Recent Frugal Meals


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Last week I went grocery shopping and was very surprised at the high prices in the meat department.  I decided right then and there that I wasn’t paying those prices.  Instead, I found alternatives to what I originally had planned on buying.  Since then I have been making fairly frugal meals, and I would like to share them with you now.

Instead of ground beef that was $5.74 a pound (I was shocked), I purchased frozen ground turkey, already seasoned (taco flavored) for $1.67 a pound.  My first meal using this turkey was a Taco Turkey Bake.  I fried and drained the turkey – not having to drain much because this turkey was very lean.  While the turkey was frying, I made rice in the microwave.  Once both were done, I mixed them in a bowl.  I added a bit of tomato juice, and some shredded cheddar cheese.  I mixed it up real good.  I made up two individual portions in containers, putting more cheese on top.  I put one portion reheated into two soft tacos and the other portion I ate with some sour cream on top.

The other meal I made with this seasoned ground turkey was Chili.  I fried/browned the turkey and then put it into a crock pot.  I then added a large can of honey beans, some tomato sauce and a generous sprinkling of chili powder.  I cooked it on high for two hours, and when it was done – it was delicious.

My next frugal meal was a salad.  I cut up a green pepper, chopped some cucumbers and sliced a few petite carrots.  I put shredded cheese on top.  I put all of this in a container with some room in it – and then shook it up.  Once it was all mixed, I put a lump of cottage cheese on top.  This was for a work lunch.  I have individual packets of salad dressing I got for an amazing sale price, so I took one of those along with me.  Lunch was served.

I made a completely meatless spaghetti dinner.  Usually I have some homemade sauce on hand, but I didn’t feel like defrosting any so I used a jar of store brand.  I have been trying different kinds of pasta, so for this meal I used regular angel hair and protein spaghetti – I mixed them.  Once the pasta was done, I tossed it with a little bit of sauce.  I divided it into portions – and on top I put more sauce, some grated cheese and shredded mozzarella.  It was plain, yes – but it was very good.

Pasta Salad was another meal I have recently made.  Again, I’m trying different kinds of pasta, so this was tri-color – rotini made with spinach, ziti made with carrots and tomatoes and whole wheat rotini.  Boiling and finishing the pasta, I put it in a large bowl.  While still hot, I added just a bit of Italian dressing.  I had chopped some carrots while the pasta was cooking, and I added them to the bowl.  I sprinkled grated cheese on top, and at this point if I had ham, I might have chopped some up to include.  Boris is a ham maniac, so there was none left.  I have added crushed red pepper in the past, but for some reason this time I didn’t.  I mixed it all together, and put it in the refrigerator to chill.  Once it was ready to serve, I put a little more dressing on top.  It is a simple, light meal but it is very good.

An easy, cheap summer meal is tuna salad or egg salad.  Egg salad takes a little more prep time, obviously.  I like to add chopped pickles to these – sweet gherkins to tuna, dill spears to egg salad.  I chop each one up good, and add a bit of mayonnaise.  To both I will add minimal salt, some pepper and celery seed seasoning.  I like to add chopped carrot to the tuna – I just think it gives the salad a nice taste and crunch.  Both sandwiches taste good on any kind of fresh bread you have in the house.  I like having chips with sandwiches, but we usually don’t have any on hand.  They don’t last too long around our parts.

I’ve made cheesy rollups this week.  They are kind of like the ones you can get from the dollar savings menu at Taco Bell.  I line up the soft tacos, and I put cheese in the center mostly.  I will microwave them until I see the cheese starting to melt.  Then, I take them out and roll them.  Putting them back on the plate, if I have some kind of an enchilada sauce, I will drizzle that on top.  This week, I just used salsa.  Dipping them into sour cream – they were good.  Very good.

I made what I like to call faux chicken parmesan this week, too.  I have frozen chicken fritters that I baked.  Once they were done, I cut them into bit size pieces.  I then put them into a dish with some spaghetti sauce on top, and some shredded cheese on top of that.  It went into the microwave for about two minutes.  I ate these chickens along with some leftover spaghetti from earlier in the week.  Not a bad meal at all.

I didn’t spend much at all this week on food because, with the exception of the two packages of ground turkey, I had everything else on hand.  Were all of these meals perfectly healthy and perfectly balanced?  No, they were not. But that is ok. I filled in here and there with a sandwich from work, takeout Chinese and leftovers from the above meals.  It was not a bad week at all.

Being over 50 is good, and here is why…


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Some days it is hard for me to believe I’m as old as I am.  Yet again, there are other days that I feel much older.  This, I’ve been told is a normal part of aging.  I don’t like it.  Even though I get tired easier and don’t bounce back from things as easy as I used to, being this age does have advantages.

