Are We Alone?

I am still in the working world. And around here, Tuesday is the worst day of the week. Suddenly I was inspired to write a poem. This is for Ivor and Walt and Dwight and all of you who know what poetry is. I really don’t. But I do feel better.

Are We Alone?

 

Here is my photo of

distant galaxies

So far away at the

edge of the universe

Even our minds cannot reach.

See the large one

on the left?

Spiraling magnificently

somewhere at the edge

where we can never go?

Do you see the wisp

that curls upwards

on the left?

Right there where the

mass splits.

There are billions of stars

in this galaxy alone.

And millions

in this little split.

Do you think

there is a planet circling

around one of those billions

of sun-like stars

full of

life unbounded

where an older woman

with hair of gray or green

depending upon the atmosphere

is sitting at her desk saying

I hate this job

too?

Can we talk?

 

 

My Life is on TV

I enjoy the new television season.in the fall. Dozens of shows try their best to make it to the evening line up. Most of the new crop is stinky. Some are merely okay. And some are pretty good.

Now and then there are some that hit pretty close to your life. And it’s creepy.

I just watched two sessions of Cool Kids.

For those who don’t know, Cool Kids is a new show about four “seniors” living in a retirement community who are sassy and a little troublesome. The most recent show was about one of the main stars (Vicki Lawrence) turning 65 and how she didn’t want to even acknowledge it. The foursome went out to a dance club and had a great time embarassing themselves before they went out drinking and met for breakfast the next morning in sunglasses.

65 and wanting to believe 65 is not old. And going out and doing crazy things to prove to themselves they are indeed as young as they feel. Which, in the end, was strained back muscles when they stood up and headaches in the morning.

Does that sound familiar or what?

I’m afraid I identify too closely with these oldsters. They say and believe the things I say and believe. They laugh and pick on each other and get sassy and throw parties they’re not supposed to throw. They fear getting old and being forgotten once they pass. The show didn’t get into grandkids or working past retirement age. Perhaps those will be touched in future episodes.

But what they did talk about and complained about sounded a lot like me.

Vicki Lawrence is 69 playing 65. The other actors are 62, 63, and 75 respectively. All within my age sphere. Their characters — and probably the actors themselves — have been there, done that. And so have a lot of us.

At this point in my life it’s great to see someone else portray my ups and downs on the screen. It’s great to see seniors being proud to be seniors. They may ache a little more and get tired a little more, but their memories of once being young and agile are every senior’s memories.

Of course, my life on the big screen will come crashing down once the show is cancelled.

But for now it’s fun watching the female lead talking about having a Peanut Booze and Jelly sandwich for lunch.

 

Spring is Here

By the time you read this, Spring will be officially here (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere…you southerners have had it long enough!)

One of the parts of being old that I really love is that I can start to say, “I remember when…” I do that alot. But I digress. But I remember when I was younger that winters were more winter-like. We froze from December until March, feets of snow (is there such a phrase?), dug out every other week, and had a jolly old time jumping off roofs into the huge snowbanks. Now we get snow and after a few days it’s nothing but dirty mush. What fun is that?

I must admit we have some odd habits here in the middle of the U.S.

The first sign of spring around here is when you spot people in sweatshirts and shorts. I don’t know — I think it’s a Wisconsin thing. But it can be 40 degrees out and everybody’s in shorts. Not yet t-shirt weather, they make due with sweatshirts.

The number of joggers/walkers/runners seem to increase the day it turns 45 too. Although the ranks thin out during the summer, I applaud those who run through the puddles of melted snow just to make it around the block.

Starting the first week in April our stores are jammed with perfectly amazing plants and trees for your garden. Of course, they never look as fresh and blooming when you get them home as they do hanging on the Walmart rack, but hey! You can do it too! The ground is usually still frozen in the beginning of April, though, so that just means you have to prevent all your flowering gems from wilting or frosting by keeping them inside the back door until thaw time.

I myself am the harbinger of the other spring past time — driving with the window open, blasting music to beat the band. I have been known to open the window at 40 degrees, even 37 if it’s sunny and there is no wind. I just crank up the heater by my feet a little, and pretend I’m in a convertible.

Spring is the time to air out your car, your clothes, and your lungs. It’s the time I want to quit my job, go wandering hither and tither, lunch on the hill, put my toes in the lake, watch the moonrise, stay up until 3 am, then sleep in. Of course, I don’t have a hill or a lake or an open view of the moon.

But there is something about the first warm day after a long, long winter than makes new life possible. I don’t know how many springs I have left, but know that as soon as it’s 50 I’m grabbing my shorts and sweatshirt and jogging around the block.

What do you do when spring comes?

It’s WHAT Day?

I am a blogger in my day job, if not by title then surely by osmosis. I write blogs that relate to the nine or so catalogs we publish. Usually the topics are pretty general…March is Youth Art Month for Arts & Crafts, Warm Ups and Cool Downs for PE, Merrily We Rover Along for Science. They are short, informational, and I hope fun to read.

Sometimes I go to the website Holiday Insights  to get ideas for different sorts of holidays my teachers and readers can identify with, like Pi Day March 14th. And there are days in there I can see celebrating like Brothers and Sisters Day and Sally Ride Day.

Then, of course, there are those which have no explanation. Who or how these days were chosen to be celebrated I have no idea. And some I don’t want to know. So I will share these mysteries with you, along with the links (just click the day) so you can wonder along with me.

January

2nd – Run up the Flagpole and See if Anyone Salutes Day

3rd – Fruitcake Toss Day

7th – Old Rock Day

11th – Step in a Puddle and Splash Your Friend’s Day

21st – Squirrel Appreciation Day

February

3rd – Eat Ice Cream for Breakfast Day

7th – Wave All you Fingers at Your Neighbor Day

11th –Don’t Cry over Spilled Milk Day

13th –Get a Different Name Day

20th – Hoodie Hoo Day

March

3rd – If Pets Had Thumbs Day

7th – National Crown Roast of Pork Day

15th – Everything You Think is Wrong Day

16th – Everything You Do is Right Day

20th – Extraterrestrial Abductions Day

29th – Smoke and Mirrors Day

April

3rd – Don’t Go to Work Unless it’s Fun Day

4th – World Rat Day

4th – Walk Around Things Day

13th – Blame Someone Else Day

16th – National Eggs Benedict Day

26th – Richter Scale Day

May

3rd – Lumpy Rug Day

4th – International Tuba Day 

9th – Lost Sock Memorial Day

11th – Twilight Zone Day

14th – Dance Like a Chicken Day

22th – World Goth Day

June

1st –Flip a Coin Day

13th –National Weed Your Garden Day

16th – National Hollerin’ Contest Day

19th – Juneteenth

19th – World Sauntering Day

22ns – Take Your Dog to Work Day

July

2nd – I Forgot Day

3rd –Compliment Your Mirror Day

3rd – Embrace Your Geekness Day

15th –Be a Dork Day

17th – Yellow Pig Day

27th – Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day

August

5th – National Underwear Day

6th – Wiggle Your Toes Day

8th – Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day

27th – Just Because Day

28th – Race Your Mouse Day

September

2nd –Internaional Bacon Day

5th – Be Late for Something Day

7th – Neither Rain nor Snow Day

22nd –International Rabbit Day

28th – Ask a Stupid Question Day

October

2nd- Name Your Car Day

3rd –Virus Appreciation Day

8th – American Touch Tag Day

9th – Moldy Cheese Day

10 th – Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day

14th – Be Bald and Free Day

21th – Count Your Buttons Day

November

2nd –Look for Circles Day

6th – Marooned without a Compass Day

9th – Chaos Never Dies Day

15th – Clean Your Refrigerator Day

19th – Have a Bad Day Day

30th – Stay At Home Because You Are Well Day

December

1st – Eat a Red Apple Day

3rd –National Roof over Your Head Day

6th – Put on your own Shoes Day

6th –  National Chocolate Covered Anything Day

11th – National Noodle Ring Day

30th –National Bicarbonate of Soda Day

Which day are YOU going to celebrate?

Can You Afford the 12 Days of Christmas?

The holidays are here! Thoughts of baking cookies and singing songs and long walks through the snow twinkle everyone’s thoughts this time of year.

One of Christmas’s favorite songs is “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a light-hearted attempt to give the one you love extraordinary gifts. But what if you wanted to buy each of the 12 days for your own loved one?

For more than 30 years, PNC has calculated the prices of the twelve gifts from the classic carol.  The result is the PNC Christmas Price Index, a unique and whimsical holiday tradition that makes learning about the economy fun.

Here is what they had to say:

A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE

$219.95  (+4.7%)

This gift’s spike in price can be fully attributed to the Pear Tree’s increase (+5.2% from $189.99 to $199.95), while the Partridge remained flat. The Pear Tree spiked due to increased cost of living for workers and limited supply of larger, more mature trees.

TWO TURTLE DOVES

$375.00

These birds had no love lost, as prices remained steady, after a hefty increase of 29.3% in 2016.

THREE FRENCH HENS

$181.50

It’s been a quiet year for the French Hens. There was no change in their price or pecking order, due to steady supply and demand in the past year.

FOUR CALLING BIRDS

$599.96

It was business as usual this year for these feathered friends. Their price was unchanged, selling right at market value. No need to call for a discount to stimulate sales.

FIVE GOLD RINGS

$825.00  (+10%)

After five years with unchanged pricing, Gold Rings are shining bright, jumping up 10% since last year due to increased demand and popularity.

SIX GEESE-A-LAYING

$360.00

Despite a slight increase in food prices, geese just laid back this year as the goose market remained stable and their pricing, unaffected. In years past, the goose market had fluctuated due to the avian flu.

SEVEN SWANS-A-SWIMMING

$13,125.00

Although historically the most unpredictable gift of the bunch, the swans swam in a straight line in 2017, staying the same price as last year.

EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING

$58.00

The Maids-A-Milking are chugging along at the same price as last year, reflecting the stagnant federal minimum wage, which hasn’t changed since 2009.

NINE LADIES DANCING

$7,552.84

Despite a growing economy and rising demand for dancers, dance companies did not raise wages (and thus, prices) for the fifth year in a row.

TEN LORDS-A-LEAPING

$5,618.90  (+2%)

The price to hire high-flying men to entertain your true love rose after two years of stagnant growth.

ELEVEN PIPERS PIPING

$2,708.40

No price increase in the pipeline for these musicians. After their wage increase last year for the first time since 2013, the cost to hire Pipers in 2017 remained the same.

TWELVE DRUMMERS DRUMMING

$2,934.10

The Drummers kept the beat steady with unchanged pricing after a much-anticipated wage and price increase last year.

 

TOTAL CHRISTMAS PRICE INDEX (CPI)

$34,558.65

(+0.6%)

The cost of this year’s CPI rose ever so slightly, driven by the cost increases for the Pear Tree, the increased demand for Golden Rings, and wage increases for the Lords-a-Leaping.

 

So as you can see, the price of true love just might cost you a pretty penny or two.

 

 

Watching TV My Way

It’s actually kind of funny that after 36 years of marriage (plus a few more added on for living together first), I have to re-adjust to being around my significant other.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Indeed it does, but it also makes our shared time a confusing mess.

The last couple of years my other has been working the night shift. Not a big deal for most couples. Not a big deal for us. Except just as get into my girlie routine being by myself, he’s home an extra night and I’m thrown off base.

The first 2/3s of my life I spent every evening with him. Kids, dogs, family. Mowing the lawn. Doing the laundry. Playing video games. Reading books. Like synchronized swimmers, we did a lot of things either in tandem or complimentary to each other.

His work hours  these days are Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and every other Saturday night from 5pm to 5am.  So I do Japanese Movies with English Subtitles on Monday, Horror Movies on Tuesday,  binge watch series and write on Saturday, and watch dramas and tearjerkers and do Art Gallery pictures on Sunday.  I throw in a little pretzel housework between movies or chapters — it’s a little dizzying but it works for me.

You say, why don’t I include him in my pretzel activities?

He thinks I’m nuts already for the Japanese movie part. He thinks B horror movies are a waste of time. Breaking Bad didn’t interest him, nor did Stranger Things, both of which I power watched. I text, write, surf, watch, fetch and wash at my own speed. I eat what I want when I want, not fearing eyes watching me have a bowl of ice cream before bed.

Yet when we do spend the evening together and we’re not working on some “project” we crash on the sofa and…watch TV. I don’t care for the Ultimate Fighter or  the Beverly Hillbillies and I cringe watching anything with commercials, so I usually pull out my laptop for a couple of hours.

I’ve worked 64 years on developing this wonderful, quirky personality. Or rather it’s taken me 64 years to accept this wonderful, quirky personality. Either way, I like things my way. The pretzel way.

I’m sure my hubby doesn’t mind it either, otherwise he wouldn’t have stayed with me for so long. But when the day is done and the two of us are together and we’re not going crazy with grandkids or mowing or other lovely pastimes, I say —

To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it myyyy wayyyy…….

 

Save the Unicorns!!

I am coming up on a dilemma soon that I don’t know how to handle. And for me, this is a big one.

We are remodeling/redecorating our house one room at a time. It’s been 15 years, and the dirty ivory carpet that I never should have ordered is potmarked with dirty shoe prints and cat puke and dog poop. You know what I mean.

So the bedrooms are turning into …. bedrooms, and the library is being relegated to downstairs last room on the left (with only a window well for light), and we are thinning out all the stuff we’ve collected for the past 30 years.

My dilemma? I don’t have enough room for my unicorn collection.

I know I know — that’s not as horrible as losing a house or a job or getting rid of baby toys because your babies are all grown up.

These are unicorns we’re talking about. Not little teddy bears or Beanie Babies or leftover rabbits from Easter.

I’m talking about unicorns.

Magical, inspirational, surrealistic horses with horns.  Signs of life and light. Ethereal. Magical…oh…I already said that. You get my point.

I’ve been collecting these little things for years. And you know how it goes — once someone knows you collect something they always buy them for birthdays and holidays. So I’ve got quite a collection spread around the house. I have framed pics, mirrors, thimbles, mugs, lamps, slippers, shelves, crystal glass, Beanie Babies, necklaces, hanging rugs, glass statues, stuffed unicorns, brass bells, tapestries, crystal ball holders, earrings, blankets, and a set of 12 plates with a diamond at the tip of their horn.

Most of these have found a home on my walls or my curio cabinet or my bedroom. I even used the tapestries/blankets for curtains.  But there are others that are at the moment on a bookshelf that is going downstairs to the new library whose only light is a window well, and I refuse to let them sit in the dark without me.

What’s a unicorn granny to do?

Our lower level is a monster pit of leftover “things” from my son’s move two years ago, plus things from family members passing, garage sale wonders, etc. The lower level is our last battlefield, and we’re going to war this summer.

I know that when I pass from this world my kids will collect all my baubles and put them in a box and out of guilt keep them stuffed in their basement somewhere. That’s no way for a unicorn to live.

But I haven’t passed and have no intention of doing so any time soon, so I need to figure out a clever, artistic way to display my life’s treasures. The main part of the lower level will be a TV/play room. There certainly has to be SOME part of that room that can house my buddies. Maybe I can find another curio/breakfront/shelving unit that I can display proudly on a back wall somewhere (so that when the grandkids play down there there are no unicorn casualties…)

At least collecting unicorns is a walk in a fantasy world. Dreams of unique creatures that can clean poisoned water and make things disappear and can take you to see the fae are indications of a healthy, albeit crooked, mind.

My hubby should be happy.  At least I don’t collect salt and pepper shakers.

 

Feeling Better = Writing Nonsense

Now that the pain in my back is almost gone, my mind is free to wander — and that’s always a scary thing.  Here are some cosmic thoughts (past and present) to get you going this fine Tuesday evening —

  •  If you ever get stuck in a time warp and wind up in another time, you can always become a bard. Think of all the lyrics to rock and roll songs you know!
  • If time travel is impossible, why do I hear myself saying things I said ten years ago?
  • Coca-cola is green without coloring. Ewww.
  • They say it’s better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all. Does that mean if I tried to read the dictionary backwards while sitting in a bathtub and singing God Bless America and I didn’t want to stop until I was done singing and the house caught on fire because my cat knocked over the candle I had burning in the other room and I had to stop reading the dictionary, was it better never to have tried that stunt in the first place?
  • If infinity is infinite, and we can see no end to it, how do we know it’s even there?
  • Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
  •  It is a fact that the closer you get to the speed of light, the more time slows down. So isn’t a moot point to drive faster, when you actually arrive at your destination later?
  • Why does everyone on TV eat Chinese food out of the carry out container with chopsticks? I have yet to see one actor eat Chinese on a plate with a fork! I mean…come on…
  • The theory of relativity suggests that before the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, space and time did not exist and matter was packed together in a tiny ball. Okaay…how tiny is tiny? As if it matters…
  • You spend your entire life living and eating and dancing in three dimensions. But according to superstring theory, there are at least ten dimensions in the universe (M-theory actually suggests that there are 11 dimensions to spacetime; bosonic string theories suggest 26 dimensions). Try walking and talking in that! (fyi the article is amazing..you have to check it out..10 Dimensions)
  • Most of us are a walking storeroom of facts — we’ve just lost the key to the storeroom door.

Have a great rest of your week!

 

Who Are They Singing About?

musicI’m sitting around this kinda warm Saturday afternoon, resting my pulled back muscle (which now is mostly my sciatic nerve), listening to music, trying to beat down the A.D.D. part of me that wants to run around and do a dozen things at one time.

I’ve been listening to the Rock Show on Sirius, and they’ve been playing a lot of great tunes from my youth. Ah, yes. My youth = my choices = my alternate choices. What could turn out to be a melancholy trip through the 70s through the 90s (I don’t consider anything past 2000 as my “youth”), actually turns out to be a voyage into song lyrics.

This time the words that haunt me are lyrics that sing about magical, powerful, beautiful women and whatever they did to have a song written about them. The song that struck me first was Hollywood Nights by Bob Seeger:

She had been born with a face
That would let her get her way
He saw that face and he lost all control
He had lost all control
Night after night
Day after day
It went on and on

What kind of a face could make a man lose his mind for days and nights and nights and days? Or one of my favorites, Rhiannon by Fleetwood Mac:

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
Wouldn’t you love to love her?
Takes to the sky like a bird in flight and
Who will be her lover?

All your life you’ve never seen
A woman taken by the wind
Would you stay if she promised you heaven?
Will you ever win?

She is like a cat in the dark and then
She is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark and when
The sky is starless

What kind of woman is thought of as taken by the wind? Does she fly? Do her thoughts lift her higher and higher? What about:  Rhiannon rings  like a bell through the night — clearly an analogy to her solid, musical soul breaking the silence of the night. Pretty powerful.

There are better examples than the ones I’ve given. But you get my drift.  Super women. Gorgeous, powerful, mystical women. Ruling and running their lives just the way they want to.

What would it be like to  born with a face…That would let her get her way? To be so beautiful, talented, genuinely breathtaking that you could have anything you want? You could go to any department store and pick something off the rack and actually wear it. You would barely have to exercise to keep your marvelously thin and voluptuous body. You would have men and women at your feet. Loving you, wanting you. From a distance — right next to you. You’d always have a date for dinner or the movies. The flowers would bend in reverence to your awesomeness.

I myself have always suffered from less-is-really-less syndrome. Unfortunately, I do not suffer from extreme beauty, brains, physique, or mobility. I’ve always been on the average Joe/Joelyn side. But I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be the best — truly best — at anything. From modeling to brain surgeons to ballet. To be sooooo great because everything came naturally to you.

Alas, I will have to leave those wonderings to the mystics. We make the most of who we are and what we have and leave the rest to mystics. Or writers.

But it would be great if they’d write a song about me…

and no…not Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen…

 

Spring in February

163921-beautiful-spring-dayI don’t know about you, but a flash of great weather gives me a flash of positive energy.

It’s February here in the Midwest, the land of snow and slush. Yet this past week has teased temperatures hovering around 60. Us Midwesterners know this is only a tease — a mere peek at the lace trim of a very lacy slip.

But we fall for it as much as if the slip fell off the manikin.

I saw a post on Facebook that showed 40 degrees in California (hats, gloves, muffs), vs 40 degrees in Wisconsin (shorts, open windows, bbqs). I thought that was really silly until I found myself driving home from work with the window wide open.

What is it about weather change that brightens the dullest spirit?

When it’s warm I tend to walk outside a little more…get away from the madness of the office or the madness of cleaning house and just breathe. It’s such an inspiring image, isn’t it? Walking the wooded paths, wandering along the deserted shoreline, gazing at the arrangements in a Zen garden…

Of course, that plateau lasts all of one day.

Work, kids, house and car repairs, all need to be dealt with, rain or shine, warm weather or blizzards. Life has a lot of nerve interrupting our serene moments with things like “dinner” or “soccer practice.”  How will we ever reach nirvana? How will we ever become one with the Earth and the Moon and the galaxy above when we have to work on the computer or wash the dishes or fix the lawn mower?

That is what days like today are for. The dream that someday we will be able to wander along in the sunshine, not too hot, not too cold, contemplating and meditating and finding our place in this world. The hope that our food will be fresh from the garden, our houses sparkling clean and full of fresh air, and our dreams will become our reality.

I am more to thinking that this burst of fresh air and 60 degrees just makes me high…

The No-No’s of Office Protocol

a0a4925a0f035cdf664fbd910cbc0297Having worked in an office all of my life, there are certain faux paxs you just don’t do.

I mean, you live with these people 8-9 hours a day. Five days a week. Some of them know you better than your family knows you. So you try and keep some decorum around the office.

You don’t read out loud. Even though the music blasting overhead is enough to make sheep fleece uncurl, don’t add to the chaos by reading or re-reading anything out loud. Like your emails, your checking account balance, or the sentence you just typed.

You don’t pass gas by your desk. It’s one thing if you are walking down the hall or through a group of people standing smack dab in the middle of the aisle. They block, they pay. But sitting at your desk, there’s no one to blame, no one to look at, but you. That’s why women have doors on the bathroom stalls. Some of the noises that come out — you don’t want anyone to know it’s you.

You don’t keep your cellphone turned on. In the age of cellphones, some companies allow them, others do not. But there’s nothing more distracting than your ring tone of “Star Wars” or “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” going off in the middle of your typing in a spreadsheet. Buzzers are off, too. People can just imagine what’s going on with all that buzzing.

Speaking of cellphones, don’t talk about your personal life on the phone either. No one wants to know your husband’s favorite color toilet paper or how many times you stepped in dog puke. No one wants to hear your lamenting your weight or your social life or your choice of friends. Take it to the car or parking lot. The far parking lot.

Don’t bring smelly foods for lunch. Seafood Marinara and Fish Stew are wonderful meals at home, but to heat them up in the micro in a tiny cafeteria and then opening up their pungent odor at your desk is enough to drive men wild. And I don’t mean in a good way. Wars were fought for less than stinky fish smell.

Keep your wheezy, sneezy, contagious body home. Your constant drooly and drippy mess does not blend well with the silence, the muzak, or the temperament of those around you. Plus your hacking soon will become my hacking, and I already make enough noise.

Keep your boobs, butt, and navel to yourself. Hard working slaves aren’t interested in a peek at anything but a spreadsheet or a computer screen. If you think it gets you a better job, think again. Bosses have their own boobs, butts, and navels to take care of. And they’ve learned to keep them private.

Have I done any of these faux paxs?

Do you think I’d tell you if I did?

What are those old sayings — it takes one to know one…who smelt it dealt it…yakkity yak don’t talk back…

 

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 —

Hellloooo….Cosmos Calling

briliantThe Cosmos is always calling — are you listening?

I tend to block incoming calls, leaving a message that I’ll get back shortly.  And, of course, when I call back, it’s too late. The message has disappeared. Moved On. Taken a Hike. Good Bye.

So today is a good day to start remembering and rewriting some of the messages my old friend Cosmos has been sending.

