Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Girls Are Loose In The Kitchen

 I was a skinny teen and always thought my breasts were too small.  The body I have now didn't really develop until my thirties, after I'd had a child, and somehow I developed a meatier shape and grew breasts.  After longing for bigger ones I now know they are not necessarily what I would choose if I actually did have a choice.  I don't want my chest be the first thing a person notices bout me and I would like this to happen even if I go braless.  I would like to not have to wear a bra in order to look slimmer and I would like not to even have this mental debate with myself about whether or not I should post this picture because it might look less than flattering or it might look slutty.  The original definition of slutty was actually sloppy and not sexual but bralessness on a larger busted woman tends to be judged as both of those.

When I first took this photo I was going to talk about the skirt and the kitchen.  I still am.  But first I am going to talk about the debate I had with myself over which of the photos to post and whether or not to post any of them and whether or not to edit out my nipples so as not to offend anyone.

                             Oh my, where did all of that forehead come from?  Does it
                             help to distract from the breasts?

Prior to all of that my only thought had been, well the skirt should probably have been ironed and it's not really a good hair day so I hesitated to take a picture at all. But I found this skirt in a thrift shop recently and I am really happy with it.  I love it and wanted to show it off.  And I wanted to show my new kitchen experiment in which I am living without cupboard doors to find out if I would like open shelving in the kitchen.  That was the original purpose of this post.  Then I looked at the pictures and saw the boobs and the -gasp!-nipples.

It's a casual day.  A non-tucked in, non bra-wearing, ugly slippers that look like Ugg boots, hair pulled off the forehead sort of day.  I look like this often so why should I hide that?  This is my home, unstyled, a feather duster on the stool beside me and a boxed amaryllis under it.  The ugly cork floor that drives me crazy is fully featured in these photos too.  I am not hiding anything so why should I feel like I have to hide my breasts to avoid judgement and why do I feel that I cannot be seen in public without a bra?  I am, after all, someone who believes women should be allowed topless in public.  Breasts are so many things and yes, they are sexual but so are lips, so are legs but we don't hide those.  I find men's hands very attractive.  I love male hands and to me they are sexual and sensual and even potentially arousing but hands are never hidden.

Perhaps it is mostly old breasts we don't like.  Should mine be hidden and tucked into a bra because they are older, larger and not high firm orbs like water balloons glued to my chest?  If a man's nipples show through his shirt we are not scandalised and yet his nipples are just as prone to arousal as a woman's.  My nipples have helped to feed a child.  They were nearly chewed off and they bled and were sore and breast feeding was hellish but I persevered.  I am proud of these breasts for what they have done and there is so much more to them than their sexuality but I do not deny their sexuality either.  They like to be touched but then so do my arms, my neck, my face and I don't have to hide those.  They are not the only part of my body that is aging, though I am not always required to hide the other parts that are and certainly I live in a culture that shames women for any visible aging. I live in a culture that is losing sight of what real breasts look like and the fact that real breasts which are large are not actually going to be high and round.  Just ask Kate Upton.

Last summer I dared myself to wear high heeled sandals and thus embrace my height.  I have never liked my height and wearing heels puts me over six feet tall, a place where I am not comfortable.  I dared myself to own that and I did.  I am not sure I liked it much but I found I could do it and I will do it again.  Now I am daring myself to go braless, though not topless, in public without shame.  To do it just because I want to and nobody is going to tell me that I cannot.  Some are going to judge me but so what?  People judge each other all the time and while one person is judging me for my lack of a bra another will be judging me for my poor taste in slippers.  (These slippers happen to be very warm, cosy and slightly more stylish than giant bear paw slippers.)

I think perhaps I will be doing a good service for the community. Real breasts need to be shown.  The size, the shape, the way they hang, non of which are well represented in television, movies and magazines anymore, and certainly not in porn.  I am not interested in shocking people, in fact I do not seek the sort of attention that comes from shocking others.  I am interested in being me, in being real, and in behaving according to my beliefs.  This isn't even revolutionary.  Bras were abandoned in the seventies and then rather quietly put back on again in the eighties.  This is personal. This is about me proving to myself that I can live according to my beliefs and that I don't give a feck about what other people might think.  What is the point in attempting to avoid judgement?  Avoiding it should not be the goal, ignoring it should be.  And that is just what I am going to do.

Monday, 26 January 2015

I've Run Out of Coat Hangers But I've Always Got Art

What would you do if you had my dilemma?   A self respecting mediumist may only have one closet filled with clothes but she isn't going to pare down to anything that resembles minimalism.  I am limited in my skills as a medium. I can foresee that I will buy more coat hangers because I also see more trips to the thrift shops, but other than this bit of vision, and although I like to chat with strangers in cafes, I am less inclined to seek out conversations with the dead.  So, not a medium but definitely a mediumist.

