Tag Archive | Life

The Fabulousness of Forty-something

I just turned two score and six years a few weeks back and lemme tell you, I’m not as upset as most Hollywood-types would have had me believe. In fact, I’m not bothered by it at all. Maybe it’s because I was already braced for it, but I think that bein’ closer to the Big Five-Oh is actually pretty freeing. Maybe it’s because turning thirty was surprisingly satisfying and making it to forty was so fabulous, that any new decade is something to look forward to.

But since I am the protagonist of my own Romantic Comedy called Life, I mostly think it’s because of the wonderful “In Praise of the Older Woman” trend brought to the forefront by the dynamic duo of Ryan Murphy and Jessica Lange. What? You got that right. Ryan Murphy adores Jessica Lange as much as I do. I know, hard to believe. And, fortunately he’s in a prime position, as the current King of the Screen, to do something about it. And, Hollywood is taking notice. Women like Ms. Lange (67), Kathy Bates (68), Angela Bassett (58), and Susan Sarandon (70) — all of whom are being celebrated and showcased in all of their incredible acumen and beauty by Mr. Murphy (who’s on the cusp of 51) — have cured any doubts about becoming a woman … of a certain age. These women are beautiful, powerful, and full of fabulous!

Hollywood’s Most Glamorous Power Couple

 

 

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Feud is due out in 2017

Further Reading on Feud

 

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Mr. Murphy, Ms. Bates, and Ms. Bassett at Paleyfest 2013

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Ms. Bates, Mr. Murphy, and Ms. Lange

Further Reading on AHS (may contain spoilers)

***Fierce Female Link: Fatness, Femininity and the Media We Deserve

 

“As I saw more beauty in others’ uniqueness, I began to appreciate my own.”

   ~Sarah Winifred Searle

 

I’m so pleased to have been recommended to this wonderful woman by my talented friend Kat. Check out Sarah Winifred Searle’s pithy comic titled Fatness, Femininity, and the Media We Deserve.

 

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“It did weird things to my subconscious to grow up fat…”

 

 

 

Autumn is Coming

Yay! It’s the Oneth of September and I’m happier than the average bear. September is the month that brings us the beautiful Autumnal Equinox which falls officially on September 22nd, my birthday.  Is it any wonder that I love Autumn? I was born for it.

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Autumn signifies order and routine as the kidlens head off to school. Autumn leaves blow in the cool breeze, bringing sighs of relief from the summer’s icky heat. Rain tap-tap-tapping on the window panes always encourages me to slow down and take the time to cuddle up with a favorite book. Autumn brings thunderstorms that wash away the Old. And best of all, Halloween is almost here.

What are your favorite things about Autumn?

***

Today kicks off the Taboo Word Challenge created by Eric, author of the All In A Dad’s Work blog. Click the link for details and to participate!

taboo challenge

Lunchtime Olympics

Ever been whacked upside your head with a metal lunchbox? Are you old enough to remember when things used to be made out of metal? Well, back in my day, manufacturers really enjoyed making everything for kidlens outta metal. We started out with metal highchairs and metal toys, eventually graduating to metal playground equipment and, the best of all, metal lunch boxes. If you’ve never slid down a metal slide in the height of summer heat in Texas, you don’t know what you’re missing. Actually, if you did have the opportunity to, you were missing about three layers of skin. Good times! But, back to the boxes…

Metal lunchboxes came in a wonderful variety of differing themes, which also served as handy indicators of their owner’s ranking in the general student population. The fashionable kids had boxes adorned with Star Wars, Evel Knievel, Charlie’s Angels, or “The Fonz.” You could also be cool with one of the bionic boxes, like Steve Austin’s Six Million Dollar Man or Jaimie Sommer’s Bionic Woman. You may not be ostracized with an Adam-12 box, but you were definitely in the lower echelon of influence. But Heaven help you if you were seen with a Curious George or Holly Hobby box. That was just social suicide.

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Oh yeah, I was one of the cool kids.

 

What’s better than gettin’ a few hundred kids together, all hyped up on sugar  with a ratio of about 30 rambunctious kids to 1 beleaguered teacher, and sticking ’em all in a hot, sticky, stinky lunchroom? Then arming them with awesome metal lunch boxes. Oh, and metal utensils and sometimes even metal lunch trays, too.

At one of the elementary schools I attended, “Box Bashing” was a regular sport. Usually the boys started the game, but right around the time the Equal Rights Amendment was gaining traction, girls decided it would be a good idea to get in on the action, too. The only problem with the game was that you never knew you were a participant until you were slammed by someone’s decorated hardware. Of course, if you had a whelp with the outline of one of Charlie’s Angels on the side of your face, it meant you’d at least garnered the attention of one of the popular kids. So, there was that consolation.

Let the games begin!

