New Resolutions to get hung up on

Gracious me, I’m sorry that this blog is a bit late, but I’ve been busy cleaning my room.

You know I take great joy in my time spent in my lovely home, and tend my beautiful rooms with care – mostly. But there is a dark side to my homebody ways. There’s a shameful room based hierarchy.

There's a chair under there...
There’s a chair under there…

Yes, some rooms have been elevated above others. I didn’t mean anything by it, it just kinda happened.

I spend a lot of time on my main floor. I fawn over my newly renovated kitchen. I dote on my library. I turn to my living room when I need to relax. I spend all my free time in my art room.

My bedroom gets short shrift. I leave it in the morning for my kitchen and a happy cup of joe, and only return when I’ve had my full of wakefulness and craftiness and general homey delights. I drag myself upstairs with tired resignation, abandon my clothes on my bedside chair, fall into bed, and snore until dawn.

2014-08-11-22-32-11As the days pass my room begins to look neglected and sad. By the end of a week my bedside chair is barely holding up under the weight of clothes 43 inches deep and I’m forced to wear my third best black cardigan because cardis #1 and #2 are lost in the rubble.

But no more! I’ve decided to turn over a new leaf and hang up my clothes. I want to spend quality time in my bedroom, undistracted by my routine Saturday hunt for the silk blouse with the little pink rosebuds on it. I want to have access to the right cardigan at the right time. I want to sit in that arm chair and think.

This is it. 2017 is the year I take control of my bedroom. Wish me luck.

 

 

 

We’re all dying on the inside

article-2281413-17BC00A2000005DC-517_634x432I have dyed my hair since I was in my early 20s. I’ve had yellow hair, black hair, red hair and accidental purple hair. I’ve used off the shelf store dye, I’ve used henna, and I’ve paid salon prices. I don’t even really remember what colour my hair is naturally.

My hair is self expression. I dye it to express myself. I have no ulterior motive. So the other day when making small talk with a store clerk about needing to get into my stylist I was shocked that she assumed I had grey to cover.

tumblr_inline_mmjdxp3hsl1qz4rgpGrey hair. To cover. Like an old lady.

Perhaps as response to my confused look she cheerfully and without any remorse quipped, “I assume that’s the case when women get to a certain age.”

I apparently am a “certain age”. That realization was a bit of a downer. I hadn’t really considered myself old in spite of the fact that I currently have three children in post secondary education. Or in spite of the fact that I recently broke down and got bifocal  glasses. Or in spite of the fact that a person born the year I graduated high school is right now having an existential crisis on the eve of a 30th birthday.

Meryl-Streep-in-The-Devil-014I drove home from what would otherwise have been a wonderful shopping adventure wondering if I had gone grey. Had I inadvertently been covering up a wonderful head of silver hair? Because I know that if I were to be grey, I would be fabulously grey. 

Now I have to know. I have to let my hair colour lapse. I don’t know how I am going to break the news to my stylist.

 

 

989c3c587a5304bf2b4cd8964786835a

To book a Job

Hark, the kitchen renovation is upon us. In hours of contemplation we sat, during which options were presented to us. Counters choices begat counter finishes, counter finishes begat hardware selections, and hardware selections begat backsplash options. We’ve decided. We have made our offerings to the kitchen designer.

As I prepare to endure my kitchen being laid to waste, mustering my strength to keep my eye looking forward to my just end reward, I feel a bit homelitic. I can find no evidence that anyone before me has written down the trials and tribulations of the path of the kitchen renovant. I feel this is a lapse in the canon I must rectify as part of my own journey.

Herein beginith the book of renovations:

Renovations 14:28 – For which of you, desiring to fix a kitchen, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether we have the revenue to pay for it?

Renovations 24:27 – Prepare your plumbing and electrical, get all up to code before installation of the cabinets, and after that set the counters.

Renovations 14:1-12 – The renovating woman vacates her kitchen, and with her own hands washes dishes.

Renovations 24:3 – By willpower a kitchen is built, and by contractors it is finished.

reno tile 1

 

A bug’s end

I’m a gardener. It’s so zen. Just watching the grounds keeping crew mow and weed and water melts away my stress. I particularly like to experience my gardening from my deck under the delicate shade of the leaves of my large potted citrus and fig trees, with an americano in one hand and a charcuterie plate next to me.

