When I’m 64

th-1I wonder if your working world can make a 90 degree turn when you’re 64?

I have been a working girl all my life. I didn’t go to college, so I had to learn as I went. Back in the late ’70s an executive secretary was a lot different than they are in ’16s. I mean — my first computer was a Wang! Anyone ever heard of that line?

I was one of those executive secretaries in a PR department, and one day my boss asked if I wanted to write press releases. It was for a trade group for savings and loans. A world I never understood. Above my head. Out of my comfort zone. So I had to pass.

Other jobs were in similar fields: public relations or advertising or running my own business. The latter one I had the most success with, as it was designing my own brochures and portfolios and advertising for my B&B. But it was limited. Once described, the description didn’t change.

My current employment journey began as an expediter, then an almost-proofreader that became a coordinator instead, then a slide on over to the Web side, then more data entry. It was an arduous journey, one fraught with monsters and stalkers. But I survived, and the Internet in general and the World Wide Web in particular started growing around me.

Then something strange happened.

I took over the writing of the company blog. I was in a position to throw some words into the space where no one looked. It was not immediately noticed except by a few. Time turned over again and again. Old wood was removed and fresh growing branches took their place. The window into the 21st century was finally thrown wide open and the fresh air was intoxicating.

And the blog was noticed.

Moreover, my writing was noticed.

Here I am, 64 years old, fulfilling my writing fantasies with my personal blog, creating new worlds with my art blog, and editing my novels that should have been submitted to a publisher years ago. Suddenly, 3-4 years away from retirement (technically speaking), I am offered again a job that I was born to do. This time for a company I understand. Whose vision I understand. Whose style and management and philosophy matches the way I write. It’s not writing manifests or research papers or company reports. It’s Facebook posts. It’s subject lines. It’s abbreviated e-mail copy.

But it’s writing.

So after all these years of trying and turning and giving up and starting something new, I have come full circle. Full circle one circle further than I was a few circles ago.

I am proof that windows do open and careers find their way around boulders and down hills and back up again. It’s probably not the career you dreamed of in your ’20s or ’30s. I mean, I imagine a lot of us are nowhere close to where we thought we’d be at this point of our career. Most of us are happy just to have a job.

But it is a job. And close is better than not-at-all.

So when they say don’t quit your day job, don’t. Put up with it, change it if you can, deal with it if you must. If you need to change your job, change your job. But never give up on your own creativity. Find a way to work it into your daily life. During your day job if you can, in your personal job — i.e., life — if you can’t.

You’re never too old to be an optimist…

 

 

Cut Those Calorie Blues

klice_fresh-alfalfa-sprouts-in-a-white-plate-3Monday I had my (hopefully) once-every-10-years-colonoscopy.

I will spare you the agony and colorful descriptions of the pre- and post-inspection. I’m more concerned about the best after-effect. Weight loss.

And the struggle to keep it lost.

Like many who take this journey through their inner galaxy, you lose a lot of matter. And water. And when you are happily empty of all hauntings, you are about 5-8 pounds lighter.

Here’s me…no food for 30 hours. Not in the mood to think about food. Then everything is done. Finito. What is my first thought for dinner? Macaroni and Cheese.

I tell myself I can keep on this fasting/low cal way of living. After all, gotta keep that colon clean. Jello, bouillon, keep it light. Okay, add some toast and it’s okay if you add some protein. Water. Drink lots of water. Liquids. Okay…Coke is a liquid, right? So on and on we go. And I can see my dream of losing another 15 pounds the pre-colonoscopy way is fading with every whiff of bacon, chocolate, or onion rings.

Colonoscopies are a valuable diagnostic tool. Since I had a breast lumpectomy 5 years ago, (and there is no history of breast cancer in my family that I know of), anything that can happen CAN happen. So better to be pro-active.

I know my dining habits have been slack lately. I am full of “who cares?” and “I’m old so it doesn’t matter” and other reasons to eat anything and everything. But there comes a time when sloppy is no way to live your life. I’ve been a veggie fan for quite a long time, and I’m not a big meat eater. As I’ve gotten older a number of things upset my stomach, including, sadly, alcohol. So I have been forced to eat healthier.

