Dumf*ckistan

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Image by Scottslm from Pixabay

I am sure that most of you have seen the photos of the Spring Breakers lounging and cavorting on the beaches in warmer states. There can be absolute beauty in defiance, but history has shown that it can make you sick, dead and sometimes burned at the stake.

I think in this case, it might result in deportation to an as-yet-unknown new country populated with those who just don’t have a clue.

Yes, I am scathing in my response to this craziness. Maybe you agree, and maybe you don’t, but is it worth putting your life at risk? In a little more than a week, my Sweetie and I would have been boarding a plane for a week in Grand Cayman. It was my retirement trip, and we were looking forward to soaking up sun and surf. That’s all gone now, cancelled because of this pandemic. Who knows when we will get to go, but right now I can’t fuss about that. I am more focused on keeping us functioning at optimum health and avoiding exposure.

What makes people defiant? Trying to achieve something, prove a point, make a case for something that matters. And occasionally, just being dumb. What did this get you? A moment’s worth of fun traded for weeks, maybe months, of recovery? I just read that a number of students who attended Spring Break have tested positive for the virus. I hope that was the only thing they contracted, as Spring Break is known for STD outbreaks. Such carelessness with the glorious human body.

I did say there can be beauty in defiance. We have only to look at history to see the faces of those who stood up for what they believed in, creating positive change for everyone. If you want to be defiant of this pandemic, put on your hazmat suit and go out and help those in need. Deliver groceries to the elderly. Take medicines to those who are sick. If you have medical training, support your brothers and sisters. Keep the economy going by purchasing takeout food.

Practice SOCIAL DISTANCING, it is reducing the spread of illness.

WASH YOUR HANDS WITH SOAP. I read that this is an enveloped virus and has a lipid (fatty) layer. Soap breaks down and destroys this layer so it can’t be transmitted. If you are going to overbuy anything at the grocery store, make it soap and use it constantly. For those of you out there in Dumf*ckistan, soaping yourself up before frolicking on the beach is not the answer.

Still Loving You

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It’s the day after Valentine’s. You might still be digesting last night’s big dinner or in a coma from too much chocolate. Maybe your eyes are still sparkling like the sparkly gift you received. Or maybe you are still in bed and . . . I don’t really want to know. The hearts and farts are wilting and fading, and life is back to normal. Maybe it is not so normal if you and your bae decided to call it quits. Remember, tomorrow begins Mercury in Retrograde, which is notorious for bringing back exes and regrets.

But, are you remembering yesterday’s message? The one that says to love yourself first? It is very easy to follow when you are surrounded by hearts and other symbols of love. Sure, I can do that as you look in the mirror and mumble, “I love you”. Stop right there. The day after Valentine’s is not when you go back to diminishing yourself. Loving yourself inside and out is an everyday practice. You will never be able to love unconditionally if you don’t do it within.

Love. Your. Self.

I repeat: Love Your Self.

Love your sh*t too. I am using the song “Still Loving You” by the Scorpions (1984, “Love At First Sting”, Universal Records), because heavy metal and hard rock music is typically about great love or great angst. I love this type of music and you will find references all throughout my blog, because it’s all about loving your sh*t. Another example of this is “The Unforgiven” by Metallica (1991, “Metallica”, Elektra Records), telling of the struggle of someone being subjugated by others. Talk about loving your sh*t!

We are here on a journey to discover, experience, grow our spirit and find love within ourselves. Loving yourself generates boundaries that help you recognize when someone or something isn’t good for you. Loving yourself naturally shows you how to care for your mind, body and soul. Loving yourself honors your needs and interests. Loving yourself fills you full of love so that you always have enough love to give to others. Loving yourself is not selfish unless it includes harming or at the expense of others. That is not loving yourself.

Valentine’s Day might be over, but loving yourself never ends.

Ever Evolving

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Aging. There is a reason why it is a verb and not a noun. Or a journey rather than a destination. Some days I just blaze through them when I am focused on a task and not even notice that the time has passed.

Other days, I look in the mirror and think: WTF what is going on here?

Lately, I’m a bit obsessed with my wardrobe. I’ve always been a fashionista, with a tendency to make a statement with my clothing. I like edgy with leather moto jackets and studded boots. I like bohemian with flowy prints. I like color, texture and patterns. No one that knows me would call me beige.

What comes with aging, that is so mind-boggling, is the constant state of body change. All you women out there who have gone through menopause, know exactly what I’m talking about. There are a gazillion blog posts written on this very subject. Lots of WTF moments.

