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 clothing (think: Shakespearean times) and 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.

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!

Before the Rain, the Sunflower

Before the rain deluge, this was the vibrant sunflower growing in a pot on our deck. It was of great sentimental delight because the sunflower was planted by our grandchildren earlier in the summer. 

Bursting forth!

Several days in a row

View from the rear

The day before the rain

and after the rain…a wilting plant, a vibrant Morning Glory in the same pot, the smaller sibling sunflower semi-wilted from the storm and, finally, the fully drenched and windblown full sunflower determined to hang on!

2 out of 3

This past week was a three day week for me, with Wednesday being a holiday and today, Friday, my usual day off. I wore dresses two of the three days, opting for warmth yesterday when it was quite chilly and cloudy out, plus the MakerSpace I spend much time in is  highly air conditioned. This is what happens when the heating and cooling systems are tied into the climate control for the kitchen, which is directly under the MakerSpace. With wanting to wear all of my dresses at least once before some are relegated to the hall closet, I will continue to opt next week for leggings and – gasp – tights if need be!

First dress is the "famous floral" (read about it here) and second dress seems to be my "drizzly day go-to" (read about a prior wear in such weather here). I still love the floral but am not so sure about the second dress. The dress is starting to feel uncomfortable in the shoulders, which has me contemplating seeing if the top can be cut off with a change in zipper and wearing it as a skirt. Most likely the cost for having that done professionally probably is not worth it in terms of how often the skirt might be worn. Decisions, decisions.

Jewelry consists of three different earrings, all from Ecuador. In the second outfit I intentionally chose two different earrings. The smaller one is part of a new pair that has a matching necklace; the larger one part of a treasured pair, half of which was lost about two years ago. Confession to laziness…no individual photo of the jewelry…

Triple Play Friday

Not just a delightful day but a triple times delightful day beginning with leading my regular Friday morning yoga practice at our local clubhouse (scroll down the page to see the space where we practice yoga). 

Hmm, just realized it was a quadruple play as yoga was followed by a walk with Fred, something we usually try to do early in the morning when weather permits. From yoga I headed to Moss Cafe in Riverdale to meet friends for lunch. I think the picture says it all!

The day wound down with Fred and I attending The First Annual Westchester International Baroque Festival at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, in walking distance from our home. This was the same Church where we saw a stunning performance of The Messiah this past December.

Our jaws dropped when our mouths weren't wide with smiles at not only hearing and listening to Vivaldi's Four Seasons, but equally enchanting seeing the performers, particularly Olivier Brault playing solo violin and Mélisande Corriveau playing soprano recorder. Olivier Brault and his violin are a mesmerizing music-making marvel, each an extension of the other. I was astounded and absorbed and thoroughly delighted. The video will give you a slight sense of Brault's music making; but to see, in person, him play and move and connect with his fellow players was truly a special treat. And to think that it happened in our small Village of Mamaroneck!

From the Festival program:



One Day Work Week & New 'Do'

What, a one day work week! Yup, a one day work week. The school I teach at takes two days for Rosh Hashana, the start of the Jewish New Year, and so school was closed Monday and Tuesday. Fred and I had a lovely five day weekend together, beginning with my usual day off on Friday (led a yoga practice and then we drove to Baltimore), the weekend spent in Baltimore with our family (celebrating our granddaughter's 6th birthday), and Monday and Tuesday spent doing a variety of odds and ends around home (including my getting a stylish new hair do!)

School reopened today and for everyone else it is a three day week. Tomorrow, though, I have taken a personal day in order to attend an 8:30-2:00 orientation at the Westchester Correctional Facility, which is required in advance of my co-leading yoga practices on Fridays or Saturdays once or twice a month, beginning at the end of September. (You can read about that here on my yoga blog.)

Back to today! I was determined to wear another dress, despite the MakerSpace being blasted with air conditioning. Next week if I want to continue with dresses it will require adding leggings to the mix!

This dress was purchased at The Gap just prior to the start of school. It is a color I don't usually wear, mainly because I don't have anything in this color. ;-) It's not visible in the photo but my feet are wearing light gray ankle socks and the souvenir Adidas sneakers from Victoria, B.C. Fred took a look and said "You're wearing the '50s" and he was spot on – I 'm all set to go jitterbugging. Earrings are the 3D designed and printed set by Fred. And, as almost always, the photo is by Fred, who is truly a good sport at playing along.

