Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Take my hand, child, come with me

It's a trip back to the '70s at Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up! The '70s covers a lot of ground, from Vietnam to Wall Street, Nixon to Reagan, Led Zeppelin to The Cars.

I graduated from high school in 1974 and gave up my virginity the next day. The guy who took this picture of me was the guy.


The man who took the picture was seven years older than me, and had been a friend for a couple of years. We remained friends, but went our separate ways. We used to run into each other every so often, or seek each other out. He gave me this picture about 15 years after it was taken, when I hadn't seen him for a few years. This picture still blows my mind and almost makes me ache - it feels so raw, so innocent but so ripe. I never saw myself this way. But he did.

How do you feel when you see old pictures of yourself?

Val

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A Choix Multiple

No outfit photos today, but this is what I would like to share:

A.         Earworm
B.         Architecture
C.         Sewing
D.         Maxipads

I don't want anyone to get bored, so you can pick and choose the subject that suits your fancy – or read them all. It wouldn't kill you. If you only have time for one, definitely go for D.

A.         Earworm

Do you know Pink Martini? They're not so much a big band as a self-described "little orchestra" from Portland, Oregon. They have possibly the best name in the universe for their genre of music. And the song that made them rich is "Sympathique."

Go on, listen. But I warn you – it is an earworm that will breed inside your brain. You may end up singing "Je ne veux pas travailler" while you're talking to your boss or mortgage lender.

B.         Architecture

Mr. Sparkle and I love houses. We both used to draw house plans when we were kids, and I remember having my dreams deflated when my dad told me architecture required a lot of math. But I have a keen appreciation of it anyway.

We went to Portland on Saturday for the Heritage Home Tour. I love this kind of thing – looking around other people's homes, homes that are so wonderful that they're on home tours, homes with built-in wood cabinets and benches on stairways and fireplaces in bedrooms. We saw two early 20th century craftsman houses, an Italianate Victorian from 1884, a mid-century modern house, and an urban loft conversion which just happened to be owned by the bandleader from Pink Martini. I loved the loft conversion – so spacious and funky. But the best one was a craftsman style home owned by a Portland artist, Chris Keylock Williams. I'm linking because I really liked her work, and you can see a photo of her attic studio here. No photos were allowed in the houses, so these links are the best I can do.

C.         Sewing

Maybe some of you have already seen the other Vixen – Solanah at Vixen Vintage.



She's adorable, and her recent post mentioned a place that does print-on-demand fabric! Have you heard about this? I'm not into sewing, but for those of you who are, you might want to check out Spoonflower. I am not promoting or vouching for them – just sayin'.

D.         Maxipads

I saved the best for last. I read about this on Facebook, and it was so funny I just want to share it with as many people as possible. The British sense of humor is unsurpassed, and I love it when a company is not afraid to be irreverent!

Source


Have a great week!

Val


Friday, July 26, 2013

I Get By



Friday morning, I get in the car to drive to work. I would usually walk, but it's been hot, then my body temperature runs high from walking, hot flashes become hotter, and I spend the first hour at work moist, and clammy. I couldn't face it.

I'm also a little sore from falling the other night when watering plants. There's a little bank at the side of our house, which is basically clay. I stepped on the side of the bank, which was wet, and slipped in the mud, slipping, slipping, falling, watering hose flying, nozzle hitting ground, spraying all over me. That's when my neighbors drove up. They missed the main action. But we started chatting as I explained why I was wet and muddy, and as I was talking to them I saw the gigantic contusion on my arm. It doesn't hurt, but it's really quite impressive. Other parts do hurt, and today I'm a feeling a little creaky.

So as I was saying, Friday morning, I'm hot, and sore, and get in the car to drive to work, I open the sunroof and turn on the radio, and they're playing Sgt. Pepper, just as it goes into "With a Little Help from My Friends." I smile, I tap the steering wheel and sing, I arrive at work ready to face the day. Thank you, DJ, and thank you, John, Paul, George, and especially you, Mr. Ringo Starr!


Source
Here's what I wore to work. Yes, I wore this to work. I know it looks like a garden party outfit, but it was so comfortable and cool. Armpits be damned!




I took the photos on Thursday evening when I was trying out the new-to-me thrifted pants and shoes.



