How many Bibles Do You Use For Study?

IMG_4493Years ago I held a Bible Study for women in my home. Once a week about 10 to 12 ladies would gather around my kitchen table as we read and discussed passages from the Bible. In preparation for this study each week I would work with many different Bible Translations and commentaries. This has always been one of loves, studying and teaching about the Bible. I recently came across this short article and photos from the “billygrahamlibrary.org” website

“Billy Graham was often asked who the greatest Christian he knew was. He would always answer, “Ruth.”

Part of her love for the Lord, was the love of His Word.

“It’s a great thing to have a wife who believes what you believe and who is a great student herself. She is a much better theologian than I am and she studies all the time. She’s got one of the finest libraries that you could imagine and she usually keeps about 20 translations of the Bible on her desk,” said Billy.

Ruth recalling her Bible study time in her book It’s My Turn:

“If a busy housewife has to clear off a spot for Bible study during a crowded day, she is likely to put it off. But if she has a place where her Bible is always open and handy, whenever there is a lull in the storm she can grab a cup of coffee and sit down for a few minutes or more of pure refreshment and companionship.”.”

While I don’t use 20 translations of the Bible, I do use probably 10 or 12 different translations as I study each day. My favorite is the New King James Bible; but I am also very fond of the New American Standard Bible (especially for Inductive Studies); the Holman Christian Standard Study Bible for Women; and the English Standard Version by Crossway.

What is your favorite Bible version?

Age Has Nothing to do With Love!

Maggie Smith and Judi Dench

Several years ago a wonderful movie came out starring two of my favorite stars, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. The title of this “little” gem was “Ladies in Lavender”.

The story is about two older sisters, older – about 60 – not elderly, living together in a beautiful old home on the Cornish Coast. Their house overlooks the ocean and one morning one of the sisters, Dench, sees something washed up on the shore. She and her sister, Smith, run down and found a body of a young man, unconscious and almost dead.

With help from their friends and staff, the sisters bring the body up to their house and put him to bed in the guestroom. A doctor is summoned, played expertly by David Warner, and he examines the young man, finding him to be healthy but with a broken ankle. However, there is a problem which the doctor cannot diagnose or help with.

The young man doesn’t speak English.

Now this movie takes place between wars and there is a great deal of suspicion about him and how – why – he was in the ocean in the first place. On top of this, it is found that he does speak German, still a symbol of fear for many villagers. Through a series of broken German from Smith, plus hand motions and pantomime, it is discovered that the young man is not German, but Polish.

And so begins a beautiful tale of love.

As the story progresses we find that one of the sisters, Smith, was, as a young woman, involved  with a soldier who died in the war. The other sister, Dench, appears to have never been involved or in love with any man – and now this young man starts to raise feelings in her that she doesn’t know how to handle.

One of the joys of watching this movie is the tour de force of acting between Dench and Smith.  Smith tries to understand her sister’s feeling – realizing that the age difference doesn’t mean anything to Dench. She is falling in love with the boy and is jealous of anyone who comes between her and him.

Finally she comes to the realization that she has to let him go – go to his future – a future that she can always be part of, but in a different way. She has learned to love, and by loving, she has learned to let go.

And that is what this article is all about – that love doesn’t stop because of age. Young people always think they have a monopoly on love, however in reality too often what they consider to be true love turns out to be sexual attraction. Once the sex plays itself out, the love often goes out the window.

For older people, and to the young that encompasses anybody over the age of 30, true love isn’t necessarily tied to sexual desire. It generally isn’t even part of the first attraction. Older people want something more than just sex – because sex can be found almost anywhere – but friendship, companionship, deep love – the kind that doesn’t turn away because one partner becomes ill – these are things that come only when two people truly take the time to get to know one another.

Soap operas constantly perpetuate this image – the young boy or girl jumping in bed with whomever and whereever, the older man or woman not having any relationships, unless the man has a young wife or mistress. Rarely do you find the older woman involved  with a younger man – that is unless she is very beautiful . . certainly not ordinary looking.

And yet, in real life, there were many women who married younger men long before the term “Cougar” was coined. Take for example – Actress Ruth Gordon (not a great beauty) marrying Playwright Garson Kanin when she was 46 and he was 30 and they were married 43 years until her death at 89; or Writer Agatha Christie (also not a great beauty) marrying Archeologist Max Mallowen when she was 40 and he was 26 and they were married 46 years until her death at the age of 86; or closer to our time period, Actress Juliet Mills marrying Actor Maxwell Caulfied when she was 39 and he was 20 and they are still married 31 years later.

Actress Joanna Lumley (she is a great beauty), 65, who has been married for 25 years to a man that is 9 years younger than she is, was quoted as saying, “Being sexy is oversold. . . .personality and a sense of adventure were (are) more important”. Further she says “I’m more concerned about becoming more interesting as a person . . . . Women don’t get sexier as they get older – (they) become wiser, funnier and more adventurous as (they) age.”

