A Classic Tale Of Snow White and Sleepy

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I am going to start this blog with an Aunty Acid quote, “Embarrassing my children: Just one more service I offer”. I do not consider myself a vengeful person but revenge is sometimes sweet. I’m talking about the type of revenge that is more humorous than hurtful. My last few posts have revolved around aging and trying to figure out when I hit old age. I think I mentioned that I was in my 40’s when my daughter felt it necessary to remind me that I was “over the hill”. Well, guess who is “in” her 40’s this year. I was kind last year when she turned 40. I was sensitive to the fact that this might be a traumatic event for her but all consideration is out the window this year! I gleefully peruse through Hallmark shops looking for the perfect “old lady” cards. While I am getting a kick out of planning my revenge I am also shaking my head asking “How can my daughter be in her 40’s?”. It is like Aunty Acid says, “No matter how old my daughter gets, she will always be my baby girl”. It is something I can’t wrap my head around. It is inconceivable to me that as an old lady I am a mother to an old lady. Regardless, what goes around comes around and I am glad I am still around to witness it!

The title of the blog refers to Snow White because I want to talk about the classic white shirt and its place in fashion history but first I want to share with you a profound statement made by Aunty Acid in regards to Snow White, “If I was Snow White you’d never be able to kill me with an apple. You’d have to poison a doughnut”. So true, so true! Anyway, according to a Harpers Bazaar article the white shirt was popularized by Marie Antoinette in a portrait depicting the royal in a loose, billowing white blouse which was essentially nothing more than her underwear. This portrait caused quite an uproar because her white top was made of inexpensive cotton compared with the finest silks befitting of a royal. However, this portrait encouraged the cotton industry which in-turn promoted slave labor to keep up with demand. Up until the 20th century, cotton shirts were mostly worn by wealthy men because they could afford to have them washed frequently. In the 1920’s Coco Chanel broke down gendered and class boundaries with a more relaxed and contemporary take on women’s wear. Women were swapping skirts for trousers which helped to bring the white shirt into the realm of women fashion. The white shirt is so popular because it can be styled in so many ways, you can dress it up or down, it goes with every color, and it can be worn all year round, season after season. I like it because it is a great backdrop to showcase my jewelry. It is constantly a staple on the fashion runways.

I always like to add a gardening design strategy that goes along with the theme of my blog. In this instance, I am not going to talk about using white in the design but rather about “coordinating” in container gardening.

These plants can tolerate a light frost without dying off which is why I plant them in April. They prefer cool, sunny environments so they tend to “melt” out or die when the weather gets hot. In the center of the large middle container is a tall cluster of stock flowers with shorter Martha Washington geraniums around the edges. The medium size containers on each side are coordinated with the center container. One contains only stock flowers and the other contains only Martha Washington geraniums. What I love about stocks is the sweet spicy fragrance they emit which greets anyone who walks up the walkway to my townhouse. In the small containers are pansies that are the staple of any spring planting. All these containers will last until the middle or end of June but with the early hot weather we are having it may be sooner than that.

OK, lets get started with a fashion show of snow white tops.

This outfit makes me look thin. The white top has those trending flutter sleeves and is loose enough and long enough to hide my belly. The gold colored crops and the “Barbie Doll” shoes with the wood and acrylic heels go perfectly with the jewelry shown in the next picture. I had a gift card for Chico’s from my birthday. Chico’s gave me a $25 coupon for my birthday plus I get 5% off as a member. The top and the crops were on sale for $39 each. The most expensive part of the outfit is the necklace which was not on sale at $65. All-in-all the 3 pieces only cost me $20. Such a deal!

The wood and acrylic in my shoes look great with the acrylic bracelet, the wood and acrylic in the necklace, the gold colored plastic surrounding the face of the watch and the frames of the sun glasses. The gold bars in the necklace go well with the gold watch band, the gold earrings, the gold and pearl rings and the color of the crops.

The previous blouse I dressed up but here I decided to create a more casual look. What I love about this white blouse is the frayed hem which goes well with the jewelry I paired with it. I also love the front panel attached at the seam across the bodice because it hides my belly. I paired it with a pair of jeans because a white top looks so good with jeans and white sneakers. Besides I had some jewelry that look great with a pair of jeans and a white top.

The fraying of the denim material of the necklace and watch band go beautiful with the frayed hem of the white top. The silver metal plate across the necklace has been engraved with “Your Greatest Creation Is Always Going To Be Your Life Story” . The silver bracelet is engraved with the Irish Blessing. The rings are both made with silver metal and one has a tiny pearl that goes so well with the navy blue earrings that also contain tiny pearls.

These are my MC Hammer crops. They are so comfortable! They were originally $119 but I got them for 50% off. I like articles of clothing that I think are unique. I paired it with a basic cap sleeve top that I tucked in and bloused at the waist. the black pants and the blousing of the white top minimized my belly bulge. I wear this with my black Nike flip-flops.

I paired the outfit with this cute black, white and silver necklace. The beads in the necklace are similar to those in the earrings. All the rest of the accessories are either black or white or both.

Let’s talk about my weight. Aunty Acid and I agree that our idea of a diet is blowing the sugar off a donut. In my last blog I was concerned about losing those last two pounds before I weighed in at the doctor’s office in November. Well, the good news is that even though I went to the cottage for a week this month and indulged in sugary treats I did not gain weight. The bad news is that I have not been feeling so great. I am not sure if I mentioned that I have Hashimoto’s Disease and have had a thyroidectomy. It turns out my heart meds were interfering with my thyroid meds and I had to change my meds schedule. In a 3 month period my thyroid-stimulating hormone levels went from being “hypo” to being “hyper”. Even though I haven’t felt great during the last few months the upside of being “hyper” is that I have been able to eat a lot of calories and not only have I not gained weight I actually lost another pound. This will eventually get corrected but I am taking advantage of my good fortune and eating like Aunty Acids definition of the dinner: Dinner (din-er), Noun, A continuous snack that goes between 6 pm and bedtime. Life is good!

I got this blog out at the 11th hour but I got it done before June 1st. I think I should be able to get the next one out in June but you can ask most of my family members about my timeliness and they will just laugh at you. I’m like the old saying “I hate being late but I am so good at it!”. So, until next month (hopefully) remember, God loves you and so do I.

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Well, it is official. On May 1st I will be 71 years old. That kinda freaks me out. Last year, when I turned 70 it was no big deal because I considered myself on the border of being in my 70’s. This year I am no longer on the perimeter, I am actually “in” my 70’s. I remember being in college taking so many child development classes but I did take one class in human development that covered all stages of life. One of my assignments for that class included interviewing someone who might be considered of the “geriatric age ” or “elderly”. I have just realized that I interviewed someone about the same age as I am now! WHAT? Can that be true?! I agree with Oliver Wendell Holmes, a supreme court judge who once said “Old age is always 15 years older than I am”. There are so many definitions and connotations for someone over 60. Are we senior citizens typically defined as an elderly or retired persons? Are we considered old meaning we have a been alive for a long time and, to our youth obsessed culture, is associated with being useless, fragile or obsolete? Are we elderly which means the wrinkling of our skin and who many consider old and frail? Are we geriatric implying we are worn out or senile? All these terms are very negative and unfortunately society labels us as such. It’s as Aunty Acid says “I just realized when 20 year olds talk about “OLD PEOPLE” they are talking about us”. But didn’t we do the same thing when we were younger? According to Gene D. Cohen, MD., PhD., founder of the GW Center for Aging, Health and Humanities, I am in the phase considered “a time of review and resolution and heralds a desire to give back. The review is of one’s life with recognition of its meaning.” In my human development class many years ago I studied the stages of life as depicted by psychoanalyst Erik Erickson who’s definition of old age, which starts at 50, as the age of wisdom. According to Aunty Acid life begins at 50 but so does menopause, rheumatism, rubbish eyesight, forgetting why you walked into a room, and the tendency to tell a story to the same person 3 or 4 times. I think I am going with wisdom.

