Why I Haven’t Been Witnessing Much Fashion Lately….

Collage art by my friend Karen.

I have not been posting nearly as often as I used to — not because I’m losing interest, or because of quarantine, but because I’m having trouble with my hands. I love this collage that Karen sent me — the vintage athletic gear, the “bird-brained” woman, and especially the boxing gloves. She is undefeated by those clumsy gloves, so she’s a role model for me. I don’t have carpal tunnel problems, I have severe osteo-arthritis. I am currently wearing a brace on both hands!

What I’m wearing: A hand and wrist brace, a cane, and my new microphone headset. I need to learn to talk to my computer.

I “got old” very suddenly in the past year. The arthritis in my knees, which was not a real problem before, went from “living with it” to “severe.” For the first time, I need a cane to walk, and stairs are very difficult, which made it nearly impossible to take public transportation to the Main Library, even while it was still open. I have notebooks full of Delineator pages I want to photograph, but, by October, I could no longer spend hours standing near the window and photographing them in natural light. I have plenty of images I took before, still waiting to be posted and enjoyed; and for a few months I was able to sit in the recliner or at the kitchen table and work on them. I’m currently on track for a knee replacement (COVID permitting,) but the greatest impact on my life has been the fact that using a cane in my right hand triggered arthritis there, too. Right-clicking the mouse (which I do hundreds of times while preparing and resizing images for this blog) has to be limited.

My friend Sharon lives in the Napa valley wine country, where one tourist attraction was a train that served gourmet meals and wines while traveling past the vineyards. Whenever we exchange letters about our problems and annoyances, she says we are “taking a ride on the Whine Train.”

I’m a very fortunate person, with the freedom to read and write and research whatever takes my fancy, so I don’t want to ride the Whine Train today. Let’s just say I want to explain why I haven’t been posting regularly, and to say I will learn how to work around these inconveniences.

I need to learn to use dictation to write posts, (see the microphone image above) and I’ll need to be disciplined about the number of images I use. I used to format a collection of images with a common theme and write the post “around” them. I always found more images than I expected, so my posts were always longer than recommended. Being forced to be more selective may improve the blog quite a lot! (I’ve always said, “Writing is easy. Editing is hard!”)

Thank you to all my readers and commenters: I learn so much from you, and you are always kind. Please bear with me as I figure out some new strategies, and if I accidentally dictate a few swear words — apologies in advance.

Meanwhile: I highly recommend a visit to A la Recherche des Modes Perdues. Her most recent post covers some French fashion magazines from the years 1895 to 1899, with many wonderful illustrations. I copied the link after turning on the English translation; if  the post comes up in French, you should have a translation option at the top of your screen. This was a period of very rapid fashion change, from the extreme “leg of mutton” sleeves of 1895 to the softer, flowing Art Nouveau styles of the turn of the century. Notice the lily or trumpet-vine skirts of 1898.  Bathing suits 1895 to 1899 are included. You’ll find a change from the usual English-language blog images in this fashion history blog!



Filed under 1870s to 1900s fashions, Bathing Suits, Late Victorian fashions, Resources for Costumers

30 responses to “Why I Haven’t Been Witnessing Much Fashion Lately….

  1. Laura Lake

    Oh, dear, indeed. Fashionablecanes dot com has not only fashionable canes, but some with a palm grip that I find easier on my arthritic hands. I like the google speech to text on my phone quite a bit for quick comments, drafts of things, etc. Then I save it in google docs so i can acess it from my computer later if i need to, or like this comment, i just copy and paste into the comment field. Using a stylus on my smart phone is helpful. A hand occupational therapy visit can be helpful for tricks and products. Finally, I like to remember that it is the world’s inaccessibility I’m struggling against, not my disability. We have sent people to the moon. Surely I can find ways to manage this! And, I do, and you will. But, I’m sorry it came all at once.

    Looking forward to you getting back in the game!

    • Thanks for the cane advice! I have been using dictation on my phone, and a stylus. Time to be grateful for all the tech — when it’s not as annoying as it is useful. What is intuitive to some isn’t always intuitive to me.

  2. A Roberts

    I am so sorry to hear of the problems you have been experiencing. I too had difficulty writing due to illness and used dragon software to help. It takes a bit of getting used to! My Scots pronunciation of Schiaparelli fooled it completely!
    These things are sent to try us as they say where I come from. I hope that you will soon be able to resume but don’t worry. The world keeps turning, pandemic or not and we can only do our best. Take care. Anne.

    • I thought about Dragon; if my current set-up is too maddening, I’ll give Dragon a try. I’ve always had very clear diction (former drama teacher….) so it’s a surprise to find that my current program hears “inter when I say “enter!” They don’t even have a stress on the same syllable!

