Thursday, January 30, 2014

Let's Make-Up

I read an article the other day by a blogger who wrote about wearing make-up, specifically, knowing she looks better with it on, and not believing people who tell her otherwise. Here's the article if you are interested: Please, Don't Tell Me that I Look Better Without Make-up. Although I think the author has lingering issues with a manipulative man, she did make some interesting points on a subject many women consider on an ongoing basis.

I don't wear make-up every day, but I did when I was working. Once or twice, if I was called into work overnight or on a weekend for a crisis, I skipped this routine. People asked me if I was OK or whether I was ill. That told me something right there. Most people look better with a little artful enhancement of their face and features. The appropriate style and amount of makeup can (and should) vary greatly by age, time of day, and event.

When I was in junior high school, I asked Mom whether I could start wearing makeup. NO. I regrouped and asked again, several days or weeks later, if I could wear it if you couldn't tell I was wearing any. Mom clearly didn't think that was possible, so said YES. Then I pointed out that I was at that moment wearing very subtle pink lipstick, the thinnest possible stripe of eyeliner, and a wisp of mascara. She had registered none of this until I pointed it out to her. At that age, I had smooth, clear skin, and a natural blush to my cheeks. Nothing exotic was required to make me happy. The little that I did made me feel more confident and helped me fit in with my peers. Those things are pretty important at the age of thirteen. My routine didn't change much through college, although I added some extra drama to my makeup when I had a date or went to a special event.

By the time I had a career, my wardrobe changed, and make-up felt like part of my professional outfit - my armour, as well as an important part of daily grooming. I had more disposable income, so bought better products, graduating from drug store cosmetics to Clinique and eventually Estee Lauder.

As I continue to age, I feel that make-up helps me to look my best. My hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes are becoming lighter, and my complexion is more uneven. If I take no steps to enhance my features, sometimes I feel like I am completely fading away! There are days, especially on the golf course, that I don't wear cosmetics, other than sunscreen and lip gloss. Fortunately, all of my friends have seen me this way so I'm not embarrassed. But when I go out to lunch with my husband, or to the Club for Happy Hour, I'll fuss with my hair and face to look my best. It makes me feel better (and younger), and in a way it's a form of respect to my friends. It's also fun.

Wear make-up / don't wear make-up. It's a tool; a toy; an embellishment. There's no right or wrong. It's about how you feel and what best represents what's inside.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sisters of the Heart

I am fortunate to have two sisters and one brother of the blood. In addition, I am blessed to have a good handful of "sisters of the heart". We know, love, and understand each other. We share fun, laughter, and tears. I could not do without their friendship and support. I am in awe of their talents, strengths, and resiliency.

These sisters of the heart are at an age where they have known unhappiness and pain, yet they rise from each blow stricken and continue to seek the joy in life. Each new day is welcomed with hope and faith. Every friend is greeted with affection and a smile. If help is needed, it is requested or provided, without self-conciousness. There is awesome strength in our combined love and experience.

We are beautiful to each other, and glow from the confidence that brings. Hearts are safely worn on sleeves. We are here for each other.

Many changes must be borne in our lives. Some things change - others begin. With the right support, we make the difficult and necessary transitions while seeking new happiness. Having sisters helps.

My sisters of the heart - you know who you are. I have your backs.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

This Dawn

Among the many blessings
     in my life
I am still an active
     Daughter, Sister, Wife

Well into middle age
     with no children to my name
These family ties that we still have
     lift us and sustain

For now, my home is full
     with Husband, Sister, Mom
Moments now - memories later
     prayers of thanks this dawn

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Remembering Aurania

Forty-nine years ago today, a 25 year old woman died in a single car accident caused by icy roads in Billerica, Massachusetts, less than a mile from her home. She was my father's baby sister and my Aunt Aurania. I ran across her obituary this week, and did some unsuccessful hunting on the internet for records. I don't have enough information to identify her widowed husband, Frederick Patterson; with whom the family lost touch. There were no children. All of Aurania's immediate family have since passed on - her parents, Thomas and Irene, brother John (my father), and sister Katherin. They each suffered through her untimely accidental death that day decades ago. She shouldn't be forgotten.

