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A Lecherous Dessert

A Lecherous Dessert

Ah, dessert….my favorite part of any meal. I’ve learned in recent months that a little bit of dark chocolate can go a long way in satisfying the need for sweets without leading me down the Prim Rose path. Thanks for the suggestion, Crystal. Who knew?

Married or Single – A Reality Check

Married or Single – A Reality Check

10308756_10152020030026637_832718966636061706_nI’ve lost more than one close friend because I was married and my friend was either not married, or divorced. There seems to be an unspoken and clumsily resurrected wall placed by women of our generation between the married and the unmarried; an unspoken ambivalence of sorts that keeps us from communicating openly and honestly about relationships. I find it disheartening. We have so much to learn from one another.

Yesterday, was my 32nd anniversary. It was a day that I couldn’t help but think about all the anniversaries that have gone before, the years leading up to this particular day. I love my husband and he loves me, this is true, but we both got what we asked for in our marriage…and it wasn’t a Hallmark movie.

I, like most young women in the sixties and seventies, was swept away by the idea of romance and love and that perfect someone.  I wanted the “happily ever after”, a “soul mate”, a champion of my cause, a knight in shining armor. I wanted him to love me for exactly who I am, find me beautiful, desirable, brilliant, witty, clever and utterly irresistible, no matter how I looked or behaved. I was sure I would feel the same about him. We would live and love blissfully ever after, raise perfect children and change the world with our love.

Or, I thought that’s what I wanted. The narrative was indelibly imprinted in my imagination from Cinderella to Love Story, and this woman with an overactive imagination and a hidden addiction to symbolism, fell prey to an idea that propelled me through one bad relationship after another.

At twenty-nine I found myself broken into tiny little bits and left dying by the side of the road. (Well, in a manner of speaking!) Inside and out, the dream I was chasing had slipped through my fingers and let me down….big time.  All around me friends were marrying and having children, chasing careers and living my dream…only they weren’t.

During that year I decided that if I was not married by the time I was thirty I would end it all, (a dramatic challenge to the love gods). The point was I could not let go of my desire to love and be connected to another human being in some rich and meaningful way and I was pretty sure the only way that was possible was by following my imagined destiny.

As the clock ticked away, I pulled myself up off the pavement and, to the best of my ability, started living my own life. What else was there to do? I learned something during that year. I learned for the first time that I was okay alone. In fact, I was more than okay alone. I was enough. The life I was living was a life worth living, partnered or not. I began to feel an inner strength I didn’t know I had.

It was precisely the moment I let go of my obsession with the Hallmark dream that I turned around to see my destiny, my honest-to-goodness soul mate standing right beside me already.  How many hours had we spent discussing our “relationship” problems (with other partners), our hopes and dreams, our desire to be better, happier people? He knew exactly who I was, and I knew exactly who he was, even as we were not as familiar with ourselves.

In that single moment of awareness my heart skipped a beat. It was a new kind of giddy that far surpassed the tongue-tied awe I felt with previous potentials. This man was not an idea, he was a person and I knew he was my destiny. What I didn’t know was what was in store for us over the next thirty-two years. Again, it was not a Hallmark movie, but it was our destiny, our desire, our commitment to life, love and the pursuit of happiness.

Again and again over the course of our marriage we have each had to surrender our stubborn obsession with unrealistic beliefs about what the perfect relationship and marriage looks like. Again and again we had to find ourselves before we could find each other. It has not been easy. Nothing about it has been easy.

There have been times when divorce looked a whole lot easier and when being alone sounded like nirvana. It was during those times that I was most saddened by my divorced friends who had no compassion or ability to put their arm around me because they were so convinced that my life was better than theirs and that even a difficult marriage was preferable to divorce. I found myself pulling away because of the resentment I felt from them and the guilt I felt from me.

