Wednesday, December 4, 2019

My Crystal Ball's a Little Cloudy

Thought for the day: Wise old ladies don't plan too far into the future. [me]

Yep. It's that time again.Time for our monthly IWSG posts. As always, thanks to our fearless leader, Alex Cavanaugh, for founding this fine group, and thanks to all the other nurturing guys and gals who've helped turn it into the thriving community it is today. I'm telling ya, this group offers better support and lift than the world's most expensive bra. (No pesky underwires, either!) To join this super supportive group of writers and to see links to other participating blogs, please go HERE

Writing is still taking a back seat right now, but with the end of scheduled chemo and radiation now in sight, if all goes well, maybe I can invite my muse back into my life after the first of the year. We shall see.

In the meantime, I'm gonna vent a little. As I write this, it is Saturday afternoon, and maybe the issue will be resolved prior to the publication of this post on Wednesday, but I'm gonna spit it out anyway.

I firmly believe in writing and posting a review after reading a book, because I KNOW how important that feedback is to writers...  especially the insecure ones. (Which pretty much means ALL of us.) Typically, I post on both Goodreads and Amazon, and to date, I've posted a bazillion of 'em with no problems.

Until now.

For some reason, Amazon has rejected my last four reviews. I tried resolving the problem via email messaging with someone in customer service this past week, but that didn't go well. I ended up getting an email the next day from someone with Amazon in INDIA... saying I needed to have a password-protected account in INDIA... and spend such-and-such amount of money per year on INDIA Amazon before I could post a review.


Last time I looked, I've never even BEEN in India. (Musta been some other Susan Swiderski...)

My attempt to respond to that email proved worthless, so I hope to resolve the issue via telephone next week. I mean... what the heck? I'm curious: have any of you encountered the same issue? 'Tis annoying...

At any rate, I'm gonna tell you guys about one of those rejected book reviews, because I think You Beneath Your Skin is well worth promoting. It's the brilliant debut from one of our very own IWSG members, the talented Damyanti Biswas. Not only is her book an eye-opener about the horrors of  acid attacks on women and the dismal living conditions and difficulties for the poverty-stricken children of India, but it's also a thought-provoking story of self-identity and inner strength... and it's beautifully well-written. But wait! That's not all...  All proceeds from book sales are being donated to organizations that help these women and children. We can't all be Mother Teresa, but we can all benefit by becoming aware of the issues that so touched her heart. If you treat yourself to a book this Christmas, I humbly suggest this one.

Now, for this month's question:

Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?

I think Snoopy's got the right idea.

To tell the truth, I don't look too far into the future, especially since Smarticus got diagnosed. I'm taking each day as it comes and making the best of it. Besides, I'm getting old enough that I have to seriously consider whether or not it's a waste of money to buy green bananas from the grocery store... (HA! Just kidding on that one. It's perfectly safe to buy green bananas, no matter how old you are. More likely than not, they'll be overripe by the time you get them home, anyway...)

Seriously, if I'm gonna imagine the future me living the writer's dream... it'd be great if a kind-hearted publisher read my books and knocked on my door like The Millionaire used to do on the old TV show. He can keep his money, though. I just want him to fall so in love with my books that he wants to publish and promote the second two books in my trilogy. Heck, if you're gonna dream, might as well dream big, eh? (If he wants to toss some moolah into the deal, I guess that'd be okeydoke, too...)

                               Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Getting Old Ain't All Bad

Thought for the day: Gratitude is an attitude.

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the U.S., and for those of you who celebrated it, I hope you had a wonderful day. For those of you in other countries who didn't celebrate by overeating until you were miserable, I hope you had a... lovely Thursday.

Smarticus and I have lots to be grateful for. He finished radiation this week... and he doesn't glow in the dark!... and today's his last chemo infusion for a while. And only one more round of chemo to go (Woo HOO!) before a PET scan will determine how effective it's all been. We're optimistic, and we're grateful that it's gone as well as it has. (And we're still smiling.)

Okay, so here's the third and final guest post I did a few years ago for The Really Real Housewives of America. Again, I'll run it just as it appeared originally. I hope you enjoy it.


