25 December 2016

Christmas 2016

And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for behold, I bring you 
Good tidings of great joy,
Which shall be to all people.
--Luke 2:10

Merry Christmas!

16 December 2016

Brrrrr! So Why Are You Dressed Like That?

I don't know about where you are, but yesterday and today, it's been extremely cold in Philadelphia!  Yesterday I looked at the weather widget on my computer, and it said, "Current temp 27 Feels like: 6" and I had to laugh out loud, because the "feels like" wasn't even double digits!

As you may know, I walk back and forth to work.  In all weather.  And I have cold weather down.  I may look like the Michelin Man's homeless sister, but when I get to where I am going, I'm OK and not freezing.  To quote The Tim, I just "yeti-up and head out."

Granted, in weather like this, even if I'm not freezing while walking around, I still know how cold it is, as I am not able to completely swath my person.  But I will never, ever, ever understand certain things about people (OK, particularly women) related to this kind of weather:

1.  Sleeveless dresses without a sweater or jacket, etc.
2.  Open-toed shoes
3.  No tights, socks, etc.
4.  No gloves, scarf, etc.

Yesterday I was at a meeting with two women - who granted, looked lovely - but they were in sleevless dresses, and kept talking about how cold they were.  I asked if they'd forgotten to bring their sweaters to the meeting, and each one said they didn't bring sweaters with them at all.  One even said, "This dress looks awful with a sweater."

My sympathy level: -82

And then I see people walking around like this:

Um, no.  You may look stylin' but generally these people are also huddled into themselves, complaining about how cold it is.  1. Button your coat.   2. Buy gloves.  3. Wear closed-toe shoes.  4. Buy a hat or earmuffs.  5. (Most importantly) GET OVER YOURSELF, it feels like 7 freakin' degrees out!

My sympathy level:  negative off the charts.

I could go on: stiletto heels in the ice and snow, miniskirts with bare legs, etc.

Look, I don't know anyone whose goal is to look like crap every day of their lives.  And I can understand that for some people, looking as fashionable as possible is a goal.   I also understand the dreaded hat head issue.

But I would like to posit that you can still look nice, and be warm.  I'm not claiming to be a fashion plate by any means, but I've never scared a small child by being bundled up or made someone vomit from disgust when they see me walking around in cold weather.

And if you want to dress fashionably, and not look like I do when walking around, then SHUT UP about it!  It get so tired of people who are improperly dressed complaining that they are cold.

Now, if you used to live in a tropical climate, and just moved here, I get it.  But if you have lived here for even one winter, you have no excuse.  Even with global warming, there are still cold snaps and the polar vortex.  And I also understand that some are too poor to afford even a coat, and that is where the concern should be.

Also, don't tell me "you didn't know it was going to be like this" because even if you are obsessed with spending the day staring at your phone, there are still plenty of opportunities to hear or see a weather report.

There's a reason Santa dresses like he does, you know.  ;-)

08 December 2016

Well Hello and It's December!

You'll be glad to know - or possibly not even care - that I completed NaBloPoMo on my other blog.  It was fun, though there were days when I would remember suddenly in the evening that I hadn't done a post for that day, and then I'd have to hustle to be coherent.

But now it's December, which is one of the best months, and it's also SEVENTEEN DAYS from Christmas Day!  I love Christmastime, so I am a happy camper.  I love giving gifts, making cookies, decorating, listening to music, and just about any other aspect I can conjure up.  This year, I actually knitted a fair number of the gifts I'm giving, so now it's just a matter of wrapping them and mailing them to the recipients.  Now don't get me wrong - I didn't knit a gift for everyone, just those I know actually enjoy and appreciate hand knit things.  The others are getting purchased items that were chosen for them.

Yesterday, The Tim got us a lovely little tree.  Which, on current count, has been knocked down three times by Jack the kitten.  The others are appalled!  Particularly Pip, who is the family narc.  This morning when I came downstairs, Jack ran past me to the living room where the tree is.  Pip was laying underneath it, and hissed at Jack, big time!  Hilarious.  I thanked Pip for his service, and told him he was a Tree Patriot.  I swear to God he puffed up his chest with pride. ;-)

Hopefully today will be better.  The Tim has the day off, and hopefully Jack got it all out of his system yesterday so we can put the light and ornaments on the tree over the next few days.  On the plus side, it didn't get knocked down overnight, so that's something.  (And proof that Pip Patrol is effective, I guess.)

I know that the above event, as well as Christmastime in general, can be stressful for a lot of people.  I saw this article yesterday, and though it seems very simple, I thought it might actually be helpful for some people to read and consider.

What about you?  Are you enjoying Christmastime/the holiday season? I certainly hope so.  Even if you don't like everything about it, I hope you'll find something to make you smile.

24 November 2016

21 November 2016

My Hope For You

Yes, I've been absent for a bit.  And likely will be, except for a Happy Thanksgiving post.  I'm busy on my other blog with writing a post for every day during November.  So if you only read this blog and are just plain desperate to hear from me otherwise you should head over there.  :-)

I'll be posting there later with details of our trip this past weekend to Baltimore, where we visited some of my nieces and their families, and they threw a party for The Tim, whose 60th birthday was on Friday.

And that made me want to write this here.

