Run From the Roses

2Q0345.958.a.zoomI fell in love with this dress when Vineyard Vines advertised it in my inbox.  A local non-profit dear to my heart was having a fundraiser there yesterday, so even though I bought my dress for the JLC Annual Meeting months ago…  I went to look. Cry.  The manager there is a doll – seriously, she’s the truest definition of petite, and I’ve known her all of her life – or the first attempt into my normal size would have been the end of it.  Turns out they had one size larger in the back room.  THAT one at least went on, but I couldn’t do the size zip without a struggle and the bottom portion was loose OVER jeans – and not skinny jeans at that.

I tried on several other things.  Their women’s blouses/tailored shirts simply do not fit my athletic shoulders or THE GIRLS.  Sadly, their men’s small engulfs me, and they don’t make their men’s shirts in XS.  The male on staff approached me, and asked if he could be of assistance.  (That’s how I ended up trying the men’s small, which to his credit, he assured me would be too big.)

For the first time, a MAN bemoaned women’s sizing.  He asked what size pants my husband wears.  “36 X 30, without fail.”

He said, “Right?!  I mean, some brands/styles might fit better than others, but you – and his mother – know without question that if you get him 36x30s, he will be able to wear them.  Why can’t the industry do ANYTHING REMOTELY similar for women?”   We discussed my size range for their store.  I wear anything from a small to a medium in the less-tailored styles, and from a 4 – 12 in the fitted.  (I’m often 2 sizes smaller on the bottom.) He stopped me there.  Was I sure?  Um… dude… go check the fitting room.  Yeah.  And your size 12 blouses don’t gap in the front or pull at the shoulders, but the neck swims and the waist is even worse, so I wouldn’t say they FIT.

THIS is why I shop primarily Lilly Pulitzer and Talbots, with some Lands End and J Jill tossed in for good measure.  With ALL of those brands, especially if there are more than two fit reviews, I can order online and it will fit, usually without alterations.

2R0199.958.a.zoomI WANTED that dress, but if I’d ordered a 12, I would have had to have the shoulders lifted, and the skirted portion totally reconstructed.  A $200 dress shouldn’t need another $100+ in alterations, so even my young friend basically refused to even offer to order in a 12 for me. Yeah, the print comes in a skirt too, but hello?!  See above.  I can’t wear a pleated, full skirt.  The linebacker shoulders require that I accentuate the lack of hips so I don’t look like a hippo.  It comes in a pretty scarf too, but I already own a great PANK and blue scarf.  It comes in a Shep Shirt too, but I own several navy “job shirts” which are basically the same thing.  I also don’t care for the Derby embroidery on the chest.

Just doesn’t make sense, does it?

What are you running from today?

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Pretending…

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and my last regular general membership meeting as President of the JLC!  It’s also almost Kids in the Kitchen time, and long-time readers know I love that event.

 I love snow too, but enough is enough.  I shared my thoughts – and a photo of the furgirls – on their blog.   I’m ready for flowers and being able to step into the parking lot at work without needing to bundle up.

Sweet Mugsy and Fred are still sending me flowers, and I’m still missing them.  They loved snow far more than the girls do, although even Gretchen has warmed up to the white stuff this winter, in a true testament of that old cliche about if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em…

I’m grateful for each and every one of you.  Your support and friendship is a blessing in my life, and I look forward to having the time to repay your kindness very soon.

In the meantime, can we call the leaves compost and pretend I’m making sure the Boy-dogs’ garden is getting ready to grow beautiful flowers?

Will you share what you’re pretending?

 

Wahoo-wah!

Okay, so I *AM* a closet UVA fan, especially for basketball, and if you aren’t a college basketball fan, you might not know we’re having a banner year.   One lucky, expectant UVA friend will receive this FO (finished object) this week.

Oh — and UVA fans are Wahoos.  I’m really not sure why, but evidently, I’m not the only person in podunk who makes up words and then inserts them into her vocabulary.

UntitledProject: UVA Kickbag.  This is the second time I’ve done this pattern, and the third kickbag I’ve done.  One friend has already asked for a second bag for …B3 (her second child, and I won’t explain why I’m calling it B3 for privacy’s sake), so evidently, these sacks are functional, so they’re my new go-to-knit for my fertile friends.