I can listen to the type of music I like and not be embarrassed.  If people are judging, my choices can be attributed more to my age than to my lack of true musical knowledge.  I was a very big fan of the 70s Boy Band, the Bay City Rollers.  As much as I liked and still like them, I can maybe see why people would smile when they hear that group’s name.  My other favorite group is the Bee Gees, and I just know no one would dare to put them down.  At least not in my presence!

A perk of being this age is – no more periods!  What a pleasure it is to not have to worry about that monthly visit, as they say.  I only wish that I could say I will have no more hot flashes.  Despite me being done with menopause (thank you, God) I still get sweating hot from time to time, randomly.  It’s like a little spark is still inside of me, igniting at will.  Ugh!

Being my age, I feel I can offer advice in a respectful way.  I would never try to demean anyone just because they are younger.  I never want to come off as an old fool.  I also never want to appear to be a know-it-all.  Know-it-alls really bug me.

At this age, you can get to know your children in a whole new way.  You knew them growing up, as babies, toddlers, teenagers and young adults.  It is wonderful enjoying your own children and their spouses, and seeing how they turned into adults.  It is a heartwarming feeling, and the pride you can feel is just wonderful.

Speaking of your children, at this age it could be time to enjoy their children – your future grandchildren.  I cannot imagine the joy of watching my own children become parents.  I am looking forward to that time very much.  I already love seeing them as pet parents!

I know I am not perfect, and I have never claimed to be.  I am at a point in my life where my appearance is important, but it is not the most important thing.  I want to look good, within reason.  I know I will never look 25 again, and that is ok.  Despite being a little slower and not having much energy (except self-directed when it’s something I really want to do), I am relatively healthy.  And for that I am thankful.

Women over 50 have reached a point when they stop apologizing for who and what they are.  I am lucky in that I have always been fairly self-assured.  I am who I am, no one else is like me.  I have never apologized for who I am, and I never will.  I am a thrift store shopping, cat loving, professional wrestling and hockey fan – never ashamed, always proud!

A Top Ten List About…the Telephone!

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My full time job as a Switchboard Operator involves a lot of phone work.  Well, not on an actual phone per se.  Our lines come in through our computers, though we do have “side phones” for emergency calls, and for times when the system goes down – which happened last week, and let me tell you – it was not fun!  Being “on the phone” for eight hours a day has left me with thoughts and opinions about people, and about technology.  I need to insert here that I really do enjoy my job.  This is the truth.

One – when a call comes in, we don’t have to immediately introduce ourselves – we have what they call the “perfect greeting.”  It is a pre-recorded introduction.  This recording is clear and the volume is perfect.  It is very frustrating to begin hearing your caller’s voice and feeling as if they are calling you from a wind tunnel somewhere.  I listen to them talking and picture them out in a horrible storm, with wind blowing them all over the place.  It can be very bad and hard to hear.  These are the calls that I am very happy to get done with.

Two – I really do not like talking to what I refer to as “the mumblers.”  It really isn’t all that hard to be understood on a phone call.  There have been callers who I have had to ask three or four times who and where they wanted their call directed to.  It is also difficult to understand a “mumbler with an accent.”  These people seem to think they are not understood because of their accents.  That is not the case at all.  Accent or no accent, if people open up their mouths and speak clearly their calls would be connected a whole lot quicker.

Three – there are callers who, for some reason, think they need to give you every little detail of what they are calling for.  No, I don’t need to know the reason why you want a certain department, and I don’t need to know how you know the patient you’re calling about.  All I need to know is the spelling of the patient’s name (if it could be a difficult one) or the department name clearly stated.  No further details are necessary.

Four – I thought we had gone past the days of bad cell phones with poor connections.  I was wrong.  Recently there have been increasing numbers of calls coming in like calls did years ago – with poor connections, calls dropping, calls zoning out.  These calls result in frustration for those who answer, and I’m sure also for those making the calls.

Five – I work in a hospital.  Hospitals have strict rules about confidentiality.  I cannot tell how many callers try to get information that we simply can not give out.  It doesn’t matter how sweet they are or how persuasive they try to be.  There are only a few bits of information we are allowed to give, and that is it.  Ugh!

Six – Volume!  How hard is it to really speak at the proper level for a phone call?  I have had callers who whisper, who whisper a second time and then all of a sudden will be shouting.  Then there callers who start out practically screaming into my ears.  There really is no need for either extreme.  It is also very annoying when you hear loud sneezing or loud coughing.  It is almost like you can feel the germs coming through the wires into your headset.

Seven – I dislike talking to rude people.  I fail to see any reason for being nasty to someone who is only answering the phone.  Understanding that callers may be stressed because they have a loved on in the facility still to me does not give anyone the reason or excuse to be rude.  A caller doesn’t have to be friendly yet I think they should be polite.  It’s common human decency.

