Sunday, August 31, 2014

Being In A Hard Place

Some of us face hardships in life.  Those who are different usually experience pain from social rejection and inhospitality.  Becoming sad is unavoidable when that happens. 

The big question becomes -- What do we do?  How do we react to our difficulties?  Do we crumble?  Do we fight back?  Do we abandon hope for a happy life?

I'm friends with a blogger in England.  The name she uses online is Lotte (short for Charlotte) even though IRL she's a middle-aged man with a wife and a child.  Lotte describes herself as a crossdresser (as distinct from a transsexual like me) but we both fall under the umbrella term "transgender."  That's her on the right.

Lotte is in pain right now.  I can sense it because I know her pain.  It's profound sadness emerging from regret.  Lotte isn't living a life that gives her happiness and feels penned in by her circumstances.  To address this, she's started writing deep, soulful posts on her blog.  A second installment just appeared ( here ).

If you have insight into how to find joy in life, you may want to offer Lotte advice.  Or hope.  Or support.  I tried.  When you know someone's pain, it's easier to feel empathy for them.  And empathy expands our humanity and ability for connection.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Jagged Justice

It's been a long time since I've been able to wear nice clothes.  Work has been too demanding and I woke up Tuesday feeling sick.  At first I thought I had a cold but, after consulting the Internet, I realized I have Ebola.  Oh well...

During the week, I conceived an outfit which turned out well.  Its centerpiece is a skirt.  I've never built an outfit around a skirt before.  Have you?

The skirt's print is chevron, which is often used by Missoni.  I'd love to say I bought this skirt for a thousand dollars from a haute couture designer but, truth be told, I snagged it for $12 at Charlotte Russe.  I spotted it on the rack and pounced.  The shoes are from Torrid, also $12.  Both steals, in my opinion.

Your thoughts on these pieces?

BTW, this outfit reminds me of the funniest blog-post I ever read, written by my dear friend Ashley.  She posted it here.  The story is worth a visit.  Ashley has the best sense of humor.  At the time (2011), I gave Ashley an award for Post Of The Year (POTY).  With that award, Ashley retired from blogging and is now living in leisure on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, surrounded by handsome man-servants and ripe coconuts.  :-)





Tuesday, August 19, 2014


If you don't see beauty around you, look closer.  I took these on my walk around the neighborhood.





Monday, August 18, 2014

Blue Suede Shoes

I was shopping for women's clothing and thought, "Oh, what the heck, let me take a peek at the men's department."  I lack the same enthusiasm for men's clothes that I have for women's, but the sales in the store I was visiting were superb (Sak's Off 5th).  So I looked and am glad I did.

I found an attractive pair of blue suede shoes by Cole Haan.  They have a wingtip style with -- hang on to your hat -- blue soles.  Beautiful blue soles.  Normally $200, they were half-off.  Given their sturdy construction and good materials, I'm sure I'll be wearing them for a full decade.  That's $10 per year.

You may know the song "Blue Suede Shoes" which was performed by Elvis Presley.  Elvis didn't write the song, though; it was written and first recorded by Carl Perkins.  Carl, in my opinion, was a much better singer than Elvis and I prefer his version.  It's more authentic.  Have you heard either version?


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The New James Brown Movie

Last week I saw the best performance of the year by one of our finest actors.  If there's justice in the world, he will win the Oscar for Best Actor.

You may not know Chadwick Boseman now but you will soon.  He did a great job last year portraying Jackie Robinson in the movie "42".  (See it if you haven't.)

In the new "Get on Up," Boseman inhabits James Brown.  He studied Brown's physical movements and nails them.  Just the way he stands convinces you of the portrayal. 

The film explores and explains who James Brown was -- a complicated, flawed man with immense musical talent.  Brown, abandoned by his parents, learned self-sufficiency and never outgrew it.  He climbed in a competitive business, outsmarted businessmen who wanted to exploit him, and survived with a long career.  Yes, he had faults but the movie puts them in perspective.

James Brown was a force of nature.  His funky groove was electrifying.  This film succeeds at capturing and portraying that.  Since watching the movie, I downloaded Brown's live concert at the Apollo Theatre in 1969 and have been listening to it non-stop.  The man had soul.  And energy.  And more soul.

Have you heard his music?

