Titillating Conversation Part 2

Okie dokie, my darlings... we are gathered here today, in the presence of hopefully no one, to figure out more about your breasts and your bra size. I am assuming that you are sitting at the computer in your best-fitting, unpadded bra. If you have a husband or best friend to help you with the measuring part, it's not a bad idea. If you don't, I will be with you every step of the way.

Let's Measure!

Now that you have written down your numbers and checked the graph for your cup size, how many of you are spitting and sputtering at me on the computer? Many times when I measure someone, she is in disbelief at what size I recommend. It's not until I get women in the right bra that they become believers.

As you all know, bras come in a lot of sizes. Manufacturers like to scale down what they make so a lot of women fit the cups and don't pay attention to the fact that they are buying a bra that is too big around. Or worse yet, they fit their band size and let lots of breast spill over. Neither is a good thing.

How would you like it if some shoe manufacturers decided to just make sizes 6, 8, and 10. A bunch of us would be forced to squish our feet into shoes that are too small or slop around in ones that are too big. That's kind of what the bra industry does to ladies and that's why you need to know what size you are in my Perfect Fifi Bra World.

A dear friend of mine who is tallish and enviably slender let me measure her a few years back. I told her that she was not the 34B or 32C she thought she was. As it turned out, she measured as a 30D or possibly a 30DD in some styles. Of course she had never heard of those sizes, but I assured her that they DO exist. She actually was close with the 32C when she could find them, but herein lies the problem: The cups on a 32C and a 30D are exactly the same, but where they are sewn onto the band is different. The 30D placed the cups precisely where her breasts are located on her body.

The size she needs is available, but not as easily. They don't carry it at Target or Wal-Mart or even Macy's. But there is this wonderful thing called the Internet (where you will find LoveFifi.com) that can help you find more custom sizes. Finding your true size is not only infinitely more comfortable, but also does fantastic things for your figure. I will help you find the style and size of bra that you need no matter where I have to look. If we don't have it, maybe I can order it special just for you. If some other retailer has what you need, I will give you the information.

After we calculate your size, there is a little more to it. Your height and build can have an impact on a good bra fit. Doing the numbers can give you your perfect bra size, but sometimes it just gets you in "the neighborhood". It's a good start, however, and that's where I come in. Write to me. Tell me about your build. I want to know what you have trouble with, what you like in a bra and what you don't like. If you wear a particular bra regularly please tell me what it is. Style numbers and manufacturer info will help.

I am here for my ladies... and my guys, too, so let's talk. If you cross dress or are transsexual, I can help you find your dream bra. Don't be shy, any of you. I am here with an open mind and open arms. I have worked with cancer victims for years and can help with the dilemmas associated with losing a breast or breasts or finding a bra after a lumpectomy.

I look forward to hearing from you. Send me those numbers!


Titillating Conversation

I am very proud to say that I have long been considered an expert in the field of bras. This is both a point of pride and a curse all at the same time. No matter what I do or where I go, I look at women's breasts. I have to do it discreetly, of course, but I can't help it. So many women wear bras that are the wrong size, the wrong type for their body or too old to do their bustlines any good. Often times it is all the above.

For decades, I have been involved in changing all that, one set of boobies at a time. Once women know what I do, they tell me their bra woes no matter where we are having the conversation. Often they will pull their blouses up to their neck so I can get a first hand look at the problem. I have done bra critiques in elevators, hotel hallways and hundreds of Ladies' Rooms. I carry a tape measure always so I can do my bra missionary work at a moment's notice. Women are so grateful for my advice and recommendations.

I often will hear from them afterwards when they have followed my instructions as to the right bra and the right SIZE. I have been told that the experience was "life changing". It feels so good every time I add a new girl to my Fifi flock. The work I do is not extraordinary. It's what I do and I do it well, but I am not the Mother Theresa of my field, by any means. I am more of the Richard Simmons of bras. I get my followers motivated to find the support and shape they need to feel prettier and much of the time look thinner. I give women confidence and comfort with their bodies and that makes me very happy.

