Self-reflection

Create Your Right Goals – And Leave Others To Pick Theirs!

One of my compulsive habits I am attempting to modify is list and goal writing. I always have goals for any day, week or month. This habit works well for me. I have spent quite a bit of time over the holidays evaluating the year just passed and setting up goals for the next year. If you read the two blog posts I wrote about changing the concept of what it means to be FabulousOver60, you won’t be surprised I did not spend nearly as much time reviewing 2017 and carefully crafting goals for 2018. Yes to goals, no to too much analysis and perfecting the way goals are phrased.

Here are my 2018 resolutions.

  • Worry less.
  • Get the most important 2 or 3 things done everyday.
  • Confirm those important things to do early each day – then meditate.
  • Have lots of fun whenever possible.

The last few years had me worrying excessively. Some recall that I had moments when perhaps I was not an actual lunatic, but I was damn close. Results of my excess worry were clear: I felt depressed, unable to get my own priorities met – while nothing of what I was worrying about changed. I couldn’t meditate as well or sometimes at all. I definitively had less fun – how can you have fun when you are nervous and worrying?

As a life coach I know one really simple way to judge our own actions. It is to evaluate exactly what happened as a result of our actions. What happened? How did others, if relevant, respond? What improved or did not? The answers indicate our effectiveness. Tough as it sometimes is, accepting that data with ease knowing I am not perfect and then adjusting seriously improves action. When I evaluated my worrying it was clear the results were bad – it had to go. And having dozens of goals next wasn’t going to work either.

For FabulousOver60 women, anytime before the Ides of March (and I am betting over 60 fabulous women are among the few that recall what the Ides of March is) is a great time to create your own FEW goals. This makes sense to me. By the end of March it is useful to have a focus on what is going to make you feel right, be happy, and do good this year. If it’s April, and you haven’t yet got a focus and some new goals, don’t worry.

Just decide that your new and likely temporary focus is “just being and doing what you are” – knowing if something critical arises and needs your pressing attention – you’ll be on it and know exactly the goals you need to achieve. I guess setting goals for FabulousOver60 women is a bit like riding a bike or a horse – the “how to” comes back to you if and when you need it to. Certainly we now know things WILL arise needing our intense focus and yes, goals to be set. For us that may be a surprising new work or volunteer opportunity or an unexpected death of a friend or spouse that requires lots of new ways of operating in the world.

On the other hand, I think the #metoo movement is one that definitely needs goals both personally and organizationally. We did lead the way professionally making sure people “got” that women really CAN do and excel at jobs they were previously thought not to be able too –  that didn’t leave us enough time to set goals aimed at ending harassment too. Glad women with a lot more energy and recent experience are doing a terrific job finally dealing with a pattern as old as dirt. And while it just seems ridiculous to most of us to share our me too stories – since we think what happened in 1972 or 1985 typically should remain there; we are all behind young women leaders who are setting their goals to end or at the least drastically slow down harassment and discrimination. There are always things to accomplish. We are fabulous enough now to know which ones have our names on it and which don’t.

Patty

Part 2: More About Changing Our Definition of Fabulous

Last week we published part one of a blog post about the changing nature of being fabulous – this week we complete it by focusing on more about the meaning of fabulous now.

Fabulous is looking fine in a way that is comfortable and absolutely us and dropping any snobbery around standards that have lost their meaning.  Being in fashion isn’t fabulous anymore — being real, authentic, hot or conservative or edgy in ways that reflect our best self is. Fabulous is living, learning, staying present and being grateful for all that’s good, and calm about things we can’t control.  And fabulous is all about taking care of ourselves and those we love.  We feel most fabulous when we are in connection with those that matter and are doing things that feel good and are good for us.

Being Fabulous, Part 2:

Random shopping has stopped being fun.  But we seem to have found just those few boutiques or online spots that have sales on just exactly what we feel is perfect and fabulous.  Few, if anyone, seem to care about looking good anyplace or at special events. So our black pants and nice top could take us to the opera or the hottest restaurant in any town and to someone’s graduation party.  True, BUT, we evolved here too. We created our new definition of fabulous as dressing as well and as we want, still choosing to look extra special more than once a year, and if we are the only one in a restaurant or at the party with a dress or heels or pulled-together look (don’t we all agree that many people of any age appear to use their laundry basket as a closet?) we don’t care.  We dress for ourselves and any audience we care about, we dress up when and if we want to and define our feeling appropriate as being fabulous.

