Thursday, November 7, 2019


Branded, Branded... What will you do when you're branded? Will you fight for your name?

I am my own brand. I just don't get any money for it. That's totally on me. I could have but I didn't want it to be my job to myself. Being myself is more of lark to me.

And that's the point. With age comes a fuller sense of who you are and how you want to spend your time. It's not  about trying to make people like you. It's about liking yourself.

Ain't no way to brand that.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

This Week's Wardrobe


flipping for the flip 

When life gives you lemons... wear them with pride.

I love this hat. Not enough to wear it to work, but still...

This big ol' skirt is kind of a stinker. Ugh. 

Life is just a dance of cherries. Son doesn't approve.

We Are All Warriors

We are all warriors in so many ways. Life today (and always, I suppose though those lovely 50s housewives made it look like they had everything knocked) demands that of us.

We fight for our kids. We fight to make our way in the world. We fight for what we believe in. We fight a million battles that no one ever sees.

Is it ALWAYS wrong to wear your bedspread over you head to work? Asking for a friend.

This means everyone you meet has scars from battles you know nothing about. Even if you think you know someone and their story, trust me, there are things they will never tell you, or that you will never be able to understand. You know this. You feel this about yourself. I do, as well.

It isn't always this obvious when a person is under water.

Today I am on the battlefield with a couple of long time foes: Depression and Migraine.
But I am up and dressed and going about my day. I doubt if you met me today that you'd know much of anything except that I was being more quiet than usual.'

I might explain that away by telling you about the migraine but I won't tell you about the other. Maybe it's because 'the other' has been lying to  me and telling me: "It's not me, it's you. If you're depressed, it's to be expected, look at what a mess you are!"
Or maybe I don't say anything about my struggle because I'm afraid your opinion of me will change and when that happens it can't be 'unchanged'. I'll always be the kind of fragile soul that people don't just ask 'are you doing okay?' but also add, 'no, really, are you okay? You know you can tell me if you're not okay, okay?'

It's good to have someone to talk to, but even then, it's hard to tell them everything without feeling like you need to tone it down a little.

Or maybe 'the other' has brought along a nasty little friend, Anxiety and I just can't... I just... can't.

I want to. I just can't.

I'm not ashamed of depression or any of my issues. But I am scarred by them and often I am at war with them. I know you have your battles too and it doesn't change what I think of you, but it does change how I think of you - it reminds me you are a warrior, too, and even if we don't agree on much of anything, I respect that.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Red Herrings... I Mean, Earrings.

It is not a novel idea that a lot of good mysteries are full of red herrings. A clue, a distraction, something that seems pertinent but is, in fact, a dead end.

Dead End? We've got just the thing for that! Oh, you mean something that doesn't help you get the thing you're working so hard for? Yeah, that pretty much describes our exercise routine! 

But what if we're not talking about an end or a herring but an earring? A red earring. Welcome to what I'm calling:  "The Case of the Vanishing Earrings."

No, you're not hearing that wrong. The most recent earring that went missing is the third one in less than 2 months!

Like most heroines in a mystery tale, I had no idea anything was amiss until the something that went missing was too mysterious to ignore. I bought 3 sets of earrings at a street fair. I'm sure I had both pairs because I admired each of them in the mirror on my way home (I wasn't driving). Once home I walked from the garage to the kitchen and set the goods on the counter.  '

True confession: I clear my counters off daily but by late day they are usually what my son calls "A real life I-Spy experience". 

A few minutes later when I went to wash up the treasures, there was ONLY ONE RED EARRING!
Frantic searching ensued. Even Hubby Hartman got involves (since the possible places it could have been dropped orgotten stuck were his car and the garage, over which he felt particularly territorial)

If any shenanigans were going on there, he was sure he'd discover it.

Nothing. Son joined the search. Dogs were brought in.

(They are not helpful but we'd put them in the yard while we searched so they wouldn't be under foot.)

In the ensuing weeks (yes, weeks!) we've moved furniture. We've gone through the car. We've swept the garage (and the kitchen - I hope that goes without saying but in case you were going to suggest it, it's been done). Not a trace!