But I have to admit. Losing that much weight so quickly was a boost to the ego. Amazing what 5 pounds can do to a person. But reality isn’t made of chicken bouillon and grape jello. When you put in a full day of work (whether it’s kids, office, farming, or what have you), a cup of tea and a handful of wholewheat crackers isn’t gonna get you up in the morning.

So I have made a deal with myself. A compromise. I truly don’t need the extra bag of cookies from the snack bar or the pasta or the extra slices of raisin bread after I have breakfast. I’m going to eat, but I’m going to eat smart. Not lazy. I’m going to make a menu board and plan my meals a week ahead of time (my daughter-in-law had done it for years and it’s worked wonders for her). I’m not going to boredom-snack, or TV snack, unless it’s healthy.

I’m no angel…I know I can’t say no to mini cream puffs or an occasional donut if someone brings them to work for birthday goodies. But I CAN control portions and choices and pig out on something that won’t add chunk to my already chunky physique.

After all. I want to dance at my grandson’s wedding. And since he’s only 6 and his mom won’t even THINK of letting him get married until he’s done with college, that’s reason enough to become a reasonable-calorie gourmet.

I just wonder how this change of heart will effect my Christmas cookie-making goals?

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Crocheted Scarves

Quite simply, crochet feeds the human need for balance in our lives. Making something with our hands reflects something basic about ourselves. We want to work hard without losing touch with our creative selves; we want to earn money without losing our souls; and we want to be part of a larger picture of human progression while still maintaining our individuality. – Crochet Designer Vickie Howell

 

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The Art of Crocheting is so much more than a hook and yarn.

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It is a talent honed on cold nights and empty days

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And during the rare times children are napping.

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It is the miraculous obsession of creating fabric by interlocking loops of yarn, thread, or strands of other materials using a crochet hook.

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It is a glorious celebration of material and creativity and vision.

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It is patience, perseverance, and practice.

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And besides all of that — it’s beautiful Art.

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These lovely images were found at http://www.crochetconcupiscence.com/2012/03/100-unique-crochet-scarves/, one of the sites created by artist Kathryn Vercillo http://kathrynvercillo.com/

Positive vs Negative Affirmations

comedyDo you ever get confused with all the positive affirmations floating around the Web?

Life being what it is, do you find it hard to reconcile your own confusing ups and downs with the positive verbiage that  continually pops up on your Facebook and Twitter and in your emails?

Beautiful thoughts build a beautiful soul.

The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us.

Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is opinion. 

Trust me. No one enjoys (or needs) positive vibes more than me. I like that when the rain clouds come (and there’s no accompanying thunder to rattle my soul) there are positive vibes out there that let me know that tomorrow’s another day.

But positive affirmations don’t help me feel better at the moment when I make mistakes at work or when I can’t get my hair to look more than a flat bathing cap or when I walk in the door and the dog has shred important paperwork.

It’s those times my mind wanders to those “other” affirmations that are more like the beginning of an anger management class.

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

You know nothing, Jon Snow.

Eat my road grit, liver lips.

I mean, come on. Didn’t you secretly enjoy Chevy Chase kicking the crap out of the Santa and reindeer in Christmas Vacation? Didn’t you do a little huzzah when Rhett told Scarlet “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” All the wrongs of the day disappeared with one snarky word or movement.

Sometimes I plain like my negativity. Sometimes I enjoy the fantasy of punching out someone who has crossed the line too many times. Sometimes I love standing in the middle of the room and shouting the “F” word five times. We’re not psycho — we just need an instant relief from the stress of whatever. And that moment of fantasy lets the pressure out of our pressure cooker.

The trick is to let those negative flashes happen,  and then let them dissipate, our angst and frustration dissipating with them.

Like Captain Kirk in the Final Frontier.

Damn it, Bones, you’re a doctor. You know that pain and guilt can’t be taken away with a wave of a magic wand. They’re the things we carry with us, the things that make us who we are. If we lose them, we lose ourselves. I don’t want my pain taken away! I need my pain!

I think that’s what life is all about. We are who we are from the highs and lows we’ve experienced. I do believe we need to take negative situations and get positive results from them. I don’t believe in living in the past, for we can’t change what has happened. But we can change where we go with that experience.

