Posted tagged ‘Dresses’

“Clutter is my natural habitat.”

July 21, 2017

Today is hot. It is 83˚. I’m in the cool air of the house looking at the world through my den window. The most I can see is the blue sky and the still leaves of the oak tree. Later, in the cool of the afternoon, I have some deck stuff to finish: replace the burned out lights on the rail and get the fountain working. I also need to bring the flamingo and the gnome to the deck where they’ll reside all summer. A few of the flowers in the smallest pots have died so I’m hoping to get replacements at Agway today. I’ll be braving the heat.

When I was young, I knew what old was. No question it was those blue-haired ladies in their dresses and clunky heeled shoes with wrinkled faces and hands who dragged wire baskets on wheels behind them when they shopped at the grocery store. They never wore pants. Their shoes were sensible. Their dresses had flowers. I never stopped to  think how old they were. They just fit my vision of old so age didn’t seem to matter.

Despite my current wardrobe, if my young self knew I was soon to turn 70, I suspect I’d think myself old, but I’m not. The definition of old changes as we age. I’m now thinking 90+ might be old, but I’m not sure anymore. I admit, though, I’m thinking of buying one of those wire baskets so I can haul stuff from the car to the house.

I hate clutter yet my den is cluttered, but I’ve come to ignore it as the alternative is to go crazy. I had to move the dog’s dishes here as she slid on the kitchen floor. Her toys are in a wooden box and usually a couple are on the floor. Gracie tends to paw her toys to the floor until she finds just the right one. My cloth from Ghana is stored in a pile here but not out of sight. Most of my cookbooks are on shelves which cover one whole wall. My hat collection hangs from the shelves. My table is a huge metal one with three overflowing baskets underneath. I do have sorting through them on my whenever I get to them list of things to do. I sleep on the couch so my pillow and sheets are on the desk chair. This is the room where I spend the most time so everything is here except snacks and drinks. They’re down the hall, and the bathroom is between them. My inside world is small, but I’m content.

“I love the ritual of drawing up lists, and there’s something wonderfully satisfying about ticking tasks off.”

April 14, 2017

Today is chilly, only 52˚. It will even get down to the 30’s tonight. Luckily, though, Easter Sunday will be 64˚, perfect for Easter outfits.

When I was a kid, girls wore dresses on Easter. The dresses were fancy.  They were pastel colored and poofy with a couple of petticoats underneath. My sisters like to swirl their dresses by quickly spinning like Whirling Dervishes. On their feet, they wore white patent leather shoes with a strap across the foot. Their socks were delicate with lace around the top. My sisters were much girlier than I. Petticoats itched. I never once wore one. I remember one Easter at my Grandparents’ house. There were cousins, lots of cousins, and aunts and uncles. I was around 10 or 11. I overheard an aunt ask my mother about my Easter clothes which weren’t dressy. I wore a new skirt, new blouse, and a new blazer. I felt spiffy. My mother answered my aunt: that’s what she wanted. That ended all discussion and was the best answer.

Gracie had a not so good day yesterday. She jumped off the couch and somehow ended up on her back with her paw caught under a basket. She was perfectly still and frightened. I untangled her and got her on the couch. A few hugs later she was wagging her tail and wanting a treat. Gracie was none the worst for her fall. Today is a good day. I am taking her into the yard through the yard gate so we can avoid the steps going down, the scary steps. Gracie loves being in the yard.

Skip, my factotum, is here doing a few jobs. New lights are on the deck rail and in the yard and both are connected to timers. Skip is now working on the stairs and putting the new treads down. I’m just hoping Gracie will go upstairs so I can start sleeping in my bed.