Pattern: Kicking Bag for Babies is a very straight-forward, simple pattern.  I love the baby cables in the ribbed top, and after that, it’s mindless knitting in the round with a three-needle bind-off.  I’ve only done this pattern with self-striping/patterned yarns, so it wasn’t mind-numbing.

Yarn:  Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock in Team Spirit, from The Loopy Ewe.  Yummy goodness, and machine washable too.

Needles:  Knitpicks #3 Rainbow (wood) fixed circular in 16″ length.  (Anyone have the Caspian version?  I need more needles like a hole in the head, but this nature-lover is also a blue-green lover!)

Verdict:  I’m wondering how quickly I could do some for the TWO friends expecting TWINS in the next 45 days or so…  which is to say I really like this pattern.  It’s going to keep a little Wahoo snug as a bug this chilly spring at her first baseball games!  (I’m pretty sure her mom doesn’t read my blog and doesn’t have time right now even if she normally does…)

Now, if  you’ll excuse me I do have TWO baby blankets to finish/start, so back to the knitting.

Beauty, balance, creamer and crow…

… I can’t drink my coffee black.  REALLY long-time readers might remember that up until that Christmas Eve a few years ago when I told the Knight I wanted a Keurig just because he needed SOMETHING for that insane holiday habit of his (last-minute shopping), I didn’t like/drink much coffee at all.

v00660I still am a tea-drinker.  I love tea, and am trying to work green tea back into the rotation.  If you have a favorite green tea blend, please share.  Sadly, my tea cupboard is lacking in the greens these days.  However, for my morning commute, I brew a 16 oz. travel mug of coffee and slosh some non-dairy, flavored creamer in it.

For those following along… that’s not lower-your-cholesterol-diet-friendly stuff.  In fact, I got rather turned off reading about the lard that basically is non-dairy creamer.  Ick.  Does anyone splash soy or almond milk in her coffee or tea instead of the good ol’ moo juice or the … over-processed but yummy gunk?

I love stumbling upon new blogs/products/recipes/shoes…  oooh, shiny!  (Shocker… wild crows don’t collect shiny objects.  Who knew?!)  If it sparkles, I’m distracted and want it.  So, while my brain is fried from another busy week at work, book-ended by firehouse elections and some League meetings at night, I’ll toss a few more nuggets from bloggers who are capable of stringing together coherent thoughts in a rather grand fashion.

I found Cranky Fitness through Fit Bottomed Girls.   I’ve mentioned FBG before; they have a very realistic, supportive approach to finding one’s one healthy lifestyle groove.  Cranky Fitness’s link happens to be to her give-away, because that’s how FBG introduced me to her AND because I know y’all are readers and many of you like some non-fiction reading too.

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Young adult me, supported by my grandmother circa 1990

As a bonus, Cranky introduced me to The Great Fitness Experiment’s post on the cure for not being good enough.   I was blessed to grow up with plenty of folks assuring me I was awesome and the world was my oyster, and I’m not sure I’ve lacked self-confidence more than a few isolated moments here and there, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never looked in the mirror and thought or said mean things I would never even THINK about a friend, just to give one example.

Again, those of you who read here regularly know I don’t believe in coincidence, so it’s not by chance that while I’m sitting here with my feet propped up, wishing I wasn’t so drained on a lovely spring evening, I tripped over these two blogs, these two posts.

Here’s something a lot of you don’t know about me.

I’m a fraud.  One of my theme songs might be “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and definitely, Miranda’s “Mama’s Broken Heart” suits me.  (If you didn’t click over…  Go and fix your make-up/girl it’s just a break-up/run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady…)

Life is hard, but for me, it’s harder when I wallow.  For me, balance comes faster when I pull up my bootstraps, hide my crazy, and smile.

So… yeah.  Life is hectic.  But I landed on my feet and can honestly say I’m now in that really special place where the adage “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” applies.   I broke one of my golden rules and brought work home this week.  I forfeited a snow day because our shop is running VERY short, and I knew my co-workers were going to brave the weather, so the least I could do is go the extra mile with them.

