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Say what you mean

We’re having a little issue in our house around language. No, not foul language. One of my children grew up thinking “stupid” and “shut up” were bad words, so there’s no issue with the four-lettered variety. Rather, it’s all about inference and implication, specifically what isn’t being said but sits loosely veiled beneath what is being said.

“I didn’t mean it like that!” is the common exclamation these days. Read more »

Professional worrier

I picked my 15-year-old daughter up from dance recital rehearsal last night and she was a frazzled mess – hair fuzzing out of her messy bun in 20 directions, cheeks flushed and eyes dark with concern. Before getting into the car, she commiserated with two friends, her hands flying around her head, tugging at her unruly mane while the other girls seemed to be assuring her of something. Read more »

Tired to inspired

I bought a shelving unit over 7 months ago from joann fabrics. I had seen it during one of my trips to buy yarn, thought of many uses for it before deciding on the perfect place for it in my bathroom. Constructed out of solid pine and unfinished, I wanted to put my finishing touches to it. So I bought it. I went to Home Depot and found feet for the piece, put a coat of paint on it, sanded it, painted it again, going for that country distressed look. I’ve refinished a small armoire in the past with that distressed look, so I felt confident that this one would look alright. Sure enough, it was relegated to a corner for months not only being neglected, but not even sitting properly, and without its feet attached. There are a few other projects that I’ve started with good intention to finish, but somehow they find themselves filed under: temporarily on hold. Every Saturday I wake up and decide to re-open a file and change the status of a project from dormant to active.

shelving

The other day, I moved the unit out of my way, again, and decided to finish it so that I can use it in the way I had originally envisioned. I recently saw the most amazing idea on the relatively new Pinterest.com site of an old dresser brought back to life with words stenciled on the front of it, drawers and all, and distressed. I like the site, it’s basically an online scrapbook of ideas: recipes to try, dog photos I love, my food photography, exercise routines, dream destinations, and well-designed spaces. My file cabinet is packed with stored folders of ripped magazine pages with similar themes: favorite kitchens, gardens, exteriors, travel ideas, and health articles. It’s the same idea, just different media. Online “boards” replace paper file folders. and while Pinterest provides virtual folders of visuals with a pin-board motif all highly organized and promising less paperwork and clutter in my file cabinet, it’s also a venue for rampant sharing of ideas with a sort of anonymity. No friending, no drama.

I clicked on the photo of that dresser someone had initially shared on a board that I follow, and it took me to the designers’ site with step-by-step instructions complete with photos of its evolution from tired to inspired. No matter how many times the photo gets re-pinned from various admirers, the credit eventually gets back to the originator of the image or idea at its original source. I re-pinned the photo of the dresser onto my “redo, reuse, relove” board. The words on the dresser are New York City street names – 42nd Street, Houston, Broadway, etc. – which is not only brilliant, but visually stunning. So I decided on the top of this shelving unit I’m working on, I would apply street names from the city where I live, one word being “Hope.” This weekend, I bought some letter stencils at the college bookstore, more paint, and now with a new vision in mind, I’m back in business and will complete this piece, at least before the year is over!

If you haven’t discovered Pinterest, check it out. Be sure to find the ConnectHer page and follow us!

Dieting mind games

Fresh back from vacation, with its fruity umbrella drinks and reckless gastronomic decisions, we’re focusing on healthy eating in our household. So, this morning, I did what every person who likes to keep track of weight loss does – I got on the scale. It’s a digital scale, supposedly a good model. The floor is wood and flat. I have a specific spot where I line the top up with the grain of the wood so it’s always in the same place. I got on. Then got off. Got on again. Got off again. I did this five times because I wanted to double-check the first number and then the second number was different. In fact, all five numbers were different and the range was an amazing five pounds!