I love my family.  They drive me crazy, are crazy as a matter of fact, and though we all may appear somewhat conventional, we are not.  Sometimes, I'm not even sure we would all be friends if we were not related.

But they are great.  Granted, I don't get to see my sister in California very often, or see her kids and grandkids, who live in California and Arizona.  Nonetheless, I still get to keep up with them all on a regular basis and see pictures, etc.

This past weekend we had just the very best time in Baltimore.  I took exactly one picture, because I was too busy otherwise laughing, singing, talking, eating, and drinking.  And though it would be fun to have more photos, I have the memories which are making me just as happy right now.

I know for a lot of people, Thanksgiving and the following holiday season can be difficult, since not all families are like mine.  And I also know that especially this year, with election results, so many people are dreading seeing other family at Thanksgiving.

So here is my hope for you:  I hope that you will have a wonderful holiday season with your family. Whatever and whoever your family is.  Whether or not they are related by blood.  Whether you have known them since birth, or just in the last month.

Life is too short not to have a family to love.  It's great when it is your own family and you all have your history with each other.  But we are fortunate in that all of us can create our own families and even if outsiders are appalled, it's none of their business.

So enjoy.  I know I'll be with my family - not my extended family, but my immediate family.  Which consists of The Tim and four furballs.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

09 November 2016

Please Don't Give Up

We need it now more than ever, 
to help those who will need our help
more than any of us imagined.

01 November 2016

So I'm Just Puzzled ...

Happy November 1st!  If you are reading this, we all made it through another month, with whatever good or bad was part of it.  November is a busy month for me, as there are a lot of family birthdays, anniversaries, and - hooray! - Thanksgiving!!  I always wish it would go more slowly, but then again, when good things are happening, time always seems to go quickly, right?

Anyway, a few things have been puzzling me recently, and I thought I'd share them with you, to see if you were puzzled as well ...

First of all, this.   WTF????!!!!!  Libraries as I know them have never been vanity projects (except for people who pay interior designers to buy tons of random books, so it *looks* like they read).  And, I hate to break it to her, but a) everything is not online, b) a lot that is online requires payment to access, and, c) not everyone has access to a smartphone or a computer on a regular basis, if at all.  Now granted, this is not a statement by someone I admire greatly in the first place, but it still both puzzles me and rankles me.

Not a single trick-or-treater showed up at our house last night.  This puzzles me, because even though I know that a lot of parents don't want their kids out going to random peoples' houses, we have always had anywhere from some to a lot of kids knocking on the door in the past.  There are a lot of kids in our neighborhood.  The only kids I even heard around were next door to us, where the little girl always has a Halloween party before she and her friends go trick-or-treating.  It was both disappointing and depressing.  This was the first year that Dug wasn't around to dress up as a Halloween pirate, or a kitty, etc. with the cheapo headband "costumes" we would buy from the dollar bins at Target.  But I thought, "Oh well, it will be fun to see what costumes the kids wear."  Maybe it was the fact that it was a Monday night, or maybe every single kid in the neighborhood had gone to a party over the weekend. I have no idea.

Related to that, I wore the Halloween socks I knit for myself for the first time yesterday.  They were so comfy, and it was fun to have a pair I'd made for myself.  When I got ready for bed, and took them off, there was a HUGE HOLE on the sole of one of the socks!  Too large to be repaired.  I'd been wearing them in regular shoes all day, with smooth insoles, so I don't know what happened, but wow was I surprised and disappointed.  I mean, I'd had to get rid of about three other pairs of store-bought Halloween socks because they were worn out, but they were all at least 3-4 years old.  Grrr.

Our local bus and subway service, SEPTA, went out on strike last night.  This creates headaches for so many people in the area, who rely on public transportation to get to work, school, etc.  Fortunately for me, it has no immediate effect, since I walk every day back and forth to work, and to do most of the other things I need to do.  (I live ~1.5 miles away from where I work.)  But this morning, one of my co-workers called out because she "has no way to get to work."  Now, I know she generally relies on the bus to get here.  And I also know she doesn't own a car.  BUT - she lives a lot closer than I do to work (about 6 blocks away)!  I said (as casually) as i could, "You could always just walk."   To which she responded, "Oh that would kill me, it's so far.  And in this weather, I'd freeze!" (It is 48 degrees outside.)  I find this amazing, and not in a good way.  I hope for those who are truly in a bind that the strike ends soon.  I hope my co-worker has to use some of her leave time, rather than it being an "excused absence."  Because this kind of thing really irritates me.

Finally (aren't you glad?), I have to wonder why more places that sell lovely kinds of cups of coffee don't sell tea at all, or serve crappy tea at best.  I don't mean it has to be top-of-the-line.  I don't mind if it's a teabag.  It would be nice if sliced lemon would be available (I've noticed Au Bon Pain always has it), but that isn't a deal breaker for me.   Just some tea other than Lipton (sorry, not my fave, especially if a lemon slice can't somewhat save it!), even if there is not a variety otherwise.  People who drink coffee are appalled at terrible coffee, but seem to think tea drinkers will be happy with anything.  Tea drinkers, UNITE!  ;-)

That about covers it for me - at least for today!  What's been puzzling you lately?

25 October 2016

Clean Up Progress Report

Earlier in October, I wrote this post. Sadly, I wasn't able to get to working on it that next weekend, and the weekend after that, we were in Rehoboth Beach - which was FUN, but not conducive to getting anything done at home.

