Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ten Things I Would Like to Tell Middle Aged Women

Ten Things I Would Like to Tell Middle Aged Women

1.If you married that guy who looked down your shirt at your boobs and continues to look down every woman's shirt, getting a new set of boobs won't save your marriage. He'll keep looking at fresher, younger meat. If you have already divorced him, a new set of boobs will only get another guy just like him. Invest in a really good new bra every six months (stop wearing that gray thing that slides off of your shoulders) and use the rest of the money to DO something interesting (and in the midst of LIVING an interesting life, you may just meet an interesting man.)

2. Get out of the tanning bed. If you are going to get a tan, it should be the by-product of living. You have a choice: you can close your eyes and braise yourself evenly while you think about all of life's worries and try to ignore the smell of your own flesh burning, OR you can get a tan while you engage in real life, move your body, generate endorphins naturally and have an outlet for all of your worries and fears; there is no shame in uneven tan lines from swimming, running, biking, hiking, working in your garden, going to your kid's soccer game. LIVE your life in the sun instead of dying in the coffin of a tanning bed.

3.Own what you say. Apologize when necessary. Move on.

4. Drama happens all around you. Lots of people depend upon you to be sucked into drama. Be the one who stands apart from the drama. Be the calm in the storm. Keep your head.

5. Follow your heart? At this point in life, I'd say you should. Not to run away with your old high school boyfriend you reconnected with on Face Book, but to help you navigate the unpredictable world around you. Use it for a guide "If those words or actions would wound my heart, should I inflict them upon another? If it hurts my heart to be yelled at every day, maybe it hurts my teenage child's heart to be yelled at every day. If I crave the words 'I love you, I appreciate you,'maybe I should say them to someone else."

6.Never let a man (OR A WOMAN) make you feel weak or inferior. You probably have more interaction with women in your life on a daily basis. Dropping kids off at school, yoga class, PTA, shopping, the workplace. Really, when you got to the soccer game late and you had to walk around the edge of the field with all of the other moms sitting together watching you, you cringed at the thought of what they might be saying to one another. Likewise, when you get to work and walk past the water cooler, the men may be gawking, but most likely they are ignoring you if you are middle age. The women, however have assessed your clothes, hair,makeup, teeth, shape and smell before you can say "good morning." You have two choices: Learn to look them in the eye, smile, walk on past and not give a shit about what they say. OR befriend them, be good to them and (it is harder to do this with friends than with enemies) NOT GIVE A SHIT ABOUT WHAT THEY SAY.

7. Smoking is not sexy. But it is an appetite killer. So is coffee, diet soda, diet pills, meth, binging and purging and fasting for great lengths. We tell our daughters to be heathy, but then we practice all sorts of unhealthy behaviors out of vanity. You wouldn't smoke in front of your daughters--why would you abuse your body in so many other ways. Live beautifully, eat healthy food, exercise, practice faith. You will be sexy.

8.I don't care what anyone thinks of me. At this point in life, you shouldn't care. That is one of the benefits of middle age...but you should be wise enough to know the difference between reckless living and a healthy sense of self. If you don't--then read Madame Bovary.

9.Don't play stupid even if you are. Inform yourself. Read. Ask questions. Debate. Don't buy into wholesale pitches about getting rich quick, solving all of life's problems with a pill, trusting one political party entirely. Life has taught you a few things by now. Ineptitude might have gained you some points when you were a young hot thing with potential and a hope of learning something. Now it just makes you inept.

10. You are beautiful. You are enough.You will never look like a 20 year old again. You might, with a lot of "work" look like a 40 year old woman who has an incredible fear of aging and who has gone to great lengths to look 20 from a distance (only to disappoint and sometimes scare upon closer inspection.) live a beautiful life and you will be beautiful. Take care of your body and soul and you will BE beautiful. Obsess over trying to fool people into thinking you are still young and you only deceive yourself. You are beautiful. You are enough. (PS, let your daughters dress like the teenagers they are--you, on the other hand, need to get your own damn grown up clothes.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

A note and another promise.

Still don't have a scanner here--but I will get to it! It is Monday morning and the students will arrive tomorrow. We ran into two early-comers yesterday at church, Anna and Brie, who seemed a bit shell-shocked. It was all I could do not to take over their day and do everything for them. ...but I resisted the urge because part of being here is supposed to be about learning how to do things yourself.

I almost turned around to catch them a half-dozen times and the guilt was with me all evening as I was with my family in my apartment, secure and happy. We will have the students over on occasion and hope that they will feel welcome here, but rescuing them too early would make this trip all about me rescuing and not about them discovering. As much as I like to be the center of attention, I try to resist my overly protective urge to meddle. As I type this it still feels wrong in my gut to have left those two girls--women--standing there unsure of where to go for the day...on the other hand, they were standing next to the Pompidou pure bliss wasn't too far away.

