Welcome to 50!

Turning 50 is a monumental event. I always imagined that at half a century I would be a wise, strong, balanced, kind, confident and powerful woman who had it all figured out.

As it turns out - I'm the same person I've always been. Getting to 50 is the same as getting to any age of your life. Just trying to be the best person you can be.

Cheers! G

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why does middle aged long hair bother people so much?

I am getting all ready to turn 50, as you may have guessed already.
I'd like to stand up and say to everyone in the group, I have long hair, and I like it.

Like Dominique in her NYT article previous - I have had a fair amount of crap from people about my hair and my age.

My mother, gone now for six years, so at the time I was only early 40s, used the direct approach to remind me frequently that she disapproved of the length of my hair at my age. She also used the time honored passive aggressive mom approach when it presented itself. We were once watching Ann Coulter on Tv, and I said something like, God, she looks freaking good. My mom's reply was to sigh regretfully, "yes, she would look nice if her hair wasn't so inappropriate."

My sister started commenting on my hair in my early 40s as well. She does tend to lean to the direct side of the fence. "Are you EVER going to cut your hair?" Or, after I actually styled it to go out with her inlaws: "Here's a scarf, let's get that mess out of the way." Or, the sisterly, "don't you think you'd look better if you cut your hair?"

My sister-in-law joined the fray as well - and caused me to think about hard - because she rarely criticizes or offers unsolicited opinions. "You looked so good when you had that bob." "Your hair doesn't really say, professional." She was sweet enough to pay for an appointment at our favorite salon, but was irritated with the stylist because he didn't cut it shorter. I looked like freaking Farrah Fawcett when I came out of there -and I loved it!

If you are middle aged, with long tresses, then you've heard all this and more I'm sure. And we've all probably responded to criticisms with various 'reasons' that we keep our hair the way it is. I know I have 2 or 3 stock responses.

The question is - why do people have this idea that middle age dictates cutting off the long locks for shorter ones, and why the hell does it bother them so much?

I have some thoughts and ideas on this whole question, and they are to come - but I so very much want to hear your thoughts, experiences and ideas. Please! let me know what you think.

cheers! (hair toss)

Stephen King's 11/22/63: A Novel

Just finished reading Stephen King's latest: 11/22/63: A Novel.
I have been a Stephen King reader for a long time, so I restlessly anticipated getting this one in my hot little hands.

Like so many of his, it's a big one - close to 1,000 pages, and it never fails to amaze me how he can keep me essentially riveted from the first page to the last.

All I can say is that I loved it as much as I'd hoped to -and I completely bailed on my responsibilities while I read the whole thing in 2 days.

What a great read - what a great escape. He is truly the consumate storyteller.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Why can't middle aged women have long hair?

By Dominique Browning from the Style section of the New York Times

I was excited to see an article in the venerable NYT on a subject I've thought a lot about - but after reading it, I was sorely disappointed. The title of the article suggests some thoughtful discussion and perhaps insight into the general disapproval of middle aged women with long hair - but it turns out to be a peppy, fluffy piece about Dominique's undoubtedly lovely mane, and what the people she knows think about it. She never even addresses the title of her piece. Boo to you Dominique.

Read it though - it's cute, and is a good appetizer for more on this discussion to come.

Why Can't Middle Aged Women Have Long Hair?

MY mother hates it. My sister worries about it. My agent thinks I’m hiding behind it. A concerned friend suggests that it undermines my professional credibility. But in the middle of my life, I’m happy with it. Which is saying a lot about anything happening to my 55-year-old body.

I feel great about my hair.

I have long hair. I’m not talking about long enough to brush gently on my shoulder — when I tilt my head. I’m not talking about being a couple of weeks late to the hairdresser. I’m talking long. Long enough for a ponytail with swing to it. Long enough to sit against when I’m in a chair. Long enough to have to lift it up out of the sweater I’m pulling over my head. Long enough to braid.

What’s worse (to my critics) is that my hair is graying. Of course it is. Everyone’s hair is graying. But some of us aren’t ready to go there. That’s fine with me — I’m not judgmental about dyes. In fact, I find the range and variety of synthetic hair color to be an impressive testament to our unending chemical creativity. I’m particularly fascinated by that streaky kaleidoscopic thing some blondes do that looks kind of like Hair of Fawn. For my own head, I’m a tad paranoid about smelly, itchy potions.

