To Huff Po,

English: Arianna Huffington attending the prem...

English: Arianna Huffington attending the premiere of The Union at the 2011 Tribeca Film Festival (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Arianna,

“Ten Things You Do To Make Yourself Look Ten Years Older?” Really?  SO WHAT!!!

On behalf of so many women what on earth were you THINKING when you approved that horrid article about “10 ways to appear younger for women? ” We are still reeling with disappointment and frankly we thought perhaps you might have been on vacation that week. That truly would have been the only excuse (and that’s pushing it) for you to have allowed that article to run.

Here was my initial reaction on Facebook: “Dear Arianna, at Huff Po, this is an offensive article. People should be comfortable in their own skin. I wear mom jeans and sneakers all the time, I have adult children (okay my daughter) that would love for me to be more fashionable, guess what? Too bad. I’m 57 and while I need to get used to forming the word sixty, I am perfectly comfortable being who I am. Wisdom has to be acquired, dear. So, a little advice, whoever said okay to this article should be fired. Or at least, get someone to write a counter point. Like me. I’m happy to do it for you. hibernationnow.wordpress.com”

After doing a little research about Huff Po what I read and I’m merely paraphrasing is that much of the staff is comprised of “twenty-somethings.” Way to go to get a true, objective article on aging. Arianna, please, get a grip and turn the once loved magazine around, before it’s too late.

What about enhancing our beauty and embracing our lives at whatever ages we are? No more mom jeans? Tough, some of us like mom jeans, you could have, however, said “wear a belt, or a colorful scarf to accessorize.”  Comfortable shoes? My sneakers are great for my feet and I don’t need nor do I have the money to buy “comfortable shoes that are stylish.” Sure, I have looked at those they cost $1,000 and  $400.00 not $100 and besides Ms. Huffington, where do you think we are going at night?

Some might have the income you have but most of us don’t.  A night out for me is either cooking dinner or once in a while going out to an inexpensive dinner ( my husband is currently unemployed in the Computer Industry and I have a chronic pain disease) taking off my “mom jeans” and”sneakers” and happily changing into my pajamas or sweat pants (gasp, yes, I did say that) pulling off my unfitted bra and relaxing at home, reading a book or watching some benign television show that makes me happy.

Call me totally mindless and stupid but I get personal pleasure out of watching shows like “Parenthood” or “Gray’s Anatomy” instead of horrifying news or tv shows that display all blood, guts and murder. There’s enough of that in the real world, thank you very much.

Once my greatest dream was to publish an article in The New York Times or The Huffington Post. Now, I don’t really think that would be much of an achievement after all. But, you do owe it to women who are fuming across the country to show them this side of the story about aging.

If you and your loved ones are healthy, be happy to awaken to another day, enjoy your loved ones as they love you. Look at yourself in the mirror, without any make-up or new dress- up changes; if you  see some wrinkles? Smile, you have lovingly earned them. Be happy with yourself, just the way you are.

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A Food Fantasy And Then Some…

Fritos Logo

Fritos Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If I could, I would eat my way through my misery right now. I would start with bags of potato chips, the real kind and not those baked ones that hide anxiously in our cupboards, ashamed to see the light of day. Along side them would be sour cream and onion dip, one entire, big bowl, set right in front of my face and of course, I almost forgot, Fritos too. Fritos were a favorite childhood snack and I believe they would be so comforting to eat now. I’d have a chocolate shake to go with them.

It’s time to switch to pure sugar, trans fat, whatever fat, I really don’t care. My first stop is to get a jelly doughnut or two, and please don’t be skimpy on the jelly either, I just hate that. A lot of sugar on the top, yes ma’am and thank you so much, your smile is making me enjoy this trip even more. Thank you for not judging me. You are so welcome and here is your tip for your kindness. Little things mean a lot.

I hate alcohol so I wouldn’t even bother wasting my calories on that besides, nothing goes better with jelly doughnuts (and I’ve added double stuffed, fudge covered Oreos too) than a tall glass of ice-cold milk. My salivary glands are working overtime, if you must know just dreaming of these delicacies. No hating allowed, this is my fantasy so shut up, oh and by the way, I’ve just won $600 million dollars so whatever you have to say, say it to my accountant and lawyer who will be handling the money flow because we just don’t “do that” anymore.

Will I GIVE you money? You are certainly not shy, now are you? To those, who have stuck with me, been loyal friends, have treated me with kindness, you don’t have to worry. You know who you are. So, if I worked with you forty years ago and all of a sudden you remember that we were friends for one week, don’t bother.

