Trend Setter


They aren’t just for the trendy.

If they were, someone like me wouldn’t have had experience with huge shoulder pads, leggings, high-waist jeans, stirrup pants, headbands, leg warmers, or Flashdance-inspired sweatshirts with the collars cut out.

Because I’m not trendy.

I’m the kind of old person who has to see a trend in action for at least six months before I start to think hey, I could do that.

Or most likely there’s no way in hell I’ll wear that.

It took months of coaxing by my way-younger sister-in-law for me to stop tucking in my shirts a few years back.

And now? People are tucking them in again, which confuses the heck out of me.

I fell in love with boot cut jeans because I actually wear boots a lot.

Enter the skinny jean craze.

I finally caved and bought one pair of skinny jeans that I tuck my boots into. That was a big trendy step for me.

What amazes me about fashion trends is that at the time you are wearing a trend you feel like you look awesome; possibly even timeless.

So why is it that twenty years later, when you see yourself in pictures, that you look ridiculous?

There’s nothing timeless about huge shoulder pads, spiral perms, or stirrup pants with flats.

So what am I doing right now that I’ll cringe about in ten years?

Could it be the $1 lipgloss in a shade called Watermelon that I’m addicted to?

The sweaters without sleeves that my hubs loathes?

The overwhelming amount of black clothing that I seem to rotate through each week?

It can’t be. Black goes with everything and it’s so slimming.


Whatever it is, I am apparently powerless to change it.

And I’m pretty sure boot cut jeans are making a comeback.

So apparently?

I’m timeless.

Senior Hottie!

A few weeks ago, through a convoluted series of tweets (that means Twitter discussions, for the rest of you) Liz at a belle, a bean, & a chicago dog came up with the brilliant idea that we should all share pictures of our Senior Hotness.

Being closer to a true senior than most of the others, I was secretly excited to be chosen for the Senior Hottie link-up. I mean, I’m old! I’ll win for sure!

Then Liz explained that it was pictures of when we were seniors in high school.

I almost choked.

Class of 1982.

(yes, I may be the oldest one in this link-up)

I had every reason to believe my senior pictures would turn out awesome.

The photo studio we all used was also responsible for all of our dance pictures, and they always did a great job.

The appointment was late in the summer, before my senior year even started, so I was tan (yes, for me that’s a tan) and rested, ready to take on everything senior year had to throw at me.

So why in the world did I wake up the morning of my appointment and decide to change my hair? For one of the most important pictures of my young life?

For no reason other than the fact that I was almost 17.

And thought I knew everything.

The payback to this, ironically, is that I now have an almost 17 year-old living under my roof.

And he knows everything.

So those odd bangs that don’t look exactly cut properly? They were supposed to be flipped back in true Farrah Fawcett style, with the rest of the hair.

Which is the look I went back to the very next day.

So this important moment in time, the picture that looms large in the yearbook and will be shown on TV if I ever go missing?

Didn’t look anything like how I looked for the remainder of my senior year. Like at the prom.

And now that guy standing next to me?

Is MY Senior Hottie.

In the other sense of the word.

Just Call Me Wilma

Technology is pretty cool.

In my three decades of relatively short adult life, the advances in personal computers and cell phones is mind-blowing. We’ve gone straight from horse-and-buggy days to sports cars.

From the Donny and Marie show to Glee.

I’m having a hard time keeping up.

My very first car phone (that’s what we called them in 1989) was the classic Motorola brick model, for which I paid $400 and $1 per minute for calls.

I can probably count on both hands and one foot how many actual calls I made on that phone. We bought it for the security it offered on my long commute into a somewhat seedy large city.

We still have it. I used it once to pound chicken breasts flat for a recipe.

Over the years since then, various phones have come in and out of my life. Not one has been quite as cutting-edge as that first one. People would actually stop me on the street and ask to have a look at it.

Each time I wore a phone out and got a new one, it had a new feature. Some small new cool thing, something to make me feel like I was keeping up with the technology revolution.

Until the following week, when the next new cool thing for phones came out.

And I was a laggard in the cell phone world once again.

I got a new phone with a camera; a week later they all had video capability.

Bluetooth? I finally got that; now everyone has Bluetooth technology built-in to their cars.

The latest “gadget” on my new phone?

A QWERTY keyboard. And a texting plan.

Um, yeah.

So here I am, light-years behind everyone else, trying to learn how to text.

My texts resemble emails right now. Perfect spelling, no shortened words, complete sentences.

It’s really hard for me to LOL or OMG, C U L8TR or WTH.

All this cool new texting stuff, while my friends have all moved on to mobile Skype/Twitter/Facebook.

With all that Internet capability in their purses, it’s like my Tennesee friend is grocery shopping with our Illinois buddy. My Northern Cal pal can chat with our So Cal friend when she’s at the park for a play date.

So if you get a text from me please humor me and text me back.

I need to hone my skills so that one day I can move up to the next level.


Mirror Image

Who is this woman and what has she done with my youth?

It was just here a minute ago.

Or did I just set it down for a moment when I was at The Alibi? The Office on the Beach?

Maybe someone will turn it in to Lost and Found.

I may have taken a wrong turn at sunbathing in baby oil and spent too much time worrying and developing a scowl.

That’s the only explanation I can come up with.

I’ve tried to take good care of myself.

The younger me didn’t know how good she had it; knees that weren’t baggy, hair that didn’t require chemical intervention at six-week intervals, a jack-rabbit metabolism, and a face free of wrinkles and age spots.

This new woman? She follows me everywhere. Shows up in restaurant bathroom mirrors, reflections in the windows at Starbucks, all those fancy-schmancy mirrors in the Crate and Barrel store.

She looks a bit tired, takes longer to rise from a seated position, and her shoes may qualify as sensible.

It’s not my mother.

Because in those Crate and Barrel mirrors today? My mom was next to me on one side; my daughter beside me on the other.

There was no denying it today.

I am in that middle place.

In the middle where you can remember being your mommy’s little girl; going out shopping together or just hanging out.

Until that was no longer cool.

In the middle where you can still see the beginnings of your own motherhood journey; still remember holding those crying little ones and rocking them ever-so-gently.

In the middle where your kids become self-sufficient, busier with their own lives, less likely to need you for something.

In the middle where I can also see forward to my own mother’s life.

Kids grown, out on their own, no longer needing to worry about daily tasks of motherhood or trivial questions like peanut butter and jelly? or pink shirt or yellow?

This woman who stalks me? She’s not half bad.

She’s got a pretty good sense of humor, as long as you don’t ask her kids. She loves her family, likes a good pizza, a nice glass of wine, and plays a mean game of Scrabble.

And since she’s not going anywhere soon? I’ve come to like her.

But I still check the Lost and Found occasionally.


I see you sizing me up in the grocery store, you sweet young thing.

You may not be able to place this feeling quite yet, but I’ll give it a name for you.


I didn’t get this way overnight you know. Turning into a late-40’s goddess takes time and dedication.

A willingness to forgo exercise for vanilla scones and a Venti mocha.

To leave the lip gloss at home when grocery shopping.

To skip the nail salon/spa facial/tooth whitening in favor of buying a yearbook for your kid.

Time to accept reality and finally be comfortable in my own skin.

Skin that’s not only soft, but supple. Actually the dimply fat accumulating underneath is what’s supple. I feel soft and squishy when you hug me. And this nice little curve of belly that the lady hormones have created is going to be the next big thing.

An accessory coveted by the younger crowd. Not available in stores.

And while my legs and butt may be somewhat thin, there’s a certain softness that descends upon middle-aged women that you might not see when you look at me in the grocery store checkout line.

But it allows me to sit for hours on end without pain. To double-check algebra homework, play Monopoly on a rainy day, comfort a sick child, drive the carpool, or just be plain old lazy do some writing.

You pay big money every month for those highlights to accent the colors in your hair. Or bring in new colors not found in nature.

My highlights are silver and shiny, quite possibly the color of angel’s wings. They grow in a neatly-organized rows at my roots without fail every four to six weeks.

Little soldiers in the war that age is waging on my scalp.

When I’m not too lazy (or too cheap), I call in the troops and temporarily render my natural highlights a brownish-red.

But I see you eyeing them now, wishing they were yours.

Someday, young one.

And these wrinkles? Each and every one earned with a laugh or a funny story; countless sleepless nights with a sick baby; crying over a loved one lost.

You may want them, but they’re mine. You will earn your own in time.

I may not be on Gossip Girl or the cover of People Style Watch, but when I walk through my own front door?

I’m a Super Model.

People fall at my feet, begging for autographs. Or maybe they’re begging for a home-cooked meal and a signature on their homework packet.

No matter; I am beautiful as I glide effortlessly through my home tending to the masses and changing lives as I adjust my tiara.

Hubs treats me like I’m Cindy Crawford. He can’t see the spider veins, wrinkles, gray hair, or floppy arms. So I soak up the attention and give it right back.

Because it’s like I’m the star in my own reality show.

I’m finally comfortable in my own skin.

Sure, it doesn’t stretch quite the way it used to. It dimples, sags, and puckers.

But I’ve found that my life’s purpose goes way beyond skin deep. Beyond the clothes I wear or the flash of my whiter-than-white teeth.

Deeper still, inside my heart, where maybe only my family can see the real me.

And I’m beautiful.