Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to School Clothes: Item the Second, the Slim Jogger. . .



































Since losing weight last fall, I've been fairly considered in rebuilding my wardrobe, skewing mainly toward neutral colours in reasonably conservative, simple shapes. Prints have been limited, although I did choose two very graphic prints in JCrew's knit linen summer tops and loved pairing these with my white jeans for a simple, strong look. . . They also work well with my navy pencil skirt and with dark jeans or black pants. . . .



Still, I resolved to continue being very careful about adding new prints; in fact, not really needing any item in particular, my wander through the Robson Street shops a week or two ago was intended mainly as a reconnaissance mission. With no major obvious holes in my wardrobe, I had the luxury of looking for one or two pieces to renew my enthusiasm for Front-of-the-Class Fall dressing -- a perfect piece in some rich neutral that captured this Fall's look while being classic enough to enjoy for many Autumns to come . . .

And then I spotted these slim-cut sweatpants at J. Crew .  I've never been much for a jogging/sweatpant, but I've really been loving the Aritzia cotton cargo joggers I picked up in olive this spring. Solid olive. A neutral. These toile-printed sweatpants, though, take the "trendy" factor of the athletic profile and complicate it with the additional Trend quotient of a print (did I just mix up my arithmetic metaphors?). In their favour, however, the print -- yes, a wee bit wild, but what Francophile can resist a toile print for very long? -- is practically a neutral by virtue of its black on grey, right? And the athletic effect is mitigated by the slimness of the profile. I happened to be wearing Vince d'Orsay flats, nude, pointy-toe, and that also mitigated the "jock" aspect, not that I might not occasionally wear these with my black Converse. . . .

No point carrying out the suspense, is there? You already know that I brought these pants home with me, and I've already come up with many different ways to style them. I'm convinced that I can make them look polished enough for my (admittedly rather casual) academic workplace, while nonetheless feeling as comfortable as if I were in pyjamas! But before I tell you how I plan to do that, I'd love to know: Would you consider a printed sweatpant? Do you think the slim jogger is a possibility for you this Fall? And how would you style a pant like this either for a casual workplace or just for hanging out?


Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday Medley, the Rentrée looms . . .


































I quite love that everywhere I turn in the house and in the yard, there's evidence of a visiting 5-year old. But I won't pretend that this little girl isn't a big distraction from the impending Rentrée. We're driving her parents (who visited for the weekend, but have to work during the week) to the ferry around noon and dropping Little Girl off at her afternoon activity at which point I'll head into the office and try to cross a plethora of administrative details off my list. I'm getting the usual before-term butterflies. . . .

But I have something for tomorrow's post, a Reveal of one of my Back-to-School acquisitions and a Question about how you might style the item in question. Or whether you'd consider wearing it at all, the item being rather on the Currently Trending side. . . .

Meanwhile, having seen a Loved One faint this weekend, helping guide that Fainter gently to the sidewalk and wait for that person to recover, I'm reminded of this post which perhaps some newer readers haven't read. . . . life is so precious. . . .and borrowed . . .
Editied to add: This weekend's Fainter is fine. Meal had been delayed too long, probably, and a long cycle before our meeting probably contributed. The next day was spent taking it easy. . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2014

40 years later. . . . Weddings, Anniversaries, Life, Love . . .

40 years ago today, and I'm still smiling at spending a life with this guy. Three daughters, a son, three wonderful sons-in-law/love and a lovely daughter-in-law, three oh-so-lovable granddaughters (one brand new!) . . . Four mortgages, five degrees, one or two big fights, three trips to Europe with kids (England '84, Frances '90, Italy '14), 10+ trips to Europe as a couple, four second-hand cars and two purchased new, every one a stickshift. . . .the list goes on and on and the adventures continue. . . I'm hoping for another 20 years together, at the very least. . . .

Spending the day at home, happily taking it easy, with visiting granddaughter and her parents, our daughter and son-in-law (themselves having recently celebrated 20 years as a couple, 11 years of marriage); our son and his wife also celebrate the second anniversary of their beach wedding this weekend.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Baby, Blanket, Simplicity, Perfection

My new granddaughter, Francesca Rose, 4 days old, wrapped in the baby blanket I knit for her, my version of Purl Bee's Super Easy Baby Blanket, knit in Debbie Bliss' Baby Cashmerino (and yes, completely machine wash-and-dryable merino-cashmere blend with a bit of microfibre).
Really, sometimes the simplest styling is the best. And few words required.


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back-to-School Pants and priorities

So far, I've bought four new back-to-school items, one of which is a pair of shoes (if a pair can be considered "one"!) The least expensive item in the bunch, though, might be the one that's making me happiest: these sunny Broken-In Strwight Khakis from The Gap. Gap calls them Ghanaian Yellow; they're mustardy sunshine, just enough edge to the gold that I'm already imagining all kinds of combos to take them right through the fall. I never get to wear yellow near my face and it's always seemed too much investment to do the "pop of colour" thing with it. But in pants? In this slightly off-yellow yellow? Love!

I ended up partial-tucking this navy top in for a bit more structure. But guess where I took the whole outfit. . . After receiving an emotional email from my new-mama daughter, I cancelled today's hair appointment (I am going to be such a mess by the next available appointment, mid-September!), begging off two important term start-up meetings on Thursday, and I took the first ferry I could manage on Tuesday morning, drove straight over to little Frankie's new home, stopping only to pick up a few groceries on the way. The smile (and wan relief?) on my daughter's face when I arrived at her door told me I'd made the right move. Her partner is doing an amazing job of holding the fort, but given that all R can do is nurse the baby and (barely) get herself from bed to couch to bathroom, it's really too much for one person.

I feel anxious about missing so much of the preparation for the new term. While the administrative details and the meetings can be a nuisance, they also generally help me switch gears from summer's relaxed schedule back to "real life." And I will even admit that I was looking a forward to catching up with my colleagues and to hearing new department and faculty plans for the upcoming academic year. When I get back, time at our sole faculty photocopier will be even more at a premium, and I wonder if I'm missing the deadline for sending my course outlines to the printshop.

But when my anxiety over missing these elements of my academic life mounts, I just remind myself that yesterday afternoon, I held a newborn for almost three hours while her parents caught up on their sleep. A gift for me, a gift for them.

There will be more meetings. I'm doing much of my prep in the evenings here and keeping up with all the admin emails on my iPad mini. Somehow, at the beginning of next month, I'll get up in front of each of my three classes and the teaching and learning will happen all over again. I will hand out course outlines, even if I have to print and collate and staple-sort them ever so slowly on my little printer at home. I've been reading all summer toward these lectures, and I know my material well enough to engage, and I'm good at facilitating lively discussions about the readings. Deep down, I do know this, and the knowledge helps to balance, if not alleviate, my anxiety.

But I will only have one chance to help this little family on their way. Wearing my new pants. Baby Frankie is "wearing" her new baby blanket, knit by Nana. Tomorrow I'll show you how she styles it (hint: closed eyes are an important accessory.

Before I head back to Baby Duty (best duty ever when it's a Nana gig!), thanks again for all your lovely comments. I read every one of them, but I'm going to temporarily give myself permission not to answer them all as quickly as I generally try to. Hope you understand.

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Introducing . . .




















Here she is. Our newest granddaughter, Francesca Rose, already going by the nickname Frankie. . . .Only 4 days old, she left the hospital yesterday having already surpassed her birth weight (more normal is to lose 8 ounces or more and take up to a week to get back there). I've already managed close to an hour of holding her, but we're back on the island now, where I'm juggling between term start-up and hanging out with a 5-year old. Faculty, department, committee meetings all structure a schedule that I'm working my assignment and lecture preparation, printshop orders, classroom checks and office organizing around. Pater and I are trying to figure out efficient ways to get Little Girl to her afternoon Intro to Boats Camp while still getting our work done and making some happy memories of Two Weeks with Nana and Granddad at the Beach. Luckily, she's an easygoing child who entertains herself happily for extended periods and who sleeps long and solidly and eats fuss-free.

We're working out some plans for getting back to the big city to help the new family get their routines established, maybe even find a bit of sleep. Life is rich and/but complicated. Three granddaughters! Oh my goodness!

Seems appropriate to include this picture of this morning's sunrise here. When I saw the sun popping over the horizon much earlier today, I was struck by this daily miracle's affinity with the miracle of Frankie's new life, the way she transforms all of ours. Hers, the sun's, they're both ordinary miracles, commonplace, but no less transcendent for all that.


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Running as Stress Relief, and What I Wore . . .

 Thanks you for so warmly welcoming my newest grandchild to the world. I do have a photo or two to share, but we're packing up this morning to head back to the island with our oldest granddaughter, who will be hanging out with us for the next two weeks. That ferry line-up gets long quickly on summer weekends, so once my fellow travellers wake up, we're off and away.

I did have this post loaded up with photos, though, all set to show you my latest running gear and tell you a bit about what's up with my fitness program. And given the stress of the last week, the tensions of waiting out a protracted labour and childbirth, some talk about running seems very appropriate. There were a number of points when the anxious waiting got to be too much, and rather than send another text which my poor son-in-love was too busy to answer, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door.

The shoes I laced up for these photos are from the Pearl Izumi Project Emotion collection; they're a trail-running shoe that work well on the dirt roads of our little island. In the city, where I'm running on pavement, I wear a pair of Mizunos. Switching up the shoes like this seems to work well; the approach got me to, and through, the marathon in May.Both pairs were ready to be replaced after the many, many kilometres of training that led to those final 42.1, and when I was getting fitted from these ProjectEM trail runners, I couldn't resist this new running tank.


 It was so hot here for several weeks, and even when I got out for my run before 7, I was overheating. One morning, I dared running in just my midriff-baring, boob-squashing running bra, but while many female runners do this regularly, I felt too self-conscious, if cooler. But this design is airy enough under the loosely fitting, draped panel, which I've pulled away from the built-in sports bra underneath to let you see the construction. If I hadn't already run in some of the other Icebreaker Merino gear, I would never have believed that a tank in this fine, fine wool could be so cool and comfortable. And the big plus of wool for running? It doesn't stink!
 I'd say "It's not your Grandmother's Wool," but that kind of statement belongs to a vision of grandmas with the wooly blue-rinsed hair and the floral housedress, pushing her cane away as she sets down her knitting to make up a batch of zucchini loaf or water the zinnias.
Or whatever she bakes up. Now, I'm a Nana, and I could love me a floral housedress and some zucchini loaf, but when I go running? This IS this Nana's running gear. . . .

Nana and Granddad are off to the island now. What are you up to this Sunday in August?
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