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.


The other day, I was playing cards and mostly losing.  Usually, such a dry run leaves me a bit down. But on that particular day it didn’t bother me at all.  Why? Because I was looking forward to a fun event,   and the game seemed unimportant. We probably get upset about losing because it threatens our self concept of a competent,  intelligent human being. But on that day, I was feeling so good about life that it didn’t matter. So, does losing really suck?

Competition is ingrained in our DNA, and part of what makes us human.  We are always trying to improve ourselves and our life, and when we win, it’s natural to feel uplifted.   But if you must win at any cost, and it ruins your day to lose, then the stakes of the game are way too high. Most players are uncomfortable around hyper competitive people who are determined to win, no matter what.   Sore losers are often rigid and unforgiving of themselves and others.  An excessively competitive person may spend so much effort to succeed that they neglect other parts of their life, which can lead to burnout and isolation

Then there are the sore winners who –by definition–gloat and high five over a victory..    Although most of us are annoyed by sore winners, we should actually feel sorry for them , because they  are showing signs of fragile self esteem.

Does losing really suck

Physical or mental games aren’t  just about coming out on top.  They’re a pleasant way to pass the time and socialize with friends. If others win while you’re losing,  think of how good they feel.  Congratulate them on their skill or good luck. Whether you win or lose isn’t nearly  as important as being with friends and celebrating their successes.

Playing games also helps ward off depression.  When you’re concentrating on winning a trick or hitting the ball,  you’re forgetting about your job, family troubles, and financial problems.    Don’t let the  fear of losing keep you from entering the competition.


All of us have family and friends who are always late.  Mostly, we just expect it, and put up with it as a harmless, but undesirable character trait.  And yet, you have to wonder. Why are some people always late?

Yes, lateness is offensive to us punctual people.  So, today,  I searched the internet for ways to understand these habitual offenders.  I expected to find lots of critics, and I did read some articles  flatly stating that tardiness is rude, inconsiderate behavior practiced by self centered people.  But hold on to your hats, folks—it ain’t necessarily so.
According to psychologists, lateness has a myriad of causes. Some people just can’t get their act together, because they’re overly optimistic about how much time something will take.  They think it will take half an hour to get to the airport, when actually, it will probably take much longer, depending on the traffic.  Others multitask, and get so involved with what they are doing that they lose track of time.  Supposedly, this is a very good excuse and means the person is more is creative and laid back.  Stop, I’ve heard enough.  I don’t want to believe the person who keeps me waiting half an hour for a theater date is a highly sensitive, thoughtful person.
People who are always late don't always mean to be rude: they may be procrastinating perfectionists
Family and friends are often annoyed by people who are always late


More to my liking were the articles that attributed lateness  to negative traits like a desire for attention, or passive aggression.
Then there were the  scientists  who have discovered  that people with low self esteem are apt to be critical of their own abilities which makes them take an excessive amount of time checking their work, and hence, they miss many deadlines. Another psychologist stated  that lateness is a consequence of serious mental health or neurological conditions.   Up, down, all around. If you’re always late you could be creative, intelligent, manic,  lazy or any label you can come up with.

Okay, I’ve heard enough now to realize that that I should be more tolerant of tardiness.  So, the next time someone is an hour late for a dinner date,  I’m supposed to relax, order another glass of wine on an empty stomach, and smile?  No, I don’t think so.



Having grown up in the post depression years, I was taught to eat what was set before me.  Money was scarce, and my parents struggled to put food on the table for their 4 children.  We learned to eat “variety meats” such as hearts, liver, and kidneys.  I still have a fondness for those meats, even though I wouldn’t dare serve them to anyone in my family. But, the times, they are a changing.  Vegans are  sprouting up everywhere, from ages 9 to 90. What should you do when they come to dinner? How to please a vegan?

First, you will have to find out what type of vegetarian you’re talking about.  Strict vegans eat nothing that comes from a mother—including butter, honey and cheese.  Those are the toughest to cook for if you don’t understand that basic rule.  Easier to please vegans are those who will eat eggs, cheese and fish. It’s important to know what their diet allows.

Balck bean, corn & avocado salad is a dish vegetarians enjoy
Black Bean, Corn & Avocado Salad will please vegans.

If you’re cooking for a strict vegan who lives with you, it means you’re going for the long term.  You will have to find ways of providing  plenty of good protein for growth and maintenance of body tissues.  These will come from grains, nuts and legumes. 

