For the Love of Sleeves

This is an open letter to all you fashion designers, clothing manufacturers, retail fashion buyers and fashion editors.  You know who you are, the ones who decide what is going to be “in” each season.


Since fashion is decided months in advance I am begging you please to make women’s clothing with some sleeves for next spring and summer.


I know that I am not the only woman who does not like her arm fat to flap in the air. Even women who I consider to be very skinny sometimes have beautifully toned upper arms on one side and some chicken gobbler flab on the other side.


If you are having trouble picturing this hold your arm up in the air as if you are making a Popeye fist, upper arm perpendicular to your body, elbow bent at a right angle with your fist above your head level.  While looking in the mirror, make a fist and look at your beautiful muscles on the top of your arm.  Now shake that arm back and forth, did the bottom wobble at all?


I don’t mean to insinuate that your arms are anything but gorgeous.  But mine are not.  No matter how much I work out and diet only one side really improves.  Not the end of the world.  The answer is sleeves.  They cover a multitude of issues, if I could find summer clothes with them.


My proof that I am not the only one looking for clothes with some semblance of sleeves is that all the summer clothes available in store now are sleeveless.  Granted it is the end of the season, but even with prices slashed to 25% of their original cost most of the items are sleeveless and no one is buying them.


I asked a sales clerk in the dress department at Belk if she had any dresses with sleeves and I swear to God this is what she said, “Honey, if you wanted to sleeves you had to be here in March.  All those dresses sell out fast.”


The pashmina has been the answer to so many women trying to find ways to cover those naked arms, but sometimes you don’t want to have an extra thing wrapped around you.  So fashion deciders, vote yes for sleeves.  Those dresses sell.

It’s Not My Hair

The absolute worst thing anyone can say to a person who is trying to lose weight is, “Your hair looks great today.”


I have horrible hair, so you would think I should be happy if anyone thinks my hair looks great.  Which I have to say is almost never.  I have mousey brown, thin, lifeless hair.  I am also a hairstyle moron.  Meaning that I can hardly hold a round brush and a hairdryer at the same time without needing to revert to scissors to free myself from my appliances.


I grew up in the Marsha Brady era of straight hair, parted in the middle.  I was thankful as a young teen that my lackluster, no style, no body hair just happened to be in Peggy-Lipton-Style back then.  Alas, those hippie days only lasted long enough for me to get into the 80’s and be small hair styled in the big hair times.


But I digress.  Today when someone I don’t see often runs into me and they say, “Wow, your hair looks great.”  I want to say, “It’s not my hair.  It’s the fact that my face is thinner thus making my hair look better on my head.  But the hair it’s self, still not so great.”


Next time you see someone and think, did they change their lipstick color, don’t say that.  Instead say, “You look great.”  The person will either say, thank you or tell you what is different about themselves.  If it is the lipstick, you can silently pat yourself on the back for being so observant.


There is nothing worse than not getting credit for hard work.  I have been dieting like crazy.  I would hate for someone to look at me and say, “You must have gotten a good night’s sleep last night.”  That could be grounds for strangulation.  I don’t want credit for lying in bed, but I do want credit for upping my intensitiy on the elliptical.


So if you really want to give someone a compliment and want them to love you for it, make it open ended and over the top.  Now you can’t do that with me now, because I will just think you got the idea from my blog.  So go ahead and compliment my hair and my wink back to you will let you know we are both in on the joke.

No Way To Lose Weight

My great friend Lynn has had a terrible week.  First she got food poisoning so bad that she had to go the emergency room where they kept her for six hours.  Then last night her cat had a heart attack right in front of her and is now in kitty heaven.

Lynn is a world-class animal lover so she has taken this loss harder than the average pet owner and still being weak from the food poisoning has not helped.

To try and help her take her mind off her beloved cat I picked Lynn up and whisked her off to the place that makes her happier than anyplace on earth, Starbucks.  While there enjoying her Venti Green tea latte, with two pumps and no foam (I know her order by heart, but don’t really know what it means) we got to discussing how much weight you lose when you are sick.  Although Lynn has nary an ounce to spare, food poisoning can really do a number on your number on the scale.

This conversation brought back to mind the worst time I ever was sick.  Back in the 80’s when I was selling mail opening and extracting machines, yes, reread that last thing, I sold machines that opened envelopes and took the contents out.  So, back then I used to travel four states selling and then installing these big machines.

