Women Over 50 Blog
5/28/58

As you know, Oops50 is not a literary blog but a site dedicated to women baby boomers  - a place where we share whatever we feel like.  And today, I want to share an essay, 5/28/58 written by our friend, Terri Kirby Erickson.  

Terri is the author of three collections of poetry, including her latest book, In the Palms of Angels (Press 53), which won a 2012 Nautilus Silver Award for Poetry and a Gold Medal for Poetry in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.  Her poems are forthcoming or have appeared in American Life in Poetry, 2013 Poet’s Market, The Christian Science Monitor and many other publications.  She lives in North Carolina.  Please visit her website for more information about her books and poetry.

Annice


Terri Kirby Erickson

It would be convenient to blame Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63, wherein a guy who owns a diner in Lisbon Falls, Maine, finds a portal to the past—a certain day in 1958—for the longing I feel these days, when I think about my childhood.  But I’m only on page 81 of Mr. King’s 842-page book, and I was feeling this way before I ever checked it out of the library.

No doubt memory has put a patina on my early years that have rendered them golden in my mind’s eye.  Intellectually, I understand that life wasn’t perfect when I was a kid, that I still sometimes felt afraid (particularly of what might be hiding under my bed at night), and my family didn’t have a lot of money, which meant that my father worked two jobs sometimes, instead of one.  Also there were the usual number of bullies in the neighborhood, injuries suffered in bike accidents, etc., and my mother often served peas for dinner, which I cleverly hid beneath piles of mashed potatoes.

I’m well aware, too, that the 1960’s were tumultuous years in our nation’s history.  But children back then were not necessarily macrocosmic thinkers.  All that existed for us was our own neighborhood, the people we knew.  There was no such thing as the Internet, and we were too busy playing outside to watch much television.

For us, every day unfolded like a flower.  My parents were young and beautiful.  My grandparents and my little brother, Tommy, were still alive.  And I felt safe, loved, and happier than I’ve ever been since then, mostly because I didn’t know that unhappiness was an option.  Summers above all, were magical.  Centuries passed between the moment I woke up in the morning in a body so new it practically hummed with health and vigor, and suppertime, after which we still had hours of daylight left.

And death, although we knew about it through the loss of an occasional pet or finding a dead bird in the yard—was something that only happened to ancient animals and people, and it would be a thousand years before anyone we knew, including ourselves, could possibly die.  Besides, we would all “wake up” in heaven, a wonderful place where good people and animals go when they pass away.  We didn’t know anyone who wasn’t good except for the aforementioned bullies, and they deserved whatever was coming to them as far as we were concerned.

I still believe in heaven, but I’ve lost count of all the loved ones who are there, now.  I miss them more than I can say, especially Tommy, who was killed in an accident when he was twenty.  If I’d known what was going to happen to my brother, I would have let him hang out more, with me and my friends.  I wouldn’t have cast the blame on him for schemes that I cooked up.  I would have been a better sister, all around.

But none of us knows what lies ahead, which is probably for the best.  What I do know is that I’m very glad I was born to my particular parents in my particular town—that I have my own “portal” to 1958, the year of my birth, and I don’t need a diner in Maine to find it.  And I’m lucky enough as a writer, myself, to have such a wealth of memories from which to draw for my work—to have the opportunity to make the past come alive for readers who have walked a similar path, and others (including my own lovely daughter!) who will not know what it was like to be a child in the 1960’s, unless we tell them.

But I have to admit, it would be nice to wake up tomorrow morning feeling like I did when I was six, to climb one more tree without being afraid of falling.  On second thought, maybe I’ll just write about it!

Later this week, we will share a poem by Terri.


Terri on her Swing
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I must be getting old.  Watching the Olympics last night, I found myself doing the following:  worrying about all the potential injuries that those young, driven bodies could sustain (or already have sustained!); suffering through the gymnastic routines with the mothers in the stands (my favorite part of the games was watching Aly Raisman’s parents move back and forth with her routine); feeling sorry for the beautiful Russian gymnast who lost to the American team because of a series of unfortunate events; and, finally, thinking that maybe it isn’t all that great for a young, 25-year-old athlete to win 19 medals—that maybe it would be better for Michael Phelps if he actually didn’t conquer that record—if he actually encountered something that he couldn’t do!


