Mirror, Mirror

The Mirror Crack’d

You wake up one morning to a world without mirrors. How does your life — from your everyday routines to your perception of yourself — change?


To go from being surrounded by mirrors to having no mirrors at all would truly be a shock in this day of industry-driven narcissism. I’m not talking about the mirror industry.  I’m talking about cosmetics, including everything from make-up to the vast array of hair products that exist out there.  I’m talking about the amount of time we spend in front of a mirror, getting ready for the day; re-applying this or that; checking hair, checking clothing, just checking—maybe to see if we’re still there!

But let’s move on to more practical things:

Driving. without the aid of rear-vision mirrors, would be more difficult.

Security in all kinds of stores would be completely different.

Many types of optical applications could not exist. Telescopes, for instance.

Two-way mirrors would not exist.

This could become a very long list.  So let’s just have fun with it for a minute.

Consider Snow White’s stepmother:  “Oh, how I wish I could see myself!  I just know I’m the fairest woman in all the the world, but I have no way to compare my fabulous face to anyone else’s!  I know!  I’ll come up with a magic spell that will let me see myself !  Then I’ll know for sure!  My life just won’t be complete until I can gaze upon my own beautiliciousness!”

So Wicked Stepmother sets about to create a spell that will reflect herself, and then she will be able to convince the whole world that she is THE most beautiful woman ever!  Oh, how exciting!

Finally, after mixing potions and chanting spells and stirring up awful concoctions of bat’s eye’s and newt’s tails, she comes up with the elixir that will work.  She carefully brushes it on the smooth surface of her witchy workshop wall, then stands back, takes a deep breath, and utters the secret spell that will allow her to see herself.  She does this with her eyes tightly closed so she won’t ruin the surprise. And of course, I can’t reveal the spell or the potion here, because then you’d all just copy it and ruin the whole idea of secret spells.

Slowly, Wicked  opens her eyes.  She stares in fascination as the image comes into focus.  She blinks, rubs her eyes, blinks again.  She opens her mouth and screams, “NOOOOOOOoooooooo!”






Double, Double, Toil and Trouble. . . .

Pains and Gains

Do you agree with Jane Fonda’s favorite exercise motto, “no pain, no gain?” Is it impossible to attain greatness without considerable hardship?


Well, okay.  I’m not fond of Fonda, but this is the only thing with which I can agree–in exercise, as in much of life, you do not have success until you’ve endured the pain and made it productive.

Let me give you an example.

Eleven years ago, I had my first knee replacement.  Ten years ago, the second one got tossed out and replaced. I was young to have it done, only 56 and 57, but my doctor agreed with me that it was an issue of quality of life.  I could be in extreme pain 24/7 for the next ten years, or we could get the job done and face possibly having to do it again 20 years down the road.

It hurts. No getting around it.  The physical therapist had me up and putting weight on the knee the day after the surgery.  Pain.  Intense. Take-your-breath-away pain. “Take your pain meds 45 minutes before you start your therapy,” they warned me.  I believed them. I did what they said.

The next day, they started regular PT.  P T stands for Pain and Torture.  Don’t let them tell you anything different. I was very thankful that I was allowed to go home the third day.  A physical therapist would come to my home three days each week to put me through my paces.

He was very nice, and very matter-of-fact.  “If you don’t do the work, you will not have full use of your knee. You have to work through the pain in order to reach full mobility. Our goal is for you to forget you have replacements. The only thing you may not ever want to do is kneel.  Or pivot. Other than that, you should be able to do anything you’ve done before. So, let’s get to work.”

                                                                                                         (Here’s a before and after of somone’s knee)

He was right about all of it. I’m glad he was tough. I worked so hard!  My husband had a hard time listening to me groan, pant, and sometimes sob my way through my routine. I tried to do it when he wasn’t home, but there was a danger of my falling and needing help, so he tried to be available. I pushed myself to go beyond the goals my therapist set, without being stupid about it.

Oh, my, yes, there was pain. Plenty of it, in spite of taking the medication faithfully.  However, I healed well and was soon sleeping through the night without pain for the first time in several years.  You realize what a blessing that is only when  you get it back!  My therapist was right–I can’t kneel for more than a few  seconds, and my basketball days are over.

