The Skin We’re In- Part One

“Crepe.”

I had never heard this word before.

Was it pronounced the French pancake way?  Or was it pronounced “creepy”?  Probably the latter considering the disturbing images of elephant-like skin – alongside an ad for a miracle cream to eradicate this Baby Boomer plague.  (Which of course I bought. Which of course didn’t work.)

Isn’t it enough that our underarms boast a certain jiggle which answers to many names — Hi Jane’s, Bat Wings, Bingo Wings, Lunch Lady Arms??

And isn’t it enough that our mothers were right when they yelled, “Get out of the sun!  Wear a hat!  You’ll get wrinkles!” ??  We Baby Boomers are embarrassed to admit that not only did we lay in the sun for hours, we also held up reflectors (cardboard wrapped in tin foil) to accelorate the process.

Did you also know that as you age the contour of your smile can actually turn downward?  Meaning, we look grumpy when we’re not.  It could be a result of our aging teeth not granting support to our sad mouths.  As they turn yellow.

And who knew that as you age your hair will stop growing where you want it to and boldly go to places it’s never been before??

So lest we get too depressed, let’s focus on some things we CAN do.  For now, we will address the infamous Hi-Janes.  Future posts will tackle other Baby Boomer maladies.

My friend Lisa is fond of saying, “The best exercise is the one you actually DO.”

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Here is a 28 day challenge for arm toning that is worth doing.  Yes, It looks daunting.  (When they say 70 push-ups, it’s obviously a typo.)

We will have to channel my disciplined mother, Peggy, who said you MUST keep moving.

And I never saw Peggy’s arms flapping.

Only her tongue — as I held my reflector high.

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Today’s Takeaway –

-Be grateful for make-up.  Just think of men who have to face the world each and every day sans concealer or foundation.

-Love the skin you’re in!   And practice Self-Care.  You ARE beautiful!  Just wear a hat when you’re in the sun.

Enjoy the ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

Age…Just a Number?

My mother, rest her soul, used to say age is just a number. Yet we never knew exactly how old Muriel was until the day she chose to file for social security!

We never spoke about actual ages in my household. We all knew Muriel was quirky, the most wonderful mom in the world, but someone who was a bit wacky, eccentric, unique. (Thank you, Muriel, for providing me with fodder for my writing!)

I come from a long line of ancestors who didn’t discuss age including my grandmother. It’s not anything terrible and if a little white lie makes you feel better and doesn’t hurt anyone in the process, what difference does it make? At least, that’s what I was always told. Mind you, this is the same person that told me it was okay to take a butterscotch candy or peppermint from the bin at Woolworth’s to taste. (Those of you who don’t remember Woolworth’s or The 5 & 10 have no business reading this blog!) That’s what they were there for. Lucky, I didn’t become a kleptomania!

Muriel never looked her age anyway, good genes, so when she filed for social security ( only because my father made her) it was then made known that she was about 6 years older than we had always thought. The funny thing was that Ben, my father, was always advancing his age, so at 82, he was almost 83! He was proud of the age he had lived to and didn’t care about the number or what anyone thought.

So, following in her footsteps and being a bit nutty myself, I always fudged the number. I had a lot of friends who were a good 10 years younger than I so I  just considered myself just like them.

My husband being 6 years my senior ( for real) was already retired and waiting for me to join him so we could do the things we had always wanted. So at 62 ½ I decided to leave the workforce. I had worked for 42 years, made the sacrifices, got up to an annoying alarm clock, took Metro North into the City when I definitely wanted to stay home and play. This was my time.

Many of my friends thought I was retiring early, maybe I was 50 something, one of those women whom you’re just not sure about. And it really wasn’t that early, a few years ahead of my actual full retirement age. Who knew they pushed the age up a year for us second wave of Baby Boomers. Sneaky those government folks!

So here I am having achieved that status in life that I had been waiting for and now 5 months later and I’m still reflecting on the decision.  

What I am learning is that retirement’s a time of life that requires the right attitude, mental adjustments to freedom and discipline to make everyday meaningful.

 

A weekend just isn’t the same when everyday is Saturday and Sunday!

 

Today’s Takeaway—

. This is a tough one, because I could lie and say age doesn’t matter.  It’s just a number. Blah, blah, blah. I will have to come to grips with this slowly, on my own terms. I’ll get there eventually.

. Always look your best.  Just because you’re not going to an office environment anymore, doesn’t mean you can’t put some blush on, a pair of earrings, a nice blouse or pants.  You are looking good for you! Your harshest critic should also be your best fan!

