The clock’s running out. This two weeks is what we (or maybe just I) wait for all year!
First up is Hanukkah, this weekend, with all of its delicious food: I mean, what’s not to love about latkes and sour cream? Brisket? Delicious apple cake? Or spectacular jelly doughnuts?
Then there is the Winter Solstice on December 21. It is the shortest, darkest day of the year, but from here on in, our days will begin to get longer and lighter. Friends and I always celebrated around an open fire, and there were usually marshmallows to roast and hot beverages, spiked or not. It’s been quite a few years since I’ve been to a Solstice Party, I may have to look at reviving that tradition.
Then a few days later is Christmas Eve – which was always a spectacular hours-long dinner at my Italian in-laws house. I can’t tell you how much I miss those raucous, love-filled, traditional meals. And them.
And then, we wake up the next morning and it’s Christmas Day with its amazing array of traditional Christmas cookies, pies and cakes. I’m going to try and make a gluten-free version of my Mom’s mincemeat/apple pie. No meat involved, in case you’ve never had it. There will be photos if I succeed.
As you can tell, I’m all about the food, (these two images are my favorites!) and of course, getting together with friends and family.
I wish all of my Jewish readers/friends a very Happy Hanukkah, and all of my Christian readers/friends a very Merry Christmas. And a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year to you and yours.
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.
What a sweet surprise! Sexy Past 60 was nominated for a Liebster Award by Lora Tucker Kaasch, a woman I am honored to call a friend. Although she lives with RA, she is one of the most active women I know, and a continual inspiration to everyone she meets. Since I thought I recognized it as a German word, I looked it up and it means: “liked very much, darling, sweetheart.” I’ll take it, thank you, Lora!
What I was asked:
What was a profound turning point in your life? Having the conviction to write my first play and enter it in a competition in 3rd grade. Although I lost to Randy Dayton’s play about Martians, I knew that I wanted to be a writer!
Hot, sun and sand…or cold snow and mountains? Give me turquoise water and Bain de Soleil, any day!
Number 1 on your bucket list? Since having a “bucket list” implies that I’m thinking about kicking it, I just have a treasure map of images I’d like to experience; quiet beaches, solitary pools of water, romantic waterfalls.
What’s your favorite libation? A very, very Dirty Tito’s Martini.
What do you do to unwind from a long day? Sit down, put my feet up and indulge in #4.
Who is one person who changed your life for the better? Zan Ray
Kindle/iPad/ or an “old fashioned” book? I love my iPad for convenience and night reading…but love the weight, feel and smell of books!
Where did you go on your last vacation? We rode a Harley down the coast of northern CA with another couple. Going to do it again next month with even more friends this time.
What’s your specialty meal? Thanksgiving: turkey, sourdough stuffing with artichokes, Chipotle mashed sweet potatoes, home-made cranberry sauce.
If you could do anything in the world, what would it be? To publish a book that would be a fun read, and help women feel great, and great about themselves…and let me meet Ina Garten and Ellen DeGeneres.
What’s your favorite thing about blogging? That I get to sit down when I’m doing it!
11 facts about myself: I was born in St. Louis. My Mom used to take us from NY to St. Louis to San Antonio then back home to NY, on the train each summer in the 1950’s. Karen VF and I used to lie to our mothers about where we were sleeping, and slept on the beach in the Hamptons. I played drums in school. I studied Spanish all through high school because I had a crush on the (only) Spanish teacher. I wanted to convert to Judiasm when I was 15. (My father said “no.”) I wanted to be a hairstylist when I was 16. (My father said “no daughter of mine…”) I wanted to be a Pan Am stewardess upon graduation at 17. (Dad = Absolutely not!) My son Jason Austin was born in 1971. I became a hairstylist in 1976. And I moved to Austin in 1978.
I want to acknowledge these 11 Bloggers/Writers/Sources of Inspiration for me:
Some days when I sit down, I’m not sure what I am going to write, but I show up and I am always inspired, divinely or otherwise…
Today, inspiration struck as I was reading Daniell LaPorte’s blog. Don’t know her? She’s a Fire Starter! Check her out here: www.daniellelaporte.com. In a list she posted, this one caught my eye, “For me, clutter-free living is up there with rainbows, front-row seats, and answered prayers.” She took the words right out of my mouth!