As you get older, your well of experiences goes deeper and deeper. You learn to let go of what you can’t change, and to make the world a better place from what you’ve learned. To protect others. To teach others not to make your mistakes. And, if they have made your mistakes, how to correct them quicker.

Life is one big cliche. And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Affirmations make the truth easier to swallow. Winter will bring snow, the sun will shine, and you will smile again.

It’s the circle of life
And it moves us all
Through despair and hope
Through faith and love
Till we find our place
On the path unwinding
In the circle
The circle of life

Oh geez — now I need a shower from that sugar bath —

Gif Today…Gif Tomorrow

Alright — I cannot hold them back any more. My little animated library is bursting once again with fun, memorizing gifs.  Feel free to share them on your social media platforms or with friends and family.

Or you can be like me and hoard them in a little folder on your desktop, and sit and watch them perform. They’re great stress busters…

 

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Old Age = Fine Wine = Pfffffttt!!

This beginning-of-the-week blog is mainly for those of us getting up in years. Not really UP there yet, but holding onto those clock hands, trying to slow down the pace to the future. OUR future.

I have been having a few “feeble” moments lately, and, frankly, my dear, I do give a damn. I don’t like it. I catch myself groaning and moaning and rolling my eyes whenever something needs a little extra effort. Now, I know I’m not in my 20s…or 30s…my energy level has changed through the years. But I catch glimpses of this little old granny, bent over, shuffling, mumbling, into the future. And I can’t go there. Not for 20 years at least.

How do you train yourself to pick up the pace, so to speak? I don’t mean jogging around the block or acing a calculus test. I mean — how do you find your bearings, your confidence, when you’re short and round?

I have seen many women who have aged gracefully. Hair, eyes, shape, all have held up pretty well through the years. I have never been one for beautiful anything, but I have managed to stay married for 35 years, so I must be doing something right. But it’s those same connections that seem to pat me on the head now and then and say “Don’t worry. We’ll slow down/simplify/avoid confusion for you.” Which does nothing but piss me off.

I understand that if I were physically encumbered, others would (hopefully) want to simplify my world. I may hold a grudge against everyone healthier than me, but I would understand. If you can’t do it you can’t do it.

But at this moment I CAN.

Maybe my knees creak and I get weird pains in my shoulder and forget to turn the lights off when I leave or can’t hear someone because they’re mumbling, but I’m not on my way to the glue factory. I am still a viable part of my community, my family. I hold a fairly decent job, I am a writer, a blogger, and artist. I can keep up with the best of them when it comes to grand kids, dogs, friends, and grammar. I’m not ready to take the back seat to the future.

I think the older you get, the harder it is to garner respect. We are older and wiser, yes, but we are also the “older” generation. We don’t always have the keen insight and quick reflexes of the younger generation, hence encouraging condescending nods and smiles from the quicker-picker-upper crowd.

Is this an age thing? A woman thing? Or not a thing at all? Do you second guess your abilities? Your alertness? Your ability to reason or figure things out? Have you given up on your looks? Your style? Your ability to swing?

I always thought those concerns would be less and less as I got older. Seems like the old insecurities never go away. They just change color and hue.

The point of life is to not give in, not give up. To live your life with a bit of caution and a little grace and a lot of humor. It took 40-50 years for this hair to thin, for this writing career to take off — and I’m not done yet.

I’m aging like fine wine.

Sunday Evening Art Gallery Blog — Pierre Brissaud

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Pierre Brissaud  (1885- 1964) was a French illustrator, painter, and a prominent figure of French Art Deco.

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He created illustrations for publications Les Feuillets d’Art, La Gazette du Bon Ton, Fortune, House & Garden, Vanity Fair, and Vogue.

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Many of his illustrations are realistic leisure scenes of the well-to-do.

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From the mid-1920 to the early 1930’s, Pierre Brissaud was known for his stencil prints meant for magazine covers and advertising.

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Not only did Brissaud created prints and posters for fashion houses, but he also did book illustrations including Manon Lescaut, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Madame Bovary.

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It is through his creative artistry that the reflections of elegance of days gone by are preserved.

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More about Pierre Brissaud can be found at http://bestarts.org/artist/pierre-brissaud/