It’s too bad, because in all truth people are people, and how we connect with ourselves, our lives, and each other is what’s important, not who we may crawl into bed with at night. Ultimately, we all just want to love and be loved. How we go about doing so is just in the details. Marriage is just a detail of how we go about loving and allowing ourselves to be loved. And, don’t bring up sex. There is a whole lot more bad sex among married couples, than good. If we don’t know how to deeply love and accept ourselves, we can’t go beneath the surface sexually for sure, and superficial sex is pretty gosh darn empty.

So my wonderful single and divorced friends, perhaps you can begin to see that your hard-done-to complex is not much different from many married women’s hard-done- to complex, and as such, should be the warning flag that it is. Feeling sorry for ourselves is a way of abdicating responsibility for our own happiness and well-being. When we feel sorry for ourselves, when we feel resentment toward others because they appear to be happy, or guilt because of someone else’s expectations or ideas of us, we are living with the false belief that something, or someone, outside of ourselves is responsible for our happiness. This is the false belief that will continue to keep us miserable until we take back the steering wheel of our life.

Dorothy Sander 2014 copyright

 

 

 

 

Selecting the Right Assisted Living Facility

Selecting the Right Assisted Living Facility

18916073_sChoosing to place your aging loved one in the care of someone other than yourself or another family member is a difficult decision. But, the bills are piling up; you have a busy job, and barely enough time to spend with friends and family. This is the realization that you can no longer care for your aging parent(s) or relative without risking their safety and your family’s financial and emotional well-being. You need help! But how do you choose the right assisted living facility?

Far too often have we heard and seen abuse and neglect at assisted living/nursing facilities.  Here are some helpful tips and things to look for that will put your mind at rest and guarantee the happiness and safety of your parent or relative.

The Facility

The quality of the facility itself is very important. This is where your loved one will live, eat, and sleep. Naturally, you want it to be a pleasant place that only encourages the comfort and happiness of your parent or relative. As a general rule, you should always look for reviews and inspection reports concerning the specific assisted living facility you are interested in. Here are three important factors that indicate a good facility:

1.   Cleanliness – The facility should feel fresh and clean. Check furniture, corners, windows, etc. to determine how thorough cleaning personnel are. Use your nose. Believe it or not you can generally get a feel for the cleanliness of a facility based on how it smells.   

2.   Outdoor Areas – Investigate the upkeep and use of the available outdoor areas around the facility. Make sure they are safe, spacious, and enjoyable. 

3.   Living Corridors – Check the living corridors. Question cleaning maintenance and the size of the room to ensure easy use, comfort, and safety.

The People Pay close attention to the staff. These are the people that will be caring for your aging loved ones daily. Are they friendly? Do they listen? Are they caring? Be sure to meet and talk with some of the staff while observing their interactions with current residents. There should also be an ample staff-to-patient ratio for your loved ones maximum care and comfort.

The Care To ensure your parent or relative is being properly cared for, here are some important questions you can ask and things you can do to determine a good assisted living facility:

  • Questions You Should Ask Yourself

Do you imagine you or your loved one being comfortable?

Are the staff and residents friendly, open, and inviting?

Are the current residents properly dressed and well-groomed?

Does the community feel fresh and clean?

Do the staff smile and treat residents with respect?

Does the area feel safe and secure?

  • Things You Can Do

Visit often and sometimes without warning

Be involved in care, medication, daily activities, etc.

Get to know the staff

Have other family members and friends stop by and visit

These tips can help you determine whether or not the facility you are considering is one in which your parent(s) or relative would be happy to live. Use your knowledge, trust your instincts, and guarantee your aging loved one’s comfort and safety by selecting the right assisted living facility.

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This article was brought to you by Country Club Retirement Campus. They provide independent and assisted living apartments, rehabilitation services, and long-term and short-term healthcare  services at four locations in the Ohio area. You might enjoy taking a moment to visit their website.

Create, Not Curate!

Create, Not Curate!

Quote #1Today begins the journey to manifest me in 2014.

Yesterday, as I was browsing my email, reading blog posts and generally wasting a whole lot of time online, I ran across a young woman who had begun a year or more ago to write a poem a day. It was simply a practice she decided to add to her every day life, to slow her life down, to take time to notice the little things. In time it became so much more than that. Her poetry is clear and clean and beautiful, and it is now very much a part of her life.

