Is the Nest Ever Really Empty?

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Today my last child moved out. So I guess this is the part where I get to take off all of my clothes and run around my house naked, right? Wrong. Why is that the first question people ask when you tell them you’re going to be an empty nester?  I can’t think of anything at all that would cause me to run around my house naked, except if my house was on fire and I was in the shower. Even then I’d have the sense to grab a towel!

People also say, “Just think, you can make love every day and scream as loud as you want.”  If you’ve been following my posts, that comment makes my hair curl, for a couple of reasons. First, what makes you think I WANT to make love every day? Second, who said I’m a screamer?  Moving on.

Then there’s some friends who have said, “Now you can eat whenever and whatever you want.”  Excuse me?  I’ve pretty much always eaten whenever and whatever I want. Look, I’m the Mom, I went through a combined 50 hours of labor, I get to cook what I want and eat when I want. Serving breakfast at 11:00 a.m.? Why of course! Dinner at 9:30 p.m.?  My house, my rules.  My kids are incredibly flexible today. I’d call that exceptional parenting.

When I was doing some research on empty nesters, I found a number of pictures of people having fun and laughing and cuddling, etc.  Spoiler alert: There is no magic glitter that is sprinkled after your kids move out that suddenly creates a euphoric relationship. If it wasn’t good before, it’s not going to be magical once you’re alone.  Fortunately for me, the magic is still around.

If I am to be completely honest,  I am a bit melancholy, but I also raised my kids to move out.  I never said, “I’m going to have children so they can live with me forever!” that’s what spouses are for. Don’t get me wrong, I adore my children, but after 24 years it’s time to go do what I raised them to do, be self-reliant and change the world!

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So now that the house is mine, what’s next?   I certainly won’t be running around naked, I won’t be screaming at the top of my lungs after my 3rd love making session of the day (just shoot me). Instead, I will read a good book without interruption, I’ll make a pot of coffee that won’t be gone by the time I go to pour a second cup, and I’ll get to watch what I want  on T.V.  But wait, who am I kidding?  I still have one of the biggest children left at home, my husband.  I suppose one’s nest is never completely empty. That makes me happy.

 

Here’s to empty nesters everywhere!

 

Meno

Embracing my Bellulite

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I heard about it, I discounted it. I read about it, thought it was simply a scare tactic to sell a product. I thought about it, but naively figured I was immune. But now, I’ve got it. The sudden pooch around your middle highlighted with dimples that not only housed  my children for 9 months, but at one time rocked a bikini. Okay, not a bikini, a two piece. Let’s be honest, a tankini. Either way, it’s happened and as I stare in the mirror, the woman staring back looks strikingly like me,  except for the belly. It’s not just any belly, it’s a belly with cellulite, “bellulite.”

Hey God, it’s me Meno, I’d like my belly back.

Let’s be perfectly honest, we all know that no matter what we do, or how well we do it,  aging is as certain as ear hair and fading vision.  However, I can’t ever recall my mother, grandmother or her friends discussing their changing bodies. I think the only thing I ever heard discussed was about my school teacher with the arm bags. You know, when she writes on the chalkboard the skin beneath her arm wiggles like jello? Kids used to laugh. Mary Henderson, the smartest girl in our class once asked Mrs. Stinford (not real name) if she was like a Kangaroo and stored babies in there. Mrs. Stinford held that against Mary for the rest of the year. Perhaps Mary wasn’t so smart after all. The point is that I never heard anyone talk about changing bodies.

Shy of going under the knife, (of which I suffer a severe knife phobia), I can’t think of anything else that might get rid of my new found bellulite. I currently walk regularly, I eat pretty well, no fried stuff or processed stuff, and I dabble with strength training a couple of times a week to prevent osteoporosis. So what else am I WILLING to do?  Well, not much more than I’m doing now. Sure, I could go to some gym somewhere and sweat my arm bags off with 100 other people. Not desperate enough. Or I could hire a personal trainer to push me to the point of pain for perfection. I don’t need a new friend, I have plenty.  Or I could order those pills on TV that promises to rid me of belly fat. However, with my allergies, I’d be the one that would suffer some strange allergic reaction. I’d be puffier than when I started.

