Thursday, December 18, 2014

I'm All About the Folding, 'bout the folding, no wrinkles...

After two heartfelt posts surely you knew I would have to come up for air?

I blame this post on Dani.

Yes, that Dani - she of the classic tweedy style and stoves that I might crawl into and live in like a hobbit under a hillock...

So she told me about that damn tidying book.

I haven't really had time to "do" the book yet, what with work and Christmas and all, but I did my office (8 garbage bags later!) and then moved on to the current season's wardrobe, because well, I couldn't resist and frankly, I don't have a huge wardrobe anyway.

And I'm not going to lie.  I was intrigued about the folding.  And then Patricia (or was it Marie?) mentioned the videos of the konmari folding method online.

So I watched them. And re-watched them, since, if truth be told, I do not naturally lend myself to that kind of thing (for example, I still don't really know how to tie my shoes like everyone else.  I just tie them.  I guess I could learn, but I've managed this many years so why bother?).

And then friends, I became a folding machine.

I folded here
I folded there
I folded all
my underwear
I folded high
I folded low
and if i could
I'd fold the snow!

damn, the green sweater up front is slight askew!
I'm going to have to run up and take care of that...

Barry's tshirts!  He is using the konmari method now!
I see folding myself into bed every night, arms tucked in just so, legs folded up twice, until I am a neat little rectangle tucked into my neat little rectangle bed.

There's a picture book in that.  Or a psychiatrist.  You decide....

xoxo Wendy

oh and as per the post title:

Just imagining me in this, only folding....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Joy of deeds well done, beginning with me...

Earlier this week I wrote about being zen as I go about my Christmas business.

Lest you think I am some kind of super-hero or fembot, I must disabuse you of this fantasy - it ain't easy.  There is a little voice that sits in the back of my head that says snippy, snotty things at times.

Mostly, it says snippy snotty things to me.

But I am a work in progress and it is progress I seek.

True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

And speaking of Antoine de Saint-Exupery, my good friend GetFresh shared the advance trailer for The Little Prince movie set to be released in 2015.  I thought it so lovely, I wanted to share it here:

I can't remember when I first read The Little Prince, probably in middle or high school.  But it touched me deeply, this story of knowing what to prioritize and what to let go.

The little prince - still my favorite book

Here in the season of light, we need to remember this secret.  It really is so simple, and we know it when we see it: the baby's laugh, a loyal dog, a hand extended,

a cafe manager in Sydney

a peaceful and powerful protest for true rights for all

Preparation: Demonstrators lay on the ground in a mock death protest of the shooting of Brown. The area around St. Louis, Missouri, is preparing for the grand jury decision in the shooting death of Brown

The grief of a nation.

Pakistan school attack

A planet in peril

But in my small brain, it is love and joy that begins the journey to heal all things, helps us dream big solutions, helps us work with one another for the betterment of all.

I was reading a self-help book the other night by Paul Williams and Tracey Jackson (yes, the Paul Williams of Rainbow Connection and Evergreen fame).

I had seen them interviewed by Oprah and I was curious to read the whole book.  There were many things that resonated with me (not so much the drug addiction, I am pretty lucky there) but one of the affirmations struck me deeply:

Something Needs to Change and It's Probably Me.

So I think 2015 is my year to make sure my own garden is well and truly in order before I look over the fence at anyone else's.  And whatever I get for Christmas is just fine, thank you very much.  And those extra pounds I'm carrying?  Sure they should be smaller for my health's sake, but it just gives more of me to love.  

If I want joy, I gotta be joy.  If I want to make the world a better place, I better start with me.  I want to see fully with my heart and forget the rest.

I want to see the world as a wonder-full place, a place that can be taken care of, bettered, one person at at time.  And so I will start with me.  And the week before Christmas seems even more apropos to begin that exercise than the beginning of a new year.

