How did pink become a girls’ colour?

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Our grandson, Simon, loves the colour pink. He always has. Last week he was so excited to have finally grown into this pair of his sister’s hand-me-down shoes. He proudly wore them to school, but only once. The next morning he sadly told his mother that he would never wear them to school again because he was picked on so badly for wearing “girl” shoes. He’s in grade one. In my opinion, there’s something seriously wrong with a world where a little boy is bullied for wearing his favourite colour to school.

So how did pink become a girls’ colour anyway? It hasn’t always been. Historically, pink was just another colour worn by men and women alike. In many parts of the world, it still is.

In the past, in both Europe and North America, most parents dressed their children, boys and girls, in white dresses until they were about six years old, which was also when they usually had their first haircut. The outfit was practical. White cotton could be bleached and dresses made diaper changes easy.

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt, age 2 1/2, wearing a gender neutral outfit.

In the mid 19th century, pastels became popular for babies, but at first they weren’t gender-specific. It wasn’t until just before World War I that pink and blue emerged as indicators of gender, but you might be surprised to learn that, at that time, pink was considered a boys’ colour and blue, a girls’! An article in the June 1918 issue of the trade publication Earnshaw’s Infants’ Department said, “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

Babies of the 1940s were the first to be dressed in the sex-specific clothing and colours that we’re familiar with today. The popularity of pink for girls and blue for boys actually waned in the 1960s and 70s during the height of the women’s liberation movement. Parents who felt that dressing their daughters in feminine or stereotypically “girly” clothes might limit their opportunities for success favoured dressing their children in neutral colours and fashions, but by the 1980s, gender oriented children’s clothing was back in style. 

It seems to me, however, that there’s a big discrepancy between what’s deemed acceptable for little boys and little girls. I suspect that many of the girls in Simon’s class wear blue to school. Are they bullied? No! Does anyone question their femininity? Of course not! Then why can’t a little boy wear pink shoes to school without being harassed?

Children aren’t born with prejudices about certain colours. That’s a learned behaviour. I lay the fault at the feet of fathers and grandfathers who were raised with the idea that pink is only for little girls and that a boy should never wear pink. Only when men become bold enough and secure enough in their own masculinity to take back the colour pink will it become just another colour again. Only then will Simon be able to wear his favourite colour without fear of being tormented.

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100 butt darts!

Every 28 days, without fail, a visiting nurse pulls up in front of our house and comes in to give me an injection of Sandostatin LAR. Today was the 100th of those butt darts!

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Sandostatin LAR is a long-acting treatment meant to reduce or eliminate the symptoms associated with neuroendocrine cancer (NETS) and for me it has been an absolute life changer! No longer do I live with the stomach pains and diarrhea that plagued me off and on for several years prior to diagnosis. Though the effect of Sandostatin on tumour size, rate of growth, and development of metastases has not yet been determined, it is thought that it might also be of benefit in those areas.

Sandostatin comes as a powder and a diluent solution that must be mixed and administered according to very precise instructions which is why I haven’t been taught to inject it myself. Once the diluent is added to the powder, it must be allowed to stand for a minimum of 2 minutes and not more than 5 to ensure that the powder is fully saturated. Then, after gently shaking the syringe for about 30 seconds to ensure that the powder is completely suspended, the nurse has to administer it without delay to avoid sedimentation. Even following these guidelines carefully and using a fairly large needle (19 gauge), it sometimes plugs. On those occasions, she has to quickly change the needle and try again. On a couple of occasions it has taken 4 jabs to get the medication into me! My 100 butt darts has actually involved about 130 pokes altogether.

In addition to the benefits that the drug offers, getting it into me and not wasting it is of vital importance because every one of those butt darts costs $2358.52 CAD! In other words, over the past almost 8 years, we have pumped more than $235,000 into my posterior! You could buy a nice house in our small town for that much.

This is where I’m really glad to be Canadian. I pick up the Sandostatin at my local pharmacy every 4 weeks and don’t pay a cent! The cost is fully covered by the government and that includes the cost of having the nurse come to my home. A Mobile Administration Program even enables me to have my injection administered by a trained nurse anywhere else in Canada. A simple phone call is all it takes to make the arrangements. I have to take the medication, which has to be refrigerated, with me but I’ve found that an insulated lunch bag and a mini freezer pack do the job as long as I can put it in a fridge overnight. So far, I’ve had butt darts administered at all 3 of my children’s homes. Arranging to have it done outside the country would be more complicated and isn’t something I’ve tried at this point.

So, is getting my monthly Sandostatin a pain in the butt? Not really. As a child, I was terrified of needles, but I lost that fear a long time ago. Only once in awhile does really hurt going in. Today was one of those occasions, but it went in on the first try, so I’m not complaining! The injection site often feels bruised for a couple of days and a lump often forms that gradually dissipates over the next few weeks, but these minor inconveniences are well worth it when I consider the benefits. So, 100 butt darts down and here’s hoping that I can have 100 more! Or 200. Or more!