It wasn't until last week when I finally decided to put the other new earrings away (did I think the lost earring would be like a lost calf and return to the herd?) that I realized this is the third earring that's gone missing this summer! And all of them RED.

Now before you assume it's just lost in a sea of vintage fabulousness that you imagine Helen lives in, let me show you how I store my vintage treasures:

What cheapo modern jewelry gets tossed into.

How vintage get's stored. 

Vintage gloves, stored in bags according to color. I may be a hoarder, by I'm an orderly hoarder, by dingy! 

Three red earrings. If other earrings have gone missing I readily admit I'm to blame but those have almost all gone missing as a pair (left in an old purse or tossed in the glove compartment or set down at work). But these? I suspect spirits afoot (do spirits have feet? I don't think they have ears but that's what they're purloining so there ya go).

Many people believe that bringing other people's prized possessions into your home is literally inviting trouble. I'd think we'd have that covered since one of my obsessions are collecting vintage these: 

Son's space, less for protection and more for he put them there years ago and that's where they stay.

Outside my door. Did I not say it was an obsession? It's like jewelry but also come preloaded with prayers and are gorgeous.
I suspect a kindred spirit, in more ways than one, with a love of red shiny things is pilfering pretties around here. Am of half a mind (I could end that sentence right there most days, which only muddies the waters when things get misplaced) to get another pair of red ear bobs and see what happens.

My latest earrings were neither vintage, nor red. But they reminded me of one of my favorite pair of vintage Lucite danglies. Never lost one of them (knocking on wood) or any of my sparklers. Just the red. Oh, and one that it shaped like a corkscrew, which only makes me feel closer to the light fingered (really, if a ghost has fingers, they'd be light, right?) spirit.

What do you think? Mischievous spirit? Sloppy housekeeping? Silly slip up by a distracted diva? Whatever it is, something fishy is going on at Auntie Helen's house and that's no red herring!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Missed Manners

Have you noticed that people don't seem to have time for either - manners or cocktails - anymore? It's sad, really, because manners are important and I love cocktails. Whiskey Sour. Margarita. Long Island Ice Tea, please and thank you.

I miss manners. Not the Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette, how you should address your neighbor's maid and which side you serve the pickled beets from kind of thing. The Romper Room,  Do be a Do-Be. Don't be a Don't-Be kind. (yes, I'm old, I actually had this book as a child and scribbled all over it because even back then I didn't take to being told what to do!) 

But manners, much like the right way to mix and serve a good drink, seem to be a thing of the past and I'm not sure why. 

I've heard a lot of theories, stress, a lack of time, and always being online have made it so much easier to accept selfishness and taking the path of least resistance (margaritas in a can? Are we animals?) as the norm.

If it isn't supposed to be about me all day every day, then why do they call it social MEdia?

It's gotten so bad I'm in favor of public places posting a set of rules titled "Things You should Have Learned in Kindergarten But Clearly Have Forgotten So Here We Are". They would include basic stuff:

Auntie Helen's attitude since even before Kindergarten and yet, she manages to mind her manners and get along with others (or get away from others, if that's what it takes).

For starters, if you wouldn't do it to or around someone you love, don't do it around or to ANYBODY. We all know that name calling, finger pointing, being disrespectful to people or property is wrong.
 If you didn't know it, you'd do it to everyone, everywhere. So stop giving yourself the excuse that it's okay because you disagree with someone or because it's just this one time, or it's their job to put up with whatever garbage I create, or they had it coming, or... No. Just no. You know better. And if you didn't, you do now.

Use your words wisely, If you don't have the words, or wisdom, or already know the words won't actually accomplish anything (save maybe hurting someone and/or making you feel like a big shot) then use your feet, (or your fingers if you're online). Remove yourself from a situation. Or don't go there to begin with. 

Just these two would go a long way toward making day to day exchanges between people so much more comfortable. It's just not that hard to NOT be a Jerk.
I am not generally the preaching sort.

