Monday, December 31, 2012

What are YOU doing New Year's Eve?

When the bells all ring and the horns all blow
And the couples we know are fondly kissing.
Will I be with you or will I be among the missing?

Maybe it's much too early in the game
Ooh, but I thought I'd ask you just the same
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's eve?

Wonder whose arms will hold you good and tight
When it's exactly twelve o'clock that night
Welcoming in the New Year
New Year's eve

Maybe I'm crazy to suppose
I'd ever be the one you chose
Out of a thousand invitations
You received

Ooh, but in case I stand one little chance
Here comes the jackpot question in advance:
What are you doing New Year's
New Year's Eve?

Well folks, 'tis time to put another year to bed.  You all know i am a sentimental sort of gal, given to excesses of exuberance, excitation and extreme agitation.  I am also given to bouts of self-examination and I always like to take a moment to reflect back on the year that was.  I won't bore you with every little detail, but here for me were the significant moments of 2012 and I would love to know yours.  
I will keep it short and sweet!

1) The London Olympics/Queen's Diamond Jubilee Flotilla on the Thames

You know I love a spectacle.  The Olympics are always that for me!  My favourite moments:

Mo Farah winning the 10,000 metre race.

Sure, I liked seeing Usain Bolt win the 100 metre sprint.  But Mo Farah gave us drama and joy. 
and our good Canadian Women winning the bronze in soccer (football!):

They didn't make it easy for themselves, but they showed grit and heart and they took the entire nation on a rollercoaster ride with them as they did it.  Well done!

And as a student of history, even as I watched the Flotilla for the Queen's Jubilee, I knew I was watching something unlikely to happen again in my lifetime!  The little boats from world war II really choked me up.  How the organizers imagined it:

And how much better it was in real life!

And it appeared that every single person that CBC interviewed on the banks of the Thames was having a Pimms Cup for Her Majesty.  Or two or three.  Oh sure, they spent a lot of money on the old doll, as they like to say in these parts, but my God!  Those Brits know how to put on a show!

2) Paris

Oh many of you have been there before and know all about her.  I had even been to France and was feeling slightly blase..

But Paris sweeps you off your feet and around every corner is another beautiful spot or piece of history.  Paris, je t'adore!

3) My Blog

I went live on this blog in June of this year, pretty sure only a couple of people would stop by.  Imagine my surprise when people besides my husband showed up!

Oh I know - it is a quick pit stop in your day, and sometimes in mine as well, but it has become a place of real joy for me this year.  Everyone who pops in here, even those of you who read and are either too shy or disinclined to comment, are quite dear to me!  You have allowed me to natter on about all manner of topics, some fashionable, some definitely unfashionable, some glimpses into my life that you may or may not have wanted to see!  Some crazy thought I get in my head and just have to share.  But you have been so kind and funny and honest that you have become a highlight of my day,  You have also reminded me of how much I love to write and how much I love to connect with people.  So, thank you, thank you, thank you!

4) My Dad

This is related in great part to #3, but you all know that losing my dear dad (and last parent) has had a tremendous impact on me. 

What you can't see in this picture is that my dad is holding a pair of binoculars, is sitting beside me on a balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and is drinking a glass of red wine.  He is well and truly happy. 

My dad's passing has been both sad and joyous.  I obviously miss him, but I was lucky I had him as a dad for nearly 50 years and he has left me with a gift that, for whatever reason, has really stuck with me: live your life now, not some imaginary future when everything will be perfect.  So starting now, that is what I am doing.  Oh yes - he also left me the gift of a good laugh and a good bottle of red!  And sometimes rum!  Your kindness during the week before and after he died, both online and in private emails to me, gave me so much courage and gladness.  I will forever be in your debt and hope to repay those debts through other acts of kindness!

5) My Body

Gotta end on a light note!  in 2012 I realized that I:

1) am short
2) have long legs for a short person
3) sometimes channel the Michelin Man
4) have no waist
5) have no bottom
6) have crazy hair that I am quite fond of

But most importantly, I realized that I was pretty. 