Change is inevitable, but I think it is difficult to accept what happens to your body. Your boobs get bigger and they droop. Your ass gets bigger and droops. And then there is this round thing that shows up around your waist like a Monday morning donut. WTF. It is not an easy task to get them corralled and back in shape.

A diet shouldn’t be a diet, but a lifestyle. Learn to love vegetables. Eat hormone free meat. Seriously? If it makes an animal get bigger, what do you think happens to you? Practice intermittent fasting, if nothing but to eliminate the digesting grumbles in the middle of the night. Take supplements because, yes, they really do work. Drink water with a chunk of lemon in it. It makes you pee, but you’ll notice the puffiness goes away.

Exercise. Walk. Take the stairs. Do weight-bearing repetitions several times a week. Even if it doesn’t do much for your shape, your bones and joints will love you. Having muscles will help you get out of bed in the morning, instead of just rolling over and hoping you don’t end up on the floor. Our muscles get weaker as we age, so you can counteract that by lifting weights.

Take care of your hair and skin. Nothing ages you faster than looking like you don’t give a sh*t. Gray hair looks awesome when it is well-cared for. Spending money on good hair products is worth it. Same thing with your skin. If you live in a dry climate, like I do, moisturizers are a must unless you like itching your way through winter. Coconut oil works quite well.

Keep up with your teeth. Brush, floss, see your dentist. Healthy teeth keep you healthier.

Breathe. Meditate. Get out in nature.

It will make it a lot easier to go back into your closet and throw out all the things you bought last year that no longer fit.

A Whiter Shade of Gray

senior-3336451_1920In the last several years, there has been growing popularity in older women and men being chic, fascinating and featured in magazines. Well, why not? Older people have this “been there, done that” attitude and are going to continue doing what they want. Old does not mean slow, stupid or even about to die.

Our bodies are aging, each and every day. We know that. Yes, our brains do too, but that does not equate to being senile. We have a wealth of experiential knowledge that helps us to make quick and powerful decisions. We are no longer burdened by the “image” society has picked for us. We can sky-dive if it so pleases us. We can get married when we are in our 90s. If we want to wear florals, stripes and sequins all in the same outfit, so be it. “Insta-Grannies” are all the rage now. I won’t list them, because by now you will have seen, read or are following most of them.

Is this a fad that will slowly fade away as many of these icons pass on? A fad is something that gets worn out and loses its appeal. If we are all aging, then we are all fads. So why not be so individually cool that you never outlive your time?

active-cyclist-elderly-264073What these ultra-cool elders are really showing us is that you must keep going and growing in order to live your best life. Having your 60th birthday, or whatever age you deem to be old, is not an automatic indicator that you must now move to an assisted-living facility and wear Velcro shoes. A continually stimulated brain will spur you into stimulating your body. Walk, dance, climb, hike, swim, sky-dive, whatever challenges you want to place upon your body – just go for it. Be safe; just because you can do it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care for your body. Our muscles don’t recover as quickly as they used to, and our bones aren’t as strong as they used to be either.

barca-473854_1920Are you a widower and think that because your spouse of 50 years is gone, you should just sit alone in your tiny new apartment? Au contraire, my friend. Loneliness will kill you faster than your one martini with dinner. Why not a companion to share that martini with? There is no social demand that you be married. Living in sin, if you call it that, is far more fun than withering away by yourself.

Many seniors become entrepreneurs. Done with the working-for-someone-else world, many active adults start new businesses built upon hobbies or passions. We have a lifetime of skills and workplace savvy to make it lucrative.

How about a little Botox, sculpting, or other cosmetic enhancements? False eyelashes and eyeliner aren’t just for the 20-something set. Whatever you choose to make yourself look and feel better should be just to make yourself feel better, and not about what anyone else says.

old-2742052_1920Growing older isn’t an easy thing. The changes in your body can be very frustrating. The lapses in memory are annoying. Don’t let them overwhelm you. Be kind and loving to yourself. Use them as opportunities to slow down and savor the moments of each day. You now have time to do all the fun things you put off while you were working and raising children.

You might even have time to go sky-diving with your grandkids while wearing your new purple-sequinned jumpsuit.

The Mating Game

butterfly-743549_1920Spring is teasing us with 70 degree days. Pasty white skin is showing beneath shorts wrinkled from winter storage. Straw hats and sunshades are getting dusted off. We’ll need those polarized specs to ward off the glare from the snow that will still make itself known before the earth heats up.