The money is in the bank, my husband and I (I guess we’ll take the kids too) are traveling around the world, First Class, I might add. The Food is fabulous and plentiful. Our own chef is with us. My son, the carnivore has the biggest steak I’ve ever seen and my daughter the vegetarian has macaroni and cheese four different ways, one with imported bread crumbs on top. My husband and I dine on shrimp cocktail and I will have a platter of different little things or as we call it in my house “a smorgasboard” and my husband will also have a steak with french fries, extra crispy, please.

We will have our pastry desserts, chocolate for my daughter and husband and vanilla/fruit tarts for my son and myself.

Uh-Oh.

I miss my dog. Oh dear, even being this rich has problems? Darn. Nothing is perfect.Well, I guess I’ll crawl out of my bed, stop fantasizing and wake up from my self-induced dream. The dream is fading, the food fantasy is gone, I haven’t won the lottery. But, my husband is downstairs in his office, looking for a Computer Job, my college kids are home for their break to visit, I’m worried about my mom and my dog is lying across my feet and my troubles seem simple, well, most of them. I’m a home-body anyway. I’ll start my new book. I guess I can handle that, for now. I don’t have any choice.

# FWF Gratitude, Kellie Elmore

wonderful nature have a nice weekend and a bea...

wonderful nature have a nice weekend and a beautiful 3.advent dear friends (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Listen, Love, Give Thanks

It was my birthday last month, I bought myself a small cup of creamy coffee with a crisp twenty-dollar bill and whispered to the cashier “let others use it up until it runs out” she looked at me with a blank stare. That was a birthday present to myself, the best kind. I felt happy to be able to do a small act of kindness. I walked out grinning. Giving. Joy. Love.

Today is dreary, rainy, and glum. I have turned my loud music off, there is no noise in my room except the ringing in my ears, the sound of my fingertips on the keyboard and airline jets flying overhead in the sky. I imagine they are traveling to exotic places: Bali, Greece, Japan? A couple of newlyweds are on their way to their honeymoon, holding hands and sipping champagne, kissing each others pink lips lightly. I was young once too.

The rest of the next hour is a gift. I have the luxury of peace and I relax on my bed with my sweet red dog, Lexi, wrapped around my legs. Every day has been long, arduous, bringing some medical testing, and waiting for results, a flat tire, silly and stressful things. Finally, Friday, I get results, I can give thanks that all has ended well. I send hope and light to my friend who is also facing challenges, we haven’t talked in years but now we talk daily. Support, Understanding, Old Friends.

I listen to the sound of my breathing and try to slow it down. Inhale slowly, Exhale slowly. The weather is damp and my arms ache with soreness just from raising them, my body is the barometer for all things; fellow patients with Fibromyalgia nod their heads “YES.” We understand when the weather changes before the news weather forecasters have any idea. What a waste of a job, why not just hire us at a fifth of the cost? Many pillows prop me up like a hospital patient, fully clothed, drowned in six comforters for warmth. I try to release pain and tightness from every limb, bone, muscle. I try. It doesn’t work. I’ve accepted that, there is no room in my life to fight. With age there is wisdom, I’m grateful for that.

Maybe I don’t have the highs and joy that we used to have in the past, a gratifying status of being “Mom” with sticky kisses and playing with cars or having tea parties, those days are far gone. But, I did have them once, a long time ago. It is not the good times we had in the past but also not the bad times that may await us in the future. I can’t possibly complain. Yes, my husband was laid off and I haven’t been in the best of health for the last seven years but we are dealing with the situation. A word of advice: Just count your blessings and not your sorrows. Thank G-d, Nature, or Angels, whatever you believe in, that you are alive TODAY. Enjoy today as much as you can because we cannot count on a tomorrow.

Embrace your spouse/partner or friend, child, mom, dad, grandparent and give thanks for what you do have and don’t waste a minute focusing on what you don’t have. Hug your cat or dog, Buy a present for someone you don’t like, maybe there is a reason why they are so cranky, see what happens. Everyone has a story, listen. There is always someone who has it worse than you do.We are relatively healthy, our adult children are coming home for a visit and we will have a turkey on the table for Thanksgiving. We give thanks for what we have.

The New Rude

noon8march8962

noon8march8962 (Photo credit: marymactavish)

It’s 2013, and you are an aging Baby Boomer just like me. Mazel Tov. I bet you are so proud. Our music was sublime, our culture was magnificent and yes, it still lives on playing on our iPods and even nostalgic rock ( or nausea rock as my husband calls it) on radio stations and in elevators. We loved peace and each other and now? We are probably unemployed and sulking or depressed. Sorry, I can’t lie and I don’t want to exaggerate either but basically if you were laid off in the last year or two and are an aging baby boomer, luck and time is NOT on your side. My husband and I and our friends are living through it now.

