Sunday, December 22, 2013

Greeting cards have all been sent

Or maybe not.

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been pulled in a lot of directions this month. I would love to be able to read all your holiday posts, and to take photos in my once-a-year finery and join some link-ups. But instead I'm going to take a break for a couple of weeks and limit my online time so I can be fully present in my here and now. Santa was a little mad about that accident last year, so he's banned all us elves from using social media while we're in flight.

I wish you all peace, strength, hope and happiness in the coming year. And on Christmas, be sure to leave some treats out for Santa - he's less grumpy to work with when he's well fed.

I'll sign off with my favorite Christmas song, the late, great Karen Carpenter with her lovely voice singing Merry Christmas, Darling.


Happy Holidays!
Val






Thursday, December 19, 2013

I Love the Car Wash



Don't we all dream about the Perfect Christmas, enjoying parties and shopping, or maybe hibernating? Of course, it's just a dream. When I was younger I worked in restaurants and retail, so I was always busier at this time of year. Now, for some reason, work is still busier this time of year – mental and financial deadlines for the end of the year, I guess.

This year we also had a late Thanksgiving, a freaky snowy frozen week (which would have been great for hibernating if they had closed the office!), financial decisions and indecisions, a quick but distant road trip, coming back to health problems for both mother and mother-in-law. Then there's spontaneous get-togethers after work, not to mention my usual bowling night, so I'm feeling pulled in all directions!

But I made time for the Car Wash.
 
Source


I love drive-through car washes! Once I'm in there and the suds start covering the windows, I can feel myself relax. I'm alone, no one can bother me, I can't go anywhere. I have about six minutes to sit quietly in my little cocoon (I rarely remember that I have a cell phone). After the foamy soap muffles all outside noise for a delicious moment, the spray and the brushes start up, scrubbing my mind as well as my car, making everything clean and shiny. And then comes the gentle rinse, like soft rain, trickling down onto the sunroof and the windshield, clearing away all the soap and dirt and grime and tension. Ahhhh, I feel better just thinking about it!

It always ends too quickly. Next time I'll have to get the super triple wax treatment so I can stay longer.



So, I finally got around to taking some new pictures. My hair is looking a little better – it's grown about 2mm and I'm parting it on the other side – so I don’t cringe every time I look in the mirror.

thrifted jeans and shoes; black top - Kohl's; striped top - JCP

These are pretty basic clothes, and the jeans are pretty sloppy looking now that I see these photos. But I like the gray and black with yellow. I'm not sure if the striped top has been photographed since this post, but you've seen the mustard jeans in my last post and also here.

The lipstick is Champagne on Ice by Revlon, and I got complimented on it by one of the younger guys at work.



Apropos of nothing except that I had this song on my mind, check out this totally trippy video for Spill the Wine by Eric Burdon and War on Daily Motion. Remember that song (if you were old enough in 1970)? There's also a live version on YouTube, but you don't get the woman's voice in the background, which is an integral part of the experience!

How do you relax – wine, music, car wash?

Val

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Stock Photos

I have not been very inspired lately. I don't really want to take selfies right now - I don't like my hair and I have zits/pimples/spots! I've been missing a lot of possible link-ups. I just don't feel like I have much to say. But I made myself do this post anyway - aren't you glad! So sit back and let the mediocrity roll over you like the scent of wet paper towels.


I took a few pictures in my new-to-me green jacket. It's not shapely - in fact it looks like a bag - but it's comfy and it does what it's supposed to: it's a jacket.

jacket - thrifted; shirt - Crazy Horse with appliques added by me

I wore it with a white shirt with iron-on appliques (previously seen here with the same earrings) and my opal stick pin. The jeans are basic dark blue Lee's.

But thank goodness I've got some photos stockpiled from my Goodwill Four Tops tour (seen here). Let's trot out a few of those photos so we can all remember what my hair looked like before I brutally (and amateurishly) whacked it.