Heavy meals started hurting our stomachs.  Nature wasn’t pretty if we ate, drank or didn’t sleep enough, so we sleep more if we can and just stopped ordering the cheese plate — but kept going out. We don’t go on and on about our food issues — fabulous now looks at the menu, makes the calculation of what works and doesn’t and orders without announcement.

Friendships have become challenging in tangible ways: friends, family and those close to them have serious health problems, not hangovers, and people close to us die.  We’ve learned how to mourn more deeply without falling apart or making the loss about ourselves.  We pray or sit silently more often, sending prayers or caring vibrations to others. And share our sympathy with more confidence not because we are getting great at demonstrating sympathy, but because we now know with absolute certainty that the most important thing is demonstrating we care, not doing some “appropriate” thing. We’ve really gotten the boundaries message and keep them even when faced with heart-wrenching personal loss times for us, or our friends. We handle ourselves keeping the focus on those who hurt at the time.  And we work to avoid dragging ourselves into a tailspin of upset over anything we can’t control (yes, most things).

One thing we haven’t given ourselves enough credit for was how we as a generation became, and are still, continuous learners. 

And that is now the core of being fabulous: we keep learning and experimenting. When we fail we try plan B to Z if we have to. We are not Queen Elizabeth in The Crown (a fabulousover60 favorite), perpetually unamused if not insulted by the relentless changes in the culture. We have come to peace with our parents and are using a different approach to aging and being fabulous.  We are NOT denying we are aging, that time is passing and we are going to die.  I remember death and dying, as well as well as less permanent changes – like moving or writing a will and getting specific about near-death wishes as taboo subjects for our parents.  They kept doing much of the same things they always did and didn’t want to talk much about age-related realities.  We do not blame them or feel anger at them. But we have clearly chosen a different fabulous path that includes facing realities of all sorts – from divorce to death or from being fired to starting a whole new business in our sixties.

Fabulous now is about accepting what is, and building and living in our own able-to-be-penetrated bubble. 

We choose what comes in and out with open eyes and heart and ears. We focus on fewer things, but our important things. We continue to be kind and have come to realize, as have other mature people, that kindness counts more than nearly anything else.  We are back marching and resisting or maybe only paying attention in a limited way — we know ourselves, do what we must and don’t judge others.

Fabulous is looking fine in a way that is comfortable and absolutely us – and dropping any snobbery around standards that have lost their meaning.  Being in fashion isn’t fabulous anymore — being real, authentic, hot or conservative or edgy in ways that reflect our best self is. Fabulous is living, learning, staying present and being grateful for all that’s good, and calm about things we can’t control.  It’s about taking care of ourselves and those we love.  We feel most fabulous when we are in connection with those that matter and are doing things that feel good and are good for us.

Turning 60 seems eons ago.  I chuckle for not realizing that everything changes – including our definitions of being fabulous.  We’re still smart, savvy and sophisticated, but our hearts are set on being our best individual self, connecting and being a part of a group when it is the right time and place. It’s also enjoying that group time, giving ourselves and everyone else a break. It is letting our light and our scent, our essence – which is individual and precious – be felt in the world.

A friend from the early 70s once told me that I was like great perfume, leaving a lovely scent behind when I left — I was touched and a bit overwhelmed.  And I remembered it, always trying in my own way to live up to the challenge of leaving “a lovely scent” behind.  Cathy and I have chosen to let FabulousOver60 now be associated with multiple beautiful perfume bottles (in our new cover photo on Facebook) — each representing one and all of us FabulousOver60 women.  We’re each unique, and we’re shining our lights and leaving a warmth and scent behind us everywhere we go.  Think that says it all.

Patty

The Meaning of Being FabulousOver60 Has Changed!!

Fabulous now is about accepting what is, and building and living in our own able-to-be-penetrated bubble.  We choose what comes in and out with open eyes and heart and ears, we focus on fewer things, but our important things, we continue to be kind and have come to realize as have other mature people that kindness counts more than nearly anything else.  We are back marching and resisting or maybe only paying attention in a limited way — we know ourselves, do what we must and don’t judge others.  

We are posting this blog in two parts. Part one focuses on “then” which is the time we started FabulousOver60.com around 2010 at the beginning of our sixties.

