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Mary Ann
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Boomer Sisters Speak

As an only child, I cherish my closest friends. They are my coveted “Sister Friends” filling one of those voids in my life. Interestingly, they are all Baby Boomers.

Each of these Sister Friendships is unique in that we have a trusting supportive relationship, deepened by experience, wisdom and time. I have personally asked these women to be my Boomer Sisters for this website. I will seek their input on various topics and their responses will be shared with you right here. Maybe I should ask how they feel about disclosing their true age or what has surprised them most after age 50.

Look for related blog posts here in the future…

THE BOOMER SISTERS: Remember Mom’s Beauty Products and Routines?

 

 

Recently, I decided to scan the Web for some new beauty products.

 

Can you blame me? I can barely read the tiny print labels on the product samples I picked up at the department store ; and those beautiful younger women behind the counter wouldn’t likely recognize Donna Reed or Doris Day.  Women my age are on the other side of the counter and we need someone who shares the reality of aging skin!

These days, I should be buying moisturizer by the gallon and topping it off with 50+ spray sun screen. A recent purchase of shower gel included a sample of shower lotion. I decided to discard that one. Even with grab bars in my shower, the idea of lotion and water didn’t paint a pretty picture.

So, back to our topic. I was browsing away on the web when what did I see but my Mom’s special face powder available for me! You remember the one; it’s in a round powder box with the gold, orange and brownish design. Would you believe it still contains the same wonderful sheer face powder with that slightly familiar scent? It’s reasonably priced and still a lovely product. Keeping it on my bathroom counter gives me a nostalgic nudge each time I see it.

 

These Boomer Sisters’ special memories may resonate with many of you………

 

LANA, Camden, Arkansas

My Mother always looked like she was going to a fancy dinner!!! Everything had to match. Make-up was taken off every night and night cream put on. Her hair was always “done”. Things certainly have changed. Big box stores offer a great example of what people will wear in public!

 

DIANE, Green Bay, Wisconsin

I honestly don’t think my Mom did much with a beauty product other than putting powder on her face and adding a touch of lipstick on her lips – nothing too exciting.

 

TINA, Pickerington, Ohio

What I remember as a child, and to this day, is that my Mother wears very little make up, if any at all.   She grew up in the country. Her beauty products are very basic; Dove soap and a good moisturizer. Now when it comes to hair, that’s where she spends her time; as most women of color spend their time and money….on their HAIR. She’s really a natural brunette and wouldn’t let gray get in her way. At 80 years old, she’s sporting ash blonde hair and looks gorgeous in it.

Like mother, like daughter, I’m not ready for the gray hair thing either. I won’t let gray get in my way…..color is the spice in life!

 

JUDY, Lancaster, Ohio

I remember always barging in the bathroom when my Mom probably wanted it to herself. She graciously said OK, hurry up. I would notice her face covered mysteriously with what looked like whipped cream. Later, as a teenager, I learned it was Noxzema!

Bedtime was always our ritual of brushing our teeth with a line-up at the bathroom sink fighting over a space to brush and spit. (Large Catholic family) Mom would come in to calm the waters and she would get out her jar of Ponds cold cream and rub it lightly over her face and neck area. We loved to smell that clean scent and kiss her soft face as she tucked us in bed. That sense of love and security is a wonderful memory.   Thanks for letting me go back in time.

 


 

Special thanks to these dear friends for taking time to share their treasured memories!

Here’s hoping our memories have prompted some sweet ones of your own.   The time-frame connection we all share is such a gift!

If you didn’t receive this blog through your “IN” Box, be sure to put your email address in the space below my picture and click on the Submit button …………….thanks,  Mary Ann

 

The Boomer Sisters Reflect on Gardening

Hello Everyone!

I’m alive, recovering and ready to write again. This week you’re in for a treat from my Boomer Sisters. Enjoy! …………….

