Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Superstition

"Very superstitious. Writings on the wall"

So goes the opening line of the Stevie Wonder song Superstition. If you were to ask me if I am a superstitious person, I'd prefer to think that I'm not, but that's just not entirely true. Regardless of how silly I think the connection between certain objects or actions and subsequent events might be, there is no denying that my behaviour occasionally reflects a somewhat rooted belief that there are indeed potential consequences worthy of caution.


Frank and I recently found ourselves in the clothing section of a store, where I was browsing the sale racks for bargains. He and I have very different tastes in what we each deem attractive colours and styles, and I generally reject the garments that he might pull from the rack as a possible addition to my wardrobe. I found very few items that I thought were worth their marked-down cost, and my eye began to wander toward the regularly-priced clothing. I had just selected a top when Frank came up to me with a simple, but attractive sweatshirt in my size, which carried a final price of $3. I promptly put it back on the rack.

Me: I do like it but it's navy blue.

Frank: It's a great price and a good colour for you.

Me: You've never seen me in this colour before but yes, I agree. I like how I look in navy but it's always been bad luck for me.

Frank: Maybe it's time you started making it a good luck colour...

I considered it briefly, but left the sweatshirt behind.

Thinking back to when navy blue became a bad luck colour for me, I realized it hadn't always been so. I had a short string of unfortunate situations about ten years ago, which prompted me to connect them to a particular top I'd been wearing each time. That association led to my attributing my misfortunes to the piece of clothing. Eventually, I took it a step further when another, similarly-shaded garment also coincided with a bad event. The final straw came a few years later when I decided that my thinking was nonsense, and I purchased a navy blue t-shirt. The first day I wore it, another "bad thing" happened, and rather than add the shirt to my laundry that day, I simply tossed it out in the trash instead. I've never bought any tops in that colour since.

Generally, I'm a reasonably logical and analytical person and I know that superstition is mostly born of fear, so you'd think that long before now, I'd have considered the source of allowing this to dictate my behaviour. But it was only this morning, when I thought back to an event in the middle of a winter's night when I was a child, that a connection was made.

When I was about five or six, we lived in a small, wonderful, old apartment building near the corner of our street. Occupying that corner, was a similar complex opposite our north-facing windows, with nothing more than a narrow lane-way separating the two structures. Early one morning, I was awakened by the overhead light shining into my eyes, and by my mother's hushed but panicked voice. "Get up quickly! There's a fire."

I tried to make sense of my surroundings. Everything appeared normal except that my mother was holding my coat and a pair of slacks. She was urging me to rouse and put them on over my blue, floral pajamas. She hurriedly helped me into the clothing, grabbed my hand and ushered my sister and me down the hallway to the front door. As I glanced to my right, my sister's bedroom window had an intense orange glow and I could hear sirens approaching from the distance. My grandmother lived with us, and she was cautiously making her way toward the exit, guided by my father. He had our pet parakeet's covered cage in hand as we left the apartment and descended the three flights of stairs.

The fire did its damage to the building across the lane but thankfully, there were no injuries. Our own windows had been hot to the touch, and the ivy on our walls was badly singed but our building escaped flame. By daylight, we were back inside our home.

I remember seeing the gutted apartment with its blackened windows by the light of day. Long icicles hung from the roof, balconies and each visible doorway and window. The smell of smoke permeated our home for weeks. I remember thinking that I would not like a repeat of those frightening events anytime soon, and opted very consciously to select different pajamas to wear for sleeping over the next several nights. Weeks had passed when I realized that the blue, flowered ensemble in question was never to be found again. I had to wonder if my mother had also decided that they were bad luck, and discarded them shortly after the fire. Most likely, I had probably outgrown them and they were simply weeded from my drawer along with other clothing shortly afterward, but that was what I believed at the time.

Fast forward almost fifty years, and I'm still making illogical connections between clothing and negative events, so I'm thinking that maybe it's time to put this silly notion of "bad luck" to rest. A colour can not manipulate the world around me, nothing bad will happen because of what I choose to wear, and I really like navy blue. So the next time I go shopping for clothes, I'm going to purchase at least one sweatshirt or tee in that colour to prove that I can free myself from the burden of superstition. And nothing bad will happen.