Next week we will post part two – which shares all the experiences that led to our changing conception of being fabulous and how we went from the visual on our Facebook page being a lily to our visual now being a group of special perfume bottles. Love to have your thoughts and reactions.

Part One:

I turned 68 on January 20th.  In the years that Cathy and I have been writing FabulousOver60 we have shared our evolving challenges and attempted solutions in regards to family, friends, work, health, volunteering, culture, beauty, serenity, spirituality, vacations, homes, and moving — nearly everything except politics (a conscious decision).  We have heard from many of you who have supported our efforts at being positive, funny, and openly sharing our own foibles and not-quite-perfect efforts to avoid losing our fabulousness.  We were pretty sure we knew much of what was ahead back in 2010 — the issue for us as we began living those years was worrying about how we would handle the realities of being 60-something and not get pushed off a high ridge into “un”-fabulousness.

Our original fabulous model was a nearly ageless women still caring about her outside self as much as her heart and mind.  Fabulous was carrying on as we had in our 50s but at a slightly more leisurely pace.  We stood by the concept of women multitasking — yes we thought one should know how and actually do as many of the following as possible, preferably at the same time: look totally awesome and put together; prepare food, cook & serve it; keep all things in neat and orderly; work at something to earn money or earn respect that is clearly worth doing and yet fits into a semi-retired lifestyle (being created); work on our lives seeking out new/interesting roles; stay current on world and national events; keep weight stable and exercise frequently since of course we’ll have more time for things like tennis or golf or hiking; have great relationships; and volunteer as frequently as possible to save the world in a meaningful way.

Our definition also suggested we avoid acting or being old as much as possible — skip those early dinners and pre-set routines that we found so annoying in our parents.  When faced with a challenge take it full on, using skills from our earlier life and act confident and calm, but keep going.  Stay a bit edgy, have a great sense of humor and of course be a kind, decent human being.  Oh and be ready to share your wisdom and charm that certainly some, if not many, younger people will find interesting and useful.  I know you are laughing at this last sentence. Talk about a false assumption!!

As our 60s unfolded we began to take in some new information and real-world experiences.  “Doing it all” and “having it all” were on shaky ground to begin with and we learned first hand they are completely outdated for good reasons.  We tossed those out. Our energy wasn’t up to what we often thought it should be to stay fabulous. We became okay with that.  Fabulous can apply to only certain times. One or two or three things a day started making more sense than a fully scheduled day – even if the schedule took place at a spa.  Am okay with that too. Standards around our eternal touch stones continued to erode: forget thank you notes, people didn’t RSVP for weddings!  We made adjustments and practiced forgiveness.  We lowered our expectations of others but kept some selected high expectations of ourselves because they defined us in ways WE think are fabulous.

And yes, there is more.  See part two next week.

Patty

Five Of The Seventeen Lessons I learned In 2017

As the title suggests, I don’t plan to share my complete list of these lessons. Rather, in this entry I am choosing to share a few lessons that are already making a difference in my life. My thinking is that if I consider a few of my big breakthroughs, and you consider those and your own lessons, we can all end the year with some needed closure and fresh insight to make 2018 easier. As an adult learning expert I know that confusing and difficult life dilemmas give us an opportunity to learn and grow. I am certain 2017 has been a year when I have expanded my perspective, deepened my thinking and yes, gotten wiser. And I bet no matter what went on in your life you realize you learned some amazing things too.

For me, the biggest lesson was personal, not political, learning. The year began with a thud for my dear sister. She had a fall – not off the wagon, she doesn’t drink much – but a set back in her life that she was not prepared for, caught her totally off guard, and totally surprised Bill and I too. What happened next – the ups, downs, dramas and recovery is where it got very messy but amazingly interesting. While going through a depression triggered by my still not totally conquered codependence, (I have read Codependent No More dozens of times). I wound up realizing that I didn’t know my sister nearly as well as I thought I did. And that much of my initial feelings and then suffering was based on false assumptions about my sister – and about myself.

When we finally allowed things to unfold as they were meant to, we both more clearly understood the essence of each other’s character – and how our different but compatible passions were confusing us. While Wendy will always see justice, and correcting wrongs as central to who she is; I will always consider making things peaceful and calm as the highest good. We both are drawn to different north stars. We just needed to GET that our ideal “outcomes” can often feel far apart but ultimately are not for each other. We both have to turn down our “need for control buttons” and know that we are both OK as long as we allow each other to fix things based on our different passions. This profound lesson has let the remainder of the year work much more effectively for us both – and for us to enjoy and love each other in ways that are truly healthy.

