Who Are You, Really?

I recently have started vlogging in conjunction with my weekly blog here on WordPress. Easy for you, you might think. With all of my television background and time spent in front of the camera it should be natural. Yes? No. 

For me, it has been an extreme learning curve. 
Previously, I have been in front of the camera as an interviewer or newscaster. On television and film, I have always assumed my character and perhaps only small parts within that make believe I have found myself. All of this technique and experience is so much different than being just old me. Even on Romper Room I was a teacher and not really myself. 

Time and again I have heard famous actors reveal how shy they really are, or how difficult it is for them to expose themselves as ‘real persons’. I kind of understood them, but now I really know what they mean. It takes a lot of ‘unlearning’ to expose the ‘real me’ in my vlogging efforts.  

All of this brings me to wondering if any of us even in our sixties and beyond know who we really are. Are we defined by our careers, our race or sex, beliefs, age, our talents or our roles as parents, breadwinners, or whatever face or hat we put on in front of the mirror? Is that a reflection of what others see in us as to who we are?

These past few election weeks have been a real eye opener to me. A few Facebook friends that I thought I knew have shown such an ugly side of who they really are that they have shattered the mirror. I have been quite taken back at times. Hiding within the darkness of social media has enabled the worst in some people. Do they honestly see themselves and realize what image they are projecting?  Do they know who they really are?

Previously, I always had confidence in knowing who I am, but vlogging has made me aware that maybe, after all these years I’m not so sure yet.    

I do hope that some of you are further along with that than I am and are willing to help me along my way. Or maybe it is as Shakespeare has said, 

So I am off on this new adventure and learning vlog by vlog. One advantage of talking to myself in front of the camera in an empty room is that at least I know somebody’s listening.

Copyright©Sandra Hart 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Let’s Give Peace A Chance

This last week has been a hard one. With all of the anticipation of the election here in the United States and the result causing a frenzy the likes of which I have never seen before in my lifetime was hard on all of us. 

I hate to admit it but I was born during Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidency. So you do the math. I have lived through many presidential races and elections. When I was old enough to vote, my choice was not always the people’s choice. but I excepted it. I supported whomever was in office and I moved on. 

This past week was radically different-something that really was a revelation to me. I think to all of us. Social media has given rise to hate filled rhetoric. 

Formerly our news came from television, newspapers and radio and we relied on those outlets for unbiased reporting. We could make up our own minds in the privacy of our immediate friends and families. Today with existing platforms, we can spew hate behind a post. 

The infighting got so bad on my Facebook page that it was not fun to log on anymore. My daughters and some of their friends felt the same way. Their solution? Unfriend those who were going over the top with hate- filled speech. So two nights ago, with a click, I culled my friends and kept those who may have had other persuasions than I do, but were reasonable in their objections. Now I am free at last to return to Facebook. 

In this democracy there are winners. The winning candidate and those who voted for him. But in a way, we all should feel we are winners, because if the President-Elect does a terrible job, we have the power of our vote to change the POTUS. The people do have the ballot box power and the privilege to decide who speaks and governs on our behalf.  

I have never picked my friends by political persuasion, race or religion and I’m not going to ever go down that road. So, please, let us all move forward and enjoy life and the things that bring us together. Accentuate the positives in our lives and know we do have the power to rise above and accept our differences. 

Let’s give peace a chance.

Copyright©Sandra Hart 2016. All Rights Reserved

Lotus Hands And Hip Shake

Lotus Hands And Hip Shake Therapy

Most mornings I am lotus hand, hip shaking, lift stepping and shoulder shaking my over-fifty self to energizing music. My new uninhibited idea of fun exercise in my freedom years is Bollywood dancing in the front row with no one watching but Sofi and my big Sony flat screen.   

I have to admit I was part of the 1970s fitness craze. I joined my first gym, bought the most flattering leotard that I could find and headed out with a fitness mat curled under my arm. I went faithfully to the aerobic classes for, well, maybe about six months. 

Three times a week I dragged myself to the gym trying to believe that I was a public exercise person who loves strange showers and locker rooms. That fantasy faded faster than my waistline. One morning I just stopped, firm thighs be damned. 

What happened to save me from a lifetime membership of hiding in the back row of power aerobics, trying to stay fit and healthy while looking at the perfect behinds of women with figures I would never be able to achieve?Jane Fonda  did, that’s who. All of a sudden I could put my body through all types of aerobic pain in the privacy of my own living room.  

Throughout the ensuing years I have run 5K’s, walked miles, jogged a little, and made sure I downsized to a townhouse with stairs when all of my sane contemporaries were going with single floor residences. All this effort because I know it is good for my aging body. But, nevertheless, in spite of trying to keep as fit my age allows, I have stayed away from gyms.

