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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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Road to Hades is Paved With Good Intentions

As the day of reckoning approaches I sit, wondering if I dare to commit in writing (one more time) my resolution to lose weight and get in shape.  We all know where the road of good intentions leads and it seems I am doing a bang up job of paving the way there.  But then, I’ve been telling everybody, anybody, who will listen that I am moving to a warmer climate one way or another.
With this annual pondering of cleaner, better living, self-improvement, and getting in shape, I have to ask myself, what shape do I want to be in, really?
I am reminded of my mother – the prototype for Hallmark’s infamous Maxine. I don’t care what the guy who draws her says about Maxine being based on his mother it can’t be true (unless he is a half-brother I never knew about).
I am so convinced that my mother was the inspiration for the sassy, cynical, hilarious spokeswoman for old broads everywhere that I once coerced her into posing for a snapshot. Wearing her bunny slippers, a baseball cap over her mop of snow-white, curlicue hair, and swilling a cup of coffee she was a dead-ringer.  I told her I was going to send it to Hallmark and threaten them with a lawsuit for using her image without permission.
“Make sure you ask for future royalties along with the settlement sum,” she said.  “I plan to live out my days in high style.”
Anyway, Mom had an enviable collection of Maxine merchandise thanks to her smart aleck kids.  After she passed, I kept the bookmark that she’d taped to her bathroom mirror. It extolled the importance of staying in shape, and true to Maxine’s wit, concluded with, “I’ve chosen the shape of an old lady.”
Now that is the kind of wisdom that can only come with age!
Sooner or later in life, you have to admit that there is no wrinkle erasing miracle cream, fat absorbing super food, or flat-abs crunch contraption, at any amount of money, that is going to preserve youthful perfection.  If you have money to spend you may as well spend it on something that’s fun and you enjoy doing.
I am not twenty-six anymore.  I am never going to look like I am 26 again – despite the fact that my doctor seems to think I should still weigh what I did when I was barely full grown.  Heck, I am never going to look like I’m 46 again – nor will I weigh what I did then. I remember complaining about that weight too. I remember my sister telling me that in five years I’d look back and give just about anything to weigh that much less than I do now.  I will always remember that she was right.
There is no perfect size-eight in my future ever again.  Nor a perfect ten, in size or appearance.  I am the size and shape of a healthy woman my age.  And what vegetarian, gym-rat, fashion God says that’s not perfection?
So this year, my only resolution is to think more like the MAD Goddess that I am.  When pondering choices, contemplating my actions and making really big decisions of all kinds, I’ll ask myself, “WWMGS – what would MAD Goddess say?”
Still, a good plan for regular exercise is important at this age.  I think I’ll mosey over to the park and shuffle, (very, very slowly) along the fast lane of the busy jogging path.  I wonder how many of those running fools I can get backed up behind me.  After all, laughter is the best medicine.
Maybe I’ll give up snacking.  Instead, I’ll just eat the whole pan of brownies (a la mode), wash it down with a couple of mugs of Kahlua and coffee and call it a meal. Heck, I’ll even toss in a few chocolate dipped strawberries.  Fresh fruit is good for me.
I also plan on getting a pool membership so I can sit in the whirlpool and sauna on these particularly cold winter days.  Then, I’ll buy my clothes two sizes too big and tell people I’m losing weight.  When they ask me how, I’ll tell them it must be shrinkage.
I’ll take the stairs whenever I can.  Of course, there isn’t a single public building in my little village with more than one story so I don’t foresee that happening too often.
And come summer, I’ll use an expensive moisturizer with sunscreen every day, religiously – just before I go outside to worship the noonday sun.  I figure I may as well get used to the heat now.

. . . . . . mid
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010


 “What are your plans tomorrow,” the hubby asks me as we sit in our double recliner after our earlier-all-the-time evening meal.

I briefly recall the recurring line from a cartoon my youngest child (and I) used to watch, Pinky and the Brain.  “Same thing we do every night, Pinky, plot to take over the world.”

It’s seems the concept isn’t that far from true after we’ve watch too many hours of CNN and Fox news, all the while debating the solutions to all our country’s challenges.  WARNING news was never meant to be broadcast nor watched 24/7.  There should be a surgeon generals warning put on screen every 3o minutes.  WARNING:  Watching this program for long periods of time will alter brain cells, raise blood pressure, contribute to weight gain and intelligence loss and may cause depression, rage or acts of violence in certain individuals!

