I Messed Up the First Attempt, But the Second Was a Charm-Making the Vote Count!

So, I was all set to write a blog post about weight gain/loss friendly clothing but I was waylaid. If you read my last post, then you most likely caught my voting faux pas.

It’s all about the stretch–but I’ll continue this in a few days from now!

I’ll refresh your memory and if you didn’t read the last blog post, I’ll explain.

Bonaparte and I received Vote-by-Mail Ballots.  Apparently during the last local election, I requested a mail-in ballot and that request grandfathered over into this Presidential election. Bonaparte made his request specifically for this election.

When the ballots arrived, I showed little interest. It was because my plan was to get up early on the morning of November 3, make sure my iPhone was fully-charged so that I could play Candy Crush on the long line that was anticipated while sitting my ever-expanding derrière in a folding chair that I had planned to store in the trunk of my car the night before.

Democratic Voters Surge in Texas Primary, Waiting in Long Lines as  Officials Struggle to Keep Up

Let’s add masks, and coats and possibly umbrellas if the weather is rainy, people social distancing and me, sitting on a chair playing Candy Crush.  It’s not the greatest scenario!

Voting in person was very important to me because I don’t trust the post office and I don’t trust the Republican contingent and their slithering ways to suppress voters.  I vowed to stand sit in line all day if need be.

keep me posted

Well…not anymore!

But something happened.  My husband, in his very French way, explained to me that I was no longer 25 or 30 years old.  He went on to remind me that our demographic is susceptible to Covid and that I want to be well to see my future grandson! (Yes!  Oona and Sam are having a boy—I’ll be writing another post about it).

This is the age I imagine me to be…

Whereas this is the age I am.

He had me at grandson.  And so, I had a change of heart and decided that perhaps voting by mail would not be such a bad thing after all.

Our plan was to drive to the drop box behind City Hall and the Courthouse in Norristown, the political epicenter of Montgomery County, PA. We would do it Saturday (this past) morning.  The drop box hours for Saturday were 11 AM through 4 PM. And we would get there early—after all, that’s what old people do. They arrive way early for any event at any given time—provided it is at least an hour before opening.

dance GIF

Yeah. It’s like we older people hav nothing better to do than arrive early. Oh wait! We can entertain the crowds!

I added the address to my WAZE app on my iPhone well in advance and I was getting very excited.

Waze Audio Player Opens Worldwide | by Waze | Waze | Medium

 

WAZE is the freakin’ bomb!  It warns you of police ahead, automobile accidents, traffic backups and you can listen to music on Spotify while navigating!

On Friday, the evening before we were to drop our ballots off, Bonaparte made copies of the ballots and whilst enjoying our aperitifs of Kir Royals, we completed our pretend ballots. It was like being back in school and doing homework.  I was ecstatic at this point.

Very classy Friday evening.  Voter practice with a drink in my hand!

When I fell asleep, I had visions of dropping my ballot off and being such a proud American citizen—and a senior one at that, to bring my beloved country back on track!  I imagined myself as Lady Liberty—or Marianne leading the French Revolution—but only in America!

Liberty Leading the People,' an Important French Revolution Painting

Well, at least the flag’s colors are the same!  And a bra is needed but you get the gist of my dream! It was ME leading the new revolution!  The Suburban Housewife revolution!

Saturday morning arrived and I awoke with the hope and glory that only one does when they look forward to doing their civic duty.  I got dressed, even wore makeup and picked out a “good” wig! And I hummed Neil Diamond’s “America” as I skipped down the stairs to the dining room.

TTBBM Neil Diamond - America Song #MondayMemories | Neil diamond, Diamond,  America

Yes!  Neil Diamond’s “America” is the story of my immigrant grandparents.  I sing of thee Neil. I sing of thee!

Bonaparte was already waiting for me.  He had the ballots at the table.  Two black pens and both the secure envelopes and the envelopes everything went in were laid out nicely and in order.

Before I go further, let me explain something to you.  At work, I’m uber-organized. Everything in my cubicle is placed for efficiency. I’m not kidding either. I can be blindfolded and still manage to hand anyone a document they may need because I’ve placed every piece of paper, every form and document and packet in such a way that I don’t even need to see where they are.

The New Office Casual and Some Inspiration from Adam Ant | Atypical 60

I kid you not. My cubicle is incredibly organized the placement of every document in for better efficiency!

I have a raffle-sized wheel of certified stickers for mailing and I’ve memorized every number that is needed with the exception of the last four as they are different on each individual sticker.

I have memorized every number on my roll of certified mail stickers with the exception of the changing last four.  This is not normal behavior and I realize that!

Managers have expressed their fascination with my organized little cubicle world.  I have checklists for every process and typewritten notes for procedures.  My cubicle is my happy place and during the pandemic it became my second home!

You need to know this to be completely flummoxed when I explain what happened next.

To fully understand just how complex the Pennsylvania mail ballot is, please read this article by Claire Sasko (who also took the photo): The Pennsylvania Mail In Ballot

I filled out my “real” ballot.  I carefully signed my name to the outside envelope, dated it, printed my name.  The ballot was sealed and I was ready to go.

And then Bonaparte spotted something.  It was the “secure” envelope that the ballot was supposed to be placed into.  It was on the table.  In front of where I sat. It was empty.

I forgot to place the ballot into the secure envelope and then into the envelope I completed.

A little vignette of what went down at Chateau Lartigue!

In a mad rush, and shaking more than Joe Cocker ever did, I tore open the envelope without a thought of what I was doing.  The envelope was destroyed.  And I stood there shocked.  I screwed up.

To be honest, I was beside myself and started to cry. The tears were because I felt that I failed my America. This is the most important election of my lifetime.  I am voting for the spirit of my sister, Beth Ann who died many years ago. Had she lived, she would have been severely disabled both mentally and physically.  The present president made fun of her publicly when he made fun of the disabled at a rally.  It was filmed for all to see.   I was voting for the spirit of my grandfather who fought in WWI and for my own brother who passed because as a military man, the present president referred to these men in my life and others as “losers and suckers”.  And the list goes on.

And like Gloria and Angela–the WOMANVOTE will count more than ever!

We drove in silence to the drop box in Norristown. I knew my husband wasn’t very pleased with me but I felt a bit better when he said in his heavy French accent, “Casseeee, we weeel see eef we can mek zis behtahr”  “We weeel find out if zayhr can be somzing zat can be done”

We arrived at the juror parking lot where the drop box was placed. A short line, of mostly senior citizens, had begun.  Luckily the weather was on our side and we got out to stand in the line while the sun warmed us.  A police van was parked at one end with it’s lights flashing and a uniformed woman made her way to the drop box. It was very eventful!

TBH, Montgomery County did a good job with the Drop Box locations! The hours are posted–too bad the process of voting via mail is not as clear and concise

When Bonaparte walked up to drop his ballot off, I was with him.  I explained my situation to the woman and she cheerfully told me that all I needed to do was to go to Voter Services on Monday morning and everything would be taken care of.

 

And that’s what I did.  My alarm was set for 5 AM.  You know, I’m old now so I live to wake up at dawn to be where I need to be unnecessarily early.  I got dressed, put makeup on, put another “good “wig on, had my coffee, grabbed my damaged ballot and envelopes, placed them in my purse, made sure I had ID and Bonaparte, ever the trooper, drove me to Voter Services.   The reason for his driving?  I wouldn’t have to feed quarters into the parking meter because who knew how long I would be there.

Now here is where it gets frustrating; there’s a ton of construction going on at the government buildings in Norristown.  There was no sign or indication of where voter services were.  I went to the Court House.  It was closed—and although it was 7:30 in the morning, there were no signs anywhere.  I walked around the building to no opened doors.  I passed a man who appeared to be working in the area and asked him where voter services was.

He was so nice!  He told me where to go and he accompanied me to the building.  A line of about six people had already started.  Some people were registering to vote and another couple did the same thing I did!  It felt good to know I wasn’t alone in my error!

Moments later a security guard came out and led us inside.  For a fleeting moment I felt as though I was back at the airport going through the TSA area.  My purse was placed on the conveyer belt and I had to go through the security gate while the guard hovered one of those wands over my body!

It was all very organized as we were led to elevators to the second floor and only two people were allowed in the elevators at a time.  We were led into a room where we had to fill out forms for our particular instance.  The form was given to me to complete—it was for a mailing envelope.

Here’s the room where I waited while my error was corrected. I’ll tell you, it took no time at all.  Then again, I did get there early in the day!

After completing, I asked the staff member if I would receive the new envelope in time to mail in or drop the ballot off.  When she told me a new envelope would be processed within fifteen minutes, I almost passed out!

The best part was the everyone who was in the room, whether they were registering to vote or whether they were correcting an error, was engaging with each other.  It was great!

And I received my new envelope with my new secure envelope.  I sat in a private area to stuff the completed ballot into the secure envelope and into the envelope which I completed with my personal information and date.

And on my way out, I was able to drop my ballot off in the drop box.

I voted for the 2020 Presidential Election!  I am one proud American!

 

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Getting Back to Basics. Why I’m Blogging!

I’ll tell you; this pandemic has literally taken a toll on me. And I’m not the only one. We’ve all been affected by life in 2020.  The New Year may have garnered hope for one month but from February on it spiraled downhill.

Jobs were lost. Loved ones became fatally ill. Survivors who caught the COVID-19 virus were lucky and some were affected with permanent damage. Working from home became the new normal.  Masks are the newest and most-needed accessory.

 

 

 

Forget earrings and lipstick! These days it’s the mask that matters!

We don’t socialize.  We don’t go to movies. We don’t go to concerts.  Restaurants—the ones that haven’t closed, do mostly take out these days and when patrons do go out for a meal, are seated  at a safe distance.

black and white love GIF

Whether a first-run or a film revival such as watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s on the big screen.  It’s gonna be awhile–hopefully! Seriously. There’s nothing like a movie at the theatre!

This pandemic has left me with an 18-pound weight gain that is almost impossible to rid myself of and a depression that is battled every day. I’m so spent by the time I arrive home from work that there is no energy left to do even the simple things—such as a walk around the block or stretching to keep my body limber.

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To be honest, this isn’t too far removed from what my gut looks like at the present!

Yes. I am lucky to have a job. I realize that.  I work for two women who are wonderful superiors.  I just don’t like what I do. There is no creativity. There is no humor or excitement. It is mundane and wearing on me.  But still, it’s a paycheck and medical benefits.  I cannot complain about that.

I need a break

Me upon arriving home from the office. Every. Single. Evening.

And I did some deep thinking.  Pondering if I should even continue the blog or let it fade into cyber-oblivion.

shocked see ya GIF by Hyper RPG

 Do I REALLY want to give up on my blog? 

My spirit for writing has been at bay and I’ve felt awful about it. I love writing. I love expressing my thoughts and having those words mean something to people.  When I can write with heart, it can touch emotions. And that is important.

And I went back to the past. 2015.  To my first blog post.  I started a blog to keep my sanity.  At the time, the company I worked for closed. It was the second consecutive company I worked for that closed. It wasn’t the best of times for me.  And it wasn’t the best of times for others because they were going through many of the things I was going through.

me-and-the-kids-wythe-hotel-brooklyn

This photo is from my second-ever Blog post: A Great Weekend In Brooklyn and remains my favorite post ever. It was the greatest weekend. All three kids were living in New York.  Oona wasn’t in Ohio and Jake wasn’t in Los Angeles.  They gifted me and Bonaparte with the best weekend ever!  Here it is to enjoy once more!  A Great Weekend in Brooklyn

When this blog was young, it was filled with fun stories.  Just filled with things I liked, travel, food, clothes and makeup—with a few wigs thrown in.  Writing made me happy.

