Category Archives: Observe & Ponder

Nattering Nabobs?

Woman dreaming

I had a dream last night, although I didn’t remember having it at all until my husband mentioned it to me at breakfast. “In your sleep you inarticulately mentioned something about nattering nabobs of negativism.” I wasn’t able to remember the actual dream, but I did recall the words.

Nattering nabobs of negativism. Wha?

After breakfast at the beautiful Algonquin Hotel in St. Andrews by the Sea in New Brunswick Canada, I googled the phrase. To be honest, I barely knew how to spell it.

It was a phrase used by Nixon’s Vice President Spiro Agnew to refer to the members of the media with whom he had a very acrimonious relationship.

Agnew, who was extremely inarticulate, and later a disgraced VP, didn’t have the brains or the wherewithal to come up with such a memorable and jarring expression.

The phrase was actually written forty-five years ago by William Safire, the former Nixon speechwriter turned New York Times op-ed columnist, who died in 2009.

The nattering nabobs were the mainstream American news media. So what the heck was I dreaming about to cause me to mumble it out loud in my sleep?

To be clear, I have never uttered those words before last night. And now I can’t get the words out of my head.

According to Dictionary.com natter as a verb means to talk incessantly; chatter. As a noun it means a conversation; chat. The origin of natter occurred between 1820-1830. Its variant was gnatter.

Nabob as a noun means any very wealthy, influential, or powerful person.

No need to look up negativism. We all know what that means.

I’ve been wracking my brain to recall what it was I was dreaming about. I do remember something vague about someone making light of my words. I recollect saying over and over: “It’s my story to tell.” A blonde woman was vehemently shaking her head as if to say “no,” and trying to devalue my telling. She was refusing to listen and/or acknowledge what I was saying about my telling, i.e. my life.

I also vaguely remember thinking that she was usurping my words, my writing style, my story.

Who was the blonde in my dream? Was she the nattering nabob or was I? And what was I trying to tell?

 

60 Is the New 40—but It’s Still 60

woman-looking-in-mirror-vintage

According to scientists, 60 is the new 40, and healthier lives mean people now hit middle-age much later in life. This is awesome news for me now that I’m 62. So I’m figuring it’s time to party hard, right?

No one likes to party more than me, but here is the question I keep asking myself:

Is there anything to celebrate about turning 60 and then beyond?

I’ve been assiduously mulling over the pros and cons of 60+. Try as I may, I haven’t found much to celebrate, and I’m struggling to think positively here, but there just aren’t a ton of advantages to oldness.

After much consideration, I was able to find one glorious Pro: I can finally say no.

I can’t avoid aging, but at least I’m now old enough to not  care one hoot about what anyone else thinks or wants. It’s finally all about me, with no regrets and no apologies.

So no, I’m not commemorating 62, but I have come to terms with it.  And I would like to think I’m at a stage in my life where I am also at peace with my age—and my wrinkles. But please do me a favor, and NEVER call me a senior.

And let’s be real—it’s exceedingly difficult to jubilate over my crow’s feet, laugh lines, jowls, and the dreaded “11’s” in between my hooded eyes. But the alternative is for sure a whole lot worse.

So I’ve created my own take on an old rant:

I’m old as hell and I’m not doing that anymore.

I first heard a similar phrase back in 1976 while watching the American satirical film Network. Howard Beale (played by Peter Finch), was a longtime newscaster at the United Broadcasting System, who was fired because he skewed old. Beale couldn’t fathom losing his 25-year post as lead anchorman simply because of his age.

So in his next broadcast he announced to his viewers that he was going to commit suicide on his final program. UBS believed that they would have their greatest ratings ever and hyped Beale’s fateful and final telecast as a momentous, must-see event. No surprise that Beale didn’t follow through with his suicide threat.

But he did go on a maniacal rant and concluded his tirade by challenging his viewers to: “Go to the window and shout as loud as you can: ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!'” His ravings make him an icon and Beale landed his own show and became the hottest TV personality in America.

Now, I’m not going to scream out any windows, and my “hot” days are long gone, but I can finally run my own show.

And I’ve given up faking my age. I used to shave off ten years, but it got complicated and confusing. One tiny white lie turned into an entire ruse. Take for example this innocent question: “How old were you when you had kids?” The honest answer is 31 and 35. But I had to remember the minus ten-year rule, so the fake answer was 21 and 25. “Wow, you were young when you had kids,” my friends would retort, as I sheepishly agreed.

