Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Rainbow of black and white

Coarse fabric and oversized high-waisted pants are an awkward combination; strict measures needed to be taken. Now these vintage pants fit like a dream and the checkered flag in the front crotchal area has become a star. Bingo! The pants are also short, and while I contemplated adding a band of black or gold or red to the hem, I decided that the high-waters effect enhances their retro appeal. I mean, these pants could never look standard anyway. Why bother trying?

I'm also wearing my Frump shoes, so-named for their plain style, but they are favourites nonetheless. They were out of commission for a spell because the leather started tearing horizontally on the sides where the shoe bends. Gorilla glue and leather patches took care of that. The bandages are hard to see in this photo but I folded them over the top and glued them down on the outside and inside. The next day I noticed a dusting of white powder on them. Ah yes, that would be the tiny skin bits that riiipped off my fecking glue-covered fingertips while holding the patches in place. 
I'm linking this up to Sacramento's Share-in-Style, freestyle, at Mis Papelicos. And I'll link up to Anne at Spy Girl for 52 Pick-Me-Up: Dots even though these aren't dots, and to Sheila at Ephemera for Shoe Shine, even though these shoes are more of a glimmer than a full-on shine. 

"A citrus aroma with flavours of apricot, grape, and caramel, and a juicy finish" 

"Oh," you say, "that must be a new wine she's writing about." It's a new whine all right, about my coffee. This is the verbatim description of the "Drip of the Day" coffee from Papua New Guinea that was featured at my coffee shop this morning. I don't know about you, but I don't want fruit in my coffee. I do not want to start my day imagining plump bitter-skinned purple grapes drizzled in caramel sauce. And why would I want "juicy" coffee when I can have juice? That's what citrus is for - juice!

Call me old school, just call me old if you want to, but I want my coffee nutty, coffee-beany - not fruity, not candied (unless it's on the side), and definitely not citrusy. Or floral, which is another blooming coffee trend. Did manufacturers suddenly run out of coffee beans and go, "Hey, I know, why don't we throw in all these flowers and fruits? Nobody will ever know!" - except they broadcast it, except it tastes like crap. (I suppose we're lucky their plants are not next door to sock factories.) I'd rather sip coffee made from beans shat by a kopi luwak than a wet, fruity, floral abomination, although I can't afford that kind of shit. 

When I'm lucky my shop serves up a lovely Italian "Drip of the Day." We're not talking Steve Buscemi, but a more robust Pacino or De Niro, although they'd all probably order espressos or cappuccinos. In this sense, I'm afraid I would be the drip.

But let's get serious - am I to expect "A brussel sprout aroma with flavours of pizza, cheese, and banana, and a sour finish" next week from Iceland? Sure, why not just serve me wet minced bark with a tulip in it and call it day?

Where my Nescafe? Better yet, get me a highball, quick, double juicy.

Saturday, 28 February 2015

I'm doing twitter! and how-to eyeliner for oldsters

This is the only way I'll ever do twitter. Spring is coming in my hemisphere. I'm ready.
Today I wore cat-eye-style eyeliner. I never do. Now I know why. Here's how I went about it.
How to do eyeliner on oldish eyes:

  1. Barricade yourself in the bathroom. 
  2. Stretch out the skin at your outer eye to create a smooth, supple, youthful canvas.
  3. Using your eyeliner product, in my case my new Rimmel "Exaggerate" marker*, with a sure hand and artful finesse, draw long sweeping arches across your lashline, extending in an upward angle beyond the corner of your eye.
  4. Release the stretch. Watch in amazement as your skin boings back (slowly deflates back) into its resting state. Do not be horrified that the accordion wrinkles of crepe-y skin have transformed your masterful work into a stumpy, jiggy, fecking MESS half the size of the lines you drew. Run from the room screaming, being careful not to trip. Rest for five minutes with a paper bag over your mouth, preferably with a bottle in it. Return to the bathroom refreshed.
  5. Grab your product and start swearing.
  6. Repeat the above steps but draw even longer lines which extend far across your temples.
  7. Release the stretch. If your lines were long enough, when your skin slogs back to resting state, you may see a hint of alluring, feminine, feline eyes.
  8. Fill in the jigs from the slog state. Done. Gorgeous. You're ready to be sophisticated.
I got new mascara too and also did asymmetrical eyebrows. 

*no sponsorship here, folks, they'd be aghast
The outfit I wore with this face makes me feel like I should be in my craft room (which I don't have) flashing teeth and glue-gunning with gleeful abandon while constructing glittering scented pine-cone table-toppers between freakish bouts of gratituding and twirling and keeping appointments as an in-demand interior designer. It's a look. It's a feeling that comes from the paper bag over your mouth. But I'm glad I get to shake this off. Behind me is part of a big cheerful painting I did of the Arctic wastelands.
I've been wearing sequins all week: gold ones, limey-yellowy ones, greeny-black ones, and the black ones above. Tip on buying sequins: avoid tops with sequins on the back if you're going to wear shaggy coats and scarves. Too easily one may destroy one's air of demure sophistication and glamour when one starts tearing at one's clothing and cursing loudly while attempting to detangle sequins from shaggy outdoor wear. The top above only has sequins on the front. 
We've all had crap teachers. And we've all had stellar ones as well. Hats off today to the stellar ones.

