“Dear Molly, this is just to say that the website and the blogs are sheer delight. I so enjoy them - witty, sharp and touching so cleverly on all aspects of our lives today. Thank you, Elizabeth”
Elizabeth Buchan, international bestselling author of, among others: "Revenge of the Middle", "Aged Woman", "Everything She Thought She Wanted", and new release "Separate Beds". www.elizabethbuchan.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on

LET THEM GO

Fall. The air is crisp, the apples are good again, and for me, it’s a liberation.

I no longer need pedicures. Closed shoes, you know.

This is both economically freeing and personally liberating, because a good pedicure costs more than $40, and doing my toes myself due to the pandemic is hard on my knees–all that bending to try to bring my toenails close enough to my eyes to apply the polish without getting it all over the skin on my toes.

I wonder if anybody else lets things go in the fall. Leg shaving? Shaving other areas?

I like fall for other reasons, too. I can’t imagine living in a place where the seasons don’t change. My LA daughter never sees the leaves turn colors. Granted, she and her family can sit outside to eat supper almost all year round, but since my husband believes that food spoils almost instantaneously if you carry it outside, we never eat out on the balcony anyway.

Cozies? Hygge? Candles? I love all those things. However, since moving to this brand-new apartment, the thermostat keeps the place exactly at the temp that you set; thus eliminating the need for sweaters or robes or anything. When it says it is 72 degrees in here, that is exactly what it is in every single nook or cranny. In the house that we lived in for thirty years, the thermostat was in the entry hall. So yes, it was nice and warm in the entry, but when you went upstairs, sweaters were not optional after October 30.

Fall means comfort food. Soups, chili, and food covered in gravy. Now that my husband has taken over the cooking, we will see what pans out (pun actually intended.) He is turning out to be a much better cook than I ever was, so I am looking forward to winter for that reason. And sidebar: He takes time in plating the food so it looks just like the pictures on the recipes, whereas I just schlepped it onto plates and slid them onto the table. A lot has changed gastronomically.

So. Fall. The leaves. The soups. The “fall back” early sunsets. It’s catalog season, too. I love looking at all the sweaters. I do wonder, however, if cashmere will go out of style, what with global warming and menopause.

I can’t even imagine what eating soup while wearing a sweater would be like, but I know it wouldn’t be any fun at all.

And the flannel sheet sets? Are those just for people who live in North Dakota?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on LET THEM GO

A CAUTIONARY TALE

I am a victim of misinformation.

I may not be a victim of misinformation.

It could be that I am the victim of my own faith in what I see on the Internet.

I could be a victim of stupidity.

In my defense, I saw this on more than one internet site, so as a red-blooded American who defines seeing something on multiple www’s as actual research, I believed it.

The “personal trainers” on the web said that if you can’t sit down on the floor and then get up without USING YOUR HANDS, you will be dead in less than five years.

Five years.

I even watched the videos of these (obviously fit) people doing it. They put one foot behind the other, sort of like getting ready to curtsey, and then lowered themselves gracefully to the floor. They took a deep breath, then using just the strength in their ankles, calves, and thighs, sprang to their feet.

The thinking behind this, and I am not sure whether nine out of ten doctors agree, or if there is some study published somewhere that says that if you can’t do this, it is an indication of your overall health, and being too weak to spring up from sitting cross-legged in a single movement means you will get cancer, a stroke, or break a hip. Then die. The research wasn’t cited.

However, I saw these videos and realized that my death is imminent.

So I began to practice. First, I lowered myself down next to the bed, so I could use it for balance, in case I began to fall. I began to fall. The bed didn’t help. So I landed hard on my ass. But I was down there, at least.

The experts said to lean back a little, and rock forward to create momentum. The momentum would get you started, and then you could just sort of roll up into a full stand.

I tried this a number of times, unsuccessfully.

Then I managed to roll up onto one knee, then struggle up somehow twisting as if being mugged, but I managed to stand. Without using my hands, goddammit.

I was so excited that I was going to live at least six more years, that I called my husband to come and witness. “Watch, Charlie!” And I did it again.

I was so proud of myself. I was fit. I was in for a long future.

The next morning, I could barely move.