As you have already figured out I LOVE lots of color in my clothes. I love wearing multiple shades of the same color or the many colors of the rainbow. In fashion history, the middle-class Americans only started wearing colorful clothes regularly for less than a century. Wearing color was seen as a sign of wealth. “There was a practical element to the lack of color pre-1920, because colorful clothes got dirtier quicker” says Deirdre Clement, fashion historian. As royals and elites didn’t have to worry about getting dirty, they could dress as brightly as they wanted to dress. If you were not of the upper class, people were considered “immoral” and “gaudy” if they were dressed in colorful clothes. It would be something worn by the prostitutes in the cities in order to attract attention to themselves. That changed in the 1930’s when middle class leisure time and tourism became popular and the sportswear industry began to grow. Vibrant colors and big floral prints were introduced to mass fashion. Whew! Glad I wasn’t born prior to the 1930’s or my reputation would have been shot.

I always like to add a gardening feature to my blog. I am going to put in a photo that is similar to one you have already seen but it goes along with my blog of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. I pick my plants the same way I pick my clothes. When I planted this deck flower box I wanted to be able to sit on my deck and see lots and lots of color. I no longer have a backyard deck but I make sure when I walk out my front door I see lots and lots of color. When I buy clothes I like to wear lots and lots of color. That is what makes me happy!

OK, let the fashion show begin.

Can’t get more colorful than this! This wrap is like abstract art. It has splotches of color along with abstract flowers. I got it at Von Maur for less than $50 and I can wear it with many different colored pants. Here I have paired it with my turquoise Jams (I call them my I Dream of Jeannie pants). Underneath the wrap I am wearing an off-white, loose fitting, sleeveless linen top because the background of the wrap is off-white as are the shoes I am wearing.

The nice thing about the wrap I am wearing is that I can wear colorful accessories. I love to layer my necklaces. I started with a green and black slide around my neck then I added the necklace with the multicolored beads and triangular wood pieces (a gift from my friend Sue from one of her many cruises). The longer necklace came from the Free Trade store “The Bridge” in Holland, Michigan (great store!). The band of the black watch goes along with the border of the wrap and rings, bracelet and earrings go perfectly with the outfit (I really like orange and turquoise together).

It is amazing how you can build on a simple base of black pants and loose fitting black top. I am wearing a somewhat sheer, colorful, “block” colored blouse, black pumps and accessories and I have a casual and colorful outfit that I can wear almost anywhere.

The color of the shell and beads of the necklace match perfectly with the colorful blouse as do all the other pieces. I know it is hard to see the square ring but it was hand crafted and each side of the square has a different colored, beautifully cut, piece of glass.

This top reminds me of a rainbow cone. I love the symmetry of the top. The sleeves and pockets on each side are opposite of the panels on the other side. I have paired it with my orange pants that are perfectly matched with the buttons on the front of this top which are the stars of this top. Unfortunately I do not have a pair of solid orange shoes so I wore it with a very neutral colored pair of sandals.

You can see the adorable buttons in this photo. When you are wearing a rainbow of colors it is easy to pick out accessories because everything matches it. I have paired the outfit with orange and gold wooden bangle bracelets, and orange band watch, tangerine and green earrings and a two tone orange slide. It is hard to see the stones in the rings. One is a silver and purple gem stone “blocked” ring while the other has multiple colored gems in what looks to be little leaves.

Well, as far as my weight there is good news and bad news. 18 months ago in November of 2021 my liver doctor told me I had to lose 20 pounds over two years. So, the good news is that over the last 18 months I have lost 18 pounds. The bad news is that I have to lose 2 more pounds over the next 6 months. You would think this would be easy which brings me to the bad news. Over the next 6 months I will be going to BBQ’s, a wedding, vacations and several long weekends at the cottage all of which includes a lot of tempting foods. Also, I am a lot like Aunty Acid who says ”When things get me down I go to my happy place…the refrigerator”. I worry less about losing those 2 pounds as much as I worry about gaining back some that I lost. There is nothing worse than to be on a diet during the summer! I know myself well and I am afraid I will be like Aunty Acid who says “Just a heads up. I’m starting my summer diet…which has probably ended by the time you’re reading this”.

Until next month, remember God loves you and so do I.

Time To Get Down And Dirty

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

In one of the women’s magazines I read there is a small section where a woman shares an embarrassing moment. Well, I am going to share with all of you my most recent embarrassing moment (heaven knows there have been many!). I had a small get-together for my sister’s birthday and all went well until I put the candles on the cup cakes. After my sister made a wish and blew out the flames she asked me what “number” candles did I put on her cupcakes. I said “69” at which point she said she was only 68. I said that can’t be because we are three years apart and I was going to be 72. Well, I was quickly reminded that I was going to be 71 not 72. Now, there are both positive and negatives to this situation. On the positive side I am younger than I thought (yeah!) but on the negative side, other than being embarrassed, I am wondering if this is a sign of dementia. So, when I saw this as a foreboding of things to come I started researching to find out if this is truly a potential problem. Have I gotten to the point that Aunty Acid describes as having a true memory issue? She says and I quote “Sure it is OK to talk to yourself. It is even OK to answer yourself. But when you start asking yourself to repeat what you just said, you might have a problem”. All is good! I haven’t reached that stage of memory loss.

I am happy to report that forgetting one’s age as we get older has nothing to do with deterioration of our faculties. As children we look forward to our birthdays because it means celebration and presents. In our teens we look forward to the age when we can get our driver’s license and in our early twenties we look forward to the age when we can drink alcohol. In middle age we look forward to the age when we can retire. In all these situations our birthdays are important points in our lifelines. However, after retirement our birthdays seem less important. Birthdays are just reminders that we are getting older so they seem less exciting and more exhausting. I hate to make this macabre statement but as we get older death becomes more imminent. As your age gets bigger, the number of years you have left gets smaller. So, in summary, the upside is that I don’t have to worry about dementia yet but on the downside, well, do I really have to explain? We really don’t know what is in store for us in the future. It is like Aunty Acid says, “I hate when someone asks me where I see myself in five years from now when I don’t even remember where the hell I was 2 days ago!”. So true!

Well, spring has sprung! It is time to get rid of the drab and focus on beautiful colors. We are so over having cabin fever and are looking forward to being outdoors. Some of you are planning your summer gardens and visiting new places. Others just want to sit on their decks with a drink in hand and watch the world go by. I am looking forward to breaking out the spring and summer clothes. I hear that magenta is the color for spring but for me I love a burst of colors. I don’t see anyone telling Mother Nature “Sorry, you can only put out magenta flowers this year”. Several ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, or the use of colors to heal. Chromotherapy is sometimes referred to as light therapy or colorology. Colorology is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment. For example, red is used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation while blue is believed to soothe illness and treat pain. I guess different strokes for different folks. Let’s all of us be our most colorful selves this season and be happy doing so!

Of course spring makes me think of flowers and I am already getting my containers ready for planting, especially those spring flowers like bulbs and pansies. I have shared with you many of my favorite containers of flowers so I thought I would share with you my recipe for my potting soil and why I do what I do. Below is a picture of all my ingredients.

As I get older I need to make sure my containers are light weight so I can move them easily. I typically use a plastic or resin container because they are so light weight. I like Ace potting soil because it has the consistency of top soil but if I would fill a container with it I would not be able to lift it. So I fill the bottom of the container with good old styrofoam packing peanuts that I get from the UPS store because the roots of my annual plants don’t need a whole container full of potting soil. Before I put in my potting soil I put light weight landscape fabric over the peanuts and up the walls of the container which keeps the potting soil and plant roots from mixing in with the peanuts. I tend to buy 4 inch pots of flowers so I make sure that I leave 7 inches from the fabric to the top of the container (2 inches below the 4 inch potted plant and 1 inch at the top for watering). I carefully put the potting soil over the landscape fabric so I don’t pull down the fabric along the sides of the container. The reason I make my own blend is because I want to make sure my add-ins are evenly distributed. First I mix in a little bit of perlite for better drainage then I add in the water storing crystals, both are mixed in evenly throughout the potting soil. I do not put the water storing crystals in my spring containers because I do not want my bulbs and fleshy roots to rot out in the cool, wet spring weather. I do not use them in my summer containers when planting tuberous begonias because I need the potting soil to dry out between waterings otherwise the tuberous roots will rot out. The last part of the recipe is to evenly work the Osmocote into the top 2 inches of the potting soil. I do not buy a ready made blend because I am never sure of an even mix of add-ins. At the end of the year you can throw away the annuals, pull out the landscape fabric with the remaining dirt and you can keep the packing peanuts for next year.

