50 Years of Being Together!

50th Anniversary Picture

Last weekend, we threw a surprise 50th wedding anniversary party for my in-laws.  As I was planning for the centerpieces and decorations, I found that most craft and party stores had very little for a 50th anniversary party. There were a lot of things for a 25th, but not a 50th.

Fifty years is a long time to do anything, but especially to be with the same person every single day of your life.  Every marriage has ups and downs, but it seems that the key is going through life together.  Together, they endured hardships and pain.  Together, they shared the joys of raising two sons and working hard to make a good life for their family. Together, they created many happy memories with families and friends and together, they have remained.  For fifty years!

I got to thinking…how many people in my generation will get the chance to celebrate 50 years of marriage? Let’s face it. Once a couple marries, there are only two ways to not remain married – divorce or death.

As far as divorce goes, most people in our parents’ generation have stayed married (sometimes for the wrong reasons). The divorce rate is very high in our country and many of the people who are divorced are of my generation.  But I have hope.  I really believe that the fact that many people are getting married when they’re a little older may lead to more lasting marriages. People can get the partying and carousing out early and not want to do it once they are already married.

Getting married in my 30’s was right for me.  No way I was ready to settle down in my 20’s, and I don’t think my husband would have been either. I think you know yourself better as you get older and have a deeper sense of commitment and loyalty.  Many of my friends also got married in their 30’s and their marriages are also going strong.  That is not to say that if you marry young, it will not last, but with everything going on in today’s world, I think people really need to know themselves first and know what they truly want out of life before making a lifetime commitment to another person.

As for the “death” part – luckily, we are living longer and longer which also makes me think that celebrating 50 years is more feasible. With new medical technology and early detection, illnesses are being identified early and cures are more possible.

So, to all the craft and party stores that currently do not have supplies for 50th anniversaries – better get those shelves stocked!  A new generation of golden anniversaries will be coming in the next few decades!!  Get ready!

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A Real Adult?

I think I have actually turned into a real adult. It’s true.

On Saturday night, my husband’s friend invited us to go hear him play in his newly formed punk band.  We always try to support our friends, so we decided to go.  Plus, we were curious as to what a 40+ punk band would sound like. As the day went on, I began to feel a sense of dread.  The band was going on at 9:30 and I realized that 9:30 is normally about a half hour before I go to bed.  How the heck was I going to go out to a bar at that time?  Then, I wanted to slap myself. What was I? Old?  How could that thought even enter my head???

As the time grew nearer, I tried to talk myself into how great it would be to go out and hear a band, maybe do a little dancing and have a few drinks.  Yeah! Just like old times! I then went into our room to get dressed and there, at the foot of the bed, were my very comfortable, soft, and warm pajamas.  It was almost as if they were calling to pick them up and put them on and forgo the bar and head straight for the bed.  I  fought the urge to put them on and quickly threw them into the drawer so they were out of my site. They would not win!!

After that little temptation, I went to apply my make up in the bathroom.  As I looked in the mirror (trying to  ignore the ever increasingly deep lines forming between my eyebrows), I felt a yawn coming on.  And then, with one eye adorned with my Ivy Green eyeliner, I yawned.  And my eyes got teary, as they do when you yawn.  I quickly blinked as fast as I could to prevent the eyeliner from running. What was going on? A few years ago, 9:30 would have been EARLY to go out and here I am wanting to put my pajamas on and yawning while I am putting my make up on! This is a disgrace!

And then I realized that I just might be a real adult.  Yes, I’m 40, but never really considered myself to be an actual grown up.  It’s true. After all, I still dance around the house, sing off-key (the only way I know how) and do silly things with or without kids around. Suddenly, my mind began racing at things I have heard myself say over the past few hours/weeks/months which have me learning towards this “real adult” theory brewing. They are as follows:

1.  ” The band goes on at 9:30? That’s almost my bedtime!”

