DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

I used to love summer. My kids would come home on the last day of school and we would celebrate by emptying their backpacks into the trash, storing them high up on closet shelves where we would forget about them and school and homework and schedules, and any type of brain strengthening activity until the day before school started again. Of course, it put them at a slight disadvantage as the summer reading list was among the things that disappeared into the trashcan, but after a few years of coming home as the losers in the Back To School Summer Reading Jeopardy game, we remembered to remove them before tossing the year’s worth of permission slips and half eaten fruit rollups with pencils stuck to them gleefully into the trash.

Somehow, now that my kids are grown, summer is just not the same. Is it just me or does each summer day seem to last for like, two weeks? I mean, I’m looking out the window at eight o clock at night, which is when I usually go to bed in the winter. It’s still light out and hot AF! In my mind, I’m shrieking GET DARK! IT’S NIGHT TIME! as I count the minutes til' I can get in my pajamas and binge watch Doc Martin. I cannot do this during daylight hours. It makes me feel like I am recovering from some type of surgery, and then I start obsessing about what type of surgery and then I start googling any weird symptoms I may be having and then, well…let’s just say it’s best for all concerned that I not binge watch Netflix while it’s light out. On an upnote, I have found a bright spot to these long summer days: Summer leggings. That’s right. Leggings in the summer. I made this discovery one glorious day when I googled sale capri pants on the Nordstrom Rack website. That huge ugly bruise I have on my calf from continually walking into a dog crate the size of a Humvee parked next to my bed after my 2 am pee? No longer an issue. I got myself three pairs. Thank you Nordstrom Rack for realizing that every season is the perfect season for pull on stretch pants.

Not to mention, this summer has a little added stress for me. Those of you who follow me, (shout out here to mom and dad and Debbie my dental hygienist— love you guys!) know I got a puppy. See previous blog to see how that went down as it is still pretty much the same except now he has gained 20 pounds and can jump up on my bed with his wet soggy bull penises that are supposed to keep him content to be by himself for hours, happily gnawing away in his own bed. Also, I have a dog trainer that comes to the house and she has told me that Reuben and I are “over bonding.” What? We totally don’t agree. We were shocked when she looked at us, where we sat together in our favorite rocker and made this announcement. Reuben looked up at me, his little face peeking out at me from the blankie I had him comfortably wrapped in and as he licked my chin I whispered in his ear,

“Don’t worry, as soon as she teaches you to “STAY” she’s out of here.” Please.

Over bonding. Ridiculous.

As far as the training goes, though Reuben is having a bit of trouble grasping the whole NO

BITE! thing and the OFF! thing and the COME! thing, I have really mastered it. I now walk around with a pouch clipped around my waist, filled with doggie treats. It’s sort of like a fanny pack, which is always a good look, but instead of my license, passport and emergency Immodium pill, it holds various dog treats. These are to be given to Reuben every time he makes a good decision. So, like, when Reuben has dug himself a deep hole under M’s newly planted hibiscus tree, and I am on my knees saying, “Rebuen leave it, leave it leave it, please Reuben,” and he comes out with several pieces of very expensive mulch stuck to his nose, he gets a piece of Pupperoni, because he made an excellent decision. Or, when he is running around with my new Rhianna Fenty slide with the big bow across the toes, (Okay they are last season but just hit Nordstrom Rack) and finally drops it which is an excellent decision, after I have chased him around the kitchen island for what seems like four hours, he gets a piece of dehydrated chicken. See how it works? I am totally getting it.

The other major stressor is my upcoming trip to the New York State Summer Writing Institute in Saratoga Springs. I will be heading there Sunday for eleven days to immerse myself in writing and learning and listening and of course the dreaded critique on my novel. I will be studying under the author Adam Haslett, who wrote the masterpiece, Imagine Me Gone, and I hope I don’t make an ass of myself like I did when I met Johnny Mathis in an elevator in the late 70’s where I spewed out, “I like cheese!” when he asked how my night was going. 

Sounds perfect right? Like a writer’s dream come true right? Slow your roll, did I mention I will be living in a dorm and sharing a bathroom? I mean yes, I went back to college in my fifties but this is sort of pushing it. I don’t share bathrooms well. In fact when M and I went on our cruise to Alaska I made it totally clear to him that when I am using the “facilities” he has to leave. “Do I have to leave the ship or just the cabin?” he asked me. Very funny. Now get out.

So there’s that. Also it’s stressful leaving Reuben for 11 days with M who is sort of like that new dad who plays with a newborn while it’s cooing and then as soon as it starts to cry yells out “Honey! Come get the baby, I’m late for…that thing!”

I know you’re thinking “Why would you get a puppy now if you knew you were going away?” and my answer is I am a quick decision maker. No need for overthinking. I picked out my house in a split second because there are two cement dolphins carved into the side of it. I’ll take this one. DONE. Plus, I figured I would have had the dog for six weeks already, he should be fully trained and a joy to be around by then.

So, I misjudged. People make mistakes, right?

Yes, he is still a handful. And yes, I will admit there are times when I think to myself, “Idiot! You were sleeping until 9 am every day and didn’t have to go outside except to bring in your Amazon Prime packages!” Now I am up at 6:22 am every day and am covered in mosquito bites from our lovely Florida summer walks which I faithfully partake in at least three times per day. Also, a side note, turns out 8 pm is a popular time for dog walking so DO wear a bra and probably some shorts you haven’t had since you carried a Fonzie lunch box.

But then, my Reuben will curl up in my lap and close his eyes and as I stroke his beautiful hair and feel his steady breathing, I feel such peace and contentment that even the fear of someone hearing me pee can’t take away.

It is these times that I realize I made an excellent decision and "Good girl!" I totally deserve a treat.

Going Pro

Finally. Finally, I have graduated college and can now settle down and really focus on my work. You know, my writing. My novel which has been in the works for roughly fifteen years and is now half way done, that work. All the short stories that I started and stopped because I got busy with other things, like playing Barbies, and then going to frat parties, and then raising children, you know, that work. Oh—about those stories…so far the best one seems to be the one I started when I was eight about fish having a Halloween party— I definitely see some promise in that one. The others need some major reworking, but that’s okay because I am now a trained professional! I have a bachelor’s degree in writing! I am officially a Professional Writer.

And what’s the first thing a Professional Writer needs? A home office. I mean a real home office not one that consists of a murphy bed that is always in the down position even though the room has not hosted a guest in about three years but the cats really like it and I mean I may get a guest one day right? Plus it’s has a really convenient shelf behind it where I can set my solo cups full of Doritos, (I totally believe in portion control) while I lay there playing Candy Crush.

No, a Professional Writer needs a professional office and I spent my first week after graduation fixing mine up. First I treated myself to a beautiful rug in various shades of pink made of thousands of pieces of torn silk sewed into a handwoven mat. I got a cool white lacquer desk and faced it out towards the water knowing the gulf’s creative energy would flow towards me. Of course I cannot just sit at a desk all day, I need to take reading breaks. As a Professional Writer, I need to read what is on the NYT best sellers list every week, like those books are so great compared to what I’M going to put out there now that I am a Professional Writer. Anyway, as a graduation gift M bought me a great easy chair that lies back with lumbar support and everything. Perfect for reading. I got a wireless printer so that I can print out book contracts and sign and scan them back once the brilliant Professional Writer’s lawyer that I will hire checks it out and gives me the okay. Everything in place and ready.

Still, believe it or not, after all that, something was missing. It still felt empty, not quite professional enough. I sat at my desk to contemplate it and then I sat in my easy chair and pondered and finally, I knew what it needed—a dog. I need a big floppy dog sitting at my feet while I write my best seller. Maybe I will even dedicate the book to him! People love that right?

To My Faithful Companion Who Always Believed—

My best friend at my feet as I construct my masterpiece. He will walk the red carpet with me at the movie premiere as that skinny Giuliana Rancic asks me where I got the idea for such a great story and thanks me on behalf of the literary world for bringing such joy to readers everywhere. I so need a dog!

