white woman checking her privIlege. chapter 1

Yep! I’m doin it. Goin’ down THAT rabbit hole.

So soon into the creation of this midlife blog???

Yes. I want this to be a space of substance. To motivate to do good…be good…be better.

You see in my circles, we don’t talk about things like our privilege … or Religion, Politics……. RACISM. You know… things that don’t concern us.

We have the PRIVILEGE not to.  But I want to.

Also…”now is not the time” and “don’t be a downer” and “that’s just not good manners” 

I was raised a comfortable white girl. ( NOT “a poor black boy” … Steve Martin/the Jerk… circa 1970’s) 

My parents were hard workers with only a whole lot of class left over after paying the bills. I was taught manners, and to be kind and considerate, too not offend. 

I had this shirt made after George Floyd was murdered.

Murdered.

In an attempt to offer support for the BLM cause,

every time I put it on I’m worried about offending someone.

White people, black people, police officers…. 

You see… this white, blond, blue eyed woman of privilege … the one who has never had to worry about getting a job, being pulled over, or even just looking someone in the eye…. she doesn’t know how to help. Doesn’t know what to do or what to say or how to stand up for what is right,

but she’s done worrying and ready to try .

Some people who have experienced bad things in their lives , like cancer, or abuse, find their hearts heavy and being pulled to help make a change. I’ve had that heavy pull on my heart my whole life concerning Racism. 

After watching the testimony of the trial yesterday https://www.nytimes.com/live/2021/04/08/us/derek-chauvin-trial

I’ll be wearing my shirt today.

So….

In my Midlife, I finally find the courage to speak about it and hopefully help and make a difference . 

I’d like to share some of my experiences with you here in a series of posts. I hope with all my heart it helps others see a different perspective, and above all …I pray it doesn’t offend.

but if it does…

So be it. 

It needs to be said.

#BLM #speakup #whiteprivilege #racismisreal #endhate #onerace #oneracehumanrace #makemidlifematter #socialjusticeforall


the backside of a buck

so~

What a lot of you don’t know about me is that I’m a little psychic. I don’t even know if thats the right word.. I have a slight connection to the “otherside”. Yeah some people are rolling their eyes right now … so be it.

Over my lifetime I’ve seen ghosts and had messages sent to me from loved ones passed. Can I prove it? No. If I told you my experiences some of you would blow it off… explain it away… but when it happens …I just recognize it as real.

This morning I got up and wrote in my journal a loving Birthday tribute to my Uncle Steven . Born on April 1 (fools day) . He was no fool… but a whole lot of fun. He passed over 3 years ago . Way too young . Way too early. We all miss him.

I’ll spare you the long journal entry and just summarize a bit.

He was a Hippy always with a joke, cocky, kind and cool., a friend to everyone (unless you were an asshole)… and a breath of fresh air to our house when he and my Aunt Lisa and Uncle Perry ,would show up for holidays and birthdays.

Our house was a house of a single , hard working Mom – a nurse, who at the end of the day had not much left to give to her 4 kids . She was exhausted and angry and lonely and trying her best to work on her own shit. There was not a lot of joy in our house. My Uncles brought that.

They were 10 years younger than my Mom and 10 years older than me and that made them cool to both of us. We couldn’t wait for their visits! They brought tickles and noogies and arm twist/ burns … all the big brother/uncle abuse that you hated and loved at the same time. Jokes and laughing and SPORTS! Touch football in the streets and basket ball in the driveway and hitting the tennis balls against the garage door.

I was lucky enough to have a birthday within days of theirs and felt special that the celebrations were shared.

Of all the moments I had with my Uncle Steven in my childhood two seemingly insignificant moments stand out to me. One … when I was young my mother had just had new carpet installed ( 80″s mauve) and I was having a reaction to the chemicals . My feet were on fire and itching horribly. My Aunt and Uncle arriving late for a visit heard me crying in my bed. Uncle Steven wandered back to see what was wrong and ended up spending quite a bit of time scratching my feet and cracking me up with his silly jokes. He cared when this little girl cried. Another was when seeing me with his baby daughter telling me I was going to be a good Mom. Imagine… ME… good at anything.?! Those two small, simple moments helped set an intention in me. To grow up and be a caring , kind ,fun loving and joyful adult. Never underestimate the small caring moments of life!