Now, what should we old folks do about all of this?  Our own parents would have been horrified at the idea of indulging a vegan child , grandchild., or even a friend coming to dinner.   But as a dietitian, I can’t adopt that attitude.  I know that a vegan diet is a healthy choice, which will lead to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It won’t necessarily keep your weight down since  vegan diets include lots of carbohydrates in the form of fruits, breads, etc.  But I respect a vegan’s choices. After all,  they are taking responsibility for their own health..

I went on a vegan diet a few years ago, after visiting a cattle feed lot in Nebraska.   When I saw a cow lying dead  from heat exhaustion, I was nauseated with the thought of eating an animal. It was months before I could stand the sight of beef on my plate. But then, my old meat  addiction kicked in, and I started ordering steak at restaurants once again. However,  that experience gave me a new understanding of the vegetarian mindset.

I served this easy recipe at a family gathering that included just one strict vegan. But guess what?  Everyone at the table had seconds!


Black Bean, Corn and Avocado Salad



1 (15 1/2 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (8.75 oz) can whole kernel sweet corn

1 medium avocado, chopped

6 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/4 cup chopped onion

juice of 1 lime

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/8 tsp. each salt and pepper


Mix all ingredients together in a medium size bowl.  (The lime juice helps keep the avocado from turning brown) Refrigerate for 2 hours and serve.



Elbows are a body part I’ve never given much thought. But then, Google decided to send me a pop up  photo of Jennifer Aniston’ s rear view  as she walked down the street.  OMG!  A shocking photo of this eternally beautiful woman reveals her wrinkly elbows. It seems she’s pretty concerned about it-even going so far as to massage them with special creams.    

Most of us see wrinkles on our faces and eyelids.  We see what childbirth has done to our tummies.    And if you are rich  or vain enough, you may consider  a face  lift, eye  lift, or tummy  tuck.–especially if your significant other has a wandering eye.

Even if your have a facelift and tummy tuck, wrinkled elbows show your age
Jennifer Aniston is seriously concerned about her wrinkled elbows

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons,  the average costs for these procedures are:  Face lift,  $7,448, Tummy Tuck,  $6,253, Eye Lift, $3,163. Those are physician’s fees and don’t include anesthesia or operating room factors. .  Assuming you’re in the business of looking young and beautiful, you might think those surgeries  would do the job.  But not if  you’ve overlooked  your hinge joints.  

You’re not really through with your back-to-youth makeover until you’ve tightened up your  wrinkled elbows and maybe your knees.   Physician’s fee  for an elbow  lift is  about $3800.

Apparently, models and celebrities have tricks for hiding  their elbow wrinkles.  They’ve learned to bend their arms just slightly so the camera doesn’t pick up on that age defining part of their anatomy.

The thought of wrinkled hinges has begun to  fascinate me. All of a sudden, I’m looking at women’s elbows instead of their faces. For the first time, I held up a mirror to observe my elbows,  and it was obvious they had some mileage on them. However, I’m not about to spend thousands of dollars  on an unpleasant and risky surgical procedure.  It seems simpler to wear long sleeves for special occasions.

I’m sure that some of my  contemporaries have visited the local beauty bar for botox injections and face peels.  And many have come back from mysterious trips to California with puffier lips and skin pulled taut over their  cheekbones.  But if  they haven’t done anything about their wrinkled elbows,  their age is still showing. Just ask Jennifer Aniston.

Mourning A National Tragedy

We’re in shock this morning. Our hearts go out to the victims of the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, and the lives that have been changed forever. We’re mourning a national tragedy.

This is a national day of mourning

Why do these things happen? I don’t remember any mass shootings while  raising my children. Some  presidential candidates are now politicizing the shootings.  But forty years ago  we had Democrats and Republicans and Jim Crow Laws and the Vietnam War.  Mental illness was widely prevalent,  but  poorly understood or treated.  And there was very little gun control.

This is what we didn’t have: the internet.  There were no violent video games so readily available, desensitizing young men to violence.  No one had a Facebook account,  where people could brag and make other people envious. There was no Instagram or Twitter where you could publicly  shame or bully someone to the point of suicide.   Now, Instead of face to face relationships and real  conversations, everyone just texts.  We’ve almost forgotten  what it’s like to talk to a real live person.

Technology has changed our world and done wondrous things for our society.  But it’s also dehumanized us to the point where violence has become the norm.