I’m dressed.

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Hangers, lots of them.

“So, I’m telling you don’t worry about your life, what you’re going to eat or drink next, about your latest aches and pains, about what you will wear. Is a meal the most important thing in your life? Is what you wear more important than the body you put it on?”  Jesus in Matthew 6:25

No, I thought. What I wear has become much less an issue since moving to the deep freeze (Wisconsin). The desire to look a certain way when seen, doesn’t know what to do with itself when I’m hardly ever seen anywhere. When I’m seen, I’m pretty much always wearing my coat.

I often go to Walmart but you know I’m not going to worry about looking good there. I’d rather blend in.

Even at church, where my childhood habit of wearing my Sunday best ought to kick in, I’m more often in my flannel shirt uniform. People who walk or drive long distances to get somewhere in freezing weather have to think about dressing to prevent hypothermia if their car breaks down or if there’s a stiff wind. I’m trying to remember the last time I saw a woman in a dress.

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It’s a nice closet, and much better than squeezing into the one in our bedroom, with the husband’s things.

My clothes were a major part of what I packed to move up here. There were boxes of winter things, some of which had not seen much action in thirty years of Florida weather. I decided the large double closet in the garage was the most logical place for my things – it’s handy, right outside the kitchen door and only a few steps from our bedroom. I had to buy hangers, lots of them. Most everything fits there. It’s a little weird, but not a problem if I plan ahead.

But now that winter is here, and we’re keeping the garage at a lower temperature, I’m opting not to go out there as often. I have found that I can wear the same clothes for days at a time if I’m careful. My big accomplishment this week is going five days in the same pair of jeans. In a previous life this would have been wrong on several levels, but not here, not now. Don’t judge. Seattle daughter would be happy to know that her blue sweater gift is on it’s fourth day too.

Did you know that washing clothing unnecessarily is creating a cloth fiber plague in our water and air? It’s true. I read it on the internet. Even fish caught in the ocean have cloth fibers in their flesh, and we eat that. Yuk. So I’m not washing my clothes either. Well, not as often. If I can’t see the dirt, they’re not dirty. Try it. Saves on detergent too.

That whole section in Matthew 6 says a lot about clothes and worry and I’m taking it to heart. I’m just sayin’ – there’s no sense in running after things that God has already given me plenty of.

Is unfashion a word? Did I make that up?

Mayo Clinic Day 2

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Geese on the run at Silver Lake. Ok, they’re not all running.

It’s Day 2 and I”m beginning to know my way around, where the different buildings are, where to pick up the shuttle, where to go to eat. The husband is getting better at it too, but he doesn’t go anywhere alone and likes to have someone to follow.

Our appointments were not scheduled the way we would have wished but we were told it was possible to change some of them. The schedulers told us “Be a checker!” and wrote it on our instruction sheet. I had to ask what that meant. It’s their suggestion that you be on hand for the test you want to get, in case someone cancels. It’s like “standby” at the airport. We were on hand at 7am and 12 pm, the designated times, with no success.  But again, the people working here are all helpful and so good at what they do. It wasn’t a bad day.

After our morning wait, we went down to the business office and asked about our insurance authorization for the needed PET scan. It was not a busy place and a very competent person helped us right away. She made some calls and told me that Dr. Jones’s report had been sent to the insurance company. I will call tomorrow morning and see if it has had any effect. And again, no lines, prompt service, and people asking us what we needed before we had to ask them. Can this place be real?

Going back and forth as many times as we did gave us some good experience riding the shuttle. It is easier and cheaper than driving and will be our main mode of transportation.

We are finding ourselves very easy to entertain. Today we shopped at Walmart, took naps, read, watched TV and ate our snacks in the room. We’re doing one meal a day at a restaurant. Tonight’s choice was Outback.

I am trying to resurrect memories of my year in Rochester while in nursing school. It was so long ago that I’m afraid my dorm attached to Methodist Hospital, Clara Madsen Hall, has been torn down and replaced by some larger, imposing building. I couldn’t find it. Almost everything downtown around the Clinic itself looks unfamiliar to me, although the main street, Broadway, still had many older buildings. There are also some one way streets that I don’t remember being there (but that I will never forget again…).

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Ducks and geese abound. Watch where you step.

After dinner we drove around a bit and I was relieved to find one place was much the same. Silver Lake park was still there. The lake itself was part of the Zumbro River and there was a power plant connected in some way with it. Because the water was warmed by the power plant it didn’t ice over as quickly as other bodies of water in the area. It was home to great multitudes of Canadian geese all year round and quite a sight to see. I remember times when it was cold enough to warrant goose rescue attempts for those animals that were getting frozen into the ice. The geese are still there, along with a sign asking people not to feed them. A large goose produces 3 lbs. of poop per day (who knew?) and all that creates a significant bacteria problem for the lake.

