Women over fifty (and of course, men also), are all so excited with the prospect of being grandparents. I go along with this as it gives us a second chance, or tries to make up for some of the mistakes that we made with our children. Most of us were probably young and did the best we thought we could, but as our children will most often advise us we often screwed up at some point.
I have been dying my hair since, I don’t know, about fifteen (I think). It feels like I HAVE always colored my hair and WILL always color my hair. However, it seems like I have been fighting with my daughter, Lisa, for years about the whole concept of “going gray”. She fears that I am continuing this procedure way past the time it is cool or attractive for me. I believe she SHOULD continue to dye her hair.
The question is, when is the proper time to just let it go gray? (Hopefully, when I say gray I mean a wonderful shade of white/silver-gray that complements my features, brings out the green in my eyes, gives me perky breasts, makes me look 10 pounds lighter, lengthens my legs …)
Well, anyway back to reality!
Here are my four guidelines for knowing when YOU should go grey:
Are you ready to change up the makeup routine that you’ve probably grown comfortable with?
Over many years of trial and error, you’ve probably found a favorite blush color, the eyeshadow that makes your eyes pop, and lipstick that makes you feel “put-together”. When you decide to stop dying your hair, you have to study and figure out how to change your makeup. You see, a blonde-haired person wears a totally different shade of makeup than when that person turns gray.
This definitely has to be changed to compliment the new hair color.
Are you ready to change up your closet?
Clothing choices also need to change. An example is that you might have looked lovely in earth tones and shades of brown, but now that doesn’t seem to be a good color with your new silver hair. An intervention could be rather costly. Dusty navy, burgundy, plum…rich vibrant colors with depth give color to your skin and brightness to your face.
Are you ready to embrace your age?
I have experienced this personally as Lisa was born with, and had throughout her elementary school years, lovely, thick, blonde hair. Then it turned a dirty blond and then a light brown. Beginning at about 25, she played around with dying various shades of warm blond, cool champagne, and copper penny red.
I have heard that your hair color should be the color you were born with, o at least when you were a child.
Ask for Advice
What does your mom think?
I have had a hard time adjusting to my child turning gray. Unfortunately, the color gray ages people. It might be a beautiful silver-gray, but in reality, it does make a person look older. Now, I know that some people turn gray at a very early age and have beautiful, beautiful gray hair. But I’m not a fan. I am twenty years older than my daughter and still dye my hair. People think that I am younger than my daughter simply because of our different hair colors. I love her thick, beautiful hair, and she can do just about anything with it. It has lovely highlights and she styles it beautifully.
But the problem is, she still looks older than I think she should. We are definitely at a stand-still about this. She is happy with her looks, has changed her makeup and clothing to compliment her hair color, but is still seen as older than she really is.
The evidence to prove my case is that Lisa has repeatedly called my sister. She has also been mistaken as her children’s grandmother on numerous occasions. Although she wears stylish clothes, has an outgoing personality, and religiously exercises, people are surprised that I am her MOTHER and she is my DAUGHTER. I believe that the disbelief lies solely in our hair color choices…not any other differences in our appearance or personality!
So, to those of you who have been dying your hair for many years, I really want your honest opinion here! You have got MY guidelines about whether you should go grey or keep coloring your hair…But I know there are some strong opinions and valuable viewpoints among my friends and readers. I want to know…
When is the proper time to let your hair go to its natural color?
will you stay blond, brown, or red…FOREVER?
The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.
It was November 1998. Tom and I had just listed out the household items that we were dividing between the two of us. We were getting a divorce. He got the leather lounge chair with the matching ottoman, the good blender, and our best set of knives. I kept the master bedroom furniture, the new sofa, and the dishes we got for our wedding 13 years prior. He took the new Acura. I kept all of my flea-market treasures.
He moved to an apartment and signed off on the deed to the house we had owned together for only 3 months.
We had moved to my hometown with the renewed hope to start a family there. But over the course of 3 short months, that dream disintegrated. It wasn’t our first marital separation but it was destined to be our last.
I went for coffee with fellow Sidetracked Sister, Judy, to hash out the recent events and get sympathy.
I don’t remember much of our time together, but one comment turned out to be profound and prophetic.