What is a mediumist?  I am so glad you asked because I would love to explain that to you.  I am an embracer of all things medium.  I am a very medium sort of person.  True, an extreme creeps in once in awhile but not often.  I am neither a maximalist nor a minimalist.  I wear medium sized clothing, have a medium sort of income, like medium toned colours, and general take the middle path.  My personal look is sort of medium, my shapes and colours, my body language.  How do I like my curry?  Medium, of course. How do I take my coffee?  A little bit of cream and sugar, nothing extreme.  I am neither this nor that, but somewhere in between.   And as a good mediumist I tend to keep my extremes out of this blog.  I am, after all, here to reveal less than you think I am revealing.  That is a mediumist sort of trick.

Of course, I would have a few coat hangers to spare if I weren't one of those people who hangs her tee shirts.  They get so wrinkled if I don't, though I shouldn't care since I usually only wear them layered under other things.  What self respecting bohemian cares about wrinkled clothing?  I care, but I also can't be bothered to iron and I am rather poor at folding.  Hanging them up is my solution. 


Not Me (Dare I admit a nude from my imagination?  It means admitting that I even HAVE nudes in my imagination.)

                               The Objectified Body, a water colour

Sunday, 25 January 2015

How To Be Bohemian Like Me

 The best thing about self portraits is that I can give myself better eyebrows than I actually have.

 I am quite doubtful that anybody can actually be bohemian anymore, that is in the sense of the term as applied to an unconventional person living a lifestyle dedicated to arts, culture and 'doing it my way'.  If we are going to refer to the Czech Republic as Bohemia then a person certainly can be Bohemian, but the word was usurped quite some time ago and the nuances of its meaning keep expanding.  It is meant to be applied to artists, using that term broadly, who live unconventionally, but I think we have reached a point when most rules and conventions and cultural norms have been challenged and the world has shrunk so much that there is nothing new and shocking or unconventional left to do.  Everyone is unconventional and no one is.  One can be unconventional within one's smaller environment, perhaps in comparison to family or peers or within the relative framework of what is typical for one's town, and one can be unconventional in one or two areas of life but probably not all of them. One can even happily live life entirely on one's own terms doing exactly as one pleases and shock no one.  I confess I am a little bit disappointed by the idea that there is nothing left that is shocking and that even the attempt to shock looks like so much trying too hard.

If you happen to have ME and spend a lot of time wandering the internet randomly reading things because your brain isn't functioning well enough to read a novel and your body isn't functioning well enough to paint and you don't like television, you start doing Google searches for things you need to know like 'how to be a hippie', 'how to be beautiful' or 'how to be smart'. One of my favourites is 'how to be interesting'.   I can at least get some images I enjoy from a search of 'how to be bohemian' but eventually I get annoyed at the limitations of this so called boho look.  It has a formula and it is not creative in any way, relying mainly on lace and cowboy boots, cut off denim shorts, lots of skin in general and a tendency to live in California where one can dress like it is always summer because mainly it always is.  If the internet is to be believed, only young and very thin women wear boho-chic clothing.   What does a true bohemian wear?  Anything she wants to though generally something not being worn by the bourgeois masses. So in my part of the world that means not wearing yoga pants,  or anything that comes from or resembles what comes from LuLuLemon.  No skinny jeans or leggings with riding boots and over-sized scarves also known as Pinterest Style.

Since there are plenty of lists or articles online explaining how to be bohemian or how to have bohemian style I thought I would make my own.  

                              Twenty Steps for an Unconventional Life

                                Possibly Bohemian, Definitely Not Chic.

1.  Do things backwards.  In a time period when young women delay marriage or replace it with common law relationships, marry young.  Believe in it with all your heart.

2.  Don't start a family right away but go to school and start a career, things people thought you wouldn't do because you got married.

3.  Immerse yourself totally in being a mother but only have one child while everyone around you has two or three and tells you that you will psychologically scar your only child.

4.  After more than 20 years of marriage, leave your husband.

5.  Rent an apartment and fill it with hand-me down furniture while you spend a year or two uncertain about your financial future because you have discovered you cannot work any longer.

6.  Paint because you no longer have a garden and write some bad poetry too.

7.  Embrace your insomnia and keep strange hours.  Drink tea and eat bacon and eggs in bed at 2am while working on your second attempt at a novel.

