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I'm sitting here in the study, listening to the popping sound of fireworks going off in the distance. Every once in a while, one goes off particularly high, and I can see it. Fireworks from the comfort of one's home: that's the way to do it.

I wonder if there will be more tomorrow?

I'm having a very nice 4 day weekend. I had yesterday off from work. I'll also get Monday off.

Yesterday, I decided to use my day off to go clothes shopping. The round of summer festivities (wedding showers, weddings, birthday parties, visits with relatives, and so on) was about to begin, and my wardrobe for such events is getting a bit tired. So Daniel and I got on BART and went into San Francisco, and I deposited him at the Borders bookstore on Union Square while I went to Macy's. (A few years back, I was shopping for a dress to wear to a wedding of a cousin of Daniel's, and the Macy's in San Francisco was the only place where I was able to find a dress that was not merely un-hideous, but actually attractive. Ever since then, I head straight there when it's time to play dress up.)

Anyway, it wasn't really a very propitious afternoon for shopping, since I was feeling hot and tired, and my sinus infection was bugging me a bit. Still I soldiered on, and was actually successful: I got a nice red and black paisley top that I figured would pair nicely with one of my infinite number of long, stretchy black skirts. (The lazy designer's way of putting together an attractive ensemble for us plus-size gals is a colored or patterned top paired with a skirt in a solid dark color, with the whole ensemble done in stretch fabric. I don't mind, since it looks good and is comfortable, but it does have the side effect that I own about a bazillion long stretchy black skirts.) I also got a somewhat dressier ensemble of a top and skirt in a green knit pattern - the knit is patterned, with loose stitches, giving a kind of lacy effect. The top has a color-coordinating tank top built in so that it doesn't actually show more skin than is decent. It's quite pretty, and it looks like it will be cool, too.

I passed on a stretchy, knee-length black skirt with little ruffles on the bottom. The ruffles flared out in a really neato looking way when I spun around, but whenever I saw myself standing still, I said, "OMG, it's the dancing hippopotamus from Fantasia!" Shopping rule number 1 is: Never buy a dress that makes you feel like a hippo. I also dithered a really long time over an absolutely fabulous patterned skirt that was long and slit up both sides to the knee. It was such a fabulous skirt, but it was paired with a top that was completely unfabulous. The top was clearly cut to emphasize the bust, and it did its job entirely too well. I felt like an Image Comics cover babe. Shopping rule #2 is: Never buy a top that makes you feel like an Image Comics cover babe.

Anyway, it wasn't too gruelling. By the end of it, I was muttering under my breath, "What does not kill me makes me stronger; what does not kill me makes me stronger." But at least I got clothes. When I was finished, I beat a hasty retreat to the Borders cafe and had an Italian soda and showed Daniel my purchases. ("Hey! You found a skirt that isn't black!" he said.)

Today was a bridal shower for Daniel's sister Diana. (See, I wasn't kidding when I said my summer social calendar was about to begin.) I wore the cool paisley top and a long black skirt, and was greeted by Diana's Aunt Ariel with, "Wendy! You look great! You're dressed up, and you're not wearing combat boots!"

(I wish to state for the record that I've never worn combat boots. Doc Martens, hiking books, work boots, yes, but actual military combat boots, no. I vaguely recollect that I have trouble getting them in my size.)

Bridal showers are always kind of odd - they're one of the few single-sex social events one attends these days. We had a nice collection of Diana's female friends and relatives, ages 12 to 86 or so. A fun crowd. I got to meet Oren's mom, Naomi, for the first time. (Oren is Diana's fiance, for those keeping score at home.) She is such a delightful person. (I shouldn't be surprised - she is Oren's mom, after all.) Diana got to tell the story about how she and Oren met, and how they got engaged.

After the shower, I drove Diana and Susan (Daniel and Diana's mother, for those keeping score at home) back to Diana's apartment, along with the shower gifts. Two passengers + a trunk full of bridal shower gifts actually makes my car feel a bit small. I got to see Diana and Oren's new apartment - they moved into it just about the same time that Daniel and I moved to San Jose, so I hadn't seen it. I hung out for a little while, and then let Diana and Susan get on with a little more pre-wedding planning.

Since I was in Oakland anyway, I made a quick stop at my favorite office supply store, Elmwood Stationers. (They're a great source for fountain pen refills, and have a huge selection of bound notebooks of various kinds, including the best selection of Clairefontaine and Rhodia notebooks I've ever seen.) I picked up a couple of notepads and a few doodads, and headed back to San Jose.

Been having a relaxing evening with Daniel. We've got no particular plans for the 4th - we'll probably grill some stuff, and see whatever fireworks we can see from the study window.

Unfortunately, my feet noticed a bit that I wasn't wearing my "combat boots". Now they hurt a bit. I really wish that I could find dress shoes that didn't hurt my feet. No matter how wide I get them, they always seem to compress across the ball of the foot, and if they have the slightest bit of heel, that makes it worse. (I also had to scoot the driver's seat of my car forward a notch to be able to depress the clutch properly while wearing my dress shoes. Ooops.) I'll have to do some shoe shopping, see if I can get a better pair. I'll admit, I don't hold out much hope. I could by a really shiny pair of Docs, and go for the totally goth boots with long skirt look.

Diana would probably not kill me if I showed up at her wedding wearing Docs. Probably not.

Have a happy 4th of July, all!

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