Friday, December 12, 2014

Catching Up

Advent
For whatever reason, we have fallen behind in our daily Advent Activities.  I don't know if it's because we are distracted by and focused on the new cats (more on that in a bit), or because we have lots of activities--cookie decorating with GS troop at senior center, piano performance at nursing home, Piano Guys concert, various office parties, two friends' birthday parties, birthday lunch at German restaurant with visit to British grocery store, our annual cookie decorating party, and other things, plus are regularly scheduled activities.

Cats
We've had first contact!  We couldn't tempt the new boys upstairs after we locked up our original cats last night, so we let our cats visit them in the basement.  We were ready with treats, which worked very well--Albus and Hermione approached Mojito, but nothing happened as they all munched away. Later, Hermione and Mojito hissed a bit at each other, but separated.  Mojito even went to eat while Hermione was still hanging around.  We ended it soon after, since it had been pretty promising.  And no one seemed the worse for the wear last night or this morning--no hiding, no litterbox accidents, no obvious stress.  We'll try again.  We realize the basement isn't the best place for them to live, but under the circumstances, Mojito (Mojo) and Patron (Tabby or Petro) are pretty lucky.  And it is temporary.

Colonial Lecture
I gave that lecture to a local AAUW (American Association of University Women) chapter last weekend.  And it went really well!  My light beige body sock arrived the day before so that I didn't feel quite so exposed in my chemise.  'Cos I started out in nothing more than my shift, which is a very flimsy nightgown (and would've been used as such), and stockings.  I then tied on garters, slipped on my leather Merrills (the most obvious anachronistic bit I have--reproduction colonial shoes are too expensive for my needs), and kept going.  A volunteer helped me lace up my stays/corset, skipping every other hole to make it go faster--she used my spiral bobbin to help thread it (the spirals help twist the bobbin through.)  Then pockets, petticoats, bodice, cap.  They couldn't believe how many clothes I had on--are you hot?  can you breathe?  can you bend?  I'm pretty comfortable in my colonial clothes, even the corset, which is a nice brace for my back.  I spoke a bit about the development of the corset as a foundation for heavy petticoats and as a way to achieve the straight silhouette they desired (their clothes were much more fitted than now, tight, and so you really get these amazing lines, esp if you have wide skirts, a bum roll or panniers, an early side hoop.)  Since it's all cotton--the other main anachronism, for it would've been mainly wool, linen, or a combo linsy-woolsey here--I don't get as hot as I could (though I get warm faster than usual), and, of course, now the historic house has AC and heat; it would've been so much colder in the 18th century and you would've needed the wool, quilted petticoats, and numerous layers.  The talk was short, only about 20 minutes, and I could've covered a lot more.  I would definitely do it again, longer and more detailed. And when I changed back into my civvies, I just felt ordinary again.  I like the way I feel, physically (the corset, the change in how I move--sit, walk, even gesture) and mentally (i.e. thinking about the past, getting a different perspective.)  Regular clothes just don't do that for me (mind you, if I wore colonial clothes more often, I probably wouldn't feel that way anymore, either.)

Birthday Celebrations
Mama set up this great present for me--a Lyve app that allows me to manipulate all the digital photos we have in chronological order, updates any of our new photos, let's me share them.  So, I can look back on all the photos we've taken on my birthday through the years.  Or, look at all the photos in a month or year.  And she bought this digital frame that scrolls through them.  Right now, there are pictures of us at Mystic Seaport going past.

Mama went into work late so we could all have breakfast together--egg sandwiches she fetched from the deli!--and treats (yummy pastries from a special bakery she'd snuck home.)  Sis had hung up a birthday sign telling me I was awesome.  Feeling lots of love from my family today.

And family and friends, far and wide.  Gommie, Aunt Banana, and Lambeth and Mrs. Lambeth have called--it definitely sets the day apart and makes me feel special.  And several of my local friends came over for coffee and cake this morning, bringing treats to share (and some gifts, though I had said not to, which was sweet and appreciated.)  We chatted for two hours, having not gotten together in awhile.  I never get to talk to everyone as much as I'd like, but they're all interesting and seemed to enjoy getting to know each other (there are definitely different spheres, like a Venn Diagram of my life, and they crossed over today.)  I even played a few songs on the piano to show off my new skills!

Tonight, Mama and I are going to a big holiday party and tomorrow we're meeting up with my in-laws to do holiday things.  And Sunday, the kids have another piano performance.  So, all in all, a very special birthday.

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