SAME OLD?

It is funny how things change, but yet, they really don’t. I’d say it’s more of an unfolding, or evolution, rather than being another Big Bang!

I turned 70 since I last posted, and as those of you that have preceded me know, it’s no big deal. More of a societal issue, actually.
We have all been conditioned to think of 70 as old, (hell, women dread turning 40… can you imagine?) but I still feel years younger than my chronological age. I’m still l learning new things, still doing Nia, and still having fun. But there is one change I have noticed – I would dearly love a nap most afternoons! I’ve decided it’s because I am still recovering… because I’m certainly not old yet!

I had a lovely birthday – I got to speak to all three of my sisters, AND they all sent me beautiful gifts. My 93-year-old father called me and we had a very upbeat conversation. I thought he wouldn’t remember, but he did. And my sweet son posted a playlist for me on Facebook, then called, and we had a nice conversation, too.

My long-time friend Mike came over for a joint Birthday supper, and whipped up some very complicated, but utterly delicious cocktails to go with a tray of chicken enchiladas verde. Isn’t Mike’s shirt fun? And our drinks were even gin-based!

For dessert, I made my first rustic apple tart and “tweaked it” to compliment the enchiladas by adding finely minced jalapeño, raw sugar and cinnamon, and topped it off with toasted piñon. I was surprised by how simple the crust was to handle, and how light and flaky it turned out! A win worth duplicating for Turkey Day, sans jalapeños.

But, just so I didn’t get too cocky with my pastry success, the Kitchen Gods intervened and the next morning I boiled-over my oatmeal and had a mess to clean-up before my first cup of coffee!

It seems that some things never change, and microwaving oatmeal continues to elude me, so back to the stovetop.

Never get cocky!

Besides time in the kitchen, I’ve spent lots of time poring over photos, ordering cards, and getting everything ready for my Etsy shop. I know you’re going to love it! I finally settled on the perfect name for it – Fairview Photos. Fairview Avenue is the only address where all five of us O’Klock sisters lived together. It was a great house, although with six gals and only one-and-a-half baths, it was a squeeze.
No wonder my poor outnumbered Dad was usually overwhelmed. Its location was ideal – the Great South Bay was just at the end of our street. Lots of kids our age, school was only a few blocks away, and we had amazing neighbors. So many great memories there, so the name suits me to a tee.

Speaking of memories, these mailboxes are among my favorite photos from Santa Fe, shot in 1995. I always smile when I come across these pictures. I always assume that Larry was their friendly local mailman. Can you imagine actually knowing your mail carrier these days? I wish I did, and I’ll bet some of you do.

Gentle Spirit, indeed.

This is just some of my art that will be available on Etsy. Some details are still unfinished, but, in less than two weeks it should be ready for its opening and you will be the first to know!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and a bright and meaningful Hanukkah. While many things around us are changing right now, there is always so much to be thankful for. Goodness, love, and light – that Gentle Spirit – are what I am most thankful for!

With my love and heartfelt respect,

XO Donna


Flowers

MOTHERS of REINVENTION

After spending the last six months recuperating, my energy is returning and my mind is busy searching for a project. Something to make. Something pretty and shiny. Something to share.

In order to free my mind, first I needed to clean out my closet, yet again and make space for that idea to come to me. I hate clutter.

I realized two things as I sorted through my clothes: first, I have lots of clothes I thought would be great for “retirement,” but I don’t like them anymore. They feel baggy now, and frumpy to me.
And the other thing is that the clothes I want to wear, and add to my closet, seem to be clothes for a lifestyle I don’t have.

Those clothes are more appropriate for a city-slicker on-the-go, than for living in Sun City, Texas.

I made a large donation pile that went to our local Goodwill, and I made a “sell on Poshmark” pile. You can’t recoup your money here, not even close, and not even on clothes that still have their tags on them, or have simply never been worn (why do I do still that?) but it is an excellent way of recycling good clothes and getting a couple of dollars for them.
My last pile is going to the tailors to be taken in and up. That’ll give me more options for now, and I haven’t even dug through winter clothes yet!

My next project was to finally choose a paint color for our bedroom, and maybe our bathroom. And maybe the guest bath, too. Our interior throughout is a lovely golden-tan that changes shades all day with the sunlight. Except in our bedroom – which abuts the screened porch, so it’s always dark-ish. I don’t like golds anyway (not my color) so without the benefit of sunlight, the color looks murky to me, especially in the corners.

