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What A Very Tired Person Who Needs To Recuperate Wears For Three Days And Nights In Napa

Last week my husband and I went up to Napa for a few nights. We stayed, as we have before, at the Carneros Inn. I was so tired.

What I haven’t yet explained is that eight days after my mother moved into her assisted living facility she fell and fractured her hip. Ever since, we’ve been living through hospital stays and transfers of health care power of attorney and new medications and new doctors and more new medications and the ongoing vicissitudes of dementia.

My husband and I had thought that by last week Mom would be settling down and making friends. Not so. But, since our hotel reservations were set, it appeared Mom wouldn’t be sorted out for a while, and my siblings were willing to provide the first line of phone contact, off we went.

I arrived rumpled, saved from rags and tatters only by mirrored Ray-Bans and the clash of lavender tee v. sandy khaki.

Tired and Tiki at the Carneros Inn

In the past year the hotel has built a new structure for wedding ceremonies, replacing their apple orchard. Why they chose this vaguely “Tiki” aesthetic I cannot say. Nor can I understand why they chose artificial turf (on the seating area I’m looking at in this photo which you cannot see), instead of, say, decomposed granite. Except to accommodate the tastes of people who are not me. However.

Our marine layer occupied the land in gray glory. Nights were chilly. I rumpled on.

The Marine Layer with a Vengeance

Note: If you travel to Northern California in the summer bring a large light cashmere/silk scarf. You are unlikely to regret it. Also, I “distressed” those Levis my own dang self by getting in and out of the car and sitting on sofas and wandering the street.

Rumpled Resort Style In Northern California

I warmed up by the pool in daylight. A good light coverup, comfortable and quick-drying, is worth some investment. I wore my pink UNIQLO linen tunic here, but might have chosen an Ondedamar top on other days. A color-blocked wireless Araks bikini underneath, for swimming. So comfortable.

Sun on the skin.

By the Pool at the Carneros Inn


A crushable hat.

Poolside Coverings And Unconverings

We ate, mostly here.



But one night we mustered for the Farm, the more elegant of the Carneros Inn restaurants. And I pulled myself together in the minimal outfit below. (I didn’t manage to get a decent picture whilst on vacation, so have recreated it on the streets of San Francisco for your entertainment. And that of a few SOMA passersby.)



Pink lipstick by Chanel. The dress is new, by Oak, my answer to this search. Comfortable as heck. It is also (at last) a successful attempt to Dress Like Grechen. Shoes are new too, from Stuart Weitzman, an answer to the long search for block sandals. Comfortable enough, could use some moleskine in the toe strap. Even my earrings are new, a Mother’s Day present from my husband, via Blue Nile.



Told you I wanted them. 14k gold, light as cotton, on sale.

I, on the other hand, am not new. But it was a privilege and a pleasure to be able to get away.


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29 Responses

  1. Love that black dress. Have you tried Black Crane? They’re my latest clothing obsession. Weirdly structred and baggy at the same time. Love it.

  2. A favorite spot, a favorite person, sounds like just what you needed. Perfect!
    Sometimes that’s exactly what caregivers must have.

  3. I’m so sorry to hear about your mom’s accident. Ugh.

    Glad you got some time away.

  4. You’ve been through the wars…. that rest must have felt good. Who need to fuss about clothes and stuff? Sometimes being “rumpled” is a rest in itself. Love that black dress, though. Love that you used “rumpled” as a verb:)

  5. So good that you could get away for some much needed rest. Sorry to hear about your mom’s hip. We went through that with our mom and it’s very stressful. My dad suffers from dementia and we thought the same – that he would make new friends in his care facility. He didn’t. But when I thought about it, it made sense to me as a speech therapist – he has essentially no short term memory – so he can’t recall names or personal facts about people and thus has nothing to talk to them about. It’s almost like they are brand new people every day.

  6. Nice heels. It’s hard to find them without the ankle wrap.

    We went to the Napa Valley on our honeymoon in the Fall. As soon as we got out of San Francisco area I succumbed to Hay Fever and spent the entire visit in the quaint little B&B sneezing and dripping. So much for romantic getaways.

  7. ah!!! i love the dress on you!!!!!!!!! with the sandals…hair up…but you are beautiful in anything.

    mission accomplished :)

    HER RESPONSE was “HAVE YOU SEEN ALL THOSE OLD PEOPLE!!!!!”She is probably the oldest one in the place at 91 and the most SANE!We haven’t had the HIP Issue YET!!!!!!!GOOD for YOU skipping town and zipping by me!!!!!!
    I’m off for some R & R MYSELF………..MUCH NEEDED!

  9. I’m so glad you were able to get some respite and relaxation! You look fabulous as always. So happy to see the earrings on you, yay!

  10. I am so sorry to hear about your mother’s fracture. You are soldiering on with style and grace. A hard thing to do. I know, my MIL has had several fractures. Take care.

