Category Archives: Health and Fitness

My Rocky Road Recipe, Christmas Candy at It’s Finest!

When I was a child, I don’t remember a lot of cool holiday traditions.  I do remember the baking and the candy.  Cookies, pies, fudge, and my favorite, the mother’s Rocky Road.  It was a delicious candy involving chocolate and marshmallows.  What child or adult doesn’t love chocolate and marshmallows?  That pan of candy goodness was the one tradition I remember clearly (along with some kick ass fudge) and was my childhood favorite.

She never shared the recipe with me, and I never saw her make it.  When I grew up, I asked her what was in it.  She rattled off a few things and that was that.  So, based on what I remembered, I made up my own version of that candy I loved as a child…with my own awesome twist.

Funny story, I once had a boss who LOVED my Rocky Road!  He looked forward to it each year.  Right before I moved cross country, he asked if I would still send him a batch at Christmas.  I think I did for many years…

BONUS!  This recipe can be made vegan very easily by simply substituting vegan ingredients.  Enjoy!

Rocky Road Recipe

To save this recipe, right-click the image and choose “save image as…”

Now, I wonder whatever happened to the mother’s ancient copy of the blue Betty Crocker Cookbook…there was an amazing recipe for Boston Cream Pie in that book…

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Holiday Gift Guide for Teens and Tweens

fa la la love your skinKids these days have so much more than we had when we were kids.  While the times have changed, a few basics remain.  Kids need to learn how to care for their skin now just as we did back in the day.  The willa line of products was developed for teens and tweens as an answer to a young mother searching for safe products for her daughter after she herself had a skin cancer scare.  You can take advantage of our holiday specials and introduce the gift of healthy skin to a new generation!

BUY 2 GET 1 FREE WILLA REGIMENS

The willa line has two regimens perfect for teens and tweens (and adults too!)  The B2G1 special can be used for any combination of the two, giving you better savings and more gifting power.

The Essentials Regimen is a gentle system that gets girls started on the daily routine of cleansing, hydrating, and protecting. This Regimen also comes with a detoxifying peel-off charcoal mask that can be used as a weekly skin rest or for a fun girls night in. This regimen is also good for adults who need a little less hydration and blemish control.

The Essential Regimen includes: Start Fresh Foaming Face Wash, Zero Shine Mattifying Moisturizer, Face The Day SPF 30, and Peel Away Charcoal Mask.

The Clear Skin Regimen uses gentle yet powerful blemish-banishing ingredients to treat and prevent breakouts while calming and soothing to reveal skin that’s smooth, bright, clear and always protected.

The Clear Skin Regimen includes: Clear Skin Exfoliating Cleanser, Pore Perfector Breakout Banisher Pads, Zero Shine Mattifying Moisturizer, and Face The Day SPF 30 Tinted Protection.

Now through December 19, we are offering a BUY 2 GET 1 FREE Holiday Special on the willa regimens!  This is the best deal for these amazing products as it breaks down to $32 per regimen.  This is a great way to introduce The Essentials or Clear Skin Regimens to the younger crowd.  You can choose all one or mix and match the two regimens.  The willa Regimens regularly retails for $68, or if you prefer a replenishment subscription (your choice of 4, 6, or 8 weeks) it’s $48.  Retail Cost Savings: $48 on three.

Tip: Mattifying Moisturizer is great for those who live in humid climates and Start Fresh Foaming Face Wash is wonderful for boys to use for shaving!

BUY 3 GET 1 FREE Holiday Specials

XO Lip Oil
Receive four of our popular XO Coconut Lip Oils for $36 (Retail Value: $48) and gift them to everyone you know!  Our lip oils are perfect for stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, hostess gifts, gifts for coworkers, and more!  infused with a rich mix of argan, marula, coconut and avocado oils, this transparent gel-oil hybrid leaves lips balmy-soft and subtly luminous. Regularly $12 each, you will pay only $9 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $12

BONUS: As part of the Willing Hearts Project and our overall Force For Good movement, we are committed to giving $1 from each XO Lip Oil (Coconut or Peppermint flavors) sold to benefit single mothers who are homeless, living in shelters or just struggling to make a difference in the lives of their families.

PEEL AWAY Charcoal Mask

An original in our willa line of projects, the PEEL AWAY Charcoal Mask is for everyone.  Teenage girls and boys love it.  Adult women and men love it (ask me about my bestie’s hubster who is addicted to this product!)  Our peel-away mask reveals a fresh, glowy complexion thanks to nutrient-rich charcoal which draws out impurities and refines pores for smoother, brighter skin…and it is easy to peel off!  Regularly $14 each, you will pay only $10.50 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $14

TAKE ACTION Acne Spot Treatment

Another from our willa line, the TAKE ACTION Acne Spot Treatment combines Salicylic Acid with willow bark, lavender, and peppermint extracts to help unclog pores and reduce redness fast.  Teens use them.  Adults use them.  I use them for my occasional breakouts!  Regularly $14 each, you will pay only $10.50 each.  Retail Cost Savings: $14

I’d love to help you give the gift of safe, effective products to the teens and tweens in your life.  I’m easy to reach by email, through my Facebook Page, or you can come on over and join Penny’s Lounge, my super special Facebook community of fun folks who hang out, visit, listen to records and right now, sharing cookie recipes.  I can help you solve your gifting dilemmas this holiday season!

