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January 02, 2011

Deborah Coonts Guest Blogs

Another Year


By Deborah Coonts  

            So it’s 2011.  Big whoop.  Just rack-up another 365 down the old slop chute.

And I have no idea where the time went.  Celebration marks the year’s passing, but not for me.  Here in Vegas, folks turn the Strip into a huge pedestrian puke-way—a safe-haven for unbridled excess.  The ball drops in Time Square.  Fireworks ring the globe.  I, too, used to ring in the New Year full of hope and expectation.  However, somewhere along the path from then to now, I became more obsessed with making a bucket list than with jotting down resolutions.

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What happened?  For one, my parents stepped onto the slippery-slope of old age and I became increasingly aware that my generation is becoming the last fortification between my son and the Great Beyond, or whatever adventure follows this one.  Gray hairs replaced the brown ones as if the march of time scared the color right off the strands.  Wrinkles sprouted where there were none.  I wake up at 5:30 in the morning and actually get out of bed.  When I glance at the tabloids while waiting in line at the grocery, I am truly clueless as to who any of the featured “celebrities” are.  Ryan Reynolds the Sexist Man Alive? Are you kidding?  He’s a mere boy…. 

Time is a thief.  It steals our connections, our sense of belonging, our feeling that we are all swimming in the same stream and riding a fast current.

Never one to take this sort of abuse, I have decided to fight back.

How you say?  Why I make stuff up, of course. 

When I turned forty, I vowed that instead of venturing further into my fifth decade, on each birthday I would subtract a year from my listed age. 

This year I am 26.  The same age as my son.

I’m not sure how he feels about this, but I for one am enjoying the fantasy.  Don’t get me wrong: even though I think it is a parent’s duty to embarrass their kids as much as possible, I try not to humiliate myself.  I don’t shop at Forever 21 or wear black nail polish.  I could never torture myself with rap “music.”  My sports car is an SUV.  And it’s still a rare day that I can make it all the way through the 11:00 o-clock news.

You see, I don’t want to actually be 26—I’ve worked too damn hard for the shreds of wisdom I might have.  I simply want to remember what it was like when the world stretched toward a limitless horizon.  When I didn’t know the word ‘gleoblastoma’ or what it was like to watch a brilliant friend slip away. When I had never heard the tone in my father’s voice that was there the day he called to tell me his brother, his only sibling and his best friend, had died.  When I didn’t know that friends could lose children and how that damages your soul.  When I didn’t know that evil lives, and sometimes, unwittingly, you can invite it into your heart.

So, I pretend to be twenty-six.  My imaginings serve as reminders to look at the world through young eyes.  To spend time with friends who add to the world’s joy and to get rid of the ones who don’t.  To hug my son more than he can stand.  To add a smile instead of a frown, a positive word instead of a complaint.  To see all the new movies, read great books, learn new things, to wallow in the unmitigated joy of painting word pictures and of being who I was meant to be.

Time marches on.  None of us will get out of this alive.  But, until then, I plan on fighting the inevitable with all the strength I have left.

Are you with me? How will you fight?

Wanna Get Lucky?



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I will fight by being myself. I will fight by using whatever ability I have.

(laughing) Deborah, I salute you! I've been moving in a similar direction this past year myself, and find Life much sweeter....:)

I love my age. A few years ago, when the hair on the top of my head surrendered to the encroaching exposed scalp, I became the classic “non-threatening” male. At that point any suggestion to a woman under 40 we get to know each other in a “biblical” sense got a one word answer, “Eeeuu.”

That really takes the pressure off. For the first time my cranky curmudgeon personality is in the perfect vessel. A 30 year old grouch is tedious. A 60 year old grouch is colorful.

A lot of truth in your post - enjoyed it very much. I found some joys in the aging process - pressures are different - I find it refreshing to slide into the grandmother role and out of the worrisome mother one! I love to read books, search for new authors, and of course, support those ones I love. The glitz and glamour of New Year's Eve I find to be hopeful. No matter the suffering, disappointments, etc. etc., the people of the world celebrate the coming of a new year - awesome.

I enjoy my age and the things that go with it. Ok, I do not enjoy being called my children's grandfather, but it has only happened twice. There is something to the wisdom that comes from being alive before MTV and I can live with the fact that I have no idea what happened on Jersey Shore.

I don't care that the hottie thinks her mom would like me, although the fact that her mom is younger than me is a little rough.

Last week I met some old friends on the steps of our high school to remember other friends who were no longer with us. I do spend more time reading the obituaries than I used to. One of my classmates posted at least a dozen funeral notices last year. Social media has a down side.

Today will be back to that other life. Packing the school bags and getting a kindergartener to bed early so we can drive to school on Monday.

