Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall Fashion and Urban Cool in Flagstaff

Another crisp fall morning in Flagstaff and in honor of Happy Friday I slipped on my dark, rinse Ann Taylor low-rise denims. I bought them last year but kept foot dragging on getting the length hemmed. At 5'1", even petite jeans and dress pants are too long. Jen at Red Thread got the length just right for both ballet flats and heels. I paired them with this colorful, floral, empire waist print top and was in good cheer all day.

Now in my mid-40's, I never would have worn a close fitting top like this in my 20's or 30's. I was all about hiding under bulk and layers. I have always had too pay attention to my weight, mainly through exercise and like many women often perceive that I have less time for it now that I am married. Commuter biking has been a great way to work exercise into day when other married life responsibilities (sitting down to a good dinner, running out to purchase meds for a sick husband, or just doing household chores that I might feel able to ignore when I was single) fill my time. In my late 30's spent two weeks and Portugal and was impressed that, unlike American women, Portuguese women of all shapes and sizes wore their clothes closer to their bodies and seemed to feel no shame or hesitation to show off their curves. I felt inspired upon returning to the U.S. to abandon my tendency to cover up in shapeless, boxy clothes that seemed to add the appearance of more weight and an overall frumpy presentation. As I began feeling more comfortable with my body (as opposed to trying to show it off) I became more confident and re-energized about running and exercise in general. I will never go back to formless, ill-fitting clothes.

Deviating from bicycling themes as I sometimes do, I'd like devote a little space to "cool stuff" I occasionally see on my bike commute. I've mentioned in previous posts that I often wonder if what attracts my interest also attracts the interest of other bike commuters. You tell me?

Last week I noticed that a previous empty lot on the Southside had been recently filled with several cargo containers. Later the cargo containers seemed to be deliberately arranged. Could it be that someone was constructing a cargo container house? I read about cargo container housing, both single and multifamily, on TreeHugger and was very intrigued. Seeing one on my bike-route was pretty startling but exciting. Something outside the norm. Unexpected. People are bound to protest! A shipping container used as a house?! The nerve. The next thing you know people will be building straw bale houses in the city and wanting to install solar panels on the rooftops. Another step toward godless socialism! I, of course, love it.

A new use for an old container. Cargo container houses, apartments and condo have been cropping up in Europe for some time. Will they catch on here? Would anyone but me, a few architects and the owner of this construction actually consider living in one? I wondered if this could possibly be a solution to our unaffordable housing problem. The Planner Guy wondered if the house could be adequately insulated against cold and heat. I'll be keeping my camera lens on this project and keep you posted. It will be interesting to hear what other bike commuters think.

Life Update: The Planner Guy Lives, as Does My Rescuer Complex
It is not enough that I hover over my H1N1-infected husband and run out at all hours to bring him hot and sour soup and Kong Pau chicken to open up his aching head but I must also step in on behalf of very large lost dogs. Last night, I took home a dog found wandering in front of City Hall by a very concerned young woman who appeared to be homeless. I thought it better that she be admitted to a shelter than spending the night in the cold with a dog who would not be allowed in with her and told her I would find the owner. Forgetting temporarily that my husband is sick and taking medication, I called and asked him to drive to City Hall and collect the dog, to which he agreed (dog love, of the most serious kind working here).

Bandit, for that is indeed his name according to the microchip company we contacted, was the perfect house guest and clearly from a home that has well socialized him to both people and dogs. A good thing since we already have three. At bedtime, Bandit, apparently used to sleeping with his owner(s) cried to be let out of the laundry room so in order to maintain calm doggy relations I bedded down in the guest room. Bandit made himself comfortable on the foot of the bed. Naturally, by the next morning I was quite invested in Bandit. I contacted the animal control officer when we had not heard from the owner by 11 a.m. He assured me that Bandit would not be put down and that his owners, given the microchip, 2009 rabies tags and dog license, were likely out-of-town and be reunited with him soon. Bob the Infected assured me we could not afford four dogs. With a heavy heart and teary eyes, I turned Bandit over to the very nice and patient animal control officer. Why do I always feel that I didn't do enough?


Beany said...

I enjoy reading about random urban curiosities so I enjoyed this post about cargo containers.

Sorry you had to give up Bandit, but with such good manners he is sure to find a nice home.

On the subject of clothes, I am slowly coming out of my "let me hide behind this sack of an outfit" to slowly showing off my body and learning to be comfortable with it. I am not comfortable with men admiring my body (esp. the boobs), so I was interested in learning about your experiences re: the Portuguese women.

I did find a really cute black dress recently and I bought it. It fits me perfectly and makes me look a bit extra curvy (very tight), but with some knee length boots, it would be absolutely perfect. With some leggings, I could even ride with the dress on my diamond frame bike.

2whls3spds said...

Sorry about Bandit, perhaps you could request visitation? ;-)

Love the container house, please keep us updated on the progress. I have seen quite a few picture on the web of container housing ranging from spartan to unbelievable. I own 2 containers that I primarily use for storage or as shop space.


c_c_rider said...

great outfit :)

She Rides a Bike said...

I am happy to report that Bandit, aka Zorro, has been reunited with his very frantic owner. She posted his pictures on Craig's List and a friend of ours saw him and told us to check his photos. Bandit it was. I directed his owner to the Humaine Society and gave her the name of the animal control officer. We were both teary, I am afraid. Nobody understands how it feels to loose a dog unless you've lost one yourself.

Beth said...

I love the container structure, may I share your pictures with my mother, who would like to build a container house in northern Nevada?

She Rides a Bike said...

Beth, absolutely share my photos with your mom! As she's building her container house, maybe you can share her progress with me.

bikecommuter said...

Ran across your blog while doing a search for Tom Owen, a local Metro Councilman. I'm instantly taken with the focus and wit of your site. Also, grinned when I saw my friend Katie McBride here! I've been a daily commuter for about seven years. Recently sold my car and started writing about My Car-Free Experiment. I have a couple of photos and descriptions of cyclists you are welcome to use on your blog. How can I send them to you?

My blog:


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Enjoy the ride home.