Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle, and Opinions on Everything and Nothing.

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The videos below, which most of us have seen separately, were made in different years by different people. They are not, to my knowledge, related in any way except subject matter.

I grouped them here because they each made me think about intimacy, isolation, and connection.


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SOAP BOX: How Women Talk About Other Women

I had a discussion with an acquaintance recently, that went completely pear shaped. I’ll call my companion “Sally.” She’s definitely further to the right than I both politically and socially; dressing very conservatively, eschewing makeup, talking frequently about her church. No biggie, we normally get along well together. Our chat took place a couple weeks ago, but I can’t shake it. So let’s discuss…

I was reading the following piece in The Week (my favorite news magazine):

The Big Breasts Ban


A high school senior in Washington state was denied entry to her prom because her breasts are too big. Central Kitsap High School’s dress code permits strapless dresses, but Brittany Minder says school officials told her she couldn’t enter unless she covered her abundant cleavage. Minder wrapped herself in a shawl, but left the prom after an hour. “It was tough being there after all that happened,” she said. “I was self-conscious.”

I was indignant for young Brittany, and read the article aloud. The response was (paraphrasing, it’s been a couple weeks), “Of course they did. Or they’d have had to deal with her having sex in the bathroom later.”

When I picked my jaw up off the floor, I asked Sally what in the world she meant. Her paraphrased response, “If girls dress like that they’re looking for a certain kind of attention, and they’ll act on it.”

At that point I began to have trouble hearing her over the sirens going off in my head. I stated that this was one very short step from the old “well if she hadn’t dressed that way… she has no one but herself to blame…” attitude toward rape victims. This Sally denied emphatically, while restating her belief that girls who wear low cut tops or short skirts, are “looking for a certain kind of attention,” and are going to be, or cause, trouble.

My, that slope looks awfully slippery!

I told Sally that she was wrong, I was extremely disappointed in her, and I changed the subject. Well handled? NOPE. In my defense I submit again, it was hard to concentrate with the claxons and flares going off.

Brittany Minder in her prom dress.

Brittany Minder in her prom dress.

The exchange distressed me. Are we still tearing down other women, rather than supporting them?

A few points:

  1. Brittany happens to be busty. Are we now stigmatizing women for their physical attributes? (Naive question, the answer is, and always has always been, yes). Would the same dress on a less well endowed classmate have been acceptable?
  2. Brittany is in high school. Research shows at this age cognitive development is not complete, there is a poor understanding of consequences. Reasoning and judgement are still being acquired through brain maturation, coupled with life experience. She’s still just growing up and trying to figure things out. Was this dress ridiculously revealing? I don’t thing so. But even if it was, she’s finding her boundaries and what’s comfortable for her. She’s a kid. No need to run out and buy her a red light.
  3. In my opinion, Brittany’s dress was both adorable and appropriate. Could we see cleavage? Yep. But this young lady probably has cleavage in a crew neck t-shirt! It’s how she’s built.
  4. Perhaps Sally simply lacks empathy, and is unable to understand, being smaller chested herself, how difficult it can be to dress a bodacious bod. To quote Brittany’s dad, “A girl like Brittany should not have to go to a dance in a burlap sack because she’s large busted. It’s ridiculous.”
  5. Say she WAS wearing something racy. Let’s think, for just a minute, what role models the media has for this generation of female children.
Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Rihanna

Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Rihanna

This topic may have struck home for me, in part, because I’ve been listening to coverage of the trial for the attackers of a young woman who was raped on her school campus  during a homecoming dance in Richmond, California. Regardless, It is not acceptable to condemn others because they make different choices than we do. It is contemptible to dismiss a person’s rights, or even their feelings, because they don’t look or act as we do. And it is appalling to imply that a girl is undeserving of respect, solely because her cleavage is visible.

So what do you guys think? Should Brittany have been singled out and made to cover up her “natural resources?” Was I out of line for calling Sally on her comments?

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For the last 15 years, when I’ve met a happy couple, especially older couples, I’ve asked them a question: What’s your secret for a successful marriage?

Over the years, I’ve gotten some wonderful answers and I wish I’d written them down. Maybe that will be my next project…


At any rate, here are a few of my favorite answers:

I met a couple who’d been married 47 years. When I asked them how they made it work, the husband smiled like the sun had come out, took his wife’s hand, and said, “You both give 100% every day. You don’t give 50% and 50%. You each give 100%. Then if you fall short sometimes, you still have more than enough.”


Another couple I met around the same time was less serious. The husband (of 52 years) told me, “I just never turn on my hearing aid!” His wife laughed and punched him gently on the shoulder. They were holding hands. I love seeing older couples holding hands.


My oldest sister has been married over 25 years. When I recently asked her this question, she was thoughtful for a moment then said, “I chose early on not to speak badly about him to others. When I was a young military wife, sometimes a group of wives would get together and they’d end up complaining about their husbands. I didn’t want to speak about my husband that way, didn’t want to get in the habit of saying or thinking negative things about him. I’ve always been glad I made that decision.”


