Monday, August 14, 2017

Vanity the ultimate gotcha.

Vanity 1. Heels, shoes. They were my addiction. I loved being able to wear heels, sandals, cute shoes. Even if they were slightly uncomfortable sometimes I would muster through knowing that the day I put them away in favor of more comfortable footwear I was on the downward slope to old age.

Gotcha 1. What appeared to be a minor injury to my ankle from a work accident turned into a year long recovery process and a long term swelling of one ankle. Another year was spent with a vein guy inching my way to a possible improvement. My ankles are no longer almost black with veins but now I have a good leg and a bad leg. There are no cures for the swelling in one leg and ankle. I can wear compression hose and it is more comfortable but not a cure. If I vainly want to go out at night in a dress and heels I can wear compression hose all day and whip them off before going out and it works for about 4 hours before the swelling starts and the cankles return.

Vanity 2. Year and thousands of dollars spent keeping my hair blonde and a good cut. Dreading the day I cut it short and gave up on big hair and became old.

Karma 2. It is either stress or fate but my hair is falling out and thinning at an alarming rate. The stylist says stress, it will grow back. Give it a rest, less heat of blow drying, fewer chemicals to keep it styled and it will heal. Great - I still have to show up in the office 5 days a week as the oldest person in the building, older than 90% of the mothers of my co-workers. Natural, unblown or curled or sprayed or moussed will not do! Interim solution a wig. My best and most honest opinion giver shopped with me to find a solution. The ultimate irony! The first week I work it to work people who never spoke to me stopped me and said how great I looked. Is the inverse how bad I looked before?

Next post Vanity 3 Hearing.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Apartment living

This is not a complaint, it is an observation. I live in an apartment in Atlanta. It is my work home, my weekend home is in Charlotte. When deciding where to leave the "full size" face wash versus the gift size I always think take the smaller one with you to Atlanta. The logic is flawed. I wash my face in Atlanta five nights a week and Charlotte two. The same is true with clothes. Every week I bring home clothes and figure out my wardrobe for the coming week and take clothes back. Where is the logic. I wash, iron, send my clothes to the cleaner in Atlanta. Why don't I think about what I will be doing in Charlotte and decide if I need dress clothes for there or if capris, golf skirts and yoga pants will do.

Noise, light, air. I have a nice apartment with lots of space. I have only one neighbor, upstairs. No one on either side. Some mornings my upstairs neighbor is a reminder to truly get up it is morning. Some nights I think he must be a Sumo wrestler bouncing across the floor making everything shake. Luckily he goes to sleep by 11 which is when I usually fall asleep. Light. I have blinds and security lights that shine all night. It is never dark. Probably good if I were to venture out at 3am. Less wonderful when trying to sleep. AIR and light That is the biggie. My air conditioner or heater work great. I have a door to the deck. But my apartment by my choosing when I thought Miss Zena would come here with me is ground floor. So leaving the blinds really open and cracking windows isn't happening. I open the door to the deck and then living room blinds when I get home, but close them before bed. I miss my home where my blinds are open and the window in my bedroom is always cracked open. I think I breathe better.

All in all it has given me a good test run on could I live in 1000 sq ft with one bathroom, one bedroom with someone else. NO. So I guess I better keep working.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

Vanity is a cruel teacher

I love shoes. Specifically I love heels. For years I have always worn heels to work or anytime I get dressed up. I have worn them everyday, walked miles in them. Worn them in good times and bad. I had three pairs of the same shoes. Black pumps that went everywhere. I bought them on sale 3 at a time, I kept a pair in my car just in case a pair met with disaster, like the day I caught my heel in the brick sidewalk in Old Town and snapped it off. No fear another pair came to the rescue. Then as time wore on and the everyday shoes became less used I graduated to better heels. Ones that were not the workhorse of every day, not Prada or anything wild just better shoes. I loved them all. When someone said why don't you wear flats I could honestly say my back felt better in a heel. Then fashion got the best of me. Spikes, 3" heels became the go to shoe. I have two pairs and even in my best heel walking days these were just uncomfortable. So,there I was in 2 1/2 heels. Almost old lady shoes. But i persevered. And then the final blow. After a work accident that took a hunk out of my ankle and took more than a year to heal, I now have unrepairable, always lurking donut ankle. Just one but who is counting.

I love Falll and Winter because I can wear boots. Not teetering 3" boots but respectable height boots. Tall boots and ankle boots because you don't see the inevitable "donut ankle" by afternoon. Spring, summer, warm fall days are relegated to unimaginative flats or wedges. Now that I work in an office 5 days a week where people know me, the last thing I want is staring at my puffy ankle in an oh so cute heel. Vanity, oh cruel,vanity you have done me in. This spring I'll do one more round of spider vein therapy to reduce the blotchy red ankles, but I know that is a short term fix that will permit cute flats or low wedges before I am consigned forever to plain "please don't look at my feet shoes" and ultimately support hose year round. Old age has so many gotchas that strip away those little vanities.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Days of kindness

I just read my daughter's posting on a day of kindness and I realized I have no days of kindness in me. Michelle, you are a better woman than I am because I don't see that hope. The Market may be extactic, stocks may soar and interest rates rise but I see disaster. I don't have faith that all of these wealthy contrarians will take the reins of government and be struck suddenly by the enormity and complexity of governing for the good of all people. I see vindictive, narrow minded, judgemental people using power to overturn the minimal, incremental changes that have been made to improve people's lives and burning them to the ground. I see a band of righteousness tearing down the trappings of "liberalism" with the same conviction ICIL has toppled centuries old sculptures and monuments to past civilizations. I fear that the followers will fear crying foul in case the eyes of the new realm turns to them and the sword of Twitter marks them for all to see as doubters. If I didn't have children and grandchildren I love and cannot bear to think of leaving I would find a different country where I had to walk to town to find an English language newspaper, had no reliable internet and was outside the target zone to hide for the next four years.

When Obama was elected, they cried he would be the anti-Christ and lead us into a socialistic, Muslim regime. My only thought is the refrain from Wicked "I hope you're happy, I hope you're happy now".

Sunday, December 11, 2016


Say four Hail Marys and an Our Father, sin no more. If only it were that simple. As if that small act of penance would be the marantha of life. Penance is like Chinese water torture one endless drip day after day. One intake of breath, one forgive me to the unknown gods. The hope that small acts of kindness will ward off the retribution of the gods, for all of the selfishness and simple blindness to the world.

At the end, Mom was racked with remorse and anger for the slights and sins of the past. For the many indignities suffered from being poor and Irish, the imagined guilt of not loving her children enough, of always feeling that she didn't belong and would be found out as aspiring above her station. She was so angry and so conflicted about being angry, somehow anger was a sin that was not on the forgivable list.

This journey that I have started has awakened old demons that I had hoped were long buried. I am leaving the life I have truly loved. The place where I could invite friends and share meals and laughs. A place where hospitality could be practiced. A home where when I turned into the neighborhood, my soul was happy. It is over and I am angry. I want to destroy every trace of that life. I was pretending that it could last so I turned a blind eye to what would destroy my safety. I let it happen and now it is time to pay the piper.

I know in the back of my brain that I am leaving. I am building a safe zone for myself where I can retreat and lick my wounds and figure out who I am. I can't end up like Mom, alone and angry. I have had a taste to happiness. But I know I have to find it for myself now. I have to stop relying on someone else opening the doors. The price is too high.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Letters of contrition

Dear Mom, Where do I start in asking absolution for the many times I just did not take the time to listen and understand. Leaving your home. Dad had the easy way out and you were left with the unbelievable hard part. Choosing what to take and what to leave. So many layers of memories, trivial things that hand no actual value, except to you. Things you so wanted us to value and treasure. Things we should ask to keep. Not so much to go to the remainder man or worse the landfill. I am sorry I was not there, that as usual a project was more important than sifting through the accumulation of 50 years and dispositioning every treasure. As so often you said someday I will be in your shoes. I did not understand or listen.

I am moving. Not a new thing. I have moved more times than I ever planned. This has been the longest I have ever lived anywhere and I brought everything with me from the last move. But, this time I have to cull down the everything. I was working on a box of miscellaneous photos. Just photos dumped in a box waiting for the day I had time to sort them out. I found pictures that included the big uncomfortable rocker in at least 4 houses. No one ever sits in it. It just balances out a corner. The dining room set and the same pictures in multiple houses in Canada, and Roanoke and Ashburn x3, Charlottesville and Charlotte. It looks better now that it is lighter. And the two eagle mirrors are gone, damaged in one of the moves. But the ladies and fruit sellers persist. I am not sure I even like them. I think they own me not the other way around. I just keep packing and moving them afraid that if I let it all go somehow I really will be without any past, I will be found to be shallow without substance.

I know I lamented the old worn end tables and the blond dresser and so much more, but I know now that it was for you proof that you had been a person of substance. Someone who had a family. Someone who mattered. I am so so sorry. Mea culpa, Mea culpa, Mea maxima culpa. Your daughter.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Mystery solved to garnet bracelet

A few years before Mom died she gave me a garnet bracelet. She said she never wore it. I had the crab claw catch changed out and added a chain. It was a mystery why she had the bracelet. Her birthday is November and that was topaz. She had several pieces of topaz jewelry. I asked her if she was sure since it was a pretty bracelet, and she said she just wanted me to have it. Today I was reading the National Geographic Christmas catalog and what should I behold - a handcrafted garnet bracelet from India. Slightly different design but close. Aunt Jane was a catalog shopper, she loved museum catalogs. Mom gave me the bracelet after Aunt Jane died and we discovered she had changed her will and insulted Mom. Ever frugal Mom couldn't just throw it in the trash. Why me? Maybe because Aunt Jane had added injury to insult to injury by leaving Lee and I as executors to her estate left to our other cousins. I have no idea why me, maybe I was in the room when she found it. But mystery solved that it was not a treasured item, but something despised but frugality kept her from throwing it out. Probably a good lesson for me to take to heart as I declutter and downsize this month.

Vanity the ultimate gotcha.

Vanity 1. Heels, shoes. They were my addiction. I loved being able to wear heels, sandals, cute shoes. Even if they were slightly uncomf...