Tag Archives: humor

I’m Bringing Back Loungewear

For the past few months, I’ve been scouring the retail racks and online boutiques in a quest for something resembling loungewear. I work from home and even I have to admit that I’ve let my daily uniform become truly lack-luster. Summer usually means some version of a flowing sundress, but winter finds me layering up leggings, loose sweaters and on really cold days a ratty, old robe over it all.

Up until now, I haven’t had much luck finding anything but yoga pants and big shirts, but that’s about to change. I’m in like Flynn—well, maybe. It all depends on overcoming a dislike for sewing that stems from the Home Economics teacher from hell crushing my early enthusiasm with her wicked, stinging tongue. But desperate situations call for desperate actions; I’m ready to move past that trauma.

Since menopausal midriff bulge has made its home on my previously svelte figure, I don’t know how to dress anymore. Nothing seems to work for my body type. If I choose comfort, I look dumpy. If I choose fashion, I look like an over-stuffed sausage, bulging and about to burst out of my skin.

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My childhood recollections keep harkening back to the mid-century heyday, when I remember mature women wearing crisp house dresses, smart suits cut fuller in the hips with shorter waist jackets, and those fabulous palazzo pants with long flowing vests.

I can see my auntie Jane in her chic loungewear, with a slender cigarette holder poised at her lips, smoke spiraling from behind a long finger of gray ash precariously dangling from the tip of her menthol Newport. Clearly she was channeling Auntie Mame (their names rhymed, at least).

And now I can bring it all back. Well, maybe not the smoking. Okay, definitely not the smoking, but for sure the loungewear—and the house dresses, thanks to more than 83,000 vintage sewing patterns now available at Vintage Patterns Wiki.

This is pure genius.

I ask you, what better serves comfort and style for the fuller bodied, post middle aged, wanna be diva than the classic house dress? But not just any house dress; I’m talking about the wrap around dress.
I’ve had the pleasure of wearing a wrap dress. It was a fine woven, ivory silk with full circle skirt that I scored in an exclusive shop in Aspen. That was in the mid 80s and it’s entirely possible the gem had been hanging there waiting for me since 1964. It was definitely something Betty Draper would have worn for a dinner party.

Wearing a wrap dress feels like wearing a robe. With the right style and cut, it definitely doesn’t look like wearing a robe.

Take this Butterick 6015 pattern with it’s sly and slimming V in the wrap. It positively takes 15 Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 11.02.56 AMpounds off a pleasingly plump body when done in two tones like the black and white illustrated.Screen Shot 2018-02-10 at 11.09.02 AM

For everyday wear there is this snappy little number 7753 from Advance. I’ve never heard of that brand, but I’m willing to give it a try. I see year round comfort and fashion here. Light cotton, with bare arms and legs in the summer. Add some fun, chunky jewelry and a pair of sandals and I’m ready to open the door to the UPS or Fed Ex guy without shame.

Come winter, a black, long sleeved, mock turtle neck and black leggings underneath will keep me toasty warm but looking hip—sort of an artsy, beatnik vibe.

And did you notice the sizes on both of these? Fourteen and sixteen. Nuf said.

And then (be still my heart), there is the loungewear, long beads and mules de ri·gueur.

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I’m digging the second one from the left with the midi-length vest.  I think black, for the body suit, and I’d probably modify that to a two-piece ensemble. This crone is too old to shimmy in and out of jumpsuit every time I have to pee—just sayin’.

As for the Auntie Mame cigarette holder, I’m thinking a magic wand fits the bill. Endora has nothing on me.


Cold Swimming

I live north, way up north, bordering Canada north. The summers here are absolutely gorgeous, but short lived. Every day after the last of August that the sun shines and the temperature approaches something over 70-degrees I’m counting my lucky sunbeams.

We’re doing pretty good this year.  I was in the pool (above ground, not heated) on September 25th. I think that might be a record. You must understand, I’m conditioned to cold water swimming. I grew up swimming in Lake Superior—the largest and coldest of the Great Lakes. Average summer water temperature is about 65-degrees on the surface. My pool mimics this to a T; it was 64-degrees the last time I was in it.

I’m thinking this might be healthy? I know it’s pretty dang refreshing.

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Penguins only live about 20 years. But they live in harsh conditions most other creatures cannot survive. I wouldn’t live a day in the Antartic, so I’m figuring I can get by with saying they are healthy old birds under the circumstances. Me too. I’m sure it’s the cold water swims—just let me have this one.

Sometimes, we (hubby and I)  go to Florida in the winter. The people there are like, “The water in the pool is so cold. They need to turn the heater up.”

I get in and I’m thinking it’s just a big bathtub at 84-degrees. It makes me all sleepy and wrinkly skinned like one of those cute-pathetic puppies that hasn’t grown into its skin-suit yet.

