Category Archives: fashion

New obsessions, December

Every now and then I post about whatever I’m loving at the moment. I haven’t done one for a while, so I should have plenty of new obsessions to update you on. Surely. Well, maybe a couple.

  1. Scarves indoors
    I feel like a grown-up now, because I wear scarves indoors. I was given a really big, but fine, scarf for my birthday in the summer, by my friend who has excellent taste, and now that it’s finally not the summer any more I’m wearing it constantly and loving it. I can wear it like this, or like this, or even like this, because scarves are so wonderfully versatile.
  2. Chili.
    It’s chili weather! Yay! I made chili on Tuesday and we had it three days in a row and didn’t get tired of it because it was yummy. The trick is to layer the heat from different sources: I had a fresh jalapeño (no seeds, because I’m a wimp), some chili powder, a can of chili beans, a can of tomatoes with zesty jalapeños and also a little slice of chipotle pepper (originally from a can) that I keep in the freezer. Sometimes I put in a few spoonsful of salsa too. B looked at me askance when I tried to explain that this is not in fact redundancy but good cooking; but he liked the results, so ya boo.
  3. Minecraft.
    Experiencing a resurgence in the household since a playdate where the kids’ friends were playing. I like when it’s a collaborative effort, actually, because then they’re not just staring at a screen but also cooperating while deciding what to do with the screen. That’s practically good parenting, that is. I even made a minecraft world of my own, which scored me many coolness points with the 7yo. Then I had to ask her to fix my roof because it was leaking.
  4. Flossing.
    Mabel needs two fillings. And an orthodontist consult. When your child has a small mouth so her teeth are very close together, you really should pay more attention to flossing than we’ve been doing. (In other news, Dash’s braces come off next week. He’s been saving his Halloween candy to celebrate.)
  5. My Divacup.
    I’ve finally crossed over to the hippie side. Extended breastfeeding, tandem nursing, co-sleeping… they’ve got nothing on reusable menstrual products, right? That’s where you really draw that line in the granola. I’m still getting the hang of it, but the smugness factor when I use barely any paper products at that time of the month is totally worth it.

What are you and yours into lately?

Beauty blogger for a day: Barefaced beauty linky

Two days after Dash was born, I remember putting on makeup before I took him to his first doctor’s appointment. It was really important to me to do that, to signal to everyone (or maybe just to myself) that I was coping fine, that I could do this, that I wasn’t going under. That I was still the same person, just with added baby.

There are so many reasons to wear makeup, and lots of them have very little do do with how you look. That said, as time has gone on and I have become more dug into my SAHM life in my hippy-commune-like town, I wear less makeup than I used to: many days it’s a swipe of lipstick at most, and even when I push the boat out and wear more, I want to keep it as minimal looking as possible so nobody asks me if I have a job interview. (Seriously, in this town it is not unheard of for people to do the school run in pyjamas. It’s pretty much the antithesis of trying to impress at the school gate.)

Also, there’s the fact that when it’s 90 degrees and humid outside, anything I put on my face is liable to just slide off immediately. So summer makeup is even more minimal.

But Sinead started a linky, and I’m joining it. Because I do have makeup, and I do enjoy wearing it, from time to time if not every day. Without further ado, my makeup:


I’ve really pared down my makeup collection in the last few years, and this is almost all I own, barring a few other crazy eyeshadows and a lot of fun nail varnishes. I could probably do with expanding it a little more in sensible directions… I’m learning a lot from the other posts in the linky, I tell you.

So it appears my tastes run to Maybelline plus a few expensive bits. I’m willing to splash out on a decent foundation if I can find one in extremely pale – I need a pink that’s blue-toned and not at all yellowy, which is hard to find. Especially in America; I usually have better luck finding something in Ireland.


I don’t wear BB cream every day, but I use it as a light base if I want to look a bit more polished. I mix it with moisturizer to make it go on more easily and because I’m paranoid about having a visible line where my foundation ends. And no matter what they claim about BB cream working for all skin tones, “light” is never anything like as light as I am. This is Maybelline Dream Fresh, which I read a couple of good review of back when BB creams were the new thing.

The Makeup For Ever compact is one of those powder base things that you can use alone or over something else, with a sponge or a brush. I had a lovely Prescriptives one that was a perfect shade, but I couldn’t find it again because Prescriptives is not a widely available brand here, and I had to get what I have now instead. I think it’s a tiny bit the wrong colour for me, but it’s okay.