But, keep your fingers crossed just in case...

A few hours after writing this post, I found a dead Blue Jay on my driveway - a small pool of blood around its head. Doesn't that just sound like an omen of some sort? I'm going to take it as a sign that I'm on the right track in not allowing this superstition to rule me any longer.

Below are some photos which were taken over the past week or two. Along with my usual descriptions, I've included a reference to a superstition for each one. I hope you enjoy them.




Superstition tells us that a wish made on the first robin of spring will be granted.
This wasn't the first robin I saw this year, but it's the first one I photographed. (please click to enlarge)





A baker's dozen is the widely-feared number thirteen.
I saw what I first thought was a peeled tangerine floating in the pond. It took my zoom lens to help me realize that it was actually a donut. Perhaps one of a baker's dozen. (please click to enlarge)




If a farmer could see the sun shine through the branches of an apple tree on Christmas Day, this could be taken as a sign that the following summer would provide a good yield of crops.
Before the ice was fully thawed, this branch and its reflection caught my eye. I thought it looked like a stick man, with a large, featureless face. (please click to enlarge)




Most coconuts have three eyes but rare One-eyed coconuts are considered by some cultures as a bringer of good-luck and prosperity.
I thought this was the strangest collection of debris that I'd ever seen in the pond - several Carnation heads, a half coconut and a plum. Perhaps somebody dumped their green box (collected for compost) here. (please click to enlarge)




As kids, a common saying to express excitement for an others good fortune was "You lucky duck!"
This Mallard couple had just spent the last several minutes preening. You can see a soft, downy feather still clinging to the female's bill. (please click to enlarge)




Before leaving on a semi-lengthy drive, Frank touches the feather he keeps on his rear-view mirror for a safe journey.
This duck feather was one of many left behind by preening pair above. (please click to enlarge)




I imagine that mink are unlucky animals since their fur is in such demand.
Glancing into the sunset, I could see something swimming in the water alongside the dam. A few seconds later, this little mink emerged and scampered along the edge of sundown. (please click to enlarge)



Some say that the colour of a cooked Goose's breastbone can predict the weather for the following year.
This pair of Canada Geese relax in the same golden light of sunset. (please click to enlarge)




It seems there's an Italian superstition that frowns upon toasting with with water, or attempting to "clink" with plastic cups.
A child's colourful sippy-cup must have fallen off of the dock at some point. You can easily see the cute little hippo, but can you see the little bear smiling back at you? (please click to enlarge)




It's considered bad luck to kill a seagull (particularly for the gull).
The pond was alive with gulls taking off and landing, one evening. I liked the way shadows fell from the tree and the dock behind this seagull in flight. (please click to enlarge)



Many people hope to ward off bad luck or tempting the fates by knocking on wood. I don't think that knocking on a Wood Duck would count.
Generally, our pond is filled with Mallards, Canada Geese and Seagulls all year round. In warmer seasons, we'll also see Cormorants, three varieties of Herons and various transient species. This Wood Duck stopped by for a visit this week. He worked hard at chasing off another drake, in hopes of keeping a Mallard female to himself. Doesn't he have beautiful colours? (please click to enlarge)

What superstitions do you believe in - if only for fun?

49 comments:

Country Girl said...

First, I love the photos of the ducks and especially the Canada geese in sunset. That was marvelous.
I really enjoyed your story about the color superstition. Do you know that it may have taken years of therapy to realize where your blue phobia originated? Wow! I'm really hoping that blue changes in a good way for you.

Dianne said...

I always cross myself whenever I pass a church - no religious signifigance at all and not really a superstition - my mother always did it and I just feel better when I do it

I think we make connections in our childhood that stay with us and bring us some comfort

I bet you look beautiful in so many colors - who needs blue :)

the photo of the geese in the golden light is one of my most favorite ever!

Tabor said...

Great photos and each a story in and of itself. I got so distracted looking at them, I will have to go back and read the superstitions.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

This is a somewhat amazing post, and maybe I can add my 2 cents--I was gonna joke that Torontonians don't like navy blue because the rival Yankees are navy blue (but then you mentioned the dead jay....)
we have a mink living in the river behind us now, yay!

Mental P Mama said...

Well, I would say I'm superstitious, but these shots? Serendipitous. And absolutely beautiful.