  11. So glad to see you got away.

    I understand about the exhaustion. The broken bone, hospitals, and legal issues surrounding those things are a huge practical and emotional drain, and you were doing it in a unfamiliar setting. I’m sorry you had this complication. Looking back, in a way I could not while in the midst of it all, I now see my worries about my aging parents were a weight that was never off my mind. I’m forever grateful that my dad, while he was slowing down and had surgeries and issues in the last twenty years of his life, was mostly healthy, and always sharp and funny and a pleasure to be around until the last two weeks of his life. The final years of my mom’s life, beginning in her condo with an illness and hospitalization in late 2003, and becoming acute after a hospitalization in 2012 that required the months later assisted living move in 2013, were much more draining and difficult, and my mom did not have dementia as your mom does. For me, it was the twenty-four hours a day stress of anticipating the next phone call, the next emergency, the next problem requiring a solution. I was the responsible party, and it was difficult. I’m realizing, approaching the ten-month anniversary of my mom’s death on 28 June, how difficult the years from my dad’s death in 2000 to my mom’s death in 2015 really were. I feel such a sense of relief as I slowly realize I no longer have to live in fear of my own ringing telephone.

    So many of us are doing this now in some form. We need to support each other as much as we can. I support you from afar as I work to restore order in my life for the first time in years post my divorce and my mom. There is light at the end of the tunnel now. Previously there was a lightless cave.

    I love that you note you distressed your jeans, “your own dang self.” Good on you. Your black dress is fabulous. That’s the kind of thing I wear, but I would wish for an elbow-length or a three-quarter-length sleeve. My arms can’t take that short of a sleeve. I’m considering having an Etsy site which does intriguing linen pieces make me a linen dress similar to what you are wearing. I love long, comfy linen. We are shoe sisters. I have those SW block sandals in black.

    I hope things begin to settle for your mom and for you. Sending understanding, support, and love. xo.

  12. I’m glad you were able to take a rest in a beautiful spot, even if the grass was plastic. That black dress looks marvelous on you–very artistic.

  13. I’m so sorry about your mom and your continued struggles with caring for her. I can understand the ensuing exhaustion and am happy you got a bit of a reprieve and some rest in the sun.

  14. So glad your siblings sent you off saying “We got this!” So important to rejuvenate when you’re going through this stuff, I remember . . . And thanks for thinking of us while you were rejuvenating. . .

  15. Thanks for sharing, and good for you for getting away. I am experiencing similar challenges with my mother. I now realize I am no good to anyone if I don’t take time to recharge myself. Best wishes for you and your family.

  16. I’m sorry to hear about your mother’s broken hip. She (and you) really didn’t need that complication on top of everything else.

    I’m glad you’re taking some time away. That’s so important.

    I quit wearing two-piece suits in my late twenties, when I was the equivalent of today’s size 4. It wasn’t that I didn’t feel attractive–I prefer a more conservative look.

    I love the black dress.

  17. This break and recuperation was so much needed- I am so glad that you have manage it. Sometimes three days seem like a miracle- please,try to do it more often-one gets rest,relaxation and,very important, new perspective to carry on.
    You look lovely in your black dress-I have similar one but I like yours more! Beautifu earings!
    Sorry about your mum

  18. glad you were able to get away for a bit. (and to a favorite spot!)

    i’m troubled that the new ownership has built the tiki-themed canopy??? but i guess revenue from weddings is the name of the game.

    please tell me the rooms are unchanged. for now :)

  19. I just love that black dress on you, with the sandals and the earrings: it’s perfect. But I’m loving Rumpled Resort Style too.
    Very happy you were able to escape for a few days, so much stress, it’s so tiring. We went away for three days about a month after we lost my mother-in-law and even though it wasn’t a long holiday it was just what we needed. I hope you can take these breaks when you need them as time goes on. Sending hugs to you. XOX

  20. Rumpled Chic – great new style term, and one that we share. Everything @Katherine C. James said, I concur with, and happy to see her back. Although I think you looked great on vacation, most importantly, you got a bit of time to relax some.

  21. So sorry to hear about your mom. Glad you were able to get away for a mini break. And of course you look wonderful as always…rumpled chic indeed!

  22. I am glad you got to relax. My favorite picture is the one of you by the pool. Makes me want to dive in.

  23. So glad that you got the respite that you needed. You look great in Rumpled Chic! And, also, now I understand how the short term memory loss results in my mother’s lack of interest in reading the newspapers which she used to love and her ambivalence to making new friends at the Golden Age Center. Thanks for giving us this post.

  24. I’m so sorry about your mom, but I’m so glad you got away for a few days. It’s so important to take care of yourself when you have to deal with so many things for others. My dad suffered a major stroke last year, and it’s been tough dealing with things. I think yesterday was the first time I took a day completely for myself in over a year.

    I like your travel wardrobe! And yes to bringing a large, light scarf to Northern California in the summer! I can’t tell you how many visitors have not believed me when I told them to bring some warmer clothes when they came to visit in the summer… I like your new dress!

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