They were called OPEX machines and the kind of companies that bought them were ones who were getting lots of mail everyday full of money.  Places you pay your bills to…   think banks, utilities and mail order houses.  My territory, being in the south, also had the majority of televangelists as clients too; Jerry Falwell, Jim and Tammy Faye Baker and Pat Robertson.

One week when I was about 25 years old I was spending four days at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) campus installing twelve new OPEX machines.  CBN needed so many machines because the 700 Club TV show received hundreds of thousands of envelopes a week all with money in them.

I will never forget the sweet woman Gail, who ran the donations department.  She was a calm Christian woman who was one of my nicest clients.

Installing new equipment meant that I had to train her whole department of three shifts of workers how to run the machines.  Running a mail-opening machine is about the easiest job on earth, but teaching people to do it day, evening and midnight shifts was not.  My first day there went fine, but by the second day I was not feeling well, and I mean really rough.

Gail came out on the shop floor and could see by the gray color I had taken on that I was not well.  I told her I thought I needed to go back to the hotel and she said she had a better place to take me first.

CBN was Christian Broadcasting Network University (Now known as Regent University), so I thought Gail was taking me to a nurse or the infirmary.  Practically delirious with a fever she guided me down long hallways until she opened a door of a giant room that was bright and full of people.  At first I thought I had died and this was heaven because there was beautiful music playing and the light was blinding.

Before I knew where I was Gail had led me down an aisle and up to a stage.  When then music stopped I heard her voice, strangely amplified, ask someone to heal me that I was sick.  I felt people touching me and just then I threw up all over the floor.

As horrible as it was to throw up I felt suddenly better for just a moment and in that brief second I realized I was not at an infirmary, but I was on a television set.  Gail had brought me to be “healed” and I had thrown up on live TV.  I saw the cameras and the audience and turned and ran, somehow finding my way out.

I have little memory of driving myself back to my Hampton Inn where I stayed holed up in my room for two days sick, as could be.  I eventually improved enough to drive myself back home to Washington D.C.   My service tech finished the install at CBN without me.

A month later I had to return to CBN and see Gail.  She was said I looked much better.  I asked her if I was the first to throw up on the TV show and she said yes, as far as she knew.  I told her the only good part was that I had lost 9 pounds that week from being sick.  We both agreed that it was the worst possible way to lose weight.

Balsamic Vinegar Peaches

I bought some beautiful to look at, yet somewhat hard peaches at the Farmers Market.  I left them on the counter to ripen and they did not quite get to that juicy peach stage I wanted.  So to help them along I peeled them and sliced them and cooked them a few minutes.  I love how this recipe turned out.  Almost like having a peach pie, but easier and oh-so-much healthier.

5 peaches peeled and sliced

2 T. Balsamic vinegar

5 packets of Splenda

Breakfast cereal for garish – I used protein plus special K since that is all I ever have.

Put the peaches, vinegar and Splenda in a saucepan and heat on medium heat for five minutes, stirring every so often.

Good served warm or cold.

I put a few peaches in a ramekin and sprinkled a little cereal on top for crunch.

Dana’s Bra Strap Shortening Station

This morning while at a meeting with a group of female friends we invariably got off subject and turned the discussion to bras.  I know that you men will be thrilled to learn that women are sitting around talking about bras, but get your minds out of the gutter.  We were not sitting around in only our bras talking.


The topic was the importance of the right bra and how it makes you look thinner and therefore younger.  For those of us for whom support was an issue we quickly narrowed the conversation from bras in general to bra straps.


For those of you who either don’t wear a bra or are so young and nubile that your breasts are where you would like them here is a glimpse into the future.


Everyone who has ever seen “What not to wear” or “Oprah” has heard about the importance of the right fitting bra.  No news there.  So when you go to Nordstrom’s and shell out $70 for that perfect bra, fitted by an expert who exclaims that this four hook-underwire-molded cup model is just right you buy it and three or four of the same style in different colors.


All is good in the world.  That is until that bra gets a little tired of hauling your girls up where they have not been in decades.  The answer is to tighten those tired ‘ole straps a little more.  This works until you reach the point that the little tightening do-hickey will not shorted anymore because your strap is at its shortest place.


The worst part about this happening is that by now you love this bra.  It is has molded itself into your actual shape and other than it not lifting as the lift and separate company Playtex told us a bra should do, you would like to keep it.


