11 August 2019

The Planet and I


Have you gone green?  How do you feel about the Green New Deal?  Do you think climate change is real?  How do you get along with the planet?

I try on a regular basis to 'do the right thing' as they say.  I recycle (according to friends and family, I'm a 'recycling Nazi'), I signed us up to receive a compost bin which is picked up and emptied weekly, I try very hard to keep plants and trees alive, and not to waste food or water.  

I have a LONG way to go, though, before I can even get a "good" grade, and I have been trying to be more conscious of my behavior.  Having said that, I am a person who uses things until they either fall apart, or are otherwise no longer usable.  I've always been that way, mostly due to growing up in an atmosphere of uncertain finances.  We wore our clothes and shoes as long as they could last.  I think those habits are hard to break, but it's also hard to start new habits.

We have a lot of plastic food containers (mostly those Rubbermaid ones you buy in packages of 6 or so).  They are all near the end of their useful lives, and though it pains me to get rid of them, and add more plastic to the recycling bin, at least I can recycle them rather than just toss them.  Of course, then the question becomes how to replace them - buy the glass containers that are heavier, but will likely last longer?  Look for something better?  It's overwhelming a lot of the time, but I also know that I just need to do my research and make a decision and that will be the best decision for me.  And hopefully, it won't have an adverse effect on the planet in the long run.

I really enjoy looking to see what people post on Instagram, and I'm not sure how I found the account, but for the last couple of years, I've been following Sophie Benson.  She is a writer and fashion stylist who is incredibly eco-conscious and thoughtfully informed.  Through her and her Instagram posts, I've become so much more aware of how the fashion and beauty industries are some of the worst offenders to the environment.  She writes in a straightforward, easily understandable manner, and is able make it seem like a regular person is talking to you, not lecturing you.  Her article last year about purchasing and wearing/using second hand animal products (she is a vegan), and the follow-up, were very thought-provoking.  I really suggest following her on Instagram, even if you don't care about the fashion-y posts, as she links to the articles when she has written something.

Thanks to her, and just a better overall awareness, I feel a bit better informed about what products I buy to wear and to use.  I still have plenty to learn and new habits to turn into old ones, but I feel like it is all doable.

It has to be, right?

26 July 2019

I Like the Name, I Love the Product

Last weekend, we went to the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey - nearer to us time-wise than some of the malls in the Philadelphia area - because The Tim wanted to go to a Penney's for something, and that is one of the places in the area where you can still go to an actual Penney's store. 

Anyway, I was wandering around as I am wont to do, and went to the Nordstrom's there to use the restroom, since I know that they have nice restrooms and I am picky about that kind of thing.  On my way out, I decided to walk through the cosmetics (they call it Beauty) department to see what they had happening, since the Anniversary Sale was going on. 

I am a sucker for lipstick, lip balm, etc.  I love the different colors, whether or not they are ones I would actually ever wear - it's just fun to look.  One of the clerks came over to ask if I needed help, and she very nicely walked away when I said I was just looking.  However, she had on a lipstick shade that I thought was particularly pretty, so I found her again and asked what it was.

Now, on the occasions that I have usually asked this, the answer has usually been some elaborate combination of 45 products (OK, maybe only 2 or 3) and I start to glaze over as they are explaining their process to me.  But this time, it was a single product.  And she claimed it was a shade that looked good on everyone, and pointed out some of the other clerks wearing it.  They had different skin tones, and you know what?  It actually did look good on each of them - slightly different but really nice.


This is it - Bobbi Brown Crushed Liquid Lip (!)
 in the shade called Hippy Shake.

Now I am not usually a fan of pinks, but this is a pink that is not in your face, and even has a little bit of, I don't know - lavender? - in it.  It's just not a usual pink, let's say that.  My sister Nancy had sent me a Nordstrom gift card last Christmas, so I decided to buy this for myself as a treat.  

So far this week I have worn it every day, and I have to say that I really do love it.  It's not sticky like lip gloss (which I HATE), and it stays on pretty well (I am constantly drinking water or tea, so a lot of lip products disappear almost immediately on me).  I've even gotten a couple of compliments, which was nice.  

Plus - "Hippy Shake" - how could I not love that???  

So, if you would like a new lipstick and want to treat yourself, I would recommend this one.  It's been a real bright spot for me lately.  (Yes, I realize what that says about my life.)

(And for those wondering, The Tim's trip to Penney's was a success, so all in all it was a good shopping day ...)

Have a nice weekend!

17 July 2019

Am I Old? Does It Matter? Do I Care?

Hello, sorry it's been awhile, but life has been kicking my butt the past few months, and though I've had things I've wanted to say, I couldn't get myself to actually say them here.  But I'm taking a break at work right now, and thought I'd go ahead and post.