As Mr. Saint-Exupery said:

Then you shall judge yourself, 
that is the most difficult thing of all. 
It is much more difficult to judge 
oneself than to judge others. 
If you succeed in judging yourself rightly, 
then you are indeed a man of true wisdom.

So while I wait for the movie, I think I will reread the book, because I think that fellow was on to something...

Have a wonderful, joyous day!

xoxo wendy

Monday, December 15, 2014

I am "at one" with the checkout line at Walmart...

This is the time of year that regardless of how much you are buying for the various holidays, you are going to end up in a line-up of some sort (so long as it isn't a police line-up all should be well!)

We spend less money at Christmas now, but I would be lying if I told you that I hate a commercial Christmas.

I like the decorations - be they Christmas or Hanukkah-related - and I like the bustle.

I like to see Santa and I always give him a hearty wave.  You believe, don't you?

Most of all, I try to enjoy the bustle.  It is going to happen anyway, and to rail against it all only causes distress, not peace.

Today, I ended up in a long line at Walmart.  I was not Christmas shopping, but needed something for the house that could not be postponed.

So I struck up a conversation with the lady in front of me.  I chatted with my daughter.  We wondered about how Kim and Kanye were doing (since we were standing right in front of the magazine aisle!).  I really looked at people.  I smiled.  I saw many moments of loveliness that I might not have otherwise noticed if I hadn't had it in my head to enjoy the moment.

It's ten days till Christmas.  I'm having a big "do" on Saturday night.  I am rewriting a novel.  And most of all, I am grateful for the opportunity to do all of these things.

Last week, an acquaintance of mine passed away.  We weren't friends, but we were friendly.  We have friends in common.  And he was a good man.  I am reminded that there are people in pain at all times of the year, not just over the holidays.  I am reminded that there will be food on my table and family there.  I am reminded that standing in a long line at Walmart, even that, can be a pleasure if you think of it as such.

And since I felt so darn good afterwards, I thought maybe one or two of you might also like to be reminded, as well.

Be a light!

What a blessing it is to be busy and stuck in traffic and tired.  It sure is to me.  And if you have even one person who loves you in this world, you are not alone.  And if you are reading this, you have me!

Much Love! xoxo wendy

(and yes, I hope things are all right for Kim and Kanye...)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Literary Landmarks

I read a wonderful article the other day about how NYC has recognized Carl Shurz Park as a literary landmark.

For those of you who don't know, Carl Shurz Park is one of Harriet's hangouts in Harriet the Spy.

Did you know Harriet the Spy is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year?

It is!

Harriet The Spy: 50th Anniversary Edition

Harriet is one of my favourite literary characters and I actually re-read the book this past summer, as I hadn't done so since I was ten years old.

My copy is the old Yearling edition:

harriet the spy book | Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh - Loved this book when I was about 12 or 13.

I loved Dell Yearling Editions - they were such a nice weight to read.

When I go to NYC in March I am going to have to take a little pilgrimage up to the Park, and make sure I am carrying my trusty notebook.  I will take some surreptitious notes about strangers, or at least Barry, and hope that the notebook doesn't get into the wrong hands!

I love the fact that The Park has been recognized in this way.  Visiting literary landmarks is always such a treat, but we tend to think of these sites as places of long ago - The Alcott House for example, the various Laura Ingalls Wilder places, and so on.  One of my dreams is to do a literary landmark tour of the UK, the US and Canada  someday.  I love walking in the same places that my favourite characters have walked.

There is a wonderful book about a mother who did just such a trip in the UK with her children:

How The Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey To The British Sources Of Children's Books

I read this book years and years ago, at least twenty, but I see it was re-issued in 2010 and it is such a delight.  I am going to dig my copy up and read it again soon!

Recently, Barry and I were visiting my hometown.  The book that I hope is published one day takes place in my old neighbourhood and as we were driving to see a friend I said "There's where the dugout is" (which is meaningful to about 5 people in the world who have read the book thus far) and he got all excited.  So maybe someday, if I am really fortunate, that little spot will be a literary landmark, too!  At the very least, it will be one to me!

