The MAD Goddess writes out loud with candor and humor about the changing landscape of life for women with retired husbands,
adult children, and grandchildren. It's not always a pretty story,
but it's usually pretty funny.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008


Made any resolutions yet for 2009? Is it just me, or does the promise of reward seem less worth the effort of consequential improvement the older we get?

Should I resolve to lose weight and get in shape? I’ve been on that roller coaster for the last ten years; it’s hardly fodder for New Year resolutions. Last year I enrolled in a fitness class called Ramping. It’s supposed to be the kinder, gentler version of step aerobics. I used to be coordinated. I used to have pretty good balance. I used to be able to follow a repeating pattern of steps and add the arm movements in sequence. I used to teach this stuff! But then, I used to know my left from my right.

Walking is good. I’m pretty sure I can still put one foot in front of the other. I’m told if I do it often enough I can stay fit and maintain my weight. If it gets too boring, I’ll try chewing gum at the same time.

I could strive to get organized, but every night that I go to bed and have to switch off the light reassures me that I am. If my belly is full, the furnace is still heating, the cable signal is being received, the internet is streaming, the dial-tone is buzzing, the cell phone is activated and the toilet is still flushing, I’m organized, darn-it. Those things are evidence that I continue to get up, get dressed, feed myself, work for money, buy food and clothing and remember to pay my bills on time. Anything beyond that is either a sign of obsessive compulsive disorder – or wealth.

The day that my linen closet boasts symmetrically folded and stacked towels with room to spare, or I can open the door of my medicine cabinet without a dozen bottles tumbling out, will be the day I’m making enough money to hire a full-time housekeeper. When I stop sending belated birthday cards, I’ll have added a personal assistant. And when I’m no longer searching frantically for my car keys in the hope of getting where I’m going on time, I’ll be sitting in the back seat of my chauffeured Jag.

Maybe I should find a new job or ask for a raise. I don’t think so. A better resolution this year might be learning how to stretch a dollar. Besides, if I spend less at the grocery store I’ll finally be able to lose those stubborn ten pounds.

Remember the days when we were all back in school? Remember easy credits? The classes you took because there wasn’t much effort required to earn the grade? When it comes to life I figure I’ve earned most of the hard credits; I’m taking it easy from here on out.

This year I plan to take more naps when it’s cold and gray outside. I will sit in my garden when the sun shines; everything and (everybody else) wait.

I will stop spending my money buying things I think will make me happy and start spending my time doing things I know I enjoy.

I will laugh more and (hopefully) cry less, but if I do feel like crying I will sob wholeheartedly and without shame.

I will say no without guilt, yes (only) when I want to and change my mind if I feel like it.

I will practice serenity by embracing acceptance.

My New Year’s resolution for 2009 is challenging in its simplicity; to let life unfold in each new day and take it as it comes - as easy as I can. I’ve earned it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


There’s a joke that’s been making the email rounds for a while now. It’s about God, the Garden of Eden and that infamous first couple Adam and Eve. In this conjecture, Eve was created first and, oddly enough, she had three breasts. When God asked her how things were going, she reported being mostly pleased, but wondered why she had 3 breasts when all the animals were symmetrical. She didn’t want to complain, but that third breast kind of got in the way.

God agreed, reached down, removed the unnecessary mammary appendage and tossed it into the bushes. A few weeks later he called on Eve again, asking how things were.

“Fine,” she said. “But I was wondering; all the animals have a mate and I’m kind of lonely. Might I have one too?”

God agreed to grant her request and looking around said, “Now what did I do with that useless boob?”

There’s a fine question. What do we Mad Goddess women do with our useless boobs (translate husbands, partners, boyfriends or consorts – whatever suits you) when they turn out to be more of an annoyance than they seem worth?

You could start with a list of pros and cons – virtues and faults but you probably already know them by heart without ever writing them down. You could turn your troubles into a cash cow. A famous author of a woman’s detective series wrote her first book from her wishful plotting of her husband’s quick demise.

You could be grateful that we’re not as limited as our mothers and grandmothers. You know, there was a time when a woman could be committed to an insane asylum with nothing more than the signature of two relatives – her husband counting as one. Of course, that was a time when a stay in an asylum, with three meals a day and a clean bed, might have been a welcome vacation. You know what Cher says about marriage: "It's a fine institution, if you like living in an institution."

We could be like our daughters – a new generation of women who seem to be tipping the scales of career, money and power in their favor. The downside is that many of them end up with boys that never grow up instead of husbands.

I guess a Middle Aged Goddess, like myself, just has to learn to live with a useless boob that sometimes gets in the way, demands too much attention and (even though you think it can’t be possible) sinks to new, disappointing levels of every day.

Friday, December 5, 2008


When my children were little, Christmas time was a flurry of decorations, school and church programs, baking and making presents. The budget was tight and shopping was last on the list. My first Christmas as a newly wed, I purchased cheap paper doilies and with a little bit of folding and tape, turned them into three-dimensional ornaments for our tree.

When the youngest was in grade school, her teacher sent home a blank cut-out of a huge Christmas stocking. We were instructed to decorate it in a way that represented our family. Out came the shoe box of photos from over the years. Before long both of her sisters, much older than she and far too teen-jaded for warm-fuzzy family fun, had joined us at the table strewn with scissors, glue, ribbon and glitter. We spent the entire evening cutting and pasting our family history onto that poster-board stocking.

Those were the days!

My children, of course, have different memories. Such as the first year I won the battle over harvested tree versus artificial tree. Every December their father and I zipped ourselves into snowmobile suits, trekked out into our wooded acreage and cut down a tree. The first year, I was 9-months pregnant, hiking through snow up to my thighs and wondering if I’d be giving birth in the back forty. By the tenth year, it just wasn’t fun anymore.

So I over-ruled the majority and purchased our first artificial tree. After it was assembled and decorated my middle daughter said, “It’s just not Christmas.” I’d argued this point with her father one too many times and I didn’t appreciate her coming in on his side. I restrained myself from choking the little Benedict Arnold and she concluded, “Mom isn’t cussing a blue streak about the lopsided tree with bare spots and Dad isn’t hiding out watching the football game on TV”.

Now my children are all grown up and each of them, in their own way, hates Christmas. They can’t afford gifts – that stresses them out. They have too many obligations (multi generations of blended families) – that stresses them out. They don’t see eye to eye with each other’s spouses and significant others – that stresses them out. They would prefer that Christmas come and go without them – and that stresses me out.

For too many years now, I have been spending the weeks before Christmas turning myself inside out and upside down in an attempt to deliver a Christmas holiday that everyone will enjoy. I do this mostly for my husband, whose only wish is to have all of our children and grandchildren in the same place on the same day for a family holiday. After many failed attempts, I have one thing to say. Good luck on that.

As for me, my idea of the perfect Christmas would be making homemade decorations and gifts – from the sea shells I gathered at the beach, attending sunrise services – on the pier, baking – clams, crab and lobster in the sand and sending postcards in lieu of Christmas greetings – Wish you were here! Hope you can join us next year.

. . . . . . mid
GET A ^ LIFE at MAD Goddess

Friday, November 14, 2008


I recently read an article siting research that proves men are happier in midlife than women. No, really? It went on to further explain that young women start out relatively happy, but end up just plain miserable mostly because of unfulfilled aspirations.

I could have saved this team of geniuses a lot of trouble in arriving at the same conclusion.

Midlife is about looking back at old dreams and wondering what happened, how did I get here and what am I going to do now? Pay attention to that last question – it separates the women from the boys.

