Friday, August 31, 2007

Ball caps revisited

One of the comments on my baseball cap post, by "anonymous" led me to wish to post more on this.

I think maybe your opinion about someone's outer appearance should be a little less judgemental (sic). I don't know... just a thought. Maybe that guy who met your friend for coffee just wanted to keep it a casual thing and thought nothing of it. Ya never know.

Whether we like it or not, people are going to judge us based on appearance. It's a fact. It's part of the reason the fashion industry is huge. Everyone knows that part of others' first impression of them is going to be based on what they are wearing. It's why job seekers--and generally people on a first date--make that extra effort to look good.

The way we dress also expresses our attitude toward the place we are going and the people around us. Keeping a hat on in a restaurant or coffee shop is still considered disrespectful and ill-mannered. The few dismissals I've seen of this rule are of the "we're gonna do it, so get over it" variety. Not exactly respectful.

In our society judgment has become a dirty word. But judgment is not a bad thing. This is the definition from the American Heritage dictionary:

  1. The act or process of judging; the formation of an opinion after consideration or deliberation.
    1. The mental ability to perceive and distinguish relationships; discernment: Fatigue may affect a pilot's judgment of distances.
    2. The capacity to form an opinion by distinguishing and evaluating: His judgment of fine music is impeccable.
    3. The capacity to assess situations or circumstances and draw sound conclusions; good sense: She showed good judgment in saving her money. See Synonyms at reason.

In fact, better judgment could save a lot of pain. Girls. If he comes to pick you up for a date in a cap set askew and a tank top, just stay home. (Unless you're going boating, to play softball, etc.) But, if it's for dinner, forget it. They don't call sleeveless white shirts "wife-beaters" for no reason.

We all make judgments every day about the people we see. Most of them are at the unconscious or subconscious level. We notice whether people are clean, whether they seem to care about their appearance, whether their clothes are appropriate. Sometimes we may notice their attitude, whether positive or negative. Depending on the circumstances this can help us know how to deal with that person.

The young man in the coffee shop with the baseball cap may, indeed, have thought nothing of it. And that is precisely the problem.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I forgot about some of those...

Yeah, I've got some muscles that I haven't thought about for a long time.

Hello quads. I do need you to ride a bike, don't I?

I never realized how many of the muscles in my lower body were going largely unused. Wow.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rush still rocks

Months ago Colin and I decided to buy tickets to see my all-time favorite band, Rush, at the Verizon Wireless Center north of Indianapolis. It was a very good decision.

We had seen Rush three times in the '80's, so we were interested to see how the concerts and the band had changed. The biggest change we saw was the audience. No longer mostly teens and twenty-somethings--although still predominantly male--the audience ranged from late middle-aged to little kids. There were old hippies, many-pierced teens, and LOTS of middle-class-looking forty-somethings like us.

The band has, if anything, gotten better. Geddy Lee has amazing energy and showmanship and his voice has mellowed just right. Alex Lifeson is still tremendous on the guitar. And Neil Peart is still the most incredible drummer I've ever seen. They played from 7:40-11:00 with one 15 minute intermission, and of course we stood the whole time! From the opening notes of Limelight to the ending notes of Tom Sawyer and through the encore, the energy level was just incredible.

Bethany and Patrick went with us and really enjoyed the concert. Having seen Rush live adds another dimension to listening to their music and Patrick and I were discussing different aspects of their songs this morning.

This was one of the high points--and the end note--to what has been a really great summer.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Want to win a fun purse?

Go check out Debbie's blog! She's giving away one of her cute purses. She also has a website with her quilts.

(I like the cute striped purse!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My new bike!

I feel like a little kid. I got a new bike today and I could hardly wait to get home to ride it.

I practically lived on my bike in the summers until I was in college, but I haven't had a bike for years. I've been looking at them all summer, but those that I liked were all pretty pricey. The price on this one was reasonable, and best of all it's PINK!

