Stylish Miss Laurel

This is our Texas Mountain Laurel. For the first time, since we adopted her (from our neighbor), she is covered in blooms. They have a very intense smell – almost like grape bubblegum. By sheer coincidence the color is exactly the same as the Pantone Color of the Year 2022, Very Peri. I think she just wants to be fashionable like her mom… I have no idea why I anthropomorphize plants but I love to hug my trees and name them. Perhaps it’s natural, given I was born in San Francisco to a couple of beatniks!

Courtesy of House Beautiful

This is one of my favorite colors. One generous boyfriend bought me a gorgeous midi length sunray pleated skirt in periwinkle blue/lilac. My mum hated lilac so that made the purchase even better! Curiously, although he was generous and I was thankful, I didn’t like my clothes being chosen for me. I have trained Teddy never to buy me clothes and especially not lingerie! He did get me a free lilac fleecy dressing gown with some perfume and I have been wearing it for over a decade but I don’t think that counts as lingerie.

This is Miss Laurel in her full glory. She was planted next to another bush, a Japanese Yew, who died despite my best efforts. That has given her room to spread her branches. We are headed into a drought cycle in Texas and I think she might like the drier conditions. Originally mountain laurels came from the Chihuahua desert in Mexico. When the blooms fall off there will be very poisonous seed pods. Teddy better behave…

A Rosy Vogue

Over the last couple of months, I have been clearing out my closet…again. I have finally accepted that I no longer suit some of my ‘younger’ clothes and that my legs are not what they once were. That said, I think women of a certain age should wear whatever they want – no rules! Much of my wardrobe is black because I have to wear it so often for work but it’s not my best color so I decided to choose rosy tones. The soft red floral wrap top (Max Studio in Nordstrom Rack Outlet), above, is styled with my ever faithful buttoned Walmart jeans and floral Carlos Santana boots.

This gorgeous maxi skirt is my bargain of 2022. I found it in our local Interfaith thrift store. It fits me perfectly and it was about $6 – styled with a long sleeved Pima cotton t-shirt from J. Crew’s sale, bought a couple of years ago. The side view shows more of the pretty pattern and swing. It will be great for Salsa dancing!

On our Involuntary Vacation, we stopped at La Grange, Texas for a coffee. I spotted an lovely boutique store, Simple Rags, and moseyed over to it. We have lost quite a few independent boutiques in our home town over the past few years. I miss them so much. On the sale rack was the pretty taupe/pink dress with charcoal embroidery below, reduced from $62 to $18. I bought a prairie dress on the prairie!

I had great plans to wear my new purchases at romantic dinners out on vacation or at home. Teddy’s recent cardiac incident has postponed that temporarily until everything settles down but I wore the red floral top when we went out for decaf skinny lattes this week. More involuntary vacation posts to follow…

The Glasgow Dress

OASIS dress, Target belt, Ralph Lauren denim jacket (all bought 10 years ago).  New Carlos Santana suede embroidered boots.

Teddy and I went on a short road trip last week when he took this photo – more posts to follow.  I have been battling my cholesterol levels successfully and have lost weight.  It was fun to wear clothes I haven’t worn in a while and the dress has a story.  Ten years ago, I went on dreary winter trip to Scotland to see the old folks.  On a free afternoon I went to a local shopping mall to check out the stores.  I walked into a dress store and the manager greeted me with an insincere smile and welcome.  Her thoughts were, “You are in the wrong store, turn around.  Why would an ancient crone/homeless person come into my fabulous shop?”  I looked in the mirror and saw a tired, jetlagged woman with so many layers of clothes to fight the cold.

In my head I thought, “Game on, Termagant…”  The real word I thought of rhymed with Witch.  The Termagant was a very pretty lady in her late 20s with long wavy blonde hair.  She had a great little figure – a pocket Venus.  Her dress was a gorgeous navy dress with taupe banding (look familiar)?  I said, “I love the dress you are wearing.”  She stared at me as though I had lost my mind.  Did I really think I could look good in HER dress? With a slight sneer, she said, “We only have one left on the mannequin and it is an EXTRA SMALL.” “I would love to try it on if you don’t mind taking it off the mannequin…”

Well, now the Termagant was annoyed.  She summoned her minion from the back to help with this hopeless task.  The minion was a lovely girl, full of smiles and clearly didn’t like the her boss.  The minion and the ancient crone went off the fitting rooms.  Underneath the many layers of clothing, I had/have a pretty cute figure and I was particularly slim on this trip.  I came from behind the curtain like Cinderella – transformed.  The minion’s eyes opened wide with surprise, delight and the inevitable Schadenfreude.  She called out to her Termagant boss, “Look how amazing the dress looks on her!!”

