Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's time to celebrate Hallo-Thanx-Xmas!

The Fall and Winter holiday push has begun. Crafty people appreciate having access to holiday items so they can start making decorations and gifts, but it was jarring to walk in the door of a discount store last week and come face-to-face with skeletons. Turned my head and saw the wall covered with poinsettias and wreaths. They could save space and hang the wreaths and tree baubles on the skeletons. When I was growing up, Halloween decorations didn't appear until the end of September. The Christmas decorating and shopping push didn't start until the day after Thanksgiving. Retailers have gotten so far ahead of themselves that now it is almost impossible to buy something in the season it is needed. Walking into a department store after the 4th of July makes me sweat... the remaining summer clothing has been relegated to a few 'last chance' stands; winter coats and sweaters fill the racks. Any day now, the media will start broadcasting dire speculation on the lack of holiday spending. Wait for it, it's coming.

Saw a report of the TODAY show yesterday morning about the picture of a 'plus-size' model being featured in the September issue, albeit on page 194. The model is Lizzie Miller. She's a size 12 and absolutely beautiful. Not a bone is visible... no hollow cheeks, no arms with knobby shoulders, elbows and wrists. Oh, forgot to mention that it's a nude photo. I haven't 'wasted my money' on a glamor magazine in years (I glance through out-dated issues in waiting areas) but I'm going to purchase this one. Just to be able to show my beautiful granddaughters an example of how a well-formed female body can look. There is a Fruit-of-the-Loom ad running that shows several real-size models (I refuse to call them plus-size). They are all lovely women. I just mentioned female body image in my last post. There goes that serendipity again. You can insert your favorite eerie music here.

One of my Facebook friends mentioned Rocky Road ice cream in a recent post. I had my first taste of Rocky Road when I was 30-ish. My boss had treated his employees with a carton of the 'good' stuff. Having been raised on homemade, freezer-cranked ice cream, I was rather startled when I encountered a lump in a mouthful... I thought one of the rubber tips from the agitator had come off in the ice cream. It was a mini-marshmallow. Let's just say that my fellow employees enjoyed a good laugh and leave it at that. If the worst thing that happens to you today is finding a mystery lump in your ice cream, you've had a good day.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Skinny. Now there's a word I haven't heard in ages....
When I became a teen, size 12 was the ideal for a woman. Size 18 was considered large but not obese. Clothing sizes were standardized and we could order shoes, dresses, and under garments in our size from the
Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogs, confident that they should fit. When I was 14 or 15, Miss America's measurements were 36-26-36. I remember this because those were my measurements. (As there was a shorter distance between my 36s, the numbers looked better on her than on me.) As more and more glamour magazines for women began to began to be published, I started to see pictures of thinner models. The trend has continued to such an extent that film stars and models now look like concentration camp survivors, just with better hair and makeup. No wonder girls today as young as 10(!) have problems with their body image, and anorexia and bulimia have become rampant. And it's not just women. Men are told to bulk up and have washboard abs, to the point that they are so lumpy and bumpy they look like they should be wearing bras. The Incredible Hulk, just less green. People, grow up. I have helped elderly people dress and bathe. I know what you're going to look like when (if) you become 80 years old. You may look better than your next door neighbor, but you will not look good. I will not name names as to the picture I saw that caused this rant, but this person didn't look posh to me.

For mind, body and spirit...
Now that I'm retired, I have time to pursue more volunteer opportunities. I currently do work at our local botanical garden, pack meals for delivery with Meals on Wheels, and provide instrumental music for the congregation at my church when needed. I'm not bragging. I just feel the need to justify, to myself, the grace of continuing to occupy my little speck of the cosmos. I have to admit... the time I spend volunteering does more for me than for the people who benefit from those organizations.

THE talk of the news has been Michelle Obama wearing shorts on Air Force One. While on vacation. Cool. Stylish. Rated G. Did she disrespect her 'position.' Should (would) nations and religions take offense? NBC conducted a poll... should she or shouldn't she have worn shorts? More responses were received for this poll than any to date. God help us if the paparazzi catch her with her swimming suit on. Go out laughing? My odds are still good.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The way to go

I just finished reading a newly released biography of one of my favorite authors, Agatha Christie. Duchess of Death, is an unauthorized biography written by Richard Hack. The book is an informative, interesting read, and a worthy addition to one's reading list.

Agatha Christie was the second mystery author whose work I read, starting in my early teens; the first being Edgar Allen Poe. She had a talent for story telling that transported me into a world of English village life, wealth, mansions, cottages, servants, the King's English, and good triumphing over evil. In her books, good always triumphed over evil. Genius and talent alone are useless without hard work, and work she did, becoming one of the world's most published authors. She wrote not only books but also short stories, plays, poetry, and for films. She also wrote 6 books published under the name of Mary Westmacott.