  •  When the Muse is there She’s there. When she’s not she’s not. Quit trying to make wine out of hot dogs. You can’t force the words, the strokes, the stitches. Leave the door wide open but take your trek elsewhere for a while. As long as it’s creative, even if it’s mindless, it encourages Her return.
  • If it doesn’t have anything to do with your realm, keep your mouth shut. Your conservative or over-the-top opinions won’t change the state of politics or sports or Hollywood. Misery loves company and yakkers need an audience. Don’t be the bigmouth or the enabler.
  • DO stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. Abuse is rampant. Child, animal, elder — A bully is always a bully. Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. If you notice something, and don’t want to confront the culprit, report it. Tell someone. Be their strength.
  • There is no such thing as a leisurely dinner outside. Especially this time of year. Quit trying to sell us wine and laughter and best friends sitting at a big table surrounded by land and woods. It doesn’t work that way. Just ask the mosquitoes and flies. Or the chiggers that chew your ankles.
  • Wine, chocolate, and whipped cream are the answers to all of life’s problems.
  • Organization is the name of the game. Most of us are O-Negative, but with an infusion of creativity, energy, and optimism, even the smallest o can grow to be a fairly decent sized O. Just put away what you take out, close what you open, measure before you cut, and find yourself a Muse or Spirit Guide to give you a pinch in the keester now and then.
  • Taco Cat spelled backwards is Taco Cat.
  • Universal Truth #6327: Everything makes sense to someone (see Cosmic).
  • The Cosmos is full of random moves disguised as calculated theories. So it is with winning. A few odds: winning the Powerball, 1 in 292,201,338; dying from an asteroid strike, 1 in 74,817,414; attacked by a shark, 1 in 3,748,006; becoming a movie star: 1 in 1,505,000; getting struck by lightning: 1 in 1,107,143; being killed by a vending machine, 1 in 112,000,000; being killed by a coconut, 1 in 270,000,000. Since the odds never make sense, odds are that you might as well give up the odds and go with a sure thing. Like I before E. Except after C. Oh, and there’s an A in there too…
  • Don’t be fooled by the “peaceful life” in the country. It can be just as loud as the city. Birds are worse than car horns.

The Cosmos gave me a bunch of messages this past weekend, and this time I was listening. Friendship is forever, there are stories around every corner, if you connect your soul with the soul of the universe, anything can happen. Then I gave the o’l Cos some advice I’ve learned along the way.

  • Love. There’s 1,000s of chances to find it. Life. There’s only one chance to live it.
  • Creativity is a way of life.
  • Jon Snow is not dead.

Cat’s Eyes

20081221134735180My life has been a whirlwind these past few weeks. I’ve taken off to North Carolina and visited my bff and a city that was fun and busy and full of Southern charm, went to work for two days, then took off to Northern Wisconsin and noshed and laughed and cackled with friends while we hid from the rain.

It seems everyone had fun these past few weeks except for one.

Mysty.

My Cat.

Do you ever get punished by your pets for going away?  I have two cats, a toughy, lovey boy tuxedo named Tom, and a once-tiny-now-balloony girl Mysty.

Tom could care less when I come and go. He sleeps with whomever is around, including sometimes the dogs. Mysty is another story.

Everytime I go away and then return she makes eye contact, barely acknowledging my return, then gives me the cold shoulder for the day.

I didn’t think cats held grudges. But this one does.

When I’m home she’s on my computer, twisting her cute little head sideways, insisting on pets. She sleeps by my head, climbs all over me when I watch TV, all that cute little cat stuff.

But when I’ve been gone a few days — worse, when the whole family has been away and the cats have been left alone — well, hell hath no fury like a kitty scorned.

Of course, things are back to normal after a long day. I don’t think cats have that long of a memory span, and besides, they want to be fed. And pet. But for those few first hours, I swear my cat pouts and looks forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where her master momma stayed home and played with her every day.

Maybe that’s why I didn’t leave my first born until he was 2 or 3. Just think of the dramatic sigh a toddler would make, looking forlornly out the window, dreaming of a house where his momma stayed home and played with him every day.

That is, until grandma or grandpa gave him popcorn or a Butterfinger or took him to the park. Which was instantly after I drove away.

Maybe I should offer a Butterfinger to Mysty…

 

What’s Your Favorite Food?

Sitting at work, eating a lunch of cottage cheese and sunflower seeds, is not the right condition for a funny, deeply inspiring blog. So in researching something else deep in my posting past, I came across this post. It’s much more fun. And foody.

From 9/16/14 (and please pass the butter…)

breadBread and Butter Badlands

A funny thing happened this evening. I was all pumped up to write a blog about scheduling things in your life, when I read a fellow blogger’s (David Kanigan) blog called “Don’t Eye the Basket of Bread: Just Take It Off the Table” ( http://davidkanigan.com/2014/09/16/dont-eye-the-basket-of-bread-just-take-it-off-the-table/). It really is an article about how to exert self-control. Which, in that sense, makes sense. If it’s not in front of you you’re not tempted to eat the whole basket.

But I almost missed the point of the blog because I was thinking about fresh baked bread dripping with sweet, creamy butter.  Crispy crust, fluffy inside.  Which led me to daydream about my homemade spaghetti sauce, full of fresh tomatoes and veggies with a smattering of ground beef and/or Italian Sausage, dripping over vermicelli or linguine, fresh Parmesan cheese sprinkled delicately over the top, a small glass of merlot within reach, sitting quietly next to that basket of freshly-baked bread that I’m suppose to have taken off the table.

And suddenly I’m daydreaming about the wonderful world of food.

I’ve been on a diet — no — food behavior modification — for as long as I’ve been out of puberty. I have always had a love/hate relationship with anything that has more than 2 carbs and 35 calories per serving. It’s that homo sapiens thing…anything that is fattening is worth tasting. Of course, tasting, and indulging, are two different things.

They say one can survive on indulging in one tablespoon of anything. Buffet? No problem. One tablespoon macaroni salad, one tablespoon chocolate mousse, one tablespoon mashed potatoes along with one tablespoon gravy. Just think of what a decorative plate you would bring back to the table! One tablespoon from 50 different dishes!

But let’s face it. Living on one tablespoon of cheese souffle is like smiling at only one child at Christmas. Or having one cashew. Or hugging only one grandkid. Satisfying as a bath in ice cubes. We know we should be sticking to the one-tablespoon-rule for our health, for our diabetes and our cholesterol. And most times we do alright.

But sometimes our libido cries for liberation. It just cannot be satisfied with the one-teaspoon-rule. We try to tame it. We hide the food. We buy celery and apples and lean chicken and fish. We succeed where others fail. We lose weight, lower our cholesterol, add some years to our life.

But then something as innocent as a whiff of freshly baked bread or bacon frying and we’re whipped up into a frenzy of biblical proportions. Why is that?

I do believe in moderation. Fortunately for me, the older I get, the fewer things I can digest properly. A couple of cream cheese canapes is not worth the agony of hours in the bathroom later. Spinach Dip, Ice Cream Sundaes, Hot Cheese Spread, all no-nos with the digestive tract from Hell. Yet I have to admit, I cannot pass a chance to try a scoop or two. Just to check it out, you see.

I try to avoid get-togethers where rich foods are the center of attention. Most times I can say “no thanks.” But just as often I hear myself saying, “Just one bite.” Then my big-mouth libido takes over and bread and pasta and Ceasar’s Salads are the order of the day. And as I hang my head in shame, I still enjoy the crumbs at the corner of my mouth or the sweet slide of butter still on my tongue.

I guess I’ve lost the thread of this whole blog to the whims of the wonderful world of food. So let me ask you — what foods weaken your will power? Which sumptuous feasts make you moan with delight? Which part of the banquet table can you not pass by without sampling?

Think I will go bake a loaf of bread while I wait for your answer…

Been Gif’n Again

earth-spinning-rotating-animation-25This is becoming a favorite part of  my humorous, spirally blog.

Been shopping for gifs again.

What I’m going to do with all of them I still don’t know. But I have picked out some for your entertainment. Feel free to copy them, borrow them, share them, send them, write a story about them, talk about them, research them.

Or……just watch…

 

 

 

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GIF FANTASTICO

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You Are (not) Getting Sleeeepy…

eyesDo you suffer from the modern-day dilemma called insomnia?

It’s just after midnight, and I’m still wide awake. Through time I have done all the things I’m supposed to do to fall asleep. I’ve taken a warm bath, sipped chamomile tea, listened to soft music. I’ve listened to no music at all. I have cut out caffeine during the day and take my meds in the morning instead of night. Except for right now, I am off the computer by 8; I’ve read books, tried meditation, boring movies, and total silence. I have picked up the pace of walking, both at work and after work. Tried carbs, no carbs; sugar, no sugar. Bedtime snacks. No snacks.

And yet here I am.

I’ve heard various statistics about those who suffer from insomnia. Without doing extensive research at 12:06 a.m., I believe about 60% of older people suffer from some sort of sleep interruption. Not too long ago I read an article that said that as you get older, your body rhythms change, throwing off your sleep patterns.

Surprise.

I have tried prescriptions, and even though I get a hard night’s sleep, I’m the Walking Dead the next day. So those are out. OTCs are more trips into Zombieland. There are dozens of articles on the Internet telling me why I can’t sleep, but that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t sleep.

Sooo…I prefer to think of this stage of my life as preparing for retirement.

I believe that somewhere in the cosmic timeline is a bend in the road; a crack in the sidewalk that says, enough is enough. The fifth dimension astro influence is saying: You’ve worked your a$$ off all your life, first getting up at all hours with your babies, then staying up all hours waiting for your teenagers to get home, husbands on second shifts getting home at 5 a.m., getting up for work at 6 a.m. for the past 45+ years — enough is enough. Us higher forms of consciousness are preparing you for the day you don’t have to get up to an alarm, don’t have to punch a time clock, don’t have to put data in a computer, or drive to and from work in blizzards and thunderstorms and fog.

Of course, the cosmos’ clock and my biological clock are two different things. The cosmos doesn’t get that I still have a few years left before I can sleep in and/or stay up all night. That I have bills to pay and obligations to meet before I can sleep till 10, have a cup of coffee on the deck, go for walks, play in the garden, and take naps whenever I want.

Did our parents have this problem? Our grandparents? Is it because we don’t work the fields for 10 hours a day that our bodies don’t work to their peak performance? Stress is always a factor. But our parents had stress, too. As did our grandparents. And so on.

It is true we are living in a whirlwind society. That technology moves faster than the speed of light, and if we don’t at least make an attempt to keep up with it, we become as rigid as the statues in our gardens.  With TV and movies and music blaring in our faces and politics boiling our blood and self-centered people taking over our every day world, it’s hard to slow down enough to sleep, no less breathe.

I know my retirement won’t be much of a slowdown. But I will let my biological clock take over, and go wherever the wind blows.

Until then, I’ve found some really cool gemstones on the Gemtopia Shopping Network…

 

The Perfect Candidate

united_states_of_america_640With all this jibber jabber within and without the political network, I wondered…

If you could raise a child from day 1 to be president, how would you do it?

My pretend child could be male or female, but the basic rules apply to both. I shall narrate with a female.

First, she would have to be attractive. Not model level, but pleasant to the eyes. A slight tan color to the skin would satisfy all three races. Hair would be slightly curly and a dirty blonde. No bright blondes, no black do’s, no razor straight. Her eyes could be light chocolate or hazel: no baby blues, no intense greens, and no blackish browns. The shape of her eyes should be slightly almond, as a nod to the Asian community, and her complexion slightly ruddy, like the  Eastern Baltic states. She couldn’t be fat, nor should she be anorexic thin. A size 12-14 would do.

Her clothes would be the better side of middle-of-the-road. No designer jeans, no fancy CCs or LV purses. Kohls or Penneys or the Boston Store would fit nicely. No private boutiques, no Good Will. Faded jeans and boots might be her style of choice, but she should know how to wear color-coordinated outfits with an occasional hat now and then.

Education: She should be smart and world-wise. College, yes. No Ivy League stuffiness, nor a 2-year college. A state college would suit most voters. And she can’t be either a Liberal Arts or Engineer major either — too polarizing to the parties. Even Political Science is a slight move towards liberalism. And a degree in communications or marketing would be a tilt towards “selling to the masses.” How about a degree in Business or Administration?

She should be feminine but with a slightly analytical tilt to her. Maybe a brother who’s a jock and another who’s a scientist. She is polite but not subservient. Politically correct, but is able to reach out to those with biases such as color, education, and social status. She should work in a blue collar job through high school so she can identify with hard working low- and middle-class Americans. She should keep a few minorities as best friends so she can later show her besties as “colorful” Americans.

Since marriage and children still will be the cornerstone of American ideals, she should be married to someone who is also fairly good looking. Glasses will make him look smart; a strategically placed tattoo will make him look hip. She should have two children, ideally a boy and a girl, for I doubt that ideal will be gone any time soon. No babies — that will take too much personal time from her presidential schedule. And most people don’t like the word “nanny”, so she must have a living grandmother or grandmother-in-law to take care of her kids.

Religion will be a tricky one. Since more citizens believe in God than not, she can have some sort of religious education. Nothing foreign (like Buddhism or Islam), and nothing too conservative (like Baptists or Catholics). Maybe a Methodist or Lutheran bent, as long as it doesn’t consume her Sundays. She can balance the religious angle by keeping “In God We Trust” on the dollar bill. If she is smooth enough, she can restore the “Pledge of Allegiance” with the God part back in schools, telling the athiests that they still have the Illuminati eye floating over an unfinished pyramid on the dollar bill, so it all balances out.

Once out of college you should guide her to middle-of-the-road politics. She must be able to see the good of unions and big oil along with preservation of wildlife and health care for the poor. She needs to balance the needs of the country (an overbloated deficit in funds) with the never-ending growth of private organizational needs.

She must have an understanding of the U.S. Caste System, where upon minorities gain a little ground every year, but are never really considered part of the “good ‘ol boys club.” She must choose her words well, being careful not to offend those of race, education, social economics, personal choice, sexual preferences, and other variables. Being well educated, she must learn to use the English language to choose the correct words that sound great but mean nothing.

She also must be media savvy, knowing the current pop artists as well as famous movie stars. Going to a PG rated movie with her middle-school children would show she supports the movie industry. She must read up on old time groups like the Beatles and Led Zeppelin so she may be able to “humor” senior citizens.

Once our daughter is brought up primed and groomed for the Presidency, her chances to run the country will be excellent, and peace and harmony will fill the countryside and city side.

And I’ll be rolling in my grave.

 

HaHaHaHappy New Year

girlyanda_kcyvkp85Okay. Now that we’ve eaten our fill of appetizers, sushi, steaks, meatballs, and sparkling wine, toasted the New Year, let’s get real. Let’s talk about our “New Year’s Resolutions” and what they really turn out to be.

 

Resolution: I’m going to exercise more.

Reality: Let’s park 20 cars further than our usual spot and count that as walking 10 minutes a day.

 

Resolution:  I’m going to watch less junk on TV and start watching educational shows.

Reality:  I’ll squeeze in a Cosmos between the Walking Dead and Fargo.

 

Resolution: I’m going to be nicer to people I don’t really like.

Reality:  I’m going to avoid like the plague the people I don’t like.

 

Resolution:  I’m going to start putting away money in my savings account.

Reality: Two dollars a week isn’t saving much of anything…

 

Resolution: I’m going to expand and enhance and update my wardrobe.

Reality: I think I’ll add a pair of khakis with an elastic waist to my wardrobe.

 

Resolution: I’m going to listen to more music this coming year. Music is the soul of creation.

Reality:  How about rock…no, classical…no, country…no, smooth jazz…no, big band…OH I CAN’T DECIDE!!

 

Resolution:  I’m going to eat healthier this year.

Reality:  Okay, only one scoop of guacamole on my chicken/bacon/cheese taco salad.

 

So much for my resolutions for 2016.

How about yours??

Vending Machines

jackpot-is-growinge280a6-jackpotI did it.

I must say I’m not proud, but I did it.

Our work lunchroom is a dim place filled with bright people. It holds one long table and 3 round ones. For a lunchtime of 200 people.

But I digress.

Some time ago our company decided to do away with the one push-the-button-and-watch-the-food-go-round-and-round vending machine, and swept in with the newest in small company vending machines — the gas station concept.  You know — big refrigerated cases all with full length clear glass doors. Two of them are full of beverages, everything from frappucinos to soda to power drinks. One is full of frozen delights like ice cream and Lean Cuisines, and the other with sandwiches, chocolate milk, and wraps.

I swore I would never feed the new cooler monster. It is commercialism at its best…you can even put money in the system and it keeps track of all your purchases for you. So after the first painful deposit, you can scan away, not feeling like you’re getting robbed at every purchase. I usually bring leftovers, but this morning I was late and sleepy and trying to get out before more snow came.

Well, today I ate my lunch sandwich for breakfast and my accompanying crackers for morning break. So it was either skip lunch (never!), drive to McD’s (way too cold out), or try the cooler monsters. I looked around, vowing to be conservative if I did buy anything.

Eyeballing delights more imagined than real (I know what vending machine food tastes like), I put my little debit card in and came away with a burrito wrap for $3.50.

AAHHHH!!

Don’t tell me this old bird is changing!

The burrito was too spicy, so I couldn’t eat it all.

But did you hear that? The burrito was too spicy! Most vending oddities are bland and dry and you have to squint to see the lunchmeat.

I still believe it’s just another corporation making off with three of my hard-earned dollars. The youngsters of the department seem to hang around the vending coolers a lot around lunch time…the graphic artists and coordinators and even directors seem to return again and again, feeling the few dollars missing from their wallet are worth far more than eating Beef and Rice-a-Roni again. And again. And they seem to be okay with it. So why not me?

There has to be something to glass door refrigerated food. I mean, there’s cameras all over, so it’s not like you can slip out a box of Lean Cuisine under your sweater. And there will be times that I’ll be shaking for a bottle of Coke and not have a penny in my wallet.

I don’t know when I’ll hit the vending machine complex again — it still seems a little high priced for my working woman budget. But this shows me that every now and then I can be fooled, and good things can come out of vending machines.

Now, if I could find a vending machine that dispensed Bloody Mary’s…

Sweet, Sticky Christmas Movies

91QU10iPjGL__AA1500_I do not consider myself a cynic. Maybe a bit disillusioned, but for the most part I’m a pretty good-natured gal.

As THE day approaches,  TV is wrestling with itself to see how many Christmas movies they can squeeze into 24 hours.

Apparently a lot.

I find that movies at Christmas time can really divide a family. If I say there are so many sappy movies on that it makes my teeth hurt, I’m a curmudgeon. If I watch them with devoted fervor, I’m a sap. Every movie is a reflection of Harlequin novels, which have a specific outline. For example, here are a few requirements for one line of Harlequin novels.

Harlequin Heartwarming

  • Clean, emotional, satisfying romances that readers can feel comfortable sharing with their friends and family of all ages
  • Romance, family and community are strong features of these stories
  • Characters demonstrate traditional values, but exhibit flaws and overcome hurdles similar to those in other contemporary series romances
  • Conflict between the main characters should be an emotional one, arising naturally from the story
  • Plots unfold in a wholesome style and voice that excludes explicit sex or nudity, pre-marital sex, profanity, or graphic depictions of violence: references to violent incidents or pre-marital sex in the past are acceptable if they contribute to character development
  • Physical interactions (i.e. kissing/hugging) should emphasize emotional tenderness rather than sexual desire or sensuality: low level of sexual tension; characters should not make love unless they are married

A clean, healthy dose of falling in love. And little (if any) sex.  Fall in true love first, ruffle the sheets later. Oh. And happily ever after. MUST have happily ever after.

Now, before I go further, know that I am for writing anything as long as it holds the reader’s interest and your heart. The same should be true about romance movies, too. But these syrupy sweet movies  make my teeth hurt. The men and women are always beautiful but flawed, their hangups based on past incidents they never quite got over, their kids sweet, the snow perfect.

I have yet to see a made-for-TV movie where the woman is middle-aged, chubby, and works at a diner. I have yet to see young men working as truck drivers or fork lift drivers wind up with the rich debutante. I know these are supposed to be feel-good, make-believe types of stories — ones that give hope to those who have less-than-perfect holidays.

I have had less-than-perfect holidays, and all those movies do is make me itch.

I’ll be the first to admit that one reason I back away from feel-good confections like these is that I’m afraid I’ll start to cry, and the doors to the tear bank won’t stop until I’ve refreshed them with a sandwich or glass of wine. That’s why I stay away from sappy crybaby stories all together. Old Yeller. Beaches. Turner and Hootch. Bambi.

Another reason I tend to stay away from TV Christmas movies is that there are so many commercials they make my eyes sting. It’s like little needles going into my forehead. I hate commercials. Beautiful people selling fun, beauty, and car insurance.

Okay — I’m not really against feel-good movies. The ones I watched last week were pretty decent, considering I saw the same theme played out 3 different ways. And I did wind up admitting they were “cute.”

Maybe I hold a little resentment because my Christmases are always a madhouse. Some is my own doing; some because others hold the strings to my Santa Claus puppet heart. It’s all done with love, but there’s really not much rest, either in front of a fireplace or under the mistletoe, like in the movies. It’s run, hug, kiss, eat, drive to another place, hug, kiss, eat, go home, wrap presents, fall down frozen from exhaust until 5 a.m. when grandbaby comes in and says, “Granny! Santa came!”

I think I’m beginning to hear that sappy Christmas movie music again….

 

Fashion Faux Pas

tumblr_manpcrm67D1qae69do1_250I was hoping to hold out on this annual blog a little longer. I was hoping not to coin it as an “annual” thing.

But she wore them today.

I have added a few more categories, highlighted in red, adjusting for newer fashion fads that make my blood boil.

And so, for the third annual “What Not To Wear” blog, I give you…

Not Again

It’s only mid-October…the leaves are glowing in their spectacular colors, evenings bring a cooling atmosphere for sleep, the nights are getting longer (more time for sleep and TV!). We begrudgingly  pack away our summer duds and bring our our winter ones (although, in my case, I pack away less and less so I can deal with those hot flashy moments). We look forward to hoodies and joggies and fuzzy socks. The transition is usually painless.

But it is only mid-October…and the outfit is back. The number one no-no for fashion divas of all ages. And it hurts my eyes. It hurts my eyes and pushes my buttons and shivers me timbers.

And it makes me want to repost a warning from April of this very year.

SEVEN FASHION NO-NOS FOR GODDESSES OF ALL AGES pants

During these doldrums of Winter, I’ve been planning my new fashion statement. Or rather looking for one. I’m up for the Boho Chic style. But I can’t really BoHo now, because there’s something about wind chills of ten below and snow two feet deep in every direction that discourages peasant dresses and shawls and beaded whatevers. I figure between now and Spring I’ll gather up some fun things and have fun being a fun kinda woman.

But lately I’ve been seeing a few “Middle Age Magic” women following their own fashion muse, and, well, the sight is not a pretty one. I am all for comfort, fashion, and practicality. My BoHo is not your BoHo and all that. But good taste should always be good taste. I am all for the “this is who I am” state of being, too, but there are some things Middle Age (and older) women should really think twice about.  Here are a few of my humble fashion suggestions:

1.   Leggings and long sweaters and boots can look good on some women. Velvety purple leggings can not. Ever.

1A. If you MUST wear leggings (as if life as you know it would cease to exist if you didn’t), make sure your top goes down to at least mid-thigh. No one wants to see your jiggles and jellos from the waist down. Especially if they have ripened with age.

2.   Pigtails should only be worn by women under 10 or those who want to play the baby doll thing with their loved one. In private.

3.   Makeup is not a necessity. A fresh face is. Cleopatra’s eyes looked good only on Cleopatra. On older women it just looks scary.

4.   I know it’s sometimes necessary to run to the store in jogging pants. It’s just the nature of the beast. But jogging pants and chuggie boots and parkas are not a fashion statement now or ever. Remember — you are a woman first. Don’t ever be mistaken for the football player down the street.

