Sunday, August 3, 2014

August and Summertime Blues

August is one of my least favourite months. Although I prefer bright skies to grey ones, I am  eager to start new projects and to plan new trips.  I have always considered September to be a month of new beginnings and August feels to me like "back to school time"…a time of waiting.

I read the book years ago but it was a hit with the group.

I am feeling satisfied with the book group that I started among our residents. This week, we had a full group of readers who enjoyed The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Many of our members are over 75 and  they all had positive impressions of the novel. It seems that a light read and an evening outing  that is close to home and over by 8:00 pm. is just perfect. I have lots of ideas about how we can create some new activities for both young and old (er) residents in our community.

I went to Weight Watchers this week and after my 4 pound loss last week, was only down half a pound.  I guess 4.5 pounds in 3 weeks is a reasonable weight loss but I do get a bit impatient. There seems to be a theme of impatience running through this post. The theme of this week's WW lecture was "small changes that lead to bigger changes." Since joining WW 3 weeks ago, I have stopped drinking wine at home. I still enjoy it while I am out but I am not buying it for at home consumption. My systolic (the top number) blood pressure reading has dropped 30 points! With only a 4.5 pound weight loss! Since my return from Europe, I have stopped taking anti-depressants (with my doctor's approval) and I may soon be "prescription-free".

Ten years ago, we married.

This August will mark our tenth wedding anniversary. We have been in a relationship since 1986 but only married 10 years ago. It is not an easy marriage but we knew that it wouldn't be back in 2004. For me, companionship, commitment and caring are very important. My husband tends to frequently lose sight of the bigger picture. He often places more importance on his individual activities than on his responsibilities to the household. I am not sure whether this is part of the mood disorder or not. If I want to continue to be in this marriage, I require the strength and self-esteem to carry on with my own life without feeling sorry for myself.

One of my friends has just borrowed a library book called Living  Your Unlived Life  by Jerry M. Ruhl. Her 60th birthday is in August and we were thinking about what our "unlived" life really means. "Woulda, coulda….." Interestingly, the computer wants to replace the term with "unloved" life. Since I have been retired, I have been living more of the aspirations of my youth. I write and I live abroad for part of the year. I have just enrolled in a Continuing Education class about the process of creating a children's picture book. When I was younger, I believed in the power of the individual to create peaceful social change. I am trying to do that through the church and in my housing complex.

I would have enjoyed a long happy marriage and perhaps a second child but those things are impossible. Grandchildren are indeed a missing piece in the puzzle. I loved being a mum and Daughter can attest to my enthusiasm. I could volunteer to read stories to children and I am proposing a Trick-or-Treat in the recreation complex this Hallowe'en. I may go back to Oaxaca in the new year and volunteer with Libros para Pueblos.

Back to the present, it's August. I'm off to Curly Hair Vancouver for a trim and I will probably do a little browsing in the Yaletown area of Vancouver. I don't go downtown very often now so it will be a fun day. Have a lovely, sunny week-end.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A New Fashion Path

ready to attend Monsieur's country show
This summer, I have been following a new direction in my wardrobe. Because of my new hair colour,
the oranges and browns that I was once so fond of no longer suit me. I have determined that the grey/navy neutral palette with softer tones (dare I say pastel?) are my new favourites. However, I am not ready to ban all signs of brightness from my wardrobe. Monsieur and the ladies performed at our country theme neighbourhood party and I wore my first and only Hermès scarf with my navy and white polka dot blouse. I'm not a country sort of gal but I figured that Hermès is equestrian and Ralph Lauren is country casual. Okay, I'm REALLY not a country gal and would feel totally ridiculous with a boots and a cowboy hat!

Since I began reading blogs 2 years ago, I have marvelled at the magical combinations of clothing compiled by Janice Riggs of  The Vivienne Files. I typically have made good choices of clothing but have "way too many" pieces. Since I am starting again on a different path, I have been using Janice's "Starting from Scratch" blogs as my map. I paid $1.99 to download her worksheet and I am planning my purchases for the next few months.

