12 November 2017

Sunday Shape Up Series : Week 7

Hello from chilly Philadelphia!  Finally, as far as I'm concerned.  It doesn't have to stay this cold the whole time, but finally November is feeling like it should. 

I have a mixed bag of results this week.  I started the fingerless mitts for The Tim last week, but quickly realized with other things on my plate that were required, I wasn't gonna make a lot of progress.  So I've decided that yes, I'll still make them, but rather than agonize that they will not be ready for this birthday, they will be come Christmas gifts.  So that goal was adjusted.

But I did get the rest of the warm weather stuff either packed up, or in the laundry to be put away clean, so I'm calling the other goal complete.

The Tim's birthday is next Saturday, so this weeks' goals are all related to that.

1.  Organize the gifts I have and get them wrapped.

2.  Clean up around the house so we can enjoy a chore-free weekend next weekend.

3.   Bake the birthday cake!

My niece and her husband may come for the weekend, but right now that's still up in the air, but even if they do come, it doesn't really require any extra activity.  I love getting ready for his birthday, since I love being able to wrap up his gifts and make the cake.  So other than slogging through being at work this week, it should be a good one otherwise.

Stay warm, and if you are making goals as well, good luck this week!

06 November 2017

Sunday Shape Up Series : Week 6

Well - I thought I posted this last night, but apparently just left it as a draft!  Here you go, one day late.

**********

Wow, six weeks already I've been doing this - and for the most part, being motivated by it.  Yay for me. :-)

I'm happy to say I'm back on track with myself.  As a matter of fact, not only did I put away the things like tank tops, etc., I managed to put away a lot of warm weather things, and get out some of my clothes for cooler weather - because hope springs eternal, you know.

I was pretty upset when I went to make the gingerbread muffins though - I think I recycled the recipe!  Ugh.  Fortunately, I found one that was *pretty* close.  It's certainly an acceptable one, but I may keep looking to see if I can find one that matches.  Who knows.

Anyway, this week I have only two things I am hoping to do:

1.  Get well underway on a pair of fingerless mitts requested for his birthday by The Tim.  I wish he had requested them with more time for me to make them, but I'll do my best, and he is very understanding as far as things not being completed on the actual day they are gifted ...

2.  Finish putting away warm weather clothes and getting out cooler weather clothes.  It's not like I have a ton of things, but I can only work on it for so long until I get stabby!

I think these two things are reasonable, so hopefully this time next week I can report that they were.

I hope you've been successful if you have made any weekly goals for yourself.  And I hope you have a wonderful week.

29 October 2017

Sunday Shape Up Series : Week 5

Today is a dreary, rainy day here in Philadelphia, but last week was really nice and fall-like, so that's fine with me.  Yesterday we celebrated our 39th (!) wedding anniversary, so it's been a nice weekend. 

After a few very successful weeks, last week was pretty much a bust with my goals.  Overall, it was kind of a weird week anyway, and I felt out of sync with myself most of the time.

The big news for me is that I *did* finish the sweater I'd been knitting, by finally binding off the neckband!  I'm pleased with it, and hope to get a picture to post soon.  So it wasn't all a total loss. ;-)

Since I didn't get any of my other goals even started from last week, I'm carrying them all over to this week:

1. An uptick in my activity/exercise

2. Organize the "true" summer clothes (tank tops, shorts, etc.) and not just get them ready to put away, but actually start putting them away.

3. Bake gingerbread muffins.  I was actually gonna do that today, but The Tim is busy in the kitchen baking bread, so my baking will wait for another time.  Which is fine, so no big problem there.

Unofficially, I'm trying to decide what book I want to read next.  I just finished three books I'd been working on, and for the moment, don't know what I want to read.  I read a Halloween-themed book, so that pleased me, but now I just need to look at the bazillion titles on my to-be-read list and make a decision.

I hope all of you have a very Happy Halloween, with treats but no tricks.  See you again soon.

24 October 2017

Just Not What I Expected

Hi there!  Well, it's a gloomy day here in Philadelphia - as well as being ridiculously windy (or as the weather people say, "gusty"), we are supposed to get downpours this afternoon.  Other than walking home later today, I don't have to be out in it, so I'm not too disappointed that it's not a perfectly beautiful day.

Moving on from the weather, I wanted to talk about something that has struck me lately.  I read quite a few blogs about various topics, and for the most part, I enjoy them.  I like hearing several different voices talking about things like reading, cooking/baking, fitness, etc. because like the knitting blogs I read, everyone has something different to offer.  

But I have to say that the ones that puzzle me the most are the ones where every single day, there's a post showing what is called an "OOTD" - or Outfit Of The Day.  These are people who generally write about lifestyle - traveling, cooking, how they spend their spare time - you get it.  But they also have a photo - or 5 - of them wearing their OOTD.  

I "get" taking pictures of a recipe that you are making as you do it, and/or a shot of the final dish.  I also understand photos of things you saw/found/bought when you were out and about, particularly if it's something unusual, or if you got a good bargain.  I don't quite get taking a picture of yourself every day in what you are wearing.  That seems like a WHOLE LOT of work to me.  Granted, some of the photos are clearly snapshots using selfie sticks, but quite a few are like magazine modeled photo shoots.  Who takes these photos?  Who has time every day unless they do not have to work to organize the whole thing?  And who has a completely different outfit for every single day?  And by "outfit" I mean an organized, put together look, not the lazing-around-the-house clothes you change into when you get home from work.  (For me, even those "outfits" are not different every day!)

Now don't get me wrong, it's not that I disapprove of this practice.  I don't really care, and I've even been known to look at one and saying to myself that  "Oh yeah I never thought about wearing it that way."  I guess it's just not what I was expecting, since none of the blogs I follow are primarily fashion or style blogs.  


(Above image from the blog "What Katie Wore" which is no longer current.  But as you can see, Katie wore some interesting combos.  I actually kind of wish I'd known about this one, I think it would have been entertaining.)

I know a lot of people wear a "uniform" every day, in that they have some clothes that they have consciously purchased that all coordinate with each other, so that getting dressed for work is easy in the morning, and I actually can appreciate that.  I guess I just don't have the wearwithal or the desire to make an effort every day to create, wear, and photograph an "outfit."  

Do you do this at all?  And who *does* take the photos?  Inquiring minds want to know. :-)

22 October 2017

Sunday Shape Up Series : Week 4

Wow - that was a quick week!  But it was especially good at the end, since yesterday I had a wonderful, fun day with Dee, and then got to meet her husband Steve in the evening when we all went to dinner and hung out.  It's so nice to get to spend time with someone of a like mind.  I have lots of acquaintances, but don't really get together with them much IRL.

And I am pleased to report that I accomplished all of my goals but one this past week!  The one I didn't get finished, was the neckband on my sweater, which I fully expect to finish today.  I was at the point of binding off the neckband and I didn't like the way it was looking, so I did some "crowdsourcing" to ask about preferred neck bindoffs.  I looked into the different suggestions, and I think I know the one I want to use, which is a sewn bindoff.  I'm gonna try it this afternoon, so wish me luck!

Here's what I'm hoping to work on this week.

1.  An uptick in my activity/exercise.  I've managed to get back into a certain kind of groove here, but want to do at least a bit more, because I still need to work a bit harder.

2.  Organize the "true" summer clothes (tank tops, shorts, etc.) and get them ready to put away.  I switched out my summer shoes last week, so now I'm moving on to the next stuff.  It's not feeling fall-ish enough for me here yet, but I also know I'm not gonna be wearing the summery-est stuff anymore, so why not get it together to put away until next year?

