I Don’t Like That I Don’t Get It

I had an odd reaction to a movie I watched the other night, and I’m not sure I want to talk about it. Yet it affected me in ways that I don’t like, because it makes me reflect on parts of me that I don’t like.

I watched one of those Barbershop movies. I don’t know if those comedy/dramas that happen in the ‘hood interest you, but I enjoy the hip language and colorful culture that’s portrayed.  The first two movies were more about the barbershop starting or moving, and the interactions between those who decided to stay and make the shop their own. The third one was more about the same barbershop owner trying to keep his kid out of gangs, along with the effects gangs were having on the ‘hood. This installment was darker, edgier, the gangs scarier, and the vocabulary a lot more raunchy.

I enjoyed the darkness — I didn’t get what all the T&A had to do with it.

The first thing that comes to mind when I don’t like something is that I’m turning into an old fogie. While there’s no doubt that’s true, I like to think that I keep up with the younger generations fairly well. I know it’s more than bro and bae, and I try and keep and open mind. After all, my parents rolled their eyes at me, and their parents at them. And I’m not aghast at swearing or sexual innuendos or basic raw sex.  Been there, done that, too. I can cleavage with the best of them. But there was something about the sexual volleys between the sexes that seemed so raw and offensive, I wondered what the point was.

Look. I know I’m whitebread. I’ve never denied that. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to understand. I don’t want to walk through the world with blinders on. I know with every new generation the boundaries are looser and farther away, society is wilder and more demanding, and the chances of success fewer and fewer.

But this…

This is why I didn’t want to talk about it. My prudish self is coming out. But I couldn’t help but react to the big, tightly-wrapped booties sticking out and shaking and cleavage falling out to one’s belly button and sizes of anatomy parts. What are they saying? What image of life are they trying to portray?

Just like I can’t wrap my head around today’s politics, I also can’t wrap my head around the plight of inner city situations. I am removed, so there is no way I could understand. And because I can’t understand I have no idea what they’re all going through.

And something tells me I should.

Everyone’s life is different. From Africa to the south side of Chicago, from Buckingham Palace to small town Hebron, everyone’s story starts where they are born and ends where they die. And every single thing that blows by affects our lives whether we want them too or not.

I’d like to think that there is still such a thing as self respect. That being sassy, being cool, being a smart ass is a show of confidence. That talking trash about body parts and sexual positions are signs that the we’re not afraid to bring these taboos into the light.

But sometimes I wonder. Is it them — or me?

Give Me a Purple Streak

I knew when I saw this commercial there would be a blog connected to it.k8lu

It was a Walgreen’s commercial.  I think it was for inexpensive prescriptions for Medicare patients or something. There were two old broads, laughing, picking up meds, who were going to their (I assume) high school reunion.

Wake Up Vibe #1: Their reunion was for the year 1966. That is only 4 years before mine.

Wake Up Vibe #2: They had big purple streaks in their snow white hair.

Wake Up Vibe #3: I liked the hair.

Let’s face it. I am not one of those old women with white hair and creaky bones who are the face of Baby Boomers.  I am an old woman with red hair and creaky bones who is the face of Baby Boomers. I hate hate HATE the idea of getting older. Period. I am not greeting old age with open arms; I am not going into that dark night quietly. I am the young creature who dances to Motley Crue and follows fashion and dreams of a career where I can be myself and who is never going to move on.

I am also the old creature who moves my body to Motley Crue and makes up fashion and finds time to dabble in a career where I can be myself and is moving on as slow as possible.

Why does this glimpse on TV rattle my chakras?

Maybe it’s because the comely Boomers are still a size 6. I haven’t been a size 6 since 6th grade.  Maybe it’s because the two women together have this invisible, indivisible, bond that probably has lasted since 1st grade. My bestie moved half way across the U.S. six months ago and there’s no one to pal around to the pharmacy with.

I think the biggest rattle is because the women pass off graduating in 1966 just like they passed off going to Applebees for lunch last week. Like it was nothing.

There is no way in hell I graduated from high school 50 years ago.

Do you know the changes that can take place in 50 years?

