Checking up on my “rewiring”

Three years ago I wrote a blog “Don’t consider it retiring…consider it rewiring”.  It is a big deal going from a long, satisfying career to not having one any longer! Adjustments must be made. You need to rewire. I have been thinking about this lately and decided to do a quick evaluation on my own “rewiring”.

My retirement started off taking care of my parent’s needs.  Many of us experience this as their first phase of retirement because our parents are living so much longer now. After my Dad passed away, Mom moved into a great assisted living residence in a town next to mine. We all became very active in what was going on in Mom’s life. There was never any hesitation that this is what I was meant to do.

I consider myself  an “organizer”.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have been an organizer since grade school! I enjoy putting activities together for everyone and apparently I’m good at it since people still expect that I will be the one to organize what ever needs organizing.

It seemed perfectly natural to me start a “daughters” group at Mom’s residence. I called it a daughters group, but I had some sons involved too.  I started by chatting with 4 other daughters who I saw there on a regular basis. I thought it would be great for all of our parents if we were there to advocate for them. This residence was very well run, but there are always things that need tweaking. After getting to know each other a little bit we made a date with the administrator. We discussed things we wanted to see happen. As time went on our meetings became very meaningful. Other staff members were attending our meetings too. This included the chef and food services, head of nursing, activities directors, housekeeping managers. We were known by all as “the daughters”. The highest number the group reached was 20. This represented a huge monthly income to the residence so we were taken very seriously. We met on a regular basis with the administrator. We got lots done for our parents.  Along with this came new friendships with people who truly understood the journey we were all on. Through our time at Mom’s residence we got to know some very interesting people. We met people with very diverse backgrounds. Over the course of 3 1/2 years, we met business executives, business owners, musicians (to include one of the first female drummers who played on the Ed Sullivan Show), one of the Bozo the Clowns from the 50’s (my husband loved to chat with him!!), therapists, nurses, homemakers and Holocaust survivors. If you take the time to talk to people it is amazing to see how happy you make them and how happy it makes you! I hope that from all of this that I had a positive impact on the last chapters of someone’s life.

People say that from this journey with Mom I could write a book. Perhaps I will. The emphasis would be on the dynamic of AGING children taking on the responsibilities of parenting their parents.

Now that Mom has passed away I am shifting my purpose. We are now involved with start up of a 55+ group at our church and have joined the Historic Society in our county and plan on volunteering in some capacity there. Our traveling continues at an even more stepped up rate since we have more flexibility now.  We have taken up Bridge and are enjoying that too. And we are also enjoying our grandchildren who are a constant source of wonder and delight.

There continues to be lots on my plate which is just the way I like it. I think my “rewiring” is going very well. How is yours coming along??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST FRIENDS DAY

Today is national Best Friends Day. When I heard that this morning it made me smile. What makes me smile is to think about my “best friends”.

My tribe spans 57 years.

I still have strong ties with two girls I became friends with in junior high school. I am still in touch with many school friends but I have a strong friendship with both Susan and Carol.

Moving along to college age, I have a longtime friend from those years too. Dorothy and I have maintained a friendship for 51 years. Lots of water and adventures under that bridge.

My career years brought many lasting friendships. My friendships with Rosy, Maria and Julie developed as we grew in our careers. Everyone from those days knew that the 4 of us were going to be life long friends.  Rosy was my first friend at my first job. In fact, she trained me for the job. Knowing Rosy brought me to an entire group of fun, active singles! We are a group of 15 men and women who get together every year from all over to spend time together. We have been through so much together- weddings, babies and now grandbabies, divorce, and death. We have all been there for each other and the bond continues to grow. New partners have been brought into the group after divorce and the death of one in our group. And the group always accepts your choice because they understand and accept you.

Another long time friend is a woman I did charity fund raising with starting in the 80’s. Then we started to have European adventures after my divorce. Lots of great memories! Jane sent me the best birthday card this year. It says “We’re like Polka Dots and Stripes. Totally cute on  our own, but more fun and fabulous together”. Perfect!!

I am so blessed that I have been fortunate to have made two more close friends at precisely the exact moment we needed each other. I met Dee and Sharon while our Moms were in assisted living. Our friendship has grown as we went through the same journey to the death of our mothers. The three moms had also been friends and died within a 4 months period. We three are still going strong.

