Wednesday, December 30, 2009

"That's a Good Photo of You"

Have you ever experienced this:
You are looking at a photo of yourself and thinking something like "Ugh!" or "Does my [hair, face, nose, butt] really look that [big, fat, flat, huge, fluffy, thin]?" Invariably the person next to you will say, "Oh, that's a good picture of you!"

Shocked, you are thinking, "Really? You think THIS is a good picture of me?"

In photos, my hair tends to be a funny, brassy color with roots showing, it never lies down right and is often frizzy. My eyes are squinty, especially if I'm smiling. My profile is flat and I recently learned that I have a double chin. A double chin! My legs look pale, veiny and well, lumpy. And those jeans I liked were actually "Mom" jeans. (My stomach does not bulge like that, does it?)

While discussing this post with my friend Gary, he admitted that a lot of photos don't look quite like me. He said photos take away "the edge" I have, described me as a little "saucy" and said photos make me look much nicer than I am. I think he was complimenting me. At the very least Gary gives me vindication!

However, I'm still confused. How on Earth can there be so many bad photos of me?

Photos to come tomorrow!

PS: I have been at the other end of this, too. There are times when a friend shows me a picture so happy with the result and I think, "That is NOT a good picture of you." Or, "You do NOT look like that."

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Today I Hate Technology

Yep, today I hate technology.

The recent purchase of a heart rate monitor (to improve my fitness training) and a digital camcorder are causing me to feel extremely stupid and, yes, old.

Normally, I do pretty well with new technology. OK, let me be more specific -- I do pretty well with improvements to technology I already know how to use. For example, I've been using computers and complex graphics software for decades. I've got that down.

But give me a heart rate monitor that needs me to determine my maximum heart rate and a watch that has tons of settings and options... Geez! How am I ever going to get this thing working in a way I can use? (I can use the chronograph and I can see my heart rate. It's a start.)

The camcorder is easier and harder at the same time.

To determine what kind of digital camcorder we wanted, we borrowed one from a family member. It recorded to mini DVDs we could not get to play anywhere except one laptop computer. (Yes, it took a couple of hours to figure that out.) Because of the mini DVDs alone, we ended up buying one that works similarly, but has a large enough hard drive it doesn't need DVDs, tapes or memory sticks. It is so easy to use!

Well, I thought it was easy until I tried to actually burn a DVD. After a couple of hours experimenting and tossing out several disks that didn't work or played the files in random order (can things be in random order?) I thought I would scream!

Many, many people use heart rate monitors and camcorders every day -- this is not rocket science! There has got to be a fairly easy way to bring me into the 2000s!

So, until I can find a 10-year-old who is willing to help me figure out how to use my newest technology purchases, I guess I'll just have to go about this the old-fashioned way -- I will actually read the books.

Monday, December 28, 2009

I am Too Old To ...

I am too old to:
  • lie about how long I was at lunch.
  • worry about what other people think about me.
  • wear skinny, stretch jeans.
  • "get" movies such as Harold and Kumar or anything titled Saw.
  • know what a Bukagon is.
  • listen to Hannah Montana or the Jonas Brothers.
  • listen to rap, hip hop or any of the horrible music my son listens to.
  • worry about the car I drive.
  • drink shots.
  • read without glasses or cheaters.
  • wear anything that shows my stomach.
  • care about team Edward or team Jake.
  • stay out until last call.
  • drink really cheap beer or super expensive beer.
  • wear thong underwear.
  • have more kids.
  • shop for no reason.
  • spend time with unpleasant people.
  • need an iPod -- I have a Sansa MP3 player that works great, but was a fraction of the cost.
  • have another dog. (No more after these!)
  • watch Teen Mom, Real World, Say Yes to the Dress or many other reality shows.
  • succumb to peer pressure.
  • lie about stupid stuff.

In a couple of days, I'll post a list of things I'm too young for!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas -- Happy Holidays!

As a kid I could not wait to get all of the holiday decorations up. My sibs and I would beg Mom and Dad to put up our tree and decorate the house. I loved it!

Of course my participation in the entire process was minimal. All of us would pile into the car to pick a tree. After much debate Dad would buy one and he would load it onto the car. Once home, Dad would carry it into the house and spend what seemed like an eternity making sure it was straight in the tree stand. Some years were much more challenging than others.