We had typewriters with correcting tape, microfiche films, princess phones, computers the size of a room, and no seatbelts. We launched Star Trek, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Brezchnev, Johnson, and DeGaulle.

I don’t want this to turn into a walk down memory lane — what we had v.s. what we have now. The point is much simpler than that.

There is no way I graduated from high school 46 years ago. I’m still acting like a teenager NOW, despite grandkids, mortgages, jobs, bankruptcy, and cancer. I still love the Beatles and the Monkees and have a fond recollection of 8-tracks.

Today’s 20-40ish crowd is no different than when I was 20-40-ish. I was too busy changing jobs and raising kids and finding a second job to worry about purple hair streaks. But now I’m starting think — if not now, when?

Young readers, do you waste time thinking about getting older? About what used to be? Do you have the “good ‘ol days”?  I’d love to hear your stories. That way I won’t get so worked up over a silly TV commercial.

After all, who knows what will happen at YOUR 50th high school reunion…in 2056….

I Am (some kind of) A Flower

Banksia-Coccinea_webThe first taste of Spring — REAL Spring — brings an antsyness to me that supersedes any residue A.D.D. I have. Having been cooped up in the house since December, I am ready to take on the world…at least my little part of it.

I have had my share of crap through my life, but have usually come out of it with a fairly clean shoe.  I’ve put up with crummy jobs, crummy friends, and crummy situations. When Spring comes I always want to kick the world in the teeth and strut boldly and successfully into something new. Something exciting. Something different.

But I always run into the same obstacles. Money. Age. Bad Timing. Energy. All the obstacles I swore I’d overcome next time.

I don’t want to confuse the good part of my life with the bad. It’s taken me years to finally be accepting of who I am, flakiness and all. I’m not beautiful, I’m not thin. I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed. But I am happy with my health, my family, and my loves. I’m a fairly decent writer, artist, and cook. I’m a great granny, friend, and colleague. That part is a lifetime commitment, one I think I’ve handled fairly well.  But that’s not the only side of my growth.

I think we all get frustrated at points in our lives. We get tired of taking the bad with the good. Tired of bending like a reed and blowing in the wind. Tired of turning the other cheek.  We tell ourselves we can do better. We deserve better. We’ve worked hard all our lives and we deserve more than this (whatever this is). So we work a little harder, save a little more. Go back to school. Lose weight. Whatever it is that makes us feel we have a say in our future.

And sometimes we make it.

More often, we stall out somewhere along the way. The road is too rocky, too twisty. We really believe we want a new job or a new style. Yet we never quite get there. We send out a few resumes, enter our artwork in contests, buy healthy food. We start walking or jogging or whatever it is we need to jump start our new direction. But the frig goes on the fritz, we twist our ankle. We need to proofread our novel one more time. Legitimate reasons we can’t move on right away. Legitimate. Yet a reason. There’s always a reason.

I suppose that’s why I feel so strong every Spring. It’s a chance to replant those seeds that have been gathering dust all year. I need to believe I’m not really getting older, although all signs point in that direction.  I’ve already started my BoHo chic thing (swingy skirts work better in warm weather). I’m due for a vacation renewal May 13th.  My husband finally found a job.  So things in general are quite good. But I have the desire to do more. Now that the daffodils are popping through the dirt, I should be popping through my own dirt. I need to keep my goals in sight. Even if I don’t get there.

I see shadows on the horizon…they seem to come more in waves these days than ripples. But I’m determined to make it through the rough patches so I can coast when things get smooth. Not only that, but I want to be strong for the others riding this wave with me. Because it’s important to believe that you have a purpose in this world. A reason for hanging around. Every day we achieve something, every day we learn something, is a good day. Never forget that. Even if I can’t find a new job or a new body, at least I can accept what I do have with grace and a smile.

Not to mention that I’ll kick anybody’s bootie if they say different.

 

Trippin’ Right Along

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Gaelic Storm, Milwaukee Irishfest

One of the keys to surviving middle age is to balance your complaining with your freedom. People like to read about your older “boomer” adventures, but few have time to listen to a thousand words of whine. As a friend once said, things of a personal nature have a short shelf life, because people quickly confuse your madness with theirs.