Welcome, Deborah! Loved your post. It's nice to know I'm not the only person on God's green earth who is clueless when looking at the front page of the tabloids! Oddly enough - this lack of pop culture knowledge is more bothersome than I'd care to admit, but not bothersome enough for me to start trying to find out who these children are. big sigh. I'm too busy trying to remember why I walked into the kitchen ...

Well, there are two schools of thought on this aging thing. I used to think I would start lying about my age, but it's too much bother, really. Although, on the morning after my 25th high school reunion, I had to give a talk to a bunch of businesswomen. All week before the reunion I had fretted that I might have a visible grey hair or two, wondering if I should dye it (I didn't, and still don't), or what, freaking out that I hadn't stuck to my exercise routine, etc.

When I got to the reunion I realized I need not have worried. Even then, 17 years ago, some of my classmates were already completely white-haired, some were, ahem, portly, and some of the men were almost unrecognizable, without the crowning glories of hair they'd once had.

So as I told my audience, if I started lying about my age it would be to ADD 10 years. That way I'd get loads of compliments about how young I look. Don't you think that's a way better strategy?

Nancy Martin, honey, are you exhausted?

This morning I awakened to a gray sky and a chance of snow...in Las Vegas. Nothing is as it used to be, and that is a good thing. If I have to sacrifice youth for wisdom, I think I got a fair deal. Now snow? In Vegas? Not so much. I am such a winter weenie....

Deborah, I love this post! Yes, I'm with you--I'm not giving up on people or possibility or hope. I'm enjoying things more because I recognize that time really is fleeting. I've reached the point in my life (50. Eek.) where I feel freer than ever to speak my mind (um, not always a good thing), tell friends I love them, and discard the things and people who, as you say, don't spread joy.

Judy: I'm with you. Fifty is in my rearview, although not so far I can't see it from here. And I feel like this is the decade of getting rid of junk: expectations that aren't mine but I still carry around anyway, negative people, fear. And good riddance! I like the freedom that comes with just saying, "This is who I am and what I want to do. Deal with it."

I don't mind aging, but even at young age I knew I wouldn't handle the death of loved ones well. With age, the death count mounts. Losing my mother was bad enough, but when not even a year later my daughter was struck by cancer, I wanted to shrivel up and hide. I didn't and she's still with me, but now an impending sense of doom lurks at the back of my mind. It's hard to stay positive in the face of losing someone who means everything...

Yes, yes, yes, count me in!

The funny thing is that I feel myself growing more, rather than less idealistic. When I was young, I figured it was someone else's (someone older, wiser, less fond of smoking pot) job to change the world. Now it's up to me. Anyone older than me is dealing with hip replacements.

That said, I have to change the world in incremental, mostly local ways, because I, like Alan P., go back to packing lunches today, finding the backpacks among the holiday rubble, and getting the kids to bed early, because tomorrow is back to school. And Alan, you're a better person than I am, because if anyone mistakes me for my kids' grandmother, I will have to shoot him or her.

Personally, if anyone is stupid enough to ask if you are your child's grandmother/grandfather, they are asking to be selected out of the gene pool....

Age is relative--except for the hair loss and creaky joints. We have a friend who turned 60, retired, got married, and had his first child in that very year. His dad came to the states with Desi Arnez and a group of musicians and lived to be a hundred--I think he only died because his wife, twenty years younger, passed away. Bobby is 63 and now has a beautiful little 3 year old girl and a one year old boy. Of course, his wife is younger, and his younger mother-in-law is often around to help with the babies. I think we all have to do what we want to do--and I agree! We just keep kicking until the kicking is over!

Deborah, really enjoyed "Wanna Get Lucky?" and recommend it for our TLC readers.
I've lost two good friends in recent years and my New Year's resolution is to spend more time with people I enjoy -- and make time, if I have to.

Hi, Deborah! That's the true Tart spirit, right there, just as you wrote and Heather said. . ."keep kicking until the kicking is over," lol.

People used to look genuinely surprised when I told them my age, but now they don't. At first, I was amused/aghast and wanted to prod them, "Hey, don't you think I look younger than that?" The answer, of course and obviously, would have been, "Sorry, but no." Time, she marches on my face.

I am hoping for wise and not wizened, though.

Deborah, this the best blog.

