Social Myopia

Gossip magazines – we’ve all seen them. Lined up at the checkout lane in the grocery store. Fanned out on tables at the dentist office. Mindless fodder, for passing the time while we wait for the interminably slow checker to scan lettuce, or for the dentist to call us in.

I admit that I’ve skimmed these volumes through myopic eyes while sitting at the hair stylist waiting for the miracle of hair color to occur. There I sit, with my hair smooshed into a style that would never make it into said magazine, except perhaps under the “worst hair ever” section. While deprived of my glasses, I sit squinting at the pics of perfectly coiffed celebrities in evening gowns, and trying to read the recommendations for the best new books and upcoming movies.

But recently I’ve gotten a better look at this drivel, and what I see worries me. I bought something online which awarded me a “free” subscription to one of the more prominent gossip magazines, so now I’m getting a chance to give it a closer look.  One recent headline reads “Ellen: How I finally found happiness.” This implies to me that Ellen must have been significantly unhappy and solved some insurmountable problem to “finally find happiness.” I’m thinking cancer, maybe an abusive relationship, or financial ruin. But, not to worry about Ellen, she is completely fine. Turns out the only unhappiness alluded to in the article was that before Ellen was famous, and before any of us ever heard of her, she was poor and lived on one can of soup a day. But, as she has been rich and famous for some time now, I doubt that one could say she just recently “finally” found happiness. The story goes on about her happy home relationship with her partner, her dogs, her career success, and more, so I am hard pressed to feel too badly for Ellen.

Another article is sure to draw much concern though. Turns out Kylie Jenner had a huge problem, in that “..I felt that no one wanted to kiss me.” Apparently, being beautiful and constantly in the spotlight was not enough. Kylie was so distressed she had to get LIP INJECTIONS. Yes, disturbing I know. Maybe now she will get almost as much attention as the other Kardashians, and finally get all the kisses she deserves.

Just in case you were worried about Gwen Stefani, you can now relax. Turns out that she now is “The happiest I’ve ever been.” Apparently there is happy, and celebrity happy. Rest assured, she has moved on from her heartbreak, and  “is in the next phase” and life has “more meaning and purpose” Whew.

I don’t mean to sound like a curmudgeonly fuddy-duddy, but somehow I remain unsympathetic to the sensationalized plights of celebrity. Sure there are famous people who do have serious problems: illness, financial ruin; family dysfunction; loss of loved ones and so on. I don’t mean to trivialize those who truly do experience the same distress that we ordinary people do throughout our lives, yet I wonder how we as a society have become so superficial that we need to elevate the minutia of celebrity life to the importance of news.

Maybe our penchant for mindless gossip and scandal, and even the glorification of it explains in some way our acceptance of the vapidity of our recent presidential contest. Shock – Donald Trump is a womanizing bigot. Shock – Crooked Hilary deleted emails! Frankly, I am shocked, shocked, not just by these insipid arguments,  gossip, and negative discourse of accusations  and lies, but by how low  as a nation we have sunk, that many believe that this is the norm for candidates vying to become  the leader of the free world.

(Disclaimer: Huffygirl’s Blog does not endorse any political candidates.)

© Huffygirl 2016

Putting the garden to bed

When winter’s chill at last draws near,

I put away summer that is so dear,

snipping dead plants over there and here,

putting the garden to bed.

A gnarled old maple drops a  leaf,

spent Day Lilies wither in a sheaf,

hostas hide yellowed leaves underneath,

putting the garden to bed.

Bright mums and sedum get a reprieve,

while dimmed summer daisies must take their leave,

and dead grass into the bin I heave,

putting the garden to bed.

As you can see, I love summer. Summer is the time when I can let  inside work slide. Piano practice music gathers dust on the rack.  Shirts awaiting the iron form first a pile, then a bunker. Junk mail piles up. Knitting sits idle. But summer novels get read and reread on warm sunny beaches and long airplane rides. I walk miles on the beach, feeling clean white Michigan sand beneath my toes.  But perhaps my favorite day-to-day part of summer is the garden. From pulling away wet dead leaves in the spring to reveal brave shoots peaking up from the cold ground, to deadheading purple petunias and red geraniums, to watching iridescent hummingbirds sip from purple fuchsia, I enjoy it all. My gardening time is about new life, growth, death, and rebirth. Each year the cycle begins anew, fresh and full of promise. And as autumn slips in, it is also about putting it all to bed, with the promise of spring to bring it all back to me again.

© Huffygirl 2016

Photos and original poem by Huffygirl ©2016.


Canada adds new province



Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau announced today it has acquired enough land to add a new Canadian province in Israel. “Our new province is a positive move for both Canadians, Israelis and  Palestinians. Canada is a country originally formed by peoples of many nations, including Aboriginal people and those from many European nations.  Our hope is that the unity that all Canadians feel will spill over into the new province, uniting Canadians and all people currently living in Israel.”

While details are still evolving, Trudeau believes that all residents will eventually gain dual citizenship of Canada and Israel, while maintaining any citizenship they currently hold from disputed Israeli lands. “This will allow all citizens of the new province to move about freely, dispensing the need for Israeli work permits, which is always a hot button issue in Israel.

The addition of the new province, named Nova Canuck, brings the number of Canadian provinces to 11. While most Canadians are ecstatic about the addition of the new land, some remain skeptical. Disputers argue that Trudeau, who makes his love of the Israeli product SodaStream no secret, has acquired Israeli land to keep his beloved soda flowing. While Trudeau denies this, both Canadian and Israeli Twitter are blowing up over the hashtag #SodastreamsoTrudeau.