"Baby" and her father
Aurania was the youngest of my grandparents children (by 9 years), and retained their nickname of  "Baby" into adulthood. When Dad enlisted for World War II, Aurania would have been (I think) just 3 years old.

Chicago of 1939 was Aurania's birthplace, but her parents relocated to Manchester, NH in the early 40's, and that's where she was raised. Aurania graduated from Notre Dame College in Manchester in 1961. In their alumni newsletter, they remembered her as "a smiling, cheerful person, whose philosophy of life was to try to bring happiness to others". A classmate's comments in the 1961 yearbook were, "She is an excellent, serious conscientious student, but her bell-like laughter proclaims her delightful
Aurania Haropulos in 1959
sense of humor. Endowed with wisdom beyond her years, still she has the gaity of youth and is popular among her contemporaries. We are proud to call her friend, and we know that whatever her creative dreams, she has the capacity to attain them."

I was only 9 when Aurania died. I'm left with emotional snapshots of a beautiful, kind young woman, a whiff of perfume, a charming laugh, and a wide smile. Thank God I at least have that much.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Case FOR Facebook

This morning, a Facebook friend shared an article from the Huffington Post, entitled “11 Reasons You Should Quit Facebook in 2014”. Some of the author’s reasons were based on perceived “annoyances”; others based on privacy concerns stemming from commercial data mining or worry about your “friends” seeing things you don’t want them to see. I’m not a Facebook shareholder, and I know that Facebook isn’t for everyone. Many people have reasonable and valid reasons not to use Facebook. However, I have my own view of the benefits of this outlet for social connectivity…

Over the years, I lost touch with people I cared about. I have moved 5 times since graduating from college and starting a career. My friends and I were busy, and it seemed to be almost impossible to keep up with people – even with the advent of email. Through Facebook, I have been able to renew meaningful contact with people who are dear to me.

We have good times and bad. Sharing the good times isn’t necessarily boastful or narcissistic. Sometimes it’s about sharing Happiness and Joy and Hope. It can be inspiring. And I can’t count the times friends have reached out for help or support and received it. Communication in any form can be a lifeline. Give and you get back tenfold. Share and people will share with you. Thank God, it’s Human Nature.

Just in the past 24 hours, Facebook has delivered photos of: a friend’s newborn baby, a reunion of college friends performing a New Year’s show, my sister celebrating her birthday week, a friend’s parents meeting their grandchildren for the first time… I could go on and on. If you aren’t interested in what your Facebook friends share online, then you can either “Hide” their postings (they won’t know, so you won’t hurt their feelings), or you should “Unfriend” them.

Why do people share so much on Facebook? I don’t think there is a simple answer. I’ve asked myself the same question about why I blog. Without going into a lot of psychological depth… I want my friends to know me. I’m not blessed with children or grandchildren. Maybe I’m looking for other ways to leave my footprints in the sand. I like to write. I like to make people laugh. I like to communicate. So sue me.

I choose not to dwell on the negative possibilities of Facebook use. I regularly visit my Facebook Account and Privacy Settings, and restrict them as necessary. I don’t play games via Facebook, because they require that I share my friends’ info, which isn’t mine to share. Facebook facilitates extensive data mining. Fortunately, most companies are really inept at it, so I don’t feel particularly threatened by their efforts to capitalize on what they think they know. My ability to ignore their flailing advertising overtures is considerable. If the intrusion ever actually outweighs the benefits I gain from Facebook, I will reconsider my position.

Dear Friends: Keep reaching out, post those photos that keep me in the know and warm my heart, share your personal philosophies, give and get in return.

Happy New Year!