Summertime 2017

As a school teacher, I have long enjoyed gloriously relaxing summers. In my early years of teaching I typically taught during part of the summer, but in the past six years I have savored up to twelve weeks of work-free vacation filled with relaxation. Relaxation, even during summers when I worked, is swimming, kayaking, reading, one or two weeks vacationing elsewhere (Cape Cod; Maine road trips; visits to Olympia, WA to visit our younger son), taking workshops, seeing family near and far, and indulging in pastimes or whatever tickles my fancy without the constraints of time.

This summer was a glorious hodgepodge of nine weeks of non-stop houseguests! The constant was our older son, his wife and their two children. During the first five weeks our visitors also included my daughter-in-law's mother, and then her father joining us for the last of those five weeks. The following three weeks we settled into a household of six. And the final week was hands down the most heart warming week of all, as our younger son and his girlfriend flew in from Washington State. It had been almost two years since my family was last together, and the reunion was all the sweeter as it provided ample time for reconnecting, and for our grandchildren to get to know their uncle and he to get to know them.

Summer highlights…

  • Stamford Museum and Nature Center
  • Greenburgh Nature Center (amazed it took till being a grandparent to visit!)
  • Tibbetts Brook Park (twice! and see the end of this post for my almost-86 year old Aunt's recollections of when she and my Mom went to Tibbetts Brook!)
  • Rye Playland (where I made a goof and went on a ride with my grandchildren and agreed completely when my 28 month old grandson said "Grandma, this is dizzy!)
  • games of Hearts with the Olympia contingent
  • lunches and a dinner at Sal's Pizza (especially when my daughter-in-law's parents were here, including multiple stops for Sal's devilishly rich gelatto)
  • delicious family meals, including pizza by the pros! (all but one cooked at home, and almost all eaten on our deck)
  • lots of conversations, some in French (with my daughter-in-law's Mom, who also speaks English so we both were able to practice our conversational language)
  • a kayak or two with our grandchildren
  • Nail Polishing
  • plenty of visits to Mamaroneck and Harrison Libraries
  • having my younger son and his girlfriend practice yoga in two sessions that I led (he followed my journey to becoming a yoga teacher with encouragement and support)
  • long mornings spent on the beach at Rye Town Park (where we discovered we are considered Seniors - 62+ - and each purchased a 20 dollar pass providing unlimited free parking and beach access)
  • numerous (some weeks daily) afternoons at our neighborhood pool and beach
  • occasional bicycle riding, with our granddaughter graduating from her balance bike to a larger bicycle with pedals
  • walks to CVS, Lord's Farm and Mangone's, all less than a mile from our home
  • with my older son and grandchildren, visiting the neighborhood in Yonkers, NY where my father grew up in the 1920s and 1930s (my Dad lived at 272 S. Broadway [more on the visit here] and his Dad owned the Studebaker dealership [more on that here] just a few blocks south at 350 S. Broadway) followed by brunch at The Corner Cafe
  • going with my grandchildren and son to attend his graduation after three summers/two years of study with the Montessori Training Center Northeast in Hartford, CT (Master's of Education studies and AMI Primary Training certification; AMI is Association Montessori International), and while there visiting the home in West Hartford where my husband lived for many years (that's the house, below)

At times my husband and I felt wiped out by day's end, sometimes even before day's end! We found ourselves having to acknowledge our energy depletion, both physical and mental. Eventually, when our son's four weeks of studies were completed and he was no longer spending Mondays thru Fridays in Hartford, our days found a summer mellowness. We quickly saw that having Papa home provided a consistency and stability that two sets of grandparents, despite our collective best intentions (or perhaps because of best intentions ;-)), were not providing, and the consistency and stability resulted in fresh reserves of energy for Fred and me.

What brought our family to spend nine weeks with us (and ten weeks next summer!)? Our daughter-in-law is studying for her AMI Assistants to Infancy certification, and the program is based in New York City, just a 40 minute train ride from Mamaroneck.