It is estimated that 75% of females are buying the wrong size bra. It's at least that much. I see it every day and I just want to go up to these poor ladies and whisk them away to the nearest broom closet and see what monstrosity they are wearing under their clothes.

I can't do that, of course, but I can certainly make sure that all my Fifi readers get educated. You see, my sweethearts, this is not your fault. The way stores merchandise bras these days is an atrocity. If you are not buying your bras from me, you have to "wing it" in the lingerie department. You must struggle through rack after congested rack of bras, all the while wrestling with those nasty little plastic hangers to look for what you think is your size. It's not fun.

Back in the Stone Age when I got my first bra,the Bra Department was a beautiful place with walls of built -in drawers that kept all the stock neatly nested in tissue, organized by size. A lovely and knowledgeable woman probably named Helen or Beatrice measured you, assessed your frame and then opened up each drawer with your size in it and made suggestions as to style. Then you tried them on and she came in and adjusted the back and the straps. When was the last time you tried on a bra in a department store? If you answered never, you are not alone. You'd try on a dress or a pair of shoes before you bought it, but rarely a bra. Here's where the problem lies and here's what we are going to do.

I am sending you all to Miss Fifi's Bra Academy. I want you all to meet me back here next week wearing your best fitting unpadded bra. You will need to bring something to write with and some paper. I am going to educate you, measure you, fit you and teach you the warning signs of an ill-fitting bra. After you learn the ins, outs, ups and downs of finding the right bra you will be forever looking at other women and noticing every bad bra in town. I told you it was a curse, but then you can help your circle of "sisters" get into a bra that does their body a big favor. And there is a BONUS to attending my short course next week. I will give you my personal contact information so we can talk. You give me the numbers and I will figure out your figure personally.

Next Saturday... same time, same place. Don't forget the tape measure! You need the cloth "seamstress" type, not the one from the garage.



This won't be so much an article as it is just plain old fashioned musings. My heart and head are in a different place today and I just feel like talking. I hope that is OK.

If anyone were to ask me what is my biggest accomplishment in life, I would't hesitate for a minute. It's being a mother. I am very proud of my mothering skills and actually most everything else I have done in this life. OK, there was that one weekend in New Jersey all those years ago that wasn't my proudest moment, but the the statute of limitations for throwing up in someone's car console was up a long time ago.

With Mother's Day just around the corner, it brings up so many memories and quandaries all at the same time. My kids will be asking what I want to do. They won't want me to cook so that means going out to a crowded restaurant. Ugh. I just want to be with them. I want to be with my kids, their spouses and their kids. But then guilt sets in. Two of my daughters are mothers themselves. Maybe they would just like to hang out at home with their families. It's a dilemma. It's not that I don't want to celebrate the day or be worshiped by my children, but I don't want to take anything away from my daughters.

It's kind of a bittersweet day anyway, since my own mother is now gone. The ads on TV and the emails in my mailbox suggest that we mothers would like some tulips or chocolate or one of those seersucker zip-up gown thingies to lounge around in. The list of gifts I would like begins with help to clean my garage and ends with tickets to see the Rolling Stones when they go on tour next fall. I am not your typical mother or grandmother.