Another of my lessons resulted from what I am now calling the chaos of 2017. There has been so much upheaval in technology, marketing and lifestyles, wrenching surprises everywhere from Washington DC to LA, and long-held expectations turned upside down. No matter what the focus of your year, it was touched by a sea of chaos happening everywhere we looked. Half of us just stopped looking and put on headphones. The rest of us tried to balance letting “some stuff” into our world while claiming our own roads. There wasn’t a set of friends or a family that didn’t put up the “no politics sign” at the entrance to some event. The truth is that the world was put into jet drive — change at the speed of light. And tough, very hard on everyone due to storms of nature or storms of our own creation.

Remember the phrase “you are what you eat”? Turns out you are also what you read, listen to, see and choose to engage with. We KNOW that, but do we really work to shape our input environments even as we respect our needs to keep current and apprised of important events? For many, the reaction to potentially disconcerting news is to shut it out. Logically, if and when something happens that is truly life changing, you will tune in – and of course you vote. Fabulous women vote. High standards – and that includes being a good citizen – are critical to all our futures. But let’s say you are like me: really interested in current events, but still concerned with getting too riled up over day to day nonsense while also worried about offending people I love who may have a different reaction or response to events. Remember I mentioned my need for peace and calm?

The lesson was pretty simple – but surprising – I had missed it till close to year-end. I realized that what I was really interested in was history and big current trends – both economic and political as well as social and artistic. If I am learning and growing (a huge passion) by reading interesting and complex ideas about diverse events and trends – from the Vietnam War to Leonardo Da Vinci (click on the links for specifics); if I am seeing and exploring art exhibits about Dali and Schiaparelli on a recent trip with co-blogger Cathy to Florida; then I am happy and more than satisfied with reading my beloved New York Times every other or third day and just checking headlines in between.

Cathy and Patty at the Dali Museum December 11, 2017

I don’t want to be out of the loop about things that matter – but more critical for me is to have my mind stimulated regularly and deeply. It is odd to me that I missed this very obvious need in myself. I wasn’t missing the details of DC daily as much as knowledge and insight into the world and how I might use that knowledge to help myself and others live happier more productive lives. What I realized that was watching CNN or MSNBC, while somewhat interesting some of the time, often was shrill nonsense and not particularly stimulating.

This week I read the new Chris Matthews book on Bobby Kennedy. Loved it. There it was – a biography that gave me insight and information to help better myself and have a greater understanding of today. It just doesn’t have to be today’s rundown.

So there you go. Two big lessons I learned. Add those you did. Just in case you’re interested in that list of 17 lessons of 2017, let me share numbers 15, 16 and 17.

15: Stop taking yourself so immensely seriously.

16: The world will always be challenging, so focus on what’s truly important for you.

17: On or near New Year’s Eve/Day, thank yourself for hanging tough this year – and wish yourself the happiest of New Year’s. Cathy and I wish that for all of you – whether you’ve learned anything or not.

Patty

Answering the “What Have You Been Doing Lately” Question

At dinner last week with friends, I was asked an easy question… What have you been doing lately?

Unfortunately, I didn’t have an easy answer.  What had I been doing lately?

As I thought about how to answer, I was actually asking myself a different question: Had I done anything exciting or productive lately that is worth sharing?

These friends had just told us about their recent trip to Spain, followed by their successful business trip to New York City.  They are in their 60’s.

I finally mumbled something about enjoying fall in Asheville and changed the subject.

Other friends have asked similar questions. Planning any trips? Working on anything new these days?

I know that these questions aren’t meant to make me uncomfortable, but sometimes they do. I find myself feeling guilty for not doing anything important or boring for not doing anything exciting … or both.

In my late 60’s, I’m actually quite happy with my life.  I am staying healthy, keeping active, enjoying my home and my canine companions, and spending time with friends.  I’m also living with a fabulous husband who enjoys the things I enjoy, including music, good food and great wine.

But I’m not doing anything especially thrilling and I’m not “working” anymore, either.

I think I may find these questions uncomfortable in part because of the way I lived my life in my 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.  In the mid-1970’s, I chose to pursue a business career. As I got older, a lot of my identity was tied up in achievement and success.

