Can You Do This?

My mother was very good at teaching my sister and I about being an independent woman. She was quick to tell us that we might never marry so we needed to know how to do things for ourselves. At the age of 44 her words rang true for her when our father suddenly died. I can honestly say that my mother never missed a beat.

In time I saw her prepare her will so that my sister would be looked after if something happened to her.  I observed her negotiate to buy my first car, and believe me she was negotiating. As time went on I saw her begin to travel and let go of the fact that she was not willing to stay home and look at an empty house. I saw her sit in the window with her coffee and yes, her cigarette and just pray in all of her kindness.

I was privy to her calls to the city of Longview seeking solutions to potholes, streetlights and much more. Her determination to vote was passed on to her children. She made sure we could do just about anything, and if not at least we knew how locate the people who could.

These and other thing should be passed on to out daughters and granddaughters. I know there will be others, but here are a few things that we need to teach and possibly learn for ourselves.

  • How to check the oil and put air in your car tires–some of our sons need this too. If all else fails how enroll in roadside assistance; and in Texas be able to locate the roadside assistance number on the back of the driver’s license.
  • Take a gun class. Yes, I am serious. If for no other reason than to get over the fear of them.
  • Know your worth. Diamonds shine their brightest when they are buffed so learn to pat yourself on the back sometimes. Just remember only the best can tell real from fake.
  • Learn how to invest. Some of us need to quickly learn this. Social security and employment pensions are becoming a thing of the past. Never leave this to someone else.
  • Stand for something. Wrong is wrong and right is right. Enough said.
  • Know what to say when asked “tell me about yourself”.  You are so much more than a job title.
  • Learn how to read a roadmap. I need to do this better. What happens if there is no cell service or the phone dies. In addition learn how to get out of the garage if the power is off. You still have to go to work.
  • Learn to swim or at least wear a life vest when you are on the water for pleasure.
  • Learn to go it alone. Want to go to movies, out to eat, but no one to go with you?Don’t miss out. It is much easier to add someone, and it makes for a nice surprise.
  • Learn how to put a hem in a garment, sew on a button, use a safety-pin so nobody knows it is there.

There are so many things that we should teach our daughters and granddaughters that it is impossible to list them all. Even with all of our wisdom there are some things that we don’t know how to do. What are some things that you have taught your daughters and granddaughters?  What’s something you need to learn to do? Let’s share the knowledge.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”. Knowledge is power, and you are never too old to learn.

Interview The Interviewer

I haven’t gone on a professional job interview in eight years, but I do keep my resume recent since it will determine if I get to the next step, the interview. During an interview we all know the answers to most of the standard questions that are asked, but do we know what questions we should ask?

If you have been out of the job search market for a while you will need to brush up on your interviewing skills.  It’s not the interviewing you learned BC (before computers). You can have a face-to-face interview, a phone interview, a video interview and/or a combination interview.

 

The days of the interviewer asking if we have any questions, and we smile and say “no” are gone.  Don’t fret that is a good thing, because we all have unanswered questions after an interview.

First of all you should ask a couple of questions that you have prepared beforehand.   This will show the interviewer that you are interested in the position, and you will get answers to questions that are not on the company website or in their handbook.  It’s a win, win situation.

 

There have been a lot of articles written about this subject. Here are some questions that I think a person should ask when interviewing for a job.

  • What is a typical day for a person in this position? This question is important because you will be able to gain some insight into the structure of the work day for this position.  You will also learn what specific skills that are needed for this job.
  • What is the culture of the company?  This helps you know the company’s values, their beliefs and their working environment. You would be surprised that this question does not get asked.  You must be able to fit into the company to have a great working relationship.  We have all gone places, and thought that this is not for us. We have all felt like a fish out of water.
  • What are the expectations for this position in the next 30 days, 6 months–a year and beyond? This will tell you what the company is expecting from you if you get this position.
  • What’s did the previous holders of this position consider to be the hardest part of it, or what do you consider to be the most challenging part of the position? Even great positions have something that is somewhat challenging.
  • What is the average employment stay with the company?  This will show you if they promote from within.
  • Can you see where the position is housed?  This will enable you to see where you will perform the job duties.  You will also be able to talk with people who will be your coworkers.

If your interview consist of interviewing with multiple persons at different times, you can ask them some of the same questions, and you can also ask others that you jotted down while doing your research of the company.  Asking questions shows the interviewers that you are serious about the position.

