My Favorite Winter Wear

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For travel or at home, I’ve been wearing a snood since college. I wsa introduced to one on my first trip to Britain. My college roommate showed me hers, and I was hooked.It’s not only a scarf, it’s a hat. The knitted version is breathable so it’s not too hot when I wander inside to a store or somewhere I would keep my winter wear on.

The one I got in London disappeared somewhere over the years. The black one I replaced it with (I can’t remember where I got that one, but it was perfect) disappeared after my son borrowed it for a Kylo Ren costume after The Force Awakens came out.

Having not found it in two years, I opted for getting a new one (in my favorite color, green) on Amazon while I was shopping for Christmas gifts.

This version is a little tighter than the originals, but it’s comfortable and warm and I still love it. Note that it’s not an infinity scarf. Those are similar, and I have a few winter ones, but they are too big and bulky for my taste.

I start by putting it on my neck and pull it up over my head as you would wear a headscarf to cover my ears and hair during the snow or rain. It keeps both out reasonably well.

Search on Amazon by snood, or neck warmer. Continue reading

We Can Be Heroes

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David Bowie (8 Jan 1947 – 10 Jan 2016)

My first David Bowie song is probably still my favorite, Space Oddity, which I still call Major Tom. I think it attracted me in my adolescent wonder of space and Kennedy Space Center and moon landings and Tom Seaver and Star Trek. It calls to me with its haunting melody and the loss of home but also the ‘there’s more out there to see’ calling as well.

I sit on my bed listening to Blackstar, David Bowie’s newest and sadly last new music, and I try to remember a time in my life without David Bowie from his silver suit and glam hair to his platform shoes. Every time you think you’ve outgrown him, he brings a new generation into the fold.

Ziggy Stardust
Thin White Duke
Glam
Little Drummer Boy
Iman
His collaborations
His adaptions
And adaptations
His innovation
His creativity
His genius

And his inspiration to stand out, to be yourself, to try new things; songs for every mood – ashes to ashes, under pressure, changes, 1984 (the year Igraduated high school), let’s dance, dancing in the street, supermen, rebel rebel, we can be heroes.

A virtual road map for us all to follow on our own paths to dreams blazing our way.

Piece by Piece

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This year’s Halloween costume combines many of the things I love. My go-to costume for years was my 14th century cothardie from my medieval days. I missed a few years for my kids, but I have been dressing up in recent years even though I stay home to hand out the candy instead of walking around with the kids. I had considered dressing up as Ellen Harvelle from Supernatural or Charlie Bradbury, also from Supernatural, but in the end opted for The Walking Dead’s Maggie Greene.

I was a bit put off from Maggie because of my body type and it being so different from hers. However, one day a couple of weeks ago, I was getting dressed and was kind of astounded at how much my fall wardrobe resembled her post-apocalyptic couture.

It’s nice, or extremely disconcerting that my everyday wardrobe is apocalypse appropriate.

Layers are the key in any kind of end of the world fashion scenario. Should I wear a jacket? Or an extra long sleeved shirt? This overshirt can be removed and tied around my waist, especially during those sultry Georgia summers.

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Foodie in the Kitchen

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What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

My Apron.

When I was younger, I thought aprons were old-fashioned. You could hang it on a hook or spread it across the wall in a retro looking textile, pseudo-performance art piece.

Like bathrobes, I didn’t get my first apron until after my first son was born. I guess I would estimate that my red apron is at least fifteen years old. I happened to see it, I think in a Target, and I was drawn to it.

I don’t even know why. I don’t like aprons. Red is my least favorite color, and yet, it called to me.

it may have been that when I put it over my head, it actually fit my body. That was a moment.

The first time I wore it seriously was for a Thanksgiving meal. I got something on my hands and instinctively slid my palms down the front of my body. I didn’t even think. If I hadn’t been wearing the apron, I would have spread turkey grease all over my clothes and that would have been the end of them.

I got it now!

That’s why you wear an apron; to keep the yick from getting on your clothes.

I was always so put off by the 1950s retrocicity that I ignored it’s actual use.

I wish I was kidding.

I’m sure there was something psychologically based in my aversion. I was too young to wear an apron. That’s like…..I don’t know….forty-year-olds wore aprons. I was not forty.

I am still not forty.

I’ve gone off topic, haven’t I?

My apron is almost like another personality. I put it on and I can cook anything. Anything! It’s empowering.

It’s the most useful thing in the kitchen. It supplements me, and complements me without overpowering my own cooking style.

There are two large pockets in the front that can hold a recipe card, a potholder, my cell phone. At one time or another, for short bursts only, I’ll put my Kindle in there because I have several recipes and a cookbook on it. I can also look up what I need on the internet.

The waist tie goes around my back and then returns to the front where I tie it. Nothing goes around my waist twice.

It’s a sturdy broadcloth, so even if I spill something like hot soup or 270* melted caramel on it, I still have time to wipe it off before I get burned.

If I put in on for a big meal, I never take it off until I’m finished cooking. Sometimes I’ll wear it through dinner to avoid spills.

It really is the most versatile and useful item in my kitchen, and even if you use it too much, it won’t spoil the broth.

Photo: new beginnings

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My daughter’s birthday outfit from yesterday. She’s always trying new things and collects photos of her outfits for her “fashion blog”.

What’s new is how she put this together and it looks so conservative but then she adds a pink leopard hair band and a tan knit beret and she knows how well it works and gives it that stamp of her style onto it.

The boots were on sale at Target and she wanted them because they were so similar to my new boots from my birthday.

Instead of just letting her go with would fire the sake of being weeks, I’m starting to offer suggestions but I also defer to get final judgment. I dint want to discourage get but I also don’t want her to think everything she chooses works when sometimes it doesn’t.

Cardigans

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“Take this and wrap yourself in the love of strangers and friends whenever you need warmth.”

This was part of the message I received on a recent gift given to me and I was reminded of it when it came time to write about cardigans. When I was a kid I never liked them. I don’t know why. At some point, that changed, but it took forever to find one that worked for me. I didn’t want zippers or hoods. Those were too much like the sweatshirts I wore all the time as a teenager. They were a reminder of something not quite right.

The cardigans I was looking for had to have buttons down the front, no pockets, no hoods, no ski designs. I worked in a sporting goods store. I hated ski designs. It took forever, but I finally found the perfect one. It was a green, but not the green that I liked. It took so long to find; I bought it anyway. Ironically, the color was a sage green, a color that I now love most of all. It had wide and thin knitted stripes and some kind of design every other strip. It was a crew neck collar, and it buttoned all the way to the top, although the top button was hard to do on the thick double-knit collar. I loved it. There was something writerly about it; the imaginations of going places. I can’t quite explain it. I wore it long after I wore it out. I think I still have it, but I couldn’t find it for today.

Oh, and cardigans don’t mess up your hair.

Now, however, I do wear hoods and zippers, and pockets are a handy addition, but I’m still averse to jersey/sweatshirt fabric. I like wool or wool-like, small knits rather than cable knit.

The one I’m wearing right now was a gift for Christmas, and it is the perfect color to go with anything and everything and the perfect weight for every season. Light enough for a summer sweater, just enough warmth for under a winter coat or heavier sweater and shawl.

If it is somehow too warm, I have taken to wrapping the sleeves around my waist and wearing it that way, so it is always handy and ready for the chill of an air conditioner turned up too high. I am never without a sweater. Well, almost never. And cardigans are always my preference.

My favorite part of the cardigan is pulling it closed. Not buttoning it, but pulling it tight like a hug, like that message I wrote at the top of the page. There is something extra in being wrapped in a cardigan. It brings me memories of Welsh mountain fireplaces and stories under a lamplight, even though in most of those memories I have no cardigan, only its feel.

Some of the warmth I know comes from one of my favorite people known for his cardigans and his tennis sneakers: Mr. Fred Rogers. There is no one warmer than Mr. Rogers. His daily welcome into his home, his soothing voice, his wise and kind words, and of course the feeling that you are the only one he is talking to and that you matter just because you’re you. You felt his love and wanted to visit forever. I don’t know if he made cardigans both uncool and cool again for me, but he is the warmest wearer of them all.

My oldest son, who will be seventeen at the end of this week, was not a huge fan of cardigans, but he loved Mr. Rogers. Unfortunately, iconic Mr. Rogers passed away before my two little ones were born and sadly, they don’t know him as well. Zachary watched Arthur (the cartoon aardvark) and Mr. Rogers every day on PBS. It was a glorious day when Mr. Rogers appeared animated on the Arthur series.

We once wrote a letter to Mr. Rogers, asking for his television schedule and thanking him for his daily friendship. We were both surprised and not when he actually answered. He sent us a packet with the television schedule of topics he would be sharing with his viewers and two separate letters; one for my son and one for me. He signed my son’s “Mr. Rogers” and mine “Fred”. It was wonderful and I still take it out and re-read it now and then.

Cardigans have a feeling all their own and like fresh-baked cookies are better when shared.