NJ said...

Hilary, great entry! And I especially love the sunset photo of the ducks. How odd to find carnations and coconut in the pond.

the Bag Lady said...

Oh, I have so many superstitions, it's downright embarrassing.
Let us know how you make out with blue, though!

Loved the geese in the sunset. Fabulous pictures, but that one was the best!

scarlethue said...

The colors on that Wood Duck are so vibrant!

Blue is such a pretty color! It's my favorite, I probably wear too much of it. I'm not a very superstitious person, so I don't have any "bad luck" colors or numbers. I guess I do have a good luck number-- 42. Why, I don't really know.

ds said...

The wood duck is gorgeous! I think he more than makes up for the jay, as do the golden geese; they form an incredibly beautiful picture. Never heard the one about the one-eyed coconut before!
Childhood superstitions and talismans do stay with us a long time, don't they? Besides,blue is my favorite color, so it can't possibly be 'bad' (therefore, your superstition is now banished). Gorgeous pictures, fascinating 'facts', indelible story. Thank you.

steviewren said...

Hilary, I enjoyed reading your story about the fire and the beginnings of your clothing superstition. I hope you can start wearing navy again, it's such a lovey neutral color.

Tink said...

Navy blue! But that's a LOVELY color. Why couldn't it be puke green instead?

Your photos are amazing as usual. I really love that otter shot.

kcinnova said...

So many beautiful photographs, Hilary! I always find it difficult to choose a favorite (favourite?)

I do hope that your color superstition is now dead (poor blue jay). We wear a lot of navy blue around here - I think it is my 16yo's signature color.
I'd like to think I have no superstitions. Maybe it is because I can't think of any right now?

5windsOfvenus said...

You take lovely photos...

I cannot think what to say about the superstitions... I mean, from a logical perspective I could agree with you to try to sever the color association with bad events... but I have had enough weird experiences in my life, both good and bad in nature which happen in some kind of pattern, that I really don't know what to think.... but I do try not to allow myself to make associations with objects so as to avoid superstitious behavior...

photowannabe said...

Amazing pictures. You have another winner here. Your choie of words for the one shot...scampering along the edge of sundown....are masterful.
Not really supersticious but sometimes I do think about bad things happening in 3's.

Angie Ledbetter said...

What great pictures!

Um, do you wear navy jeans? :)

Protege said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, but I am not sure what to tell you about the superstition and the colour blue.;)

The "logical" me wants nothing more but to agree with your sentiment and urge you to ignore the past and just buy and wear navy blue;) But, the "perceptive" me would like to tell you that perhaps some signs and events should not be dismissed.;)
Eventually I guess it is all up to what we believe, as a strong belief can move mountains.;)

Your photographs are as always amazing! My favourite is actually the one of the carnations - there is something about the composition that appeals to me.;))

xoxo
Z

Leah J. Utas said...

Excellent photos and I love the mink. Well captured.
Sad about the dead blue jay, but I'll venture it means your superstition about blue is dead.

lime said...

it's interesting the things that click in our minds when we are young. i never worried about the number 13 or black cats or walking under ladders. i have one particular garmet i jokingly wondered about in a post a year or so ago though. it was one of my favorite tie dye shirts that i was wearing when i fell off the zipline and demolished my left arm. the ER people cut it off of me and when i asked my mom to sew it back together for me she graciously did so but not long after being allowed to drive again post accident i was wearing it when my car got hit. i thought perhaps my favorite shirt had become unlucky.

RiverPoet said...

Though I don't consider myself to be a superstitious person, my mother (who was a seamstress and crocheter) believed in many of them. The one that stuck with me was to never start a new project on Friday.

And I don't, to this day!

Peace - D

Indrani said...

I am glad you are trying to get over the superstitious belief with Blue. Lovely shots associated with the beliefs.
I am not able to recollect any such belief but I strongly dislike when somebody sneezes just when I start something new or set off on a journey.

Suldog said...

No color superstitions, but for years I wouldn't keep pennies in my pocket because I considered them bad luck. I don't remember a particular reason, and I now don't care. I prefer as much money in my pockets, of any type, as I can lay my hands on :-)

Daryl said...

Love the feather ...

Now I would want to know how that bluejay got dead ...

