Why She Thinks?

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She Thinks started when Cindy decided that she and her daughter, Ally, should write together, and Ally couldn’t come up with any good reasons to say no. We wanted to see how our perspectives differed as a younger/older woman, mother/daughter, less/more experienced persons, brunette/blonde. Each week, we pick a topic sent to us from our readers that makes us think. We then go on our own and spill our respective guts/brains/hearts out on the page, and then post our thoughts here. To keep things interesting, we don't read each other's posts until we publish them. This means that sometimes our opinions and stories match, and sometimes they don't. That's what makes it fun!

We’re not trying to solve the world's problems, but who knows? Maybe we will.

Read more about Cindy and Ally.
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No.  Expiration dates are a giant conspiracy from manufacturers to get us to throw out everything in our pantry and buy new soup or olives or ketchup in order to keep them in business.

(OK, maybe a little paranoid…but maybe not.)

I mean…what’s so bad about soup that’s been in a can in your pantry for lets say…6 years?  It’s in a can for God’s sake!  The cans’ purpose is to keep that food contained until you are ready to eat it. No air can get in, and they’re so loaded up with preservatives that no bacteria, bugs or other bad things could live in there anyway.  So what’s the big deal!?!

Note:  I think preservatives are one of the greatest things ever created.  They’re designed to preserve things…forever…and at my age, I eat as many things loaded with preservatives as I possibly can.

I will go so far as to say that preservatives have made expiration dates…obsolete.

Except for milk.  Which I don’t need an expiration date to tell me has gone bad.

Or cottage cheese.  Or anything dairy or meat/fish/poulty, or fruits and vegetables or leftovers left in the refrigerator for more than 5 days for that matter.  They all need to be tossed on a regular basis.  They don’t come with expiration dates…but I’m not stupid…I KNOW THEY EXPIRE!

But ketchup?  Come on!  That stuff has got to have a shelf life of 6.2 million years!!!

So what about medicines?  I confess, I don’t check the expiration date on pill bottles (I know, you’re shocked!).   I know I probably should, because that stuff might really do some harm if it’s past its prime – or worse, not provide the intended relief it was designed to provide.

But it takes so much time to go to the other room…find a pair of reading glasses…turn on enough light to read in the bathroom…find the expiration date on the pill bottle…and then make a decision if I’ve had it “too long” (since I don’t automatically believe the expiration date in the first place).

From years of experience however, I can tell you that Tums don’t loose their fast acting antacid relief even after they’ve been sitting in a drawer for about 5 years (although they no longer resemble the original shape or color of a Tum) .  Advil still works even if it hasn’t seen the light of day since the First Bush was President.  And, Vicodin NEVER stops working.

But antibiotics are a different story.  I was married to a doctor after all so I KNOW that if you find a rogue antibiotic laying in the bottom of a pill bottle you probably shouldn’t take it…even if you’re dying.  In fact, you should be wondering if the illness you were suffering from way back when was actually cured, since you obviously didn’t finish taking all of your antibiotics at that time!!!

In all fairness though, expiration dates can tell us how long the manufacturer thinks their product will be most effective…but it’s up to each of us to determine if using their product whenever, is still good enough.  Obviously, if they really thought it would be dangerous for us to use their product after a certain amount of time, they would build in a self-destruct mechanism to destroy it on the expiration date.  And since that isn’t the case…I don’t think expiration dates matter at all.

I should subtitle this post: Stories of my Father.


I can remember sitting at the kitchen counter watching my mom clean out the refrigerator.  She was busy tossing expired milk, old yogurt, and moldy bread in the trashcan.  (That makes it sound like we only had rotting food… we only SOMETIMES had rotting food.)  My dad was busy taking the food OUT of the trashcan, saying things like, “just cut off the moldy parts and it’s perfectly fine”, and “do you know what yogurt is?  Bacteria laden OLD MILK!”


I was sick earlier this year and had a cough that kept me up at night, so I asked my dad for some cough syrup.  He gave me a bottle of brown liquid that was apparently “Black Cherry Explosion” flavored.

Me: “Dad, this expired in 1994.”

Dad: “Medicine doesn’t go bad.  It’s just a ploy to get you to buy more.”

Me: “Dad, do you realize that you have not only had this for over a decade, but you actually packed this in a box and moved it to a new house… TWICE.”

Dad: “Well, it’s probably just extra potent now!”

Me: “Yeah, but will it kill me?”

Dad: “Maybe.”

Me: “Awesome.”

(I tried not to take it, but at some point I got so desperate that I just closed my eyes and took a swig.  It worked, but for my own peace of mind, I bought a new bottle.)


Dad: “We have two kinds of salad dressing… Oh wait, they’re the same kind.”

Mike: “Brian, they’re different colors.  How OLD are these?”

Dad: “Hm… Shut up and eat your salad, Mike.”


I went down to Denver to my grandmother’s house.  We went to the basement to clean out her office.  Between the shelves of Christmas decorations and newspapers from the 1960s were cabinets with food.  There was a small glass jar with artichoke hearts.  The liquid inside had almost solidified and there was yellow stuff floating inside it.  The expiration date had faded off.  At least I know where my dad gets it from.


