Voiceless Woman

I remember driving with my mom in the passenger seat. I might comment on a pretty house. She answered me with silence. 

When I asked my mom for her opinion on how a new dress looked on me, she would reply with “I wonder what it would look like on me?” She wouldn’t answer my question.

If I asked for her opinion about a new couch or a new pair of pillows for the living room, she would only respond to my question by  asking, “What do you think?” She WOULD NOT add her 2 cents worth.

Opinions. I hated that my mom had NONE. (It still pisses me off and she passed away almost 20 years ago).

Now I am an older woman and I don’t want to be voiceless. I want others to ask my opinion and value my thoughts. I have experience, damn it, and life has taught me a thing or two.

You go through life with your kids (as babies, toddlers, and young children…and they adore you!  Then they become more independent, but still need you and start growing into their own. When they become “tweens” and teens, the change begins.   This is not a fun period of life for a lot of parents of teenagers, as you begin to feel that you are viewed as out of touch.  They know everything and work very hard to show this to you.  Actually, the fact is this is when they are the dumbest.  (This must be true as I read it on the internet!!)

Fortunately,  when your children become twenty-something adults, they seem to love your opinions, some of your tastes, and are usually, you see I say (usually), fun to have around. 

Then, when your children have children of their own, they become your friends and you love to be around them. Grandparents are VERY valuable!!!

Then, something happens, they bring around their friends.  They have fun talking and sharing ideas with each other.  Since you have been having a good time with your child/children you feel justified to share in their conversation. (Especially if they are on your domain.)  

Well, guess what, I have discovered that some of their friends think you are a total uneducated, unworldly, and just plain boring person!  What?!? I have gotten the feeling, somehow, that I am “in the way”, an obstacle to navigate around. 

The result…people either ignore your insightful comments or ignore you completely.  I’ve gotten this look that says, “We were talking…who are you and what do you know about anything”?

I’ve seen several articles over the years about the “invisibility” of older people, especially women. See here, here, and here

If you are lucky you might even get an opportunity to share a thought or experience.  After you ponder this idea, god forbid, you think your opinion must be needed or even appreciated.  Well, think again.  You must have happened to have been included because you probably heard the conversation, by accident I’m sure, and thought surely they wanted your opinion.  Don’t kid yourself.  This is not the case. The proof is when you  are told, “I knew I shouldn’t have shared this topic with you.”  So much for being included.  

I had a mother who never gave an opinion. It seemed like  It made me think that she must not be very smart since she never expressed herself.   Well, guess what, I now know why.  She just got shot down so many times that she decided it wasn’t worth it. So she just gave up. 

On the other hand, my mother-in-law gave opinions when asked (usually not what you wanted to hear), but everyone loved her for it. One of my favorite memories of her when I asked her for her opinion about a rustic mirror that I put above my sofa. Her response? “I think it is the stupidest looking thing I have ever seen!” On other occasions, she would reply with, “Well, YOU have to live with it.” She shared her unvarnished opinion with heart and an indifference to whether you would agree or not.  It still makes me giggle when I think of the vehemence with which she shared many opinions. 

 Well, guess what?  This old senior citizen will never shut up, so get used to it.  Somewhere there has to be someone that likes my opinions and wants to listen to some very worthy and worldly advice. I want to be heard and my opinions appreciated by people over the age of four!!!!.

So what is the solution? Do you have a suggestion? I am not going to give up who I am. I am going to continue to express my opinion.  My mom lost her voice when it wasn’t valued. I don’t want that to happen to me…

Who Is Sandy

#sidetrackedsisters #sidetrackedsandy

To Meditate or NOT to Meditate

Meditation is supposed to be a wonderful way to relax, come to terms with your inner self, help relax your body, help your mind focus,  blah, blah, blah.

Well, you know what?  I have found meditation to be a huge waste of time.  I have tried, really, I have tried! 

Comer on inner peace...I don't have all day!

Come on inner peace…I don’t have all day!

(I know people around me would sa I HAVEN’T really tried,(see here) but that is just not true.)