4a. Lately I’ve seen a new trend that makes me wanna say, “Whoah??” Wisconsiners are known for their shorts and hoodies look — it’s just a W thing. But when women wear leggings under their shorts and big chugga boots when the temperature is below 30 — too much. Like in the circus. Too much.

5.  The office is as good a place as any to try out a new look. Just don’t be the one to test the dress code every time you do. You do nothing but create army punishment for the rest of us, making us unhappy co-workers and fashion enemies.

6.  Did I mention the thing about leggings and sweaters and boots? The older you get, the more you should think twice about it.

6a. That reminds me of boots. I love the look of women in boots. But when you are older and wear boots with short skirts or boots with leggings and short sweaters or boots with shorts, you look more like a rolly polly, not a fashion statement. I’m not saying you don’t have a figure after 50, but face it. Few of us do. Don’t slip back into your teens.

7.   Know you don’t have to spend a lot of money to try new looks. Just use your head. Don’t wear shoes that pinch, pants that bulge in the butt, tops that show too much of your endowments, shoes your father would wear, tops that make you look like a sausage, colors that make you look like a clown, or earrings bigger than your head.

There is fashion, and then there is fashion. And then there is no fashion. And then there is deliberate no fashion. Don’t let your steadfastness close your mind to the colors and sensations of the world. But in the same vein, don’t let your need to make a statement as you get older make you say something you’ll regret later. If a look works, great. If not, make sure you have a great look to go back to. Be proud of who you are and how you got there. Don’t let others dictate the colors of your feathers. But don’t forget you’ve GOT feathers.

And they never look good in velvety purple leggings.

HallowThankMas

christmas-scraps-145Ahhhh….All Hallow’s Eve is just a few days away. Time for candy and pumpkins and ghosts…and the official start of Christmas advertising.

Forget what used to be — forget that one didn’t hear “Jingle Bell Rock” or see a decorated Christmas tree until Thanksgiving. I’ve been in stores with entire sections cut off for Christmas decor already, and even heard a Christmasy song on TV last week, too.

I’m not even done raking my leaves.

I’m sure there will be hundreds of blogs and articles about getting back to “old-fashioned” Christmases and values and saying bah-humbug to commercialism. And thousands more toting their wares.

How can we escape the mania that is now called HallowThankMas?

I have a 5 year-old and a 8-week-old in the house these days. They make me want to go all out for Christmas — something I’ve let slide the last few years. Trees and decorations and Christmas Villages — all the stuff that made my Christmas fun through my formative years.

Yet they start advertising toys and merchandise so early, that by the time you get around buying that one “special” thing, that “special” thing is sold out. You don’t even have your Thanksgiving turkey bought and you are expected to decorate your house with garland and lights and blow-up snowmen. If you don’t, your kids, your grandkids, wonder what’s wrong with you.

I know it’s a bit early to gripe about a holiday three holidays away, but sometimes the pressure to roll along with the tide gets to be too much. I already don’t put my tree up until after Thanksgiving; I don’t watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas or Elf or It’s a Wonderful Life until Christmas week. I do drive down Candy Cane Lane during December, and enjoy the parties and appearances of the pretend Santas and the choirs in church.

But there has to be a line drawn between the golden hues of autumn and the snowfall of Christmas Eve. There has to be an appreciation of each special day for its own sake. It’s hard to buy Halloween decorations for your own little celebration when Christmas lights are blinking down at the end of the aisle. It’s hard to get your family together for a Thanksgiving Day dinner when everyone’s planning New Year’s Eve already.

I admit, I’m not an angel. “Sleigh Ride” and “Christmas in Sarajevo” never get old. I make an effort to share the “old ways” with my kids and grandkids, the meaning behind the words, the love, the magic of the Christmas season.

But I refuse to give in to full-fledged commercialism.

At least until Black Friday. That’s when my new TV will go on sale.

Me and Motley REALLY Ain’t Old!

I was flipping through old posts today and came across this oldie but goodie from a couple of years ago. Just think — I’m two years older than when I wrote this. And I think I need this more than ever. Happy Thursday!

Motley Crue Then

Motley and Me Ain’t Old

There has been a lot of angst going around the blog world lately. Problems, thoughts, ponderings.  It seems to be hitting the 50+ group, although I’ve read quite a few -50 uncertainties as well.  It is like we all are jugging the self-esteem balls, and we keep dropping one or two on our foot. The foot doesn’t break, but it sure as hell hurts.

Motley Crue Now

I myself was going to write a blog about feeling like I’ve really aged in the past year. You know those movie stars and rock stars that come out of mothballs for one reason or another, and you find yourself saying, “Man, have they aged!”  You know — the ones you loved in your teens or 20’s or 30’s.  You cut them no slack for having lived — whether it be through raising a family or doing drugs or surviving tragedies. You want to see them fresh and perky and full of energy. Not wrinkled or bloated. For that reminds us of … us.

I find that at 60 I’m caught between making excuses and living them. The wrinkles and extra pounds and the inability to fall asleep at night and achy legs and feet are from meds, stress, drinking caffeine, sitting at a desk all day, walking the dog, and a hundred other things.  It can’t be that I’m getting old. I mean, Keith Richards looks old. Chevy Chase looks old. Surely ~I~ can’t be looking old like that.

Can I?

This goes beyond our sound reasoning, beyond the I-loved-raising-my-family and the I’ve-been-through-a-lot-of-stuff stuff. It’s the accumulation of all those years of self criticism and/or questionable choices that’s winds up as lines on our faces and girth around our middles. It’s all those rock-and-roll concerts, college parties, and lonely nights.  It’s the sleepless nights staying up with children, hard physical jobs, and watching all those soccer games in the rain.  All these things play with our skin, our circulatory system, our psyche. We do all kinds of good things for ourselves and others. Still the legs ache at night, the circles under our eyes remain, and our hair still turns gray.

The good news is that we can always steer ourselves in a positive direction. We can become pro-active, getting involved in projects and people that keep us too busy to be counting years. We can — and do — make a difference in the world, in other people’s lives.

But still, there are tinges of regret in the eyes of the woman who looks back at me in the mirror. To be honest, there will always be a tiny flicker of sadness that I will never be as beautiful as Angelina or as smart as Einstein or as successful as Steve Jobs.  Now and then there will be a faint whisper of shoulda, coulda, woulda. Looking backwards is a natural action; regret (in some form) a natural reaction. I don’t like the idea that the road is longer behind me than in front of me. Nor do I care for the fact that there’s not a damn thing I can do about it.

But then I turn on the stereo or put my ear buds in and listen to my IPod, and my youth comes rushing back to me. And I realize it’s never been gone. And will never leave me.

Come on — I know you’ve got it in you. Put on your favorite music — country song, disco song, hairband song. Turn it on and TURN IT UP. You’ll see you’re not an age — you’re a legend.

When we started this band

All we needed, needed was a laugh

Years gone by

I’d say we kicked some ass

When I’m enraged

Or hittin’ the stage

Adrenalin rushing

Through my veins

And I’d say

We’re still kickin’ ass

Kick Start my Heart, Motley Crue

Don’t Fear Pink

detailOkay. When you hear the word “pink”, what do you think of? Girls? Guys?

Girls usually think of girl babies, Barbie doll outfits, ribbons, shirts. Guys usually think of sissy things.

Why is that?

I have to admit that when I first think of pink, I think it a girl’s color. That is my old-fashioned, Catholic school, 50’s upbringing. I’m sure that’s the same problem guys have, too.

Moms in the millennium are a lot more savvy than that. While manufacturers don’t go out of their way to make pink clothes for boys, once they get into their teens, there’s always a pink dress shirt here or there to set off their wardrobe.

But still many people are gender-sensitive when it comes to that one particular color. Sometimes to the point of over-reaction.

Take the NFL, for instance.

They make a big deal of football players wearing pink during October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Accents of shades from fluorescent to carnation to cherry blossom can be found tastefully decorating gloves, sides of shoes, and towels. But once October is done, pfffftttt….so is pink.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams wants to wear pink past the October 31 deadline. His mother died of breast cancer, as did four of his aunts. This is his way of saluting their battles.

Of course, the NFL said no. October only. No exceptions.

Now, I know mostly why the NFL is so staunch about its rulings. After all, one player will want to wear Nikes with a pink streak; before you know it, someone else will want blue and someone will want yellow and it will be a color war beyond imagination. You let one do it, you have to let everyone do it.

Who knows — what if this “pink” thing took off? What if in November someone on the Patriots wore a pink towel, then in December, someone on the Bears wore pink gloves? Would that distract from the game? From the point spread?

There are no rules about hair color. Or beards. So I guess guys dying their hair pink or green is okay by them. But a memorial to a death from Breast Cancer — something we all are fighting — that’s a little too “girly” for  them.

I’m not saying they should change the rules for the NFL. Or any other sport or corporate venue. But this is breast cancer. And breast cancer doesn’t stop growing at the end of October. Someone wants to wear a token color to let the world know they support the cause — I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

But then again, I’m a girl. And I’ve had breast cancer.

All I’m saying is it’s time the world stopped fearing the color pink.

If you fear being judged by the color of your gloves or shoes or headband, then you have a lot more wrong with you than a phobia of a color.

Go Pink!

Dream A Little Dream

GODZILLA - 2014 FILM STILL - Photo Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

In my late night cannot-sleep mental meanderings, I often think how cool it would be if the afterlife were nothing more than eternal dreaming. Long after the neurons stop flashing, I’d still love to exist on a dreamplane someplace. Meeting people, doing weird things, drifting here and there, trying to make sense of nonsense.

Although the way I dream, I’d still have to have a “cosmic” wake up now and then.

They say we all dream. It’s just that some of us linger in the twilight longer than others. Hence, not enough deep sleep equals insomnia, dark circles under the eyes, and weird dreams.

Do you remember your dreams?

I would love to remember more of mine, although the more tendrils I pull out of the dream base, the more nonsense I find.

I do a lot of walking from building to building, making my way through warehouses, offices with eternal hallways, crossing city streets, and back through theaters and more underground buildings. I do a lot of “boss” dreaming, too, past and present, in offices I’ve never seen in my life. Strange people show up in my dreams, often TV or movie types, people I’ve often never given second thought to. I also still dream of my mom, although she’s been on the other side for 30 years.

Of course, weirdness is relative. I’ve seen godzillas in the distance but never a unicorn. I’ve flown and jumped off buildings and been able to take giant bounces down the street but have never gone to another planet. I write a lot of time travel stories, but I have yet to dream about going back in time.

In other words, I don’t encounter my daytime daydreams in my nighttime ones.

Maybe on some level that’s a good thing. Not being able to distinguish dreams from daydreams might be the first step to insanity. And I’m already a deal off-kilter.

But then, that would lead to quite an interesting writing career. Wasn’t Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft a bit on the “eccentric” side? (see http://brainz.org/10-writers-who-were-mentally-disturbed/ for a little eye opener).

I wonder what Stephen King or Dean Koontz dream about?

Maybe I don’t want to see where those tendrils go…

Did You Know You Spoke Chinese?

I have a grandson who is starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks. Ahhh…innocence floating out the window. No, not him — me. Or rather his mom. Brings to mind a blog I wrote back in October of 2011. Think it still rings true.

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese

Do you believe that children and their parents speak two different languages?  Do you ever try and communicate with someone who hasn’t a clue as to what you are saying?

The teen years are stressful for those going through them. Puberty comes crashing in any time between the ages of 12 and 16, estrogen and testosterone fighting for space inside a body that is growing in too many directions at one time.  But hey. What about the ones on the other side of those swings? Those who pay for hot lunches and gym shoes and nail polish?  Not only do we have to put up with I-pods and cell phones, but we have to learn to speak a whole new language in order to be understood.  It is as if we have stepped over the threshold of reality into an entirely new universe.

Life seemed so much simpler when our kids were toddlers. The years between two and, say, five, are probably the most rewarding for all forms of parental figures.  We can do no wrong; our children hang on our every word.  They fear and revere us. They bounce around from moment to moment wanting only to please those in charge.  Pick up your toys?  Of course! Eat your spaghetti?  Of course!  Clean your room?  Of course! We speak, they listen, and things are ideal.

Then comes those “cute” years, say, six through nine.  Everything they do and say is cute, especially when they pout and say “no” with wide-eyed enthusiasm.  Pick up your toys?  No! I wanna play with ‘em a little longer.  Eat your spaghetti?  No! I want pizza instead.  Clean your room?  No!  I gotta have twenty dolls in the corner!  They are starting to catch on to the power of being an individual.  They still brush their teeth and do their homework and go to bed pretty much on time, but they learn to manipulate the world by talking or playing or whining, probably all three.

By the time middle school comes around, there is a slight Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-ish personality starting to surface. Football games and study nights with friends start to take on a bit more significance as our middle schoolers begin to feel the strength of their own convictions.  Pick up your toys?  Oh please, I don’t play with ‘toys’ anymore.  Eat your spaghetti.  Red sauce? I’d rather have cheese.  Clean your room.  Oh mommy dear and/daddy dear — it is clean!  A little clip in their voice should be the giveaway that they are catching on to you.

Just when you think you have settled the beast that rustles inside your child, their high school days hit you right between the eyes. Music becomes some thundering beat with  talking rather than singing; wearing jeans that cut low enough to show off underwear or vertical fissures becomes the fashion statement of the day. Homework becomes an enigma.  School semesters are identified by fall, winter and spring sports, and words like Paris and Pink suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

You wake up one morning sprouting antennae from your head. Your voice becomes a booming echo down an empty tunnel or a high-pitched squeak riding the airwaves.  Suddenly you speak a foreign language: ρτε τα παιχνίδια σας  (pick up your toys in Greek);  съешьте ваше спагеттио (eat your spaghetti in Russian), and 投入您的衣裳去, (Chinese for clean your room). Their eyes become glazed and their expression reminds you of eating a lemon.  One day you are a friendly, loving parent, the next moment you are Godzilla’s cousin.  You don’t know what you are talking about ― your ideas or so old-fashioned they will be amazed if you make it to 50.

How did this happen?  How did we fall off of our pedestal?  One moment our child is reaching up to be held, the next moment they cringe if you hug them in public.  Is this the reward for all of our hard work?  All our love?

Well, trust me.  This too will pass.  As your children approach their twenties, they are amazed at how smart you’ve suddenly become.  Your old-fashioned ideas transform into newly discovered truths of their generation.  The older they get, the more human you become.  Your antennae suddenly don’t seem so out-of-place; as a matter of fact, they kinda look cute on your old frame.  You find a common ground through life and all its ups and downs, and they finally understand what you’ve been saying all these years.  Words and ideas flow once again, and your pedestal gets packed away somewhere deep in their heart, only to be pulled out when you are not looking.

Either that — or you have finally learned to speak Chinese.

It’s That Time. Again.

s-l1000It’s here.

The end…and the beginning.

Here, during the prime Dog Days of August, it has snuck in quietly, bringing legions of supporters with it. A force to be reckoned with. Its shield reflects the colors of whatever region it calls home, the supporters wild and crazy, ranging in age from 5 to 95. And once it has taken hold, it doesn’t budge until the Ice Days of January.

Football is Back.

Dyed-in-the-wool hardcore fans  say that these first three pre-season games don’t count. That teams are whittling down 75-80 combatants to a mere 53. Try telling that to diehards who have waited 192 days, 30 hours, and upteen minutes and booga upteen seconds to be able to wear their jerseys again.

I should have sensed it coming.

The first indication of the season to come was an increased selection of bratwursts and beer. Football jerseys and shirts of every shape and size called out from the front rows of Walmart and Target. Invites to Football Fantasy leagues filled e-mail boxes all over the country.

Yet I wanted to bask in the sun and laziness of Summer for just a little longer. Fight the mosquitoes just a little longer. Try to go to sleep while it’s still light out.

But I was denied.

Today was the clincher. It was declared “Packer Casual Day” at work.

I was afloat in a sea of green, my little navy number 6 a chuckle to the masses. I survived pretty well, holding up my end of the football spectrum as well as I could. I live in  Packer country, you see, where Bears are eaten for breakfast. Silly carnivores…

Football fans of all ages and locations begin to shout at their TVs during the pre-games just as a warmup of things to come. As if the announcers, coaches, and players could hear them. Who knows — maybe on some cosmic level they can. And most times it’s not pretty. Football fans know that technically we are all equal during the first pre-season game — that we all start from zero. But they will also point out that some teams are more zero than others.

It’s not that I have a dislike for Fall — or football. I love them both. But somehow the thought of people sitting in the stands, watching players who will soon be just a name on a piece of paper, the heat at a swell 90 degrees — well, I can think of better places to spend my Dog Days. Like at the beach.

In my house, the blam bang of tackles and missed tackles and stupid calls from coaches and snide remarks from announcers will bounce off the walls from Thursday through Sunday night from now until January. That’s plenty of chaos for me.

Until then, I think I’ll play it cool. Very cool. I’ll just watch the pre-season games in my air conditioned house.

That way no one can hear me screaming at the TV. Stupid refs…

Go Bears!

Money Money Money Mooonnneeeyy…

money_dollar_sign_rotate_hb_1_Wishful thinking or Wasteful thinking?

Wasting Time or Planning Time?

Sitting looking at at the lottery ticket I just bought, I wonder — what would I do if I won a million dollars?

What would YOU do if you won a million dollars?

It just be the dog days of summer.  The hard, long, tedious few months of my job where data entry becomes paramount. Too many mosquitoes out to enjoy a lovely evening, trying to fall asleep when the sun hasn’t set yet — daydreams are made from this.

I don’t often buy lottery tickets. I know it’s easier getting struck by lightning, but I’m not one to press my luck during a thunderstorm. So as I sit and look at this little slip of paper that will no doubt take me nowhere, I wonder what I’d really do if I won a couple of million dollars.

Of course, lotteries these days are tens of millions of dollars; for simplicity’s sake, let’s just call it One Mil. You get approximately half of that, so for more simplicity’s sake (I’m really that simple?) let’s say $500,000. Clear hard cold cash. What would you do with it?

The first think most people would say is “quit my job.” Many say that’s not practical (probably my hubby is in that crowd). But for me, being closer to retirement than my 40th birthday, it seems a viable option for me.

“Give to Charity.” God gives to those who gives to others. It is better to give than to receive. Well, sometimes I consider myself a charity case, so I’d choose my philanthropy carefully.  I’d rather contribute locally — an animal shelter, children’s daycare. Something where I could see my money work right here and now.

“Invest.” Well, paying off my bills would be an investment. Maybe not my mortgage — I’d still need some tax writeoffs. And I don’t think a vacation in Florence or Paris would be a write-off. Oh! But I could start my own business! A travelogue blog! Then I could write off all sorts of travel expenses! After I’m done traveling around the world, I’d close the business and take it as a tax loss too.

All accountants in a 100 mile radius are rolling their eyes at my folly. I’m rolling my own eyes.  I mean, let’s say I was lucky enough to live on 10% of my cash stash. That is $50,00 a year — more than I make a year, for sure, but not quite enough to pay bills AND jet across Europe tasting eclairs and biscotti.

Maybe I’d take all my besties out for dinner and drinks. Like to some fancy restaurant in Chicago. Better yet, I’d make some fancy restaurant food and hire someone else to clean up behind me.

Truth is, with a mere Mil, my life wouldn’t change a whole lot. I’d spend some, save some, waste some. Hopefully I’d be wiser, fuller, and a little more windblown from my travels. I’d still write, I’d still look for strange and unusual art, and I’d still run around with my grandson shooting squirt guns or swimming in Silver Lake.

Life is all about the journey. Not the destination. That’s what they say, anyway.

It sure would be a much easier journey not having to wake up at 5:30 a.m. every morning, though….

 

Good Hair Day

CAM01687Yesterday my husband went shopping at Walmart (you know…the wonder world full of wonder things). He called me about noon, as said since he was there buying oil for the car he’d pick up my hair color, too.

This is the first time he’s ever offered to purchase something as personal as hair color. First time in 35+ years. ANd there was something about the combination of oil and hair color that gave me a wee bit o’ the shivers.

Most men (and I’m not picking on you guys) do a decent job of buying toiletries for your lady. I know you wince slightly when you yave to buy those monthly things, but shampoo, deodorant, no problem. It’s slightly harder when it comes to shower gel and toothpaste. Forget things like nail polish and lipstick — I mean, how could he tell the difference between Relish the Moment and Pink Peony? And, of course, there is lip stick, lip gel, lip color, lip gloss — how would he know what to buy if even I don’t have a clue?

Most time hair color falls in that category, too. Most women use the same color every time. Simple Simon. Not me. My hair was really bleached out multi blonde/brown from Disneyworld, so I needed go to brown town. But I often vary my choices between a few. Which colors? I don’t remember. Which manufacturer? I don’t remember. I usually pick the color that never quites comes out the way the box says.

But back to hubby’s gesture. I was going to pick out my own box, but it would have involved making my own trip and possibly buying something “not needed” and taking my time and making my hubby late for work, so I figured, what the heck. So I gave him the thumbs up.

“What color?”

“Brown.”  That was safe.

“Light brown? Dark brown?”

Getting dicier.

“Medium brown. Dark makes me look gothic, and lighter browns still turn out auburn.”

So last night I sat all by myself looking at the box.  Medium chestnut brown.

I’ve never been a chestnut.

But I trust my husband’s intentions (especially now that I think he’s finally over the blonde-me and the grow-your-hair-as-long-as-Cher me), so I went for it.

Maybe I should let him make a few more selections for me as the years go by. After all, one hit in 35 years can be the start of something special.

What do you think?

 

READ THESE (gimmicky) GUIDELINES NOW!!

dos-donts-celebrities1The world is full of gimmicks — full of one-liners and sensational promises for everything from growing hair to making money while staying at home.  Just do this. Pay a fee for that. Follow these 5 rules and 10 guidelines and you’ll be smarter, prettier, richer, and so on.

Well, I want to cash in on that rigmarole, too. Every blogger wants to be popular. Well read. Recommended. Vital to the survival of the planet. Admit it — we don’t care about statistics, yet every time we get a new follower we do the Snoopy Dance.

So in that same (silly) vein, here are tried-and-true rules for you to follow if you want to be a popular, magnetic, P’s and Q’s type of over-the-top blogger.

DO…

*  Write about kittens/cats and puppies/dogs. No one can resist the cuteness of baby animals. Even if they poop in your lap or chew your new pair of shoes, there’s something cute about the whole thing.

*  Pictures. People love pictures. Nature’s a good one: flowers, trees, paths. Can’t beat Mother Nature for a Stress Buster. Makes ya just wanna go out and do the Irish jig, doesn’t it?

*  Use pictures of food. Even if your recipe/story/antidote doesn’t have anything to do with the pic, who can resist an image of ooey gooey caramel or creamy, cheesy lasagna or a bead-sweating glass of whatever? Makes my mouth water just to think about it.

*  Quotes. People love stories that start or end with quotes. Surely Mel Brooks or Clint Eastwood carry the same charisma as Dali Lama or William Shakespeare. Try a “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” kinda lead in. You’ll knock ’em dead.

*  Lists. People can’t resist lists. The top 5 to 10 of anything is enough to hold their attention. Now, no one says these lists have to make sense — no one pays much attention to the rules once they leave your blog anyway. But they certainly are eye-catchers!

* Talk to make-believe characters. People love being entertained. I know of a blogger who talks to cheeseburgers and gargoyles. Why not you? And, who knows? They may be more informative and entertaining the evening news.

 

Don’t…

*  Go overly long on the length of your blog. I know you want to unburden your soul, explore the possibilities, make new friends, share recipes, etc., etc., etc. But  you and I know that the attention span of most readers is less than that of a gnat. At 600 words you’ve still got an audience. By 800 people are starting to open a second window on their computer. 900 to 1000 words people are throwing a load of laundry in between sentences. Anything on it’s way up to 2000 words might well be voted “Novel of the Year.”

*  Steal — borrow. The Internet is full of ideas. Borrow what you like and make it yours. If you DO borrow directly from someone, give them the credit they’re due. Readers don’t necessarily care if your words sound familiar — they just don’t want to get sued for reading them.

