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Dear Younger Self, Part II

Okay, my earlier ‘younger self’ post has probably ensured that I’m written out of mom’s will. Sorry mom. It was the first thing that came to mind when thinking about sending wisdom back to my younger self.

Today I will write with a little more levity.

Dear senior year high school Paula,

Despite the current big hair perm rage of the 80’s, you should absolutely not cut your lovely long, straight, blonde hair. You should not spend hundreds of dollars over the next five or six years in order to perm your hair into a tortured poodle style. In spite of current trends, this style is not attractive and you will be much better off in the long run if you just skip it altogether. (your older hair follicles thank you)

The same goes for the cubic ton of make-up you will buy during this same time period. A little foundation, some mascara and neutral eye shadow should be enough to keep you looking fresh as opposed to the circus clown colors you will be sporting over the next few years.

Finally, a secret it took me many years to learn – Thrift stores are a great place to find wardrobe pieces at a very inexpensive price. You can fill in with a few nice new pieces from department stores and specialty shops rather than buying everything straight off the rack (although you should be commended for shopping the sale racks).

Now that I have clued you in on many of your spending mistakes, please take all the money that you have saved and use it to buy all the stock you can afford for Apple & Microsoft. I’d very much like to retire by the age of 50.

Much obliged,

Older P


Rules of Engagement

So I mentioned in my last post that my parents didn’t always get along and the conflict between them was ongoing even after the divorce. Most happy marriages are not based on conflict. It’s no fun for the kiddies either I assure you.

So, how do you solve problems in a constructive way? How do you settle a disagreement when you think you are right or want your way? What is the key to solving differences while preserving your relationship?

I can tell you some of the things I’ve learned after years of getting it wrong.

1)     You are a team. And what did we learn from the movie “The Blind Side”? Your team is your family and you always protect your family. True dat.

2)     You can win every battle and still lose the war. If you think the main point of fighting with your spouse is to win, you are dead wrong and at some point you’re going to end up alone. Remember that the person you are disagreeing with is someone you love and have pledged to be a partner with until death do you part. State your point in a calm and quiet way: listen with a loving heart; if you can not reach an understanding at that time, ask to table the conversation until later on. You can revisit the topic after you’ve had a little more time to consider both sides and come up with a solution. On points of opinion that don’t directly affect your family life, it’s okay to agree to disagree. Amen.

3)     Love, Honor & Cherish. Next time you feel the top of your head getting ready to fly off, just remember what you promised when you got married. When you treat your spouse with love and respect, your marriage is going to be a much happier situation for you to exist in. If you need a time out to deal with your emotions, step away, take a deep breath, then go back and talk to your sweetheart in a rational way. So mote it be.

4)     Say that you’re sorry. Yes, even with all of our best intentions we can still lose it and act badly. Own up to it and apologize. There is no shame or weakness in saying you’re sorry. Actually, it takes a strong person to admit that they are wrong and it feels really good to put the bad stuff behind you and move on with all the good things that come from living a married life.

5)     Let’s make this a clean fight. Obviously, if your anger is out of control, you need to leave the situation before you do anything you’ll regret. Name calling and hitting are unacceptable ways of dealing with your spouse. If you are feeling like these are issues you are having, there are many therapists available to help you deal with your feelings of anger. If someone is hitting you, you need to find a safe place to go and get help. Love shouldn’t have to hurt.

6)     A little humor goes a long way.  Look for something funny in your current situation. It’s amazing how laughter can defuse the tension in an argument. If you can step back from your current argument and find the humor in it, you will be amazed at how the anger evaporates almost instantly.

That’s all I could think of right now (its lunch time so I’m hungry and need to go to the bank), but I am more than happy to discuss this with anyone who happens upon my humble little blog and decides to post a comment.

Let me just close by saying that good relationships take work every single day. There is no ‘happily ever after’. Prince Charming has morning breath. He burps, farts and leaves skid marks in his bvds just like everybody else. You both have to commit to communicating and trying to work out your differences. As long as you’re committed to doing everything you can to make the relationship work you have a much better shot of having a deeply satisfying lifetime relationship.

Good luck on your journey!     ~P

A Letter To My Younger Self

There was a thing on Yahoo! this morning about it being national letter writing day (it’s not. It’s not even national letter writing week until January so I’m not even sure where that story came from – archives?). In spite of the error, I thought it might be interesting to write a series of letters to my young self with all the great wisdom I have amassed over past 48 years.