And that is what I need to return to.  The blog isn’t meant to garner millions of readers—it’s meant to appeal to those who can relate to a typical woman in her 60’s and what life brings.  When I post a photo, it isn’t photoshopped or filtered to high heaven.  It’s me. Not a catfish or a phony, touched-up photo. It’s real.

Hello Darling!  No photoshop here but I must admit that sunglasses are a great beauty asset!  It’s very Breakfast a Tiffany’s!

Nobody is perfect in this lifetime and if anyone tries to persuade you their life is perfect, then they are delusional.  Flawed is so much more interesting than perfection. We are all flawed—whether physically, spiritually, emotionally or any other way. We are flawed. And that is not necessarily a bad thing.

mary poppins GIF

Alright. I stand corrected. Mary Poppins is perfectly perfect!  But I’m not Mary Poppins!

My life is perfectly flawed. And I would not have it any other way.

It’s also important to showcase aging.  Real aging.  We don’t get the jobs we should get. We don’t receive the pay we deserve.  America’s mature demographic is pretty-much thrown to the wayside in favor of youth, youth, youth.

Enlarged pores, lines, sagging skin, discoloration, dryness…it’s all part of the aging process.  It happens!

And proof of the cosmetics and skincare industries showcase that youth with the use of “anti-aging”. I’ve said it a million times. Your anti-age when you stop living.  It is pro-age.

Did I decide to continue the blog?

You bet I did! Where else can I go to bitch and complain or vent?  Where else can I share tips on makeup and clothing—especially when activewear is the new uniform?  Where else can I go to make others chuckle at my mistakes.  It’s here!

 friends frustrated rachel jennifer aniston friends tv GIF

Seriously. Where else can I go to bitch and whinge and complain?  It’s here!!!

Oh. And before I go, please allow me to share a huge Oops that I made yesterday.

Bitmoji Image

Yeah. This is a bigly OOPS!

Bonaparte has expressed his concern about my wanting to go vote in person.  He sat me down and very pragmatically explained to me that, at 65, I wasn’t exactly in my “Youssss” anymore (“youth” for those not aware of his French accent).  He reiterated at how the virus is making a stronger return and that I could be standing in hours to vote—and being docked pay because in this country, we don’t have an important Presidential election as a national holiday.  He also brought up the subject of bad weather and le blah, le blah, le blah.

I caved in and told him that I would, in fact, vote by mail. At this juncture I was very excited!

On Friday evening, while enjoying our aperitifs, we filled out the copies of the ballots that were mailed to us—for practice so I would not screw anything up.

Now—the process in Pennsylvania is such that you complete the ballot, place it into a secure envelope in which you sign your name, date the envelope then seal said envelope. Then the secured envelope with the ballot inside is placed into another envelope. And it is either mailed via USPS or placed into a drop box in your local municipality.

This was the dopiest mistake I’ve ever made. In 65 years!!

It’s simple enough. Right?

Um. Wrong!  I messed up!

We were at the table, completing our ballots on Saturday morning before driving to the drop box in Norristown.

I thought I did everything correctly until Bonaparte noticed my “secure” envelope, without ballot, sitting on the table while the ballot was sealed in the wrong envelope.

I tore the envelope and basically ruined my mail-in vote.  And while the Frenchman was able to place his ballot in the drop box in Norristown, with the smallest line ever, I cried the rest of the day.

It was explained to me that I can go to the Voter Services office to obtain a second ballot, envelope, etc., but I don’t know if it will transpire in time. So, I may have to vote in person after all.

You know, the thing that kills me about all this is at work, I’m so cautious and organized. I have checklists for everything!  And when it comes to my personal life, I’m the exact opposite.  At work, everything has its place. Don’t ask me where my iPhone charger is at home—it’ll take a tour of every outlet in the house to find it.

And this is the election that really matters.  Goodness v. bad.  Empathy v. nastiness.  I could go on but I won’t.

So, do yourself a favor—it you are doing the mail-in vote, make a checklist and check it not twice but thrice.  Don’t do what I did!

I’m off to write another blog post.  See ya later!

See You Later GIF by LACMAI would so wear this outfit!  I’m off to write another post–about clothes!

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The Cataract Chronicles—Part Three. Holy Shit I Can See Again!

The past few weeks have been trying at best and extremely frustrating at worst.   It’s really difficult to explain but having the cataract surgery on my bad eye really did affect the eye sight in my good eye.  (Check this link for a better understanding – The Cataract Chronicles—Part Two).

Work has been the ultimate challenge. Working on two computer screens can wreak havoc on those even with stellar eyesight!   Add fluorescent lighting to the mix and it is a disastrous cocktail for those with sight issues such as light sensitivity, cataracts and other problems.

keyboard smash

I work on TWO computer screens!  Talk about doubling your pleasure! LOL!

And while my good eye was in waiting for that second surgery, I had a paying job to do.

And it sucked.  It didn’t suck because of the tasks I was handed. Nor did it suck because I was forced to do so. In fact, my boss and supervisors were incredibly understanding and helped me in every way.

It was the fact I simply could not see the computer screens.  There was a blind spot which obstructed my view of the words on the screen.  Much of it had to do with the effect of lighting etc. with the intensity of the cataracts in the one eye.

The week before the surgery, things became progressively worse and I had to get creative in attacking my workload.  I wore my prescription glasses and over those wore a pair of oversized non-prescription sunglasses I had for—-oh, perhaps 15 years…they were purchased back in the day when my eyesight was better.   I’ll tell ya—sometimes it pays to hold on to things!  Marie Kondo—I’m talkin’ to you!

The internet's hilarious responses to the Marie Kondo craze are sparking  joy | CBC Radio

I’ll use MY organizational skills of NOT getting rid of items. You never know when they’ll come in handy!

Now. Understand that the oversized sunnies were heavy. As in they weighted heavily upon my nose and my prescription glasses.  Add to that my wig and the ear tabs from the mask.  I felt as though the weight of the world was in between my shoulders.  Lit-uh-rul-lee!  By the time I left the office my back, my neck and my head ached.  All I wanted was to go to bed. Which I usually did.

Wig. Mask. Eye Patch. Eye glasses. Sun glasses.  I had this load on my head. I swear a load in my pants would have been more comfortable!

And because I was taking eye medication, I was petrified to take any OTC pain medicine such as Tylenol, Motrin or aspirin.  I cried every day from the pain. But, knowing it wouldn’t last much longer, it was something I could deal with.

Wednesday, September 23, couldn’t have come fast enough!  The night before, I made sure to lay out my clothing because check-in time was 6:10 in the mornin’.  A hot bath was a stress-reliever to get me to sleep early and into a deep slumber. Hoping the past day would be the last time I spent looking at the world through Vaseline-smeared eyes, I went to sleep dreaming of what life would look like after the surgery.

If you recall, I mistakenly wore a dress to my first surgery. This time around I wore activewear.  Caveat-this photo was taken prior to the surgery. I didn’t wear makeup to the surgery.

We drove in early-morning darkness to the Mainline Surgery Center in Bala Cynwyd.  And naturally, at 5:30 in the morning, in these Philadelphia suburbs, on Route 422, the traffic was heavier than lighter. WTF are these people going anyway?  I thought most people were working from home. What happened to the quality of life anyway?

We made it at exactly 6:10 and I left Bonaparte with a smile and a kiss!

Once upstairs it was the usual.  Fill out forms such as HIPPA and insurance.  Get the debit card out for the copay and a wait to be called.  But I have to say, the women in the reception area were so bright and cheerful and welcoming for such an early hour!

Check-in time!  All belongings in a bag and co-pay taken care of!

Next Gina, the RN came out to the waiting area to get me and prepare me for the surgery.  I sat in that chair-to-gurney which reminded me of the infamous Hoveround commercial.

I need a moment here. This was one of my favorite commercials of all time. I can’t explain why but it was. And the Hoveround-turned-gurney was one of the most fun aspects of the cataract surgery!

(RIP Hoveround guy. I loved you so much) Drops to numb my eye were put into place and the best of all…the IV with the meds to make me feel good…. really good!

Michael LeLand, the Hoveround guy, RIP.  I was able to hear your voice while enjoying the IV!

Dr. Goldberg, the Corsican traveler, Steve the Irish Bartender (My nicknames—shit gets weird when you have relaxing meds) came to welcome me and I was told that as soon as Dr. Sando arrived, I would be wheeled in.

At this point I was so relaxed I understood just why you are told to go to the bathroom to empty your bladder before getting prepped.  Any more relaxed and I would have needed a diaper!

tranquility ask-celestia-stuff GIF

Oh yeah.  I was extremely tranquil with that IV in place!

This time around, the procedure was slightly different because I was able to get a better feel of what was being done.  I don’t mean I could feel it; it was just the first surgery was on my eye that has a limited field of vision—even after surgery.  While looking at the light, the music of Tom Petty and David Bowie was playing in the background.  I was hoping for George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” or The Kinks “You Really Got Me”.  But still, the music was great!

Tom Petty Hailed for Making 'Political Statement' on Trump's Transgender  Policy

Tom Petty and….

new media love GIF by Trippyogi

….. a cataract surgery light show. It doesn’t get any better than this!

And just like that—it was over!

A shield was placed over my eye and then I was wheeled into the recovery area.

I was pretty out-of-it when I composed this quad of pics.  It was after the surgery and I really didn’t need the glasses–but I was a happy little clam!

That Frenchman of mine. Bless his heart.  The nurse told me they couldn’t get in touch with him. Needless to say, he took his granddaughter to school, then hit traffic on the way back.  Some of us have different priorities—don’t we?

Back to the surgery.

At long last, I was accompanied downstairs where my husband greeted me and it was in the car and back home.  All in about two hours!

As I ripped the shield from my eyes, I was not prepared by the gift of sight that returned to me.   Did you know that the leaves are starting to change color?  I saw individual leaves attached to trees!  Green—as in really green grass.  I could read the license plates on cars in front of us.  The signs said “Stop”!  The sky was as blue as the azure pool we swim in in Theoule-sur-Mer.

Signs.  Grass. Leaves on trees!  Everything was so beautiful!  I had THE best drive home ever.  Bonaparte was as stunned as I was at my remarkably successful cataract surgery!

And when I arrived home, I went out to the deck and realized the begonias are bright pink. Not dusty rose.  I re-examined our home and realized it is a lot brighter and airier than I thought!

I swear to you, I went through the ENTIRE summer thinking these were a dusty rose/mauve. I had NO idea they were bright pink!

Our living room walls are more of a cream color. In six years I’ve never realized that until after my surgery!

And my favorite spot in the house–is sunnier and brighter and cuter!

But something happened when I went to the upstairs bathroom.  I saw my reflection in the mirror.  As I came in for a closer look.  I was in shock!  When did I become so old looking?  My cataract sight had my face looking naturally filtered, blurry and void of lines and wrinkles.

 

 

 

Oh Muthafu…..Oops!  I thought I really looked blurred and filtered IRL!  I was a tad shocked to see this.  I had no idea how many freckles I have1  Or lines. Or big pores on my nose. Or textured skin.  But you know what?  I’ll take it!

Then I saw the reality of it all.  And after a moment (or seven), I dusted myself off and realized that I am what one would consider “old”.  A bona-fide old person. Senior Citizen.  Elderly?  I think not—at least in spirit.  Old Lady. Elder.

I would rather think of myself as a pro-ager, a tough broad (yes. Broad and I use that word lovingly), a warrior, a strong and empowering woman.  I’ve earned those lines and wrinkles and I refuse to erase them.  Well, perhaps a bit of Botox at some point won’t hurt, but for now. It’s all good because I can see.II'm a tough old broad from Brooklyn. I intend to go on acting until I'm ninety, and they won't need to paste my face with make-up. - Barbara Stanwyck

I’ll be channeling my innter Barbara Stanwyck.  I’m a tough old broad from Queens, NY!

