Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Perils of Getting Dressed

A while ago, I posted on Facebook this plaint: “All I want is a white, scoop-neck tee shirt that isn’t see-through. Is that too much to ask?”

Apparently I’m not the only woman my age with such desires because I got a lot of responses. Some suggested stores I’d already checked with no luck; others suggested stores at which I do not typically shop. I checked an online store a friend recommended and found such tees in various colors – including white – and on sale. Shazam.

I’m not a clothes person. I mean, I wear them so I won’t get arrested and also to cover up the awful things time is doing to my body. But I’m not a fashionista, and I don’t like shopping for clothes. All that searching through racks, taking off my clothes in hideously cramped and ill-lit dressing rooms, trying on multiple items that disappoint. . . Yuck.

I don’t like to think about clothes much either. Lately I’ve been drawn to the minimalist wardrobe approach that’s sprung up on the internet. The capsule wardrobe, the 10-piece wardrobe, the French woman’s guide to fashion, etc. And I like the concept behind these as well. Why should I waste my “creative energy” on worrying about what I’m going to wear every day? Who needs the stress?

But these approaches have limitations. For example, I find I want to have more than just a black and white closet, a la fran├žaise. I don’t do much accessorizing, so rounding out with handbags, headbands, and other colorful accountrements is not my style.

Another issue is that shopping options for women my age are more limited. Places I used to shop, like Old Navy, Gap, etc., don’t suit me anymore. I’m no longer friends with sleeveless tops, for example. And form-fitting maxi dresses don’t flatter my form. After two kids, I’m a little hippy. And low-rider jeans? Don’t get me started.

And even though I don’t have much fashion sense, I do have a budget. So when I peruse fashion/lifestyle blogs for women my (ahem) age for some ideas, I balk at paying 90 bucks for a three-quarter length sleeve tee shirt. Which is the same reason I don’t use those online clothes shopping services where they send you a selection of clothes items picked JUST FOR YOU based on a questionnaire. They’re too pricey.

So if you have no style, a small budget, an even smaller amount of interest in clothes shopping, AND you’re nearing a certain age, you’re pretty much out of luck when it comes to getting dressed and liking what you see in the mirror. It’s basically out of necessity that I’m a jeans and tee or sweater person (although I’ve been known to throw on a scarf for a touch of flair). I’m not completely hopeless.

Frankly, I'd rather spend my money on other things. And if you take one look at me, you'll see that fashion is not my top priority.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bien Dans Sa Peau at the Beach

My daughters are in the ocean, jumping waves. The water is frigid, just like the ocean at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, at the height of summer. It took them a while to get used to the water, but once they surrendered to its frigidity, they threw themselves in with abandon. Now they are drenched, salty, sandy, and ecstatic. I am certain their lips are blue.

They say that it's more fun to come to the beach with daddy than with me. He gets in the water with them, while I sit on the beach and read. There was a time in my life when I would have been in that water. In fact, I enjoyed the ocean then more than my daughters do now. My sisters and I paddled on our floats, body surfed, searched for fish and shells, and nursed a few jellyfish stings. A small price to pay.

Now I sit in a beach chair with my book, my big white sun hat protecting my face, my sunglasses covering my reading glasses. I must look ludicrous, but I don't care. I am ecstatic myself. The wind and the smell of the salty air and the feel of the velvety sand on my toes, sand that has just recently been underwater, are heavenly.

There is a narrow lookout between the wide brim of my sun hat and the top of my reading glasses.  I watch my girls through that slit. As I read, I look up periodically to check that they are safe. They don't need me as much any more, and there is freedom for all of us in that. I am able to sit and relax and enjoy. They are able to play and splash and run. And we don’t worry too much about what the other is doing.

We do, however, keep our eyes on each other. We look up from time to time to make sure that the other is still there. That's our touchstone, our way to make sure we are where we are supposed to be in the world.

They've come back to the towels to warm themselves in the sun for a bit. They have taken the time to tell me that I look ridiculous, which I know, but I am beyond the point of caring. In fact I’m beyond the age of caring. And it's rather freeing, this not caring very much of the kind of picture one presents to the world. Sometimes I do care. I take care with my appearance and my clothes and my hair and all of that. But at other times I just let it all go and just be myself, who I am in that moment. And the world can keep its critique to itself.

For me, this is one aspect of the French woman’s ideal, to be bien dans sa peau, literally, “well in her skin.” It’s an all-encompassing phrase with many life aspects. But at the moment, I’m well and truly enjoying one of them. And I’m at peace with myself.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Musings on a Winter Morning

My deck.
I sit at my desk with a view to the back, watching snow fall quite heavily. The girls are asleep; they went back to bed when they heard of their school's two-hour delay. Watching the snow, I wonder if two hours will be enough of a delay. This is the South, you know.

I've had a lot on my mind lately and that's where it's all stayed -- in my mind. My job keeps me very busy these days, as well as my household management duties. And I've taken on other volunteer roles, ones I feel really good about. But there are adjustments to be made, trade-offs. I haven't the time I once had to devote to my blog or any other personal writing projects.

So all my thoughts and ideas whirl around in my head. I need to get them out on virtual paper! But just to get going, here are things I'm thinking about and hope to write about:

  • I'm not a French woman, no matter how much I admire many of their philosophies.
  • I do like the French take on decorating. I'm not much of a changer.
  • College is on our horizon. I've been reading, researching, planning, and discussing with my daughters, particularly my elder one. I have lots to share.
  • My role as facilitator of my daughters' educations.
  • Books I want to tell you about.

A cardinal just lighted on a snow-covered branch outside my window. I haven't blogged about birds in ages, and it used to be such a big part of my life. I miss those details. I want to make sure I'm not too busy to see and appreciate the little details that make life so delightful. Right now, my girls are snuggled in the elder one's bed, happy in the news that school has been cancelled and playing Minecraft together. I love it. I cherish it; we only have a few short years left of such things.

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Linking up with:
Wow Us Wednesdays
Home and Garden Thursdays

Friday, February 20, 2015

Perchance to Dream: The Bailey-Floyd House

Located in Abbeville, GA, about an hour and a half from Macon, the Bailey-Floyd house was built c. 1850 and is a lovely example of Greek Revival architecture. The listing states clearly, "This property needs work, a jewel in the rough." But its negotiable price is a mere $44,000. With that price, you could probably work out a plan for immediate and then later renovations. Or it could be a money pit. There's always that possibility!

But seven bedrooms! Small-town living! Two hours from the Georgia coast! $44,000!

The master bedroom is on the main level. The yard features large, established pecan trees. Both bathrooms are on the first floor, which isn't convenient. My guess is that there are substantial structural issues to overcome and quite possibly all systems need updating. Ch-ching!

I ran a quick Google search and found that the house is also reputed to be haunted. Of course it is! It's an old house in the South. They all have ghosts, right? I don't think that would turn anyone off. I also found that it's been for sale for several years. One price I saw was almost twice its current asking price.

Ghosts may not scare people, but severe structural issues might.

Still, can't you just picture it, restored to its former grace and stateliness? I can. Maybe someone else with the know-how, contacts, patience, time, and deep pockets this sort of renovation requires will, too.

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Linking up with:
The Scoop