1. This Flight Crew – In August Flight AA 372, traveling from Dallas-Fort Worth, TX to Phoenix, AZ, staffed entirely with a female black flight crew, flew in honor of aviator and veteran Bessie Coleman.
Coleman was born on January 26, 1892 and was the first black woman and Native American to receive a pilot’s license and the first black woman and Native American to receive an international aviation license from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.
She did have to go to France to do it though because flight schools in America at the time prohibited both women and black people from applying. After she honed her skills she returned to the U.S. where she because a star as a barnstorming stunt flyer, dubbed “Queen Bess.”
2. This Series – Last summer I was slightly obsessed with the series Blood & Treasure. It aired on CBS and was the perfect show for the summer – a little mystery, a little romance, and a lot of adventure. Kind of like Indiana Jones mixed with the Oceans movies mixed with the Librarians.
This year it’s only airing on Paramount+. Now I have Paramount+ but the problem is I didn’t see it advertised anywhere so I only found out it was airing at all about a week ago. It actually started in July. At least if there is a season three it’ll pop up for me now (fingers are crossed.)
3. This Updated Version of Courtney Cox’s Tampon Commercial – LOVE IT!
4. These Crispbread Crackers – There is regular or a gluten-free version. I’ve been having them for lunch with either cream cheese or goat cheese, sometimes I add capers and salmon or cucumbers and radishes.
[Found at Trader Joes]
5. This Instagram Post – Qasim Rachid is the best.
6. This Coffee Maker – This is why I always say that Volkswagen is (or at least was) the greatest car maker in the world – the VW Beetle.
7. These Beautiful Pickled Veg – This is from my favorite food vlogger Beryl Shereshewsky‘s Instagram. I’ve mentioned her before in a past Seven Things. Her next post is going to be on pickling things. Can’t wait! (Also, I need to learn how to make vegetables look this pretty.)
1. This Unburnable Book – You’d have to have your head buried in the sand not to have heard about all the book banning going on around the U.S. It’s scary stuff and very reminiscent of what went on in Germany prior to and during WWII.
Margaret Atwood is bad ass in this video created to show-off the new FIREPROOF limited edition Handmaid’s Tale being auction off at Sotheby’s. It was aired at the PEN America Literary Gala and all proceeds from the sale will go to support PEN America’s work defending freedom of expression.
2. This History Today Article Written about Biographies of Tudor Women – In short, the author of the article discusses how distorted the life stories of women in the Tudor Period are because historians “see them chiefly through the eyes of men”.
Frankly, this could be said about more than just the women of the Tudor times. (She says specifically “early modern history” but I’d say pretty much all history.)
3. These Instructions Left for Airbnb Guests – A friend of mine has been doing some road tripping with her husband and they’ve stayed at a few quaint airbnbs. She sent this to me – I love people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
4. This Artist’s Work – Lainey Molnar’s Instagram is definitely worth following. Her cartoons cover what women (ALL women) deal with on a daily basis.
5. This Restaurant Owner in Texas – no words needed.
6. This History & Explanation of Menopause by Samantha Bee – I love Samantha Bee’s show but unfortunately none of the services I subscribe to have TBS. If you google “where can I stream Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” it says you can watch it on HBOMax. When I read this I was thrilled because I have HBOMax, but for some bizarre reason they only have the first three seasons even though there are SEVEN seasons. I don’t understand streaming services with their single seasons or partial libraries of a show or their getting rid of classic movies from their collection.
But I digress. This was excellent, not surprisingly.
And here is a second part, and interview with Dr. Jen Gunter, author of The Menopause Manifesto (highly recommend.)
7. This New Bird Watching Show on National Geographic – Remember Chris Cooper, the black bird-watcher who was the victim of a white woman who called the police on him because he told her to put the leash on her dog? (The woman compounded the horrifying situation by pretending she was being attacked and also treated her dog horribly.)
Any, Christian (he’s going by that on the show) Cooper got a new gig as the host for a bird-watching show on the National Geographic Channel. And for once karma actually works. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s clearly super intelligent AND good looking.)
This is for the kids who die, Black and white, For kids will die certainly. The old and rich will live on awhile, As always, Eating blood and gold, Letting kids die.
Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi Organizing sharecroppers Kids will die in the streets of Chicago Organizing workers Kids will die in the orange groves of California Telling others to get together Whites and Filipinos, Negroes and Mexicans, All kinds of kids will die Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment And a lousy peace.