Hi-ya. Me again. Back for my final fling as this week's guest blogger. And today... anything goes! Woo-HOO! So what are we gonna talk about? Something you've all heard about before, I'm sure... those dreaded midlife crises. You know, that time of life when we allegedly go temporarily nuts, and do all sorts of wild and crazy things because we suddenly notice we're (gasp!) getting old.  Driven by desperation, we supposedly do anything and everything we can to prove we're still young... even if it's nothing but a silly delusion.


I don't think that midlife crisis nonsense amounts to a hill of beans. Granted, my hubby and I sped past the mid-points of our lives a long time ago, but we still haven't experienced any great angst about getting old, or behaved any nuttier than we ever have. Know why? Because, believe it or not, this is actually a great time of life. Exhilarating, even. We truly ARE the captains of our own ships now. If we want to do something, we do it. Well into the post-retirement years, our time is our own, and what we do with it is up to us.

If an old guy wants to buy a convertible sports car, why shouldn't he? That doesn't have a thing to do with being in crisis. Doggone it, he worked hard all of his life, raised his family, and now, he can finally afford to treat himself to some of the things he's always wanted. We seniors can indulge ourselves by fulfilling some of our delayed wants, the things we put off all of those years when raising our families, and our careers often took top priority. If an old gal wants to dye her hair purple, why the heck not? Maybe it's her favorite color. If an old guy leaves his longtime wife to run off with a twenty-something bimbo, that doesn't mean he's having a mid-life crisis, either. All that means is he's an ass, and probably always has been.

There's actually a lot of good things to say about getting older. Like we generally have the confidence to stand for more convictions, and the moxie to fall for less malarkey. We may still be competitive, but we also realize being kind is much more important than being right. We've learned it isn't very smart to test the depth of the water with both feet, and we understand that the true art of conversation isn't just about saying the right thing. Sometimes, it means keeping our mouths shut when it's oh-so-tempting to deliver a verbal shot.

You may have heard this quote before. It's been sent to me many times, but without attribution, so I don't know who initiated it, but it's worth sharing: Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, "WOW! What a ride!"

That's our plan. To enjoy the ride as long as it lasts, and to carpe the hell out of each diem. Don't make a big deal out of getting old; just enjoy it. My body parts may be getting old, I may take more pills every day than I ever imagined possible, and the pain under my boob may turn out to be a bum knee, but I'm determined to stay young at heart and in attitude. Is that being sassy? Could be, but I refuse to let aging get me down. (For one thing, it's too damned hard to get back up again!) Be assured, ladies, that no matter how old you are, you can still have the body of a 21-year old, if that's what you want. But (Bada-boom!) you may have to buy him a few drinks first...

In closing, I'm gonna make a blatant plug for a book called Old Broads Waxing Poetic, a compilation of poetry from some very talented ladies. (And me.) Best thing about it? All proceeds go to CARE International, a fantastic organization, so none of us will ever see a penny of it. If you're interested, you can find it on Amazon.

Isn't that cover awesome? The image Forever Young is courtesy of a very generous Italian artist named Francesco Romoli, who immediately agreed to let me use it... for free... when I contacted him.

In closing, I'd like to share one of my poems from that book with you. It's called Ode to Old Age.

I found a hair there under my chin,
And I yanked that sucker out,
But wouldn't you know, the very  next day,
Two more began to sprout.
I don't know what's happening;
It's a perplexing change of pace,
My arms and legs are going bald,
But I've gotta shave my face.

It's such a rotten travesty;
My tummy once was flat.
But now my hourglass is mostly ass,
And my waist has turned to fat.
My body's slowly sagging,
And I don't look so hot;
If a man wants to ogle my bosom now,
I'm afraid he'll have to squat.

But that's okay, 'cause I'm still here,
Of life I'm still a part.
So what if when I bend or stretch,
I leak a little fart?
I've lots of life and love in store,
Though I'm not young and shiny;
If ya wanta know the truth,
Old age can kiss my heinie.

Well, that's it, folks. It's been a pleasure. Thanks to the lovely Tammy for inviting me over to do a few guest posts. Remember: A good attitude is contagious, but for Heaven's sake, don't wait to catch it from someone. Be a carrier.

Best wishes from Susan, longtime housewife, and visiting SOB (Sassy Old Broad)

Susan with her hubby's 1930 Model A rat rod. (Lucky for her, he apparently likes old things.)

If you're a glutton for punishment, and want more of Susan's SOB sense of humor, you're cordially invited to visit her blog I Think; Therefore, I Yam where she blogs most Fridays.