Termagant’s face was a picture, ‘How could that ancient crone have a rocking body?’  Her perplexment made my day and I still have the dress, as you can see.  Keep your old stuff; fashion comes in cycles.

Dungarees or Overalls?

My Texan friends always look perplexed when I refer to the outfit above as dungarees, “Oh you mean overalls”.  I checked the web and technically both are right but here, in Texas, my apparel is a ‘bib overall’.  Whatever you want to call them, I had a penchant for a pair two years ago.  On a trip to Scotland in 2019, I found a perfect pair of bib overalls and matching blouse in H & M (in the clearance rack, naturally).  I wondered if I was too old to wear them at age 60 but I think I rock them!

Close up of bib overalls

I still refer to H & M as Hennes from their original name Hennes and Mauritz.  It is a Swedish based company and on one particularly awful trip to Stockholm, the airline lost all our clothes and MY WHEELCHAIR!  There was no offer to lend me one, or connect me to their Red Cross.  They couldn’t give a skit, as they say in Sweden and got the sharp end of my tongue, to no avail.  We needed to get some clothes and headed to Hennes.  I could walk a few yards and perhaps had a stick?  Nothing fitted me but Teddy got the best clothes he has ever worn.  They were finished properly with excellent material and lasted for years.  My new outfit from 2019 was well made too but not quite the same quality. 

As I Googled for H & M, I noticed a variety of forums that suggested that because H & M promoted fashionable clothes it wasn’t an eco-friendly store.  Well, I will still be wearing mine for a decade, as Teddy did his, but I really prefer thrift stores.  I noticed that we have a new baby critter in the garden – a blue tailed Skink.  As you can see, he is the same size as a peanut shell but he will grow to about a foot including his tail.  He is very welcome because he loves tree roaches and cicadas – eat away little skink!

It’s a little fuzzy because it was taken through the window but his dungarees are even cuter than mine!

Back to my roots

New hair, Topshop Dress, Ralph Lauren Denim jacket

As a treat to myself, I went to a salon to have my hair dyed. I read all the reviews, chose Aveda color and booked the appointment. I mentioned that my hair was very difficult to color but she said she ‘loved a challenge’… When I was in the chair, I asked what shade # she was using and she assured me it was an 8 Ash – which is medium to dark blonde.

She went off to start someone else’s hair and I thought “my hair is going dark” – sometimes the porous gray soaks up all the color. I could have interrupted her but I thought I would just go with the flow – part of my new evolution (kinder, patient). When it was washed out, I could see the perplexity in her face. She asked me what I thought of it. “It’s darker than I imagined but I quite like it”. She offered to dye it lighter but I said no with a genuine smile on my face.

When I got home, I went into the shower and washed it with dish wash liquid, twice, to no avail. Finally, I decided I really liked it but I will probably try to do it myself the next time.

This is my newly retired husband and I, enjoying a meal out for the first time in a year? Teddy had been planning a staggered retirement for a few years – he may work part-time or contract but is having a much deserved break for a couple of months. We are treading warily around each other and I am trying out the new sweeter Kerry. Somedays it works!

PS I am in soft focus in the shot above but it isn’t a Kardashian Kaper – just a crappy old cell phone.

PPS In the first photo it looks like my right foot is on the wrong way (like an adjustable Barbie doll) – that is the leg/foot I had surgery on and it is wonky (clinical term).

Sit Down Comedy

During this really terrible year, my mood has been boosted by comedy. It doesn’t matter if it is funny animal videos, comedy shows or stand up comedians. I created a wee video of me telling you a bedtime story from back in the day. The tale will be even more fun with a glass of wine, some snacks and your feet up on the sofa.

