My Next Life by Woody Allen

This appealed to me; it was sent to me by my good friend, Edwina.  As a young woman it would never have occurred to me that I might want to slow time down.  As a midlife woman, however, the idea of going backwards is very appealing.  Maybe this will also strike a chord with other middle-aged men and women out there.

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I’ve broken my spectacles. Again.

Anyone who has to wear glasses the whole time will understand how frustrating it is.  I have no idea how I’ve broken them, especially as they spend most of every day propped on my nose.

Husband says I broke them because I threw them off in a moment of passion.  I can believe I removed them for that particular moment of passion; most spectacle wearers would.  Being naked necessitates the removal of spectacles, for sure.  But I can’t believe that I “threw” them off; they’re far too expensive for that.

Anyway, they are broken.  Regardless of the circumstances.  And I need to get them fixed.  Quickly.  Because I cannot adequately see what I’m doing without them.

Christmas starts on 18th December and not before

The first Christmas card of 2009 fell on to our doormat this morning.  The very kind sender was very considerately wishing our family a “Very Merry Christmas” and a “Happy New Year”.  I’m not being ungrateful, really I’m not, but I’ve filed it.  Until it becomes relevant.

Well, I can hardly put it up on the window sill, now can I?  It’s November 21st for God’s sake.

I’m still in late summer / early autumn mode if I’m honest.  You know – fluffy socks some days, bare feet on others.  And winter’s not officially with us until December 21st.

For me, Christmas should begin one week before and last until January 2nd, maximum.  My friends keep asking, “Are you all sorted for Christmas?” No, actually, I’m not, and I’m not going to be for a while yet.  I’ll get sorted for Christmas, when it’s Christmas.

Bah humbug?  No, definitely not.  Christmas is a wonderful time of year.  But should it take up weeks and weeks beforehand?   No!  I’m really busy with other more important things.

In my view those lovely well-wishing people who send Christmas cards in November clearly do not have enough going on in their lives.  Christmas starts on 18th December and not before.

Signed:  Busy, grumpy, midlife writer

P.S. Have to say, though, I did come across this whilst writing the post.  I absolutely love it because it’s light-hearted, bright and happy.  Think I’ll send something similar this year (but not until 18th!).

I Am Woman, Hear Me… Never Mind

I want to be a man.  If only so I can feel good about myself when reading magazines.

I’m a smart, confident woman.  I subscribe to the Atlantic Monthly and Vanity Fair so I can stay abreast of liberal politics and sit in my “garden-level” apartment pretending to be an elitist, East Coast blueblood.  Lately though, I’ve been keeping up with women’s magazines for blog ideas.  And I gotta tell you, reading them makes you feel like dog doo.

First are all those supermodels and actresses with their awesomely toned bodies, shiny hair and perfect skin.  Their photos are surrounded by tips on how we can achieve the look as if none of us have jobs or families to attend to.  Did you know Jennifer Aniston had two rice cakes and a teaspoon of peanut butter for breakfast?  When she wants to splurge, she eats bread.  Wild woman.

Women have been kvetching about the impossible beauty standards set by ladies’ mags for ages.  But to me, the articles are the killers.  In the past month alone, I’ve found out my hair is unsexy (because it’s curly), stress may cause infertility and men’s midlife crises now start at thirty-five.  I read an advice column that screamed, “Help!  My Internet Boyfriend’s a Bisexual Cross Dresser” and another offering, “5 Signs You’re a Bad Co-Worker”.  And I thoroughly enjoyed reading the masterpiece, “Why I Stole My Best Friend’s Guy”.  As if skyrocketing unemployment and endless wars aren’t scary enough.  Now we have to fear our best gals mackin’ on our dudes.

‘Course, in these mags, men are a bunch of selfish, untrustworthy hound dogs who either game-play their way into women’s undies or must be manipulated into relationships.  “Make Him Stay” and “Why Men Cheat” are constant titles, while the slew of articles meant to guide women through human relationships could be summed up by the headline, “Ten Things Women Do to Screw Up Their Relationships (and, basically, their lives…idiots)”.

The best article this week was a stunning piece of investigative journalism entitled, “Did You Know Your Vagina Can Fall Out of Your Body?”  Must be one of those secrets the medical industry keeps from us.  I can only imagine the conversations that’ll now take place across the nation: “You hear about Gwendolyn?  She was running to catch a bus and her vagina just popped right on out!”

Ladies, we’re doomed.  If you believe women’s magazines, we’re all a bunch of horribly unfit, unlikable, deathly ill losers who no one will ever love.  And we can’t trust anyone.  Not men, not our friends and certainly not ourselves.

Keeping oneself centered in the midst of life’s challenges is quite a feat, though usually I stay fairly balanced.  But now I find myself asking, “why don’t I look like an oiled-up Eva Mendes in my Calvin Klein skivvies?  Will the sunflower seeds I eat be linked to a healthier heart or leprosy?  And who really cares if stress causes sterility if your vagina’s gonna fall out anyway?”

Ah, but men’s magazines.  What beacons of hope!  What tidings they bring of reassurance and good cheer!

