… at Ebbets Field. I believe she was 6. The weather was perfect, the company (we went with friends) was lovely, and the Rockies won the game 1-0. Mom described it as “like an amusement park, but without the sticky rides.” Which I think is a good thing. IMG_0795

Nick came out for a weekend visit, which nearly didn’t happen as his dog-sitter went missing before getting instructions regarding Ringo’s new medication. The dog sitter finally reappeared, but not until after Nick had missed his flight, and United cancelled both Nick’s arriving AND departing tickets, forcing him to buy them all over again, at last-minute prices. I cannot thank him enough for shelling out what he did just to come see me, and it was my great pleasure to make an airport run that night. As a result of all of the flurry and stress, we decided to skip the camping trip we’d anticipated, and instead spent a relaxing weekend loitering over coffees, floating in the pool, watching DVDs, and generally giggling. IMG_0806

Today, I’m back to a bit of jewelry making (a specific project, but I’ll try to get new things posted to my store soon) and thinking about what it will take to get my place in “guest condition” if Dave and Jessi decide to stay here for the duration of their upcoming visit to Denver. There are a few flies hanging out in the kitchen, a small offshoot gang from the swarm that has invaded my yard as a result of my next-door neighbors penning their dogs in their back yard 24/7 and then not picking up after them.* Yech. The fly trap is reaching maximum capacity, and stinks, so old-fashioned flypaper may be my next experiment.

*Every time I thought about reporting them to Animal Welfare, they would coincidentally clean up the poop. Additionally, the wife’s father is a cop in this town, and I wonder if anything would actually come of a warning or if it would get “taken care of.” I know it’s a health hazard, so I sent a message to the landlords. Even if they can’t do anything about it, they should know.

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