Come to think of it, everybody in those Florida pools looks that way.

I stayed at an RV park in Picayune Mississippi once, in February. They had an olympic sized swimming pool just sitting there, filled but not open for the season yet. I told them if they started the filter and opened the pool, I’d go swimming. So they did.

First day in it took me almost five minutes to ease my whole body into the frigid water, but once I did and then didn’t have a stroke, it was kind of a rush—like what I imagine taking speed must be like. I just felt alive and electric all over. Or maybe that was the tingle before going completely numb.

Anyway, I was blissfully swimming my laps, completely unaware that a crowd had gathered behind the two sets of double patio doors in the clubhouse, overlooking the pool.

After that I was the crazy lady from Wisconsin.

“Hey, Wisconsin, you going swimming today?” any of a number of residents would call out as I rode my bike through the park.

“You betcha, as soon as that sun peeks out from behind those there clouds.”

There was a thee-foot tall monkey living in that park. Her human kept her on a leash and dressed her in very feminine little shirts and skirts—size 2-T. She sat in a highchair and ate with the rest of the residents at the monthly potlucks.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ve really lived this life, or if I did decide to take that speed way back when in high school, when my friends offered it, and all of this has just been one wild trip.

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I’ve been blogging all month long with the wildy talented Effy Wild! It’s been a blast and

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Vist Effy’s Website

I can’t thank her enough for putting the challenge out there. The MADGoddess has her mojo back again!


The Light That Shines Within You

I’m always a little sad when summer draws to a close. I’m just not that much into winter. It’s cold, the roads are often treacherous, it’s dark more hours than light, (light being a relative term when gray days are the best I get). Mostly, it’s cold—bone chilling, mind numbing, freezes the breath in your lungs cold.

Do you know what passes for fun around here in the winter? Waiting for the exact right temperature below zero to blow soap bubbles and watch them freeze. If it’s not cold enough they just do their normal thing. If it’s too cold, they freeze and shatter almost instantaneously. It’s sort of like trying to stand an egg on end at the exact moment of the spring equinox. Good luck achieving either.

Don’t bother to tell me about wonderfully invigorating activities like skiing, snowshoeing, mushing, snowmobiling, ice fishing . . . it’s still cold. Doing those things in the cold is not fun. Anybody who tells you it’s fun is evil and lying, because you know misery loves company.

I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I don’t think there has ever been a more apt acronym. SAD is what I have and sad is what I am for the duration of Wisconsin winter. Vitamin D and full spectrum light exposure helps, a little. I’m still sad in winter.

My toes are sad they cannot expose their perfect pedicure in a rocking pair of sandals, or even peek out of a pair of peek-toe pumps.

My skin crawls at the feel of fabric covering every inch again. I spend weeks of transition pulling on jeans only to peel them off again. Perplexed and perturbed, I stand there in my grannie panties (who needs a thong up your ass when your skimpy wardrobe is relegated to storage) seriously debating the reality of living in my jammies for the next six months—or eight.

My ears are sad that they will not hear the lovely songbirds, the whisper-shimmy of leaves, the rumble of a thunderstorm and the pattering rain it brings, the hum of tires on bare pavement and the chorus of tree toads serenading the night outside my open window.

My nose is sad, missing the smell of cut grass, grill fires, and the scent of flowers and herbs growing in my gardens.

My tastebuds are sad, longing for a reunion with the flavor of fresh picked berries, corn on the cob, vine ripened tomatoes, peas and beans, or basil, thyme, sage and chives snipped from the herb bed just outside my door. Any of these shipped to the supermarket, out of season and from places afar taste like a big mouthful of nothing. Seriously, even cardboard has more flavor.

Don’t judge. You all know you’ve had a paper based product in your mouth at least once in your life, whether you ate a note you didn’t want to get caught passing or had the munchies so bad you neglected to peel all the cardboard away from the Twinkie before shoving it whole into your mouth. Whatever, I’m just telling you that even that pulp has more flavor than the winter produce we get in Wisconsin.

Sometimes, I’m lucky enough to escape to a warmer place for a few months, but I am not yet a full fledged snowbird.

I put this little visual together a few years ago. I watch it on the gray days. It helps me feel less sad—and less SAD, if you know what I mean.

I hope it lifts you into the light that shines within you.

Music Credit: Longtime Sun—Amrit Kirtan
Available on Sacred Circle from Spirit Voyage Record

 

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I’m blogging along with Effy Wild and her tribe for the whole month of September. Find out more here. This post is in response to a prompt for a give-away. I’m a writer—I give words. Here are some more of them, a different perspective of counting my blessing in the face of my SAD winters.
Making Peace With the Harbinger of Winter

 


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