Episode 169 – Sea Day Ramblings: Blogging, Fashion, & Food

January 19, 2022 81°F/27.5°C

#myvikingstory

Much to my surprise WordPress informed me yesterday that this (Episode 169) will actually be my 201st blog post, because Episode 29 (our escorted Scotland tour) was in multiple parts, and earlier on I’d write a quick interlude and not number it. My first blog was in July of 2018, when Ted and I decided to become full time nomads (“homeless”). Since then, I’ve had readers in 69 countries, many of them senior nomads like us. Over 400 folks “follow” us, while others read a post or two and never return. Our “in joke” is that I started out writing this blog so that our kids could keep track of us – and they don’t regularly read it.

A bonus to blogging has been the chance to stay in touch with friends in Canada while we’re elsewhere, make new friends, and re-connect with old ones. A high school friend with whom I had lost touch has recently started following the blog, and we’ve been chatting via the comments section, which has been an absolute treat.

Whether you’re a follower, or just an occasional reader, THANK YOU. It’s gratifying to know that what we share might inspire others to travel somewhere unexpected or read something new (or eat something different!).

Now, back to what we did today.

I’ve been anxiously awaiting the first onboard lecture by Dr. Linda Bradley, Professor Emerita at Washington State University, an award-winning scholar and author who has conducted research on textiles, clothing and art in Oceania for 30 years. I was really hoping she’d still be on board when we reached the Middle East, because she has also extensively researched the connection between clothing and religion, but sadly she’s scheduled to leave us in Malta. I’ll just have to content myself with the lectures she gives until then.

I’ve been fascinated with clothing design ever since watching my mother complete her National School of Dress Design Chicago diploma by correspondence in the 1960’s. Watching her sketch designs, then enhance the pencil and ink drawings with watercolours, create the patterns on tissue paper, mail everything away, and wait for her evaluations and next assignment to arrive in the post was spell-binding. My favourite “picture book” during that time was an encyclopedic volume of black & white drawings and photographic plates showing clothing through the ages from all around the world: Egyptian chitons, Roman togas, and traditional ethnic costumes from all over the world, but also 1960’s Coco Chanel and Givenchy creations. No wonder I like clothes!

ASIDE: In trying to find the name of the design school, I came across the actual course materials in this old eBay listing (I recognized the pages right away as being what mom had) 1962-64 DressDesign Course

Thinking about mom and fashion elicited a random memory. One summer, when I was around 9 years old and mom was working on her designs, I created paisley shaped paper dolls (imagine large heads and curved bodies tapering to 2 pointed feet – a bit mermaid-ish) for my neighbourhood friends, and spent all summer creating hats, dresses and ball gowns for them based on the styles in mom’s book (Empress Josephine’s empire waisted French gowns were a particular favourite), complete with pointed shoes peeking out at the bottom, with tabs on them so we could have the paisleys “wear” them. Anyone else remember paper dolls?

Dr. Bradley’s talk focussed on garments as “wearable art”, whether haute couture/bespoke (made-to-measure) fashion, prête-à-porter, or mass-produced items. I’d never really understood that second category, but learned that it represents designer creations made within a standardized sizing range vs. being made for a single individual’s body – in other words they are “ready to wear” without individual tailoring.

Dr. Bradley’s husband wearing a Tori Richard mass-produced Hawaiian machine-embroidered shirt, which may well increase in value and become collectible. Dr. Bradley herself is wearing a vintage Alfred Shaheen dress made of a variegated silkscreened fabric embellished with gold paint. That same fabric was used in men’s shirts, and women’s sarongs. Shaheen was a Lebanese designer who moved to Hawaii and revolutionized Aloha attire (Hawaiian clothing actually made in Hawaii) in the 1950’s and 60’s, whose women’s sundresses and men’s shirts may have been the precursor to modern resort wear. (I unfortunately caught Dr. Bradley reacting to her husband’s verbal antics – hence the expression on her face.)

She talked to us, with gorgeous illustrative slides, about “handwork” in the Fibre Art movement; things like kimonos, wrapped coats, and multi-fibre woven, knit, loomed, crocheted and appliquéd items. Being a seasoned professor, her lecture was filled with facts and more details about the fabrics and their creation than I can possibly remember – suffice it to say it left me wanting to learn more.

She also spoke anecdotally with me before her talk about the accepted/common practice of designers co-opting their students’ work, which was something my mom always wondered about when she saw dresses in magazines or patterns that looked like drawings she had submitted (they didn’t get returned with the evaluations, but became the “property” of the school). Apparently fashion cannot be copyrighted.

When she spoke about mass production, she reminded us that those items can still become collectible “art” if they incorporate great design elements.

And now…. food.

Today in the World Café it was Pacific Poke Bowl lunch.
Top: salmon Poke bowl.
Centre: a whole Huge yellowfin tuna on display,
with one of our kitchen staff sneaking out of my photo.
Bottom: note the actual yellow fins !!