It turns out if you post enough crazy pictures of yourself you come to see the good stuff, too, and I always thought I took a bad picture.  Nope.  It turns out that you gotta take a bunch of pictures in life to have the good and the bad.  It is quite fun to be two weeks away from turning 50 and realizing that you are good looking in your own way.  And that dressing well makes you feel prettier! 

So that my friends, was my year.  I will not post about the highs of my family out of protection of the innocent!!

Any highlights you are inclined to share?  Do you have big plans?  We will be home with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, a couple of games, fireworks and Ryan Seacrest and Anderson Cooper (I am a channel switcher!).  I will be wearing fancing pants and shiny shoes, however!


On the 7th Day of Christmas WMM gave to me:

An antique clock that doesn't tell the time

As you can see, this old clock, which has been in our family for well over a 100 years, no longer has its clock work.  It was set to a little after 4 pm by Barry and I a few years ago to remind ourselves that it is always 4 o'clock somewhere!  This clock has only chimed once in my lifetime and that was three years ago when it suddenly chimed.  We were all shocked and wondered if it was a ghost!  We then found out a few days later it was a mouse, which I thought was pretty impressive and quite Hickory Dickory Dock.

New Year's Eve is all about looking at the clock.  For some of us A-type personalities, it does us good sometimes to stop the clock and live in the moment.  I am reminded of my favourite scene in "Dead Poet's Society", when Robin Williams shows his class the display case full of pictures of long dead students:

They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.

Sometimes, we have to get really still and forget the clock and decide what we want from our lives.  The turn of a year is a good time to take stock, but so is any other day, any other moment.  And those changes can be big or small, from loving ourselves and our families better, to deciding to run away and join the circus.  Only YOU know what you want from life and what is right for you.  For those of you already living that life, I applaud you and want to know your secrets!  Well done! 

For the rest of us: 2012 is done.  May 2013 bless you and your families and give us all the strength to carpe diem in our own ways!  You so deserve it!

And above all: stay safe out there!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday, with Apologies to Lewis Carroll

"The time has come," WMM said,
"To talk of many things:
Of hobbits-es and red plaid pants--
Of dress-do-overs-with bling--
And why my shape has nary a waist--
And what tomorrow brings"

So I have officially crossed into the realm of Vacationland - I do not have a clue what today is.  When you read this, it will be Sunday, but all of the days since Christmas have officially blurred together, one giant conglomeration of truffles, scotch shortbread, turkey, movies, and the odd partaking of spirits, both of the red wine, champagne and baileys variety.  So imagine my surprise to discover when I got up this morning that it was Saturday! 

#1 and only son and I went to The Hobbit this afternoon.  This was his 2nd time and my first.  I must tell you that I am a huge fan of all of Tolkien's books and all of Peter Jackson's renderings of those books on the screen.  Tabitha gave it good marks and I was quite pleased.  Again, ate whole large bag of popcorn.  Not proud of that, but there you go.

I did not think it possible, but it turns out you can have a crush on a middle earth dwarf.  This one in fact:

Richard Armitage Talks 'Hobbit' And Thorin Oakenshield, Takes A Phone Call From Sauron

Thorin Oakenshield, Soon to be King of the Dwarves, played by Richard Armitage.  Here is the actor in real life (or as real life as one gets):

Actor Armitage dons crown of Thorin

Oh, as a Dwarf King he is short, but then I am, too, so no worries there!

Yesterday I wore my plaid pants for the last time for the holiday season, then off they go to be dry-cleaned and then packed away till next Christmas!

Goodbye plaid pants - I wore you well!

Today, I dug back out my nougat London knit dress which I styled so horribly a few weeks back:

if you recall, I did not wear this out of the house.  Here is round 2:

No makeup here, but I think better.  The belt had slipped so I moved it up after I saw that in the picture.  I like this much better.  I really love this little blingy cardigan.  Thoughts?  I always wonder what it would be like to have a waspish waist...