So you see, age has nothing to do with love. The heart doesn’t age  – only the body does.

Live Life – Your Way!

Life can be either chaotic or it can be peaceful. Life can be either full of pain or it can be full of life. Life can be either sad or it can be happy. The choices are all yours. No one can choose the kind of life you are going to live, except for you. That is the way it should be. But too often we allow others to dictate our life.

Though my childhood was full of chaos, pain, and very sad, I have chosen to make it peaceful, full of life, and very happy. Others might choose differently, but my choices have always been to live a life that is fulfilling, that is productive, and that is concerned about my fellow man or woman.

Through the years I have worked hard to get where I am. I have studied, and continue to do so, I have learned through success, and yes, failure. I have grown, educated myself, and am now able to say proudly that I own several very successful internet businesses, write articles, fiction, and poetry, and am also able to write Five Blogs on a regular basis. Sometime in the near future I shall also write a Blog about my other activities.

You might ask how all this is accomplished in a 24 hour day. I am not going to say it is easy, but it can be done. It has been written that Martha Stewart rises before the sun, well-rested and ultra-perky at 3:30 am. This could be secret to her success as a businesswoman.

My get up time is somewhere between 3 and 4 AM.  My husband and I go to our library and have our morning wake-up drinks – his Starbucks Coffee made in a French Press, mine either tea with lemon or, if I had a bad night,  one of the flavored latte coffee mixes (almost like having hot chocolate). We sit quietly together for an hour or so, drinking our drinks and watching the current news (is the world still here?). When the news becomes boring, we both turn to our I Pads to catch up on national news, our favorite blogs, or whatever catches our fancy. We also talk about the day and what we plan to do. This is our getting up time and planning time.

After dressing and eating breakfast, we always eat breakfast, work begins. And this is where we part company – my husband doing his thing, and me doing mine.

I spend the next several hours answering e-mails, sending confirmation for reservations, and writing articles. You might ask what tools I use to keep myself organized. And, as always, I am happy to tell you.

First, I use 2 smart phones – one for our main business and one for other businesses,  blogs, etc.

Secondly, I keep a calendar in my computer. But not wanting to rely only on electronics, too often they fail, I also keep a business calendar in a Moleskine Yearbook and appointments that are only concerning my time, in my personal Filofax. If this sounds like a lot of duplication, it is but it is also a way to be confident nothing falls through the cracks.

In addition to the calendars, I have a Franklin Covey Binder that I use as a household binder (In an almost Jadite Green to match my collection of Jadite Dishes) – having an organized household is one of the secrets to having a successful life. You can find a lot of information on this at FlyLady.net – http://www.flylady.net

My FiloFax Personal Domino is used as my pain management book. This is where I add information and articles on helping my chronic pain situation. I have a Franklin Burgundy Binder for a new study class on the internet and a Day-Timer Tapestry and Leather Binder for articles and instructions on hand-made jewelry for my “Vegas Attitude – Flaunt It Responsibly”  line of bracelets. (If you want to see some great hand-made bracelets and necklaces by Tanya Lochridge – I own 6 of them – go to this link – http://www.tanyalochridge.com/ )

Third, instead of using an ordinary “to do” list, I use the Behance Action Method for keeping track of projects, i.e. – web site updates, blogs, conferences that I am planning, etc.  Using only action verbs, this method makes me take action in logical steps. However, I don’t let this stress me out. I am in control, not my list.

Several years ago – Martha Stewart turned me on to the Circa System and I use it extensively. For each writing project I have a separate Circa Notebook, for my film projects I have Circa Storyboard Notebooks, and for my Special Topic Studies I put all the lessons in the Circa System.

The key word here is “Organization”.

Fourth, I cannot be everything to everyone, nor can I be everywhere. I learned when I was quite young that some people will always like me, some people will only like me if I do what they want, and some people will never like me. And I am okay with that. I don’t have to have everyone like me – after all, I certainly don’t like everyone I meet. I can love all of God’s people, but I don’t have to like them. Or as Jacques Delille has said “Fate chooses our relatives, we choose our friends.”

So, there is just a sampling of my organized life. It really is quite simple, and it allows me to accomplish more in one day than some women do in a week. Yet, I never feel stressed out or overworked.

And the great thing is that I am living the life I want to live – and doing only the things I want to do. How Blest I Am!

Laughter Can Make It Hurt Less!

For the past several years I have been suffering from chronic pain in my lower back. I have had numerous tests, x-rays, etc., to no avail. No diagnosis can be found for this pain. And, since I am allergic to most pain medications, the only pill I can take for my pain is aspirin, and always taken on a full stomach. Nothing else even comes close to working better.

