Cardigan of Doom

I’ve developed something of a lip product addiction, which does not on the surface seem to have much to do with cardigans. But it does. I think about which lip gloss to put in my handbag more than what shirt to wear (an unheard of anomaly) and lust after the clicky packaging on Chanel lipsticks with, admittedly, too much enthusiasm. It’s a bit extreme, a little shallow, and not like me. Or, it wasn’t like me.

The version of me with the laser focused lip preoccupation wears more make-up all the time. She wears dresses and tights more than jeans and jumpers. And only uses tote bags to carry her groceries back from Waitrose. One year ago me had a lot of cardigans. A cardigan for every day of the week, and then some. This had everything to do with being a high school teacher, because adding a cardigan to skinny jeans and metallic flats was my conception of a cute, professional, yet still recognizably feminine, and not completely irrelevant person.

When teaching started to become that thing that will be my job for a while, instead of that thing that I’m doing in between cool and creative writing jobs, a slow creeping terror began to set in. It was subtle and kind of had a poltergeist demon whisper thing going on.

“…this over air-conditioned classroom is the only place you will experience human interaction and it will be with children with the intellectual capacity of grapefruits….”

“…your only creative activity until you retire in 40 years will be to slightly differentiate the same curriculum year after year…and no one will care…”

And other funny things, like

“…you might die here. Wearing a cardigan…”

Hahaha. Not hysterical at all, really. Honestly, eating toddler ravioli cups for lunch was also getting to me. But it was the closet full of cardigans, shoving my over-indulgent dress collection into the dark dusty recesses that most clearly signified the need for change.

Fast forward a year, and I live in the greatest city in the world with amazing friends, hobbies (!), and an unscheduled freedom that gives me time and space to be spontaneous, adventurous, and wear all my dresses. With full awareness that this is a temporary state of being, I’m soaking it up for all it’s worth. Part of me knows that the cardigans are waiting in the aforementioned recesses. And their day may come given the student loan statement I’m currently ignoring. But that day is not today. And there is also a glimmer of hope that another sartorial future awaits. Fingers crossed for lots of hats.

No Such Thing

What I am about to say will either confirm everything you’ve ever wondered about the world, or bring it crashing down. That’s right, get some tea or something. Epiphany moment. Right here.

There’s no such thing as an “adult”.

Doesn’t exist. Complete fabrication by the pharmaceutical companies to ascertain appropriate dosage. Entirely inappropriate label otherwise.


Everyone thinks they’re so cool and mature when they say they are doing something like a “grown-up”, which, of course, implies that you are not and they are better than you. I am not saying that I have not employed this tactic myself. Honestly, it is usually my less harsh version of indicating that I find someone too stupid to converse with. But this does not mean there is any validity to the term.

We are all just children with money and shame. Go watch children playing and marvel at the truth of this. Or don’t, because that’s kind of creepy. Dating feels like kindergarten because it is. We’re just dressed better (hopefully) and have a slightly more varied diet.

This does not mean that there is not something to be said for ageing. Over time we gain subtlety. We need less to be going on because we see so much more in the same moments and things. It is not just a dress; it’s silk, and tailored, and hugs one curve while skimming over another. Someone didn’t just make you a sandwich; they thought about your needs and what you like and took time out of their life to please and care for you, and you appreciate that.

This also can mean we are a bit more fragile and a bit more defensive, and the natural consequence is that we don’t need to hit to let someone know we want to hurt them. We have lies and insults and betrayal for that.

Yes, we mature into more complex people, but some parts take much longer than others and certain individuals need space to be five years old sometimes. Parents don’t know how to solve every problem. World leaders and nations are not immune to threats or offence. We are all making it up as we go. Trying to be ‘adult’ is the best we can hope for.

Stuff Sick

Now that I am in the very throes of Autumn in London people have started to ask me if I’m homesick at all, if I miss where I came from. My first instinct, of course, is to look at them as if they have suddenly grown another head because we are standing in London when they ask me this. What is there to miss when you’re in the greatest city in the world?

But anytime you do something different and new there are always going to be things about what was old and the same that you do think might be nice to have from time to time. When I actually stopped to think about these things, for me, it really amounts to stuff. I miss the crap that wouldn’t fit in the suitcase. Not enough to fly home and get it. Or to even try to find a reasonable facsimile here, just enough for an “Aw, shucks” moment.

I’m in wild, passionate love with London and have no desire to be anywhere else, but these are the little things I kind of wish were here with me:

1. Mac and Cheese.

2. Driving. Not that I want to drive or park a car here, but the efficiency of tube, bus and feet will never be as much fun as driving.

3. In-N-Out burger and other food that is both delicious and genuinely cheap (damn you currency conversion)


4. Mexican food. Made by Mexican people.

5. My jewelry box, and its contents, but mostly the box.

6. Having a living room. With a TV.

7.  My mommy (only sometimes) Umm, I mean, the beach, yeah, the beach is cool.

8. That one dress that I didn’t think I would need but would be totally perfect for this thing and is now uselessly sitting in a box 8,000 miles away.

9. Cake. And pie. And cookies. Brits think they know how to make these, but they are wrong.

10. Target. And really just the concept of going to one store to get all of your essentials. But, exercise is good, too, I hear.

Of course there are things that would make life just a bit more perfect, but that would be true no matter where I am. Also, I may or may not have chosen a few boxes of Mac and Cheese instead of that dress when it came to packing my suitcase, and that’s a decision I may or may not have to live with. And I can bake my own cookies and steal cars if I need to.

How To Get Ready for (Almost) Anything While Driving

 There are some basic requirements for accomplishing effective and productive activities, in the car, while driving, without murdering yourself and others. These directions are meant for situations where you are alone in your car, otherwise, make your passenger useful.