The gold tube on the far right is my beloved Touche Eclat. I used to wear it all the time, but I hardly use it at all any more. Not because I don’t need it; more because it’s actually not a concealer, and because I feel it’s not blending in as well as I’d like it to. I think I need a better base, or a primer or something.

Minimal makeup for me is eyeliner on the top lid, mascara, and my new discovery of an eyebrow pencil. I think those in the picture are all Maybelline, in espresso and brownish black for the first two and “soft brown” for the third. In the last year or two I’ve discovered that the eyebrow hairs I’ve spent years plucking are finally not growing back (we shall not speak of the way they’re migrating to odd places like my upper lip instead), and I’m suddenly paranoid that I’ve overplucked and have a thin spot in the middle. So my eyebrow pencil is my new best friend and I need a new one because this is nearly gone. (I like the little brush at the end like a mascara wand for combing my eyebrows.) It probably makes no visible difference at all, but it makes me feel proactive in the matter of eyebrows.

If I’m going cuh-razy with the makeup, like for a moms’ night out or a theatre opening or something, I’ll put eyeliner on my bottom lid too and delve into the lovely Urban Decay Naked pallette I bought myself for my birthday last year. I stick to smokey browns, mostly, though I do have a chunky pencil in copper if I feel like some sparkle (not pictured).

Those are my eyeshadow brushes on the far left, because I love them, and the little black circle is Benefit Lemon Aid, which is a pretty good eyeshadow base, though in cold weather it’s a bit unyielding. I try to remember to use it.


I like a pinkish berry lip; darker in winter, lighter in summer.  The Revlon Just Bitten is bizarrely good: it’s like colouring your lips with a marker, but it stays on pretty well and there’s a lip balm at the other end. (This colour is called Twilight, though it’s not as dark as that sounds.) The lip pencil is Revlon too, ColorBurst Balm Stain in Honey, it says. I bought it because a blogger I like recommended it, and it does feel nice though I’m not convinced it lasts very well. I always try to have some colour on my lips before I leave the house, the better not to don’t frighten little children.


Evidently, what I am missing is a primer, some real concealer, and some blusher. I was never very good with blusher, and bronzer is a joke for me; I’d rather look like myself, and myself is never bronzed. If you’ve any advice, have at it in the comments…

Screen Shot 2015-06-10 at 10.09.21 PM


The tragic genesis of Mom Jeans

Usually, with a new trend, or fashion, or look, whatever you like to call it, I trail in at the tail end finally deciding that something looks nice when it’s been around quite a while and is definitely no longer the cutting edge of style but more the ragged hem of what-everyone’s-wearing.

But here we are still with skinny jeans and I just can’t do it. They’re not new any more. They’re not remotely just “what the young people are wearing”. They’re just jeans, to most people. I’ve been trying and failing to embrace them for about five years now. And no matter how long I give it to “get my eye in,” it’s just not happening.

I think this is what happens when you’re middle aged. I think I have discovered how Mom Jeans came about. 90s moms genuinely couldn’t see that hip-slung, flat fronted, boot-legged jeans looked better on everyone – as we, their daughters, knew. They really truly thought, because their brains were stuck that way, that high-waisted pleated fronts and baggy thighs tapering to the ankle were the most flattering thing there was.

So now my brain is stuck at bootleg or flare for the rest of my life. Sorry, but that’s just how it’s going to be. I can fake it with a skinny jean now and then, and I can buy floppy tops and swoopy sweaters and I can enjoy the neverending hunt for the perfect boots to show off with them. I can pretend I like it, for a while; but when push comes to shove I’m always going to run back to my old jeans with the acres of material flapping round the ankles (flatteringly; balancing out my thighs), dragging in the puddles and letting the rain osmose all the way up the backs of my legs, and I will clutch them to me and murmur sweet nothings into their yielding, forgiving denim, and I will not abandon them.

This is not the first time I’ve talked here about my attempts to embrace the skinny jean and its unbalanced silhouette, but I’ll stop now. I’m done. I’m a sad middle-aged housewife in America, and my flares and I deserve each other. We’re all we’ve got.


After two weeks in the country, my American twang has settled down and I sound pretty much Irish again. (All my American friends are wondering what I’m talking about. As far as they’re concerned I don’t have any American accent.) It just takes a little time for the shift to occur, as my ear gets reaccustomed to the intonations and the vowels and the nice crisp consonants.