To be honest, the bellulite doesn’t thrill me, but neither does snow. The reality is that snow falls and makes things look pretty and tummies turn to cushions for kitties and small babies.  The silver lining.

Given that I’m not willing to do more than what I’m doing now, I choose to embrace my new found belly. Rub it from time to time, maybe thank it for doing such a great job for me during my pregnancies and crop top days.  But then, the most important thing to do is show my daughter and say, “Sister, love what you’ve got now, because one day you too will have a belly just like me! Check it out!”  A magical teaching moment. She will never be able to say I never told her.

So what about you? Bellulite? Do you love it? Do you ignore it? Or do you even care?

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Here’s to great tummies everywhere!

 

Meno

 

 

 

 

 

Innocent Stare or Passionate Peeping?

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My husband and I recently went on vacation and one of the places we visited was filled with a number of very attractive people. I found myself staring at an unbelievable number of handsome men, while my husband had no trouble staring at a number of beautiful ladies. So I got to thinking, when men see a beautiful women, what do they think?  When women see a handsome man what do they think?

To be perfectly honest, there is no sexual thought that passes this woman’s mind when I see a handsome man, simply the idea of him making me look really good when we’re out to dinner. A glass of wine, a giggle or two and then after all the people that have seen us and wonder how I ever got so lucky, I ask him to drop me off at home. As I walk away I look back over my shoulder and say, “Don’t ever change,” and then a wink and I close the door never to see that gorgeous face again. Of course, he’s heartbroken.  man_woman_buttons_web

As for men, different scenario. I know because I asked. When they stare, they imagine what she looks like under the clothes and perhaps a tryst on a king size bed somewhere. No surprise there.

So ladies, I’m curious. When you see a handsome man, do you jump to thoughts of what he’d look like naked? Or simply just admiring an attractive man?  I’m sure there’s a variety of different thoughts. When I asked my husband what he thought of when he stared at ladies he said, “What difference does it make?  I’m married to you, I got a good deal.”  After 30 plus years of marriage, he still manages to squeeze out a compliment.  I give him a wink and say, “Don’t ever change,”  close the door to the bathroom and he falls asleep dreaming of me. (I made that part up).

 

Here’s to your style of stare,

Meno

I Feel Bad About My Eyebrows

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One of the funniest books I’ve read is a book by Nora Ephron called, I Feel Bad About My Neck.  It was a laugh out loud, head shaking in agreement, read. So many of her stories are not only relatable, it’s very likely if you had an opportunity to sit down with her you’d be rolling over laughing at the similarities you share.  What a great story teller she was. No matter how dark the cloud over your head, she always revealed the rainbow when the timing was right.

Recently, I’ve noticed something about my once thick, gorgeous eyebrows. Yes, I can brag because if we can’t find at least one thing we’re proud of about our appearance, we need to kick up our therapy sessions. There is always SOMETHING to like and for me, it’s always been my eyebrows. However, over the last couple of years, those great eyebrows have been thinning, no longer lush, more sparse.  If I may be so bold as to steal Nora’s line, I feel bad about my eyebrows.

I really do miss my eyebrows. I can’t help but continue to play the very old song, Abraham, Martin and John song by Dion only with very different lyrics.

“Anybody here, seen my lush, thick eyebrows?  Can you tell me where they’ve gone? They saw a lot of tweezing but not so much to disappear..I just looked around and they were gone.” ‘sigh’

Although my eyebrows have been thinning, the irony is the abundance of chin and upper lip hair that has recently joined my enlarged pores.  Like a raspberry bush that replants itself from limbs, it seems my hair follicles from the brow area have replanted themselves in my chin and upper lip.  And to add insult to injury,  one smart alec stray has managed to replant itself smack dab in the middle of a mole. That’s what I get for being grossed out many years ago by the site of chin hair on older women. Now I’m that older woman well, payback is hell.   That mole that will be the bane of my existence.