*  Talk about the same thing over and over. If you are sharing pain, share it. If you are sharing music, or thoughts on television shows, share it. Then talk about something else. Show your progress. Your research. Your over-vivid imagination. People love getting lost. Let them get lost in your mind.

*  Give up writing the best blog you can. Make sure every sentence counts. You want to reach as many readers as you can with your message, no matter what that message is. Good bloggers are followed, not by the quantity they pump out, but by the quality. A story that makes you think, makes you feel, makes you chuckle, will stay with the reader a lot longer than one that flashes in the night.

And — (wait for it…) Who needs hot flashes in the night anyway?

It’s A Small World After All

mickey_mouse_tired_wallpaper_-_1024x768In a couple of weeks my crew and I will be heading for the sunny confines of Disneyworld. Besides the fact that for the first time ever I’ve been able to pay for my vacation ahead of time, I am looking forward to visiting the world of Peter Pan and Lightning McQueen. The last time I paraded through those hallowed gates, the father of my grandson was barely older than my grandson is now.  Cosmic synchronicity aside, I am so looking forward to a week of not making my own bed and no extra charge for air conditioning.

Alas, the world of vacation in general and DW in particular is not the same as it was 22 years ago. This spritely body is not as spritely as days of yore. So I think I’d better update my To-Do List.

  • Be prepared for average day temperatures in the high 80’s and lows in the mid-60s. No sweats needed, as DW’s lows equal Wisconsin’s highs.
  • Bring a small, portable container of baby powder. No reason to stick together more than necessary.
  • Less is more. A week’s worth of underwear (Plus 1 method) is okay; 7 pairs of jeans, not.
  • Get a haircut now so that it has a couple of weeks to grow into something civilized.
  • Moving is relative. I can still cross distances as I did in the olden days. It just takes a little longer. Therefore, map out bathrooms and misting stations ahead of time. Note air conditioned venues as well.
  • Food rules from home count double here. No creamy, spicy, or burpy delights. Stock up on imodium and Pepto.
  • No need to try the lobster look the first day. Xtra duty sunscreen at 200+ suggested. ChapStik a bonus.
  • Reinvent your idea of what water play is. A 4-year-old does not hang around the shallow end of the pool for any length of time.
  • There are enough adults in the group that each one can schedule a time out. Use it. On yourself and others.
  • The Smartphone is the new camera. Keep it close. Preferably in your pocket. Also doubles as a patience-building tool, as in Jet Pack, Jewels Saga, and Swamp Attack.
  • Water is the lifeforce of DW. Pack many and refill often. Leave the imported beer until you get home.
  • You will undoubtedly leave one important thing behind. Put something to the side (that you can buy down there) and purposely forget it. Break the curse early.
  • Give up any idea of bringing a purse. No need to always take up two spaces. If it doesn’t fit in a fanny pack, you don’t need it.
  • Granola bars are your best friends at the park. Just make sure to get your system used to all that fiber about a week ahead of time.

I’m sure you have your own dots you can add to my list. Any thoughts, experiences, or reality checks are appreciated.

Let’s hear it for the Mouse.

Be a Fashion Plate — Not a Platter

giphyFor all of you who are tired of making sure your blues are all the same blue and you wear only one pattern at a time:

This morning I complimented a girl on the color combinations of her outfit. She was wearing a purple t-shirt over a pink shell, with a bright green jacket. I didn’t notice her pants, because I’m sure they were the basic black/navy/dark brown. And that’s point number one.

I didn’t notice her pants because they were very basic.

Despite the fact that she was half my age and weight, she carried off the rainbow pretty well. And I told her so. (I like to give out compliments when I can.) That led to my second thought — if I were dressed like that, I’d look like I was heading off to the circus.

Tada dum. An instant putdown to a healthy thought.

Now, the outfit wasn’t offensive in any way. It wasn’t too short, too small, too tight, too sloppy. It was a play on colors I had not seen together. And — I liked it.

Yet I hide in my black-on-black and silver-and-black and pink-and-black. Summer may throw in some whites and greens, but it’s pretty much old lady old. Last year I wrote a blog called Old Lady BoHo (http://wp.me/p1pIBL-uu) where I was going to lighten up my wardrobe and wear flowy skirts and peasant tops and whatever felt good.

And here I am, writing this blog, dressed in black pants and a black-and-white mosaic shirt.

Woo hoo.

And I think — I can’t do this any more.

I know there are plenty of women who are perfectly happy in the monochromes of the world. But deep inside I am not. I think I’m so afraid of “stepping out of the (color) box” because I’m afraid of looking stupid, so I pass on a lot of fun, comfortable, ME things.

I’m not totally helpless yet — I do have tops with promise, and I have bought a few of those cotton dresses from India for summer evenings.  But I sure could use some advice — and a boost of confidence. I’m sure there are other readers out there who could use a boost in the wardrobe department, too. Or who have taken the plunge and never looked back.

I want to be that person.

I’m sure I’m not alone with this.

I know I can’t (nor do I want to) dress like I’m 20 or 30. I might have the legs for mini skirts, but my buttocks and stomach aren’t quite as accommodating — or forgiving. But there has to be fun colors and patterns out there I can put together and not look like the a haushalterin. But my color palate is like the image above and right. Always moving, always confusing

The first step is stepping over the conservative barrels your youth set out for us. Catholic schools are at one end of the horror spectrum, big city public schools the other. We have to shed this heavy coat of conservatism and find a middle ground.

And I really do want to start this today. I only have 20 or 25 years to get this right.

Better start sooner than later.

How about you?

 

7 Activities to Keep your A.D.D. Busy

circle-back-oI find that I’m always on my way to talk about one thing when I get turn around and talk about something else. I usually attribute this to my adult-onset A.D.D. Not making fun of the condition; just acknowledging that I have most of the symptoms.

I am learning to work with my short attention span. Sometimes it’s waving my arms like an orchestra conductor, forcing myself to slow down and breathe; other times it’s doing the whirling dervish, looking for the TV flipper that I just set down somewhere. There are other odd things that contribute to my upsidedownness — hubby working a different shift, too many dogs underfoot, having to sit still eight hours a day in front of a computer screen. The winter blues are hitting all of us full force, too. Tired of below zero, slush and piles of snow, boring browns and blacks as wardrobe colors.

What’s a feisty granny to do when she’s lost her zest?

I’ve come up with a list of activities that will combine my inability to sit still with my desire to nap half the time. See if you can identify with any of them.

1.  Multitask.  Now, most of you already do that. But if you orchestrate your movements, you can flow from one room to another, putting things away, running a dust rag across the TV on the way to the bathroom where you pick up dirty towels, drop the towels in front of the washer as you continue towards the kitchen, emptying the dishwasher, taking a clean glass to your bathroom where you stop on the way to fold a couple of shirts in the laundry basket. By the end of the night you’ll have cleaned several rooms and burned off a few hundred calories!

2.  Exercise Class. It’s never too soon to start an exercise regime. I’m not much of a class person, but I have an elliptical downstairs that I can move right in front of the TV. Maybe one day I’ll be able to watch all of Gone With the Wind on the thing.

3.  Writing.  Now, I know you wonder, “How can sitting and writing in the evening help with my antsy pantsyness?” Well, no one writes quite like me. I know Stephen King hides himself in a room for eight hours a day, others have great studies, library desks, even a comfy chair in a quiet corner. Not me. Half the time I’m plopped onto my favorite corner of the sofa, TV going on in the background (mostly Sirius radio), laundry rollin’ in the dryer, flash drives and laptop and spiral notebooks and my phone all within reach, a glass of milk, (sometimes a cookie), and a blanket for the chill. It’s amazing what I can get done with I just sit. What also helps is that I have ten things I want to do and only a couple hours a night to do it.

4.  Be a Granny. Although this task is usually delegated to weekends, there is never a slow, dull moment when I get together with the world’s cutest 4-year-old. Often there are other grandparents around too, so we all can take a breather when duty calls. But I find trying to keep up — and ahead — of him, especially mentally, is the perfect outlet for my whirling dervish moments.

5.  Research. I know when I say that word you think of  putting together 30 references on the bottom of a 50 page research paper on the life of a paramecium. But that’s not true. No matter what your hobby/career/dream, there is always something you can learn from. Learn about. Some take notes; some have great memories. When people say you can’t be a writer unless you’re a reader, that’s true. Even if it’s Yahoo headlines. But your curiosity should take you places that inspire you. Surrealistic artists, wire sculptors, quilting patterns. Ancient ruins. Alien ruins. You can learn from them all.

6.  Organize. Yes, I know that’s akin to cleaning, something many of us are allergic to. But especially now that winter is thinking about leaving, what better time to rearrange your closet or jewelry box or kitchen cabinets. It’s funny, but organization does bring a slowing of the heartbeat and the feeling of accomplishment. After all, how many bracelets or blue shirts can one have?

7. Music. This is my final go-to when I find I can’t slow down. A piano sonata by Beethoven can work wonders. So can smooth jazz or even a visit to the New Age station. No words, no pounding beat (I leave that for Saturday mornings). Just a steady rhythm, a mysterious melody, to a beat that slows down your racing pulse and forces you to relax. Dim lights help, too. Incense. Candles. Just don’t fall asleep and burn your house down.

We all have hobbies/careers/passions that make our blood boil and our ideas clamor to see the light of day. We have busy days, meetings, conferences, data entry and countless other responsibilities. If you are retired, there is still a list a mile long of things you want/need to get done. And the last thing you want to do during the evening or on weekends is to keep running at that breakneck pace.

Yet your love of your craft won’t let you rest, either.

Your best bet is to channel your energy into a positive force to be reckoned with. You may find yourself writing down thoughts for your next story as you mix cookie dough while watching “The Walking Dead” in the background, but, hey! Isn’t that what life is all about?

Get ‘er done!

 

Water’s Gate

gateNow Watergate does not bother me..
Does your conscience bother you?
Tell the truth…

…..Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1974

 

I must admit that about the time Watergate came along I was working my first job as a linofilm typist, and politics did not really concern me overmuch. Today’s generation looks back fondly at Watergate just as they do the Battle of Gettysburg or the Boston Tea Party. Just another history lesson.

The suffix -gate derives from the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, which resulted in the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon. The scandal was named after the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. What I find really funny, though, is that the “gate” part started a whole slew of scandalous escapades. “Gates” abound everywhere.

There are Arts and Entertainment gates:

* Closetgate (2006); controversy after the TV show South Park aired a parody of Scientology

* Nipplegate (also known as Boobgate) (2004); Janet Jackson’s famous “wardrobe malfunction” during half time of Super Bowl XXXVII

There are Politic gates:

* Billygate (1980); Then President Jimmy Carter’s younger brother Billy legally represented the Libyan government as a foreign agent

* Bridgegate (2014); New Jersey Governor Chris Christie allegedly ordered lane closures from Fort Lee, New Jersey, to the George Washington Bridge, because the Fort Lee mayor did not endorse him for his re-election

*  Hairgate (1993); Controversy surrounding a haircut given to U.S. President Bill Clinton

There are Journalism and Academic gates:

* Hackgate (also known as Rupertgate) (2011); Allegations that the now defunct News of the World had hacked into the phones of celebrities, politicians, and members of the British Royal Family

* Reutergate (2006); The controversy over Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj manipulating news photos with Photoshop

There are Sports gates:

* Deflategate (2015); Did they or did they not under-inflate the footballs?

*  Tripgate (2010); Strength and Conditioning Coach Sal Alosi tripped cornerback Nolan Carroll as he ran down the sideline

*  Bumpergate (1982); During the Daytona 500 race, drive Bobby Allison allegedly modified his car so that his rear bumper would fall off, giving him an aerodynamic edge

Funny thing is that these scandals aren’t limited to U.S. soil. Just listen to the names and places:

* Portraitgate (2009, Ireland): Two oil paintings depicting Brian Cowen, Taoiseach (prime minister) of Ireland, in the nude, were briefly displayed in Dublin art galleries in March 2009 as an act of guerilla art

* Toiletgate (2006,  Elista, Kalmykia, Russia); The allegations by Veselin Topalov and his manager Silvio Danailov during the World Chess Championship that Topalov’s opponent Vladimir Kramnik was visiting the toilet suspiciously frequently during games

* Pastagate (2013, Canada); Controversy in which an Italian restaurant was investigated by the Quebec government for using words that do not comply with their language laws, such as “bottiglia”, “calamari” and “pasta”

* Porngate (2012, India) Three members of the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in India resign from their offices after accusations that they watched porn during government proceedings.

* Bottlegate (2001, Ohio); Rowdy fans of the Cleveland Browns threw plastic bottles and other debris on the field after a controversially overturned call in the final minute of the game led to the Browns losing the game to the Jacksonville Jaguars

 

You get my drift.  So I figured, if there’s so many scandals out there with gates on them, why not create a few of my own?

* Grannygate: Busted for keeping grandson up way past his bedtime and offering him sugared drinks

* Catgate: When coaxing live cats to lay on the toy train track didn’t work, I offered my collection of stuffed unicorns as test subjects

* Employeegate: There are enough infractions in this scandal that this blog cannot list them all. I am on double secret probation until I am 85

* Flippergate: numerous violations of the “put the TV flipper back on the end table where you found it” rule. The scandal is that I never remember the rule — until I lose the flipper

* Irishfestgate (2012); I boasted to my 6 foot, 225-lb. son that I could keep up with him beer-for-beer at Irishfest. Guess who won, and guess who was sick for two days

There are a whole slew of gates for those who are curious — check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scandals_with_%22-gate%22_suffix.  I’m sure if you scoured your past you’d find a lot of gates, too. But thankfully, since most of us are just regular guys/gals, the media won’t be knocking on your door — er, gate — any time soon.

Just be smart, and keep your gate locked.

Just in case.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Squirrelly

Today has been one of those “squirrelly” kind of days. You know those kind — I’ve misplaced more things today than I have in the past week. I suppose it’s because I’m always in a hurry. Sagittarians never seem to finish their current project — they always find something more interesting to do, and leave things half-way done.

I decided the best therapy was to either come home from work, eat, and head straight for the bed, getting up only to let the dogs out; or to come to the library and use their WiFi to work on my blog’s photo gallery. I kidded my friends on Facebook that I’m always tired, achy, ready for bed (even at 10 in the morning), and yet  all I can think about is writing and researching and brainstorming with friends. They all told me it’s Writer’s Syndrome.

I wish I could say I was in the middle of my breakout novel — that I was working on an article for work or for my friend’s website. But it’s not. I’m kinda done with the novel thing for a while; I’ve thought about working on getting my Gaia and the Etruscans  published, but here in the middle/end of January that just seems like too much work. So I spend my time with ways to enhance my blog.

There is no doubt that that ambition leads to quite a bit of squirrelly-ness.

I come across dozens of articles a week that promise to help me build my reader base, get picked up by search engines, make money by blogging (or writing in general), enhance my blogsite…enough to fill Dumbledore’s Goblet of Fire. There are a million blogs out there; a million ways to build/entice/share/follow — so many that I’m dizzy talking about it. I follow about 30 blogs, and could easily follow 30 more, but with a full-time job I barely have time to read my own writing.

This past year hubby has gotten a new job that is from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Bad for him — great for me. You would think. It is turning out that he doesn’t mind these hours, and I don’t have enough of them. Ah, you say — hours and hours of alone writing time! Peace and Quiet! Inspiration! Musing! Researching!

It’s a nice thought, but for someone like me who can’t sit still for 20 minutes, it’s a circus.

During the day I’m busy entering data, my Muse coming and bugging me now and then with new ideas. She is an Irish Wench, you know, and has no problem speaking her mind. And often times her ideas are great. But not when I’m entering HTML code. So we make a date to meet after hubby goes to work.

By that time I’ve been up 13 hours, let the dogs out three times, washed the dishes, thrown in a load of laundry, wiped the dust off the TV, and set up my writing corner on the sofa. By then my ambition has waned. My energy level slips minute by minute, and what seemed so exciting at 11 a.m. now seems like a mountain I’m too tired to climb. I manage to get a little work done so that pulling out my laptop isn’t for naught, but most times my mind is a blank.

Then about 9 p.m. I get my second wind.

Now, I have to get up in 8 hours, and old people like me are supposed to get at least 8-10 hours a sleep at night. But the great ideas of my Wench sneak back into my consciousness and I’m up writing and researching and downloading until 11:30 at night.

No wonder I’m so squirrelly.

I’m really trying to get into a schedule, a pattern, where I can do a little of everything and still get to bed at a decent time. But it doesn’t seem to be working. I escaped to the library this evening just so I wouldn’t have to let my dogs out three times and give them cookies and push the cat off my lap and look at the dishes I didn’t do or walk around the laundry I conveniently forgot to do.

Sometimes all I want to do is write.

But sometimes wantin’ ain’t gettin’.

How do YOU do it??

Magic Shoes

Nike SB Dunk High Heel Shoes 126034

I used to love to go shopping.

An hour or so after work, couple hours on Saturday…check out the shirts, the pants, the shoes. Try on some tops, match them up with a pair of shoes, grab a sack of socks, then move right along to lunch or hanging with the family. Never a big deal.

I am beginning to hate shopping.

I would like to think I’m no more “senior” than the mom with kids next door or the junior executive down the block. But I have never been so frustrated in finding a new pair of “gym” shoes than I have been lately.  Last eve was a case in point.

Went to the mall after work. Stopped into one of the big anchor department stores and headed to the shoe aisle for a new pair of tennies (my dog chewed up the trim on one of my pairs and the other popped a hole in the toe). Not a biggie. I get to the store. There are four aisles of women’s “gym” shoes. I say “gym” in quotes because these days there are no such thing as plain, old gyms. There are walking shoes, running shoes, cross country shoes, all terrain shoes, and volleyball/basketball shoes. There are memory foam shoes, high arch shoes, waterproof shoes, non-sole shoes, and designer shoes.

So, okay. First I had to pick my shoe. Seeing as I didn’t see many marathons in my immediate future, I wandered to the walking shoe, There was an aisle of ASICS, an aisle of Skechers, an aisle of Reebok and Addidas, and an aisle and a half of Nike. There were high tops, tie shoes, slip ons (with or without laces), pink and black ones and aqua and orange ones and all black ones and neon green ones. Some had big wide soles in white and some had cleats that weren’t really cleats but for fashion’s sake looked like cleats and some had toes that turned up like wicked witch shoes. The boxes were beneath the display shoes, and the ones I finally settled on were missing the match (naturally).

Seeing as the plain white tennies were way above my weekly salary, I settled on a mesh-looking lightweight pair of pink and blacks. But to try them on was another story. They were connected with a squiggly, stretchy wire threaded through each shoe lace hole and anchored together by a security tag. And not a paper tag – two of those big, plastic clunkers. The shoe was stuffed with a make-believe shoehorn and an insert liner, and an extra pair of shoelaces were threaded in a different shoelace hole.

Now, you can imagine me trying to try on these magnificent, overpriced, designer tennies. I struggled to get my foot in one, and barely managed to stand straight. I couldn’t test walk in them because the shoes were connected to each other by the squiggly, stretchy wire. I looked for a salesclerk to take the security clip off so I could at least walk down the aisle in the shoes, but no one was in sight. Naturally. (I used to work retail; the clerk was undoubtedly pulled to Women’s or Junior’s to help put away the 30 tops someone tried on and left in the dressing room.)

So here I am, tired, trying so hard not to be a cranky old lady, walking with a bag and a purse and my shoes in my bag because I had store peds on my feet down the main aisle passed the Women’s Today Wear, around the tables of jewelry placed strategically in the middle of the aisle, up to the main cashiers, and asked them if they could please take the security bobs off the shoes so I could at least test drive these overpriced shoes before I bought them.

They looked at me as if I had brought the plague in with me. “Oh, I don’t think we’re allowed to do that.” Like this worn-out, over-worked little granny was going to walk out with their overpriced, eye-bleeding-color shoes.

I suppose store policy is strict in their adhering to their “Do Not Remove Under Penalty of Severe Woowoo and Burning in Hell for Eternity” rules. I’m sure lots of overpriced, designer, hurt-your-feet shoes go walking out the door of their own (or rather of a thieve’s) volition. But I bet they at least get to try on the shoes before they put the squiggly stretchy things through both lace holes.

Needless to say, I put the bunny…er, shoes…back in the box, put the box on the top of the stack of mismatched boxes beneath the bright pink and black shoes (which were right next to the aqua and orange ones), took off my little Peds, put my sandals back on, and walked out.

I guess I must be old, for I miss the two-or-three-choices-of-shoes-and-quit-yer-bitchin’-and-pick-a-pair days. There is something to be said for a nation that has too many choices. For restaurants that have seven page menus and ice cream that has 45 flavors and stores that have more choices of shoes than astronomers have stars to chart.

But I don’t have that word at the moment. I’m too busy trying to trim the doggie teeth marks from my last pair of tennies.

Bread and Butter Badlands

breadA funny thing happened this evening. I was all pumped up to write a blog about scheduling things in your life, when I read a fellow blogger’s (David Kanigan) blog called “Don’t Eye the Basket of Bread: Just Take It Off the Table” ( http://davidkanigan.com/2014/09/16/dont-eye-the-basket-of-bread-just-take-it-off-the-table/). It really is an article about how to exert self-control. Which, in that sense, makes sense. If it’s not in front of you you’re not tempted to eat the whole basket.

But I almost missed the point of the blog because I was thinking about fresh baked bread dripping with sweet, creamy butter.  Crispy crust, fluffy inside.  Which led me to daydream about my homemade spaghetti sauce, full of fresh tomatoes and veggies with a smattering of ground beef and/or Italian Sausage, dripping over vermicelli or linguine, fresh Parmesan cheese sprinkled delicately over the top, a small glass of merlot within reach, sitting quietly next to that basket of freshly-baked bread that I’m suppose to have taken off the table.

And suddenly I’m daydreaming about the wonderful world of food.

I’ve been on a diet — no — food behavior modification — for as long as I’ve been out of puberty. I have always had a love/hate relationship with anything that has more than 2 carbs and 35 calories per serving. It’s that homo sapiens thing…anything that is fattening is worth tasting. Of course, tasting, and indulging, are two different things.

They say one can survive on indulging in one tablespoon of anything. Buffet? No problem. One tablespoon macaroni salad, one tablespoon chocolate mousse, one tablespoon mashed potatoes along with one tablespoon gravy. Just think of what a decorative plate you would bring back to the table! One tablespoon from 50 different dishes!

But let’s face it. Living on one tablespoon of cheese souffle is like smiling at only one child at Christmas. Or having one cashew. Or hugging only one grandkid. Satisfying as a bath in ice cubes. We know we should be sticking to the one-tablespoon-rule for our health, for our diabetes and our cholesterol. And most times we do alright.

But sometimes our libido cries for liberation. It just cannot be satisfied with the one-teaspoon-rule. We try to tame it. We hide the food. We buy celery and apples and lean chicken and fish. We succeed where others fail. We lose weight, lower our cholesterol, add some years to our life.

But then something as innocent as a whiff of freshly baked bread or bacon frying and we’re whipped up into a frenzy of biblical proportions. Why is that?

I do believe in moderation. Fortunately for me, the older I get, the fewer things I can digest properly. A couple of cream cheese canapes is not worth the agony of hours in the bathroom later. Spinach Dip, Ice Cream Sundaes, Hot Cheese Spread, all no-nos with the digestive tract from Hell. Yet I have to admit, I cannot pass a chance to try a scoop or two. Just to check it out, you see.

I try to avoid get-togethers where rich foods are the center of attention. Most times I can say “no thanks.” But just as often I hear myself saying, “Just one bite.” Then my big-mouth libido takes over and bread and pasta and Ceasar’s Salads are the order of the day. And as I hang my head in shame, I still enjoy the crumbs at the corner of my mouth or the sweet slide of butter still on my tongue.

I guess I’ve lost the thread of this whole blog to the whims of the wonderful world of food. So let me ask you — what foods weaken your will power? Which sumptuous feasts make you moan with delight? Which part of the banquet table can you not pass by without sampling?

