17 April 2018

Invisible

I can't decide if I'm well-adjusted (which I sincerely doubt) or just not activist enough.  Because 99% of the time, I'm OK with being invisible.

You may think, "Well, OK, but I have no idea what you are talking about."  Frankly, that's what I would be expecting you to say.  So let me explain.

I have a friend in the cyberverse who is a year older than I am, and is a fashion blogger.  She posts her outfits and makeup choices every day, and she also has a YouTube channel where she discusses beauty, fashion, life, etc. from the viewpoint of what she calls a "mature" woman (she just turned 63).  She is attractive, seems like a lot of fun, and also has a good sense of style - you know, a person who can put things together and they look fashionable (whereas, I put things on and they are clothes).  I enjoy her blog and her podcasts, but I am pretty sure that if we met in real life, we would not be good friends.

Why?

Because she is an activist when it comes to wanting advertisers and society in general to embrace older women, and the "pro-aging" movement.  She writes to companies all of the time telling them to use someone other than 20-year-old stick models in their advertisements; she asks them to design with the older woman in mind; and she will cancel any magazine subscription where they do not feature any mature women, or use the term "anti-aging."  (She must have a lot of magazine subscriptions, since she has cancelled at least 5 during the time I've known her.)

I get her point.  I really do.  And I will admit that when I see someone who is clearly out of their twenties in an advertisement (print or otherwise), I think it's great.  I do wish that it was easier to find clothes that don't make me look as if I want to relive my teens or twenties (once was more than enough, thank you!), so I can appreciate that part.

But you know what?  I really don't care, in the grand scheme of things.  Even as a teenager and young adult, it seriously never ever occurred to me that women in magazines or on TV were supposed to look like me, or anyone that I knew.  I figured they were out of the norm of my experience because that was their job.  I didn't care about how thin they were/were not, because they didn't look like anyone I ever saw around anyway.  I might think, "Oh that's a nice dress," or like their lipstick or whatever, but NEVER did I get the message that that is how I was supposed to look.  I'm not exactly sure why, but really and truly it just never occurred to me.  Probably because I was a pretty weird kid, but even as a young adult I never expected it.

Then I got older.  And the first time it occurred to me that I was actually "invisible" was when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had a mastectomy.  It became clear to me that because I was older (late 40s) and had no children, it didn't "matter" as much.  If the worst happened, I wouldn't leave half-orphaned children and/or grandchildren  behind, and since I was the age I was, it's not like I should worry about whether or not I looked that good afterwards.  I will admit that this was extremely frustrating, but again, I always just figured it was others' problem, not mine.

So do I care about my appearance?  Yes, of course. I try to look the best I can, when I can.  I keep active so I can enjoy my life more and be healthier, and live longer to be with friends and family.  I enjoy dressing up on occasion, and I do wear makeup and [attempt to] fix my hair.  I'm pretty comfortable in my own skin, and have been for most of my life.  And though I would like the world to do things my way, it doesn't.  I don't mind being invisible for the most part.

I don't think I have to look like her:


any more than I think I *should* look like her:


but I also hope I don't look like her:


What about you?  Are you an activist like my cyber-friend?  Or like me, who can understand and appreciate her position on things, but can't be bothered to get worked up over it?

14 April 2018

Product Review - OleHenriksen Truth Serum

I have suffered from rosacea for years.  Finally when we moved to Philadelphia many years ago, I found a dermatologist who diagnosed it and actually knew how it could be treated.  It took a while, but finally it's under control better than it's ever been.

Needless to say, I'm kind of obsessed with taking care of my skin now that it doesn't constantly look like it's scalded.  I see my dermatologist regularly, and she is really great.  One thing she isn't, is big on recommending products that are popular in magazines or that the "beautiful people" are using.  I've asked specifically from time to time if a certain moisturizer or soap or whatever that I read about in a magazine is worth using.  Her answer has nearly always been, "try it if you like," but that's all.

