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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Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I am not a teacher by profession, but I have held many positions in which I work with young adults (or older teenagers if you will). They are a mixed lot, just like any segment of society. Today, I was confronted by a particularly vocal young woman who apparently has everything in her life figured out and needs no help. She answered my queries with “Got that covered,” before I could even finish the question.

She needs no guidance on job interviews because she’s has secured every job she's applied for – two. She needs no suggestions on how to polish her presentation (first impressions you know) because she has spoken in front of an audience and she knows all that stuff - she just doesn’t like it. Her future is entirely secure because she is joining the service after she graduates and she believes (I’m assuming, because I grew weary of trying to ask her questions which she wouldn't let me finish) that our government is currently stable and safe enough to provide her with everything she will ever want or need.

It’s okay. I know that I, too, once thought I had the world by the tail – though I can emphatically state that I was never as flippant and rude as this young woman. Still, it’s okay, because even though you think you know it all and I really know you don’t, I won’t bother trying to explain it to you. Life will do a bang up job of making it all too clear.

Some day you are going to be 50 (or older) like me. You will have experienced love and heartbreak many times, because even if you stay with your first love for the rest of your life, you will break each others hearts in various ways both big and small .

You will have won more jobs, or assignments, and you will have lost some.

You will have lost friends – to time, distance and death.

Perhaps you will have raised children. If so, you will have experienced even more heartbreak - in ways you can’t begin to imagine. You will better understand your parents and you might finally respect them. If not, at least you will have arrived at a peaceful existence with them. Hopefully this will happen before they die.

You will know what true fear is when you have to let your child go – out into the world to cross the street, to make friends, to go to school, to live life – because life is fraught with very real dangers and you can’t watch them 24/7.

If you have children, you will also have had the privilege of knowing the highest and most pure love that exists in this world. You will have experienced a sense of pride that you were certain would burst your heart.

I hope that you will not yet have suffered the loss of a sibling, as I have. I hope that you will never bury a child of your own, like my husband and I have.

Some day you will be older and wiser and will realize how totally clueless you are now. You may even wonder why some adult didn’t smack you in the head for the way you are acting now. That much I will explain. It’s because we are older and wiser than you.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Over the years I’ve narrowed my New Year’s resolutions to one. It’s a no fail resolution disguised as a paradox. Each year I resolve to lose my resolve before the end of January. Here it is, barely mid month and I’ve already succeeded in keeping my New Year’s resolution to not keep my resolution!

For most of the year I watch what I eat, count calories and ration treats; except over the holidays. It’s the time of year when everybody offers up their best culinary efforts and I’m not about to pass up the goodies. Come the first of the year, I can go back to my healthful rainbow of fresh vegetables and fruit, fiberific grains and colorless fish and meat, knowing that I will drop any extra pounds I may be carrying around on my backside – my own personal Christmas gift to myself.

Last weekend, I de-frocked the house of all the Yuletide bling, packed it in boxes, dusted, vacuumed and moved furniture back to it’s rightful space. It took the entire day and all of my energy. Hubby wisely suggested we go out to eat.

Normally, I’m quite diligent about monitoring his heart healthy diet and adhering to it myself, which means choosing restaurants that offer grilled chicken or fish. But it happened to be All-You-Can-Eat Shrimp night at the local pub and I was feeling self indulgent.

Two plates of breaded and deep fried shrimp, with french fries and full-fat mayonnaise laden coleslaw, and two beers later, I’d officially broken the heart smart rules. May as well top it off with an ice cream sandwich from the C-store on the way home. From there, it’s been like a snowballing rolling down hill – fast.

I made the mistake of baking banana bread one evening. Well, I couldn’t just throw those over-ripe bananas away. I’ve eaten two pieces of it every day since. I’m pretty sure this doesn’t count toward my fruit servings.

A few days ago we were running errands in town, 45 miles from home. We decided to stop for a bite to eat. It was your typical greasy spoon diner with a cook who thinks chicken and fish filets only come pre-breaded, frozen in boxes. I figured if I was going to cheat, I may as well cheat big.

Red meat is a fading memory in our home. I’ve probably had a total of four hamburgers in the last year. When I do cook burgers, I buy the 98% fat free ground chuck and cook it on the grill. The fat free mayo offers little in the way of helping those dried out hockey pucks slide down my throat, and even less in the way of taste.

So, sitting in the diner, faced with no healthy options, I went for the gusto. I ordered the Blue Burger and Fries. The patty was 1/3 pound of greasy heaven on a bun, smothered in (I swear) a full pound of blue and gorgonzola cheese with crumbled bacon thrown in for good measure.

Yesterday I attended a baby shower. No self respecting shower would be complete without a pot-luck, fat-fare spread. I ate chicken salad with string potato chips mixed in and then sprinkled on top, cupcakes piled high with frosting and apples in caramel dip.

Today is a brand new day, with no mistakes in it . . . yet.

Why does it have to be so darn easy to fall of the healthy eating wagon and, (like everything else the older I get) that much harder to climb back on? Why does a five pound box of chocolates turn to fifteen pounds on my butt? I don’t get the math.

And when I die, if I make it to heaven, will there be 24/7 buffets laden withall the delicious foods I love, like on a Carnival Cruise Ship?