Week in Review: Weeks 64-67

Wow, I’ve essentially lost the month of May. May was the bulk of my radiation treatments – I still have seven left to go so they’re reaching a little into June as well, but hopefully I’ll be able to reclaim some of June for myself. I’ve been too tired to do much of anything, but here’s what I’ve been up to for the past few weeks.

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I photographed our 5k Jack’s Run for Autism up in Port Washington. It was like The Windiest Day EVER. We couldn’t hang signs or put out balloons to mark the course or anything. But the runners didn’t seem to mind. Those athletic types don’t let *anything* stop them. Respect.

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And then I went for my first chemo treatment. Scary. They kept referring to it as an “all day treatment.” SCARY. But in reality, it was a lot of prep, counseling, two hours of IV hydration and anti-nausea meds before and another two hours after…and the actual chemo was only one hour. But it *was* a long day of not really knowing what to expect so I had my bag well-stocked with activities, snacks, water, super soft kitty blanket, book, etc.

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I was anxious all day waiting to feel awful…but that really never happened. I felt *queasy* for the next week or so but never really nauseous. I will be repeating this procedure on Monday. Hopeful for same outcome.

Ugh. This dress. Not good. It went back to Gwynnie Bee immediately. You win some, you lose some.

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I brought some lilacs in from outside our office door. They smelled so so so so good. And I haven’t killed my succulent terrarium plants yet! Yay Me!

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Caleb is such a sneaky-peeker.

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I found a rock on the beach that looks like a heart. Or a butt. You choose.

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Ahhhhh. I need more of these.

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Don’t work too hard, Caleb.

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Sunrise outside my door.

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How fun is this beachy cake? I just looked, I did not touch.

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A family from the school brought me this card. They’re having their own struggles and yet they took their time to do this for me. HUGS TO YOU.

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My kooky kid.

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Her kooky mom.

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Sunrise out my girlfriend’s door.

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I dog-sat last weekend. They’re a tough pair to handle. Not.

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We had lots of lovely porch time.

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Some things never change.

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Ruh-roh. I killed one of the succulents. It rotted away. I think I overwatered. I put a turtle in its place. That will be harder to kill.

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Here is a pic of me at 10. It was part of a video I just saw for the first time, so I apologize for poor quality due to screen grab. I guess my father filmed this back in 1970? Isn’t it weird to see pictures of yourself from the past (well, duh, all pictures are from the past but you know what I mean) that you have No Recollection of? You know it’s you cuz you can SEE you, but. I have no memory of this day or this dress or even my father having a movie camera! And this is funny, in 1970 girls were not yet allowed to wear pants to school. But we were wearing dresses this short (you can’t see the groovy white Jan Brady knee socks I had on but they’re there). How did THAT make sense??

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For some reason this “I Am the Champion” muscle man bicep pose was my go-to photo pose around that age. Who knows. That’s my sister, cheery in yellow.

And there you have it. This month was a LOT of laying around, staying close to home. Hopefully I’ll be able to venture out a little more this month. Fingers crossed!

On another note, I have STILL not switched out my winter clothes for summer! It’s been just cool enough that I haven’t needed to. Maybe this weekend. I kind of think that was the same last sentence from my LAST Week in Review post!

xoxo Bettye

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Week in Review: Week 60

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The week started off with consults at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for a second opinion on my situation and treatment going forward. I’m finally learning that “consult” doesn’t mean sitting in a civilized wood-paneled office, a desk away from a doctor, tissues at hand (like on TV)…but instead “get undressed and put on this gown and the dr will SEE you in a few minutes.” I’ve learned to wear loose-fitting dresses so I can by-pass the gown (how smart am I?) but I haven’t figured out how to avoid the endless stream of EXAMS. Ugh. “Hello, I’m Dr. Smith, nice to meetcha, now skootch down and spread your legs.” Hello to you, too.

Anyway, I was pleased with both the doctors, their treatment plan was pretty different than the first place (though they both had very good explanations for why they’d do things their way), and everything moved along at a good pace. Which is very important to me as I don’t want to be spending my summer waiting in a treatment center. I want to get in, get out, and go see a sunset, thank you very much.