 I write about this because I have found, through my research for some type of cure, that this is not an unusual phenomena. Many people suffer from chronic pain without any way to alleviate completely the pain. Many have gone through surgeries, tests, and years of ups and downs, emotionally, physically, psychologically.

 Studying and reading about others with chronic pain only makes me realize how very fortunate I am. This, in turn, keeps me in a positive attitude, something I think is especially important if one has to deal with pain on an ongoing basis.

 Laughter is always the best medicine, and some mornings when I try to climb out of bed I have to laugh because of the ridiculousness of my body and situation. My doctor says I need to exercise more, but how can I when I can barely stand up for 5 minutes without shaking from the pain. Walking through a Las Vegas Casino becomes a game of, “How far can I go before I have to sit down at a penny slot machine?”  Hey, don’t knock it – some days I have won $20 by just playing 25 pennies. My husband and I find joy in simple things, and laughter in the ridiculousness of our situation. Sitting down because of the pain, becomes a game of chance.

 So, I can’t exercise, though I can still touch my toes when I bend over – ironically my back doesn’t hurt when I bend over. Yet, when I get out of bed in the mornings I feel as if I have run the marathon, played a round of tennis, or even been tackled in a game of football. Of course, none of these things have happened, but my body doesn’t appear to know this. It aches as if I had done one, and sometimes, all of these things. Some days my husband and I just have to laugh as I stand up from the couch and have to wait a moment or two before I can walk. We laugh because this is a body that at one time could walk for miles in 5 inch heels and never cry “ouch”. This is a body that could do flips, jumps, and backbends without any sore muscles the next day. And this is the body that raised four children, kept a house clean, and cooked large meals without even a whimper of pain.

 Yet, even with this pain I am so fortunate, and very grateful, that I can still walk up and down stairs, maybe stopping for a few seconds here and there if there are too many stairs – have no difficulty sitting up while working on my computer or watching a DVD, or even sleeping. At least my back doesn’t give me any pain when I am in bed. However, that is not to say I don’t have any pain in bed – my left shoulder has decided that it needs special attention at night, and at times my right hip chimes in. They certainly let me know they don’t want to be ignored.

 So how did all this come about? Years of dance lessons, years of putting my body through contortions it should never have been put through. I have watched some of the “Cirque de Soleil” performances and can only think to myself “ouch”. They, too, will someday be where I am now. The body was not made for pushing and pulling against the body’s natural posture.

 But, as I said, I can still walk up and down the stairs, cook meals (even if I have to rest from time to time as I cook) and with the addition of a bench to sit on, I am still able to celebrate Celtic Weddings. I can read and visit countries all over the world through my books. I can write from either a desktop or laptop computer. I can play with my dogs and visit with my children. And I have become very good at sitting in the car as a passenger while my dear husband drives me places.

 What can’t I do?  Well, I can’t shop in department stores unless they have areas with benches or chairs to sit on. (Why are there so few chairs in department stores?) Of course, I never really liked shopping in Malls. The internet has now become my Mall. I can’t go hiking or run a marathon, but I was never one for outdoor activities. And I don’t travel much, except by car. I never did enjoy airplane travel but am blessed that I have been to England, Wales, France, Switzerland, the Caribbean, and Hawaii. What more do I need? Living in Las Vegas gives me the chance to see Venice (The Venetian and The Bellagio), Paris (The Paris), Egypt (Luxor), New York City (New York, New York)  many different Lions (The Mirage and the MGM), Dolphins (The Mirage), and lots of fish tanks. And, best of all, it is only a few hours by car to Lone Pine (where many westerns were filmed); Santa Monica Beach; the Shakespeare Festival in Utah; and Lake Tahoe (the location of all of Todd Borg’s wonderful mysteries).

 Living in Las Vegas has also given me the chance to have a swimming pool in my backyard, something that my doctor says is good for my back. And, best of all, it doesn’t hurt when I am in the buoyancy of water. This would not have been possible in Seattle. So leaving the wonderful inclement wet weather (wonderful for a writer) for the dry hot weather of Southern Nevada does have its perks.

 So what do I do now? Chronic pain will be with me for probably the rest of my life, but so will the laughter, the positive attitude, and the joy of just doing what I do best – writing, reading, preaching and teaching – plus – I also have a very legitimate excuse for not doing something I don’t want to do. AND that ain’t half-bad!

1932 Was A Magical Year for Women

A few weeks ago the news reported that Elizabeth Taylor had been hospitalized for congestive heart failure. Her age was listed as 78 – born February 27, 1932. 

This got me to thinking about other women born in 1932 – and so I did a bit of research and what a Magical Year that was for the birth of notable women.

