About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Closet Fashionista

(Our hostess for this week's Fun Monday is Alison's 13 year old daughter ,Cassie, over at RDH Mom . Cassie wants to see the inside of our closets. She needs to know if adult closets are as messy as hers. Well Cassie, this is a timely topic because over the past few weeks I have been thinking about what's in my closet. As you can see from the photo below, my closet is not messy, but it is very bor-rr-ing! Let me tell you why.)

Look at this sad wardrobe. Just a lineup of black, brown, and grey slacks and sweaters. On the floor there's an equally boring pile of sensible black and brown shoes. This is what I buy and wear. Over the past couple of week I've decided that I definitely need a fashion makeover. Tim Gunn, can you help, please!

I've miss you all for the past couple of Fun Mondays because I've been on vacation in Europe. That's where I began thinking that my wardrobe was the pits. Before leaving on the trip, I bought new black and brown slacks and sweaters and sensible Hush Puppies walking shoes from Land's End catalog, my normal fashion shop. No sooner had I arrived in London than I began to start comparing my non-wardrobe to the high fashions of European women. My hotel in London was within walking distance of Oxford Street, one of the city's busiest fashion spots. And, the London Fashion Week was in full swing. Look at these store windows with their fantasy designs in the colors of the rainbow. The only designer I recognized was Stella McCartney, Sir Paul's daughter.
And then the first day of touring I snapped this early photo out the bus window of young designers lined up with their latte skims waiting to get in the show area to set up for the Fashion Week runway activities.

From London we travelled on through The Netherlands, Germany, and Switzerland. No fashion insecurities there. Everyone seemed to dress as sensible as the tourists. Then we

stopped over in Venice. Oh my, were we not pitiful in our functional travel pants and athletic shoes! Take a look at these Italian women, turned out perfectly to stroll through the streets for morning bread.

Even injured puppies made a fashion statement.

We shopped for exquisite handmade lace blouses and skirts on the small island of Burano near Venice one afternoon. I didn't buy because the largest size appeared to be zero. . .

However, back in Venice I took the fashion plunge and bought a beautiful Italian shawl to
wear with my black/brown wardrobe. Willie reluctantly agreed to model it because he's not afraid to nonchalantly throw one end over his shoulder. I'm hoping to get up enough fashion attitude to do the same soon. . .

Most of the women on the tour couldn't resist these beautiful fashion accessories. They wore them during the day to escape the chill on the water or as a coverup for an on the bus nap. Everyone broke out their newest shawl purchase for evenings out to dinner when a little dressing up was called for. I wore this one on our final evening in Paris when we saw an authentic caberet/can can show. More about that later!

After leaving Italy the next fashion stop was in Paris. Everything about the Parisian women spelled elegance, no matter what they were doing. The photos below were shot from the bus early one morning as we drove down Paris' famous Champs-Elysee. Can you believe these women were going to work? Note the heel heights, suits, and handbags. Anything for fashion!

Parisian women even look good riding their bikes to work!

So, Cassie, what are you learning from your peeks in our closets? From mine I'm sure you've learned some big fashion "nots"! As a 13 year old girl, I'm sure you're interested in fashion. Hope you and all the other Fun Monday participants enjoyed my European fashion tips. Now I'm off to check out some closets!

(Click on the photos to embiggen. Best way to get the details of fashions captured in motion.)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Final Citron Presse

(Our hostess for this week's Fun Monday, Woodlandmama , has thrown out a rather unusual challenge. She wants us to write the first paragraph of an unusual, but not real, love story. I was tempted to write about a dog, but that would have been too easy. So, here's my first attempt at writing a tale of love. One as bittersweet as the citron presse shared by the lovers on their last morning together.)

Eduard left his apartment just off the Place Stanislas in Nancy, France. His route through the town was a familiar one. Four days a week Eduard met groups of tourists and students in the square and led them on explorations of Nancy's world famous Art Nouveau architecture. Today would be different though. He was meeting only one person, Madeleine. Eduard was pleased that the blue doors of Madame Perrin's flower shop were open. He carefully selected a small bunch of lavender for Madeleine. The fragrance would remind her of the warm afternoons they spent together on day trips through the French countryside. Madeleine sat on the steps of King Stanislas' statue in the square, waiting for Eduard. Without saying a word, she held out her hand. Eduard gave her the lavender and picked up her suitcase with his free hand. They walked silently to the cafe across from the train station. Eduard stopped at the ticket window to buy Madeleine's ticket back to Paris. She went on in the cafe. He found her at their special table. Two citron presses were already on the table. By his drink, Madeline had carefully placed four packets of sugar.Tears stung Eduard's eyes. On their first meeting many months ago, they has shared a citron presse. Madeline had given him her sugar that day. Today, however, Eduard knew that no amount of sugar would ease the bitterness of saying "Goodbye."

(Hint: if you want to get a closer look at Eduard's neighborhood, click on the images to embiggen. And, when you recover from this bittersweet tale, be sure to go over to Woodlandmama's and check out other Fun Monday love stories. I suspect we'll have many good reads.)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Cajun Tiger's Blog Spot--and Mine

(Our host for this week's Fun Monday is Gattina over at the very colorful, cat-friendly Writer's Cramp website. Gattina's giving us a chance to share photos of our blogging space. What better way to get to know each other than to share where we all love to spend too much time!)

I found the Cajun Tiger's image of a blogger's brain last night when I was googling around for inspiration to write this week's Fun Monday post. Now I'd love to give Cajun Tiger more credit for his spot on illustration of the place where most bloggers spend a lot of time--inside our heads--but he was probably very preoccupied last night. His profile has him living in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and he was probably on Hurricane Gustav watch last night and not spending much time blogging.

I started blogging just over a year ago and now everything is potential blog fodder--day to day experiences, the past, current events, entertainment, books. When I walk Willie my blogger's brain is constantly thinking about possible posts and the particular slant I want to give the writing. I only post once a week and, based on my own brain swirlings, can only imagine how those of you who post daily may be scrambling to get your thoughts organized and online.

Earlier this month I did share photos of my actual writing space. Here it is again for those who may have missed it:

This is my office retreat. When I retired I turned a bedroom into a relaxing space where I can work on the 'puter, blog, stay connected with friends through e-mail, paint when inspired, read, and kick back with the latest Netflix film. If you look closely at the photo you'll see just the tip of Willie's tail and leg. He lays on his yoga mat under the desk when I'm at the computer. I like that a lot. Another thing that means a lot to me in this room is that all the great furniture you see was a retirement gift from my former colleagues. How cool is that? They presented me with a very generous gift certificate at my retirement party and I furnished this room with it. Much better than a gold watch!

Now head over to Gattina's place to get an insider looks at other Fun Monday blog spots. And, if you're in the path of Gustav, take care. We'll all be anxious to know how you fared--that goes for the Cajun Tiger as well.