2.   “No, I am wearing a sweater to the bar.  It’s cold out!”

3.   “How can that kid only be wearing a sweatshirt when it’s this cold out!”

4.   “The music today stinks.”

5.  “When I was a kid…(add whatever you used to hear your parents say here)”

6.  “How will that eyebrow piercing look when she’s 55?”

7.   “What time is The Late Show on?  That’s way too late for me.”

8.  “Wow, I remember that song like it was yesterday.” – (listening to a song from my high school years on the “classic rock” station)

9.  “Tell that kid to turn his music down!”

10.  “No, I can’t eat that. It will give me indigestion.”

It’s pretty scary, I will admit, but I am not totally convinced that I am a real adult.   I am still holding onto the fact that I did go out, I did have a drink, I sort of danced (it’s kind of tough to dance to punk unless you are moshing) and we stayed out all night.  Til the next day in fact. Well, technically it was the next day.   Okay, who am I kidding? We were home and in bed by 12:30, but when you think about it,  we were out all night.

Therefore, I must conclude that I am not totally a real adult.  But I’m getting there.  Slowly but surely…MAKE IT STOP!!

All You Need is LOVE!

 

Today is a day that is all about love and whether or not you have a sweetheart, there is love all around you.  Open your eyes and your heart and see it.  And feel it. And know that giving love can be just as rewarding as getting it.

I am extremely fortunate in that I have always felt love from God, my parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephew,  friends and even my beloved dogs! I now feel a love for and from my husband that is more powerful than anything I could have imagined. It is a wonderful feeling that warms my heart and soul.

But, for many years, I did not always see how much love was around me. I wanted the wrong person to love me and sometimes for the wrong reasons.  I saw my friends go through this as well in our numerous years of being single.  But now that I am older and wiser (I think),  I have realized a few things:

  • You cannot make a person love you.
  • It is never wrong to give or show a person that you love them.
  • Love is the strongest force on earth.
  • Letting someone love you is not always easy.
  • Being in love is wonderful, but it should not define who you are.
  • You have to love yourself first. No matter what.

So, as you celebrate Valentine’s Day (or not), remember those around you who love you not only today, but every day. And love them back. As the Beatles said, “All You Need is Love.”

 

It Happened…

As I opened up my blog today, I took a look at the categories on my page.  I was scanning down when I saw the one titled, “Since I am going to be 40.” Well, it happened. I am now the big 4-0. And yes, life IS a little different than when I was in my 30s.  I didn’t wake up that morning feeling any different. I didn’t do anything special that day (I had to work), but I did look in the mirror to study my now 40 year-old face.  I didn’t notice any new wrinkles (thank you, Mom, for starting me on a moisturizing routine when I was in my teens), no dark circles under my eyes. Yet. No sagging skin. Yet.  But I know these things will come slowly but surely over the next decade and I sighed. Where had life gone?  It seemed only yesterday that my friends through me a surprise party when I turned 30 and now, here I am 10 years later. Ugh.

I am not sure why 40 is such a difficult age for women.  Some women fear turning 30 more than 40, but 30 did not really bother me. I still felt young and vibrant and attractive.  I have a few friends a little older (and wiser) than me and they all said that your 30s are your best years.  I have to say, they were definitely the best decade of my life thus far. I had the most wonderful times with my girlfriends, met and married the man of my dreams and advanced in my career. Now, there is a very strong possibility that I killed a few (dozen) brain cells during this time from drinking adult beverages (and lots of them) but I think I have enough left that I will be okay. At least, I hope.

My girlfriends and I got together last night for some drinks and dinner and our conversations proved that we were definitely all officially 40 and above (I am one of the youngest in the group). After talking about how most of us were on medication for high blood pressure, we then went into discussing the increasing number of gray hairs popping up (not just on our heads), acid reflux and the fact that we all have to work out way longer and harder than we did years ago to stay in shape. Yep. These were the topics of our Friday night conversations.