I don't go to the cemetery to visit my mom. For many, the cemetery is a happy place for folks who have lost their loved ones. Not for me. My mom was just the right amount of crazy. She could have given Lucy Ricardo tips on how to get into trouble. I remember fondly when I was a kid and our local fancy-dancy gift shop had a counter full of wind up alarm clocks for ladies' bedrooms. This was a lot of years ago, so stick with me if you don't remember clocks that had to be wound every day. There must have been 2 or 3 dozen clocks on display. My mother picked up each and every one of them while keeping the sales staff at bay with her "just looking" comments. I didn't pay much attention to what my mother was doing. I was just glad to be with her. Later that day at a few minutes before 6 p.m., my mom called the gift shop and asked for some help with an alarm clock she had seen earlier. The call was transferred and my mom was connected with a saleslady in that department. As she began to talk, a couple of dozen alarm clocks went off at the same time. My mother could not contain her delight. She had set them all to 5:55 p.m. just for fun. I probably told you this story before, but it's one of my faves. She did that kind of stuff every once in a while. It recharged her devilish side and was always amusing. Those are some of the best memories of my mom. Or the time my dad took a nap in the afternoon and she painted his toenails bright pink while he was fast asleep. One year there were sparklers left over from the fourth of July and she lit them and stuck them in the Thanksgiving turkey when she brought it from the kitchen to the table. She made life fun, so to sit by her grave just doesn't give me comfort. To short sheet someone's bed would be a better way to honor her.

One of the saddest times of my life was when my mom was fading and I wanted so desperately to ask her how she made particular dishes. Her cooking was remarkable and she never measured or wrote anything down. I never could bring myself to ask her any of the recipes I loved so much, because I didn't want her to think I was asking her these things before she died.

I still struggle to duplicate her fine cooking. She never used anything pre-made or fake. I remember one time when she looked into my refrigerator and saw light butter, light mayonnaise and light salad dressing among other "LITE" versions of food. She was in disbelief and shut the refrigerator door immediately exclaiming that it was a wonder we didn't all just float away with all that light food. My mommy was a complete character with a lot of character. I am so her daughter in so many ways. I miss her.

My mother was always so proud of me. She raised me to have good manners and social graces. She sent me to Cotillion to learn the Waltz and Foxtrot and proper behavior in a social situation, but I loved her madly anyway. She made sure I went to the best private schools and was taught French. I can conjugate French verbs like a champ to this day, but it doesn't do me a lot of good living in a state that is 50% Spanish speaking.

I know she thought I would grow up and marry Prince Charles and that would be it. Somewhere the plan went askew and I ended up selling crotchless panties for a living. (By the way, Spell-check kept insisting I meant "toothless panties" and fought with me to change it. I won.) She lived long enough to see my LoveFifi dream come true. She was proud of me and often commented that Prince Charles didn't turn out to be such a great husband anyway. It all turned out well.

So to all my mothers and grandmothers out there, I hope you have plans for a wonderful day on May 10th. My day will be a good one and all my kids will be there, I am sure. The good thing is that they tell me all year long what a great mother I am and how much they love me. I am one lucky lady.



I am preparing to leave on what I feel is a well deserved vacation. My sister, two of my best friends in life and I are all going on a one week cruise together. We have been paying for it for a year, so when we step on board it will feel good to know that the trip itself is completely paid for.

I pulled out my luggage to prepare for the tedious job of packing. It's so much fun to pack to go on a ship because most everything you wear is comfortable but there is also a serious fashion show that goes on among the women passengers. It starts for me weeks before we leave. I have to get myself ready, but I am also my sister's "stylist". Before she retired and came to work with me at Lovefifi.com, she wore a dark blue police uniform for a couple of decades. Now that she is free to channel her inner fashionista, she worries constantly about what she is going to wear for everything. It took me years to get her to loosen up and wear color. She has progressed to letting her hair down considerably and even has a bit of a funky streak now and then. I am very proud. The trouble is that she has no faith in her own taste and makes me yay or nay every item she plans to wear on the trip. Our vacation is only a few days away and sister is now in the packing stage. Thank goodness!

I have done so much business traveling that I am a whiz at packing. Packing for cruise is easy because there is no limit to how many suitcases you can take. The only challenge comes with trying to put everything away in a tiny little room, with an even teenier closet. Then you have to multiply that amount by 2 for sister's stuff. Thankfully the suitcases fit under the beds, but space is limited.