Whining about the fact that I was NOT looking forward to living alone, I didn’t want to be divorced. I liked being married, even if that marriage wasn’t perfect. I actually wished that I had someone in the wings that I was interested in that I could pursue a relationship with. But I didn’t.
Envisioning snuggly nights with my golden retriever watching rom/coms and sharing popcorn, I figured I would just hunker down, work on giving my new/old home a facelift and continue to throw myself into my career.
Judy listened to my grumbling and responded that “we weren’t that kind of people”. She contended that we WERE the kind of people that wholeheartedly devoted ourselves to whatever and whoever we committed to at that time. We didn’t overlap relationships. We are faithful and dedicated until the end. But…(and this is the thing)…
When the relationship IS over, it’s important to clean out and create space. Space for new interests, new activities, new people.
Clean out and create space
So, when Tom moved out, he took a small U-Haul of stuff. He cleaned out his dresser drawers but left random junk in the walk-in closet. That was where I went first.
I removed everything that was specifically his and then some. Old wire hangers. Emply Rubbermaid bins with missing lids. Cardboard shoeboxes filled with random shit.
I left drawers empty.
The closet empty.
His shelf in the bathroom–empty.
So here are 4 suggestions to consider when you are in a transition period of life:
1. Get rid of the paraphernalia of BEFORE
I followed this rule when I retired from teaching last year. I had 30 years of books, games, and STUFF that I had personally purchased for my classroom or stolen from home. Did I want to haul it all home again or move it to storage in our garage? NO!
How about selling it at a garage sale? Well, I’ve been to numerous garage sales held by retired teachers and been overwhelmed and thankful by the amazing resources they were getting rid of for dimes and quarters. Precious books, learning games, and classroom decorations being sold for pennies on the dollar. Those women had put in a LOT of work for only a few bucks! This is not how I wanted to spend my time purging my stuff. So…
I saw an opportunity when a young woman (who was one of my past student teachers) contacted me to offer congratulations on my upcoming retirement and offering to help move my stuff. In gratitude for her offer, I gave her 99% of my personal book collection and anything else that she thought she could put to good use. I figured that she could give the materials a good home at the private school where she was beginning her teaching career.
Instead of my garage filled with boxes of children’s books taking up space and getting old and dusty, I was able to help someone get a little ahead.
2. Leave space
Just because you have room after purging…it doesn’t mean that you have to fill it. Case in point: When I taught 6-year-olds, I NEEDED two drawers for socks. I had socks with pumpkins, elves, candy hearts and smiley faces, tights with butterflies, and even rainbow striped leggings thrown in the mix.
In the year since leaving teaching, I didn’t wear any of these. They all went in the trash and I organized the remainder Marie Kondo style (folded into a square packet and stored upright). These fit in one drawer.
The other drawer is empty.
And that is okay.
3. Start small
Transforming ANYTHING can be overwhelming. Sometimes even the thought of beginning can be tooooo much. Take my kitchen for example. Right now, I’m sure that there are unopened boxes of couscous and year-old bags of unused stuffing mix in the back of my pantry. The shelves that make up the space are deep, too deep. They are able to camouflage and conceal numerous cans of mushroom soup, a wok, empty unused canisters, and dozens of other unknown items. But this space overwhelms. this is NOT where to start!
Instead, I began with the glasses cupboard. I took everything out first. Then sorted glasses onto the bottom shelf, liquid measuring cups and mugs on the middle shelf, and wine glasses and small cups on the topmost shelf.
I purged all plastic cups and mugs with advertising.
Are you feeling the momentum as the success builds?
4. Break a big job into smaller tasks
I was at my mom’s house and noticed that the counter was covered in items that used to be in the nearby secretary. The same items were there for several days. Unmoved. Untouched. Unorganized.
When I asked my mom about eh mess, she said that she just needed to organize the items before re-storing them. Sounds good, but she looked frustrated.
I began sorting into piles of paper. Pens/pencils. stapler supplies, rubber bands…Little piles and a lot of garbage.
Then I tested the writing instruments. Out went the dry ones, the crunchy fine line markers, and pencils with hardened rubber erasers. The remainder easily fit in their black storage cup.
