Says Who???

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I was watching a favorite television program this morning while I drank my coffee. The topic was about female body image. You know what I mean… weight, hair, cellulite, wrinkles and so on. The host and her guests, four ladies in probably their late thirties and early forties, were discussing all these issues and then some. The general consensus seemed to be that in order to support a strong feminist attitude  you should not conform to society’s standards regarding appearance. A couple of the women had let all of their body hair grow out, and one had embraced her cellulite and sagging skin by posting pictures of her “cottage cheese” thighs in a bikini. It got me thinking about how I felt on the topic.

I have a confession! Even though I strongly support women’s rights, I am not about to grow out my underarms and leg hair. b3bc40e4c667475dcf5a8033ee651da2

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Hell, it bothers me that my eyebrows are thinning, but I have a healthy crop of upper-lip and chin hairs. I am kind of wondering if that is where eyebrow hair sags to as we age. It doesn’t help that my poor eyesight makes it difficult to see this new crop, so I sometimes need to rely on that dreaded magnifying mirror.

It makes me kind of laugh when I think back to my early teenage years. Shaving my legs and armpits seemed like a coming of age event. There were lots of little nicks and cuts until I got the hang of it, but I loved the silky feel and look of clean-shaven legs. It never occurred to me that I was giving in to men’s expectations.

For me personally, removing my body hair has absolutely nothing to do with my opinions about women’s rights or conforming to social norms. I simply like the way it looks. It makes me feel fresh and clean. 98816aa3d6dab787462b3ffa8928d100

 

 

 

 

 

We all remember the feminist “bra-less” movement which was then followed by the “top-less” protest. Those women were taking a stand! No one was going to tell them what to do. Men loved it. I really found it amusing in that women had been going topless on the beaches in Europe for years previously. No big deal! Not to mention, in cold weather, my bra keeps that sensitive area warm. Let’s face it, no one is fighting to go topless in the dead of winter where I live.

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It’s interesting how societal conventions morph over time. Men have picked up on our fascination with hair removal. They are waxing and shaving their parts like never before, and I am not referring to only gay men as some may think. Body builders are doing it to show off their muscle definition better; some feel it makes certain areas more sensitive during sex. Do silky smooth testicles make them less masculine? Of course not! It is simply a matter of taste. e7d08f868acbea2b7dd1c2ed87f88d5a

 

 

 

 

 

As I listened to the young women on the show make their points, I couldn’t help but think they should be using their voices, not their unshaven pits or dimpled butts, to promote women . Ladies we are smart! Let’s use ours brains to fight for equality. That old adage, “Looks are only skin deep”, still holds true.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Burlesque….. Seriously?

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Every fall, as regular as clockwork, new classes begin at our local senior citizens’ centre. One of my groups favorite classes has been zumba; we all love to dance and so, it is a perfect fit for us. This fall, however, as I perused the registration catalogue, my eyes fell on a new offering….. burlesque! Really???? I read the course description, “come bump, grind and laugh”. I was intrigued to say the least and apparently I was not alone. It wasn’t long before a text came from one of the girls asking me if I had seen the program in the book. Without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, “We have to do this!” And after a flurry of calls, all four of us agreed.

Last Tuesday was our first class. Like a young child, I was most curious about who the teacher might be, who else would sign up, would it be too difficult, what should I wear? Surprisingly, the class was full. Who knew there were so many senior ladies wanting to release their sexy?

The teacher jumped right in with a light warm-up and before we knew it, we were putting together the first steps of a cheeky routine. Giggles broke out here and there as we moved our hips and caressed our curves with our hands. Some of those ladies were concentrating as though they had never moved sensually in their lives, but they were enjoying unleashing their new-found sex-goddess.  bdc50c16f91622bb4641792f6ff2884d

 

 

 

 

 

As the hour slide by, we repeated steps over and over to build the routine. Our instructor had to keep reminding us to put on a sexy smile. It is challenging to count steps and look provocative.