A little bit of everything...
Have you tried eyeliner lately? Did it work? 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Simple minded

The resting bitch face. Get used to it because, like it or not, it appears to have hijacked my neutral face. Feck this aging shite! Do you recognize the beast I'm wearing? Bwa-ha-ha. That's the twin of the coat I spied through the shop window the other day when I broke my oath to quit thrifting (seen also in previous post). Clearly I couldn't split up the family. This one is a rich burgundy colour, which reminds me: the photo quality is shite too. Can I blame that on aging? I went into a metal-head store today, The Rock Shop on Granville St., to check out their full lineup of Manic Panic hair colour. Although my bitch face made me feel welcome, peering scientifically into their showcase with my magic loupe cancelled that out. I didn't buy anything...yet. You bet your ass I'm linking up to Patti at NOT DEAD YET!!! Style for her Visible Monday party. We're gonna bust this grin wide open. Yeah.

my journal sketch of this outfit. i want that mole-rat-dog-cat.

And if you love Desigual dresses you might want to look away, considering what I've done in my latest DIY.
I call this "Teacup." I turned one dress upside-down and sewed it to a right-side-up dress at the hem, chopped off the top and sleeves of the bottom dress so my feet could fit through, and put in a back slit so I can walk, which is helpful. Then I serged the raw edges and reinforced the top of the slit with that square bit you see above. The upper dress remains in original condition but I threw on the hacked-off top of the bottom dress for this photo just because. I didn't finish the bottom edge of the top because I like the raw quality.

It's taken me decades to be able to attempt something like this; what I mean is, to feel free to make mistakes, even to make garbage. It's such a relief!! My best work in upcycling and other creative pursuits comes from this approach. Letting go. It doesn't always work and sometimes I really end up with garbage, but I'm very satisfied with this project and the teacup shape. I haven't worn this piece out yet; I just wanted to show you. I'll probably style it a bit differently on top and throw on some jewels. Of course, this approach wouldn't work if I wanted to sew something tailored from scratch. Maybe that will be the next goal.

The dresses are courtesy of:
Remember, Ariane, when you sent me these way back? I'm not the quickest to post, and it took me until now to figure out how to style them, but I eventually get there. Thanks so much for providing me with these colourful dresses bursting with inspiration. 

And finally,
Tonight is the Academy Awards show. Here's what happened last time I watched an awards show, as sketched in my journal.
Instead of watching, I am putting together this post. But since we do have more chips and the show lasts forrrever, I might tune in later. 

Does fear of perfectionism make you verklempt? all tied up in knots? unable to dig in and get messy? I hope not, but, man, it's sure hard to shut up that pesky inner critic. 

Have a great week, everyone. 

Saturday, 14 February 2015

My scroogy Valentine's day

I leapt out of bed and immediately flung open the window.
"Oy, Boy, you down there, what day is today?" I shouted to the miscreant on the sidewalk.
"Why, Miss (heh), this is Valentine's Day, 2015."
I clapped my hands and jumped with glee. Then I threw a 20-dollar-bill down to the feckless youth.
"Boy, hie thee to the nearest hosiery shop and buy me some psychedelic-patterned leggings!" His eyes grew big with astonishment. "And keep the change!" I laughed.
"Begging your pardon, Miss, there's no feckin' way you'll get psychedelic leggings in this town for under 20 bucks," and he took off down the alley with the money.
It was then I remembered I have a pair of psychedelic tights, the next best thing to leggings, and I ran excitedly to put them on.
I was provoked into wearing these psychedelic-patterned tights today, with a great heaping of jewellery and a short tight skirt, after reading a conservative style advice article yesterday in mainstream media. Happily, provocation is a sure-fire way to push me to new heights in style, art, and attitude. 
Note my new haircut by O. Yes, confession, O cuts my hair. Nobody, high salon or low, comes close to his talent with scissors. Almost all of the white hair from bleaching is gone now but I'll happily stick with this silver for a while, although my hair at the back is still dark.

If someone were to ask me, what's your style, after prevaricating for years I would direct them to these photos. Sitting at my cafe table today turned into a book-signing-without-a-book as strangers of all ages leaving the cafe stopped by to share their admiration of my highly inappropriate clothing. 
My pissed off face
I'm wearing my thrifted shag coat, thrifted Miu Miu boots, and a sample sale skirt rolled down at the waist in a scandalously slovenly fashion and hiked salaciously above the knee. The tights were retail, sadly, more than 20 bucks. The awesome "Dressed to piss you off" T-shirt was a gift custom-made for me by Suzanne Carillo and fit the occasion perfectly. All of the jewellery is thrifted, except the magic loupe O made me. I did my eyes too, for a change. I wish you could have seen my rock-star walk with this billowing shag coat; I was feeling sublime. 

