How Old Do You Feel?

 

Dear Reader:

It was one of those moments that just sneaks up on you. It was 5 years ago, but it remains fixed in my memory. It was the day I realized that even though I was the one driving from point a to point b, my passengers were not far behind me. I was sitting in the car pool lane at school with my neighbor in the back seat awaiting the arrival of my daughter.  We had just finished an uninhibited, full-throttle, banging on the steering wheel and backpack sing-along with Adele. I was still “Rolling in the Deep” when my 15-year-old passenger asked. “How old do you feel?” I turned to face her and she continued. “Do you feel as old as you are?”

I was impressed with her question, and I wanted to know where it came from before I  answered. She said that it came from observing her mother closely. Fair enough. She deserved a thoughtful response.

At the time, I was a mere 52-year-old, so in some ways I was still getting used to the label:  “50-something.” I was then and still am in good health fortunately,  but I didn’t really think that was at the heart of her question. I had to tell her that, although I wasn’t really sure what “50” was supposed to feel like, it was very hard to believe that it had happened to me, even though I was along for the entire ride.

“So you are saying what everyone says:  time goes by quickly?” she asked. She’d heard it before and I could only confirm that it is one of those truths that can’t be known…until it is known.

She wanted more than a simple, trite, easy answer though, so I drew a comparison for her. I described “Imaginary 50-year-old Michele.” She’s a better driver. She’s very wise in a very casual way.  She’s less fearful. She’s more organized.

In contrast, “Real Michele” was still a lousy driver and a bit disorganized. She knew what she didn’t know and she did not hesitate to ask for help. She was not unafraid, but she had a greater sense of peace than she could have imagined.

I also confessed that the picture that I carried in my mind no longer closely matched what I saw when I looked at photographs of myself. Generally, I wasn’t bothered by that though. I estimated my imaginary mental picture age was about “35.”

If I were asked the same question today, I’d probably reply in the same manner. I’m now closer to “60” than “50” and I’m sure when that happens it will feel sudden, and I’ll bet I won’t feel like a 60-year-old.  I’m guessing I’ll still be a poor driver and a bit disorganized, but, in my mind’s eye, I will have aged some; I’ll probably look about “45.”

I’ve decided a bit of denial is just fine. I know how old I am, but there’s no reason to dwell on how many years I’ve lived except to marvel at my incredible good fortune. When I want to feel really young,  these things always take me back:

  • Listening to the Bee Gees
  • Driving a fast car…fast
  • Flirting with my husband
  • Swinging, you know, in a swing in the park
  • Eating a doughnut or hot fudge sundae or a piece of cake with special candles

My daughter baked me a cake!

This year I visited my daughter at college the week before my 57th birthday and she and her roommates helped me celebrate. They baked me a cake and used the only candles they had in their apartment, as they had all turned “20” this year!

Michele

Guest Post: Painting Barbie by Beth Bordelon

Dear Reader:

Our “From the Pink Shed” hostess Michele asked me why I paint Barbies. The easy answer is, “ I just thought it would be fun.” But when pushed to consider the question a bit more deeply a few things come to mind.

For inspiration, I often take or find photos of subjects I might like to paint later. One of my largest photo files is the Barbie folder. Not just any Barbie, but the vintage original Barbie dolls that Mattel introduced back in 1959. For some reason, later Barbies seem frivolous and maybe a bit tacky to me,  yet the original Barbies seem classic.

When my daughter was growing up in the late 1990s, I intentionally never bought her a Barbie. I felt that those unrealistically shaped, perfect glamour girls would be unattainable or improper role models for her. When friends or family members gave her a Barbie as a gift, I would go out and buy the doll a doctor’s outfit, a basketball uniform or an art studio in order to give her something productive to do, something that made her more than just a pretty face.

I think part of my interest in painting Barbie dolls (and other retro toys) is due to my 14-year career as an advertising art director. I created many a layout for clients’ products or services—hamburgers, soap, cameras, clothing. Paintings can turn objects into heroes. Think of Andy Warhol and the Campbell’s soup can. Painting a Barbie feels a little like creating an ad for her without the need for a headline!

Ironically, growing up, I never owned a Barbie.  My parents gave me a Tammy doll with her very own carrying case instead. (I still have both!) I liked her and certainly had plenty of opportunities to play with my friends’ Barbies, not to mention Midges, Kens and Skippers. So am I now trying to compensate for my “deprived” childhood? My amateur psychoanalyst self says I don’t think so.

