Jun 262020
 

Meet the Radio Shack TRS-80, my original computer in 1985I have been on a computer in one form or another since 1985. We had one of the old Radio Shack computers lovingly dubbed a Trash 80 (TRS-80). I used to joke that you could put in your DOS command, go cook dinner, eat it, wash the dishes, come back and it might be finished. But 1985 and 2020 are two very different animals. Technology moves faster than a toddler who’s been asked what’s in his/her mouth. So let’s take a look at an old lady in the age of tech.

First Portable Phone

Notice, I didn’t say “cell” phone. I actually got my first portable phone in 2001. My husband bought it for me for Christmas to use in an emergency. It was about the same size as the handset on a conventional phone today. I had to get out the BIG pocketbook to carry it around. All it did was make calls. I have to admit to being summarily unimpressed. I had gotten around without a portable telephone for almost 50 years. And, of course, there were still phone booths. Then.

That Damn Kid

When my eldest son achieved high school age, he started lobbying for his own cell phone. I refused to buy it for him. We made a deal. Get some jobs, buy your own phone and I’ll buy you some minutes. I NEVAH thought he’d do it, but. . . he did. As promised, I bought the minutes. So then I was dragged kicking and screaming into the cell phone age as I had to learn to text to chase him around. Who here remembers how to text on an old candy bar or flip phone? I hated it, pressing all those buttons so many times just to get the wrong letter. HAH! The old lady in the age of tech story was seriously just beginning.

They Shouldn’t Sell Smart Phones to Stupid People

And then came the iPhone 5. It was years ago now and, hey, they were giving them out free for a contract. At first I was like a kid when the Sears Christmas Catalog arrived in the mail. Then, as with most things, it became pretty ordinary. It played some mean games. That’s what it was used for, for the most part. And then I had to upgrade. Confusion, thy name was iPhone 6. And all my friends, whether on iPhone or Android, who had caught the bug long before excitedly exclaimed, “Oh, you can do this and this and this and that!” So I learned to nod appreciably and get excited with them. Then home I went to work on my trusty computer.

The Mac Book Pro

In 2014 I let people talk me into getting an Apple Mac Book Pro. They convinced me I needed one so my iPhone would synch with it. (HUH?) I was assured it wasn’t *that much* different and I would pick it up in no time flat. So I went to the Apple Refurb Store and bought one. Let me tell you how many times that @O$&((@#$(&^*@$ thing almost went into the wall! It was small enough to throw, too! After an astronomical amount of frustration, a wonderful woman at Apple Care took almost 90 minutes with me when I called sobbing that I wanted to return it. She got into my computer remotely, put a big red arrow on my screen and told me to follow her. No question was too dumb. Once we got the thing set up properly, she gave me a tutorial on how to use it geared for a Windows person. It took about a year before I was fully comfortable with it, but now I consider myself fairly competent in both systems. Fairly.

Then it Was Time for an iPad

Okay, okay. I was slowly going over to the dark side. . . Apple. The phone and the Mac Book did synch up. I was using an Amazon Kindle Fire for a tablet. It was nice, but I used it like a toy. Once again, another well-meaning friend told me I would not use an iPad like a toy and. . . here it comes. . . it would synch up. So I saved up and bought one on sale. I had to fight Best Buy to get their advertised price and almost got arrested (a story for another time), but I walked out of that store with my Apple iPad Air 2 raised in the air with a victory pump . . . for exactly the price in the ad.

So Now I’m an Apple Geek

I went along for a few years, still getting mildly confused when I switched back and forth too quickly. Why didn’t I abandon the Windows computer? Because in NJ you are not permitted to use Apple iOS for legal transcription which is my main side gig. And it was easy because I knew it so well. When I didn’t want to think, back I went to Windows. But I have to admit I thought it was pretty damn cool how I could switch back and forth seamlessly between three devices!

Upgrade That Phone

And then the iPhone 6, by now way too many years old, was dying. I really didn’t want to upgrade, but. . . say hello to my bright red iPhone XR. All I can say is thank God my 24-year-old daughter has the same phone.

