Loving My Laugh Lines and Rocking The Wrinkles

I’m so glad I found this today because I wrote it as a guest blog for another website that is no longer there. It’s been about 8 months since I tackled the subject of “love”. As a human, I’ve struggled with being kind to myself. I’ve been the victim of my own self loathing. You know, that thing we all (well, most of us) do where the self talk is the kind of communication that you would never offer to someone else? In fact, I’ve caught myself thinking, “Holy cow, if I heard someone say that out loud to someone, there would be words. I wouldn’t stand for that. Why do I say it to me?” I’ve written about it a few times. (I Am Enough, Stinkin’ Thinkin’) I still struggle with it. However, for some reason, I don’t mind getting older. I don’t know, maybe I can’t stop time and life just gets better with age? Well, I hope you enjoy.

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Hey world, I’m about to turn 50 and I couldn’t care less what number shows up on my cake. You can bet there will be cake, lots of cake, because quite honestly, as the number gets bigger, life just keeps getting better. There’s no law that says you have to grow up. I’m pretty sure that I don’t act my age, nor do I plan to in the future, but good things come with age. I laugh in the Botoxed face of vanity, and, you might find this a bit shocking (sit down if you need to), I LOVE my laugh lines. There’s evidence right there on my face that

love yourself, laugh lines, wrinkles, aging, happiness
Accidental Hippie Selfie
I’ve lived, and loved and laughed. Oh, how I love to laugh! I’m constantly amazed, amused, chagrined, humbled, saddened and sickened at our society’s propensity to obsess (obscenely) over the perceived notion that getting older is a crime of nature and that time is a cruel mistress.

It’s seems ludicrous when you really sit back (a wee nip of vodka helps) and ponder the idea that we somehow become something less as we age. We seem to have swallowed that bass-akward thought hook, line and sinker (to the absolute delight of plastic surgeons and cosmetic companies I might add). We’ve accepted the notion that getting older is something that should be fought tooth (think veneers) and nail (acrylic). I’m here to declare loud and proud that getting older is a joy! I say that with a straight, but slightly wrinkled,face and a well used heart.

With each birthday, I find that I like myself a whole lot more than I once thought I did. I’ve mellowed in so many ways. What a relief it is to like, no, make that LOVE, who I am. I’m proud that I’m a mom, an athlete, a writer, a wife, a marketing professional, a friend, a laugher, an empathizer, a philanthropist, an optimist, an outdoorsy woman, a helper, a board member, a tennis player, a soccer lover, a traveler and so many other cool and

traveling, traveler, love life, aging
I’m many things. I’m a mom, traveler, adventurer, a wife, a wanderer. I’ve got wrinkles!
wonderful things. I recognize that despite the fact that I pen a blog about trying to lose that 50 Pound Monkey, that I find the “humor in the face of fat.” I relish the idea that I’ve become decidedly wiser, stronger and more confident. And mellow, did I mention that? I do not live in Colorado (grin) I’m not that kind of mellow, well not right now at this moment… but I’ve found that the older I get, there’s some slack in the line. I’m not wound so tight. I am completely and utterly imperfect and I’m good with that.

I have found that I’m more tolerant of people who are doing their best, but annoy the hell out of you anyway. I find that it’s easier to see (even with my ever increasing prescription readers) what’s in people’s hearts and find their good. It is so much easier to speak my mind, (the disappearing filter phenomenon maybe?), when I need to. I stand up for people. With every birthday, my need to impress every single person diminishes. I’m so much more selective about who and what deserves my time and my passion. I’ve learned to say no, politely and without remorse, of course. There’s so much to look forward to.

I love my age. I’m okay with getting older. I’m certainly not rushing it, I’m savoring it. Hello, you’re getting older too. Embrace that fact! Stop wasting energy and years of yourbe silly, grow up, have fun, aging, birthdays life (not to mention money) in denial. It most definitely is a fact, a universal truth that we can not change.Think about what you are. Make a list even. Are you a parent? A hard worker? A gentle friend? A soul mate? A joker? A musician? A student? Think about what you know. What do you believe? Who do you love? We all have a journey in this life. Some of us take the scenic routes, some take the bullet trains and some of us are standing beside the freeway with our thumbs up, but that’s okay! You’re wiser than you were last year and probably cooler, too. Birthdays are milestones that should be appreciated. Celebrate that extra year. Love getting older.Yes, life is short. Better to enjoy the ride while you can still feel the wind in your hair or on your bald head. Age is a good thing.