We have had priceless time with the people we love. We have glowed in the gathering of our two sons and the people they care about. Happy Sighs. 

-----

My Aunt Joan's memory of going to Tibbetts Brook Park:

Memories.  We used to go to Tibbetts Brook for canoes and swims.  Lived in the Bronx but probably wasn't for Westchester residents only or had to pay an admission.

You can tell this to A. & E.  Go back 80 plus years.  I figure I was about 4 or 5.  Mother packed salami sandwiches and we would pick nick and eat lst.  Then, because old fashioned idea of don't go in water till1hr. After you eat, my dad would take out a canoe.  Eileen and myself went with him - of course only one who could swim and not well at all was dad.  No such things as life vests or rules in those days.  My mother would sit and watch and worry.  One day she realized that if the three of us went under she would be frightfully upset - but she still never got into the boat.

Then into the most gosh awful ugly suits for swim time.  We had to wear sneakers so as not to get germs on feet - ha! And also walk through a foot bath/basin of disinfectant (with the sneakers on) when leaving dressing room.  There were fountains spaced out in the pool and kids had a lot of fun under them.  Men wore bathing suits with tops to cover the chest.   We were only kids wearing sneakers - mother was super cautious. I think bathing suits were wool.  Women wore heavens knows what - maybe there was a corset built in, I remember a lot of hooks.  Sorry, no pictures from that era but I recall it vividly, especially asking "Is the hr. Up yet" because swim time was the main attraction.

You mentioned it and brought back memories.  Now you're taking your grandchildren to the same place.


Niece's High School Celebration Luncheon

This past Sunday we were guests at a luncheon to celebrate our niece's graduation from high school. This was an informal luncheon in a lovely location – a second story outdoor, covered deck overlooking Plandome Bay on Long Island Sound. The weather was glorious, and across the Sound we could see a small flash of rain, right over the area where we live.

At first I was going to wear a new dress with these wonderful shoes. After seeking my husband's opinion, I thought a different dress might work better, but he had the same reaction. Last change was to switch to pants. Then there was the small matter of which top to wear. The one I wound up with was the third option. And all that mulling over of an outfit paid off handsomely as I received multiple complements on my outfit, including one woman who went deliciously gaga over the whole ensemble. And of course, the shoes remained the same throughout all the clothing switches. Scroll down to see the completed outfit from head to toe.

I rarely receive such effusive complements, let alone quantity of positive comments, so all that mulling over was well worth it because I felt like the proverbial "million bucks" and apparently I looked it, as well! I've long believed that if you feel good about how you look then you will shine and others will feel you look wonderful. 

The handsome gentleman with me is my best friend and love of my life, my husband of 39 years (though if you count how long we've known each other, it's closer to 45 years!)

1 Year Yoga Anniversary!

On June 23rd we celebrated 1 year of yoga at my neighborhood community center. It was an especially heart warming celebration for me because I am the person who teaches/leads our yoga practice. Indeed, just days earlier I celebrated my 1 year anniversary of becoming certified as a yoga teacher.

To commemorate our yoga community, I suggested we have a breakfast celebration following our 8:00 to 9:00 morning practice. Here I am nibbling on a homemade cookie and standing next to our table of communal goodies. And below that you can see all the treats, many of which were homemade. I contributed apple cider and homemade vegan granola bars from the minimlaistbaker.com. I have been searching for such a bar for months, having followed at least three or four other recipes but never liking the texture of the finished bar. This one was perfect! (And I had the added delight of making them with my grandchildren!!)

2 Day Yoga Workshop

I have taken two days off from school to attend a Restorative Yoga Level 1 Teacher Training in Westport, CT at Kaia Yoga. This will be my third workshop with Jillian Pransky and I am eager and ready for this next level in my training and learning.