If I was to be totally honest —and I’m embarrassed to admit this—there’s a part of me that relates to this perfect long, tall gal. We both came into the world in 1959 — Mattel started selling Barbie five days after I was born. She’s long and lean and so am I, at 5’10” with a 33” inseam. She’s perfect, and I’m, well, a perfectionist. I’ve fought hard to let that label go, but hey, it’s a process! Who knows how many more Barbies I’ll paint. Perhaps she’s out of my system. We shall see…

Beth

My friend Beth’s work can be found at Bordelon Artworks. In addition to being a very talented artist, she is a very dear friend to me. You can reader more about Beth and our friendship here.

How to be Hot…Not!

Dear Reader:

I’m in my final phase of blog instruction…yippeee!

My technology specialist, Kristin, says I’ve “mastered” the basics (I’m proud!), and it’s time to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is just a fancy way of saying that I’m looking for readers who might enjoy my content.  Basically, I’m learning how to leave a trail of breadcrumbs, in the form of keywords, that will lead new visitors to my site.

I had my first lesson yesterday. It began when I innocently searched the phrase “women over 50.” I would love to have readers of all ages and both sexes, but primarily I’m speaking to women in the baby boomer generation, so I wanted to see what results this search would yield.

There was good news and bad news.

The top ten articles involved advice on the perfect hairstyles for the mature woman and lists of the sexiest women over 50.  A couple of articles combined both topics to give advice on how to look “hot” after 50. This was very good news for me, as this is not my niche. If I wanted to dispense beauty advice from my pink shed, I’d have a lot of competition.

But, really?! I love a good tutorial on how to make the dark circles under my eyes disappear or a pictorial of beautiful pink dresses. (See my post entitled The Pink Dress). I love perusing Vogue magazine, “playing” in my closet and trying the latest shade of lip color. This is one small piece of the whole that makes me who I am. This is the antidote to real life worries: fun. But if age brings wisdom, then we understand that holding onto our lost youth will not bring happiness or fulfillment. Sometimes, I feel pleased when I look in the mirror and sometimes I don’t. But I’m always happy when I’m reading or writing, dining with friends, hosting a party, volunteering my time or talent and thinking about my lovely daughter.

So, if you’d like advice on how to be hot, there’s plenty of it out there! You will not find it here! However, I do believe that I have the key to achieving the perfect hairstyle at any age:  find a great hairdresser! Now you don’t have to read those articles!

Have a wonderful day,

Michele

 

 

Dr. Buff and the Older Woman

Dear Reader:

My daughter got stuck taking me to a medical appointment in one of those lovely role reversals that happen once your child is grown.  I was required to have a designated driver after a pain specialist gave me a couple of cortisone shots in my back. Before transporting me home, my daughter was called into the recovery room where the doctor gave her a few instructions.

As she ever so gently helped me into the car, I asked her how she liked my doctor.  “Your doctor. That was your doctor?!”  Apparently, she had assumed she was receiving post-procedure instructions from a medical assistant of some sort.

“You didn’t tell me your new doctor was buff,” she retorted.  ” Young. You mean young,” I responded. Nope, she meant buff as defined in the Urban Dictionary:  very strong or having defined muscles, hot.

I was given the chance to re-evaluate my assessment of my doctor a couple of weeks later, and I found him to be both young and buff!  Wow, how did I miss that? Well, I’ll tell you how…during my initial consultation with him all I could focus on was his bright shining youth. Wow, I wondered as I left his office, are the doctors getting younger or am I getting older? Think I answered my own question!

Other clues that you are getting older:

  • You have to ask: it’s hot in here, right?! Isn’t it? Anybody else feel warm?
  • You can’t remember why you walked into a room.
  • You’ve fallen in love with tennis shoes. Your heels are collecting dust…literally.
  • You can’t seem to call your daughter’s five roommates by their respective names.
  • You don’t recognize your hands.
  • You are super excited that Saturday Night Live will soon begin broadcasting live across all time zones!

Just a few reasons you don’t mind:

  • You can be absolutely sure that you’ll never be perfect, so no pressure.
  • Tennis shoes are inexpensive and being shown on the runway this year!
  • It’s nice to be chauffeured around by your daughter.
  • You realize that most of the things you spent your life worrying about didn’t matter or didn’t happen.
  • Aging is a gift…it’s called life.

Enjoy your day,

Michele

 

S’mores Please!

 Dear Reader: 

My lovely daughter and two of her lovely college roommates paid me a visit! Ours is a small home, you may remember, so Dad packed up and spent the weekend with his mom.

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Girl’s weekend! I’m sure, you won’t be surprised to hear that we spent the evenings consuming large amounts of rich desserts and sappy romantic comedies.

