Day 20, More closet work

Friday, 12/21/2018

A drizzly morning so instead of the long walk I like to take on a Friday I drove to the Y and ran a half hour on the treadmill. Back home I revisited the problem of disposing of the “better” selection of Marian’s clothes — the four bags and several hanging items that Jean thought were too good for her church’s thrift shop, and should be consigned, with the receipts perhaps going to Stanford Women’s Basketball. This was a brilliant idea of hers.

However, I emailed two basketball friends who I thought might know about consignment shops, and they replied that they didn’t. So I started researching them. Actually Yelp lists second-hand and consignment clothing shops. A couple in Menlo Park, a couple in Los Altos.

From the sites for these stores I got a better idea of the kind and quality of clothes they want and how they operate. It wasn’t looking very promising, frankly. So I unpacked the four bags and did another division of sheep from goats, that is, setting aside only items with fine fabric (cashmere, silk) or brand names that I recognized as not being run-of-the-mill store or catalog brands. About half made the cut and went back to the closet: leather coats, silk or cashmere tops, a couple of other obviously fine items.

On Santa Cruz ave. in Menlo Park is the American Cancer Society “Discovery store” where donated clothes are sold to benefit cancer research. I took the two big bags of lesser items there. Then I checked out the two shops in Los Altos. The lady at one said she was overstocked, she might look at my things in January. The lady at the other was quite negative: people look for high-end designer brands (the only one of those that Marian had was a little blouse from DKNY); leather and faux-leather jackets don’t sell well; silk and cashmere tops are pretty slow. Welp, that just about eliminates my inventory.

Probably in January, unless another idea surfaces, I’ll take the remaining items to the ACS shop.

In the evening I finished playing The Return of the King and spent some time going through the bonus material on the third disc of this “extended edition”. As to the film, I was most impressed by the way Peter Jackson and crew created battle scenes. The seamless mix of live and CGI and model work to produce the chaos of a fantasy battle is amazing. I still don’t forgive him for discarding the chapter “The Scouring of the Shire”. He addresses this directly in one of the bonus talks: to him, the story was all about Frodo. He just didn’t see the wonderful possibilities for irony and humor in this closing chapter, or the importance of finishing the arcs of Merry and Pippin. It could all have been done in three minutes of film.

Day 19, Marian’s closet

The play last night was oooo-kayyy I guess. Into the Woods is a very complicated play with lots of characters, and the Los Altos group did a very good job of staging it in the confines of the tiny Bus Barn Theater. My seat was in the front row and I had to be careful not to stretch out for fear of tripping one of the actors. Most of the cast was competent (the young woman playing Cinderella was really good). But the play itself, oh my goodness. The first act ran an hour and a quarter, the second didn’t start until 9:40 or so, and it is slow and full of long, soliloquizing songs with very little melody. Didn’t get home until 11pm.

Thursday 20/12/2018

Walked to the Y for a workout in chilly fog. Then spent an hour beginning the process of clearing out all Marian’s clothes. I started with drawers in various cabinets. When sister in law Jean arrived, we began the process of dividing the clothes into “thrift shop” versus “consignment”.

Jean said her church’s thrift shop would take all used clothes, even shoes and socks, which surprised me. So everything worn-looking or inexpensive went to them, about 8 large plastic garbage sacks to stuff into the trunk of her car.

Almost that much bulk, four plastic sacks and some jackets and ensembles still hanging up, are the “consignment” collection. I don’t know anything about second-hand clothes stores, so I have emailed a couple of women who might, for advice.

This was not too bad an emotional experience, as long as I kept focussed on the practical job at hand and took care not to picture Marian wearing any of the items or remember a time when she got it or wore it. I was astonished at how much she had neatly (of course) packed away. She had at least 20 nice scarves in a wide variety of patterns, and she almost never wore a scarf. I recognized just one, a very soft knitted lavender-brown one. She bought it in Germany because we kept seeing German women who were wearing scarves and she thought the style looked good.

One object just broke me up. I tried to talk about it to Jean and just could not make my voice work. (Fortunately emotion doesn’t clog up my typing fingers the way it does my throat and mucous membranes…) Sometime in the 1990s, Marian embarked on making a quilt, based on a very elaborate pattern of stitched flowers. She bought the fabric and the matching thread; she stitched probably four complete squares out of the twenty or so in the pattern; cut and sewed parts (stems, petals) for a few more. But she found her eyesight just wouldn’t support the very fine hand-stitching required. She stowed the project neatly in a drawer; once every few years she’d take it out and look at it; but she could never finish it.

So here is this unfinished quilt, a pile of neatly-cut fabric sections, paper patterns and templates, and small boxes of completed components, representing probably a couple hundred hours of work with hundreds more to finish it. Does it go to the landfill?

Jean took it and said she was confident that the thrift shop people would find someone who wanted it. I hope she’s right; anyway it is a relief to have it out the house, I guess.

Day 5 cont.

Drove to Oakland for a very pleasant lunch with Darlene and Jessea. Talked about lots of things, their issues and mine. Back home, looked at

Another movie

Waitress got 34 minutes before I got bored. I’ve liked Nathan Filion since Firefly days, and it was fun seeing Andy Griffith as an old codger. This time instead of giving up I started skipping forward. Got to the ultrasound scene where out of nowhere Keri jumps Nathan for a passionate kiss. Nope, don’t believe it. Out at 52 minutes.

Think I’ll watch a few episodes of “The Great War” on youtube.