It stings. Because as much as we were popular “way back when” we are the antithesis of that now. We are old, used up. most probably depressed and the last people to be called in for an interview. Don’t believe me? Just ask. Not only are we not called in for interviews, if we are lucky enough to get an interview, there are new rules: rudeness. I worked in Human Resources for over twenty years and I have never seen what I am seeing now which is NOTHING.  There is no follow-up, no “Thanks for interviewing but we have hired someone better qualified” there’s not even a rejection letter. No one even tries to help you or does courtesy interviews, no one lends a helping hand, they just ignore you. People are smug and ill-mannered. Welcome to the unemployment line: it’s where it’s at.

Why are people being so rude? I guess they feel they don’t have to be polite because the alarming mass of people who want jobs, any job. In their mind, why bother with respect and manners, never mind a phone call to follow-up, that sure as hell ain’t happening. Don’t even THINK about it, because you won’t get it. When I think way back to all the acknowledgement letters we sent out for people just to tell them we did receive their résumé it’s amazing. After that we called and sent letters to tell candidates of their status or rejection. We did the best we could. Now? They don’t even try because they know that people are desperate for a job and that is just plain sad. And cruel.

Manners seem to have gone the way with the older generation, yes, us and our parents who we probably take care of along with our children. You wonder why so many of us are anxious? The Sandwich Generation has a lot on our minds, our parent or parents, our children (college age, younger or older) ourselves, health wise and job wise and that we are now old. Old. How did we get here, we ask ourselves? When did we become them?

Sure, we still listen to the same music: James Taylor, Carole King, Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young (God forbid Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young would do the honor of a real reunion concert but SOMEONE won’t do it)  Thank God for those who will: Paul McCartney and Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel. Apparently, they understand us and indulge us. Thank you, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel for the Reunion Tour, it was one of the best nights of my life. Growing old is hard, we miss the past and we’re scared of the future, thanks for sticking with us. I know the chances of another reunion tour are slight but we will keep hoping….here’s to you!

The photographs are the owners of the photographers.
Thanks to my friend Bruce, for the title.

Plinky Prompt: Escape!

  • English: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C...

    English: Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. closeup view of vocalists Joan Baez and Bob Dylan., 08/28/1963 Español: Bob Dylan con Joan Baez en la Marcha por los Derechos Civiles en Washington, D.C. (1963) Italiano: Joan Baez e Bob Dylan durante la marcia per i diritti civili a Washington, 28 agosto 1963 Polski: Bob Dylan i Joan Baez w 1963 Deutsch: Joan Baez und Bob Dylan beim Marsch auf Washington am 28. August 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Live at the Troubadour (Carole King and James ...

    Live at the Troubadour (Carole King and James Taylor) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Describe your ultimate escape plan (and tell us what you’re escaping from). See all answers

  • Escape!
  • I’m escaping from STRESS and I’m taking my husband with me. I can’t possibly hang on much longer with my twisted, achy stomach which might very well be an ulcer or worse, losing weight, and being tired and upset. I’m watching my husband feeling down and defeated and unhappy too. I’m taking my husband, my best friend, whose stress level I share and intensify, out of here.He needs a new, good job PRONTO, in the computer field (something about Software and Engineers and Project Management) where people are not mean but decent and NICE. It’s been too hard, waiting for the pink slip which is coming except they don’t even GIVE you a pink slip anymore. Now, they just take you into a room, avoid your eyes and mutter about lay-offs. The unemployment drill.
    Let’s sell the house, then tell our kids in college, take the nutty dog with us (she’s always up for an adventure) and rent a van, or small mobile home. We can become the baby boomer hippies we never were. Let’s go down to the basics, we don’t need all this “stuff” that you, okay WE cling to. Imagine, having no agenda, no plans, no watches. We’d be living on money from the things we sold. Our college kids might even have to work (Gasp, what’s that??) Let’s go cross-country (you never believed me but I meant it.) Maybe somewhere we can settle down and open a breakfast place or lunch, maybe ice cream?
    Let’s go now, before we change our minds. We won’t sell the CD’s, because the one thing we need, wherever we are, is music. Music makes us happy and we need to sing loudly out the windows with joy. Our dog, Lexi, hanging out the window having a blast. We will sing all the oldies, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Carole King, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez….just to name a few. No stress? Sounds like heaven to me.

The Donald, Oprah And President Barack Obama

Donald Trump enters the Oscar De LA Renta Fash...