I could see it very clearly, our daily routine. We rise early and take a brisk walk, stopping to look at all the exotic Florida birds as they flutter above and call to us. Then we return and I make myself a big cup of steaming coffee and together we head into my office where doggie lays down in his bed and I get to work. We take a lunch break out back and toss the ball a few times before settling back down for our afternoon of writing. Before we know it the day is over and doggie settles down in his crate for the night. He’s the ying to my yang. We’re soul mates.

So, I got a puppy.

Reuben is an Australian Labradoodle with a dark red silky coat and brown eyes like chocolate pudding. He is sweet as can be. We got him when he was eight weeks old. He is now eleven weeks old and just as I had anticipated, we have established a routine. It does, however, vary slightly from the one I had outlined above.

We do rise early, about 5:42 most mornings, after a good solid three hours of sleep.

Since it is still dark out, we usually forgo the brisk walk. I stand in the yard in old shorts and a t-shirt (once due to crippling fatigue, I forgot the shorts so now I just sleep in them. Okay, and spend most of the next day in them, so?) trying to see if Reuben is pooping and hoping that what I’m feeling on my foot is not a snake or water rat. Then we head inside and play fetch with a $1.59 plastic cat toy that he has chosen to love over the hundreds of dollars of organically made dog toys we purchased at the all natural- everything made of plants- no child labor-pet store.

At around 7 am, Reuben starts showing signs of fatigue by lying on my feet and biting my ankles and calves. At that point I make my steaming cup of coffee and we head into my office. Reuben runs in first because he knows his Kong stuffed with peanut butter from like two weeks ago is in there somewhere. He is hot on the trail though neither one of us has found it yet. I close the door and run to the bathroom as I haven’t had a chance to do that yet, what with all the pooping and fetching and everything. Once I return, I pick up all the shredded pieces of silk that he has torn from my rug during my two minute absence and put them in the trash can. I was thinking of saving them and having them resewed but…fuck it.

Then I sit down and turn on my computer just as Reuben remembers he has to tinkle but forgets where the back door is, even though he knows he is supposed to go to that door and ring the poochie bells to let us know he needs to relieve himself. Unfortunately, as my soul mate he too thinks, “fuck it” and pisses on a now bald patch of rug. I try to clean that up and we make a game of it! I spray disinfectant and he bites my hand and takes the rag and runs around and around with it! Hysterical!

At 9 am we both fall into a fitful sleep me half on my bed with my hand hanging down towards the floor clutching a deer antler that people swore would keep him busy for hours, and Reuben not in his crate but next to it as he seems to find the crate a bit too confining, even though we got the really good one with the metal bars so he can see us at all times with the padded bottom and even bought extra padding to make it nice and comfy. It’s okay, I get it. He just wants to be near me, his soul mate. The ying, the yang, blah blah blah.

I will say that this morning we veered off our usual routine as we were lucky enough to witness a very rare occurrence. Reuben and I were sitting outside just as the sun was beginning to peek up through the palm trees when I heard a sort of loud rustling crash. And I looked up and saw a beautiful pelican sitting on the grass. I will tell you its not often one of these majestic birds ever lands on grass, they usually swoop and dive and land on a dock post. I thought “Well this is magical!” And there is no one I’d rather share the experience with than my faithful companion Reuben. 

I slowly approached the magnificent bird. “Hi pretty bird, such a pretty bird, “ I uttered softly. “Have you come to say hello to Reuben?” “Reuben!” I called. “Come see the pretty bird!”

And as Reuben approached I noticed a rather glassy film across the bird’s eyes. And then I noticed flies buzzing around it’s head and just as Reuben got close I realized THE BIRD IS DEAD! “Reuben look away!” I yelled. “Get back! Get back!” I screamed and then began yelling all the commands we learned in our 30 minute free introductory puppy class:” Leave it! Down! Sit, Reuben Sit! No! No! Reuben Watch me! Watch mommy Reuben! Off! Off!” and this went on until Reuben noticed we had laid new mulch under the hibiscus trees and went to deal with that.

So. This Professional Writer stuff is way harder than it looks. But I will persevere and if it is the last thing I do, I will make sure those fish have a Halloween party that will definitely go down in the books.

Post Mother's Day Thoughts





Mother’s Day is so very different when you yourself  are a mother, isn’t it?  It was special when I was a child and it is even more special now that I am a mother. I remember one year when I was around ten years old, I saved my allowance all year to buy my mother a pair of owl salt and pepper shakers. I walked forever to the little store where I had seen them, even crossing a big major highway! Don’t worry, dad said it was okay. I remember that year my sister and I made mom breakfast in bed with permission from my dad of course, because we really weren’t supposed to use the stove. We weren’t supposed to use the stove but crossing a major highway in a state where most drivers are over 80 and blind was okay. How happy my mother was when she saw that tray with scrambled eggs and toast and juice just for her. I’m sure she wasn’t thinking about the gooey stream of egg drying on the stove burners that she would have to chip away at later, as this was way before we had Soft Scrub. I’m sure she was only thinking how lucky, how very lucky she was to have children like us on her own special day.

Yesterday I celebrated Mother’s Day with my own children and how happy I was to have my own special day! I had decided to have a brunch at my house and was looking forward to seeing all of my kids together around the table. Well, actually, it was sort of a last minute plan because getting a reservation at a restaurant around here on Mother’s Day is like trying to get a ticket to a concert where Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Elton John are performing their greatest hits and having open mike night and they are only selling ten tickets. Especially when you try to get a reservation on the Friday before Mother’s Day. My poor kids! They goofed! For some reason Mother’s Day didn’t come up on any four of their Icalendars! “No problem,” I said. I will put a little something together for my special day!

I got up extra early and began the preparations for my special day. First I went to our favorite bagel store and was shocked to find I was not the only one who had this great idea, though I have to say most of the other customers were men wearing baseball caps backwards with their little kids in tow. And they were all talking about t-ball and coaching strategies, pretending like they were doing it just to spend time with their kids but I know what they were thinking. I wanted to scream Your kid is never going to play major league ball! This is MY special day! Cut the chit chat and PLACE YOUR ORDER! Some were holding little babies wearing no shoes because obviously mom was still asleep in bed and dad had snuck out with all the kids and was bringing mom home an everything bagel with ham and melted cheddar which caused the order taker to have to step away from her post to fix the toaster which was clogged with a wet blob of cheese. Where are all the millenials who are gluten intolerant? Since when do millenials eat carbs? I began sweating because I was wearing my ex’s Army sweat pants over my pajama shorts and because I knew that time was ticking and I still had just a few more errands to do before my kids arrived for my special day.

Bagels in tow, I headed to the grocery store where I was picking up the items I needed to make a quiche. All night I tossed and turned wondering what else to serve in case one of my little darlings is not in the mood for a big hunk of dough covered in sesame seeds. Broccoli and cheddar quiche! Vegetable and protein in one dish. They will love that!

I raced home and prepared the quiche. Cut up the fruit. Made the special tuna salad dry with a tiny bit of celery just like they like it. Put everything out on pretty plates and felt proud and happy as I went into shower after setting out my new white Bermuda shorts. I wanted to look extra nice on my special day!

I came into the kitchen to find the kids standing around the kitchen island staring at the quiche. Eyeing it my son asked “What kind of pie is that?” and when I explained what it was he replied, “We can’t eat that. Didn’t you hear about the recall on eggs?”

Finally everyone sat down to enjoy the food made in honor of my special day. “How come you’re not eating mom?” my daughter asked and I replied, “I will in a bit, mother is just a little worn out from all the prep work this morning,”  My son looked up from his plate with a concerned furrow and asked, “Did you forget orange juice?”

No, I hadn’t.

We had a lovely time and I opened cards and gifts and whether it’s Mother’s Day or any other day, I love those kids more than life and I know they love me without question.

And I guess you’re probably thinking I am going to wrap this up with I don’t need  a special day to celebrate being a mother, every day with them has been special. But I’m not going to say that because let’s face it some days were a raging hell. Some days it was all I could do to put them in front of the TV eating Cheezits off the floor while I counted to ten, took deep breaths, snapped a rubber band on my wrist and did all the other things you are supposed to do when you feel life is just getting away from you.

