The Bear Bulletin Vol. 2

Presenting Volume 2 of The Bear Bulletin! Please enjoy this first series titled “Bears on a Bed”, followed by the exuberantly colorful “Nimbus on a Chair.”

 

What do you think about the second series?  I played around with the saturation on the blanket and pillow quite a bit and in hindsight I think I overdid it.

My two favorite photos from this bear bulletin are the super alert Misty Bear, and Nimbus on her side looking straight at the camera. I love the composition, the color, the focus, just everything.

I AM (the) MOANA (of thrift shopping)!

In the same way that Moana comes from voyagers, I come from dumpster divers. My Great Granny Florence would go “shopping” at the dumpsters in Alexandria, VA and bring home any and every item that was in reasonable and recognizable condition. My first jewelry box was a mini wooden wardrobe-style contraption (like, 11 inches tall) that she rescued from one such dumpster. It made.my.life. and I still have it.  The things she didn’t gift or use for herself, she cleaned, laundered, and donated to the Goodwill. Amazing, right?!

Florence was a thrifty caretaker which might have come from raising six children by herself during WWII and having to stretch every resource as far as she possibly could.  It also could have just been her nature.  It’s surprising – or maybe not? – that her daughter (my dad’s mom) was the exact opposite, indulging in the finest clothes, etc. Well, I always loved the excitement and passion that I saw on Great Granny’s face when she showed us the treasures that she found and imagined the ways that they would be used in their next life.  As I grew up, learned about the world, and was responsible for buying my own clothes, I quickly realized that thrift shopping was made for me: I can thrift clothes that are higher quality than those I could afford new, and I get a warm gushy feeling inside from saving someone else’s well-loved items from going into a landfill. And when I want to update my wardrobe? I can take the high quality, well-loved pieces back to a Goodwill for their next journey!

I went shopping last week for the first time in a li’l while and it was a smashing success! I hit up the fancy Goodwill (in Westport, CT) with the goal of tackling the pants situation. Pants and I have a thing. But y’all it paid off! $60 later and this was my haul.

ThriftFinds
Yes, I took individual photos of each item. And yes, I learned adobe photoshop so that I could make this collage. #goals #motivation #marketableskills #someoneplzhireme Clockwise from top left: Jeanne Pierre cotton brick red sweater (obsessed with the texture); Ann Taylor Loft black and white geometric sweater shirt; Abercrombie&Fitch pink crop sweater with moose detail (moose’s have my heart); Levi’s distressed, cropped denim; Talbot’s cropped blue pants; plaid sweater with pink stripe from unknown brand.

The Levi’s were $25 which is more than I’ve spent on a single item of clothing in a really long time.* But they made me feel SO GOOD that I decided to go for it. I can’t explain it. I haven’t worn an outfit this deliberately shapeless in a long time but something about The Pants feels absolutely magical. I love the rise, I love the wash, and there’s a certain other je ne sais quois that puts some extra pep in my step.

Denim and sweater from Westport Goodwill, thrifted teal, Talbot’s peacoat from Charlottesville Goodwill, white headscarf from http://www.sleepandsparkle.com, shoes by Naturalizer via Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale.

The Talbot’s pants were $11.99. I saw the shade of blue and immediately recognized them as being the match to a Talbot’s skirt I thrifted about 5 years ago in Charlottesville. It was the first skirt I bought in my adult life that fit my curves in all the right places so I was thrilled to see a matching pair of pants!

The bears and I had a post-nap dance party. Everything piece of this outfit brings me intense joy.
Grand Central Terminal
My dear friend Hannah and me in the Grand Central Terminal after a restaurant week double date with our favorite people. I’m wearing my new fave Talbot’s pants.  (Hannah’s style has always been #goals for me!)

Moral of the story? Go in with a goal. Y’all I tried on 75% of the pants that were in the Goodwill. And 99.99% of those fit like a joke. But I was so excited about the two pairs I bought that I wore them the same day I bought them and without laundering them. *gasp* And those baggy Levi’s and that red sweater? I wore them 3 days in a row without a second thought! If the clothes don’t make me want to dance (I had a good 45 minute post-shopping-nap dance party) then they don’t come home with me.

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The headscarves are, of course, from http://www.sleepandsparkle.com. I hope that people pass my scarves down for generations the way that I pass on my favorite clothes and accessories!

