Friday, February 18, 2011

New Uses for Annoying Things

The magazine Real Simple has a feature that they call New Uses for Old Things and they take something like a paper coffee filter, put glitter around the edges and call it Christmas Decorations! I know, I sound snide, and in reality, I often really appreciate their innovation.  I think I'll start a feature that I'll call New Uses for Annoying Things. Here's the first one: The tax bill I keep getting every year for a defunct business I had with my daughter for about 20 minutes in 2007. Instead of wasting half of my afternoon calling up, waiting, and then explaining once again how I don't have that business anymore, that it didn't make any money and I've ended up talking to more people at the state about it then I ever did potential customers, I'll take those nice paper invoices and use them for a quick and efficient fire starter.

The next annoying thing that needs to be re-purposed is Lindsay Lohan. I admit that writing about her just perpetuates the insanity, but please. She is a train wreck. She needs another cuff...attached to a five foot chain secured in the center of her house. The Today Show spent over 15 minutes on her latest trials and tribulations last week, complete with expert commentators. Here's my suggestion: Let's start appreciating her for what she does best - being a disaster. Let her do society some good by being the poster girl for how not to dress for court, how not to ru(i)n a career and how not to start having work done on your face before you're 25 years old. She clearly wants to be out of control in the public eye...let's put that to good use by making sure is teaching our youth how not to behave.

Since it appears that I am kind of crabby today, I'll end with my final New Use for an Annoying Thing. Snow. If you live in the Northeast - or any of the 49 states that have had snow this season, you're probably sick of it. Sick of the cold, sick of the 10 foot drifts, sick of the sand and salt tracked into your house. Let's re-purpose snow:

Enough said? Cheers! 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The picture of happiness

I feel funny putting a picture of myself into my blog. But here's why I did it: This picture was taken of me on my 50th birthday three years ago. It's also the picture my husband and I chose to put into the ad we're using for our business. He has tons of respectable pictures of himself, finding a good one of him was easy. For me, not so easy..."no, that makes me look too mean; no, that one makes me look fat; ick, who took that one?" We finally agreed on the above photo and sent off the ad.

But back to me...tomorrow is my 53rd birthday and I'm feeling...ambivalent. I don't feel bad about aging, although after having recently spent a week in Florida, aging is something I've considered with great apprehension. We spent a week with my parents and a couple of other friends and relatives who are well past the senior discount age and all of them are wonderfully healthy and vigorous. There are a few limitations that some of them experience; diminished eyesight, food restrictions and decreased hearing, but for the most part all of them participated in our celebration with a hearty appreciation for having a good time. No, it's not my family that gives me pause when I consider the next thirty years or so. It's those other ones. The white-haired lady who darted out in traffic and then slowed to a dangerous 20 miles per hour or the bent and wrinkled man who stopped his cart at the entrance to Publix to peruse the weekly specials flyer and blocked the entrance to anyone running in for milk and eggs. That kind of aging worries me a little.

But, again, back to me. My birthday is tomorrow and I feel neither anxious nor depressed. My husband keeps asking me what I want to do and keeps hinting at "errands". I don't want an expensive dinner out or a bunch of presents that I have to return. I had the big surprise party three years ago (which is why I look so happy in the picture above).  I think I've reached the age where all the expectations have fallen away. Societal imposed ones anyway. I am living the life that I want to live - for the most part - and there isn't anything that an upcoming birthday is signaling that I need; a license to drive, the right to vote, the ability to buy my own wine, the obligatory surprise party or some other random accomplishment. Once you're past 50, the expectations let up a little and you get to just have a good time. What ever that means. For me that means that I am perfectly happy with a fire in the fireplace, a bottle of wine and a pizza at home and getting a few nice cards from my kids. (Yes, that was a hint.)

And maybe I wish I could find a good picture.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


This is my laundry basket. In fact, it is only one of my laundry baskets as the one with my husband's clothes is down by the laundry chute in the kitchen and the one with towels and sheets is in the office. It's possible that I've scattered them around the house so they're not so threatening, but more than likely it's caused by an episode of MB (menopause brain). Another reason is that doing laundry lately is not just a matter of finding, then hauling, the scattered baskets down to the washing machine. It requires my taking the baskets, the detergent and the softener into the car and driving down to the local laundromat. And that, my friends, is not fun. 
Here's one reason that it's not fun:

There is way too much snow out there. On my car, in my car, in my driveway, on the roads, in the parking lots...everywhere. Which means it's cold. And possibly icy. I barely have enough coordination to traverse the driveway and get into the car without mishap. I'm supposed to juggle loads of laundry and laundry accessories as well? And a book? Because I'm certainly not going to the laundromat without a book. 

No, this is not an acceptable activity for a woman in her (early) 50s. I have a fireplace that works and a perfectly acceptable sofa right in front of it upon which I can sit and read. Why would I want to lug two weeks of laundry out my door into a grayish, ill-lit establishment with plastic chairs? That's easy. I don't. As I get older I am finding that making the decisions about what I gotta do and what I wanta do is coming much more easily. There is no doubt that I gotta do the laundry. But do I wanta? Nope. Not if it means the machinations described above. I still have a couple of sets of sheets, my husband has a few more clean shirts and my black tights never show the dirt. And laundry only becomes dire when there is clean underwear at stake, and happily, it's not dire yet. 

There was a time in my life when I would have felt guilty making the decision to NOT do the laundry. And not only NOT do the laundry, but stay home and read in front of the fire. Horrors!! Who does that? I guess I do, now. Now that I've reached an age where I have a little more confidence in prioritizing and a little more wisdom about what's important in life. Reading a good book in front of the fire...important. Risking life and limb for clean towels? Not important. Now...I've got to see about that fire...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Flipflops Forever

Ahh...flip-flops. I've only been home for two days and I miss my fuzzy flips that were on my feet for most of my trip to Florida. We gathered as a family in Sarasota at the House of Ringling for four days to celebrate some milestone father's 80th, my daughters' 30th, my sister's 50th and assorted others: a 25th, a 21st, a 45th, a 75th and a 55th anniversary. Most of the combined family was there - 14 in all. The house was at the end of the runway of the Sarasota-Bradenton Airport, but the planes taking off and landing didn't bother us. The weather was mostly cooperative and hovered near the 70 mark for most of the time. There were a couple of field trips to St. Armand's Circle, Siesta Key Beach and the Columbia Restaurant, but many of us (at least me) stayed poolside at the house. We ate, drank, sunned, partied, played games and laughed. Fourteen people sharing a home together in the bright, warm Florida sun.
Then it was time to go home. Twelve of us flew away, two went West and the rest of us went North, only to be greeted by monstrous winter storms carrying snow and ice. Today, as I sit in my living room by the fire, because all of our oil was used up while we were gone to keep the pipes from freezing, I miss my flip-flops and Florida sun. But not just because of the weather (although I really miss that weather right now!) but also because of the easy way our families came together as one. I know that it can happen anywhere - it's happened right here in my own home - but the warmth of the setting settled down onto our temporary home and we all had such a good time. I miss our Florida home and family and I'm so grateful that we had that opportunity to weave it into the fabric of our lives.