Monthly Archives: April 2011

Our Moms Burned Their Bras, We Need to Burn Our Tape Measures


I am not a person who is easily offended…truly. Nor do I take up causes without a lot of thought. But I think I’m about to now. Since I was a young girl, I have been bothered by the diet culture of females in this country. Women always worrying about their weight, always talking about their weight, and passing that on to their daughters, who seem to be worrying about it more and more these days, younger and younger. And now, it seems I cannot turn on my t.v. or go to a movie without seeing a female celebrity who is so underweight that I worry about their health. Frankly, this looks especially bad on those of us who are over 40, because it makes a person look older than they are. Yet, inevitably, everyone continually talks about how ahhhh-maaaaa-zing they look, and how “rockin” their “bod” is. Am I the only one who sees that these poor women look like they should be in the hospital, hooked up to an I.V., not on the Red Carpet?

Clearly from the looks of her collarbone area, this woman is meant to have probably another 20 pounds on her at least. Starvation is NOT sexy!

There are no words for how bad this is….

I love Teri to pieces, and I think she is probably the nicest, most genuine celebrity out there. But, she is way, way too thin. Think back to how she looked even in her Lois and Clark days…this is not even close.

Love Mary, LOVE her show “Weeds”, hate that she doesn’t feel as if she can put on about 30 pounds more and still be hot!

And she’s often the one with the microphone fawning all over the emaciated celebrities and telling them how ahhh-maaaa-zing they look. No wonder she feels as if she has to be just as thin, if not thinner than they are….

I was especially disheartened to see a report this week stating that magazine editors routinely cut size tags out of clothing for celebrities, so that they can stroke the celebs’ egos. Therefore, if a star is a size 10, but wants to be a 6, the editor will play along so as to not upset the cash cow, I guess. While I applaud More’s editor for being honest, I am extremely troubled by this practice, not for the individual star, but for the promotion of a culture where women and girls feel that they must be underweight to be beautiful, sexy, and minimally acceptable. We’ve gone too far, folks, and we need to put a stop to it.

Here’s the thing, I am a huge proponent of health and not being overweight. Everyone, male and female, should strive to stay within their healthy weight range. That’s according to this scale:  Note that there is a very wide range of healthy weights at every height, and there are NO women who will fall within the healthy range at 5 ft. 8 in. and a size 2—that just doesn’t add up. And, we should all consult our doctors at our yearly checkup to make sure that he/she thinks we are on track with not only weight, but all of the health indicators as well. We should all get some exercise every day—I prefer walking, myself.  If you’re spending hours a day exercising and it’s not because you’re training for Iron Man, then you’re doing too much. Period.

I went today to try on bathing suits and felt anxious the entire time. The fluorescent lights and three way mirror didn’t help, I’m sure….BUT, enough is enough. I’m not overweight, I do exercise, and I look pretty dang good for a 45 year old who has had three babies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the way I look, and nothing wrong with the way I looked in that suit I bought either. I am bigger on bottom, always have been, and the only time I ever had legs that were even approaching the thinness I see on celebrities, I was underweight and in my 20’s.

Your body is your body, and the only way to make yourself thin all over probably is to starve yourself. Very few of us are born with perfect proportions. Maybe you have bigger legs like me…maybe you have a thicker waist….etc.. Everyone is different. I say we don’t tolerate this extremely thin celebrity culture anymore—tell the editors of your favorite magazines that you don’t want them to cut the tags out of celebrities’ clothing anymore for a photo shoot. Don’t envy that star on the Red Carpet anymore either, because God only knows what she had to do to herself to get that thin.

Be Healthy. Be Yourself. Be Happy. EAT! Let’s don’t pass this on to another generation….

If You Need Me, I’ll Be On My Farm…


I donned my detective costume for this writing assignment…

When I’m stressed, or overworked, or overwhelmed (one or more of these happens at least once a day), I escape to a little place known around these parts as L.M. Farm. There, after about 20 minutes of planting, harvesting, petting the animals, giving and receiving gifts with my neighbors, all is right with the world again. That’s because I am one of the estimated 75 million folks each month who love to play Farmville, which is now the top Zynga game on Facebook.

