Thursday, April 24, 2014

Banker's Navy? Not Quite . . . But There are Stripes. . .

 My last class of the term was a week ago Monday. Since then, I've been holed up with marking, which I can do at home in jeans (or, let's be honest, pyjamas) just as easily as on campus. And even when I'm "up the hill" now, in my campus office, I'm keeping it pretty casual.

But I did pull together one last "At the Lectern" Outfit before I retreated. It's a bit bolder than I've been going lately, what with the print-matching and all, but I thought the simple shapes kept it all under control. That's my JCrew French Chicks-printed silk shirt worn under a striped, cotton-knit lightweight blazer I picked up at the Nice Things shop in Bordeaux last summer. A J Crew No. 2 pencil skirt (I'm so annoyed! the hem is unravelling and I'm going to have to spend an hour stitching it back up -- that shouldn't happen at that price point!). And the Think! shoes I picked up secondhand at a great little local consignment shop.

You'll note I'm still wearing tights with this outfit, worn two weeks ago. Sadly, I would still have to do so today, were I to wear a skirt. But I'm hoping that soon, all the transitional wear can be shifted away, and my garb can match the garden's promise (it's definitely spring out there -- more flower photos coming soon). In which case, I'd really better book a pedi.
 Having reminded myself what more professional dress looks like, I'm now settling back in my pjs and housecoat with a stack of papers to be marked. There are worse ways to work . . .

And you? What's up today? Does your work or play dictate what you're wearing? Anyone just let the closet organize your day for you? Wear what you want and let the activity follow? I wonder what I'd get up to if I did that. . . . Hmmmmmm. . . .

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What She Wore -- Cycling in Amsterdam, Commuting back Home . . .

Perhaps it's the marking (I'm invigilating two exams today, and each group of students wants its essays back, graded; then the same for Friday's exam, just ahead). Perhaps it's the weird mental/physical space of the pre-marathon taper, gearing down mileage, activity in general in anticipation of the race on (yikes!) May 4th. Perhaps it's a long weekend of visitors: son-in-law arrived with wee redhead g-daughter on Friday, daughter joined them Saturday evening, he left yesterday, she leaves today - four days of delightful toddler distraction.

Whatever the reason, however, the result is that I'm a wee bit brain-dead, so I'm turning once more to my photograph files, and I'm offering you some . . . Amsterdam! I was inspired to scroll through these digital albums after Donna Tartt's marvellous, marvellous novel The Goldfinch landed its narrator there. (Have you read this book yet? I'm hoping to write a few words about it over on my reading blog, but since I've barely posted there this year, I'm not making any promises! Tartt's is a book I highly recommend, although it's rather harrowing in a number of spots.)
Amsterdam is also on my mind because although it's very different, geographically, from my little island, it nonetheless features two modes of transportation that are part of my daily life: bikes and boats.

And this series of shots below leaped at me from the screen because I recently ordered a denim pencil skirt from The Gap, and I've been grappling with a, erm, mobility problem. Or is that a modesty problem. The skirt is longer than the one shown below, but has less stretch. To mount my bike, I have to hitch it up enough so that my legs can get the bike moving.
I'm not sure I'm anywhere near as elegant at the task as this young woman. . . .
 Luckily, I rarely have an audience to contend with, as she clearly does. . . .
Nor do I have to worry about knocking over any pedestrians. . . .

Nicely done, no?

As for me, I'm thinking I'll wear skinny jeans today, with enough stretch to simplify my life . . . And you? What are you up to? Are your clothes enhancing or challenging your mobility? What constraints are governing what you wear today? And amuse me, would you? Which of you will ride a bike or a boat today?  Will most of you drive a car? take a bus? ride rapid transit? or rely on what my Grandpa used to call "shank's mare" (by which he meant, of course, walking on one's own two feet)?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!
I love the leaf-budding energy, the promise of renewal, in this Burning Bush (Euonymus alata). May you feel some of that promise today, whatever your climate, whatever your religion. We will be sharing the day with a little redhead and her parents while our other young families join, in Vancouver, with many of their aunts and uncles and cousins, in a big old heritage home full of chat and laughter and squeals of the younger ones grabbing chocolate eggs in the garden. Here, Paul will be putting a big ham in the oven, and I'm going to make a lemon meringue pie. The sun is still shining in a pewter-apricot sky, but the clouds are soon to put a stop to that. Still, I see an otter's head working its way steadily across the bay, and a sealion just threaded its up-and-under, up-and-under pathway a bit further out. They're all still sleeping, Pater and our guests, so I'm taking a cup of tea down to my brightly coloured chairs at the beach.
after wishing you a Very Lovely Day . . .

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Quest for Bread Perfection, Simple Happiness Achieved!

 Why is this man (my dear husband, aka Pater) smiling? Because finally, three years after beginning his bread-baking adventures, after untold loaves made of various combinations of flour, from numerous recipes, employing a plethora of techniques, adding several new books to our cookbook shelves, buying a more finely calibrated kitchen scale, a pizza stone, an Emile Henry dutch oven. . . . finally, yesterday, this smiling man pulled this beautifully shaped loaf of bread from the oven and declared it to have risen precisely as much as he had wished it to.
 See?
A thing of beauty, no?






