Final decision has not been made yet.

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National Sibling Day was this week. That’s me (the short one in baggy ruffled tights) and my sister (the tall pretty one who is looking very Gidget-esque).

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Tuesday afternoon we headed down to a charter boat marina to do some blog pictures. It felt good to be out in the air and be doing a photo shoot.

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I wanted to show you my cute new EASY TO PUT ON sneakers but the dog wanted in the shot. I think it’s time to unmake the bed-sofa.

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Wednesday morning it was BACK to Sloan for a ct-scan. I drank the kool aid. I failed the test. After all the drinking, waiting, changing, trying to get an IV in me (I have tough veins), etc…they got the first picture then the two ladies came hurrying into the scan room where I was and said, “uh, hun, you still have your bra on!” Damn. I was so distracted by “where do I go next?” as I was changing into THE DREADED GOWN that I totally blanked on taking off my bra. Duh. They’d already gotten the first pic so now I couldn’t move, so I had two women, one on each side of me, trying to remove my bra without me moving. Someone should have taken a picture of THAT.

PS, the contrast dye they injected into me for the scan changed my taste buds for three days and everything tasted horrible. Someone should figure out how to market that as a weight loss aid. If eating Doritos is no more enjoyable than eating lettuce, well…

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There was a pretty little gifty in my grocery cart.

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Thursday night I worked our Adventureland event. Twice a year we rent out the amusement park and it’s closed to the general public and made available just to families of kids and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. It. Almost. Always. Rains. or at least threatens. But this night was PERFECT and we had a TON of happy people going on rides, playing arcade games and eating cotton candy. This picture was taken as the event prior to ours was just closing out, that’s why it looks so empty.

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I’m a little teapot….

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The next morning I was verrrrry tired and was wishing I could just climb on the tuffet with Caleb and Jane instead of going to work.

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Got my second wind by late afternoon and picked up a friend (this is her backyard, can you even?) to go to the movies. We saw Going in Style with Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine and Alan Arkin. Ann Margaret was in it a bit and OHMYGOD she looks UH-MAZING. She’s 76, she looks better than I do. She looks better than MOST people do, ha. The movie was cute.

And now it’s Saturday. I have no plans. Wanna do something??

Week in Review: Week 59

It is a sunny but still windy and cool day here on Long Island. I have a day filled with running errands, cleaning out my disgusting car, taking the dog (and me) somewhere for a walk and change of scenery, then a quiet evening with a movie and early to bed. The best news this week, I doubt I’ve ever mentioned my ^&%#! insomnia here, but it’s been EVEN worse since the surgery – as though things have shifted around and when I lay down something presses on my bladder and makes the worst ache if I do not wake up immediately to get up and pee. And getting in and out of bed is still enough of a process that it wakes me up even more, UGH. But the GOOD NEWS part is that just two nights ago I was actually able to lay for a little bit on my side again! I’m a side sleeper, but I’ve only been able to be on my back since the surgery 3½ weeks ago, so WHAT a relief to finally have a little bit of normalcy and comfort. In Medical-Land, so many things seem to take so much longer to return to normal than you think they should. So Yay.

I went back to work this week for a full week. My wonderful officemates Tori and Jen had decorated my desk with balloons and banners and there was a little “nest” of goodies on my desk – they are just the sweetest. I’m so fortunate to get to spend my work days with them.