First, you must do them without the use of the mirrors. While it may seem as though rear and side view mirrors were designed to check your makeup in, they are for death prevention, and this is never more true than when you plan to use one or more hands for alternate activities.

Second, you must have a plan. You do not suddenly decide to change into skinny jeans and a turtleneck top at a red light and go for it. The guy in the car next will be very entertained when he sees you half-naked, with your bun trapped in the neck hole and a pant leg slung over your shoulder when the lights turn green, but other than that nothing good will happen.

Third, your plan will change entirely depending on whether you are traversing city blocks or highways. If you’re going to be stopping at lights and signs then that is the best moment to do anything that temporarily blinds you or otherwise occupies your sight, and the time to do anything that requires large motions (i.e. diving behind the driver’s seat). If you are on the freeway then these things must be timed in accordance with the moments of most predictable traffic speed and movement. NOT when everyone is changing lanes to get on the right freeway. NOT on the curvy parts. And, just generally, NOT when it is raining. Also, don’t touch your cell phone.

Since I brought it up, lets start with Changing Clothes in the car.

Step One is to get the clothes you would like to be wearing into the passenger seat. Depending on the length of the light you may also have time for step two, pile them face down in the order you are going to put them on. Put cardigan on the bottom, then dress, etc. It’s up to you, but in the case of a jeans/top combo I tend to do pants after shirt.

Step Three, undo everything you are currently wearing. I am not terribly coordinated but can usually manage to unbutton and zip while in motion without a problem. Please keep one hand on the wheel though.

Step Four, take it off. Not everything, just the first thing you’re going to change, even if you’re changing into a dress, you can put it on over pants and still take them off after. If you’re switching dress to dress, go fast. Now, you are taking your clothes off while surrounded by windows so there’s a fair chance someone is going to see you partially dressed for a moment. Since life is not a romantic comedy though, you will not know them and no one will care. Generally you’re only going down to underwear, and worst case scenario someone honks appreciatively. Do not be so freaked out that you don’t have a shirt on for two seconds that you stop important driving things, like stopping. Not dying comes first.

Step Five, put some clothes on! It can be very freeing to drive around in your bra, but you probably have a mission, or you wouldn’t be changing while driving. Once safety is assured, whip the neck hole of the shirt over your head. You can deal with sleeves later, but not blinding yourself is most important. If there are tricky strappy thingies then arrange these over your wrists, slowly, before the whipping. Then put your arms in their proper places. With turtlenecks you want to stick both hands through the top and let the shirt fall inside out over your arms before popping over your head at the opportune moment.

Step Six(maybe) is for pants. Pants must be done in stages, both on and off, or you will die. First, off the butt, then, off the knees- using a wriggling motion and one hand. Ideally, take off one foot at a time when the car is stopped (do NOT forget that one foot needs to remain on the brake), you may be able to manage both, but don’t attempt if wearing skinny jeans. Anything you take off should then be tossed into the backseat to avoid tangling and confusion. To put pants on, it’s helpful if you’re flexible so that you can bring your foot to you and keep your eyes on the road. Good news about this is that if you find you could get your pants off, but suck at putting them on people can’t tell and there will eventually be a good time to pop your foot in there. One feet are in, it’s just a reverse of the wriggling process. And remember, only use one hand to help, even if it takes longer. Rushing will not help you.

Step Seven is for shoes. Use a hand to take them off and put them on. It seems like a great idea to kick them off, or toss them down by your feet until one gets stuck on a pedal. Try to get heels on before you reach the valet. Make sure your ass is covered before you get out of the car, but otherwise wait to check yourself out until exiting the car and checking the reflection in the window.

It seems complicated, but it’s not if you take your time. Please don’t die half-naked.

Now, Makeup.

Step One, put the makeup you want to use in a cup holder or your lip gloss will escape into the black void between the seat and the center console.

Step Two, only apply mascara at red lights. Otherwise, wait until you’re parked. You are never going to get the depth perception right without a mirror and you are going to poke yourself in the eye and crash into me. Everything else can be done the way you normally do, while moving, without looking at a mirror. If a fork can find your lips so can a lip gloss wand. Even eyeliner can be done – but only after lots of practice, don’t attempt that for the first time before a job interview unless you have a really great lie about babysitting ready.

Generally makeup is not so vital that you need to be doing it in your car; the guys at work are ugly and not worth it. But before being interviewed, seeing family, or otherwise brutally judged please do it safely.

Lastly, Eating (without wearing your lunch).

Step One, do not order soup. Some foods are not meant to be eaten while driving, you must accept this. That said, I keep goldfish crackers, granola bars, and fruit snacks stashed all over my car at all times. Along with a bottle of water, mini-lotion, hand sanitizer, a hair brush (I ALWAYS forget one when I go anywhere), a tire gauge, and a spoon. I like to be ready. To prepare for car eating, I always put my hair up. Everything else is against you, don’t make it harder.

Step Two, napkins. Unless it is one of the above foods which you do not need directions to eat, and you don’t want people to think you have the motor skills of a toddler, cover anything that might get dribbled on with napkins. Never assume everything will be fine. When eating burgers and sandwiches it’s best to get no sauce (and your cheeseburger really doesn’t need mayo). Good to put the fries in the cup holder because taking them out of the bag individually seems to precipitate a fling all over the car motion when you’re not looking. If you have a passenger, just make them feed you. If fries do end up in the void, send Barbie. For some reason Barbie’s hair will attach to the french fries and retrieve them, thus saving you from old fry smell.

Remember to always pay more attention to the road than your food. Be willing to toss whatever is in your hand to react to emergency situations; that is why God made Windex.

Please practice safe multitasking! I am out there driving, too, and if you hit me because you were trying to save your fro-yo, I will end you.