It's funny, I've never been much of a girly-girl, but I've always loved pink. I saw this bike and it was love at first sight. As I wheeled it through Target people were smiling at me, probably because I was grinning like crazy. A girl came up to me after I paid for it and told me that it was cool. (And that her mom paid $324 for her pink bike.)

Colin had to come to Target and pick up the bike, because he had a van today and I had the car, and he was smiling at me as he drove up, too. I think pink bikes make people happy.

So, when I got home I hopped on and took it around a couple of culs-de-sac. I was a bit wobbly at first, but I got the hang of it back pretty quickly. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time together over the next couple of months.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Accidental diet

I've lost six pounds in the last two weeks. I haven't even tried.

Here are the step-by-step instructions.

Buy stones to mark a 10x20 garden. Fill with good dirt. Plant four cherry tomato plants. And five other tomato plants. And some cukes. And some green pepper. And some basil.

Try to incorporate the above ingredients into every meal for two weeks. Especially the tomatoes.
Give some tomatoes away. Eat more of them. Give some more away. Eat more.

Weigh yourself.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I'm back

I hadn't planned on an extended absence, but I left town last Tuesday, expecting to have internet access. When I arrived at my destination, I discovered that my hotel had access, but that it would cost me $14.95 a day, on top of the pricey room and the $22 a day parking.

Nope. That $14.95 could buy some really yummy food for dinner.

Saturday, August 04, 2007


I have been wearing lots more skirts lately. I love the way it feels. I love the way men hold doors for me.

I have been haunting the summer clearance racks looking for skirts. Since I do not yet sew--although I am working on it (slowly)--I am still limited to what is in stores. And since I've hardly worn skirts for years outside of church and formal occasions, I'm starting almost from scratch.

I've had pretty good luck on the clearance racks, but today was the best. I got a beautiful charcoal gray wool jersey Jenne Maag skirt that had been over $300 for less than $30. The shape is gorgeous and it has just a touch of spandex, so it has a teeny bit of stretch and *lots* of movement.

I spent more on it than I've been spending in my clearance-shopping outings but it is classic, well-made and beautiful.

And please take off that stupid cap!

Still in curmudgeon mode:

I love to see men in hats. Real hats. Baseball caps are not hats. Baseball caps belong on boys. The only men who should be wearing baseball caps are those playing the game.

I was never annoyed by the ubiquitous billed caps until I started noticing a trend. Guys who wear them don't realize that they aren't supposed to leave them on inside. I have noticed that men who wear real hats tend to be very polite. They remove them inside. They remove them in the presence of a lady. Some of them even doff them. Unfortunately, the same cannot often be said of the overgrown boys who wear baseball caps. I know a very proper young lady who met a guy for coffee. He never took off his cap. Even if he had been fantastic in every other way, he wouldn't have had a chance.

I can understand why the guy doesn't want to take his cap off walking through Walmart or Gander Mountain. I'll cut him some slack. But when he's sitting in a restaurant--white tablecloth, cloth napkins, wine list--he needs to take it off. He also needs to wear a shirt with arms. Please.

ADDENDUM: Yes, many of the men I love wear baseball caps. My favorite bald guy often wears a baseball cap. My wonderful brother wears a baseball cap. That doesn't mean that I have to like it. And if they ever displayed poor hat etiquette, I would probably confiscate the hats. (My favorite bald guy is making a transition to real hats. He looks so incredible in his winter dress hat with his suit and overcoat on!)

Have some dignity

This post is going to sound rather curmudgeonly, but I am sick of seeing flesh everywhere I go. Way too much flesh. Whatever happened to leaving something to the imagination?

Last week my friend Polly sent me a link to this site about shorts. Last night Bethany and I kept seeing women who needed to see this site. Or a mirror. Seriously.

I don't wear shorts unless I'm playing tennis or--maybe--working outside. I am also one of those people who is always hot. I am living, breathing, walking, shopping, dining-out proof that a woman can dress comfortably in the summer without wearing shorts. I wish more of them would try it!

