A Fuchsia Suit

When I picture my mom I usually see her as she appeared in old black and white photos, many taken at family gatherings. In some, she’s smoking a cigarette, in others shyly smiling. At a little over 5 feet and 11 inches tall, Mom was self-conscious about her height, but until she became very ill she never slumped. When her image comes to me unbidden, I see her standing straight, shoulders back.

Mom wasn’t a flashy dresser. She always looked put together, but she never wanted to attract too much attention. I always felt she was more comfortable in the background than in the spotlight, but then what does a daughter really know about her mother?

One year for her birthday Daddy brought Mom a beautifully wrapped box from a higher end department store. That in itself was a big deal. We were a Sears family. Our clothes often came packaged in “3 for $10” sets, so when Mom began unwrapping that elegant box her hands trembled.

When she peeled back the layers of tissue paper surrounding her gift, some of her enthusiasm had waned. She smiled wanly as she lifted up a bright fuchsia knit skirt and blazer. Of course I thought it was beautiful, and obviously so did Daddy, but Mom didn’t seem to share our enthusiasm.

She thanked Daddy who was beaming with pride, but later I overheard her describing the suit to a friend as gaudy. I wasn’t sure what “gaudy” meant, but by the tone of her voice I knew it wasn’t good.

Nevertheless, Mom wore that suit. At first, trepidatiously, but later with confidence. I hope I told her how gorgeous she looked. I hope she felt beautiful in her fuchsia dress.

I’m pretty sure that’s not the suit Mom was wearing in the photo above, but the time frame is about right. Weren’t we precious?

Peace, people!

It’s No Ugly Sweater, but…

I’m usually not snarky about such things. I mean everyone has a right to make their own fashion choices. However, the owner of this handbag monopolized the cashier for over fifteen minutes arguing over a 28 cent difference in what the total was and what she thought it should be. She was wrong and so is this handbag.

A Hundred Dollars

This afternoon I shopped at Target and spent a hundred dollars without even thinking about it. Some of the items I purchased were necessities (e.g. toilet paper), while a couple were “wants” (e.g. hot chocolate flavored marshmallows). I didn’t even blink an eye when the clerk hit the total button.

There have been many, many times in my life, though, when a hundred dollars felt like a fortune. Past Christmases for our whole family were often funded with less than what I spent in one silly Target run.

I still remember the first time I saw, or at least paid attention to, a hundred dollar bill. I was only six or so, and I was hanging out with my beloved grandaddy at the coffee shop. Before he paid the check, he leaned over and showed me the contents of his wallet. There were a bunch of hundred dollar bills in there and I remember being in awe. I figured Grandaddy must be rich to have that much money, and I asked if he was. He just laughed, and told me no, saying, “A hundred dollars doesn’t buy what it used to.”

I have to wonder what Grandaddy would think about the value of a hundred dollars in 2018. He was a pretty savvy businessman, so I doubt he’d be surprised. One thing’s for sure, it certainly doesn’t buy what it used to.

Peace, people.

Ugly Sweater Update

Concerning the ugly sweater contest held at Studly Doright’s office Christmas party, I have some good news and some bad news. As a firm believer in getting the bad news over with first in these situations, that’s just what I’ll do.

The bad news–Studly Doright did not win the contest.

The good news–he wasn’t arrested for crimes against decency and good taste.

The funny news–the winner was a woman who wore a feminine version of Studly’s ugly sweater. That was also the gross news. She was too shy to let me take her picture, so here’s Studly in action.

Doing Nothing

On Saturday morning I had no plans. None. I found myself sitting in front of the tv watching Miracle on 34th Street while sipping coffee laced liberally with Irish cream. It was the 1947 version of the film, and in spite of my having seen it approximately 4 billion times in my life I was almost seduced into watching it again.

Instead I decided to go to the grocery story with a stop at Starbucks along the way. After leaving Starbucks with my favorite non-fat iced chai latte laced with a shot of juniper, my eagle eye spotted an estate sale in an unlikely location. I had to make a u-turn to get to it, but soon I was browsing through a veritable wonderland of vintage collectibles and plain old junk. There was so much stuff that I made two complete circuits through the building and still didn’t find anything I needed. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by volume.

On the way to my car, though, I saw a green stool that seemed to be asking me to take it home. It was only $4.00, so I plopped down my money and loaded it into the back of my car. It’ll be a great plant stand, don’t you think? Or a side table for the porch? Or maybe even, gasp, a stool! Go figure.

I fully intended to go to the grocery store next, but there was a crafts fair being held in the parking lot of a church, so I pulled in and browsed for a bit. Honestly, most of what was being offered wasn’t too enticing, but the local humane society had a booth, so I made a donation and bought treat filled stockings for the cats. They’ll at least be pleased that I didn’t spend my morning watching an old movie.

Finally I made it to the store where I bought stuff to make sandwiches. I’d just finished eating when Studly Doright came in from playing golf to find me watching Miracle on 34th Street. I guess I’ve come full circle.

Peace, people.

Now, THAT is an Ugly Sweater

Thus far in my 62 years on this earth I have never knowingly worn an ugly Christmas sweater. I say “knowingly” because I acknowledge there have been some questionable wardrobe choices in my past, and certainly an ugly sweater might’ve been one of them. I’m just saying I’ve never worn one on purpose.