My introduction–and conclusion–to meditation was a couple of years ago.  I went to a meditation workshop with my sister.  Inside a church, on a Saturday was the destination for the day (ALL day mind you)..  We were to sit in a pew, a hard pew at that.  To begin our day, there was a speaker for a short time. Then we were to sit. and. meditate.  This consisted of clearing our minds, relaxing, centering (this means controlling and balancing yourself), not talking, sitting quietly, and, well, MEDITATING!!!!

So…I have a hard time meditating.   It was a BEAUTIFUL, mild, sunny day in January for that workshop. The fresh snow was pearly white, and it was just a  gorgeous winter day.  

We were supposed to sit and be quiet for a whole morning, afternoon, AND into the night!  I just couldn’t do it.  Sometime in the early afternoon I told my sister I had to get outside or I might crack up, or at least have a nervous breakdown.  My energy level was at a high, I needed to move and do something, anything, and I felt like I would run a marathon.  

Unfortunately, when I try to meditate my brain just won’t shut off. I understand that  the goal was to develop my psychological well-being. Its a calming thing to do. Unfortunately, to me, it felt rstless, like I was wasting time. I would rather do just about anything other than just sitting,immobile, trying to clear my mind. 

Give me a book, that would work.  

Paint a wall, that would work.  

Weed a garden, yes, that would work.  

I guess I will have to call one of these activities my type of mediation.

0MMMMMM

Who Is Sandy
Click here to check out the other Sidetracked opinions

#sidetrackedsisters #sidetrackedsandy

Is Spring House Cleaning Even a Thing Any More?

The first day of spring this year is just around the corner. And that gets me thinking about…”Spring House Cleaning”! Crazy, I know. Isn’t this an antiquated activity?  I remember when some of the most beautiful spring days were dedicated to emptying out one room of a house at a time. Then we spent days cleaning windows, washing walls, scrubbing floors, shampooing carpets, organizing drawers, sorting out closets, you get the idea. We used to basically clean the whole damn house, from top to bottom, one room at a time. Continue reading

Developing Relationships with Your Mother-in-Law

Mother-in-lawHere are six tips for having a good relationship with your mother-in-law.

Doris wasn’t just a mother-in-law, but a fabulous friend.  Personally, I feel she had quite a bit more to overlook in me in the beginning as I was selfish, opinionated, and just plain stupid. Example – I had my second child and was not up to par.  It was spring and, of course, flower planting time.  I being the perfectionist (and this is where stupid and selfish comes in) did the unthinkable…  To be nice she planted a peachy/pink bed of petunias in an area where I would usually put, I think, red.  Would you believe that when I felt up to it, I actually replaced her petunias with my preferred color?  When I think of that today I just cringe.  She never said a word, but I’ll bet she was not impressed with me.  

Tip 1 – Be thankful for the little things they do for you and be gracious

When my husband and I started going together we were of different religions.  I was with a girlfriend that was Lutheran, the same as my mother-in-law, and she said to me.  “Why doesn’t Art find a nice Lutheran girl to date?”  At the time I was appalled.  Today I think it is pretty funny as later in life I turned to Lutheran and she turned to the religion that I had been for her second husband.

Tip 2 – Don’t sweat the small stuff.  There is always tomorrow and things change

The two of us came from entirely different backgrounds.  She was a farm girl and I was a city brat.  Her taste was totally different than mine and we had a good time teasing about my exotic, or just plain different taste than hers.  One time after putting up a half-moon mirror in my family room I asked her what she thought and she replied, “I think it looks totally stupid.”  O.K. then!!!  I had grown up enough by this time to actually laugh it off and I still have that totally stupid mirror still hanging in my family room.

Tip 3 – Appreciate true honesty and don’t take it personally

She was always there when I needed her, or just a phone call away.  She actually got a warning ticket for speeding on Center Street to come and wash my kitchen floor.  I was getting ready for one of the girl’s weddings and she thought I could use some help.  The officer asked her where she was going in such a hurry, 50 in a 25-speed zone, and she said to wash my daughter-in-law’s floor. He gave her a warning, but I’ll bet there were a few laughs down at the station after that. I hope none of them knew me so as to judge me, expecting this poor older lady to wash my kitchen floor?.  

