Death by Spandex – the Rerun

Covid has still managed to dominate my days as I now have to help with the care of my young grandchildren. This allows for lots of play time with my little ones (and I wouldn’t trade that for the world) but leaves me little time to write, so once again I searched my archives and decided to rerun an oldie. I wrote this one 3 years ago but for me it still rings true! I wonder how many of you can identify with this?

I’m not beyond admitting that I’ve tacked on a pound or two. Age, menopause, and a relaxed lifestyle have conspired with gravity to humiliate me….but I can’t discount the role spandex has played in this.

I remember watching old shows on television and loving the 50’s styles. Full skirts with crinolines, pencil skirts with high heels, and slim leg pants! They looked so feminine, so I was thrilled when several years ago these fashions reappeared. (everything really is a cycle)

I was excited to go shopping…ok, I’m always excited to go shopping, it’s my ‘thing’ (much to my husbands chagrin) but this time I was really excited because I could now wear the fashions I’d adored.    Or so I thought…..

Time changes everything…..who knew that time would make me well, ‘insulated’?

First thing I tried on was a pencil skirt.  I took a few sizes into the fitting room. I may not fit in to a size 6 anymore but mercifully most fabrics are now blended with some form of spandex for those of us who need ‘forgiveness’.  The first 2 sizes barely made it past my knees so I rifled past the next couple of skirts and grabbed the biggest size. It fit! Ok, I had to do some major yanking to get it there, thanks to the flexibility of spandex, but it fit. (I won’t disclose the size) I tucked in my shirt, smoothed out the skirt and secured a leather belt around my waist, then faced the mirror. I looked like a knockwurst with a rubber band around my middle. I don’t understand it! This style looked fabulous forty years ago – it was a classic – what happened? I look at the label in one of the skirts and note that that it’s a blend of fibers with only 5% spandex. Ok, there’s the problem

I peel off the skirt, pull on my leggings and leave the fitting room, morosely handing my selection of skirts to the attendant (a sixteenish, size 0,,, really?) who smiles and cheerfully asks if any were the ‘one’. I shake my head no (knockwurst can’t speak) and trudge back into the store.

As I rifle through the racks of clothing (I feel it’s my responsibility to buy something,,,,,my husband will wonder what’s wrong if I don’t) I find myself constantly coming back to my old favourites, leggings. Out of curiosity I reach inside a pair to read the label; 70% nylon and 30 % spandex. Ok, it’s not me, it’s the spandex! Those skirts didn’t have enough spandex. (someone should complain to the manufacturer – this is misleading)

As I continue to scour the racks for anything interesting a nagging thought keeps coming to me. When did I last try on my jeans, my NON SPANDEX jeans, the regular kind. I can’t remember. I do remember that sense of relief when I pulled on my first pair of spandex leggings though – I remember I could breathe for the first time in a long time. I left the store and drove home, determined to face my demon.  After parking the car, I put away my purchases (yes, I did manage to find something to buy, after all) then headed for my closet. It took some rifling but I finally found my old blue jeans. (why did I keep them?) I peeled off my leggings and pulled on the old jeans (God, I’d forgotten how stiff denim was) but they only made it part way up my thighs. I faced the mirror, and in doing so faced the truth…..spandex had tricked me into a false sense of security! All these years I was so sure my figure hadn’t changed…..the leggings slid on without effort, but the reality was I had changed, and spandex (now my nemesis) had camouflaged my expansion! I felt betrayed.

The reality is society is growing and manufacturers are clever enough to know how to keep up with our girth. Lycra in our socks and underwear and spandex in pretty much everything else ensures a comfy fit, but where does it end? If we keep this up how big can we get (how stretchy is this stuff anyway?) before we explode into a big lycra/spandex mess?

I, for one, move for warning labels in all clothing containing any form of elastic. It used to be that we knew we were gaining weight by the ‘fit’ of our clothes but clearly that’s no longer the case. Clothing manufacturers have conspired against us to ensure we keep purchasing. Spandex is a killer – spread the word.

