Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thankful to Lose; Thankful to Win

Lately it's occurred to me
That I've had enough of that
And lately I've been satisfied by simple things
Like breathing in and breathing out

Those are lyrics from Natalie Merchant’s song Not In This Life from her Motherland album. For years the line about breathing in and breathing out has struck me. I would say to myself, “Oh, that’s what I need to focus on”. Then before I knew it, my fabulous monkey mind would have swung to another branch, then another, then another. But every time I have come across that lyric, I have paused and enjoyed the open stillness that comes with just focusing on the breath, on the moment, then letting it go.

After I divorced and again a few years ago, I tried internet dating. There would be pre-fab questions for participants to answer to help others to learn about you. One of the questions asked about the 5 things you can’t live without. I thought it a stupid question. One thing I’ve known for a long time about myself is that I’m a survivor and that I can survive all sorts of losses except that of food, water, air, and shelter. I certainly understand why people say they cannot live without their children, their pets, their friends or their prized possessions. Those are all certainly very important and meaningful, but I’m certain all of those individuals would survive without them. Loss can be inconvenient, painful and at times devastating, but it can also be the harbinger of good things. Loss reminds us of what we truly need in order to exist, and also reminds us of what gives our lives meaning.

My point is that this holiday season, since my adventure in TN, I’ve been thinking a lot about where my life is, my stressors, joys, passions, how the scales are balanced. On the drive home from TN, I heard Natalie’s song again and remembered how easy it is to go to that place of serenity inside. Whilst there I recognized that all I need to live is very basic and elemental and that was very reassuring. I didn’t lose anything that gave my life meaning. I did lose a car that I loved which created some inconvenience and expense, but it also created an opportunity to obtain a vehicle that will likely prove a better fit for our lifestyle.

I want to extend a warm “thank you” to Catherine who has graciously bestowed my blog with this award. I hope this little blog of mine proves worthy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Adventures in Lingerie Part II: An Evolving Culture - Matching Bras and Panties

I come from very pragmatic people of the Midwestern United States. My family came from a long line of farmers, laborers and hard workers. I grew up mirroring what I saw when it came to lingerie, basic bra and cotton briefs. Let me define “briefs”. We’re talking “granny panties”. Not bikini panties, not hipsters, in fact, we don’t even call them panties…they are underwear, plain and simple. I suppose one could say that I was introduced to matching bras and panties from an early age, as they were always white. I do vaguely remember whilst in early childhood having matching underwear and tanks, thanks to Granimals (which I still love). When I was age 9 or 10, I received my first bra. It was lacy, I think it was pink, and was technically a training bra or what is now known as a “bralette”, and it came with matching underwear…, excuse me, …panties. The matching set was a complete fluke because that was the last time I remember having matching lingerie. Oh, and we never used the term lingerie either. It’s all underwear. Fast forward 30 yrs. My first adult set of matching lingerie.

How did I get there? No, it wasn’t my first boyfriend. It certainly wasn’t my wedding night or at any point during my marriage. Nor was it the short-lived romance with my post-divorce boyfriend, now long over. The journey begins the summer of my 40th year. As I wrote before, I wanted to experience pretty under-things as a way to feel good about myself and enjoy myself as I am now. The impetus for diving into the world of silky, lacy and slinky is all due to the desire for self pleasure, luxury.

Once I managed to find some lovely bras, I was still without their lower counterparts. The store where I purchased the bras didn’t have matching panties. So started my search for panties that make me feel as lovely and sensual as did the bras. That search, is still somewhat ongoing and will make for a future installment. Oh dearie me yes, the lingerie posts are far from over. Due to my tutelage at the Intimacy store, I was able to select a lovely bra with a matching panty from the Macy’s sales rack. The Lunaire Charlston bra and panty. I obtained both for a substantial discount. In this case definitely luxury for less. I’ve had difficulty with bikini panties not fitting me well, but these are cut for a higher fit and work quite nicely and most importantly, stay in place. And the bra fits as well as any others I currently own and wear.