8.  Switch from being vegan to eating mostly meat and vegetables with liberal doses of cheese.

9.  Buy a condominium which seems so terribly bourgeois but is actually so different from what all your friends are doing.  Decorate it like a cottage.

10.  Have secrets nobody would ever guess at. 

11.  Wear leggings because apparently they are a fashion faux pas but do not wear them as pants.  Not because this is inappropriate but because girls all over town are doing that.

12.  Sleep until noon often.  Have bubble baths at midnight.

13.  Pile books in every room.  Put potted plants on top of them.

14.  Paint mostly self portraits because it is better to make yourself ugly than your friends.  Paint nudes.  Use yourself as a model because you are all you have and you don't charge anything.

15.  Wear whatever you want to whenever you want to and have fun experimenting with clothing from the thrift shops.  Look for velvet and lace and purple because you can never have too much.

16.  Avoid writer's groups or artist's groups because you are expected to join those and you know you wouldn't like them.

17.  Abandon your smart phone.  You never used it anyway.  You never turned it on.

18.  Talk to strangers in the cafe.  Never order a non-fat latte or a non-fat anything.

19.  Cut your own hair and generally ruin it often, especially your bangs.

20.  Take your adult son to the pub frequently because pub food is awesome and so is your son.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sitting in a Cafe

I'm sitting in a cafe again and finding it much too warm.  Of course I did put on more than one layer, which was perfectly comfortable at home but I forget how hot it gets in the cafes.  I am ready to go into the washroom and remove my tights and the cotton camisole under my sweater or at least I am fantasizing about it.  I probably won't do it.  I've just indulged in a large latte too which adds to the warmth.  I guess I should have ordered an iced coffee but it doesn't quite go with that urge to be cosy one gets in winter.

This cafe has a television but it is on the House and Home channel not the sports channel.  I am one of six or seven people in here, and although they do a steady business they are not full like my neighbourhood cafe, which is currently the only cafe in Comox.  When I saw how busy it was and even just counting all of the cars parked around it I decided to drive into Courtenay, the slightly larger community that is about ten minutes down the road.  Cafes abound here but I have a few favourites.  Courtenay has a charming little shopping area downtown but it is struggling.  The big box stores and strip malls get most of the shoppers and a downtown with independent businesses struggling with high rent is making this lovely little area increasingly unfeasible.  I feel guilty sometimes that I come here for the ambiance and don't spend a lot of money, though I would like to.  The best shoe store in the area is here and I do buy something there once in awhile.  There are clothing and home decor shops and even a shop dedicated entirely to socks.  But some of the spaces are empty now as businesses fail or relocate to a less expensive location in a less charming area.

I live in a community where shopping basically means driving.  Groceries, clothing, hardware, household goods, shoes, supplies for your hobby, whatever it is you need are all located widely apart on busy roads as the community grows and sprawls.  When I was a little girl both Comox, where I live, and Courtenay, our neighbour, were significantly smaller, had one distinct downtown area each and although there was no competition, merely one grocery store, one hardware store and one drugstore in Comox and the same plus two very small departments stores in downtown Courtenay, I find myself nostalgic for those days.  Lack of competition means higher prices but the competition from a community's growth comes with a different price.  Comox has not managed to create a downtown core as charming as the one in Courtenay, although I still prefer to live in Comox for its smaller size and prettier location on the water.

The downside to coming into Courtenay to a cafe is the burning desire afterwards to just pop into a shop. And then another and then another and of course there will be temptations.  The best way around that is to take along my camera and go in the other direction, away from the shops and down to the park along the river.

It's a relatively new park, about ten years old by now and was once the site of a lumber yard and a collection of little cabins set up as a motor court.  There are many newly planted trees that have not reached a mature height yet and berms were created in the centre of the land in order to make a lengthier walking path that doesn't just go around the perimeter.  The park is often used as a site for markets and concerts so much of the grassy areas are kept free of plantings or playground equipment.  I found someone asleep on the gazebo, completely cocooned against the cold.

And I spotted a nest high in the trees which I believe is a blue heron's nest.

At the end of the trails I came to the place where the trail goes under the bridge and over to the park that is across the street.  The walk along the river continues and the park is a large athletic park.  Walking under the bridge terrifies me, and it would even if there weren't cars on it.  There is something about being under a large structure that makes me uncomfortable so I dared myself to go under it.  I took a deep breath and scurried,

And here is my evidence that I made it to the other side.

Then I remembered that I had to go back. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

OH The Efforts of Getting Dressed!