I’ve been obsessed with black boots while we’ve been here. I’ve watched people go by from the ankles down, mostly. I’ve been to the Clarks shop at least three times. I’ve ascertained that shoes here are habitually a measurement wider than the regular size in America, which means that everything in the shop should fit me. I have to take advantage of this, because in the States I always have to order shoes off the Internet.

I cruised around the clothes shops a few times, but before I could commit to anything, I had to wait for my eye to shift fashion-wise too. And then I had to be realistic about what I would buy and wear if I lived here versus what I’ll actually wear once I return to my jeans-and-tops real life in America. I bought a pair of black trousers that are slim-fitting enough and of soft enough material that they will function as leggings, but with more heft to them. They’ll go inside my boots, and under long tops.

Then, eventually, I bought a pair of black ankle boots, after trying on every pair in the shop. I was delighted with them for a few hours, until they started to hurt my feet. So I brought them back and today, with my Irish money apparently burning a hole in my wallet, bought a different pair. These ones are less biker and more arctic, but they’re definitely comfortable and will suit my needs better, as well as going with my skinny jeans and the black not-leggings in a very casual, not-dressy way. Which, to be honest, is the way I need them to be, for my casual, not-dressy life of grocery shopping and school pickups and the odd committee meeting.

Tomorrow we shift once more, back to Americans. And so it goes.

View of the Pidgeon House from Blackrock

And now for something more frivolous

You might not have been privy to my confusion over jeans last winter, but the agony of that indecision is still seared firmly in my mind.

First I bought some red jeans, but then I decided I needed too many things to make them right and that maybe the problem was with the jeans rather than the things, and I brought them back. (Also, someone directed me to this, or something very like it, and I began to think maybe they were somewhat over the red jeans thing on the other side of the Atlantic.)

Then I decided to stick to my straight/skinny blue jeans, and became quite fond of them. But I wanted to wear them with my beloved brown suede ankle boots, and I just couldn’t figure out how that was supposed to go – did I tuck the jeans into the boots or leave them over the top. Neither looked quite right. I compromised by tucking one side in, which felt a little silly and I was never very happy with.

This year, faced with the same jeans, the same boots, and the same dilemma, the solution is obvious. I should roll the bottoms of the jeans till they’re just above the tops of the boots. Why was cuffing not an option last year? Have things moved on that much? Am I right on the cutting edge of fashion? Yes, that must be it. Pinterest confirms it, actually.

Now, if you can point me in the direction of a pair of dusty plum curvy straight-legged cords that fit me perfectly and make my legs look long and slim and do not cost a week’s salary, I’d be most grateful, because that’s what I’m obsessing over this winter. (Hmm. Like these.)

Dusky plum cords

What I Wore: BlogHer ’13

Seriously, it is utterly unimportant what you wear to a BlogHer conference (unless it is). I get it now. There is no dress code. Whatever you wear, there will be people who are more stylishly dressed, more formally dressed, more dressily dressed, more quirky, more queer, more basic, more elaborate, or more schlumpy than you. But people tried to tell me this and I studiously ignored them, because planning my wardrobe for the conference was the one area I could have control over in this whole crazy unknown future.
So I feel a bit embarrassed to even share this post, but I’m doing it anyway, precisely because I’m not a fashion blogger or a style blogger or an arty crafty person or anyone with an agenda about what she wears. When I was searching for guidance on this area before I went, I wanted to know what the regular conference-goers wore, not what the style bloggers were showcasing. I’m not saying I’m particularly representative of anything, but I’d say I didn’t stand out as over or underdressed, if that’s what you are going for. And I was comfortable and happy about how I looked, which was the aim of the game. 
My one caveat is that it really is COLD in conference centers, and my thin summer cardigans weren’t quite up to the job, for me. Next time, whenever, if-ever, I’ll bring something a little more substantial. A full-body fleece wouldn’t go amiss. Maybe a Snuggie.
So this was day one. Apologies for the badly lit bathroom selfie. I think my top looks like a sofa, but I hope in a good way. I usually shy away from prints, but this one is so delicate and pretty that I was happy in it. It’s a sleeveless top in a very light chiffony fabric, which would have been perfect in the July weather I was envisaging. In the event, we had an oddly cool few days and I don’t think I removed the cardigan at all. I forgot to wear earrings and thus had a short identity crisis during breakfast, but I got over it.
Top: Marshalls. Khakis: Old Navy. Cardigan: Gap, I think. Sandals: Naot.