  3. Christine M. Aupperle

    I am so very sorry to hear of your infirmities! May they be passing and managed with medical interventions and modern technology! While my favorite era is 1928-1931 when the Model A Ford automobile was manufactured, I love all eras of fashion and am a devoted reader of all your blogs! Please take care of yourself. It will make any post you publish that much more special! Best regards and blessings, Chris

  4. I’m so sorry to hear about the limitations your pain is imposing on you. I’ve discovered there’s always something nagging at us as we get older. The trick is to do what you are doing – refuse to be defeated by it. I wish you well, and thanks for letting us all know!

  5. michelle

    I am such a fan of your blog and I appreciate all the time and effort you have put and continue to put into it. I was taking a ride on my whine train this evening when I received an email notification of this post. I’ve read it and now have gotten off my train at the nearest station. You have my sincerest admiration.

  6. I’m sorry to hear this. I hope some of the suggestions here will help you.

  7. So sorry to read this, I hope everything works out. I love your articles and the fact that you share your knowledge with us. And, you are a very nice person as well. 🙂 Take good care and I wish you well!

  8. Sending my good wishes your way, Susan! You are a person with so much to say.

  9. Jewel

    Oh no! I am so sorry. I truly enjoy your posts. The information is the kind I’m interested in. But, I’m reading a lot slower now, everything is taking longer, and I find I’m only reading once a week.

    • So — shorter will be better for both of us! I, too, find I’ve watched far too much TV during our long stay in place. In a house full of books, I’m doing Sudokus and watching the latest news on YouTube. And doing a lot of armchair travel via videos.

  10. motorharp

    I’m so glad I stumbled on your blog a while ago. I like reading your posts and enjoy the pictures. I’m sorry to hear you’re in pain. I’d be fine with getting old if it weren’t for all the structural issues! I hope you get some relief pronto.

  11. Oh ugh. I feel what you’re dealing with.
    I use elbow crutches, left and right handed ones when I need walking support. They protect my hands which is hugely important to me. And the crutches help with my body symmetry because one stick made me very lopsided!
    And I got an iPad Pro which really helps me edit photos and I can use the sliding keyboard with either my finger or the pencil. It was an expensive purchase but I’m so glad I did it.

  12. Frau Buttonbox

    Dear Susan, where would I be without your blog?! But much more important: I hope, you will find a way to live with this still doing the things you love! All the best!!

  13. I never think your blog posts are too long! FWIW, an acquaintance of mine had some luck treating her arthritis pain with cannabis. (It sounds like you’re doing pretty much everything you can, but just in case.)

    • I’m actually trying turmeric capsules taken with Omega fish oil. I was able to move around my kitchen this week without the cane. The Mayo Clinic says it may work as a replacement for Ibuprofen. My chiropractor told me to use turmeric capsules rather than loose spice, so the spice doesn’t turn my teeth yellow…. He also said to always take it with the fish oil capsules. So I’m giving it a try.

  14. I wish I could send you an intern! Your blog is uniquely wonderful.

    • What a lovely idea! One of the gratifications of blogging is that it satisfies my urge to teach (or to have a captive audience, one or the other!) I do miss regular interaction with a lot of younger people, like my students. But sharing our internet “finds” is wonderful, too. I recently bought a device for transferring my old lecture slides to jpg format. But I haven’t mastered it yet…. I did manage to dictate a short post yesterday — but I looked at too much image research, as usual. It may take some time to memorize the “correction” commands, too. “Learning is good,,,, Learning is good…” Hold that thought!

  15. Joyce

    I love your blog, though I am only a new comer of sorts. I’m sorry to hear about your health stuff. I hope you do find a way to keep doing what you obviously love, there seems to be many that do love what you share. I’m on the beginning of the hand arthritis journey…bit peeved about it really.But what can you do

  16. I love your blog and photos. I understand this “instant” aging that seems to come over us. Please keep searching the technology to help you keep up with your brain and ideas. I’ve had to add a caption phone to my office. For your photos, maybe a good scanner could help. I have an Epson I bought a few years ago for only $100 to scan my antique bridal photos and it is terrific. It even has a program that can lighten some of the shadows that occur as photos age, and I get really detailed pictures. Hang in there and don’t give up. It’s our creativity that keeps us young.

    • Thanks. I have a good scanner; but I still have to resize photos for the blog (500 DPI on longest side. And sometimes add info or my watermark.) I had several projects that should have kept me busy during the shelter-in-place, but they all require a lot of typing! (e.g., labeling scanned files, making spreadsheets, etc.) I need to really get down to mastering the correction and other voice commands! Old dog, new tricks….

      • I just found out that the software Canva can be used to resize photos for social media, Instagram for example. I don’t know if it would work for your needs. i’m going to use it for my Instagram pics.

  17. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

  18. Susan, I am so sorry to hear of your arthritis troubles.Here’s hoping you can get the needed replacement soon.

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