Hey 2009: Don’t let the door hit you in the backside

SOMEWHERE NORTH OF SAN FRANCISCO, December 31 — Mr Vix and I have spent most of the last two weeks road-tripping from northwest Oregon to southern California and back again. Though the journey was my idea, this is the type of drive that does no favors to one’s ass, as one must sit on it seemingly forever. By the time we make it home in a few days, we’ll have logged about 50 hours in the car. But what price warmth and clear skies? I mean, getting to see family over the holidays?!

[Though luckily we saw family and one of my funniest friends. Because buffers are always a plus, and buffers who live in exceedingly pleasant jewel-box houses are even MORE of a plus.]

Much to my travel companion’s shock, I did not bring my laptop. Hey, when I unplug, I like to go all BEHOLD MY POWER SURGE. However: we’re at at the last stop on our Holiday 2009 Freeloaders’ Tour. And the family computer sits empty for a moment. And the year ends tonight.

So best wishes to all for a Happy 2010.

Me, I’ll be starting January on a positive note by knowing Mr Vix is sure to sing a different tune about day trips. Plus I’ll be all endorphined up reviewing the photos I nabbed on our vacation. So far 99% of them involve shots of blue sky—JUST blue sky—but if you share my fetish, drop in for the upcoming show and tell. I’ll be posting from underneath my poncho, trying to keep my mail-order optimism dry and sheltered. Somehow, I have a feeling I’m gonna need it to handle 12 more months of who-the-hell-knows.


I woke up one day last winter and realized that, apart from a short family-based trip, I hadn’t left the U.S. in 20 years. I’m still not sure how I let that happen; granted, I have a tendency to sleepwalk through my life when I’m not making fairly substantial changes but REALLY.

While financially it was not a great time for me to travel farther than the corner market, I was determined to celebrate my 40th by going somewhere I’d always wanted to see, someplace crumbling and splendid, bustling and languid, illusory and workaday.

Someplace as contradictory as I was feeling.

So I started making plans, and once Mr Vix got on board, we even decided to squeeze in a little second-city stop-off on the way home. Though of course I would have loved to roam even longer.

…my trip made me as happy as a raisin in a rum cake, and today’s a day I need to revisit the smaller moments that made me smile…

(top to bottom: Mr Vix wandering in Venice; Amsterdam carnival vendor; a midnight vap rider brightens the Venetian scene; Amsterdam window display; strutting it Amsterdam style; old meets new on an Amsterdam canal bank; a central city carnival flashes against Amsterdam’s grey sky; Murano factory sign; orange bag huddle on the Riva degli Schiavoni; memento from G. Nason’s studio)

Should I be Falling for it?

As my part of the world is fairly temperate, my closet skews very multi-season/transitional. When it’s colder I layer up; when it’s hotter, I channel my inner burlesquer. Naturally, I also have a small stash of items weighty and frothy for if you prick me do I not bleed? temperatures.

Depressingly, my warm-weather coterie has a tendency to spend June and July hanging in the closet with this total Corduroy the Teddy Bear vibe while we Pacific Northwesterners wait for summer to actually arrive. Not that I MIND God’s tears washing over me when I’m supposed to be lounging outside with gelato or a fruity cocktail or something FUN. Not at all, nope, I couldn’t care less.

[Yes, I get cranky about the rain yet do not take kindly to our mega-heat waves. I’m a Gemini, capice?]

Given the atmospheric reality in which I live, I end up with a lot of lightweight knit tops and mid-weight bottoms. All of which get worn over and over and oh-my-freaking-god-die-already over during the year. And now that the “year” is really more like the “year x 4,” I am seeing the sad result of my post-intervention decision to spend more per item and have a lot less to wear.

RESULT: Personal and global economic apocalypses notwithstanding, I am pretty damn sick off oh, 80% of my clothing. And right now I don’t care that my buying method gives me a highly functional, very flexible system that may in fact rival that of Garanimals, where

each of the distinct animal lines consists of mix and match separates, whose color and style coordinate with any piece within that same animal line.”

My process isn’t going to change significantly in the near future, though. Which means that technically I have nothing to lose by checking out Pantone’s color proclamations for fashion when I’m browsing their reports for industrial and graphic and interior design. Because if I decide to freshen up my closet with a new long-sleeved T shirt or scarf, it makes perfect sense to choose a sizzling new shade that works with my latest choice in tic tacs or rearview window dice.


I write the following with great trepidation, because Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, also calls the PNW home. Thus she could either beat me up without having to grossly rearrange her schedule OR she could run into me at the supermarket and feel mysteriously compelled to offer me my Yes, Seriously #1 Dream Job–making up color names–until she she sensed my Corbeau-colored aura and felt equally compelled to rescind aforementioned offer.

HOWEVER, doesn’t the Pantone report for Fall 2009…

Pantone Color Report Fall 2009

The Pantone Color Report for Fall 2009 really wants to say: In every life we have some trouble / When you worry you make it double / Don't worry, be happy

look an awful lot like their prior fall color reports?

...and 2008

Granted, their Fall 2008 choices had some friskiness with the blue and green...


...while their Fall 2007 forecast got kicky with that jadeite and purplish-pink...

Similar shades in 2006...

...and credit where due for swerving toward the pale Calvin Klein-y neutrals in Fall 2006.

No wonder Im having deja vu in 09 given Fall 2005s shades

But given the shades in Fall 2005, no wonder I'm having déjà vu in '09!

Now one doesn’t need to be all that sensitive to color to note that OBVIOUSLY, the shades chosen to accessorize our fall/winter lives have year-to-year variations. But I think it’s a stretch to call the bulk of them significant deviations. For the most part, a Pantone Fall = Red. Bright Purple. Midnight Blue. Putty. Honey or Mustard. Terracotta, Pumpkin, or Caramel. Plus the revolving-door colors.

Surveying the clothes that have to get me through another fall, I spy with my semi-dispirited eye red, bright purple, and midnight blue. As most people don’t wander around with a holstered Pantone guide to make sure strangers are wearing the EXACT shade of  an “in” color, I guess I’ve got a toe in the trend–even if most of the items in question will be layered beneath black, dark brown, and grey.

And really, it’s not as if surrounding myself with mainstream colors holds much of a thrill for me these days. I’m busy dreaming of the ineffable; I’m preoccupied by a shadowy closet filled with Parisian Embrace and Húsavík Plume and Hollyford Trek. But right now I can’t go too far from what I know and what I have. Looks like my forecast entails another season cozied up with good ole American Beauty (#19-1759), and I’ll just have to make the best of it.