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Grace and Frankness

14 Feb

I’ve been toying with the idea of having some work done on my face. Nothing drastic, just a little filler, since slender oval-shaped faces with sensitive skin don’t age as gracefully as round, or square, faces with an oilier complexion.

When my clients used to look at themselves in the mirror and complain about their fat faces I always told them, “Hush. You’ll really appreciate this in your sixties.”  As we age we lose the fullness from underlying fat, in our face. We also experience bone shrinkage… making a thin face even thinner. Add this to that the fact that I’ve been on medications for 20 years now, and you see why I’ve been considering options.

One reason I haven’t done anything so far, is my fear of looking like a Picasso painting as punishment for being vain.

Mostly it’s my fear of not getting wonderful results because of the aforementioned meds. Or of ending up looking like Melanie Griffith.1D2E8974-899B-43D0-97AE-582D6EA859C0

My first thought was, “Poor thing… didn’t she have any girlfriends to tell her when enough was enough?”  On the one hand, there’s the notion of loving someone enough to tell them the truth as you see it. But, on the other, there’s always the risk of losing a friendship, or alienating someone you care about.

I’ve always admired movies or books about women’s relationships where they can tell each other anything-and-everything and it’s heard, and they are still best friends. Like the Nextflix show Frankie & Grace.  I come from a long line of women who were taught to keep secrets, and to hold our tongue. “Don’t say anything, we don’t want [the others] to worry.” Or, “Don’t tell so-and-so we were talking about this because she’d kill me.”  So, I don’t say lots of things when I feel like something ought to be said because I worry about hurt feelings, about confrontation, and even the fear that my words won’t make a difference after all.

Is this a Universal Truth?  Is it attributable to being a women of this age? Or is it just familial dysfunction, what do you think?

Regarding all of this, there is a quote I love that has been attributed to everyone from Socrates to the Buddha, listing four things to consider before speaking your mind:

  1. Is this true?
  2. Is this necessary?
  3. Is this kind?
  4. Does it need to be said by me?

XO Donna


Grey Haired Beauty

24 Jan

Notice how when you begin to think about, or buy, a new car suddenly they are everywhere? I decided to grow out my hair to it’s natural color, whatever that was, a few months ago. Now that it’s grown out, and it’s grey, I’m checking out all of the other women close to my age sporting grey hair. Appropriate word… because some women really do “sport it” by wearing bold colors and jewelry, and makeup that highlights their eyes and lips. I admired lots of these women in Santa Fe, whether their hair was long or short.

In the ”hippy-ish” towns of Silver City and Bisbee I saw women who embraced their silver strands as just a natural part of growing older. I saw everything from short shocky haircuts, to gleaming streaming flaxen hair with rainbow-bright streaks atop gorgeous global, open-hearted, chakra-balancing, essentially-oiled, inner-peace clothes.

Both groups felt like women who loved the power of being women, and wore their crowning glory atop faces that radiated lives being well-lived.

That’s what I want, although right now it’s in that Ugly Duckling stage between a pixie and something else. And without color it’s as fine as frog-fur, but with my experience I’m certain  I can come up with something I’ll grow to love.

The last group I noticed was all the women who had become pale water-colors. Pale hair, pale skin, fading eyebrows, dressing in pastels and beiges. We ate lunch in Las Cruces one afternoon and the restaurant was full of women my age and older, and all but one seemed content to have grown invisible. I wondered when their fire went out? Why?

My conclusion: no matter your age, grey hair in and of itself, doesn’t make us look old. What’s going on in our mind about who we are, and what our worth is, those make a woman look old. My solution: the same things I discussed in my book, “Sick and Tired… & Sexy, Living Beautifully with Chronic Illness,” about taking care of yourself first.  

Make the time to do a quick 5-step make-up; tinted moisturizer, fill-in your brows, mascara, a touch of cream blush and a swipe of lipstick.  Wear colorful clothes, they lift your energy. And jewelry. Have a good haircut that is appropriate for your hair, face shape, your ability to style it, and your figure.

To steal a line from a men’s clothier  – “You’re gonna love the way you look!”