And then there were the times that I forgot about the negative ten, and would ruminate about things that I was barely born for like almost making it to Woodstock. I had to backtrack that white lie by adding that my mother was going to accompany me since I was a mere six years old.

And then there was always the uneasiness that my husband or offspring would spill the old age beans. But those days are thankfully gone. Now, I just don’t care what other people think about my older-than-dirt self. Because I’m old as hell and…

Every now and then, I get requests from colleagues asking me to speak at some conference, workshop, or seminar. They try to convince me that it will attract lots of business prospects.

In the old days, even though I would have preferred to stick a hot poker in my eye, I would succumb to the pressure, and say “yes.” Now? I say, “Thanks anyway, but my prospecting days are over.”

As recently as five years ago, I understood the importance of doing things I didn’t enjoy or want to do. But those days are long gone. I’m older and wiser now.

When I’m asked to make dinner for the masses, I politely notify: “I don’t have the strength at my age.”

Turnaround business trips to wherever? “I’m not able to do that any longer.”

Obligatory outings? “I can’t sit for that long.”

Need help moving? “My back is shot.”

Now that I don’t have to prospect, cook, travel, or move people, I have a lot of time to ponder and observe women like me who are getting long in the tooth. And yes, there are some women aging quite well out there. But there are also way too many women who have gone under the knife, a few too many times. The search for the fountain of youth can sometimes get very (and I mean very) ugly.

You know the look: Windblown facelifts that resemble trudging through a typhoon…

Windblown-Look-cropped

…the permanently surprised face, the piggy nose, trout lips, way too big and white teeth…Listen up people—YOU CAN’T FIX OLD.

And let’s face it—ageism, no matter how young you look for your age, is a real downer. Plus as the saying goes: You’re only as young as your neck.

These days, it seems that everyone is obsessed with fixing old. There’s microdermabrasion, triphasic facials, Botox, fillers, hair extensions, acrylic nails. There are butt lifts, breast and chin implants, tummy tucks, liposuction, lip augmentation, blah, blah, blah. Is there anyone authentically old left out there?

And am I the only one who is sick and tired of the Victoria’s Secret models prancing around in undergarments? I can’t wait to see what they look like at 62. Oh, I almost forgot—I’ll be long gone by then.

I try to stay in shape—trying  being the operative word, because I’m just too damn old to be jogging, spinning, cycling, weight training, and the like. Hell, I can barely dance without limping around hunched over the next day.

I prefer to think of myself as “Native American Summer”—before politically correctness kicked in, aka Indian Summer.

Native American Summer

Somehow Native American Summer just doesn’t have the same ring, but call it what you want. Bottom line: I am under a warm calm spell, with the sober realization that a long, cold winter is on its way. As I enjoy the tranquility and serenity of my old age, I know that my personal El Niño is lurking around the corner.

I try not to look back at the days when I would walk into a room or down the street and actually get noticed. Now I am invisible to all. The upside of being a ghost is the increased freedom to explore who I am without all the scrutiny or outside expectations. My irrelevance has made it easier to relax—and be myself.

And I’m finally able to focus on what I want to do, and not what I should do to make everyone else happy about me, my lifestyle, my career, and my life choices.

I once read a fascinating article by Pulitzer Prize winner and psychologist Erik Erikson regarding his belief that there were eight psychosocial stages of life development. His theory has stuck with me and goes something like this:

The first year of life: “I am what I am given.”

Second and third years of life: “I am what I will be.”

Fourth through the sixth year of life: “I am what I imagine I will be.”

Age six through puberty: “I am what I will learn.”

Adolescence: “Who am I?”

Early adulthood: “I am what I love.”

Middle adulthood: “I am what I create.”

Late adulthood: “I am what survives me.”

Pregnant mom

The “Ending” of My Life Will NOT Be Happy—But I Need to Be the Boss of It

Sometime in early 2009 I asked my lawyer husband to update my will. Six years later, I’m still waiting. I know he’s been busy, but really?

In case you’re wondering what prompted my request for a legal modification:

In 2008, there was a scene in Season 2, Episode 9, of Madmen, titled “Six Month Leave,” where Don Draper utters the following bar advice: “It’s your life. You don’t know how long it’s gonna last, but you know it doesn’t end well.”

His aphoristic words have been resonating with me ever since. I am most definitely not expecting a “Happy Ending.” But if I’m in charge of said end, I am optimistic that with a well thought out plan of action, I will be fully prepared to execute the whole sordid mess my way.