About a month ago when I was so cold all the time and couldn't get warm I bought some tights in a cashmere blend.  Of course now seem to be over that really cold phase and am bare foot most of the time.  I got dressed this morning thinking I might like the cosiness of these tights and decided also to give my denim skirt a try.  I am still on the fence about this skirt.  I am never happy in it when I wear it and yet can't yet get rid of it.  I want to like it.  So I began dressed like this.  The shoes are for the benefit of the photo and were just handy so I put them on.  I would probably wear boots if I went out.

However, I didn't get that far because half an hour after taking this photo I decided the tights were too hot and I was definitely not comfortable in the skirt.  Too tight, too short, not enough give or swish.  And yes there is a very slight dark discolouration on my sweater drawing the eye to THAT spot.  Oh dear.  So off came the entire outfit and the tights went back into the drawer for a day when I am chilled to the bone.   The shoes, by the way, are new, purchased on sale with Christmas money and so comfortable I could live in them.  I will only wear comfortable shoes.  I refuse to suffer for beauty.

Here is a nice cluttered photo in which you can barely make out my new shoes.  See how well they go with the decor?  Yes, I planned that.  Totally.

Back to the closet and into some clothes that feel right.  Not too hot, swishy, comfortable, and very me.

You think you have seen this skirt recently, the one where the camera doesn't like to focus on the embroidery.  But I have two of them, slightly different.  The colours are the same but reversed.  The sad thing is that I may have accidentally ruined one.  The good thing is that I am strange enough to have bought two in the first place.  I spilled a splotch of something on the other one that left a bleach spot.  Efforts to fix this did not go well.  In the end I immersed the whole thing in bleach which helped but turned it into a dark grey and peachy-orange skirt which really does not suit me.  Big Sigh.  But I still have this one.  The true colours are indigo and marsala.  Though I would not have said marsala until recently.  I would have said it is a reddish brown sort of burgundy in some light.  So marsala is much easier to say.  It is paired with comfortable and colour matched shoes from the thrift shop.  

In an effort to get a close up photo that would better show the colours of the skirt and show off how well I coordinate with my room, I took this one and several like it, adjusting the view slightly each time.  I thought it was turning out okay until I spotted the toilet right in line with my head.  Of course, I did this just for you, Sandra!

Showing off the bling Sheila Style.  I almost never do this because my bling photos turn out so badly.  First of all I can never deal with the sparkle which seems to make the photos come out blurry every time even if I use a tripod.  Secondly, I can never arrange the pieces nicely to show them all to advantage.  Thirdly I usually forget a piece and keep having to re-take the photos and then get fed up.

See what I mean?  Since I am one of those explaining sorts of people, also called a teacher, I will explain my silvery bits to you.  I am always wearing three of my rings, all the time, even to bed and in the shower or when I wash dishes or if I were to go camping-always wearing them.  Two are in the photo but the third is currently determined not to come off my finger.  They are basically silver bands with designs of some sort etched, carved, molded or otherwise formed into them.  Then I often add one fancy ring, something with stones and the one I am wearing today is made by a somewhat local silversmith from the town of Qualicum just south of me.  The earrings were purchased at a stall during Music Fest several years ago.  The story of my marriage is within them.  I saw the earrings, wanted them, my husband said no you have spent enough money here already.  Then he bought them when I wasn't looking and gave them to me as an anniversary gift although supposedly we were not to buy anniversary gifts for each other because it was too costly and so I didn't have anything for him.  I used to tell myself that behaviour was romantic, but eventually saw it as manipulative.  I still love the earrings though.  The bracelet is a thrift shop find and I would only keep that one on if I went out.  I find bracelets annoying when I am writing or painting or doing at home things in general.  Not included in the photo are two white gold stud earrings also in my ears and there all the time.

Now, fortunately for you, I think we are done here. 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Updated Scribblings

Nothing to see here, no opinions or ideas to comment on, just a note that Scribblings now contains eight chapters and probably more than a few typos.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

It's Never Black and White

 Thank you for all the lovely comments you have been leaving on my blog.  I haven't gotten myself back fully in form yet, though I hope to be back responding to your comments soon.  I talk to you in my head, does that count?

I have been spending much of this week resting in bed and shlumphing about in pyjamas drinking tea and feeling that annoying combination of exhausted restlessness. Each time I exerted myself for a trip to the store or the cafe or a birthday dinner at the pub, I had to retreat to bed for a couple of days to recover.
I took an hour to peruse the thrift shop this week which contributed to wearing me out though did result in some new to me pieces I am thrilled with.  The price is that I am too exhausted to shower, dress, cook or do anything creative the next day.  Because Mum's birthday was this week and I anticipated a dinner out with my parents and son, I have tried to be good and not do too much so I am fit to go out.  I get so frustrated with my limits and when I am feeling this way this is usually the moment someone chooses to tell me how much they would love a life of leisure like mine and just a moment to rest.  All I can say is, be careful what you wish for.

