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The Non-Hugger’s Epiphany

Today must mark 60 days to my next birthday. I know that because today is the 4th anniversary of 60 Is The New 60 blog! Four years ago today, I got the brilliant idea to spend the 60 days until my 60th birthday posting my life lessons in this blog. And I did it. And I loved doing it. It is really hard to believe that was four years ago now and I have not been good about keeping a regular posting schedule. It’s not that I don’t have material–life is full of great material–it is that I’m making other choices. And those choices are not so great, but they are choices that I’m making right now.

About the first month or so of quarantine, I loved it. I was getting projects done around the house, I was saving a two hour a day commute, I was actually reading a BOOK, I was having more fun cooking, but I was ignoring my blogs, I was spending a lot of time on social media and watching television. I spent a ton of time on TikTok, which is not all bad because I follow some awesomely motivational people there. But I was ignoring things that required me to sit down and actually do my own work. I needed to figure out why.

I still thought I was doing great! I think the turning point was when I watched the videos of my grandson’s graduation parade that I wanted to attend, but couldn’t, and tears were streaming down my face as I was thinking about all the things I was missing in my life due to the pandemic. I missed my kids, I missed my grandbabies, I missed my friends, I missed my coworkers, and I even missed going into the damn grocery store! I missed real humans. We have done lots of virtual meetings with the kids/grandkids and with my friends and coworkers, but it is not the same. That’s when I had my epiphany–I miss hugs!

Until about 10 years ago, I was NOT a hugger (think Dirty Dancing and “this is my dance space”). But my friends are huggers and you can’t be around huggers and not become one. And that is what I miss most. Sure, I hug my husband daily (and we’ve been doing that for nearly 50 years), but that’s my familiar “I love you forever” hug. And that’s totally different from the hug of a small grandchild where you have to bend far over one day that turns into the hug of a teenager the next and the hug of a full-grown adult the day after that that means “I love you to the moon and back.” It’s different from the hug of a friend who knows all your secrets, who has traveled the world with you, who you’ve had amazing adventures with that means “I love you and will see you soon.” It is different from the hug of parents and siblings who don’t do a lot of hugging that means “I love you always.”

My biggest hugfest–my NALS conference–is virtual this year so I won’t get those hugs either. And I will really miss that. I guess I am definitely a reformed non-hugger. So trust me when I say that once I start hugging again, I may not let you go. I just want you to be prepared for that!

Quarantined And Loving It!

First, a few things about me:

  • I’m a bit of an introvert;
  • I’m in several of the risk categories (diabetes, asthma, “elderly”); and
  • I’m really a serious introvert.

I always thought I was more of an introvert and this quarantine has proved that that is absolutely true. I am working half time and my husband is still working at his shop, so I am alone (with the dogs, parakeet, and parrot) from about 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. And it is blissful. Well, the working part is a little stressful, but the rest of it is amazing.

So how am I spending my time and what have I learned in this process? I’m doing several different things which are helping me not go crazy.

I’m going to bed at my normal time (which is later than it should be) and waking without an alarm just about exactly 8 hours later. That must mean I need 8 hours of sleep and I certainly haven’t been getting that . . . for several years. I will do better at getting enough sleep.

In most of my “off” time, I’m doing all the “must do” organizing/cleaning out/trashing tasks I should have been doing for the last few years but didn’t make time for. So far I have cleaned out and organized my closet (who knew there was a beautiful floor there?), cleaned out my bathroom cabinets, cleaned out my pantry and laundry closet and shelves, and cleaned out my refrigerator. This week I’m working on the Big Mama of projects–my office! Then I will have my linen closet, freezer, and then actually going through the clothes in my closet and getting rid of lots of those left to do. After that? I have a gigantic box of photos to get digital and organized! I’m sure I won’t run out of projects.

I am spending some time online (but trying to avoid the news scare tactics) following up on my friends and family and getting through some training that I had been neglecting. And Candy Crush seriously needs to stop giving me unlimited lives every day!

I am watching some television–but not just because everyone else is (I have NOT been dragged into the Tiger King saga but am loving Zoe’s Extraordinary Playlist!), but I am not binging on shows just because I can. I did today get 30 days free of BroadwayHD, so I may be binging on some of that!