So do tell, what about your eyebrows? Have you noticed a change? Thinning? Shape change?  How I miss my brows. But in the spirit of Nora Ephron, the rainbow is my eyebrow pencil. In the space that used to house lush thick eyebrows, it is now colored in. Thank God I learned to color in the lines as a kid.

 

Here’s to thinning eyebrows everywhere,

 

Meno

 

Fashion, Function or Fuddy-duddy

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My new dilemma in my 50’s –  fashion. Recently, I had to buy a dress for a fancy dancy event. I found a dress I thought was adorable.  I tried it on to show my 20-something year old daughter. And when I made the big reveal, the look on her face told me, “NO!”  And then she said it, “Well, Mom it’s just a little…..young.”  What does that mean, young?  I wasn’t sporting cut off jean shorts, pockets below the actual short, cheeks visible (the less cute cheeks) braless with a t-shirt, this was a dress, and a lovely one at that.

Hmm, I went back in to the dressing room and looked in the mirror and wondered what was “young” about it. So I stuck my head out of the dressing room to find my daughter and I asked , “Define too young?” She thought for a moment and without holding back said, “It’s something I would wear.”  I kicked back, “Well you borrow my clothes. Should I tell you that the shirt or dress you borrowed looks too old?”  And then of course the walls went up and she said, “If you like it, get it, I don’t care.”  Ugh, the “I don’t care.”  I’m a woman, I know full well what that means, “Proceed at your own risk.”

I didn’t know what to do. I’m pretty good at choosing what makes me happy, but now I actually questioned myself. Am I delusional?  Is this dress more appropriate for someone much younger? Am I clear on what defines too young or too old?”  So I decided to ask around and here were some responses by my 50 something lady friends.

“If your cheeks are hanging out of your shorts, not appropriate. Pig tails, not appropriate.”

“Personally, if you feel good in it, who cares?”

” I once had someone tap me on the back, I turned around and it was a young man. ‘Oh sorry, I thought you were a friend of mine, but she’s much younger.’  I didn’t know whether to feel flattered or embarrassed.”

“It’s all very personal. Use good judgement. If you like the way you feel in it, wear it.”

“By the time you get to 50, most women get it. And then there are a few others that don’t. Part of we wants to judge, while the other part appreciates their carefree attitude.”

“I liken it to a beach. There are some people who have no business wearing bikini’s or speedos (yes mean still wear those) if you feel good wearing it, doesn’t much matter what others think.”

So there we have it. What are your thoughts? Do you think about dressing your age or do you dress in whatever you feel good in?

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Whatever you wear, wear it well!

 

Meno

The Big “V”

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It took me three days just to get the courage to write this piece. I’m writing it because I said from the beginning this blog was to discuss things for women over 50 that seem taboo or simply not documented. I have to thank you all for providing such great feedback from my original piece on libido. It was incredibly insightful. As I was reading through the comments,  I noticed one came from a company…. an interesting company. O.K. I’ll just say it, a company that carries vibrators. My rearing causes blushing as I write this.  Little did I know this libido conversation was far from over. Oh the complexity of it all!

So here I am at 50 something and truth be told, I’ve never been introduced to Mr. V. Now I’m not so naive that I’ve never heard of a, ahem, a vibrator,  I just never felt there was a need. Not to mention me and battery operated things don’t get a long well. I’ll spare you the details.

So ladies, let’s discuss. What are your thoughts on this topic which I consider pretty taboo? I have friends that have used them. Some say every girl should have one while others say, it’s personal preference.  It was my understanding that God gave women and men two hands, one for pleasure and the other for wiping the sweat off the forehead, no?

I have done a bit of research.  I felt better knowing Hamilton Beach actually introduced the first electric vibrator in 1902. Something sounds so all American about that.  I couldn’t help but wonder what it was like before the electric models. Imagine battling a wire when you’re trying to have a moment. Further, we know what happens when water/moisture mixes with electricity. Many thanks to Hamilton Beach for sparing the awkward answer to the question, “How’d you burn your yourself?”