I used to love to paint, was tidy and efficient, and became good at it after a professional friend gave me a couple of lessons. But it’s been ten years since I’ve painted a room. My sweetie wanted nothing to do with the project, he thinks the color is fine. It’s obvious we see color differently (men and women do, but that’s another blog). In order to get some visual aids to show him my idea, I bought stick and remove wall paint samples from Sherwin Williams. On their website, go to SAMPLIZE to order 12″ x 12″ squares of the actual paint colors for $6.00 each.

My first choice was a Greige, but it turned out to be the same murky tone as the gold when on the wall. I also ordered Shoji White and Alabaster White, wanting to keep them warm-ish. The clear winner is the Shoji White in an eggshell finish. You can see Agreeable Grey and Shoji White above. Now I really need to get that portrait by my friend Lory framed!

Although he doesn’t want to help paint – and that’s okay – when he sees how much fun I’m having, I’m sure he’ll roll up his sleeves and jump in! I’m not planning to begin painting right away, I’ll wait till the weather is cooler, but I feel like I’ve accomplished something, and now have a pretty and shiny new bedroom to look forward to by finally making a decision.

And last, the idea that finally arrived, and the one I am most excited about… the “something pretty to share” project: I am opening an online shop in ETSY where I will have some of my favorite photographs from the last 25 years available as “Fine Art” archival prints, “Fine Art” archival canvas, some “Fun Art” canvas, and packs of beautiful blank-inside greeting cards just waiting for your words.
For the cards, I’m beginning with a flower series, and have added four images below. I love that shy sunflower. The site will be called “Fairview by Donna O’Klock” and I will let you all know all the details in my next post!

My birthday is in just 16 days, and it’s one I worried I wouldn’t reach… I am glad that I always took good care of myself so that I could now join other women who are in their 70’s, and 60’s, and still chomping at the bit for something new and creative to do, to offer. Reinventing ourselves again.

Love you all, and thank you for reading,
XO Donna


Everything is Energy

Have you ever wondered, “What if this is as good as it gets?” Or, “What if things don’t get better?” What if the big love we’re wishing for, or the fame and fortune, or the perfect figure, or the miraculous healing never happen?

Should we wait, with the Pause button pushed, until everything lines up and we get just what we wanted to hit Play and begin living fully?  

Here is the bad news: It doesn’t work like that.
Here is the good news: It does work.
And it works like this: “For things to change, FIRST I must change.”

“Oh, damn! I hate change!”   I’m sure you can see the conflict inherent in this situation; you hate change, but you want the condition you are unhappy about to change so you can feel better.
“Yeah, that’s about right.”

LampOnWhat if the only thing you had to change was your mind? That’s easy, right?
Okay, here’s the formula:

“Everything is energy and that is all there is to it . Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can not help but get that reality.”
– Albert Einstein

Rather than focusing on what you don’t want; on the loneliness, the lack of fame & fortune, your body, or the health condition. . .ignore those things and simply decide to feel better, which will cause those circumstances to change.

Focus on what’s going right in your life, on what is good, and be grateful for what you do have, and what isn’t going as well as you like will come into alignment.

Simply changing our mind, as easy as flicking on the light switch, will cause everything else to change.

I think of the Stones song, “You can’t always get what you want,” and that’s probably a good thing.
By deciding to change our mind and be happy, we will get what we need.
And when we are happy, we attract more things to be happy about.

It all starts with a decision.
XO Donna

 

 


When One Door Closes

I first noticed the feeling when we made it to Durango. It felt like I’d been playing catch-up all day: moving too slowly, hurrying too often, always bringing up the rear, everything seemed harder.

GaneshaAt dinner that night, after one-martini-too-many, I waxed melancholy about the prospect of being “left behind” when we could no longer keep up. I felt the door slowly inching shut.

In the morning, I was thrilled to see Ganesha painted on a dumpster in the alley beside the bikes. (he is the Hindu god of new beginnings and the remover of obstacles) I took it as a good sign.

We’ve looked forward to returning for the July 4th parade in Telluride  ever since our trip there in 2004. We expected it to be the same town; with just enough people for a good party and everyone in town participating in their parade.  In that eleven years, our “Mayberry” had turned into Disneyland! There were about 70,000 people there – literally everyone and their dog, and all of their cute kids.