My chiropractor asked me if I had any ivermectin in my medicine cabinet, in case of emergency.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A CAUTIONARY TALE

I ASK MYSELF

I left Twitter and Facebook right after the last presidential election, at the beginning of the pandemic. Constant scrolling for “news,” all of which was bad, and reading what everyone else in the world was thinking, all of it disheartening, got me down. So all of a sudden one day I just deleted my accounts. I have not regretted this.

I held on to my Instagram account, however. I visit Instagram multiple times a day.

For those of you who don’t know, Instagram started out as a way for people to share photos, videos, and other images. These can be accompanied by text, not limited to a certain number of characters, the way Twitter limits user posts. That’s it in a nutshell. Sounds sort of lame, right? Either that or one of the most genius social media platforms ever. I am torn as to what the reality is. But Instagram is certainly not good for you.

Here is why I am still on Instagram: for the photos of the inside of people’s houses, as an outlet for my voyeuristic side. I also follow all sorts of cute dogs and cats. Then there are the jewelry accounts, because my love for diamonds never wanes. Throw in the New York Times food page, other food sites, and I could spend hours just scrolling through Instagram. Oh, yes, and I follow a bunch of other writers and lots of artists.

What I didn’t know until I watched a documentary about it, is that Instagram is the sole income source for lots of people. These “influencers,” many of them under the age of 25, make millions of dollars. How do they do it?

These people make videos on Instagram that go “viral.” This means that unlike my Instagram posts of my cat, these influencers’ posts amass thousands upon thousands of followers–some of them making it into the millions. Their followers hit the “like” button on their posts, and so all of this attention attracts advertisers, who pay the influencers to tout stuff like soft drinks, clothing, shoes, makeup, and the like. Apparently, being an influencer is an actual career.

I am not in the cohort of people who are influenced by the influencers. I have no idea who any of them are, other than the kids I saw on the documentary. And they could care less about me and my cat photos.

So as I scrolled through my Instagram feed this afternoon, I wondered why the hell I even go on Instagram in the first place. It is a huge time waster. I asked myself why I feel obligated to post at least every other day: either an adorable photo of my cat, one of my many drawings, a pitch for someone to buy one of my books, or an artful shot of something in the apartment.

Am I striving to influence somebody? Who might that be? Influence them to do what? Do I have aspirations to become somehow popular on Instagram as a representative of the Baby Boomer generation, few of whom probably even know what Instagram is? Is there a corporation on the planet who would want to pay me to post something on Instagram about one of their products? Of course not.

Do I want my cat to become famous? Do I hope that somehow a celebrity will notice my Instagram feed and start following me? Do I want to become known for the chair in my living room that is in so many of my cat postings? What is it that drives me to maintain a presence on Instagram?

I am not sure. Here is the answer I give people who ask me about it, though:

One has to keep abreast of social media or become a dinosaur.

Until I figure out the real answer, this one will have to do.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on I ASK MYSELF

BLOODTHIRSTY

My husband says that my television viewing consists of about 90 hours per week. I protested that statistic, until a friend and I were comparing what we are currently watching.

I ticked off a list of the sorts of shows I view, and two things became evident: One, the amount of titles I mentioned was as long as my arm. So yes, I guess it must all add up to a lot of hours. Second, most of them involve murders.

Unsolved ones. Now those shows are frustrating! Why have them on if the perpetrator isn’t caught? And if he is still around, he could strike again. Perhaps that is why these shows are popular–to make us nervous and to keep us from parking in dim garages, especially if we are going clubbing alone and staying out late. Which I don’t have to worry about. So I watch these shows.

Another category is the documentaries about serial killers. I watch those, too. Most of those guys have been caught, so I can feel secure while viewing the gory details. Every serial killer eventually makes a mistake. And thank God for DNA! Now one cigarette butt can get the guy put away for life.

The shows that make me sad are the ones in which the bad guy goes free, due to an excellent defense lawyer. These attorneys are so good at punching holes in the prosecutions’ cases: you know the drill–it’s just circumstantial, or hearsay, or not beyond the shadow of a doubt. How do these people sleep at night, knowing that they are getting scumbags off? And how do the scumbags afford these attorneys?

