Deadly Sins of Gift Buying
May 4, 2015


With spring and summer comes many occasions to buy gifts or presents. It seems that there are many more birthdays during this time of year. From Weddings, showers, baby gifts, graduations, birthday gifts, get well, retirement, or anniversary occasions, a gift needs to be bought.

Gift buying can be a resentful chore or a fun experience. I have some tips so you never make a faux pas and break even one of the ‘deadly sins of gift buying’.

Here are the sins:

Something that says to the person they are fat.

This includes gym memberships, a trainer, or a subscription to a diet plan. If the person requests this gift, it is still dicey and you are treading on thin ice.


Something that says they are old.

This includes wrinkle creams, makeovers, or AARP membership. (My own company’s menopause pajamas can be a wonderful gift when presented as ‘travel pajamas’).

Something that says they are not very smart.

This includes beginning classes in anything, Rosetta Stone, on-line courses, or books they have never shown an interest.

Re-gifted anything.

If you didn’t like it why would anyone else? You can rationalize all you want!

Now if the recipient of your gift has expressed complete desire for any of the items from the sins that may be interpreted as fat, old or dumb, buy it. Be aware it still carries a risk component.

Successful Gift Buying Tips:

Wedding, baby showers, wedding showers gifts will be well received are those you buy from their registry. Sounds boring but it is safe.

Graduations, retirement gifts can be fun or practical. For graduates I like an electric teakettle with a supply of soup, noodle packages, hot chocolate etc. presented in a laundry bag. For retirees I like a collection of flip-flops or hats in a personalized bag or basket.

For Birthdays in the summer I like beach stuff. Big body towels, big rubber toys, squirt guns etc. presented in a beach bag.

For anniversaries I like special food or wine items. Something consumable because if it is a 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th, or 50th party, they really don’t need some THING!

Get-well gifts are always a tough gift. If they are recovering or not has to be weighed before you buy. Here a film DVD is safe.

Do you have any gift-buying sins or gift buying suggestions?


Team member on the Injured List
March 28, 2015

My husband is part of Team Haralee.Com Sleepwear. He ships out the orders every day. He folds and wraps and inspects the garments before they are put into inventory and he maintains the inventory. He is an integral part of the team that makes our company run smoothly.

 Haralee and Shelby at work

Three weeks ago he took a fall. He was pulling some heavy scrap metal out of his pickup bed with a chain and the chain broke and he flew backwards. He broke his ankle and fractured his leg. He had surgery on the ankle and is in a cast and will be in a boot with crutches for another month or more. Physical therapy will follow and hopefully by late June he will literally be back on his feet!

   Shel and Lou Convelesing

Not only are we a team in our business but in our marriage too. I exclusively pay the bills and he exclusively maintains the vehicles, other than that it is a combined effort. We share household duties like cleaning, cooking, yard work, laundry, errand running and grocery shopping.

You never realize until it is gone how much a helpful spouse helps! I am picking up his job at the company and at home. I am also his nursemaid because he cannot put any weight on his foot and it actually hurts him when it is not elevated.

I have had to change several plans because it is his right foot so he cannot drive himself to appointments. We are just hoping it is a bump in the road to plans, and recovery will be full for summer.

 Shelby's Fracture and Louie

The cats are doing a good job of keeping him company.

Anyone have tips for a good rehabilitation?

The Migraine Sufferer
February 28, 2015

I get migraines. I had a few migraines during my college years but they became more prevalent as I aged. The usual culprits like stress, lack of sleep, and head colds, are all sources of my migraines, but most often my migraines are caused by foods. Additives and artificial flavors found in foods are sure to send me holding my head in pain. Unfortunately I often don’t know the source until it is too late!

I have read some historical recounts of migraines and find it fascinating. From thoughts of being possessed to being an oracle, the migraine sufferer suffered various roles.

Also interesting are some of the remedies for migraines found in historical records.

Skulls were found with holes drilled through thought to relieve pressure, pain or evil spirits.

Eyes were removed for some of the same reasons.