But this past weekend, I did spend some time cleaning out my closet.  And I actually got a lot of stuff cleaned up and organized.  It's funny - I don't have that much in my "wardrobe" but I also can't spend more than an hour or so on cleaning out/shifting stuff around.  But I got quite a bit done anyway.  By the time I finished, I had these bags ready to take to the Red Cross donation truck near our house.

Now, I still have some work to do, cleaning out.  But the good thing is that once I get started, I become much more committed to getting serious about it.  And I realize that a lot of the things I thought might be worth keeping for "someday" are not things I'm ever gonna use/wear.  So as I continue this weekend, I won't be keeping the things I kept for no real reason, "just in case."  Because I have a tendency to keep things if I feel like there is any possibility in the world that I might wear them, ever.  Which doesn't make sense when - if I really think about it - I know I never will.

On the one hand, a lot of my clothes are ones I've had for years, and still wear.  The problem is that since I have had them for so long, I have a tendency to be surprised when they actually wear out and need to be replaced.  So I'm making a list as I put some things away and get other things out for colder weather of things that are probably on their last legs.  Theoretically, that means that I can hopefully replace them before they completely fall apart.  Theoretically. ;-)

Anyway, baby steps, but some progress.  And at least at the moment, I'm wanting to continue.

19 October 2016

Hair-story, Part #200912078

Well, it seems that way to me, anyway.

This Friday, I'm off to get my hair cut.  The Saga of My Hair kinda sorta continues.  There have been some definite developments, however:

1. I stopped getting my hair colored.  I do miss my reddish hair, but a) it was expensive, b) I don't mind my gray hair (just wish I had more, frankly), and c) I'm pretty sure I was the only one who cared anyway.

2.  I have found two "acceptable" stylists.  Not great, not perfect, but fine.  I can go back to them if my search for someone I just click with fails.  I have three more possibilities.  Sadly, I'm not actually as picky as I sound ... I just want someone who *gets* short hair on women!

3. The above acceptable stylists are pretty reasonably priced for this area.  That pleases me, even if they are not a 100% match for me in the end.

So anyway, I'm going to a new person at a previous place on Friday after work.  I liked the place, but the person I got turned out to be really rude, and only willing to do what they wanted, which was not anything like what I wanted.  But I've heard of the person I'm seeing on Friday, and have stalked them on Instagram, and it seems as if they have a lot of experience with short hair on women.  Fingers crossed.

A lot of my friends think this is all hilarious, because "when you have short hair, why do you need to get it cut regularly?"  Well, for one thing, my hair grows pretty quickly.  Right now, for instance, it's sticking out.  Not like this, which would be OK:

But like this, over my ears (though not as much hair, needless to say):

Also, I've never had this much hair in my life as the woman in the above photo!

My last haircut was one of the acceptable ones.  I had seen a woman on the street with exactly what I wanted.  I stopped and asked her where she got her hair cut, etc., and made an appt later that same day.  When I got to the place, I told the same stylist that this woman had, the whole story, and she said, "Well of course we can do that, it will work just fine!"  At the end, it was "fine" but not what the stranger-on-the-street had.  I kept thinking as it grew, it would look more similar, but nope.  Granted, the woman I saw likely has completely different hair than I do, but it was somewhat disappointing.  Especially since the place had a RESIDENT CAT!

Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting the above-ear hair at least trimmed, and the rest too.  Even when it's not 100 degrees outside, I cannot stand to have hair down my neck, and it's grown to the point where it's really bugging me.

Who knows?  I may hit the jackpot this time.  If not, it will still be OK.  Just slightly disappointing.

Another thing that falls into the category that my sister calls "White Man's Problems." :-)

07 October 2016

Clean Up, Clean Out, Decide!

This is one of those times of year when I get the itch.  As I put away the summer things - tank tops, shorts, flip flops, etc. - to get out the sweaters, tights, boots, etc., I seriously have to pick up and look at each and every item of clothing I own.  I have neither the money nor the room to have a vast wardrobe, but I do realize each time that I come across the following:

1. Things I bought because they were on sale and I kinda sorta liked them.  But maybe only wore them once.
2. Things I was "saving" for God-knows-what, but it hasn't occurred yet.
3. Things that no longer fit, or are really worn out.
4. Things other people gave me as gifts that I pushed into the back of the closet.

And then I think, Why am I keeping these things?  Why did I buy some of them?  And on and on.

I do a pretty good job of pulling out obvious things that fall into this category, and either giving them away, or donating them.  But there are some things that I keep and really should not. They simply take up space, and there may be someone else who could use/wear them.

I was thinking about this when I read about Slow Fashion October, and have seen Instagram posts by those participating.  The older I get, the more I can appreciate being more thoughtful about things, and especially about what you buy, wear, make, and have.  And everyone has read at least one of the many articles that talk about the waste of clothes donated and then sent around the world.  I also read Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and though it should be (and to some extent is) things I already knew, it did help me gain a certain level of perspective on pretty much everything I own.

At the moment, I am in the throes of knitting scarves and hats for Christmas gifts, as well as knitting things to donate as part of Harry's Hundred.  So I didn't even try to sign myself up to participate in Slow Fashion October, because I want to keep my focus on getting those things finished and ready to go.  I know I will be able to accomplish this goal, as I just have a few more things to do, and it's still early in October.  But I didn't want to muddy my thoughts and get distracted by something else.