I simply must share my favorite recipe with you:

Super Simple S’mores

Ingredients:

8 La Petit `Ecolier cookies

4 regular sized marshmallows

Place four cookies, chocolate side up, on a plate. Top two of the cookies with a marshmallow. Microwave on high for 10 seconds. Combine the cookies to make a sandwich. Mmmmm…enjoy!

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At a mere 150 calories or so, you can afford to enjoy one…or two. Recommended accompaniment: coffee or milk and any movie featuring Chris Pine. We watched Princess Diaries 2.

Michele

I’m NOT Cooking, Today!

Dear Reader:

“She started this blog and she just stopped cooking!” I heard my husband say as I passed the door of his study.

“Think she likes blogging better,” my daughter responded.

Ah, the wisdom of youth! Yes, I do like writing better.  In fact the list of things I like better than cooking is long.  It includes: eating, sleeping, exercising and reading. I’d rather be spending time with friends, binge-watching The Crown, wine tasting in the valley, hanging out on the couch with my dogs or talking to my daughter on the phone.

It would be less than sincere to say that I like everything about aging, but it is absolutely true that I am happier now than I have ever been. One of the things I like most is that I have the time to do (or not) as I please. That is a blessing!

I’m sure I’ve become a bit more selfish with my time…but, the clock is ticking! NOW is such a good time! My daughter is happy, my husband is retired, my friends are inspiring,  my home and my pink shed are beautiful and my health is good. I’m enjoying my 50’s.

Gotta go now. I’m taking my husband shopping in the prepared meals section at Whole Foods.

Have a great day!

Michele

Anonymous

Dear Reader:

I googled you with no results reads the poster in my pink shed.  Below the words, there is a beautiful silhouette of a woman who looks as though she lived in the Jane Austen age. I hung this poster up a few months ago …that resembles me, I thought! I pictured myself in my pink shed reading books, writing cards and letters to my friends and family and simply relaxing with my dog in my lap. I did not see myself practicing my computer skills, launching a blog or setting up a Facebook page. But, March has ended and I’ve done all those things!

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I’m reminded of the old saying that: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” It seems I am capable of learning new tricks, and, as for my dogs, well…we couldn’t teach them any tricks when they were young! I hope you’ll enjoy reading my posts from the pink shed and I hope you’ll share what’s on your mind, too!

All the Best,

Michele

P.S. Dachshunds are notoriously difficult dogs to train…really!

 

 

Thank you, Beth!

Dear Reader:

I call Beth my “Texas beauty queen girlfriend,” because, well she’s very pretty and she still speaks “Texan” even though she hasn’t lived there for more than 20 years. Y’all understand?! But she is so much more than attractive and down-to-earth. She’s the kind of friend who always listens, never judges (unless we’re talking about the quality of a photo!)  and helps when she can.

Beth.jpg

 

Before I got to know Beth, she was simply the “Mom with the camera.” Other parents spoke highly of the wonderful photos, videos and slide shows she generously prepared to commemorate school events and trips. I didn’t really get to know Beth until we moved across the street from her and started a car-pool to get our kids to school. Her son and my daughter are the same age and her oldest is two years their senior. We bonded as moms and neighbors and today, now that our “children” are away at school, we share a bond as artists. It seems Beth is multi-talented; she is not only a brilliant photographer, but she is also a gifted painter. I invite you to view her art at  bordelonartworks.com.

When I called to tell Beth about my idea for a blog, she responded exactly how I wished she would: with enthusiasm, encouragement and an offer to help. I’m a writer, not a photographer, but I knew I wanted photos on my blog. Beth and I are no longer neighbors, but she loaded up her camera and speciality lighting and made the 80 minute drive to my pink shed. Most of the photos (all the good ones!) on my site have been taken by Beth.  After the photo shoot, we had a good old-fashioned slumber party.  In an attempt to be as good a friend to Beth as she is to me, I agreed to watch the Bachelor, as that is one of her favorite shows.  My husband disappeared to his study and I had the opportunity to find out what all the hype is about.  Um, well… I just couldn’t really enjoy the visual of one guy kissing a different girl in each scene. But, I could understand how one could become addicted to show. I asked that Beth tell me who Nick chose, as I would be curious but not watching. (Funny thing: my technology consultant, Kristin, was approached to be on The Bachelor years ago, but declined…wisely, I think!)

Years ago Beth and I helped each other through the day-to-day challenges that come with raising children and today we support eachother in our artistic endeavors. I feel so grateful to call her my friend.

May y’all be blessed with good friends,

Michele