I made another list. I discovered I get more done if the list is concrete. It forces me to get up and out of the house. Today there are four errands. I have plotted the route. None of the stores are close to each other. I figure to start in South Yarmouth at the vets to pick up medicine for Gracie, then on to 6A in Dennis to Nancy’s Candy, then back to South Dennis to Agway for litter and puppy pads. My final stop is Dennisport. I need Easter gifts for the two dogs, Gracie and Darci, my friends’ dog. I’ll hit the bakery for them, the dog bakery. I’m hoping they have whoopie pies. My last stop is for me, Buckies for a sandwich, for number 14: a panini with cheddar, bacon, avocado, tomatoes and a horseradish sauce. I’m salivating at the mere mention of that sandwich.

The list is right in front of me, mocking me. I have to hurry.

“Satire is tragedy plus time. You give it enough time, the public, the reviewers will allow you to satirize it. Which is rather ridiculous, when you think about it.

March 19, 2017

When I woke up around nine, the snow was just starting. Because of the wind, the fluffies were coming from different directions, from the north and south. Then the snow suddenly disappeared, but it’s back now, small flakes tossed by the wind. I doubt it will last long enough to accumulate.

I didn’t go out yesterday. I had no motivation. Today, though, I have a list of weird items. I need a bulb for my bathroom nightlight, an extension cord, and a plastic container for my snowmen. I’m putting them away for the season. I think they jinxed me.

I remember my first pair of nylon stockings. In those days I had to wear a garter belt. The back snaps were always the hardest to attach. I remember sometimes one would swing back and whack my leg. Pantyhose is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.

I never get gussied up anymore. I don’t go anywhere demanding gussy. The closest I get to dress up is coordinating the color of my pants with a clean shirt. That works no matter the season: long sleeves in winter, short sleeves in summer; corduroy in winter, cotton in summer; shoes and socks in winter, sandals in summer. I don’t even own a pair of panty hose. I do have three dresses: two flowered dresses for summer, one green dress for winter.

I don’t wear my winter jacket much. My sweatshirts are usually enough, but I do have the warmest sweater, blue with snowflakes, the sort which used to be called après skiing, for single digit temperatures. I have several pairs of mittens, but I don’t remember the last time I wore them. I have earmuffs and knit caps. My mother would be pleased.

I love Mad Magazine. I used to buy it every month. I remember the Alfred E. Newman for president drive. Mad taught me about satire and parodies and thinking for myself. I didn’t understand it all because I was young, but as I got older, I learned what it all meant. Spy versus Spy was a favorite of mine. Sometimes the white spy won and other times the black spy won. I believe that Mad Magazine helped form my politics and those of my generation. “What, me worry?”

“Use your imagination, and you’ll see that even the most narrow, humdrum lives are infinite in scope if you examine them with enough care.”

May 3, 2016

Yesterday was a day of accomplishment. I didn’t really do much, but I did everything on my list. Today is a stay around the house day. It is still raining so I’ll do dreaded household chores. I’ll change my bed and wash another load of laundry then I’ll reward myself by lying on the couch and reading. I hope I don’t exhaust myself by turning pages.

I was going to skip writing today as I have absolutely nothing to write about. I have exhausted my childhood, spoken about Ghana so often I figure you all probably feel as if you’ve lived there and have given you details of my day to day life in all its glory. Just look at today. You all know I’m changing my bed.

I have been writing just about every day for at least eleven years and probably closer to twelve as I started just after my retirement, twelve years ago this summer.

In this house we’re all getting old. Gracie will be twelve and the two cats 17. Gracie doesn’t realize how old she is as she is still filled with energy and she is still obnoxious. When Gracie doesn’t get her way, she looks at me and starts talking. When I continue to ignore her, she growls a little, always a friendly growl but still an escalation. Finally she barks at me. Depending on my mood, I either shut her up by giving in or I chase her out of the room. She’s one smart dog as she stands in the doorway, technically out of the room, and barks. I finally give in. She knows I always will.

I have never been fussy about what I wear. I do own three dresses, two of them are short sleeved and flowered for summer wear while the other has long sleeves for winter. I always wear a dress on Easter, the only for certain day. Just in case, I pack one when I go to Ghana, and I did wear it for the swearing-in ceremony in 2011.