I don't have anything against shorts. Really. Slender young women with toned legs should definitely wear shorts if they want to. Fat fifty year olds should not, especially not short shorts with a tank top to the restaurant where I am paying over $20 a person for dinner. (Such a woman also should not eat her salad with her fork and the fingers of her other hand while chewing with her mouth open, but I digress.)

I also don't have anything against legs. But I do have something against fat thighs making shorts ride up until everyone can see way more of those legs--and other things-- than they ever wanted to.

There are several other posts coming on this topic and others related.

ADDENDUM: I do realize that there are some times and places for shorts: parks, beaches, amusement parks, etc. I don't even care if people want to wear them to the grocery store. Or the mall. Or Steak and Shake. Seeing women in nice shorts that come to somewhere between mid-thigh and above the knee is fine. But with very very few exceptions shorts don't belong in nice restaurants. And most women should never, ever wear shorts that hit higher than mid-thigh.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Happy birthday, Patrick!

My son Patrick, who is also, I am happy to say, one of my favorite people, is 17 today. (This is him in the birthday sombrero at Cebolla's tonight.)

We parents always say we can't believe how old our kids have gotten. It is hard to believe that it was 17 years ago that we rushed to the hospital in Waukesha, Wisconsin. (It was a good thing we rushed, because he wasn't waiting around! ) On the other hand, it isn't hard for me to believe that he's 17 because he is, in many ways, more mature and responsible than you would expect a teen-aged boy to be.

Patrick and I had some hard years when he was little. There were times when I wasn't sure we would both survive his childhood. Don't ask me how many times he ran off in a public place. Ran. Far. There were some major battles.

But somewhere along the line things started to change and I am very proud of the man my son is growing up to be.

Tonight he is exhausted because he just got back from spending a couple days helping out with his cousins in Indianapolis. They are 11, 6, and 3. Tomorrow he is leaving bright and early for a fishing trip that he'd really rather not be taking, but he knows it's important to his father, so he's going, and not in a sulky teenager way. He'll go and he'll fish and he'll be good company and help with his little brother. And when he comes home I'll take him to Starbucks.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Well, this was fun. Especially since I'm Elizabeth. I had to take a tiebreaker question that I am assuming made me Elizabeth instead of Emma.

You scored as Elizabeth Bennet, As one of Austen's most beloved characters, Elizabeth Bennet represents what most women would like to become: strong, independent, and loyal. Of course, she has her faults including a stubborn will of iron and a clinging to first impressions. Overall, Lizzie is bright and lovable...something to admire and aspire to.

Emma Woodhouse


Elizabeth Bennet


Marianne Dashwood


Elinor Dashwood


Jane Bennet


Charlotte Lucas


Lady Catherine


Which Jane Austen Character are You? (For Females) Long Quiz!!!
created with

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Living in the past

Those photos sent me into a genealogical frenzy, the likes of which I haven't seen for a while. I have spent the better part of the past four days deeply engrossed in a couple of my family lines.

I have figured out a lot about the photos and I am going to post on my genealogy blog about that in a little while. We are fairly certain that we know where the house in the picture was. If you are familiar with the intersection of Coliseum Blvd. and Lima Road in Fort Wayne, you've been there. That was the site of my great-great-grandfather Louis Bracht's farm in the early 1900's.

All of this sent me to the library to look at other records, and I have learned much more about this branch of my family.

Since I was going to the library to look up Bracht obituaries anyway I decided to look at some other branches of my family who might have ended up in the Fort Wayne paper when they died.
In one of those I found that an ancestress had brothers with a different last name than her maiden name. Several hours of research later, I had discovered even more family ties to Allen County than I knew that I had.

This photo is Flora Bracht Hildebrand, the same woman who is holding the baby in the middle of the old picture. In this picture the baby she's holding is me.