Saturday, October 31, 2015

Freaky Flaws

Clumsiness in action
This morning came too soon, too early. The kids all awoke simultaneously (Jaguar had sneaked into Fi and Lolly's room in the middle of the night and was cuddled with Fi on the top bunk) and stormed my bedroom en masse. Groggily I pulled myself out of bed, ushered everyone into Jaguar's room, and put Monster High on the TV for everyone, while I dozed in Jaguar's bed.

One of the characters - don't ask me names, I don't have a clue - was a half unicorn/ half zombie "hybrid" and apparently being a hybrid means having some "freaky flaws". His freaky flaw was clumsiness  - though he also had the redeeming powers of healing from his unicorn side - but another hybrid's freaky flaw was "interrupting a lot".

If only we could blame our poor manners and unattractive character traits on "freaky flaws"! Give it a shrug, say, "Eh, whaddya gonna do?" and move on. I definitely know a lot of people who feel that way. "This is me, jerk-face and all, so take it or leave it!" Sure there are some characteristics we have that truly are like-it-or-leave-it; for instance, I'm never going to be able to keep silent on issues that matter to me, and if I offend you, it's probably best to like-it-or-leave-it. (I also join the unicorn-zombie's Company of the Clumsy, and that's probably a freaky flaw I won't be able to fix.)  In Monster High world, clumsiness may be a flaw one can't control, but interrupting a lot could definitely be improved upon.

It reminds me of that book The Pout-Pout Fish. "I'm sorry but it's just the way I am. I'm a pout-pout fish with a pout-pout face for spreading dreary-wearies all over the place." Guess what - it turns out that with a little attitude adjustment, he realized he wasn't destined to be glum!

So I started thinking about my freaky flaws (thanks, Monster High). I'll be very vulnerable and honest here; one of my least attractive internal traits is jealousy. I don't mean YOU-LOOKIN-AT-MY-MAN-BACK-OFF-BITCH!? kind of jealousy; oddly enough, I have somewhere around 0.05% jealousy in that area.  Ladies, look at my man all you want. Flirt even, it'll make him feel good. Then he'll bring all that positive energy home to me. He's not going anywhere!

No, my jealousy is sparked over various forms of competitiveness. Sometimes even, to borrow a good old-fashioned Biblical term, covetousness. One of the least attractive things inside me, that I rarely let anyone see, is the green-eyed monster lurking within that wants the success, talent, friends, and abilities that others have.

I feel like I'm pretty good at a lot of things. I feel I'm really good at a couple more. But I don't feel really expert at anything, and when I see others around me expertly carrying off those things I'm merely pretty good or really good at, the jealousy rises inside. I push it down, like nausea, but it's still there, turning me an unsightly shade of pistachio. 

I very much despise this automatic reflex. It's not a freaky flaw I can or could carelessly shrug off. It's something I really, really, really try to squelch. 

Like any negative emotion (or fear or attitude or prejudice or whatever kind of freaky flaw you have), the best way to squelch it is to face it and address it head on. I used to be severely arachnophobic my entire life. They say the best way to conquer a fear of those things - spiders, snakes - is to kill one. It worked out true for me. When faced with killing a spider rather than showing my fear to my kids and passing that fear on, I had to face my terror of spiders, my irrational fear that if I got close enough to one to kill it it would jump up on me and run up my leg, and just squash it. I put on tall boots, a pair of gloves, and with a shriek, I stepped on it. Slowly, with more kills and less protective wear, I've come to the place I'm at now, where I can somewhat peacefully coexist with spiders - unless they are really big. Then they still have to die, and Scott still has to be my protector.

My approach to jealousy is much the same. When I feel that envy surge in my breast, I try to turn it around in the form of a compliment or a congratulation or in a celebration of their achievements. Rather than wish I had what they have or could do what they do, I find it the most helpful to humble myself and simply give them the credit they deserve instead. Then take notes! What are they doing differently that I can learn from? What are their strategies for success? If they have natural advantages that I do not, how can I achieve something similar in my own way with my own unique advantages within my own unique situation and priorities?