Between you and me, I rarely ever found exercising fun until I discovered I was able to combine my fascination with a movie genre and exercise – Bollywood films. Netflix and iTunes are my new ‘go to’ for Bollywood movies and Bollywood music videos

If you already haven’t checked them out, Bollywood films always include music with dancing that is an interesting fusion of Indian classical, Indian folk, jazz, hip hop, belly dance and others from around the world. 

These films are always ‘feel good for the soul’ entertainment. I love the energy and message they bring and there is a whole lot of shaking going on and calories burned in my South Beach living room to Bollywood music.  Life is good when you love it with passion. 

  

achchha lag raha hai. – feeling good
Pyar se Zindegi mel tha hi – Life is good when you love it with passion.


©Sandra Hart 2016. All rights reserved

Take A Bite Of The Golden Apple

Who knew when I was raising my kids in a little one square mile town on the Jersey Shore that my family was destined to be a migratory one. My children eventually flew away one by one to find their dreams and new opportunities. I slowly closed the New Jersey chapter in my life and winged it snowbird style to Florida to experience my freedom years.  

This time of year, though, I always try to think of the upside of being a mother whose children have left me with an empty nest – it gives me lots of places to visit when I find myself in the unbearable summer heat of my tropical paradise and longing to see young faces again.

For a few days now I’ve been in Chicago visiting my daughter and enjoying as much as I can in this beautiful city of wind and water. Before attending a play at the Athenaeum last night we crossed the street to the Golden Apple restaurant for a little pre-theater dinner that gave me a déjà vu culinary journey.

The Golden Apple is the closest food experience in Chicago that reminded me of a New Jersey diner. Unforgettable. (One known fact about New Jersey, other than it being the birthplace of Frank Sinatra, it’s the New Jersey diner experience.)  

If any of my readers are fans of PBS’s program ‘This American Life’ you should be familiar with the Golden Apple. Moderator Ira Glass encompassed an entire show interviewing patrons at the Golden Apple. 

The restaurant in itself is a tiny community within a community. Local patrons go there and mix with unnoticed celebrities on a regular basis. You might say it’s a comfort zone with comfort food at comfortable prices. Something that is harder and harder to find these days. 

I guess I could share with you that I had a nice talk with the owner, we exchanged selfie’s and promised to ‘like’ each other’s Facebook pages. And I could also share that as we were about to walk into the theater a man came running across the street, a handsome old silver fox, to tell me how beautiful my dress was and that he loved the color of my hair and maybe he could take me out to dinner sometime, but those are separate stories themselves. 

I’m not quite too sure how to explain my meanderings today, but I guess it’s just that life is always an adventure and living each day to the fullest is the best reason to stay around a little longer. The unexpected moment just around the corner makes it all worth while.

If you do not allow yourself to open up, no one will ever see the beautiful flower inside of you. 

Copyright 2016 Sandra Hart. All Rights Reserved

NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR INNER SELF


I was having an ‘over-sixty’ conversation with one of my children this morning about life’s chapters and challenges. “Remember the guy that gave up?” I said. “Neither does anybody else.” That, basically, my friends, has been the salted truth that I have poured over and over on my many adult wounds to heal and move on. 

If you grew up in the 50’s like me, times were good and innocent and most of us actually thought our lives would be a yellow brick road that once taken, would lead only to good things. I believed that life did promise me a real rose garden. 

 

Well, in reality, my imaginary rose garden got smothered a lot by rag weed and poison ivy. I had to live the life I was given-not the life that I had chosen. “Tough,” She said. The Goddess of Life didn’t promise me a rose garden even though I was expecting it. 

Throughout their adult ups and downs I have asked my children to please give me someone who has never struggled or hit a brick wall at some point in their life. They have no answers. Living life never promises a perfect pitched game, so my answer to them is to never give up on their inner self. They will never lose. Either they win or learn. 

There is something so special and positive about the lessons and paths in life most of us over 60 have walked. We will never lose. We are still winning and learning. 

2016©Sandra Hart        All Rights Reserved

Collect Memorable Moments. Not Things

See it. Love it. Forget it.

I never ever thought of myself as a collector or hoarder but after cleaning my house of 40 years of living I realize that I am a collector of other people’s things and of my own stuff. I have to finally plead guilty to all of the above.

The interesting thing about all of my downsizing was that it really wasn’t that difficult for me. I bundled my prior life, which included thousands of dollars worth of ballgowns, clothing that I worn in film and television and my menopause size clothing. All of that was easy for me to gladly give away. What was hardest for me was the memorabilia attached to my children. I just couldn’t do it. Solution? I gave it all back to them! Problem solved. 

Now about that closet of mine. I still have one down here in South Beach. My prior experience giving the heave ho to my past life made me reconsider my current situation with my now full-time tropical life and it’s attached closet. In came my daughter Brett to the rescue. Her solution for me was the app called Poshmark.