Tomorrow we will be on standby for the neuro-psych evaluation again, and hopefully will get time to visit my Aunt Evelyn in the afternoon. The husband (and Mom and I) are worried about Julia. Hurricane Florence is heading toward North Carolina and Greensboro is in the center of the all important cone of possibility. We know what hurricanes are like… This world is full of things we can’t control. How plain that is. Just sayin’…

On Clothes

I have an opinion on almost everything. Not that it matters…

Clothes do not “make the man” as some like to think. You have to know who you are before you put them on or you are in trouble. This I have learned from experience.

Down here in the sauna of the United States, I change clothes, a lot. It would be exhausting and take up way too much time to have to worry about looking good in what I wear. I settle for acceptable in a modest and functional way.

I accept the fact that clothing is fickle. It can look pleasing from one angle and totally embarrassing from another. It can fit well on one wearing and then not fit at all after one of us changes sizes. It can look soooo good in the picture, on someone else, and then be a completely different garment on me. I don’t know how it happens but it does.

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I won’t say what I was planning to do in this outfit, but you see what I mean?

I was looking this morning for something to wear while riding my bike outside. I wanted sun exposure and to be cool temperature-wise so my choice of knit shorts and tank top was a practical one. I put my helmet on and looked in the mirror. There I was, just like in countless pictures of myself biking, hiking, kayaking, whatever – looking decidedly awkward, gangly and a bit on the nerdy side. A real fashion plate. I regret that this is the case, but as I said, I’m not letting clothes define me. Function and protection are some major strong points of clothing, and shoes also, which is why I have almost completely given up on high heeled shoes. They are health hazards in so many ways. I’ve seen those models on the runways, nearly killing themselves…

I’m not against looking good. I even give that a shot from time to time, and it’s a lot of fun when it happens. However, I’ve also learned that the illusion of looking good is a real thing. For instance, having a great time dancing at a friend’s wedding only lasts until I see pictures of said evening and me in my finery. Who is that woman?

It’s been interesting to see how my clothing philosophy rubs off on my daughters. Pretty much not at all. There are occasions when they ask me what I think about what they are planning to wear but I’m always way too confused to tell them, and they end up wearing what they want to anyway. My opinion has a very poor track record. I think that they both would admit to clothes presenting them with some degree of a problem in their life (Why do I have so many? Where do I store them all? Why is my dry cleaning bill so high? Etc…) and that is where my bottom line comes in. Clothing should not be making life any more difficult than it already is.

Clothes should not be a problem, unless, of course, you don’t have any. That’s a problem, but it’s solved fairly easily. Do you know that there is a glut of clothing in the world? Do you realize that most of the stuff we donate to Goodwill ends up in the landfill? It’s alarming, really. But if you have clothing, don’t stress out over it. Wear it, take care of it and keep it clean. Smile and be kind no matter what you’re wearing and hope that’s what people remember most about you. And you will occasionally look good – it happens to all of us. Just sayin’…

Side note: Does anyone want a nearly new pair of Lands End board shorts, size 16W, in black? I found them last night when we were walking along the street. I think they blew off someone’s boat. It’s really easy to find clothing around here.

I Fell for It

I did it.

You know those ads that you see all over Facebook these days – the ones where a person’s wrinkles and bags disappear in the space of minutes while they fan their face? It’s all due to the fabulous cream they dab on in minuscule amounts. I’ve watched several of these “shows” over the past few months and decided it was time to see if they were giving me the straight scoop. I have good enough skin for someone my age but there are times when I’d like to make a few things go away. I ordered some.

But I waited until I got a good deal – a free sample with the only cost being the shipping and handling. I will try anything (not really) for $5 if it’s compelling enough. And then I left the country for two weeks where I couldn’t get on the internet easily and the husband, at home, was left in charge of the mail.

“Hey, you got a box with some skin creams or something in the mail.” Along with “There are some charges on our credit card that are strange. Did you order something from Beauty Store Online?” It was hard to deal with it from the other side of the world so I made a mental note to self. Self, when you get home, make sure these charges aren’t more than postage, and figure out what the strange part is.

Today was the day. Perusing our credit card statement, I found there were actually five charges, from three different company names, with three telephone numbers. Two were around $100 and three were $5 and under. So I started called the associated phone numbers to find out what was going on. At three of the numbers the same recording was played followed by some waiting music and then a hang up. At the fourth number, I connected with a real voice, from India most likely.