This morning a co-worker asked me for the eleventy-billionth time why I am not retired.  She is not a person who likes me, and is frequently making comments about how I'm so old, and how I should be retired, etc., etc.  My most favorite recent thing was when she complained to HR because every morning when she gets in, I say "Good morning" to her, and she doesn't want me to talk to her (which I didn't know).  I asked the HR person if she saw the irony of calling me in to talk to me when I was the one with good manners.  She agreed, but said I should try not to "annoy" the person anyway. 

As my friend Lisa used to say, Jesus Christ on a snowmobile!

Anyway.  The basic answer to why I am not retired is that I cannot afford to retire.  And sadly, it doesn't look like I can even plan to retire anytime in the next few years, if at all.  Which is extremely disappointing to me, since I had a plan to retire and become a dog walker because a) dogs, and b) exercise.  Fortunately I have a dog of my own to walk now, even if I do it for free.  :-)

The funny thing about getting that question yet again this a.m., is that since then, I have read two things that were specifically geared towards discussions of age. 

The first was this blog post, which caused me to immediately go to the public library website and put a hold on the book discussed.  I enjoy seeing people discuss language as well, and the concept of "ageless" as an ageist concept was interesting to me.  Sort of like the whole discussion a year or so ago where beauty products were encouraged to be "pro-aging" as opposed to "anti-aging."  There are so many ways and levels to even start this discussion, but I feel that a lot of the time - as with so many other things in life - we start out with guns blazing, and then fall back when something else shiny shows up, or life happens, etc.  (I must admit to ALWAYS being distracted by shiny things, both literally and figuratively speaking.)

Then a friend of mine who has recently decided that she is through worrying about her weight and dieting sent me a link to this article.

First of all, can I say how much the title amuses me?  I thought at first, "Wait, I thought Liz was giving up on diets," and then really appreciated how the author was making it work.  Yes, it discusses diet culture and how it messes us up, etc., but it also addresses how we feel about ourselves throughout our lives and how we let others define our place - a pretty teenager, a young mom, a woman with middle-age-spread, and old lady.  Laura Lippman takes us on her personal journey, and uses herself as an example of how hard it can be sometimes to be happy in our own skin.

Am I Old?  I'm 63 years old, so yes, I guess I'm old as opposed to being middle-aged (since I have no expectation of living to be 126).  Some days, I *feel* really old.  I don't think I look particularly old, but then again, I have always - even as a teenager - been comfortable in my own skin, and though I don't want to look scary, or decrepit, I also don't want to look 25, and I enjoy being able to move my forehead. 

Does It Matter?  Sometimes, like when I can't get a job interview because it's assumed I'll be retiring soon.  Or when people assume that I don't understand something because it's "something young people think/do/say."  I mean, it's not stopping me from living my life.  I'd rather be my age than dead. 

Do I Care?  I have always longed to be 64, even since The Beatles sang about it.  And I really really hoped to have animals at the time named Vera, Chuck, and Dave.  I *will* be 64 next year, but I'm not gonna suddenly have three more animals, so that's kinda too bad.  Otherwise, I don't let my age bother me too much.  I must admit that a lot of the time, I have to stop and think for a minute when someone asks me how old I am, because I just don't give it a lot of thought.  Again, I'd rather be my age than dead.

If you go to Google Images, and enter "old lady," you mostly get this:



(OK, I'll admit that I kinda sorta identify with the woman above ...)

But "old women" also look like this:


and of course, one of my faves:


(Yes, I know she has a stylist, etc. for her personal apprearances, red carpets, and
other stuff.  I just like her because I think she is pretty amazing no matter what.)

How do you feel about all of this?  Do you mind getting older?  Do you like the way you look for the most part?  I'm curious.

09 May 2019

In Which I Decide My "Planning" Failed ...

Today, I got notification of a comment on this blog to my last post.  Now, I don't get many comments at all here, which is fine, because I do this for myself because I like to write about things.  But since I don't get many comments, I'm always curious to see who is commenting.  And the comment I was notified about was from someone I just started following on Instagram, so that was nice. 

What surprised me is that it was not on my most recent post, but that the date of that post was November 2018!  I thought for sure I'd posted more recently.  So I hopped on over to look.  And well, I had - but those 5 posts were still in the "Draft" stage.  Eejit.  I'd been so proud of myself for getting some things done ahead of time.  But guess what?  Unless you hit "Publish," nothing happens. 

Anyway, I just deleted those because they were either outdated ("Happy New Year!") or not well-thought out (thankfully a Draft in those cases), or because they made no sense to me reading them now.  So you really haven't missed anything great, haha.