OK, let’s leave winter and move into spring and summer outfits.

You know how much I love ponchos. They hide all sin! If you have been watching Chico’s flash sales you probably will recognize this top that I got for less than $50. I consider it an early birthday present to myself. The colors that are swirling through this fabric remind me of moving water. I paired it with these wide leg pants (made of polyester, rayon and spandex) that literally flow like water when I walk. This “flowing” water theme is carried through to my accessories as seen below.

Let me tell you my crazy thought process when picking out jewelry for this outfit. This necklace reminds me of a water lotus plant and the turquoise parts of the earrings are like little water falls. The rest of the jewelry was chosen simply based on colors in the poncho.

This kimono was also an early birthday present I bought for myself and was also less than $50 from Chico’s flash sale. There is nothing that yells “spring” like flowers do. Because this is a fairly long kimono, I am wearing a mid-thigh length white top underneath. The leggings are navy blue as are the pumps. It is a very slimming look.

The long chain necklace is made of round navy blue beads and I paired it with a floating black bead necklace. The flower earrings are also navy blue with a rhinestone center and edging. The yellow watch and the white bracelet pull out the colors of the flowers. I wear the yellow and blue star rings on my pinky fingers.

I bought this topper at VonMaur for less than $25 a few years back. I love the combination of black and white checks with red flowers. Anything that hides my belly is worth the money! I have paired it with a white sheath top and semi-wide leg, light weight, black pair of pants. I typically choose shoes that match my pants but the red shoes look so good with this outfit.

I am very particular when choosing red accessories. There are so many different shades of red so I try to be consistent with the same shade of red in my accessories. The red in the topper and the jewelry is an orange red. The necklace was made by a woman in a third world country so of course I had to buy it to help support her. My earrings are hard to see but they are decorated with little red cardinals. My watch face and rings reflect the square shape of the checks in the topper.

I am now going to sound off about this whole “losing weight” situation. Isn’t there some unwritten promise that we will “feel” so much better if we lose a few pounds? Well, after losing 24 pounds since starting this blog I am still waiting for that promise to kick in. The only thing I feel is FRUSTRATION. We live in a world of celebrations, bakeries and food commercials which I am faced with constantly. My liver doctor said I need to lose another 10 pounds and I am only allowed a sugar dessert once a week. FRUSTRATION! Even after losing 24 pounds I am still in the same “overweight” category on the BMI chart. FRUSTRATION! I don’t find it any easier to get out of my little Honda Civic, my legs still feel very tired after my daily 2 mile walks and I don’t feel any more energetic. FRUSTRATION! I am told that losing weight is healthier for my innards but because I can’t see that benefit I do not find it highly motivating. The only upside is that I can justify buying more clothes that fit me (as if I need any more clothes!). My family and dog love me no matter what my weight is and I really don’tcare about the dating scene. If losing weight makes you feel better, how come I was happier being heavy? Maybe I should just follow Aunty Acids advice, “People don’t want to hear about your diet. So shut up, eat your salad and be sad.” UGH!

So until next month remember God loves you and so do I.

Scarf It Up NOT Scarf It Down!!!

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I wanted to ask the person who coined the phrase “You are as young as you feel” if he continued to believe this as he grew older but, alas, he died at the age of 52. John O’Donohue was an Irish priest, poet, author and philosopher (it figures) who wrote that quote at the age of 41 so he never got to experience what it was like to be a senior citizen and all the physical maladies that come along with aging. As Aunty Acid puts it so bluntly, “Sure I’m REtired, I was tired yesterday and I am freaking tired today!”. So, as a 70 year old woman I can say that there are times when I feel younger than my years but that could change within a day, a minute or even a second especially on days when there is a change in barometric pressure. Today is one of those days. It is suppose to rain tonight and my arthritis believes the weatherman. Scientists say that there is no proof that there is a correlation between precipitation and inflammation of the joints. Well, someone forgot to tell my joints that because the myth still lives on in my body. I wonder, if John O’Donohue lived to be 70 would he have rescinded his famous quote or would he have continued to live in LaLa Land? I guess we will never know. By the way, did you know that on March 23 of every year we celebrate As Young As You Feel Day? Well, I know what Aunty Acid would say about that, “I’m EXHAUSTIPATED…which means I’m just too tired to give a crap”. I love it when I learn a new word!

Today’s topic is using scarves as accessories. A scarf is a perfect combination of function and fabric. They are considered appropriate for every season. They can help to keep you warm but they are also popular fashion accessories (especially for those trying to hide a wrinkled neck). They are made of many different types of material (ie., chiffon, woolen, silk, cashmere, etc.) and many different styles (ie., cowl, infinity, triangular, stole, shawl, etc.). The origins of the scarf trickle back to Ancient Egypt, precisely to Queen Nefertiti. Josephine Bonaparte collected over 400 scarves which make my 70 seem paltry. The emergence of scarves as accessories began after World War I as a way to add a little joy on the homefront in London. In 1937 French fashion house Hermes started producing luxurious silk square scarves and they were popularized by Queen Victoria. A scarf can be used as a finishing piece that adds another layer to your outfit. A scarf is one of the best ways to pull together an outfit and make it cohesive.

I am not writing about a garden design in this blog because I am using the space for more pictures on how to make a scarf the focal piece of your outfit as well as a beautiful accessory for your coat.

So, let’s get started.

I love this scarf with my dark purple coat. It is so light weight and the craftsmanship is amazing. I saw it at a craft show but could not afford it. Apparently my sister thought I was worth it and surprised me with it at Christmas. I think it is made of boiled wool but I am not sure. Each flower is made up of individual pieces so expertly put together.

After you take off your coat, the scarf makes a beautiful accessory that becomes the focal piece of the outfit. I paired it with a light colored top so it would stand out and a pair of dark purple jeans. When you wear a focal piece like this no one is looking at my bulges which are well hidden by this top.

No one is really going to be looking at my jewelry when I wear this scarf so I keep it simple. I am not wearing a bracelet because the sleeves of the top are so long. I am wearing two different shades of purple with the gem stones in the ring and earrings as well as a green stone in the other ring that matches the green of the leaves in the scarf.

I have doubled up this fringed infinity scarf to wear over my blue wool coat. I am wearing my blue and pink flowered jeans and pink pumps.

I unfolded the scarf to wear as a single loop and you can better see the lovely cutout flowers. You know from past blogs that I love the fringe look. The long, button down, loose top as well as the scarf hides my bulging tummy. If you want to have the scarf stand out wear it with a light colored top.

I wanted to add a little contrast to all the pink accessories so I am wearing a navy blue slide that I bought at an outdoor art show in downtown Chicago. It was made by a teacher trying to supplement her income so how could I not buy it. The watch is rose gold with a pink band. The beads on the bracelet pick up on whatever color is in the outfit. The cutouts of the earrings go so well with the cutouts of the scarf. The flowers in the ring goes perfectly with the flowers in the necklace. I love this ensemble!

This scarf is made of a very thin fabric so it has to be worn with a lightweight spring coat. The multiple colors of the scarf with the reddish-purple background pairs so well with the plum raincoat I am wearing. The flower extravaganza is on both the front and the back of the scarf and you notice there is a dark turquoise wine bottle on the lower corner for added interest.