Tonight was Dim Sum, Fried Rice & Noodle night. We’re still on a Pacific Island theme. Ted has never been a big fan of dim sum, but there are always lots of choices besides the feature, so he (as always, because he is the BEST) allowed me to satisfy my desire for dim sum and sushi while he thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese pepper steak, pork potstickers, and spicy Singapore fried noodles. He’s full of surprises – I thought for sure he’d just get the chef to grill him a steak.

Top: sushi with pickled ginger, pickled seaweed, and extra wasabi (always!) Bottom left, clockwise from top: fried shrimp potstickers (2), pork potstickers (2), fried vegetable potstickers (2), duck potsticker, surrounding soy sauce. Bottom right: almond gelato with almond brittle.

Then it was time for The Beatles Songbook, as presented by our ship’s talented entertainment team. From our viewpoint, you really can’t go wrong with an evening of Beatles songs, so we knew we’d enjoy the show …and we did. The highlight for me was the Viking Vocalists’ 4-part harmony on “Here Comes the Sun”, but they had all us oldies in the audience with phone flashlights waving in the air for their finale of “Hey Jude”.

26 comments

  1. I am really enjoying reading your blog. I was on a leg of the Viking world cruise in January 2020. I have been very lucky to cruise with a dear friend who is a lecturer for various cruise lines (as an archeologist) including Viking. We always went to the Explorer Lounge to enjoy listening to King every evening before dinner. I loved your story about making paper dolls for friends. I have fond memories of playing with paper dolls as a child. I am imagining being there with you all, walking laps, attending lectures, listening to King and of course enjoying all the amazing food.

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  2. Hi Rose, my name is Pierre and I am a fellow Canadian, Self-described foodie (@ggtireite on Instagram) and traveler. My wife and I discovered your blog by joining the Facebook group for Viking. We are reading your daily posts as inspiration for when we do the world cruise next year. I also started reading your blog from the beginning yesterday and although we are not planning to be ‘nomads’, I already found numerous tips and ideas.

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  3. Rose I forgot about your mom designed clothing. I remember her making some of your clothes the same way my mom did. That brought back memories of us going with Willy ( your mom made us do it) to the movies when we were younger. Keep up the great posts. I look forward to reading them everyday.

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  4. Really enjoyed this episode Rose. We missed sailing on this cruise as we both were struck with Omicron at Christmas. Even tho we were completely recovered Viking will not let you sail if you have contracted Covid within 30 days of sailing. We too are roving retirees but did set up a touch down station in Tampa. Looks like a wonderful trip

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    • It has been great so far, despite many changes and last minute surprises – of which we expect there will be more. “Roving retirees” sounds so much better than “homeless” LOL !!

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  5. Enjoying reading your thoughts on the World Cruise. We met Jim and Lynn (the editor of your WC Yearbook) on the Iceland cruise last summer so I’m also keeping up with y’all via text.

    I wanted to suggest a fashion series done by Amber Butchart (she’s a fashion historian) called, “ A Stitch in Time”. In it her team recreates an historic article of clothing -usually based on a painting. She tells the history and learns about how it was made and the team uses the tools of the time to make it. It’s available on Amazon Prime.

    Best wishes for a continued good time!
    Clay

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  6. After meeting you on first segment, will follow you all the way to the end of this cruise and beyond as we thoroughly enjoy reading your posts.

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  7. Loving this blog! Beyond the voyeurism, you write well, you have a great sense of humor and have unique insights. Not to mention a fascinating life style. I have always emailed a trip journal journal to family and friends, followed by the creation of an album with photos, and I do have a blog for my granddaughters, but you may have inspired me to create a travel blog!

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  8. Yes I remember making clothes with tabs for my paper dolls. I even used wallpaper cut to fit. What a happy memory.

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  9. Rose, thanks for sharing a bit of the history of your blogs. One additional category is making new friends. Following your blogs has certainly given me greater insight both into this epic journey we are sharing as well into the wonderful individuals that you and Ted are. Have enjoyed sharing your love for food and look forward to sharing many more tables together.

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  10. Oh! I’d have joined you for that talk! I so love clothes too. Fascinating, thanks for the precis.
    …and the almond ice cream, I had it one day, it was my fave! 😋

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  11. Rose, I have been enjoying following your world cruise blog. I am an Aussie and have booked our 1st Viking cruise for next year – 28 nights from Sydney to Bangkok. I see your cruise was originally going to include Australia. Hopefully we will be allowed to recommence cruises sometime this year!

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  12. Sounds like you had a marvellous day, my friend. Being able to bring back all those memories of your talented Mom must have felt so special. I know you were always so proud of her…

    Glad you enjoyed the Beatles tribute – I would have love it too. I can still remember most of the words! Even though I can’t remember breakfast. LOL!
    Oh… I forgot to have it!

    By the way, it’s freeeeeez-ing up here!

    Hugs and happy thoughts of your Mom…
    B.

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