Making a Wishlist and Checking it Twice

Have you started your holiday shopping yet?  Better still, have you told the treasured WBC_WishList (1)-page-001peeps in your life what YOU would like to receive this holiday season?

I’ve got the cutest little Wishlist downloadable for you!  Click here to download a copy of the Wishlist I am using this holiday season.  On it you’ll find space to include:

  • Name of the person you are shopping for
  • Budget that you want to work within
  • What the product is you would like to buy
  • The SKU number to make finding that product all the easier.

I am using this for all my treasured peeps, whether I am gifting them Willing Beauty products or not!  You can also fill this wishlist out and give it to your loved one – a little hint-hint to ensure you receive what you really want.  (WINK-WINK!)

Better still, if your holiday wish is from Willing Beauty, you can send me a picture of your wishlist and a way to email or text your wishlist to your treasured peeps.  I’ll be happy to deliver it to them and help them do their shopping!  Who doesn’t want to give and receive better-for-you, safer, effective, clean products that are safe for sensitive skin and pregnant women, and free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oils, DEA, phthalates, chemical sunscreens and synthetic fragrances at a more affordable price?

We have some wonderful holiday specials that you and yours may want to take advantage of, including HY+5 Regimens™ and Stocking Stuffers (or teachers gifts, or hostess gifts…):

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Stocking Stuffers are available while supplies last.  The HY+5 special is good through November 30.

I’d love to help you and yours give the gift of safe, effective, more affordable beauty.  I’m easy to reach by email, through my Facebook Page, or you can come on over and join Penny’s Lounge, my super special Facebook community of amazing folks who are also sharing their holiday traditions and preparing for the best holiday season yet. I’ve got my Santa hat on for you!

 

 

 

The Story of Peppermint and a Giveaway!

Peppermint XO 2 TINYOnce upon a time in a land way up north, there was a jolly man and his jolly wife who just wanted to make people happy.  They came up with many ideas, and they finally settled on celebrating the holiday season, especially Christmas.

They began building a factory and distribution center so they could make toys for children all over the world.  They hired quirky elves because they fit right in!  They designed a state of the art transportation system so that the jolly man could deliver the toys in one night.  It was all quite magical!  Everything was clicking and children all over the world were happy.  But it wasn’t enough.  The jolly man and his wife needed to do more.  They needed to give back to the adults as well.  What could they do?

Holiday flavors and scents.  Things that smelled and tasted like holiday cookies and candies, potpourris and sachets.  Things that would remind a person of Christmas and holidays past. Evergreen.  Gingerbread.  Citrus.  Cinnamon.  Berries.  Cloves.  Apple pie.  Pumpkin Pie.  Mincemeat Pie.  Pecan Pie.  Pinecones.  Sugar Cookies.  Turkey.  Ham.  Fruitcake (possibly a less than stellar choice.)  Rum Balls.  Eggnog.  Peppermint…PEPPERMINT!

Peppermint became a very popular seasonal staple, with adults across the land enjoying the flavor and scent in things like candies, cakes, ice cream, cookies, coffee, candles, essential oils, and luxury personal care items. Lotions.  Soaps.  Lip Balms.  Lip Oil.  To make this happen, the jolly man and his wife needed to expand their distribution system.  They set to work with retailers and direct sellers across the land to make that happen.  Soon all the flavors and scents were everywhere!  The jolly man even spoke to me and asked me if I could help deliver special Lip Oil across the land.  I, of course, said yes!  XO Lip Oil is amazing.  Peppermint XO Lip Oil?  OH MY!

Coming in October, XO Lip Oil will be available in PEPPERMINT!  These are perfect as stocking stuffers, office gifts, hostess gifts, girls-night-out gifts, Christmas gifts, and just giving out to family and friends!  Where the XO Lip Oil smells like you are at a beach resort, the Peppermint XO Lip Oil is all about peppermint holiday goodness.  I happen to have a few on the way.  Would you like to be added to my waitlist?  Click here, read the instructions and fill out the order form.  I’ll shoot you back an invoice and when they arrive I’ll get your order in the mail to you.

In the spirit of the jolly man and his wife, how about a giveaway?  YES!  Click here to view the “how to enter” information (no purchase necessary!)  On Wednesday, October 4 I will draw two lucky winners who will each receive a Peppermint XO Lip Oil!  How awesome is that?