Allow me to exit the deeply shallow pool and get on with my saga.

Another shocking element was the fact that I saw better without my beloved prescription eye glasses.  Yes!  I couldn’t believe it.  Mind you, I opted for the most basic cataract surgery because I chose only what my medical insurance paid for.  And still, I was able to see beautifully.

In fact, the next day (yesterday) at my follow-up appointment, I almost passed out when it was pointed out to me what I viewed on the eye chart before having the surgery and what I was able to view after the surgery.  It was one of those very few moments in life when I was dumbfounded.

Might I add that these letters were very much magnified when I saw them prior to the surgery.  I was able to read a much smaller line after the surgery!

Seriously. My eye glasses are my security blanket.  They have been a part of me for 62 years. The fact I could see better without them was something that I needed to comprehend.

It’s true.  While I go through wigs like a newborn goes through diapers, my glasses remain the same. Most times stronger but they’ve been my security blanket through my lifetime!

I do, however, need glasses for reading and for using my iPhone and computer.  And only readers because my sight is now that good. Yes.  Readers only.

An old pair of Peepers Readers I purchased years ago and held on to. These were purchased as beach readers but they didn’t work out. Now they’re fine!

Here’s where I realize that Dr. Sando is truly a wonderful and ethical ophthalmologist.  He could have sent me in the direction of the in-house optometrist. He could have given me the weakest link of a prescription that would have cost me a ton of money.  Instead, he advised me to go to a pharmacy, try on a few readers while looking at my iPhone and decide upon the intensity of the reading lens.  He also suggested while working at the computer I check my distance for a possible different reading lens. This would be helpful while working.

I did both and found a plethora of online eyeglass companies offering blue lens readers for those who don’t need prescriptions but need a bit of assistance.

I picked up a pair of 1.75 lenses for the phone and reading use.  I may have to jump to 2.00 for the computer.

These $9.97 readers were purchased yesterday and they are working perfectly.  Methinks I’ll be acquiring a collection of reading glasses to match my wigs! And the red lips and brows are the only makeup I’m wearing!

The point is—I can see.  And I can see better than ever.  It’s still a shock to my system.

And moving forward, I’ll be able to write again.  I swear you have no idea how horrible I felt by not being able to write on this blog.  It was painful.  There were so many ideas what to write about but I was unable to express them because I couldn’t see the computer screen.

Ammerlaan-Sosef work frustrated busy grower GIF

Now I can see the screen

I’ll also be able to drive again.  Although it was fantastic being chauffeured by Bonaparte, I miss that freedom of being in the car and listening to my music pumped at 11.   Driving is freedom. And a different kind. It isn’t freedom from loved ones—it’s personal time freedom. That time when you can have mind conversations with yourself or vent to yourself when nobody else is within your range of personal space.

traffic jam

Regardless. I’ll be happy to drive again!  Well…on second thought…No. I will.  Most of the time.  Except for when I don’t want to…

So that’s about it.  Sight is a beautiful gift.  And as we proage, our sight plays tricks on many of us.  We become sensitive to light. We see halos and not the kind hovering over an angel’s head.  We have dull and blurry vision. And let me tell you, if it happens to you, please see an eye doctor immediately.

There’s a lot of beauty out there!!  You don’t want to miss it!

Please.  Listen to me. If you have any inkling you might have cataracts. Make that appointment!!! XOXOXOXO

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The Cataract Chronicles—Part Two; The Bad Eye Has Surgery!

Last month I wrote a blog post introducing my little friends, the Cataracts!  If you need a bit of refreshing, here’s the post: Of Cataracts and Proaging Eye Care

Dopey me. I thought your eyes had to look like THIS in order to have cataracts!

It’s Friday as I write this. The weather is warm. It is sunny out. The sky is crystalline. And I’m healing from the cataract surgery I had two days ago. On Wednesday.

And this is how it rolled….

5:00 AM. The alarm went off and I jumped out of bed eager to get this procedure over with.  It’s weird because I wasn’t nervous. And knowing my anxiety levels, I was a bit surprised at my lack of angst.  Thinking back, it was simply because the cataracts (each eye had two, one in front and one in back) were being removed from my lazy eye. This is the eye that I don’t use. It crosses inward and apparently it was a lot worse before I had corrective surgery in 1960 to correct it.  All I remember from that long ago was being put to sleep with ether. To this day I can still remember the horrific stench.

Safe for kids?  How come 60 years later, I’m still traumatized by the disgusting stench!

Anyway (because we all know that “anywayS” is not a word), as lazy as the eye is, it still affects my good eye.  It’s difficult to imagine if you have two eyes that work properly but I’ll try to explain.  Vision in the bad eye (my right eye) is limited.  But the cataracts have given an overall cloudy and blurry field of vision. Because the eye turns in, I can still see the cloudiness with my good eye.  It’s akin to an annoying person who just won’t leave you alone. I can’t get rid of it.  And so, it would be welcoming to have the cloudiness from the lazy eye leave so it wouldn’t annoy my good eye.

Hope you can follow this illustration because it pretty-much sums up how my eyes see!

 In addition, the cataracts in my good eye were causing spotty blindness inasmuch that I couldn’t see facial features, couldn’t see road signs and couldn’t see traffic lights until it was too late.  The husband has been driving me around since the beginning of the summer when my sight just got too bad.  Honestly, the worst part is not being able to drive because I feel as though my freedom is taken away from me.  Besides, I can’t sneak out to go shopping by myself.

This is how I saw my son Roman during his summer visits!

Back to the procedure….

It didn’t take long to get ready because I couldn’t wear makeup.  I plopped a wig upon my noggin and slipped into a casual little black dress and Repetto ballet flats.  I figured this would be the perfect outfit. It was the same one I wore to last year’s colonoscopy because the ease of slipping out of the shoes and dress were important.  After all, the dress, shoes, and purse I carried would be securely placed into a locker as I changed into one of those extremely fashionable hospital gowns.

No makeup. LBD. Ballet Flats. A nice wig.  How NOT to dress for cataract surgery during a pandemic!  Wear super-comfy clothing. My dress kept riding up I was dressed more appropriately to give birth than for cataract surgery!

I forgot about the pandemic.

We arrived at the Mainline Surgical Center in plenty of time before the scheduled 7:15 surgery.  Due to Covid’s new normal, Bonaparte was unable to accompany me inside. Reminding him a million times to leave his cell phone on, I entered the building.

Thank God my husband had the intelligence to wait a few minutes.  I wasn’t allowed to bring my purse with me.  Instead I had to take my driver’s license, my insurance cards and my debit card out of my purse, along with my phone, and place everything into a clear plastic bag.

Similar but not the same, the bag I was given had a drawstring at the top. Next time I know to leave the purse home.  Next time I don’t even have to bring the insurance cards because they are on file–only my cell phone and debit card are needed!

I ran outside, handed my purse to my husband and told him to go home, drop the purse off and by the time he returned, the surgery would be finished.  Fact is, at this point, I was more concerned about the vintage Louis Vuitton Speedy bag I placed in his care.  That bag was restored by me.  I purchased it for next to nothing at the beginning of the lock-down so I would have something to do and I freaking love that bag—even though Chippy snacked off the zipper pull and tag.

Back into the building and to the suite where the surgery was to take place. I was a bit surprised to see the waiting room so empty although there were a few patients scattered about.  Chairs were taped to remind patients to keep a social distance. And although it was early in the morning, it was further validation that this virus isn’t going away any time soon.

I didn’t realize that was the pediatric waiting area. I couldn’t read the sign!

Chairs were taped for social distancing. And, I was also given a clean face mask. I liked that!

After signing in, I was called over to the front desk to run through paperwork.  And to hand over my debit card for the co-pay of $200. Another short wait back at my socially-distanced chair and a nurse called for me to follow her.

Bitmoji Image

Ugh. Copays. I would have rather bought shoes or a new wig than spend the money on a $200 copay!

Eager to change my clothing, I was told that due to the pandemic, lockers are not being used.  Instead, there would be no gown; the procedure would take place with me wearing my LBD and ballet flats.  A very “duh” moment for me.  I should have worn yoga pants and a tee shirt.  Who knew?  But I will admit that I felt great when the nurse told me she loved my hair (I didn’t let on it was a wig).

Hospital GIF by memecandy

And I was so looking forward to twirling around in that backless, fashion statement!

Can I just talk about how great the nurse was?  Her name was Beth and she put me at complete ease. She recently became a grandmother and my grandmotherness-to-be was the topic of conversation.    She led me to what looked like a cross between a wheel chair and a Hoveround!

UFSK - eye surgery tables & surgeon stools for professionals

A cross between a wheelchair and a Hoveround, this was weird looking but reclined so beautifully. Come to think of it, this would make a welcome addition to any family room!

Beth took my blood pressure and put a thing on my finger, I guess to monitor something—who knows.  Then she put a needle into a vein in my hand…

The bruised area on my hand is where the IV  needle was inserted.  I could have left it in all day!

Meeting the Anesthesiologist was next.  He was soooo nice!  He asked the usual obligatory questions about general health and if I was taking any medication—including OTC meds such as aspirin and Tylenol.

Why did I feel so bad telling him I couldn’t even remember the last time I swallowed a pill? Oh wait!  I know!  It’s because if it isn’t a happy pill, it’s not worth taking!

Depressed The Simpsons GIF

I rest my case!

But I must say, the needle that was placed in my vein allowed for some good stuff to run through my body because I was feeling extremely relaxed and very good.

Next came the eye drops that were used to numb my eyes. Novocain for eyes without the needle!  I was really feeling good!

After a few minutes, it was time to wheel me into the operating area—or maybe room—who knows what it was because I was ready for fun!  Dr. Sando made me feel extremely comfortable as we spoke about my kids playing golf and the nickname for my oldest son, Jesus Jake. (Note to self—be quiet during the next eye surgery! Actually, I take that back. What the heck—let’s have fun).  I also promised a batch of Momofuku Corn Cookies upon returning for my next cataract surgery. Hopefully, I’ll be allowed to bring them into the building despite the pandemic because Dr. Sando and the staff deserve a bit of sweet treats for having to deal with me.

Corn cookies. A perfect batch | Atypical 60

I hope I’ll be allowed to bring my freshly-baked Corn cookies to the next surgery!

So now I’m going to have surgery.  And I was awake the entire time.  It was not laser surgery either.  Cataracts were to be removed and replaced with a new lens.

I was instructed to keep looking at the light which was overhead; and when my eye drifted, I just went back to focusing on the light.  It was the weirdest thing because it wasn’t like looking at a light in your home.  It was more of a psychedelic light.  You know, I never did LSD when I was younger because I was too afraid of flashbacks and my dad was a New York City cop.  But I can imagine from friends’ description of dropping acid that this must’ve been mighty close—and a lot less harmful!

My high-school buddy Lisa said this was a lot like the visuals she experienced with LSD.  For me it was a lot like the light during my cataract surgery. 

Seriously though, I felt nothing except remarkable relaxation.  And in the timespan of about twenty minutes, it was done.   I was wheeled back to the recovery area and a bit dismayed as the IV was taken out of my hand.

A few minutes later, with a clear eye shield in place, I was off to return home.

A light show.  A clear eye shield for protection.  A happy patient!  What’s not to love?

And that was it!

Oh. The eye shield.  It’s to protect the eye against me. You know, from rubbing or touching the eye area.

Two days later, still smiling and wearing my shield.  Caveat-I only wore makeup on my good eye for this photo. And a couple of others. It’ll be washed off later!