I take off the raincoat and I have a beautiful outfit with the same scarf. The cream colored flowers in the scarf go beautifully with the cream colored, lightweight sweater and wide leg cream colored pants. With the cream colored base the colors in the scarf really pop. Again, I love that the scarf covers my belly.

I have several pieces of jewelry that would go with this scarf because of all the colors in it. The cream colored flower earrings go perfectly with the cream colored flower ring. You can’t see the whole scarf in this picture but every color in the beads of my bracelet can be found in the scarf.

I really don’t want to talk about my weight. I haven’t been on the scale in 2 weeks. Every once in a while I go on a binge especially when I am stressed. It started with the hand dipped chocolate covered strawberries that the stores were selling for Valentine’s Day. These are one of the few desserts I can eat so when they were so available I was eating several a day for a week. Then the binge continued with left over ice cream from Vicki’s birthday party. Finally, I was so sugared out that I started binging on salty chips. Aunty Acid describes my binges perfectly when she asks “Am I the only one who eats a snack while looking for another snack?” Hopefully I am coming to the end of my pigging out. I will say I don’t do this very often but when I binge I GO BIG!

Until next time, remember God loves you and so do I.

Give It A Rest!

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

After hosting three Christmas get-togethers for family and friends, packing up Christmas decorations into 45 large plastic tubs then catching a respiratory virus that has lasted for weeks, all I could think about was curling up on my couch and relaxing. To me relaxing is lounging on my couch and reading a good book, listening to the “oldies” or watching an old movie. So I started thinking, what makes a song an “oldie”? What defines an “old” movie? At what age do we become “old”? So for the first two questions I decided to do a little research and here is what I found. One site considers a song to be an “oldie” if it was released during the period of 1950 to 1969. So, does that make me an “oldie” because I was living during this period? An old movie is considered a “classic” movie and, according to one site, films have to be at least 25 years old to be considered “classic” for the national film registry. I prefer to be considered “classic” than old. According to the dictionary an “oldie” is: ‘One that is old. An old person or thing’. Which brings me to my final question, at what age do we become old? According to Crabby Maxine “You know you’re getting old when you get butt jiggle, arm wing flap and boob wobble when you brush your teeth”. Maybe old is as Aunty Acid describes when the only pole dancing you do is to hold onto the safety bar in the tub. When my daughter was a teenager, she considered me to be old in my 40’s and never failed to remind me. Maybe we become old in our 50’s when we qualify for AARP. Are we considered old when we are in our 60’s and qualify for Social Security and Medicare? Is it all relative? To an 80-year-old person, I may be young. I think I will go with that line of thinking.

I realized that we are creatures of habit. Many of us are retired so why do we continue to act like we are still working? Let me explain. Why do I continue to do these relaxing acts only on Sundays when I could do them any day? Why does my sister continue to eat dinner at 7:30 when she could eat whenever she wanted to? Why do my cousin Sally, Vicki and I go up to the cottage in Michigan together for long weekends, typically for holiday weekends, when we could go up any day during the week? There are no good reasons for us to continue these behaviors but we keep doing so. That is because habits become “wired” into the neuronal circuits of the brain. The more you do something, the more your likely to do it in the future. I feel much better knowing that my crazy behaviors are normal. On the other hand, I can relate to Aunty Acid who says “Some days I astound myself, other days I put the laundry in the oven”. Maybe my crazy behaviors are not so normal.

What is considered “comfortable” clothing is relative. The outfits I am wearing in this blog are “comfy” to me. They are loose fitting, stretchy, something I can easily nap in but are still stylish. You won’t see me lounging in an old pair of jeans. I love what Crabby Maxine says about an old pair of jeans, “Today, I started off great until…I tried on an old pair of jeans and threw my back out while tucking my tummy in!”. Doesn’t sound comfy to me! If someone comes to the door, if I need to run to the store, or even if just want to feel better when I am sick, I make sure I am wearing a comfy ‘coordinated’ outfit. These are the outfits I like to wear when I curl up on the couch to relax. Right now I am curled up on the couch writing this as I am wearing one of the outfits I am modeling in today’s blog. I am still suffering from the after effects of the virus and psychologically I think that if I look good I will feel good. It’s the little things that make all the difference when you want to chill out!

Speaking of little things, my garden picture is of one of my favorite summer containers.

It doesn’t look like much in the picture but let me explain why it is such a great container. The dwarf boxwood shrub is over 3 years old and stands only 10 inches tall. I leave it out all winter long in the concrete hypertufa planter (18L x 13W x 7D inches) up against the sliding glass doors. The concrete and moss that make up the hypertufa help to keep the roots somewhat warm in the winter. During the summer I fill it with colorful mini cacti and succulents because the planter is porous so it drains well. It is a great little garden for those of you who often forget to water their plants because I rarely water it at all. You can go on vacation and RELAX knowing your little garden is just fine without you. If you are good about watering, you could fill it with herbs. The snow during the winter provides moisture as does the rain in the summer. The planter might be small but it is so heavy I need a dolly to move it.

So, get comfy and check out these outfits.

This is the outfit I am currently wearing as I write this blog. The lightweight cream colored sweater and sweatpants are loose and allow me to comfortably curl up on the couch. The bluish-green, hooded sweater-jacket is basically made of the same material as the stretchy sweatpants. THE WHOLE OUTFIT IS CUTE AND COMFY.

The jewelry is pretty simple because I may fall asleep on the couch and I don’t want to wear any jewelry that would make me uncomfortable. I am always wearing a watch so I chose one that was eggshell in color with gold trim and faux diamonds around the face of the watch. The rest of my jewelry also contains gold metallic pieces. The earrings and the ring are the same blush-green as the sweater jacket and the ring has itty-bitty diamonds around the gem stone. The bracelet is made of cloth with gold beads so it is not cumbersome.

What is more relaxing than being a lake bum? The pants tie at the waist and has back pockets. They are not stretchy but they are loose and comfy. The top is hooded and loose fitting with a little bit of stretch. The outfit is great for lounging just about anywhere.

Every thing about this outfit screams “outdoors” so I am wearing a silver pair of butterfly earrings and ring. My bracelet has the interchangeable charms so I decided to wear it with a “wave” charm. The watch is off white and the necklace is striped with 4 different shades of blue. Some people would not wear jewelry with a lounging outfit but I feel naked without accessories.

You can really tell how miserable I am feeling by the puffiness of my eyes. Of all the outfits, this one is the most comfortable. It is made of acrylic and polyester and it moves as I move like it is part of my skin.. The top is loose and covers my tummy while the pants are form fitting but stretch with every movement I make. It has a ribbed collar and cuffs for a little added interest. The buttons are mottled with two shades of taupe.

The earrings are made of 4 different metallic colors so I am able to wear different metallic colors in the other accessories. The ring is silver metal with a tiger-eye stone. I pulled in the other metals with a copper color watch and matching bracelet, and a simple gold necklace and a rose gold colored bracelet with love doves.

OK, let’s talk about the Christmas weight. Surprisingly, I only gained two pounds which is a miracle considering all the chocolate and homemade cookies that I ate. Even more surprising those pounds came off easily. However, I don’t know about you but when I don’t feel well I tend to eat comfort food. For me, comfort food is ice cream. I figure by the time I am healthy I will have gained back the holiday weight and then some. Oh well, I have realized that the pounds come and go but ice cream is forever. I have to be careful, though, because I could end up like Aunty Acid who stated “I decided to go for a jog today…As I set off I realized it was my butt cheeks cheering me on”. Maybe I just won’t go jogging.

Well, until next month, remember God loves you and so do I.

