Better than the Alternative


Photo by Artem Beliaikin on

It was a sobering experience,

trying on brassieres in Target.


Full disclosure:

It’s been at least four years

since I bought a bra.

And probably more

than four pounds.

But I was tired of

gorilla underwear.


In lingerie,

I got the size I was before—


No underwires, you know.

They obstruct the chi flow.

But look at the flesh

bulging over the sides.

(Don’t look at the belly below.)


When did this S shape

creep up on me?

When did my waist ascend?

The size I thought I was

I am no more.

Remember 32A?  32B?


To me in the mirror, I say,

“This is what 71 looks like.

You are healthy.

You are alive.

You’ve escaped Covid.”


I hang the lacy 34Bs

on the return rack:

the polka-dotted beige satin,

the striped gray cotton,

the black floral.


Again, I scan the displays. Pick out any 36B.

Buy the ones that fit.

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen



Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen–Random House, 2013.

Here is a wise and humorous commentary on life, women, and aging.  It’s a memoir plus reflections on women’s lives at home and in the workplace.  Quindlen comments on the many aspects of our lives, from aging bodies to mothering to friendship.

On friendship, she writes:

We trust our friends to tell us what we need to know, and to shield us from what we don’t need to discover, and to have the wisdom to know the difference.  Real friends offer both hard truths and soft landings and realize that it’s sometimes more important to be nice than to be honest.

I particularly appreciated Quindlen’s musings on solitude, as I’m an introvert who, like Quindlen’s son, would probably choose to hide in my bedroom at my own party.

Quindlen writes about solitude: I feel as though being alone is hanging out with someone I like.

I totally agree.  

On my wall, I have a quote from Lori Gottlieb’s book, Maybe You Should See Someone.  It says:

Being silent is like emptying the trash.  Introverts need solitude and silence.

On women in the workplace, Quindlen writes: It’s amazing how few women are required on a corporate board to satisfy the suits that they’ve done the woman thing. 

If you’re a woman of a certain age, especially one who juggled work and parenting, you’ll likely enjoy this book.



you put on a jacket when it was cold

you took a shower before you got dressed

you made your own breakfast

you knew which shoes to wear.


you built shelves

you repaired the washing machine

and the lawn mower

you fixed the muffler on my car

with a soup can.


you commuted to your office

to help people

you had things to do.


you were someone

I didn’t have to remember.