 

Enjoy the Ride!

xox Barclay and Joy

 

Early bird specials and “How many specialists are you seeing this week?”

It occurred to me, that even though I wasn’t living in South Florida, many of the patterns of retirement life I had seen my parents undertake, were creeping into my life here in Mexico.  How could that be?!  I tried so hard to be “me”, the generation of “we are nothing like our parents”, activists, protesters, women’s rights, equal pay, gender equality, etc.

These thoughts came to me today as I saw a dermatologist for my yearly body check.  Well, I had to!  I was at the beach for 2 weeks this winter.  What if I had a pre cancerous growth? Beauty marks can be foolers! What about those pesky little red dots you get as you age?  What are they? Web MD can only diagnose so much! So all good on the body check and for 400 pesos, ($21.51 at today’s currency conversion) I have peace of mind until next year.

While I was there, since this particular clinic has all the major specializations one could possibly want (cardiology, hematology, ophthalmology, dermatology, gynecology, neurology, internal medicine, laryngology, oncology, all under one roof!  A hypochondriac’s dream!  Woody Allen, come on down to Ajijic!! I figured before heading back North, I would see as many of them as could fit into my remaining weeks.  I made an appointment for my yearly gyn exam, ophthalmology (checking on cataract progression-something to look forward to!), and last, but not least, the annual mammogram, also known as squeezing one’s breast tissue as tight as humanly possible for the sheer pleasure of the technician administering the test!) For what it costs to see a specialist here, I want to get every body part checked and given the Good Housekeeping seal of health.

On the topic of eating early, most kitchens close here in Ajijic by 8. There are no diners, no pizza joints, no Chinese food at midnight.  You have to make the decision to eat dinner by closing time or make it yourself at home.  I’m retired!  Been there, done that for 40 years!  So, while there may be no menus that say “Early Bird Specials”, a reminder we , are not our parent’s generation, eating early is still eating early. I had read some weeks back that “the early bird special” was dying out with the previous generation. From http://www.eater.com, Jan 29th 2018, “The Extinction of the Early Bird. Baby Boomers  are driving the early bird to extinction.”… Millennials might be killing chains, but boomers and the ailing middle class are killing the mascot of South Florida retirement.” Boomers want to eat on their own time.  We don’t want to skimp nor do we want to eat dinner at 4:30 in the afternoon. I eat lunch at 2 so am not hungry for dinner until 8! I guess my appetite has to catch up with my chronological age!

Today’s Takeaway-

. Try as we must, our lives often mimic our parents.  Not so terrible, as long as we don’t succumb to feeling old!

Good health is so important and we must never take it for granted.  Each day is a gift and the older we get, we realize this more and more.  In a retirement area where people use walkers, canes, and some can’t stand up straight, the gift of  good health is a blessing.

Enjoy the ride

xox Barclay and Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roots…it’s who we are

Joy’s tribute to her father, Ben.

Not to be outdone by my quirky, but lovable mother, Ben was a character unto himself. How I grew up halfway sane (debatable by some) is a miracle! Ben was the Jewish mother that Muriel was not.  He hovered, obsessed, worried enough for two, and was always fast forwarding his age.  He wasn’t ashamed of the actual number, but actually relished in telling everyone how old he was, that he had worked since the time he was 16 and that he would be retiring at 65.

His life was very different from that of Muriel, coming from an Orthodox Jewish family that spoke only Yiddish in the house, immigrants who had come from either Austria or Poland. No one’s quite sure and one census said one country, another a different one.  Regardless, you get the picture.  An upper west side Jew from Riverside Drive he was not! He was, however very handsome and had a great physique having lifted barbells in the house every morning over his head.They must have weighed 200 lbs, or at least that’s the way I remembered them. Jack LaLane was very popular at this time and the concept of regular exercise was new and not practiced by everyone.

Ben’s father Morris worked for Jack, Muriel’s father as a piece goods cutter.  My grandfather on my mother’s side had a clothing company and actually made uniforms for New York’s police as well.  In his day he was a businessman who provided his family with a comfortable lifestyle.  Morris having a playboy son (not married until almost 40!) and Muriel not being married at almost 34 saw a potential match and so the two were introduced to each other.  According to Muriel, she didn’t like him very much and thought he was very cocky.  Nevertheless, they did in fact fall in love and marry in 1948, a marriage that would be one of the good ones.  Mutual respect for each other, a quiet togetherness, enjoyment of each other’s company.  

