Since I am an unemployed wastrel (with less free time on my hands than I expected what with not having to be across the bay 10 hours a day; sleep, yo… maker faire, yo…job search, yo…) I have been informed that my habillement choices are on the dark side.

I like black. Sure it shows some lint and cat hair, but it also doesn’t show drippings from my lunch or other clumsiness that I tend toward. Also, since I don’t have to be crawling around on the floor fixing network connections that IT should have gotten to in a more timely manner (I think in my previous job, they just assumed I was the IT mascot and I could just get this shite done without having to put in a ticket, so one more thing off their plate, thankyouverymuch.) I can wear skirts now without showing everyone my adorable undies from Target.

So, I have a few skirts (read:more than I have every owned in my life; i.e. more than 2) and I am wearing them.

I haven’t totally reconciled the travel aspect of it. I have some built in aversions to wearing too much of one fabric (jean jacket and jeans at the same time) or not having my shoes match my bag (no, I’m not certain where that came from) or mixing black with chocolate brown…. So I have a few requirements to meet when I travel.

Also, do you know how hard it is to find yoga pants in not black?

And my favorite, favorite shirt is black. So wearing comfy pants and my favorite shirt, and a fleece (which is normally black because wearing a color over black pants and black shirt seems wonky to me) leaves me with… all black. Sigh. Back to square one.

So traveling on a plane with my minimal carryon stuff can be a little restrictive, it helps that I have some stuff that packs down pretty well. Also I found some jeans that I love so they are easy to pair with color (though that rules out my bluejean jacket  for me. I can wear it with skirts though, so if I bite the bullet and wear a friggin’ dress, I’m ok. (I’m working on being ok with that.))

Anyhoo, so I am unreasonably excited by road trips now. Mostly because I can have my purse out with gadgety crap and a second bag that I can put an extra jacket in that I normally wouldn’t have room to have with me as carry on AND my little suitcase. (no I will not check a bag on the way to anywhere unless I am just too exhausted to deal with it and still, I will have my minimum requirements with me on the plane so if the other stuff gets lost, it was just gravy anyway.)

Here’s my current packing list for a car trip:

part 1 part 2

Images from Closet (iphone app)

Oh the bounty of outfits! (No I won’t wear it all, but it gives me leeway for various activities, spillages, sweatiness and whatnot. Also some things are meant to be worn over each other… like the white tank and the white button down to keep me cool and not fried by the sun outside. Some is just in case, like the nice dress and heels if I go out to fancy-schmancy dinner. Hiking, beach, etc.)

I can fit this all in my little green shopper (also doubles as spare stuff to leave in the car trunk when we are out), the carry-on LeSportsac Abby and my “fits under the airplane seat… really” American Tourister wheely that is fast becoming my favorite bag ever.

Leave me alone. This is fun.


Travelly bits

Packing is fun.
You know how some people have gift wrapping rooms? I want a packing room/closet.
It would have my current Stolmen shelves on 3 sides, one wall for framed maps and pictures and a big table with drawers/organize-y things in the middle.
But I don’t have that and my closet is currently is kinda messy, so I’ll just make a list well in advance, put things into a designated bag for keeping  them together until the trip, then take over the bed for a while when I do actually pack.
I’ve got my annual trip to Green Bay coming up next week (umm…eeek.) and I need to take more than I usually do. I also think it will be rather nippy this time (last year I wore my jacket liner over a long sleeve SmartWool shirt and was warm enough. Crazy.)
I have a very serious down coat, a honkin’ pile o’ SmartWool things, a wool JCrew rollneck sweater (that I wore in 20 degree weather without knowing it because it is perfect) and snow boots. Actually I have two pairs of snow boots and I’m debating which ones I should take. I suspect I’ll take the lace up ones and use it as an excuse to wear leggings tucked into them the whole weekend instead of proper pants.
There’s a dress involved in this year’s round up so I have to take some girl clothes type things… yuck.
If I use Tex as a mule, I can put more shoes in his bag. I’d check a bag and just use a bigger suitcase, but I’m paranoid about checking bag on the way to a destination. The universe never actually loses your dirty laundry and smelly socks, but crucial items are fair game. (I may still check a non-essentials bag and just rough it with existing things in my carry on if they lose my checked luggage.)
I even have a new carry-on for this trip (yeah, i know I get a new bag almost every trip- but some of them get given away or re-purposed, so I don’t have that much actual luggage. I do sometimes use just bags for short trips.). I found this Lucas lightweight carry-on that is gray with a leaf pattern on it. It had butternut squash colored accents and worked with a lumbar pack I have (that I used for a weekend in Texas when I needed to be hands free as I had borked my nerve in my neck.) Atypical matching luggage, but it met my criteria and kept the inner luggage dork happy.
… until I decided to use the same bag for Green Bay.
Lucas Leaf carryon bag
I could get away with minimal packing at my grandmother’s because really I end up living in one pair of yoga pants the whole time I’m there (multiple Tshirts, socks and undies) then changing back into the plane outfit that is fit for public viewing. At most you need one of those bags that fit under the seat and a backpack full of gadgets.
But for Green Bay (and especially this year; see above.) there’s no way I could fit all my cold friggin’ weather gear in a small carry-on. So my inner freakazoid went bonkers trying to come up with a “matching” set that would hold enough for 5 days in the cold. It really only had to be a tenuous link, but a link nonetheless. So I went Marshall’s/Ross/TJ Maxx crawling (Marshall’s was the most likely success as that was where I found the original bag.) and I lucked out and found a small suitcase only $10 more than the original that matched exactly. It isn’t a wheelie but I don’t necessarily need another wheelie.
I test drove it last weekend when I stayed down close to the Monterey Aquarium last weekend and it holds a surprising amount of crap (but you have to be careful or they will get crabby on the plane and not let you in and make you check it… it’s a fine line.)
AT stuff on my cube at work.
The other thing in my head is a longer trip to the AT. About the same time frame and location as the other with a few adjustment (namely, marshmallows for mama, not eating a group meal and a slower pace with less panic that I was holding up the group.) I don’t regret a thing about the last trip, but I also would like to try a few new things while I’m there and I know myself fairly well, so adjustments will be made.
I’m not quite ready to do 6-8 weeks on the trail and do the entire state yet for a variety of reasons, but I will.
Now, gotta get on the treadmill and also start doing 4-6 miles each weekend day to get ready.

