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You can go home again, Bonnie Blue.

11 Aug

My bedroom is my refuge. It first became my room when I was 10 years old. Before that I lived in all the other upstairs bedrooms at one time or another. But they were all connected by a hall and were contiguous to each other and the hall. When in 1952, the addition my parents had been planning was completed, my room became the farthest one from any other. It was on the last north-most part of the house.

I loved being far away from the rest of the family and our nurse Renie. I had my own stairway and total privacy. There was a dog leg shaped hall that connect to my sister’s room. it was a long way from my room to hers. It was too far to hear anything from her room to mine or vice versa. My room also had a balcony. A balcony was something Juliette had. Princesses almost always had balconies. Princess Elizabeth came out on a balcony to wave. (She had not yet been crowned queen at this point). The balcony thrilled me deep in my soul.

 

My room went through several iterations. When I first moved in my parents tried to follow my wishes, but they simply did not understand what I wanted at all. However, they let me choose the wallpaper and the colors of things and they bought me a mahogany canopy bed. It has a curved top instead of square wooden tester. So I was not able to have curtains on the bed as I had dreamed about. Also the wall paper was so 1950s and so romantic it had nothing to do with the look I wanted. What I wanted would have been a room more for 18th century dark mahogany wood, bare hardwood floors of wide boards, white walls with woodwork panels painted blue and a chair rail and shutters at the windows. But that is not what I got.

Instead the walls were papered with a baby blue background color with sheer white flounced curtains held back with pink roses. It was a dream paper, for a little girl’s room And my curtains at the windows were the exact same sheer flounced curtains in the paper, and they were held back with pink silk roses just like in the wall paper. It was lovely. I did not get the floors I wanted but at least I was able to make them buy me a rug and let some of the hardwood show around the edges of an oval rug which was pink and blue floral design. My floors were almost blond and had narrow boards but at least it was wood and NOT carpet. I really did not like carpet.

Later as a teenager, I wanted the room to look like something I imagined in a Roman Villa (via Hollywood) and I asked to have it painted white. REAL white, not cream colored. This was in something like ’56 and NO ONE painted anything stark white. They did not understand what I wanted. What I got was a very pale creamy white, BUT NOT WHAT I WANTED. and they painted the walls this color but behind a double bed with a headboard there was a gold and white material papering the walls, and a french bed hanging from a small crown atop the walls and curtains swooping down from it. It was also romantic and very pretty and rather chic for a girl of my age, but it was NOT WHAT I WANTED. I did enjoy that room with all my friends, I spent hours there away from the family and just enjoying my music and my books. I loved the privacy.

Later that balcony became an occasional temptation for various boys. But it really did not cause much trouble because I was so “good” it never occurred to me to be bad. I thought about it but discarded the idea because I was afraid of discovery. So I lived in that room until I was married in 1961 at the age of 19. I was crazy in love with Charley and with the idea of being married. I wanted to leave my parents house so much I would have done anything to get out of there. But I was not trained to do anything. And I had a strong inferiority complex about being smart enough, educated enough and self confident enough to get a job.

What I did not realize was that I was extremely sophisticated and self confident about a lot of things other girls my age knew nothing. I was versed in protocol and knew how to throw a wonderful formal dinner party. I was comfortable with people of all different countries and could usually deal with thick accents and strange customs with aplomb. But all I really wanted at that time was to make love. That was uppermost in my mind because I had wanted it for years and years. At least 5 years since I was 14 and began to understand what a pleasure it might be. But as I have stated before, there was simply no way to experiment. That was forbidden, completely, in those days. No NICE girl allowed herself to become promiscuous or to gain a bad reputation. This was the great bugaboo. A bad reputation could NEVER be repaired. And I was to avoid that at all costs. And I did.

The irony of ironies is that I am back in my old room now, at the age of 76. I am living in my old house in my old room with my mother. That makes me sound like a terrible loser. However, I had a wonderful life over the years. I was married for 43 years and had 5 children who have produced 17 grandchildren for me. I have had several careers and some made me money and some lost my money. But they all taught me lessons. I enjoyed them all and basically, would not change anything. Though it would have been fine if I could have made money with a couple of the Internet based ones. But I did not.

Then I divorced and began writing a book which came out about 10 years ago.
I must write and so I have told the [family], “Look out, Mama is BACK!”

I am going to write and they are probably not going to like some of it.

One reason I am going on about my writing is that I have a real story to tell and my room is featured in that story. 4 years ago when I spent any time at all living in my old room it made me uncomfortable. I assumed it was because I wished to be somewhere else all the time. But finally as I spent more and more time here, I realized that part of the problem was the dingy color of the room. It had been redecorated after some years since my marriage. For years when my husband and I came back to spend the night, the room looked almost as it had when I left home. But sometime later they painted it pink. It had dusty rose painted walls and curtains and bed hangings and a back wall of a pretty chintz material.

