every girl needs a greek chorus

a blog about hope


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A Closet Full of Hope

The Daughter made me buy a deeply discounted party dress the other day when we were cruising the outlets.

“Where am I going to wear this?”  I asked her.

“I don’t know.  You go places,” she responded.  “Maybe New Year’s Eve.  You have to buy it, it’s just so classy.  It’s so You.”

“Oh, I just don’t know…”  I carried it to the dressing room.  I only have one plan for New Year’s Eve, and it involves my couch, the television, and a bottle of Champagne.

“You have a million party dresses that have only been worn once,”  The Shrew who lives in my head piped in, as I stood, looking at my image in a charcoal gray dupioni silk with embroidered silver polka dots, fitted waist, and slightly poufy, knee-length skirt.

“Season-spanning,” I told The Shrew.  “Versatile.  A great buy.  I have a pale gray Pashmina I could wear with it and about five different pairs of shoes, not to mention a wide selection of rhinestone earrings and bracelets, representing a lifetime of never cleaning my closet.”

“You already made up your mind before you even tried it on, didn’t you?”  The Shrew looked back at me from the mirror.  “You’re pathetic.”

“So, we can buy it?”  I smiled brightly as The Shrew rolled our eyes.

I am addicted to the sparkly.  To the glittery.  Like a crow to bits of glass in the sun.  Me.  A woman who spends more of her life in jeans or yoga pants or leggings, writing or going to the grocery store or to rehearsal or church.  There’s hope in the flash, the distraction.  I have an overstuffed closet full of hope:

Oooo, look!  Here’s the sequined dress that I bought for a veterinary gala in 1986, when I was still a brunette.  And here’s the beaded black silk cardigan that I always wore with a floor-length skirt when we went on cruises.  Here’s the gold metallic sweater that I wore once with the striped evening pants.  The silver lace mini-skirt.  I forgot I had the white angora shrug with the silver beading.  It would be perfect with the new dress.  The clear slingbacks with the rhinestone trim.  The silver satin slingbacks.  The black strappy sandals.  The black pumps with the rhinestone heels.

After I hung up the new dress in my Closet of Hope, I realized that my New Year’s Eve plans call for a Spartan green sweatshirt and black yoga pants with the Sparty logo, and the Cotton Bowl at 8 in the evening.

I wish it was the Rose Bowl, because the Rose Bowl is on New Year’s Day and was always the pinnacle of football success in the Dark Ages, when I was a kid.  It has the best parade with the most amazing floats made out of flowers and vegetation, marvels of engineering and art.

Now, we have this farce of playoffs and playing for the national championship.  We can’t just have tradition.  The Cotton Bowl doesn’t even have a parade any more.  According to Wikipedia (if you can trust it), the parade became the Comerica Bank Parade and then died.  Kinda like my dating hopes.

But we’re in a major bowl game!  Anything can happen!

DATE UPDATE:

Another of my friends recently began a relationship with a man she met on match.com, so I re-enrolled on Sunday.  I posted all new photos, changed my profile name, and wrote a lovely, non-sarcastic profile.

Am I stupid or what?

The first man to contact me was on when I was on last year.  In all nine of his photos, his grandchildren are crawling all over him.  They are the “joy of his life.”  Great.  Enjoy them.  I’m not a baby-sitter.

The second man is a scammer from last year.

The third is a self-professed widower from Texas.  A Google Image Search shows that his profile photo belongs to a man with a wife in Illinois.  He wrote an interesting email, so I responded, “Aren’t there taller and richer women in Texas?”  He said I shouldn’t discount love whether it is found in Texas or Maryland.  Do you see my problem?

Overnight, there was another self-professed widower, a local guy without a profile photo, whose profile name was one thing, but he signed his email with an entirely different name.  He was witty and flirty and literate.  His profile says he’s looking for an “honest, sincere woman.”  He asked me to meet him for coffee.

I told him, “I make no promises, especially since you have the advantage of being invisible…I’ll consider having coffee with you, if you can reveal yourself a little more. Looks aren’t everything, but it helps if your written description is corroborated in some way.”

His reply?

“I couldn’t use my own email address here…I don’t know how to post photos…meet me for coffee so we don’t waste time on photos.”  And he wants an “honest, sincere woman.”  Ha!

My reply?

“Get back to me when you’ve resolved your issues.”

<sigh>

He won’t be seeing me in the cute gray dress with the silvery polka dots.

MSU 2015

Of course, I’ll be on my couch with smoked salmon mousse and Champagne cheering on the Spartans in my green Spartan fan-gear. After we swiftly staunch the Tide (and I know all my Auburn friends will be cheering with me), I’ll turn off the drunken celebrities slurring their top-40 hits in Times Square.  I hope to be asleep at midnight when the neighbors start the fireworks, cherry bombs, and automatic rifles, at which point the BFF will run from window to window, barking ferociously, setting off the glass breakage alarm.  The alarm company will call and ask repeatedly,

“Are you all right?”  “Are you sure you are all right?”  “Is everything secure?”  “Do you need assistance?”

My answers will be, “Yes.”  “Yes, I am.”  “Yes, it is.”  “Send a cute and honest man with a bottle of Champagne, asap.”

Still, it’s better than being in a crowd of couples who probably met on match.com, kissing at midnight.  The BFF may not be much of a kisser, but she’s honest.

There’s hope for 2016.  College basketball season is upon us, so, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!

And GO GREEN!


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Resting Place

Resting place

His clan tartan and a wee dram.

Greetings from the Twilight Zone!  Rod Serling is lurking behind a tree waiting to step out and sum my life up for you in a few pithy, ironic remarks.  I wish he’d sum it up for me.  This story is so weird that you may think that I’m making it up, but I have witnesses.