Where would you like to go visit?

Right now, I am almost done Wolf Hall and think another visit to London is in order toute de suite!

Before that I was reading a wonderful book called I, Coriander, by Sally Gardner, which also takes place in London, so really, there is a theme there.  I know Dani got to visit Beatrix Potter's corner of the world and Wordsworth's this past summer, both of which are places on my list!

I, Coriander

I think I'd like to hit some Mitford and Churchill haunts as well...

Books have the incredible ability to transport us to new and wonderful places.  When some of those places turn out to be places we can actually visit, all the better!

Have a wonderful Friday and stay safe out there!


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Golden Gams - J Crew Ludlow Pants in Gold Linen

My sincere apologies for promising a review of the J Crew Ludlow Pants in Gold Linen:

There are several reasons for my delay:

1) I forgot

2) when I remembered I was dithering because

a) I had ordered the wrong size - a 12 instead of a 10
b) the pants are meant to worn by a woman with an ass and thighs


c) you visit a seamstress and get some work done.  I actually had them taken in on each side by about 2 inches, that's how baggy they were on me!

Well, I did visit same-said seamstress because I did like them.

There are things you need to know about these pants however:

1) they cannot be dry-cleaned, only spot-cleaned or washed by hand VERY gently
2) they cannot be ironed only steamed

1&2 could be deal breakers for some, but weren't in the end for me, because frankly, these are fancy pants and you're not going to wear them a lot and also frankly, I am up for a challenge!

Sorry for the loo shot....

They look kind of bronze-y above.  They have a definite green cast to the gold, one that is please to the eye.

I like that they are linen.  I could see wearing this with a plain white tee in the summer and strappy heels.

I did hem and haw about keeping them and spending $20 to alter them significantly, but I am glad that I did.  They are different and will be fun to wear over the holidays.    I am modelling them with a black Vero Moda blazer and my trust Donald Pliner Raye pumps here, but I do love them with my white cashmere long sleeve tshirt as well - so cozy and simple.

Just know that if you are a person with no butt or thighs, you will have issues unless you are buying the 00...

Hope that helps someone decide, as I know they are 30% off right now!

xoxo wendy

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Merry Update

Long Time No Chat, and yet, so much to tell!

First:  My bloody laptop has been acting up, which is something you don't want to have happen when you are writing a book.  I think (!) all is well now.  We will see!
Last Friday night, a bunch of us hit a BeeGees/Abba Tribute concert.  I could tell you how much I adore the BeeGees, how they have a special place in my heart, how Maurice and Robin are forever missed, as are white suits, but my words would be pale imitations of the feelings I express on the dance floor.

Yes, I was Ah-Ah-Ah-Ah Stayin' Alive!  This the grade 9 in me coming out and I have no shame whatsoever about it!

Moving on...
Don't you hate it when you spend money on things you get no visual benefit from?  We recently had a leak in our roof.  The leak caused problems with the insulation over the kitchen.  The repairs cost about $1500.  I believe they put insulation up there, I mean, they brought in a long hose and men wore suits that looked remarkably like the sperm in Woody Allen's movie Sleeper, but one can never be sure, especially me, as I refuse to look in that attic.
It's kind of like when we spent $10,000 to redo our septic field.  The only people who found it rewarding was ourselves; everyone else just sort of assumes people can flush the toilet...
We have begun our Christmas decorating!  The tree went up last night, and for the first time in many years, I added tinsel.  A tinsel-less tree is considered more tasteful I know, more au natural, as are fairy lights and matching balls.  But my Christmas is not really tasteful in any way except that I am a loving person, so what the hell, I tinselled up!
A smaller tree than usual due to its new home; I actually left maybe a hundred ornaments off.
Really, I should be living larger!
By the way - the tree has a dowager's hump.  Is that good luck?


The homemade ones make me smile!

Paddington, bought by yours truly when she was16.
Am I going to the movie when it opens?  Does a bear...

