May 25, 2009

Wealth, friends, and giggles.

Once more, my daughter is right. It truly is the "small things" in life that make us rich and happy. She writes about it at
Don't get me wrong, having financial security and health are important, and those are pretty big things. But lately, it really is the small things that are priceless to me.

Like teaching my grandchildren this weekend to play Rummicube and seeing their smiles and hearing their giggles. Priceless. A few people lately asked me how it feels to have grandchildren, and I told them that there isn't a word in our language to describe the joy of being with them. It's truly beyond words. And also this weekend, I was invited by one of my employees to a party for family and friends to celebrate her college graduation and I went, alone. And had just the best time. Her family embraced me, her friends were good company, and most of all I was honored and touched that she would include me. I went by myself and enjoyed every minute, the food and the company and the joy of being included in celebrating such a significant event in a co-worker's life. Is there a proper word to describe this feeling too?

And dinner with women friends? Again priceless. Since I created Wow, over 3 1/2 years ago, I've enjoyed the company of some of the most amazing women. They are down-to-earth, genuine, smart, and good company. Again, it's a joy to watch the ladies at a meeting, how they interact and share and listen and laugh, filling my house with their lively and happy spirits. One of the ladies planned a rather impromptu dinner last night with a few of us, and I was delighted to attend. Lucky for us the restaurant was noisy and the server was a guy with a mom just like us, he said, because we laughed so long and so hard, over and over, that I was surprised my food stayed down. Two of these women have invited me on vacations this summer, one to a quiet and peaceful week at her beautiful home on the beach, and another on a cruise to foreign lands that I never ever thought I'd see. Again, I don't think the language has the words to describe the joy I feel, realizing that I have friends who bring me such joy and happiness.

Maybe I'm just getting sappy at my age or maybe I've just finally broken down the walls I created as a child to protect me from harm, but I often find myself with tears of joy. I spent the years raising my beautiful daughter, being a single mom, working and almost never taking a vacation. Lucky for me, her friends often invited her on their family trips so she enjoyed many happy vacations, but I went many years without. And now, I'm invited on dream trips with women who are fun and upbeat and who I really do love dearly.

We women talked over dinner last night about the fun we have in life, even though we are man-less and I realized that love is love. Love for grandchildren, love for friends. And self-love. And I realized that I have conquered a lot of personal demons, finally allowing people to get close to me and finally reaching out to create a network of friends and family who I adore. And who sure seem to also love me. Life is rich. Beyond words.

May 17, 2009

Beauty, self-love, and women.

I have a theory that a lot of grown men have anger issues. I've had personal experience with passive-aggressive men, you know those guys who promise things and then don't do them and it feels like they're really just saying "f**k you"? Freud wrote about how we, as children, have to separate from our parents by rejecting them, thus the difficult teen-age years. This is tough for little girls who then have to actually kind of reject themselves to accomplish this. For guys, they reject their mom but then she's the 1st woman they ever fell in love with, so do they spend the rest of their lives with anger over this conflict? Or did they just have moms who ignored or belittled them?

I was reminded of this today with an email from a guy I don't know, but who is on my list of guys to invite to my free singles parties. I'm arranging a party in the park on an upcoming Sunday, a free party with a well-known band and ladies bringing desserts to share with the guys. What ever could anyone find wrong or upsetting about that? Well, there is one guy with the words "dirty boy" in his email address who responded to my invitation with this: Delete me from your spam list. I don't care about Sha Na Na, I don't care about your parties, I don't care about your blog, and I REALLY don't care about you. If I get one more email from you I will come to your next party and spill red wine all over you. Geez, if he isn't angry, I don't know who is!

So I was thinking, is this also a female phenomena, having such anger issues? I don't have any women friends who are angry, but I think I know what we ladies do instead. I became aware this week, one of those light-bulb moments, that I spend lots of time each day in self-criticism. Some of it is obvious, like when I see someone who I think is thinner or smarter or better dressed or more confident and I get that immediate feeling in my gut that makes me feel small and not-as-good as her. And then I realized that it's possible that I do this on a subconscious level, like when my boss suggests I may have done something wrong and I feel kinda stupid when I'm not.

I had dinner with one women friend this week who talked about her lack of confidence in social settings, especially around women she perceives as strong,how she feels less-than in their company. So one of those same friends told her this week how much she is admired, that she provides such a balance in their group of women and how she always seems so centered and confident that it calms them all. Another friend is still having trouble letting go from a recent break-up, continuing to second guess her decision or what she should have said or is the guy thinking she's crazy? My opinion is that she did amazingly well, dropping the guy almost immediately after she realized that he seemed to be a bomb waiting to go off and that he was barely controlling his animosity toward women. To me, she didn't fail in any way, but showed her strength and courage to let go of a guy who everyone else liked. She worries that she wasted time, but I think there was a lesson she needed to learn from him and now she is better for it. See, women criticize themselves when the reality is that they are are succeeding big-time.

