Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day!

It is a day to express one’s love to the special people in our life, namely love partners. Many couples go out for a special dinner, others are showered with flowers and/or chocolate or maybe a card. But for the single folk it can be a day tinged with a little sadness and loneliness.

In last year’s Valentine blog, I wrote about my expression of love as a single woman. This year is no different. Later today, I will go out and gift myself some roses; if I appreciated chocolate more, I’d buy chocolate instead, etc. The purchase is to remind myself that love and consideration begins with oneself.

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe deserve your love and affection”.

Buddha

I would love to get some feedback from my readers about what Valentine’s Day means to them. Please share.❤❤❤❤❤

A NANA’S LOVE

After my 3 year old grandson’s repeated request for a sleepover , I finally made it happen. I had the pleasure of hosting him for 3 days and 2 nights. It was a bit exhausting but worth the time spent together. He didn’t miss his mother nor sister until the third day. Up until now it was his older sister that got to spend alone time with me.

With the death of their Daddy, my son-in-law, almost three years ago, my granddaughter and grandson were left with a major void. My ex and I decided, independently, to be there for them.

The previous weekend I had my 13 year old grandson, the eldest, over for a one-on-one to celebrate his birthday. He’s a reserved boy, but I managed to have him share some of his thoughts and interests. He introduced me to “Memes”. According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary , it is, “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media”. We viewed some and laughed together.

The age old expression “you reap what you sow” is very much my motto when it comes to children especially my grandchildren. I want to give them my time and love in a way that is beneficial to THEM. Later, (I hope, LOL) I will reap the benefits!

I never knew my grandparents, therefore never experienced that type of love. My maternal grandparents were dead even before I was born. My paternal grandparents lived in Italy. It was from my long ago ex employer(Shirley), a young ambitious, vivacious, energetic and generous woman, that I became aware of the special bond one can have with their Nana. It touched my heart and I never forgot.

As a 21st century grandmother (with our busy lives and varied interests), my desire is to help enrich my grandchildren’s lives by being open minded, young at heart and supportive. They know my home is their home. May it always be a haven for them.

Facial Treatments

Its a while now that I’ve been noticing the sagging skin on my face, the neck wrinkles and the crepiness on my chest, not to mention the other places on the body, but I’ll focus on the face, neck and chest for now, LOL! I can no longer brush it away as I did before.

Last week, the Grammy award ceremonies took place. Watching the celebrities at their red carpet interviews, gave me time to look at the women, their gown , hair, and face. The 50 + were of real interest to me. It was amazing how well preserved they were despite their age. It made me wonder how truthful they are, when they claim it’s all about the cream they use (they may not have had plastic surgery, but they’ve had something done).

After the Grammy’s I did some research on ULTHERAPY and THERMAGE and requested a consultation with a Derma Clinic. These treatments and others can end up costing thousands of dollars. I told my friend Maya about this and she suggested I first try an IPL treatment that she offers at her spa for a fraction of the price, compared to the other treatments.

The appointment for an IPL was last Thursday. I felt excited but with a sense of trepidation, after all, this was a laser treatment, could it harm me? I quickly put things in perspective. Seven years ago, I underwent cancer treatment. It consisted of 6 rounds of chemo and 25 of radio therapy. A little bit of laser pales in comparison.

I can’t say the treatment was painless; with every shot of laser came a stinging burning sensation. Maya is an excellent esthetician, very sensitive to her clients needs and a very caring person. Before and after the treatment, she gave me a soothing facial, making the overall experience pleasant. I left the spa relaxed and rejuvenated.

I don’t want to age gracefully. This is not about vanity. As we age, the face gives us a more drawn and tired look. That said, I believe that working on our inner selves is also a powerful rejuvinating process. It is part of my daily life. But like my skin care routine, there is only so much I can do at home. When needed, I visit a spiritual healer. She is a gifted woman and has helped me deal with stagnant and suppressed emotional pain, which manifests itself physically.

We wear our emotions on our face; they leave their mark. With some spiritual healing and IPL treatments, I hope to erase some of the visible emotional scars.