After my morning journaling I thought to myself “I will do something silly in honor of my uncle today… a birthday gift for him… and went out for my usual walk about with the dogs around the property. The Wisteria was purple and magnificently everywhere , complimented perfectly by the bright new green Privet! I was walking and talking out loud to him. “I miss you you old fart” and I could hear his laugh and see his grin and hear a few funny little comebacks in my head. Continuing on , corralling the dogs and watching my step to avoid the ant piles while inhaling the sweet scents of spring, my attention veered from thoughts of him. Then at the very end of our path through our woods … the dogs safely ahead… I got a perfect sighting of a Buck. Hiding in the thicket , statue still, framed beautifully by the draping wisteria. I gasped and smiled, but kept moving so as not to alert my crazy dogs and disturb his conspicuous hiding spot. Also … cursing myself because I didn’t have my camera on me. It wasn’t until I got the dogs safely back in the gate that I heard the words in my head… “backside of a Buck” !!! “Backside of a Buck”.!!! like yelling to get my attention. I was like” yeah a buck and the wisteria… it was so beautiful… and I NEVER see deer out here… and I wish I had my camera” (conversation in my head).

Then,

I actually “saw” what I saw…or had been shown. JUST the ass of a HUGE buck and all it’s glory… if you know what I mean …surrounded by the thicket disguised – yet framed perfectly by beautiful flowers.

THAT… in a nut shell… is my Uncle Steven’s sense of humor. That was his birthday/ April fools day joke to me. And I got it.

I got the joke.

Some of you wont get it but I still hear him saying it , so I know it to be real.

I know whole heartedly that our loved ones can still connect with us on this side of heaven. And I’m so glad my Uncle Steven’s sense of humor is still intact …

just like the backside of that buck.

thanks you old fart!


my second bloom

I am currently experiencing my midlife awakening .

Recently, one well intended person called it a midlife crisis. … explaining to me when I disagreed that …

“that’s what they call it” .

I laughed.

THIS is nothing of a crisis.

This is a midlife reawakening. A second bloom . A remembering of who I am , always have been, and finally having the time and the courage… or the just don’t give a shit what others think … to share it… live it … Bloom.

I turn 54 this spring, and believe me when I say I’ve been through some Hot Summers, frosty Autumns and some HARD Winters in my life.

so~

I intend to allow myself to bloom this second Spring of my life.

That’s what I feel midlife is. A second Spring.

Midlife, when you get here, if you’ve worked through all (well maybe most) of your shit, is the time when you get to… Do You… in a healthy way.

For many women , we have spent our lives “doing” for everyone else BUT ourselves. Much of that is taught to us from the very beginning…”be nice”…”don’t be selfish”.

A lot is our nurturing instinct.

I AM a nurturer. I just never included myself….carved the time out to nurture myself …until now.

Empty nested, now I can nurture …My health, My likes and interests, MY happiness… MYSELF.

Choosing to be a full time mother and struggling financially in the earlier years has now placed me in this comfortable space that I CAN afford to have the time to “do me” ; that, and my incredibly hard working husband. I realize every single day how fortunate I am to be where I am in life. I struggle with the guilt of that… knowing millions of others are struggling to survive and I am living in safety and comfort.

I also know through experience that at any moment it can all be gone in the blink of an eye.

so~

I am going to appreciate what we have worked so hard for. I am going to give as much as I can to relieve even just a bit of suffering in the world.

But I am also going to have some frickin’ fun.

I’m going to dance in public and work on my art DAILY and not worry if its good enough. I’m going to talk to the birds and the trees and the fruits and veggies and flowers that I am growing out here.

I’m slowly recalling what my interests are and pursuing them. My birthday gift from Paul was a real camera. Photography is something I’ve always been interested in . Midlife gives me the time to do it.

Writing is something I’ve done in my journal, in private, midlife is giving me the courage to put it in this blog.

