Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In anticipation of Thanksgiving...

Thursday is Thanksgiving, and I have much for which to be thankful. There are the usual, major things, beginning with a great family, and good health. And then there are the everyday, material things...enough food to eat, a roof over my head, a job. Cool weather...it seems like just yesterday we were sweltering in Dallas, in the Endless Summer, but tonight I'm bundled up in my gameroom, glad to be inside, because outside there is a driving, cold rain beating against the roof and windows. I haven't turned the heat on yet, and the house is decidedly cool, but I'm cozy in my footed, one-piece pajamas, snuggled beneath a throw and a comforter.

I'd planned to take PTO this week, because I very much need the break, and taking 3 days PTO to get 9 days off in a row is my kind of bargain spending. But today, Monday, I ended up working a horrendously long day, because I simply had too much work to not spend today working. Which means this was yet another day that I also didn't get to go test drive cars. It has now been a month since I totaled my Honda Fit in a fender bender in the parking lot at Target, and I'm still in a rental car. I have to find a new car this week. It's not a lack of trying on my part, but since dealerships are closed on Sundays, and since I work long hours Monday through Friday, my test drives have been limited to Saturdays, one of which I was down and out with a stomach bug.

I hate to admit it, but all of this had me feeling rather sorry for myself, until I read a letter in one of the car forums where I've been lurking, seeking advice on the purchase of a car. I felt incredibly spoiled, reading that letter. It was from a woman just a little younger than me who was asking for advice about buying a car. She was trying to decide between 2 cars, and asked if anyone on the car forum could advise her which would be the better deal.She still had a teen at home, although she said she would soon be an empty nester, and the car was mostly for going to the grocery store and doctor appointments. Each of the cars she was considering had 100,000 miles on them. The dealer had told her that one of them had been in an accident, but she wisely read the Carfax report, and it had, in fact, been in two accidents. Both of the cars needed some very basic repairs that the dealer was working on. She wrote that her absolute limit was $7,000, and added that she hated haggling.

A couple of guys from the forum gave her some very sound advice. One of them said that from the descriptions she'd provided, she ought to be able to get either car for about $5500, and not have to pay more than that. He steered her toward Edmunds, and told her in no uncertain terms not to tell the dealer that she hates haggling. One of the other guys told her what sort of repairs would be routine on both of the cars, considering their age.

It's true that she and I have very different needs insofar as cars are concerned. I gather she lives in either a small town or a community with excellent public transportation, since by her own description, she only needs a car for light, occasional driving. I have a daily commute of over a hundred miles, a combination of city and highway driving. In the 3 1/2 years that I owned my Fit, I put just under 80,000 miles on it. So I need a reliable car with good gas mileage. This is one of the reasons I look at new cars: I know they lose a couple thousand dollars in value the moment they're driven off the lot, but the standard warranty on small cars (the only sort of car I'm considering) is 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first, and with the driving I do, 36,000 miles will always come first, specifically, about 18 months after I've made my purchase. It doesn't make sense for me to get a car with a lot of miles, that's already beyond the warranty.

And yet I feel guilty, contemplating the purchase of a new, or almost new car, when there are so many people out there like this woman, hoping for a bargain in a car with a 100,000 miles on the engine. We take so much for granted...

Saturday, October 08, 2011

My Body Guard...

People think I'm an empty nester, but that's not entirely true. At 62, I have a male living with me...My Body Guard, Ike. In a previous life I'm pretty sure he was a guy from Miami, in his 60's like me, maybe 5'8", stocky, hirsute; the type of guy who wears either an open collared shirt or a guayabera, with the ubiquitous, slightly-damp-from-perspiration, wife-beater beneath, topping off a pair of white, polyester, sansabelt pants, with cheap but very large white shoes on his feet. To complete this picture of sartorial splendor, imagine a thick, heavy, gold chain (or two) at his neck; a golden pelt spilling out of the top of his shirt, sherry colored eyes, a pinky ring on his finger, and, hanging from the corner of his bee-stung lips, a serious, well-chewed, Cuban cigar.