3.  Bake gingerbread muffins.  I love gingerbread muffins, and the recipe I use makes a lot of them, and they freeze really well.  Besides being nice for breakfast, they are a good snack with some tea at mid-morning at work.

And that's it.  I really do think that doing these posts is helping to keep me focused on doing things and making an effort without being overwhelmed.  I hope if you are trying things too, that it's working for you.

Have a great week!

15 October 2017

Sunday Shape-Up Series : Week 3

Hello there - I didn't mean to be quiet for a week, but last week was both busy and draining. 

It was good in the sense of what is happening here though, because I met my goals, and was also able to keep some things going, and that makes me happy.  I am most pleased that I am slowly but surely getting back to exercising, since that is not just good for me overall, but it helps my osteoarthritis keep from making me miserable.

This week my goals are modest, and I also want to keep going on the things I can continue.  Hopefully I'm on a roll!

1. Finish putting together a sweater.  I was able to work on this during the week one evening, and I'm hoping to finish seaming it together today or tomorrow so that I can knit the neckband, give it a good after-seaming block, and then actually wear it!  It's supposed to cool down, so in theory I could wear it sooner rather than later.

2.  Putting away summer shoes.  It's not like I have so many, but a couple need to be thrown in the wash before being put away until next year, so I'd like to get that done.

3.  Planning at least one meal ahead.  I used to do better at this, and it was useful.  And I hate coming home from work and realizing I didn't give any thought to dinner.  And it's especially annoying when, if I had only thought ahead, I could have pulled something out of the freezer to thaw, and would only have had to heat it up when I got home.

4.  I want to give the cats a brush at least once.  Another thing I used to do more regularly.  They all enjoy it, I'm sure it feels good to them, and it controls some of the shedding.

There you go.  How are you doing with any of your plans for the week?

08 October 2017

Sunday Shape-Up Series : Week 2

Hello and happy Sunday!  I hope your week was OK - mine was fine, pretty much what I expected.  The good parts are always the time at home and with friends.

I did pretty well with my goals for last week.  There were only two that I didn't catch up with at all: I didn't write in my notebook at all, because to be 100% honest, I couldn't find where I put it!  (I have since found it today.  Someplace that was extremely unlikely.  Who knows.)  And I didn't start knitting any socks, mainly because I am sort of obsessed with finishing the bottom border of a top I'm knitting.  I am more than halfway through though, so the socks should happen this week.

Those two are still on the list to just even start.  The others from last week have either been accomplished or are well underway.  I managed to exercise three times last week, which made me feel like I'd really done something good for myself.  The Tim and I together made biscotti so the baking goal was met.  And though I didn't do perfectly, I did manage to hold things together more than I was expecting I could do at work.

Hoping I can keep the positives going, here are my goals for this week.

1.  I want to get some cards and packages organized and in the mail.  All of them are late, but I want to get them to the people they are for before they become TOO late.

2.  Now that I found my notebook, I do hope to write in it a minimum of two times.

3.  I hope to do some cleaning up around the house.  In some ways, I can't do a whole lot, since we are still living surrounded by the "in process" aspects of The Tim's various projects, but I still need to get some things cleaned up/off.

And that's it for this week.  I would like to say one of my goals is to get fall weather to return, but that's completely out of my hands ... :-)

Have a good one!

04 October 2017

Gather These Rosebuds!


Have you ever tried this lip balm?  Well, actually it's one of those products that people use for various purposes, but I LOVE this stuff as a lip balm!

Smith's Rosebud Salve.  In an old-timey tin.  With a happy pink shade, which does not actually show up on your lips.  With the *faintest* scent of rose, which dissipates immediately.  This stuff is ridiculously wonderful, people!

I had seen and read passing references to this stuff for years, and frankly thought it was one of those "remember when such-and-such was manufactured, why did they discontinue it" products.  Then a couple of years ago, I was waiting in line at a Sephora, at holiday time, because I was going to purchase a couple of gift cards (when all else fails and you are buying for a makeup junkie, it's a good gift, trust me!).  In the area where you wait in line they have these bins with small and/or sample/travel size products.  I was waiting, most likely thinking of cake or wishing I was buying something for myself (because, duh), when I started to poke around.

This was in one of the bins!  It still exists!  And it's $8.00 for the tin, which I was willing to pay because a) I wanted to try it, b) it was an old-timey tin, and c) it wasn't a super small size, so I figured it was worth it.  Plus, Sephora accepts returns, so it was a safe purchase.  Because my life is relatively dull, this turned out to be the highlight of that day.

Now you should know that the absolute minute the weather cools down - not when it gets cold, just when it cools down - my lips become severely chapped.  The kind of chapped where I actually get little cuts.  I've tried plenty of lip balms, and of course some are better than others.  But I'm picky, in that I don't like things that are too thick, or things that are too oily, or smell weird, or have ingredients (i.e., mint) that hurt the little cuts in my lips.  I think I've tried nearly every product on the market, and there are some I do like and use.

But people - this is the one that is NO competition for the others - hands down!  (Lips down?)  Just a teeny amount of this on a finger, smoothed over your lips not only immediately feels wonderful, but is just the perfect consistency.  It feels soothing without feeling "medical" and stays on for just as long - if not longer - than other products.  I especially like to use it at night when I go to bed.  Sometimes I'll even slather on a little bit extra, and when I wake up in the morning, my lips have not dried out and they feel so good.

Clearly I am a fan of this product.  But you want to know what's even better?  It's cruelty free!!!


Add to all of that the fact that the tin lasts for a loooonnnng time, so the price is worth it on a per-use basis.  Win-win!  It also comes in a tube, but as you may have guessed from reading this, I'm a fan of the tin.  The company makes other products, which admittedly I have not tried, but I'm guessing they are just as good.

If you are looking for a really wonderful lip balm, I can highly recommend this one.  And just so you know, this is not a sponsored post, and I am not in any way affiliated with the company that manufactures Rosebud Salve.  All opinions are my own, so know that I do not benefit from writing this, other than hoping that some of you might be able to find a lip balm that you love if you decide to try it.  :-)

01 October 2017

Sunday Shape-Up Series : The Start

Hello there!  Happy October 1st, a day which is a good one as far as I'm concerned.  It's the start of the  months where (at least theoretically) heat and humidity leave the area, leaves start to change, the weather is cool and crisp, and anticipation builds.  In our family, it's the start of what is known as the Birthday Marathon, since there are a ton of birthdays beginning today through December 31st.  October 1st marks the day I first became an aunt, at the age of 13, to my nephew Chad.  And this year, it's the "official" start of my Sunday Shape-Up Series. 

I'm hoping I'll do well with this.  I may not, and as long as I feel like I gave it a fair shot, I'll be able to live with that.  But I'm hoping it will help me get back to some things, start some new things, and start being mindful about life and the world around me again.  I'm hoping to turn some iffy habits back into good habits. 

In that vein, here are the things I would like to accomplish in the next week.

1.  I would like to exercise at least two days this week.  It doesn't have to mean going to the gym, rather I would be happy with two nice walks after dinner, or a nice leisurely walk on the weekend.  Cleaning up the garden would count, and I'm even hoping I can take a Pilates class, if not this coming week, at some point during the month.

2.  I want to write in my notebook at least twice this week.  Nothing elaborate, if I can jot down even three things that make me happy, or that I am grateful for, or even things that annoy me and need to be let go, that will count.

3.  I want to start knitting a pair of socks with this yarn.


I'm 99% decided on the pattern - well, I've at least narrowed it down to 2 choices ...

4.  I want to bake something.  I'm thinking a cake, since we are having a friend over for dinner on Friday, and her birthday was yesterday.  But we'll see what happens there.