Tweedledee and Tweedledum.  Bought in Oxford, England in '08.
Don't you love buying ornaments when you travel?

Dobby from Harry Potter
Just because. 
There is quite an assortment of different ones like this
as the kids get a new ornament every season
I also decorated my newly painted chandelier and I tell you, these decorations are never coming down!

I am late planting my paper whites.  Thank goodness a friend brought me an Amaryllis a couple of weeks ago and it is gorgeous!

It is always 5:18 here.  That makes it cocktail hour, right?
I am draping myself appropriately in sparkle.  The silver sweater below is a $35 treat from H&M.  I Love it!

Oh... Sparkle....
Are you doing any baking yet?  My daughter made these chocolate crinkles, the recipe for which can be found in the December issue of Cooks Illustrated, a magazine my good friend Martine has introduced me to.  I recommend changing the espresso powder to decaf coffee.  Just sayin'... Last time she made them I was up two nights in a room.  What?  I was supposed to eat 3 at a go?  Huh!

Crackling goodness....

Did I mention I made pork belly a couple of months ago?  Likely not, because it was wretched.  So different than what I ate at Chateau Lake Louise... sigh....
To end this post on a happy note, I leave you with one of our new favourite ornaments, made by my daughter last Christmas (she is 22 mind you):
Merry Christmas Gary Busey!
If you don't know who Gary is, by all means do a YouTube search.
We love Gary and all his gloriousness here chez Wendy's!

More to come lovelies....
xoxo wendy

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Matchbook Magazine and BOOKS!

I am sharing this, though I know I am always the last one to learn of things, so you may already know about it!

Thanks to my love of Jessica Goranson's style (and the fact that I follow her on Instagram), I read this morning that her store, Holiday, was being featured in this month's issue of Matchbook Magazine.

"What the hey?" I asked myself, as I am want to do at 6:00 am before the first cafe au lait...

Well whaddayaknow?

This little online magazine has been around since 2012.

Since I've been around since 1963, I was surprised I had yet to trip over it on the web.  It never ceases to amaze me how big the web is, especially since I mainly read the news, visit some bloggy friends, and some writer sites and that's it.  I am obviously not the adventurous type!

Sub-titled A Field Guide to a Charmed Life, the magazine reminds me of Lonny and other online incarnations, but is quite delightful!

There are daily updates between issues.  One that has intrigued me called On is about what's on someone's On My Bookshelf.  Hmmm - I may steal this for my own blog!

I am always squinting when I see someone's bookshelf, wondering what they like to read and what they like to keep!

As a lover and keeper of books, this borders on voyeuristic, if truth be told.

And speaking of books, I am sorry I have been quiet of late.  I was working on edits, and trying to complete NaNoWriMo, which I can happily say I achieved, having written 58,000 words in 28 days, the equivalent of a first draft.  I dread reading it later, but that's for another day!

In the meantime, I am reading three books right now:

Wolf Hall, which I have owned for 2 years and am just now getting to.  Sigh.  GSL, put the wind in my sails and good for him, as this is amazing!

The Magician's Elephant, a wonderful children's book

The Magicians Elephant

And The Organized Mind.  This is a tougher slog, but interesting.

As someone who doesn't have an organized mind, this is a challenge!
I also read the book Dani recommended:

This one (well they all do really) deserves its own post, but I believe Dani is doing one, so will leave it to her!  I have not begun the process yet - I think December, unless you are moving and unpacking like our Dani is - is not a good time to undertake yet another thing.  

I will say one thing - Marie Kondo thinks I won't have many books when that's done.  I say: NO.WAY.IN.HELL.MARIE.

But I may be wrong.  But since nothing delights me more than books, I remain skeptical.  However, perhaps I won't have 1000+ books at the end...  That might not be a bad thing... ;-)

Another snowstorm today and I am off to do more revisions!  Have the most loveliest of wednesdays and take care of yourselves!  More to come!
xoxo wendy