So the women arrive tomorrow. They are staying on a pedestrian street very near our apartment(Rue Cler for all of you google mappers, ) and as soon as they set up there they will come here and pick up their Navigo passes, cell phones, information packet. Daryl will assign them tasks to accomplish before later that evening when we will meet at the Institute for a meeting. After that, it is dinner at a restaurant called "Le Trumilou" (a suggestion from Bruce Hayes--thank you Bruce!)

They will be up early Wednesday morning so that we can make a train to the South of France--we will be on the road for 10 days and I hope to keep you posted on our travels, but I am not sure about the WiFi possibilities along the way. We will be exploring Basque country, jumping over the border into Spain, spending some time on the coast. Then we will go back to France inland for some visits to prehistoric caves, some canoeing, hiking.We will be visiting farms, a chocolate factory,museums and castles, medieval cities. Of course we will be shopping, eating, and lounging--I mean learning along the way.

So there it is. That is what I have time for now. Hope to get back to you later today.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Some Paris Notes

So I am still working on the scanning options here in the apartment--I have a couple of cartoons, but I may wait to post them when I can scan. Meanwhile I have had some requests for more info on what we are doing here.

Daryl and the boys (Henry 17, Theo 12 and Cy 11) and I are here for four months with the Brigham Young University Paris Study Abroad Program. Daryl is the director of the program and I am along for the ride. I will be teaching a writing class, but for the most-part the boys and I will try to stay out of the way.(Okay, we will be having a helluva a time while doing so...) The students live with families here in the greater Paris area and meet at a building owned by the church (the Institute) for classes. They will also be taking French Language classes at a Catholic university.

We will be taking some trips as a group and meeting as a group for meals and some tours of the city. I know some of the girls who are (will be next week) here with us from Timpview High School as well as from BYU classes. I know a couple of girls from past Paris visits and from past lives in Tucson.

We were here five years ago as a family on a Study Abroad program and made some great and lifelong friends...and it feels a bit funny that most of them are not here with us. Most importantly, we miss our girls Sophie(21) and Maude (19). Sophie is back home with her husband Jeremy living in our house and taking care of Gunther and Mae. It is hard to be here without her. She is a great travel companion and friend as well as a hard worker! Last time we were here she was training for her high school State Swimming Championship (which she flew back to Utah to compete in) and she was up and swimming almost every day. We miss her setting of our pace.

Maude is not as far away. She is here in Paris with a family as a nanny. She has been with them (in their summer home on the Riviera) since late June but has just returned for the back to school rush of Parisian kids. She is learning the ropes of her new Paris location and is gearing up for the day to day of the fall routine. We are excited that she is going to spend this week-end with us here at the apartment before she plunges headlong into that routine.

So our days are relatively lazy as we get to set our own schedule (until the BYU students--btw ALL 25 of them are women) arrive. We are all a bit jet-lagged still so we sleep until Daryl manages to drag us out of bed. Breakfast is a production (as are all of the meals )in that our apartment is a classic 19th century bourgeois dwelling. The kitchen is far away from the living area as there most likely was a servant that prepared and served all of the meals in the dining room. So there are many steps back and forth between the dining room and the kitchen. The boys each have an assignment of setting/prep., clearing/put away, or washing dishes. Henry actually threw himself on that grenade and volunteered to be the permanent dishwasher. I think he enjoys the solitude that the kitchen and his iPod afford him.

After breakfast we head to the closest park (Champs de Mars) where the boys play soccer or ping pong and I go running/walking. The boys have become friends with a precocious 6 year old named Canton who travels at all times with a ping pong paddle. He bounces his paddle on the packed dirt playground while he surveys the competition. His grandmother says he choses the older kids "les grandes" to challenge so he will get better. He has beaten 2 of my 3 boys (I won't say who....) We meet up after my foray into the jogging world and sometimes play a little soccer or basketball. Sometimes we just mock the frenchmen who try to play basketball. But the vacations are almost over and by next week most of the regulars will have gone back to school and we will only have the tourists to conted with. (Yes, I consider myself a tourist--although I like to take a superior attitude towards them with my wealth of knowledge!ha)

We head back to the apartment and spend the next few hours studying, reading, doing light housework. And all too soon the meal routine kicks in for lunch. After lunch, Daryl usually says something like "I HAVE to get OUT" so we all head out into the city. We usually follow his lead in wander in whatever direction he takes us. He has been working here for years and has a pretty good sense of the city. We usually wander for a few hours, run errands, complete the endless red-tape of life as a visitor in France, and then drag ourselves back home. Dinner and then another short walk around the neighborhood before bed. I have to say I love the pace of the city. I love being out in the crowds. I prefer walking when I can. If not walking--I like to take the bus so that I can see where I am headed, finally there is the Metro for speed. We are going to try out the Velib in the next few days (bikes that you can pick up and ride to your destination and leave there.) Can't wait.