XO Donna



Christmas Countdown

22 Dec

Two days till Christmas Eve… and an intimate family dinner. Three days till Christmas, and a raucous pot-luck supper filled with games, good cheer, and friends old and new.

44D52D36-52BD-4380-8A6B-30A0917ACBEBI love the tradition of sharing the foods associated with these holidays. When we were children, as a way to decorate the tree, and probably keep my sisters and me occupied, we used to string popcorn and cranberries to use as a garland on our tree. It took a few days to accomplish, but we enjoyed the time spent with our Mom, having her undivided attention while eating a piece of popcorn for every one we strung!

Feeling sentimental, I did it again for the first time in years, and adorned my tiny tree. Now, all is right with the world.

I wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season, and a Healthy, Prosperous, New Year!  Remember… the very best gift you can give, is that of your time and your attention.

XO Donna

I’ve Been Everywhere

10 Nov

To me, learning new things is the best part of travel. I usually plan a trip down to the most minute detail… but this time, for the first time, I left room for lots of other things to happen, and great things did!

71BB1856-40BA-467F-906F-29C0B90230C0I couldn’t find an RV “resort” in Jackson, MS, but there was a state park on the route and the price was good, or should I say, cheap? As we drove deep into the park along swampy ponds, we both got a little nervous. Things were getting closer, smaller, more jungle-like… were we going to be able to fit? As we slowly, slowly snaked our way in, we began to wonder why we even wanted to.

“If I hear banjos, we’re outta here,” my sweetie mumbled.

Having already unhooked the truck, we decided to see the Capital and the State Supreme Court buildings. Then we drove to the Fondren Neighborhood where parts of the movie “The Help” was filmed. Being sure to return before dark, I got to see my first alligator. The realization that there were alligators in that lake made me almost faint!  I couldn’t wait to leave in the morning.

A572B947-758C-4CEC-929E-5E85B9FE0150We headed to Florence, AL, hoping to have work done on our coach. Since there was a five-week wait at the Tiffin factory, that didn’t happen, but we did get to tour a Frank Lloyd Wright house, which was very close to our RV park (above) on the banks of the spectacular Tennessee River. We’ve always wanted to see one. I loved it, he didn’t like the small rooms. But the exterior, wow!

8764E0B5-7F97-4470-9C24-1C568BA02A96From there we went to Nashville, TN, and what a revelation! While Austin, where we live, is supposed to be the “coolest” city around, I disagree. Nashville is everything Austin could have grown-up to be, if we’d had leadership with that kind of vision. There are so many ways to get around Nashville that traffic isn’t the horrific experience we are used to at home… everything moved easily here. 218F7482-7209-4203-9E39-C5963F01AD3C

Staying at a spectacular park SE of town on Percy Priest Lake, we had our first taste of autumn, and the pleasant surprise of running into friends we’d made back in Natchez! We were excited to sit in their sleek Airstream and visit with them again. EC1206ED-32F3-4378-80CA-9B6DB404C9F2

We’d planned to visit with our dear friend Juliet, also a motorcycle rider. She came out to the lake to see our “casa,” one afternoon, and then we met her in East Nashville, where she lives, for a fabulous Sunday brunch at Marche. Having also eaten at Biscuit Love, I contend that we had our two best meals of the trip in Nashville!

From Nashville, we originally planned to go to Chattanooga… but headed to Memphis instead. Everyone told us to see The Ducks at The Peabody Hotel, which we thought was kind of corny… but we planned a whole day around it: lunch at a bbq joint, then explore the town, planning to be at the hotel by 4:00 to have a cocktail and see the ducks perform.


Lunch was good, more so for the people-watching than the old rooster I’d been served. Afterwards, my sweetie suggested going to “the museum” across the street to see why tour buses were bringing people there. We saw a sign… The Lorraine Motel. It rang a bell, but it wasn’t until we got closer that I realized why:

We were facing the balcony where Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had stood and shared his dream. Where he had died. I felt my heart break all over again, and I stood and wept.

