Sunday, June 30, 2024

Time To Invoke The 25th Amendment


If the Biden family is too much filled with hubris, entitlement, blind ambition and narcissism to convince Joe Biden to withdraw from the 2024 election, the Cabinet must do what is right for the country and invoke the 25th Amendment. It is their sworn duty to the citizens of the country they promised to serve. Many lose sight of the fact they’ve sworn to defend the Constitution of the United States, not a man, woman, political party, officer, family member, donor, PAC or committee. The allegiance is owed to the PEOPLE. 

Biden’s performance on the world stage prior to his debacle of a debate performance has made the USA a laughing stock. His catastrophic debate performance caused Trump to appear statesman like. Biden looked and acted like a cadaver on Red Bull. I was waiting for him to drool on his tie. As an American citizen, I felt humiliated by how this performance made the USA look to friends and enemies alike.

Many Democrats voted for Biden in the primaries because the DNC declined to allow other candidates on the ballots. The DNC, the Biden family, the cadre of sycophants surrounding Biden, and the media turned blind eyes from open and obvious mental, psychological, and physical decline to prop up a sock puppet they can control. 

Enough! He needs to be removed from office now. He lacks cognitive ability. He is feeble bodied and feeble minded. He is barely more animated than Dianne Feinstein during her last months. It is time for a director with a shepherd’s crook to yank him off stage. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Hesitant About Retirement Because I Like Stuff

I am ready to retire; however, I still have challenges resisting the accumulation of more stuff. I love shoes, handbags, accessories, home goods, ephemera, artwork, antiques, new clothes,  and the process of acquiring more stuff. I don’t need new stuff, but I enjoy new stuff. 

I love new things.I easily tire of my wardrobe. My plants need wine fridge wants to be filled to capacity. Our deck needs t be decorated with an abundance of flowers. Austerity is not my thing. Consequently, the concept of relying on life savings and social security causes me angst. 

Notwithstanding the above, I am at the stage where I am ready to exit full time employment and enjoy the fruits of my 40 year career. I’m still struggling the understand what that means. Yes, I know my need for new handbags, shoes and pseudo professional fashion is coming to an end. But how do I navigate that change? Any suggestions? 

For your enjoyment, a link to George Carlin’s riff on stuff. This is a true classic.

Sunday, June 23, 2024

What Happened to the American Work Ethic?


My parents retired from reaching elementary school in 1992 after decades of service to the Cass County, Indiana Public School System. They worked long hours after the conclusion of the school day grading papers, planning lessons, serving on charitable committees, raising money for good causes, ensuring their three children completed homework and participated in extracurricular activities, and made a concerted effort to sit down to a family meal every evening. 

Our family did not go out to restaurants or fast food joints. We couldn’t afford it. All three of us learned early that it was expected that we work hard and learn the value of money. I worked in a hospital kitchen in junior high school and as a waitress ( before the term server was deemed proper). My brother scraped road kill off the pavements with his summer gig for the highway department.  My sister cleaned houses, mowed lawns at the cemetery and did odd jobs at a local pork processing plant. My dad taught summer school every year so we could afford a family vacation. 

It was instilled in us that the world owed us nothing. We understood we were privileged to live in the USA, which afforded us opportunities that people in other countries did not enjoy. 

Finding a job after graduating college was expected. Any job. Not just a job that paid a lot, gave us flexible hours or likelihood of promotion or personal fulfillment or prestige. Instead, it was expected that we would accept a job, near the bottom of the food chain, with enough income to pay rent & utilities, and learn how to be part of a team. Many of my colleagues of a similar cohort ended up in their careers because we needed a job and someone gave us a chance. Success or failure then depended in large part on how we played the game. 

Too many novice employees in recent years want it all immediately. They want money, recognition, flexibility, a work/ life balance, fulfillment, loan forgiveness and prosperity without putting in the time, hours, sweat equity, inconvenience and relationship building necessary to succeed. 

It is clear that society needs a reset. Children should learn early and often that life isn’t fair. There are winners and losers. That if you don’t pay your loan or mortgage you can lose your car and house. And that the quality of life for most Americans is exponentially better than in most other corners of the world. 

I know I am filled with gratitude for the lessons I learned from my parents.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

House of the Dragon in the Year of the Dragon


Dragons fascinate me. I moved to Taipei in the Year of the Dragon. During my years living in Asia I collected dragons. The mythology in Great Britain celebrating Saint George slaying the dragon intrigued me. I loved the dragon dances, the representation of royalty and power, the sheer glory of such an imposing, fire breathing, colorful, flying magical, magnificent mythical creature! 

When I first became enamored with Game of Thrones, a great deal of the fascination involved my imaginative impossible dream of riding a dragon. I know, this is the stuff of the Magical Mystery Tour  mixed with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. 

Echo released a beautiful silk scarf at the beginning of 2024 to celebrate the Year of the Dragon yet again. The scarf sold out in nanoseconds. I had to sign up on a waiting list for restock and ordered it the minute I was notified it was available! It is generally considered auspicious to have babies in the Year of the Dragon. 

As I watched the first episode this evening of House of the Dragon Series 2, I was once again reminded that dreaming of  riding mythical creatures is a reasonable pastime. Why not imagine the impossible? Why not fantasize about something wildly magical and uplifting! Think about it, humans have been dreaming impossible dreams since Scheherazade told the stories of  1001 nights!   It is in our DNA to imagine the unimaginable. Embrace it! I do.

Monday, June 17, 2024

I’ve been writing this blog for 12 years!


