Monday, March 29, 2010


I have never met anyone who is not aware of breast cancer. Have you? Victims' families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers are all too aware of it. Can we assume for a moment that everyone is aware of it? Then why do we run races and earn money for "awareness?" Where does that awareness money go? How much for prizes? How much for awareness of the sponsor company's name? There's a big word for that: cause marketing.

Do you run for breast cancer? Are you going to? What do you know about the sponsoring company? Do they use carcinogens in their products?

Stop griping, you say! Don't you know we're just running for a cure? So I ask:

If only 50% of the money goes for research, is that okay? Is 25% okay?

Who gets the research money? A pharmaceutical firm that makes dangerous products? Or a company whose products are beneficial?

When I go to church, the budget is published. I know where the money goes. It's just not okay with me to give to an event that refuses to reveal how much money finally goes to research. I contacted Revlon about a year ago, and they told me they do not divulge the figures.

For more info, I refer you to Breast Cancer Action.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I don't read vampires. I don't pick books because of the cover. And yet, I read Twilight because of the cover. What? It's a classy cover, okay?

Later a female friend who is not in her teens came to my desk wondering why women were reading this book about a teenager falling in love with a vampire. Mothers read this book. Even mothers of middle-aged women read it!

I say they read it because of every woman's secret wish. ( If this doesn't get me indignant mail...) Here goes: what woman wouldn't be secretly delighted if a guy who looks way better than Quasimodo has an uncanny way of showing up for the rescue whenever she's headed for a problem? Even a big problem. And the guy isn't a stalker, really. He's not a psycho, obsessive, or one of those You Will Love Me maniacs. A dream come true. Except for the biting thing.

And he's too gallant to beg for what he really wants because it's too dangerous for her. Silly boy. Like she's going to let this one get away. And he has millions of readers cheering for him.

Funny thing, after reading it, I always remembered the cover as just a red heart on the black background.

By the way, have you ever caught your lover, husband, or brother, or geometry teacher taking a peek inside this best seller? (Guys don't read this; he'll never know you told on him.)

No, what I really want to know is, would you have done what she did? For forever with Mr. Wonderful?

Monday, March 8, 2010


When the blender catches fire, when the nurse treats you like a known felon, or when you're trying to help people in trouble, do you write a letter? Will you? Here are a few things that work for some of us.

1. Just do it. Write when it's time and when it's fresh in your mind.

2. Use real paper. Some people are like Gibbs--they never read e-mail. Paper says we're serious. Supposedly when they get one letter, they know 10 or 100 people think the same thing.

3. Avoid "you" messages. Messages like "you're doing this all wrong" cause marriage counseling, lawsuits, and full wastebaskets.

4. Smart, savvy Alison taught me to use clear questions: Will you accept this check in full payment?

5. Best selling writer Mary Pipher introduced, in Writing to Change the World, the Sandwich Letter! We put our unhappy message or whatever filling between nice soft sentences. I started and ended my irritated letter to Macy's CEO with respectful sentences.

6. In my successful letter to the hospital, I told exactly what happened to me and how. I didn't refer to any nurses as bad or mean. Later I was glad of that--two nurses who were really not kind when we first met were great during later visits. Still, when the whole staff is having a bad day, or when a different policy could have saved me fear or pain, I write

7. End with a sentence summing up the action you ask for.

8. This wonderful Churchill executive memo used to hang over my desk.

Pray state this day on one side of a sheet of paper
how the Navy is being adapted to suit the needs of modern warfare.
Says it all.

Then STOP. Let it cool. Let someone else check for possibly misunderstood phrases.

And tell me if it worked! Or tell me how another letter worked for you.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Some of us who are not 29 anymore, and not 39 (don't even ask) do not always look at stilettos and think GIMME! We may secretly look at them and think: How can I look that good and not fall down? We see somebody who is 29 or 39 and she walks like she's dragging a sled full of rocks because her feet hurt, and we may think: I can look that worn out without paying $600.

In not exactly the Jurassic era, but quite a while ago, I had the most incredible stilettos and I was in Indiana! I'm pretty sure springolaters no longer exist--a secret device kept the shoe on the foot with only the tiniest bit of a strap. The heels on mine were green, like the incredibly thin stem of a flower. The beautiful rose petals were all around my heel! A half inch of black crepe crossed my toes. Since then, shoe-wise, it's been all downhill.

I do still have a pair of real heels in the closet--very businesslike Mary Janes, more boardroom sturdy than stiletto. The last time I wore them was, of all the places not to wear them, a tour of a zillion room mansion. Forbidden to sit on the furniture (some of it no doubt borrowed for the occasion) I thought I was going to scream.

Actually, when I said my shoe life was downhill, I meant until last summer's magic sandals. These are by no means stilettos, but the cunning little heels are shaped like no other heels, and the soles are actually the shape of my feet (rather than the shape of Manolos.) When I put them on, the magic sets in.

Beware of magic shoes. They feel like a visit from The Prince with the glass slipper. You will find yourself dancing. Even if you're too serious to find yourself dancing, they sneak up on you and make you strut! You've been warned.

What makes you strut? A certain dress, some boots, or real stilettos? Dare you to tell!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Until I got my first pair, I thought bootcuts were for cowgirls. Then I got the very subtle bootcut grey slacks and a well-dressed friend said, "You never looked so slim." Instant addict. One fashion guru admitted they are often the most flattering. After trying on a thousand or so more pairs of pants, I added bootcut jeans. For a long-torso, short-legged female, two pairs that fit, show off my waist, and flatter me is big news. Now I realize I should keep them in the vault; they're scarce as a good bra!

A peek at a magazine in the library revealed a quote from a fashion leader bemoaning this sudden scarcity!

It seems a bunch of designers got bored, and convinced a bunch of department stores that we had enough bootcuts! (Silly, silly stores.) Suddenly I got all these color catalogs full of scrawny teenagers in skintight pants. Not a grown-up thigh in the bunch! Why do you think Cathy Guisewaite talked about thighs in the wonderful CATHY cartoon? Because women have them and need pants that make them look great.

I wrote to the prez of a big, big chain of department stores and he tossed me to a merchandising woman who did nothing. Next time I went to that chain, there were no bootcuts. Eventually the two pairs I have will wear out.

Women, are you going to take this lying down? (Well, yes, you will be lying down to get into the new skinny jeans.) Do you have a mirror that shows your backside in them?

Will you write a letter to demand the style that flatters you? HINT: Ask a Librarian website can often find shy retail and manufacturer bigwigs who need a good talking-to. Seize the e-mail or the typewriter or the phone! Fight back for beauty! And let me know when you do, please.