When you make it past eighty, you start comparing yourself to famous people who are also octogenarians.  There are lots of aging glamour girls like Jane Fonda, who make us feel like we’re not keeping up as we should.  Another famous  beauty apparently wowed everyone at the Governors Award Ball in Los Angeles. I guess she looked okay from a distance.  But Sophia Loren’s strange eyelash extensions and cat-like eyeliner only made her look worse, not better.

Too much dark eye makeup is aging on an octogenarian
Too much eye makeup on Sophia Loren makes her look worse, not better.

There’s a point in every woman’s life when she has to face the fact:  less is more. Heavy dark eye makeup only draws attention to wrinkles and aging skin.  By the time a lady enters her eighth decade, all the cosmetic surgery in the world can’t make her  look 20 again. A trip to Palm Springs always amazes me.  There, you see aging  California celebrities  proudly walking  around with misshaped faces,  duck lips, and padded cheekbones. And of course, eyelash extensions are a must.

Cosmetic surgery on  an aging face may make someone look younger, but definitely not better. The same goes for too much makeup—especially around the eyes.  In this case, all the eyeliner and lash extensions made Sophia Loren look like she was at a Halloween party. I hope older women don’t start trying to emulate her.   Debra Winger, who is aging so beautifully, has bemoaned the “face lift epidemic” in the United States.  We loved her in “Urban  Cowboy, “ and she’s still beautiful in “The Ranch.” But you’ll never see Debra with the  “raccoon eyes,” that make anyone past 70 look older.

Sophia Loren’s  eyelash extensions and signature  cat- like eyeliner may have wowed them  in Hollywood.   But here in the Heartland, she would have simply looked strange.


Back in the fifties, my two sisters and I shared a precious bottle of Chantilly Lace perfume.  My Dad had lost the sight in one eye, and also his accounting job.  Money was scarce, and all of us worked part time to keep things going.  But being teenagers, we still managed to have a social life.  We rolled our  hair up on bobby socks to make it wavy,  and wore lipstick.  And when we had a date, we  dabbed a bit of Chantilly Lace behind our ears and on our wrists.  The perfume was only meant to be detected by someone who got close—like a boy who was kissing you goodnight.  You weren’t supposed to reek,  as many  do today.   Are you wearing too much perfume?

When I was in college, a boyfriend in the service sent me a bottle of Joy perfume that he’d bought in Japan.  It was potent stuff.  But even though I had it all to myself, I was careful not to overdo it. Why?  What’s wrong with dousing yourself in fragrance?

Well, mainly, because many people are allergic  to any kind of fragrance.  I’m not sure when my allergies  began.  But sometime in my mid  thirties, I couldn’t walk past the cosmetic counter of any department store without sneezing.  I hated that, because I knew what it meant.  I was developing an allergy to perfume.  Just when I could afford Chanel #5,  my sinuses began to rebel.

Many people are allergic to perfume
Many people are extremely sensitive to fragrances.

If I’m in the middle of a cold, or during allergy season, it get’s worse.  Today was a case in point.  We haven’t had a killing frost, so the pollen count is still high.  Even with antihistamines,  I need  a Kleenex on hand at all times.   We were at brunch in a local restaurant, when I started to sneeze.  I could smell the approaching woman before I could see her.   She was middle aged and well dressed.  The woman seemed  oblivious to the fact  that her overdose of perfume made   me sneeze, or might be giving someone a headache. Although studies have, shown that people who wear too much perfume may be depressed ,  she seemed to be enjoying herself.

It’s the same at the local swim pool.  There’s always a least one swimmer who exudes a strong  fragrance.  There’s a sign asking  people not to wear perfume, but it is ignored by those who prefer to navigate through life  in a bubble of Musk.    Sometimes, I feel the urge to say something to the fragrance offender, but I can’t think of a way to do it without sounding like a crabby old lady.  And so, I swim away, or suffer in silence.

Are you wearing too much perfume? .


The man was sitting in a chair, reading a Stuart Woods novel.  A thought flickered through my mind: it’s odd he isn’t taking it home to read.  He was thin, middle aged, and wore  a sweater and jeans.  A stubble of beard was no different than many who wear them.  I went on to the stacks, taking my time to find something my husband would enjoy.  Every once in awhile, I sat down and looked over my choices.  Finally, I found 4 good ones, checked them out. It was raining; I hurried to my car and sat for a few moments to catch my breath.  That’s when I saw  a homeless man & his dog at the  library.

Should a homeless person own a dog?
A dog can provide a homeless person companionship and protection.