I am reading! I haven’t done that for a very long time and started when I was having some anxiety waking me up at 1 a.m. until I could go back to sleep about an hour or so later. Anxiety was kind of a new deal for me. I was diagnosed with it years ago, had a really bad reaction to some medication, and just dealt with it after that. My anxiety is not severe (obviously) but it is there. I feel it creeping into the corners of my life at various times. Right now, it is there a lot. I have risk factors, I have allergies that are making me sneeze, cough, and triggering my asthma, which causes my anxiety to convince me I’m getting coronavirus and will die all without seeing my parents, siblings, kids, and grandbabies one last time. So trying to quiet that anxiety has been a little bit of a challenge.

My friends and I have a virtual happy hour every week where we get on a video call at the same time with an adult beverage of choice and catch up on what we have going on. It’s not exactly the same as meeting in person and having a wonderful dinner, but it works for now. Last night we discussed the first thing we would do once the quarantine was over, and everyone agreed after haircuts, nails, and brow/face waxing, we would get together for dinner!

My local work office has had two video happy hours just to check in with each other, meet our pets, and make sure everyone is doing OK and has what they need. It has been invaluable to me. I realized I missed talking to my peeps every day and this really helps.

I usually have beauty appointments every weekend and those have all been canceled. I know I will be DESPERATE for those services when I am able to return, so in the meantime, I’m trying to show my appreciation for all they do (and hold my place in line) by still sending them money when I would have been in. It’s my small way of loving on my beauty tribe and doing what I can until I can see them again. As long as I’m getting a full paycheck and would have spent it on them anyway, I feel like they need the help because they don’t have a PTO bank or unemployment benefits.

I am not being fanatical about my risk of catching the virus, but I’m not making it easy either. I’ve been out of the house three times in the last three weeks, twice to pick up timecards and deliver paychecks to my husband’s employees when he was out of town, and once to pick up my groceries in the pick-up spot in front of the store. I was using that service before all this started and it is still invaluable to me.

I’m not really sure how I will handle being out in public again because I could sure get used to this, but my husband is talking about retiring when he can and I can’t work while he is here, so I don’t think this bliss will last long. And he is really surprised at how well I’m doing trapped in the house all day. Perhaps some of that is because of perspective–I’m not trapped, I’m in my happy place. And once I get it cleaned out, it will be my even happier place!

I am super disappointed that my grandson’s graduation ceremony in Santa Fe has been canceled, both for having his senior year and all that goes with that ruined for him and because I was so looking forward to watching him walk across that stage and receive lots of accolades, but as soon as we can travel, we’re heading over there to give them all a big hug!

I may not be handling things the same way you would, but it is working for me. However you are handling this pandemic, please do be safe, be healthy, and be kind. Show love and support to those cashiers, delivery drivers, restaurant cooks, nurses, janitors, doctors, teachers, truck drivers, police, fire, EMTs, and all the others who still have to work to make life easier on the rest of us without much recognition about their risks of contracting the virus in their daily job. It’s one reason I yell “thank you” out the front door when the Amazon, FedEx, or UPS driver makes a delivery or at the grocery store to the employees helping me. Take a minute and thank the people making you more comfortable. They really are risking their lives for you!

Replay Thursday

Thursday-ReplayIt’s time for a review of recent blog posts just in case you’ve missed them. We call this Replay Thursday. Here are posts from Proof That proofreading blog and 60 Is The New 60 blog during the past week.

Fitting the Mold

I recently saw this employment ad on my LinkedIn page and it hit me hard.

fit the mold

I don’t want to “fit the mold.” I might want to meet those qualifications, but my gut reaction when I read that was that I don’t want to be anywhere near a mold. I want to break out of the mold and be amazing, so I would never apply to a company that has a mold to fit into. It sounds like you will be in a cubicle where few people know your name and your job and skills are fairly robotic. That doesn’t sound like somewhere I want to spend any part of my career. Or maybe it was just the recruiter’s way of trying to phrase things differently. Language is all about the words you use and the way you use them.

Perhaps it’s just me, but anywhere I work, I want to be anywhere but in the “mold.” I want to be the one standing out, going above and beyond, learning, growing, and getting better every. single. day.

If you are in charge of advertisements like the one above, keep your language in mind when wording your request. And if you’re looking for a job and see something like this ad, keep that language in mind and at least ask about it when you respond. I would much rather work at a place where the ad said something like “If you have the amazing skills we’re looking for below” or “If you are a stand out looking for an exciting career and have the skills we’ve looking for below.” Unless, of course, they are looking for a robotic, unthinking, cubicle worker. Then this ad is perfect!