Remember what was happening for women in the mid 70’s? Here’s an excerpt from an article about those days:

Women as ‘Man of the Year’

Mid-decade, the women’s liberation movement had inundated America. The changes were so rampant that TIME awarded its “Man of the Year” in 1975 to “American women.” Their article “Great Changes, New Chances, Tough Choices” from January 5, 1976, reads:

“They have arrived like a new immigrant wave in male America. They may be cops, judges, military officers, telephone linemen, cab drivers, pipefitters, editors, business executives — or mothers and housewives, but not quite the same subordinate creatures they were before. Across the broad range of American life, from suburban tract houses to state legislatures, from church pulpits to Army barracks, women’s lives are profoundly changing, and with them, the traditional relationships between the sexes. …1975 was not so much the Year of the Woman as the Year of the Women — an immense variety of women altering their lives, entering new fields, functioning with a new sense of identity, integrity and confidence.”

That was me.

When I started my own company at the age of 44, it was a continuation of my career drive.

I was busy, busy, busy… all the way through my 50’s: Traveling for business and pleasure, meeting with clients, presenting at conferences, heading up an industry association and more.   It was quite easy to answer the question…  “what have you been doing lately?”

Then, I gradually pulled back from the business in my early 60’s and worked on becoming “retired”.

Another reason I may be feeling like a boring person these days is that many well-known people in their 60’s … and even into their 70’s and 80’s … are doing things that are interesting, exciting and in the headlines.

We have a 71 year old president and the woman who ran against him is 70.  Tony Bennett is still performing at age 91. Women in their 60’s and beyond are still going strong in the entertainment and business fields:  Helen Mirren (71; actress), Annie Leibovitz (67-photographer), Jane Goodall (83-animal expert), and Christie Brinkley (63 – business women) to name just a few.

And then there are some of my friends. My same-aged blog partner, Patty, is launching an online coaching product.  Another friend – age 60 – is starting a fashion design company. Another is consulting with owners of start-up businesses. And another is writing a memoir and taking horse riding lessons.

And here I am at dinner with friends being asked what I’ve been doing lately.

So, do I want to live my life differently?

Apparently not, or I would be living my life differently, or so the motivational gurus tell us.

I could, of course, change my mind and design a new app, learn to sky dive, become a business consultant or open a new brewery (I live in Asheville, after all).

Or, I could just come up with a way to answer the “what have you been doing lately?” question truthfully, without guilt or embarrassment.

Maybe something like this:

I’ve been living a great life and enjoying every minute. How about you?

What do you think?  Will that work?  Or should I sign up for some sky diving lessons?

Cathy Green

October 2017

What We Can Learn From The Three Wise Monkeys

Wikipedia shares that the Three Wise Monkeys, sometimes called the three mystic apes, are a pictorial maxim. Together they embody the proverbial principle “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.”  These monkeys have always aroused my curiosity and tested my wisdom as I have aged.

As the end of the year and the start of the holiday season begins, we all need guidance and support to not only continue to be fabulous, but to serve as fabulous role models to other women.  The holiday season tests us, doesn’t it?  You begin to wonder how to organize it and participate in it.  Before any evidence is in, we start thinking that people are not going to live up to our arbitrary holiday standards. I also get a slightly sick feeling that whatever I do it isn’t quite fabulous enough. So why not let these monkeys give us some guidance?  As fabulous women say – can’t hurt, might help.

Let’s start with Mizaru, covering his eyes, who sees no evil.

Last week while driving in Phoenix I saw a guy walking down the street with his penis out of his pants, slightly bouncing to the beat of his walk.  Not sure anyone else but me noticed.  Bill insists I was seeing things.  Phoenix is a big driving town and thankfully most of the drivers are busy looking at the road ahead rather than to the sidewalk.  Now, you may think this situation caused me to think – ‘let me see no evil’ – and ignore this man’s penis and send him positive vibes instead.  While a great idea, that is not my point.  My point is that looking or not looking at this man has nothing to do with the idea of seeing no evil.  Seeing no evil is much less about avoiding trashy news (or partially dressed people) than it is the need to purposely focus our attention on the good, the positive and the meaningful.