That was Ike in a previous life; I'm sure of it. But in his current incarnation, he came to me as a short, musclebound, street-wise (and street-fighting) orange tabby. Here's a pic I snapped of him at the time, when he was...ahem, how shall I put this? Suffice it to say this picture is censored because when he came to me after several years surviving on the streets, Ike was better equipped than the Dos Equis Man.

Whom I've dated.

Several times.

But I digress...

When he first came to live with me, I told him he couldn't stay. And the night I discovered he'd been using the giant, antique crock in the living room that housed a 9' foot ficus tree as his own private litter box, requiring me to spend the better part of a weekend repotting that tree, we had another, more serious talk. Which he must have taken to heart, because to his credit, that has never happened again.

From the start, he was protective of me. When a gentleman comes to call, Ike jumps onto (depending on the height of the guy), the kitchen table, kitchen counter top, or stair landing, at which point he makes eye contact: a stony-eyed glare that says
"Have Judi back here at midnight, ALONE!" I know that sounds crazy, but several guys have commented on it, including a guy Kath brought to my Christmas party, a friend of hers who got the same treatment regarding Kath.

But this fall, the first cool night, when I decided to sleep upstairs so I could sleep with open windows only to discover a roach the size of a not-so-small mouse skittering across the floor, where was that protectiveness then? I screamed and looked at Ike.
"Do something!" I implored. He sighed, looked bored, and just before he burrowed deeper into the duvet, gave me a look over his shoulder that clearly said, "Puh-leez! That's a ROACH and I don't do roaches."

He doesn't do roaches, but he does...
ultrasonic humidifiers. Let me explain. Last Monday, a little over a week after getting my flu shot, I got very very sick at work. At the clinic, I was told that I had an ILI - an influenza-like-illness, which as near as I can tell, is just a fancy way that doctors are telling people they came down with the flu even though they had a flu shot. I had chills, a fever, a splitting headache, sinus congestion, and a cough. You know when a little child is upset and you ask them what hurts and they say everything? And you ask, does your elbow hurt? and the child says yes, and you ask, what about your eyelashes, do they hurt? and the child says yes...that's how I felt. My fingernails hurt. The doc sent me home with a script for a Z-pak, not to be filled for 4 or 5 days, and suggested I chug DayQuil, NyQuil and Tylenol, PRN. All of which I did. Yesterday, Friday, when I wasn't feeling any better and the congestion had spread to my chest, I went to Target to get the script filled for the Z-Pak and while there, I picked up an ultrasonic humidifier. And last night, before going to sleep, I set it up and turned it on, right next to the bed.

Ike was
horrified. Every night when we go to bed, it's the same thing: he races me up the stairs (and wins) so that by the time I enter the room, he's sitting in the middle of the bed, with a look of great satisfaction on his face. He also has a look of anticipation, because I usually get out the laser mouse and run him around the upstairs a bit before he goes to sleep. My first clue that he was less than enthusiastic about the ultrasonic humidifier was that he took one look at the machine, which was spewing a fine, cool, vapor mist into the air, and bolted from the room. He galloped down the stairs, and once on the first floor, he yowled copiously (and loudly) for a good 15 minutes. When that had no effect, he came back upstairs, cautiously, and padded softly into the bedroom. Pacing around the bed, he resumed his loud, copious yowling. I ignored him, although I did tell him the machine was making it easier for me to breathe. He continued pacing for some time. Finally, he jumped lightly onto the bed, and cautiously approached the machine. Clearly, he thought that going to sleep while something was spewing mist into your face was insane. Usually he likes to spoon up to me, pressing the top of his big old cat head tight against my chin as we both doze off. Last night, though, he slept at the foot of the bed, and like the nurses do in hospitals, he woke me every hour to make sure I was alive, gently tapping my face with a paw until I moved, when he'd move back to the foot of the bed, touching my feet but as far from the dreaded machine as possible.