The men in the next room were playing a lively game of darts, but their curiosity must have gotten the better of them because every once-in-a-while one would peek in the door to see what the laughter was about.

According to our instructor, we will be learning two routines. For the second number, we will be using a chair as a prop.  I can hardly wait! I hope that my arthritis does not get in the way of my “sexy”. 26dfb1759291bd5f60112d8c30b4564a

Go ahead try something new! And 1, 2, 3, 4…. swing those hips!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Life Is Fiction

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I love reading stories about women who do an about change in their life because their circumstances are making them unhappy. Two well-known examples that come to mind are “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat, Pray, Love”, but I have discovered there are many more out there to discover. I can hear the groans now! You’re probably thinking this woman’s age is affecting her brain. Yes, these stories are fiction, but often real life is stranger than fiction. And I honestly believe that writers use real life situations in their novels because the readers can relate to the characters easily.

Just yesterday, I finished the book, ” Under Italian Skies” by Nicky Pelligrino.

20190724_095220 It was recommended by a friend who knows I love Italy and France as much as she does. The book itself was entertaining, but more important was the fact that it was written about middle-aged women and their lives and dreams. Fiction, yes, but those women could have been any one of my real friends. All of the characters had come to a point in their lives where they thought they had to accept their situations. They were all beautiful women with so much more life to enjoy. All they needed was a gentle push.

 

We often fall into ruts throughout life. Our days become routine and mundane. If you are raising a family, this is especially true, and having been a single parent who raised two children alone, I know how easily we can lose ourselves in their lives. Dreams fade into the background of every day requirements so far that we often forget they even ever existed. When I was younger, my own mom often reminded me that I had no time of my own, but even back then, I knew my turn would eventually come.

My children grew up and left home, and I found myself with a great deal of time for me. Luckily, I had an amazing circle of friends, all in similar circumstances. As time went on, more women joined our group. We were drawn together by our common interests, but we have also expanded our lives by trying new things together. There is something very reassuring about the support from others.

I can’t say it enough. Live your dreams as much as possible; you will never regret it. Just today, I came across a post by Humans of New York in Facebook about a woman who is doing just that. I enjoyed the piece so much, I am including it in this post. It reads as follows:

“I spent thirty-six years as an editor at the New York Times. There were so many rounds of layoffs, and so many buyout opportunities– but I kept turning them down. I was terrified of retirement. I never wanted to ‘retire.’ The word sounded terrible to me. It meant going to Florida and dying. It meant sitting in a chair and watching daytime TV. It meant not working anymore. Not thinking anymore. Nothing but play and relaxation. And that wasn’t enough for me. That’s not living. You always need to have a goal. Grandchildren are great, but they’re not enough. You need something to wake up your brain. A reason to focus. A reason to get out of bed and use everything that you’ve ever learned. I’ll never see myself as retired. Right now I’m trying to become a fiction writer. I love it because my brain is always working. Some days I think about my work so much, that when I finally sit down to write, it just comes pouring out my fingers. I’d love to finish a book one day. Something that people enjoy. And I’d love to have it published. Maybe a hardcover from Random House. That gets optioned for a movie. And wins an Oscar. Oh it’s exciting, isn’t it? I could go on and on.”

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So, the next time that you read a lovely fictional story, and you find yourself wishing that was your life, think again. You are the author of your own book. Write it the way you want it to be.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Remember?

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Getting old is real, but nature has found a way to soften the blow….. as we age, our capacity to remember things decreases. Oh, it starts off gradually. We forget where we leave our keys or misplace an item. In a conversation, we sometimes lose our train of thought, but after a bit it returns. Then retrieving someone’s name takes more effort, and so it goes. Several weeks ago, I forgot where I parked my car at the mall. Nothing too terrible, just inconvenient.