Eight – Now on the other hand, I enjoy talking to nice people.  It is a pleasure to speak with a caller who is treating you with respect.  These are the people who you would want all callers to be like.  They are talkative and friendly, and I wish we could talk longer to them.  The nature of the job is to get the caller to where they are calling quickly and properly.  I just wish we could keep them on the line a little longer.

Nine – I dislike talking to callers who are calling in from either a bad cellphone or a computer-generated phone.  There is always a delay, and these delays are always annoying.  You don’t know when to speak, and inevitably just as you say a word – so does the caller.  These delays make for a very annoying call, and I wish they would just end and go away.

Ten – This is silly.  I can see incoming phone numbers on the top of my screen.  We take messages and forward those messages to different locations.  I kind of scrutinize the phone numbers.  I either like a number or I don’t.  I find certain phone numbers easy to retype and remember, and other ones a bit harder.  I don’t like phone numbers with the first three digits after the area code that also seem like an area code – like, for example 215-307-xxxx.  Different phone numbers just bug me, that’s all.  And I can’t really even explain why.

So there you have it.  My thoughts on phone numbers.  I had to give up my cell number back in November when I upgraded my phone.  To keep my old number, it would cost me $20 a month for the phone.  If I changed it, it was free.  It was hard giving up a number that I had for almost thirteen years, but…free is my favorite price!

My Three Sons – One Proud Mama

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It’s been a while since I’ve written about my three sons.  I am so incredibly proud of them.  I am happy, thankful and grateful that I am lucky enough to be their Mom.  I see so many mothers bragging about their children on Facebook, and on all social media.  These children are usually young, or at least they still live at home.  I don’t post too much about them online, due to the fact that they are adults – adults who many not always want to see their Mom brag and boast.  Rest assured, Moms of older children are just as proud as those Moms of babies and little ones!

Michael was our first baby.  He shares his birthday with an infamous date in history – he was born on September 11, but in the year 1988.  He turned thirteen years old on that horrible day.  Michael was always an easy baby.  So easy in fact that this was the reason we tried to have another baby so quickly (and Kevin was born not even twenty-two months later).  He was easy to please, and always (usually) had a smile on his face.  Reading came naturally to Michael.  We never had to “teach” him to read – it’s like he just picked it up on his own.  Growing up, he was a fan of Sesame Street, Thomas the Tank Engine and Barney, but once he discovered the Power Rangers, that was it!  They were his favorites!  He takes his role as Big Brother very seriously.  Michael was a good student, and in Second Grade he won all FOUR Spelling Bees!  An interest he picked up around the time he turned eleven was professional wrestling.  He loves it to this very day.  He was also an easy teenager, who has worked consistently from the time he turned sixteen years old.  He has an amazing work ethic.  Michael earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education last May while working Full Time.  Now all he needs is a full time teaching position – we are all waiting for this Pandemic aftermath to be done so he can get hired.  Right before Corona came to be, Michael proposed to Alex.  She’s a great girl who actually works face to face and hand to hand with Covid patients. They have one cat named Daphne.  We are very happy for both of them, and look forward to watching their future unfold.


Kevin was born on an absolutely beautiful day in July of 1990.  I carried him way differently than I did Michael, so we were sure we were having a girl.  Obviously, we didn’t but that was more than ok.  He was a happy baby, a happy toddler, a happy youngster, a happy teenager and he’s now a happy man.  He always had a smile on his face, and he and Michael were very close growing up.  So close in fact that even though we had a four-bedroom house, the two of them shared a room.  Every morning we would find Kevin in Michael’s bed, so we gave up and combined their rooms.  Kevin had many ear infections before he turned 18 months old, and some doctors think these illnesses could have caused his stutter.  He has stuttered since he could talk.  It has never held him back, and these days we barely notice it.  I remember one day when he was about eleven years old.  He was crying and said no one would ever love him or want to marry him.  I told him that was nonsense.  I told him the right girl would find his stutter adorable.  And she did, and does.  Kevin has been married to his wonderful wife Amanda since September of 2018.  They are homeowners, and parents to six cats and two rabbits (their names are Thor, Delilah, Mango, Tango, Target, Twix, Arthas and Charlie…Whew!)  I could not be more proud of them, and I love them very much.


Chris came into the world on September 1, 1995.  He was a big baby, who probably would have been even bigger had he been born on time – he was three weeks early.  We found out in advance that we were having a boy, and we were thrilled.  He was an easy baby who liked football from the first day he came home from the hospital – I found myself alone with him.  Everyone was busy doing something.  He was fussy so I put him in his baby swing, right in front of the television.  He sat mesmerized at the football players going back and forth on the screen.  Chris learned to do things fast – he tied his shoes early, he could even tie a tie at a very young age.  He’s a go getter who got his first job at the age of 14.  He graduated from Temple University in February of 2018.  Another notable milestone for Chris happened just before he turned 16.  He met and started dating Bre.  They have been together ever since, and they both turn 25 this year.  They got engaged last summer and will be getting married this November.  Bre (like Alex) is a Registered Nurse and is also working closely with Covid-19 patients.  We are very proud of them both.  They have one cat, Offred and one dog, Elway.  A nice, happy family!