Since I had my knees replaced, the industry has created better replacements that allow pivoting and kneeling. If I ever need a do-over, maybe I’ll be playing basketball at the Ancient’s Olympics someday 🙂


Say Whaaaaat?

Head Turners

We often hear strange snippets of conversation as we walk through public spaces. When was the last time you overheard something so interesting, ridiculous, or disturbing you really wanted to know what it was all about?


I was just about 12 years old, living in Portland, Oregon, in a nice residential neighborhood not too far from the downtown area.  I was on a mission.  Mom needed bread and milk, and I was assigned to the project.  It involved walking about three blocks to the neighborhood grocery store.

The day was balmy.  Summer in Portland was a treat for the body, soul, and mind. Not much humidity, no mosquitos, and the temperatures were moderate.  I enjoyed the walk, making up all sorts of stories in my head as I strolled past houses tucked behind all different kinds of fences, shrubbery, trees, and glorious roses.  Portland, City of Roses!  I could smell them easily as they perfumed the air.

Things looked pretty normal as I neared the grocery store. It occupied maybe half of the block, including the parking lot, which was maybe a little less than half full.  By today’s standards, it was just a little store.  We didn’t have Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s back then.

Without a worry in the world, I waltzed in through the double glass doors and headed for the bread aisle. I didn’t need a basket or cart for my two little items. The money was in the back pocket of my cut-off jeans, and I patted it as I walked to make sure I hadn’t lost anything.

As I continued toward the bread, it slowly dawned on me that the store was awfully quiet for the number of people who were there.  Folks were standing still with their carts, looking toward the front of the store but not moving around, not selecting items from the shelves.  It was almost as if they were playing freeze tag, and I was “It.”

Suddenly I heard a hissed, “Hey! Little girl!”  Now, that was a big insult, and I was immediately on guard. When you’re reached the age of 12, you don’t want to be called a little girl any more.  I turned my head toward the whisper. One of the store employees was glaring at me, and as far as I knew there was no reason for him to do that.

“What?”  I said, not terribly friendly.

“Just stay still!  Didn’t you see the guys in front of the store with the guns?  There’s a robbery going on!  Now just stop, stand still and don’t say a word!”

Right. Tell me there’s a robbery, there are men with guns, don’t say anything. Right.




“Don’t be stupid! Do you want to get us all shot?  Shut up!”

Well, ok, if you put it that way.  I stood still, shut up, and waited.

Whatever was going on up front, we couldn’t hear it back where we stood. The man who had spoken to me pointed up at the security mirrors in each corner of the store, and sure enough I could see two men standing near the checkout stand, masked and holding guns.  I was finally getting scared.

After just a few minutes, though, we watched as the men, who had been joined by two more, turned and ran out the front doors.  It took a few minutes for us to figure out it was over, and that we were safe. It was only seconds before we heard the wail of police sirens, and a couple of cruisers squealed up to the front door.  Police officers came running in, and told us no one could leave until they’d spoken to all of us.

I really couldn’t help them.  I hadn’t noticed the thieves when I entered the store, and saw them only in the mirrors. They would be very hard to identify because of their masks and nondescript clothing.  So they took my name, address, and phone number and let me go on back home.

I got home a lot faster than I had gotten to the store!

“Mom!  You’ll never guess what happened. . . .”



School Days

August Blues
As a kid, were you happy or anxious about going back to school? Now that you’re older, how has your attitude toward the end of the summer evolved?


I loved school. I loved summer. By the time Labor Day rolled around (we always started school the day after Labor Day, back in the olden time)  I was ready and eager.  I love fall.  It’s probably my favorite season, and I especially love it here in my corner of PA.  But I grew up in southern Minnesota, so fall came with a strong undertone of winter. It was always exciting, because so many wonderful things happened in fall and winter.

But back tgo school.  It held no terror for me.  I loved finding my new classroom, meeting my new teacher, setting up my notebook as I progressed through the grades.  The brand new paper, the new pens/pencils, were all an invitation to me to come learn something new. I enjoyed the physical process of writing. I remember being so excited, in third grade, to learn cursive writing so I could write like the grown-ups.  I understand they’re not bothering too much with that these days.  That’s a shame. It should NOT become a lost art!

