Jan 182021
 

People say your attitude about money comes from your parents. My father made good money and spent it. His battle cry was, “It’s only money, Ri, I’ll get more of it!” (Ri is my mother, Rita.) She would have a conniption fit when the man she married, raised in abject poverty and now making it, came home with a new toy. My mother’s battle cry was, “We can’t afford it!!!” Even when we could, we couldn’t. Scarcity Mindset.

Children of the Depression

My parents were children of the Great Depression. Dad grew up in a large family that didn’t even have enough to eat most of the time. Mom grew up in a family that had enough; nothing extra, but enough. My Grandmom (Mom’s Mom) was one of the few people steadily employed during the 1930s. My Mom always told me that Sundays brought folks to the front door who needed a meal because my Grandmom never turned anyone away. She would just water down the soup a little bit more. You would have thought my Mom would have picked up this generous spirit, but she didn’t. She just developed a very advanced scarcity mindset.

Affording It

As my Dad educated himself and took on bigger and better employment, becoming one of the top salesmen in the USA selling portion-controlled food to restaurants, his paychecks went up exponentially. All of a sudden we had nice homes and there were a few more dresses at the beginning of the school year. We went on vacations. New appliances and furniture began to appear. Life got decent and then it got nice because of my Dad. Yet the constant cry of, “We can’t afford it!” never stopped. But we did.

Proof, right?

Now you think that would have been proof positive to my developing mind that she was wrong and he was right. Yeah, you’d think. My husband and I worked our asses off when the kids were little. Could we afford everything? No. Did they always have enough? Yes. But even when things eased up a bit, every time I needed to lay out some money, the Rita in my head screamed, “We can’t afford it!”

And the Torch is Passed

So all through my formative years there was this battle between we CAN afford it and we CAN’T afford it. Why, oh why, didn’t I believe him and not her? I took on that scarcity mindset. My adult life became, “We can’t afford it!” The problem was that although there were some times we couldn’t, there were many times we could.

What it Really Meant

Now here’s the real problem. “We can’t afford it!” meant we couldn’t afford to give either. Donations? “Hey, we’re poor, too.” No, we weren’t. That family needs help! “Oh well, they can get on assistance.” Meanwhile, there was an extra $20 burning a hole in my pocket that could have bought food. Not a lot, mind you, but it could have made the difference for someone.

Selfishness

So it made me selfish. I never in a million years considered myself a selfish person. I gave freely to all. . . of myself. But when it came to opening up the purse strings, well, that was a different story. I would tell myself things like, “Money isn’t everything. They need your time and attention.” Maybe they did, but if someone has a hungry baby they need money for food first!

I. AM. SELFISH. That revelation hit me hard. I broke out in tears with all the years of, “We can’t afford it!” hitting me like the proverbial ton of bricks. I feel like a total failure for all of those years. But guess what? I’m Scrooge and it’s Christmas morning. There’s still time to fix things.

It’s Different Now

Today I give freely to those who need it. I can’t do it all for everyone, obviously, but there are many I can help and I do. I don’t want to be selfish anymore.

This is NOT to say that you should be a spendthrift and give everything you need away to the detriment of your own, not at all. You take care of your own first, of course, but if there’s a few bucks left, trust me when I tell you someone in today’s world could use it. And then. . . more of it will come to you!

And in the End

So the moral of this tale is to not let a scarcity mindset make you selfish. We still don’t have a helluva lot but we have a helluva lot more than many others do. For this I am grateful. And every now and then, when Rita and her damned, “We Can’t Afford It!” starts to infiltrate my brain, I take a deep breath and listen for my Dad. “It’s only money. I’ll get more of it.” He always did. I will, too.

“Magic Penny” by Malvina Reynolds

It’s just like a magic penny,
Hold it tight and you won’t have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you’ll have so many
They’ll roll all over the floor.