And one day my daughters will have children and they will have their own special day. And I hope to be there to enjoy it with them. I will show up with love in my heart and open arms for my grandchildren and probably a broccoli and cheese quiche. I hear they freeze well.



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A Matter of Degrees

                       
                                                                         

It is actually going to happen. This May, I am graduating college! I tried to extend my journey by applying to graduate school, but was turned down, in a very nice way though. I think the letter said “Uhm, no thanks, you seem like an awesome person but…no. Feel free to check out our website for other schools where you might have better luck. Have you considered DeVry Institute?

So the dream ends here. I have been talking with some of my fellow graduating seniors to see what they are doing now that they have degrees. One guy is taking a year off to play lacrosse in Australia, but many are already applying for jobs. I certainly don’t want to be left behind. Yes, I took 40 years to get through college but no more procrastinating! I have already done some research and here are some possibilities that might be worth looking into.

                Jobs I May Be Able To Get Now That I Will Have a Degree


1.     Participant in rosacea study. This would be perfect if I had rosacea. Why could I not have been blessed with this ailment instead of occasional bouts of adult acne and thinning hair? Could this be considered discrimination? May spend some time looking into discrimination suits today.

2.     Jewish egg donors needed. I am Jewish however, my eggs and I are sort of tired. We don’t really want to commit to anything right now, other than season two of Handmaids Tale, which we are living for.

3.     Webcam fetish model. Hmm. I love to eat dry cereal in bed while watching reruns of Breaking Bad, and simultaneously playing Candy Crush on my Ipad. Does this count as a fetish? Would someone want to actually watch that? I know M doesn’t really enjoy it and says he can hear me crunching through his noise canceling headphones. I don’t want to waste my time applying for jobs I’m not qualified for. Really bad for my self-esteem. Still, can’t hurt to shoot them a resume.

4.     Remote Editing Fellow. Finally! Something in my field. But I don’t get the “fellow” part? This is totally discrimination.  Get with the times dude. Women can do anything men can and usually better.  Adding this to my discrimination investigation today.

5.     Disney Princesses. What? Have I died and gone to heaven? I can dress up like Belle or Cinderella and just walk around Disney World freaking kids the f out? I can walk up to little girls and say “It’s a myth! Do yourself a favor and learn how to write code.” Yes! But wait, this is Florida and it’s so hot. Ugh.  Not to go into detail but let’s just say a heat rash on your inner thighs makes for a very long summer. I will have to pass.

6.     Jimmy Johns Brand Marketer. There are times I actually find myself dreaming about their number 5 with extra peppers. This is something I could really throw myself into as I have a real passion for the product. But wait, they are looking for “outgoing and fun individuals?”  Fun is subjective. Some people think parties where you walk around, talking, laughing and  meeting new people is fun. Others find sitting quietly alone with a glass of wine, watching the sunset and pondering things like, what if I got a puppy and it got eaten by a hawk, or what if I take the plunge and get my eyebrows tattooed on and end up looking like The Joker the rest of my life. I mean, that’s fun, right? Will have to think on this one a bit more.

7.     Mock Jurors Needed. I like this. I’m pretty much up for mocking anything. Will definitely shoot them my resume.

8.     Auto Repair Manager, Service Writer. Well this sounds perfect. I will be in a management position as I should be with my new degree and also a writer. I guess I could get a few pages in here and there between tire alignments and oil changes? And as a manager, I get to boss people around as well. Win-Win. Resume number three, sent.


Well, I am psyched. It appears the opportunities are endless with someone of my caliber with a bachelor’s degree in writing. Already have three great prospects out in the professional world of degreed smart people. Oops! Make that two. Just googled fetish…


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Rollin' With The Tide


Three times a week,  I enter my college classrooms and look around at young, really really young, shining faces. These kids are smart. They have read the classics. The know about past participles. They can diagram sentences in seconds while I'm still looking for the "action words." They smell nice—like oranges, like youth. I look at them,  envious of the time they still have, their whole lives ahead of them and think, "Okay which of you idiots are eating Tide pods?"

And why? Apparently it is some kind of challenge, and I hate challenges. I turned off my computer and didn't leave my house for a week during the whole ice bucket challenge, petrified someone would tag me and I would have to dump a bucket of water on my head and video it. Do I need all 52 of my Facebook friends knowing I look like a wet ferret without my root lifter? Isn't life hard enough?

Obviously this ridiculous new challenge led me to do some deep contemplation. I have never eaten a Tide pod, but I started thinking about weird things I have eaten. It took me an entire lecture on alliteration but when class was over, I had a pretty good list. Here it is:

Weird Things I Have Eaten:

1.   Dried Elmer's glue from fingers
2.   Coffee grounds off someone's plate that I mistook for chocolate crispies from Carvel cake
3.   An elk burger at the 2002 Kentucky State Fair which I am still burping from
4.   A Volcano Roll in a Miami strip plaza that should have been called the Colon Blow
5.   Chewed an Advil I mistook for orange M and M found on floor
6.   Something at a temple dinner called kishka. I thought it was a roll of stuffing but it was actually beef intestines in a tube. Good with gravy though.
7.   Stuffed cabbage from a take-out Chinese restaurant. Haunts me to this day.
8.   Fennel. It's not weird...I just hate it.
9.   Avocado.  See fennel.
10. Fat Free Half and Half. Someone's idea of a cruel joke.

As  I said, I have never eaten a Tide pod and I can't figure out why the kids are doing it. Is it the new cleanse? I know it can really clean out the stomach according to all the Emergency Room reports. Are we not doing lemon water with cayenne pepper anymore? I mean, I think it is a good thing to clean out your system, empty out all the old food fragments and start clean and  fresh but there are certainly much more safe and better tasting ways of doing it. One time in a New England seafood restaurant I had a bowl of creamy clam chowder, followed by a blue cheese wedge salad and a bowl of cheesy shrimp alfredo. That did the trick. For days.

Sure, my generation did some weird things, including inhaling the heady smell of ink when teachers passed out mimeographed papers hot off the printing press or whatever they used back then. We ate Zots, a candy that exploded with some kind of toxic acid when you bit into it.

Is anyone besides me worried about all the orange dye we ingested with our pitchers full of Tang?

 Wasn't it my generation who started the rumor if you emptied out a Contac cold capsule and ate all the red pieces you could get high? And then did it and pretended we were?

I guess all generations have their things. There will always be challenges to face, no matter where you are in life. One day you're emptying out Contacs the next day your trying to find a Spanx camisole that doesn't role up and settle under your boobs when you're out to dinner. Talk about a challenge. Tide pods? Stupid, dangerous, but a challenge? Kids...you ain't seen nothing yet.






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In The Weeds



Yesterday I registered for my last semester of college, and I'll be honest with you— I felt pretty damn good. I conquered many obstacles along the way, including trying to explain to the Director of the English department what the class "Language in America" was. "It was 1978," I told him. "Your guess is as good as mine." But in May, at the age of 57, I will be a college grad. #nailedit.

I decided to treat myself with a dinner from Fresh Kitchen and I was giving myself the royal treatment. "You totally deserve it," I told myself. Instead of ordering the 4 bowl with 2 bases and 1 veg and 1 protein, I went for the gold. I got 2 proteins! I could get used to this, I thought, thinking of the major publishing job I will get now that I have a college degree. I will probably have to get a little place in New York City when Simon and Schuster hires me, this of course is before my novel skyrockets to number 1 and the movie begins filming. I should have done this years ago, like maybe before my knees started making that hideous creaking noise every time I bend them.

I placed my order on Uber eats, I mean seriously, I'm going to be a college graduate. Let the food come to me. Delivered right to my door, busy college graduates like myself don't have time to go out for dinner. We must stay focused, at home, being smart, reading books and staying on top of the latest world events. Speaking of which, I'm so glad Imagine Dragons beat out Cold Play at the music awards. I've never liked Cold Play for some reason.

I watch the seconds tick away on my iPad, keeping a close eye on my driver's progress. Food has been picked up! Five minutes, four minutes...and finally I see her pull up. I run to the door like a dog who hears his owner coming home at the end of the day.

