What Price Comfort?

I’ll tell you what, the older I get, the more I appreciate comfort. As a kid, a teen, a young adult and then a real adult, comfort wasn’t my highest priority. In fact, I sort of got used to being uncomfortable. I wore very high heels, pantyhose, tight skirts; all of them were uncomfortable. But I wore them because it was fashionable, so I sucked up my discomfort.

But getting older makes you feel that you not only want comfort, but you need comfort. Let’s face it, our skin, our hair, our muscles and everything else is just as old as we are, and they appreciate comfort. In fact, everything works a whole lot better when we are comfortable.

I’m getting so that everything I wear has to be comfortable, from my sunglasses to the Good Feet arch supports for my feet. I gave up itchy sweaters years ago, and high heels have permanently left my closet. No more pantyhose, no tight sweaters, no pretty shoes that pinch, no itchy underwear; anything that makes me uncomfortable gets the old heave-ho.

I want all the comfort I can get. I spent years being uncomfortable and I’m not doing it again. Another plus of getting older is that you realize that you don’t give a damn what other people think. Your idea of comfort may be LL Bean slippers and warm pajamas, or a flannel nightgown that feels like the arms of an angel. But whatever makes you comfortable, go for it.

I spent so much time in my younger years trying to impress others with my clothes and shoes; these days I couldn’t care less. Now this doesn’t mean that I go to the grocery store in my saggy jeans and a ripped sweatshirt; I clean up well for a woman in her later ’60s. As with makeup, less is more. I discovered bamboo capris and tops, and they not only look good, but they are heavenly to wear in hot weather. I have also toned down on makeup; again, less is more.

The best thing about wearing clothes and footwear that really feels as good as they look is that you feel good about yourself and best of all: you’re comfortable. I find that when you make your own style that’s comfortable and suits you, life is good. There is no limit to what you can wear or say or do. And this is the very best thing about getting older; not only are you permanently comfortable, but you don’t need to worry about what people think. Why? Because they are too busy worrying about what you think.

My new motto for “dress for success” is “dress to please yourself!”

Crazy Cat People

The Crankee Yankee and I are crazy cat people. For any of you who have followed my blog, you already know that we are owned by five indoor cats; Nala (our one female), Pookie, Plumpy-Nut, Tinker and Bailey. Each one has their own story, which I won’t bore you with for now, but suffice to say, they all needed a home.

We started with Nala after our 20-year old cat, Blackie, passed on. Nala came from a home with dogs (whom she hated and feared), so she spent most of her time alone in the basement. We were glad to give her a new life, and she seemed pretty happy to have her own place.

Nearly a year later, I read about one of our local shelters who had a list of “Desperate House Cats” who really needed homes. One of them was an all-black male named Pagan, who intrigued me. I went to see him, and he was very shy, hiding behind a desk. One of the workers coaxed him out and I fell in love with him. I took him home that day, renamed him “Pookie” and Nala took to him right away. Unfortunately he came to us with a sinus infection and a few other issues, so we had to give him medications (which of course he hated).

But we got him back to good health, and he and Nala got along well. We were a happy family of two humans and two cats, and life was great. It was around that time that we started seeing cats in our back yard, and we had no idea if they belonged to anyone. That’s when we started our “feeding and sheltering” program. The Crankee Yankee built a neat three-story “feeding station,” where the cats could get food and water and stay out of the elements.

We kept seeing a beautiful big yellow tiger cat in company with a very fluffy black and white cat with a unique tail shaped like a big “S”. We started feeding them, and they got used to us. We asked around the neighborhood if someone owned them; apparently no one did. As fall turned to winter, we had to make a decision: we started letting them into our “under the back porch” walled-in area, and fed them there.

The Crankee Yankee started to socialize them with Nala and Pookie by letting Tinker and Plumpy into the downstairs basement. Surprisingly, they all seemed to get along. By the the time snow fell, we had taken them to our wonderful vet to be spayed, given their shots, and general health evaluations. So they became house cats, and to this day, they are pretty happy about it.

When my mother died, and my dad was left with their cat, Bailey. It didn’t surprise me when, during a visit, he said that he really couldn’t care for him any longer. So we took Bailey home with us, and he became #5. Again, the other four accepted him. As Dad grew more frail, we moved him to our house. He spent most of his time in our bed (we bought a kingsize sofa with a surprisingly comfortable bed and slept in the living room), and we were able to care for him until he passed away on April 22, 2017.

During the time we had Dad with us, Bailey would often jump up on the bed to visit him. Don’t tell me that cats aren’t loyal; Bailey knew that Dad was dying, just as he knew when my mother was dying. He stayed close to her, and he also did with Dad as well.

Now he lives with us and the other cats. I call him my “Reiki cat” as he always seems to know when I need a cat on my lap. Actually, he’s the only one who does this. And, as always, we are still feeding and sheltering the “outdoorsies:” Scooter, a black and brown male, TwoTone1, a tan and white female, TwoTone2, a butterscotch and white ?, and Stripey1 and Stripey2, whom we haven’t gotten close enough to check their gender.