This grey skirt will take me to theatre or dinner during the summer.
I do not want to purchase too much clothing as I have just started Weight Watchers and my clothes may  (WILL) be too big next year. Most of the clothing that I have purchased will be appropriate for the early fall and I am leaving in November for a Caribbean cruise and some time in Arizona. This wardrobe should be suitable for the next 6 months.
French Dressing denim capris, Calvin Klein hoody and floral tops are perfect for casual wear.
It is really odd for me after having worn warm colours for the last few years to be selecting greys and blues. Navy is my other neutral and  I will probably make some more purchases in the fall. I am hoping to be able to use some of my orange accessories with navy although they are no longer my first choice. I have a fair investment in handbags, shoes and scarves so I hope that I can work it out.

the most delicious warm seafood salad
This morning, I had my second weigh-in since I joined Weight Watchers. I was away to Whidbey Island last week with Maman so I really did not know what to expect. To my delight, I have lost four pounds! 

While we were away, I ate a lot of seafood and really watched the wine. Christopher's on Whidbey is one of my favourite West Coast restaurants. I have never seen so much fresh seafood in a salad! This week's lecture was on planning non-eating social activities. I am going to a matinée performance of Red Rock Diner tomorrow (lunch with friends) and a 65th birthday at a restaurant. Walking and wine-watching will be my watchwords for the next week.

Goals and planning are very important to me. I am also somewhat extrinsically-motivated so a gold star for a 5 pound weight-loss will keep me on track for the next week. It seems to me that setting and attaining short-term goals can sometimes provide the strength to undertake more long-term projects. How do you feel about goals and motivation? Intrinsic or extrinsic motivation?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Who knows how to make love stay?

Do you remember this old Doug and the Slugs song? It poses the question "Who knows how to make love stay?" A question to which some of us (not me) have the answer and for some of us, it seems like the Riddle of the Sphinx.

This year marks the anniversaries of my two marriages: I married in 1974 and again in 2004. My first marriage lasted 12 years and my second…… I ask myself this question as I watch my cohort group mark the 40th with dogs, cats, and grandchildren while I have passed the last two evenings alone while Monsieur rehearses, dines, jokes and laughs with other women although he knows that I feel unhappy and excluded by his behaviour. Why is marriage so difficult?

When I was a young 20-ish girl with little experience, a sheltered upbringing and a great deal of insecurity, I was flattered by the attentions of Hubby 1. I was a bookish young lady but I really couldn't think of what I would do with a double major in Canadian and French Literature. No one would have suggested Grad School and to be a "professional student" (now you are a lifelong learner) was frowned upon in my family. Young ladies were expected to have a "chaste air" for as long as they lived in the family home. To my inexperienced self, marriage seemed like a good option.

And it worked! For a time…. Darling daughter came along, we had other young families as friends, bought our first home and HB 1 studied to become an accountant. His career progressed, we took family holidays, we even had a cat but after about 10 years, I felt that something was missing. The thought that my life would continue in this way forever…..How young and inexperienced I was. Nothing continues forever!

I had a part-time job in a little municipal library where I met the most interesting man….Coup de foudre!!! Marathon runner, library director, musician…..a person such as I had never met before!
I didn't gain a lot of life experience in my 11 years of marriage so I ignored that fact that Monsieur had been married and divorced twice before the age of 35 and was currently living with another woman….

I have always believed that if I do my best, if I try hard enough that I can do anything. I CAN NOT
make someone else act as I wish or care how I feel. No matter what a lovely wardrobe I compile, how much I work at my WW goals……Even if I iron the sheets!!!  All of the womanly arts, wiles or whatever else is in the bag of tricks can not make a marriage work if the marriage is not a priority for both partners. I should have been put in the Resource Class for life experience.

Last night, I cried, I dialled Monsieur's cell countless times with no reassuring response….I got frustrated, poured a glass of wine and then I chose ME! I poured it down the drain. My WW goals are too important to me to self-sabotage. I can lose weight, I can cut down on my wine consumption but I still don't know how to make love stay!!!

I promise that my next post will be about using Janice Riggs wardrobe planning sheet.

P.S. If you have a night to yourself, you might like to watch Violette, a French movie about a much-suffering 20th century author who was a contemporary of Simone de Beauvoir. Despite all the fripperies that we have come to love,  the French really seem to be able to confront the feeling of being alone and unloved.