Stephanie of Sound Body Yoga is my friend and fellow yogi who encouraged me to pursue my 200-hour teacher certification. Among other modalities, she is trained in restorative yoga, having taken her training with Jillian Pranksy. I am an admirer of Stephanie's approach to teaching and how she leads her classes, so it made perfect sense to pursue my training in restorative with Jillian.

This is what I looked like yesterday morning before leaving for the first day of the workshop. This isn't posted for a fashion statement; just as visual reminder for me in years to come when I glance thru my blog posts. :-) The only fashion note is the skirt, purchased from Athleta online last year as a birthday gift so as to have a cover when needing to wear my yoga clothing out in public beyond just a quick entry or exit from a place of practice. Turns out I did not need to wear the skirt, but given that my drive would be on the highway, about 35 minutes in light traffic, I'd much rather have the skirt on if I needed to exit my car.

Come to think of it, for sentimental reasons the yoga top and leggings are also worth noting. The leggings were a gift from a colleague at the beginning of my first year (five years ago) at the school where I currently teach. She retired at the end of the year, but not before enlivening my life with her personal stories. French by birth, she lived in the U.S. and returned to France every year, which is where these leggings came from. The leggings are all cotton and as comfortable as can be, and she kindly gifted me two leggings, both the same color.

My top is by lululemon. My Mom died in 2010 and had wanted to be cremated. On the day I picked up her ashes I determined to bolster my spirits in some manner. As it turned out, I was driving past a lululemon store and decided to go in and see what all the fuss was about, lululemon at the time being a popular yoga brand. I wound up purchasing this top and a pair of capri gray bottoms. The top turned out to be comfortable, easy to move in, and long-lived (it's going on 7 years and still in good condition). The bottoms I do not wear that often as they are only comfortable at the end of the summer and early fall, when my weight is 5 pounds less than it is by the end of the winter! 


Blue on Deck

These Land's End seersucker shorts may not be the *most* flattering on my belly, but they are fun to style, quite comfortable to wear, and appropriate for work. I wore them not too long ago with a pink-purple top and sweater and below is today's style.

Given what I did at school today (climbing on a stool to stand upon a counter to tack numerous items to a wall that was all cork), I couldn't have dressed more efficiently except, perhaps, for wearing sneakers!

A sure sign that spring has arrived is the green of the grasses upon the marsh and the lushness of the trees. In the earlier photo there is still brown upon the marsh.


Hat Attack!

I have always liked this style of hat. This particular hat was a gift from our daughter-in-law to my husband. It was handmade in Ecuador, where she, our son and granddaughter lived for almost two years. They spread their time between Quito (where her sister lives with her family), Ibarra, and their home in the Chota Valley. (Our son blogged about their experience at living off the grit.) I was also the recipient of a multi-colored wide-brimmed hat, and am laughing now because either my head has expanded or the hat has shrunk, but my husband's hat fits my head more comfortably than my hat.

I also quite liked this outfit, and tried to persuade my husband to take a second picture to highlight what was under the much-loved Gap jean jacket, but as you can see, I did not prevail! To accompany the beige (off-white?) straight-legged pants from H&M was a gray Gap ribbed tank top, over which was a short sleeve, V-neck, yellow and gray striped Gap tee-shirt, and over that was a light weight gray button down Gap sweater, in case extra warmth was needed. 

The green patterned scarf comes from Brugge in Belgium, purchased in 2007 when we traveled to Europe to see our son (who popped over for 8 weeks while he was living in Japan) and meet his then-girlfriend (now our daughter-in-law, they met in Japan, both being on the same language immersion program at the Yamasa Institute) and her family, (her Dad is Belgian and her Mom is Peruvian.) Long distance, cross-continent romances run in this family. :-))

Am wearing currently favored gold colored earrings, and silver and gold bracelet from The Turnover Shop, and lotus flower necklace, a gift from a friend (and the person who encouraged me to be on this journey) in honor of my 200-hr yoga teacher certification last June.