I think I wear casual clothes in reaction to having been forced to wear uniforms most of my school days. Even in college, during the first year and a half, I had to wear a dress or skirt. It was a rule. Luckily the winter was so cold that year they changed the rule and once the cat was out of the bag we never had to wear skirts or dresses again. In Ghana I had to wear dresses, but I was glad of it because of the heat. Besides, I had most of them made in Ghana with African cloth. They were beautiful.

Right now I am wearing a sweatshirt with frayed cuffs and a few gnawed holes from the year of the mouse. I’m wearing around the house pants from Old Navy, new ones this year as the old ones wore out, and a tee shirt under the sweatshirt. I’m also wearing slippers. This is my around the house ensemble just about every day. I always hope I don’t get company!

“There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, ‘Do trousers matter?'” “The mood will pass, sir.”

January 17, 2016

Today is cloudy and damp and colder than yesterday. According to the weatherman, it will continue to get colder. Tomorrow night will be in the teens and Tuesday will be in the 20’s. I suppose I ought not to complain as this is really a warm winter. I’m thinking that’s probably an oxymoron.

Two of my warmest shirts are flannel. When I was a kid, my jeans were lined in flannel. I’m even wearing flannel pants right now, the kind you only wear around the house, never outside. If I wore a hat, it would have flannel inside and on the ear flaps. Comfort, not style, now dictates my choice of wardrobe.

In Ghana I had to wear a dress every day everywhere I went. When I started teaching here, it was the same thing except pantyhose was added. Later, pants were accepted as appropriate when teaching, but then, when I became an administrator, it was back to dresses, an unspoken but expected choice of wardrobe for an administrator. Every school day morning I’d stare at the clothes in my closet trying to decide what dress to wear. Now fast forward to retirement. The clothes in the closet have completely changed. I have two all purpose dresses, one dress a bit heavier for colder weather and three from Ghana. It has been so long since I wore a dress, I don’t even remember the occasion. I’m thinking it might have been a wedding. All the other clothes in my closet are mostly pants, shirts and other kinds of tops.

The day after I retired it happened. My fashion world was upended. I started dressing for comfort all the time. Style be damned! I have some dressy pants should I need to upgrade my usual choices, but I don’t even remember wearing those either. Now when I look in the closet, I wonder what color I’ll wear today.

“In football everything is complicated by the presence of the opposite team.”

January 20, 2015

Today is pretty with a blue sky and sun. It is also cold, in the 30’s. Gracie and I are venturing out this afternoon as I have a couple of errands. She’ll be happy for the car ride but Gracie is usually a happy dog, a tail wagger.

I cleaned out my closet of clothes I haven’t worn in years, since I retired. It amazed me how many clothes I had, but I wore a dress or skirt to work every day and hated to wear the same things too close together. Now my closet has plenty of room. In it are my current outfits. There are four dresses which I seldom wear. Easter was the last time I wore a dress. Flannel shirts, polo shirts and a few dressier tops don’t take up a lot of room. Two of my tops are floral. Why I bought them I have no idea. I am not a floral type. I have summer and winter pants and sweatshirt type tops with hoods. My Ghanaian clothes are now hanging in the closet. One is a dress and three are shirts. They used to hang on the back of my bedroom door. They are colorful and stand out from the rest of my clothes. Anyone could guess they come from Africa or some other exotic place. My guest room closet is next on the list to be cleared, but I’ll save that for another day or month or even year.

I know the world hates the Patriots. According to many they only win if they cheat. That to me is poor sportsmanship and sour grapes. The latest accusation comes from the Colts, no surprise there after the beating they took. They are accusing the Pats of using under-inflated footballs to gain an advantage in the rain. It is being called deflate-gate. I loved the CNN post by Mike Downey which called this, “a weird, wild, farcical, you-gotta-be-kidding-me “controversy” that has, uh, blown up unexpectedly.” Mr. Downey filled his article with puns and jokes befitting the accusation. His conclusion was, “I  believe the Patriots win most of their games because they score more points than the other team does.” Jimmy Fallon was hysterical with his opening monologue last night about inflated and deflated balls. You had to know that was coming.