A midlife crisis for most women means coming to the cold, hard realization that her youth is fading. If she is or has been married with children, it means that those children to whom she dedicated most of her energy, whether she worked outside of her home or not, have flown the coop along with her youth. If she still has kids at home, it means that she is overworked, under appreciated and just plain exhausted all the time.

If she is entering menopause, just being in her own body is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows – hot flashes one minute, freezing the next, skipped periods for three months (halleluiah) and the periods from hell that seem to last an eternity, not to mention mood swings that make Sybil tame by comparison.

Contrast this to the typical middle aged man. When he looks in the mirror, standing naked in the classic body-builder's pose, he sees Adonis with a full head of hair, granite muscles and man-parts to envy. “I’ve still got it babe,” he says with utter confidence. And to prove it, he flirts with every young woman willing to puff up his ego and (if he’s single or otherwise available) flatten his wallet.

Midlife women look at young boys half their age and their only thought is too much work.

Men in midlife buy expensive sports cars and fast motorcycles that cost as much as a house. Women in midlife go on retreats where they are told that chocolate, sugar and wine are toxic to their aging bodies, are fed seaweed and tofu, and learn to embrace and honor their inner Crone.

Men retire and take up things like golf and rock climbing. They take flying lessons (if they’re adventurous) or restore classic cars and drive them to rallies (if they’re more the couch-potato variety).

Women retire and continue to clean the house, cook the meals and do the laundry. My mother lived to the honorable age of 87 – she washed the dishes for at least 75 of those years. She washed dishes the last night of her life. How sad is that?

Men become more distinguished with age, they fill out. In midlife women have sluggish metabolism, expanding waistlines and shrinking bones -- we get older, shorter and fatter.

Between their magic mirrors and Viagra, middle age men believe they are a hybrid of Greek god and Latin lover.

If that’s not enough to make you laugh, then bake yourself a fudge cake and wash it down with a bottle of good wine 'cause, honey - you need the fix.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


My youngest daughter is six weeks away from marking the half-way point of her sophomore year in college. She completed her freshman year on the campus of a nearby state university – just far enough away to warrant dorm residency and close enough to visit home for an afternoon, evening or weekend anytime the notion struck.

Now she is 400 miles away from home enrolled in a big-city, private college. My born and bred country mouse is thriving (by all reports) in the excitement of a major metropolis. Yee-gads!

When she first set off to college, she worried about me. “You’re not going to go off the deep end or anything are you?” she asked. “I mean the whole empty nest thing and all?”

I assured her that while I loved her dearly and would miss her greatly, I had been working toward this eventuality for 30 years and was kind of looking forward to it. I have to admit, the true separation anxiety didn’t settle into my heart and soul until this year. Four hundred miles feels like four thousand.

Empty nest, last baby to spread her wings and a few tearful moments here and there put aside, I am so proud of her I’m nearly busting open at the seems. Forget that she is following in – no make that surpassing in great leaps and bounds – her grandfather’s and mother’s journalistic endeavors. She has grabbed hold of her dream and she’s riding it like a cowgirl atop a bucking bronco, with her eye on the prize. Whether she holds on for the full ride, is thrown off a few times before reaching her goal, or decides to set her dream free and watch it gallop off without her, makes no difference in my eyes.

My thought (selfish desire?) that she’d decide the cosmopolitan life wasn’t her destiny after all and would return home post haste seems quite unlikely. If I have any remaining doubt, the life-size posters of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s decorating her dorm-room walls say it all.

So why am I feeling like the bad mother? Because I’ve gone ahead and made the big change. I’ve re-purposed her bedroom! I moved my computer and files in, hooked up a phone line and made it my office. It’s not like I can’t change it back in one afternoon. And I haven’t boxed up all of her things (okay, a lot of them, but not all). I still have some of her artwork on the walls. I’ve hung only my out-of-season wardrobe in the closet with the few things she left behind. And I still have her collection of lucky St. Patrick’s Day figurines on display on the tiered shelf next to her bed.

Jumbled in with my office bric-a-brac, the cacophony is giving the impression that the room belongs to someone with a few too many personalities rattling around in her head (come to think of it, that might be a good thing for a writer). I’m hoping the newly painted, deep mauve walls help calm things down a bit. The color is Shakespeare’s Muse and I chose it without knowing the name. Is that providence or what? Perhaps it will motivate me over the next few years one tenth as much as my daughter has inspired me these last few months.

So, youngest child of mine, if you’re reading this (and I know you are), I hope you know that you can come back any time. You were the last to leave and it was harder to help you fly away from home, but that was my job all along. Now that you are showing me how to reach for a dream and ride it for all it’s worth, maybe some day I’ll be able to follow in your footsteps.

Oh, and just so this doesn’t go to your head, I’m equally as proud of your equally strong minded and free spirited sisters – who will be quick to remind you that their rooms were repurposed the minute the door closed behind them on their way out. And will also remind you they were welcomed with open arms when they returned.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Okay, it’s true that I was a child bride and I chose to start a family as soon as I became a Mrs. When my oldest daughter was married at the same age that I wed her father, and then she gave birth to my first grandchild before I was forty, being a grandmother was a novelty. Nobody believed me. They all insisted I looked too young to be a grandmother. Let’s face it, I was too young.

Now, my fourth grandchild is on the way and nobody bats an eye when I say that. The novelty has worn off and there is no more basking in the notion of being too young. I am a grandmother.

I accompanied my middle daughter on her recent visit to the baby doctor. I wanted to be there for the first listen-in on the heartbeat. My daughter wanted me there to corral her soon to be two-year-old son.

There is not a button, knob or switch that my grandson doesn’t have to push, turn or flip. He knows that doing so makes things happen. Lights turn on, radios blare, garage doors open magically. When the nurse rolled in the ultrasound machine, being restrained from all of those buttons and switches was just too much for him to handle.

I dragged him down the long hallway back to the reception area, screaming all the way – him, not me. Even if I’d wanted to scream (which I didn’t because a grandmother doesn’t give a hoot in Hades if a whole reception room full of patients think her grandchild is a brat), I didn’t have the energy. The kid had already worn me out and we’d barely begun the day.

There is something wrong with this picture. There was a time when I was the mother with one child in tow and another on the way. My own mother and I would pack up the stroller, put the babe in her car seat, go to my doctor’s appointment and then spend the rest of the day shopping, lunching and just having a ball. My mother kept up every bit of the way. Even more astounding, she was almost 20 years older than I am now!

Maybe it’s this whole menopause thing that’s sapping my energy. I was the baby of the family and unlike me, Mom was no child bride. By the time I came along her menopause wasn’t far behind. Thinking back, she often commented on how tired she was raising me. I wish she was here so I could ask her if she had a renewed burst of energy when she hit sixty.

I’m hoping that’s the answer because at eighty-five, mom was still working half a day in her garden – and complaining that she tired so easily. I’m lucky to hold up for an hour of weed pulling, flower planting and fertilizing before I call it quits. At this rate, if I make it past seventy, let alone eighty, I can only imagine I’ll be little more than a fat-cat napping in the sun all day.

Still, judging from the two felines in residence at my house (better known as the furry couch-doilies) that might just be the fat cat's meow.

. . . . . . mid
GET A ^ LIFE at MA'd Goddess

Sunday, October 19, 2008


In a few weeks, I have to attend a fundraising event benefiting the museum where I work. This Black & White Social is a trendy affair (think Carrie Bradshaw and her peeps) sponsored by an upscale salon and spa. Our staff will be treated to complimentary salon service the day of the event and we’re expected to dress in trendy attire.

Can a pleasingly plump middle aged women pull off trendy?