Me, Myself and I,,,the rerun

There are those in this world who are loners, introverts even. They’re not anti-social, they simply prefer to be somewhat anonymous; they are the observers versus the center of attention. I am not one of those people but I do understand their need to be alone.

I love a party, I love a crowd, and I try to keep a steady stream of friends coming through my house because I so enjoy being social, but there’s one person, above all others, whose company I enjoy most.


I love time alone with me. I talk to myself. I sing really loud. I crack jokes I find so funny, I laugh until I cry. In short, no one entertains me as much as I do and I thoroughly enjoy my own company. A well-educated gentleman I worked with years ago caught me talking to myself in my office one day and commented that he’d read that highly intellectual people were noted for ‘talking to themselves’. A little embarrassed at being caught enjoying myself with me, I was flattered but let’s face it,,,,,I’m no genius. When I walk in to a room people don’t generally say, “Wow, I bet she’s really smart!” They might, however, say “She’s really fun?” (jeez, I hope so!)

You know the crazy, thing about all this is that I rarely feel lonely. I like the company of just me, myself, and I. The three of us have a ball! We laugh and we talk. We dance, and we sing. We have the same taste in music, so whatever I play, we all enjoy,,,, go figure! We crack open a bottle of wine (because I hate to drink alone) andwe have a girls night, just the three of us. It’s a wonderful friendship and necessary for me, but it does run its’ course. After a couple of hours of revelry I need real people again.

Solitude may be a state of isolation or seclusion, but it doesn’t have to be lonely. In fact, quite the opposite. Being alone with you is a good way to really get to know yourself. You’ve no one to impress, no airs to put on, so the real you emerges. What a great way to get to know who you really are!

It’s human nature to be social, we crave the company of other people, but I think it’s just as important to feel comfortable with yourself just you, alone. For many this is a grim prospect. They’re not comfortable in a solitary scenario. It makes them focus on their ‘aloneness’,,,,, suggesting what, unpopularity? It also causes some to dwell on why they might be alone; perhaps they have somehow pushed away the company of others. You couldn’t be more wrong! (ok, there are exceptions here. There are people who are just plain unpleasant to be around so if you find yourself alone too much, it’s probably you)

For most, time alone is time well spent. We all need to regroup. Time to think. Time to talk…to no one, because no one’s a better listener to you, than you. And no one understands your thought processes, no one knows your vulnerabilities, better than you. Who better to spend quality time with? No pressure, no judgement, just an interested non-threatening participant.

Maybe I’m crazy. Fortunately I don’t care what others think in this regard because for me, time spent alone with myself is therapeutic, enlightening, and fun….which reminds me, I have a great joke to tell myself later…. it’ll kill me, and myself, and I….all three of us’ll really crack up!

Church music (another rerun)

Let me preface this by saying I have no issue with any religion. I was born a catholic and will likely die one and I have only a very healthy respect for all religions. I have no designs on converting anyone nor do I want anyone else trying to convert me. I do however, have some questions about certain practices within specific religions; namely mine, and only because it’s the only one I am familiar with.

The catholic church has its’ traditions, with age old ceremonies and countless hymns, most of them thoroughly depressing. I was always led to believe that my faith is what will save me. If you’re struggling with life, go to church and God will help you. If you’re struggling with guilt, go to confession and God will cleanse your sole. If you’re looking for solace, comfort and peace, you will find it at church, right? I think that’s how it’s supposed to work, but does it? Is that the environment they’re creating in the church? One of peace and love and mercy? Cause if they are, I’m not feelin’ the love!

I went to mass every Sunday growing up and I sang in the choir. I dragged my 3 children to church every weekend (with a pile of toys to keep them quiet while I repented for my sins) but for some reason I never felt happy after attending a service and I could never figure out why.

Then I happened upon a Baptist service on television one Sunday morning and it got me thinking because it didn’t leave me feeling bad about myself when it was over. Granted they too have one’ preacher’ who dominates the service and does a lot of screaming, but it didn’t seem accusatory.  What I found uplifting was their music. They’re all dancing in the aisle, clapping their hands and pounding tambourines – they’re having a ball! The catholic church on the other hand, has put more than half of their mass to music, and I don’t mean happy, upbeat, make you want to come to church, music. This stuff is tuneless, morose, and has the enthusiasm of a speed bump.

