Warning: Limited Warranty

Today I discovered the injury to my thumb that has been plaguing me for the last several weeks is likely due to decades of avid knitting. I saw a physical therapist, and with the help  of some special tools, she was able feel an unusual number of bumps in the muscle that goes from my thumb to my wrist. These bumps are typically due to tiny tears in the muscle that heal over and form scar tissue. Over time, it can cause tendonitis.

Throughout your lifetime you’re warned to eat right, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep and avoid stress. Of course you may or may not pay attention to this advice, and as you age, you could find yourself paying the price of a lifetime of bad habits. That’s expected.

girl-knitting-smBut nobody told me to moderate my knitting lest my thumb pay the price. Nobody.

There’s a limited warranty on our bodies, and not a whole lot of recourse with any of it. There are some relatively guaranteed benefits of healthy living, although disease can hit any of us and counteract those benefits at any time.

For the rest of our physical well-being, it’s basically planned obsolescence.

How many other surprise aches and pains await me in the coming years? This is annoying, I have to say it.  I’ve been drying my hair in the same manner since I was a teenager. Is that going to cause a problem someday?

I should regain full use of my thumb, but it may take weeks. In the meantime, knitting is out, which is like taking away a part of my spirit. I find myself getting a little depressed, not being able to use the soothing therapy of creating with beautiful fiber.

Yes,  I know, there are many more serious problems, and I do have proper perspective on this. It is wear and tear, literally, not chronic or terminal disease. Overall, I remain basically a healthy person. My heart is in good shape. My screening tests come back negative, and that’s positive. I don’t have diabetes, cancer or glaucoma, and I am grateful. Truly, deeply grateful.

But this aspect of getting older — pooh.


Image Credit: © sapunkele — fotolia

A Simple Change

Far be it from me to give home decorating advice. There are plenty of experts out there, as well as people like my mom, who know exactly what they’re doing and can work miracles with MacGyver-like skills for interior design. I can put a room together, and it’s comfortable, but my mom has a sense for what works like no one else I know. I didn’t inherit that skill.

rose-knobsStill, I’ve been working on a couple of projects lately, and two simple changes have updated portions of my home so dramatically I can’t wait to go into those rooms. What did I do? Paint — and update cabinet knobs.

The reality for many of us is we’re forced to work with elements we can’t afford to change — in my case, I can’t renovate the incredibly outdated bathroom. First, I’m renting, and second, even if I owned this home, it’s expensive. So allow me to present some ideas you won’t find in a decorating magazine, since few of them would ever allow some of this to be seen in print as part of the updated work.

When I first moved into my new townhome, my landlord and I both looked at the bathrooms with great dismay (downstairs full bath, upstairs half). They have that faux marble gold-sparkle countertop, and there isn’t much I can do about that. I hear there’s some sort of epoxy you can apply, but that takes considerable skill and patience. I have neither for that job.

The cabinets were probably last painted when the home was built, more than 30 years ago. White. Worn, dirty white. The hardware was also likely original to the home, therefore, pretty dated. I had no plans to write this blog post when I started or I would have taken “before” pictures, but if your bathroom has the same problem, no pictures are necessary. You know what I’m talking about.


These rose cabinet knobs are from Pier One, and the rest can be found at Hobby Lobby.

So I took it upon myself to do something I’ve rarely done before. I painted the cabinets. I chose an attractive taupe color, but let me say right here: Get samples. What looks like the perfect taupe at Home Depot ends up pink on the cabinets, or possibly an ill green.  I saw both.

I surprised myself by picking out some white ceramic rose-shaped cabinet knobs. I’m not typically that girly in my decorating, but these are classy, and as it turns out, I had some coordinating rose “accessories” I’m trying out in there. It looks kind of nice.


You can see the outdated toilet, counter top and floor — but the paint job, as well as the accessories (which you can’t see here), have really updated it!

I was fortunate that my landlord had replaced the faucets with some attractive brushed-nickle pieces, and I almost chose a grey to play up that feature, but for me, the taupe worked better. In the downstairs bathroom my shower curtain is a vintage travel-postcard design in grey and taupe, and I have brushed-nickle accessories that do coordinate with the faucets. The walls are painted a light, fun blue, so I got dark, smoky blue towels to play off of that as well as add an anchor color to the room. And just last night I found vintage travel-postcard cabinet knobs that coordinate perfectly with the shower curtain. Yippee!

armoireNow, you’d really have to see a before shot of this armoire to fully appreciate just how bad it was. Not only was the finishing job horrid, but the cats liked to climb up the side so they could survey the room from on high. That resulted in deep scratches all along the side, and I debated even keeping this piece. But I need it.

armoire-knobAgain, I chose a taupe, and I’m loving the result. And look at those cabinet knobs!!!!! Since I painted the interior a sort of dusty blue, that blue edging on the knobs helps make these perfect. This armoire is currently my “linen closet.”