I am fortunate to maintain some of that zen feeling into winter by moving those wonderful potted plants indoors to my art room/office. The zen though, it doesn’t extend to every part of the indoor gardening experience.

fixed garden spiderLike the other day I reached over to my mouse pad and touched a spider. He scuttled across the table to safety. Which I suppose is better than me getting spider squish on my palms. It was traumatising.

I joked it off though… posted some very witty comments about whether the arachnid invader now knows all my passwords.

It’s what I do. I try to turn lemons into lemonade, to turn tragedy into life experience.

One time tragedy averted is comedy gold. Two times it is harder to spin it as my life’s comedic relief.

Just now a crane fly darted across my screen, briefly alighting on it then flitting away. Have you ever seen a  crane fly? They are freaking terrifying.

I know this happens because I bring in my outdoor potted trees to overwinter in my art room. These creatures stow away. garden office

I bring nature indoors because it enhances my quality of life. A bug here and there is part of the outdoor-in trade off.

For instance; that ladybug hanging out on the lemon tree? She can stay on that lemon tree.ladybug

The little white garden spider that came in on the fuschia? He can continue to hang out on the fuschia. He does not, however, get open run of the house, and my mouse pad is definitely off limits.

CraneFlySidingonNaturalCrooksDotComI draw the line at the crane fly. The crane fly just needs to die. Sorry, I know that seems harsh. But insects that fly around like out of control drunk weird alien life forms bouncing off my computer screen then grazing my hair are my limit.

 

 

Life’s little ups and downs

scarlett corset picAs I near the half century mark, I find that I have to work harder and call upon a formerly untapped reserve of discipline in order to weather life’s little ups and downs.

Before you say anything, I know it happens to us all. In fact, I am contently resigned to being a middle aged, happily married size 4.
After a certain age, we are all one blueberry scone
away from a new dress size.

blueberry sconeMy determination to flatten out the weight fluxuations is not a result of my body image. It’s more pragmatic than that.

I have a small (size 2-4) fortune invested in my clothes. My personal wardrobe; clothing, shoes and accessories; constitutes a significant investment. It also represents years of my life invested in honing my personal style.

IMG_20151101_015715  4 blog  3 blog  2 blog1 blog  IMG_20151103_174233  IMG_20151104_125042 IMG_20151031_202602 crop aaIMG_20151103_141929 IMG_20151102_235324 aaIMG_20151103_140844 IMG_20151101_010544 done5

Just 10 pounds could negate all that hard work and reduce the value of that investment to next to nothing. Ten pounds is dress size. If I gained weight I would have to replace all those clothes. Watching my weight is really the same as being frugal and responsible with my money.

I have a vision. A vision of myself in the fashion future. It requires discipline. So, while I make the lifestyle choice to skip that second cookie, I do so only to enable me to have the choice future lifestyle I deserve.

I know it’s harsh, but not everything worthwhile is easy.

fitted-dress-cookies

I don’t even know what is in or out of my closet anymore

Ugh. Being fashionable is so hard.

Just when I hit my groove and feel free and comfortable in my summer clothes suddenly the days grow dark and the air gets cold. In the blink of an eye the leaves fall and I have to venture back into my closet to reassess who I am.

trees no leavesI can feel like, with the death of the leaves, all colour drains and purpose from my life. But the truth is, it is just a trading of colours. Some changes are really only trade-offs.

For instance, I know that the only pretty pinks and pastels I will see for a while will be in the early sunset. Autumn brings the warmth of the earth tones, punctuated with a bright red, orange or dark green or blue. Autumn requires wool and corduroy, knits and layers. I like these colours. I have those clothes. They scream me, just me without catching a chill.

This would be all well and good if our autumns were more decisive and less prone to contradiction. The problem is that a crisp fall morning may call for boots, tights, corduroy skirts and an irish sweater, but then that same afternoon is better suited to bare legs, sandals and a breezy silk sheath dress.

Half the time I don’t know what in and what’s out of the closet, and where I stand as far as fashion goes. It makes it difficult to hold on to fashion inspiration.

I ransacked the closet and tried to pull together a few outfits, and began to get horribly depressed at how drab they were. Warm, fashionable of course, but lacking that Je ne sais pas.

outfit 2  outfit 5  outfit 6  outfit 7

I needed to insert a little flair, a little more warmth with my extra warm clothes.

outfit 1  outfit 4  outfit 3

I still didn’t feel that I was making a statement appropriate to me. I felt that the tans, greens, rusts and hints of blue were still too understated. I have never been accused of being understated. Then I remembered…!

blog giff

Thank goodness for red is all I can say. I can come back out of the closet again.