Tonight, however, I will intentionally don an unattractive knitted garment, adorned with a gaudy, and unnecessarily sequined Christmas appliqué in the shape of a reindeer for my husband’s office Christmas party where an ugly sweater contest will be held. I don’t think my garment will win or even place in the top ten. I couldn’t go full on ugly.

Studly Doright, though, might’ve found the most heinous sweater of all time:

Is that not the most disgusting thing you’ve ever seen? I told him he can wear it once, then it’s going in the dumpster. Or maybe I’ll keep it around as proof that his judgment isn’t always sound.

Peace, people.

A Little Cat Music

In my never ending search for a good night’s sleep I’ve tried everything short of prescription drugs: Melatonin, teas to promote sleep, putting my phone away a couple of hours before bedtime, deep breathing exercises, and meditation. Nothing really works. Occasionally I’ll take a dose of a nighttime cold medicine, and sometimes that helps, but I don’t like doing it.

Often I’ll ask my Alexa to play relaxing music, but whoever programs such material must not understand that up tempo songs with abrupt changes in instrumentation do not foster relaxation. I’ll just about doze off only to have the mellow tones of a cello be replaced jarringly by a clang of cymbals. Note to Alexa–just because a piece is classical, doesn’t mean it’s soothing. I’m fairly sure nobody ever fell asleep to the strains of the Willam Tell Overture.

Finally, though, I believe I’ve found music that might do the trick. It happened quite by accident when on a whim I asked Alexa to play music for cats. I was trying to foster affection, or at least acceptance, between my two antagonistic felines. They both were hanging out in my bedroom, and I had the wild idea that perhaps music could help.

It was an instant hit, and now they expect me to play their music every morning. I’ll wander into the bedroom and find them snuggled into my bed with just a couple of cat lengths between them while a little cat music plays softly in the background. That’s a major improvement.

Last night Studly Doright was out of town. After going to bed I tossed and turned for an hour before wondering if the cat music could work for me, too. I asked Alexa to play it, and the underlying purring sounds set to low strings lulled me to sleep. Now, I woke up around 1 a.m., and again at 4, and had to repeat the process, but it seemed to work fairly well. This leads me to believe I might be a cat. Meow.

Here’s a sample from the album, Music for Cats by David Teie. It’s titled “Lolo’s Air.”

https://youtu.be/yDPHPYbM_K8

Peace, people.

Random Questions and Observations

  • I finally saw Bohemian Rhapsody on Sunday afternoon. I’m still singing in my head.
  • Some people should not be allowed to drive. Yep, dude in the black Beemer tailgating my new car, I’m talking to you. #%?!*#%
  • I’m already tired of wrapping gifts, and I’m not even halfway done.
  • How can two seemingly identical bras, in the same size, from the same shop, fit so differently? #BuyersRemorse #RightBoobSquashed #BreathingNotOptional
  • Great football this past weekend. #HowAboutThemCowboys
  • My Apple Watch is something of a bully. I’ll get up when I damned well please! Okay, now is good.
  • I like bullet points.
  • Sometimes so-called “relaxation” music is anything but. Listen, if you want me to relax, don’t put any sudden changes in the track.
  • Bradley Cooper is hot.
  • If you’re still reading, you’ll know I really had nothing much to say today. Thanks for hanging in there.
  • I always wanted a tumbleweed Christmas tree.
  • There aren’t any tumbleweeds in Florida, as far as I know.
  • Jenna Bush Hagar seems like such a sweet young woman. #TodayShow
  • When I die, will someone take my ashes on a cross country train ride?
  • I’m not on the shortlist for Time magazine’s Person of the Year. Again.
  • Did I mention how much I loved Bohemian Rhapsody? And bullet points?

What’s in Baltimore?

Last night was both a hit and a miss in the sleep department. I initially fell asleep quickly, but awakened approximately an hour later, eyes wide open, thoughts swirling like frantic snowflakes in a blizzard. I read a while until those flakes blanketed the ground of my mind and I was able to doze off again. I repeated the pattern to some extent all night long. Some sleep periods were longer, others shorter. I did dream, though, which is always a good sign.

In the one dream I can recall I had been working in some distant city and was trying to return home to Baltimore, Maryland, via train. I was so sleepy in the train station that I couldn’t stand in the ticket line without dozing off. When I finally managed to speak to a ticket agent I couldn’t remember my address in Baltimore, so she sent me to the back of the line until I could.

Now, I’ve been to Baltimore. I once worked for a company that was based there, and my initial two weeks with the company were spent in the suburb of Towson. But I live in Florida. I’m not sure why my brain thought I needed to go home to Baltimore.

I did finally get on the train in my dream, where I sat next to a man who’d been a social worker before retiring to paint landscapes. I told him I’d come “this close” to being a social worker–a blatant lie–but that I’d chosen a career as a teacher instead. I also told him I could paint. Another lie.

“It will all be clear when we get to Baltimore,” I told him solemnly, before waking up.

Since I have no plans to visit Baltimore any time soon, I suppose things will stay muddy. As usual.

Peace, people.