UPDATE: Not much... only that I'm even OLDER now. But we're happy to still be here. Any day we both wake up in the morning is a good one.

                              Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Friday, November 22, 2019

How About Some Health Tips?

Thought for the day:  I want to lose weight by eating nothing but Moon Pies, which have significantly less gravity than earthier foods such as fruits and vegetables. [Jarod Kentz]

[image courtesy of wikipedia]
I understand the ooey-gooey sugary treats we call Moon Pies in the U.S. are called Wagon Wheels in the U.K., Australia, and Canada. That's kinda cool, but it wouldn't be nearly as amusing to say I wanted to lose weight by eating Wagon Wheels, ya know? At any rate, I don't reeeally want to eat them. I (gasp!) actually like fruits and vegetables...

Okay, this week's post is the second guest post I wrote a few years ago for The Really Real Housewives of America. This time, it's about health tips, and once again, I'll run it exactly as originally published. Purely for your benefit, of course. (Okay, I'll admit it. I'm lazy.) On the personal side, Smarticus is doing well, and next week is his last scheduled week of radiation. (No matter where you live in the world, you'll probably hear us whooping and hollering when we leave that cancer center...) Chemotherapy is supposed to finish up next month.


Hi-ya. So here I am again. Still a bit saggy... although personally, I prefer to think of it as more of a relaxed fit... and hopefully, still sassy and savvy enough to provide you with some worthwhile wellness tips. Some of these may be old-hat to you, some may be new, and some may even be a bit counter-intuitive, but I'm going to try not to be such a smart ass today. This stuff's as real as the mildew growing under my boobs. Okay, so I totally made that part up. (Just a few squirts of X-14 keeps the mildew problem down nicely.) Okay, another lie. Sorry. But trust me, these tips are on the up-and-up. (Unlike my boobs...)