One of my happiest thrifting finds has been a very soft cream coloured sweater which I now want to wear with everything.  It is perfect with jeans and bare feet and with a velvety skirt.

Here is an outfit for dinner at an haute pub, not black and white, but brown and cream.  Though this  sweater  can tend to make me look smaller of boob and larger of waist,  sometimes I just don't care.  I have a compact sort of body shape which is really only flattered by very form fitting outfits and I don't dress that way too often.  Look I went to all the trouble of some eye makeup!  I don't bother with mascara because all it takes is a very light swipe of grey or taupe around my eyes to make them look quite made up.

I attempted some close up photos to show off the details but with only moderate success.  The boots are suede, the skirt is velour ( I think the difference between velvet and velour is subtle but that if it has some stretch it is velour) and has both embroidery and lace. I do have a lovely scarf that matches these boots but I decided not to be so matchy and to use the little splash of coral pink.  (I deliberately did not say 'pop of pink' because I loathe that word 'pop' as used to excess when referring to a small addition of colour)

This outfit makes me happy.  I believe in being happy, in making my own happiness so I don't like to dwell on my frustrations but for the sake of a little balance, a moan now and then and some sympathy from someone who understands never seems to hurt.  So since I am in a moaning mood, let me tell you about my new neighbour.  We share a wall, the wall in the living room and it seems to have average sound proofing.  With the previous tenant I didn't hear much, but male voices carried through more effectively, usually sounding like a baritone mumble.  The new neighbour is a single woman, roughly my own age, with apparent aspirations of a singing career.  When she moved in she informed me that she took lessons and soon enough I heard her.  I heard her every day for a couple of hours a day, lessons and practices.  She cannot sing.  Tone deaf, flat and off key are the words that come to mind, and while I think everyone has the right to sing to her heart's content daily, this is a couple of hours a day with a microphone.

I got up the courage to knock on her door and request that she practice in a different room, one without a shared wall.  She informed me she was just making that very change but that her lessons would be in the living room so I was going to hear her on that one day a week.  I brought her a bottle of wine to welcome her to the building, but she did not invite me in.  We had a bit of a friendly chat in the doorway and I was able to slip in my request about the singing in a casual and non-critical way.  So now I only have two hours a week where I must listen to her butchering songs by Queen or Dusty Springfield, microphone, electronic music with thumping base and off key warbling still all included.  Her online singing teacher either has great confidence in his ability to teach or he is just happy to take her money.  I suppose my only potential for revenge is to make her a character in my novel.

Speaking of which, I will soon get more chapters posted.  I am in the middle of a protracted and procrastinating switch to a new computer so essentially working from two different machines.  Every time I blog I am on the new one and my writing files are not here yet.   I have had a long dry spell but am beginning to feel the urge to get back to my fiction writing.

Friday, 16 January 2015

I Am In the Pink and Peachy Keen

                                Feeling Peachy Keen in Pink and Cream

Today I am wearing a jumper with a jumper, depending on which version of the English language you speak.


The dress is a style I have always known to be called a jumper and I usually end up with corduroy versions of it as this one is.  It's a style I have worn often in my life and frequently wore it in high school in the eighties, causing some eye rolling amongst my jeans and tee shirt clad peers.  It's a bit of a preppy look and I don't usually go full on preppy but I suppose I do dabble in it.  This one is originally from LL Bean, American made and came my way via a thrift shop.  I like this pink paired with cream and for just kicking around at home I wore it like this.  This could be considered a tinted version of marsala, lightened with white but of the same brownish-pink(red) colour.

Later I added a few pieces for warmth though am still fairly minimal with accessories.  I am wearing my usual earrings which you can't see and  three of my never take them off rings.  I don't really like any more than that for around home.

With the sweater and scarf for extra warmth and my dark taupe (though not as dark as they look in this photo) suede western style boots I feel this is a very American Preppy look.  I suppose a bit of makeup would help but I'm too tired to bother.  The hair has reached a point that could be called a very short, layered bob, but photographs rather chunky and blocky.  I have a lot of hair and have had to take thinning shears to it to get it to behave moderately.  This outfit is all second hand except for the long sleeved tee under the jumper, the socks and tights and the underwear.  All of which probably come from Target.

                                       Some Thoughts on Pink

I used to wear pink often but tended to shy away from it over the past twenty years, mainly because I associated it with youth and frivolity, which were two things I did not want other people to associate with me.  I both love and hate pink, which I think has much to do with the type of pink that it is.  The saturated pink plastic found in the girls' toy section and in Barbie's Dream House makes me want to scream profanities.  Neon colours of any sort are not my friends and I have always had difficulties getting along with pastels.  I avoid  anything that seems sweet or which I associate with candy floss.