Cardi, boots and tights - Target; Chaps shirt - thrifted; skirt - JCP

I like this outfit, but next time I don't think I'll wear white tights. I'm not sure I like white tights. Maybe I should paint them.

thrifted top - Marks and Spencer; thrifted jeans - Shylo; shoes - Chelsea Crew

I was surprised to find a Marks and Spencer top at the Goodwill here, but it's got nice details and will be a favorite next summer. The color is sort of dove gray, with more blue undertones than you see here.




That's the other thing that has me feeling uninspired - I can't get very good lighting or color unless I spend some time with the dial and the manual for my camera. I should try, but the technical details of photography always dissolve in my brain without leaving anything useful behind. The same thing happens when I've tried to learn backgammon or cribbage - it just doesn't stick. Weird, huh?

thrifted top - Apt. 9; tights - Target; skirt - Christopher & Banks (shortened); belt and cardi - cheap retail
This top is kind of fun, if I can just decide which color of tights to wear with it!

Are you feeling any inspiration, Christmas spirit, your muses or Happy Fairies?

Val

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Coat Bepimped

It snowed here yesterday, which doesn't happen very much. You probably didn't hear about it because there were worse snowstorms around the country, and the national media never, ever remember that there's a state called Oregon between California and the-state-that-Seattle-is-in.

But I'm not bitter.


Our little region here got the worst of it, too - snowing all day yesterday, and temperatures staying below freezing at least through the weekend.




It's gorgeous! I don't have to go anywhere this weekend, and I have books to read. I'm happy.


And I finally did something with my boring black raincoat, seen here, and below.


Okay, maybe it's still boring, But I wanted to do something easy to change the gray facing that makes this coat like the 613 others between California and Seattle, and I was inspired by this coat of Ann's here.


I "watercolored" the gray parts. But that wasn't enough, so I also drew random lines all over it.



And I added some pink paint to the snaps, then rubbed off most of it. The paint is still in the little lines of the logo.


It's nowhere near as pretty as Ann's watercolor coat, or any of Ann's gorgeous coats. But it's a little bit more interesting.

Maybe I should do more. Or just look for another coat.

What do you think?

Val

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Good Gosh!

Can you ever have too much of a good thing? It seems a ridiculous concept. Why should we not have goodness imbue our lives? Take this wonderful holiday weekend, for example.


Thursday, which was not only Thanksgiving but also Mr. Sparkle's birthday, was filled with celebration and good food - turkey, ham, garlic-cheese mashed potatoes, brandied fruit cake, chocolate... And that was just the food! Everyone at our table brought their very best lovely personalities, kindness and good humor. We wanted for nothing, and no one farted like they did at the Ramsey Thanksgiving.


you can walk behind the falls

Friday was quiet and calm, filled with the goodness of leftover turkey, ham, and garlic-cheese mashed potatoes, as well as brandied fruitcake and chocolate. By the way, I haven't mentioned wine because it is just assumed.





Saturday Mr. Sparkle and I went to Silver Falls State Park, where these pictures were taken. We walked five miles on the loop trail, which takes in about seven waterfalls! We brought along our lunch of turkey and ham sandwiches, as well as brandied fruitcake, some chocolate, and a thermos of tea. (No wine - I have my limits.)

The lodge at Silver Falls State Park







Sunday morning Mr. Sparkle always makes blueberry pancakes, which we eat at the front of the house so we can look at the park across the street. Today everything had a magical, turkey-wine-brandy-chocolate-induced aura of goodness! The steam coming off Mr. Sparkle's tea was curling and corkscrewing into beautiful patterns.

There was a crow trying to sit regally atop a branch that kept dipping because it was too weak for his weight. He finally flew off and landed on the power lines and tried to act nonchalant. In my own mellow goodness, I pretended I hadn't seen him looking silly and discombobulated.








Alas, the weekend is almost over, and tomorrow it will be back to --- no, I can't say the word.




Instead, here is a picture of me in a headband so I can link up with Hat Attack! and of course, Visible Monday.

Happy Mellow Goodness to you all!

Val