5.  I want to make a special effort to keep myself on an even keel emotionally.  This week is one that I know will be particularly challenging (and not in a good way) at work, and I'm sure to have a hard time keeping it together.  But if I can work hard to stay even, it will be a huge help to my overall feeling about things.

There you go.  Nothing major, nothing drastic.  I want to start with things that are challenging but also achievable.  And if I am even just able to make one of them work, I'll count that as a win.

Let me know if you're gonna give anything a try.  I'll be back next week to give you a report on how well I did or did not do with my list.  In the meantime, I hope your week goes well.  :-)

27 September 2017

Seriously, What Is the Deal With Men?

OK, that is a gross generalization, as I know plenty of men who are wonderful human beings - fun, talented, smart, reasonable, and as far as I'm concerned, "normal." 

I won't be talking about them in this post though.  Instead I will be making gross generalizations, which is not something I usually do, and which I know is not an ideal way to look at the world.

But.  Seriously, what is the deal with men?

The local news had a story last weekend about a young guy (in his 20s I believe) who showed up at his ex-girlfriend's house.  When her mother answered the door, he shot her.  This was because the daughter had broken up with him.

This or some variation of it seems to happen a lot.  Men who have somehow been wronged, or one of my least favorite words, "disrespected," turn to violence against the woman/children/her family as their first line of action.  I'm not saying that women don't occasionally behave poorly after a break-up, but I don't hear about as many of them killing or badly injuring anyone.

In what world does it happen that your girlfriend dumps you, or you get a divorce, or your ex gets remarried, and the ONLY choice you have is to "get even" by killing them?  I'm being serious.  I don't get it.  I get being angry, hurt, even mortified.  But even on my worst day, it wouldn't occur to me to kill someone over anything like that. 

On a lesser note, but still as ridiculous to me, are men who immediately turn to extreme language name-calling if you do not 100% agree with what they have said. 

I have two examples that happened recently to yours truly.

Example 1:

I  attended a going away party for a neighbor.  OK, it was not so much a party as it was a small get-together with wine and cheese.  But I digress.  I got a glass of wine, and was talking to another neighbor who knew a lot more people than I did, and a short while later, there were about 7-8 people who had joined us.  Someone mentioned that they had been to the gym that day.  One of the men said, "Well, be careful that you don't work out so much that you look like that she-man, Michelle Obama!"  Everyone laughed but me.  I started to walk away, and another man asked me where I was going.  I responded that I was going to wish the moving-away neighbor well, and head home.  He said, "What - you don't like us?"  And foolishly, I said, "I wasn't comfortable with the conversation.  I happen to admire Michelle Obama."  That's all I said.  And I said it politely, in a normal tone of voice. 

He responded by immediately flying into a rage, and yelling, "Well then get out of here, you ____, ____, miserable libtard!"  (I cannot bring myself to even type the first letter of two of the words, but let's just say there are words used only at females.)  Another guy from the group said, "What did she do?" and as he was regaling them with my offending comment, I hustled out of there and headed home. 

I was really upset by this - not at anyone disagreeing with me, but by how quickly it had escalated and become me vs. them.  Yes, I could have just said something benign like, "I'm heading home, I'm tired," but a) I didn't, and b) I shouldn't have had to worry about it in the first place.  But it went from zero to 100 mph *immediately.*

Example 2:

This is from Facebook, where I know people are happy to hide behind being online, but it's still just as ridiculous.

There is a local reporter who is an architecture critic for the local newspaper.  She writes really interesting columns, and I follow her on Facebook.  Last weekend, she posted a link to an article about some local hair salons that were looking into using hair dye that was not dangerous to their clients.  The article discussed some of the dangerous chemicals, etc. used in hair dye.  The reporter posted the link with the comment: "This is good news for those of us who color our hair."

Then other people posted comments about the article, but one man commented "I think Ms. ____ should stick to writing about architecture," and a woman responded, "I respectfully disagree - she can write about whatever topic she likes."  His immediate response (and trust me, I'm paraphrasing) was that she should go home, mind her own business, and serve her purpose of having babies.  To say it had escalated quickly was an understatement.  And then he proceeded to lambast any other female who commented, regardless of what they had said. 

Because I am nosy (or to quote my mother, I am a "nebshit,"), I went to his FB page, where from what he had posted, it appeared he was an older man in a relationship with another man.  His FB page was benign as far as posts so if you had only looked at that, you'd think he was just a regular person.

I don't get this.  And it also makes me angry.  I'm really tired of having to tiptoe around men in case their fragile egos are offended.  And especially when they don't seem to make any effort to be considerate in the first place.  Plus, since overall most men are physically larger than I am, there's always the threat of physical violence lurking in the background.

I don't expect people to get along perfectly, or that the sun will shine, flowers will bloom, and birds will sing happily every day while I skip to and fro going about my business.  But I do expect basic civility, from women AND men. 

It seems to me that anyone whose immediate response is violence is the one with the problem.  And I also think a lot of it starts with the belief that "Boys will be boys."

OK, I'm done, and this rant is over.  I just had to get it off of my chest without worrying that someone would go batshit crazy.

Thanks for listening.

24 September 2017

Sunday Shape-Up Series Announcement

Well hello there!  Fall has officially arrived - though the weather still needs to make the realization (I mean, 91 degrees and humid on September 24?  Pffft), and I don't know about you, but September and the arrival of fall always make me want to start fresh.  In everything and anything, it's actually kind of like a second New Year's to me (but with the holidays still on their way!).

In other words, I am always inspired to "shape-up" and get myself in gear.  And I don't mean only shaping up in terms of exercise and activity - rather, I want to get going in as many ways as I can that are important to me.

So in order to keep myself honest, I'm announcing my Sunday Shape-Up Series, which will officially be underway by next week, on Sunday October 1st.  (The OCD part of me likes to start with the new month, what can I say?)

Here's how it will work:  I'm going to make a list of things that I would like to do long-term (i.e., through the end of the year or more), and short-term (this week? tomorrow?) and post them here.  Then each Sunday, I will regale you with tales of how I did or did not work towards them.  I figure if I have realistic plans, and something both immediate and long-term to think about, I'll do better than if I say that I am going to DEFINITELY do X by such-and-such date.

That's it really.  If I accomplish said goals, that will be a good thing.  If I don't, I will either decide that tomorrow is another day, or that maybe that goal is a) actually not attainable for me, or b) not something I'm really committed to doing, and go from there.

Will it work?  Who knows, I hope so!  Only time will tell.

Care to join me?  Feel free to make up your own version of this and share it - or not - with others.  In a way, it's kinda like a KAL or MAL (in craft terms for those of you not familiar, that means "Knit-Along, Make-Along" where people work on projects together for a period of time), but completely personal and adaptable to your own situtations.  The deadlines, the ideas, all of it is up to you and in the time frame you decide.

In any event, I'm giving it a try and if nothing else this is a warning that if you show up here, there will be a minimum of one post a week, and it will be on this topic.

Things are swimming around in my brain as I write this - now I just have to try to pick and choose where to start!  (OK, that could easily take a week ...)


10 September 2017

Just When I Thought I'd Figured It Out

As you likely know, I am an animal lover.  The Tim and I are vegetarians (though admittedly we eat fish on occasion), and we try really hard not to buy leather shoes, bags, etc. (though we still use/wear things we've had for years).  So we are not perfect - like most people - and we are not vegan - because we are ridiculously fond of dairy products.  But we do try to be conscious about what we are buying and what we are eating.

For many years, I've done my best to be really conscientious about beauty products.  I made every effort to buy and use things that were listed as being cruelty-free.  And for a while, it seemed that more and more companies were jumping on the bandwagon of wanting to be cruelty free, not testing their products on animals.  I was pleased because some of my favorite products and brands were on board, so I could buy and use their products in good conscience.