On Friday night I got dressed up, but you don’t need to even do that, depending on what parties you might be attending. Again, some did, some didn’t. I didn’t feel overdressed but I was chilly waiting for Voices of the Year to get started. (That’s a polite understatement. Also, they kept turning up the music because Queen Latifah was stuck in traffic, so I couldn’t even chat to my friends without screaming.) The dress looks odd because you can’t see the length, but it’s just to my knee. Both knees, actually. If you were around for the belt discussion, I asked my roomie for her opinion and went without the belt at the last minute. In hindsight, still not sure about that.

Dress: Nine West from Macy’s. Cardigan: Gap, as before. Jewelry: Old Navy. Sandals (not visible, obvs, but I am wearing some): dull gold slingbacks from Softspots with a fairly low heel.

On Saturday morning I was a little hung-over and feeling I’d lived several lifetimes since I’d arrived in Chicago. I already understood about it not mattering what I wore, but I’d packed the clothes so I had to put them on. (See, I didn’t even bother with a selfie, so this is that picture of me and Stacey again.)

Saturday: Green cowl t-shirt, Marshall’s. Cropped stretch denim trousers, New York & Co. Cardigan: Old Navy. Shoes: Naots again, which are incredibly comfortable and well worth the investment.

These trousers (which you can’t see very well) were inexpensive, fit nicely, and are very comfortable thanks to the stretch. I wore this all day, from conference to airport to home at midnight, so I guess it was a good choice. The green and orchid were more vibrant together in real life than they look here, so it wasn’t a day for feeling like blending into the background. It’s good to wear something a little bright or otherwise distinctive, so that if you’re trying to meet up with a stranger you don’t have to tell them you’re the one on the jeans and the black top.

Now I look at it, I really did have the green and purple theme going throughout, which is only because apparently everything I own is either green or purple. When I got to the airport and realised my suitcase was purple and my carry-on backpack was green, it was not really a proud moment. More of a sigh, really.

Greens and purples
See what I mean?

Windows to my soul

So far, my planning for BlogHer has mostly centred around what colour my toenails are going to be.

This is a vital consideration. One’s toenails, in sandal weather, are an extension of one’s very being, a porthole into one’s personality, and an ever-present accessory. I don’t want to spread pedicure paranoia or anything, but as far as I’m concerned the shade of my toenails says a lot.

I also have a problem with purple at the moment. My problem used to be with green, and I sort of declared an embargo on green things to deal with that. But apparently I moved to purple and now I’m in great danger of matchy-matchyness, which just won’t do at all.

Let me run through the shades of nail polish I have at my disposal, and the messages they convey, at least in my head, and probably not in anyone else’s.

    • None: A classic option for the natural beauty. Groomed nails with no polish say that I’m above all that. Or that I didn’t get a chance to paint them. Or that it’s winter and I’m wearing socks and what, you brought your x-ray specs, Superman?
    • Clear: Not much point, really. If you’re painting your toenails, paint your toenails.
    • Darkish tomato red: Fun, but not really me. A little too bright and clashes with most of my clothes.
    • Dark sparkly red: Classic with a twist. Goes with almost everything, but doesn’t say a lot about the purple/green-loving person I am deep down inside.
    • Dark bronze: Very me (I’m an autumn, you know), goes with everything. But a little too much like the colour of my sandals themselves. Too safe, maybe; doesn’t say “I take risks in blogging!”
    • Palest lilac: Lovely, very summery; has the unfortunate side-effect of making my pale feet look as if they belong to a corpse. Pity about that. If I have to spend several conference sessions with my toenails in my line of sight, I don’t want to be wondering whether or not I’m still alive.
    • Brighter lilac/orchid: Also very summery, not quite so corpse-like. The problem is that I have too many t-shirts the exact same colour, not to mention my two orchid dresses and my purple/berry bag.
    • Dark sparkly purple(not pictured): I just got a pedicure in this shade, and will probably never be able to find it again. It’s very nice, though. On the other hand, it’s exactly the same as my glasses frames. (See what I mean about the embargo?)
    • Metallic teal: Last year’s purchase – gorgeous colour but doesn’t suit my skintone at all, and clashes with almost all my greens, which are more on the yellow side of green than the blue. Great with the bronze sandals, mind you.
    Nail polish colors

      Some might say I should choose my clothes for the conference first and take my cue from there. But then I’d be denied all this very engrossing and important contemplation. I probably need to invest in a few more options. Now taking suggestions.

      I’ll let you know what I finally decide.


      Now is the time on Sprockets when we blog…

      That is, the children are wending their way to sleep and I am off duty, so I’d better come up with the goods. Whatever they might be.

