18 In Series/ Women Now

Women Now: Anatomy of a 35 mph day

BK at SAX consignment store

Trying on glasses at SAX


Who knew that screwing up an appointment date with a client would lead to the most magnificent 35 mph day? Remember when I talked a few weeks back about slowing down to the speed of life? I talked about a time in my life when I was forced to slow down and how now in my 60s I’m considering the merits of that speed.

Back when I had my 35 mph inspiration, it was an absolutely necessary thing; I couldn’t do the things I used to be able to do because of health reasons. Now I’m looking at it as a want-to-do thing, wanting to slow down.

But wanting and doing are two different things as anybody knows who has wanted to lose weight but didn’t.

But I got to experience a 35 mph when a happy mistake fell in my lap.

What happened is I looked at my appointment book and read the name of the client I was seeing the next day. Wait a minute, I thought, didn’t we change that date? When I checked with my client, I was right about getting it wrong. She was in LA with her Dad and we’d rescheduled only I’d forgotten to erase her name from my Thursday calendar.

It had been a super busy Monday-Wednesday with speeds up to 75 mph so to suddenly have open space was rather startling, like when you’re driving on the freeway and suddenly traffic has slowed down. It takes a second to adjustment.

A change of schedule, a change of pace

I could have stayed home on that Thursday puttering around the house but I’d promised to stop at SAX that day to help the girls make decisions about the signage on their consignment store. “Will you help us figure out the best place to put the new signs?” they’d asked. I was thrilled to be asked!

But now instead of doing it before seeing my client, I’d be driving down to Marin for that reason alone. If you all could hear me when I’m complaining, you’d hear the subject is always about driving: slowdowns on 101, traffic snarls out of nowhere, city street traffic that takes forever to get through. There, you’ve heard enough.

I could have called and told them I was going to stay in Sonoma but a promise is a promise so I got dressed and headed west on 37 and then south on 101.

BK in San Anselmo

Enjoying time with my girls is me time

Daughter time is me time

A friend of mine had been gently suggesting I schedule more ‘me’ time in my life. Sometimes I wonder, What is that?

Once I got to the store, the advice giving took only about ten minutes. Mostly I confirmed what the sign guy had suggested but evidently, having Mom there made the decision easier.

I lingered in the store for a bit. Caitlin said, “Did you come down just for us? You don’t have to be somewhere else?” Yup, nope.

Caitlin suggested we walk down to Comforts and she’d buy me lunch while Erin stayed at the store.

BK blue bridge

A perfect me time day unfolded in San Anselmo


We strolled down San Anselmo Avenue chit chatting. On the way back I saw the olive oil store and she said, “Let’s go in!” Maybe this was me time, poking around in the olive store. After taste tests, I chose one and we walked back out to the street.

Caitlin and I walked across the bridge over the creek and looked at the water rushing along. This is the creek that threatened to overflow its banks and flood their store several times since January. Caitlin’s arms were sore for days when she had to fill sand bags that protected their front door in case the street flooded.


BK blue hat brooch

My vintage hat and brooch add to my reflective mood


Bookstores are filled with me time

It was time for her to get back to the store and for me to leave. I got into the car and thought, What do I do now? I’d spotted a bookstore in San Rafael when I was passing through to get to San Anselmo. I decided to check it out.

It’s Copperfield’s Books. What a feast of a bookstore! I giggled going through cards in the card racks; I selected a coloring book about hats and cats for an image consultant friend of mine; I checked out the reference section for books on writing.

I found one that was new to me: Writing Hard Stories: Celebrated Memoirists Who Shaped Art from Trauma by Melanie Brooks. She interviews several authors about what it was like to tell their hard stories. Wow! I think this book was put into my path and since I was having a 35 mph day, I was actually going slow enough to discover it.

I made my purchases and went to the front end of the store where there’s a little cafe. I sat at the tall counter that looks outside the big windows onto Fourth Street. There is nothing more luxurious for me than being in a bookstore, in a corner, staring out a window. And that’s mostly what I did. Stared out the window. No rushing. No checking the time. Just hanging.

I was in heaven. I had just found a place that could be my haven on a day when I’m working in Marin. I could just get off in San Rafael, walk into a good-natured independent bookstore and hang out. That’s good for my soul, I just know it.


BK in full blue

My 35 mph outfit makes me feel calm


It was time to move along. I looked at the time. I was going to be in rush hour traffic and I didn’t even care. Miss Traffic Complainer was happy to get into her car, select a podcast to listen to (NPR’s Fresh Air with Terri Gross and Bullseye with Jessie Thorn are my favorites). I’d listen to interviews with writers and artists, smiling all the way home.

I think I just discovered some nourishing me time activities. Now the test will be to actually schedule those purposefully.

What do you do to fill me time? I’d love your ideas!


Details of my 35 mph day’s outfit: Navy pants by Chico’s; navy top by Zoran; long blue open sweater coat by Theory; hat and brooch are vintage; shoes by AGL.


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  • Reply
    April 27, 2017 at 4:46 am

    Good for you. Great hat!

    • Reply
      April 27, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      A client was going to donate hats to Goodwill and I saw them (they’d belonged to her 96 year old mother) and shrieked. She said, “Would you like them?” It’s so fun to wear this hat because I always think of this wonderful family that I’ve known for over twenty years.

  • Reply
    Cathy Heine
    April 27, 2017 at 4:51 am

    Me time is usually a stroll through a bookstore or vintage store. I usually walk 3-4 times a week for exercise. But on those days when I need something different, I walk to coffee and enjoy sitting outside with it, I walk to my library, stop in those shops that look so intriguing. It’s a nice way to get exercise and let the brain slow down.
    Thank you for your blog. I enjoy your fashion advice and outfits. And I’m also appreciative of you sharing your pieces of your life.