We also gave advice to a 30 year-old (my darling cousin) about dating.  She is recently divorced and has never been on the dating scene.  She was with her husband since high school and has NO CLUE what is out there.  We all chimed in and gave her our advice since we could write a book on the horrific and comedic dating experiences we’ve all had (some of us had been dating for 20 years before we met the right man!)  Here were some of our best tips:  Don’t sleep with him on the first date. Don’t only get to know him through Facebook or other social media.  Make him take you out and talk face to face. Don’t sleep with him on the first date.  Don’t settle for less than what you want.  Don’t get drunk on the first date.  Make sure he has a job.  Don’t sleep with him on the first date.  Remember, pictures can be posted anywhere and have lasting effects on your reputation and even your career. (Thank God there was no such thing as Instagram and Facebook when we were in our prime!) Don’t sleep with him on the first date. Watch how he treats his mother and other women in his life.  Don’t sl…you get the picture…

I just hope that she listens to her elders (dear Lord, that’s what we are now) and enjoys her 30s as much as we did. Well, actually, since she’s my little cousin, I hope she enjoys them just a little less than we did… 🙂

For the Girls…

Today, I am thinking of all the wonderful women I have in my life from my mother and mother-in-law to my aunts, nieces, cousins and friends.  While I am not an expert on life or have a degree in philosophy, I do have some tips that I hope will make their day a little brighter. I am very blessed to have such strong and amazing females around me.  Taking the words of Martina McBride…”This one’s for the girls.”

Ladies,

1.  Don’t settle for ANYTHING or ANYONE.

2.  Do what makes you happy.

3.  Believe in yourself and you will be successful.

4.  Love yourself and your body just the way it is.  Do not compare yourself to the altered images of models in magazines and on TV.  They are altered. You are real!

5.  Cry. When you need to and when you want to.  It is not a sign of weakness.

6.  Take time for yourself, especially those of you who are mothers with careers.  I admire working moms more than any other group of people.  You are my heroes!

7.  Find something to smile about each and every day.  Hopefully, you won’t have to look too far!

8.  Do not waste your time with a person who puts you down – be it a boyfriend, friend, relative or husband.  People treat you the way you LET them treat you.  If a person is always negative or makes you feel badly about yourself, end that relationship and move on.  You deserve better!

9.  Enjoy the company of other women.  When a bunch of women get together, there is always laughter, smiles and great times!  GIRL POWER!

10.  Ask for help when you need it.  Women today are expected to do it all from being mothers and wives to having successful careers and running a household. When you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. It’s OKAY!!

 

 

 

The Mazda and Me

I never really understood the obsession some people have with their cars. Now, if it was a really cool sports car or classic car, yes, I got that. But regular old cars, no. I never got it.  To me, a car was just a means of transportation. Nothing more.

After over 10 years of driving my car, I feel quite a bit differently.  Why? Because I love my 2002 Mazda Protege. It has over 188,000 miles on it and has become affectionately known as “The Mighty Mazda” because of her endurance, maneuverability and reliability.   It is by far the best car I have ever owned.  She has been through a lot with me – from rain and snow storms to flooding.  She has also been my chariot to many special events – weddings, birthday parties, vacations and to less happy places  such as funerals and hospital visits.  She has been on country roads and in large cities. She has been pulled over a few times for getting a little too fiesty, but was usually excused and let go (except for one time). And, if I might personify it for a moment, my dear car is one of the few who has heard me sing. Loudly. And curse.  Repeatedly.  It’s amazing the engine hasn’t seized up.

I once heard that the car a person drives often reflects his/her personality.  I started thinking about that today.  Over the past few years, I began to get little laugh lines around my eyes and  she has gotten a few rust spots around her wheel wells.  Every now and then, I need a day at the spa and so does she (there’s a great car wash about two miles away).  She needs oil to keep her running well and sometimes, I need an adult beverage to do the same.  She is small and can hold her own among the giant SUVs that drive along her sides each day and I like to think that I can hold my own with most people as well.

Yesterday, I got in “The Mighty” and much to my horror, noticed a large crack across the windshield. It started on the passenger side and extended in an almost perfectly straight line towards the driver’s side.  It did not obstruct my view, thankfully, but I will definitely need a new windshield.  I was heartbroken.  After many years of driving on busy highways (such as routes 78, 80 and 95) dodging crazy drivers and enduring all kinds of weather, she finally cracked.  I just hope they don’t say that about me one day!

 

 

Works for Me!

Blog pics 2-25 007

 

There are many bits of advice on how to lose weight, get healthy and stay healthy.  I always read articles online or in magazines that talk about losing weight. I am not obese, but tend to put on a little bit of weight here and there, especially in the winter.  These are some of the weight loss tips I have heard over the years:

Don’t eat eggs

Don’t eat carbs

Count calories

Count carbs

Eat carbs with protein

Focus more on protein

White foods are terrible for you (breads, pasta and potatoes)

Wheat bread and pasta are better for you

Do cardio first, then weights

Do weights first, then cardio

Do a little cardio first, lift and then do the rest

You need 35 minutes of exercise 5 times a week

You need 45 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week

Continuous exercise keeping your heart rate up is best

Interval training is best

It’s better to exercise in the morning

It’s better to exercise at night

Don’t eat past 7:00 PM

It does not matter when you eat, it’s what you eat

Eat a huge breakfast and make your lunch and dinner smaller

Eat three meals a day

Eat six small meals a day

Eat small bits of food every 2 hours

 

AHHHHH!!!! No wonder people give up!!

 

After many years of hearing all sorts of theories (as I have come to regard them as), I have found a few things that work for me.

1.  I count calories.  Susan Lucci, who played Erika Kane on ABC’s “All My Children” was asked how she stayed so trim all these years.  She said her secret was calorie-counting.  And I agree! Based on my height and weight, I try to eat between 1000-1300 calories a day.  I also try to get my calories from nutritious foods.  By doing this, I noticed I can eat way more if I eat something that is good for me versus something that is not. I created a calorie chart and record my caloric intake everyday.  There are tons of apps for phones that will give you the calories of pretty much any food right at your fingertips and will track them for you as well.  I prefer writing them down to putting them in my phone, but that’s just me.

2. I measure my portions.  That scale in the picture above was a great purchase.  I had no idea how big my portion sizes were before I started measuring. For example, the serving size for pasta is one cup.  I think I was eating about 2 cups before I began realizing what one cup looks like. Ouch.  This scale is fantastic. It’s an OXO 5 lb kitchen scale and I got it at Bed Bath and Beyond. It’s $29.99 and of course, I used a coupon (they always have coupons!)  The base comes off so you can clean it and you do not have to put foods right on it.  You can put a plate on the scale and zero it out. Then, you can add your food to see how much it weighs.

3.  I exercise in the morning. It gives me more energy and there are less excuses for me not to it later in the day. Plus, I am more of a morning person, so it’s easier for me.

4.  I prefer varying the intensity of my workouts.  The days of just walking at one speed and incline are over for me.  I jog here and there along with walking and adjust the incline if I am on a treadmill or find hills to walk up if I am outside.  I also love biking and cannot wait for the warm weather to arrive to enjoy that as well!

5.  I eat 4 meals a day.  I eat breakfast, lunch, a snack and dinner.  I also try not to eat quite as many carbs as I used to, but I will not give them up. EVER!

6. I forgive myself if I cheat.  I like sweets and I am not giving them up.  I might just have a bite of something or only eat one cookie instead of 2 or 4 (I like to eat things in even numbers).

 

Well, that’s it.  After spending way too much money over the years on different kinds of products and trying all kinds of diets and exercise routines, I have finally learned some strategies that work for me.  Maybe some of these will work for you as well!!  Good luck!