So, let's vow to recognize our self-criticism. Let's vow to replace those thoughts with kind affirmations about ourselves. Let's tell ourselves that we how we are good to our friends and our family, how well we manage to provide for ourselves, how we do our best at our jobs, how we are kind and generous, how much our friends love us, and on and on. And - that we are beautiful and perfect in this very moment. Because we are.

May 14, 2009

Overnights, crocs, and wrong numbers.

As you know, I am single and haven't dated for almost one year. I'm feeling fine about it, and don't have any great, or even small, desire to seek out some great guy to date. It's a comfortable place to be, and comfortable is good.

But I do have friends who are dating, so I do get to hear about singles-over-fifty-dating-adventures and, the more I hear, the more I'm glad I'm not dating. One of my friends, we'll call her Missy, was unceremoniously dumped by a boyfriend of five years, just before last Christmas. She was pretty shaken, but recovered quickly, saying that it was just the end to one chapter of her life's book. Pretty cool friends I have, don't I!

So Missy has placed a few personal ads on a few dating sites and has been meeting lots and lots (and lots!) of guys, since then. She convinced it's a numbers game, that we have to meet lots of guys to find one we'd like to keep, and meanwhile she's enjoying the process. Last weekend, she had three 1st-meet-dates with three different guys. Mr. Friday night was nice, but a bit too much older than Missy, yet he admitted that "all his parts work" and she enjoyed his company, so she saw him again when he invited her over for dinner and to see some of his hobbies. And made her a dinner that included ...tater tots! And then tonight he called to invite her over again, this time for overnight, to which she said that she'd like to get to know him before doing that, which to her means going spending time together going out, you!? To which he responded that sleeping together was the best way to get to know each other. To which she said, no thank you and don't call again.

Mr. Saturday night was good company, not her type, she says, but she wouldn't mind seeing him again. Until yesterday when he called her, she recognized his number, said hello, and he said "sorry, wrong number" and hung up. They had previously agreed that she would call him a few nights later, which she did, but he was curt and non-communicative on the phone, quickly saying, "thanks for calling" and hanging up. What? So tonight he called her on her cell phone at work, said that he was calling to confirm tomorrow's date, and she responded with "excuse me?" to which he replied, "I'm the guy you talked to last night for 1 1/2 hours." Oops. Gotta keep your women straight, guys!

But my favorite from her weekend is Mr. Sunday, the guy who planned to meet her at a local park and bring a picnic dinner. He arrived wearing orange crocs, you know those strange rubber shoes that one should really only wear while gardening, pink flamingo socks, jeans, brightly multicolored shirt, ponytail with the sides of his hair sticking straight out. And really, really huge thick red sunglasses. I'm not making this up. And the picnic? Fresh warm bread. That's good. Argentinian wine. Tasty. But the rest? Olive spread, weird cheese, and artichoke hearts. And oranges for dessert. And Missy doesn't like olives.

So, see, I don't have to date! I can just live through my friend Missy and enjoy the antics of the strange and weird men who inhabit our over-50 dating world. Unless some really nice, really normal, really fun, and really cute guy comes along unexpectedly. Until then, being comfortable without a man is the plan.

May 10, 2009

Mothers, daughters, and love.

Happy Mothers Day! I hope you and your families have had a most wonderful day, celebrating motherhood. I had a wonderful Mothers Day!

Holidays like this always bring up old feelings in me. My own mother had a tough life, being raised like Cinderella, having to take care of the house and four brothers, suffering abuse and lack of love. Her life with my dad was a struggle, with my dad being difficult and not much money to go around, but she maintained a joyful spirit, always finding something to be happy about. She had her children in the 50s and was the kind of mom who worked hard, doing the all the housework and shopping and ironing and tending to her husband and children, always holding down a full time job at the same time. Maybe because of her difficult childhood, she didn't know how to be a good mom, and I have no memories of being loved or held or told that I was special, but we made up at her final illness. When she died, I knew she loved me, and all of my past heartaches were replaced with a sense of peace.

I have a daughter of my own, and I raised her not knowing anything about how to do it and being divorced when she was three years old. I know I made a lot of mistakes, but she turned out to be a warm, caring, intelligent mom who is devoted to her family and it shows in her happy husband and lovely children. She took me to a brunch yesterday, a fund raiser put on by the Moms Club (mothers of multiples) and we had a really good time. The location was beautiful, the food delicious, and the activities were fun. But, most of all, I was able to watch her in the midst of friends and acquaintances, see her be confident and strong, enjoy how she participated in the conversations about how to pick a child's school, and see how others greeted her with pleasure.