To Retire Or Not To Retire, That Is The Question.

RetirementWhy do I feel guilty that I am not planning to retire? It seems like everyone looks forward to the day when they can retire from their long careers and stay home and die. I love my job (most days), feel like I’m making a contribution, love making my brain work, and enjoy interacting with really intelligent people. What do I hate? I hate sitting on the porch watching the sun beat down. I hate thinking about all the projects that a retired person would get done that are still sitting and waiting for me. I really hate the thought of just waiting to die.

While there is no way to tell whether I might have to retire because of illness or something beyond my control, what I will probably do when I’m closer to a decent retirement age (like 70) is reduce my work schedule so I can take more long weekends to visit my grandbabies, so I can actually finish some of the projects that need to be done (all my old photographs are not going to scan themselves!), and so I can relax for a minute.

The issue I’m having right now is that my husband is talking about retirement, and he’s talking about it like I’m going to retire even though I’ve told him many times I have no plans to retire. Unlike me, he LOVES sitting on the porch doing nothing, he actually gets projects done and would love more time to do that, and I think he’s just tired of working.

I have too many things I want to do that a Social Security income–even enhanced with my retirement plans–won’t cover in addition to a house payment, car insurance, medical insurance, etc. I want to continue to travel. I want to be able to attend events like concerts and plays. I want to keep my housecleaning service at least part time because I really don’t like scrubbing baseboards and toilets.

One thing that keeps me excited about all of this is my circle of friends. They are 10-20 years younger than me. Other than the extended time it takes me to get out of a sitting position, I keep up pretty well. And that forces me to keep up. I can’t imagine my life without them. I would be old. My hair would probably be gray, my nails wouldn’t sparkle, my clothes wouldn’t be stylish (at least to me), and I wouldn’t have been so many places across the country and around the world.

My husband is a homebody–I am not. During our 42 years of marriage, we have traveled some to family events, but he’s not a fan. I love it. So I’m very lucky that he’s willing to stay home and take care of our animals while I’m jetting off to Europe, or to a conference, or for a girls’ weekend. Really lucky. I realize that and am very grateful that we met 45 years ago and have had such an amazing life (so far). It wasn’t always rainbows and unicorns, but with perseverance, hard work, and lots of patience, it has turned out to be pretty amazing.

If someone else has plans to retire, more power to you. I really don’t envy you because I’m happier being busy. Which is why every person should do what they want to do. Do you want to retire when you’re 62 1/2 or 65? Go for it! Do the things you want to do when you have the time to do them. I’m trying to do the best of those things now–taking grandchildren to Disneyland, traveling to Europe, walking in a Disney 5K with friends, attending conferences to increase my knowledge and make new friends, and getting involved in outside sales opportunities and blogging. While I should have started some of these things many years ago, there’s no time like the present!

Quit Quitting

DONT QUITI’m totally stealing this topic from a good friend’s recent blog post. I’m stealing it because her post made me think about my life and all the times things got hard or boring and I quit.

Most of my quitting has to do with weight loss. I’ve been very successful–and quit. I’ve been not so successful–and quit. I know all the right things to do and all the right things to eat because I’ve done it all–and then quit.

I’ve quit creative projects because I ran out time, patience, and desire. What do the half finished projects do for me? They make me feel guilty and like a quitter. I even have a baby blanket that I was cross stitching for a good friend who was pregnant–OVER 20 YEARS AGO! I should bring that out, finish it, and give it to her for her grandchildren. It has obviously been weighing on my mind for over 20 years. Time to quit quitting!

I’ve also quit a bunch of things before I could even get started. I have lots of ideas in my head for social media things to do for my other blog ( and my DS side businesses, but I quit before I even do them. Why? Because I’m scared. I’m scared of not being good enough, of looking dumb, of coming off like I don’t know a damn thing. Does it really truly matter what other people think? I like to think it doesn’t, but deep, deep down, I always think it does. So I quit. I’m getting better (and braver) day by day, but I can’t guarantee I will be comfortable doing new things with social media, but I would like to think I won’t quit.

Think about the times you quit. Was it because you were afraid? Or bored? Or “been there, done that”? It’s time to quit quitting. It’s time to actually do something productive. Life is far too short to waste time on something not worth your time and to keep quitting things that were (at least at some point) important to you. Make them important again and quit quitting.


