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. :-)

Return to School with Faculty Meetings

This week marked the return to school starting with faculty meetings. For the sheer fun of being able to write this blog post, my very patient husband obliged me by taking outfit pictures each morning. This week saw a heat wave of temperatures in the mid to upper 90s coupled with heat alerts and air quality alerts, so my goal was to dress comfortably while taking into consideration that there would be some spaces blasting cold air. (This is the post from last year's first day of meetings.)

The first day of meetings always takes place on The Hill where the middle and upper school campus is located. Walking to campus I came across Mickey & Minnie looking ready to jitter bug. They obviously were not bothered by the heat!

On Wednesday Helena and I returned to the scene of where we shared many a lunch table and conversations during her first year at school. Although the day was piping hot, we were comfortable in the shade and preferred the outdoors to the hustle and bustle of the dining room inside.

Unlike Sheila, I have no set approach to highlighting jewelry. This photo contains the week's choices in one picture. The green and the pink earrings were hand made in Ecuador, both having come from Caroline (my daughter-in-law's sister.) The white earrings were designed and 3D printed by Fred and then I placed a pair of purple earrings inside, the earrings having once been his Mom's. And the sparkly purple earrings were purchased at the Hampden Street Fair in Baltimore.

The bracelets always make me feel like super woman with full support, the support being my Mom on one wrist and my Dad on the other. The silver cuff was made by my Dad for his Mom sometime in the 1930s when he went to camp. If you look closely you might just make out her initials of ASR burnished into the silver. The silver bracelet with turquoise in the center and leaf cut out was a gift from my Mom, probably from a trip my parents took to Arizona.

Since Fridays continue to be my day off, I am ready to relax on a long weekend since Labor Day is Monday. Hoping to swim everyday, if need be in-between the rain, take a yoga class, walks, and perhaps a kayak or two pending tides and weather. 

Chocolate chip oatmeal raisin vegan cookies

Seriously, what else to do during the last week of summer vacation, with a diagnosis of strep throat just this morning, and beautiful sunny swimming weather forecast tomorrow through the weekend – bake vegan chocolate chip oatmeal raisin cookies, of course! And cut the recipe in more-or-less half because neither Fred nor I needs or even really wants 36 cookies.

Cutting the recipe non-scientifically and only semi-mathematically yielded 11 cookies, just enough to fulfill both the "need" and the "want" (absolutely two different verbs!) 

Oops, no idea they would spread out this much! Looks more like a vegan chocolate chip oatmeal raisin flatbread than 11 cookies. The true test, though, and the more important one is how do they taste?

Along came yet one more afternoon rain burst. Fred was comfortably ensconced under the deck awning, reading a book, when the rain fell. Exhilarating to experience the rain up close as an observer and have it as the soundscape to a read. Ha, even captured Fred having just captured the artsy sky.

As for the look of the cookies…how does mushy-mania strike you?

And the taste…not much is needed to get a chocolate chip oatmeal raisin hit, but to my taste buds they are too sweet and not firm enough. I may have overdone it with the quantity of chips plus not enough flour and too much oil… ;-) Still, with a glass of almond milk all strep sorrows are easily drowned in a sea of sweetness. :-)

Week's end in DE

From the time we left Annapolis to the time we arrived at Jon's and Pat's in Lewes, Delaware, the driving portion took us three hours, a bit longer than anticipated but not totally unexpected due to the solid 30 minute wait to cross over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge as we left Annapolis. Hungrily, we took a minor detour for lunch at Snappy's Grille, about 35 minutes from Lewes. Let's just say that large portions are a way of life at Snappy's. Fred and I split a club sandwich, and at half size the sandwich was closer to the full size that I consider standard. Fred chose Snappy's Grille because we were hungry but also because he was curious to find out if Jon was familiar with it, as Jon is most definitely a connoisseur of interesting and local eateries. (Turns out he hadn't heard of it beforehand.) 

As we were paying our bill the waitress who served us began to wax poetic about the crab dishes, at which point the owner/chef went into the kitchen and returned to show us a bucket of freshly chopped crab that was harvested from local waters. He was quite proud of the fact that it was real crab and insisted I take a close look. I'm not a fan of crab dishes but that didn't stop me from letting him know I understood what a big deal it was to have local fresh crab with which to prepare dishes. 

The day being sunny and hot, we appreciated the blast of air conditioning that greeted us upon arriving at our destination. As the day wound down we piled into one car and met our niece and her family at Cape Henlopen State Park where we spent a delightful time frolicking in the water (all but two of us), nibbling on snacks, and just plain enjoying ourselves.

Afterwards, Jon wanted to take us to a semi-local find (about a 20 minute drive) of which he had recently become a fan. It was 8:00 at night by the time we had dinner, way too late for our taste. Suffice it to say Fred and I both thought one visit to this restaurant was more than sufficient. I'll leave it at that!

The next day we had all agreed to meet Lisa and family at 7:00 a.m. for a family cycle to Rehoboth and breakfast at Egg. Fred and Jon provided car backup while four adults cycled, one with a child in a children's bicycle seat and one with a child on a bicycle that was the third wheel of the adults cycle. This was my first experience riding a "beach bike" and while I quite liked the stability of the thicker tires (my bike at home is a 30-year old Peugeot racing bike) and being able to sit upright rather than slightly hunched over, I was not a fan of the wide handle bars, which apparently are designed to make the bike easier to control on sand. 

