Posted in Jeanne Marie

On Aging Disgracefully

So yesterday, I put on a sun-dress and all I could see was my skinny, saggy arms and my skinny, stick legs and no boobs, so I changed. I put on stretch pants because they look good on skinny legs and a big t-shirt which hid the no boob situation.

But it was too late.

I had already seen myself in that sun-dress and as I’d I removed it I’d thought; this may be the last time I put on a little sun-dress because I look like a crazy cat lady wearing little girl clothes.

Which is why I’m advising you to think carefully before you lose weight when you are over sixty…

I lost twenty-five pounds and the first thing to go was my boobs. It wasn’t long before my unlined face bloomed with wrinkles from hell. Then the neck caught up to the face. I’m not kidding. I think one of the worst days was when I looked down and saw that I had saggy legs with wrinkles at the knees. My skin was hanging like a loose pair of pantyhose…and oh ya, the last thing to go was my big tummy…

I actually looked better at a hundred and thirty-five pounds than I do now at a hundred and ten pounds. I have bounced between being skinny and overweight, mostly overweight, for the last thirty years but every time I lost or gained, my skin behaved…not this time.

When I was thirty, I found out I had rheumatoid arthritis and it seems like every decade since then, something in my body goes haywire.

When I turned forty, I got trifocals and in my fifties, I had five surgeries with only one of them successful and that was a hysterectomy.

Two years before sixty, I got a brand new shoulder…so I’d hoped that would satisfy Decade Fate. Obviously, it didn’t. I thought I had slipped untouched through the turning sixty, but nope it was just waiting to surprise me at sixty-two when I first lost weight.

I’m sixty-five now and on the plus side, I look cute with my clothes on. For now.

I always knew I that I didn’t want to get old.

I was sure that I wouldn’t like it, but I really couldn’t figure out how to not get there and now I’m here.

I was right, I don’t like it.

 

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Posted in Jeanne Marie

I watch the old woman next door…

I watch the old woman next door. I can’t help it. She has no curtains and as I sit with my coffee, my eyes are drawn to her as she hobbles around her kitchen each morning, staggering with pain, holding her back as she tries to walk, sometimes bent in half with the effort.
I don’t want to watch her, but it’s impossible to look away.
She was young not long ago, not alone, and she raised a family.
Little ones she rocked to sleep, diapers she changed, clothes she washed, shopping for teenagers, parent’s meetings and thousands of meals cooked.
A husband who had dinner on the table every night, years of waiting on people, taking care of people, loving people, and now she’s alone.
Walking is such an effort for her, it hurts me to watch. It takes her hours before she can straighten up.
I don’t know how to help  her.
She’s very stubborn.
She won’t use a cane or a walker. She won’t go to the doctor to see if they can fix her back because she doesn’t want anymore surgeries, she’s had so many.
Every morning she just prays that the pain is not going to last, and by the time the mail comes, she’s usually standing tall, limping a little, but standing tall, and she praises God.
That’s her morning.
I watch the old woman next door. I can’t help it.
Posted in Gracie's Glimmer, Poetry From A Woman Who Thinks Too Much

Untie Time

I wish I could untie time
rip it to shreds and then
put it all back together again
without the grief and the tears.
Throw away the bloody pieces
no… bury them in the ground
where they will never see
the light of present year.
Never a chance to beat me.
Never a chance to bind my soul.
No hands rebound…no, no.
Treacherous threads of minutes
Woven through my torn flesh,
Taking all, time imposed her limits.
My bounty ticked away so quickly
I couldn’t even catch my breath
My babies are grown, am I free?
Have I  passed the maternal test?
I wish I could untie time.
Posted in Jeanne Marie, Jodie Lynne

Time and Distance

 

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I remember the pain I felt the first time I realized that my mom had grown older.
My heart broke that day, as I realized how frail the strongest woman in my life had become just since our last visit.
Today, at a newly turned 63, I fly to see my middle child, Jodie Lynne and she hasn’t seen me for two years.
I look good from 1800 miles away with the perfect lighting and a smart phone pose, but up close…
It will be the first time that she will realize that her mother is older. Much.
Human, not a super woman who can save the day…
Well, usually, I just mess up whom ever I’m trying to save, so that might be a good thing, LOL.
But she’s not going to like her mom’s newly acquired wrinkles.
It’s almost like the stamp of an expiration date upon my face and neck.
Not now, the wrinkles whisper, yet their very existence shouts out the reality that time is more valuable, limited.
My baby sister swears that I still look 17, so maybe Jodie Lynne will be wearing the same love shield.
I hope so, because no woman should ever have to watch her mom grow old.