This three-drawer dresser serves as my TV stand — outdated colors or not, it works well just as it is!

This last piece I finished some twenty years ago, which likely makes the dark green stain outdated. But I’m not in the mood to paint it, nor do I have any idea what color I would choose. Still, these knobs do a fair job of updating the little three-drawer dresser. What’s kind of funny is the tan color in the knobs  works with those spots where the dresser is scratched down to the raw wood — that same tan color.

So if you’re looking for a simple update to some outdated furniture, or bathroom cabinets, paint and new hardware will do wonders. Try it! And it’s remarkably inexpensive as well.

I used three different shades of taupe in my painting: the upstairs bathroom was “Perfect Greige” by Sherwin-Williams, the downstairs bathroom (full bath) was “Perfect Taupe” by Behr, and for the armoire, I chose “Rustic Taupe” by Behr.

Wisdom and Roadblocks

I’ve been binge-watching the show Younger for the last few weeks, and in addition to being entertained by the program, I’m intrigued by the idea of going back in time and starting over, knowing now what I wish I knew then. I remember my twenties as agony, my thirties as much greater fun. As my body calls out with daily new aches and pains, I long for the time when age wasn’t catching up with me. With what I’ve learned up to this point in my life, think of what I could do with all that health.


Me at 27 — or 29 — doesn’t matter, it was a long time ago.

There are moments, somewhat fleeting, when I’d love to be 27 and have the full opportunity to start a new career, with a lifetime of growth in that field ahead of me. In my mind, I can picture myself as professional, successful, innovative, and admired for my deftness in cutting edge work. I have long hair and a stylish wardrobe, and if my lipstick wears off, I doesn’t dangerously age me.

As intriguing as the idea of a second chance may be, it discounts the opportunities available to me today. Yes, youth has its advantages and its appeal in the workplace. But for many, too many, it comes with limitations, arrogancy and insecurity.

Younger isn’t a going-back-in-time show, it’s a pretending-to-be-14-years-younger-than-you-really-are show. The reality is, I do, in fact, look younger than a lot of women my age. Not 14 years, but enough. It’s heredity, and I’m thankful for it. Still, not enough to pretend I actually am in my 40s, with all the opportunities that still exist for women of that generation. That’s because, at some point, in some way, I’d have to return to the angst of that decade. And as Younger shows us, you can’t escape who you are.

I’m best at being who I am today. At times confused, somewhat scared, yet more than anything else, optimistic. In recent years I have been blessed with greater wisdom and insight, and a more relaxed attitude toward life. I don’t worry as much about what others think, I see through the lies and pandering of popular media, and I’m better about standing up for myself. Far from perfect there, but I no longer fear the consequences of saying “you can’t treat me like that.”

There is a reason I am where I am today, and given the chance to take my life experience and place it in my resurrected 27-year-old body would fail the human experience somehow. I am meant to be taking risks, making friends, loving my family and defining my priorities in part by the age I am, with all the gifts and drawbacks that brings.


Me today. Yes, I’d prefer it if wearing my hair long didn’t age me. But in the scheme of things, that ranks low on the happiness scale.

Authenticity and being true to oneself are such lofty terms. I don’t seek my authentic self. That self is already here. I seek integrity in my actions, reality coupled with creativity in my goals, and those precious moments when my cat curls up in my lap and purrs himself to sleep. I have my insecurities, but they don’t dominate my life like they used to do. I have my responsibilities, and I seek to meet them.

Authentically, honestly, I am 56 years old. That brings baggage and relief, wisdom and roadblocks. It is like any other age, with limitations, frustrations and opportunities. Life is a journey, one you are constantly having to re-navigate. Thankfully the tools get better with age. After all, I now have more wisdom and experience to break through those roadblocks.

Radical Authenticity

Quote Challenge Day Two


“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

About the Quote Challenge (you’re invited!):

Thank you, Dede, for inviting me to take part in this challenge. If your life has been turned upside down and you’re determined to make it good again, visit her site.

I struggle a bit with quote challenges, so this is a compromise. It’s a three-day challenge, and I should nominate three people each day to take part in the event. Choosing those select people overwhelms me. So if you want to accept this challenge, please do so!

Three quotes over three days. Thank the person who nominated you, and nominate three new people each day.

Image Credit:  © cirodelia – Fotolia

Quote Challenge Accepted!

nio astronauta en el espacio

“A friend is someone whose journey always brings them back to you.”

— Belinda O.


No matter where your life may take you, whether it’s exotic or traditional, sophisticated & cutting-edge or tried & true, a friend can sit down with you and talk for hours, share your pain, add insight to your troubles, and give you something new to laugh about. Thank God for friends!!!

About the Quote Challenge (you’re invited!):

Thank you, Dede, for including me in this challenge. I encourage anyone who’s rebuilding their life to visit her site.

I confess, I’m not good with quote challenges, so this is a bit of a compromise. It’s a three-day challenge, and I’m supposed to nominate three people each day. Choosing those select people is overwhelming to me. So anybody who wants to accept this challenge is welcome to do so!

