1. Online shopping. You can still find lots of bargains out there if you spend a ridiculous amount of time looking. And, of course, there's always eBay. What do you think of this dress for the warm weather we'll be having, four or five months from now?
It's J. Crew, from last year's collaboration with Creatures of the Wind, the award-winning designer duo from Chicago. Vintage Liberty print skirt; chambray bodice with zipper and print belt. It fits like a glove, which surprised me because dresses never fit me. Looking at it on the hanger, I didn't think I'd be able to zip it, but I'm still a size 4, at least by J. Crew's standard. The skirt is lined with a twirly cotton slip, and all the bodice seams are finished in Liberty print binding, a level of detail I never see in my price range. I was intrigued by this dress when I saw it last spring, but it was online-only, too expensive, and then it sold out. I almost fell off my chair when it suddenly reappeared in my size during a recent, extra-30%-off sale items promotion, at a third of its original price. Bonus: it needs ironing badly, another excellent time-waster.
2. Pinterest. I have nearly 9,500 pins now, and almost 400 followers — and I'm not nearly as obsessed as some of the pinners I follow. More than 1,200 of my pins are antique and vintage fashion. Pinners mine online museum collections around the world and post glorious dresses and accessories from decades and centuries past (along with a billion other intriguing things from recipes to jewels). It's a constantly changing visual buffet and my favorite way to waste time online.
Compare the J. Crew dress with this number from 1842, in the Metropolitan Museum's collection, and either weep for the loss of so much beauty or rejoice that we no longer wear hoops and stays:
3. Old New Yorkers. Suddenly the November, December, and January issues gathering dust on the coffee table are yelling my name. And they're full of fascinating articles about professional pickpockets and errand runners. I won't have anything left to read in the hot tub at the inn next June if this keeps up.
4. Worrying. Why is Possum still so tubby when the other three are verging on skinny? Why does Toffee occasionally cough like he has a hairball... or a blockage? Why is Wendy's inner canthus (corner of her eye) red? Why is Harris's philtrum (area between nose and upper lip) turning brownish-pink? (And when did I learn Latin?) Harris also has a slightly runny nose. I'm cleaning his nose and Wendy's eye. Her eye doesn't look scary, just not quite right. I described all these issues to our vet and she expressed no interest in seeing anyone, says it's probably a Herpes outbreak, very common. Here's a photo of Harris. What do you think?
5. Vistaprint, where I design calling cards for Possum. I didn't know until he told me that he has given a name to our apartment, "The Knickers" (don't ask me). He doesn't think anyone in his "social set" (?) will need to know his street address now that he lives in a named residence. Good luck, Possum, and you also need an email address and a cell phone.
6. Physical therapy. My therapist has been deep-tissue massaging my calves, which feels like being sliced with dull knives. I kick and yell as I lie on the table, yet she persists in this twice-weekly torture. I consider that extreme suffering taking a toll on me, rendering me incapable of serious reading or thinking about English decorative arts. (Unless they are on Pinterest.) It's my most plausible excuse, isn't it?
7. Universal Hub. I've been following local crime, but only after the fact. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, when I was actually trying to work — immersing myself in Horace Walpole and 17th-century teapots respectively — I missed two major incidents and didn't even hear the sirens. On Wednesday, I missed a massive manhunt in the blocks around our building that involved about 30 cruisers and officers chasing a guy who apparently rammed a patrol car a few times during a routine stop for a broken tail light. He ran off and broke into two nearby buildings as he tried to escape.The UHub Twitter feed only went so far so I still don't know if they caught the guy and why he was so uninterested in chatting with a policeman. They carted off his car, at least. Then, on Thursday night, outside Trader Joe's, just a few minutes from here, the same fellow who'd rung up my groceries that afternoon (assuring me I'd love the frozen Savory Profiteroles) stabbed a customer, allegedly in self-defense. I missed all that commotion, too. If stuff like this happens every time I settle down to work, I'd better not work.
8. Sleep. As doctors are always telling you, you need at least 12 hours a night. I'm heading to bed right now.