But between Slow Fashion October, and Marie Kondo, I have determined what I want to do going forward.  Each time I switch my closet, I'm going to do it in a more thoughtful fashion, and be firm with myself about what I keep and what I do not keep.  A lot of the things I donate tend to be work-type clothes, so I donate them to a local organization that helps women rejoining the work force (similar to Dress for Success, but more local).   And I will make every effort to donate any other things to local groups who I know actually need and use them.

And I've already been thinking that after the holidays, I want to refocus my knitting and also actually start using my sewing machine.  I'm toying with 2017 being The Year of Me.  Nearly everything I knit is for someone else, and I'm always looking at patterns, blogs, etc. and thinking how I would love to make xyz but I'm working on something for someone else and that will take precedence.  I want to try and make things that I can use/wear, and also make things for our house.  I would love to sew and/or knit some pillows.  Nothing elaborate, but something that would make the place seem even a little bit cozier.

So I will start with some baby steps when I get out my more wintery clothes and put away the summery things.  I will try to shop even more conscientiously and not buy something just because it's on sale - but if I actually will wear it and use it.  There are specific items I actually do need, since I have worn them out and they are things I wear nearly every day.  If there is something I would just love to have, I won't deprive myself, but it will also have to be something that I'll actually use/wear/enjoy/whatever.

I'm not a person who has a completely different outfit for every mood, style, occasion.  I have finally realized that 99% of the time, I choose similar pieces to wear, and so many other things - though nice - just are ignored.  So it's time to Clean Up, Clean Out, and Decide!

I am even going to try and keep myself honest by documenting what I can here.

Feel free to join me, and let me know if you do!

29 September 2016


Why is there cold air actively blowing out of the vent in my office?  This did not occur all summer, while it would have actually been pleasant.  And the heat in the winter doesn't do that.

Why am I subject to mansplaining?  (Why is anyone subject to mansplaining?)  It would be different if I asked for explanations, but so far this week that has not been the case.

Why don't I work at one of those places that provide free coffee and tea for their employees?

Why aren't mashed potatoes part of every meal? (Primary answer: because I don't fix them for every meal.)

Why do drivers insist on driving though puddles/standing water after rain and splashing pedestrians when the whole rest of the street is available for driving?

Why do cats think that every single time you get up out of a chair, you're going to feed them, when in fact that has never, ever occurred?

Why, if you were running for President, would you not be aware of the rest of the world? (I'm looking at you, Gary Johnson, and though some may say you are more concerned about U.S.-centric issues, I'm guessing you can't name a U.S. leader either.)

Why are good books always too short?

I know there are not good answers to most of these questions.  And, on the plus side, at least I'm not as worked up as this guy.

Have a good Thursday and upcoming weekend!

22 September 2016

Nail Polish Love!

Hello all - Happy First Day of Fall!  Hooray for leaves turning, cozy clothes, and all the good stuff fall brings.  (Or will someday - it's still 85 degrees and humid here.)

Moving on, I have to tell you about a nail polish color that I found and have fallen in love with - Essie Demure Vixen.

(Not my hands, trust me!)

I do like nail polish, but frankly when I give myself a manicure, the results are usually not that great.  Well, or at least not reliably great.  Sometimes, the planets are aligned, and my nails are painted and that's it.  Most of the time, my nails, knuckles, and other parts of my hands are painted ... but I digress.

Before we left on vacation, I used a gift certificate I'd gotten from a friend for taking care of her dog to get a gel manicure.  A few years back I got one, with disastrous results when the polish was taken off; but said friend (who gets manicures regularly) said that they were much better now, and the place where I had the gift certificate did not use toxic materials.  I figured what the heck, it would be nice to have a nice-looking manicure and not worry about chipping while on vacation.

She was correct - none of it was as I had remembered, and though I was happy with how it looked, etc., I do wish I'd chosen another color.  (I really got sick of it by Day 3.)  So last Sunday, I decided to get rid of the gel nails and since I would have to pay for that anyway, just get a regular manicure.

And that, my friends, is when I met Essie Demure Vixen.  I wanted some color, but nothing dramatic.  This ended up fitting the bill EXACTLY.  It is one of those shades where your nails look nice and clean and fresh, but you can't necessarily tell if a) the person is actually wearing nail polish, and b) if it has chipped, unless you are up close.

I liked it so much, that I poked around online to see where I might be able to buy a bottle for myself.  Apparently, it is from a few "seasons" ago, and the only place around here that had it was Ulta.  So yesterday, after work I stopped and bought myself a bottle of my very own.  :-)

My Sunday manicure was mostly chipped off, so last night I removed all of the polish.  But I got a pretty good run out of it, given the amount of stuff I had waiting for me at work that would have messed up my hands and nails regardless.

I shall give myself a manicure with this shade again soon, and can see it becoming my "go to" shade.  Now that I have also figured out a way to give myself a manicure that will generally last at least 4 days before chipping, it will be worth the amount spent on the bottle of polish.

So - if you like to polish your nails, but don't want a lot of color, etc., look for this and give it a try.  I think you'll be happy you did.

I just hope you can find the color if you are looking ... sigh.  Why do they get rid of some colors and others that are just butt ugly stay around forever??? (rhetorical question)

OK, that's it for now.  Have a happy upcoming weekend, and let me know if you find/try this shade.