I opened the door to find the uber driver staring at me as though she had seen a child's arm sticking up from the ground by the palm tree in my yard. She glowers at me as I reach for the bag, and I gently take if from her so that she doesn't throw it at me. I hand her a five dollar tip, I mean, I'm almost a college graduate, I can afford it. Hopefully this will cheer her up and make whatever is causing her to be so angry, a little less intense. "Here you go, thanks!" I say and begin to close the door.

"You know," she says with a look of pure disgust on her face, "These flowers take  FULL SUN." "What flowers?" I am thinking and then she points to the brown weeds in the cement planter by my front door.  She's right. There are flowers there! I never really noticed there were flowers in there, I mean in my defense, I usually go in through the garage. "You need to replant them in the front," she states,  looking at me as if I had said, "Hi! I just murdered my dog." I am thinking, "Have a little respect, I am almost a college graduate" and she is thinking "You are a moron."

I ask her, "Do you think they will come back?" which is my way of asking "Did you spit in my food?" She looks at the remnants of whatever those poor things once were, looks at me and shakes her head. Then she turns and walks back to the car.

"Well," I think as I head to the table with my dinner. Not going to let that pop my balloon. Still, it did sort of take the wind out of my sails a little bit. As I devoured my bbq chix/tuna, parmesan broccoli and kale mix I thought of the classes I would be taking in my final semester; Short Fiction, Writing Genres, Portfolio Class. "It can't hurt" I think. Tomorrow I will call my advisor and tell him to add Horticulture 101 to my schedule. I mean, us smart soon-to-be college grads know you should always have a Plan B.
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Grown Up TIme




This weekend I decided to play with kids my own age. I mean, don't get me wrong...I love the kids in my classes and many times I find our conversations fascinating. Well maybe they're not exactly "our" conversations, because conversations take two people actually speaking to each other. As someone close to me once described it, "First you talk. Then I talk. But when I talk that means you STOP talking. That's called a conversation." So I guess it's more like I find THEIR conversations fascinating. And if that makes me some kind of weird lurker, which it sort of does, too bad.

At college, I have to listen to what is going on around me, because one time I zoned out walking to my car and wondering if I should stop at Publix to get a roasted chicken. Did I have anything at home I could throw together for M and I? M really loves macaroni salad, maybe I'll get that and a chicken. Yes. And while I was considering the lemon pepper or the basic bbq, I was sideswiped by a kid on a skateboard. He came from nowhere! I did not hear him approaching. He knocked hard into my right arm and my purse when flying. I turned to him, the poor kid, about to reassure him that it's okay, it was an accident, don't beat yourself up and he looked at me and said, "Sorry but you were walking on the right! You're supposed to walk on the left." and glared at me much the way I expect the people looked at that guy who drove through the Blockbuster store window a few years ago...like DUDE! What the F is wrong with you?

Is this a new college rule? Did I miss this in orientation? So then, I hear myself apologizing to HIM! And he scoots away and I am picking up the spilled contents of my purse, hoping he didn't see my bottle of BEANO, and thinking I can't do this. I don't belong here. And I reached out to my children for sympathy, empathy, proof that there are young people in the world that actually love me. I sent them the following text:
      Kids, mother was hit by a skateboard at school today. I am okay, though, just wanted you to know.
And they did reply within seconds, with the following message:😂 😂😂😂😂
 
So much for that.

So, this weekend with the girls was just what I needed. Admittedly, it started out rough because I valeted my car, and checked in at the front desk and got into my room anxious to look at the room service menu and found that somewhere between the desk and my room, I had lost my reading glasses. But don't worry, they have them in the little sundry shop downstairs. Of course, unlike the Stein Mart version that I buy with the plastic rhinestones,  these were 90 dollars, but they come with a cleaning cloth so...totally worth it. I've been keeping a closer tab on these glasses than I did on my three year old when we went to Disney World.

 Once I got that all settled, it was great. We met in the lobby and headed to the hotel restaurant. At a table by the water we ate and we drank. We had dessert! The next morning we sat by the pool and when the server came up to us and said, "Just wanted to let you ladies know, we are expecting a crowd of big drinkers. You know, it's going to get loud." as if to say you gals may want to play cards in your room for awhile til the party dies down—we didn't even care. We sat at the pool under an umbrella. We talked about everything under the sun, literally because someone had dropped a coverup right by our chair and we were trying to figure out who it belonged to. We laughed and commiserated and had a ball.

A while back someone asked me the advice I had for women and relationships. I had to think about it. Where to start? Finally it came to me—don't give up your girlfriends. I know new relationships can be intoxicating. Haven't we all given up a dinner in with the girls, for a night out with that new hot guy? Sure. But don't make a habit of it. Your relationship with your partner is a priority of course. But don't let yourself drift away. It is these women who are going to be there for you, when the uber driver calls you "sir" after you get the Robyn Wright haircut you have been obsessing over. Unlike men, when you say, "I just can't seem to lose these five pounds around my middle," your girlfriend  won't answer glibly, "Have you tried not eating?" More importantly when you think you can't go on, when there is no way you are going to be able to get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other, they will arrive at your house, help you get dressed and show you that you absolutely can.

Also, let's say, you get hit by a douchebag on a skateboard, and you need somebody to tell, someone who will understand your pain. You can turn to them. I promise you, they will listen, and trust me, once the tears stop streaming and they get done laughing, they will ask you if you are okay and really want to know that you are.



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Dear Mommy Bloggers:You're Doing Fine







So, I'm working on my novel, aka, scrolling through Facebook and wondering how in the heck it knows that I am in love with the Free People boyfriend tee. I haven't even told Alexa that. Somehow, just because I look at it every day, in every color, put it in my cart, but never hit SUBMIT ORDER button, it knows. One day, I'm going to accidentally hit that button and will end up having to get a storage unit for the stuff that has been building in that cart for the last two years. I ponder this and continue scrolling when suddenly a blog title catches my eye: These Mommy Bloggers Wish They Could Turn Back Time And Be Better Parents! And I thought, OMG I totally know that feeling. How I wish I could go back 30 years to when my first daughter was born. There are so many things I would do differently. I totally get it.

I begin to read and realize that these mommys are the mother of two-year olds. TWO! Twenty-four months! What would they "go back" and do differently? Use Pampers instead of Luvs? Get the vibrating bassinette instead of the one that only plays music? Make their own baby food from organic vegetables that they grew in their garden instead of buying it off the shelves in Publix? Oh you mommys. You funny, funny mommys. You crack me up.

I want to tell these mommys that they are doing a great job. I have seen them in action. I have watched them pump their sore boobs to avoid supplementing with formula, heat bottles on the stove instead of the microwave due to fear of radiation, hook up monitors throughout their entire home so that they will hear every breath taken by their child. I have watched them buckle their child into a car seat that has more safety latches than the upside down rides I used to let my kids go on when that creepy traveling fair would take over the parking lot at the strip center—not to mention letting what I now know must have been a well seasoned pedophile, buckle them in while I went in search of a deep fried turkey leg.



Trust me mommys, you are wonderful parents. You have done nothing wrong. YET.

I was a very young mommy, compared to most these days. I had my first daughter at the age of 25.  My then husband was only 26. What did I know about babies, other than the fact that they were really cute, and if I had one I would have an excuse for not getting a job? Looking back, I see that perhaps our common sense level was not as high as it should have been considering we were basically in charge of another living human being.

For instance, one afternoon when our daughter was about three months old, I called my husband from my mother's house just a few miles away. It was his first day babysitting, being totally alone with his daughter for more than ten minutes. I called to check in on him and smiled as he regaled me with all the amazing things I had missed in the last hour. My smile disappeared as he said, "Well, I better go, I left Meredith on the bathroom counter." Apparently I had called in the middle of a diaper change and he had not yet learned that we always make sure our new baby is not on a counter that is right next to a toilet full of water, before we answer the phone.

He was not alone in his lack of judgement. One night when this same poor kid was about eighteen months old, I was leaving a dinner that we had been to with other moms and kids. As I began to drive from the parking lot I realized I had left my sweater in the restaurant. I pulled up, left the car running, door open, and went in to retrieve my sweater. Looking back I think of who could have jumped into the driver's seat and taken off with my darling daughter and I get a sick feeling in my stomach even these twenty-eight years later. In my defense, it was a new Ann Taylor cardigan...but still...

