Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Houndstooth and Goodbye to T-town

In Tuscaloosa Houndstooth only means one thing--Bear Bryant's hat. Sorry everybody who has embraced it as just a fashionable pattern! I decided on this outfit to visit my old church and then to Taco Casa again with my aunt and uncle. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention going to Dreamland on Friday night for some ribs with white bread. Mmmm! So I kind of got a taste of Tuscaloosa but I'm going to have to go back when I can really see some old friends. Why don't I make more time for what's really important?

What Should I Wear to a Conference, Day 2 & 3

This is what I wore to the Symposium on Saturday. Since it was the weekend, I chose jeans and the sneakers are because I got tired of my feet protesting when I went out to walk during breaks. The mix of sitting for long periods and periodic jumping up for walks was really irritating to my feet somehow.

I wonder sometimes if people think I'm faking when limp out and stroll smoothly back in. It's an opportunity to educate about Rheumatoid arthritis, right? But not entirely fun for me. I believe it's the plantar fasciitis that makes my feet act a fool after sitting a long time.

An Exercise in Frustration
After hearing Dr. Ratey speak about exercise, I'm ready to storm my local school superintendent's office with research to show how STUPID it is that my kids have PE only certain 9 weeks as an elective when I had it daily 1-12th grade. I really think daily PE and ballet is how I got through childhood so well. Now I'm in the curious position of being a big advocate of exercise, but being the voice of reason as an arthritis sufferer. I simply can't "just do it" and push myself till it hurts. From experience I can say that if I don't really guard my joints, I have to stop exercising for a while to heal up. So for me, moderation is key. Even my dear husband who is super-understanding about my arthritis recently asked me why I don't add jogging to my exercise routine. Excuse me, shall I carry you to the Rheumatologist's office and show you my foot x-rays? I take it as a complement because hubby who believes I can do anything doesn't see my limitations, and he honestly just forgot.

There are still lots of people out there who think you're just lazy if you don't push yourself with super intense workouts. So let me be the voice of reason that says get out there, move your body the best you can and find things you enjoy. Swimming and kayaking seem ideal for me, but my co-worker thinks paddling all day would be torture. Yet she would do boot camp type stuff at a gym. Who is right? Both of us are! O.K. Now stepping off my soapbox. Besides, Kelly at RA Warrior says it so much better than I do. Worth a looksee!

Monday, January 30, 2012

What Should I Wear. . . to A Conference?

Well, considering I saw people in everything from suits to jeans, apparently anything. I felt under-dressed at the conference I attended this Summer in Montgomery, AL. Yes, I felt under-dressed in Alabama. Get over it. We have stuff like dentists and universities, honest we do. Actually, I think it's because my mom was there and this time I was alone, but we are so not going off into that. It's also entirely possible that I'm much more confident in how to dress myself now. So we'll just go with that.

Yes, the ADHD conference was totally worth sitting still for 3 days. And yes, I still think Dr. Barkley really "gets" ADHD like so many experts do not. Well, I did wander a little around the conference center but the schedule was so jam-packed I'm going to have to visit Tuscaloosa again to really get reacquainted with my old home town. After graduate school in '91, I left and haven't really been back.

Smells right to me . . .
In case you wondered if the whole smell as the key to memory thing is true . . . I have proof. Taco Casa smells just like it did the last time I set foot in one about 20 yrs ago. No, it is NOT a generic Mexican restaurant smell; it's a Taco Casa smell, trust me. And the fact that there was a Galaga video game in the corner did not help my sense of reality. For a second I thought it was 1986. The fact that I could look out the window and, thanks to the tornado, there was nothing between me and DCH Medical Center was something of a reality check. But this is a style blog, not a Catherine goes down memory lane blog. So . . .

Comfy pants, comfy shoes, comfy, comfy, comfy. Did I mention comfy? That is the key for sitting on your butt for hours on end. The most fascinating speaker can't compete with pinchy shoes, tight collar or a tag rubbing your neck. I believe I mentioned I have clothing sensitivity issues? Well, all this probably applies to all conference goers, not just weirdos like me. I was experiencing serious butt fatigue here and two days to go.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Spring Green in January

Before I left town we had the most glorious day I've ever seen in January. So I had to take some pictures to post while I'm gone. So enjoy while I'm in T-town (Tuscaloosa, AL) hearing my hero, ADHD expert Dr. Russell Barkley. In honor of this weird "mock-Spring" day, I wore spring green and basked in the sun just before throwing my suitcase in the car and heading out. Bama bound!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

More Winter Blues and Off For A Few Days

For the next three days I'll be out of pocket attending a conference, but I'll try to have a few posts going.

