Other Places

I’m considering changing the name of this blog to “Other Places” because that’s where I do my sharing these days. On a scale of 1-10 – v Instagram is 1 (best) and Facebook is 10 (worst). In between is Twitter, Gab and MeWe. Even though I have a long standing account there, Parler gives me a headache. This is something that I wrote on Instagram this week – as you can see, it’s longer than the usual entry over there.


This week marks a 75 pound weight loss for me since July. Weight loss wasn’t my primary objective – I was looking for the cardiac benefit of going vegan but I’ll take it. (Did you know that it’s passé to use the term vegan? Now the thing to say is plant-based. Further, my particular corner of the planet is known as PBWFNF – plant-based whole foods no fat.) Anyway, lots to be happy about now but there’s sadness, too.

I’ve been hanging onto some really good business clothes that I outgrew, waiting for the day that I’d slim down and fit in them again. I know I’m not the only one that does this. I missed the window. I always thought It would be so great if my clothing was loose, or my rings would spin around or if bracelets and watches had to be pushed up on my forearm to keep the faces pointed towards me. But that’s not what happened – it’s annoying and uncomfortable.

I waited too long to try them on and now they look like circus tents hanging on me. And spinning rings and bracelets -which imply that you’re so slim you can’t find items small enough for you – are very annoying. The thing that hurts is how much angst I had separating myself from these things. I guess it’s because they were some of the best quality clothing I ever owned?

In the end, I bagged up 3 kitchen can bags, crammed full of these items, some with the tags still on, that were special to me and took them to a local thrift shop that supports the battered women’s shelter. Forgive me when I tell you that I couldn’t let go of 2 of my best blazers, 3 wrap dresses, or even my 2 fabulous faux fur coats. (I might still need those coats in wintery Florida!)

They told me the shelter women get first crack at incoming clothing and I hope that’s true. It’s a comfort to think that women who are right now without the basic necessities will be wearing that clothing someday, maybe to job interviews or for loan applications.

I don’t know why I am compelled to share this with you. Letting go of these visible symbols of a goal that’s long been surpassed is still bothering me a week later.

A Hint

Long time readers might remember my childhood obsession with Heloise (as in Hints From). I’m still not over it because there’s one unresolved issue that is still bothering me.

I might have been around 12 years old when I read this and I couldn’t wait to tell my mother about it. Her usual clam and patient response was to just wait it out until I got over whatever was my breaking news of the moment. But this time, I never got over it.

I’m recalling this letter to Heloise from memory, but believe me I’ve memorized every word and rehashed it for decades. This is it in its entirety:

Dear Heloise, This hint is for ladies only. If you put on a light coat of fresh lipstick before you go to bed, you will be pleasantly surprised in the morning.

I can’t remember the name of the person who submitted it but they were probably in Arizona. Sandy from Sedona. Mary from Mesa. Terry from Tempe. I don’t know. Heloise published a disproportionate amount of hints from Arizona, where she herself lived. (p.s. all of the hints were for ladies only)

Anyway, this time my passion for action did not wane. I tried and tried to get my mother to do it but she was not interested in getting a surprise in the morning. At that time, our family was just climbing out of the crushing poverty of my early childhood so now that I looked back on it, I’m fairly certain that the last thing she could want was to wake up to another surprise. As the 8th child of a coalminer’s widow with 5 out of 6 of her brothers also working down in the mines, she must have had a lifetime of surprises most of which were unwanted. So, I took action myself.

One night, I helped myself to one of her wee little Avon lipstick samples and put a pretty good coating on myself and then went to bed, waiting for my surprise in the morning. When morning came, there was no evidence of surprise in my bedroom so I rushed into the bathroom to look there. When I looked into the mirror, I saw …….. nothing.

There was no surprise. It was just me with my fright wig hairdo looking back. Later – maybe years later – my mother explained to me that the surprise was probably a faint remaking tint to the lip and the lady would feel confident that her beauty was enhanced by a cosmetic from Minute One without any additional effort during her busy morning.

I suppose it didn’t work for 12 year old me because my mother’s Avon lipstick samples were in the pink and pale rose family and obviously Terry from Tempe was the Ripe Cherry Red type. I’m still mad at Sandy from Sedona for writing this and I’m especially mad at Heloise for publishing unverified hints. Didn’t she have a test lab? Was she just filling column inches with any crap that happened into her mailbox?