Things that make me smile :)


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Photo by Tim Mossholder on

There have been so many things going on in the world lately that just makes people so sad.  So worried.  I wanted to start thinking of and focusing on good things.  The following things make me smile.  Maybe they make you smile, too.

I just love sleeping when you can hear the rain coming down, hitting the windows…

I feel so very happy when I finally find something I think I’ve lost…

I love the smell of bacon cooking.  My mother usually made bacon when we were on vacation at the cabin resort we used to go to.  The smell brings back happy memories…

I am a crazy cat lady.  I love our seven more than I love my own life.  Yet there is something so special about holding a small kitten…

Remembering the first time you ate something that you ended up loving…

One of the best feelings there is – laughing so hard that your stomach hurts…

Watching and bingeing videos of my favorite team and favorite singers/groups makes me very happy..

Taking a nap on a lazy day off from work..

I love the smell of brownies baking in an oven…

Finally finding a great hairdresser…

The last day of work before a vacation…

At work, when callers say they will call back.  Meaning no message needs to be taken…

Getting into bed after you’ve put on freshly washed clean sheets…

Seeing a funny sign posted on a business…

Undressing and unwinding after a long day…

Completing a long-avoided project…

It makes me feel great receiving a nice compliment.  When this happens, I try to return the favor and tell someone else something nice…

Waking up at night and seeing you still have time to sleep before your alarm goes off…

Remembering (finally!) a password you thought you had forgotten…

The smell of freshly cut grass…

I love to sit, snuggle, play with, hug, love and watch my cats.  Those seven furries fill me with so much love.


There is my list.  Do you agree with any of these?  What makes YOU smile?

Can’t we all just get along?

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This line was said by Rodney King back in 1992.  He spoke these words as the city of Los Angeles was experiencing riots brought on by the acquittal of officers accused in his beating.  His words have come across my mind quite a bit lately, and not just because of the rioting and looting of last week.  There has been so much disagreement in the public view recently.  There are people who don’t agree about politics.  Some find that they can’t come together with others over their views on how the Pandemic should be handled.  Fans can’t agree how and when professional sports should return.  Of course, everyone believes their own opinion is the right one.  Real growth for everyone will happen when we realize it is more important to get along with your fellow man rather than opposing him or her at every turn.  Why fight, why disagree?

People need to listen to understand, not just to hear what is being said.  While speaking to someone who has a difference of opinion with you, commit yourself while listening to not have a pre-planned response.  While you are both talking, maintain eye contact.  It helps to keep neutral facial expressions even if you do not agree with what they are saying.

It helps to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Try to understand where they are coming from.  Even if you don’t think you can, try.  Putting in effort usually yields results.

While talking with a person who has opposing views, be polite.  Keep it civil.  Be open, and smile.  Do not forget to keep an open mind.  Often times, even after disagreeing with a person you will find you have learned something.  Even if your opinion remains the same, you may understand their side of things more.  Hopefully they will also understand you more as well.

Question.  Ask.  Inquire.  It is important to know what made the person arrive at the opinion they have.  Once you understand their why, you may understand the reason they feel like they do.

Show genuine concern for someone, if not for their opinion.  Whether you agree or disagree, it is always right to be kind.

When you are talking with someone with whom you don’t agree, determine which one of you is more passionate about the topic.  If it is you, gently, calmly and in a smart way explain your points to make them see what it means to you.  Seeing the other person being more invested in the topic – try to get them to show you why it means so much to them.  Ask for examples, reasons.

You have to have self pride and self respect, sticking up for yourself, your beliefs and your opinions.  When talking to others, and not being able to come to a conclusion, an agreement, a common ground – the best approach to take is to agree to disagree.  I personally have seen, read and experienced friendships fracturing and ending.  That is a sad occurence and is something that doesn’t need to happen.  Please don’t let it happen to you.

Some Good Things Just May Have Come From Covid-19…

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…well, I don’t really mean GOOD, obviously.  This pandemic has been disastrous in every way there is.  Yet, if we continue to think about all the death, hurt, damage and sadness – it would not be wise.  What do they say, you should always look for the silver lining?  I think that is a very good idea – focus on the good, and try to ignore the bad (though, with this situation it is very hard to do).

