Granny Went Gaelic — And This Is What Happened

For every night there is a day. For every winter there is a summer.

And for every outing for a 64-year-old there is a price to be paid.

Maybe everyone has a yin with their yang. But mine just seem to come back and bite me in the buttocks. Every good time I have has a clip of wtf in it.

Like Friday. St. Patrick’s Day.

A night out with the hubby…something we haven’t had in a while. Went to an Irish band concert — Gaelic Storm — which I wrote about here. Was all pumped up. Sparkly nails, sparkly hat. Went to a great burger place for dinner, had a Bloody Mary. We were way early for the concert so we stopped into a bar across the street from the concert hall. Made some great temporary friends — had a great time. Went to the concert — had a great time. Went to the bathroom after the concert —

Dropped my phone in the toilet.

A thousand women hit that bathroom before and after me. How many of them do you think dropped their phone in the toilet?

Standing up for myself on wobbly legs, my phone was in my back pocket (I had no front pockets), and somehow in standing up my phone went for a swim. Since I still owe on the phone that now doesn’t work, and its too early to upgrade, I had to reactivate my old phone.

Only me.

This crashing course in reality happens to me all the time. I’m the only one who  flips the SUV on a barely-visible slip of ice, the only one who forgets major ingredients in recipes, the one who gets lost if I don’t write directions down.

I’m sure everybody goes through these things, but sometimes I feel like whenever I turn around there’s something embarrassing waiting for me.

There’s something about getting “older” that is to blame for every slip of the step. Even though it’s an inaccurate assumption, it’s the first one everyone runs to. Oh, she’s not playing with a full deck. She doesn’t remember what you tell her half the time. She just doesn’t pay attention. How easy it is for those words to fall out of one’s mouth. And I suppose the validity of such depends on what side of the fence you’re on.

My son has dropped his phone in the toilet. Very little fanfare was made of that. Mom? Whew! Too many Captain’s and Cokes. How can one get lost when you drive that way 25 times a year? Daydreaming out the window while someone else is driving is not an excuse. Can’t fall asleep? Turn off the TV and phone and just lay there in bed like a zombie for 3 hours!

It’s all so easy!

My husband has been pretty kind to me after the phone incident. He  accompanied me to U.S. Cellular to get my old phone activated, and even offered his new phone to me in exchange.

But somehow I know there’s a little chuckle going on inside, thinking he let me have too good a time at the concert that night.

Well, he just didn’t see the leprechaun that followed me into the stall, That’s all…

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Give Me a Purple Streak

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

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

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

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

Wake Up Vibe #3: I liked the hair.

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

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

Why does this glimpse on TV rattle my chakras?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Madness Feedback Time

thCACKVOVZI really love my Goddess followers.  I may not have readers that rack up into the hundreds or thousands, but those of you who take time to read these middle age ditties (or tell someone else about them) really help keep the magic alive.  Some of you I know personally; others I have the pleasure of reading your blogs. Some of you merely peek in now and then. I hope all of you “get” something from these posts and use them to make your own magic.

I don’t know if it’s the “getting older” thing, or the “being in a hurry” thing, but lately I feel the stress of not having enough time to do what I want. Oh, you say, join the crowd! The whole world is like that! And it’s so true. But there is something lurking deep in the deep recesses of my subconcious cerebral cortex telling me I’m running out of time. Not in the most direct sense, mind you — I plan on being around another 30 years. But that’s not the same as being around another 40 years. Or 50 years.

I try not to live by the “If I only knew then what I knew now” motto, for, obviously, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t been there.  It just seems that my NOW is a lot more crowded than it used to be. During the birthing babies stage, my life was split between work and children. Outdoor activities? Soccer or baseball games. Moving up the corporate ladder? More like moving up the playground ladder.  Dinner parties? Hot dogs on the run. I didn’t know what I was “missing” because there was no time to “miss” anything. Back then I really wanted a career. I did spend a number of years working in downtown Chicago, but to me it was more of a job than a career. (Like there is a difference).

Now that I’m suffering from middle age madness, I feel a second wind coming. But that’s just it…it’s somewhere around the corner, behind the neighbor’s barn, stuck in the bushes with empty frito bags and dried fall leaves. I keep thinking that as soon as I catch up with the dishes or mowing the lawn or organize my dresser drawers or reading my favorite blogs that my time, my body, and my life will be “organized” enough to be expanded.  

But it’s just not happening.

So I’m looking to my Goddess followers to give me a few tips. I’m serious. In a funny way, of course. How do you choose? 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. is taken by the Big Boss. But what next? How do I find time to sit down and write (my favorite past time) and cook great meals (I love to cook) and clean up from said great meal and vacuum every other day (with dogs and cats it should be three times a day) and spend time with my family and wash and put away laundry and mow the lawn and catch my favorite TV show and take the dog for a walk and clean out the basement and write a blog and do research on the Internet and….

