Sunday, January 31, 2016

Snowy White

I spotted a cute little item in a thrift-store last week; it's bright white in color. The piece made me wonder what an all-white outfit might look like.

We only go around once so I gave it a try. Hit or miss?



Saturday, January 30, 2016

The "Gilmore Girls" Are Coming Back!

I watch new TV shows and have an uncanny ability to spot the few that will succeed. For example, I identified "The Big Bang Theory" as a future hit after only the first two episodes of Season One.

One show I raved about to my friends in 2000-2007 was the "Gilmore Girls." Starring Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, the show concerns a single mother and her teenage daughter living in a small rural town. What makes the show so appealing are its quirky characters and their witty banter. The show was created by Amy Sherman-Palladino who will head the revival. (She left the initial run in the sixth season because of a contractual dispute and, in her absence, the show deteriorated.)

Now, a decade after the show ended, Netflix is bringing the show back with all the stars, including Graham, Bledel, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop and Keiko Agena. Sadly, Edward Herrmann has since passed away and can't join the group. There's no word yet on whether Melissa McCarthy (who had a small role as a chef and has since flown to stardom) is returning; I suspect she'll appear in a cameo.

Did you ever watch this show?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Our First Role Model

For most of us, our mothers are our first role model. For everything including fashion. Was that the case for you?

It was for me -- which was hard 'cause I was considered a boy. Everyone, including my mother, discouraged me from emulating her. But I tried. And tried.

Eventually I realized that path was closed; I wasn't allowed to be openly like her. I did, however, pretend to be a girl in the privacy of my bathroom; I used a bath-towel as a makeshift skirt.

Lately, as I've been re-claiming a female-identity, I find connections to my mother that are surprising. For example, I vividly remember how my mother's arms had freckles. Lots and lots of freckles. I thought that was unusual -- until I started shaving hair off my arms and was shocked to see that I too have freckles on my arms. I never saw them under the hair. I suspect I have many genetic similarities with my mom.

In terms of fashion, my mother always wore sleeveless blouses. It was her signature look. Recently, I spotted a blouse of the exact style my mom used to wear. For nostalgia, I bought it.

I probably should mention that my mom died in 1990 at age 54. All I have left of her are memories and photographs. Here is one taken forty years ago. Note the blouse.

Out of affection for my mom, I'm wearing a similar blouse now. I'm not going to say more 'cause, if I do, I'll burst out in tears.

Did your mother influence the way you dress?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

That Little Pocket In Your Jeans

Have you ever wondered what that little pocket (inside the bigger front pocket) in jeans is for? I'll tell you. Or, rather, Levi Strauss will tell you since they're the ones who designed jeans over a century ago and put the pocket there.

The pocket is intended to carry pocket-watches. In the past, men used to carry pocket-watches to keep time; they needed a pocket to slip the watch in so one was added to jeans.

Obviously, few people carry pocket-watches any more so the pouch isn't necessary. Instead of watches, people now put other things in their pocket, like coins, matches, even condoms if you're a high school boy. What do you put in it?

Personal fashion history -- Back in the Seventies, I thought pocket-watches were cool and owned a couple. I found slipping them into my little jeans-pocket handy. Pocket-watches aren't as easy to use as wrist-watches but they leap over ordinary watches in terms of coolness. Pulling one out to check the time always caught people's attention. Often they'd ask to look at the watch which started fun conversation.

Don't you feel smarter now?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Age Creeps Up Like A Panther

Age is like a panther... silent and deadly.

A year or two ago, cashiers started asking me if I want the Senior Discount. I huffed and I puffed and I blew their houses down. Denial was my friend.

Today, a cashier gave me the Senior Discount -- without asking! She acted as if there was simply no question that I'm old. No need to ask for ID or permission.


Do you worry about your age?

Oh, and it gets better. A local cemetery has started mailing me ads with the motto: "Let's Face It Now." My response -- "Let's Not!"

Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter Has Arrived

Here are my favorite two photos from the snow-storm. Both were taken from my front window. The second is a snow goose!


Saturday, January 23, 2016

It's The Big One, Elizabeth...

Back in the Seventies, there was a TV comedy called "Sanford and Son. It starred an elderly Redd Foxx as widowed Fred Sanford, a retired junk-dealer. Fred would constantly try to manipulate his adult-son Lamont by feigning a heart-attack. He would clutch his chest, look up at Heaven and loudly moan, "This is it, Elizabeth! It's the big one! I'm coming to be with you!" Lamont was on to the scam and never fell for it.

Well, we had the big one today. The biggest snow-storm ever in this region.

Fortunately, the storm came with a week's advance-notice as meteorologists warned all week long that a major blizzard was crossing the country. And it hit on a Saturday which was the best time for one to happen.

The storm (which is still raging) dropped over two feet of snow so far (24-inches) and completely paralyzed the entire region. Nobody went outdoors today except emergency personnel and TV reporters. Several thousand homes lost electrical power; fortunately, I'm not among them (yet). I had that horrible experience three years ago with Hurricane Sandy.

Normally I shovel once for a snow-storm. For a bad one, twice. Today, I went out three times to keep up with the endless snow. It keeps coming and coming.

