Adventures, Product Reviews

Sunday Musings

Sunday – it was a nice day – putzing in the back yard – a little housework – Hallmark movies – and “date night” with the Ex.

So my little back yard is mostly a cement slab and a small raised wooden deck with maybe a 2-foot edge along the fences for green stuff.  The previous owners of the unit didn’t do much in the way of fostering landscaping so there is one tree of some sort and a rose bush.  And weeds. Now that the endless rains of this winter/spring seemed to have stopped, and I have a little free time on weekends, I’ve started working on “greening” a bit.  Got a weed wacker to keep the  growth down, trimmed the rosebush and the tree, got a Pikaki bush and a Morning Glory vine, and have started nurturing Daichondra seeds to replace the dirt strips around the patio.  We’ll see how that works!  Aything to take away from the barren-ness.

Ex and I went to see Going In Style (link to trailer) with Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Alan Arkin, Ann Margaret, and Christopher Lloyd.  It’s about 3 old guys who after losing their pension fund decide to rob a bank.  No spoilers here! Just go see it –

I will be so sad when these incredible actors leave us. No one can bring with them the same class and style.  Going In Style is a timely story for older folks that young people won’t get. And even though it’s about robbing a bank, the movie has great and huge heart about the importance of family and of dear old friends, and always looking out for each other.

We followed the movie with sushi and saki at Silver Sake, our favorite neighborhood sushi haunt for an awesome late afternoon/early evening date – perfect for us ol’ Baby Boomers!

Namaste, my universal groovers – here’s to a pleasant weekend.

Itty Bitty

Life In General

Goings On Behind The Picket Fence

I realized today that it’s been seven months since I last posted.   Life behind the picket fence keeps on keeping on- time stops for no-one.

I’m not going to detail the last half a year – but kind of recap that which has kept me from doing the very thing that is so important – chronicling, questioning, inquiring about – those experiences that make me who I am today.   Sometimes I think I’m a typical “boomer” and at other times, think my expieriences are “a-typical”.  At times my whole life seems “non-traditional”.

The biggest thing is that I am continually challenged? overwhelmed? boggled?  at the mental health issues that plague my son and daughter and one of my grandsons.   All three suffer from anxiety disorders; my son and daughter from PTSD from various and multiple sources; my son from Bipolar Disorder I, my grandson from Schizo-effective disorder and very possibly Schizophrenia. My daughter also has all her life had a jepordized auto-immune system and a continual stream of related health issues in addition to dealing as (for all intents and purposes) a single parent with an 18-year old child with mental illness (since being diagnosed at 6).

I bring this up as since I last posted my grandson’s psychotic episodes and aggressiveness have escalated, my daughter’s health remains at a point both physically and emotionally that she has not been able to work in a year and her state disability was done last fall.  Her health care team acknowledge that she should be on permanent disability but none will step up and do the documentation.  My grandson also requires for the most part 24/7 supervision and she has been unable to find resources for respite care.   She is getting married in September – I worry about what will happen with her health care because she is on MediCal right now with no income.

My son, who has been living with me for the last three years, is having difficulty finding viable employment but at least has gone back to school to re-purpose his accounting degree.  He will hopefully start work with a non-profit organization that manages grants for mental health care centers in California under MediCal when their fiscal year starts in July. He is seeing a therapist fairly regularly but is starting to have panic attacks again.  My son is on MediCal also because of no income.

These are my children – 42 and 46 years old.  Lives in chaos through no choosing of their own.  How does a parent cope with that? One day at a time.

I worry about my employment right now – after two years of being well above my sales goals at work, this year is tanking in the markets that I am responsible for – the first “trimester” was awful, second “trimester” hopefully will end ok – but anxiety is definitely there.

Upside – I had planned on moving in July when my apartment lease was up – my ex lost his tenant in February and offered me to rent his 2-bedroom townhouse at enough less that it was an offer I couldn’t refuse – and he kindly bought my lease out for me. We’ve known each other almost 10 years – were married for five – and have finally figured out, I think, that we make better “friends” than spouses – we get along fine, do things together (went to Hawaii for a week with his daugher, son in law and grand daughter) – BUT BACK TO THE TOWNHOUSE – I helped him pick out this little townhouse when he bought it 5 years ago with the thought that when we didn’t want to do stairs any more we would live here.   It’s nice to have this little sanctuary to come home to now – half the commute, more space, a little tiny yard – space for my son and I until he hopefully some day can live on his own again.