Okay. You get it. Do I let housework slide to do the things that I love (and who knows..maybe make me money in the future)? Do I get on the hygene horse and get super organized in my house so that everything is always done (so we don’t have to call the health department)? Do I record all my favorite television shows and leave them for  one snowy day when I’m 88 years old?

Give me your thoughts. Help me not feel guilty about being Superwoman. Give me an idea on how to get that second wind blowing straight into my living room window. I promise not to stand there naked to catch the breeze.

No one should have to go through something like that.

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

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?

Need a New “C” Word

I bet I caught your attention, talking about the “C” word, didn’t I? There are many words that make me shudder these days, many words that give me the willies, many of which start with a “C”. But today’s word is “crone.”  That word has been abused and twisted so much through the ages that all that comes to mind is a bent-over ancient woman dressed in long, flowing black gear, leaning on her cane, cackling with laughter.

 What is the definition of “crone” anyway?  My handy dandy desktop dictionary defines crone as “an ugly, evil-looking old woman.”  Wonderful.  I find it interesting that the older I get, the more personal this dispute with linguistics gets.   Why do so many of us hesitate to use that word to define who we are? Is this who we are?

 The world has changed so much through the decades.  In the 1800s the word “old” defined those around the age of 40 or 50.  Sixty was ancient, 70 unheard of.  Yet a hundred years later those in their 60s are as vibrant — if not more so — than their 40-year-old counterparts.  What is the inspiration that changes the perimeters of what passes for matron/mother to that of elder/crone?

 I found that once I passed the 40-year-old mark, a whole new world opened up to me.  Memories of when I first got married, of babies and trips to the park and painting Snoopy on my kid’s bedroom wall.  Now the babies are married or in college, my wild dating life circles around a quick bite at China House with my husband of 30 years, and my job has swirled from downtown exclusivity to small town camaraderie.

 Yet so many times I feel that I am that same person — that if only given a chance, I could stay up until dawn, work the PR circuit, jog a couple of miles, keep up with toddlers, dance on tables, and laugh and be crazy as if I were 20.  But then I bend over, my muscles aching, and look at the clock, wondering if 8:30 is too early to go to bed, feeling a whole lot older than the 20-year-old I want to be. Is this what being a crone is all about?

 This constant glancing (or, in some, focusing) on things in the past tends to slow us down in moving forward. I believe all human beings use the past as a means to the future. Obviously time and experience move only one way. Forward.  But does this constant glancing backwards confuse us more than save us?  Do we spend too much time doing the spin-a-roonie that all we get for our efforts is a stiff neck?

 I have too much mind chatter to begin with, and when I dip into situations and experiences long gone I do nothing but mix past judgments with present ones, mistake past insecurities for present ones, and begin to catch faint wisps of where I could have turned left instead of right, paths I could have taken, and friendships I could have saved.

Being a crone does nothing more than extend one’s sight backwards.  In a perfect world we would use this hindsight to blaze our path towards a successful future.  In some cases this is true.  If I hadn’t taken a chance on starting a bed and breakfast in Wisconsin I would have never found my home in the county, my son would never have met his wife, nor would my other son be a star on the high school baseball team.  I would have made different friends and owned different cats.

 But so what?

 We think we would be different “now” if we had made different choices “then.”  And what I am realizing as I float, stumble and stomp into my crone years, I’m no different than I was 20 or 30 years ago. I know that I still have a choice of turning right or left, but now I understand that the choice is not as dramatic as it once was.  I will always be moving forward ― time won’t have it any other way.  And I will still choose the direction that brings me the most pleasure.  It might not always be the wisest choice, the most prudent choice — but it would be the same choice I would have made 20 years ago. 

We all tend to choose a world that best suits our needs, our souls.  We manage to leave the most painful memories behind, covered in that dark grey mist that manages to cover without destroying, and we tend to paint our present and future in the rosy tones that possibility brings.  We use the experiences of our lives to teach ourselves and to teach others. 

 If that is what being a crone is all about, I’ve probably been one longer than I care to admit.  And if the benefit of age is understanding a little more about the universe outside and inside, we will all be lucky to be a crone sometime.  I just wish popular culture would find a different word.  Crone sounds like something creepy and crackly.  I need to do is find a new word for women such as myself — something catchy and vibrant and airy fairy.

 Maybe — maybe the world just got the word mixed up.  It should be Crown — not crone. For that’s what we deserve after having lived this long to talk about it.

Happy Anniversary, Humoring the Goddess!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MEEEEE!!!