I’m hip. I saw the premier of the Sex In the City movie with my 20-something daughter (the one with a shoe closet the size of a small bedroom). I’ve got a bead on up-to-the-minute style. What I don’t have is a size 4 body on a long, leggy frame. One thing I noticed in the movie, Hollywood starlets may grow up but thanks to personal trainers they never grow out – of their designer wardrobes.

This is a weighty issue for most of us real-world, midlife divas. Sure, if I could afford a personal trainer to haul my wide load out of bed for a 6 a.m. jog around the park every morning, I’d be looking pretty good. So what’s keeping me from lacing up my tennies and hitting the pavement anyway? My first guess would be that there is no beef cake with sculpted pecs and buns of steel waiting to put me through the paces. Let’s face it, that’s the real motivator.

And how can I be sure that these silver screen goddesses haven’t had a nip or tuck here and there? Say I resist the lure of the snooze alarm, commit to at least 40-minutes of sweatin’ like an oldie every morning and I still can’t fit into my skinny jeans?

Yesterday I raided my daughter’s shoe closet. I’m hoping that the Steve Madden gladiators with three-inch heels will put me over the top for trendy.

Actually I’m just hoping I don’t fall off of them. Wish me luck.

. . . . . . mid
GET A ^ LIFE at MA'd Goddess

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The other night I was surfing the channels hoping to catch the latest, relevant, political news. (An aside here, CNN’s Keeping Them Honest is a ray of sunshine in this hurricane season of misinformation.) Indulging in a bit of nostalgic gratification (oh, for the days when the choices seemed as black and white as our television screens), I lingered on Nick at Nite. There was the lovely Elizabeth Montgomery, twitching her little, upturned nose and creating chaos in Darren’s life.

I’ve always liked Elizabeth Montgomery or more accurately, Samantha Stevens. I like what Sam stood for in the midst of fast changing social values. Okay, so the writers had to employ devices like witchcraft and a “twin” cousin to reflect the burgeoning independence of the American woman. And her mother, Endora – a divorced, independent woman, not on the prowl for a replacement hubby? Pure progressive genius.

Over the years, I’ve held Elizabeth /Samantha up as an example of a healthy, mature woman with a normal body weight. In her stylishly simple “house dresses” one could easily see that below her waist were curving hips and extending from her sleeveless bodices, shapely upper arms. And yet, in the animated credit roll for Bewitched, Samantha was drawn in the exact proportions of a Barbie doll.

Fast forward to 2007 when AMC debuted it’s critically acclaimed hit Mad Men, giving us the real skinny on what Darren was doing at the ad agency office in the 60’s. The little woman at home might have had some healthy meat on her, but the men of Madison Avenue were all agog at the perfect doll image. And thus began the quest to remake ourselves in the image of a man’s fantasy.

Bringing us to 2008 where the ugly beast (man’s fantasy) rears its head and roars, “She is WOMAN!” If you haven’t seen the picture of Sarah Palin’s head photo-shopped onto a 20-something, stars-and-stripes-bikini clad body toting a rifle . . . you haven’t missed much. Puhleese! Every woman in America knew that photo was a phony. No mother of five has an abdomen like that.

A male coworker, who at best is very discriminating in his political opinions and at worst is down right cynical, responded to my inquiry as to his thoughts about Palin as VP, “Sticks and stones might break my bones but a woman with a gun excites me.” I have no doubt. But what about her qualifications, experience, ethical action in the face of opposition?

In her biography, now running on the aforementioned CNN, Sarah poses for a model’s shot, completely wrapped in the American flag. Truly offensive. Does its hoped for effectiveness lie in the anticipated certainty that men will be captivated by the thought of what she is wearing (or not wearing) beneath the flag? So captivated that they will be oblivious to her lack of qualifications? Forget about Sarah P capturing the women’s vote. She has men across America fawning over her they way they secretly fondled their sister’s Barbie dolls. They want to keep her image in their minds; they want to see more of her when they turn on the nightly news. If that means voting her into national public office, so be it.

Yes, Governor Sarah Palin is the dream girl of the Mad Men, and we all know sex sells. She might stop long enough in her whirlwind photo op tour (her appearances on the campaign trail can be considered little more than that in light of her refusal to take questions) to ponder this. If her running mate can laugh at an accomplished, powerful woman being called the B-word, what might be the so-called locker room exchanges directed at her?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


The Republican Party plucked Sarah Palin from obscurity and served her up on a platter as super woman-mom-politico. Her meteoric rise over the national landscape is far less due to any political acumen than it is to her own blind ambition.

Her supporters like to say that she is “Every Woman”, meaning (I think) that she represents the common every day mother and working woman. I am a mother, grandmother and working woman. Sarah Palin does not represent me in any of those aspects. She does not represent my best interests in areas of the economy, education or family values.

Really? What kind of values is a mother teaching when she delivers almost her entire acceptance speech, in front of her children, from a bully – or lipsticked pit bull’s pulpit? Our schools are enacting zero tolerance on bullying – why isn’t Sarah Palin demonstrating that family value?

She certainly does not represent the advancement of women’s concerns in America. I fear that what she does represent for women is the worst of gender-biased, stereotypical character traits that have kept women from breaking that glass ceiling for so long. Sarah Palin is not every woman, but every woman has known someone like her. If you are her friend, you are golden. Just don’t oppose her or stand in the way of her ambition unless you want to feel that proverbial knife in your back

It seems an astute blogger has discovered the facts in the book banning, librarian firing myth. “Turns out Sarah requested the librarians -- who was a big supporter of Sarah's political opponent -- resignation before she ever broached the subject of a potential book boycott.”

I have two thoughts about that. First, as an elected government official, Palin is sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States of America – including all amendments in place. A move on her part to ban or otherwise remove books from a public library is a direct freedom of speech violation. Private citizens can question and take proper channels to remove materials that may be deemed objectionable – but Sarah Palin is no longer a private citizen.

Second, her effort to fire the librarian who didn’t support her during her campaign and/or in areas of ethics (and when she became Governor – a cop who wouldn’t cooperate with her very private, family agenda), is abuse of power. If that's not bad enough, it is divisive and reminiscent of the high-school-girl-drama antics most adult women have long since abandoned.

Sarah Palin has used her power to repeatedly advance her own agendas, often times in opposition to her ticket’s slogan – County (substitute neighborhood, town or state) First. She won her mayoral election with the promise to rebuild her town’s crumbling infrastructure. Instead, the self described “hockey mom” pushed through the building of a multi-use sports complex (big ice arena) that one citizen describes as a “huge money pit”. When she took office in Wasilla, Alaska “she inherited a city with zero debt.” Despite raising the amount of city collected taxes by 38%, “she left it with an indebtedness of over $22 million.”

Her new battle cry is for drilling in the Alaskan Wilderness. Whether this is a wise move or not, remains to be determined. It has the potential to provide short-term relief from the burden of rising energy costs in America. It also carries the threat of allowing us to become overly complacent in our continuing dependence of oil, thus pushing the advancement of new energy technologies to the back burner once again. It also contributes to the growing concern of greenhouse gasses and global warming, all of which is not the future I want for my grandchildren – even if it would make my tank of gas more affordable now.

Also, consider her motives for drilling in light of the fact that their family income has never come from her husband’s commercial fishing business. He works a high-paying union job on the North Slope for BP which allows him the flexibility to take a few months each summer for fishing.

In a move straight out of Pygmalion, Sarah Palin is being packaged as something she is not, nor ever has been – a common woman driven to public service. She might know how to talk the talk, but it seems she is barely beyond baby steps in learning to walk the walk.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


My friend says that (so far) what she hates most about middle age (she barely qualifies) is watching her boobs go south. Honey, mine have gone so far south they must be in Florida because they look like two Valencia’s hanging in the bottom of a pair of tube sox. Figures my “girls” would make it to Florida for retirement before me.