18 September 2016

Back Home

We got home from our New England vacation yesterday morning about 10:00 a.m.  We'd planned it that way, since The Tim wanted to be sure that the last part of our trip got us through NYC early in the day, before we'd be likely to run into much traffic.

It was actually nice to have the better part of a day left once we got home.  The Tim had to go back to work today, and I'll be busy with laundry and getting the basics we need from the grocery store until we can do a "regular" shop.

I missed the kitties, and I missed our house.  But otherwise, I could have stayed away forever.  It was a wonderful trip, and though I know returning to regular life and the usual routine are things that make vacations special, it would be nice to know that if I wanted to go away again, it wouldn't be a big deal, i.e., counting down vacation days available at work.

Anyway, back to reality and the way things are.  Once I get my pictures organized, I'll share some of them here.  I took so many, and as is often the case, most were not that great.  :-)

I do have some posts I want to share soon, so I hope you'll stick around.  I realized the other day, that this particular blog is now four years old, as of September 1st!  I truly had no idea I'd been here this long.  I'm enjoying it, and hoping that those of you who stop by are finding it interesting and/or entertaining as well.

Here's one of my favorite pictures from one week ago today, to give you an idea of how wonderful our trip was.  Lighthouses are one of my favorite things.  This one is in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut.

See you again soon.

07 September 2016

Relatively Random

Hello all and Happy Labor Day a couple of days late.  I had a lovely, quiet, long weekend and for the most part, the weather was even agreeable.  However, now the weather is being rude and obnoxious again, and I am personally offended.   If it wants to be warm for a few more weeks, that is one thing.  But we are supposed to hit 94 degrees on Friday here, and go past a record from the 1800s.  That is not just annoying, it's also just wrong.  I am not amused.

Also - my allergies have decided that they have been gone too long.  Yesterday I think I went through an entire box of tissues.  Thanks, Obama.

We are getting ready for a vacation trip next week, and I just cannot wait. We will be doing a driving trip through New England, one of my most fave places.  I haven't been anywhere there for so long (not since high school), and The Tim has never been there at all.  We have our trip planned out as far as where we are staying each night, and we have some specific things we want to do/see, but otherwise, we'll be winging it.  When I was a kid, my mother's rich cousin (well, she was rich to us), who she was really close to (they grew up more or less like sisters), would send us a plane ticket every summer to visit her in Boston for two weeks.  While we were there, she would take all of us on amazing day trips to various places.  It was always fun, and compared our normal every day existences, extremely luxurious!  We had originally planned to do this trip last spring, but then our sweet Doodle Dog wasn't doing too well, so we cancelled it.  I would rather have him still here, but since he is not, we're going to hit the road and enjoy ourselves as much as we can.

Anyway, I have random things going through my head, and for better or for worse, feel the need to share.

This story is heartbreaking when you first read it.  However I would like to think that a) the father's last minutes of consciousness were happy ones. and b) that, given time, the daughter will be comforted knowing that the last thing she and her father did together was dance at her wedding.  I'm not saying it's not sad, but it has a bittersweet quality as well.  I would not be surprised to learn I'm the only person who feels this way.

Speaking of thoughts and opinions where I hold the minority view, I have to say that I do not like tattoos, and am actually sick of seeing them everywhere in the universe.  Most people I know both like them and have them, and some of them are really very nice, I just don't "get" it.  Maybe it's because I just don't feel the desire or need to have one.  Also, I'm not a big fan of voluntarily going out of my way to do anything involving needles.  I have had (and probably will still have) plenty of opportunities to spend way too much time with activities involving needles.  Though they do not frighten me, I'm also not a big fan.  It used to be that tattoos were a sign of non-conformity, and frankly I appreciated that concept.  Now they seem to be the ultimate in conformity.   There's a guy who owns a newstand in Center City Philadelphia, who is (from what I can see) completely tattooed - even on his face and bald head.  I always wonder why he took that route.

By the same token, I'm sure if he ever notices me at all (and why would he?), he wonders why I look like such a weird and boring person.  As my mother would say, that's what make horse racing ...

Moving on.

Do you listen to any podcasts?  I have a few that I enjoy, and one the non-craft-related ones I like is this one.  Though Alec Baldwin can be obnoxious in his personal behavior sometimes, I do think he does an excellent job with this podcast.  I enjoy the different types of people he interviews and like that some of them are people who I may otherwise never hear about or know.  Sometimes I'll think to myself, well, I'll listen to the first few minutes, but it probably isn't that interesting, and I end up listening to the entire thing.  You can also go back and listen to shows from the archives, which is nice since there are some I would have loved to heard when they were originally done - one of my favorites was the interview he did with the late Elaine Stritch, who played his character's mother on "30 Rock," and who has always been a favorite of mine.

Your mileage of course may vary.  :-)

That's it for now.  I don't know if I'll post at all while we are gone, but in any case, I'm sure I'll want to report on some of our adventures once we get back.

Take care!

23 August 2016

Feelings Are Exhausting

Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who go through life without any intensity to their feelings.  I think we all know someone like that.  When they are happy, they are happy enough.  Same when they are sad, confused, etc.  They live their lives without extremes.