I had a great time this past weekend. Went to the zoo with family, went to Irishfest Friday evening, then back to Irishfest all of Saturday with family and friends. The music lightened my soul, and walking and eating and talking with friends and family strengthened my heart.

That’s what people want to hear.

They don’t want to hear about my aching legs and feet, or my Alzheimer’s moment of leaving a tube of ointment in the bathroom stall, or the five dollars I lost by stashing it in a place that jiggles too much. No one wants to know that I took a tumble trying to step over a chain that was a wee bit too high for my short legs, or that the cause of my headaches was more likely from dehydration than stress.

People love to read that I took my grand-baby playing in the Irishfest park and that we walked to the lake and watched the boats and threw rocks in the water. They don’t want to read about the almost-twisted ankle I got because I climbed on rocks I had no business climbing on.

I wonder if I was this muddled 30 years ago? If I was as prone to forgetting and stumbling? Back then I’d get drunk and others thought it was funny and entertaining. If I’d do that now people would think it embarrassing and senile.  I’m sure I dripped food on my chest from the time I was 16; now, if I do it at 60, it looks like I’m feeble. I never was a jogger or a marathon runner, but having to stop and sit now and then makes me look like I’ve lost my get-up-and-go. Did I ever really have it, though? And did it ever matter?

Ah, but I don’t let that fear stop me from living. Neither should you. Once you get passed your bruised ego look at all the good things that come from it. I listened to music I loved; I played with my grand-baby and almost-grand-baby; I got a nice sun tan; I leaned to drink more water, I sang my favorite songs with the band; and walked so much my legs are ready to walk with the girls at break again.

I also learned that nothing is safe when hidden in places that jiggle alot.

Do You Do That Beauty Do?

wThis blog is mainly for my GFs, my BFFs, my Peeps, and my YTBM (yet-to-be-met) gal pals. Yes, it’s another “list” for us women who haven’t enough sense to come out of the preverbal beauty rain. It’s a list to remind us girls over 40 not to look like 80 – unless we are 80 – and then we just don’t need to look our age.

So from Yahoo to you, here are six beauty mistakes that make us look like an antique lamp:

Dark lipstick Deep shades make any surface look smaller, and that includes lips. I wonder if I should wear a dark shade all over my body, then…

Too-sleek hairstyle  – This can make your face look drawn and emphasize every pore, wrinkle, and imperfection. Also, keep in mind that helmet-headed updos can be disastrously aging. Stay away from too-voluminous bouffants. Seems the flat head is dead. Too bad no one seemed to tell my thinning hair that. And voluminous bouffants —  I thought the boof was the dead head of the 50’s…

Over-concealing dark circles We want to hide those bags and under eye circles, and sometimes we get carried away.  What happens if I’m one BIG bag – not only under the eyes but on the other 99% of my body? Can I over-conceal THAT?

Cakey foundation – Heavy foundation sticks to and emphasizes wrinkles. Oh, come on now – who would want cakey without ice creamy? That sticks to EVERYTHING…

Lower lash mascara This packs a double aging  whammy by bringing attention to crows feet and making eyes appear smaller and more tired .I have lower lashes??!!

Short necklaces – Chokers are a bad move as they bring attention to your neck – an area that begins to show aging early on.  Ever notice that actresses of a certain age end up wearing scarves and choker necklaces and turtlenecks? Choking is bad for you in general. Leave my neck alone.

Now, just to show you that I am all about beauty, I made up my own six beauty mistakes – and the remedies for them.

Red eye – Cameras are notorious for  bringing this malady into the forefront. Ideas to reduce this bloodshot look include eyedrops, sunglasses, getting to bed before 1 a.m., and enlarging the type on your computer.

Upper lip hair – Some of us can’t help we inherited Uncle Stan’s mustache genes. Besides plucking and depilatoring, you can be super chic and drink a lot of milk. After all, look what a milk mustache did for Trisha Yearwood.

Thin lips – Except for Botox, the easiest thing you can do to enlarge your lips is to either suck on a straw all day, or  walk around and pooch them as if you are in deep thought. You won’t look strange, because everyone knows the older you get the harder it is to think.