The older I get, the colder I get. This doesn’t bode well for somebody living in the northern tundra of Wisconsin. Today dawned with an absolutely gorgeous autumn sunrise. I haven’t checked the thermometer, but I’d guess we’re right around 73-degrees. I know because that is my comfort zone. I can tolerate much higher temps. In fact, you didn’t hear me complaining the two previous summers when global warming spiked our July and August index to the high nineties. But 73 or 74-degrees is just right for me.

I work in a Victorian House Museum with no air conditioning. Well, that’s not exactly true. My office is on the third floor. We all know heat rises, especially in those old homes, so mine is the only office graced with a window air conditioner. Most days I don’t even turn it on until one of my co-workers wanders up to the third floor and asks me why it’s so hot.

Now, my husband is exactly the opposite. He is his own personal furnace and is always too hot. His comfort level is about 67-degrees. Since retiring (failing health/disability), he’s talking a lot about putting air conditioning in our home. My mind flashes to the two annual trips when I’d accompany him in the 18-wheeler. For six days, I’d sit in the passenger seat wearing my sweat pants and a hoodie with a blanket wrapped around me because he had the air conditioning set to about 64. When we stopped to eat, I’d open the door to be blasted by temperatures well above 80. This is how I’m spending my vacation time? I wondered. I wanted to order my meal to go and sit on the blacktop in the parking lot to eat it – just so I could warm up.

Would that I could afford to heat my house to 73 – or even 70, when it’s 20-below zero outside. To save on winter heating bills, I set our thermostat to 67-degrees. I’m cold all winter long. Over my dead body will I be cursed to live in a house that is air conditioned down to the same frigid temperature during the measly three-months of summer that we get in this otherwise frozen zone.

Since he's been home all summer, in the evenings we sit in our double recliner (aren’t we cute!) with the fan blowing directly on us. I have (you guessed it) a blanket wrapped around me. He is more of a night owl than I am so I retire early, leaving him and his fan-cooled space for the bedroom. In my nocturnal sanctuary, the breeze billowing the curtains away from the window is appropriately moisture laden and warm – as it should be.

“We need a ceiling fan in this room,” he grumbles when he later joins me.

He pushes the light, summer coverlet down and I tug it back up on my side, clutching the fabric beneath my chin with a death grip. I fall asleep with nightmares of the evil, propeller-like blades spinning at super-duper high speed, churning out a layer of frost to coat everything in the bedroom, including me.

I keep talking about moving south for retirement. He keeps ignoring me. I think a compromise is in order. For the worst of the winter months I think the "girls” and I should both head in the same direction - South. He can join us or not, but I hope he remembers that a day without “orange juice” is like a day without sunshine.

. . . . . . mid
GET A ^ LIFE at MA'd Goddess

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

When I Grow Up

When I was young, I believed that I would marry a man I loved, have children, work hard to raise a family and make a life, and then grow old bouncing my grandchildren on my knee. Not surprisingly, there were a few detours along the way.

Perhaps I was naïve. Devoting 30 years to a career with no paycheck and no pension plan is risky business. Now that I am 50, my trip has been seriously side-tracked. Instead of enjoying the life I’ve made and spending my time spoiling my grandchildren, I am weighing the benefits of going back to school to improve my employment prospects.

I don’t think my traditional choices were wrong; I’m still very satisfied with my degree in motherhood, even though I have no diploma for lessons learned – nor gold watch for retirement, and in fact, any retirement seems out of the picture now.

Here is fair warning: It matters little whether you or your spouse are the primary wage earner, or even if you depend on both incomes equally; divorce, illness or death can still bring your dreams to a screeching halt. Don’t talk to me about planning for emergencies. One major illness or serious accident can wipe out a life savings in the blink of an eye. There is good reason middle-aged bankruptcy is becoming a buzz-word phrase.

Whatever comes next, I’ll figure it out – I’ve always been adaptable. What I can’t figure out are the judgmental comments from women who chose to work outside of their home. I’ve been summarily told, “You’ll have to get a real job now.” I guess because I didn’t receive a paycheck, it didn’t count. Even more insulting, I’ve been asked, “So, what are going to be when you grow up?” Do they really think that raising three children was just one long recess in the school yard?

I had idealistic dreams 30 years ago. Most of what I planned worked out, some of it didn’t, but I’m not down for the count yet. Perhaps continuing to believe I can find a way to preserve and pursue that dream is still naïve. But if growing up means giving up, just book me a one-way fare to Never-Never Land.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MAD Doesn't Begin to Cover It

If you are a regular reader and tuning in for the usual mirthful Madness of the Middle Age'd Goddess, better find something else to read today - I'm venting.

Isn’t it enough to deal with a spouse’s critical heart disease, knowing that his death could be around the next corner?

Add to that the loss of his income and medical insurance due to his inability to work, leaving me looking for full time employment including benefits in a region with jobless rates higher than the national average.

Compound the situation with hours and days of missing work from the measly part-time job I do have. This, in order to complete the seemingly endless, repetitive paperwork necessary to apply for disability, relief from medical bills or other financial help.

Pile on the role of caretaker. Okay, he’s not bed ridden or immobilized, but he is on a daily maintenance dose of nitro with that tiny bottle of backups to pop in case of an emergency. He can’t lift, carry, bend, stoop or exert himself in any way.

I’ve gone from living alone ten to twelve days out of fifteen (the life of a truck driver’s wife) to being on call. I used to be able to come home from work, toss a salad or pop a Lean Cuisine into the microwave. Now I have to prepare low-fat, low cholesterol, no sodium and no sugar meals that at least approach good taste. I have to set the table, clear the table and do the dishes that have somehow more than doubled (I think it’s the cooking utensils). I have to purchase the food, which has become an education in Label Reading 101. I can’t get through the grocery store in less than 90 minutes now.

If there’s any time left after that, I attend to household chores (including more paperwork along with financial management). When I finally make it to bed, I lie awake wondering how all of this happened and what I can do to fix it. At 50 years old, should I go back to school to improve my career outlook? Sure, I’ll fit that in when I give up sleep completely.

I refuse to give up the last vestige of sanity I have - and this is it, my blog, my little space, my only piece of the world where I still have some control.

So, if all of this isn’t enough to deal with, do I also have to be my husband’s cheerleader, psychologist and emotional punching bag?

I’m struggling to keep from being dragged into the dark pit of depression that is pulling him under. If one cog in the mechanics of my carefully structured schedule jams or breaks, the machine that is our life will come to a screeching halt.

My income may be insufficient right now, but it’s better than no income at all. If I collapse, if I become ill, if I let the stress overtake me, who will look after the two of us? Who will buy the groceries, prepare the meals, run the house, pay the bills and continue to ensure the safety and security of us both?

You’d think that my husband would have a vested interest in keeping me healthy and sane. Instead his fear and anger have made him combative, argumentative and resistant to the inevitable change required by his condition. I’m not the one he’s angry at, but I’m the one that’s here. He flings all the injustice of what has happened to him and what he is going through, at me. Does he expect that I will take the burden from him and return miracles?

I’m fresh out of miracles today. Check back with me tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gray Hair Is Not The Problem

“My eyebrows are falling off and landing on my upper lip.”

I laughed hysterically when my mother said that to me more than 20 years ago. My mom always went for the laugh. She was good at it too.

Still, her comment isn’t as funny today as it was back then. I am of south-central European heritage. The women in our family don’t have eye brows; they have great, hairy black beasts growing in a line across their forehead. I learned the finer points of plucking and waxing at an early age (and not just eyebrows).