Lovely gauzy white pants – big pants! The tunic is from World Market, the pearls were a gift long ago.


These are white, although they look like ivory here.

But the genesis of this outfit is the shoes, which I just thrifted last week. Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up prompt this week is Feet First - start with the shoes, and then create the outfit. Since I bought the shoes and pants together while I was in summer whites mode, it was inevitable they'd be in the same outfit. The tunic was an easy choice to top it off. I added pearls for the photo shoot, although at work I wore a turquoise necklace and some more practical, black sandals.




I'll be sending my garden party outfit to Jill of Everything Just So for "How I Wear My…Casual Party Outfit." That post will be published on August 1, so be sure to check it out via Jill or Adrienne at The Rich Life (on a Budget).

Since I'm dressed for a garden party, I'll also head over to Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. We can talk about our favorite Beatles!

Val

Monday, July 22, 2013

Undeniably Me

Geesh, it's funny. Tell me to do a post that's undeniably me, and I just clam up. This week at Shiny T Tuesday the prompt is Undeniably Me. I did think about it when I picked out my clothes last Friday - the fifth day of work is more of an IDGAS day for clothes, so I dressed to feel like, well, like me. Which is nothing fancy.


I am vain. And I'm indecisive. I couldn't decide which of these two pictures was the most flattering.

shirt - Kohl's; jeans - thrifted; sandals - Bare Traps; cuff - Etsy

So you got them both.

The jeans are Levi's - I practically lived in Levi's in high school after the dress code was dropped, so they feel like me.

Another thing about me, I have to be funny, so I made a silly pose.


And I like jackets and blazers, so here's one with some nice details that you can't see because I'm a lousy photographer and can't get the lighting to work for both me and my hair. Actually, I bought this when I had brown hair - it's not great with my argentum color.

corduroy jacket - Foxhole; pose - stupid

Here's the back of the jacket and more of the details..




Here's a brooch I made - chaos colors because, again, I'm indecisive.



And what makes me undeniably me as I'm writing this is that I'm eating chocolate and having hot flashes.

So that's it. What makes you undeniably you?

Val

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sleep beholds me from afar awake



This week I haven't been sleeping really well. It's probably down to hormonal changes and a night-owl body clock, neither of which conform to office hours. But I'm not going to moan about that. 

Source

Let me introduce you to Algernon Charles Swinburne, who wrote the words in my post title as part of his poem "Laus Veneris" (In Praise of Venus) in 1866. Swinburne was a British aristocrat, educated at Eton and Oxford, acquainted with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and part of the Aesthetic movement. He was decadent, kinky and a little high-strung. He was a rock star of his time.



 
My outfit is inspired by SpyGirl's 52 Pick-Me-Up, Go with the Flow, this week calling for long, loose, and drapey. Anne Spy suggested a few goddesses we might like to emulate, and I was torn between the Grecian goddess and the rock goddess. So this is Venus meets Ann Wilson.


 

Let me tell you a little more about Swinburne and "Laus Veneris", or if you aren't interested you can just look at the pictures. Wikipedia describes him as "an alcoholic and algolagniac…" Do you know this word? I had to look up algolagniac, but just think of S&M and you'll get the idea. Oscar Wilde said he was "a braggart in matters of vice, who had done everything he could to convince his fellow citizens of his homosexuality and bestiality without being in the slightest degree a homosexual or a bestialiser."




The poem, which is indecently long, is based on a medieval German legend about a good Christian knight who is seduced by Venus. Thinking he's in love, he goes to live in her lair, where he spends a lusty year indulging his physical desires with the goddess of love. 

But he's bored now. Evidently even cosmic sex gets old.




The language Swinburne uses is drippingly sensual and saturated – red, blood, lips, bruises, flesh, heat, softness, hardness – it's all there. There's also a lot of imploring God, because the knight is feeling guilty now that he realizes Venus is all about lust, not love. 




Here's the first stanza:

Asleep or waking is it? for her neck,
Kissed over close, wears yet a purple speck
Wherein the pained blood falters and goes out;
Soft, and stung softly--fairer for a fleck.

And later…

There is a feverish famine in my veins;
Below her bosom, where a crushed grape stains
The white and blue, there my lips caught and clove
An hour since, and what mark of me remains?