Institutionalization, and shock treatments were also popular ways to treat migraine sufferers.

Recently I had a full morning of meetings planned. I woke up with a headache. I took my drug. I followed with 3 Advil, breakfast and a shot of espresso. I showered, dressed, and got ready for my day. The headache was a migraine and it was not responding right away. From experience this indicates time to nap in a dark room.

Last year I had a migraine that I ignored and pushed through to a planned meeting. I cut the meeting short. The meeting was at a hospital and I knew of an interfaith meditation room opposite the surgery waiting room that was hardly used. I knew I could not drive home so I stretched out on the floor of the room and turned off the lights. Sure enough some surgeons in full scrubs entered and discovered me. I assured them I was fine, just a migraine and waiting for the drugs to take hold. Of course being doctors and at a hospital and discovering a middle-aged woman on the floor, they felt obligated to help!

I did learn my lesson from that incident and stayed home this time. I napped for 2 hours and woke up feeling cold feet, not aching head and knew I was OK. My cat who feels she must babysit was relieved too.

 Maddie Blue Eyes

Are you a migraine sufferer? What works for you? Have you ever found yourself on the floor someplace waiting for your drugs to kick in?

Have You Written Your Obituary?
February 14, 2015


I read obituaries. I know I am not alone. I don’t know when I started but I do remember the first time I recognized someone I knew from his obituary.

One of my Mother’s friends, who recently died of pneumonia at the age of 92, had prepared her obit. She had outlived her husbands and children and wrote it because she felt no one was still alive who knew her story. I thought that a brilliant idea.

Here are portions of obits I question whether something else could be said if the deceased wrote it:

“She was a hard worker”

“She was ridiculously honest”

“He overcame many troubles”

I like attempts to capture a person’s personality rather than the resume approach or genealogical account of a person in an obituary.

Here are a few:

“If you feel sad or blue because you lost a good friend, be assured he is perfectly alright laughing and telling stories”.

“She is in the hearts of all those she touched”

“She was an acquired taste”

I like to know what was the cause of death in an obituary.

Obvious cause of death

Here are popular phrases that elude the cause of death:

“Fought a courageous fight”

“Died unexpectedly”

“Called home by the Lord”

“Died peacefully”

“Died Suddenly”

“Went to be with the Lord”

“Lost his/her fight”

A memorable obituary I read does not have the cause of death, but it read:

“1982-2014, Kind of young don’t you think?”

Are you writing your obituary? Are you making your wishes known for your obituary? Have you embraced the high costs of publishing your obituary?

Photos by Deirdre at Shuttershaman

A New Year a New Glow to My Skin
January 3, 2015

For the last 2 months I have been using L’Oreal Age Perfect Glow Renewal Skin Care Products.  The Facial Oil twice a day, the Day Lotion, you guessed it, during the day and at night, the cream. I actually ran out of the facial oil and had to buy more to complete my trail period! #sponsored!!


I am participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network campaign for L’Oreal Age Perfect. I am receiving a fee for posting; however, the opinions expressed in this post are my own. I am in no way affiliated with L’Oreal Age Perfect and do not earn a commission or percent of sales.


So after 2 months I am still in love with these products as much as I was after the first week, which is certainly a sign of a lasting relationship! I would recommend #glow renewal products to anyone in my age groups who doesn’t want to sell the soul of their first grandchild, or look for a co-signer for more expensive products that may or may not work as well.


My skin was appearing flat. My makeup was creasing into my lines and not looking attractive. Since I started the glow renewal skin regime I have noticed a great improvement. My skin feels softer, looks more glowing and my makeup is not creasing or caking into my lines. I am very pleased with the results.


Here are a few more reasons why I will continue to use the L’Oreal Age Perfect, Glow Renewal products:

Ease of application

The eye drop applicator on the facial oil means every drop is used and easy to apply. The Day lotion has a locking top which means the lotion doesn’t dry out. The cream is in a container that you can just dip into.