So while we never know what is going on with people behind their picket fence, life behind mine is busy, hectic, at times chaotic, but enough peaceful that I can only say it could be worse.  And now that I’ve broken the “writers block” if no more than for my own journaling and/or purging, I’ll sort it all out here.

Cleansing breath –

Namaste – I honor you – all my friends who live their own brand of normal behind their picket fence.

Itty Bitty

Life In General

The Art of Being Boomer-licious

Heaven knows there area  gazillion different products out there all promising to make you look young and more – but I’m always curious as to what my friends say what products really works for them!  I’ve removed their last names for their privacy, but the comments come straight off of my Facebook page and status posting!

STATUS:    To all my Boomer-licious Ladies of a “certain age” – I would love and appreciate your opinion of what your favorite products are when it comes to SKIN CARE and MAKE UP and why –

I want to do a blog on this subject but I’m not particularly happy with the products I use. At our age, this is IMPORTANT STUFF!

Maggie says:   I have rosacea. I use Zenmed products. Mail order only. It doesn’t irritate my skin at all. Not tested on animals.  The makeup I use is Bare Minerals. Most liquids are horrible. Plus my skin is much dryer than in my younger days. I use to have oily skin.

Kit says:  I use Bare Minerals makeup too and do not have issues with it settling. I also use and LOVE MaryKay’s Serum C for hydrating my skin in daytime. Good old Ponds Cold Creme for night skin care. My Grandmother used it and had the softest skin into her 90s…

Maggie responded: I don’t have settling problems. My sister had to stop using it because of that. My neighbor (84) uses Bare Minerals and love it.

Cheryl E. says: I have been using Mary Kay for 10 years…but then I sell it…

So I asked Cheryl E. what does she personally like about Mary Kay skin care/make up?

Cheryl E. responded: I am partial because I sell it.  .I have an every day routine with the repair and replenish line for older adults…I am a firm believer in washing your face every day and taking off your makeup….what will age you quicker than anything you can think of, the elements that we deal with every day…a little cleanser goes along way, moisturize and take the makeup off your eyes….I could go on and on…..the older we get the more expensive it gets to look good.

Kit said: Cheryl, what is your take on Serum C? I do love it. I am 60.

Cheryl B said: I use Lancome and have tried Dr. Pericone products.The cleansing and moisturizers are great for the skin. The only thing that doesn’t help in the wrinkles under chin from losing weight…Keeps skin youthful.

Laura  says:  I use Nerium – and love it! It erases wrinkles – tightens around eyes and mouth.

Amy says:  Historically I have been using mostly Mary Kay products, their newer line for the aging skin is fabulous. The serum stuff totally removes my neck wrinkles. It is called Volu-firm I think. Also, I recently began using Wash cloths from Norwex. This too is magic stuff. They work with warm water and all I do is wash my face (and my entire body in the shower) with warm water and the cloth and I’m telling you, I have had little to no breakouts and my skin is much more smooth. No product, just warm water with their magical cloths. Talk about saving time and money!

Cheryl E says:  I use the whole (Mary Kay) repair line as shown…its the best by far….have you tried the newest piece Amy Burnham Revealing Radiance facial peel….it just became available…ask your consultant about it…

Susan says:  When it comes to facial product I go to Tj maxx great products on a budget price mostly use products with retinol in it cause I need all the help I can get .I change up the products but I highly recommend it for someone on  a budget they have all different products…

Angelina says:  Great subject Marie! Vitamin E on my face before bed and Oil of Olay in the morning before makeup! My mom used Ponds and she had beautiful skin with very minimal wrinkles. The key is moisture.

Cheryl E says:  I honestly think wrinkles are inherited genetics, some of us will have them some won’t…but you can attempt to combat them early in life by having a good skin care routine…smoking and dry weather will dry your skin out faster than anything else….

Katy says:  I used a skin care system called M-Rejuvinate from Momentis. MLM, so mail order, but works like nothing I’ve ever seen! Now to find money enough to reorder. (I won’t do auto-ship.)

Reba says:  I use Aveeno daily moisturizer with SpF. don’t wear makeup. wear peppermint lip balm from peppermint jim. lipstick queen lipstick.

Mary Kathryn says: Bare minerals settled and made wrinkles and pores more evident. I have sensitive skin and I’m still looking. Aveeno had me peeling within 2 hours. Right now using honey for cleansing but would love to find a moisturizer

Nina says:  Bare minerals for sure but not the powder, the foundation in the tube with their amazing brush applicator. Couldn’t live without their Skinlogistics, absolutely amazing. Aveeno daily gentle scrub, Neutrogena hydrator, Skinlogistics and then a moisturizer. I look like I’m 54! It’s unbelievable! Wait, I am 54. But seriously, Skinlogistics is the bomb

Laurie says:  I still love my Mary Kay. They have an awesome new peel that does wonders. I love their makeup as well as it is noncomedogenic & the only one I have ever tried that doesn’t make me break out (even at my age )

Cheryl E says: Love the peel, not sure why they call a peel, cause you wash it off remember the old masks where they lifted off….

