Oct 15 2009

Beauty is the Beast


As I flipped through a fashion magazine this morning, I reminisced about what I looked like when I was young and had tight, smooth, elastic skin. At a certain point, as I got older, I realized I didn’t look like myself any more. With each aging stage, I had to adjust to my new appearance. My first gray hair. My first wrinkle. That first pesky chin whisker. Crepe skin. An age spot. Many age spots. Many wrinkles. Sagging skin. But still inside I felt younger than I looked. I felt 30 for the longest time. Today I feel 55.

Every person on this planet has a special mix of natural gifts that have nothing to do with their appearance. Nowadays how we look seems to be more important than who we are or what we contribute.

No doubt we are a visual species and what we see influences our reactions to people, products and locations. Studies have shown that attractive people are thought to be more talented, kind, honest and intelligent than plain people.

Like everyone else I appreciate looking at an attractive person. I see beauty for beauty. It doesn’t necessarily come with kindness, talent, intelligence, drive or determination — it just is.

Women who spend their lives fretting over their weight, hair, skin or the size of their bottom and breasts would do well to worry about how they treat others. Eventually, everyone gets old and must accept that beauty is meaningless.

Should we blame our parents, our piers, the media or human instinct for our obsession with beauty? I blame a superficial society that desperately needs a values tune-up.

That being said, I wouldn’t mind looking young and lovely again — and know everything I know now. I know, I know, everyone says that.  Still, it sure would be fun!

Sep 23 2009

The Lost Word


You’re telling a story about the time you had dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt a month after her husband died, when the word that completes the tale disappears from your mind. Your audience sighs as their anticipation morphs into frustration while they wait for the story’s climax.  The harder you search, the farther the word retreats into the bowels of your mind.

You sense the word but can’t remember it.  It’s gone!

I feel your pain. I lose words all the time and have for years. Lost Word Syndrome (LWS) happens to everyone, but as we age, words, like naughty children, often pester us with their silly hide-and-seek games.

LWS is annoying and anxiety-producing for the storyteller and her audience. The more intense your frustration, the deeper your words retreat into hiding. And there ain’t no draino for your braino.

Why You Lose Words

  • Performance anxiety! It’s not just you, words get nervous, too.
  • Like old people, words take naps.
  • Your internal thesaurus is too full.
  • Heavy words sink to your toes. It takes a while to pump them back up to your brain.
  • Words escape when you blow your nose.

Word-Loss Etiquette

The Listener:  Listeners should not complete the speaker’s sentence or word unless asked.

The Storyteller: It is your duty as the word-loser to lead the experience by making your listeners comfortable.

Word-Loss Solutions

  • Have a contest: Describe the word – the first person to guess the word gets a Hershey’s Kiss
  • Say, “To be continued.”  Later, when you remember the word, blurt it out.  (Or call or email them to fill in the blank.)
  • Pretend you lost it on purpose as a suspense builder.
  • Change the subject.
  • Change stories mid-sentence. Your listeners will think they weren’t paying attention and will be too embarrassed to question you.
  • Say, “That reminds me of a joke.” …and have one ready to tell.
  • Burp.  That always disarms listeners.
  • Ask your listeners a question.
  • Make up a word.

So, instead of posting “Lost Word” signs on telephone poles, use my solutions, kid, and people will look forward to your “can’t-think-of-the-word” stories.

Remember, losing a word isn’t the end of the world. The word will return. Lost words are opportunities for humor and increased [what is the word that means the spoken exchange of thoughts, opinions, and feelings?].

Sep 12 2009

If I’d chosen my own name, what would it have been?

pen-and-cupHave you ever wondered what name you’d have chosen if you could have named yourself?

My name is Prudence Ivy Smythe Harrington.

I’m 95 years old.  Prudence was a good name 95 years ago.  Not as good 50 years ago.  Laughable now.

I loved my parents (God rest their souls).  But, what were they thinking?  They could have named me Ann, Elizabeth or Mary.

I’m just lucky they didn’t name me after my grandmothers, Harriet and Hazel.  I’d be Harriet Hazel Harrington or Harry Harrington.  Nope!  Prudence is better than that.

Growing up my initials were PIS.  What if I’d fallen in love with Reginald Sumner?  Can you imagine going through life with the initials PISS?

I picture myself getting on the train wearing my pink wool suit, my pill box hat (with the black netting), white gloves and my little white clutch carrying a suitcase that says PISS on it.

Whew! Another reason I’m glad I married Cedric. (Although, PISH doesn’t bring loveliness to mind either.)

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately — every since I heard there’s a music star named Pink. Who would name their child Pink?

Anyway, this started me wondering what I would have named myself if I had had a choice.

I’ve always loved the name Daphne.  It sounds fragrant, feminine and delicate. I could have been, Daphne Isabella Smythe Harrington (DISH).

Or to match my intellect, Bronte.  It has a learned ring to it.  And I’ve always loved the name Amelia.  Bronte Amelia Smythe Harrington (BASH) sounds bright and fun.

As a person with many interests and sides to me, I thought maybe Paisley would be a nice name.  It’s a little bohemian yet ladylike. Olivia is another favorite of mine.  I might have named myself Paisley Olivia Smythe Harrington (POSH).

