Monday, 31 October 2016

In Praise Of Nasty Women

There's been a lot of palaver in the last couple of weeks about "nasty" women. Well, actually, one so-called "nasty woman." I was in New York the night of the last Clinton-Trump debate. Elizabeth and I hived it back to our hotel room after dinner, changed into our jammies, and settled down with a glass of wine in front of the TV. We didn't want to miss any of the drama. Sorry if that sounds flippant. But to us Canadians, the election drama south of  the border is pure theatre. I do realize that it's serious business if you are American. Probably more serious for us than we realize, too. But I don't want to talk about that here. 

I do want to talk about "nasty" women. That word has been on my mind ever since I came home from New York. How it seems to have become a rallying cry for some women. How society has historically tended to demonize strong women or women with power. And I've been thinking about all the nasty women I know. And have known. 

Thursday, 27 October 2016

How to Dress Like a Canadian Visiting New York

Last year when Hubby and I were planning our trip to France, I stressed over what to pack. What to wear in Paris? How to be chic, or at least pulled together, and yet comfortable? I read way too many articles on how to dress "like a Parisian." And then I fussed, and fumed, and shopped. And then I decided to stop sweating it and keep it simple. Good jeans. Good tees. A good jacket. A raincoat. Comfortable, but not ugly, shoes for walking. One pair of dressier shoes. And a scarf. I'd dress like me, a middle-aged Canadian women, visiting Paris. C'est tout. Turns out that's how women in Paris dress anyway. 

So a few weeks ago when I began to plan my outfits to take to New York, I thought it would be a doddle. Fall, cool, but not cold = jeans, a coat sweater, long sleeved tees, a jacket. You know. Paris but a bit cooler... and by cool I mean temperature. I kept thinking about a line I read on the blog Une Femme d'un Certain Age. Sue said that the measure of an outfit for her is the question: "Would I wear this in Paris?" I loved that. And as I was trying on outfits that I actually had worn in Paris, I kept thinking "Well, if it was good enough to wear in Paris..." And so I planned and pre-packed happily. Until I read the New York weather forecast, and although it was wonderfully fall-ish in Ottawa, New York would be back in summer temperatures by the time we arrived. As hot as 28° Celsius. Crap. 

Times Square during the October heat wave October 2016.
Sleeveless in NYC. Elizabeth's shot of Times Square our first day in New York. 

Sunday, 23 October 2016

New York Stories. Well... Some of Them.

In a moment of beautiful serendipity, I sat down at my computer this morning, to start this post about my trip to New York. The shopping. The theatre. The art. And on CBC radio, Michael Enright began interviewing Ross King, discussing King's new book Mad Enchantment, about Claude Monet and his famous water lily paintings. Two of which I just saw... like... three days ago!  At Moma in New York. I love it when stuff like that happens, don't you? 

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's begin at the beginning. Elizabeth and Sue went to New York. On a plane. They stayed four nights, and saw and did many exciting things. These are their stories. And pictures, of course.

View from our plane as we approach New York
Glued to the window. Waiting for a view of the New York skyline.

Monday, 17 October 2016

New York State of Mind

This post will be short and sweet. Short because I'm flying to New York City tomorrow with a girlfriend. And there are outfits to be tried on, ironed, packed... etc etc. And sweet because... well ... tomorrow I'm flying to New York City with a girlfriend. And I'm excited. It's my sixtieth birthday treat to myself. Albeit a few months late. But who cares? As my friend Elizabeth said when I asked her if she wanted to come along... "Autumn in New York. Sounds good to me."

New York City

We've had our flights and hotel booked for a while. What will we do when we get there? We've done our homework. We've lots of ideas, and recommendations, and we've narrowed down what we don't care about, and what we do. But as for making specific plans.... we've not made up our minds yet. We plan to walk a lot, and shop some. See a show, or maybe two. Visit some museums, we're not sure which ones yet. And other than that... eat, sip wine... and enjoy just being there. 

Just being there will be great. 

So, my friends. I'll be in touch in a few days. In the meantime. I am truly in a "New York State of Mind." 