So when she actually mentioned something by name, I thought it was worth a try.  And then I decided it was only fair to let you know how it did or did not work.

The product is OleHenriksen Truth Serum (available in store and online at Sephora and several other places, as well as directly from the company).
This is what it I'm talking about.  The pump at the top dispenses a non-sticky, slightly orange-scented liquid that spreads easily.  The scent disappears almost immediately, and it absorbs quickly, but still feels like your skin - not like some products that make you feel like there's a weird layer there.

I bought a small bottle to try, because a) it's not inexpensive (though you can order a mini online for $15), and b) I wasn't sure if I would like it.  I have used it now for approximately 6 months, at night only with my moisturizer over it, and I can tell you, this stuff is fantastic!  It makes my skin feel very soft, and I have had no bad reactions or problems from use, while noticing that it seems to have given my skin some evenness, which is nice since I tend to be splotchy.

I think that technically, you are supposed to use it morning and night, but frankly, I didn't want to use it up very quickly since, as mentioned above, it's not cheap.  Plus, since it has Vitamin C in it, I figured it would be better to use it at night only instead of having to use an even higher SPF sunscreen during the day.  

Another thing I like about it is that one of the small bottles lasts a good long time.  One pump gives you *plenty* of product for your face - on the occasion that I have used two pumps, I've been able to cover my neck and chest as well.  This of course also makes it a winner on the BMST* and means that I am very likely to buy it again whenever this bottle is finished.   And if that isn't good enough, OleHenriksen is a cruelty-free company!

So if you have rosacea, or even if you don't, but want to try something that is a little bit of an extra for your face, I can highly recommend this product.  And this is me being honest, I didn't get any reimbursement from the company that makes it.  I just wanted to share something that I thought was impressed with, especially if you are looking for some great skincare.  


*BMST (Bridget's Mathematical Spending Theorem):  the name given by a friend of mine to something I do with skincare, beauty products, makeup, etc.  When I start to use it, I mark the date on the container.  When it's gone, I note the date, and figure out the cost per use.  This plays a part in whether or not I decided to purchase it again.

28 March 2018

How Old ARE You?

Two weeks ago, I turned 62.  That seems like a rather astonishing thing to me.  I mean, I know that it's not like turning 100 years old, but on a personal level, I have never actually known a 100-year-old person.  I did get close, as The Tim's maternal grandmother was 99 years and 8 months old when she died.  But I didn't know her very well, though until the last two years or so of her life, she was involved in life, even if she wasn't physically active.

But I have now outlived my father by nine years, and my mother died when she was 69 years old, so it's kinda weird to realize that.  I do have a lot more aches and pains, and I move more slowly than I used to (though no one would have ever really called me "quick"), and God knows I have a ton more health issues than ever before.  But I've been thinking about getting older, and I realized the other day that although I *know* how old I am, I don't always feel like an older person.  And I'm guessing that in this day and age, that's the case for a lot of people.

I think an awful lot of it has to do with the shift in our culture.  Yes, I realize that in some ways - advertising,  products, TV, etc. - it's all about young people.  I'm guessing that to some extent that has always been the case, it's just not been so prevalent, because in the past life was lived at a slower pace.  But I can remember when I was growing up, that people in a lot of way just looked older at a certain point, and I think they were expected to act that way as well.  I remember when I was ten years old, one of my cousins got married.  She was in her mid-twenties (you know, an "old maid"!), and she had always been a really pretty woman.  But after her marriage, the person who used to wear her hair down or in a ponytail, and wear shorts in the summer or two-piece swimsuits, suddenly turned into a matronly-looking married person.  She always wore her hair pulled back into a bun, and stopped wearing shorts altogether, opting for a shift dress or occasionally, slacks.  When I'd see her at the local park's swimming pool, she would always be wearing a black one-piece swimsuit, and unless she was actually in the pool, she wore a long coverup.  All of a sudden, she looked a whole lot older.  I can recall pointing this out to my mother, and her responding, "Well, she thinks she needs to look married now."