We waited in a queue for the gondola into town for more than an hour.
Then waded through crowds to meet the guys at the Last Dollar Saloon.
Afterwards, we waited for almost 45 minutes for lunch, then waited for a table at which to eat.
We abandoned the idea of window-shopping and fell in line to wait in a blocks-long queue for the gondola back up the mountain. The clouds rolled in, dark and menacing. The wind picked up and the temperature dropped drastically. Just when the sky finally opened up, we miraculously hailed a van that took us home for a hefty fee.
Worth. Every. Dollar.

Antler RanchIn the morning we headed to gorgeous Antler Ranch, where our rooms were right on the Rio Grande.  Beautiful cabins, great beds, and an amazing dinner awaited us. We sat on the porch and relaxed as the river raced by. I could have used a few more days in that place. We saw that they have parking for RVs, so we asked about rates while checking out.

On our way home we chose an empty restaurant thinking we’d get breakfast quickly and stay ahead of the rain. We waited, impatiently, almost an hour for breakfast. Later, standing beside our bikes in the pouring rain, partially sheltered by an awning, we wondered if it would have been any different if we hadn’t waited that long for breakfast.

When it became obvious that the storm was parked over us, we decided to head back to a restaurant we’d passed earlier and wait out the rain. Turk and I lagged behind again, then catching a couple of lights, lost sight of the Doorsgroup. As we headed up the road in the downpour, unsure we were going the right way, we saw our friend coming back to find us. I appreciated the gesture so much that I began to cry.

We’ve talked about the trip a lot since returning home. The paced seemed harder than ever. I felt weighed-down the whole trip. We both had moments of feeling left behind, although our group had waited patiently and pulled us along.

Big love. Much appreciated.

They are planning bigger rides next year, but after much soul-searching we’ve decided to close that door. We’ve begun looking for a motor home, our next frontier.

When one door closes, a new one opens.
XO Donna

 

 

 


Old age…and treachery

Today began with a doctor’s appointment where he pronounced me in “fantastic shape,” and asked me, “How do you do it?” I laughed and responded with part of my favorite David Mamet quote. “Old age and treachery!”

The entire quote is, “Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance.”  Has a ring to it, doesn’t it?
I need to have that printed on a black t-shirt, maybe with a skull-and-crossbones thrown in for good measure!
If you look up ‘treachery’ in the dictionary, it is much more sinister than the jovial nature I’ve always attached to the quote.  It’s definition includes words like Duplicity. Chicanery. Deception. I think politics when I hear those words, not old age!

Maybe it’d be better if it were instead ‘old age and wisdom‘ or ‘old age and experience‘. Either way, the bottom line is never underestimate an older person who is current, aware and involved.

It may still be winter, but it’s sunny and beautiful in Austin this week, and was made all the more beautiful by getting to catch up with loved ones. I had lunch with my son and his girlfriend to celebrate his 44th birthday. Forty-four, wow. We had a great lunch in a cozy bistro and talked about his art show this weekend. Good food, great company!

two heartsAfterwards, I met another friend for tea. We talked about our grown sons, our mother’s china, and baby birds nesting in our ferns. I hated to have to leave…I always feel so calm and peaceful when I am with her. That night I got to talk to another sweet friend living in the mid-west who is getting to go to CA for a much-needed warm up this weekend. I am so happy for her, it’s been a tough winter for northerners!

Today I met a fellow foodie/photographer/blogger at the restaurant North, and we brainstormed for a couple of hours about our blogs, the books we are working on, and re-invention. (It’s not just for Madonna anymore!) Are you in the process of re-invention? From what, to what? Please write and tell me what you’re doing!

I hope you have lots of people in your life that inspire you to keep reinventing yourself. If you don’t, then reach out. Take a class. Start a group. Teach. Learn. Share the love.

Speaking of love…Happy Valentine’s Day to every one of you!
XO Donna


One step forward…

Framed bathroom…and two steps back.  My closet still looks like a bomb went off in it.  However, our bathroom is finished, and beautiful!  So sexy-assed beautiful that I keep walking in and admiring it. Feeling the cool surface of the marble. I’ve cleared everything except the essentials off of my counters, and even created an arrangement with a Raku vase, dried roses, and a heart-shaped pottery jar in one corner. I love the counters and faucets polished, and I (almost) hate to brush my teeth in the sink because it makes a mess which I then feel compelled to clean and polish immediately.  (Oh, come on….like you don’t do this with a new toy, too??)