Little bits. Pile by pile. Categories were made and sorted. Junk was discarded and homes were created for shnibbles of rubber bands, paperclips, and thumbtacks.
It’s been over 20 years since Judy and I talked about making space in your life for new things. What I’ve discovered is this: The best time to purge and organized is during times of transition, times of change, times of growth.
What are you holding onto that you need to let go of?
Where can you create space for the new?
How can you break a big organizing job into smaller, manageable tasks?
Whether you are looking to begin a new chapter in life, looking for love, trying to lose weight, or jump-start a new business…begin by getting rid of the stuff that no longer serves you.
Maybe you need to let go of a relationship. Maybe it’s time to move on from that pair of green socks with dancing leprechauns or that coffee mug that your real estate agent gave you that boasts “Home is better with Ray Renolds!”
Clean out and don’t forget to leave some space.
Last week, half of the sisters were out of town, so Lisa and I met one on one. These are rare occasions since we both have commitments that keep us very busy and out of trouble. I was thinking about how pleasant our visit was and then I got sidetracked (surprise, surprise).
I realized as I thought back, that during our visit, I was sending myself very negative messages about guess who? ME. I have a wonderful relationship with my husband, my son, my sister and her husband, my nieces and their families, and my stepdaughter and her family. Sadly, the worst relationship I have seems to be with myself. Continue reading
Opening the top left drawer of my dresser in the bedroom, I need a fresh pair of underwear. However, the drawer is filled with so many items besides the needed unders. This is where I store 1/2 ream of printed emails that my husband sent to me in the year before we got married. It holds 18 old mother’s day cards from my three children, 8 bibs from races that I’ve run and 4 metals from three half-marathons and one full marathon that I ran, and 12 multi-colored headbands.
At first glance, it holds everything EXCEPT underwear. Do I not own underwear? Do I even wear underwear?
Have you ever given any thought to the idea that underwear should be considered when making a commitment to yourself about self-care? Well, let me tell you a story… Continue reading
If you are anything like me, I have a hard time wanting to clean my house. I don’t enjoy cleaning at all. Growing up, my mom did it right. She had it set up that Lisa and I had jobs to do to clean the whole house by the time she came home from work. I dusted and Lisa vacuumed. On Saturdays, you didn’t do anything else until those jobs were done. Continue reading
Where do you do church?
How should a church look?
These seem to be two very controversial questions lately. Especially after COVID, where we have all been confined to our homes, apartments, (or wherever we might have the fortune or misfortune to find ourselves)…spiritual practice rules are up for debate. Continue reading
I recently reread the 1937 version of Napoleon Hills’ “Think and Grow Rich”. Mr. Hill opens his first chapter with the phrase “Thoughts are Things”. He goes on to say that when we mix our thoughts with purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches or other material objects, these thoughts have the power to create what we are desirous of. Wow. That’s quite a statement. Continue reading
I’ve always prided myself on being able to keep up with the necessary knowledge and skills needed to complete tasks. Well, scratch that “always” off the books. It seems that everything I need to do today requires technical knowledge that I struggle with.
Writing our Sidetracked Sisters Blog has always been fun for me. Recently, it seems like the programs we need to understand and use have become more complicated. Every time I make notes about what I need to do and how I need to submit my writing, something has changed. So I try to use my version of “common sense” and I really mess things up. I refuse to give in to failure and yet I dislike feeling like I’m not keeping up.
I enjoy doing voiceovers. So what’s stopping me you ask?? You guessed it. Technology. Every time I think I understand what I need to do, I make things worse. The programs I use are totally different from anything I have used before. Just about the time I think I understand what I’m doing, I don’t. I know I need to spend more time practicing and yet even the practice gets frustrating.
Asking for Help
Then the most humiliating part comes when I seek help from others who have always understood my deficiencies. They tell me that they don’t think things have gotten more complicated or hard to deal with. When this happens, I want to hide under the covers and pout. I even have a “help me” button on my desktop to call in the rescuers. Sometimes that doesn’t even work.
I started a new job recently which I really enjoy. Only one problem exists. You guessed it, a whole new set of programs and technology. I’m slowly learning and I have very nice people in the IT department that are helping it all make sense. I think this process is going to work.