P.S. We had an incredible visit. She kept telling me that I was “so little” but that’s another story.

Posted in Gracie's Glimmer, Poetry From A Woman Who Thinks Too Much

Wrinkles and such…

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My hands grow old
my legs do not
between a girl and
old woman I am caught.
My antique mirror is kind
The selfie pics a fright
My wrinkles will haunt
my dreamscapes tonight.
Just last year, wrinkles?
None. Lost thirty pounds
and crap, the damn
wrinkles, they did come.
Let this be a lesson
to all you over 60 ladies,
no extreme weight loss or
your face will fall to hades.

Posted in Gracie's Glimmer, Poetry From A Woman Who Thinks Too Much

I See You

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When I look in my mirror, I remind me of you.

I see the pain you couldn’t hide.

I see the weariness in your soft brown eyes.

I see your careworn face beneath my disguise.

I see your strength as you faced each day.

I see the sadness that colored your ways.

I see the exact same streaks of greying hair.

I see your courage even though I’m aware

of times when your load was so heavy,

it was far to much for you to bear.

I see your wrinkles, I see your lines.

I see your shadow behind my eyes.

When I look in my mirror I remind me of you.

 

Posted in Women Who Think to Much

I Am Sixty

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So how do you plan a perfect 60th birthday? You don’t. You just let it happen or at least that’s how it worked out perfect for me. I really dreaded turning sixty and I did a lot of whining about it for maybe a month before my birthday. Loud whining. Okay, so maybe it leaned toward ranting and sobbing, but let’s not judge.
I have recently gained twenty-pounds and my hair was burned and butchered last February with a subsequent offer of the famous Florida retiree discount the same day. (A first for me.) To make it worse, my hair has only grown two inches since then and my confidence has definitely taken a hit because of the hair massacre and the fat belly. However, that’s another story. (The Day I Lost My Cute)
WARNING! Although I detest long, rambling stories about nothing, stories you have to wade through to discover if it is hopefully about something, this might be one.
August 8
Okay, about my birthday. I meet with several women each week for a writer’s meeting and that is where my birthday celebration began.
We had decided to honor each other’s day of birth a few years ago.
A.) Because we care about each other and B.) We all love cake.
Especially my Mile High, Cool Whip, Jell-O Cake adorned with fresh strawberries, blue berries and kiwi slices. Or my Cool Whip smothered chocolate butterscotch pudding cake.
So, as I got ready for this meeting, I knew it was my birthday week and I had my usual “don’t make a fuss over me, I’m not worth it” jitters bordering on a full-fledged panic attack. I asked myself why I loved to give and why I was so uncomfortable when receiving, but as usual, I had no answer.
My friend Deanne picked me up, which was a good thing as I might have given in to the jitters and gone AWOL. Monica was hosting this week and she made an incredible dinner with all the extras including a special lamb dish just for me. She had also invited several friends I’d never met and I teased her that she had hired guests for my party.
These guests turned out to be unique, creative, unforgettable women and it was a pleasure visiting with them and my writing friends all evening. I read my August Is Gone story (https://womenwhothinktoomuch.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/august-is-gone/)  and I swore that not another August would pass me by without something special taking place, something just for me that I had never done before.
Oh ya, and let me tell you about the cakes. Three cakes. One even had a desk and a computer decoration. A strawberry cheesecake (my favorite) a fancy white cake and the best chocolate/Almond Joy/Cool Whip truffle cake I have ever tasted. Mmmm. My new favorite.
My friend Minzie had made the chocolate cake and it was just incredible. I am allergic to chocolate, so I hesitated and then took two Benadryl tablets. I ate two huge pieces of chocolate cake and a piece of cheesecake. I’m allergic to whole cheese products too, but I was in a devilish mood and I did tell everyone my Epi-pen was in my purse.