Lately I’ve been thinking that my eyebrows have finally surrendered to the near 40 year assault. I foolishly believed the propaganda telling me that repeated plucking would result in less re-growth.

Mom was a woman of the 30’s and 40’s Hollywood glamour school. She had a real vanity, with mirrors framed by graceful wooden curves and a matching bench. As a young girl, barely a Saturday went by that I didn’t watch my mother, with fascination and admiration, sitting at her vanity to apply her makeup and style her hair before going on her standing date with my father. In later years, a triple magnifying mirror with a long, curving goose-neck took its place among other essentials on the vanity top.

Recently, I purchased just such a mirror and to my utter horror I realized that it’s not hair follicles I’m losing – it’s my eyesight.

Okay, the hairy black beast has been thinning a bit – but not nearly as much as I thought. Anybody who can still read a menu in a dim restaurant – scratch that. Anybody who can still read a menu without holding it at arm’s length in an outdoor café with the high-noon sun over their shoulder, can plainly see that I need to schedule a waxing appointment. The sooner the better.

Worse yet, mom’s great joke is on me. Like dandelion fluff that blows in the wind and plants a million seed on the lawn, the eyebrow hairs that have fallen off have landed on my upper lip and taken root! And on my chin, and worst of all, around the edges of my nostrils.

Certain benefits accompany age – like a larger income to spend on great accessories. If you live in the north, where I do, you might flaunt your discretionary spending status on fur-lined, kidskin gloves, or maybe a fur-lined full length coat. But a fur lined nose? – HELL NO to that!

When mom grew older, she worried about spending her final days in a nursing home. She asked if I would, please, at least pluck her eyebrows and her moustache regularly.
Oh sure, I thought. I’d be holding her down with one knee on her chest while ripping out facial hair with a tweezers and she’d be begging me to stop. Behind my back, she’d tell the nursing staff not to let me visit because I hurt her.

The other day, my 19 year old daughter told me she wouldn’t be wiping my drool when I was old and feeble minded. I can’t remember how we arrived at that particular subject because I’m already old and feeble minded. I’m not too worried about the impending drooling, though. I’m sure the chin whiskers will wick it right up.

Friday, July 25, 2008


I’ve decided that, As the MA’d Goddess, I should have a chauffeur. In recent weeks, the hubby and I have been carpooling for our 30-minute (one way) commute. I rearranged my work schedule to fit his cardiac rehab appointments. We’re conserving fuel (and cash) and reducing our carbon footprint. Yeah for us!

First, I’ve had to give up some of my independence. Most husbands don’t have a lot of patience for changes in the scheduled stops. For my husband, with his lingering fatigue, running errands isn’t on the list of things to do. Second, when I do get to make the occasion solo trip (see running errands above), I’m annoyed when I have to readjust the seat and the mirrors, and tune the radio back to my favorite station.

Yet, what I’ve gained almost makes up for the loss of autonomy and small irritations– an extra, stress free hour each day while he drives and I sit back to enjoy the ride. I’ve been able to (finally) read my favorite magazines that have been languishing in stacks all over the house. I can do my nails or finish my face. Mostly, I just recline the seat, close my eyes and catch an extra 30 minutes of restful thought wanderings. All of this is much better than starting the day in a full out middle-aged sweat from running a dead heat to get myself pulled together and get to work on time.

Cardiac rehab ended a week ago. The car is all mine again. I’ve decided I now want a chauffeured Jag. Honestly, what I’d really like is one of those traveling throne thingys like Cleopatra’s, with four buff and burley guys to tote me around. Of course that would mean I have nothing more pressing to do than sit on my ample back side hanging out poolside at the palace with buff and burley guys at my beck and call.

Okay, that dream might be a long shot, and even the chauffeured Jag may be a bit far off in my future, but I am definitely prepared. I’ve got my personalized license plate all picked out –


Sunday, July 6, 2008


The picture below was on the front of a birthday card I received for the recent big 5-0. I like her. I am like her. She is definitely a MA'd Goddess woman.

I hang with a group of gal-pals who embody the MA'd Goddess philosophy. We’re a diverse group of mostly middle aged woman working to maintain a sense of balance on this roller coaster ride we call life.

Collectively, we are the Lunachics ~ a name we chose to embrace the spirit of Luna, Goddess of the moon, but also to keep others guessing.

Women in groups have always been labeled. I think it’s because it makes men nervous when too many of us get together in one place. They’re okay with PTA, altar societies and any women’s auxiliary attached to an otherwise fraternal organization.
Book clubs start to push the envelope – we might be getting wild ideas in our heads.

Men feel much safer when women meet for quilting bees, sewing circles or even to stitch-n-bitch. The reassurance that we’re keeping our hands busy with the duties of domestic chores allows them to sleep at night with both eyes closed. Idle hands . . . devils workshop and all that jazz.

As for the Chics, we’re a pretty typical group of women, brought together by common experience and bonded by the unconditional support we give to one another. Just because we call ourselves the Lunachics and we meet under the light of the full moon . . . and we have no definable agenda (at least that we admit), doesn’t necessarily mean we’re traveling off the beaten path.

Oh sure, we torture our husbands and significant others with tales of secret ritual and midnight-moonlight nude dancing, but trust me – none of us is interested in playing show and see. Like over-ripe fruit that was once solid and firm, we’ve gone from juicy to loosey.

The Lunachics remain a mystery to the men in their lives. Sometimes, we’re a mystery even to ourselves, but that’s not stopping us from trying to figure it all out.
As to keeping my hands busy, I prefer filling them with a glass of good wine and some decadent chocolate treat to any kind of needle work.


“I’m just a bitch!” I confessed.
“Oh, but you’re a good one,” she said in empathetic tone.

I’m getting closer to the day, to the dream,
of sitting pretty on my throne.

Old Biddy?
Hell No!
Let him be the King of all her perceives.
I am the Queen of my Destiny.

I’ll eat my cake, with chocolate and Stoli.
I’ll drink a toast with the Chics who know me.
I’m a bitch, and a good one at that.
Those who don’t like it, can just kiss my royal asp.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Like the bitter liquid my mother used to ladle down my throat when I needed it, we, as a nation, have taken our medicine and swallowed Hillary’s sugar-laced defeat. I hope that it somehow brings us closer to eradicating a rampant and insidious dis-ease nobody likes to admit to – gender bias.

Can this be the same election that demonstrated we can overcome racial prejudice? I’ve been trying to understand all the subtleties in play. I’ve been trying to find some lesson in it – pick out that one kernel that makes sense, will let each of us keep something good from this.

It isn’t there. Yet, can any one of us really say we are surprised at the outcome of the contest between Senators Clinton and Obama, when we live in a nation which gave the right to vote to African American men before it was given to women? History has repeated itself loudly and clearly.

Not that it should be the other way around. Whether it’s a bid for the White House or a job at the corner café, neither race nor gender should come into play.

Call it what you will, paradox, irony or catch-22, Hillary Clinton proved that you can win to loose if you are a woman running for President of the United States. In stepping back from her bid for election, she expressed hope that her efforts had made it easier for women to break that proverbial glass ceiling. Here’s what Hillary taught the next woman brave enough to walk in her high heels.

She must be intelligent and educated enough to prove that she can handle the job, but . . .

She can’t be too smart for her own good, (Translate – don’t worry your pretty little head about it – the men will decide what’s better for all concerned).

She must be confident that she is the best choice for the job, but . . .

She can’t come across as too cocky. (Obviously, only men can be cocky and they’re not about to surrender that to women)

She must be attractive, but . . .

She can’t be too attractive (Apparently the syndicated cartoonists don’t know how to draw pretty women).

