Friday, 30 November 2018

The Accidental Shopper

This year, I accidentally shopped the Black Friday Sales. Really, I did. 

I'm usually anti-Black Friday; I've even written about it here on the blog. I abhor the whole frenzied shop until we (or the sales staff) drop thing. I've always eschewed the Black Friday sales here in Canada because, well, aren't they supposed to be an American thing? I mean, our Thanksgiving is in October. 

Of course, I'm not opposed to saving money on clothes that I would probably buy anyway. And if I could shop a sale without the crowds and the frenzy, find something that fills a niche in my wardrobe, fits in with what I already own, and with what I'm currently hoping to find, and which is even on my list for that season... well... that would be wonderful. But usually next to impossible. 

I normally have to put in lots of legwork to fill empty niches in my closet once I've identified them. And I'm totally unaccustomed to finding pieces when I'm NOT even looking for them, most especially when they are on sale. I'm normally a very deliberate shopper. Accidental shopping does not usually happen to me.

woman in checked pants, and burgundy sweater and loafers.
I love my new checked pants which I "accidentally" bought at a Black Friday sale. 

Monday, 26 November 2018

A Little Bit of Canada This November Morning

So. Late the other night, replete with good food and good conversation, I drove home from my book club meeting. My headlights piercing the darkness, I watched for black ice created by snow blowing across the open fields, and listened to a wonderful interview with Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright on CBC radio. 

Moon over Ottawa as seen from our plane as we arrived home from Rome in October.

Friday, 23 November 2018

The Long and Short of Personal Style

There's so much talk these days about the difference between fashion and style, personal style. How women needn't be slaves to the most recent trends, how we should dress to please ourselves, how style is what we do with the clothes we buy. Okay. I agree with all that. But what the heck do we do when we can't find anything that flatters and looks good on us? When the stores are filled with trends that leave us cold? 

woman in plaid pants and grey sweater sitting on a rattan chaise
Let's talk about the long and short of personal style, shall we?

Monday, 19 November 2018

Teaching Empathy in the Age of Trolling and Scrolling

Still at Mum's this weekend. Just finished reading a book that partially dealt with a daughter helping an aging, irascible father to cope with his altered state in life. And listened to a CBC radio program yesterday about caregivers for family with dementia, and the need for more empathy. Then I thought of this old post. On empathy. And reading.

Apparently we can be taught to be more empathetic. Really. Good news, don't you think, in this mean old world? This world where we seem to be getting a little bit meaner each year, unable or unwilling to put ourselves in another person's shoes, unable to understand, care about, or even identify how others must be feeling. This world of scrolling and trolling. Where we consume information, opinion, and hyperbolic headlines with the flick of a finger. Where the distance provided by our screens enables us to respond to what we read and see... instantly, sometimes anonymously, impulsively, and often free of consequence. Yep. This world definitely needs more empathy. 

And you know how we can learn to be more empathetic? And teach others to have more compassion for others? By reading more fiction. I swear. This is not just something that we dedicated readers have cooked up to justify our many hours of splendid isolation, slipper-clad feet up, balancing a good book in one hand, and a nice cup of tea in the other. It's true. Science says so.

"The Explorer" Rebecca Campbell

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Vintage Connections... Wearable and Otherwise

Hope you don't mind, my friends, but this is a "reprise" post. I'm still at Mum's and we've been busy with no time to blog. I missed the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show this year because I was in Fredericton. Next year I'll be there, hopefully.

Sunday an old friend and I attended the Ottawa Vintage Clothing Show. This is what I wore. Yep, I finally, finally mustered my courage and wore one of my vintage hats... out in public. I love vintage hats. But, I buy them, plan an outfit around them, and then at the last minute chicken out before I make it out the door. Not this time.

woman in black jacket and pants, on a lawn with river behind
On my way to the Vintage Clothing Show, in black and vintage.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Time Marches On and All That

You might know, if you read my last post, that I'm home in New Brunswick for the next while, visiting my Mum. As I sit in Mum's kitchen this morning pondering how to begin this post, I keep thinking of that Hilary Clinton book It Takes a Village. Because I've been saying all week to my mum that it takes a village to care for us, not just when we're young, but when we get old as well.

When we're young, most of us have parents, extended family if we're lucky, teachers, family doctors, and even the guy who drives the school bus to care for us. It takes a community of people to help children to grow and learn, and be safe and happy. 

The picture below is of my grandfather and grandmother Sullivan and most of their family. It was taken sometime in the nineteen-thirties when there were still two more sons to come, plus twins who died in infancy. That's my mum nestled up beside Grammy, with the cheeky grin on her face. I always smile when I look at this picture. At how my grandfather's hair looks as if it has a life of its own. At how my uncle Pius Jr. (who we all called Buddy) standing in front of Grampy, in his rubber boots, with his hands clenched into fists, looks like he stepped out of an episode of "Spanky and Our Gang."

You'd certainly need a village to raise this brood: extended family, older siblings looking after younger ones, neighbours, even the town cop. I remember Mum telling me the story of her weekend job at the Rainbow Diner during high school, how she got off work at midnight, and had to run all the way home to get there before they turned the streetlights out. How the town cop had to climb the tall pole in front of the Catholic Church to throw the switch. And how he'd always wait for her, hear her running footsteps, and then watch to see that she made it home safely before he put out the lights. I love that story.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

When the Skies of November Turn Gloomy

What should one do when, in the words of the famous Canadian singer/songwriter Gordon Lightfoot, "the skies of November turn gloomy?" How will you manage when the temperature drops, the rain lashes your windows, and you haven't seen the sun in days? Actually, I think you know the answer to that question perfectly well. Read, people, read. Build a big fire in the fireplace, make a pot of tea, snuggle up with your significant other, and read. 

Last of the fall  leaves along the Rideau Valley Conservation Society walking trail
Weak sunlight and fallen leaves on my walk the other day