Carla Ives

May 292020
 

Too many women suffer painful feet by wearing ill-fitting shoesThe agony of da feet. It’s a just one of those things women have to go through to be fashionable, right? Maybe, maybe not. There’s no agony if you wear the right size shoes. Do you wear your proper shoe size? Do you even know your proper size? If you don’t, here’s how to deal with and fix the agony of da feet.

What the Experts Say

Alexis E. Dixon, M.D., DISC Sports & Spine Center, Marina Del Rey California, writing for the ortho-dot-com site, says that as people age, their feet grow wider and flatter. The fat pad under the bones in the ball of the foot begins to thin. This can cause pain while walking. And referring to a study conducted by The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS), in which researchers examined the feet of 356 women, they found that 88% of the women were wearing shoes that were too small for their feet. Most of them had not had their feet re-measured in over a decade and more than 50% reported experiencing daily foot pain from their shoes.

A Little Personal History

I didn’t like feet for the longest of time. Wouldn’t let anybody touch mine. I didn’t get my first pedicure until I was over 60. Feet were something you stuck your shoes on. That was all. But then I got into essential oils. I’m sensitive. The best way to test out an oil you may be sensitive to is on the soles of your feet. And did you know your entire bodily system is marked out on the soles of your feet? Well, I didn’t. Now there was no longer any way to avoid my feet.

It took me a long time to buy properly-fitting shoes, too, despite the agony of da feet. In high school, I wore a size 7.5 shoe. Guess what? Now I’m a 9 or 9.5. And keep in mind I’m only 5′ nuttin’ honey. My mother said at least I wouldn’t blow away in a strong wind. HAH! For some reason, I didn’t mind buying a size 9 but adding that extra half-size got me, even if the 9s were tight. I felt like I was declaring myself a bigfoot or something. Well, duh!!! I DO have big feet. Now I know my sizes in all my favorite brands. But oh, to be a size 7.5 once more!!!

Here’s How to Get a Good Fit

First off, find someone who can measure your feet properly with a Brannock device. If there’s no Brannock device, try on several sizes in the style you want and walk around on a HARD floor. There are carpets in shoe departments for a reason. The shoes feel better. You should buy your shoes late in the afternoon, too, as your feet swell throughout the day. Make sure you have enough toe room. And, please, buy the right size, no matter what the number. Don’t like that number? Once you get your shoes home, take a black permanent marker and scribble over it. Once you’ve decided not to return them, that is. And don’t tell yourself the shoe will break in. If that shoe doesn’t fit who it will break is YOU!

Another friendly tip. Please don’t buy those narrow pointy toe shoes unless your feet are shaped like that. And lower your heel expectations. Those 4″ hoochie heels you sported in your 20s will drop you on your ass in your 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond!

You may have to look around a lot more to find a well-fitting shoe that you actually like and enjoy wearing, but they’re out there. I’m tough picking out shoes. Mine are mostly flats and things with athletic bottoms on them. When I was in high school, we used to say we were wearing sit-down shoes and a stand-up girdle. Well, my days of sit-down shoes are long gone. What’s a girdle? 😉

Wearing high heels, especially in the wrong size, can definitely cause the agony of da feet.

May 222020
 

Society wants to see its image of beauty, not the real usThere I was on a fine Sunday morning perusing my iPad when the title hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. “The Power of Beauty.” Was it an article? A personal story? Nope, it was an ad for Ulta, that supermarket of all things makeup, hair and beyond. At first, I sat there shaking my head and sorta chuckling. And then I caught myself up short. “OBH, you’re looking at a hard truth here. Just look in the mirror!!! You know damn well you like your after-makeup face a lot better than you like the before version. Beauty *does* have power. You prefer what society wants to see.”

That Loving Your Quarantine Self Bit

Remember I wrote about loving your quarantine self? Told you I was working on it. Well, working on it I might be, but I’m failing. Every time I look at my face in the mirror sans makeup, I think I’m looking at me. What I’m actually looking at is the me I want to see. Yes, I see wrinkles and some age spots and such. But to really see me I have to turn the reverse camera on. And then I cry. What is it about those cameras that pick up every imperfection I’ve ever had, have or will have? Or is it that what I’m seeing in the mirror is really the idealized old woman I want to see? Probably a little of both.