Dad had the responsibility of carrying the boxes of ornaments and decorations up from the basement and he would string the lights. Finally, after all of that preparation, he would allow us kids to hang the ornaments. The entire time the tree was up, Dad would keep it watered and make sure it wasn't too dried out to turn on the lights. And those of you my age probably remember that those huge light bulbs would get really hot!

My Mom would take care of all of the other decorations and supervise the tree decorating by us kids.

After Christmas, it was the responsibility of my Dad to take the tree down. He was very methodical in how the ornaments would be put away and how the lights were wound, etc. Finally, with tons of needles falling to the floor, he would take a pair of garden shears and cut off every branch and shove them into trash bags before dragging the bare trunk to the street for trash pickup.

As us kids moved out, they would decorate less. After Dad was gone and Mom got older she would say she just was not interested in putting up a tree. I just didn't get it.

Until I had my own house.

The first couple of years we lived in our house, we had lights outside on every bush. The next decade, we would put a garland with lights on the post on our porch and a nice wreath on the door. Lately, we buy a wreath or a swag of evergreens for the door and we are done.

This year we did set up the Nativity scene (a must) and put up a tree. I decorated the fireplace mantle and at the last minute got out all of my Santas.

There is no garland on the banister. The ceramic yule log candle holder and the nutcrackers are all still in a box. The ceramic Christmas tree is somewhere in the basement, I don't know where, probably with the rest of the Christmas decorations we did not get out.

Dragging those boxes up from the basement is hard work. Getting everything out is time consuming. And putting it away! Ugh! Who wants to put everything away? (Especially outdoor lights that have to be taken down in the snow.)

Now I understand. I have officially turned into my Mom and Dad!

Photo is of this year's entire outdoor decorations.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

One Particular Santa

I have a collection of Santas that actually started 49 years ago. That first Christmas 12 days after I was born, a neighbor in Toledo gave me a Santa with a bushy white beard and a red velvet suit. As long as I can remember, I was never allowed to touch him. Mom would just say he was mine and put him on a high shelf away from the reach of all of us kids. My mom was pretty smart.

About 10 years ago she asked if I would like to take him home and keep him at my house. At first I just said no, I was so worried about ruining him in some way. A couple of years later when my mom was getting ready to move, she made me take him home.

Initially it felt weird having him. As far as I can tell, I have owned this Santa longer than anything else. Essentially, he is my age! Mom did a very good job of protecting him and keeping him safe.

He and I are both showing our age. He has a few wrinkles, his hair color has changed (though his is darker and mine is much, much lighter), and he has troubles with his feet. The man just cannot keep his boots on and he often has trouble standing. Though I have the wrinkles, I don't usually have trouble standing.

I have a large number of Santas now. I don't know exactly when someone decided I was collecting them, but years back Mom started giving me one each year. A couple of other people have given me some pretty cool ones too. I like them all and I get a kick out of arranging them for days until they are situated just right.

Still it would NOT be Christmas for me without this one particular Santa.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Death of a Young Actress

Yesterday the news headlines focused on the death of Brittany Murphy. The actress was only 32 and her death was sudden and unexpected.

I didn't know Brittany Murphy and the truth is, I didn't even know who she was, though I've seen several of her movies. But still, her dying so unexpectedly touched me.

Because yesterday was the anniversary of my dad's funeral I was already a little too focused on death anyway. (I have a mental block about the actual day he died, but I always remember that his funeral was on the Winter Solstice.) He was 61, which seems younger and younger the older I get.

When someone as young as Brittany dies, it tends to bring my mortality to the surface. Like a lot of people, I think about what would happen if I died today. I know it would not generate huge headlines and only a handful of people would be affected in any meaningful way. But as I get older, the chance of my dying on any given day increases.

I don't really know how to end this, but what I think I'm trying to say is I hope for a long, happy, and healthy life for all of my friends and family!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Freak Out Moment

While waiting for the season finale of Survivor tonight, we watched the end of 60 Minutes. The truth is, the only time I watch 60 Minutes is when football causes the Sunday evening shows to be delayed.

In this episode, Morley Safer interviewed Alec Baldwin. I enjoyed the interview -- that is, until Alec said he would be turning 50 in a couple of weeks.

What! How could Alec Baldwin be only 49! "I look younger than Alec Baldwin, don't I?" I asked my family in a panic. "Of course you do," they said in calming voices.

Though I felt much better, I was not convinced that he could be so young! I had to immediately Google the star. His birthday is in April and he was born in 1958.

At first I felt a little vindication -- he IS older than I am! Ha! But then it dawned on me, he was only 49 when the show was filmed.