I, on the other hand, am way too intense for my own good.  I've always known this, and though I consciously try to balance my feelings, it's not that easy.  I do manage most of the time to go through life doing well, but most of the time it takes some effort.  

A few months ago, I decided I was going to try and consciously be as happy as I could be every day.  I surmised that, except for a few people, most people that you are around on a regular basis, who are acquaintances or co-workers, don't spend a lot of time thinking about how you feel.  When they ask "How are you?" they are actually hoping that you'll respond that you are fine, or that if you don't, it's something quick like, "Oh I'm tired, I didn't sleep well last night."  No one wants to know your entire thought process and your emotional well-being stories.  And that makes sense.  Everyone has their own stuff to deal with every single day.

So I did my best to be positive and agreeable.  Some days were a lot easier than others.  I'm not sure anyone cared or particularly noticed - if they did, no one said anything.  One of my co-workers is a person who does NOTHING but complain, mostly about things that don't matter, and she presented a huge challenge.  I didn't want to let her drag me into her negativity.  Even on the occasions when she did, I was able to pull myself out without much trouble.

But you know what?  It's really exhausting to have feelings and just carry on every single day no matter what.  I'm sure you know this if you are a person who is not even as intense as I am.  I found, and find it, as hard to be positive as I do to be sad and miserable.  Keeping things on a reasonable and even keel takes a lot of effort.  Feeling sad but not despairing is as tiring as feeling happy but not euphoric.  Maybe it's just me, I don't know.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I hope anyone else out there who is trying to keep themselves going every single day, no matter how happy, sad, tired, or anything else they are, will keep trying.  I have learned the hard way that we only get this one shot at a life, and it's worth making an effort to do as well as possible.  In the end, the most important thing is to be yourself.

But wow, it takes a lot out of you! :-)

12 August 2016

Summer Friday Smiles

I don't know about things where you are, but it's really hot and really humid and really awful here in Philadelphia.  And weather people are warning that it will be worse this weekend.  Ugh.  

So here are some things that I hope will make you smile.  Just because it's Friday, and just because it's too miserable.

Keep cool and have a good weekend!

02 August 2016


August has arrived.  A month dreaded by many schoolchildren, as it signals the end of - or nearly the end of - summer vacation.  When I was a kid, we used to always go on our vacation during August, after all of the other kids had long ago been on theirs.  It used to please me, because even though waiting through the whole summer seemed unfair, then when it finally happened, it was an even better treat.  And the looming of the school year could be forgotten until it was nearly time to actually show up for the first day.

I still think of August as the winding down of summer, but now that I'm not in school, I think of it more as a month of transition, when summer things start to finish, and thoughts of fall and cooler weather can begin.  In our family, it's month of birthdays for those who are gone but not forgotten, and wedding anniversaries for those here to celebrate.  A bittersweet month, if you will.

by Mary Oliver

When blackberries hang
swollen in the woods, in the brambles 
nobody owns, I spend

all day among the high
branches, reaching
my ripped arms, thinking

of nothing, cramming
the black honey of summer
into my mouth; all day my body

accepts what it is.  In the dark
creeks that run by there is
this thick paw of my life darting among

the black bells, the leaves; there is
this happy tongue.

20 July 2016

Women vs. Women vs. Men

Let me say from the get-go that I am an equal opportunity mocker, criticizer, etc.  I am more than happy to do any/all of those to people of all genders, races, and religions.  Once, when I was sitting with The Tim watching something on TV, I said, "You know what I really hate?" and he responded, "Besides everyone and everything?" and I had to admit he had a point.

So I've never completely bought into the idea that women should never criticize other women.  For example, a few years back, when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were hosting the Golden Globes, they made a joke about Taylor Swift.  Swift responded by saying that women shouldn't criticize other women, because it's just wrong, blah blah blah.  This kind of thing makes me stabby.  First of all, it was a joke, second of all, it referenced Taylor Swift's many boyfriends and breakups (and it was funny), and third of all, I cannot stand Taylor Swift and it annoys the heck out of me that I know too much about her anyway.

In real life, where I do my best to mind my manners and live in a civil society, I try very hard to not criticize anyone just because I can.  And 99% of the time, it all happens in my brain, and though I feel better, no one gets hurt.  And also 99% of the time, it's stupid criticism, along the lines of, "Why is the person walking in front of me [on my way to work usually] wearing clothes that are too tight?  It looks awful."  But - a) in my head, and b) none of my business anyway.

That is just criticism for the sake of being a pain in the posterior region of the body, and though I excel at it, at heart I am truly sensitive, and try to never, ever actually criticize someone to their face in a way I know would hurt me.  Heck, even constructive criticism can hurt, even when you agree with what someone is saying.

But I do believe that women in general get more criticism and rude remarks than men do, and I have to say, that this election cycle is sadly showing that is the case.  Politics aside (and I know that can be hard to do), it shouldn't matter if someone's wife does not have a good stylist, or if a woman running for President is "old" and "dowdy."  It also means that someone who is stylish should not be judged only by that, regardless of how smart or ditzy or intelligent they may be.

So I am getting really frustrated with men calling Hillary Clinton a "witch" or "ugly" or "in need of plastic surgery."  But just as frustrating are so many of the "women-shouldn't-criticize-other-women" people I know, making remarks about Melania Trump's appearance or her accent.  Because if you are so firmly in the above camp, it should apply to every woman, not just the ones you may like or approve of.

