Finding the Right Fit!

 

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-women-s-clothing-store-image22858928I recently got an Facebook message from a Soror  in another state who commented on my attire that had been reported to her by another local Soror who saw me going into a building locally. I was wearing red pants and a red and white top, so she commented on my wearing our sorority colors.

I responded by telling how I how gotten my red pants from Catherines this winter. They had a sale on them around Christmas. When I saw they had they I went out immediately and got them. They did not produce them in the different shapes so I had to go larger size since I am apple shaped and the regular pants are for straighter figures. This means I have to pull them up sometimes when I stand up. I got them because they were red and it is almost impossible to find red pants for a full figured woman.

This lead to a whole exchange about finding clothes that fit your body. She talked about having shorts legs and needing petites. I am short period, so I need petites but even those are about an inch and half too long, so depending on whether they are jeans or other fabric pants, I make cuffs or hem them. I can kind of cope with that.

Then there are other issues about clothes being too big, in all the wrong places. I have arms are short so almost all long sleeved tops are much too long and I need to shortened either by hemming them or turning them up for cuffs. Dresses are too long and I don’t want every dress to be a maxi dress just because I am short. Too many of the dresses are not suitable for business attire. Which goes to there are no suits or jackets and skirts or even pants that are coordinated so you can have a professional look, even if you are large. Sequins don’t qualify for business attire, even business casual.

We then talked about other places we might shop without success including the catalogs. Then don’t even talk about the quality of the items that can be found, particularly the catalogs. She suggested that as a last result we could go naked rather than looking like a homeless person wearing ill fitting clean clothes.

I shared how I have developed a uniform of sorts for both everyday casual and business casual. I found Project 333 which is a minimalist fashion challenge that invites folks to dress with 33 items or less for 3 months. This was compatible with my attempts to declutter and allowed me to think more constructively about my uniform and not spending time each day on what I was going to wear. In some ways it makes life easier. I  understand that President Obama has a uniform, too. Although I think it is easier for men to have a uniform than women. There is a different standard for women.

I have a small wardrobe of dresses and I have a couple of suits left from my fulltime paid work. I have a couple of jackets and pants for the business casual that I have had tailored. For the moment is seems to be working pretty well.

I’ve learned what things sort of work for me and I have decided that I don’t need a great selection. It makes shopping easier, too

Finding what fits is not a simple process. It has taken me awhile to figure this out. What works for you?

 

Integrity

I was having a session with one of my coaches the other day and included in that session was a discussion about integrity. According to Brian Tracey, you either have it or you don’t. I pride myself on acting with integrity most of the time. As my coach and I talked, he pointed out that people most often lack integrity when honoring themselves.

Huh! I said to myself. Well, what does that mean for me?

I have been listening to a recording about inner peace and self-confidence that has a series of declarations. One of the declarations is “I honor my commitments to myself and others.” Many times when I first listened to it what I heard was “I honor my commitments to others and myself.” I didn’t realized I had misheard it until I was commenting to a friend that about how funny it was that this recording was saying this and wouldn’t it make more sense to put oneself first. It was only then that I heard it as recorded.

I had this conversation with my friend because I have been struggling with putting myself first. I had all these things that I wanted to do for myself but I kept getting sidetracked with projects I agreed to do for others. I was feeling pretty frustrated because my list was not getting any smaller. There were even projects related to things I wanted to do but not things that were basic for me like eating meals that were consistent with my new eating program, going to the gym to ride the recumbent bike and getting at least 6 hours sleep.

So back to integrity. How was I honoring my commitments to myself ? How was I putting myself first? So I had to began to say to myself, okay what I do next has to be honoring myself as much as I honor others. I can’t really give to others if I am depleted. The airlines tell you to put your face mask on first for a reason.

How do you honor your commitments to yourself?

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Act As If

I have been listening to a couple of different books where the authors are talking about setting and reaching goals of various sorts. A couple of them suggested what one called living your goals as if they had already been achieved. In other words “act as if.” When I heard this probably for the second time, I wondered what would that mean. Then when I heard some suggestions about how to format a goal, I wondered what that would mean for me.

First, a few tips on stating a goal “as if”:

  • Start with the words “I am”
  • Use the present tense
  • Always state in the positive
  • Keep it short
  • Be specific
  • Use action words that end with “ing.”

So, I started with three but I will share with you one.

My first version was “I eat a diet free of gluten and sugar”. It met the start of at least using I and being positive.