Love this Billy Joel song.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

What To Wear When You Don't Have Time To Wait for Inspiration.

What should I wear, today? What, what, what? Sigh. How many times have I stared blankly into my closet and asked myself that dreaded question? Ha. Many, many times, my friends. 

To be truthful, I haven't done it in years. But when I was younger... well... that was a whole other thing. Back then I might go through several outfit changes each morning, tossing aside unwanted items as I became more and more frustrated, and had less and less time before I had to be out the door. Then, when inspiration failed me, and time ran out, I'd root through the pile of clothes on my bed, haul out a favourite and too often relied upon outfit combination, and rush down to the basement to plug in the iron. Because, of course, the blouse or skirt was now hopelessly wrinkled, having been discarded early in the process, and lying under a growing pile of other discarded items. I'd press the wrinkles out, toss on whatever it was I'd chosen, and dash out the door, coat flying, twenty minutes late, knowing that if traffic was heavy my first morning class might be in danger of starting without me. And that would be bad because I was the teacher. Phew. So glad those days are over.

Wouldn't it be nice if we all just looked like this every morning? source

Monday, 10 October 2016

Fall Wilderness Wanderings : Good for the Body and the Soul

A couple of weeks ago, when I returned home from New Brunswick... home from home, you might say... Hubby and I packed the truck and headed for the hills, and the valleys, of the Bonnechere River. We have been making this fall camping trip for many years. Getting away from the city... or near city... where we live. Getting out in the bush, or as close as we can get to the bush with our truck and tent trailer. Soaking up the fresh air and sunshine. And sometimes the rain. But let's not go there. 

Road to Bonnechere Provincial Park, near Alice, Ontario
On the road to Bonnechere
Fall camping is the very best of the best of wilderness experiences, as far as I'm concerned. Crisp mornings and warm sunshine-y afternoons. Dusk coming early. Sitting around the campfire after supper, cradling a glass of wine, and watching sparks disappear up into the night sky. Makes me all calm just thinking about it. 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Shoe Story

What's the story with women and shoes, do you think? Is it a truth universally acknowledged that every woman is "obsessed" with shoes? Nah. I'm not buying that. 

Despite what I discovered during my painstaking, and painful I might add, research. All the gushingly, hyperbolic blog posts about shoes, and the articles showing the supposedly 'enviable' fashionista closets, and the many hundreds of pairs of shoes certain celebrity fashionistas have in these closets. Apparently Celine Dion confided to Ellen Degeneres that she has over 3000 pairs. Or was that Imelda Marcos? I'm a bit confused. And no wonder... I've seen way too many pictures of pink closets today, with rows and rows of gold shoes... hmmm, whose closet was that? Oh yes, Mariah Carey... I think. But despite all this palaver over shoes, I don't believe every woman is obsessed with shoes. I know I'm not. 

But that doesn't mean that shoes aren't an important, even vital, part of a great outfit. In fact, quite the contrary. Shoes can make or break an outfit. The minute you put them on and look in the mirror, you know. They're either too chunky, too prim, too flat, too high in the heel, not high enough... or just right. And if they're just right, they make a good outfit look even better. Right?

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Fall Camping...Far From The Madding Crowd

October. Fall. Temperature dropping. Sweater weather. Most people are putting their gardens to bed and packing away lawn chairs and beach toys. Yet, we're packing and loading the truck and heading up the Ottawa Valley for our last camping trip of the season.

Fall is my favourite time of year. As someone who has spent most of my life as a student or as a teacher, September has always meant back to school for me. And I have always loved the feel of things kicking into gear in the fall. Usually by early October I would be back at work. Prepping lessons, getting to know new classes, bracing myself for the onslaught of marking before the midterm report in a few weeks.

But I retired from teaching in early 2013. And this September was my fourth September of freedom. And while fall still seems like a time of beginnings.... they are beginnings of a very different nature now.

Hubby and I love camping. Summer camping is great for swimming and canoeing and fishing. But fall camping is the best. Our favourite. And now that we're both retired, we don't have to wait for Thanksgiving Weekend for our fall camping trip. And this makes fall camping even better.

And here's why.