 


Jul 242020
 

My email box is overflowing with ad after ad after ad.Okay. I get it. Retailers are in business to sell product and online buying has blossomed during the pandemic. In fact, so many people are buying online that many small-to- medium brick and mortars are closing their doors for good while Jeff Bezos and his Amazon Empire get richer and richer. Sad, but the way it is right now. And just like everyone else, I’m shopping online more and more. These retailers send me emails. LOTS of emails. Six or more per day. Why are they bugging the snot outta me? Folks, this is email marketing gone wild.

Is Email Marketing Even Still Relevant?

Yes, I believe it is. Even in this day of texts, FB ads and Instagram, there’s still a place for emails. Plus, you don’t have to make the extra click as you do on a text ad to see the product. You can see it right on the email in most cases. Yes, you have to click if you want to explore further, but you can make that decision almost immediately. And everyone checks their emails, right? Don’t you do that first thing in the morning? I do.

The Old Reliables

There are reliable companies like L.L. Bean. One email every other day, maybe every day if they’re running a hot sale. No “Hey, you forgot this!!!” No “Why are you not buying? Do you hate us now?” None of that. Just an email a day or every other day pointing out something they think I might like or that’s on sale. And I can deal with this. I even like it. They are a good, reliable retailer with quality products, fair prices and fast delivery. And they don’t bombard me with useless emails!!!

The Repetitive Emails

I subscribe to a lot of stores because, buying online, I want the best deals possible. I don’t mind one email a day with features and special purchases. In fact, these emails are welcome. BUT SIX TO TEN A DAY? Cut me a break!!! I had to ditch one place that sent one every single hour on the hour for 24 hours straight. Do they really think this “pester marketing” is going to win them loyal customers? They must.

The Reminder Emails

It used to be if you looked at something but didn’t purchase, a day or two later you’d get an email saying it was available if you were still interested. Nice. Friendly. Non-intrusive. And if you were lucky, they’d offer you a small discount to go and complete your order. Now? Within an hour (sometimes minutes) after looking at something, I get, “Hey, did you forget this?” or “This is yours, right?” or “You left this in your cart!” And if I don’t go purchase the product more emails come in a regular progression throughout the day. To answer the questions they feel they must ask, “No, I did not forget this” and “No, it’s not mine as I haven’t bought it” and “No, I didn’t leave it in my cart. I don’t want it.”

The Guilt Emails

The ones that really get me are the ones that attempt to hang the guilt. . . on the CUSTOMER!!! Again, haven’t purchased in a while. I got one that said, “Why don’t you like us anymore?” And then there was, “Did we do something to make you hate us?” That was a good one, even I have to admit. No in both cases. Maybe I just don’t need anything right now. Novel concept, eh?

The Threat Emails

So I don’t buy something from a company for maybe a week. Then cometh, “We’re going to have to drop you from our email list since we haven’t heard from you.” HUH? Wanna drop me? Go for it! If you hit me with this one I don’t want your stinkin’ emails or product anyway.

So What’s the Answer?

STOP SENDING SO MANY @(&$&)(@*#$ EMAILS!!! Quite truthfully, if you bombard me with 10-12 emails a day, I’m off to a competitor to find that product. You just lost a sale. Do you care? Probably not. How do I know this? HERE COMES ANOTHER EMAIL!!!!

Retailers send you way too many emails to get you to buy something!

‘Wow! I’ve got one from someone I know!’

Jul 172020
 

As a child I always asked why. I was a pain about it. I am still the little girl who asks why.I was a pain in the butt as a child. Everyone around me got tired of me asking questions. It was an Olympic sport with me. The family thought I would be a journalist as I was the princess of What, Where, Why, When and How. Probably should have been. I was one of those kids who just had to know. As I grew, I realized that some questions just don’t have answers. It saddened me then; it saddens me now. And even as an old lady, inside of me is the little girl who still asks why.

Recent Events

So many recent deaths have taken a toll on my psyche. Young beautiful people, successful people, and now they’re gone. Some are a bit older. Some are very old and have lived a good long life. And as we know, all good things must come to an end. But when that end comes way too soon, you start to question why. And why now? Is there something in the air besides COVID-19? Are we going through a planetary shift? Climate Change? Oooops, there I go again. But. . .WHY?

When Money Doesn’t Cut It

My mom used to tell me, “You can’t buy happiness,” to which I usually shot back, “Maybe not, but it makes the misery more bearable.” Does it? After the alarming rate of young folks with money leaving this earth, I honestly think she was right and I was wrong.

I don’t pretend to have any type of knowledge of the whys and the wherefores of this world. That’s the department of a higher power well above my pay grade. But it sure makes you wonder why someone like Naya Rivera, by all accounts a good mom who worshiped her son, couldn’t get back in that boat. She made sure her baby was safely in and then, for whatever, reason, she slipped away. Why did she have to go? Where was that one last push of gargantuan strength that many say saves them?

There I go again, the little girl who still asks why.

A young man like Brandon Keough. He looks so much like his famous Grandpop (Elvis Presley) it’s scary. By all reports a nice and talented young man from a famous and talented family. Took his own life. Why? What was missing in his life? He didn’t suffer, as most of us define suffering. Or did he? Why did he feel suicide was the only way out? According to a lifelong friend, he felt the pressure to carry on the Presley name, especially since he looked so much like Elvis. His friend said it was an overwhelming force on Brandon. So sad.

Others Taken From Us

Actress, wife and mother Kelly Preston passed on the other day from breast cancer. She was only 57. She hadn’t finished raising her children. Why her? Why now?

Nick Cordero, 41, a bright star on Broadway and a reported great guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He fell victim to COVID-19 and went through three months of hell before his lungs gave up the ghost. He left a wife and a one-year-old baby. Why him? Why now?

And the disaster that opened up this strange year in January 2020, Kobe Bryant. Whatever you thought of Kobe, he was only 41 and way too young to go. He left a wife and three kids. One daughter died with him. Why them? Why now?

There I go again, the little girl who still asks why.

The Ones Who Went the Distance

We lost a lot of “old folks” in the past few months, too. I don’t feel so bad about these people. They got to live a long life and left an enduring legacy. What more can you ask for? I think my question here is why did they make it when others didn’t? What spark did they have that let them live into their 80s, 90s and beyond? Good genes? Maybe. I’m talking about people like . .

Jerry Stiller
Carl Reiner
Little Richard
Ian Holm
Buck Henry
Kirk Douglas
Orson Bean
Charlie Daniels

What did they have that was special? Why did they live so long?

If you want a more complete list of who we’ve lost in 2020, click here.

And Then There’s Me

I guess you could call it survivor’s guilt. I was supposed to be dead at 30. Then again at 45. Then I went for the hat trick at 50. So why am I still here when others who battled with me are not? I’m not so special. But here I sit and so many others are just memories. A nurse said to me one time, “Well, honey, you have a family to raise.” So did the others. I feel blessed to be sitting here writing this, but I still ask why the others are not here with me.

If you have any answers for me, please put them in a comment. Maybe there are no answers. And maybe I’m just doomed to be the little girl who still asks why to the questions that have no answers, except for those that are blowin’ in the wind.

Jul 102020
 

Today a woman's worth or talent hinges on her being able to wear an itsy bitsy teenie weenie bikiniThe words *hot bikini bod* can cause my hot (not so) bikini blood to boil. Everywhere you look these days, all folks want of women is a hot bikini bod. Cut me a break!!! Men can have a beer belly, hair sprouting everywhere and be bowlegged, yet they will still be reviewed based on their talent. Women? No hot bikini bod, no talent. Sadly, in our society a woman’s talent depends on size.