What makes Farmville so popular? Well, according to one article I pulled up this morning, people love Farmville because it is a tangled web of social obligations. This has to do with people looking for engagement with others, I guess, but at arm’s length and from the comfort of their own living room. It can, in some cases, become an added stressor rather than a stress reliever, if those self imposed obligations to give and receive, harvest and plow, become yet another chore on the overloaded to-do list. And, if you have a truly addictive personality, you can get into real trouble because Zynga offers “Farm Bucks” for a fee, if only you’ll click that button after you input your handy dandy credit card number. My advice? Don’t even go down that road. This is a free game, and when it ceases to be free, then it ceases to be fun.

What do I love MOST about my Farm? All the pretty colors!

Interestingly, typical Farmville players buck general gamer trends and are in fact NOT young and male, but 40-something women! According to Good Morning America, Zynga originally developed the game to appeal to teens, but they seem to be just about the only demographic that doesn’t play. I’ve noticed that some Facebook users have an especially virulent hatred of Farmville, hence the popularity of several Facebook Groups entitled “I don’t care about your Farm…”, which prompted a counter Group,  “I don’t care that you don’t care about my Farm”, and the counter counter group I saw today, “I don’t care that you don’t care, that I don’t care about your Farm”.

Yes, those ARE my initials, fashioned from pink and purple hay bales. Clever, no? 😉

I posted the following question on my Facebook Wall:

ATTN: FARMVILLE PLAYERS! I just had a burst of brain activity which sometimes leads to a future Blog. 😉 But, I need your help…Tell me, briefly, and as a comment to this status line, Why Do You Play Farmville? Why do you like it more than other online games?

My dogs, Snickers and Scarlett, post treat!

Not surprisingly, most of my Friends didn’t answer (they’re probably members of one of those “I don’t care about your Farm” groups), but the two who did are the very two who I can always count on to provide me with nails and boards for whatever nutball project I’m “working hard on” for my Farm. Well, make that farm(s), as I’ve recently been suckered into adding yet another Farm in the English countryside…Oy Vey! These two Friends are also within the core demographic of typical Farmville users too—40-something, fabulous females whose Farms are many, many levels above mine…

So what did my Friends have to say about why they love Farmville?

I heard this from Farmer Ivy, who compiled a list of the Top Ten Reasons She Loves Farmville, a la Letterman:

  1. Requires no serious thought, relaxes brain.
  2. Makes me feel like I am really working while in my pj’s in my bed… Therefore I am not really lazy.
  3. I just have to stay ahead of {my friend} Claudia and can’t let up one minute.
  4. I think I am getting a six pack from all that plowing. Hum, well, I did buy one yesterday.
  5. Keeps my mind off of sex, men and inpure thoughts.
  6. Gives me a sense of self worth since Obama put us in the toilet.
  7. Keeps me from going to Walmart and the gas station.
  8. Cheaper than going to Walmart and especially the gas station.
  9. Since I don’t have grandchildren, the little pigs and sheep gives me a granny fix.
  10. Fantasy land…Although there are others I like more. 🙂

Farmer Kim said:

“Mindless entertainment, I guess. I prefer FV to other FB games because I can play as little or as much as I like. I don’t need to worry about falling behind like I do on some of the other games, but at the same time there is always something I can do on my farm if I have time to waste”.

To which she added a few minutes later….

“Actually, another burst of brain activity on my end tells me that I am horribly addicted to the silly game and I don’t think I actually even know why”.

And finally, a middle aged Male Farmer, who we’ll call Farmer X has said on multiple occasions…

“I love my Farm. I have everything just the way I want it. I wish I could live there…maybe when I retire.”

No kidding…Farmer X has IT ALL! An Enchanted Forest, a Family Cemetery, etc. See for yourself…

Thanks for your input, Farmers Ivy, Kim, and X—I’ll just say ditto. Keep sending those boards and nails! I’ve got an English sheep pen to finish…

Now it’s your turn. Do you love Farmville? Hate it? Love it, but need a 12 Step Program because of it? Comment below!