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The JLC Holiday Parade 2011

Likewise, being an unintentional two-term president of the small but fierce JLC hasn’t been a picnic at times either, but the rewards have exceeded the personal cost.  I’ve missed some sleep.  I probably have risked frost bite with those parking lot meetings after the meetings.  I’ve had to trust the Knight to take care of Sissy’s eye drops FAR more often than I’d prefer, but see her post; she’s her sassy, fine self, and she and her Dadaw both survived a triple-purpose trip to the vet today.

BUT…

Here’s one thing I’ve learned over that two-year journey that is coming to an end; appearing unflappable isn’t always a good thing.  I had a crying jag after a 2000 mile round-trip sprint to deal with my mother’s final arrangements – and snow in the deep South?! really?! – and informed the Knight that just because I wasn’t a puddle of mess, it didn’t mean I didn’t need support.  Other women are watching me cope and juggle and do it all, and I was honestly chagrined for all the wrong reasons when one of the women I’ve worked with in the League at the highest level for YEARS now was shocked to hear a dirty word escape my lips, under my breath, just last month.

Sorry Nana; I wasn’t embarrassed BECAUSE she heard it, but rather, because I thought she knew me better than that.  Come on, folks.  I do try to be a class act, but I work in the fire service “service industry” and was basically raised by an old Marine/former fire chief/mechanic.  Do you REALLY think I say (or think?!) “darn!”?!?!?

Anyhooooo, the point of this ramble is that I’m going to continue to fake it ’til I make it when life is hard, because it works for me.  I’m happiest when I’m problem-solving and making the world a better place, but that works for me because I have the Knight and some of the best friends ever, with whom I can be snarky and critical.  It’s how I vent.

Well… that and logging Sissy miles, and miles.  Even on a bad walk where Sissy has pulled like a freight train and Gretchen Greer has bounced all over like a paddle ball, I get home feeling restored and ready for the next round.   My faith is renewed when I’m in nature.  There’s just something about being in the woods – or on the beach – that puts it all in perspective for me.  (Go endorphins!)

Scatter-shot

This is just a quick, drive-by post.

Do you have broken windows?  (Click over… they’re more akin to pet peeves than shattered glass.)  For me, it’s missing a wog – walk-run – with the dogs due to circumstances beyond my control, having a cluttered front porch, hand/fingerprints on doors and walls, not finishing my to-do list at work…

I have an FO (finished object for non-knitters), but no photos.  Stand by.

I have read several books and am lost in Trenton, NJ at the moment.  So far, I’ve been unable to make myself sick of Stephanie Plum and her zany friends and relations.  I think it’s because I can relate.  I remember the first time I told my father I was going to be a writer.  His dark mocha eyes twinkled and he said, “It’ll have to be fiction, even if it’s biographical; no one would believe it was true.”

41MA5cxy7xL._SL190_SY246_CR0,0,190,246_I wear a size larger in Sanita clogs than Danskos.  Oh… and when I say clogs, I always mean closed-backs.  These are shinier and sparklier in person.  My idea of a great pair of shoes – or boots – is when the Knight and my (male) co-workers say something obnoxious about my footwear.  Maybe that’s why I like our “guest” technician; he seems to genuinely appreciate my slightly flashy choice in shoes.

51OM+b6ku+L._SL246_SX190_CR0,0,190,246_And speaking of boots…  I might have snagged another pair of Ariat boots.  These are kiddo sized, and they fit perfectly.  Ariat boots really are built for all-day wear.  I’ve tried to explain to one of my co-workers that my “wooden clogs” and my “stiff boots” support my feet well and aren’t just a fashion statement.

Yeah, they’re PANK and calf-hair leopard, and they’re ridiculously comfortable, right out of the box.  Now, if the snow would GO AWAY so I could wear them more…

And I still owe you a CAbi post too.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

Oh – and you absolutely have to try this recipe.  A friend brought it Sunday night, and even though I thought I hated mango, I shoveled it in, maybe even with both fists.  Eating well doesn’t mean suffering… until I think about the good ol’ days when I ate shrimp two times a day sometimes.

What’s new with you?

 

Eating by Example

Happy Thorsday, little friday and thankful Thursday!  At least… it’s still Thursday when I’m writing.  When you’ll read is another story.