The Three Days of Christmas, Ho-Ho-Ho

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Well, another Christmas is upon us and I am so excited! As you know from my last Christmas blog I go crazy with decorating. I truly have a Christmas house with all my every day decorations and some furniture shoved into my second bedroom. Every wall hanging and knick-knack has something to do with Christmas. So many people have told me I should be on a Christmas Walk which is such a wonderful compliment. It takes me over 40 hours to decorate but I think it is worth every minute. I am not sure Matty appreciates it especially after I dressed him up as Santa. I have 3 parties at my house during the holidays. When all the festivities are over I feel a little sad but, like Crabby Maxine, I am never lonely because I have four men in my life. I get up with Charlie Horse. I spend the day with Arthur Itis. I dine with Will Power. And I go to bed with Ben Gay.

Last Christmas I wrote about reminiscing Christmases past but this year I want to concentrate on Christmas present. As many of you like myself have lost loved ones who we miss all the time but especially during the holidays, we think of the holidays we enjoyed when they were with us and wish we could spend another joyful Christmas day with them. There are times I get a little weepy but I am now able to grieve for a short period of time then I think of the joy my loved ones brought to my life and I start smiling again. Then I think of the many blessings I have in my life right now and I need to make myself present for those I do celebrate with on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Our lives are so hectic every day and even more so getting ready for Christmas that I want to make sure that when I get together with family and friends they know how much I love their company. Unfortunately we never know who will still be with us next year at this time so when you get together with others in your life make them feel important and special. Every one needs to know that someone cares about them. Let that someone be you.

Here is a Christmas riddle. How do you know Santa is a man? Answer: No woman would wear the same outfit every year! I always wondered why we decorate with red, green and gold colors. There are many different theories but I found an article that I thought represented this tradition the best. The red symbolizes the blood of Jesus Christ, green is the color of the evergreen plants like holly and mistletoe which represent Christ’s life and eternal nature while gold is often used to represent the sun and the Son of God who will bring light into the darkness. Then I wanted to know if there was a Christmas dress code. I did a little research (I am a little nerdy that way) and found out that we no longer have a specific code and we can dress up however we want. There was a time when our elders would have been appalled that we show up on Christmas Day in our blue jeans but times have changed. The Christmas dress code of dressing up ended in the 1990’s and thus began the “anything goes” feel to the holiday season. These days our choices range from cozy to glamorous, from silly holiday sweaters and flannel to glistening accessories to color-coordinating green and red. If you are attending a Christmas themed party or social outing, follow the theme of the event. I for one am not really into buying clothes that can only be worn during the holidays but I do have a few pieces, both old and new, that can be worn no matter what the theme of the party. Hence, the Three Days of Christmas.

This is where I usually insert a picture of a landscape design. I could have gone out and shown you pictures of snow covered evergreens and told you about the importance of incorporating them into your landscape for winter interest. Instead, I decided to show you something I did within my townhouse that kind of goes along with the “gold” theme of Christmas and is a great indoor design strategy.

The walls of my townhouse are all a very light taupe and my carpeting is off white. I have a very open concept and I felt that I needed an accent wall to break up all the “lightness”. I have a wall that is 17 feet high and I decided to paint it a caramel gold color. It goes beautifully with the stair banister, my metallic gold decor and it adds a richness to the environment. It looks exceptionally pretty surrounded by Christmas decorations.

Well, let’s look at the three days of Christmas outfits.

This outfit is for those of you who are celebrating Christmas Day with football, games like Charades or Pictionary, or sitting around with friends and family vegging out with pizza or finger foods. I love this Christmas tee shirt because it is not red and green. It is a navy blue with two tone pink colored poinsettias. I paired it with my most comfy blue jeans and navy blue boots (just in case you end up having to be outside maybe looking at Christmas decorations in the neighborhood). A comfy pair of sneakers would look good with this outfit too.

I love how the poinsettias go down the left arm sleeve on this “Life Is Good” tee shirt. In the last blog I told you how our library foundation had a used jewelry sale. No piece was over $2. I got these poinsettia earrings for $1. The deep rose glass petals look lovely with the pink color of the poinsettias in the tee. I paired it with a green watch and a garnet gem ring. I cannot afford to buy myself fine jewelry so when I go into an antique shop I look for faux gem rings with beautiful or unusual settings. I loved the setting of this faux emerald ring but the picture does not do it justice.

This outfit is for those of you who are going to a family or a friend’s Christmas get-together where you will probably have a traditional sit down or buffet dinner and just enjoy each other’s company. I liked this jacket because it is made of sweatshirt material so it is comfy and it is forest green not a bright green. I have had this jacket for over 20 years. It looks like new because I only wear it once a year. It is decorated with embroidered Santas, Christmas tree and ornaments. I paired it with a red turtleneck top, black slacks and and black flats.

I love the Santa button! The embroidered ornaments are gold in the center so I paired the outfit with round, gold clip-on earrings. The bracelet was made by one of my coworkers and the stone of the ring matches the green beads of the bracelet . Again, I love the setting of the faux stone.

This is an outfit I would wear to an evening Christmas party. It is more formal and it makes me look thin. I bought this cover-up at Alsip Nursery in Frankfort. It is a large garden center that sometimes has cute clothes. The Santas go all the way around the cover-up and it is made of a stretchy material. I paired it with a back turtleneck and black leather looking skinny pants. I dress it up with 1 inch black heels.

The necklace and earrings were bought at the library jewelry sale. I got the gold and red necklace for $2 and the matching earrings for $1. I wore a pearl ring that matches the pompons of Santa’s hat and my red ruby ring. I wore the thin gold bangle and gold watch on one wrist and the black bracelet on the other.

I try not to think about my weight during the holidays but I am proud of myself for losing 23 pounds since the start of my blog four years ago. My liver doctor is soooo happy with me since the majority of the weight came off this past year. I wish I could say I was diligent in following a diet but most of it came off because of circumstances. Recently I had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic and ended up with blisters all over my mouth which made eating difficult. Then I ended up with back spasms while putting up Christmas decorations so I ended up flat on my back which made eating difficult. As Aunty Acid says “It’s bad news when your back goes out more than you do.” The nice thing is I feel OK about eating Christmas cookies and candy, the bad thing is I don’t know when to stop eating sugary Christmas calories. I will say that my heart doctor was not happy with my diet so I had to curb my breakfast of eggs, bacon and toast while increasing my intake of plain oatmeal. Good thing I like oatmeal.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I look forward to a new year of blogs to share with you. I hope you know you are all very important to me! Aunty Acid says it best “I don’t want anything for Christmas. I just want the person reading this to be happy, healthy and loved.” (see, she is not always sarcastic!).

So until next year, remember God loves you and so do I.


Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I want to talk about the side effects of getting older. I don’t mean to be negative but I agree with Aunty Acid who says “I spent my entire childhood wishing to be older….and now I’m here. Well, this crap sucks!“. I recently saw Katie Couric on T.V. talking about how she was only 6 months late in getting her mammogram and they found early stage cancer. Most of us find it uncomfortable if not painful to get our mammograms but I say to all of you who have not gotten their yearly mammogram “JUST DO IT!” (Wow, I sound like a Nike commercial). In my last blog I told you all that I was having a colonoscopy. I had my first colonoscopy when I was 58 and they found 2 precancerous adenomous polyps and I was told I needed to get a colonoscopy every 5 years. When I was 63 they found 3 precancerous adenomous polyps and again told to come back in 5 years. Well, when I was 68 Covid hit and they were not doing colonoscopies so I had to wait an extra 2 years. This time the majority of my 12 polyps were precancerous adenomas and one was very large. Now I have to have another colonoscopy in 1 year. I am a stickler for getting my preventative tests done on time and very fortunate that the results were not life threatening. Colonoscopies are no fun because of the prep but the test itself is easy for the patient because, hopefully, you are knocked out (otherwise you would know what a Muppet feels like!). I get it, there are no “butts” about it, colonoscopies are a pain in the ass, literally. So for all of you who have been avoiding getting a colonoscopy done, I say to you “JUST DO IT!”

