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!

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.