It’s been interesting to see the vast selection of Big “V”. Fascinating. I did find out they’re illegal in India and there are also bans in some southern states including Alabama. Interesting quote from a bioethicist and medical historian, Jacob Appel. “Sex toys are actually a ‘social good’ and the devices, ‘marital substitutes’, play “an important role in the emotional lives of millions of Americans.” Hmm. Well, he’s a bioethicist, surely that means that you won’t go blind if you use one. Not to mention I’m all about the social good.

 

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I’m intrigued by the potential discussion, but not intrigued enough to be formally introduced to Big “V” but I am more than willing to listen to what you all have to say. I am but a student, an awkward student, but an enthusiastic learner.

 

Your student,

 

Meno

Libido Part Deux

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Wow! Who would’a thought that the response to my previous post, “Libido. Gone but Not Forgotten” would have generated such interest.  Personally, topics on life and libido past 50 are really hard to find and that particular topic even harder. (No pun intended).  You all had such great things to say, and some were surprising while others were basically saying my life is doomed and I need help. We could all use a little help, but the doomed part I have to disagree with. So let’s break the comments down, shall we?

It was great to learn that I am not alone in my libido limbo. In fact, the majority of women were dining on the same dish as moi.  Many felt that the post was long overdue and again a topic that seems to be passe for many.  I don’t know about your rearing, but my mother told me nothing other than babies come from God (A rather general statement and quite frightening when you’re 10). She was long gone before there was any talk on menopause so my information came from friends, which is always dicey and magazines which is dicier.  Suffice it to say, my menopause insight was as deep as my birds and bees insight.  I’m self taught and well, sometimes one needs affirmation.  Your responses affirmed that libido breakups happen and it’s not a bad thing, in fact it’s more of a natural process than not.

Some felt that my poor husband was like a 7-year old looking through the glass candy counter knowing that he’d never get a single bite. Not true. We just don’t have sex as often and my love for him is shown in different ways. He’s far from celibate, we have great communication, make each other laugh a lot and the sex does happen from time to time. Men are innately more randy than women because they’ve been programmed to procreate whenever and however they can.  Ladies, a little more discriminating. I’m sure some will disagree and say that both are sexual and I think in the teens through 30’s that’s pretty true.  But I’m not discussing that time, I’m discussing where I am now and well, I asked my husband if he felt neglected and he said, “No, should I?” and smiled at me.  Libido is not love and love is not libido.  Therefore, I have to say for those that feel pity for my husband, he’s rotten spoiled and I adore him. Nuf said.

For those that are worried about me (God bless gal pals!) I am perfectly fine. You see I’m not sad that my libido has left the building, I just wish women would talk about it more and not fear that it means life as we know it is over. Quite the contrary.  Because sex isn’t on my radar 24/7, I have time for so many other wonderful things. As I referenced in my last post, I have such a great appreciation for things I never had time for previously.  I am significantly more proud of who I am as a woman, I laugh more than I ever have (often times at myself because it’s healthy) and I believe that the things that really, really matter have risen to the top, much like cream, whip cream. Wait, let’s find another metaphor, my glasses are steaming. (Remember, I said libido may be gone, not forgotten.)

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Finally, there were some that felt if I needed a little libido lifting, reading a great romance, watching some soft porn might do the trick. Nothing like women to help out a gal. Much appreciated.

At the end of all of this is still me, us, women who should not be ashamed of what the media tells us is abnormal or what others tell us unless of course it’s negatively impacting our life.  My life has never been greater. My kids are grown, my husband and I love each other for the things that matter this time in life, humor, intelligence and honesty. No disrespect for those who still chalk sex up and super important, go you! For too long our society has made aging a negative thing.  The focus in on youth. I was young and I have no desire to revisit that time. I’ve worked very hard to get to this point in my life and quite honestly, there is no wrong or right, simply great discussions!  I am ever so grateful you all joined in the discussion, there’s so much left to talk about.