The after-surgery care is important.  Your eye can itch and feel irritated as though an eyelash fell into your eye.  That is why the shield is kept on.  In all honesty, I didn’t have much irritation. No itchiness all. For a moment it felt like a lash fell into my eye but it passed quickly.

Because I’m so nosey and impatient, I lifted the eye shield as we drove home and I was astounded!  I’m not kidding either. My reaction was “Holy shit—why didn’t I have this done sooner”

So clear... | Sky, clouds, Clear blue sky, Clouds

Even though the sight in my bad eye is limited, I can see colors so vividly. I cannot wait to get my good eye done!

Again, it’s difficult to describe due to the nature of my eye issues, but from the limited range of sight, everything was so vivid!  There was absolutely no cloudiness or blurriness from my right eye. It was an incredible moment for me.  Everything was so bright and clear—in the best way possible.

I closed the bad eye which was now sort of the good eye (I know, I know, it’s difficult to imagine), to look through the good eye which was now offering cloudy, blurry and dull sight.  And now, with both eyes opened, the clarity from my bad eye, which crossed over to the sight of my good eye was annoying.  It’s so weird but so wonderful at the same time.

Eye shield back in place I was car dancing in my seat with happiness!

drunk road trip GIF by MK

Yeah. I was dancing wilder than this guy!

Because of instructions not to bend over, or lift anything heavy or cook, the remainder of the day was spent following my schedule of various eye drops and bingeing on Great British Bake-Off Holiday episodes.  Christmas is only three months away and I need to start thinking about Holiday baking!

Paul, Noel and crew whetted my appetite for Christmas goodies!

Yesterday I returned to Dr. Sando’s office for a follow-up visit.  It was a quick, easy visit as my eye was examined and all was well! And his advice was to use the eye drops religiously!

I’ve been a runnin’ to the shelter constantly for these mother’s little helpers!

And I’m keeping track. Although I had to change the Gray-capped drops from before bed to around 6:30 in the evening.

iThere will be a couple more visits until my next surgery on the 23rd and I am looking so forward to that next surgery!  It’s gonna be so much fun!

How can you not appreciate the personality of a doctor with this eye chart in the examination room?  (Although for some of us it could have been about wine!)

An important part of this process is finding the right doctor.  I’m telling you, if you think you may have cataracts in live in the Philly area, look Dr. Sando up and make an appointment.

This guy!  I’ve finally found a replacement for my childhood-into-adulthood ophthalmologist in Dr. Sando!

Don’t wait.  Don’t do what I did. I blamed everything but my eyes.  I blamed the lighting at work and relocated to a different cubicle.  I blamed my husband for cleaning the no-glare finish off my eyeglasses (of which I am deeply ashamed of). I blamed light sensitivity. I thought eye makeup, and cream got into my eyes.  I blamed drivers for having their brights on (and used rather saucy language) when, in fact, they didn’t.  Those halos surrounding headlights in oncoming traffic, traffic lights and street lights were not a sign that I was seeing heavenly visions. They were an omen that my eyes were in dire straights and I needed to get help!

Add to that, I was in denial that my more mature age was another reason for cataracts.  Being a pro-ager means more than dressing youthful. It means coming to terms with issues that can be brought on with the aging process!

It’s exciting to look forward to realizing that by month’s end, my eyesight will be so much better!  I can’t wait to see with clarity out of my good eye.  It’ll be a pleasure to drive at twilight again.  It’ll be even better to see traffic lights and the facial features of my loved ones—especially when my first grandchild arrives!  And, it’s going to be a most deeply-shallow moment when I can wear mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow and concealer on both eyes again!

I can’t wait to use the Jeffree Star Orgy palette. Look at all those neutrals!  I can’t contain myself!

That’s it folks!  I’ll be writing about my final cataract surgery in a few weeks. And if you have any eye issues at all, please, take care.  Our sight is so very important!

It’s all good!  Now go and take care of your eyes!!!

I got the OK to cook and Bonaparte couldn’t be happier—the Frenchman needs another batch of gougères! Therefore, my Labor Day Weekend will be spent in the kitchen!

Time to make more of these cheesy gougeres. And a tagine.  And tonight’s enchiladas. And hummus……

 

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What Happened to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale?

It’s that time of year.  The Early Access to the (once) Iconic Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

The pickin’s aren’t all that wonderful for 2020!

And I am greatly disappointed.  Again.

Where do I begin?

There was a time that I absolutely loved shopping at Nordstrom.  During the time I worked there, the hours were annoying but I worked for the greatest boss.  I worked in the handbag department and had a blast.

Nordstrom Reveals Brands Carried in its Pacific Centre Flagship

Although the hours weren’t my jam, I enjoyed working in the handbag department and I did alright with the commission!  But the best was my manager and assistant manager!

My reason for leaving was that I found a job more conducive to what I was trained for—and administrative assistant.

keyboard smash

Hmmm. On my ass all day.  Eyesight deteriorating quickly– from the fire into the frying pan–or is it the other way around?

And employee discount aside, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale rocked my boat.

It was the one time of the year that I purchased items that would be used over and over.  Leather Longchamp bags and boots.  I never strayed far from those two items.

This leather Longchamp tote was purchased during the Anniversary sale WITH the additional employee discount. It was hitting the NAS Lottery! I use this a lot during the winter months!

This navy Longchamp leather tote was also purchased during a NAS! 

The selection of bags and boots was outstanding—as were clothing items as well as beauty items.

Arrows pointing to the many pairs of boots that were purchased during past Anniversary Sales–they are now packed away for the upcoming winter and when I welcome them back, they’ll be worn!

Then things changed.  It seemed, at least to me, that the Anniversary Sale was shifting gears into a new movement—the influencer group. But not just any influencer.  This sale was now a plethora of young women, with long cascading hair extensions (not that there’s anything wrong with fake hair-LOL), floppy-brimmed hats, long cardigan sweaters, high boots worn over jeans now replaced with white low-top sneakers.

The new Nordstrom Anniversary Sale customer.  Young. Beautiful.  Cascading hair and floppy hats.  I guess the floppy hats took the place of the pigeon-toed stance! But the thing is, not all women go for this look–especially the mature demographic!

While there’s nothing wrong with that look—it’s just that a large number of us do not fit into that stereotypical young influencer style.

Peace out.  I prefer a beret!

I realized my hunch was right when I visited Nordstrom in King of Prussia to peruse the choices of Mother-of-the-Bride dresses.  The lot was both frumpy, matronly and full of horrific color blends.  There was nothing to appeal to the mother who wanted to look stylish.

This. From the store that holds an “iconic” Anniversary Sale. Am I correct in saying Nordstrom has now placed the mature demographic in the back racks? These MOB dresses are hideous…

And I ended up with a more flattering style at Lord & Taylor!

And thus, befalls the issue with the NAS.

While inspecting the many pages of offerings, I came up with this condensed review:

The sale consists of sneakers—white low-tops

Although these are a great price of $49.00, the NAS is overwrought with tons of the same style sneaker.  And where are the GOOD pointy-toed flats?  I’ll tell you they aren’t at Nordstrom!

Leggings (of which are in my cart)

I did order these high rise leggings to suck the belly fat from the pandemic weight gain. There are quite a number of leggings to chose from at this Anniversary Sale!

Long cardigans

This photo is not from the NAS but there are many like this.  I happen to own this sweater and love it but don’t find many reasons to wear it.  Perhaps I’ll wear it with the leggings I ordered!

Jeans

Ohhh. Look what footwear is shown with these jeans.  I dig a pair of ripped jeans but the thing is, I have four pair and cannot see adding one more pair, whether ripped or not, to my already full collection. It isn’t practical.

Overpriced beauty items.

Is it worth the $79 for this? I think not. Look. I like Bobbi Brown cosmetics but the greatest eye palette by the brand I purchased was found at TJ Maxx for a very deep discounted price!

And please. Do NOT get me started on the Tom Ford cosmetics. $88 for this?  NFW!  He’s a wonderful clothing designer and his overpriced scents are lovely but you can do better in the makeup area!

And surprisingly, the choices of floppy hats were few!

She dropped her mike because she was as surprised as I was over the limited choices of floppy-brimmed hats! And please–wear the hat lower on your head.

The selection of boots was also underwhelming. I did spot what appeared to be an adorable pair by Vince Camuto–and I almost added them to my cart–until I saw the chunky wood heel.

At first sight, this boot was lovely. Pointed toe, camel color. I was intrigued

And then I saw the view showcasing this stacked (wooden?) heel. It was a turnoff. Stacked heels have a habit of turning inward with more wear.  Had this been a kitten heel, it would have been perfect!

Black booties are also a hot item for the sale!

And in all honesty, none were as nice as these booties from GEOX that I purchased last year in Paris.

What I have in my cart are a scarf from house brand Treasure & Bond

I like this scarf. A lot. The neutral colors will go with most of my winter wardrobe and it isn’t too small or overwhelming in size. It’ll get a lot of wear time.

A bra by Natori.  The Feather Bra by Natori is my favorite bra ever. It’s so stinking comfortable and whenever I see them on sale, I grab one.  Truth is, I can get a better price at Nordstrom Rack but it is few and far between when I spot my 36 C on the rack at The Rack!

The Feather Bras from Natori are my favorite bras ever!  My daughter Oona is also a fan.  Quite honestly, I could do better at Norstrom Rack but they are few and far between. Glad the NAS has these!

And these basic legging that are high-rise with the ability to suck the belly gain from my pandemic stress bingeing!

I have high (rise) hopes for these leggings.  My favorite pair is one from Loft that I purchased years ago and they still fit like now–hopefully these will prove to be the same!

The real thing is, this pandemic has changed up my philosophy on shopping.

As far as beauty items go, I’m paring down these days.  Wearing a mask and social distancing has made me realize that my most “mature” skin is happier without foundation.  Instead, I’m opting for products that give a glow to my face—such as Glossier’s Futuredew and Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Filter.  And neither are available for a discounted price during the Anniversary Sale.

Charlotte Tilbury - Hollywood Flawless Filter

This and……

….this have lit-uh-ruhl-ee taken the place of foundation.  Both give a great and NATURAL glow to the skin!

There are more than enough neutral eye shadows in my collection—enough to last till I’m 90.

This. Tarte’s Tartelette in Bloom palette. I return to it constantly. It is neutral. Great for every day into the evening and cost $39–I purchased it well over a year ago.  There is nothing like this at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Besides, I didn’t see any great cosmetic discounts at the NAS.

I have enough clothing for the upcoming winter.   In fact, I’ve got two soft, fuzzy, long cardigans that I hardly wear.  Why would I purchase another?

The floppy hat craze?  Suffice it to say that the NAS had two offerings which weren’t all that wonderful.  Instead, if you like a good floppy hat, head to Amazon.

I don’t think this was offered in the Anniversary Sale but you can do much better on Amazon. And I can bet most of those influencers bought THEIRS on Amazon as well!

Seriously, I think this is a nicer hat and it’s from Amazon!

Nordstrom loves Tory Burch and you can see the love with the Burch bags and watches. Personally, after working at Nordie’s, in the handbag department, I will say that the brand’s bags are not well-made.  They are cheaply constructed and just not that great—I know this—I have two bags. And I’m over the brand.

My preference for bags these days is vintage—Coach and Louis Vuitton and I have plenty. There’s no need for another bag to my already large collection.

This Old Bag's Got More Old Bags! More Vintage Bag Love. Coach Has Returned  into My Life | Atypical 60

A small sampling of Coach and Vuitton bags I’ve refurbished!  My kitchen is my work space!

