Beware of 5 Labor Day Pitfalls

The last summer holiday always brings a twinge of sadness, because we know that fall is coming, and it’s time to get down to business.   And yet, we look forward to family celebrations and lavish picnics.  But stop  and think before the big day.   Beware of  these 5 Labor Day Pitfalls.


     1. Weight control.    It’s possible to gain 2 or 3 pounds over the holiday, depending upon how many picnics or family gatherings you attend. The  major culprit  here is mayonnaise.   What is a Labor Day picnic without deviled eggs and potato or pasta salad?    Or without brownies or some other  absolutely delicious dessert. Here’s a caloric breakdown of a typical picnic meal , assuming you have just one serving of each item.

Potato Salad  160

Baked Beans  124

Deviled Egg half  64

Hot Dog with Bun  272

Chocolate Brownie  112

And that’s not counting beverages.  Have a can of beer, and add 154  calories

Labor Day Picnics can cause weight gain
A picnic in the park may have 1,000 to 2,000 calories

So, you’re consuming close to 1,000 calories.  If you have second helpings, or an extra beer, You could be consuming 1, 500 to 2,000 calories in just that one meal.

     2. Traffic .   Labor Day has a  high number of automobile, motorcycle and boat accidents   Drive safely,  and be especially careful at intersections.

     3. West Nile virus.   Mosquitoes carry it, and if you’re out in the woods, you are at risk.   There are no vaccines to prevent the disease.   The best defense is to wear lots of insect repellent.

Mosquito bites are the cause of West Nile virus
Mosquitoes carry the West Nile;Virus and a bug bite could be dangerous

     4.  Labor Day sales:  Could put a dent in your wallet.  The newspaper is full of tempting advertisements, and it’s hard to resist driving  to the mall, Kohls, TJMax or wherever you can get major markdowns.  But before you go, take a look at your closet and go through your dresser drawers.  Do you really need another white blouse or pair of jeans?  Where are you going to put all those new shoes when you barely have room for the ones you have?

     5. Loneliness:  Seniors,  especially, are apt to be forgotten over Labor Day.  Children and grandchildren are preoccupied with  starting school, and may  have no time for out of town grandparents.  Many elderly folks live alone.   Most have fond memories of past labor Day holidays, but their friends or siblings have passed away.   If you’re going to be alone, try to get out of the house.  Go to a movie and eat popcorn,  take a picnic to the park, or splurge on a nice meal  at a good restaurant.

And remember, it’s just one day.  Tomorrow it will all be over.

Why Booing Andrew Luck Was Wrong

Anyone who has followed my blog for awhile  knows that I don’t like football.  I attended a Big Ten school, and stayed in my room during all the home games. What I know about football could fit in a thimble.  How much I care about football could barely fill  an eye dropper. And yet, I am interested in the human beings who risk their health and sanity to perform in this game. That  is why I believe that booing Andrew Luck after his resignation from the NFL  was wrong..

While not categorized as such, I’ve always seen football as a blood sport.  No, carnage isn’t officially the point of the game, but it certainly involves a lot of mental and physical pain for the “gladiators” in helmets and cleats. What is the mentality of spectators who enjoy watching men suffer? I’ll leave  that to psychiatrists and other mental health experts to explain.

Andrew Luck's retirement made many fans angry
Why should fans be angry with Andrew Luck for wanting a normal life?

The morning papers here in Indiana were full of stories about Andrew Luck’s startling, unexpected early retirement.  Some writers blasted him for his “disloyalty,” and the poor timing of his announcement just before the season starts.  Others defended his right to live his own life.  No one questioned the fact that he had suffered multiple injuries  throughout his short and spectacular career.

What did the angry fans want?  What if he had decided to become a drug addict in order to deal with his pain?  What if he suffered a concussion or injury that left him paralyzed for life? Would that have satisfied the bloodthirsty fans?

Yes, the timing was bad.  But who  can know what  is in another person’s heart? Perhaps he planned to work through the pain, but woke up one day and knew he couldn’t take it anymore.  It may have taken more courage to retire than to take a slew of opioids and  go on.  Certainly, he willingly gave up millions of dollars in future income in favor of leading a normal life.

Luck and his wife, Nicole, were married in March, and expecting their first baby soon.  I wish them  happiness in the years to come, and applaud his decision to chose family over fame and fortune.


Don’t you love all the fresh tomatoes available at this time of year?  There’s nothing like a ripe, homegrown tomato.  My mouth waters just thinking of how yummy they are. My favorites are the yellow and orange varieties, which have a different flavor.  But no matter what the color, now is the time for easy peasy tomato pie.