I've always said that having a child and watching as they turn into a self-sufficient adult who makes healthy decisions is one of life's greatest joys. Seeing my daughter as an adult is having watched a miracle unfold,as she grew from the child of a clueless single mom into a really magnificant and beautiful adult. She writes a blog about finding joy in the little things (www.itsallaboutthesmall in which she shares her philosophy about how important it is to pay attention to the little things in life, like a child's smile or the pleasure of making cookies together. I'm not sure what is the point of this post, except to say that I'm incredibly blessed to have her in my life, this beautiful child of mine who overcame her own difficult childhood to grow into a spirited and loving adult. That's her in the picture with me above. Isn't she something?

May 1, 2009

Dizziness, labyrinthitis, and personal ads.

Once again, I’ve been home from work with a new illness. This one is labyrinthitis. So I wake up in the morning, look at the clock and decide I can sleep another 45 minutes but I’d better feed the pooch so he lets me sleep and I get up, walk to the door, and crash into a wall. When I got my bearing, I tried to walk through the doorway and found I couldn’t walk straight and the room was seriously spinning. Holding on to the walls and the furniture, I made my way to the kitchen, fed the dog, and staggered back into bed. Later, I managed to crawl to the couch where I stayed most of the day, since sitting caused the room to spin and standing up caused me to fall over. Labyrinthitis. An inner ear thing, I was told, and I spent several days watching bad TV on the couch. Obviously, I couldn’t go to the doctor, so I called and she told me what she thought it was and said that it would go away in a few days, and she was right.

Meanwhile, when I was finally able to sit up for a minute or two, I decided to place a personal ad so I would at least have some email to read during my recovery (and boredom). Since my previous ads have brought little in the way of quality men, I wondered what it is that I should really say that would entice good guys in an ad, so I titled it “What does a man want to hear?” and listed my attributes and what I wanted from a man as questions, asking if those were things that would interest men. Thought you’d enjoy some of the responses……

From a man who doesn’t know what men want:
I’m not really sure what a man wants to hear but I’d be interested in hearing more about the man you’re seeking …

From a man of few words:
A man wants to hear 'yes' ..

From a whiny guy:
A man does NOT want to hear whiny.... "I want..I want... I want"... "I want my prince charming just like in the movies, we will waaaalk on the beach into the sunset"... Do you think guys want to hear that kind of drivel? Why do women think that guys just want to hear their lists of "I wants"? Try to captivate, not to antagonize.

From a guy who clearly didn’t read the ad:
you got my attention - I'm in pasadena - 52 and single .. yippie!

Just listen and feed them pizza?:
All we care about is that you have cold sodas and good pizza on the weekends when we want to see a fotball game! And if you behave good we might just spend some time with you . OH ! and we love a lady that listens .Good luck -and you will find a good man soon ! just be positive and you are beautifull like all the others ,feel it and believe it ,we sence what you want us to sence from you gals. !

Yuck, who’d want to meet this guy?:
Every woman says she's looking for someone to make her laugh... is that real? How about being responsible for your own happiness and then sharing that with a man who does the same for himself. Then you both are contributing. I don't know anyone who claims not to love to travel. Being 50 is no guarantee that a person has grown or become wiser for the years. I'd have to say, based upon the dependent conditions/wants you stated, that you are not wiser for your years. I wish you were, I'd love to meet a woman near my age who gets it that men are not responsible for her happiness. It's a partnership right down the middle, and if you don't want that, does that mean you will give up your half of the "say so" in the relationship? I doubt it, so lets be real shall we.
You want to know what real men want to hear... well now you have it.


Is it me, or does this guy not make sense?
that there was strong empirical evidence that females from 14-28 aren't looking for "fun" (aka casual) relationships and when they get into their latter years, only then start looking for serious guys to marry, bear children, and financially provide for someone who lived their life so selfishly and narrow-minded. and then continue to breed and feed the younger female generation to emulate those predecessors. how about one that is career oriented and when guys think successful, they think ceo. when girls think successful, non-mom, non-homemaker, probably non-wife to many guys, non-golddigger, non-life leech, and as non-full-of-shit as they can be.
or as close as to that deviation where a latter generation of males, do not perpetuate nor instill this type of jaded-perspective that i have come to think and seek out of despair.

And from a guy who keeps it simple:
All a man wants to hear is that his woman is loyal,
respects him, and that she sincerely loves him.
That would be plenty!

So, yes, I’m better. I can walk a straight line and the room is holding still. I hear that this might occur again if I move my head a certain way, but I think really that I’ve had just about enough ailments this year and will be healthy from now on. It appears, however, that I will continue not to date, considering the kind of guys I seem to attract, but I’ve got my kids and grandkids and good friends and interesting books and now, my health, so all’s well!