 

Sylvia – Columbus, Ohio

Gardening is my way to create! Choosing plants, flowers, trees – ultimate design experience. It also helps me make sense of life at times. Yes, we have to cut down dead trees and grieve over what once was full of life, provided shade and beauty. I find myself missing the beautiful ash trees in our backyard – replaced by new trees. These new trees are not familiar to us….yet. It’s okay though because each day I start to see potential for a new landscape to take place.

 

Diane – DePere, Wisconsin

My relationship with gardening is…………..at a distance! Until a few weeks ago, I lived next to two women who had the most beautiful gardens in various spots of their 2.5 acre lot; and I enjoyed them immensely and at a distance. Real gardening and my body do not go hand in hand. Arthritis and spinal stenosis do not bode well for bending over frequently which, the last time I checked, was a key skill/behavior necessary to have weed free and beautiful gardens.

Judi – Blairsville, Georgia

For the past 25 years, I’ve found gardening to be the most important part of my life. During the years of caring for my parents in their home, gardening became my time to create and reflect…..helped me to get inside myself and think; making the necessary decisions at that time. Now 18 years later, I live on a mountainside with trees surrounding my home on all corners. Between the deer, rabbits and moles, it’s impossible to grow anything. So, I use ground cover and mulch around the house and put my wonder of color on my deck with Red Geraniums in 9 window boxes. In Holland, they have a saying…..”Don’t stay behind the geraniums”, and by that they mean geraniums are good but don’t live your life always looking at them, get out and enjoy life as well!

 

Cheryl – Dublin, Ohio

I have enjoyed gardening since I was about 18. The vegetable garden was where I began; planted, cultivated, harvested and preserved. I love it. One little seed can produce so much food. MIRACLE!!

After owning a home, I started getting into landscaping my yard; trees, plants and flowers. Then I bought books on how to attract birds and butterflies. Got pretty good with that.

House plants have been a favorite for a long time. I just had to learn what plants would take the most abuse. I even tried Bonsai. Ernie bought me a greenhouse window for my birthday. Like it a lot! Like Ernie even more !!!

Got my green thumb from my Grammy Smith. She would buy a petunia, poke her finger in the ground and the darn thing (the petunia, not the finger) would do beautifully. She loved the house plants too. As a kid I was fascinated with the sweet potato vine we grew.

The change over the years is my age and the size of the planting area in the yard. God will be pleased to know that I do approve of his use of color and shapes. In fact, I thank him for that frequently.

 

Lana – Camden, Arkansas

Hasn’t changed much!!! I’m thankful I can still mow 10+ acres, keep my Roses looking good and the Pool looking great. I have been blessed with such good health.

 

Judy – Lancaster, Ohio

Hated gardening as a child; it was a chore we had to complete if we wanted to stay out late and catch lightening bugs in a Mason jar.

Disliked it as a young adult because it had to be done after a long day of work away from home. But then it was great to can those vegetables with my Mom and eat them in the winter.

Love it now as it brings a time of reflection, quiet meditation, and a satisfaction of a job well done. I also enjoy the feel of the earth between my fingers, and the great gifts God has given me.

 

Please stop by next week for my musings on Pursuing Happiness………..Mary Ann

 

 

 

The Boomer Sisters Remember Memorial Day

 

I apologize. Two weeks ago I promised you my next post would be about Mary Ann’s Medical Mishap. Since this is Memorial Day Weekend, I thought it best to share the Boomer Sisters’ thoughts now and provide my update next week.

This month, my Boomer Sisters responded to the following questions:

  1.  Does Memorial Day have any special personal significance for you or your family?
  2. Tell me about your favorite or most memorable Memorial Day; it might involve travel, food family reunion, honoring someone special, etc.

 

TINA, Canal Winchester, Ohio………….