Hilary said...

* Thanks kindly, Kate. I'm hoping so too. I'm glad you like the photos and story but I think I'm in big trouble if I'm my own therapist. ;) Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks very much, Dianne. I agree that a lot of the things we do - good or bad are often rooted in our childhood experiences. Blue actually is one of my favourite colours, so I have missed it at times. Thanks so much for the kind words. :)

* Thanks very much for the kind words, Tabor. Very much appreciated. :)

* That's funny, Gary. But you can be sure my superstition about navy blue had nothing at all to do with baseball. I'm not a sports fan, and besides, I'm really a Montrealer at heart. But just the fact that you were thinking about the Toronto Blue Jays .. that was odd! Thanks always for stopping by. :)

* Thanks so much, MPM. That made my day. :)

* Thank you, NJ. I thought so too. I'm still scratching my head over that one. I mentioned the compost box possibility to my son and he said that the coconut was in such good shape, it would have looked messier or partly eaten if that were the case. That made sense. The water was still frozen so it's not like it got washed up along the way. It's a mystery! Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks kindly, Baggie. I'll keep you posted. :)

* Thanks, Scarlethue. With a nickname like yours, you'd think your favourite coulour would be red, not blue. I was very lucky to capture that Wood Duck at the best time of day - late in the afternoon/early evening when that sunshine is magical. Thanks so much for dropping by. :)

* Thank you so much for your very kind words, DS, and especially for helping to banish my superstition. Blue is beautiful and I do wear a lot of it. Soon I'll add navy back to my shirt collection. Oh and most of those superstitions had to be Googled. :)

* Thanks kindly, Steviewren. I plan to, maybe even if something bad happens.. :)

* Thank you, Tink. It couldn't have been puke green because I wouldn't have been wearing puke green to begin with. ;) Thanks for the kind words. :)

* Thanks so much for the kind comment, KC. You're right about blue. It's a great colour and used to be a standard in my closet. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks very kindly, 5 Winds. I understand what you're saying. You're probably wise to take note of such things. I figure that there are two ways I can look at this Blue Jay's death and appearance - if I were to look at it as an omen of some sort. 1) He was there to warn me that bad things do indeed happen with blue. (Even though his colouring is anything by NAVY blue.) 2) He had to die anyway, but he chose my driveway so I can get the message that I'm on the right track by letting my blue superstition die.
I'm going for the latter. Thanks for stopping by. :)

* Thanks so kindly, Sue. I notice that bad things tend to happen in threes, unless of course there's only one incident. I rarely think about it unless there have already been two. Thanks for the very kind words. They mean a lot to me. :)

* Thanks very much, Angie. I do wear jeans, and though I have bought navy, I really don't like them. That has less to do with the superstition than with my taste. I like the richer blue and pale blue denim much better than the dark. :) Good question though. :)

* Thanks so much, Protege. I'm not totally disregarding what the Jay might be saying. I'm just deciding to interpret it as meaning "death to that superstition." Hopefully it's the right interpretation. ;) Thanks very much for your always warm words, my friend. :)

* Thanks kindly, Leah. I'm glad to hear your opinion about the Blue Jay and in fact, was looking forward to what you had to say. It helps confirm it for me, so thanks for that. :)

* Lime, I'm sorry to hear of your accidents and it's so understandable how you would associate it with your once-favourite top. On the other hand, if it was a favourite item, wouldn't the chances of your wearing it be much higher than any other top? I'm curious to know if you stopped wearing it after that. Thanks so much for stopping by to comment. :)

* Doris, - superstitions.. custom.. habit. I guess they're all tied in together somewhat. Thanks for dropping by and sharing yours. :)

* Thank you, Indrani. I'd say that your pre-journey concern about sneezing sounds pretty much like a superstitious belief. I'm thinking that to some degree or another, we all have these beliefs. Thanks always for your kind comments. :)

* Thanks for stopping by to comment, Sully. It appears you had a hole in your pocket. I'll save the change for you until next time you visit. :)

* Thanks, Daryl. :) My guess is it was a neighbour's cat. :/

Susan said...

And now we know where all the world's great superstitious beliefs have come from! Have you passed this on to the boy?

Beautiful photos illustrating all those other superstitions.

