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A Palette of Fashion

Day after Thanksgiving I met Heather down that road beside the military reserve base. This is the usual walk she does not far from her home in the valley basin. During heavy rains it can be shut down as it is close to a local dam and floods. The area has been developed along side a local golf course, as a wild nature reserve of sorts. The Los Angeles River runs through the park without the intrusive ugly cemented in look it carries through the rest of its city locations; the area is left in its soggy grassland state. Cranes, herons, and other curious to a city dwellers eyes such as the backward-kneed American Coot, a duck like looking fellow that beckons to pitbulls to hop after it and its flock into the reclaimed waters of Lake Balboa; all reside in these environs.

So there we were, nice and early and ready to have my ass kicked by a very quick paced five-mile walk. Heather carries a good twenty to thirty pounds less than I do on her taller than my frame. During the summer I do some work outs, usually hiking and hot yoga. This summer I did my hot yoga until Mexico, walked a lot in Mexico and floated in the beautiful aquamarine ocean. Then came home and Finally my hubby and I purchased a new mattress. Mine was twenty, yes, twenty years old. Upon sleeping on the new mattress, my spine felt much less need to be stretched daily. It was in the hundreds daily outside, and frankly, Todd’s turning the yoga studio’s heat up from its usual 105 to then 112-117, just made not going a thing I did. And the school year started, I went to the gym on the beginning breaks, and then the chaos turned to no gym time at all.

I almost have to jog to keep up with Heather. This was my second go around with her, which is great cause it kicks my ass, and I will just get faster and more in shape. The desire is certainly there. December 17th is when this current hectic work slash run to math class twice a week schedule will be done. Then, a month off of math class, and the last math class I will have to take for this damned second credential will begin end of January, two nights a week, starting at 8 p.m. Meaning… no running from work to school. I can go home, nap in between, eat, and then go; a better pace for the final home stretch of this ridiculous endurance run.

We sped by the grasslands, the golfers, the water foul, the morning sun rays, clouds, and like minded early morning post Turkey Day movers and shakers. One topic discussed was my day after Turkey D-Day passion, Sample Sale Shopping. Years ago while down and out and living in my Hollyweird bungalow, a girlfriend and I discovered the sample sale. The sellers sell to buyers with their flattery; how well we dress, where can they find what “I” am wearing, how I have such good taste and find the best in their wares with such immediacy. How I should visit their showroom on the Friday Sample Sale day, last Friday of the month each month.

For very little money, and trust me, I have always had very little money, I can run through the sale and pick up a panoply of interesting fabrics both bright and pleasing to the eye, woven with texture and pride, sewn to please the not common eye, soft to make you swoon at its touch…

A showroom owner even pulled me in once as a temp during fashion week to do some light book keeping and tagging. As I was a substitute teacher looking for a fulltime position, I was able to help out. After a day of working in the well lit showroom, I would close my eyes at night and watch the bright colours and patterns from the day swirl as a kaleidoscope before my closed eyelids. Few things give me joy as do radiant shades of beautifully made, unique costumes I and others can move around in. 

I consider my recent ancestors on my paternal grandmother’s side, whom to my knowledge were merchants of things like textiles. Meanwhile my maternal great grandparents made and sold in a little German country store pre WWII overalls and farmers garments.

Heather in utilitarian fashion says, “I don’t need any more clothes. I own all I need. I am surprised you need anything”.

To which I school calmly, “There is nothing need based about it. It is a hobby. I love doing it, and who can beat ten new items at that price when one garment otherwise costs the same as those ten put together? The system you ask? Leave the card at home and take $200 cash with you. Meet anyone who wants to go with you an hour after you arrive so you can move about the cabin freely. Move quickly and see what catches your eye; for the right price point, purchase. After an hour or less leave and go to the 50% off accessory store down Santee Alley, then to Pete’s for a celebratory cocktail and snack.”

“Well, I have noticed you have some very nice clothes that always look new”.

“And I may have had them since I was 18. They are items in rotation. I do give some away, or sell them in the summers”.

We speed walk around the bend, Heather’s pitbull both on and off leash depending who we pass in route. My mind remembers my room back in the Hollywood bungalow. My new purchases as décor hanging proudly along the walls around the room. I could easily then mix and match my finds. A palette of colours and fabrics, fashion options to choose from and paint myself with.

If I really have to leave my cave and interact with others, I may as well take pride in what I wear and entertain my sense of art with an armor otherwise known as “fashion finds”. They aren’t needed, and eventually maybe I’ll minimize to just a few essentials. But for now, let’s paint!