Michael Phelps

That wasn’t all I was thinking.

I admit I was also blown away by some of the amazing things the human body can do when it is trained and trained and trained into shape. And I found myself, like so many other people, wanting to go outside and do a cartwheel on the front lawn.


Weightlifter’s Injury

But I also couldn’t help wondering—especially during the gymnastics and the weight lifting, where you see the athlete’s muscles straining—how we will know when we have actually reached the limit of human potential—how we will know when to stop pushing for more world records, since that final push could be the one that kills a young athlete instead of just putting them out of commission for a while.

As I said, I must be getting old.


Finish Line
Sadhvi Sez: A Good Summer Read: Saturday Comes: A Novel of Love and Vodou, Mercury is Retrograde, and…

SATURDAY COMES: A NOVEL OF LOVE AND VODOU

…I can’t remember the 3rd thin!.  I also can’t remember when I read a book from front to back, but I do know it’s been a long time.  Maybe I just needed to get lost in a good book, which used to be a lovely pleasure of mine when I was younger.

So I subscribe to a blog I like called “Fifty is the New”.  It’s women over 50 writing things that have meaning for them and, they are always interesting posts.

One of these women from "Fifty is the New" wrote this book, and her name is Carine Fabius *

This was a good book that was hard to put down because the tale that Carine weaves is one where you just never know what is going to happen, or has happened, and then there’s this touch of Voodoo that makes it kind of addicting.  Oh, and love and sex.


CARINE FABIUS

Saturday comes is an "atmospheric tale of love and hate; of Haiti’s long-smoldering societal and class issues; of the magic, which reigns over the everyday lives of the Haitian natives, and of the unseen forces that draw humans together."

I couldn’t have described it better!

It’s the kind of book that if you feel like getting away, or taking a break from your normal life, you can just start reading it.

And since we are in this interesting mercury retrograde period, you might as well click here and order it right now, because according to those that read the stars, THIS particular retrograde period is one where we’re all going to need a lot of time to be alone.

Tosh, if you’re reading this, an astrologer that I follow on FB had this to say today that is relevant for you with your Sun, Mercury, Jupiter, and Mars very close to 10 degrees Leo:  "Anyone with anything at 10 Leo is going to feel quite bonkers today. I advise sticking your head in a box for the entire Mercury retrograde, as this period is especially nutty for you. Warn your friends."

That’s it for me this week.  I hope you are enjoying the space of what is.  And let me know if you have a good book that you’d like to share.  Or an interesting incident to report about your experience of mercury retrograde!

* Saturday Comes is the fifth book by Carine Fabius.  She is a contemporary ethnic art dealer, museum curator, body art pioneer, and blogger on issues relating to the arts, culture, and lifestyle.  You can read her blogs at HuffingtonPost.com, and FiftyIsTheNew.com, and at CarineFabius.com.  She is currently at work on a collection of short stories.  A Haitian native who grew up in New York, she currently lives in Hollywood, California.

Getting Back to

I went back to the gym last week.  That’s after gaining back thirty of the ninety-five pounds I lost last year!  It was time.  You can only go for so long saying to yourself things like, “It’s a stressful time: I should eat.”  Or “I’m feeling really happy today: I should eat.” Or, “I have a wedding coming up where I’m going to eat anyway, so I might as well eat.”

So, I signed up for a two-week session at my local YWCA that has the lovely name of “Boot Camp.”  And,  for the past eight days (the camp goes for ten), I’ve been showing up at the Y and doing an intense combination of cardio, weights and just general misery (lunges, planks, etc.) that has made me feel completely exhausted and muscle-achy—but very proud of myself.  I’m feeling muscles I didn’t know existed!  I have more energy at work.  My outlook on life has improved.  I’m even feeling more hopeful about eventually getting back to where I was.  My friend Catherine, who is the Director of Programs at the Y, told me about the camp, so, all I can say is, “Thank you, C.P.!”