Yesterday, I was cleaning out a storage room in the basement of our veterinary clinic.  I was sorting old records for shredding and reordering and stacking boxes.  A large box of holiday decorations (plastic pumpkins and black cats, a wreath of Easter eggs, and a revolving ceramic Christmas display of dogs and cats) was sitting about 3” from the wall on a shelf.  I tried to shove it up against the wall to make room for more boxes, but it was hitting something.  I slid the box about 6” to the right and saw a plastic zippered bag stuffed in the back corner.  In the dim light, I couldn’t tell what it was, so I pulled it out.  It appeared to be full of gray, unmixed cement.  I pulled it out farther and saw what appeared to be small white stones in it.

“Wuh-oh!”  I held the bag by one corner and made sure that the zipper was secure.  I was pretty sure that I was holding a plastic baggie of the Veterinarian.  Not a bag that belonged to the Veterinarian, mind you, but a bag containing what is left of his earthly incarnation.

Had I found this bag within a year of his death, I instantly would have been hysterical.  Instead, I smiled and started laughing.  No, I wasn’t delusional (I don’t think).  Absolutely nothing surprises me anymore.  I was pretty annoyed with the person who had hidden him there, but, just for a moment, it struck me that I was holding the love of my life in my hands for the first time in almost four years, so I smiled (and then cursed him in my next breath, before smiling again).

I told you — my life is sooooo weird!

I suppose I should tell you how the Veterinarian came to be resting in the basement of his business.  It’s not like he’s a vampire, and I keep his coffin in the clinic crypt (sorry, you know me; I couldn’t resist the alliteration).

In the summer of 2011, as fans of the British television series “Doc Martin,” starring Martin Clunes, we decided to watch an earlier series starring Clunes as an undertaker, “William and Mary.”  As we binge-watched the series on dvd, we talked about death and dying.  We agreed that we wanted to be cremated, his ashes strewn at sea or at his favorite dive sites, mine at my church.

Life may be weird, but you can learn a lot, if you’re paying attention.  When he died suddenly, three months later, I knew exactly what he wanted.  I asked his friends for just one favor, to take his ashes to his favorite dive sites.  They looked at one another and smiled.  That’s exactly what they had already promised each other.  One of them put himself in charge of making water-tight, weighted, non-floating (!) containers for the ashes, and those certified in the deepest dives, decided where they should lay him to rest.  I turned the plastic container of his remains over to them, and, when the Veterinarian’s Little Dog died six months later, I suggested that they commingle their ashes, so they could be together for eternity.

Within a year, his friends told me all about the dives and where they left him and how much that site meant to him.  One of the places was a spot he had planned to explore but had not visited.  Another was a place where he loved to dive.  A third was the place where he died.  A fourth was the place where he dived more often than any other.  I was content.

Until today.

Yeah, I could be angrier with the jerk in charge of the ashes than I already was, but I won’t waste my breath on him.  Once a jerk, always a jerk.  Nothing new there.  My immediate concern is that I have this baggie of the Veterinarian and the Little Dog that needs a final resting place.  I might put them into an empty wooden box that once contained a bottle of Macallan single malt whisky, and then I’ll toast him with the little bit of vintage 1965 whisky that’s left in the bottle.  He must have left it for just that purpose.  I’ll pull out my Book of Common Prayer and pray the graveside service that wasn’t said at his memorial service.  This time, the BFF can attend.

When do I send him off, yet again?  On August 18, which would have been our 43rd wedding anniversary?  On October 13, the fourth anniversary of his death?  On June 3, 2016, which would have been his 64th birthday?  I’ll figure it out.  Right now, I like having him around the house.  We’re both resting in peace.

DATE UPDATE

My online dating days are drawing to an end when my subscription expires on August 25, unless they give me free months.  I’ve run through all the interesting men, who weren’t interested in me, and endured the ones who were interested in me.  I have found it enlightening and sometimes harrowing.  And pretty depressing.

Just last week, I met a lovely, younger married couple who met online and encouraged me not to give up.  Of course, the odds are better for them than for me because there are more men in their 40s and 50s still alive and in “marriageable” condition.  Everyone that I know who met their significant other through online dating was under the age of 60.  What does that say for the eligible over 60 seeking companionship?

After spending time with 15 men in 12 months, I have concluded that men over 60:

  1. Are delusional and looking for the impossible. (Have your mid-life crisis elsewhere.)
  2. Are angry at their exes. (You know, I’d have left you, too.)
  3. Are looking for sex. (What was it about me that said I wanted you to grope me between my neck and my knees on our second date?)
  4. Are looking for a financial lifeboat after decades of living recklessly. (Sorry, I’ve been careful with my life.)
  5. Are looking for a housekeeper, cook, and playmate. (I’m a lousy housekeeper, reluctant cook, and tired of games.)
  6. Are on ego trips.  (You’ve dated how many women?!)
  7. Are clueless about what women want.  (See #s 1-6, above.)

Fifteen  dates and not one serious prospect among them.  Some had possibilities on the first date but blew it on the second date, when their true selves showed up, the bigots, the misogynists, the misanthropes.  I’ve been told that finding a mate is like getting pregnant; sometimes you just have to relax, and it will happen when you least expect it.  As a 63-year old woman who had a hysterectomy at the age of 24 and didn’t adopt until age 47, I don’t have any time left to invest in this theory.

I have learned a lot about myself.  I’ve learned what I’m willing to tolerate for companionship; being lied to, groped, insulted, and stood-up are not among them.  I’ve learned that the company of good friends is preferable to trying to figure out confirmed bachelors (look up the word “compromise,” guys).  As the Daughter said to me not long ago, “I’m really starting to like where I am in my life.”

Me, too.  I’m starting to find some peace and comfort.  It just may be time to kick back and relax, to put all kinds of things and people to rest.  So, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!