The biggest area of jealousy for me right now is with writing. I love my book, and I'm proud of it. But I don't have a publisher to promote it for me, and I don't have the resources or the time to devote substantially to self-promotion. I feel jealous of my writer friends who are more successful marketers than me, who's books are selling well. Furthermore, I only have one book (two if you count my book of poetry, which I'm soon going to re-release as a paperback). I'm jealous of my writer friends who have a large catalog of books under their names. But I am in a specific peculiar stage of life, raising young children, working a new intense job, that doesn't allow me to write full time like one day I dream of doing. I have to make do with the resources and time I have. Where I can learn from others, I will. But as for the rest, I have to be settled with what I've got. And all the while, rather than allowing jealousy to be some helpless part of me, some kind of "freaky flaw" that just "is what it is", I must recognize it's futility and the negativity it brings to my life and be active in combating it, just as I must with all my internal flaws - prejudice, judgmentalness, perfectionism... oh, we can stop there!

(Now, if only I could do something about my clumsiness. The glassware in my home would thank me. Perhaps I should try balancing books on my head?)

What are your "freaky flaws" and what's your attitude towards them?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

October Dress Project: The End Times

Dear friends,

Here's the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

I quit.

I'm not typically a quitter. No, I'm far too obsessive, protectionist, and competitive to quit.  I will usually persevere through all manners of personal inconvenience just to prove a point (usually to literally no one who cares).  Like last year when I cooked with pumpkin every day of November. It drove everyone in my house mad, but dammit, I FINISHED THE PUMPKINPALOOZA CHALLENGE.

But this year I'm going to be all about balance, and you know what needs to go? Perfectionism.

At work we're doing a "Stress-Less Challenge". From the get-go, I was like, "YES, I'M GOING TO GET ALL THE POINTS!!!!!!!!" And then two days into it, stressed from trying to fit in 30 minutes of exercise every evening after the kids went to bed while exhausted and thinking of all the other gazillion things I needed to do, I realized this wasn't really achieving the intended "stress-less" affect. I didn't give up - I just gave in.  I'll get SOME points by the end of the challenge, just not all. I feel like a bit of a failure, yes. But I'll stress less, and isn't that the real point?

Regarding ODP though, I just flat out quit. It's the home stretch, I'm nearly there, but I quit.

Monday, Day 26, was the start of "Employee Appreciation Week" at work, which involves JEANS DAYS ALL WEEK. Y'all, there are only so many ways to wear The Dress with jeans, and there are only so many days I'm allowed to wear jeans to work, and one of the benefits of Jeans Days is t-shirts, not dresses tucked in. I tried wearing a t-shirt over The Dress tucked into trousers* on Monday. It was okay, yet I just wasn't feeling it. So you know what? I bloody well quit.

*Trousers, not jeans, because I had an external meeting** that day. External meetings trump Jeans Day every sad time.

**The external meeting got cancelled. Lost my Jeans Day for nowt.

Day 25 is not pictured. It was a dark and stormy day, and I wore The Sunday Dress in the least interesting way possible - over jeans, under a warm hoodie with fluffy socks. It wasn't worth photographing, even on my crappy camera phone.

Day 24 I did not wear The Dress. It was Saturday, and I was busy. I just never put it on. Hashtag SorryNotSorry.

Day 23 I did wear The Dress, but it was literally exactly how I'd worn it the day before, with furry black boots and a scarf. The only difference was a pair of jeans underneath. In fact...

Just imagine Day 22 with a pair of skinny jeans and that was Day 23.  

Day 21 was possibly one of my favorite days. I loved the red trousers and the red scarf with The Dress tucked in.  

Day 20 was also kind of cute.  Wore The Dress under an A-line skirt I bought at Tesco a millennia ago, a black infinity scarf and black flats.

Wanna hear a funny story? After a month of crappy camera phone pictures because my real camera wouldn't work, my real camera started working again.

