Friday, March 22, 2019

"TAKE TWO ASPIRIN AND CALL ME IN THE MORNING"


I've a few blog posts almost ready to go, but they need a bit more work. I have got an absolutely rotten cold - no cough to speak of, thank you, but nasty nevertheless. I really don't want to fuss with a blog post. Aha! what better article to post than one on aspirin that just ran in our community magazine. This month we celebrate the 120th anniversary of the patent for aspirin. Herewith, that article:



When was the last time your doctor gave you that advice? (Moreover, when was the last time you could call the office and speak to your doctor without going through his nurse or a triage nurse, and a long wait on the phone?)

You have to wonder how it’s properties were first discovered. Who was the first person to chew on some bark he’d torn off a willow and realize that his headache was gone? For centuries, extracts from the bark of the white willow tree, Salix alba, were known to be pain relievers. During the early nineteenth century, chemists isolated its active ingredient, Salicin. The pain reliever was difficult and costly to extract, so chemists began to search for a synthetic version. That version, salicylic acid, was discovered in 1860. Less costly to produce, salicylic acid was effective but was very hard on a patient’s stomach.
    
The German chemist, Felix Hoffman, whose own father suffered greatly from rheumatism but couldn’t stomach salicylic acid, began a search for a better pain reliever. In March of 1899, Hoffmann’s employer, now known just at Bayer AG, received a patent for acetylsalicylic acid, a product that would be easier on the stomach. They called the new product Aspirin. The “A” for the acetylsalicylic acid; the “spir” for spirea ulmaria, the Latin name for meadowsweet, a common source of salicylic acid; an “in” just because it was a suffix commonly used in the industry.

In America, Bayer lost their patent on the name Aspirin because they let many other manufacturers use it. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Can you hear a doctor telling a patient “take two acetylsalicylic acid tablets, and call me in the morning?”

Aspirin, the almost universal panacea, is largest selling pain reliever in the world. Sold generically or under a brand name like Bayer, coated or uncoated, full strength, children’s dose, or timed-release, it is probably one of the least expensive medications to produce. For general pain, headaches, fever, inflammation, for heart attack and stroke prevention or intervention, and even to help prevent or treat some cancers, it’s uses are many.

It’s side effects can be many too, and you’ll know one if you get one, but nothing like the horrendous warnings we hear about many of the new medications touted in the media. In general, aspirin is one of the NSAIDs, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, characterized by their anti-inflammatory characteristics. Acetaminophen, brand-named Tylenol, has none of those properties, and is easier on the stomach. Like all medications, aspirin should be taken according to the package directions or your physician’s directions. Don’t overuse a good thing.

Friday, March 15, 2019

MY LITTLE LIST OF HORRORS

I could care less what’s on the television – I’m either reading, writing or poring through the internet. I like to sit in rocking chair the Frank custom made for me years ago. The rocker fits my generous proportions, and it sits in the living room. So, I wear ear protectors to shut out as much of the sound as I can. Every once in a while some change in the sound or a flicker of light makes me look up at the screen. Last night I looked up during an interview a PBS reporter was having with an author. Lovely gal. And then she gestured with her hands and I went “bleah.” She’d painted her fingernails black. I just loathe that.

Fleeting and flitting brain that I have, I immediately thought to do a blog on new dress and grooming fads that I simply hate. I hate most of them because, to be honest, they strike me as being less than “lady like.” I know we live in an era where we can dress and adorn ourselves in whatever fashion suits our fancy, but some of them look awful.


Herewith, my list of horrors:
·       Nail polish in any colour out of the reds, pinks, coral, or naturals range – they should be worn only by Dracula
·       Red nail polish on stubby fingernails – attentions should never be drawn to stubby set of fingernails. They look like they’ve been chewed.
·       One or two nails on each hand painted a different colour - disconcerting
·       Hair with zig zag parts or a zig zag cut – neaten up folks.
·       Fake braids hair enhancements – natural is the way to go
·       Socks, sheer or not, worn with high heels – I knew a gal back in the sixties who wore white anklets and heels – she looked ridiculous.
·       Socks and brogues worn with dresses – looks like trans dressing to me
·       Bra straps that show. Strangely, wide, workout-bra straps showing don’t bother me
·       Spandex garments worn outside the gym – ladies, as a dear friend of mine always says: “Spandex is a  privilege.”
·       High heels with ankle straps. That strap interrupts the visual flow of the leg from toe to hemline, making legs look a bit chunky.