As a side note, my spiritual healer made a point to mention recently, GRATITUDE, is the single most important aspect to healing our emotional pain.

Continue reading “Facial Treatments”

Shaping Up, the New Reality

The New Year is upon us. It’s 2020! Can you believe it! I already know I’m going to have an exciting year (just like I knew 2019 was going to be one of transition, reflection and personal growth).

My social calendar is filling up rapidly, that means, I need to refresh my wardrobe by doing some serious shopping. Of course, as a woman, I feel the need to get into shape before I invest in any new pieces.

Although I’ve been exercising almost daily, for the past few months, the results are NIL!! Frankly, it’s rather frustrating. Aging and menopause is a factor, say the experts.

Getting dressed, itself, has become a daily exercise. In my drawer I have every body shaper imaginable. I try on several before I decide which one flatters my shape and outfit. While one shaper pushes in my stomach it creates bulges on my back. With the full body shaper, I practically have to get undressed everytime nature calls. Many times I opt for none.

When I think about all the fuss that goes into trying to get a taut body shape, I question its importance. In the end does it really change anything about, who I am? No, it doesn’t! Then I must use common sense, accept the loose body skin and be realistic about how much can actually be tucked away, or disappear with routine exercise.

As with every New Year, there are resolutions. Mine is to accept the reality of aging and to find new respect and love for this 60+ body.


	

Friends Only Relationship

Last Friday I had lunch with my old lover, the man some 20 years my senior.

From time to time we contact each other.

Before the lunch, he came by the house with a beautiful bouquet of white roses. I was taken aback by his gesture but pleased, nonetheless.

Over lunch, we got caught up on the past months. We also talked about my last blog, “The Male Species”. When he drove me home, I invited him in for a drink. It was my way of thanking him for the flowers and the lunch.

I poured us a digestive and we sat on the couch. He kissed me.

He would have liked us to get intimate but I chose not to, this time. It didn’t feel right. He stayed a little longer and then left.

In my blog, published in May, “The Time Has Come”, I talked about having ended my relationship with my young lover. In truth, the relationship did not stay dormant. I began seeing him again, as a friend. Then one day, the sexual desire was too strong and I succumbed to his advances. It was after a friend advised me that she saw him with another woman for me to finally end it. I discussed it with him and at first he denied it. Then with some probing on my part he admitted it was true. A few weeks prior this occurrence, we had discussed and agreed to be honest with each other, if either of us met someone else.

I haven’t seen my young lover in almost two months. The first month I ignored all his texts and phone calls. Then I decided to reply. I made it clear that it was over between us (as of yesterday, he was still texting, wanting to see me).

When I divorced my husband, he pursued me, endlessly. He would call, text and occasionally invite me to dinner. We continued to have sex. He was by my side the day I had my partial mastectomy. All of it made me feel that I finally had his attention, the attention I craved and lacked during the many years of my marriage. I was basking in it, feeling I had some control over him. At the same time I felt deep sorrow. I never considered taking him back because I knew we would go back to “the way we were”, prior our separation.

It took a major depression, for me to finally realize that continuing to have my ex-husband in my life, even as, “just a friend”, was toxic for me.

I have learned and gained many insights about myself and the male psyche from all three relationships, insights that need more reflection, before I can discuss them openly.

In all my three relationships the men have initiated the sexual advances, even when we were, “just friends”.

Sexual intimacy is powerful. Letting go of its energy is a challenge.

Can women and men really have a “friends only” relationship after they break up?

The Male Species

For those of you who know Steve Harvey, the talk show host, he advises women never to sit at the bar alone if they want to attract the right kind of man.

On one of my solo dinners, I decided to eat at the bar of the restaurant instead of at the table. As I entered the restaurant, the hostess approached me and asked, “Table for one?” I immediately replied that I preferred sitting at the bar. The bartender asked what I’d like to drink and proceeded to take my dinner order. It was late, much of the dinner crowd had left. At the corner of my eye I noticed a younger gentleman sitting at the end of the U-shaped bar. After a few minutes I heard him moving to my side of the bar. He sat down 2 seats away from me.