A puzzling statement to me, since my mother was married, and she dressed "normally," meaning that she was clearly older, but didn't dress like she was a matron.  Granted, there were times when my sister Nancy (who was the only one who knew how to sew at the time - we all later learned in self-defense) would hem a dress or sweater for her, turning it into a mini-skirt, and she wouldn't wear it, because she didn't want to "look like a goddamn fool," but for the most part, my mother dressed a lot like people do today who wear clothes they like that fit well. 

And I think that's one of the reasons I've never associated age with looking/acting/dressing a certain way.  I will admit that I see people that in my opinion are trying just a bit too hard to look younger than they are, but a) it's none of my business, and b) if that makes them happy, go for it.  But I still enjoy most things I've always enjoyed.  I still wear the kind of clothes I've almost always liked to wear, and my tastes in music, TV, etc. are in line with that even if they are not exactly the same as before.

So how old am I?  In some places, I'm already a senior citizen ("Over 55") and can get a discount on a hotel room or a car rental.  A few of my contemporaries are already grandparents.  My co-workers think I am ancient, and keep asking me when I am going to retire (which sadly does not appear to be any time soon on the horizon).  I am automatically left out of some discussions or events because of my actual (sometimes perceived) age. 

The good news is, that since I have pretty much always been my own best company, I don't really care for the most part.  I'm an introvert, so I'm just as happy to not be invited to most events.  It does annoy me that I get left out of things at work sometimes, for no other reason than my age. 

I'm still me.  I am still often immature in my tastes, I am likely to find inappopriate things funny.  I am also a responsible person and have adult, more thought-out opinions, and certainly have the freedom to make my own decisions.

But how OLD am I?  Am I 62 years old?  Yes.  But to be honest with you, I have NO idea what that is suppose to mean.  I just keep hoping I have a lot more years left to keep trying to figure it all out.  ;-)

04 March 2018

Have You Ever Done Pilates?

Approximately 20 years ago, I had a job where a gym membership was included.  At the time, I was not much of a conscious exerciser (meaning I did a lot of moving around, but not specifically for exercise reasons), but I saw that they offered a beginner Pilates class and I was intrigued.  It was a 6-week session, and though I was not good at all at doing most of the exercises (as flexibility has never been my forte), I absolutely loved it!  One of the best things that resulted from it was the improvement of my posture.

The person who taught the classes left, and they didn't replace her, so I bought some DVDs which I used for a while.  Not the same as the class, but it kept me going.  Then our DVD player died, and DVDs in general went out of fashion for the most part, and I did other stuff for a while.  But I always wished I could go back to Pilates.  There were plenty of places offering it, but it was either a) really really expensive, or b) there were no beginner classes and though they would assure you that the classes were "all levels" they were not. 

About a month ago, I saw a Groupon for a local place that offers Beginner Pilates classes.  I e-mailed them prior to buying the Groupon, and was assured that this was truly a beginner-level class, including most people who had never ever done Pilates before.  So I purchased the Groupon.  And immediately, was unable to make it on any of the Saturday or Sunday mornings the class was offered!

So yesterday I decided I was going to book a class ahead and make that my commitment for that morning on that day.  The Groupon is for 10 sessions, and I am hoping that by the end of that time, even if I can't afford to continue at the place the beginner classes are offered, I can keep doing Pilates somehow, even if it's by following an online instructor.  I'm also pleased with myself because I have made a reservation for the class, and though I can cancel if necessary, I take reservations *very* seriously for things, and am unlikely to cancel unless something serious comes up.

I'll keep you posted, but I'm feeling hopeful.  Before when I took the classes, I felt so much better, I really wanted to keep going, and also felt that it helped me keep up with other activity.  I'm hoping that between these classes and the coming of spring weather, I'll have more opportunities to get myself back in the groove with bicycling.  Unlike a lot of people I know (including The Tim), I don't really enjoy riding my bicycle when it's really cold, or wet, or icy.  So I tend not to ride at all during winter.

I'm also happy with myself now that I have done something that is a "plan."  I'm really good at being self-disciplined - my problem is that I'm not good at doing anything to get started.  Hopefully this will lead me back to some of my better habits.

Have you ever done Pilates?  Did you like it? 

25 February 2018

Pampering Myself on a Dreary Day

Today it is dreary, damp, and chilly.  I had some plans in my head, but when I woke up this morning, I just wasn't feeling them.  So I decided to pamper myself.

Now for a lot of people, this involves many products, many spa-like activities, etc.  However, I have neither the time nor the desire (or the $$$) for any of that, so I guess when I pamper myself, it's more low key.  But I'm the one doing it, so who cares what anyone else thinks?

I have been doing pretty well lately with my diet - meaning the food I am eating, not that I am on a diet, mind you.  I had gotten off track big-time, and it took me a bit to both motivate myself and also actually do what I wanted to get back to doing.  But I'm making progress, and I'm really proud of myself for that.  Now I need to be more regular with moving.  In that vein, I've signed up for a Beginner Pilates class next Saturday morning.  Hopefully that will get me back into the swing of things and I won't be as lazy.

Anyway.  After breakfast, I took a shower and washed my hair, and actually blow dried and styled it (as much as my hair ever  has a "style").  I usually air dry it, with mixed results - as in, sometimes it sticks up/out, and other times it's fine.  That was a boost.  While drying off, I realized with disgust that my feet were a mess!  Not that I have foot model feet, but it was clear I'd neglected things too long.  Then I thought about my hands, which are in sad shape as well.  When I get bored or nervous, I pick my cuticles, even to the point of bleeding - unless I've been taking care of my nails, and then I tend to leave them alone.  For the last month, I have filed any ragged nails that caught on things, but done nothing else.

The verdict:  I would let a professional handle things.  So I walked up the street to a nail salon, and was lucky because when I got there (with no appt), they had an opening.  Since I knew I'd still be wearing socks for the near future, I asked for a pedicure but not polish.  Which puzzled the person working with me, but she was very nice and thorough nonetheless.  It was pretty gross, and I gave her a big tip for her efforts.  My feet once again look like they belong to a human being.  Then she gave me a really good manicure, and hopefully I'll be back on track taking care of that again now, too.

(I tried to take a photo to show you how nice my hands look, but that was a no-go.   So you'll just have to take my word for it.)

The shade I chose for my fingernails is Essie Nail polish, Chinchilly (not my hands here):


I must say that now I feel quite glamorous.  :-)

On my way home, I decided that I wanted something else to treat myself.  So I stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts and got a coffee and a Boston Kreme Donut.  Was it good?  You bet!  Did I need it?  Nope.  But it was a wonderful treat.

So today I ventured out into the ick and spent money and you know what?

I regret nothing.

21 February 2018

Watch What You Say, No Matter What You Say, Because You Will Be Wrong Always

Hi there - Yes, I'm still alive. I didn't mean to be gone for so long, I have just had some stuff going on that has made me busy and/or crazy. 

So What the F. Murray Abraham does the title of this post mean?  Well, it was just my snarky way of saying that these days, everyone but yourself knows better for you, no matter what you may think.  And why did this even come up?

A woman who is a meteorologist on a local TV station had a baby about 6 months ago or so.  She posted on Facebook today that she was having a harder time losing weight than she did with her first two kids, probably because now she was older, and also admitted she was not as active.  She said that she wanted to try and lose weight so she would feel better and be able to wear the clothes she has and not have go buy all new ones.  She was hoping that others would join her to get healthy.