 


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Attraction Satisfaction Survey

Attraction Satisfaction Survey-page-0

Everybody has an “Exit Survey” now.  You get your car’s oil changed, and they email you a “How Did We Do?” survey.  You spend two hours and 12 minutes on the phone with your cable company only to be told that they can’t restore your service, and they send you a “Customer Satisfaction” survey.   [I made that up from the anecdotal reports of my family and friends.  I can’t get no internet satisfaction in my neighborhood.]  Even two centuries ago, the entertainment industry was asking.  “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the show?”

I’m thinking of creating an “Exit Survey” for my online dates.  You know, how could I have been a better date, so I provide better service to others in the future?

For instance, am I a boring dresser?  I’ve been told that I still have my “dancer’s legs,” so I try to wear a dress or skirt on a date, except once in the winter when it was really cold, and I wore leggings with a fitted, knit tunic, and booties.  Another time, I wore a small fuzzy pink turtleneck with a faux black leather skirt, black tights, and the same black booties, which I thought was really hot, but, then, the date was so boring that I was dejected that I had wasted a hot outfit on a not-so-cool guy.  Ditto a short skirt with gray suede high-heeled boots, which got a rave from the hostess at the restaurant but nary a word from my date.

Of course, I thought those outfits were hot, but, I’m a woman, so I only know what other women think is hot.  The joy of having a long-term spouse is that they A). don’t notice and B). think everything you do is hot.  The Veterinarian didn’t care much one way or the other.  He once said that I dressed better than his mother, the implications of which are pretty unsettling, even 40 years later.

How much is too much make-up?  I don’t wear a lot on a typical day, usually just lipstick to keep my lips from sticking to my teeth.  My eyes are deep-set, and I’ve always had a problem with mascara.  My eyelashes smack around my eye sockets every time I blink, so the mascara ends up making those raccoon circles around my eyes.  I trained The Veterinarian and The Daughter to alert me when I needed to tidy them up, but, alas, now I am on my own, so I quit wearing mascara.  As the years roll by, I’ve noticed that my eyes are disappearing, so, when I don’t want to look like one of the pale portraits of Elizabeth I,  I haul out the eyeliner and mascara and blame the smudges on the “smokey-eye” look.  Hmmm…it could also make me look like I just rolled out of bed, couldn’t it?

Fashion victim

Fashion victim

I always make sure I wear 3-4” heels, because the only thing I lie about in my dating profile is my height.  5’ ½” just sounds unbelievably short, even to me, like a perky rodent or something.  My profile says I’m 5’ 2”, which I’ve always used when I go on auditions, for the same height reason.  Last week, I went on a lunch date in 4” wedges, all the while envisioning myself face-planted on the floor of the restaurant, like I had been almost three years to the day earlier on my 60th birthday.  The EMTs told me that I was the third fashion victim to take a ride in their ambulance that day.  I fell off my 4” platform wedges and fractured my patella (knee-cap) in two places and spent the summer in a brace.  Happy Birthday, Old Lady!

Do you drink alcohol on a date or not?  I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t get sloppy drunk on one glass of wine, but I’m picky about the wine that I drink and don’t want to stick the date with a $12 glass of pinot noir.  I’d rather drink iced tea, since I don’t drink beer.  And hard liquor?  I think that sends the wrong message at lunch time, don’t you?  PLUS, I spent years warning The Daughter about the risks of leaving a glass unattended on a bar, a magnet for all kinds of “date drugs.”  I don’t want to explain to her how I fell victim to that old ploy.  Do senior citizens drug their Old Lady dates?  For what?  To watch them fall off their shoes?

Is my vocabulary too obscure?  I was IM-ing a prospective date the other day and used the word “ephemeral.”  He texted back, “I have a graduate degree and don’t know what that word means.  Here’s my number.  Call me tomorrow, if you want to talk.  I have to go let my dog out.”  Yikes!  Don’t need an exit survey for that one.

I laugh at my date’s jokes, even when they’re not funny.  I try to keep my own info light and funny.  I don’t talk about my late husband unless I’m specifically asked, and even then, I don’t cry or appear maudlin, because, well, I’m not maudlin.  I don’t comment on politics or religion or sex, which no date has ever mentioned to me.  Must be the racoon eyes.  Well, at least they know what I look like in the morning.

Speaking of s-e-x, how much physical contact do you have on a first date with a stranger?  Every one of the men has given me a hug, which seemed innocent enough, especially when I was wearing a coat.  No one groped me or anything like that.  And, how do you end the date?  That never gets easier.  What do you say?  A handshake?  Another hug?  A kiss?  If I say, “Let’s keep in touch” because I mean it, it sounds so vacuous.  Everyone says, “Let’s keep in touch,” even when we know that we don’t ever want to see one another again.  I always send a “thank you” email, which seems polite.  If they respond to that, it might be a favorable sign…or not.  Maybe it’s just best not to be polite and cut things off quick and, relatively, painless.

And I haven’t figured out, yet, if there is an appropriate point on a first date to say, “What, exactly, am I doing wrong that you keep looking at your cellphone every five minutes?”  Maybe they’re coordinating their next dates.  It’s a known fact that women over the age of 50 outnumber men that age 2 to 1, which is why we can’t find anyone to date us.  We’re overdating them, wearing them out, and killing them!

Well, every woman for herself!  I need to fine-tune my game-plan to remain competitive, and the “Attraction Satisfaction Survey” may just give me the ammunition I need.  If not, maybe I can come up with a “Frequent Dater” loyalty program.  Naw, I can’t think of any benefits I’d be willing to award.

Attraction Satisfaction Survey-page-0

Thank you for taking the time to help me perfect my dating technique, as I aim to be the best darn drinking/dining/hiking/traveling companion for all your reasonable dating needs!  Your honest critique will provide a valuable service to women everywhere!