Yes, I’ve been blogging and blabbing and sharing the magic and madness of middle age for an entire year now, and it’s been great. I hope you have taken some of my magic and turned it into your own. You are all powerful — you are magical, crazy, lovable friends, and I wish you all the best in the coming years.

My blogging contest has come to an end; I thank you all for your thoughts and your entries. I will announce the winner next post.  In the meantime, enjoy the story that started it all…

MY MUSE IS AN IRISH WENCH

Everyone has a Muse in their life — a spirit guide, an angel, who nudges them forward; an invisible energy who inspires us to be something more than a slug on the couch watching TV or a potato chip-eating machine.  I have one friend who insists his guardian angel travels with him wherever he goes; I have another who contacts one spirit guide for meditation and a different one for balancing her checkbook.  I know one woman who never leaves home without St. Christopher, and a fellow writer who swears he consults Shakespeare’s ghost every time he gets stuck writing his novel.

St. Christopher and Shakespeare are fine and dandy, but what do you do if your creative muse is an Irish Wench?  The stories of leprechauns on St. Patrick’s Day are bad enough, with their drunken rowdiness and stealing of gold for their pot at the end of the rainbow and all that.  But what if your Muse turned out to be a woman with a heart as green as the Emerald Isle who hangs around with those drunken leprechauns?

A Muse is supposed to be your inspiration, your guide, through whatever creative endeavor you undertake.  Venus inspired Michelangelo; Cleopatra inspired Marc Anthony, Athena inspired Odysseus. The original Muses were daughters of Zeus, who presided over the arts and sciences. It just so happens that my inspiration is a fiery Irish barmaid is named Fiona who comes complete with cleavage and clover.  She pops up at the most inopportune times, standing and dancing on my shoulder or steering wheel or computer, rattling off in thick Gaelic who knows what, hoping to jumpstart my creativity.  Dressed in her flowing gauze dress with the girdle that pushes up her breasts in the most obnoxious manner, my little sprite demands attention right then and there.  And I’d better stop and acknowledge her, or she will turn everything upside down.

For instance, one of my favorite short stories popped into my head while I was at work.  The push to get this written came across loud and clear – write me now Couldn’t my Muse have at least waited until lunchtime to rattle off her idea?  I tried to stall my creativity until noon, but it only got worse.  I’m sure some of my creative metaphors got mixed up in whatever I was typing.  Or how about the time that one of my book’s most romantic interludes hit me right in the middle of my son’s soccer game? It was pretty hard to make mental notes when I was screaming encouragements to his high school team.   And what about the poem that hit me driving down the highway at 65 miles per hour?  Or the full-blown idea of a murder mystery that hit me while  I was mowing the lawn?

I am all for inspiration.  Sunsets are wonderful inducements to creative arts, as are walks through the woods or lying on a sunny beach.  Classical music or mellow jazz or even mind-numbing hair band rock can fine-tune one’s creative edge as they sew, paint, crochet or design.  The sight of children at play or two seniors holding hands can unfurl pages of creative prose and poetry.  But how can you write or draw or knit or paint with a foot stomping, sing-along Irish wench dancing on your shoulder?  How can you sit still and concentrate when her Celtic jigs blast through every thread of your body, forcing you to bob your head along with the tempo or sing along with the oh-so-familiar lyrics at the top of your lungs?

Don’t get me wrong – my little wench has brought me much pleasure through the years.  She has encouraged me to write some really intense interactions and deeply emotional poetry. Her Wild Irish Rose attitude inspires me to write out of the box, to reach deep inside for feelings and fears that normally don’t see the light of day, and to let those feelings influence my writing.  She tosses out ideas for short stories or chapters when I am stuck; she helps me smooth through the rough patches of dialogue when they don’t make sense.  She encourages me to do research about places and history and mechanics, refusing to let me slide along with made-up assumptions.

But I have to admit her timing needs a little work.  Driving a car or typing numbers in a computer is not the most opportune time to become inspired.  Nor is when I mow the lawn (a true instance of inspired genius, I must admit). I can’t be pulling over to the side of the road every other block or flipping the light on in the middle of the night just because she throws an idea towards me that I cannot resist.  I do appreciate her help ― I really do.  But I have to teach her to work on her impulsiveness.  There is a time and place for everything ― even inspiration.  Great ideas often have to ferment in one’s psyche before they become full blown masterpieces.  And there’s no doubt that you have your own muse dying to catch your attention.  All you need to do is listen.

Now, if she could serve me one of those Irish brews as often as she jumped on my bandwagon…on second thought, maybe that’s not such a good idea.  If she served me beer as often as she demands attention, I’d be drunk before I started.