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Monday, April 25, 2016

Could Everything Be Rigged In Our Favor?

Imagine my surprise when a blog I wrote over a year ago popped up on my screen. There must be a logical reason for this sudden appearance, but I choose to believe the Universe is conspiring in my favor. There is a personal challenge I am about to start and this little written nudge made me laugh out loud. Usually my words come back to haunt me, today they came back to push me to achieve my goal. This blog was put together with the words and wisdom of others and it was good to read it again. If you are embarking on a new road today, maybe it will be just what you need. xoxo. Here it is....

A wonderful writer, speaker, philosopher and church leader Jeffrey Holland once wrote about the universal problem that hits all of us.  He said doubt, discouragement, and despair blocks our growth, dampens our spirits, diminishes our hope and leaves us vulnerable to other troubles.  His words from March of1980...
"I speak of doubt - especially self-doubt, of discouragement, and of despair.  In doing so I don't wish to suggest that there aren't plenty of things in the world to be troubled by.  In our lives, individually and collectively, there surely are serious threats to our happiness.  I watch an early morning news broadcast while I shave and then read a daily newspaper.  That is enough to ruin anyone's day and by then it is only 6:30 in the morning.  Iran, Afghanistan, inflation, energy, jogging, mass murders, kidnapping, unemployment, floods. With all of this waiting for us we are tempted, as W.C Fields once said, to "smile first thing in the morning and get it over with."

We come back to choice...choice of how we view everything.  

Here is a distinction F.Scott Fitzgerald once made, that "trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement-discouragement has a germ of its own" (The Crack-Up 1945)

As my friend Valerie continues to tell me, "Events are neutral" Hard to believe but so, so true.  We get to choose how we react, we really are the captain of our ships.

From his talk "For times of Trouble" Jeffrey Holland wrote of a story I love.  "Thomas Edison devoted ten years and all of his money to developing the nicks-alkaline storage battery at a time when he was almost penniless.  Through that period of time, his record and film production was supporting the storage battery effort.  Then one night the terrifying cry of fire echoed through the film plant.  Spontaneous combustion had ignited some chemicals.  Within moments all of the packing compounds, celluloid for records, film, and other flammable goods had gone up with a roar.  Fire companies from eight towns arrived, but the fire and heat were so intense and the water pressure so low that the fire hoses had no effect.  Edison was sixty-seven years old-no age to begin anew.  His son Charles was frantic, wondering if he were safe, if his spirits were broken, and how would he handle a crisis such as this at his age.  Charles saw his father running toward him.  He spoke first.

He said, "Where is your mother? Go get her. Tell her to get her friends.  They'll never see another fire like this as long as they live!"  

At 5:30 the next morning, with the fire barely under control, he called his employees together and announced, "We're rebuilding."  One man was told to lease all the machine shops in the area, another to obtain a wrecking crane from the Erie Railroad Company.  Then, almost as an afterthought, he added, "Oh by the way, anybody know where we can get some money?" (paraphrased from Charles Edison, "my most unforgettable character," Reader's Digest December 1961, pp. 175-77)
Virtually everything you now recognize as a Thomas Edison contribution to your life came after that disaster.  A disaster I think I would have not recovered from.


Remember, "Trouble has no necessary connection with discouragement-discouragement has a germ of its own."

Why didn't Thomas Edison quit?  What is it about some people that they never quit?  I believe William Shakespeare said it best (doesn't he always?) Remember, dear Brutus, "The not in our stars, but in ourselves"

I am reading this today with a new outlook of hope....

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Reason for Menopause - The Grandmother Hypothesis (And this isn't just for Grandmothers)

Know me for longer than a minute and there is an awareness of my need to know "why?"
Some folks have said to me...

"Why do you care so much?"

"Sometimes there isn't a reason or an answer...often the sun just comes up."

"I don't know, please just go to sleep" ( A phrase repeated from my mother when I was 5 and my husband a couple of days ago.)

I won't accept the premise some queries are not answerable. If there is enough information for a question, there is enough information for an answer.

So imagine my profound joy to find a reason for menopause. On paper menopause appears quite useless, but here was a scientific hypothesis for menopause instead of the cruel joke/fraternity prank I thought it was. If I sound less than grateful for the extra weight, loss of memory and skin elasticity, and often just the will to live I enjoyed 10 years ago.....Oops.

I met a brilliant woman at a writers conference (Bloggers after Midlife) who presented on a panel about the positive side of aging. Afterward we spoke for a few minutes and I told her the conversations my friends an I have about the effects of aging. I shared our inadequacies and sometimes sadness at being older. She steered me to a blogpost called the Grandmother Hypothesis. This new friend Lynne Spreen had written an intriguing blog you must read and consider. In her blog post menopausal women are asked to understand how essential they are to the survival of our species. She writes women live a full one third of their lives after child bearing years. If they were here only to reproduce then life spans would only be 35-40 years.

Post-menopausal females bring such a survival advantage to the tribe or pod (protecting and helping the young mothers, finding food, and anticipating danger), that it is equivalent in value to the ability to reproduce.
  • Think about how you protect and help young mothers.
  • Finding food - teaching them to cook, shop, garden, sew, euphemistically finding food can be education, wisdom and patterning of any kind.
  • Anticipating danger - I don't care how liberated you are, walking home in the dark alone is stupid, putting your hand in a lion's mouth or poking a bear with a stick rarely has a positive outcome. Great safety tips...
  • Think about menopause as valuable as reproducing.
I hope SURVIVAL ADVANTAGE TO THE TRIBE wasn't lost on you.