  1. When I was little, (1960’s), my parents referred to Memorial Day as Decoration Day. We did just that. We would visit 3 different cemeteries of my grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. and place flowers on their graves. My parents would tell me stories about them and what it was like when they were growing up. It wasn’t looked upon as a celebration of summer or picnics; it was to remember all those who had passed away.
  2. My mother grew up in a very small rural town in Southeastern Ohio. Everyone knew each other and/or was related. When we would visit the cemetery of my mother’s family on Decoration Day and place flowers on the graves, she knew or was related to just about everyone in that small hillside cemetery. It was like a huge family reunion. Families would pull out chairs and sit in the cemetery and laugh and talk about current events and old times. It was like having a family reunion in the cemetery; including those who had passed away.

 

LANA, Camden, Arkansas…………..

  1. Memorial Day is a time we should remember all the Brave Men and Women who have died so that we can enjoy the Freedom we have today. Being raised Air Force; I appreciate the Dedication of our Military to always be ready to defend this Country.
  2. Normally, we open our pool a week before and usually have our first Swim Day of the Year on Memorial Day. If my family keeps growing, we might have to get a bigger one; it’s 20 x 40 now. With 6 Grands & 7 Greats, it can be very busy!!! They all look forward to that day.

 

JUDY, Lancaster, Ohio…………….

  1. We had many in our family serve in the armed forces over the years. And many are no longer with us due to natural causes, thank goodness. They served our country and were able to come home safely, unharmed and lived full and happy lives afterwards. We hold their memories close to our hearts for the services they provided overseas in keeping us safe and free.
  2. Memorial Day was always a wonderful family holiday and one of the first BBQ’s to kick off the Summer Season. It still holds that same significance. It gives us a time of great “pause” to reflect on all those old photos and great conversations and memories. It brings us older family members closer to our younger family members. I am so grateful for that opportunity to share those stories. Happy Memorial Day to all!

 

JUDI, Blairsville, Georgia………….

  1. Being from a military background and a strong background in military life, it means EVERYTHING……..honoring everyone that fought in ALL our wars abroad and at home, especially today with Iraq, Afghanistan and all current upheaval in our world. We will (with time) continue to send our limited Armed Forces to war to help protect these countries that don’t “give a rats” about us! Sad how the world has changed!
  2. Always on or close to an Air Force Base, except where I live now, it’s always been about honoring our military forces with recognition of some soft and of course, a parade! They ALL were meaningful! Times have changed and you hope and pray that the young people will recognize the sacrifice our military made for safety and freedom around the globe…..…………..I doubt it sometimes!

 

DIANE, Green Bay, Wisconsin……….

  1. When I was young, our small town of Freedom, Wisconsin would have a carnival every Memorial Day; a tradition for 40+ years. They would hire a carnival company to come in for the weekend and there were lots of rides, games, music and food. They would start with an Honor Guard and all VFW members marching to the cemetery for a ceremony honoring all the fallen soldiers, and ended with TAPS. On Sunday morning there would be a parade with floats made by 4-H Clubs, businesses, school kids, etc. along with the high school marching band. When I reached age 18 (and drinking was legal then), the weekend would involve me tending bar or frying hamburgers. It was a huge event and took many volunteers to pull it off.   Even though it was work, it was fun because you felt you were contributing to the fundraising for the Volunteer Fire Department and the VFW. And, you were working with friends you loved.
  2. There isn’t one that stands out. But a ‘memorable’ one may be the one where I threw up at the end of the Tilt-a-Whirl ride with my boyfriend. At age 13, I remember thinking it was the end of the world. Oh my……..if life’s problems were really only that traumatic. LOL

 

CHERYL, Dublin, Ohio………………..

  1. It was always Decoration Day in my family. Grandma Huston would go out to her cutting garden and select glads, lilies and ferns. She had wicker containers in which she made lovely arrangements. I hated going to the cemetery and still do. But as a child, I got in the car for the trek.
  2. The best for me was going to the Sunbury Cemetery to hear my son, Brad, play taps for the VFW’s ceremony each year. As an aside: the way I keep Memorial Day and Labor Day straight is when you got out of school in May it was memorable and September was back to school and that meant labor!

