Monday, January 16, 2017

Out and About in the Neighbourhood -- What I Wore

So what does one wear when the sidewalks are dangerously icy, the temperatures are stuck below freezing, one's feet are complaining about the new snow boots, and the cabin fever brought on by three weeks of 'flu has become unbearable. . .

Seriously, my cold/flu/grippe is beginning to ease up, and I've been managing to get out for increasingly longer distances this past week, although not yet more than six kilometres a day. Comfort is paramount, though, and safety, and last week I opted again for that 8-year-old grey wool pleated skirt and grey wool tights (previously seen here), but this time wore it with a pair of black trainers, my peacoat, and a cashmere scarf. And yes, you'd better believe I added a pair of gloves (black, leather). I'm such a baby about having cold hands -- no tolerance at all!

Part of what I've been thinking about, as alluded to in my last post about home vis-à-vis travel, is how we (can) use the one to sharper our appreciation of the other.  Or maybe, how the borders between the two can soften, blur -- how can we be at home when we're away, and how can we travel, or at least get lost, when we're on our everyday stomping ground.

This Monday morning, I find myself not quite ready to commit many words to screen on that topic (although I will tell those of you who hazarded an answer to my Guessing Game that the top photo was taken in Bordeaux and the bottom in my home city, Vancouver -- more next post about the artist and about the shift I experienced when I recognised her work so far from home). But I thought I could share a discovery I made when "getting lost" in my own neighbourhood let me travel at/from home.

I turned a corner in a single-family home neighbourhood fewer than eight blocks from here, to see this magnificent dragon stretched in all her pique-assiette splendour across a modest cinder-block wall. .  .
Closer inspection showed that she was of Asian provenance, the fragments of broken China repurposed after they could no longer serve tea or hold soup...

The technique reminded me of a ceramic mosaic Pater and I had admired in Paris, at the height of Parc de Belleville
but this one was right in our own new neighbourhood....

I'm off again this morning, walking the neighbourhood, although this time a bit more purposefully, a bit less aimlessly -- indeed, I'm off to hang out with a not-quite-two-year-old while his mom and his sister have some Big Girl time together. Still, who knows what I might see along the way...


And I'm wearing a new coat against the cold (which is going to be replaced by warmer temperatures and copious rain later this week. Sigh). Still insisting on the trainers, though. And I'm trying to think of what two-word catch phrase might describe my style these days. That's Not My Age's Casual Glamour is clearly far beyond me, and I'm not sure there's enough pedigree in my gear to qualify as Amid Privilege's Sturdy Gal. I'm beginning to think I might have to accept a label as something like "Urban Bluestocking." I guess I could live with that. ;-)

Any discoveries you've made lately in your own neighbourhoods? Or any style compromises you've easily made to the realities of weather?  I debated inviting you to lend me a couple of words to describe my style, but oh dear, that could be inviting trouble, right? So maybe not . . .

25 comments:

  1. A friend and I walked yesterday in a neighbourhood subdivision yesterday. Bland, unexciting homes and gardens looking unkempt after the long cold spell...but we met several people that we knew from our teaching careers and before. I prefer the urban environment with its graffiti and street art but there is something to be said for community. I wore trainers because our streets are still "mucky". I really like that coat. "Urban bluestocking" is not a bad label.

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    1. You're so right, Mme. There's definitely much to be said for community. Much as I've always loved an urban environment, this is the first time I've lived in one, and it remains to be seen how much community I can find and cultivate here. Keeping my fingers crossed...

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  2. Dear Frances-you are unique!
    I don't like labels in style department :-)
    All I have to say for now is that I've made your bread (ice age,hygge on croatian way-even better indeed,we are original! -etc...)-it was delicious and everyone liked it.
    I would make kimchi,too,but couldn't find daikon (or turnip for replacement)
    btw)
    I like your outfits,the fact that you are healthy again and hidden gem of your neighbourhood's mosaic.
    Dottoressa

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    1. Thank you! I'm pretty skeptical about those labels as well, although they can be useful indicators. I'm a bit too chameleon, I think ;-)
      So glad you liked that bread -- isn't it surprising how good it can be for such a small amount of work?!
      I hope you can find something like turnip so that you can try the kimchi as well -- interesting to compare with your soured/fermented cabbage....

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  3. Please,check for my comment in spam
    Dottoressa

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    1. That's exactly where it was, easily retrieved. Thank you!

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  4. Urban bluestocking - I'll go for that look

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    1. Yay! A twin (or soul spirit) -- and Mme. Là-bas as well...

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  5. Love the dragon. Wonderful what you see on walks. We once had a circle of pottery pieces set into the grass. It looked lovely but sadly moss and mould got to it so it had to go. Maybe I need to do something into a wall. You've got me pondering:) B x

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    1. You can also make really attractive stepping stones -- my girlfriend led a workshop years ago in which my daughter got to top a ceramic tile with a mosaic made from broken pottery, etc., all set in a cement. It's out on our terrace now, some 20 years later.... Let me know if you decide to play in some mud. . . ;-)

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  6. Great coat. We are in the grip of very foggy weather here, cold and damp, not the sort of weather to make you want to go out much. But at the weekend, Mr G and I visited a church nearby that is originally 11th century with additions. Actually, 8th century probably. Just sitting in a quiet field, minding its own business. I had never heard of it in 22 years of living here. Sadly locked but nonetheless remarkable. It is my new thing: church exploring. We are very, very fortunate here in England. Even in the filthy cold of January.

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    1. I think it would like to be foggy here, as the earth warms up after our extended cold spell, and begins releasing all the moisture that had been frozen into it via snow, etc. Instead, it's way too busy raining, and will be unto eternity, apparently...
      Yes, you are so very fortunate where you are, the discoveries you can make in your very back yard. Still, to find an 8th-11th-century church you'd somehow missed in 22 years, that augurs well for never getting bored where you are.

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  7. Urban bluestocking sounds quite fitting...
    that new coat looks very cozy and sensible shoes are the only thing for the icy streets...so many risks on the sidewalks and no one wants to fall and break bones in the name of fashion.

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    1. Yes, the coat's a bit like an extended cuddle with a teddy bear...
      No more ice here, though, time to break out the rain gear!

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  8. I don't like labels -- too confining, but love your outfit. In Florida it has been 77F which scares us all. If it is this warm in January what will happen in the summer? My sweaters were out for a trip north and for a couple of days, but only a light sweater in the morning and night now. I noticed on my walk today (no interesting urban sights) that gardens have no idea what is happening either.

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    1. Really? 77F in January? That is terrifying. I'm sure it must be very confusing for gardens and gardeners alike.

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  9. We have been glorying in a very unusual sight in Portland of late: deep, fluffy snow that has lasted for nearly a week. It has blanketed everything in our hiily neighborhood and dressed up the trees, so we are discovering our neighborhood anew, in sparkling white!

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    1. I've seen photos -- astonishing!
      Have to say I'm really hoping it will all be gone before we arrive in a few weeks. Snow is never so attractive as in its first days. The layers of ice and dirt it collects when it stays too long are not its best feature. Enjoy the sparkle while it lasts!

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  10. Hi Frances, I think Urban Bluestocking is perfect for those particular outfits, although, as you said above, you do tend to draw from all sorts of styles.

    I very happily checked out the sales the other week and bought a pair of made-in-Quebec sheepskin winter boots - very comfy and warm indeed. It sounds like you are going to be needing wellies soon! Glad to hear that you are recovering from your cold/flu.

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    1. Oh, good for you! I know you were hoping to up your boot game in the winter sales, and it seems you'll now be warm and stylish and able to navigate through your brutal winter weather.
      Yes, wellies here. and my Blundstones which, as they advertise, soak up water like a rock.

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  11. Urban Bluestocking IS perfect. These days I swear I'm Suburban Farmer;).

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  12. I love that dragon made of shards. It reminded me that a few years ago I decorated a flower tub with fragments of plates and cups. It has some technical flaws, but it is still in use. There is a beautiful book about mosaic making by (textile designer) Kaffe Fassett which inspired me to just have a go at it. Since that time there is a big box of broken pottery and tiles sitting in a shelf and waiting for the moment when there will be time for more...
    I'd like the label of Urban Bluestocking for myself, but I lack the stocking. In the rush of dressing in the morning I always end up in pants. But you need things you can aspire to, don't you?

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    1. I saw Fassett speak and show slides many years ago -- so inspiring!
      Ah yes, aspirations. Inspiration and aspiration. May it continue!

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  13. I have a treasured pile of knits inspired by Fassett and then tweaked to please me.

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