February Fool’s Day

FEBRUARYI swear yesterday was February Fool’s Day! My day started when my car started making some weird noises (yes, that’s a technical term) as I backed out of the driveway. I drove around a big block while I tried to call my husband’s cell phone–twice. He had left not long before me, so shouldn’t be too far away, BUT, he hates his flip phone (seriously!), so he rarely answers it. I thought that perhaps when he heard it ring a couple of times in a row, he would think it was me and something was important and he would answer it. But no such luck. So I pulled back into the garage, popped the trunk, and moved a box that had some stuff rolling around in it, thinking that’s what was making the noise. I closed the trunk, got back in, and backed out of the driveway . . . to the weird noise. I drove around the big block again, trying the hubs’ cell phone another couple of times with no luck, and came back home. I popped the trunk again and took everything out of the box and put it in a bag to contain it so things weren’t rolling around. It would be quiet for sure this time! Get back in the car and back out of the driveway . . . to the weird noise . . . again. I drove around the block–just to be sure–and came back home. I tried calling again. I actually contemplated driving to the dealership since it wasn’t far away, but decided to wait for a return call. He finally called me back and said he would turn around and come home. Luckily, it was Corvette day, so he didn’t mind driving an extra 20 miles.

While I was waiting for him to come home, I figured I was in the perfect mood to contact my new insurance company. Our medical coverage changed on January 1 and we still don’t have ID cards, which means I don’t have coverage for my medications. I know I could buy them and get reimbursed, but when your insurance company takes so long to process new business, my hope for getting reimbursed quickly was not good. They told me that they had just received our firm’s application on the 29th. “Of December?” I said. “No, January.” I knew that couldn’t be correct because we had SOME information–just not enough to help me. They would’t give me much information because I wasn’t HR or our broker–but they couldn’t give me any information to give to my pharmacy to fill my prescriptions. While I was not happy (and not my usual kind to others self), there wasn’t anything I could do so I said goodbye, hung up, and sent a rather “terse” email to our HR people about the issue. Our Administrator forwarded my email to our broker and I got an email right back that they would make sure something happened in the next day or two.

So now I was in a super great mood (insert sarcasm here)! Hubby dearest came home and got on the ground to look under the car (after questioning me about where the sound came from–and expecting an answer like I would actually know). The next question was “did you drive over anything weird lately?” Well, probably, but it was probably dark, I was probably tired, it didn’t kill me, so I ignored it. So I said maybe, but I didn’t remember (a perk of being 60!). He found some clippers and proceeded to clip the branches from a palo verde tree branch that had wedged itself under my car. Thank goodness I didn’t just go to the dealer!


And that was all before 9:15! So now I was late to work, but I pulled out of the driveway and started down the road and NO SOUND! It was magic!

The rest of the day was pretty normal until I was driving home late. I pulled up to my street mailbox to get the mail, opened the door, pulled my mail out, and drove up to the driveway when I heard a sound on the side of my car . . . which would be the mailbox door I forgot to put back up (it only bent a little bit!). I knew it was time to get out of the car, go into the house, and go directly to bed. I didn’t get to do that, but when I got up and went to work today, I saw that my odometer had turned over to 100,000 miles last night. My poor car was exhausted and I was pushing all of its buttons yesterday (and all of mine!). All in all, we both made it through February Fool’s Day in one piece (and I think only one of us was the Fool). The palo verde tree branch (and my ego) wasn’t quite so lucky!



Clean Is . . .Worth Paying For

For the first time in my adult life,Clean Is As (1) I have a professional cleaning service coming to clean my house. So what have I been doing for the last week? Come on . . . you know . . . I’ve been cleaning my fricking house! Why is it that we’re so worried about this? I know there will be plenty for them to do because I just got the top, but didn’t get down on these bad knees to scrub baseboards with these bad carpal tunnel arms. This is their job. Obviously they like to do it more than I do.
Now my husband is (I’m pretty sure) telling all his buddies that I have been stressed out cleaning my house . . . for the cleaning lady.

And then, why did I wait so long? I don’t enjoy housekeeping, I’m a busy person, and I’m usually running around doing things all weekend instead of cleaning my house. The joy of paying someone to do what I so intensely dislike and the joy of coming home to a clean house and keeping it presentable is certainly worth it to me. So why have I waited? I’m pretty certain it is because I don’t want anyone on this earth to think I’m a horrible housekeeper. In fact, I can hear in my head right now all the things they are saying about my housekeeping skills. On the other hand, no one who has been to my house has died of some strange disease and I have not been on an episode of Hoarders (which I watch just to make sure I’m not there yet)!

