We are heading into The Busy Month and I have many thoughts and projects rattling around in my brain. Christmas is going to occur in several stages and probably one off location this year and getting ready for that is, next to my end of term marking, top of the list. My youngest son and girlfriend are off to New Zealand for six months December 11, so there is a Christmas replication dinner going on next weekend here, and I have to get my sewing/knitting done in advance of that for them. And it is likely my son in NYC won't have the time to take the usual week off to come home this year (all good because I know he is welcome at his girlfriend's parents' if that happens - got to make sure all family is covered by family somewhere) and I have to get their gifts sent off soon too. Mixed in with all of this is sort of a reset thing going on with me prompted by the large recent birthday (60) and the realization that somehow a few things in my life have simultaneously passed their expiry date. One of these things is rethinking my professional life and for lack of a better way to say it, what my professional life has done to me. I can express this best through sewing. All of you who work or have worked in corporate or, in my case government/politics too, will know what I mean by The Look. The dark clothes, subdued look that just goes with the territory. It is the same territory occupied by meetings, standing committees, strategic plans, follow-up emails, and being careful to establish your own competencies within the first 30 seconds of meeting someone. You know those 30 seconds you could have spent finding out how nice the other person was instead. Well somehow my lifetime allocation for all of that has been used up. My lines, so carefully drawn for so many years between who I am and who I am at work, have started to blur and that is just fine with me. All of a sudden. This does not mean I don't love my work, I really love teaching, but increasingly the core business of students is all I really care about, and I care about it a lot. It matters to me how these kids turn out, that I can give them skills and ideas to help them in wherever they are going, but mission statement design - not so much. Sorry about that. So the energy of the classroom is inspiring my work clothes rethink and that right now means the completely black and grey wardrobe is on its way out. I figure if I don't get it under control the mass market will turn me into one of those middle-aged women who ends up dressed like this at fun events:
I have no idea what Guy LaRoche was thinking, but really what kind of a life does this express? Now the problem in not doing the look after all these years, is it is a bit unnerving and I have to figure out how to do it. For instance I can't imagine what I was thinking when this piece climbed onto the cutting table at Mood last week. Not sure where I think I am going to wear something like this, although it would probably be suitable for a funeral in Florida. I mean I have to watch myself lest I end up, at top speed, like a semi-retired colleague who turned up at a meeting in purple shoes, socks, pants, top, jacket and purse. This sort of thing could easily happen if there aren't still some kind of braking systems in play. Be prepared to spit out your coffee:
And I need a second opinion on the orange double knit I mentioned before. Do you think I can get away with this in a plain dress? Maybe with a grey sweater over it? It really is more a coral I decided, and definitely something that appealed when I must have been seriously vitamin C deprived.
Probably time to get The Light (the one I got one February at the huge pile at the local drugstore) out:
Or at least I need to get myself some more sewing time. Yesterday I was able to get some time to do that. I am imposing my growing randomness on the family. For instance I went to New York with napkins I had made with retro vinyl record print on them, because my son had told me they had bought a "mid-century modern" turntable. Not sure what they thought of the napkins but I can guarantee you they didn't already have any and my son, well-trained to notice these things, gave my full marks for my miters. On that theme yesterday I started sewing a flannel shirt for my youngest son who has been spending at lot of time working on his cabin. I figured this print was perfect:
And on that theme again, he is Mr. Sustainable Living, I am also knitting him socks out of my left over heavy Swedish sock wool, randomly. Here is the first one:
Of course the second sock isn't going to look at all like this one and hopefully he will see that as a good thing. I figure I may keep going like this until the family tells me to stop, or I catch sight of myself in head-to-toe purple. Whatever comes first.
Flew in tonight after a really great weekend in NYC with my son and his girlfriend. I stayed with them for the first time this visit and really enjoyed that. I am not a formal person so walking around talking in my pyjamas is my speed. The son really lucked out with this girl and so did I. I met her folks too for the first time and they were really nice people, makes sense with a daughter like that.
In between eating great food and walking around Brooklyn which is new to me, I did take the subway and hit the garment district. A shorter trip this time because I had a concert to go to at night and didn't see hauling in my usual giant bags of fabric would be appropriate. However I did some light shopping and observing and this is a little of that for those of you, like me, who don't get out much:
Do you know you can buy zippers with the tape in unbleached cotton so you can dye to match? How cool is that?