Even watching TV to relax has become a challenge. Our son signed us up for one of the pay-for networks. So now I have to have email addresses and passwords to utilize this gift from our son. I think I’m overthinking things.
Android vs iPhone
What else about technology bothers me you ask? I recently switched from a Samsung phone to an iPhone. I asked myself what could be so difficult about a different phone? First of all, I can’t figure out how to pair my hearing aids with the new phone. My first attempt created the complication of having all of my phone calls come into my hearing aids instead of my phone. While this had some benefits, it did nothing to give me control of the app I had on the phone to control the various features of my hearing aids. I still haven’t figured this one out.
In addition, I also have a different car which allows for phone services wirelessly. I don’t think I have the energy to share with you all of the features of my 2016 vehicle that I have not yet been able to use. That may be a story for another day.
I think my major complaint about technology is that I was sold on it by being told how much time it would save. So far I haven’t experienced these great time savings. When I find myself trying to figure out what my computer has done at 2 am, while my husband has been asleep for hours, I don’t find the time savings very relevant.
Yes, I have heard the acronym “GIGO” (garbage in, garbage out). I say to that, I’d like to place my computer in the garbage instead. OK I know I need to calm down. I’ll quit my rant and see if I can figure out how to go watch something on TV that might help me relax.
For the past 3 months, my sister and I have been walking the dogs every morning. We are becoming known around the neighborhood as the crazy dog ladies (at least that’s what I think we must look like while walking 4-5 dogs).
Good Morning Sunshine!
You’d think that after 3 months of doing this, I would be getting used to it! But each morning I feel like I have to drag my butt out of bed. Luckily, my sister is patient enough with me to continue to drive into town to make me do this. This activity is a much smaller version of what we do while on vacation.
When we go on vacation each summer, she and I will get up at the ass-crack of dawn to walk all the family dogs (5-6 of them). We will go on a 6-mile walk (or “death march” as I lovingly call it). Usually, Lisa is bright-eyed and refreshed when we come back from the walk, but I’m a purple-faced sweaty mess!! We don’t go fast at all, but it gives the dogs a chance to run on the beach and play in the water, thereby making them tired dogs upon returning to our cabin. (Tired dogs are happy dogs – and happy owners!)
“Hey, how much do you charge?”
On our walk during vacation, people frequently look at us like we are crazy because we are walking so many dogs. We’ve even been asked if we are professional dog walkers. People are surprised when we tell them that these are just the family’s dogs. LOL!
I need to keep moving before vacation to get in shape for our death marches. But right now, my knees are aching just with the thought of having to get up and walk tomorrow morning. Some mornings I just want to sleep and say forget it to walking, but I know if I don’t go, I’ll disappoint not only my dogs but my sister as well… and that just doesn’t sit well in my mind.
#sidetrackedsisters #sidetrackedchelle #walking #nature #walk #love #travel #landscape #fitness #running #outdoors #summer #trees #adventure #exercise #ig #instagood #naturelovers #beautiful #spring #explore #dogs #dogwalking #petlovers
Then, I went to the pharmacy yesterday to get a prescription for my dad. It wasn’t ready yet, so I had about 10 minutes to shop while I waited.
I grabbed a watermelon and some boxes of Kraft Mac&Cheese that were on sale. I was investigating the spices when someone said my name. It didn’t register that they were talking to me until they said my name again, “Lisa?”
I glanced up to recognize an elder version of a guy I used to drool over when I was 14. Eric was still about 6’5″ and his blond athletic self. He is/was 3 years older than I. (In High School, this seemed soooo important). Now, I noticed that he looked somewhat….faded…but he was still tall, and still blond, and…HE noticed me.
“Hey, how are you?” he began. “I thought that was you…”
“What are you doing here in Smallville?” I asked. “Oh, you live here? What brought you back?”
“I saw you a while back, but you were all bundled up…you seemed in a hurry…I’m divorced…”
We will see each other again at an event this summer that we are both invited to.
But you want to know what I was thinking about when we parted and went our separate ways?
Let me explain. I like to look nice. I recognize that how I dress affects how I feel. When I am “put together” I feel good about myself. What I see in the mirror impacts my self-esteem, my expectations for myself, and my energy.