Also, I’ve been off blogging for quite a while. I’ve been listening to that snarky little voice in my head that tells me everything I write is total crap and no one wants to read the sort of fluff that goes on in my brain. The time has come once again to tell that little voice to shut up and keep its destructive opinions to itself and let me get on with the business of writing.

So here goes…


Dear school-aged Paula,

I know all the fights mom and dad have about money, especially the child support payment arguments, make you feel terrible. I know its hard being stuck in the middle of two angry adults engaged in a never ending battle to win the argument. I know that you feel like you are a big part of why mom and dad fight and that you are putting a terrible financial burden on them because they support you, but guess what – they had you and it’s their responsibility to take care of you.

The fights about money make you feel worthless. Sometimes you wish you had never been born so that maybe mom and dad would be happy and not fight all of the time. Sweetheart, I want to tell you that their fights are not your fault. It’s true that their marriage may have lasted longer if they had waited to have you or maybe not had a child at all, but the reality of the situation is that you are in the world.

What I’d like you to do in order to make the situation more tolerable for yourself (and probably for mom and dad too) is to sit each one of them down at different times and tell them that when they fight about money and child support in front of you, that it hurts and that it makes you feel worthless. Ask them to please try to let go of their anger towards each other and take into consideration how much it hurts you every time they engage in this battle. Tell them that once they let go of this fight, they will feel better too.

Darling girl, you are going to have to have many follow-up conversations with mom and dad because they are really good at fighting with each other. You’re going to have to find the strength to correct them each and every time they slip back into their old patterns. This will go on for years. The good thing though is that you are going to feel really good about yourself for standing up for your feelings rather than silently resenting how shitty those fights make you feel.

Do this for yourself.

Be strong.

Fight for what you need.

You deserve it.

~Older, Wiser Paula

Savannah Visitor’s Center

The visitor’s center in Savannah has a little museum area so we paid our little bit of money and walked around the various exhibits.

Of course the draw that brought me to Savannah:

Forrest Gump

…And His Bench.

There was also a nice textile & quilt display:

Savannah is also home to the Girl Scouts and many a pilgrimage has been made by girls to the birthplace of their organization. The museum had many displays including:

Hats From Different Eras


Knives From Different Eras

So next time you’re out and a Girl Scout tries to sell you cookies, you should probably buy some so she doesn’t cut you.

Savannah was also apparently a good place to trap beavers.

Beaver Pelt

Back in the day, beaver pelts were used for hats and coat collars.

Savannah was very cool. I’m really glad we went and toured the city.

Southern Living

We didn’t pack a lot of provisions before we headed down to Isle of Palms knowing that we’d find stores and be able to stock up once we got there. We found a rinky-dink little market nearby, but Jan found a supermarket sized Piggly-Wiggly a little farther out from our condo.


So yeah, I can write Piggly-Wiggly off my bucket list now.

What I didn’t notice while we were there was that they had a beer counter where people could fill their growlers.


We did not check out the selection as we had brought our own beverages.

I’m not sure whether growler bars are standard in the south or if we just lucked into a hoppy anomolie. Whatever the case, it was part of our southern vacation experience.

Next up: Savannah, GA

Rainbow Row – Charleston, SC

We circled back and found ourselves at Rainbow Row.


This One’s For Sale!!!

Here’s the Realtor Info

It would be tempting to move down to this charming city, but for now we’re going to stay put. How cool would it be to be able to say that you live on Rainbow Row though? Totally!

Pink & Blue – Rainbow Row

Next up…..The Old Exchange & Provost Dungeon.

Day Trip into Charleston, SC

My sister had her wedding in the Charleston area in May of 2009. The wedding party stayed on Isle of Palms so during our stay we got a taste of how beautiful the area was. We decided to take our family vacation down south this year in order to revisit and rediscover what we saw briefly at my sister’s wedding. I contacted the Charleston department of tourism to get a guidebook to help us navigate our trip. Since tourism is the main industry in Charleston, the book includes several maps of the surrounding area as well as a map for the city.

The big white bridge is a focal point when driving into the city.

Very Cool Bridge

Incidently, this is not the only bridge of this kind. During our tour of Savannah, GA (more on that later) we learned that there are four of these bridges in the south which were designed by a woman architect. The one in Charleston was built first and Savannah built the second one. They are definitely sweeping majestic examples of architecture as art.