“What a strange power there is in clothing.”

September 26, 2014

The rain fell for most of the night, but it wasn’t nearly enough to wash away the drought. The sky is still cloudy and the day is dark though the sun is supposed to make an entrance later, hang around for a while and give tomorrow some summer warmth. I’m thinking it may be warm enough for the last movie on the deck night.

When I was a kid, I was not a girly girl. My sisters were. They played with dolls, wore dresses with pouffy slips underneath and loved hats and patent leather shoes. I didn’t. I wore skirts and blouses when I was forced to get dressed-up and had to wear them to school and church. Slacks and sometimes sweaters were my weekends and after school ensembles. I went through the wearing the cardigan backwards fashion craze. I suppose that made me a bit stylish or at least current. I remember stretch slacks with the loops on the bottoms for your feet. They were popular for a while, and I got a pair for Christmas one year. I also got a pink fuzzy sweater the same year. They too were popular. I loved that outfit and wore it until the fuzz disappeared.

I don’t get dressed up much any more. I wear nice pants and blouses or shirts when I go out. If it is somewhere special, I pull out one of my three dresses. Because my entire professional career was spent in dresses or skirts, I figure I’m entitled to wear what I want. I do make sure everything complements each other so I’m never messy or odd, just comfortable.

I think there is magic age where you can mix and match whatever you want. That black and white striped shirt is just fine with the yellow plaid capri pants, the blue ankle socks and the white sneakers with velcro. You just have to be old enough to pull it off.

“A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner.”

September 21, 2014

The day is wonderfully warm but cloudy. A bright sun would have been a nice touch. The breeze is strong. Pine branches are swaying, and the leaves are billowing. My neighborhood is quiet, Sunday quiet, the way I remember Sundays used to be.

Today I have nothing that needs doing. The week was a busy one so I’ll just relax in sloth mode. I’m not even going to get dressed. I earned today.

I have three dresses. Two are for summer and the third is for winter. I used to wear dresses to work every day, even in Ghana, but now I seldom wear them. They are reserved for weddings and events which happen in fancy venues. Those events tend to be special and have a dress code, unmentioned but expected.

I am drawing a blank today. Nothing comes to mind. I did think about pizza and ribs earlier, and I have no idea why. They seemed strange topics to pop into my head, but they did remind me of my mother who used to make those English muffin pizzas and freeze them for later, for snacks. She also made crabbies on English muffins and would serve them on game nights. As for the ribs, I have no idea where they came from.

My parents didn’t have much money when I was growing up, but I didn’t know that. Christmas was a wonder and under the tree was always filled with gifts. Every Easter we got new clothes. For Halloween my mother made our costumes just as my friends’ mothers made theirs. Store bought costumes had no originality, no imagination and were sort of ugly with plastic masks held on by an easily broken elastic. Sunday dinners were always special. We could count on sort of a roast, mashed potatoes, gravy and veggies. That is still my favorite dinner. Last night my friend served a roast chicken, tons of mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots. I was in heaven.

“The Scriven men wore stack-heeled boots and pearl-studded evening coats; the ladies in their vast skirts looked like mythical creatures, half woman, half sofa.”

May 5, 2014

We have been graced with sun yet again. The day will be warmish. I’ve become hopeful and have even started to make a list of flowers for the garden, perennials for the front and annuals for the boxes in the back. I also need herbs for both the herb garden and the deck boxes and vegetables for my small vegetable garden. I love to shop for flowers.