I'm sorry, ODPers, for my lack of enthusiasm and sticktoitiveness this year. It's been a helluva few months. I might possibly be ready by next October. ODP16!

With love,
A Winner Who Let Herself Quit Just This Once

Monday, October 19, 2015

That Balance Thingy

That balance thingy? I'm still trying to find it.

 So for ODP Day 19, this is what you get:

Gorgeous, I know.  Hair au naturale, a blue plaid blazer, The Dress, grey leggings, lacy white stocks and black slip-ons. Why the long face? Well, read on.

This morning was a classic Monday where no one could get ready in time, I didn't have the kids' uniforms washed (should probably do that now), nothing was in the fridge for lunches, and I didn't have time to fix my hair or make any effort with my dress.

But to balance out the morning, I had a good productive day at work. I got a lot accomplished I've been meaning to do and felt pretty confident by the end of the day.

But then I got home, and I turned the bath hot water on to run my dirt-caked three year old a bath, and hundreds of ants swarmed out of the knob and all over the bath. I freaked out. I wanted to both cry and move out immediately.

But to balance it out, I had dinner all ready to just pop in the oven, no prep. Well, I didn't have dinner ready per se; I decided on Sunday while at Sam's Club that in this effort to find what things can be let go and simplified, one of the things could be dinner. They do several fresh pre-prepared meals that just need to go in the oven, so I bought four for this week. Tonight's was a meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  I just threw it in the oven when I got home, and we ate 45 minutes later. And it was DELISH, I must say.

But then we then put the kids to bed, and I went to the gym to run on the treadmill for half an hour. Balance. I ran two miles in thirty minutes, which I know isn't that fast for runners, but it's fast for a non-runner like me. I went to the gym thinking maybe I'd go to the Yoga class, but I really wanted some cardio.  It felt good, really good.

Balance.  Ahh, it feels good when you strike it.

Now, it's been six days since I've posted my ODP pictures. This is one area I have not been very good in. Even getting the pictures taken is a hardship.  But here we go.

Day 18 - The Dress For Sunday is not pictured. Why? Because I had it on with a cute grey and pink scarf, a navy sailor blazer and a pair of jeans. Then I poured frappucino all over it. And literally, I mean all over it. I had one of those bottles of cold mocha drinks, which I like to shake up before every drink. Except I hadn't put the lid on all the way, so when I shook it, the lid flew off and cold mochaccino went all over my dress, my hair, my bed, and my wall.

Balance.  Losing it.

Day 17 - I wore The Dress to a fundraiser for a charity called Hearts & Hooves. They were hosting a polo match, and my good civic volunteer duty was to pin flowers on the VIP guests.  I'm not sure if eating the VIPs' food and drinking their champagne and watching a polo match in between pinning flowers on fancy lapels is going to win me an enormous number of good karma points, but I was there and tried to be helpful. My good friend from high school Liz organized the event, and my other good friend Devon and I were there as volunteers.  Here we are sipping champagne during the divot stomp.

I wore The Dress with my grey blazer, a colorful scarf, black trousers and fuchsia shoes.

Day 16 - Friday Jeans Day at work. I wore The Dress pretty much entirely covered up by tucking it into jeans and covering it with a t-shirt. Shrug. Whatevs. Friday. Jeans Day.

Day 15 - Not a favorite by any means. Gold velour blazer, brown belt, brown boots. The Dress. Mid-month rut. Happens every year.

Day 14 - Also not my favorite. Mustard sweater over The Dress, pink, burgundy, and purple infinity scarf, burgundy frilly socks, and brown ankle boots. Oh, and my camera isn't working properly. Which is why I'm back to phone pictures. This year is such a far cry from last year's backyard, tripod, pretendingtobeartistic shots.

And Day 13 - A bit cuter. Just The Dress with white tights, fuchsia shoes, fuchsia scarf, and my favorite earrings.

I am on the home stretch.  Looking forward to "balancing" out my wardrobe a little better and not wearing the samedamndress every day.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Dress In Days Past

In case you've been wondering (I know how you stay up late at night biting your nails and worrying about stuff like this), I have still been doing the October Dress Project. I just haven't had time to post anything about it.