Do you have your plans sorted out for New Years?  We do not - we thought we might have a houseful of teens but maybe not now, so we are holding off on buying the noisemakers, etc until Monday morning!  I don't even know what I will cook.  Disorganized indeed!  Is anyone planning anything glamorous?


On the 6th Day of Christmas WMM gave to me:

A Treasure Box with Remembrances of Sacrifices Made

I got his lovely little bevelled glass and brass treasure box for Christmas.  I plan to change the contents on a regular basis, but looked around my bedroom first.  I spied two stones, one from Juno Beach and the other from Omaha Beach that I picked up on our visit to Normandy France in 2008.  These stones have significant meaning and memory for me of a day honouring both Canadian and American soldiers (but for you Yanks - please take a visit to the Canadian museum when you go, it is really quite impressive!) and their sacrifices.  So they get to be the first treasure displayed in my little box!  I love little momentos like these of my travels and if they are natural items, like stones or feathers, all the better. 

Have a wonderful Sunday and stay safe out there!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Random Saturday Thoughts...

Okay First Things First:

Les Miserables!

I loved this movie.  It is beautifully shot, is well acted and is just an overall spectacle.  As you know, I like a good spectacle sometimes! 

Especially good - Anne Hatheway - she will break your heart.

And Hugh Jackman was amazing.  I am sure there are people out there who don't care for Hugh Jackman, but I think he is pretty spiffy!

It clocks in at a good 2 1/2 hours, but is faithful to the musical and is so well done that I think you can stamp it "classic".  I first saw Les Miz on Broadway in 1989.  This movie lived up to my expectations!

J Crew New Rollouts

I wasn't over the moon about the January roll-out.  Of course, I am shopped out and with my new self-imposed discipline about only adding one or two (or less!) items to my wardrobe a month or even two months, it has to be something VERY special to get me to part with my money!

What I did like:

Silk short-sleeve blouse

The silk short-sleeve blouse.  A nice addition for when spring finally shows up here in late April (which means I have lots of time to wait for this to go on sale!)

Jules dress in scroll print

Jules dress in scroll print.  I do not think golden mustard is the colour for me, but will watch for reviews of this, as I might be short enough to wear it!  I think it looks very chic, as does the Jules Dress in the Botanical Print:

Collection Jules dress in botanical print

The Rosie dress in colourblock also looks promsing, but again, am going to need to see this in real life (perhaps when I am in NYC in March):

Rosie dress in colorblock

No surprise, I also love the pencil skirt in the scroll print, but sadly, I know i cannot do a 27" length!

Long No. 2 pencil skirt in scroll print

Now, if they would just come out with a petite skirt in the blue scroll print below...

Bandeau tank in scroll print

That was it for me.  Am content to wait till I go to NYC and see some of these in person!


On the 5th day of Christmas, WMM gave to me:

 A beautiful sunset!  We don't stop and watch enough sunsets do we?  In winter, I see a LOT of sunrises as it so dark when we wake up in the morning!  It is nice to remind ourselves to stop and drink in the moment.  This was taken in France this past summer - I am sure Dani knows the view well.  I likely won't get to France again any time soon, but I am enjoying the memory!

Have a wonderfully relaxing Saturday! 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Miller Time Friday - Starting to Define a Style

Happy Friday All!
As we draw close to the end of the year, I am starting to think about next year, my hopes and dreams. I am also thinking about refining my style even further, something which you all know is a big challenge for me.

On January 14th I will be 50 years old.  This has come as a bit of a shock to me, since I basically still feel like I am 20!    It has also been an epiphany of sorts to me over the last few months, probably reinforced by my dad's death, that in my 50s I want to OWN myself fully, every single aspect of my life.  No more waiting for dreams, no more trying to be something that I am not.  And clothing most definitely fits into that category.

