no shelf life

As a 52 year old woman, I am struck by conversations related to friends celebrating or avoiding milestone birthdays, women getting older and how we are perceived as we (and the men around us, obviously) get older. Sadly, it seems to me, the majority regard a woman in her 40s or 50s or even 60s as somehow past the expiration date. Friends absolutely dreading the fact that they are turning 40…or mourning their obvious dotage as they pass “dirty thirty“…and it makes me sad just a little.

Age is definitely a relative thing. I wholeheartedly believe the idea that you are as old as you feel; which means I am basically an adolescent sometimes…an adolescent with a few grey hairs, laugh lines, squint lines, grown children and grandchildren. I’m not always an adolescent, but given my taste in music or the fact that I DO know almost every artist and song featured in the latest American Music Awards Show or Grammy nominations, compared to friends my age or 10 years younger…well… Yet, I wholeheartedly embrace the age that I am…grey hairs, creaky joints, laugh lines and everything else. I take very good of this aging shell of mine…and it shows. I take very good care of it because I have children and grandchildren and I definitely want to be around for a long time to watch them grow older. Added bonus is feeling good, perhaps better than other people my age (or younger).

I don’t take care of myself, or put on makeup, or wear jewelry or wear sometimes fashionable, flattering clothing for attention…except maybe perhaps from my darling husband. I know few women my age who dress for the day hoping for attention from a stranger…just like any other woman or girl dresses hoping for unwanted attention.

Why are there people who STILL think like this?

Honestly?!

So, no, telling me that I look pretty for my age is not a compliment.

Of course there is the reality that when a woman reaches a certain age, she, more often than not, is not getting looked at anymore…usually by the men. Ageism is real and women of a certain age become invisible to pretty much everyone…including men their own age. Men my age (and older) won’t give women my age (or even younger) a second glance unless they’re doing us a favor (in their small mind) because as Stevie Nicks pointed out in a recent Rolling Stone interview, “They wanna go out with somebody that’s 25,… So what am I gonna do, compete with that?”

But have you SEEN 66 year old Stevie Nicks?!

Damn girl!

Then there were the women…not the girls…the women at the Golden Globes this past week.

Hey ladies!

Then there is Julianne Moore who proved that people DO want to see a movie about a 50 year old woman, in the prime of her life, as she faces her own mortality and rapid decline.

If I can’t be Helen Mirren when I grow up, I want to be Julianne Moore. Really.

Shelf life?

Invisible?

No way.

Let’s re-think this because we all are getting older. We all are as sexy and smart and empowered and as visible as we chose to be and no one should ever diminish that for us because of the number of candles on our birthday cake this year…or the number of grey hairs, or laugh lines we might have.

 

 

date night at the museum

Wear something with sparkles, he asks. So I did; because he asked me and it’s date night.

Anything for him because it is date night!

Date Night at the Museum!

It was a perfect date night too. We held hands. Shared pretzels and cheese because popcorn is a no with braces. There was much laughter and whispered conversation about ancient Egyptian burial practice, helping to scatter his great grandmother’s ashes at a place she loved, Christianity, Judaism, Hanukkah, Jesus and Pompeii. We also talked about the fact that this was Robin Williams‘ last onscreen feature film performance and I mentioned that it was also Mickey Rooney’s too. Yes, he asked, Who? I’ll try to rectify that. The best part, besides the sweet good night kiss? My date insisted that we sit through and watch the credits because I love to do that. A first because he usually wants to leave as soon as the story fades to black and in the past has been quite vocal about being forced to sit as the closing credits roll.

It would seem that my date is growing up.

From my date and me, two thumbs up. It’s a fun finale to the Night At The Museum series with a lot of laughs, a little bit of history and definitely some poignant moments.

As for our date night, I can’t wait for the next time. Watching the previews before the movie, we have a list prepared.

photo dump: the thankful edition

It’s Thanksgiving Day so I’m going to give thanks, as one should on Thanksgiving Day…and every other day.

For Thing 1 and Thing 2, generously provided by my employer and a co-worker who has no use for the 12 pound turkey they handed him as we left work early in the morning last week. Yes, I named them, as I do every year. Deal with it! Meanwhile, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are currently soaking in an icy cold, brine-y bath waiting to be properly roasted.

For bringing sexy back in the way that only Personal Protective Equipment can. This look is hot. No. It really is hot.

The perfect pick-me-up after running 4 miles before you work your 4th 12 hour night shift in a week. Hurray for Snickers and for running and for a busy, busy full NICU which means work!

For kick-ass looking compression socks to wear after running a few miles before working hard on your feet for 12 hours all night long. Oh, and, give thanks for the break relief RN who makes the moment where you get to put your feet up for 20 minutes.

Be thankful for the 2 hour nap you had after working all night before you take the time to drive your favorite Princess 125 miles in the rain and wind and fog across a couple bridges during drive time Bay Area traffic so that she can attend two hours of Princess training.

It’s totally worth it when she sends you this picture of her being fitted for the wig of her favorite princess, one of a few who she will be portraying. Yes, you can almost hear her squeeing with delight from the only open cafe in the area where you sat and waited during those two hours. Worth it. Totally. So was her telling you how much she loved you and was glad you were driving as you drove across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge in the 0.25 mile visibility fog.

This card with this name on it which we waited for for 12 years because no matter what the social workers tell you, it isn’t as easy as it should be to get your child’s social security card with his name on it after the adoption is finalized because government agencies can be so frustratingly dumb sometimes. But not Maria at the Manteca Social Security Administration office. Sure it took her several hours to figure a way around the bureaucratic walls but she did it because, as she humbly put it, “there’s always a way around walls.”