Whenever I think I might run away to start a new life I realize I'm too old to take up stripping and too flawed to preach the Gospel! 
 I'm too big of a mess to try to tell anyone how to tidy up their own lives. I do know that kindness gets us all a lot further in life than ugliness.

Every single soul you meet today has had, is having, will have, struggles you cannot comprehend. If you look at them through that lens, maybe you will see the whole world as a place that needs and deserves a gentler heart, a softer tone, and a stiffer drink.

Monday, September 2, 2019

What Would Lucy Do? The Mostly True Story of How Helen Got the Hat of Her Dreams.

Plate, Pie, Pancake, or Cartwheel, whatever you call the large, shallow crown, wide brimmed straw hat that one (well, this ONE anyway) associates with chic 1950's fashion, it has been my holy grail (the metaphorical kind, not the religious drinking goblet kind. No offense, but I'll eat my hat before I'll drink from it) for years.
And today I found one. A Christine Original. In black. In perfect condition. For... well, let's say probably more than it cost new.
And me, as usual, broke, two days after pay day!
Okay, not broke so much as tight-budgetted.
Still, I HAD to have that hat! But how?

Only one hope. I lowered my head, closed my eyes, and did what I have done time and again when faced with one of life's harsh dilemmas and need answers. I asked myself: What would Lucy do?  

Lucy and Hedda Hopper, a couple o' gals who were never in over their heads... without the perfect hat over those heads.
It seemed so obvious it was embarrassing. I called out "Oh, Ricky... I mean, Hubby... Isn't this just the cutest hat?"
Hubby, hardly glancing up from reading the inscriptions on old bowling trophies: "Are you sure it's the right size? It looks too big."
"It's the style. It's called..."
He's moved on to a map of some place he's never been to, or even heard of, but is absolutely sure is not drawn to the proper scale. Unlike the hat, he thinks this one is too small. And over priced. Why would anyone pay that kind of price for something that isn't properly proportioned? 
This is his way of saying he is definitely not buying me the hat.
I put it back and mope my way down the aisles.
"Are you gonna give up that easy? Have you leaned nothing from half a century of watching me wheedle, and connive and plot and scheme to get my way? Honestly, I would never have given up that easily, just ask Ethyl."
I couldn't ask Ethyl but I could ask the Internet. "Look, 19 people in the first ten minutes agree that I should have that hat!" I tell Hubby.
He has moved on to antique snow shoes. Probably shopping for that cold day in hell when he gives in on this hat thing.

Again, I put the hat back. Then I think - Hey, I'm an independent woman with my own job and money, why can't I spend it as I see fit? I can, of course. IF I have it to spend. Which I don't... do I? 
Crossing my fingers I reach into my purse to take out my wallet, just to see if there might be enough to get the hat of my dreams.

Four ones. A ten and... a twenty? WHAT? I blink to clear my vision and look again. Where did that come from? 
A Miracle? An answer to a prayer? 
No, now I remember. Hubby gave me cash to pick up dinner later.
Dang. That's not hat money, it's pizza money. 
"Well, there's pizza and then there's pizza." 

I hear Lucy's voice in my head. Or maybe I said it out loud. It's hard to tell at this point. All I know is that I now have that hat.

And dinner at our house tonight is not delivery, it's DeGiornos 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Clothes Calls

Another week in retro fashion! My goal is to wear more of what makes me happy but chose not to do crinolines this week because I wasn't feelin' it.

When I dress like this strangers stop to tell me how cute my outfits are. Most common is You are adorable. I don't know if that counts as a compliment or just a statement of fact. After all, I Am adorable!  Just see for yourself:

Oh, the things you see in a toy store!

That Girl aspirations with Golden Girls reality.

40s feeling in black and attitude.

Whenever I wear this dress I feel like I should be working in a hospital office.. Since I love bossing people around, I like that.

I didn't wear this out but did have fun channeling Mrs. Brady in prep for time traveling back to 1970 next week

What I often wear when I go out thrifting. My Parks and Recreation t shirt. Why do Bubbles suddenly appear every time I am near? Can't be my bubbly personality!