You mommys! I see how you make sure that every minute is spent doing something good for baby. You are either reading to baby, singing to baby, or at the park, at the zoo, at the pool. There are swimming lessons, play dates, mommy-baby sing alongs...you guys are killin' it!

Let me tell you how my fourth little one spent the better part of his day when he was 18 months old...I bought a bouncy seat which was basically a piece of fabric that went between his legs, attached to a long piece of elastic that would hang from the door jam. He would hang there and bounce all day in that thing while eating a vienna sausage, which has now been taken off the baby market as a major choking hazard. He turned out perfectly fine, graduated college and everything. His legs are a little bit longer than normal, but other than that he is perfectly fine.



Not to scare you, but my children are now grown adults and yet these are the times that try my tired parenting soul the most. I want them to be happy, fulfilled, excited about their life. To that end, I can't help but offer advice that sometimes is not always welcome. My sister says, "I wish I had someone to give me great advice when I was 25 like your kids have." I realized when I was 25, I DID. His name was Dr. Levine and his advice was, "PUSH! ONE MORE GOOD PUSH" and "Use lanolin on your nipples for the soreness." Very good advice, actually.

Anyway, mommys you're doing great. One piece of advice, enjoy it. Relish the moments. Don't worry about the lessons, and the after school clubs and competitive sports and the extracurricular activities that will one day look great on a college essay.  Kick a soccer ball. Set up the Playmobil pirate ship. Watch the endless "shows" they insist on performing while you are trying to catch up on House of Cards. Let him wear his ball cap for the school picture if he wants to.

These days, if I tune everything out and really concentrate, I can conjure up those days. My four kids in the driveway playing, the little chubby baby hands reaching from the stroller to be held, the sweet smell of the fine baby hair after the Johnson's Baby Shampoo has been rinsed out, the snacks, the homework, the day to day of having children. Sometimes, I get such a pang in my stomach it almost takes my breath away— I can see it all so clearly, hear the sounds and feel the deep peace that came over me when each one was tucked safely into bed for the night.


Mommys, just love them with all you have and you will be a wonderful parent.  Oh, and don't leave them in a running car by themselves with the door open. Make the most of every day because, as I have learned...there is no going back.


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My Pretty /Ugly Day





Saturday morning I woke up and made a decision. "Tonight we are going to watch the movie Split," I declared to Mike. I am interested in it because it's about a guy with twenty-three personalities, to which I can totally relate because of what happened to me on Thursday. Kind of a long story, but basically,  I decided to go to the mall and treat myself to a Sephora makeover. Who better to tell me how to camouflage the deflated balloons below my eyes than a seventeen-year-old nymph who has just finished her lunch of  PBand J and a juice box.


I don't know what it is but when I sit down at a makeup counter it's like I have been slipped a date rape drug. I wake up 30 minutes later, looking like the clown from It, and worse, agreeing with the tot that "Yes it really DOES highlight my features and  it looks SO natural!" Is it the mirrors? The lighting? Is there something pumped into the air that causes me to believe that I have just taken ten years off my face without surgery, when in reality I look like an aging geisha?



Because that's what I looked like when I left there carrying the iconic black and white bag which was  holding an eyebrow pencil, ("Oh gosh! I can sort of make out your natural outline but it's really, really faint")  a gallon of under-eye concealer and about a month's mortgage worth of makeup that I WILL NEVER WEAR. Primers! I bought primers! Eyebrow, face, lip—go ahead, throw in some fucking ear lobe primer. Yes! Yes!

Your make up will stay fresh all day, your coworkers will wonder how you do it!

What? I don't work! Can I still have it? I need it! 




Then I decide to show off my new look by walking down to the Nordstrom coffee shop and having a cobb salad and peach iced tea. I am totally walking but in my mind I am skipping in a white petticoat and singing, I Feel Pretty. As I meandered I noticed all the bright colors, the shorts, the little t-shirts and candy colored sun dresses adorning the windows.  I walked through the Nordstrom shoe department and saw the new trendy sandals that I will buy for a song in the summer of 2019 when they are on final clearance at Nordstrom Rack, and I thought, "Summer's here! Yay! Dinners on the dock! Wine drinking outside! May even be invited to a pool party!" And that led me to the thought of a bathing suit, and that took my mood down a bit. Still the salad perked me up, though I think they have cut back on the bacon bits and I wish they wouldn't put that big slimy blob of avocado on the top.

Anyway, lo and behold, right across from where I sat with my salad, was a bathing suit store called  Under Water, or Watered Down, I don't remember. For the sake of this blog let's just call it, Don't Even Bother. Stay Out. I went in and tried on a few bathing suits.

 So, basically I came to the mall with the personality of a normal middle aged woman excited about a a makeover and lunch and left with the personality of someone who has just witnessed something horrible, something they will need PTSD therapy for. One minute I was crying and the next I was  yelling "Hey! What are YOU looking at?"  to anyone who got in my way as I ran to my car with the knowledge that I will be that weird person wearing shorts at the pool.

So, I totally get the multi-personality thing.

I know what you're thinking. How was the movie? 
I have no idea. I got impatient going through the movie list and about 10 titles into the A section I clicked on A Dog's Purpose. It's great, you know, a DOG DIES five times and finally comes back to his original owner. The night ended with my new primers streaming down my face.  I also donated money to the ASPCA, the Humane Society, every kill shelter in Florida and I may have offered to foster homeless St. Bernards.


So, what's the moral of the story? First of all,  aging geishas have no business looking for bathing suits. They are only supposed to be seen in kimonos, which may be my new beach attire. Secondly, if I do have a multipersonality disorder I am going to use it to my advantage and channel a personality I will call Avery; she will dress like a professional, hate cake, and be able to drink more than two martinis without holding her empty glass up and yelling "Hey! Bartender! Hit me again!" which really does go to show, there is an upside to everything.


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The Graduate and Captain Jack

Well, it turns out there IS light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Last week I went to the UT Advising Office, or what is officially known as The Student Success Center, to get help choosing my classes for the fall semester. See, I am that person who will think they are graduating in a few weeks and then find I am blocked from ordering my cap and gown and formal announcements with pre-printed gold embossed envelopes, and graduation photo session and college ring upgraded with my birthstone, because I never took the one hour Freshman Seminar on how to log on to the school computers. So, I don't make a MOVE without checking with these people first.

Anyway, I get called back to  the inner sanctum and sit across the desk from Heather who is younger than my youngest daughter and who I believe may be wearing slippers. And she pulls up my file on the computer as I start telling her that I am taking the Writing and Research class and Chemistry for Society and I notice she is frowning. Then she says, "Well, you don't need to take this, or this or this. I'm not sure why this is even on here...Oh, I see, the person who did your schedule was new."

Oh. No problem. I am happy to let children learn to hone their craft at the rate of 1000$ per credit hour. Take all the time you need. You'll get it right next time!

Bottom line? I graduate next May.

There was one caveat however.  Heather suggested, "You may want to make an appointment with the Department Chair, Dr. Prescott (name changed to protect the innocent) and make sure that he will accept all these transfer credits. Just to be safe."

And that is a credo I live by, whether it is buying the next bigger size of leggings or two pints of Ben and Jerry's instead of one, because they are so tiny— you know,  just to be safe.

Still, I am a little bit nervous. Me? Meeting with THE DEPARTMENT CHAIR? I'm picturing an elderly gent,  part Earnest Hemingway and part Michael Caine right down to that off-putting accent. And a Dr.? And I imagine having a meeting with him is like being granted a session with the Wizard of Oz, as he sits towering above me telling me in a booming voice, "NO. I CANNOT ACCEPT YOUR AEROBICS DANCE CREDIT FROM 1978!"

But remembering I don't have a moment to waste, that I have already come really late to this party, I email the formidable Dr. Prescott and tell him of my plight. He emails me back, and says he has office hours on Monday, but not THIS particular Monday. He had to cancel his office hours today. And I'm thinking, poor old guy, he probably has a doctor's appointment to have have his heart meds adjusted or maybe he is recuperating from a mini-stroke and is trying to hold on just a few more months til he can retire with full benefits after serving this fine institution for many years. We make an appointment for the following Monday and I hope he will be feeling better so that I can get this stuff done.

