Turn Casual Friday Up To Eleven

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

You've heard the aphorism, "If you don't like the scenery, change your view"? What about, "If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation"? Or maybe, "If you don't like how the table is set, turn over the table"? I'm pretty angsty these days, so I prefer the last one.

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

If you tuned in to my last blog post (here) you'll know that I've been dealing with some health issues. I'm only very slowly getting back to my "regularly scheduled programming." Actually that's not true. Nothing is regularly scheduled anymore. I liked my routines. I liked getting up at 5:15am and cycling or running or picking up weights until I was good and mentally chill for the rest of the day. I liked sitting down to write during lunch. I liked having a drink, or few, with my husband and some friends at the end of the day, and then writing some more if I was able. This is what my muse, the writing inspiration and task master in my head, wanted. He's looks a bit like Raoul Duke, but has a tendency to become a Pterodactyl clawing around the inside of my skull if I don't get the exercise, writing, socializing, and drinking done. Because this schedule worked for him, it worked for me. Turns out, it's not working for me and I need to take better care of myself. Eat more healthy fats. Do womanly well being things. I'm learning, but honestly, I'd much rather take an upper-cut to the chin than do oogy-woogy, crunchy things that reek of "balance your hormones, balance your life" and "nurture your stomach, nurture your soul." 

This stuff, it's not for me. I'd much rather run with the wolves.

"That's just too damn bad," says the Universe, "listen, if you want to be healthy enough to finish your first draft before October, you're going to have to be more tender. Oh, and start taking those fish oil and evening primrose capsules!"

 Fine! I shout, like an angry teenager, slamming the front door for extra emphasis. Stupid Universe. My muse flaps around inside my skull like a rabid bat. He shrieks in agreement. Stupid Universe.

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

As I very, very slowly inched around my neighborhood on my daily very, very slow constitutional with a pissed muse and angry why me? thoughts skittering around in my head, I kept walking by the J.Crew store on Walnut Street. Before long, I became haunted by a very pink, very floral shirt in the window display. It stuck out. It was SO pink. After about two weeks of staring at it from the outside in, I went inside to see what it was about. I haven't purchased any new "work shirts" in a few years, so, what was the harm? The sales associate informed me that the shirt was sold out, except for the one in the window display. Oh well, I shrugged and started walking out, but, as you know, I walk very, very slowly these days. The sales associate pulled it off the mannequin and handed it to me before I made it to the door. What was the harm? I tried it on. It fit and I liked it. I liked a pink, floral shirt and I bought it.

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

photo credit: Joshua Franzos
photo credit: Joshua Franzos

Since I started writing, it has made me a little singularly focused. On words. On writing. On when l'll get to write next. I lost sight on how creative I could be in other avenues that I used to enjoy. I'm thinking food and fashion specifically. Even further specifically, I forgot how much I enjoy the challenge of mixing prints. Since I got this shirt with work in mind, I came up with a punchy casual Friday look and it went over very well. My colleagues were very enthusiastic. (I have a tendency to get into what I call my "Mr. Roger's rut" in the winter...button down shirt, cardigan, trousers, repeat. I shake out of it every spring). "Just trying to look better than I feel, " I quipped at the water cooler.

 I mixed the shirt with pinstripe denim, a leopard print belt, metallic gold flats ( no heels right now), and a Marsala-colored snakeskin clutch (I'm not supposed to carry heavy bags right now). It seems like a lot of different things that miraculously work together, but I have a few tips to share on the subject of mixing prints that I'd like to share with you now and in other posts this spring and summer. My first tip is: leopard and metallics should be used like neutrals (you know, black, white, tan), and they always look great when paired with pop-y colors like fluorescents...like hot pink. 

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

I never wear pink. I never wear floral anything. I never talk about clothes on my blog. Now I am.  A wolf in pink clothing.

I guess if even cowgirls get the blues, even tomboys can get the pinks...my way of wearing rose-colored glasses, I guess. 

So with that, consider the table overturned... I used my jedi mind powers since I can't physically overturn it myself right now. But I will again, soon as I'm done with physical therapy.

(Take that universe).

photo credit: Joshua Franzos

What I wore:
shirt: J.Crew
necklace: vintage Goldette, my mother's
watch: vintage Omega, my mother's
pants: Anna Sui original sample, Spring 2002
belt: past season Express
shoes: past season J.Crew
bag: vintage 
Sunnies: vintage Christian Dior

Do you ever use fashion or colors to change your mindset or alter your mood? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

Cause and Effect

Sunday, April 10, 2016

I've been preoccupied. Too busy to fashion blog. I saved a newborn elephant while a hungry lion mauled his mother. I slung all 200lbs of him over my shoulders like a shepherdess, and carried him a short distance to safety. His little trunk bopped me on the head as he fought me. He wanted me to take him back to mom. Mom was gone, a giant red splotch on the golden safari. I threw my back out, fighting the cruel mistress that is mother nature.

