My Very Groovy Time Machine

Hollywood Bowl
Dead and Company Concert

Places can be like time machines.

First stop, L.A. No big deal, we’ve been there before and did the cheesy tours.  But this time we were going to the Hollywood Bowl to see John Mayer and the Grateful Dead. As soon as we stepped out of the car, we traveled back in time to Woodstock. People in very colorful, psycodelic shirts, long flowing hair and groovy glasses walked about in a mild, happy trance.  Once in the stadium plumes of “loud smells” as my son calls it, fired off. The bowl glowed in vibrant colors, and then, John Mayer walked on stage.  I never knew he was so talented, and diverse a musician. And then, the crowd greeted the rest of the band whose many, many songs they grew up with. The couple in front of me euphorically lip syncing and snapping selfies while beach balls kept bouncing our way.   The whole package was a step back in time.

Next stop, Yosemite. The ride up the mountain area was a step back in time as well. As we approached the final stretch we were greeted with a prairie setting of long blond grass swaying, a train rolling through and an innocent group of baby goats. We were delighted when spotting whimsical, squirrel like prairie dogs darting about.  Being from Florida, I will admit, I felt uncomfortable making our way up to elevations of 6,000 to 7,000 feet on single laned roads. We got to our home base- a quaint town called Mariposa. Being of Spanish background, I know that means butterfly. This little town was established in 1850 and is dotted with small shops, restaurants and churches on hilly roads. We wanted to take advantage of the rest of the day and I was surprised that Yosemite was yet 45 minutes away, but as we went on I can see why. Again one laned roads along curvy mountain sides. The drive was well worth it.  A step back in time, and no one can spoil it! Not even the hands that have spoiled so many natural settings because of progression and greed.

Entrance to Yosemite
Entrance to Yosemite
Rainbows at Yosemite
Bridal Veil Fall

Our final night, we ate at the Gold coin back in Mariposa. A final treat, great live music from a one man band with a great selection of old cover songs. I savored the moment as a parent and traveler, or should I say “time traveler?”

 

Post note:

This trip was a graduation trip with my son.  ( I believe if the finances are there, every parent should take their son/daughter on a trip at this age.  They are young adults, but when they graduate college or go on to what they choose, there’s no guarantee they will have the luxury of time or even desire to travel with you, as their life truly begins.) I wanted this trip to be memorable, and I believe it was. And as I shared a few pieces ago I wrote a poem in honor of my son, who has come into his own, writing and producing music. I envisioned different things for my kids but as the saying goes, ” You make plans and God laughs at you.”

“FLIGHT” by natalie giasullo

I knew a boy who grew up to be a man

Of quiet strength and peace, he had an angel in his hand.

He had a gift of a smile that made the stars cry,

And the spirit of a dove, he discovered he could fly.

He didn’t have to listen and get approval any longer,

Disappointments and losses would make the man stronger.

It’s my turn, you’ve had yours, I’m gonna fly to the Sun.

But I’m smarter than Icarus, I’m gonna LIVE to have fun!

You can’t melt my wings, I’m in control of my flight.

I’m not afraid to fail a few times, cause I’ll get it right.

Winter comes quickly, ask any old soul…

They wonder where their youth went, lost sight of the goal.

Lost track of the time, lost time of the track-

Everyone knows they’ll never get it back.

 

I’m gonna pack my guitar, and play Life a song.

I’m gonna enjoy my springtime, and Life will play along.

And when Winter comes, I’ll stare him square in the eye

And I’ll just strum my guitar,

and continue to F-L-Y!

Just me and my angel and my new life ahead

I’ll never wonder “what if” of the life that I led.

I left behind kindness, a smile and a song

I didn’t waste my gifts, I passed them along…

Case at yosemite

What’s My Super Power?

truffles-with-toy

My daughter gave me a sweet little book for Christmas called Listen Like a Dog by Jeff Lazarus. It was a very thoughtful gift knowing how passionate I am about dogs. It starts out by asking if you have ever talked to your dog ( Of course I have- duh!) and what good listeners they are because they don’t interrupt. I started thinking, I should be more like a dog, in the sense that dogs don’t compare themselves to other canines ,hold grudges, or judge. They may compete for a little attention as my two dogs do, but it’s straight forward. And they give so much love and loyalty to the family, you can’t help but want them around you. They are just beautiful beings to me.