I am always astounded how a negative feeling can bloom into something so staggeringly satisfying in the end.

If someone tells you you can't do something style-wise, how do you usually respond? Have you always reacted in that way?

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

What to wear for a mammogram

My breasts got clamped today, like I'd somehow parked them illegally and would need to pay a fine to get them back. Almost as odd is the idea that anyone would happily let a stranger stick her breasts between two metal plates and then just stand there while the plates move closer and closer and closer together. And when she's told not to breathe, does she try to run? No, she doesn't breathe! When your breast is clamped I suspect you'd hop on one foot and tell bad jokes if you were instructed.

This was my first mammogram and I had been imagining vivid scenes of a clamper that malfunctions and squeezes my wee melons into horrifying juice, followed by scenes of lawyers, suffering, and a book deal. I scoured the net for testimonials of other women who had undergone mammograms to allay my fears. Knowledge is power.

Here's what I found out:  some women said the pain of a mammogram is worse than childbirth. And, if you have small breasts, it’s unendurable torture. Assorted trusted friends have called the procedure "Draconian," "medieval," and "barbaric," and have vowed never to have another one. Clearly, knowledge is cowardice.

When I called to book my appointment, I expressed concern at having very little breast tissue to work with. The administrator chirped back (yes, chirped), "Oh ha-ha, no need to worry, we can even do mammograms on men!" Of course they can; I've seen many with C and D cup sizes. They can probably do mammograms on grasshoppers too. I was not reassured. The chirpy voice only made me more suspicious of the procedure and more convinced she was wearing pink!

So it was with a heavy foot on the gas pedal that I drove to my appointment today. I said my good-byes to my husband the night before, who had, incidentally, been researching hydraulic metal presses for the past couple of days. He sincerely hoped my appointment went well, anything to shut me up, "How about MEN put their WIENERS in a VISE and see how THEY LIKE IT?!!!" I dressed in head-to-toe thrifted Spirit Armour: psychedelic socks, D&G pony shoes, psychedelic palazzo pants, psychedelic Oriental motif oversized blouse, maxi muppet coat, and the biggest neon lips that my lip-liner would allow.
They instruct you to wear a loose-fitting top and a "support bra,"
no deodorant. My Spirit Armour  (view from the hanger) sprayed good vibes
indiscriminately all over the clinic, providing relief for many frazzled nerves.
The old, low-rise building that housed the clinic had heavily barred windows all the way around, which of course made me wonder if it was to keep intruders out or to keep us in? Given its skid-row appeal, I would have expected to find GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! painted on its exterior walls instead of "X-rays, Mammography, Ultrasounds." Not hearing any screaming, I went in.

The exam room had just enough space for the torture device, the scientist, me and a chair, and the control area. It was slightly dark, which was restful or simply camouflage for putrefaction on the floor. Hm? My technician wore a crisp cotton uniform, not leather dominatrix gear, and in her hand was a clipboard, not a whip. I confessed to her that I was terrified and told her about my juice nightmare. Then she cleverly lulled me into a state of relaxation with her patience, kindness, and professionalism, as she expertly positioned my tah-tahs on the plate, which she had fitted with a plastic adaptor for my size. The machine rotated and tilted quietly as she guided it into optimal positioning.

She took four images, two on each side, one set with boobs squished top to bottom, and one set squished side to side. The maximum pressure exertion lasted less than 3 seconds, during which time you're not to breathe, but then the pressure is quickly released. The entire process took about 10 minutes, including a few wasted on my juice nightmare.

No bad jokes were told, except in the waiting room. No hopping on one foot was demanded. No screams, no tears, no hideous bruising, which I'd read about online as well. In fact, the pain was not much worse than what I'd feel smushing myself into shapewear one size too small. The whole experience reminded me of threading my serger for the first time. I became so terrified of doing it after reading the online tribulations of other women that I didn't touch my machine for a few months. When I finally tried it I wondered what the fuss was about. 

So, if you've had fears about having a mammogram, especially if you're small-chested, this has been my experience for what it's worth. At the clinic I chatted with a few women who've had lots of mammograms and in their opinion the new machines make the process much more comfortable. Frankly, I was shocked by how smoothly everything went.

Now I shall go have pancakes to celebrate health care, which reminds me of Connie, her dog, and Coco Chanel, here. I'm glad I can get free yearly breast screening in Canada if I want it, well, if paying half your income in taxes qualifies as "free." But that's another blog post. Have you ever had such a positive mammogram experience? 

PS I put an edit on my last post.

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