I would like to say that I’ve also seriously curtailed my eating this week—to really take advantage of all those burned calories—but I’m afraid I’ve just boosted my eating enough to make sure I don’t lose weight.  But that’s okay.  The main thing is that I bit the bullet; I took the bull by the horns; I put a stop to the downward slide I was on.  I haven’t lost weight this week, but I also haven’t gained.  And I’ve gotten back over the terrible hurdle that I always face: FEAR/DREAD OF EXERCISE.  So, there’s hope.


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Here’s how I figure it:  at the end of these two weeks, my body will be in slightly better shape than it was two weeks ago, and I will have two important things to motivate me to keep exercising (and, eventually, perhaps, even to cut back on my eating):  1) I will not want the misery—and the cost—of Boot Camp to have been for naught; 2) my body will actually feel the need for exercise again—it will be in a groove and not want to get out of it.  Most of all, I hope I can remember not to be a perfectionist.  My plan at least, is to forgive myself if I don’t go to  the gym every day but reward myself for any exercise I can squeeze into my life.  I will say to myself things like, “Any day you go is progress!”  or “If you walk around the block right now in the hot sun, even though it’s not a ton of exercise, it’s better than sitting on the couch.”

We’ll see.  Before I get to that point, however, I’ve got two more days of boot camp to get through.  Wish me luck!


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Untitled

Annice

I probably shouldn’t write about pet peeves, I mean who really cares?  But, I need a minute to rant.  Is it just me, or have people in the U.S.  forgotten how to eat with utensils?  And, I’m not talking about sushi, cous-cous, Ethiopian cuisine, or other ethnic foods.  I’m also not talking about  young people who lack proper dining etiquette. I’m talking about patronizing a fairly nice restaurant and noticing a very well dressed women in her 50s, shoveling pieces of omelette onto her fork with her fingers.

As a result of that episode, all I do now in restaurants is stare at customers while they eat.  Only it’s worse. I play this little game when someone sits down -  I look them over, and based on their appearance and manner, I make a decision about whether or not they will use a knife and fork  properly.  And, guess what?  My diners do not disappoint.  Many eat in a way that grosses me out.  I want to run over to their table and say, “Can you please use a knife and fork when you eat.”  After all, there are still knives on the table when you sit down in a restaurant, so obviously they are there for a reason.  Frankly, I don’t care what people do in the privacy of their home, but in public, use a knife and fork  P-L-E-A-S-E.


Correct use of knife & fork
Sadhvi Asks: Where were you in ‘62?

SADHVI

I just read that The Rolling Stones celebrated 50 years on stage this past Thursday.

Yup, 50 years ago on July 12th, 1962, Mick Jagger played his first gig with a band called the Rollin’ Stones (a name they took from a song by the late, great man of blues, Muddy Waters).
It marks the 50th anniversary of their very first live show at the Marquee club in London.
My whole generation, today’s baby boomers, were becoming adults, and we were choosing ways that were different than our parents.  Girls started wearing pants and not wearing a bra; boys started wearing their hair long, with just about everyone experimenting with drugs, and all the while having sex with each other without being married.

THE ROLLING STONES (courtesy of Rankin)
The music was definitely part of those revolutionary times too.  One of my favorite songs by the Rolling Stones is still "Street Fighting Man".  It has that raw, electric sound that to me was the definition of what rock and roll was during the 60’s and 70’s.  A time to wake up.  A time to stop the senseless war that was going on in Vietnam.  A time to not be governed by the ideas of society and culture.  A time for peace.  A time to love one another.  It’s kind of the same as now, don’t you think?
According to Wikipedia, Bruce Springsteen would comment in 1985, after including “Street Fighting Man” in the encores of some of his Born in the U.S.A. Tour shows: “That one line, ‘What can a poor boy do but sing in a rock and roll band?’ is one of the greatest rock and roll lines of all time. … [The song] has that edge-of-the-cliff thing when you hit it.”
So where was I in 1962?  I was 4 years old, and I don’t think I was aware of The Rolling Stones that year.  It would take me another 4 or 5 years to realize what kind of energy rock and roll could have on me, because that is when we all started to listen to the weekly countdown on WIXY1260 in Cleveland, Ohio.
I remember a bunch of us hanging out in the neighbor’s kitchen, week after week, year after year; friend’s of mine, mother’s of those friends, and brother’s of those friends…all excited and waiting to hear that week’s #1 song.  For me it was exciting.

But, what I want to know is, “Where were you in 1962?”  Let me know if you can take a moment.  I’d really like to know.

Untitled

Annice

It started over a week ago when a dear friend in New Jersey e-mailed me a link to an article that was being discussed on  "Coast to Coast,” a radio show that airs on more than 560 stations in the U.S., as well as Canada and Mexico. The show boasts nearly three million weekly listeners from 1-5.a.m. (Paula, I didn’t know you were an insomniac).

The topic on the show was breast cancer and how to prevent it “naturally.”  The article in question claimed that there was an increase in breast cancer rates between women who wear bras versus those that who do not. It said the odds of getting breast cancer dramatically increased with bra-wearing over 12 hours per day. My friend, like so many of us, is not a fan of the bra when at home. Always ready to forward health info, I sent the article to a group of women over 50, and within minutes, it sparked a flood of comments, such as:

Nedra: I don’t know what to think but who really wears bras at home? I only wear mine when I go out period. Never at home, hate them! When I wear a bra, I like Spanx, get them on-line. 

Sadhvi: Interesting article…now, all I need to do is find some kind of undershirt that will bring some kind of support for my 42DD size!  Let me know if any of you know of something.

Marjorie:  Hi all, this missive has been around for a long time. Given the fact that probably 99% of women wear a bra, I think the statistics are ridiculous. You can buy a wire-free, front closing sports bra at Kmart for $7.00. It is comfortable and will give you some support so your tee tees don’t hang down to your belly button! Now for my 2 cents. Here is what I think causes cancer (since I have it, I feel I can be bold and pontificate)!  

1.         Stress….which causes our immune systems to make mutant cells and while most people can throw them off, it’s like getting the flu, sometimes your body can’t ward it off. I believe that childhood trauma is where it starts. Of course not everyone will get cancer who was abused, but cancer is a long process. You don’t wake up one morning and say, “Oh, I got cancer” like it just happened overnight.

 2.         Diet….all I will say about that is get a hold of the movie "Healing Cancer from the Inside Out". I don’t know if it’s on Netflix, but I went to see it last night and believe me, if I had seen this right after I was diagnosed, I would NEVER have done radiation. I opted out of chemo immediately, but the radiation is just as poisonous. All of the doctors in this film are MD’s they are not crazy quacks. If nothing else, stop eating meat and dairy products. I just started using coconut milk in my coffee and it’s really good!

 3.         The American Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute, the drug companies, the hospitals and all the “so called cancer information we get” is a huge hype. It’s like the wars in Iran and Iraq, so much money has been poured into making them right, there’s no turning back. And, here’s the big one……the incidence of people who are living longer because of these barbaric treatments is slim to none. The numbers are being padded because if someone lives for 5 years after treatment, they are considered “cured”.

 So, please don’t get caught up in the bra vs. no bra story. Please watch this movie before you are prodded along like cattle to make decisions fast once you (God forbid) are diagnosed. Also read the China Study….it’s a little on the academic side, but scientifically proves why diet can cause cancer.

Believe me, I’m not perfect. It will take me awhile to get on a totally plant based diet, but I’m really trying. Hope some of this gives you some “food for thought”.

Minda:  Reading The Main Street Vegan by Victoria Moran? Really good for beginners. Not that I’m going vegan but also want to eat more of a plant based diet. Experimenting with greens this weekend. 

Lisa: Hi ya’all, I too was diagnosed with cancer (way too early) and believe wholeheartedly it was stress and diet oriented, not to mention genetics as I have the same cancer my mother and her sister have but I got it twenty years earlier.