 I answer his question in my sassy way. “S.O.S.D.D.”  Same old s*#!, different day.

Actually, retirement isn’t all that different from any other phase of life.  You carve out a routine, this time one you are pretty much in control of – as opposed to when you were a kid and your parents made the rules, or when you worked and your boss called the shots.

Still, it’s a routine and like all routines no matter how enjoyable, you get the itch to shake it up once in a while.  Much to my chagrin, we’ve become Sunday (substitute any day of the week here) drivers.  Oh yes, those old people who drive around and gawk at the scenery with no particular destination in mind.

We’re not driving 20 miles below the speed limit – yet.  I don’t think we’re an irritation to the people who rush from home to work, rush to school, rush to get groceries, pay bills and run other errands, rush to pick up or drop  Junior off at  soccer practice, then rush from work back home again.

“Let’s go to Hayward for lunch.”  The hubby suggests the hour plus road trip.

OMG!  That’s what my parents used to do.  My parents were old!  I am not old.  Still, the weather is pleasant and there are some early turning leaves.  It will make be an enjoyable day trip.
So we hop into the VW Bug, I settle back into the heated seated, which I explain to hubby isn’t necessarily because I’m cold, but the warmth soothes my aching bones.  Tune in the oldies station and off we go.

We have to turn the radio up and down alternately – down when we want to converse and be able to hear each other, up when an oldie but goodie comes on and we want to blast the radio and sing along like we did when we were young.

To keep it interesting, sometimes my better half will make a quick turn onto a road of uncharted territory.  I’ve taken to noting the names of cross roads to see if they come out somewhere further down the line – a potential new route for next time.

“What was the name of that road back there,” I asked when I couldn’t quite make out the sign with my cock-eyed, cataract-in-one-eye vision.

‘You mean that field?”

“What are you talking about?  That was a paved road.  You didn’t see that road back there?”

“Yes I saw the road.  Why are you asking me if I saw the road?”  And then he smiles.  “Oh, you thought I said that field, didn’t you?”

“You didn’t?”

“Bradfield.  The name of the road was Bradfield Road.”

“You know, if we’d have planned this little trip ahead of time, I could have made us appointments at that hearing clinic.”

“Avoid what steering gimmick?  I have both hands on the wheel, what are you talking about?”

“Hearing.  I said hearing clinic.”

“Oh, yes.  You should really go have that checked out. I think you're getting deaf.”  He reaches over and turns the radio volume back up. 

At least they’re playing our song. Enjoy (sorry I couldn't get the original version)


. . . . . . mid 
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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Sigh . . . summer is drawing to it’s end in my neck of the woods and while I need the two or three months of temperatures above 74-degrees to thaw my winter frozen bones, fall is truly my favorite season.

It is also the shortest season and I would gladly sacrifice a month at the end of summer and at least three months at the beginning of winter to make it the longest season of the year. You have to understand, I’m not talking calendar seasons.

The calendar tells me that the first day of winter is December 21st. Maybe somewhere, but in the far north tundra of Wisconsin, by the time we get to December 21st we’ve been shoveling the white stuff for at least a month. The winter coats, hats, gloves and mittens come out of the closet long before that – ‘round about mid September. Oh sure, we get a random day, maybe even two, scattered throughout September, October and November where a sweater is cozy enough for a sunny afternoon. But for the most part it’s cold.

With our hardwood, deciduous forests the landscape blazes with color that can be matched by only a few other regions in our country. If we could just keep the leaves on the trees until after thanksgiving, I’d be much more thankful.

Our lives don’t just mirror nature, they are nature. The seasons of our lives run about the same as the seasons outside my window, with middle age – my autumn -- just a transition turning over to a long, cold winter. Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad for that lengthy winter of life expectancy and I look forward to a time for rest. But just as I’d rather sit on my back deck admiring the fire of maple leaves, like flames licking the wind, instead of shoveling that same deck off so it doesn’t bow beneath the weight of two tons of snow, Id’ also like to enjoy my life’s rest in the warmth of long, lingering autumn years.