My grandmother wanted grandchildren so after suggesting to my mother that she was selfish for not wanting to have them, Muriel succumbed to the idea.  What 1950’s wife didn’t want children? Highly unusual indeed!

Ben was a worry wart from the moment I was born.  He was always tightening the caps on medicine bottles certain I would take an overdose out of curiosity and die. He wouldn’t let me pet dogs and the thought of having one was totally out of the question. He watched me like a hawk and in later life was the worrisome parent who stayed up to make sure I got home safely, while my mother went to sleep oblivious to the hour I might return home. As I said, he was the Jewish mother I didn’t have.

The anxiety I later had in life, about literally everything came from papa.  If there was the slightest possibility that something could go wrong, I thought of it. If someone was late, they were most definitely hit by a car on their way home.  If I saw a spot on my arm, it was most likely cancerous, and my happy exterior belied a person filled with neuroses and idiosyncrasies.  I was raised in a state of constant worrying.  We are who we are because we are by products of the people that are closest to us.

My father would have benefited greatly from the drugs they have today, that have helped people live more balanced lives. I loved him dearly and miss him very much.  With all his nuttiness and crazy thoughts, he was strong and smart and always there to lean on. The confident, albeit neurotic woman I became was largely due to the warm nurturing upbringing he gave me.

We could all do with a little Lexapro!

 

Today’s Takeaway—

. We are the first role models our children have. Our behavior affects them greatly.

. Now that we have drugs which improve the quality of people’s lives, accept them.  Be it depression or anxiety, no one needs to live with the constant stress and tension of life the way they used to.  The labelling of these often crippling disorders can be lessened.  

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy

Exercising your Face! It’s a Thing!

Just as I (Barclay) was pulling out my credit card for another magical face cream, I stumbled on this article in the NY Times with the enticing title, Exercising your Face.   Low and behold, there’s scientific proof that exercising your facial muscles CAN make a difference.  OK, granted, I am a sucker for this kind of thing.  (They had me at “cheek sculpting”.)  But hey it’s freeeeeee!

Oh wait, there’s more.  The NY Times —  bless them for shelving North Korea for this important topic — references another article,  Facial Exercises May Make you Look 3 Years Younger.  Now I don’t like the word, “may”, and 3 years is not exactly all we hoped for, but again, it’s what?  It’s freeeeeee.

According to our bffs at the Times —

“The study found that middle-aged women looked about three years younger after a few months of exercising, perhaps providing a reasonable, new rationale for making faces behind our spouses’ backs.”

The guru cited by the Times is a guy named Gary Sikorski who has developed Happy Face Yoga.  (I wish we had thought of this.)  

Wait…oh no!  Gary’s capitalizing on his NY Times fame.  He’s marketing DVDs and who knows what else. It’s not freeeeee at all.

OK, maybe we don’t need Gary’s 32 exercises. I mean what are the chances we would do 2, much less 32 of his exercises?  And remember the words, “may” and “3-years”?    Shark Tank would say, “For those reasons, I’m out.”

Turns out, YouTube is all over this.  They offer a plethora of videos featuring my favorite phrases, “anti-aging”, “only 3 minutes a day”; “long lasting youthful skin”;  “easy”.

Here is the video I’m going to follow.  What’s to lose?   And this YouTube lady looks so darn happy.  (Never mind that she’s all of 25!)

So click here , my Baby Boomer friends, and let’s blow some kisses at each other.

And for you over achievers, don’t neglect the neck.  Click the word, saggy, and get ready to kiss the ceiling.  

Today’s Takeaway –

  • Free is better! (This is a direct quote from my friend, Rose, who goes to the Library before Amazon.)
  • There is research that smiling more actually makes you happier.
  • Who doesn’t want to make a fish face??

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy

 

 

Here’s picture proof from the NY Times.

 

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The Problem with Mirrors

I can still hear the clack of my mother’s heels on the hardwood floor outside my room.  “Barclay, I need you to come to the bathroom mirror.”

She clacks back to her room. I trudge behind her, a mature adult reverted to age 12.  The bathroom lighting will be unforgiving and her mirror more so.  Soon we’re facing that mirror, my mother, all 5’ 11” of her, behind me, staring.   “Which side of the bed do you sleep on, dear?”

She doesn’t wait for an answer.

“It appears you sleep on your right side.  Do you see this wrinkle over here?   When we compare it to the left side, it’s more pronounced.”

She pauses to let this observation, apparently evident to all, sink in.

I cringe thinking about how I rest my face in one hand while sleeping, thereby scrunching this poor right side into its present state.