 Of course, after Elizabeth Taylor, the next woman that comes to mind is Debbie Reynolds – born April 1, 1932. Taylor stole Reynolds’s husband, Eddie Fisher, right after Mike Todd died. Of course, the nation sided with Reynolds and made Taylor out to be the person who broke up the Reynolds-Fisher marriage. Fisher left Reynolds and his two children to be with, and eventually marry, Taylor. Of course that marriage didn’t last and Taylor went on to marry Richard Burton. Reynolds had 2 other marriages.  So far she has outlived 2 of her ex-husbands. Taylor has been married 8 times (having 4 children), twice to Burton, and has outlived all but 2 of her ex-husbands.

 Reynolds is still appearing in Las Vegas several times a year, still singing and dancing. Recently she has started to sell her famous Hollywood Costume Collection so she can raise money for her “old age”. Though I can’t conceive of Reynolds ever being “old”.

 Piper Laurie was a beautiful redhead of Polish-Russian heritage. Born Rosetta Jacobs on January 22, 1932 she became an ingénue with Universal Studios when she was only 17. However, after a while she found herself being cast in the same boring role after boring role and left Hollywood for New York where she studied acting and worked in television. She played opposite Paul Newman in “The Hustler” and was nominated for an Academy Award for that role. In 1976 she received her second Oscar nomination for supporting actress as the mother of “Carrie”. Her third Oscar Nomination came in 1986 Laurie was only married and divorced once and has one child.

 One of my favorite actress is Geraldine McEwan – born May 9, 1932. Married only once, her husband died in 2002.  McEwan is one of the British Acting Gems that were born in 1932.  Not well known in America, she has starred on TV as Miss Jane Marple, in the series “Marple” and as Lucia in the hit comedy series “Mapp and Lucia”. If you haven’t had a chance to view these two British Series, you have missed some great acting and stories. Her co-star in “Mapp and Lucia” was another great British Acting Gem, Prunella Scales, born June 22, 1932.  Most Americans will remember Scales as the long-suffering wife of Basil Fawlty in the hit comedy series “Fawlty Towers”.  Watching her as Sybil Fawlty and then as Elizabeth Mapp – you have the opportunity to see a very gifted actress in two very diverse roles. Scales is married to the British Actor Timothy West and is the mother of two actors, Joseph West and Timothy West.

 The great beauty Anouk Aimée was born Françoise Sorya Dreyfus on April 27,1932. One of her most classic movies was “La Dolce Vita”. My favorite movie of all times is “A Man and a Woman” and its sequel “A Man and a Woman, 20 Years Later” Aimée has been married and divorced 4 times – including a marriage to the British Actor, Albert Finney.  She has one child. And has outlived several of her husbands.  My favorite quote of hers is “You can only perceive real beauty in a person as they get older”.

My husband loves to watch the British Actress, Phyllida Law, born May 8, 1932. Not only is she a lovely and accomplished actress in her own right, but she is also the mother of Emma Thompson. She has appeared in the television series, “Agatha Christie’s Poirot”, “Midsommer Murders”, “Foyle’s War”, “Rosemary and Thyme” and with her daughter in several movies. She is marvelously to watch, her beauty is exceptional and her voice is like velvet.

But acting is not the only profession that includes women born in 1932. Loretta Lynn, born April 14, 1932, is an American  country music singer, author, business woman, and philanthropist. Born in Kentucky to a coal miner father in a large family, Lynn married at 13 years old, was a mother soon after and moved to Washington State with her husband, Oliver Vanetta Lynn. Married nearly 50 years before his death in 1996, their marriage was sometimes turbulent, but their experiences together became the inspiration for her music.

Writer and biographer, Antonio Fraser, was born August 27, 1932. She is the daughter of Frank Pakenham, 7th Earl of Longtord (1905-2001) and Elizabeth Pakenham, Countess of Longford (1906-2002). As the daughter of an Earl she is customarily addressed formally as “Lady Antonia”. In 1956 she married Sir Hugh Fraser, who was 14 years older than she is and a friend of the Kennedys. They had 6 children all of whom are also writers and biographers. In 1977 Fraser divorced her husband, by that time she had been living with the famous playwright, Harold Pinter for 2 years. In 1980 she and Pinter were finally married. Pinter died in 2008. A major work of Fraser’s was “Mary, Queen of Scots”, and this brought her to the general public’s attention.  As of now she has written at least 16 works of non-fiction and 10 Jemima Shore Detective Novels. My favorite book of her is “Scottish Love Poems” which I read so much I had it bound in leather.

 Several women born in 1932 have died, some by suicide, but they all lead extraordinary lives.