Tip 4 – Appreciate the things they do for you even if it is not necessary

When I planted my perennial garden I worked during the day and had to get my plants in after dark for some reason.  My mother and mother-in-law sat on logs in my backyard with flashlights to help me see what I was doing.  My backyard neighbor had to hang over the fence in the morning to see what the hell was going on. 

Tip 5 –  Appreciate the big things they do for you

I could go on and on.  She has since passed on and I miss her terribly.  I miss our late evening gab sessions on the phone.  Her stories that went on and on, and her being there for me was so enjoyable.  Sure, she made me a little crazy sometimes, but I learned to overlook her differences and she overlooked mine.  When she told me that I was more like a daughter to her than a daughter-in-law that was the ultimate compliment.  

Tip 6 –  Enjoy their differences and learn from them

They seem to have a book of knowledge that they love to share.  Remember that they also compete with your own mother on most occasions and also learn how not to tread on toes.

Who Is Sandy
Click here to check out the other Sidetracked opinions

#sidetrackedsisters #sidetrackedsandy #motherinlaw #family 

Halloween Is Not Just For Kids! – Enjoy Yourself!

halloweenWho thinks that Halloween is strictly for kids.  I have noticed that a lot of adults sure know how to enjoy themselves.  I have had a couple of fun memories that still make me laugh about Halloween!    

First of all, you have to know me to know that I have a really weird sense of humor.  I love to pull practical jokes.  I get totally hysterical when I get a funny result to the point, you know, where you have to bend down on one knee so as not to pee your pants!!!!  This, of course, does not make me the most popular person to anybody, including my family.  

Picture this – I was at Walmart with my daughter and her youngest son, Nathan.  He was 3 years old.  He was fascinated with all the scary masks and was totally engrossed to the point he didn’t hear me when I kept calling to him.  I put on the scariest mask I could find and kept calling him to look at me.  He didn’t pay attention.  So, I got down on my knees, got close to him, and said, “Nate!”  He finally looked at me and when he noticed me, he let out the most awful, blood-curdling, loud scream and proceeded to run away from me, racing down the aisle to get away from the monster I had become.  My daughter, with her baby girl, Jessica, in tow in another aisle, heard this and thought he got killed. 

Another time that I still find myself laughing hysterically is when my oldest daughter was two years old. She had on a red snowsuit, with a sign that said, “trick or treat”.  Plus she had on a silly witch mask  Being she was only two, she was really dazed and confused as to what was going on.  It was dark out and I took her to a neighbors house.  Put her up on their porch.  At this point, a group of other trick or treaters came and kind of pushed her aside.  When the lady opened the door Lisa was behind it and was pushed off the porch and fell onto one of the bushes.  Trust me, she wasn’t hurt, but when she looked back at me with this dumb, no expression, witch mask I totally lost it.  I, of course, was kneeling down on the road so as not, you guessed it, pee my pants, laughing hysterically.  The lady at the house thought I was totally nuts, to say the least.  As I write this, I still break down with hysterical laughter much to my daughter’s dismay.

As I said, Halloween is just as much for adults as kids.  Maybe with jello shots, putting bunny ears on your dog, put on a witch hat, own it, let yourself be a kid, and have fun.

Who Is Sandy
Click here to check out the other Sidetracked opinions

#sidetrackedsisters #sidetrackedsandy #beakid #enjoyyourself #halloween #stayyoung #holiday

To Tan or Not to Tan

To tan or not to tan, that is the question!!!

TanningAs I sit here with my white legs, white arms, white face, white body, white everything looking like a newly plucked chicken, next to my Hispanic granddaughter with beautiful caramel skin.  I love caramel skin and in my next life perhaps I will have that gorgeous, flawless skin, caramel in color.  But, today I am reflecting back to the days when we actually tried to achieve, and did, but not without a little (a lot) discomfort and pain. Continue reading

Who the Hell Invented Bras?? It Must’ve Been a Man!

bras

Bra drawer of a cute perky teen

Who the hell invented bras, and who the hell says we have to wear them????