Have I laughed at the memes about Mrs. Trump's speech including parts of Mrs. Obama's speech from a previous convention?  You bet I have.  I've also laughed at some of the memes about Hillary Clinton if they were just funny, stupid memes, and not about her appearance.  (Again, equal opportunity - see first paragraph.)

Why is it always open season on women's appearances and personalities, but only about important things and issues with men? (Rhetorical question, I know the answer.)  

Granted, being in the public eye means that you have given up a lot of your privacy.  And I will admit that as much as anyone else, I pay attention to how people look.  Heck, one of my favorite websites is Go Fug Yourself, where they take mockery and commentary to a whole 'nother level - but generally in the realm of fashion and Hollywood, and never in a personal attack kind of way.  

Do I wish people always looked nice?  Yep.  Do I always look nice? Um ... yep? (NO.)  Do I want someone who looks nice to be President?  Yep.  But in the end, wouldn't I rather have someone who is smart?


But mostly, I wish I could vote for Larry the Cat.

13 July 2016

Just Silly

Yesterday I came across this picture and posted it on Facebook.  Because even though I don't know the people involved, or where this was taken, I laughed about it all day.  Just thinking about it made me laugh.

So I decided to poke around to find some other photos that amused me and that I could share. I hope at least one of them (if not all) will make you smile, because I think we all need some silly.

Animals are always good for a photobomb.

(That cat has a nefarious plan ...)

This horse didn't think the little kids should have all the fun.

I think this one is perfect, because the cat clearly just walked into the frame and doesn't care at all about the bride and groom's artful photo.

I don't know about you, but that made me feel better ... :-)

04 July 2016

Thank You

For any and all comments, kind words, and prayers you sent our way after my last post.

I read every single one and appreciated it more than I can say.

I hope that all of you have been able to enjoy the long holiday weekend, and have a good week coming up.

23 June 2016

Life's a Beach

Now that the Summer Solstice has arrived, it really and truly is summertime.  And that means, if you have not gone shopping yet, it's time to get out there and buy a new swimsuit!

For some people, this is not one of their favorite things to do.  I know I am ambivalent about it, though I feel lucky since I bought a new suit last year (and then never even got a chance to get wet, either in a pool or by going to the beach).  

But I thought maybe some inspiration and pictures of good times at the beach might help inspire all of us.

Am I the only one who thinks they don't seem either footloose OR fancy-free?

Whereas, these bros are ready for fun and action in their amazing Jantzen swim trunks!

This poor guy!

He can only aspire to this.

I also never realized that this was the origin of "it" - though now, of course it makes perfect sense!

Regardless of whether or not you are lucky enough to have a Jantzen swimsuit or trunks, I doubt any of us have EVER had this much fun.

Who will she choose?????

No matter what you do though, I think we all know that everyone looks better in a swimsuit if they eat a healthy diet.

You learn something new every day, no?

P.S. I remember Jantzen swimsuits.  But they were too expensive for our family's pocketbook, so I don't think any of us ever had one.  Clearly we missed out ... ;-)

Have a good upcoming weekend, and don't eat too much [i.e. any] lard!

17 June 2016

Dirty Clean Hair

Hello and Happy Friday!  Actually I have to admit I'm actually not happy that it's Friday, because we have been on vacation this week, and so this is my last vacation day from work, which is way beyond depressing.

One of the things I did this week was get my hair cut.  I had originally made an appt for cut and color, but since we have been investing a lot of dollars into Dug's rehab therapy, I changed it to just a cut.  I was hoping that my gray hair would work to make it look good.

Well, I am pleased with my haircut - nice and short for the summer, and I don't have to blow it dry unless for some reason I want to (you know, a state occasion like someone's wedding or something).  But my gray hair has let me down, I'm afraid.  There's not enough of it to make the rest of my hair color look OK.

Growing up, I had blonde hair.  By the time I was 30, it was not the light blonde of my earlier life, but more of a dark, muddy blonde.  I used to get highlights, which helped a lot in making the rest of the muddy color look acceptable.  Then a few years ago, I decided to try getting all-over color, since I keep my hair short and the highlights grew out too fast.  My stylist at the time talked me into a shade of red, and not only did it look great, but it grew in just fine, with no weird-looking roots.

The last time I had my hair colored was about six months ago, when I had a falling out with the guy I had found and originally liked who was cutting and coloring my hair.  He insisted on doing what *he* wanted, and I was not pleased with the result.  So by the time I went to get my haircut on Wednesday, it was all grown out.  I had a nice splotch of gray in the front, and then other gray throughout, and it broke up the dull.

Sadly though, most of the gray got cut out.  And I'm left with sprinkles of gray, but 99% of my head is the color that my blonde hair used to be when it was dirty!

The good thing: I'm really the only one who cares.  I have finally realized after a bazillion years on the earth that 99% of the people I see don't notice me, or my hair, no matter how good or bad it looks.  Plus, at some point, I will have a ton of gray hair, and hopefully it will look nice.  In the meantime, I can save my $$ so that the next time, I can get some color.

The bad thing: I own mirrors. ;-)

08 June 2016

Thought Provoking

I do not want to discuss politics here, so if you are tempted to praise/rant/illuminate in the comments, please refrain from doing so.

