Victoria Souvenir, Restyled

I have been waiting all Fall to wear this swirly second-hand skirt, perfectly colored for Autumn and bringing bounce to every step of the day! Wednesday dawned sunny and warm, and I would be presenting at an admissions open house event in the evening. My plan for this outfit came together a few days earlier, aiming for a bit of spiffiness coupled with a bit of spunk. I received compliments on the outfit and felt "like a rock star" all day, as Sheila would say!

Story behind the skirt is here. Story behind the boots is here. The multi-colored bolero-type sweater is from J.Jill years ago, necklace by my neighbor's daughter, also years ago. And if you are wondering who Sheila is, check out her blog here.

Election Day 2018 (yesterday)

I was determined to help out and do something active on Election Day – either drive people to the polls or knock on doors and remind people to vote. In an email from the local representative of Moms Demand Action, a group advocating for common sense gun laws, it was noted that Pete Harckham, running for New York State Senate, received an F rating from the NRA (National Rifle Association) and his opponent received an A rating. I promptly checked out Pete's views on the issues of his voting area, which is across the county from where I live, and realized that if he were running in my area I would be voting for him, so I signed up to canvas for him on Election Day.

But first, Fred and I walked up to our polling place to vote at 7 in the morning, delighted by the heavy turnout. Then off I went to school for first and second period classes, my only classes of the day. After an early lunch I headed north to Sleepy Hollow, smiling because this district encompasses Phelps Memorial Hospital where our grandson was born in 2015.

I was not completely clear about where to report, first being asked to stop by one person's home to pick up materials and then being confirmed for working at Philipsburg Manor, so I went to the home first. It turns out that canvassing was no longer necessary but I was welcome to go to the polling location at the Manor and hold a placard. Eager to do something, I took the placard and headed off to the Manor, relieved at being told there was an awning to stand under because it was pouring rain.

I knew that legally no placard holding could take place within 100 feet of a polling place, and had been told the awning area was okay. However, the first voter to see me immediately questioned if I was allowed to be where I was. Not wanting to accidentally be too close to the polls, I followed her inside and asked the poll watcher, who kindly came back out in the rain and explained that the edge of the awning by the parking lot was off limits but just beyond the awning was okay. He suggested I stand under the awning and hold the placard just beyond it.

In order to take the picture I set up my camera under the awning, stepped out into the parking lot and turned to face the polling building, which was the museum shop for the Manor. Otherwise, I was standing under the awning facing out towards the lot.

My message to voters was "Thank you for coming out to vote on this rainy day." About 10 minutes later a man heading in to vote said, rather gruffly, he did not approve of what I was doing and I should not be there. This surprised me a little and I was eager to speak with him after he voted. I asked if he would please explain his sentiments, and we proceeded to have a brief conversation. He thought Pete was a very nice person and wanted to know if I was holding the sign of my own accord or had been asked to do so. I explained that a representative of Pete's campaign committee had asked me to hold the sign. He then went on to say that he didn't think people should do electioneering at a polling place, that voting was a very private process and voters should not be subjected to advertising at the polls, and then off he went. Standing in the rain isn't the best environment for a conversation!

His comments did get me thinking back to my experiences voting. I did not have a firm opinion on seeing people campaigning at the polls but do have a recollection of having a conversation about that years ago (and do not recall what my opinion was back then!)

Soon after another gentleman stopped by looking for Kykuit. I directed him into the polling building, which also houses the ticketing office for Kykuit, and on his way out he stopped to say that he completely admired what I was doing. That was a pleasant and interesting change from the previous two conversations! Turns out he is British, recently retired from 32 years as a Barrister in London, and had returned to New York to visit those locations he had missed years ago when he lived here for awhile. His adventure would take him to upstate as well as Vermont. We chatted a bit and he went on to explain British traditions around elections, saying that placards and such were part of their process.

Before heading home I took a photo of the No Electioneering Beyond This Point sign, something I had not initially seen because in the rain and wind the sign had wrapped around itself.

The last time I worked on Election Day was in 2008 when, along with three other friends, we drove to Pennsylvania and spent the day canvassing there to remind people to get out and vote. That day felt momentous. Fred and I have already decided that for Election Day 2020 we will sign up to work the polls in the morning, and then I will contact a local group to see about driving people to the polls. 

Last Day of October

Yesterday was the last day of October, Halloween, and a glorious day weather-wise! It began early in the morning with the first frost on the marsh, the chilled air causing me to drive to school with gloves on, and

concluded hours later with a glorious walk on the Boardwalk at Rye Town Beach and Playland, where the abundant sun was warm enough to forego hat and gloves.

