I have a rhetorical question (Def: question that you ask without expecting an answer). How many pairs of black pants does one woman need? Since I’m talking to my computer I’m not really expecting an answer (although it would be pretty cool if you would answer via the survey link below. I’ve changed my mind I really do want to know after all). This question popped into my head when my husband and I were traveling in Europe this summer. Since we stayed in five different places there were many days when my suitcase was my dresser. Invariably however, as I was rummaging through my suitcase (because of course the item I wanted was ALWAYS inaccessible no matter how many times I packed for the next day. I guess it’s just not in my DNA to create a clothing strategy and stick to it. It was during this delving I realized I had multiple pairs of black pants from shorts to capris to ankle length trousers. Inevitably I would say, in a decidedly cranky voice, “Not that pair of black pants. I want the ones that have…the seam running down the center, the cotton light weight ones, the ones with spandex, my yoga pants, the ones with the zipper in the back, etc. etc. So the other rhetorical question I pose is this one- When did this happen to me? It just kind of snuck up on me and boom! I have eight pairs of black pants in my closet. There is probably (actually no probably about it) a correlation between my weight gain and how much better my stomach and butt look in black. For the record, black is not really even a color. It’s kind of selfish just absorbing all the colors in the visible spectrum, hoarding them and never reflecting them back. But it does have its attributes, principal among them its ability to hide body fat. I keep seeing this ad on Facebook for the “Little Black Pant” guaranteed to be the “best fitting pant you will ever buy”. My hand keeps hovering over the “order today” button. Help, please stop me now! Please take a minute to complete my fashion questionnaire my clicking here.
I think I can safely say most of my readers are Lady Boomers, women of the Baby Boomer generation. Therefore, I think you have heard of or will recognize the term “Senior Moment”, the definition of which is a temporary mental lapse -humorously attributed to the gradual loss of one's mental faculties as one grows older. (At least we hope and pray these are temporary lapses) My friend Suzi refers to her such lapses as “Blond moments” (Although how, at our age, can we assume we still have any authentic blond hair left). Regardless of the label, I had one such lapse recently as I excitedly prepared to play golf with friends. “Prepare” is the operative word here. There are the golf clothes, golf shoes, golf socks, and golf hat to don. Do I have enough balls and tees in my bag? Since golfing takes an inordinate amount of the day, I had to make sure the dogs were walked so they did not leave unappreciated deposits in the house in my absence. Of course that meant taking the poop bags to the garbage after the walk. So, while I was hanging out by the garbage in the garage I decided, for efficiency’s sake, I would move my clubs into the ally outside my garage for easy pick up. My car was parked in front of our townhouse. Between the times I re-entered my house and hopped in my car, I, being the Lady Boomer multi-tasker I am, decided to run the dishwasher and answer a text. Wait for it….here it comes…senior moment time. I lock up, get in my car and proceed to drive to the golf course. Music playing, windows open to a beautiful morning, I pull into the parking lot to behold my friend removing her clubs from her trunk. ##%t! I forgot my clubs!!! Practically performing a wheelie in the parking lot, I dash back home, fearing I’ll be late for our designated tee time. Pulling into the ally behind my garage, I feel my stomach clench, failing to see my golf clubs. They have disappeared. Maybe they are still in the garage? No…. Behind my gate? No…. Did someone steal them?! Men from a lawn service were mowing the median behind my home. I could not imagine (1) why in the world they would want a woman’s golf clubs, and (2) why they would still be hanging around if they had taken them. “A woman in a red car picked them up” one of the gentlemen told me” pointing to a townhouse two doors down. I ran over and knocked but no one answered. I kind of felt like I had fallen through Alice’s rabbit hole, the whole experience just kept getting weirder. Meanwhile, our tee time was getting closer so I headed back to share clubs with my friends. Sure enough, my neighbor, thinking she was doing a good deed, had rescued my clubs, sticking them in her garage. Dementia and/or Alzheimer’s certainly is a fear as we age. I’ve read, however, that what people experience as a memory problem is often a not paying attention problem. I really do believe my experience that morning was a case of not paying attention, or rather paying attention to too many things. I keep promising myself I’m going to be more mindful of the moment…maybe this experience will be the impetus to really do so….unless I forget.
It's back....Mother's Day 2016...Deja vu all over again. It falls on May 8th this year (my husband's birthday. He was actually born on Mother's Day). Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May. My question is...if we are going to keep celebrating this made up holiday, aren't we entitled to a designated date so we don't leave the celebration part up to chance? Apparently there are 84 million Moms in the U.S. The average amount of money spent on Mother's Day is $170.00, for a whopping total of 20.7 billion dollars! Second to Valentine's Day, more meal reservations are made for Mother's Day than any other holiday. Do these expenditures make us feel loved? When I was young I still remember my Dad giving my Mom ice trays and a can opener from my brothers and me. She went to her room, locked the door and stayed there for the rest of the day. I was devastated by her reaction. I've been known to express my "mother's day blues" via blog posts in previous years. Read more by clicking here.