But, for the first time in history, the U.S. has a presumptive nominee for President from one of the major parties.  Whether you loathe, like, or just don't care about Hillary Clinton, she did just make history, and it's a milestone.  Good for her, I say.

When I was a little girl, the newspaper was still divided into "Help Wanted - Male" and "Help Wanted - Female" sections.  At different points during my time in elementary and high school, I mentioned possible careers I would like (sportswriter, veterinarian), and was told they were not things that girls could do.  Any sports played by girls were in gym class only.

I am 60 years old, so this was not that long ago.  We have indeed come a long way.

I mean, this article is from 1968, and if you read it, it sounds like it's from a much earlier time!


And speaking of women, and how everyone has an opinion about what clothes are appropriate for older women, how they should wear their hair, etc., a friend sent me a link to this blog post and though I am not a fan of the F word, it did make me laugh in the context of the posting.  

I mean, even though we all know that older women all look like this:

Whereas, older men are always handsome, right?

That's it for now, I need to go out into the library reading room and "Shush" people ... 

03 June 2016

Happy Friday!

I think we've all thought this at one time or another ...

Have a good weekend!

30 May 2016

Memorial Day 2016

They fought together as brothers-in-arms.  
They died together and now they sleep side by side.
To them we have a solemn obligation.
 -- Admiral Chester Nimitz

May God bless every one of them.

24 May 2016

Product Review - Nivea In-Shower Smooth Lotion

A few blog posts ago, I mentioned this:

and said that I would write a review soon.  Then, more than two minutes went by, and I forgot anything and everything that I did, said, ate, wore, etc. that day.  Welcome to my life.

But then the other day I remembered as I was actually using this product, and so here you go.  Some background first, so that you know where I am starting out.

As I have gotten older, the skin on my person - particularly on my arms and legs - has become drier.  As in, scaly, crepey (also creepy), and flaky.  I always had problems in the wintertime, as I think lots of people do, but in the past 10 years or so, it's a year-round problem.  I've tried different things, some being more successful than others.  My biggest issue was often remembering to put any lotion on after drying off from a shower or a bath.  I'd go to get dressed, and then think, "Oh crap I forgot."  And then usually just keep getting dressed.  (Particularly during the week, when the morning routine is on autopilot, and deviating from it can throw me off for the entire day!)

So when I recently read a magazine article that recommended Nivea In-Shower Smooth Lotion Skin Conditioner (needs a shorter name!), I figured it might be worth a try.  I had a coupon from CVS, and then it was on sale one week, so I bought some and tried it.

The directions say to use it in the shower after you have washed and rinsed off.  You rub some on, wait a few minutes and then rinse it off.  It also warns that it can make the bathtub slippery, so rinse it off the tub floor as well once you are out of the shower,  WHAT?

Anyway, here is how I use it.  Because of course I have my own "rules."  Most of the time, I use it only on my arms and legs, because they are the parts that are ridiculously dry.  I only put it on my entire body once a week, because, again, RULES people!  (Just work with me here, I know it's weird.)  I always check before I get out of the tub to see if the bottom is slippery, and at least in our tub, it never seems to happen (and The Tim has not slipped and hurt himself, so it's either that our tub is so old and messed up that it doesn't ever get slippery, or I don't use enough of the stuff ...).  What I like best is that once I'm out of the shower, I'm done - no more forgetting to use lotion or cream!

The bottom line, regardless of my rules and other weird commentary, is that this stuff is really nice. It feels good on your skin, has little to no scent, and doesn't leave you feeling greasy all day.  My legs and arms have shown improvement, and are not nearly as flaky as they were before.  It's not an expensive product (here's a CVS link, showing it for $7.99), and you don't need to use a lot at any one time, so it will last a while.

I'm very pleased with this product, and would recommend it to anyone who has dry skin issues.  Like I said, it's not very expensive, and at least at the drugstores near us, if you keep your receipt you can always return products that you don't like/can't use (within a reasonable time frame, of course).

Let me know if you do try it, and what you think.  I hope you get a good result like I have.

13 May 2016

Retro Fitness Friday

Hello there!  Do you have exciting plans for the weekend?  I don't have anything specific as far as time is concerned, which is nice because I can just enjoy being on my own (The Tim has to work both days).  I'm hoping tomorrow to clean up some things around the house, and then on Sunday, venture over to the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Fine Art Fair in Rittenhouse Square.

I'm also hoping to get back into my exercise routine, even if in baby steps.  Which made me think that if only I had some decent exercise equipment to use, I'd probably be so much ... healthier?

Well, OK a kickboxing gym just opened not far from my house.  But I don't think I have the right dress for it.

But then again, why do that if I could have "Dramatic New Bosom Beauty" ... (I mean, she seems pretty happy about the whole thing, right?  And you can't beat the price!

Everyone could probably stand to increase their flexibility, and obtain the "keen relish of a healthful existence," because well, the whole keen relish part.

Whereas, if I had this piece of stellar equipment, it wouldn't even matter if it was too rainy to go horseback riding outside.

Or for the manly among us, The Bullworker might be the answer!

I tell ya, that Peter Shilton is something else, no?

Or, you could take what I'm sure is a more comfortable route.

Of course, as we all know, before starting any exercise program, it's good to check with your own physician.

Whatever you do, enjoy your weekend!  (And do take care of yourself.)