Eating alone can feel awkward. I tend to look around me and observe the crowd or like this evening, listen to the idle conversation between the bartender and the man, 2 seats away from me. They were commenting on the sport’s game playing on the overhead screen and making small talk (quite uninteresting, actually).

Feeling a little bored, I decided to open a dialogue with the fine man sitting 2 seats away from me.

My opening line was corny. “You must come here often”, I remarked. He immediately turned in in his seat to face me, replying, “As a matter of fact, I do come by from time to time for a drink”.

He wasn’t wearing a wedding ring. He was well dressed, tall, dark and handsome probably mid to late forties.

I enjoy listening to people’s stories and I have a way of making people speak about themselves. Everyone has a story. On this evening I decided to hear his.

When I asked if he was single, he hesitated. After a short pause, he replied “not quite single yet but separated and still living with my soon to be ex wife”. He had young children and did not want them to suffer the effects of divorce. He and his wife had an interim arrangement. They were allowed to take time off alone; tonight was his night so he stopped in for a beer before going to watch the late showing of the movie “John Wick”.

We talked about divorce the effects on the children, etc. The time came for him to leave for the movie theatre, but he didn’t want to because he was enjoying my company, he said. Would I like to join him, he asked. My reply was, “Why not!”

Every woman is warned of going out alone with strangers and to take precautions if you do. For example, let a friend know where you are going and have them call you at some point during the evening to make sure you are in no danger. A friend of a friend once advised me not to take such risks ’cause “the stranger could kill me and cut me into tiny pieces”. Her vivid description of the danger made me explode with laughter.

Nonetheless, I took a calculated risk and agreed to go to the movies with the gentleman. The movie theatre was walking distance. He paid for my ticket and offered to buy me popcorn, which I kindly declined. We sat quietly during the movie. He got up at one point to make a phone call. A fleeting thought came through my mind, what if he just called someone to meet him outside in order to kidnap me and chop me into little pieces? LOL!!!

On our way out of the movie theatre he complimented my perfume. He told me how throughout the movie he was distracted by my fragrance; would I like to join him for a nightcap? It was late, our options were limited. Going downtown was not a good idea especially with a stranger. He then said we could continue our conversation in the car. Oh no,no,no,no that was not an option either. I’ve been on too many dates to know what comes after. “How about your house”, was his next suggestion. That was definitely, out of the question.

We walked to my car, he asked for my number and kissed me on the cheek, then we parted.

When I arrived home, a text message from him, awaited me. The last part of his message read, I wish you invited me over. You would never forget it. That is for sure”.

Why do some men automatically assume you will have sex with them just because you were friendly and shared a pleasant conversation? I guess Steve Harvey is truly an expert, when it comes to the male species and his advise to women.

The Autumn Storm

As September rolled in, the autumn weather was beginning to make itself felt. With the impending change of seasons, I too was about to go through a shift.

It started with my father. He was having some health issues but refused to go to the hospital. My sister who lives with him was leaving for a cruise. She asked that my youngest sister and I check up on him, on a regular basis. Shortly after her departure, my youngest sister’s daughter had a life threatening medical emergency and was hospitalized for 9 days. My sister and her husband were fraught with fear of losing their only child.

When my youngest sister called to inform me about her daughter, I immediately called my daughter, whose children I had to babysit that evening. She cancelled her plans and told me to go to the hospital. My sister and her husband had been at the hospital for over 24 hours and hadn’t slept. When I arrived they were both happy to see me. I sensed that my presence gave them some relief from the events of the last 24 hours. I stayed with my niece while her parents went home to rest, shower and eat.

A few days after, while at my friend M’s house, my youngest sister called me to give me some more bad news. I knew it wasn’t about her daughter because I had just come back from visiting her at the hospital and she was recovering nicely. My sister asked, “Are you sitting down?” I replied that I was. “Guess what, our sister had a fall on her vacation and broke her arm which may require surgery when she gets back home!”, she exclaimed. My reaction to the news was a hysterical laugh. My heart raced and then I calmed myself down immediately telling her that we would deal with it when my injured sister got back from her vacation. Now, we had 3 invalids in the family, that would require care.