I still cannot figure out why it would matter to me how old Alec is or how old he looks. It's not like I know him personally and can stand next to him telling all of our friends we are the same age, and let them tell me how great I look in comparison ... actually, I don't need Alec for that, that's what I do to my husband!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Old to a 6 Year Old

NOTE: I was not thrilled with my original post on this day. I've been thinking about it ever since it went live. So, on December 20, I made the decision to edit it. I know I'm not technically supposed to, but I just couldn't help it. Besides, I think it is better now.

During a visit to a local science museum, my friends and I came across a computer imager that showed what people will look like when they are old. Basically, a computer takes a picture of your face and ages it.

A friend tried it before I did and it was pretty funny seeing him with less hair, tons of wrinkles and sunken cheeks. Then I sat down, had my picture taken, and waited for the results. I was shocked -- aside from a few new wrinkles on my forehead, I looked exactly the same! Though I laughed at the time, I have been stewing about it ever since.

Today it dawned on me, that device was designed for children! Hey, if a 6 year old was given those wrinkles, it would be tremendously aging! And to a child, 49 is extremely old! (Well, it kinda is to me, too, isn't it.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Annual Christmas Happy Hour

My employer hosted its annual holiday luncheon today. In addition to really good food and gifts from our employer, one of the perks is that the work day ends when the party is over. With an afternoon free, the custom of my some of my co-workers is we head out to Happy Hour.

When we first started this tradition 9 years or so ago, we would start drinking the moment the party was over (sometimes starting during the party) but never later than 2 in the afternoon. We had so much fun, we would sometimes be out until 2 in the morning!

Over the years, co-workers would come and go, but there has been a core group of 4 or 5 most years including a former co-worker who has kept in touch. Unfortunately, this one friend ended up having to work later than the rest of us. An indication that some of us are becoming somewhat more mature, rather than start drinking without him, we decided to do a short tour of the museum where the party was held. The funny thing is, we had fun!

Our Happy Hour officially started about 3, and despite the horrible service at the first bar, it was fun sitting in the window watching the activity on the street. (We were just missing the snow.) We ended up walking up the street to a different bar that had wi fi. The service was MUCH better though the bartender was a little overly friendly -- but that's OK.

Now this is the shocking part. One person left fairly early for a date and the rest of us left by 7:30! There was no sliding across the bar floor, no playing catch with pool balls, no crazy dart games, no "G" tricks, no last call rush to buy one more beverage.

Despite our best efforts, I think we are growing up!

The advantage of wi fi is we could check out this blog while we enjoyed a brew or two.

Hey guys, thanks for giving me ideas for tonight's post. I had a lot more fun than this write up indicates. Oh, and I forgot to disclose that I didn't go home -- I met my husband out for a little while longer. I still wasn't out until 2. Of course I have an excuse, I'm getting old.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I am Old Enough to Know...

Observation from friend:
I am old enough to know that in the winter, toilet seats are cold.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What was Mom Doing?

About a week before my birthday I was thinking about my mom and dad in general. (They have both been gone more than a couple of years.) I started wondering what my mom was doing when she was my age.

After doing the math, it dawned on me -- at age 49 my mom was at MY WEDDING! And one month after the wedding, my nephew was born making her a grandmother!

I am not old enough to be a grandmother! Well, physically I'm old enough -- it's the mental part I can't deal with. Geez! (Ironic, isn't it? A blog about feeling old and suddenly I feel too young about something.)

After pulling out some wedding photos, I was shocked. Even with as many times as I have looked at the photos, I never noticed how young and beautiful Mom was on that day. In my mind I just remembered her as being my regular old mom in her 40s.

Now here is the part that will be shocking to everyone. For the first time I can ever remember, I wished I looked a little more like her -- especially how she looked that day.

It was a fleeting thought. When I do see a little bit of her in my mirror some mornings, my first reaction has always been "Oh, God, No!" And as much as I think she was great that day, just like every other woman, I do NOT want to be my mother.

OK, off to bed with me or in the morning I'll see my 70-year-old mom looking back from my mirror.

Added 12/17/09: I just noticed this morning -- If you look closely, you can see the start of the age spot on my dad's left cheek!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Connecting the Dots

Putting on my makeup this morning I noticed something new on the right side of my face near my hair line -- two new age spots! ARGH!

For those of you who do not know what age spots are, they are dark spots you get on the skin that indicate you are OLD! As if it isn't punishment enough that our skin eventually sags and we all get cellulite, do we really have to get spots, too? (I promise, I will never post photos of my cellulite.) And I actually have a pretty big one on my left cheek that is almost identical to the one my dad had!

I first noticed the spots on my face when getting my hair colored years ago. My hair guy was cleaning up drips and kept scrubbing at my cheek. After I complained about the pain, he finally said, "Oh, that one is permanent."

In the 1990s I secretly hoped my spots would eventually turn into something cool, similar to the markings of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine character, Jadzi Dax. Most of the men I knew at the time thought she was hot, so that didn't seem so bad back then. Well, the show was canceled 10 years ago -- I might be the only "normal" person who even remembers her.

It would cost a fortune to use fading creams, moisturizers and heavy duty sun screens. But is it really worth it? I'm not sure. However, if I keep going at this rate, I'll eventually look like a leopard or, if the spots merge, like I have a permanent tan. Me with a tan -- now that would be a nice change!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Like It, But It Doesn't Like Me

Years ago one of my favorite sales reps took me to a Mexican restaurant for lunch. It was the first time I noticed he was not eating the salsa. "I like it, but it doesn't like me," he said.

Being the young, naive, under-30 person that I was, I thought it was funny and just KNEW it would never happen to me -- I'd never have to give up any of my favorite foods.

I have since learned that any time I have thought something would never happen to me, it eventually does. In fact, I was in such denial I kept consuming stuff that didn't agree with me just because I was convinced I was too young for that!

After several headaches and stomach aches causing ruined parties and meals, I have decided to start acting like an adult. (I know, I know, it is really tough for me to behave like an adult. Sometimes I try.)

So in accepting my age, (Argh!) here is the list of foods I like that no longer like me:
  • Broccoli
  • Red wine (whimper)
  • Red onion
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Cheesecake
  • Eggs (Luckily deviled eggs are OK, but I can't eat them fried or scrambled.)
  • Cream cheese frosting
  • Too much chocolate (Sad, isn't it?)
  • Too much sugar
  • Gin (OK, I never liked gin, but it still gives me a stomach ache, and that alone is sad.)
  • A ridiculously small amount of beer, especially draft
  • Diet Coke straight out of the can
  • Doughnuts (Especially those Boston creams that are wonderful!)
Here's the funny part -- before I physically wrote this list, I thought there were only about four!

(Photo of red wine is courtesy of

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Today I turned 49. Though I fretted and stewed about it this past week leading up to this day, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.

The sun came up though it was raining. I over-slept and missed Mass. We ran out of real coffee and I had to mix it with decaf. (Yuck!) I was thrilled I had decided not to enter the local 4-mile race some of my friends had entered. (I don't do rain in the winter.)

  • My daughter called from a foreign country to wish me a happy birthday! (Big surprise!)
  • The first thing my son said when he saw me was happy birthday! (No prompting.)
  • My husband took me shopping to get the exact heart rate monitor I wanted. (I love it.)
  • We had a nice lunch in a Mexican restaurant, though the two new ones I suggested were both closed on Sundays, so we went to the old reliable. (Delicious.)
  • Two of my four siblings acknowledged me today! (Nice!)
  • And I have no visible roots! (Rare!)
So, it is after 10:30. I went grocery shopping about an hour ago and have done a couple of loads of laundry. My husband and son are already in bed. I'm stressing about heading back to work in the morning. Looks like life is back to normal.

Only 364 days to go.

The Truth about Aging

A friend and I recently had a discussion about aging. We decided that when we turned 30 it was hard because we were no longer “in our 20s” so we were no longer youthful.

When we turned 40, it was a little bit harder than turning 30. In order to be proactive I did my first marathon right before my birthday and turned 40 feeling fit, thin and invincible. Turning 45 was actually harder for me.

In hindsight, those milestones seem insignificant compared to turning 50. Fifty signifies being more of an adult than I feel. Also, how on earth can I deny being middle aged any longer. Do I really think I’ll live past 100? I have probably lived at least half of my life.

Anyway, I am a little worried about reaching this next milestone. Though most of the time I feel just fine, other days I’m sent into a panic.

Should I do something momentous? Should I pretend to age gracefully? Should I just freak out?

Regardless, since I am a writer, I decided I’d like to track this year from 49 to 50. Hence this blog.

So I hope those of you who found this blog will enjoy reading about how a woman in denial approaches turning 50. And yes, the names will be changed to protect the innocent.