      Earlier I tried to tempt Dash to do his homework, or at least think about his homework. I called out to him from the kitchen as I figured out something to make plain pasta and chicken a little more grown-up for me and B. “I’m not on the menu,” he replied.

      I had to laugh. I’m not sure I’m ready for such a smart-arse kid, but it beats yelling, I suppose.


      I don’t usually go in for reverse shopping, (as I believe Marian Keyes called it, though maybe she’s not the only one), but this morning I got a great sense of satisfaction and freedom out of returning two items I’d bought and regretted.

      The first were the red jeans I got at the start of the month. I tried and tried, I really did. I got things to go with them, which I still like and will wear with other things. I readjusted my sensibilities and recalibrated my whatsits and learned to love my hips even when they weren’t balanced by big wedges of fabric flapping comfortingly round my ankles (and soaking up the rain from the ground at every wintery opportunity). I thought I could make them work. I was sure the answer lay in the footwear.

      Last week I got a lead on a pair of boots. On Sunday, I bought them. They were on sale, and I had a coupon, and they looked exactly like the boots I needed to go with the jeans. They were even comfortable, which is quite a miracle where my feet are concerned. It was meant to be. I was delighted.

      Then I came home and put on the jeans and the boots. (No, I hadn’t worn the jeans to go shopping. What sort of sensible person do you take me for? For one thing, I couldn’t because I didn’t have the right boots to… oh, yeah.) And I was underwhelmed. In fact, I was pretty sure that this wasn’t even just not a great look, this was a downright undesireable look. I looked kind of, well, I have to say, skanky. And not in a good way. Not in a sexy way. Just in a “She shouldn’t have worn that” way.

      So I came to the conclusion that if you have to try so hard to make something look right, it’s not going to. The jeans were an unflattering fit to begin with, but just because they were less unflattering than some others I have tried, and because I loved the colour, and they were a good price, I made an impulse buy. Usually, my MO is to spot something I like, mull it over, decide I wanted it after all, go back and find it’s left the shop, and spend the next three months searching in vain for something similar. When you find something that’s right, you should buy it, but I obviously misinterpreted “right” in this case.

      So this morning I brought back the jeans and the boots. (Amazingly, I was able to locate the receipt for the jeans.) The nice ladies gave me my money back and I continued on my way with a feeling of freedom and lightness heretofore known only in tampon ads.

      The world is my oyster! I can start again! I have fifty-two dollars (woohoo!) back in my wallet and some other poor mug can buy those jeans, and those boots, and I wish them the best with them. They’ll probably know better than to try to wear them together.

      So I still don’t know what I’m wearing for Christmas, but I think I’ll be looking more like me in whatever it turns out to be.


      I am a child of the 80s, no doubt about it. I was 12 in 1985, so my most impressionable, most peer-influenced, most painfully needing-to-conform years were right then.

      It took me a long time to recover. I was still wearing tapered-leg jeans in the early 90s, when all my friends were moving towards the straight leg. (I remember – here’s a thing to amaze my children with – the first time I saw a fleece jacket. It was strangely bobbly and brightly coloured and I wasn’t sure it was nice. Little did I knew what a ubiquitous piece of wardrobe it was poised to become. But I digress.)

      Anyway, time passed and I embraced the boot-leg with all the passion of one whose thighs are not more slender – or even as slender – as her calves. Even though Ireland, with its persistent rain and perma-puddles is the worst place to have yards of denim flapping round the soles of your shoes, I left my jeans legs outside my boots, soaking up the moisture and passing it, by osmosis, halfway up to my knees every time I left the house. This is how we must suffer for our art, we fashionistas. With wet socks as soon as you take off your shoes.

      Now I think of it, I also remember clearly that moment when taper moved to boot-cut. It was 1988 and we had a Spanish exchange student in the class. She wore her jeans outside her boots. We were flabbergasted by her audacity and certain that she was wrong, but in hindsight, the Spanish are always more to the forefront of the cutting fashion edge than those of us on the waterlogged fringes of the continent.

      It also takes longer for global trends to get to the US. I think they start in Japan, actually, because in Sydney in 2007 I was already seeing flat slouchy pixie boots with skinny legs, and thinking they looked horrible. Now, a mere five years later, the look has reached the shores of America. (Okay, maybe it got here sooner. But it’s only now that I’m getting inured to it.)