Those curtains had blue flowers along with deeper pink ones, and I did not mind the print. But the walls were just plain dingy and unpleasant. I wished they were a color I liked. But the horrible idea of moving everything out of my bedroom, the closets and bookcases, moving the big furniture kept me from it. Then one day I was speaking of this and my son Robert said he had a man who could do it. I got a quote and agreed to do it. I had not moved up all of my things yet, so it was the absolute best time to do this.

As I was making my final move out of Barrsden Farm and staying those last few nights on the sofa there, Robert’s “man and a helper” were painting my bedroom. They moved the large furniture toward the center of the bedroom and covered everything with a clear plastic tarp. They took down the draperies and covered the wall that had material on it with plastic. They really did a great job. the color is best described as robin’s egg blue, though it is probably not that bright. But because blue reflects back on itself, it is a very vibrant bedroom. The color hits you like a splash of cool water when you enter the room. It is immensely satisfying to me. The color literally makes me happy. Just walking by my open door gives me a little boost of happiness.

Painting my room has turned out to be transformative. Everything about my life is better since that room became a special color of blue. The vibration is better. Better!!! It vibrates ‘positivity’ all the time. The change in how I feel about living here is remarkable.

If I had had any idea that a difference in the color would have so great an effect on me and my whole life, I would have done it sooner. That is why I love to tell people about this experience. Most people would not imagine that a color could change someone’s mood instantly. Who would have imagined that what really made me “OK” with moving up to Washington DC was how much I loved my room in it’s new color. If you are ever in a similar situation or maybe one of your children is unhappy for some reason. You might just explore the possibility of changing the color of the room. It is a nuisance, and it could be expensive, but my goodness; how effective!!

My bed and light streaming in from the balcony.

Because it was such a dramatic difference I urge parents to listen to their children about color. And for the good of adults reading this, I have learned that many people do not want to learn anything that is not compatible with what they believe they know already. So this is just something that worked wonders for me. Take it or leave it.

As I write this I can glance in the direction of my beautiful blue room and receive a little surge of pleasure just seeing the color. The room has eves on both sides which give it character. There is blue carpet on the floor which might be just ‘way too much’, except that I have spread an oriental rug on top of the carpet. it goes from the foot of the bed to a yard or so from the door where one walks in. That little 7 by 5 rug makes a huge difference by alleviating the total blueness of the carpet. And my nice queen size bed is centered on the North wall which has no windows. The french doors to the balcony are to the East and a dormer window facing West is on the opposite side of the room. There is a door into the very blue bathroom which has not been changed since 1952. It is all blue, the floor and halfway up the walls is all blue tile. The fixtures are blue too, except for the toilet which was replaced a few years ago with a white one. The bathroom is pretty tight because it was originally supposed to just be a half bath. When I begged my father to let me have this room for my own they had to figure out a way to put a tub in there too. And they did. But the toilet does sit a little under an eave in the roof. I am not sure what might happen if some tall man got up suddenly from a seated position, he might knock himself out.

I love my room. I love my life here in Washington DC. I enjoy that color more than I can say. And the lesson I learned is that a thing like an attitude can be transformed by color. The implications are amazing. Go for it!

 

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Have you ever tried a 40- hour fast?

27 Jul

                  Have you ever tried a 40- hour fast? It sounds gruesome, doesn’t it?

I have been doing a program called The Long-Term Solution with David King ( https://www.davidkingfitness.com/ ), who is a diet and lifestyle coach. He is the Tony Robbins of the weight- loss world. He has a major health program going. It is obviously very successful.  He insists that though his diet guidelines are definitely Keto in design, he makes sure it is nutritional Ketosis. And it is.

We track every meal. We track our water intake and our exercise. And we have a “stalker,” to keep us on track. This is a person who knows about the program and what to do to make it work. Every morning we send our stalker our first weight of the morning plus a photo of the Keto stick to see if we are in ketosis. Also we send a plan for what we will eat during that day and what exercise we plan to do. We can talk to this person and check into what we may be doing wrong when we mess up or “plateau.” And we need to check out our level of ketosis every day. We are held accountable.

The program is quite intense. David King makes nearly daily videos to inspire us and keep up our interest. He constantly thinks up new ways to keep us invested in his ongoing programs. He is very good at this.