I’ve probably got a few more I could add to the list, but you can think about these for now.



Friday, March 8, 2019

WOMEN : RONZONI : TIME CONSUMING :: MEN : EGGOS : FAST AND EASY




The subject at a recent Tuesday morning meeting of Living, our community magazine, was the June issue and June weddings. The topic at hand: should the magazine run some of the staff’s wedding pictures? Before and after? Well, maybe, maybe not. We got to talking about how couples function together. It’s a physical and mental dance.

Fingers interlaced and wriggling, one of our community’s contributors described the minds of women. To paraphrase: “They’re like spaghetti, running in all directions.” Then, index finger jabbing there, there, there, he described men’s minds. Again, paraphrasing, “They’re like waffles, compartmentalized.” When given a bit of thought, his analogies, despite being generalizations, make perfect sense. I'd never heard of this before, but in googling this morning for an image of spaghetti and waffles, I found there's quite a bit of discussion on just this topic. Our resident droll humorist wasn't as original as we'd thought. This was my take on the topic:

Women’s minds are capable of running in many directions, “over, under, around, and through.” Unless they’re specifically focused on a situation at hand, a problem, or maybe a good book, they have many things to cover and be aware of in their day. There’s that “back of the mind” that lets them know when it’s time to pick up the kids, or the grandkids, put the wash into the dryer, or start dinner. They’re always checking their to-do lists, especially the mental lists.

Women are like the magazines they favor: Southern Living, Country Living, Martha Stewart Living – everyone’s living – Elle, O, Better Homes and Gardens. All are collections of miscellaneous, interesting topics. We’ll add in a few “single topic” publications like Gourmet or Prevention.

Men are like the magazines they favor: Popular Mechanics, Golf Digest, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, ESPN Magazine, Sports Illustrated. All are one-topic publications. We’ll allow GQ in here.

Men’s minds are generally compartmentalized. For the majority of men, they have boxes for things like sports and the guys, sex, home maintenance, the kids or grandkids, work. If they’re retired, that last compartment is called “what’s on for the day.”

There’s that old adage about “a man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.” That saying came into general usage because it’s true, not universally, but generally.

Friday, March 1, 2019

GRAMPA AND MERCURY


Yesterday, I was looking over my notes for blog topics. One was “Grampa and mercury.”  Good Grief! 

We lived right up the block from my father’s parents. Though I didn’t like to get down there, I loved being in the basement with my Grampa. (That's not Grandpa, it's Grampa, just the way we said it.) I didn’t like to get there because going down from the kitchen the stairs were open and the way was dark. It was intimidating for a little kid, and to this day I am leery of open stairs. I just know someone is going to reach through and grab my ankle. It’s never happened, but one never knows.

I just loved helping Grampa load coal into the furnace. I remember being down there once when the coal was delivered – whoosh! – down the chute in a cloud of dust (but no “hearty ‘Hi-yo Silver!’”)

One thing we did a lot was play with mercury. Grampa had a mayonnaise jar-full. We kids lived to roll drops of it in our palms, and cover dimes with it. We could keep the dimes – great for us to take to get penny candy. Oh, I could write a whole blog about penny candy. Maybe someday.

But mercury! I can’t begin to know why my Grampa had such a thing. Where would he have gotten it, and what would he have done with it? And what my uncle did with it when Grampa died, I’ll never know. I remember the jar was weighty. Imagine if one of us had dropped it. Whew!

Mercury is a dangerous thing. The Mad Hatter was mad because hatters once used mercury in their trade, and mercury affects the nervous system. There are other professions, like gold mining, that use mercury and its compounds in their everyday work. Not good, not good.

There are so many things commonly used years ago that we ban as toxic today. I do remember the sting of Mercurochrome. It’s still available in some countries, but ours bans it because of its mercury content. I guess ignorance was bliss.





Friday, February 22, 2019

MARIE KONDO IS THE CAUSE OF IT ALL


          
One recent night, I heard on the local news report that those who run the many charity thrift stores, those like the Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, and even the local assistance leagues and services, are facing a glut of stuff. Donations are at an all-time high, and they’re hard pressed to handle it all. Who’s getting the blame? Marie Kondo.

