Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Those Swingin' Sixties

I am a woman of a certain age and coming up on another changing of the decades soon. What concerns me most is maintaining my health, but what comes as a very close second is "What should I wear?" Just because a person can fit into certain clothes doesn't mean they should wear them. You know what I'm saying?

I don't want to look like I'm trying to be 20 years old again, but I don't want to look like a character from the Dinette Set. 

Some days it's hard.

I've been seeing ads for sites that send clothes for you to try on after filling out a questionnaire and giving information to a stylist and thought I would try it out. I went with Stitch Fix and got my first box last week. Expected to be disappointed, but all the pieces work with my wardrobe and what I need to wear for certain events.

Now, I'm not gonna lie, a couple of pieces I disliked when I saw them and had to try on a few times. There's not one clothing item I would have picked out for myself, which when you think about it is helpful since I'm looking for some changes.

From R to L, there's a wrap-style dress, a maxi skirt, a short summer dress, and a pair of cropped pants. There's a 5th piece, a black racer-back blouse pictured below, but already confiscated by my daughter. The. First. Night.

The wrap dress is a no-brainer. Fits well, love the colors, but wouldn't have thought it would look good on me. Purple and orange are not colors in my closet. "Orange may be the new black," but it's not a good color on me. That's what keeps me from my dream job as an international jewel thief and hanging with Pierce Brosnan. This dress though? Fabulous.

The maxi skirt is way outside anything I would wear, for one thing because I'm short and don't want to look stumpier. I immediately thought, "Nope." But, it's very comfortable and stretchy material, my hubby loves it, and it looks good with a short sleeveless jean shirt that I own. I've got 2 or 3 other tops that will work and I believe I can carry this over into the fall season. Wore it already to a friend singing Joni Mitchell's Blue album at a local Catholic church-turned-craft beer brewery.

I loved the print and the material on the summer dress and it looked great on the hanger, but thought a bit dumpy on me. Not enough of a waistline. I was going to use a belt and, again, the sleeveless jean shirt looked cute over it. Sweater and leggings in cooler temps...but, HoneyHaired will be taking this also and I think it will work well for her in San Fran.

These pants...HATED them. Didn't like the material. Not a cropped pants chick. Tried them on, felt weird, had a gap in the back. A definite send back. Tried them on again the next day, Hubby saw nothing wrong with them. No gapping. Went the extra step and tried them on with my own tops and shoes. These pants go with everything. Honestly. They dress up, they dress down. They're comfortable. Wore them in 90 degree heat and probably equal humidity to lunch with my mother&sister-in-law at a seafood restaurant. I ate and drank to my heart's content and these pants were still comfortable! Consider me a convert.

So, with all 5 items I'm looking at about $50/ item. Way pricier than what I usually pay. I get a lot of my stuff at Good-Will, second-hand stores or hand-me-downs from my girls, which is lovely though I've ended up with a lot of clothes that don't go with each other. And, they're all kind of similar. This Stitch Fix selection has been helpful to pull my things together and get more use out of clothes I already own.

I don't know if anyone else out there has this insecurity about dressing and what to wear as we're getting older, and wanting to still enjoy their clothes. There's lots else of much greater import to ruminate on after 60 trips around the sun. Some days though I simply think better if I like what I'm wearing.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sunday in CinCity

From Blossoms

by Li-Young Lee

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward   
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into   
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

There's a cool breeze coming in through the window. The cicadas are singing. I'm 5 minutes away from going for a morning walk to stretch out muscles from Saturday morning Zumba and sitting at the opera for 3 hours last evening. Turandot. Didn't know the plot, but everyone would recognize the gorgeous piece of music in the third act. Brings tears to your eyes music.

Neurodramaville has been busy. The motor vehicle collisions, the unhelmeted motorcyclists, the driving while texting and the damaged that are left in their wake, the falls, the tumors, the broken blood vessels. So many lives on a different trajectory than when they woke up that day.

Hubby and I are checking out flights to the Pacific coast for September. MissNewOrleans is doing travel nursing and has her first assignment in Washington state & Miss HoneyHaired will be in California for her next co-op. Trying to figure out if we can see them both in the short amount of time we have off work.

Until then, we'll read the Sunday papers, eat some bagels and listen to the cicadas. Appreciate this day and that we still have both feet on our path for right now.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Evening at a Country Inn

by Jane Kenyon

From here I see a single red cloud
impaled on the Town Hall weather vane.
Now the horses are back in their stalls,
and the dogs are nowhere in sight
that made them run and buck
in the brittle morning light.

You laughed only once all day--
when the cat ate cucumbers
in Chekhov's story...and now you smoke
and pace the long hallway downstairs.