Ahhh :-)

Baltimore Museum of Art

This weekend included Grandfriends' Day at our grandchildren's school, along with the Harvest Festival, which wound up being rescheduled for next weekend due to predicted strong winds and rain. One of the perks of Grandfriends' Day is after visiting classrooms and delighting in our grandchildren showing us around, we leave with them for early dismissal, visit their school book fair, go out for lunch and ice cream, and then make an adventure. 

Our adventure for this year was the Baltimore Museum of Art, a first visit for our granddaughter and me, and a second visit for my husband and our grandson, who had been here once before with his Dad. I was immediately smitten with this airy museum because the people who work and volunteer there are immensely friendly and relate well to children. On top of that, entry is free and the art work is displayed in spacious rooms with fun passageways between collections. Several of the collections have children's activity booklets designed to make the space accessible to youngsters. And the collections are varied yet small enough to absorb on a visit, though on this visit we only saw a small bit of the museum's collections. Most definitely this is a place I would like to return!

Here are photos from the hanging exhibit in the atrium of one of the entrances. More about the Museum can be found here.

Second Wedding of the Month!

We spent a contented whirlwind in Philadelphia this weekend, visiting with Fred's brother and attending a family wedding. Saturday Steve trained in from West Chester to join us for lunch and a visit to the Barnes Museum. 

Years (perhaps 15ish) ago, Fred and I spent a weekend visiting the Barnes in Merion, Philadelphia when the collection was housed in its original space. Part of the magic of viewing the collection then was its location in the home of  Barnes, where he purposely hung works or displayed furniture pieces in very particular places and arrangements. You can read more about Albert Barnes here, and the Barnes Foundation here. Taken together, the articles provide a cohesive background on the collection, the aims of Barnes, and the fascinating multi-year story of how the collection came to be housed in its new home and new building in Philadelphia. Curiously, on the current Barnes Museum site I could not find any information about Barnes or the original history of the collection or its move. 

Most of the photos from our visit were taken by Steve using his spanking new iPhone with the phenomenal camera and screen resolution. The reflecting pool just outside the entrance was captured twice, once on our way in and then again on our way out. Because the camera is waterproof, the second time Steve submerged part of the phone in the reflecting pool! Me with the Matisse is a photo taken just to send to my Aunt, as several years ago she, Fred and I had a plan to visit the Barnes together in celebration of her birthday (till her bout with the flu kiboshed that adventure.) Still, it's never too late to experience the Museum second hand! And the photo of the women totally wowed me and I had to share it with friends. With seven current and former colleagues from school we named ourselves The Disrupters, and wouldn't you know it – this art work has eight women; perhaps the original Disrupters? ;-)

Of course, our requisite three-some selfie! On the upper part of the wall behind us is Matisse's "45-by-15-foot triptych" The Dance II, commissioned by Barnes in 1932.

The wedding we attended was for my cousin's daughter. The ceremony and reception were held in the ballroom of the National Museum of American Jewish History, with cocktails on the third floor Freedom Experience, which afforded us opportunity to walk through parts of the Museum's Core Exhibition. In addition to the collection, which I would like to spend more time perusing, the 2010 building is impressive and you can read more about its design here.

Out of respect for my relatives' privacy I am only sharing two photos from the evening. One is the reverse side of the program and explains the traditions observed during the ceremony. The other is the table display for each person's place card. At either end of the display are photos of the bride's (on the right) and groom's (on the left) parents on their wedding days. The four black and white photos are of the bride's and groom's grandparents on their wedding days. As you might imagine, family plays a large role in both families.

And here we are, in our cocktail hour finery. :-) (One without a flash and one with; couldn't decide which I liked better!) When we were packing for the trip, Fred quipped that his wedding shoes truly were his "wedding shoes", as they are the same pair he wore to our wedding 40 years ago! For the curious, details about my dress are here, when I wore it for my birthday last year.




First Wedding of the Month!

Delightedly, we have been invited to two weddings this month, one of which was yesterday in Poughkeepsie, NY, and the second which will be later in the month in Philadelphia, PA. The Poughkeepsie bride we have known for at least 20 years. Indeed, when she was in 7th grade she was a student in a required class where I taught HyperCard (an old favorite!) We have known her parents even longer, as we all taught at the same school.

The invitation stated "Casual Dress" and the vast majority of women wore pants, and only one or two men wore jackets and ties. We smiled to think we were overdressed, because that is definitely not our usual M.O.! I was tickled to finally wear this orange Eileen Fisher dress (scroll to view), and even more tickled because way back in July my husband said it looked perfect at the length it is and encouraged me to wear it to this wedding.

The ceremony was held in the Shakespeare Garden at Vassar College. This was a celebration for family and friends on the east coast, as the couple was legally wed several weeks ago in California where they reside. The bridal party wore period clothingand the ceremony included dancing, wine, handfasting (a first for us so I just looked up its meaning), and a reading by a close friend of the bride's mother. [UPDATE 10/21/18 - Bride's Mom said it was okay to post a photo of the bride and groom.]

