Friday, March 22, 2013
It's true. I am a clothes horse and I have been since I was about 2. I remember being so utterly proud of my blue and white checked suit that I wore to church. It was just like what grown up women wore - and I felt like I looked like I was at least 22 years old. So proud. there's even a photo of me wearing it somewhere around here.
then there was that green voile dress that was my Dress Up Dress when I was 5 years old. I remember weeping into my mother's lap when I realized I'd ruined it by filling the skirt with blackberries on a visit to some unfamiliar relatives. She stroked my hair and said "Don't worry honey. You were outgrowing that dress. That's why I let you wear it to play in".
There was another voile dress - this time in a delicate orange print with a crinoline pettycoat that itched around the waist. The itching was worth it, though, because the skirt puffed out like a bell - it was a real princess dress.
And then came the teen years - oh my. My father, who had superior taste in clothing and loved all well dressed women, bought me my first Seventeen magazine. It was the one with Twiggy on the front and it was decades before that first impression of the fashionable body was finally expunged from my consciousness.
I learned to sew when I was 12 and was a natural. The teacher saw it at once and instead of making me plod along sewing aprons and a-line skirts she let me free with a matched gingham plaid dress with set in sleeves that had plackets and a button on the cuffs. This demonstration of applied geometry was soon followed by a passionate delight in the algebra of a mix-n-match wardrobe of separates in 3 neutral colors. Wow. Imagine owning only 7 items and being able to create 21 outfits! Cool.
Sadly I wore a uniform to high school - and an unfashionable one at that - saddle shoes and bobby socks when the style was mini-skirts and Papagallo flats. But I drooled and dreamed over having a massive wardrobe and my last year in high school I transferred to a public school and as I remember - I went 30 days wearing a different skirt every day - one, of particular horridity was made of brown fake fur. the 1969 version of fake fur - that felt more like a rug than fur. (But remember - a mini-skirt for a teen used maybe 3/4 a yard of fabric and the zipper only cost 35 cents. I made each and every one of those 30 skirts)
The ladies who ran the fabric shop next to the department store where I worked in my way early 20's would hold special fabric aside for me and got half my paycheck every week. I made a polk-a-dot pant suit that looked like the one Katherine Hepburn wore when she was a newspaper reporter. I had a pair of wide legged trousers I made, inspired by Goldie Hawn in that movie Dollars (a.k.a. The Heist). I made a bunch of prairie dresses in my Mother Earth stage and there was a weekend when I made a fully tailored suit, a pair of lined wool trousers and a silk blouse to wear to a library convention being held at a fancy schmancy resort.
And I read the books. Oh yes. I read Color Me Beautiful, by Carole Jackson (and learned that my mother's artistic sense of color always picked the colors that worked with my skin and hair). And Always In Style, by Doris Pooser - and the wonderful Dressing Rich by Leigh Feldon. Recently, Stacy London - of the TV show What Not To Wear has written a marvelous book, The Truth About Style - wherein she spiffs up women of all sizes, shapes and ages. Check it out. From your library! LOL
But as I began to put on weight in my early 40's, I didn't want to get to know that body. And clothing began to become cheap while fabric and zippers got expensive. Eventually I traded in sewing for Other Things. When I graduated to the Plus sizes I could still find something nice to wear ... even if I did look matronly in them.
Up to a few years ago I could outfit any woman from size 10 to size 18W from my attic but lately I want a leaner existence. I'm winnowing out everything, from magazines to dishes to the attic clothing shop. I want to own only what I wear and what fits into my wardrobe space - which is about 3 feet of closet space and 6 dresser drawers. I lugged 3 Lawn-n-Leaf bags' worth of clothes to the Goodwill last fall, and one LnL bag of the really good stuff to a shelter for battered women. This was after letting my cousin go through the heap and pick out things she wanted. A week ago I pulled out more Good Stuff which I took to my sister, who is not insulted when I offer her things I don't wear any more.
This doesn't mean New Clothes won't be coming into my life. Here are the flowered skinny jeans I bought on Monday.
But the action plan is - one new thing in? 2 old things out. Till my wardrobe is just like that algebraic dream wardrobe of 21 outfits from 7 garments. Well. Maybe 41 outfits from 14 garments. LOL. You get the picture.