Almost two years ago, I wrote a post entitled "Beige-i-fying My House". We had decided to put our house of 32 years on the market and our realtor suggested we hire a "House Editor" for guidance in neutralizing and de-cluttering our home. I whined about replacing my colorful walls with beige paint, removing my funky light fixture and cutting my art supply in half. The objective, according to my realtor was to stage my house to sell. (Post note: The staging did not matter as it turns out, we had already moved out and it was completely empty when the new owners purchased it. Ha!) Well, she's back... (the house editor that is) I actually like my Sherrie interior designer friend and hired her for advice on re-tooling our townhouse. Downsizing between the two homes resulted in cramming a dining room table, an old sofa, an oversized chair and other Choctaw Trail relics into a smaller space. I'm a big fan of consultants. I am a consultant and appreciate it when clients actually listen to the expensive advice I provide. So, I'm listening to Sherrie in spite of the fact she is not allowing me to buy a piece of furniture, rug, or lamp with a spec of color. Everything is gray, cream or beige. Now reader, I’m simply, utterly, and completely not a beige fan. Has anyone really ever taken stock of how much beige there is in the world? Beige houses and buildings, beige sofas, beige walls, beige purses, beige clothing. Sure it “goes” with a lot of things, but does that fact alone deem it worthy to occupy such a vaulted place in this society? (Vaulted by virtue of the fact it is everywhere!) There are so many words representing beige-- cream, tan, ecru, biscuit, fawn, camel, mushroom, taupe, sand, and oatmeal—a testament to its prevalence in our society, but at the end of the day—it’s still beige! And yet here I find myself agreeing to pay too much money for a cream colored sofa and a neutral area rug. The sales rep at our furniture store told me in his 15 year relationship with our decorator he has never seen her allow a client to purchase a patterned arm chair. (I'm her first concession, although let me be quick to add- the background color is cream). She keeps telling me these choices will create a foil for our artwork. (Although she still abhors my melon-head ceramic sculpture, Dr. Seuss teapot, and fiberglass “hand” chair) "The eye needs a place to rest" she keeps telling me. Grudgingly, I'm listening to her. I probably am a little ADD in my quest to fill spaces. I've said all along BBLB is not just about color, it’s also about being brave. In this case I'm being brave about change. Even at 62, I still want to be open to changes and transformations. This one is just a little bit in my face!
As we often do on December 31st, my husband and I conduct a year end review. We continued our annual ritual this New Years Eve afternoon sitting on Adirondack chairs sipping wine in shorts and flip flops in the Florida 85 degree weather. Jim said he wanted to kiss this year a thankful good-bye, saying how grateful he is for certain academic and professional successes. His book, The Four Pillars of Politics was published this year. He will be returning next month to the academic world after an absence of 38 years. And he was instrumental in the election of the first Democratic governor in a deep south state in over a decade (John Bel Edwards won the Louisiana governor’s race this past November). A couple of real estate transactions have also freed us from some financial burdens. This recap was a welcome one compared to those in recent years when economic concerns had been particularly plaguing. I felt a twinge as I contemplated my own professional performance over the past year. I was unable to identify any one particular achievement. I’m very grateful The Jeremiah Project (the creative arts program I direct) has had a very good year, thanks in large part to a fabulous Board and staff. I’ve been dogged in my determination to expand the reach of my Be Brave. Lose the Beige blog and spent many hours working in our political business. But no particular achievement stood out in my mind. Then it dawned on me….I’ve devoted major chunks of 2015 to mothering. While my children are quite grown up, they nevertheless, still require mothering. And, like many Lady Boomers I know, I donned my SuperMom suit, saluted, and rushed to their aid. This year has been a blur of:
- Airline flights
- Telephone time
- Car travel
- Baby sitting
- Economic support
- And so much love
"Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." I was reminded of these words from Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech at Sanford University as I watched the new Steve Jobs movie. The movie simultaneously portrays him as a heartless opportunist and a creative visionary. Regardless of the characterization, Steve Jobs was a fascinating guy who brought us the likes of MacBook, ipods, ipads and iphones. The movie depicted him as algorithm obsessed and relentless in his pursuit of the perfect product design. Geniuses are, by their very nature, a little lopsided. And, Steve Jobs was, apparently, pretty lopsided- brilliantly creative and interpersonally dysfunctional. Stay Hungry…stay eager. Stay foolish…try new things, step out of your comfort zone. This speech feels a little ironic. It was spoken by a college drop-out, who had recently been given a death sentence. He was delivering it to a group of highly educated, hopeful, 22 year olds on the precipice of launching their lives. “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” He went on to counsel… “Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” I don’t think this advice has a time stamp or an age limit. Baby Boomer women, of whom I’m one, have lived a significant percentage of their adult years within very prescribed lines. I’m working on a book entitled, Be Brave. Lose the Beige: A Coloring Book for Living Outside the Lines which encourages women to be brave and step outside some of those lines to experience more playfulness in their lives. I guess that is why I found this speech so inspiring…it’s how I feel as well. As we age into our 50s 60s, and 70s don’t settle for living someone else’s life. I don’t believe it is ever too late to pursue our postponed dreams and follow our hearts and intuition.