 

All arts and no plan make me a dull girl

It’s a mixed blessing to live in an urban environment with a strong arts and cultural scene.

I have my laptop in front of me and my calendar open in one tab, with 27 another tabs open to potential arts experiences.

Even worse, I know as the arts season progresses I will be adding movies (I am especially fond of art house and classic films) and seasonal special events.

In a 29th tab, I have the Avenue Magazine list of Edmonton’s best restaurants open.

Now the real work begins. I have to match events with restaurants.

I have to consider locations – can we get from restaurant to event in a reasonable amount of time? I don’t want to rush a good meal.

I have to consider complimentariness – some concerts beg for beer, symphonies require champagne. Some theatre is enhanced by a good scotch, other events are strictly a soda play.

This is not easy.

It must be so much easier to be a flannel wearing, bud loving, fire pit sitting, TV watching regular person. But simple tastes are not my fate, I have to accept my sophistication as my cross to bear.

Tchaikovsky and Bistro Praha

 

What would you say is a good wine pairing with a musical about the British expulsion of the Acadians? Pinot Noir?

 

My woMAN Cave

At this very moment I am sitting in purgatory while my husband strings cable up through a vent in an attempt to save me.

Purgatory is the boys gaming/movie/computer room. To my left are 4 empty coke cans and the remains of a bag of doritos. To my right is a mouse pad with an anime girl’s face and boobs as the wrist rest.

boobpad

This is my life. I live with four men ranging in age from 16 to 54. At any given point during the day I will look up and see a man walking around in naught but underwear, hear farting and/or belching, find abandoned socks or cutlery in between the sofa cushions, or discover (the hard way) that the bathroom is temporarily uninhabitable.

I am the lone female in a house of maleness. I need a fortress of heavenly solitude to which I can escape after enduring the daily grind at work and the gauntlet of duties being a wife and mother thrust upon me.

So, at this very moment my husband is stringing cable up through a vent because the spotty and unreliable wireless in my refuge is not conducive to my redemption. I can’t be sure if he is doing this because he has grown weary of my complaints about the inferior quality of the wireless in the south addition, or if the boys are tired of my presence in their refuge, or he is just really that gallant.

Which ever is the true motive, I’m getting a reliable internet connection so I can retreat back into my artroom/woman cave.

 woMAN cave

The cost of contentment

I recently had to go shopping for a dress for my middle son’s high school graduation. Usually shopping is easy for me. I am a pro after all.

So, I cheerfully headed to the mall. I said a chipper hello to the shopgirls in my favourite store. (Naively as it turns out) I picked out a few frocks and skipped back to the fitting room.

Burberry, as the conservative choice.

burberry

Nanette Lepore as the traditionally feminine possibility.

lepore

 Vivienne Westwood because… well, because Vivienne Westwood.

v westwood

Victoria Beckham for a more modern option.

beckham

And Marni because I think I should wear Marni.

marni

Imagine my shock when I got into the fitting room with my size 40 dress and discovered I couldn’t do the zipper up. My sales girl cheerfully brought me a size 42 but didn’t seem to fully grasp why I was not thrilled at the stroke of luck that they indeed had a larger size in the back room, and were able to accommodate my bulk.

OMG

Size 42?

How has this happened?

I bought the dress. Porky or not, I still needed a dress. Next I had to make a pit stop at the lingerie shop for some spanx. SPANX. I bought spanx. Needless to say, I was a touch forlorn when I arrived home to my doting husband.

To make it even worse, he got his hopes up when he saw the lingerie bag.

When, later that same evening, I was able to speak about the ordeal – standing next to our bed wrapped in my robe attempting to discreetly slip my Rubenesque figure under the covers without showing any bloated fleshy bits – my husband just laughed it off. He pulled me close and wrapped his arms around my rolly polly waist and declared he knew this would happen. “A happy woman always gains a few pounds,” he said, “I take your dress size as a compliment.” He called it the happiness premium.

rubens body type

What is that? What happiness? What, the joy at now being the proud owner of shapewear? Shamewear. I used to have my own shape, now I have to squeeze myself into a shape shifting device, put on a brave face and pretend my figure is my own.

I feel betrayed by my contentment.