Let’s recap, Peppermint Lip Oil is coming soon, I’ve got some that you can pre-order, and I’m doing a giveaway.  This pleases the jolly man and his wife, and I hope it pleases you!  If you have any questions, drop me a note at penny.fiftysetgo@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.  Here’s to Peppermint dreamin’ on such a winter’s day…

Penny

 

What is My Why?

17498732_1699579173402640_5592608514390051298_nThis article first appeared on Sassy Direct on August 27, 2017.

Someone asked me recently, “Why Willing Beauty?”  My “Why” is a bit long and involves an ankle brace, a boot, air conditioning, money, and tenacity.

In 2014 I decided I wanted to do a half marathon.  I have never been an athlete, but it sounded like something cool to do when I turned 50.  I didn’t know if I would walk or run, but I knew I would do it.  I had a year and a half to prepare.  I had time to train and choose a race, and I was excited.  I started walking.  One morning I was walking downtown, hitting my stride, and I felt my ankle turn under.  I fell.  Hard.  I hit the ground and I felt incredible pain all over.

People stopped and tried to help me up, and I said no, I’m fine, I’m just a clutz.  I got myself up and limped to a nearby bench.  I looked down to see that my knees and shins were a bloody mess, as was my hand and water bottle (which I had been holding when that hand hit the ground.)  No wonder passers by and the people who tried to help looked so concerned.  I washed them off with my water bottle, sat for a few minutes, and decided to continue on. 

I walked about three miles that morning.  When I got back to my car, I took off my shoes and socks and saw stars.  My ankle had been sore during the walk, but when the sock and shoe came off? It was swelled double, horribly bruised, and it hurt like hell.  The doc said that when I removed the sock and shoe, I released the blood and tissue that was keeping it compressed.  He put me in a brace and sent me to physical therapy.  I had torn ligaments, and I was a mess.

It got better, slowly, and I walked a 5k in that brace in October 2014.  58 minutes, hitting my goal of less than an hour, two months after that fall.

2015 was the year to really train.  I walked another 5K in March, improving on my time by about 5 minutes.  Excellent.  Not long after that 5K, my wayward ankle turned under again.  It was worse than before, and I ended up in a boot.  It took longer to bounce back.

I persevered. I continued walking, increasing my speed. Three friends and I signed up for the Disney Princess 5K to be held in February 2016, a few weeks after I would turn 50.  We needed to be able to walk it with a 15 minute per mile pace or better.  We were gonna DO this thing.  (We really just wanted the T-Shirt and medal.)

In the summer of 2015, my air conditioner decided to begin a slow descent into oblivion.  I poured what I had into keeping it going, as I couldn’t afford a new one.  The financial burden of living on the edge for so many years was taking a toll on me, but I had my walking and Disney to keep me focused.  This was just another bump in the road.

After Thanksgiving, I signed up with a coach, someone who could help me walk my 15-minute mile and reach my goal.   She was affordable, and I really liked our sessions. Things were looking up again.

On December 23, 2015, my air conditioner took its last breath.  It was 90 degrees that day, and we were looking at those temps taking us to the new year.  I was devastated.  I simply could not afford $5-6K for a new system, no matter how I ran the numbers.  You see, I live in Florida.  This was, in my mind, catastrophic.

I dragged myself out, put on a happy face, and spent Christmas with friends.  I tried to push the home issues down and enjoy the day.  There was a visit my bestie, a trip to Tampa for lunch with more friends and then we went to see the new Star Wars movie. It turned out to be a wonderful day and I was thankful.  I actually had fun.  That evening as I was leaving, my weak ankle turned under again.  This time I was on my friend’s front steps and the fall was spectacular.  I’m pretty sure I scared her family.  The ankle was blown again, worse than the first two times.

The next few weeks remain a blur.  Pain. Fear. Anxiety. The boot. My ankle was so bad and I was so miserable.  I spent New Years Day trying to figure out how to change this ridiculous trajectory I was on.  Someone had reached out to me a few days earlier about joining a Direct Sales company.  I decided to see what that was about.  I joined on New Year’s Day, having no idea what I was going to be selling.

2016 was unpleasant. On January 11, 2016, my cat escaped to the garage and climbed up on the loft area over the kitchen.  I climbed a ladder to get her (without my boot.)  I lost my balance and the ladder toppled over.  My head fell 11 feet to the cement floor.  Metal shelving broke my fall.  I miraculously was able to stand up and get myself into the house.  You can see photos and the story here.  An undiagnosed concussion would wreak havoc from then on.

I turned 50 with zero fanfare.  In fact, I was incredibly sick and miserable.  There was no celebration.  I had nothing to celebrate.  I was living with no air conditioning in Florida.  My ankle hurt all the time.  The concussion was bad, and I was having a hard time with simple things like remembering my words and driving.  I struggled with using the products that I was selling.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I stumbled upon a Facebook group whose goal was to provide training to direct sellers.  Proper training.  The group was all about attraction marketing and not spamming.  It was the opposite of what I’d been exposed to, and I decided to learn as much as I could.