Hopefully my days of being limited to sneakers are just about over since my feet are recovered. I'm just being extra-cautious with them. The green belt came from the new Goodwill store that just opened up near my office. It's so clean and orderly in there and the clothes are grouped by color. I'm becoming seriously addicted to thrifting.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

This Blog Needs a Warning Label!

I say if medicine can have terrifying sounding side effects, then blogs can have side effects too. Objects in mirror may be more awesome than you thought! Surprising side effect to starting a blog where I subject myself to daily photos? Increased confidence! I've always been something of a wallflower in large groups. Close friends and my hubby know my irreverent humor and absolute willingness to act totally goofy, but generally in public I'm reserved. That translated into choosing clothing to fade into the background for most of my life. But no more!
For some reason we women tend to come into our own in our 40's. I don't pretend to understand it. Maybe we're tired of cramming ourselves into everyone else's idea of who we should be. Or maybe it's life experiences teaching us that no matter what we do, somebody's not going to be happy, so why strain yourself? All I know is that I wouldn't go back to a younger age if you paid me. When I was younger, for some reason 40 was the age I picked in my head as the time when the bloom of youth would be faded and I would be dried up and frumpy. Instead I turned out to be quite the late bloomer!
Surprisingly, this blog has been fun and educational for me so far. I really expected all of my insecurities about my face and body to increase and possibly cause me to drop the blog after a few days. But an amazing thing happened. Sometimes I see those imperfections, but more often I see myself and think, "Wow, that's me?"

Monday, January 23, 2012

Brighten A Rainy Day

 Funny, until recently I was scared of bright colors and mostly tried to keep a low profile. Even then I liked to wear a little color on rainy days to liven up the mood. I've had these crimson tights stashed waiting for just the right moment. When Go Chic or Go Home announced Tights as their new theme, I decided it was time to break them out. Usually I don't try out new things when I'm going to the office because I'm still a bit cautious. Silly I know especially since I'm the closest thing we have to a boss there and can wear pretty much anything within reason. Still, bright tights is a big stretch for me. Just after I bought them, there they were, bright colored tights on several "don't" lists for women over 40. Well, since when have I obeyed all the rules anyway? I'm not exactly a wildly careless rebel with only a few inches showing between skirt and boots, but it was a good first run for colored tights.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Blues

You may have noticed that I don't always do exactly a daily outfit. Given my schedule and my generally disorganized, free spirit personality*, it just isn't going to happen. But I'm O.K. with that. I'm not the same person as some of the more prolific "how to" bloggers, but I am hopefully communicating some of what is the genuine me in this blog. 
It was a cold, blustery day when I wore this. I had stripped off my coat but still had on silky thermal long underwear under the pants. I didn't realize how bad the static cling was till I looked at the photos. Oh well. We don't get extremely cold weather here all that much and don't get as much practice with those sorts of garments. I'm loving this navy long sweater, although you could argue it hits my hips at an unfortunate place. This particular day, I didn't care and thought it was cute and warm. I may be pear-shaped but I'm a warm, cozy pear. And speaking of cute and warm, note our sweet puppy who is always cute and warm and tries to get in every photo. 
*P.S. My children have informed me that I'm too anxiety-prone to be a "free spirit" and have declared me "artsy fartsy" instead. Whatever. I can live with that. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's About Time

I've had to work late a lot this week which has put a crimp in my blogging style. Last night I spoke at a PTO meeting at an elementary school. It would have been fine except for the fact that I get ridiculously freaked out about speaking in front of large groups. Even so I was pretty psyched up and ready until I realized I had to follow THEM. Yes, I was second in the lineup following a police officer who looked like a slightly shorter Ben Affleck and his K-9 partner. How do you follow that? But I got up there and spoke anyway because sometimes you just have to suck it up and do things you're afraid of.

So far this blog has been good for my confidence. I really thought taking daily outfit photos would make me more self-conscious. I was afraid people would think I was self-centered. I mean, who takes daily photos of herself? Especially tons of photos trying to get a few really flattering ones. But I'm really tired of being afraid. So done with it. It has only taken 44 years, but I'm ready to just be me and dare anyone to say anything about it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Me and Mater

I've been thinking that the farm would make the ultimate photo backdrop. This is where my hubby and friends run a paintball field on his grandparents' old farm.  His uncle has the odd habit of leaving vehicles wherever they stop running, so randomly scattered throughout the property there are tractors, boats, school buses just for starters. Once when I was helping him mark the field boundaries for a game, we stumbled upon a '55 Chevy truck buried in the underbrush, but that's another story.

