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! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

The Curious Curator - You Tube Edition

The Curious Curator - I watch crap so... you can too! Frankly, I cannot fathom why I've been put on this earth if not to share what I love and what I've learned with others.
Yes, even if the 'others' could care less or would rather I keep my opinions to myself.

Who better? Unlike those dopes on radio or so-called influencers who only have their own self interests at heart, Auntie Helen wants to make the world a better place. Because Auntie Helen has to live here too.

With that in mind, (watching crap, sharing, making the planet a better place for Helen to live) let me tell you what awesome things I've discovered this week. Some may have been around awhile but Helen has just now fallen in love with them. My criteria for making this list is that simple. I like it, I've watched it in the past week. Today's curiosity: YouTube.

I cannot believe I didn't know there were whole channels of people trying on cheap wigs for our amazement! Here is my absolute fav find this week, and not just because she reminds me so much of me. Well, okay, that's a lot of it. But also, CHEAP WIGS!!


I try never to flip my wig. I only own the one and wouldn't want it getting caught on the ceiling fan! (Because it would stay there a year before I finally got a broom and batted it down)

And Randy Feltface. My son made me watch it. As an author and general person who like wicked humor I fell in love. Bad language bonus points ;)


Pete Holmes. Just put the name in the YouTube Search bar and listen. He's a stitch and can be so honest and thoughtful. I couldn't pick one.

I've seen this, or ones like it a ton of times. But I watched this one 2xs last week, so thought you'd love it too.

The Westinghouse All Electric Home


Those 70s commercials - doing research for a 1970s project and found these gems. Enjoy!


Sue Anne Nivens... I mean BETTY WHITE! I'll have what she's having... to clean my kitchen.


Those are my recommendations. I watched a lot more. YouTube is like picking a fight with me over who's supposed to put the laundry away. If I'm home for more than a half an hour, It's ON.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

HATS OFF! And on.

I love hats. I mean, waaaaay too much for this day and age. Meaning the days when people think of hats as red flags or camouflage and this age... my age, which long ago moved from sweet young thing to sassy senior. Still, I love them and I love wearing them. I love the looks I get, which are not always approving.

That's okay. The only time I seek approval is when I've swiped my card at the vintage shop. That emphatic APPROVED is all I need.

For this I staged some but others needed to be modeled. I tried to convince my dogs to do it but I couldn't reach an agreement with their agent, the cat. Meow-ch.

So hang on to your hat... because if it's cute, I may steal it! And here we go:

That 70's look

A beaded beauty

Audrey would approve, don't you think?
Audrey again.
For a lady who has had way too many breakfasts, (none at Tiffany's sadly), I do love trying to look like
 Miss Holly Golightly

Aunt Bea and her pal Clara

I remember ladies wearing this kind of hat and love it but haven't found a reason to wear it.

1960s GOLD number.  Not easy to get a good photo of it but it's tres chic.

The hat that has gotten the most wear this summer.

Pink pillbox. So sweet. The hat, not the person wearing it.

Last Week in Wardrobe

 What I wore, all a mix of vintage and vintage inspired clothes and accessories.

Can't decide whether to call this dres Martina, because it looks a bit like a tennis dress or Mrs. Lazenbee because it looks like the kind of dress a neighbor back in the day would wear. 
I call this dress LUCY, for obvious reasons. I have an Ethyl but I didn't wear her this week.

The pajama game. With vintage bed jacket. People really should wear more matching jammies and jackets, don't you think?

Monday, August 19, 2019

What the World Needs Now...

For the umpteenth time I am giving up writing. Not all writing. There will still be grocery lists, and goofy notes to my kids, social media posts and hopefully blog entries. But books?
I'm done.

Once, upon finding out I had so many books published (42? 43? 46? - not sure), a young woman said to me (dreamily) I've never met anyone who actually had their dream come true! It is pretty amazing, isn't it? (Dreams coming true, not meeting me - though that can be a trip too)
I've worked hard at sustaining that dream for the last couple of decades but I do not discount  the roll dumb luck and never giving up because I was too dumb to know how impossible it was played in it all.
Maybe my luck and dumbness has run out. Well, luck at least.
I suspect I have plenty of dumb stockpiled and if I don't I know a lot of people working hard on developing new streams of it every day. Either way, I'm leaving the literary life. Again. This time, though, I think it will stick.
Here's why -
Walked into Barnes and Noble the other day and got that old shiver of delight and expectation at being among so many ideas, insights. Wow. So much creativity and effort. SO much!

Every shelf, every bin, every display was crowded with books (well, those not crammed with toys, games, collectibles, etc), each with an author whose hopes for readers, recognition, and perhaps riches equaled my own, I'm sure.

The idea of trying to make my 'voice' heard above it all is just overwhelming. Not that I haven't tried, and had success with both traditional and independent publishing. But, in all honesty, I've begun to wonder what's the point? There are so many stories out there now, so many characters, so many pages filled with print or screens filled with text. I asked myself if the world really needed more from me.
Except this one, of course. The world needs this one more book!

But if it doesn't (need more books) then... what was the purpose of me? My kids are grown. My husband is relatively self sufficient. My dogs sleep all day. My part time job is lovely but expendable. What do I do with my time that actually matters?

Well, I'm funny. And frank. Sometimes I try to make people think, or feel better about themselves and others (or to not let 'others' make them feel bad about themselves). I make friends. Most of those I will never meet in person but they are friends just the same. And I hope I make people's day brighter. Now THAT's a dream I wouldn't mind making come true for a long time to come. That's what the world needs more of... at least from me.

Missed Manners