First, the outfit, a black Sarah Pacini turtleneck, about 5 years old, still a favourite, worn with my chunky chocolate gold beads from Birks, a gift from Pater a few years ago, worn with the gold silk/cotton satin skirt(Club Monaco) I picked up at the same great little local consignment that brought me pink sequinned cashmere.
Top (well, bottom, I guess) the whole thing with black tights and a pair of party shoes (these black patent beauties by FranceMode have a very cool sculptural heel that makes them very comfortably solid.
I'd say the outfit is great for a post-shopping date with my husband or for a "close the office doors; we've switched to party mode" 4-6 Seasonal Shindig at work. . . .Or, really, any number of just festive enough events.
But sometimes, even through my regular 9 to 5 day, in the gloomy months which weigh on us here on the Coast, November through February, I like to spark up some spirit, and sometimes it only takes a bit of shine to help me "fake it 'til I make it." This outfit works well for that purpose when I switch the shoes out for flats (albeit, here, more shine in the black patents from J Crew).
And now here comes the funny/silly story about me. Somehow, anxious as I was about heading to my dentist for a root canal yesterday, I decided it was a "Fake the Shine to Make the Shine" day. I'd put this post's photos together earlier, so this outfit was front of mind. Yes, I realized it might be a bit much for lying on that chair, tipped back under those lights, arms trying not to grip the armrest too fiercely, but I threw a taupe cashmere cardi over it all (worn, missing a few buttons, so toning down the dressy deliberately, while gaining the comfort-stroke factor) and I subbed a pair of knee-high boots to chill it out even more while warming me up (we had a few degrees of frost yesterday).
I suspect at some level I was hoping the outfit might work the way dressing up occasionally does at the airport, throwing an upgrade my way (although I've only ever seen these happen to others; I'm still waiting). I know it's magical thinking, but I might have thought the dentist and staff would have appreciated my festive effort and made my day match it.
So how disappointed was I when, after the horrific chuntering away that it took to cut my gold crown off, the underlying tooth was quickly revealed not to have the integrity to withstand a root canal and still receive a new crown that would hold.
Um, disappointed is an understatement. As I took in the news (not completely unexpected -- it had been mentioned as a possibility) that the tooth would have to be extracted, that -- at an expense little covered by my plan -- the best option would be packing the extraction space with material for a bone graft, then waiting several months before inserting an implant, I was dismayed to find tears burning my eyes. Damn tears! And I have to insist that I'm not a baby at all about the dentist. I'm pretty stoic and I guess I pride myself on being a trooper despite my anxieties. Yet those tears continued to trickle beneath the dentist-supplied dark glasses as I tried to remember to breathe deep belly breaths while my molar got dissected and extracted.
Three things kept me centered and stopped me from surrendering to outright sobs:
1. Nola had instructed me, a few weeks ago, that instead of calling something (a baking mistake I'd made) Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, I should "Stop, Nana. Take a deep belly breath. Name your feeling." Every time, in that chair yesterday, that I pictured her little face giving me such useful advice, I smiled inside, and I took that breath, and I said to myself "I'm a bit afraid, although I know Rob (my dentist) isn't going to hurt me. And I'm also sad that I'm losing a tooth."
2. I kept thinking about my Dad, somewhere between 15 when he went to sea with the British Merchant Marines, and 25 when he signed off to marry my mom in Canada. . . .at one point, home in England on shore leave after having suffered tooth-aches while out on the ship for weeks, he decided to solve the problem decisively. Yes, he did, every one of his teeth extracted. From what I remember of the story he told, they were all taken in one day. And I'm pretty damn sure his dentist's techniques were seriously different from mine.
3. And finally, I kept going back to this lovely, lovely moment I had with my Mom, two days before we moved her to hospice, 5 or 6 days before she died. I'd crawled into the narrow bed with her after she had her morning sips of tea, and just stroked her and held her hand. She kept telling me I was her beautiful baby and she loved me, and somehow (after most of a lifetime of maintaining an emotional wall between us, based on my perception of her neediness), I was moved to let myself be that baby. I nosed myself to her nose, a little game of nosey-nosey, a toddler's kiss we know in our family, and perhaps you know in yours. The velvety texture is a cellular memory, an internal happy place, and while part of the tears for the loss of my tooth were also for the year's heavier losses (my dear mother, my father-in-law, my family-in-law rift), I fought them back by remembering what was left.
Oh, and one last thing helped me smarten up, suck back the tears. I remembered this guy, and all those legions who can't afford any kind of dental care. I know how lucky I am. . . .
Still, you can believe I did me some wallowing after I got home with a stash of prescriptions yesterday. So far, though, there's no swelling nor bruising (I've been ice-ing carefully) -- I do sometimes think this is a benefit of being alert (no Ativan, no sedative at all pre or during or after), as I've heard of people who "go under" for dental surgery getting pretty bashed up. . . but I also know Rob was being really careful to leave the bone in good shape so that it will eventually welcome and nurture the implant.
Today, Pater's hurried over to Vancouver to baby-sit Harriet. I, unfortunately, have to head to campus because I stupidly forgot to bring home some texts I need for a time-sensitive task that can't be delayed. But then I'm hanging by the fire and may even put on a Christmas tune or two. And I'm picking up some ready-made eggnog as a treat, since I'm on a liquids-only diet.
So what do you think? Is that the silliest reason you've ever heard for wearing Festive-Casual on a weekday, during the day?
What do you do to get you through the tough stuff? How do you gird your loins, soldier up, get the Big Girl Panties on?
And what would you wear this outfit to, and which shoes or jewelry would you pull from your closet to transform it? (or I'll lend mine, if you'd like ;-)