Our mother died in April.  She and I had grown estranged for a variety of reasons that I won’t get into.  My brother took the brunt of all the crap that was her life and her final few months.  Suffice it to say, recovering from that took a toll on both of us for a very long time. (I still yell at her from time to time.)  A brief summary of that time can be found in my posts Derailed and Life is a Choice…Just Choose.

Somehow I survived summer.  I got into a routine of when to open the windows when to close them when to leave the house and when to go home.  My business was not going anywhere, mostly because I could not use the product.  How could I sell something I could not use?  I am stubborn and continued to try to make it work.

In September my niece had a baby.  A miracle of life and something positive during a time when my brother was struggling with too many burdens related to our parents. Burdens I could not help with, and for which I will always feel guilt.  I saw that baby as his reward for being a good son.  I was happy for him and his new family.  I was still quietly struggling.

In November our father died.  The parental saga was over.  It had been a horrible, sad, devastating year.  I honestly don’t recall much of the end of the year.  A lot of grief, a lot of anger, and still, a product that I could not use.

2017 arrived and I declared things had to look up.  I would figure out the money and the business.  Living with a brain injury quite literally changed my life, my focus, and my priorities. (And yes, I’m still recovering.)

In February a friend who I’d gotten know in that Facebook group reached out and told me about a new company that was starting and a ground floor opportunity.  I ran the numbers quickly in my head and told her no and thank you for thinking of me.

The problem was, I could not let it go.  I kept running the numbers.  Looking at the opportunity.  Researching the company.  I started saving.  I wanted in on Willing Beauty.  My friend was building an amazing team and had an amazing mentor.  The product was exactly what I wanted to use at a price point I could afford.  I started saving.

In April I surprised my friend and joined.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do or how, but I knew I had to be part of this from the beginning.  I had learned so much in the last year and a half, I knew I could make this happen. I began using the product.

My skin loved it.  I had no issues.  NO ISSUES.  I shared HY+5 regimens and an Essentials regimen with close friends and family.  Dry skin, oily skin, combination skin – we all could USE IT!  I resigned from the other DS company to focus on Willing Beauty.

It’s now the end of August.  There have been hiccups and there have been changes.  That is always the case with something new, right?  Willing Beauty officially launched on August 1.  I have customers.  I have a wonderful mentor and an amazing upline.  I’m building a team.  It’s beginning.

I continue to be told that my skin looks really good.  My fine lines have lessened, the tone and texture are better and my skin feels hydrated all day.  This product really IS as good as they said it would be.  What I like almost as much is that I can FINALLY be a walking billboard for what I sell.

Some of my friends, people my age, are beginning to retire.  I obviously didn’t plan as well as they did.  I’m incredibly happy for them, don’t get me wrong.  But it’s in the back of my mind, taunting me.  I see other friends working well into their 70’s, and it’s hard for them, physically and mentally.  Thier lives didn’t turn out exactly as they had imagined either.  It hurts my heart.

At some point in the last few months, I woke up scared. I don’t want a third Florida summer with no air conditioning.  I don’t want to work into my 70’s.  Hell, I don’t want to work into my 60’s.  I’m 51 years old. I need a solid retirement plan.  I need a home that I can live in and not visit each evening to sleep and shower.  I want to swallow my anxiety and put my walking shoes back on.  Walk before Run.  I think it applies to both my half marathon and my business.  Time, training, hard work, enjoy the rewards.

I’m not afraid of hard work.  I’ve worked since I was 14. I know how to work.  I’m devising a plan and creating goals.  I’ve never done that before, so I’m seeking advice.  I WILL transition from working full time and doing Willing Beauty in the off hours to working party time and doing Willing Beauty full time.  Then I will not need a “real job” at all.

The culmination of the last three years is my “Why”.  Willing Beauty is still ground floor.  The compensation plan is great, and the path to get there is doable.  It is DOABLE!  I just have to be willing to put in the work.  Work and sacrifice now to ensure I have a future. Walk before Run.   I’m good with that.

Where can you buy Willing Beauty? You may visit my website at  fiftysetgo.willingbeauty.com and shop our products.  Don’t forget about our 100% Happiness Guarantee! It promises that if our products are not right for you, they can be returned for a full refund, including shipping, no matter if the bottles are full or empty. We believe in our products THAT much!

You may also join my community at www.pennyslounge.com.  There we discuss important topics of the day (like the weather or what kind of milkshakes we like) and share about the journey we call life.  If you’d like to know more, give me a shout at penny.fiftysetgo@gmail.com.  I’ll be happy to answer your questions and tell you more.

 

 

 

In Search of My Lost Inner Superhero


If you watch Grey’s Anatomy or you have read Shonda Rhymes Year of Yes, you know of the superhero pose:

“Standing around like Wonder Woman in the morning can make people think you are more amazing at lunchtime.” Stand up like a badass, legs in a wide stance, chin up, hands on your hips. Like you own the place. Like you have on a magical silver bracelets and know how to use them. Like your superhero cape is flapping behind you!