Think I will go bake a loaf of bread while I wait for your answer…

 

Colorful Language

adjectivesTell me what you think when you read this sentence.

I stubbed my toe today.

What is my tone? What am I saying? Am I crying (I stubbed my toe and it hurts like hell)? Am I laughing (I stubbed my big fat stupid toe today)? Am I rolling my eyes in mock disgust (I — yes, I — stubbed my toe today)? Am i kidding you (I “stubbed” my toe today)?

What is your instant reaction to that two-dimensional statement? Laughter? Sympathy? Lack of patience at such a clumsy move?

Reading another’s writing is a wonderful experience. With one or two strokes on the keyboard you can find out about someone’s day, love life, depressions, and funny escapades. One-on-one or reading a book, words can open doors to worlds only once dreampt of.

But basic, simple sentences are often prime grounds for speculation. Without adjectives or adverbs, a sentence is open to interpretation. Depending upon your mood at the time, you could laugh or get bitchy or get depressed by what you read. Reporters do their best to stay unbiased, but if they have indigestion or are being threatened by a bill collector, their “tint” might be more or less shaded. It’s not bad journalism — it’s just the nature of the beast.

I have often texted or emailed someone, only to get a response that upset me one way or another. I don’t think first — I just assume. Yes, yes, I know what happens when you ass-u-me…but it’s more a knee-jerk reaction. Only with more conversation does the dust in my head clear and I see what’s really going on. When my friend texts “I can’t make it tonight,” all it should mean to me is “I can’t make it tonight.” Not “I can’t make it because you make me sick” or “I can’t make it because my dog died” or “I can’t make it because I have to study for my finals tomorrow.” All it meant was, she couldn’t make it tonight.

It’s the same for writing things for others to read. If I write “I stubbed my toe today,” most of the time it just means “I stubbed my toe today.” But if I’m trying to be funny, “I stubbed my toe today” doesn’t reflect much humor. If I’m angry about the rock on the side of driveway that got in the way of my toe, “I stubbed my toe today” doesn’t translate that, either. If I’m embarassed about my own stupidity of kicking that rock on the side of the driveway with my toe, that doesn’t translate, either.

I suppose what I’m saying is that God gave us creative words for a reason. They are supposed to take the place of facial expression when we can’t talk face-to-face with others. Looking into each other’s eyes, watching body language, hearing the inflection of your voice, all clarify simple statements. Even lies.

But writing just for the sake of writing can be a one-sided world, too. You need to throw some emotion into your statements. Some color. Some emphasis. That’s the only way we, the readers, can know where you’re coming from.

Don’t let us wondering what you’re thinking. Or what we’re supposed to be thinking. If you want to make us laugh, use your words. If you want tears to come to our eyes, use your words. If you want us to feel depression or elation, use your words.  Let the reader feel what you want them to feel. Like…

I stubbed my %@^?>$ toe today!!!

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.

 

Fashion No-Nos for Summer

thSummer is much more forgiving of fashion faux pas than other seasons, as the variety of dress and style dances all over the board. Gone are the black and dark browns, in with the peach and lavender. Hats and jewelry and sandals take over the sanity of minds both male and female, as we try and beat the heat by being chic. Even the velvety leggings are put away for the season!

But there are many ways us summer “kids” give away our age and our sanity when it comes to fashion sense. It’s more like nonsense. So here are a few tips to keep you in the game and not locked in the yard somewhere.

Too Much Bare is Hard to Bare.

Unless you are at the beach or in the privacy of your own home, showing more skin than allotted in the Garden if Eden is frowned upon. Showing way more than a healthy proportion of legs, middles, breasts, and other body parts is not safe nor wise. This includes too-short-shorts, too mini mini’s, and too skimpy shirts.  No one wants to see bubba thighs or pooky middles. I’m not saying hide those parts — hey, we all have them. But find ways to cover without confrontation. Besides, getting sunburn on those rarely-shown skins is pretty painful.

Two Piece or Not Two Piece

I am all for whatever kind of bathing suit fits your fancy. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Just do the rest of us a favor and wear one becoming of your age and style. Bright fluorescents and too-small tops are just as bad as big, flowery things. A splash of color, a cup size too small, bottoms too big, all can be uncomfortable and distracting. Do yourself a favor. Be pretty, be masculine, have fun, but wear something that fits.

Strap This

I am of the do-not-show generation, but I have lightened up quite a bit the last 15 years. You can’t always hide your bra strap with today’s fashions, especially if the shoulder straps are thinner than vermicelli. But if you are going to show the strap that holds your all, make it a part of the look, not apart from it. With all the colors and patterns of underwear these days, there’s no reason why you can’t color coordinate your straps and tops.  And BTW, straps that fall down your shoulders aren’t sexy…just annoying. To all of us.

Stained for Life

Sloppy is as sloppy wears. Get real. And know everyone at Walmart can see the spot that never quite washes out. Get rid of all positively, slightly, and barely perceptible duds with tell-tale duds. Take pride in your look and know you can do sooooo much better.

Too Small T’s and A’s

Most people are not the size at 50 or 60 that they were at 20 or 30. Face it. Until the day you wake up pencil thin (unless you are pencil thin), stop dressing in the past. Stop wearing shirts that gap, shorts that rise, tanks that squeeze, and Ts that don’t meet your pants. The hot weather may tempt you to wear less, but spare yourself — and us — a lot of embarrassment. We all hate to get rid of the t-shirt from Woodstock or cargo pants from the start of millennium, but you look so much better these days in clothes that FIT.

Grown Up Feet

With all the gorgeous (and inexpensive) sandals around, the last thing the world wants to see are socks shoved into them. Although this is a popular “man” thing, is also is a “silly” thing. Wearing socks with sandals makes you look fuddy duddy, not to mention uncomfortable. If you must sock, white socks with shoes, bare feet with sandals. You are allowed splashes of colors if you want to match your outfit, but, again, keep the shoes tenny or loafery.  (You think I wouldn’t have to mention something so obvious, but you have no idea how many toddling adults walk around looking like that).

Flower Gardens

The sun and shine of a beautiful summer day is often a temptation to bring nature into our wardrobe. A splash of nature’s pattern here and there is bright and fun. Looking like a giant sunflower isn’t. Avoid the temptation to be covered in daisies, sunflowers, or unclassified species. Pin one to your hat, clip them to your sandals. Know that there is nothing more uncomfortable for the viewing public than seeing huge flowers winking at them as you and your body creases walk by.

Getting older is a wonderful time to establish yourself through what you wear and how you wear it. I don’t have a big wardrobe; I hate most of the stuff I have most of the time, so I make quite a few visits to Good Will and  Kohl’s and Aeropostale. I finally am getting used to this body and want to make it stand out in unique and refreshing ways. What I don’t want is someone snickering behind my back because I look like Granny Does Disco or the Writer-Who-Wore-Too-Tight. There are so many opportunities to create a new and sparkling version of the women I’ve come to love through the years.

I just want to be able to breathe while I create that version.

 

 

 

Some Good Reading Back There!

Paths 7I have a few blog ideas floating around in my head, but I need to do a little research first. So it got me thinking….I bet you’ve missed some really great stuff from the Goddess through the years (two, but who’s counting). So how about a little explanation and a little link to send you back through time?  Not too many though — too much humor might distract you from the seriousness around you.

They Said WHAT??      http://wp.me/p1pIBL-n8   th

Famous people are always trying to stay in the spotlight…but being in the spotlight doesn’t make you smart.

Everyone’s Life is a Best Seller    http://wp.me/p1pIBL-gk

27 Everyone's Life is a Best Seller 1

Ever think you have a family worth writing about? We all do! Let’s compare crazies!

Harry Potter vs. Hannibal Lecter       http://wp.me/p1pIBL-5P

Comedy Tragedy masks - Symbolic represe

Okay…so I alternate between simple and savage. Does that make me unstable?

Have fun and read well.

What’s Back There?

book4Greetings! I did a little “rollover” dance with my Explorer the other day. All is well, thank the Goddess, but I thought a little backwards glance into my glorious blog might entertain you while I recuperate a little…

Chocolat and the Sun 

Escapism with a Reality Check.  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-2w

2 Chocolat and the Tuscan Sun1

Life is a kaleidoscope of feelings: it is pain and death, birth and life. Because the cosmic implications of these things are way above my head, I would rather contemplate my own daydreams.

I Can’t Believe I Believed That

Legends are So Much Fun…  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-6g

Dolly-Parton-with-Crossed-Eyes--58695a

Urban legends are as old as Medusa turning those who look at her to stone — old as dirt.  The more society has matured, the easier it is to decipher falsehoods from the truthhoods. Or is it? Here’s a list of ditties I found on my wanderings while doing research for my Great American Novel #3 (let’s hear it for the Internet and a few spare hours!)

Fashionable Hobos from Hoboville

Dressing comfortable is one thing … dressing like a hobo another … http://wp.me/p1pIBL-67

31 Fashionable Hobos from Hoboville

Are you one who enjoys presenting your best side to the viewing public?  What I mean is, do you spend time fixing your hair, pants, shirt, purse, shoes, the whole bit?  Not that you strive to strut your stuff down the Chanel or Yves St Laurent runways ― it’s just that you want to be presentable. Most women who take care of their heart and/or soul take care of their appearance, too.  What I’d like to know, then, is why is it when we are away from the public eye, we look like hobos from Hoboville?

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese

Parents and their kids often speak two different languages. http://wp.me/p1pIBL-8N

chinese_symbol_for_laugh_postcard-p239398313843791555trdg_400

Do you believe that children and their parents speak two different languages?  Do you ever try and communicate with someone who hasn’t a clue as to what you are saying?

You Make Me Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Ever feel like you’re always doing the spin-a-roonie?  http://wp.me/p1pIBL-jt

dizzying

Not so long ago I wrote a blog entitled, “I Make Myself Crazy.” You know ― it’s the on-sweater, off-sweater, hot/cold thing.  http://www.humoringthegoddess.com/2012/04/07/i-get-on-my-nerves/  Nervous ticks aside, I now try to slow down and think before I flutter.

Just Call Me Granny

thI always thought I was a good mom. I attended every teacher/parent conference; endured freezing cold, blistering hot, and life-threatening thunderstorms, just to watch a soccer/baseball game; stayed up all hours of the night finishing last-minute (they said) homework projects; and did all other ups and downs a parent is supposed to do.  I adored my kids (still do), and there’s not much I wouldn’t do for them. But I find that is nothing compared to what I wouldn’t do for my grandson.

Is there a difference between being a parent and being a grandparent? Both are concerned for their welfare; both want to teach them right from wrong, A from K,  see them go to college, fall in love and marry (if that’s what they want), and produce many children/great grandchildren. 

Then why does it feel so different the second time around?

I am my kid’s worst nightmare. A granny with an unending source of patience and love and fun ideas. I am willing to go where no parent has gone before.

I laugh because I see my husband and I becoming my in-laws. When my youngest was born, it was a  struggle to let them take him for a night or a weekend. After all, they were crazy! They wanted to take my oldest to Kiddyland when he was barely two. My second was taken when he was not even a year old. They made me crazy!  They wanted my kids all the time — every chance they could. They took them to ranches and the restaurants that did stir fry on a table in front of them, and to Disneyworld and fishing up North. They stayed up late, played games and dug in the garden with their hands and taught them to play pinochle when they both were nine.  Who does that?

I am embarrassed now to admit I took offense at their unbridled desire to spoil my two kids. I was jealous of grandparents and aunties who had more free time and free money than I did. My grandparents died when I was young, so I had no idea what the grandparent “thing” was all about. My husband was very close with his grandparents, and reassured me that my kids would always be my kids.

Now I find myself repeating the actions, emotions, and enthusiasm of my in-laws. My grandson is three years old, and I find myself tripping over my feet to be with him. We learned to splash in puddles, fight with swords, and flip all the light switches in the house. I give him sips of the dreaded “Coca Cola”, slip him M&Ms, and dance in the rain whenever the opportunity shows itself. I want to buy him a whole wardrobe, take him to the zoo, and let him climb all over my dogs. And Disneyworld? If my kids take him they better book a room for granny too!

Being a grandparent is like getting a second lease on life. It is the ultimate in anarchy and love. Our grandkids are our doorway to finding our inner child. We do and say things that we can’t always do and say in the outside world. We keep their secrets, boost their fragile egos, and share tales of faeries, hunting, and family histories.  We show them the magic in the world without having to explain the physics of such.

There is a place for both parents and grandparents in this world. More people should open their arms and embrace both for the future children of the world. What harm is there in spoiling future generations? Our added attention won’t help them find a job or cure their diseases. But perhaps our crazy affection will encourage them to show affection towards others. Maybe our taking them to the park will encourage them to make time for their own kids. Maybe our blind devotion will give them strength to believe in the goodness of others in the world.

It’s a wonderful world we live in. Grandparents – step off the path. Keep it legal, keep it moral, but have fun. Take your grand kids to the movies or to an outdoor concert. Stay up late, dance to rock and roll in the living room, and look for elves in the woods. Teach them how to fish or sing songs Your grandkids will love you for it. And, if you’re lucky enough, they’ll never forget you for it.

I can’t say the same for your kids, though…

The Ball is not Crystal

??????????????????????????????????????What is the purpose of blogging?

I imagine you will get as many answers as there are construction barrels in Wisconsin.  But I ask myself that a lot.

I wonder why it is I chose to write this sort of blog. I subscribe to others, and they, too, run the gamut. Some are funny, some are inspirational. Some get personal, some are spiritual. I think of the scope of this blog. Is it too long? Too short? I see lots that are under 300 words. I see lots that are 900 words. I see blogs that have thousands of followers. What makes a person follow one and not another?

At one time I thought about writing a funny blog. My friend at The Return of the Modern Philosopher (http://moviewriternyu.wordpress.com) mixes writing about talking to Zeus and aliens and all the weird goings on in Maine with personal glimpses of the writer behind the madness.  Then there are others like David Kanigan  (http://davidkanigan.com) who makes you think and feel, sometimes with as little as a couple of sentences. My friend Itty( http://ittymac.wordpress.com/) is a font of inspiration and strength pulled from her life experiences. I am a fan of so many others, just like you.

We all read blogs for all kinds of reasons. But how do I figure out what others are looking for?  Yes, we write for ourselves. The more we tap into our “talent” the more believable — and readable —  we are. But what do readers want? How do you get to the thousands of followers mark? And does that necessarily mean you have a good product?

And, as you all are saying back to me — what does it matter?

I don’t really have an answer to that. I want to entertain, I want to encourage, I want to make people laugh.  Do I want to be a famous blogger? A famous writer? Do I want to dazzle the world with my keen insight into getting older?

Or do I just want to write?

Entertaining friends and family, both old and new, means more to me than having hundreds and thousands of followers who never open an e-mail. Having fun writing is more important to me than forcing words out just to make a dollar. Writing is therapy in a hundred different ways — I am no different.

So tell me,  friends, readers, writers — what makes you follow a blog? What do you look for?

Digging Around

dachshund-digging-5449136_sDigging around for some of my blasts from the past? Dig no more!  Here are a few fun ones you might have missed…

 

 

 

 

doll Chatty Cathy  Chit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy

https://humoringthegoddess.com/012/06/06/chit-chattin-chatty-cathy/

I subscribe to a few blogs where the author has broken out of their silent shell, finally finding a voice that is sparkling and true.  It’s not easy sharing something as personal as one’s self ― especially if that “self” has been suppressed for longer than one can imagine. I appreciate their efforts to finally let the world know who they are.

I, on the other hand, suffer from Italktoomuchitis.

 

pig_toy_pigletBuh Buh  Buh Blues

 https://humoringthegoddess.com/2012/02/15/the-buh-buh-buh-blues/

(Base guitar)

da da da thump…

Don’t wanna write ‘cuz there’s no light…

da a da thump…

Don’t wanna sing or work on my bling…

da a da thump…

Don’t wanna jog in my new tennis shoes…

(Loud and bluesy)

Don’t wanna do nuthin’ cuz I got the blues….

I’ve got the (loud) no-sunshine, no-energy, don’t give a whack ‘bout nuthin’ wintery bluuuueeesss..

.

4 Feng Shui Inside the Cubicle 1  Feng Shui in the Cubicle

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/05/04/feng-shui-in-the-cubicle/

One day I was sitting at my desk at work, green computer screen glowing, honky-tonk music spurting out from a speaker not far above my head, trying to concentrate on a long list of numbers that needed to be entered into the computer, glancing at pages waiting to be proofread and images to be downloaded, when a word drifted across my consciousness – Feng Shui.

38 Dinner with the Queen   Dinner With the Queen

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/06/22/dinner-with-the-queen/

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life?  Just for a day?

51 On Base of Bony Orbit  On Base of Bony Orbit

https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/11/08/on-base-of-bony-orbit/

When not being busy as a Goddess Gypsy Irish/Polish Writing Queen (I’m not really sure what that is…), I also spend 40 hours a week working on catalogs. I enter data, order images and copy, and proofread everything from the original description to the final glossy prepress page. One of my catalogs is dedicated to health care. Besides pages being filled with replicas of every body part (inside or outside) you can imagine, I also come across some extraordinary vocabulary.

 

41 Merlot at the Lake HouseMerlot at the Lake House

Quick. Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time again. Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?

`

Enter Stage Right …The Drama Queen

opera-singer-1Ahhhhh…the life of a Drama Queen. Always in the spotlight. Always one-upping friends and family with tales just this side of Edgar Allan Poe. Their problems, their accomplishments, are always bigger/sadder/more confusing than anything you may have experienced. You’re allergic to cat hair? They’re allergic to cat hair, laundry soap, pollution, and chocolate. You get headaches? They get super-duper three days-in-the-dark whoppers.

I know we all have our physical and mental ups and downs…no race is run without sore feet. It’s just that most times Drama Kings and Queens are more…dramatic…than their counterparts. They always have something wrong with them, whether it be their health, their job, their relationships, or their kids. Every time you turn around — well, you get my point.

Now — what do you do if one day you yourself become the Magi of Drama??

It’s so easy to cross that barrier at times — often you don’t even know you are one. When my friends tell tales about their kids, I always have a story to tell about my kids. You’re going to Las Vegas? I’ve been there three times! You had the flu for three days? I had it for a week! Are these the signs of one-upmanship?  Am I competing or sharing? Encouraging or bragging?

I suppose what it comes down to is how deep the puddle is that you’re/I’m splashing in. I waver between telling friends about serious situations (such as illness or death), and trying to mind my own business. Yet these things boil and bubble inside of me until I find it’s easier to tell the truth than get tangled in the web of lies and half-truths that trinkle out. Before I know it I’ve offered TMI, and think — Drama Queen.

Yet I find there is incredible healing in slipping into the DQ role at times. Like the day I found out I had the big C. My husband and I were shocked enough, and when I went back to work, I immediately told my workmates.  It just kind of bubbled out. I found so much support and tears and understanding that I suddenly was embarassed. Yet relieved. The same was when I had a bit of surgery a few months later. Or my mini bout in the hospital. Not a big deal. Yet it was easier to tell others where I was than pretend I was in Graceland for three days. Same with my dog passing away. As my last blog indicated, A Dog is Just A Dog and a Cat is Just a Cat…Right? was a therapeutical way to deal with a sad situation. Yet as soon as I hit publish, I thought — Drama Queen.

But I also offer sympathy and a lending an ear to others who are in need. I don’t think twice about listening to friends about their saddest moments: their father passing away, their bouts with Crone’s Disease, their inability to find a job. My heart hurts with them, as if it was me going through the ups and downs. Their happiest times, too: a friend at work got a beautiful tattoo; I gushed over it to the point that I want to get one, too. My kids are going away for five days (their first since they were married 7 years ago); I gushed over their adventure to the point that I want to go, too.

So I think — are my friends and family Drama Queens and Kings too?

When you think about it, talking about your ups and downs is very therapeutic. I know at least half of my recoveries have been because of friend and family support. The pressures that build up inside of us are more than we can handle. Even if we are SuperMan/Woman, we all get to that point where, if we don’t let our anxiety out, we turn and twist into something ten times as messed up as before. Sometimes we need an outlet, an ear, of someone who can do nothing about our problems, but still can relate to the feelings. They are our pressure cooker valve, our second glass of wine.

And they are our mirror. Good friends and family don’t let us become Drama Kings and Queens. We get too dramatic, too out of control, they steer us to calmer waters.  Which is what we needed in the first place. The point is, don’t be afraid to share your highs and lows with those around you. Your therapy is their therapy.

And after a hot spell, what’s better than a cool dip? I know lots of people who are cool dips….

Grrrrr Woof!! I’m Baaaaaacckkkkk!!!!

big-nose-dogChange is a wonderful thing. You and your friends and the lady down the block and the crazy driver behind you are ever evolving…even if the moron behind you is up your bumper and the lady down the block recycles dog hair for her art projects. It’s just one of those “getting older” things. And whether you are concerned about turning 30 or turning 60, the shadows of change forever dog your steps.

I had taken a “hiatus”, if you will, from blogging. Too many other things to do; too many blogs to read, too many 7:30 to 4:00 work days ,too much housecleaning, too many buzzy bee activities to be involved in anything personal. Reading? I tried Fifty Shades of Grey, but I lost interest in about Shade Six. TV shows? I am still trying to catch up with the finale of House. Dealing with employment issues, dog and cat issues, hot flash issues, all took a bit of zip out life of my daily 24 hours in the past months.

But I really missed blogging. And I figured – if I’m going to angst about getting older, why not get back in the get in the groove and angst with others my age? With others of any age? I found that teeth gnashing and deep, dramatic, sad sighs about getting “older” were not limited to my own private sphere. One girl at work was struck with the painful reality that she was now 40, and even my 30-year-old son is having flashbacks to carefree days in high school. Life is rushing by for a family member that just turned 70, and I can barely think about my own turning 60.

No one is immune to the effects of aging. Whether it’s crows feet (I’ve seen some in women as young as 35), the groaning ache of getting up out of a chair, indigestion from something as simple as mushrooms, or hitting the mute button on the TV because the noise has finally become too hard on your ears, age creeps up on us whether we want it or not. Our ability to handle the madness of middle age becomes just another brick in the preverbal wall, if you get my drift. So why not handle it together?

Come back and play with me ‘n the Goddess!! Let’s celebrate with the Goddess the fact that we are at least coherent enough to feel the aches and heartburn and dizzying pace of the world around us.Whether you’re in your 20s or in your 60s, tell me your funny “getting old’ stories, your “senior” moments, your attempts to regain your rock-and-roll youth. You’ll find your concerns aren’t nearly as bad as you thought…that getting older (and, if we’re lucky,  wiser) isn’t half bad when you see that everyone else around you is getting older too.

As one famous terminator once said, “I’m baaaaaackkk!”

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

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst

Now that the last of Indian Summer has made its way to the teepee, I find myself losing energy and creativity. Maybe it’s the lull between seasons, between holidays. I haven’t even thought about Christmas, even though its a mere 40 days away; I have to get ready to deal with the big 6-0 and the desire to throw my own party (I don’t trust the rest of my family); and work is pure madness.  (Black Friday has never seen the likes of my desk…)

Some of you have been with me from the very beginning — I love ya’all for it.  For those newcomers who are too busy to rummage through my past ditties, I’m pulling one out of the preverbal hat.  It kind of reflects my mindset these days.
THE IMPORTANCE of UNICORNS and BRATWURST

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst. This is one of those ethereal, out-of-body titles that try to connect the cosmic to the ordinary, the magical to the mundane.  I was hit by this title some time ago, not having a clue as to what it meant or what I would eventually write about.  Even now, as my fingers hit the keys, I have no idea where this storyline is going.  But isn’t that so much like our everyday lives?

We start out the week with the most noble of intentions.  Perhaps we have a satisfying experience meditating or going to church Sunday morning, or sleep in a couple of extra hours.  Maybe our football team finally won a game.  Nonetheless, our day is delightful, and we end the night feeling satisfied.  All is right with the world, with our dreams and our desires. 