Do you know Mood is selling invisible zippers for $1 each and the tapes are narrow 3/8" for RTW seam allowances?
Do you know I bought bright orange rayon double knit for a dress? I can't believe it myself actually. Three weeks in the wet grey Nova Scotia fall did something to my head. It was the only colour I wanted that day, sort of like I had colour scurvy and needed it.
You know those purse patterns that call for D rings? Botani's has 8,000 versions in different shapes and colours, all different.
Do you know you can hold up a metal teeth jacket zipper to your body and the folks at most places just cut it to that size?
Do you know that they make rectangular sew in snaps are smooth and shiny like mirrors?
Do you know that if you drop your ice cream cone on the sidewalk and go back in for another one, if you are an older woman and it is raining and you remind them of your grandmother or someone escaped from a mental hospital, they will replace it for free?
Do you know the subway is easy?
Do you know Macy's sells Polish makeup?
Do you know that not one person in NYC or Nova Scotia is wearing a bright orange dresses this winter?
First of all there is not a lot of great sewing progress to report. Beautiful new baby last weekend and for the last five days my husband and I have been taking care of the little girls while their folks were visiting the NYC son on location, although that location is now Brooklyn. I would be more jealous if it were not for the fact that I myself will be there in two weeks time - garment district lookout. Me lookout too actually. Since I am going to be staying with my son and his very nice girlfriend, who must by now be wondering what she got into when she signed up to be the Nova Scotia Consulate, I have also decided this is my visit to Conquer the Subway. No big deal of course for normal people but I have two profound handicaps. One is claustrophobia (undoubtedly a product of my upbringing on the Canadian Prairies were everything was above ground and you could see across at least two provinces (hills and mountains are known as something that ruins the view). The other is my incredible lack of anything resembling a sense of direction. I still get lost in my own house and it is a bungalow and I have lived here for 26 years. My problem with getting lost is partially due to the fact I get easily distracted. If there is someone on that train with a cool fabric on her coat I will miss my stop and at least ten others. I am hoping that the magnetic field that is the garment district will keep me straight. Our time with the little girls was fantastic, once we figured out that Miss Scarlett was happiest if she slept in my big cozy bed with me and Rascal - which put my husband on the couch - although it did make it clear to us that it was probably a good idea that my daughter have a break and we glad we could help her do it. Taking care of a 4 and 2 year old requires planning for a 5:00 a.m. start time and the three hours every night when you sit on the couch and say "I shouldn't have sat down." I figure it is that they just are so much smarter than we are. Which is a good thing. And which brings me to a thought I had this morning reading the NY Times. Some kid has just published a scientifically significant study of the bacterial contamination of kosher and organic chickens opposed to the other stuff. The line that I noticed was that to do this he, helped by his mother, bought 213 chicken thighs. Ha. I can see it now, a woman standing at the meat counter with her car keys "Listen I know this sounds silly but my kid has this project..." I wonder what favours she had to pull to store them? No one knows what mothers do. So right now this mother is off duty except for hemming another edition of the Barb pants. I wore my last version to work where they got the "sitting down all day test" which revealed a need for a 1 1/2" addition to the waist. That's all the sewing I have been able to do, except for several garments that now have sleeves and not much else, done in prep for my Burdastyle class this Thursday. I am ready to go on that one and actually think sleeves are one of my best things, sort of balancing out that sense of direction thing. Later.
If you have been reading me for a while you know that my dear step-daughter has had a complicated pregnancy, following in fact a long tough road to get there. Well, yesterday morning she delivered a perfect baby boy, a month early but absolutely healthy and wonderful. Her water broke after dessert at my house on Sunday night and she went right into the hospital. The thing was her husband was away, nearly all the way across the country and had to get home as soon as he could. Fortunately Westjet got him right on a flight and even held a connection 30 minutes for him, making up the time in the air. During the flight of course, when you can't use your cell phone, our son-in-law had no idea what was going on at home. Cut to our girl in the labour room. Her cell phone rang and when she answered a very polite male voice asked her "You don't know who I am but I am the pilot on your husband's plane. We just wanted to know how you are doing." Not sure what she said but they made it, just in time. Thank you Westjet.