But that has changed in the past few years, apparently.  I don't know exactly when it happened (because frankly, I was going along obliviously), but at some point China demanded that any products from other countries that were sold there be tested on animals, as that is part of their accepted protocols.


I first became aware of this when I read a letter-to-the-editor in an issue of Allure magazine. The writer was bemoaning the fact that a product she had been using and really liked - Urban Decay Naked Palette - was now something she couldn't buy because they had started doing business in China, where animal testing was required.  Oh crap, I thought, and decided to do some research.  It was eye-opening to see all of the companies - drugstore and high-end brands - who had been cruelty-free, but were no longer.


From what I can determine, a lot of the companies that used to be cruelty-free still are, but have been bought out by larger companies that are not cruelty-free. Which adds another whole level to the issue.

Sigh.  Just when I thought I'd been careful enough to avoid using things tested on animals!  It's very disappointing to say the least.  Of course, China is a HUGE market for just about anything, and businesses are in business to make money.  

I've been making more of an effort than usual lately when I finish a product, to look for a replacement that is acceptable.  And that's OK, it's my responsibility to pay attention when I am buying things - be it safe food, non-polluted water, or face wash.  

But it was sure a heck of a lot easier when more companies were doing the right thing.

Thanks, China.


30 August 2017

I'm Really Tired of All of This

Seriously, people.  I don't know if it's because I'm feeling sensitive about certain things, or if it's just because I am in general a cynical and easily annoyed person, but HOLY PENCILS BATMAN give me a break!  

Rants ahead.

First up, the current occupants of the White House.  I think anyone who has met me knows that I feel that 45 is a POS, and I don't mean Point Of Service.  Yesterday, when he was scheduled to visit Houston, I read a report about how it would be interesting to see if he could prove to be a good "Consoler-in-Chief," given that he "appears to lack empathy."  Well he performed as expected, and I ask myself OH MY GOD HOW YOU CAN YOU LACK EMPATHY????  Galling.

Then, his wife.  On the one hand, you have the "Don't Reduce Her to What She Is Wearing, It's Not Important, and Women Should Stop Tearing Each Other Down" crowd, and on the other hand you have the "But She Changed Into Sneakers Once They Landed" crowd.  

My take?  This is an imperfect world, and the stiletto heels and sunglasses were a stupid choice.  It gave the appearance of trying to look fashionable rather than practical when visiting a dangerous place in a hurricane zone.  Also, why the sunglasses - it was not sunny in DC or in Houston?  And by extension, why is she always squinting, does she need prescription glasses?  I don't get her.  And how she dresses is not the most important thing in the world, but people do notice and if Michelle Obama got slammed for wearing shorts on Air Force One, we can criticize Melania for wearing stilettos.  It didn't ruin my day, but I still think it was stupid.  Also, the whole "Women Should Stop Tearing Each Other Down" thing makes me stabby.  Women are people, and if we should no more give them a pass due to gender than we should men.  When a woman acts stupid, improperly, rudely, insensitively, etc. she should be called out on it.  

The kid.  He's a kid, let him wear what kids wear.  Leave him alone, leave him out of it.  He's got enough to deal with given his father and older siblings.  God help him.

OK, next.  Yesterday morning on my way to work, I was waiting to cross the street and there were a group of four people in front of me.  One of them said, "I am so upset because my car is going to need $1500 worth of repairs and I don't know how I'm going to afford that."  Another person said, "You shouldn't be complaining when thousands of people are suffering more from Hurricane Harvey."  And that annoyed me.  Granted, if she had been upset about breaking a fingernail, I would agree.  But you know what?  People's problems and their suffering are real, regardless who has it worse in the world.  I am guessing that the first person was feeling awful about what was happening in Houston, but also worried about her personal finances.  Each is legitimate, and there are no prizes for who suffers the most.

Sharing the sidewalk.  I know that in a lot of places, there are sidewalks that are as wide as buildings.  But I live in Center City Philadelphia, where the streets are tiny and the sidewalks tinier.  When I am walking with someone else or even a group of people, and even a single person is coming the other way, I move behind who I am with so they can walk past.  It's not hard, and it's never meant that I've missed a golden nugget of wisdom from the mouth of my companion(s).  It appears that I am one of the few people who do this.  And if you DARE to say "Excuse me" and try to pass, people look at you as if you just ate a baby or something.  I've even gotten the sarcastic, "Oh excuuuse me for living" type of comment.  It's a sidewalk.  No one should have to walk in the street and risk getting hit by a vehicle because you are walking along with someone else.  To quote George Costanza, "We're living in a SOCIETY, people!"

Nazis.  'Nuff said.

If you are still reading, thanks for letting me get this off my chest.  It won't change anything, but it makes me feel better.  Because now I can take my lovely perfect self and my estimable personal behavior and move on with my day.  And that should make all of us feel better, right?  ;-)

31 July 2017

Time for Some Product Reviews

Hiya - I wanted to be sure to get in another post before the end of July.  (I know, I'm getting in under the wire here!)  We are slowly but surely getting back to normal after having to say goodbye to our sweetheart Jetsam, but as all of you who have lost someone know, it never is easy, and there is always the loss.  Thanks for  your kind comments on the post on my other blog. You guys are the best.

How's about I tell you about a couple of things I've used/been trying and what I think of them?  Not that you have to feel the same way, or even give them a try, but I know that I often read what others have to say before I decide whether or not to plunk down cash for something.

So let me tell my thoughts on two products:  Almay Intense I-Color Volumizing Mascara, and Innersense Beauty Inner Peace Whipped Cream Texturizer.   There's good news and bad news.

First up:


First let me say, I love mascara.  I am fortunate enough to have long eyelashes that are also quite full (even at my advanced age), and since I feel that my eyes may be my best feature, I like to accentuate them with mascara.  Also, since I wear glasses, I like my eyes to actually show up.  I am not overly fond of black mascara, since my eyes and skin are so pale, it can make me look ghoulish.  (Please note: I do not wear mascara all the time - only when I am getting dressed up or going to work.)

I used to use Almay mascara pretty regularly years ago.  Then they changed the formula and I moved on to other products.  I'm a person who is just as happy with something from the drugstore as I am if it's from a boutique or department store, as long as I like it and it is a good value.  So when I was at the end of a tube a month or so ago, I decided to try Almay again, since two people I know who are very picky had been singing its praises.  I bought the  Sapphire shade because I thought it would be pretty.

I am sorry to say that this product is a big fat NO for me.  First of all, a LOT comes out of the tube.  I tried the trick where you pull it out against the tip of the opening to get some of it off, and that just created a big blob on the opening, and left still too much on the wand.  I tried using a tissue to wipe the wand before I used it on my lashes, and all I got was a messy tissue.  I could probably have lived with that if I'd loved the product, but it was hard to get on evenly, and it almost immediately clumped and flaked.  Plus, after about five minutes, my eyes felt itchy and I noticecd a little burning.  It didn't look nice, and I didn't like it, no matter how reasonable the price point.  Needless to say, your experience may differ, but I was really glad bought this at CVS, where I could return it.  I tried it on five separate occasions, and not one time was I pleased with the result.

Fortunately, my next product experience was a positive one:

(old packaging, which shows up really well)
(new packaging, which barely shows up)

Years ago, I used to get my hair cut and colored at a salon that was uber-organic.  The stylist used this on my hair, and I really liked it so I purchased a jar (back when it looked like the first image).  I really liked it, as it was lightweight, barely/hardly/not really scented, and it WORKED!  Even better, you use a really tiny amount, so though it was not cheap (it was $16.00 a jar back then), it lasted a good long time.  

