Friday, January 30, 2009

Weighing in on Jessica

Poor Jessica Simpson.  The girl gains a little weight and boy is she getting beat up in the media.

She looks just fine to me.  I would not describe her new look as fat.  She's got big boobs, curvy hips, great legs, nice hair, nice skin, nice smile.  What's not to love?

Why is it that female celebrities have to maintain a certain look, a certain weight in order to measure up to Hollywood's idea of attractive?  Male celebrities seem to be able to pack on a few pounds without losing their desirability.  John Travolta is not the svelte guy he was in Saturday Night Fever and yet still has his fans.  Plenty of actors are not thin--Russell Crowe, Denzel Washington, and Tom Hanks, to name a few--and yet they're big stars who get many of the leads in movies.

I don't get it.  Why the pressure on women to be thin? What's wrong with curves?  Jessica's boyfriend seems to like her this way.  And from what I've heard, Jessica likes herself this way, too.  She likes going out to dinner with her boyfriend and ordering tasty foods from the menu. Who wouldn't?  Salads aren't exactly scrumptious and get really boring and monotonous after a while.  Why shouldn't women be able to eat the same yummy foods men eat?

But I do wonder if more women are mocking Jessica's weight gain than men.  Maybe that's what it is.  Maybe it's jealous females who are secretly happy that Jessica is heavier now because they believe this will diminish her popularity.

Who knows?  I sure wouldn't want to be in the public eye like that, constantly scrutinized and photographed.  We all have our bad days, bad outfit choices, and bad moods.

Jessica seems to be smiling through it all, so you've gotta give her credit for that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sex, sex, sex!

Now that I have your attention.

No, sex is not really the topic.  It's writing.  Trying to maintain interest in a project all the way through.  I have trouble with that.  At the beginning I get very excited about a novel or short story I'm working on.  The ideas fly fast and furious like bees buzzing around honey.  Can't get it down on paper fast enough.  Get all absorbed in the characters and plot.  But then...

Yes, then it comes screeching to a halt.  Can't figure out which direction to take, boredom sets in, real life pulls me away.  Or--another idea pops up for some other story and I find myself fantasizing about that brand new, never tried out story.

Come to think of it, writing is kinda like sex.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Her powder white gown stretches across the lawn,
dazzles in the winter sun.
Others will stand at attention
watching her majesty
knowing her reign is short-lived.

Soon the emerald green will rise up,
stretching its arms across the land
springing a different sun into motion,
melting the white gown,
melting, melting, melting.

But for now winter wears the crown
with a cold and icy smile
and stiff arms branching out
to tell the world
her reign is here to stay.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


There's a song I like called Love This Time with some lyrics that always stick in my mind.

"You can cut me down with just one word or say the sweetest things I've ever heard".

The power of words.  Do we really know how much power they wield?  A parent tells a child he's stupid.  If he hears that enough times, he comes to believe it.  A bunch of boys tell a girl she's ugly.  She not only believes it, she grows up with a negative self image she might never turn positive.  A husband takes a snipe at his wife for some minor infraction leading her to lose confidence in herself and her ability to make her own decisions.  And all because of words.

I've always believed that words do more damage than physical blows.  You can hit someone over and over again and still he'll get back on his feet.  He may have some bruises but they'll fade in time.  But words?  No, I think words can last a lifetime.  A person stores them away in a file in the brain and some event will trigger them, push them into our Inbox.  Oh that's right, I can't do anything right.  Oh that's right, I'm ugly, so no amount of makeup is going to make me look good.  Oh that's right, I'm stupid--I really can't get that job I wanted.

Mental health professionals strive to fix this negative thinking, to undo the damage caused by negative programming.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Words stick to the brain like crazy glue; it takes some serious chiseling to get them off.

What works best is prevention, not using words that hurt in the first place.  A friend of mine once said of someone I know, "It sounds like he is careless with words."  Careless.  Yes.

We should all strive to choose our words carefully.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Mother's Room (revisited)

She knows me, but I don't know her.
This frail woman who gave me life
is a stranger now
in a pastel prison
with a pink curtain
dividing her room in half.

I bring her hot coffee in a throwaway cup
and she holds it to her lips,
savoring the taste and smell,
smiling,  remembering perhaps
coffee in her own kitchen long ago.

Then she takes me on a journey
into the past, 
recalling people and places,
her dog running to meet her
as she wove her way home from school.
Her bike rides, games,
and marbles--simple pleasures
from a time I've never seen.

It will never be that way again
and neither will she.
Time will strip her
of her muscles and memories.
She knows me, but some day soon
I will be the stranger
she is to me now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dreaming of Summer

(Adding onto this today, January 15th)

Okay, it's cold.  It's really cold.  Can't go outside without a coat, gloves and hat.  My skin is dry and itchy.  My hair has that electricity thing going for it.  If I go to touch something--ZAP! Shocking.  I try putting water on my hair to get it to sit down.  It sits down very briefly.  The next time I have to go outside, I first have to stick my hat on my head, so of course when I remove my hat, voila, the electricity is back!  Okay.  Forget it.  I either have to go hatless or just plan on spending the rest of the winter looking like Einstein.  Ever see his hair?