I may have found part of “the answer” – and tens of thousands of others have too.  It is the Good News Network, founded by a woman of course, in 1997.  Geri Weis-Corbley is the world’s first positive news expert.  One of the great quotes from readers includes this one from former Secretary of State Colin Powell: “Thank you for writing your newsletter, Some Good News. I enjoyed reading the positive stories . . . I am heartened by the goodness and generosity that I see in people . . . keep up the good work.”  All the news on the site goodnewsnetwork.org is free, although one can become a member.  And, it is not a non-profit.  You might want to check out Geri’s blog from August on their 20th anniversary and of course sign up to get the good news daily. I did and it is inspiring me already.

The second monkey is Kikazaru, covering his ears, who hears no evil.

In the Shinto religion, monkeys are important beings. There are even festivals that are celebrated in the Year of the Monkey, which occurs every 12 years.  It was the Year of the Monkey LAST year by the way.  The next one will be 2028 – we won’t be writing this blog then but we’ll still be thinking of what that second monkeys can teach us.  Like seeing no evil, the key to “not hearing” is not ignoring anything that doesn’t agree with your own narrow view of the world, but rather tuning in more strongly to those messages worth hearing.  Deciding to never watch Fox or CNN, while perhaps a sensible idea in this climate, is not a decision to hear no evil.

Hearing no evil is the fabulous positive step of seeking out voices that are aching to be heard but often are not.  The person shouting from the rooftops about some or another piece of nonsense is not worth taking our earphones out for.  We need to listen to the other fabulous women – those with the quietest voices, children’s voices, voices of the marginalized and poor – which are often drowned out. Most importantly, we need to listen to our own inner voice – the one that tells us over and over again that we are fabulous when we choose to listen with, and listen through, our hearts.

Finally, we have Iwazaru covering his mouth, who speaks no evil.

Of course it goes without saying that fabulous women never gossip – except occasionally while drinking champagne to excess.  Here’s what a fabulous woman does talk about.  She talks about the holidays in positive ways.  She skips the “sad” tales of what her family or friends are NOT doing right, well, or appropriately.  She focuses on easy, fun, simple and caring ways to role model the spirit of the holidays.  She is gracious – an old fashioned but wonderful word that describes what we all wish to be: full of grace and full of love, laughter and infinite patience.  She also focuses on:

  • Good news about others
  • Her own expertise – especially when others seek out their advice in that area
  • Her own stories – never other people’s
  • Praise and more praise for everyone in her life
  • How it is she is so lucky or blessed
  • Things that make others happy, comfortable and that are truthful

Actually, there is a fourth monkey.  Remember ‘do no evil’?  Well, that’s for another blog – the one after the holidays that includes resolutions and returns.  Yikes, let’s not get into that fourth monkey or returns yet.  It is only Halloween, right?

Patty

I Love Fall! How About You?

In 2014, I posted this blog about my favorite season. As I write this, in mid October of 2017, the leaves are beginning to turn colors, some are already falling from our trees, the air is crisp, the sky is clear and the days are getting shorter.  We had a beautiful summer, so there’s a bittersweet quality to these changes.  Here again is my attempt to explain why I love fall so much.

Fall is my favorite season. I have loved it since I was a young Cincinnati girl growing up on Vittmer Avenue, a cul-de-sac lined with large oak trees that turned bright yellow, brown and orange in October.

When I moved to Florida in the late 80’s, I missed fall so much that I traveled with Ray to Maine trying to “time”  the peak colors each year.  When we finally bought a home there, we stayed until mid to late October when our “leaving” tree would tell us it was time to go. That’s what we called a beautiful birch tree in our yard that turned bright colors before shedding its leaves and ushering in the beginning of winter.

Birch trees in autumn

And now, living in one of the most desirable “leaf peeper” cities in the country – Asheville, NC – I get to see the spectacular changes in color at several different elevations over about six weeks.  Traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost every day – only 5 minutes from my home –  is incredible.

Here are a few of the reasons that I love fall so much…

  • The changing colors of the leaves always amaze me. I take more pictures in the fall than in any other season and most of them are of yellow, red and orange trees glowing in the sunshine. My cell phone has at least 100 of those photos right now.

Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville, NC

  • The air smells crisp and clean. I have good hair days, I can wear light jackets and there’s a spring in my step. Lexie, our Labradoodle, is thrilled because she gets to be outside with us – running around the yard, hiking or going to festivals called Pumpkinfest, Octoberfest or Pecan Harvest Fest in small cities all over Western North Carolina.
  • I enjoy a fall wardrobe. I look better in sweaters and scarves, and they feel “cozy”. Bathing suit and bare legs season is over (thank god!) And, fortunately, orange, yellow and black clothing looks good on me.
  • Halloween is a great holiday. I like the scary ads and ghost stories, the Halloween pop-up stores, corn stalks, pumpkins, candy corn and parties.  I don’t go to the haunted houses, but I read about them and might just get courageous enough to walk through one someday.
  • A fire in the fireplace on those first cool evenings is a special treat. The hypnotic flames, combined with the smell and warmth of a fire, makes me want to bundle up on the couch with a blanket and listen to James Taylor and Bruce Hornsby music.

  • It’s time for crockpots and chili –my kind of comfort food! And, I love the strange looking squash, the thousand varieties of apples and the weird-shaped pumpkins that are everywhere — in stores, restaurants and at roadside vegetable stands.
  • It’s great to decorate the house with fun things … witches, ghosts, black cats, pumpkins, candles, cinnamon brooms, door wreaths and mums. And, the color orange – a bold, optimistic and uplifting color – is everywhere you look!

What a great time of year.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Cathy Green

When It Comes To Clothes, Are You A ‘Keep It’ Or A ‘Toss It’ Woman?

Last night, I wore a blouse that I hadn’t worn in a while.

That’s a nice blouse” said my husband.  “I don’t think I’ve seen it before. Is it new?”
“No, I’ve had it several years”, I replied.

I didn’t tell him the whole truth. The blouse is over 30 years old – maybe even closer to 40.

Right about now as she reads this blog, my writing partner Patty is no doubt shaking her head in dismay.

When I met her in the late 70’s, she told me that she believed in buying only good, high quality clothes so that they lasted a long time,  and that she always tossed anything she hadn’t worn in the past two years.

I was impressed with her resolve, but credited some of it to the fact that she had a small closet in an apartment in New York at that time.

I’ve asked her about it since, though, and she says she still tosses (actually donates) what she hasn’t worn for a while.

I am, on the other hand, definitely a keep it kind of person as evidenced by my 30 year old blouse.

It’s not a hoarding thing. I do donate clothes from time to time. In fact, I’ve swept through my closets at least a couple of times as I’ve moved households. But, it is a hard thing for me to do.

I find myself holding on to my donation box for a few days after packing it up and then second-guessing myself right before I load it into the trunk of the car.

That size 10 pair of gold Dana Buchman slacks? I should probably keep those just in case I’m ever a size 10 again, right?

And, that black cashmere sweater that I haven’t worn in years because it has always been too tight?  It’s still in style, so maybe I should keep it another year?

I’m even going to admit that I’ve thought about taking something out of the box at the last minute as I hand it over to the donation collector.

So, back to that 30+ year old blouse.

It’s a Votre Nom, 100% silk, black and white stripe blouse that still fits.  I googled Votre Nom to see if I could find any information about the brand and only saw a few pieces from the 70’s on auction sites.  I think I bought it in the early 80’s when I was making good money and traveling around the country.

It was probably expensive at the time, but I’m not sure.

Anyway, I have not been able to throw it away, even though it has made it onto the “maybe” pile several times.

So, why did I wear it last night?

  1. I don’t enjoy shopping for clothes like I used to, so I have been doing some shopping in my own closet.
  2. I have a lot of clothes so my Catholic guilt nags at me to wear them.
  3. I was in a black and white kind of mood and it was hanging right there in my closet (see #2)

But, whatever the reason, my husband liked it and I looked OK.

Cathy in her 30+ year old blouse

Yes, Patty, it’s true that I haven’t worn that blouse more than a handful of times over the span of 30+ years, but damn if I didn’t wear it last night!

Am I vindicated?

Cathy Green

Canada’s Making Me Feel Fabulous

Canada is 150 years old this year.  And looking very beautiful!  We’ve been in Vancouver where the weather is divine (you know the range: 60 to 80 degrees) and the town booming.  Seems a bit easier to feel fabulous here.  Maybe getting away from the stormy vibrations in the USA right now is just the thing to make one feel fabulous again.  As my granddaughter reminded me, it also stays light very late into the evening here.  Here’s a look at the view at 9 PM on Wednesday when we arrived.