Homegrown tomatoes are plentiful. It is time to make tomato pie.
Make this easy peasy tomato pie with luscious, homegrown tomatoes

Since l love yellow and my husband prefers red. I mix the two when I make this recipe, although most will probably just stick to red.  I’ve fooled around with two or three tomato pie recipes, and have come up with the combination that I like best. You can make your own pie crust. If that’s what you prefer.  But packaged pastry  from the supermarket Is much easier.



Pastry for a 1 crust pie, unbaked.

3 large ripe tomatoes

½ cup chopped onion

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil  or 1 teaspoon dried

½ cup  mayonnaise

1 garlic clove, chopped

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

¼ cup dry bread or cracker crumbs.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  To prepare the crust, line a 9 inch pie  pan with pastry.  Prick the side and bottom with a fork and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.  Remove to a rack, and leave the oven on.

Slice the tomatoes and overlap them in the pie shell. Sprinkle with onion, salt and basil. Stir mayonnaise, garlic, Parmesan and Cheddar together in a small bowl. Spread the mixture over the onions,  and sprinkle with bread or cracker crumbs.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until  golden brown.  Allow pie to cool 10 minutes before serving.  Some prefer it served cold.

Makes 6 servings. About 400 calories per serving.


Most of the things we worry about never happen.  As granny used to say, “Don’t borrow trouble.”  90% of the tragedies  in life come from out of the blue.  You can’t anticipate car crashes, tsunamis, tornadoes, fatal disease, or all of the  painful happenings that human beings must endure.    How do we get through difficult times?  By strengthening ourselves during the good times, so that we’re more resilient when trouble comes  Here  are 6 ways to prepare for adversity.

1.  Cultivate the habit of thinking positively.    Enjoy the small things in life such as a sunny day or a cup of hot  coffee. . Training yourself to think positive thoughts  will help you through times of sorrow. Remember Little Orphan Annie’s song, “The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow?”  When negative thoughts enter your mind, tell yourself, Don’t Think.  Switch over to happy thoughts or find something to laugh about.


Meditation helps lower blood pressure and handle stress
Daily meditation helps us handles stress, and lowers blood pressure

Practice meditation. .  This is a powerful way to calm yourself and lower  blood pressure.  There are various meditation apps available on the internet, but it’s all about. taking  ten minutes a day to  close your eyes and focus on your breathing.  By forming this daily habit, you’ll have a ready  coping mechanism to fall back on when you’re upset.

3.  Engage in some type of physical activity on a regular basis.  If you can’t jog, walk your way through the stress.  Exercise releases powerful endorphins in your body to improve your mood. It also lowers blood pressure and strengthens your heart muscle

4. Develop relationships with positive, supportive people.  They will be there when you need someone to listen, help, and encourage you.

5.. Take Care of Yourself.  Eat nourishing food. Get enough sleep.  Stay at home when you’re sick. Don’t smoke or drink too much alcohol.  A healthy body is more resilient.

6.   Schedule some time alone, especially if you’re feeling stressed. .  Disconnect from the outer world . Shut off your cell phone, avoid e mail and television news programs.   Listen  to music, read a book, or head for the  river and enjoy the solace of water.

Above all, stay strong.  You can make it through the tough times.


The infighting among Republicans and Democrats  the past few years has left us frazzled and worn out  We feel like the unhappy children of parents  in a toxic relationship.   All that fussing and fighting on an every day basis makes us insecure, worried, and depressed.  But at least the August Recess means less stress..

these two prominent politicians totally lack charisma
Are you tired of seeing the faces of these two men in the media?

For just awhile, we don’t have to see Adam Schiff’s eyes sparkling with delight at the thought of impeachment.  ( According to Wikipedia,  Schiff  has appeared on television 227 times in the past year)  Enough already! . On the other hand, Mitch McConnell’s  down turned mouth and general grumpiness isn’t  all that inspiring.  His sour puss makes you wonder if he’s suffering from indigestion.  He could pose for a Tums ad any day of the week.

Just for fun, let’s pretend we Americans  are the kids in a family where Donald Trump is the Dad, and Nancy Pelosi is the Mom.  It’s obvious that the two of them  hate each other, will never agree on any thing –and we are the helpless  spectators.

The feud between the Democrats and Republicans brings to mind  the Hatfeilds and the McCoys   Or perhaps  the Montagues and the Capulets. I ’m at the point where I no longer care who wins or loses this election.  I’m just tired of all the lies, bickering and name calling.  Every national tragedy is politicized.  This is  one of the most dysfunctional  legislatures  I’ve ever witnessed in my lifetime.

Even though our nation has endured tough times lately,   we’ve felt a little more at ease this August.  The politicians finally left us alone and the media has gone  back to  normal.  The August Recess means less stress.  But come September, the “grown ups”?  will be back from vacation, and we kids will have to listen to the same old stuff.



