Tag Archives: Perspective

No Way Out On The Road to Cougartown

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Yesterday, my family and I decided to visit Sarasota for the first time since we’d moved to the state of Florida a little over a year ago. We’d heard it was a beautiful place…gorgeous coastline, funky artist colonies, amazing food, great shopping, etc. A real Jimmy Buffet-esque paradise. So, we used our cell phone to give us directions–you know, the one with the creepy computerized voice? We set out from Winter Haven and unexpectedly came upon a toll route. Fine, we thought, we have cash for the tolls…so we proceeded on. As we drove along peacefully on our short journey to the real life Margaritaville/Cougartown, I spotted a sign a few feet down the road that read, “EXACT CHANGE REQUIRED”.

My heart skipped several beats, which is more than a little scary since I was behind the wheel of a large sports utility vehicle, and I began to yell to each of my passengers, “Oh my god! Does anyone have any change???” I’d assumed my boys were holding out, because they always find change on the ground (I guess because they are closer to it than I am) and tuck those quarters away in pockets and shoes for later use. But, no such luck….there I was, trapped with no way out…no way to turn around…and no way to magically transform a $20 bill into quarters. Most of all, I was in the throes of a full on panic attack, with no Xanax or even a new tube of lipstick (see previous blog) to be had.

As I approached the toll booth, and stopped at the red lighted stop sign, I knew I had to make a choice. Being the sort of person who, when pushed too far, has been voted most likely to jump off that cliff, guns a’blazin, into the abyss, I did not just sit in my Jeep and cry like a lot of women would. Nor did I try to back up and go the wrong way on the highway, like a suicidal psycho would. No, I did what Thelma and Louise did…I drove right on through, leaving in my wake a chorus of buzzers, bells, whistles, and flashing lights as a highly public testament to my rogue criminal nature…

Oh, and a droll Floridian in a pickup truck who followed me closely just so I would roll down my window long enough for him to shout, “You know, that’s a $100 ticket you got back there…” Uh, yeah…thanks, buddy….


Take another road to a hiding place
Disappear without a trace
Take another road to another time
On another road in another time
Like a novel from the five and dime
Take another road another time

An Hour of Everyday Beauty

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I woke up today feeling overwhelmed…you know, one of those mornings when there’s just too much of it and not enough of you? Then I just said to myself….stop. Breathe. Look around you, not at the house that needs cleaning, or the paper that needs writing, or the errands that need running. Just look around at all the beautiful things, and take in the beauty of your life…things you look at every day but never really see.

So, I grabbed my camera and from 7:30 to 8:30 this morning I purposely looked for beauty in the things I take for granted every day of my overwhelmed existence.

And this is what I saw…

A butterfly, lounging on the side of the house next door…

Morning, on the lake…

Beautiful flowers…

My best friend, waiting patiently for me at the front door…

Unique Southern tree decorations…AKA Spanish Moss

And peaceful neighbors…

“For every beauty there is an eye somewhere to see it”. ~ Ivan Panin

The Art and Pathology of Pessimistic Optimism; Confessions of a Middle Aged Beauty Contestant

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If you’re ever asked to deliver my eulogy, you can tell your audience that I was pessimistically optimistic. Now, of course, they’ll all be too prostrate with grief to stop bawling long enough to stare at you like you’re crazy, but in case anybody asks, you can tell them that you say that about me because I never thought I was going to win anything, yet I kept acting as if I would. This is a major theme of my life, actually, definitely worth exploring on a good therapist’s couch someday, but if I spent as much time “exploring” in that way as I probably need to, I’d likely not get off the couch long enough to tend to my blog. This dichotomy of personality is what leads me to enter contests every now and then—contests that, truth be told, I probably don’t have a snowball’s chance of surviving a Florida summer of winning.


A few months ago, I entered the QVC/Bare Minerals “Women of B.E.” contest, in which the grand prize was a trip to the QVC studios, a Women of B.E. eyeshadow kit, and a chance to meet the company’s CEO of Swirl, Tap, and Buff, Ms. Leslie Blodgett. I really do love their makeup, and I like Leslie enough to follow her Tweets and her Facebook Fan Page. I’ve even interacted with her briefly on there, and it’s always fun when a well known person acknowledges your communication and talks back to you. But, as I knew I wouldn’t, but thought I might, I didn’t win that one—didn’t even make it to the top 10. Part of the problem is that in the case of most of these types of contests, the powers that be narrow down the competition to a manageable number by forcing participants to obtain a certain number of “Like” clicks on the internet before the actual judging begins. I don’t have as many close friends as a lot of women do, and am not willing to jeopardize the friendships I do have by nagging people nonstop to keep visiting my entry and clicking on it. I ask once, and that’s pretty much it. Nor am I willing to create 25 different Gmail accounts so that I can be my own best friend and click myself 25 extra times each day until the click voting ends. So, even though I know I’m never going to make it past the first cut, I am convinced that this time, I’m gonna go all the way, baby!

I’m at it again, this time with More Magazine’s annual “Beauty Search”. I resisted this one last year because, frankly, a middle aged beauty contest seemed just a shade past too silly, even for me. More is a great magazine for women who are no longer 25—sort of like Cosmo, Glamour, Vogue & Shape,  all rolled into one and directed at the over 40 female. But, as always with these things, that $10,000 grand prize and a chance to fly to New York and be photographed for the pages of More had my name on it! So, I wrote up my contest entry in about 5 minutes and pasted in that same picture from my blog that I took of myself into the little box, and impulsively became an aging beauty contestant. I might have increased my odds of winning if I’d put some more thought into what I wrote about “Why I Feel More Beautiful Than Ever”, or if I’d had some sort of professional photo taken of myself that didn’t involve saying cheese to the camera in my outstretched arm, but that’s just not how I roll. After all, I’m not going to win anyway, even though I will…


I did all of this in about an hour one morning, the picture’s not half bad, and I actually really meant all the things I said about beauty in my allotted 1500 characters or less. There is some stiff competition though…I never read the fine print in anything until after the fact, but in the last couple of days I was surprised to learn that the contest is open to women who will turn 35 by April, and up. So, there are some young hotties to contend with (I spotted more than one bikini clad rockin’ bod), as well as some ladies who are clearly professional models, or cancer survivors, or women who have triumphed over domestic violence, are running their own successful businesses, are doctors, lawyers, etc. Anyway, you get the picture. And then there’s me—this year’s winner. Be sure to look for me on the pages of More this summer, right after you read this Freshly Pressed blog on the WordPress Homepage…