Saturday, September 13, 2014

Holiday Plans

Before I retired, I made a 5-year plan for the years between ages 60 and 65. I was at home with my daughter and was a student during my twenties and worked part-time as a Library Assistant for the first half of my thirties. Consequently, my pension, although generous by most standards, is not what it might have been.

Travel and the experience of other cultures and languages are my priorities. We quickly learned that Monsieur does not have an aptitude for languages or a particular interest in history or culture. He took up golf a few years ago but has since abandoned the sport. Right now, we plan a warm weather holiday together and I set out on my adventures solo or with a woman friend.

 I have now been retired for three years and I have found that I really miss teaching. Each week, I plan a reading and discussion topic for M., my French conversation student, and I am so gratified that she is feel much more confident speaking French. She volunteers at our International Airport and tries to find opportunities to speak with francophone travellers. In a short time, however, M. will be leaving to volunteer in an orphanage in Bangladesh.

As my funds will be more limited next year, I am planning to revisit The Oaxaca Learning Center. I enjoy the culture and the language of Mexico. Oaxaca is not a resort city so accommodation is relatively inexpensive and food is cheap. I plan to volunteer with Niños Adelante, an outreach programme of the Oaxaca Lending Library. When I am in Oaxaca, I buy a temporary membership to the OLL. I borrow many books and I have participated in their intercambios (free language exchanges).

vendor in Oaxaca

I very much enjoy the reading, teaching and learning part of my life so any opportunity to meet other scholars and to learn/teach in a different country is a welcome one.
The Mexican muralists tell a story of a rich culture.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Books and Films

I always like to wear a hat when I read in the sunshine
I have been reading quite a lot lately since we started a neighbourhood book club. It is interesting to choose a book that can be read by a variety of people of different age, gender and educational background. Our local library provides an extensive selection of book club titles (ten copies in a tote bin) free to borrow for six weeks.

We have just finished The Best Laid Plans,  a humorous look at the Canadian political system. The author, Terry Fallis, will be presenting at the Vancouver Writers' Festival in October 2014. The novel has been produced as a CBC television series and is going to be produced locally as a musical. I had never heard of the novel until I was perusing the list of book sets at the library. A book club is a great opportunity to read books with which we may not be familiar.

Another Canadian author that I am enjoying right now is the mystery writer, Louise Penny. I had read some of her more recent mysteries but right now I am reading A Fatal Grace which was written in 2006
and was the first of three consecutive Agatha awards won by this author. I will be going to hear Louise Penny speak in September.

A few months ago, I read The Hundred Foot Journey by Rick Morais. I really enjoyed this light read and was delighted to hear that a movie was being made. There are so very few films that I can enjoy as I really dislike swearing, violence and special effects. Although the movie received negative reviews, the theatre was packed with the  55+ group. There are many of us who do not enjoy loud noise and violence.  This was a "feel good" movie with romance, food and a picturesque French village. What's not to like?

on the way to Santiago

Speaking of films and journeys….Yesterday, I went to see Walking the Camino:Six Ways to Santiago. I had seen the movie The Way  in 2012 before I had actually experienced the Camino but this documentary by Lydia Gray seemed to capture the feeling that my friend and I experienced as we walked.

the pilgrims
I just got dressed for the annual church picnic and yippee!!! My Bermuda shorts are 2 sizes too big. I haven't worn them since last year. WW is working! I'm wearing my new sunhat as this has been a very bright, sunny summer and my belief is that a hat is your best skin care product!

Happy Sunday!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Back Again!

I have taken a little break from blogging to work on a few of the issues in my daily life and I am back with renewed enthusiasm. Like Materfamilias, I sometimes question why I write, who I am writing for and how often I have something to share. When I am planning a trip or travelling, writing is part of my daily routine but when I am chez moi, the days take on a sameness broken up with a success or a sorrow that passes like a summer breeze.

While I take hiatus from writing, I still read my favourite blogs daily. In the last few weeks, I have been putting my "blog education" to work. I am still such a "schoolmarm" that I view life as opportunities for learning and for self-improvement.

Since last I wrote, I have started to walk/run 3 times a week (inspired by Mater) and I have lost 8 pounds at Weight Watchers (inspired by The Hostess). I have always (since I had my first berry-picking job and could choose my own clothes) been fascinated by wardrobe planning and fashion. Choosing just the right outfit, for me, is an act of creation. I am presenting the ME that I want to be to the world.
For this reason, I am a devotee of The Vivienne Files, an amazing blog written and curated by Janice Riggs.
Starting from Scratch
I have purchased both Janice's planning worksheet and her colour combinations and I have found myself seeing so many more possibilities in my newly culled drawers and closets. When first I began the Starting from Scratch process, I thought that I would be limited to 2 neutrals and 2 accent colours and that I would require an entire new wardrobe. NOT AT ALL TRUE!
I already had received this scarf a few years ago.
Janice Riggs often starts with a scarf and works to develop an outfit so I thought that I would try the same strategy. Imitation is a great form of flattery. My neutral colours are navy and grey but I have a lot of taupe and brown in my wardrobe. I find that the light often plays tricks with taupe and grey.
I can wear my Paris leather jacket.

This spring, when I was in Paris, I bought a red leather jacket at Couleurs Paris on Rue de Rivoli. Couleurs is a boutiques for "les rondes" (curvy ladies) and I found that many of the pieces of clothing suited more petite curvy ladies. "Les grandes tailles" that I found in some other shops were much too large for me. I can link my jacket with the bits of red detail on the scarf and as my red is cool, it goes very nicely with the blues of the scarf. I just finished reading The Paris Architect  by Charles Belfoure and put the book in the picture for fun. If you enjoyed Tatiana de Rosnay's Paris books, you will enjoy this quick read.

I really like this skirt  by a Vancouver company, Monarchy Clothing, which produces small amounts of clothing that is locally designed and manufactured. Their clothing ranges from size 2 to size 3x and is well-constructed and has interesting details. My skirt is a little loose so I will need to have it taken in a bit. I already owned the shoes and sweater which are looking a wee bit brownish but are really a grey/taupe. I'm not quite sure about the sweater but at slightly less than 5'4", I probably would look less "chopped up" with two solid coloured pieces under my jacket.

As for further accessories, I'm not sure. I don't have a grey or navy bag but perhaps taupe would be multipurpose. I'd probably wear a pair of pewter earrings and I have a favourite cuff/ bracelet that I bought in Monterey at Cannery Row. The colours of the scarf are definitely reflected in my bracelet and in the aqua of my nails right now!
one of my favourite pieces
It's a coincidence!
My mother, who definitely does not consider wardrobe planning an art form, would consider this post somewhat frivolous. Yes, I do think about world peace and the killing of hostages  and our current provincial education crisis and…..but no matter what, I still love Paris, scarves and wardrobe planning.
Bon week-end!