I don’t know why ( maybe just human nature) but I tend to compare myself to other women my age.  “I should look more like…”and each time I end up not feeling very good about myself. The thing is I never set out to do it, it just happens like when I look up fashion for women over 50, for example.   Much of my journey has been about weight loss and habit deconstruction, in order to nurture my self image.  Of course it also means a healthier body as I age, including brain chemistry. The other part of my journey is inviting a community of women, and men as 1 man pointed out to me, to share what they are experiencing and how they handle the changes that come with aging. Seeing things more like an opportunity of things ahead rather than looking back is something I keep focus on.  But age also reminds me to look inside and work on being a better person.  Look for the positive contributions made to family, self and friends and look for the beauty in other beings. So the journey is now aligning with a soulful one.  And to think, I owe this emotional growth all to my dogs! So getting back to my superpower... I speak “Dog.” It’s true. Truffles (above) has been waiting patiently in my room to greet me with a wagging tail and a toy. She’s really saying, “I dare you to take this toy from me”, and starts a very familiar growl as I attempt to pull it away. The dare turns into a friendly game of tug a war and my spirits are instantly lifted. And Lilly ( below) speaks to me in a whole different way. She was matted and full of ticks when I adopted her and is basically afraid of her own yawn. She whimpers every time I walk through the door, as if to show me, she’s missed me a great deal.  She conveys a whole lot of gratitude, and though these pups couldn’t be anymore different, they really are turning out to be great listeners- LOL.

img_4020

Post Note: I am coming across some twitter links to fashion and responsibility of not over crowding our closets.  It looks interesting to me as I dive deeper into what it is all about. I am now down to 145 pounds, 20 pounds less, so I know I need to re organize my clothes. I’m just not ready to let go of size 14 s yet.  What are your thoughts? And any interesting, positive thoughts on aging/appropriate fashion are always welcome as well as dog pics! Have a blessed week.

me-at145

 

It’s Not Aging, It’s Just Tranformation!

Image result for pictures of transformation

(Pic found on google referring to The Transformation Game)

It was my 48th birthday last week…to be continued.

Being a woman who is TRYING to age gracefully and embrace this new phase of life, I see that I have two choices.  It’s not the obvious- to live or die.  It’s about making sense of what goes on in today’s society, and making sense of my closet. Things might still fit, but do they look right?  I often look up fall, winter, spring summer fashion for women in their fifties. The problem is once again, the images of women in their fifties is completely artificial. That becomes a conflict to women that are looking to ” dress their age” that are led to ask themselves, ” Am I supposed to look like that?” This is what my blog is all about- Shifting our perception of beauty.

As I approach 50 and beyond, my choices are to look like I’m trying really hard not to accept the blessing of aging, smothering my face in way too much make up, dressing inappropriately, undergoing Botox, and even breast augmentation.  Every now and then I see women that have surrendered to this kind of pressure. I was walking towards the gym one morning and I noticed the silhouette of a very thin woman, with a tight tank shirt to accentuate her breast area. I would have thought from the end of the parking lot she was a young woman in her 20’s or 30’s but as I approached the gym, I could see this woman was in her 50’s or even early sixties. She had “fish lips” but there was no hiding what your skin does when you age, that crepe like texture it takes around the neck and arms, and clearly her face did not match up with the rest of her.( Now to be fair, I live in an area of Palm Beach where this appears to be the norm.)  I’ve also seen women who wear outfits that just don’t go with their age.  Even though they are thin or petite, and I’m sure they can still fit into their first wedding dress,they end up looking ridiculous.

So as aging women, these are our choices…We can choose to fight the aging process and end up looking ridiculous, or we can embrace the transformation and what we can look forward to in this new phase of our lives. We can look good for our age.  To go one step further, we can actually become positive role models to women that will be facing these same issues in just a few short years.