Many people have climbed on the KonMari bandwagon and are organizing and paring down their possessions. No, that’s backwards: she would have people first discard the junk and stuff, then organize. They are especially mindful to divest themselves of anything that doesn’t being them joy. (My underwear doesn’t bring me joy, but nevertheless I’m keeping it.)

George Carlin once wrote a skit about his stuff. He really needed a place for all is stuff. His stuff had stuff. The purchase of a lot of stuff is one of the things that fuels our economy. But a slowdown is in progress:

-  As people accustom themselves to the “less is more” mindset
       for owning stuff, they’ll now probably purchase less of it.
-  They'll purchase less stuff, and pretty soon manufacturers will go
       out of business.
-  Manufacturers will lay off workers.
-  Unemployed workers will wind up on welfare.
            (Unemployed workers will shop at the thrift stores, and he thrift
                stores’ glut of stuff will dwindle to a trickle.)    
 -  Our gross national product will be reduced to a bare minimum.
 -  There goes the country.

And all because of Marie Kondo. The lesson here: bolster the world’s economy - keep your stuff!



Friday, February 15, 2019

OLDER AND WISER


 
I'm lookin' at you!

Every weekday, into my email inbox comes the online magazine Prime Woman. Last Tuesday there was a short read - they always tell you how long it will be, this one was 4 minutes – titled “Older, Wiser and Rocking their 70s – Powerful Women in the News.”  A charming 76 myself, I am always interested in articles about my generation and how we do what we do.

The short article further referred to a new book, a New York Times best seller, Women Rowing North – Navigating Life’s Currents and Flourishing as we Age. After taking a look inside the book, courtesy of Amazon, I can tell that the book should be a “must read” for any gals around my age whose “jury is still out,” who haven’t quite decided who they are and what they are today. Today, as has been the case for over a century, who and what we are, and how we think of ourselves, is very much dictated by the media. When we were younger and raising our children, the media was very much with us. It is still with the younger woman, and will probably always remain so.

Gradually, with the help of media outlets easily accessible by women like me who blog or have created online magazines, and with many older women writing articles and books aimed at us, we have recognized that we are not over the hill as was once thought, but are very much still on the way to the summit. We’ll hike along happily, with healthy minds and fairly healthy bodies.

Not all of us can look like some of the well-maintained celebrities like Cher, or Glenn Close who at age 71 just won a Golden Globe, and looks spectacular. We don’t fret too much about the shape of our bodies. One line form the book’s introduction says: “Our bodies are saggy with plenty of stretch marks, wrinkles, and cellulite, but do we care? Not much.” For the majority of us, this is true. We’ve made it this far and have other things to worry about.

I am fortunate to have moved to Sun City Carolina Lakes, a community of active adults. I often wonder what I’d be doing if I still lived a half a mile in on a dirt road in rural upstate New York. My day to day life in the community is an interaction with people my age. I work on this blog. I edit the community magazine. I do all the household things that need to be done, of course, and I read a lot. I’m just about in the middle of the age range here. I’ve a few friends and acquaintances in their late fifties, most are around my age, and a few in their late eighties and early nineties. We’re a good group, if I do say so myself. 
I'm rocking my seventies and going strong.









Friday, February 8, 2019

HELICOPTER PARENTING

Wren McDonald for the New York Times


Last night’s emailed Evening Briefing from the New York Times had this thought-provoking entry:

In one of our most read stories of the day, a contributing Opinion writer takes an unusual stance on helicopter parenting: It works.
Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist who lives in Paris, cites research by an economist at Yale and another at Northwestern collected in a new book, “Love, Money and Parenting: How Economics Explains the Way We Raise Our Kids.” They found that an “intensive parenting style” correlated with higher test scores, and kids less likely to use drugs, smoke or abuse alcohol, and more likely to delay sex.
“It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents,” Ms. Druckerman writes. “But done right, it works for kids, not just in the United States but in rich countries around the world.”