Remember to send a thank you note–handwritten. You can also email a thank you letter, but not in place of the handwritten thank you note. Be sure to thank the receptionist/secretary when you leave–they have the ear of the boss, and their opinion counts.

If you really want the position, you will have questions about it?  Remember thisisyourbestyear“.  Interview the interviewer.

 

There Will Be No Paper or Plastic…

I’ve decided that there will be no paper plates or plastic ware in my house.  Yep, you heard me right.  The only thing used for eating and drinking that will be paper will be napkins, and that’s because I hate to iron.

A couple of years ago I decided to give my daughters part of their inheritance so that I could see them use it.  To my youngest, she would get my mother’s beautiful china which I can still remember the day my father gave it to her.  This was something that she had wanted forever, she was beyond excited, she was ecstatic that she could now serve special occasion meals in beautiful dishes.  I was ecstatic too because I wouldn’t be allowed to wash the china–too clumsy.  On those special days we would polish the flatware that was never used, iron the napkins, wash the china and crystal and place them on the dinning room table that only saw food on special occasions.

To my oldest, I wanted to give my china that was given to me by my father.  I remember when he started buying it. I was only a sophomore in college living with my sorority sisters, but I was excited. Visions of special dinners popped into my head.  I would set this beautiful table, and my mother and grandmother would iron the napkins. My father passed away before all the pieces were purchased, and I could never find the sugar bowl and creamer at any replacement site.  On one of my many trips to San Antonio to one of my favorite antique shops I ran across both pieces.  I was ecstatic.

Neither of the girls took me up on my offer.  The oldest one informed me that she already had a set of china which she does use some of the time (mine looks better).  If it didn’t go in the micro wave the youngest one didn’t want it. I tried the sympathy plea– “You will always have something to remember Granny Ruby by”.  It didn’t work.  I was informed they would always remember her.

What was I going to do with two sets of beautiful china, delicate crystal wine, champagne and water glasses?  The champagne classes are not fluted, they are the kind you see in the movies and they stack them. I had flatware and napkins that had nevfer seen the light of day. My husband solved the problem because he had a problem.

One day after a weekend of family as the dishwasher was humming along, he didn’t have a clean plate, and there were no paper plates.  What was he going to do? Stop the dishwasher and remove a half cleaned plate?  Go to the store and buy paper plates? No, just reach up there and get one of those china plates. From that moment on I decided there would be no paper plates or plastic ware used in my house.

That moment made me realize that I was going to use each and everything in my house.  So when you come to dinner you just might have your takeout/delivery on fancy china with paper napkins.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Everyday is special.

Information On Well Woman Exams

Thank you Ms. Ruth Ann Hornbeck-Hatch for sharing this valuable information on free well woman exams.  If you are in need of or know a woman in need of a well woman exam, and insurance coverage is a problem, please have them call or google 211.  It will give outlets to places that do the well woman exams for free.

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Let’s spread the word to our family, friends, church members and others.  There is a way to help save the lives of women.  Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, let’s help others help themselves.

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The Exam That Can Save Your Life

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Believe it or not there are some women who never have this routine exam. It is recommended that all women over the age of 18 have an annual well woman exam. This exam should be taken so that it can possibly identify early health problems.  Usually upon completion of the yearly exam, the doctor will have you schedule the next appointment. I am screaming to the top of my lungs–Get Your Well Woman Exam!

Some women do this well woman exam around their birthday or some other significant day.  I do mine in the summer in June.

This exam will be given by your gynecologist.  The exams always include a breast exam, pap smear and pelvic exam.

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The importance of this exam lies in identifying potential early health problems. The most important tests included in an examination are the tests listed above. Some doctors consider other tests in the examination, including measurement of blood pressure, HIV testing, and other laboratory tests such as urinalysis, and testing for other sexually transmitted diseases. The procedure is important also to detect certain cancers, especially breast and cervical cancer.

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The breast exam is usually two parts.  The first part is visual.  This checks such things as color, symmetry, lean body mass and more.  It also looks for abnormalities such as shrinkage and bulges.  The breast exam then goes to palpation, which means while thepatient is lying down the doctor will use two or three fingers to go around the gland (breast) and under the arms to feel for abnormalities.  This does not take the place of the mammogram which should also be done yearly.

Another part of the well woman exam is the pelvic exam which exams the pelvic area.  It is done in three parts.