But first things first. As a means to the end, I’m hoping that this blog post will help to jump start a codicil and/or serve as proof of what I want in terms of my final wishes. I’m also hoping that this blog post will hold up in a court of law because there has been zero movement on my almost seven-years-already appeal to the hubby. And it seems unlikely that a new and improved version of my VERY OLD WILL is coming anytime soon.

Anyway, pending a revised will, durable power of attorney, living will, health care proxy and DNR (no pun intended, but I’m not holding my breath), below is a quick and dirty amendment to the Last Will and Testament of Teri Dawne Schure.

And maybe this sounds outrageously depressing, but I have been busily and intensely engineering my last hoorah. While my friends have been planning European trips, and seeking retirement advice, I have been assiduously putting the final touches on my last chapter.

Control freak that I am, it should come as no surprise to those who know and still love me, that me myself and I will be orchestrating my closing performance. I am hoping for some dignity, a competent finale, with a little comic relief thrown in for good measure. Okay, it probably won’t be that dignified, because I expect all my homies to party like it’s 1999. And ever the hostess with the mostess, I am fully expecting my bon voyage to be one hell of a shindig.

I fervently hope that I have enough of a final-days-heads-up to spend them in a beauteous locale surrounded by mountains or the ocean. And if I get the dreaded Alzheimer’s, I pray my fam will do the right thing and proceed with all that I have requested in this post. (They’re probably reading this and thinking I won’t be the wiser, but just do it loved ones!)

When it’s my time, I hope to have all my cherished peeps at my side as I peacefully fade away. Oh and make sure I’m pumped full of shit loads of pain medication, and my iPod blasting. Music needs to be an essential component of my final act. I want my treasured iPod to be playing all of my fave tunes while I deliver my swan song.

And when my time here on earth is concluded, don’t count me out so fast, cuz I plan on having the last word, which will be recited aloud. And YES, it will, of course, include the as usual unwelcome motherly advice for my kids.

I am wholeheartedly expecting the end to be easy breezy although I recognize it may be stressy messy—and way more labor intensive and time consuming than I would prefer or planned for. So DO NOT forget to administer the painkillers.

And at my adios soiree, I want a B-I-G partay. No expense spared people. Pigs in a blanket are a must, as well as a signature Martini—Stoli up, no vermouth, three olives with or without bleu cheese. Oh and I definitely want a bunch of those delish Chicken Samosas from Trader Joe’s, some shrimp cocktail, and a killer Italian rum cake with chocolate and vanilla pudding smothered in whipped cream. Hey, I might be dead, but let them eat my favorite cake.

I can’t bear the thought of being stuffed into a coffin and then buried in the dirt. SO DON’T DO IT.

My daughter Ariel knows the drill. I’m to be cremated, even though it’s against my religion. She can put me anywhere she wants—in her attic, her basement, the laundry room, wherever. I’m not picky. But she needs to TAKE ME WITH. Wherever she goes, I go.

If anyone wants a Teri souvenir, I think I would make a standout piece of jewelry.

And per my usual research I found some fascinating ways to divvy me up:

Teri Hour Glass

Although it probably won’t function as a reliable timepiece, it will allow me to keep time at my own pace. Call it Teri Time.

Teri Diamond

Since diamond is my birthstone, I like this idea a lot. Plus, a Teri diamond is forever.

Teri Paint

You can mix me up with a little paint and use it for a Teri portrait.

Teri Candlesticks

You can create a one-of-a-kind Teri pair to add height, shape and interest to your tablescape. I would also be quite handy during a blackout.

Teri Suncatcher

Mix me into some stained glass and hang me someplace sunny.

Teri Bust

You can create a three-dimensional Teri likeness of me. This bust will not only be my spitting image, but it will also allow me to keep an eye on things.

Teri Jewelry

You can accessorize a la Teri wherever and whenever.

Teri Stemware

Handy dandy way to never drink alone again.

Teri Mask

Create a Teri mask King Tut style.

Teri Maracas

Drag Teri out for special musical occasions.

After reviewing all of the options, my personal preference (listen up Ariel), would be a Teri candelabra.

My favorite Disney character has always been Lumière from Beauty and the Beast. He has such panache and a bona fide bon vivant! Yes, I could definitely envision my candelabra self. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became.

So excited, that I e-mailed foreverence.com with questions regarding a custom candelabra. Mr. Dawson from Foreverence, got back to me immediately and was enthusiastic about working on a custom, 3-D-printed urn in the shape of a candelabra—ASAP. Mr. Dawson wanted to connect by phone to go over the project details. And he wanted to know if I had a specific candelabra in mind and if I could provide a photo. He was adamant about getting as much information as “we” could gather to assist their designers.