Hooking up with Judith Boyd's Hat Attack on The Style Crone. I am an admirer when it comes to Judith's blog. Her elegance as a writer, dresser, and artist is always inspirational, and reading her posts is soothing while also being creatively stimulating.

Classily mature

I felt classically mature Thursday morning in this outfit! Sweater is by the Gap, pants are Talbots from years (and I mean years!) ago, and art tee is Land's End. Shoes are the amazing character shoes by Capezio. Orange earrings are a gift from my daughter-in-law (which her sister brought from Ecuador, where she lives.) I've always thought it was amazing how a simple sweater (or jean jacket) can pull an outfit together. Simple. Grown-up. Comfortable. And the day ended in sunshine. :-)

Mid-week

Yesterday was Wednesday, what we sometimes call "hump day" for being the middle of the week. This has been a week of overcast and drizzly days, continuing as I write this Thursday morning before school. The temperature has been slowly rising, making it easier to go without socks, for instance.

I wore an international outfit Wednesday - tunic purchased in Belgium from the Spanish shop Desigual, French Souleiado leggings given to me years ago (at last 15) by a British-French friend, silk scarf gifted from my younger son on a trip to Laos, and Belgian-bought and gifted to me blue Hush Puppies. (WHY are the Hush Puppy styles different in Europe from the styles in America?! I much prefer the European heels and styles.)

And I wore a sentimental outfit Wednesday - lace tank top, turquoise necklace and turquoise-silver bracelet were my Mom's, turquoise earrings are gifted from my older son. Only non-international, non-sentimental piece is my Gap polka-dot sweater.

My husband (kind photographer even when I may forget to give him credit :-)) and I continue to giggle over some of my "poses" such as the one of me without a sweater or scarf. I think just plain "standing" is not my cup of tea, and much prefer the pictures of me when I am doing something with my body beyond a simple standing in place. Hence, I prefer the sweater picture. :-)

April Overcast

Wearing my hair pulled back with a kerchief as a headband has always reminded me of I Love Lucy episodes. I sometimes think my inner style maven is 1950s, which would make sense as I was born in 1954 and grew up admiring my mother's outfits of the 50s and 60s.

The day was damp with a chill in the air, and after a weekend of wearing pants and sweatshirt snuggling on Saturday, all I wanted to do was wear a dress. Tomorrow the forecast is for chillier and much damper (think: rain) weather, so it may be pants but either way I get to wear my new polka dot boots (gotta have something to keep the spirits up!)

I have had this patterned Eddie Bauer leaf dress for probably 15 or 20 years. It has held up wonderfully thru machine washing and on-hanger air drying. Being it is sleeveless, I am wearing a J.Jill short sleeve green tee underneath and J.Jill knitted bolero-type sweater on top. Grey leggings by Uniqlo.

Turquoise earrings a gift from my older son about five years ago, blue and green stone bracelet a gift, also about five years ago, from a friend of my younger son's, and lotus flower necklace a gift from a friend in celebration of my 200-hour yoga teacher graduation last June.

Smoothie - Kale & Friends

Last week I had my annual ob-gyn check-up. My most wonderful (I have always had kudos for this doctor) gynecologist recommended the following smoothie, which she has almost daily.

  • Kale
  • frozen or fresh strawberries
  • frozen or fresh blueberries
  • frozen or fresh blackberries (basically, any berries can be added)
  • coconut or almond milk (I currently use almond)
  • almond butter
  • apple (optional)
  • flax seed
  • and I add tumeric

The main point of this smoothie is to blend into one delectable drink calcium-rich kale and those ingredients that help with calcium absorption. Quantities are to suit one's taste for flavor and consistency. I was initially surprised by the lack of yogurt and banana, both staples of the smoothies I indulged in every day for many years, and was delighted to discover they weren't necessary for making a smoothie. (I stopped the yogurt and banana in order to cut back on sugars and dairy as a means of naturally managing hereditary cholesterol levels. And guess what – success!)