Who likes bras? Well, I don’t know many people, women, who do. On two different occasions, maybe three, I have gone bra shopping with family and friends, spending many, many hours in dressing rooms, thinking that I have found the ONE. Then a couple of days later I returned all them much to the dismay of my helpers. As you will note in some other Sidetracked Sisters’ posts I am not very popular in this department.

Continue reading

Sandy’s 9 Tips for a Beautiful Garden

Here are some of my gardening tips:

When to Plant

Iceman Days.  Do not plant annuals or vegetable plants until after “Iceman Days”.  Iceman Days seem to be different every year, but when I looked it up for this year it says they are May 11, 12, and 13.  It has something to do with the moon.  (This is taken from the Farmer’s Almanac).  If you are really interested in the history of this just go to Google as Google knows everything.  Not being a farmer, just an unknowledgeable girl, this saved me quite a bit of money.  It really seems true and I follow it religiously.  One year I put out impatients the first week of May and it actually snowed on them.  So much for pretty plants.  They don’t like to be frozen!!!

Hostas

Don’t plant (most) hostas in the sun.  Read the labels and make sure if they will tolerate the sun or not. They will grow, but the leaves have a tendency of burning.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe burned leaves is the look you will want to achieve.  (Reading the labels for all plants is essential to proper maintenance)

Mulching

I don’t mulch around annuals as this seems to stunt their growth.  Mulching around other items in the garden does provide a clean appearance and helps retain moisture.

Overcrowding  

Overcrowding is another way to prevent plants from thriving.  Allowing space between your plants is beneficial for their growth.  This is something I fail at miserably because I prefer immediate gratification and want to see full planters and gardens.  

Weeding

Weeding, of course, is really important.  For some of us that don’t mind weeding, if taken an area at a time, it can be rewarding.  Lisa and I actually tend to weed anywhere we are; restaurants, stores, other people’s houses, wherever we are standing and notice weeds.  It might be considered a mental problem by some!! (Michelle thinks we are nuts)

Fertilizing

Fertilizing is a must, even though this is something that I don’t do as often as I should.  This is especially important for container planting.

Larger Pots

I used to do a lot of planting in little pots.  I have now gone to fewer, but much larger planters.  The flowers thrive much better.  This creates less fussing over.  

20-minute gardening

Don’t overdue.  Don’t do it all in one day if you have a lot of gardening.  By taking 20 minutes each day to do your garden maintenance you’ll enjoy the process more.

Edging

A nice crisp edge to your garden completes a finished look.  Even if there are weeds in the middle, a clean edge makes your gardens look cared for both far away and close up.

Who Is Sandy
Click here to check out the other Sidetracked opinions

#sidetrackedsisters #sidetrackedsandy #gardening #gardens #flowers #20minutegardener #gardeningfordummies #springgardens #farmersalmanac 

I Was Sooooo Cute as a Child – What a Body!

body image

As a child, my body was an absolute bean pole, skinny that is.  I actually went to the doctor as a teenager to get something to help me gain weight.  He, of course, thought I was nuts, but gave me some kind of a prescription (probably just sugar pills).  He said, “Someday you will wish you were this way.”  Boy, was he right!

Then there is my hair.  I am old, so to speak, and I can truthfully say I have yet to find a hairstyle that I feel is me.  I can only keep trying.   I am still waiting for my prime.  I think it has come and gone, but one can only hope.  Some days, I can actually say “What the hell”, and then others it frustrates me.  I think that is normal for most people.  Well – it is for me.

Continue reading

Retirement Reality

Retirement RealityMy aha moment came many weeks, months, after my retirement last year.  I realized it after 56 years of working as a paralegal/legal secretary for the same firm my boss retired and the office closed. It is hard to break old habits, like cleaning at night and on weekends, never having any free time without feeling guilty, and being able to have some free time for myself.  My aha moment came when one day many months later I realized, while I was on a road trip with a friend, that I didn’t have any real-time constraints other than my family needing me to come back for things such as cleaning, cooking, driving grandkids around, you know, the usual.  We were driving along and I thought aha, I am on my own at this moment and don’t have to go to work. No one was expecting me to get out a will, do divorce papers, real estate documents, correspondence, and the list goes on.  Continue reading