8 Tips for Personal Holiday Fulfillment

Sure-fired Ways to Get the Gifts You Want

8 tips for personal holiday fulfillment

Halloween has come and gone. I’d better get started with my holiday gift list or I’ll be in big trouble. I’m not talking about my holiday gift-giving list. I’m talking about my gift-getting list. Oh, let’s be honest. It’s my “Really, Really Want, Gotta Have, Pretty Please, Will You Get Me This” list.

All year I’m on the hunt for perfect Christmas, Hanukkah, birthday and “just because” gifts for family, friends, and colleagues. I even buy “unbirthday” gifts for attendees at birthday parties, because I love shopping for others. I am such a dedicated gift shopper, that when my children were growing up, we celebrated the “birthdays” of their stuffed animals. Any excuse for cake, ice cream, new book purchases and gift bags!

But come the holidays, my “give unto others” spirit makes a U-turn. I lust for carefully curated payback from loved ones in the form of “just right” gifts for me.

And who better to pick what’s “just right” than me?

If you’re honest, deep in your heart, you’re a tiny bit like me. Admit it. You’ve endured a few too many years of ill-gift-gotten-gain in the form of toaster ovens, fuzzy slippers, and hand-held vacuum cleaners.

So, in the spirit of female solidarity, I offer these eight tips to make your holidays (plus Mother’s Day and birthdays) brighter and your gifts better. Read more

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Cats Make Me Scratch

Cat Lovers Are Unconvinced

cat scratch makes woman allergic

I wanted this blog to be positive, free of fiery and fierce political rhetoric. I did not want to make it a forum for hate speech or rigid doctrinaire policy statements.

In the interests of free speech, I even let a friend post a “Go Cleveland” comment in response to my “Go Golden State Warriors” essay. That’s how fair-minded I am!

But the time has come for me to take a stand. I need to state for the record – clearly and loudly: Please believe me. Please accept that I really am allergic to cats. Do not think ill of me. They just make me ill.  Read more

Thin Lips and Thin-Skinned

Only the Brave Visit the Plastic Surgeon

Think lips and thin skinned

My dear Middle-aged Muddlers, last week as you recall, I “documented” my struggle to combat the shame of a droopy mouth and thin lips.

In my 20s, 30s, and 40s, I used excessive amounts of lip liner, lipstick and lip gloss to compensate. I also awkwardly smiled a lot to mask the droop.

In my 50s, I “graduated” to injectable fillers. They were costly. They hurt, but they helped.

Then one day my dermatologist told me that fillers were no longer the solution. Age, genes, and gravity were winning. If I wanted a perky pout, I needed stronger medicine. I needed plastic surgery.

Specifically, I needed a corner lip lift, a tricky procedure involving incisions on each side of the mouth with no place to hide the scars. Done poorly, the procedure leaves the patient resembling Batman’s nemesis, The Joker. Having seen pictures of botched procedures, I assure you, that is no joke.

My dermatologist referred me to a plastic surgeon, one of the “pioneers” of the corner lip lift procedure. I made an appointment, canceled it and called to re-schedule. I repeated this cycle of hope and fear three more times before I ultimately met the doctor. It was time to meet my re-maker. Read more

Nora’s Neck, My Thin Lips

Self-image Bites

thin lips

The amazing screenwriter, journalist, and author Nora Ephron hated her sagging neck.

I hate my lips.

Nora lamented the pitfalls of maturing – aka aging –in her best-selling book, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman. As the title suggests, she especially bemoaned her saggy, baggy neckline and her middle-aged need to camouflage the offending body part with scarves.

Well, my nemesis is my lips. However, unlike Nora, my problem isn’t solely the result of aging. It’s a lifelong curse. And unlike Nora’s scarf solution, I cannot cloak my offending feature. For decades, I have suffered in silence, but no more. Today I share my shame. Read more

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Inheritance Guilt

Much Too Much of a Good Thing

inheritance guilt fine china overload

Do you suffer from inheritance guilt? It’s a problem many of us middle-aged baby boomers face. Your parents pass on and you inherit all their “stuff.” Are you grateful or do you buckle under the weight of unwanted material overload and guilt?

Nowadays, more and more of us fall into the suffering and lamenting category. One friend of mine cannot wait to dispose of her mother’s mink coat. Another hates her mother’s bright orange, fish-patterned ceramic platter. For me, the cause of distress – fine china.

And while it’s all well and good to lament, on a practical basis, what do you do when you have too much of a good thing or even too much of a bad, but deeply sentimental object? Read more

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Apples are OK. Compliments are Better

A Compliment a Day Keeps the Old Age Blues at Bay

apples and compliments make for good health

My recipe for good health and vitality is not fresh fruit, but vanity. Yes, apples are nice, but compliments are so much better.

Yesterday I had several errands to run and a few appointments to keep. It was a busy day. So, I made an effort, did a bit more than just throw on some jeans. Truth be told, I did a lot more. I, as they used to say, gussied myself up. It paid off. I got four compliments from four different people.

One woman, a make-up artist at Bloomingdale’s no less, told me how much she liked my lipstick.

A passerby on the street complimented me on my cool jacket.

My lunch companion admired my green-lacquer necklace, and the waitress praised my shiny fire-engine-red nail polish.

I rode the BART home feeling pretty good about myself. I met my husband for dinner. He was tired and not feeling great. He offered no compliments or even much by way of conversation. It was a quick dinner, and home we went to a quiet evening of TV and sleep.

I thought about the compliments I had received that day. They were great. I sincerely appreciated them. Truth be told, I needed them the way someone in the Sahara Desert welcomes a sip of water. But they made me think. They were different than the compliments I used to get in “the old days.” Funny how we say “the old days” when what we actually mean is the days when we were young. Read more

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Karen Galatz

Like most adults, I've seen my share of joys and
sadness, and I find the best response to it all is humor.
I hope you like my Laments.

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