Before you let your emotional sweater snag on whether or not you reproduced, take that off your worry list right now. My stepmother did not reproduce yet she raised and taught me almost everything on Lynne's list.  Not to mention all the endless friends I have that are not biological mothers. But they are all mothers of one kind or another. 

It is exciting to consider a reason for menopause, with a new found purpose to look Menopause square in the face and give her a big kiss....even though she can be a bitch.

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Best Weekend Ever!!

In my life I haven't attended a convention....ever. Not of painters, bankers, realtors, clowns or salesmen of any kind. I have never been to a convention. I have heard of them, I have walked past them...I have seen conventions represented on television and heard of unheard things done at conventions, but I have never been to one.

Until just this last weekend when I attended my first convention. But this wasn't just any convention, oh no my friend this was a convention of women who write and everything connected to that. A room filled with CEO's entrepreneurs and analytic experts, all networking and building their bands. There was tweeting and trending, Instagram and snapchat, not to mention periscope. Women with podcasts and book tours. And women who are asked to speak all over the country. It was called - BAM - Bloggers At Midlife.

And just like Ginger Rodgers, BAM goers do everything Fred Astaire does. Only backwards and in high heels. Because they are all doing it at midlife...and although they have a personal brand the group brand was fierce. This group of midlife women gathered together to inspire and remind each other that our best days are not behind us...but ahead of us. We looked menopause, wrinkles and extra weight right in the face and laughed. We dared them to stop us, because women of midlife have stories to tell, people to teach and nurture...we have lives to live! Most of us have raised our children, had a career or two and now it is time to find a way to feed the muse. The voice constantly whispering in our ears, you have a talent, use it, you have great ideas, teach them, you have great worth, show it must be heard.  It does the world harm not sharing our voices, ideas and talents. So what if you are 50, 60, 70 or a 100? - it doesn't matter. What matters is doing what this part of our life was set aside for. We do have challenges. Women of midlife are routinely characterized as Maxine, that ghastly women with the cigarette dangling from her lips, boobs flat as pancakes and hair from the underside of a wombat.

There isn't a instrument invented that can accurately measure my objection to this kind of stereotyping. I know no one like this, and I will not stop until this kind of message is killed.

If any woman from this conference had gotten a "subtle" message from the universe that they were too old to start a business, write a book, or speak around the country, they had a whole tribe of woman ready to ran over that message with a large truck of some kind.

Hey Universe! Did you hear that? I can figure out the computer, I don't smell old and I can start a business.

If my best days are ahead as I suspect they are, it is going to be amazing. Every woman I met understood there is plenty of work to go around and if one woman does well it only means we can all do well.

It was a convention void of competition, politics and small children (except in pictures!!) . For 2 days I didn't see anyone diet...or even worry about dieting. We had a disco party and danced the night away.  When "I will survive" was played we all listened with a different history because we have all survived and now its time to tell that story.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

In defense of Garlic

The other day a discussion broke out with someone about our pasta....I uses the term"our" loosely because although my husband is the cook, I find the bowl for the pasta and I always wash the bowl, So it's our pasta. The discussion went something like this...

"Do you put garlic in your pasta sauce?"


The pause between her words and my reaction could have been timed with a calendar. Do I put garlic in our sauce? No words would come that could properly answer such an odd question. Of course I put garlic in my sauce, I put garlic on my Rice Krispies. Not putting garlic on my sauce would make it just tomato debris. Garlic is the mother herb, the elixir of life....its garlic.

Then she said, "We need to know because we don't like garlic."

You don't like garlic? Just how do you ward off vampires?

No garlic......while processing that I thought of  the people who look at me as though I am being punished because I don't drink.  There are those who wonder how, or why, I ever wake up in the morning since I don't drink coffee.  This is different, this is baseball without a hot dog. Thanksgiving without a turkey, Texas without chili.....Sauce without garlic?

So to  all of you sidestepping garlic, I say, roast it, sauté it, chop it, or  hang it from your ceiling.....but don't neglect the garlic.


Sunday, April 3, 2016


I whine a lot, I get tired, my knee hurts, sometimes allergies bother me, but I don't really get sick. Then last Friday night occurred. I thought something was coming on, I assumed it was allergies.  Then everything started to hurt, even my my teeth! It turned out to be a sinus infection, a pretty bad one....but just a sinus infection. Inwardly, I panicked. I admit it. Before I found out what it was lots of things went through my head.


1.) If you could barely handle this what would you do if you really got sick?
2.) How much time have you spent thinking you still had plenty of time to do the things you really want to do?
3.) Does everyone know you love them?
4.) You never wrote the book, went to Rome, Paris or Israel, or took your children to Texas.....
5.) Your underwear drawer is embarrassing

Every once in a while life sends you a little note of concern. Are you living your life, or just going though the motions?

If I die with a messy underwear drawer it wouldn't be the worst thing....if I don't get back to Texas, write that book or walk around Rome I will still have lived a great life....but I think I want more.

You too?