My mom once told me that she thought her 40s were the best time of her life, but that was before she hit 50. “Oh honey,” she said with a mischievous sparkle in her eyes, “Sixty is even better!”

Lovin' My Laugh Lines, Rockin' the Wrinkles, Love your Age

A Treasure Trove: Essays From Mom

Today, while cleaning my desk, I decided to tackle a grocery bag full of old files from my mother. We lost her several years ago, and I miss her, and think of her every day. She was such an amazing mom. She was a great example in so many ways. From the eyes of her only daughter, I watched and modeled her independent spirit, her strength and her me and my momunrelenting creative streak. In addition to all sorts of badass things like being a rancher and an adventurer, she could play the ukulele, twirl the baton, take amazing photographs, and entertain children with her own curiosity about the world around her. Despite having a degree from UT, she took classes at the local U as an adult in all kinds of photography, scientific drawing, botany and writing. So yesterday, I pulled one piece of printed writing titled, “Trip Log: March 2001 Trip To Florida.” It was 8 typed pages long. I tucked in. And after the first paragraph describing their rig, complete with kayaks and bicycles and a 5th Wheel, this struck me right away as both poetic and profound. As a daughter, I saw her has a mom. Now entering mid-life myself, I’m seeing her as a woman. She was smart, thoughtful, and damn she could write! Had we been the same age, we would have been fast friends.

At what age do we humans become aware of our surroundings? Today as we drove north from the arid brush country of South Texas into increasingly lush, green plains and the beginnings of East Texas woods, I was overwhelmed by the feeling of “coming home”.
In 1935 the Great Depression was still going strong. Daddy was working as a crew chief in the infant seismograph industry, glad of a job during the hard times. He and Mother met in Beeville, Texas, when his crew was in South Texas and he rented a room at Grampa Thornton’s boarding house. They married and were soon transferred east to the damp humidity of southern Louisiana and Mississippi. I was born in Houston, and my first three years were spent following the seismograph crew in the lowlands of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
Is it possible, that at the age of 65, an inner part of me recognizes the country and accents of my early years?
Perhaps its just the moisture laden atmosphere with the attendant aromas of the lush green. Even my speech easily drops into the accents of the deep South. What fun, if this trip across the South, is a reunion with my roots !

The rest of the “log” described the places they stopped, the scenery and the people. She just had a way of learning people’s stories because she was genuinely interested and was the kind of person you wanted to talk to. The best kind of person…

…Manager Reta welcomed us, let us choose our waterfront location where we turned our trailer around to take advantage of the water view. Reta is a lively interesting woman; her appearance and quickness belie her 70 years. She grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, married, then raised five children on her own and later came to
Texas and went to work for the Nelsons. Very independent, she drives her truck and fifth-wheel to Wisconsin each summer to visit her children. She told us that she often stops overnight in parking lots behind Cracker Barrel Restaurants and was planning a short vacation over to Louisiana to check out some of the gambling casinos.
Texas could use more like Reta !

The whole 8 pages are filled with joyful and poignant observations. I read some of it to my husband and he said, “Just imagine if she had had a blog. She would have filled it with stories and photos.” Imagine. Yes, she would have. I could fill a book with her interesting essays! Someday, I just might do that. For now, I will keep slowly sorting and scanning my treasure trove.

You. Me. We.

So many people are struggling to make sense of what is happening in this world, to our country and to our sense of where we belong. Some of us are struggling with deciding whether we belong at all. When shock and crazy are pounding us from all sides, we begin to take sides. We begin to question not only who we are and what we believe, but who our We2friends are. We question our own relatives. We ask why and how, a lot. Some of us puff out our chests and peacock. Some of us sit at home and cry. So many of us vent in public forums with anger, lashing out at people we’ve loved and trusted sometimes for the whole of our lives.

These times, these feelings overwhelm me and cause me to live in a state of perpetual distress. I too, struggle. In fact at times I’ve felt stress so deep that I’ve wanted to run, and had I not had two lovely children and a family that would remain, I’d already be living hand to mouth in Costa Rica, or in a small village in Spain. Perhaps, I’d live in a tiny house in British Columbia. Yet, I stay. I face my own angst and yours. I feel the electricity and waves of your vibrations running through me and hitting mine like I’m stuck in the surf being pounded into the coral sand bottom and desperately seeking the surface and a breath of air; I’m pounded down again. I’m not the only one suffering, empath or no. I’m not equipped to shield myself from other’s emotions, try as I might. Here I remain, and here I must try to change the world’s vibrations as best I can. Here’s where I turn. I write. I pass on good things.

