I pulled an oldie but a goodie out of the Blogger vault today for my Menopause blog. Hope you agree.
If it’s Tuesday, then I’m taking about Menopause. Click here to read today’s post: Crepey Skin or Creepy skin.
Here’s a quick link to my blog today over at Moments from Menopause. I’m talking about skin…issues!
or you can copy and paste:
Yesterday I shared my embarrassing shirt backward moment. Here’s today’s equally as mortifying event that happened just yesterday morning.
You all know I go to Planet Fitness because sitting all day and writing will tend to increase the ass size proportionately to the amount of time you sit. I sit 8-10 hours per day. Yeah…My butt has gotten huge these past 2 years!
Anyway. Planet Fitness.
I put all my non-gym stuff in the locker ( purse, phone, glasses), locked the locker with the lock I bring with me – key operated ( no combination because..you know…menopause memory) and proceeded to the gym-proper for an hour. When I was done and I went back into the locker room, for some strange reason my lock wouldn’t open. I swear I grappled with the damn lock and key for 10 minutes, cursing and sweating. I really didn’t want to have to have the staff bolt cut the damn thing open. There were several women in the locker room changing and one asked if she could help. I gave her the key and she couldn’t get the damn thing opened either. She asked if I was sure it was the correct locker. I’m dumb at times but not stupid. Of course it was my locker, I told her. She shrugged and suggested getting the staff to cut it open, that the lock must have somehow broken.
To calm myself down I stepped back and sat down on the bench for a minute to catch my breath and figure out what to do. While I was relaxing ( not!) another gymite came into the room, proceeded to go straight to my locker, stuck in her key, and opened it.
Yeah. I was at the wrong locker. The locks looked identical but my locker was #43. The one I’d been trying to open was # 34.
So let’s add some dyslexia to the list of menopause maladies I now possess.
#FML. For those of you who know what that hastag means, yeah…
When I’m not being stupid you can find me here:
Yesterday, hubman and I went to early Mass. Usually, we go to the 4 pm Mass Saturdays because we both like to relax on Sunday mornings, but this Saturday we were both busy so we missed the 4.
After Mass we’d planned on going to the gym together. When I typically go to the gym, I leave my house in my workout clothes because I don’t like to change in open changing rooms. Body issues come in all ages, folks, even in successful, intelligent, chubby menopausal women.
Since we were going to Mass first, I couldn’t wear my workout clothes. If you are Catholic you know why. If you are not Catholic just accept it as a fact that I couldn’t go in anything other than Church-clothes, and leave it at that.
I wore nice clothes to the Mass and then planned on changing – in the bathroom(!) when we got to the gym.
Here’s the part of this story that tells you the reason for the title.
When I went to take my blouse off in the bathroom at the gym ( body issues, remember?) I realized I had my blouse on backward. The back of it was in the front. How did I know this? The tag was sitting right under my chin line. All during Mass I felt like the shirt was tight, as if it had shrunken in the dryer or something. Nope. Fit is fine. Wearing it backward will make it seem like it’s tight, though, because there is more material in the front for….proturberances ( read, breasts!) and the back is flatter.
Yeah…I know. 57 years old and I can’t dress myself.
Seriously, I need a keeper or at least someone who can dress me appropriately for when I go out in public.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m blessed and lucky to be retired so I can write whenever I want, for how ever long at a stretch I want. This usually adds up to 5-9 hours daily, depending on everything else in life that needs to be taken care of : laundry, grocery shopping, exercise.
But….there was a time not too long ago where that wasn’t the case. I worked outside my home at a job I detested, so writing was relegated to the back burner. During that time I’d sneak a few minutes before getting ready for the day to jot down a few lines of dialogue. Or I’d bring my lap top to work me so and take a solitary lunch so I could finish a scene. My menopause insomnia ( don’t laugh. It’s a real thing!) was good for one thing and one thing only: I used my inability to sleep to write in the middle of the night when everyone else was dreaming. My first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, was completely written between the hours of 1 and 3 am.
My husband worked, my daughter was out of the house, so it should have been easy to eek time out of the day to write. But it wasn’t because, you know….life.
Balance is a hard work for some people and for me it’s one of the most difficult concepts to accomplish. I never felt like I was giving my all to anyone or anything when I was working and writing. I am in awe of writers who have small children, volunteer at their school, plus work and have husbands/wives they need to care, in addition to homes that need to be tended. And by tended, I mean cleaned! Those writers truly have super powers that I do not possess. They can write a book, bake cookies for the school fund raiser, prepare nutritious meals for dinner, and everyone has clothes to wear, even on laundry day.
These writers have found their inner balance between writing and life.
I never did. It was only when I retired from that despised job that I was able to finally devote the time necessary to each part of my day and not feel as if I was cheating some aspect of it along the way.
So the title of this piece is Managing my writing time. I’m doing pretty well now that I don’t have any place to be during the day light hours – and by that I mean I don’t have to go to a job location. All my friends still work, so there is no one I can get into Thelma and Louise trouble with during the day and the last time I went out to lunch on a weekday was way back in the beginning of the summer. I have no life, really, and I think I’m doing just fine!
Find out what the other authors in this blog series do to manage their writing time because they all have, you know…lives! I don’t! heehee
I sent this piece into a contest recently. It didn’t win. ANYTHING!!! Not win, place or show. But that’s okay. I figured I’d put it here and win…your hearts, instead!
TITLE: When life gives you lemons…don’t suck! ( this wasn’t REALLY the title. I just came up with it, like, 5 minutes ago!)
Two years ago I was downsized from my health care job and simultaneously going through the worst menopause Mother Nature had ever bestowed upon a female of the species. I was the human definition of a hot mess with too much time on my hands. My only child was grown and on her own; my husband was still employed full time; perpetual and soul-sucking hot flashes kept me up nights and my brain-like a rabid energizer bunny- never shut down. There’s only so much housekeeping, grocery shopping and cooking a person can do in their free time. My floors sparkled, the checkout people at the market knew me by my first name, my cabinets were organized as if Martha Stewart herself had arranged them, and my husband gained five pounds because of all the new recipes I was trying each week. I’d always liked to read, but starting and finishing a book in a day was a little much, even for me. I needed something to motivate me to get out of bed and showered every morning and to fill those daylight hours productively.
One March midnight, with a snowstorm blustering through the trees outside my New England home, I was sitting in the living room with the air-conditioner turned to high and blowing directly at my hormonally-charged, red, naked and perspiration-dripping body, when I started writing down a story that’d been swimming around in my brain for a while. I’d always wanted to write the great American romance novel but never had the time due to school/work/family/child/life responsibilities. I’d had a tiny bit of success over the years writing freelance non-fiction pieces about everything from Nursing topics (since I was a Master Degreed Registered Nurse), to motherhood and child-rearing concerns, but writing a romance novel had always been my dream since I’d read my very first Nora Roberts book. Now that I’d been shaved down to three days of clinic work per week, I figured I had the time to invest in my dream and might as well use it to my benefit.
Those two days off per week, plus the weekends, were certainly spent well in this endeavor. I treated writing as if I were still working, meaning I devoted the hours I should have been at a paying job to getting the story down on paper, or – in my case – on the laptop. Those hours I spent writing I considered sacred. I could have goofed off; gone shopping; had my nails done: watched a Real Housewives of any city marathon. But I didn’t. I simply wrote my heart out. Three months later I had a 350-page romance novel completed. The day I typed The End is a moment in time I will never forget. The fact it occurred at 2:25 in the morning and I was sweating like a farm animal might have something to do with that.
