What’s your definition of “old”?

Last week, Mom’s cleaning lady told us about a 90-year-old woman whose daughter’s house she also cleans.

This spunky senior, despite not being able to scrub her back in the tub, manages quite well on her own.

She even puts on her lipstick every day.

“You’re kidding,” I said. “You mean we still have to wear makeup at 90?”

That got me to thinking.

What’s wrong with getting gussied-up as we age? What’s wrong with wanting to present our best self to the world?

It seems to me that designers and manufacturers should capitalize on an aging population, rather than ignore them and hope they’ll go quietly away.

Take clothing, for example.

My mom is tiny. Under five feet tall.

But even “Petite” sizes engulf her. The arms are too long; so are the pant legs.

“Junior” sizes might fit, but she’s NOT a junior and doesn’t want to show as much skin as young girls do.

She refuses to wear “old lady” clothes — you know, knit pants with elastic waistbands and sweatshirts emblazoned with “Grandma” on the chest.

Sewing gives her a headache.

She’s gotten smaller, and she’s not alone. People typically lose 0.4 inches every 10 years after age 40; shrinkage is faster (1 to 3 inches) after age 70.

What are their options for looking fashionable without looking silly?

Another area of concern is graying hair.

I’ve read that going gray depends on your genetic makeup. Fully half of us are 50% gray by age 50!

Some women prefer going gray naturally. Others, like Mom and her sisters, refuse.

No silver. No white.

No “blue” or “pink,” either.

Mom used to buy the home hair color systems at Wal-Mart or the drugstore. She’d mix them up, apply, wait, then shampoo and rinse. And she’d be good to go for the next six weeks.

But she’s been having shoulder issues lately, so she’s taken her hair to the salon professionals.

Who should know what they’re doing.

Yet they can’t get the color right. Really dark hair looks freakish on an older person; likewise, reddish highlights don’t flatter Mom’s Italian skin tones.

I’ve heard it said that aging isn’t for the faint of heart. But couldn’t we do more to make it easier?

After all, we’ll all be “old” one day, if we’re lucky.

As for that spunky 90-year-old woman, my hat’s off to her.

I don’t call it vanity for her to put on lipstick every day.

Perhaps she simply wants to look and feel her best.

Or maybe it’s just a habit.

I hope that when I reach 90, if my lips don’t prune up and I can see my mouth, I’ll still want to put on lipstick!

Help Me Choose, Please

I’ve got a bit of a dilemma, so I’m turning to my online friends for help.

Most of you are aware that next month I’m going to my son’s university commencement.

You’re also aware that for months now, I’ve been trying to determine agonizing over just what I’m going to wear for this momentous occasion.

(Not that anybody will be looking at me. Or rather, they shouldn’t!)

Anyway, now that I’ve selected a few outfits — mostly in the black-and-white color scheme — I’m debating over accessories.

We had a LOT of thunderstorms recently, giving me many opportunities for my favorite pastime, beading jewelry.

I made the following two pairs of earrings, with an eye toward wearing them for Commencement.

The question is, Which do you like better?

And remember, I don’t want to embarrass my kid. Or stick out. But frankly, it isn’t me to wear a subdued pair of pearl studs and call it a day!

Earrings #1

Earrings #1

1) This pair of dangling earrings measures 3 1/4 inches in length. Each contains four 6 mm round black jasper beads, a round mother-of-pearl, silver rondelle spacer, and an ornate silver connector. A leverback ear wire completes the look. (Black jasper is said to absorb negative energy, if that helps with your decision!)

Earrings #2

Earrings #2

2) This pair of chandelier earrings measures 3 1/2 inches in length. Each contains five 6 mm round obsidian beads, three 6 mm faceted round crystal beads, a daisy spacer, and an ornate silver chandelier. A leverback ear wire ties it all together. (Black obsidian is said to cleanse the environment of negativity, disharmony, anger, fear, and resentment.)

Okay, y’all, start voting! If nobody likes either pair, well, I guess we’ll have more bad weather somewhere along the line, and I can go back to the drawing beading board!

And thanks in advance for helping me out.

It’s an Irish Thing!

Dallas here.

Mama’s up to her ears working on a short story this afternoon, so I’m commandeering her blog again. You other doggins out there should give it a try! Why should our moms have all the fun??

Anyway, I think mama told you we had a LOT of rain here. More than six inches this month already!

Needless to say, with all that water — and the resulting flooding — the lawn guy hasn’t been able to get here to mow my back yard.

Mama says I’m knee-deep in grass when I go out to investigate and do my “business.”

This morning, I noticed my grass was shorter. That yard man came on Saturday, and nobody bothered to tell me.

How do they expect me to be a watch-dog if they don’t let me know when strangers are coming to prowl around my house?!?

So Mama turned me out, I checked things over for her, saw it was all good, and came right back in for my cookie.

When she started laughing and pointed her camera in my direction, I gave her this look:

What's so funny, Mama??

What’s so funny, Mama??