This video is beautiful. The truth is there. Please watch. We is better.

Art and Moonstoned Music

This has been a wild year for many reasons. Personally though, I’ve been really busy, not writing lately (sad face), but really living this life and doing so many new things. One of my projects, in addition to painting bright crazy colorful things, paintings has been making music with friends. We’ve even started a wee cover band here in Austin, called Moonstoned. My great friends Merrily and Stephen, have both been professional musicians in their lives. Stephen, who toured the world with Leonard Cohen, is still a musician and it is the only job he’s ever known. I, on the other hand, am the freshman, the newb, the Sarah-come-lately. It all started with wanting to take voice lessons, just because I never had. I’m not a shy person, but ask me to sing in front of people, and suddenly, whoosh… that confidence and fun leaves the room along with all the air in my lungs. With the guidance of my amazingly talented voice coach, Merrily, I’ve come out of that shell (well mostly). We discovered our blend of voices was natural and fun while singing at a “sing club” event Merrily hosts for her students. We decided if we could just make it fun, and not make this band idea a total pain, that we’d like to perform together. Thus, Moonstoned was born. We joke that we sing back porch music, pretty much like we’d perform in someone’s living room. Laid back, intimate and fun! We have such a blast playing covers of the music we love like, Bonnie Raitt, The Dixie Chicks, Joni Mitchell, and many singer-songwriters both local and abroad (Jayme Dee, Kacy Chambers, Missy Higgins) . Here’s a link to our website, and as a Christmas gift, there are a few tracks we recorded in a friend’s living room! 🙂 Live music is the best music, even if it’s rough and raw!

With 2016 all but in the rear-view mirror, I’ll be looking more to music and art for the gift and joy they bring to me. Sharing the joy is a definite bonus, so I’ll be writing some too.

Bee-ing Good Humans: An Example in Awesome

I’ve seen the ads popping up on Facebook a lot lately. I’ve mostly ignored them. Today though, I thought, what’s the big deal with the socks? Enough about the socks already! Who advertises socks on Facebook? I’m sort of a marketing nerd and enjoy checking out strategy and products. So, I clicked the video link just to see. It’s a Saturday morning and I’m waiting for the family to wake, so well, why not? It gets me up and out of the political vitriol anyway!

Who knew that socks were such a big deal? I’m buying some socks today, just saying. Two guys have taken a much needed item and turned it into not only a tattoo worthy business, but more importantly and impressively they’ve turned it into a thoughtful and lovely humanitarian one as well. Well done, and thank you for being an example of awesomeness. I needed this story in my heart today!

Here’s to happy feet! Let’s shop socks!


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Art and Adventures in the Back 40 (feet)

Whenever possible, I love to inspire people to look at things a little closer. The joys of my life come from observations that many folks either miss, or dismiss. I challenge you to find joy in the little things right where you live. Watch the trees. Sit outside and listen. I actually jumped off my elliptical today to snap the photo of the sunlight striking the spider web. I was sweating, and watching out the window when suddenly this spider web just lit up. It looked like a half a heart. I knew the light would change within seconds, so I pressed the pause button and ran for the camera.

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And this gorgeous boy showed up. As soon as he swooped in all the little birds went quiet. It was eerily still. He was quite regal for one so young.

He arrives and the small bird symphony goes suddenly still
He arrives and the small bird symphony goes suddenly still. We think he’s a juvenile red shouldered hawk. Beautiful.
And this baby Texas Spiny Lizard was so cute. He’s proof that the large females I see laying their eggs in our pea gravel out front are reproducing! They’re large and lovely, spiny and pokey lizards! Some folks keep them as pets. One of our neighborhood girls had one that rode around on her shoulder.

Baby Texas Spiny Lizard
Baby Texas Spiny Lizard
And the crazy pitch black squirrel. He’s slower than the brown ones and I’m thinking that maybe he’s a lost rock squirrel who fell in love with a super cute tree squirrel. We’ve seen some half black, half brown fellas running around the neighborhood.

Our coal black squirrel! I love to see him when he comes along the squirrel tree highway
Our coal black squirrel! I love to see him when he comes along the squirrel tree highway. Photo cred to the hubs who knew I was stalking this guy! PS, the foreground plant is a Beauty Berry. Definitely my favorite native plant.

I love Beautyberry plants

Adventures and cool things are happening right under your nose. Press the pause button!  It will make you happy to take the time to discover the things in your own space. Really look at them, hear them and watch them. Your spirit will lift. Promise! 

Right Now, This Is Real

This moment is real. Right now as we live and breathe, this is all that we have. In this moment, this very second, reality has arrived. Weird. I’ve nowequalsrealitynever thought about it like this. In my last post, I said that for awhile now, I’ve been pretty aware that I’ve been living in the future and missing my todays. I’d say things like, “I’ll go for it when I’ve lost these stupid 50 pounds,” or “when the kids are off in college and we buy that motor home…” uh, yeah. I’ve been living like that. Trudging on. I’ve been waiting for the some day. Guess what? That’s a fantasy. It’s a figment of my imagination, and trust you me, I’ve got one helluvan imagination!

Recently, my coach gave me some homework. One of my tasks was to read Practicing the Power of Now, which is basically the cheater notes version of The Power of Now. I downloaded it to my Audible account and have been listening in small segments because, oh, for the love… non-fiction makes me yawn. However, this book is profound! Continuously! So, in sound-bite segments, it’s more absorb-able and actually interesting. You ready for that nugget of truth? NOW is profoundly it. The past is a memory. It’s done and dusted, so to speak. Gone, not happening. The future is merely a projection of what might, possibly happen some day, or, well, not. We all know that tomorrow may not show up for us. We know that. What’s happening right now, that’s the only real moment. Seriously. Think about it.

So, I sat there gushing sweat in the sauna. I paused my book. Really, it’s hard to breathe in there sometimes, and I definitely needed to chew that thought awhile. One of the things Eckhart Tolle points out is that when you’re stressed, focus on your breathing and ask yourself, “what problem do I have right at this moment.” Well besides voluntarily losing buckets of water, I felt pretty good at that moment. Goals, though based on an end result in the future, are essential. Since reality is only now, you need to figure out if what you’re doing right now (reality) can help you accomplish your goal because really, you can only do now, right now. Melting my fat, losing tons of water, purifying my body… check! Ding, ding, ding that was a yes!

Light bulb moment for me, that thought. I believe that one of the reasons I’ve been finding it so hard to lose weight is that I tend to project myself into the future. I want to be at that goal right now. And, dammit, we know that’s not possible. It takes time. So, if I can focus my efforts to just this moment, to right now, to what’s actually real, it takes the burden off. It takes the idea out of my head (mostly) that this is going to take 6 months of supreme torture. It is, actually, but I can take anything one moment at a time. Truth. If I catch myself staring at the HOT NOW sign at Krispy Kreme, I can ask myself if what I’m doing right now in the real, real moment is helping me achieve my projected future outcome. Well then, for that moment, I can keep on driving. Oh, these little profound nuggets of truth. I will cling to them. (grin) No, really.

How does that thought feel in your head? Now is all we have. It is all that is real. It seems so simple. I’m starting to believe that truth is often simple. We already know these things. We know that right now is real. I guess I just didn’t think of my past as a memory. It’s not something I can touch or feel. Yes, my head remembers and I can feel emotion about it, but it’s not happening now. Same with the future, even more so.

NOW is it. Close your eyes. Feel the now. Feel your life. It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful, right now.


Accidental Hippie Selfie


On Going Woo Woo

Where to begin? These last three months have been a super struggle for

me. It just seemed to be that nothing would go right. We were working on a remodel and it was literally one thing after another. These weren’t the good kind of surprises. Details were over looked. Workmanship sucked. The management of the project was poor. And that was the stuff that was obvious. Things weren’t really going well for me internally either. My mind was a mess. My naturally happy state was absolutely absent. Gone. I was angry a lot. I was stressed to my limits. I felt cut off from who I am, my family, my spirituality and from nature. Not good. All of those things I need in ample measure.

I need this connection. Wisdom. Peace. Grounding.
I need this connection. Wisdom. Peace. Grounding.