Of course, the wise and the learned Who pen editorials in the papers, And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names White and black, Who make surveys and write books Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die, And the sleazy courts, And the bribe-reaching police, And the blood-loving generals, And the money-loving preachers Will all raise their hands against the kids who die, Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets To frighten the people— For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people— And the old and rich don’t want the people To taste the iron of the kids who die, Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power, To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together
Listen, kids who die— Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you Except in our hearts Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field, Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht
But the day will come— You are sure yourselves that it is coming— When the marching feet of the masses Will raise for you a living monument of love, And joy, and laughter, And black hands and white hands clasped as one, And a song that reaches the sky— The song of the life triumphant Through the kids who die.
Song of the Week
I love this entire album. Can we still say that? Album?
1. This Design by Stephen Burrows – If you haven’t watched Halston yet on Netflix, DO! They rather thoroughly cover “The Battle of Versailles Fashion Show” which occurred on November 28, 1973. Publicly it was advertised as an event to fund raise to revamp the Versailles, which was in dire need of restoration, but it also was an opportunity for American designers to show that they could hold their own against the French.
Many of the designers who were involved in the ‘Battle of Versailles’ have either retired or passed away but Stephen Burrows is not only still around but he’s on Instagram!
2. This Parody of the famous Queen Song called ‘Menopause Rhapsody’ – I mean, is there anyone who doesn’t love the song ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,” even when it’s used for satirical purposes? This is kinda genius.
3. This Painting – ‘The Merchant’s Wife at Tea’ by Boris Kustodiev, painted in 1918, oil on canvas; at the State Russian Museum.
4. This Fascinating Short Film about the Last Matriarchy in Europe – Kihnu is a small island off Estonia’s western coast. There are men on the island but they work as fishermen and leave for long periods of time. So the women are left alone and have learned to do everything for themselves. It’s an incredible microcosm and it would be tragic if it was lost. In fact, the Kihnu culture is on Unesco’s intangible cultural heritage of humanity list. But the younger members have been leaving to go to larger cities, where they can make more money and have more options.
Of course this is happening everywhere in the world. It used to be that people grew up and tended to live in the community where they were born. I know if you look at my family, both my parents had three siblings and five of them live within a 50 mile radius. Then if you look at their kids, even just on my mother’s side of the 14 grandkids only TWO live within a 50 mile radius.
Still, I think there are young people who would like to live this lifestyle. All those millennials into cottagecore.
Still, trying to find them might be difficult and of course they all would want wifi. And the current residents of Kihnu may not welcome newcomers.
5. These Gorgeous, Biological Illustrations by Ernst Haeckel – “Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel was a German zoologist, naturalist, eugenicist, philosopher, physician, professor, marine biologist, and artist who discovered, described and named thousands of new species, mapped a genealogical tree relating all life forms, and coined many terms in biology, including ecology, phylum, phylogeny, and Protista.” [Found on MessyNessyChic]
6. This Poemby Alison Luterman – thanks to my friend LeAnn for posting it.
7. This New Series on PeacockTV – To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have watched this (I can’t start a new series!) but then I saw the cast – Sara Bareilles (Jesus Christ Superstar and who doesn’t love her song ‘Brave‘?), Busy Philipps (been in a bazillion things and I just adore her), Paula Pell (most famous as an SNL writer but also recently did a hilarious Quibi series called the ‘Mapleworth Murders’), and Renée Elise Goldsberry (one of the original Schuyler sisters!) The premise of the show actually seems made for me (the only thing I would have changed is making them an 80s band instead of a 90s band – obviously.)
Girls5eva used to be a popular girls band back in the 90s when these women were only teenagers. The name plays on the number of band members. Unfortunately things happened and the band separates and loses touch.
One day Dawn (Bareilles) hears a popular rapper doing a cover of one of Girls5eva’s songs on the radio. It occurs to her she’s owed some royalty money so she checks in with her old agent. She finds out he’s been sitting on the royalty checks for almost three months and the checks will be void with a day so because she doesn’t want her former bandmates to lose out on the cash she decides to deliver them and reconnects. I don’t want to get into any more of the storyline but here’s my thoughts:
I had no idea that Sara Bareilles was just a good actor (yes another one of those people who is multi-talented
Sara Bareilles wrote the songs used in the show, so of course they are amazing
I really wanted to like Renée Elise Goldsberry’s character (Wickie) better but I feel like they haven’t developed her character enough/told enough backstory – I pray they do a second season!