I can never forget the actress, Peggy Ann Garner, born February 3, 1932. Garner gained fame as a child actress in the movie “A Tree Goes in Brooklyn” (1945) and won a special Oscar for her performance in that film.  But my favorite movie of hers was, and will forever be, “Junior Miss”. When I was a pre-teen, living in Los Angeles, this movie was shown on television and I fell in love with it. I wanted to be Judy, I wanted to have her life, I wanted her black purse, I wanted her Christmas, and so on. I have never found this movie on any VHS Tape or DVD, but it does play from time to time on Turner Class Movies and I watch it whenever I can. Garner was married 3 times, once to the very fine actor, Albert Salmi, who was the father of her only child. That daughter died just a short time after Garner’s death in 1984.

Sheree North, born January 17, 1932 – died November 4, 2005. Married 4 times – she had 2 daughters. She played Kramer’s mother on “Seinfeld” and won several Emmy nominations for her work in television.

Pier Angeli and Marisa Pavan were twins born on June 19, 1932. Angeli appeared opposite Paul Newman in “Nobody Up There Likes Me” Married twice, once to Vic Damone, Angeli and James Dean wanted to marry but her mother was against because of Dean’s behavior and arranged her marriage to Vic Damone. Angeli stated that Dean was the only man she every really loved. Angeli died in of a drug overdose in 1971.Her sister, Marisa Pavan, still living and also an actress, was married to one of France’s greatest actor, Jean-Pierre Aumont, from March 1956 until his death in 2001. Pavan appeared in many American Television Shows, and both of her sons, Jean Claude Aumont and Patrick Aumont are actors working in France. She won a Best Supporting Actress Nomination for her work in “The Rose Tattoo”.

Sylvia Plath, born October 27, 1932, was an American poet, novelist and short story writer. In 1956 she married fellow poet, Ted Hughes. They became the parents of 2 children, but the marriage did not survive. Plath suffered from clinical depression and 5 months after Plath and Hughes separated she committed suicide by placing her head in a gas oven, and turning it on. Her children were, at the time, just babies. She was the first poet to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously for “The Collected Poem’s.

A few others that share this birth year are: Dian Fossey, zoologist (Gorillas in the Mist);  Keely Smith, American singer (Mrs Louie Prima); Miriam Makeba, Johannesburg South Africa, singer (Grammy Winner 1965); Barbara Feldon, American actress and model – TV Series “Get Smart”; Jayne Mansfield, actress and the mother of Mariska Hagerty of “Law and Order”; Elaine May comedienne/writer/actress; Della Reese, singer/actress; Ellen Burstyn, Detroit, actress (Exorcist, Alice Doesn’t Live Here); and Patsy Cline, Winchester Va, country singer, to name but a few. Recognize any of the names?

Well, this is just a short list of these remarkable women all born in 1932. It is certainly not complete, but it will give you a small sampling of how your birth year can often determine your life.

If you want to see some extremely wonderful older women, check out the web site Advanced Style. These are women, still living into their 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, who haven’t allowed age to change them. If anything they have become more vibrant, more alive, more colorful. They make me feel old just by their energy and interest in life. Visit the site and let me know how they make you feel.

 “It is a mistake to regard age as a downhill grade toward dissolution. The reverse is true. As one grows older, one climbs with surprising strides.”
George Sands (1804 – 1876)

Black is the Color of My Choice!

“I loathe narcissism, but I approve of vanity.”  Diana Vreeland

 Black is the color of my wardrobe. Almost all of it is black, black slacks, blacks tops, black jackets and black sweaters. That is my “canvas”, the background for my colorful collection of jewelry.

 That is not to say I don’t have any other clothes. I do have a few pairs of jeans, some sweat shirts and T-Shirts (I especially love our “Vegas Attitude” T-shirt), and some summer tops – but these are always worn with black slacks or jeans.

 I learned this method of dressing in black from Joan Rivers, the Queen of Classic Dressing. But unfortunately she has now branched out into colors and prints – and too many low-cut, strapless, and/or bright colored gowns quite unsuitable for her. I wish she would go back to wearing her “canvas” black. She was so spectacular in showing off her jewelry against the black “canvas” of her clothing. That is what made the sale – nothing shows off a piece of jewelry as well as black. And it is time that she started wearing lower heels. I realize she is very tiny, but I do worry about her falling and breaking a hip – something that happens too often to older women. 

And, of course, Chanel was the epitome of wearing classic solid colors, mostly black. These days I often pass a Chanel Store, at least once a week, and am so saddened by the clothing shown. I think Chanel would also be sad to see her name used on clothing that really negates what she was all about. 

“A woman has the age she deserves”  Coco Chanel

Anyway, I wear black for other reasons than just my jewelry. Being a Celtic Wedding Officiant I feel I owe it to the couple not to clash with the bride, the groom, and/or the wedding party. Seeing Wedding Officiants wearing bright colors, or flowery dresses really takes away from the bride who may be wearing a very simple dress.

And, as an Ordained Minister, black is the color I choose to wear when appearing in front of a congregation. Of course my black shirt and white clergy collar keep me from competing with the parishioners. 

