I’m thinking of smells

One of my brother’s college-days girlfriends is staying in my old living space here for a few days. They were out at the Woodstock “Roots of Woodstock” concert last night and are out somewhere this afternoon doing whatever she felt like doing during this her brief vacation.

When I went upstairs to get something out of the refrigerator that’s still there, I caught a scent of what must be her perfume. I liked it. It freshened up the whole area.

I haven’t worn perfume since I started wearing hairspray and the scents conflicted.

I remember finding the cologne I used to wear in my teens and twenties (maybe even 30s?) as making me feel light and airy — a feeling I wouldn’t mind having again.

You might remember that scent: Windsong. “I can’t seem to forget you. Your Windsong stays on my mind,” the commercial sang.

I don’t know about him, but it certainly stayed on my mind, and I’m having the desire to smell it again.

Maybe that’s because it smells a little sulphury around here due to the well water, which needs to be run through the softener — which can’t be done until my brother cleans out the residue and puts in more softening and deodorizing agent.

It just smelled so darn nice up there where my brother’s friend has hung up her clothes for a few days.

I have somewhat solved the cat litter box odor in my two-room personal quarters back home by strategically placing bags of zeolyte around the premises. But that doesn’t make the air smell “nice.”

I don’t like the strong scents of air fresheners, so I’ve just ordered a bottle of Windsong cologne to spray on my sheets and in my closet.

I wonder if it will smell the same to me as it did a half-century ago.

ending entropy

Entropy is a term used to define (among other things), a process of deterioration of a system.

In terms of technology, my life seems to be one big process of entropy. My old desktop died a slow death over the past several months. Last week, I totally fried the new laptop that I inherited from my once husband. (That frakkin’ Vista!) Now I’m on a old little laptop that does not hold the wifi settings that I need to get online. It’s only a matter of time with this machine as well. How do you end entropy?

I think the first thing for me to do is cut my losses. and not spend any more time and money trying to fix messes of machinery that have aready joined the slide into infinite entropy.

I have to start over, with an inexpensive CPU with XP that can keep me online. If I ever have enough money to get a new laptop, it will be a Mac. That’s a big IF.

And then there’s my mother, whom I somehow have to rescue from the entropy of her care by my brother. I’m leaving tomorrow, driving into what I know will be a battleground for what’s left of my 93 year old mother’s demented life. She deserves better than she’s getting.

She fell yesterday, and the doctor wanted her to go to the emergency room, but that didn’t happen. I want to take her there when I arrive tomorrow. It could wind up a fierce and legal battle if things do not change to her benefit.

Took a sleeping pill to calm me dowm.


and now for something completely frivolous

Everyone seems to be talking and blogging and reporting on the most recent Wall Street scandal — the AIG multi-million dollar bonuses. No doubt about it, we all have plenty of reason to be majorly upset. Our country is riddled with thieves, and try as he might, who knows if even the president can stop them.

But enough about that.

I am looking in the mirror and wondering if I should be wearing what I’m wearing — which is just about what I wear every day, home or away: jeans, layered t-shirts, sneakers. I’m wondering what is considered “age-appropriate” dressing for someone almost 70. While this issue is of absolutely no importance in the “Big Picture,” it is one that seems to periodically rise into my “little picture” consciousness.

Even though I asked my daughter to take notice and tell me if she thinks that I’m dressing too young for my age, she hasn’t yet done so. But I’m still wondering.

The problem is that I have always loved clothes, used them more as costumes, depending on where I was going to wear them. I had my ballroom dance clothes (nothing too fancy; mostly swirly skirts and dressy but comfy and washable tops), my fashionable work clothes, and my funky other items like embellished jeans and jean jackets. Also, dozens of pairs of really cool shoes, none of which I can wear any more. And, of course, attention-getting jewelry, some of which I had made myself.