Lyn says:  Rodan & Fields! Absolutely fabulous and easy to use! As for makeup, I love and use Youngblood mineral makeup!

Linda Leigh says: 39 years now with Mary Kay…Great age fighting…awesome selection of foundations…

Yvonne says:  I’m all about Philosophy body scrub, wash and body cream. Same here with bare minerals makeup, Lancome mascara. For my face I use Prai, no animal testing, reasonable and works wonderfully! I need a new perfume.. does anyone remember Anne Klein II perfume. For some reason they took it off the market and I haven’t found a substitute yet!


Brenda says:  I love all of the Philosophy products and they have amazing lip gloss too. I use Tarte Makeup because I have oily skin. I used to use a Mary Kay bronzer that I just loved but they quit making the beads. I will have to try their peel. Just started using Rodan & Fields eye cream and thinking of using their products…hearing great stuff about it.

Leslie says:  LaMer products ❤

Linda says:  I’ve made my own vitamin cream since 1980. It is a combination of Retinal (vitamin A), C,D,E, and aloe. I’m fair and often burn myself with the curling iron. This cream moisturizes and keeps me from scarring. A friend used it for diaper rash on her twins and said it works great. So guess it is good for both ends! Lol. I’m retired now and don’t mess with makeup any more.

Elizabeth says: I’m all about Bare Minerals. Perfection.

So there you have it … from every day Boomerlicious Ladies!  Summary?  Bare Minerals, Mary Kay … Philosophy … Clean, moisturize, make up ….  lots of water, wash, enjoy your genes and heridity.  What’s your favorite skin care and make up regime?  Let us hear it!


So for me? I think it’s time to go back to Bare Essentials (Bare Minerals) and still looking for that “toner” that brightens and lightens dark spots, and a cool moisterizer to minimize those laugh lines and neck wrinkles.
Thank you, EVERYONE! For your input!
Namaste – I honor the beauty in each of you!
Itty Bitty.
Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Remembering Sixteen

It’s not often something truely takes me back to being a teenager – triggers memories, but a friend’s facebook posting did tonight – a picture of a bottle of Boone’s Farm Strawberry Wine – wow – full on blast of feels, along with the warm summer and freedom that went along with it.

Click on Deana Carter’s picture to see and hear her perform her number one  song …..



I was done for – do you remember being 16, in love, lost in summer? I guess Strawberry wine can take you back there … “Is it him or the loss of my innocence I’ve been missing so much?”

Itty Bitty



Collateral Damage – The Other Victims

I heard an interview this week on NPR/Story Corps with Terri Roberts, the mother of a young man who chose to shoot in an Amish school a decade ago, killing five children and injuring 5 children.


Here is a link to the story: NPR/Story Corps/Terri Roberts.  Listen to it.   The story left me crying as I was driving to work and in awe of the human ability to frogive, and the power of forgiveness.


And it also brought back, fully and painfully,  the understanding of what it is like to experience the effect of the negative actions of a family member, whatever the crime or reason.  Perpetrators I doubt ever pre-think what affect their actions will have on their families or friends.  Thirty four years ago my children’s father made a major and erroneous choice driven by what we now understand was severe depression and bi-polar disorder.   The charges at this point in time are irrelevant, except to say he was ultimately convicted and sentenced with probation, lost a career, and was never functionally the same.  But when “news” of his actions got out into the little neighborhood we lived in, our children (then seven and eleven) were immediately ostracized by the children they had played with on a daily daily basis for four  years.  They were interviewed at their school without my knowledge or permission by chld protective services.  They were frightened and devastated.  With a month left to go before we moved, they were afraid to go back to school.  I kept them home.  Anxiety and depression had me throwing up every time I ate, I lost twenty pounds in six weeks.  I ended up on stress disability leave from work, which my PCP arranged to be in place until we moved.


He moved back to California to begin looking for work and housing for us as we emotionally found it necessary to move.  I was left with selling our townhouse, packing, finishing up paperwork for his job, dealing with the trail of messes he created. My children were pulled away from their grandparents who babysat them every schoolday, and with whom they had very close relationships.   The odd thing I remember is that as long as I was dealing defensively with the “crap” I was fine – I dealt with the sideways glances from people, with the whispers, with the loss of friends who distanced themselves from us.   What I found I couldn’t deal with was anyone being nice to me.  I was so raw and jagged and bloodied just under the tough, all business exterior that the slightest display of kindness would immediately dissolve me into a flood of tears.   I wanted to warn people, DON’T BE NICE TO ME.