He must not have gotten much sleep himself, because today he's wiped:

He is one devoted body guard.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Labor Day 2011 - Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves...

I took Friday off, and for the first time in a long time, I really did take the day off, meaning that although I brought my laptop home, I didn't open it. This is a good thing, because no matter how much I work right now, I can never really be current. In a little over 3 years, my case load has doubled, in addition to which for the past 3 weeks I've been assigned a significant portion of the work of one of my colleagues who is out indefinitely with a broken wrist. Management offers only the stick, not the carrot, and all of us get the stick, no matter what.

I am deeply unhappy with my job. The atmosphere is grim, and getting grimmer. But looking for another job is depressing, because in this economy, there's not a lot out there, even for workaholics like myself, or maybe especially for workaholics like myself: I'll be 62 on September 11. So to take the day off on Friday was good; it was exactly what I needed. I worked on my flower beds out back, no small task in this summer, now officially Dallas' hottest summer on record, with 68 days over 100 degrees so far, 40 of them consecutive. All of the annual bedding plants I put in this spring were dead by the first week in July, as were many of my perennials, killed by the awful combination of horrendous, relentless heat and drought. I'd pulled them all up and the beds were empty, but it was too hot to work on them. Friday, I finally finished putting down landscaping fabric and then mulching the empty beds; Saturday I put in a new row of yellow mums, having found them for $1.25 per pot at Home Depot. I also splurged and spent $32 on 8 glorious hanging baskets of petunias. I transplanted all of those into my own baskets and pots, and for the first time since early spring, my patio is an inviting place, with pots of blooming petunias in red, pink, white, and purple. Today I repainted the deck outside my front door. For a little over a year, it's been a hideous sort of rust color, a bad calculation on my part after I bought a gallon of solid stain without bothering to try a sample can first. Today, after trying 4 different samples, I settled on a wonderful, understated, subdued taupe, which looks great; I've done 2 coats and now I'm just waiting for it to dry hard before I put my pots of flowers back on it.

I'd love to be retired, because I could get used to this. If I enjoyed what I were doing; if I felt that my job made any sort of difference whatsoever, I wouldn't mind working, but I know better and even if I didn't, all of us are regularly reminded of this fact by management (I'm not kidding). Personally, I'm in the position of the kid who makes good grades and doesn't get into trouble, but who is treated as if she's a juvenile delinquent because some of her classmates are juvenile delinquents. That's not a way to make me want to stay, not that I delude myself that management gives a damn whether I leave or stay. It's no good to whine about it; in the end, the choice is mine, to move forward or stay in this miserable situation. Well, it will probably take a while, but I've begun looking. There's something better out there; it's up to me to find it. To cheer myself on, I imagine giving my notice and holding exit interviews, in which I tell various men above me (the company has become a very big Old Boy network once again) what I really think of them and their so-called management techniques.

Happy Labor Day.

Friday, July 01, 2011


I believed the housekeeper.

This is saying something, because I'm a born skeptic with a highly sensitive BS meter, in addition to which I've spent years, professionally, honing my innate abilities to doubt, analyze, and deconstruct anything with which I'm presented, with the goal of being to be able to sort wheat from chaff, which, most of the time, I'm able to do.

But not this time. No, this time, it appears, those of us who believed this woman was a victim were DUPED. The NYTimes reports that 28 hours after accusing Mr. Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault, the housekeeper had a conversation with a boyfriend who's in jail in Arizona. Because he's in jail, the conversation was taped. The Times reports that in this taped conversation, the woman spoke to her friend "in a unique dialect of Fulani", a language from her native Guinea. The conversation had to be translated, which took awhile, but finally, this past Wednesday, the Manhattan district attorney's office received the translation. As soon as they listened to it, the case began to fall apart, beginning with the woman saying to her friend,
"Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing”.

There's more.

During questioning in the past 6 weeks, she's admitted that the story she told to get into this country was false; soldiers didn't enter her home and beat her and her husband because of their opposition to the regime; her husband didn't die in jail; she wasn't gang raped in Guinea. Nor is she the destitute housekeeper with whom so many could sympathize. Investigators discovered she lied about her income to maintain her public housing, and claimed a friend's child as her dependent to increase her tax refund. She has consistently claimed that Sofitel was her only source of income, but investigators confronted her with bank records showing thousands of dollars in deposits in Arizona, Georgia, New York and Pennsylvania to an account in her name.

In the phone call, she told her boyfriend she knew what she was doing, but did she, really? I hope not, because for starters, she's made it that much harder for anyone who is truly victimized to come forward, including...if she was raped by DSK, and now we will never know...herself.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

seriously...who could resist him?

I'm looking for the Dos Equis man.

Seriously, who could resist him?

Here are some of the phrases used to describe him:

His blood smells like cologne

His hands feels like rich brown suede

His beard alone

Has experienced more than a lesser man’s entire body…

His charm is so contagious vaccines have been created for it…

His personality is so magnetic he’s unable to carry credit cards…

He’s been known to cure narcolepsy just by walking into a room

He can speak French…in Russian (my personal fave)

Every time he goes for a swim…dolphins appear

The police often question him

Just because they find him interesting

He is the only man to ever ace a Rorschach test

Even his enemies list him as their emergency contact number...

When it's raining, it's because he thinks something sad...

He’s a lover, not a fighter...but he's also a fighter, so don't get any ideas...

He once had an awkward moment…just to see how it feels

He lives vicariously…through himself

If he were to give you directions, you'd never get lost

And you’d arrive at least 5 minutes early

He is...the most interesting man in the world...

Yep, that's the man I'm looking for.

Judging by his pic, I'd say he's about my age (I'm 61).

But if he's like many men my age, including former IMF head, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, age 62...he's probably not looking for me.

No, he's not looking for me; he's probably looking for a 30-something. And really, who could blame him? Almost all of us are better looking when we're younger; no one could deny that. So I understand looking at a younger person, and admiring their physical beauty. But here's where most women have so much more common sense than most men: as we get older, we realize that we've aged. When I look in the mirror, I'm happy with what I see, but what I see is a 61-year-old woman.

When Dominique Strauss-Kahn stepped out of the shower last Saturday and looked in the mirror, what did he see? Maybe he didn't see himself at all; just the reflection of the 32-year-old housekeeper, who had come into the suite thinking it was unoccupied...

His first story was that he wasn't there; he was having lunch with his daughter; it didn't happen.

But after a CSI team showed up and cut away a section of carpet said to contain certain...ahem...forensic evidence, the story has changed: it seems Monsieur Strauss-Kahn did indeed have (rough, oral) sex with the 30-years-younger housekeeper, but it was consensual sex...

Yeah, right.

Nevermind that the housekeeper has reportedly worked at the Sofitel for three years with an unblemished record.

Nevermind that she is a devout Muslim.

Nevermind that DSK is approximately twice her age.

Everyone knows that all women are attracted to powerful, older men. I personally have been longing to get together with a rich guy twice my age, but since I'm 61, I know the odds are against it. Shoot, even if I'd be willing to settle for someone 30 years older than I am now, what are the chances? But I digress.

I've been reading the comments people have left on the web about this, and I've learned quite a few things. It couldn't have happened because the housekeeper is apparently around 6 feet tall. I confess, I have absolutely no response to this argument, because I don't understand what her height has to do with anything.

It couldn't have happened, because DSK, being the powerful, attractive guy that he is, could have simply hired a woman for sex. Huh? He's accused of sexual assault, which has nothing to do with sex but everything to do with power, rage, subjugation...

It couldn't have happened, because he went to lunch afterward, before he went to the airport. Uh-huh. That doesn't prove anything, except maybe that he's a cocky, arrogant SOB who thinks he's above the law.

I could go on and on, but I won't, because I find it depressing.

But not everything in this story is depressing.

I applaud the housekeeper, for going to security immediately and reporting what happened.

I applaud her colleague, who had the presence of mind, when he got the call from DSK inquiring about his cellphone (which the colleague did not have) to lie and say yes, he had it in hand and would be happy to have it delivered immediately to DSK, just tell him where...which is how the police got the flight info

I applaud the Port Authority police, who boarded the Air France flight and apprehended DSK

I applaud the NYC police, who handcuffed DSK and took him into custody...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

a rant on work...

I've been thinking about Wisconsin, and unions, and work.

I know that many good, qualified people are unemployed right now, through no fault of their own, and part of me knows I need to be grateful that I have a job...but some weeks it's harder than others to hold onto that thought, and this was one of them. Work is horrendous right now, for everyone, not just for me. We're in the midst of a takeover, with the result that management is running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off trying to decide what to do next, and every week, and sometimes every day, new decisions are made by those higher on the foodchain re how best to "manage" (HA!) the pesky help (of which I'm one). Although their decisions have direct impact on how I do my job, most of the time management doesn't seem to realize that to implement these decisions, those of us who do the day to day grunt work would actually have to be made aware of them...

But there are exceptions, and on Friday afternoon, the latest plan was announced. It's a very old plan that the company has been trying to implement for several years. It's never worked, but that doesn't discourage the fat cats, who dust it off and rename it and try again. It's called Cross-Training, a nifty plan whereby upper management, all of whom make enough to consider the prospect of tax cuts for the wealthy a terrorist act, downgrade the measly existing pay structures for grunts like myself even further, and then require everyone to learn everyone else's job. The goal is to have everyone able to cover everyone else at all times, so that if someone in investigational is hit by a bus, someone like me (I work in post-marketing) could leave my cube and go take over their work while they're out...the obvious question of who would then do my work doesn't appear to figure into this equation...and never mind that some of the products we manufacture are considered drugs, and some are considered devices, and some (the majority of the products I handle) are considered both drugs and devices (and thus subject to both sets of regulations), depending on where they're marketed. What I do isn't hard, but it's highly highly highly specialized, so I don't see how this "plan" will ever work.

I sat in that meeting and listened to this nonsense...did I mention that for good effect, the person delivering this news told us not to worry about it, but we should know that the company who is acquiring us outsources all of their case management to India, because they can pay our counterparts there less than they pay us...

Add road construction to get to work, and traffic...I've had better times earning a living. A couple of weeks ago on FB, in frustration, I posted,
"I hate my job!" And a retired friend left a comment, "AGAIN?"

Yes, again. And this is why.

Friday, March 04, 2011

I'd Never Hire an Interior Decorator...

I know plenty of people long to hire interior decorators, but for what it's worth, this is something I'd never do. I did hire an architect who spent a fair amount of time walking around in my house after the fire, after which he drew up plans with suggestions, almost all of them excellent and quite affordable, regarding improvements I might make when reconstruction began, but that's different, to me, from hiring someone to advise me on what color to paint, or how to decorate, a room. Those decisions are personal, and I'm sufficiently independent and confident in my own judgments that I'd never trust anyone else to make them for me. When I'm not sure about colors, I bring home reams of paint swatches and tape them to the walls in the room I'm planning to paint, and then I check them out in various light. Next, I narrow down my choices and buy a few pints of paint, and then I paint patches, approximately 4 feet square, which I may look at for up to a week before I make my final selection, with which I'm inevitably pleased, which is more than I can say for many people who trust interior decorators to determine what they'd like.

Years ago, I attended a housewarming where I knew hardly anyone, so I did what I tend to do in those circumstances: I headed for the bookcases to see what this guy read. But I was immediately puzzled, because I couldn't figure out his filing system. Philosophy was next to fiction; poetry was next to home improvement, etc.

"What's up with your books?"
I asked him, as I sipped an excellent gin and tonic.

His face darkened ominously and he looked at his younger brother, expectantly.