My hair is S-T-R-A-I-G-H-T.  It's fine and soft, but I have a lot of it.  It has no real body, and so it sits on my head, flat, and often sticking out in spots.  Again, if I'm sitting at home, who cares, but if I'm getting dressed up or going to work, I like to look a little bit more presentable.  I am not exaggerating when I say that over the past few years, I've tried hair products at every end of the price spectrum, and none have helped my hair look nice at all.  I had stopped going to the salon where I got this a few years back, since it is not really that convenient to where I live. And they were the only place in the city that carried this line of products.  

BUT - I realized that I could look online!!  And there it was - in a new container, and $4.00 more expensive, but with the same formulation.  So I placed an order, and it arrived, and to be honest, I almost hated to open the jar.  I was sure that in the intervening years, it had become strongly fragranced, or different in texture.   I needn't have worried - it was only the outside appearance that had changed - whew!

This stuff is great.  It's really lightweight, but allows even my soft hair to look better, and hold a style (OK, I am too lazy to actually "style" my hair, but work with  me here).  You still need just a small amount for maximum results.  And there is hardly any scent ... what is there dissipates almost immediately.  If your head is sweaty, or  has been under a sunhat, you only need to fluff with your fingers a bit, and things look good again.

So, yes it's somewhat pricey for the initial outlay, but I'll easily have this for a year or more.  It works.  Your hair doesn't smell, and people around you are not overwhelmed by some random scent (some of the others I've tried -WHOA!).  

So now you know. Whether or not you even care.  My opinions, for what they are worth.  Let me know if you have any other products you've tried, and if they did/did not work.

22 July 2017

Sad update

Please visit my other blog to see what the title means.  I can't write it twice.

10 July 2017

The Loveliness of Just Being

I have been trying really hard in recent years to be more mindful - especially with time.  Instead of always thinking of the next thing or place, I've been trying to make myself appreciate more the here and now.  It's not easy, as I generally have about 48 different things going on in my brain at any given time.  (Not necessarily big or important things, mind you.)  

But I have actually made a lot of progress, especially compared to when I started.  And yesterday was a perfect example of how nice it is when it works the way you would like it to work all of the time.

Here's the basic breakdown of my day:
  • Got up
  • Spent an hour or so just thinking, relaxing, reading, cuddling kitties
  • Fixed and ate some breakfast, with a cup of tea
  • Watched "CBS Sunday Morning," because I wanted to see the segment about Louise Penny
  • Check e-mail, read blogs
  • Cleaned up my breakfast stuff, and put on my sloppy clothes to do some garden work/sweeping up outside
  • Put some flowers into flowerpots
  • Put new topsoil on the planting areas in the front of the house and in the garden
  • Put decorative rocks in both places
  • Watered everything
  • Took a shower
  • Read a while
  • Knitted a while
  • Read some more
  • Walked to the market for a few things
  • Prepped a quiche for dinner and put it in the oven to cook
  • Read some more
  • Ate dinner
  • Cleaned up dishes so The Tim could wash them
  • Changed clothes to go to a concert
  • Went to concert
  • Came home, washed up, and put on my pjs
  • Went to bed
OK, so that is likely more detailed than you cared or needed to know.  But I did in fact do all of those things.  And the list is kind of long.   Even so, each thing was done with actual mindfulness.  I managed to do each thing on its own, not multitasking, not rushing through one thing because I knew others were coming up, or that I wanted to specifically accomplish x number of things in the day.  Granted, the things highlighted in blue were slightly more easily done since The Tim took a really long nap in the afternoon, so I was completely left to my own devices, but I could have done them as well if he'd been around (he's just a "let's do so-and-so RIGHT now" kind of person).  

I enjoyed my day.  The weather was really nice, so being outside in the garden was extra enjoyable.  But as I was reviewing the day in my head as I was getting ready for bed, I realized that I had been present during the whole day - the time when I was relaxing, reading, knitting, cooking, I was aware that not only was I doing it, but it was the only thing I was doing at the time.  And it felt nice, calming, and nothing felt like a chore.  

Maybe it's was the planets being properly aligned, because I have no delusions that this will be my life now.  But I have to tell you, it was really GOOD to experience just being.  And an even better feeling not to worry that I wasn't also doing ten other things, or planning all the things that should happen next.

In a word, it was lovely.  :-)

(Lake Gerar, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware Photo by my niece Amanda)

*The concert, for those of you wondering (and I know I would be), was James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt, and it was worth every single cent we'd paid for the tickets!

27 June 2017

I Often Wonder ...

Lots of things, to be honest.  But these things have been on my mind lately:

** How do some people always look perfect?  For instance, I have a next-door neighbor who works full-time running her own business, has a kid, a husband, and a dog, and no matter what, always looks amazing.  I don't mean, amazing as in always fully made up with her hair fixed just so, etc.  I mean, she will come back from running, and look better than I do on my best days.  Seriously, how is that possible?  I would just like to know.

** Do people still teach their children manners, and to be kind?  I am someplace where I am around a lot of kids all day long.  It seems that whether they are with their own parents, or with teachers/chaperones/other caregivers, politeness and kindness are the exceptions.  When I was a kid (during the mid-20th century), I knew that if I misbehaved AT ALL when we went someplace, that there were consequences.  And I didn't even have really strict parents, but there were still rules.

** When did being smart become something bad?  I don't mean being a know-it-all, or a show-off, I mean just being an intelligent person.  It seems that now, being smart means being "elite" and therefore not caring about anyone else.

** Why do we always hear that people who live in the Midwest are a) the only "real" Americans, and b) kinder than anywhere else?  Why don't "real" Americans live in Maine, or in Idaho?  And it's been my personal experience when I have lived in the Midwest that people there are no kinder than they are anywhere else that I've lived.  Frankly, I get pretty sick of hearing about it.

** If I had four children, people might comment about it, in that a lot of families these days are smaller than that.  But the fact that I have no children and four cats makes it open season on people declaring that I am some kind of weirdo Cat Lady.  No one ever calls a woman with four children a weirdo Kid Lady.

** How do people manage to knit so many things in such a short period of time, particularly when/if they have full-time jobs and a family?  I knit A LOT, and granted, I'm not the world's fastest, but even so, I have been feeling amazed at myself when I can knit a pair of socks in a month.  Do these other people never eat or sleep?

** Why do so many employers seem to frown upon people actually using their vacation?  Especially in the U.S., most of us get such a paltry amount (2 weeks out of a whole year??), and then when you actually ask for the time off, they act like you are some kind of low-life.   In many countries, workers routinely receive more time off, and are *expected* to take it, and somehow those countries and businesses still exist.  How shocking.

** And every day, every minute, I wonder how the current resident of the Oval Office still has people who think he's great.  I'm not sure I'll ever really be able to wrap my mind around that one.

15 June 2017

Glamour Do's and Don's

When I was a kid, one of my older sisters had a subscription to Glamour magazine.  She was all about fashion and style, and what was the latest, etc.  I would usually take a look at it, because I took a look at/read nearly everything that was in the house (seriously, my parents had no interest in censorship - I'm sure I'd be in the care of Child Services in today's world).  Sometimes I found it interesting, sometimes it was all beyond my interest or understanding, but my very favorite part ALWAYS was at the end of the magazine, where they would have the page of Do's and Don'ts.


This isn't really a good representation of what it used to look like, but you get the idea.  I used to enjoy this because, at least when I was a kid, I seldom saw people actually dressed or made up like the "Don'ts" and found it highly amusing.

