Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do I Look Fat In This Outfit?

I don't know about you but every time I try on an outfit, I ask myself if I look fat in it. Is that just something that women do? Or do men do that also? Ever since I was a young girl, I was worried about my weight. Are my thighs too fat? What about my hips? Are they too wide? How many calories are in this? Should I eat it?

I think about food all the time. Not just that I want to eat; I think about the fact that I should not eat something. I am always worried about the number of calories in everything. Sometimes, I don't even enjoy what I'm eating because I am worried about the caloric content. My best days are when I'm really thin but then I worry that I won't stay that way and, sure enough, I don't.

I just love to eat. and I wish that one day, I wouldn't worry about what I eat and what I look like. I have always had a little dimple on my upper left thigh. I have had this little dimple as long as I can remember. No matter how thin I get, the dimple is always there and I have always hated it. When I was very young and a majorette, I worried that everyone was looking at this dimple. Now at an old age with cellulite that is crawling down toward my knees, I still worry about this dimple. And it's like, "who cares?". But I care. I will probably be 90 years old and wondering if everyone is looking at this dimple on my thigh.

So I guess it's all about perfection and imperfection. I believe that if I didn't have this little dimple, I would be perfect. Wow, that's really arrogant, don't you think? But, seriously, do you think I look fat in this outfit?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Sewing Lesson

This is the first of a series of stories about my childhood. I have written many of these stories for my children but thought it would be important (for me anyway) to have them on my blog. The picture above is a picture of me when I was twelve. I know I look older than that but I'm not. This story, The Sewing Lesson, took place at that time in my life.

If my children can remember the very stylish clothing I used to sew for them when they were little, they should thank their grandmother. Beginning at age 12, I was forced by my mother (yes, forced) to take sewing lessons every summer. My mother would drop me off at the Singer Sewing Machine store in downtown Tampa and there I would be with my classmates and teacher, Mrs. Lazzara. Mrs. Lazzara was an Italian woman with jet black, dyed hair. She was not a fun person, not a fun teacher, not a happy lady at all. When she explained laying out a pattern, I barely understood because of my spatial disability which I didn't know I had at the time. Then when it would be time to cut the garment, I would cut it smaller than it was supposed to be because I always wanted to be thinner than I was, which was not very thin at all.

For some reason I could not sew straight and so the 5/8" seam was always crooked. Mrs. Lazzara would make us hand-baste all of the seams because it was against the rules to sew over pins. That was not allowed.

The first summer, we made a cotton jumper. It was the ugliest thing you ever saw. Mine was turquoise and I hated it. But my mother made me wear it a couple of times anyway. The second summer, I made an orange dress that I loved but could have never made by myself. I really think that Mrs. Lazzara constructed most of it because she felt sorry for me. The dress was sort of like a sundress with fabric that crossed in the front. It had a very tricky little seam which I would have never know how to sew. But I loved that dress and wore it a lot to junior high school even though one of my best friends had one just like it.

Mrs. Lazzara is most well-known for her pronunciation of "salvage edge". She used to pronounce it as if she had a mouth full of sandpaper. I didn't like her at all.

However, I did develop a liking for sewing and made some of my clothes during high school and college. The problem with me was that I always made my clothing to match the measurements I wished I had instead of the measurements I really had. Therefore, all my skirts had a 24 inch waist even though I actually had a 26 inch waist. And the hips...I would never make the hips the correct size so my clothes never really fit me right. I wonder when this body image thing began? So now, I'm a great fan of clothing that is not sized properly. I love buying a size six when it is really a size eight or ten. Takes me right back to my childhood.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Little Cottage on the Cape

The houses on Cape Cod are not all mansions; but this one was, and this is where the conference sessions were held last week. We had our "sessions" in the Mansion, our breakfasts and dinners in the Carriage House, and our lunches on the terrace overlooking the ocean. I felt as though someone had tapped my head with a magic wand and transported me to some place totally out of my own reality. Sometimes I don't know how to behave in places like this. The attire was stated as, "Cape Cod Casual". What does that mean, anyway? I really only just have "Ocala Casual" and so I didn't know what to take as a wardrobe.
I didn't take a bathing suit because I was not going swimming. So, instead, I packed two linen skirts and a couple of blouses. One of the skirts came from a consignment shop but was originally from Talbot's so that kind of fits with Cape Cod Casual. It is a floral print and I call it my Cuban skirt. I didn't call it that in Cape Cod.
I think I actually felt a little bit out of place in Cape Cod. I was the only person there who is retired. And I didn't have any friends with me like everyone else. So I mostly went around by myself except during the cocktail hour and lobster dinner when I mingled with everyone. I think it's important to mingle during a lobster dinner. I met some very nice people but I've already forgotten their names. I'm sure they've forgotten mine as well. I learned a lot about the Continuum of Literacy so I feel up to date on that topic. I just don't know what I'll do with all of this newly found knowledge. I learned that I don't want to spend time on Cape Cod in the summer because it's way too crowded. And I was really glad to get back to my little house in the country. It's wonderful to get away. It always makes me appreciate coming back home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cape Cod