Now don’t get me wrong. I do look grungy sometimes…
Exercising in the morning is my jam. Pulling my hair back, I put on my Saucony running shoes and sports bra, and head out. I’m focused on moving, breathing, leaning into the work.
I also garden in the morning. Planting and weeding is dirty work. I sit in the grass or on the dirt. As the day warms, I sweat! I am not a pretty sight, but the tomatoes, peppers, zinnias, and marigolds are happy.
Getting showered and dressed for the day are next on my agenda. Then, putting myself together for the day has four important components.
Make-up and hair
It takes me less than 5 minutes to moisturize, add a touch of foundation, and brush blush onto my cheeks. I slap a bit of eyeliner and a neutral shade of eyeshadow on each eyelid. I stroke on a couple of passes of mascara to my lashes before adding a touch of tinted lip gloss to finish my daily look.
As my hair is longer these days, it does take more time than usual. Since I wash my hair daily, it takes about 10 minutes to dry and straighten out the frizzles.
Grubbies Aren’t Allowed
I remember as a kid going to my grandma’s house in the summer. She would often wear culotte shorts with a sleeveless v-neck cotton tank. But it always bothered me that she had grease spots on her boob shelf. They weren’t fresh spots. But the stained clothing wasn’t a problem for her because the thought was “who needs to dress up if you’re not having company over or going someplace”. She was just doing her thing at her house. No one would see her. But I saw her. Her granddaughter saw and felt bad for her. I thought she was poor. But she had many “nice” clothes. But she just didn’t wear them because…they were “for good”.
I actually made a commitment to wearing my “for good” clothes when I was about 5 or 6. A relative went to Hawaii and brought me a green summer sundress. I wore it once. Then it hung in my closet.
I remember looking at the tropical leaves and coconut buttons and thinking what a waste it was that it never got worn again. I’m sure it gathered dust and was eventually donated to Goodwill or St. Vinnies.
It didn’t make sense to my mind. It was supposedly “for good”. You didn’t wear it every day, because you might spoil it and then it wouldn’t be available when you needed it. good”.
So now, I get dressed for life… every day. I don’t mean shorts and a worn-out tank, but a tunic and leggings or a skort and crisp shirt on most summer days. You might call my look casual or informal teacher attire. But the important thing is that I look and feel put together. I’m ready to head out on an errand. Someone could knock at the door and I would feel confident answering.
I love jewelry and scarves. I don’t think you need a lot of either. But a pair of dangly mandala earrings or a fresh scarf can perk an outfit right up. Spruce up any ensemble that has begun to grow tired. Think Marie Kondo in your wardrobe…any item should “spark joy” or get rid of it.
When I’m barefoot or just wearing socks around the house, I feel unfinished. It makes me feel guilty about the state of my home’s cleanliness when I see my black soiled feet at the end of the day. Sometimes it even hurts to go barefoot. Plantar fasciitis is a real problem that can be remedied by wearing GOOD shoes (and maybe rolling an icy bottle with your insole).
Then there are slippers. ARRRRRgh! They make me feel sloppy and sleepy. As I skuff around the house there is no spring to my step. The sh, sh, sh sound is like a lul-a-bye that sucks my energy. Now don’t get me wrong. I LOVE snuggly slippers in the evening when I’m wrapping up the day while reading a good book on the couch.
But NOT during the day. Daytime is for casual, comfortable sandals, flats, or slides (spring and summer) or booties, clogs, mules, or other casual shoes (fall and winter). Casual shoes may include comfortable athletic-inspired shoes, but not cross-trainers or running shoes.
I do NOT keep old sneakers for “around the house” or for when I’m working in the garden.
This brings me back to Eric again.
When I was pushing my cart through the Food Pride, it was 9:30 am. I was ready for the day. I had taken a shower that morning. Face and hair were done. I was wearing a sleeveless silk dress with knee-length leggings and…grungy cross-trainers with mismatched ankle socks. (I had gone for a walk with my sister earlier and had forgotten to bring along my sandals to change into after…)
Do I think Eric noticed my ugly, skunky, aged footwear–that my pup had recently chewed a small chunk out of the left heel? No.
But when you see that hunky guy from high school, who barely gave you the time of day, and now HE is initiating conversation 40 years later….don’t you want to look and feel your best?