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Novel Look

I felt playful tonight, so I explored something new.  Something unusual.  You might not approve, but it's my blog and I'll play if I want to.  :-)

Seriously, what do you think?





Improved Driving

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is trying to improve motorists' behavior by using humor. My favorite new signs are this one in the pikcha and another one that says, "Make yah Ma proud, wear yah seatbelt."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Visiting Canada

The magical pink boxing gloves are visiting Canada!  They recently headed north to see Sheila and now are in the hands (literally) of a second Canadian blogger, Shawna.

Go check out what Shawna did with them ( here ).  Shawna not only wore clothes whose colors match and coordinate nicely with the gloves, she grasped the essence of this project and described it beautifully.  Her words deserve quotation:

"pink boxing gloves are power and softness in one, the strength of female friendship,
support and acceptance all represented by pink. Tolerance, trust
and a sense of belonging to a community all travel the globe with these pink gloves."
I'm so happy people get my message!  This is exactly what I intended for the project.  Thanks, Shawna, for being part of this communal act.
And here she is!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

With The Right Shoes...

With the right shoes, a woman can conquer the world!

The chic shoes I bought yesterday are the foundation of this outfit.  I echo the blue in my bracelet and dress.  I'm pleased with how it all turned out.

What do you think?




Saturday, August 9, 2014

I'm In Love!

With a pair of shoes.  :-)

I was walking through a mall and spotted a store I've never shopped in before.  Torrid, which offers fashion for larger gals (Size 12+).  I've learned not to pre-judge experiences so I went in simply to see what they offer.  And I was surprised.

They have many fashionable items.  And, best of all, they have shoes in my size (12).  That's rare.  I found a pair on sale for $14 and love their style.  I brought them home and plan to build an entire outfit around them tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Aren't these cute??!!

Friday, August 8, 2014


Modern society teaches us to be selfish.  To hoard what we have.  To ignore others.

I believe happiness is found in the opposite direction -- in sharing.  When I share what I have with others, I feel good about myself.  Sharing builds social connections and generates good feelings.  Even totally altruistic sharing has positive effects. 

I'm not alone in believing this.  Emerging research in the newly-recognized field of "positive psychology" finds humans benefit from sharing.  We're social animals by nature and get a chemical high in our brains when we act cooperatively with others.

I make a conscious choice to incorporate sharing into my life.  The practice makes me feel good.  Often I need an emotional boost in my life and this provides it.

Do you share?  How do you feel when you do?

This cute costume was lent to me by a sweet friend (Fuzzy).

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Troy & Cohoes

Over the weekend, Aimee showed me her hometown and neighboring cities.  We went on several long walks through Troy and Cohoes -- at a spirited pace, I must add, which means Aimee walks very fast and I scurried to keep up.  Troy and Cohoes are cities that bustled with thriving industry 100-150 years ago but declined sharply when their industries closed down.  Now, decaying remnants of those prosperous times are evident.

It's possible to find poignant beauty in buildings which were once grand and are now dormant.  See if you can see it in these pictures.







Saturday, August 2, 2014

Up North

I'm lucky. Through blogging I've gotten to meet many wonderful people. Today was another gem.

I spent the day with Aimee who, in addition to having a cool name, is one of the most interesting people I've ever met. She's smart, talented, informed about numerous subjects, and a pleasure to be with. We talked for six hours non-stop and it felt like five minutes. Aimee showed me Troy, an industrial town whose heyday was a century ago. Now, it's decaying while some struggle to revive it. We enjoyed the old buildings, chic boutiques and Farmers' Market on a lovely day that magically avoided rain in its forecast.

We had lunch in an exceptional restaurant on par with any in NYC. My Egg's Benedict was topped with blackened catfish, an addition I've never encountered before. Scrumptious.

Life is rarely all good, however. The ride up was challenging. I got soaked in two heavy rainstorms -- but that wasn't the worst part. The hardest section was an hour of stop-and-go traffic on the dreaded Cross Bronx Expressway. Everyone in New York knows this road to be the most congested in the city but I foolishly chose to endure it. In 85-degree heat in full motorcycle gear. I literally sweated off ten pounds. And my left hand, which had to pull in the clutch constantly for an hour without relief, ached something awful. But as bikers say, it was still better than staying home. And if it was the price to pay to meet someone as amazing as Aimee, I forked over the tariff and consider myself lucky.