Dancing is my favorite thing to do. Midlife is giving me the gumption and the don’t give a shit to share my dork dancing online …also …my kids are gone so I don’t have them to dance with… and Paul has seen it so much half the time he doesn’t even notice it. lol.

My point is … I want people to know that midlife doesn’t suck at all. It’s a time to remember yourself. And to motivate yourself like we motivated our kids or everyone else in our lives , to pursue your own interests.

To bloom again.

and if you have the gumption … dance like a dork in public.


A “Want To Do”

I have never experienced boredom.

At any given moment I am consumed with countless ideas and thoughts of things I want to do. Everywhere I look I see inspiration , THAT… is my problem… (one of them). Add in the “have to do‘s, “ and There is no possibility of boredom.

The feelings that come from too many options usually paralyze me and wrap me up in a self-induced maddening dilemma where I then CAN’T make any choice at all.

The best way to try and explain the feeling , is to compare it to being “hangry”. That feeling of being so hungry you know you HAVE to eat but you are too hungry to decide WHAT to eat. That feeling .

What I usually end up doing is stalling the decision while busying myself with the endless “have to do’s” ( like cleaning a home with four animals in it) and I never make my way back to choosing a “want to do”.

So …..

the other day it occurred to me that I could take the decision making process off of my own shoulders.

I could try an OLD SCHOOL idea.

Drawing from a hat.

I pulled out my crumpled and dirtied old, straw, garden hat and I wrote down about 10 options of “ want to do’s” on small strips of paper, strategically making sure they were the same size and folded exactly the same way of course so that I couldn’t possibly cheat myself.


before I drew, I promised myself that I would follow through… something that is very difficult for me if It’s something for myself.

Of course No one Would know if I didn’t follow through… but a promise is a promise.

My options included painting, drawing, RESTING (lol) , reading, writing, dancing, yoga, etc. all enjoyable, recharging , self-care practices that I still don’t create time for.

And…

I drew “Paint”

Which … of course….

is really the main thing I want to do.

No surprise! Just a good knowing laugh to myself that if I step out of my own way, the powers that be , or whatever you want to call it , will deliver. At which point it’s my job to recognize, listen… And yes ….

follow through.

So… I did.

Only after I briefly tried to talk myself out of it…

Self sabotage is always a force to be reckoned with…

but I did.

And I enjoyed it.

And simply by taking the pressure of “the choice “out of the process , I developed a new technique in managing this overstimulating , too much world that this HSP ( Highly Sensitive Person… it’s a real thing) introvert has to navigate through and I accomplished something I wanted to do.

Old school for the win.

HSP OUT.


What I see

Sometimes I just look up from what I’m doing and am caught by the arrangement of the space I’m in.
This morning I find myself sequestered in the “art room” … aka the room I rarely use for art…

I’m in here hiding from the newly hired cleaning crew that will be coming once a week (Huge and difficult decision for me – but that’s another post to be made)  … hiding because the crazy dogs have to be sequestered,  so by default I do too or else they do things like chew up their bed for the 3rd time in a week.. or scratch the doors ,chew the baseboards,  or just bark continuously until my nerves are fried and  I let them out…

so~

I find myself in my little space surrounded by a lot of my favorite things this morning… Thank you God…

and I look up and just “See” what’s in front of me… instead of looking but not really appreciating the moment…. This moment….    I see.

I miss my Dad.

I miss what we had.

I miss what we had when I was little…

even though I really don’t remember,( or… as Arden used to say when she was little “bemember “ …which I’m pretty sure will be my next tattoo on my arm so that I can also “see” THAT daily) 

 but I know we had it… and Also…  I miss what we didn’t get a chance to have.

This little space… this little “ Vignette” of his handsome young man photo, his palette, Coast Guard cup filled with goods, his knife and his glasses, books and plants and a special handwritten note from his Mother to me from 30 years ago…
This is what I see … and it’s beautiful.

Last night He was on my mind so much and I was missing him in a little Janie way.  It’s strange how sometimes all the older years with him just fade away and I’m left with the feeling in my soul of just he and I and our connection when I was a child.

so~

I placed the photo of Little Janie ( on the back is written in my grandmother’s handwriting “ Our Janie” ) beside the younger Dad and It gave me comfort.

