Thursday, May 16, 2019


As I encounter situations in my day-to-day life, I like to think “What would Gwyneth Paltrow do?” and then do something else.  So maybe MY lifestyle blog will be called POOG.  Although, honestly, GOOP is a pretty stupid name, too.

Today was an excellent POOG day. 

Amy had to take a party-sized portion of oatmeal to school for a potluck breakfast, and I didn’t want her to take the huge, heavy crock pot that she had cooked it in overnight.

I decided to decant the oatmeal into a tortilla keeper, an ugly theoretically insulated extruded plastic thing that I got at Smart & Final.  I secured the lid with some purple duct tape.  Then I wrapped the tortilla keeper in a beach towel for extra insulation.  I used one of those kiddie towels with an animal hood and tail – in this case that of an orange fox.  The whole thing went into an extremely ratty canvas bag, and off I sent my baby, with one of the jankest looking potluck contributions I have ever seen.

Then it was time for healthful exercise.  My friend Colleen and I walked around her neighborhood and checked out her neighbor’s giant agave, which has finally bloomed.

My friend Alison texted me while I was walking and invited me to join her at the Indian restaurant over by my favorite Goodwill.  So I went home, let the dog out, and loaded my car with my latest dubious discarded clothing and household items.

The Indian place has delicious food but no public restroom.  After lunch I went next door to sneak into the restroom in the BevMo, as is my usual habit, but they have apparently had some unpleasant plumbing issues at the BevMo, so now you have to get a red-aproned employee to unlock the restroom door. 

Back in the parking lot, I paused to finish the Sudoku in the daily newspaper, but I had eaten a fair amount of Malai Kofta, and I fell asleep.  After a refreshing car nap, I was ready for Goodwill.  But I had to use the restroom again, and I was too embarrassed to go back into the BevMo, so I drove down the street to the Best Buy, where you can still sneak into the restroom unaided.

I dropped off my donations in the Goodwill bins, and then had a most enjoyable two hours perusing the racks of clothing inside.

We are fortunate to live in an area with many immigrant families, and as a result we have a terrific assortment of odd donated clothing from around the globe in the Goodwill.

I found a pieced gray t-shirt, size 90 (?), adorned with screen printed sketches of women’s faces, but only on the right shoulder.  I love it.  Sometimes when I encounter a particularly strange item, I laugh out loud, I can’t help myself.  It’s like seeing a truly bad movie – it’s kind of awe-inspiring to think how many people’s lives intersected to make this terrible thing.

There were leftovers in the fridge, so I declined to cook anything new for dinner and left the family to fend for themselves.  As for me, I had a plate of tortilla chips with some left-over book group cheese and a glass of cold gin.  Me and my daughters watched “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”, a cornball Netflix teen movie.

Eat your heart out, Gwynie.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Rich Old White Ladies

To celebrate the completion of the colonoscopy that I finally had at 54 (after four years of nagging by my physician and family), I bought some shoes.  And not just any shoes.  In the spirit of mid-life concerns, I went to the comfort shoe store in downtown Los Altos to get some shoes to help with my plantar fasciitis.

The comfort shoe store in downtown Los Altos is full to the brim with rich old white ladies.  If the salespeople work on commission they are making bank.  They also deserve it, because rich old white ladies are incredibly fussy, picky and confused.

The day I was in the store there were three salespeople attempting to serve about eight old biddies, half of whom were headed out for a cruise and needed comfortable fashionable shoes (an oxymoron) and half of whom were with their caretakers and seemed unsure why they were there.

I wasn’t in any hurry so I hung about and observed.  An actual interaction:
Customer comes in with two pairs of shoes in boxes, sits herself in a chair, a saleswoman sallies forth to assist. Let’s call her Sally.

Sally: “How can I help you today?”
Old Lady: “I bought these shoes but I don’t like them.”
Sally (stifling a sigh): “Do you have the receipt?”
Old Lady: “The what?”
Sally (focusing on the middle distance and presumably thinking about where she’d rather be, presumably anywhere other than in this shoe store): “Do you have an account with us?”
Old Lady: “Maybe.”
Sally: “What’s your phone number?”
Old Lady: “My what?”
Sally (after taking a deep breath): “A telephone number?  Like, a number that people use to call you on the telephone?”
Old Lady, thinking hard: “Yes.”

Eventually the number is dredged up, written down, the account is located, and Sally has returned the unwanted shoes.  Now for the next chapter in the drama:

Sally: “Do you want to try on any other shoes?”
Old Lady: “Of course I do.  Why do you think I’m here?  I didn’t like those other shoes.”
Sally: “What style would you like to try?”
Old Lady: “Bring me some shoes that I would like.  I didn’t like those other shoes.”

We will draw a veil over the ensuing thirty minutes.  At least when the Old Lady left, she had purchased three more pairs of shoes.  Whether she will be back next week to repeat the exercise above is an open question.

In fact, all the customers in the store that morning bought at least two pairs of shoes.  Expensive, comfortable shoes.  But only after an average interaction time of forty minutes. 

Oh, except for the one man who came in.  He took off one of his shoes, handed it to a salesperson, and said “I want another pair of these.”  The whole sale took about five minutes.

I am grateful for the comfort shoe store and the ministering angels who enable all us old ladies to keep walking.  I learned more about plantar fasciitis from Sally than I had from Dr. Google or my physician, and I bought two pairs of shoes. 

I just hope they work on commission.