As for the new hair do…at the end of August I asked our older son to please trim the back, as it was getting long and the middle part  was beginning to resemble a rat's tail. He trimmed about three, maybe four inches, and I was content…for awhile. This coming October we will be attending two weddings, I have a birthday coming in November, and a friend who also has curly hair has been encouraging me to use the same stylist who cuts her hair. So off I went yesterday to a specialist in cutting curly hair.

I like the style very much and am finally mature enough (sophisticated, nah! but willing to try!) to enjoy and perhaps carry off the "big" curl look, which usually happens on humid days, of which today is one. The length has remained the same in the back but gently slopes to shorter in the front so that my face has some framing. In addition, the back has gentle layers to provide more curling opportunity. The trick will be to see what happens after my first styling attempt. :-)

And PS, between Fred and a neighbor yesterday, and two colleagues today I received compliments, which truly is nice because I figured that, as typical for me in the past, people do not usually notice curly haircuts because unless something major is done it often looks the same – curly!

1st week of school

Monday was Labor Day and Fridays continue to be my day off, making this a three day work week; truly, a civilized way to transition from the relaxed pace of summer to the quicker pulse of school! This first week back with children and colleagues was equal parts energizing, stimulating and tiring. 

Am determined to wear a dress daily until every summer and early fall dress has been worn once because, seriously, what's the point in having them if I'm not wearing them! 

These three days, Tuesday thru Thursday, were heat alert days. Thankfully, the room I am in is air conditioned, but of course the irony is it eventually gets so cold that my arms want covering and I eat lunch outside for a break of warmth.

Tuesday's outfit was a blue patterned, loose fitting, super comfy dress purchased at The Gap several years ago. Coupled with comfortable sneakers, I was poised for the inevitable spate of organizing and culling that comes with the start of a new school year.

Wednesday I upped the ante with my new-to-me skirt purchased in June on our trip to Victoria, B.C. Off with the sneakers and on with Land's End green suede strap sandals. Wearing different shoes each day is imperative to maintain the comfort of my feet and back!

Today's outfit comes from my outing to Eileen Fisher Renew in July. All about the outfit and the excursion here. What makes this dress, which could also be worn as a tunic over tights (just wait till late fall!) interesting are the pleats. The second picture also highlights the necklace, a favorite because of color, design, and – most of all – because it was made by Sarah, who grew up next-door to us and is now a mom living on Martha's Vineyard with her family. Super comfortable sandals are Merrell's and I am on the look out for a replacement pair as these will eventually wear out (they are easily seven years old.)

Just as I'm determined to wear all my dresses, likewise with my jewelry. The challenge to myself is to try and wear all of my earrings at least once and ideally not to begin repeating earrings till each one has its day. Tuesday's blue dress was accompanied by blue beaded matching earrings and bracelet, both gifts from Caroline (daughter-in-law's sister) who purchased them on a trip to Mexico. The orange 3D yoga pendant added a pop of color and always makes me smile because my husband designed and printed it.

The orange geometric-patterned earrings, also from Caroline (this time from Ecuador, where she lives) and gold-silver bracelet (from The Turnover Shop in Hampden, MD) added to the "dressiness" of Wednesday's skirt. The week was capped off with the wearing of the necklace described above and my oldie and favored inlaid silver earrings, gifted by Ginny H to me years and years and years ago.

Friends keep asking me if this will be my last year teaching, as 65 beckons in November, 2019. Several have reminded me to enjoy my "last first day" of opening faculty meetings and first day of school. Truly, it is difficult to say with certainty what I will do next school year or beyond BUT on my drive to school this morning a picture presented itself that made me smile with the comfort of it. Make this year a super year, as if it is my last, and then try to negotiate a contract for the 2019-2020 school year that is for the first half of the school year and concludes at the end of December, 2019. I ran it by Fred this afternoon and he thought it was a perfect picture! And in case you are wondering what I as an active, not-happy-sitting-around, preferring some structure to my day person would do with the newfound time, think: practice and lead more yoga, and go exploring with Fred. :-)