But have no fear! As I sit here with hair dye on my roots and a pumpkin loaf in the oven, I present you with Days 8 through 12.

(And because of how Facebook interprets photos from my blog, I begin with Day 12 and work down, because Day 8's photos are really meh.)

Day 12 (today in fact!)

I wore The Dress as a shirt with black trousers, black patent heels, lacy white socks and a black and white chevron infinity scarf. My hair was down when I started the day, but it ended up in a ponytail by the end of it. Because stress.

(Aren't my lacy socks pretty? Very annoyed about the seam traveling to the front over the course of the day, though obviously not enough to do anything about it.)

Day 11
A dress for Sunday! Which is kind of silly since a Sunday dress infers churchgoing, and I don't churchgo.  I did however attend a fundraiser full of cupcakes, and cakes are one of the major pluses of churchgoing.

I wore The Sunday Dress under a Quiddich World Cup t-shirt (dork), with black legwarmers, flats and a black zip-up hoodie (until it got warm).  Hair was meh. No makeup. Easy like Sunday morning.

Day 10
Zoo day! My mom, aunt, and I took the kids to the zoo. It was a warm day, so I wore The Dress tucked into a pair of black and white floral shorts with some black knock-off pretend chucks. Comfy and even kind of cute. The sunglasses however...

Day 9

Pink Out!  Our work was doing a Pink Out day on Friday for the Race for the Cure (on Saturday), and we were supposed to wear pink. I wore The Dress with a pink workout jacket, skinny jeans, and totes adorbs pink flats ($9.99 at Payless, holla!).  I put my hair in a loose, sideways French braid. I love casual Friday.

Day 8
Since I started every other day with an exclamatory sentence fragment: Conference Day! I organized the photography for one of our company's initiatives at a conference on Thursday morning, so I wanted to dress a little smarter than usual. I don't think I succeeded, but in effort, I wore The Sunday Dress with a black blazer and brown chunky necklace. (I know, black and brown!) Not visible in the photos are my beige patent wedges.  Not my best outfit at all and not my best photies. We were running late that morning. I managed a surreptitious office selfie.

I also got Scott to take my picture in front of a big bear chef at lunch, so there's that too.

And with that, I'm almost halfway through. What?! I'm not even tired of The Dress(es).  Yet.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

ODP Days: Fifty Shades of Gray...

I've got to locate my actual camera.  All my phone photos so far have looked like this:

And then when I tell my seven-year-old child to take the picture without moving, she takes about three minutes to finally click, and I look like this:

Today I wore The Dress with a pink and red infinity scarf and a dark red belt. I wore black leggings and black shoes. My hair was in a bun.

Yesterday, I wore The Dress with a gray blazer and brown suede furry boots, with  my hair down and a black rosy headband.

I'm starting to feel the gray getting to me. It's getting a little depressing. I need some color. I need to raid my closet for something super bright to wear with The Dress tomorrow. I did order the cutest greenest shoes ever, but when they arrived they were too small. Sad days. I hope I can return them. I think they may have come from China. (Thanks, Amazon.)

Today the skies were blue, but me and The Dress were feeling awfully gray.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Challenge Accepted! September Books

September. Five books read. Since talking to people about the book challenge, I've started to feel rather inferior; I've heard several people claim to read hundreds of books a year, according to their Kindles. Maybe they are telling the truth. But I'm doing well as it is to get through fifty-two in a year, if I can manage it. Five books in September, I think, is doing just fine.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl by Phoebe Gloeckner (A book based on a true story)

You know me and my love of NPR-recommended books.