Now getting back to the opening line above, it was my 48th birthday last week, and I’ve been trying to “embrace” as I say. I decided to treat myself to a little retail therapy. There was a very young girl at the counter ringing me up.  As I walked out and looked at my receipt I thought to myself, “What just happened? This was supposed to be a gradual embrace…” After recovering from the blow,  I had to remind myself to a young person, a person in their 40’s is old simply because the young lack the wisdom that comes with aging. I’m not gonna take it personally, and maybe I’ll just visit that store and keep getting my discounts.

 

Post Note Updates- Day 136 148.8!

me   birthday-receipt

As we age, there has to be movement- Beauty Movement.  I am also enjoying finding recipes that include great ingredients for the skin.  I just started making “power balls” with non wheat brownie mix, vanilla almond butter, chia seeds, coconut, dates… it’s fun finding the right combos and they’re great for before and after workouts.

 

 

 

 

Straying from Authenticity

Every generation struggles with change. The difference is that past changes were what they were. No illusions. Today with the onset of hand held computers, and social media addiction, we are a world obsessed with constant updates and there is nothing that is left to shock us.  We feel the need to update “friends” on everything new going on in our lives. We feel the need to be entertained.  We seem to purposely put up smoke and mirrors. And the same source we go to for social updates has now become what we rely on for accurate news.  The hardcore news itself has become morphed with entertainment. We have been conditioned in this new age of change to be entertained, and not question substance. And somehow what we do now question, is what many of us were raised on in the past- a religion that set the moral tone of how you were going to lead your life, or a simple set of guidelines to be a positive contributor to our society, respect for authority . I am not a Bible thumper, but I am a Christian being who loves God, her family, a good glass of wine or too, dogs, chocolate, I can go on and on.  I believe I am respectful of other people’s views. Have I strayed from the moral structure I was raised on in my lifetime? You bet.  But I always came back to it, as I have now. But what I am witnessing in my own life, raising two great kids now adults, is that they and many of their peers are pulling away entirely from these basic principals they were raised on.  So they are liberal, I’m conservative. They are ok with all the things I don’t seem to be ok with, one being that when I’m watching television with the family, I’m not liking the discomfort I feel at the surprises that come up on the screen. The radio is not great either when you have little ones in the car. It’s not the end of the world, but I will say my world has been rocked.

My husband said to me, “It’s interesting to see how polarizing this election is.” It’s true, however, we have become quite polarized across the board. The big problem I’m seeing today is that it is getting harder and harder for people to voice and materialize their beliefs without being castigated. Whether it be a belief in a sports team, or lifestyle, or religion we have lost common courtesy respect for a differing opinion. And we have been numbed by social media.

I went to a rivalry college game a few years back.  Never again.  I felt so unsafe in my surrounding just because I favored the opposing team. In the past it may have been innocent taunting- today it’s threats and ugliness.  The excitement and peace I felt going to the games and kicking back is gone and just not fun anymore. And guess what, if and when someone gets beat up at an event- instead of being encouraged to stop- it instantly gets posted on social media to again, entertain and to update . When cars get burned after a Super bowl game, again it is featured on the news and has somehow become the norm. We have a young man choosing not to stand for the pledge at the games, this saddens me, I do not like it, and I do not support or agree with it, however, I can respect a differing of opinion. But can people respect my own differing opinion? Sadly, I have lost some of my own authenticity because I am being steered to avoid events and to avoid verbalizing something contrary to what is widely accepted now. I am not alone.  A bumper sticker on a car, has now become a target. A point of view posted on social media becomes a war. Until we can get to the point of mutually respecting differing opinions, listening to differing opinions, and returning to a more respectful way of comporting ourselves when we are around others, I think everyone is in danger of losing their own authenticity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Disagreement Over Women

Is Anyone Really Watching Out For the Women in Our Lives?

There was a big stir the other night about a former Ms. Universe.  When I first heard the story, I momentarily decided not to vote for the first time in my life. Then I reasoned, ” You know what? This should not even be a political issue.” It’s a distractor. Whether you agree or disagree, it doesn’t matter. Both candidates are on even ground on their behavior of women. Neither one represents or defends women based on their track records, so they are equally negligent.  I don’t want to get in a political spew, but let’s focus on being Ms. Universe for a moment.