After much female coffee-klatch discussion on this problem the solution came to me.  A drive thru-bra-strap shortening station.  You could just pull up in your car and a gruff Eastern European woman with a hand held sewing machine could just take those straps up an inch and you will be back at attention.


No more is your belt acting as a bra.  People will notice you have an actual waist and you will not have to hell out multiple $70’s to get new bras whose straps have not given way.


So as soon as I invent the hand-held-bra-strap-sewing machine and hired a bunch of Ukrainians you will see Dana’s Bra Strap Shortening Stations popping up beside 7-11’s around the country.

My Wish – Fruit Cutting Super Power


Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows that fruit is one of the good things to eat.  Not only is it yummy and usually sweet, but most fruit is juicy.   Ok not bananas, but melons, peaches and pineapple are all wet chin inducing.  And all that juiciness is somehow satisfying.


Weight Watchers finally woke up last year and changed their diet program to allow people to eat as much fruit as they wanted.  In their old plan an apple was worth the same number of points as a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich, crazy huh?  Everybody ate ice cream sandwiches and wondered why they were not losing very much weight.


If I had known about this change Weight Watchers was going to make I would have shorted Skinny Cow’s stock because not only was fruit a “free” food, but the Skinny Cows were now three points instead of two.  A change they had to make to account for all this fruit everyone was going to be eating.


Not so fast.  Buying, cleaning, peeling, cutting fruit is a huge pain in my proverbial A*&.  Not to mention the cost.  Although I am not going to Weight Watchers, I am so well versed in the program from years of sitting through meetings, that I still look at all food and count the point values in my head.


Long before Weight Watchers made fruit free I was choosing blueberries over a graham cracker slathered with cool whip because I knew that eating fruit helped me loose more weight.


But if I were a super hero and could have one super power, other than the ability to eat what ever I liked and be skinny, I would chose the ability to point at fruit and turn it into fruit salad.


No more cutting the ends off pineapples, then the skin, then coring and chopping it into bite sized pieces.  Not another melon would need to be washed on the outside then dried thanks to Lysteria hysteria, then cut in half and had the seeds scooped out then the flesh scored into chunks and removed from the rind.  I love eating it, just hate prepping it.


But as far as I know no one is granting me a super power.  So if you ever get invited to my house for dinner and you want to ensure you will be invited back.  Leave the bottle of wine at home.  Bring me a fruit salad instead.

Cucumber Water – Are You Kidding Me?

I hate drinking my calories.  It is one of the reasons I don’t drink alcohol, that and I still have not found those underpants I lost in Miami in 1984, the last time I drank too much.


To my mind and stomach drinks do not register as food, even thick drinks like smoothies.  Well, maybe a milk shake might register, but I can’t figure that out now.


So I stick to non/low calories drinks, but not soda.  I drink tea and now to really give me variation I make regular tea and  ginger tea, which is just regular tea with a ginger root steeped in the water too.  I also drink water, both regular tap water and San Pellegrino.  That’s four big drinks.


This summer I discovered a new love, a taste so good that is practically feels like food, cucumber water.  Yes, water that has s few big slices of cucumber floating in it.  Actually I don’t even have the cucumber in my individual glass.  I just fill up a pitcher with cold water and drop about five half inch slices of peeled cucumber in and put it in the fridge.


In no time at all the water has taken on a crisp taste that hardly resembles water at all.  The best part…ZERO calories.  How can something so good have zero calories and I know exactly what’s in it.  In fact I grew what’s in it.


Drinking the cucumber water comes close to sipping a cool soup it’s that satisfying.  Have I lost my mind?  If you know me you know that this is a little out of character.  I must be so calorie deprived that I have started hallucinating.  There is no way that water and cucumber could bring me to such a state of nirvana.  I don’t really even like cucumbers alone that much.


Perhaps I have stumbled on the next drug craze.  The government is going to have to outlaw cucumbers because teenagers are going to sit around in groups drinking this and feeling some out of body experiences.


I guess I should have kept this secret to myself and just started bottling it.  If I marketed it as the next great tasting diet inducing high I could easily charge $10 a bottle.


So make it yourself.  Try it.  If you hate it you are only out a quarter of a cucumber, but if you love it, send me $9.  You get to keep $1 for buying your own cucumber.