You know I am a magpie - attracted to all things glittery and colourful.  But this year, I have decided to be a bit of a hummingbird.  I used to think that hummers eat constantly, but since having multiple feeders, I have discovered that they also just like to sit as well, and if they have a dedicated source of good food, they are less frantic.  So in 2013, my wardrobe is going to become my dedicated source of good food!  And I will be the judicisious hummingbird - choosing my new flowers VERY carefully!  I will likely be getting some help to do this, but in the end, what I really want is a closet of a significantly smaller number of items which all go together, look fabulous on me and make me feel like I am wearing the clothes, versus me wearing Jenna or Gayle's clothes (do any of you resemble this remark, too?).  I still really like J Crew, I just want to be judicious in what I purchase there.  And I just don't want to chase my style, I want to define it fully myself and then only take what I need along the way.

In the spirit of this I decided to take a quick look at the few outfits of 2012 that I blogged here that I loved and which you seemed to like, too.  This would seem to me to be a good starting place for defining my style:

1) Identify your signature colour!  Pretty much anything with blue in it made me feel good.  But some colours, like the pagoda blue or a royal blue, really made my heart sing, especially if paired with simple silhouettes.

But pink appeared to be pretty good as well:

2) Simple is good

3) A good accessory or boot makes an outfit:

4) Boring suiting is okay, but add elements, like your signature colour, that really make it pop:

5) Sometimes you don't need colour

6) Sometimes you can jazz up pinstripe and look cute:

7) Dressing tonally makes sense when you are short and well endowed up top..

8) Show your legs:

9) You can go a little bolder if you don't make yourself a circus sideshow:

10) Invest in classic pieces

11)  Every once in a while, really let your colours show:

Club Fairy Shoes

12) and finally, simple and elegant dresses are a thing of beauty:

 So I think I kind of know where to start.... How about you?  Are you thinking of changing things up in 2013?


On the 4th day of Christmas WMM gave to me:

Some stained glass from Notre Dame Cathedral!

This picture reminds me that, even in beautiful places, you have to open a window and let the light come in.  If you aren't seeing all kinds of beauty, you are missing the Big Show!

Have a lovely day and Dani, since it is the holidays, I am going to bring leftover turkey along with a big bottle of pinot noir!

Have a safe day our there!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Replacing Jammies with JCew Chiffon Top in Pewter and stretchy pants

Well, as you know from yesterday's post, I went to see my in-laws.

And that meant one especially wretched thing amongst many other potentially wretched things (which in the spirit of Christmas I will nobley choose not to name!):

I have to get out of my comfy clothes. 


And I had to put on pants that required buttoning and zipping...

"It's too soon!" I cried aloud, as I stood in front of my closet and then looked down at my waistline.  "I haven't started the celebrity-fast-detox-purge-binge-whatever that I should have started at midnight last night!!"

But alas, I had not managed to fit that in.  And so, as I put on my two year old stretchy Cynthia Steffe jeggings/riding pants/pants-I-could-fit-into thingamajigs, I definitely needed a special top, something that would hang over my own hanging-over parts.  And I recalled that in one of the bleary-eyed 30% early morning madnesses of two weeks ago I had ordered two of the chiffon blouses - one in the pewter leopard, the other in soft fuchsia.  They fit perfectly and they were elegant and so I decided to keep them.

It is a lovely blouse, which seems to be sold out right now on the site, but which will likely pop back at any moment for even cheaper than what I paid.  It is a soft silk with substance and even after me being scrunched up in the backseat for 2 hours each direction, did not wrinkle.  A miracle!

No one but me dressed up at all for this event.  But I felt good.  And while I could feel all of my jiggly bits, I felt that I had camouflaged them quite nicely and frankly, we will deal with them on January 2nd. 

Here I am, looking slightly stunned!  I have paired them with my grey Tippi cardigan and when I arrived chez in-laws, I put on my purple tie ballet flats.  No one noticed.  I looked cute for a woman who feels like she has swallowed the whole turkey!