Well, it may work to give the kids “higher test scores,” etc., but it doesn’t prepare them well for living. Helicopter parenting isn’t a relatively new phenomenon, though it was given a name only fifty years ago. I know several people raised by helicopter parents. They hardly know how to wash a dish or prepare a simple meal – thank heavens for restaurants and takeout – and they’ve not even got basic housekeeping skills. Making a bed is beyond them. They’re successful in their chosen fields, are moneyed, and are quite socially active. They travel widely and participate in a wide range of pastimes and sports. Because they can, they’ve amassed a lot of clothing and other possessions. To both save them time and do the thing they haven’t the foggiest notion how to do, they keep in their tablets up to date with the contact info for services like their housekeeping crew, their pet sitter, landscaper, their personal trainer, and their dry cleaning pickup. I suppose it all spurs our economy. That’s why helicopter parenting works in the rich countries. It boosts the gross national product.

Yes, they really don’t use drugs, smoke, or abuse alcohol, and perhaps they delayed sex. I’m not privy to that and I don’t care. But many are divorced, are in therapy, have to have live-in help of one kind or another, and are generally dissatisfied with life. Some realize what has happened to them, but some are hovering over their own offspring. I wish I could help them. As my mother would have said, “I feel for them, but I can’t reach them.”

Friday, February 1, 2019



In February it will be
My snowman's anniversary
With cake for him and soup for me!
Happy once, happy Twice   
Happy chicken soup with rice.


Ah, February - the month that we usually pronounce and spell incorrectly. It is a month I love because we've lots of family birthdays. From children to grandchildren, the oldest will now be 60, the youngest just 9. It is the amethyst month, and that is my favorite stone - not my own birthstone, alas. 

I first began to feature Maurice Sendak's "Chicken Soup with Rice" back in 2014. This year, so far, has been a record cold one in our country - and a record hot one down in Australia - so I thought I'd bring out the soup again. My own chicken soup has noodles in it - but it is delicious, if I do say so myself. Soup is the obvious supper to have on chilly winter days. As my mother would say, it warms the cockles of your heart. And I wanted to know what those cockles are. O.K., I just googled it and learned something. You should too. 

Have a Fabulous February everyone.


Friday, January 25, 2019

WHAT DID YOU SAY?

???



The Do Not Call Registry notwithstanding, both my husband and I get too many robocalls. Because many of the seniors in our community have kept their out-of-state phone numbers, we can’t always ignore calls from numbers we don’t recognize. Oh yes we could let it go to voicemail, but then we have to go and listen to the voicemail and clear it out. So we answer the calls, listen to the beginning of the spiel.

We get offers of free trips, calls to sell us things like health insurance, new windows for our home, and car repair coverage. We ain’t interested. Then there are those that tell us they are from "your credit card company." Oh, really? Ain’t interested. We end the call.

But yesterday morning there came a call that was amazing. It was an 800 number. That was really unusual, but when I flipped open my phone and listened (yes, Warren Buffet and I still have flip phones) I heard a woman speaking Chinese. Chinese? Mandarin, or Cantonese, I couldn’t tell you, but the inflection made me guess it was Chinese. I can count from one to ten in Chinese, but that’s just something I learned, and probably remembered incorrectly, from childhood.

Why would we be getting robocalls in Chinese? Anyway, it’s all Greek to me.




Friday, January 18, 2019

EVENING GOWNS - RE-DRESSED



I was searching for a picture that I knew I'd used once on my blog. In going through the blog archive, I was delighted to see all the pictures collected there over the last nine years or so. I stopped at several pictures, remembering the article that went with that picture. I'm amazed at how many articles there were - the count tells me it stands at 699 - this will be 700.

My eye lingered on the pictures of the evening gowns - I do love elegant evening gowns. I'll never an occasion to wear them, but I'd love to have a collection of some of the most elegant.  I'm reprising the article that goes with the luscious pink Yves Saint Laurent number below.


The Lovely Brooke Shields -
looking stunning as always at a recent MMA gala

 The article from December 2012: Evening Gowns, the nuns, and My Mom --

Vintage YSL

 
After one of my piano lessons, eons ago in the early 50’s, I listened to my Mom and my piano teacher, one of the nuns at my school, talk about evening gowns. Even as I listened I thought it fascinating, and when I was older I came to realize that those gals, those nuns, were savvy creatures. They were devout but not ‘holy, holy’, and they were a bunch of women who had to get along together. They were also a bunch of women with wide interests outside of the classroom.  Wearing the same medieval habit every day was equalizing, and it gave them a keen appreciation for fashion. One of their favorite days of the year was New Year’s Eve. In the early to middle part of the last century there was always a “midnight” mass,  the exact timing of which I wish I knew: right on the strike of twelve mass-goers would have missed the kissing and the Auld Lang Syne. On New Year’s Eve, Sister was telling my Mom, the nuns made sure to be at mass to see all the evening gowns – sort of like an Easter Parade, but with gorgeous gowns and furs – and they would be the topic of convent conversation for days to come.