I will always love clothes - but I am only giving them expensive real estate in my bedroom and attic if I actually wear them.
Happy Friday to you all.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I took Monday off to go to the city and reward myself with retail therapy so you can imagine my emotions when I got up and saw thick wet snowflakes falling onto a slushy yard. Ick. Fortunately it warmed up to a nice raw cold rain - so I went anyway.
First stop was a visit with my mama - the artist - who lives in a skilled nursing home where she is superbly cared for. She hasn't had even a cold now since she moved in. There is a devoted daughter (my sis) who lives closer than I and there is me, the non-custodial daughter. We both bring different gifts to her care and we're never resentful about what the other one is not doing. We just love that cutie pie of a mother with all we have in us.
I took an old diary of hers, written in 1960, and read it to her. That year my big sister was 12, I was 7, going on 8, and The Babies were 2 and 3. My mother's New Year's Resolution for 1960 was to lose 10 lbs. She was horrified that she weighed 130 lbs! I have a loooooong history with the weight issues.
Sister and I met for lunch at a shopping mall where I knew I could look at a lot of clothes. The plan was to not buy but to try on and formulate spending plans. I might have spent more anyway except that I'd pulled out about 1/2 my warm weather clothes on Sunday and realized there isn't too much I need to buy. I have a TON of clothes.
I clothes. Always have. Probably always will. But I own too many clothes - too many for my life and too many for the space I have to put them. And of course, in too many different sizes. I have 6 dresser drawers and about 3 feet of closet space to store my clothes and the goal is to own no more than fits in that space. Last fall I did a major wardrobe weeding and tried to be firm about what I put back into the attic but I still have too much stuff.
I tried on and tried on and tried on clothes - and fell in love with many garments all over again. I sorted out everything that wasn't perfect for me and made a pile of it to offer my sister. It's still too cold to bring most of these clothes downstairs but I kept a few of the brighter, lighter things to cheer me up as the sun creeps higher in the sky. But I know I'll have to do this wardrobe research again with the other half of my warm weather clothes before I do any real shopping. It looks like what I need is a good basic neutral blazer ... and I know I'll need a good chocolate brown slightly longer top to go with some of my favorite flowered skirts. But before I put down the big bucks I want to be sure I know what I need.
Another reason I didn't buy much was because I had such a late start and the weather was getting bad again so I felt hurried - which I know is a really BAD time to spend money. I did find a blazer I liked at Macy's. It fit perfectly and I can always order it on-line.
But lest you think I came home empty handed - fear not! There was retail therapy. I'm really fond of flowered skinny jeans and look what I picked up at WalMart of all places. A perfect fit.
A perfect 10!
Happy Healthy Tuesday to you all.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Have you noticed how many things your mother taught you are worth living by? Like:
If you can't say nuthin' nice, don't say nuthin' at all
Eat your vegetables
All things in moderation
You are the most beautiful wonderful perfect angel baby darling in the whole world?
At least, I hope your mama said those last words to you. Mine said them to me and I said them to my son who always had the grace to laugh and give me a hug and I was careful to never say it around his friends.
But something I read today, in SparkFriend NOMORESTALLING's status
reminded me of how powerful and wonderful the lessons I got from my mother are.
Mama never believed in defeat. She insisted that no mater how dark the cloud there was always that one silver thread in the lining that made it possible for you to see something as a win. If she came to a wall she couldn't get over, under or through, she just changed directions and walked along it till she either found a way around it or a better path altogether. And she expected us to do the same. In fact, if you came weeping to her with a trouble she thought was caused by you giving up - she was as unsympathetic as a statue. Giving Up was just not on the list of available options.
And she didn't just hold us to a standard she didn't keep. She demonstrated it all the time - even though, I know her well enough now to realize that inside she often had doubts, fears and wounds. She just didn't let us see them. She showed us how you could change what you were doing till you felt confident, brave and healed.
Here is an example.
