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?