I dare not always touch her, lest the kiss
Leave my lips charred. Yea, Lord, a little bliss,
Brief bitter bliss, one hath for a great sin;
Nathless thou knowest how sweet a thing it is.

And…

The scent and shadow shed about me make
The very soul in all my senses ache;
The hot hard night is fed upon my breath,
And sleep beholds me from afar awake.

The poem and the legend inspired this painting by Edward Burne-Jones.

Source


If you have a few hours free, you might like to read the whole thing here.

Or just go on over to Spy Girl and see who else is going with the flow!



Sunday update - Why didn't I think to provide you some music from the inimitable Ann Wilson, and her goddess sister Nancy! And then I'll link up with Visible Monday, to make the weekend complete.



Val

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Phlox, florals, denim, and Barbie!

My phlox is blooming. It doesn't look fabulous this year, but it's the scent that knocks me out.


Phlox (I love the spelling) gives me one of my strongest scent memories because we had phlox in the garden of my childhood home, right next to where we always played. The scent was soft and subtle, but unmistakeably there. We moved from that house when I was 13, and I sort of forgot about phlox.

Then when we lived in Britain, Mr. Sparkle and I were walking through a village when I caught that scent. I was immediately lifted back through time to carefree summer days of make-believe and endless possibilities. Is that phlox? I blurted out, as if Mr. Sparkle would know! A lady standing near her doorway said, Yes, it is. I hadn't even seen her standing there. I jumped - it was almost like a comedy program! We chatted a bit, I breathed in the fragrance, and I vowed to myself that I, too, would have phlox. And here it is.

not as healthy this year, maybe it's been too warm

And from the phlox we move to other phlorals - 

My outfit for Thursday last was cleverly selected to hit not one, not two, but three link-ups over the next few days! I need to be efficient because I have a lot of chores that have been neglected. My personal wardrobe challenge is how I can hit as many link-ups as possible with one outfit!

silk top - Twenty-one from Buffalo Exchange; Levi's jeans - thrifted; Doc Marten's sandals
Spy Girl has Florals bouquet: mix your florals with... for her 52 Pick-me-up prompt this week. I thought, well, that sounds easy. So I put on this silk top with jeans. The top is kind of big, and I considered donating it, but then decided to try it plain with jeans. I think it works best like this, not tucked or belted, just casual and loose, the way I like my men.


My next link-up will be Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. VM was really my gateway to blogging, and I can't miss it. I've met so many people there!

Sunday morning update - Patti of Not Dead Yet Style also has a Facebook page and regularly posts really, really great links. If I could pick one person to follow on Facebook, it would be Patti!


This week's prompt at Flight Platform Living for Shiny T Tuesday is so easy - the prompt is BLANK on BLANK - your choice! So mine could be Clothes on Body, but I'm going to call it Barbie on Earrings. This is so wide open, it'll be a gas seeing what everyone else comes up with!

made by me

Besides the phlox, I took some other photos of the flora around my house. This is what I see looking the other direction on the side of the house.


The vine is a passion flower, which is starting to bloom.


At the front I have lavender, which the bees love.


And in the rain garden (yes, we carefully cultivate our rain here in western Oregon) the morning glory has got a strong foothold. And pulling it is one of the chores I need to get busy with.


What's your strongest scent memory? I hope it's a good one.

Val

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Square pegs do fit in round holes

First, THANKS for all the brilliant comments on my last post! A lot of you opened up and offered your own insights and experiences, and the honesty, humor and support was really touching. As I said, there are some amazing women out there! Ann at Blue Hue Wonderland imagined how it would be to have all those women in one room. Well, it would be a party of epic proportions! And the music would be provided by our many musician husbands playing together in the coolest band ever. Our outfits would be creative, inspirational and too excellent for words. Cameras and tequila would abound as we try on each other's shoes and trade handmade jewelry and scarves. Sigh.


Since the world is still a pretty big physical place, we have to be content with virtual parties until I have the bugs in my transporter worked out. Today Jane has invited us to FlightPlatform Living for Shiny T Tuesday. Her invitation said Dress Square, which could be taken in a couple of ways.

skirt - St. John's Bay by JCP; shirt - Sonoma; other shirt - Christopher & Banks; shoes - White Stag



I wasn't sure I'd have time to throw something on and race over to the party, but this morning I put on a plaid shirt (squares) and my pink sapphire earrings (also square).


