Monday, July 2, 2012

Like A Fish Out Of Water

 Goodness gracious! I just got back home after house-sitting for my dad and bonus mom for a bit over a week. They live a half block off of Solano Avenue in Albany, CA. Solano Avenue is a well known neighborhood shopping street, lined with a kaleidesope of small stores: clothing boutiques, consignment shops, jewelry stores, delis, restaurants, cafes, bakeries, camera shops, stationers, lamp stores, specialty chocolate shops and on and on. I love housesitting there because it's only 40 minutes from our place (so my leg isn't shot from the drive) and i can walk to so many interesting spots (thus my leg doesn't get irritated from driving any place). The residential neighborhoods burst with fantastic little cottages, from victorian to craftsman, moderne, bungalow and storybook styles. Wonderful!

Their house is full of plants of every variety, with especial emphasis on orchids and carnivorous species. And there's the water lilies, water hyacinths and etc. in the large fishpond out back. Now, the urban areas around San Francisco Bay host a large number of nocturnal creatures, including skunks, opossums and raccoons. One of these critters (i seriously suspect a raccoon) managed to creep under the (mildly) electrified wire surrounding the fishpond and wrassle with the intake pump for the filter system. After experiencing this insulting treatment, the intake mechanism refused to stay down in the water. It kept popping above the waterline where it did no good and made strange noises.

After a couple of days i did manage to get enough water in the pond so that i could get the pump working again (the same or another critter had kicked the outtake gate open and caused a small leak, undetected for around a day). But i had to treat all the water before adding it to the pond, so as not to poison the fishies.

This took ... a while. I did get my 'system' streamlined to the point where i could read some Daniel Pinkwater whilst treating five gallons at a time (The Neddiad, appropriately enough). But no time for blogging! It's true, dear readers, i put those fat, glittery piggies first. I judge you competent to amuse yourselves, whilst your average ornamental goldfish is up a creek without enough water in their pond.

I loved this outfit, and received many compliments on it as well. The best part is that the only item less than a year old is the socks. The oldest is the hat, obtained at a Ren Faire around eight or nine years ago. To me, this is so satisfying. Of course stepping out in your snazzy new duds thrills the fashionista in all of us. But to find inspiration and joy in well-worn pieces? It's like opening a love letter sent to you years ago, and sent by yourself no less. It's where the 'personal' in 'personal style' comes to the fore.

I also learned a few useful things about creating sleeker travel capsules for myself. I'll share these with you in my next post. Be sure to check out the other participants in Patti's Visible Monday. This look definitely qualifies for 'visible' - any hat makes the wearer stand out. Add a velvet bow and black veil during daytime and you may as well sport a neon palm tree on your head! Today's VM is especially thrilling for me, as Patti sports a neutral look. Well done Ms. Not Dead Yet!


  1. Fabulous hat, Ms Eccentric! I love the well-worn pieces too, like old friends.

    You are a woman unafraid of adventures! Thanks for sharing your story and look with Visible Monday.

  2. This is a great outfit - you look like a dashing adventuress in any era! I took quite a bit of inspiration from you in my June neutral month - check out the recap! I love seeing all the outfits together.

    I am transfixed by all those cool plates on the wall...

  3. Great hat. The tall brim is very 'in style' for the rest of 2012.

  4. It's a wonderful hat. I imagine all the little fishies are talking about you in their pond.

  5. Hello Patti! how nice to find i've a love of the well worn with such a stylish lady :) and with VM, you truly are the hostess with the mostess!

    Thank you Sheila! i forgot to tip my hat to Amelia E., there was some news yesterday about her possible fate - it was teh 75th anniversary of her disappearance. She took off from Oakland Airport on that global circumnavigation attempt - as i've lived in the east bay most of my life, she's always felt quite near.

    and you are very kind! i am enjoying this challenge of yours very much, and take heart when your findings match up with certain of my own. The plates are carnival glass, and even more magical in person. My dad and bonus mom have been collecting them for years and have some spectacular pieces. Their displays are really great!

    oh, thank you Kathleen! that is good to know! this hat is a great one for trimming different ways, and with the wide flat brim you can even display little stuffed animals, fruits, etc.

    Hi Terri! ha! talking about how stingy i was with the food, no doubt (i didn't want to tax the ecology of the pond with the filter out of commission).

    Happy Day All! steph

  6. Everything in this photo looks great! Your hat and skirt have a vintage vibe which really goes nice with your surroundings. Look at that gorgeous clock too. This looks like an image from a novel I'd like to read. ;)

  7. Hello Joni! "This looks like an image from a novel I'd like to read. ;)" what a wonderful compliment! thank you - i love taking pictures and was happy to find this position for my outfit pics. the light is decent for showing the clothes, and i love the house, dishes, and clock.

    The clock was an old time-keeper from Western Union (where my dad worked for years). it's a beautiful oak, and my dad refurbished it inside and out. every so often i come over and bits and pieces are out on the worktable, getting a little 'spa time'.

    Happy Fourth! steph