"Tow Mater" looked like a friendly prop for a departure from my usual backdrops. My nephew is crazy about Cars. Would he be mystified and creeped out or thrilled by a real life Mater? We'll have to see.

Grey sweater vest, thrifted
Maroon cardigan, Cato
Dark Wash Jeans
and my trusty sneakers

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Lets Try Boots Again

We may have a boot winner. I successfully wore these boots to work without my feet trying to kill me. Now normally I wear bright colors on rainy days to be cheery, but today black and white patterns called out to me. Nearly all of the pieces in this outfit are thrifted and I'm pretty proud of myself. The coat is a little big but I believe I can have it taken up if needed. I love how slimming the vest is. I had the camera kind of low making the boots look huge but I'm O.K. with that as long as they're nice to my feet.

Padme our princess dog kept walking in front of me and the wind was blowing really hard making photos a little challenging. See, there's always a back story. I can't just take a simple picture.

Boots: Anne Klein, thrifted
Plaid Coat: Requirements, Thrifted
Vest: Worthington, Thrifted
Houndstooth Blouse: LYS
Pants: Some very old faded Lee trousers I've had forever

Monday, January 16, 2012

Bring Me The Brown Pants

And this is the outfit I wore for the drive to Atlanta other than changing shoes to clogs for the drive. I used the sweater in another outfit during the week, but other than that didn't pack light. After all, I was traveling alone in my own car. Which means I keep six pairs of shoes in the trunk just in case. It's tough being a shoe fanatic with bad feet!

 I packed what looked like enough clothes and snack food for a month even though Atlanta is less than 2 hrs away and I'm pretty sure you can buy snack food there. Maybe it was my way of dealing with guilt over leaving my babies behind for 4 days in the care of their step-dad. Yeah, I know they're 14 and my husband will look after them, but still . . .

What should I wear for . . . a 4-day training?

Here is what your average social worker looks like after sitting in training all day. That would explain the creases in my pants and extra-casual clothing. As a profession, we aren't exactly known for our fashion sense. I mean, they even had frumpify Mariah Carey to play a social worker. Isn't it bad enough we're always portrayed as sadistic baby snatchers? She looks depressed, burned out and bedraggled, all of which are hazards of our profession, trust me. I'm just lucky enough to work in a setting that I love.  But I digress . . . This outfit is partly due to them announcing "casual dress", partly poor packing for my trip and partly still guarding my feet carefully from any cute shoes. It's kind of a C+ outfit, but I post it anyway because it's real and I want to be real with this. 

And of course I had to include a picture of Stone Mountain. I hadn't seen it since I was 14 and didn't remember it being so big. Every night when I returned to my hotel I commented, "Wow, what a huge rock!"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

You're Not Going To Believe This

My husband actually had a free Saturday today and spent the entire day with me. So we started off with breakfast at noon, but it gets even better than that. He wanted to look for some new work boots, so we headed off to a shoe store together. He likes the same store I do that has new and lightly used high quality shoes. Now I realize that many people already envy my awesome hubby, but a husband that shoe shops? Wow! We did some serious retail bonding and when we returned to his truck, I squeezed his hand and said, "I just feel so close to you right now!" At that point he shot me such a questioning look that I realized, O.K., he's a man that likes to shop but still a man.

And the continuing saga of "Boot Quest" . . .
I'll try to get some photos of our purchases tomorrow. I made another attempt at a black boot in hopes these won't shred my feet. I'm not sure why I have such a hard time with boots. If they in any way squeeze or bind my ankles, they kill my feet. Some that seem totally comfortable at the time, backfire later. Most boots render me barely able to walk the next day, but I love the look of them. So what's a girl to do? Keep buying and one has to eventually work, right? I think I need to put some of the failed boots on ebay because they are barely worn. We ended the day by purchasing a new mattress and box springs. I just happened to mention how well I slept in the hotel last week because of the mattress and he insists on getting a new one. Do I have a wonderful husband or what?