Getting all my new textbooks was a thrill for me. I could hardly wait to page through them to get a hint of where we’d be going, what journeys be’d be taking that year. The only courses I wasn’t excited about were maths.  I’ve just lately learned that there is a name for the problem that ailed me and still does:  dyscalcula.  It’s like dyslexia, only with numbers instead of words.  I’d see “38” and write “83.”  Pretty hard to get your long division to come out right when that happens. But —I actually got through all that pretty well, and I really did enjoy algebra and geometry.  I even liked biology, in spite of cutting up pickled animals. 

My real loves, though, were English, writing, reading, history, and anything else that was mostly word-related. Words are like brain candy. I love even now learning the etymology of words.  They are endlessly fascinating. For example, my DH had the shingles a couple of years ago and still suffers after-effects.  My then-8-year-old grandson asked my why it was called shingles. Well, I’ve always wondered, and for him I took the time to look it up. Here’s the answer I found:

Shingles derived from the Latin cingulus, which was a wide belt worn around the waist for carrying weapons, for protection and for general utility.  The shingles rash typically starts at the waisteline from the middle of the back and circles around like a belt.  Not always, but that’s the most typical pattern.  Therefore, shingles/cingulus.  Cool. Now I get it!

I was a teacher for many years, still loving the classroom and the sharing of knowledge.  Never dreaded the school year, but always looked forward to summer vacation.  Now?  I just work the same, all year ’round, and the changing of the seasons no longer marks the end or beginning of the school year.  Kids all grown, no one to get ready for the school year. Do I miss all that?  Nope.  I’m very content with my life as it is right now.


I Think!

Why, Thank You?

What’s the best (or rather, worst) backhanded compliment you’ve ever received? If you can’t think of any — when’s the last time someone paid you a compliment you didn’t actually deserve?


I’ve been told more than once, always by a man, that I “think like a man.” It is always said with warm approval and a huge attitude of shock on the part of the man.

I find this “compliment” highly questionable and rather offensive.  There are so many derivative statements that apply:

1. Women don’t think. They feel.

2.  It is better to think like a man.

3. It is surprising that any woman actually thinks, and that she thinks like a man is just shocking.

4. If women all thought as men do, the world would be a better place.

5.  All male thinking is better than all female thinking. 

I could go on, but that’s more than enough.  I would remind these benighted men that God created Eve because Adam needed a little help.

Apparently, thinking like a man wasn’t going to be the only possible acceptable option.

Come on, guys.  Take it in the lighthearted  spirit in which it’s written.




Discussion Enders

We’ve all had exchanges where we came up with the perfect reply — ten minutes too late. Write down one of those, but this time, make sure to sign off with your grand slam (unused) zinger.

Dear Daily Post,

If I can’t think of the perfect squelch when I need it, WHY do you think I can find one NOW?



Well, ok, let’s see if the not-so-alert brain can come up with something.  I had a truly awful night last night, started my morning way behind time.  Brain not quite functioning, so it’s no wonder I’m stuck here. I know, though, that especially in my work I’ve had times when I needed the perfect response and thought of one only after my client had left. That’s probably a good thing, since I’m supposed to be helping people and not sending them out of my office feeling like they’ve just been to the the principal in high school 🙂


Ah.  I remember once when I DID have the perfect squelch. I had a man who brought his poor wife to me so I could set her straight about who was the boss. I wrote about them here. I know this was supposed to be about a line you thought of too late, but I’m really glad this one came to me so quickly.  Here’s the last few lines of the post:

“That’s enough!  I’m leaving, and we won’t be back!  No woman is going to interfere in my marriage or make my wife think of disobeying me! My wife is perfectly happy as long as she’s obedient. You are a Jezebel!”

He dragged his wife up by her arm, pushed her in front of him, opened the door and shoved her through. He turned for a parting shot: “You must have married a weak, spineless man!”

You, Mr. B., are a weak and spineless man.  I married a godly man.”