And yet there are pinks I love, as evidenced by these images which I pinned to my Pinterest board for their colour.






 Pink is a very good colour for roses, for lipstick and for toenails if I can get the right shade of pink and in those three things I never did abandon the colour.   I have embraced it again in my clothing and since realising that a certain shade of mauve-pink is inherent in my own natural colouring it makes sense that wearing this shade suits me.  Guidelines I use when selecting a pink item include the use of specific terms.  If I would describe the pink as a blush, shell, dusty pink, a mauve-pink, dusty rose or raspberry pink it is likely to work well for me.  I can even get just a bit peachy with my pinks.   Identifying particular shades often works best when they are compared with other shades so I find making collages on Polyvore is useful to train my eye.  I pile on everything I think is 'the right' pink and then when I see them side by side I eliminate some which are too peachy or too Barbie.

This collage includes what is my best version of red, a dark raspberry colour, more of a dark pink than a red but not quite reaching burgundy.  Burgundy usually works for me as well though and I suspect some variations on Pantone's Marsala are going to work also. 

A Google or Pinterest search shows marsala represented as a range of deep off-reds, some of them warm and some cool but all with a bit of a brown undertone.  Some interpretations of it look more rust and some more burgundy, making it widely suitable for many people.  The rusty version is probably the more accurate one but I am happy to benefit from any mistaken veerings towards something rosier.

This interpretation of it would work for me.  It is more of a rose brown than a rust and my understanding is that this polish colour is called Marney.


I know I have purchased similar shades from other brands and while it is a bit darker than I typically wear, I do dabble in it from time to time.

Do you love pink?  Hate it?  Feel ambivalence?  Are you like me and inclined to specify which pinks?   Do tell.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Getting Out to See Other Walls.

I am fortunate that I actually have more than four walls in my home as well as large windows with a great view, I am essentially a home body, but I still get a bit stir crazy at times.  Unfortunately, when the urge to get out hits there are not a lot of options for me.  Hiking or skiing or water sports are readily available but not within my range of possibility and neither is my once much loved gardening pursuit.  At the moment even walking any distance that takes more than ten minutes is not an option either.  I want to combine the opportunity to get out and see people, scenery, move around, but never be far from a safe place to rest or the ease of getting home again if I need to.  This usually means that my options are to go shopping or to go to a cafe or out for lunch with a friend.  All of these  involve spending money but I try to spend money and time on experiences more often than on things.  I must admit this is a challenge.  I am not immune to the lure of something new, even if it is only new to me and then there is the other form of rationalising I am prone to.  If I have taken the time and effort required to get myself downtown then I should be efficient and while I am there, shop for everything I could possibly need. Or not need.


So I have strategies to try and divert myself from shopping when I feel the need to get out.  I have had to change my mindset and think of driving to a place where I can then park and walk around.  Or drive to a cafe as there are non in what is walking distance for me, and spend a bit of time in someone else's walls.  A change is as good as a rest, they say and my life is all about rest, so it is change that I must find ways to create.  If I have a goal this year, and I don't think it is a goal timed specifically for the new calender year so much as just an idea for moving forward, it is to get out and express my creativity in places other than my own home.  I can take my laptop and write, I can draw and sketch and I can take photographs in places around my small town.  I tend to prefer to write and paint at home, where I am settled, safe, comfortable.

As I write this I am sitting in the local cafe pictured above.  I am not relaxed, though I am trying to be.  I am easily distracted and always on guard.  When I arrived there were not many available tables, as it is a small cafe and the only other one in town is closed for renovations.  I took the only remaining empty table, which was in the middle of the room and has hard chairs and set down my bag, rummaged around for my wallet and got in line to order my coffee.  At that moment a woman who had been sitting in a seat I would prefer, next to the window, back to the wall and a padded chair, got up and picked up her phone, appearing to be vacating her spot.  I smiled and politely asked if she was finished with this spot and she hesitated.  She wasn't sure.   She checked with a friend who happened to be the proprietor of the place, "Are you going to have a chance to come and sit with me?"  The answer was yes, so she turned to me and said, "No, I am not finished with it yet."  Ever smiling and polite, I thanked her anyway and returned with my coffee to my middle of the room seat, uncomfortable and restless.  I kept an eye on the various other spots in the room that I would move to if they were vacated, feeling guiltily like a predator waiting to pounce.