No one seems to have any problems when a woman of a certain age cuts her hair off. It is considered the appropriate thing to do, as if being shorn is a way of releasing oneself from the locks of the past. I can see the appeal, and have, at times in my life, gone that route. Some women want to wash the men (or jobs) right out of their hair. Others of us have to have at them with scissors. Again, I do not judge. Go right ahead, be a 60-year-old pixie.

So why do people judge middle-aged long hair so harshly? I’ve heard enough, by now, to catalog the multitudinous complaints into several broad categories.

YOU’RE ACTING OUT. Long hair is not the appropriate choice of grown-ups. It says rebellion. Hillary Rodham Clinton softens her do, and sets off a bizarre Howl of Angry Inches, as if she had betrayed some social compact. Well, my long hair is indeed a declaration of independence. I am rebelling, variously, against Procter & Gamble, my mother, CondĂ© Nast and, undoubtedly, corporate America in general. Whereas it used to be short hair that was a hallmark of being a liberated woman — remember the feminist chop? I do; I did it — these days, long hair is a mark of liberation.

My mother has a lot to say about my looks: Where did you find that shirt? Did you forget your makeup? She recently suggested, fluttering her hands in the vicinity of her ears, that I get just a very little trim. As if she thought she could still trick me into the barber’s chair to re-enact one of the central traumas of my childhood, when I was marched into a hair salon (so that’s where mothers went?) with hair to my waist and came out an outraged, stunned, ravaged 7-year-old with a stylish, hateful pageboy.

My mother’s favorite expression to me is “Make an Effort.” What she doesn’t understand, of course, is that just because things don’t turn out the way she thinks they should doesn’t mean an effort wasn’t made. It is incredible how parents and children never let go of old habits of relating. My mother still makes me feel like a 15-year-old. However, that no longer feels like a bad thing, if you see what I mean.

YOU’RE STILL LIVING IN THE ’70S. And why not? I like being 55 going on 15. As far as I’m concerned, we never did get better role models than that gang of girls who sang their hearts out for us through lusty days and yearning nights: Bonnie Raitt, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Cher. Emmylou Harris is still a goddess in my book, with that nimbus of silver hair floating past her shoulders. Next thing you know, we’ll take to wearing beaded leather headbands across our foreheads. And, I might add, that was a good look.

If you want to throw Princess Grace, Brigitte Bardot, Ingrid Bergman, Pussy Galore,Sophia Loren, Charlotte Rampling, Isabelle Huppert, Julie Christie and Catherine Deneuve into the mix, who am I to complain? While those sexy sisters are hovering, I might note, with a sense of wonder, that Europeans are much more comfortable with long hair on women of a certain age. But then again, they’re more comfortable with women of a certain age in general. Perhaps I should move to Paris. Come to think of it, this would be making the kind of effort that would make my mother happy.

LONG HAIR IS HIGH MAINTENANCE. Yes, I’ll admit that it is a look that requires tender loving care. It is impossible to body surf without getting seaweed tangled up in it. It is impossible to get it completely dry when one is in a rush to get to a job interview or a blind date. It is impossible to forget one’s hairbrush when one travels. It is impossible to garden or farm or weave or cook without one’s hair getting in the way. I have knitted many a gray strand into many a scarf. Which, by the way, I consider a nice touch. Anyone who disagrees can send me back his Christmas present. It is impossible to let the vacuuming go for too long, lest the bezoars (new vocabulary word) become large enough to choke a tiger.

You would think that having long hair means you are spending a lot of money on hair products. I won’t even tell you what my Madison Avenue hairdresser, Joseph — the consummate high-end hair professional! — told me about how we shouldn’t even be using all those chemically laden shampoos. O.K., I will tell you: Those shampoos strip out the hair’s protective oils, and then you have to replace them with other chemical brews. He recommends regular hot water rinses and massaging of the scalp with fingertips. A little patience is required while the scalp’s natural oils rebalance themselves and — voilĂ  — glossy, thick tresses, for free.

