Gratitude Sunday: A Victorian Lady

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

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Sunday Haiku
Red lacy maple,
frilly yellow birch, ruffled
orange oak leaves: fall.

Sunday Musings
Here I am in my semi-retirement and my daily routine has changed, leaving me feeling very much like a Victorian lady and her servants. Victorian ladies spent most of their time changing clothes. They had so many of them and had to look appropriate for every event during the day. Morning clothes, walking clothes, day clothes, riding clothes, hunting outfits, tea clothes, dinner outfits both formal and not, ball gowns, and night clothes. Many of these outfits required strapping, snapping, buttoning, and lacing into place, in the back so you couldn’t possibly do it by yourself. No pulling on jeans and t-shirts for those women. Upper class women had ladies maids to help them dress, housemaids to pick up after them, laundresses to clean them, hand maids to mend clothing, and seamstresses to make new clothing to custom fit.

When I worked full time I donned one outfit in the morning, changed to my swimsuit after work, then to my night shirt after my swim. Easy to keep track of, easy to keep clean, easy to know when to replace items that were worn beyond public presentation. I am fussy about clothing and shoes. I can’t stand anything tight, rough, scratchy, or binding. Tags sewn into pants or blouses are the devil’s spawn. These days I can barely tolerate the feeling of any material on my skin, but I don’t live in a place there I can roam about freely without clothing.

Now I begin my day with a day outfit, something loose to read and write in. I eat breakfast while still in my nightshirt, but though it is tempting to spend the day in my bathrobe, after eating I change clothes as I dislike going about my morning in my night clothes. I work for about an hour, then I want a walk. To go out in public, I need to change into walking clothes which include all manner of undergarments and outer garments. I dislike undergarments of all sorts and disdain them when at home. I require steel belted radials to harness and support the bazooms even though it does not help walking velocity, and strapping myself into place is a workout in itself. I’m not like a guy who can throw on a jacket and be out the door.

After walking I can’t wait to get the undergarments off, so I change back into day clothes to resume working. In another hour or two I need to do my yoga workout, which means changing into a yoga outfit. I don’t like yoga pants; they are always too tight. I have an old pair of soft pants and a loose spandex tank top that give me the range of movement I require, with a minimum of coverage and a little support. If the bazooms didn’t nearly smother me during certain yoga positions, I’d do it in the buff and skip the yoga clothes altogether as I do it behind closed doors for privacy. When the elastic finally wears out on the 20 year old soft pants I will be scrambling for a new pair.

Yoga brings on a weird stink to my body (I know, TMI) so I have to do a wash up, and change into a different day outfit. I can’t wear the outfit I walked in because of the walking stink (more TMI), but I can sometimes get away with the earlier morning outfit. Either way I change clothing once again before I resume my work.

If I have an appointment outside the house, I change into presentable-in-public clothing. The day clothes I wear around the house are rags, full of holes or stained. If company comes unannounced to the house I retire to my room for a few brief moments to make sure I have on public presentable clothing. I don’t want to look down and see one of the holes has revealed more than I want to reveal.

On swim days I work until it’s time to get ready for the pool, then into the swimsuit with a layer of day clothes over top. At the pool the day clothes get stripped off and stuffed into my swim bag to keep dry for après swim. Even if not strapped into the radials you have to walk through a lobby of other swimmers and drive home with something covering the essential skin parts. If I get stopped for whatever reason, at least I have outer garments on. Good thing it’s only about eight blocks and I’m such a cautious driver it’s unlikely I’ll be stopped, but boy they’ll be in for a surprise if I ever have to go to jail after my swim. All female parts loose to the wind under the day clothes. I’m pretty sure they don’t have government issue jail undergarments in my size. Special needs.

And finally I crawl into my night shirt. I like big loose long t-shirts to sleep in. They tangle less and give me room to move and twist around in bed, and don’t bind me up when I’m finally done working for the day or lying around on the couch watching the tube. Sometimes I have to change my night shirt before bed because I am a clever eater and usually manage to drop food from my evening snack on my ample chest shelf. For some reason I cannot stand to sleep in a night shirt that has food remnants on it.

But it doesn’t end there. I still have night sweats and once my night shirt is drenched I can’t sleep soaking wet, so I arise and put on a different shirt. That’s why I have so many night shirts; I keep a clean stash, so I can change when wet or food drenched.

All these clothing changes without benefit of a lady’s maid, house maid, hand maid, laundress, or seamstress. Those jobs are all done by old me: I am my mistress, my lady’s maid, my laundress, my hand maid, and my seamstress. There are so many of me I hardly know what to do with myself. Good thing today’s clothing are full of elastic and can be pulled on and stripped off with the ease of few movements. Except for the radials, which are always a struggle.

Yes, I spend a lot of time doing laundry and taking care of clothing these days, so there is plenty to keep me busy. Unlike Victorian ladies of the past who were only busy with suitors and parties, I get to do all the work as well as all the play. Now let’s put away that pile of clean clothes.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Some hardy orange nasturtiums. img_81321 Brown and creamy mushrooms popping up in the yard. dscn6718-2 Browned echinacea seed heads. leeks-hoop2-0131 Rainbow chard: edible benefit. dscn9535

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} For the spirit of the season I am watching season one of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2015, no rating) a BBC TV series from the novel by Susana Clark. I have not read the book. The series is about the attempt to restore the use of practical magic in 1815 Great Britain after 300 years of magic being banned. Interesting, and strange. * Why Stop Now (2012, rated R), about a piano prodigy and his efforts to save his mother from her addictions. A zany day for a young man who wants to protect his mom and sister, and better his life. * Genius (2016, rated PG – 13), with Colin Firth, the story of Max Perkins who served as editor for Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway. Fascinating story.

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Currently ReadingBaby’s on Fire (2015, fiction short stories) by Liz Prato, a local Portland, Oregon author. Short fiction is not easy, but Ms Prato is a master. * Eat It Up! 150 Recipes to Use Every Bit and Enjoy Every Bite of the Food You Buy (2016, cookbook) by Sherri Brooks Vinton. I read cookbooks like novels; you never know where you might learn a new kitchen trick.

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This week I have been grateful for:

  • How beautiful lawns are with the unraked joyful autumn leaf colors on the grass greened by rain, like the lawn finally put its frivolous dress up clothes on.
  • Sun breaks between the sweet refreshing rain showers.
  • The aquatic center I use being an indoor all-year-round facility
  • A few more tomatoes from the farmers market.
  • Toasted sourdough bread with thick slices of fresh tomato for lunch.
  • Lemon cucumbers with salt, pepper, and vinegar.
  • Finding a few Oregon Albion strawberries at a local market. Likely the last of the season.
  • Buttery smooth Comice pears.
  • A handful of beets, a lovely head of broccoli, and some sweet carrots from my market bag to my tummy. Boiled the beets, added a touch of butter, salt, pepper. Steamed the broccoli, with a bit of butter and shredded cheddar cheese. Raw carrots, washed, and directly into my mouth.
  • Sweet birthday gifts: brunch out with the hubster; a large shiny black crow feather; a baby fist sized piece of white quartz picked up on the Oregon coast that turned out to have a natural hole through it (rocks with natural holes through them are also known as hagstones); a brass Burmese table gong; some cash; and many birthday wishes from friends and family.
  • Birds in my yard in the afternoon, their tuneful twittering sounding as if they were orchestrating nature.
  • The magical mystical feeling of a crepuscular mid-autumn evening when there is a light foggy mist in the air.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

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Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

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This entry was posted in abundance, Aging, Exercise, GRATITUDE, Grief, Health, History, Nature, Photography, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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