“We’re going to Disney!” Yeah – I said that. Via text.
It was an extended weekend, whirlwind-trip, that started with my youngest daughter. She researched for some military discounts we qualified for, and I started making calls and reservations. Hotel – booked. Flights – booked. Four-day park passes – got ‘em. When they arrived, I took a picture and sent them to my daughter, my sister and my niece.
“Clothes make a man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain
Well, Mr. Twain, I beg to differ. Little did you know that we’d have naked dating shows, naked real estate shows and naked survival shows. Oh, and naked restaurants. I’m thinking naked people do have a wee bit of influence these days.
Oo la la! France is on my bucket list of travels. Food, wine, fashion and sites – oui! I am looking forward to seeing more of the country than I saw recently, which was the inside of an airport on a layover.
Naked and afraid to eat…
But, one place I will definitely avoid is the new, all-nude restaurant. (Don’t believe me? Google it. I can’t be responsible for the spam bots, okay? Okay!) Hey, if I plan to drop a boatload of money on clothes in Paris, I want to show them off. Right? I mean, I’m all for themed-restaurants, but who comes up with the idea that people want to eat when they are nude? I’m thinking they aren’t going to be famous for their wings, ya know?
My mind goes places. Places I don’t want it to go… like to pre-teen immaturity when I hear “naked.”
So, please bare with me while I have a little fun.
Author anxiety and public events. The struggle is real. Whether you have a book signing, a speech or other public venue scheduled on your calendar, have a laugh and do as I say, not as I do did.
Over the years, I have planned some successful soirees – our daughter’s backyard wedding; baby and bridal showers, holiday brunches and so forth. My expertise is not so much in the planning, as I’m happy to be the behind-the-scenes supporting cast. No one complains about issues at when you are serving them wine and chocolate cake.
But there I times that I have to strike out on my own, which can produce author anxiety. Especially as a midlife writer attending my first book signing.
Though I didn’t plan the main event I will be attending, I certainly had to plan for my own little part of this big day.
Am I anxious? You betcha! It is like the first day of school – excited to see everyone, nervous I will be making a faux paus or two.
The Girl Scout in me is doing my best to “Be Prepared.” The MilSpouse in me knows I can pretty much roll through anything.
So as I scrutinized myself in the mirror this morning, looking for blemishes and stray hairs, a few practical event-planning ideas popped into my brain. Though my dad used to mention I might be “a hard-head,” I prefer to think of myself more as a “hands-on learner.” Trust me when I say I have a Masters in How to Embarrass Myself and a Doctorate from the School of Hard Knocks.
Allow me to share what I have learned in life, should you need to represent yourself at a public event:
Facial waxing: Don’t do this the day of your event. A red, swollen lip will just bring attention to the fact you have waxed your meno-stache. Some beauty secrets needn’t be shared. Plus it affects your speech. Trust me, you will thank me for this.
New make-up: The day of your event is not the time to experiment with the latest make-up trends. One time, I thought adding a bit of blue eye shadow to my lower lid would make my eyes pop and look fab with my dress. Sadly, I looked like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Also, if you have never used eyeliner, THIS IS NOT THE DAY to try it. Heed my advice and eliminate stabbing yourself in the eyeball, making tears of colors streak down your face while sporting the Elvira look.
Workout routine: The day before your event is not the time to go the extra mile – literally or figuratively. I may have tried to do a plank one time, which may have pulled a muscle that I didn’t know existed, which may have prevented me from breathing properly when trying to talk in front of a small crowd. Maybe.
Fine dining: Stick to a what you know works well with your body. A new food may result in hives or digestive issues. And think about your favorite foods, like that yummy garlic dip with fresh-baked pita bread. Um, experience has taught me that the aroma of garlic seeps from every pore of one’s body. Though I’ve been told garlic is good for keeping colds and flu at bay, it is also good for keeping people at bay.
Clothing: Try on your outfit ahead of time, using a 360-mirror. And don’t decide to change your turtle neck after you have curled and shellacked your hair in place.
New shoes: Of course you need new shoes! Duh!!! That being said, test them first. Limping and wincing doesn’t make you look like a heroine, however, it may get you some sympathy sales.
Lugging gear: A few summers ago, I almost bought a collapsible shopping cart for going to our local farmers’ market. But since that would have given off an “old lady vibe,” I concluded that struggling with heavy plastic grocery bags that cut off the circulation in my hands would be the better option. I’m fairly certain that blue-tinged fingers without any sensation won’t allow me to sign any books, so I now use a carry-on bag with wheels to lug my gear.