 

Feast on This Friday: Fears & Phobias

Coincidentally, I have a phobia of popup books

Coincidentally, I have a fear of pop-up books.

 

Fears. We all have ’em. Some of them are just practical nuisances but other can be completely life-altering. When I use the term “nuisances,” I mean not being able to fall asleep until your feet are properly tucked under the covers, far from the prying hands of the mucussy goblins that live under your bed. Having a fear of heights and being uncomfortable in a tall building is one thing. Having a serious case of acrophobia that keeps a person from accepting an important career opportunity is another.

My spice once pointed out that I have more phobias than anyone he knows, like on par with Woody Allen. I didn’t agree until I had to use my second hand to continue counting ’em.

To my knowledge, my first serious fear stems from the fact that I saw a particular movie by Steven Spielberg when I was only three years old. Yes, I’ve been aquaphobic since I was three. But it isn’t just water that makes my skin crawl, it’s certain types of agua and what might be in them. My aquatic phobias include thalassophobia which is fear of open waters like the ocean, bathophobia (“deep waters”), and hydroskourophobia, which includes “deep, dark waters,” and even limnophobia, a fear of lakes. In my case this also includes selachophobia (fear of evil creatures I won’t name) and megalophobia (which includes any big things you may see in the water, and especially things that can stare back at you).

Some of my phobias, like my selachophobia is very real. C’mon, people say, that isn’t a realistic fear; it’s not like you live in on the ocean. Trust me, my fear of not-so g-r-e-a-t [color] s-h-_-_-  … y’know, is pretty severe. Even just seein’ a picture of the evil, dead-eyed bastards scares the hell outta me, causes me to jump or scream (or cuss), sometimes throws my heart into arrhythmia, elevates my blood pressure, and makes my palms sweat, and my mouth dry. We’re talkin’ serious dread here. My family isn’t even allowed to say the word out loud. At the Home Clan Allen Builds, the creatures are surely demons that shall not be named. Some of my closest friends (including my spice, the jerk) take a perverse pleasure in trying to desensitize me of this particular fear. They especially enjoy posting pictures of the monsters on my Facebook page. Haha. For those who’re counting, that’s six phobias so far.

I also fear closed-in spaces (claustrophobia), being trapped (agoraphobia), heights (acrophobia), flying (aviophobia), clowns (coulrophobia), bridges (gephyrophobia), and dentists (dentophobia). That’s thirteen. Thirteen things that cause visceral responses from my nervous system whenever I confront them. Thank goodness I’m not triskaidekaphobic.

What makes your skin crawl, takes your breath away, or causes you serious anxiety? Please share in the comments below. Sometimes it’s nice to know that we’re not alone. 

Quoth the Quirky

Following Jackie’s lead, I finally decided to take a go at La Duchesse’s TGBOL prompt for the week* because, hey, quirkiness is something this chick can totally get behind. I like quirk. And, if you like quirk, I’m happy to share mine. I hope you will too.

1/Music: Is it possible to get any quirkier than Disco? My spice and kidlens would shout a resounding No!  As a funky fairy child of the far out 70s, I would steal my beautifully hip disco-queen mom’s strappy high heels and boogie my heart out all over the dance floor that was our living room’s shag rug. To this day, my inner Debbie Harry delights in dancing to disco tunes. And yes, I can do the Hustle. Can you dig it?

Debbie Harry photographed by Maureen Donaldson, 1979.

Debbie Harry photo’d by Maureen Donaldson, 1979.

2/Food: Is sniffing heretofore new foods a quirk? If not, it should be. Look, I’m not ashamed to admit that I have the picky and peculiar eating habits of a fussy four-year-old. So you best believe that I’m not gonna put something in my mouth if it doesn’t pass the sniff test with a thumbs up from my nose. My spice, himself an amateur foodie, oft admonishes, You don’t sniff it, Micki, you eat it. Yeah well, the nose knows.

3/Fashion: I really like fashion. I really love fun. So, fun fashion is like a great big hug from the Universe. However. I’m forty-something. I’m at that age where fun fashion is fine as long as it’s tamed. I’m all for feelin’ fabulous and kickin’ it like you just don’t care, but I have a fairly conservative inner-voice that insists I dress closer to my age. At my age, dressing too fun (funly?) just ends up looking desperate. So for now, it’s simply quirky. Of course, I’m counting down the years until I’m just old enough to be considered beautifully eccentric a la’ Iris. Then I’ll really let my freak flag fly!

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image lifted from elliesfavouritethings.com

4/Speaking with my Hands: Say what? No, I don’t mean using sign language — although I did take an ASL course at our local community college in order to communicate with my wees when they were pre-verbal, but that’s another post. I mean that my hands flap like bathing birds and fly around to illustrate when I speak. I’ve always been this way. My Nonny used to tell me that I wouldn’t be able to speak without my hands. True story: she’d make me sit on my hands to keep me quiet in church. And, thank Heaven for phones that give the time. I cannot bear to admit how many watch faces I unwittingly smashed while conversing over the years.