Fortunately, I could understand his English pretty well. And he could understand mine well enough to find my account and verify the charges. Next, he heard me ask for the account to be closed and the charges taken off. According to script, I’m sure, he offered the following information:

They didn’t have sample sizes, and the product needed to be used for longer to see results, so of course, they sent full size product. Didn’t I want to see results?

Next, I hadn’t responded to tell them how I liked the product so they had charged me for it. But since I was only expecting a sample (as stated in the ad) they would give me a chance to buy more at 50% off.

Next, okay if I didn’t want more. They would close my account and send me email verification. I would only pay for the product received.

Next, in my case (and only my case, mind you) they would take 50% off the price, since I was so upset.

Next, by special permission they would take 75% off the price.

As I was once again, calmly, telling them to close the account and take all the charges off or I was going to file a dispute with the credit card company, the connection was lost. Actually, I was kind of surprised that I stayed connected as long as I did. Almost every call I make gets dropped at least once, thank you Verizon.

Do you ever get surprises like this? I guess I deserved it. Most of the time I ignore ads, knowing that life can get complicated pretty quickly over the internet, with credit cards, and unproven companies. Yeah, I deserved it. Thankfully, the credit card dispute person was very helpful and compassionate and I ended up with no doubt that the whole matter will be resolved to my satisfaction.

I’m a Mary Kay girl and am sticking with what works (I even sell it – shame on me for experimenting). I’m going to work on loving my wrinkles and taking good care of them. Just sayin’, buyer beware….

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Cute containers, but the stuff smelled a little strange.

Day One and Counting

The real me is a farm girl, and not so much the kind that sets apple pies to cool on the windowsill, more likely the kind that has a close affinity to dirt. Dirt ends up in my hair, on my face, my clothing, my feet and under my nails. It’s not that I love dirt (and I do clean up fairly often) but that I can’t seem to get away from it. I accommodate this proclivity in several ways.

For one, I almost never wear white, and I’m a bit afraid of light colors. They invite soil. A white shirt is just waiting for spaghetti sauce. Wear white pants and it won’t be long before I sit on something I shouldn’t. It isn’t worth it, so I wear a lot of earth colors. And I rarely buy a piece of clothing that costs more than twenty dollars. Throwing away a designer priced T-shirt with a weird blob of something on the front is sooooo painful. And contrary to some reports, Oxy Clean does not cure everything with a stain.

I also have opted for a no-frill hair cut that can be washed often and pretty much left to dry on it’s own. It is my answer to Florida humidity and bushy (not really straight, not really curly), kinky hair. I never wash my hair in the morning because I know if I go outside I will be sweaty and unkept in a matter of minutes. Unless I shackle myself to a chair inside I will need at least one shower later, when it’s safe to clean up.

And I don’t do manicures and pedicures. True, I live in sandal land and am insanely jealous of people with beautiful feet on display in their beautiful shoes. But I have trouble pulling it off. It would be easier now that it’s trendy to go with black or brown polish (eew…) but I rarely get past the stage where you have to let it dry. And the fact that my feet are so far away from my eyes that I can’t see them very well is a mixed blessing.

And manicures? My excuse since 8th grade was Miss Varien the piano teacher telling me to cut my nails short or else forget playing piano. After that it was the nursing profession that claimed a whole army of bacteria lived under fingernails and polish. Did we want our patients to die on account of our vanity? No we didn’t.

Well, the person who invited me to an online Jamberry party was clueless about all of this. And since I didn’t know what Jamberry was (I love jam, I love berries, what could go wrong?) I signed up. This sweet girl was thinking of me in her circle of friends and I need all the friends I can get. Imagine my surprise upon finding out it’s all about manicures and pedicures. For a week I learned the language, listened to the stories, watched the videos and entered the contests. By the end of the party I started thinking about the decorative plastic film (think contact paper) as armor for my almost nonexistent fingernails. Not only did I end up buying to support my sweet friend but for the second time in my life I won a contest and got a free sheet of Jamberry thingies to apply to my fingers and toes.

It’s a holiday weekend. I’m going to relax and be a lady (of leisure). I’m going to avoid harsh chemicals, dirt of all kinds (yeah, right…) and abrasive activities and see if my manicure can live up to expectations. Two weeks sounds kind of impossible but here we go, day 1 and counting…

This is not really me, but sometimes it's kind of nice to be someone else...
This is not really me, but sometimes it’s kind of nice to be someone else…