I turned to donuts and self loathing. They were easy. I’d get through a day, and sneak into the drive through donut lane. Let’s ignore the fact that I write a blog called 50 Pound Monkey about the extra pounds I carry around or that I’m gluten sensitive and my hands break out in ridiculously itchy, and painful eczema and I feel nauseated after said donuts. Seems like the sugar was my drug of choice. Maybe feeling physically sick helped me align the emotional conundrum raging within. I was just pissed off. Everyone, and everything, was annoying. This was just a cluster. A stupid, mother freaking, blankety-blank cluster. My little world.

I’ve had this awareness for awhile that life was passing me by. Here I am, living a lovely, beautiful life and I’m just not noticing. I’m thinking about tomorrow. I’m thinking about just trudging on. If I can just get through this day, this week, the next two years. Weeks would roll by without me acknowledging them. I couldn’t remember what happened the last week, nor did I really care. I was aware. I was not happy about this state of living in the future. This was not working for me. My kids were growing, changing, and becoming amazing humans under my nose and I was not soaking it all up. Life was doing me. I was not doing life.

When we returned from vacation and I fought myself tooth and nail and mustered every ounce of strength to wake up and go to work, I decided that I need to love what I do for my living. Finally, I decided that I’d hire a coach. What I thought I needed was to find my passion. I needed to find something that I couldn’t wait to get up and go do. Little did I know that this was the beginning of my awakening. My world is changing so quickly now. I feel alive again. It’s not just the coach, though she’s a catalyst, and a good one. I’ve turned to myself and to others to find my divine purpose. I’ve explored energy healing and have had long, interesting and animated discussions with my dear friend and mentor about Astrology, divine wisdom and life lessons. I already feel joy again. I’ve already learned so much. This is living. There are no donuts here. Self loathing is a thing of the past. It feels so good.

Here starts my series of this journey. I’m working on a name for it, but I plan to share my little nuggets of truth, somehow, somewhere. I’m learning things that just make sense, things that I know deep in my being, in my very center, are right. Real. They’re worth thinking about. I’m a normal, conventionally raised Texas girl and I seem to be getting my woo-woo on. Whaaaat? Just saying. Most of my life I would have dismissed certain things because they were woo woo, or way woo woo—hippie freaky deaky stuff, that just seemed weird. With age comes wisdom? Probably. Being open to the universe and a whole realm of possibility, of divine knowledge just feels good. It feels intensely right.

Maybe you’re like I was? All things woo woo make you roll your eyes? Hang with me. You don’t have to believe any of this. Just acknowledge that this is my journey and you’re observing. Observe with no judgement and open heart. That’s all I ask. I want to turn on my light. Enlighten this life. I want to be a source of light and love on this blue ball.

Good vibes and good love.


Accidental Hippie Selfie


If This Was A Mandatory Human Experience… If …

I’ve been struggling this week. In the aftermath of the Orlando massacre and all the ugly bickering and political folly playing out all over our country — no, playing out all over this beautiful blue planet, I’ve struggled. I’ve been angry. I’ve been sad. I’ve been dejected, downcast, and so unnaturally muted. My experience in the world this week has been numbed. I, usually the one with the untamed happiness. I, the one whose brain jumps happily from one trackless train of thought to the next in a series of boundless amusing “Squirrel” moments, have felt dull. Strangely quiet. This is not right. This is not good. This is not me. My light has been shrouded. It hurts.

I posted this photo as my new Facebook header in response to the chaos and nasty rhetoric being thrown back and forth on social media.Costa Rica Coast Peace Love Light

Then my lovely friend Christine had had enough. She said she was only going to post good stuff, the flowers of life. I’ve read her every post since. Another dear friend, Ted, posted an article about a Jet Blue flight where a grandmother was flying to Orlando to bury her grandson who was gunned down at Pulse. I cried. Reminded suddenly that we are kind. Then, my wonderful old  friend Lilly posted this video. It may be a veiled commercial for a DNA company, but what a beautiful way to use their science for the good of humankind. I need this good stuff. I need to feel it, to know that we all have so much in common. I wish I could single-handedly make this video viral. It’s that important. It’s that powerful, touching and heart opening. Please watch it. Share it. Keep it in your heart and know we are all connected deeply. Let go of hate, bias and prejudice even if you think it’s not there. Let go. We humans, we are a we.

Join me in posting the good stuff. Let’s be the light, my cousin. Let’s change the world.