OK, let’s change the anal topic of colonoscopies to that of fashion. I am sure we have all been asking ourselves this burning question (not) “Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?”. The theme of this fashion blog is landscape art. Fashion is regarded as a part of visual culture, a kind of body art. Prompted by this, some of the world famous fashion designers have made outstanding collections based on the art movement, allowing us to interpret fashion as a form of art. Fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent incorporated artist Mondrian’s abstract painting into his collection. Designer Gianni Versace was inspired by the pop art movement pioneered by Andy Warhol. Designer Alexander McQueen was inspired by artist Gustav Klimt, the master of symbolism. Christian Dior was inspired by my favorite artist Claude Monet. Monet used his home and garden for inspiration and captured the natural landscape in his paintings. Christian Dior used to spend a lot of time in his garden drawing his collections just like Monet did.

I love to add a picture of landscape design that relates to my blog so here are a couple of pictures that depict perfectly the color, texture, and form of landscape design.

I don’t know who landscaped our townhouse units but they should be commended. I put the first picture in to show you how the landscaper planted a tree outside every door of all 180 townhouses. In the second picture you see the trees that surround the perimeter of the townhouses. The landscaper used form, color and texture beautifully to maximize fall colors. This last picture looks like a piece of art.

So, lets see how landscape art can be used in fashion.

I love this beautiful fall wrap! It is reversible and has a totally different fall scene with a different mix of colors on the other side. The landscape scene is a river flowing under a bridge in a forest of fall colored trees. The wrap is buttoned at the shoulder. Underneath, I am wearing a blood red orange turtleneck top and a black pair of pants. With a wrap like this jewelry is really not needed but I feel naked if I don’t wear some sort of accessories which you can see below.

There is no sense in wearing a necklace with this wrap because it would be lost in the landscape. I wore the tricolor bracelets on one wrist and the gold bracelet and watch on the other. I wanted to accentuate the greens in this piece of art so I paired it with a green ring and earrings.

The scene on this top reminds me of an old European seaside village. I always get so many compliments on this top because of the beautiful colors of the landscape. I am wearing it with my royal blue pants and navy blue shoes. It is a very comfy top that hangs beautifully over my tummy and hips.

I decided to use accessories of orange and yellow because I wore the royal blue pants to pull out that color. All the metals are gold and the earrings are also made of metal. The bracelet is made of wood. The necklace gets a little lost because of the vibrancy of the top but I feel naked if my neck is exposed and I don’t have a necklace on.

This is my favorite raincoat. The abstract landscape is that of a very modern city. It is kind of like a Dali painting. You can see the sky with the high rises of the city buildings and the streets down below. This is a reversible coat with the other side the solid color of the collar/hood that you see in this picture. I am wearing it with black leggings and over the knee suede boots. I am also wearing a black turtle neck top so the jewelry I paired with the coat also look good when I take off the coat.

I love the colors in these earrings. The library foundation that contributes to my local library had a used jewelry fundraiser. They sold used jewelry people contributed to the cause. You cannot believe the mass of jewelry collected. The sale went on for two days and they sold each piece for one or two dollars. These earrings cost me a dollar. All-in-all I bought 14 pieces for $21. I was in heaven! I just happened to have a ring with some of the same colors in the earrings. The purple bangles and the greenish- yellow watch go beautifully with the outfit.

Well, this is where I talk about my weight. Last blog I told you I lost 5 pounds due to my colonoscopy prep. Well, 4 pounds came right back. I did manage to keep 1 pound from returning. However, I may gain that pound back plus a few more because we are headed up to Michigan for the events of Girls Weekend in South Haven, Shop Till you Drop night in Holland and then, closing up the cottage for the winter. We tend to eat out most of the time and I don’t really make wise choices when I am on vacation. Why is it that it takes forever to lose a pound and no time at all to gain it? I remember reading a poster that said “Isn’t it strange that as we climb life’s ladder, everything about us seems to get fatter except our damn bladder!” Isn’t that the truth! That saying reminds me of something Aunty Acid says, “Remember: The length of a minute depends entirely on which side of the bathroom door you’re on”. Wow, doesn’t it seem that a good part of this blog referred to the excretory system? I promise to get my head out of the toilet before the next blog.

I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving and, until next month, remember God loves you and so do I.

Like A Rose Under The April Snow (Barbra Streisand)

Hi to all my Gal Pals,

I decided to write about how thankful I am for beauty products. Crabby Maxine puts it this way “I have natural beauty but time keeps doing unnatural things to it”. Hear me out before you think I am coming from a place of vanity. By 2025, the annual total for the beauty industry will be $716 billion dollars worldwide. I am thankful for the hair coloring that colors my gray. I have nothing against those of you who like to go au naturel but it is not for me. In fact, my bookclub friends promised me that if I ended up in a nursing home they would make sure my hair would get dyed every two months and I am holding them to it! I am thankful for face cream that keeps my skin supple between the deep wrinkles. I am thankful for the eye coverup that hides the purple bags under my eyes or I could go au naturel and do as Aunty Acid recommends which is to tell people the bags under my eyes are Prada. Now this may sound like vanity but it has more to do with recognition. For over 50 years I have worn makeup almost every day and dyed my hair blond. I continue to do both so others can recognize me. I’m afraid when I start to lose my memory I may not recognize my reflection in the mirror because I am so used to seeing myself as a blond with makeup. I am not sure if I told you the story about my sister who was in her condo hallway getting Christmas decorations out from her storage closet wearing no makeup and she ran into the woman who just moved into the condo across from her place. Later in the day, my sister got a call to go into work so she got ready which included putting on makeup. When she got home from work she ran into the same neighbor who said “I think I ran into your roommate earlier today” (my sister doesn’t have a roommate). So someone wisely said, if your going to be a mess you might as well be a “hot” mess and let’s face it, “Beauty sleep is a lie. Everyone looks like crap when they first wake up” says the expert known as Aunty Acid.

Sometimes all it takes to feel beautiful is to wear something that makes you feel that way. I really hate fall and winter fashions because I love color and last month I walked into some of my favorite boutiques and saw nothing but drab colors. You all know by now that I am a pretty colorful person inside and out so I find those outfits that make me happy which usually includes flowers or bright colors. Just because we are going into cooler seasons doesn’t mean we have to give up on flowery patterns. According to Vogue, fall florals will be this seasons Go-To prints. They state that “These slightly darker, more muted versions will not only complement your existing wardrobe but will make your fashion transition from summer to fall that much easier”. I love to feel good by putting on something that I think makes me look good which means it hides my belly. If someone else thinks I look good it is a bonus. I love this Crabby Maxine quote “When someone is staring at me I assume they’re taking notes on how to be fabulous”.

Well this is where I put my landscape design pictures but I am going to show you pictures of the front of my townhouse and talk about my current plant dilemma.

Here is my dilemma. These pictures are from today and as you can see my little summer garden is still beautiful. Most of my neighbors have had their fall decorations and plants out since September 1st. They started putting up their Halloween decorations on September 15th. I have such beautiful fall decorations but they don’t look good with my summer plants and there is no room for them as long as my summer plants are out. I was hoping Mother Nature would cooperate and send frost my way because I can no more throw out a lovely plant than I can throw out a lovely article of clothing. They say we might get frost tonight but if not there won’t be another chance until sometime at the end of next week. This time of year the weather is so unpredictable. The psychologist in me feels Mother Nature is not only Bipolar but clearly off her meds!

OK, let the Fall flowery fashion show begin.

I love to dress up a pair of jeans! The white ruana is embroidered with the most beautiful shiny silver thread flowers. I love to tell you when I get a good deal. This ruana is from Chico’s and it was on sale from $119 to $59 dollars. With my membership discount and a $20 coupon it cost me $39 with tax included. It was worth every penny! Underneath the ruana I wore a simple short sleeved white top and I paired it with dark silver, 1 inch heeled sandals. You could wear this outfit anywhere. I wore it to a pub to meet with some friends. The ruana is great for a cool Fall evening.

I decided to wear all silver to accentuate the silver threads of the embroidered flowers and the beautiful trim. I layered my necklaces and both go so well with the ruana. What I love about filigree necklace is that I can wear it as a necklace or a brooch since the chain can be unhooked from the back. I also wore pearl earrings and ring to go with the longer necklace. The silver bracelet has a wreath charm and I love that I can change the charms.