He also suggests going on a 40- hour fast from time to time. As it happens, I was doing such an amazing job of losing weight, I decided to try it. That day I had had a late lunch that included eggs and bacon and avocado. I was completely satiated and happy NOT to eat dinner that night. I went to bed without   a thought of being hungry. When I woke up the next day, I had a large glass of water, first thing. Then, more water before having a mug of black coffee, then another glass of water. I continued to drink water all day long. I probably had 12 large glasses of water, of 15 oz. each. So– there were many trips to the bathroom, and, truly, I was not hungry as long as I kept hydrating my body. The say, to go to bed early to shorten the time of possible hunger, but I didn’t make it to bed till 11p.m.

When I woke in the morning, I realized that the forty hours was over, at 8:00 am.  I ate a healthy Keto- type meal of eggs and avocado, and I was again quite full– and satisfied. I eat a lot of bacon on this diet, and that is allowed. But later, if you get further into the diet, you might be encouraged to stop eating bacon for a while.

The bigger point here is that it is not that hard to fast for 40 hours. And they say it is like rebooting your body. It is good for your liver and other organs. And you will feel so virtuous and powerful.

Did I do that? Yes! I did. And it was such a great experience. I felt good the entire time during the fast– clearheaded, and energetic, and pleased with myself. It was a good time, too, to write and be productive. No meals to disturb my train of thought. And at the end, I lost another 2 lbs.

I must caution you, though, that the weight lost after the fast may come right back, as it is probably water weight.  Nevertheless, you will be headed in the correct direction, and must certainly not become discouraged if you get a little bounce up.

The other thing about this type of diet, I have found, is that sometimes there is a plateau in your weight loss; then you will get what they call “the Whoosh!” and lose a pound or two, or even more, fast.

My daughter talked me into trying this diet. It was not particularly what I wanted to do, but she finally convinced me to just try it. I did, reluctantly, and YEAH! I have lost 19 lbs.

If you don’t know how much that is, just go to a store that sells 20- lb. bags of dog food or bird seed. Pick up that bag and think how heavy it is. I have just taken almost that much weight off my ankles, my knees, and my hips… I feel fantastic!

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Copyright©.  2018 Bonnie B. Matheson

 

 

I am alive and well and living with my mother

4 May

I am alive and well and living with my mother
The Dancing Queen

The Dancing Queen

My Mother is 98 years old. She is beautiful and cheerful. But things are changing for her as she becomes more frail and less able to participate in the activities that kept her young. For instance she loved to play golf, and she starred at croquet, but her balance is not what it once was and she hates walking as a sport. Dancing was her very favorite. But now her partners are all gone and she, herself fears that loss of balance that might lead to a fall. Plus her legs are weak now, and she lost her stamina somewhere along the way.

I am posting a photo taken about 20 or so years ago. She outdid them all at that time. Joyful and living in the moment, she inspired others.

Now I must struggle to keep those positive memories alive as she ages in front of my eyes. It is hard to watch. However this is a fairly new development. She never seemed to age at all until well after she turned 90. I welcome others stories and comments because this learning process creates all sorts of angst and sadness for me. Mother seems fine about it. It is for me that the sadness causes my interactions with her to seem to take forever, and lack the old sparkle.

As I am here with her anyway, I am keeping a journal which is private of course. However some public discussion of the topic of aging parents may help all of us.

It creeps up on us, the loss of friends, the sagging flesh, and lack of zest for life, and the feeling of having time in the future to do what one still has not done. For those in their 90s time and/or energy left long ago. Watching birds feeding at the birdfeeders intrigues and even fascinates older people. They can stare for hours at the birds and exclaim over the colors and shapes as if they had never seen a bird before. Childlike pleasure in daily activities like the splashing of water over a “caregiver” while taking a shower, or watching the same slide show over and over as if it had never been seen before makes smiling a norm. Nothing negative mars the constant stream of caregiving aid and comforts handed out every hour of the day or night.

Lack of privacy bothers some who must live with constant supervision, but my Mother enjoys the company of others. She grew up an only child whose mother died when she was only 8 months old. Her friends were her lifeline augmented by a whole bunch of cousins who lived literally next door. Her life has been crowded with “company” and she enjoys that even now.

The Primaries have come and mostly gone and Mother is blissfully unaware of the infighting. But one day she asked me while we watched the news, “What do you think of him?” She was pointing to Donald Trump who was answering reporters questions. I said “I am not sure what I think.” And she said “I think he is brave.” I thought that showed she watched with at least a modicum of recognition even though she still does not really recognize any other contender for the presidency. After Indiana, she may not need to. But she cares not at all who wins the presidency in 2016.

Life goes on for her as the birds feed hungrily at the several feeders, two hanging ones and one attached to the house.
Let’s count them Mother, shall we?