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As time goes on, things take a little longer to recall. For example, at lunch, I was watching the television and eating some crackers and humus. There was a knock on the door, but before I answered, I went to look out the window to see who was there. On my way to the door, I set down the plate I was holding. After a lengthy conversation with the church people on my porch, I closed the door and proceeded back to the living-room. But where was my plate? I wandered to the kitchen, through the dining room, back to the front door, and then again to the living room. No plate! I looked at the dog. She didn’t appear to know either. It had to be here! The lid from the humus that I was eating lay alone on the kitchen counter. I even peered into the fridge. Nothing! Feeling frustrated, I sat down in front of the tv. As I retraced my steps in my mind, my eyes scanned the room. Suddenly, there it was! Sitting on the mantle above the fireplace was my uneaten snack. Well, there went 20 minutes of my life I can’t get back.

I have come to accept these little annoyances because after all, they are a fact of aging. All one can do is laugh.

The most recent memory incident happened to my friend only yesterday. It was so funny that I am still giggling. It seems that she went to the department store to buy a new bra. While there, she decided to try on the matching panties. After much decision making in the dressing room, she decided not to purchase the bra. It happened to be Wednesday, our regular pub dinner night. She arrived at the pub directly from her shopping trip. As she joined the group at our table, her eyes widened in shock. “Oh my god! I’m going to be arrested!” she blurted out. “I walked out of the store still wearing the panties I was trying on. I returned the bra, but forgot the pants.” And with that, she hoisted her dress right there at the table to reveal the price tag still securely attached to the second pair of underwear she was wearing. The entire table of girls broke into loud laughter. She was horrified! “I can’t even return them because they will know that I took them.” After a moments thought, I suggested, “Go back and buy the bra. I think you were meant to have it.” We laughed and laughed.

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Life is way too short to worry about stolen underwear!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Single and Happy

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The name of my blog includes the word “single” for a reason. At this point in my life, I have no desire to remarry or be a part of a committed couple. I have lived alone for twenty plus years, and I am quite content with my situation. Even before that, when my children were still living at home, I was very much single. After my husband passed away, they had made it perfectly clear that they did not want a new dad, period. And so, I grew to accept my singleness gradually.

As my kids got older and needed me less, I did date occasionally. Friends often tried introducing me to available men, but I never found that special someone who I wanted to share my life with again. I was set in my ways and did not want to adjust to a new partner’s habits. As I got older, the men I met seemed needy. They were looking for someone to care for them as they aged. 77b4f23c73b1a4f0f8ef9dda08bbed5d

 

 

 

 

I would often look at the relationships around me and hear the partners’ complaints about each other.  “He’s never home; I will have to check with my husband; He never leaves the couch on weekends; He’s out with the guys drinking; I’m always stuck with the kids; and on and on. I was not in a hurry to join their ranks. I did not have to check in with anyone, or ask if I could buy something, or ask about someone else’s schedule.

ba2e18a1d5a8bd1d14d29d209a36c257  My life is uncomplicated. I come and go when and where I wish. Believe it or not, being single is very liberating. People used to look at me with a certain sadness in their eye. I was asked so many times why I had not remarried in all those years. Wasn’t I lonely? How could I manage a job, home, and family on my own? If I had to be honest, I never wanted to marry in the first place. In the 60’s, it was just expected that you finished school, got a job, married, and had a family. So, rather than buck the norm, so to speak, I did what was expected.

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Now all this sounds like I do not like men. Nothing could be further from the truth. I enjoy their company immensely. I would love to be able to date casually, but from my own experience, men my age want commitment or a much younger lady. To be honest, the men my age that I meet seem OLD! Perhaps that’s the problem! I need to focus on a younger age group. Hhmmm!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

 

I Do…… I Don’t!!

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It’s that time of year when so many brides plan their weddings. It is a time of sunny days and fresh beginnings. I have attended my fair share of these events over my lifetime and each one was lovely. Most memorable was my niece’s wedding held in a lovely, older church and the reception took place in a beautiful winery setting. Everything was perfect!