-Shonda Rymes, Year of Yes 

First, Year of Yes is an awesome book. Second, buy the book. Everyone should read the book! 

I never realized I had an inner superhero until long after I’d lost her. 

I grew up in a small town. From as far back as I can remember, I felt like a fish out of water. I mean no disrespect to anyone in my family or the town I grew up in. I simply always longed to see and experience what the world had to offer, and I never felt like I belonged, even in my own family. I often felt like an outsider looking in, wondering what was wrong with me. 

I always had a lot of fear in me, deep down, paralyzing fear. Fear that held me back, fear that left me on the sidelines. There was always a voice in my head saying “you don’t need that” “stop over-reaching” “why can’t you appreciate what you have” “it’s good enough for us” – years later I would learn that the voice in my head was the mother. 

At the age of 12, I began planning my escape. Things happened that year, things that scarred my soul. 12-13 were hard years for me. Being the good girl I was, I never said a word about my struggles. Never once, to anyone. But, I knew I wouldn’t stay. I just had to get to high school graduation. 12 year olds should never think like that. 

At age 14 I read the book Scruples, or as I like to say, sex education in paperback! It was a great book full of adventure, strong women…and sex!  I hid that book for a long time because, well, the mother did not need to know I had read all THAT! (When she read the book, I got yelled at.) But the sex part didn’t make an impact near as much as Paris did. It was then that I fell in love with the idea of seeing Paris. Paris was Utopia, my ultimate goal. I had to get to Paris. When I would mention that? I was told I didn’t need to go to Paris. There was nothing in Paris for me. “It’s just a book. Stop trying to be someone you’re not.” “Everything there is old, there’s nothing to see.” “Parisians are rude.” “Be realistic. People like us don’t go to Paris.” 

Throughout high school, I began to come into my own. I credit a few amazing teachers who saw potential in me, encouraged and mentored me. They truly changed the path of my life and made me believe I DID deserve all the world had to offer. I could BE more, DO more, WANT more. 

I took part in Future Homemakers of America and was able to travel to regional and state meetings, participate in competitions, and meet new people who were not from our small community. Me? Homemaker? It wasn’t just about that so much as giving young women the skills to be amazing. 

By Senior year, things were clicking for me. I was evolving into a confident person whose fear of everything was slowly being replaced with anticipation for the future. The beginnings of my superhero cape were forming. 

I became a regional officer for FHA. The leadership training and time spent with my advisor was a true, life-changing gift. The mother did not approve. She didn’t understand why I never wanted to be home. That was her stance. Me, looking for excuses to be gone, wanting more than I really needed…

My music teacher encouraged me to sing the National Anthem at our first or second home football game. A Capella. I don’t remember that very well. I recall walking out onto the field, taking a few breath, and for the first time, unconsciously assuming the super-hero stance. I remember it ending and people being amazingly kind and complimentary. I thought, if I could do that, I could do anything!

There was a flurry of music training, music and FHA camps, drama, and other FHA related activities in high school. It all prepared me for life on the outside (although I did not realize that at the time.)  Gifts I never took for granted. 

Those experiences taught me to perform. 

If nothing else, I could push the fear down and PRETEND I was brave. I could put on my game face, assume the superhero pose, step “on stage” and be amazing. 

I desperately wanted to go to college. That was not encouraged at home. Waste of time. Waste of money. We didn’t go to college, we are doing fine. “What have we ever done to make you want to leave?  “You’ll get no help from us!” 

She kept that vicious promise, and I was determined to NEVER move back home and let her win. I won a few scholarships, but in the end, the choice was college or rent. I ended up ending my brief college career and losing those precious scholarships. “You just have to work hard, you don’t need more than that.” “Come home and I will take care of you. Just come back home.” 

My superhero cape had a tear in it. I’d failed. I couldn’t figure out how to make college happen on my own. I was all of 19, how could I let that happen?  I later learnedthatnlack of parental support was punishment #1 for having the audacity to move out of the house after graduation. That tear in my cape was the first of many. 

I was 23, I think, when I decided to go to a trade school and get my accounting certificate. I needed more skills to get a better job. That opened the door for my 17 year career at a company that changed my life. I learned amazing skills in the accounting and IT departments, and they didn’t care that I didn’t have a degree (that wasn’t as big a deal in the 80’s and 90’s as it is now.)

While I excelled at work, I did not excel at a personal life. I fell into a rut, believing, finally, that if I just worked hard I didn’t need anything else. I had drank the Koolaid. My cape was slowly shredding. She had won. A business trip to Florida woke me up and changed the course of everything. 

A co-worker invited me to spend the weekend with her. We went to the beach. I experienced downtown. This was a place I could see myself living in. It wasn’t Paris, but there was 28 miles of white sandy beaches. It was kind of like the Santa Cruz I remembered when I was really little, without the boardwalk. The place my Nana taught me to love the ocean. The mother hated that my Nana had such influence in me. 