But all’s well; they have food, water and shelter, and we pick up the tab. So we are unabashed crazy cat people, and we really don’t care who knows it. There are cat people, dog people, horse people, bird people, snake people (ick), hamster people, and so on. It’s a lot like what happens when we fall in love with our one-and-only: we love whom we love, and we just can’t help it, be it human or animal.

When Things Are Just Too Much

If you read my blog on a regular basis, then you know that the Crankee Yankee and I are renovating our kitchen. It started when I left in February to go to Hawaii for two weeks; while I was gone, the Crankee Yankee and his brother tore everything down to the bare boards. The ceiling, too, came down. Long dusty and dirty story short, they prepped everything so that the new cabinets and formica could go up.

I never expected the kitchen to be completely done while I was gone, but for now the new formica and all the cabinets are up, as well as the new ceiling. All our dishes and glasses, etc. fit in beautifully with room to spare. There are three (count ’em, THREE) lazy susans, and they are filled up with our tons of spices (fact: the Crankee Yankee has never met a spice he didn’t like).

So now we are in the process of prepping the walls; the Crankee Yankee is doing it, and it’s a long process, but well worth it. All this means is that when it comes time to paint the walls (which is a gorgeous lemon yellow; fabulous with the gray cabinets and light gray formica), it will all go on smoothly.

And yes, I do get frustrated from time to time as I am washing glasses and dishes and pots in the bathroom sink (and yes, if you’re wondering, we do use a lot of paper plates). But the effort is well worth the time.

This adventure we are on reminds me of an old story I read a long time ago. Many years ago in a small village, there lived a man and his wife. Their children were grown up and gone, and they ran a small farm. The wife began to feel as if her home was just too small, and wondered what it would be like to have a bigger home. Whenever she brought this up to her husband, he just laughed and said, ‘Woman, when our children were here, we could have used a bigger house. But they are gone and have their own families; this house is big enough for you and me.’

But still, the woman wanted a bigger house. She knew that it was useless to argue with her husband about it, so she went to her priest and asked his advice. The priest listened to her, and said, ‘I can help you with this.’ The woman was very happy, and leaned forward to hear what he had to say.

The priest said, “go home and bring your cow inside your house.”

The woman thought she heard wrong and asked why she should bring their cow into the house. The priest just smiled and told her to do as he asked. So she walked home, and brought the cow into the house. You can only imagine how things were: if she thought her house was small before, it certainly felt much smaller with the cow in it!

Still she wanted a bigger house. A week went by, and she went to her priest and told him about the cow. The priest smiled at her and asked her to bring in the chickens, and then he bid her good day.

She walked home shaking her head, but she believed in her priest, and brought all the chickens into the house. Each week she went to her priest to ask for help, and each week he told her to bring another animal into her house.

Soon the house was filled with the woman and her husband, the cow, all the chickens, the goat, the two sheep, a pair of ducks and their horse. There was hardly room for any of them.

The woman went to her priest again, and told him that all of their farm animals were now in their house. The priest nodded and smiled, and told her to bring the cow out of the house. Each week when the woman went to her priest, he asked her to bring out the chickens, then the goat, then the two sheep, then the ducks and finally the horse.

When she came to visit the priest the next week, he asked her how things were going. The woman gave him a big smile and said, “it’s wonderful! I don’t know why I was so set on having a bigger house; we have plenty of room!”

So there you have it; it’s all in the attitude. Any of you who have lived through a major home project will understand how it feels to have so much up in the air. But you do get through it. The Crankee Yankee is doing his usual good job, and a good job takes time. My part in this is to help all I can, and keep smiling. This sort of thing is never easy, but well worth it.

Best thing about it? We only have five cats in the house; no cow, no chickens, no goat, no sheep, no ducks and no horse. I can live with that.







Classic Tales of Dumbassery or “What Did You THINK Would Happen?”

This is something I wrote years ago about general “Dumbassery.” Sadly, even after a few years, the dumbassery just gets worse.


I’ll admit it; I’m hooked on those videos of people making idiots out of themselves. I have laughed until my stomach ached over people doing things that you just know will end badly. The Germans have a wonderful word for this: schadenfreude (pronounced shad-den-froi-dah), which means enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others. I’m not proud of this, but, as my dad would say, ‘there you go.’