With the advance warning, my and most people's homes are full of food. I had fresh ingredients to make spicy guacamole sandwiches for lunch today which were mmm!!

Honestly, my life has been so hard lately -- I had a huge trial this week which I won and earned a large fee from -- that I welcome the respite this storm is providing. Beyond shoveling (which I enjoy), I have no obligations this weekend except to relax and amuse myself. Which includes blogging.

Were you affected by this storm? What was the worst storm you lived through?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Importance of Friends

Last week, you may have heard the results of a recent study. A massive research project looked at the social life and physical health of 14,000 participants. It found that an active social life is as important to our health as diet or exercise. Having friends produces positive physiological effects that improve one's well-being and increase longevity.

In the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, University of North Carolina researchers found that the size and quality of a person’s social ties affect specific health measures, such as abdominal obesity and hypertension. This is true not only at specific periods of our lives but throughout our lives, from childhood to old age. For example, adolescents who are socially isolated face the same risk for developing inflammation as those who don’t exercise. Older adults are more at risk for developing hypertension from social isolation than from diabetes.

This finding makes sense to me. I personally benefit from my friendships in serious ways that counter the corrosive effects of my stressful job. It's one of the reasons I prioritize my friendships and devote real effort to them.

What do you think? Do you believe having friends helps you?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

First Snow

It's snowing today in New York for the first time this year. Has it snowed near you yet?







Sunday, January 10, 2016

With A Little Help From My Friends

Building this outfit was fun. I found a purple-striped skirt last year while shopping in Vancouver with the girls at the blogger-meetup. The skirt has a pleat in the back so I can wear it running trails with Jodi or twirling my baton with Suzanne. You gotta love freedom of movement.

The ensemble is adorned with a "lady bow" which is what Gracey calls this mini-scarf she gave me. I've worn it many times and never tire of its feminine charm. And how about these hoop earrings!

The outfit is full of purples and pinks, my favorite colors. Too much? Mae West said too much of a good thing is just enough!



Monday, January 4, 2016

First Outfit of 2016

Happy New Year! I hope your holiday was fun. Isn't it odd to see the number 2016? It'll take me a month to stop writing 2015 on my checks.

For my first outfit of the year, I thought I'd continue exploring something I wore last year -- the ignoble skirt-suit. Normally worn by middle-aged women, the skirt-suit has (to me, at least) an appealing femininity. Plus, it's halfway toward an outfit by itself since the skirt and top match.

I found a cute one at a thrift-store in pretty yellow. I'm belting it for structure and using sparkly gold fishnets to add shine to my legs. What do you think?

Best of all, the outfit showcases a Christmas gift from my dear friend Jessica. Her blog is one of the best around; go check it out. Jessica saw how much I enjoyed my mermaid post last year so she got me a pretty mermaid necklace. I love it!





Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Blank Canvas

We start the new year fresh. Opportunities in front of us seem limitless. No matter what happened before, we believe we will have new experiences to delight us.

Some of this is true. We can't predict the future. Good and bad things will occur to us which we won't see coming. We might win the lottery or be hurt in an accident. We might meet a soul-mate or lose a loved one. You never know what the new year will bring until it does.

But one important fact I've learned is that while you can't control external events, your reaction to them is paramount. Your reaction reveals your character. We respond to successes and tragedies based on who we are. Our primary, innate qualities determine the course of our lives, not incidental stimuli which trigger them.

I ponder this now because I'm in the midst of reading a memoir given to me for Christmas called "Racing The Gods." The book is written by a guy who, in his twenties, raced motorcycles at the highest level (Paul Ritter). He won prestigious Superbike races and excelled at a difficult, dangerous sport.

Twenty years after Ritter retired from professional racing, he casually participated in a meaningless vintage-motorcycle race. During that race, he crashed horribly and broke his spinal cord. He became permanently paralyzed from the chest down, with no physical sensation or hope of improvement.

During his rehabilitation, Ritter discovered -- like Christopher Reeve and others -- that events don't determine our lives, we do. Our personal character affects how we react to situations, including tragic ones like Ritter's.

With tenacity and strength, Ritter struggled to recover as much physical ability as he could. Despite the paralysis, Ritter devised a way to get back into motorcycling. He built a motorcycle with a sidebar that has its operating controls moved over into the sidecar. Plus, the sidecar opens in the back so a wheelchair can roll into it. With these Rube Goldberg-type adaptations, Ritter is able to roll his wheelchair into the sidecar and operate the motorcycle attached to it with his hands on the controls in the sidecar. He can do this without anyone sitting on the motorcycle itself, which must be quite a sight to passing motorists.

Long before I knew of Ritter or his new book, I heard his contraption discussed in the motorcycle community. I marveled at the ingenuity of the design, as well as its very existence. What handicapped person, I wondered, would try to ride a motorcycle? Well, Ritter is the guy.

Ritter's story is a testament to perseverance and character. His final words in the book are these: "I've been asked if I could do it over again, would I give up motorcycles if it meant I could avoid the [spinal cord injury]? My answer is, 'No." Life in a chair, with all its limitations, is still life.... I cannot imagine my life without motorcycles. I am, and always will be, a motorcyclist."

What do you think of this story?