This is the power of the unicorn.  It is the magical sensation that connects earth and sky, dreams and reality, kids and parents.  In this hazy-yet-authentic state, the world is a soft, mystical place, offering rewards and blessings at every turn.  Our children clean their room without being asked; the washing machine doesn’t screech when spinning; even the movie we choose to watch had one of those feel-good endings.  In the unicorn state the world holds unlimited possibilities. You could actually lose those ten pounds or finally clean off your desk, or even finally start reading that novel you bought five months ago.  You are still based in reality, but the remnant good feelings are enough to move you towards the light and find satisfaction in the simplest things.

Monday comes along, a tough day for many.  A majority of us will drudge our way to work, blinking at the shortness of the weekend, and find our nine-to-five groove again.  Tuesday seems to be a lot harder than Monday.  Our failure to go to bed early over the weekend now is catching up with us, along with laundry that has mysteriously piled up and the bills we swear we mailed yesterday.  Our favorite TV show is coming on too late for us to watch with any coherency, and the last tape we saved to record said-TV-show was used to record a football game that everyone knows we lost.

Wednesday is hump day and we wonder just who is doing the humping.  Our resolve not to eat ten chocolate chip cookies in a row is weakening; our commitment to walk a mile or two after work is being thwarted by thunderstorms or ice storms or plagues of locusts.  We can never get our hair to do what our hairdresser did; our plans to cook Coq a Vin has gone by the wayside, seeing as the chicken is still frozen and we don’t have any red wine in the house to cook with anyway.

Thursday creeps into our lives with a thread of hesitancy.  After all, school has scheduled your son’s basketball game at the same time as your daughter’s piano recital, both of which are at the same time as your bowling league, which is at the same time your other favorite TV show is on, which you would have recorded had the football game not taken up the whole tape.

By Friday your resolutions are out the window along with that novel you can’t choke down anymore, and your thoughts try to center, not on what has been, but what will be.  The weekend is coming; that means a thousand activities shoved into a mere 48 hours.  It means going to visit your mom on the way to dropping off your kid at the mall, fighting the Saturday morning free-sample crowds at the grocery store, and coming home to an overanxious dog who just dumped the garbage all over the kitchen floor.  It is hoping the video store still has a copy of that brand new movie that everyone is talking about but you, and trying to decide whether to cook a gourmet meal or just throw sausages on the grill.

This is the bratwurst part, the raw-meat-of-reality part. Bratwurst is a wonderful German sausage, filled with flavor and spices and grilled to perfection.  How metaphoric that little pocket of meat and fat is!  It is the answer to all the cosmic questions in life! It fulfills the need for sustenance (it is a food group), it nurtures your creative side (sauerkraut?  Mustard?  Hot or German?)  It is available in abundance (you can buy them in three pound boxes), and it affords you the freedom of choice  (10 minutes on the grill; burble them in beer and onions for 15 and grill for five; slice them up and fry with potatoes for 20).

How clear it all becomes!  This little sausage is the answer to all metaphysical speculation, the answer to who we are and why we are on this planet.  It is tasty and filling, satisfying those inner child needs and outer kid bravados.  It ties the madness of the week up into a link that goes down easy and can be burped out in a satisfying form later through the night.  It is the spice of life.

I never thought of unicorns and bratwursts as the symbols for Life; I always thought that symbol was that little stick person with the big egg head.  Now that I have been enlightened, I can see that symbol does look like someone celebrating the bratwurst of life, arms out, joyous and all encompassing.

And the unicorn part?

 I’m not quite sure, but I will ask the one standing behind me after I find out if he wants sauerkraut on his bratwurst.

Movie, Movie, Who’s Got The Movie?

I wrote a blog not too long ago called Hannibal Lechter vs. Harry Potter  https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/07/27/harry-potter-vs-hannibal-lecter/ .  In that ditty I had just finished watching Hannabal’s first movie, and wondered if I was a reflection of that movie. Having decided that I am everyone and everything I see and do, I took the cosmic message and moved on.

Well, there I was, alone for the weekend, hubby gone up north, no one here but  me and the girls (2 dogs and one cat) and the boy (TomCat), and, left to my own whim, in charge of not only the TV but the movies.  And I am sorry to say I found myself falling into the same familiar grooves. I did watch a brand new movie sent to me in the mail…Wrath of the Titans…which said something about my taste to begin with. But I found myself falling into the same familiar pattern of watching movies I’ve seen ten times before.  Does that mean I’m more predictable than I ever imagined?

In my Lechter vs. Potter rant, I found myself defending polarity ― or bipolarity, if you wish. I found myself saying:

 But back to the crazy movie. In watching this psychological mess, I oft-handedly wondered if this kind of movie reflected my inner self. I have many friends who talk about the movies they watch:  middle-aged love comedies; retro pot-smoking, chick-banging absurdities; historical pieces.  Some are huge fans of horror; others cannot live without  lots of sex and drama. Do these favorites define who they are? Do these choices influence our cosmic journey?

 I was content thinking that we are not our movies. We are not our job, we are not our clothes or our car or our choice of beverage. But the older I get, the more I see that we are all of the above ― and more. On the positive side, I believe it’s good for us to go outside our comfort zone now and then. Finding a new job, trying tofu burgers, watching a documentary on polar bears or the creepy world of Hoarders, all are experiences that may or may not add to the wonderful sparkling jewel we call ME.

Yet, when I find some real free time, all by myself, my energy level not high enough to write a sonnet or a novel, I find myself searching the cabinet for movies that will make me feel good. And, most times, there are the “eternal” movies. You know ― the ones you can watch over and over again and over again. Mind you, not all movies fall into this “special” category. There are many, many movies I’ve seen once, and once is more than enough. There are some that I enjoy if I come across them on TV or if I walk into someone’s house and they’re watching them, but wouldn’t go the extra mile to bother with after that.

Then there are the die hards that I always, always enjoy. For me, Avatar, The Rock, The Mummy, Con Air, and Closer reruns, all can entertain me almost any time. (It used to be tearjerkers, but menapause has turned me into a crybaby.) I sometimes wonder if that means something. For my fun stuff is not my son’s fun stuff. Or my husband’s fun stuff. Or my friends at work’s fun stuff. And I’m sure my stuff is not my kid’s stuff. At least some of my stuff.

On further reflection, I think age, social circles, emotional states and personal history all fine-tune us in one direction or another. There are no “right” or “wrong” movies ― what makes one person feel wonderful makes another sick to their stomach. What is righteous to one is sacrilegious to another.  I suppose that is why humanity is such a varied, colorful tapestry. And I do love tapestries.

Are there movies that you return to time and time again? Do you think they reflect a deeper part of you?  Or are they just oddities in the rainbow of life?  Actually, this isn’t a cosmic question.  Just think about the movies you love to watch time and time again, and let them be a wonderful reflection of your heart and personality. 

And, hey — don’t worry if you love the Freddie Kruger or Saw genre — there’s a place in this world for you, too.

Just don’t move next door to me…

MAGIC 101

Need to  find a little magic in your everyday life? There’s got to be a way to connect today’s mad, mad world to the airy fairy contentment daydreaming brings. What is “magic” anyway? It’s just a word. A word that describes what can’t always be described.  Kinda like love or intuition or Coan Brothers movies. It’s different for everyone. Here’s a few ways to tap into the mist (or is it the fog) that surrounds the charisma called “magic”:

ETHER.  The concept of the Ether (guess we need to capitalize it) is that magic exists in the natural world like air. Anyone with sufficient understanding can process it into whatever it is he or she is trying to do. It’s also referred to as the fifth element (mool-ti-pass?) along with earth, air, water and fire. Ever catch the scent of pine trees in the air? Burning leaves? Pig farms? All of those stimulate the Ether. All trigger the senses, taking them to another level. Learn to feel hot and cold pockets of air, watch the heat waves rise from the road, or feel the breeze blow your hair around.  A heebie jeebie feeling will run through you, leaving you mystified or merely curious. One hint: don’t search for the Ether while driving, starting a bonfire or any other activity that needs your attention. You just might find yourself breathing more than just Ethered air.

HERBS. Certain herbs are said to have magical properties (no…not the ones you smoke). There are plenty of “healthy” naturalities that can open the stuck door to your magical playground. Sage is commonly used for purification and cleansing (see what it does for stuffing?). Catnip is meant to captivate a lover ― or at least a cat. Cinnamon increases psychic power (no wonder we sense cinnamon toast a mile away!). Basil is for wealth and prosperity (I could use a whole back yard of this).  I added my own herby kind of things to the magical list: chocolate (who isn’t taken in by its charm?), wine (loosens up the tongue to speak to whatever higher power is hanging around), and homemade spaghetti sauce (I swoon to heaven and back when I eat it). Whatever herb makes you smile is the one that’s magical for you. Go for it.

OBJECTS:  Throughout time there have been objects that have been sought for their ability to do things that no human can do on their own. The Philosopher’s Stone (turns base metals into gold), The Holy Grail (drinking from it grants immortality), the Pot of Gold (pretty obvious what it does), and Book of Thoth (a forbidden book that was the key to mastering the secrets of air, sea, earth, and the heavenly bodies), all are legendary objects that have the capability to make humans larger than life. Today’s magical objects are a lot more accessible to us lowly humans. The Internet (instant information), CDs (the gospel of Pink Floyd and Benny Goodman were never so available), telephones (or should I now say cell phones), beer steins (symbols of the fruitfulness of grain), gold coins (back to the source of all evil), and dozens of other things can instantly turn our world from mundane to magical. Also consider flags, beer bottle tops, crystals, rock band T-shirts, root beer floats, chocolate truffles, Christmas ornaments (I have some cool Irish ones), and 4H ribbons, are all magical objects (in their own way)..

CREATURES.  Creatures are not often considered fountains for magical energy. However, some are well known for their connection to the magical world. Unicorns, dragons, faeries, Nessie, Bigfoot, Pan, Puck, angels, brownies (not the edible kind), ghosts, Puff ― all are creatures that will stimulate your imagination and tap into the wonder of it all. What does it matter if they were/are real or not? Are you real? How do we know? In a pinch, puppies, kittens, and babies are suitable substitutes.

PLACES.  Places where magic concentrates have dotted the cosmic landscape for a long time. The Fountain of Youth, Atlantis, Never Never Land, Oz, Heaven, Shangri La, Rivendell, Sha Ka Ree, all are places that sprung from the human mind and exist on some plane of existence somewhere. Magic blows the dirt of these worlds into our own back yards. Utopia may not exist in our sphere of reality, but why can’t it exist elsewhere? Why can’t we tap into these magical places and pick up a few tips? I know I could get into a dishwashingless or rakingtheleavesless society. And heck ― Klingons and Elves don’t hold a candle to the nuts we experience in our everyday world. Even our messy home can be an alien environment at times. What inspiration!

DIVINE MAGIC. At the opposing end of the spectrum from Ether is the idea that magic can only be handed down from some divine or infernal source. Granted through either prayers or rituals, this type of magic requires a force from the outside of the normal/natural world coming to bear on a situation. Gods, goddesses, aliens, demons, magicians, angels, spirit guides, and totems come to mind.  Their intervention comes in handy during football games, pregnancy tests, lottery tickets, cooking competitions, and IRS audits. Although whether they wave their energy over the Packers or the Bears remains to be seen.

Be that as it may, I hope you understand that real divine magic exists within us all. It’s called common sense. It’s called love. Let those two energies guide all you think and do, and magic will be at your fingertips. Trust me on this one. Don’t be afraid to use the “M” word when describing your philosophy of life. It melds well with the “G” word and the “L” word, sprinkling a bit of sweetness on our basic beliefs and desires.

And, after all ― it does kinda tastes like sugar…

Where Do You Want To Go?

I know most of you peek in and out with a whiff of the air; life is busy like that. I am the same way. Too many things I want to do, too little time. The story of all of our lives.

As you know, my passion (outside of my family, grandbaby, cooking and the latest Star Trek movie), is writing, followed by reading. I have been trying to read the Grey thing; I think I’m too old to be impressed by it (although I must say it goes where no one has gone before). Everyone likes to read different things: everyone has their own style, topics, and interests. That’s why reading is ssoooo much fun.  

My bigger obsession, though, is writing. My style is all over the place, but the bulk of it is more on the imaginary side. A favorite theme iof mine is the “middle age woman” traveling through time, in one direction or the other, exploring the new worlds from a middle age woman’s point of view. (Original, eh?)

So……a question for you.

If you were whisked through a “veil” into another world, what would it be like? Know that you would know nothing (or little to nothing) about the time period, or, if it were another planet/world, their society.  What kind of world would you like to explore?

I’ll go first.

My most current novel is about a middle aged, New Age woman who is whisked away to another planet where the inhabitants are a mixture of Ancient Rome and Spaceship City.  She does her best to try and adapt to a society who are based in ancient superstition and futuristic technology, while trying to solve a murder.

Your turn!

CHOCOLAT AND THE TUSCAN SUN PART II

A while back I wrote a story about two of my favorite movies: Chocolat and Under the Tuscan Sun.  https://humoringthegoddess.com/2011/04/28/chocolat-under-the-tuscan-sun/.   It was an irreverent observation of the main characters (thin, lovely 30ish beauties) and their ability to start new lives in quaint surroundings filled with friendly neighbors, gorgeous scenery, and hunky men.  There was drama, of course; some sort of “obstacle” the main character had to overcome. But it was artistically woven into the background, and it left me with a positive attitude about life after 30.

I just finished watching Tuscan again, and I find a little uneasiness creeping into my positive attitude. While I know that movies and fiction books and television are all pretend, I wonder why so many of us are drawn to such escapism. I mean, flying spaceships through outer space or sitting at the other end of the table from Henry the Eighth are out-and-out fantasies, not available in this (or any) lifetime. But modern-day escapism is a lot easier to imagine.

It’s not that I want to leave what I have behind (although the thought of never having to change the kitty litter again does sound enticing); it’s more the attitude of pretend that seems to strengthen me. I spend most of my waking hours trying to deal with life.  Some of my friends are planning early retirement, others planning to have kids, some trying to get out of bad jobs, and still others taking second jobs to make ends meet. I have lost parents and friends to the Reaper, and sat besides others who have cheated him one more time. I can see how the world is unfair, unyielding, and unacceptable. So I can see how a happily-ever-after movie ending rates right up there with dark chocolate and the 1812 Overture.

But after watching my favorite movies for the umpteenth time, I see my creativity being put to the test. I don’t confuse fake gazebos that overlook vineyards with the pot of geraniums on my back porch; I don’t think making homemade chocolate would be any more rewarding than making homemade spaghetti sauce. I know I will never look like Diane Lane or Juliette Binoche — too many babies and too many cookies and too much menopause has taken care of that.   But that doesn’t mean I can’t follow my own Yellow Brick Road now and then.

Moviemakers are dream makers in the ultimate sense.  Not only do they manipulate scenery into idyllic settings and everyday conversation into romantic poetry, but take us just where we think we want to go. As the observer, we never see the cameramen, construction workers, caterers, painters and all the other thousands of people who make our trip to la la land possible.  We never see the accounts payable clerk at her desk, the plumber fixing the waterfall, the cleaning service scrubbing the toilets or the mountain of programming needed to make a glass of champagne bubble someone’s name.

And we don’t want to see it.  We don’t want to see the mess the cleaning crew has after a day’s shooting; we don’t want to be reminded of the endless peanut butter sandwiches the street sweepers and lighting technicians had to eat just to stay on the production company’s payroll.  Why?  We don’t want to see the behind-the-scenes efforts because they remind us so much of our own daily life.  If we were to watch the women wash the floors of the Italian bungalow, we would be reminded that our own kitchen floor needs scrubbing. If we were to watch the crews paint the set to look like old world France it only reminds us that our house could use a fresh coat of paint.  If we were to know that all the food on the banquet table were fake except for what the actors were eating, it would bring home the fact that some of the food we bring home from the grocery store tastes pretty fake, too.

Is that all bad?  Not really. As we get older we find that reality distorts a lot of things.  The length of the rope seems to be longer behind us than in front of us.  We know that today could be our last chance to drink a glass of wine or hug our kids or listen to Louie sing What A Wonderful World. If we keep on track and bring light into our lives, we can make the length of the rope in front of us infinite. And how do we do that? We make our own version of pretend.

As I said before, a pot full of geraniums can be just as rewarding as the French countryside, be it in a different form.  A piece of Hershey’s chocolate sitting on a fancy plate from Good Will can be just as alluring as an exclusive delicacy served in a five star restaurant in Italy.  Toga parties can mimic ancient Rome (or Animal House), and calling the gang over for game night can rival any three-dimensional chess game Spock and Kirk could play. We just have to understand that reality is all in one’s point of view.

I am learning not to take the movies seriously. Not that I ever did, but there were times I was genuinely tempted to build a greenhouse like the one in Practical Magic or rent an atmospheric cottage in rural Scotland to write my breakout novel like Demi Moore in Half Light.  The point is, don’t let pretend pass you by.   Just know it for what it is, respect its limitations, and let it fly in and around and through your life.

Besides — if a librarian can travel to Egypt and discover mummies and telephone repairmen can have close encounters of the third kind, there’s no telling where a wife/mother/grandmother can go.

Want to come along?

You Didn’t Read Which One??

With the Madness of Summer burning the bottoms of our feet, there is not often much time to do any deep reading. A news headline here, a gossip column there, is about all one can squeeze in between State Fairs and Renaissance Faires and Italian Fairs.  So I thought I’d make it short and sweet this time around…come along and check out some of my oldies-but-goodies and see for yourself how fun managing the madness and magic and middle age can be!

Sharpening the Tool  — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/sharpening-the-tool/

I hate it when people say that many middle-aged people “aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed.” It’s condescending, insulting, naive and just plain wrong. What I hate even more, though, is being one of those dull tools. Alas, there are times when I feel I’m struggling to stay in the shed, period.

Dancing in a Too Tight Tutu — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/10/15/522/

I was sitting around the other day with my gal friends, sharing tales about the weekend. We all seemed to have gone through the same delightful experience, albeit in different ways. We all were relaxed, having a good time, and probably drank a little too much, for we all said, “I’m too old for this.”  One sat with friends and sipped with friends all day, one went to an outdoor concert, and I party hopped.  I’m sure the situations were on the same astral plane as many others “my age.”  Time flows, excitement and comfort wraps around us, the atmosphere make us feel good, and before you know it we are waking up the next morning with a headache, saying, “I’m too old for this.

Dinner With the Queen https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/dinner-with-the-queen/

In the mundane throng of your very predictable life, don’t you now and then want to just break out of the box and do something different? Now that you have the experience of all those years behind you, don’t you want to make that experience mean something? Don’t you ever want to be bigger than life? Just for a day?

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwursthttps://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/the-importance-of-unicorns-and-bratwurst/

The Importance of Unicorns and Bratwurst. This is one of those ethereal, out-of-body titles that try to connect the cosmic to the ordinary, the magical to the mundane.  I was hit by this title some time ago, not having a clue as to what it meant or what I would eventually write about.  Even now, as my fingers hit the keys, I have no idea where this storyline is going.  But isn’t that so much like our everyday lives?

Merlot at the Lake House — https://humoringthegoddess.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/merlot-at-the-lake-house/

Quick.  Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time gain.  Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?

The Diamond Goddess Award

Equal to my desire to become a famous writer (move over, JK),  is my desire for others to enjoy my work. While my first desire is right up there with winning the lottery and swimming in the Mediterranean, the second actually seems possible.

 The other day I stopped into the Goddess Hood and found I had been nominated for the Sunshine Award on WordPress. I don’t know exactly what that is or where you go to find out about it, but just knowing that someone actually READ my blog and thought enough about it to submit my name really made my sun shine.

 I was nominated by  seventhvoice.wordpress.com, who is, among other talents,  a very good, sensitive poet. I thank her – and you – for letting me know my posts make a difference in your lives. I think I’m supposed to nominate other blogs for other awards, but there are so many floating around out there I don’t know where to start. The Inspiring Blog Award, the Beautiful Blogger Award, The Very Inspiring Blogger Award, the Sunshine Award ―  all are accolades that reward the determined writer with a bit of recognition…and appreciation.

 I feel bad because I don’t have as much time to follow blogs and enter contests and write stories like I used to. It seems the older I get the busier I get. How did that happen? I subscribe to a handful of blogs and really want to subscribe to a few more.  But even today I opened my mailbox and found 523 emails waiting for me. Where have I been?

 I realized that asking you to read my blog or get my email blog puts you in the same situation that I’m in. We all are trying to put 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag.  And I thought ― how can I pick out one or five blogs that catch my soul so much that I nominate them for all the awards floating around out there? What makes a blog about spirituality any more enjoyable than one about divorce? How do I know if your blog is an Inspiring Blog Award or a Beautiful Blogger Award?

 So what I have done is nutty and escapist…something those of you who know me have no problem believing.  I’m creating my own award:

  • The Diamond Goddess Award

Who is to receive this precious honor? 

 All of you.

 All of you who take time to listen to my babble, all of you who send your thoughts and comments my way, all of you who strive to be more than you are today.  It is for those of you who peek in once a month or wait impatiently for my next ditty. It’s for those of you who like me but never have time to read anything. And it’s for those who don’t care for my style but put up with me anyway.

 And you know the best thing about this award?  YOU can pass it on!  Pass it on to anyone who makes you smile, anyone who makes you feel.  Take my dancing diamond and send it to your best friend and the chick you barely know. Let them know you’re thinking about them and that you think they sparkle  like a diamond.

 You’ll feel better for it. I know I do.

 

 

 

Chit Chattin’ Chatty Cathy

I subscribe to a few blogs where the author has broken out of their silent shell, finally finding a voice that is sparkling and true.  It’s not easy sharing something as personal as one’s self ― especially if that “self” has been suppressed for longer than one can imagine. I appreciate their efforts to finally let the world know who they are.

I, on the other hand, suffer from Italktoomuchitis.

I don’t remember when I contracted this disease.  It certainly wasn’t in grade school (too ugly), nor high school (too busy trying to get pinned). I worked in downtown Chicago for a PR department, but trust me, it was far from glamorous…or talkative. ( I was rather submissive in those days.) Found love, got married and had babies. I didn’t think of myself as overly verbal back then. But now I wonder — when did I become so…chatty?

Chatty is a relative word. Those of us old enough can remember the “Chatty Cathy” doll.  Pull her string and she’d say a half dozen things. What a novel idea at the time. For those of you a bit younger, this phenomenon was a highlight in Steve Martin’s tirade in Planes, Trains and Automobiles: “It’s like going on a date with a Chatty Cathy doll. I expect you have a little string on your chest, you know, that I pull out and have to snap back. Except I wouldn’t pull it out and snap it back – you would. Gnah..gnah…” Well, I’m beginning to think I’m that doll — and I’m the one pulling the string.

These last few years I think I’ve carried the chatty thing a bit too far. One question and everybody knows what I had for dinner last night, why I think my cousin’s child is out of control, the cramps I had this morning, and how much my dentist charged for root canal. I spill my son’s secrets to his wife, and tell my customers not to buy today for it goes on sale tomorrow. What is wrong with me? Since when have I become this effervescent fount of non-interesting information? I find I want to respond to everything. I have an answer for everything. Whether or not it’s informed. I find I have little patience for opinions other than mine, and need to comment on every and all things that come my way. Fortunately, I keep my mouth shut most of the time, but believe me, sometimes it’s a struggle.

I wonder if it’s that old person syndrome. You know ― the older you get, the less you care about what others think.  That seemed like such a cliché when I was younger. All those old fogies saying what they want to, not caring if they offend this person or that.  Most over 70 were a little crotchety and unreasonable, but hey, maybe they just weren’t thinking straight. Pre-Alzheimer’s and such.