I haven't looked at a Glamour magazine in many years, so I have no idea if I would have the same kind of appreciation for it.  But I'll still see people whose attire or makeup is astonishing/frightening/whatever and think to myself, "Surely that's a Don't."  But that's as far as I take it.

Today though, we have a LOT more people deciding what is or is not appropriate - in just about every category.  I am particularly fond of the ones where they inform us of what women should/should not wear/do after the age of ____ (fill in the blank).   I guess I find it even more shocking/amusing that to some, it's gospel truth!

But a friend recently showed me this item, and I was highly amused because: a) after 30??? are you kidding me???, and b) one of the items is hoop earrings!!!  When I read this, I laughed out loud, because I don't understand how hoop earrings are a problem for anyone of any age.







I'm afraid I don't get it.  Granted, I see some hoop earrings that are so large/heavy/embellished that I would never wear them myself, or I would find them uncomfortable if I did, but I've never seen anyone of any age wearing hoop earrings and thought, "Whoa, that shouldn't be happening."

Shorts where your butt is showing?  I don't personally want to see anyone wearing those.  Sheer tops/dresses/pants?  Same thing.  I mean, there are so many other things to choose from, and someone is taking a stand on HOOP EARRINGS???

If you're looking for me, I'll be taking off my hoop earrings, putting on my orthopedic shoes with rolled down  knee-high nylons, and sitting in my rocking chair until it's time for my medication.

23 May 2017

Kindness

"Always be a little kinder than necessary"
James M. Barrie

A few years ago, I became aware of the One Little Word concept through some blogs I follow.  In a nutshell, the idea is that you choose a word to guide you through the next year.  For instance, if you chose the word "Joy," you would try to guide yourself throughout the year to find, experience, and give joy.  It's a way of teaching yourself another way to be mindful.

I decided to try, and chose the word "Kindness."  Mainly because I knew in my heart that *true* kindness was difficult for me.  I have an easy time being kind to those I love, or to those who are kind to me.  I think everyone finds that pretty simple, even a no-brainer.  But it has always been hard for me to be kind to those who are not that way in return, or to those who didn't somehow measure up to my expectations.  I thought that perhaps if I could consciously become a kinder person, I would become a better and happier person.

At first, it was truly difficult.  I am not patient, and do not suffer fools gladly.  I also tend to be annoyed by things that don't even concern me, and am quick to judge.  I would find myself in my usual mode, and then remember that I was trying to be kind.  (I mean, I even bought a necklace with a pendant that said "Be kind" to help remind me!)

The funny thing was, as the year progressed, I started to realize that I had internalized my desire to be kinder and was often acting that way without having to consciously remind myself.  I tried to look at people and situations in a different light, which was a hard thing for me to do.

It was really hard.  It still is.  But today I'm a much kinder, much better person than I was before.  The One Little Word has really stuck with me, and there are several times a day I think of it.

These days, the world does not seem as kind as it may have been before.  It's difficult to turn on the TV, read a newspaper, or log in to social media and not come across some event, attack, behavior that is appalling, tragic, or inhuman.

I think that in this world, in these times, kindness is more important than ever.  And in a lot of small ways, I think it is stronger than ever.  Reading about the attack last night in Manchester, England, where completely innocent people attending a pop music concert fell victim to pure unadulterated evil, has emphasized this to me.  People in the town immediately started doing what they could to help.  Hotels opened their doors to those looking for a safe place to be.  Law enforcement did not just look for those who set off the bomb, they went into crisis mode to track individuals and provide what information they could as soon as it was available to them.  This morning on Twitter, there were so many messages from individuals offering people a place to stay, a home-cooked meal, or even just a cup of tea.  These are acts of kindness, maybe not ones offered every day to every random person, but there nonetheless when needed.

Sadly, there are more kinds of evil in the world than ever.  Fanaticism in its many forms seems to have increased.  Innocence, once lost, cannot be regained.  Evil, once unleashed, cannot be obliterated from existence.  Things can seem bleak, hopeless, and it's easy to be overwhelmed.

But if there is one thing I have learned in my own journey, it is this: there are no small kindnesses.  Every time you are kind to someone else just because you can be, you are standing up to evil and helping to restore humanity.

Be kind when you can be.  Even when it's hard.  Especially when it's hard.

15 May 2017

When the Unexpected Works Out

I would have to say that 99% of the time, I'm a fairly cautious person as far as buying things goes.  Particularly in the case of clothing, since getting things that both fit me and that I like for a price I am willing to pay can be tricky.

At the moment, I don't remember exactly how it turned out this way, but I recently found myself in the possession of a $75.00 J. Crew gift card (I think it was from a return of a gift after Christmas).  I'd forgotten all about it, and came across it when I was cleaning out various pieces of paper and whatever from my purse and wallet.  Hm, I thought - $75.00 is a lot of money, I should spend this.  So I poked around on the website, since the closest store to us is somewhat small, and I'd actually have to change out of my pajamas on a weekend to go there.

I saw a few things I liked, and gave them consideration, but then I saw these and for reasons I still do not completely understand, decided that maybe the gift card should go towards purchasing them.  There was some kind of sale going on, so between the gift card and the sale promotion, they were under $50.00.  Still in this state of weird unreality for me, I ordered them.

What was that about?  JEANS?  I have a hard time finding jeans that fit me and that I like.  And "boyfriend" jeans?  With rolled cuffs?  What in the name of a small black dog named Pete was happening to me?  First of all, it was unlikely they were going to fit; if they did, the legs would likely be too tight to suit me; and, they were probably going to look ridiculous.  My only consolation was that I knew I could return them, but I was irritated at myself, because why did I buy something that was not going to work?  

So then I probably saw something shiny, or thought about pie, because I completely forgot I'd ordered them and went on to be concerned about something else that I'm sure was unimportant.  As one does.

A few days later, the package arrived and I was actually embarrassed.  It was visual proof of my huge mistake in judgement.  But I opened the package, if nothing else, to see if it would be easier to return things via mail or get dressed and walk up to the store.

The thing is though, the jeans kind of looked nice.  And when I took them out of the plastic bag they had been shipped in, they didn't look all that "trendy" or tight.  They actually looked like they might fit.  And the rolled cuffs could be unrolled.  I was intrigued.  So I figured, what the heck, and tried them on.

Huh.  They FIT.  Really well.  And the legs were not tight.  And they looked nice, not like I was trying to make people believe I was 30 years younger and 20 pounds lighter.  Because I am not a supermodel, they were not as cropped on me as the picture on the website showed.  I actually liked them.  And so I decided to keep them.

Since that time, I've worn them four or five times, and it turns out that they are one of the nicest pairs of jeans I've ever owned.  Even The Tim, who seldom comments on anything I wear, said, "Are those new jeans? They look nice."  WHAT???  

I have decided that it was just one of those times when the universe was on my side, and the planets all aligned.  I am unlikely to ever order jeans online again, from any website, because I feel like I've used my one free pass.  

But boy is it making me happy in the meantime ... :-)


See?  HAHAHAHAHAHA - who IS this???

09 May 2017

An Unpopular Rant

I noticed my last post was in March.  Ugh.  Sorry about that.  It's been a rough few months, and though the desire was there, the making of time was not.  Hopefully I'll get back here on a more regular basis.

Of course, if I am lambasted and made a social outcast by this post, maybe not ...

Disclaimer:  I think that parental leave is a very important issue, and that it's clear the U.S. needs to get their act together - and I think fathers need as much access to it as mothers do.

Having said that, I think that employers also need to determine how to deal with the work not being done while someone is on maternity leave.

