Martes de Carnaval

10364019_10152138539472475_396364405222684892_n10314678_10152138544192475_7373123781352521932_nHere are some new images of what Carnaval in Las Tablas really is all about. The last day of celebrations, before Lent sets in and the season of penance starts, is one to be enjoyed by one and all. At least, that is the philosophy in this small colonial city. If you are religious or not is irrelevant and I suspect most people are not. Still, it’s a tradition and nobody wants to miss this: from spending your day in the plaza to watching the fireworks that end the celebration. A breathtaking show!!

Thousands and thousands of people take to the streets. Ash Wednesday is a working day, so they feel obliged to dance, drink and enjoy to the last minute! It is truly amazing. This year the sun was shinning, it was very hot, not a cloud in the sky. The cistern tanks were working overtime so nobody was complaining!

1238974_10152138541617475_8384597598960746925_n10300324_10152138539102475_4343786582105964075_nThe queens come out in their floats all dolled up. How can they dance, keep smiling and stand for so long is a mystery to me. I am sure they receive training from professionals!!! Just looking at them makes me exhausted, remember this is the fourth day of long hours, little sleep and no privacy!! I have to admit, they seem to be having the time of their lives. Or is it that these are their fifteen minutes of Fame? For whatever reasons, hats off to these young women!!

All this is the First Act, the preparation for what comes later in the day. This the day to display Panamá’s National dress or costume, called Pollera. It requires infinite hours of labor, it’s done by hand and cost a pretty penny. The lace is handmade as well. Everything is regulated: the way it is ironed and the way you are supposed to wear it: what comes with it, how many chains, bracelets, what earrings, which flowers (called tembleques) you need, how many gold combs in your hair, what kind of shoes. It’s a never-ending list, but women all want one, which I have to say I never did or ever will!!! Still is de rigueur to have one these days in Panamá. Martes de Carnaval is the perfect day to show off yours and many women do. The queens come out in very simple floats so these works of art can be displayed to every advantage. ENJOY!!!!!

Thanks again to Pancho for the photos. José Domingo didn’t win…….maybe 2019?

10367817_10152138546202475_5736549151629634265_n10313517_10152138547072475_8635448041270221293_n

10361052_10152138548617475_4720047794041572336_n
10157125_10152138548107475_2730689003739572355_n

Toss and Don’t Replace……

IMG_1678I know this seems contradictory, but is not. Let’s talk about material things, the ones we accumulate constantly and then have no idea what we are going to do with them. We all do it and we should stop. George Carlin, the famous comedian and linguistics genius, once said that we work to make money to buy stuff, we even keep buying bigger houses to put our stuff……..Sadly, he was so right!!! The world has become one big pile of stuff. We all contribute and we all are guilty of not doing enough to stop. Never mind the thousands and thousands of landfills we fill every year with our trash, rubbish, garbage or whatever we want to call it.

This week, I went to help Frankie’s aunts pack. They are elderly and are moving again this Summer. Haven’t found the place yet, but they need to get rid of tons of stuff. When they retired, they moved in together and each brought her stuff. Very little was tossed at the time, I am sure!!! Now, with advancing age, so-so health and only two months to do it…..this has become a monumental chore.

Driving back home, I started thinking about all the stuff I am still  accumulating, be it stuff I buy or stuff I get as presents. What have I been doing? Do I want my children one day  to do what I did for my mother? or what I am doing for the aunts? Suddenly everything became very clear, there is no need for me to worry, I had the solution!!! I will not buy anything new and I will accept NO MORE gifts of things I need to pack and unpack. I have enough tea-sets, mugs, cups and saucers, dishes….etc… to give away or make two families happy. I can have coffee mornings for 12 or more, serve dinner for 12, entertain my whole family without having to resort to paper plates (God forbid!!) and have people over for drinks and serve my munchies in the nicest dishes. Enough!

I know this is not really de-cluttering, but I will assume it is. If you get no more stuff, you don’t need a bigger place, you don’t fret about things getting lost or broken during your next move…….De-cluttering used to be an excuse to get more stuff. Until my last move, I was in the don’t buy unless you are replacing mode. Not anymore, now I just want to toss, not replace. It’s a decision that came very naturally.

De-cluttering will mean, from now on, not getting anything I have to keep. I will buy only what can be used and dispose of after a period of time. I will get only what I can discard or give away, things like clothes, sheets and towels, books. Or things that get used up like make-up, perfume, toiletries. This is a real breakthrough!!!