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Blogging, But Were Afraid To Ask


 Today as I watched Julie & Julia, for the fourth or fifth time, can’t remember which, I started thinking about blogs and where they came from. After all, the blog is a phenomenon that didn’t even exist twenty years ago. If you were a writer of any sort back then, you either had to be published somewhere, or your musings were simply diaries to entertain yourself, and maybe your closest friends or family members, and document your life after you got too old to remember it. Nowadays, thanks to the ease and accessibility of the blog, anyone can become a published writer, and sometimes a celebrity, like the considerably less perky and sweet than she was portrayed in the movie, Ms. Julie Powell. I have my own blog now, just like the rest of the free world. It will never make me a celebrity, I’m almost positive of that, but it gives me an outlet for my creative side, and as Amy Adams so charmingly put it in the movie, “I could write a blog. I have thoughts!”

I realized today that I know almost nothing about the history of blogging. It’s like one day blogging was unheard of, and the next, everybody had one and they were oozing from every corner of the World Wide Web. Some are better than others, some make it and some don’t, and some are even written by professional journalists or celebrity writers. Never one to let anything rest once my curiosity is sparked, I went looking for some answers about where blogging came from, who did it first, how it became mainstream, and how many blogs and bloggers there are out there in cyberspace.

I found out some fascinating things…for instance:

The blog was “invented”, for all intents and purposes, by this guy…

Jorn Barger

  • Barger was the first to use the term “Weblog” on December 17, 1997 to refer to his links on the web, at his site, “Robot Wisdom”, which is still an active blog.
  • The United States is the country with the most bloggers, roughly 29%, the majority of whom reside in California, which is home to approximately 15% of all the bloggers—anywhere.
  • The ratio of male to female bloggers is just about equal—49.1% Male, to 50.9% Female. Go Mommy Bloggers!
  • Bloggers are a young-ish bunch of folks, most of whom are between the ages of 21 and 35. Am I too old for this gig???
  • We’re a BIG group…as of February 2011, there were over 156 Million public blogs in the world! As of March, make that plus one—yours truly. 🙂
  • As of today, the most influential blog in the universe is said to be The Huffington Post, followed closely by TechCrunch, Mashable!, Engadget, and my personal favorite for my daily “OMG, I can’t believe he or she did that/said that/wore that!”, TMZ.
  • And according to some guy named Andrew, a blogger, the following traits are what make a good blog post:
  1. Minimize your personal life—but don’t ignore it.
  2. People want to hear about success.
  3. People want to hear about what they can do to become successful.
  4. If you love what you’re writing about, you’ll dig deeper.
  5. Linking to other bloggers is a good idea.
  6. If everyone else has reported it, put a good spin on it, or ignore it.
  7. Use images.
  8. Back away from overused and tired out blogging trends.
  9. Create controversy.
  10. Write what you feel, when you feel it. If the information is wrong, so be it.

That’s good advice, Andrew! You have just given me permission to back away from being Glenda the Good, and not cite any of the factoids I’ve just blogged. You have no idea how hard that is for a grad student…sometimes I dream in APA format. But, it feels good to be bad…;-) How’s that for controversy? I will, however, link back to Andrew’s blog because those really are some great tips!

The Best 10 Beauty Buys For Under $10


These days the price of everything is going up…gas, groceries, you name it. So, we’re all looking to save where we can, but if you’re like me you are not willing to cheat yourself in the beauty department. Because, let’s face it, with the economy in the toilet, wars and unrest in the Middle East, and the stressful, busy lives we all lead, it feels good to look good! I’ve spent most of my life trying to save money on beauty products because here’s the little secret nobody tells you–most brands are way, way overpriced. Most of it is packaging, marketing, and hype–along with those celebrity spokesmodels who don’t work cheap. So, in the spirit of information sharing to help all us ladies look great for less, I’ve compiled a list of my ten absolute favorite beauty bargains.

Let’s all save some money on this stuff so we can afford to fill up our gas tanks, shall we?

1) Loreal Excellence Creme

I used to go to the salon every 5-6 weeks to have my hair colored, to the tune of $80, including tip each time–Ouch! There came a point in my family budget a couple of years ago when I faced the fact that I couldn’t justify that expense anymore. At first I tried going natural, but I missed my color. So, I tried different home hair coloring options, with less than satisfying results–until I tried this one. WOW! The colors are true, vibrant, resistant to fading, and pretty gentle on the hair. As if that wasn’t enough, the formula does not drip at all, and the comb applicator is fantastic for making sure you get the roots evenly. I can do this myself at home for under $10, and am just as happy with the results as my former salon color–probably more so because I can afford to keep the color really fresh by touching it up as often as needed.