Labor day sales have begun, and shoppers are going wild. Shopping baskets are filled to the brim.  Today, I was at a clothing store where summer clothes were 70% off.  Last weekend, while shopping with my granddaughters, we found bathing suits at 80% off.  It’s the last giveaway of the season, and it’s never going to be this good again.  Is this China’s last stand at the mall?

Is this China's last stand at the mall?
This may be the last summer weekend that we can get bargains from China

When you get home, go through those piles of clothes you’ve purchased at end of season sales. Look at the labels.  Can you find one item that wasn’t made in China?  Only 2% of the clothing products we buy are made in the USA. But next year, it’s estimated the cost of garments made in China will increase about 25%, due to new tariffs.  Which really isn’t all that much.

We’re so accustomed to cheap clothes from China that we don’t want to think about how it’s affected the American labor force.  We know that many Chinese laborers  work sixteen hour days to produce those incredibly cheap clothes, but it doesn’t stop us from buying them.

What is going to happen now that we’re in a trade war?  Will more clothes be made in the USA, and how is that going to affect the price of our next pair of blue jeans?  Personally, I would be willing to pay a higher price for  garments made in our own country, but it probably won’t happen for another decade.  Clothing manufacturers  will probably turn to other third world countries where wages are low.

Sales this labor day will be full of bargains from China
Department stores are filled with shoppers buying bargain priced clothes made in China

Here are some other things that could  happen if clothing and shoes get too pricey:   We might reduce the size of our wardrobes.   People could  start sewing their own clothes again, which will help the fabric industry.  Sales at Goodwill Industry stores may increase, providing more jobs for the handicapped.  Garment manufacturers  might  decide to open factories in the USA, which would create more jobs in the USA.

And so, while I’m snapping up the bargains like everyone else, it won’t bother me to pay higher prices  next season, as long as it benefits the American worker.

And, if you didn’t get to the mall this weekend, don’t worry.  Labor Day Sales are still ahead.




Most people close to retirement dream of what they’ll do in their final years.  They make plans to travel places they’ve never been.  They may decide to move to a warmer climate,  or closer to their children in another city.  But as I approached  retirement, my plans were more mundane.  I vowed I would never wear clothes that needed ironing, and I would only wear pantyhose to weddings and funerals.  With unironed clothes and no pantyhose , I would be free at last.

From what I’ve read, many millennials don’t even own an iron.   But as a department manager at an acute care hospital  in the 20th century,  I was expected to wear starched, ironed , white lab coats.  I could hide a wrinkled blouse under that coat, but not a skirt.  And so, I still  had to set up the ironing board every Saturday.

50 years ago, most people had ironing days

Does anyone remember when people had ironing days?  If you’re my age, you  may recall that Monday was wash day, and Tuesday was ironing day for all the stay-at-home moms. Monday morning, my mother would put a pot of beans on the stove and descend to the basement with baskets full of dirty clothes to be put thru a wash tub, a  a rinse tub, and then a wringer.  In winter, damp clothes would be hung in the basement or attic; in summer they were pinned to a clothes  line outside.  I must admit,  sheets dried in the fresh air smelled divine.

Many women ironed  not only outer clothes, but sheets and underwear.  My former mother in law even ironed rags!  It’s hard to believe anyone would care to spend their time on such tasks.

By the time I was a working Mom, we had washers and dryers, which greatly simplified the entire laundry ordeal. And yet, most clothes still had to be ironed.  Even today, if you want to look spiffy, you must wear ironed clothes if you’re a lawyer or some other professional. But the rest of the workforce has gone casual, even wearing –god forbid—blue jeans and T shirts to work.


When pantyhose first went on sale, they seemed like a godsend.  Garter belts may look sexy in Playboy magazine, but they were miserable to wear. Worse yet, you had to stop several times a day to straighten your seams or  refasten sagging hose.   Pantyhose simplified everything, except that they felt hot and sweaty most of the time.  I’m amazed, even today, that some women still wear pantyhose.

So, here’s how I fulfilled my promise to myself. Bare legs with  sandals or flats.   Cotton socks with athletic shoes or boots.   I own one pair , each, of  black and  beige pantyhose , to be worn on  rare  formal occasions.

95% of the clothes my husband and  I wear are of modern fabrics.  On wash day, I pull  clothes from the dryer  while still warm.  Some go on hangers, others are  carefully folded.  I don’t care at all if they have a few wrinkles.  I have never ironed underwear, sheets or rags,  and never will.  I’m still a little old school sometimes, and  like a crease in  slacks. And so, perhaps once a month, I grudgingly set  up the ironing board.

Why do I love  my retirement years?  No more pantyhose or ironed clothes.