On a scale of 1 to 5, your overall satisfaction with our date was _______.

You found that my written online profile was…

  1. the funniest profile you ever read.
  2. the snarkiest profile you ever read.
  3. completely misleading.
  4. enigmatic.
  5. None of the above.

When we met, your first impression was, “She looks…

  1. …nothing like her photo.”
  2. …like she sleeps in her car.”
  3. …like she just rolled out of bed.”
  4. …shorter than a 5th grader.”
  5. …like my ex-wife’s poodle.”

While we chatted, you kept wishing that I had…

  1. shown more cleavage.
  2. laughed harder at your jokes.
  3. been dumber than a 5th grader.
  4. stood you up.
  5. All of the above

Geographically, I…

  1. am too far away.
  2. am too close for comfort.
  3. am undesirable.
  4. am an alien.
  5. couldn’t be found on a map by a 5th grader.

I (at age 63) most closely resemble which of these gorgeous, mature ladies…

  1. Goldie Hawn (69)
  2. Susan Sarandon (68)
  3. Jessica Lange (64)
  4. Christie Brinkley (61)
  5. None of the above

On a first date, I should wear…

  1. more make-up.
  2. less make-up.
  3. higher heels.
  4. a 5th grade Girl Scout uniform.
  5. a bag over my head.

When ordering while on a date, I should…

  1. skip the appetizer and go for the main course.
  2. offer to share a single entrée.
  3. choose the cheapest thing on the menu.
  4. drink more alcohol.
  5. not ask the server to “card” me.

If I have my own money, I should…

  1. pay my share.
  2. fight for the check.
  3. let my date pay.
  4. skip out while you’re “sharpening your skates.”
  5. put a twenty in your pants.

From a male perspective, I most likely…

  1. can’t attract a man smarter than a 5th grader.
  2. am the scariest woman you’ve ever met.
  3. will be sued eventually for defamation.
  4. will never hear from you again.
  5. All of the above

Finally, would you recommend me to a friend or family member? ______

Actually, I don’t need an exit survey to tell me that my customer attraction factor is really low.  But my dog adores me, so, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!


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Fathers and Daughters

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads, whether you parent your own child, someone else’s child, or a child with more than two legs!  You teach your children more than you can possibly imagine, more than you ever intend them to know.  I know this, because I had a great dad.  He was not a frivolous guy, didn’t gamble or golf or bowl or boat or party hearty.  He was a hard-working man who had well-defined expectations of himself and of me.  I was to be a person of faith, hard-working, honest, kind, generous, try my hardest, do my best, and graduate from college.  I don’t recall him asking any more of me than that.

It seemed to me that my dad could do anything.  He could take a car apart and put it back together and made sure that I could change a tire and check the oil in the car before he ever let me drive it.   He was patient.  The second time that I backed the car out of the garage, I caught the outside mirror on the garage door hinge and ripped it off the car.  I burst into tears, of course.  But you know what?  He was more upset because I was terrified that he would be upset about the mirror than he was about the damage.

He could build anything.  He built that garage and added a family room to our house.  He also helped the Veterinarian and me build our veterinary hospital, from the cinder block walls in.  But I learned as much from observing how he lived his life as from what he taught me to do.

One sunny spring Saturday, as I sat at the big maple desk in our living room, writing a book report, I heard my dad stop the lawn mower and chat with someone.  Our house was on the corner of a moderately busy street, whose sidewalk saw lots of pedestrians and strollers and bicycles.  In our neighborhood, everyone knew everyone else by sight or by their kids or by their cars, if not by their name.  I pulled aside the sheer drapery to see who was passing our way and saw him with a white-haired lady in a lilac-flowered house dress, rolled-down stockings, and wool felt slippers.

My Mother came up behind me.  “Who’s Daddy talking to?” she asked.

“I don’t know.  Some lady.”

“I’ve never seen her before,” she said.  We watched my dad shake the lady’s hand.

“Well, why don’t you rest here under the tree in the shade?” he said to her and looked up at the window where we were standing.  My Mother raised her eyebrows and hurried out the side door.

“Lenore, this is my wife,” my father gestured to My Mother.  “Lenore lives at the nursing home down on Allen Road.”  Lenore had walked about two miles.

“Oh!” I heard My Mother’s surprised reply.

“She’s walking to her son’s house in Toledo,” about 50 miles away.

“Well,” My Mother replied, without skipping a beat, “that’s a pretty long walk. Let me get you a drink of water.”  She looked pointedly at My Father, who nodded, and quickly came into the house and headed for the telephone.  She notified the police and drew a glass of water.

“The home already called the police,” she whispered to me.  “They’re on their way.”  She hurried back outside, where Lenore was attempting to leave.

“Why don’t you have the water, first, before you set out again?” He encouraged her.  “It’s pretty warm today.”

“Yes,” Lenore accepted the glass. “You have such a nice yard.”  She sipped deeply at the water.  “You remind me a lot of my son.  I don’t get to see him very much anymore, you know.”

I stepped into the side yard, and Lenore looked up.

“This is my daughter,” my father introduced me.

“Hello, dear, you have a very nice father.”  I smiled shyly and thought she was exactly correct.  Within minutes, a police car pulled slowly to the curb.

“Well, Mrs. Ratkowski,” the driver called to her, as he took his hat off and approached her, “out for a walk again today?”  He smiled at my parents.

“Oh, yes, officer,” Lenore replied.  [That’s how we spoke to police officers in those days.  We called them “officer” or “sir.”]  “Yes, I’m on my way to see my son.”  She looked warily from the policeman to my dad.

“I see,” the policeman placed his hand lightly on Lenore’s elbow.  “Your friends at the home didn’t get a chance to say good-bye and are worried about you.”

“Tell them that I’m fine. I’m just chatting with this nice man and his family.”