Image via Wikipedia

I am not the only one who feels stressed out. It seems the world is in a very stressful and sorry state. Not just in our country (The USA) either, it seems that everywhere there are horrible natural disasters, wars in different countries, debt, unemployment and no hope for the near future. Instead of asking President Obama for reassurance, which I am sure he would love to do if he could, I’m asking Oprah for her take on the situation. I trust HER.  Oprah is the only person I want to run for President because I believe in her. So, right now, in the middle of many world crises, I choose her. I pick her. I want her to tell us that things will work out and that the karma that really goes around comes around because unfortunately I’m starting to doubt that. I’m just not one hundred percent sure if that really is true anymore but if Oprah proclaimed it to be true, now, I would become a believer again.

I saw Donald Trump being interviewed by Meredith Viera today. I was absolutely speechless but The Donald certainly was not. Even the looks and grimaces on Meredith Viera’s face were newsworthy. She was practically spitting at him. The Donald was saying that he is pretty sure that “Barack Obama” is not a United States citizen. Again. WHY, Donald, why? You were so emphatic on the show today that even I, an avid Barack Obama supporter, started thinking that maybe there was something behind that. (Did I just say that?)

I’m beginning to fear for my brain. If I am actually starting to question my judgment about President Obama that is a very scary thing. So, I will not be listening to Donald Trump anymore (except on The Celebrity Apprentice) and I will continue to try to have faith in this Administration. It isn’t an easy job, and we know what shape the world was in when the President took office. But still… I need some answers, I need some faith, and I need some hope and the only one who could possibly do that now is: Oprah. Oprah Winfrey for President of the United States, 2012. I’m in.

I’m Thankful For…. Chronic Babe Carnival

Waves crashing at Sal, Cabo Verde

Image by aldask via Flickr

In this blistering cold weather, I am thankful for a peek of bright yellow from the sun coming through the budding trees. When I am sitting on an, old, worn bench in the front yard and see the little purple flowers around the edge of the brown grass I am thankful for that too. What I am thinking about this very moment is how to be thankful when you have heard news that makes you unhappy, in other words, when life throws you a curve ball or two.  I think those are the times, like now, that might mean the most because it is test and a challenge and I need to teach the lessons to myself all over again. Learning from unexpected challenges….learning the hard way in the real world.

I wished for my mom to feel better and with deep gratitude, she is slowly feeling better. The spark is back in her voice for the most part and she plans to go back to her yoga class every week where she is surrounded by loving class-mates who have kissed her soft cheek after months of her absence.  I am thirty years younger than she is but with Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, I cannot do yoga. Yes, I have tried it and couldn’t manage it. I did take Pilates for senior citizens and special needs people but because of my lack of balance, I couldn’t keep up. What was humiliating and embarrassing at the time, is funny now. I am grateful my sense of humor returned.

Tonight, I heard that my husband will have to spend six weeks in Buffalo on a new project. This came out of the blue and he starts immediately. It shocked us both, and within one minute we also heard from our son that he did not get into one of the colleges he applied to. I had to think hard and glean the gratitude of these two events. When my husband said he had “bad news” I thought his (new) job had been eliminated. The fact that he wasn’t let go and still has a job after two years of unemployment is a good thing. I need to wrap my head around the location change. Even though it’s not the end of the world, it’s hard to be a mom of two demanding teenagers when you have chronic pain issues. That my son got rejected from one of the schools he applied to, could very well be a humbling experience for him and a good life lesson. Life speaks to us that way, in gentle tones and whispers unless we ignore them and then we are hit with hard, crashing blasts of turmoil and angst. The decision might not have gone the way you hoped, now stop and think how some things are not meant to be, and that “things happen for a reason.”

We’re constantly (does it really have to be THAT constant?) challenged in ways which we do not expect. Riding the waves, both rough and smooth is part of the process and I am grateful I have learned to do that. I am also grateful that I know myself well enough to know that I need a good 24 hours to process ANY change. After that, things are easier to take and understand. It doesn’t help me from not getting shocked but it does give me a reasonable time frame to get myself together and plan accordingly.

I am also thankful for my family, of course, and my friends. I am equally happy that I can let my feelings, good or bad, out on this computer and learn to process things on my own. I have books to read, music to listen to and ultimately, little control over what happens in the future. With years of trial and tribulation and of experience, I have learned that there are many rough waves in the world to ride out. I just need 24 hours to remember how to do it. For that knowledge alone, I am exceedingly grateful.

My Gift Wish List

Santa Claus with a little girl

Image via Wikipedia

HO, HO, HO?