The Lunaire Charlston bra and panty. Photo courtesy of

I wonder, do others feel differently? I mean, do you feel especially good about yourselves whilst wearing pretty lingerie? Or am I particularly affected? Perhaps eventually the novelty will wear off but for now, I’m still enjoying myself. In fact, I was wearing this set when I had my car crash last week. No, my last thoughts before impact were not about my lingerie nor was it my lingerie that caused the crash (I was fully clothed at the time). While I was imbibing with the helpful physician in the bar later that evening I remembered an old wives tale about wearing clean underwear in case you ever end up in a hospital. I thought to myself that not only are they clean, they’re spectacular!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


After waiting around Nashville for a rental car to become available, I finally made it home Wednesday night. Arrived in town after 6 hours on the road and drove directly to urgent care. I still had the headache from when the accident occurred and although I was pretty certain it was sinus/ear related and exacerbated by the accident rather than stemming from it, I wanted to get it checked out so I could enjoy a good night’s sleep for the first time in days. After an exam the physician agreed with me that I had a sinus/ear infection and no neurological deficits. I didn’t get my knee checked out but figure it will either resolve or I’ll get it checked out later. I ended the day crawling into bed between my two favorite girls, my daughter (who wanted to sleep in my bed and how could I refuse) and my dog, Faith, asleep on the floor in her own bed.

The next morning I was quickly reminded that life moves on, everyone has their challenges, and how life frequently moves us from one challenge to another. I, however, took a break by staying home for work and resting. After the stressors of the events of the accident and getting home, I found myself lacking motivation and generally feeling numb. These feelings, or lack of feelings, continued into yesterday. In fact I went to bed Friday night at 8:30 pm and didn’t awaken until 10 am Saturday. Sleeping that long is something I have only very rarely done, but I must admit, I felt very indulged. My dog, who is a saint, was kind enough to let me sleep the entire time.

Finally Saturday I found myself returning to normal. I engaged in some yard work, cleaning a few windows (amazing how luxurious it feels to have some clean windows), general house tidying and walking Faith out in the sunshine. Showing yet again you don’t have to spend money to make yourself feel good and well-cared for.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thankful Doesn't Seem Strong Enough

My head hurts. My shoulders and neck ache. My knee is sore. I'm bruised and tired and a little anxious. Above is a photo of my car, or at least what's left of it. It will likely be totaled out by the insurance company given it's missing the front half of the engine. Yesterday around 5:30 pm I was in my first car accident. Given my age I'm sure the fact it was my first accident makes me quite lucky. The fact that I walked away from it without serious injury makes me extremely lucky. This is what can happen to any of us. Unexpected stopped traffic after a blind curve on an interstate.

Thanks to the kind man from the crash site who drove me back to my hotel. He went well beyond the call of duty.

And thanks to Bob who helped me to decompress following the accident. Once back here at the hotel, I crossed paths with Bob, an MD who was a presenter at one of my conference sessions. We chatted and I mentioned I couldn't leave because I had just been in an accident and no longer have a car. He was very sweet and concerned for my well-being. He insisted on getting me liquored up since the only other thing he knew to do was to take a C-spine film and there were no X-Ray machines readily available, so we opted for some wine followed up with a good amount of scotch. We toasted my being alive and well. He helped me to forget my woes and we had a lovely visit. I owe him a debt of gratitude.

A day later I have a plan in place to get myself home. I had hoped to be home by today, but the entire city is sold out of rental cars until late tomorrow. So hopefully I'll get to go home then. I love and miss my car; I'm distressed to see it go. I'm worried that I can't afford to replace it. But aside from practical details, I'm profoundly grateful to be here. I know that I it could have been so much worse. The other two individuals involved also walked away unhurt.

Just in time for Thanksgiving the Universe gave me a reminder that things can be replaced, but the people and loved ones in our lives are irreplaceable, whether family, friends, good Samaritans or our loving animal friends.

Friday, November 13, 2009

An Award!

I am honored to have received the Kreative Blogger award from Bonjour Madame. Thank you so much. I hope my blog lives up to the honor. As part of the blog award I believe I am supposed to share seven things about myself that you might not know. So here it goes:

1. I am currently attending a conference at the Opryland Hotel & Convention Center. It’s enormous. Which is one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to post about the award. I’ve been lost in the facility the entire time! Ok, not really.