Of the seven times I've been working with someone who has taken maternity leave, there has been only one time when that person came back to work full-time after the official leave time was up.  The others either quit over the phone the day before they were supposed to return (for real - they were able to get the full benefit), or extended their leaves indefinitely, right before or after returning to work.

As someone who has taken up to eight weeks for medical leave, I fully understand that it's inconvenient for co-workers and employers.  Either the work doesn't get done at all, because you are the only one who knows your position (my case), or someone else has to do their work and yours for the time period when you are out.

Currently though, there is a situation at work that is making my days miserable.  One of my co-workers took maternity leave beginning on December 5, 2016.  She was due to be back on March 6, 2017.  During the time she was gone, I was told (not asked, not suggested) that I would be doing her job as well as mine (which is already a job that four people used to do).  No extra pay, of course.

In the spirit of being supportive, and knowing that people had to deal with me being out on medical leave a few years back, I did my very best between December and March.  I was not allowed to take any days off that were not already scheduled, which was a pain, and when I broke my ankle and DARED to be out for two days, I was reminded of the importance of being at work.  Blah blah blah.

March 6 arrived, and the co-worker returned.  At a departmental staff meeting on March 8, it was announced that the co-worker missed her baby too much and didn't want to put him in day care all of the time, so she would be coming in for 1-2 days a week "indefinitely."  She is still considered full-time and being paid and getting benefits as such.  Nice work if you can get it, if you ask me.

I then asked our boss (privately) what this meant for my workload, and it was like I was speaking Ubangi or something.  What did I mean?  Of course I would keep doing her work, she is at home with a baby!  She will be "working from home" a lot and "checking in."  (She is a person who deals with the public all day, every day, btw.)  They can't afford to hire someone to fill in for her, and don't have any extra funding anyway.  So I will be continuing in the current situation "indefinitely."

When I was on medical leave, I did not receive any pay or benefits, so went back to work as soon as it was at all possible, and was not given a part-time option.  I completely understand that my co-worker finds it hard to leave her baby, I'm sure it is.  I'm sure she is also exhausted a lot of the time.  I know her life has changed dramatically.

But again, I'm stuck.  And frankly, I'm annoyed about it.  HR says it's not an "HR issue," and even a friend of mine said that I should not be complaining because someone was extending *maternity* leave!  Because, as I'm told whenever a co-worker with kids gets time off and I don't, "I don't have a family, and they do."  (Apparently The Tim and the kit kats are bogus family.)

Employers need to realize that maternity/paternity leave is essential for the employees directly involved, but also for those picking up for them as well.  I am barely able to complete any of my work, and I refuse to start working longer hours because of this.

OK, I may have lost a lot of you here, and if so, I'm sorry.  But it's unfair, and frankly I'm royally sick of it.

If you are still here, thanks for reading to the end, regardless of your feelings.  I'll try harder next time to post something less bitchy.  :-)

08 March 2017

International Women's Day

Today, I went to work.  Because I don't have any extra days to take off, and couldn't have taken off today anyway, because of our work situation.  I had intended to wear red, but was in walking zombie mode when getting dressed this morning, and completely forgot.  Oh well, at least I  had a red bracelet on ...

BUT - I have a job, even if it is one with issues.  I get a paycheck once a month, and since my husband is also employed, I get decent health insurance through his work.  I actually am lucky enough to have that choice.

Not every woman has anything close to that, and yet there were still people who asked, "Well then, when is International Men's Day?" (My response would be every day, but maybe that's just me.)

We are living in a tenuous time, when poor women are being even more and more marginalized.*  Many of those that write the laws and pass those same laws are anxious to put the poor in their place, to stop them from being so lazy, or from playing the system.  

Women are just so often not seen as that important or as useful, especially once they have provided children (preferably male, to "carry on the name"), and when they stand up for themselves, the criticism is rampant.

You know what?  There are some women who are lazy. There are some women who try to play the system.   There are some women who are only ever looking out for themselves.

Just like some men - wait, WHAT???!!!

I hope enough people of every race, gender, and persuasion will keep fighting and keep annoying those in power. 

*as are men and children, but I am focusing on International Women's Day here.

********

On a kinda/sorta/maybe-not-really-related note, the other day, an acquaintance of mine who is about a year older than I am, was telling me how she found a great pair of new jeans over the weekend, and was going to wear them out to dinner with her friends this week.  She posted a picture of herself and her friends on Instagram, and her new (and might I add expensive) jeans, were the kind that are ripped and torn.  When she asked me if I'd seen it and I said yes, she asked me what I thought of the jeans.  I said they looked fine (and they did, she looked nice enough).  She asked me why I never wear ripped jeans, since they are in style.  

And I had to tell her that she will likely never see me in ripped jeans, if I can help it.  And though she assumed it was because I thought I was too old to wear them, that's not really the reason.

When I was growing up, we were poor.  As in, really poor.  But my parents always took pride in the fact that we were always clean, and that our clothes were always not just clean but presentable in spite of circumstances.  People who wore ripped clothing back then were poor people, and my parents always said that just because we *were* poor, we didn't have to *look* poor.  Our clothes were mended if they ripped or torn.

So even though I know that things are different today, there is still a huge disconnect for me.  

As in, these women are poor:



But these women are stylish:




And they are all wearing ripped jeans ...

Nope, I can't.  

19 February 2017

Things I've Learned That I Already Knew

At my appt with the orthopedic dr on February 10, she said that things were healing nicely, and that I could start using one crutch instead of two.  She also told me that she would see me in another month, and hopefully then I can get rid of the cast.  This is all good news, and I'm grateful for any and all of it.

But thinking about it, I realized that having the cast and the crutches and the limited mobility has taught me things that I already knew, but they are invaluable reminders.  I'm sharing some of them here, so that all of us can consider things in our own lives that fall into that category.

I am the luckiest person in the world.  At some point, my cast will come off, and I will be able to move around in my usual way, with no limitations but my own, related to age, physical condition, etc.  Some people never ever ever have that luxury as a possibility in their lives.

Multitasking is not a necessary (or maybe even preferable) way to live your life.  I've pretty much been limited to doing one thing at a time lately.  Oh sure, I can knit and watch TV, and those kind of simple and usual things.  But I have been reminded that I can do one thing at a time and then move on to another thing and a) they both get done, and b) the world continues.

Slowing down makes life better.  Not that I live a fast-paced, jet-setting life, but like most people, I try to get as much done on any given day as possible (with occasional do-nothing at all days).  Well, during these last few weeks, I haven't been able to easily move around, even in the house (maybe even especially in the house - all those stairs!), and I find that I am able to be more mindful, as well as more appreciative of time and place.  And at least in my case, slowing down has not had a negative effect on anything I usually try to accomplish quickly.

Time spent reading, knitting, or whatever is never wasted time.   Do not feel guilty for doing things that you enjoy, that help you relax, or that mean something to you.  Again, the world continued.

Asking for/accepting help is not a bad thing, and can even make other people feel better.  I generally feel that if I *can* do something myself, that I should.  But there have been a lot of things I have not been able to do myself, and though at first I felt bad or hesitant, I have now realized that people want to help, and often don't know how.  And if/when you accept their offers of help, you make them feel that they are really doing good.

Self-pity is very seldom helpful.  Years ago - actually as a teenager, I think - I started to allow myself one day where I could wallow in self-pity, for whatever reason (and God knows as a teenager, there are SO. MANY. THINGS).  Whether it meant staying in my pjs in my room all day, or having a major crying jag, or just mentally listing all of the ways in which the world was against me, I'd pile it all into that one day.   Then I would move on for a while.  I still do this, though getting older mean it doesn't happen as often.  But I have been reminded lately that the only person who cares about your self-pity is yourself.  And in the end, you haven't really gotten anything out of it.