Now what? I had 350 pages of a story I was in love with but I wasn’t sure what I’d written was any good, had any merit, or even if the story was coherent. Were my characters likable? Believable? Was the story arc interesting or as dull as my brain before morning caffeine? Since none of my friends were romance readers I knew they couldn’t be depended upon to give me valuable feedback because – as my friends – they’d all be loyal and tell me it was wonderful even if it stank. So I decided to do something I’d never done before: I entered a contest. I knew romance-writing contests offered critiques on the work submitted and that’s what I was looking for. I wanted someone connected with the industry to tell me I was either on the right track, or to get the he** off the train because I had no talent and wasn’t leaving the station anytime soon. So I submitted the first three chapters as instructed.
I’d never entered a contest for anything before. I wasn’t that kid who ripped off the back of a comic book and entered a giveaway promotion for a soon-to-be-released-must-have-toy. I didn’t clip the Sunday ad promos begging the reader to enter for a chance to win free samples. Heck, I didn’t even buy lotto tickets when the prize was half a gazillion dollars. Entering a contest was something I’d never considered because I just didn’t – and still don’t – believe in luck. To me, the real definition of luck is when opportunity meets preparation, so blindly entering a contest to win a prize wasn’t on my radar. Entering this writing contest though, where I’d actually prepared something for someone to judge, was a totally different incentive for me.
I knew – knew – I didn’t have a chance at any kind of prize; this was a given. I wasn’t entering to win, though. I was totally invested in the notion my writing would be judged and when I’d get a critique and score back, I’d know if the direction I was moving in was worthwhile. I told myself if the work truly was horrible, at least the critique would show me the areas I needed to address and concentrate on. The added benefit of submitting the chapters, I soon realized, was the people judging me didn’t know me from Adam – or in my case – Eve. Criticism, I’ve found, is much easier to take when you don’t know the person who is critiquing your work, so in my heart I knew my ego wouldn’t be too devastated when the pages came back to me filled with comments about areas for improvement.
But an amazing thing happened: I received an email informing me I’d won my category. And not only that, the judge who’d read it was the publisher of The Wild Rose Press. She contacted me and told me she’d enjoyed what I’d written and asked if I’d submit the entire manuscript for review to one of their in-house editors. Would I? Damn straight I would, Skippy!
So I did. Again, I had no preconceived notions of anything stupendous happening. Just the fact she’d asked to see more than the three chapters she’d read was encouraging. I assumed the editor I’d submitted to would send it back to me, littered with margin suggestions and corrections and with a simple note saying, “Thanks for letting me read this, but it’s not for us,” and that would be that.
But it wasn’t. She liked it too, so the Wild Rose Press contracted to publish it. And my next two books in the series as well, with options for books four and five. And a novella due out in Spring 2016.
At fifty-four years old I had a dream – a dream I’d never shared with anyone – come true. A true middle-aged Cinderella moment. All because I decided to do something I’d never even considered doing before.
To say my life changed forever in the instant I won that contest category would be an understatement. To have the book of my heart actually published, to have a publisher truly like what I’d written and like it enough to take a chance on an unknown, menopausal, sleep-deprived empty nester fifty-four year old bottled blonde with crow’s feet and a muffin top, was not only a dream come true, but a modern day miracle.
When my first book was published in March 2015 I officially “retired” from my downsized paying job. Nowadays I get to go to work in my pajamas every morning – and sometimes in nothing at all, depending on the state of my hot flashes – and I never have to leave my house. I write in an attic loft overlooking my quiet and beautiful wooded property.
In a strange, karmic way, the enforced and unanticipated downsizing was the spark necessary to propel me to change my life and move it in the direction I’d always wanted it to go, but never had the courage to take it. I will never regret entering that writing contest because it opened doors I don’t know would have ever opened for me otherwise. If I hadn’t made the decision to take a chance and submit my story, I think my life would still be the same, unfulfilled, overworked, sweaty, hormonal one it had turned into.
I’m still sweating and hormonal, but now I’m also a Published Author.
And life is so much better – hot flashes and all.