This top has flowing long sleeves and I paired it with royal blue corduroy pants. I got it at one of my favorite Saugatuck boutiques and it was a great buy at $40.00. I paired this outfit with a dark cherry pair of shoes that go so well with the cherry red flowers in the top. You have so many options with the color of the pants you wear with this top.

I was never a fan of kiln fused dichroic glass until I saw this necklace at a little shop in Grand Haven. The owner of the shop made this beautiful pendant and she explained how she fused three pieces of glass together one of which was black which I think made the piece interesting. I am going to put a plug in for the shop called Silver Fire Gallery and Gifts. The colors in the glass are the same colors in the top. The orange and yellow stones of the rings go beautifully with the top and I decided that the rest of the accessories should match the gold on the chain of the necklace.

I had Vicki take this picture in a way that you could see the front of the sweater in my reflection while seeing the flowered pattern of the back. What you can’t see in the picture are the beautiful small pleats down the back. The front of the sweater and the sleeves are made of a black wool blend material. I paired it with a black pair of jeans and black flats.

I felt the flowered panel had an oriental flair so I chose jewelry that reflects this style. The design of the necklace makes it look very Asian and the black onyx stones of the earrings go so well with the beads in the necklace. The bangle bracelets also have that Asian flair and I picked them up at a resale shop for $5. I don’t know if you can see it but the shape of the pearl ring is the same shape of the watch. I don’t typically wear fine jewelry but the color of the ruby ring goes so well with the flower pattern of the sweater.

I guess it is time to talk about my weight. On that front there is good news and bad news. The good news is that I lost 5 pounds. The bad news is that my weight loss may be due to the colonoscopy prep I had to endure a few days ago which means it might be temporary. Regardless, for today I am going to revel in the euphoric bliss of my weight loss even though it is not grounded in reality. I enjoy getting my picture taken “butt” this was not a fun photo op. If you have never had to drink the delicious prep solution (said no one ever!) my advice is to just take your pillow and a book in the bathroom with you after you drink it because that is where you will be spending several hours and losing several pounds from your body. I can no longer argue with those who tell me I am full of crap because it is true.

Well, sorry to leave you with my anal malady. I am shooting for November for my next blog. Until then, remember that God loves you and so do I.


Hi to all my Gal Pals,

Well, the summer is just about over and for some of you it’s back to work. For me, as each season passes I feel myself getting a little older. As I get older I really feel those problems that come with aging. As Aunty Acid says “My body is a temple….an ancient, crumbling, probably cursed or haunted temple”. Memory recall is the worst! Case in point, on our ride home from the cottage a week ago Sunday I told my sister I had an appointment with Dr. Hutchinson, my pulmonologist. Three days later on the day of my appointment I could not remember his name and had to look it up on “Mychart”. Why couldn’t I remember his name three days later? When it comes to memory I have a lot of “WHY” questions. One “Why” question I have always been interested in and it continues to fascinate me is why music influences recall of long term memories? I love to listen to the oldies, especially songs from my teenage years. Some oldies bring a smile to my face and I say “I love that song!” while others evoke somewhat of an emotional response because they remind me of a dance club I used to go to or a person who was special to me. What I want to know is “Why” do certain songs cause such a visceral response in me that I literally find myself in a flashback to a specific time and place. As a teenager I listened to hundreds of songs so “Why” do a handful of songs cause this visceral reaction? For me these songs include Peter and Gordon’s “World Without Love” and Merrilee Rush’s “Angel of the Morning”. In these flashbacks I can tell you everything about very specific moments in time including the names of the people I was with even though I have not seen them for over 50 years! It is like I am reliving the whole sensory experience! “Why” can I not remember the names of some of the people I worked with for several years before retirement or my doctors’ names or remember what I did last week but if I hear one of these “flashback” songs I can remember every detail about a 50 year old occurrence?

I was never sure if others had these flashback experiences when they heard certain songs until I did some research and found out that, supposedly, most people do. I decided to do a search on the internet to see if someone could explain this phenomena to me. Memory recall was my favorite topic in neuropsych and all my psych friends will understand it when I say I say I am a Luria nerd and I still pull out his book about the brain for nighttime reading. There is not a lot of research on this topic but the articles I did find describe this type of memory as “like stepping into a time machine”. Different parts of the brain work together to create this type of memory which involves processing auditory, emotional, sensory and episodic information simultaneously. Music has a way of generating emotions which tie into memory. These visceral memories stimulated by music often come from certain times in our lives (psychologists call this time the ‘reminiscence bump’) and typically occur during our teens and early twenties. The lyrics of music during our teen years enhanced the good times and helped us survive the bad times. Our teenage years were quite emotional for most of us and the music we listened to became part of our memories as did the sensory experience of the environment at the time. So when you hear specific songs they act as a retrieval cue for these emotionally driven flashback memories and you get to be a teenager again for a short period of time. Take it while you can get it!

Well, enough about aging, let’s talk fashion. I usually do a short segment on garden design but I decided to do 4 outfits instead because I found so many great deals. The title of this blog is “Cheap Thrills” because I get excited when I find a bargain. That is why in each picture I am doing my “happy dance” as I sing along to the oldies. I am on a retirement budget so I rarely buy something expensive to wear when there are so many cute clothes out there that will hide my belly and won’t break the bank. Hiding my belly is the priority. My belly must be like Aunty Acid’s belly which she describes this way “I started belly dancing today. It was so easy, no effort at all! I just gave a little shake and my belly danced all on its own”. Each of the pieces I am highlighting in this blog cost $40 or less. Under each picture I will tell you how much each piece cost and where I got it. So let’s get started.

Here I am doing my happy dance because of the deal I got on this poncho. I saw this beautiful white poncho in May while looking through Chico’s flyer. The price was $109 which was way too much for me. So I waited to see if it might end up on the sale rack. Well, at the beginning of July, Chico’s had a one day, on-line sale and there it was for $25! My 5% membership discount offset the tax and the shipping was free. Such a deal! I am wearing it with my turquoise Jams which are my favorite summer pants which is why I have them in several colors. The outfit looks great with my turquoise flip-flops. The accessories really complement the look (see below).

The outfit has kind of a beach vibe so I paired it with the fish necklace and bracelet that reflects this look. The green and turquoise colors of the jewelry look great with the outfit and the turquoise sunglasses finish off a fabulous look.

I think I am singing along with a song from the movie “Grease” in this picture. This beautiful lacy cover-up was a steal at $27. I bought it at Petals and Twigs in New Lenox. It is a gift store in a Victorian house owned by Trinity Services and the profits benefit people with disabilities. I paired it with a white top and my yellow Jams (I do love my Jams!). The outfit looks great with my white sandals with a 1” stacked heal. You can use any color accessories when you use yellow as a base color (see below).

When you are wearing an outfit that contains a lot of the same color you have to bring in other colors to offset it. I felt that a necklace would get lost with this outfit so I chose a green flower pin instead. The yellow flower earrings go so perfectly with the flower pin. The bangles allowed me to bring in the orange color of the watch. One of the rings contains 5 green peridot stones and the other contains an opaque yellow quartz stone. Together they compliment the outfit beautifully.

I am doing my happy dance in this picture because this cover-up was inexpensive on one of Chico’s on-line sales. At the end of July Chico’s had another one day sale and this wrap was originally $109 marked down to $39 and then I get 5% off because I have a membership. What I love about this wrap are the different patterns and textures of the material. It has a button and loop in front to keep it closed. Underneath it I am wearing a sleeveless navy blue top and I have paired it with white pants. My sandals are white and navy blue as are my other accessories (see below).

My ring, bracelet and necklace all have the same navy beads and the necklace, earrings and the other ring all have faux pearls. I wore a silver watch because of the silver in the necklace.