The Good Old Days

Back in my teenagerhood, in the days of Cher and Twiggy when we learned to put eyeliner on with a half-inch paintbrush, things were rosy. Of course, we were young so whatever we did to our faces was just peachy. Those young, fresh faces couldn’t be ruined. But time marches on. I am grateful to be alive at my age, very grateful. But my face has taken a hit. People say Cher hasn’t aged. Let me put it nicely. . . Baloney! She just has great makeup artists and soft focus camera lenses that we all wish we had. Good genes DO play a part, no doubt about it. Everyone ages, though. And eventually our faces and bodies fall from the graces of what society wants to see.

So Who Gets The Blame?

I can blame the advertising industry all I want and I frequently do, but I’ve bought into it just like almost every other woman out there. I mean, who wouldn’t like products that make you look younger, prettier, more polished, more. . . more like what society wants to see. And therein lies the rub. It’s what society wants to see. It’s NOT who we really are. Nope, society doesn’t want that. Society wants to see Stepford Wives at any age. It’s just the way things are. Everyone wants youth and no pimples, no wrinkles, no drooping anything. Nice work if you can get it.

To Paint or Not to Paint

So. . . what’s an old woman to do? Paint that face or not? If you do, will you be happy? If you don’t, will you cry? I really wish I had an answer for you. Some days are better than others. There are some days I can face the world proudly with this unadorned face. And then there are days when I run for that drawer chock full of stuff I know I paid too much money for and are not good for my face. But. . . ooops! Those products just jumped on my face. I am NOT responsible. HAH!

The Power of Beauty

So, yes, Ulta was correct when they wrote that word POWER. Beauty, thanks to the ad industry, societal mores or something as yet undetermined, does have power. Lots of it. Just look at Hollyweird. Who are the rich and famous? How many uggos are in that group? Not many and especially not women. Men can still have their gut hanging over their belt, warts and halitosis. We can’t. In a man, it’s character. In a woman, it’s ugly.

Is There an Answer?

So what’s the answer? Not sure. I want to be the natural me, but I don’t like her as much yet as the enhanced me. Gotta keep working at it. I don’t want to be only what society wants to see. Want to see the real me, the unadorned version of myself. But meanwhile, can I borrow some concealer? I can’t get to Ulta right now and I’m fresh out. 😉

Without and With. . . Scary stuff, huh? 🙂
To show the difference in how I look with and without makeup
May 152020
 

Old women may not have a hot bikini bod but we're allowed to get old!Everyone ages, right? Even if you’re in your 30s, you look different than you did at 18. And if you don’t, I hate you. Just kidding! LOLOL But for women in the USA, it almost seems like we’re not allowed to get old. There are so many provocative headlines like “So and so has a hot bikini bod at 54!!!” They don’t give a damn about so and so, only that that ‘ole broad still has a hot bikini bod. . . but that’s for another rant. So when I recently came across a page that showed famous actresses then and now in a backhanded, derogatory manner, I was like, “Hey, Can’t a Girl Even Get Old Around Here?”

Youth, Youth and More Youth

Youth is everything in this country. Fashions are shown on very young women, if not girls. Hairstyles are shown on very young women. Shoes are modeled by very young women. That’s why folks like Kim Kardashian spend a ton of money to avoid getting old around here. I believe Kim’s not far from 40 now so she better get the BIG checkbook out. That seems to be the age where even a beautiful woman becomes an ugly old hag.

The Headline That Pulled Me In

The come-on was a pic of Jacqueline Smith back in her Charlie’s Angels days and it said something like, “She was once the dream girl of legions of men, but you won’t even recognize her now!!!” Well, Ms. Once the Dream Girl looks damn fine to me, considering she’s gonna be 75 years old in October, for pity’s sake!!! Yes, she’s obviously aged, but she’s still beautiful. I quick flipped through to get to her pics since she was the come-on pic, but then I backed up and was flabbergasted.

Why Was I Even Looking at This Crap?

It was one of those articles where they try to trap you with a gazillion ads on the page, hoping you’ll slip and click on one of them or won’t be able to find the word NEXT. I hate those things, but they lure me in just like the rest of you. As I clicked through from frame to frame I started to gasp. What was wrong with these beautiful women?

PSA: We All Get Wrinkles

I went from one gorgeous woman to the next, both then and now. Did they look different? Of course. Did they look older? Of course. Did they look good? Of course!!! As I went through the pics I got madder and madder. HOW DARE THEY? Everyone ages. Everyone gets wrinkles. And I don’t care how much money you have, those wrinkles are gonna show eventually. And, yes, plastic surgery falls, too. You can run, baby, but you can’t hide!!!

Am I Looking With Old Eyes?