The cook is roasting meat for the evening meal,
and the smell rises to all the rooms.
Red-faced skiers stamp past you
on their way in; their hunger is Homeric.

I know you are thinking of the accident--
of picking the slivered glass from his hair.
Just now a truck loaded with hay
stopped at the village store to get gas.
I wish you would look at the hay--
the beautiful sane and solid bales of hay.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Heavy Summer Rain

by Jane Kenyon

The grasses in the field have toppled,
and in places it seems that a large, now
absent, animal must have passed the night.
The hay will right itself if the day

turns dry. I miss you steadily, painfully.
None of your blustering entrances
or exits, doors swinging wildly
on their hinges, or your huge unconscious
sighs when you read something sad,
like Henry Adams's letters from Japan,
where he traveled after Clover died.

Everything blooming bows down in the rain:
white irises, red peonies; and the poppies
with their black and secret centers
lie shattered on the lawn. 

(Brutus, August 2001-July 2015)

Monday, April 20, 2015

In Praise of My Bed

By Meredith Holmes

At last I can be with you!
The grinding hours
since I left your side!
The labor of being fully human,
working my opposable thumb,
talking, and walking upright.
Now I have unclasped
unzipped, stepped out of.
Husked, soft, a be-er only,
I do nothing, but point
my bare feet into your
clean smoothness
feel your quiet strength
the whole length of my body.
I close my eyes, hear myself
moan, so grateful to be held this way.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday in CinCity

The sound
The song 
The rise 
Cacophony of robin, finch 
and dove song. 
The rusty hinge of spring 
Blackbird with redwing.
Long spiteful winter
has lost her bony grip 
The red maples stiff upper lip 
is a burgeoning Cherokee red.
Mother Nature rolls out of her bed 
Like me she is sleepy and tired 
but so ready to lift her spirits high 
above the wires where the doves 
will soon align 
The best view of the sunset 
in this part of Highland county. 
And so goes the song of spring. 
Call and response
And also with you and 
also with you.

~Karin Bergquist
April 5, 2015
Easter Morning 
Porch Swing Poems

Have a visit with some of my favorite musicians and poets...

please note: photo from Melpo on her site

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday in CinCity

It's been a sad couple of weeks in CinCity. We've lost two of the city's finest--a firefighter trying to get residents out of a burning apartment building and a police officer T-boned on his motorcycle while leading a funeral procession. "Retired police officer" technically, but George spent a lot of years not being retired at serving and protecting the public and it was a job he loved. Daryl loved his job. His family said he chased after fire trucks as a kid; couldn't wait to be on one.

I know Daryl from our Mobile Care at BigFatTeaching Hospital. That's the transport team that brings critically ill patients from one hospital to another. George had been married to a friend and fellow nurse from "back in the day" until her death not even two years ago. Both of them great guys, funny, give you the shirt off their back-, never met a stranger- kind of men.

They left behind children, wives, friends, a lot of friends, broken hearts, and a city emptier without their two big hearts.

A Prayer among Friends

By John Daniels

Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive
with one another, we walk here
in the light of this unlikely world
that isn't ours for long.
May we spend generously
the time we are given.
May we enact our responsibilities
as thoroughly as we enjoy
our pleasures. May we see with clarity,
may we seek a vision
that serves all beings, may we honor
the mystery surpassing our sight,
and may we hold in our hands
the gift of good work
and bear it forth whole, as we
were borne forth by a power we praise
to this one Earth, this homeland of all we love.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ode on the Whole Duty of Parents

By Frances Cornford
The spirits of children are remote and wise,
They must go free
Like fishes in the sea
Or starlings in the skies,
Whilst you remain
The shore where casually they come again.
But when there falls the stalking shade of fear,
You must be suddenly near,
You, the unstable, must become a tree
In whose unending heights of flowering green
Hangs every fruit that grows, with silver bells;
Where heart-distracting magic birds are seen
And all the things a fairy-story tells;
Though still you should possess
Roots that go deep in ordinary earth,
And strong consoling bark
To love and to caress.
Last, when at dark
Safe on the pillow lies an up-gazing head
And drinking holy eyes
Are fixed on you,
When, from behind them, questions come to birth
On all the things that you have ever said
Of suns and snakes and parallelograms and flies,
And whether these are true,
Then for a while you'll need to be no more
That sheltering shore
Or legendary tree in safety spread,
No, then you must put on
The robes of Solomon,
Or simply be
Sir Isaac Newton sitting on the bed.

please note: art by Sue Wilson, "Tree Roots And Grasses"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


By Louis Jenkins

The time has come to say goodbye, our plates empty except
for our greasy napkins. Comrades, you on my left, balding,
middle-aged guy with a ponytail, and you, Lefty, there on my
right, though we barely spoke I feel our kinship. You were
steadfast in passing the ketchup, the salt and pepper, no man
could ask for better companions. Lunch is over, the cheese-
burger and fries, the Denver sandwich, the counter nearly
empty. Now we must go our separate ways. Not a fond embrace,
but perhaps a hearty handshake. No? Well then, farewell. It is
unlikely I'll pass this way again. Unlikely we will all meet again
on this earth, to sit together beneath the neon and fluorescent
calmly sipping our coffee, like the sages sipping their tea
underneath the willow, sitting quietly, saying nothing. 