At first I felt sad. Sad by all of the poetry that lies scribbled on worn out paper and long-lost notebooks. Sad that poetry swims in my head every day, many times a day, but never finds its way to paper. Sad that time has passed me by and too much of it has been looking outside of myself for myself, in so many little ways.

Then, it occurred to me that I have gotten into the habit of curating instead of creating. One can spend endless hours online circulating the brilliant posts of others, in my case, ostensibly to promote my website when in reality I’m promoting theirs. I was hiding. Afraid to let my own light shine. Afraid of trusting in my creative process.

It is time. Time for me to take the risk and shuck off all of my expectations, goals, fears and ambivalence, throw caution to the proverbial wind and commit to creating, not curating. To that end,  I have decided I too would begin today to write a poem a day. Not only that, I would write a blog a day, post a quote a day on Quotes By Women, and submit an already written piece somewhere for publication.

Am I biting off more than I can chew? Perhaps. But, today I am making a gallant effort. Though I did not intend it, this is my blog for the day. I awoke at 6 a.m., well ahead of my usual time (I am a night person) and wrote my poem: Midlife Mourning

I will be back to update this blog with my daily quote by a woman.

The last one will be the hardest, but I am determined!

Dorothy Sander 2014

Self-Actualization….Really??

Self-Actualization….Really??

CherI was up later than usual last night. It was one of those sleepless nights. I don’t usually watch TV when I can’t sleep, but I had it on in the background for company while I worked on my laptop, and David Letterman came on. My curiosity peaked when he announced that Cher would be joining him, so I kept it on.

I have no idea whether or not the show was current or a re-run, as I rarely watch Letterman, but it was at the very least “recent”.  Cher, born in 1946, is 67. Cher, according to the blurb on Wikipedia is an “American singer and actress. Recognized for having brought the sense of female autonomy and self-actualization into the entertainment industry (the italics are mine).

Her entrance: Sitting high above the stage in a swing, wearing short shorts and fishnet stockings, properly posed with legs crossed, Cher was lowered to the stage with some sort of fanfare in the background. Letterman walked over to greet her and ushered her regally to a waiting chair. Her hair perfectly coiffed, her face frozen in place with something of a smile etched into it, she had not one visible wrinkle, blemish or expression mark.

I watched the interview for the next 20 minutes in utter shock, disbelief and profound sadness. Perhaps, not really shock, or even stepfordvdisbelief,  as there’s far too much of this going on in Hollywood to be surprised, but definitely sadness and very real disappointment. Cher is an icon for women of our generation. She has power and presence and incredible power at her fingertips. What is she doing with it? “Autonomy and self-actualization” are not words I would even put as close as down the street with Cher.

To my way of thinking, self-actualization is “real”; it’s truth, honesty, transparency, integration, transformation, evolution of body mind and spirit from a life time of living. Cher, self actualize? Not on your life. I don’t want to hear about show business or even business as being the reason, or the explanation behind the choices she made to show up on national television in some kind of senior citizen rendition of the Stepford Wives. Ironically, her new album is title “Closer to the Truth”. From where I’m sitting she couldn’t be further from the truth, as I see it.

We all evolve at our own rate and in our own way. As women in the 21st Century we each struggle with our relationship with our culture’s obsession with youth and it’s utter refusal to value, or even acknowledge, an aging population. And yet, every day I see women fighting and winning the battle; making inroads and broadening perspectives. Many are in the public eye and are wearing the battle publicly. I think of Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Tina Turner, Judi Dench, Betty White, Angela Lansbury, Valerie Harper; or Hillary Clinton, Maya Angelou, Condolezza Rice; or Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Martha Beck, Byron Katie, Caroline Myss, Louise Hay, who are not so much in the public eye but having their impact.

We have a choice, each of us. We can choose to participate in self-actualization as I understand it, or we can choose a Stepford Wive’s version of aging.

Keeping Up Appearances