Mummy skin elbows – Dry, crinkly skin making you want to hide your elbows? No need to wear long sleeves to the beach. Rub a little RumChada or Malibu Coconut Rum on the rough parts – you’ll smell great and everyone will know what you are drinking.

Flat hair – Flat hair makes you look shorter (I should know). To get that “tall girl” look at any age, turn your head upside down. Hang whatever hair you have towards the floor, and spray with hairspray. Without touching a brush or comb, go drive around for about 20 minutes with the car windows open (preferably down a highway or freeway). You won’t believe the height that results! Width too!

Dry, winkly skin – Even the best moisturizers can’t keep our skin as smooth as a baby’s. So besides slopping on the goo, you can dip yourself in chocolate (and become a Raisinet), or soak in the pool, hot tub, lake, or bathtub, and plump up like a grape. Better yet, forget the soak – drink the grape. Trust me, you won’t notice one more wrinkle.

To conclude this beauty lesson, never forget: those who refer to our well-worn and well-loved bodies as snake skin, pigeon toes, crow’s feet, cat claws, chicken neck, raccoon eyes, and spider veins, know diddle about animals OR women. Rejoice in the fact that you are here today, proudly representing the animal kingdom in its bare naked finery. Your wrinkles, your skin, are just that – yours. 

Wear your jungle with pride.

What Is True Success?

So many things make us happy; so many things make us sad. So many times we wished we  had turned left instead of right; so many times we are soooo glad we did turn right instead of left. Sometimes I get really sad that I’m soon going to turn 60 — where has my life gone? Other times I look back and am sorry my mother never made 54. I’m sad that I had breast cancer; other times I’m so glad they found it when they did.

Life is packed with highs and lows, yellow and blacks, snow and scorching heat. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what it’s always been about. For us, for our grandparents, for George Washington and Kublai Khan and St. Joseph. I’m sure they all had a hundred things they wanted to do at one time, too.  Just like us. We all want to be appreciated for what we’ve done. What we’ve become. We all would like to think that our time here on Earth has been for the Greater Good.

This is not a confessional blog; this isn’t a tell-all or a bad news bomb.  I’m sitting on my sofa this cold Sunday afternoon, looking at the bare treetops in my front yard. Of course, you know me — I’m also watching football, eating lunch, doing laundry, getting ready to write some in  my latest novel, wondering what I’m gonna wear to work tomorrow. I’m also thinking about the fun I had with my grandbaby this weekend, thinking of taking some drugs for my achy legs, and feeling guilty I haven’t played fetchie with my dog today.

That’s really what this blog is about. Sometimes I feel I should be pushing this blog harder, trying to share the Word with more readers. Other times I think I’ve run this horse to the finish line, and should start a new creative venture.  Yet more often I think  I’ve let my writing simmer on the back burner for so long it’s started to dry up and stick to the pan.

How do you know if you’ve succeeded at what you tried to do? What is the measure of success? Big paychecks often are an indicator;  good health, always. Waking up every morning is a success all on its own. Family? Kids? Making the perfect apple pie? All of the above are successes if never done it before. Success has always been measured from the heart first, from the masses second. And often it takes on a meaning more cosmic than one thinks. I think I make the best spaghetti sauce this side of the Mississippi. If you don’t agree, does that mean it’s not good? Of course not. All it means is that I can eat it all myself.

Writing is the same thing for me. What is being a successful writer? Have I ever been published? A short  story here or there in the past 10 years. Have I won awards for my creativity? No. Have I ever I gotten a call or email from a publisher? No. Do I think I’m a successful writer? Yes. Definitely.  I’ve had people say positive things about my stories; I’ve brought smiles and tears to readers.  I’ve written 4 novels, 1 novella, 32 short stories, 42 poems, 84 blogs, and 3 novels in-progress. I think that’s being successful. Why? Because Ive continued to do what I love, no matter what the  result. I’ve had fun making friends, creating worlds, and trying things that make me uncomfortable. I encouraged people to believe in themselves, given life to middle-age heroines, and never killed off  the main character.