Beauty sleep: “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. You need to be rested for your writers’ debut.” These are wonderful and wise words from my dear husband. After thirty-plus years, he knows the deal. That even if I look like I am asleep, my brain doesn’t disengage. “Do I have enough books to sell?” or worse, “Will I sell anything?” Or, “What if I trip in front of everyone?” Or, “What if I get a zit?”
Which leads me to my final bit of advice:
Breathe. Hah! How can I do that when I’m caught up in my brain’s “worst case scenario” escapades? When my frontal cortex goes into all out panic, I tend to forget to breathe. So, I will mentally note to make use of my lungs. And as a precaution, I will toss some relaxation-inducing essential oils into my carry-on bag. Who cares if it is a placebo effect? Whatever works, until I can get home and toast the day with a glass of wine. And some chocolate.
If you have any tips to share, please do so in the comment section! Also, if you think my experiences will help someone plan for an event, feel free to share using one of the social media icons on this page.
Not able to attend the book signing? Here’s a link to Feisty after 45.
The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. ~Sydney J. Harris
It’s that time of year again, when summer winds down and fall takes over with the excitement of cooler temperatures, vibrant colors and the promise of delicious cider.
Previously I wrote about our youngest child beginning college and starting her new chapter. As she began hers, I knew that I, too, would begin mine. As an “almost-empty-nester,” I am writing new pages as I navigate this season referred to as midlife.
I have often thought that fall felt more like a fresh beginning than January’s start of a new year. Maybe the life-long conditioning of new beginnings due to the start of the school year has something to do with the feeling.
My own memories of fall have, for the most part, been good ones of fresh starts, new dreams and the old, decorated cigar box filled with bright crayons, sharp pencils, kid-sized scissors, pink erasers and mini bottles of glue. (My personal favorite were the pencils that were red on one end and blue on the other. Are those even a thing anymore?) I also remember my mom walking with us to school to see the class lists posted on the doors. The excitement and anticipation could either provide a moment of elation or anxiety, depending on your classroom assignment.
I hold tight to those childhood moments, and to the moments I experienced with my children. This is the second year that I am not sending children off for the traditional “first day of school.” I admit, I miss going out and purchasing new school supplies, finding out who the teacher will be, and snapping photos of the day. After twenty-five years of “first day” traditions, it is weird to be out of the loop.
But nonetheless, this fall is pretty darn exciting. I’m not sure if my adult children will get up early and come stand on the porch for a photo. Well, maybe if I bribe them with coffee and cinnamon rolls. I’m willing to give it a shot. If not, I will just have to take a selfie of myself on the porch. Hahaha – no! Because in addition to most of my brood returning to college this fall, yours truly here will be doing the same.
Back to school.
After a hiatus of about thirty years, I start my classes today. I am pretty darn excited.
No, I won’t have an old cigar box filled with supplies. I know I won’t be sporting a new backpack, but I will have my new laptop. No, there will be no locker for my books, so I am trying to organize the office to be functional for both work and school. No, I won’t have to go clothes shopping or look for cool and cute dorm room stuff.
But, what I do get is the satisfaction of completing something I started 36 years ago – my journalism degree. I have absolutely no regrets that I left school to get married, travel as a military spouse, be a mom times four (see, I can still do math) and have the opportunity for all the other experiences I have had thus far. I have lived in and traveled to places some people only dream about.
So why finish the degree? One, because I can. Two, because I want to. Three, because I need to.
I can, because I now have the time. All four children have graduated high school and have completed or are completing their secondary education. I know it is not going to be easy, but it will be easier than when I tried to return to school fifteen years ago.
I want to, because it was a promise I made to myself and my husband when we married that I would, one day, finish my degree. His encouragement keeps me going – especially when I had a panic attack after reviewing the syllabus!
I need to, for myself and my adult children. I want them to see me finish what I started. I need them to set goals and strive to achieve them, no matter how long it may take. I need them to see that it doesn’t matter what age you are; it is still difficult to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.
I need them to see that when life gets in the way – whether by your choice or by no fault of your own – you have to keep pushing and trying no matter what.
I need them to see that in their own lives, when a chapter ends, a new one begins – that each ending is a new beginning.
I need them to see there is a value in continued growth, no matter your season of life.
So, here’s to an exciting new school year to all – no matter how young or old you are!
Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself. ~John Dewey
Since embracing my natural color, I have worked with my stylist to make sure my hair is up-to-date and that has led to a whole lot of time spent in the hair care aisle of my favorite stores. Yes, stores. Plural. Because no matter where I find myself shopping, I have to check to see what is available for my lovely locks. And then you just might find me wandering over to check out the lipsticks, gloss and mascara on another aisle. Whether I am at the hair salon, drug store, health food store or the mall, I find that the beauty product aisles beckon me, like a siren calling sailors.