I’m contemplating packing up the home-on-wheels and following autumn around the country like snowbirds follow summer. I can only imagine the foothill areas of more southern states like Tennessee and Kentucky stay warm well up to Thanksgiving. I’d take a Virginia ham smoked to perfection in our little kettle grill over an oven roasted turkey any day. Throw in some yams and Vadalia onions along with cornbread in the cast iron skillet and you’ve got yourself a real feast.

Unfortunately my current academic status prevents any autumnal vagabonding on my part. But if there are any friends out there who want to invite me for Thanksgiving southern style, I have a couple of frequent flyers the hubby and I need to use up.  I'd be happy to do the cooking.

. . . . . . mid
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010


To be or not to be; fit or fat, that is the question.  Whether to suffer the tortures of PX-90 for the cheesecake that slips past the lips to settle on my hips, or forgo the culinary pleasures of life – for the rest of my life? Eat the spare ribs, or spare my joints the pounding of a three-mile jog?

If middle age spread were a ranch, mine would definitely be Texas sized.  Okay, maybe not quite, but to a gal who could polish off an entire bag of potato chips with the container of Top The Tater and never worry about busting out of my size six, the double wide load (size 12) I’m carrying now is just too much.  And I don’t mean that in a good way like back in the hippy-dippy 70s’; “Hey, too much man.”

I’ve given myself every excuse in the book for gaining and not being able to lose weight.  My metabolism has slowed down.  There are too many growth hormones and preservatives in our food. Stress hormones are increasing my belly fat, and my all time favorite – if I didn’t have to cook big meals for my husband, I wouldn’t have a weight problem.

That one flew right out the window when we switched to an extremely low fat, low sugar, low salt, high fiber, heart healthy diet after he became the proud owner of two cardiac stents during emergency surgery.  Fear for your longevity is a fabulous motivator – he embraced the prairie, stream and garden diet (chicken, fish and lots of fresh veggies) and lost thirty pounds.  I, on the other hand, gained five.  We’ve strayed a “bit” from the diet over the last several months.  He’s maintained his frame, my has bloated like a road kill deer in the hot sun.

So, I’ve finally stopped looking for answers other than the obvious.  I’m not getting enough exercise.  The problem is, even thinking about exercise takes more effort than I’m willing to devote.

A while back my daughter was sifting through some old photos.  “Wow mom, where’d you get that awesome six pack?”  I wondered what picture she was looking at and why she’d be so impressed by six cans of barley and hop beverage.

When she passed me the photo, I saw myself in a typical day-at-the-beach snapshot when I was about eighteen years old.  I was ripped – and I don’t mean wasted (side note: eighteen was the legal age then).  My abs had more definition than a dictionary.

I never exercised when I was a kid.  Where did those abs of steel (not to mention the rest of my major muscle groups) come from and how could I have been so totally unaware of them?  It was child’s play, literally, that was responsible for my buff bod.

I decided that was my answer.  I would bring play back into my life.  I bought a hula-hoop to start.  After less than five minutes of trying to keep the plastic circle from falling below my hips, I was exhausted.  Good thing the store had been sold out of jump ropes or I’d probably be the new owner a cardiac stent or two of myself – they say the longer couples are married the more alike they become.

A few weeks ago, I saw an flyer for a Zumba class.  Even though the fusion of aerobics, Latin dance and hip-hop would be a workout that qualifies as exercise, it sounded like fun, putting it in the category of play. I enrolled myself and the daughter who reminded me I’d once had a six- pack to be proud of.

The instructor told us, “Shake what you’ve got.”  The only problem is that when I start shaking the whole of my heft, it shakes me right back. knocking me off balance and struggling to stay upright.  I have to worry about fragile bones at this age.

The hubby and I ran into an old friend a couple of days ago.  Well, old isn’t exactly the right word – not only is he about half a dozen years younger than myself, he looked young enough to be my “old” man’s kid.  When I asked him how he managed to stay in such great shape he said he still runs about three miles or so a day and watches what he eats.  So simple.

It reminded me that back in the day I used to live in the midst of some serious marathon runners.  I was the lone hold-out. I swore I would never take up running until pigs sprouted wings and flew. Well, I haven’t seen that yet, but given the way I’m porking out, don’t be surprised if you see me jogging down the street despite my oath.

I wonder if I can rig a pair of wings to the back of a pink hoodie?