Do you ever do things like this?  Where you think you did something and then are surprised to find out you either didn't do it at all, or forgot the last step?  Fortunately, it doesn't happen to me too often, but when it does, it's always a surprise. 

I blame social media. 

OK, not really, but it's the  most convenient thing to blame for everything and anything these days, so I thought it was worth a try.  :-)

In any event, I'll be back soon to report on The Great Switching of the Seasonal Clothes in the Closet.  For someone who doesn't have that many clothes, it's ridiculous what a project it becomes.  Mostly because I get annoyed or bored and only do it in fits and starts until it gets to the point of ridiculousness.  And that point has arrived.

Now I'm actually going to hit "Publish."  So that's it for now.

10 November 2018

When Life Gives You Lemons, Count Yourself Lucky

My kingdom for a lemon!  I love lemons, pretty much in any way, shape, or form.

But as you have likely guessed, I'm not writing a post about lemons.  Rather, explaining where I have been and what has happened since my last post at the end of August. 

Just as a quick recap - all is well.  But life is life, and things happen.

Work got crazy in September and October, since a new system was introduced and of course we had received no training and only a week's notice that it was coming.  Was I freaked out?  Yes, but as with most things, I realized that I could only move forward with it because I had no choice.  However, my co-workers are among the most dramatic people on the planet, and the angst and hand-wringing and whining made every day a challenge.  Especially since we are currently all in one too-small office together, with absolutely no personal space.

The first week of October, I was diagnosed with pneumonia, which explained the horrific way I'd been feeling for weeks.  Fortunately, once I had rest and proper meds, I recovered without incident.  We had October 8 off work for Columbus Day, and I had big plans, since was feeling better.  So I took the dog for a walk before getting started.  And I fell, breaking two front teeth and my right wrist.  I had surgery to repair it (with a plate and pins inserted) on October 12, and the next couple of weeks were a haze of pain and painkillers.  I am now on my fourth cast, though this one is more of a splint, and occupational therapy begins this coming Monday.  My orthopedic surgeon informed me that it could easily be a year until I am back to normal.

As you can imagine, all of this has put a real block into my life and holiday plans.  As far as knitting goes, I had already finished the primary things I wanted to make for people for birthday and Christmas gifts, because I cannot knit at all.  The thing is, can't do much else, either.  No baking.  No pulling out the decorations. 

BUT - here is what I am hoping:  that my occupational therapy will show progress so that I can do the small amount that is my contribution to Thanksgiving dinner (The Tim is responsible for the bulk of the cooking, his choice), and that by Christmastime, I'll be able to do even more, including decorations.  Because for me, that is part of the fun!

Of course, I may be too optimistic.  And I'll survive if that is the case.  I'll do what I can, and hope that by this time next year, this will just be a blip of memory - a case of life giving me more lemons than I really need right now.  :-)

Have a lovely weekend!


31 August 2018

Grumpy

Even though I am tired of people 24/7, right now they are really bugging me.  I'm sure a lot of it is just me and my own feelings/opinions about everything.  But seriously, some of them are just so damn clueless it makes me want to scream.

Feel free to stop reading and come back another day if you like.  I get it. 

There is a woman whose blog I read pretty regularly and mostly enjoy.  She seems to have a good sense of humor, likes to try different makeup and report back on it, and has dealt with being unemployed off and on over the past three or four years.  She is obsessed with having cosmetic companies use "pro-aging" models for their products, and does a lot of whining about how they do not.  I'll admit that gets on my nerves, but I get where she is coming from.  I just wish that she didn't go off on it in every single blog post, regardless of the topic. 

Her latest thing is that she doesn't want summer to end.  And the majority of people I know in real life as well as in cyberspace seem to be in love with summer, so that in and of itself is not the part that makes me grumpy.  What makes me grumpy is that she spends an entire post talking about how wonderful her life is in the summer, when she can spend weekends at her beach house and a month every summer in Europe visiting her husband's family.  Frankly, as someone who is not a fan of summer, I could probably like it more if I had a beach house and spent a month in Europe every year.  She writes about it like it's the norm, and why don't the people who dislike summer realize how great it is? 

And she, along with several others that I know, make me really grumpy with this.  Does it occur to them that they are speaking from a place of extreme privilege (at least in my world)?  I mean, I live a pretty privileged life compared to so many other people, and I realize that.  So it just makes me want to slap someone upside the head when they say things like, "If I can't get away, I'll go mad."  Yeah, so what, we all feel like that.  Most of us can't "get away" as in trips to Europe, or the Caribbean, etc. for a "quick trip" no matter how much we might wish to do so.

I work with a young woman who lives in a house that her parents gave to her and her husband.  It is bought and paid for, and yes, they do have to spend their own money on utilities, taxes, etc.  They have a 2 year old son who goes to a pricey, fancy daycare that her parents also pay for, and besides the house, that is a HUGE thing, since even cheap daycare is ridiculously expensive. 

