Saturday, June 25, 2022

No lululemon for us . . .

Almost thirty years ago I was reminiscing with my sister, Judy, about shopping with our mother for our 'good' clothing, quality-wear from an upscale women's clothing store where we had help of Miss Miller, the equivalent of a personal shopper. Miss Miller would present garments she'd selected for us to try on, responding to Mother's phone call a day or two ahead, but Mother would be the tie-breaker if differing opinions arose over which garment to buy. It was she who ultimately determined what was age appropriate and becoming to her daughters. If she didn't approve, it was unlikely we would be getting it, although sometimes Miss Miller, the personal shopper, could gently change her mind. 

Because Judy and I were having trouble remembering each other's favorite items during our conversation, we decided to make renderings of them from memory to show each other. I made these twelve little watercolor sketches of my favorite items; she did the the same of her favorite outfits, and we gave them to each other as birthday gifts in 1993. A dozen years later, we traded them back so we each had a visual record of our own favorite clothes. Recently I rediscovered mine tucked away in the back of a drawer. I'm sharing them here because they may not make the 'cut' during my giant downsize endeavor. 

The four above are high school vintage, 1955-1958.
The comments are to my sister regarding what I
recalled about them back in '93. Mother enjoyed
taking us shopping, and I certainly don't remember
ever complaining about such excursions! 

The four items directly below show garments
from college days, two purchased in anticipation
of making a good impression as I went through
sorority 'Rush." Even though they didn't get
me an invitation to join the sorority of my
choice, I happily wore the clothes throughout 
 four years of college and many more years.

The outfits depicted in the last four drawings
are all about my wedding, way back in 1962.



Saturday, June 11, 2022

M-m-m . . . you smell good! What is it you're wearing?

Women of a certain age (try over 70) will no doubt remember being asked that question. If not, it's likely they didn't wear any scent. When I was growing up, it was taken for granted that most adult females wore cologne, toilet water (lol, even that term can mystify some young people today), or perfume. 

I was not alone in the years of older teen-hood and early twenties as I searched for my signature fragrance. Every department store had multiple sales women walking around with sample scents to try. Most of the college-age women I knew wanted to have a gentle fragrance that would be associated with us and unique in our circle of friends. Did we really want others to know we were around the corner? or had arrived at a party? I hope not . . . but I digress. Fine perfumeries and cosmetics companies still create and market fragrances, but thankfully, patronizing public spaces while doused in your personal scent is no longer an acceptable norm.

I was twenty years old --1960-- when I found my scent, a French perfume called Visa by Robert Piguet.  I was in Paris with my parents and tried a sample at a Parisian perfumery. It was so beguiling (both Mother and Dad said it was a lovely fragrance, as wafted from my wrist to their nostrils) that I bought a small bottle and began to wear it. It was entirely mine. No one I knew had ever smelled it, heard of it, or noticed it for sale before. Months later when I had used up the small bottle, I had to research where I could buy it in the USA; it was tricky to find. Nevertheless, there was a distributor somewhere in New Jersey, as I recall, that put me in touch with a Seattle specialty shop carrying it. Eventually I had to order it from a perfumery in New York.

As the years went on, it began to be more and more difficult to find. I'll spare you the details and perhaps you've already figured out why my favorite perfume either had to be discontinued or renamed. Yup, my lovely scent had become a brand-name of a new concept and EXTREMELY popular product called the 'universal charge card.' Gulp.

And who wanted to smell like a credit card? Was there any market for a perfume with that name?  I'm sure sales plummeted and eventually Visa by Robert Piguet was no longer to be found even at the New York perfumery. I kept hoping Robert Piguet would rename it and market it under a new moniker, but no. The scent was retired forever in the early '80s.

This tiny bottle in the photo goes back, I believe, to my first purchase in Paris. Of course, these sixty-plus years later, opening the cap releases the putrid stink that only perfume-gone-bad can exude, but I've kept the empty bottle tightly closed as a reminder of an aspect of the person I once was. I am tossing it away today as I begin a giant downsize for a giant move I'll be making. More about that to come. I thought it only fitting the the first thing to throw out would be the smallest thing I own. The photo and this post will help me remember those long ago days and my personal scent called Visa!

 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Casting a long shadow

No doubt you've heard the expression "She (he) casts a long shadow" as many times over as I have. It's trite but an effective visual, often meant in the most complimentary way. Most of us would take pride in hearing that said about about themselves. 

And . . . it can also be used in a detrimental way to describe how someone has negatively affected a discipline or enterprise. It's all about context.

On May 20 slightly before 8 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, I turned away from the blinding sun rays coming at me from the western sky. I was out for a short fresh-air jaunt before settling into an evening of streaming a Seattle Symphony concert in my living room. I looked down and was amazed at what I saw. 