. . . . . . mid
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010


E-hem.  Excuse me a moment while I dust of my soapbox.
As I stand here today, I have a simple request to make – nothing most of you can’t do if you’ll put your mind to it.  Each day, as you hear that endless stream of mind chatter that rattles around in your head, try to remember that not all of your thoughts require a platform – and  if you can’t keep it positive keep it to yourself!
For those of you around my age, you’ve heard this sentiment before, likely from your mother, who instructed you, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
It was good advice then, and it’s even better advice now in light of the numerous forms of communication available today, including cyber formats which make it far too simple to give lasting exposure to fleeting thoughts.
Here’s an idea. Once you learn to zip it, maybe you can advance to a higher form of consciousness.  Instead of just remaining silent and continuing to mentally brew your negativi-tea, why not take those thoughts and turn them around?  Like the popular tune encourages us, “Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.” 
What if the Higher Power, by whatever name we choose to assign – God, Goddess, Creator, All – is really that within us which aspires to manifest love in all things, that which reaches for the best possible outcome in any situation, that which strives for peace in all encounters?  What if, in the battle between good and evil, the deciding factor is the energy vibrations we send out to the collective?  Are you increasing evil’s number by your negative thoughts, words and actions?  Or are you building the ranks of good, filling the cosmos with positivity to outnumber evil? Ever notice that good and evil are each one letter away from god and devil? 
Heady stuff, MAD Goddess.  Bring it down a notch or two.
Take aging, for instance. I’ve noticed that there are those who grumble endlessy about everything to do with aging and its particular challenges, and those who take it all in stride with a sense of good humor and grace - laughing all the way. I myself am guilty of more than a few snarky remarks about the aging process, but most often I have my tongue firmly in cheek when doing so. 
The problem with complaining and never coming around to find the silver lining is that it’s a complete waste of time. It rarely, if ever, solves the problem and it’s contagious.  We’ve all been caught up  in that group of senior citizens who list their age-related ailments as if comparing war stories, each teller trying to outdo the other with their personal harrowing details of surgeries, replacements, aches, pains and general discomforts.
There are certainly plenty of challenges to aging, but there are rewards as well.  Come on now, you know you’ve heard of them.  More patience for one thing; it’s so much easier to watch your grandchild color on his mother’s walls and chuckle about it than it was when you caught her coloring on your walls.
With advancing maturity comes more self-confidence, less worry, and better understanding of the human condition. Who has time to sweat the small stuff? I think all these qualities fall under the label of wisdom, that proverbial acumen that settles upon us with age.
Surely all of this is worth the price of my stiff joints, failing eyesight, loss of hearing . . . you get the idea. The thing I don’t get about the complainers is, if aging makes you feel unwell, how does grousing about it make you feel any better?
To all the glass-half-empty people out there, regardless of age, have you given any thought to how your verbal downers can possibly lift your spirits? If not, have you at least given thought to how the negative nature of your words infects all those around you, let alone the unnecessary hurt inflicted on those at whom your judgments might be aimed?
It’s been said in many ways, by many people far better than I, but I believe that thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits and habits become your life.
So if you must speak, choose the good thoughts before you open your mouth.

. . . . . . mid

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I’ve been quite busy since returning from my little island sojourn this past winter.  Living in a 28-foot by 8-feet-or-so space for several weeks was much easier than I’d anticipated.

Sure, the quarters seem close sometimes, especially when spouses aren’t seeing eye to eye, but the perks of sunny skies and mild temperatures more than made up for lack of space.  With a pool side chair and a good book, a disgruntled MAD Goddess can be a world away in a matter of minutes. 

Back to the busy.  Less than a day after returning to my cozy, three bedroom cottage the weight of life's accumulations fell down upon me.  What on earth do I possibly need all this stuff for?

Well, rainy, snowing, freezing cold, blizzard kickin’ me in the butt days are my first thought.  Winters in my northern realm are long - very, very long. They are cold, as in twenty to forty below zero for up to a month at a stretch.

Some people living here don’t mind the weather. They like to ski, and ride snowmobiles, and snow shoe and hike and winter camp.  Winter camping - nothing like s’mores that freeze before you can get them to your lips.