There’s Maxim, an orgiastic handbook of gadgets, cars, sports and half-naked starlets.  Maxim is like a guy’s frat brother urging him to have another beer (it won’t kill you), and offering tips on how to sneak out of the house or get his girl to shave everything “down there”.

Then there’s Esquire.  I enjoy this one because their well-written articles treat readers as if they might have brains.  Tailored suits, expensive watches, fancy cars, high-end scotch and disrobing A-list actresses – Esquire’s world of men rocks.  No matter how chubby, boring or unsuccessful a guy is, reading it will make him believe he’s awesome.  They present cover boys like Matt Damon and Bill Clinton as buddies, and offer comforting words for men’s failings.  Romantic ineptitude, professional failure, erectile dysfunction – no worries, Esquire’s got your back.

Reading the October issue, “The Feel Good Issue”, left me positively glowing.  Even before you open the darn thing, they’re already throwing roses at your feet.  The headlines on the cover offered readers the “Sexiest Woman Alive”, “Encouraging Words from President Clinton” and finished off with a “You Look Great, By the Way”.  Sure beats Shape’s, “Scary Truth about Germs”.

Inside was a “Box of Permanent Joy” which included ‘70s sitcoms and Mahler symphonies.  There was “A Guide to – and Celebration of – the Ablutions, Unguents, and Bathroom Rituals that Make Us Men”.  Wow, even their grooming practices are worth celebrating.

Really, I love being a woman.  Though I love peeking into the world of men, I prefer taking on life as a female.  I only wish my magazines liked me as much as I like myself.

This post is reproduced with the kind permission of Laura Warrell, Tart and Soul.  To enjoy further snippets of Laura’s work click the link below:

http://tartandsoul.com

Annie Got Her Gun

Today’s blog post, in this public journal about my midlife journey, is about that hot topic: Sex. I am sure the spam block is going to be busy on this one. At least, I hope it is.

It is also about a new piece of jewellery I crafted today, which I have entitled “Annie Got Her Gun.”

And just how (you ask), am I going to tie these two topics together in one post? Well, gentle reader, let me tell you….

I recently had dinner with a good friend from high school who is dating a guy 15 years her junior. She is gorgeous, fun, smart, accomplished and a warm fuzzy. The guy is lucky. But it got me thinking about the term “cougar”, meaning an older woman who goes out with younger men, and the label makes me angry. Yes, there’s the whole “double standard” issue, but what really ticks me off is that the label is just another not-so-veiled attempt to belittle women’s sexuality and control the subliminal power of an older woman.

This truth is hard to handle for most everyone: Women in their 40’s, 50’s and up are the juiciest of them all. Or at least we are meant to be, if we allow our life’s transitions and changes – physically, mentally and emotionally. There is really no comparison between the sweet young things and their mamas. In terms of authentic juiciness, the mamas win hands down.

This is something that some younger men know. And that is why they are attracted to older women. We don’t carry the angst about things that we did when we were younger and tend to approach life with a great deal of hard won wisdom. It is a powerful and alluring combination.

But what about those of us who are in life-long relationships with spouses who are going through their own mid-life transitions? Men age differently. And their needs are every bit as valid as women’s, but when you are both going through your changes at the same time, you kind of look at each other and say, “I love you but leave me the hell alone, and I hope to see you at the other end…”

And that is why I made “Annie Got Her Gun.”

Because this lady handled her own barrel and won her man at the same time.

The above post is courtesy of Cate F Neely’s  “Heart on My Sleeve – Cate’s Blog”.  You can find her here: http://catefneely.wordpress.com/

Wanted: canal boat with log fire on board = Mission Impossible

As a result of Sunday’s brisk walk alongside the Chesterfield Canal in bright sunshine, I have spent some considerable time surfing the net looking for a canal boat with a real fire on board.

Quite fancied a weekend break wending gracefully along our waterways with very little traffic or interference, save for a few swans and ducks.  The idea of mooring up at random isolated places for a snooze or to make a meal really appealed to this weary midlifer.  And on our chilly November nights afloat we would be very cosy snuggled up in front of a spitting and sparking log fire, sharing a glass or two or three of good red wine.

One would think that it would be easy to organise this simple midlife short break request.  Many of the boat hire companies offer winter breaks afloat with every conceivable comfort; however the bottom line reality is somewhat different.

Most of Friday would be taken up with training and familiarising ourselves with the mechanics of canal cruising.  Training?  Surely it can’t be that difficult.  And you can only moor up in specified places apparently.  Where’s the freedom in that?  Failure to locate a single available canal boat with a solid fuel fire was the final straw of frustration; my starry-eyed midlife plan for a relaxing weekend break was blown completely out of the water.

It finally occurred to me that we could book a very nice hotel, not floating of course but hey ho; we could have a spacious room (not just 7 feet wide), a hot tub, a huge bed and all mod cons for considerably less cost than the narrowboat idea.  Think we’ll do that and leave the canal boat plan for a summer time adventure.  Besides, all those lock gates look like incredibly hard work.  Hardly be a holiday would it?