Ten minutes went by and the woman began to make moves to leave.  At that moment two men came into the cafe, looked around and made eye contact with her.  She looked right at me, then turned to them and smiled and said "Oh you can have this spot."

Bitch!  I thought and gave her my best 'you are a bitch' smile.  Five minutes after that another table became free and I moved.  As the woman vacated it, I smiled and asked if the table was now free, and apologetically added "Sorry if I am pouncing, but I really dislike being in the middle of the room."  She looked at me as though I were speaking a foreign language but did acknowledge that the table was now free.  As I slid into my coveted spot, a man sitting nearby smiled at me and so I made a lighthearted comment about feeling more relaxed now that I had my back to the wall. "Yes," he said, "like a gunfighter you have that sense that someone might be sneaking up on you."

Men are definitely friendlier to me than women, except women who want to sell me something.  I don't understand this as I am equally friendly to all and not exactly the town sex pot so I am no threat.  When I got up to get my second coffee, a man was claiming a sandwich, thick with meat and cheese and bagel.  I could not help but admire it and he informed me that he was very hungry and I said that I was too but since I cannot eat gluten I must admire all of this food in vain.  He asked me if I wanted him to describe the joys of eating it to me.  "Are you always a cruel man?" I asked.  "Not normally," he said.  Then he inhaled his sandwich and was gone before I could finish typing this paragraph.

The best encounter of all was when an administrator from my past teaching career came in.  He sat down at my table for a few minutes of chat and getting caught up and was kind enough to tell me what a wonderful teacher I had been and how significant was my connection to the children.  It means a lot to me to hear that so I shall treasure those words.  I miss the children.

I love these sorts of exchanges, with males or females, young or old, it does not matter to me.  I just like to get out and see people and talk to them.  Then I am  happy to go home by myself again.  And this time, while I have indeed spent money on coffee, and it was not exactly a bargain, I also paid for an experience and one that was worth it to me.

Monday, 12 January 2015

As Long as I Have Tights I Can Go Anywhere.

I am just as comfortable knocking about home in a swishy midi skirt as I am in a pair of jeans or my pyjamas but at this time of year I am always cold.  Layers are guaranteed  and I think I am having circulation troubles as my extremities are often chilled to the bone when my torso feels normal.  I am very seriously considering knitting myself some leg warmers for layering but for now I am inclined to put thick wooly socks on over top a thinner pair of tights.  Leggings or tights with my skirts are a must, even indoors, though I am also likely to add a scarf and some fingerless gloves.  There is nothing wrong with the heating in my home, it is the heating in my body that is a bit wonky.  I love where I live but it is admittedly a damp climate and I am really feeling that this winter.

I've done a bit of experimenting trying to find a better photographing spot, with a good background and good light.  I tried the front door, but could not escape a very yellowish cast to the light, so the colours are just not quite right in this photo.  The best I could do in photo editing was to get the lighting a bit more peachy toned. These layers are a typical set of at home lagens, and I am on my way out to collect the mail so I've got my boots on.  The middles layer is a cotton dress that was once black but I bleached it to a rosy brown and am quite pleased with it.  The under layer is a red dress which I am tweaking, trying to get the colour a bit more cool and muted.  I over-dyed it grey and that has helped (though it still looks very bright in this photo) but I may play a bit more with it.  the cotton tunic on top was once beige but I dyed it a mauve rose colour which I love. The scarf is a raspberry pink, not properly represented in this photo either.   Black tights have been replaced with brown ones (or grey or navy as needed)  I don't have any brown leggings but if I did I would have likely had those on with this outfit. Hair is awful but growing.  Face is the same old face.  The arm warmers were also once black and have been bleached.  I am toying with over dying them as well.  So why am I showing this photo? No idea.

This location is a bit better.  Now we are in my bedroom with light from a north facing window and a white backdrop.  It looks a bit creepy if I leave a camera set up on a tripod near my bed, but this might become the new photo spot.  Yes, the hair is even worse.  Literal bedhead. 

                        So let's put a hat on it.  Preferable a squishy hat.

My dark colours to replace black are usually navy blue and brown although to be honest, while I love this outfit it is still feeling so very dark.  I think I am moving away from dark and not just black, but that is a lengthier process and as I am always saying, the pictures are making things look a little bit darker than in reality.

Shortly after taking the first few photos I decided to get out and go to a neighbourhood cafe.  My neighbour, who fancies herself a singer, was taking her online lesson and painful is describing it mildly. This required a hat for the awful hair, some boots and of course a photo of the new arrangement.  I took off the fingerless gloves and didn't put on the regular pair until after taking photos of course but this time I actually remembered to include my bag in the picture.  My laptop fits into this satchel quite nicely and I managed to fit my wallet, phone, glasses and keys in too.

