Call me old fashioned, but to quote Miss Clavel, the French nun in the children's classic, Madeline, "Something is not right!"
On a recent trip to Nordstrom department store, I found myself in the dressing room in the women's dress department with three other women being helped by two young men. They were the only two sales clerks working in the women's dress department.
They were in the dressing room, bringing us new sizes and new styles and telling us we looked "lovely" in this dress or that. These young men were very nice and very fashion minded. They knew their stuff. However, I just didn't feel comfortable asking one of them to help zip me up.
I heard the woman next to me tell him, "now keep in mind, I don't have the proper undergarments on."
I cringed. I felt like I was the only one who sensed there was a problem with this picture.
Men can help me with my shoes and they can help me with my handbags. They can help me buy a coat or a scarf or gloves, but I really don't want them helping me buy a dress!
Break out of the mundane tasks of life and do something creative this week. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
1. Color a page from a coloring book.
2. Go for a walk and photograph all the interesting things you see.
3. Stop by the library and check out a book on a subject you know nothing about. Read the book.
4. Watch a foreign film with subtitles.
5. Spend an hour in a fabric shop.
6. Grab a stack of magazines and cut out pictures of things you think are pretty. Glue them to a piece of cardboard.
7. Plant some seeds.
8. Take $10 to a thrift store and see what you can buy.
9. Write a letter on old-fashioned stationery. Send it to an old friend.
10. Send a care package to someone.
11. Create a new Pinterest board.
12. Make a new recipe.
13. Take a self-portrait with your camera or iPhone.
14. Plan a road trip.
15. Have a technology-free day.
16. Visit your childhood home.
17. Spend $10 in the Dollar Store.
18. Visit an art museum. Take notes.
19. Go out to breakfast by yourself.
20. Watch a documentary.
Don's aunt Marolyn will be turning 90 years old on January 23. Her daughter, Jackie, had a birthday party for her today at Maggiano's Little Italy restaurant. About 30 people were there, including one of her lifelong girlfriends who is also 90 years old.
Marolyn was particularly pleased that her sister, Donna, (Don's mom) made it to the celebration. Donna is on the left. She is 88 years old. Marolyn is on the right.
I just finished reading Nina Garcia's book, The One Hundred. It's a book about the 100 pieces every woman should have in her wardrobe.
She lists the items in alphabetical order instead of order of importance. For instance, the first item is an A-Line dress. Every woman should own an A-Line dress because it is the most flattering cut of dress you can wear. An A-Line dress is shaped like the letter "A". It is narrow at the top and flares out at the bottom. It worked for Twiggy in the 60's and it will work for not so twiggy me in 2014. I'm looking for one as we speak.
This book is fun to read, and very informative. I agree with her suggestions of Ballet Flats, Diamond Studs, iPod, Jeans and Luggage. However, I'm not sure every woman needs a Bikini, Converse, Fishnets, Leather Pants and Stilettos. You decide.
Need an easy Super Bowl appetizer? This Spinach-Artichoke Dip is excellent and simple to make. It would be a good idea to double the recipe.
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 12-ounce jar artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. black pepper
Pita chips, tortilla chips or sliced French bread for dipping
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Squeeze spinach between paper towels to remove excess moisture.
In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, artichokes, cream cheese, sour cream, and Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Scrape mixture into a small oven-safe baking dish. Bake about 15 minutes. Serve warm with chips, bread and lemon wedges, if desired.
Ooook-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain...that's where Daniel will be spending the next six months. He's moving to Lawton to work in a Goodyear tire plant. He won't be making tires, but he will be helping with the plant's finances. This is part of his Finance & Accounting Development Program (FADP) training.
Because I am geographically challenged, I needed to look up Oklahoma on the map. It borders many southwestern states: New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Arizona and Missouri. He will be closest to Texas. In three hours' time, he can be in Dallas. Oklahoma City is less than an hour away.
Oklahoma + springtime = tornadoes. However, Daniel reassured us that Lawton is in a semi-protected area because of a mountain range, and the last tornado to hit in that town was about 25 years ago. That doesn't keep people from strapping their air conditioners to the ground. They can get very high winds.
So what exciting activities await Daniel in Lawton, Oklahoma? More than you might think:
1. U.S. Army base, Fort Sill
2. Comanche Nation Casino
3. Comanche Nation Museum
4. Museum of the Great Plains
5. Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge with wild buffalo, elk, and Texas longhorn cattle
6. Grave site of the famous Apache Chief, Geronimo
With all those exciting things to do, I can't wait to go out there and visit him!
We are watching Jake this weekend, so the boys are on high alert. They get even more protective when they are together.
While minding our own business this afternoon, a very large hound dog appeared on the deck. I did not know he was there, and I let Riley out to use the facilities. As soon as Riley saw the intruder, he took off after him and chased him into the woods. Fortunately for Riley, this dog was semi-friendly. He just bounced around and wanted to play. He could have taken Riley's head off.
I yelled and screamed for Riley to come back, and eventually he obeyed. The intruder came with him.
Somehow, I got Riley back in the house without letting hound dog in.
All the while this was going on, Jake was going crazy trying to defend his friend.
The next thing I knew, hound dog wanted in again. He lifted his head (it's hard to tell, but his head is lifted) and he howled like a hound dog can. This intrigued the boys as you can see.
Thanks to Peter for his quick draw with his iPhone camera!
Peter had this group of high school friends over tonight, so I had to feed a hungry crowd. Aaron (the one next to Peter) can easily eat 5,000 calories in a day. So I looked to my friend the Pioneer Woman for a crowd-pleasing dish for hungry men.
I came up with her Hamburger Soup. It feeds 12, but it only fed six tonight. I served it with some crusty bread, butter and a plate full of chocolate chip cookies. They ate everything down to the last crumb.
It is so good to hear their voices coming from the basement again. Laughter and friendly competition at ping-pong...I miss all this activity!
The party's over. Who can be healthy in the month of December? There is food everywhere you turn and there's no time to exercise. But the party's over now.
It's time to get serious about my health again.
I still haven't had one Diet Coke, so Hooray! for that. But I did have a few cookies in December. Just a few...
This month, I am joining thousands of other people in the 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge. You can find the information at Simple Green Smoothies.
Peter is braving the green liquid with me. He's such a sport.
Each morning, we make a big green smoothie and split it in two. He drinks one and I drink the other. We get a large dose of spinach or kale with our berries and bananas. And it doesn't even taste that bad.
It makes me feel nourished before the clock strikes 9 a.m. Sometimes I even feel like having another one in the afternoon. No kidding.
I'm hoping the green goodness will fill me up and keep me from snacking on other things. We'll see.
Earlier in the week, the kids went snowmobiling. I was thinking I might want to participate in this activity, but when we called to make reservations, there were only three machines available. I'm trying to get outside my comfort zone, so next time we are out here, I'm doing it!
Lilii had to rent a moon suit since she is from California, and she didn't have warm clothes for the trip.
Daniel loves these things.
Peter had his own machine. I took this picture while they were waiting for snowmobile operating instructions.
Don and I rang in the new year at home in Beaver Creek with the kids. It was a quiet evening with appetizers and wine. We watched the annual torchlight ski down and fireworks from our condo balcony. Then we got out the party hats (Don wouldn't put his on) and celebrated the New Year at 10:00 p.m. since we are on mountain time. Got to bed before midnight :)