This is another film I watched over the holiday. It was hard to watch, yet I didn’t want to switch it off. It’s not about the music and scenes of the Velvet Underground or glamorized tales of Andy Warhol and his inner circle. The film, released in 2018, dramatizes the sobering, heartbreaking life of this 1960s icon, as she lived her final years in the late 1980s, while beginning in earnest to lay the groundwork for a brighter future.
There is no inspiration here, but something else makes it worth watching. It is a story of a real life, well dramatized with cooperation from her son, and based on witness accounts from her inner circle.
I tried baking a small carrot cake in the Instant Pot. It came out dense like a brownie; not light like a cake. The flavor was good though, so I hastily frosted it (aka the best part), and put it away for my own snacking later. We shall not speak further of this failed cooking experiment. 😉
Carrot cake ruled out, I ended up making my fail-safe pumpkin bread to take to the family gathering.
Prep for the road trip to KC involved bottling a supply of hot coffee for me, and packing a bag of food, toys and blankets for Myrtle the foster pup.
While I was in the kitchen doing Christmas prep, this cute little booger was in the other room producing a spectacular array of shredded stuff. Look how proud she is of her work.
Not from the kitchen, but this was my first-ever attempt to knit a tiny sweater tree ornament. It was my ‘hostess gift’ to our aunt and uncle who had us all at their home. (Free download pattern here.)
The family gathering was special, as always. Myrtle got lots of attention from the foster cousins, both human and canine. The cat cousin Willie opted to hide out in the bedroom.
Back at home, where my Christmas decorating is bare-bones, this print is one of my treasured holiday items.
Museum Store Sunday!Today, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, is now known as Museum Store Sunday. I won’t get to a museum store in person today, but I do love museum stores. When I look up a museum’s website, I don’t just look at their collection, location, hours, and admission price. I always take a few moments to peruse their online store. I can’t help it. The items are always so unique to that particular museum.
And don’t forget zoo shops! It seems like zoos always have really cool shops.
CyberMonday is tomorrow. Sigh. I don’t need anything. But unplanned things happen on Cyber Monday. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether I’ll give in to some unplanned purchase. I shall try to resist.
Giving Tuesday is coming up in two days. Giving is a deeply personal concept. Do any of us need an annual day to remind us to give? No. Show me one person who doesn’t give generously to others, year ’round, either with funds or with volunteerism. That person will be hard to find.
To me, the value in Giving Tuesday is the reminder to stop and reflect on what we do for others, and why we do it. My focus has radically evolved over the years, ranging from:
Children (Big Brothers Big Sisters)
Animals in need (fostering homeless doggos for the humane society)
Food kitchens and pantries, warm wear for homeless
donating to every single kid who rings the doorbell with a school fundraiser
And then there are the disaster-stricken areas. Who isn’t moved to give when family homes are decimated by Mother Nature? We all step up and give when people need us to give.
A bit of what I’ve been reflecting on lately: I feel my interests drifting toward advocating for affordable and accessible transportation options, and protection of rights of the down and out. Since becoming a bike commuter several years ago, this struggling sector of our population has become more visible to me. You see a lot more from a bicycle than a car. Meanwhile, it looks like I’ll be bringing home another foster pup this week, for a month of Rx and socialization. Tough duty, not. ❤
So don’t think of Giving Tuesday as an admonishment, or an obligation, or as that barrage of corporate charity emails and envelopes arriving in the mail for the next two months asking for your monetary donation. Use it to reflect with warmth and a measure of satisfaction on those things you do for others, and resolve to keep helping in those areas you feel are most important. Carry on.
This week I watched the Mercury 13 documentary on Netflix. It is about the thirteen woman astronauts who trained for the space program in 1961.
I tried to be inspired and not let myself be consumed with anger at the stories told in this documentary. It wasn’t easy. There were plenty of moments that moved me to tears, at how these brilliant, accomplished aviators and scientists were trivialized and relegated to lesser status for being women. They were put through more rigorous testing than the male astronauts, and scored better on some tests. These 13 women qualified, but were banned from the missions to space.
Below is an excerpt from one of the woman astronauts’ testimony before Congress. She used the exclusion of woman nurses from Civil War field hospitals as her example of why women should be allowed on space missions.