What They Want

You would think that Carrie Underwood would fit the bill of what they want perfectly. She’s young, gorgeous, ripped after two kids and can tear up a song like nobody’s business. Looks? Check. Brains? Check. Bod? Check. Talent? Well, depends on if she bulges in that bikini or not. As long as she has that hot bikini bod, yeah, she’s talented.

The Older Folks

Melanie Griffith, a talented actress, is 62. Want to know what’s the only headline I’ve seen on her recently? “Melanie Griffith, 62, stuns in sports bra.” Forget the talent. Let’s gawk and gape at that sports bra. Yes, she looks good for 62 and, yes, she was wearing a sports bra. Stuns? She looked fairly ordinary to me. And just in case the question is burning a hole in you, she had on a rather plain pair of khaki shorts under that sports bra.

Elizabeth Hurley. She was a model. I don’t expect her to have instantly morphed into an old hag. And like most models, she’s skinny skinny. Headline, please. “Elizabeth Hurley, 54, stuns in sexy Versace dress from 21 years ago.” Here we go with that “stuns” crapola again. My first thought when I saw this was. . . why is she wearing an old dress? If you guess it’s because I’ve never owned a Versace, you’d be right.

Almost Old Folks

Let’s move into some folks who aren’t quite old yet, but are old for today’s society. If you watch the Real Housewives (yeah, right) TV shows, you’ve probably heard of Kim Zolciak. She doesn’t impress me, but she’s a mom of six and still has a pretty hot figure. So here’s the last headline I saw: “Kim Zolciak celebrates her 42nd birthday in a tiny pink bikini.” Kim may have had on a tiny pink bikini, but all I saw was boobs. Let’s just say the gal is well-endowed by her creator.

Another old lady at 42 is “Mad Men’s” January Jones. Headline: “‘Mad Men’ star January Jones, 42, stuns in nautical-inspired bikini.” And, yes, she DID look phenomenal in that bikini. I’ll admit it. But forget about her character on “Mad Men.” What acting talent? Just look at that bod! And what is it with that word “stun” these days? I think some of the so-called reporters gawking at these bods need to get hit with a stun gun!

Young Stuff

And now on to someone I had to look up. Never heard of Francesca Farago. She’s all of 26. What caught my eye, though, wasn’t the headline. . . “’Too Hot To Handle’ star Francesca Farago shows us her new bikini line”. . . but the fact that her entire arse was hanging out of that line! I mean the whole thing. Could that be what people were looking at? Ya think?

THE ULTIMATE

Okay. I admit I’m jealous here. The girl is only two years younger than me. I’m speaking about the incredible Christie Brinkley. She’s always been beautiful. You won’t get any arguments from me there. She’s taken to showing off pics of herself in bikinis with her much younger adult daughters to prove she’s still got it, so. . . “Christie Brinkley, 65, flaunts incredible bikini bod.” (That was last year, BTW. She’s now 66.) Okay. We get it. She’s got it. She has fandamtastic genes. She will never look her age, but she’s still 66 and, if she ever allows a pic of herself without makeup, unretouched and close up, you’ll see it. However, I’d bet the house and the dog on the fact that she’ll never look really bad or really old.

So How’s YOUR Hot Bikini Bod?

Oh, you don’t have a hot bikini bod? Sure, you do. It’s said that to have a hot bikini bod, take your bod, put it in a bikini and go out on a beach where it’s hot. HAH! But seriously, if you’re a senior and don’t look quite like Christie Brinkley, it’s okay. You’re YOU and there is no one else out there like you. Got wrinkles? You’ve earned them. Got gray hair? You worked for it! Got rolls? You’re a busy woman who doesn’t live in the gym and likes the occasional snack, so of course you do. And I’m sure you have many talents that may never be spoken of.

This country needs to get real. Nobody focuses on a woman’s talent, only her body. And if you still don’t believe me, have you seen Adele recently? This girl can SING!!! She was an extreme talent when she was bigger than what society wants to see. She’s always been an extreme talent. But the world went gaga when she dumped a ton of weight recently. No mention of her extreme talent, just her body. It’s sad really.