Thing she did NOT say:

- she was planning to starve herself
- she was planning to ignore her family
- she hoping to lose more than her current body weight
- she was an overweight pig and hated herself
- she wanted to look 20 years old again

And yet, the comments almost all interpreted her post that way, and everyone explained to her that a) she was beautiful, not to change a thing; b) she should just enjoy her family; c) she should eat whatever she wanted to all the time; d) she shouldn't exercise because it would mean she was buying into the fact that everyone should be thin; e) she was setting a bad example for young girls by telling them they needed to be thin; f) she would definitely end up with an eating disorder.

Oy.  Here was someone who was just saying she wanted to improve her health and stamina, and feel better overall, and immediately it was just WRONG.  So many people had to man/woman/stranger-splain to her what she really SHOULD do because of course they all knew better. 

I really think that in a lot of ways, we are going too far the other way with things.  If she had said, "I think I'm ugly and everyone hates me, but I would be universally loved if I only weight 98 pounds," then maybe she would be showing that she was having problems.  And though it would be concerning, it is still none of the public's business to INFORM her that she was just wrong, wrong, wrong. 

But she didn't say any of that.  She clearly said she wanted to be healthier, and wanted to feel better.  She wanted others to decide for themselves if they wanted to join her.  Personally, I thought it was a good thing, because she was admitting that even though she was on TV she wasn't perfect and that she thought it would be encouraging for others to join her.  Instead, people were up in arms.

I think it's terrible when people feel they must be a certain weight or size to be worth anything.  And I absolutely do not think it's anyone else's business (except possibly a health care provider) to tell anyone else that they have to lose weight or be a certain way. 

But I also think it's just as bad when people assume that anyone wanting to feel better, be more active, or improve their health is doing it for all the wrong reasons.

You may say, well, what did she expect when she posted it on Facebook.  To be honest, I think she thought she might have been able get some people to join her in getting into shape.  And perhaps she will as she continues to post about her progress or lack thereof.  I hope it works for her, and for those people. 

But I also wish that everyone else would just SHUT. UP.

Aren't you glad I'm back?  ;-)

07 January 2018

Fresh Start ... Again

Hello and Happy All Holidays I've missed!  I didn't give up on this blog, but I did abandon it for a while.  Life took over - well, mostly my work life.  November and December were busy, stressful, and awful, and I just spent time on my other blog,  But I'm back now!

I had been going along pretty well with my Sunday Shape-Up Series before I disappeared, and I have to say, that made me feel pretty good.  Sadly, a lot of what I had managed to accomplish slid right down the drain during November and December, so it's time to recommit and try to make ME be the winner, rather than work.  So there.  :-)

So, 2018, what do I want from you?  Other than the obvious things that most people want from any year, I really want to get back to physical and mental health.  Currently, we are in a deep freeze here in Philadelphia, so I'm unlikely to go for a long walk, and certainly not for a bicycle ride - but I can make sure I don't just sit in one spot all day, so today I am going to be sure to run a couple of quick and nearby errands - thereby getting something done while moving my person. 

That's one of my goals for today.  The other one is to try and get myself organized for the coming week, with ingredients that can be put together for a couple of lunches ahead of time, and getting stuff I need to take to and from work with me all in one place so I don't have to worry about it before leaving tomorrow, and also so that I won't forget something I want to be sure I have.

For the week, I hope to move a little bit extra each day at a minimum.  I'm considering trying a Pilates class that is early on Saturday mornings, too.  Years ago, I took a series of classes offered at one of my former workplaces, and I really liked it.  The class that is on Saturdays is beginner level, and I'm definitely still at that point, especially after all of this time.  If they haven't raised the price, it will be worth a try.

And of course, yesterday was the last day of Christmas, so I will start to organize stuff to put away until next year.  The last day to recycle our tree is next Saturday, that is my deadline.  I'm always sad to undecorate, but keep telling myself that Christmas wouldn't be as special if the decorations were always around.  Still, I wish more people could keep their good cheer for more of the time.

Anyway, that's it from here.  I hope you are having a good time of things so far, and that you will be able to pick up again and go forward if you "fell off the wagon" like I did.

Here we go!