National hero John Glenn then testified, drawing laughter from the senators when he said he would welcome qualified women astronauts with ‘open arms’. Then President Johnson ended the women astronaut program, saying, “We have to shut this thing down.”
It is probably a good thing this vintage clothing store is in my old home town, and not where I live now. If it were closer to me, I’d have to build on a room addition just to hold my vintage purchases. I was there earlier this month, and came home with four awesome dresses. Here they are, starting with my fave, which I’ll wear as soon as the hottest part of summer is over:
Dress #1 is a vintage 100% cotton calico print elbow-length sleeve shirt dress will be worn as-is, with a lightweight cardigan in chillier air. The center front button placket stops at the waist, eliminating the need to fuss with buttons down the front of the skirt. I’m not sure where it has been hiding these past decades, but it has never been worn or laundered.
Dress #2 still had the store tags on it, so it too has never been laundered or worn. It’s the one I’m less sure about than the others. I think it is lovely, but I’m not sure about the style on me; not sure it is ‘my’ style.
On me, I like its appearance better with the long ties tossed back over the shoulder (see below). That modification would be a shame though, because it’s main feature is the long ties down the front, and I love that feature. Maybe it is the pleated skirt that isn’t right. I could easily remove the pleated panel and replace it with a different fabric, or leave it off and make it a tunic instead of a dress. As a tunic, I think the long ties down the front would be okay. Bottom line, this one is going to be a puzzle.
Dress #3 is handmade of lightweight wool or wool blend, unlined. It’s nicely sewn, and the fit is perfect. It doesn’t look boxy like a suit jacket; it fits like a dress. I’ll wear it this Autumn with a thin turtleneck or blouse underneath.
Dress #4! Burberry plaid has been on my wish list for a long while now, so this lined rayon-cotton (I think) jumper that was on the half-price rack, was a no-brainer. It too is handmade. I hope to wear it to the office this Autumn with a white blouse underneath. Because of the roomy pleated skirt, it should be great for the bicycle commute.
I am making one modification to this dress, and that is to turn half of the pleats the other direction. The way they are now — pleats all turned one way, is interesting, but looks awkward on me.
More coolness from Burberry. They have dynamite live music for their runway shows……
It took me an extra month to figure out my goals for 2018. Then it has taken me another month to tell people about it. But here it is: I want to adopt one new habit per month. I started successfully with a January habit, which inspired me to keep going with a new habit per month.
January: Get up at a regular time, and do 15 minutes of yoga stretches.
Janathon helped by giving me fun daily reminders to report my effort.
Our local PBS station has been the other help, by showing Priscilla’s Yoga Stretches each morning from 6-6:30. They fit two 15-minute sessions in that time slot. I’ve been doing the 6:15 session. Perfecto!
February: 90 minutes of ‘Monk Mode’ each morning.
I’ve seen various descriptions of what ‘monk mode’ means, so I’ve tailored my own version to what I need. I’m trying for a straight 90 minutes of office work, in the morning before I get distracted by other things. During this 90 minutes, I am trying to refrain from checking online news sources, blogs, and of course, Facebook. Ideally, the 90 minutes would be with no TV or radio. But, there are things I listen to in the morning to get my daily current events updates. So maybe I need an afternoon monk mode session as well, in total silence. Maybe that is a habit for a later month.
March: ‘Spring cleaning’, baby! One hour, one room, per day
I am focusing on one room per day for cleanup, decluttering, rearranging, reorganizing, etc. I’m trying for an hour per day on this task. Do I include the yard and car as ‘rooms’? Looking at them, the answer is an emphatic yes! Does it make the goal too broad and undefined? Maybe.
April: I haven’t decided on April’s new habit. I want to decide month by month. I have ideas for some of the upcoming months. Potential categories are home management, productivity, conservation, health, fitness, enlightenment, budgeting.
How’s it going so far?
The yoga habit has stuck like glue. I feel great, my posture is better I think, and I love the jump-start it gives to my morning.
The monk mode habit, hmmm. I’m now aghast at how sporadic, sloppy and undisciplined my work concentration has become. If I had charted my month of devotion to this habit, the chart would look like a roller coaster. To me, this means I need to keep ‘monk mode’ in my morning routine, and need to make a consistent effort to accomplish it.
