Archive for July, 2009

A friend recently emailed me a  list of 29 humorous  oxymorons. Number 20 caught my eye–“Why is bra singular and panties plural?” Except for Victoria’s Secret, which, come to think of it, should be added to that list, you no longer hear much about bras and panties. Today it’s all about the “shapewear.”

There’s shapewear to cover the top half, shapewear to cover the bottom half and shapewear for every problem area in-between. Need help with less than svelte arms? No problem. There’s  a shapewear solution that covers the upper arms as well as the torso. With shapewear you can be whipped into shape from tip to toe, knees or mid-thigh. There’s even shapewear with soothing aloe incorporated around the heavy-duty, elastic-grippered edges–presumably so your skin won’t feel the effects of loss of circulation and the onset of gangrene.

It’s challenging to determine exactly which shapewear system goes with what outfit. There ought to be a manual. However, the fashion industry has come to the rescue, creating clothing lines with built-in shapewear. That means no more quessing and no need for lingerie–or should that be shapewear–drawers. Who knew shapewear could also provide a solution for freeing up additional drawer space!


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While I live not far from downtown Indy, our backyard appears to be a breeding ground for exotic creatures of various sizes, shapes and denominations. In the few years I’ve lived here, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience many Kodak moments with my furry friends. I’ve enjoyed the antics of 13 raccoons traipsing across the lawn at one time, dancing a ballet reminiscent of the hippos in Fantasia. I’ve startled a coyote who was stretched out in the sun trying to get some shut-eye in a safe environment. I’ve stared down a hedge hog at the edge of the deck–fortunately, he retreated.  I’ve seen opossums the size of large dogs shimmy around in the moonlight looking for a midnight snack. And I’ve been privy to the mating dance of the rabbits–a rare and beautiful sight to see.

I love it when they bring their babies. Baby raccoons are adorable and destructive all at the same time. My outdoor cats adjust to the grown raccoons fairly well–they give them some space in return for not being chased down and mauled. Each side seems to know the rules. The kids, on the other hand, don’t play by the rules. I’ve had to play moderator and referee more times than I can count.

All in all, my backyard has made much better entertainment fare than the network and cable stations combined. In two years or so, however, this will all be gone. Light rail is going to inhabit the old fair train that is within spitting distance of our backyard. Gone will be the peaceful solitude I cherish, and many of my little furry friends will move on. It’s a shame that as we “improve” our culture, we destroy nature in the wild, the way it should be. Meanwhile I’ll enjoy my furry friends while I can.

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I have always dreaded networking–not because I felt it wasn’t rewarding, especially for a small business owner, but because talking to a group of peers I don’t know, makes me feel like a gangly, buck-toothed jock asking high-school Barbie to the prom. It’s downright uncomfortable.

Despite my discomfort, I’ve done my fair share of networking over the years.

Recently I’ve discovered the power and pleasure of online social / business networking, and I must say, I’m loving it. LinkedIn, Facebook–I’m still a Twitter virgin–they are terrific venues for someone who is shy when it comes to the face-to-face, 60-second spiel, but who knows her way around the keyboard.

If you haven’t yet tried it, check it out. You too might be pleasantly surprised!

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Who Are You?

Composed by Pete Townsend, Who Are You? was a hit for The Who in 1978 when the children of the ’70s generation were searching for their own identity. In more recent years it gained new life as the theme song of the original CSI series when cast members were in the process of identifying corpses.

If someone asked you that today, what would you say? Would you answer with your occupation? It’s the easy thing to do. For most of us, our careers are what we identify ourselves with at least five days a week–often more than that. 

Who are you? We really want to know. Who are you at your core? What makes you unique? Only you know the answer. However you answer the question, make it the best you can be. That’s all anyone can do.

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Romance is in the air! I’m talking about the business of romance novels and not the emotion that makes your heart go pitter-patter, although it’s all loosely connected. Isn’t everything these days?

According to Romance Writers of America, romance novels brought in $1.4 billion in 2007–more than science fiction and fantasy combined. (During the same time period, mystery book sales topped out at $650 million.) An article in The New Yorker (June 22, 2009, Real Romance: How Nora Roberts became America’s most popular novelist by Lauren Collins) reveals that Nora Roberts, the Queen of Romance, grosses $60 million dollars a year. Not shabby.

Yet, in a world where money talks, romance novelists are more likely to be treated as aberrations to be swept under the carpet rather than viable members of the published community.

Even Shakespearian professor Eloisa James, daughter of Robert Bly, isn’t immune to the stigma. She began writing her highly successful historical romances under a pseudonym and stayed in the closet for years. According to an article in the Washington Post (Short Stack: Romance Novels Still Fighting for Respect by Ron Charles) at this year’s RWA conference James revealed that despite authoring 14 best-sellers, when her mother was on her deathbed she was hopeful James would write “a real novel.” Charles, himself, was awarded RWA’s Veritas Award for presenting romances in a positive light–an honor he says he’s not sure he should include on his resume.

Despite that, there a thousands of pre-published and published romance novelists out there creating magic at their computers every day. And money has nothing to do with it.

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If you haven’t heard about it yet, you will. It’s cankles–less than svelte lower legs and ankles. Not only are there new exercise routines devoted to dislodging the unsightly fat and shaping the legs, if you can’t do it on your own there are new liposuction techniques that can do it for you. At a price, of course. The calf- and ankle-sculpting surgery rings in at at $4,000 to $8,000 according to a recent report on Good Morning Anerica.

That’s $8,000 smakeroos that could help pay for going back to school or to sock away for a child’s future education. create a safety net to survive these economic times or provide thousands of meals for impoverished people down on their luck.  It’s not just the wealthy who are doing this. All manner of American women are saving and sacrificing to become cankle-less.

Would I do it? Hmm. I haven’t yet gotten a handle around it. Love handle, that is!

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Moon Walk

Monday was the 40th anniversary of the Moon Walk. I was a Purdue student at the time and remember watching that “One giant step for mankind” on a black and white TV and wondering then if it was real. It just seemed so strange, even for a girl who made a mad dash back to the dorm to watch Star Trek at lunchtime. Part of me was caught up in the excitement of it all. We had won the ultimate race–we had beat Russia! Score one for the USA! Score one for Purdue!

On the other hand, the romantic in me wasn’t at all thrilled that the magical turf of poets, children and dreamers was irretrivably encroached on by science that day. Forever gone was the silliness of a planet made of  green cheese. Shot into oblivion was the friendly man in the moon. And  there was no way Elsie the Cow could actually jump over the moon no matter how many cowbells she lifted to get into shape. It seemed a high price to pay then.

Now, 40 years later, it hasn’t seemed to matter much in day-to-day life. You can still hear the refrains of “Fly Me to the Moon” without thinking of the moon’s bleak, rocky environment adorned by only a flag to indicate that man was once there.

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