I do. Not only for Eric but for me too. When I have the bandwidth to live my best life, one of the indicators is how I express myself with my clothing.
It might be the old chick/egg thing all over again…Do I feel extra good that day because I look good? Or do I dress up on a given day and that leads to a day that I feel like my best self?
What do you think?
Whenever I’ve done one of those life evaluation surveys or goal setting or tried to start a new habit, it always feels so good to begin on a Monday or on the first day of the month. I’m not a big fan of January 1 resolutions. But I do like re-evaluations and starting new habits at the beginning of seasons–fall and summer both coincide with the beginning/end of a school year. But this time I’ve gone rogue and set myself up with a public weight loss challenge.
I posted 8 weeks ago that I planned to drop 8 pounds because bulge had crept to my middle and set up housekeeping. Now it was time to lose those 8 pounds. I stated that I would provide an update on June 1st…
Well, in the time between then and now, life has been crazy. You know how CRAZY eats up the emotional bandwidth needed to fuel action. The crazy can be seen by the way the skin under my eyes has “bags”. I googled remedies for this unattractive look and came up with using hemorrhoid cream (Preparation H to be exact) as a spot night cream.
Fail. There was no noticeable difference.
Then one morning I realized that I had yet again forgotten to buy facial cream while out shopping. Did you know that Aveeno body lotion isn’t the best face moisturizer out there? Huh. Who’d have thunk?
But I think I reached a new low when I confess that I used Gold Bond Medicated foot powder on my face after the moisturizer and before putting on a little blush.
It has a bit of a weird odor that you don’t really notice when you are using it appropriately.
I have absolutely no good excuse for this period of craziness other than…life! My life is full and crazy. But here are a few clues that life is also, at the same time, good and happy and sane:
First Things First
My bed is made in the morning. This is huge. The room can be a catastrophe, dusty, underwear on the floor and laundry heaping over the basket…but if the bed is made and pillows fluffed each day, all is good.
A Little Vase of Something
My nightstand is dusted and organized with a small stack of books, reading glasses, and a little vase filled with something. this is the ultimate litmus test. when things in life are really going well, I change out the items in the vase regularly. There are curly sticks in January, Lily of the Valley in April, Lilacs in May, various garden flowers throughout the summer, and pretty leaves in the fall.
All That Ends Well
The sink is shined and dishes are done before bed. There is something about being able to walk into the kitchen in the middle of the night for a glass of water and see that the dishes are done, the stove is clean and the sink is shined. It makes me feel in control.
Does Anyone Know Where My Phone Is?
Sometimes I add the category of purse location. When all is going smoothly in life, I have a clear habit of bringing my purse and phone into the house and putting them in my cubby in the mudroom. When I’m off, it’s a crapshoot and I will have to often use our landline to call my cell to aid in locating it.
This brings me to the question…Did I achieve my goal!
No…I dropped exactly 6 pounds.
Yes. I’ve gotten back on track.
I’ve gone through many many cycles of mindless eating in the past. As a teacher, I would get into the habit of eating school lunches (what we called the “Red Tray” diet) and put on weight every fall. Then, in January, feeling frustrated, I would annually switch to packing my own soup, veggies, and fruit. Sometimes I’d bring some string cheese or a baggie of nuts. I didn’t focus on carbs or food types, just simplicity and quantity.
But the big secret was that I also began exercising on a treadmill daily in the morning. I wouldn’t change anything else. The result was never dramatic, but I was always able to wear my favorite spring capris and summer skorts.
That being said, I am back to being MINDFUL about my body and my eating and exercising habits. It took this little challenge to get myself to stop and change back to the habits that make me feel good about my body. These habits also make me feel healthy and happy.
As I mentioned in that post 8 weeks ago, I like the feeling of a strong and flexible body when I am walking and doing yoga.
Carbs make me feel sluggish and blah.
Alcohol doesn’t work for me anymore. My 50+-year-old body gets sleepy instead of relaxed. Then, the next morning I’m fuzzy instead of energized.
I’m good with honoring my body in a way that is sustainable and easy. So I guess I’ll call this a successful fail,
or a positive defeat,
or maybe a flop with a silver lining.