A simple, slinky Ralph Lauren number

I remember a gown my Mom made in my senior year. It was a strapless floor length white satin “underdress”. I could wear it alone, with or without the various colored hooked-in straps and sashes, and the stoles she made in both red and purple velvet. I could wear the gown with the sheer lavender voile overdress, trimmed in purple velvet. That dress was my senior prom dress. Sleeveless with sort of an over top like a bolero – trimmed in the purple. (I just spent about a half an hour looking for the ad from 1959-60 – I think it was from Modess sanitary napkins… “Modess because” – and saw a lot of great, nostalgic ads, but not the dress!) Anyway, the underdress could also be basted up and then she made an overdress of white voile curtain fabric, the edges were embroidered in a flowery, scalloped edge. So I could wear the underdress hemmed – or! she pulled the whole thing up into a gathered rose she basted in, and I could wear it with the velvet sashes and with or without straps she snapped in. My sister wore the underdress that year with the red velvet for her junior prom and to several occasions in her senior year too. I don’t think either of us ever wore it the same way twice. Oooo, and I don’t have even one picture of either of us in the dress in any of its various permutations. I tell you, my mother was on a roll that year. Well, she was on a roll every year – you can read about more of her sewing in my post A Material Thing.


Love that gown! And, of course, you know that's a young Ted Danson backed up 
against that refrigerator. I've had this ad for eons in my special scrapbook.
And the Aramis was the one worn by a then special "beau" of mine.
Oh, the memories!

After finishing my blog on The Coat of Many Colors, I got to thinking about all the fabulous gowns I’d seen and loved over the years.  I do love evening gowns. I’ve never had much occasion to wear them once I was past my prom years, but I’ve always had an eye for the elegant ones. Over the years I subscribed to Vogue I pulled out several pages of gowns I’d love to have had. I still have several pasted in my own special scrapbook, ready to be scanned in for this posting. I look at them today and to my way of thinking they’re still in style.

Another page from my special scrap book -
This black silk brocade number is by Sophie.


If you have oodles of time you can get your fill of gorgeous creations from decades of designing just by googling ‘evening gowns’, or something like ‘red evening gowns’ under Google Images.  Be ready to sit a spell.





Saturday, January 12, 2019

BRAIN FADE




Ah! Saturday morning! You thought I forgot to write a blog yesterday. Guess what – I did!  I also forgot that I had a meeting to attend yesterday afternoon, and it threw off my inner schedule because I was concentrating on a reception I had to attend in the evening.

To my horror, there were several times last night when I absolutely lost my train of thought, or blanked out on the word I needed. Thinking about it in bed last night, I felt I should email some of the people with whom I was talking and ask if I can have a do-over. I’m thinking, hoping, that probably none of them noticed my problem. I surely did.

An email this morning from my Canadian correspondent jogged my memory. Is something going ‘round? We’re both fairly sharp tacks when it comes to brainwork, but both of us are suffering from memory woes. And both of us are in a position where, as she said, “since mine is the default memory in this house, if it gets damaged or disappears for any reason, we'll be up Crap Creek without a paddle.” The long term memory is there – it’s the short term memory that’s faltering in the short term. 

As my pal said, it’s probably just the result of “massive overwhelm” right now, and she is much more overwhelmed than I am. But while it is going on, it is really disturbing. I suppose it’s a good thing we’re mindfully aware of it, otherwise we’re really be losing our minds.

It’s still early in the a.m., and I’ve got the first proof of February’s community magazine to scrutinize today. I’m glad the cloudy, cold weather is cooperating to keep me inside.

I was searching for an image to go with this post, and I came upon this one under “brain fade.” It is from the New Atlas website, and the article is titled “Brain Fade? Your neurons may be taking a power nap.” That’s it!
 
My brain is taking a power nap - I hope!

Friday, January 4, 2019

EARWORMS FROM MY CHILDHOOD


                

It seems as though I’ve always got an earworm going ‘round in my head. I blogged about them in February of 2015. I’ve had dozens of them since then. Before my current musical number, it was a song from Funny Girl. This week it’s a ditty from my childhood: “The Animal Fair.”

I went to the animal fair.
The birds and the bees were there.
The old baboon, by the light of the moon,
Was combing his auburn hair.
The monkey he got drunk and
Stepped on the elephant’s trunk.
The elephant sneezed
And fell on his knees, and
That was the end of the monk – poor monk!
   And that was the end of the monk.

There may be different words, but that’s how I remember it. I wonder what ditties my grandchildren will remember and have as ear worms in their heads. Sometimes I’ll sing a silly one to them, or recite a nonsense verse, and they just look at me as though I’ve gone starkers.

Eenie meenie – titsie teenie
Ooo – gah – gahgoleenie
Achey, pachey, googa-lachey
Out goes Y-O-U!

And what ever happened to Mairzy Doats?






Tuesday, January 1, 2019

MAKING A LIST - CHECKING IT TWICE

This morning's news brought dozens of pictures of the world's New Year celebrations.
My favorite is this one of the London Eye. Wow!
  They guy who orchestrated all this is a bloody genius.


Happy New Year to all of you. This holiday season has been a happy, busy one for me. More so than in recent years, I've had a bit more of the holiday spirit - and yesterday I got into the spirit of the new year and a new plan. 

I just read an article about why it's so hard for women over 50 to lose weight - I've been struggling with my weight for eons, and what I read in the article was quite familiar to me: count the calories, exercise more, get better sleep. Yeah, I hear you. So in this time of resolutions - re-solutions - and starting over, I am going to give self-improvement another try. Come to think of it, I've never before used the turn over of the year as a starting point. We'll have to see how it works for me. 

So - first things first - I started two lists. One list is for several of the little nit-picky jobs that need to be done around here. Home Improvement.  For example, I've got to vacuum out every drawer in the kitchen - not to organize then and discard the useless stuff, I keep them fairly neat and tidy, but to clear out all the crumbs and other detritus (I love that word!) that have fallen in there. You could bread a piece of chicken with all those crumbs.

The other list is to keep me on track for my own better health. Self Improvement.  On Boxing Day, my three youngest granddaughters  were weighing themselves on my scale. Jillian, 8, weighs 40; Jenna, 10, weighs 60; Jordan, 12, weighs 106 pounds. I weigh much, much more than their weights combined. I made a quick poster of their weights to put on my refrigerator to remind me of that. I have got to, got to, get some of this weight off. I absolutely know I'd feel better. 



LOL - the other thing I did for me was to throw out the half-used, largest size, jar of peanut butter. PB&J sandwiches are my indulgence, my "what the heck, I'm going to have a PB&J even though I realize it's bad for me but I want one" indulgence. When I get a bit of the "why me's" I'll even go in and scoop out a big dollop to savor. No more dollops, no more snacks. 

As I said, we'll see. 

2018 was a very interesting year - 2019 promises to be the same. Elizabeth Warren (she has my vote) has already announced her candidacy, many (maybe too many) will follow soon. Did you realize that the debates for the 2020 elections begin this June? Yes, it will be an interesting year. Meanwhile, I hope it is a happy, healthy, busy year for all my followers. 




Friday, December 28, 2018

REOPEN YOUR TREASURE BOX

And Friday rolls round again. As I get older (and even older!) Friday seems to roll around more than once a week. It's been a crazy, busy week, what with family get togethers on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and even Boxing Day. On Thursday I stayed in, and here it is Friday. This morning I've got a meeting for which I had lots of emailing back and forth yesterday - we got it all squared away, Meetings during the holidays are a beast. So - all this is a preface to today's post - a repost from March 2011. I think it's time to trot it out again. And it's probably a good time to reopen your own treasure box.



You know those zany ads that ask “What’s in your wallet?” What I want to know is “What’s in your treasure box?” You do have a treasure box, don’t you? Of course you do. Is it an old cigar box, a cookie tin, or an old hat box? Is it a special box that someone made for you? Why do we save the things we do like ticket stubs and dried corsages, or matchbook covers?  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? “One never knows, do one?”

Both my husband and I have treasure boxes of our own. My husband’s, an elegant brass box with the Tokugawa crest on the lid, contains, among other things, a Swan Vesta match box filled with stones he polished, a Cattaraugus pocket knife given to him by a dear friend, his dog tags, a blue-ribboned Boy Scout medal, a few hand-forged cut nails, a Kennedy half dollar, and an ancient pack of Gillette Blue Blades. “Do you have plenty?” No, there are only two blades left from the pack of five.

Mine, a wooden box topped with a cross stitched piece done by my daughter-in-law, holds several different whistles, including one from Oscar Mayer Wieners, a sandalwood fan, a boot-shape piece of rock from Les Baux-de-Provence, a red, white, and blue ribbon rosette given to me in Oslo to wear to celebrate Norwegian Independence Day one May, and a palm-size, bird-shape pillow made of green felt. This was my oldest granddaughter’s first sewing project.

Many parents keep boxes of their children’s things: hospital I.D. bracelets, baby booties, a tress from a child’s first haircut, first drawings, report cards. These things mean a lot to a parent, but little, until later years, to a child. Treasure boxes are a great gift for children aged about four or older. Children love little drawers and compartments. A single-layer tackle box is a great starter box for a kid. The partitions can be moved around to suit their whims, and the boxes are practically indestructible. They can fill the little spaces with all sorts of utterly useless things that they just have to keep.

Children take great pleasure in showing off their treasures to any interested grownup, and they like to have grownups return the favor. We keep some neat stuff in what we call the Nature Box. It too is a tackle box, full of shells, rocks, nuts and seeds, pretty feathers, stones, found pottery shards, an arrowhead or two, shed snake skins, plus a few dried insects like a big cicada and some little, emerald-green flies. These never cease to fascinate our younger grandchildren.

I get a bit nostalgic when think about the recording Loretta Young made of the story of The Littlest Angel. Now, along with many an old radio show, it can be found online. The end to the charming tale of the Littlest Angel is that his gift, a humble treasure box, containing a butterfly with golden wings, a sky blue bird’s egg, two white stones, and his beloved dog’s collar, became the shining star of Bethlehem.



Tuesday, December 25, 2018

MERRY, MERRY


I'm wishing all of my readers a very Merry Christmas, one full of love and laughter and light.
 Zen Hugs y'all.


...and a special Happy Birthday to Brenda.


Friday, December 21, 2018

THINKING OF WALKING IN THEIR SHOES

I'm late posting my blog entry today. It's been a busy day - a made a big pot of beef bourguignon, some to freeze, some for super tonight. Then made a batch of spritz cookies (won't say how many I tested - they need to be tested, you know.) Then I sat! It's crazy trying to keep track of all that needs to be done and where I have to be in these days before Christmas. I've had three meetings this week, and I'm looking forward to just one next week, and then none until January 8th. Bliss!

But I digress...    ... here's a strange bit I thought I thought I'd write for you:

Catherine Parr
In those times, the clothing of royalty was just sumptuous. 

Some nights I have trouble falling asleep. A while ago, getting to bed after reading a mystery set in Tudor times, I began to think what it would have been like to be a woman in those mid-1500s, and to have been one of the historical characters in the book, Henry VII’s last wife, Catherine Parr.

Imagine being a comely woman and catching the eye of old Henry – and old and diseased he was. She’d know about the fate of her five predecessors: divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, and beheaded. What did that bode for her? She did marry him and, fortunately for her, survived.

The point of all this is that lying there in the dark, thinking about someone else’s life, was both interesting – to a point – and soporific. Fleeting thoughts and impressions came and went. I got to sleep fairly quickly. I’ve tried that trick again since then. I’ve thought about being my mother, living in the Depression and through WWII, and the things she encountered and had to deal with. Thinking of her mode of dress, her marriage, and of the differences in lifestyles – all fleeting impressions. I’ve thought about being a movie star and what her life would be like. I thought about and put myself in the lives of a few others.
  
My parents on their wedding day

I’ve got a mental, short list of other lives to explore in my mind. It does work: puts me to sleep, and then gives me food for thought the next day – and to this day.