If you are seeking a position as a professional cheerleader, a Hooters or a Go Daddy girl, a Victoria Secrets model or a beauty pageant contender, you know full well what is expected of you as far as body image goes. It’s sad, but it is what it is.  The shallower our society becomes, the less sensitive they become as well.  There does not seem to be a choice as to how you would like to carry your body image.

That being said, I feel Mr. Trump missed a colossal opportunity.  ( I also wonder why we only hear of his father giving him  ” a small loan” but do not hear of his mother.) Perhaps if he had consulted with a team of women and asked, he might have learned to embrace this gorgeous woman at her curviest.  It would have been so great for all the women out there who we all know and love- moms, sisters, aunts, friends- who struggle with their weight. Can you imagine what a great comfort it would offer to all of us double digit sized gals to know that even Ms. Universe can gain some weight, but that it didn’t take away from her beauty? But that would require Mr. Trump and the rest of our society, to look beyond the exterior, and look at the content of who she is. What charities does she sponsor? Is she a good role model for our young girls out there? She could have been a different kind of voice for so many women out there.

I know she is speaking out now, in her self defense and what the experience did to her, which should be an eye opener to all those young girls out there that want to be a Miss America or Miss Universe. However I feel this was a missed opportunity for her as well.  Can you imagine if she had stood up to Trump and just said, ” No, I’m not going to let you shame and bully me into a photo op of exercise to show I’m getting to that unrealistic “pretty” look again.  Instead I’m staying right where I am, but I’m going to be proud of who I am, because who I am is Beautiful.

Maybe it’s time for the criteria for Ms. Universe to be re evaluated. I will say this.  About six months back there was a beautiful plus sized model on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was great to see they stepped out of the box. Of course I was quickly disappointed that instead of being applauded, the magazine was criticized for putting her on the cover.  It was a confirmation of our society’s judgement and intolerance of the overweight, ironically at a time where obesity has spiked.

There are so many reasons to lose weight tying into health factors.  It can even be because you want to have a better self image for yourself.  Society’s shallowness should never be a deciding factor though. I myself am on a journey of weight loss, and some of the reasons are positive.  However, realistically some are out of self care and a negative experience I encountered which I remind myself of, and promise myself I would help never feel that way again. But no one is pushing me to loose the weight. No one is shaming me or bullying me.  It’s my choice. It should always be a choice. Ms. Universe and pageant contenders should have a choice because they are representatives to the rest of us out there that want to identify with these beauties. Just like the name of my blog, it’s time we “shift our idea of beauty.”

Post note- Day 108 151.0 pounds – I am branching out into new classes at the gym and realize I can do more than what I thought I could do.

It’s Never Too Late

To Find What You were Meant To Do In This Life Time

I keep having this inner dialogue and it just won’t go away. I am at a stage that I think I’m not alone in for my age group.  In these late 40’s I wonder, am I living my life to its full potential?  When I was a young girl I used to think” My life will begin when I get married.”  My parents were not supportive of young women moving out on their own, and I never dared talk back to them.  I just simply accepted their rules. I had very little drive, no confidence in myself and why would I? I never had to work while I lived at home. My father just did not want me to work as a young girl. But later of course I would have to. ” Just graduate from anything.” While he meant well to take care of me and treat me like a little princess, it was almost crippling because when I did finally get my first job at 20, I was very stressed feeling that I was not very competent.

I was without drive or direction ( and I wasn’t even a millennial).  My best friend in college ( who is still my dear friend today) was also an exploratory student. So as we sat in class one day, a visitor came to talk to our group about how great teaching was.  I always had fond memories of my elementary years, and so I thought great, I’ll do it! I never went into teaching thinking I would just do a mediocre job.  I really did care whether kids were understanding my lessons and wanted to feel that because of me they had strengthened academically and personally. Teaching was such a dream job when I started.  It was fun and there simply was no rush in the day.  Teachers were appreciated as the caregivers and mentors that spent more time with the children than their parents did. But then teaching took a turn I was not okay with. The expectations but on teachers without putting the same expectations on the students and parents created a lot of anxiety in me. I was lost again.