Well, I listened to the author being interviewed on "Fresh Air". The book is a semi-autobiographical diary of a fifteen year old girl who has a sexual affair with her mother's boyfriend.  Gloeckner found her old diaries from that time in her life and rewrote them to become this novel.  She talked frankly about her experiences in the interview, as a fifteen-year-old girl who thought she was all grown-up (as do all fifteen-year-olds). Her story is incredible and heart-breaking, but the part of the interview that blew me away was when she said this:
Gloeckner: I went to a therapist, I guess I was sent there when I was 15. I think the school wanted me to go, maybe my mother wanted me to go, because I had been kicked out of several schools already and it wasn't clear why. I told the therapist [about the sexual experience] and she was totally freaked out, she was actually a therapist who dealt with childhood trauma ... so I thought she was going to help me, but she just said, "I've met with your mother, I cannot talk to you anymore. I'm going to have to find someone else for you to go to." She didn't report back to my mother, she didn't tell my mother what was going on, she just kind of flipped out. I remember feeling like, "This is too much for adults, they're not going to want to hear it." I was kind of silenced just by the therapist telling me she couldn't deal with it and not really explaining why.

Imagine a young girl, a child really, admitting that she was in a sexual relationship with a grown man and a therapist responding like that! I pretty much ordered the book immediately after hearing the interview. (This has been made into a movie too, which I want to see.)

The book is half graphic novel, half diary.  She sketches everything in her diary from pictures of her bedroom and her backpack contents to explicit drawings of her and her mom's boyfriend naked. (The book now is in the very top shelf of my closet where my kids can't find it!) At times, she goes pages and pages into true graphic novel mode where the plot continues in comic book blocks. The style is very unique.

However, I found the book really disturbing. And it's not really meant to be.  The author writes it from the character Minnie's point of view, which is very haunting for how authentic it is. She also says this after the Foreword:

I was not a hypersexual teenager, not like Minnie is, so I found it hard to relate to personally. But it gave me an insight into the minds and bodies of girls who were.  (Why are boys allowed to be hypersexual teenagers but girls are not?) Anyway, it was disturbing to me how her mother's boyfriend came onto her so shamelessly and how oblivious she was to the wrongness of the situation. And yet even using the word "wrong" feels wrong, as it is written so totally in her perspective that she didn't see it as wrong. Sure she knew it was naughty, and eventually she begins to see it as a little perverted, but overall she believed they were in love and therefore it was all right.

It was hard for me to read this, but I think very important too. I one day will have teenage girls. Will they feel like this inside? Minnie had a poor relationship with her mother and had no adults to talk to about what she was going through. I never want my son or daughters to have no adult to talk to. Maybe they won't come to me (I am their mother), but please let there be someone neutral they can know and trust! (This is part of why I wish we lived in Seattle, where our best friends could be our kids' "other parents" and we could be their children's.)

Anyway, back to the book. It was good, but it had that Lolita quality to it that made you feel a little icky inside for understanding something you morally shouldn't understand. You at once are shocked at Minnie's behavior as well as devastated for her. She is a child being sexually abused by an adult, but she doesn't see it that way. It's so... mm. Just hard to read. And I'm a major prude when it comes to sex, so there's that.

Dying Light by Donald Hays (A book of short stories)

Donald "Skip" Hays was one of my writing professors at the University of Arkansas. He was also my Honors Thesis professor, who helped me write my first book of poems.

I bought this book a few years after graduating. It's been years since I've read it, but so many of the stories have stuck with me over the years. They are so poignant, so raw, so authentic. As I read them again, I was struck once again by the brutal honesty of the stories. Life is messy. Love is not pure. We age ungracefully.

The book seems to be out of print, but there are plenty of used copies available on Amazon. Looking for a book of short stories? I highly recommend this one.

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't)

This was a hard category for me to check off - I was a bookworm in high school and an English major in college! I read all the books! But while perusing the Classics section of Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago, I realized this little gem is one I never did read. It was never assigned to me, but it was definitely a book I should've read in school but didn't.

Many of you will know the story, but briefly, it's about an unlikely pair of day laborers who have a dream of one day owning their own plot of land to live off of.  George is a small, fairly clever man, and Lennie is a large, "simple-minded" fellow. (What is the most PC term for what Lennie was?)