She must convince everybody that she really wants the job and persevere against all odds, but . . .

If she appears to want the job too much and hang tough until the end, she risks coming across as needy, greedy or pathetic.

She must outwit, out perform, out debate and stand up to every challenger, but . . .

She can’t talk too loud, talk too sternly, express offense or defend her position too vehemently (She might sound like a bitch).

She must be skilled at using rhetoric to inspire others, but . . .

She must never embellish or personally interpret any circumstance or situation. (Men are great communicators, women have a tendency to exaggerate, lie and manipulate the truth to their advantage).

She must not get too excited or show too much emotion, but . . .

She can’t be too stoic (She might look like a bitch).

She has to win the majority vote, but . . .

She must understand that she’s not running in a popularity contest (If anyone figures that one out, let me know).

We’ve come a long way, baby, but . . .

It’s nothing compared to how far we have yet to go.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Being a MA’d Goddess woman isn’t necessarily about age (as in middle aged). It’s about a stage that all women come to – some sooner, some later.

This past weekend, I went to the chick-flick premier with my daughter. It (our evening, not the movie) was all about a girl’s night out and started with a potential group of about half a dozen. One by one, our entourage dwindled until it was just the two of us.

First to drop was my daughter’s girlfriend, whose not-exactly-boyfriend (translate, when he’s interested he’s her boyfriend), suffered serious injury through his own stupidity. Now, I’m not so callous as to deny succor to the stupid – after all they generally don’t know (or maybe can’t help) that they are the dullest crayon. But in this case, the crisis was past and his prognosis was good. Still, she couldn’t possibly go out and have a good time with her gal pals while he just lay there in agony – and the care of round-the-clock nurses seeing to his every need. Her time would be better spent, at home, babysitting somebody’s kids. The whole thing sounded like doing penance to me but I’m not sure if it was for the sin of contemplating having a good time with her girlfriends, or for not being in the accident with the guy who’s not exactly her boyfriend.

Next to drop us like a dirty shirt downt he laundry shoot was the girlfriend whose husband decided this was (finally) the perfect time to install the floor tiles in their kitchen. She couldn’t leave him there to do it all alone after she’d been bugging him for so long and kept promising she would help if he could just find the time. Suddenly finding the time when she had other plans is a classic man tactic. The diversion saved him trouble of telling the truth, which is, “I don’t want you getting dressed up, looking hot and traveling with a pack of other dressed up hotties. You’ll draw the attention of men . . . who I know are pigs . . . because I’m a man.”

Oh, how truly clueless some males are about the ritual of girl’s night out when you’re a MA’d Goddess woman. Sure, we dress fine and we like to turn heads, but if we’re out looking for anything it’s a break from PMS – putting up with men’s shit. The last thing we want to hear is some line of bull from a horny animal.

So, with all the no-shows it was just my daughter and I. We had a perfectly lovely evening, starting at an A-list restaurant my husband suggested (even though he’d wanted to take me there first). Dinner was on her husband, who knows how to treat his mother-in-law right. Drinks at the coolest martini bar in three counties were on my husband, who knows that no man shall part a MA’d Goddess and her martinis – and a wise man will keep them coming.

And then, in a darkened theater, the screen lit up on a New York skyline and a familiar, simple tune gave rise to a cheer of Ma’d Goddess women heard round the world – or at least in our time zone. And whether they were 20-something or 50-something, they shared a bond of wisdom, a knowledge not born of a certain age, but of reaching a stage of certainty. Of finally figuring out that we don’t need anybody to complete us, just to meet us halfway.

And on that silver screen, four women confirmed that life is never perfect, that loving somebody is the hardest thing you’ll ever do, that your heart will be broken, but it can be fixed (one way or another), that when you stumble you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back up on those high-heels (literally or metaphorically), and if you keep doing that, eventually, you’ll come to know yourself and what you want. And lastly, that once you figure it out, who gives a shit what anybody else thinks.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Garden of the MAD Goddess

About this time every year I like to indulge my nature Goddess aspect. After being buried in snow up to my hoo-ha for six months, then spending another eight weeks or so scrutinizing Mother Nature for any signs of green life, I accept that summer in the northland is arriving late, as usual.

Now, if I lived where things warm up a bit more than 70-degrees before the dog days of August, or where the bodies of water were bath-temp tidal pools, I might take a skinny dip and indulge in some au naturale' sun bathing on a large, flat rock. Instead, I invoke the virtue of patience and begin filling my bird feeders, watching for the return of the birds on the spring breezes.

I’ve learned to be happy sipping my morning brew, wrapped in my fleece robe with fluffy chenille sox on my feet. I tuck back into a sunny corner protected from the wind and chant, “I do believe in summer, I do believe in summer, I do believe in summer.” Where are those damn hot flashes when I need them?

When I think of a nature Goddess, I conjure images of the Disney Princesses (I’m a child of the 60’s, what do you expect?). I imagine strolling through my acre-sized yard, which I like to refer to as the Garden of the Godddess, with small woodland creatures flocking around me and bluebirds lighting on my shoulders.

In reality, I talk to the feathered and furred, the four-legged and the eight legged, and even the no legged slitherers. I'm old, I can act as flat out crazy as I want to these days. The animals tolerate my eccentricity, most likely because I keep filling the feeders and growing the flowers and vegetables they eat – or that attract the critters they eat (food chain principal – more on that later). I keep a respectful distance from the stingers and biters. I have just one expectation; within the boundaries of the MA’d Goddess’s acre, everybody better get along and play nice.

There’s a new visitor to our little sanctuary. A brazen young buck still wet behind his nubbin, little antlers, he’s been spotted in several locations around the village. Striking at night, he’s destroyed half-a-dozen of my birdfeeders at last count and gorged himself on close to 25 pounds of birdseed. He is about to incur the full wrath of the MAD Goddess.

I’m a pacifist; you know, do no harm and all that jazz, but I admit to a dark side. For instance, the squirrels and I have an understanding; they are welcome to forage from the ground beneath the bird feeders. Occasionally I have to remind them of that rule. I 've switched to a pellet gun instead of the .22 caliber automatic action rifle, so there are no longer any squirrel carcasses to hang from the feeder pole (a warning to other would-be marauders). Time is short. The MAD Goddess doesn't waste it on nice.

I don’t ask for much, really. It brings me great joy to sit on my deck, sipping coffee, watching the birds and enjoying my Disney Princess world for a few minutes in the morning before the real insanity of my day kicks me in the butt.

As for little Bambi, he’s got a lesson to learn. There’s room for everybody at the MAD Goddess banquet table. Either you’re a guest, or the main course – food chain, you know.

Monday, May 19, 2008

In Our (own) Places

I like to listen to talk radio on the NPR network. These shows have it all – interesting subject matter, well informed guests, controversy, intelligent, polite debate and my favorite part, call in questions.

Recently I was listening to a spirited debate concerning the financial burden of divorce and unwed childbearing on taxpayers. The guest, David Blankenthorn, author of Fatherless America, made valid and intelligent points regarding single mothers and children living below poverty level when fathers don’t contribute financially. Being the founder and president of the Institute for American Values and founder of National Fatherhood Initiative, he supports and encourages two-parent families. (Let me point out that the general assumption was these two parents would be heterosexual. Same-sex parenting is another topic.)

Several women called in to shake their ruffled feathers. But the real fun began when a misguided male called to say that when women moved into the workforce and were able to break free of financial enslavement (my words not his), the two parent family became a thing of the past. He theorized that only when women become financially dependent again, would we have the two-parent America Blankenthorn envisions, where the women are barefoot and pregnant (his words) and the husbands are in charge.