"Uh, I recommended an interior decorator..." the younger brother began, "and she arranged the books on the bookshelves..."

"By SIZE and COLOR!" his older brother finished the sentence, furiously.

Ah yes. That would be a problem for those of us who read. Another reason I grow quiet when the topic of interior decorators comes up is because for some reason, the topic always takes me back to a weekend when I was a bride, when the ex and I had been invited to a fabulous private club in UP Michigan, The Huron Mountain Club, where the ex's cousin had a
cabin (technically, it was, indeed, a cabin, but one that Ralph Lauren would have killed for) on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Huron Mountain Club is incredibly beautiful and wild and remote and, in those days, we were out of range of television, phones and radio...there was just the scent of pines, the cool, crisp, sunny air, the sound of the waves crashing against the shore at night...my idea of a perfect vacation...until the afternoon the 2 other women in our group began talking about what tennis camps they'd attended as teenagers. Give me a break! Tennis camps?!?!?!? Really?!?!?!? Puh-leez! I never attended any frigging tennis camps, I muttered to myself, feeling all Holden Caulfieldish as I kicked dusty leaves with my Bass Weejuns, suddenly realizing that although I was at this fabulous place with everyone else, I was really there with my nose pressed up against the glass, as it were...

Sometimes, the stories you hear when people start talking about hiring interior decorators are hilarious. A friend told me that one of his friends, whom I happen to know is close to my age (I'm 61) has a
Donald Duck theme in her house, a statement that, by itself, came dangerously close to making me laugh so hard I snorted, something I attempted to camouflage with a prolonged coughing fit, as I listened to his oh-so-serious account of her experience working with a decorator. He said that Ms. Donald Duck had hired a decorator who successfully integrated the Donald Duck theme throughout her house, by doing things like painting the legs on chests of drawers chrome yellow (like duck feet), yada yada yada. The interior decorator probably laughed all the way to the bank.

The reason I've been thinking about this at all is that there was an article in the New York Times this week titled,
Shopping for Chaise Longues, in which a couple of architects recommended 8 chaise longues, "comfortable enough to curl up on with a book on a chilly afternoon". I'm a big fan of chaise longues; in fact, I have a well-used, quilt covered one in a corner of my bedroom, so I turned to the article. What was I thinking? It was a clear illustration of why, even if I could afford it (and I can't) I'd never hire anyone to advise me about this stuff.

Prices of the 8 chaises selected by the architects range from the $26,000 chaise pictured at the top of this post to the $2500 chaise pictured below (which doesn't look like a chaise at all to me, but DOES look like a couch missing an arm....and while I'm at it...$26,000.00 for a chaise? Seriously? Who are these people??????)

None of the 8 in the article looks comfortable enough to curl up on with a book on a chilly afternoon, but this is exactly what I like to do on my infinitely comfortable, under-$1000 chaise, which I purchased at Crate and Barrel a few years ago:

Thursday, March 03, 2011


I have a mandatory 9AM meeting every Thursday. Actually, there's an 8AM device meeting to which I'm invited but I don't attend; then the mandatory 9AM pharma meeting; followed later in the day, this particular Thursday, by a 1:30 TAT meeting. I don't remember what the hell TAT stands for. Corporate America LOVES its acronyms, but because corporate America is heavily populated by humorless MBA's with limited imaginations, although acronyms abound, they tend not to be obvious.

My point is this morning I left home at about 6:30 with the idea that I would arrive at work in plenty of time for the 9AM meeting. It was a gorgeous, dry, sunny morning, so one would think that would be the case, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Traffic on LBJ was so slow it was almost at a standstill in 3 places between Preston and I-35 South, where it finally thinned out; insofar as I could see, this was not due to any accidents and wasn't considered sufficiently newsworthy to make any of the traffic reports; then on eastbound 121, just outside Fort Worth, there was a horrible wreck involving an overturned SUV that was so stupendous it had westbound 121, on which I was driving, backed up for 5 or 10 miles because the majority of drivers are apparently unable to drive past any accident without slowing to a standstill to gape. Maybe if there were traffic curtains, to curtain off accident scenes, some of this could be avoided. Anyway, leaving at 6:30 on a clear, dry, sunny day, I arrived at work at 8:30. Ugh.