We will all be so thankful when we can see our loved ones again.  So many families have been separated – for far too long.  Everyone did what they had to do in the name of safety and health.  My family and I had a sort-of reunion when we got together to celebrate my oldest son’s engagement.  Michael’s fiancée and my youngest son Chris’ fiancée are both RN’s dealing with Corona patients directly, on a daily basis.  Once the end of May came around, both girls thought it would be perfectly fine for us to all get together.  We did, and it was a wonderful, happy time.  It was made even more sweet by the fact that we had all really missed one another and were even happier to finally all be together again.

A good thing that came out of this situation was the fact that many professions are being recognized and honored.  Nurses, doctors and ALL healthcare workers are being hailed as heroes.  None of us who work in this “industry” want to be considered heroes, because this is just regular people, doing their regular jobs.  The caring they show is beyond ordinary – it has been extraordinary.  It is also nice seeing grocery personnel, fast food workers, gas station attendants and utility workers getting praised.

We are lucky that during this time we’ve had just that – time.  Those who haven’t been able to work or those who’ve had their schedules reduced have been able to reconnect with their home, families and routine in a more relaxed way.  There haven’t been as many “rushing here” and “hurrying there” things to do.  People have been forced to take it easy.  That is a good thing.  Everyday life, routine life – it is many times a rushed existence.  For now it’s been nice to have that laid-back approach and attitude.

Being home has made people more productive.  Who knows if it is because people are bored, or because with being home – they notice their surroundings need things to be done.  De-cluttering your surroundings can have a calming and relaxing effect on people.  Regular daily life is easier to live when your things are where you can find them.  Like the saying goes, a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  For a thrift store shopper like me, when the stores finally all open up – there will be amazing shopping, because of all the people at home, cleaning, organizing and purging.  It will be a great time to be a thrift store shopper!

There has been a lot of togetherness.  This is great for the families who live together – they can reconnect and (hopefully) realize what they mean to each other.  This quarantine and stay at home order has been a double edge sword, as we all know.  Missing your family members and friends is hard.  Very hard.  One good thing with this is that communication has increased.  There have been more texts, more phone calls, more video calls than there would have been before.  Hopefully when this is over, and we go back to whatever ends up being our new normal that people will keep up their connections.  I think we have learned to not take one another for granted.

An obvious good point of this whole Corona/Covid pandemic is increased cleanliness.  We are now more aware of what is sanitary, and what isn’t – and what we need to do to protect ourselves and others.  There is not enough known about the transmission of the virus for us to be anything less than as careful as possible.  We cannot let our guard down.

It would have been so much better if none of the last few months had happened.  We have to focus on what we have learned, and to also focus on what is to come.

It’s the thought that counts…


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I have been thinking a lot about this saying, this sentiment, these words lately.  Recent times have people becoming more and more self involved.  This is a good thing, in that we all need to be self aware to take proper care of ourselves.  But also I have seen people prejudging, assuming and over reacting.

Why is it so hard to see the good in people?  In my job as a hospital telephone operator I have heard the best of people, and the worst as well.  I don’t know why many callers immediately get irate when they don’t get what they want.  Many times it could be because they are under stress, calling to inquire about a sick loved one (and with no visitors allowed, I get that).  But just as many times their first reaction is to be rude and obnoxious – as if I am not giving them their information because I just don’t want to.  Why can’t they understand that there are rules that need to be followed?

I have overheard conversations and witnessed women get upset whenever they get called “honey” or “sweetheart.”  There is a big difference if some burly individual uses those terms in a derogatory way.  But why do these women get so upset when a kindly senior citizen says it to them?  Is it so hard to believe that people of that age group probably don’t mean it bad – they mean it in a good, endearing way?  When anyone is sweet or kind, I find it very difficult to think of them in a bad way.

Comments about God can get some people very angry as well.  I understand that not all people believe in God, and not all people believe the same way.  But if a nice person says God Bless You, or Have a Blessed Day, and you know for a fact that they are a religious individual – why get upset?  Why can’t they consider the source and realize it was meant in a good way and not in a bad way?  I guess I just don’t understand why people can’t see the good in others.

It costs nothing to be nice.  Nothing at all, and yet is a concept foreign to so many people.  At the grocery store recently, the cashier was telling a story to the customers in front of us of how earlier that day other customers had been terribly rude to her.  When it was our turn, I asked about the conversation while she was ringing up our order.  It turns out she has cancer, and the rude comments these customers had said to her were very uncalled for.  It was horrible.  Once they found out that it was cancer that caused the mark on her wrist, they were semi-apologetic, but the damage was done.  Why do people have to be so rude to each other?  I just don’t get how some of these people were raised.  Who told them that if you act like a jerk you’ll get better service?  It doesn’t work that way.