Can you imagine how that tasted, particularly the first slice, while still warm, of the heel, slathered as only a slim man can slather butter, some of my homemade blackberry jam topping the scale to perfection? Oh, he was a very happy man indeed.

Comments welcome. You might just wish to congratulate a happy baker, or you might want to tell of your own culinary examples. Have you ever achieved kitchen success after it teased and eluded you? If at first you didn't succeed, when did you Try, Try Again? . . . .

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

White Jeans and Happier Knees (Love my Physio!)

 After a glorious spring weekend, we're back to sodden skies, but yesterday morning was still sunny and warm enough to justify wearing my new white jeans (also seen here).

I like this pairing with a JCrew metallic-striped t-shirt, but I'm trying to temper the newness of my size-replacement wardrobe with older pieces. Clothes or shoes or other accessories that I've lived with for years have always grounded what I wear, given some consistency to whatever style I might have. So many favourites just don't fit anymore, but a few jackets & cardigans still do, albeit more loosely.
 Today, this powder-blue Bompard long cardi (a lovely lightweight cashmere) was the Oldie-but-Goldie, along with my Fluevog loafers. And I know, I know, double metallic might well be a no-no, but apparently we're good-to-go with the double denim these days, so I'm declaring a judicious doubling of metallic to be permissible as well. You heard it here first. . . .
I wore this OOTD to my physio appointment -- where many tiny needles tickled and grabbed their way into some very tight muscular knots. It can be uncomfortable, sometimes I might even say it hurts, but the release and relief is so quickly palpable that I look forward to each new pinpoint.
As helpful as the IMS (intra-muscular stimulation) was, though, it was my physio's assessment and her reassurance that most pleased me. She's very confident I'll run the marathon (she's signed up for it as well), and the plan she set out for my (non)training over the next few weeks is very similar to what I'd settled on.
I woke up this morning with very little kink in my knee and a left hip that's so much happier (the muscular tension had, unsurprisingly, travelled right up/down the chain, and many needles hit the hip and, um, gluteal regions. . . ).

So thank you all for your concern -- it looks as if I'm on the mend. Certainly mended enough to dare double-metal with my white jeans. . . . what say you? Faux pas of the spring?
And I'm curious. . . who is your first recourse for biomechanical stuff? Do you go to your GP, or to a chiropractor, a massage therapist, a physiotherapist? (I haven't been to my doc for at least a year, but have visited my physio 8 or 10 times, an RMT a few more, never see a chiropractor).

Monday, April 14, 2014

Running Challenges

View from my home office window at 5:40 Monday morning. . . . didn't want to shock Ms. Robin with the flash, so please excuse the blur. . . .

Today's the last day of classes, and I'll admit I'm very much looking forward to a less performance-directed schedule (although not so much to the reams of marking and the inevitable meetings and meetings and meetings). The mid-teens (Celsius, natch!) temperatures we had this weekend have me itching to get into the garden, although I do wonder if last weekend's weeding forays had something to do with my knee issues.

I have another physio appointment tomorrow, and I'm trying to stay positive. A running buddy with marathon experience and recent certification as a fitness leader coached me (via Facebook messages) through my panic and discouragement at missing my long run this past weekend. She assures me that I have enough foundation to run the marathon even if I don't manage any more long runs between now and then. We'll just have to wait and see. I do recognize that it wouldn't be smart simply to run through the pain, although that is a very big temptation -- especially since the tenderness generally eases as my muscles warm up.

I'll probably write more about my response to this setback (from both a training and an emotional perspective) as I figure out what my physio thinks and as I move through this week. For now, I'm still visualizing myself running and completing the BMO marathon, but I'm also thinking of positive ways to respond if that possibility evaporates.  Meanwhile, I've got an ice pack on my knee, and plans for a long walk and some foam-rolling . . . .

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekends, Gotta love'em

We've been in Vancouver for the weekend, where Paul had these lovely tulips waiting for me on arrival. We've been crazy busy with family stuff (3 of the 4 couples/families for sushi Friday night at our place; helping one couple with some real estate adventures Saturday; pizza with the 4th couple and a granddaughter Saturday evening). A bit of shopping. Considerable fretting about tenderness of my knee and how to proceed with marathon training (didn't do my long run this weekend, did get a great massage from my RMT daughter). Oh, and got to savour sight of 5-month pregnant belly of one beautiful daughter. Still savouring that in my mind's eye, to be honest. Much happiness there, for many reasons.
And now we're off to breakfast with a son whose wife has abandoned him to play soccer (love that reversal, not even thinkable in my mom's day, only just barely in mine). It's a spectacular day on the West Coast, with a possible 17 degrees of warmth. Should be a gorgeous ferry ride home this afternoon. You have a lovely day as well, if that's at all within reach. And, as always, feel free to comment. I've been too busy to answer comments from the last post or so, but I've read them all and will pick up the conversation as soon as I get back to my home office.

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