St Petersburg Florida is an amazing city with a small town feel. The vibe, the pace, it all just clicked for me at that time. It was exactly the change I needed to make, and I hadn’t been looking for a change! 

I took a deep breath and made a superhero decision to move. That was twenty years ago. My cape was slowly mending itself. 

That decison began a 19 year battle with the mother, full of anger, hostility, lies, manipulations and verbal abuse. I was over-reaching again. She must have failed if I needed to live so far from her. Yada. Yada. Yada. As hard as I tried to fight it, she continued to influence me. My poor cape. 

I blossomed. I took up volunteering and focused on fundraising. I was a member of the Junior League (which made the mother crazy, me being one of those “stuck up, elitists”. “You’re not one of them. You never will be. Stop over-reaching.”) I worked with Race for the Cure. I loved volunteering, giving back, being a part of something bigger. It was satisfying. 

It took superhero powers to approach businesses for funding. Hell, I solicited $500 from my gynecologist while my feet were in the sturrups! I was terrified, but I was DOING. Living. Being. 

I finally went back to school. Twenty-odd years after failing, I was back. I loved it. I did amazingly well. I got a bachelors in three years, while working full time. I worked, I studied, I went to class, I did homework. That was my life. The response from home? “That’s a waste of money. Why do you continue to want more than you are meant to have?” “You are wasting your time, you need to come home.”

I graduated, exhausted, run down, and numb. As much as I loved school, keeping up with everything took a toll on me. A few months later my 17 year career came to an end. Changes were in the air and I did not want to be a part of them. While I don’t regret leaving when I did, doing so broke my spirit. That was my home, the place I had grown into an adult, it was in my blood. My boss and I didn’t part on the best of terms and that ate me up as well. Part of me has never fully recovered from the loss. My cape had a new, huge tear and a few shredded areas. 

I ventured out on my own and started a business. Timing was bad, economics were not in my favor, and try as I might, I couldn’t make a go of it. When my biz ended, the experience broke me some more. My cape looked like Swiss cheese. 

The last ten years have been, well, hell in many ways. The abuse from the mother plus the ups and downs of my finances, health, and overall life…everything I tried to achieve left me scarred and two steps behind where if begun. Soul sucking is the word you’re looking for. The pressure from the mother became unbearable. 

That brave little girl retreated and my inner superhero disappeared. The cape fell into ruins, and the remnants blew away in the crazy, wild winds that were ruling my life. 

In the last two years I blew out my ankle a a second and third time. The mother died, and I felt guilty for feeling relieved. The father died. I reconnected with family I had been denied a relationship with most of my life. I learned a great deal about the truth of my childhood and the lengths the mother would go for absolute control. I woke up and saw the mother for the insane, sociopath she truly was. 

In the end, I was going through the paces.  Get up. Go to work. Go home. Sleep sometimes. Get up. Go to work…

This week I realized…I am a shell of my former self. 

In the shower a couple days ago, I realized I need to get that brave little girl back. I need to make a new cape. I assumed the superhero pose. I stood there, allowing the water to wash off the grime of the previous day and some from the previous years.  I realized I will need a lot of showers to wash all that grime away. I began searching for that brave 12 year old who wanted to escape that world and have more. This world, my world,  needs her. 

I decided to enter performance mode. Put on my game face, every day. Strike the superhero pose, every day. Push the fear back, every day. I expect some days will go better than others. I have to keep moving forward. 

I can see that little girl, peaking out from the sideline, tentatively deciding how to proceed. I need to coax her out again. 

I need to be brave, get out of my way, and return to me. 

PS: I went to Paris in 2004. It was was amazing as I thought it would be. In fact, on that trip I saw Rome, Florence, Vincenza, Venice, Milan, and Paris. I will go back. I will have coffee at a cafe and eat strawberry crepes. I will sit among the artists on the steer and sketch the most beautiful city on earth. A superhero can do that. 

Photo from Grey’s Anatomy borrowed from https://goo.gl/images/mVgdaz 

What’s Herman Been Up To?


Does a skull fracture heal or just float around? I should probably find this out. I swear that there are days when Herman is bothering me, but not in the usual place.

A CT scan is $300…or $400, in either case, it’s kind of a lot and I’ve not gotten around to it. Yet. I’m thinking I need to, as good ole Herman continues to raise his head now and then. 

Herman doesn’t like extreme heat. When I get overheated, he acts up. It’s summer in Florida. Herman is restless. 

He still does not like lifting or any type of exertion. Damn it Herman, I need to be able to DO things! I need to exercise, and I need to lift things at work without you wreaking havoc the rest of the day. 

Today was one of those days. I lifted a 35 pound or so item up from the floor and into a wagon. I ended up with a headache. My coworker jumped in my case, worried that I’d hurt my back. I didn’t even tell her that I had woken up Herman. He and I simply spent the rest of the day co-existing. 