But, putting all that aside, I believe black is the perfect “canvas” for a pearl necklace, a beautiful colored crystal pin or crystal bead necklace. The black shows off everything so beautifully. As a very famous costume jeweler has said – “Too much ain’t enough”. And against black it never appears to be too much, however much you wear.

Women of a certain age (let us say between 50 and 90) should dress as an example for other women of the same or similar age, or even for younger women coming up the ladder of age. Too much of women’s clothing these days is geared to the youth and the woman who is starving herself to death so she can squeeze into that size O or 2 – if you don’t believe me just really take time to watch “The Devil Wears Prada” or any movie/episode of “Sex and the City”.  Real women don’t starve themselves to wear the smallest size, real women don’t mind having curves, and looking like a woman. Look at Lisa Vanderpump, (on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”) she is a beautiful older woman who doesn’t look emaciated. In my opinion she wears her dresses too short and her heels too high, and she wears a lot of color in the pink range, her favorite color I imagine – but she is a beautiful woman of a “certain” age (she has been married over 29 years to the same man). She shows up all the other women on the show, especially those that are younger.

Another woman who is a mentor to me is the Jewelry Designer, Joan Boyce. Boyce is a very successful woman in her own right, married almost 50 years, and while she doesn’t state exactly how old she is, she hints that she is an older woman. She is gorgeous, wears mostly black or charcoal as a “canvas” for her fantastic jewelry, and isn’t afraid to say so when she doesn’t want to stand up in front of a TV camera because she is wearing her comfortable shoes. While she never lets on, an astute viewer watching her can see that she has many of the normal aging problems. Perhaps some arthritis, bad back, feet that hurt from too many years of wearing high heels, and bad eyes. I love her very large glasses, and she does admit to being quite nearsighted. She and I would both be blind without our glasses. As the late Carrie Donovan (1928-2001 and spokesperson for Old Navy) said “If you have to wear glasses, make them noticeable”. She was known for her very large red or black framed glasses.

Who else inspires me? Well there is Judi Dench, born in 1934 and growing more beautiful every day; Maggie Smith, born in 1934 and still working hard (see her in the “Harry Potter” movies) even after her bout with cancer; Beatrice Woods, who lived to the age of 105 and had a gathering at her home just few days before she died; Marge Champion, born in 1919  (she was recently profiled in an Issue of “O” Magazine) is so lovely, and there are many more women who have reached that wonderful “certain” age.

As I’ve stated in a previous post, age is all in the mind. Right now I am forever an age between 25 and 30 and will be to the day I die. Yes there are aches and pains, yes the eyes are not much good any more (well to be truthful they never were any good), and yes I have put on a few pounds, but I am still that young woman who loves high heels, tight clothes – but never short, lots of  handbags, planners, and anything that is feminine.

But we all reach a time when we must change or suffer the consequences. Lately several of my friends have suffered broken bones from falling – at least 2 of them fell while coming down a flight of stairs in high heels, 3 of them tripped over their dogs, and a few others fell simply because they were too vain to wear their glasses. Is a broken foot, broken leg, or broken hip worth the vanity of vanities?

 Food for Thought – If you are carrying a basket of laundry up or down the stairs and can’t hold the handrail, why not put the clothes in some plastic grocery bags and carry them up or down the stairs holding the handle of the bag, AND the handrail.

Here are some suggestions to help women get over their aging phobias:

  1. Stop wearing high heels when you find yourself holding on too hard to something sturdy when you have to get up from a table or go up and down a flight of stairs.
  2. Wear your glasses when you are driving, going up or down the stairs, etc. It makes you look even older if you are trying to read something and can’t hold it far enough away from you. Glasses can be beautiful –
  3. Stop wearing mini-skirts after the age of 16 (even that may be too old seeing how some of the young girls look these days). And if you are over 30 or 35 – mini-skirts only make you look older, not younger. It is especially difficult to watch a woman wearing 5 inch heels and a mini-skirt. She is moving forward on her heels, and trying to pull her skirt down at the same time. Not a good sight.
  4. If you have a tattoo, something I don’t oppose in general, you should try to cover it up when dressing for success – unless of course your name is Kat or Rise and you are known by your tattoos.
  5. Tons of makeup is for the movies, the stage, or the young. Wearing a lot of makeup will not make you look younger, just the opposite. It will make you look older and strange. Look at photos of Diana Vreeland. Or watch “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”
  6. And most of all, enjoy your life, enjoy your age, enjoy your home, your car, your everything. Women spend too much time on “what might or could have been” instead of truly enjoying “what is”. If your children are all grown and don’t make contact with you as often as you would like (and I don’t mean everyday – once a week is plenty) then build a new group of young people. Surround yourself with young women who need a mentor.