I live with a boy who throws away milk 2 days before the expiration date.  Now I’m the one taking the yogurt out of the trash.

So do expiration dates matter?  According to my dad, not so much. But have you ever accidentally covered your salad with really old dressing that your father refuses to throw away?  Trust me, it’s not a pleasant experience.

Topic: Piercings

Cindy Thinks

Ally Thinks

I’m all for them…within some seriously defined boundaries of moderation.

I have my ears pierced, in two places (close together in the “normal” part of the pierce-able bottom ear lobe…none of that top ear lobe cartilage stuff). Honestly, I’m not sure why I ever got the second holes put in.  Most days, I only think to put one set of earrings in my lobes, but I think I like the option of putting two sets in at one time…especially when I have the time and/or energy to search through my mini earring supply and find a set that would look smashing with another fabulous pair on hand.

I also had a belly button ring for a while.  I did it with Ally when she turned 16.  She asked if I would go with her, and as any mother of a teenager will tell you…if your 16-year-old kid actually WANTS to do something with you, even if it means poking a long sharp needle into your inny or outty…you DO IT!

I remember the two of us leaving the piercing “salon” and walking down the street feeling all cool…while holding the top of our pants down below our hips so that the waistbands wouldn’t rub against the newly stabbed portions of our belly buttons.  Unfortunately, after the initial “I’m such a cool mom” phase wore off, and the healing process ended (which took an abnormally long time for me – being that it was an older belly button), I realized that the whole belly button ring thing was an absolute bitch to maintain.

I would spend an inordinate amount of time during my daily grooming focused on my naval.  Honestly, it had never really been that big a part of my cleaning routine before, but it definitely took a whole lot of time to clean it and would take even longer for me to change the jewelry in it!  I swear it took HOURS to wrangle that ring, or little jeweled barbell in and out through the two little holes in the upper lid of my naval.  And, after all that work, nobody could see how cool it made me, or how well it went with my outfit, because it was…HIDDEN!

Seriously…what was the point!?!

So I took it out and never looked back, or at my belly button for that matter!

Even though I would consider myself pretty open minded to most things centered around personal adornment, I have to admit that I’m not crazy about piercings on lips, eye brows, noses, nipples or pretty much any other body part that sport a ring or dangling piece of jewelry.  Those cute little dots of jewels that women wear in the soft fold of their noses?  I think those are OK.  But when they hang a  ring through their nostrils, or through their eyebrows, or God forbid in their lips or tongues…I want to pull on them.  I want to flick them.  I want to yank them out.

When it really comes down to it, though, I think it’s less about the piercings per se and ALL about the Jewelry.  Simply put, piercings provide an opportunity to wear body jewelry.  And I take the coordination of jewelry, any kind of jewelry…really seriously.

I have visions of a future where I’m in an old-folks home and all of my peers are covered in silver studs and tattoos.  I figure it’ll make bingo more exciting.

I think some people get piercings as a form of self-expression.  Others get them because they think it looks good.  I also know people who do it because they like the pain (I’m not here to judge).  Me, the only body piercing I have I got because my mom made me.

My mom wanted her belly button pierced.  I was almost 16, so she told me we should get them together.  Even though every girl I knew was practically begging their moms to let them do it, my mom had to convince me.  For whatever reason I didn’t have any desire to have a gigantic needle shoved through my stomach.  But I did it, and I still have it, though it hasn’t seen the light of day since I was a size 2.  (It’s been awhile.)

When I got my bellybutton pierced I was trying (unsuccessfully) to be friends with my ex-boyfriend.  He was 100% against it because he thought if I got my bellybutton pierced (even if it was my mom’s idea) it would lead me on a path to sex with strangers and heroin benders.  (Did I mention he was a strict Mormon?)  I figured if I was going to hell, a bedazzled belly button was the least of my worries.

Other than that, I have 3 holes in each ear lobe, but rarely wear anything but simple silver balls in them.  I used to have two holes in the cartilage of my left ear, but it never healed, so after a few years of not being able to sleep on that ear, I took it out.  (There’s only so much pain a girl can take before she gives up on looking cool.)

As far as seeing piercings on others, I don’t really care.  I think those teeny-tiny nose studs are cute, but other facial piercings don’t really appeal to me.  Have you ever seen those piercings that are surgically implanted under the skin?  People usually get them on the back of their neck or on (in?) their chest.  Those hold a sort of morbid fascination for me.  The first time I saw one I was sitting behind a girl in a sociology class in college.  I couldn’t tell what the hell I was looking at (are those glued on? just stuck in there?), and I totally had to hold myself back from reaching out and poking the back of her neck (which, I assume, would be fairly awkward).

Personally, I have no idea what drives people to shove rings through their nipples or baby makers… but I guess I’m just missing something there.

I guess I believe that as long as nobody is coming at me with a needle, I figure people can do what they want.  Then again, if I was a mom and my baby came to me with a ring shoved through some part of his or her body… I might have a problem with it.  And I’d probably have to blame his or her Grandma Cindy.