Vancouver skyline

I have used several of my favorite traveling habits here in Vancouver.  When I get to any large city I go out and walk and walk versus hitting the gym.   Walking for miles beats the treadmill with CNN shouting breaking news what seems like every 5 minutes.  While on my marathon walk I made stops in two best bets to lift my mood.  The first was to stroll into the most upscale and expensive department store in my wanderings.

While I know that loving a swank department store clearly puts me in my waning 60s, I can’t ever forget how as a young woman when money was tight, and my career busy, I would wander and picture myself wearing some of the most amazing clothes.  Loved just looking at those crazy priced multi-thousand dollar dresses and day dreaming of entering a restaurant and turning heads.  While I have grown somewhat beyond the clothes obsession of my youth, and for sure know I am very unlikely to make heads turn now, I still get joy out of wandering those expensive racks and wondering where I could ever wear these options.

Another treat is visiting a cathedral or an inspiring old church.  The hush, the few people reverently praying, sometimes choirs or organ masters practicing, wonderful messages about welcoming people, large open spaces and small areas featuring a saint or special area of prayer filled with lit candles all comfort me.  It is like a spiritual cashmere wrap and blast of serenity.

We have also spent time wandering the botanical gardens here – lush and greener than green, and seen some intriguing art at museums.  We actually thought we knew everything we probably needed to know about Monet but learned a bit more when we went to a new exhibit at the art museum here.  One surprise – and likely many of you already knew this – but we did not: there was an actual painting that Monet titled Impression which is how the term impressionism came to be.   We did know that impressionism was a derisive term when introduced, but seeing the actual painting that named a movement we all know so well was very interesting.  My theory was once again confirmed that one never wastes time in a museum – there is always something fresh to see or hear.

While here I returned to another adventure that always works to up my mood: going shopping alone for lingerie. Cathy once wrote a hilarious blog of our jointly shopping for lingerie – that was for me a one-time thing—and of course am glad it was Cathy I shared it with.  But my preference is to find someone friendly and knowledgeable in the lingerie department to help me and share with her what I have been considering for months but just haven’t gotten around to buying.  Staying fabulous has to include holding firm to buying lovely underthings.  Promise me no matter how you feel about your financial situation or your aging body, you will, at least once a year buy something pretty, shaping and charming that will remind you how special you are every time you put it on.  Cotton briefs and a one size fits all bras does not help one to feel or think fabulous.

We’ve just learned that our next stop on our “get out of the Tucson heat tour” Portland, Oregon will be over 110 degrees when we arrive.  Talk about news that threatens my uplifted mood!!   We spent several hours mulling through options that tried our patience.  But with all my good vibrations from this wonderful trip, I kept my thinking positive.

As for the impending heat wave in Oregon, did someone say there is no climate change?  The big lesson for us fabulous over 60s is this: your memories of how weather was have to be tossed out the window.  So maybe you did vacation in Oregon every August in the 70s and there was a chill in the air.  That is no guarantee that weather is still with us.  Since we are always saying that being fabulous is about being flexible, check the weather first wherever you are going.  Do not rely on anything but the present – literally – weather is a moving target.  Practicing dealing easily with changing weather may help us deal with other things that are changing as well.  That would be a great support for being fabulous all the time.

Patty

What Should I Do About My “Writer’s Block”?

Blogging Rule #1. When you have a blog site, you must write and post something on a regular basis.

I’ve been doing that for about six years now, along with my blog partner, Patty.  We alternate postings.

Unfortunately for me, it’s not her week to post.

Usually, I have been able to come up with something to write about. The topic might be spurred by something weird I experienced, something I remembered about the past, or something my dogs, husband or other family members did that struck me as funny or crazy.

But lately, nothing notable has happened to me, no one in my immediate circle of family or friends has done anything too weird (that I know of), and even the dogs have just been dogs.

Knowing that I’m on the hot seat to post a blog this week, I’ve been on high alert for things to write about. I felt sure, for example, that my annual eye exam yesterday would provide fodder for a great blog.  No such luck.  And my hair cut and nail appointments were equally uneventful.

Maybe the problem is that I’m leading too boring a life … not challenging myself to break out of my daily routines with new experiences that will spur my adrenaline and creativity.

So, I’ve decided that I’m going zip-lining this weekend.

Just kidding. I’m not that desperate to write a blog.

I do think I need to change things up a little, so I’m going to give it some deep, deep thought. Inspiration is probably right around the corner.

But first, it’s noon. Time for lunch.

Cathy Green

 

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