My next version was “I am eating a diet free of gluten and sugar”. I added “am” and “ing” to my action word.

I have noticed that as I have focused on this I find myself much more interested in reading ingredients on any items I buy since gluten and sugar are added to things you would never expect. An example of this was an organic peanut butter made from organic peanuts and sugar. I wondered why anyone would want to ruin peanut butter (let alone organic peanuts) with sugar. Although I did not find an organic peanut butter on that trip without sugar, I did find a house brand with peanuts only!

I am hopeful that as I continue with this goal “as if”, it will result in my making better choices about what I eat everyday.

Lost in the Stars

In an earlier post I shared about going to the Glimmerglass Opera House to see two operas. Today I am going to write about my experience at the matinee when I saw Lost in the Stars.

Lost in the Stars is based on Alan Paton’s “Cry, the Beloved Country.” I am positive that I saw the Broadway production just because whenever there was a production reflecting on the Black experience and featured a number of performers who were Black it was a family expectation that we would be there to support the production and the performers. Researching the history, I found that the production had a very lmited run, so maybe I was only committed to seeing it. I am pretty sure I did not see the film version.

The Glimmerglass production was mounted first in South Africa and included 10 members of the company that where involved in that production. This hopefullly added to the Ensemble having a large number of African Heritage People. It made the production more realistic.

This story is pretty intense and emotional. Although this opera was first produced in 1949, there is so much that still rings true today. There is not only the racism but there also classism and how justice works (or not). There are issues of integrity and taking responsiblity for ones actions with all the consequences.

Eric Owens, described in the program as “attracting attention for mastering performances of some of the great bass-baritone roles.” The performance he gave in the lead role here of Stephen Kumalo was powerful and conveyed so much emotion that when he sang his last note that almost everyone in the house at least had tears in their eyes. There was a woman seated behind me that was openly sobbing. His performance rocked the house. It was amazing. Not being a regular opera goer, this was a unique experience for me. I couldn’t believe I would have such an experience at “the opera.” I would say that Eric is a master without a doubt, in my humble limited experience.

An interesting thing happened as I walked to my car, I overheard a couple talking about the performance. The woman was trying to explain to the man what happened with the father of the young man that got killed and the father of the young man who was sentenced to death for the murder when they came together over the lose of their sons regardless of the reasons. After such a powerful performance of this story, I felt a little disaapointed that this had to be explained to a white man. He didn’t get it or couldn’t allow himself to get it!

 

An Opera Experience

I was reading a local weekly alternative newspaper, Metroland, in mid-August and saw a review of a production of Lost in the Stars at the Glimmerglass Festival. Glimmerglass is a professional non-profit summer opera company dedicated to producing new productions each season located in Cooperstown, NY.

One of the things that I said I would do when I retired was to participate in more cultural events. It has been awhile since I have been to the opera so I thought since Cooperstown is only about an hour and a half away why not check it out. I ordered tickets online for August 25th which included not only a performance of Lost in the Stars but also Aida and there was a Show Talk about the role of Aida in the Egyptian Revolution and another talk on American Opera. It would mean being at Glimmerglass at 10 AM and staying until the evening performance was over. I got a hotel room nearby just in case it was a really hot day and I decided to stay over or just needed a cool place to rest and collect myself.

It was a beautiful summer day: sunny but warm. I got to the talk in time to relax  and was joined at my table by some serious opera goers and Glimmerglass regulars from Boston who had come and spent a couple days enjoying Cooperstown and the Glimmerglass Festival. They gave me an little orientation to the goings on. I stayed on the grounds and brought my lunch there so I was there for the preview talk for Lost. I went into Cooperstown and found a restaurant that I wanted to check out by accident and made it back the opera house in time for the Aida preview and performance. I walked to the performance from the parking lot with a volunteer usher who gave me some more information about the performances and artists. He has a summer home nearby and lives in New Jersey. We had a funny conversation and maybe I will share more about that another time.

It was a long day but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I will share more about the specific performances in later posts.

I think it particular notable that my first introduction to Glimmerglass was a mostly Black experience. The operas were both based in Africa: Egypt and South Africa. The Company was maybe fifty percent Black including performers from South Africa. It made the productions so much more realistic. However, as you can imagine, with a performance of an opera in rural upstate New York, the audience was overwhelmingly white. The tone and atmosphere at Glimmerglass was very friendly and I nothing but pleasant interactions with my fellow patrons of the arts.

What cultural activities of any kind have you treated yourself to?