I have nearly laughed myself into incontinence over videos of people doing things like this:

  • Roof Dive: The drunken guys who decide it would be tons of fun to get up on the roof in winter and jump headfirst into a snow bank. The outcome is obvious.
  • If the guy on TV did it, so can I: The skateboarder who decides to hop up on a metal railing on his skateboard and ends up slipping and knocking his family jewels up into the vicinity of his throat.
  • You’re never too old to slip n’ slide: The guy who takes a running leap and jumps on down his kids’ slip n’ slide, runs out of slip n’ slide and comes to a stop on the grass, with his bathing suit down around his ankles.
  • Girl on the rocks: The girl who poses herself on the rocks at the ocean to take a selfie. In positioning herself just right for the perfect picture, she fails to notice a huge wave coming straight for her. The next shot is of her going butt over teakettle into the water after the wave knocked her off the rocks. Her cell phone did not survive.
  • What could possibly go wrong? A guy is helping his friends move. One guy has a large bookcase that he decides is too much trouble to lug down the stairs. So he balances it on the railing on the porch and calls to his friend, “catch!” The bookcase hurtles to the ground and smashes to smithereens in the driveway because the guy on the ground was too busy picking his nose to get ready.
  • Dad, is it winter yet? The kid who can’t wait to use his new skis, so puts them on and “skiis” down the stairs. He did all right until he got to the wall; the skiis went through the wall and he did a face plant against what was left of the wall.
  • Doughnut girl: She read somewhere that drinking a beer and eating a doughnut at the same time is a great snack. After downing the beer and a glazed doughnut, she experienced what can only be called “runaway yeast bloat.” Yep, she was sick as a dog for hours on end.

If you haven’t checked this out already, go read the stories from the Darwin Awards web site. There are hundreds of epic tales of those who didn’t think things through and ended up being dumped out of the gene pool.

The moral of this? That reading or watching videos of people doing dumb things is riot, as long as you’re not the person doing it. Or as Mel Brooks once said, “tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die.”

Sunday Drivers

Remember our parents or grandparents driving behind a slow vehicle and muttering curses at the “Sunday drivers”? Basically that meant all those folks, who, after a big Sunday lunch would get in their cars and take a long and slow drive, especially if it was a fine sunny day.

As there was no need to hurry, we could all enjoy the scenery; new houses being built, people working in their gardens (and waving as we waved to them), farms with cows, horses, sheep and the one donkey making the ride more fun, and so on. Generally, the Sunday drive ended with ice cream and lazy chats about what we had seen during our trip. Those were calmer, gentler times and I do miss them.

Well, most folks these days don’t do that. Everyone seems to be in a big fat hurry, and if you look at their faces, for the most part, they all look grumpy and sour. Maybe it’s because the new vehicles have so much tricky technology that the person behind the wheel is just too focused on which app to pull up, what button to push, and so on. Or just maybe driving around enjoying the scenery isn’t fun anymore—especially if everyone except the driver is plugged in to their phones, iPads, tablets, etc. to pay attention.

But the Crankee Yankee and I thoroughly enjoyed a lovely Sunday drive yesterday after we finished our chores and fed the indoor cats and checked on the “*outdoorsies.” After all the gloomy rain for days on end, it was a fabulous sunny day with cool breezes and the kind of puffy clouds we as kids called “**picture clouds.”

We drove and drove and admired the scenery, laughed at grumpy-looking people, talked about the different houses we passed and so on. When we finally stopped for lunch, we were in a pretty mellow mood. We talked about our own Sunday driver routines with our parents and what good times we had. We decided that we would try to enjoy being Sunday drivers now and then.

Those Sunday drives of long ago, the talking and laughing are things that stay with us. These are things we remember just before sleep takes us over; and before you know it, we are all together again, driving on a sunny Sunday, laughing and joking.

*The outdoorsies are our visiting neighborhood cats. We keep food and water out for them, and believe me—they expect it.

**If you’ve never done this, try it: just pick a comfortable spot and look up at the clouds. You will find that there are many clouds that look exactly like elephants, dragons, fish, sea horses, teddy bears, a running dog, and more. It’s a fun way to spend the day outside, it costs you nothing and it brings a measure of joy that makes it just about impossible to be in a bad mood. Try it out!


If You Don’t Have Something Good to Say, Shut Up!

Why oh why do so many people waste their time (plus the time others have to listen to them) making fun of people they don’t know? If the person is overweight, well then—it’s an all-out free-for-all to make nasty comments. Seriously, how does this help? To me it only shows the shallowness of the people who just have to make a rude comment about overweight people.

Then there are the ones who sweetly suggest to the overweight person how this, that or the other diet allowed them to lose <insert ridiculous amount of pounds here>. How exactly does that help? To the overweight person, it just comes back to the old and tired “yeah, I know I’m fat and thanks so much for rubbing it in, jerk!” Can we not look at a person’s body without judgement? How about looking at the good things about the person and not body-shaming?

Wouldn’t it be great if we could just enjoy the people we see; however they look, talk, walk, etc. Can’t we see the good instead? Quite frankly I think that most people who have snarky things to say about people are not happy in their own skin. Talking trash about another person may make them feel better for a few seconds, but sheesh; what a way to live!

How about looking for the good things in others? Now we don’t all have to join hands and sing “Kum Ba Yah” together; just a bit of kindness here and there. It’s easy to start a positive change, too. We can declare a day of kindness any day of the week and practice it on others.

Instead of looking at body types, hair styles, smeared eye shadow and other crimes of appearance, how about finding something good to say? It’s easy enough to tell someone what a pretty scarf they have on; sometimes that little exchange can lead to a nice chat. How about we take a day or so to just admire all the good around us?

As my late great mother-in-law would say, “it couldn’t hurt.”