In an attempt to avoid the same ugly scenario going home, I left today at 3:45. Same good weather, but more, albeit different accidents that left me sitting in traffic, enabling me to take these pics with my iPhone and post them to Facebook as I sat in traffic on LBJ for an hour this afternoon. And as if that weren't enough...gas prices are rising.

This is not good for the psyche.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Am I being begged to be non-compliant or what?

So when the pharmacist dispensed the meds I’m to take as a result of my little bout of sickness this weekend, she warned, “DO NOT EAT ANY DAIRY WITH THIS ONE!” When I got home, as is my wont, I immediately sat down and read each of the product monographs, so I could decide for myself whether or not I’ll actually be compliant and take the meds prescribed for me (yeah, I’m a lousy patient). The monograph for that particular product reads (their emphasis): “AVOID TAKING THIS MEDICINE with milk or milk products, e.g., calcium-enriched juice, yogurt, by themselves. However, taking this medicine as part of a full meal that contains milk or milk products is permitted.” Huh? It’s not as if I can wash down the big ole horse pill with a glass of milk while scarfing down a steak, because in addition to the meds, I’ve been put on a liquid diet for 7 days…a MILK BASED liquid diet. Aaaarrrggghhh! I should have gone to med school myself; I swear I’d never have treated patients like this.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

sexagenarian fashionista...

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." ~Anaïs Nin

Last night, as a result of having seen an Ann Taylor camel coat on a sale rack this past weekend, and then Googling
"Ann Taylor camel coat", I discovered what is, for me, a new phenomenon: an endless supply of fashion blogs written, for the most part, by 20-something petites. These young women blog to document what they're wearing, given their difficulties finding clothes that fit (many of us would love to have such difficulties, but that's another topic). After browsing a couple dozen of these blogs, I had mixed emotions. I love pretty things, including clothes, so on the one hand, I enjoyed seeing what a bunch of 20-somethings were wearing...but I was also a little horrified by the implicit narcissism in the concept of daily postings of what one is wearing, especially by a bunch of 20-something waifs, most of whom would look gorgeous wearing potato sacks.

Every one of the extremely petite 20-somethings whose blogs I read had no qualms about posting her statistics on the internet, beginning with
  • HEIGHT: I was reading blogs written by petite fashionistas, so by definition all were 5'3" or under. For what it's worth (not much, I'm sure) I'm 5'3" myself.
  • WEIGHT: I soon discovered there are 2 ways these petite young women describe themselves: tiny or curvy. Most of the weights I saw posted were 110 pounds or less, the curvier young women apparently choosing not to reveal this particular statistic. Ahem, I believe I now belong in the curvier category myself.
  • MEASUREMENTS: I admit I was rather taken aback to see young women posting their measurements, but again, this is something done by women who described themselves as tiny, not by the women who described themselves as curvy. For what it's worth...of the measurements posted, there were very few bosoms beyond 32", and nary a B cup in sight.

After revealing that much about themselves (and sometimes more) , these young women regularly post full length pics of themselves dressed to go...somewhere. It might be to work, or on a date...(do 20-somethings actually date? I don't think so...I think I'm dating myself, using that term)...or out to walk the dog...you get the idea. The best posts, IMHO, included detailed descriptions of what the posters were wearing in the pics, e.g., "Target cami, Ann Taylor cardigan, Talbots pants, BP shoes". Most of the minis also add their sizes, if they're to be believed. Reading the clothing descriptions, I've never seen so many "XXS"s in my life. Ah well...