It’s disappointing for sure.  Why?  Well, because as department stores go, Nordstrom has been unique in the fact you could find big-name luxury brands as well as the more bridge brands—those in between affordable and luxury.  And their house brands were pretty decent.  A step above Macy’s and just a rung on the ladder below Neiman Marcus.  These days, Nordstrom seems to have taken the place of J.C. Penney.

The sales help at the store has always been stellar. When I worked there, we had extensive training in customer service.  And the return policy was so great for the consumer that it bordered on criminal. I’ve seen the store accept handbags that were used for years and stunk of cigarette smoke.  That’s disgusting and encourages very bad customer behavior.

Nordstrom Wins Award for Excellence in Customer Returns

The store’s return policy is absolutely horrific for the store’s sake. I’ve seen photos on Instagram of piles of boxes that influencers stated they will return. So basically, they are buying to return. That is absolutely vulgar!

The store (at the King of Prussia, I cannot speak for other Nordstrom stores), used to be impeccable in it’s displays of the clothing and other items.  Last time I walked through (which was a couple of weeks ago), displays and racks were sloppy and unattractive looking.

Look. I realize that the retail business as a whole is in trouble.  But—if this industry wants to rebuild, then perhaps they need to take a step back.  Nordstrom needs to reassess their valued customers. The women (and men) who look forward to quality goods.  Those who can be particular about what they wear.

Nordstrom’s Anniversary has let me down increasingly. I want the store to return to that time when the offerings were far better than what they are now.   What are your thoughts?  Have you shopped the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in the past?  Are you tired of shopping in general?  Has this pandemic changed your retail ideology?

shocked oh no GIF by CBC

Yes, David. I’m as disappointed as you are. But maybe things will be better at the 2021 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

I’m curious!

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Guess Who’s Gonna Be a Grandma????? I’m Joining the Grandma Club!

Yesterday was a big day. I was finally able to announce on Social Media that I was going to be a grandma—or glamma—or grammy.

The amount of well-wishers warmed my heart! Not to mention that this post was the best one ever!

(My personal choice being Moira but I have been nixed by the mommy-to-be)

Oh yes!  I am so ready to be a grandma. My WIGS are ready to be a grandma!  But the moniker Moira was nixed! But I AM championing myself!

Anyway, at this juncture, I’m so excited that I cannot contain myself. It’s the greatest thing. You see, it never really mattered much to me if I became a grandparent or not. It isn’t my choice.  I’ve had my children and their decisions are to be respected. If they don’t want children who am I to voice my opinion?

The tears are happy ones!  Seriously, I cannot contain myself!

I’m so full of shit!  The thought of being a grandma thrills me with delight and during this dismal year of 2020, it is the best news I could receive.  It’s also a possibility that a “Pandemic Baby Boom” is about to commence!

PANDEMIC

I could re-write this. Diane Keaton as Grandma in Pandemic Baby Boom!

It’s been killing me too, because I found out last month. Oona and Sam were giving me a FaceTime tour of their home that’s being built. And she stopped in the makings of a room and told me the spot was going to be a nursery. I laughed and said “someday or it can be another guest room”.  And then she laid it on me and told me she was pregnant.  I dropped the phone, ran around the house like Chippy when it’s meal time and jumped up and down—nearly causing a flood (like—who’s the one who needs diapers anyway?)

seinfeld celebrating GIF

Seriously. I was tons more excited than this!

Needless to say, as happy as I am, this brings on other emotions.

My three children were never the favored grandchildren of my mother. It’s no secret. It’s no surprise. I still remember the time, Oona’s second feis, an Irish Dance competition, held in Long Island not too far from where one of my sisters live.  My mother was visiting from Florida.

She promised Oona she would come and watch her.  When I was ready to leave, my mother said that she would meet me later because my sister would drive her.  It was a truthfully-challenged moment that neither Oona nor I have ever forgotten.

Nobody puts my baby in a corner. And nobody will put my grandbaby in a corner!

You do not do that to your grandchild.  That wasn’t the only time.  I’ll leave it at that.

But after a few similar incidents, I vowed to never do to a grandchild what my mother did to my children.

I remember the relationship I had with my grandmother and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. My grandmother was an amazing woman. An immigrant from Ireland, she worked her ass off, first as a domestic, then years later, after my grandfather lost a lung due to damages from WWI, she worked as a cleaning lady in an office in Manhattan. She worked for years.

Grandma Margaret Crowley Wynne. I was absolutely blessed and my children were blessed to have her as their great-grandma!

And when I stayed with my grandparents and my Aunt Terry during the summers, every week night evening, close to 11 O’clock, we would drive to the subway station at Woodhaven Blvd. to taker her back home.

I was so lucky to have her as my grandmother. She was such an important part of my life and I miss her!

My favorite childhood memories were those spent during the summers leaving Long Island for the comfort and pleasure of a more urban environment in Queens.  My grandmother may not have been the fuzzy, huggy and kissy grandma, but she was incredibly nurturing and took wonderful care of me.

I was her “tea-and-Drake’s-pound cake” partner. And every afternoon, before she left to clean those offices, that’s how we enjoyed each other’s company.  I slept in her bedroom on a cot that she dressed up comfortably for me.

More memories returned when I found this pic on the net. It’s the same exact cup and saucer set my grandmother had.  Not to this day have I ever had a better cup of tea than the ones my grandma brewed!

When we went to Mass, she always had a supply of tissues for my never-ending runny nose, and when Mass was over, a Pep-O-Mint Lifesaver that she carried in her practical black purse.  I loved that woman so much. And she was an incredible grandma.  Ask my cousins and they will say the same!

My aspirations are to be as loving and nurturing as my grandmother was, but I’ll be fuzzier and more kissy.

This was taken on her 95th birthday. Cuppa tea in hand!

The one thing that makes me sad, though, is the distance apart.  Oona and Sam and The Baby live in Cincinnati.  I live in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Although I wasn’t a working mom, I’ll be a working grandma. I’ll be that grandma who won’t be there three times a week.  I won’t be there once a week.  I won’t be there much because this grandma-to-be has to work.

Oh wait!  I think I hear Oona screaming for joy because I won’t be around to bug her!

Happy Feliz GIF

Oona. Being so excited when she reads in print that we live far away from each other!

Doesn’t matter though—because when I do get to visit, it’ll be quality time. I can cook for Oona and Sam and make their favorite dinners and desserts!

I can shower the baby with kisses and hugs and hold her/him all day, despite what my daughter might say about putting the baby down for a nap. I’ll be the pillow.  I’ll bring my nose down to enjoy that baby smell!  I’ll gladly change diapers and clean that baby hiney so well then apply Desitin (do they even use Desitin anymore?) and cuddle some more.

I’ll also be the grandma who buys baby a starfish outfit and takes a video like this. I”m sorry-not-sorry but this is funny and right up my alley!

Damn.  I wish I lived near Oona so I could rub her belly and look at her boobs growing as the milk comes in!  I want to argue with her about how to hold the baby and how to give the baby a bath!

And—the shopping has begun.

After my mani-pedi I went to Target!  Now, it is a bit daunting not knowing the gender but we’ll find that out next month. In the meantime, I purchased a couple of basics.  You can’t go wrong—right?

Time to load up on basics!

Baby socks. They are sooooo cute. Although Grammy Cathe (which I think will be the chosen moniker) prefers no socks because barefoot is better, babies need to keep their feetsies warm and toasty.

Can you just picture those cute little baby feet in these cute little baby socks?

Organic Cloth Diapers.  I’m guessing replacing “100 % Cotton” with “Organic” is more on trend these days. But—despite the disposable diapers being used, cloth diapers are a Godsend. They are great to throw over the shoulder so that when baby burps, the burpee juices don’t land on the good J. Crew clothing but rather than the organic diapers.

I love you already Baby. But get one thing straight. You spit up on THESE–and NOT my J. Crew clothing.  Got it? Good. We’ll be besties 4evah!

Besides, when the diapers get stained and raunchy, they can be used to dust the furniture with.

Organic (WTF—it’s cotton!) Onesies—and long sleeved.  Baby will be a winter one—no sense in the short-sleeved model yet—what if the heat fails?

OMG!  Opinionated Grammy Cathe is on the loose. It’s COTTON!  We KNOW it’s organic. Ugh. Labels!

Gender-neutral flannel blankets.  Trust me, these blankets are the only gender-neutral item (besides the onesies and socks) that this grandma will be buying.

Gender neutrality. So if the baby is a girl, gray and pink are a wonderful match. If the baby is a boy, Gray and Navy will suffice just as well!

Political correctness aside, that baby can figure out what he/she wants to be as he/she gets older. For now, once I find out if that baby is a boy or a girl, it’s getting all the gender-Unneutral clothing I can find! Sorry not sorry!

Oh yeah?  Well, Grammy Cathe is gonna play into gender stereotypes two hundred percent!  Unless you are talking about playing chef. Then you both get the same kitchen!

Lactation cookies.  I got these for Oona to try.  She’s a bit hesitant to try these until the baby is born. I would try them but the pandemic weight gain has been so enormous that I can’t have any more body growth.

Oh look!  The expiration date is after my baby–OOPS, I mean OONA’S baby is born!  Can you believe this shit?  Lactation cookies? Oops!  I’m being Opinionated Grammy Cathe again!

Oh no! I forgot to get my grandpappy Gracie a gift. She can’t feel left out!  I’ll pack some Milk Bones and a photo of Chippy for her!

I have a strong suspici0n that Gracie and I may be butting heads. She’s gonna think the baby is HERS, whilst I’ll believe the baby is MINE. Oh…the baby is Oona’s.

Speaking of lactation, look at all the stuff that’s being manufactured for breastfeeding moms these days!

I couldn’t believe this.  I’m still shaking my head in envy because I should have thought of this. I coulda been a contenda! And made tons of money!

Geez.  When I had my first child, the lactation advice from my Ob/Gyn was “Have a can of beer when you get home” “The yeast and hops will help to produce the milk”. Now there’s Lactation cookies and beverages to help produce milk!

Look at the nutrition facts for these Lactation cookies. This is garbage!  Full of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs and sugar.  Sorry not sorry but the stuff you put into your body goes into your breast milk.  Have a bag of kale instead–it’ll make the baby poop nicely too!

Note to self-take this out of the box I’m sending Oona and throw it away! Send a bag of kale instead! Send a jar of yeast too. She can spoon it over the kale.

The advice from the nurse was “Put the baby to your breast. Let him get used to it. It’ll be fine”First of all, I hate beer. Secondly, the nurse was spot on.

Lactation consultant recommended. 

Here’s my lactation advice:  Pour water into a one-liter bottle.  Take baby in your arms. Sit on comfy chair or sofa. Pull your shirt up. Put baby to your tittie.  Let baby drink. While baby is drinking, you drink the water. You’ll need it. There. Free lactation advice from Opinionated Grammy Cathe.

Coffee Breastfeeding Supplement?  Let’s think about new mommy for a moment here.  New mommy is tired. Opinionated Grammy Cathe is cleaning the house.

Opinionated Grammy Cathe will drive to Starbucks and get a strong coffee for ….Grammy Cathe.  New Mommy Oona can supplement the organic way with water while feeding my grandchild!

Have these lactation consultants ever had a baby for chrissakes? 

New Mommy Oona needsa glass of  WINE! What do you think the French did through all these centuries? Baby needs to learn at an early age what drinking in moderation means.  Throw this in the trash.

Opinionated Grammy Cathe is going to save Oona and all new mommies $34.99.  Take an old bra. Cut a hole in each nipple area. Stick the pumps through the holes. Pump away. You’re welcome!

You had me at “soothing for mom”. I do not want to visualize my daughter soothing her nipples. I’ll save you money. Buy a tube of original Chapstick and apply it to your nipples. You’re welcome!