As I got older I started to get where they were coming from. Now that I’m teasing the 60 mark, I’m finding those outspoken 70-year-olds weren’t so far off the mark after all.  Having spent a lifetime trying to get my thoughts and opinions across to others, I can see why caution is thrown to the wind and oldies say just what they think. I’ve been questioned and second-guessed more times than you can count; I’ve been unsure of my choices and bothered by the choices of others. I sometimes wonder if I should have turned right instead of left, if I would have made a difference, if I should have said something back then.

And I have gotten to the point where I’m tired of not being listened to.

I’m not saying that my opinion is any better than anyone else’s. We know the world by what we’ve experienced. I have kept my thoughts and opinions respectful and private. But in suppressing the nonsense that runs constantly through my head, I find myself talking and sharing more than when I was 20. It’s like the filter is broken. And I wonder — is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Through this need to reveal more than the neighborhood stripper, I find myself volunteering information that no one is interested in. Well, maybe they are, but in a superficial sort of way. I think we all do that — we listen to others babble their life stories, their grocery store nightmares, their crazy family history or their list of illnesses. We listen because we really do care. Not that we can do anything about their stories, but because we know that sometimes others just need someone to listen.

Often the babble that comes out of other mouths has nothing to do with what’s really going on inside. Maybe the storyteller suffers from insecurities, or illness, or loneliness. Maybe sharing the story of their kid’s accomplishments is a way to assure them that they did a good job as a mother or father. Maybe all they want is to be noticed. To be cared about. To be liked.

Many things fuel our chatter — or lack of. Where we’ve come from is not nearly as important as where we are headed.  If chit chatting about great recipes or the knucklehead in the cubicle down the hall gives us a little clearer sense of self, I’m all for it. We all need to get the chit out of our heads so we can think clearer and feel stronger. And as long as the chat is not destructive, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of babble at the bubbler.

Alas, sometimes I think my only solution is to wire my jaws shut.

I Get On My Nerves

52-I Get On My NervesAs I flirt with middle age and all the delights it brings, I also fear I am becoming a parody of myself…I am becoming the kind of person that drives me crazy.

 Let’s take the heat/cold thing, for instance. Because of the Big “C” meds and the Big “M” change-of-hormonal/body-life thing, I get hot flashes that would make Jumping Jack Flash jealous. I can’t tell from one minute to the next if I’m hot or cold. On sweater. Off sweater. On sweater. Off sweater. Sleeveless t-shirt. Shorts. Long Johns. I can’t decide if I need a fan or a blanket.  I might as well stockpile both, seeing my needs change on an hourly basis. All I know is that if I sat next to me at work or on the sofa I would make me nuts.  I am becoming the fidgety fussbudget no one wants to be around. It might not be as irritating as the person who chews their nails or spits tobacco, but it comes close. 

 Or how about this cold thing I’m fighting? Sneezing, hacking, clearing my throat of unwanted phlegm (don’t you just love that word?) all day long gets on my nerves – and I’m the one doing it! It makes me want to stand up and scream, “I can’t stand you anymore! Go Home Already!”  But being one of those long suffering, dedicated employees/spouses/parents, I know the world cannot go on without me, so I do the best I can to hide the irritating evidence.  I hold my sneezes silently inside (providing for that occasional bug-eyed look), blow my nose slowly (and hopefully discretely), and suppress my cough with water and sugar-free Werner’s.

 Is my patience level decreasing as my age increases? Am I becoming one of those sniveling, snorting, mumbling “old people” my mother warned me about?  My tolerance level seems to be upside down these days. I don’t mind my grandbaby’s whining/screaming/eh-eh-eh-ing all the time, long after my daughter-in-law has thrown in the towel.  Cereal thrown all over the floor, stones shoveled in the driveway, chewing the leg off the $10 Darcy Donkey I bought him at the last Gaelic Storm concert – so what? I credit it to him being a brilliant, inquisitive, experimental child.  Yet listing to the blood curdling screams of an overtired, over stimulated child in the store makes my dander flake.

 Have I always been this way? I’d like to think not. But it seems the older I get the more exaggerated any and all symptoms and reactions become. I find I have no tolerance for slow poke drivers, cell phone chatting drivers, and hot-shot, hot-rod drivers. I get bent out of shape when the cart in front of me at the checkout line has 30 items instead of 20 when I only have 10. People talking with their mouths full or slurping their soda or cracking their gum make me want to pop them in the chops.  I can’t stand commercials on television or radio, so half the time I sit in complete silence to read or write or drive.

Why am I so irritable? Is it just my time of life? Or is it that the world around me has become a lot more obnoxious in the past 10 years? 

I try and be Christian, I try and be Mother Teresa. After all, the hacker with the cough may have bronchitis. The screaming, tantrum baby may have intestinal pains. The cell phone yakker who isn’t paying attention to the road may be consoling a distraught friend or relative. The person who pulls out the bottom towel from the stack, leaving the remainder to topple worse than the Tower of Pisa, might have some sort of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and the thought of an untouched towel soothes their nerves.  Everyone has reasons for what they do, for the way they behave.  We are not all privy to their secrets nor their weaknesses.  The Goddess encourages us to be easy going on those around us. For others it’s the Sufi Way. And I want to give the world the benefit of the doubt.

 On the other hand, the yakker on the cell phone is going to drive into someone or something one of these days; the 30 at the 20 checkout fellow is an in-charge, defiant, control freak; the sneezer without a Kleenex will undoubtedly one day spread the plague; and the towel puller is just a slob who doesn’t clean up after themselves. In a world where we are doing our best to teach our children manners and to respect each other, the role models driving and working and shopping around us often leave much to be desired.  I’m always saying I’m old school, but I would never talk to my elders (or anyone else, for that matter), the way some do. I would never leave a mess in a store for someone else to clean up (oh..that’s their job), cough in someone’s face, or bully someone.

 I’m not saying I don’t talk on the cell phone while driving, or take more than 20 to the 20 check out. I do go to work when I’d be better off at home under the covers, and often talk before I think, making more work for myself than need be. But I am sorry for my misdemeanors; I do say thank you and please all the time. I hold doors open for those behind me and stop my car in the middle of parking lots to let people walk by. I try and say something nice to everyone I chat with, and bring extra food to parties even when I don’t have to.

 I just don’t want to make myself (or others) put up with the mumbly, jumbly world of On Sweater, Off Sweater, Cough Cough Cough. That would be enough to make everyone scoot their chairs a little further away.

 Unless I make it into a dance move…

 

Even Plato Rock and Rolls

Plato once said, “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and gaiety to life and everything.”  Indeed. Those you who have found nirvana (no, not the band) through music, no matter what genre, will get the gist of the following story.

I consider myself an adult. Somewhere between 40 and 80, mother of two, full-time employee, loving wife, devoted mother, and average housekeeper. Mature enough to deal with menopause, bounced checks, bosses, brother-in-laws, burned food on the grill and late night (no night) kids. Yet now and then this immaturity creeps up on me.

 ‘Cuz I’m as free as a bird, now — and this bird you cannot chain —

Is there ever a ceiling to age? Is there ever an end to being young? Is there ever a reason to give up the magic of who we were — and who we still are?

If I stay here with you, now — things just couldn’t be the same — ‘Cuz I’m as free as a bird now — how bout you? — and this bird you’ll never chain —

It started one Saturday evening. The college kid was out for the night, the married son busy with his lovely wife and lovely baby, the house was fairly clean, the garbage taken out. Thunderstorms started to move in, threatening my evening of television. A movie, then. After ten minutes I was bored and antsy. Something was brewing. I just knew it.

“Let’s listen to some music,” I said to my husband, my foot bouncing with nervous energy.

“Like what?” he asked, picking up on the electricity in the tone of my voice.

“Well…how about a little Lynyrd Skynyrd?”

For those of you living on another planet, Lynyrd Skynyrd was a great country-rock band from the 70’s. So I innocently picked a song. Sweet Home Alabama. Suddenly all madness broke loose. My husband and I became…possessed. That’s the only way I can describe it. Sweet Home Alabama lead to the famous Free Bird.

Won’t you fly … freeeee bird…           

We cranked up the stereo.

dede WA WA wonnca wonnca … WA WA wonnca wonnca …WA WA wonnca wonnca … wonnca wonnca … wonnca wonnca ….

Suddenly there were no middle-aged people lying around watching TV — there was only this young guy with long, full, bushy hair and a wild-looking woman with dark curls and big glasses dancing around the room, playing an air guitar or, worse yet, an air keyboard.

Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada, Daaaa du da-du-dada …

We cranked it up, our eyes closed until the end of the song. Before we knew it, listening to music became a contest. Taking Care of Business. Flirtin’ With Disaster. Whole Lotta Rosie. Dancing in front of the speakers, shaking our booties in over-sized t-shirts and shorts. My husband ran to get the next song. Dream On. A slow song. I grabbed him and we slow danced in the middle of the living room floor. Slow with a rocky beat. Soon enough the song was over. Enough mellowness.  I put on Walk this Way, and we sashayed across the floor, strutting like young dudes and dudettes. Another rock song followed, then another. My turn! I laughed and ran and picked out Fool for the City. My husband followed with Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting. Oh oh oh! My turn! Oh no! The song I wanted was not on that CD! Drats! I ran around, picking another rocking tune. The speakers were so loud they made the amplifier shut down. We had to shut it off and turn it on again. Couldn’t miss any of this song!

My husband put on a slow, country-rockish tune. Highway Song. I pulled him to the middle of the living room floor and we started to slow dance again. Suddenly the song picked up tempo, another moment lost in a guitar riff. We danced faster, laughing, hugging, trying to keep up with the increased tempo.

The phone rang — our oldest. Great. Hi, howya doing…how’s grandbaby..oh? …yeah…yeah…gotta go…see ya tomorrow… and we ran back to the stereo. We needed more rock and roll! We moved forward in the time warp we had created. A bit of heavy metal, Metallica, vibrated the plant atop the speaker. By the second song my head was beginning to throb. Perhaps we moved too far forward. We found another beboppy tune, Kryptonite

If I go crazy then will you still call me Superman …

The two of us, married over 30 years, sat on the sofa, bellowing out the lyrics of this song as if we were both on stage. The dogs came out to see what the loud voices were all about, then, deciding we were harmless, went back downstairs.

As our energy slowly ebbed, our choices changed. The ache in his elbow returned, my sinus headache from the rain outside demanded aspirin. We pulled out a few more mellow oldies, letting the clock tick away both forwards and backwards.

Our hearts are in the music; our lives entwined with hair bands and bald bands and country rock bands and everything in-between. We have grown up on music, have cherished it like an old friend and have never let it stray far from our world. Music has set us on fire and soothed our souls. It has brought back memories, tears and laughter; it has set the stage, not only for what has been, but for what will be.

Bob Seeger ended our time traveling for the evening. Turn the Page.

Here I go … on the road again … Here I am … turn the page….

My husband pulled me up for one last slow dance. We were 20 again, 20 going on 40 going on 60 going on 20. There is no such thing as age, only a state of mind. We “turn the page” in our lives every night we go to sleep, every morning we wake. We hummed the last few stanzas of the song, knowing our own pages were turning way too fast. I told myself I would make the most of every moment, every song, every slow dance. Every wa wa wonnca wonnca. I would turn up the volume of my life and dance with the gifts I have been given. One day my kids will understand — one day when their own pages start to turn.

Until then, it is our stereo … our rock and roll … and my turn….

 

 

 

 

Come Out Come Out Wherever You Are…

I am lost. Utterly, depressingly, spastically lost. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep. I find myself retracing my steps, my thoughts, my habits over the past 3-4 days. And yet I am helplessly clueless. I can’t blog, I can’t enter contests — I feel like I’m constantly grasping at the great void.

I’ve lost my flash disk.

Now, for the population in general, that’s not a traumatic thing. After all, unless there’s porn or the secret to immortality on the disk (which there isn’t), everything that’s on it is someplace else as well. Say, on my laptop. Or backed up on my portable hard drive. No problemo. But of course, you already know it goes deeper than that. 

Practically everything that’s on my computer is on my flash disk: short stories, resumes, novels, photography, research. I suppose you could pick it up and learn all about me from the nonsense I save. And it’s not so much I’m concerned that someone will read my “inner thoughts” and “financial fiascos.”  It’s kinda like going for my yearly girly check up — seen one, seem them all. At this point in my life, nothing to get embarassed about. Yes, there are private things saved in files such as “girly things” and “Art’s House.” But nothing that would wind up on Entertainment Tonight.

No, the bigger, cosmic ramification from this game of hide-and-seek is that I’ve MISPLACED MY FLASH DRIVE.  That I didn’t put it BACK IN MY PURSE where it always goes. That I got distracted — again — ran off and climbed the Eiffel Tower or went running with the bulls in Spain and forgot to PUT IT AWAY.  That I’m senile, forgetful, and just this side of dementia.  I have retraced all steps that I can remember; dug around and into the sofa, my purse, my carry bag, my pockets, three tables, two dressers, the dog toy box, and even the dreaded junk drawer.  I’ve dug around in my drawers at work and under the seats of my two beater cars. And it’s not there. Nowhere. Nada.

How could I be so careless with something so important?  That means I can’t download something on the run…I can’t type a ditty at lunch time and bring it home to work on in the evening. I can’t bring great pictures to work to use as screen savers, and can’t find the family recipes my daughter-in-law’s dad let me download from his computer. I can’t stop at the library and do a little research, nor can I share some of my great music with my pals at work.  I can’t do any of the creative airy fairy things I’m used to doing because I’ve MISPLACED MY FLASH DRIVE.

What does that say about my state of mind? Am I in such a hurry to get to tomorrow that I forget to enjoy today? What’s next? Leaving for work late, forgetting to turn off the stove that made my grilled cheese breakfast sandwich? Filling a grocery cart full of groceries, just to get to the checkout and realize I’ve left my checkbook on the kitchen table? Going to the dentist’s office when really I’ve got an appointment at the eye doctor?  I feel like the girl who cried wolf.  Not me, I boast. I’ll never lose my flash disk. It’s always in one of two or three places. Tops. I’m always telling my husband, “Stop treating me like a kid! Quit ragging me!”  And yet here I am, ragging myself. Another notch in the “dummy” belt. Another slip on the ice.

All this berating just for a little thing that probably ended up as a cat toy somewhere, lying with saintly patience for me to stumble across it. It has unfinished stories waiting, summer pictures to be used as computer wallpaper, and recipes waiting to be cooked. It’s waving to me, it’s little lanyard quivering in devoted anticipation, knowing that sooner or later I will stumble upon it, and rejoice that the cosmos has once again stepped in to help. Perhaps then I will realize that it truly is the journey that has been what it’s all about, not the final destination.

Until then, if any of you have a little winjy you can send my way to help me find my little flash disk, I’d appreciate it. In return I’ll send you the great Artichoke Dip recipe that I know is filed away on it…

Sex — What Is It and Where Did It Go?

14 Sex What Is It and Where Did It Go 2This is going to be a ditty about that “S” word — you know — the one between “salamander” and “stupid”. The word your parents never talked about.  Back in the days when names and animals were simply names and animals and not slang for body parts, sex was something separate from us.  Oh sure, everybody thought about it; some even did something about it. But there were many that merely dreamt about it. 

A lot of us were naïve back then. Some on purpose (I don’t want to know), some because of our friends (they don’t know either), and others because we were warned we would be sent to the convent if we explored that world before we were 21. Love was simple, clean and innocent.  I mean, the Beatles never fooled around!  How could they?  They were as pure as the driven snow!

Alas, it didn’t take long for most of us to catch on to the reality of the world of boy-meets-girl.  Somewhere within our blossoming we found we really enjoyed checking out that “S” word, and made it part of our daily activities.  We dreamt we were the ones fooling around with the Beatles.

Everyone’s idea of procreation is based on how they were raised, who they hung out with, and how much of the world they explored.  As women got older, we talked a little more openly about affairs and romances, leaving the stigma of virginity behind along with wedding night memories.  As we became fruitful and multiplied, we began to appreciate the difference between the sexes and how to use our own to get what we wanted.  

Back in the 80s, every woman wanted to be super woman.  We wanted to have wonderful, loving children, an immaculate house, a career in a field we enjoyed, a great body, and a highly electric sex life.  We wanted to be room moms and company executives and whip up elegant dinners for two or twenty.  I suppose there are many women who, even today, want to be all that — and more.  But the majority of us realized long ago that super woman was an illusion, and the first chip to fall from that illusion was sex.

If we thought our antics were restricted when our kids were toddlers, that was nothing to the puritans we became when our own kids came into sexual maturity.  Toddlers didn’t care about their parents having sex because they didn’t have a clue what sex was.  But believe me, teenagers did, and the thought of two adults that didn’t look like models or rock stars wrapping themselves naked around each other was enough to send shivers through the whole house.  So mom and dad had to wait until the kids were at choir practice or football practice or at grandma’s for the day to do their “S” thing. 

Of course, funneling hot, passionate love into a schedule that also included scrubbing the kitchen floor and changing the spark plugs in the car was a juggling act all in itself.  As much as the two lovers wanted to bathe in the light of ecstasy, there were always the second thoughts of what else they could be doing with that half hour all to themselves.  And besides, the possibility that their teen could walk in to this debacle at any time tended to deflate most sex drives before they could even take off.

Well, you know where this is going.  Kids grow up, responsibilities change, and being spontaneous isn’t what it used to be.  Those same said kids go off to college or get married and you think, “Whoa boy, now we’ve got the house to ourselves!”  Now you can finally walk around naked in your house or try out new pieces of furniture and nobody will watch you but the dogs. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

This is about the time that that ol’ clock starts winding down, and before you know it the stranger our mothers referred to as “change of life” comes dancing down your driveway.  Pre-, post- and actual starts to mess you up in ways you never imagined.  Your bones creaking from under use, and slowly but surely you are filling out, drying up, and burning up every time you turn around.  You start to have hot, free range passion, then realize the hot was not so much from the sex as it was from the flashes.  You wait for those exciting tingles and twitches and all you feel is the throbbing of your toes or the itch of your dry skin.  What once was an overactive libido is now a freight train carrying a heavy load of steel.

What happened to the sexy sprite that waited so long for liberation?  What happened to the romantic interludes and wild nights freedom promised?  I’m not saying that sex isn’t richer and fuller than it ever has been.  Hopefully the paranoia a houseful of people can bring has disappeared.  There are more open rooms, more chances to start and stop and say and be whatever you want to be.

But there is something to be said about the depletion of estrogen as women get older and the way it affects our reaction to the “S” word.  We don’t want to be that naked sprite quite as often; we’d rather put our jammies on and settle down with a good book or movie.  We’d rather spend money on a support bra rather than some skimpy lingerie thing that barely covers our hips.  We still love and adore, but sometimes find it more rewarding to sit and cuddle rather than wrestle with an out-of-shape body.

I am hoping that once men get their fill of their “V” pill, scientists put their minds to creating one for us girls. 

Let’s just hope that there’s plenty of room on the living room floor.            

Nothing to Write About — My Life is a Bore

            Fifteen hundred words.  One thousand, five hundred words.  That’s what the contest rules stated.  Surely I could come up with something to write about in fifteen hundred words or less. I sat at the kitchen table, spiral notebook open, pen poised.  But my pen stopped after the word “Someday”, the “Y” becoming an ornate doodle of Elizabethan proportions.  What could I write about?  My life was so ordinary, so mundane compared to the experiences of those around me.  I had no juicy stories of divorce to share; no exotic locations to describe, no secrets to expose. 

            I sighed, looking at the fancy “Y” on the paper.  What about humor?  I thought about some of the funny stories I’d heard through the years.  There was the one about my husband’s childhood friend Meathead who built a go-cart out of a lawn mower engine and a ladder and some old wheels.  It was direct drive, no brakes, no steering wheel to speak of — all it did was go forward.  Meat took off, drove down the alley and right into a telephone pole, splitting the ladder by its rungs, the scene unfolding like something out of a cartoon.  Or the time another friend tried to be George Washington on the point of their fishing boat, standing strong and proud as it came to shore.  The boat slid onto the sand bank, hitting a sand hill just a little too fast, and he went flying into the air, making a perfect mud angel.

            Naw, I wasn’t good at humor.  What else?  What about drama?  I thought about tidbits I could turn into an entertaining yet meaningful short story.  I thought about my father, a proud man who fought in World War II.  He remembered the war as if it were yesterday, yet when he died at 85 he could barely remember what he had for breakfast.  I remembered the story he told about being in a foxhole with a couple of his buddies.  He turned to grab his thermos and pour a cup of coffee; a shell landed in the foxhole, exploded, and when he turned around his bunkmate was gone. Or the story of my friend’s daughter and her struggle with cystic fibrosis.  The beautiful girl who died at twenty-eight because her lungs just couldn’t support her body anymore. It was the first funeral service I had been to where I’d had seen a “life” board; a bulletin board filed with pictures that spanned the girl’s entire life.  I couldn’t believe her board could be so full at 28 years old. Or something sappy about family illnesses or faithful pets.

            No, those weren’t the kind of stories judges wanted to read.  Not in a mere fifteen hundred words.   Surely there was something extraordinary I could write about.  Oh, there’s my friend Ari — she’s wild and creative and just a bit eccentric.  She talks to spirits and ghosts, and is delightfully in tune not only with her psychic powers but also her business sense.  What about the friends I made at the Renaissance Faire?  There was the gypsy wench from Germany and her artistic husband who created medieval magic from fabric. And there was the short, hairy artist with a beard that ran half way down his neck that worked marvels with pewter.  Wild people, great people.

            Or my family members.  Loud and burly Uncle Bill, balding and boisterous, a loving man that enjoyed a beer or ten as much as burgers and brats; or Uncle Scott on the other side of the family, the one with the heart of gold and a passion for aqua shoes.  Then there was Grandpa, the fishing guru and legend, someone who knew everybody and everything that happened in his little town.  And what about my kids when they were little?  Rooms so messy we’d need a bulldozer to clean them, or paintball wars, or wrapping Christmas presents while eating shrimp at midnight?

            I kept doodling on the empty page.  What about all the friends I’ve made through the years? I’ve known farmers and writers, mechanics and truck drivers.  I’ve come to know special education teachers and helicopter pilots, football quarterbacks and massage therapists.  Surely there were stories scattered throughout their lives.  Well, I had friends, but no one extraordinary to write about.  No one who spent time in prison or traveled through Africa on safari or had lunch with the President of the United States. No one that broke any records or invented something that changed the face of America.  All I knew were people who worked for a living: ordinary people that fished or painted or watched movies on the side of a barn or made jewelry or delivered pizza or coached soccer teams.

             I tore off the top sheet of paper, crumbling it into a tight ball, and started on a fresh, clean sheet.  The black ballpoint rested on the thin blue line of the paper, ready.  Yet nothing would flow.  Not an “E” or an “S” or anything in between.  I looked outside the window at the emerald green fields and weatherworn barns in the distance.  The sky was electric blue, and the pine trees appeared as arrows pointed skyward.  The chatter from the birds was almost deafening as cardinals, blue jays, and a handful of other serenaded from the edge of the woods.   For all I knew there could be elves and fairies just on the other side of the sumacs, unicorns mingling with the horses at the farm next door, and aliens making crop circles in the field on the o]=her side of my house. There could have been CIA agents or ex-Nazi criminals posing as salesmen at the store in town.  There could be a meteor heading towards my little town right at that very moment, or treasure buried under the lopsided oak tree at the edge of my property.

            But I would never know, because I was convinced I lived in a vanilla-coated world.  There wasn’t one single person to interview, nor one inspirational vista, nor one slice of comedy to fill my empty sheet of paper.  There was never anything interesting going on in my life.

            At least not fifteen hundred words worth.

Viva Las Vegas!

If you ever want to go to a place that is a cornucopia of faces, bodies and energies, there is no more an entertaining place to lose your money or your mind than Las Vegas.  Forget this Mecca’s main thrust — gambling — and slip around the edge to the weirdness that permeates the city that never sleeps.  It’s magical in its own sparkling way — gambling and lights and music and shows and people.  Lots and lots of people. It’s a place where cosmic energy mingles with electric billboards, turning normal, well-meaning visitors into Dr. Jekyll /Mr. Hyde parodies. 