I think I have a classic rock song playing in my head in this picture. I am overly exuberant in this picture because I love this shirt dress! When it is hot and humid outside this is the kind of dress you want to reach for. It is 100% polyester and is so lightweight. It has side pockets and drop sleeves. I don’t typically buy dresses anymore but this is what I call a “throw-on” dress. If you need to run out for something at the last minute, you can just throw on this dress. I love it because you can dress it up or dress it down. It was 50% off at the Beach House in Saugatuck and cost me only $40. What a deal!

Because the dress is such a neutral color I felt that I should pair it with similar neutral colors. The earrings are made of wood and match the dress perfectly. The gold and cream color bracelet goes so well with the taupe and cream color of the scarf as does the taupe ring and watch band. The watch is made of rose gold and the other ring is made of yellow gold and rose gold.

First, I am so proud of myself that I got this blog out this month. I was on vacation for two weeks so I did not think there was a chance in hell that I would get it out in time (I am known for being late). Secondly, and speaking of vacations I am happy to say that I did not gain a pound over the two weeks even though I had 2 banana splits, a chocolatte ice cream sundae, 6 chocolate covered caramels and a half pound of bakery cookies. My liver doctor would kill me if he found out! The only thing I can figure is it was a combination of power walking during my power shopping, walking up 73 stairs from the beach to the top of the cliff and not much in the way of snacking between or after meals. See, power shopping is good for your health! When I am home I tend to snack the most in front of the TV but we do not have TV reception at the cottage so I am busy doing other things like reading, jigsaw puzzles and playing games on my iPAD. When I’m at home I tend to eat a light diet described by Aunty Acid as “…I eat by dayLIGHT, I eat by moonLIGHT and sometime I eat by refrigerator Light”.

Well, hopefully I will get my blog out on time next month. So until then remember “God loves you and so do I”.


Aloha to all my Gal Pals,

I want to explain how I ended up with the picture above. Lately I seem to have a lot of wandering thoughts. A few of these wanderings make sense because they are related to something important like solving a problem. However, I am astounded by the majority of them because I start with one thought related to something in my immediate environment and somehow that one thought takes me to far away places. That is how I ended up with my intro picture. I was listening to the song “Kokomo” by The Beach Boys which made me think of tropical islands which made me think of the movie “South Pacific” (that I recently watched) which made me think of soldiers in the South Pacific (my father was one of them) which made me think of Betty Grable as a pin-up girl which made me think “Wouldn’t it be fun to recreate a pin-up picture for my blog” since it is about tropical outfits and VOILA! I guess I should be thankful that my mind works at all. There are days I think it is giving me the silent treatment. I once read something on a poster that makes me worry “Getting older is just one body part after another saying, ‘HaHa, you think that’s bad? Watch this!” UGH!

We are in the midst of one of the hottest Julys in history. It is hot, hot, hot! It makes me think of Crabby Maxine who says “If hell’s gonna be this hot, I gotta start being nicer.” It seems like the perfect time to wear those tropical outfits. A little history on tropical attire for women which evolved from those service personnel of the South Pacific I was referring to earlier. After WWII ended in the 1940s Hawaiian print shirts, sarong dresses and tropical flowers have been popular clothing in summer. Women of the 1940s through the 1960s hosted Tiki parties as did restaurants and dance halls. To dress for these occasions, women wore tropical print dresses called tiki dresses. The tiki dress had two main shapes. Full circle skirts (i.e. swing dresses), and the very narrow pencil shaped dresses associated with the Pin-up Girl that is still popular today. All were made with tropical print fabrics. Backing up a little farther in history, the Christian missionaries, who arrived in 1820 to set up operations in Maui and Oahu, preferred the native women fully clothed instead of half naked. Mission women designed the Hawaiian muumuu to accommodate native women of all sizes, and the muumuu continues to be popular today in richly decorated native floral patterns. With the current heat, I feel like I am on a tropical island. I always find it funny when I hear men complain to women about the heat. Most of us can relate to Crabby Maxine who says, “To me summer is just one long hot flash”.

I think I showed you one garden picture that contained my dad’s hibiscus plant. I decided to make it the focus for this blog not only because it is a tropical plant but because it is 30 years old.

It stands almost 7 feet tall in the pot and it has managed to stay alive in my unheated garage during subzero weather. When my dad passed away over 20 years ago I inherited it and take care of it in honor of him.

OK, let the tropical fashion show begin. Every tropical outfit is not complete without a hat, sunglasses and a tropical drink in your hand.

This top is not only a beautifully colorful article of clothing and covers the tummy, it was a great buy from Chico’s because it was on sale, I got a member discount and I had a gift card from my birthday. I think I might have talked about my Jams before in another blog. They are light weight, loose fitting pants that have an elastic waste and tie string. They remind me of “I Dream of Jeannie” pants but not so transparent. I have them in several colors. I use to wear them on hot days in the garden to keep the mosquitos off my legs.

I decided to show the tropical pattern along with the jewelry I paired it with. It is hard to find accessories in the purplish-pink color of the flowers and butterflies but not impossible. The watch band and the earrings I wore are exactly the same color. You can’t tell by the picture but the sunglasses’ lenses reflect the turquoise color. The bracelets and rings also compliment the turquoise in the pattern. The necklace says “Chic”.

I love this outfit because it just flows. I wish you could feel the material of this light weight tropical top. The only way I can describe it as “rich”. It was a splurge buy this past February when I took my sister out for a shopping trip at Von Maur for her birthday. It always happens that I am out shopping for someone else and I end up also buying something for myself. But in my defense it was a great buy and it minimizes my belly. Some of the flowers in the top are navy blue so I paired it with a summer pair of wide leg, navy blue pants and navy sandals.

I love dragonflies and I miss seeing them around my pond. Butterflies and dragonflies go beautifully with tropical flowers. The colors in the butterfly bracelet are exactly the colors in the flowers of the top. The sunglasses have a navy blue frame and the ring as well as the watch are the same green colors of the tropical leaves.

Two years ago in August of 2019 I did a blog about outfits that you could wear out for lunch then go right to the pool. This is one of those outfits. Instead of a top I am wearing a black bathing suit with a pleated overlay that hangs over a pair of black Jams (described previously). It is easy to slip off the Jams and the tropical duster is a great poolside coverup.

I always make sure I have a watch when tanning so I know when to turn over and of course it is always color coordinated with my bathing outfit. The lovebird bracelet and the necklace are coated with a shiny coppery color. The necklace has lovely matching earrings but to be perfectly honest I rarely wear dangling earrings to the beach because I would have to take them off and sure as shootin I would lose one of the earrings. I have a collection of earrings that are no longer a pair. I keep them just in case I come upon the lost earrings but I am giving up hope. I think I have a better chance of finding a missing sock.

OK, I haven’t lost any more weight since the last blog but during the summer I am glad not to have gained weight. I love socializing while sitting outside and eating desserts. I think I mentioned last week that I bought a Yonana and it satisfies my ice cream cravings. The problem is I have a lot of other cravings in the summer (actually all year round). Aunty Acid taught me to pray “Dear Lord, let me only crave water this week” but I can only hold out for about an hour. The problem is I don’t like water. I drink it only because I’m told I have to drink it for my health. My brother sent me an email poster that reflects my feeling about giving up my guilty food pleasures at my age. It says “Did you know? By replacing your potato chips with grapefruit as a snack you can lose up to 90% of what little joy you still have left in your life”. Amen to that. I prefer to enjoy what is left of my life so I subscribe to a quote I read “I’m fat but I identify with skinny, I’m trans-slender”.

Well, that is it for this month. I am so proud of myself for getting this blog out on time. There were no major disruption in my life over the last 4 weeks. So hopefully I will get the next one out in August. On the other hand you may get a notice that I copied from Aunty Acid that states “ATTENTION ALL! Due to my recent carb setbacks my summer body has been postponed for yet another year! Your patience is, as usual, fully appreciated. Please bring me a donut. THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.”

Until then, remember God loves you and so do I.