5/Thinking with my Hands: I’m what you used to call a visual learner and thinker. Not only do I smell in color and love to read words as well as pretty pictures, but just about any time that I’m trying to listen intently to a person, I like to scribble and take notes**. I have pens and notepads everywhere; all around my desk, in my purses, in my car… Without my notes and scribbles, I tend to have to ask you to repeat yourself so that I can clarify what you’ve said. It’s not because I wasn’t listening to what you said [although, your fabulous necklace may have momentarily taken me off track] it’s that I’m not someone who is a quick auditory study. I’m the person who’ll tell you to “take a right on the second street after the QuickieMart” instead of “head west on Elm.”

*TGBOL CHAPTER 6.0 EMBRACE YOUR QUIRKINESS

**Some educators have added read/write to the mix of learning styles. Since I haven’t taught in a brick-and-mortar school for a thousand years, I’m still old school. (pun intended)

When Someone Calls You *Beautiful*

What’s your immediate response when someone tells you that you’re beautiful? Do you scoff and shake your head? Do you assume that they’re just paying lip service or trying to butter you up?

Are they stupid or simply mistaken? Are they a liar?

We are compelled to love our neighbors. Encouraged to see the beauty in all things. You are a unique, living creation. So, when I tell you that you are beautiful…

Believe me.

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Ever Have One of Those Days?

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I’ll tell you what. Some days just aren’t worth getting outta bed for, ya’ know? As positive and optimistic as this peppy chick strives to be, some days just do their d*mndest to prove my Silver Lining theory W-R-O-N-G.

These are the days when I hafta put on my Scarlet O’Hara bonnet and remind myself that the Yankees’ll eventually get the hell outta Dixie. The storms won’t last forever. The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t really another train. And that, whatever SNAFU I’m currently facing, this too shall pass. Because, as God is my witness…

Tomorrow is Another Day

I once read somewhere that “you have survived 100% of your very worst days.” Well, hello! I sure have. And, guess what. So have you. So, let’s let that tasty lil’ morsel simmer for awhile before we decide to throw in the towel.

Ever have one of those days? If you’re breathin’, I know you have. Please feel free to share how you manage to put one foot in front of the other and carry on.

Death Calls Me Home

The Wolfe once declared that you can’t go home again, but I’ve found that to be painfully untrue. Here, in the early dusk of Life, Loved Ones continue to fade away … like leaves and first loves and morning glories under the setting sun. Each sad and grateful passing beckons my beleaguered bones back to the bittersweet haunts of my very first Grand Adventures. Oh yes, and petty mischief.

Over and over I am called to revisit these grounds of Origin against my will as sweet memories and pangs of regret swell in their Battle for Attention. I am perplexed by Observance: everything dwindles twixt each visit to this place called Home. Billie Bob’s Thus-n-Such was buried by WalMart. Old-man Hooper’s Grocer doesn’t feed anyone anything anymore. But, the pawn shop will gobble your goods for quick petty cash. Yes Daddy, our once-green-and-fair hamlet now reeks of Progress and Old.

So, were the flowered walls of my youth always this sticky and confining? Was the green green yard where we chased bouncing rabbits with laughing fingers always this brown, wet, and small? The giant robust arms of my favorite climbing tree are now brittle and tired like Me. The squeaky colorful swings finally rusted into Ruin.

The heavy crystal ashtray, the one dripping with diamonds that cast prisms in Mother’s eyes, always waited with me for your return back in the day … the incense of coffin nails reliably announced your Presence and was always powerful enough to make me drop my dollies and run to your Embrace. There are no more marshmallows under the dining room table. Where did they go? Why aren’t they here anymore? Time surely swallowed them while it devoured my Childhood. And, when did I outgrow this giant little bed? Memory insists it was never this tiny during evening prayers with Daddy. “Give me the wisdom of Solomon, God. I want to be rich just like him.”

The floors of this Haven are now settled, sunken, and sullen. Or, is it just Me? Yes dammit, I curse the bloodstain on the carpet where you stumbled — Helpless and Alone. But by God, these blessed golden frames stand Witness to your Virility. So strong and proud in your Navy Blues. So painfully Handsome in your Sunday Best. Always happy with a hammer in your hands. Ivanhoe! Everything Good sprang from the sweat of your beautiful, curly Brow.

Your empty blue bed and my heavy heart sag with sadness. I bury my face in the sheets. They drink my Tears and together we mingle. But, your trusty pillow still smells like You. And, I will always look like You. Tell me, will your fragrance linger as long as You did? Will I? Everything dwindles except for this Grief which swells and looms larger and larger each time Death calls me Home.

on the passing of my father, april 25, 2016

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Father’s Day 2015