The easiest way to get lots of greens in is to blend them into a smoothie with berries and stevia-flavored drops to sweeten it up. Cucumbers are excellent. This morning I even have fennel in my smoothie. If I miss one of these in the morning, I really feel the difference. Plus, check out the super foods: maca, lucuma, etc… they come in powder form. Chia and hemp seeds are great for a wide variety of reasons. Dr. Brian Clement, who runs Hippocrates Health Institute has a new book either coming out or already out called KILLER CLOTHES. 

Marjorie:  I got a juicer on Amazon….not the super duper best, but it does work well.  I do kale, chard, beet greens, and any other organic greens I can get.  Oh, carrots and ginger too, and it’s really delicious. Check out the "Juice Guy" on YouTube.  He is pretty hysterically funny but you get the idea of the juicing!  

Based on the flurry of comments, I decided to do some of my own fact-finding. According to the Scientific American, those ideas have been circulating since the late 60’s. A leading researcher, Dr. Sherry Marts, Scientific Director of the Society for Women’s Health Research, says it’s more urban myth than science. The legend was perpetuated in the 1995 book by Sydney Ross Singer and Soma Grismaijer entitled, Dressed to Kill: The Link Between Bras and Breast Cancer. According to About.com, Women Health sites review of the book, Singer and Grismaijer claim that they surveyed over 4700 women and discovered that “100% of women with breast cancer wear bras.” The authors hypothesized that bras inhibit lymphatic circulation, which leads to a buildup of cancer-causing “toxins” in the breast. Apparently, it just ain’t so. For more info go to Snopes.

Beautiful Women over 50: Vivian Gold

VIVIAN GOLD

Vivian Gold is a friend of mine that I met through real estate years ago. She happens to be a gifted massage therapist who lives in Asheville (contact info is below in case you feel like you need to do something nice for yourself), and has agreed to answer some questions for Oops50.

Enjoy!  Sadhvi

1. What was the first album or 45 record you ever bought?

My first 45 was ABC by The Jackson Five.

My first LP was the Led Zeppelin one with Stairway to Heaven. That song still mesmerizes me today.


LED ZEPPELIN IV

2. What is the one thing that you have to have on that makes you feel good when you leave the house?

When I go out, I have to have my lips looking good. In the moment, I really like ZUZU’s lipliner by Gabriele. I usually go for a neutral shade, and the one I’m using now is called “innocence”. Then I use a lipstick and my fave is also one from Gabriele’s. I hate to put chemicals and junk in or on my body, so I buy these at the heath food store, and they are great.


GABRIELE’S VEGAN LIPSTICK

3. What’s your favorite comfort food?

My favorite comfort food in the summer is organic ice cream and in the winter it’s root veggies and lots of good carbs.

4. What do you consider your favorite breakfast?

Well, the thing that I have to have each morning is really good and really strong organic coffee with Almond Breeze Almond/Coconut Milk..  Not just Coconut Milk.. It’s not creamy enough for me.. But the Almond/Coconut is.. The best organic coffee I’ve found for the price and taste is Whole Foods  "360 Pacific Rim", which is their own brand.


360 PACIFIC RIM BLEND FROM WHOLE FOODS

After that, I juice some veggies or make a smoothie with some spirulina powder, bee pollen, ground flax seeds…and add things that I have around that I like.

5. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about being over 50?

My favorite thing about being over 50 is my acceptance of “life on life’s term”. I feel more grounded. All my life’s experiences and lessons I was learning over the years, which might not have connected at the time, have integrated in the last couple of years into a sense of knowing and peace.

My least favorite thing about being over 50 are the little imperfections on my body like my freckles, which used to look great on my sun drenched face and body, but are now big from too much sun in my life. I also have two little mole/tags on my neck that my father had too, funny enough, and keeping up with waxing my unwanted hair.