So. . . get that bikini, that tankini, that one-piece, that swimdress or whatever you’re comfortable in and take your (OLD) hot bikini bod out on the beach. Nobody’s really looking anyway. They’re too worried about their own hot bikini bod and, God forbid, if any flab is showing. Enjoy yourself!

Hard to believe this was 60 years ago, right?

Jun 052020
 

We all need stuff, but when is it too much stuff?We all have stuff. Do you have enough stuff? Too little stuff? Too much stuff? What do you do with that stuff? Right now, I need an answer to that last one. Downsizing, not Grease, is the word these days. How do you do it? Just trash it? Have a yard sale? Give it away? All of that? What do you do when you simply have too much stuff?

Memory Lane

I didn’t realize how much stuff we had until my mom passed. When we originally bought this house, we bought it with her. Then we took it over. Until the day she died she insisted it was HER house. She would not let us keep one thing in the common areas. So a then 30+ year marriage was stuffed into the attic, the garage, closets, anywhere we could find a spot. It didn’t look too bad in our prior home, all nice and spread out. It changed when we had to stuff our stuff into any space we could! Once she was gone, we started to let it all out into the open and. . . it was just way too much stuff!!! Apparently, we had acquired more and kept stuffing.

Bitchy Stuff

And then there was the time when I was writing entertainment news and doing celebrity interviews. These outings were usually accompanied by a small cadre of press folk, usually hot young chicas who were not too happy that an old bat was in their midst. HAH! And were they catty or WHAT??? They would look you over when you first arrived. Snide comments on your shoes, your handbag, your outfit often accompanied the handshake as they faked a smile. “Walmart is putting out such nice shoes now, aren’t they?” Most designer labels weren’t made in larger sizes then, so. . . I bought shoes and handbags. Most of them have now been donated for charity auctions and such because why do I need that stuff now? Truth be told, I shouldn’t have bought it then. I bought it to shut them up. Seemed like a good idea then. Seems like foolishness now.

Less is Supposed to be More

Less may be more in makeup as we age, but the acquisition of stuff is a sign of success in the USA. It’s a sign that we’re well enough off to afford more stuff. We’ve made it. Hey, look at my stuff!!! Credit cards can lead to the acquisition of more stuff, too, in those who can’t afford to whip out the cash for more stuff. Do you know how much cash you need to buy a Dooney & Bourke bag? Trust me in that if you live paycheck to paycheck it’s way too much.

Where Does That Stuff Go?

Where do you put all your stuff? I’ve walked into peoples’ homes and seen beautiful displays of dolls on the floor, candles, quaint Colonial or Victorian looks. Their homes looked wonderful, like something out of House Beautiful! My house often looks more like an episode of Hoarders. And it seems that the more I toss out the door, the more appears. I’m not buying much these days, so does this stuff do it in the middle of the living room floor when I’m sleeping? It must.

What We Do

I throw stuff out daily. We donate boxes and boxes of stuff. Folks need stuff right now, I mean, really need, not want. I keep threatening the remaining occupants of this house with a dumpster parked in the driveway. I will pitch and toss with a vengeance as I dance around it and cackle maniacally. Okay, okay. There are some things that mean something to me. Our pics on the walls. Things my kids made for me when they were small. My yarn stash, which is MUCH smaller than in days past as in I actually have a chance of using it up before I die. We need shoes and clothes, but not so many. And let’s be honest here. How many pots, pans and kitchen tools does one actually need? Well, if you’re feeding the passengers on the Queen Mary, maybe you need a lot. But not in my kitchen.

So What’s an OBH to do?

Now I’m looking for your help. Leave me a comment on any sure-fire ways you have to get rid of stuff and keep it from multiplying. We are contemplating a move. We need way less stuff. So. . . fire away!!! And enjoy the video of the end-all, be-all authority on stuff, the late great George Carlin.

WARNING: Adult Language!!!