B0B5FBF1-9692-4E50-B668-96106BCB49B1The next day, we ate at Beauty Shop Lunch, in the Cooper-Young neighborhood. An actual beauty salon with dryers, booths, and sinks that is now a chic cafe, how could I NOT go there? Priscilla Presley used to get her hair done here!

Getting to see the ducks at the beautiful old Peabody Hotel, the riverfront along the Mississippi, with its trolleys, and the MLK Memorial Park I’m so glad we visited Memphis. And to think, we had originally planned to skip it!

Our final stop was Little Rock, AR, and the RV park is right downtown, on the beautiful Arkansas River. It’s nestled between two pedestrian bridges, and blocks from their trolley system. The closest bridge leads to The Clinton Presidential Library. 2AFDC78F-3D8B-4B9F-B80C-C84A984093B0

The riverfront is beautiful. The city is small, elegant, and there seemed to be lots of cultural things to do other than just bars and music. However, the very best thing, in our opinion, is the fact that the Clinton Pedestrian Bridge lights up each night! We saw LED lights on it during our walk, but were disappointed when it never lit-up before we went to bed. 50221EEA-36C3-422A-B39A-19571DC1D900

One sleepless night, I peeked out of our living-room shade and to my amazement, there was a light-show on the bridge! Even though it was 2:30 a.m. I woke my better-half up… we were both as excited as kids at Christmas. What a great finale for a wonderful trip!

XO Donna


Stuck in Paradise

29 Sep

I’ve felt stuck for almost two weeks now. In the 20 months since I’ve retired I have published a book. I’ve downsized and moved twice. And I’ve taken two month-long trips. Busy, busy, busy. Right now I need to be here in Austin, TX to help my son for a while, and this feeling has set in. It’s been a personality challenge my whole life: if I am not going somewhere, or doing something, (or making plans to go somewhere and do something) I feel stuck.

Another downside of that trait, is that when I don’t stay busy, I tend to stall out and have a hard time getting motivated again. Does this ever happen to you?

I was discussing this with my sweetie the other day, and he was flabbergasted. “How can you feel stuck? You have your writing. You’re busy with your son. You have a couple of projects you wanted to do. And, look around, it’s like a resort here… it’s got a nice walking path, there’s great roads to ride the bikes on, a gym, a beautiful pool, a hot tub, horse-shoes, and even a putting green.”

“But yet, I feel stuck, even in the middle Paradise. I realize this is a very nice problem to have in light of all the terrible things going on in the world at the moment.
“Don’t discount or dismiss your problems,” my therapist always told me, so I will follow her advice, stay with my feelings, and find a way to get through this.


Here are some steps I know I can take to get UNSTUCK whenever I find myself feeling stymied:

DEFINE THE PROBLEM: get a timer and some paper. Across the top write “Problem.” Set a timer for 15, 20, or 30 minutes and just start writing everything that comes to mind about this problem, allowing anything that comes up. It often isn’t what I thought it was, after all.

DEVELOP A PLAN: Next, write “Actions” across the paper. 15, 20, or 30 minutes again, and I brainstorm all of the actions I can take. Let your imagination run wild. You never know what will appear when you are distracted by your ‘race against the clock.’

DO SOMETHING: Review this list for an actionable first step. If none jumps out, go for a walk. Movement usually begets movement. When I come back to the page, I pick a couple of ideas and put them in an order I am willing to do them. Putting a date next to them so I have either a deadline, or a timeline, works to keep me in motion.

Trust that this will benefit our growth… even if you don’t see how yet, and be grateful for the good that will surely follow. All because you took that first step!

XO Donna

Bicycling Through Santa Fe

30 Aug


I know how to find my way to a few places here in Santa Fe, especially my favorites, but there is an intimacy that occurs when you ride through side-streets and alleys and arrive at a place from a different direction than the street they reside on, and their main entrance. It’s like getting to see behind the scenes. Continue reading

This Old Thing

13 Jul


We are now living in, and loving, our motor-home. The RV resort where we are staying greatly contibutes to our overall enjoyment of this experience with it’s beautifully maintained grounds, the view and privacy we have, and the ability to exercise daily. Continue reading