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While I’m not feeling especially energetic, I’m powering through and trying to walk every other day. My baby step regimen is:

Week 1: Walk 5 minutes out and 5 minutes back for a total of 10 minutes

Week 2: Walk 6 minutes out and 6 minutes back for a total of 12 minutes

Week 3: Walk 7 minutes out and 7 minutes back for a total of 14 minutes

You get the picture. Monday will start Week 3. I’m very slowly working up to walks of 20 then 30 minutes. I may back-slide during chemo, I’ll just have to wait and see how I feel then. But at least it’s a schedule that I’m adhering to. And I am walking S-L-O-O-O-W. My heel still hurts and that keeps me slowed down as well. Caleb likes the walks when we’re somewhere he can be offlead and sniff around at his leisure. In his old age he’s gone pretty deaf so I can’t let him offlead when we’re anywhere near anything, like a road or people or other dogs, cuz he just doesn’t hear me calling him. And I think there’s a little senility as he just sort of wanders off and then loses track of where I am. Because it doesn’t seem to occur to him to turn his head to the right or left to look for me. It’s sad to watch someone you love get old.

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A dear friend did this cross-stitch for me, “What Cancer Cannot Do.” That was a lovely surprise to get in the mail this week.

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Caleb: Master of His Domain. He needs a good bath and haircut. But he loves the big tuffet that his Uncle Russell got for him.

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And just to keep this at least a LITTLE fashiony…here is a try-on of an outfit I ordered from Old Navy…that sadly will be going back. Old Navy plus size sizing is so all-over-the-place. Sometimes things are ginormous on me and sometimes they’re way too snug. These are really soft rayon blush cropped pants in a 3x and I couldn’t even zip them up. Part of that could be a little vestigial swelling still left around my abdomen and hips, though they’re feeling pretty normal again. And the top was also snug around the same area, while too loose in the bust. I’m really short on warm weather outfits and the flurry of ordering and returning continues until I hit on a couple wins.

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My niece sent me this book by Sarah Addison Allen – has anyone read it?

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This is a pic my daughter just sent me from while she was here and walked down a bit of beach to see the sunset. It’s just a nice memory of being with her and being OUTSIDE after being cooped up in the hospital for so long.

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So, in other news, I have had both the radiation and chemo consults with my “original” team – the doctors associated with my surgeon’s office. On Monday I have a consult scheduled with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to see what, if anything, they would do differently…and then I have to make the decision of who to go with so we can get this show on the road. It’s hard to make the decision because I can already see that I will not necessarily be comparing apples to apples. So wish me luck!

And Great News – I’m actually doing a photoshoot tomorrow! Yippee. Will feel good to be “blog productive” again. So you can look forward to a springy outfit post later this week.

Thanks for all your comments, emails, and kind words – I really appreciate them.

Oldies but Goodies

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Tonight was my first “evening at the beach” of the summer. It was still hot hot when I was getting ready to go out and I just wanted to be comfy and cool…so, not caring about schlubby/not-schlubby, I went with an old favorite. A Mossimo (Target) dress I’ve had about 10 (yes, ten) years…and *I* didn’t even buy it new then, I thrifted it!

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And my Mephisto footbed sandals I’ve had, are you ready for this, for TWENTY YEARS. No Joke. I know they’re hella ugly, they look a little like orthopedic sandals, but when I just want easy, they’re my go-tos. As big fat puffy swollen as my feet can get in the summer, these always fit.

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It’s good to always keep some old favorites in your closet…sometimes you just need the comfort and ease they can bring, in spite of what they look like. I wouldn’t wear this dress to work, it’s too worn and low-cut…but it’s perfect for weekends and casual evenings.

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What’s your longest-held-onto article of clothing that you still wear? Neither of these are my *oldest* items. But that’s for another day.

And speaking of oldies but goodies…a lonnnng time friend sent me these pictures earlier this evening, from our horsey high school days…

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That’s me on the right. In the orange bare midriff halter-tube top. Man was THAT  a lifetime ago!!!

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I would have been 17 here. And I thought I was fat.

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Me on the right again. JUMPING. Over things. Wow.

I’ll think of this picture tomorrow morning when I’m trying to get up out of bed. Sigh.

My Week in Review: Week 14

The week started peacefully at an Open Garden Day in Locust Valley. Then took a bad turn when I drove past an old boyfriend’s house in the area, pulling up old big emotions. I had a couple-day sad after that but feel I am over the worst of it. Phew! Why do we do stupid things that we KNOW are just going to send us down a painful path??

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I witnessed an amazing evening sky.

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Shoe shopping happened. It was brutal. I did *not* buy all the shoes below!

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A new dress arrived in the mail! It was the wrong size! Boohoo!

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Wore the new shoes to work!

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Strolling with the boy…

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The Child and I shop,. I had to try on everything she chose for me.

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I tried a new Amy’s. It was pretty gosh darn good.]

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The child and I ride the ferris wheel at the carnival,

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The Boy got older 😦

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So did I.

Who Do You Dress For?

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I spent some time this afternoon with an *old* friend…who revealed to me that he has seen this blog…and commented that there have been a couple outfits he hasn’t liked…and that in particular he does not like these sneakers (above)…which, ha ha, I just happened to be wearing today.

And I just thought “….oh. okay,” and moved on. I didn’t feel insulted. I didn’t even really care. I’m not dressing for him. I’m not dressing for *anyone.* I’m just dressing for me.

They say there are different kinds of women…women who dress for men…women who dress for women…and women who dress for themselves. At this point in my life I am most definitely the latter.

Which is not to say that if I had a gentleman suitor 🙂 that I would not want to look nice for him…but I would want to look how *I* think I look nice.

Some of that is tied into personal confidence (and the lack thereof)…and some of it is probably about trying to be a pleaser, which in the past I have been, to my own detriment. And I wish I could have been as much of my own person when I was younger…not giving as much importance or power to other people…about how I behaved or how I looked. But…I’m glad I finally got here. And I hope my daughter has more inner confidence than I did at her age. I think she does.

 

Dressing Your Age…wh-a-a-a-t???

I’m going to turn 55 in September. I’m going to turn SIXTY in a little over 4 years. I keep seeing articles about “fashion over 50” and “tips on dressing your age.” I don’t know what that even MEANS. I don’t FEEL like I’m almost 60…so why would I focus on LOOKING that way??

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Me at 31.

I actually think my “oldest looking” decade was my 30s. I was a new mother, I was doing Mommy Things, I wasn’t giving a whole lot of thought to my appearance (sorry, Ex Husband). I didn’t really give a you-know-what. But now I do…and I just want to look the way I want to look! The picture above is not *really* a good representation of how I looked at 31, I was visiting family out-of-state and you always make more effort then. And it was partly the style of the decade (90s), but I feel like like this is something a much older person should be wearing!

I don’t try to look younger when I dress…but I also certainly don’t want to look older! I will say I feel that I do see more young style influencers than my age – both in real life and on the internet. And that certainly can skew your taste. But I think that modern simple pieces are ageless. And if you don’t want to be modern and simple…but outrageous and colorful…then be that! However old we may be, life is too short to worry about what other people might be thinking about our clothing choices. Dress for who you want to be!

So I’m not wasting any more time reading “tips for dressing my age.” Will you??

The Right to Bare Arms

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While it has been a long cool wet spring here in the northeast, the heat is finally upon us, and you know what *that* means! SKIN!!! Short sleeves, no sleeves, no leggings or tights. It’s just too hot for layers once the heat and humidity sets in.

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A lot of plus-size women (myself included) and even just women over the age of…no longer having slim, toned arms (whatever age that might be)…are self-conscious about baring their arms. Legs seem easier somehow. They’re way down there by the floor, they’re not at eye-level. But arms, especially heavy ones, seem to dominate our bodies, especially when they’re milky white from a winter under wraps.

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Sometimes a light layer of skin bronzer helps. Sometimes you just need to bite the bullet and Leave the House with Your Arms Exposed. You’ll get used to it.

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To be honest, I almost always have at least a light cardigan or blouse on. I just prefer a layered look…and especially in the office, sleeveless doesn’t quite feel appropriate. So by day I’m usually covered up. But it’s nice after work to be able to shed that extra layer and bare my arms. Yup, they’re fat. Oh well. You’ll get over it. Ha ha.