Guess you don’t see it either. How ’bout a closeup?

I've got green feeties!!

I’ve got green feeties!!

I can assure you, Mama was NOT trying to dye me like her friend Katybeth dyes Rascal! Though Rascal seems to enjoy it (probably a girl-thing, huh?!)

Now me, Mama, and the Domer all have green “shoes.” Just one big happy Irish family.

Too bad St. Paddy’s Day has already passed!

Spring in Central Illinois

It’s been raining off and on for much of the week. Wicked lightning and frightening claps of thunder split the early morning hours; standing rain is a common sight. We hope this means no drought this year, but who knows?

Nevertheless, I managed to step outside between showers and capture a few signs of Spring. Please enjoy!

Trees are beginning to leaf out.

Trees are beginning to leaf out.

Yellow daffodils are in bloom.

Yellow daffodils are in bloom.

This weeping cherry is a replacement for the blue spruce we lost last year.

This weeping cherry is a replacement for the blue spruce we lost last year.

This is a closeup of the weeping cherry blossoms. I understand that when they die off, they're replaced by leaves.

This is a closeup of the weeping cherry blossoms. I understand that when they die off, they’re replaced by leaves.

Blue hyacinths dot a neighbor's yard, wafting their perfume everywhere.

Blue hyacinths dot a neighbor’s yard, wafting their perfume everywhere.

Hyacinths come in pink, too!

Hyacinths come in pink, too!

No roses yet, but this show rose is full of leaves.

No roses yet, but this show rose is full of leaves.

A yellow forsythia hedge.

A yellow forsythia hedge.

This magnolia tree is going to be splendid!

This magnolia tree is going to be splendid!

Do you call this a jonquil or a daffodil? Whatever, isn't it beautiful?

Do you call this a jonquil or a daffodil? Whatever, isn’t it beautiful?

Fancy-Pants has a hurt foot

You can thank me for this later.

Last week, Mom had a doctor’s appointment so I chauffeured her in her fancy-pants car.

I don’t particularly like driving it. I wasn’t the one who picked it out or did the test-drive. She likes it; that’s what’s important.

Anyway, after her appointment — which went w-a-a-a-y longer than it should have, causing me to become even farther behind in my work than I needed! — I took off from my parking space, headed for home.

Yes, I was flustered. And in a bit of a hurry. But in my defense, I wasn’t driving with Road Rage. Or like a bat out of h-e-double matchsticks.

As I came to an intersection with no Stop sign for me, a battered heap of a car was stopped on my right. Fearing that Mom’s fancy-pants car wouldn’t have sufficient room to make the right turn without kissing the front end of the trash-mobile, I narrowed my turn.

Little did I realize the curb would reach out and grab Fancy-Pants by its right back foot!

An awful noise ensued, and the tire indicator light on the dashboard illuminated.

Since I’ve driven Fancy-Pants before, I assumed the light was telling me the tire pressure was uneven.

Every time the weather changes (particularly when it gets colder), this light goes on. You see, this is Fancy-Pants, and it wants to alert you that conditions are unpleasant for it.

So I hit the OK button and proceeded on my way.

At least I’d missed the trash-mobile.

Driving along, I noticed Fancy-Pants wasn’t behaving in his usual manner.

He was struggling. And groaning. And making thumping noises.

I listened to the car while Mom was regaling me with everything of importance that happened at the doctor’s office.

Then something told me to check that tire indicator light again.

Whoops! This time, the message told me the right rear tire had NO pressure.

Well, actually it indicated the number “1.”

In big orange lights.

I pulled to the curb, hopped out to check, and there it was — a tire as flat as the proverbial pancake.

We called a local tire repair shop, a guy met us and exchanged our “ruined” tire for a spare, sending us on our way.

Naturally, they have to order a special tire. We’re talking about Fancy-Pants, remember?

So my advice is this — watch out for curbs.

Particularly curbs that have deteriorated from construction or bad weather.

They’ll get you!

Excuses, Excuses

I should have been writing my blog.

But on Tuesday, I spent all day working on my novel.

You know how it is — some days, the words just seem to flow.

And you don’t have to spend countless hours researching stuff you don’t know in order to write it as if you do.

And the ideas are ripe for the picking, and the dialog actually comes out like people talk.

How could I leave all that, even for a second, and transfer my attention to this blog? Or anybody else’s?

I should have been writing my blog.

But on Wednesday, I had to get together with a friend I haven’t seen in a couple of months.

To rest and recharge, sort of.

And we had to poke around at an antiques store, looking over vintage jewelry and books and what-nots.

And we had to satisfy our mutual craving for Chinese food.

And then we had to sit on her homemade porch swing, watching the grey clouds swirl overhead, listening to the geese honking on the nearby pond, feeling the chill-bumps form on our arms as a cold front started to come through.

How could I leave all that and transfer my attention to this blog??

I should have been writing my blog.

But on Thursday, I had to go shopping.


And I finally found something to wear for My Favorite Domer’s Commencement.

Which takes place next month.

Next month!

I’ll be set as long as the weather warms up a bit.

And I don’t gain a single pound.

It’s not my fault it took all day!

How could I leave all that and transfer my attention to this blog??

I should have been writing my blog.

But on Friday, I had to haul Darling Sheltie Dog to the vet’s for a checkup on his thyroid.

It’s fine, thankfully.

And I had to haul Mom to a doctor’s appointment.

She, too, is fine, thankfully.

It’s not my fault errands took all day.

Life sometimes takes over and waylays us from doing what needs to be done.

Like writing my blog.

So dear friends, hang on. I’ll be around to catch up with you as soon as I can.

In the meantime, woo-hoo: I’m writing my blog!!!


Give a little. Get a lot.

People seem fond of misquoting St. Paul in saying, “Money is the root of all evil.”

He didn’t say that.

In fact, nowhere does the Bible say that.

What St. Paul wrote (1 Timothy 6:10) is, “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”

It’s too easy to blame “money” for the world’s ills, when in actuality, “sin” should shoulder that accusation.

Money itself isn’t evil.

Look how many things wouldn’t be possible, were it not for money:

  • Charitable foundations that pour countless dollars into various diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and more) in hopes of a cure.
  • Scholarships for students wishing to further their education and improve their lot in life.
  • School buildings to educate the young.
  • Hospitals to heal the sick.
  • Nursing homes to tend the elderly and infirm.
  • Organizations to provide for the needs of military veterans.
  • Groups who work to house the needy.
  • Roads to make it easier to go from one place to another.
  • Prisons to confine those who are dangerous to society (and hopefully, rehabilitate them).
  • Wireless towers to help us communicate with others.
  • And the list goes on.

Where we get into trouble, St. Paul implies, is when we love money above all else. That’s God’s position, and when we elevate anything above Him (whether it be ourselves, our spouses, our kids, our jobs, anything), we’re treading on thin ice.

The love of money causes us to hoard (have you seen that TV show about hoarders? Hilarious, but sad.).

The love of money causes us to fear that we won’t have enough.

The love of money causes us to doubt in the Goodness and Providence of our Creator.

I have found that tithing a portion of my income back to charity — as soon as it comes in — blesses me a hundred times more than holding onto that money would.

More, probably, than what little I donate does for those receiving my funds.

Still, it’s a start.

I won’t kid you — tithing can be a scary thing, the first or every time you do it.

I liken it to jumping off a cliff and hoping a tree or something will be there to stop your free-fall!

But we’re called to trust God and love people, and tithing forces us to do that.

Besides, it just feels GOOD!

One Lie Doesn’t a Liar Make

I have an admission to make — I lied.

We all know lying is wrong, whether it’s a “little white lie” or an outright big one. I’ve already confessed it, and I know I’m forgiven.

But, realizing we all should learn from our faults, I still find myself stumped to have done anything different under the circumstances.

See if you agree.

Darling Doggie Dallas and I are fond of taking walks. Long walks on sunny, warm days.

He sniffs other dogs; I chat with their owners. We enjoy being together in nature.

One day as we were walking, a BIG dog of indeterminate lineage charged down its driveway and past a street with a median. To get at DD, who was prancing beside me, minding his own business and not making so much as a peep.

Now, Dallas isn’t a baby. Nor is he what you’d call a feather-weight. He’s a substantial boy (yea, we’re working on that!), but I did what I could to keep him away from the “barking bully.”

I didn’t see any cars at the bully’s house. No owners. No fence.

So I did what any “little girl” would do — I screamed.

Probably didn’t help the situation any.

Dallas and I escaped, but the more I thought about it, the angrier I became.

After all, our town has a leash law. Dogs aren’t supposed to be running willy-nilly all over the place, picking on others.

And I called the animal shelter to register a complaint. They promised me they’d look into it.

A few days passed, and DD and I were again walking.

The “barking bully”‘s owner was outside this time. Mowing his lawn.

And he accosted me, demanding to know whether I was “the one who called the animal shelter” on his dog.

Gulp! Had the animal shelter given away my information? Information they assured me would remain private?

Feeling a bit like a child caught with its hand in the cookie jar, I did what any “kid” would do.

I lied.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” is how I believe I phrased it. (Sounds a bit like Simon Peter denying Jesus at the well, doesn’t it??)

I’m pretty sure he knew I wasn’t being truthful. I’m not exactly a practiced liar, and I had to turn my head to avoid his angry eyes.

It turns out, he has one of those electronic fences, but apparently, he’s not vigilant about changing the batteries.

Figures, doesn’t it? He’s okay with being lax in his obligation and passing the blame to somebody else.

The question is, Why do I feel bad?

Simple — I feel bad for the “bully” dog. It’s left by itself for long periods at a time, not played with by the owner’s kids, not particularly liked by the neighbors because of its incessant barking.

Who buys a dog and then ignores it??

So, tell me, what would you have done in my situation?