 

What a joy to share these snippets of life from these wonderful women! Please come by next Friday and I’ll have that update for you along with summer white vs. winter white and other seasonal fashion concerns………………………..Mary Ann

Boomer Sisters’ Travel Memories

A few weeks ago, I asked my Boomer Sisters the following questions:

  1.  Where did you go on the first trip you can remember?
  2. Other than technology, how is travel different today?
  3. Tell me about the trip of your dreams!

Their responses follow and are in alphabetical order by name; I hope you take a few minutes to read each one, including Tina’s at the end. As you get to know them, you’ll understand why these dear women are my “sisters”…..……………..

 

Cheryl – Dublin, Ohio

  1. The first time I went alone was to my grandmother’s home in the country. It was like a breath of fresh air! Literally! I came from the south end of Columbus and only breathed air from Buckeye Steele Casting smokestacks. I was only 10. Lungs like a coal miner!
  2. I (we) choose the destination, plan the details and save the money. The former is more difficult than the latter.
  3. One of my dream trips is to see Machu Pichu (want to see it, not spell it). And, to continue the trip in the entire South American continent. Still saving on that one!!

Connie – Canal Winchester, Ohio

  1. West Virginia to visit grandparents
  2. More crowded; lots of confusion and anxiety due to terrorism concerns
  3. Australia! Loved doing walkabouts in Sydney; the opera house tour; shopping at the open market; but most of all the Irish Pub and weekend street fair. Comparing the emotional stimulation to my first visit to Walt Disney World with a friend; equal!

Diane – Green Bay, Wisconsin

  1. My first trip I remember is when we went “up north” (if you were from Wisconsin, you’d know what that means) …….I can remember sitting on a lard pail in the front seat of our 1948 white Ford between my Mom and Dad.
  2. When I think of travel now compared to when I was young, the greatest difference is the convenience of getting someplace hundreds and thousands of miles away so quickly is fabulous….even though going through the TSA process of airports today is less than desirable.
  3. I think I have been on two trips of my dreams. I’ve had the fabulous experience of going to Hawaii (five different islands; Maul and Kauai are my favorites for different reasons) and Alaska more than once. I could write pages and pages about both but unfortunately I don’t have the time right now because I’m at work, my hair is a little on fire, and the extinguisher isn’t close.

Jane – Blacklick, Ohio

  1. My first trip I remember would’ve been flying to Washington D.C. with my family in the spring of 1961. We have home movies of the motorcade coming out the black gates in front of the White House and also my siblings and I coming down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. I can remember the plane ride and feeling so happy about going someplace.
  2. Travel is much more common and crowded. I don’t have a lot of experience with travel and can only imagine that service to the traveler has changed in many ways. Things like hospitality, civility and personal service would have suffered as a casualty of technology.
  3. I’d like to go to Ireland with family and see the way real people live in villages. No touristy stuff…would like to stay in B & B’s, go to the pubs and see where my ancestors once lived.

Judy – Lancaster, Ohio

  1. I was very young and we traveled by car to Canada. It was quite an event and I learned to speak a few French words.
  2. It takes a complete day, to go and then return, out of your planned calendar days if you travel by air, so it is almost as enjoyable to just drive to your destination.
  3. I so enjoy time with my sisters. We would love to go on an East Coast Cruise that would include Martha’s Vineyard. That is a dream I would love to come true within the next couple of years.

Lana – Camden, Arkansas

  1. The first trip I can remember is when my family went to live in Frankfurt, Germany. My Dad was Air Force and was stationed at Rhine Main AFB. This was prior to moving to Ohio.
  2. Faster, more expensive, but this allows for Technology; so I don’t have a good answer.
  3. I have been lucky to travel most of my life. I have been on 2 Cruises, Florida several times, but the trip of my dreams was when my Son and his family took my husband, me and our Great granddaughter to Maui 2 years ago. I had always wanted to go and prayed I’d go before I was too old to snorkel!!! It was everything and more than I thought it would be.

Rita – Reynoldsburg, Ohio

  1.  The first trip I can remember is when I went to the New York World’s Fair in 1965.
  2. Other than technology changing in airline travel, I think it’s especially different with heightened security since 9/11.
  3. My dream trip would be to return to Italy, this time with my husband and two sons. I would love to show them where my parents grew up and where I spent two summers.