      Which is really my point: what a long time it takes to come around to the idea of wearing something again. I know the shillouette this time is subtly different from that of the 80s: skinnies are not the same as tapered legs, and shoulder pads are not yet mandatory – but when the legs inside the jeans are more tapered than drainpipe-shaped, it sort of ends up looking the same. After so long liking the idea that my legs looked the same width at the bottom as at the top, it’s hard to see myself getting narrower all the way to the floor and not zone in on my hips as an overly-wide widest point.

      Last winter I bought a pair of not-too-skinny skinny jeans, and wore them a few times, with boots. Last week, I apparently lost the run of myself entirely and bought a pair of red quite-skinny skinny jeans. Now I’m obsessively trying to figure out what shoes to wear with them, because I’m not convinced the boots are the best thing after all. And what tops, and what coats, and generally everything. It has occasioned a lot of Google image searches and Pinterest wanderings and Zappos trawling and I may not find the perfect accompaniments until next year.

      But that’s fine, because then when I put on last-year’s jeans, by comparison they looked much more like something I could cope with, being just a teensy bit wider and also dark denim instead of tomato red. My eye is adjusting to the new shape, slowly and reluctantly.

      It’s a fine line, trying not to look as if you spent the last ten years under a rock but also acknowledging that you’re no longer 25 and even when you were 25 you didn’t have legs that were four feet long and shaped like drinking straws. I just need the perfect pair of shoes to convey all that.

      Innately stylish

      I was sitting with a friend at the playground one day as our new Italian neighbour approached.
      “I wish I was European and therefore naturally stylish,” she sighed.
      “I’m European,” I reminded her, as we sat there in our shlumpy t-shirts and capris. “Doesn’t seem to be working on me.”
      Ten minutes later she looked down at my shoes.
      “I see what your problem is. There’s a Toy Story band-aid holding your sandal together.”

      That’s probably it.


      When it’s right, you just know. Love, schmove; I’m talking about bras here.

      Yesterday, I took Mabel to get her pre-school (pre pre-school, I suppose) haircut in the fancy place at the mall where she can watch a cartoon while they snip. She was very good and enjoyed seeing Jerry and Tweetie Pie beat up Tom in many and various ways, and afterwards she got a small fries and chocolate milk at McDonald’s downstairs. And then I decided it was a good day to buy a bra.

      Because really, my bras are in a desperate state. If you’re looking for descriptions of floaty lace and luxurious fabrics and dainty embroidered detailing, you should probably go elsewhere at this point: six years of breastfeeding have left my boobs feeling most at home in something with good support and wide shoulder straps, preferably with full coverage and in a nice beige tone that doesn’t show under whatever I’m wearing. Not sexy, is what I’m saying, but looking much better than the old one when the shlumpy t-shirt goes back on. Comfortable and practical are the watchwords these days.

      Anyway, while Mabel ran riot in the Nordstrom dressing rooms, sliding under the dividers from one locked room-ette to the next (we were the only customers at the time, I promise), the lovely assistant brought in one bra after another, starting with the fancy, skin-baring sort that looked beautiful but didn’t fit, and finally ending with the one that felt like a big supportive hug as soon as it went over my shoulders. It’s beige, it’s smooth, it’s boring, and I’m in love.

      Mabel liked it too. Every now and then she’d appear back in my changing room like a miniature, noisy, whirling dervish to pat my boobs admiringly and tell me what she thought. She liked the shiny padded blue one the best, but in general she liked smooth more than bumpy. A few more years, and she can choose her own, I suppose.


      Today I had to go to Baltimore so they could take my biometric data and assimilate it, or whatever it is they do. I thought they might catalog my freckles and measure my earlobes. In the end, they just wanted my fingerprints and a deeply unflattering photo – not even so much as a retinal scan, even though they get that every time I come into the country. Though not for much longer, I suppose, if I can pass the civics test. It appears that I will soon be a citizen. If it happens really quickly, maybe I’ll be able to vote in the election – that would be a decent reason, at least. Otherwise, I’m still trying not to think about it in any deep and meaningful way. It’s only as symbolic as you make it, I suppose.

      As with any occassion when I leave the house and go out in public without children, I felt that I should look something approaching respectable. Beyond changing my sandals for ones without a band-aid accessory, that wasn’t really possible though, since it was 89 degrees outside and I was too busy looking up directions and finding some leftovers for lunch in the fridge. They’re lucky I put on lipstick for the unflattering photo. Anyway, it didn’t seem to matter. Apparently they’ll let any old riff-raff into the country.

      Or maybe I was just looking suitably assimilated.