Saturday, November 27, 2010

Everybody Boom-Dings Once In Awhile

When I was little, I wanted to be a game show hostess. Not like Vanna White, but more old-school with a subtler set of skills, like the ladies who stood in front of giant wrapped boxes and encouraged us all to imagine what might be in them.

My fascination bubbled over to include TV commercials and cooking shows, and I combined the two regularly in front of the bathroom mirror, mixing up whatever I could find in the medicine cabinet—shaving cream, toothpaste, talcum powder, aspirin—and explaining to the viewers out there what I was creating.

I have a similar approach to fashion, combining whatever’s there, as long as it’s in the right color palette. Can’t decide: pants or skirt? Wear both! For example: off-white corduroys, a pinky beige-patterned wrap skirt made from a silk saari, a leopard-spotted tank top, ruffly sand-colored sweater, crème-and-tan argyle socks, a striped velvet scarf that a neighbor was throwing out (1970s vintage!), earth-toned peacock feather earrings. A layer-cake take on dressing along the lines of macho frio, which was created, albeit with a different goal, by my friend Kate’s dad. I think I actually may be dressing like a 5-year-old, which is fine with me. Nothing better than beginner’s mind.

So, it’s no wonder I couldn’t sleep during my recent business trip to Seattle. I was too darn excited! The entire city is, as Sue, possibly-most-gracious-host-ever, put it, “a hodge-podge.” Hilly streets planted with tri-colored houses in which Muppets would feel right at home…here’s a Siamese-colored one with a blue door, landscaped with crazy floofy foliage reminiscent of divalicious cornstalks, a cherry Mustang ('67?) parked nearby; here’s one that looks like a peach-colored cuckoo clock with a big tree in front that Fozzie Bear might climb. The best part is that, since it’s all hilly, everything looks completely different when you’re at the bottom than when you get to the top, and your perspective is constantly changing on the way up. Always something new to see, something new to be.

And the kitties? Story book characters, too, especially naughty orange ones like Bertie and Cooper who go around sneaking into neighbors’ houses. And what do they do once inside? Oh, they might eye a collection of old bird’s nests or take a few pictures. Seriously.

This photo was taken by Cooper, who wears a teeny camera on his collar. You can buy his new book here!

And the birds! Beautiful big-mouthed crows everywhere, and gray-brown gulls with feathers patterned like pebbles along the shoreline, and look to the right, over at 2 o’clock…a bald eagle! My first. Water, water everywhere, and some big-a$$ mountains that didn’t scare me at all. Tall trees, small trees, and green, green, green.

I really liked Seattle, everybody!

What to listen to when you’re running up that hill

When I was trying to think of a song to accompany this post, after a couple of tries this one cued up in my head. There’s a bicycle bell and a horn on it, which I thought was hodge-podgy--but it’s so carefully built that it shows that hodge-podge doesn’t mean thrown together without design. And all the vocals from “I wanna cry” on sound like the up-and-down of rolling hills.

Here’s an amazing video on the making of this song. I totally freaked out when I saw the Muppet. It’s where I stole the title for this post, too:


  1. Great post, and not just bc of the Harold Steinberg name-check. You and Rosie could go thrift shopping and dumpster diving together. She's a layerer, too, and a bit of a fashion iconoclast. Yesterday was an inside out dress and plastic "high heels." And always happy for a Pet Sounds track, plus a sucker for Muppets references. Yay!

  2. Sure, a little black dress is elegant, but I'm of the mind: if less is more, imagine how much more "more" is! Bring on the layers. Especially in the winter, it's absolutely crucial to be warmly swaddled and brightly wrapped.

  3. Thanks, dames. (Kate, I hope it's OK I called you a "dame," I took liberties as I know it's Stephanie's preferred term--along with "broad.")