Ms. Christi was born on September 15, 1890, and her life included its own mystery. On December 3, 1926, she disappeared. A massive manhunt was conducted and continued until she was found 11 days later, her disappearance never fully explained to this day. On January 12, 1976, while she was being pushed in her wheelchair from her dining room, she reached for her husband's hand. Without looking up she whispered, "I'm joining my Maker," and died.

I'd like to go that way. If, that is, I can't go out laughing. That's my first choice. To leave in the middle of a loud, delighted bray of laughter. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a news bit about a public service promo produced by the Brazilian environmental group SOS MATA. In an effort to conserve water, the populace is being asked to reduce the number of times they flush their toilets per day. A new spot exhorts them to "...pee in the shower... save the Atlantic rain forest... ." Go out laughing? If the world continues to produce news like this, the odds are in my favor.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Flashing lights but no siren

Took my first-ever ride in an ambulance and was transported to an emergency room this past week. I have nothing but good things to say about the first responders and the ER personnel. My experience bore only a passing resemblance to 'medical' shows we see on TV... no shouting or running amok in the ER by either the staff, patients, or families... just well-trained workers doing their jobs; patients and family awaiting treatment and outcome (if they were impatient or angry, they were very quiet about it). Did I have 10 nurses and doctors surrounding my bed, tending to my every whim? No. Was I left ignored, sick and alone in the midst of chaos? No. Were staff members sipping coffee and discussing their love lives, ignoring my fellow patients and me? No. All of the treatment rooms were full (No. 15 was across the aisle from me) and every available space against the walls not taken up with equipment had a patient-bed in it. (When my daughter arrived and asked where I was, she was given my location as a Hall Bed number.) Whenever I was moved to another location or had treatment done, the staff member quietly explained what was to be done. Often, a staff member on the way to treat another patient would pause and tell me the status of my care (i.e. the doctor would be with me as soon as test results were available and was through with another patient). A pleasant woman came up to me, introduced herself as the Patient Advocate, and asked if there was anything she could do to assist me.. when I told her I was concerned about contacting my family, she brought a phone to me. Was I in and out of the ER in an hour? No. I was there about 6 hours. Am I angry? No. Consider me grateful for the care I received and thankful for the medical knowledge and treatment available.

First thing every morning, I peruse several websites to see the current news blips. Yesterday, I came across a blog on the Huffington Post, the title of which intrigued me: "How American Health Care Killed My Father." I clicked on it and found an insightful and thoughtful piece on what had happened to his father and suggestions for health care reform. The author of the piece is David Goldhill. (I admit that I think he's smart because changes he proposes are ones that I would suggest, given the chance.)

My 'episode' reminded me that there are things I need to do, things I have procrastinated on... Living Will, DNR, Durable Medical Power of Attorney, etc. Oh, and keep a paperback book in my purse to read the next time. If there is a next time bwaaaaahaaaaa.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Getting ready for the new year

Spent some time last week in the mountains with my daughter and her family. The kids enjoyed swimming lessons at the "Y" and a morning swimming at the American Legion lake. The weather was hot enough for them to enjoy the water but didn't overcome those of us watching from the 'beach.'

For most parents, the real New Year starts with the beginning of the school year. It has been several years since my kids finished with high school but I still get the same feeling of new beginning. My daughter had selected a donation list from the Legion to help a child be ready for the new school year. She had already purchased the backpack and we shopped for the items on the list to fill it. She still has to finish shopping for her own kids' back-to-school needs. I told her how I had done a "I don't have to go school-shopping anymore!" dance the first year after her youngest sibling had graduated. It is something she can look forward to as she searches the aisles looking for the items on the lists for her children. The teachers lists are so specific as to what supplies they require for their students. I am curious as to why only name-brand items are acceptable when less expensive items can be had. Do they get a kick-back from the companies?

Beginning to think of the things I need to do to get ready for the new year...

Wear all my white slacks and summer shoes before the end of Labor Day weekend so I can get them washed and cleaned up, ready to stow away for next year.

Start planning for Fall and Winter decorating and crafts for the holidays that will be here before we know it! Note: I do this every year... have yet to actually be ready for the holidays.

Check out Julia Child's' cookbooks to find her wonderful recipes for heart-warming soups, stews, roasts and side-dishes for the cold-weather season.

Speaking of weather, looks like real summer weather has finally come to our part of the world. We've had an unusually temperate season so far. I wonder if the hot weather will continue into the fall and winter? Time will tell. Happy New Year!