How I Pack (Part 1)

(NOTE: This is for flying. Road trips and train trips are entire 'nother animal.)

I can easily handle a 50 degree range (and even more if I will only be outside for a few minutes moving from car to door etc.) with my standard array of clothing:

  • a pair of Khakis/jeans
  • a pair of black pants
  • several long sleeve quick dry shirts (or short sleeve if in summer/warmer climates)
  • a light merino wool sweater
  • a breathable jacket (the same one I wear on the trail)
  • a scarf (pashmina or the like)
  • walking shoes

For trips like Green Bay, I allow myself a couple of fun things. This trip I have snow pants (though not totally necessary) and some silly hats to wear.

If I am going to be going to a play or out to a fancy dinner, I tend to pack a nice shirt and a pair of shoes that don't look like I walk 20 miles a week in them and wear my black pants. Its as good as you are going to get with me.

I end up packing about the same amount of clothes for a weekend that I do for a week or more. I don't know why, but it seems to work well for me. I think its because I can have a choice in what I wear and my inner 2 year old is appeased by that.

Also on the default list is:

  • yoga pants (can work as jammies, workout wear, warmer weather pants as well as being just plain comfy.)
  • 2 quick dry t shirts (workout clothes, layers, on their own, jammies etc.)

This is where I spend most of my time thinking about a packing list: the gadgety stuff.

  • Phone+foldup keyboard+USB charging cable – I have a Palm Centro with the old Palm folding keyboard covers most of my text based needs (email, blogging, writing articles/books (thank you WordSmith!), Twitter, Facebook, banking, misc browsing) and some basic HTML provided I have a web interface I can work in instead of relying on FTP.My phone also has a nationwide plan and is GSM so if I am out of the country I can buy a prepaid card and swap SIM chips.
  • Camera+charger+multiple cards (I have a small digital that works for everyday photos and video. If I am going somewhere for more than a week, I will most likely bring my digital SLR for some really good shots.)
  • iPod – model varies based on trip length and availability of wifi and or power outlets.
  • Solio This can charge my iPod (The nano version can be charged multiple times without draining the Solio and still have power for my phone) I have limited luck with charging it in the sun since I am in airports and in cloudy locations. But when I do road trips, it works really well on the dashboard, hiking has a limited charge time as we are mostly in the trees but it has a charging option so I mostly use it as a spare battery.
  • Belkin Mini Surge with USB – For charging everything in my pack. It is brilliant.Go get one NOW.
  • Card reader+Cards+Portable Apps – You can use any PC without leaving any of your data on it… and they have Skype in P.A. form now! I also put PDF (password protected) scans of my drivers license, my passport and other emergency information and standard files I use a lot.
  • USB rechargable speakers I found these a while back. I like them because they sound great, are chargable via mini-USB, and are tiny (they were originally made to go with some Cingular phone that matched its form factor). I don't think they make them anymore, but I love them.
  • optional: if I am on call at work then I take my netbook, an Acer Aspire One which has my full set of tools on it.
  • optional: if I will be on a flight longer than 2 hours or if I am visiting my family (i'm a night owl and they aren't), I bring my eReader

Then there's the standard stuff I have in my purse/backpack at all times: notebook, pens, aspirin, etc. Survival gear.
There are also some new toys that I am pondering but that will have to be another post… as will the perfect (mythical) travel tool.