Monday, after a long day of classes and my first power point presentation ever, about Jewish Death and the Afterlife, where 14 young fresh faces, all in various stages of REM sleep gave me the very helpful feedback of,  "HUH?," I made my way to Dr. Prescott. And I had a speech all ready for him, something a long the lines of, "It has been such a long road for me to get here and I am so thankful for the opportunity to graduate from such a prestigious college. I appreciate you taking time to help me reach this goal." I said it over to myself a few times as I climbed the four flights to the English Office where Dr. Prescott resides.

I tell LeeLee the receptionist that I am here to see Dr. Prescott and she walks me back to a huge office inside the turret of this old historical building. And she announces me to a man who is NOT Ernest Hemingway and Michael Caine, but more like Gaston and Prince Valiant. He is that guy on the cover of those ridiculous romance novels. He is a clean Captain Jack Sparrow. And if he is even 35, I'd be shocked.


"Hi Amy!" he says, white teeth gleaming. "Come take a seat." I shuffle to his desk, knowing that my backpack is pulling my sleeve down and that my back-fat minimizer bra strap is showing. As I sit down, he asks, "Now, what can I do for you?"

I try to remember the speech I had rehearsed but all that came out was, "Hi. I'm in college. I go here. To college."

"Yes, I know" he says. "Let's pull up your file."

And as he is looking through my years of sporadic classroom activity I am looking at the cool bike he obviously uses to get to his job as Chair of the English Dept and looking for photos of wife and kids.
After a few questions like, "Do you remember what this class was about?" and me saying, "No, it was like 32 years ago," he finally said, "Okay, well I think you're good."

In other words, stop taking up valuable space that young people with bright futures need.

I almost thought he would take a degree out of his drawer and sign it and say "Here you go! Here's your degree. Now be on your way."

As I got up to leave he said, "Feel free to email my anytime with questions, but stay on this course and you will graduate next May!" Of course, he was totally into me. Feel free ANY TIME? To email him with questions?

Kidding. Even in my post-menopause fog I am not that delusional.

So, there is no moral to this blog, no wise final words to leave you with. Just let me say this, I knew that Aerobics Class would come in handy one day.









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Eat, Drink And Be Merry in Class


I know, I know...you haven't heard from me in a while. I must apologize, but between rushing for the Tri Delta Zeta Phi Epsilon Thetas, my cheerleading tryouts, running the campus television station and working on my KOKO FOR STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT campaign, I have just been slammed.

Kidding.

Yes I am back in college and yes, I am totally loving it. In case it has been a while since you have been on a college campus, let me tell you things have changed. A lot. Here are some of the things that are going on:

1. Back in my day, we had to wear CLOTHES to class. This is no longer a requirement. Apparently, you are now allowed to attend class in sports bras and mini-shorts which are shorter than my I FEEL SO FAT TODAY underpants. I think the students have re-written the Campus Rule Book. It's like, You may choose to wear a loose tank over your sports bra, but of course that is totally optional. We want you to be comfortable.

Also, it is perfectly okay to wear pajamas to your class if it is before noon. Slippers are allowed as well. We do request that you leave your blankies in your dorm room so other people don't trip over them as they make their way to class.

2. Do you remember how when we were in college you would be asked to remove the gum from your mouth? Well, now you are allowed to consume entire feasts while your World Religions  professor is talking about Buddhism. (Which btw I am thinking about becoming because they are so totally chill. They believe in no suffering, which is the opposite of what I have been taught as a Jew. We live for suffering and anyone who has ever had to get through eight nights of Hannukah with four children knows what I'm talking about.)

Yes, please, feel free to eat your breakfast during class. We realize you can't possibly concentrate when you are hungry. Sure, just uncover your tofu scramble and dig right in. Of course you can squeeze Sriracha all over it before slurping the mess into your mouth at a decibel that is keeping those around you from hearing about the Buddha under the fig tree which, btw, WILL be on the exam. Enjoy!

3. Remember how when we were in college there was really no talking allowed? Work at your seat quietly and keep to yourself? Well, now everything is done in groups. Please feel free to talk amongst yourselves all during class. We love how you all share your ideas, and exchange your thoughts on the required readings as well as on that girl who made an ass of herself at the party the other night. We agree, she is totally a slut.

Also, group work is fine, if you are not 32 years older than everyone else and therefore invisible when groups are being chosen. I am now that weird kid in 4th grade who always had to have the teacher as his partner.

There are other differences as well. The first time I went to college, I could basically zone in and out during class and still come away with a pretty good sense of what was said. Now, when my menopause fog kicks in it's so hard to follow what my professor is saying. "This sentence is an example of  FAULTY PREDICATION" my Technical Editing professor announces, pointing to a group of words projected on the wall in front of us.

I'm like "What? What did you say? What is that? Am I supposed to know that? Is it a noun? What?" Around me all the kids nod their head in knowing agreement as if to say "Of course it's faulty predication...who doesn't know THAT?"

Naturally, when asked to get onto the school computer in front of each of us and log on to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, I get the message USER/PASSWORD incorrect.  I try thirteen more times as the rest of the class is now on page two of the worksheet. Not happening. I KNOW this is the right combo. Still, I just pretend I am working and am relieved when we are told we may take this worksheet home and bring it back to the next class.

Well, I have had enough of THIS. I march myself right up to the computer help desk and announce, I CANNOT LOG ON WITH THE PASSWORD YOU GUYS GAVE ME. The young man behind the desk looks up at me questioningly and asks, "Um, sorry, but are you faculty?"

Why? Just because I am 100 years old and carry a Tumi backpack with my initials on it and have glittery readers perched on top of my head?

"What?" I screech.  "Just because I'm old, doesn't mean I'm faculty. No, I'm a student."
"Sorry," he says, "I had to ask."

Sure, there are some indignities that come with the exhilaration of learning new amazing things every day. For instance, yesterday I tried to register for my summer class and got a message, There is a hold on your account, please check with health services. What in the name of fuck, I am thinking could health services want with me. Unless they are offering free mammograms I really don't want to deal with them. But I go in and tell the woman at the desk of my plight. She looks up my student ID number and says, "Oh yes, you never gave us your immunization form."
"Look at me," and here she nods, and says, "I know."
"Where am I supposed to find that?"
"I don't know...maybe your doctor would have it?"

No. My doctor has the results of my osteoporosis preventative bone scan and my cholesterol numbers but I don't think she has a record of my rubella shot in 1963. So, guess what? I now have to go to the health center on Wednesday and have a blood test to prove I am immune to the measles so that I can register for the summer session of Chemistry in Society which does not require a lab. It will be me standing next to a girl who woke up naked at a frat party getting herself checked for STD's.

I promised myself when I started back to school, "No regrets." Do I wish I would have done this when I was young, had 20/20 vision and my brain still had lots of room left? Sometimes, but then, I remember, had I done one thing differently, stayed in school even one extra semester, I wouldn't have my kids. I mean I'm sure I would have SOME kids, but they wouldn't be THESE kids. And so, though I feel a little envious of the youth all around me, bustling around in Adidas slides carrying their tofu scrambles and Iced Frappuccinos, I feel blessed. I will finally get my degree and my four kids will be there to see me do it.

And now, I am off to Dick's where the word is they are having a humungous sale on sports bras. These kids ain't seen NOTHING yet!



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Egg McMuffins and Life Changing Moments




New Years Day has come and gone and already I have broken my one resolution which was to actually use the new work out pants I got at SteinMart.  I had grabbed them on impulse as I was heading for the checkout lane with my 2 for 1 Wacoal bras and a box of stemless wine glasses I was giving my sister as a Christmas gift, since I had broken hers when I added one of those giant ice cubes to my Chardonnay. As I held  the brightly colored stretchy little tights in my hot little hand I told myself,  I am going to do  my abdominal exercises every day. I MUST STRENGTHEN MY CORE! And I did do them for like four days and then I'm not sure how my core was doing but I did notice my lower back sending me little messages  like, "You're kidding right? Fuck this." I still love the pants though, I have to find some place where it is acceptable to wear them, other than a gym I mean.

Anyway, I was telling my mother as I do every year that I had such high hopes of getting my tummy tighter and all hopes were dashed because of my L4 and L5 and she looked at me and said,"So? Would having a tighter stomach change your life?"

Well I was taken aback by this question. Change my life? Probably not. Make my jeans a lot more comfortable yes, change my life? No.

I began to think back to moments in time that HAD changed my life. I mean the big moments, not the small ones like when McDonald's announced all day breakfast. I mean yes, I find an EggMcMuffin can cure just about any menopausal ailment that I may be suffering from on any given day, but that is small potatoes compared to say, dropping out of college on my way to a Spanish test because I didn't study and getting married three weeks later. That was a biggie.

Another life changing moment? I woke up one morning at the age of 24 and felt the incredible urge to have a baby. It wasn't just a "I can't wait to have a baby one day," it was a "I NEED A BABY NOW." It was like GET IN MY BELLY! today. Right now. And in some ways that moment was even bigger than the moment my first baby was born because once that little person took shape in my mind, I was devoted to her, I loved her in that moment, and I, with the help of my then husband of course, brought her into being,  literally 9 months later. The timing wasn't perfect, he just finishing college and not sure what type of employment awaited him, but still, there was no stopping me. And I have found that when I want something, REALLY really want it, I usually find a way to get it. Whether it's my first little baby, a little house on the water that surrounds me with peace and contentment, or the last espresso colored leather Hobo crossbody purse on the Nordstrom Rack website, I will find a way! (To Samantha at the Nordstrom Rack call center, I'm sorry for raising my voice but I really need that last brown crossbody, which is why I had to yell at you when you offered to send the metallic silver. Who uses a metallic silver crossbody during the day? Disco is dead Samantha. You get it now, right?)

Other life changing moments? The day my ex told me he was "Bringing somebody" to a party we had both been invited to. I mean sure we were separated, and sure I knew that he had been seeing someone for a while, but I mean we're still a couple, right? We're still "us" right? We are still going to go to parties as a married couple and sit together on the couch and share a plate piled high with the deviled eggs you love and the cheddar cheese squares I love and make fun of people right? Nope. It was then I saw it. We were no longer a we. They were a THEM. And that was the moment I called my attorney and told her it was time to file for the divorce I had been fighting against for over 2 years. That was a game changer for sure.

Another life changing moment? When I changed the height criteria on my Match.com profile from 6'2" to "ANY." I mean the two men I had met that "reached"  that requirement had left something to be desired. One asked me over our initial coffee if I like to be dominated. The other told me he was taking some time off from work, (insurance fraud investigator) because he had shot his wife but she shot first so what was he supposed to do? Sit there like an idiot? So.

I opened up the playing field and I met M. And THAT was a life changing moment because I didn't realize that someone could actually sit across the table from you and listen to what you were saying without looking at their phone. I didn't realize that someone's dark brown eyes could make you feel safe and sexy at the same time. I didn't realize that someone could offer you love, respect, a safe haven and a freedom to discover the person you are now, and love that new person too. That was 7 years ago and, well, now I know.

I am 56 now and I realize with life there is good news and bad news. The good news is life is going to change. The bad news is  life is going to change. Sometimes change is good. Other times you want to hold on to each precious moment knowing that once you lose your grasp on them, you will never have them back. I wonder now, how many more life changing moments will I have in my life? And when they appear, will I recognize them and choose the right path?

Right now I am putting on my work out pants and taking the path to McDonalds where they are offering 2 Egg McMuffins for 1.00 all day. I KNEW I'd find the perfect place to wear them!



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Back To School at 56. Don't Be Hazin'


A few months ago, I made a monumental decision, even bigger than when I decided to subscribe to HULU, although I already have Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Now I can watch creepy, weird detective shows on BBC from 32 years ago, if I so desire. NOTHING gets past me. Well... this decision is much bigger than that—I have decided to go back to college. Yes, AGAIN.

This time is different though, because this time I am determined to get my degree. It's going to happen. Last time I had too much going on. I was in the midst of a divorce after a 27 year marriage and was getting text messages from my lawyer during my World Religion Class: lifetime alimony a no go but you DO get to keep the wine fridge and half of the Tumi luggage. See bill for 10k below.
I was getting text messages from my 15 year old daughter during Tecninical Editing class: hi mom, just letting you know that my friend Topaz is coming over to hang out. She's bringing her new pit bull puppy! Which I learned was code for We are going to smoke pot in the garage while her puppy shits all over our pool deck.
So, it was too much. I dropped out.

And then life happened. I dabbled in real estate. I found a new love. I had a book published! I had a job that challenged me, where I excelled. And then that job went by the wayside and I thought, "Okay, perfect. Now I can do nothing all day but write my new book."

And for awhile it was perfect. I would sit amongst the quiet. My house was clean. No laundry to do. I sat on my bed with my laptop and wrote away. 20 pages. 40 pages. 60 pages. The hours passed. The days passed. Tick. Tock.  I soon found myself drifting and turning more and more to Facebook for stimulation. Can I name all these sitcoms from the 70's? I must find out. (And yes I could as well as hum the theme songs)  What color IS my inner creative genius? I had to know! (yellow) Can I answer these 5th grade science questions? (No) You see what was happening? My writing stopped. I was stuck and when a writer becomes stuck, it can be terrifying. I began playing more and more solitaire on my iPad. Yes, I set new records. Yes, I earned lots of tokens and free lives, and yet, I felt I needed more. I needed stimulation. I needed,  you know, A LIFE. And that's when it came to me...now is the time.

So, I applied to University of Tampa and was accepted. Only 3 semesters needed to graduate. They have a fabulous writing program. It's so perfect. I am so ready to take it all in. Everything is great and then I got the email asking for my medical information. And of course this is ridiculous. So I emailed the Bursar's office and was like, "Hi! I am in  my mid 50's (and by mid I mean late) and not living on campus. I assume I do not need to send my medical information." And basically got back, "Yes you do. All students are required to."

And now I am rethinking. Because first of all, I don't think they have enough free space in their computer system to hold all my medical information. I mean I am a 56 year old hypochondriac who has had 4 children. I can see it now, the 17 year old office assistant looking over my stuff: Hey does anybody know what Fosomax is? Or, What is Effexor? Is it like that Ecstasy drug? Hey, isn't osteoporosis that disease where you keep falling asleep?

Still, I think my strong desire to succeed will overpower my embarrassment that everyone in the main office knows I am on lipitor. SO WHAT? IT'S A LOW DOSE!

Yes. I want this bad. And I'm not letting anything stop me. In fact, this week I am doubling up on my Calcium and Glucosamine Chondroitin. I don't want to break a hip when I try out for cheerleading.

Rah.





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Election Exhaustion And Women I Love

I know, I know. We didn't think he could do it. But he did it. And the country is in an uproar. And more importantly, I am very tired. Are you guys tired? I woke up Wednesday in such an emotionally exhausted state. I was in a foggy haze worse than when I woke up in my hospital room after I had had my first child and saw her in that little baby thing on wheels next to my bed, and I was like "Who the hell is this now, I'm trying to sleep" until it hit me, "Oh yeah, I had a baby a few hours ago." I mean I was totally wiped.

Yup, we are pretty beat. And you people who are really into the whole political thing must be really tired. I love my country and I care about who runs it, of course I vote, but beyond that, I stay out of it.  I figure, you know, those guys have it covered. They probably don't need my help. As a matter of fact the closest I ever got to being involved in politics is when I ran for Junior Class Secretary in high school. The only reason I did THAT was because my dad said if I didn't get involved in some kind of school activity he wouldn't let me go out with my boyfriend on the weekend AND my mother said I could get a new jean skirt. Also, no one ran against me, so I felt  I had a very good shot at it.

Now, where am I going with this you are probably asking yourself because you have shit to do and this is starting to drag on. Well I am NOT talking about the election, believe it or not. I am not telling you who I voted for, or how I feel about the person who was elected. For all you know I may have written in my choice. Maybe I voted for Don Draper. He would make an awesome president, just look what he did with that smoking campaign. And he really carries himself well. So cool.