  • Want to  amp up a twenty-minute nap so it does a better job kicking fatigue in the keister? Have a cup of coffee first. Really. Downing approximately 200 mg of caffeine immediately before catching a few zees is all you need to turn your mini- nap into a super nap. That's because of something called adenosine, which is a natural byproduct of being awake and active. The higher its level, the more fatigued we feel. Makes sense, right? Well, a nap clears that stuff out of our system, and caffeine is an adenosine-blocker, so just as you're waking up from that nap, the caffeine is kicking in, and... ta-DA!... it effectively amplifies the benefits of that nap. 
  • Are you one of those people who is so conscientious about brushing your pearly whites immediately after every meal that you carry a toothbrush in your purse? Hold on. You might want to rethink that, because you may not be doing something quite as good as you think you are. Especially if your meal includes something acidic... like citrus fruit, tomatoes, sports drinks, or sodas. Acid temporarily softens tooth enamel, so brushing too soon, when your teeth are at their most vulnerable, can actually cause damage to your teeth. Bottom line? If you want to still have your choppers when you're as old as I am, best to wait 30-60 minutes before pulling out your toothbrush.
  • Those snack products marketed in 100-calorie packages seem to be a great idea, right? I mean, they control our portion size, and essentially save us from ourselves. (Assuming we have enough willpower to only eat one of them, that is.) The thing is, that small portion of carbs may spike your blood sugar a tad initially, but then you're too soon hungry again... for more carbs. It'd be better in the long run to pass on the carb snacks altogether, and reach for proteins. Something like peanut butter or cheese and apple slices. More calories per serving, yeah, but you'll feel full faster, and stay full longer. That means you won't be tempted to stuff your face with something else, and will end up eating fewer calories overall. 
  • Are you hooked on energy drinks? If you drink them, you probably are. One of those hopped-up beverages has five times more caffeine than a comparable amount of coffee, so no wonder it leaves you feeling nervous, jittery, and irritable, and makes your heart race. In addition to that mega-dose of caffeine, it also contains aurine, a central nervous system stimulant, and upwards of fifty grams of sugar. (That's a whopping thirteen teaspoons!) Yeah, that'll provide a rapid spike in blood sugar, all right, but it'll also lead to an inevitable hard crash, which will leave you fuzzy-headed, groggy, and... in need of another energy drink. 
  • It may sound counter-intuitive, but when you're dragging, exercise can re-energize you. Just thirty minutes of moderate exercise is enough to lessen your fatigue, improve your mood, and get those juices flowing again. Unfortunately, blog-hopping, jumping to conclusions, flying off the handle, carrying things too far, dodging responsibility, pushing your luck, and doing diddly squats don't count as exercises.
  • Would you believe there's no evidence that antibacterial soap is any more effective than regular soap? In fact, long-term usage of anti-bacterial products can actually be detrimental to your health. Some of the ingredients in them, particularly something called tricolsan, can lead to hormonal changes in users, and to bacteria with a  higher resistance to antibiotics. Getting the optimal amount of effectiveness from a regular bar of soap requires a certain amount of lather time. A simple trick: To reach that optimal time while washing your hands, sing Happy Birthday in your head... twice.  Well, I suppose you could belt it out loud, but it might get you some strange looks if you do it in a public restroom. Not that (ahem) I know anything about that from personal experience, of course... 
  • Smelling a green apple can help ease the severity of migraine headaches. Certain scents naturally help us relax and reduce tension, and studies have shown the green apple scent to be particularly effective. A chilled cut lime is also reported to reduce headache pain, both by smelling it, and by rubbing it on the forehead or temples. For a select few, squeezing it into a margarita may also be beneficial.
  • Honey is a powerful antibacterial. Just a little dab will do ya before applying a bandage. If you suffer from hay fever, a teaspoon of honey a day is also reputed to reduce those miserable symptoms. Sweet, huh?
  • Cut yourself in the kitchen? (In a minor way, that is; I'm not talking about a to-the-bone debacle.) Rinse the area with cold water, (Use soap if you were handling raw meat.) sprinkle on some black pepper, and  then apply pressure until the bleeding stops. Who'd a thunk it? Good old black pepper has analgesic, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. How 'bout that? (Doesn't sting, either!)
  • Looks like I need to increase my intake of spearmint tea. Just two cups of it a day are supposed to help with hormonal problems, like acne or excess hair. It accomplishes this by reducing the level of male hormones in the body. (I'm reeeeeally getting tired of having to shave my darned face!)
  • Having trouble regulating your blood sugar level? Drink slime water! I don't mean you have to sneak out in the middle of a moonless night and skim muck off the top of a dirty ditch, or anything. Nope, you can make your own slime water. I do. Every evening, I wash three pieces of okra, slice off the ends, cut the larger pods in half, and cover all of the pieces with about half a cup of water. (You could use more, but the more you make, the more somebody has to drink.) Refrigerate overnight and in the morning, remove the okra, and drink the slimy water. My husband is the one who saw the tip online, and after investigating it on multiple medical websites, I ascertained that it could help, and most important, it couldn't hurt, so we decided to give it a try. Guess what? At least, for my husband, it has made a difference. Okra water doesn't negate the need for regular diabetes medications, but it has kept his numbers on a nice even keel. (If you try this, drink it all down at once. Then the slime isn't even noticeable.) (So he says...)
Th-th-th-that's all, folks, Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.

Best wishes from Susan, long-time housewife, and visiting SOB (Sassy Old Broad)

One of the best things about being an old broad is... grandchildren. Susan and Smarticus have thirteen of them, ranging from three to eighteen, but since they can't all fit on her lap at one time, here's three of the younger ones who do fit.

Most Fridays, Susan blogs at I Think;Therefore, I Yam Y'all are cordially invited to come visit her. No telling what the topic might be on any given week. Her body may not be flexible anymore, but her interests still are.


UPDATE:  Okay, so Smarticus didn't stick with that slime water for long. (And honest, it wasn't because that's what I kept calling it...) Turns out, he was a little slow drinking it one morning. Instead of gulping it right down, which is obviously the only way to get that disgusting stuff down, he took a sip... and the slime kinda hung in one long snot-like loop all the way from his mouth to the cup. Just hung there, all jiggly-looking, with the light reflecting off of it like a prism. And then someone may have possibly laughed. Okay, so it was me, okay? I laughed. Just a little. Okay, so I laughed a lot. I mean, come on, people! It was FUNNY! And what can I say? He kinda lost the stomach for it after that...

As much as I love that picture of three of our granddaughters sitting on my lap, it's unbelievable how much they've grown since then. They're all beautiful young ladies now. Two are taller than I am. (sigh) Time does have a way of flying, doesn't it?

                            Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.