I won't lie to you, I am a heavy packer. I bring the absolute most I can and still manage to have places to put it away. I am not one of those people who brings exactly the same number of outfits as there are days with a few additions for night time. I don't know what mood I will be in when I wake up. I need to go to my part of the closet and have choices. I always bring home lots of clothes that I never wore. That's OK with me. I'm happy the whole time knowing I could go with most any fashion whim and change several times a day if I cared to. Unfortunately, my sister has learned this from me and usually we have enough clothes to stay for a month.

So, I don't pack light. Shoot me. I am not changing. I am, however, very smart about luggage. I don't believe that people put any thought into luggage when they buy it. Just look at the carousel at baggage claim the next time you fly. You will see a preponderance of black suitcases going around interspersed with about a dozen Louis Vuitton bags. The rest are often gray, brown or navy with only a handful of distinctive bags that are easy to identify. This is so stupid to me. As prestigious and expensive as the Vuitton bags may be, they still look alike. If you're intent on having a brown suitcase with initials, why not stencil your own damn initials on it? OK, your name is not French and probably won't impress anyone, but you will probably be able to find your luggage without a hitch. They don't check you at the door anymore to see if you have the right bag. What do you think is the most stolen item off of luggage carousels? Louis Vuitton.

It is a mystery to me why people buy black luggage, or even gray or navy. Some of it is very expensive and high end. What is the point in spending a fortune for luxury luggage when you have to hang homemade yarn pom pom from it show that it is yours?

I have been in the lost luggage booth at the airport many times. They always show you pictures of different shaped bags and ask you to point to the one that is most like yours. They ask you the color and if there are any distinguishing features of the luggage to make it easier for them to find it. Knowing full well that what I see at the baggage claim pretty much all looks the same, I set out years ago to make my life as stress free as possible when I travel.

I buy new suitcases every 5 or 6 years. When I shop I always imagine what it will look like going around in circles in the sea of plain dark suitcases. I like to shop online and find the most attractive set I can that will stand out in the crowd. My current set is very handsome, but I don't think there are a lot of people who truly understood it's unique beauty like I did. It's navy blue with a snazzy contrasting trim and it has Indian Elephants printed on every square inch of it. When I wave down a porter to help me with my baggage and he asks how many bags and what my bags look like, all I have to say is that they are 2 and that they are navy blue with elephants. The minute they come out of the shoot, my elephant print bags are rock stars among the rest and I am out of there in a flash. If, heaven forbid, my luggage never comes to the carousel, my time with the lost luggage people is short and sweet. Navy blue elephant print. My cases are never lost for long because they are easy to spot even if they went to Cleveland instead of Chicago.

Now, imagine instead of 250 people on a flight with luggage waiting at baggage claim, you are on a ship with a couple of thousand over-packers at the terminal baggage claim. My luggage is never where it is supposed to be but it never takes long to find it. Those sweet elephants never fail to find me, one way or the other.

So, the next time you are in the market for a set of luggage, consider buying something that stands out. They still sell my set on wayfair.com. It's called Budapest, by American Flyer and I won't mind if you have a set a too. I always get super excited when I pull out the elephant bags and get ready for a trip. My pretty little pachyderms give me style and flair and let me know that we are going on an adventure. And the best part about it all? No yarn pom poms required.


In Good Taste

I have a good friend who is absolutely brilliant at wine. He dearly loves fine wines and has introduced me to some beautiful vintages through the years. Drinking wines that he has chosen is always a learning experience because he challenges you to identify the flavors with your eyes closed and your taste buds wide awake. I have actually gotten quite good at nailing some very exotic flavors that are subtle even to the wine aficionado, though I am not one.

I do know what tastes good and what is a lot of hype. For example, I love champagne dearly and a lot of the very expensive ones cannot compare to some that I have had from unknown makers. Magnificent taste does not always come with a high price. There are very affordable wines that are really good. All you need is a sophisticated palate, which is learned, and appreciative and discerning taste buds, which it helps to be born with.