Enjoy! Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Festive Greetings to all. 💕

A threesome of tunics

Since Covid-19 started, I have been wearing the same as everyone else – leggings and a t-shirt.  Actually, that is not entirely true.  Most of the time I have been wearing a nightdress…  I am a thrifty shopper and love a root around at Goodwill or charity shops but they are not suited for social distancing.  When I cleared out my closet in spring, Goodwill benefited.  Humans get an endorphin shot when we buy something, even a lipstick.  Perhaps it goes back to early human foraging?  I have been window shopping on the internet for months without buying anything but then I found this online site Rockflowerpaper   (They didn’t financially compensate me other than offering me a bargain!)

Most of their tops start at $50 and up but their clearance items were a real bargain, ranging between $4-7.  I decided I could risk $26.45 for four final sale tunics including shipping.  They arrived really quickly in the mailbox and I had a visceral thrill when I saw the package.  All four were sized small but one said that it ran a little neat so I was forewarned.  That one was gifted to my slimmer friend.  They were all different fabrics and styles.  The red and orange pin tucked tunic is my favorite but the blue and cream tunic is incredibly soft.  The gauzy pink and orange tunic suits me the best but it isn’t as soft as the other two.  All in all, however, I was delighted and Rockflowerpaper is a woman owned enterprise in San Francisco.  I liked the hippy, boho vibe from my birth city.

It was so much fun to create a fashion post after such a long time and you might notice that my hair has been ‘fixed’.  I put my tail between my legs and went to my other hairdresser for a revision.  Putting make up on felt weird too but I loved having bright lipstick on and SMILING!  My model mother is alive and well both in face and poses…😁

 

Are pearls unlucky?

For many years I would not wear pearls because my mum did, on her ill-fated wedding day, and shed many tears.  She would bring it up so frequently that I was convinced that pearls were unlucky at any time.  In some cultures wedding pearls represent the tears a bride will cry on her wedding day.  I felt much the same about opals until my sensible geologist husband pointed out that you would only be unlucky not to have these beautiful gemstones.  Both my Nana and my mum were terribly superstitious and some of it still sticks in my addled brain.  I gasp if someone puts new shoes on a table and I wouldn’t walk under a ladder.

Mum leaving her wedding car with pearls, San Francisco 1959

After many years, I fully understood that my parents’ marriage was doomed from the start.  The pearls, which I later broke, and the bridesmaid’s green dresses were of no consequence.  Bit by bit, a few pearls snuck into my jewelry collection.  Most recently one of my dearest friends gifted me the funky pearls below along with the ring and earrings which were her mother’s.  I just love them!

I have few occasions to wear them too, especially now, but Teddy and I had a second date to our local restaurant and they looked lovely with the claret dress.  I found the dress (and another in black) at Old Navy’s clearance rack for $5 each.  There was a young woman looking for the same dress and I helped her look for one to no avail.  She gave me a look that suggested that I should really give them to her but I am not dead yet…and it was my bargain!  Is it some type of primitive foraging gene that makes woman get so excited about a deal or buying stuff?

Our restaurant meal was disappointing this time, although the food was delicious.  Texas is up to 75% capacity at restaurants and although the restaurant was almost empty, they seated an older foursome just 6 ft from us.  We have an inevitable spike in Covid-19 cases as we opened up and I just felt uncomfortable.  I have retreated back to our homestead as the numbers tick up and Teddy is working from home again.

When I was preparing for this post, I looked for my mum and dad’s wedding photo and could only find one.  I knew I hadn’t thrown them out but it took me hours to track them down.  While doing this, I realized we are saving far too many sentimental photos and documents and cleared one box from Teddy’s parent’s house.  There is no reason to save books that stink of cigarette smoke but I did save Teddy’s paternal Grandma’s pearls from the hoarder house.

Our first date…

 

…since the Pandemic started.  We moved into our ‘new’ house 16 years ago when we moved to Texas from Cairo.  One of the reasons was that it was a 5 minute walk from our house to a local steakhouse and bar.  We don’t go that often as it is expensive but it is a lovely treat at happy hour.  Now you have to make reservations and observe restaurant social distancing.  It was a tad weird to see our usual servers in masks and gloves but lovely at the same time.  They welcomed us like old friends.  We both had to sit at the same side of the booth to be the requisite distance from the next booth which was very romantic.