I’m hoping this is a corner for me. Do you want to come over? Call to make sure I’m home, but then drop by! Previously, you had to make an appointment so I could spend several days getting things to look less disastrous. Can I focus on things I need to because this weight is lifted from my shoulders? I hope so. Can I keep things tidier between visits so I don’t get overwhelmed again? I am pretty sure I can. Upkeep is way easier than maintenance in my book.

So are you judging me because I’m not an immaculate housekeeper? Shame on you. My family is healthy, happy, and busy. Life trudges on and immaculate housekeeping is not in my skill set . . . although many other important things are. Things like loving on my grandbabies, mentoring people in my profession, spending time with people who lift me up, proofreading like it’s my jam, working long hours on intense work, driving two hours a day back and forth to that job I love. Well maybe that’s not really a skill set . . . I guarantee you that my husband will say it is DEFINITELY not a skill set . . . but it is another task I must perform to do the other things I want to do. Hey . . . maybe I need to hire a driver! That goes on my “when I win the lottery” list. For now, I’ll be satisfied with really clean bathrooms, mopped floors, and the fresh scent of Lysol!


img_1477I love this t-shirt I recently picked up at Torrid with a Marilyn Monroe quote. I never considered myself beautiful. I have acne scars, stretch marks, eye bags, floppy skin, and some (actually a lot of) extra weight, in addition to scars from falling off bunk beds, falling off bikes, wrecking a motorcycle, getting my gall bladder taken out, and basically living life. One of the greatest things about getting older is that first, I don’t care so much about that stuff, and second, I know that I have earned every bit of it.

Just because I don’t look like the women in magazines and on TV doesn’t mean I’m not beautiful. I’m beautiful in my way. My husband thinks I’m beautiful, my children think I’m beautiful (I think they do anyway), and my grandchildren think I’m beautiful. I know that because they have all told me so. And still, when I look in the mirror the first thing I see are the scars and imperfections.

In high school, I had terrible acne. When I was 30, I finally used prescription medication to get a handle on the acne and have since not had so much of a problem. Now, however, I have the scars to prove that I didn’t die from acne, my boyfriend (now husband) loved me even though I had acne, and I was still able to make friends and be in the top 10% of my graduating class–even with acne.

I have stretch marks both from having my two children and from gaining and losing (and gaining and losing and gaining and losing and . . .) weight for the last 40 years. The having children part was worth those stretch marks and remind me that I carried them both for nine months and loved them from the minute I knew they were there.

The eye bags are hereditary, so when I see them, I see my mom. I also see that I don’t sleep as much as I should and that I get too involved in too many things. I also know that my involvement will never change–it is an important part of who I am. Sleep, on the other hand, could change, but my daily choices so far keep me kind of sleep deprived. I know that is something I need to work on and make better choices.

So I’m not perfect. Some days I’m not even presentable. But I know that I’m beautiful in my own way and any imperfections I have are earned and are really only imperfections to others. My goal is not to be perfect but to be me–scars and all.


glitterAnyone who knows me knows that one of my vices is anything sparkly–on my nails, in jewelry, on clothing–hell, I would wear a tiara all day every day if I could get away with it. Glitter makes me happy. It looks different in different light and changes as you twist and turn whatever is sparkling (and yes, I do do that with my nails in the sunlight sometimes!).

The thing about real glitter is that you never get rid of it. I’m sure my nail tech finds glitter in her car, in her purse, in her hair, in every inch of her clothing. While I’m sure it could be annoying, I can only imagine my joy at finding random sparkles where you don’t expect them.

I can only hope to be like glitter–sparkly on the outside and a bit annoying, but creating unexpected happiness, on the inside. I love doing things for people that they appreciate but don’t expect. It doesn’t take a lot of money to do that–pay for the person behind you in the Starbucks line (or if you go as much as I do, use your points to pay for the person behind you); if you find (or own) something you know (or have heard) that someone needs or would love, give it to them; if you see something that reminds you of someone–an article, something on the internet, a quote on a wall that you see–take a picture, cut it out, somehow capture it and send it to them. Let people know you think of them at random moments. Even a text or email (or a call) telling someone you thought of them can make a huge difference. It’s like the difference between artwork or clothing that is plain and the same artwork or clothing that sparkles. It is a simple concept that makes a big difference.

Be happy, be mighty, be tenacious, be sparkly–be glitter.