I recognized the Stuart Woods fan, now wearing a jacket and stocking cap.  At first, I thought he’d probably left his dog in the car, and was  taking it for a little walk.  But they were standing behind some bushes,  under an alcove.   He huddled in a corner of the building, shielding the dog with an umbrella.  That’s when I saw his telltale black  backpack, and realized he probably didn’t have a car at all.  Or a home.

I sat there for a few minutes, feeling  confused. .  How could a homeless man care for a dog?  And why would he want one in the first place?  Where were they going?  How long would they stand out in the rain?  The questions piled up in my head.

It’s hard for me to see a homeless person without wanting to fix things.  Since I couldn’t do that, I wanted to understand the situation.  As soon as I got in the house, I turned on my computer and keyed in the question: Should a homeless person own a dog?  I was sure the search would turn up empty.  And yet, there were several links to the topic.

Statistically, 5% of all homeless people own a pet.  At first, it seems wrong.  Why keep an animal outside all day and night? .  And what if you can’t afford to feed it?  Where does it poop?  If I were an animal, would I want my owner to be a homeless person?

Apparently, there are many positives.  An animal gives his owner love and companionship.  There are  cases where a dog has given a  homeless person enough hope to work their way back into normal society.  Animals can easily adapt to living outside in the elements.  It’s their nature.  Dogs also provide protection on the streets and in tents and other places where the homeless congregate.  And so, the next time you see a homeless person with a dog,  you might say a  prayer that they find their way home..


A Marine Reserve Center,  directly across the street from our house,  is a daily reminder of our brave Americans.  There’s a plaque near the building with the names of those in that battalion who recently lost their lives in the Middle East.   We’ve watched these fine men and women  come and go over the years. They seem like our own kin . Would I like to see a few  more names  on the plaque because we’re defending the Kurds?  Actually, no. And, will our retreat  influence the next election?  Do voters care about the Kurds or our mission in Benghazi?

This Marine Reserve Unit is directly across the street from our house
A plaque at the Marine Reserve Center has the names of four who gave their lives in the Middle East.

The 2012 attack on the American embassy in Libya brought about a two year investigation in 2014.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton,  was  criticized for not coming to the rescue of the four American citizens who died in  Benghazi.  Because  the US ambassador was gay, he was singled out for extreme torture.  You might have thought this would  affect Hillary Clinton’s  support from the  LGBT community,  But obviously, it didn’t.  She easily won the popular vote in the 2016 election.

If we had stayed in Syria to defend the Kurds, how many of our men would have died?
If our troops had stayed to defend the Kurds, many of our soldiers would have lost their lives,

Now, we have the President’s decision to pull out of the Kurdish held territory in Syria, Apparently, the Turks informed the  President a massive invasion was about to take place.   If our troops  were to stay, many of our men would die 7,000 miles from home.   Questions about  the wisdom and integrity  of this  decision will drag on until the next presidential election.

But do these events  influence the way Americans vote?  In our modest, middle class neighborhood, yard signs supporting various political candidates proliferate .  From the looks of it, we’re fairly divided as to political party leanings.  In 2020 , will my  Republican neighbors  vote  against Trump–or Pence– because he decided not to stay and fight a losing battle? Will it be a deal breaker?  If we go on past history, I would doubt it.


As a kid growing up in the forties, we had never heard of “store bought” Halloween costumes. Making your own costume was half the fun of Halloween, and the ultimate recycling project. Why shouldn’t you buy a Halloween costume? Because, with a little imagination, you don’t have to.

Recycling an old sheet made a good ghost costume in the old days
In the old days, people used to recycle old sheets instead of buying a ghost costume

The most popular :homemade costume at that time was a ghost. Take an old sheet(most people had white sheets then), drape it over your head, cut out a hole for eyes. Then take a black crayon or ink and draw a mouth and nose. Boo!

Second in popularity and ease of construction was a witch. Again, an old sheet or tablecloth dyed black (Black dye cost a dime). With scissors and safety pins you could make some sleeves.  Then, a belt around the waist..  Or ,you might wear some grown-up’s  black dress. A pointy hat  was the most important, , made by. rolling up some black poster paper, with the aid of glue and scotch tape,  Mom’s makeup for the face:. Mascara around the eyes. A gaudy red mouth with lipstick. . Eyebrow pencil lines and wrinkles drawn over your forehead. There was no end to where a little imagination would lead. All you had to do was cackle.