There are still so many paths to follow, worlds to explore. And that’s only after I play with my grandbaby, fetch my dogs, pet my cats, cuddle my husband, go to work 40 hours a week, clean my house, grocery shop, get together with family and/or friends, and dozens of other responsibilities. Life has only so many hours, and I’m still struggling on squeezing a few more out of every week.

So what this all boils down to is that I’ve driven the Humoring the Goddess train long enough. Hopefully I’ve encouraged you to believe in yourself, have fun with your life, and laugh as much as you can. There are so many things you can’t change, so why not toss your hands up and laugh and move on? You’ll know the things you CAN change..that little voice in your heart/head/soul is always there to remind you. Your job is to listen.

I have enjoyed entertaining you all these years more than you know. I have learned so much from you. I might try another blog, or finish one of my novels, or sit and spew poetry until I feel nauseated. I’m sure I’ll be back and visit sometime. If I start something new I’ll post it. I will look foward to hearing from you and YOUR projects. You will always find me at my email world…  humoring_the_goddess@yahoo.com.

There is always a path ahead of you. Always. It’s up to you which one you take, or how often you turn left or right. In the end, none of that matters — the only thing that matters is that you keep walking.

Keep Humoring the Goddess…and Loving your Life…

Claudia Anderson

Hanging Around

Sitting outside this evening, listening to the staccato serenade of countless birds, I hear a small airplane pass overhead.  Looking up, in plain sight, is a plane pulling a hang glider. And I think – why not me?

The thought of flying high above the landscape with only a few straps and sails to keep me there scares the beejeebers out of me. So does the ridiculous idea/thrill of bungee jumping. After all – what if they miscalculated the distance to the ground? What if the bungee cord broke? It has happened, you know. Maybe to one out of a hundred thousand, but I know my luck. I’d be one of the hundred thousand. The same goes for spelunking, rafting down a raging river, and jumping out of a plane with a parachute. I really think thrill seeking is overrated.

Or is it?

There is a part of me that envies the hang glider dancing on the currents of air, seeing our world from a bird’s perspective. The spelunker who gets past their claustrophobia is often rewarded with caverns of unearthly delights. Race car drivers fly by at hundreds of miles an hour. Can you imagine what that feels like?

Why can’t this be me? Why am I so afraid to find my thrills outside of the box?  I mean, really outside the box?

Death is a big factor. I conveniently ignore the fact that I have a greater chance of dying every time I get behind the wheel than I do crashing a hang glider. More people fall off their bikes and die than rafters plunging into the rapids. More people drop every day from heart attacks than … well, you get it.

We are all going to die sometime. We all have to cut the tie to our Earthly paradise sometime.  But this blog isn’t about death – it’s about adrenalin. It’s about taking chances. It’s about putting it all out there, relying on our primal reactions to ecstasy and tragedy.  I’m afraid of putting it all out there. Afraid of being scared $hitless doing something that is as foreign to me as the back alleys of Japan. I’ve found comfort in my whitebread world. But have I always found satisfaction?

We are all governed by our fears. Whether it’s getting out to talk to people or wearing a dress for the first time in years, there are always lines we fear to cross. What if someone makes fun of us? Worse off, what if someone doesn’t like us?

It has been a long road to not caring about all of the above. I admit I still have those fears – I doubt if I’ll ever erase all of them. But now that nonsense is tempered with the knowledge that I am who I am. I’m not a murderer, an abuser, or a bad person.  I am okay just being me.  If others don’t like me, that’s their loss, not mine.

I believe that is true for all of us, no matter our age, size or status. We can all improve, but when the day is done and the sun sets, we are who we are. I want to be who I am. I want to step out of the safety zone. Moreover, I want to test my own comfort zone. Not because I have to prove something, but because once in my life I want to experience that rush of adrenalin you get knowing you have done something not a lot of people do. You have knowingly cheated death and survived to boast about it.

My 60th birthday is this year. I think I’ll ask for a hang gliding jaunt. Once I have the ticket in hand I won’t back out. I don’t think.

I just need to make sure I’m wearing extra underwear.