Shoes are awesome.  Being able to get up every day and put on any pair of shoes you want to, is the best.

What about you?  Do you have any lessons you've learned recently that you already knew?


07 February 2017

Then There's This

I have a question for you:  Do you remember when people would find out they were going to have a baby, and then when you talked to them, they would say, "Guess what? We're going to have baby!" and then you would congratulate them?  Or if you didn't know them well, they might drop you a note, or you'd hear it from a friend, and think that was nice?

Those were the days, no?

Last week, when Beyonce* announced she was having twins, there was an entire photo shoot, with people acting like she was the first person to ever have a baby, much less twins.  Now having a baby seems to call for entire production numbers.  And then there are the ever-popular "gender reveal" parties - where the couple gets the gender of the upcoming baby from their doctor, give it to a bakery without looking at it themselves, and then invite their friends, cut into the cake, and it's either pink or blue!

And angels rejoice, of course.

You may have guessed I find these things tiresome.  And you'd be correct.  And lest you think it's because I'm becoming a grumpy old woman, I feel I should tell you that this kind of stuff has always annoyed me.  I am all for people sharing their good news, but give me a break.

There is a knit blogger that I also follow on Instagram, and last year, one day she posted a picture of baby feet wearing handknit booties.  The caption said something like, "I had a baby a couple of weeks ago, and we are all doing fine.  It was hard not to talk about it all the time, but I decided to wait until it actually happened."  People left comments that made it sound like she had stolen money from them or something.  I congratulated her and said I admired her decision to do things the way she wanted to do them.

Then there is this article that I read last summer, and thought "Wow."  Good for her.

I realize I'm probably in the minority here, but then again, I usually am ...

*I am so not a fan of Beyonce, but I would have been just as annoyed if it had been someone I really like, trust me!

30 January 2017

The New World Order Is Making Me Stabby

Well, things have certainly gotten off to a depressing start this year, no?  Between The Orange One and his ilk trying to shut down the Constitution, and me gimping around on crutches, it's been hard to be Little Mary Sunshine.  Not that I ever am Little Mary Sunshine, but it must be really hard for those who are.

I am proud as can be of my family, they all participated in the Women's March, and those in Baltimore attended the marches this weekend in support of allowing refugees into the country.  We are a committed group, I have to say, and that makes me both happy and proud.  We are also a loud group, so I'm glad we can use our loudness for good.

I don't understand why refugees are the enemy.  From what I know, those who would do us harm are seldom interested in entering the country legally, and our vetting process for immigrants is already very intensive.  And frankly, some of the scariest people in the world to me are white Americans, and they always have been.  And I say that as a white American!  I mean, look at the Sandy Hook shootings if you need an example.  And yes, I know he was mentally ill, etc., but nonetheless he was a white American with access to guns.  Ugh.

Wow, Bridget, tell us how you really feel ...

Anyway, as mentioned above, I am gimping around on crutches these days, going into my third week.  I have a broken ankle, and frankly it sucks, though I am grateful I can get around at all, and that it wasn't worse.  As I was walking home from work a few weeks ago, one of the construction workers at the site of the 534th Comcast Center bumped into me, and I turned my ankle.  At the time I didn't think it was a big deal.  But the next morning it was really swollen and extremely sore, so I stopped at Urgent Care and x-rays showed it was broken.  I have never ever broken a bone in my life, so this is all terra incognita to me.  I remember in elementary school, there were a few kids who always seemed to have broken arms or legs, but maybe because I spent most of my time reading instead of running around or skiiing or whatever, I missed that childhood experience.  I daresay it's probably easier to deal with when you are a kid.  Oh well.

Fortunately, The Tim is willing to do the cooking, laundry, etc.  Though I do wish he did not feel the need to bleach everything, but that's nothing new.  I know he's not thrilled about it, but to his credit, he hasn't been whining.  However, I know that when you are used to a certain routine - particularly on mornings when you need to get to work on time - having that changed in a major way is disconcerting at best.

I am knitting, reading, and anything else I can do to both keep myself busy and also keep myself sane.  We have some movies and TV shows recorded to watch, so when we are both at home, that is a good distraction as well.  This past weekend, I managed to make it to get my hair cut, which improved my mood immensely (not to mention my appearance!), and also meant that this morning, I didn't have to spend valuable minutes getting ready for work trying to get it to look at least OK.

So, as you can see, things are pretty quiet in everyday life around here.  But I'm watching, and have no plans to sit back and say nothing whether I'm on crutches, or once I can get around on my own.

19 January 2017

The High Road

Today is monumental in my mind.  It is the last day we will be living in the U.S. with a decent, honorable, and respectable person as our president.  Beyond incredibly sad, I also feel worried, frustrated, annoyed, and just plain old disappointed.

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not going to go quietly into the next four years, or just sit and home and feel sorry for myself.  The same things that have always been important to me will be, even more so if possible, and I will continue to act when I feel it is necessary.  But everything is going to be different, and I'm not convinced it will be OK or better.

I have been doing my best to try and remain level-headed and civil around others who feel that the ascendancy of the Orange One will be a wonderful thing for our country.  It's been difficult, but I do believe in manners, civility, and human discourse.  Likely they will not change my mind any more than I will change theirs, but if we can not devolve into fisticuffs, we will all have our say.

That's the problem with The High Road, at least for me, and it always has been that way.  As a child, I had a really violent, hair-trigger temper that I could not control.**  At all.  No one else in my family is wired that way, and I think I was a constant worry to my parents and often made them fearful.  For as long as I can remember, my parents would try to instill in me that even if I got angry and lost my temper, that I should try my best to apologize.  I used to ask my mother, "Why do I have to apologize, and the other person never does?" and her answer was always, "Because it takes a bigger person, a better person, to admit that they were wrong.  I want you to understand that, and to take the high road whenever you can."

And I get it. Really and truly, I do.  And at least in my heart, I do want to be the bigger person, the better person, even if it's not for the most noble of reasons.  I think it's worthwhile to always try and be that person.

But why do I always have to do it, and the others don't?  Why is the double standard OK?  Why did I *always* have to apologize to my brat of a cousin Billy when I'd called him a name or punched him (I was not above physical confrontation), but he never ever ever had to say "I'm sorry" for anything?  I mean, he was usually the one who started the problem in the first place!  (His mother always claimed he couldn't help what he did/said, because he was "sick."  Even as a young kid, I'd respond to my mother, "Oh, he's sick alright.")  He knew that he had a pass on his behaviour.  So why act differently?

Fast forward to our current situation.  We are being told to "just get over it" with our concerns about our new leader, new Cabinet, new everything.  We are sore losers when we express a different opinion.  We are the ones who are criticized for criticizing, even if it is done in a peaceful and respectful way.

All of the members of  Congress who skipped Obama's inauguration?  That's different than the disrespect being shown this time around, when others are saying they will not attend tomorrow's event.  Blocking judicial and other appointments made by Obama?  That's not the same thing as the HORRIBLE shade being thrown at some of the new Cabinet nominees, by calling them "unqualified."  It was the same during the Reagan years, the Bush years, the Clinton years, and I'm sure probably since the Caesar years.

I support The High Road.  I don't think anyone should confuse it with becoming a doormat, and I do believe there is value in the saying and the practice of, "Whey they go low, we go high."

But boy, do I wish The High Road was a two-way street.

NOTE: I know I'm likely preaching to the choir here, but it felt good to get that off my chest.  I hope that for all of you, tomorrow and the coming weekend will be filled with meaningful and peaceful activities that will allow you to cling to your soul.  We're all going to need that moving forward.


**I do a better job now.  Most of the time.  Especially the physical confrontation part ...