Sunday, June 28, 2015

Our Twenties

Our twenties are a very important stage of life. We leave adolescence and begin adulthood. We aspire to live independent of our parents and experience rapid transition. We seek romance and try to launch our careers. It's a period of excitement and anxiety. Most things are new to us and our experiences are novel.

When I started blogging six years ago, I quickly became friends with Diana, a 25-year old living in Florida. Diana graduated college but hadn't started her career yet. She was anxious to do so. She was also single.

Today, I met Diana in person for the first time. She's visiting Philadelphia for a convention and I went down there to have lunch with her. It was encouraging. In the past six years, Diana secured employment as a school librarian, earned her Master's Degree, started networking in her field, and gained palpable confidence. She also found romance and got married. Now 31, Diana is a successful woman in the bloom of adulthood. It's gratifying to see how her life has drastically changed in a short period of time.

Diana used to have a fashion-blog. When her career took off, she didn't have enough time to maintain it and created a new blog devoted to her work. Diana didn't close down the old blog and says she might resurrect it if more time becomes available in the future.

How did your life change in your twenties?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Peace and Love

I bought this pretty necklace in Woodstock last week. Back in the days of my youth, the peace symbol stood for love and harmony. We advocated for that and believed change was possible.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Snapshots of Life

When you travel, you tend to pay more attention to your surroundings and experiences. That happened to me on my recent motorcycle trip. Here were some observations...

- Every time I ride a motorcycle over a bridge, I turn into a 5-year old boy. Wheee!!!

Being up so high, without a cage around you, exposed to the air and sights, you are confronted with reality. The view isn't a televised one; you are actually present and existing on a larger scale than normal. The magnitude of reality and our small place within it viscerally feel like they should.

- During breakfast at the hotel, I sat next to an older couple. The man was talking. And talking. And talking. He never paused and, surprisingly, his wife never said a word. The man wasn't conversing, he was lecturing, on one topic after another.

I wasn't paying much attention until I heard him say that women shop more than men. He started lecturing his wife on what women like to buy, how shopping meets their suppressed emotional needs, and why they engage in such odd behavior. All the time he's saying this, he's talking TO A WOMAN! How clueless is someone to tell a woman about female life? He achieved a rare combination of arrogance and obliviousness. Have you ever met anyone like this?

- I approached a milk/sugar counter with my cup of tea and saw an older woman fixing her coffee. I waited for her to finish instead of reaching across her for milk and sugar. I believe behavior like that is rude. As she turned to leave, she looked me in the eye and said, "My! You are so polite! Thank you." Then she smiled.

Have we become a society where it is okay to jostle others and be inconsiderate? Has common courtesy disappeared? Maybe that's the case with many people but I refuse to behave badly. I'm polite in every situation and act that way because I believe in courtesy. Rudeness by others isn't deterring me in this regard.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My Sixties Dress

What's better than an old vintage dress from the 1960's? A brand-new vintage dress from that era!

Fifty-year-old garments suffer from age; their material and stitching decay over time. Also, the limited selection of vintage dresses rarely include any big enough to fit a large gal.

My friend Jessica is the maven of vintage clothing. Her blog (Chronically Vintage) is a fabulous exploration of the subject. If you haven't read it yet, you should. Jessica entertains and educates. She taught me that clothing made today using authentic vintage designs are properly called "vintage reproductions." The term "vintage" is reserved for clothing that's actually at least 50 years old. A related category is "vintage appropriate" which covers modern items that resemble vintage but aren't real vintage designs. Jessica explains the distinctions among these terms in a video.

During my visit to Woodstock last week, I discovered a clothing store whose owner, Molly, makes vintage reproductions. She sold me a dress that she made herself, using a real pattern from the 1960's. The fabric and print were popular at the time; I saw them often. Spying the dress last Friday, I snatched it off the rack, bubbling and elated at my find.

The depth of my attraction to this dress can't be overstated. Back in my youth, I envied girls who wore this style. My emotions back then had an intensity you can't imagine. I wanted to BE a girl more than anything. I wanted to wear clothes like this. But, alas, that was forbidden.

Now, when I put on this garment, I'm amazed at my freedom. I never thought I'd be allowed to wear this pretty dress. What you see in the following pictures is not merely a clothing outfit but a display of astonishment and gratitude.

Thank you for letting me share this with you.




Sunday, June 21, 2015


I took Robin on a three-day motorcycle trip this weekend. We had a blast.