Friday, December 14, 2018

KEEP THE GOOD STUFF



My favorite Meissen figure - I thought to pass it down, but I'm keeping it for now.

If you’ve read any of my blogs on getting rid of stuff, you’ll recognize that, at heart, I am a minimalist. I have the empty drawers and shelves, and plenty of space in the closets to prove it.

Over the years, especially when we moved south, we gave away, passed down, or donated all sorts of things. I miss very, very few of them. I did do that picture thing: take pictures of the favorite items you’re giving away so that you can have the “evidence,” and your kids won’t have to deal with the stuff later. Eh! 

Now I say, if you have the room, keep the sentimental items. Keep that macramé shawl you bought way back in the 60’s, keep the little pitcher you bought in that wonderful town in France, keep the little figurine you bought with your first babysitting money. If you have the room, and the inclination, keep the treasures handed down to you by your parents. You love them and you love having them. Most of these things deserve the space you give them.

Don’t be too quick to pass them on now. Yes - do let your kids decide to what to do with them once you’re gone. It'll keep them busy.

Monday, December 10, 2018

FAILING FREEDOM




Every morning, I check out the news on MSN, the Microsoft network.  Some of the news is the same as from other sources, but they do come up with some offbeat articles. I bypass many – I really don’t need to waste time finding out the favorite snack in each state, or the best places to retire. (I already live there.) Today they came up with a very intriguing topic: The 27 countries in the world with the most freedom.

So there I went, through the slides, waiting for “us” to come up. Guess what – we no longer make the cut.  At the top with a score of 100 each, Sweden, Finland, and, of course, Norway. 

Not even on the list at a score of a measly 89, we’re not doing to well. As a friend of mine says “it’s pitiful.” You can read more at Freedom House.

Friday, December 7, 2018

CHRISTMAS IS NEAR




I heard my first Christmas music on the car radio on Monday afternoon on the way home from a meeting. Christmas is back on my favorite classical music station. This is Christmas music my style – no “I saw Mommy kissing Santa Clause,” just the good, traditional stuff. Once December is here, I can enjoy Christmas music.  I even found an article that said that listening to Christmas music too early is bad for your health. I believe it! Before December 1st I’m an old Scrooge.  

Right now, I’m delighted it’s December 7th. It’s the last day we’ll have to endure the tidal wave of TV ads for seniors to switch or sign up for Medicare supplement plans. I wish Medicre.gov had chimed in sooner with their ads. That’s the one place anyone shopping for coverage should go to get unbiased, unpaid information.
Ha, the sneaks, there’s even a Medicare.com. They do say, at the end, that they’re not affiliated with the government. Somehow, I don’t trust website like these that promise to refer you to the best of any type of service, from finding a doctor, to a realtor, to a house painter. I suppose the recommended don’t mind paying for referrals through a recommender, it’s a part of the new costs of doing business, but it smacks of extortion.

Cute, but I'll pass on this.

But I’ve digressed. No matter the day on the calendar, you know Christmas is near when they begin to trot out the old TV ads for fancy watches, Norelco shavers, the Clapper, and, good grief, Chia Pets. Now they’ve gone beyond the sheep and other animals and made one like Bob Ross’s fuzzy head, one like our POTUS, and several other equally ugly versions. I’ve never given or received a Chia Pet – I hope things stay this way.
  
That little red one is mine!

Any time they’re on, though, I will always stop to look at the Christmas ads for Mercedes Benz. They are very clever.  I like the one where Santa does a switcheroo and swaps the red sleigh for a gorgeous red Mercedes. Or the one here his red Mercedes is “pulled” by eight white ones. And another where the huge car hauler on the left is carrying “Naughty” red Mercedes models, and the hauler on the right is carrying white “Nice” ones. Yes, clever.

Choices! Choices!


Friday, November 30, 2018

BETTER THAN THE GOOD OLD DAYS





I recently read that the French company MDI – Motor Development International - is developing a small car that will run air – compressed air. I do hope they are successful. It would be a step in the right direction for car owners, and for the health of our world.

We’ve a lot of people working to improve our world – everything from reducing the methane cows produce in abundance, to improving our health and life spans.



I really don’t know if I’ll be around when these improvements come into fruition, but I’d surely like to be. I live in a world so very much better than that of my parents, and I’d love to be around to see the world inherited by my grandchildren.