 

Together let’s embrace the change!

Meno

Libido. Gone but not forgotten.

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I can’t help but look back on the days when my husband and I were dating. Every chance we had we were in the throes of passionate love. O.K. I’ll call it what it is, oversexed 20-somethings. The great thing is that it was always mutual. If it wasn’t him instigating the tryst, it was me. I will confess, once when we were on vacation with the kids, we stole away to our car and well, you can guess what happened. And before you judge, my kids were old enough to be alone….with cartoons on…..with a bribe….it was brilliant.  I look back on that time and smile and then there’s a freeze frame and a voice over and it’s me, “My how quickly those years pass and libido shifts.”

So ladies, the truth of the matter is I’m in my 50’s and my libido is shot, kaput, absent, finished spent. No, don’t say it’s fading, it’s a complete blackout. Am  I the only one that feels that way? Don’t get me wrong, when my husband rubs my back or kisses me on the cheek I love that, but only that. It’s all I need. But if I even make one move to insinuate I want more, it’s all over. The sweet rub on the back manages to find it’s way around to my boobs. At which point I turn around and say, “Really?”  Then I feel bad, for a brief moment.

The question then becomes, where did the big L go?  It’s like my libido was traded in for a renewed zest for life. Friendships are deeper, hobbies are pursued more passionately and time in the shower is spent well , washing my hair, cleaning my body and that’s it, done. If there was an agreement made re; my libido way back when, I wasn’t privy to it.  Either way, I’m here, libido free unless I have a couple of hours to rev up the motor. Quite frankly, and we’re being perfectly frank right? I’d rather be reading a good book. You?

So this is the time in life that was never discussed. Whoever would have thought that a young woman with a very healthy sex drive would be writing an article 30 years later about, hasta la vista libido. Well, I never would have thunk it, that’s for sure.  And there’s certainly pressure on to keep that libido rocking. Check out all the  TV ads for guys to call all hands on deck to hoist the sail via a little blue pill.   Is it me or is the way those guys look at the women they’re with a little creepy? The ad says, “If symptoms last for more than 4 hours call your doctor.”  At that point they wouldn’t be calling the doctor for him, it would be for me. Honestly, my worst nightmare.

There’s also pressure (I consider it more of a nuisance) from Hollywood to maintain youth in all aspects, including that sexual appetite. What happens if we don’t? Men seek out younger women. Whatever.

I suppose we do need to consider our significant other.  Sure, I’ve talked about it and reassured him that my love for him is no less, just my sex motor has burned out and that model no longer exists, sorry, no fixing it.  He knows I love and adore him, and I certainly do my best to compromise from time to time.  I truly believe it is simply part of life’s transitions. We find other ways to show our love for each other. I am a believer in the theory that libido is for procreation.  Over it.

But the whole point of this blog is to discuss this topic which is rarely discussed, the fact that libido wanes, but we don’t. Dropped libido isn’t a death sentence, it’s simply an opportunity to re-prioritize.  Maybe discussing libido, or lack thereof is inappropriate. (I’m in my 50’s now, I don’t care) Maybe women still aren’t comfortable discussing it, maybe it’s just me and I’m a pathetic libido free woman, or maybe you agree that the media makes us believe that sex should be hot and heavy until you drop dead (assuming that’s in your 90’s).

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Just like the song, “To every season turn, turn turn,” I believe to every age there is a season and with that comes change. I choose to roll with the change and know that my partner in love takes me with the good and the bad as I do with him. Either way, there’s so much positive at this stage of life that if libido is the only thing I’m missing, I think I’ll be o.k. and so will my hubby. The circle of life in all its libido free splendor.

 

Signed,

 

Meno

It suck to get old. Or does it?

 

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Growing up my elders often shared, “It sucks to get old.”  Typically, the comment followed an injury or a bout with the flu or cold. They were always sure to add, “The body just doesn’t bounce back like it used to.”  The bounce back part when it comes to certain parts of my body, I’m a believer. But the getting old sucks piece, it’s tempting, but I’m not buying in.