Packing List:Kermit 2.5 days

Ogio Metro Backpack (mine doesn't have the Firefox on it, but I wish it did)

2 short sleeved Tshirts
1 long sleeve Tshirt
yoga pants (doubles as jammies)
sleeping Tshirt
1 long sleeve heavier shirt*
Keen shoes
plane wear: jeans, long sleeve Tshirt, Eddie Bauer jacket I wore to Green Bay


Treo + cables etc
iPod Touch + cables
Belkin power strip (AC + 2 USB ports)
Solio + connecties
camera + stuff
external drive
shampoo etc
Crystal Lite mixes, snack bars, nuts
empty water bottle

I'll probably take my Acer, but I really don't feel like futzing around with all the associated angst it takes to get through security and carry all the cables… but given that it was necessary when I traveled last time as I got trapped, it might still be worth it (though the incidence of blizzard is statistically low in Kermit). Also, I have an idea for a TSA safe laptop bag (a two bottle wine carrier from BuiltNY with the center stitching removed. No zippers, no extra pockets and very viewable on security cam.)
No decision yet… however, leaning toward YES.

PACKING LIST:Super-cool reusable Trader Joe’s Grocery Bags

Remember in Friends where they all go to the beach and Joey shows up with a paper bag…?

Joey: (walking up carrying a brown paper bag) Hey!

Monica: Oh, hey! Oh good, you brought food!

Joey: No, it’s just my luggage.

yeah well this particular packing list is sort of like that…but with a Trader Joe’s reusable bag.
They are the perfect size, sturdy, cool looking and are wonderful even if you can’t really sling them over your shoulder (but really, if I was THAT concerned with it, I wouldn’t be using Joey Luggage.)

For a last minute “Hey! let’s jump in the car after work run off down the coast this weekend!*” like in college. (yes you are allowed to stock up on munchies at Trader Joe’s on the way out.)

  • Trader Joe’s grocery bag
  • Trader Joe’s citrus sampler kit
  • towel
  • swimsuit
  • yoga pants
  • polar fleece sweatshirt
  • bandanna

*We’ll assume you don’t have prior commitments, your cell phone is charged and you don’t have pets that will starve without you there.

Packing List:3 days in a car with my cousin

This cousin to be precise…


  • Orange Crush Tshirt (jammies)
  • orange flip flops
  • Nick and Nora Ports of Call jammies
  • Polarfleece v-neck sweatshirt
  • REI Denali quick dry pants (dark khaki)
  • 2 black tshirts
  • white tshirt
  • fish t-shirt
  • jacket (haven’t decided which one yet)
  • Keen’s
  • socks and undies


I will probably be hyperventilating being away from Bunny for more than 12 hours, Tex will be with her, but I keep going back to the point that it is several days of the rest of her life that I am missing out on…Maybe I should add Prozac to the fucking list.

Packing details

So, I used to be able to pack 2 weeks before a trip and just grab my bag and go! Everything was great! I had pants! (and under pants!) but now, not so much.
For some reason I seem to get a little distracted by the right shirt (or 4) and I lose sight of the whole “what to wear over my butt” issue.
Sure, I have what I wear on the plane, but when I go with a purple/black theme on the plane and end up packing a whole khaki/red/orange theme in the suitcase, it looks a little like clown college in a bag.
My new approach is to casually sneak up on the packing and then pounce right before I leave so it doesn’t know what hit it.
I wear my clothes as the weeks pass and then when I wash them and think “Oh this shirt is my BFF!” I fold it and toss it in the suitcase for the pre-leaving sanity check.
This time my packing list deviated from my previous list (and I’ll make a new one if you care), but essentially, I looked at the weather and decided zip off shorts and the new cute jammies as pants would be a good weight. I did put the plaid ones that go with my Monterey sweatshirt in there, but I also lost my tiny little mind over some travel jammies from Nick and Nora at Target last weekend that with just a slight shift in t-shirt color will work with most everything else.
I figure with the weather as it is, I’ll probably end up in shorts the whole time anyway. (cross your fingers nothing crazy happens to the weather, I am leaving my down jacket at home this time).

New Texas packing list:

-EBags weekender
-black zip off pants/shorts
-orange long sleeve shirt
-purple long sleeve shirt
-white long sleeve shirt
-purple/grey patterned sweater (the artist formerly known as “new sweater”)
black vneck merino wool sweater
-*grey short sleeve shirt with silkscreened fishie
-*grey hoodie sweater
Nick&Nora “ports of call” jammies
Monterey sweatshirt
-plaid pink/orange jammies
-*10 year old (but still the best damn jacket I own) Eddie Bauer parka**
black flip flops, possibly the red ones, too. orange flip flops

-Nano/broadcasty/car power
-2G Firefly with Portable Apps/external drive
-Treo 650/headset/keyboard
-fold up cooler

*plane wear
** the word parka intimates that it is super warm. It isn’t even insulated. But it is long (comes to mid-thigh on me), I can scotch guard it and walk around in Paris drizzle and stay dry, it has a waist cinch, a hood, sleeve snaps to keep the wind from going up your arms and the best pockets ever. I’ve worn this in weather as low as 20 degrees F and in rain and after it gets really ooky, I wash it, scotch guard it again and wear it for several more trips.
***I wasn’t going to bring this, but then I got into a book and realized I didn’t want to leave it til I got back.

…and oh crap, I think I’m getting sick.