short cloakI had the day off yesterday, because I and the other nine hundred people who work where I do are so damned wonderful. Seriously. We fart kittens.

My first goal for the day was not to wake up at 3:30 in the morning. I have done it for four or five days in a row, so I was up for a change. I managed to sleep in a whole five hours and did not get out of bed until 8:30 am. I actually felt rested. I remembered how to bathe myself properly. It's amazing what a few extra hours of sleep will do for a person.

The Fiery One had specifically instructed me to do only what I wanted to do yesterday, no more and no less, so my first order of business was to install that del.icio.us links list in the left-hand sidebar. I had to do some psychic work to figure out how to create CSS that would affect that nasty little bugger, but I finally did it. (I use del.icio.us to store all the links I come across that I like, and that list in the sidebar shows the last ten I've entered).

So, by 10:30 am, I had already achieved two small personal victories, and only one of them hurt my brain. I figured that I could beat the number of my achievements over this whole winter if I kept that rate up until nightfall.

I took a walk to the bank to exchange my leftover American cash from our trip to Costa Rica for Canadian dollars. (Shush. I know that it took me two months to get around to that. I don't do errands. It's a sickness). On my way back, I stopped in at a ladies' clothing shop. I am not sure what possessed me to do that, because I almost never walk into those dens of overpriced Laura Ashley and drapey velvet, but there I was, standing in front of a table covered in velvet and brocade pillow slips and supporting a sign that said SALE! 30%-70% OFF DISCOUNTED ITEMS!

If a sale sign does anything to me, it gives me the sudden and deep-seated belief that there is one perfect item for me inside the store sporting the sign. Usually, because I am sized so averagely, anything half decent is already sold out in my size, and I end up leaving the store feeling as though this fifteen pounds I can't lose is keeping me from true consumer happiness.

I was feeling particularly vulnerable to self-loathing yesterday, because my period is imminent, so it seemed imperative that this sale I had stumbled into provide me with a piece of clothing that was both affordable and made me look less horrifically bloated than I felt. I looked around at the rows of racks weighted down by sequined sweaters and quilted coats and velvet palazzo pants, I fingered strange synthetics that were dry-clean only and oversoft microfibre skirts, and my unfounded sale-belief nearly weakened. The forecast was not looking favourable.

And then, I found it. It was basically a short tunic with a v-neck and a short slit on either side at the hip. It was made of heavy, rough-woven linen. It came in both black, which is just about the only colour I wear, and a cranberry-ish red. I thought: Wouldn't it be wild if I didn't buy the black one? Since I had not yet been beaten down by the racks, I was feeling fairly nervy. I grabbed the red one, tried it on, and bought it.

That's right. I bought the red one.

And you people thought I led a life filled with danger and excitement.

I don't much go in for the frou-frou-feeling-pretty vibe, but something about this shirt did just that to me, and when I went out last night, a few people complimented me on my looks. Take that, you hormone-induced and pestilent Self-loathing, you. Also, a beery Irishman with an indecipherably thick accent kept trying to hold my hand until my insistence that I was a happily and monogamously married woman finally stuck. It's not as though I need to have someone hit on me to feel self-confident, but it can help me feel a little less personally disgusting on the right kind of day.

Today, I am happy to report, I am back to my more normal levels of self-confidence and kitten-farting.

Okay, so, to be honest, I am not noted for my abundant kitten-farting, but I do pop one out now and again.

"Shirt" by Carl Sandburg

Read The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg: Revised and Expanded Edition