“Well, ma’am, we need to get you back there.”  He started to steer her towards the patrol car.

Lenore stopped, her face confused, and she looked at my dad.

“I think you should go with him and let them sort it out,” he reassured her.  “They’ll make sure you get in touch with your son.”

“But he’s expecting me,” she didn’t cry, but there was such sadness in her voice.

“He’ll be very worried, if he doesn’t know where you are,” my dad took her arm and started walking to the car.  “And I’ll feel better, if I know you’re safe.”  Lenore allowed him to settle her in the back seat of the car.

“Well, thank you!”  She smiled and gave a little wave as the car pulled away.  We waved back.  My dad, who had lunch with his own mother every Wednesday, shook his head and returned to cutting the grass.

It seems like such an insignificant incident in anyone’s daily life, but it has stayed with me for 50 years.  I learned from my dad that we are all dependent on the kindness of strangers, especially when we are confused and lost and not ourselves.

About 10 years later, when I was confused, he gave me an excellent piece of advice.  Raised a Catholic, I was contemplating being married by a Presbyterian minister of whom The Veterinarian was quite fond.  I asked my dad if he would be upset, that I didn’t want to cause the trouble in our family that was raised when he married My Mother, who was not a Catholic.  He said, “You have to do what is right for you.  I appreciate that you’re concerned about it, but you have to live this life yourself and do what works for you.”

Always there

Always there

Here is a photo of me at that very confusing moment in my life, when I was about to be married by that Presbyterian minister.  I am 20 and terrified that I’m making a mistake.  You can see the tears in my eyes, but the show must go on, so I smile.  My Dad is not smiling.  He, too, thinks I am making a mistake.   We both know that I am too young to be married but that I had made a commitment.  We both know that God will watch out for me.  My dad knows that he couldn’t have picked a better man to be my husband, so, here he is, supporting me, whatever comes, waiting to pick up the pieces, to make things right.

What a great dad!

DATE UPDATE:

A recent date told me that some men just wink or write to women to see if they can get an answer, not because they’re really interested in them.  Oh, great!  This bit of information confirmed what I have suspected.  I couldn’t figure out why I wouldn’t get any response when I emailed men who claimed to be interested in me.  Well, I’ve tried playing nice, and I’ve been honest about who I am and who I’m looking for.  Where are all the honest men like my dear old dad?  Herewith my new, totally honest profile:

“I didn’t know how to do this when I was 17, so I latched onto one guy and stuck with him until he up and died on me when I was 59 — yep, I was faithful to one, and only one, guy, so that kinda makes me a 63-year old virgin, if you think about it. Betcha don’t know many of those, do ya?

I have two more months left on this subscription, and my daughter says I am wasting my $$$ if I hide my profile. My friends say, “Surely, Mr. Right is on his way.” (I have the funniest friends.) So, instead of selling myself as the ideal woman, let’s see if I can entertain you. I am always entertained by reading some of your profiles, especially those of 60-something hipsters looking for women 25-45. Someone who is still engaged in life is a must, but I’m not into delusion. If you’re over the age of 12 and believe in love at first sight, don’t contact me.

I don’t lie. I don’t fake my photos, age, height, or weight. Yes, I’m short and old (as are most of you guys — old, I mean), but I consider myself a 30-ish trans-Brazilian supermodel, if that counts for anything, so you are not allowed to discriminate on my lack of stature. (Stop reading if you have to google “stature”).

I don’t have stretch marks.  [See?  I figured how to work that into my profile.]   All my body parts are original equipment, except one of my teeth (BMI-21). I own my own home and car. I dress nicely. I’m smart. My manners are impeccable. I am a lady, except when I’m swearing (in case that’s a turn-off). I think I’m kind and generous, but, who am I to say?

I’ve only visited four of the seven continents. I like the French, especially their wine. Of course, I’ll drink almost any country’s wine, but I won’t drink anyone’s beer. I don’t get seasick. I don’t faint at the sight of mice, spiders, or snakes. I don’t panic in emergencies, unless you find that exciting, in which case, I can shriek with the best of them. Sorry, I’m just not completely helpless, but I can pretend to be, if that helps. I try to leave the drama on the stage, where it belongs.

On the other hand, if you want a mountain-biking, rock-climbing, hog-riding, golfing/skiing/backpacking buddy with breasts, check out reality tv.

If you really do want someone beautiful inside and out, funny, intelligent, honest, confident, and financially independent (which most of you do want, apparently), and YOU are handsome inside and out, witty, honest, dependable, intelligent, financially independent, and know your way around a chainsaw, give me a call. (I live in the woods and am afraid of chain saws — hard to believe, I know) If not, my dog is a great snuggler, although also quite a snorer.

I used to answer every person who contacted me, but I think it was some kind of trick, because I rarely got a response to my response, so I don’t answer winks or interests or favorites. If you have something to say, say it in clear, grammatical English. (I speak two other languages, but let’s stick with English.) I dislike snobs, bigots, bad manners, and narrow-mindedness, this includes men who think they are hipsters (see above).

Don’t contact me if you’re married or still angry at your ex-wife. Don’t contact me if you don’t like to travel outside of a 25-mile radius of Baltimore.  If you can’t recognize the state of Michigan by its silhouette, pass me by.

That’s it. I have nothing left to say. I’ll start googling convents now. Maybe I can find one that will let me bring my dog and my Champagne. Thanks for letting me entertain you!”

So far, it’s working great, because out of 136 people lured by my sweet photo in the past week, only one has winked at me!  Think of all the bullets I’ve dodged, so, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!

 


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Fashionable Foolishness

Scarlett and her personal assistant

Scarlett and her personal assistant

This morning, The Daughter sent me an article about “waist trainers.”  Because she is a medical professional, it was an article using quotes from physicians debunking the latest fashion fad.  That’s right, you women who just got used to Spanx, corsets have been revived to give us an hour-glass shape, because — listen carefully — “men are attracted to women with hips.”

Pardon me while I put down my mug of sweetened tea and laugh myself silly.  I love to start my day with a good laugh!    If men are looking for women with big hips, then I’ve been highlighting the wrong body parts in my dating profile photos.

Although I’ve already written about accepting the girth of my hips (“How I learned to love my hips”) and the pudginess of my tummy, I just have to throw in two more cents’ worth of commentary.

This new lunacy is touted by those Krazy Kids in Calabasas, California who have turned their own questionable life-style into a national media frenzy.  Middle-aged women (including you, KKs), who already have enormous hips and thighs, are popularizing corsets to “train their waists and lose their pregnancy fat.”  As the physicians and nutritionists in the article rightly point out, and as any other middle-aged woman can tell you, you can stuff your gut into tight jeans and lay on the floor to get them zipped, but, when you stand up, there’s going to be a new roll of unpleasantness mocking you with the name “Muffin top” between your breasts and your waist.  It’s gotta go somewhere, above or below, but it ain’t going away, regardless of your age, your bank account, or your celebrity.

Why not just have some of your ribs removed?  That would be easier and, in the long run, way more comfortable.  Who needs those ribs, anyway?  They just protect vital internal organs that no one sees, a minor detail. When you squish your guts around, you impede your digestion, and  I don’t know about you, but I find acid reflux to be an unpleasant side effect.  The article also says that constricting your lungs makes breathing more difficult (duh), leading to pulmonary ailments.  This illustration from the Irish Examiner shows you better than I can tell you.

It's all gotta go somewhere.

It’s all gotta go somewhere.

We get mixed messages from the media, don’t we?  On the one hand, they parade diet trends and unrealistic fashion standards before us, and, on the other, we are told not to criticize ourselves or others because we don’t fit these standards.  “Be the authentic you!”  They shout.  If I hear the words “authentic you” one more time, I’m going to show someone the “authentic me” and unleash World War III.

No, for the love of God, don’t be the authentic you.  Who I want to be or who I think I am is not necessarily who I should be.  I’m a shorter-than-average 63-year old woman who has a soft middle, regardless of the number of crunches that I do.  No waist trainer, no surgery of any kind is going to change that.  Should someone provide me with free Louboutin shoes because I think I would be happier if I were taller and more chic?   Should someone give me a television show because I think I’m the most fascinating woman in the world?  (Well, probably, since most everyone else has one.)

Fortunately, I surround myself with people who remind me to have some self-respect and dignity.  That I am not the center of any universe, including my own.  To be prayerful and introspective, to change the things that I should change and to accept the things that I cannot.  It’s called discernment, which I desperately need to practice, because my ideas can be pretty wacky, and that Shrew who lives in my head cannot be trusted.

Remember Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, that politically incorrect classic about mid-19th century US history?  After Scarlett gave birth to her first child, she braced herself with her bedpost while her personal assistant (in this day and age, a more “pc” title than the character’s actual name) tightened her corset.  She was trying to regain her 18-1/2” waist, but the best that her “assistant” could manage to pull in was 20”.  A 20” waist…can you imagine?  Nope, I don’t think my waist has ever been that small.  I think it might have been 24″ when I was a 90-pound teenager, but that was so long ago, and my memory is so bad that I am most likely mistaken.  Which brings me to my point, as Scarlett’s personal assistant tells her, she has lost her girlish waist by having a child, by being a woman.  We are no longer girls, no matter how much we may look back fondly at a fleeting moment in our lives.  And I, for one, frankly don’t give a damn.

DATE UPDATE:

Yesterday, I read that Jerry Seinfeld and other comedians will no longer perform at college campuses because the academic environment is too “politically correct,” which seems to be a complete reversal of what was going on when I went to college.  In my day, we questioned everything.  Humor was used to examine life’s fallacies without condemnation.  Now, they condemn us if we don’t all think the same way.  And what “way” would that be?  Who is the new standard of perfection?  The vegan tri-athlete who says “anything goes, unless I don’t like it?”  The wildlife hunter who says “anything goes, unless I don’t like it?”

I think this is the problem with the online dating format.  Most people are trying to be inoffensive and end up saying nothing about themselves.  There is no nuance.  We present facts about ourselves by answering a series of questions, and, ironically, facts don’t tell us anything.  He’s short.  He has a motorcycle.  He likes to work out.  He likes to eat at home. He’s never going to tell you that he’s human and sometimes cranky or over eats or has bad knees or is sometimes too “tired” for sex.  I get that.  I, too, am unbelievably human and flawed, which is reflected in my written profile and undoubtedly why I haven’t had any luck.  I’m not selling an idealized vision of who I am.

Last week, I came across a perfect combination of honesty and self-aggrandizement, a man exactly my age, right down to the same birth month.  He claims to be an Ivy-league graduate, a professional by day and a musician by night.  His profile photo shows a good-looking middle-aged man with mirrored shades and a hipster haircut, and other photos show him with his colleagues in business attire, playing with his band in t-shirt and jeans, and several more where he is surrounded by glamorous young women.  I was amused and perplexed and intrigued.  Who is this guy?  Not, his name, but what kind of human is he?

He says he’s looking for an “adult relationship” with someone who “gets the concept of ‘living in the moment’ [sic]” and discourages women who are separated or are aged 25-30 and looking for someone “35-85 within 2500 miles.”  I looked at the age preferences of this 63-year old man…”42-50 within 25 miles.”  I burst out laughing and wrote to him, “Is this profile for real, or is it a parody?”  I wasn’t looking for an answer, but I just can’t believe he’s for real, no matter how literate and hilarious his profile may be.  He’s probably looking for a woman who uses a waist trainer.

Now that I reconsider the matter of personal authenticity, I hope my next date does bring his “authentic self” along when we first meet.  I don’t want any surprises, and I reserve the right to determine if his “authentic self” doesn’t match my values and standards, which, after all, make up my authentic self and are every bit as valid as his.

We all want to be loved just the way we are.  Your waist may be smaller than mine.  Your hips may be bigger.  Your fashion sense or taste in men may differ.  I may disagree with you, but I will love you.  And if you don’t love me back, that’s ok, too.  I have my own friends, so who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!


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Twins

geminiAngelina Jolie and I have more in common than you might think.  We are both Gemini and share the same birth date, June 4.  I’m not bragging or anything, but she and I have been incredibly lucky in life.  We’re both fabulous actors.  We both were married to incredibly handsome and accomplished men and adopted beautiful children from exotic locales.  Well, in my case, Denver isn’t that exotic — exciting but not that distant.

Ms. Jolie and I are also missing our uteri.  When she wrote in the NY Times about her hysterectomy at the age of 39, I almost wrote to her to say, “Don’t worry.  It’s a piece of cake.”  I was 24 when I had my hysterectomy, and my life clearly didn’t end. I didn’t shrivel up.  I didn’t grow a beard or start singing bass.  I didn’t gain 50 pounds.  My husband didn’t leave me.  In fact, men still hit on me when he wasn’t around, because they just can’t tell.  You think no one’s going to hit on the beautiful Angelina Jolie because she’s missing a few body parts?

I’ve been without my uterus for almost 40 years and can’t say that I’ve missed it.  So what if I have a little untimely sweating?  It’s a small price to pay to stop menstruating, and pregnancy has never looked like a day at the beach to me.  When I was a little pudgy around the middle a few years ago, a stranger ask me if I was pregnant.  Was I embarrassed?  Heck no!  I was pretty excited that they thought I was young enough to be pregnant.  Woohoo!

Twins

Twins

Strangers frequently comment on how much The Daughter and I look alike.  Coincidentally, we are both short, and the corners of our mouths turn down naturally.  Our hair is the same color, thanks to my hairdresser.  (I have no idea what color mine really is any more, but I suspect it’s mostly white.)  I blame the “Stockholm Syndrome,” where the captive begins to identify with the captor.  There’s a lot more to parenting than passing along your DNA.  If you’re good at it, you pass along your values and instill your child with courage, perseverance, kindness, and hope, the character stuff that hasn’t yet been isolated on a chromosome.

I’ve had a lot of practice making lemonade out of lemons in my almost-63 years, and I’m always amazed at how a miracle pops up to lift me when things seem especially dark.  Why, just last week, it dawned on me that, because I’ve never been pregnant, I don’t have any stretch marks.  It made me laugh out loud, it was such an absurd thought.  On the other hand, find another 63-year old woman who can say that.  Now, I just need to figure out how to work that into my online dating profile.

Happy Birthday, Angelina!

DATE UPDATE:

I decided to give the dating site Zoosk a look-see because it claimed to be free.  Actually, it’s so confusing that I can’t tell what’s free and what isn’t, because now they tell me there’s stuff I can’t see, people I can’t contact, whatever.  Anyway, they have a feature called “Carrousel” where faces flash up, and you’re supposed to click “No”   “Maybe”    or    “Yes”.  You get a gold coin for each “Maybe” or “Yes.”  I have no idea what the coins are for, and I really don’t care.  This isn’t my kind of game.  I’m not a gambler, although online dating is a crap-shoot.

I’m shallow.  I’m a visual person.  I always judge books by their covers, which is probably why I haven’t found a serious date yet.  There seems to be something wrong with every photo that I see.  Again, I can’t stress enough that the fault lies with me, not with what are probably perfectly ideal men for normal, God-fearing, kind, decent, gracious, loving women.  No, I’m persnickety.  For instance, I am not attracted to profile photos of a man who

wears a Crocodile Dundee hat,

a cowboy hat,

a cowboy hat with a string tie and leather vest,

or a straw cowboy hat with a picture of a spitting cobra;

a bad toupee or a woman’s wig, even if it’s part of a Halloween costume;

a sombrero, beret, balaclava, or any kind of headscarf, including bandanas;

a captain’s hat, unless he’s in the Navy or Capt. Stubing;

a baseball cap with a suggestive slogan and especially not a backwards cap;

or a “Steelers” cap.

I don’t want to know anyone whose profile name includes the words “Snake bit” or “Luv,” “Hung,” “Kiss,” “Baby,” “4 U,” “Skin,” “Brst” (regardless of your choice of vowels), or “Steeler.”

I always skip photos of men whose eyes are closed, have partially hidden faces, look dazed and confused or Tased or are frowning;

or out of focus;

who are missing all or most of their front teeth  (please, no hate mail);

who wear more jewelry than I do and/or forget to remove their wedding bands (I told you I was persnickety);

who are covered in sweat or standing in a cemetery or using fingers to “shoot” at the camera (yep, I’ve seen ’em all).

I am wary of men whose style-icon is Donald Trump;

who look like they still follow the Dead, with locks longer than mine and carrying AARP cards;

who were stuck all winter in Donner Pass without a razor.

Men, don’t choose photos if your cellphone is visible as you take your selfie;

your computer monitor is reflected in your glasses so your eyes look like they’re glowing;

you’re being hugged/kissed by a woman who clearly isn’t your mother (especially on the mouth—ew!);

your photo shows five men, and you’re……..which?

your photo is date-stamped 2005;

your photo is an actual photo of Jack Lord from the original “Hawaii Five-0” (true);

you have photo-shopped stars and/or hearts on it;

you appear to be choking your dog/cat while restraining it;

you are up to your elbow in the mouth of a catfish;

your motorcycle is bigger than you are;

your car is the most prominent feature in your photo;

your dress shirt is unbuttoned to your belt buckle, exposing things that are best hidden until we know each other better—if ever;

you’re wearing a sleeveless sweatshirt, tank top, or wife beater, even if you have guns of steel.

And, for the love of all that is good and holy, NO SHIRTLESS PHOTOS!!!!

Especially if you’re on a beach in swim trunks with a Crocodile Dundee hat and a Duck Dynasty beard, because nobody, but NOBODY wants to see that.  (Having seen that, I may never be the same again.)

I couldn’t make this stuff up, folks.  It writes itself, so who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!


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The Case of the Vanishing Toilet Paper

Stand back, I’m on a rant!

What have they done to toilet paper rolls?  Paper towel rolls seem to get bigger and bigger and barely fit on the spindle of my paper towel holder.   You can get extra shampoo in a humongous bottle.  However, you have to scrape for scraps of toilet paper in the middle of the night, when it runs out unexpectedly and you can’t find the box of Kleenex in the dark.

TMI

Do they just not care that I know the rolls are smaller?

I use more rolls now than I did when The Veterinarian lived with me.  That’s crazy for one little woman, using just three sheets at a time (yes, I count).  I’m not draping it around the neighborhood.  I’m not wrapping presents with it.  My BFF Fiona isn’t unrolling it (it’s not challenging enough for her; she prefers Kleenex, paper towels, and socks).  There should be plenty in my house.  I’m not flushing that many stink bugs away.

When shopping, I look at the size of the cardboard roll, compare the number of sheets per roll, and still go through two rolls each week.  Rolls are narrower, too.  A decade ago, a full roll of toilet paper barely fit the width of my holders.  Now, it flops loosely like a belt on a supermodel. And the word “toilet” does not appear on the packaging, so, I guess that a bear wiping its behind with the tissue is more acceptable.

And while I’m on a rant…

Cans of pet food, beverages, soup, and tuna get smaller, while the price continues to go up.  Do they think we don’t notice?  Do they think we don’t care?  Or do they know that we know that we have no choice?

Unfortunately, we do notice.  They can change the package’s shape or the label, but we can see it when we open the can and feel it when we pick up the box.  The games manufacturers play.

Take cereal.  (Please, take it.  I don’t eat cereal.  If I must eat breakfast, I want it hot, not icy cold.)  Why are the boxes of all the fiber-heavy stuff so much smaller in size and denser than the Frosted Flakes, Special K, and Honey-Nut Cheerios?  And why are they more expensive?  They’re all just cardboard-y grains, aren’t they?  Metamucil comes in a little capsule.  Why does bran come in a box?  Why does oatmeal come in a round box that doesn’t fit on the shelf with other boxes?

And that brings me to this…

Why don’t they sell fragrance-free deodorant in the warehouse stores?  I could smell like Degree’s Fresh Energy, Dove’s Cool Essentials, Sure Regular Scent, or Speed Stick’s Fresh Rush.  None of those “fragrances” is descriptive.  Yes, I would like a fresh rush but not from my deodorant.  I can’t begin to imagine what those things smell like, and I have a pretty wild imagination.  My favorite is Fresh Clean.  Huh?  Isn’t that nothing?  If you’re fresh and clean, you shouldn’t smell at all, should you?

Finally, why do we need so many darn different sizes of batteries?  My living room television remote uses two AAAs, yet the one in my bedroom uses two AAs.  One brand of electric candles uses two AAs, but another brand of the same-sized candles uses two AAAs.  My Fitbit uses lithium batteries size 2025, and my electronic car key, which is larger than the Fitbit, uses a lithium size 1632, which is smaller than the 2025.

My smoke detectors use 9-volt transistor batteries as back-ups when the power goes out.  And what else, nowadays, uses transistor batteries?  My portable radio operates on either solar cells or cranks to generate power in an emergency.  Remember transistor radios?  Remember the 80s when “boom boxes” used about $20 worth of D-cells?  The only thing that uses D-cells now is my Mag-Lite flashlight, which, when loaded, becomes a lethal weapon.

My digital camera uses a stubby lithium battery, but I have four different sizes of stubby batteries rolling around my battery box.  I have no idea where they go.   And why do I have so many C batteries?  I can’t find a single thing in or around my house that requires them.  They must have been purchased for a battery-operated toy at 4pm one Christmas Eve when we were desperate to ensure a merry Christmas morning memory.  The toy and its owner have moved on, but the batteries linger.

If I had been paying attention in my college physics class, I could probably become a billionaire by coming up with a solution to what must be a common dilemma.  Alas, I was not.  If you or anyone you know, comes up with a solution, please be sure to cut me in for 1% of the profits, which will be a mere drop in the bucket to you.  Then, get busy on the toilet paper problem, please.

DATE UPDATE:

After a relatively quiet spring, in the past 48 hours, the scammers have been out in force.  It’s the end of the month.  Maybe they have a quota to fulfill.  Herewith is the photographic evidence.  It may seem cruel to highlight these people, but I, in no way, imagine that they are sincere.  In fact, when I did a Google search of three of the profile photos, they turned up connected to the websites of legitimate professors and business men.  I’m gonna guess that men with advanced college degrees have better grammar.  One of the photos matched a photo from 2009 on a site that exposes scammers.  I sent the link to match.com when I reported it, but they haven’t blocked the guy yet.

IMG_5206

I’m frequently sorry about my photos, too, but I don’t post them unless they’re mine.

IMG_5208

He is not my prince, even if his profile says he’s “Executive Management.”

IMG_5207

Probably not, especially since you’re wearing a striped jail costume.

These guys are deceptive enough to create the names of deodorants and packaging for toilet paper.  And I may not be smart enough to create a universal battery, but I do know deceit when I see it, so, who am I to complain?  Life is good (mostly).  Soli Deo Gloria!