A couple of weeks ago, I was out walking and mistook an ice patch for a puddle of water. (How my eyes deceive me. ) I felt like it was in super slow mo. My legs kept moving as they left the ground and gravity pulled me down with an oomph. “Dangit!” I thought to myself, “This is not going to be good.”  I looked back at the right butt cheek that took the impact of the fall to see my favorite walking pants torn. I wanted to pull down the pants to assess the damage but I noticed a man walking towards me and thought likely not a good time.

“You o.k. ma’m?”  Ugh, “Yes, thank you, I’m fine.”  I walked with a limp and I thought for sure I was out of commission for awhile. Then I noticed my knee was bleeding and I was immediately brought back to my youth.

Remember the summer of scabby knees?  I wore those scabs on my knees and elbows as a badge of courage. In fact the success of summer was dictated by the number of kids who showed up on the first day of school with the scabbiest of knees. That thought made me smile.  I then realized that here I am at 50 something, I can still wipe out and walk away, sans tears.  I began smiling at the fact that I can be outside and move my body fluidly, without limitation. Even though that fall did set me back a week or two, I have got the absolute best scabby butt cheek in the world.  And I feel like the kid I did in summer, with my badge of courage. Unfortunately, I can’t share it. Well, I guess I could but somehow I’m thinking the reaction would go from cool to creepy. scab

So when I hear folks drone on and on about how age slows the healing process (yes, it does) or how we just can’t do what we used to I have to move on. I can either buy in to it or walk away knowing that things may be different now, but I can still sport a scab with the best of them!  Who say’s getting old sucks?  Not me.

 

Here’s to scabby knees!

Meno Pause

Why Girlfriends Matter

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I don’t know about you, but as I’ve gotten older there is no more cherished time than the time I spend with girlfriends. Sure, sure, when I was younger and had little kids, girlfriend time was important, but once you get past 50 it seems to change. If you’re lucky enough to still be friends with childhood buddies, you’re lucky. I’m not one of those. We moved a lot  and I never developed those types of friendships. I envy those that do.

The friends that I have made over the last five years I treasure. Maybe it’s because those friends are the real deal. They are my friends because what matters to us now is vastly different than what mattered to me when I was 30 or 40 years old. Some of the friendships I had years ago were simply because they were school moms and automatically became part of the friend circle. But once you get to your 50’s you’re more selective with your friend choices. Gone are the “friends” with constant drama.  Today my friendships are richer and the expectations are non-existent. The conversations are deep and without judgement. You’re no longer trying to be something you’re not, rather we’ve accepted who we are and we like us. It’s refreshing and comfortable and very, very important.

I met with friends recently that I don’t see very often and I said in an email the next day. “My time with you both was simply good for my soul.”  And I meant it. There’s no idle chatter about what so-and-so is doing, there’s no competitiveness there is simply a reciprocal respect.  Of course there’s talk of grandchildren, for those that have them, but never in a “mine are better than yours” but a genuine sense of pride. I’m happy for my friends. Gone are the conversations that were set up to impress. Our conversations are now set up to share mutual joy. So cool and so much easier.

I watch as my daughter enters her 24th year. I think about what’s ahead for her. She is one of those lucky people that has stayed connected with a couple of her childhood friends. But she made new friends in college and they are now inseparable. I like her friends, they’re nice people and they seem to be good friends that generally care about one another. I love to see that.

I have found that my time with my friends is something I prioritize now. My husband is content to stay at home, friends don’t seem to hold the importance for him that mine do. Kind of interesting, but I certainly don’t try to figure it out, not at this stage of life. I also don’t dress up like I used to trying to impress whomever. People have said that women dress to impress other women. That may be true, but at this phase of life, I’m about function, not fashion. It’s not to say I don’t like to look nice, I do, but comfort comes first, cute comes second.

Although I say that my husband is my best friend, I must admit that my girlfriends hold a pretty special spot in my heart and for that, I’m grateful.

 

Here’s to great friends and great conversations!

 

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