When I was young, girls’ dungarees had a zipper in the front pocket. They weren’t as sturdy as boys’ dungarees. My brother wore jerseys and I mostly wore blouses. In the summer I wore sleeveless blouses and shorts. I also wore white sneakers and socks. I don’t know why, but I never wore sandals. I don’t remember if anyone did. My brother never wore shorts. Boys seldom did even in the heat of summer. Shorts were a girl thing, and the distinction between girls’ and boys’ stuff was huge when I was growing up. Boys’ bikes had that bar across the middle while girls’ bikes didn’t. No boy would have ever been caught dead on a girl’s bike, but if you think about it now, the boys would have been better served with no bar. My brother wore black Converse high tops, and I wore Converse as well but white, kind of pointy-toed ankle high sneakers. When I was young, keeping them white didn’t matter, but when I was older, keeping them white was so important I remember using white shoe polish to cover up scuffs. The polish would seep through the sneakers onto my socks and feet. Boys had better winter hats. They had ear flaps which kept their ears warm. I had a wool tam which didn’t make it to my ears which were always cold and red. We both wore mittens. Gloves were for adults. Our boots went over our shoes. Boys mostly wore black boots. Girls preferred colors. Red was a favorite. I never wore pants to school except under my skirt on the coldest days. The only time I could wear pants was playing after school or on Saturdays. I always thought it was a gyp.

Even in Ghana I had to wear dresses all the time. Clothes I brought with me didn’t hold up well to hand scrubbing so I had dresses made. We all did. They were made with Ghanaian cloth and were beautiful. When I went back a few years ago, I brought a dress and wore it once. The rest of time I wore pants. They had become acceptable for women.

There are very few times or places where a dress is expected wear. I wore one this Easter as I do every year. I think the last time before that was a wedding. I have a fall-winter dress and two spring-summer dresses. They are all I need.

“I was going to change my clothes, but I changed my mind instead.”

August 23, 2013

Today is simply beautiful, sunny and cool with a strong breeze. The nights will be delightful for sleeping: cool, even cold. Tomorrow night could be down in the 50’s. Gracie has been out all morning, and I will join her as soon as I can!

When I was a kid, I didn’t mind being dirty and sweaty. Both of those were from having a great time. My socks often slipped down in my sneaker, and I didn’t even care when I walked on the lump of a sock. I’d eventually pull up that sock, but in a short time, it would slip again. That was the way it was. I took a bath once a week, that Saturday ritual we all had. For dinner, our vegetables, except for potatoes and carrots, came from cans. I don’t remember fresh vegetables, maybe because my mother knew we would probably not eat them. She had enough trouble getting us to like carrots without pushing even more. In the summer, we’d play all day then go to bed exhausted. A bath wasn’t ever part of the nightly ritual, even in summer. I guess jumping into the sprinkler or going to the pool kept us clean enough.

We girls wore blouses, never t-shirts. Some of my blouses were sleeveless, and they were the coolest for summer, coolest in the sense of the word, the opposite of hot. We wore shorts and sometimes clam-diggers. I know why the pants were called clam-diggers, but I had never dug a clam in my life so in a way it was an odd name. We also wore dungarees, but girls’ and boys’ dungarees were different. Ours had zippers, usually in the side pocket. When I was really young, mine had elastic at the waist. Girls could wear sandals. Boys never did, too risky and too open to name-calling. My sisters wore white sandals with buckles. When I got a little older, I stopped wearing sandals and wore white sneakers instead. The sneakers usually had pointed toes, and when I was in high school, I used to polish them to keep them white. Dresses and skirts were still necessary wardrobe components.

The last time I wore a dress was Easter. My friends and I go out to a fancy restaurant every year so we get dressed up. Tony wears a suit and tie and Clare and I wear dresses. Many of the people at the restaurant are also clad in Easter finery. The few who aren’t stand out a bit. I always feel a bit outlandishly proper when I’m in a dress. It happens so seldom.

My uniform of the day almost always includes a t-shirt. At night, for a play, I do wear a regular shirt and nice pants, but not dressy pants. I don’t even own a blouse anymore. I do happen to have a pair of clam-diggers, but they are meant to be worn around the house or to the dump which doesn’t have a dress code.