My daughter texted yesterday to tell me she and her fiance have lost a dear friend; a member of the small family of loved ones they have collected in New Orleans. And, like many deaths of those in their twenties, unnecessary. As one gets older and sees the winnowing of our tribes, you grow to learn that all the deaths seem unnecessary whether it's age twenty-five, fifty-five, or eighty-five. Why now? Why not one more day? One more conversation.

 One more chance.

please note: photograph by Nadia Lukic

Monday, March 23, 2015

"It was one of those March days...

...when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

please note: photo from the Common Gettys Collection

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday in CinCity

the hookers, the madmen and the doomed

By Charles Bukowski
today at the track
2 or 3 days after
the death of the
came this voice
over the speaker
asking us all to stand
and observe
a few moments
of silence. well,
that's a tired
formula and
I don't like it
but I do like
silence. so we
all stood: the
hookers and the
madmen and the
doomed. I was
set to be dis-
pleased but then
I looked up at the
TV screen
and there
standing silently
in the paddock
waiting to mount
stood the other jocks
along with
the officials and
the trainers:
quiet and thinking
of death and the
one gone,
they stood
in a semi-circle
the brave little
men in boots and
the legions of death
appeared and
vanished, the sun
blinked once
I thought of love
with its head ripped
still trying to
sing and
then the announcer
said, thank you
and we all went on about
our business.

The Cincinnati Ballet had their spring performance this weekend, Mozart's Requiem. It's a gorgeous and moving experience, especially with the full chorale from Xavier University, and very Spring-like in its transition from darkness to light. Beautifully done.

If you care to see a minute or two...

please note: photo of the Cincinnati Ballet by the Cincy Ballet

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Three Mornings

By Jane Hirshfield

In Istanbul, my ears
three mornings heard the early call to prayer.
At fuller light, heard birds then,
water birds and tree birds, birds of migration.
Like three knowledges,
I heard them: incomprehension,
sweetened distance, longing.
When the body dies, where will they go,
those migrant birds and prayer calls,
as heat from sheets when taken from a dryer?
With voices of the ones I loved,
great loves and small loves, train wheels,
crickets, clock-ticks, thunder-where will they,
when in fragrant, tumbled heat they also leave?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Father and Daughter

By Amanda Strand

The wedding ring I took off myself,
his wife wasn’t up to it.
I brought the nurse into the room
in case he jumped or anything.
“Can we turn his head?
He looks so uncomfortable.”
She looked straight at me,
patiently waiting for it to sink in.

The snow fell.
His truck in the barn,
his boots by the door,
flagpoles empty.
It took a long time for the taxi to come.
“Where to?” he said.
“My father just died,” I said.
As if it were a destination.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday in CinCity

Every year when we watch the Oscar ceremonies we see the nominations for the short films and documentaries and say out loud, "WTH??  Who gets to see these films?" And then, the next day or even by the end of the program we've forgotten the whole matter.

This year after a particularly cabin-fever inducing snow fall we booted our way up to the village to check out civilization and noticed a flyer on Sitwell's Coffee Shop window with a date and a theater location to watch the Oscar Shorts. Serendipity!! The Cincinnati World Cinema has been doing it for the last 14 years and we're nothing but clueless morons to have missed it all these years. I think you can also buy it on Amazon for instant viewing on your device. But again, techno idjits are we with the attention span of a moth.

So short films work well with our distracted brains. The longest film was 39 minutes I believe. The shortest, 3 minutes, give or take a minute or so. Seven films the first day, or the first half of one day depending on how you arranged your tickets for the two day viewing. We split the days up so we could mull over the films of one day before taking in the next chance to slide through the cracks of memory before we can make it home.

The films are a mixture with live action and animation, funny and somber. All are fascinating.

Our first afternoon started with The Dam Keeper and it's been hard to keep it from being my favorite with the story and the artwork. 

But, there's The Single Life and The Phone Call and Powder Keg...All of them jewels. To keep it all things CinCity, the winner of this year's Oscar was Feast directed by a hometown artsy genius, Patrick Osborne.

And, like all two days with 14 movies should end...they all lived happily ever after.