For me life is so good, even if I do wear black clothes and low heels every day – because black is only the canvas for my life – it is what I put in and on that canvas that really matters. Is your canvas blank, dull and drab – even if it is full of color – or does your canvas sparkle and glow with joy?

We all need some shine and sparkle in our lives, so sprinkle a little Stardust out to the world, stand outside your door and say, as I do each morning – 

“Today is a mystical, magical day of miracles, a day of abundance and prosperity, a day when all of my dreams will come true”  Aurore Leigh Barrett

 

One thing most Leo Women never fall short of is male attention – and as a Leo Woman I was no exception –

As a young girl I was never really interested in boys. After all, I had a brother and he was a pest. Why would I be interested in another boy?

And, besides this, I was always much younger than my classmates. While the other girls in my high school were wearing makeup, bras, and flirting with boys – I was not allowed to wear makeup, I was only 11 when I entered the 8th Grade, had no reason to wear a bra, and boys were ugh!

 By the time I graduated from high school I only knew one boy that held any interest for me. His name was Thurston (a family name) and he was once kind enough to drive me home after a play rehearsal. He was nice looking and intelligent, not a football player or a big burly male. He mostly wore plaid long sleeved shirts, buttoned up to his neck, and had a crush on a pretty blond girl named Diane.

 Entering the full time work force at 16, looking like I was 12, I had to carry my work permit and high school diploma with me at all times to prove that I was legitimately out of school. My area had Truant Officers and they were quite diligent.

 The women I worked with, who were all married and in their thirties or forties, spent every break drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. I became their pet – the daughter most of them didn’t have or never would have.

 Of course, while I worked during the day I studied acting on the weekend and appeared in plays at night. On Sundays I would volunteer at the Veterans Hospital working directly with patients, some of whom were only a few years older than I was. I played pool with them, ran an 8mm projector for movies, and called out Bingo.

 At 17 I moved to Hollywood and into the first real home of my own. And this is where I met the first group of men that became my protectors.

 Being so young, living alone in Hollywood, and appearing in plays could have spelled disaster for me, but instead most of the actors I worked with became protective of me – even to the point of covering my ears with their hands if anyone even attempted to tell a dirty joke or swear in my presence. There were many of these kind men, with names like Mike, Charles, John, Eddie, and so on. Most of them had girl friends (or boyfriends) and some of them were married.

 While starring in “Wuthering Heights”, a young man came backstage to say hello. Ironically he and I had attended the same high school and he recognized me (is that the Leo thing?). He had a friend with him, a young man named Mark, who was very shy. My high school acquaintance said that his friend wanted to ask me out for a date, but he was too shy to do so. Having never gone on a date before I wasn’t exactly sure what to say – but I gave him my phone number and said Mark could call me, which he did.

Since I lived alone I wasn’t going to have a virtual stranger pick me up at my apartment so I told him to pick me up at my friend’s home. My friend, Ronnie (real name  Runghild), lived with her mother in Hollywood. We had become good friends after appearing together in a musical production of “Cinderella” . Ronnie was very pretty and had long blond hair which her mother set in rags every night. Naturally she played Cinderella. I was one of the wicked step-sisters.

 On the night of our “date”, Mark arrived right on time and I introduced him to Ronnie and her mother, and then we left for dinner. Mark was quite nice, quite quiet, and quite shy. Our entire dinner was spent with my trying to carry on a conversation – to no avail.

 That was my first foray into dating.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I wasn’t really interested in the handsome, athletic type. I was more interested in the brainy, nerdy type. If a young man was also good-looking that was a plus, but he better have some brains or no-go.

Through the years I was fortunate to meet many men that met my criteria for – friendship first, romance second, if at all.

One of my favorite men friends was an intellectual named Ernie – who was 35 to my 20. Ernie and I appeared in several plays together. He looked like he belonged to the Kennedy Clan, having red hair, a Bostonian accent, was a strict Roman Catholic, married with 5 children, AND he was smart, very, very smart. There was no romance between us, only a mutual respect for knowledge. He made up a book list for me to broaden my education – just as F. Scott Fitzgerald had done for Sheila Graham. This is when I found books I fell in love with – Steinbeck’s “The Short Happy Reign of Pippin IV” and Guareschi’s “The Little World of Don Camillo”. From this beginning, my personal collection of books grew exponentially. I preferred to buy a book to a dress, preferred to read a book to watching television, and preferred to talk with Ernie about books rather than go on a date with someone who didn’t read at all. Ernie was part of my life for many years, even after I married – until one year he moved back to the East Coast and we lost touch.

When I did date it was generally a short lived relationship. Two policemen came into my life during those dating years – the first one patrolled by squad car the area where I worked. He would stop by and talk to me now and then. On one of his regular visits he asked me out on a date. Now all men in uniform are very good-looking, no matter how they look wearing regular clothes, and this policeman was no exception. The only date I ever went on with this person was so bad his name has been completely erased from my mind. The two things I remember, in fact will never forget, is the gun he kept in his glove compartment and his hatred of blacks. He was very scary.