Well, I got rid of my work clothes and packed up my dance clothes. I gave away my embellished denim and my cool shoes. What’s left is rather boring and ordinary, and maybe that’s the issue. I am not used to looking ordinary, certainly not like an ordinary older woman. It’s disturbing to me that I am finding myself so awfully ordinary.

I know that clothes don’t make the woman. But they can sure perk me up.

I try to search around the Net for what striking older women are wearing and realize there are no models out there — except for older actresses. So I begin to search out photos of older actresses — the ones who don’t look all plastic.

Judi Dench is 74 and looks fabulous with her gray hair and colorful accessories.

Lauren Bacall
is 85 and dresses with classic simplicity.

Faye Dunaway
is a year young than I, and she has her own individual style. I love her long hair and wish I had the patience to grow mine. (Of course, hers could very well be hair extensions.)

In my searching for “age appropriate clothing,” I run across a few forum comments that suggest that older women look much better than younger women in eye-catching accessories. As I was watching the new tv show Castle the other night (I got hooked on Nathan Fillian in his Firefly and Serenity days) I couldn’t help notice Susan Sullivan‘s outfits. She wears
unique and colorful clothes and accessories and looks smashing in them
because they are not designed for 20-somethings.

When 80-year-old Doris Roberts played Marie Barone on Everyone Loves Raymond, she was dressed in black pants with a different printed shirt in every episode — sort of the typical and ordinary outfit for many older women who are not as slim as all of the others I mentioned above.

As herself, however, and dressed to the nines, Doris Roberts chooses fabrics and colors with flair and she looks positively stunning.

Well, my body type falls somewhere between Doris Roberts and the others I’ve mentioned.

So, what have I learned?

1. Slimmer women of any age look better in any kind of clothes.

2. If you’re not slim and older than 65 and you want to look striking, cover your arms, don’t wear anything too tight, and wear eye-catching accessories.

In another couple of weeks, I’m going back to my home town for my cousin’s daughter’s wedding, and there will be relatives there I haven’t seen in a while. I really want to feel good about the way I look. One of the things I’m going to do is go through some of the jewelry pieces that I made and see what might work. I might even make something new.

Black wide legged pants, a black, light-weight, scoop-necked, 3/4 sleeved swing sweater with metallic threads, and a necklace made of amber and silver. And metallic flat shoes. That’s what I’m thinking.

I wish I had a face like Judi Dench and a body like Susan Sullivan (who is only two years younger than I). But we all have to work with what we’ve got.

a father’s words
a daughter’s pictures

After the death of her father, Melissa Volker discovered some uncanny similarities between her photos and the poems in a collected, unpublished work of his.

As a tribute and a tether, she brings them together here — a poignant sharing meaningful to parents, children, those who have lost, those who love.

Word and pictures. Together a common vision.

The above is the description of my daughter’s book, which she is publishing online through Blurb.com.
The title of this book of her dad’s poetry and her photos is the title he gave his collections of poems: “Seeworld: visions from the wonderground,” and you can get a preview of it here.
The poems are as much for children as for adults. They are filled with unique images that reflect the simple wonders of nature. The photographs visually capture that simplicity and that wonder, adding to the delight of the poems themselves.
“Seeworld” would make a great holiday gift for any family that treasures the special relationship that a daughter can have with her father.
(Of course, this proud mama just can’t resist plugging the publication.)

a father’s words, a…
By W.A. Frankonis an…

mired in stuff

Junk is something you’ve kept for years
and throw away three weeks before you need it.

It never fails, and I’ve been through it after every move (I’ve moved four times in the last 20 year.) Every time I get rid of clothing items, within a month I wish I had kept them. It doesn’t help that I’m addicted to buying clothes, and so downsizing becomes a periodic trauma.
I’m going to have to downsize my wardrobe considerably in order to fit in my rooms at my daughter’s house. I have already spent a month agonizing over what to get rid of. I’ve taken car loads to the Salvation Army and will be taking another trip tomorrow.
I used to say that I would have no problem taking off and leaving everything behind except my car, my computer and my cat. Obviously something has changed.
I think that the difference is that, back then, I had a life that I enjoyed and the energy to keep living it no matter where I was. Now I have neither. I just have a lot of stuff.