    • Reply
      April 27, 2017 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you, Cathy! I enjoyed hearing your me time activities. I was recently in Minnesota visiting my Dad. I ran out of time but there was a library there that looked so enticing! You reminded me of that. I like to walk for exercise but I also like to pick a neighborhood and just walk up and down streets enjoying people’s gardens and paint colors. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog and the “pieces of life” stories as well. I think this is an age of reflection!

  • Reply
    Cindy La Ferle
    April 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

    Lovely post, Brenda, and I am happy that you had an opportunity for a “me time” day. Given that kind of day, I would do similar things … like visiting the indy bookstore. I love poking around small towns and visiting little boutiques too. In nice weather, I’d also putter in the garden, which is soul-filling for me.

    Brenda, I have a totally unrelated question for you, and I apologize for changing the topic here … But I wonder if you can direct me to any posts you’ve written about leggings and women over 60. I ran across an article on fashion for mature women, and the author claimed that women over 60 should avoid leggings, always. Yikes. I wear leggings with dresses and LONG tunics and sweaters or jackets (always covering my backside and upper thighs). But now I’m wondering … Would love your input on this topic!

    • Reply
      April 27, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      Well, I’d love to hear from the rest of our community about the topic of leggings. Oh, but first, love your me time day activities! Last summer we did a lot of work in our garden and I LOVED spending hours pulling, cutting, reshaping, creating beauty. It was fun to be reminded of that.
      I wear legging type pants. They aren’t officially leggings I don’t think. I don’t buy them in the lingerie department or in the hosiery department. But they are trim pants, heavier fabric so as not to show every little dimple.
      But I wear them under dresses and with long tunics and fun shoes. I think we’re talking about the same thing.

      How about the rest of you? What do you think of leggings? I certainly have colleagues who wear them as well. Maybe the author of that piece had a certain look in mind that wasn’t as fashionable as we’re describing.

      • Reply
        Geralin Thomas
        July 8, 2017 at 5:06 am

        Psssssss – I have a leggings secret tip for y’all: Zella (Nordstrom) has the BEST leggings. Try the “Live In High Waist” version. This brand is very thick, very stretchy and have flatlock seams. Plus, no muffin top because the waist band actually sits . . . at the waist!

        • Reply
          July 11, 2017 at 7:53 am

          I’ve always shopped for Zella’s for my clients but it hasn’t been a while. I LOVE the idea of ones that come to the waist. Wowzers!

  • Reply
    Katherine Cramer
    April 27, 2017 at 8:23 am

    My slower days must have me at 10 miles an hour. I love to linger in SF when Rob needs a ride into work. I miss working in the City and walking around is a new adventure since much has changed since I lived there in the 80s and 90s. I’ll go to what is left of the Flower Mart before retail shops open. A stop at a coffee shop for a tea or hot chocolate–then park in my former Cow Hollow neighborhood to see what has changed. I savor conversations such as best ballet class for une femme d’un certain âge or learning that a store offers classes on making paella. There used to be a few free places to park near the Rhoda Goldman Senior Center near the 38 Geary bus line which contributed to any excuse to linger at Union Square. Your 35 mile an hour outfit is wonderful! Thanks for the enticements to explore Marin.

    • Reply
      April 27, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Now I love the sound of your 10 mph day!!! Who knew there were classes on making paella? All of this sounds delicious, Katherine. You’re my secret mentor for slower speed living! Oh, I guess it’s not a secret any more!

  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    April 27, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Slowing down has been quite the experience, I think. As youngsters, we think we have to get everything done, but I love the thought that I can have more “me” time. Even if that is just afternoon tea and a book!!
    Of course, it doesn’t hurt to see the girls too!!

    • Reply
      April 27, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      I love this subject and it helps me to hear others reflect on it too! Thanks, Jodie!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Brenda, I love that hat and that outfit. It’s distinguished and quirky.
    On the subject of leggings, I wear them under dresses and tunics and long sweaters too. My mum is 73 and wears them for her dancing class with a circle skirt, or when she’s just being comfortable at home.
    I love what I call “pootling” time, whether it’s at home with a Phryne Fisher book or devouring a box set of The Good Wife, a bit of gentle baking for the week ahead, or a stroll into town to check out the dress agency and the charity shops for bargains..or just sitting in the garden with the cats.

    • Reply
      May 3, 2017 at 8:52 pm

      I LOVE the sound of every single one of your me time activities. More pootling time sounds divine. Thanks for sharing what you do!

  • Reply
    Keith Rene Roquemore
    April 29, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed what you shared about 35 miles per hour. For guys it is so difficult to slow down. I find myself irritable by the end of work week, so to slow my speed down some. I may read a novel with glass of wine. I also enjoy taking in a movie during the day, when I’m the only person in the theater. Me time!
    We’re together on the traffic thing…
    Thanks Brenda

    • Reply
      May 3, 2017 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks, Keith! You brought up one of my very favorite me time activities: taking in a movie in the afternoon and no one’s there. Oh my gosh, I LOVE that!!! I’m going to have to do that soon. Thanks for reminding me!

  • Reply
    April 29, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    You’re so right Brenda we all need that me time. Im up early on a Sunday morning to get mine. A drive to a nearby town, a quiet reflective church service, its bliss. And when I think “really, get up early, on a Sunday”?! I just think of how I enjoy it. Glad you found yours!

    • Reply
      May 3, 2017 at 8:49 pm

      Carol, I LOVE this! I can see you taking that drive and enjoying that church service. It sounds like bliss to me too. I’d like to find that version of me time as well!

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