Tomorrow, I leave for a three day trip to Cape Cod. I am attending an educational summit even though I am no longer working. The opportunity for this all expense paid trip was too good to pass up and even though I was retiring, the conveners urged me to attend anyway. And so I am going. This summit is an inaugural summit for Fountas and Pennell, the two guided reading gurus in elementary school reading education. I have been reading and studying their books for the past seven years but have never had an opportunity to hear them in person. This week, I will have a chance to hear their latest research in the world of reading and Response to Intervention. While all of this may sound a bit esoteric, it is important for me to keep abreast in the field. I have a granddaughter who is developmentally delayed and I want to know all there is about reading and the elementary child. I also need to know the latest on Response to Intervention or RTI because it applies to children with disabilities and other struggling students. And so there are no pictures on this blog today. I will save those for when I return. In addition to soaking in all that is new in the world of elementary education, I will be attending a cocktail party, a clam bake, and making many new friends. Just in case you thought it would be all work.

Monday, July 12, 2010

French Cooking With A Mediterranean Flair

While at the Folk School, Dottie and I made friends with Jane and Betty, two women who were taking the French Cooking class. As their final project, they were to invite one person each to attend the dinner culminating all they had learned during the week, and Dottie and I were their invited guests. As you can tell by the menu, we had a wonderful meal of great variety. Neither of us had ever eaten lamb but decided to be adventuresome and give it a try. It was tender, juicy, and delicious.
The kitchen was transformed into what could have been someone's home in Italy. The tables were set with lovely china, silverware, and linen napkins. Each table was lighted with candles and we looked out over the back garden through the room's many windows.
We sampled many kinds of wine from red to white to a French version of Anissette, a liquer from Spain. Following our meal, we were serenaded by a duo playing guitar and harmonica. This was certainly different from eating in the dining hall. Bon Appetit!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

View From The Porch

Each evening at the Folk School, my friend Dottie and I would sit on the back porch of our residence, drink a Coke, and talk. As the sun was going down, the bunnies would come out of the woods and the fireflies would begin to twinkle. Dottie wanted a picture of our view so she could remember it when she was no longer there and, so, this is the view from our rocking chairs on the back porch of Log House.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Visit To The Folk School

I just returned from a week long trip to the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina where I learned to do mosaics. It was a wonderful week of art, food, and friendship as I created the mirror pictured above and met many new friends both in my class and in other parts of the school. This was my fourth trip to the folk school and it never disappoints me. I decided that on this trip, I would go "electronics free" so that I could concentrate on art, the natural world surrounding me, and the wonderful food prepared daily and served family style in the large dining room.

At first, it was odd not checking my cell phone every few minutes for the latest news, email, or Facebook posting. But after a few hours, I noticed that I was much more focused on my project, was much more conversational, and was able to enjoy every step of my class without wondering what was happening in my pocket.

My mosaics project was extremely fun to work on. We used a method called Pique Assiette which is the art of creating mosaics with broken dishes. Our instructor brought a lovely collection of dishes which we had the pleasure of breaking on the concrete pad outside the studio. We then spent many hours deciding on the placement of each color as we moved the glass around for just the right look.

I took my father's coffee cup with me and decided to break off the handle to use on the middle right hand side of the mirror. A knob from one of Aunt Minnie's tea pot lids is positioned on the bottom right. I found that my favorite part of creating mosaics is cleaning off the finished product. After applying the grout and allowing it to dry a bit, I loved wiping, cleaning, and picking off the grout with a dental tool. I spent over three hours on this task alone.

It was a beautiful week that I will post about for the next several days. I have learned a new art form which I love and so far, retirement is great!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

On A New Track

This photograph was taken by my granddaughter, Isabella, a very talented teenager with a lens. It symbolizes the beginning of a new track for me because today is my first day of retirement. I have been anticipating this day for the last several months and you, my blog friends, have been extremely supportive in my endeavor. Well, here I am. I awakened at 5:55 am. Wow, I slept late!! I am usually up by 5:30. So I have hopes that my body clock will re-set at some point so that I can actually find out what my body really wants to do. I have always been an early riser so I doubt that will change. I am most productive in the early morning. So now, I will see what I am productive with? Is that proper grammar??

I have totally rearranged my art studio and am ready to begin work. I have a new art piece in my head that is both nostalgic and whimsical and I will have to give it life soon so it doesn't take up all my "think" time. I have made a commitment to walk everyday so let's see how that goes. For now, I'm still in my pajamas; I'm on my third cup of coffee; and I need to fill the bird feeders.