I knew it was a sad story from, you know, not living in a cave, but I've managed to get through life not knowing anything about the book. And when I got towards the end, I spent the last several pages with my hand over my mouth (literally). As I closed the book, I just sat there... Dear God. I didn't know it would end like that.

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde (A book more than 100 years old)

Well, after reading that, I needed something a little more lighthearted. Oscar Wilde it is! My favorite play is The Importance of Being Earnest, but I've never read any of Wilde's other plays. Until now.

An Ideal Husband is as funny as The Importance..., and just about as complicated a denouement, though not quite. I love Wilde's sense of humor. I love how ridiculous he makes his characters and the ridiculous things they say - because everything they say is so true! If we all said things as they really,truly are, we'd all be speaking as if we were in an Oscar Wilde play.

Salomé by Oscar Wilde (A book that was originally written in a different language)

I'll tell you the truth. With only three months left of the year and still a handful of categories to check off, I'm starting to choose books for their length. Salomé is a one act play, and since Wilde translated it from French, it checks another box. Thank you, sir.

It's a tragedy play. It's okay. I wasn't deeply moved or anything by it, but perhaps it would be better performed than simply read. It's the story of King Herod and John the Baptist, shared from the perspective of the King's court. The daughter of the queen, Salomé, becomes obsessed with Jokanaan (John the Baptist - the Hebrew name was used), but when he rebuffs her advances, she becomes vengeful. When Herod asks her to dance for him, promising her whatever she ask for as payment (up to half of his kingdom), she agrees to dance... then asks a terrible price. (In case you don't know the story - not all of you were raised in church! - I won't tell you what she requests.)

It's typical tragedy/ morality-play stuff. It's okay. It was short. That was the main thing. Leaving me time for more hefty books in the next three months. Twelve books to go!

To see what else I have read this year:

One Dress for Weekdays and One for Sunday

Avery, the creator of the October Dress Project, was inspired by her grandpa who once said "that in his day girls wore 'one dress for weekdays and one dress for Sunday'".  This year, my dress is made of 100% cotton, and I'm afraid to dry it in the dryer, lest it shrink. So I washed it last night and hung it up this morning, thinking it would be dry by the time I left to go anywhere.

But by lunch time, it was still wet, and I had promised the kids and their friend who had spent the night that we'd go out to eat.  I remembered Avery's grandfather's original comment - one dress for weekdays and one for Sunday - and decided this year I'd allow myself that option too. So I've got my gray dress for weekdays, and my tan dress for Sundays.

Yesterday was a laid back, bum around Saturday, full of errands and chores, so I simply wore The Dress tied up on the side over a pair of black workout capris and black flats. It was actually a little chilly by the evening, so I added a black cardigan for our campfire and cookout we had in the backyard with Fifi and Lolly's friend E-. 

Today I wore The Sunday Dress with brown leggings, brown flats and a gray blazer.  

I like having a Sunday Dress.  

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Importance of Being Human

It's been almost three months since I've been to the gym. After going religiously for a year and a half, I've really missed it.

Well, today after work, I tried out a new Zumba class at the gym down the road.  While it lacked the rowdy energy and ambiance of the Zumba classes at my old venue, it was still good.  Good enough, anyway. Good enough to consider just joining that gym, because it's close and cheap and open 24 hours and I need to find a place soon.  Tomorrow I might try out the Yoga class.

One of the things I miss most about working out is the feeling of control over my life. I used to feel guilty for needing control, but now I've come to accept that it's just my personality type. I'm a control freak. I need to have control over things. Is that such a bad thing? Yes, it can take over my life in a bad way, but in other ways, it keeps me calm, it keeps me going forward. Getting regular exercise feels good and keeps me level and grants me control over various aspects of my health, such as what I eat. I feel I make better choices over all when I've kept up my exercise routine. It clears my head.  It wakes me up. I love the way it feels, the burn, the sweat, the energy, the endorphin.

I don't think it's a bad thing to need a sense of control, as long as there is a little perspective. My problem is, I don't have much of that.