Thanks for all of your comments about my new(est) food focus.  Some of the obvious changes I’m making include:

  • I’m not eating out as much
  • I’m avoiding processed food
  • I’m seeking out leaner protein sources

Today’s post is supposed to be about our March delivery from Chewy, but while I was working on the REAL content, I realized that I feed the dogs the way I should be eating.  I stick to natural products as much as possible, and limited ingredient products are best… because Sissy is so allergic to so much.  They eat a fish kibble, lots of fruit and veggies…  Gee, if I follow a similar plan, I bet my cholesterol level will drop.

UntitledThis time, the furgirls got to try Old Mother Hubbard’s Gourmet Goodies in the carrot and pumpkin variety.   There are only 8 ingredients (which is amazing for a cookie of any sort), but the girls have assured me they aren’t short on flavor.

Who eats better in your house?  One of the Knight’s favorite stories is about the boy-dogs eating prime rib while we had hot dogs.  (True story!)  He always leaves out the part where the prime rib was really nothing more than leftover bits, and maybe I should be ashamed to admit it, but I love a good, kosher hot dog.

I’m giving up on suggesting that my former normal of daily, weekday posts will ever return again.  My life is just different now, and even as my time as League President winds down, there are only so many hours in a day and so many more things I want/need to do.  I’m very grateful that you still check in on me and wade through my ramblings!

Oh – and if you’re here for furgirl photos, you can click over to their blog for your fix… unless you’re sick of snow.

Lean, Not Mean

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The gene pool, 1970s version

That’s my new dietary motto.  I learned last week that my cholesterol is high.  Not drastically so, but (hem, hem) nearly double what it was last time I had a physical (more coughing… over 2 years ago).  Given that both parents likely died of heart attacks (father, definitely; mother, presumed), I need to take this seriously.

Ironically, an Arbonne friend invited me to join her on a detox that will start tomorrow.  I opted out, in part because I’m not good at extremes, I know my limits, and my brother inlaw sells Avocare and it seemed silly to pony up for a program when another company’s products are waiting for me to pay attention to them.   Just the same, I know I need to start paying close attention to what goes into my body.

Trying looking up “cholesterol-lowering foods” or something similar.  You won’t find any concise answers.  Of course, even if you did, you might want to visit Marjie’s post about a healthy heart diet by trusted sources.  The fact is, even the experts don’t agree.  I’m a huge advocate for personal management of one’s own healthcare anyway, but this is ridiculous.

Oh, my doctor-friend and I had a good laugh…  I hate chicken and neither of us cook fish in our homes because of the lingering odor.  I’m already on a high-protein, high-fiber diet, because of pre-existing health issues, so eliminating … fat? cholesterol? more stuff makes this quite the circle-jerk.

I was all set to simply say farewell to butter (except in my baking) and consider cheese a delicacy, and I already live on seafood, white pork, and the rare (pun intended) beef indulgence.  I thought I had a plan… until Marjie gently broke the news that shrimp is ridiculously high in cholesterol.  Now, see above… the experts can’t agree on that either, but I’ve decided that shrimp can no longer be my go-to “meat.”

I don’t know what’s ahead… other than due diligence and finding some healthier options.  Anyone do a plant-protein milk replacement in her coffee?  On her cereal?  I only eat cereal on the weekends, and to humor the pundits, we had oatmeal this morning.

What about tofu?  I don’t mind it in curries or some soups.  I certainly can’t dislike it much more than I do rubbery, dry chicken, but save the ground turkey advice.  Been there, done that and … no one got anything positive out of the experience, much less a tee shirt.

I did a no-animal-flesh version of vegan a few years ago and didn’t mind at all… until I began dreaming about the perfectly grilled, rare filet of beef.  I don’t eat pork too much either.  I love smoked bacon and good Carolina barbecue, but living on a pig farm that had a barn fire… well… let’s just say there’s a reason I kinda’ backed into not eating meat for a good while.

Eggs?  I won’t miss them much at all.  As with butter, I want them for baking, but I can wipe them off my personal consumption list with relative ease.  Sure, an egg sammie is awesome now and then, but I’ll be just fine with an egg substitute “mug” with some veggies tossed in.  Frankly, eggs without cheese have little meaning for me.

Photo courtesy of The Bit Block

Photo courtesy of The Bit Block

The post title?  I get mean (insert a female dog synonym) when I don’t get enough protein in my diet.  I thought doing high fiber AND high protein was a juggling act.  This is like the Wii Fit juggling game where you’re balancing on a ball while juggling…