I love the resolution list being replaced by the bucket list.
Finally admitting to being a senior myself at seventy I too have to question the year's most sexiest man alive. When I alert my husband he always tells me that they made a mistake AGAIN because they did not seek him out.
I am finally grateful that I can't always clearly hear a rapper's song words on some award shows. If I am curious I will seek out the lyrics posted on the Internet and then I hold on to my swivel chair for dear life.
But then I am relieved when I remembered that it took my many years to realize that when Dean Martin sang "When the moon hits your eye like a big PIZZA Pie he was really saying "like a big PIECE of pie", I felt that the years had not slipped by that quickly.
My son-in-law gives me the yearly examination and tells me that I look good. I have to be modest and say that I lived in Canada and did not see the sun much. It makes me sound like I lived in a cave and only came out for food foraging. But it gives him home that maybe he can approach his later years with a little hope. My duty is to serve. Now I will return to the California cabana that keeps the wrinkles away.

In attitude and mind, young, physically -- well . . . Doing my best to hold the line. I read a Jane Fonda interview in which she stated that when young one can choose not to exercise, but at older ages exercise is a must. Just to keep going, mobile and somewhat limber, activity is essential. The Y aqua-aerobic classes are also fun, so it's a good thing. It's also a bit more necessary to watch diet choices -- but that's also a good thing (and about time I noticed, the health teachers would say).
At the same time, I dearly love the former students I lunched with Thanksgiving weekend, who declared that I haven't "changed a bit" in 20 years. ;-)
My favorite t-shirt "Cleverly Disguised as a Responsible Adult."

Uh, about that "amore" I thought it was "pizza pie" In fact, I just Googled it, and the lyrics show pizza pie . . . and Dang! now I'm craving pizza!

Tart spirit! I am so there. But why did it take me so long? As with happiness, embracing life is a choice--one I plan on making every moment of every day.

Harley, changing the world happens one person at a time--and that's all we can do. Perhaps I might suggest we resist doing it at gunpoint...however, there are times....I'm AM from Texas and all.

Age...it is what it is. Some days I think I look good for a fossil, other days, not so much. Most days I don't give a damn. Thirty minutes is all my appearance gets...life is waiting...as Heather's friend so aptly personifies. I want to be him when I grow up, perhaps without the babies, tho, which is probably a good thing--it would take serious medical intervention..

What? It's not PIZZA pie? Are you kidding me? Well, I'll have you know that I will keep belting out the wrong words because the visual makes me grin from ear-to-ear.

And Marie, may I join you in that California cabana? Does it come with cabana boys? Or, better, martinis?

Mary: where can I get one of those tee-shirts? Gotta have one. And why does "responsible adult" sound so incredibly boring?

Deborah, bring on the Cabana boys, dahling!
Better yet, bring on the martinis and the new electronic cigarettes that make you look like you are smoking..or bring back Dean Martin!!

Deborah, I just noticed your book "Lucky Stiff" received 4 1/2 stars in the most recent RT Times! Woohoo, for you!

I'm in, Deb! Love it!

Mary, mea cupla.. I did not google.
I should have been caffeinated before I posted.
Shamefully, maybe I am entering the early stages of dementia. Methinks, my DH is steering me in that direction. But I disappointed him when I told him that Jennifer Aniston still had feelings for Brad. Now, our spare bedroom will remain empty because SHE is not coming to our house anytime soon. Not that SHE would be occupying the spare bedroom...

Happy New Year, Tarts and citizens of Tartdom! Of my own free will, I chose to spend part of the first Sunday morning of 2011 (a prime year, thanks, Karen in Ohio--I'm also a Rabbit!) catching up on five days of TLC blogs and comments. I don't get to come around as often as I would like, but I did manage to get Google Reader set up on my Droid, so maybe in 2011 . . . .
Aging is a challenging topic for me just now--I always looked younger and more fit than most of my friends and family, a sheer gift of genetics, I think; but, grey hair and financial worries put paid to that this past year . . . my strategy against what sometimes feels depressing calendar reality is to recommit to sufficient sleep and happy exercise, and not spend too much time looking in the mirror.

Deborah, I'll take the martinis and anything else that comes with the cabañas, especially California.

Mary, I'd like one of those tee shirts, too! Can I wear it in the cabaña? I've just installed a martini glass holder on my old powerchair while I wait for the new order to go through.

Yes, supporters in Tartdom, Congresswoman Giffords' office has been helping, and all the necessary steps are in place to go forth and redo the order. The AZ attorney general's office is investigating. Of course, this is the land of Jan Brewer, so I am cautious in my exuberance.

Well, if I am going to join the cabaña group I'll need to get with the Help Me Out Here online backblogger group. So, Mary, how do I do that?

Reine, write to me at kmaslowski at fuse dot net and I'll hook you up, okay?

Karen, I will do that now. Thanks! XXX r.