Cedric has chimed in, too.  He thinks I should change my name to Gabriella Ingrid.  He said he’d call me Gabby for short. He’s always teasing me. I told him it sounded like a crotchety cowboy in an old western movie.

He grunted and said he always liked Lillian GISH, the actress.   I’ll take that as a compliment.

After giving it a lot of though, I’ve decided to stay with Prudence/Prudy.  It’s like an old worn in robe. Comfortable and familiar just like Cedric.

Sep 9 2009

Things I do in the shower!

keyYou’re thinking who cares what a silly old woman does in the shower?

You do if  you care about staying young and beautiful, like I have.

It began fifty years ago during a routine teeth polishing. My dentist told me if I didn’t floss,  I’d be wearing false teeth by the time I was 70.

I pleaded with him, “Please, Dr. Wilson,  don’t make me floss.  Anything but that.  Isn’t there another way? A rinse? Pills? A special toothbrush?”

“No, Prudence,” he said.  “Floss now or you’ll be cleaning your teeth in a cup.”

Now, it’s not that I’m vain. (Well, no more than any other extremely attractive woman.) But, the thought of me without my beautiful front teeth gave me night sweats.

Previously, every time I flossed, I nearly gagged.  I suspect it was seeing the disgusting floss-spatter hit the mirror while I sawed the string between my teeth.

I don’t know what came over me, but the next day I grabbed the floss and stepped into the shower.  Don’t ask me why, but during the course of my shower,  I flossed my teeth.  It wasn’t so bad.

Soon I invited my toothbrush into the shower, too.  And so began a beautiful relationship with me, my shower and my dear friends from Oral B.

So, my darlings, I bequeath to you the key to keeping your pearly whites. Floss in the shower.  (I whiten mine every couple of years, too.) And like me, at 95 years old, you’ll see your teeth in a mirror instead of a cup.

I do other things in the shower, too, but they’re for another post.

Sep 6 2009

Should I get a tattoo?

rocker This morning’s  Today Show featured the author (and her mother) of a book called “Why Is My Mother Getting a Tattoo?” .

Jancee Dunn’s mother, who is considerably younger than I but past middle age, decided to get a tattoo despite her husband’s and daughter’s objections.

It started me thinking.  In my day only soldiers, sailors and merchant marines got tattoos.  Ladies were NEVER tattooed.

Now, I’m as hip as the next girl, but I’m just not sure about this tattoo falderal.

I asked Cedric if he minded if got a tattoo, he told me to blog it and he’d read what I wrote.

So, here are my thoughts.  If were to get a tattoo there are six factors I would need to consider:

1. What would it say or look like?
2. Where on my body would it go?
3. Who would do it?
4. Would it hurt?
5. Does Medicare cover any medical problems that may be associated with a botched tattoo?
6. How would a tattoo look on white, wrinkled skin?

Assuming the above questions are answered to my satisfaction, I thought of 6 possible tattoos:

  1. Words running down my index finger: “The Plane! The Plane!”
  2. Bold block letters on my left palm “Talk to the hand!”
  3. A red circle with an angled red slash through the word tattoo on the back of my right hand.
  4. A  silhouette of a sexy woman on each buttock so Cedric would look at them more often.
  5. “Yes, Dear” across my forehead so Cedric remembers to say that when I ask him to do something.
  6. “Scratch here”  in the center of my back so Cedric won’t miss my itchy spot.

What do you think?  Should I get a tattoo?  What should it say and where on my body is a good place for it?

Sep 3 2009

Why a 95 Year Old Blogs


After my first blog entry Take my advice, kid I received a comment from a young woman who didn’t believe I am a 95 year old woman.  She compared me to her 50 year old mom (whom she says doesn’t even know what Photoshop is.)

She has inspired this post on why a 95 year old woman blogs:

1) I am older and wiser than you.  Don’t lump me in with your behind-the-times mom, sweetie.  How do you think I’ve stayed young? By keeping up with styles, technology, trends — as should your mom.

2) My family is so enthralled with my opinions, suggestions and thoughts they requested I blog instead of speaking, so they, and the entire world, could savor my profound words.

4) Cedric, my dear husband, says my writing is even more compelling than my orations.

5) I was gifted with insights that I must share so people don’t mess up their lives.

6) I offer beauty, health and lifestyle tips that will make women more attractive.

7) I believe that by writing and talking about the good old days, I can bring them back.

Aug 31 2009

Take my advice, kid.

Prudence Harrington

Hand Washing

Cedric mentioned to me today that some men do not wash their hands after peeing.  That took me aback.  What are they thinking?  Do you guys realize that when you touch your penis and then shake someone’s hand, it’s like touching their hand with your penis?

I am incensed that this behavior occurs.  Gentlemen should wash and dry their hands after urinating.  That goes for bowel movements as well. You poop, you wash.  Period.  No exceptions. Where were you raised? In an outhouse?

From now on, when a man uses the bathroom in my house, I will listen for the faucet to run after the toilet is flushed.  If I find out that you have not washed after defecating or urinating, I will tweet  and tell the world that you, by name,  are an uncouth penis-hand!