Use That Phone

So now I make and receive calls, text like a madwoman, play some pretty neat games, check the weather and do many other things on my iPhone. I maybe use 1/100th of its capability. I always run back to the computer. Now I’m changing things. Why? Because I’m a stubborn (and envious) old bat and I want to do things the way my younger friends do. Some things I pick up right away. Some things take longer. “Mom, why didn’t you just ask me? I could’ve saved you all that time.”

Where am I Now?

Fighting with a phone that is still too much for me. But I AM learning, proving that an old dog can be taught new tricks. It just takes a helluva lot longer. And for the record, I still prefer using a computer with a full-size keyboard. The iPhone XR shot me the hairy eyeball when I wrote that. Still, had someone ever told me in high school or even college that one day I would have a 3×6″ device in my hands that would run my life, I would have told them that they needed to pay more for their drugs as they obviously were not getting quality.

What about YOU?

Now it’s time for YOUR story as an old lady in the age of tech. Come on, I know I’m not the only old lady who fought (fights) with this crapola. Put it right here in the comments so we can commiserate together. 😉

Smashing it is exactly what I wanted to do to the Mac Book Pro when I first got it!

Jun 192020
 

When you get old, jumping into jeans is not as easy as one might think.Years ago, I had a much younger friend who used to say, “Oh, I just pop out of bed, jump into jeans and I’m set to go!” Ahhhh, the enthusiasm of youth! (Did you get that jumping into jeans part? More on that later.) I’m not downing this sweet young lady, but every time she said this I thought of the song “Those Were the Days.” As I forced my old arse out of bed this morning, I thought I’d give you some insight on how popping out of bed and jumping into jeans happens when you have senior style. You’ll either identify with this or, hey, it’s coming for ya if you are privileged to live long enough. LOL

The Out of Bed Part

This MAY be the hardest part. I have creaky, stiff bones and joints. I can’t get right out of bed or my big butt will land on the floor. So I lay there reading online newspapers on my iPad and flex my legs and stretch. When I know I can get up safely, I do. I have been wrong. Sometimes safely still hits the floor, but I’ve got a good handle on this now. So where do I go?

The Desk Chair

My desk is currently right next to my bed. Each night I leave the chair turned towards me so I can just hurl my stiff self into it in the morning. Once there, I keep stretching the torso as I fire up the big desktop computer. After about an hour of flexing and stretching in the chair, I’m good to go. We hope. And let’s pray I don’t have to pee!

The Clothes

Now that the popping out of bed part is done, it’s time to jump into those jeans. Are you laughing hysterically yet? 😉 Jumping into anything is a no-go for me. This body don’t jump. I manage to select an outfit, which I should do from checking the weather the night before and picking appropriate clothes. . . which I SHOULD do. . . and approach them with trepidation. And I have to admit that I rarely wear jeans in warm weather these days, only in winter. So right now I’m technically jumping into leggings. HAH!

That Jumping Into Jeans Thing

When I DO wear jeans, it isn’t a simple jump-in, trust me. It’s more of giving them the hairy eyeball to see if we still have a meeting of the minds. . . and the waistband. Once I know they are a feasible choice for the day, I gather up the legs, like putting on pantyhose (remember those?) and ease my feet and lower legs in. Then I shimmy them up to right above the knees. Bear in mind I’m sitting down at this point. When I stand up, I attempt to drag them up to the tops of my thighs. I may have to do the push, tug and shove routine to get all the flabby bits appropriately distributed. Then it’s over the hips and, hopefully, buttoning the waistband. A little bit of doing the Twist ensures everything is in the right place.

Pop the Top

Hey, I may be old but I can still pop on a top! So I grab the selected top and just pop it over my head and pull it down. Wait. Did I remember to put a bra on? I sure hope so or else I’ll have to do it again. And then there’s always the, “Do I really want to wear this?” thing. Sometimes I leave it on. Sometimes I change one piece. Sometimes I change both pieces. More than once.

Finally, I Can Face The Day

Now I’m ready for all life throws at me. All I have yet to do is slide my feet into some shoes (a tale for another time) and have at it, right? Sometimes. But whaddya do when the jeans button but you can’t sit down? You giggle, rip them off and pull out another pair of leggings. 🙂

And if you’re too young to remember the song I mentioned above, first released in 1968, here’s the beautiful Mary Hopkin singing “Those Were the Days.”