In the end, it all worked out with some help from friends. Luckily, my eldest sister did not require surgery.

Sometime in early October I was told by my cousin that her Mother could no longer live on her own and had to be transferred to a long term care facility. To hear of her rapidly declining condition broke my heart. I had difficulty accepting her diagnosis. My eldest sister and I went to visit my aunt on Thanksgiving. She was lying on a hospital bed staring at the ceiling. Our visit put a smile on her face. Her spirits were good and she seemed accepting of her declining state.

At the beginning of November, I received a phone call from my neighbor, V. She advised me that our neighbor C, was hospitalized due to a serious viral infection. After spending a week at the hospital she was sent home. I prepared a batch of homemade chicken soup for her and brought her some fresh flowers. I called daily to inquire about her health.

A couple of weeks ago, another person close to me informed me of some very devasting news. Her youngest child has cancer. She asked if I could knit her child a beanie. I purchased the yarn and completed the hat.

For now I text her since she spends most of her time with her child at the hospital.

Last week a friend of mine announced that she was undergoing a minor surgery. Nothing serious, but nonetheless, she needed to take time off from work. I went over to visit and bring her supper. She appreciated the visit but I think it tired her.

All the people mentioned above are dear to me. Each event touched me in a different way but what they all had in common, was the feeling that I needed to give back or be there for them in some way.

In my opening paragraph, I said a shift in me was about to take place.

The shift came when I realized that I could only give with what is within my capability, at that time of each crisis. I also realized that I was able to handle the above events with calm and logic, as opposed to getting caught up in the storm and drama that such situations can carry.

These two points of awareness have given me the power to accept the things I cannot control. It brings to mind the words from the well known Serenity prayer.

As humans, we carry a mixed bag of emotions. These emotions, can play havoc with our mental stability when events such as those described above occur.

My autumn storm is not over yet. With it, however, I gain more insight about who I am and what I want to change.

Saturday Night

Last Saturday I attended a supper with some former students of my highschool graduating class, a mini reunion. It was held a at small art gallery whose owner, Angelo, indulged us with some savory dishes. The cozy sofa’s, the long drapes and paintings on the walls made for a warm and intimate atmosphere. The conversation was non stop.

Everyone had an interesting story to tell about their past and current life ( I guess its expected after living so many years). The sad stories came up at times too, but no one lingered there. Instead, the night was about having some good laughs and enjoying the good food.

The event also helped raise some funds for Autism research. Kudos to the organizer.

My evening did not end there. I then drove to a club downtown and joined my young friend, Maia and her guest for a night cap.

It felt good to be out and about on a Saturday night after having spent quiet weekends of late.

Like Trees in Autumn

Where did the summer go? Is it just me or does the time go by faster as we age?

Lately, I’ve been giving alot of thought to my future. What now? Where do I go from here? What do I want to accomplish still?

My friend M, told me recently that she decided to sell her lovely home, purchased after her divorce, to move into a Condo. She’s stated yesterday that she was ready to begin a new phase.

Honestly, I’ve been worrying about aging lately and the fragility that comes with it.

I feel my life is winding down, like the trees in autumn, that it’s in the final phase and the end is not far off. This may sound dark but it is coming from a feeling of sadness. Sadness that all lives end. We are not eternal beings.

In order to combat this feeling, I tell myself that I must stay relevant.

There is still much to experience and savor. I MUST STAY IN THE PRESENT!

Autumn is a breathtaking season. Its colors and falling leaves are nature’s wonder. Like nature, WE, at the autumn of our lives, are here to showcase our beautiful colors. Let the show begin!

Retired and Single

Another Saturday without dinner plans. This is becoming a habit, lol.

I like living alone but I prefer company when dining out.

On my way to the restaurant this evening, it came to me that I had no particular friend who I could be complicit with. The friend that you can count on, whenever you suggest an outing at the last minute. Someone like me, retired and single!

Most of my friends work and/or are in a relationship. Their weekends are busy with family, partner or household responsibilities.

Seems to me I need to expand my pool of friends to include more retired singles, for those lonely weekends.