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What I’m Wearing:

Ever Changing

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I always hear “people don’t change.” And I really feel that’s not true – I think people change all the time! Just as an example – look at divorce. So many people at one time were on the same path, had the same life goals (or thought they did), enjoyed the same things…and years later find themselves in completely different places. “Oh, he CHANGED.” Of course he changed! We *all* change, all the time! We learn, we have new experiences, we adjust, we try new things, we like new things, we let go of other things. We’re not the same at 30 as we were at 20…or at 50 as we were at 40.

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I feel changes in myself even from one year to the next. I’m noticing my sense of style continues to change. Just last year this dress was my favorite – and it was a real departure from anything I’d worn before. So bright! It felt like a party. But putting it on today for the first time this year I was a little “ooh. this doesn’t really feel like me anymore.” It’s still fun, and I’ll wear it through the warm season this year…but then I think it will move on to make room for something more in keeping with my current mindset – more minimalistic, simple, modern.

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I would hate to feel that I never change. Change is good. Change is growth. Change is life.

What I’m Wearing:

Only Got a Hundred Years to Live

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When I was in my late-30s I had a little pre-mid-life event…I lost about 180 lbs (aka got a divorce) and decided that by 40 I wanted to be the best I’d ever been.

It didn’t quite happen.

In my mid-40s I decided I wanted to be the best I’ve ever been by 50.

I didn’t quite make it.

Are you seeing a trend?

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Now I’m almost FIFTY-SIX and I’m thinking maybe I should start making some effort to be better than I’ve ever been by 60.

SIXTY. It hardly seems possible that I could even BE 60. Grandmothers are 60, knitting in a rocking chair with a purring kitten in their lap and a cup of tea by their side. That’s what 60 looked like when I was young. FORTUNATELY that doesn’t HAVE to be what 60 is and I have no intention of knitting or rocking (in a chair, anyway) at 60.

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I’m feeling very inspired by the women in this article like Linda Rodin and Diane Keaton. And I think I definitely should start coming up with some sort of plan for HOW I’m going to be better…because right now, while “Fabulous at 40” and “Fearless at 50” seem like great plan titles for those decades, the only thing in my head for the next one is “Scared
Shitless to Turn 60” !!!

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I’m already trying to present myself better to the world in some ways – like clothing, and trying (TRYING) to stay on top of hair cut and coloring so I don’t end up again with Crazy Old Lady Hair…but an even bigger (no pun intended) issue is my weight…and not just for weight’s sake, but for two things (for me), 1) fitness and 2) being able to fit into the more readily available clothing sizes. I don’t even mean “straight” (aka Not Plus) sizes, I mean that I’m challenged now to even find clothing that fits me at most plus-size clothing stores or departments. I want to at *least* get down to a solid 3x. It’s been so long since I’ve tried to buy many clothes, it was just now so struggling to build a better wardrobe that I’ve discovered just how out of the readily-available commercial plus sizes I am. And that is very frustrating to me. And fitness – for the sake of being able to do things I like without having to throw in the towel early because I’m exhausted or my hip hurts or I have a pain in my side or my feet hurt or I’m sweating like crazy (I work with someone who at times calls me Sweaty Bettye. I know he means it affectionately, but still.). I LIKE going on walking tours in the city or on art gallery crawls in Brooklyn and for little hikes in the woods with the dog, but sometimes the thought of all that walking puts me off from doing things that I like. And I don’t want to be like that anymore.

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For the record, I’m not talking about losing half my body weight and being THIN. That may be the PC goal, but…I’d rather keep it real and say my goal is to be more comfortable with moving around and to fit more easily into a common size of clothing. I don’t feel it’s about a number, I think I’ll know when I get there…and then I’ll reassess.

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And what does any of that have to do with this dress? Ha. It’s all about transformation and trying new things…and this dress is way more “saucy secretary” than I usually dress, and the dress more form-fitting than I usually wear. Is this The New Me? No, ha. But I gave it a go. Trying new things can sometimes help confirm what you *don’t* want so you know
better what you DO want.

Photography by Linda Asparro Photography.

What I’m wearing:

 

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