Am I obsessing a little? You betcha!  It’s my way of not dealing with the messy closet that was created in order to create the new bathroom. I made a half-assed attempt to wrangle it back into shape with a trip to Target for new hangers, a jewelry organizer, and some attractive storage boxes. I came home with two out of three;  but not finding  storage boxes kind of left me hanging (no pun intended!). Truth be told….I finally realized that the mess in the closet is a reflection of how I am feeling right now…but, I’m sure any of you could have told me that.   I’m confused, a little bit chaotic.  Simultaneously chomping at the bit, and yet holding back.  Those boxes of stuff, and piles of clothes,  represent parts of me that have hung on a hanger or been in a box for too long, and need to be brought out, and either “added to the rotation,” or released, let go of.  Things that are still useful, but  just aren’t useful for the ‘me’ that I am now.  I know they’ve served their purpose, yet I haven’t found the courage to let go.  Oh, yes, I’m still talking about the clothes. Maybe.

Let me tell you one thing I know about myself  –  at 61 I am still growing and evolving!  This isn’t the first time I’ve felt this upheaval, and I doubt it will be the last.  And that’s okay…it’s just uncomfortable.  (I had an image of a cocoon this morning, and the stress that occurs before the butterfly emerges!)  I’ve always gotten through it, and things have always been better than before!

I have been very lucky to have had many inspirational people in my life.  Two online presences that I rely on right now are:  #1) the always powerful, Danielle LaPorte (www.daniellelaporte.com). This woman is the definition of living large. I mean large in bold print, all caps. LARGE!  And  #2) Marie Forleo (www.marieforleo.com).  A sassyFramed tableau young woman who has a Q & A on Tuesdays that always addresses a relevant issue in a wise, and wise-cracking way!  Today’s topic:  The feeling of something missing in your life.  And having the courage to go for your dreams, take risks, and be willing to look stupid.  (Oh, that…I hate that.)

But her pearls of wisdom were exactly what I needed to hear in order to let go of the past, (make sense out of my closet...) and to be willing to “feel the fear, yet do it anyway! ”

XO Donna


Tabula rasa

While looking for something else, I found some photos I took almost three years ago that are a reminder of my journey to who I am today. That winter, I was having a hard time. Nothing – not my job, my relationship, or my health – was working, and I just couldn’t  “push the river”  any more. I was completely out of energy, and ideas…and the river was steadfast, unyeilding.  highway

I called a dear friend, crying, and told her what was going on…vaguely, loosely, not wanting to really say the words. I’m sure she read between the lines, she’s very wise that way. A few days later, I was at the airport nearest her home, where she hugged me, looked me in the eyes, and summing up the situation, took me to a cozy restaurant for lunch.

Afterwards, we drove out of the city and through the desert to her home in the hills. I remember now that another friend of hers joined us that night for dinner. We had wine and home-made pizzas as we watched “Precious.”  When I awoke the next morning, it had snowed, and the  leaden grey sky warned of more to come. Steeple in SnowThe whiteness everywhere seemed to clear my head by uncluttering my visual field. It made everything fresh. Tabula rasa.

One of the things I enjoy about being older, is that you learn how to be present for friends. You don’t just talk in order to fill the space and try to fix everything. You let their answers come. You hold the space for them. You don’t just tell them, “everything is going to be alright,” because you know by now that you don’t know that to be the case.  Instead, you tell your friend that they will be alright…because you do know that to be the case. No matter what happens, they will get through it. You’ve got their back.

My friend held the space for me, she fed me well, and beautifully…her gift to meGrapefruit while I sorted through everything. We bundled up, and walked and talked in the arroyos as much as the weather allowed.  She listened, and kept listening, as I realized that it was easy for me to walk away, and call it change. The time had finally come for me to stay put…and change myself. The hardest thing of all to do. I needed to make a decision to go toward something, rather than away from everything.  And I had to stop saying, “that I had faith that the right thing would show up,”  in order to compensate for my lack of plan, lack of direction, lack of desire.

I came back from our visit in the desert, honored to have been received as a valued friend-in-need. I came back having made a decision, and had set a goal and a timeline for accomplishing it. The wide-open space of the desert imparted onto me it’s quite strength, and a resolve that I’d felt only infrequently. A strength that allowed me to face my fear. A strength that my friend modeled for me while I was with her.  Maybe that’s why she loves living out there…I can completely understand that!  The changes I wanted to create have happened, are happening even now. They have been harder than I imagined, but they’ve also been even more rewarding than I could have imagined!