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  • The inspection of the external genitalia looks for color changes, lesions, warts and other abnormalities.
  • The bimanual exam which palpates (touches) organs that can’t be seen. With the index and middle finger the doctor checks the inside of the vagina checking the length and width–the cervix is also checked.  With the other hand, the doctor will press the stomach and check the uterus and ovaries.
  • Speculum examination is where a device called a speculum will be inserted into the vagina. The speculum is opened to widen the vagina so that the vagina and cervix can be seen.

A pap smear will be done while the speculum is in place.  The doctor will take cells from the cervix.

A breast mammogram should also be done yearly.  I do mine the same day as the well woman exam.

 

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You can also opt for the 3D mammogram which my doctor suggest that I do.  Some doctors will suggest that you also take a breast ultrasound because of family history and/or age. I have taken the ultrasound, and there was something discovered, but thankfully it turned out not to be serious.

Your well woman exam helps to keep you a well woman. Remember “thisisyourbestyear” taking this exam can save your life.

**The well woman exam and mammogram are usually covered by your health insurance.  There are several agencies that will do both for those that are uninsued.  In the North Texas area please check those listed below and others.  Please check your local areas–this exam can save your life.

 

 

 

It’s Your Birthday–Celebrate

Sasha Obama just celebrated her 16th birthday, and she was probably counting the days until she could tell anyone who asked that she was 16.  There was probably some sort of celebration with friends and family. She may have even gotten a great gift from her parents, but everyone who knows her knew it was her birthday.  She told them weeks in advance that it was getting closer.

Most women of a certain age dread birthdays, or at least talking about the age we are as they are a reminder of the fact we are getting older. Remember as a child when someone asked you how old you were you would answer 15 and a half, and I will be 16 on June 23.  It seemed we wanted to be older.  At the age of 20 we would tell people I will be 21 in so many months. Then the dreaded 30 came, and for the most part we would own up to the age of 30, but soon after that we stopped talking about our birthday.

If we celebrated we started to insist that there be no candles on the cake except maybe one in the center because it just looked better, and besides who wanted all the germs from blowing out all of those candles.  Time seemed to speed up, and we zipped through the 40’s some of us the 50’s and beyond by just saying it was our birthday.

Some say you are to never ask a lady her age, it’s equivalent to asking a man how tall he is, and we all know how that goes. But then when we get pass a certain age, we tell our age with pride.

Is age just a number?  If it is, then why do we refuse to acknowledge our birthdays as we mature. When did you stop celebrating, was it when you turned 30, 40, 50 or beyond?  Some say that women stop celebrating because society does not take kindly to women of a certain age.  Men become more distinguished, and women become just older.  We even see it in the national news as was shown by the last presidential election.

There are some who have always celebrated their birthdays with as much gusto and excitement as they did turning Sweet 16.  They party like it’s 1999.  My sorority sister, Hazel is one of those people.  She recently held her 90th birthday party. She put up a huge sign so that you knew her age just in case you forgot.

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Maybe you don’t want a party to celebrate your birthday. Maybe you just want to sit on the patio and drink a nice cup of coffee. Celebrate in your own special way because it is your special day.

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Hazel at her 90th birthday party celebration

Happy 90th Birthday and Many More! because thisisyourbestyear”.

 

 

 

Yes Virginia There Is Life After Menopause

If only life was as simple as song lyrics.  You know if it were that easy then everyday would be great, but we all know that the process of life is not easy.  Each phase we go through has its challenges. Don’t jump to conclusions before you know the facts.

As women we tend to go through phases of life every 5 to 10 years or so it seems. Our bodies are constantly changing, and as we age things can change dramatically. There are studies out there that tell you about perimenopause (premenopause).  They explain what to expect once you get into the dreaded menopause.  It’s sort of  like telling a woman what to expect during pregnancy–no two are ever alike.

Then there are the studies that tell you what to expect while you are in menopause.  They even write television scripts about it. Remember Edith Bunker? They tend to forget to tell you again that no two women experience the same things in the same way.  Some people never know they have entered the dreaded menopause zone. They just know they are no longer having periods.  There are no hot flashes, no night sweets, no mood swings, no heart palpitations–they don’t even know they are changing.

My doctor who is male gave me advice when I talked to him about certain symptoms.  At least it was honest advice.  He said no one had ever died from menopause at least to his knowledge.  Life would get better.