2. I first rode a horse solo when I was 6 months old. My dad walked along beside, it was his horse. My mom was royally ticked off about it, but that never stopped him. It at least explains why I have no memories of learning to ride.

3. Over a year ago I adopted a badly neglected German Shepherd who was picked up by Animal Control and was then given to a local shelter which named the dog, Faith. I saw Faith’s photo the shelter’s website and instantly fell in love. I’d grown up with German Shepherd’s and have been wanting one for a long time. Two days later I brought home. I think her photo shows how terrible her condition was. Now she is happy and healthy and a source of great joy in our family.

4. I love British mysteries, particularly BBC productions.

5. I don’t have tv service (cable/satellite/antennae) and I’m happier that way….especially more productive.

6. I once moved a total of 10 times within 3 years. Ever since then I’ve had a hard time unpacking after a move, and I’ve moved a number of times since those 10 moves. I suppose there are worse aversions to have.

7. When I was a child, there was a frog who lived in our yard who would come when I called its name. I would catch flies and feed them to him. Really.

Thanks again to Bonjour Madame!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Adventures in Lingerie Part I: A Beautiful Comfortable Well-Fitting Bra – Reality or Urban Legend?

The Kensington Bra by Prima Donna. Photo Courtesy of Bare Necessities. I don't own this bra, but I wish I did. Truly a work of art.

Since I began wearing bras in the 5th or 6th grade, I have consistently felt annoyed with them. Like many women, I have long had a difficult relationship with bras. Frequently uncomfortable and viewed as a necessary evil, I always felt that my body was somehow wrong because all those cute bras at the department store never seemed to fit me whether I was slim or heavy and I loathed reaching for the Playtex bra box as was the standard in my childhood home. During this past summer, frustrated with a recent weight gain resulting from a year of tremendous stress, I was tired of putting off my interests and desires until I “lost the weight”. I wanted to like my body now, in the present, as it was and is, regardless of the scale or the number on my clothing tags. Although I was in the proper bra size by all available calculations, I couldn’t get the darn things to fit right without spillage, straps falling down or the front center section sitting off my body by nearly half an inch or more. FRUSTRATION!!!!

Around the same time I was reading Entre Nous about how French women are very particular about their lingerie and how important it is that they wear beautiful high-quality pieces. According to the book (and other sources) a woman’s foundation garments are just as important as their outerwear. I wanted that for myself too…a life of quality, a few fine pieces rather than lots of crap. My daughter and I are fans of What Not to Wear and How to Look Good Naked. From those programs I learned more about proper bra fit. The latter program introduced me to a little store called Intimacy where there are bra-fitters extraordinaire and, according to the program, miracles occur. I so terribly wanted to be one of those miracles. I found one of their stores in Chicago merely two hours from my home. I scheduled an appointment for a fitting at Intimacy’s Chicago store thinking my 10 year old would find it interesting too. She had her first taste of a training bra some time ago and after the novelty wore off, 3-4 days, she discovered what so many of us have experienced, they are uncomfortable. Luckily for her she’s not yet developed so no support is needed in that area of her life. Though willing to wait for me, she opted out of my exciting journey content to listen to her iPod instead.

While my daughter entertained herself, I was whisked into a dressing room where a fitter asked about the current bra I was wearing, the size, the size shirts I wore, special needs, favored styles, etc. Then she left me to quickly grab some bras. By a process of elimination and her constant guidance, I learned how to evaluate fit and quality, make adjustments, proper bra care and wearing. Did you know that you should never wear the same bra for 2 consecutive days? The bra needs to rest a day after wearing it to allow the elastic to shrink back into its proper shape. I also learned that when worn properly and cared for properly, a bra’s lifetime expectation is only around 6 months (though I’m not certain, I hope that estimate is based on at least every other day wearing). A good quality seamed lace bra will generally last longer than other types of bras as the lace is quite strong. Another tip is to position one's nipple directly behind the seam when wearing a seamed bra. This will reduce the appearance of the dreaded "head lights" phenomenon. To experience your own bra education, I strongly urge you to visit Intimacy’s website. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with their fitter in their store, whose name escapes me. It was a lovely and educational experience. I learned quickly that my body was fine just as it is. The reasons bras had not fit properly in the past was because they weren’t the right bra for me or they were improperly adjusted. Some bras have a deeper cup than others even if they are the same size.