This was the last painting Mama ever did. She was in her early 80's and a tremor was in her hand that made it difficult for her to hold the brush. It was for a juried show that was going to be exhibited in the big downtown financial buildings in her city. About a week or two before the judging the word came back from the banks and law offices and stock brokers that they didn't want any nudes in the exhibit. I've seen some very beautiful, but totally-inappropriate-for- the-banking-industry-type nudes, so I actually have a lot of sympathy for people who were going to have to take their clients down halls that displayed this exhibit, but there was a lot of huffing from the art community.
Mama told me that she knew she was just too old and too tired to paint something new in that short a time so she took origami paper and cut out little bikini pieces and put them on her painting with rubber cement. Then she entered the painting in the show. The local PBS station did a televised tour of the show and when they came to her painting there was a ribbon on it. Mama told me she knew her painting wasn't as good as many of the others in that exhibit but she could tell by the look on commentator's face and the tone of her voice that she got that ribbon for her clever way of getting around the No Nudes dictum.
I have that painting in my living room and I could have taken the bikinis off but I leave them there because whenever I look at that painting I see my mother - and I hear her saying "That's not working? Try something else." and I can see that sometimes, that Other Way is a real winner.
Remember - there is always a way.
Friday, March 15, 2013
Happy Me - I reached a milestone goal this week and now weigh within 2 lbs of my goal weight. I am pleased and proud and thrilled with this achievement. I'm so happy I really have been doing the Happy Dance, all week. You know, that little skip you take when you're walking down the street because you just feel good. The sudden shimmy your body gives when you glance in the mirror and think "Is that ME?" Best of all - now that I'm within 2 lbs of my goal I no longer have to pay to attend WW meetings - which I truly enjoy - and that extra savings can be poured into Other Things, preferably sartorial. Yep. Feels great to be within 2 lbs of my goal weight -
My original goal weight, set in (and achieved) 2003 when I was just 50 years old and stood 5'6" tall.
Now I am 60 years old and 5'5".
Yeah - I've checked. Had the bone density test. Now take calcium daily. So all along this journey I knew that being within 2 lbs of my goal weight was just a stopping place. A very wonderful destination - like staying in Paris for a while when you're on a European tour. But there are other destinations I want to visit and I thought I'd list them here today - along with possible rewards for getting there.
The other destinations on my itinerary are:
Reach goal weight of 150 lbs --- New spring makeup
Reach what I think will be new goal weight of 145 --- new outfit - top to toe
Optional final weight goal of 140 --- Spa Day
25 full pushups and a pull-up --- a 2 day mini-vacation at the beach plus a new beach outfit.
Each month I stay within 2 lbs of goal --- $30 reward in a spree fund
6 months I stay within 2 lbs of goal --- Day off from work for the spree
1 year within 2 lbs of goal --- ???? Something wonderful. LOL
Since I am an inch shorter than I have been my entire adult life - I am not sure what weight I want to be. And since I'm 60 (!!! how did this happen!?!? - oh yeah. 1 day at a time) I don't have the firm skin I had, even at 50. While I want to be fit and slim, I don't want to be saggy. Hence the optional weight goal. I know I would like the proportions I'll have at 145 better than the ones I have at 150 - I'm not sure I will like them at 140. It's a minor detail - but it's something I want to explore.
And now for the giggle-inducing NSV.
I live in a very small town where 50% of the citizens are 'kin'' to my husband. I have lived here almost 40 years and been the County Librarian since 1978. Yeah. I mean - everybody knows me - or at least knows who I am. Wednesday I was at the front desk when a man came in to return a DVD that belonged to a different library system. He looked about 40 and was very talkative. I suspect he had also already begun to imbibe in liquid courage - since the DVD was quite late and he was feeling guilty. I answered his questions about how to get the DVD back to the library that owned it and how bad the fines might be and then he said "Hey. You're cute." and picked up my left hand and said "do you want to have lunch with me?"
To which I answered, somewhat laughingly, that I was flattered by, and deeply appreciated his invitation, but, alas, I was married and though I don't wear a wedding ring, "everybody" knows that there's a MrBess. If you live in a small town - you get to understand what "everybody" means.
But wow. It's been a long time since I've been hit up and I confess, it felt pretty durn good. LOL
Happy Healthy Friday to you!
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