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.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Les Soldes and Thinking like Vivienne

I am enjoying grey and pastels right now.

Yesterday, on my way to my conversation with M (sounds like a French movie), I wandered through the Hudson Bay store which has been renovated at least 3 times in the last few years. The store was a mass of sale racks. There was very little organization but since I am thinking like Vivienne (or Janice Riggs), I knew that there was very little for me. My palette has gone from autumn to cool winter which means the grey/navy wardrobe.

I did however find 3 pieces that will provide me with a few more wardrobe choices and which will be suitable for Vancouver autumn, cruises and perhaps a road trip with Monsieur. As I started Weight Watchers on Tuesday morning, I will hopefully drop a size in about 2 months. These pieces are roomy but will be suitable for the next 15 pounds.

This morning, as is my habit, I read my daily blogs. Lo and behold, Janice has presented some leisure choices.  Yesterday's purchases will clearly fit into my new wardrobe. I am filling bags with clothing for a local children's charity. I feel a little sad as most of them were good choices for my formerly auburn locks but just wrong for my new salt and pepper look. Some of the choices that we make suit us for a while and then we must make new choices. I think that is part of 7th decade thinking.

Leisure wardrobe purchased on sale yesterday.

I enjoyed a brisk walk with a friend after the WW meeting and we have arranged to walk together every Tuesday morning. This week, I am working on thinking about the difference between a healthy snack and an indulgence. As I was meeting old friends for a visit at a bakery/coffee shop, I had to ignore the almond butter croissant that was calling to me and to enjoy a nonfat latte over their talks about a recent musical tour of Germany. This will become a habit in a while, I'm sure. It really is the indulgences not the meals that have caused my post-menopausal weight gain.

Right now, it seems that sorting through my life and making changes that will produce (hopefully) a healthier, happier me takes a lot of energy. Today, Maman and I will be driving to Fort Langley to meet my brother and sister-in-law for lunch. It is sunny and warm and we hope to wander a bit through the shops. I hope to pick up some fresh produce as I am including as many vegetables and fruits as possible in my diet right now.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


The flowers of summer are blooming all around our apartment complex. On Canada Day,
Monsieur L-B performed at the annual hotdog day pool party. During the summer, there is a poolside celebration every month and attendees range from infants to seniors. This year, I met a very interesting elderly lady who was born in the French Concession in Shanghai. She had even attended The Cunning Little Vixen opera that I had been to the week before. Summer poolside is a great place to meet the neighbours and to build connections for the winter.
The hollyhocks are blooming!

The second meeting of the book club is on Tuesday and I am wondering about our membership. Some of the elderly members seemed a little confused. I'm not sure that they will have read and understood the novel Book of Secrets by M.G. Vassanji. Oh well, I am not their teacher and there will be cookies and lemonade.
One of the book club ladies tends a lovely garden area.

I am releasing the orange and brown items of clothing that I have amassed over the years. I am no longer red haired so those colours just don't work. I am still following The Vivienne Files and I am coming to love my new colours. HOWEVER, I am not rushing out to buy a complete new wardrobe as I am not rich and my new grey and blue items will certainly carry me through the summer. I am repeating my outfits more often but that's okay. There is a tendency on my part to want to fill the vacuum immediately.

It's difficult to let go of things that don't work any more:wardrobes, relationships, beliefs…… But that  journey really does begin with the first step. I had my physical this week and I'd really like to let go of obesity. I feel so badly that I dislike photos of myself and consequently I can't show off my new look on my blog. I feel that some of my husband's lack of interest may stem from this additional weight but it is a vicious circle that ends only in sadness.
I am getting to like grey and blue. 

I have been more involved with teaching again and met this week with a former colleague to discuss languages and travel adventures. Monsieur made a remark about the books that I was carrying as I headed off to my French conversation session. Books and learning are part of my identity that still work for me. I know in my heart, that whatever path I take, these elements are essential. I would enjoy taking a summer course and I might even consider a writing course at the University. New people, skills and ideas tend to lift the grey clouds that have surrounded me since I arrived home.

Last week:
I contacted two interesting former colleagues to talk about travel and culture.
I attended a meditation class.
I scattered my father's ashes.
I entertained two of the women that my husband performs with.
I visited with my friend from prenatal classes (39 years ago).

This week:
I shall attend a meditation class.
I shall attend Weight Watchers.
I shall begin to teach another student.
I will enroll in a week-long writing course.

How do we get the confidence to make changes in our lives? I think that it is by building on previous successes. There is no magic wand only small determined steps.