We had a scenic, level (as Jon says, all of Delaware is level!), and uneventful 7.5 mile ride, definitely earning our delicious breakfast. First photo is en route, second one is arriving at the restaurant.

After breakfast one child went home via car, leaving the rest of us to cycle home via a slightly more scenic and longer route thru the state park we had visited the day before. Crossing the road in front of the restaurant took a bit longer for half of us and by the time we arrived on the other side of the busy road my sister-in-law had already begun her cycle home. By the time we caught up to her, she had taken a spill off her bicycle. Although when we arrived she was standing up with her bike, it was readily apparent that she had sustained a fall. And the final outcome? A broken right elbow and a possible fracture of her left arm, along with numerous bruises along her right side. 

Once we arrived back at the house Fred and I determined that we wanted to make space for our family to focus on what they needed to and not have to think twice about guests. After checking with Steve, and once the afternoon thunderstorms seemed to pass, we returned for one more night's visit with him, one more walk in Oakbourne Park, and one of the easiest drives back to New York that we've experienced in a year of multiple drives along this route.

And the good news is that as of this writing, a week and a day later, the surgery on Pat's elbow was successful, healing is happening, and she is poised to leave on Tuesday for a planned trip with Lisa and family to Iceland. Yippee and Whew!

Middle of the week in MD

Our first stop after leaving Steve's in West Chester, PA, was Kennett Square, about half an hour SW from his home. We wanted to do a quick explore of the town as it was a place suggested by Fred's brother, Jon. Since we would eventually visit Jon we thought it would be fun to tell him we stopped there, but it turns out we completely forgot to mention it! However, we did purchase some jam for the friends we would visit in Annapolis, and it turns out that one of them had a connection with Kennett Square from many, many years back!

From there we continued along our way to Baltimore to deliver a trunk full of items to our son's home. A week and a half later he and his family would be heading home to their house after ten weeks visiting with us and this drop off would make sure that everything returned to their home while still leaving room for four people in their car! Of course, we HAD to stop at The Charmery and get our favorite flavor ice cream, Maryland Mud. Oh yes, and I HAD to stop in at Ma Petite Shoe (where these beauties - scroll to see them - were purchased about a year ago) to see what was on sale. Wound up with a super soft leather pair of plum Mary Jane heels made by Earth Origins, same company that made my sandals, purchased locally where I live, and burgundy boots, purchased online.

From Hampden it was south to Annapolis, the capital of Baltimore. The last time we were there we likely had two children with us, easily 20 or so years ago. Our only recollection was of the Naval Academy, so we were looking forward to exploring with the eyes of newbies. Our first evening we dined at Reynolds Tavern in the historic old city. Following dinner we strolled to the harbor, walked through the grounds of the Naval Academy, and passed the capital building and governor's mansion on the way back to our car.

Our plan for Thursday was to explore neighborhoods in and around Annapolis and then head to visit friends formerly from our neighborhood in New York. I got a kick out of the traffic calming sign, meant to forewarn drivers of some obstacle in the road designed to slow the flow of traffic. As for the various neighborhoods we visited, none struck us as livable according to what we have come to love about our home in New York – being able to walk into town, having a local library, homes close enough to meet neighbors and feel like a connected neighborhood, water access for kayaking, and a local outdoor pool. We know those features work for us so we use them to gauge the livability of neighborhoods we explore, and we've been exploring up and down the northeast coast for upwards of ten or more years.

We were joining our friends at their home for lunch and intended to visit with them for about three hours. After chatting, lunch, a walk to the water, followed by relaxing in Adirondack chairs at water's edge and talking some more, it turned out to be a full six hour visit filled with catching up, politics, and neighborhood discussions.

Our home away from home was the comfortable Meadow Gardens Bed & Breakfast, and the breakfasts truly were scrumptious. An added perk was Hazel, a smallish Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, one of several small dogs we delightfully encountered during our week's road trip.

Friday morning, before heading to Delaware, we decided to explore one more area just south of Annapolis. And that's when we discovered Annapolis Cove and Bay Ridge, which Fred nicknamed "Shore Acres South." Nearby is Quiet Waters Park (which we didn't visit) and the Anne Arundel County Public Library (which we did visit.) We didn't measure distance so not sure these places were walkable, but a nice bicycle would certainly suffice in place of walking, and a shopping center with a Giant (food store in Maryland that sells the same store brand as Stop & Shop in our area) across from the Library. By our criteria, this is a livable, walkable neighborhood.

To drive to Delaware, our next visit, we had to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, described as a dual-span bridge because it is really two bridges, one for heading in either direction. There was so much traffic to Delaware that one lane of the Maryland-heading bridge was designated for Delaware-heading traffic, and that's the lane we wound up in. This is a BIG bridge. And we were inching forward in 30 minutes of traffic before actually crossing the bridge. The picture was taken from Annapolis Cove as we drove along the Bay road.