I am so imbued with crime now, that I A) Won’t take the stairs in my building. Way too dangerous. B) I check the backseat before I get in my car. C) Alleys are off limits. D) Now that everybody wears masks, I get even more nervous than I was before, and I wonder what kind of masks a criminal would choose: black? One with skeletons on it? A leather one? D) I thank heaven that it is now ok to stay home most of the time. And E) I decided to look for a  new genre of programming to watch.

I can be sure of one thing: it won’t be cooking shows.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BLOODTHIRSTY

THE CHANGE-UP

The photo above represents not just my cat, but something I almost never, ever do. You see, I am the sort of person that decides on a certain decor–a particular arrangement of the furniture and various accessories in my place of residence, and that is the end, period. If stuff looks good, it stays there.

Remember the days when there were summer slipcovers? That your mom put on the furniture in April and took off again in October (well, not my mom, but those aspirational moms who had apartments in New York and also homes in the Hamptons)? The women whose families returned home from work and school to find the furniture rearranged? One more example: the people who have so many wonderful pieces of art that they have to keep them in constant rotation? People like that?

Yes, well. As I mentioned above, I like permanence. I like my house to be the same, all the time. Once I get things set, I take a lot of comfort and pleasure in looking around at my static and satisfying environment. Summer slipcovers take up a lot of storage space. Moving sofas around is just an invitation to back spasms, as far as I am concerned.

But gosh. This week I happened to walk by the open door of one of the apartments on my floor. I glanced in and saw a woman I had nodded to in passing, and this woman was surrounded by a whole bunch of really gorgeous artwork. So of course, I stopped dead in my tracks and invited myself in.

It turns out that all of that artwork was hers. Yes, she owned it, but I mean she produced it. She is an artist, she has a studio in one of the bedrooms in her space, and of course, I elbowed my way in to see all of her paintings.

The long story short is that within the space of two hours, I had not only asked her if she would be my friend, but I inveigled an invitation for me and my husband to come over. The result is the picture above of my cat admiring the two new paintings I bought from my neighbor.

So I found myself taking down one painting, hanging two new ones, and rehanging the old one in a new spot. This was both exhilarating and unsettling for all three of us: my husband, who went up and down the ladder seventy times until the pictures were even, straight, and at the right height; the cat, who thought the picture hooks were bugs she needed to jump at and kill; and me, who spent a sleepless night realizing that the first place I chose for the new abstracts was absolutely wrong. So we had to rehang everything all over again. At seven thirty the next morning. Before we even had our coffee. Because things were just not right.

I am now satisfied with the hangings.  There is cohesion, balance, and the right sense of focus. We got it right. I can relax. Nothing will change until I die. No summer slipcovers over here, for heaven’s sake. Get it the way you want it and leave it alone is my motto.

By the way, the artist and my new friend?

Her name is Susanne King. You can visit her website http://ssk-art.com

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE CHANGE-UP

DRAWING A BLANK

Writing a blog post every single week for over what? ten years–becomes harder as time goes by. I cast around for topics, and since nothing in the news is “good” any more, writing about current events gets repetitive. I mean, how often do you hear about shots, masks, floods, climate change, the narrowing of women’s rights, and unemployment? Granted, I have never written a blog post about unemployment, and I am not about to start now.

So I though I might share with you some of the topics I have considered writing about lately, all of them rejected:

  • I miss seeing the insides of all of the newscasters’ houses, now that they are no longer broadcasting from home.
  • I may never go to a restaurant again.
  • Eating a hot dog takes one week off your life.
  • I saw a headline in my news feed, that read HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE INSOMNIA.
  • My husband almost never uses a coaster.
  • They make milk out of every single nut on earth these days.
  • Apparently, you can make every single recipe using a sheet pan.
  • I know of five things to do with dental floss that don’t involve teeth.
  • During my colonoscopy, I thought I was watching HGTV.
  • Camomile tea is a scam. It does not make you sleepy.
  • I never watch the Grammys because I have no idea who any of those musicians are.
  • I fall for clickbait every single time.
  • I thought a thirst trap was the desert.
  • Arthritis.

See you next week, when I am sure I will have so much to say about so many things, it will be tough to choose.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on DRAWING A BLANK

THE GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN

I am taking a wheel pottery class.

