Wise Words in a Time of Tragedy

For decades I’ve been taken in with fashion and other magazines as a source of joy inspiration and information.

In fact I’ve learned a life lesson after reading the April 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar which can seem like an unlikely font of wisdom.

In the magazine Taylor Swift interviewed Taurus fashion model Gigi Hadid whose candid response illuminates a viable mode of “flying into action.”

I’ll quote Gigi here:

“I’ve realized over time that I feel the most free when I express myself, whether through action, writing, or talking it out.

Being honest always leads to something good, even if it takes a hard or awkward moment or conversation to get there; you can never go wrong with telling someone how you feel and speaking your truth.

And you always learn something from it.”

Isn’t this approach–honesty–the tonic for our time?

Nothing can be changed unless it is faced. An action plan is required.

New York State lawmakers have created a law criminalizing cops that use a choke hold. A cop’s disciplinary records will no longer be sealed from view.

In this case outrage provoked action.

People expressing their feelings through protest had the power to influence those in power to execute changes.

Acting Grateful in a Time of Crisis

New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak.

To be safer I’m risking going outside only twice a week.

Walking outside I was suddenly grateful like I hadn’t ever been before for things I took for granted:

In 1999 I moved to Brooklyn when it wasn’t popular to do so. I wasn’t guilty of gentrifying a neighborhood by moving there.

I’m grateful that no one wanted to move to this area. It’s mercifully free of hipsters and multi-million apartment high-rises like in Williamsburg.

I was not ever as grateful as I was this week to be able to walk a long, long distance to and from a food market.

Grateful for my 2 feet that I can use to walk wherever I want to go.

Grateful for the air I breathe.

Grateful for the organic food I could find in the market.

Grateful that I had lifted weights for the last 9 years.

This gave me the strength to carry 2 tote bags filled with 50 pounds each of groceries.

I was also grateful that a woman asked if I wanted help carrying the bags. Even though her face was not covered.

“No thanks,” I told her.

I was also grateful to be able to use a spare orange bandanna to cover my nose and mouth diagonally.

You’re not supposed to buy masks. This diverts the masks from medical staff.

I was the only one on the street wearing a colorful bandanna as a face mask.

It matched the orange FreshDirect tote bags I carried. An unintended fashion statement.

It was a scary experience having to breathe through a bandanna.

That’s when I was suddenly grateful for the air around me.

I tell readers everywhere:

Live with gratitude. Take nothing for granted.

Live for today. You don’t know when it will be gone.

An Open Letter to Readers

We cannot go back to the hate violence and killing that existed before the CO-VID19 outbreak.

Today is the day to make room in our hearts for others living on earth in our interconnected human family.

It’s time to tear the borders down. The ones that exist in our heads and our hearts.

We cannot allow egotism and bigotry to prevail.

While everyone is indoors I implore you to take the time to spring clean your mind along with your home.

Get rid of the negative beliefs about yourself and others that serve only to hold a person back and keep you stuck.

I will end here with this internet quote from years ago:

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is facing a battle.

 

Changeover #2

Things change in tiny and big ways when you enter menopause.

One of the humorous shifts for me was that I no longer wanted to wear jeans – denim – dungarees – as a matter of course every day.

They’re supposed to be a democratic fashion item because everyone wears them and likes to wear jeans.

Well I don’t like to wear jeans. I’d rather wear a denim skirt or dress or jacket.

By the time you hit your fifties it’s time to do your own thing not what others tell you that you should do.

What you want to do post-50 and what you were expected all along to do are often at odds.

This is why a lot of women go back to school, ask for a divorce, remodel the kitchen, or embark on other self-reinvention projects.

Like with all things, for me this process started by reexamining my wardrobe.

Out–out went the numerous pairs of jeans. I don’t think I look good in jeans anyway.

It’s so hard to find a pair of jeans that fits perfectly too.

I say: dark-rinse jeans are a better option when you’re going out.

This has been my version of a mid-life crisis: discarding what no longer works. Making room for new things.

The changeover for me started with getting rid of the denim jeans

What happens when you get older is that you suddenly realize that what was okay yesterday isn’t okay today.

It’s time for a makeup shake-up as well.

And for those of us who are looking for love at mid-life the stakes can seem higher.

I’ll end here with this:

Do what makes you happy. If that’s wearing jeans, that’s okay.

So much of these changes involving the need to exert power in a world where women have been rendered powerless.

That’s the bottom line in executing changes in menopause:

Talking control of the narrative of who we are and what we’re capable of doing.

What’s Right

4 converse

The Accidental Icon blogger Lyn Slater defines rightness as: “The quality or state of being true.”

The word rightness: “Allows us to be in charge.” We take the reigns as well as the reins.

In alignment with Slater I’ve posted my own parade of Converse sneakers:

From left to right: colorful Mara Hoffman – Missoni stripes – navy blue – hot pink ballet.

My rightness has been having the courage to say: “This is it–no more jeans.”

It’s heretic to tell readers this yet I don’t like wearing jeans.

Blue jeans are supposed to be the Great Equalizer–a democratic wardrobe item because everyone wears them.

Only I wear denim at most once a week. What is right for each of us is unique to who we are.

The trick with jeans is to pair them with a sharp blouse or a better jacket.

Part of throwing off the shackles of guilt is to embrace your quirks.

Your “rightness” can change over the years.

Rightness is a state of mind as well as sartorial bent.

