Friday, August 24

I Blame Genetics

I just bought two pairs of shoes on-line. Are these cute, or what? And they had them in black as well, which is why I had to get two pairs, really I did. Actually they had them in two other colors, but not in my size. Which is probably just as well. In my defense, however, they were only $20 each, and for $20 I think I really did have to get at least two pair, don't you? And most of my cuter shoes are sandals which will have to be retired for the season once cold weather gets here, so really getting them now is very foresighted of me. Why yes, I am rationalizing, why do you ask?

I'm not a shop-a-holic, I swear. I don't even shop that often, really. I do, however, enjoy nice stuff just like anyone else, and sometimes I get on these jags, usually brought on by the sight of that one perfect thing that happens to be on sale. If it were just that one thing, then there would be no problem. Shopping, though, is like eating potato chips; one just leads to one more.

A large part of my problem is genetic. No, I don't mean a genetic predisposition to shop. Rather, I am both short and, well, proportionately not in sync with today's fashions. Short runs in the family, although I am somewhat at the extreme end. What this means is that I can't just run out and pick something up when the need arises. Clothing is a source of frustration for me because my body type doesn't go well with whatever the current latest trend is. So if I find something that really works, I buy it. Especially if it is on sale. And if it comes in more than one color, I get two, like with the shoes. This is also why I do a fair amount of my shopping on line. Most stores, having limited space for inventory, naturally try to stock the more popular sizes to accommodate the greatest number of customers. They are not stocking their racks with me in mind. I have discovered, though, that this does not mean that the same item my size doesn't exist, it's just back in the warehouse somewhere.

A lot of people blanch at the idea of shopping on line. If you think about it, though, it's not all that different than shopping via catalogue. In times past people did a great deal of their shopping for the season through catalogues. Today they are usually skimpy affairs put out by specialized boutique stores - shoes, electronics, and so forth. They arrive in the mail with the rest of the junk and while you might flip through and admire the wares, the catalogues usually end up in the recycle bin in fairly short order. In our grandparents' time, though, the arrival of the seasonal catalogue from Sears or J.C. Penny was a big deal. In size it could be compared to the white pages for your average city. And it contained everything. You could shop for clothes for the family, household goods, sewing needs, farm equipment ... you could spend days browsing the book and you kept it handy through the whole season. By the time new one arrived, last season's book was looking pretty tattered. They were still sent out pretty regularly when I was kid. So you see, getting my clothes through mail order isn't such a startling idea after all. Heck, my grandparents did it. The main thing with Internet shopping is to know your brands, which labels/stores you can trust for fit and quality, just as my grandmother might have had a preference for clothing from the Penny's catalogue, while preferring household goods from sears, I too have preferences. So the genetics theory still holds water.

So when my credit card statement arrives next month, I'll know who to blame. My grandparents. It's not my fault, it's genetics.

Monday, August 20

You May Save a Life

A friend of mine moved into a new house last year. This year she discovered something growing fairly rapidly in her backyard. I told her that if it was growing that well in this drought, chances are pretty good that it is a weed. Last week she told me it was sprouting berries. I told her "It's a weed. Don't eat it, get rid of it." Today she told me they looked awfully tasty and would I please look at the pictures she took and tell her for sure if it's a weed. I told her that if they were okay to eat the birds and the squirrels would have had them gone by now because it's probably a weed. I should tell you that she is not native to the U.S. and so these questions arise periodically. Anyway, she sent me some photos and I sent her back an email saying that I'm even more sure that IT'S A WEED, and ALMOST CERTAINLY POISONOUS. In fact it looks familiar. I was thinking sumac, but it's been so long I don't remember for sure what it looks like.

So if you folks would please take a look and identify this for me, I would appreciate it. See, the thing is now almost taller than she is and she's a tall woman. I figure if she's let it grow this long I'm going to have my hands full convincing her. Of course if it's really that tall, she's going to have her hands full getting rid of it.

Thursday, August 16

Lost Girls by Robert Doherty aka Bob Mayer

I'll say straight out that I haven't read this particular book yet. That's me being honest. However, I have read BODYGUARD OF LIES by Doherty and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was very much pulled into the story to the extent that when I learned he was writing a sequel, LOST GIRLS, I knew I was going to get that one too. It hasn't hit the shelves yet (August 21) or I would have it now. I do, however, have it on order with Amazon.

I did so based on expectations that it would be at least as good as BOL. In the meantime, two people whose opinions on literary matters I really respect have since got their hands on early copies of LOST GIRLS and have reviewed it on their own blogs. To be frank, I'm stunned by their glowing reviews. I knew they would probably like the book, but they are both pretty tough critics so I really didn't expect too much hype. Well they do hype it. Which has me pretty excited and really really happy that I've already placed my order. Check out what they have to say about Robert Doherty's (aka Bob Mayer) latest book LOST GIRLS,

and if you are as intrigued as I am, follow the bouncing ball to and order your own copy.