Addendum: Come to think of it, I had another bad experience with one of her hints. So in conclusion: what a crock of shit. To this very day, I remain disappointed.

Vintage Avon Lipstick samples

In Which the Complaining Starts

So much to complain about. On a hyperlocal level, let me go on the record to say that mothers of small children annoy me very much.

I was rolling through the supermarket on a search for vegan face wash (not kidding) and a mother was pushing her 5-6 year old around in one of those car/steering wheel shopping carts. The kid was big and pretty crammed in there and he was totally engrossed in his video game as Mother shopped. Mother asked him to choose between two brands of the same product on a shelf. Without looking up, the kid let go of the video game with one hand, pointed to the shelf and returned his hand to the game box.

Mother was so pleased with his selection that she complimented him by singing out “GOOD JOB” in that high note/low note style so popular with complimentary mothers today. The child ignored her. If that lyric had musical accompaniment, it would look like this:

disclaimer: I am not musical in any way, shape or form.

Also, who came up with the idea of calling small children “littles”? I find that highly annoying. In the south, they make it even worse by referring to their “sweet littles”. Stop it, Mothers.

I am not all doom and gloom, though. Not entirely. To end things here today on a positive note, I’d like to tell you that I have finally located the perfect nude nail polish for me. After many false starts, dashed hopes and wasted money, say hello to the Sally Hanson Color Therapy color “Re-nude.” I thought it was perfect but after years of color-selection failure, I began to doubt myself.

But then, I went out into the open air to mingle with the GenPop. I was standing at a clip-board, signing in as one must these days, and the person watching me do it literally choked out “wait … what?” and then said “Oh! What a great nail color. It’s like it’s there and it’s not there.”

And that is how I know this is the perfect nude nail polish.

hello, perfection!

Slowly Reclaiming My Schedule

I’ve been so pleased with myself since I’ve retired. Imagine that every day is Saturday and you have no obligations and you only do the things you want to do. Reminder: what I wanted to do was take naps, float around in the pool and possibly set up a raft and take naps in the pool.

Flash forward 3 years or so: I had to get an Alexa to tell me what day garbage is picked up. I joined a local volunteer group that only meets once a month and there’s no social shaming of you don’t feel like showing up and I have successfully avoided being forced onto someone else’s clock for any reason. UNTIL … I had a major heart attack*.

Now it’s all about appointments set by other people’s clocks, eating meals of limited cuisine at regular times and modest pre-approved exercise which is pretty much the life of a federal prisoner. I shouldn’t complain because this is an example of my schedule before:

I had a new dining room area rug delivered in January. I kept it in the original shipping wrappings behind that curtain until September when the stars aligned and resigned helpers moved the table and chairs, rolled the old rug, set up the new and out everything back in its place. That rug was not willing to lie flat after being rolled so long, so I pulled out all the heavy containers from the pantry and set them up along the short edges of the rug.

As I said, this was in September. If I needed something that was formerly in the pantry and now holding down the rug, I picked up just that one thing and left the others behind. Sounds slothful as I type it out but this was my preferred schedule of doing things (when I felt like it). Today I felt like making steel cut oats for breakfast so now the canned spaghetti sauce stands alone. I don’t know why I even bought that, so it might be there a while longer.

BUT! I’m developing a productive schedulable just for me, with a forgiving timeline making it more likely I’ll stick to it. Here it is: When I get out of bed and after morning ablutions, I click onto a YouTube video called “Peaceful Uplifting Music.” Don’t bother searching for it. It’s basically Yanni with an overlaid track of incessant bird sounds Then I set the timer on my phone for 5 minutes, lift up my chin- thus opening my heart – and apply a witchhazel-soaked cotton pad to each eye. It’s not onerous, it doesn’t confuse my old dog and i can get it over with early in the day.

Later on today, I’ll add the 27-minue YouTube video called “Resistance Bands for Seniors and Beginners”. I do not like anything about the using the resistance bands except how it makes me feel when it’s over with. Plus, I might possibly end up with Bell Yin without even trying.

*More on that later. Much more. Much, much more. Not because I feel compelled to bore you with detail but because my heart rules everything in my life now. If you get tired of me talking about my post-heart attack lifestyle, just wait until I start telling you about how I’m a vegan now.