Remembering when you said you couldn’t wait for your kid to outgrow his shoes and clothes before they wear out when you see that the shoes that you just got him are too small. Human Growth Hormones, we are so thankful especially when you see your son’s height and weight plotted at <1%ile on the growth chart because look at that, the kid is almost finally plotting on the normal growth chart!

Pretty scarves and jewelry and makeup and clothes that flatter what your mama gave you, no matter what your age is, that you wear for no other reason than because you want to; which has nothing to do with completely unwanted attention from any stranger who imagines that you got all dressed up because you want their attention.

Yeah.

No.

Taking the time to catch part 3 of the 4 part Hunger Games Trilogy with this child of yours because that is what the two of you do together after the husbands and kids are asleep.

Running this for the third holiday season because otherwise you might just murder someone…or at least given them a really big hug with your hands around their neck because it is the holidays and because you like to eat and to drink because it is the holidays and because you like to run…a lot.

Moments of relaxation and the cat who makes you sit still and enjoy them. I plan to do just that today after I run a 10K and get Thing 1 and Thing 2 into the oven.

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

 

potential dress code violations

Sitting in Hollie’s chair:

I know. I’m sorry. It’s absolutely frightening how I look without makeup. Still I don’t care because…

I’m getting PAMPERED!!! As I should be. As I deserve to be.

And then Hollie says to me, “I just LOVE how you let me do whatever to your hair.

I nod because it’s true. And then I catch a glimpse of…

OMG! Purple!! Purple like…

Sure it’s the IT color right now from fuschias to lavendars to deep purples to silver tones. It’s hot. Of course Hollie is fast becoming the go to person to get these luscious, colorful locks here in the Central Valley. But…dress codes…”natural hair color”…Absolutely I am a woman of a certain age who could wear the blueish-purplish-silvery hair and it would be totally legit…but, I don’t know.

“MOM! Stop peeking!!!”

I confess that now I am nervous but I keep repeating to myself how much she loves that I trust her…over and over until…

Signature copper with deep violet-red roots painted on as if baby I was born this way.

Naturally!

I may save tiny human beings but my girl makes me beautiful and that, based on the presented photographic evidence is truly miraculous.

 

 

chopped…again

If there is anything that never changes about me and my hair is that, for now, it remains ginger if not ginger-er (thank you my darling daughter #!!) and that it can be seen in any given length at any given time of any given year of any given life-stage of my life. Did you see that crazy 30-second video of 31 years of hair marriage?

When Bill and I got married, my hair was extraordinarily long…and big…it was the 80’s. My sister-in-law worked her magic and wrestled all that hair up into the most fantastical Gibson Girl knot to go with the Gunne Sax gown that I wore the day that we were married. So amazing was that up-do because it did not move as Bill and I drove down Highway 17 in a convertible with the top down. I bow down to Teri’s skills and Aqua Net and so many hair pins that I was still finding trapped in my hair days later while on our honeymoon. But soon enough the honeymoon was over and I CHOPPED off all that hair…pretty much all of it. Bill came home from work one day a few months later to find that his bride was now sporting a spiky pixie shorter than his epic afro. He had no clue that this was going to happen. It was that day that I knew that it was so much more than my hair that he loved as he did not react at all. Well, he did ask me, after telling me how his day was at work, to next time I did something crazy with my hair just let him know. It was only over dinner, and a couple beers, did he confess that the first thought that came to his mind that day was “What the fuck did she do?!” But he wisely decided that he should not say that out loud. And so I promised him that…and over the last 31 years I have kept that promise…every time I chopped off all the hair or subjected it to some crazy-assed spiral perm because my thick, wavy, curly, unruly hair wasn’t nearly crazy enough for those dark times known as the late 80s-early 90s. Looking back through the years it seems that I go every three to four years before I do something crazy, drastic to my hair and, as I promised my darling husband, I let him know.

So I’m thinking that I’m going to let Hollie chop off all of my hair…

And then I did…and Hollie did.

Yes, I know what Coco Chanel said:
A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.

I’m also aware of that school of thought that “When a woman cuts her hair off, it’s not about wanting a cute new look, no matter what anyone says. It’s about sheer emotional turmoil…But why should this be? Why should a woman’s hair have anything to do with her emotions?
Because hair, for almost every woman, represents femininity and beauty, and sometimes, therefore, what she thinks of herself. When you deal with these aspects of a woman, emotions naturally run high.”

Um, yeah. No. It’s amazing that people believe and think like that.

Different strokes, I guess.

Why I from time to time will chop all the hair off is because I feel the need to get out from under the security blanket that is my hair. I have no choice but to be bolder without all the hair. There is so much more to me than a glorious head of hair with long, luscious locks…and yes, I do believe that when long it is pretty glorious and luscious. Still there is so much more to me than all of that hair.

Some would suggest that I can do that because I have the right face for such a look but then again with confidence, boldness, rebellion and a little discomfort comes the ability to wear one’s hair that short. The shape of one’s face, their cheekbones and bone structure have little to do with confidence, boldness, rebellion and discomfort.

Sometimes the hair was all chopped off because it was time for a change…a new baby or two or three or more come to mind. Sometimes you just need a change. Sometimes you just want the ability to practically wash and go and not be stuck with that equally wash and go ponytail or top-knot because tension alopecia is not pretty.

So today, for now, most, er, some of the hair is gone and I’m feeling a little bit scalped and ten pounds lighter, definitely cooler and perhaps a little bit more vulnerable without that veil to hide behind… I’m liking it.

Yes, my darling husband, and the rest of the family approves too…or at least is used to the time to change. again. Then again, it does run in the family…even to the next generation too.

No big deal. It’s just hair.