On the river again…

There isn’t going to be a Fashion Friday post today. We spent the last few days camping at Big Knife Provincial Park and when I’m camping, fashion is the furthest thing from my mind! Instead, I’m going to share a couple of kayaking experiences with you.

The weather forecast for Monday called for extreme heat, so after a leisurely breakfast we decided to head for the river before the day got too hot. The sun was shining, the air was almost still, and everything was so fresh and green!

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At this time of year the water is high, so we were able to leave the Battle River for a bit and paddle up the much shallower Big Knife Creek. It was like entering another world; a world of untouched and incredibly peaceful wilderness. Unlike last year, we spotted just one beaver and heard only one mighty tail slap. The rest of the time, the water was like a mirror and the reflections were amazing. 

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Returning to the main river, we continued upstream. On the way, we chose a spot where we’d pull ashore for a picnic lunch on our way back. 

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It was there that we had the most amazing experience. We were just returning to the boat when we heard a loud splash just upstream from us. A moose was swimming across the river and I had the camera in my hand!

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She even stopped on the hillside and posed for me before heading into the bush!

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When we started kayaking four years ago, I could only paddle for about an hour and a half before feeling like my arms were going to fall off. On Monday we paddled for almost four and the GPS told us that we’d travelled 10.5 miles (16.9 km). We were pretty impressed with ourselves, but also glad to be back in camp by the time the temperature rose to 35ºC (95ºF) later in the afternoon! 

Our second kayaking adventure was quite different and I didn’t even think to take any photos. We’d done some hiking on Tuesday and left camp for much of the day on Wednesday to go to Camrose for medical appointments, so we decided that we’d go for a short paddle yesterday morning before packing up and heading for home. There’s a bridge not too far downstream from the campground where Secondary Highway 855 crosses the river, so we decided to kayak there and back. The river widens in that area and when we got out on the water, we realized that the wind was MUCH stronger than it had appeared back in the campground which is quite sheltered. It was at our back, so we had no problem getting to the bridge, but when we turned around we quickly realized that there was no way that we were going to be able to battle our way back to the boat launch. Paddling as hard as we could, we were barely able to move forward. Water was splashing over the bow and I was immediately soaked from the waist down. Thankfully, we knew that there was a small road down to the riverside by the bridge that people use to go fishing, so we found a spot to land the kayak nearby and only had to carry it a short distance to that road. Of course, the vehicle was still at the boat launch and now one of us had to walk back to get it! Since I’m trying to walk lots anyway, I volunteered. Richard waited with the kayak while I walked almost 3.5 km (2.16 miles) back to the vehicle. That’s not a lot farther than I walk most days, but much of it was uphill and that horrendous wind was trying to blow me off my feet; the feet that were wearing only water shoes! That definitely wasn’t a fashion statement, but I can say that I’m very thankful that I don’t kayak barefoot! 

 

Skinny jeans, yes or no?

LogoAccording to the Gen Z teens and twenty-somethings, who are young enough to be my grandchildren, skinny jeans are done, dead, over. Apparently they’ve reached their expiry date. This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The younger generation needs to distinguish themselves from we oldies by rejecting what we wear and that’s okay. That’s the way it’s always been. If their mothers and grandmothers were wearing baggy jeans, they would choose skinny. The fashion industry also needs to keep changing styles or they wouldn’t sell enough product. That’s not new either. So, skinny jeans are out and baggy ones are in.

On the other hand, a lot of older fashionistas are are making it clear that they’re not ready to give up their skinnies and I’m definitely one of them. Though I’m not adverse to wearing looser jeans and often do, I still like my skinnies and I’ll continue wearing them, especially my favourite grey ones from cabi which you’ve seen on the blog several times in the past.

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This is a super casual, comfortable, relaxing at home on a rainy day look. Hubby and I dashed outside during a lull in yesterday’s all day rain to snap a couple of photos for this post. I’m wearing the cabi jeans with the Uniqlo denim shirt that you first saw here, a plain white Uniqlo t-shirt, and the white leather sneakers that just had to be mine.

I wonder how much the changing trend from skinny to looser jeans has been influenced by what we’ve been wearing for the past year. I think, in many cases, jeans hung in closets while wearers, stuck at home, turned to the comfort of softer pants like leggings and sweats. I admit that squeezing back into skinnies, especially if you’ve put on a few pandemic pounds, might not be particularly comfortable at first and looser jeans would have a certain appeal.

I also wonder how the move toward baggy jeans will influence the footwear market. After all, what other jean style tucks so neatly into tall boots?

Personally, I would say that skinny jeans are not dead. They’re simply not a trend anymore. They’ve moved into the classic style category and will likely be around for a long time yet. If you like them, wear them. If you don’t, don’t. That really should be the one and only fashion rule, shouldn’t it?

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Lady in linen

LogoA couple of months ago, I wrote this post about the blue denim shirt that I had recently purchased at Uniqlo. I actually bought two blue shirts that day, but I’ve been waiting for warmer weather to start wearing the second one, Uniqlo’s Premium Linen Long Sleeve Shirt.