Further, the catholic service consists of a lot of lines like “I am not worthy” and “ I have sinned”. I know that, I’m no saint, but do I need to advertise my short comings? I come looking for solace and mercy but I get berated, and told to get on my knees and say 50 Hail Mary’s. And by the way, if we can all talk to God, anytime, anywhere, why do we have to go to confession at all? I’m all for cutting out the middle man so I go straight to the big guy and to date I’ve not been struck by lightning. And who are you to tell me I am not worthy? I lead an honest life, a Christian life, and if occasionally I falter I think I’d repent more effectively without having the snot pounded out of me. I think God knows that, and while I still consider myself catholic, I do not attend regular mass and the big guy and I have both made our peace with the arrangement.

I have to admit there are times when I long to go to a church service. There is a sense of peace you walk away with when you’re in Gods house but I fail to understand why they can’t make it fun. Religion should be a joyous thing. Just once I’d like to see someone boogie up to receive communion, and maybe they should hand out tambourines and maracas to the congregation. Put a little life into the service, get people up on their feet, singing and clapping, celebrating religion instead of fearing it. Make people feel good about themselves and the church, then maybe, just maybe, they’ll come back.

I think we could all learn a thing or two from the Baptists and Gospel Church goers and if I could muster up the courage (and a few conspirators) I’d crash the next catholic service with a mariachi band – bet that would blow the priest right out of his papal clompers!

Mothers Day – the rerun

Thanks to Covid my family have been busier than ever juggling work-from-home, child care (or lack thereof) and isolation. This has left me little time (or energy) to write a new blog and given our situation is unlikely to improve in the next few weeks, my husband suggested I post some ‘repeats’ to maintain my momentum. The blog below was originally posted 4 years ago, and while I am not hosting any grand parties this year, my sentiment is much the same. More than I ever I hope you can find a way to show a mother in your life how much she means. Stay well.

Mother’s Day – 2017

Last Tuesday my husband turned 60 and my mother turned 87. Two days later my daughter turned 30 and last night I threw the mother of all parties to celebrate their mile stone birthdays. It took weeks to coordinate, days to prepare the food and the house for out of town guests, and a small fortune was ‘invested’ in our local liquor store.

This Mothers Day like so many in my past, saw me cleaning house, changing beds and sorting empties, in between airport runs. I’m exhausted and a tad hung over (ok, self inflicted) and while there will be no fancy dinner out for me today, I feel a sweet sense of satisfaction and joy in my lot in this life.

This routine is not new. Mothers Day at my house was always overshadowed by family’s birthdays and over the years I always threatened to move Mothers Day into September, where we have no family celebrations and the day would be mine and mine alone, but I never did it and today for the first time I wondered why I hadn’t. Something feels different.

In truth, I’ve come to realize I really don’t mind my annual Mothers Day celebration (or lack thereof) because I’ve come to appreciate the occasion from a very different perspective. It was my husband who made me a mother – he can’t help that he was born so close to a national holiday that celebrates them. My daughter too is the reason I am a mother and that she arrived the day after Mothers Day 30 years ago simply reminds me that she was a gift, one of the best I ever got. (my other 2 children had the decency to arrive at neutral times of the year)

Instead of complaining about what I thought I was missing, I find myself enjoying the fact that I have these annual chores because they remind me that I have these people, these gifts, who made me “Mom”, and I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world.

However you celebrate Mothers Day I hope you take the time to reflect on those who made you a mother. You don’t need flowers or jewels, just the reminder that these people love and appreciate you, and they do. As I put my third load of sheets in to wash and prepare to mop my kitchen floor (if wine stains are any indication of a good time this  must’ve been one helluva party!) I feel a wonderful sense of love for my husband and children who make every day of the year Mothers Day and if running myself ragged once a year to celebrate them in lieu of celebrating me, is all I have to do, I’m good with it. Thank you for giving me a reason to celebrate with you at all!

Happy Mothers Day!