A few months ago, I responded to a request from Katherine at KatherinesCorner.com, as she was looking for women bloggers over 50 to share their experiences, such as what inspired them to start a blog, what keeps them motivated and so forth. With her expertise and hard work, she is giving more than 80 bloggers the opportunity to expand their horizons and reach more people.
So, I threw my hat in the ring, was accepted to be part of this series, and now you will hear a little more about me. My blogging journey started out as an outlet during my dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and then took a more “random” turn after he passed away. A few years before he died, the newspaper industry was slowly beginning to fade. As a displaced writer, I was learning to wade into the digital world from the print media realm. One of my favorite writing gigs was a weekly column in our local paper. As I became more comfortable with blogging, my blog began to develop into its own character, and began to look similar to my old columns: a bit of family fodder, some opinion, an occasional recipe and my favorite – conversations with my readers. When I started writing sponsored posts and product/book reviews, I became more interested in the “how-tos” and migrated my work over to a self-hosted blog. I learned a lot and trust me, there is more to learn – like the value in posting on a regular basis, which is something I really need to do!
One of the most rewarding benefits to midlife blogging is meeting wonderful “Boomer Bloggers.” A few I have met, and there are many more I look forward to meeting “IRL.” What impresses me with the north of 50 crowd is the willingness to share our collective knowledge and expertise among each other and the new bloggers arriving into cyberspace.
Some professionals in the blogging world suggest carving a niche, and being an expert in a field. I agree, but I still defer back to my old columnist days and prefer to write about whatever topic moves me. So if you are hopping through my posts, you are going to see a little bit of everything that interests me. It may not be what I should be doing, but it is what I like to do, so maybe my little niche is, “Midlife Lifestyle Blogger.” Because I am an almost empty-nester, my husband and I have been able to travel a bit more, so you’ll read about our trips. We’re attempting to be healthier and greener, so you’ll find recipes from homemade bread to toothpaste. Plus, I have been dabbling in some humor writing to balance some of the more serious opinions and life-changes of moving forward after raising four little ones. One of my menopause posts was chosen to be part of the anthology, Feisty after 45 – The Best Blogs from Midlife Women.
In addition to cruising through my site, I do hope you click on the link below and check out some of the other writers and their work. And if you have ever wanted to give blogging a try, I encourage you to do so! It is a great way to record family history, share opinions or hobbies and meet others.
If you have any questions, there is a “North of 50 Blogger” right here (me!) who is happy to help! A list of how to contact me is on my “Contact” page.
Grays and strays – just another dandy way that menopause shares its, dare I say, hair-raising, life-altering change.
About three years ago, I colored my hair for the last time. The gray was in for the win, and my scalp became irritated from the dye. My last, paid-for hair hurrah were highlights and low-lights, which camouflaged the incoming gray. Midlife was sucking the life right out of my melanin production, creating a source of natural color streaks. Albeit gray in color, the strands contrasted with my brunette beginnings, thus giving me, um, a new type of highlights.
“Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring.”
― Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany’s
I caught a glimpse of her from across the way. She stopped to check her phone, not knowing where we were.
It was orientation day at the campus, and she had been sequestered from us for a few hours. At this point in the day, she had chosen her classes for the year, wandered around her new home-away-from-home with a group of fellow incoming freshman, had enjoyed lunch at one of the campus eateries and was probably ready for a nap.
“I do wonder why people hate their grey hair so much! I think grey hair is a gift from the moon! When the moon laughs, her eyes produce tears of joy that fall to the earth and onto the tops of people’s heads!” C. JoyBell C.
Around the time my father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I started to make a more conscious effort to reduce the number of chemicals used in our home, from processed foods to cleaning products to toiletries. In fact, I started making my own deodorant, toothpaste and many cleaning supplies, and began learning about the connections of foods, herbs and essential oils.
One thing I hadn’t done at that point was to give up my hair color! The gray was really coming in, and I found myself coloring more frequently. I remember that the last few times I colored my hair, I began to itch along the base of my neck. At that point, I decided it was time to stop coloring. To aid in the transition, I had highlights and low lights added, which helped eliminate the “line of demarcation,” something that many people, especially women, fear when they stop coloring their hair.
It was around that time I noticed that others were doing the same – ditching the dye. I approached the editor of Michigan Prime Magazine, and she agreed to let me write an article highlighting (pun intended!) metro Detroiters who were letting their hair go au naturel. The response I received from people willing to share their story was overwhelming. I couldn’t even interview all of them! Men and women, celebrities and regular folk are currently embracing this trend, and I don’t think it is going to end any time soon.
Here is a link to the article, “Ditching the Dye.” It is my hope that if you are considering going gray, the interview subjects and stylists I spoke with will be of encouragement to you.