I was in a convenience store around Easter time.  I asked the clerk how she was, and she said fine, yet she had started to cry.  I saw this and asked her why she was upset.  She said an old, angry man had come to her register and proceeded to call her very nasty names – all because he was frustrated over being unable to figure out the credit card options on the gas pumps.  I felt so bad for her – in her face mask and gloves.  She stated that she wished she didn’t have to work, that she didn’t want to put herself at risk due to all the virus concerns, but she had to work.  My heart hurt for her.  I did my grocery shopping, and on the way home I brought her in an Easter plant.  When she saw it, she started crying again – but this time they were happy tears.  She was very happy and I was happy I made her that way.  All it took to brighten her day was a $5 Easter plant and a smile.

As I have said, I work in a hospital.  We have a lot of requirements for staff during these times.  Everyone is doing more than their job, rising well above what is needing to be done.  The local community has been wonderful to everyone – there have been numerous donations of food and snacks.  They also have people standing around clapping as workers enter the building, and there was a parade of first responders who drove by one afternoon.  The hallways are plastered with drawings and notes from children and adults alike – praising healthcare workers as heroes.  These are all nice, thoughtful gestures.  Yet there are people who don’t like this at all.   They feel it is patronizing, it is almost insulting – as if they are getting extra pats on their backs for just doing their jobs.  Lots of us have talked about this, and I just try to impress on them that it is not the intent of these people to be hurtful – it’s to be helpful, happy and appreciative.  I have said that if they just look at their intent, and try to focus on that and not on the fact that they don’t like it – maybe they’d feel better about it, and perhaps even feel thankful that there are people who care and want to show it.

I generally like people.  I have enjoyed all of my jobs that had me dealing directly with the public.  I only wish that people could be understanding of others and not jump to conclusions.  I don’t like seeing people rushing to judgment.  I like to look for the good in every situation.  I also believe that a smile along with a kind word can go a long, long way.   You just have to open your mind.  Ease up on preconceived ideas.  Keep your sense of humor.  Be polite and not rude.  It really isn’t that hard to get along with others.  We should all try harder, especially now in the world we’re living in…

Seven days of mini-tips for your appearance…

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(courtesy of

I realize that by including this picture I am WAY more than aging/dating myself.  That is ok though.  Let me explain – this man is Freddie Prinze, the father of Freddie Prinze, Jr.  He was popular on a show called “Chico and the Man” in the 1970s.  The character was very charming, and his signature/tag line was…you guessed it…Looking Good!  I have many things I do to keep myself up to date and decent, appearance-wise.   Some days I am good with it, other days not so much.  I do try to do at least a little something extra every day, in addition to regular grooming.  I don’t do these things in any particular order.  I just try to do one of them each day of the week.

My hair can take a beating at times.  I try not to wash it more than I have to.  Even with avoiding frequent washings, I want it to look nice.  I will comb or brush it out and then style it.  My hair ends up with a lot of product build up.  When it gets to having that “straw-like” feeling, it’s time for extra conditioner.  I will either do a quick deep conditioning treatment if I have one on hand (I usually do) or I will do this – I wash my hair, and quickly dry it in a towel.  I will take a bottle of instant/regular conditioner (you know, the kind you use in a shower) and while my hair is damp I will comb some of it through my hair.  I will leave it in my hair for a while – sometimes five or ten minutes, sometimes an hour.  I put no limits on the time.  When I finally decide it’s time, I rinse it out – I have soft and shiny hair.  It ends up being softer and shinier than if I had just ran it over my head while in the shower.

I try to take care of my face every day, because I can totally see aging in my skin.  About once a week, I will do a more extensive face care routine.  I will remove my eye makeup (if I’m wearing any) and then wash the rest of my makeup (again, if I have any of that on).  Then I take a facial cleanser, and will soap my face up really good.  I do all over my face, from my upper forehead to under my chin by my neck.  Once I feel as though my face is very clean, I will rinse – I rinse really well.  Doing this can be very messy, but that is ok.  I will blot my face dry, and then it is time for a toner (if I feel like it).  After the toner (if I use one), I will put on moisturizer.  More often than not, I’m doing this at night so I’ll use regular moisturizer and then night cream/moisturizer over it.  I take my time to rub it in gently, almost like a massage.  Lately I have been including eye cream or some sort of an eye product at this point.  Changes around my eyes have been very noticeable recently.  I feel as though taking extra time with the little things can help my appearance.  And it seems to make my makeup look better, too.