2) Garnier Fructis Color Shield

This leave in product is magic–truly! Not only does it protect my color, but it conditions, and also acts as sort of a light gel to keep my hair in place. Love, love, LOVE!

3) Powdered Buttermilk

I kid you not, this is hands down the best facial mask ever! It lasts forever too. I just put a couple of tablespoons in a bowl and mix with a little milk from the fridge. Milk is excellent for your skin too…just put it on evenly and let it dry, then rinse it off with water. It’s moisturizing, exfoliating, and makes your skin glow…

4) Witch Hazel

There is no better astringent. Period. And you can just buy the inexpensive store brand too–it’s all the same.

5) Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick

Honestly, it’s shocking just how good this lipstick is because it’s probably one of the most inexpensive you can buy. It is moisturizing, long lasting, and Revlon offers a wide variety of colors to suit everyone.

6) Nicole by OPI, for WalMart

You know how your manicurist won’t use anything but OPI because it really is the very best? Well, this is exactly the same stuff, made by OPI for WalMart. They have the same funky, fabulous colors, with all those great names, and the same formulation.

7) Garnier Skin Renew Anti Dark Circle Eye Roller

I can’t live without this–truly! It feels good going on (really cool and refreshing), has ingredients that help with under eye puffiness, and actually covers the dark circles with makeup.

8 ) Crest 3D Whitening Toothpaste

This new toothpaste from the makers of the original at home teeth whitening strips has done it again. This toothpaste works amazingly well at whitening your teeth if used daily, and it’s a lot cheaper than the strips!

9) Cover Girl Lash Blast Mascara

I am picky about mascara and I’ve tried all different brands, including those ultra pricey department store ones, and that tried and true model’s favorite, Maybelline. This is way better than any of them! It doesn’t clump, adds both length and volume to your lashes, and the brush is the best mascara brush EVER. I think the brush design has a lot to do with the smooth application.

10) Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel Moisturizer

WOW, what a find! There is no better way to save than to find a product that truly can multitask. This great moisturizer is in a cooling gel formula, is light and oil free, and when I use it, I don’t need my pricey makeup primer! If you have really, really dry skin you might need something heavier, but I think that this moisturizer is probably enough for most skin types.

Well, that’s it for now…here’s to beauty that doesn’t break the bank!

Supermassive Sparkly Obsession


About three things I am absolutely positive. First, I am 45 years old. Second, I probably should be embarrassed that I have seen all the Twilight movies, can’t wait for Breaking Dawn, Part 1 to be released next Fall, have all the Twilight Series books and have read them all cover to cover, and even have an Edward doll sitting on my book shelf next to them–complete with sparkly chest. And third, I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Twilight.

As I sit here with my dog, having a rare girls night, polishing our toes….well, my toes anyway. I mean, have you ever tried to polish the toenails of a Chihuahua? Anyway, as we sit here together, I am elated to find Twlight (the first movie) on Showtime! Nevermind that I have it already on DVD, along with New Moon and Eclipse too. Yes, I am hooked, and I probably should be ashamed, but I’m not.

I’ve read most of the articles out there from the feminist perspective, usually promoted on Huffington Post or somewhere like that, that slam this phenomenon, and women like me, for being bad role models for young women. I get where they are coming from and no, I don’t think young girls should strive to be vapid and to give themselves over completely to some man, only to lose who they could become only if they had burned their bras and spent their days reading and quoting the works of Oscar Wilde. I get it, truly I do. I want girls and women to be empowered just as much as the hairy legged braless woman down the street–probably more. This goes way beyond loyalty to my gender…

I’ve thought a lot about why I love Twilight…and, frankly, I get a little nutty every time one of the movies premieres. I probably will again once the long awaited Breaking Dawn finally hits theaters. I’ve felt this way a few other times in my life…first with Gone With the Wind, which I still love, and Under the Tuscan Sun, which Diane Lane played brilliantly. I think I love these movies (and books) for one reason–the pieces of myself that they portray. Scarlett O’hara speaks to my tenacity and ability to “think about that tomorrow”, which has gotten me through more than one life crisis. Under the Tuscan Sun effectively dramatizes that part of me that can, and has, impulsively changed my life because I didn’t have anything to go back to. And Twilight…well, that one takes me back to when I was a lot like Bella–more than just the freakishly pale skin, chocolate brown eyes, and dark hair.