Afterwards the entire wedding party and guests reconvened at a dance hall not far from Vassar where we were treated to a wonderful array of food, music at volume that was so perfect we could actually have conversations with others (!), dancing, and dessert. The bride, groom and their wedding party arrived about thirty minutes after the guests, and we oooed and ahhed to their first dance which, of course, was choreographed by them. (They are both dancers, singers and overall performers.)

After the champagne toast the goblets were to be taken home as gifts, along with a lovely handmade card by the bride's father (an artist and art teacher).

We had a lovely time experiencing our first-ever Shakespearean themed wedding and a reconnecting with colleagues from school, some of whom we hadn't seen since leaving eight years ago.

Fun!

It was a busy, full, fun week at school. Haven't been able to say that in a long, long while, and not just because there was a gloriously long summer between the end of the last school year and the start of this one. Last year was a tough school year. This year looks like it will be markedly improved. Yippee!!

Monday I dressed for warmth in the MakerSpace. Tuesday I dressed for joy. And sometime during the week Fred caused a smile when he emailed me an amazing photo of his most recent outdoor sculpture that greets me every morning and upon every return. Ahhh. :-)

The bold necklace and matching earrings (worn with the second outfit) are from Caroline (daughter-in-law's sister) and her current hometown of Quito, Ecuador. All pieces are hand made. The necklace can be made shorter or longer by an ingenious system of matching cord – hold one end and pull the other and the length changes.

Earrings, earrings, everywhere

I wear pierced earrings every single day. In the summer it's usually the same pair but during the school year and whenever there is an "occasion" I wear one of my many pairs. For years the earrings lived in a velvet lined box (from an old jewelry box) in the top drawer of the dresser. This made it unwieldy to locate particular earrings because every time the drawer was opened and then closed, the earrings would resettle on top of one another. 

I've always thought it would be easier to choose which earrings to wear if they could be visible on a daily basis, and they would last longer by not getting tangled if they could hang from something. 

Thank you Fred! He heard my woes and designed, printed and assembled a solution that is perfect! 

View from the top…maybe this gives you a sense of the many limbs for hanging.

One of multiple possible "front" views…I can rearrange by color, size, material, sentiment (yes, I know the origin of every pair!) as suits my mood. My silver jewelry, including silver earrings, resides in a slim rectangular aired-out cigar box that I lined with material especially for protecting silver from tarnish.

Necklaces and bracelets plus gold jewelry reside in the velvet lined box, and necklaces from Ecuador reside in a lovely porcelain container that was my Mom's and a wooden box made by my brother-in-law.

All Spring & Summer Dresses have been worn!

Yesterday I wore the final spring/summer dress to school, and can now smile and state that between opening faculty meetings and yesterday all of my spring/summer skirts and dresses have been worn. Yay! However, due to air conditioning (brrrr - very cold in the MakerSpace) and cool, rainy days, some of the dresses wind up being covered on top, giving the impression of being skirts. Yup, I DO have on a light weight down vest over a long sleeve cotton sweater, and that IS a scarf around my neck.

This first picture is yesterday's dress as I wore it during most of the day, and the second picture is what the dress actually looks like! And yes, your eyes do not deceive, I am wearing boots (!) and leggings. It rained and rained yesterday, causing massive flooding on roadways for the afternoon rush hour. I no longer have rain boots so these boot were the next best alternative. Plus they kept my feet warm as well as dry.

This Dress

Sometime in the 1980s I purchased this dress at Head & Foot in Orleans, Massachusetts. My sister-in-law worked for several years at the store and I recall being impressed that she had corduroy jeans in five or six different colors. Browsing the store was always a treat because I never knew what I'd find, and whatever I found was different from what could be purchase at home in my New York suburb.

This dress continues to enjoy a long life! Today it went to school accompanied by a tee shirt underneath, leggings, a sweater and a lovely green/yellow infinity knit scarf (last photo at bottom of the page). You've likely realized it was a cool day and the air conditioning is still on in the MakerSpace at school.

I wear it every year though not very many times each year, so perhaps that is why it's life has been so long. Its versatility has popped up at our younger son's graduation this past June,

opening faculty meetings, August 2016,

and the marriage of our other son and daughter-in-law, July, 2013.

A change of shoes and jewelry, an addition of a scarf or belt, and voila, a comfortable outfit blossoms. The scarf was a gift from a colleague at the end of this past school year. Typical to form as a giving and generous person, she was not returning to school this year and gave gifts to her friends. The scarf is hand knit by a neighbor of my friend, and her company is Bloom Handmade Studio. As for the scarf, I love the color combinations and appreciate the warmth, like a cup of hot ginger-tumeric tea!