The room-a-day habit is not a habit yet. But each day something gets done. I’m looking forward to what the place looks like on March 31.
The regular activities continue. Fitness, food prep and nutrition, sewing. I don’t need to set goals to make these a regular part of my routine. For that I’m truly thankful.
On 2017 projects:
The puppy/dog fostering has been a wonderful addition to my life:
I have to. Every so often I need to find a new strategy for moving out the old and unnecessary stuff. Where does it all come from? I swear, I accumulate stuff even while on a purging mission. Figuring out a preventative strategy, that keeps the stuff from entering my house in the first place would be the ultimate accomplishment. Until then, I’m stuck with regular purging missions. This looks like the one to try. [40 Bags in 40 Days] According to the ’40 Bags’ plan, I have until March 1 to form my strategy of purging a bag of stuff for each day of Lent. Should I really wait that long?
Clutter is everywhere in my life at the moment. In every room of my house, in my email inbox(es), in my ‘social media life’, in my office, and in my car. My yard needs more of a cleanout before spring. And then there is my sewing project pile that is massively out of control.
Even my donation box is out of control.
It is this book. Which I realized is just more clutter. Sigh. I did read it and get inspired…that year. Sadly, there are some more ‘decluttering’ books further down in the box from other years. This year I resolved to purge the decluttering books, rather than adding another one to the stack. This way, others can benefit from them now, as I no doubt did at the time.
Everything in the box will go to Goodwill or the DAV, except for two items that will each go to separate drop off sites.
This knitting machine that I’d wanted my whole life has been the source of several experimenting attempts, but made only one complete garment in the entire two decades I’ve owned it. *embarrassed* It is going to the local non-profit creative studio.
The warm boots will go straight to the homeless diner. Someone needs a pair of warm boots. Today.
Cleaning out is always a raw, unfiltered trip down memory lane.
“This shirt is the one I lent you,
And when you gave it back
It had a rip inside the sleeve
Where you rolled your cigarettes
It was the place I put my heart
Now look at where you put a tear
I forgave your thoughtlessness
But not the boy who put it there.”
It’s the start of the year, when a lot of purging goes on. Very best wishes with your own projects.
Gave thanks for all of it, even though I hate that drive with a passion.
The highlight of the drive is the 4.2 miles I get to drive on Route 66.
No two of my family’s Thanksgiving gatherings have been alike. I gave thanks for that, too. Each one is precious and memorable, whether it is a large scale extended family gathering, or like this year–just us kids and Mom. I took Lasagne Soup, to be heated in my horrible slow cooker. I told my mom how much I despise my slow cooker, because it has four different heat setting buttons; but all of them are too hot. There is no going off and leaving it several hours to ‘slow’ cook. There is no ‘slow’ cooking with it. But as I told Mom, I don’t use a slow cooker enough to justify buying a new one.
On my drive home, I saw this totally awesome motorized bicycle, that appeared to be on its own Route 66 journey.
On Black Friday, I bought a Kindle Fire Tablet for the young girl I adopted for Christmas. All I was given was her first name and age (14), and that she asked for “clothes, shoes, electronics or a mall gift card”. No indication of shoe or clothing sizes, and no clue about what kind of electronic thing she wanted. Thus the Kindle tablet, that can be used for fun and education, i.e., homework and checking out textbooks and library books.
On Cyber Monday, I bought myself anInstant Pot. Woohoo! So much for the frugal me who only four days earlier said I couldn’t justify spending for a new slow cooker. So anyway, the Instant Pot will be here in two days. Stay tuned for Instant Pot adventures.
And coming back to the reason for my favorite holiday of the year.
It’s what will make your blog successful, they said.
Well, it’s been awhile. I’ve wanted to blog an update many, many times, since August 2015. But what to say about my extended absence stopped me. The longer I refrained from blogging, the harder it became. Ironically, there is really nothing to say. I’ve been busy on regular stuff, like my day job, and homemaking. I love interacting with readers who read and comment, but I enjoy blogging period; and use it as a sort of journal, even when I’m the only reader. I missed it. So here I go again.
And on to life and day-to-day fun. I went to our theatre’s annual midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show last night.
I haven’t gone to the show for years (and years). It was more fun than I even remembered. And now I realize there’s been a sort of time warp here.