I met a Bay Area man last week who has been happily married 16 years, and spoke so sweetly about his spouse. He advised, “Marriage is like riding waves. Sometimes you go up, it’s good times. Sometimes you go down, not so good. But don’t get scared, don’t be afraid. Stick with it, it will go up again.”


What’s the best relationship advise you’ve gotten, or the best advice you have to give?

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Struggling Through

Life can be hard. Really hard. Heartbreaking. Lonely.

We’ve all been there. And I’d like to think about that with you guys today. 


Is there anyone in your life that’s lonely? Had a recent breakup or been widowed? Lost a dog, has a spouse in the military on deployment, or some other difficult circumstance– large or small? How about calling them? If you live near one another, see if you can make a date to take them for coffee/dinner/a drink… let’s reach out this week. Or maybe, let’s reach out this year.


Here’s the starter list I use for myself, or suggest to others, in hard times:

  • Counseling: we all deserve support, and sometimes an outside, objective person has insight we don’t. Sometimes too, it’s easier to hear things from a professional, someone who isn’t part of our lives. It seems less likely they’ll tell us what we want to hear to spare our feelings. And there are times we don’t want to “burden” our friends with the hundredth retelling of our sad story, but we NEED to talk about it.
  • Exercise: whether it’s running 10 miles, walking around the block, or going to a Zumba or yoga class. Anything that gets your blood flowing is good. There are dozens of studies that show exercise is helpful in dealing with emotional distress.
  • Take up a new hobby: learning something new is distracting. I once worked my way through a break-up by learning to knit. My roommate taught me and it was incredibly relaxing. I realized later it was basically meditation. But anything can help… music, painting, rock climbing, throwing pots, anything you’ve ever wanted to try but didn’t have the time. NOW is the time.
  • Reading supportive books, articles, blogs: There’s a great blog about divorce, dating, remarriage, infertility, and finding peace with it all, that is wonderfully sweet without being cloying: Check it out, some of her older posts are especially poignant. This woman has been through some hard, hard things. She came out the other side, and is committed to helping others through. Beautiful stuff. 

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If you or someone you know is struggling through heartbreak or depression, what resources do you use or recommend?

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Valentines Day, a loaded holiday, was my nemesis for many years.


I’m now a happily married woman (still a newlywed), and I fully realize just how lucky I am. I spent 20 years dating… kissed my share of frogs, and had my share of single nights. Those 20 years were spent working on myself (I know, I know, some of us have farther to go than others! Don’t judge!), figuring out how to be a friend worth having, and a real partner.

Hubs and I in September, 2012, on the ferry to Alcatraz for the night tour.

Hubs and I in September, 2012, on the ferry to Alcatraz for the night tour.

This Valentine’s Day, I decided to focus on loving my friends, my coworkers, my fellow man in general, instead of romantic love. My husband is on board and we’re not doing V-Day gifts or even cards this year. But just for fun, whenever we pass a display of Valentine’s Day cards, we pick out a few for each other to read. 



For the singletons out there, I hope you are enjoying the journey. There were times I did, and many times I didn’t. We all feel hopeless and alone sometimes. At the same time, as the song goes, “they call us lonely when we’re really just alone.” I took wonderful solo trips to Europe and Central America, had countless girls’ nights out, and learned that I enjoy my own company–whether on a crowded dance floor or in my living room by myself. 


Are you celebrating V-Day this year?

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3D Printers and Custom Fashion

You guys have probably all heard about 3D printers, so I won’t to insult your intelligence by belaboring the basics. Suffice it to say, there are implications for artpublic safety, and medicine, just to start down the rabbit hole. Possibilities range from printing out new organs for transplant patients, to printing guns (clearly there are major concerns about this).

A digitally created and printed sculpture, image via

A digitally created and printed sculpture, image via

NPR’s Planet Money did a great show recently about 3D printers. Among many other things, they mentioned the printers can be used to manufacture custom clothing.


Each piece is made to fit the customers exact measurements, not some arbitrary set of sizes into which we have to cram ourselves and make do. Imagine, tank tops that don’t ride up because they actually fit our curves! I was fascinated and googled “3D Printing + Fashion” that evening. From what I’ve found, this could become a very big deal, potentially a game changer for the fashion industry.

A 3D Printer in use, image via

A 3D Printer in use, image via

This video discusses fashion industry implications. It’s only 11 minutes and I was completely intrigued. The last speaker represented Shulogique, a company that takes 3D scans of your feet and custom makes pumps to fit you perfectly. You get to choose heel height, color, style… I wonder how long before this technology really takes off and there aren’t numbered sizes anymore… we each have our own size. “I’d like that in ‘Ellen’ please.”


Beautiful Shoes, via Shulogique’s FB page.

What do you think of 3D printing?