I, too, moved in with my Dad when I was about Bella’s age. I only wish it had gone so romantically…you know, minus the blood letting and terror. And I wish I’d had an Edward of my own to gaze upon in the meadow, not that I ever had a meadow. I guess in the end, I, and probably all the other middle aged women willing to admit that we love Twilight, sort of live out our fantasy teen selves through Bella. And in the movie versions, the perfectly cast Kristen Stewart becomes Bella. And I mean really…who wouldn’t want two totally hot guys fighting over them, one of whom writes classical piano tunes for you, a life of magical adventure, and at the end of the day a great Dad to come home to who supports you unconditionally?

Hmmm…who needs sparkles…wonder if Barbie makes a Chief Swan doll?

Big Blue Ring, Part Two


With another big Royal Wedding looming on the horizon, I’ve been thinking a lot about the first one we “Yanks” got up early to watch on television–Charles & Diana, of course! This fabulous blog I read this morning by my fellow blogger, “WithyWindle”,  really got me reminiscing. I’m not now, nor have I ever been much of an Anglophile by nature, but I was, at the time of the seemingly magical nuptials of “Lady Di”, a 16 year old girl.  So, I was a goner in the naïve romantic department…not to mention the fact that my great grandmother was staying with us for a couple of weeks at the time and she indeed was a pretty hardcore Anglophile. So much so that she, unlike lazy teen me, actually did get up in the wee hours to watch it all live from the get go. I arose at my usual 10:00 or so, and watched reruns of it—over and over and over, with my Great Grandma Rhodes who had a twinkle in her eye that day…ALL-DAY-LONG…no matter how many times she watched the whole thing with me…rerun after rerun.  

We were both enchanted, of course, and it was an intergenerational bonding experience for us. Now, I am somebody’s grandmother, albeit not quite old enough yet to be a great grandmother—yet. It’s coming soon enough…because the clock ticks for all of us, whether we are aware of it, or whether we choose to accept and embrace it or not. So, as the wedding of William and Kate approaches, I am also keenly aware of how I’ve changed, how much more I know (thank God), and also how jaded I may have allowed myself to become over the years. Knowing what I now know…about the realities of life, and marriage, and how sometimes things just don’t work out…I find myself considerably less starry eyed and romantic about this Royal Wedding. I blame Diana and Charles for this, of course, because their reality disappointed me so as it unfolded before my eyes during the 80’s and 90’s. And frankly, my own reality disappointed me as well…as I looked for love in all the wrong places, had my heart broken more times than I care to recall, and lived out a decidedly un-fairytale like existence…

Despite all the madness that ensued for Charles and Di after that dreamlike day…the bulimia, the affairs, the Squidgy-ness of it all…I allowed myself to become wistful once more, if only for a moment when I listened to a Diana biography on audiobook awhile back. The author described, in great heart wrenching emotional detail, a story of Charles frantically and obsessively searching for his former wife’s gold earring so that she could have it on when he had flown to France to escort her body back home to England after the car crash—he knew she’d want it that way, and he wanted to find it for her. Even though these two people had torn one another to pieces in life, were clearly not meant for one another, this man obviously cared for her, and cared enough to look after her in this very touching, special way. Maybe this is the real fairy tale behind the fairy tales that we are told growing up, and actually believe in until the world teaches us otherwise…that people aren’t perfect, even princes and princesses…and sometimes we never appreciate the people who pass through our lives until they’re really gone…