This same friend took me to a Les Amis du Vin (The Friends of Wine) event in our city. This is kind of a fancy group of people who get together and drink and discuss great wine. OK, they don't just drink wine, they have an intimate affair with it. They swirl it, hold it up to the light, stick most of their face in the glass and inhale and then finally let it flow gently over their tongues and then down their hoity-toity throats. It's kind of fun to wait for the expressions that follow. Whether these tastes of the grape bring pleasure or disappointment, it is discussed. The members have their own lingo, so I just listened politely and smiled. I prayed that no one asked me my opinion. By the time I had sat through about three tastings, I was not only clueless as to what they were looking for, but I was a bit tipsy. Anyway, the evening was pleasant, if a little too snooty for me. It got me thinking... are you surprised?

There ought to be discussion groups for tasty pleasures that a lot of people enjoy. And then it came to me in a flash. I could easily lead regular group discussions on a subject that I dare say I am both an expert and a connoisseur. I thought about how much I could add to this world with my vast knowledge, teaching so many so much. I could start my own group and it might grow into international chapters. If people can gather to discuss wine, cheese, cigars and the like, wouldn't it be wonderful to get together and discuss CANDY? That's what I'm talkin' about.

I have loved candy for nearly as long as I have been on this earth. One of the best things about being a kid was when I earned money doing chores and could then ride my bike to the corner store and buy candy. It was always a special treat and it still is. I don't think anyone appreciates candy more than I do. I have had a lifetime to explore all the delicious varieties of candy confections. I can describe the taste, the aroma and the subtle nuances of every one of my favorite candies. Before we go any further, I am not only talking about exquisite Belgian chocolates or Italian nougat or German marzipan which I adore, but the candy every American child grew up on. The kind that is lined up on 3-tiered shelving on a solid aisle of yumminess in every drug store, supermarket and 7-11.

Of course, you can't simply trust the opinion of one person, although I am very qualified in this area. I set out to do research to find out what we all like to eat when it comes to candy. Fortunately I didn't have to dig too hard. USA TODAY did a fabulous job of coming up with the Top 50 Candies of All Time. When I read through the list, I agreed with many, disagreed with some and was downright shocked at others. I am convinced that there needs to be group tastings and discussions to sort this all out. My guess is that many candy lovers never venture outside their comfort zone and end up buying the same thing every time they indulge. Case in point: Werther's caramels came in number 50 while candy corn landed at the top. Number 13! Really? How in the hell did that happen? The Candy Corn Council obviously does a better job than the folks at Werther's. One of my personal faves, Necco Wafers, only made it to number 44. These delicious little discs of flavor that disintegrate into paper thin yumminess give pleasure to the taste buds and the tongue. Yet, Peeps made it to 23rd. place. Very confounding, indeed. Peeps are cute and they sell zillion of them at Easter, but I wonder how many of these fluffy sugar encrusted critters actually get eaten.

Below are the Top 10 candies that sell the most. I agree wholeheartedly with most of them, but if there was a Candy Society to assess the virtues and failures of big sellers, I think the list would change. People just don't know...

10. Hershey Bar. You will get no argument from me. Perfect. And without them there could be no S'mores. Unthinkable.

9. Twix. Not a big deal to me but I appreciate their fan base. Those who love them, love them. Good enough.

8. Butterfinger. Yes, baby! Messy to eat but heavenly.

7. Gummy Bears/Gummy Worms. OK, we have to have to let the kids have a say. I also know that dieters like these because they are low in sugar and a serving is a lot of pieces, I would much rather have a delicious Tootsie Roll Pop (# 15) that satisfies a sweet tooth, lasts a long time and is only 50 calories. If there was a group, you would know that already.

6. Kit Kat. Again, not my thing. More of a cookie than a candy and I am a purist. I know lots of people love them, so I cave to this confection's undeniable popularity.

5. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. A superstar in the candy world. Fabulous!

4. Twizzler's. Oh, come on! I will pit waxy tasteless Twizzler's against soft, chewy and flavorful Red Vines any day. No comparison. Red Vines are way better. This is what happens when there is no group that brings these details to forefront.