© Huffygirl 2016


Time to get out your spring spheres!

Here’s a classic post originally written for Easter 2011.

Huffygirl's Blog

Finally. It’s Easter, time to celebrate the Christian Holy Day of, oh wait, there’s someone at the door. Ewww. This could be a problem. It’s Politically Correct Guy, just stopping by to make sure I’m not including anything offensive to anyone in this post.

So PC guy, I was just about to write a post about Easter, the Christian Holy Day of… Oh, so you say I can’t write about Christian Holy Days because it might offend non-Christians? Well, I never thought about it quite like that, but I kind of see your point. Okay, so I’ll just talk about how we colored some Easter eggs and… Now what? Oh, you say I can no longer call them Easter eggs. Now we have to call them “spring spheres” to avoid offending folks who don’t celebrate Easter.  I guess no one is worried about offending the large group of folks…

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Am I finally too old to shop at Victoria Secret?

1940s-Fashion-How-to-get-Christian-Diors-New-Look-4Here I stand, searching through bins of lingerie looking for my size. This store, which used to be a place I enjoyed, has turned into a (insert sputtering here) nightclub. Store associates with names like Amber and Autumn wearing skimpy tops and lace, flit by, arms overflowing with bras. Fifteen-year-old girls wearing outfits I would never let a daughter of mine leave the house in, shuffle through, with the requisite sleazy boyfriend in tow, pants dragging, seeming a little stunned from being  surrounded  by so much  underwear. I don’t want him here – this is supposed to be MY store.

Long ago, it was my store. Matronly women in black smocks with tape measures around their necks, tut-tutted around, making sure that everyone left with the right-sized bra. They still had pretty (and over-priced) lingerie, but in a more moderate, sensible  way. I would leave clutching my pink-striped bag, scented with a light whiff of perfume, feeling special and satisfied, as if I’d just had a pedicure or a night out.

But now, fast-forward to 2015, where clothing, and women’s underthings are a multi-billion dollar industry, fueled by a big corporations and an insatiable appetite for anything sex, and VS is now a lingerie superstore. But, even though I may be the only old fuddy-duddy in the store, I still need a new bra. I stand in line for a fitting room with girls half, no three-quarters my age. “Where is the rest of her outfit?” I wonder. “And how does she walk in those shoes?” The two store clerks are decked out as if for some kind of bedroom espionage: black lacy tops under an array of equipment strapped upon them: big phones, bags of clips, note pads, and tote bags filled with bras slung over their shoulders. At least they still have the tape measures. Sigh.

Finally I stand in the crowded check-out line. I’m wedged in between a girl with purple hair and a bin of orange lip gloss. Orange? Who would wear that? Every single person in the store except me, that’s who. At last I leave with my pink striped bag feeling heavy in my hand, head pounding from the club-beat music and the heavily perfumed air. I don’t think I’m too old. But my values feel that way.

© Huffygirl 2015

Surprise me

Rock Island boat house,, © Huffygirl 2012I was bored. I had been home too long. I was tired of everything. Tired of all the food in the house, the TV shows, my books and games. I needed a change.

Since my son was getting ready to do the grocery shopping, in a moment of desperation I added a hasty scrawl to the bottom of the list:  “surprise me with something good and fun.” I was expecting that he’d come home with a candy bar or a box of Oreos.

Instead, he brought me light. Four shimmery little solar lanterns. I pulled out the tag and immediately was surprised with a pretty silvery glow. I tucked the lanterns into the garden, among the emerging hostas and grasses. The little lights were just right, casting a pleasing shimmery circle among the greenery. Suddenly everything seemed new and hopeful again. Sometimes all we need is just a little light.

© Huffygirl 2015

Mother’s Day

IMG_6402 crop2,, © Huffygirl 2015This weekend we set aside a day to honor mothers. While this should be a day where we honor the sacrifices our mother made to give us life, to teach, and to nurture us, instead it often becomes a day for cynics to arise and promote negative ideas about Mother’s Day. Some say that mother’s day denigrates women who do not choose motherhood. Others say it makes those with bad mother’s or unhappy childhoods feel sad and isolated. Still others think that the commercialization of this holiday has ruined it, making all things Mother’s Day cheap and insincere. I could go on.

In the late 1800’s Anna Jarvis espoused a wish to have a day to honor all mothers, and wrote this prayer: “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.”  Anna appreciated her own mother and recognized the difficulty of the work of mothering, and its contribution to society. She was intelligent enough to know that honoring  one group, i.e. mothers, does not defame or lessen the importance of  non-mothers and others. She worked tirelessly to have mother’s day established as a national holiday, and it finally was declared  so in 1914. Anna later regretted the commercialization of Mother’s Day, but held true to her belief that mothers should be honored.

In this country we have many days set aside to honor different people and things. Some are silly, like National Hat Day, or fun like National Pie Day. Some are serious like Veteran’s Day, and some are overly commercialized, like Valentine’s Day, and yes, Mother’s Day. Should we then not celebrate pie because cake will feel hurt?  Are socks insulted on Hat Day? Do non-veterans become offended on Veteran’s Day? The answer to all of these questions is of course, no. In a mature and enlightened society, we should have the common sense to recognize that honoring one group does not insult the opposite group. As a nation, we must not lose sight of the reasons we have chosen to recognize certain ones – for dedication, loyalty, commitment, service. These values matter and deserve to be honored.

This Mother’s Day I will remember my mom for all she did for me, and all mothers for their contribution to society.

© Huffygirl 2015