….If it weren’t for STRESS
I’d have no energy at all.

turn water into gasoline?

When I bought my non-hybrid 2008 Ford Escape, I just couldn’t resist all the bells and whistles I got on this demo model. I had thought about a hybrid. But the wait was long and my old Subaru would consistently refuse to start, and no one, including the dealer, could figure out how to fix the problem.
Anyway, here I am with a car that averages 22 miles a gallon at a time when gas prices are spiraling and the only place I don’t have to drive to get to is the mailbox.
So, I get on the Net and google “turn gas engine into hybrid.”
And, guess what! There is a way to do that. And, supposedly, it’s not a big deal. Many sites advocate just doing it yourself with stuff you can buy at the hardware store, but that just seems like a dangerous way to do it. Suppose you ruin the engine you have.
The smart thing to do, it seems to me, is buy something already manufactured to do the job. The best site I found about using water to turn a gas engine into a hybrid is “fuelfromh2o.”
This is how they explain the process:

The process is as follows, you start with water and an electrolyte NaHCo3 [Sodium Bicarbonate]. You add DC current, the H2o breaks down into H2 & O [we just call it HHO]. We introduce it into the engine by use of the engines vacuum. The HHO combines with the gasoline and air in the combustion chamber and is burnt. Once burnt, it converts back to H20 [water]. Its now going to absorb the inner heat from the engine normally at 350 – 400*F and turn into super heated steam. Then its pushed out during the exhaust stroke and out the tail pipe. There it condenses back into to water vapor and eventually collects back into water. So you start with water and end with water.

So what are our results, first and foremost a really odorless exhaust. Lowered Co2 emissions, NO2 emissions go almost to 0, In short the exhaust emissions drop off the scale as you know them and you produce water vapor from your vehicles tailpipe. Why vapor instead of water??? Because the hydrocarbon fuel [gasoline] produces enough heat during combustion to keep the burnt HHO in a water vapor state, so it will totally condense into water outside of the exhaust system [eliminating any internal corrosion].

OK, I think. If it’s that easy, why isn’t everyone running out to buy what they call an “HHO Generator?”
Well, one reason, is that it’s not that cheap. Another, I suppose, is that most people, like me, don’t want to fool around and try to install something like this themselves. The smart thing would be to have someone do it who knows what he/she is doing.
I go to their list of distributors. There aren’t any near enough to make it possible for me to go there to have a HHO generator installed.
It does seem like such a good idea! Why isn’t the reality more widespread?
As the fuelfromh2o site says:

This technology has been around since the middle 1800’s. YEAH THATS RIGHT!!! Back before the take off of the industrial revolution and the real use of oil and coal to power our factories and vehicles. But oil and coal was easier technology and easily found and CHEAP. GUESS WHAT “NOT ANY MORE”! So if you could gain performance, better fuel efficiency, smaller bills at the gas pump. WOULD YOU DO IT??? Whether you purchase our HHO units or go to a competitor’s store or website and purchase theirs. Just as long as you the consumer realize that you have been methodically led into a money pit concerning energy and fuel.


I would love to do something. Anyone have any suggestions??

ye olde Macintosh

1984 — the year my dad passed away and the year that my son b!X acquired his first Macintosh.
I unearthed it from under the steps in my brother’s cellar today, padded khaki case covered with at least two and half years worth of cobwebs and twenty years worth of the dust it has accumulated as I’ve hauled it around through move after move. B!X long ago moved on to other parts of the country and other versions of the Mac.
I don’t know why I kept it. And I don’t want to have to lug it through one more move.
I can’t help wondering if it’s worth anything, this boxy Macintosh 128K.
I also can’t help wondering — if I kept it for another twenty years, would it be worth something then?
It’s astounding to realize that the damned thing cost close to $3000 back in 1984. My dad was a very generous man, both in life and in death.