I know today's blog posting is about wearing a plaid shirt in a dressy way, but I'm going to be a bit of a contrarian and take it in a casual direction, because the posting gave me a great idea for a casual holiday outfit. Also my shirt is checked, not plaid.

I sing/play in a small acoustic "combo" (3 - 4 people) every other week at a recreation room in a state hospital. The patients in this section of the hospital are wards of the state due to advanced Huntington’s Disease. I started doing this a year and a half ago and before the first time I went I thought it would be so depressing that I would not go back. Surprisingly I had the opposite reaction, and have kept doing it because it makes me feel good to be able to bring some cheer to people with this awful disease, plus I've found some great friendships with the guys in the combo, two of whom I slightly knew in high school.

The annual holiday party is next week and we’ll be doing all Christmas/Holiday music. As with most hospitals it’s overheated, and I was not sure what to wear since a typical Christmas sweater or top would be too warm. I remembered I have a very lightweight spring cotton sweater in tomato red, so I'll wear it with this checked shirt, probably with jeans. Plus my Red Sox Santa hat...the patients in this ward are VERY into New England sports teams.

I promise to post a photo.



The hospital holiday party was yesterday. I ended up wearing blinking reindeer antlers from Wal-Mart (thanks for the idea Joy from my tamelada posting) plus my jingle-berry earrings, and lent my Red Sox Santa hat to one of the other members of our group. The hospital staff put on quite a party for the patients, with a visiting Santa handing out gifts, refreshments, and lots of Christmas carols. We were like the “house band”, and there were also two groups of roving carolers that stopped by, one led by a music therapist who works at the hospital. The room got really crowded at one point!

And of course I had a fashion moment ... one of the carolers who stood in front of me had on a Talbots sweater than I also own! I spoke briefly with her, we high-fived our mutual great taste, and she told me about the Talbots outlet where she got it.

We’ve gotten to know several of the staff members who work on this ward, and they are truly great people. They gave the guys Dunkin Donuts gift cards and roses for me. The take care of severely disabled people for very low salaries and take the time to treat us like celebrities.

1 – our group. Funny how the angle of the photo creates an optical illusion that my upper and lower body are detached from each other behind my music stand.
2 - 4 the crowded room with santa and other revelers
5 - The woman in “my” Talbots sweater

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