Really? I have THAT much influence? OR . . . am I that big a pain in the you-know-what?  Don't answer! 

Friday, May 20, 2022

How lucky can a person get

Today, as I looked out my window, I had to ask the question: Does it get any better than this? Certainly it doesn't get any prettier as the trees and lawn green up and the sky turns blue with spectacular clouds rolling by.

In a five minute walk I can be at one of two local parks: The golf course we, the people of Bothell, saved from development (it's still unnamed, but maybe soon) to roam and meditate, and a snippet of land known as "Red Brick Road Park" to get my steps in without any obstacles (like people or bikes). Red Brick Road commemorates the last remaining section of roadway that 100 years ago connected Bothell to the outlying areas of Seattle.

No kidding--it doesn't get any better than this, nor does it get more beautiful. I am one lucky person.
Peek-a- boo view of (former) Wayne Golf Course Park
Red Brick Road Park



                   


Monday, April 25, 2022

The BARE Den becomes the BEAR Den

Many years ago now the day arrived when it was time to dismantle my late husband's home office from which he conducted his consulting business. One of my offspring helped: we took apart a large L-shaped glass-top desk, sold it on Craig's list and offered up, free to anyone who'd like them, custom-built bookshelves and three tall file cabinets. In one afternoon the bulky furniture was carted away by people thrilled to have office furnishings. We then rearranged the remaining several shelves along the walls and essentially closed the door. 

The space ceased being Jay's office and became just a bare room, and the shut door was a way of not missing him so much. Within a few weeks I began to refer to the room as "the Bare Den," as a way of having a little fun with words. That's when it occurred to me: MY BEAR COLLECTION could live there! Multiple stuffed bears were currently stored in boxes in a closet. I wasn't quite ready to give them away, but I didn't want them cluttering our condominium, either.

One-by-one I set them out and now the BARE DEN stayed open and morphed into the BEAR DEN, which is what I still call it today, seven years after the take-down of Jay's office. Lately, I've been doing a series of daily physical therapy exercises for my knees and hips while lying on a yoga mat in the Bear Den. As I lie on the floor I can see the bears in their 'caves,' a storage shelf Jay built back in the day when we had hundreds of LP records. I have to admit, it's really fun looking at the bears as I do my repetitive and boring exercises. Please meet my stuffed cuties that I look at as I exercise on the floor. I'm liking their company.

Friday, April 8, 2022

While living alone recovering from a mild case of Covid-19 (omicron)

You've decided on a menu for lunch using the diminishing selection of food in the fridge. After all, you've been in isolation for five days . . . and without a housemate, a loving family member, or a lady-in-waiting to prepare something delicious, you make do with what you have. Grilled cheese--that sounds good, even if you won't be able to taste it. Nourishing comfort food--just what a patient recovering from her coronavirus might like. 

So you heat the skillet, slice the cheese, spread butter on the bread, and start the sandwich, while you wash an apple, set the table with a napkin and placemat, and pour a glass of water. Is it time to turn the sandwich? Probably. 

This is what happens when you cook without a sense of smell.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Unwitting Gifts are Anywhere

In the Poetry Potluck sponsored by the local YMCA we write poems to semi-monthly prompts given to us by our poetry facilitator or his designee. We meet over Zoom for an hour twice a month to read aloud and chat. Through our poetry prompts and the resulting poems, we've become what feels like friends, yet most of us have not (and may never) meet in person. It's been a lovely perk during the other 'P' even we've all experienced in the past two years. Thank you, Y!

The most recent prompt for a poem was "advice/words of wisdom received." Instead of writing about a specific gift, I wrote a poem about one of my favorite notions--something a person hears inadvertently that becomes advice and can even be profoundly helpful. Nine years ago I wrote a post on the topic and published it on this blog, which I reference in this link

Here is my poem written last week on the same topic.

THE UNWITTING GIFT

Anyone can give you an unwitting gift, 

and that anyone will likely never know it.  

Offhand or sloppy is how the gift is wrapped,

its ribbon like a crumb stuck on a sleeve

            that draws you in, but goes unnoticed by another.

It’s a gulp of truth spoken in passing,

expelled like breath and enveloping you 

with an ah-ha, and unravels a knot of

worries and concerns or questions inside 

            that helps dissolve an undigested mental lump. 

Maybe you hear something on the radio 

and as your ears swallow the phrase, you realize 

how starved you were for this very thing, 

word-food which silences an unknown craving

            that soothes your insides from the inside out. 

 You might receive an unwitting gift in a checkout line,

or as anecdotal sharing in a good-friend chat, 

even from a person you don’t much care for,

but someone has brushed past you with the dustpan

            that holds the puzzle piece you didn’t know was lost.