Poshmark is a clothing site where you can sell your own or buy clothes out of other closets. Since I am a seller Poshmark was a gift from heaven. A seller can take pictures of their clothes right from the app, download pre-paid shipping labels for sold items and have the sales receipts sent directly to your bank or held to buy within the app. Genius! 


I am so determined to scale down my wardrobe and give my poor closet breathing room. I want to live simply chic, mix and match my jeans and maxi queen life.  

Andy Warhol once said he wanted to die in his jeans, well, for me it would be my black maxi dress sipping cappuccino at my favorite cafe. Not yet though! My new motto is “See it. Love it. Forget it!”

( I have attached a recent “why do”article in Bust magazine by Kailey Thompson that only fortifies how I am feeling about my new closet.). 

Copyright Sandra Hart 2016©. AllRights Reserved.

How To Create A Sustainable And Ethical Closet
By Kailey Thompson in Bust Magazine

The idea of “sustainable fashion” can be a bit of an oxymoron. The fashion industry is hugely based on trends that change season to season, leading to massive amounts of cheap and poorly made clothing, which can have major impacts on the workers who produce them and the environment. When it comes to shopping, it can be hard to find clothing companies that both honor human rights and have a low environmental impact. But our purchasing decisions have the power to challenge the norm. 
Shop your own closet! Are you sure you don’t have enough of what you need already? I mean, really, really need? Extending the life of clothing already in circulation does more for the environment than changing the way we make clothes ever could. Research by WRAP in the UK shows extending the average life of clothes (2.2 years) by just three months of active use per item would lead to a 5 to 10 percent reduction in each of the carbon, water and waste footprints.
2. Buy used.
This is the best option if you do shop. Buying used clothing significantly reduces the impact of the items on the environment because we are diverting waste and reducing the environmental toll of manufacturing. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, it takes 700 to 2,000 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make your average cotton T-shirt. Buying used is one way to opt out of that process. We can’t know for sure the conditions under which the clothing was produced, but we can know for sure our money isn’t going directly to a company that profits from exploitative labor practices.
When you do buy used, make sure you look for clothes that you’ll hold onto for the long run. Look for durable, quality fabrics and manufacturing (and avoid trend pieces) so you won’t have to toss them when they fall apart or you get bored with them. According to the EPA, Americans discard approximately 13.1 million tons of textiles a year, and only about 15 percent of that is reclaimed for recycling. The rest goes straight to the landfill, where it releases methane and harmful chemicals.

To Be, Or Not To Be

I often talk about genetics here in my blog. I don’t know, but the older I get and as the years go by, I see my children growing up finding their spaces in life and now my grandchildren doing the same thing. It is really so evident to me that somewhere along the line we have inherited this either great or cursed creative gene that keeps us square pegs in a round hole.

My oldest is a flight attendant and while waiting between flights doodles beautiful designs on her notepad and can’t wait for her days off to create on her many online accounts.

Now the middle child is quite brilliant, works in the legal field, and is very creative like the rest of us. A great photographer, artist and sometimes journalist, she is also extremely adept at math, yet at times struggles with organization and budgets. What does that mean? Are both sides of her brain fighting for dominance when performing tasks? One side asks, “Should I buy it? Do I really need it?” While the other senses it is just too beautiful to resist. 

My youngest is a gifted singer, songwriter and performer who uses his talents as a storyteller through his musical lyrics and melodies. His left brain is screaming to let it alone! 

Well, what about that  creative brain of ours, the right brain?
The right brain is referred to as the analog brain. It controls three-dimensional sense, creativity, and artistic senses. 

 The left brain is referred to as the digital brain. It controls reading and writing, calculation, and logical thinking. 
I hate spreadsheets. They give  me a headache. In school I tried to stay away from as many math classes as I could.  While my middle daughter was taking advanced calculus, my other children agreed  a hundred percent  with me. Does that make us analog people and not her? 

What do you think? Is it possible to have a balance of both right and left brain without a dominance of one over another? Or is it a constant tug of war if you are born with a little bit of both. 

 

Okay, numbers are not my forte, but I still am very good keeping inline with what I want and what I can afford. But in truth,  my life has been saved many times because my left brain usually is strong enough to override the financial foolishness fueled by my artistic senses. But within that realm my left brain feels sorry for me and reasons a logical way to satisfy my artistic side. It knows.  Within its logic mechanisms it realizes  I would actually whither away without this part of me being fulfilled.  

So  I guess in the end both my left analytical and right creative brain are daily fighting the tantamount Shakespearean question, “To be, or not to be.”
  Today, that is what my Saturday life over fifty is thinking. Well, somewhat.
(Authors note: during the period of writing this blog today my toilet has developed a serious ghost flush every five minutes, the fire signal in our complex of town houses was set off in a loud screaming cadence sending my Lhasa Apsa, Sofi, running to her safe haven under my desk and my computer died. No part of my brain is willing to troubleshoot toilets and computers this lazy Saturday.)

Copyright Sandra Hart 2016©. All rights reserved