Sonna – Marysville, Ohio

  1. A family road trip to the Toledo Zoo when I was about seven. It took forever in Dad’s 1949, 2-door Ford Sedan, with NO radio!
  2. I don’t know if the airline seats are getting smaller or my rear is getting wider, or maybe both, but long distance air travel is becoming very uncomfortable.
  3. White beach, blue water, golden sunsets anywhere my heart takes me.

Sylvia – Columbus, Ohio

  1.  It would be when my mother, sister and aunt took me to Fort Lauderdale, FL to visit relatives. I was around 10 and it was such a big deal when I got to swim in a motel swimming pool and I stayed in that pool all day long for three days. We also went to a restaurant that served spectacular ice desserts.
  2. When I was in college and flew to New York to visit my sister, travelers dressed up. I planned my outfit e.g. shoes, purse, colors matching, etc. It was a big deal. Now it’s jeans, flip flops, etc. Of course, all the hassle associated with security at airports.
  3. I would like to go on a trip and attend cooking classes in a beautiful setting e.g. ocean side or a mountain retreat or Tuscany. Visit local villages or towns, eat where locals eat. Lisetn to live music at night in the open air.

Tina – Pickerington, Ohio

  1. Camping at Rocky Fork State Park
  2. More people are traveling; it’s like herding cattle through the venues or events.
  3. My dream trip was Hawaii (my honeymoon). Beautiful sunsets and beaches, the warm breeze against my skin, exotic plants and trees, a variety of culture and very little clothing.

 

Thank you Boomer Sisters for making this week’s blog a breeze!

Please stop by next Friday. I’ll be sharing a heartfelt Mother’s Day poem…………..Mary Ann

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meet My Boomer Sisters

 

As an only child, who moved every 2 ½ years until the 7th grade, I cherish my closest friends. They are my coveted “Sister Friends”.

Each of these Sister Friendships is unique in that we have a trusting supportive relationship deepened by shared experiences, wisdom and time.  I have personally asked these women to be my Boomer Sisters for this website.  I seek their input on various topics and many of their responses will be shared with you right here.  Recently, I posed the following questions and received interesting replies:

  1. Are you still working or retired?
  2. What do/did you look forward to in retirement?
  3. What will you NOT miss about working?

 

Wish I had room to include all; here are a few Boomer Sister responses:

Cheryl  – Dublin, Ohio       

  1. “Retired”
  2. “Spending time with my husband while we still recognize one another”
  3. “Driving to work in winter weather”

Lana – Camden, Arkansas

“I was very blessed and never had to work!  My degree is in Domestic Engineering”

Diane – Green Bay, Wisconsin

      “At this point, I am not looking forward to retirement; afraid I will get bored and when I get bored I eat, and when I eat……………..I bet you know what happens! ”

Judy – Lancaster, Ohio

  1. “Still working”
  2. “Not working”
  3. “Stress that goes with the working: deadlines, benchmarks, meetings, staff evaluations, loosing staff, hiring staff (sitting through interviews), training staff

 

This fabulous group is currently comprised of a dozen remarkable women who have blessed my life.  Several have known me since high school and earlier, others have graced my life for 20 years or more and several are recent sisters – every single one is a treasure.   What a gift,  to have them participate in my next chapter.

 

Sure there were, and still are, periods of time when our busy lives (raising a family, relocating, managing a career or facing a crisis) consume us.  Somehow the ebb and flow allow opportunities to re-connect.  Forgiveness for lack of contact is automatic in our reunion hugs. We pick up where we left off; as if we were together the day before.  Hold tight to such people in your life.   Just look at the Boomer Sisters now; empty nesters, up to our eyeballs in retirement issues and able to find total joy in resuming these friendships at this time in our lives.