Was kinda bummed that they had all the women except Paula Pell play themselves as teenagers because she’s the only one who isn’t “thin.” I think they should have gotten teenagers that looked like the three other girls too.
I think anyone who considers themself a Menopausal Broad can use a “second chances” story.
Word of the Day
Quote of the Day
One last thing that I have to close with, a video from ‘Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.’ He wasn’t on the air but he did gift us with one of his delightful web exclusive videos. As usual, John Oliver nails it.
We all need to hear about as many positive things as we can right now. Having said that, I’ll be adding a few extra items on my “Five Things I Love” lists for the indefinite future…
1. This fabulous article about how Gen-Xers are so freaking awesome, which we already knew because pretty much every article about Gen-Xers talks about how strong we are, how we can handle more than other generations, how we never complain, well, basically all the same stuff that Korin Miller wrote about here…
2. My sister-in-law’s floral masterpieces. My brother and sister-in-law are going to be opening up a floral shop supper club in Camas, WA. They were hoping to open up in the next few weeks but as you can imagine, things are tentatively on hold. In the meantime though, my SIL does what she usually does, and that is bring rays of sunshine to everyone around her.
Both my brother and sister-in-law have been trying to come up with ideas on how to make lemonade out of lemons. For example, they had a bunch of flower arrangements made up for event that was cancelled so instead they auctioned them off on their Facebook page and donated 100% of the proceeds to two separate charities.
Recently they procured a bunch of free flowers (one of the nearby flower markets was giving away their inventory – with all the cancellations of weddings and special events they have massive overstock and the flowers will just go to waste in their warehouses.) Anyway, my sister-in-law (with my brother as her assistant) created beautiful flower installation around Camas. Some of them were even bouquets that people could stop by and pick up. If you live near Seattle, ATV (after the virus) be sure to check out their place and follow them on Insta or Facebook. You can see many more of my SIL’s beautiful creations on their Insta and FB.
3. How to dial a telephone – this video is hilarious to watch now. For menopausal broads though it may also give you the warm & fuzzies…
4. Self-pampering – if you’re like me you may have a few (dozen) products that you bought, that are supposed to have miraculous effects, but haven’t had the time to use. Well, NOW we all have time! Besides trying out various sheet masks and serums and lotions and cleansers I have also started doing a guided meditation for 15 minutes every day. There are lots of guided meditation videos on YouTube. I recommend searching for guided meditation and the length of time (10, 15, 30 minutes). You may need to try out several before you find one that you like and that has a voice that you find soothing. I myself saved several into a playlist so that I gave vary it up a little.
5. Puzzles! The one I am currently working on is GORGEOUS, 1000 pieces, and the most challenging one I’ve ever tried to put together. Slow going but super satisfying!
6. (Bonus) This online course at Yale University which you can currently take FOR FREE – Dr. Laurie Santos is teaching people how to be happier with their lives! She recognized a need for the course when she saw that there was an increasing number of students being diagnosed with depression. I’ve already watched the videos and done the reading for the first week. It’s very manageable, maybe 30 to 60 minutes twice a week. The only real homework is practicing what you are learning! You can register here.
7, (Bonus) – this artist (Junior Fritz Jacquet) who created these wonderful squishy faces out of discarded toilet paper rolls. What with toilet paper being so precious right now you may, like me, hesitate momentarily to toss out those empty toilet paper rolls…
8. (Bonus) – Star War fans, if you haven’t watched this sped up time-lapse of the construction of the Death Star you must do so immediately. It’s only two minutes long!
9. (Bonus) – Last but definitely not least, this animated video explaining the Coronavirus Pandemic. Flatten the curve!
So this week, life happened, and I didn’t get this done on Monday as I had planned.
1. Perimenopausal Bingo by Beth Kanter (definitely can be used by menopausal and postmenopausal broads) from McSweeney’s:
2. Mockumentaries – plural of mockumentary [ mok-yuh–men-tuh-ree, ‐tree ] noun 1. a motion picture or television program that takes the form of a serious documentary in order to satirize its subject.
I’ve loved mockumentaries ever since I saw my first Christopher Guest mockumentary “Waiting for Guffman.” Guest is the king of the genre, having five under his belt (in order of preference):
Best in Show – the “truth” about competitive dog shows
Mascots – the competitive world of professional sports-team mascots
Waiting for Guffman – small town theater people with big aspirations
A Mighty Wind – behind the scenes of American folk music
For Your Consideration – what goes into getting those award nominations
One of the thing I love about Guest’s mockumentaries is that he has created essentially an old-school acting troupe and a lot of the same people star in most of his films.