Anyway, I don’t like the cold and I don’t go out in it except for dire emergencies - like no chocolate in the house.  Which means I have a lot of stuff to keep me occupied for the duration.  Books, magazines, puzzles, paints (water color, acrylic and oil), needle crafts, bead crafts, and cook books.

The cook books require more stuff, cooking utensils obviously, but there’s also the fitness equipment – a failed attempt to keep the winter weight gain to a minimum.  In Florida, my fitness equipment was a five-speed beach cruiser bicycle.

After a lifetime of collecting junk and junque  - junque being the term for the flea market finds I filled half a garage and an overhead storage space with when I became obsessed with the “Chabby Chic” craze, I’m smothering!

Now that the weather has finally warmed up here, I have more than 1,000 square feet of garden beds to clean, weed and tend.  I have 360 square feet of decking, with associated railing, to stain and seal.  Virtually all of the trim on the house and garage needs painting.  My husband can keep the acre-plus lawn mowed since piloting the lawn tractor isn’t too much of a strain on his heart, but all the edge trimming is my job.

As long as we own this house, that stuff has to be taken care of.  So I’m on a rampage to get rid of the other stuff.  I want the spartan existence of snowbird – if it doesn’t fit in my RV, then apparently I don’t need it.  And the more stuff we rid the house, garage and yard of now, the less we have to worry about when we are ready to sell it.

We (that's the collective we, here, as in you too) don't own stuff.  Stuff owns us.  It takes our money and our time and our attention.  Free at last, free at last, good Goddess help me, I want to be free at last. 

But there’s an unhappy trend afoot here. My hubby isn’t on the same (ram)page as I. To him, all this stuff is good stuff, valuable stuff.  Let me just offer a favorite quote here:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”
-- William Morris
Or in the words of Red Green, "Remember, if your wife doesn't find you handsome, she better find you handy."

In the meantime, I’m starting with my things, the ubiquitous flotsam of 33 years of home ownership.

I love gardening and home decorating magazines.  I have stacks of them.  Can’t throw these out! they are dog eared and have notations written on the covers for things I am going to do.

Laid low with a nasty cold, bored to tears, I thought it might be a good time to tackle the magazines, at least get them sorted, organized into some kind of reference library. Between the sniffle-nose, sore throat virus and the dust laden magazines, I broke. Some of the magazines were more than five years old. If I haven't  made the whimsical stepping stones, a watering can fountain or rain chains in the last five years, chances are I'm not going to get around to it in the next.

The magazines are now sorted and bundled by category.  I’ll offer them up to home and garden enthusiast friends first, but if there are no takers – off to the recycling bin they go.

I’m planning on tackling closets this week.  I’ve finally given up the idea that I’m ever going to workout hard enough to fit into my skinny jeans again.  Instead, I’m going to splurge and spend more than $19.99 on a pair that fits and flatters the body I have.

I don’t need a work wardrobe for the time being.  If I need one again in the future, I think I’ll buy new stuff. Long dresses left over from formal occasions.  Hhhhmm.  All but one of my daughters is married, and if she ties the knot, again, I think I want a new dress for the occasion. Out they go.


Craft supplies.  I hit the jackpot here.  A friend that works with a non-profit in a near-by metropolis is looking for donations of any craft items.  All I have to do is box it all up and give her a call.

I’m tackling one bunch of stuff every week.  Want to join me?  I’ll be posting the details and challenges on my Facebook account. 

Join us - Ladies United to Lighten Up – LULUs

. . . . . . mid
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Monday, March 15, 2010

DRIVING MS BLINDASABAT - The saga of aging and cars continues.

I had dinner with two high school chums this past weekend.  We had a blast from the past.  By a huge (wait -  HUGE) stretch of the imagination, you might say we felt like Barbie, Ken and Midge. Of course, you'd have to imagine the threesome age appropriate, not frozen in plastic.  And you'd have to imagine that trips to the soda shop were code for bar hopping.  And you'd have to imagine that those yummy looking ice cream beverages had no less than three shots of rum in them.

Hey, that's what Barbie was all about, right?  A girl using her imagination.

So, this past Saturday Ken cooked for Barbie and I, and we all ate heartily. No skinny model fare for these aging dolls, we partook of roast pork and potatoes in gravy and washed it all down with red wine and beer.  Well, they drank beer. I drank the wine, the whole bottle, by myself.  Beer makes me bloat.

I brought dessert, which we forgot to eat because we were busy finishing off the shrimp appetizers – two kinds.  Of course, if we’d had the leisure of more time I’m sure we would have gotten to my dessert . . . and I to the second bottle of wine.

“What was the rush?” you might wonder. Our chauffeured four door ride arrived on schedule to pick us up.  I mention it was four doors because I totally embarrassed myself earlier in the evening proving that point.

Upon setting out for our friendly tête à tête I opened the front passenger door, pulled the seat lever to allow me into the back seat, the polite thing to do since our driver was Barbie’s hubby, and was quite confused.

The seat didn’t slide forward to allow me access.  How could I possibly maneuver my ample, aging middle aged Midge body through that tiny crack of space between front seat and car frame?  Then it dawned on my slightly sluggish brain that this must be a four-door sedan.

Yes, indeed, there was a back door for the back seat into which I climbed, laughing at my own foible.  Not quite as hard as Barbie was laughing though – that bitch.

I mean, it’s not like she can see any better than myself.  Which is exactly the reason why her accommodating hubby was driving us 25 miles to our dinner destination with another man, and then returning to pick us up at the appointed time.

“You’ll have to drive,” she said to me when we made our plans.  “I have terrible night vision."

“Me?  Drive?  I won’t be able to have any wine.”  It was of course an excuse, and the jig was up the minute I tried to shimmy my ample ass into her backseat from the front door of the car . . . in broad daylight.

Can’t find my car in the parking lots, can’t drive after dark, can’t afford a full time chauffeur.  Good thing our hubbies take such good care of us.  You see, it wasn’t just Barbie’s wedded beau.  My darling spouse made up the second half of the relay, picking me up at end of evening at Barbie’s pad and safely delivering me the rest of the way home.

This is truly sad. Not only do I lose my car in average sized parking lots in the middle of the day, now I can't drive the dang thing after dark.
I think for our anniversary I’m going to buy him a black leather jacket and one of those jaunty chauffeur’s caps. The alternative of course, if for Ken,
 Barbie and Midge to just start having sleep-overs.

. . .. . mid
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Bab's requested this updated photo of her to be posted.  Your wish is my command, dear friend.

And I had to add this one - not sure if it's that little Midgens but the hair color and wrinkles are about right.

Finally, Ken in all his gray haired glory (and his bitch on a leash).

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I told my daughter, a stay at home mom to two of my four grandchildren, that she has to get out of the house more often. She told me that was the old mom calling the young mom stuck in a rut.

Since entering semi-retirement, I haven’t ventured far from the comforts of my country confines during these past winter months. I even managed to take all of my degree courses online this semester and the thirty-five mile trips to have lunch with a friend and do a little shopping have dwindled down to none.

Even the lure of spending less on groceries and other necessities doesn’t tempt me the way it does in summer months. But the recent warming temperatures that promise spring and hint at summer bring cabin fever. So when daughter called to say she had a childless afternoon on her hands,it was all the prodding I needed to agree to a chicks’ day out.

You know the chicks have been cooped up too long when they get lost in not one, but three shopping area parking lots.

My hubby tells me that the alarm on the key fob works like a charm for locating misplaced vehicles. Of course, that’s after he asks me why I don’t make a mental note of where I park when I get out of the car. His mistake is in assuming that I don’t. Like cheap sticky notes with inferior glue, my cerebral reminders just don’t stay put.

Besides, pressing that little button is way too close to having one of those "Help me I've fallen down and can't get up," alarms dangling around my neck.

I mentioned the car alarm trick to my daughter and she asked why I wasn’t pressing the button. What? And draw attention to my forgetfulness obviously brought on by advancing age?

She agreed that the two of us wandering around a parking lot shouting to each other from two lanes away didn’t draw attention. She gets her sarcasm from me.

“I guess you had your eyes closed when we parked.” I said.

She responded that she never pays attention to where she parks. Why would she? The vehicle her hubby and she chose to accommodate two active kids and all their trappings is so large she can spot it from a block away. I practically need a step ladder to climb into the monster and elevation nosebleeds can't be ruled out.

She can be smug now, but she only has a year left of her twenties. It won't be long before her eyesight goes the way of her size skinny jeans and she won't be able to rely on the crutch of clear vision any more.

Things change as we get older. We become more thoughtful, we develop a desire to make a difference, we hone in on the important things in life. I like to think that my preference to keep my business local is based in those maturing values.

Things have become less important to me than people. Community is like a family. I like chatting with my neighbor who works the checkout at the grocery store. I like seeing the familiar faces of the couple that owns the hardware. I like being greeted with a smile and called by name.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I could wind my way around any expressway cloverleaf, make a fast lane change to an exit or entrance ramp, and find an access road to arrive at the Mecca of a suburban shopping mall. Now, it just doesn’t seem worth the effort.

Okay, so maybe the truth is that I don’t like driving in “the big city”. But by navigating my way through the maze of traffic lanes and poorly planned parking lots of an urban shopping center, even one as tame as that in our nearest city, what can I find there that I can’t find closer to my rural home?

Obviously not my car.

. . . . . mid
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Friday, February 26, 2010


What were the Gods thinking . . . or the Goddesses for that matter? If they were going to create men with a propensity to emit snorty, snoring rumbles from the time their heads hit the pillow until they shake themselves awake, why on earth did they make women light sleepers?

Oh sure, it’s great to have an acute sense of hearing if you’re a mother. Most of us hone in on the changing rhythm of our baby’s breathing before she or he can even muster up the 2 am “feed me” cry.

And as time goes on, just let those demon-teens try to slip out of the house unnoticed, or sneak back in late at night.  The sound of a door hinge creaking or a window sliding open will wake me from a dead sleep at 100 yards.

So lying next to Mr. snort-a-lot is like trying to sleep in a culvert with a locomotive rumbling over the top of it. He tells me that, on occasion, I snore too. What? Okay, maybe so, but my little burbling, murmurs have never woken him up, let alone kept him awake an entire night.

My father was a snorer. My sister’s husband is a snorer. My daughter’s husband is a snorer. Along with my hubby, they have all made wisecracks about how the women in our family aren’t exactly morning people.

That’s a nice way of saying that our silent, piercing stares leveled over cups of hot, black coffee, shine with a murderous glint.

“Stop singing!” I tell my hubby when he feels musical in the morning. “You don’t know the right words anyhow!” Any other time I find his creative lyrics wildly amusing.

He offers to make breakfast. “Just coffee,” I growl. “I would think you’d know that by now.”

He sits at the table with the morning paper “Do you have to read the newspaper in here? Can’t you go into the living room?”

I don’t know why he insists on saying I’m ornery in the morning. I just like it quiet for the first few hours . . . for contemplation and meditation. Silly man, he thinks that we should greet the day together, all cheerful and lovey-dovey.

I try to circumvent such nerve-jangling morning rituals by replacing them with others. Like dragging my exhausted body out of bed an hour before he awakes so that I can dose myself with caffeine (and maybe a little sugar) in the hope of shape shifting back into a human.

I found this great little gadget, like a wristwatch, that supposedly stops snoring by sending a light electrical impulse to the snorer, training him (think Pavlov and conditioning) to stop snoring. All I can say is don’t let a blurry eyed, sleep deprived wife at the controls or her snoring hubby might get more of a shock than he bargained for.

Now that I think of it, my friend has a taser from her law enforcement days.  I wonder if she'd let me borrow it?

I’m starting to go deaf. I know this because I hear things that just can’t be. I gave my sweet grandson a sock monkey for Christmas. He’s at that babbling stage, where he carries on entire conversations with himself, and those of us listening can make out only about half of his words. Come to think of it, maybe I’m the only one who can make out only half.

One day he was waxing on and on and what I thought I heard put me in a state of shock that was broken only by my own uproarious laughter when my daughter reassured me that he said funky monkey. “It’s a song, mom,” she assured me.

More and more of my everyday conversations have an added element of surprise. “Can you straighten the hose?” hubby asked me when I was sitting on the deck finishing my manicure. “There’s a kink in it.”

“You want me to paint your toes? Pink Peppermint?”

Well what does he expect?

The irony is, that no matter how bad my hearing gets, his snoring is going to be the last thing I can still hear.

Maybe we were designed that way; a primitive security system that let an aging cavewoman know she could sleep safe and sound because her caveman was still there protecting her. . .

 . . .if she could squeeze a wink in edgewise between snorts.

. . . . . . mid
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Monday, January 25, 2010


Well, it finally happened. I am off in search of adventure with my home on wheels, or the Gypsy Wagon, as she is fondly known. We've parked her on a small island off the gulf coast of Florida.

What is it about palm studded isles that unleash the artistic muse? There are more artists here than Pablo could shake a paint brush at.

I could hang out at Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens all day long. The space vibrates with a creative buzz. I feel so fortunate to have two pieces of her art hanging in my makeshift office on board the Gypsy Wagon.

Then there is Bonnie's place. I spent almost an hour in there, talking and laughing with the artist. She's a real treasure and I can't wait to take one of her classes while here.

Wandering through the art environs, I started to feel a sense of mystery. Not in the Sherlock Holmes genre, more of the metaphysical kind, a feeling that something or someone was calling me. Then I saw them, the mermaids.
Animated mermaid images

They are everywhere; in the galleries, in gift shops, in taverns, restaurants and even the bathrooms. They've sung their siren call into my heart and I am obsessed. I am on the hunt for the perfect mermaid.

I may have found her basking beneath the celestial orb that controls the tides of her ocean home,

hanging around on a fingernail moon,

or, if I'm so inclined, hanging around my neck.

Perhaps a tattoo would consummate the sense of myth, mystery and feminine sovereignty I am seeking. That's a tall order, since most of the woman/fish tattoos I've seen are of the male fantasy variety.

I did find this beauty. She reminds me of Hollywood legend, Rita Hayworth. I see her rendered with auburn locks and sea green tail.  Definitely a mermaid who is slave to no man.

The hubby isn't too fond of the idea of a tattooed wife.  I'm not too fond of being told what to do.

Confrontation or personal declaration of freedom to be? Stay tuned.

Well, the rain has stopped and the sun is coming through the palm fronds.  Time to return to the hunt.

. . . . . . mid
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

Some of you might notice that I run Google AD Sense on this blog. It’s making me fabulously wealthy  – NOT! Of course, one can’t disparage Google for that. I think it has more to do with my outstanding number of followers – more specifically, the lack thereof.

My college daughter recently posted an installment on the blog she started as a class assignment for critical writing. She didn’t waste any words in pointing out that the million or so bloggers looking for their fifteen-minutes of fame would do better to stop writing what they think people want to hear, and instead write their passionate, unvarnished, maybe even ugly, truth.

So, for now, I won’t worry about followers or fans, I’ll just try to write closer to the bone of my truth (not always easy when I know the whole fam damily is reading – oh well, sucks to be them.)

Back to Ad Sense. The idea is, that based on the blog post content, random ads for products and services that should interest my readers will display.  Clicks on the ads accumulate cents for me (cents, Ad Sense, get it?).

Let me just say that I never did this hoping to make money.

 Well, okay, I hoped that maybe I’d make some money from it, but I never really thought I would. Looks like I was right about that.

Anyway, I recently noticed a trend in the ads that are displaying.  Weight loss products would be the nice thing to say, but these are blatant  LOOSE BELLY FAT ads.  Then there are the sales pitches for anti wrinkle creams and cosmetic dermatology.

One installment netted me an ad for Goddess Dresses.  Now that’s what I’m talking about! Just one nagging little detail though – it was on a post that contained a picture of my middle daughter and two of her diva friends at their high school prom. Hhmmm.

Where are the ads for cruises to the Greek Isles?  How about luxury health spas, Jaguar sedans and little blue boxes from Tiffany’s?

What on earth did I write that netted me the ads for a popular piney-scented cleaning solution and another well known germ destroying spray.  Yikes!

Okay, maybe I understand the ad for a marriage counselor practicing in my neighboring state. I do rant about the institution of marriage now and again. But am I to glean from this situation that some powers that be, sitting on their sweat-pants clad butts in ergonomically correct chairs at Google headquarters, are presuming that my readers are an unhappy bunch of, germaphobic, desperate housewives who shop
for their daughters prom dresses in the mini-diva, designer department?

Goddess! How depressing is that?

Here I was thinking that my audience was made up of strong, confident, self assured women setting their worlds on fire and dancing across their bridges one step ahead of the flames.

I apologize, dear, loyal (few) readers.  I’ll try, in future, to follow my daughter’s advice and give you a little something to set it off.

. . . . . mid
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