So, some of you may be wondering why I am on this topic. I am certainly not walking down the aisle myself, nor are either of my children planning a wedding. The reason I am writing this particular blog is to vent! I am so fed up with these reality programs like “Say Yes To The Dress”! Can anyone tell me why this needs to be taking up airtime? Surely the networks are not so hard up for content that these shows play back-to-back for hours every day. If that is the big fascination for viewers these days, then society is really hopeless.     67152b1f03e03fb81266d6dc8f68042a

Also, please tell me why a bride needs 10-12 people to help her pick out a dress. It’s like a contest for who can have the biggest, boldest entourage. If she cannot think for herself, perhaps she should not be getting married in the first place. I understand taking your mom or dad or a sibling. Yes, it is more fun with someone along, but when I see brides being torn in different directions by friends, or the groom’s mom, or Aunt Matilda….enough! It’s not your day!!! A bride should not end up in tears on national tv over her damn dress.

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Pretty sure no one helped her.

And speaking of the dress, is there a good reason why someone would spend $10,000 or, $20,000 or more for a gown for one bloody day? I must be really showing my age because I think this is absurd. If a bride needs to spend that much on a gown to be happy, she has issues.

I know I must sound very negative, but the entire wedding industry today is out of control. Wedding planners make you feel guilty if you don’t get the extravagant venue, or rent the best linens, or spend $1000’s on flowers. Yes, it is only one day, but that is my point. It makes me think their life is all down hill from there on. Come on, ladies! You are better than that. Have an amazing day, but you have the rest of your life to make amazing also. Don’t get sucked up in trying to outdo the next girl. And most definitely, the rest of the country does not need to watch it all on television and judge your dress or venue or center pieces.   6a2351c165fa554989a5da35d0ca3570

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, can we get some decent programming on television, please?

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Aging vs Getting Old

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Well, now that I have your attention, I’d like to get your opinion. Are aging and getting old the same thing? The reason I ask is that over and over I constantly hear complete strangers say, “I hope I can have as much fun as you and your friends when I am your age.” It’s puzzling to me. Do these people think that we are unusual? Do they think they have to wait until a certain age to enjoy their selves?

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I especially cringe when I hear, “You look great for your age,” or “You don’t look your age at all”. Is there some kind of measurement standard that I don’t know about yet? I always enjoy going someplace and running into people that I have not seen since my twenties. Admit it! We all do it! We compare how they look to how we “think” we look. Now sometimes this backfires when they say, “You haven’t changed a bit and I have no clue who they are because they have changed a lot.” This happens a great deal with former students. I am sure I have that “deer- in- the- headlight” stare because they were eight when I last saw them. When I hear comments like, “You look exactly the same,” I secretly laugh because I like to think I look better now (just joking).

A very close friend called me one day. She was furious! She ran into a very old friend who she hadn’t seen in quite some time. This friend was in her wedding. My friend spoke to the woman saying, “Hi, how are you?” This comment was met by a blank stare. The friend from the past had no clue who she was. My friend explained and they laughed and had a brief conversation, but my girlfriend was offended so she called and asked if she really had changed that much with age. a74604d51ab735b64a6292f1b7c23b45

We all change as we grow older. Our hair grays, our skin sags and wrinkles, we often put on a few extra pounds, and our aches and pains often show as we may move slower or have a limp. However, none of those things have anything to do with getting old. We get old when we stop enjoying and participating in life.

 

Just because we have a few more birthdays, doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you loved to do. Well, within reason I guess!

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We all come to know our own limitations, but it really has nothing to do with the number of candles on your birthday cake. I know people much younger than I am who do very little in life other than going to their job and sitting in front of the television. I feel sorry for those individuals. They are missing out! If you enjoyed a certain activity when you were younger and you are still physically capable, then do it again. Do not let anyone tell you that you are “too old”. And by the same token, If there is something you have always wanted to do, then do it; you may not get the same opportunity again.

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Now, if you will excuse me, I believe there is a lovely, chilled glass of wine sitting on the bar waiting for me. b1f0e9a96abbb9fd68cc6dfd9487bc55

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo