Friday, August 26, 2011

10 Things Your Mother Never Told You About Aging

Women of yesterday politely kept secrets from the next generation of females.  For example, the pain of childbirth was undisclosed.  The truth was hidden under a shroud of secrecy with statements such as "there may be a little pain but as soon as you see the baby you completely forget it".  My first child is 25 years old and I still remember the excruciating pain as he repeatedly banged his enormous head that was attached to a 10 1/2 pound body against something inside of me that would not let him out.  His forehead had a very large unnatural dent in it that did not come without a great deal of pain within me.  I will never forget the pain of child birth.  Was it worth it?  Absolutely-but the pain is like nothing you have ever felt before.  Logically, something of that size, coming out of something THAT size is not an easy feat.  It hurts and you never forget it.  Secret disclosed.

I was not mentally prepared for childbirth because I was not armed with the truth.  Certainly, the pain would have been the same, but if I knew more of what to expect when that humongous belly decided it was coming out of that little orifice all at once, maybe I could have mentally handled it better.  There's only so much dilation, effacing and otherwise stretching one can expect from a body part of that size.  I think it is only right for the next generation to know this.  I also feel it is my moral duty to inform the next generation of women  10 things your mother may not tell you about aging....

1.  If you have birthed a child, you know all too well that immediately after that amazing feat your brain turns into oatmeal.  Your memory goes and all cognitive processes cease to exist.  As your child or children grow, some of what you lost begins to come back but never all of it.  Somewhere in your late 40's or early 50's, you lose it forever.

2.  All muscles melt like grape jelly in hot water as you age.  You can beat yourself to death trying to exercise and keep toned but it's fruitless.  Your flesh and what used to be muscles will hang from your bones like well done chicken no matter what you do or what your body type is.  It makes no difference if you are fat or thin-when you raise your arms a pair of water balloons will be flapping in the breeze.

3.  Your skin turns into one thin shiny layer of phyllo pastry and there are no miracle creams to turn it back into regular skin.  You are amazed it doesn't split trying to hold in the gigantic veins that snake across the tops of your hands.

4.  Remember how you used to say "I laughed so hard I thought I would pee in my pants!"?  When you get older, you actually do.

5.  Huge freckles or age spots pop up all over the place.  These are also called liver spots and I have no idea why unless it's because they are dark and have irregular shapes like miniature pieces of meat randomly placed around your body.  If you are lucky, you will get enough of them clustered together on your arms to look like a tan.  If you are not lucky, you are back to the pieces of meat analogy.   If they show up on your face and that is not a good look for you, a dermatologist can zap them off.  You may want to read The Ambush to make sure you are prepared for that.  Horrifically, sometimes a single thick wiry hair unlike you have ever seen on your body or anyone else's for that matter, will grow out of one of these spots.  When that happens you just do whatever it takes to annihilate it.  Leaving it there is not an option.

6.  It doesn't matter if you wore glasses or not prior to aging-seeing becomes a challenge.  Typically you lose your night vision to some degree which hopefully curtails some of your driving after the sun goes does.  It really doesn't matter because in reality you are too tired to go anywhere after the chickens go to bed.  You can't see with or without your glasses so you are continually taking them off or putting them on depending on the task you are doing.  Then you lose them.  If you never wore glasses you will more than likely need glasses to attempt to focus on things close up.  The cheap ones from the dollar store work great and as you lose them it doesn't bother you.  The snazzy beaded necklace glasses holders are an optional accessory, but quite practical if you can get beyond the stigma of being the old lady with the glasses necklace.  Another option would be purchasing several pairs and placing them around because you will ultimately need them and not be able to find them.  It's a fun game you play with yourself all day long, every day.

7.  Everything sort of falls and slips as you age.  Somewhere during this great migration south, you discover you have developed what is affectionately called "the chicken neck".  You will not like "the chicken neck" and no matter how much money you have or how well you research, you will never find chicken neck eradication cream or any kind of neck apparatus to wear to bed to rid yourself of this flaccid goiter that now lives where your neck used to be.

8.  Your body revolts against you in the strangest ways as you age.  Inevitably, you will begin finding odd attachments to your skin that feel like grains of sand or little pebbles.  When you discover the first one, you will have no idea what it is so your instinct tells you to pick at it until you pull it off.  These are skin tags and once they start coming they don't stop.  Sometimes they are just clear and small like little rocks and other times they look like sideways 3-D freckles that just stick straight out from your skin.  Bizarre.  When I got my first 3-D sideways one, I decided there was no way it could stay and be my friend.  I went to the internet to do some research on this protrusion that really looked like a little flat circle of Playdough hanging oddly from my skin.  The best advice given was to tie a piece of thread around the base to stop the blood flow, choke the life out of the little sucker and it would fall off in a couple of days.  You may find this surprising, but that was not an option for me.  What's really special about these skin tags is they tend to cluster more around areas that may have rubbing from clothes-like your underwear.  You haven't lived until you manage to somehow wrap a wayward thread from your bra around a skin tag.  When you are ready to whip that bra off, no whipping occurs and you are left with a less than pleasant experience.  If you happen to tear the tag off with the whipping of the bra, you will be absolutely amazed at the amount of blood it produces and how long it takes to stop bleeding.  After one too many skin tag accidents, I consulted with my physician and she zapped them off easily with a simple freezing gun.  They grow back, but I am all for the zapping of these little Playdough pilings.

9.  Your teeth break for no apparent reason and it will cost you $1000 each time if you do not have dental insurance.  It has nothing to do with biting on the wrong thing like a hard piece of candy.  They just are old so they break.  My first tooth broke while I was eating vegetable soup.  It's a shocking experience, especially if you are out.  Ann Landers should write a column on this.

10. For some mysterious reason, you choke alot-on nothing.  You can be walking along and all of a sudden you suck your own breath into your windpipe and you nearly choke to death.  Or, suddenly your spit has a mind of its own and it jumps down your windpipe and you again nearly choke to death.  It's quite embarrassing.  There you are talking to a business colleague (always a younger male) like a normal human being and in a split second you're choking like an old crazy lady.  He's looking at you aghast as you are backing out of the room making those horrific sucking noises as you are trying to catch your breath.  When you see him later and he asks what happened you will not say I choked on my own spit.  You will make something up.

These are all things your mother will probably not tell you about aging.  Though they sound a little frightening or at the very least strange, it's not so bad.  The wonderful thing about aging is you reach an age when you really don't care.  It's not in a callous I don't care about myself or others way.  It's a fabulous liberating I don't care way.  As you lose control of your outside, something amazing happens to your inside.  With age comes a confidence of who you are as a person and it is a fabulous feeling.  Little things don't matter any more and the important things bubble up to the surface.  Getting older is good for you-it means you are living longer.  Embrace it and enjoy the ride.... 

Please visit my Etsy Shop


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Creative Frenzy-Battle Scars & Afterglow

There's somewhat of a dark side to the creative frenzy.  "I totally understand the frenzy although, I'm not as fanatical about finishing a project as I used to be."  "I too, understand creative frenzy. It has to be harnessed before it gets away."  "I love your description of "creative frenzy." I can totally relate. I'm too old to stay up until 2:30 a.m.---but when I'm in one of those "creative frenzies" I lose all track of time. And yet, in some ways, that is when I feel most alive -- or, at least, not so old."  "I live in a creative frenzy. I see possiblities in everything and sometimes I have so many ideas running around in my head that I feel like it clogs my brain!"  All these comments made by creative souls seem to support my opening statement.  There is nothing quite like the "aha!" moment when a creative frenzy has successfully ended and there sits Salvador DeMadariaga's vision of matter conveying your spirit.  There it sits on your kitchen table in all it's wonder-"aha!"  Or, maybe it doesn't...

Frenzy-noun 1. extreme mental agitation; wild excitement or derangement. 2. a fit or spell of violent mental excitement.  The very definition of frenzy implies the possibility of a dark side to creative frenzy.  A creative frenzy for me is all consuming.  I can hardly concentrate on anything else as ideas of how I will accomplish this conveyance of spirit to matter ping pong around in my head.  Once I am actually working on whatever it is that put me into this frenzy, I am almost in an uncontrollable maniacal state where I will finish this no matter what.  It's the no matter whats that get you into trouble.

No matter whats have no patience and do not always make the best decisions.  No matter whats have repeatedly lured me into believing my silverware drawer holds all sorts of magical tools.  You would not believe the things I can do with a fork.  I once painstakingly took out hundreds of vintage upholstery staples with a dinner knife after I broke the tip off of one of my good carving knives.  The blade on the dinner knife was just a little too thick, so if I didn't wiggle it just right it would slip.  Every slip took another piece of my knuckle.  Did I ever stop?  No.  Stopping meant I would have to leave my frenzy and actually go somewhere to find a more suitable tool.  The next day, I was browsing through some cool tool gizmos at my favorite hardware store.  I gingerly picked one up trying not to bump my bandaged knuckles and read the description-upholstery tack and staple remover.  Who knew......

The drive behind a creative frenzy is right up there with the 7 miracles of the world.  Everyone knows that having the right tool for the job is a huge component to how successful you will be.  This does not apply to a creative frenzy.  It doesn't matter if you have the right tool as long as you have ANY tool.  I do not own many power tools which is probably a good thing.  A past boyfriend would not allow me to have power tools as he was sure I would cut something off that I ultimately needed.  When we parted ways, I immediately purchased a jigsaw not because I needed it or knew what it was for but because it was small and by God it was a power tool!  During a creative frenzy, I decided that the medicine cabinet in my bathroom needed to be recessed instead of laying against the wall.  I could do it-I had a power tool!  My walls are entirely wood-no sheetrock.  I made some nail holes close together, stuck my jigsaw blade in the hole and away I went-until I hit a stud and realized it went right through the center where I wanted the medicine cabinet.  Many hours later, the medicine cabinet successfully recessed into the wall.  I chipped and chopped that stud until I finally got it out of the way.  I completely cut it out with a jigsaw-a tiny saw made to make curves and intricate cuts.  Sure, it looked like Fred Flintstone had chipped it out with a huge piece of flint, but I successfully did it.  The creative frenzy gives you the drive and strength to do things normal people would never even attempt.  My sister was making a hole with a power drill once during a creative frenzy.  She was aware that it seemed more difficult and was taking longer than other times, but that didn't matter.  She put all her strength into the drilling and continued relentlessly until she had successfully finished drilling the hole.  When she was finished she realized the drill was set on reverse.  Who knew...

The creative frenzy is often the force behind amazing artistic creations, but it can also wreak havoc on those of us who know its gripping force all too well.  Lost sleep, forgotten committments, knicked silverware covered with scratches and the worst-no "aha!" at the end.  I just came through a creative frenzy and have made it to the other side with a satisfying "aha!"  My tool of choice for this project was a hot glue gun.  As the frenzy was winding down and I could clearly see an "aha!" coming as my spirit was successfully being transferred to matter, I became tired and sloppy.  A large blob of hot glue and all the spider web like trails surrounding it dripped onto the top of my hand.  I was gluing paper to paper and when the hot glue hit my hand, the pain made me jump and the paper I was gluing went to the wrong spot.  I had literally seconds to make a split decision.  If I didn't quickly replace the paper before the glue solidified, I would have to tear it off and more than likely would ruin the entire project.  If I didn't tend to my hand immediately, not telling what the repercussion would be.  I chose the project.  "Aha" clouded my thinking and the glue on my hand began to harden as it deeply burned my skin.  When I turned my attention to my hand, as the glue came off, so did my skin.  Who knew...

The creative frenzy.  Battle scars and afterglow.  Sitting here, reflecting back over my recent frenzy, I look at my completed "aha!" and it's difficult not to notice my throbbing hand that required 2 of my largest bandages to cover the burn.  I am almost certain I will be left with yet another battle scar gotten during a creative frenzy.  And I have to ask myself-was it worth it??  You're damn skippy it was....... 

Please visit my shop:


Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Creative Frenzy

"Art is the conveyance of spirit by means of matter."  Salvador DeMadariaga.  This is one of my favorite quotes as it perfectly puts into words what it means to be a creative soul.  Studies show that the brains of creative people appear to be more open to incoming stimuli from the surrounding environment.  Studies also show links between creative genius and mental illness.  Einstein, Salvador Dali and John Forbes Nash, Russell Crowe's character in "A Beautiful Mind", are perfect examples of the fine line between creativity and mental illness.  Often, people with bipolar disorder do not like to be medicated because medication inhibits the creativity experienced in the manic phase.  I think I understand their resistance.  

The creative frenzy is a sweet and sour sort of animal most especially if you have other responsibilities that you can not just let go of.  When the frenzy hits, things like full time jobs basically get in the way and you enter this state of conflict that all creative people understand all too well.  My creative frenzies are never around easily executed ideas.  A simple trip to the crafts department of Walmart and a couple hours dodging blisters from wayward drips of hot glue from my glue gun is never enough.  Certainly I enjoy creating earrings from my vintage beads for my etsy shop, but this creative process could never come close to satisfying a creative frenzy.  The only thing that satisfies a creative frenzy is to successfully "convey your spirit by means of matter".  I have to transfer the idea exploding in my head to concrete reality.

For me, a creative frenzy is all consuming and that's where conflict comes into play.  I can't stop thinking about the new idea or project-the materials I need to order, how I will execute it, if I can successfully pull it off etc.  I can never find enough hours to transform my creative idea to a finished project.  I have to work, invariably I have to order some tool and God forbid I have to eat and sleep.  Every step is fast forwarded in my mind and there my idea is so beautifully completed in my "mind's eye".  The problem is life doesn't have a fast forward button or even a pause button-we have to continue on play and for some of us who unfortunately repeat some of our mistakes, occasionally reverse... 

Creative frenzy is the vehicle that takes the creative soul from an intangible idea to a concrete reality.

When a creative frenzy is successful and you have that "aha" moment, there is nothing more satisfying.

Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein understood creative frenzy.  They lived it.  I am in no way comparing myself to these creative geniuses.  All I am saying is I get it.....

Please visit my shop: