Archive for June, 2008


June 30, 2008

Freakonomics has a great little article today asking the question that George Carlin probably asked in a much more “colorful” way: Why are we so attached to our stuff? And why do we value our stuff so much more than we value other peoples’ stuff? (Hint: It’s called the endowment effect.)

I have a friend who is moving half-way across the country to Mississippi, and she and her husband are currently locked in a my stuff-your stuff battle over what deserves to be thrown away or sold. The current battle zone is four big boxes of videos and DVDs. She wants to keep six DVDs, he wants to keep all the rest. Read the rest of this entry »


Diet Wars: Throwing in the napkin, er, towel?

June 28, 2008

* Some background: msmeta’s two BFF, msadventure and msfit, have both become single in the last few years after 30-year marriages. Following a requisite period of litigation, anger and grief, both are expressing interest in returning to the singles scene, and both have embarked on excruciating regimens significant programs of self-improvement: dieting, personal trainers, plastic surgery, dermabrasion, the usual.

Listening to the two of them over lunch, singly and together, takes me back to my college days when I and my friends would spend hours trying to come up with strategies to attract — and keep — young men, who might as well have been bighorn sheep or striped bass when it came to their predictability. Read the rest of this entry »

‘Who steals my purse steals trash’ — and a lot of old receipts

June 26, 2008

Second Son insists that I have a purse obsession, a charge with which I take extreme UMBRAGE. (Gosh, I LOVE that word. It has such a Lady Bracknell quality to it.) I may be occasionally obsessed with shoes, but I generally limit my available satchel selection to two dozen or so. I did have a fling with Kate Spade on eBay a few years ago when I was trying to add a little New York caché to life here in Dusty Corner, but it was a fruitless effort.

More Intelligent Life, an offshoot of The Economist and one of my favorite new Web finds, has a charming little article by Paula Marantz Cohen on the bags in her life. Cohen, a novelist and essayist and Distinguished Professor of English at Drexel University in Philadelphia, has a seasonal ritual of buying a new purse (or pocketbook, as she would prefer to call them): Read the rest of this entry »

Adventures at Midlife: You’re going out looking like that?

June 24, 2008

ByJane read my recent Dr. Martens blogpost, and challenged me to take a broader look at fashion for older — and often, um, broader — women. HA! Like I have anything original to say about THAT. Just try googling the topic and you’ll find endless screens of advice. A few selections:

Fabulous After Forty is one of many sites that referenced Tim Gunn’s famous recommendations to Oprah: “Women in their ’40s should always try to avoid horizontal stripes, jackets that hit at mid-thigh, pleated pants, double-breasted blazers, Capri-length pants and low-rise jeans.” GUILTY. I like Tim, but I’ve got all six items in my closet, and they’re some of my favorite pieces. (The horizontal stripes are especially thin and tasteful, so I DO know better than to walk about looking like a barber pole, thank you. And, trust me, you’d rather see me in capris than in shorts!)

Fashion writer Carol Midgely in an article in the Times Online, also disagrees with Tim. Read the rest of this entry »


June 22, 2008

This past weekend, my son married into a big Midwestern Family of Women. Oh, the grandfather is still the patriarch, and the men are kindly and have their uses. But the women seriously outnumber the men, and they are the gracious glue that holds everything — and everyone — together. My daughter-in-law grew up as much in her aunts’ and grandmother’s homes as her own, and there are cousins and sisters and nieces aplenty, with an abundance of hilarious stories of their growing-up adventures.

We had a ladies lunch at an adorable tearoom-restaurant on Friday, where even the littlest girls were welcomed and drank fruit punch out of their china teacups. There was much laughter and teasing and teary testimonials of the great love these women have for my son’s lively and fun-loving new wife, who is clearly a favorite daughter, sister, cousin and aunt.

I watched all this with great joy — and some sadness. I am sisterless, the youngest child and only daughter in a family of four children, three older brothers and me. Mother had twin girls who died at birth and another stillborn daughter. I alone survived, and that pretty well sums it up. Read the rest of this entry »

My life in shoes: Too old for Dr. Martens?

June 15, 2008

After several years of buying my then-high school-age sons their requisite pairs of Dr. Martens, I finally succumbed. Famous Footwear had a pair of boots my size for the unheard-of price of $25 a couple of years ago, and I bought them. And wore them. And wore them. They are just about the most comfortable boots — or shoes — I have ever owned, and they look exactly the same as the day I bought them. Incredibly durable. I particularly like mucking through the rain and snow in them, and I even considered wearing them during a concert under my long dress — but didn’t.

It begs the question: Do these boots make me look old? Young? Ridiculous? Like I’m trying too hard? Like I’m borrowing my daughters’ clothes? I try to make them part of an outfit so they don’t call a lot attention to themselves, like wearing them with very long pants or jeans. But I always question myself a little when I put them on.

I sometimes see “women of a certain age” all dressed up in ‘tween fashion, and it makes me wince. (Of course fashion should be fun, but hair bows at 50?) There’s apparently some sort of magical point when we midlifers should know better than to try to shop at Abercrombie and Fitch, but, as usual, I didn’t get the memo.

How do you decide?

Adiós, er, Au revoir

June 12, 2008

The Spouse and I will be taking a quick trip across the Channel to Normandy. (No, we’re not taking the Chunnel. It’s $600+ each just to get to Calais on the coast!) And then we’ll fly back to the U.S. for Second Son’s wedding. I’ll blog if I can find an uplink somewhere. Have a lovely weekend!

My life in shoes: Crocs

June 12, 2008

I brought a pair of black Crocs with me to London, and I haven’t worn them once. While they are rivaling flip flops as the standard casual footwear in my corner of the world, the Brits appear to eschew them. The only Crocs I’ve seen on the street have been on children and German tourists. Darn. I find them incredibly comfortable and versatile, and I’ve seen a lot of cute sandal and slipper-type variations of the original style. They even have a style with medium-high heels! How cute is that? And all those colors! I wonder, how environmentally friendly are they?

Update: Just found a pair of these on sale at Von Maur in Columbus. Hooray!

About blogging: 100 posts

June 10, 2008

To celebrate my 100th post on Ye Olde Blogge Syte — thank you, thank you, I couldn’t have done it without you — may I offer a few observations about life online?

1. SEX SELLS. Paris Hilton. Victoria and David Beckham. Madonna. Sex and the City. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Tyra Banks. Gossip Girl. There. Just by mentioning those names, I have guaranteed that this will be a record-setting post for me. My popular culture posts have been among the most viewed, and I, for a brief, giddy moment, considered changing the whole outlook of my site. But reason prevailed. I’m not fascinated by celebrity, and blogging continually about it just for readership would certainly turn me into some sort of Blog Whore. Celebrity blogs are fine, but not for me.

Read the rest of this entry »

It’s not easy being green

June 9, 2008

I’ve been thinking dark, brooding thoughts about the dwindling availability of natural resources (like, you know, gasoline) and the attendant rise in prices of just about everything. In light of my recent post on making the best of the recession, I’ve decided to make a list of my green — and not-so-green — behaviors:

My good deeds:

Read the rest of this entry »