There are things I will still be carrying with me, I know. My photo albums, my picture frames, my paintings, my journals, things my children made for me through the years…..I am a mother, after all, and these are part of my life forever. Now, everything they left with me, to store or take care of, that needs to go. They are adults and have lives of their own. They should start getting their clutter in their homes! It’s the way life works. This feel great!!!!

So on that happy mood, I arrived at my house. Immediately made plans for removing all the stuff I have been getting ready to give away. We have a guest bathroom and it hasn’t been used in months…….it is full of all the stuff I have taken out of closets, kitchen cabinets and drawers. Never fear, I already started making the rounds. Sale Rack, where I sold my gently worn clothes etc., was my first stop. The This “n” That charity shop was visited today. The Salvation Army will get the rest. I am already breathing a sigh of relief!!!

lSale Rack

Politics, Hats and Brooches…….Oh My!!!

IMG_1518My high school friends have a communal WhatsApp account where we visit, keep in touch and commiserate when necessary. It is a new adventure and so far, so good….until last night! I broke one of my strictest rules: NEVER TALK POLITICS with friends, family or anyone for that matter!! Anyways, the discussion was about the upcoming elections in Panama. With the protests in Venezuela, the political atmosphere in Panama at the moment and the passion people put into these discussions, everyone is very aware of the power of the vote. My friends are encouraging each other to vote. A very good thing, of course. Well, somehow it got to specific politics, who and how, why and why not. I put my two cents worth, was completely misunderstood…serves me right! What was I thinking? Must have been sleepy, groggy or who knows.

Politics is absolutely toxic to friendships and families ties. I think it’s even more taboo than religion!!! We make an effort to refrain from talking about religion not to offend anyone. Mistakenly, we think politics can be an easier topic. To cut the story short,  I ended up on a back and forth with one of my friends on something I thought we agreed on!! What a faux-pas!! Didn’t know what had hit me. Thankfully, another friend told us to change the subject, which I was more than glad to do. Some things need to be remembered at all times, unfortunately, we slip once in a while. It becomes necessary to move on…..So, once again, I reestablished my rule and did just that.IMG_1635IMG_1576

On that note, I decided on a less controversial theme. This morning I browsed through the blogs I follow. One caught my attention:

Style Crone

Judith Boyd is an absolute original. In her early 70s, she has the most amazing collection of hats, to go with her most amazing collection of vintage clothing and accessories. She is hosting a HAT ATTACK on her blog and is inviting her readers to post our creations! Well, I didn’t need another prompting. I love hats and have a good number of them. It is true mine are rather plain compared to hers, but I also collect brooches. Instant fashion idea: mix-and-match both and see what happens. Have to say I am very pleased with some of the results!!!

IMG_1532I started with my favorite Panama hat, yes, it is!!! It is by Panama Line, London. Coupled with different brooches, it became absolutely the thing if I was to wear hats here in Miami….for some lavish affair. Then, my green raffia Italian hat by Capelli,  easy to wear at the beach, but can be dressed-up too! I love it because it can take a lot of abuse and never loses its shape. The color is as vibrant as when I bought it years ago.IMG_1598

Last, but not least my other Panama hat. This is a variation of the typical Panamanian hat, used in the fields by farmers and ranches. This version has a wide brim and it’s fabulous to wear in the hot days of a Panamanian summer. You really need to have some shade while walking around town, attending an outdoor event or simply to look stylish.IMG_1615

The brooches I used are part of a lovingly assembled collection. I seldom wear them anymore, but I keep buying them. Some are from  London’s Portobello Road, acquired when I visited Camille.  Others I bought in vintages stores in New York, Panama or Miami. Bought one at the Alphonse Mucha Museum in Prague, another at a vintage show in New Milford, CT when my son Frank was in prep-school. Camille has given me a couple of stunning ones. My mother and grandmother contributed with gorgeous pieces of their own. I take them out every now and again and look at them and put them back. I think this must change now!!!

It was too much fun just to do it this once. I am wearing more hats, after all, I have decided to completely change my image. My grey hair is still growing out, so why not!!!

More to come………

IMG_1548IMG_1563A most welcome change from politics, don’t you think? I have followed Judith’s blog for a while. Admiring her sense of style and thinking how easy she makes looking glamorous. Now it’s time to see if I can conjure some of my own. Thanks for this idea, hope you find my creations up to your standards or at least interesting!!!!

IMG_1649

SHARE with HAT ATTACK