Three quotes over three days. Thank the person who nominated you, and nominate three new people each day.

And they don’t have to be your own quotes. This one just said what I wanted to say today.

Image Credits: © cirodelia – Fotolia

Treasure from the Past

Growing up, my mom decorated for the holidays. A lot of the ornaments and decorations she made herself, and I still have some today. Of course Christmas was the real winner, but that didn’t mean Thanksgiving got left out. We had cornucopias, gourds, turkey-shaped salt & pepper shakers, and of course, the pilgrim candles.


The Little Pilgrim Girl candle…I’m betting some of my readers have, or had, one just like it.

Over the years I claimed the little girl pilgrim as mine. I suppose that would have meant the little boy was my brother’s, and the coordinating turkey candle may have been my sister’s. She probably wouldn’t have liked that, but she made it pretty clear she didn’t care for the pilgrim candles to start with. A born artist, she had far more appreciation for the cornucopia and the gourds, so decorative all on their own.

At some point, I’m guessing when my parents divorced and my mom threw out many of the things that reminded her of her life with my father, the pilgrim candles disappeared. I was crushed. Each year I would hope they’d miraculously pop up, but they never did. I believe Mom held onto the turkey salt & pepper shakers for a good long time, however, as well as some of the serving trays.

Other traditions also continued. Many of you Americans know the same ones: the green bean casserole, celery smeared with cream cheese and topped with paprika, and if we were really lucky, twice-baked potatoes.  And the pies…make mine pecan. Or apple. Or a “small” slice of both, and lots of real whipped cream. When my mom re-married, she and my step-dad took on gourmet cooking (well, she’d always been a skilled cook) and a few new delicacies made it to the table.

My family has the same dysfunctions any family has, and like everyone else, they are showcased at Thanksgiving. My grandfather’s bigotry, the endless questions and speculations about a sibling’s or cousin’s absence, the family gossip, distorted and one-sided as all such talk is likely to be. My tendency was to tolerate it for as long as I could, then retreat to my bedroom until my presence was requested. I can’t say I looked forward to the holiday, but I don’t recall dreading it either.


That’s the late great Paco sitting on the three-drawer dresser I got for helping Mark with his mom’s estate.

I continued to miss my little Pilgrim girl. Why, I’m not certain, but I did. Then one spring, my then boyfriend’s mother died. I helped him sort through all of her things and prepare them for the estate sale. While he and his brother could have kept anything they wanted before the estate sale lady took over, one of the rules of the sale was once something is priced, it is to be sold at that price. No more family members claiming what they believe rightfully belongs to them. And, family couldn’t buy anything before the sale started.

We had plenty of time to peruse her belongings before the estate sale team took control, and thankfully we were careful. We found stock certificates, cash that had been gifts in birthday and Christmas cards, and a few valuables we knew should stay in the family. For my efforts, my boyfriend gave me a three-door dresser I still treasure today.

But neither of us saw the little Pilgrim girl until the day before the sale. Marked at only 25 cents, I told Mark that despite our plans to stay away, I would be at the door promptly when the sale opened and I would make a bee-line for that candle. The estate sale lady relented and allowed me to buy the little trinket that night. I suspect she didn’t want us there the next day. It was generally considered advisable not to be nearby.

Today, even though she doesn’t sit up straight, she is a treasured part of my Thanksgiving celebration. I’m told she’s a bit of a collectible, just a small bit, but I wouldn’t let her go for any price. She helps make Thanksgiving worth celebrating.


There’s Always Tomorrow

Oh, the promises I make myself.

finish-meNearly twenty years ago, I bought some beautiful wool fabric, fully intending to make a jacket out of it. Three years ago I bought a pattern, and since then I have slowly progressed to the finish…I swore I’d finish it last year, then gave up when the weather got too warm in the spring. This fall, I told myself. Absolutely this fall.

Of course each time I pick it up, I have to re-read the instructions to figure out what comes next. Then I get discouraged, and give up.

But I will finish it by Thanksgiving. I will wear it on Turkey Day.

bookAnd this book…I bought it about fifteen years ago…I pick it up periodically but never get very far. In fairness, I haven’t been reading like I used to, and I did read another two books I’ve had sitting on my shelf since the late 90s.

Then there’s the well-worn promise to lose weight. I only have about six pounds to lose, but I have a body type that shows every ounce, so it seems like more. (When I lost 40 pounds many years ago, more than one person swore I must have lost closer to 100. Like I wouldn’t have been bragging about that!) I don’t feel a need to lose it in a hurry, more a need to feel in control of my weight. I have a vision of myself grossly overweight, and it frightens me. Apparently not enough to put down those Pepperidge Farm salted caramel cookies, however. Yummy…too yummy.

So I avoid making promises to others. If I can’t honor what I’ve promised myself, how can I be expected to honor what I promise others?