Spring brings flowers and flowers get crafted into beautiful wedding bouquets as young couples tie the knot in a ritual as old as Spring. Love, hope and promises swell the heart as they shout out their vows. Then begins the ritual of learning how to live together in peace and cooperation.

Statistics being what they are state that not every couple stays together. Sometimes it is big issues, those red-flags that were ignored in the heat of desire. A person will tell you everything you need to know when you first meet them so pay attention. When you are older and the sexual part of your relationship is in the waning stage, then you want to be best friends with your spouse. Too many good relationships end over power struggles that can be prevented.

Most couples fight over responsibilities and money. I have found some solutions to these issues that have worked well. First of all, share responsibilities. If one of you works outside of the home and the other in the home, SHARE responsibilities. It is very easy to have the homebound person take on most of the duties, but they are working too. Taking care of a home and children IS work. If one of you is a better cook, then the other can do the cleanup. Most resentments revolve around one person feeling that they have the bulk of responsibilities, usually housework. ASK for help when you need it, don’t expect that the other person can read your mind or will just pitch in. Ladies, this will help you avoid getting mad so ASK him.

In terms of money, the best way to avoid most fights is to have different bank accounts. Have a joint account that pays for housing and its upkeep, food, travel or any other thing that is shared. Put in an equal amount, even if you earn unequally. For example, if you both put in 80% of your income, then it is fair and equitable even if one of you makes $5,000 a month and the other $8,000 a month. The person with the higher income will put in more, but at still the same percent. Then you each need a separate personal account for discretionary money. You will have money you can spend for things you enjoy without harming either your living costs or having to justify to the other person. Just remember, do no harm. So if one of you smokes, then you aren’t using shared money to purchase them. The non-smoker doesn’t get to judge the spending either. Although I don’t recommend smoking as a spending habit. But before any expenses, be sure to save a portion of your income each month. You will want to retire someday and, trust me, you will be glad you did.

Your mating dance can last a lifetime. Patience, acceptance, cooperation and lots of laughing go a long way. And the occasional disco twirl on a warm spring day.

Bird Dance Beat

pigeon-2332702_1920Boppa-oo-mao-mao. If you are familiar with 60s music, then you know that line from “Bird Dance Beat” released as a single in 1964 by The Trashmen. My aunts had the 45 record and I loved dancing to that iconic tune.

The song has filled my head as I watch the annual spring mating dance of birds. Sunday morning we ate breakfast at a retro diner downtown. We were seated in a booth next to large windows. There were juniper bushes next to the building, but trimmed back so they created somewhat of a shelter for some sparrows. I kept noticing a bird fly back and forth and another preening on a branch of the bush. The flying bird finally landed on the branch and then I realized that the mating dance was on. The little girl bird had her back turned, but coyly looking over her shoulder to see the display. The boy was turning on the charm, white chest puffed out, head bobbing and wings flipping up and down. [I think he could have been dancing to “Bird Dance Beat”.] Girl bird didn’t seem too impressed so he flew off. She turned back around and proceeded to clean her feathers.

Before long, the male returned with a twig in his beak as though to demonstrate “hey baby, I will build you a house”. That must have won the date, because they flew off together into bird love land. Or so I assume.

Spring is a glorious time to remind us of the continuation of all species. Birds dancing, cats meowing, squirrels winding themselves around tree trunks, and humans stripping down to summer clothes. Biology demands that all creatures seek out the prime specimens to perpetuate the herd. Creatures do what they do, but humans have a choice and so they should as we have a much greater life span than many creatures. Many of our non-human creatures won’t make it past the hour of their birth. That is a sad thought, but might be why they continually reproduce without thought.

Or maybe it is just because they want to “bop to the bird dance beat”. Boppa-oo-mao-mao.

A-Dior-able

images[5]On February 12, 1947, Christian Dior launched the “New Look” collection from his Paris couture house. The world was recovering from World War II, and its austere, masculine clothing. The New Look returned the feminine silhouette with a full bustline, tiny waist and curvy hips. I believe that it reminded the world that the feminine, nurturing energy was returning. It was criticized as being a wasteful luxury when times were still lean. Thus is the power of the feminine energy, to create, to nurture, to honor the need to pamper our souls.