“You really should be sleeping on your back, as I do.  Have you tried that?”

How to respond?  She will proceed to my forehead if I don’t take the offensive.  It’s a forbidden topic, but under bathroom lights, all’s fair.

“I wish there was something I could do.”  Pause.  “Mom, did you ever have plastic surgery?”

At the time, my mother was a smooth faced octogenarian with model cheekbones, arched eyebrows, and a sculpted nose.  

“I once had a few spots removed …and while I was there, well, they may have done some treatments.”

I had secured an admission. Victory?  Hardly.  Short of undergoing “treatments” of my own, this overly ambitious wrinkle would only deepen along with its forehead counterparts.

The really sad part is that upon returning home I did try sleeping on my back.  Unfortunately, this caused a nasal situation and a thunderous noise, jarring me awake at 2AM, certain an intruder was pounding at the door.

Of course I blamed Codie, our golden retriever, for this unladylike noise.   My husband only chuckled – a bit meanly I thought.

I hated my mother at that moment.

 

So I am not a fan of mirrors.  

Have you noticed they love surprising you with something NEW that you could swear wasn’t there the night before?   A line, a blotch, a vein.  (Let’s pause in  honor  of whoever invented concealer – which I will soon be applying with a putty knife.)

My advice is to avoid mirrors unless you just spread lipstick on your teeth. 

And beware of “treatments” that have the power to seduce your wallet and your retirement joy. 

Eventually my mother’s smile looked downright scary.

 

Today’s Takeaway –

  • There’s a saying, The gods we worship write their names on our faces.  Having a positive outlook, even smiling more, goes a long way in promoting attractiveness.
  • Find compassionate mirrors (it’s all about the lighting); but know that the state of your heart takes precedence.  Along with gobs of concealer!

 

P.S. I hate to admit it….but my mother was right.  Sleeping on your side DOES cause wrinkles.  And sleeping on your back IS better.  But there is hope for us snorers.  According to this 2012 article in the Huffington Post — we should purchase a “beauty sleep pillow” or a satin pillowcase.  Just be sure your dog is nearby to take the blame for any emissions during this side-to-back process!

 

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy

Owning Your Age – Suzanne Somers and Me

She pops up in my (Barclay’s) Facebook feed with her airbrushed face touting make-up tips and exercise routines.  Her thigh master has parlayed into products that will tighten those Baby Boomer sags and smooth that Baby Boomer cellulite.  Or at least that’s the pitch.

And I buy it.  I am her target audience.  Mid 60’s.  Not a friend of gravity.

Gone are the days where make-up was an option. As my friend Cathy says, now we wear make-up  for “the good of the world”.  Meaning, NO one – not even a grocery store clerk – wants to see us without a layer of foundation.  

Today Suzanne is touting a new product.  I won’t get the details until I click the link.  Like the Geico ad… it’s what I do.   

Wow, it’s a face system that will work revolutionary magic in toning and lifting.  I lean in. It uses microcurrent technology whatever that is.  A game changer for sure.  It’s Suzanne’s number one beauty secret.  

Oh my, there’s a special going on.  

If I act now.  Which of course I do.

And so it goes.  Suzanne has a financial empire.  I have saggy skin and cellulite.  And  a lighter wallet.

Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon, famously said, “In the factory we make cosmetics, in the store we sell hope.”  That’s why I reached for my credit card.

How can I be so gullible?  My friend, Barb, has translucent skin and swears by Ponds cream.

When I was working I collaborated with young female teachers and I deluded myself into believing I was “one of them”.   Also, when teaching, bathroom breaks were rare.  So my “mirrors” were the faces of these younger women.

Now that I have time to brush my teeth more often (a good thing) I interact with mirrors throughout the day.  They don’t lie.  Yup, you’re over 60.  And you do realize don’t you – those cute teachers could be your grandkids.  Thank you, oh mirror.

So my new and improved attitude is Popeye-esque – I yam what I yam.  And I’m grateful that I CAN keep moving — that I CAN take up a new sport (pickleball); that I CAN write, read, walk my dog, dance, cook, drink good wine, volunteer, travel, see a movie.

May I embrace my 60s and beyond.  This life is precious and I don’t want to miss a minute of it.  

With the help of Suzanne’s micro technology of course!

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Today’s Takeaway –

  • Own your age!  Worrying about it will only cause wrinkles.
  •  Suzanne Somers probably uses Ponds.  

Enjoy the ride!

xox, Barclay and Joy