This is where the dieting mind games come in, at least for me. If this was week two of the healthy eating campaign and I wanted to see how well I’d been doing (translation: how many pounds had come off), I’d go with the lower number. That would represent the greatest weight loss. I could rejoice, buy a new Pandora bead, run around the house wiggling my smaller behind. But, because this was day one of week one, what number do you think I went with?

My husband wisely said I should take an average of all five numbers. That would probably have been the safest, most logical solution to the limitations of machinery, but who has a calculator in their pocket at 6 am. Who even has a pocket?

Nope. I wrote down the highest number. That way, I figure I will certainly lose weight this week. For goodness sake, I lost weight in the split second it took me to jump off, reset the scale and jump back on. It could have been all that hopping on the cold wooden floor burning off a few calories, but not likely.

What does that say about me? Does it say I’m setting the bar low and plan on trading healthy choices for junk food this week until the scale settles down? I don’t consciously have those intentions but I think it’s like any of the other mind games we hear about when dieting. Eat on a smaller plate, use a salad fork so the bites look larger, brush your teeth so that Snickers bar looks less appealing (please). They’re all little tricks to keep us focused and motivated. Maybe feeling like you’re cheating the scale when you’re not gives a sense of victory.

I guess the real test comes next week when I check in with the scale. Will I take one reading and stop re-checking? Will I re-check and go with the highest number or the lowest? How long can I keep tricking myself like this? And, why oh why don’t I have stamina for exercise like I do for the mind tricks?

Lose the leakage

My brother gave me a sign as a gift, and a not-so-subtle reminder that I am older than he. It’s pretty tin and says, “When I laugh, the tears run down my leg.” Chuckles all around, but truly, incontinence is not a laughing matter. And, the days of women suffering in silence should be over. There’s too many of us – about 10 million women age 30 to 59 in the U.S., 50,000 right here in Rhode Island. Why worry about leaking when you laugh, cough or hit a few bumps in the road? Why spend money on special liners or underwear? Find out the cause and possible solutions for incontinence at Women & Infants’ Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery. Call for an appointment at (401) 453-7593.

Crowning glory?

I read somewhere recently that the pop singer Rihanna has had more than 400 hairstyles in the last few years. Obviously, this is one of those riveting tidbits that the celebrity media like monitoring, but it did get me to thinking about hair. Specifically, of course, about my hair. I am blessed (sarcasm lightly applied) with thick natural curl that is more wave when it’s long and poodle-like when it’s short. I am not, however, blessed with the gene that enables me to fashionably style it. Four hundred hairstyles seems like they’d last me more than six lifetimes, as I’m sure wearing it long and wavy down and long and wavy in a ponytail don’t count as two individual styles.
As a child, my hair was kept in a short bowl-like bob or a 70s-style Carol Brady shag. In fact, I think my brothers’ hair was cut with the same bowl and one brother modified the shag in the 80s to look like one of the Scorpions. They were simple hairstyles, ergo there was no instruction as to styling. And, with curl, trying to style is often futile anyway. Curl has a mind of its own, and never seems to swirl the same way twice. In my early 30s, I started to grown my hair long and I’ve experimented with every product that bears the word “curly” on the label. More recently, I’ve discovered the beauty of the flag iron, which presses the curls down to a sleek, more polished look. These looks, and a Dorothy Hamill style thrown in there, amount to a mere fraction of looks. Rounded curl bangs and side-swept bangs add a few more. I’m still nowhere near 400 in 40 plus years, never mind the past two.
The thought got me slightly depressed. Hair is the crowning glory, isn’t it? A great style or one of those seemingly effortless coifs can make or break a person’s look. It made me want to experiment a little more with the tools in my linen closet. After an hour or so with the flat iron, the curling iron, clips, something new called a hair wand and a million bobby pins, I resigned myself to a less exciting hair life than Rihanna’s. It’s not worth the sweaty palms I had during my experiment, the distressed looks I got from my teenage daughter, or the time. Genetically impaired as I am, I’ll just let the hair decide as I have for 40 years.