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


"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 ...

11 January 2017

I Really Don't Mean to Be Contrarian, But It Seems to Just Happen

Hello, and before we go any further, Happy New Year!  I've been dealing with the cold/crud/whatever that is going around, and though I've been reading the blogs I enjoy, and occasionally commenting, I've usually felt too out of it to post much myself.  But here I am, and I hope that so far, 2017 is treating you well.

I decided to write this post, because not feeling well usually makes me even crankier than I usually am.  Now let me start by saying I was an old-person crank even as a teenager.  So it's not like being sick or getting older has suddenly turned me into one.  But sometimes it's just worse than others.  And various things can trigger a particular bout of the cranks, so you cannot always predict when it might happen.

A lot of the time, my crankiness is due to feeling quite differently about things that others assume I like because I fall into a certain group or type.  Now sometimes I agree, and it's no big deal.  I can appreciate the Cat Lady things, and find them amusing, because I see a lot of myself in them.  And though I don't feel I'm as squirrely as the typical Librarian stereotype, there's a lot in that concept that reflects my personality (i.e., I wish I could get people to just shut up about 99% of the time).  I have even been known to point out to others that I am a potentially perfect combination of what others may find to be a frightening concept:  I am a librarian.  I wear glasses.  I have lots of cats.  I like to knit.  I'm guessing for a lot of people, this is what they see:

But you know, with cats everywhere, and knitting stuff on the desk as well.

Lately though, I'm getting annoyed, cranky, and even offended by things that everyone else is embracing.  This is not unusual, and to be 100% honest, I really and truly do not care if others are amused, thrilled, inspired, or whatever by these things.  I just wish they would not assume that I am.

Case in Point #1:

a. I am a breast cancer survivor.  This apparently makes the majority of people I know think that I am completely inspired by things like women who have had mastectomies getting large tattoos where there breasts used to be and then posing for photos to prove their strength.  I'm not inspired.  I say, good for them, do what makes you feel the best and that you are reclaiming your existence.  But I don't really care, and frankly I don't really want to see it.  

b. I am also annoyed by things that are meant to be amusing about "boobies" (which except for the word when it refers to a bird, I think should be banned from the English language).  I am not amused by "Boobie" scarves, hats, blankets, whatevers.  Do a quick Ravelry search on the word - ugh.  I find it to be demeaning, frankly.  But an awful lot of people I know think it's adorable, hysterical, empowering, and will create world peace (OK maybe not that last one).  Fine.  Just do not assume I'm on board.

Case in Point #2 and the current reason I am feeling contrary:

Pussy Hats.  I get it.  I appreciate the point attempting to be made and why.  I really do.  But I am one of those people who truly believes that the word should only ever be used to talk about felines, aka pussy cats.  Part of it is my age, my upbringing, and my own personal idiosyncratic belief system and personal rules.  I am perfectly fine with people who are embracing the idea, and making hats, wearing hats, and are 100% on board.   I am not. 

Don't get me wrong.  I plan to participate in the Women's March here in Philadelphia.  I have no confidence in, or respect for, our incoming administration, and though it isn't much, I feel my participation will at least be something I can actively do.  If I have the yarn (I have no pink yarn, but some reds), the time, or the inclination to knit anything, I'll knit a Resist Hat, which to me is more relevant, something I can see wearing more than just one day, and whose message is more in line with my concept of why I'm even bothering to join the others.  

Again, to each their own.  I'm just not interested in that part of that particular bandwagon.

And then, on a much smaller scale, Case in Point #3:

This is so minimal, it's not even worth mentioning, and yet I am.  (Being contrary again, you see!)  Apparently there is a big recall of Hostess Twinkies.  I have never been a fan of Hostess Twinkies, though admittedly, I can plow through Hostess Cupcakes in record time.  Currently I live in Philadelphia, home of Tastykakes:

Let me assure you, Philadelphians take their Tastykakes VERY SERIOUSLY.  I learned that when I first moved here, and happened to mention that I liked Hostess Cupcakes better.  The horror!  

The truth is, at this point, I think it's been years since I've had a Hostess Cupcake.  And I do like the KandyKake flavor of Tastykake (peanut butter and chocolate), so I'm not a complete barbarian.  But frankly, if I hear one more person around me talk excitedly about how Twinkies have been recalled, but Tastykakes never have been and that is why they are so superior, I may have to go into the fetal position for several hours.

Clearly, I just need to stay in my house and never engage with the world ... ;-)