As a matter of fact, I am lost again, which causes a lot of anxiety with in.  While I work with my husband, I feel the people who are interested in talking to him on a business level value him, but only accept me. They don’t see me as an owner, though I am. My husband has always known exactly what he’s wanted to do, has had a strong work ethic and has pretty much conquered the world.  I truly admire him along with the many other people that figure out early in life what they want to do. That probably gets lost on them. It’s peace taken for granted.  The other part of the truth is that this business is his passion, not mine.  I enjoy some of it, but not most of it.

So as of late, I’ve been reflecting. What positive contributions have I made in this lifetime? What are my accomplishments?  I really struggle with this. How can I make a positive mark on my community. If I could do ANYTHING of my choosing, what would it be? I don’t know why I’m so afraid of voicing it.   My insecurities are a massive obstacle. I would be crushed if people thought it was silly, though a very quiet whisper inside says it’s brilliant. I need to hear that voice clearly.

Grandma Moses, Vera Wang, Van Gogh and Martha Stuart all Started Their Careers Late in Life.

I guess the saying goes, “It’s never too late.” Interestingly, my husband is away and I am left to tend business on my own. I met a lovely woman who is now retired and she had the same interests I do.  I felt comfortable enough to share a little of my ” dream business” with her and her feedback was positive.  The timing of her walking in was something I could not dismiss because I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and here she walked in and was on a very similar path. I got a lot of comfort talking to her. I’m a person of faith, and I feel watched over. Her timing was a positive sign noted.

 

To be continued…

Progress Post note: Day 104

I slipped up last weekend but I’m back at it again. 152.8

Updated 9/25 to 151.0 so back on track!

progress-9-25

 

 

You Don’t Have to Look so Hard to See

Happiness is Right in Front of Youjohn-and-i-at-hard-rock

My husband and I call it turning another corner…We struggled monetarily a little bit in the beginning of our relationship.  I was an elementary teacher, struggling to keep a mortgage paid and raising my two young children on my own.  He was, as always, in the car business which can be very unstable job, and it was.  One more corner, then we will be ok.  We are people of faith, and knew we would be ok.  After our first year together, my husband was sought after by a small independent dealership.  He rolled up his sleeves, and worked as though he owned the company himself. By way of his success, I was given the freedom to leave teaching, which I no longer enjoyed.  He had very little time off, the trade off for succeeding- one more corner.  The company grew and he became the C.O.O. with 600 people working for him. The car business can be  very unstable, and it was.  He walked away from the “powerhouse job and salary” because the job he loved and took great pride in, had continuous unnecessary obstacles placed before him. One more corner…

We got the crazy idea to open “Classic Cars of Palm Beach.” We were going to travel the country seeking out the coolest, classic cars and housing them at our lot till other aficionados came to buy them. We would be the OWNERS. People loved the idea, but the cars did not turn over quick enough, and got killed by the Florida elements.  We had to take a step back…we had to change our inventory… we had to take on different responsibilities that didn’t (don’t) feel like ownership, but more like an employment. I made a pact with my husband, my best friend who I love and have the honor to support.  I will stay on and do what we have to till we lift our company off the ground.  One more corner… ( I don’t want readers to think I hate this “piece of road” but I am truly not cut out for the “rawness” of the car business.  My husband thinks it’s perfect because I’m an outsider when it comes to the car business. He says I tend to put people at ease when they come to us, and our reviews are a testimony of what he’s saying.) I take pride in our business and know we sell cars the right way. We give back to our community because we know there are blessings in doing so.  Once we have substantial growth, then it will be time for me to decide what I would like to do.  One more corner…

The problem with “turning corners” is that your vision is always focused to what the future will be like, rather than absorbing the here and now.  So many times I wonder,  “When did my children grow up?”.  It was like I blinked and my daughter is about to graduate college and my son is about to go off to college.  It’s when I realize I was a little selfish in focusing on monetary stability, and chasing my own happiness, that I missed out on so many moments I should have enjoyed.  It’s good to have goals, plans and a vision, but many times people lose sight of what the important moments in life really are. They are happy, they just don’t know it.

Post Note: Day 95 on my journey- 152.5