Bag O’ My Dreams

Downton Abbey PBS

The ladies of Downton know how to accessorize. Hats. Parasols. Jewelry. If only I had a lady’s maid…

Lady Mary would carry an embroidered clutch. Edith? A sensible rucksack. And Lady Sybil? A lace reticule. Me? I’ve been known to resort to reuseable tote bags rather than commit to a day bag purchase.

It didn’t used to be so hard. In college we all carried JanSport backpacks. Everything you needed fit inside: calculus text-book, roller blades, a six-pack. My current work tote is a flannel number from Acme Made. It’s sleek and huge. My sister gave it to me. She’s routinely embarrassed by my handbag choices and gives me her cast-offs.

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Corset Required: The Costumes of ‘Downton Abbey’

Downton Abbey costumes at WinterthurI rolled down the car window as we approached the guard’s booth. He leaned in, delivering a heady whiff of Marlboro man. “If you don’t have tickets, you’re out of luck. We’re sold out today.” Continue reading

Let’s Get Physical

lose weight by walking let's get physicalThe exam had gone extremely well. Dr. Grewal scribbled notes, nodded frequently, and made satisfied “uh-huh” noises, indicating that I was in perfect health and would live to 107. But I began to sense that something was not quite right as she sat at her little desk, spinning the dials on a cardboard wheel. Finally she looked up and delivered the bad news, “You could lose some weight.”

She said it nicely and in an encouraging manner. But what I heard was, “Cathy. You’re fat.” Continue reading

“In An Old House In Paris…”

I miss reading out loud in a silly voice.

The kids and I would snuggle together in tiny toddler beds after they picked out their book for the night. If I was trying to get them to sleep quicker, I’d skip a few pages and they’d call me out on it because they had their favorites memorized. So back I’d go – to Ferdinand in the bullring, Alexander’s horrible day, or Harold and his purple crayon.

Now I’d have to stay up way too late to tuck them in for the night.

But which was their bestest mostest favorite? I don’t know if I could say for sure but they all loved the series featuring Madeline, the spunky heroine created by Ludwig Bemelmans. My kids were fascinated with the character, perhaps because a building near our home looked like the convent school in Paris where she lived. My kids would shout, “There’s Madeline’s house!” as we drove by each and every time.

Madeline Ludwig Bemelmans Paris Continue reading

Another Roadside Attraction: The Evander Preston Gallery

roadside attraction in florida Evander Preston Gallery

I recently returned from the land down under – Florida – prompting me to revisit one of my favorite roadside attractions, the Evander Preston Gallery. According to a local news report, Mr. Preston is still up to his unusual shenanigans. My original post from 2012 follows:

When my sister first moved to Pass-a-Grille, Florida, she wondered about the identity of the homeless guy riding his bicycle up and down Gulf Way.  One day while speculating out loud, a waitress at The Hurricane finally tipped her off. “Honey.  That’s no vagrant.  That’s Evander.” Florida has a reputation for producing colorful characters; the state has proudly sheltered pirates, housed Ernest Hemingway and his six-toed cats, and nurtured generations of gator wrestlers. I think it’s fair to say that only Florida could produce Evander Preston, a jewelry craftsman, brewer, art collector, and chef who resembles a refugee from the Hell’s Angels. Continue reading