The problem I have with control is the feeling of disarray and confusion I feel when I don't have it. When things don't go as planned, when routines get interrupted, when I make a mistake, I tend to lose it. I'm not only a control freak, I'm a perfectionist.

And that's what I think I'm going to work on this October and this next year.  Imperfection.  Or rather, allowing a little imperfection. There's probably a better word for it, like Acceptance. Letting It Go. While I've stopped feeling guilty over needing control in my life, I also recognize I must find some Balance.  I seriously need to learn to relax a little and accept that things cannot always be perfect. I must find the things that grant me control - like exercise - but also let go of some things that are simply too much for me right now. I hate that my house is harder to keep clean now that I'm at work eight hours a day. I hate that I'm not the mum who can go on field trips and help at class parties anymore. I hate that dinner isn't on the table at 6:00 sharp every night now.  But I've got to learn to accept these things, I simply have to. I'm only one person; I'm only human. I try to be superlori, but I can't always achieve that. No one can. Perhaps it's the year for learning to Let It Go, for creating Balance, for finding Acceptance. What's that serenity prayer? "God grant me the serenity to change the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Seems about right.

Balance. I like that. We'll see what all comes out of October, but I'm thinking that will be the main theme of the upcoming year. Balance. It seems to fit. It's something I need to work on.

Oh, and speaking of October...

Cue segue:

ODP Day 2!

Talk about something that makes me feel in control! I love ODP. I love the challenge. Today was Casual Friday at work, so I couldn't pass up the chance to wear The Dress with jeans. I tucked The Dress in to a pair of straight leg jeans and folded up the sleeves to vary the length. I added one of my favorite infinity scarves and brown flats. I wore my hair down and natural (it's getting so long!) with a pearly headband. Which I'll admit, gave me a bit of a headache all day but was worth it for the cute factor.

One thing about this dress - I freaking love that it has pockets, but pockets make it difficult to tuck in and wear as a shirt. Still. Pockets are WORTH IT.

Another thing - since we moved, I can't find my camera. I'm sure it's somewhere in a box or something, but until I find it, I must rely on my phone for photography and my husband or children for photographers. Or I can just take camera selfies, like every other human being in the developed world. Selfie stick this year instead of a tripod?

(Just look at this. My hair is getting so long!)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Let the October Dress Project Commence!

I'm doing it. By golly, I'm going for it. Fourth year in a row. Yes!

Traditionally (four years is long enough for a tradition, right?) I wear the dress as-is on the first day, as a sort of "Meet The Dress".  Today, I wore The Dress with my new beige patent wedges and with strings of pearls (all fake, obvs) - pearl earrings, pearl necklace, pearl bracelet, pearl anklet and EVEN pearl badge holder. For some reason, I felt the simple outfit looked better with my glasses too.

You know, there is just something about October. I realized today that for the past several years, it's been the month that sets the whole following year in motion. It's kind of like the start of my own personal fiscal year. Each October (thanks to ODP), I end up making my equivalent of a New Year's Resolution; let's call it my New October Resolution.  During October and ODP, I usually end up discovering what my "theme" for the upcoming year will be.

The first year it was Simplicity, learning to simplify my life and my belongings.  The second year it was Satisfaction, where AFTER simplifying my life, selling everything we owned, and moving to America, I had to learn to be satisfied with what we had.  Last year, I decided to embark on a year of Adventure.  At the time, Scott and I wanted this to include moving to Seattle (and we really thought we would, but the universe had other plans).  Though that did not happen, we still had a wonderful time with the adventure theme, going on small vacations and outings and moving to a new house closer to town.  He had his "year of change" where adventures included everything from getting his first tattoo to learning to eat cheese. For me, it meant taking life by the reins and making something of it rather than waiting for life to take charge of me. I published my book, and I got a new job. We had a lot of big and small adventures during the last McFarlane Fiscal Year, but now it's October, and it's time to learn something new.

I have an inkling of what that will be, but I'll let October decide for sure.