Our first stop after we found the parking garage was Waterfront Park. It’s really lovely and blends modern and classic architecture and design.

Kids in the Fountain

The fountain was a really cool feature right where we entered the park. Obviously the little kids were digging running around in the water.

We had stopped for some gelato before we sat down to watch the children in the fountain.

Sammy at Waterfront Park

Hannah at Waterfront Park

Jan & the Girls

Paula & the Girls

Yes, I am the shortest member of my family.

Various shots along our walk at the park:

Next on our tour: Rainbow Row

Southern Tour Vacation 8/4 thru 8/11/2012

My sister got married in the Charleston, S.C. back in May of 2009. The wedding party stayed on Isle of Palms. We really liked visiting the area and decided to use our vacation this year to revisit and explore the area.

View from the Condo Balcony

Chillin’ on the Patio

So I guess I never took my camera to the beach meaning I’ve got no beach shots. We took many walks, found some cool sand dollars (my Isle of Palms goal) and shells. The sand on Isle of Palms is firm enough that people can ride bikes on the beach. The first time I saw that I was really surprised. The other interesting thing about this barrier island is that you can walk out really far into the water and not get in over your head.

It was a great place to stay and close enough to Charleston that we could enjoy the beach and town.

Stay tuned…more to follow.

Friends E-mail Share

My friend Jacque sent me this:

And my response was:

I hope I fall under the category of full coverage, but then that would make me a granny panty, wouldn’t it?

That would explain the dry rotting!

P’s Hair Raising Thought of the Day!!!

Our hair defines us. It’s how we express who we are to the world. It’s one of the things that others judge us by when we meet for the first time.

I don’t know what made me think of it in the midst of my Monday morning routine, but Albert Einstein came to my mind and I thought:

If any woman from Albert’s time or even present day presented herself and her ideas to the world with her hair in that mad disarray, no one would take her seriously and she might even be committed.

Men are able to get away with a lot more in the hair department than women are. Please note Donald Trump. If a woman tried to pull off that hideous hair swirl she’d be laughed out of the boardroom.

Would you hire Einstein if he came in to apply for a job at your place of work??? You might think twice, right?

I’ve run the gamut with hair styles and colors. I tried in vain to have “wings” a la Farrah back in the 70’s (flop). I bought into perms in the 80’s (ugh, I was like a horrible cross between a poodle and a brillo pad). Finally I came to my senses and gave up my terrible perm habit. Even though I think the straightening craze these days looks strange, it’s much better than crinkle-head.

I used sun-in to lighten my hair each summer once I hit 9th grade. I started to get highlights in my 30s before finally giving up and dying my hair blonde. DIY didn’t work out so well and within a couple of years, I had that striped down towhead with dark roots look. Not pretty.

Sorry Kate! I'm not diggin' your locks!

When I hit the job hunting market after my layoff I decided that dark hair was going to make me a lot more marketable especially since I was mostly doing temp work to get my foot in the door. I was still doing the DIY thing and my first attempt to convert myself into a serious looking woman resulted in a strange auburn color. I eventually went back to the lady I had used to cut and highlight my hair and had her take over making me look presentable.

Mostly what I looked like was a middle aged goth, but I did eventually find full time work.

After a while I just got sick of the maintenance and let the whole thing grow out. My hair seems like it’s somewhat color resistant so I’d only look good for about three weeks before the color started to fade. I knew I wasn’t going to be blonde anymore and was okay with my medium ash brown.

Mine might have had a hint of white

Of course a few years into that, I got sick of being a total brunette so I took myself over to a salon near my office. A girl I knew when I grew up drives a half an hour or more to get her hair highlighted there (she probably passes 40 salons between here and there) so I figured I’d give it a shot. I’ve got to tell you, I’m pretty pleased with the results. My colorist isn’t as conservative with the blonde as my last stylist was and I have a nice, bright look that I think looks very attractive.

If I decide at some point to embrace my inner genius and start to invent fabulous things to benefit mankind, I think I’m going to have to take a page out of Sinead O’Connor’s book and trim it down to fuzz. Fabulous geniuses don’t have a lot of extra time to spend washing, conditioning and blow drying.

She can probably pull off a 5 minute shower with this do

Actually, this one's kinda cute!


Don't Let Bad Hair Happen To You!!!

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