Today, my Sweetie and I attended the Dior exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. The show is in its final tour, ending on March 17th. The exhibit included dozens of beautiful gowns and suits, beginning with the classic “Bar Suit” categorized by a creamy fitted jacket and a black, calf-length full skirt. Think Lucille Ball in her heyday. From the simple suit to fabulous gowns of detailed embroidery and gems, lean silhouettes to curvaceous sweeps, all stunning in this gorgeous collection.

 

I, myself, enjoyed the blatant outrageousness of John Galliano. Highly satirical, if you studied the garments closely. One fabulous gown, that I failed to take of photo of, (God knows why not), which I dubbed “Queen in Bondage”. Bejeweled red satin, the bodice was a tightly fitted corset style with the seeming intent to expose the breasts, although there was a bit a fabric tucked in to keep it decent. Or so I assume. The skirt flared out from the knees, mermaid style, looking almost impossible to move in. The entire garment was capped by an innocuous-appearing crown. Luxurious, over-the-top, this gown defined Galliano’s evil genius. Too bad he couldn’t limit his antics to design instead of running off at the mouth.

IMG_20190303_115107239 (1)Like all art, fashion is beauty in the eyes of the beholder. For women in general, it is the living expression of our soul. You can wake up in the morning ready to deal with what is likely going to be a sh*tty day, and instead, choose to arm yourself with a great outfit. Fake it ‘til you make it, or so they say. Dressing in your favorite outfit, because you know you look fabulous in it, will change the day into something great. And I hate to disappoint you guys, but women don’t usually dress for men unless they are hunting for a husband or boyfriend. As designer Betsey Johnson said “if girls dressed for boys they’d just walk around naked at all times”. Just notice when you are in a public place, most of the women are looking at each other and often commenting about shoes and handbags.

Why? Because we are just f-ing adorable.

Love, Love Me Do

parrots-3427188_1920“You know I love you. . .” The Beatles, 1963.  Love is very important to our existence.  Whether it is from a spouse, partner, parent, child, friend or even your pet spider, everyone wants and needs to be loved.

We are all lovable children of the Creator.  Every single human being on this planet was created as a lovable, beautiful, miraculous person regardless of their path in life.  Every human is capable of giving, receiving, and deserving of love.  EVERYONE.

In the spirit of cleaning up your life, let’s look at romantic relationships.  Things need cleaning and maintenance to work properly, and so do relationships.  If you don’t put gas in your car, it won’t go anywhere.  If you don’t put time and energy into your relationship, then it might not go anywhere either.

Think of maintaining your relationship like a seesaw.  One person sits at the opposite end of the other, and facing each other.  You begin the movement of the seesaw, and it is a continuous back and forth movement to maintain a balanced load.  If one person forces the movement to stop, the other is basically left hanging in the air.  If they are the stronger person, they are in control.  Unless the one in the air jumps off.  A good seesaw partner contributes to the movement and maintains balance.

balance-2108025_1920How does your romantic relationship serve you?  Do you have a good seesaw partner?  Are you one?  Relationships are rarely the lust-filled, love-you-til-death with my every breath, as you read in paperback novels.  Like a seesaw, relationships have their ups and downs.  A good relationship is supporting and accepting.  No one deserves to be physically, emotionally or verbally abused. Ending a relationship is devastating in so many ways.  Aside from the emotional death you experience, many people are left financially strapped.  Children also suffer.  If you are in a bad relationship and are staying for your children, they experience as much of an emotional assault as they would if you left.  Too often, children become the battleground over which parents play out their non-maintained relationships.

Sometimes a little tending is all it takes to get a relationship back on track.  How about date night?  Busy life?  How about giving each other a half hour of uninterrupted attention each day?  No electronic devices; just face-to-face talking about your day or maybe your dreams.  If you can create together, you can do anything together.  Too tired for sex?  Snuggle up and go to sleep like that.  Simple touching will activate those feel-good chemicals and many little problems will just fade away.  Share all the chores, including children.  Have a joint bank account for the household and then each have a separate account for some spending money (with no justification).  These are the things that most people fight about.  Remember, two people came into the relationship, it takes two people to maintain it.

But most of all, just Love, Love Me Do.

Me Who?

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I hesitated to write this article for fear that it would come across as a political and/or hate-filled rant, so I decided to address it from my own experience.

 

I, too, am a victim of sexual molestation.

 

The first time was when I was 13, and the second at age 16.  Both times were perpetrated by a family member (not the same one).  The first event was more profound and many of the details are as clear in my mind today as they were at 13.  Do the math, I’m 58 now.  Trauma imprints details indelibly on the brain.  Why do you think it is called Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder?