In addition to riding, we did two seemingly-impossible tasks. First, we travelled back in time to the 1960's and, second, we walked on water. The first activity, of course, was visiting Woodstock which retains the spirit of its famous 1969 festival. The second activity involved walking across the Hudson River on a new pedestrian bridge.

Taking a motorcycle up there added to the fun. Riding long-distance is meditative. Your mind relaxes and contemplates big issues that we never get to with the press and distractions of daily life. While up North, the riding became more exciting as twisty roads with unpredictable elevation-changes made the experience like a roller-coaster. Increasing the challenge of navigating such roads (at triple the speed limit) is noticing, more than casually, the absence of a shoulder. The survival portion of your brain screams, THERE'S NO ROOM FOR ERROR! Which heightens the excitement.

Woodstock is a fun place to visit. It has a Bohemian vibe with lots of art and culture. We saw a fascinating photo-exhibition and heard music played in Village Green. The greatest attraction of the town is its shopping. There are dozens of small stores of every kind selling things you'll never find in a mall. Clothing boutiques, thrift-stores, gift shops and even bookstores. (I thought the latter were extinct.)

The first time I visited Woodstock, magic happened and I found a gorgeous vintage dress. This time, even greater magic was performed. Not only did I find a pretty dress but it's better than vintage. What's better than vintage? A dress made according to an authentic 1960's pattern that is brand-new and not frayed from fifty years of decay. I bought the dress from the woman who made it -- her name is Molly and she owns a shop in town called Sew Woodstock. At her shop, Molly sells wonderful clothing and teaches sewing. She sits at a sewing machine making clothes as she tends the store. She teaches sewing classes and promotes her craft. You may recall that sewing is one of my aspirations; it will certainly become a future hobby.

The dress, which you'll see in a few days, is a popular design that I saw often during my youth, on both young girls and adult women. It's adorable and uses a fabric-print that reminds you viscerally of that era. Bright, vibrant and cute.

I also brought home a second outfit comprised of a purple tie-dyed maxi-skirt and purple/white top, enhanced by a peace-sign necklace. What's more Sixties than that?

A symbol of Woodstock's spirit is found in its long-standing tradition of not having any traffic lights in town. That would be like, capitulating to the Man, man. Can ya dig it?

While up in the area, I thought it'd be fun to explore something quirky I discovered online. In the 1860's, a railway bridge was built across the Hudson River, halfway between New York and Albany. It was the only one around. For a century, it got heavy use by trains carrying wares and soldiers. Then, its importance diminished as trucks replaced trains in commerce. In 1974, the bridge caught fire and stopped being used.

With the same spirit behind the new High Line park in Manhattan, smart government-planners decided to restore the bridge and transform it into a linear park. They re-built the decayed structure and created a wide, pleasant walkway for pedestrians. The walkway is the longest pedestrian bridge in the world and over a mile long. You can walk in either direction and peer down at the huge Hudson River. The bridge is State-owned and called Walkway Over The Hudson. It connects the towns of Poughkeepsie and Highland.

The walkway is delightful. Unlike bridges you can walk over with loud, smelly trucks, there are no vehicles allowed on this bridge. Just families, children and smiling couples enjoying a pleasant wide path with scenic views.

Here are some pics from the trip...






Friday, June 19, 2015

Motorcycle Trip

I was twelve when Woodstock had its festival in 1969. Peace, love and rock 'n roll -- of course my mother wouldn't let me go. I begged and begged, to no avail. Later, I saw the movie about the concert and regretted not running away from home. Janis, Jimi and other legends rocked hard. And naked young people rolled in the mud while during drugs and having sex. That's an experience!

 I'm riding my motorcycle to Woodstock today to see if the party is still going on. Yes, I'm a little late but maybe there's still fun to be had. At least I can roll around in the mud.  :-)

Do you know about Woodstock?

Monday, June 15, 2015

1964 Secretary

I try to imagine female experiences. Having been kept from them, I strive to imagine what they feel like. The exercise isn't limited to current times; it includes the past as well.

The impulse fueled a recent shopping spree. I went searching for skirt-suits, such as those worn in the 1950's-1980's. I admired women wearing them back then and want to simulate their experience to the extent I'm able.

Here's an example of something a working woman would wear in the mid-1960's. The skirt-suit captures a generally conservative style but is modernized by bright colors and flared sleeves. Together, the ensemble reflects how fashion was changing in the Sixties away from conservative to more playful and bold looks.

What do you think?