Vivian Gold LMT.
Global Vision Healing Arts
Massage and Wellness Therapy
Asheville, North Carolina
(828) 691-6916

Oops50: The Recovery Quilt

Minda Brown Jaramillo

My sister, Minda, is the Manager of Women and Families Services at Recovery Resources a nonprofit community-based healthcare organization in Cleveland that helps people triumph over mental illness, alcoholism, drug and other addictions. When she told me about the quilt project she was working on with women in recovery, I wanted to know all about it.   Here she is sharing that experience with us.   - Annice 

“Quilts are rituals of life.  Along with shelter, the quilt safeguards the human body during its greatest vulnerability, sleep.  Learning to make quilts indicated, at the same time, that a girl was ready to join the company of women.  The quilt symbolized practicality and survival, an acquired knowledge of recycling and reuse.  Quilts relate human experience bursting with ideas, dreams, knowledge, courage and ingenuity.”   William Arnett and Paul Arnett

“ Mama made a lot of quilts for keeping us children warm.  I remember sleeping under one of them every night.  Cold nights, maybe a bunch. Made them things out of coverall pants or anything she could find.   After clothes couldn’t be fixed no more-skirts, dresses-it all end up a quilt.”   Pearlie Pettway, Quiltmaker, Gees Bend Alabama.

The inspiration for Recovery Resources’ quilt making began with thoughts of a project for our women in recovery to work on together.  The project would create an environment where our women could get together and form an attachment in a way they may not have experienced before.  In talking with a group of my women friends, the idea of making a quilt was revealed.  One of the women, Sherri Katz, volunteered to facilitate the project. Having a degree in Fiber Arts, she was the perfect person for the project.  We first introduced the women to the idea of quilt making by showing them the award-winning documentary, The Quilts of Gees Bend .


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Gees Bend, Alabama, is a small peninsula that was home to the Pettway Plantation.  The quilt makers are all descended from generations of slaves who worked that plantation; they were so embedded in the community they created for themselves that they remained there after the Civil War, the Great Depression, and throughout the Civil Rights movement.  The community was declared one of the poorest places in the United States, and the descendants still remain there.  These women struggled to subsist on what they could produce for themselves and their families.  They raised a number of children, farmed on leased land, lived in log homes without water and electricity, and held their families together through prayer and a profound sense of community and love.

The method for quilt making is a long and arduous one.


Recovery Quilt

The Recovery Quilt is primarily composed of re-purposed fabric and denim combining collage, appliqué, embroidery and fabric pens.  Some women worked diligently and assisted others in completing their quilt squares, while others worked more haphazardly, wanting to finish the task quickly without taking the time to think creatively.  Some women did not complete their quilt squares at all.

Common characteristics of addiction are that it robs one of the desire to complete goals, creates an inability to concentrate on the task at hand, and steals one’s self esteem.  Addiction creates an emotional challenge that many are not prepared for.  Many of the women were fearful to start something they would not be able to be successful in completing.  For some, this was true.  For most, it created an opportunity to work on a project in a supportive, nurturing environment that fostered creativity, encouraged camaraderie, and challenged their thinking about who they are and what their recovery means to them, their families, and their community.

Oops! No Discount for Folks over 50 at KMart!

Annice hiding behind sunglasses

Well folks, it looks like Oops50.com is in trouble.  So many people are reading our blog, including Kmart (representing Sears Holding Management Co.) lawyers because we got a letter from them electronically and a hard copy delivered by FedEx today.

It seems, in our post Do you know about the Discounts for Baby Boomers dated Feb. 28, 2012, we included Kmart on a list of retailers who give a 20% discount for people over 50.  Well, I’m not sure if tons of folks were flocking to Kmart as a result of our blog post, but somehow their lawyers found out about it and wrote us a letter stating that:

1) We must remove the incorrect information from the website- DONE

2) Print a correction or retraction on our website to inform our readers- DOING THAT NOW

3) Provide them with the source of this misinformation, and any other  print or electronic media outlets to whom we have given this info, so they may similarly inform others of this mistaken information-DONE

So fellow baby boomers, we apologize for the misinformation to you and to Kmart and hope you will continue to read our blog anyway and shop at Kmart.