Yes, I’m old, too, so am I looking with old eyes? Probably. I am definitely not looking at the now pics with the eyes of a 25-year-old man looking for a thrill. That’s for sure. But still, I see women who have aged, some better than others, of course, but still look GOOD. Of course, to society I am pure-D crazy! No old woman is attractive, hot, sexy, pretty, beautiful. . . . pick your favorite word, unless she has a hot bikini bod, that is. WE WANT THE YOUNG STUFF!!! I would tell you what you can do with that, but it’s a PG-rated blog, at least most of the time. 🙂

So Why Can’t We Get Old Around Here?

My answer to this question has a lot to do with the advertising industry. They’ve set up this youth = beauty and old age = YUCK scenario. Even older men. . . . let’s see if I can put this in a not-gross fashion. Older men think they’ve hit the fountain of youth if they score a young girl. I beg to differ. I think you just look like a pathetic old man. But that’s me. I’m just Old Busted Hotness.

PROOF WE’RE STILL HOT. . . 17 AND 67!!!

Me, then and now 50 years apart

May 122020
 

Here are five ways to slant your writingThis post is something that’s been a long time in coming. I was always “going to do it” when I was writing more a few years back, but. . . after seeing something recently that set me off and reading many of today’s news articles, I thought I would let you in on some of the secrets in the hopes that you’ll spot this “stuff” as it appears and think for yourself. It’s not all that hard to slant your writing if you follow my guidance.

Provocative Headline

This is the one that irks me the most so it’s going first. It’s actually what got me spinning this tale for you right now. Same identical news story in the body. Two different headlines. Which one would you rather read?

“One day after reopening, an ice cream shop was forced to temporarily close because customers didn’t follow social distancing rules” Ho Hum, no social distancing.

“Ice cream shop closes day after reopening over harassment from patrons” OH NO, HARASSMENT. . . get the tar and pitchforks!!! (Shades of “Shrek” 😉 )

Here’s a link to the second story so you can read it for yourself. The story is the same. It’s only the headlines that are different.

Not Explaining Yourself in The First Paragraph

If you took a Journalism class back when I went to college, you were told to make sure you had the Five Ws in the first paragraph, i.e. Who, What, When, Where and Why. That set the story up for the reader to dig into as you elaborated on each of those. Well, in today’s world, it ain’t necessarily so. It’s been proven that many people are headline readers, you know, of those provocative headlines described above. They won’t get into your story if they’re confused by what’s not in the first paragraph. Also, if you’re writing for money, they’ll click out of your story faster than the speed of light and you’ll lose your pennies for readership. So write that provocative headline, confuse your reader right from jump and lose money. It’s a great technique if you just want to dazzle someone with your point of view in the headline and then not give them anything substantive to read.

Inflammatory Words

Get out your Thesaurus, folks! The headline yells, “Smith RAGED at his opponent!” When you get to the meat of the article, IF you do, it says, “He said that his opponent lied.” The angry synonyms for the word said are the most guilty. Well, the words aren’t guilty, but the author’s use of pejorative terms for it is. You said something, but your opponent says “you screamed,” “you raged,” you harangued,” “you blasted,” “you lambasted,” yada yada yada. Somewhere when reading you will find that it’s simply something someone said.

This also works for adjectives, too. If someone made an error, they simply made a mistake. But if you really want to fling arrows of blame at them, they made an EGREGIOUS error or a HORRENDOUS error. OMG it was THAT bad? You get the idea.

Use an Unflattering Picture

You know how when you make a Facebook post it gets more attention with a photo or other picture on it? Same thing with news articles which are now mainly read on electronic devices and always have a big pic to draw your attention. Don’t like who or what you’re writing about? Pick a photo that is most unflattering. This is ably demonstrated by someone who tweets a lot. Those not in his corner pick the ugliest pics of him that they can. It works! And if you have live photos on an iPhone, you can slant your writing by separating the images and picking the yuckiest one.

Call Your Subject by Last Name Instead of First

This may seem somewhat minor, but you engender more sympathy for your subject when you use a first name. Say you’re writing about Kim Kardashian. (Who hasn’t, right?) Calling her Kim makes her personable, the girl next door (HAH!). Calling her Kardashian is colder. It makes you think of her business empire and all the unflattering things you’ve read about her over the years. So if you’re writing nicey-nice stuff about Mrs. West, you call her Kim. Hate her guts? Call her Kardashian or Kardashian-West.