My father was an interior designer, and as such he valued order, functionality and sensuality. I am his daughter. My mother had been raised, very frugally, on a farm. She always said, “It doesn’t cost anything but a bar of soap to be clean.” Well, that, and a little elbow grease! I am my mother’s daughter, too. Unfortunately, they both judged people who didn’t share their ideas. The idea they conveyed to us children, was that slovenly people were bad.
“All places where women are excluded tend toward barbarism: but the moment she is introduced, there come in with her courtesy, cleanliness, sobriety and order. “ Harriet Beecher Stowe
Harriet hadn’t met any of my girlfriends from when I first lived alone; they loved a great party just as much as the next barbarian!
And this created cognitive dissonance for me – I loved these friends. They were well-educated, philosophical, generous, intelligent people. And, a few were slobs. I had been taught that this was bad…but, they weren’t bad! It finally occured to me that my parents were out-and-out WRONG!
“Cleanliness becomes more important when godliness is unlikely.” P.J. O’Rourke
Maybe that’s why I’ve become even neater as time has gone by…I’ve missed my chance at sainthood! Our contractor was just here doing a spot-check since we are having work done (…more work done) on our house in order to finally sell it…and as he left he complimented us on how clean the house was. (Mostly we give him credit for all of the beautiful work that makes the place such a retreat!) Standing 6′ 6″ tall, he even noticed that the top of the fridge was clean, and commented on it. He’s a real straight-shooter that way! I knew that someday, somehow, for some reason, cleaning the top of the refrigerator (where I can’t see) would pay off!
My late mother-in-law, whom I loved dearly, had a sign in her kitchen that read, “This house is clean enough to be healthy, and messy enough to be happy!” And that’s the bottom line…do whatever makes you happy. Happiness is always sexy!
A few posts back, I spoke of the way many of us (at our age) compare ourselves to younger women…and make ourselves unhappy with the results. Today, as I read the latest post by Danielle LaPorte, a woman who inspires me ( no wait…a woman who continually blows my mind!) her post was about comparing. www.daniellelaporte.com
Here’s what she had to say, “Comparison is a slippery slope to envy and for the most part, envy wastes energy that could be put towards getting what you want or optimizing what you have.”
“We must have the daring to be nothing but ourselves if we are to know what our true power is.”
Here’s another quote that I like: “Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you…than you.” Unknown
It seems that our mind is wired to compare, and if the comparison can be neutral, and logical, that would be fine…but negative comparing starts early and hardly lets up as we get older. Unless we choose to break the cycle! There is another site I read, that you may enjoy: www.tinybuddha.com which offers, “simple wisdom for comples lives.” They offered a great solution to all of the comparing, competing and quantifying that our minds want to do…they advise us to ‘redirect the comparison to a past and present self.’ What a great thought! Only compare yourself now, to yourself then…see how much you’ve learned? How much experience you have? The wisdom you can share based on your experiences? The acceptance you can offer to others…and the knowledge of how valuable that can be.
The only good thing I can see about comparing ourselves to others is when the comparison inspires us to emulate someone else’s good traits, or follow their good example. With our ability to see, search and sort through so much information, there are many, many things to choose to emulate! There are many, many good examples out there to follow. There are many, many wise women to learn from. It’s never too late to change and grow, to discover and enjoy ourselves!
“Every block of stone has a statue inside and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” Michaelangelo
Start chipping away at old ideas, old habits, old ways of thinking about yourself. Stop agreeing with your parent’s ideas, or society’s ideas, or even your kid’s ideas about what constitutes a woman, or what makes a woman a lady. Become the goddess you were meant to be! And fall in love with your unfolding, evolving self. This year, give yourself and others the gift of a sexy, wonderful, confident YOU!
I’ve saved my favorite quote for last: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” Dr. Suess