Kerri said...

The wood duck is LOVELY! I've never seen one in person. And i love the lone feather shot!

I've been sitting here and wondering what I could put as a superstition.... I could not think of anything! I guess I'm really not supersitious at all. I do worry a lot...but nothing really that has to do with any type of superstition. And I find that I mainly worry about my children...so I guess that's just a MOM thing :)

Redbush said...

Before you break a wishbone with your mate, make a wish for good luck. If you see a falling star, make a wish and it will come true. Throw salt over your shoulder for good luck when you're cooking. If you find a four-leaf clover it will bring you good luck. If you find a penny give it to someone for good luck. I used to where the number 11 when I played basketball and that was always my lucky number from then on. I don't really know any colour that I find unlucky. As usual, you awe me with your photos!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Wonderfully written. I really enjoyed reading this post. Beautiful colors and photos. I hope the color blue brings you joy!

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

I am so superstitious that I fear even admitting it. These shots were so lovely and powerful Hilary!!

Kat said...

I'm so glad that navy blue is no longer ruling your world. Way to take control! And let us know how it works out. ;)

I love the pic of the mink. Gorgeous!

Reb said...

"See a penny, pick it up..."

Bad things do happen in threes or multiples of three. When I worked for the police, we had to send in death reports to the chief M.E. and it was never one or two. It could be three per shift; three per day; or one on your shift every day for three days.

Love the geese in the golden light and the wood duck is wonderful.

Jo said...

You take the most amazing pictures.

Yes, I am superstitious. It's much more than just coincidence. I broke my "lucky" bracelet, and all h*ll broke loose.

mansuetude said...

Love your photos.
The branch on the water, and the feather are my faves..

I had a fire too, early in life, and to this day, when i smell soot, it makes me edgy.

But I love fire.

Shammickite said...

I try to pride my self on NOT being superstitious, but I tend to gasp in horror if anyone puts new shoes on the table, brings a peacock feather into the house, or walks under a ladder. And my mother would never allow lilac blooms in the house.... very unlucky, she said.
Colours not so much, but my late husband hated green.... would never wear it and had a couple of accidents with green cars which reinforced his dislike of the colour. But the last straw was when he was hit from behind by a black car.... driven by a Mr Green!
Great pictures as usual, Hilary.
I don't suppose there was a rogue palm tree growing anywhere near where you saw the coconut?

Tia said...

Grandpa was a farmer back home in Michigan and he always said you should never ever kill a Daddy-Long-Leg spider because it'll make it rain. Silly? Yes. But I think of this everytime I see a Daddy long leg spider. I love hearing my kids tell their friends "Grandpa Shook said..." as they never got to meet him. :) And I hope that someday they pass that silly Great-Grandpa lesson on to their own kids.

Lulda Casadaga said...

I don't know Hilary...perhaps you should use a little bit of caution when using the navy again. I do believe that dead Jay was a sign...(did you take a picture of it?) Sorry, my twisted sense of humor just is curious.

Would you believe that I have a Navy Blue Dry Eraser Marker in front of my face as I type this...I asked my director this am for some supplys for the class and she handed me Black & Blue markers!!
p.s. Lovely pics as always!

SandyCarlson said...

I did not know many of these superstitions, though I can relate to the one about colors. At one point I had 13 green sweaters--all gifts from friends--and was sure it would be unlucky to let go of any of them.

Dave said...

Your superstition story was very interesting Hilary. I have never been superstitious, and I think it is because a minister at my then-church preached a sermon about it and how those who love God have no need to be superstitious. I think superstition is all in the mind. :) - Dave

Lover of Life said...

I think you need to avoid the color blue. I have no idea why, but that dead blue jay did it for me. Stay away from navy blue!

Loved the pictures - that mallard was incredible with his orange eye.

The Things We Carried said...

If only colors COULD affect the world around me. Isn't it funny how we have quirks like this and just live with em? I say wear blue from now on.

The duck is simply gorgeous.

Woman in a Window said...

DO.NOT.BUY.NAVY.BLUE. Dude! I still reeling after the Blue Jay. Relent. Give into it. Be safe, albeit foolish. Foolishly safe.

UmmFarouq said...

Lovely photos, lovely blog. Thanks.

david mcmahon said...