There are mockumentaries by other directors:
Rob Reiner’s ‘This is Spinal Tap’ is probably the most famous. Christopher Guest starred in the film along with Harry Shearer and Michael McKean. McKean became one of Guest’s acting ‘troupe.’
Drop Dead Gorgeous is one of my all time favorites –
What we do in the Shadows (again everything Taika Waititi does is golden!)
Both Woody Allen (Zelig) and Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat) have done mockumentaries. I’m not a fan of either of them so their movies won’t appear on my list but if you enjoy their work you may want to watch those as well.
3. Kitchen Ruler and Oven Rack Push-Puller. Where has this been all my (adult) life??? No more scorched arms. Wunderbar! Picked this up for less than $3 at Mod Gen: a Modern General Store (in Milwaukee.) I also see they are available for a wee bit more at Sur La Table. Or there is a silicon one (also a tad more) available at Amazon (it doesn’t have the ruler but would be able to be tossed in the dishwasher if you accidentally spilled something on it).
4. AJ and the Queen – got hooked on this last night and finished it in two days. There damn well better be a season two. RuPaul is, not surprisingly, FAB-U-LOUS.
5 Last, and most definitely not least, the amazing and brave and valiant efforts being made in Australia to save not only people but rare floral & fauna.
There are so many!
This 6-year old boy, who raised nearly $100K for the effort by selling clay koalas he made by hand
If you can handle it (get a box of kleenex) this will really show you how many people (and other animals too!) have gone to great lengths to save the koalas and kangaroos and other animals at risk in Australia. Incredible, heart-breaking, but also it will lift your spirits knowing that people are so selfless.
(Side note, apparently it’s gone viral that wombats are helping to save animals by inviting them into their burrows. As wonderful as this sounds, it is not true.) Not sure why people make shit like this up.
I was going to end up on a relatively happy note which is that the fire actually succeeded in getting the original members of the Wiggles to reunite for a fund-raising concert. That is AMAZING! Unfortunately though, Greg Page, collapsed toward the end of the concert and was rushed to the hospital. The most recent report is that he is receiving treatment. Let’s pray he is okay. The last thing Australia needs right now is to lose one of their National heroes.
1. This article on McSweeney’s* about Sensible Hairstyles for Women Over 50 (by Laura Winther Galaviz). I like the first one best, (a) because I am pretty sure I could pull it off, (b) I can actually crochet and (c) it’s just too spot on. –
Procure a fine purple yarn and crochet yourself a wig as thin and fragile as your waning relevance in American society.
2. This video of puppies walking to Stayin’ Alive…
3. The number of public libraries that are eliminating late fees/fines for overdue materials. The latest major municipality to do so is Los Angeles. Studies have shown that fines do not actually affect patrons willingness to return materials on time. If someone wants to keep a book past the due date, they’ll do so, fine or no fine. All fines/late fees really accomplish is preventing lower income individuals access to materials. That’s not what public libraries are about!
Sadly many libraries/municipalities have become so dependent on the revenue generated from the fines/fees it may take time for some of them to eliminate the fines. As a solution, some libraries in this dilemma have begun phasing the process in – for example, first eliminating fines/fees on children’s materials, then YA materials, then all materials. We’ll get there!
5. These candles (I know you probably have a zillion candles in your house, as do I) but when the holidays come around these candles really put me into the Christmas spirit.)
*If you haven’t heard about McSweeney’s, it’s a hilarious humor website. I think that most people will figure this out fairly quickly but I always like to be clear about a site when I post humor/satirical items because, well, you know…
Whenever I read or hear about how body or size acceptance has made so much progress, how society as a whole has finally started to recognize, okay, has sort of started to recognize? maybe is seemingly recognizing? that fat shaming* is not acceptable, I’m always torn.
You’re probably thinking, what in the hell is there to be torn about? How can you of all people think it is absolutely not a good thing? Are you a butthead? (The butthead part may just be me.)
Well, I’ll tell you, I’m torn because not only was I born the year Twiggy’s modeling career began, but I’ve lived through a few decades where people, doctors, and even scientists were extraordinarily ill-informed on diet and nutrition. Truly a double whammy.
And now that things seem to be coming ’round, well, frankly, it’s too late for me. Which SUCKS. I mean, it’s great for all the younger people who hopefully won’t have to go through what I did, but I’ve already lived the prime years of my life – I don’t get a do-over. And the things that have been done to my metabolism and to my gut, and to my self-confidence, well, some of it is irreversible. Selfish, yep, but I can’t help it, the feelings are there.
But that is why this blog has become so important to me. It is the way that I plan on getting through the rest of my life. It gives me motivation to learn about what I can do to improve the quality of my life and hopefully I will help others along the way.
Okay, jumping right in. For as long as I can remember I have either had a weight ‘problem’ and/or dieted. About 15 years ago my Mom was diagnosed with a neurological disease (it ended up being Lewy Body Dementia – I am sure I will talk about this at length in the future). My life changed rather dramatically very quickly. One thing I started to do was begin scanning all the family photo albums (a total of about 5000-6000 photos to date.) My Mom was declining fairly quickly and was also heavily medicated, she couldn’t even take care of herself. I was worried that the photos would end up being misplaced or worse, accidentally thrown out.
As I began to go through them, I saw photos of myself from grade school and high school and I thought, “well crap, I wasn’t all that fat” (at least not by today’s standards) or “damn, I would give anything to be that ‘fat’ now.”
It made me remember all the diets I had been on over the years, all with my parents encouragement and financing – Weight Loss Clinic, Weight Control Clinic, Nutrisystem, dozens of trendy diets I can’t remember the names of, things like the Grapefruit diet or the Cabbage Soup diet.
One of the very first attempts was to send me to fat camp. It lasted for seven weeks during the summer before I started high school. That year I weighed around 170 pounds and was 5 feet 9 inches tall.
People (including doctors) used a rule of thumb back then (they still do but it’s been modified a bit) to determine how much a person should weight. For women, and this only works if you are 5 feet or taller, you start by saying a 5 foot tall women should weight 100 pounds and then for every inch over that add 3 pounds. Fairly easy. According to this, I should have weighed 127 pounds.
Problem is, it didn’t take into account things like whether a person was an athlete or possibly a person who just had more muscle mass. Most people know that muscle weighs more than fat, (sidebar, this is why the BMI – Body Mass Index is such bullshit but I will discuss that another day) or other factors that could account for why a woman (or a man) might weight more or less and still be the right and healthy weight for their body.
Anyway, back to my story. For the seven weeks I was at the camp we had pretty much the same routine every day and I still remember it even though it was over 40 years ago. We would get up early and exercise, usually that involved calisthenics and a 3 mile run. This was followed by breakfast. The camp was at a university so we stayed in dorms. There was a sports facility about 2 miles away. After breakfast we would walk over to that facility and each of us would be allowed to choose one of several activities – ballet, gymnastics, track, or swimming. We would take the bus back to the dorms (I’m guessing because of time constraints) for lunch. After lunch it was back to the sports facility to do two more activities. Then walk back to the dorm where you would have an hour free time before dinner. After dinner there was a group activity, usually a team sport followed by calisthenics, another 3 mile run and a snack before bed.
Here’s the thing. I did lose 30 pounds in those 7 weeks. Boy were my parents happy. I weighed 135 went I got home. I was still 8 pounds over the ideal weight but so much closer.
I also lost some of my hair. And I didn’t have a BM for the entire time I was there. There is no way I could have continued the amount of exercise that we had done at the camp on a daily basis, I had to go to school for one thing.
Not only that, I had been eating fairly well to keep myself fueled for all the exercise I was doing and I had gotten used to it. Surprise, surprise, I put the weight back on and then some. The same with all the other diets. On each one I would lose about 40 pounds, almost exactly, then I’d hit a plateau. I’d quit and I’d put the weight back on plus 10. Every time. And my weight tick-tick-ticked up.
You know, people still use that rule of thumb thing but guess what, it’s been modified. They don’t use 3 pounds per inch anymore (well, I had someone tell me that is “model weight.”) No, I’ve heard a few variations but the most common is that you should try to be ideally between 4-6 pounds per inch for an average frame. You can go to 8 pounds per inch for someone who is athletic or larger framed. That means for someone who is 5’9″ the weight could be anywhere between 127 (for a model) – 154 (average frame) – 172 (larger frame). What did I say I weighed before I was sent to fat camp?
I have often wondered to myself, if I had just been left alone, would I look like I look today? Of course that’s only part of the story. There’s also the genetic thing, the antibiotic thing, the additives thing, well, there’s a lot of other things – and I’m planning on talking about them all. But I’ll stop for today.