Karen: LUCKY STIFF got 4 1/2 stars from RT? Whooo Hoooo! That is GREAT! I had no idea--thanks for bringing it to my attention. It's funny, when I started the Lucky series, I thought I was writing something more romantic, not genre romance, but I still thought the books would fit there. Imagine my surprise when my publisher told me I write comedic thrillers! Sounds like an oxymoron to me, but somehow that seems apropos;)

Karen! 41/2 stars from RT for LUCKY STIFF! That is GREAT! Thanks for letting me know--I had no idea. It's funny, when I started writing the LUCKY series, I thought I was writing for the romance market--not genre romance, but something that would appeal to those readers as I am one of the tribe. Imagine my confusion when my publisher announced that I write comedic thrillers. Between you and me, that sound like an oxymoron. And, given it's me, somehow that seems apropos;)

I fight by allowing my inner child (and sometimes my inner teenager) outside as often as proves wise. And often when it doesn't prove wise. Every once in awhile, I climb a tree or jump in a puddle or lay in the grass and look at the clouds. I eat things that are not good for me. I watch shlocky old monster movies. I've even been known to skip down the street.

And here's a quote from Captain Jean Luc Picard:
"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived."

Doc: Patrick Stewart makes my heart beat fast. He was the best Captain of the Enterprise ever. That quote makes sense from a fellow who loves Dickens. How we've lived, indeed.

Well, I used to keep my age the same but my son pointed out the older he got the worse it looked! So I decided to add a few years every year then I always 'look good for my age'!!! I noticed that under a recent dye job there were not just a few grays but an entire treasure chest of silver (my first thought upon seeing these was:'free highlights'!) and some other dark color I did not recognize (having dyed my hair for 30+ years) so cut my hair short recently so I don't have long to wait to see what my true color is.

I know now that no moisturizer in the world reverses wrinkles, no matter how much I spend a few more arrive each month and what used to seem a painful thought, have adjusted to the 3 minutes prick of the botox needle-just for now.Beyond that I like to forget that Ryan Reynolds is a 'mere boy' mainly becausse other than my boyfriend, I think it is very possible he is 'the sexiest man alive'......

Darla: to have a boyfriend who is sexier than The Sexiest Man Alive...wow:) I too have colored my hair since my twenties. Who knew early gray is a sign of a sluggish thyroid? Only took me over twenty years to get THAT properly diagnosed....one of those life lessons. Botox is in my near future, I have a feeling. I always look like I'm frowning, even when I'm smiling. This is not a good thing.

Hey Deborah,
I have a thyroid disease and didn't get any grey until 40. I like grey, I have more now and I think it looks smashing. I used to colour my hair for fun but gave that up when the whole thyroid thing made me lose bunches of hair. It only took me 9 years to get the Hashimoto's diagnosis.

I have aged well, no tanning since 31, drink lots of water, don't smoke or drink alcohol. Yep, I look younger than 51 but sure 'sound' boring!

I think Patrick Stewart is the sexiest man alive.

Even though our journeys are unique, we do share so much. I still color my hair--haven't made peace with the gray yet. And give up my occasional martini, no, haven't made peace with that yet either--not sure I want to. My, I sure am sharing alot today:)

Yes, Gaylin, Patrick Stewart is hot, for sure. And you don't sound boring at all!

T-shirt was from Wireless Catalog, so long ago it has holes in it. If you can't find one, you could make one with fabric paint, primary colors, big letters. I did have someone misread it as "respectable adult" -- whole different "vibe" . . .
Marie, no problem with not googling, you gave me a whole new visual -- still craving pizza, though. By the time I finished working at the Apple Store, the mall was closing . . . I should have gone looking for Al . . . some "Daddy pizza" would be great!

Now I'm craving Patrick Stewart . . .

I'm a Single Dad of 2, age 2 and 5. I find your site so interesting and helpful. I hope I have much time each day to drop by and check your site for recent post. By the way thank you for sharing this.

Single Dad: Drop by and visit. We always have fun. And for those craving Patrick Stewart, the line starts behind me:) Pizza and Patrick Stewart, one never can predict where these things go.

Who is Patrick Stewart?

Reine -- WHAT!!! you don't know who Patrick -- The most phenomenal actor of this AND last century -- Stewart is?

I love, love, love his version of Ebenezer Scrooge and was lucky, lucky, lucky enough to see him perform in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" at the original Guthrie Theatre with Mercedes Ruhl.

I agree with Gaylin -- he makes my heart go pitter-pat and I like it.

As for 2011 -- I am going to try to go to Bouchercon in St Louis in September; survive my 15 yo turning 16 in March and hopefully getting her license; and keeping a relationship with the 21 yo without going completely insane. Oh yea -- got the 30th wedding anniversary in June too.

It's true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and here's to all the strong women and men of TLC.


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