The Fall

Linda's Bible Study

Old Mr. Petrovski was in a hurry.  He had medicine in his pocket for his wife,  He’d just been to the drugstore, and had visited too long there with the druggist who had taken care of him and his family for over 40 years.  Now, he needed to get back to the apartment and make sure Zofia got the medication that would ease her headache and allow her to sleep.

“Zofia,” he thought, as he hurried to the corner where traffic was speeding by. “How could I have left you so long, my dear Zofia!  But I’m coming, I’m coming, and soon your poor head will be better.”

Looking carefully, Mr. Petrovski saw that the light had changed.  Still, he was cautious.  His eyes weren’t as sharp as they’d been when he was young. But there were no vehicles moving against the light, so he placed his cane carefully over…

View original post 1,236 more words

Storm Clouds

Opening Lines

What’s the first line of the last song you listened to (on the radio, on your music player, or anywhere else)? Use it as the first sentence of your post.


“When the storm clouds gather far across the sea, let us pledge allegiance to a land that’s free.  Let us all be faithful to a land so fair, as we raise our voices in a common on prayer.  God bless America, land that I love!  Stand beside her, and guide her, to the right with the light from above.  From the  mountains to the prairie to the ocean bright with foam, God bless America, my home sweet home!”



My Tea

Pick Your Potion

Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?


Twenty-four years ago, my firstborn and I went on a school-study-vacation trip to England.  Long story about why I went with him, for another post someday.  It was a wonderful trip. We went with a congenial little group, had lots of independence, and the most glorious English spring weather.  It didn’t rain until the day we left, which was rather amazing for April. The trip was everything this English teacher could have wanted. Also a lover of British history, I felt like I had been dropped into a fairy tale. It would be very easy for me to follow that rabbit trail, but this post is about tea 🙂

Our guide, Richard, was a delightful young gentleman.  He was so pleasant, and did his best to give us a true taste of British life.  He chauffered us to all the major sites in the South of England, including Salisbury, Bath, Stonehenge (at that time, a person could still walk right into the circle and touch the stones) and Tintern Abbey. Then we went to London and did all the things tourists do there. So many wonderful memories.

A highlight, though, was the day Richard invited our little group to high tea at his home, where we would meet his family.  The family included his wife’s parents, who were Sir and Lady Something-I-don’t-Remember.   Sir ? had been equerry to Prince Charles.  Again, both of these people were completely enjoyable, interested in each of us and had done their homework so that they already knew a little bit about us and could ask questions accordingly.

Now, the tea.  I’d grown up popping a well-known brand of tea bag into a cup of boiling water.  Never, ever have done so again since the day we had tea with Richard. The tea his wife served was a completely different matter, and it has changed, for me, having a cup of tea into an art.

From the very first sip, I was enchanted with the flavor and the aroma of this amazing tea. Here’s what Diana, Richard’s wife, prepared for us:

1. Water for tea was boiled in a kettle.  Never in a microwave!

2. The teapot, not to be confused with the kettle, was filled with very hot tapwater while the kettle boiled.

3. Into a teaball,  she measured out the equivalent of two bags of Earl Grey tea. When the kettle whistled, the hot water was poured out of the teapot.  The Earl Grey was put into the pot, along with four bags of Typhoo tea (large pot, probably served ten cups of tea. The ratio here is two Earl Grey to one Typhoo). Then the boiling water from the kettle was poured into the pot. 

4. Diana let the tea steep for about three minutes.  Then she mashed the bags against the inside of the pot, removed them and the tea ball, and poured out this heavenly brew.

I sweetened mine with a spoon of sugar, and because I had no idea how good it was going to taste, I was unprepared for the way my taste buds leaped to attention and said, “Hey!  Give us some more of that!”

We all raved about the tea.  There was no magical recipe, just good tea made the way it ought to be made.  Diana sent bags of Typhoo home with each of us.  When I ran out, I looked for it all over the place and couldn’t find it.  Ended up ordering online from a place in Texas.

It was a very happy day, then, when my third son recently brought me a box of Typhoo that he’d found at Wegman’s, which has a section of British-style foods

You should try it.  You’ll like it 🙂