I don’t remember all the details, just specific ones.  I don’t remember the exact day or time.  It was a hot, sunny summer afternoon.  I specifically remember the where, the who, the jeans I was wearing and exactly what occurred.  And I remember the secondary event that followed the next day.  I remember feeling that I was mature enough (at 13?!) to handle the situation and that I could stop it.  Some bizarre part of my brain felt sophisticated.  I even remember asking the perp if he had done this to his younger sisters.  Yes, really.  I don’t remember his answer, nor do I really want to speculate.  I’m not the judge of that.

The emotional whirlwind that came after has followed me to this day, even as I write these words.  Initially, there was a mind-numbing sickness due to some books he showed me of perverted acts.  Shame, fear and even guilt that I had somehow caused this.  Ridiculous as I was 13 and he was an adult.  Now I know that as Person in a Position of Trust and could have put him in jail.  I couldn’t tell anyone; my family life wasn’t very supportive.  At some point, I mentioned it to my grandmother without really telling her anything and her reaction was something like “I don’t want to hear this.”  So I lived with the shame and fear until sometime in my forties, when I decided that I needed to make changes in my life.

Sexual molestation creates life-long damage.  My sexuality suffered.  I experienced difficult relationships with men that played out from deviant behavior to smothering.  When I finally acknowledged my pain and did the healing work, I was able to enter into a relationship with a man who helped me find my sexuality in a normal, natural and loving way.  My sweetie is a good man.

There are hundreds of thousands of women AND men like me, who are ashamed and afraid to speak out.  Many have and I hope many more will.  Imagine the global healing, and hopefully change this will create.  The trauma will always be with you, but doing the healing and therapy work brings acceptance within.  You must do the grieving.  You must forgive yourself for being in the situation and not being able to do anything about it.  Shame is very much about self-hatred; you didn’t take care of yourself.  Only then can you put the trauma in a neutral place.

Why do people perpetrate sexual molestation on others?  I don’t know.  There are plenty of theories.  Family conditioning, societal pressure, having been a victim and on and on.  How about “because I LIKE it”?  There are mean and predatory people in this world, who are not necessarily socio- or psychopaths.  When they are confronted, they deny or throw a tantrum like a spoiled child who got their toy taken away.  It takes an enormous amount of self-will not to get outrageously angry when I see antics like this.  The urge is strong to want to give them a swat on the a$$ like a tantrum-throwing child deserves.

However, I do believe in karma.

I was probably in my thirties when I heard through the family grapevine that the perp had an industrial accident.  Something hit him in the groin hard enough to blow out a testicle.  Feeling vindicated, I gave thanks that day and I really think that was what started me down the road to healing.

Karma can be a real bitch when she’s been wronged.  Allow her to help you heal.

Oz-tober

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Photo: Pixabay, Efraimstochter

Last night, Ozzy Osbourne played at the Denver Pepsi Center.  I didn’t go because it was a work night and I just can’t stay up that late anymore.

Ozzie and many other musicians have been out on epic tours, some for several years.  Why the significance as that is no different than any other year?  Because most of them are over the age of 60.  They are still out there rockin’ it and kickin’ a$$ long after the rest of us are snoring in our beds.

Some ask “why?”  “Do they need more money; don’t they have enough?”  “That’s old news.”  “Sick of that music.”  (Seriously?!)  Or “they are too old to be doing that”.  The reality is that they are out there doin’ it because they LOVE it.  Music is their passion, their reason for living.  They live to make music, play music and perform music.  And why not?

I recently saw a photo of Klaus Meine of the Scorpions that said “this is what 70 looks like”.  If that’s 70, then everyone should aspire to that.  70 is no longer seen as the bent-over, shuffling wrinkled person with overgrown nose hairs.  Check out Ari Seth Cohen’s “Advanced Style” and you will see photos of [yes, real] kick-a$$ older people living life to the fullest.  “Old is the New Black” is the motto.

Older people have had enough of being pushed aside, told what they can or cannot wear, think, do or anything else a bunch of under-experienced brats have decided.  Older people live, love, wear purple hair and have sex on a regular basis.

We are not dead yet.

It is a time to embrace your passions, to do the things that you barely had the time for when you were younger, to play, to have a loving relationship, to think, to feel, to honor yourself and speak out for what you believe in.

Or rock it at an Ozzy concert.  Just remember to wear your ear plugs.