Belonging & Heartache

Filed Under All Posts, Melissa Howden, Relationships | 20 Comments

Melissa’s love story continues…

A few week’s ago, my dear friend Lu sent me the card above. She is one of the few people in my life who still sends actual mail and I love her for that. This particular card has been sitting on my desk as a daily reminder.

I suppose the card’s message is always an important one, but for me it is particularly timely and this is also an especially difficult blog post to write. For those of you who have been following us here, you may remember the essence of my post CHANGE: From the Files of “Be Careful What You Wish For” and “Never Say Never”— essentially a love letter to one with whom I had fallen in love. The same one I changed my life for, my “last great love”.

New love is so alluring, folded as it is into hope, delight and discovery. As a then 51-year-old, it also caught me completely by surprise. I am not an impetuous person, but in this case, in middle age, it seemed dangerous to waste time, and so we didn’t. But as with many great loves, the ending is not always happy, and I am sad to report here that we are no longer. I have not wanted to write this not only because it is sad, but also because I feel embarrassed that I put this love out in public and have seemingly failed so miserably. Also it’s hard to put something, anything, out there when I feel as I do that my guts are being ripped out. Read more

My Lipstick and Me

Filed Under All Posts, Beauty, Carine Fabius | 13 Comments


Popular Science Monthly, May 1939

From deadly poison to feminist statement, Carine Fabius unearths lipstick’s curious history

And now for something really important amidst all the issues in our world… My artist friend David Gibson and I were hanging out the other day when the subject of lipstick came up. He’d noticed several small, colorful bottles on my desk—a new line of herbal lip dyes that I sell through my temporary body art business. Anyone who knows me is aware that I never go a day without lipstick.

Our fearless leader, Cathy Fischer (who started Fifty is the New), likes to tell people about the time she asked a bunch of women gathered at my house to count the lipsticks in their purses. The one with the most lipsticks wins… I clocked in at 17 tubes. (That was then! I only carry one at a time now). I even wrote a recent blog for Huffington Post called Lipstick, I Can’t Live Without You. What can I say? I’m serious about Lipstick. But, back to David. Read more

Sex and Politics, the TV Show

Filed Under All Posts, Christie Healey, Politics | 7 Comments


The Debates: (L-R) Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Gordon Brown

From “Bigotgate” to shades of Kennedy/Nixon, Christie Healey gives the play-by-play on the recent UK elections

As I sat eating my breakfast this morning, I thought of Mr. Brown. Gordon Brown, a man whose brilliant background in accountancy could not save him from miscalculation of the odds. I imagined him at the 10 Downing Street breakfast table last Friday, the eviction notice hovering in his mind. He must have thought, “Where did I go wrong? He waited years for this gig, suffering in silence while Tony bounced all over the world like Tigger only to be given the old heave ho at the first opportunity.

The last two weeks of the adorably short UK general election campaign have been nothing less than stunning. The changes for Mr. Brown were foretold upon England’s foray into that most American of primetime shows, “The Debates”. Our brusque-toned dour Scot was pitted against the Liberal Democrats’ youthful and articulate leader, Nick Clegg, who puffed deep breaths of fresh air into the stale clichés of British politics. Even the Conservatives’ front man, an urbane and typically toffee-nosed type, managed to look like one of the stars of Mad Men compared to the rumpled, haggard Mr. B. Read more

The Hourglass

Filed Under All Posts, Family, Prudence Baird | 17 Comments


Prudence Baird paints a picture of mother and daughter—in roles rarely revealed

Two figures move as one under a hot January sun across the steaming asphalt of a medical building parking lot. This is the kind of day that brings hordes of winter refugees west following the televised New Year’s Day Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

One of the figures is a frail old woman collapsed in a transporter wheelchair—a conveyance with four small wheels, made for transferring from place-to-place those whose self-propelling days are history. The other is a middle-aged stick figure; her veiny hands grasp the heavy rubber handles of the transporter, pushing her load gently in the unseasonably warm mid-morning air.

When the conjoined pair reaches an unwashed silver Volvo, the ambulatory woman expertly backs the transporter into the space alongside the passenger side of the car and stops. The middle aged woman—who, if you haven’t guessed by now, is me—rummages for her keys in a worn black backpack hanging by the handles of the conveyance. Read more