I am the worst student in the class. I actually made the above pot on the wheel, and if you have watched The Great Pottery Throw Down on HBO, you will readily acknowledge that it is pitiful.

I signed up for the class because of the pandemic. I need something to do. Writing books is not what I can concentrate on at the moment, and sitting around the house waiting for the booster shots to be available isn’t any fun.

So I signed up for BEGINNING WHEEL POTTERY at my local arts center. I soon found out that this title is completely misleading because everyone in the class but me already knew how to throw pots. First off, the instructor called all the other students by their first names.  Then, the woman next to me leaned right in to her wheel, and without so much as a slight hesitation, began to throw a teapot, for God’s sake. As the others merrily centered their clay and leaned into their wheels, I looked around in confusion while kneading the blob in my hands.

If you are expecting me to tell you that after a few sessions I got the hang of it, you are wrong. The pot above was produced on the final day of class. The other students, the ones who produced graceful urns, salad bowls, sets of dinner plates, and actual candlesticks, told me not to get discouraged. Nevertheless, I persisted in getting discouraged.

Figuring that perhaps wheel pottery isn’t for me, I signed up for Beginning Hand Pottery in September. No wheels involved. I swear, if on the first day, the other students start right in sculpturing birds in flight or busts of Beethoven, I am quitting.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE GREAT POTTERY THROW DOWN

TAKE A HIKE

Hikers are stalwarts. They love terrain. Nothing thrills them more than putting on their stout shoes, spraying insect repellent all over, donning a knapsack, filling a water bottle/s, and heading out.

I am not in this group. First off, I have two bad knees, so walking in nature is fraught with the possibility of stepping in a hole and twisting something irrevocably. This means I have to look down all the time, so I miss the view.

But I have to be honest here. I have a very narrow window in which taking so much as a walk is possible. I am very sensitive to weather. If it is hot, I am overcome by sweat. Humidity gives me both sweat and steamed up glasses. If it is too cold, then breathing makes my chest hurt. So in order to venture into the outside world, I require a temperature range of between 70 and 75 degrees, little or no humidity, and a gentle breeze.

This doesn’t happen very often, but today it did, and my husband and I took a walk through Cox Arboretum, and we enjoyed the birds, the prairie, and the breeze. I didn’t trip over anything, no water bottles were necessary, and it was almost meditational.

These perfect walking conditions will probably not come together again for months or perhaps years. So nature and I are good for the duration.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on TAKE A HIKE

SUMMER’S END

The nasturtiums on the balcony are looking puny. The sweet potato vines are, too. I have dried all the hydrangeas that will fit in vases, and the August drought has set in.

What an odd summer it has been. Is the pandemic over? In July, it was a resounding “YES!” Now, just a few weeks later, we aren’t so sure. All those customers who were so brazenly mask-less at the grocery store are now masking up once again. I am so glad that I didn’t throw away our cache of masks; I almost did, but thought better of it.

Anxiety has returned. I am worried about my grandchildren, who are too young to be vaccinated, going to school. My grandson told me over FaceTime today that he “will probably get the Delta variant.” He is 7. Way too aware. It made my heart clench.

We are living pretty much as we have. My husband assures me that he is wearing his mask when he goes to church and to his other activities, so I have to trust that he will be fine. I certainly put my mask on, even to walk down the hall to the trash room. But I wonder how much longer this surreal way of life will continue. What will happen at Christmas? Will we be able to fly to California? Or will we have to spend another holiday, just the two of us, awash in bleakness?

I try not to be furious with those who have chosen not to get vaccinated, but it is hard to watch the news about exhausted hospital workers and not get mad. Then I realize that a lot of them have chosen not to get the vaccine, and I just don’t get it.

In the mean time, I plod along, working on “at home projects,” looking out the window, and wishing that life from the “good old days” would return. It never will, will it?

None of us who have lived through this will forget it. Our fears may remain for months or years. Will we ever shake hands or hug without first considering if it is a good idea to do so? Will standing close to another person seem somehow ominous? Will sourdough bread ever be free of negative associations?

I hate staying home. But I don’t want to go anywhere, either. And I admire the brave souls who are out in the world, going on with things.

How long will it take for me to join them?

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on SUMMER’S END