I think my memory is as improved as it’s going to get. Long term is pretty good. Short term can be spotty. Somethings I remember really well. Some things I don’t. I have noticed that on “Herman Days”, the memory isn’t as good as it should be. I’ve decided I need note cards in my pocket and purse to help me with things I need to know at the drop of a hat. Key points. Elevator speeches. 

One really annoying thing with all this is me trying to learn everything I can about Willing Beauty – the company, the product lines, all of it. Some things have stuck well. Some just don’t stick at all. I find that if I read something over and over, and study a lot, it helps. I didn’t have to study this hard in high school or college!

There is a bright spot in the Herman saga! Yes, I said a bright spot! It’s really exciting. Are you ready??? 

I am able to put more of my head on a pillow. That’s huge. I still sleep at an incline with a pillow under my neck. It’s kinda comfortable, I don’t snore, and I don’t wake up sore. I kind of like it. But I can get more of my head on a pillow for a longer period of time now than I could even six months ago, so that’s good. Plus, it gives the kitties a place to snuggle next to me (they do love a good pillow.)
I’ve begun to wonder, is it all in my head? Maybe I’m all better and my head just THINKS I’m not. Sometimes I think it’s all a dream and I will wake up. Oh how wonderful that would be?!?! I don’t think that is going to happen though, so I need to keep making it work. Herman is, by far, the toughest relationship I’ve ever had! 

50 Doesn’t Look Like 50 Did Thirty Years Ago

I was watching The Golden Girls recently. You know, that 80’s show about the adventures of ladies entering their golden years. At the beginning of the show, at least two characters were in their 50’s. 

When I first watched this in the 80’s, I thought “They are so old!” Rose dressed in old lady clothes. Blanche dressed in grampa old lady clothes. Dorothy dressed like Maude, who I always thought was old also. There was grey hair, aging topics, and the attitude that they were almost elderly and living younger lives. They made growing old look like fun. 

The last few months, this show has bothered me. I am 51. Many of my friends are in their late 40’s and older (a few into their 70’s.) as I watched the show one afternoon it hit me:

I am not 51 like my grandparents or parents were 51. 

My Nana died at 54 after a three year battle with pancreatic cancer. She died in the mid-70’s, when treatments were not as successful as they are today. 

My Nana was always old. I remember her as always having grey hair, wearing dirty blonde wigs and housecoats, and acting like she was elderly. She was a grandmother afterall!

My other grandma? Same thing, except there were a LOT of mumus. She wore them around the house. I don’t remember her wearing a top or pants unless she left the house. (I will have to check with my brother on that point!) 

My grandpas were the same. Always old. They both worked until they were 65, but even before they retired, they were old. 

The parents were old at 40. I kid you not. They began acting old at 40. By 50? They may as well have been in rocking chairs. They traveled by motor home and they took cruises until their health declined to the point they couldn’t. But they were never young during those years. 

Maybe it’s because I was a kid, or maybe it was the lifestyle of the times. Either way, I realized that afternoon watching The Golden Girls: 

I am younger at 51 than my parents or grandparents ever were. 

I color my hair. I take care of my skin. I work on my health. I try to maintain a youthful appearance. I work full time and have one freelance job and one business that I work on my off hours. I don’t see myself slowing down. The thought of retiring is a crazy fantasy (what would I DO?) I socialize, I DO things. I don’t sit in a chair aging. I don’t want to age. I want to live as much as possible. (Falling off a ladder cemented my need to do that!)

My friends? Same thing. We are all more vibrant, active, and young than our parents and grandparents ever were. We live very different lifestyles. We are always learning and expanding our minds. We are not waiting for grandchildren and death. 

I don’t own one mumu, housecoat, or wig. I don’t sit by the window knitting and watching the world pass by (not that I don’t enjoy knitting!) I don’t even take advantage of the “you’re 50 or older” discounts that are out there (though I probably should!) AARP? I won’t join in principle. Ok, that’s silly, but I’m not mentally “ready” to do that. 

I am a young 51. Many people don’t believe me when I tell them my age. I like that. I like that I’m mistaken for ten years younger. I like that the cashiers look shocked when they automatically card me and then see my age. 

I like being young. 

That’s not to say I’m not aging. I have less patience. I live more simply. Obtaining material things means less to me. I like wearing flats and flip flops. Heck, flip-flops are my all-occassion shoe (black Crocs to be exact.) I wear mostly black and grey because it’s simply easier. I don’t have to agonize over outfits, I just grab and go. It all matches. I enjoy my alone time. I can’t drink like I used to (probably not a bad thing.) I certainly don’t handle a hangover as well as I did ten years ago. 

I’m aging gracefully and slowly. 

My 51 is where my parents and grandparents were in their 30’s. 

I’m cool with that. 

A Time to Celebrate

It’s 4:08am. I’ve been awake for almost two hours. It seems to be my new routine. As I lay here with a million things running through my mind, I suddenly remembered something I’ve been quietly excited about for months:

Yesterday marked one year since my last “monthly visit”, “that time”, or as I came to refer to it as “my monthly hell”.  