Browsing those blogs got me thinking about Germaine Greer's writing that as women, we become invisible in society as we age; I have it in my head that she said we become invisible at 50. I was 20 when I read The Female Eunuch. I don't remember liking it, in part because 50 seemed ancient, and interminably distant, and I remember wondering, rather peevishly, what on earth Greer was talking about.

At 61, it's no longer a mystery. Fashion magazines are filled with tips on how to dress, and how to do hair and make-up, for women in their 20's, 30's, 40's and...women over 50. Ouch! Try to imagine if it were the other way around...if magazines had tips for women in their 50's, 60's, 70's ...and women under 50. The one supposed exception to this is More...but I can't help but notice that the cover model for the January issue is Molly Sims, a 38-year-old former Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Puh-leez! I don't feel particularly invisible,but much of the time I do feel like I'm treading water, and that if I don't keep on treading, the great wave of invisibility could overtake me at any moment.

In the Western world, the average age of menopause is 51 years. Most women are probably happy to no longer be menstruating, but no one in her right mind welcomes the accompanying symptoms that so many of us experience, which may include (according to the Mayo Clinic website): hot flashes; night sweats; vaginal dryness; thinning hair; loss of breast fullness but increased abdominal fat (aha!) and…forgetfulness.

Forgetfulness would be a good thing, if it meant you could forget that not all that long ago you had thick, glossy hair, and believed hot flashes were a psychosomatic phenomenon because in fact, more often than not, you were cold, and never went to the movies without a sweater, the better to accentuate your full breasts and flat belly; back when you were a juicy woman…but these aren’t the things one forgets. These are the things one remembers; the forgetfulness is more likely to manifest itself when you exit the movie theater, having peeled away the layers of clothing in which you are always careful to dress now, sweating like a pig even though your family assures you the temperature in the theater never got above 58 degrees…and you go into a full blown panic attack because...the car is gone! It’s been STOLEN! You parked it RIGHT THERE!

And your family looks at you like you’re demented, and one of them bravely, patiently explains that you didn’t park at this entrance; you parked outside Chick-Filet, not outside Sears, don’t you REMEMBER? Then comes a mood swing…I’m not convinced mood swings are part of menopause; I think they may be a natural reaction to all the other parts of menopause…

In the interest of maintaining my visibility: here's what this particular 60-something was wearing as I headed out the door Tuesday morning to drive the endless commute to work in corporate America...*attitude adjustment*...as I headed out the door to embrace the day...

Detail: Kenneth Cole silver bracelet.

Ha! I can see that I'm going to have to hone my rather limited self-portrait skills if I'm serious about this! It was cold in Dallas this morning, but my cube at work is never less than sweltering, which makes dressing for work...interesting. Layering would be essential even if I weren't (still!!!) subject to hot flashes (which I am).

This pic, taken with my iPhone, doesn't show it, but today I wore a comfortable pair of generic (Dillard's), grey flannel pants, an ancient red Ralph Lauren wife beater, a Talbot's cardigan I bought on sale last year when I was a good 40 pounds heavier, and an old pair of rather chic, BR boots that seemed like a good idea in terms of the overall look when I slipped them on in my closet this morning, but left me questioning my sanity in not wearing my comfortable Born loafers before I was halfway across the parking lot, 90 minutes later...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

hope is the thing with feathers...

I'm going to VA at the end of this month to spend a week with Ali and Chris and Wiggle. Ticket is PURCHASED! Woo hoo!

Sunday, January 09, 2011

a new leaf...maybe...

I haven't posted in forever.

I don't know why, but I haven't been able to write. It's been like when I was young: then, if I met a guy to whom I was attracted, there were so many things I wanted to say, but it was as if my tongue turned to stone. Now, like then, I feel as if I'm bursting with things I want to write, but when I sit down to write them...I become mute. I don't know if I'll keep this blog or start another one, but I need to write something...but maybe more anonymously than here...I don't know...but I do know that I need to make some changes in my life; this year, this New Year's Eve, 2010 turning into 2011, made that very clear.

Will I have the courage to follow through?

I don't know...