Love the shot of the mink with three legs in the air. And that wood duck's eye - riveting. Really enjoyed this post.

Frank Baron said...

Love both duck shots and the sun-splashed geese. Tough to pick a fave, so I won't. :)

As you know, I am not in the least superstitious. I touch feathers and perform other, occasional, arcane rituals because...because...it feels right. Yeah.

So there. :)

Hilary said...

• Thank you, Susan. No, I don't think either of my boys are at all superstitious and are probably both laughing at me right now.. in shades of blue. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Thanks very much, Kerri. Yes, worrying about the kids is very much of a Mom thing, and it doesn't change all that much as they get older. Just different worries. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very kindly, Redbush. It's nice to know that all of your superstitions are for good luck! Thanks for the kind words. :)

• Thanks so much, Cheffie. Your kind words are very much appreciated. Thanks for dropping by. :)

• Thanks very much, MG. It sounds like you're mighty superstitious but I hope it doesn't get in your way too much. Thanks always for the kind words. :)

• Thanks so kindly, Kat. I will indeed keep you posted. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks very much, Reb. I guess you would see a lot of patterns of habit in that line of work. Hospitals too, I'd bet. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. :)

• Thank you, Jo. I sure hope you got your lucky bracelet fixed again. Broken Hell is not pretty! Thanks very much for the kind words. :)

• Thanks kindly, Mansuetued. I can imagine that the sooty smell would make you ill at ease for sure. The smell of a safe, controlled fire is still quite enticing. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments. :)

• Thank you, Shammie. It sounds to me as if both you and your husband are quite superstitious. All the ones you mentioned that make you gasp, are ones I remember from my childhood. That's an incredible coincidence about Mr. Green driving in that last encounter. And no, no misplaced palm trees that I've ever seen around here. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

• That's a great story about your Grandpa, Tia. Thanks so much for sharing it and for the shoutout on your blog the other day. :)

• Thanks very much, Lulda. Nothing bad happened with the markers, did it? No, I'm not going to worry too much about what the Blue Jay meant in terms of bad luck. I'm going with the belief that it means my superstition is dead. I did consider taking a photo. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)

• Sandy, I love and have a lot of clothing in various shades of green but that sounds like far more sweaters than I'd care to own, much less all in one colour. Thanks for the visit. :)

• Thanks for stopping by and sharing your view of superstition, Dave. Your visits are always very much appreciated. :)

• Thanks, L of L. I think I'm hearing about as many anti-blue comments as pro-blue. I think I'm going to stick with my decision to welcome the colour back into my life. It's been years since I've worn it and it's not like nothing bad happened during that time. Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. :)

• Thanks, MT. I agree that it's silly which is why I decided to change things. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your comment. :)

• WIAW, you surprise me. And scare me a little. ;)

• Thanks very much, Umm Farouq. :)

• Thanks so much, David. I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. :)

• Thanks, Frank. I'm glad you like how the photos turned out. I understand now how you're not superstitious. It's much in the same way that I'm not argumentative, but it just feels right to get the last word in. ;)

Frank Baron said...

Yes, yes it does.


:)

Pouty Lips said...

Sorry I'm commenting so late. I read this post while I was away for the weekend and thought about it. When I was growing up I believed that if I stepped on a crack it would break my mother's back. Even into adulthood it was so ingrained in me to avoid cracks that I found myself still doing it. Old habits are hard to break. The funny part of the story is that I had a Rat Terrier who learned to walk and avoid cracks just like me. We were a pair, walking together avoiding all of the cracks. What a great dawg. Thanks for the memory.

Hilary said...

• Frank... last! :P :)

• Susan, that's hilarious. It would make a great video! :)

Louise said...

Hope that blue works out for you! I have no superstitions, but I like to be "different" and sometimes antagonistic (in a quiet way), so I've chosen to embrace the #13 (my birthday is on 13th) and specifically be enamored with Friday the 13th. (My best birthdays have been on Fridays.)

The wood duck is gorgeous. The mink is too cute!

Hilary said...

Louise, I've had good luck with the number 13 myself. And truth be told, I've still not purchased any navy blue tops, but I've worn a couple that belong to Frank. So far, I'm still here. ;) Thanks for stopping by. :)