There are also “friends” who have fallen out of my life. Sometimes you can’t even figure out when the relationship veered off course. But it happens and we all know there are people who are only in our lives for a reason or a season. Let it go and keep the good memories.

Now, I have the addition of the ultimate “best friend”, my husband.

Always keep your girlfriends even if time and distance separate you. If you are really lucky they will stay a lifetime with you. And remember, they are the ones you will be able to get in trouble with when you hit the nursing home!

HAUTE SPORT

Haute Sport was the topic for the May workshop at Nordstrom.

This has been a category in runway reports. I don’t feel it is a category that crosses all groups and life styles. But, it is a trend and I will share with you. Athleisure  has been with us for awhile now.

The main attraction here is the sport logos. In the display at Nordstrom for this trend Adidas was well represented. There are a variety of tops as well as side striped track pants, skirts, and a dress.  There are also shorts and tights.  Hooded sweatshirts are  big for this trend and as well as zip front jackets. Of interest to me was a yellow jacket and a stripe jacket.

There are designers doing dressy track suits and sequined items within this category too. For name designers, the look is body conscious dresses and tanks. As I said, this look is not for everyone!

 

“…cherish your human connections…”

What a powerful statement. It was spoken by Barbara Bush in the 1990 commencement address she gave at Wellesley College.

To many people, Mrs. Bush was an extension of her husband as First Lady. To me, she was a woman of substance. Her wit and her honest, spot-on comments and observations were so refreshing.

Out of one commencement address you can get words to live by for your lifetime.

“…believe in something larger than yourself…”

“Whether you are talking about education, career, or service, you are talking about life and life must have joy. It’s supposed to be fun.”

“…cherish your human connections, your relationships with family and friends. At the end of your life , you will never regret not having passed one more test, winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent…”

I think we can all say that Barbara Bush died with no regrets. She was a great woman.

ANOTHER VISIT TO THE MOTHER SHIP

Nordstrom-THE Mother Ship for fashion.  It is always enjoyable to go to Nordstrom to see what’s new for the season.

Recently I was invited to a spring workshop. It was called “Laid Back Luxe”. This category appealed to me and I signed up for the workshop. As usual, Nordstrom did not disappoint. It was a terrific session with Jennifer Weiner who is the Styling Sales Manager at the Paramus store. Jennifer talked about this trend and showed us some really great looking merchandise which is on the floor now. She had merchandise that covered a variety of price points. There is something for everyone. This category encompasses soft dressing. Everything moves fluidly.

The pants are  fabulous. There are wide leg pants with paperbag waists. There is a wide leg pant with side slits all the way up each leg.  The looks carry over from designer labels to Nordstom’s own labels.

There is a crinkled skirt in a saffron color with a wrap asymmetric front that was really good.

Sweaters and tops in this theme are loosely knit and loose fitting. The colors are soft and spicy. Lots of natural and blush and, of course, black.

Floral dresses in beautiful dark prints are also part of this mix. Personally I love all the bohemian looks. Brings me back to the first time that look was huge in the 60’s.

There was also a printed Kimono in the items selected to show for this theme. This is one of my favorite looks.

Here are a couple of photos. The floor at Nordstrom looks really fresh.  Stop by your local Mother Ship. If you need to, see a personal stylist to help you pull together a few looks.

 

TOP IT OFF- Spring Part 2- Tops, Dresses And Skirts

The most exciting thing for Spring this year are all the shapes and varieties of  style in every category of apparel. I think that the biggest trend is in tops, specifically sleeves.

SLEEVES. The cold shoulder came on like crazy in 2016. Actually, the cold shoulder goes back to 1992 when Donna Karan released her “cold shoulder” dress which was a long sleeved jersey dress with the cut out shoulder. It has been in and out of the spotlight over the years, but in 2016 it started coming on strong again. This year it is on fire as is a lot of sleeve treatments. And why wouldn’t it be a best seller? Just about everyone has a good shoulder to show off. You can get cold shoulder tops and dresses in a wide variety of fabrications. There are bell sleeves, ruffled sleeves, ruffled bell sleeves, ruffled shoulders, peak-a-boo 3/4 sleeves (this encompasses slit sleeves as well as a variety of cut outs). It really adds a lot of fun and style to how you put yourself together.