It’s a fancy place but not pretentious and we dressed up.  Teddy has lost so much weight that his Tommy Bahama’s good shirt could have fitted both of us in it – time for the charity box.  I can fit into my old skinny clothes and I am wearing my favorite cream Max Studio dress worn with an ‘antique’ brown velvet jacket from Bandera, Texas.  I am pretty sure the previous owner has passed on but I love to think of the events she may have worn it to.  At the restaurant I ate my steak like a ravenous wolf and devoured the whipped potatoes.  Then we had a bottle of wine AND DESSERT.  It was all gluten free – just like my life now.

Like many of us, I have spent quite some time on introspective thought.  My mental health has been good given the circumstances and I realize that I enjoy social isolation (and the calm that comes with that).  Rather sadly, I went into the airport and handed back my badge and keys.  I have been volunteering for 11 years or so and it was the strangest sensation to see how quiet everything was.  The volunteering program has been suspended temporarily but I had already decided before the pandemic that it was time for me to do something new.  I doubt I will have any VIP work for the next year but that might pick up in the future.  It is a special birthday for me in July when I turn 60 – WHAT!!!!  We had vague plans of a short trip somewhere but who knows.  We could spend the rest of our lives just exploring Texas…

Is anyone else totally fed up with the Pandemic euphemisms?   These Challenging times, Unusual circumstances or The New Normal.  It’s a bloody Pandemic – just call it what it is.  The best new word I came across is Covidiot which means someone who doesn’t follow Pandemic Protocol.  On that note I was scolded at two separate grocery stores.  ME – compliant citizen exemplified!  The first time I waited patiently in the line to go in a smaller store, wore my mask and kept my distance.  At the checkout I stood behind the plexiglass but wasn’t standing in the taped yellow box.  The older gentleman, checking my groceries out, asked me to move back, and I apologized profusely.  I was mortified.  Today, I went through the 15 items only checkout at another store.  I guess I had about 20 items which has never been a problem in the past.  This time I had to pay for the first 15 items, and then the extra items separately.  This time I almost blushed.  I sheepishly left the store reminding myself to count the items next time.

Some very classy citizens have been behaving very badly during these ‘challenging times’ and I don’t want to be part of that mob.  One mother created a ruckus at Red Lobster (a seafood chain of restaurants) because she had to wait.  I guess nobody knew she was Mother of the Year??  It doesn’t sit well when so many of our population are food hungry right now.  Thank you once again to all the essential workers who have worked so hard to keep us safe.  The least we could do is to make their jobs easier.

Happy Memorial Day – E Pluribus Unum.

Black Friday

Kerry wearing Vera Wang faux leather leggings with a bedazzled jerkin from the airport in Vegas and ancient faux leather biker boots.

For all you crazy Black Friday people – this is how you shop.  You get an overwhelming need for black pleather leggings, you look around the shops and then find a pair on sale a few days before Thanksgiving.  You can call them Vegan Leather but that’s just pretentious – it’s faux leather or cheap plastic as my Nana would say…

Teddy had mentioned that he liked the idea of pleather pants (he is a sensual Taurus and loves stroking materials/me).  I swithered about a 59 year old woman wearing them but What The Hell.  I worked hard for this figure so I am going to flaunt it.  On my first foray to the shops, the very kind assistant had to keep bringing me smaller sizes because I can’t mentally see how slim I am.  Curiously, the fluffy lady in the cubicle next to me had to ask for sizes 2 up.  Mirrors truly are magical.  The assistant had to finally tell me that pleather had to be tight with no wrinkles.

To start off Thanksgiving Day, Teddy and I settled down to binge on the Man in the High Castle – instantly hooked.  By episode 2 we were shouting commands to each other in fake German.  Somehow my outfit fitted into a Dystopian, militaristic future.  At 3.30 pm we went off to our local restaurant which was packed with couples and families who couldn’t bear cooking.  It is a posh steakhouse and I would guess that 5% of the guests had dressed up.  Isn’t that part of the joy of going somewhere nice?  The Latinos were dressy and some young beauties but there was far too many casual jeans with sloppy tops.  Bring back dress codes!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and be kind on Black Friday.  We were a little sad about no kitty cats or family but it is just one day and tomorrow is full of promise.