The scent is neutral

You aren’t being overcome by a scent from your creams that makes your eyes water like some other products. Your partner isn’t repelled by the smell of your night cream.

The cost is affordable

You can spend an arm, 2 legs and a mortgage for the promise of youthful skin from other products. The L’Oreal Glow Renewal products won’t put a big dent in your income!

Only need 3 items

I don’t have a lot of room in my bathroom for lots of products. I don’t have the time or the desire to apply several products at a time. These 3 are perfect.


So will you head to your favorite drug store or mass merchandiser and buy some glow from L’Oreal?



5 Things about Menopause Barbie Doll
November 30, 2014

Dancing Barbies

I keep waiting for Menopause Barbie to be released. Is this the year we will see her on the toy store shelves? She is past the average age menopause hits.

Here are five things I think Menopause Barbie will look like:

1.She is wearing sneakers.

55 years of wearing high heels have done a number on her feet. She can only fit her orthotics into sneakers.

2. She stopped having maintenance done.

Her breasts, butt and face are more realistic. She looks great still but more dare I say it, more age appropriate?

3. She has retired from her zillion careers.

At 55 she is a bit young but let’s face it she made some good investments over the years. That Malibu beach house she sold and the cars besides her pensions from all her careers give her a good nest egg.

4. She stopped coloring her hair.

She has white streaks that look great and natural in her remaining blonde hair.

5. She finds a close group of friends or a life partner.

Let’s face it, Ken was never going to be more than a plaything and we want her to be happy. Sure she has been busy all these years and has had lots of friends in the doll world but now is the time to enjoy and make friendship her priority.

BONUS POINTS: She is now on the Board for Mattel and becomes a philanthropist for the arts and education.

I envision Barbie donating lots of money to NPR and PBS.

Menopause Barbie is the woman we all want her to be if she was a real woman. We hope she will age to be Senior Barbie and maybe even Geriatric Barbie.

Mattel is missing a gold mine. What a perfect 50-year-old present, a Social Security present or even a 70-year-old gag gift if only they would let Barbie age gracefully!

Would you like to see Menopause Barbie on your store shelves?

My Skin May Have A Glow???
November 2, 2014

This is a sponsored post. I was given L’Oreal Skin Care but the opinions are all mine.

 Loreal Skin Care

When I was contacted to try out L’Oreal Age Perfect, Glow Renewal skin products I was thrilled. Not only was I on the lookout for some new moisturizer, I was desperate to find something that would feel good and not aggravate my skin. Formulated for older skin is also a plus!

It has only been a little more than 2 weeks since the trio arrived but already I am in love with the products and here are my reasons:

They have a light smell.

My husband’s eyes aren’t watering from the scent at night and it is not overpowering my fragrance during the day.

The facial oil has an eye drop application.

I love this application and wish more products used this method of distribution. You can easily regulate how much you need without waste or fuss.

The Day lotion has a “broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen”.

My dermatologist and my primary care physician have told me to use a sunscreen everyday. This day lotion makes it easy to fulfill this need without depending on my makeup containing sunscreen.

The Hydra-nutrition cream makes my skin feel good.

The cream is not heavy but not too light. It goes on easily. Together with the oil it makes my skin feel very soft.

Am I glowing? The products are called “Age Perfect Glow Renewal”. I might be. I have dull skin, and I may have noticed a hint of a glow. I do know the products have not aggravated my skin at all. That has happened with other products. I actually got headaches from a moisturizer but certainly not with this L’Oreal trio. In another month I will write a 6-week evaluation and hope then I can confirm a glow!

Based on my use I would recommend these products to anyone looking for a new skin care moisturizing line. Have you tried L’Oreal Age Perfect Glow Renewal?

Strange Encounters
October 20, 2014

The moon was full. That has to be a factor in all this. The day started with an errand to Costco.

At Costco I could not find everything I was looking for, unbelievable but true! So I only picked up the 1 item I needed. As I am waiting in line at the check out with my 1 item, 2 women about my age behind me start dissing me.

“Who goes to Costco and buys only 1 thing?”