Whoa, maybe I’m not that excited.

And then there was the price. A mere $2,495.00 for a unique and custom urn. It seemed like an arm and a leg for a simple candelabra of my cremains, and I wondered if there was any wiggle room in the price.

Oh, and the process takes about two weeks once the design is completed. Mr. Dawson ended his e-mail with “Let me know if you have any additional questions, and when you would like to get started.”

Back off Mr. Dawson, I’m not in that much of a hurry. Plus, I need to shop around. Make sure your price is in line with comparable candelabrum.

But I did take scotch tape to paper to create the following rough draft:

Teri Lumiere

Okay, maybe my rendering needs some fine tuning. So once the Teri takers have placed and received their orders, I will leave the rest of me to my imaginative, fashion-forward daughter to design the perfect Teri taper holder.

But whatever Teri masterpiece my daughter deems appropriate to create, I want it engraved with the following:

Don’t forget to dream.  Don’t forget to laugh.  Don’t forget to live.

My Almost Virgin Blog Post

Today marks my opening act—and my first blog post on The Teri Tome.

Before writing this post, I did my usual painstaking research to see what the hell I was going to blog about and why anyone would care to read it. Based on everything I fervently read, my blog has to be pithy, witty, wise, provocative, insightful, powerful, compelling and beautifully written.  It was also highly recommended that a Mission Statement be prepared. This blogging business is going to be way more time consuming than I originally thought.

So here’s my Mission Statement: I’m a first time author, and I really need to sell copies of my book Our Romantic Getaway. This way, I can retire, kick back and do nothing but write for the rest of my life.  And since authors are supposed to have blogs, this one is mine. I will try to be pithy, witty, and wise.

I’ll probably spend a lot of time blogging about myself, since I’m technically not allowed to talk about my kids. The primary reason being, I’m afraid to ask them for their permission.  One is still not speaking to me since I published Our Romantic Getaway  last December—seems I “stained” the family name.

I did ask my husband last night for permission to blog about him from time to time, and he reservedly and begrudgingly said okay, as long as he had the final editing say in anything I write about him. He also mumbled something about his right of privacy.

So based on the family slim pickings, I’m thinking that this blog is pretty much going to be about me. And I might throw in my observations about whatever might be in the news, or throw out some questions to my readers (hopefully more than just my BFF) about any old stuff.

And while this is my first ever blog post on The Teri Tome, it is actually the second blog post of my career.

My virgin blog post was written on Monday as a guest blogger for a good friend of mine, Olga Cohen, CEO of Grohen Technologies and the creator of a product called Vaginal Renewal Complex.  Olga specializes in vaginal rejuvenation.

When Olga asked me to guest blog, I had no idea where my posting was going to take me. But check out I Need Me Some Rejuvenation – BAD.

Back to this blog post: From the research I just completed, I concluded that I should probably answer the four very important questions readers are supposed to want to know below:

Q #1: Who am I?

A #1: This is where I get to brag. I’m the founder and owner of an international news web site Worldpress.org, which reaches over 50,000 unique visitors a month. I’m also a journalist, and a publishing and marketing consultant. I’ve been a director at Newsweek, a publisher and COO of World Press Review magazine, and publisher of Commentary magazine. As I previously informed you, Our Romantic Getaway  is my first novel. And I am working on a sequel, albeit very sloooowly.

Q #2: Why am I blogging?

A #2: Since you force me to spell out my intentions, I hope to entertain you, make some friends, keep my enemies at bay, and fulfill my requirement to blog. Oh and it would be great if I could sell some books.

Q #3: What will I be blogging about?

A #3: As stated above, I will definitely blog about me, the occasional state of the nation, the world, relationships between same-sex and/or opposite sex, friendship, loss, motherhood (without mentioning the offspring), with a little gardening thrown in there. Blogging about my relationship with a certain “someone,” may pose somewhat difficult, if not impossible, since my husband has now decided he wants out of all posts. We had a firm (on his part) discussion over coffee this morning re: his right not to be subjected to unsanctioned invasions of privacy. The rest of my blogging intentions TBD, because after all, who knew that my first blog would be about vaginal rejuvenation?

Q #4: How can you leave feedback?

A: Since I am still trying to figure out how my blog works, I have no idea.  But I’m working on it.

Stay tuned for my next blog post!