She wants to have a new house, because theirs is "too small" now that they have a kid.  But none of the houses they like are ones they can afford, and she finds this personally offensive.  Every time she talks about it, she says, "They are just so expensive, and I don't want to pay that much."  Fine.  Houses are expensive, I guess especially when you are living in one where you never ever had to figure out how to pay the mortgage.  The other day she said, "We have looked at so many houses, we just need to get away.  My parents are coming to stay with the kid, and we are going to Turks and Caicos for the long weekend.  We *have* to get away."  Oh how my heart bleeds.

I guess my issue is this: if you have money to do and go where you want, that's truly wonderful.  Enjoy it and do all you can.  But PLEASE stop talking about how hard your life of privilege is, and how you just *have* to go someplace else.  Everyone has something that is hard or difficult or problematic in their lives.  Everyone would like a break, even if it means staying home and being left alone.  But most people, regardless of desire, can't afford to live the life the aforementioned people take for granted. 

A few weeks ago, a new colleague asked me how many children I had.  I responded that I have no children.  She said, "Well then, you must do a lot of traveling," and when I said, we enjoy traveling but don't get to do a lot of it, she said, "Why not?  Surely you have the money." 

Sigh.  No. No, we don't.  Just because we do not have children it does not mean that we are swimming in cash.  We are fortunate because we are able to pay our bills, but it's a close call every single month, some more than others.  Of course we spend money on things that are not necessities, but it's not a lot, and it's not all the time.  This colleague was extremely puzzled and kept asking questions about why we didn't have a lot of money, and a) it's rude, b) it's none of her business anyway, and c) I finally told her that I felt it wasn't something she needed to know.  She was a bit put out by that. 

As my mother used to tell us, "Well you know what they say in Russia: 'toughsky shitsky.' "


29 June 2018

When Gardening Is a Workout

I'm sitting here today with, frankly, a sore butt.  A sore butt that is a result of ... gardening?? 

Last spring, I spent every weekend for approximately a month cleaning up/cleaning out our garden area so that when the weather was not incredibly hot and humid, we could sit outside and enjoy it all.  Each weekend, I would do a certain amount, so as not to be overcome with tiredness and the amount of physical activity. 

This past spring, here in the Philadelphia area, it rained non-stop practically every single weekend.  The few that it did not, we were either not in town, or had other commitments.  So the garden was left to its own devices, and was to put it mildly, a mess.  Last weekend, the weather was pretty perfect - warm but not overly hot, and with very little humidity.  On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, I went out early and worked on getting things cleaned up and organized.  Our garden area is not large, but because it had been left alone, there were leaves, sticks, blown trash, and overgrown weeds everywhere.  (Three large garden trash bags' worth to start!)  But finally it was looking better.

As for me, I easily got a all-body workout doing the cleaning up.  Between standing up and squatting down, kneeling and pulling out weed roots, and raking and sweeping, every bit of me felt the burn, as they say.  I was a little bit sore, but nothing two acetaminophen didn't help.

Yesterday and today, I am off work, in my continuing and final attempt to use vacation days instead of losing them (tomorrow is the end of our year at work).  It had rained pretty heavily overnight on Wednesday to Thursday, so yesterday morning I took myself outside to do some planting, as we had bought some flowers and plants last weekend.  Things don't always do really well for us, because except for a planter in front of the house, the actual garden area doesn't get a lot of full, strong sunlight.  We discovered last year that in both places, New Guinea impatiens plants were VERY happy, as well as being pretty.  Since we got started late this year, there were only two of those left where we had gone, but they looked pretty healthy, so we got those as well as some marigolds, asters, and some annuals.  Everything was planted yesterday, and so far, is still alive.  :-)

(Not ours - just an example of what the New Guinea impatiens look like)

But oh boy do I have a sore butt today!  I guess the prolonged kneeling (I have one of those garden pads, so was not kneeling on bricks), and stretching was a workout for my posterior area.  Not that it's a problem - that area can use all the help it can get!  But I was surprised at how it felt this morning - I must have really given it a workout!

Never having lived anywhere with a huge yard, and not having parents who were interested in gardens or lawns, I never realized how you could get in shape that way.  Having said that, I'm perfectly happy with the size of our garden, and the amount of work it provides for us.  It's just another example of why I would be a crappy suburban neighbor.  So, suburbanites, be VERY happy that I live in the city, and not next door to you! 

Have a great weekend, and enjoy whatever exercise you can get.  But mostly, if you are in one of the many places in the U.S. and abroad where major heat waves are occurring/are starting to occur, keep cool!