“I never would come into Costco for just one item!”

“How can you only find 1 thing to buy at Costco?”

I turned around and said“ But aren’t you glad you are behind me?”

This does not shut them up. I think my delivery was off, or they were itching for a fight.

As I am walking to my car with my one item a car stops in front of me and the woman about my age turns down her window. I thought she was going to ask directions.

Woman, ”Do you like chips?”

Me. “Who doesn’t?”

Woman, “Do you like dip with your chips?”

Me, “But of course.”

Now here I am thinking she is going to pitch me from inside her car Pampered Chef or some multi level company. I mean why else are we 2 strangers discussing chips and dip in the Costco parking lot with her car idling? Truth be told, I love a good sales pitch and I never shy away from one, so I was already giving this woman kudos for her boldness in stopping and approaching me.

Woman, “Do you like taco seasoning?”

Me, “Yes, I do.”

Woman, “Do you use packaged taco seasoning?”

Me, “No I make my own”.

Here it is, I think the pitch is coming.

Woman, “I use one package of taco seasoning and 1 pint of sour cream. I mix it together and let it sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour and it is delicious.”

Me, “OK.”

Woman, “Only 1 pint of sour cream.”

Me, “OK. Thanks. Got it.”

Woman, “Bye.”

She drove off. I think she just wanted to share a recipe.

I can easily be on the phone with a friend for an hour. I will gab with my sister daily for 20 minutes without giving it a second thought. But what if you have retired or are an empty nester and you don’t have many people to have a good chat? Do you stir up conversation/controversy in the check out line or do you stop a stranger to share a good recipe?

On The Verge
September 16, 2014

I was speaking with my sister recently after she had a very exasperating experience. She stated she was on the verge….
Well she was so exasperated that fill in the blank was easy.

I realized we are all often on the verge of something good or bad.
Here is a list that may appear in your conversation:

On the verge of something big
On the verge of losing it
On the verge of a nervous breakdown
On the verge of falling asleep
On the verge of hitting it big
On the verge of discovering a breakthrough
On the verge of hysteria
On the verge of enlightenment
On the verge of a big break
On the verge of extinction
On the verge of exhaustion
On the verge of recovery
On the verge of making it
On the verge of acceptance
On the verge of going Postal

Being on the verge can be very dramatic. It can be a full of exasperation or full of hope. It might take someone a lifetime to be on the verge of some attribute or a split second. Some of us may never act on what we are on the verge of or be the recipient of what is just out of reach.

What are you on the verge?

Cleavage and Decolletage Debate
July 25, 2011

Something that is taken for granted is cleavage and deolletage, until you look in the mirror or at pictures and realize that this may not be the look for you anymore. Did you grow a bony sternum overnight? Did your skin under your chin get put into the dryer? Did your SPF Zillion stop working on your chest skin?

It is true you can buy a strong underwire bra to lift the girls to their former location. A push up bra will give you a bit of cleavage and a foam or contour or padded bra will give you some bosom. Trust me, however, lots of cleavage and or deep V-necklines are not friendly options as we age. Here are the reasons:

  1. Gravity

Gravity has pulled the girls down regardless of what size, so when yanked up they still are sitting a bit south.

  1. Spots on Décolletage

Discolored skin caused by sun damage, birth control pills, hormones, or who knows what causes a distraction.

  1. Wrinkled Skin

Right at your cleavage the skin resembles the skin on a chicken leg or looks like the sand on the beach at low tide.

  1. Bony

No one wants to see your bony sternum.

  1. Flab

No one wants to see flab escaping from your bra or dress.

So what to do? Avoid the Deep V-Neck. Supportive bras are a must but ease up on the push up style. If you discover you have chicken skin, are bony, or have flab, great flattering alternatives are the boat-neck or cowl neckline or a modest V-neck. If you are not looking for the Hoochie Mama or Bony Waif look, ask an honest girlfriend or partner for their opinion. It is only fashion but fashionably aging gracefully is an art and a skill!

What fashion changes have you made?