 The other policeman entered my life when I was accosted in my garage by a stranger who was obviously on drugs. He was the officer who responded to my frantic 911 call and for the next week kept watch outside my apartment (I was working until midnight each night). He would wait until I was inside my apartment and call to make sure everything was okay. On Friday nights he would sometimes stop by for coffee. We were good friends for a short period of time (just friends, no romance here either), until he was transferred to another precinct.

During these periods in my life I continued to work a full-time job and act in plays at night. My life was happy, content, and fulfilling.

 There were two other men that brought changes into my life. The first one was Frank, a nice looking young man who I did date for a short time. He wanted to be a model and spent many hours preening in front of any mirror that came into his view. He was much better looking than I was (we were both Leos wanting to be the center of attention), drove a Thunderbird, and supported himself by managing a small restaurant. He had been with the 101st Airborne and loved to parachute jump, that is until a woman, who was his mentor, died during a jump when she panicked and forgot to pull her emergency chute. That was the end of Frank’s jumping hobby. Shortly after this incident Frank began to pursue his modeling career full time and we broke up. However, before that happened, Frank introduced me to Nils.

 Nils was from Denmark and was very intelligent. In looks he resembled Oskar Werner, for those who remember this great actor, and he worked for the then P & O Orient Company. He had been sent to the United States to work in a local office, and to perfect his English. The most interesting fact about Nils was that he was raised in Siam (now Thailand) where his father had been stationed, and spoke fluent Siamese (Thai). The other languages he spoke fluently were Danish, German, English, Italian, French, Spanish, and also had a smattering of all the other Scandinavian languages.  He would translate my favorite Yves Montand records for me, as Montand only sang in French and I had no idea what he was singing, but I loved the way he sang and pronounced the French words. Fortunately, the words were as beautiful in English as they were in French.

 Nils had two friends, Bietta and Kirsten, both also from Denmark. The four of us had many good times together and it was fun while it lasted. But all things must end and Nils had to return to Denmark to resume his career and that was the end of our foursome.

The man who made the biggest difference in my life (not counting my husband) was a friend for over 40 years. Ted died a few years ago, at the age of 92, and each and every day I still miss him and his influence on me. He was a Virgo to my Leo – an interesting combination. He had the Virgo qualities of being a perfectionist, punctual, practical, logical and was always a teacher of knowledge, with the plus of being handsome. I had the Leo qualities of liveliness, ingenuity, elegance, intelligence, wit, strength and talent, (not being egotistical, just being a Leo). I loved and respected him and was an eager student of his knowledge. He and his partner – (life partner and business partner) owned the finest gift store in San Francisco. It was called Frederick’s and people came from all over the world to visit his store. In fact, I have a photograph taken many years ago of Ted and Princess Alexandra, Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, when she visited his store. Everything I know about porcelains, china patterns, antiques, collectibles, etc. I learned from Ted. And many of the beautiful porcelains I have in my home today were either purchased from Ted or were gifts he gave me.

 And now we come to the final man in my life, the Delightful, Delicious, De-Lovely David – 4D (thank you Cole Porter). We met many, many years ago when I walked into his book store (what else?). Something seemed to click almost immediately, but David was a true Cancer Male and came across as an extremely shy person. He spoke very little about himself even though I visited the store many times to pick up books he ordered for me. As he likes to say, “By the time I paid for the shipping for those special books I was lucky to break even”. It took a large number of meetings to get even a little close to him. I soon found that he was a true romantic and had many fairytale dreams – our courtship was a romantic one with class and style. He made me feel cherished and much loved. He became my dearest friend, the only person in my life that I have every completely trusted – and the only person who has been able to tame this Lioness. He has the shoulders I can cry on and a twinkle in his eyes that can make me smile. His dry sense of humor turns my laughter to tears and his intelligence keeps me on my toes.

 The only negative I can say about our very long and happy marriage is that we are both book lovers – and as such our home has close to 5000 books in it. There are several  bookcases in every room, most holding books, but some of them are now holding DVD’s and since they are a lot slimmer than a book, we can put more of them in a single bookcase. David now has an iPad on which he can read books and I am thinking of getting a Kindle so I can always carry a book with me, though there is nothing so gratifying as opening a real book.

“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day,
so I never have to live without you.”
— Winnie the Pooh

When Betty White, who was married to Allen Ludden for 18 years, was interviewed by James Lipton on the Actor’s Studio, he asked her the question – “If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?” Her answer was “Hello Betty, here’s Allen”.

Unfortunately, life for David and I will be too short to contain all the happiness we have together. If one of us should have to die before the other, that is exactly how we would want God to welcome us into Heaven – “Hello Aurore, here’s David”.