But He Has a Wife/Secretary

I used to read time management books. I also read a couple of “how to increase your creativity” books. Every one of them had a fatal flaw: they were written for men who had wives/secretaries/administrative assistants. Even books written by women seem to assume there is…staff. Someone else to deal with the stuff you’re too important to do.

What about when you are the wife, the admin, the bottom of the hill the crap rolls down?  No one has ever written a book for us.

Gloria Steinem once said:  “I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.” More recently, author Colleen Walsh stated her version of this quote.


Getting Rid of Make-Up

Many years ago, I let a couple of friends talk me into wearing makeup on a regular basis. So I had a couple of professional consultations. Bought reams of the stuff.  Way too much of it. It took time in the morning to apply. It took time at night to remove. I could never rub my eyes. No matter what kind of mascara I used, I ended up with racoon eyes. Makeup came off when I blew my nose. My winter coats had makeup on the collars. And my left eye watered nearly every day. I’m sure people thought I was crying.

A little over two years ago, during a hot spell, I was putting on my foundation, lamenting the fact that it was only going to melt off, when I realized I didn’t have to smear cosmetics on my face in order to go to work. My husband didn’t care. So I stopped. I thought I’d stopped just for the summer. But Labor Day came and I was enjoying my freedom from the routine too much. A year went by. Then two.

It was time to toss the stuff. A drawer full of little plastic compacts and tubes…

…became a waste basket full of the same.

The only thing I’ve used for two years is moisturizer and lip balm.

I’m still trying do decide what’s the next thing to go: coloring my hair or bras

#UpbeatAuthors: Self-Respect

When I become interested in an author, I will read all I can about that person. Many years ago, someone recommended A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf to me. I read it. I liked it. I bought several of her books. Didn’t care for her fiction. I took out volumes of her letters from the library and read them. I purchased A Writer’s Diary, a book with excerpts from her journals as compiled by her husband after her death. There were relatable moments. One might say I studied Virginia Woolf as an author.

A friend of mine was involved in a book discussion group at a local university. When the group was scheduled to discuss Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own, my friend invited me to attend with her. We went to the college professor’s home for the discussion. I was young, impressionable, and feeling rather awed that these educated people were including me, with my high school diploma, in their discussion. We drank tea in a room with red “oriental” carpets strewn over shiny wood floors. There may have been Georgia O’Keefe prints on the white walls. I was a little intimidated.

I didn’t say much. After all, who was I?

I now regret not speaking up at the end of the session, when the professor said, “We should all strive to emulate Virginia Woolf.”

As I said to my friend in the car as we drove home, “Why would I want to emulate a woman who committed suicide? Killing myself isn’t my definition of success.”

My friend was shocked. She didn’t realize Woolf had indeed killed herself. She berated me for not speaking out. I confessed my intimidation. She replied: “But you’re right.”

After that night, I didn’t feel quite so belittled for skipping college to get on with life. Not having a degree doesn’t mean I’m ignorant. It merely means I’m self-educated.


Two Seemingly Unrelated Memories

I don’t pretend to know everything. Heck, I don’t even know most things. But I do have an awareness of the world on a certain level. There was one year, though, that I began to wonder about that.

It began in the summer. Swatches were new and “the thing.” I made a comment about them, and the sister of a colleague looked at me and said, “How do you know about Swatches?” I looked at her and said, “We do have cable TV, you know.” OK, the city in which I live may not be the hotbed of the latest fashion trends, and probably never has been, but seriously? This was the 1980s. The Pony Express was long gone.

A few months later, a man I’d just started seeing  and I were watching a movie. The movie was not set in the US. There was a scene with some sort of fireworks-y celebration going on, and I murmured, “Oh, it’s probably Guy Fawkes Night.” The man paused the tape, turned to me and said, “How do you know about Guy Fawkes Night?” Now, this man was not British or any other nationality where Guy Fawkes Night is observed. I had just as much right to “know” about Guy Fawkes Night as he did.  The budding relationship got nipped right about then.

I read. That’s how I know things.



Happy First Day of Summer

Summer is my favorite season. Late spring and early autumn are nice, too, particularly since they bookend summer, but summer rocks.

Here are ten reasons I love summer:

  1. I love “summer” songs–the poolside music of my youth.
  2. Flowers. I love flowers. This year, I have coleus, too.
  3. Patio time. There are few pleasures greater than coming home from work, plopping on the patio with a glass of wine, and absorbing warmth.
  4. No boots. No jackets. No gloves.
  5. Driving. I don’t need to shovel out or brush off. The roads aren’t icy. I can open the sunroof on my car and enjoy the rush of warm air. Crank up radio and sing along.
  6. Summer foods. I love summer salads (if they don’t contain eggs or mayo). Fresh veggies and fruits. Herbs. Grilled meats. Ice cream.
  7. Baseball. Hanging out at the local minor league stadium with TV Stevie on a warm summer night is perfection.
  8. Bare feet/flipflops/sandals. I hate shoes. I  hate socks even more.
  9. Being warm. The heat doesn’t bother me the way it does some people. I am blessed.
  10. Summer casual attire. My workplace has a summer dress code that is more comfortable than the usual professional attire that is required. I think summer attire in general is more casual, even out of the work place.

What are some of your favorite things about summer?