All kidding aside, this is such an exciting time. And I’m ridiculously happy for Oona and Sam because they will make a great mommy and daddy.

As for me, it’s time to dispel the granny stereotype.

Have these women never heard of J. Crew, Lilly Pulitzer or Old Navy? Geez–even the horrific Chico’s would be better than what they are wearing!

Watch out—the new Grammy is about to arrive! Or rather Opinionated Grammy Cathe is about to arrive!

I hope that Opinionated Grammy Cathe will be the best grandma ever!

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The Secret to Great Skincare? Clean Your Face!

In my last post, I covered eye care.  Who knew about Johnson’s baby shampoo to clean your eyelids?  Apparently, many did with the exception of yours truly.  But—it’s never too late to learn—right?

Who knew that at 65 years the pro-ager, I would be returning to baby shampoo as part of my eye care routine!

But now, I wanna talk about skin care.

Pandemic skincare’s big “thing” these days is keeping your hands off your face.  I get that. Ever since I was a child, though, my mother was constantly reminding me and my siblings to keep our hands off the face. And her constant badgering worked.  At least for me it worked because I’m not prone to touch my face during the day. So, basically, this wasn’t anything new for a number of us.

Just a little reminder!

The other big thing is to wear a mask.  I get that too. And I’ve been a “Mask-It Case” ever since it was recommended to wear one!  And although the mask is a stellar protective device, it also brings on another issue.  Bacteria inside the face protector that touches your face.

Call me a “Mask-It-Case” because I never leave home without one!  Now–if only I could mask that dang turkey neck!

Trust me, I’ve had a couple of sizeable pimples in various places where the mask is worn.  It’s not surprising at all.  Think of the hot weather and the sweat that’s collecting in there.  Makeup that’s rubbed off on the fabric adds to the bacterial issues.  So is sneezing or laughing so hard that you spit bacteria into that little nugget of protection all add up—but, at least it’s your germs!

I've Got Your Bac Cute Bacteria Pun - Bacteria Pun - Sticker | TeePublic

Although not this cute, bacteria can do a job on your face–and not the good job!

And therein lies the need for special attention to cleaning your face.

In my humble opinion, there is no need to spend hundreds of dollars or go into debt for a facial cleanser. Clean is clean. Soap and water or a liquid cleanser and water are basically all you need.  Save your money for travel when the ban is over. Save your money to enjoy a wonderful meal at a good restaurant when the time comes. But honestly, don’t spend it on pricey skin cleansing lotions or overpriced beauty bars.

Please. Save your money.  Remember-Clean is Clean. You don’t have to spend a fortune.

Oh. And a makeup remover helps too. And you don’t need to spend a fortune on that either.

There hasn’t been a night I haven’t been faithful about cleaning my face.  Oh. Wait.  There is an exception.  When I fly overnight but as soon as I get to where I’m going, I unpack then hit the bathroom to was my face.

Anyway, (because anywaysssss isn’t a word) during the winter, I wear more makeup than in the summer.  And even though my summer face doesn’t wear much product. it does get a bit grimy from the mask.  My summer face is generally bare of foundation, concealer, the contour. It’s merely a touch of blush or bronzer or both, eye makeup and lip gloss until it wears off then I keep the lips bare.

My winter face–aka my pre-pandemic face. I forgot how much makeup I wore before masking-it!

And through it all, I still scrub the face.

With the exception of eye makeup, there’s nothing on my face except that slight blemish on my chin!

When I arrive home from work every evening, I run upstairs and take the makeup off.  I use Albolene, which I’ve written about in previous blog posts.  This has been my go-to makeup remover for decades.  A large tub runs about ten bucks. It is lard for the face and melts makeup off.

Since I’m not too fussy, the “‘Lene” gets wiped off with a tissue or three, then the cleansing fun begins.

Albolene and Dove 2 | Atypical 60

Albolene first. Soap second.  I love Albolene so much that I always have a backup on hand!

I have three ways of cleansing.  I’ll either use an exfoliating face cloth, which I love. One side is rough—like a loofah for the face and the other side terry cloth.  The one I have is so old that it’s falling apart and very soon, it’ll be time to purchase more.

This cloth is so old but works like a charm.  This is the rough, exfoliating side..

The other side is softer but you can see that I’ve worn this baby out!

I ordered new cloths from Amazon!  I’ll put the link for this in my Idea List at the bottom of this post. I love this new exfoliator because it really scrubs the face so well!

What I find exhilarating about this cloth is I can get as rough as possible and really dig into those crevices and spots that collect a ton of gunk.  Literally, sometimes I feel as though I’m scrubbing the features of my face away! But thiese cloths work and does the job so well!

This is how well, I scrub my face!!!

There’s another cloth I also use.  Oona got these for me perhaps four or five years ago. They were stuffed into my Christmas stocking.  I have one in pink and one in black. It’s merely a washcloth that removes makeup wonderfully without hard scrubbing.

It’s long and fluffy and soft and does a stellar job in removing makeup. If you don’t want to lug products around while traveling, this is a great alternative!

But first—do you remember Clairol’s The Skin Machine? If you are around my age and were a teen in the late 1960’s through the ‘70’s, I’m sure you’re familiar with the palm-held device, and it’s brush attachment that you used to clean your face.

Remember this?  Oh lordy, I loved my Skin Machine and used it for years!  I can’t understand why this was placed out of production because it worked so darn well!

My mother purchased one for me during those years of being skin-challenged.  The combination of The Skin Machine followed by Clearasil liquid toner and Clearasil cream in that weird tube did work to dry the skin.  And sometimes worked a little too well in drying the skin.

Throwback time!  This and the toner really dried up the skin. There’s no way we could use this now! Our skin would be the new Sahara!

Ok. A little over a month ago Duvolle sent to me a product to review. The product is their Radiance “Spin Care” brush set which is similar to The Skin Machine.

This is the Duvolle Spin Care System.  The site’s price is somewhat expensive but if you are interested, use the code I was given :  CATHERINE  . This code will give you 70 percent off the original price bringing it to $28.50. 

This set has various attachments for different uses:

Two brush attachments for your face.  One is an exfoliating brush, the other a cleanser. Quite honestly, I don’t see much of a difference between the brushes. Both works very well to clean the face in a very soothing and relaxing way.  It’s like a home-spa!

In all honesty, there’s not much difference between the brushes. The exfoliator brush is not as soft but both are excellent for cleaning your face in spa-fashion!  It’s VERY comparable to The Skin Machine but packs more punch!

The pumice attachment is wonderful for smoothing those areas of the feet like heels and balls that can get calloused.  It’s also great to smooth out rough spots on knees and elbows.

This is great for feet, elbows and knees. I’m tempted to use it on my chapped lips.  You CAN use this in the shower, but I prefer not to.

And the oversized body brush is especially handy for applying fake tanner!  Yes!  I’m now using it to apply my tanning mousse!

The large body brush.  Mine has acquired a golden hue because I’ve been using this specifically for applying fake tanner! It works!

Regardless, no matter how you clean your face—with a regular terry washcloth, an exfoliating cloth, a battery-operated brush or your hands to rub the soap in, it’s simply about cleaning!

My new normal. Eye makeup.  A touch of gloss. Bare, clean skin. Showcasing freckles, lines and blemishes from hours of masking it. And a clean face feels so wonderful!

In a nutshell:

Take the makeup off every evening!

Take it off! Take it ALL off!

H2O blended with soap or any cleanser will get your skin clean.

Water. H2O. It’s free (well, except for a relatively inexpensive water bill that you pay four times a year) and it cleanses!

If you have very dry skin, you might want to go with a hydrating product.  My skin is dry.  I stick to Dove, Neutrogena, and, when I can find it, Le Petit Marsellais Orange Blossom soap bar.  I shy away from soaps that dry the skin such as Ivory.  Besides, I’ve had my mouth washed out on many occasions with Ivory. It doesn’t taste too bad but it does dry out the skin!

All three soaps are great for skin cleansing–and all three are inexpensive!

Follow up, if preferred, with a toner.  But be sure to use one that’s gentle and pro-age friendly!   When I remember, I use either generic Witch Hazel or an orange-blossom spray astringent that I purchased a while ago.  Both inexpensive.

Witch Hazel. One of the best toners around.  I use this often and it always makes me feel refreshed without drying my skin.

Another favorite is Orange Blossom water. This spray is fantastic because you can spritz your face from time to time during the day, feel clean and smell good too!

And now, you’re ready to hydrate your skin with your favorite moisturizer and make yourself even more beautiful than you are with a little bit o’ makeup.

Makeup or makeup-free–it’s the clean skin that counts!

Remember—it’s the clean skin that counts above all! If you are looking for ideas, I’ve created an idea list for you on my Amazon store.  The link for you : Clean Your Skin!

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Of Cataracts and Proaging Eye Care!

As I sit here and write this post, I’m in our dining room. I’m at the table which is a makeshift office of sorts for me.  I squint because the glare from the outside is bothering my eyes.  The computer screen looks cloudy and faded.  I cannot see the little arrow from my mouse because it’s white and fades into the background.

My otherwise pristine dining room table is now a makeshift office!  

 

And so, this is my story to you about the cataracts which I have developed over time and my upcoming surgery. There are also some stellar eye care tips that I’ll be giving too!

Yes. ‘Tis I (or should I say “eye”) to tell you about the cataracts that were probably brewing since this photo was taken when I was about three years. (notice the pearl necklace–I was a fashionista even as a cross-eyed little girl and just as deeply shallow as I am now!)

Flashback—fade into last year!

It all began around last October.  Just before the weekend when we turned the clocks back and the days became shorter. Real shorter. You know those days, when twilight commences just as you leave the office.

My normally pleasant commute through Valley Forge Park was becoming unpleasant.  It began with the glare from the oncoming headlights.  A halo of light prevented me from being able to see the road ahead. And my favorite part of the drive, a beautiful one on a little narrow road next to a little narrow brook, with curves more pronounced than those on my body, was turning into a challenge.

I call this the “Beetlejuice Bridge”. It is just before I veer right and follow a curved road next to a brook in the middle of Valley Forge Park. I LOVE my commute but due to increasing bad eyesight, it’s no longer fun!  I miss seeing this!

I had to start driving very slowly. And could just imagine the cursing and saucy language that was being mouthed from the drivers behind me.

I was driving like and old lady.  And it bothered me. And when I got home, I started to cry. And not those whiny crocodile tears. I really was moved to tears dripping down my face!

Seriously. This canine can see better than I can.  Maybe I need a seeing drive dog?

And other changes with my sight were taking place as well.  I had to squint to get a better view of what was in front of me.

Just call me Georgia Costanza. It’s worse because I squint with eyeglasses on!

Now it’s November 2019 and we were at Philadelphia International Airport waiting for a flight to Paris.  Friends of my husband’s were on the same flight and we were chatting before boarding.  I mentioned that I was having difficulty driving at night and described the halos.  I was told it was most likely cataracts.

This is night driving to me. And it’s scary AF!  I’m so scared I’ll get into an accident!

My initial reaction was “Hey, not me”.  “I’m too young for cataracts” “I’m sure it’s something else”

And when we arrived home from our visit, the days were becoming increasingly shorter and I was becoming more and more agitated and nervous about driving home.  I asked my boss if I could change my hours at work to leave at 4 PM rather than at 5.

She said “No” because someone needed to be at the office until five.

Now, I work under those disgusting fluorescent lights, and I thought that perhaps the lighting was the cause of my faltering eyesight.  Fluorescent lighting is not good.  Add to the fact I work not with one computer screen, but with two.  And if you are familiar with working with two monitors, let alone one, you are well aware that after eight hours, the eyes get strained. That was not the case.

I thought perhaps the fluorescent lighting was the culprit. It wasn’t. However, this lighting doesn’t help my sight!