*Note: All of my shoes – except for a pair of steel toe cowboy boots that I bought at a thrift store in Laramie, Wyoming – come from retail stores. I wear a women’s 12.5 which I can’t reliably thrift.

Community and Connection in Chronic Illness

Happy Tuesday, friends! I’m trying to get into a Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday publishing cycle, instead of posting at random times throughout the week. This is the second post in that effort.


Do you have your people? The ones who help you reset and keep things in perspective? Over the weekend I went to my first narcolepsy support group meeting since moving to CT and it gave me a renewed sense of hope and community.  There were folks at the meeting who were diagnosed just this month, after decades of confusion and questioning. I remember 10 months ago when that was me and for the first time in years I felt like I had a future.

Support groups can be lifesavers for many following their diagnosis day.  My diagnosis day was a day of celebration but the elation was soon followed by anger, grief, and a sense of loss.  Not to mention complete overwhelm as my doctor gave me information about possible therapies which led to a dark research spiral into the bowels of the internet.  I had so many questions about, really, EVERYTHING, and I was lucky to be able to meet other people with narcolepsy face-to-face within two months of my diagnosis to dig into all of the things that I wanted to know.  That first support group meeting was filled with compassion, hugs, and so many tears.  The people who sat around the table were fighting the same fight and we finished each others sentences.  I felt safe and I felt SEEN.  I felt worthy, and I knew that these people believed me.

No matter where you are on your journey – diagnosed, undiagnosed, chronic or acute illness – this is your weekly reminder that you are worthy and deserving of connection.  The diagnosis journeys that so many of us are on can take a serious toll on our sense of self worth and on our sense of belonging. The medical profession has a lot of work to do when it comes to listening to patients’ stories and trusting what we know about our own bodies.  It feels HORRIBLE when the doctor reads your test results and exclaims that “you are perfectly healthy, there’s nowhere else to go from here.”

Regardless of how your most recent doctor visit went, you are fabulous, you are worthy, you are deserving. And I believe you.

I know that not everybody has the opportunity to meet with a support group face-to-face.  Good thing there are alternatives!  I love this article about social media as therapy, written by my friend Elle on her website www.falling-asleep.com. Below are links to a few other websites that have resources for those with narcolepsy and other chronic illness.

Visit the Resources page for more ideas. Note that you might see diminishing returns to your investment in support communities. This is a thoughtful article on the possible downsides of support groups.


These recommendations are not meant to substitute for care from a licensed physician and/or therapist and for medication.

An exploration in post production. Or a pizza place review.

I take my camera with me everywhere these days. Even to the bathroom. I know, it’s weird. But she’s my girl and we have a lot of things to do and to learn, and no time to waste.

On Monday D and I went to a new-to-us pizza place called The Clydesdale Pub and Grill in Port Chester. Let’s get the “review” part out of the way: this place has the best thin crust pizza I’ve had maybe ever. It was so freakin’ crispy and bouncy (not soggy and oily, ya know what I mean?) I could eat it forever. I got a Hawaiian Pizza which I secretly love and NEVER eat because I don’t know anyone who likes and will share a Hawaiian Pizza with me. It was AMAZING. We also ordered the “Port Chester” Pizza which had sausage, pepperoni, and hot peppers. Also delicious! Bottom line: eat there. Molto bene!

What this place had in pizza quality it did NOT have in lighting. I took a quadrillion photos with the plan to experiment with post production, a process that I view as being cloaked in mystery and akin to high wizardry.  I’ve learned a little bit about setting the white point and I’ll admit that part of my intimidation with post production stems from the fact that the iPhotos app (on my new and updated MacBook Pro) has a faulty white point identification system that made me think I was doing everything wrong.  I splurged on an Adobe Lightroom subscription and now things are starting to make more sense.

Below is one of the photos, pre-production.  It is blindingly red/purple and headache-inducing, and I was 100% sure that it was a trash photo.

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But THEN, I adjusted the white point, filtered out a lot of red (what is this called? I moved the red saturation to “-32”), and VOILA!

What would you have done differently? Do you have a favorite post-production editing tutorial that would make my life easier? I’m still figuring out what my shooting and editing “style” is but if pushed to answer that question I would say that it is to get as many in-focus shots as possible.  Start with the basics, right?