Finally for today's post-- a lesson in greed. All that glitters is not gold.

I found a gold band in the apartment here. When you move into a place that has itinerant residents, there is usually an accumulation of left overs-- lots of umbrellas, decks of cards, paper back novels (cheesy romance novels that are squirreled away out of sight--this is a pretty literary crowd that comes here so there is some shame in a good bodice ripper,) bottles with 2Tbsps.. of shampoo in the bottom, tea bags, Costco taco seasoning that has been hand-carried from the states....etc.. The apartment has been freshly painted recently and so all things decorative have been stashed in closets or on the tops of armoires. I vase rattled in the shifting of these items and I discovered a gold wedding band inside. Damn. I am lucky; I have been wanting a heavy gold band for years since I have "grown" out of my original wedding ring. So I was faced with a moral dilemma: announce to past residents here at the apartment that a ring has been found or just keep the discovery on the DL (down low--we take great pleasure saying it DL, because of course, these are Daryl's initials and he is a consummate understater--unless he is apologizing at which point he is the most hyperbolic in his attempts to reconcile an ill.) Back to the ring, or maybe the ring belonged to Richard--the landlord... in which case, he might see me wearing it and wonder. I showed it to Daryl.

"It is not gold."
"Yes it is!"
"Then let's sell it."
"No! Do you know how long I have wanted a gold band?"
"Well I have wanted one for YEARS."
"It isn't gold."
"I think it is. I am wearing it."

I put it on. I wear a silver band with it--to keep the gold one from slipping off--because of course, it is too big. It looks good.

I went running this morning. Past the Eiffel Tower down along the Seine River. And I was wearing my ring.I had slowed down to a trot (truth be told, I WALK faster than I can jog...but that is another story) when I felt the mark on me. (You can tell when you have been marked by a con artist almost immediately--because no one else gives a damn about you in Paris. Which is what I love most about being here--you are completely invisible to most people. You can do whatever you want and no one stops to stare or size you up. It is liberating. ) So I knew I was marked and waited to see how it played out. He, the con, was shorter than me, the rube. His fingers, however, were thicker than my wrist. He bent to pick up something off of the ground with those chubsters. It was a heavy gold band. At this point my radar went away and instead of thinking : Something is not right, two rings in three days? I thought, God has looked into the depths of my heart and has answered my prayers to be released from financial bondage! He is raining gold rings on me!!!!!! I can keep my ring and get this one from the man with the fat fingers to sell. Hot damn! Grocery money! Did I say RUBE?

"Look at this!" as he shows me the ring.
"I am lucky, but not so lucky because this won't fit me." He tries to fit it on one of his massive fingers. And then grabs my hand and slides it on my finger.
"Here! You take it--look it is marked on the inside--it is real gold."
"No! You can sell it! Gold is high." ( my French stinks--btw.)
"It is a woman's ring..."
"No thanks" (while I am thinking that I really want the ring.)
"Ok, but maybe you have a couple of euros you could give me for something to eat?"
"No, I am making exercise--I don't carry money with me."
"Just a couple of euros?"
"Sorry, I have nothing." I was being honest. I had nothing in my pockets. I was running,trotting, walking and I don't carry money when I am out.

I left him standing next to the Seine. And it took me a good hundred yards to realize that I am stupid. Rube Queen. Biggest scam on Paris streets right now. A

I am going to BHV to buy a brass bushing that actually FITS me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

#8.27 Four comics. From Paris. For you. Please forgive me for being away too long.

So, I have been gone. Busy. busy.ok? And here I am in Paris. I'll be here for 4 months. And I am beginning to make up for lost comic days. I don't have a scanner here yet--and I am still afraid of drawing on my new Ipad. So you get terrible quality--and no coloring yet. Still busy. busy.ok? Here goes. Back on the cartoon wagon.
If you say you love flying, I say you are a liar.
We take our kids to Paris for some culture and the conversations continue to be about "oui, oui." (forgive the sideways-ness. Too late to re-do. Too jet-lagged.)
Yes. I miss them too.

Friday, July 8, 2011

#7.8 It has been a long few days of parties (3 at my house, including a wedding reception for 500) and summer activites.So no cartoons-only scribbles

Cemetery Visit near Midway, Utah
Sacass of Fire
Read Ellen's blog post @ on Tuesday July 12th

Tuesday, June 28, 2011