Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Third Avenue Gem

Untitled Document Do you ever cheat when you walk across the street? You know: you start walking in a perfect perpendicular line to the street you're crossing, but then you cut a corner and veer inward toward the middle of your destination block to save time, or because you're lazy, or just because you can.

So I was crossing Third this morning and did that veering thing towards the front of the downtown Seattle YMCA, and watch out! I'm glad I didn't veer more, as I would have stepped on him. The roach was just hanging out on the sidewalk about 8" from the curb. I stopped and poked him with the toe of my shoe (clog, actually). Yep. Alive.
Mr. Roach
Mr. Roach, in context

But look at him; isn't he kind of pretty? You can see why insects have inspired beautiful jewelry for thousands of years. They possess symmetry, combine pleasing, rounded shape with strange, wiry appendages, and their armored exoskeletons are so opposite of our own anatomy.

Egyptian gold ring inlaid with lapis
lazuli scarab and glass, 1350 B.C.
Image credit: Susie Ward Aber
When I saw the King Tutankhamun exhibit in 1978, I really loved the scarabs. Whodda thunk someone could get so inspired by a beetle that they'd create something so beautiful?

I'm no entomologist, but I do want to clarify that roaches and scarabs, while related to the level of the infraclass Neoptera, belong to different superorders and orders. Scarabs are beetles of the order Coleoptera, and roaches Blattaria (as are termites). I also want to come clean and clarify that this insect taxonomy thing is stuff that I had to look up to write about it.

About 30,000 scarab species exist, and Egyptians long ago viewed the sacred scarab as a form of the sun god Khepri. I don't know if there have been any cultures that viewed the cockroach as the embodiment of a god. Perhaps we could make the roach the "God of the Unsanitized Gym Shower Stall," or "He Who Waves in Delight at the Midnight Restaurant Dumpster Bounty."

For a lovely story about an insect pet and information on actual bejeweled beetles, check out The Holy Enchilda's blog.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Seattle Sandy's Fancy Fleece

Certain items in my closet I only wear to the grocery store. One of these is a red Patagonia polar fleece pullover. It's left over from about 1994, and is in great shape,'s fleece. It's a remnant of my 90s life, which wasn't a bad one, but it's gone, baby, gone (thank goodness).

Is there any way that polar fleece can still work? Today while wandering Pacific Place, I found living proof that it can. From behind I saw Sandy and another chic woman talking, and I first noticed the shoes: one had sand-colored oxfords with metallic gold heels, the other fantastic spotted socks. When they parted, I saw Sandy's full outfit: cobalt jeans, an olive sweater with lime trim, and an orange bag.

As I rushed the poor woman to request a picture, I saw the Patagonia tag: fleece! Not a sweater! Well smack me with a ham sandwich.

Sandy makes it all work by keeping it tidy and bright: slim jeans in whiz-bang blue, wowza-holy-cow sockies, and a simple bag in a color that hits your eyeballs like an Olympic Mountains sunset in August.

My particular likes about all of this:
  • If you're going to show some sock, don't pussyfoot around (ha!): go for it, sister
  • Do without the brazenly branded purses (the logo show & tell thing has always puzzled me); choose a classic
  • Pair a well-fitting fleece (nothing oversized & sloppy here) with things that make it serve as the complement: here, the olive color is the low tone that makes the jeans, socks, and bag the foci
  • I am steadfastly pro-orange
It also helped that the pullover had that lime trim; really set off the super-shiny silver earrings and necklace. She knows what works for her, she's keeping it carefree, and she wears her individuality with confidence.

Okay, it also helps that one of her daughters works at Coach (she was the one with the cool oxfords!), and the other at J. Crew. Waahh! Why don't I have kids who work in Retail Funland? Oh, that's right...I forgot to have kids.

So, ready to follow Sandy's lead and show everyone that good taste runs in the family?
Polka-dots are sold out (boo hoo!), but check out J. Crew's Chevron Stripe Socks:
Here's Coach's Classic Duffle:
And here are Sandy's daughter's Coach Jocelyn oxfords: