Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Home Caring


In the past it was called "Home Making."  You can still see "Homemaker" listed in obituaries as a woman's "occupation."  When I was a young bride and mother some of my friends wanted to get jobs outside of their homes.  They wanted to put their babies in day care and earn their own money separate from their husbands' income.  Some of them liked the feeling of being productive and having a set schedule.  Others didn't want to feel like a servant in their own home.  I had a lot of mixed feelings about it.  I didn't mind being called a Housewife. At the time there were still plenty of women choosing that occupation.  I couldn't get past the idea of planning to give birth to a child then six weeks later handing it over to someone else to care for eight hours a day.  I felt that I was the best person to take care of my baby.  I knew that the extra income would help but back then women were not paid as much a men for doing the same job.  I did the math and couldn't reconcile  giving most of what I earned to a day care.  Some women were forced to work to support their families and I certainly understood that situation.  Home making began to be a dirty word after a while and I was usually confronted by a nicely dressed working woman who asked "what do you do...what are you into....what are your interests outside of your home and baby?"  I envied their independence and their expensive handbags.  I saw them driving around town in nice cars.  I also knew some of their husbands were not happy about their wives working outside of their homes.  One woman arrived home to find that her husband had pulled up stakes and hauled away their mobile home along with their two young daughters to an undisclosed location.  She had applied for a forklift job that the company never hired women to do.  She had cut off her beautiful, long red hair to look more professional.  I heard that her husband was furious over that too.  I never found out what happened to my friend.  I hope her life straightened out.  Home keeping is important no matter who does it.  If you have a "magic underwear drawer or a magic refrigerator" thank the person taking care of your home.  There are a million things involved in keeping a home and so many of those get overlooked by the person who doesn't have the responsibility.  Most of us have seen photos or watched TV shows about compulsive hoarders.  Somewhere along the line the person responsible for keeping the home had a mental breakdown, usually from a loss of some kind.  Keeping things clean and in order is important to the health and well being of everyone who lives in the home.  Say "thank you" every once in a while to the person or persons who keep your home functioning and comfortable.  It is a true art and an act of love.


"Do you know how hard it is to make a home?... That's something that a woman does from inside herself. You do it in the face of all sorts of opposition. Husbands are very appreciative when it works out well. But they're not that anxious to help. It's understandable. They don't know how."
SAMUEL R. DELANY, Dhalgren
"Good food and a warm kitchen are what make a house a home."
RACHAEL RAY, Good Housekeeping, Jul. 2010










Saturday, May 26, 2012

Strong American Women

American women are strong because we have to be.  The United States would not be what it is today had women not been involved in "keeping it together."  Early American women had to face many challenges that today's women can't even fathom.  Suffering through wars on our soil is just one example.  Whenever war comes up in a conversation I usually say "women historically have not been the ones to declare war because we have to tend the wounded, bury the dead and then clean up and rebuild after it's over."  So little has been written about the strong women who helped build America.  The Daughters of the American Revolution ( http://www.dar.org/ ) continue to do research to locate female "Patriots" to add to their library.  Most people are unaware that women Patriots ever existed.  These strong women provided aid to the military in various ways, from providing shelter, giving money, providing supplies, hiding soldiers from the enemy and sacrificing whatever they had to support the war effort.  In today's America there are strong women sacrificing every day so that others will not have to suffer or do without.  It's not just mothers who do that.  Women in the corporate world give up many things "for the good of all concerned."  Women who work in factories and businesses receive little praise for their efforts to make their workplace more efficient and profitable.  I remember my Mother's stories about the women who went to work in the plants during World War II and how it changed their perspective and their lives.  They became more self-assured and independent.  This Memorial Day I salute the strong women who have served tirelessly in our Armed Forces throughout the history of the United States.  One can only hope that their  positive influence will move into our government to make our country work better for all it's citizens.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Dressing Little Girls

The fashion industry has done a disservice to young families by producing clothing lines that are neither modest or appropriate for little girls.  I was appalled to see skull prints on little girls clothing and accessories a while back.  I was told by the sales person that those items were selling very well.  We live in a world full of pedophiles who love to see small children, especially little girls fixed up and made up like adult women.  The TV series about child beauty pageants is alarming to me.  How many pedophiles DVR or video tape that show to watch over and over.  In the past couple of years we have seen young girls rescued from their abductors and heard the heartbreaking stories of how they were forced to dress up like women and raped.  Mothers and Grandmothers must start paying more attention to what they are purchasing for the little girls in their families.  Please protect them and teach them what is appropriate, modest and safe for a girl her age.  There is no one else who will do it.

I created the "Summer Fun for Little Girls" Set posted below to show how easy it is to dress a little girl appropriately and fun in the summer.  Spaghetti straps and halter tops are okay in swimwear but not always appropriate when away from the pool.  Strapless is definitely a no-no until a girl is a teenager and then only on a special occasion dress.  Little girls shouldn't have to worry about someone ogling them because they are showing too much skin.  Modesty applies to short skirts too.  Girls should be able to bend over at the waist and not reveal her panties...yes real panties not thongs!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Potential

Katharine Hepburn once said "Spenser grew me up beyond my potential." Everyone has the potential to do great things.  By "great" I don't mean cure a disease, bring world peace or feed the hungry.  Having potential is one of God's many gifts to us.  Our Creator gave us bodies and minds to do the "hands on" work.  When a person lets go of the past and the negative inner voices, positive things begin to happen.  A person can move away from that way of thinking and onto a path that brings them new experiences and opportunities.  M. Scott Peck's book "The Road Less Traveled" shows his readers how the path that is seldom pursued is the one to investigate.  Every person has a purpose and a path, unfortunately there is no one to show the way, we must find it ourselves.  We start by doing the right thing even when it is difficult and it fills us with fear.  Most people don't like the feeling of taking a risk but that is the best way to start on a new path of discovery.  It's important to stop listening to an inner voice that continually tells you that you are not good enough, talented enough, educated enough or attractive enough.  Fear reminds us that we can't succeed in our dreams to live a different kind of life doing the things we love.  Sometimes lack of funds puts out the fires of our ambitions.  Saying "yes" more than saying "no" can get the ball rolling.

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeing deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” 
 M. Scott Peck

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Blessed Are The Caregivers

Not just anyone can be a Caregiver.  It takes a person with plenty of love, compassion, patience, understanding, tolerance and faith.  I am fortunate to have two beautiful women who have agreed to be Caregivers for my elderly Mother-in-law.  Both women have rallied over and over to create situations that have improved her quality of life.  I cannot imagine how much they have had to sacrifice to be there for her no matter what kind of situation she was in.  They always go "above and beyond the call of duty" and manage to keep a sense of humor and a feeling of stability to new and sometimes scary health issues.  I want to take this opportunity to say "Thank You Angela and Rebecca" for all you do to make our lives run smoother than they have for a very long time.  You both are so professional yet loving and gentle as you take care of whatever is thrown at you day after day.  I also want to acknowledge Amy who takes the night shift.  May God continue to Bless each of your lives.

Fashion News Reels From the 1960's

I love these news reels. They prove that "everything old is new again."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PP_MmvNxUSI

Monday, May 14, 2012

Gratitude Journals

Is it possible to say "Thank You" enough? Probably not. There was a time when Oprah and others were prompting us to keep "Gratitude Journals." Great shifts in consciousness were going to happen if we would find things to be grateful for every day and jot them down in a journal. I have kept Gratitude Journals from time to time. Yes, it does lift my spirits to see those entries on the page when I'm finished.  Does it really change our lives though? I'm not sure. I think keeping journals is a good idea for many people but I found that I connected less with the people around me when I put everything in a private journal.  I've heard that "women talk to heal" and I believe that to be true, at least on a personal level.  Women need to chat with other women throughout the day because it can relieve a lot of stress as long as the chats are supportive. Maybe jotting down "had a great chat with a good friend today" is the best of both worlds.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Mother and Her Diets

The first time I became aware of "diets" I was 10 years old.  My mother gave birth to her fourth child at age 43 and she wanted to get her figure back.  She committed to the plan in Adele Davis' book "Calories Don't Count." It was a low carbohydrate diet very similar to the Atkins Diet.  She slimmed down quickly and ended up weighing less that before she became pregnant...no small feat for a 44 year old woman approaching peri-menopause. Perhaps she was successful because my older sister dieted with her and did the cooking.

Unfortunately with life there are too many twists and turns, like my baby sister's surgeries. My mother slipped off the low carb wagon right into a pool of sweets and starches.  She was also starting through peri-menopause so the weight came back on.....plus some.

It must have been the photo of my mother cradling her first of five grandchildren that shook her to her core.  She had always detested heavy women who didn't cover the "flags" of fat on their upper arms yet there they were on hers.  She never thought that floaty house dresses were very stylish....but there she was in a big blue one.  She had worn her hair long for years and would often wear it in a pretty chignon at the nap of her neck.  There she was with the typical short, curled hair done in the salon once a week.  Fed up and depressed she joined a new diet organization that had just set up shop in our little town...Weight Watchers.

My mother was diligent in her quest for slimness and said she would have eaten a piece of toilet paper every day had they put it on the list of "legal" foods.  Our kitchen was purged of all sweets and bakery goods except those reserved for my father who never gained an ounce.  I was a teenager and learning my way around the kitchen.  I learned how to make salad dressing for four people using a juicy, salted tomato and a teaspoon of real mayo.  I watched my mother make spaghetti not from dough but from Spaghetti squash.  The list of non fat "legal" foods went on and on.  My mother was eventually hired to be the Weight Watcher's Lecturer and manage our little town's chapter.  She not only sparkled and shone but succeeded beautifully in her new found role.

I had the good fortune of having her pay my way through Weight Watchers after the birth of her third grandchild.  I had some "baby" weight to drop and with her encouragement and food advice I was able to lose the weight in just a few months.  To this day I remember the plan and the portions and don't normally exceed a proper "serving".

I wish so much that joy could have continued.  Organizations being what they are and some times catty or political she was terminated.  I never heard the whole story because I was married and out of the house by then but I knew something inside my mother had died.  It had to do with all lecturers being required to fit into a size 10 or smaller.  My mother had been proud to be a 12 but it still wasn't good enough.  She was unable to lose more weight to go down another size.

Women and their food...this is such a heavy and uncomfortable subject.  It's sufficient to say that when women are caregiving, sacrificing, working jobs, making homes, keeping schedules and making sure all is well with her world, eating right to stay slim is not high on the list of priorities.  There was a time when manufacturers refused to make women's clothing larger than a 14 or 16.  Society labeled women this size and larger as "lazy" or not interested in looking attractive for their men.  I'm glad that some of those attitudes have changed but not enough.  More tolerance is needed as well as nutritional education.  Obesity is not healthy but without the support of her family a woman can very easily eat herself into poor health.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Older Women vs. Younger Women

As I travel around the country I always notice what women wear and what kind of accessories they choose.  I've noticed that the older a woman is the more she accessorizes. This usually includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets, a watch, several rings, a large handbag and large, comfortable shoes.  I notice that younger woman wear fewer accessories.  Younger women use a cell phone to check the time and keep appointments. They usually wear earrings that are more art than gold or platinum. Many wear necklaces and bracelets made of other materials like cloth or rawhide. Their shoes are simple sandals in hot weather and maybe hiking boots, in the winter.  They wear sky high platform heels when they dress up. Older women look "co-ordinated" meaning things match where younger women put on whatever suits their "vibe" that day. Older women usually iron their clothes while younger women don't let wrinkles ruin their day. Older women seldom have hair that is "touchable" meaning they use too much hair spray while younger women have looser hairstyles that border on "messy." Older women sometimes wear the same make up colors and apply them the same way they did decades ago not realizing that they have lost pigment in their skin and hair and need to use lighter colors.  Younger women use "all in one" products that can be stashed in a big tote bag and used anywhere.  They prefer lip gloss to lip stick. When younger women dress up for a big event they opt for having their make up done by a professional.  Older women will usually just add MORE of the same make up which can make them look harsh.

Older women who are in denial of their true age will often wear skirts above the knee. After 40 the knees are not attractive unless a woman is athletic. Longer skirts also keep an older woman from looking "trashy." Older women often expose too much cleavage even though the skin is extremely wrinkled and covered in age spots. In my opinion, an older woman looks much more Chic if she covers what is no longer appealing to the eye and accents what is still attractive.  Varicose veins can be covered with opaque hose in the winter and when worn with a pretty shoe look quite modern. This makes wearing an above the knee skirt acceptable.

As we age we need to be mindful of the message we send with our appearance. Las Vegas is a good example of what not to wear.  Unfortunately older women tend to let it all hang out while in Vegas. With so many sexy, stunningly attractive and physically "enhanced" women roaming the casinos older women should dress their age and quit trying to compete.  If your gentleman asked you to dress outside your comfort zone then he's really not a "Gentleman."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Body Work

"Body Work." There is nothing better for a person than having a therapeutic treatment in spa or salon every month or so. I'm a big fan of these treatments that completely relax the body, mind and Spirit. I like them because they are non-invasive ways to nurture and heal ourselves. I will always seek help from a Chiropractor, Reflexologist, Acupuncturist or massage therapist before undergoing an expensive, invasive medical test. Tension and stress are hard on the body and mind and if left unattended can lead to chronic health problems. I urge anyone who lives under stressful conditions to investigate the above mentioned treatments to determine if they are right for you. They aren't as expensive as you might think.  After all.....you're WORTH it!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Kentucky Women

When I was a child our family had a beautiful woman named Josephine who took care of our home once a week.  She was like a member of our family and I sure hope she knew how much she meant to us. When a new pastor came to her church she paid him a visit. She said "Pastor, I need to fill you in on a few things about the women in this little Kentucky town." She continued, "We like our red meat, Bourbon, cigarettes and dancing on Saturday night." His eyes grew wide as she continued. "You won't be very welcome here if you try to change us....understand?" He slowly nodded his head in agreement. I know this because I attended her fabulous "celebration of life" otherwise known as her funeral. The pastor included this story in his tribute to her. I've known a lot of strong Kentucky women. I've known those who have worked harder than a man to earn a living, keep a home, raise children and grandchildren, take care of pets and do the millions of other things a woman has to do to keep up with her life. It doesn't help when the man in her life doesn't treat her with respect or lift a finger to help her. Kentucky women are hard workers and because of their tight schedules and exhaustion the last thing on their minds is usually fashion and glamour.  I began Kentucky Fashion on Facebook last November to help these fantastic women learn how to slip a little "me" time into their days.  I also try to pass on what I've learned over the years about dressing appropriately so they will feel more confident.  The media would have us believe that we need to buy and wear the latest in fashion and footwear whether it meets our needs or not.  A woman shouldn't have to be uncomfortable and self-conscious to look fashionable because it always shows on her face.  Be kind to yourself and find a little time each day to just be "you."