We used to have an Einstein poster in the kids' bedroom when they were little.  Why?  I have no idea.  My husband put it up.  I think he had this notion that staring at Einstein every day would somehow make the kids smarter.  And, come to think of it, it worked!

But back to winter.  I've never liked it.  So why do I live in New England?  Good question.  Because I was born here.  Because it's too expensive to move.  Yeah.  So it is simply a matter of toughing it out, dreaming of spring.  And dreaming of summer.

Sigh.  What is there to do but dream of summer.  Warm weather, flip flops, ice cream, blue skies, sandy beaches.  Sundresses, skimpy swimsuits, tank tops, sandals.  Sunshine.  I miss the sun.

Sigh.  I'm gonna find a cave and hibernate for a while.  I'll see you in the spring!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

You say you want a resolution...

I've been working on my New Year's resolutions.  I know, I know.  People never keep them so why bother making them, right?

Well, maybe there is a good reason.  I figure if I write them down here in this blog, I can keep coming back to make sure I stay on track.  It's worth a shot.  So, without further ado...

In 2009 I resolve to...
1. Read more books.  I am already keeping this one.  Have now read two novels this month.  My goal will be to read at least one novel per month.
2. Finish each writing project I start no matter long it is meant to be.
3. Stay on track with my healthy eating and exercising.
4. Seek out new writing markets.
5. Encourage my family members to be more self-sufficient which includes saying no to their requests that often eat up my time.
6. Volunteer somewhere.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Old Age

I've been pondering the old age dilemma for some time now.  It pops up in my mind from time to time as I observe the effects of old age in people I know, people I love.  And nothing I've observed sweetens the idea of aging so far.  Particularly when I see what aging has done to my own parents.  My father died at the age of 90 after surgery to repair a hole in his small intestine--a risky procedure for anyone, even riskier for an elderly man.  Amazingly enough he survived the surgery.  But he still wasn't out of the woods, according to the surgeon.  And indeed he succumbed to the complications of the surgery and the illness itself--one he may have suffered for quite some time, but no one knew because he chose to keep it quiet.  That was his way, that was his choice.  My father hated going to the doctor; he hated hospitals.  And he stubbornly refused to enter a nursing home for many years.  Our family believes he wanted to die in his own home.

My mother has been living in a nursing home for the past 2 or 3 years.  The years have passed so quickly, I find it hard to calculate just how many have passed.  She is a victim of Alzheimer's, living a predictable life of routines that help her cope.  Her short-term memory leaves her forgetting anything that has been said or done in the past five minutes or so.  But her long-term memory is excellent and she often tells us stories from her past.  Still, with a progressive illness that will never get better, she can only live one day at a time and counts on nurse's aides to care for her, both emotionally and physically.

So all of this leads me to the question of aging.  Why does it scare me and why is it something I do not look forward to?

I think if an elderly person (say around age 80) looks back on his life and realizes he has accomplished quite a bit in all those years, then the idea of being old and perhaps close to death is not so scary or unfavorable.  And if that person still retains memories, is still able to think clearly, and is in reasonably good health, so much the better.

But a person who reaches old age realizing she has not accomplished all of her goals may have quite the opposite feeling about it.  How sad to have regrets about one's life, knowing time has run out, the body has run down, and it's too late to do anything about it.

So yes, old age scares me.  I haven't accomplished all of the things I want to accomplish.  And I certainly don't welcome illness.  And perhaps it also has something to do with control.  There are many things in our lives we can control, but we can't stop the aging process.  I can't snap my fingers at age 53 and say:  That's it!  I'm staying this age for the rest of my time on earth.

So what do you think?  Drop me a comment and weigh in on this topic.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

This is 2009!

Just finished reading Wifey by Judy Blume.  It's about a thirty-something married woman who's pretty much bored with her sex life.  She ends up having multiple sexual encounters, mostly with one guy from her past--the one that got away.   She's always loved the one that got away and thinks he'll just dump his wife and family and, after she's free, marry her.   No such luck she finds out.  So ultimately she has to decide whether to stay with her husband or divorce him and start over again.  She decides to stay with her husband and try to make things better.

I must say I was surprised by the ending.  The husband is not nice to her all throughout the book.  He criticizes her like crazy, is very rigid in his ways and thinking, and even though he says he loves her, doesn't SHOW it.  After all of the things she discovers about herself throughout the story, one might think she would have one of those Ah ha! moments and think to herself:  Screw this lifestyle!  I'm outta here!  This just ain't working.

Cue Dr. Phil's question:  How's that workin' for ya?  
Main character in novel:  It's not workin' for me, Dr. Phil.

Ah, but that's today's world.  This novel was written in 1978.  A different time period.  Written today, perhaps there'd be a different outcome.  The main character would visit a shrink, read a lot of self-help books, watch Oprah and Dr. Phil, talk to her girlfriends in detail, and ultimately decide to divorce the rigid, critical, snobbish, only wants sex on Saturday nights and in the missionary position husband of hers and start over again.

Ah.  But this is 2009.  It is, isn't it?