Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Give Me COLOR!

I'm coming down (perhaps "up"?) from nearly 30 years of wearing uniforms, most of which required navy as the main part. That, over the years, could (must) be paired with federal blue, black, charcoal, or ... you guessed it ... more navy. Shoes were white, or black: no biggie, because that is what serious shoes came in, white or black. And the navy I didn't mind, really. Being blue-eyed, I had always been told that was "my" color. And it tends to bring out the orange in my skin, an improvement from all the red to my way of thinking.

Shopping was easy. Navy was always a staple, even as jeans became the casual American uniform. All I had to do was pick navy or what blended. See above. And I was very content to hide behind the neutrality of that palette. At work, I was identifiable, not as me but as a part of the uniformed tribe.

Even after retiring, navy was still the primary go-to choice for a while. I still had all those navy or grey pants with very little wear, a sufficient supply to last for years. For the record, the one pair I've tossed was already full of holes, brought down here as something grubby to wear for those jobs that might destroy otherwise good pants. Besides, I love the texture of those pants, probably why the wear pattern was right where my hand rested on them while taking a break from the steering wheel.

Navy so monopolized my life that back in '91 when I had the Minnesota house built I painted my bedroom a shade of blue that blended perfectly with that color, a pale greyed shade called Heron blue, and bought a bed comforter to match. That was ME at rest. Comfortable. Inoffensive. Automatic. Blah.

Underneath the navy, there was white. I grew up being told underthings were white. Just white. Always. If - horrors! - it ever showed, the world could instantly tell how fastidious, moral, and well-groomed you were by how white that white was. Plus, undies with dyes in them would lead to a lady developing a UTI, so for heaven's sake at least buy something with a white cotton-lined crotch if one dared to delve into a little naughtiness with color.

It's been my experience that UTIs are really caused by dehydration resulting in lack of flushing out the system, poor personal hygiene, sex with a partner who didn't consider his own personal hygiene to be of any concern to his partner, or too high levels of blood sugar. Not undies. Especially not colored undies. So those were my first, hidden, venture into adding colors to my life. Now there must be a dozen different colors popping out when the drawer opens, neatly folded and stacked, of course.

With retirement pending, my latest shoe purchase was a pair of very bright blue shoes with touches of yellow, and a pair of green and pink ones. The blue were for work, despite the recent company crackdown on black-only shoes. What? They were going to send me away early when they were already bemoaning how they would ever fill my niche of long days, late hours, and willingness to travel anywhere to the tune, often, of over 500 miles a day? I'd risk it. And did.

Not one word.

With the purchase of the Arizona house, I decided to alter my color palette a little. While the living/dining room is still a pale cornflower blue, and the concrete floor painted slate grey, options being very limited there, the Persian rugs defining usage spaces both have generous patterning of burgundy, and my recliner is all burgundy. The rug in the lanai, otherwise in a very neutral cream, has intense greens and rose shades throughout. My bedroom, for the first time ever, I had done in two different intensities of teal. You can still call it blue, though many call it green, and think of it as a southwestern turquoise shade, but it is color, color, COLOR. Accents in furniture and window blinds are white, bringing out the teal even more.

Of course, the old, perfectly serviceable grey-blue comforter needed to be replaced, though for the record, I still own it for the comfort of cool-weather guests, should there be any who chose to visit during that month. While clerking an auction a few years back, I spotted a bedspread with some curls of a dark teal wandering through the design, and without much thought as to what the rest of it might look like inside its bag, I put in a winning bid on it. Upon finally opening it to lay out on my bed, I was surprised to discover that the rest of the swirls pattern includes deep non-metalic gold, fuchsia, and a violet-purple. Little flecks of black all over too, to keep it from being obnoxious.

I love it!

In fact, I love it so much I have trouble setting it aside during those super hot nights in late spring and early fall. After all, the blankets under it are simply ugly, never mind that they are cotton thermal and nicely cool with just a touch of warmth for the wee hours just before waking. I just love those colors. All of them.  All together.

With the old long work days, I basically wore uniform shirts 5 days a week while not in pajamas, also mostly navy by the way. So I needed a new shirt wardrobe. Just in time, a line of cheap, multi-colored, glittery hot-weather shirts became widely available (OK, I admit it was Wal Mart) and I snatched up a few. And some more. In fact, mostly everything in those shirts they sold. Not a single offering on their shelves was in navy. Of course, most of what they will be paired with is still navy, but the pants are still serviceable and I'm neither silly enough nor wealthy enough to toss them all out. So I make do.

Baby steps.

I went out for some new sweats a couple weeks ago. I bet you think I bought a lot of purple, don't you? Well, those had already been picked over and my size was out, so I came home with ... navy.

And grey.

But I did find a pretty (or pretty thin) hoodie and a matching thermal long sleeved shirt in teal too. The matching pants were sold out in my size, of course.

I plan to keep trying.

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