My main purpose in writing this is to get you to think next time you read something in a newspaper, whether online or on paper. Or if you’re writing, how you can or can’t slant your writing. Any writer half worth his or her salt can do this easily. Op-Ed pieces are designed to get you to agree with the author. Regular news articles shouldn’t be. Their job is to report what happened. Funny thing about that, eh?

News stories should report the news, not become op-ed pieces

May 112020
 

Mother's Day when you don't have a great motherI’m writing this the day after Mother’s Day so as not to take away one iota from the celebration of really terrific mothers. Tribute after tribute on Facebook brought tears to my eyes as I read about these wonderful women who trained up a new generation of daughters to be mothers just like them. It’s a beautiful thing. But my mother wasn’t one of those. And since I know I’m not alone, I’m writing this Mother’s Day thought for the rest of us.

A Little Bit of History

My mother didn’t like me much. It was pretty cut and dried. I didn’t look like the correct side of the family and I wasn’t what she had in mind when she thought she was getting a cute little daughter. I never lost my baby chubs which was anathema in a family that worshiped thinness. I was well-spoken, well-read, got straight As in school and really tried my best. I made her beautifully hand-crafted Mother’s Day gifts, but I was fat, ugly and good for not much, according to her. She wasn’t mean to me or physically abusive. She just didn’t like me.

I saw the moms of friends when I went to their houses to play or do schoolwork. Their moms were kind and sweet and looked at their children with love in their eyes. I was envious. Hell, I was downright jealous. There were times when I went home, crawled under the covers and cried. My mom wasn’t bad. She just didn’t like me. I knew it. She knew I knew it. It made for a very awkward childhood.

A Rather Rude Awakening

And then came the day I found out the hard way that I wasn’t the only one with a mother who wasn’t straight out of the pages of Ladies Home Journal. My then best friend invited me to be her maid of honor. I was over the moon. Her mother wasn’t. She didn’t like the way I looked either and said I would ruin the wedding photos. Where had I heard that before? She was afraid to tell me, but she finally had to because her mother threatened to not pay for the wedding if I were included in it. So I bowed out gracefully. And. . . you guessed it. . . I went home and cried.

As much as that hurt, it opened my eyes. Now I knew that I wasn’t alone in the not-so-perfect mother department. Some moms were downright nasty and vicious. Some were physically abusive. Some stood by while their daughters were abused. Some drank and turned into monsters. My mom wasn’t any of those things. She just didn’t like me.

Life Goes On

Time passed. We lived a little ways apart. She still slung her verbal missiles at me every chance she got. One would think she enjoyed them. Maybe she did. I don’t know. And then two things happened that changed everything. My father died. She started getting wonky. Then my grandmom (her mother) died. She lost her mind. By this time, she lived with me. Yeah, I know. She took all her grief out on me. And there I stood, a 50-something year old woman transported immediately back to when I was ten years old and getting browbeat about how I wasn’t good enough, didn’t look right, wasn’t good for anything, nobody would ever want me, yada yada yada. That lasted for ten long years.

Life Changes

And then came the day she broke her hip and went into rehab. I was fully prepared to take her home and let the cycle begin again. She was my mother. I had to take care of her. I had no other choice, right? That’s how we were raised. So imagine my surprise when she told me she wanted to stay in the nursing home! The place wasn’t all that great either. But she wanted to be there, so I signed her in.

The Beginning of the End

She had two happy years there before I am convinced their lack of care let her die. One day they told me my mother was sick. The next day I was running to the intensive care unit of a local hospital to be told she was dying from total organ failure. The last time I talked to her, she called me in and asked me to sign her into hospice. She said my father (he passed 14 years earlier) had come to take her home. I had her power of attorney so I made the arrangements. She said, “Thank you.” Her last words to me. That night they took her to a beautiful hospice unit of another hospital. Two days later she was gone. It was the day before what would have been my parents’ 63rd wedding anniversary.

Moving Forward

That was six years ago. Do I miss her? I think I miss the idea of having a mother. But do I miss MY mother? Maybe. No. I honestly don’t know. I know I can think about her now without getting upset. When I drive by her grave these days I yell out the window, “Hey, Ma, how ya doin’?” And maybe after a lot of years, I’m okay. Or sort of okay.

So I’m writing this for me and for all of you who didn’t have perfect mothers either. It’s a Mother’s Day thought for the rest of us. I try to keep in mind that nothing in life is perfect. Nothing will ever be perfect. But it’s up to us to take what we have and do the best that we can with it. We made it in spite of that mother thing.

Mother's Day can be quite different when your mother didn't like you