So much “life” got in between us …. you know????   Maybe … when we see each other again we will “see” each other that way.

I don’t know…


Still With Me

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So~

I was channeling my Grandmother the other day…

 

do you ever do that?

 

Feel your loved ones from the other side with you? Within you? I do all the time. Especially her.

My Beautiful Grandmother, imperfect like us all… but to me the earthly manifestation of loveliness.

My Parents were from completely different worlds growing up.  My mother was raised by a first generation Italian American who grew up in Connecticut in settlement houses , shining shoes , serving in the war , and making his way through college with the hard-earned money of his siblings, to become a social worker.  His wife ( my Grammie)  came from Illinois,  born to her mother as a late in life surprise and adored by her much older siblings. She became a nurse and in addition to raising their 5 children in the 1940’s and 50’s, also fostered babies , oftentimes with special needs or “ colored” babies, which did not go over too well in their time and town.  They were liberal democrats.

My father grew up on the Eastern shore of Maryland for the most part. His father after serving  in the war, returned to the small town of Pokomoke , married my Grandmother , had 3 Children (2 boys and a girl) and lived their lives in a very old-fashioned, proper, southern way. Grandpa worked and Grandma,  along with their loved “help” Hennie, raised the children and maintained a beautiful home. They were southern conservatives.

This is what I know. I am certain there is far more to the story… but this is what I know.

After 8 years together my parent’s  differences could not be worked out… and I’ll leave that there.

My Mother moved us to California where her parents had retired, and I rarely saw my father or his family again until I was an adult, at which time I reconnected with then.

I deeply, deeply love all of my family… on both sides… but the connection with my father’s mother has always been different. She has been accused of “playing favorites” over the years and I understand how hurtful that can feel if not one… But what it was …     I think…  was not favoritism … rather connection.  An innate connection to certain people. Some people we just recognize, relate to easier, understand more .  We just know each other.  Especially with relatives because of  the genetics.   We are literally a part of them.

She and I shared many common interests and traits even though I was not raised with her influence. The love of Gardening, history and reading. Her home was always beautiful decorated in an understated sort of elegance. Her style was simple and lovely. Her go to outfit was always a crisp blouse a pair of blue jeans and white tennies. When she dressed up , a simple pencil skirt and another blouse and pumps.

I think of her when I dress up, when I am in my Garden, when I walk into an antique shop, when I smell boxwood.   I talk to her and ask for her guidance in a lot of things.  And I wear her perfume when I need a little extra love. Because with her… I always fealt accepted and loved.  There are many people who come and go from our lives that challenge and teach us and help us to grow… but everybody needs someone to make them feel accepted and loved just by being themselves, and she was that to me.

Last November, my sweet husband … another one who makes me feel loved always… showed up in the middle of the day … and called to me to come outside.   He had taken her bike, given to me by my Dad and damaged by the hurricane the month before , and had it restored.  And unbeknownst to him…

delivered it to me on her birthday.

It was possibly the nicest gift I’ve ever received because I felt as though it had come  not only from Paul,  but also from her. How else do you explain the timing.

The other day I dressed in my favorite outfit. A crisp white blouse, and blue jeans .  I put on my Grandmothers perfume and went about my day.   It wasn’t until that evening when I found myself on her bike with my cheeks aching from smiling that it occurred to me she had orchestrated that beautiful day for me.  She was channeling through me,

still here, still living,  and as long as I invite her….

still with me.

 

 


The Light of Now

So…

‘it’s a beautiful frosty December Thursday morning. It’s a quarter to eight… and I’m lounging on my couch next to the Christmas tree snuggled up with my pups and just finishing my coffee.  It’s a morning like I’ve longed for over the last 20 years. All is quite, all is calm, most importantly…me.