 The first time I went to Las Vegas I was very family-conscious.  My husband and I took his parents and our two kids to the land of decadence and sunshine.  One child was 12, the other seven.  This was the time of the “family friendly” Vegas — acrobats flying across the ceilings at Circus Circus, knights jousting at Excalibur.  Besides stopping now and then to throw a quarter or two into a slot machine, we also rented a van and toured Hoover Dam and Death Valley.  I left the world of lights with a blue glass from Excalibur and most of my gambling money in tact.

A few years later and my husband and I got the urge to go again, this time leaving the kids with the afore-mentioned grandparents. I went out and bought some sexy dresses and a couple of those individual liquor bottles to mix with my soda on the plane.  We caught a topless show and dared to walk the length of the strip drinking strawberry margaritas right in the open.  The lights and nights were magical.  I stayed up a little later and got up a little earlier. I left the world of lights with a winning jackpot and a gold glass from the Hilton.

 The third time it was my 25th wedding anniversary, and what better place to renew our vows than in the land of drive-thru churches?   We almost said “I Do” in front of Elvis, but decided we’d rather buy Elvis dice instead.  I wanted to stay up late, sleep late, lie around at the pool, win money, and get kitschy with Liberace and his museum. But my best laid plans sooner or later became parodies of themselves.  My biological clock just didn’t want to kick into glitter time.  We burped up dollar hot dogs and cheap beer. I got sunburn at the pool, put too much wasabi on my sushi, and developed a painful blister on my foot.  We drank strawberry margaritas for breakfast and milk for lunch and Pepto Bismol for dinner.   I went to bed a little earlier, slept a little later, and didn’t go through as many quarters as the last time.  I wasn’t interested in the shows, and the restaurants were less designer chef names and more all-you-can-eat buffets.  I moved a little slower and sat down a little more frequently.

What happened to the magic?  Where was the glow of the child, the carefree gambler, the woman who wanted to rub elbows with Wayne Newton and Celine Dion?  Did I finally outgrow my need to be sparkled and jingled to death? This time the glitter felt  different.  The energy that permeated the casinos and lounges had turned around on itself, slowly becoming more a part of me than something outside of me.  Maybe it was because I stopped judging everyone else’s clothes and size and gambling habits and let myself flow down the river rather than speedboat up the opposite way.  Once I let Vegas be Vegas, I was able to experience the myriad of energy levels that constantly billowed around me. And I realized I didn’t have to buzz through that world 24/7, seeing all, doing all. I just let the world of sparkle sparkle.

Once I got away from the mad desire to throw one more quarter into the slot machine, I found Vegas a world filled with all sorts of faces and personalities, all ages, all races. In this world, people felt free to be who they were, or, more often, who they dreamed they were.  In this world of make believe, all dreamers were equal.  Farmers, secretaries, and corporate presidents shared fantasies of castles and pyramids, Italian palaces and French towers.  Both babes and grandparents got a glimpse of life in the fast lane. Grannies sparkled as much as show girls, and cowboy boots walked right next to tennies. Winners and losers were all the same here: both sides of the fence existed at the same time. Einstein’s theory of relativity threads through it all, rewarding some, cheating others, and sadly, caring not what you leave behind.

People were always laughing, whether at themselves, the crowd, or each other. There was a constant flow of bodies moving between casinos, a maze of colors, heights and textures.  I didn’t know if they were rich or poor, sick or lonely; if they had won a million dollars or if they just spent their children’s college fund.  Nor did it matter. We were all merely specks of glitter in the galaxy of life, sharing a moment or two with others in a reality not our own. We shared a nod, a raised glass, a glimpse of understanding. We became part of the throbbing heartbeat of a city that swallowed us all, spitting us out when it came time to go home.   When the vacation was over, I left the city as I found it.  I left the sparkles, the glitter, and the dreams of fortune and glory to those who would follow. I had all the glory I needed back in my little town in Wisconsin.  What I did bring back, though, was a glimpse of my other side ― the kooky one who peeks out now and then, daring me to follow. That side assured me I would be back.

I forgot to get my glass.

Merlot at the Lake House

Quick.  Name a handful of your favorite movies. Not the “great” ones that are in your library ― the ones that define you. The ones you don’t admit entertain you time and time gain.  Are you what you watch? Are you big enough to admit that you are what you watch?

 It’s Saturday night: the boys are sleeping, the dogs have had their bonies, and I have settled down with a glass of merlot. Been a long day, a long week. Having just come off of my father-in-law’s passing and pressure-filled days at work, I find my emotional state still dancing on stalagmites. So I pull out a movie ― one I haven’t allowed myself to watch in some time. The Lake House.  Why is that?

There is nothing wrong with movies and books that reflect our inner selves. We are, of course, a reflection of many things around us — movies, books, the weather, the heart.  We develop our creativity based on what we’ve learned and what we’ve experienced. That is why self-help and raw human confession books are so popular. We are a world lost in the chaos of ego, everyone needing to be heard, no matter what the cost.

But back to movies and books. Both are tools of escapism; both reflect a little bit of what fascinates us deep inside. Not that we would live that life ― just that that life seems to resonate a bit with something Freud or Nietzsche would have had a field day with. Some connections are obvious; others are as nebulous as the morning fog.  My husband is nut when it comes to John Wayne ― any form, any era. Is he a big, larger-than-life hero type? Maybe not, but I can see flashes of the Duke in the way he struts sometimes.  Another good friend of mine loves books by Stephen King; I don’t think she is off on some modern-day blood and gore pilgrimage, but I can see her fascination ― the impossible becoming possible.

So what about The Lake House? Does this genre define who I am?  Am I lost in the fantasy of two time periods communicating through a mailbox? I am a preacher that we are  all multi-faceted diamonds in the rough. That we are so much more than the whole of our parts. And we are. But there are still signs in the universe (and in the media) that are plainly obvious.  Some resonate louder than others. Let’s ramble off a few of my favorite movies: The Lake House, Passion of Mind, Practical Magic, Chocolat. I’m sure that says a whole lot about my inner and outer spirit. That I am an escapist, a romantic, a time traveler. Funny that I also write about time travel, modern day women thrust into arenas not of their choosing:  alien worlds. Does my writing parallel my movie and book preferences? Does yours? Not just your writing, but your artwork; the books you read, the homemade cards you design, the jewelry you make, the dishes you cook when you are free to be yourself.

Sometimes we fall prey to pressure from the outside to be or think or watch what everyone else is being and thinking and watching.  As we get older, we fear we will be made fun of if we do not get the meaning of Barton Fink or Super Bad, or we don’t get rap or MTV, or we don’t laugh at movies filled with stoned characters or girls with their breasts hanging down to Brazil and back. I myself tremble at the thought of telling others I enjoy listening to Glen Miller and Frank Sinatra as much as Gaelic Storm or Steely Dan or Metallica. How can I be spread so thin over the planet? How can music and movies and books reflect who I am, who I’d love to be, when I’m in a hundred places at one time?

 As we get older our needs change. What thrilled us at 20 bores us at 50. Not that our youth is invalidated; on the contrary. We have evolved, just like everyone else. The things we thought risqué at 25 make us smile knowingly at 40. I suppose that’s because the world ever evolves, ever moves forward. And even though we move forward as well, we have the ability to focus on whatever era we wish. I have a friend who loves science fiction; the science part, the infinity part. This person works with computers, a field infinite and definitely scientific. Is sci-fi merely an extension of their reality? What about another friend who is very logical during the day yet hooked into murder mysteries all other times? Is her enjoyment of figuring out “who did it?” a reflection of working things out in her life?

 I suppose the point of this story is to encourage you to follow whatever direction your spirit guide sends you. When I was younger I questioned everything. “Does this mean something?” “If I turn right and go through the woods, instead of left and down to the field, does it mean something?” Now I know that every decision is just that. A choice. Turn left, turn right. It doesn’t matter. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s just a choice. Both turns take you back to who you are. Just like whatever movies you watch, whatever books you read. Enjoy adventure, enjoy historical sagas. Enjoy accounting manuals. It doesn’t matter.

 Having found that contentment regarding my decisions, I wonder what it means that my other favorite movies include Boondocks Saints and Con Air.

 Put… the bunny…back in the box…

On Base of Bony Orbit

When not being busy as a Goddess Gypsy Irish/Polish Writing Queen (I’m not really sure what that is…), I also spend 40 hours a week working on catalogs. I enter data, order images and copy, and proofread everything from the original description to the final glossy prepress page. One of my catalogs is dedicated to health care. Besides pages being filled with replicas of every body part (inside or outside) you can imagine, I also come across some extraordinary vocabulary.

This catalog is not one of those over-the-top linguistic nightmares, but a publication that is sophisticated enough to be grammatically specific and accurate when needed. At first the vernacular was a tsunami blowing around me. A lot of the images made me blush (scarlet, no less), and the descriptions were mostly gibble to me.  But now that I’m a seasoned veteran (sort of), I look at the catalog with a skewered sense of humor. Take the title of this blog, for instance. On Base of Bony Orbit is a description of an eye model; an orbit is the cavity in the skull that contains the eye; the eye socket. So, pulling myself away from the labrynth of product numbers, misspelled words and overlapping graphics, here are a few chuckles and chasms I found along the way.

Romantic Pairings (don’t these sound like lovey-dovey couples from the past?)

                         Cephalic and Basilic                         Systolic and Diostolic

                        Lavage and Gavage                           Bradycardia and Tachycardia

                        Larynx and Pharnyx                         Holodiastolic and Holosystolic

                       Maximus and Medius                       Tibula and Fibula

Linguistics

Another alien world in this catalog is the world of words. Oh sure, dictionaries and technical manuals are full of words only Einstein can decipher.  But, hey! I am merely an enlightened female on the road to who-knows-where! And these words are in my catalog:

                    Sphygomanometer                        Periocardiocentesus

                    Hepatobilliary                                Cricothyrotomy

                    Pneumothorax                               Sternocledidomastoid

                   Bulbospongiosus                            Intraosseous

                   Illococcygenus                                Supraspinatus

                  Meniscofemoral                              Oropharyngeal

Who Else is Here?

Did you know that there are a lot of people hanging around inside of you, too? Is there no such thing as total privacy?

             Ludwig’s Plate

            Loops of Heale

            Adam’s Apple

            Henle’s Loop

            Papillary Duct of Bellini

            Bowman’s Capsule

            Angle of Louis

 Junkyard

There seems to be a lot of junk and space inside of you, too. Just take a look at what’s really inside of you:

             caverns                               stems                        radicals                tubes   

             arches                                 trees                         hammers              valves         

             anvils                                 roofs                         cords                      roots

            discs                                    nails                         vaults                     canals 

           branches                            cavities                     bulbs                      plates   

           pyramids

Stumble Through Ancient Rome

 The body is filled with Latin terminology.  Sometimes I feel I should say, “ciao, baby!” Thank you Italy…

             Vastus lateralis                                Palmaris ulnaris

            Flexor carpi radialis                        Levator anguli oris

            Palmar aponeurosis                        Prominentia larngea

            Lateral decubitus                            Scala tympani

            Orbicularis acculi                           Peroneus brevis

            Patent ductus arteriosus 

 What is That?

             Shorter words that still make no sense to me:

            caecum                       pylorus                concha                       ischium

            vomer                        obdurator             pons                            taenia

            otic                              choroid                bolus                          calyces

            necrotic                      maxilla                occiput                       ulnar

 I’m sure there are plenty of other additions I (or you, for a matter of fact),  could add to these lists. But this one has already given me a headache. But all in all, you’d have to say I have quite an interesting proofreading life.

I hope I opened your eyes to the reality of your body.  You know – the ones on bony orbits. They say your body is a temple, but I think it’s nothing more than an over-articulate, voyeuristic catch basin.

Now – didn’t you find that humerus?        

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese

Do you believe that children and their parents speak two different languages?  Do you ever try and communicate with someone who hasn’t a clue as to what you are saying?

The teen years are stressful for those going through them. Puberty comes crashing in any time between the ages of 12 and 16, estrogen and testosterone fighting for space inside a body that is growing in too many directions at one time.  But hey. What about the ones on the other side of those swings? Those who pay for hot lunches and gym shoes and nail polish?  Not only do we have to put up with I-pods and cell phones, but we have to learn to speak a whole new language in order to be understood.  It is as if we have stepped over the threshold of reality into an entirely new universe.

 Life seemed so much simpler when our kids were toddlers. The years between two and, say, five, are probably the most rewarding for all forms of parental figures.  We can do no wrong; our children hang on our every word.  They fear and revere us. They bounce around from moment to moment wanting only to please those in charge.  Pick up your toys?  Of course! Eat your spaghetti?  Of course!  Clean your room?  Of course! We speak, they listen, and things are ideal.

Then comes those “cute” years, say, six through nine.  Everything they do and say is cute, especially when they pout and say “no” with wide-eyed enthusiasm.  Pick up your toys?  No! I wanna play with ‘em a little longer.  Eat your spaghetti?  No! I want pizza instead.  Clean your room?  No!  I gotta have twenty dolls in the corner!  They are starting to catch on to the power of being an individual.  They still brush their teeth and do their homework and go to bed pretty much on time, but they learn to manipulate the world by talking or playing or whining, probably all three.

By the time middle school comes around, there is a slight Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-ish personality starting to surface. Football games and study nights with friends start to take on a bit more significance as our middle schoolers begin to feel the strength of their own convictions.  Pick up your toys?  Oh please, I don’t play with ‘toys’ anymore.  Eat your spaghetti.  Red sauce? I’d rather have cheese.  Clean your room.  Oh mommy dear and/daddy dear — it is clean!  A little clip in their voice should be the giveaway that they are catching on to you.

Just when you think you have settled the beast that rustles inside your child, their high school days hit you right between the eyes. Music becomes some thundering beat with  alking rather than singing; wearing jeans that cut low enough to show off underwear or vertical fissures becomes the fashion statement of the day. Homework becomes an enigma.  School semesters are identified by fall, winter and spring sports, and words like Paris and Pink suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

You wake up one morning sprouting antennae from your head. Your voice becomes a booming echo down an empty tunnel or a high-pitched squeak riding the airwaves.  Suddenly you speak a foreign language: ρτε τα παιχνίδια σας  (pick up your toys in Greek);  съешьте ваше спагеттио (eat your spaghetti in Russian), and 投入您的衣裳去, (Chinese for clean your room). Their eyes become glazed and their expression reminds you of eating a lemon.  One day you are a friendly, loving parent, the next moment you are Godzilla’s cousin.  You don’t know what you are talking about ― your ideas or so old-fashioned they will be amazed if you make it to 50.

How did this happen?  How did we fall off of our pedestal?  One moment our child is reaching up to be held, the next moment they cringe if you hug them in public.  Is this the reward for all of our hard work?  All our love?

Well, trust me.  This too will pass.  As your children approach their twenties, they are amazed at how smart you’ve suddenly become.  Your old-fashioned ideas transform into newly discovered truths of their generation.  The older they get, the more human you become.  Your antennae suddenly don’t seem so out-of-place; as a matter of fact, they kinda look cute on your old frame.  You find a common ground through life and all its ups and downs, and they finally understand what you’ve been saying all these years.  Words and ideas flow once again, and your pedestal gets packed away somewhere deep in their heart, only to be pulled out when you are not looking.

Either that — or you have finally learned to speak Chinese.

Sprinkles

          The past few weeks have been the bottom of the roller coaster ride for me. After a bit of a medical drama, I am well, back into whatever groove middle aged women get into, trying to build my energy back up to see what trouble I can get into. How much trouble can a goddess like me get into? We won’t go into past details, but there have been times in the past that I have stepped over that preverbal line, most times with no consequences, other times being dutifully chastised and set back upon the straight and narrow.

            The funny thing about my misadventures is that, in the eyes of the world (especially to those under 40), the things that I’ve gotten in trouble for are powdered sugar compared to what others have done. I have never hung with the “wild” crowd, never gotten arrested, reprimanded by principals, or been asked to leave.  I’ve led a pretty vanilla life and stayed fairly happy and clean cut. I try not to compare my life, my ups and downs, with others. For, as you know, you will always be overblessed in one way and underblessed in another.  My dirty laundry is someone else’s humorous fluff.

            Going in and out of the hospital changes your perspective on a lot of things. Suddenly losing those last few pounds doesn’t seem so important. Or finally losing weight to get healthy rises to the top of your list. Your family becomes a priority, along with your health, your pets, and your pastimes. You sit and wonder why you’ve wasted so much time setting unrealistic goals and then were so hard on yourself when you didn’t achieve them. Your desires and your timelines seemed to have gotten crisscrossed, a Celtic design that has no beginning or no end. You will do A as soon as you accomplish B. You will buy outfit C as soon as you lose D pounds. You’ll go visit someone as soon as you (fill in the blank).

            I know you’ve heard this story a thousand times a thousand different ways. Don’t wait until trauma and tragedy arrive at your doorstep before you learn to live your life.  Well, what do you do if that dynamic duo arrives at your door and you’ve already been living your life? Are you supposed to go further off the deep end? Are you supposed to  throw away the restraints of society and be a wild and free sprite?

            I was lucky, not only to have a good prognosis, but to have wild and fun things to come back to. Our Polish Sausage Making Party has been going on for 14 years, an annual madhouse that seems to be growing every year. I had a laptop, waiting for me to create another fantasy, another out-of-the-box story. I have kids to bug and a grandson to spoil and friends to compare drinking stories with.  I have a room full of second-hand books waiting to be read, sweaters that need sparkles sewn on them, and sushi that  needs to be shared with girlfriends.

            I decided long ago that I was tired of being on the outside looking in. I was tired of being vanilla in a rainbow world. I’ve always respected my bosses and the law, always been polite (sometimes to the point of nausea), and given money to charity or to my kids (sometimes the same thing). But I also found out that if you want something in  your life, you need to be the one to go for it. You can’t wait for those things to come to you. That goes for friends, restaurant reservations, and health issues. Sometimes “going for it” makes you a little more aggressive than you usually are. Succeeding at “going for it” makes you feel stronger and smarter.  It makes you raise your own bar a notch or two higher. And you have yourself to thank for it.

            Going through a health predicament only reinforced the importance of finding out who I am and what I want in life. That what I wanted in my life is nothing more or less than anyone else wants. I just make sure I made lemonade every time I can. I make a point of getting together with friends often, and family birthdays become family reunions a  dozen times a year. I don’t want life to pass me by and at the end be filled with thoughts of why I didn’t do this or that.

            You are never going to be rich enough, thin enough, smart enough, for A to really ever meet B. So take the victories you make along the way and celebrate them. Don’t spend days and months and years waiting for the “payoff.”  The payoff is here and now. If you pass up picnics on the beach with the family because you want to lose weight first, you’ve done nothing but miss a great picnic. If you wait until your kids are in college to go away for the weekend you’ll never get away, for most of the time they come back to haunt you. Turning down an invitation to walk through a festival with family members because you need to clean your house does nothing but toss another fun time into the twilight zone.

            There is always room in your life for adventure. To cross some lines. To speak up. To stand up.  There’s always time for you to change your direction, your health, your dreams.  To be proactive. Not inactive. If the jester hat fits you, wear it! If bling is your thing, bling!  Always wanted to try and cook Thai? Go for it ― even if you’re the only  one who will eat it. Don’t wait for someone else to initiate a pizza night or drinks after work ― call, plan, and do it. Don’t sit around waiting for someone else to “take their turn.”

            This is the only turn you’re going to get. Don’t let anyone else take your turn for you. There’s nothing wrong with vanilla, but just think of how much better it is with hocolate syrup and whipped cream.  

            And me?  I think I’ll try rainbow sherbet with multi-colored sprinkles. Can’t get enough of that color thing…

Dancing in a Too-Tight Tutu

I was sitting around the other day with my gal friends, sharing tales about the weekend. We all seemed to have gone through the same delightful experience, albeit in different ways. We all were relaxed, having a good time, and probably drank a little too much, for we all said, “I’m too old for this.”  One sat with friends and sipped with friends all day, one went to an outdoor concert, and I party hopped.  I’m sure the situations were on the same astral plane as many others “my age.”  Time flows, excitement and comfort wraps around us, the atmosphere make us feel good, and before you know it we are waking up the next morning with a headache, saying, “I’m too old for this.”

This psychic phenomenon is not limited to girls sharing drinking stories. This magical phrase echoes around us all the time.  My husband and I spent one glorious day working outside. The air was cool, the dogs well-behaved, and we planted flowers in pots and mowed the lawn and fixed broken things and worked in the yard a little. Maybe more than just a little, for the next morning we both woke up, joints stiff, hands scratched, and twinges in the small of our back, saying, “I’m too old for this.”

Just think of how many times you have said this. In fun and in fear.  A mother with a house full of 10-year-old girls staying overnight, giggling and talking till wee hours of the morning; college kids downstairs, friends over, drinking beer and playing cards, getting louder and rowdier with each hand; babysitting more than one of anything younger than five. You’re trying to be nice. You’re trying to be patient. But hours into the melee you think, “I’m too old for this.”

As I always like to point out, age is in your point of view.  When the ladies shared their drinking stories, I wanted to stand and cheer.  There were late 30s mingling with mid 40s mingling with late 50s. One has a 10-year-old, one has two in high school, I have one in college and one married.  Yet all three of us unconsciously slipped back into our early 20s, losing track of time and responsibilities and all the trimmings that go with it, at least for an hour or two. Were we trying to recapture our youth? Were we silly old goats   trying to dance the dance of the sprite in a tutu that was too tight? Or were we just human beings who never forgot how to have fun?

By now we all know that life is what you make of it. Jobs and kids and finances and health problems plague us all. Some can pick up and make a clean slate of everything; others have to muddle through the chaos and hope they squeeze out the other side sane. So when they say laughter is the best medicine, it really is. Sharing stories, playing games, dancing and prancing and acting silly all are ways to exorcise the demons we create for ourselves. I’m too fat. I’m too dumb. I’m tired of my job. I’m tired of my mother. I’m tired of being a mother. All tinny squeaks in our ear that cause us to over-analyze, over-react, and over emote. All of which get us nowhere in the end.

So what’s wrong with not acting our age? What is our age, anyway? If judged by our bodies, it might be ancient. If judged by our responsibilities it might be grown up. If judged by our dreams, it might be juvenile. Somehow there has to be a way to unite all sides of ourselves into one happy camper. So why not let go of those inhibitions once in a while? Why not drop the fear of embarrassing yourself (or others) and laugh with others? It’s not like you haven’t been embarrassed before, or never will be again. But you would be amazed the different feeling you get when you are a part of the joke, not a victim of it.

The great thing about taking chances like these, and saying “I’m too old for this” is that you find you are really not too old for anything. Alright – maybe bungee jumping or running in a marathon when you’re not a runner are contenders for never again. But even those occurrences show that you were not too old to at least try them.  The obvious choices are usually general ones: take a class about something you always wanted to know about; start walking around the block at night so you can walk in the annual Relay for Life; buy yourself a journal (or a laptop) and start recording those thoughts you thought you’d never get out of your system. Volunteer at a shelter or sanctuary and make friends with the animals.

Not up to all that work? How about wearing a color you’ve never worn before? Are you a meat and potatoes kinda dresser? Add a piece of bling to your wardrobe. Take a chance on bringing extra attention to yourself. You will be amazed at how many people notice ― and how many like the “new you.” Go to a concert and sing the lyrics at the top of your lungs. Dance like a crazy person in front of the speakers to your favorite music.

Oh sure, you say. You go dance in front of the speakers…you wear the bling. You wear the tutu that’s too tight.  I hate to admit it, but I already do. And I can’t tell you how scary and liberating it is.  And, even if I pull a muscle dancing the “hoochi coo”, it’s a great feeling to know that no one will ever forget the sight of me “hoochi cooing” in a too-tight tutu.

Especially with a glass of wine in my hand.

©2012 Claudia Anderson