And here I thought the Neanderthals were extinct! If you’re reading this there’s a 99.9-percent chance you are a woman. But for that miniscule possibility that there may be a man in my audience, I have a question. How about supporting and encouraging two-parent families by the practice of treating your wife as an equal?

Unfortunately, equality as a concept or a practice is lost in most heterosexual marriages (I can't speak of same-sex marriage for I know not). Men seemed to be hardwired to think that once the merger is complete and papers are signed, they somehow have the controlling share of stock in the partnership.

When I married for the second time, I chose a man who had been divorced and living on his own for the better part of 10 years. I knew he could wash dishes, cook, do laundry, vacuum, sweep and mop a floor, and clean a shower stall and a toilet. After six years of marriage, he still does his own laundry (he would do mine too if I let him, but after several ruined silk blouses and a shrunken wool pants I nixed that).

Before marrying him, I too was alone and handled many traditionally male chores and house maintenance all by my little self. In the past six years I have helped him construct an addition to our home, installed ceramic and vinyl tile floors in two rooms, removed a bathroom sink (it was the only way to get at the plumbing) installed a new faucet and replaced the sink. I also do the majority of painting and staining, inside and out, some of the mowing and all of the edge trimming. No big deal. I have the necessary skill set and his job (until recently) kept him away from home for extended periods.

My husband is retired now. I go off to my job the same as usual and when I get home, the dirty dishes from breakfast are still there – plus the pan he cooked his lunch in, the dishes he ate it on and about five drinking glasses. I clean up the kitchen (sometimes) so I can begin preparing supper, set the table, serve the meal to his highness, clean the table, do the dishes, sweep the floor (that I installed) then retire to the living room where I fall asleep in my lazy girl.

And to top it all off, when I am performing the more traditionally male chores, or even helping him to do them, criticism is the tool he keeps closest at hand.

Now, for that caller to the NPR show, and the men that are reading this because you’re wives printed it out and shoved it in your face – do you get that when financial support isn’t at issue, you’d better be bringing something else to the marriage table? Try a hot meal on clean dishes and a kind word or two – and not just when you’ve screwed up again.

If you need further guidance, you might try listening to Aretha Franklin. “R - E - S - P - E - C - T . Find out what it means to me.”

Friday, April 11, 2008

The New Middle Ages

Baby Boomers want everybody to believe they’re redefining middle age. Sixty is the new 50, 50 is the new 40, 40 is the new 30. Were not aging – we’re learning how to count backwards by 10’s . . . Dead, 80, 70, 60, 50.

Everybody knows the baby boom started after the big one. That’s what they called it - WWII – the Second World War. Yup, those GI’s came back from Europe in waves and they had one thing on their mind - giving their wives the big one. And they didn’t do it just once. Next thing you know there are babies everywhere. The average number of children in a family back then was twice what we have now - which is 2.5. How in the heck do you have a half a kid. Is it stuck - didn't make it all the way out? I can count backwards by 10’s, but I’m lousy at figuring fractions.

Anyway, the baby boom started after WWII, but nobody is quite sure when it ended. The bureau of statistics puts the boom years between 1944 and 1965. Just beware of the pecking order. The sixty-somethings think us young punks are just posers – that makes me a wannabe boomer. Really, they get quite touchy about it. They say things like, “I’m 60, I’m a real boomer! Just don’t label me middle aged.”

Not middle aged? Do you know anybody that’s lived to 120? I’m going to be fifty this year. I don’t think I’ll be seeing 100. Forty five- now that seems like a nice middle aged number. But living to ninety? Forty. That’s a good solid bet – most of us should make it to eighty. So forty, the new thirty, is middle aged.

I started asking people “What do you hate most about reaching middle age?” Guess what? Nobody hates it. Yeah, they all love being middle aged. More sex, no children at home, more freedom, no children, more money, no children.

Who are they all trying to kid? More sex? More sex? I can’t even stay awake to see Leno anymore. When are all these old tortoises finding the time to screw like young bunnies? It sure isn’t in the morning. It takes me at least an hour just to straighten up and walk without shuffling. Trust me, the cereal in my bowl isn’t the only thing that snaps, crackles and pops at my breakfast table.

No kids? Unless you’ve sold the farm and moved to a homeless shelter, chances are good at least one of your kids is living with you – again. They just keep coming back, kind of like the energizer bunny in reverse. After my daughter graduated, she moved six states away – for about six months. One day she called and said to me, “Mommy, I just want to be a kid again and have my parents take care of me.” I was forty-three. I told her good luck on that, I wanted the same thing but her grandma and grandpa weren’t buying it.

More money? Not as long as you have a child that breaths life. “Gee mom, I can’t make my rent this month. My car needs repairs and I can’t get to work without it.” Or how about this one – it’s my favorite, but you have to imagine the waterworks. “My dog needs an operation and I don’t have any money. It’s not fair. He shouldn’t have to suffer because I’m poor.”

The $500 dog needs orthopedic surgery for a genetic hip defect. It’s not bad enough they paid $500 for a defective dog when they could have gotten a healthy mutt from the shelter for 20 bucks. They also had to pay for the pooch’s vet check, it’s shots, to have it’s dew claws removed – whatever the hell those are, and to have it’s pedigree registered.

Can’t afford the dog, can’t make the rent, can’t fix the car, buy new tires, fill the tank, or pay the phone company. But they have satellite TV, GPS, and cell phones that take pictures, play music and surf the internet. They have computers, digital cameras and ipods, ‘cause those features on the cell phones aren’t really serious.

My daugheters have pedicured toenails and bikini waxes 12 months out of the year. We live in Northern Wisconsin – who the hell sees your toes or your bikini line when it’s 20 below zero? They pay more for their underwear than I spend on food and shelter. I know, I know – they have to look good in case there’s an opportunity for some action. Give me a break. At their age if they’re not married or shacking up, they’re bar trolling. At two a.m. nobody gives a crap if your toes are painted and your who-ha is neatly groomed beneath your Victoria’s Secret, lace-trimmed, butt-floss. And you can sure as hell bet they aren’t going to remember the next morning.

So that leaves us happy-to-be-middle-aged boomers with more freedom. Freedom to do what? Live our dreams, like in those investment commercials? Travel to foreign lands, dive the deep oceans and climb the highest peaks? See the pyramids? Get real! We’re all still working our backsides off just to keep the medical benefits. We’re taking Celebrex for arthritis so that we can move without wincing in pain. We take Viagra so we can still get a little action and we take Zocor to keep our cholesterol down so we don’t have a heart attack when we do. Without insurance, the cost of staying forever young would kill us!

I’m fifty – that’s not forty. At forty, I didn’t need glasses to read. If I had needed glasses when I was forty, I would still have been able to remember where I put them when I took them off. I could remember a lot of things at forty - names, places, phone numbers and words. No special words, just those ordinary every day words that I now find have completely disappeared from my vocabulary when I want them and then pop up at two am in the morning.

At forty I didn’t fall asleep in my chair after supper. I didn’t have to ration my lovemaking to once a week because at $10 a pop for Viagra more than that would break the budget. Of course at forty I wouldn’t have given second thought to the $10 toll – I’d have given up something else – oh say, eating.

At forty it didn’t take me a full hour to put on my face and do my hair. Let’s be honest, when you’re young, a pony tail, a touch of lip gloss, a little mascara and you look like a million dollar babe. At 50, without the full works you look more like a baby pug – all wrinkles and whiskers.

Oh yeah – I have whiskers. I remember that first time I found a three inch long, jet black hair growing out of my chin. I was looking in one of those 10Xs magnifying mirrors at the drugstore. I was mortified. It had probably been there for years screaming “Old Broad” to anybody who can still see without glasses.