What— too soon?

Okay, what I want to talk about is women I admire, and this came to me after watching Hillary's concession speech. No tears. No recriminations. Wearing PURPLE for God's sake. And even in defeat, leaving us with a message of hope. How classy is that? Forget about the whole email thing. Frankly, I screw up my emails all the time. One time my friend sent me an email about her boss screwing her over on a promotion, and I wrote back HE IS A MOTHER FU---R and then accidentally sent it to MY boss. So, you know, I can see how it could happen.

Other women who have left a permanent mark on me? Princess Diana. Can't even write about her because I will cry and I have a dentist appointment shortly.  Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Can anyone ever really see a pink suit and a pillbox hat and not get the chills? I can picture her standing at JFK's funeral with her children, she all  draped in black, back straight, elegant yet so obviously deeply mourning. I had snot running down my face for 3 days after my dog died, so, I am in awe.

The list is endless, Eleanor Roosevelt, Ellen DeGeneres, Michelle Obama, Meryl Streep, Gloria Steinem, Nora Ephron, Erma Bombeck,  Rosa Parks, J K Rowling, All the women astronauts, my mother, okay fine, Oprah. These are just a few who come to mind in this minute. This doesn't even begin to sum up the list of women who I admire, who I feel have contributed to this world of ours where women are now finally beginning not only to sit in the front seat, but to actually drive.

Would it have been great to see a woman president? Of course, but I have no doubt the time is coming. I will see that in my lifetime, of that I am sure. Think of what we have seen, in the last few generations. Look at the daughters that we have produced. You think ANYTHING will stop them from getting what they want out of life? No way. The glass ceiling Clinton spoke of will soon be just wide open blue sky.

Ellen repeated a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt the other day in trying to cheer up those who felt devastated by the election results.  She said, "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."I love that. Because I know that even as women take their rightful place in the world, and accomplish more than generations before ever thought possible, it will always be us, the women, who carry the matches and keep the candle burning. And the dripping wax will burn the hell out of us and leave some scars. Still it is us who will be keepers of the flame and who will continue to illuminate the road ahead. And make no mistake; we are unstoppable as we head strongly and confidently towards the light.

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An Exciting Recommendation From the TV Show Whisperer



Three things I am not afraid to admit: 1. I Love Barry Manilow. I still cry when Ready to Take A Chance Again plays on my ipod as I am pulling into Publix. 2. Sometimes I only PRETEND to turn up the resistance on my spin bike and then act like it’s super hard to pedal and 3. I am addicted to TV. Not only am I addicted,  I am actually sort of like a TV Show Whisperer. My friends will text me, “Help! Just finished Downton Abby and need a show!” And I can recommend something they will love based on what I know about their television habits. Documentaries? Got a list of them for you. Sitcoms? Not my thing but I know the best of  what you’re looking for.  Offbeat foreign series? I totally got you covered.

My thing? I love shows that center around women. I guess that’s because I am one and I like to see how other women handle their shit.  Do all of us hide a secret bag of potato chips behind the purses in our closet?  Do all of us keep those size 2 skinny jeans knowing the day will come when our terminal illness will kick in and we can wear them again? Don’t we all stalk our doctors on Facebook? No? Oh, me neither. Still, I love my women based TV.

As your TV advisor, I need to tell you about a beautiful new show I found that, you know, totally gets me! The Other F Word by writer/director Caytha Jentis had me hooked from the very first scene, which involved four late 40 somethings getting ready to jump from an airplane with their significant others. Don’t get too attached to the SO’s because this show is all about the ladies. And these ladies are asking themselves as I do a lot of the time, WHO AM I NOW?

All of a sudden, they find themselves empty nesters,  feeling their lives lacking direction and purpose. One woman contemplating her new future asks her husband, “What am I qualified to do?” “Pampered Chef!” he yells, as he jumps from the plane. Hilarious, yes! Thought provoking, Yes! Familiar? Yes!

The Other F Word  can be found on Amazon Prime and there’s good news and bad news. The good news is you can binge watch the whole series (8 episodes) in under an hour. The bad news? You can binge watch the whole series in under an hour! But fear not, I have it on good authority that Season 2 is in the works. Do yourself a favor —pour yourself a nice glass of something and start streaming The Other F Word. Trust me on this one.

You can see The Other F Word here! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LDXWSIO


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This Week In Review

Ach! You won't believe what happened to me this week. Aside from the usual, I mean, which includes daily trips to Publix for their cut up fruit and I have to go daily because I just pick out all the watermelon and throw the rest away. It also includes two Pilates sessions which I have cut down from one hour to 45 minutes because A. it saves me a little money and B. I think I have adult ADD and those last 15 minutes of laying there stretching with my legs over my head and my arms flung out makes me realize how waterboarding victims feel, because all I can think about is END THE AGONY! and let me go get an Egg McMuffin which is how I reward myself for exercising.

It also includes my weekly therapy session, because as many of you know, I do struggle with anxiety. And before you judge, realize I come by this condition honestly because, 1. I'm Jewish. 2. I'm menopausal. 3. I'm the mother of 4 adults, one of whom texted me the other day and asked me what color her eyes were when she was filling out a passport application. So, come on, let's not throw stones. Anyway, the thing with weekly therapy is that when you  are in crisis, it is invaluable. You know that in just a few days you will meet with a trained professional who will talk you down and make you see that whatever you are dealing with is probably not going to end in a catastrophic death, the need to declare bankruptcy or jail time.

However, during that rare week when all is well, it is basically an hour worth of awkward  silences where you try to think of something to get help with as your ex husband has put a waiver on your insurance that does not allow for any mental health reimbursement. So, you hear the minutes ticking by and realize each one costs a dollar and you have to say something. So a session might go like this:
THERAPIST: What would you like to talk about this week?
ME: (heart racing THINK OF SOMETHING! THINK OF SOMETHING!)  Well, I'm really upset about my hair.
THERAPIST: I see. And why is that?
ME: (Holding up a piece of hair on  my head that sticks up like Alfalfa's)Look don't you think this is too short?
THERAPIST: (thinking of her waiting room full of suicidal patients) Okay, well if there's nothing else see you next week.

Okay, so my week also includes my job search. Every week I apply for jobs which is a big step for me because it means overcoming the fear that I will actually get one. And lo and behold I get an email from one of the companies I sent a resume to that says "We are impressed with your resume and would like to talk with you further." And the job is for an editor of a "large publication." And I am like OMG this is it.  Immediately I think of that Tumi briefcase I always wanted and wonder if it has a slide in pocket for my laptop. And also, do I need to get some pant suits so that I look professional? I mean being an editor of a large publication, I want to be dressed to impress, yet appear approachable to all the writers who will be coming to me for my valuable writing advice. I once tried on a pantsuit that instead of a jacket had a long hanging vest. It made me look like Maude. Maybe skirts and kitten heels...

The letter goes on to say "We would like to schedule a skype call at 3:00. Would you please check out our website so that you are familiar with our publication before the phone call." And I emailed back "Of course, Looking forward to it!" which I thought sounded excited but not desperate.

And I go to the site and as I'm waiting for it to download I'm thinking, maybe it's a fashion magazine, or better yet, a news publication! Maybe an entertainment e-zine where  I can write weekly wrap ups of the Real Housewives of wherever. Which will lead to my interviews on Entertainment Tonight, which could lead to a job and me having to move to Los Angeles —I mean so much to think about.

Finally the download is complete and the screen comes alive with...well...vaginas. And boobs. It is a "Gentleman's Quarterly" apparently. And of course all visions of briefcases and kitten heels went right out the window. And I emailed back, "Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak with you but based on my current line of work, I don't think this is a fit for me." And that was the last I heard from them.  And of course, my current line of work is sitting on my bed writing blogs hoping to inspire women and also make them laugh,  and working on a book that will one day be read by millions. Okay, thousands. Okay, hundreds. Okay, my immediate family.

There is a bright spot in this experience however...I already have my topic for my next week's therapy session! So, there's that...





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