3. Snickers. Who doesn't like a Snickers? One of the greatest candy concoctions ever created.

2. Hershey's Kisses. Perfect name, perfect amount of chocolate to make your mouth happy.

1. M & M's. Created in 1941, these scrumptious little candy-coated milk chocolate morsels are at the top of my list, as well. I would rather have a bag of plain M & M's over of a truck load of Godiva Chocolates. That's just how good I think they are. The fact that they melt in your mouth, not in your hands has never mattered much to me. They are never in my hand long enough to get squishy. The DO, however, melt in my jeans pocket in the clothes dryer. Long story.

So, whenever you out there are ready to form a Candy Connoisseurs Club, I am ready, too. There is an imbalance in people's taste levels when it comes to candy and we can change all that. It is up to you and I to set the world straight. Milk Duds only made it to number 32. Very disturbing.


Stayin' Alive

As I hunker down in the bliss of middle age, there is one thing that has become extremely clear to me: I am very lucky to be alive. I have been babysitting my grandkids fairly regularly lately and though I figured that I was pretty good at mothering, it's a lot different now. I grew up in dangerous times and didn't even realize it until I became a grandmother. I raised my own children like I was raised. I thought my parents did a pretty good job with me, so I carried on their work with a few upgrades.

As I was strapping my 2 1/2 year old granddaughter into her car seat the other day, it all hit me as to how lucky I was to be walking this earth. I am pretty sure I didn't have a car seat or even seat belts when I was young. Oh, I take that back. I did have a seat belt. It was called Mom. When she had to hit the brakes suddenly, she would throw her extended arm across me to keep me from being hurled into the air. I don't think that kind of protection would prove effective in today's crash tests, but I am still here to tell the story.

When my grandson rides his bike or his scooter, he wears knee pads and a helmet. When I look back, I rode a bike and roller skated on the city streets without any kind of head gear or padding, I am astonished that I made it to this age. My younger sister skated too and she wasn't as good as I was and was prone to falling down pretty often. Obviously, Mom was ahead of her time in the field of childhood safety, because even though she never thought about protecting my sister's head, she started belting a bed pillow to sister's back side when we went outside to skate down the sidewalks. The pillow trick worked really well because my sister's butt was unharmed and is flourishing to this day.

Come to think about it, I am closer to being a senior citizen than a debutante, so how did I escape death when I grew up on white bread? I even ate Velveeta and Spam and I am here to talk about it. I don't eat it anymore, but I can assure you that in my youth I had my fill of gluten and trans fat. I am pretty sure that an Omega 3 oil never crossed my tongue as a kid unless it was found in fish sticks. Growing up, the closest I ever came to eating organic was when I decided to taste one of the mud pies I had created in the yard.

Thank goodness my brain was never corrupted from watching television in my early years. Although there was no such thing as Parental Control to block me from watching unfit things, there weren't actually a lot of unfit things on TV back then. How much trouble could Gilligan really get into to that I would need to be shielded from?

It's a miracle that I lived to be this old because I was spanked within an inch of my life for misbehaving. Kids today are not spanked or slapped anymore. Even if they try to touch something dangerous or run into the street, corporal punishment is considered wrong. Now parents discuss the wrong-doing with the child and make contractual agreements with 5 year olds about the consequences if the infraction should ever occur again. I was slapped on occasion, spanked from time to time and otherwise punished in addition to being put in solitary confinement to think about what I'd done. How did I ever escape childhood relatively unscathed?

And to think I played with cap guns, and pogo sticks and jump ropes. I could have been burned or impaled or strangled for goodness sake! I faced so much danger and yet... I made it.

I had mumps and measles and chicken pox and, except for the permanent little hole in my forehead from that spot I couldn't stop scratching, I came through all of it.

I feel very fortunate to have lived through so much despite the fact that I didn't have anything to keep me safe and healthy. I am one lucky lady.

Miss Fifi has yet another gift to be thankful for in this life... The privilege of getting older.


Senti-MENTAL Journey

I am writing this from this from Indialantic, Florida, which is right below Orlando. It is 6 o′clock in the morning and I am trying to put my thoughts down on this iPad from my guest bedroom without the benefit of coffee. I am here to help my brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Micky and Alana, through a somewhat bittersweet process: selling their home by the sea and moving back to California, where most of the family resides. Their house is going on the market in 2 weeks or so, but before that, a giant estate sale had to take place so I came here to help, both physically and mentally. Just to clarify, I am divorced, but my ex-husband’s family is still MY family. Basically, they kept me and he got to have his girlfriend. I am the big winner in this deal.

“Estate sales are a very emotionally draining experience and it was up to me to be the voice of reason every step of the way.”

Getting ready for a move across country and downsizing considerably is very physically demanding even if you are 35, which we are not. Just setting up to sell a house full of stuff is a huge effort. I conducted estate sales as a sideline for many years, so I know the ropes as to how to get things sold. There is more to it than just the day of the sale. Before anything else can happen, you have to separate what is to be sold from the items that are keepers. This is where the real fun begins and why they really needed me. This is a very emotionally draining experience and it was up to me to be the voice of reason every step of the way. Parting with things you love can be so traumatic and can really mess with your head and heart.

I know from experience how hard this process can be. After my divorce, the family home was sold and I ran my own estate sale. I had lived in the house for 25 years and raised my babies there. I was moving into a place not even half the square footage of my house, so I knew I had to whittle down my belongings. Easier said than done. My poor sister had to be much more than "the voice of reason" with me. She had to perform an intervention on me every time she viewed what I was planning on keeping.

I couldn't imagine myself as a single woman living alone. I couldn't fathom not needing every mixing bowl, vase, platter and tablecloth that I owned. And what about the things that belonged to my loved ones who were no longer on this earth? And all the sweet gifts people had given me through the years? And my collections, for goodness sakes! I had been working on those for decades. My poor sister had to talk me down from the roof on every "treasure" that I insisted on keeping. She was an angel and was very patient with me. I know what Alana was going through and I was determined to get her through this sale with a feeling of relief from being out from under all her stuff and not regretting her choices.

I am the most sentimental fool I know of and my sister-in-law is not far behind me. I had to be gently persuasive when trying to get her to part with things and put them in the sale. She hadn't come to grips with the fact that many of the items she felt she couldn't live without were things she hadn't used in years. My dear brother-in-law, Micky, was no problem at all. He was in charge of getting rid of the endless tools, widgets, electronics, yard equipment and other "testosterone-ish" items that filled the garage and shed. He had way less attachment to his man stuff and was excited to turn them into cash. He kept out of our way and only appeared when he was needed to move something. Micky is a dream man. He made my job easier. Alana is another story.

She really loves and trusts me and listened to my reasoning. She let go of things she really wanted to keep and I was proud of her. I didn't even say anything when I noticed that some items had mysteriously made their way from the "sale" area to the "keep" room. When they go to pack it up, there will be another edit when everything doesn't fit in the moving van and yet another one when they find a place in California and discover they still own too much. It's the natural progression of things and it doesn't seem to end, at least not for me. I have lived in my place for nearly 7 years and I STILL have an ass-load of belongings to get rid of. So who am I to judge?

We held the sale for 3 straight days. We made a nice amount of cash and got rid of tons. Clean up was a breeze. Alana and I hauled an SUV filled with the leftovers to the Goodwill on the last day and she never looked back. Good girl!

This experience was a good one for all of us. I got to visit my beloved beach oasis one more time and be with people I adore. We proved that even old people can "Git 'er done!" with determination, love and a good amount of red wine.

I had such a good time, despite the long hours and hard work. And as a bonus, I get to have their fantastic curio cabinet that I have admired for ages. I kept all my little collections of Murano glass birds, my grandmother's tea cups, my mother's thimbles and so on and I will have a perfect place to display them. Boy, will my sister be surprised to see them again! Wink, wink.