I’ve just realized I’ve been writing this blog for 12 years! It started as an emotional outlet. It evolved into a diary 

Wow! The trajectory of my life has morphed into something I wouldn’t have contemplated 12 years ago. My mom passed away 7 1/2 years ago. I thought she’d be the last one standing. My father-in-law is gne. My mother-in-law has dementia.  My dad is 92. We’ve loved 25 cats. I’m eligible for Medicare next month. I’ve decided to retire in a year!

Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who is staring back at me. What happened to the girl with 45 years of working in her future? How did the years pass so quickly without warning? 

But, at the end of the day I am filled with gratitude for a life well lived, a husband I love through good times and challenging times, the gift of a few incomparable friends, a peaceful home on a rocky ridge, a brother I admire, a career that has served me well, excellent health, a positive attitude, beautiful memories, and the adventures to come. 

Namaste !

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The Continuing Gifts of Al Anon~ Years Into Recovery


I’ve not lived with an alcoholic or addict since 2004; however, the tools I learned in Al Anon continue to give me the strength, hope and abilities to navigate the challenges I continue to face today.

When I first accepted, after 10 years on Step 1, that I was completely powerless over other people, places & things…including drug and alcohol, it was an awakening. Seriously, it took me 10 years of meetings to ‘get’ the first step! We all have our own paths. 

But, the journey was essential to my healing. While I rarely attend meetings, the lessons I’ve learned have given me the experience, strength & hope to make positive decisions.

My current relationship is far from perfect. But, the lessons I’ve learned and the tools I’ve incorporated into my tool belt have given me the confidence to make healthy decisions for my wellbeing.

Whenever I hop into bed after a particularly challenging day, I recite the 12 steps of Al Anon, recite the Serenity Prayer, acknowledge my gratitude for my good fortune, ask my higher power for courage to accept the things I cannot change, and celebrate my blessings.

The community, experience, strength and hope I found when I was at the depth of my despair, saved my sanity and my life. If you are hurting because someone in your life is an addict or alcoholic, reach out and find a path to recovery. It is a lifelong journey. 

Monday, June 3, 2024

Some Old Fashioned Values Should Be Taught Again


This photo shows me with my 92 year old Dad. I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. There was no such thing as a helicopter parent, excuses for misbehavior, trophies for everyone, safe spaces, pandering to children. Yes, my siblings and I experienced corporal punishment. Two of us believe it as appropriate and did not affect our sensitive psyches. The youngest, who had the least oversight, believes that only di food spoils, not children. That did not work out so well.

So, these are some precepts that every child in my cohort learned:

1) Do unto others as you would have them do unto you;

2) if you don’t have anything nice to say about another, don’t say anything at all;

3) Sticks & stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me;

4) Don’t judge another unless you’ve walked a. Ike in his shoes;

5) judge not lest ye be judges/

6) People who live in glass houses should never throw stones;

7) he who is without sun should throw the first stone; 

8) Grudges, resentment & hate only hurt oneself. 

8) kindness costs nothing 

9) Opinion is not fact; 

10) hading behind a pseudonym or anonymity is cowardly. Always take ownership for your comments.

Overall, my biggest frustration is the number of people or bots that judge, criticize, denigrate  cast aspersions or express vitriol anonymously online, particularly in comments to news stories. Grow a set and be open, honest and forthright. Don’t hide behind a fake handle. Take ownership of what you write and your opinions or shut your cowardly trap the f#$k up! 

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Find Peace Within Yourself in Times of Turmoil

 A few weeks ago I visited my 92 year old father in Logansport, Indiana. I know that I’m fortunate to be able to spend time with my dad. We’ve both experienced the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in our everyday lives and in the political sphere. 

Dad is a rabid republican. I am an unapologetic libertarian. Neither of us has tolerance for those who denigrate America. We’ve both traveled and experienced the travails of people who live in socialist, communist, fascist, oppressive, martial law, autocratic countries run by despots. Travel has confirmed for both of us that those who disagree with the American experiment are either idiots, uneducated, uninformed, indoctrinated, confused, conditioned, corrupted, lost, mentally unstable, or spies for autocratic governments. One cannot travel the world without realizing the freedoms we in the USA enjoy everyday. 

Name a communist government that has not repressed, imprisoned or executed its people in the name of re-education. 

Thursday, May 30, 2024

The Demise of Civility, Honor, Integrity & Collegiality


Maybe the tide will turn. Perhaps disgust at the weaponization of the legal system for political manipulation will cause Americans to stop and contemplate the cycle of condemnation, oppression, the inability to see the repercussions of dimwitted actions, and conclude that the sideshow that should be the embarrassment of our collective selves must stop.

Do those who think that prosecuting a former president for what has for centuries amounted to business as usual not consider the tit for tat! 

The Wall Street Journal this morning published an editorial in which the author recalled the civility of politicians of The Greatest Generation, those who shared the collective experience of World  War II, who believed that America represented the best and the brightest, whose people knew that evil must be expunged, that working together made us stronger, that nations that have been invaded by evil doers have the right and duty to defend themselves no matter the collateral damage. 

The pogroms perpetrated by Hamas must be answered by Israel. The genocide committed by the Chinese against the Uighurs must be stopped. The political extremism by elected representatives must end. 

Americans should be compelled to review the Constitution and Bill of Rights, consider history in the context of its times, and eliminate political opponents the old fashioned way- yellow journalism, elections, civil or uncivil debate…but never by partisan criminal prosecution.

We’ve just commemorated Memorial Day, when we are called to remember those who gave their all so that we remain free from oppression. Those who forget the past have no right to judge. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

May 2024~ Columbia Protests | Trump Trial | The Met Gala ~ It Is All Tawdry

Echo Year of the Dragon Scarf


The Chinese Year of the Dragon has brought New York City to new levels of tawdry train wrecks that cause much of the rest of the USA to thank the Universe for geographical distance. It is a circus. All we are missing is a ringmaster, trapeze artists and funnel cakes.