It was never an easy road. I started when I was 12. I remember waking up one morning, seeing the evidence, and being angry. This was not something I ever wanted to deal with. I certainly had never looked forward to it. I had awful cramps all day, and I had to go to school and suck it up. I remember being so nauseous and in so much pain I could barely concentrate. I was miserable. 

When I get home, the mother had called EVERYONE she knew to tell them “the exciting news” – I was woman!

Actually, I was humiliate.  She became irate. She told me I was being stupid, that I should be proud of “becoming a woman”.

H U M I L I A T E D. 

I told her that it was nobodies business and she had no right to announce it to the world. It was my personal. It was embarrassing and I was miserable. She told me to grow up. She told me I was a child and had no rights. I told her I was supposedly a woman. She told me to shut up before she slapped that look off my face. Oh the warm memories…

The next 39 years were mostly hell where this was concerned. Severe PMS hat dragged on for two weeks. Extreme cramps that often left me sick for two days every month. Heavy flow that left me exhausted and wondering how people ever survive such blood loss. 

In high school, the cramps were so bad my doctor prescribed Vicodin. Yes, I said Vicodin! WTH??  Who does that??? 

I was never allowed to stay home with a migraine or cramps. I was told at an early age that I had to learn how to live in the world with these things, and that I was never to use them as an excuse. I won’t say as an adult that I followed that advise. Rarely did I call in sick, and if the mother got wind of it, she gave me hell. 

I had an abnormal pap about 19 years ago. Precancerous cells were caught early and dealt with. I asked for a hysterectomy, and was told no. I was serious, but the doc didn’t take me seriously. 

At this point I will mention that I am the only female on the mother’s side of the family to have a uterus after the age of 30. There was no family history to compare me to. There was a lot of cervical cancer, cysts, hardening of the uterus, and generally not healthy female parts. 

In my late 30’s/early 40’s I asked again for a hysterectomy. I was told that would be “elective surgery” and insurance doesn’t cover that. Instead she put me on the Depo Provera shot and for four glorious years I had no “time of the month”. 

H E A V E N. 

The PMS was gone. The severe nausea and other symptoms that arrived on day one were gone. It was amazing. Then my job situation changed and my insurance changed and they were no longer covered. Heavy sigh. 

Then they got sporadic for several years. Every two weeks…every six weeks…every few months…every two weeks…you get the picture. 

Finally, I skipped several months. I started keeping count. On month six? Surprise. Mother Nature did that to me three times. 

This time, I wrote the start date down and forgot about it. A couple months ago I checked to see what it had been. June 19, 2016. It had been heavy, ugly, made me sick as a dog, and lasted a full seven days. Then nothing. 

It is now 4:45am on June 29, 2017. One year has officially gone by. One year, which marks the official start to menopause. 

Perimenopause has been here for several years, as have hot flashes, night sweats, and the like. I can live with that. 

I will make a doctor appointment to get checked out and make sure all is well. Then I may call my friends and suggest a celebratory drink. 

This bears celebrating. The horror that began 39 years ago is no more. 

Welcome menopause!! I’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival!! 

Hello June!

Half a year has whizzed by in the blink of an eye! Where did January go? February? March? Winter?? 

June. Officially summer. Hot days, warm nights. In Florida, it’s not even the hottest time (we’ll revisit that in August/September!)  when we were kids it meant pool time, motor home vacations, reading a LOT of books and vegetating until the school year began. 

I woke this morning feeling like time has swept past me and I’ve not moved. Ever feel like that? 

I have a problem you see, a very big problem. I live as I was trained to live. I wake up, I go to work, I work hard, I come home, I eat dinner, I go to bed. 

Trained since birth!

Now, that’s not to say I don’t socialize. I go out to dinner, meet up with friends, all the fun things. I don’t do that as often as I probably should. You know, the balance thing and all. Balance? Yes, it’s a thing. I’m told it’s an important thing. 

I find myself in a rut this first day of June. I just don’t make enough time for me. There, I said it. It’s out in the universe. 

I need more me time. 

Sounds simple, yes? No. It’s my age old struggle. 

What to DO? 

I declare today the first day that I purposefully  spend a little more time on me. This month I will do more things that benefit me, my life, my future. Wow, that sounds incredibly selfish! How DARE I think such a thing? Another part of the training. Oh, that damn training to be content with nothing, to not over reach, to not dream of a better future, to not be selfish. I may need a detox of some kind…

I want to better serve the people around me. Friends. Strangers. I want to make a difference. I want to be someone who can make someone smile, even if they don’t realize it. I want to bring forth joy. 

I don’t need pomp and circumstance. I just want to give back to this world of ours, and be a brighter spot, a positive spot, a good person. 

I will work on me, body and soul. A healthier me is better for everyone. 

I think it’s doable. I just need to start.