Is it not wonderfully sexy the way our grandmothers, those women of the prairie, or concrete canyons, would braid their hair up in the morning and let their cowboys unravel them at night? Is there not a variety of excellent looks for taming long hair in high winds? What is cooler than stopping to wrap a silk scarf around your mane before you step into a zippy convertible?

MEN LIKE LONG HAIR. Wait. You say that like it’s a bad thing? Long hair is archetypal. And everyone knows that archetypes are all tangled up with desire. There’s a reason mermaids, Selkies and witches have long hair. Ballerinas, too. We all know Rapunzel’s tale, how she sat at the top of her lonely tower, her long hair hanging out the window, until finally, a prince climbed its ropy length to rescue her. Or impregnate her, depending on which version you read. Either way, it worked.

Men like to play with women’s long hair. They like to run their fingers through heavy tresses. They like to loosen tight braids. They like it when long hair tents over their faces during soulful kisses. The long of it is that long hair is sexy. (So is short hair, of course, but in a different way, and we’re not making that case — yet.) The short of it is that long hair means there is always, at least, hope.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday night on the deck!

Such a gorgeous friday evening on the deck. Productive week and tired tonight! Getting to 50 is exhausting!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Andy Rooney on Women Over 50

From Andy Rooney on CBS's 60 minutes:

As I grow in age, I value women over 50 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why: A woman over 50 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.

If a woman over 50 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it’s usually more interesting.

Women over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age.

You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 50. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 50 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.
Older women are forthright and honest.. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 50 for a multitude of reasons. Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 50, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, ‘Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?Here’s an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage.Why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Scare Yourself

I just recently read an article by Jay McDonald writing for Bankrate of all places, but it is a great list of his
10 Things to Do Before Turning 50.
My favorite is number 8 - Scare Yourself.

I am finding that as I get older, I have less and less courage for things that scare me. When I was younger I always thought that old people (meaning everyone over about 35) were timid and unspontaneous and over-cautious and just plan boring. I always wondered what happens to people? What makes them way? Will it happen to me? How can I stop it from happening?

At nearly 50, I know that avoiding things that scare me happens in tiny increments over the years. It happens because of life experience - seeing bad things happen makes them more real. It happens when you have children because you want to protect them - and protect yourself so that you can take care of them. It happens because over time we learn our limitations - and often the hard way. And for me, it has happened because I have less confidence that I can rebound from setbacks and failures than I did when I was younger.

I think that being willing to scare yourself means different things for everyone - and for me, it's not as much about jumping off high things (though I find that pretty terrifying), but more about taking personal risks. Taking the risk to try, when it is so often easy not to. Taking the risk to care, to forgive, to hope, to yearn, and mostly - to feel.

It's something to think about. Scary.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Turning 50 Bucket List

I've been carefully considering the goals that I'd like to set for myself for turning 50. Looking around the web, I did find a few people who wrote about their '50 things to do before turning 50,' and I like that idea, but 50 things seems like a lot.

Then I got sidetracked by the idea of the bucket list - and I've always wanted to make one of those too! I guess there would be a lot of overlap on the two lists - the things I'd like to do before I turn 50, and the things I'd like to do before I'm dead. Of course, there's always that possibility that they will coincide... but I'm hoping not.

I decided that a bucket list is a good place to start - to get thinking and get the ideas out there.
Here are a couple of the websites I found which not only facilitate getting your bucket list created - but allow you to interact with other people doing the same thing!

Day Zero Project.com

I'd love to hear what you think of the sites - and about your own bucket list ideas!

The Kite Runner

I picked up The Kite Runner in our building library, and finally read it this weekend. What a glorious read! It was one of those books that I'd heard mentioned a hundred times, but I didn't know anything about it - just opened and started to read.

I didn't stop until I was finished, and though it was rife with dramatic ups and downs, I felt good when I turned the last page. I have been avoiding books that I fear may be too depressing - I am too afraid that I can't handle the emotional weight - but maybe The Kite Runner has changed my mind.

A perfect rainy afternoon book - if you are a fiction lover, don't miss it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dreams of Travel

Known as "the summer cave," this is a restaurant which is part of a boutique hotel called Grotta Palazzese in Polignano a Mare - a town in the province of Bari, Apulia, southern Italy, located on the Adriatic Sea. Let's do lunch.