Dear Santa,

I’ve been asking for this special gift, this present, for over a year now. Since it’s almost Christmas (and Hanukkah) please, could you read my letter again? I was silly to think that you would grant my wish before the holidays but ’tis the season now…fa la la la la, la la la la. I am not asking for a present for just me, I am asking for one present for the whole family. I am asking for a job for my husband that pays real money. Our family would really appreciate it. Please Santa, its been a long time. I’ve been a very good girl and will, once again, leave out cookies and milk for you and carrots for Rudolph and the rest of the reindeer. Thanks a lot! Hugs and kisses and love, from ME

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because i can’t even speak

At the remembrance garden in Dublin

Image via Wikipedia

when someone you love is hurting you hurt double because you are sad and depressed and of no help and that makes it worse. so together you are alone.  pumpkin bread is baking in the oven but the smells of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon don’t even reach my senses. i don’t know if i should allow myself a really good cry (why do they call it “good?”) or keep sucking in the stress like a dyson vacuum cleaner going over the carpet where my sweet, shaggy dog sleeps. even her warm brown dog eyes look sad.

i wish i didn’t cling to the last hope, the last ember in the fire amongst the dying coals. outwardly i am pessimistic but hidden deep inside me is a wisp of a wish, no stronger than a single blade of grass in a summer breeze. yet still i hope for a miracle and he does too, even though we say all hope is gone and it’s really, really bad. and it is.

i am numb and trembling, silent and screaming, shaking and still. my worried face is too obvious to the world; i wish i could hide my feelings and be like that mean francine who i hated but she could pull off  a fake happy face in half a second.  my feelings show on my face even if i try to fake it and then i crumple like a paper ball tossed into the trash. i don’t call my mother tonight even though i call her every day because i don’t want her to worry and i know that’s what mothers do. my silence, even for a day, signals my message to her.

i need to hold myself together so i don’t break down in front of my children; no matter how old they are they still don’t like to see their mama cry. and i wouldn’t just be crying, i would be sobbing and crumpling in the fetal position and rocking, rocking, rocking. if the situation in a situational depression continues and continues when does it just become depression. i may have crossed over into that, maybe he has too. i want to support him  but i don’t know how to do it anymore. i am failing the one i love the most because i can’t bear to see his flat, deflated face. he lacks affect and looks gray and defeated, worn, sad. we are mirror images of each other.

there’s certainly nothing to look forward to, not that there has been in a while. yes, i do count my blessings and yes i am grateful but i am feeling less lucky and more like a victim with a really long run.  we are not alone in our misery many people share this sadness but who would feel better because of that? it just makes things worse.

the beep beep beep of the timer goes off and i stick toothpicks in the pumpkin bread and burn my finger. the pain feels good, it feels like something, instead of this numb, internal despondency.  this is what depression looks like, it feels like everything and nothing, it lingers inside me, on and on like an unwelcome guest you can’t ask to leave.

An Honest Thanksgiving

Tender, juicy roast turkey - the main attracti...

Image via Wikipedia

It will be Thanksgiving in just a few days. While we all are looking forward to moist turkey and my husband’s famous stuffing made with mushrooms and apples, raisins and water chestnuts, I have a small request. Please be kind and sensitive to one another. I don’t worry about what things will taste like; I know they will all be delicious. The only thing I worry about, quite honestly, is drama. Holidays can bring up all sorts of feelings: loss, bereavement, jealousy, resentment, sadness, and despair. Old wounds start to feel new, grievances and perceived injustices start to bubble to the surface. Before we dig in to the mashed potatoes my mother made (cough, cough, bought from a restaurant), and cranberry sauce let us think about each other first. During dessert let us try to rejoice in each others’ company instead of waiting for the air to get thick with tension as dense as brown gravy.

This year, for the first year I have actually mentioned to several members of the family that I am asking for a “drama-free” Thanksgiving. I have chronic pain, my husband has been feeling sad because of  lack of work, please try to remember this.  Work  alongside us, tell us things will be alright eventually. Life is not perfect but Thanksgiving should be about what we are grateful for, not what we lack.

I don’t want to hear sullen complaints about the food or the appetizers and I’m happy to cook and clean, taste, stir, serve and clean-up. I will not be happy with arguments, whispered secrets said too loudly and explosive outbursts. Please just leave your coats and any agendas at the door and please, please think before you speak. Be courteous to everyone else. Don’t brag, insult, or be insensitive to other people’s needs.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my family and friends. May it be peaceful, filled with great warmth, love, gratitude and great food. I am thankful for all of you.  Now, let us eat.