The point of all this is that ….. we – his children and wife – had done nothing wrong.  We were no part of his actions.  And yet we were equally affected by his actions in different ways.  Thirty four years later my adult children display signs of PTSD.  My son has since had issues forming friendships due to a fear of friends abandoning him.   My daughter has had serious self esteem issues since then, in spite of therapy.  They both have anxiety disorders.  And unfortunately inherited their father’s bi-polar disorder.


His actions impacted far more lives than he ever imagined or could comprehend.   He didn’t mean to, but he did.  I  have issues with forgiveness towards him – and he has been dead for twenty four years. I’m still dealing with the messes he created.  The emotional messes.


I would ask you to consider for a moment beyond the perpetrators to the “other victims” – the other collateral damage – and send them a little love.


Help heal the wounds – all of them.


Namaste – I honor you – and for all that you in your life have to deal with, like it or not.


Itty Bitty

Thoughts From The Hot Tub

Holding It Together

Life has continued to be crazy the last week – the TCKLBUG (my little VW beetle) is still in the car hospital, not due to be completed until some time next week. I’m still driving the Nissan SUV whatever it its.  I know it’s too big for me – it’s taller than me – I want my Beetle back!  This transition period remains unsettling – and adds to the (I’m sure normal) post accident driving anxiety.

Son is actively job hunting but has no income at the moment and is trying to get back on MediCal so he can get psyc services and meds for his bi-polar disorder.  One would think it wasn’t a problem, but he’s still dealing wtih earning just a little too much this year to qualify.  Unfortunately, Obamacare or not, though he no longer qualified for MediCal, he wasn’t earning enough to afford a Covered Caifornia policy with mental health benefits (which most of them don’t offer – it’s excluded).  The upside is that he is actively and diligently looking for work in his accounting field – ideally fund management, or as close to that as he can get in California.

Daughter is still struggling on State Disability – and someone arbitrarily deciding that she had an increase of income (though nothing changed) and cut her SNAP (food assistance) reduced by $115 a month.  Her disability barely covers her share of the rent, car insurance, insurance, and gas, not leaving enough for food for three people, so having her food benefit slashed to $115 for no reason has been a big financial hit. Thank goodnes she’s in a relationship where, while it stretches the budget, I don’t need to help her to avoid her being homeless.  Her disability is hopefully ending soon so that she can get back to work and is looking for an aid position in a nearby elementary school, getting her back in the classroom in some capacity.  Her soon-t0-be stepdaughter’s teacher from last year is sincerely hoping to get my daughter on at the school as a resource for teachers either as an aide or possibly more.  She would love that as it would leave her off during school breaks and summer vacations.

With the divorce and expenses I’ve had to pick up (not complaining, it just is what it is) and not having any subsidy from my son, my finances have continued to be out of whack.  I’m hoping after this month finances will level off to an in-control issue.  It’s hard, though, when all but $120 of one check out of 2 goes to pay rent.

Not whining, just a bit overwhelmed.  It’s the empath in me – absorbing the stresses of those I love and are around me.

As much as I know why I am single right now and am conent to be so, it’s one of those time periods when I would love to crawl into someone’s safe arms. Tonight I miss that.  Tonight I could really use that someone to just hold me and tell me everything is ok.


And pay day is Thursday and we’ll make it till then.  Life is not always fun living on the edge – pay day to pay day, but it’s always an adventure and a challenge.

I will win!



Can I Just Get A Break?

I’ve come to realize that there are times in life when ….   life …. doesn’t go as smoothly as we would like.   The last few months have been challenging financially – more pay day to pay day than usual for some reason.  Some additional monthly fixed expenses have come up with the divorce being final (minor medical insurance premiums, assuming my half of car insurance premiums),  an unexpected vet bill, loss of my Son’s contribution to the household as he looks for new employment  … just kind of piles up.  I’m sure within a month or so everything will settle down and balance out, but at the moment it’s a bit emotionally overwhelming in addition to financially overwhelming.