HEMLINES. We can continue to enjoy asymmetric hems this season. Shark bite hems are seen on lots of tops, dresses and skirts. I think that the most popular is the high-low hemline. This gives you a great look coming and going into a room. There is interest added into the asymmetry on skirts by adding a cascading ruffle down the side, or high slits.

In dresses, the big statement is a floral print. There are soft pastel prints which cover the pinks, lavenders, mints and peach. The pastels are a beautiful story if you are happy being in pastels. In this category you will also see gingham checks in pinks and blues as well as navy. Then there are the Bohemian darker floral prints which bring you to a more free spirited, sensual period of dressing. There are many beautiful spice colors that fit in this category (think Morocco, think breeze-catching dresses).

Dots and Stripes.  Lots and lots of both patterns this season. In some cases the dots, stripes and florals are combined into patchwork  prints. Stripes are never out. Most visible are color and white, or color and black. Somehow stripes always look fresh.

Another look for the season is the lingerie inspired kimono. Soft fabrications of chiffon and crepe de chine in beautiful prints are a very good look over solid dresses (great if you are not crazy about showing upper arms) as well as a “jacket” over a tank or tee with pants or a skirt. Take one of these kimonos, belted or unbelted, and pair it with a high slit palazzo pant or an asymmetric skirt and you could be going out to a wedding or an important dinner.

If I had to recommend one update to your wardrobe this spring I would say that the Trifecta would be a cold shoulder top, with a bell sleeve and a high-low hem.

As I always say,  enjoy getting dressed!!

Saying Goodbye To Mom

Mom passed away on March 17th after a well lived life of 93 years, 7 months. The following is my “Reflection” that was read my my cousin Tom at the funeral last week. I thank Tom for reading this because I never would have been able to do it that day. It will be a huge transition for me to no longer have Mom here. I would like to think that we both will transition in style.

Mom…she had a lightness in her spirit. Her light shone from within. She was always positive, she was always supportive. She was fun to be with and was always excited to see us. Even as the dementia progressed, she never “lost” us. She always knew us and was thrilled to see us. She loved our daily cups of tea or coffee together. When we took our afternoon walks with her she would stop to say hi to everyone we passed. She was always complimenting someone on how they looked and asking how they were. Everyone would tell her how lucky she was to have her family with her. To her, we were the light in her life. For us, it was always her.

She championed all of our causes and never let us down. For her, the family was everything. Dad was the love of her life but he had to share her love with us which was not a problem because she had plenty to give.  Her parents, her sister Kay and her brothers Tom and Donald also meant the world to her.  Mom came from very poor beginnings but her love for family and her faith in God made her rich. That richness and her positive attitude, always a positive attitude, permeated her life and led her to the wonderful life with Dad that she so deserved. There was no love missing in our house. You could always feel it surround you and support you. She was generous, kind and loving.

If we are half the person that Mom was, we can consider our lives a success.

I am certain that on St Patrick’s day she and Aunt Kay were step dancing once again, and that Dad was watching and when they finished their dance he requested a cha-cha for them.

I saw a poem by Irene Conner that was perfect for us now.

Although you cannot hear her voice                                                                                                 Or see her smile no more,                                                                                                                   Your mother walks beside you still                                                                                                   Just as she did before.                                                                                                                           She listens to your stories and                                                                                                           She wipes away your tears,                                                                                                                 She wraps her arms around you                                                                                                         And she understands your fears.                                                                                                       It’s just she isn’t visible                                                                                                                         To see with human eye,                                                                                                                         But talk to her in silence and                                                                                                               Her spirit will reply.                                                                                                                             You’ll feel the love she has for you                                                                                                     You’ll hear her in your heart,                                                                                                             She’s left her human body,                                                                                                                   But your souls will never part.

Mom will be missed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPRING ’18 PART 1- PANTS

A new season is upon us. Let’s look at pants for spring-summer ’18, but first, here is a short tutorial on this category.  In the spring and summer the selection for pants is vast. Here are the lengths that one encounters for the warmer weather seasons.