Well now, enough of that! I intend to keep a stiff upper lip, just like the Brits! I am determined to look forward to this upcoming joyous event, and maybe even become a little twinkly eyed and romantic again as my great grandmother was that day. Surely she had much more call to be far more jaded then than I do now. After all, the woman had lived through women’s suffrage, The Great Depression, two World Wars, and the 60’s—which had to be traumatic for anyone with Victorian sensibilities. I do wish these two lovebirds the best! I think they have a better shot at it than Charles and Diana. For one thing, “Wills” did not have to scour his countryside for the last remaining virgin in the United Kingdom as Charles did. Since that was obviously the criteria, that should have been our first clue that it wasn’t necessarily a real love match. Royal bridal searches have evolved since the late 70’s, early 80’s, thank goodness, and William and Kate were allowed to meet and fall in love over time, just like any other couple. So, they have just as much chance as any other married couple of being happy and having a lifetime together. And there, readers, I will bite my tongue. I am purposely choosing to suspend my disbelief now, rather than being my old 16 year old self who just didn’t know any better. I’ll watch this Royal Wedding this time around with a purposeful twinkle in my eye, just like my great grandmother had for Chuck and Di. Reruns of course, because I haven’t changed that much…

In the meantime, get your wistful on with me and let’s remember when…back before we knew how it all would end….

Wild Kingdom Off The Beaten Path


The Circle B Bar Reserve

Just this side of Disney World, and a relatively short drive from whatever overpriced, overcrowded theme park resort you might be staying at in Orlando, is a tourist’s treasure that is so off the beaten path, so under-publicized, that it is known mostly to Central Florida residents. It’s the Circle B Bar Reserve, an environmental freshwater marsh and swampland reserve that is not only a total kick in the pants to visit, but unlike your favorite theme park with their marked up souvenirs and $50+ burger and fries lunches, admission is FREE. Special guided tours are available for a fee, but you really don’t need one to see what there is to see at the Circle B.

Walking at the Circle B, Down Alligator Alley

Obviously, the infamous American Alligator is the star attraction at Circle B, and you will be treated to plenty of them in their natural habitat in the reserve’s Lake Hancock, and also in the open swamps that line your walking trails. And no, there is no barrier between you and them—this is raw nature at its best! It’s safe, for the most part, as long as you don’t do anything stupid and make sure to keep your distance if you happen to spot one of our reptilian friends on your walk. There are even signs on the trail advising tourists to turn and go another way if a gator happens to be laying on the walking trail. Visitors are warned to not attempt to walk around the gator. The scary thing about that to me is that you know that sign is there because somebody at some point was dumb enough to try. Oh, and by the way, gators can outrun us, so don’t think for a minute that you have the upper hand because of your big ole human brain. If, despite your best efforts, one does take a shine to you, this guy seems to have some pretty good gator attack and avoidance advice: Israel Dupont; Living With Alligators. I heard a rumor somewhere that you can always try to sit on their back and clamp their mouth shut, at which point they are rendered helpless. Er…no thanks, I’ll pass…

Look Closely–On the left-ish side of the photo, you’ll spot a baby alligator, covered in green swamp muck!

Just to let you in on a little Florida Insider information—here in our state, if you see a standing body of water anywhere, including lakes, rivers, drainage ditches, swimming pools and bathtubs, it’s best to just assume there’s a gator in it, because chances are, there is. This little fella moved into the small pond just a few yards away from my house last Spring. I named him Al.

Al, The Neighborhood Gator

For serious nature enthusiasts, there is much, much more to Circle B than just alligators. The reserve’s website boasts of a “tremendous bird population, including a variety of wading birds, waterfowl, ospreys and bald eagles”. For butterfly lovers like me, there are several gorgeous fluttering specimens which may be observed in their natural habitat as well.

And they’re friendly  too…

As if all of this wasn’t enough, the reserve has a very nice, air conditioned Nature Discovery Center which is open Tuesday – Saturday 9AM -4PM and Sunday Noon-4PM. There you’ll find lots of educational information and exhibits, as well as friendly folks who can tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Florida wildlife and wetlands!

I hope you’ll take the time to visit this Florida treasure! You’ll probably want to leave your mouse ears back at the hotel though. I can just hear it now…

Lounging Gator #1: Hey Fred, juicy giant rodent at 3:00!

Lounging Gator #2: You can have him George, that last one gave me heartburn…

Oh, and one more thing…PETS ARE NOT ALLOWED at the Circle B, for obvious reasons!