 

Why not get yourself a nice cup of your favorite beverage, relax and call a friend you haven’t talked with in awhile?  Sure you could just email, but your voice on the other end of the phone today may be just what that person needs.  You could begin with, “I was just reading this blog and wanted to share it with you……..”

 

Stop by next Friday for my blog on Volunteering……………Mary Ann

 

The Merry-Go-Round of Work

 

Maybe you’ve always called it a Carousel.  I prefer the joyous feeling and heightened anticipation that accompany the term Merry-Go-Round. This particular Merry-Go-Round is the prerequisite for Retirement and has a unique ticket cost……………….

picture of colorful carousel horses

image courtesy of Simon Howden at freedigitalphotos.net

You wait in line with your education and experience ticket, anticipating the ride of your life.  Disappointment clouds your face as you discover your ticket is not valid because your education and experience don’t match the opportunity.  Now, you’re required to stand in line all over again and maybe again and again, until your ticket matches the ride.  Once matched with your job, the attendant opens the gate.

 

A particular horse catches your eye and your foot is in the stirrup quickly.

That first job may be brief and paycheck reality often provides inspiration to beef up your resume or go back to school.  Time, opportunity, and necessity help develop your career path as you sit astride your horse expecting to enjoy the ride.

 

Occasionally, there’s a malfunction and you are at the mercy of the carnival repair guy.  You didn’t create the problem and you experience frustration because you can’t budge until his work is finished.  Safety rules force you to stay put until the motion begins again.  By that time, you will likely be so involved with the catch-up activity it will cause you to forget your earlier frustration; sort of like forgetting the pain of childbirth.  The cycle continues as the calendar pages fly off into thin air. Just riding along smoothly with occasional malfunctions until one day you receive an email congratulating you on your 5th anniversary with the company!

 

You’ve got this now, the corporate world thing. Maybe you’ve stayed in that original company and moved up in the organization.  Or perhaps you tired of that first ride and found another one that was more challenging and rewarding. Either way, you’ve learned so much throughout your career and honed your ability to “read” the other riders.  Some are typical co-workers in most organizations:

Mrs. Mom:

She’s properly seated on a carefully selected Tennessee Walker.  Her zippered tote contains a remedy for any mishap and a complete list of emergency contacts for everyone in her group.  She will take care of you.

 

Mr. Stuffy:

He’s not even on a horse; he opted for the bench seat with the swans on the side.  You can count on him to obey all the rules and file a report if you step over the line.  No ambition, just imbedded in his spot for the duration.

 

Ms. Wild Child:

She’s on a horse and can’t sit still.  She has all the moves of a circus bareback rider, with the ability to adjust to the motion of the ride. She’s always maneuvering to assure the spotlight illuminates her “best side”.  She’s highly unlikely to notice your struggles, even if you’re barely hanging onto your horse.

 

Mr. Leader:

He’s seated atop the one and only black stallion on the ride.  The horse’s mane appears to be flying in the breeze and the rider sits a bit taller to catch a glimpse of himself in one of the many mirrors festooned on the ride’s inner circle. Together, horse and rider exude assurance, power and control.   You can see their success and you are drawn to it.

 

 

The cycle of work and malfunctions continues.  Years fly by, as you deal with co-workers, managers, corporate policy and increasing responsibilities. You raise children, take care of your aging parents, maintain a reasonable lifestyle and convince yourself you’ll work forever because you can’t afford to retire.  As a senior staff member, you are respected and appreciated by your employer.  You may find yourself perceived as essential to the company’s success. You may be at the height of your career, challenged and loving it! So how can you possibly retire?

 

Then it happens; your friends start to retire and they tell you how wonderful it is and how you can do it because you “don’t need as much” when you’re retired.  And maybe you lose a dear friend to cancer; so young.

And you’re getting tired yourself.  It takes so much energy to get through the day and there’s not much left for evenings and weekends. Subtly the seeds are planted and your subconscious begins to evaluate your options. Eventually, you come to the realization that you really want to exit the ride and go home.

 

Stop by next Friday and I’ll tell you how……………….Mary Ann