Life as the textile expert at a regional history museum

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Things I'm Thankful For

Dispite the occasional outburst of rage directed at decade-old NYT articles, I'm a pretty happy person. In the spirit of the season, I thought I would do a post about things I am thankful for. But I quickly realized I would have to limit it, because there is too much to pack in. All my friends are awesome, my parents and extended family are cool, and I have a super-sweet job. Gushing about all that would be boring for everyone but me. So here is a short list of highly specific things that have been giving me the happy feels recently.

Museum Volunteers Who Love Things That I Love

Despite the title of this blog, I actually haven't been doing a lot of vacuuming lately. I do a lot of delegating. So, much like a pop star who has a team of people to make her look fabulous, I am a museum diva who has a team of people who help me get my work done.

In this metaphor: Great hair = A perfect padded hanger
I have volunteers who make padded hangers, dress mannequins, sew garment covers, and help vacuum the acres of clothes that we brought from the old storage space.

Besides the fact that they help me do what it would take 20 years to do alone, what I love about  my volunteers is that they are super into into. When I take people back into storage or pick out a rack for them to clean, I never tire of getting the grown-up approximation of this face:

Everyday is like a birthday when vintage clothing is involved

The vacuuming volunteers have a particularly infectious brand of enthusiasm. Initially I was worried I would have trouble recruiting people for this mostly tedious task. They have to carefully check the garment (every seam, every pocket, every crevice) for dust, lint, and signs of bug activity, make notes about the condition, and then vacuum out any particulate matter. But the schedule filled up right away and the people who do it are really dedicated. They like it because they get to see the garments up close.  Many of my volunteers have sewing experience or have a particular interest in historical dress. They will often call me over just to show me how a seam is finished or wax rhapsodic the construction of some pleating.

Evensong. Realness.

I am in a tiny church choir. We wear giant polyester blue robes and usually sing for a congregation of about 8. And it is the best.  Rehearsals usually involve irreverent religious jokes, sight-reading meltdowns, our director singing "Born Free" every time we have trouble with a downward fourth, and of course-- beautiful sacred music.

Last Sunday we sang a set of music by Nico Muhly and I am obsessed with it. You can hear a recording of it here. I don't really have a follow-up joke here. I just really love my choir.

The Deep, Cosmic, Pop-Culture Connection That I Share With My Roommate 

A few weeks ago, Olivia went out of town and left to my own devices. What started with a simple search for gifs to use on this blog, ended with me getting lost down a deep internet rabbit hole. You might not realize it, but searching for the perfect gif can be an arduous and confusing process. As one searches, one finds lots of things from unfamiliar shows and movies. And one thinks-- Who is this "Loki" character? What is this strange power enticing me to watch a movie that has fights and explosions in it?

By the time Olivia returned from the trip, I felt like I had to make an embarrassing confession. Barely able to look her in the eye, I started, "So...I somehow spent an entire evening watching TWO action movies on Netflix..."

"Wait. Stop," she said, "Does this in some way involve Tom Hiddleston? Because I feel like that is a thing we should be into."

And all was right with the world.

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