Well I am here to tell you it does get better, but not the same.  Some women still experience brain fogginess, you know not remembering directions while driving, but you get there–don’t panic, it’s normal for some.  Reading and rereading is one that many women experience. It makes it hard when you are in a book club.

Weight comes from just thinking about food, and it comes in places that you never had it before.  Don’t fret exercise and a well-balanced diet still can fix this–it just takes more effort and time than before.

Had oily skin when you were a teenager and hated it, don’t worry after menopause dry skin is normal for many women.  Moisturizer becomes their best friend.  There may be a need to switch to all new cosmetics.

The subject of hair is another subject.  Depends on where the hair is or isn’t.  My best advice is to invest in a good magnifying mirror and a pair of tweezers.  Enough about hair that isn’t on the head, but on the face.

Some women even after menopause still have hot flashes.  I know for a fact insomnia can continue on.

There are prescription medications that you can take to help with the symptoms, there are even holistic medications that are available.  It’s up to you and your doctor to decide what course of action that you need to take.  Remember what is good for someone else may not be good for you. Don’t jump into what others do, we are all different.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear” and “yes, there is life after menopause”.  Now jump!  Just look before you leap because no two experiences on this journey of life are the same.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give The Gift Of Life On Valentine’s Day

February is the month when we get candy, gifts of jewelry and flowers.  All of this is great, heart-health-4but we can get any of these anytime, and if truth be told if we wait until the evening of February 14, we can get them for about half price.

This year whey don’t you and your significant other give each other the gift of life?  February is not only Valentine’s Day, it is American Heart Month /Go Red for Women.  When was the last time either of you had your heart checked?  If it has been a while, here are a few tests to ask your doctor to give you.

  • Waist circumference
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Fasting blood glucose
  • Weight and BMI

Instead of going solo to the doctor for these tests, take your significant other with you, and then accompany them when they have their tests.

The best gifts are not always the most expensive.  They can be the ones that are given from the heart–they can be priceless.

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Remember “thisisyourbestyear”.  Happy Valentine’s Day–give the gift of life.

 

Snap, Crackle, Pop–Our Bones Are Talking

That little old lady at church that walks with the cane can become you or me if we are not careful.  We must take preventive measures sooner not later to stop the advancement of brittle bones.  They are like everything else, the older they get, the easier they break and the more fragile they are.

Most of us think of osteoporosis as the disease that comes as we get really old, but it starts a lot earlier than we think, and it is very common.  There are well over 3 million new cases each year–these are just the people who go to the doctor.

Osteoporosis is a disease where the bones become weak and brittle.  This does not just happen in women. It can’t be cured, but it can be treated effectively if caught early.

Some of the things that contribute to osteoporosis are:

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To treat and/or prevent osteoporosis, we can:

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It is important that we consult our doctor before talking supplements and starting on an exercise program.

Remember “thisisyourbestyear“.  Taking small steps will help us continue to stand tall.

 

 

 

 

 

Letting The Silver Shine In My Hair

I finally decided to do it.  It wasn’t easy to let it go, but somewhere deep down inside I knew it was time.

India Arie told me that I was not my hair, but did I believe her?  I can remember to the date that my hair color changed from dark brown to red.  It was about the week after I graduated from high school.  I know this because my mother and I had discussed it for what seemed liked years.  Back then my Aunt Bonnie and my mother both colored their hair, and since I wanted to be them, I wanted to color mine.  My mother said that after high school graduation I could do just that.  From that week on my hair was some variety of red.  Most of the time I colored it a medium red, but occasionally it got a little light.  I was never fond of the darker shades, but I loved my red hair.

After I informed my daughters that I was going to stop coloring my hair, my youngest daughter suggested that I go natural too.  I told her one step at a time, and letting the silver shine through was the first step.  When the gray started to come in, I can honestly say I really didn’t remember what I looked like with my natural hair color.  It made laugh when my hubby told me he married a redhead, and I reminded him that I married a man with an afro–a big afro, and he was now sporting a ball head.

I’m not going to say I will never color my hair again–I am a woman of a certain age, and I can change my mind.  For now I have decided to let the silver shine through.  Who knows natural and blonde may be my next adventure.  Besides I can be a redhead whenever I want–I have enough alternative hair (wigs) to be almost every shade of red they make.

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 Remember “thisisyourbestyear”, you are not your hair.