The crowd sang Happy Birthday to me! Then I got presents that only women who really know you could bestow. A striking black frame enclosed the ISBN from my book, Women Who Think Too Much (available at  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/287988 ) and Minzie’s daughter had talked to her about me and then written me a poem that I will treasure always. Minzie also gave me a gorgeous new journal, a friendship pen and a book, “Why Men Make Bad Pets.” Monica gave me an original oil painting. Beautiful, thoughtful presents.
Late into the night, we ate and we talked. I went home feeling so blessed to have these writing friends in my life. That night spun me into a new mood for my birthday week and I actually stopped whining. (Ya, ranting, sobbing, whatever.)
August 10
I was sound asleep when the doorbell rang on Saturday morning. My honey got up and answered the door and came back carrying the biggest plant my son and his fiancé had ever sent me. As I held it for a picture, I could barely hang onto it because it was so heavy. (Big isn’t always better, but when turning sixty, it helps.) With tears streaming, I proudly placed it as a centerpiece on my dining room table.
That afternoon, my honey takes me to the store and I pick out a strawberry cheesecake for a birthday dessert tomorrow.
I stay up and hug every minute till midnight cause I will never be 59 again. Maybe in some parallel world, I am still 17. Gotta love imagination.
August 11
The big day is here. I am sixty.
Our little dog is sick so we decide to stay home with her. We hang out while my honey and I talk about what I’d like for a present. I usually choose money to go shopping because I love to do a major hit on the clearance racks for clothes, but that thought doesn’t excite me this year. I have gained twenty pounds thanks to cortisone shots for bursitis and I’m not in the mood to try on a bigger size. Much bigger.
The week before my birthday, I had suggested that he search out an easel in the thrift stores and he didn’t seem too excited about it.
Late afternoon, he goes to Wal-Mart and comes home with a collapsible easel, three different sizes of canvas boards and acrylic paints. I was thrilled that he remembered until I realize, oh no, now I have to paint or he will feel bad! I have been collecting painting supplies and promising myself that I would experiment with painting for about four years, so it really was time to paint-up or shut-up.
Well, I walked around thinking about it for an hour and then I traced a picture of Tinker Bell onto a canvas and I started playing with the paints.
I only had about five colors but I was happy with the choices. I spent about four hours doing my first painting and I painted over Tinker Bell so many times that I lost her body. She morphed into a long black wig sitting on a brown toadstool. I didn’t care. I just let my hand work with my imagination. I was amazed that I had painted anything and I was quite thrilled to have done something that I had never done before–on my 60th birthday!
I got the same rush from painting that I did from writing and thanks to the present of an easel from my guy, I had now fulfilled a fantasy. I had painted.
As I started to throw my first work of art in the trash, stating, “What an ugly fairy,” my husband said, “No! Keep it! It is your first painting.”
So I signed it and left it on the easel to dry. When I looked at my painting the next morning, the dry colors seemed softer and my work had taken on a personality. In the days since, I have actually grown to love it. Of course, I love what it symbolizes more than the actual painting. I also showed it to my daughter and she told me that I had painted a mirror image of her first (very bad) tattoo. Spooky, cause I didn’t even remember her tattoo and it was covered long ago.
Okay, so here comes the grand finale. My husband of over thirty years had told me that I could have anything that would make me happy for my birthday. He had no clue what to get me because he already buys me anything I even think I want, within our means and sometimes even beyond our means.
All I could think about is how much I wanted to go to Sanibel Beach. For about three years, my friend Deanne (she spent every summer there when she was growing up) has been telling me about the huge conch shells (and more) that wash in with the tide and she had the shell collection to prove it. I invite the writing girls to go on an RV trip to Sanibel, but in the planning stage, it gets down to Deanne and me. My honey tells me to rent a room instead of fussing with the RV and I think that sounds good. He does the research and reserves us a room at the Holiday Inn on Sanibel for three nights, three days. It looks tropical and beautiful, but I don’t trust advertising pictures so we will see. PS I don’t drink but it was 5:00 o’clock somewhere!
To Be Continued