I've learned a new pose.  I must have been moving a bit since the skirt is blurred.  I am one of those people who cannot stand without rocking the imaginary baby.

The cafe adventures and the story of the singing neighbour, I will save for other blog posts. 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Dreams and Desires

 There is a great deal of colour in my life and I love colour.  I love many colours which I do not wear having decided they are not right for me in that way, but it doesn't mean I don't still love them. 

Ironically perhaps, it was embracing the idea that if I love it I should wear it that got me going down the wrong path.  The wrong path for me, that is, since this is a personal journey.  It is a very sound philosophy which works well for many women.  It wasn't working for me.  How I decorate my home is somewhat different from what I prefer to wear and the art I create is often very colourful.  I think it is the the colour I do not wear that makes its way into my art.

Usually I write about my love of colour and am referring to purples and blues and greens, though truly I do love brown and grey.  Although I have written several posts about my equal love for a very  neutral and soft palette, I had not published any of them until I began to share my changed attitude towards my clothing.  I have a strong attraction to a colourful bohemian sort of home but an equally strong one to a modern french country look with greige, beige, ivory and grey tones.  The two don't seem like they mix well and I can only go in one direction at a time so my first instinct has been to gravitate towards colour, not neutrals but I frequently admire an all neutral palette where it is texture that takes over for colour.  My inability to edit, as they say in the style world, has basically kept me from using more neutral palette in my home.  I will fall for coloured things and bring them home.  I 'ruin' a monochromatic neutral palette quickly.

How is it that I cannot stop staring at images like this one? It is definitely more formal than my style and yet there is also a low maintenance rusticity about it.  I doubt I could keep it this sparse if I lived in it and yet I stare and sigh like Holly Golightly at the Tiffany's window.


But I fall for images like this too and my home has evolved more in this direction overall.


So why do I feel it isn't quite where I want it?  I believe the answer lies in the same discovery I have made with my clothing.  While I am attracted to a wide variety of colours and combinations, what I can live with best and what feels most like me are muted colours. Faded Persian rugs, aged pewter, faded velvet furnishings, what I aim to achieve is rather Miss Havisham inspired but without the bitterness; cobwebs and lace seem like appropriate decor to me.

The image of this highly styled child's play room attracts me, although I could do without a cherub on my walls and a red gas pump.  There is so much texture on the walls which is not something my home has going for it but there must be things to learn from the overall feel of this room.

Modern French Country is a bit sparse and often an ornate version of minimalism.  It is too sparse for me  to live with despite my attraction to it and I also recognise that often it is great architectural details that appeal to me just as much or more than the decor.  My home lacks any architectural details of merit.

So, how do I reconcile my deep and abiding attraction to modern French Country with my simultaneous attraction to a very bohemian, colourful and rather cluttered style?  Like this, I would suggest.



  There is a way to blend the two and the above bedroom may be a good inspiration.  It is indeed soft and muted, just as the stony French Country Modern colours are and there is an ornate romance to it with the scrolled furniture and lace.  There is colour here; it is not a monochromatic or tonal scheme but it is grounded by a lot of ivory and soft white colours and wood.

This is essentially a photo of a whole lot of textiles and some boxes but the faded colours and the distressed textures really appeal to me.  There are warm and cool colours here which is quite like my own home.  This is my idea of a French Country/Bohemian mix.



                       Shall we call this French Country Bohemian Light?

These images of the Paris home of Loulou de la Falaise have appealed to me for years.  Surely in a previous life I lived in Paris part of the time and Provence during the summer.  My own home already looks somewhat like the poor woman's version of this without the white walls and with less ornate versions of mirrors and chairs scattered about and less expensive textiles (tablecloths or shawls) draped over everything.  Instead of a column in the corner I have tree branches.  I am the rustic Loulou. Oh, the rustic, introverted, non-smoking Loulou.  So basically my home and I are nothing like her.   Mainly I am just dying to paint the walls and to sew some new cushion covers but as simple as that sounds those are large projects so for now I dream.  Dream and write rambling blog posts.

                          Found on Pinterest and traced to this blog

                                 found on Pinterest and traced to this blog

And then I go back to gazing at images like this.




Some books and blogs to check out:

French Country Images are from Cote Sud magazine via My French Country Home blog

Paulina Arcklin  has many gorgeous images on her photography and styling blog.

Bohemian style images are from various sources and collected from Moon to Moon on Pinterest

The original pictures of the home of Loulou de la Falaise are from the book Paris Interiors by Lisa Lovatt-Smith