I paired them up with dots and denim, and here I come!


For shoes I decided to wear the neuest neutral – leopard! These are the wedge sandals that I decoupaged (see post here). And I'm walking these shoes to a virtual party on Wednesday – Bella's ShoeShine at The Citizen Rosebud.

There are lots of parties going on every week or every month. I can't really keep up - and all that alcohol and cake won't do me any good - but I wish I could go to every one.

*I need to add a follow-up to my post LOVE IS LOVE where I mentioned my friends F and H. They stopped to visit us on their way up to Tacoma, Washington, where we all used to live. They'd had this trip planned for a while, but when the recent Supreme Court decision paved the way for federal recognition of same-sex marriage, they decided to get married in Washington State - they'll become husband and husband on Thursday! I'm so excited that I can almost overlook the short notice and my annoyance at not being able to be there. Congratulations, gents!*

What are you celebrating this week? Any virtual parties in your plans?

Val

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Some Things I've Learned from Blogging


I've learned to be more accepting of other people's individual styles, and I'm more creative with my own. Tights, belts and bracelets all have a stronger presence in my wardrobe now.


Our generation is rewriting how old ladies look. No more Ethel Mertz dresses or Aunt Bea hairdos (unless it's ironic). Gray hair if you want it, maybe pink if you don't.


There are some amazing women in the world, and they have interesting lives – art, sewing, roller derbies, babies. They also face problems with health, families, shopping addiction, and they support each other through these trials.


I've learned that layering has no rules, only aesthetics. In fact, style has no rules, only personal preferences. 


Blogging is a big time commitment, but the only thing I've really sacrificed is housework. 
No big.


I'm not that daring. This is a bit of a disappointment to me. I love following flamboyant bloggers who dress like thrift-store pirates, but that's not really me.


I don't want to put naughty things on my blog because my mother or the government might see it. But I don't need to be wild now - I have my memories. ;~)


I'm jealous of other people's clothes, jewelry, shoes and imagination. But mostly I'm jealous of people who love their jobs. I guess spending my twenties as a waitress/party girl wasn't a very good start to a career.


I feel like a fraud sometimes because I don't actually like to go shopping all the time. Clothes don't fulfill me. There, I've confessed.

dress - Walmart; shrug - Fred Meyer; Tee - Kohl's; Tank - JCP; belt - thrifted, flip flops - so old I can't remember

Blogging has been a little bit like a crucible – it's forcing me to be aware of both the larger world as a community and my inner sense of self. I'm learning what fits and what doesn't. I think I'm learning to accept my limits at the same time that I push my boundaries!

What's your biggest blogging lesson, besides knowing that the best place to start the week is Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style?

Val

Monday, July 1, 2013

Red Wine at Night

Red skirt at morning, colleagues take warning.

shirt - St. John's Bay from JCP; red dress - thrifted
Actually, red dress with a white shirt over the top for work.

In the evening, off came the shirt, brighter jewelry was added, and we were out to a local winery to celebrate my lovely niece's 30th birthday on Friday night.

Birthday girl on the right, holding her nephew, her husband at the back, other nieces, my sister and me.

We're soooo lucky - we have at least a dozen wineries within 20 miles of my town. That's just a small selection of the wineries found all over western Oregon - and the wine is good!!! These pictures were taken at Sweet Cheeks Winery, named for the curving hills visible from the winery's tasting room and picnic area. Seriously, that's how the story goes!

And here's my official picture to link-up to Shiny T Tuesday, Red Sky at Night, at Flight Platform Living. You should go and see the fabulous thrifted outfit Jane is wearing there!

Sandals - Clark's; necklace and bracelet - by me
So, I seem to have hit Canada Day with the right colors. I'm going to add a little spark of blue to carry over to Independence Day on the Fourth of July. This is as close as I get to wearing the flag.


Wednesday - I'm still partying over at Spy Girl's 52 Pick-me-up. Hurrah for the red, white, and blue!

Are you keeping cool?

Val