And the icing on the cake was having someone run a red light left hand turn right in front of me …



A week ago Friday night …. MIDNIGHT!  I am truly grateful that neither I, nor the young man who ran the red light and his girlfriend, were injured.   No air bag deployments.  Body damage to both cars?  Absolutely.  Shattered nerves?  Uh huh, yep.  And as big a pain in the ass as it is to deal with all the insurance issues, it’s been as good as can be expected.   But with all the other stressers under foot right now, it’s not what I needed. Did NOT add to my calm.

AND … it was on my part a no-control situation.

The car is now in the “car hospital” in “tear down” mode – the insurance adjuster estimated about $5,300 in parts and labor based on what he could see.  Hopefully there isn’t any major “unseen” damage.

Of course in the fortunate absense of physical injury, it is a huge inconvenience more than anything. I am grateful.  And I am seriously grateful for the truly helpful, responsive and compassionate insurance people, both Century 21/Farmers Insurance (mine) and California Casualty (his) I have dealt with.  Thank you, everyone!

Gratitude …. that which illuminates the dark times …


Thoughts From The Hot Tub, Uncategorized

Moving On

Our divorce was final this week – a bittersweet transition after 9 years together and 5 years of marriage.  I remain grateful that we maintain friendship – and are able to spend time together doing fun things.  As I captioned: Perchance another place, another time –

2009 At A Friend’s Wedding

This is the third marriage ending for me.  I think I just don’t do this thing called relationships well.

Granted, when my kid’s dad passed away, that was a different sort of ending.   But the fact is, our 25 years together (1966 – 1992) were challenged.  Deeply in what we felt was love (at 16 and 18), we rallied against those who were concerned.  Some of those concerns proved to have a basis.  He was troubled then – struggled with abandonment issues and anger management issues.  Family issues went from bad to worse.  It’s another whole blog on dysfunctional people in relationships.  There was no doubt we loved each other through those 25 years, but had I been wiser I would have cut and run with my (our) kids well before our lives emploded.  I will never know if we would have gotten him help for serious mental health issues, or if we ultimately would have gone our separate ways – and if we would have managed to remain friends.

Then it was the “brainfart marriage” admittedly out of a need (not want) to be in a relationship – to be part of a couple – four years later … to an alcoholic addict.  We were married for nine years before I refused to continue the charade of a marriage which ended in 2007.   We did manage through the divorce civily and remained friends for a while, though we haven’t talked in over two years.

I thought I had found my eureka with #3 – and over the last 8 years there have been ups and downs; growth and maybe even a little regression?  We finally fell apart when my adult son with genetic mental health issues (from his dad) came home from 17  adult years of being self sufficient, employed, self educated, in a puddle of bi-polar disorder, empending divorce and a thrashed sense of self.  For the first time in his adult life he needed the secuirty of home. Hubby didn’t (doesn’t) understand the complications of mental illness and I gave up expecting him to.  But my truth is that I need to deal with my family issues right now.  Though I would have hoped he would, I hold no malice that he doesn’t get it.  It’s ok.

We are friends, we love each other – it’s just not the time right now.  Perchance – another time, another place.



Peace - Spirituality and other meanderings

I’m Tired, Boss …

As the weeks go by, and especially this last week, the emotions surrounding the horrific events that have occurred;.what seems like the proliferation of hate and fear mongering; the (not new) growing trend of categorizing ALL of a group by the actions of a few … is becoming emotionally, physically and psychologically draining.   This meme taken from “The Green Mile” says it so succinctly:


The question in my mind is …. how do we TURN IT AROUND?  HOW do we move towards not being so damned ugly to each other?

I’m tired, Boss …..  let’s try kindness and compassion, let’s try love.

Namaste – I honor you for all the goodness that you are.

Itty Bitty

Peace - Spirituality and other meanderings

Day 1 – Earth Centered Spirituality

To paraphrase Chapter 1 of Timothy Roderick‘s Wicca – A Year And A Day, long before there was religion, dogmas, regulations, ceremonial figureheads, theme parks and tele-ministries, there was simple NATURE.

We knew the ways of the changing seasons, the cycles of the moon, of healing and childbirth.  The Devine lived among us in the songs of the birds and in our bodies and the animals and plants.  The soft facts of life played out along with the hard facts of life.

In discovering this Wiccan path, we will find ourselves experiencing metaphorical muddy hands and feet; we find green grass, dark, rich earth, stone, or a tree and touch it … FEEL it and draw the weight of our body onto the land.

Connect with that power in the earth and natural things that is greater than us.  As we sit on the earth, imagine our root chakra reaching deep down into the earth, and network of roots that connect us to humans, animals, plants and objects.

red candle

Let the energy of Mother Earth fill you with strength and peace.

Namaste – I wish you all that Mother Earth has to offer us.

Itty Bitty