Saving Good Things

Do you save good things?

And by this, I mean do you consider some items so precious that you rarely use them, lest they get, well, used?

I do. And this is not a Good Thing.

Recently I realized that I hoard some of my nicest stuff, ostensibly protecting it from wear so that it will be (mostly) pristine when I want to use it. Which is often never.

This Prada bag is a great example.

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I bought this a couple of years ago with the idea that it’s a classic and an investment piece.

By “investment,” I also mean in my image and not in potential re-sale value.

This bag was supposed to say something about me: polished, luxe, sophisticated.

Of course I am often not any of those things, so it mostly continues to live in a box in my closet.

When I do take it out, it’s usually to go to a work event, like a conference, and then back the bag goes into its protective home.

I probably feel this way because I didn’t grow up with designer anything around our house and luxury items still sometimes feel irreplaceable if ruined despite consciously telling myself they’re Just Things.

To me, true decadence is having something nice and not really caring at all about it.

A former coworker used to sling around this giant Vuitton bag given to her by her boyfriend like it was a hobo’s bindle. She would carry (and spill) her lunch in it. Toss it in the corner of Labor and Delivery at our hospital. Drag it behind her. I couldn’t imagine ever being that carefree about something so spendy, but the more I think about it, maybe she had the right idea. It’s Just a Thing, and a practical one that’s meant to be used.

My weirdness for saving nice things also extends to travel.

I hate taking worn-out things on trips, so I practically have a whole separate wardrobe of things to wear on vacation.

There are swimsuit coverups and sandals that only see exotic beaches. Cashmere scarves and cardigans that are only meant for drafty airplane coverage. White tees that stay unworn so they can stay white. Delicate clutches for nights on the town. A Kate Spade wallet that I only use for foreign currency (!). You get the idea.

While it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get to my coworker’s carefree state of mind, I think acknowledging the problem is step one to solving it.

The tricky part is that I still am waiting for a personality transplant where I stop ruining everything I touch. Wish me luck.

What about you? Do you save your best stuff or use it with abandon?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

Actually, I think it’s Jon Bon Jovi.

But I tried.

The last few days found me in my old stomping grounds of San Antonio, TX, where we lived from 2005-2008 while I did my sub-specialty fellowship.

I’ve only been back once since we left, in 2010 when I did my sub-specialty Board Certification in Dallas and side-stepped to SA to spend a few days with my sister’s family, since they were living there at the time.

I was *so* excited to have a work trip to San Antonio, and by sheer coincidence, the conference hotel (this amazing place) was only three miles from our old house. Should I swing by and get the outdoor deck speakers that we left behind?

Excitement turned to anger turned to despair last Tuesday, though, when my flight out went from delayed to super delayed to non-existent. 

I got re-booked for a flight that put me in Texas a full 24 hours later and missing a whole day of the conference, plus a course that I’d paid a hefty fee to attend. Sadness.

I finally arrived about 10 PM on Wednesday night. I picked up my rental car and headed out to the hotel. Since it was in my old neighborhood, it was a cinch to find.

But before I got there, I had to get some sustenance.

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Seriously, Taco Cabana is more than adequate for a hungry girl late at night. This particular outlet was the same one I’d hit many, many times during my Texas tenure. A two taco meal with fresh tortillas and a fresh salsa bar is still less than $6. Totally satisfying. 

[Sidenote: never, ever knock Taco Cabana. You will be banished to the Midwest where Tex Mex is non-existent and your only Mexican option is Taco Bell. For shame!]

When I finally got to the hotel, I think they felt sorry for my late arrival and upgraded me to a suite. Score!

Here are a few pics of this very nice room. I wish I’d had more time to enjoy it.

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View from the entry room into the living room.

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HUGE bathroom with two entrances and multiple phones (!)

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Bedroom area. There was also a huge balcony that spanned the living room and bedroom.

I caught up with the conference the next day and made dinner plans to see my friend L. that night.

I had a few hours to kill before dinner and decided to drive across town and surprise my friend D, who had been a nurse in the practice where I worked. I had trouble getting in touch with her before the trip and just decided to spontaneously show up on her doorstep.

When I got to D’s neighborhood, I shadily waited outside the gate to tail behind another car and get inside. My plan semi-worked: I drove the wrong way into the exit when a car came out, but fortunately no one else was trying to leave.

You can imagine my total shock when I got to D’s house and saw a moving van in the driveway.

I parked my rental car and got out, asking the guys moving furniture if they were moving someone in or someone out.

Answer: in.

D. was gone.

I mean, really? What are the chances? The exact moment I go to D’s house there is a moving van bringing in someone new.

I was too stunned to do anything other than get into my car. I briefly contemplated sobbing in the driveway, but that’s not my style.

Instead, I had a margarita, some excellent shrimp and commiserated with my friend L. over dinner.

It was so odd, and I felt like a chapter of my life had really ended. What kind of a friend am I that I didn’t even know D. moved? 

[Update: D. messaged me the next day and said that she forgot I was coming to town and had relocated to Dallas to be near her daughter. I vowed on the spot to make plans to see her ASAP. She was so, so important to me when I lived there and is an amazing friend and human being].

I also had a chance to drive by my old place. Here it is:

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I had to surreptitiously take this shot as my car was moving, so it’s not framed well, but this cute ranch house was briefly ours. MGM was born while we lived there. We had the greatest neighbors. We were younger then. We were happy there.

On the last night, I also ate dinner at my all-time favorite pizza place. I brought a coworker attending the conference with me and the lines were out the door when we arrived. It still smelled exactly the same, which is to say delicious.

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This Chicago-style pizza gives Chicago a run for its money, and I know exactly what I’m saying when I make that claim. I’ve been dreaming of this pizza since my last visit in 2010 and it did not disappoint.

The last thing I did was to stock up on Julio’s chips, which are only available in South Texas and slightly more addicting than crack. (I kid!) There is some type of rough salt and MSG-like seasoning on these chips that leaves you so salt-loaded that you can’t bend your fingers the next day, yet you can’t stop eating them. Ever. They haunt me.

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Money well spent. Two for me and one for my sister.

[OMG. I just discovered you can order these chips online when I was linking that above. Well, that would have served me well since I had to throw out a few items of clothing to squeeze these bags into my suitcase and the bags arrived as micro-bits of chip dust. Sigh.]

One funny observation from the hotel parking lot:

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This is so, so Texas. I only captured a few in this shot, but there were a row of a dozen plus extended-size trucks in the parking lot, all with brush cages on the front. All the better to plow through the Home Depot parking lot. 

A few shots from the hotel. They had lovely art:

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San Antonio, I heart you and miss you. I hope we meet again soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sayonara, C. Wonder and Piperlime

I was surprised to learn this week that two retail haunts on my usual rotation were going out of business.

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First up: C. Wonder.

A quick check showed they’re already gone. The link above just gets you to a brief “We’re Outta Here!” message.

C. Wonder founder  Chris Burch – ex-spouse of classy Tory – describes the downfall here.

And in the Number 2 spot: Piperlime.

While I didn’t hit up this site as much as the other brands under the Gap umbrella (Athleta and Banana Republic are particular weaknesses), they would occasionally run some decent sales on brands that usually weren’t discounted (Clare V., I’m thinking about you).

Still, I miss you both already.

 

 

 

Rotten Apples

First world problem, I know, but all of my Apple products are dying at once.

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It started with my phone, an out-of-date and uncool iPhone 5.

The battery life is rapidly dwindling, even with no apps running the background. I’m getting about 5-6 hours, tops, before it gets down to around 20% and then abruptly shuts off.

Now that’s annoying.

But it seems to be a common issue.

My five-year-old laptop’s battery is also waning, giving me maybe two hours of power even if it’s fully charged.

There spinning rainbow icon is also popping up everywhere these days. It’s unpredictable enough that I can get some work done, but it’s also becoming so frequent that it’s slowing me down time and time again.

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And now my iPad is getting in the game.

I have an iPad 2, which is slightly more modern than an abacus, but it’s served me well. There was an unfortunate incident about three years ago with a shattered screen, but we’ve moved past it and the band is back together.

Here’s the dilemma: I need to replace all of these items relatively soon, but I’m in constant Fear Of Missing Out on the Newest Apple device.

Apple is so darn secretive about their new products, and while I do not wait in line for the latest and greatest of anything, I will be pretty ticked if I get a new laptop and a brighter, shinier model comes out a few weeks later.

A bit of detective work on Apple rumor sites suggests that 2015 *may* see a new laptop with a retinal display arriving sometime in the summer, a larger screen iPad model and an iPhone 7 in the fall.

I’m already overdue for a phone upgrade according to my contract, so I think step one for me will be getting an iPhone 6 (Gold, please!), and then I’ll limp along with my laptop and its power cord until the hoped-for new MacBook Air shows up (which work will hopefully support, since I’m overdue there, too).

Regarding the iPad, does anyone like the mini? The rumored larger screen device (nearly 13 inches) doesn’t really seem like something I want, but maybe a mini would be a compromise.

Or maybe I’ll go backwards to one of these:

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Your Ideal Holiday

After a whirlwind sub-24 hour holiday marathon where we went from one Triple F to Another (that’s a Forced Family Function, in case you’re wondering), Spouse and I had to ask ourselves what the holiday season is about. For us.

Since we’re Unitarians, sometimes it’s hard to explain to the kids where our beliefs fit into the mainstream picture.

On our way home last night, Trixie (5) had a series of questions:

  • Is this Jesus’ Birthday? (Me: Well, a lot of people think so).
  • Does Jesus get 100 presents for his birthday from Santa? (Me: Probably not).
  • What is Jesus like? (Me: I think he would be one of the nicest people you could ever meet).

You get the idea.

At least I hope you do.

It seems like every year, we barely keep our heads above water and rush, rush, rush to meet External and Internal Obligations, usually with mixed success.

One of our best Christmases was a very simple one, and it was mostly the two of us.

My intern year – 2001 – I was on call Christmas Eve.

Spouse stopped by the hospital with a plate of homemade cookies; sugar cookies cut into pig and dog shapes because they were the only cookie cutters he could find at our apartment.

It took him hours to make those cookies. They were fabulous.

He also smuggled Frenchie, our toy poodle who was the love of my life back then, in for a visit inside a duffel bag.

Call was relatively un-eventful (a Christmas miracle in itself), and in the morning I headed home for a nap.

I woke mid-morning and we opened presents in our PJs.

In the afternoon, we gorged on a retro 70s recipe crab dip – so budget busting back then – with two of our friends and drank wine while watching “The Muppet Christmas Carol.”

I realized it even back then: we were happy. Christmas felt right.

I’ve tried to capture that ever since.

Which brings me back to the question: what would the ideal holiday season look like?

For me, venue is important, but I think it could take many forms. Most of all, we would be warm and comfortable.

People would be there, family and friends, but the key would be that everyone wanted to be right there, right then.

The food would be good. We’d probably even have crab dip.

There would definitely be wine.

We would laugh a lot.

There would be Muppets.