Luckily, when I addressed the lighting, my boss was great about it and my cubicle was changed to an empty spot in a corner with natural lighting from a window.

But the issue wasn’t remedied.  Over time things got worse.

One of the guys from the IT department, came down to adjust my computer screens.  It kind of didn’t help matters much.

Now we’re in lockdown due to the pandemic and most of the workers are home.  I’m one of the skeleton crew at the office.  Personally, I adored being one of three. It was a pleasure to come in, do my work without any small talk or disturbances.  Yes. I’m that person who thrives on being in the office alone!

When I told my husband I’m happiest working like this with nobody around. He started laughing with uncontrolled abandon.  But it’s true. When nobody is in the office, I work like Jerry from Parks & Rec!

But the eyes didn’t get better.

Instead, I thought my glasses, that are perpetually dirty filthy, were worse than usual.  And after cleaning them, discovered that it wasn’t my glasses.

My glasses are usually worse than this.  The new eye doctor agreed. He referred to my glasses as “filthy”

Then I thought, perhaps, my mascara had expired and the gunk from my expired eye makeup was irritating my eyes, making it more difficult to see.  (Yes. I’m that person who will wear mascara well-past any expiration date. I’ll even spit into the tube to get the last bits—after all, it’s my spit).

Okay. So maybe my expired mascara and eye makeup was the culprit.

I did the unimaginable.  I threw out the old mascara and replaced with new.  There was no improvement.

The last straw was when my son, Roman came to visit in June.  He wanted to spend time with us before returning to work at Rock Plaza.  Bonaparte and I drove into NYC to pick him up as we are very-much into social distancing.  So, when we had dinner out on our deck, Roman was sitting across from me, as was Bonaparte.  I couldn’t see their faces.  It’s akin to looking at an overexposed photo.

This is how I saw my son Roman. And that was the final straw before I did something!

And it was scary AF.

There’s a saying that some people look at life through rose-colored glasses.  I was looking at life through a blurry cloud where I couldn’t read anymore unless I was in a room with no lighting during the day and dim lighting at night.

On the left–it’s how I SHOULD see. On the right–is how I DO see!

Bonaparte drives me to and from work these days. And I hate that. It is having my independence taken away from me simply because I cannot see.  On the days when he has early or late clients, I drive myself to work.  And with the assistance of my prescription sunglasses I’m okay.  But that’s for summer. There’s no way I can do that in the winter with the short days.

My daughter Oona is like Homer Simpson asking me if I can drive at night. Actually she asks me if I can drive AT ALL!!

An eye patch is also worn at work.  Oddly enough, patching over the bad eye helps the good eye to see better!

The first time I decided to get creative with my eye patches, I ended up drawing an eye upside down.  Bonaparte told me I resembled a Picasso illustration. I liken it more to a hot mess!

My second attempt was a bit better but creepy..

And my third attempt was an homage to my OCD regarding where the shades should be pulled down to. (They all need to be pulled down to the same length so I can relax). Let us add some self-effacing humor here!

And so, Bonaparte did research and found an Ophthalmologist for me to see. Now, under normal circumstances I go to a fine optometrist but this issue demanded something more. We headed into Ardmore and for the first time in years, since my childhood into adulthood Ophthalmologist and surgeon retired,I was in the hands of another.

This was the office of my beloved  Dr. Norman Stevens.  Rockaway Park, NY and it was always a pleasure to go see him.  

The technician pre-examined me, and then Dr. Sando came in to examine me.  Truth be told. I do not like going to the doctor. Any doctor because, as a hypochondriac who is angst-ridden and suspects the worst, my fear gets the better of me.  My childhood eye doctor, Norman Stevens was a gem.  He took such good care of me and became more of a friend.  I’ve even assisted him from time to time if I had an appointment and a petrified child came in to see him. He would put them at ease by telling them I was his favorite patient! I trusted him and loved him.  And his office in Rockaway beach was like home to me.

In all honesty, Dr. Sando gave out great vibes.  He was very thorough and explained everything in a professional and amicable way.

Dr. Ralph Sando.  He looks completely different without his mask. All I saw through the clouds was two eyes.  I hope this is him.  It is!

I got the cataracts! But not just one type, I have two. Cataracts in front and in back.  Add to that my amblyopic eyes with astigmatism and far-sightedness are a delightful mélange of sight issues that add to this fun time mix!

Funny thing is, my eyes look normal but they ain’t!

Dr. Ralph explained that surgery would be done on the bad eye first. This will give a better idea on how to work the good eye.   He went on to tell me about the risks and worst-case scenario of ocular explosion. And a retina surgeon would be on hand should that happen. But that is a very low occurrence.

While others are pondering risks, I’m pondering what wig I’ll wear. Uh oh. I hope they allow me to wear a wig!

The surgery would be preformed on an out-patient basis, which is great. Since I have a plethora of eye issues, laser surgery isn’t really for me. It would be more intense. And recovery would be quick. Surgery will be done on a Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to heal.  Since my job is ye of little PTO, I asked if it would be possible to go to work on the Friday.  I know he wasn’t thrilled with this question but he agreed; and only if I take it easy (of which I almost burst out laughing).

An “ewww” moment. I will be awake. That’s so gross. However, Dr. Sando said that the lighting will be so bright I won’t see him coming at me.  I hope I  am rewarded with Vicoden  after the surgery to relax me.  Or perhaps before.  Maybe I’ll just get Latisse to make my lashes longer!

He also gave me a sheet, more like a menu of sorts of the different levels of cataract surgery.  My medical insurance basically sucks—however, it’s pretty-much the norm these days for the working middle-class.   (BTW, a good chunk of my paycheck goes toward medical insurance).  I told him to do whatever insurance will cover.

I’ll still be wearing my beloved eyeglasses. (I told the good doctor they are like Botox for the eyes).  I’ll be able to see facial features again (although in some cases I might not enjoy what I see).  The world won’t be seen through dirty glasses anymore (which is bullshit because my eyeglasses are always dirty).  Let me correct that one.  The world won’t be seen through a blur anymore.

My eyeglasses define me. They really do. Besides, they protect my GOOD eye and that’s more important!

Headlights won’t blind me.  I’ll be able to enjoy my twilight commute through Valley Forge Park without driving like an old lady.

Speaking of old ladies.  When Dr. Ralph spoke of risks I didn’t flinch.  When he mentioned cataracts come with the aging process, I, in my most deep shallowness, started bawling like a toddler who couldn’t get her way!

My feelings were hurt. I’m not old. I’m a PRO-AGER!!!

But wait!  There’s more and it is in the form of eyecare!  Yes!  Who knew? We spend a lot of time on skincare but eyecare?  Well……. not really!

Other than wiping my eye makeup off in the evening, I kind of don’t do anything else.

Albolene and Dove 2 | Atypical 60

Yeah. I wipe my eye makeup off with Albolene. I’m sure all that gunk is having a party in between my lashes!

The doctor’s technician spoke with me for a while on this subject.  I have to go in to see her for measurements in two weeks.  It’s a pre-op procedure.

Anyway, (reminder that anywayssss is not a word) it was recommended to use hydrating drops for my dry eyes.  I was shocked to learn that mine eyes that don’t see the glory were dry!  I have no problem crying at the drop of a hat and my eyes don’t itch. But she explained that in order to get correct measurements the eyes must be hydrated—it’ll stop the blinking and allow me to keep my eyes opened longer as she measures.

I got samples! It was like being at Sephora and coming home with makeup samples!  Note the standard surgery. That’s what my insurance is covering.  I need to win the lottery.

Then, the best!  Actually, the best and most pragmatic advice ever!  Johnson’s Baby Shampoo!  Yes. Baby Shampoo to clean my eyelids.  Take a dab of the shampoo and place on your fore fingertip.  Rub the shampoo in a circular motion where the lash line meets lid and gently rub. Then wash off with water.

A little dab at the top of my finger..

..and rubbed onto the edge of my eyelid to clean out the gunk!

The baby shampoo doesn’t sting and all that eye gunk is gone.  Who knew?

Who knew that Johnson’s baby shampoo would be used to clean my eyelids?  And it works beautifully–no stings at all!

Am I nervous about the upcoming cataract surgery?  Of course, I am, I would be foolish to not be.

nervous nail biter GIF by K.I.D

Of course I’m nervous. However, I don’t like the taste of acrylic nails so I won’t be doing this!

Am I excited about it?  Kinda?   As nervous as I may be, I’m looking forward to the gift of sight returning.  Presently, it’s difficult to write on my laptop because I can’t get the screen’s brightness to where it’s comfortable.  I also can’t see the mouse pointer.

Yeah. I’m pretty excited. I don’t want to rely on my sunglasses too much. Lately I’ve been wearing them a lot. And I look forward to getting as much of normal eye sight can be had!

I am looking forward to not squinting.  You seriously do not realize how important the sense of sight is until it begins to fade.  And it’s true.  Cataracts are conducive to aging.

But I like to call it eye care for the pro-aging!

Eye care for the pro-aging. Are you in?

Hey. Have you had cataract surgery? Are your eyes seeing a bit cloudy these days? If you think you may have cataracts get thee to an ophthalmologist!! Proage those eyes!

 

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C’mon! We’re Going on Vacation! But You Don’t Have to Pack!

Yes.  That’s correct.  I’m taking you on vacation and you don’t have to pack one thing.  Not even a toothbrush.

Bitmoji Image

No packing needed!!  Sit back and enjoy this non-flight flight!

And after I take you to a few places, you’re gonna sit back for a while and reflect on all the great places you’ve been. Then you’re gonna head to your photographs and take a look at them.  Then you’re gonna have a big smile on your face and you’ll see that sometimes, just thinking about your travels and viewing the movie in your mind, can filled with fun and happy memories.

Back in the day before Shutterfly and other sites that’ll make books of your photos, I made quite a few scrap books with our travel photos!

Look, this pandemic has taken a toll on most of us.  It’s daunting and even difficult to come to terms that summer is more than halfway over and we’ve had to cancel vacations we’ve looked forward to for over a year or so.  It’s worse realizing you can’t visit family who live far away.  I get that. And I get it because we’ve had our summer trip to France cancelled.  That trip couldn’t even be substituted by traveling to see my daughter in Ohio or traveling, for the first time, to L.A. to see my son.

Who knew that last summer would be one of baseball games and traveling to see family?

Other than Oona’s wedding in July 2019, the only other time I saw my kids last year was Christmas.  Who knew what we were in for?

But there’s an upside of sorts.  Trust me, as I write this, I’m talking myself into believing there is an upside.  But I’ll list those upsides and then we’ll embark on our travels!  Okay?

The upside of not traveling realistically during this pandemic are.

You don’t have to wait on the TSA lines at the airport.  Truth be told, I despise those lines—but in order to get to where we go, we have to comply.  No standing and lugging carry ons.  No taking your shoes, jewelry, scarves and other items off and placing them into those ugly gray plastic trays.  Am I right?

See?   There IS an upside!  No waiting on these horrific TSA lines!

And speaking of lines, you don’t have to wait on an abusively long line at border patrol, aka, Customs. Those lines are painful. Not only to your feet but to your emotional well-being.  It seems that whenever we land in Paris, it is either when Customs agents are either taking a break, have not arrived yet because it’s early in the morning or they are in a bad mood. And you don’t have to be crammed like sardines at the embarkment areas.  Do you have any idea what it is like to board a translantic flight that is filled to capacity at an unorganized airport?  Chaos is a kind word for the experience!

None of this on our blog vacation!

No plane passenger issues.  You know what I’m talking about!  Those assholes who refuse to wear proper shoes that, unfortunately are sitting next to you. You know, the ones with filthy feet, fungus-ridden toenails and flip-flops that are equally as filthy as their hairy feet.   No sitting next to the passenger who gets up every half-hour to make you have to get up from watching your movie or disturbing your movie, to go to the bathroom.

Welcome to my travel life.  I’m the one who manages to sit in front of the passenger who takes his shoes off….

And, the mother of all flight annoyances, you don’t have to be bothered with the morons who cram a large number of their family’s carry-on luggage into the compartment above your seat. This is probably my biggest annoyance because the airlines do not enforce the one-carry-on per person rule.  Don’t get me started….When I flew to my nephew’s wedding just before the lockdown, I witnessed an in-flight fight two passengers had regarding the overhead space. The worst part was the flight attendant did absolutely nothing!

I’m that passenger who MAKES space in the overhead. Regardless of who’s carryon I rip. Seriously. This os over MY seat that I paid for. Get your stuff outta my way!

We’ve waited as long as over an hour with no pleasant welcome.  Not having to go through Customs is such a delight!  I’m in a better mood already!

No waiting for that car rental that turns out to be the wrong vehicle so you have to wait two additional hours while the car rental dealer scrambles to find you the model car you did rent and pay a lot of money for!

The Flintstones Fred Flintstone in his Car Color Model Cel | Lot #15104 | Heritage Auctions

Umm. Excuse me but this isn’t the vehicle I paid for!

Not leaving your luggage with the concierge because your flight arrived early and you really want to sleep and take a shower but you can’t because the room isn’t ready yet!

And you make the best of it by heading to a nearby cafe for coffee and croissants! And don’t forget to snap a pic to document your arrival–as tired as you might be!

Right?  You don’t have to deal with any of this!  Trust me!  Below is a link to a bit I wrote about the worst experience we’ve had returning from France. I wrote it back in July of 2013!    Sometimes It Pays to Fly Direct!

kate mckinnon snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

Yup! SNL got it right about Aer Lingus! And I’m of Irish lineage!

Now, dig out those old photos of trips you’ve had and imagine you are in the midst of those photos.  It could be a few decades ago or could be a few months before the pandemic.

For us, it was a visit to NYC literally, the week before the lockdown!

Maybe it’s as close as a nearby city or as far as a country across your closest ocean.

I never tire of Paris.  Paris and NYC–Be still my heart I love you both!

I went through some old photos today and visited a few places.

Ireland—Dublin and Belfast to be exact.

Oona at Trinity College Library.  This was a pretty amazing visit

An education regarding culture. Nobody gets offended about a 15-year old in this funny pose at the Guinness Brewery!

And in Belfast at the All-Irelands!

Sydney, Australia

At the Taronga Zoo in Sydney. That Joey was so adorable.  Check out the fanny pack and sneakers. How long ago was that?

My cousins traveled from Brisbane to Sydney to see me. It was a first and we had a blast.  And yes. That is my real hair!  Bottom pic is with Zookeeper Brian Jessup and a Koala friend!

The Opera House

The Bats at the Botanical Gardens in Sydney

Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree

—and I head to Doyle’s to get some fish in me!

And, naturally, France.

Whether hanging out in Paris doing literally nothing..

Or enjoying a vista in Provence..

Or in the Principality of Monaco..

Let’s not forget St. Tropez and my horrific attempt at a panoramic view!

Keep journals. Quite honestly journaling your trips bring back vivid memories to accompany those photos!

This journal En Route by Barrie Kerper in THE greatest journal ever. Purchased for a trip to France back in 2012, I’ve never seen it since and boy, it pains me that it wasn’t printed year after year after year. It’s incredible. Sectioned off into entries, sketches, expenses, pockets to add little bits and stuff. It was just incredible!

I started keeping track but never kept it up. I was too focused on writing entires!

Every day, I would take time in the late afternoon to sit down and write about our daily experiences.  I have a plethora of journals!

But it doesn’t stop there.  Get some music. If you are hooked on Italy, research and get some Italian pop music. Love the Middle East?  There’s some great Arab music out there.  For me, I’m so into French Pop and have amassed quite the selection of CD’s and Spotify playlists!  Make your “mindcation” even better with tunes!

Whenever I listen to French pop music, I’m transformed to our auto rental and listening to the radio while driving through the Cote d’Azur!

Don’t forget the movies either!  Two of my favorite movies of all time are The Four Hundred Blows.  It’s so sad and somewhat depressing but funny and full of hope at the same time. Visually it is stunning because it’s filmed in black and white and shows a side of Paris before it became overcrowded!

The 400 Blows was the first in a series about Francois Truffaut’s alter ego, Antoine Doinel. The series runs the gamut of emotions but boy, The 400 Blows is epic!

Another scene from the film.

Quite possibly, the greatest movie ever made is Amelie. The story can be somewhat comparible to Jane Austen’s Emma–but better!  And visually, it is stunning–there’s a green cast and OMG. It’s just the best movie ever. I cannot count how many times I’ve sat through it! It definitely brings me back to Paris!

For obvious family reasons Les Miserables starring Daniele Delorme….shameless plug!

And can we not forget the food.  Make a dish from the place you were to vacation!  I made Gougeres today for Bonaparte!

75 gougeres were baked today.  And my husband felt as though he was on vacation when he had some with his aperitif!

  • Try something different.  Make esscargot.  Make a tagine. Or homemade pasta!  Or baklava!  

From Paris to the South of France, my favorite travels have been with myhusband.

We travel very well together!  We’re definitely on the same page!

We’re at that age when our children have grown out of their teens and twenties. They are full-fledged adults. Responsible adults with successful careers. They don’t need nor depend on us anymore. Besides it’s important to have a travel companion that you get along with. Trust me, I’ve been on trips that were a wreck.  Blended personalities is always a good equation!

And so, travel fills a void. But it’s all good.  Great, in fact.  When you travel you acquire the greatest education—one you cannot learn in a classroom. It’s the education of cultures and art and people and history and food. And once you experience that initial visit—you’re hooked!

Tarascon chateau in Provence was one of the greatest Medieval sites I’ve ever visited!

And you never know what photo opportunities await. Below is a TOILET. You sat on it and hopefully, no body was standing on the ground under you!

Yes. I was fascinated and disgusted at the same time with a bit of nervous laughter. This is a Medieval toilet. Oh boy–I’m sure beautiful gardens grew underneath from the “fertilizer”!

Bonaparte and I make a wonderful travel team. We have similar “want-to-do’s” when we are away and we have our particulars. We like clean hotels for one. And we like having a car—even in Paris. It lends itself well for us to drive out of City Centre and onto the historical venues that lay outside of the City of Lights.

When we rent the apartment in Theoule, we spend our last night in the Clubhouse at La Galere–it’s become a tradition and the rooms are wonderful!

That isn’t to say we run into differences at times because we do. But we always manage to iron those differences out within minutes and then head on our merry way.

And that merry way usually means driving to pick up a baguette from Desgranges–the best bread in Paris (in my opinion). Crusty exterior and just enough saltiness with a chewy interior. It’s heavenly!

 During this time of being banned from practically every country and then some, it’s bittersweet to read about your past travels—the fun stuff.  The sites.  For me, it’s reading about Bonaparte’s aunt, Daniele, and the many years we spent with her in her Paris Apartment.  It’s also about our trips to the Cote d’Azur—I really thought we would be there this summer but who knew this pandemic would affect life itself.

We were fortunate to see this exhibit of Bonaparte’s grandfather’s photos during our November visit. Hopefully we’ll be back this coming November!

Instead, after I finish writing this post, I’m going to return to my travels through photographs and journals.  And later when we are enjoying our aperitifs before dinner, we’ll reminisce about the best of our trips.

The photos date back to 2006 and I started documenting from 2009.  It’s been a great journey and I hope it continues after the pandemic. 

I hope you enjoyed this post!  Now go.  Take a vacation in your mind. It’ll be good for you! XOXOXOXO

Posted in France, French music, French recipes, Travel | Tagged , | 23 Comments

Please don’t Lose Face — I Love You Just the Way You Were!

CAVEAT: As an experiment, I decided to upload (or download) a face app—Face App, in fact.  I played around to give you some examples of what this post is about. I did not want to use the images from the people that I’ve seen on Social Media who change their images. For me, it isn’t ethical—and so, I used my face to prove my point. Read on and have a few laughs on me—okay?

I love being on Instagram. It’s downright fun.  And, despite the continuous parade of political posts, I also enjoy Facebook.  And lest we not forget YouTube because I have an absolute blast filming wig reviews on my Channel.

Thumbnail Image for my Color Comparison Video Review about Summer Heat by The Wig Company!  No blurs. No filters. Just different lighting.

In fact, one of the reasons I love social media is that I can get a great look at products—both in photographs and videos.   It’s a wonderful aspect of the medium to showcase real results or a real person. 

Especially with the mature demographic?  Or is it.

Now.  As a genuinely curious nosey individual, I like to get a good look at how—let’s say a skincare product or a wig, works on the women showcasing these items and products.  And, at times, I find many images and little videos a bit daunting.

I’ll tell you why.

It seems that filtering and blurring and enhancing images have become quite popular in influencer and reviewer lands. And, as an influencer of sorts, myself, I abhor the use of photo enhancements.

Please influencers–don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining.  And don’t morph your real images into a scary version of Influencer IT clowns!  I cringed when I saw this photo of me.  That smile is so freaky. But the best thing is my turkey neck is on full-display.  Ya think people won’t notice that?  I like the photo on the left better–especially since my little fang is peeking through!  

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ve changed saturation on clothing that I’m showcasing simply because the lighting at the time of photographing can be a bit naturally filtered—especially early in the morning when I’m snapping pics before leaving for work.  I’ll use the sharpening effect to get a more defined result.

Here’s a photo I posted on Instagram to showcase the Lilly Pulitzer Wynne Maxi. I did use the saturation effect to show the true colors. But no filters!

Another photo using the saturation effect in order to get a better idea of the vibrant colors in the shorts and the top!  No facial enhancements or filters!

But I never touch the face.

The face is sacred to me.  Jowls. Lines.  Freckles.  Fish lips. Crossed eyes.  Facial scars.  It’s the mélange of imperfections that make me…. well, me! And yes.  I’ll be honest.  Aging can be daunting.  Not gonna lie.  I’ve said it before and will say it again.  If I had the funds, I would find the best plastic surgeon, check myself into NY Hospital for Special Surgery and let the knife do the walking.  Its more organic to have the skin pulled and lifted then sewn back vs. needles with synthetic fillers injected into the skin.  Or at least that’s my humble opinion.

But let’s get back to the subject at hand.  It’s becoming increasingly difficult to find truth in influencer advertising these days. A great skincare product—especially at our pro-age stage of aging, is a treasure.  While we aren’t looking for a miracle to erase the effects of aging, we can all admit we’re looking for a product that’ll hydrate and plump up the skin a bit.  Something that’ll work well either under makeup or alone.  And we don’t need to alter our image to get the point across!

On the left, is an image of me that was taken exactly one year ago. Two days before Oona and Sam’s wedding. I was sitting on their front porch. No makeup. Only moisturizer. Oona and I were ready to get spray-tanned for the wedding. The photo on the left is one of my all-time favorites because it’s makeup free, I had a great sleep the night before, I was excited to be with my daughter and future son-in-law and I was happy. The image on the right. It’s downright creepy.  I look about 14 years old. But the sad thing is that I’ve seen images of women on Social Media, in their 50’s and upwards that have morphed themselves into looking 14 and it is laughable and sad at the same time!

Same with makeup. We don’t want a foundation that will showcase every wrinkle and crevice. We want a lightweight foundation with a good amount of coverage to hide redness or age spots while not giving notice to said crevices.