In the past, I avoided linen because it wrinkles so badly, but after reading so many positive reviews about this cool, comfortable, all-natural fabric, I decided to give it a try. I do admit that at first I was constantly tempted to take it off and iron it again, but I just kept reminding myself that linen is supposed to look wrinkled. It’s something you just have to embrace if you’re going to wear this light, breathable fabric, and it’s part of what gives it a casual, summery vibe. For a dressier look, I’d definitely suggest a linen blend. While not 100% wrinkle free, they do at least promise a slightly less crumpled look.

I’m wearing a size medium, my usual size in Uniqlo tops. I could probably wear a small, but I like the shirt’s comfy, casual, and slightly oversized look and feel. Here I’m wearing it over a column of navy made up of the sleeveless cabi Scallop Top from their Spring 2019 collection and a pair of capris that I picked up at our local thrift store last summer. The well-worn sandals are from SoftMoc.

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One of the things I like to ask myself when I’m considering adding something to my wardrobe is whether I can wear it at least three different ways with items that I already have in my closet. If so, it will probably be a good purchase. This won’t always work for something like a special occasion dress, but it’s a good rule of thumb for most other wardrobe purchases and it definitely works for this one.

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Here I switched the cabi top for a plain white crew neck t-shirt from Uniqlo. I don’t often tuck my tops in, but the linen is so lightweight that even though the shirt is quite voluminous, the fabric didn’t bunch up and add volume around my waist.

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The beautiful feline is our next door neighbour, Sophie. She thinks that our yard is just an extension of hers and that we are some of her people and we’re just fine with that! ❤

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Clearly we should have taken the photos of this final look before I tucked the shirt in! You can definitely see what I mean about linen wrinkling.

Do you wear linen?

Kayaking, hiking, and bridge building

We kayaked to Saskatchewan yesterday. That might sound like an amazing feat, but only until I tell you that we were camping on the Alberta side of Dillberry Lake which straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border. We were across the provincial boundary within 5 minutes of leaving the boat launch!

Camping, hiking, and kayaking are my favourite summertime activities and we chose Dillberry Lake Provincial Park for a short getaway this week because there we could enjoy all three. Though it’s less than two hours from home, we hadn’t been there since the early 1980s! The lake was much smaller than we remembered and we were able to paddle all the way around it in less than an hour.

We spent several hours out on the hiking trails the day before though. The “knob and kettle” topography of the area consists of hummocky mounds (the knobs) and water-filled depressions (the kettles) that form a series of small lakes. We hiked the entire trail system (8.93 km) which is made up of several loops alongside and around some of these lakes. With the exception of bazillions of birds, butterflies, and dragonflies, we didn’t see any wildlife, but we saw plenty of evidence along the trail to suggest that they were there.

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At one point, where a tiny wooden bridge should have taken us across the water exiting one of the lakes, industrious beaver had built a dam and flooded the trail. A temporary floating bridge had been brought in to enable hikers to cross, but clearly that wasn’t enough. Would we have to turn back?

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Where there’s a will, there’s usually a way. With a little temporary bridge building on Richard’s part, we were soon on our way again! The beaver had built themselves a fine home in the flooded end of the lake.

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A little further along, we ate our picnic lunch at a lovely rest spot overlooking one of the lakes.

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We were back on the trails for a short jaunt this morning before packing up to come home. This time we saw two majestic moose at fairly short range, but unfortunately neither one waited around long enough to have it’s picture taken!

Walking challenge update #1

This is just a quick post to update you on the walking challenge that I wrote about in this post on May 2nd. My plan was to walk (or hike) 300 kilometres in the five months leading up to our 45th wedding anniversary on October 2nd. The anniversary actually has nothing to do with the challenge other than giving me a good end date to aim for! I wrote about my plan because knowing that I’ll be reporting my progress on the blog makes me accountable. It gets me off the couch and out the door on days when I really don’t feel like walking! 

So, how have I done so far? In order to meet my goal, I need to walk at least 60 km a month. For my American readers, that’s approximately 37.3 miles. In the past month, walking 6 days a week, I’ve actually covered 87.07 km! 

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Most of my walking so far has been on the streets of our small town, but I also explored some of the Hardisty Nature Trails and this week we’ve been camping at Dillberry Lake Provincial Park where we did a short 2.3 km hike on Monday evening and then hiked 8.93 km on Tuesday. With a small group of friends I also took part in a 5 km fundraising walk for multiple sclerosis on Sunday. Together we raised over $2500! 

One thing that I’ve discovered in the past month is that I need to invest in a new pair of walking shoes. So far, I’ve been wearing old ones that don’t have much life left in them. I do have my trusty Merrell hiking shoes, but I don’t want to wear them out walking the streets of town. I could also use the ASICS running shoes that I bought last year specifically for the treadmill, but I want to save them for indoor use. Hopefully by the time I update again a month from now, I’ll be able to show you some new shoes as well as reporting another 60 km or more.