The exhaustion and the rushing and the often full blown panic to get other humans and nonhuman family members …aka…numerous types of animals living with us…awake, fed, dressed, organized , and to wherever they need to be for the day is no longer a part of my life. It’s now just a fond and humorous memory… which is often what happens after you’ve moved through the challenges  of motherhood.     That time when your toddler is screaming for ju-juice at 5:00 am … or your son won’t get out of the shower… or your daughter is begging through her sobs to not have to go to school…  well now they are just endearing mem….. nahhhhhhh they still stress me out just thinking about it. LOL my ass.

Anyhow… it’s all in the past. And I am lucky enough to be able to relax a bit in the mornings…  To leisurely allow my brain and body to awaken without the jolt of the baby cries or later the torturous alarm clock.

THIS … is one of the benefits of this time of life.    MIDLIFE .  And really…. there are quite a few!

But what do I find myself doing… well I have been sucked into reading another article about how to fight your aging metabolism by eating less and cutting out all things yummy . And another one about how much exercise you need to lose weight in mid age. And another one on how to look 40 after 50. And another one… and another one… and another one.

And I’m thinking … WHYYYY do we do this to ourselves. Why are we FIGHTING it when clearly theses changes are as natural as any other growth stage in life. Like puberty.

FD16D7F5-C6BC-4EE1-84CF-38EB81FEA169And like a spotlight from above… the sun moves in front of my kitchen window and beams right in my eyes and momentarily blinds me, forcing me to abandon these foolish teachings!  A redirection if you will.   A “ look up you idiot!   “quit trying to regain what you were and what you are not meant to be right now!”  instead, focus on where and who you are….. NOW.

So many of us entering into this new stage of life are fighting it rather than ENJOYING IT. WHY does it matter that I am 10-20 lbs heavier as long as I am living a healthy lifestyle. WHY would I give up the sugar in my coffee that I now have time to leisurely finish,  just to stay the same weight I was in the past?  Clearly slowed metabolism and healthy weight gain is meant to happen at this age for multiple reasons. Who am I to FIGHT it?

Honestly… I don’t want to FIGHT anything at this stage of the game. I’ve done enough of that in too many aspects of my past life.

Sooo….

I’m just going to relax a bit into this time.

Instead of pushing myself in some crazy workout class with young, perfect, beautiful bodies all up in my face… I’m going to run around the yard with my pups… and dance a little more on my treadmill, and maybe make it out for a walk on the beach that is 10 miles from me and that I haven’t set foot on in years.

Instead of giving up bread and butter , donuts, and my hard apple ciders… I’m just going to cut back a bit and add in the homegrown veggies I now actually have time to grow.

And instead of a size smallish whatever… I’ll throw on a medium or large and let my belly Rest In Peace after the long hard battles it endured in my younger,  endless days.

Trust me! I am not going softly into this time by giving up on looking or feeling my best… on the contrary… I’m going softly and relaxing into thus time I’ve worked so hard to get to.

And I’m going to remember to look up and see “the light “ again and again every time someone tells me differently. For , I THINK …  it’s our daughters time to be stressed out and thin….

its OUR time to be relaxed and PLUMP (ish)


Silly

 

Ima  let y’all in on a little secret…I’m a little silly.

Only my bestest of family and friends know that,

But part of the exercise I’m calling this so~jane blog… is to allow myself to be truly and completely me… Out Loud.. without worrying what others  (others being ya’ll) might think.

Of course this only applies to the nicest sides of me. Not to worry…  I am in no way suggesting I let loose any rude thoughts or behaviors on the world just because I might say.. think someone to be a dumbass or something … I mean who am I to say they are a dumbass… and maybe , quite possibly they might have a perfectly good reason for their dumbassery that I just might not be privy to.  So I will continue to try and filter my thoughts and words because the LAST thing I would EVER want is to hurt or offend anyone.  This I have learned the hard way in my youth ( insert sincere , public and universal apology to anyone that may apply to).

Back to my point.

I am silly.  Always have been… always hope to be.

So…

Forewarned … I  WILL be sharing some of my silly here from time to time and maybe be encouraging a little silly out of you.

Today… my workout got a little silly…..

on the treadmill…

And as I was dancing and singing at the top of my lungs horribly… missing words and beats and applying my own kind of “harmony “ here and there , I was thinking THIS is why I could never workout at a gym. Because that kind of behavior is always involved.