I managed to come up with a lovely bra wardrobe. I bought one athletic bra, because I do a good amount of walking and support is a necessity. I choose a Freya athletic bra and I can say without a doubt, multiple days of consecutive wear or not, my girls aren’t going anywhere in this device. Funnily enough, it’s pretty comfy. It looks a wee bit bullet-bra-ish, but if it helps to preserve my girls for another 10 years, then I’m all for it.

The four other bras I chose are more elegant and downright beautiful. Did I mention functional too?

Chantelle Africa demi bra in Ebony. Photo courtesy of For when the occasion calls for décolletage.

Chantelle Legende T-shirt bra. Photo courtesy of Fabulous T-shirt bra

Chantelle Legende Full Figure bra. Photo courtesy of
Makes me want to sing "I feel pretty, I feel pretty, I feel pretty and witty and gay...

And now the Pièce de résistance:

The seamless Melody bra by Empreinte. Photo courtesy of This is my overall favorite. I'm not even certain why. I got it in a lovely ivory color and although all of the other bras fit me very, very well, this one fits me like a glove....and I NEVER thought I'd say that about a bra. Love it!

Now that I have the know-how, and the bras, I feel confident and indulged. Yes, it was a splurge, a big splurge. But at that point I’d done nothing to celebrate my turning 40 this past spring. No party, no present, no dinner out, and I’d not had a proper vacation in two years. So I splurged. I think my bra wardrobe is complete except for one piece, a good strapless bra. However that is for another installment. This is, after all, Part I of the adventures.

Once home, I modeled them for my best friend, then her mom when she stopped by in the midst of my show. They were both quite impressed. My friend even wondered when she could go for her own fitting.

I think the luxurious aspect of this post is obvious. But what about the less part? How does paying the money for a good quality bra save you money? First of all you quit spending money looking for the bra that you hope will fit, unlike all of your other bras. With a proper bra wardrobe, you have what you need to fit most if not all of your bra needs. With a proper fitting quality bra, your clothes fit BETTER! Hence you may not feel the need to continue shopping for clothes that fit better to make you look better. Your foundation garment now does that for you. I’ve heard it said that a properly fitted bra along with good posture makes you look 5lbs slimmer. Now that is a true LESS in my book. Most importantly, once you understand how to choose a quality good fitting bra, you have a better sense of which brands fit you well and can find more economically advantageous deals both online and in the stores.

My day of corsetry indulgence occurred in early July of this year. It is now nearly mid-November and I still LOVE MY BRAS! Every time I put them on I feel special and as if I’m experiencing a luxurious treat. Most of all, I FEEL PRETTY!

What foundation pieces make you feel pretty, happy, adorned or even sexy? Where are your sources for bras? Is this an area of your life you want to explore more? Or is all this talk about lingerie too frou frou for you or just a bunch of wasteful hype?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Change Your Shoes, Create a New Wardrobe

While cruising the internet, I came across a wonderful post relaying a story of a conversation between a husband and wife. The wife is prattling on about her new shoes. Her husband expresses concern about the money spent on the indulgence. She assures him that she made a wise purchase. With her new shoes, she has created an entirely new wardrobe out of her old one, saving money since she will not need to make additional clothing purchases for the season. Sadly, I've looked and looked for this original post and cannot find it. Even worse, I can't remember which blog it was on. My sincerest apologies to the blogger who posted this story originally and please, should you come across this ever, leave me a comment so I can properly cite the information.

I found that story after indulging in the purchase above. Aren't they lovely? Sofft Corine in red. I don't know that the shoes will usurp any clothing purchases this season, but I will look smashing in those shoes. Photo courtesy of Zappos.