I used to get my nails done on a regular basis at a local Nail Salon.  I had started doing them myself before the pandemic hit.  They had started looking a little rough, so I thought I would treat myself to regular gel manicures again – and then we all got hit with the Corona and Covid-19 situation.  Home manicures are just part of what I do now, but once a week I do regular maintenance on my fingertips and hands.  I will wash my hands really good – and I mean good.  Once I am satisfied they are clean, I take a bowl of warm water and soak my hands.  Depending on how much pampering I want or need at the time, I may just do my nails.  I soak them in water with a bit of lotion mixed in.  When they are sufficiently softened, I will take them out.  After patting them dry, I will then massage my hands to moisten them.  I can use lotion in water, but I have a problem with lotion directly on skin.  I will lightly massage my hands with Vaseline.  That seems to be the most successful thing for me.  I will also massage my cuticles, clipping any odd pieces of skin that don’t belong.  I will make sure my nails are even, and if any part of my manicure needs attention, I’ll do a quick fix.  Doing these things ensures my hands always look nice.

As much as I want my hands to look nice, I want my feet to look nicer.  I don’t like anything about feet.  One of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen was a diabetic foot care video in my very first diabetes education class many years ago.  I watched first hand as that video described how bad your feet could get if you neglect your health with regard to diabetes.  And ever since then, I have kept my feet in pristine condition.  In addition to regular pedicures to keep my feet looking pretty, I also do weekly maintenance.  Let me also say that after every shower I take, my feet get liberally rubbed in with any kind of nice smelling lotion I feel like using at the time.  I have quite a few, yet after doing my feet and putting socks on over them, I rinse my hands – see above about my hands and anti-lotion issues.  For weekly maintenance on my feet, I will fill up a basin of warm water, again like above with some lotion in the mix.  I will soak them for a few minutes, then take them out.  I will rub them with a towel or a face cloth.  It almost acts like an exfoliating of some kind.  This process gets repeated over and over until the water starts to not be warm anymore.  And once I do a final soak, I will rub my feet dry.  I’ll look for little pieces of skin to check, and will make sure my nails are even.  They will get a final drying off, and then lotion will be applied and socks will go on.  Even though at times I think the rest of my body more than needs help, I’m always confident that my feet look good.

I have mini-care tips for my teeth (in addition of course to regular care).  Starting with those little flossing pickers, I do my entire mouth.  I’ll rinse, then just brush my teeth as I normally do.  Rinsing again, I will run some plain “Scope like” mouthwash around my mouth.  Spitting that out, I’ll use the pickers again.  I’ll brush my teeth again, but just with cold water (though I understand some people use warm water, that’s ok too).  At this point, I will use one of those rinses – they usually have some kind of additive in them, either for plaque buildup, to promote moisture to tissues or to add extra fluoride.  And again, once I’m done with this, I will use the pickers and will rinse again.  My final application is usually a whitening rinse.  I do not know if they truly whiten teeth, but I feel as though they can’t hurt.  After repeating all of these steps, your mouth will feel really good and you can be confident your teeth got taken care of in a great way.  There really is no rhyme or reason to these – you truly can go in whatever order you want.

I have itchy skin.  I don’t know why.  I guess you can say I kind of have dry skin.  My back is particularly itchy.  I carry a collapsible back scratcher wherever I go.  I like to take care of my skin with my own set of self exfoliating tactics.  Again, like above there really is no rhyme or reason to what I do and how I do it.  Sometimes I will take a very quick rinse shower before I start.  Sometimes I don’t.  I will rub my body with a washcloth (one that seems more rough than others) or a soft bristle brush (both dry).  You want to get rid of dead skin but you don’t want to hurt yourself.  Work in small circular movements.  Some start at the ankles, some start at the neck and shoulders.  It is up to you.  Don’t go too hard or too rough – these are areas that are usually not worked on much, and they are usually covered up by clothes.  Once you’re satisfied with how your exfoliating has gone, you can use some scrubs specifically made for these types of treatments, or if you want – use any kind of lotion.  Use plenty of product, and once you’re done doing that – take a nice, warm shower.  You don’t want anything too extreme – nothing too cold or too hot.  When you’re done, dry and towel off gently.  Again it depends on you – if you want, you can use some lotion – or if your skin feels a bit sensitive – skip it.  See how you feel.  After a procedure like this, you will see a glow in your skin.  It might not be tremendous, but trust me – you will notice the difference.

So there you have it – six tips or hacks or whatever you want to call them.  I try to do one each day.  The seventh day can be left for something that you saw during the week that may have just needed a little more, a little extra.  More often than not, I’m doing something for my hair.  I will either deep condition it, or will double check the roots and see if a dye job will be necessary soon.  Sometimes I’ll do the roots then, sometimes I’ll just do my whole head again, and sometimes I’ll just wash my hair and use the root cover up spray in a can.  Like I’ve said, no rhyme.  No reason.  I do whatever needs to be done, or I’ll do nothing.  It all depends on how I’m feeling at the moment.  With a little bit of effort, you’ll be able to avoid major fix-ups where you feel like you have no choice…



Happy Mother’s Day!


happy mothers day card beside pen macaroons flowers and box near coffee cup with saucer
Photo by on

Happy Mother’s Day – to all the Moms out there.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the women who are good to us and who treat us like a Mom would.  Happy Mother’s Day to those women who have children with paws and fur.  And also, Happy Mother’s Day to those Moms who are no longer with us.