What’s right in your life? Find it and express it honestly.

Whether it’s flaunting a pair of shoes or curating a mood:

A woman has the right to be true blue in her own inimitable fashion.

Being More With Less

My new favorite blog is Courtney Carver’s.

She is the woman who edited her clothing choices to 33 items used every 3 months.

I’ll link to her website at the bottom of this blog entry.

Her latest writing is about the Italian ethic of Dolce Far Niente or sweetness of doing nothing.

I’m proud to be Italian American.

Before Carver scheduled time every so often to do nothing in her own words she:

“Ran at an unsustainable pace, multi-tasking my way through the day and enjoying or being present for very little of it.”

That’s exactly what happened in my own life.

Everything changes when you go through “the change.” This is no exaggeration.

Sometimes you need time by yourself to rest and recharge your batteries.

I get what Carver is saying.

More imperative is what she outlines as the Truth:

“Recognize the difference between nothing and numbing.”

“Escaping your busy life with substances and activities that help you numb out does the opposite of intentionally doing nothing.”

Right said Courtney.

In coming blog entries I’m going to talk about my own strategies I’m adopting as a way to Be More with Less.

My new mantra is Go Slow to Move Forward.

Rush, rush, rushing around isn’t good for a person’s mental health. Slowing down and pacing yourself is the solution.

Coco Chanel told women to look at ourselves in the mirror and take off one thing before leaving the house.

I say remove one item from your to-do list before you leave the house in the morning. Better yet remove two items.

Women shouldn’t have to keep doing double the work to only wind up getting half as far.

Won’t you join me and Courtney Carver in enjoying Dolce Far Niente–the sweetness of doing nothing?

Be More with Less blog

Spring Cleaning 2019

Spring arrives in only two days.

The weather in New York City is going to get better–the meteorologist promises.

In keeping with the theme of cleaning out your closet I want to recommend one genius option for storing things: the InterMetro storage rack that’s on sale as of this week from the Container Store online.

Two years ago I bought the InterMetro storage rack to hold more clothes and a trio of hat boxes on the bottom shelf.

Though I’m only five feet tall I was able to assemble this nifty item on my own. I put it together on the floor and lifted it up and wheeled it to where I wanted to keep it.

It doesn’t cheer me that I have a ton of clothes.

Only the storage rack with the canvas cover can give you extra room for your clothes. You can buy an extra shelf to insert at the top or bottom of this rack.

I still haven’t discovered the remedy for storing pocketbooks so that they’re easily viewed for quick choosing and using.

Taking photos of the pocketbooks can help. Otherwise when they’re not stored out in the open you tend to forget which ones you have.

I’ll have to think about the pocketbook dilemma more and report back in here on a solution.

Winning

In an upset victory Max Rose beat out Dan Donovan for Congress for the the Staten Island/Brooklyn seat in Washington.

I was quite surprised by this win. Yet under Dan Donovan’s DA rule the cop who killed Eric Garner in a choke hold was acquitted.

The district that covers Staten Island/Brooklyn (Bay Ridge Brooklyn) has been Republican for decades.

Max Rose’s victory is a stunner to me. I hadn’t expected he would win.

Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez won her Congress bid elsewhere in New York City.

In the U.S. we have elected 2 Muslim American women to Congress as well.

We have elected a Native American woman too.

From the New York Times:

“Women shattered records and precedents. One-third of the female nominees for the House were women of color, the highest ever. A record number of women faced off against other women, from Arizona to New York. Ms. Pressley in Massachusetts and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York were among women who defeated long-serving white male incumbents in party primaries and won tonight.”

In the same New York Times article:

“Despite being more than half the population and the voters, women were still less than a third of all candidates for Congress, the governors’ offices and other statewide executive seats.”

We have a way to go. Yet we can be proud of these gains.

One day I’m confident we will elect a woman president.

Ladies, start your engines.

Rock the Vote

MTV decades ago had the slogan: Rock the Vote.

Years ago a mental health advocate started the “I Vote – I Count” drive to register people with mental illnesses to vote.

Does it really matter if you vote?

I say: go out and vote for the candidate that you think best represents you.

Really, I don’t see myself reflected in government or even in media like entertainment. Except maybe for Arianna Grande who I profiled in here a couple of months ago.

I would go so far as to say it’s a Democrap versus Republicon choice.

Neither of those two parties I think has ordinary Americans’ best interests at heart.

In reality I align with the Green Party.

Dan Donovan is running for Congress on Staten Island, where the cop killed Eric Garner in a choke hold.

People on Staten Island only vote Republicon.

The last Congressman there was convicted of fraud.

The long-term Congressman before him was caught driving home drunk from his mistress, who he fathered a child with.

Who’s kidding who about Hillary Clinton being unethical?

As usual, it’s the woman who’s vilified while men with the right plumbing down below get to do whatever they want.

I kept telling people over and over that Mr. Toupee would win the election.

No one believed me. They thought I was out of my mind to say that. Who’s sorry now.

My contention is that if you want to change things you should run for office.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez coasted to victory in the primary against a long-time incumbent.

I’ll end here with this: hate has overtaken our country.

Fighting against each other just means we have no energy to fight against those in power who are taking away our rights as we speak.

Do you want your rights taken away?

Go out and vote for the person you think is best qualified to represent your needs.

I didn’t think a guy who called Mexicans rapists was fit to run this country.

Yet I knew he would win.