 

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Jun 122020
 

This is me in full makeup. But not all makeup is suitable for all skin types, no matter what it says.Some great new makeup product all the celebs are gushing about on Instagram is the new must-have. It screams “good for all skin types.” You’re in like Flynn, right? Well, you may be, but that largely depends on how many candles are on your next birthday cake. Good for all skin types is good for all skin types except when it isn’t. When’s that? When it’s not good for aging skin.

Why am I NOT an All Skin Type?  HINT: We’re old! 🙂

By the time you’re 50ish, your skin is probably dry or at least drier than it was in your 20s. What you may not know is that your skin is thinner, too. Here’s a great article that explains it well.

Aging Changes in Skin Care (Medline Plus)

The Fat Layer Thins

If you read that article, you will see that your subcutaneous fat layer thins. If you already have a thin face, it’s gonna look thinner. Me? I’m still waiting for cheekbones. LOL Seriously, though, they say that certain medications are absorbed by the fat layer and losing this layer changes the way some meds work. If you experience anything out of the ordinary while taking a new medication, call your doctor immediately!

So Whaddya Do?

First, figure out what your main skin care concerns are. For me, that’s something to even out the color patches on my face. I have a lot of discoloration thanks to medical conditions and the drugs to combat them. Not complaining, really. I’m alive. I have wrinkles. I’ve tried to cover them but only plastic surgery or Botox will help and I’m not doing that. So for me it’s the hunt for the perfect foundation.

I Know You Use Something, OBH. What?

Right now, I’m using the Covergirl + Olay Simply Ageless foundation. It’s a cream in a compact and it looks like swirled silly putty at first glance. But it goes on really smooth and doesn’t feel heavy at all. It’s about $12 in Walmart last time I checked. In CVS it’s closer to $17. Yikes! I also like the Too Faced brand in everything. It’s somewhat pricey. Anastasia of Beverly Hills is another good line but much pricier. Both lines are vegan if that means something to you. You have to experiment. It’s the only way.

(DISCLAIMER: I am not associated with any brand mentioned here and I get nothing from plugging them. This is simply what I know about and/or use. However, if anyone from these companies reads this and wants to hire me, hit me up in a comment! 😉 )

Application Matters

So now that you have found IT, the perfect foundation in a coverage you love, do you just slap it all over your face? First, take a good look at your no-makeup face in a big mirror with decent lighting, as close to daylight as possible. Be honest. There are spots on my face that have sunken in slightly and some of my spots have heavier pigmentation. If your skin is fairly even, apply the same way all over. For me, I start with a thin layer all over and then build coverage on the spots that need it. One caveat. . .

DO NOT HELP GRAVITY!!!

I have read one tutorial after another that says to apply your foundation with downward strokes so you don’t rile up the hairs on your face. Everyone has hairs on their face, usually very fine and not visible. Howsumever, you won’t catch me stroking downward. UP, UP, UP for this ‘ole gal! Gravity has done enough with dragging my skin towards the floor. I’m not giving it any help! Your choice, but I recommend UP strokes. My hairs will recover from being riled up.

One Thing to Avoid

I hate to say this because I love the stuff, but mineral makeup is not good for aging skin. In fact, it rarely looks good on skin over 35. It was becoming all the rage when I left Elizabeth Arden years ago. It kicks serious tushy on oily skin. For dry skin? I think it makes you look way too powdery and flaky. For that matter, if you have AGING dry skin, I would avoid any powder as much as you can. Choose cream instead. I DO use a setting powder when I am all finished, but it’s very light and doesn’t leave that powdered doughnut look on my face.

Are You Tired of it ALL?

Many women are tired of makeup by the time they reach their senior years. If this is what makes you happy, by all means do it! Get yourself a good cleansing and moisturizing routine and show that beautiful skin to the world!!! For me, I feel better with at least my face covered so I don’t look like a patchwork quilt. I don’t wear a lot of eye makeup as I wear very thick glasses for nearsightedness. A little mascara and maybe a pale shadow for brightening MAY make their way to my eyes but it’s mainly face coverage that concerns me. Your face; your pick. You show YOU to the world in the way that makes YOU feel your best!

About the Video:  Gotta love a gal who pounces her foundation on, right? Angie gives great tips for applying foundation to dry aging skin. Well worth the 12 minutes. Enjoy!

 

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