That was sad and a lie. I'm sorry. It's just. Well. I've been having LBP, (that's internet abv for Lower Back Pain) going on three weeks now. Some of it was very bad. Bad enough to keep me from work for five and half days. I'm going a little stir crazy.

"Oooooh, what did you do?" people ask, irises dancing, looking for a medical cautionary tale replete with cause and effect. How can they avoid pain and suffering? 
I really wish I could give them what they want, instead I tell them, "Dunno, I woke up one day and my back was shitty." 
Life doesn't work like a morality tale. Truth. 

More truth. The cause. Four medical professionals have all agreed that the sacroiliac joint seems to be my culprit. The effect. The painful inflammation in my lower back spread to the front of my pelvis and my hips locked up. When I wasn't laying on my back, contemplating the merits of the ceiling, I had to crawl on all fours to make my way to the bathroom--I even kept myself dehydrated to limit these nature calls. When I absolutely had to walk (from the house to the car, to the car to the doctor's office, or when my tough-loving husband (who's recovered from back surgery and knows first hand that not walking, is far worse in the long haul, than the pain of walking) made me walk around the block once a day)...I moved slower than I thought humanly possible. Hunched like Quasimodo, I took a one inch step with one foot and repeated it with the other foot, until I reached my destination--a million light years later. The whole time, tears involuntarily sprung out of my eyeballs from the pain. Hooo boy, was my sacroiliac joint pissed, but not as pissed as I was. Nobody makes me cry my own tears. Nobody. 

I've never really known physical pain. At routine wellness check-ups, nurses always ask, "on a scale of 0-10. Zero being no pain at all and ten, being the most pain imaginable...How are you feeling today?"

I always pictured a big, red dragon with black eyes, holding a struggling person in its claw while it bends its giant head down and rips the human in half with its teeth. That's my standard for a ten. The most pain I could possibly imagine.

"zero," I've answered, to pretty much a lifetime of those wellness questions.

I had my wisdom teeth out when I was twenty. Even then, post extraction, when the local anesthesia wore off...I think I'd say I was sitting at a solid 4. I've been real lucky until a week ago, a 9, thank you.

My pain has not been managed very well and I find that I have room to be both angry and grateful that it wasn't magically whisked away with modern pharmacology. I am angry that I haven't been writing, that I couldn't write, that writing continues to be physically challenging. I am angry that pain is real and mind over matter is in fact, bullshit. Strange though it may sound, I am grateful to finally know what real debilitating pain is like,  didn't even have to walk a mile in someone else's shoes to look upon the world with brand new eyes. But instead of meeting people's eyes on the street, and letting them see my pain and embarrassment, I stared at my shuffling feet or at the plaster swirls on my bedroom ceiling...a disconcerting mixture of figure eights, half moons and angry swipes with a plaster trowel. Why?

My current diagnosis and prognosis offers me no comfort or direction. My LBP seems to be in tune with the normal fluctuation of hormones during a woman's menstrual cycle. I might feel like this once a month, or I might not. Hard to predict, the doctor shrugs. Sometimes medicine seems more like an art than a science. I missed the pain killer boon by about ten years. I would definitely say that I'm missing it, especially now that we're in the midst of a knee jerk reaction to it. Lucky me. I had to push hard to get prescribed anything, but ask and you shall receive. I was prescribed an anti-depressant for my back. It wasn't that long ago, (1600's) where pain was thought to be a punishment from God and the course of treatment was prayer. It seems pain is a spiritual problem again and cast into the pit of other medical undesirables, mental health. Depressed? Shh! Good God, stop talking about it! You think there's time in our medical system to get to the bottom of that? Here's a script for anti-depressants. You'll feel comfortably numb. I've looked for God amongst the plaster swirls on the ceiling and in between the carpet fibers on the stairs as I inched down them. I clutched the bottle of pills in my hand, they shook like a rattle on each step. God and mother nature, they're harsh mistresses I threw the anti-depressants in the bathroom trash and chuckledPain and suffering is often a fact of life, but it is not a spiritual problem. I know all too well that anti-depressants are pharmacological procrastination. I want my edge when I need it. But I didn't need it right this second so I grabbed some bourbon and laid down. My dog laid down next me. Sometimes the pain's not so bad when I lay down.


Your Bosom Friend in Pittsburgh,

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