Working from the ground up we’ll start with a full length pant. Inseam is between 28″ to 31″ depending on if the length is considered  petite, regular or tall. Next is an Ankle length which is self explanatory.  This length has become popular over the last couple of years.  Next is the Crop Pant which has a 23″ inseam. Crop pants are followed by Capri Pants with a 20″ inseam. Sharing in this length are pants that were popular in the 50’s and 60’s- Pedal Pushers AKA Clam Diggers. The difference here is that the Capri widens through the thigh to the leg opening and the pedal pusher fits close to the leg. Next is the Gaucho which has a 21″ inseam and is wide through the thigh and has a more generous cut. Culottes have an 18″ inseam and have a semi fitted wide leg. This is followed by shorts: Bermuda (13″ inseam), Walking Short (slightly shorter than Bermudas),  City Short (11″ inseam and a more tailored cut), Skort which is a skirt over a short, usually knee length for the skirted portion, and if you can carry it off, short shorts (these days usually in the form of cut off, cut up denim).

I think we can say that there is a length for every occasion and every body type!

This year there is a great selection of wide leg pants. The Palazzo pant was originally a trouser cut with the wide leg flaring from the knee. They were worn by trend setters in the 20’s such as Coco Chanel, then  Katherine Hepburn in the 30’s. Then in the 60’s they took off again. In the 80’s the Palazzo was part of the power suit. Variations on the wide leg pant are also “bell bottoms” and “flared leg”. This year you will see a cross section of fabrics for the Palazzo pants.  There are also long cropped gauchos. There are jogger pants elasticized at the hem. There are cargo pocket pants. A few great looking styles I have seen have either a side slit, a front slit, or a back slit. The slits are at varying heights on the wide leg pants.

There are lots of printed pants out this season too. There are all over prints as well as placement prints or embroidery.

Going to be a great season for pants. Shoe accessorizing is a topic for another day.

CAN SPRING BE FAR BEHIND?

What better time than watching the snow fall to think about Spring 2018 colors?

The team at the Pantone Color Institute create the trend report highlighting the top colors shown by designers showing at the NY Fashion Week which took place in September. These colors will be featured in their collections and the colors seen at the show tell us what we can expect to see in all areas of design.

Colors for Spring are so POWERFUL! Laurie Pressman (Pantone)  says “The desire for colorful self expression is a key take away for Spring 2018. The color story is wildly divergent and we see a kaleidoscopic bounty of uplifting shades and feel-good tones.” The colors encourage experimenting with mixing the colors in all sorts of ways. Mixing of these colors can be fun or very dramatic.

img_1873-1img_1874img_1875img_1877img_1878img_1879img_1880img_1881img_1882img_1883img_1884img_1885

There is also a classic color palette, These four colors are the anchors for everyone. Sailor Blue, Coconut Milk, Warm Sand, Harbor Mist (dove gray)

img_1887img_1890img_1889img_1888

Ultra Violet has been named the color of the year for 2018. This color, and shades of, will be seen in the stores as the year progresses. Actual spring for most manufacturers had already been planned by this point. I think Cherry Tomato will be big for Spring. There will be lots of bright colors to enjoy this season.

Enjoy and have fun with it.

Hello 20-Great Teen!

Another year is about to start. I think that for this year I am wishing for a positive attitude to permeate all of the people I know and the zillions of people I don’t know!

20-Great-Teen! I love this! My 29 year old friend Carl shared this with me and I told him that I was stealing it because I think that if everyone had this as their mantra it would indeed be a great 2018.

Since it is a time for resolutions it is best to keep them simple and attainable. Here is a question for you. When was the last time you tried something for the first time? Think about it and come up with a list of things to try. It could be as simple as trying something new on a menu or learning about something that has always been interesting to you.

This year I am going to update my Bucket List and really work at chipping away at it! For me that means exploring places I have not yet been to or, in some cases, returning to places I have been to and explore them more thoroughly. Also high on my bucket list is spending quality time with family and friends and really get to know what makes them tick. I intend to spend time with elders at my Mom’s residence as well as spend time with my soon to be 4 grandson and the new baby that will come on the scene in May. There is so much to be learned from those on each end of the age spectrum.

I wish all of you a wonderful new year filled with happiness and perhaps some new beginnings. Try something new…you might find it incredibly worthwhile.

Happy 20-GREAT-TEEN.