First, the protests at Columbia University supporting the terrorists organization, Hamas, while chanting against the Jewish state with likely zero awareness of history. It is my belief that every high school student should be required to watch the following shows, since reading requires too much of an attention span: Band of Brothers, The Pacific, Masters of the Air, They Shall Not Grow Old, Schindlers List, La Vita e Bella, The Pianist, and Europa Europa among others. Not to mention a compulsory visit to a Holocaust Museum or a concentration camp.

The Trump trial is a tragedy of epic proportions. Whether one loves, hates, or tolerates Donald Trump, the spectacle is a disgrace to the USA on the world stage. There are circumstances in which a former leader of a country deserve to be tried; however, and actions taken by Trump and his cronies do not rise to the level of high crimes & misdemeanors. Why don’t the prosecutors consider that prosecution of former presidents should be limited to treason, genocide, murder of innocent civilians, staging an actual coup d’etat, having enemies assassinated, and the like. Consider, the checks and balances in the Constitution worked. No harm. No foul.

And finally, the media coverage of The Met Gala. I am a member of The Met. The Costume preservation is to be lauded and supported. However, this event appears to have been high-jacked by “ influencers’, faux celebrities, wealthy people with no taste, and low-rent troglodytes who think see-through is cutting edge or glamorous. Hello! None of these exhibitionist could hold a candle to Cher! Apparently Anna Wintour has allowed the ‘wannabes’ to take over what was once  a hallowed event. No more. 


Friday, May 3, 2024

I Am A Woman of a Certain Age & I will Not Hide My Crepey Arms!


So many fashion blogs and articles recommend that wmen of a certain age should wear at least elbow length sleeves even in the heat of summer to save the general public from having to view our less than youthful arms. Forget-about-it! If somebody is offended by the creases in my inner elbows, it is their problem, not mine.

When the sun elevates the temperature to near tropical temperatures, I will embrace my tank tops, halters, strapless spaghetti strap tops with confidence. Really, are my less than muscular arms less attractive than that of a zaftig woman 30 years my junior wearing the Tik Tok fashions of the day? I think not! 

It causes me sadness to consider all of the women who worry about exposing their less than youthful arms, insisting on elbow length matronly shirts for fear of celebrating the achievement of survival.

We have earned the right to bare arms! Isn’t that a Constitutional right? 

Monday, April 29, 2024

Considering Retirement


In July I have a milestone celebration, my 65th birthday. I don’t  feel aged. I have no infirmities. I’m at the top of my game in a technical role at work. I appreciate my manager. I have the upmost respect for our group leader. However, last week it was announced there is yet another reorganization. I am fatigued with reorganization. I understand that people who eschew management positions make the decision to remain relatively unsung in the corporate hierarchy. I’m at peace with that. But sometimes, the decisions made appear to be unrelated to what is good for the company and the employees who toil wordlessly as the cogs in the wheel, without voice, agency, the ability to challenge the status quo, or seek consideration. 

I’m one of the lucky ones who feels appreciated and is asked for feedback on occasions. 

But, I have concerns that those in the ivory towers miss  so much of what makes an organization dynamic.

It is the people who show up everyday, online or in person, that keep the clock ticking and the organization thriving. Best those at rather top keep that in mind.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

College Protesters Should be Required to Visit a Holocaust Museum


The fact that so many colleges and universities have cadres of students setting up encampments and singing to support Hamas shows how the American educational system has failed miserably in teaching youth about actual history as opposed to reimagined history.

I have befriended people through out the diaspora of the Middle East throughout my lifetime. The part of the world that is believed to be the cradle of civilization encompasses Arab, Persian, Jewish, Palestinian and numerous other subcultures. This geographical area has been the subject of wars, disagreements, hate, passion, dislocation of people, religious strife, biological differences and border disputes for millennia. 

What causes me the greatest disbelief is the fact that most of these protesters supporting Hamas have zero knowledge and understanding of the geopolitical issues of the region.

I know people who have been expelled by their home countries because of religious or political strife. I know people who had to escape Iran in 1979. I know people who were in the US Embassy in Lebanon when it was bombed. I know people who lost families in the Holocaust. I know people who were forced from their homes when the Jewish state was created. 

But unless one has been to a concentration camp, experienced horror of true genocide, walked through a museum commemorating the Holocaust, talked to a survivor, read Night, watched ‘Its a Beautiful Life’ or ‘Schindlers List’, studied the history of a time just a few decades ago, toured the memorial to the USS Arizona, talked to Jews today who feared for family members on October 7, 2023…you have no right to protest, to argue that Israel has no right to exist or to defend its people and borders. You are no less culpable for the atrocities committed by Hamas than the terrorists who killed babies, innocent civilians, young people celebrating, the infirm or elderly. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Celebrating Life


My husband and I recently celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. That may not seem like a glorious journey, but for us it was an affirmation of life.

Our parents enjoyed over 60 years of marriage. That was a different time. We are both grateful that our parents continued to appreciate one another over 6 decades, with love, humor and tolerance.

Our generation has been different. We both had starter marriages, marriages that failed for various reasons, relationships that just didn’t work. Rather than wallow in the negativity of those unsuccessful relationships, we kept putting ourselves out there, believing in kismet, knowing that the numbers game could ultimately bring us together with a soulmate. 

It happened. This is not to say everyday is glorious. There are times in which we disagree. But, in the scheme of life, we support one another, share the good and the bad, try to always remember the reasons we connected and decided to make it work. 18 years. We still like each other, still appreciate what we bring to the relationship, still accept our differences, still have a joint goal and vision of the future. That is what makes my heart sing. 

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Be Prepared !


Do I look like the stereotypical‘prepper’? I think not! I would like to think that reasonable minds will prevail and  Americans will come together and eschew the vitriolic rhetoric that pervades our country today.

But, I’m far less confident that our better angels will prevail in today’s environment. Everyone and everything seems to be politicized. There seems to be no moral consensus. There is too much us or them! Why? Why can’t the citizens of this country come together to celebrate our similarities rather than our differences? 

I was raised in a family that taught me and my siblings that we are all entitled to the same rights, the same opportunities, the same rules of law, the same freedoms no matter our race, creed, color, country of origin, disability, socioeconomic level, religion, place of birth, or sex. 

The divisiveness today boggles my mind. I as taught to accept every individual as that person was whatever the color, size, religion, country of origin, differences, beliefs, level of wealth, where one lived.’ I grew up on the ‘wrong ‘side of town. My dad grew up poor on a farm in southern Indiana. My mom was the daughter of a plumber. My parents were teachers. We had enough, but not more than enough. My parents sacrificed to give us opportunities. 

My siblings and I grasp those opportunities and have lived extraordinary lives considering where we began. We’ve achieved relative success. We’ve been blessed. We worked hard, made good & bad decisions, used the tools we earned, overcame adversity, experienced highs and lows, crawled out of the depths of despair, regrouped and tried again, and thanked the Universe and the God of our understanding for our blessings.

That is the American way. We do not blame. We do not burn cities. We do not cast aspersions. We do not succumb to self pity. We do not exploit our fellow citizens. We do not use excuses for our shortcomings. We do not blame others for situations over which we have control.

Live The Serenity Prayer! 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

THIS is the path to happiness and success. 

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Memories of Easter When I Was a Child


Easter was a solemn holiday during my formative years. We were raised in the Catholic Church. Well, we lived across the street from the Catholic Church, Catholic School, the rectory and the convent where the nuns lived. There was no escaping the holy days of obligation, not to mention the required services of Holy Week. 

Rebellion was not an option. Ash Wednesday; sacrifice during Lent; meatless Fridays; the Way of the Cross; Holy Thursday; the rosary; Good Friday; Holy Saturday and the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter morning. It was a 6 week period of penitence, never ending religious services, and the ultimate endgame of Easter morning with an Easter egg hunt followed by ham, deviled eggs, green bean casserole, blueberry muffins and, an overdose of milk chocolate. 

Mom also ensured we had brand new Easter outfits. She generally sewed my sister and I new dresses and matching coats. Easter bonnets were required in the days preceding Vatican 2. 

After church my parents hosted Easter dinner after the requisite whiskey sours and lively conversation. Generally, a few elderly aunts with dementia held court talking about fantasy days of your. Uncle Mart had to be sprung from the drunk tank. Aunt Kate ground her cigarette ashes into the linoleum. My mother’s sister had a newspaper under her chair to catch the crumbs she routine dropped on the floor. Grandpa drowned his cigarette buts into his beer bottle that my brother sipped nonetheless. We thought it was

The years have flown by. People we’ve loved have left us. Time have changed. We have changed. But the precious memories of days gone by remain. If only I’d known what I know now. I never imagined how time would wound, take away my loved ones, create holes in my heart, change me, alter my view of the world, expunge my faith, shatter my psyche, steal my optimism, direct me to a path fraught with sadness, insecurity, instability, disappointment, discomfort and lack of direction. Part of me longs for those days of my innocent childhood when family dinners and Easter egg hunts surrounded by family and loved ones made life feel joyful and never ending. Damn! Adukting sucks !

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Bittersweet Days


This is a picture of me with my husband, sister-in-law, mother-in-law and father-in-law at Thanksgiving last year. In such a short time my FIL went from a man who could still drive, live by himself, do his own shopping, and converse with all of us. 

Just since the new year, he’s deteriorated quickly. My husband is bereft. I am heartbroken. When my mother passed away just before New Year’s Day 2017, it was my FIL that let my sob on his shoulder, even though he found it uncomfortable.

This time of life is so bittersweet. Facing what is, is sometimes just too much. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

It Is Time for No Labels !


Apparently the die is cast and the two major political parties will select the least likable candidates in modern history to represent their platforms in the 2024 presidential election. It is time for No Labels to enter a candidate into the race. I will not vote for Trump or Biden. Many moderates have told me the same thing. They would rather cast a protest vote for RFK, Jr. or any other third party candidate than hold their noses and vote for the lesser of two abominations yet another time.

Trump won in 2016 because people voted against Hillary Clinton. Biden won in 2020 because he wasn’t Trump. After 8 years of divisiveness, many of us cannot support the worst of the worst who have embarrassed us on the world stage and further polarized the electorate. 

Trump’s denigrating comments about Haley have further alienated her constituency. He can’t win. Biden is a doddering cadaver being propped up by his handlers and wheeled out for scripted events he can’t navigate. 

It is time for bold moves. Remember, the Whig party had its brief moment in the sun.

Sunday, March 3, 2024

Super Tuesday Voters - Please Do Not Saddle the USA with another Biden v Trump!


Dear Citizens of America, 

Where have you been at the recent caucuses and primaries? Where are the people who are horrified at the possibility that Donald Trump & Joe Biden will be the candidates for President in 2024? Neither is fit intellectually, morally, cognitively, or politically to represent the United States  of America on the national or international stage. 

Is everyone so gullible to believe the propaganda spewed by the sycophants that support either candidate that one can’t see the damage both aged, egoistic, fiscally unsound, narcissistic damage these two men have done to this great country! 

Stop the madness! Tell both wanna be emperors they have no clothes! Stop pandering. It is my fervent wish that neither Trump nor Biden will be on the ballot in November. Like many moderates, I will not vote for either. I haven’t missed voting in a presidential election since 1980- even when I was living in Asia. But in 2024, unless both parties come to grips with the shadow puppets and convince both Trump and Biden to step down, for the good of the country, I will be a conscientious objector and vote for a third party candidate. If enough citizens who loathe the concept of another term with either miscreant do the same thing, perhaps the dueling houses of cards with collapse. 

Friday, March 1, 2024

What Do YOU Want To Wear In 2024?


A little over a year ago I began my journey with Lani & Kyle with Real Life Style. They helped me curate my wardrobe, initially by convincing me to remove 17 bags of clothes, shoes & handbags that did not fit the person I am today or how I want to present myself to the world. 

After working in the insurance industry for 40 years, I’ve earned the right to dress as a successful woman. Lani & Kyle gave me tools to live my next stage in life looking fabulous, despite the undeniable fact that I will soon be eligible for Medicare! 

I’ve spent the past year upping my game with regard to fashion. I’m focusing on more fashion forward basics, elevated casual wear, quality jackets that fit beautifully, classic profiles with a twist, more structure, with a focus on fit and how I feel when I get dressed- even to work from home.
Based on the recommendations of my Real Life Style counselors, I’m loving jackets from Veronica Beard, elevated casual clothes from MM LaFleur, selection from Rag & Bone, handbags from Lo & Son or M.Gemi, costume Jewelry from Julie Vos, and dresses from Johnny Was, and vintage silk scarves. 

My new style gives me a feeling of invincibility, an aura of authority, and a feeling of authenticity and confidence. 

This is what I plan to wear in 2024. 

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Fashion Over 60- Do Not Let Go!


Celebrating fashion is ageless. Do not give up simply because you have aged!

One f the benefits of maturity is fiscal contentment, the ability to up one’s game, embracing a more curated wardrobe, buying fewer but better basics, knowing who one wants to be.

Yes! A year ago I retained Real Life Style to help me discover my fashion image moving into the next stage of life. I am close to retirement. But, I haven’t reached a place where I am ready to give up a professional profile or the ability to dress for elevated events. My goal has been to increase my basics to a an elevated level so that I can be prepared for any event, eventuality, passage of time, ritual or rite of passage.

Consequently, I’ve continued to edit, curate, simplify, update, tweak, recalibrate, reevaluate, and modify my wardrobe over the last year. I’ve contemplated who I want to be, how I want to present myself, where I want  to go from a sartorial perspective. I want to move beyond the ordinary and embrace the extraordinary. I’m experimenting with new labels, enjoying new profiles, trying to be all that I can be within the constraints of my socioeconomic level. It has been fun! 

I am seeking out new frontiers in fashion and embracing Veronica Beard, Johnny Was, MM LaFleur, Rag & Bone, M.Gemi shoes, Elizabetta Scarves, antique analog watches, and classic profiles. 

Thank you to my mentors at Real Life Style! 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

I Read 4 Newspapers Daily & Get Little Return On Investment


Although I no longer watch televised news broadcasts, I do read four online newspapers daily. I actually subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post. The Daily Mail is free mind candy that provides a tabloid style distraction from the alleged credentialed press. Occasionally, The Daily Mail beats the other news outlets to critical stories.

Why do I actually pay for the above referenced news sources? Well, it is an election year and I’m hoping, notwithstanding recent history, to discover some valuable nugget or new  perspective on our world today. Hope springs eternal; and I’m hopeful that one of the major publications discovers a sense of patriotism, common sense, love for the USA and the strides we’ve made as a people over nearly 250 years and advocates for both  Trump  and Biden to put Country above ego and step aside. They are both well past their prime, toxic in the minds of 50% of the electorate, polarizing, often unintelligible, has-beens who need to retire and give the citizens of the USA a chance to move forward.

The current primary system delivers highly partisan candidates that only extremely partisan ideologues will support. The system fails to truly consider electability. Not that I would ever suggest returning to the deal making, back door, smoke filled rooms with politicians deciding who will lead a ticket. The modern world is no place for old school party “machines”. 

I’m flummoxed that this nation may well be stuck with 2 candidates for President that at least half the electorate disdains. We the people are middle of the road. We disapprove of extremes. We crave ‘reasonable’ policies, compromise, compassion for the most unfortunate, opportunities for all, a helping hand but not a lifetime of government handouts, the expectation that people who are able will get a job and work, that taxes will be FAIR, that respect is afforded to people regardless of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, disability, political affiliation, ideology, hairstyle, tattoos, marital status, preferred pet, geographical location, sexual orientation, or position on climate. 

Will any of these news organizations do some due diligence and report on an unbiased research into the heart, mind, and soul of our people? One can only hope.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

I Love Wine! Sometimes Too Much~


I love wine. Red! White! Rose! Sparkling! As long as it is dry, of reasonable character, with a delightful nose, and a taste that pleases my palate, I will drink it. I prefer wine to any other adult beverage. While I am far from a connoisseur, there are bottles I’ve poured down the drain. I’ve enjoyed inexpensive surprise specials from Costco to top tier vintages. 

It is the rare occasion that we open a lovely bottle of red that we don’t finish it. We are currently exploring more Spanish and Portuguese varietals and blends. They are full bodied, tasty and relatively inexpensive. 

I do not have an addictive personality (with exception of shoes). But a lovely goblet of wine delights my tongue, warms my heart, helps me transition from work, to exercise and into an evening of peace and relaxation with a beautiful meal. It is an evening ritual. It must be sipped from a vessel designed for wine. I cannot drink from paper or plastic or “outdoor” drink ware. Wine tastes better from a crystal goblet designed for a particular grape or blend. It is better in a beautiful glass. 

This evening we are celebrating the 19th Anniversary of the day we met and are enjoying a RdV Rendezvous, a left bank, merlot forward gem from our favorite Virginia winery. It is sublime. I am content. 

Wine is also a beverage of  Christian religious significance. At the wedding in Cana, Jesus turned water into wine. If that isn’t a reason to imbibe, what is? Officially sanctioned by Christianity for more than 2000 years! 

Age appears best in four things: old wood to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” – Francis Bacon

Thursday, February 1, 2024

America Needs A Common Sense Third Political Party


I was raised in the Midwest in a family that generally voted Republican. My grandfather was the only Republican in his Southern Indiana county. He got fired every year as a teacher because of politics; but he was also rehired annually because the county had a dearth of qualified educators. 

My personal idealogy has always tilted toward Libertarian. I believe in individual freedoms, limited government, and the right of every citizen or legal immigrant to live his or her life as they prefer as long as they don’t steal, commit physical or mental injury on another except in the case of self defense, and treat their fellow human beings with acceptance, kindness and respect. I know, asking a bit too much from my fellow humanoids, but that is what I believe.

Our political class and media have diverged from any semblance of what the mainstream American voter desires.

If pollsters, politicians and media outlets talked to real people, those who get up at 5:30am to get ready for work, ensure their kids get off to school, grab a coffee, hop in a car, bus, train or ferry to commute anywhere from 15 minutes to 3 hours each way to pay for life, they would find most people want the same things.

The American people want to be able to have nutritious food; a roof over their heads with heads with running water, heat, reasonable tent or mortgage, in a safe environment, with ability to find affordable transportation to and from work. They want their children to have an equal opportunity for a decent education so their children have a chance to succeed. They want access to healthcare. They want clean rat free streets, access to basic necessities, fairness, hope, a sense of self worth, and acceptance.

Most people are happy to work for a fair wage. It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. This requires our government to consider the pros and cons of certain safety nets. They should be robust, but temporary. While I believe that America has a reason to support International order, these decisions should not be made at the expense of her residents. 

The Republican and Democrat parties have failed miserably, pandering to the extremes of their constituents. It is time to cast aside these sycophants and elevate a new era of political class that knows about and cares about the moderate, the people who believe in moderation in all things, who support fairness, equality ( not equality), who have disdain for Trump and Biden, who want to uphold our values, uplift those who need it, who has the courage to speak about the elephants in our midst, who care about the populace instead of party ideology or their own electability. 

In any event, I WILL NOT VOTE for TRUMP or BIDEN. I cannot cast my vote for the lowest of the low. It is time for No Labels to make a decision.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

We Deserve Better


Please! Stop the craziness! We are a nation of more than 300,000,000 people! Do we not have options beyond the geriatric polarizing choices of dimwit Biden and toxic Trump! Do the American electorate have no shame? No awareness that these two geriatric has beens are no longer representative of the PEOPLE! 

Seriously, it is time to elect a new generation of politicians. Notwithstanding the fact that I believe most politicians are self centered, egotistical, idiots that care only for self aggrandizement. But, this is the best system of government in a world of awful options.

Communism doesn’t work and nullifies ingenuity and success. Socialism has failed in every iteration. True democracy fails because the people are uninformed and unable to create a coalition. Parliamentary government is chaotic. Our republican form of government, with the checks and balances the Constitution requires is the best of the options available.

Regrettably, polarization has stymied progress for generations. Just Stop It! Do what you were hired to do! Do your job!  Compromise! Make hard decisions. Govern! If I could wave a magic wand I would impose strict term limits, return government to citizen legislators that cannot be career politicians. I would impose a mandatory retirement age of 70. I would require members of Congress to be compelled to subscribe to the same rules, regulations. Health care, tax consequences, retirement requirements and privileges as the PEOPLE! No free anything. No life pensions. No special parking spaces. No free flights. No free postage. No free gifts. No free trips. No more time off than the regular citizen. No special security.  No pay for speaking engagements. No ability to transition into the private sector without a pause to avoid conflicts of interest.  No special anything.Citizen legislators should be servants of the people, altruistic, aware of the duty owed to constituents. No profit. No financial gain. Just service. 

Monday, January 22, 2024

The American Political Experiment Is Not A Lost Cause


It is anathema to me to consider the American political experiment is a lost cause. Throughout our history we have faced challenges. The brilliance of our founding fathers continues to amaze me. Despite civil war, world wars, disagreements, in -fighting, diametrically opposed views, the system continues. 

The Bill of Rights amended to the original Constitution sets forth our beliefs that we are all entitled to the same freedoms and rights to oppose oppression. 

No matter who we are, we have the right to an attitude and the presumption of innocence. If government wants to convicts one of a crime, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt. We believe it is better to free the guilty than to convict the innocent. While the system has not always worked as intended, there are remedies. What an incomparable system! Free the guilty rather than convict the wrong party. 

There have been wrongs committed. But, there are advocates willing to spend their lives exonerating the innocent. And they succeed. Those who denigrate our system should delve deeper into what we stand for, which is fairness. Most of us agree this is the foundation upon which our society stands. So, celebrate this gift. Find the positive instead of focusing on the negative. Unlike PRac, we do not railroad people into confessions, execute suspects and then send loved ones a bill for the bullet. Instead, we strive to do the right thing, most of the time. Celebrate this ! 

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Dealing With Seasonal Affective Symptoms


When the clocks fall back in autumn, and my circadian rhythms are discombobulated by awakening in the dark and ending my workday in the dark, my psyche devolves into hibernation. As one who thrives in sunlight and the warmth of summer, I struggle throughout the months of diminished sunlight, temperatures less than 70 degrees Fahrenheit, bitter winds, ice, snow, frosty breath, treacherous roads and pathways, dry skin, having to wear socks, trees bereft of leaves, gloom, and an over all gray and dull brown landscape. 

Yes, there are moments when Mother Nature endows the earth with crystalline ice glistening on tree branches, shrubbery and ground cover. But, what often accompanies such beauty is downed power lines, the need to navigate ice covered streets and our ski slope driveway in the dark, and stays in motels. Bleh! 

By fate I’ve found myself living in rural northwestern Virginia on a plot of rocky ground that is inhospitable to plant life, several miles from what I consider civilization. It is a struggle to emerge from my self imposed cave to socialize, venture to Costco for wine, or even trek to the mailbox. 

In an attempt to improve my outlook, I’ve purchased a light from Amazon that is supposed to provide an alternative to the natural sunlight I crave. Although I’m only on my third day, I’ve noticed a benefit. My mood has lightened. My ability to focus on tasks is enhanced. My thoughts are less morose. I even felt compelled to experiment in the kitchen this evening with a spicy version of chicken and dumplings. 

Notwithstanding the above, I know that this too shall pass. Spring is fast approaching. Before long the Universe with scatter the land with hyacinth, crocus, and daffodils. ( the deer ate all my tulips). 

Hope springs eternal. I just need to get through the next 10 weeks of dark and gloomy days. I know I’m not alone. How do you deal with SAD?

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Maestro, Bradley Cooper as Leonard Bernstein ~


When I first heard about Maestro, the news seemed to focus on the alleged politically incorrect prosthetic nose that Bradley Cooper used in his portrayal of the brilliant Leonard Bernstein. That conversation was just so inconsequential. 

Maestro is a tour de force portrayal by Bradley Cooper of the complex personality that comprised of the man known as Leonard Bernstein. Cooper portrayed his complexities with nuance, consideration, compassion and brilliance. 

My husband and I decided to watch this film because we’d decided it was worth a go. We were not disappointed. In fact, we were the production. It was more likely than not that I wouid love the film. My husband HATES musical theater. But, he was mesmerized by this movie. It was so artfully produced and the scenes involving on musical theatre seemed nominal. 

So, at the end of the day, this movie appeals to the public at large that appreciates beautiful music from any era.  Kudos to  those with the extraordinary taste. 

Favorite Fashion Brands For Women Over 60 ~ 2024


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This means celebrating life everyday in beautiful clothes, whether in fitness gear, casual days at home, Zoom meetings, wine tasting or those occasional days at the office. 

Too many of us don’t believe we are worthy of full price, or designer, or elevated fashion. But icons such as Iris Apfel say poppycock to such limits. As successful women of a certain age, we shall not go gentle into that good night in colors that cause us to blend into the background.

Instead, I a using the waning years of my work life to ensure I saunter into retirement with a vibrant wardrobe filled with eclectic,  classics with a twist, in my power colors. Quality over quantity (a struggle for me). 

I’ve never been one to buy fast fashion. But, I’ve often subscribed to the more is more ethos rather than less is more. A capsule wardrobe is not for me, unless the capsule is the size of Versailles. 

My current favorites for an all purpose wardrobe include Johnny Was, MM LaFleur, Veronica Beard, Rag & Bone, Banana Republic, and Citizens of Humanity jeans. These are heritage Levi’s circa 1920.

For footwear, I love anything from M.Gemi, Veronica Beard, Birdies, and Frye Boots. For workouts I love Allbirds, Ryka and Brooks. For my vintage styles, American Duchess can’t be beat. 

Outerwear my “go to” includes Overland Sheepskin, Peruvian Connection, Barbour, and vintage furs. Talbots had some luscious sheepskin coats a few years ago. They never go out of style and provide incredible warmth. And you can’t go wrong with LL Bean for a
full length puffer coat.

For gorgeous scarves, check out eBay and Etsy for vintage silk scarves for a fraction of the original prices. The only place I’ve found gorgeous affordable silk scarves recently is Elizabetta. The most beautiful patterns are often sold out.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

I Hate Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2024 ~ Peach Fuzz


Peach Fuzz is the worst of Pantone’s selections as color of the year since the Patone Color Institute began its marketing strategy to convince people of the world that this company based in New Jersey should be able to impose its vision of yearly trends in fashion and decor. 

Nobody actually looks fabulous wearing Peach Fuzz or any color remotely similar. While Pantone and  industry insiders claim the color is soothing, nurturing “ whose all-embracing spirit enriches mind, body and soul”, I find the color bland, boring, difficult to incorporate into most wardrobes and home decor, and overall uninspiring.

My sister required that I wear a similarly colored dress as a bridesmaid at her first wedding; and I still believe it was a plot to make me blend into scenery.

Even Mother Nature avoids the color Peach Fuzz. How many flower gardens does one see bursting with Peach Fuzz plant life? Have you ever seen a field of Peach Fuzz wild flowers? Even actual peaches have more gloriously colored flesh and fruit. 

Peach Fuzz, to me, is what a gangly male teen tries to grow on his face when that first surge of testosterone causes spindly bits of fur to sprout. It can also be the fine hair on a woman’s face that causes her to resort to painful waxing or mini shavers. 

Or, weathered adobe desert houses that have been wind whipped and faded by decades in the sun to a sad, lackluster color. 

With the exception of Pantone’s Peach Fuzz, if one does a Google search of these two words together, one discovers pages of links with advice as to how one can rid themselves of annoying and unsightly peach fuzz. 

Peach Fuzz is an absolute MISS for me. I can foresee warehouses filled to the ceiling with unpurchased Peach Fuzz colored clothes, furniture, paint cans, wallpaper, linens, lamp shades, rugs, shoes, handbags and more within 6 months. 

Friday, January 5, 2024

Celebrate Who You Are in 2024


As we embrace each new year it is critical that we acknowledge who we are. The person I’ve become is not remotely similar to the woman I was  even 5 years ago. Life causes us to change. It is a celebration that we accept the change in trajectory even if that changes differs from the path we thought we’d chosen.

Life is fluid. The best laid plans must be altered.But, we must embrace the changes because we cannot control the outcomes. Tis better to expect life will encourage us to take a different path than to expect a certain outcome.I’ve struggled with this concept; however, I believe that we must accept what is, rather than letting the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in a perpetual state of negativity. I am at peace with what is. 

The Serenity Prayer keeps me cognizant that I must accept the things I cannot change, which includes almost everything but my attitude and gratitude. 

Thursday, January 4, 2024

How My Experience With Real-Life-Style Continues To Guide Me ~


Nearly one year ago, over the New Year Holiday 2023, my husband encouraged me to research and collaborate with a personal stylist to help me refine my style and curate my wardrobe.

I’ve always been one who loves clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, accessories and makeup- sometimes to extremes. If I had the money I’ve spent on fashion, jewelry and cosmetics that I’ve tossed or donated to charity, I’ve no doubt I’d been long retired by now. But, during my years in Asia I amassed an extraordinarily robust wardrobe and have struggled to get things under control ever since that time. 

During my initial meeting with Lani and Kyle we filled at least 12 trash bags with items for donation and another for resale. In the subsequent weeks I excised at least 5 more bags of excesses that no longer served me. Ultimately, 17 bags removed from my closets. 

At the end of this exercise I was provided with a profile identifying the best and worst colors for me, a description of styles that would most flatter, recommendations for clothing brands I should consider, a short list of items I should consider to replace items that didn’t fit, a pile of clothes I needed to alter, and the caution to refrain from purchasing any more shoes.

So, how did I do in keeping with the guidance? 

All in all, it was the best of times it was the not so best of times (to paraphrase Dickens). I replaced a few of my MM La Fleur tops that did not fit properly. Whenever I considered a purchase, I tried to stick with ‘the rules’. I purchased 2  MM LaFleur jardigans, 2 Argent blazers in my power colors, a gorgeous Veronica Beard faux leather cream blazer, a Boss Hunter Green blazer at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and some vintage silk scarves on Etsy. 

Where I struggled- footwear. I tried to resist shoes, but I was totally weak and unsuccessful. Online sales are like the sirens calling to the sailors in the Odyssey. Reeled in like gullible fish. I decline to identify just how many pair of shoes because it would be embarrassing. 

Consequently, I am making a concerted effort to resist making unnecessary purchases in 2024. I have retirement on the horizon and want to focus on getting my financial goals fulfilled. So, I am taking this one day at a time. I’ve made it through 4 days! Seriously, that is a big deal! 

Who wants to help me out? Does anyone else need the support of community to stay on the straight and narrow? Let me know! Let’s do this together!!!!!

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

An Inspiring Affirmation of Faith in a 2024 Secular World

A friend and work colleague lost his beloved wife Kimberly to illness on New Year’s Eve. I did not know her, but I was aware she was a woman of great spirituality and faith. 

If the link to her website had not been included in her obituary, I would have kept this private and resisted sharing it publicly. I’ve read several of her blog posts in the past 24 hours and shared her final two messages privately with friends I believe would find comfort in her words.

Kimberly Moore received news that her illness was terminal a few months ago. Knowing that, as I read her inspirational messages, I was overcome by the clarity of her belief in God and her amazing spirit as she faced her mortality. I believe that she was an earth angel, sent to share her vitality, strength, resilience, and faith through her blog,  books, motivational talks and finding beauty in repurposing vintage costume jewelry. 

I hope you feel inspired by Kingdom Sparks as I have been. And please share the link with anyone who needs a spark of hope. Let Ms. Moore continue to shine her light.

Monday, January 1, 2024

My Goals to Maintain an Attitude of Positivity & Gratitude in 2024


Instead of making unrealistic New Year resolutions, I am aspiring to act with kindness, humility, compassion, integrity, honesty, and respect for others in 2024.

My aspirations may be challenging in this polarized society; but I believe that each of us can make a difference by declining to engage in the negativity that is all too pervasive in the media and among people who have not been taught critical thinking, the lessons of history throughout the globe, understanding of the human condition, and the consideration that actions have consequences, most people do the best they can with the tools they have, and that I will not give up Starlink because people don’t like Elon Musk.

These are my aspirations for 2024:

I will continue to show appreciation to my partner for all that he does to contribute to our happy relationship. 

I will try to avoid responding to provocations on social media.

I will consider that I am blessed to live in the USA with the freedoms afforded by our Constitution and the knowledge that our quality of life is higher than in most nations on earth.

I will read the Wall Street Journal, New York Time, the Free Press, and The Daily Mail and hope that by considering all reports, I will be able to ascertain what is more likely than not to be true.

I will attempt to get to know our neighbors better.

I will try to reconnect with old friends with whom I’ve lost touch.

I will provide mentoring, a sounding board and accessibility to my coworkers. 

I will make an effort to continue trying new things and meeting new people.

I will vote no matter who is on the ballot.

I will avoid toxic people.

I will continue to say The Serenity Prayer & remind myself of the 12 Steps of Al Anon, a community that helped me find peace & serenity & an attitude of gratitude.

I will read books that bring me joy and stop reading books before finishing if they don’t. 

I will make an effort to resist buying things that I don’t need or won’t bring me joy.

I will treasure the time I have with the people I love.

I will try to live by the rules  was taught as a child:

* If I can’t saying anything nice about someone, I shan’t say anything at all.

* Don’t judge a person unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

* Sticks & stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me.

* Let he who is without sin throw the first stone.

* Judge not lest ye be judged.

* Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Happy New Year 2024!

What are your goals and aspirations for 2024?