Cowboys were also popular. They still sold cap guns and cowboy hats at Woolworths’, and most every kid had some.  Black masks cost a nickel. Put on one of your dad’s old shirts, a pair of jeans,  a red bandana across your face, and there you had it. The Lone Ranger!

No one had ever heard of Disney Princess Costumes from Walmart.  If you wanted to be a princess, there was usually an old taffeta dress or skirt in your mom or big sister’s clothes closet. Someone who could sew might  help make a few ruffles or sew on some sequins . You could make a crown by stapling a strip of cardboard into a circle and decorating it with broken costume jewelry or sequins. Ballet slippers completed the costume. Cinderella!

By the time I had children, you could buy cheap, flimsy, throwaway Halloween costumes at every discount store. . a minimalist nightmare.  The industry itself is worth 9.8 billion dollars. The average person spends $86 on Halloween. What a waste of material and creativity!

That’s why you shouldn’t buy a Halloween costume.



Last week, this may have sounded crazy.  Mayor Pete’s chances of winning the presidential nomination were very slim.  But this latest debate might have been a deal breaker.  Buttigieg came across as the only candidate who seemed authentic.  He challenged Elizabeth Warren’s pie- in- the-sky promises as to the real cost of Medicare for all.  He calmly spoke with the voice of experience on the US withdrawal from Syria.  Now, there’s a real possibility that Trump will be impeached.  Therefore, it’s not a pipe dream to imagine a presidential election with two Hoosiers on the ballet . Buttigieg vs Pence 2020?  It could happen.

There's a possiblity that two Hoosier will be on the ballot in 2020
Two Hoosiers could be on the ballot during the 2020 election

Of course, I’m not at all biased (: However, I believe our country would be well served if we had a POTUS who brings some good old Hoosier Values to the table.

What are HOOSIER VALUES?  The very phrase brings to mind a dull, penny pinching, religious fanatic who’s never traveled more than 100 miles from his home town. I’ve surfed the internet and found that there are no clearly defined Hoosier Values.  Different sources say the following character traits define an Indiana native:  Patriotic, Honest, Responsible, Faithful, Humble.  Others  claim that  the typical Hoosier has  a strong work ethic, family values and a sense of community.

Wow! That’s a lot of good stuff.  Does that mean that no one in my state is cruel, vulgar, promiscuous, dishonest or rude?  Hardly.

When I think of Hoosier Values, I envision someone who doesn’t brag, or make false promises, and behaves with dignity in public.   In other  words, someone with just plain old common sense.

Buttigieg vs Pence  in the 2020 presidential election would be a win-win situation for Indiana. .  No matter which party prevailed at the polls, we could rest assured  that Hoosier Values are well represented  in Washington DC.


The day I’ve dreaded since the temperature dropped  has arrived.  I’ve sorted through a jumbled up closet full of light and heavy clothes for a couple of weeks,  because I live in a century old house with no walk in closets.   It was built in the day when people had smaller wardrobes.  Consequently, they rotated what few clothes they owned from side to side in the same small space.  But now, weeding out the closet at the end of each season is a chore.

Weeding out the closet in the fall is a tiresome chore

As I yank clothes from drawers and closets, I curse myself for succumbing to so many summer sales.  I have culottes, shorts, blouses, tops, pants and dresses  that I’d forgotten I even owned.  I start by making  3 piles.

1.  Goodwill bound:  This is the toughest one of all.  How can I part with my Mexican outfits, and T shirts from all the places I’ve visited in the last few years?  And that lovely jacket from Italy?  They’re all faded, and even though t I hate to admit it,  too tight.  Other clothes that I loved and paid too much for have gone out of style.  Maybe they won’t even sell at the Goodwill store.  No excuses here!   The pile grows.

2.: T-shirts.  I live in them all summer, often changing a couple of times a day.  Many are stained and faded.  And yet, I keep them for years on end for something to “wear around the house.”  These cannot be given to a recycling store.  No one would want them, except maybe for rags.  T shirt rags are great for washing windows, so that will be their destiny.  And then, one day, my husband will observe that our broom closet is overflowing with rags.

3.: Summer clothes:  Which ones go to the Goodwill and what shall I keep?  I fold many of them to put in storage boxes.  The rest I put on hangers.

Luckily, this old house has a basement, with shelves and closets for storage.  I load my arms with summer clothes and head downstairs, replacing them with heavier winter clothes to be hauled upstairs.

The bedroom is littered with empty hangers.  Where will I put them all?

Okay, I’m almost finished.  But next Spring, I’ll have to do this all over again, in reverse. Now, if I can just resist those end of season sales!