Friday, January 13, 2012

I'm Home But Not All There

Yes, I'm home after a four day training in Atlanta. My butt is tired from sitting so much and my mind is totally blown. This training was on such a different approach than I'm used to that its going to take time to process. Do you ever have those moments where you need to sit in a corner and stare at nothing. No? Its just me? Well, you have your way of having fun and I have mine

It will mostly affect my work life, which I mostly keep private here. However, somehow it all ties in with style, I promise. Well, anything that has to do with shame vs. self-confidence, how you view yourself, the world and everyone around you . . . Well, like I said, my mind is blown temporarily and I can't entirely make sense of it all right now. Lets just say I'm happy in a super-nerdy kind of way.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In Training

I'm out of town this week in training for work that is going to be very useful and exciting I'm sure, but I miss my family. I'm learning about trauma and attachment and very excited by it all. There are computer geeks, video game geeks, etc. I guess there are psychology/social sciences geeks too because I am one. Never stop learning folks!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why I'm Boycotting My Post-Christmas Weigh-in

I was headed to the scale to assess the damage done by holiday eating. Just before stepping onto the scale, I stopped. Nope, not gonna do it! I know what it takes to get back to eating my normal diet and I know I’ll get back to my pre-holiday weight.  The two weeks surrounding Christmas was a crazy time of eating crap! Generally I avoid white flour like the plague, but all the sudden it was my best friend again. Maybe it was staying in a condo with family and having relatives continually offering pies, cakes and cookies. Life is back to normal now and I’m afraid if I weigh, I’ll freak out, get depressed and try to be extreme. I know from past experience if I just go back to normal eating and maybe tighten it up a little, I’ll return to normal.

I’d love to lose 30 more pounds down from what has become my normal weight because, according to my BMI, I’m just barely in the obese range (not that I trust BMI anyway).  At this time in my life, I just don’t feel capable of tightening up my eating enough to do that, but I have reached a point where I’m longer gaining or out of control. I’m in a maintenance mode, but right now that feels pretty good.
Last year when I did Thrive Weight Loss *(www.thriveweightloss.com) and when I did Weight Watchers two years ago I weighed myself daily, maybe even more often. At the time it served a purpose because I was learning how different foods and eating habits affected me.  However, it’s so easy to cross over to obsession that I’m avoiding that right now.

I’ve never had an eating disorder unless you include gaining 20 lbs. due to eating for comfort following my divorce. But I consider that a time-limited thing. Up until the divorce I had generally stayed at a healthy weight. However, just prior to starting Thrive, I had begun seeing food as the enemy, something I had never, ever experienced before.  Suddenly I was pissed off at the world, myself and food in general. The world seemed a profoundly unfair and cruel place. Now I no longer see food as an enemy, but as fuel.  I understand better what makes me gain or lose and what foods make me feel energetic or lethargic.  I’m not following any eating plan perfectly but I’m eating healthier than I ever have in my life. Then this fall I began to read some body image sites that filled in some of the missing pieces for me about loving myself no matter what my size. At some point I’m sure I will weigh again, but right now it really serves no purpose. Right now I'm more interested in loving myself than in pursuing perfection. Anybody else go through phases like that about weighing?  I know I can’t be the only one!

*I’m not affiliated with Thrive Weight Loss at all—just a satisfied customer. And it’s a local Georgia company which I think is really cool! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Beach Photo Shoot

Thank goodness for cooperative, helpful husbands. On our last day at Myrtle Beach, he was game for a beach photo shoot to try out my new camera. He was hesitant to get in front of the camera himself, but I can be very convincing. The instructions I gave him were to give any ideas he had for poses and otherwise just keep shooting a bunch of photos. It was fun!


Miscellaneous Christmas Pictures

One son sporting a very fashionable lion hat that's really meant for my 3 yr old nephew.

 And my other son who is very proud to be  taller than his 5'4" mom.

 The tree house my husband, dad, uncle and brother built for my brother's kids while in North Carolina and South Carolina.

Their chickens. Aren't they cute?
My handsome hubby working

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Around Town

Our small town has a cute little downtown area so nice it was recently used in the filming of a movie--Jane Mansfield's Car. I have no idea how good the movie will be but I know everybody was all excited to get a Kevin Bacon, Billy Bob Thornton or Robert Duvall sighting. My goal was to get a fun shoot in before an expected cold spell the next day and to stop pouting about having to wear only sneakers for a couple of weeks till my feet heal. I might as well work it, right?
I chose this houndstooth blouse because it reminds me of Bear Bryant and the Crimson Tide. You can take the girl out of Alabama, but you can't take the Bama out of the girl! My original intention was to wear it with leggings, but after seeing how easily the wind whipped it up, it may not work. Some things just need to remain covered. The earrings were a Christmas present and I can't stop wearing them because, unlike most earrings, they don't blend in with my hair.

I'm still self-conscious but downtown was very slow on New Year's Day and I hid on a little side street by the florist's. The temperature started to drop and I grabbed my crochet car coat out of the trunk. I haven't worn it much because I didn't think it was flattering. It was very warm and turned out O.K. in the photos.