I thought you might also want to see the big surprise Mr. WMM provided me: garnet earrings and matching necklace.

While the coat was expected (I had chosen it after all) the jewellry was not.  I was shocked to get two pieces of lovely jewellry, which is indicative of

a) how much of a haggler he has become since he purchased the diamond earrings and now feels quite emboldened to go into a jewellry shop and get a good deal; and
b) how down in the dumps I have been in the last few weeks, both following my dad's passing, the lead up to Christmas in the wake of that, and my decision that it may be time to consider what I want to do for the next 15 years of my life.  I do not recommend such malaise as a way to get fine jewellry, but I am not complaining!

The necklace with a wee tiny diamond
One of the earrings (the other was already on my ear!)

A very nice surprise indeed!

I hope your week is going well!  We could not get tickets for Les Miserables last night and are hoping to hit there today!  Stay safe out there!

On the 3rd Day of Christmas, WMM gave to me:

Two hummers feeding by her honeysuckle tree:

In the darkest days of winter, and on those days when our spirits are feeling dark indeed, it is comforting to remember that summer will come again and so will these beautiful creatures.

Thank you all so much for stopping by.  You do not know this - but you are making me very brave indeed - more on that soon!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Boxing Day!

Boxing Day has always had mixed emotions for me.  It is still a holiday here - no stores will open around here until December 27th.  We continue to fight off the burning desire to lose this most beloved of holidays, which in the Maritimes is when you go see "the family". 

For us this year, this means going to see my husband's family.  This has gotten easier over the years.  Early on in our marriage it was less than enjoyable, but MIL has mellowed somewhat with age and I can now take my dose, so long as it is not more than 3 or 4 hours at a time!

However for me, Boxing Day makes me think of my mother's side of the family and Boxing Days in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.  Throughout the years growing up we would travel to my aunt and uncle's farm.  I would not describe these visits as terrible - my aunt and uncle had a massive farmhouse that was a joy to explore - but would describe them as being only one or two steps above total anarchy.  In-laws and old family members would drink way too much, there was loud singing and talking, typically a fight or two, often between my mother and her sister, and the house would be visited by an assortment of "characters", themselves already drunk, who would add their own special brand of magic to the festivities.  One of the cousins once brought a horse through the house. 

It was one of those events where you would have a 5 minute conversation with about 50 different people and then drive home in the blackness for 2 hours around midnight, feeling you had not had a real conversation with anyone.  The Chieftan's seminal Christmas album, The Bells of Dublin, absolutely captures the spirit, if not the actual events of my family boxing days, in their collaboration with Elvis Costello in the wonderful song "The St. Stephen's Day Murders".  I am quite certain that Elvis and I would have a lot to talk about if ever we should meet!  Download the CD and then read the lyrics -truest Christmas song ever in my estimation and a classic Chez WMM!

But... never no mind... how was YOUR Christmas!  Ours has been divine.  Dinner was awesome, everyone woke up in good cheer and loved their presents.  One could not ask for more!

Today's highlight: my new Cinzia Rocca dress coat:

I am feeling all Tabitha in this coat.  I think I could wear this over some dramatic dress to go to the ballet in Scotland, whatdoyathink???

Me sitting on my couch with my new blue plaid scarf, a gift from Miss GF that makes me look all healthy!  Is that Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em Robots?  Yup!  Big hit gift for my Biggest Boy!

One of the lovelier gifts was a picture of me and my dad that Barry had enlarged and framed:

1985 was NOT the kindest year for dresses... sigh..  But lovely picture!

Hoping you all had a grand day and that this Boxing Day (or St. Stephen's Day!) finds you well and not too stuffed!


On the 2nd Day of Christmas WMM gave to me,

A noble dog with a scarf like Grace Kelly....

YOU tell me that this dog of mine doesn't look noble AND chic..

And doesn't this picture remind you of another famous cover photo?

Stay Safe out there!