I thought everything would be okay, this middle age thing wouldn't be so bad if I could just keep my sense of humor about it. In my middle age, I have found that while laughter may be the best medicine, it isn’t the best thing to do on a full bladder.

So let’s recap. I’m a baby boomer and for me and all my fellow boomers, this is not our parent’s middle age. We’re living longer, acting younger and staying in our big homes longer than they did, thanks to pharmaceuticals, adult diapers, and offspring who never leave the nest.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Losing My Cool

I’m losing my cool. In fact, I’m not sure I ever really had it. To be honest, I wasn’t giving much brain time to this whole thing until I tuned into my favorite talk radio station today. It seems that in the war of the sexes, mature guys win hands down over older women in the cool department.

As if there isn’t enough fodder to set the political pundits’ tongues on fire, now they’ve pointed out that Hillary just doesn’t have the same cool factor as her husband, the Former President Clinton.

Remember that great moment when Bill donned his Blues Brothers glasses and started tooting his own horn? The voters loved it. By comparison, Hillary looked, well, less than cool while performing the Macarena, and she can’t carry a tune in a gunny sack, but that has little to do with the truth of the matter. It’s her age – her middle age, to be exact that makes her uncool.

Too bad it wasn’t a call in program; there are a few things I wanted to point out, like the fact that the commentators were men. In Man World, men become distinguished with age. Women just get old. I think men have some kind of magic mirrors that reflect only virile youth. How else can you explain the aging male, with substantial paunch, man boobs and sagging skin, that stands in front of his looking glass every morning, strikes the Atlas pose and announces, “I’ve still got it.”?

Billy-boy’s famous saxophone solo was sixteen years ago – that’s almost two decades. Back then, if Hillary had donned a pair of tight blue jeans, a t-shirt and a leather jacket, and rode in on the back of a Harley with her long blond hair blowing out behind her, I think hot might have been the buzz word. As a matter of fact, I think she could still pull that off today if she lost the matronly suits and spent a little time with Stacy and Clinton of What Not To Wear.

There seems to be a little confusion over hot and cool. Does it all come down to gender? It is Joe Cool after all, not Jane. John Travolta’s breakout character,Vinnie Barbarino was the epitome of cool in Welcome Back Kotter. And sitting in the desk behind him? Hotsy Totsy, not Cool Lulu. Then came Grease, and John T spelled cool with a capital C. When sweet and innocent Sandy decided to go bad for her man, she transformed into a sizzling hot babe.

Okay, so maybe a middle aged woman can’t lose her cool factor because she never had it to begin with. But unless you count the hot flashes, my temperature on the hotty thermometer is definitely going down as my years increase. Let’s face it, I’m barely lukewarm these days.

“That’s not true,” my 26 year old daughter assures me. “A lot of guys your age think you’re hot.”

Your age. Two words that rake on my confidence like nails on a chalkboard.

As for Hillary, she’s in a catch-22. The same pundits who pigeon hole her as uncool, (translate - past her prime), find fault with her opponent for being too young and inexperienced. I guess they’d think it was cool if Senator Obama played a mean blues riff on a harmonica, then suddenly he’d be a seasoned gentleman - one cool cat.

So what is this hot factor that has me losing my cool? Why do I spend money on creams, lotions and potions that promise to make me look ten years younger? Why do I squeeze myself into Spanks, a kinder gentler girdle than my mother wore, to look fifteen pounds thinner? Why do I even care if I can make men half my age take a second look?

Does a woman have to be hot to be cool and can a middle aged woman like me pull it off? Should I even bother? I mean, unless I’m running for President of the United States, what’s it going to get me?

There will always be women younger and prettier than me and maybe my days of dancing the Macarana, or at least looking good while I’m doing it are over.

Not to worry, there’s still the Tango.

For a FREE download of Manifesting your Mid-Life, 10-Steps to A Change for the Better, visit and join the Ma'd Goddess mailing list.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

GET A (mid) LIFE

Right this minute you are being toted along your life's journey in a caravan of transformation. Your time has come. Let go of your neophyte twenties, release your toilsome thirties, wave good-bye to your frantic forties and embrace the metamorphosis of your middle years, your life center. You are not just experiencing mid-life; you are becoming a Middle Aged Goddess. More precisely, you are becoming a MA'd Goddess™, in every mirthful and powerful incarnation the title implies.

Regrettably, too many MA’d Goddess™ women, have not broken their chrysalis and spread their wings. Or perhaps, having taken a tentative flight or two, they fear straying out into their new world; capricious spirits haphazardly flitting about in circles, searching for true self. Should you be one of these wayward spirits failing to connect with her deity identity, your search is over. The MA'd Goddess™ lies within. You need only call her name and she will emerge, to take her rightful place of honor.

But who is the MA'd Goddess™? By what name is she known? She has borne the mantle of many a misnomer; Baby Boomer, Flower Child, Corporate Climber, Yuppie and the Sandwich Generation, to name a few. From the first post-war tide of Baby Boomers in 1946, up to the last gentle ebb in 1964, more than 38 million females were born into a generation of paradox.

Just as we were born in waves of proliferation, we came of age in surging tides that left a mark on the American landscape. In the Sixties we were the catalyst for social reform and higher consciousness. In the Seventies we pushed open the doors to women's equality and stormed the bastions of the Good 'Ol Boys. In the Eighties we conveniently forgot any conscience we ever had, and became vainglorious, corporate-climbers pounding against the glass ceiling. And in the new millennium, Hillary Clinton is breaking all the barriers as the first woman to make a viable bid for the highest position in the United States of America – Madam President.

We are mixed lot, with a lot in common.We proclaimed our mothers' lives of homemaking and child rearing oppressive and granted ourselves freedom from the constraints of patriarchal society. We vowed to raise our children in a kinder, gentler and much more enlightened way than our parents had raised us – the next generation would grow up to be well adjusted, caring, productive citizens. Wow, what a shock we had in store when we found out kids don't come with an instruction book - no matter what Dr. Spock said to the contrary.

In our late teens and twenties we clambered out the doors of our parents’ homes as fast as our stacked heels would take us. Our mother's job was to make a home and raise the children. We decided we could do that and have careers too. After all, men had been doing it for years. We were blinded by the belief that we could have it all. Now we realize that only meant we’d be doing it all . . . all by ourselves. We go to work and then we come home to work some more. Whose brilliant idea was this anyway?

Middle aged? You're not kidding. We're stuck right in the middle of grown (well almost) children and aging parents. Despite our bests efforts, the kids seem to be making no attempt to leave the nest (and why should they when it’s so well feathered?) and the folks are evermore tugging on our heartstrings and our time. In their day, it was a child’s duty to pitch in when the snow needed shoveling, the grass needed mowing or the roof needed patching. They wouldn't dream of skipping Sunday dinner with their parents and they can’t understand why you don’t have the time to help pull weeds in the garden or prune the lilacs.

We've come a long way, baby? It’s more like we’re the lost generation ~ lost in denial and wandering in the desert of despair. No wonder we're so tired all the time. And hot flashes? It’s about time we got a little hot under the collar.

So what’s a MA’D Goddess™ to do? RECLAIM HER RIGHTFUL SPOT ON THE PEDESTAL. Join the gathering of women discovering the MA’D Goddess™ that lies within us all and slam the lid on this Pandora's Box we opened. Repeat after me – “I am a MA'd Goddess™and I'm not going to take it anymore!

For a FREE download of Manifesting your Mid-Life, 10-Steps to A Change for the Better, visit and join the Ma'd Goddess mailing list.