When I exercise, it’s not just for my body, but for my mind as well. I am releasing as much pent-up physical and mental negative energy as I can and just letting that crap go.

soooo…

during todays shenanigans I thought… “L.O.L. “ …..”If anyone SAW me!”

And  then I thought… “why not”?   “Why NOT see me”?

Worse case scenario they would get a damn good laugh…

BEST case scenario…

It would go viral… gathering gazillion and bazillion views and likes and shares…and finally being brought to the attention of Kenny Chesney and PINK!     (setting the world on fire) and they would LOVE it so much they would take me on tour with them and during that song…( setting the world on fire)…  MAGICALLY … a treadmill would appear and I would be on it! And there in front of Ginormous croud of cheering and laughing and happy people … I…. WE…..would all ….

 

GET OUR SILLY ON!

And  what…I ask… is wrong with THAT fantasy?

 

Sadly…I did not get any of this on video…

at least not TODAY. 

 

 


This ain’t no Joanna Gaines farm

image

 

There is fly poop on our window sills.    And our well water smells.   And damn if that ain’t real mud in our mud room.

Life on a farm is not like what you see on TV.   And  I’m betting even beautiful, amazingly talented, sweet, hardassworkin’ Joanna Gaines would agree.  I’m certain they have fly poop on their windowsills from time to time, but the camera won’t let ya’ll in on that little dirty secret.

I   …   LOVE….   IT ….OUT …..HERE!          It’s my dream.

But it’s a lot of continuous work and it’s dirty work. Mud rooms aren’t all perfect and clean and organized In the #realfarmlife  …they STAY muddy out here.

I got my baby chicks the other day. … They are residing in my guest bathroom for now. Being the rookie farmer that I am I just couldn’t THINK of leaving those fluffy little babies outside. CAN YOU IMAGINE??? …. ALONE????!!!     Also… I’m never going to be able to eat chicken again.  dammit!

Aside from working on the coop that they will eventually be moved to, I’ve also been busy tucking in flower bulbs for the winter, And planting winter lettuces and adding trees here and there …everywhere ….. eee eye eeee eye ohh.

And just plain getting dirty.

I Will say , it’s getting increasingly harder and harder to leave this place. And if I do make it to…. say …a friends house? … perfectly decorated and void of any animal hair or MUD….in a beautifully manicured neighborhood…???     It can also be hard to come back.

But the work in progress out here is me.   It’s so Jane.

It’s who I am.

I am not manicured and not void of mud or animal hair…never have been…never will be.

And  the sigh that breaks free from my lungs EVERY SINGLE TIME  that I pull onto our drive ,

snaps me out of thinking it would be nice to live any other way.

 

 

Well… maybe without the fly poop… I could live without the fly poop.

 

 


Beautiful from time to time

7D57FA49-506A-4948-8EA9-BBEC414A6DBEIn trying to figure out how to set this blog up I searched and searched for a picture of me for my profile photo and discovered there are none. I have a GAZILLION of my kids and dogs and some of Paul but only a very few of myself… and the ones I do have are really bad of me documenting  how goofy or unattractive I can actually be. L.O.L!!!

I love being silly and I do love the part of me that is not afraid of looking bad.  But allowing myself to look good????  Is really difficult. I have a few ideas of where THAT issue comes from, but I’ll Only share one for now…

You see where I come from… and when I come from … meaning my generation… it was considered conceited to try too hard to look good.  And don’t get me started on taking photos of yourself… can you say “ stuck up”???  That was the worst insult… to be called stuck up.

I don’t know how to act or be in front of the camera other than making a silly face . I used to get in trouble for it as a kid… there goes Janie ruining the picture… haha

i DO have a goofy smile. But I can’t understand people who don’t smile for a photo. Think Victoria Beckham … she is SO beautiful ! And stylish! And seems like a genuinely kind and loving person… but frankly she looks miserable to me.  I don’t want to look miserable. I’m not miserable. I’m happy and goofy and silly… but it might be nice to look beautiful from time to time…

so~

 

I’ll work on it. 😊