My first Mother’s Day was celebrated in May of 1989.  Michael had been born the previous September.  I was (and still am) so happy to be his mother.  He was the easiest baby, which is why Kevin came along so quickly.  He was born in 1990.  This weekend I was beginning a big photo organization project – let me tell you, these two – they were inseparable!  Years passed by raising the two of them.  Kevin was also a good baby, but now there were two.  We were ready again, and Christopher was born in 1995.  Again, looking at all of those pictures this weekend – he had the most devoted, attentive and proud big brothers.  All were insanely cute.  And prejudiced as I am, they have grown into handsome young men.  I am lucky to be their Mom.

My own mother was a wonderful woman who left us far too soon.  She was seventy two years old when she passed away in July of 2008.  She lost her second battle with breast cancer.  She had conquered it once before, having had a mastectomy in April of 1992.  This was after having an almost-fatal heart attack in January of 1991.  She went through so much.  She really did.  During the last few years of her life, she was diabetic.  She handled it well, even though she didn’t always adhere to proper a proper diabetic diet.  After all she went through, a little cheating with food was not a big deal.  Faithfully checking her blood sugar every day, she took her insulin when it was needed.

She was an amazing cook.  Mom made so many delicious things.  I miss everything about those dishes.  I have tried to copy some of them, and most have come out really good.  Yet, just a little something was missing.  I’m thinking it was the love she had that was added.  She made delicious Spaghetti and Meatballs.  I enjoyed her German Fries, which were potatoes boiled, sliced and then cooked in onions, butter and pepper.  She was famous for her Steak and French Fry dinners on a Saturday night.  Baking was one of her things too, even though she mostly used mixes – she added that extra little something that made them more than special.  From scratch she did make the absolute best butter cookies – for some reason, we mostly just had them at Christmas time.  Maybe she kind of knew – that these would be more special if we waited for them, having them to look forward to.

My mother was an amazing housekeeper.  She loved keeping her home nice, clean, warm and inviting.  There were certain household items, furniture that she wanted – and she would save up money in order to get them.  A certain mirror and table come to mind.  The woman was very particular about her curtains, and she changed them a few times each year.  She must be looking down on me, shaking her head.  If she could only see our living room curtains – they are, let’s just say – shredded.  That’s what happens when you have three kittens at one time.  They just turned a year old in April, so hopefully most of the scratching is behind us.

She gave me and my sister a great love for animals.  I was just turning four years old when our landlord at the time offered us one of her cats’ kittens.  Mom was surprised I chose the only tabby in a group of white ones.  Max lived with us until he was eleven.  About a year after he passed, Sam came to us.  He was the cutest black cat, with no tail!  We were heartbroken when he passed away.  She then got Kitty, who was her companion until Mom passed.  My sister took care of Kitty until she left the earth to go Mom.  My sister now has three cats and a dog.  Jeff and I have our Magnificent Seven.  And so, the animal love remains.

Mom was a beautiful woman.  She always looked pretty, well put together and perfectly done up.  Her appearance was very important to her.  She had her hair washed and set faithfully every week, and her nails were done regularly at the salon.  She always chose the same pretty pink color.  Her favorite perfume had a vanilla scent.  When I smell a perfume close to what she wore, naturally I think of her.  She really did look good up until the end.

Yet, besides all of these things – she was just a good woman.  Her life didn’t start out happy.  She was born to a single mother, and in those days (1936) you didn’t keep your child if you were unmarried.  She was a foster child who was brought into a family that loved and cared for her like she was their own.  She left one part of the family at age eleven and went to live with the people known to me as my grandparents.  She immediately got a big brother, who she idolized.  On her wedding day, as my grandfather was about to walk her down the aisle, he asked her “don’t you think it’s about time you call us Mom and Pop?”  And from then on, that’s what they were.  No more Aunt Em and Uncle Les.

Mom loved us girls, and we think she secretly wanted a granddaughter.  Who am I kidding?  We KNOW she wanted girls.  No woman alive loved her grandsons more, however.  She was amazingly proud of all four of them.   The sun rose, shined, set and glowed upon her boys.  She was devoted to each of them.  I believe that she thought they were her greatest accomplishments.  Not that she didn’t love our father, or us – the boys were just different in her eyes.  With us, she was finally able to look at someone who shared her blood.  She had never had that.  I don’t think those of us who haven’t experienced it can truly understand how that feels.

My mother was the greatest woman I have ever known.  She was just an ordinary woman.  But she was extraordinary to us.  Happy Mother’s Day in heaven, Mom.  I love you, and I miss you.


My beautiful Mom, Bernice Gemmel 1936-2008