Living life out on the social stage

When I think about getting older I often think about my Dad who will be 79 in a few months. He’s a bit of a Jack Lalanne type. Spends much of his time working out at the gym, walking on the beach and playing his horn. Recently he said, “I play pool with guys that are in their 50s. And by the way, they aren’t so 50s fab.” This made me laugh. “They are more like 50s-flabby, dad-lowresflubby, farty, and frustrated. Then he asks..”what’s wrong with your generation?”
I had to stop and think about this. Then I pulled up Facebook and I saw my answers…the big reveal! Clarification in all forms and flavors. A cavalcade of aches, pains, trials and tribulations, begging for my attention – waiting for a ‘like’, a comment, anything. Is this what we have become? And these are people I know and love, or used to know, and used to love, now it seems some are a scant image of their old self. And their cry isn’t good reading. It chimes of loneliness cying out to social media for someone to take a listen, take an interest…on a stage that’s right at their fingertips. I don’t remember these guys as complainers. And I don’t like seeing old school chums and family friends..asking for attention…using their ‘wall’ to evoke a little controversy…enough, really.
Why load everyone up with this? Seems we have enough drama and stupidity circulating our lives for God’s sakes… it’s not very cool, and not too “social” either… it’s just one big drag for readers. Somehow I am not feeling too social right now. Maybe I’ve been too sour and not checked in enough with friends that need a little love. Maybe I need redo the way I see things and lighten up a bit.
Turns out my Dad Joe was onto something. Not a guy that notices and comments on too much of life’s upside-down idiosyncrasies but his perspective of our generation is pretty right on. It’s amazing to have your dad alive and well and commenting on stuff that makes you stop and take a listen. Thanks Dad…always teaching.

So many reasons to fall in love…

Far be it from me to cause a stir, but sometimes the truth has to be spoken, and it should be out loud without fear of repercussion. After all, we live in America, no one should shake in their boots afraid to speak out, right? I’m talking about a very serious and controversial topic….our personal computer choices. To be more specific, PC versus Mac and the sensitivities over which one is better, which company makes the baddest unit, the fastest, coolest, etc. This isn’t a commercial, or a dog/versus cat person thing, it’s just that we all use them, and in all honesty there is truly a clear winner and it cannot be denied. Mac, the only real front runner is leaps ahead of anything we have out there…far more magnificent, quieter, sleeker, more chic and simply flat out better than any other computer technology we have going.
Maybe it’s the hip design or super stunning interface or maybe because it’s easy to use with all those cool icons and sensible organization (Delete A-B-C-D-drive mindset). Perhaps its the way the keyboard gives you all those wild little shortcuts and making you say “I get it”. The emotional effect cannot be denied either. Run your fingers across the keyboard and you will see how good it makes you feel!  It’s an Apple, and somehow Apple gets you to feel proud to own one of their crazy-ass incredible products, even the opening of the product boxes have been reported to deliver a rush! Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, the PC overpowers all, there’s more of them around, it lets you play more games, make more spreadsheets, wah, wah, way, who cares. And Macs are for drawing pictures and PCs are for important business, like running the world. Muwaaaah. Oh how fun it is not to believe any of that nonsense!

I am just a really proud and happy Mac user. Mac, Mac, Mac, oh, and iPod, and iPhone, and iPad. Yes, I have drunk the cool-aid, I am now high and certainly cannot help myself!
And today I celebrate a major milestone. I just got the treat of my life, my own kid bought me a new MacBook Air, seriously contributing to this Mac drug-fest addiction thing I’ve got. He may have skipped me a Mother’s Day card, but he walked into the Apple Store all on his own, bought a case and a bag to put everything in, and got it all rung up right there on the clerk’s iPhone. I have had a lot of computers over the years, but THIS is the sweetest, coolest gift, AND piece of machinery I have ever laid my eyes on.
Sadly, I cannot say the same about my awkward PC desktop that takes up tons of space under my desk where my legs and high heels go. I know that there are sleek little PCs out there, pleeze, I get it, but they continue to be stuck in yesteryear, and a little boring, and a little tinny and a bit old school.

If you are not of the Apple Store browsing ilk, if you have not dipped your toe into the delicious waters of seamless technology perfection, and if you have not experienced falling in love with a machine, then I urge you to go there. And why shouldn’t we love the way our devices look and feel? I think we’re owed this as picky-butt consumers – so go ahead, touch it, feel it, breathe in its scent, and sense a touch of nirvana.
>> PC users… lower your guard, wash away the nonsense, and be prepared to be amazed!  : )

Christmas cards are so yesterday.

Hello, where have all the Christmas cards gone? Was it the switch from Christmas to Holiday that did them in? Did this cause us to pause or say forget it altogether?

Or did we just take all the fun out of it – changing things that work into things over-complicated. We went from store-bought Hallmark to fancy must-have photo cards. We’re now a bit compelled to arrange a photo shoot, match white shirts with faded jeans, and pay for pedicures all around. We drag everyone to the beach and bring in a Photoshop expert for holiday photo perfection! It’s just too much.

Expensive endeavor but I still like getting photo cards.

Nonetheless, I love getting and giving Christmas cards. I love going to the mailbox and grabbing a stack of hand-written envelopes covered with Christmas stickers and fancy gold writing. It’s fun and exciting to sit down and pour through cards, photo cards and even corny family letters written in teeny tiny type barely legible. Call me old-fashioned, I also love setting aside a full day to write out all my cards to friends and family. Unfortunately, Christmas cards are drying up and are no longer flooding our mailboxes.

However…amongst the Christmas melodies of Shaggy, Elvis and Lady GaGa, walnut-fudge, and twinkling lights – Christmas 2011 will still connect us to our loved ones. Maybe not so much with the traditional Christmas card, but in full supply you’ll find a link to the family holiday blog (w/ Amazon ads) – a tweet – a text – a Facebook wall greeting – or a Holiday Greeting email with crazy clip art.

While oh so cool, I vote to let Christmas cards flow again… reinvigorate this simple old-school, worn-out, yester-year tradition in all its personal hand-written glorypreserved and cherished in its original form – just like the Christmas tree – and just like Santa Claus.

Because some things don’t need to change.

On losing a brother

Jimmy

“A reason to pause” – as they say, that’s what yesterday was for me. October 13th is one day of the year I do not celebrate, I don’t even like the sound of the letters and numbers strung together in a sentence or written out in marker on a calendar. What’s important is that I use this day each year to reflect on what could have been, and what we once had.

It was late one Saturday night. My brother was “jamming” with a friend from work, playing music late into the evening. Meanwhile, his wife Diane was pacing, worried and wondering where he was.
The rest of us, including his children, were peacefully asleep in our beds when on his way home, he lost control of his car and crashed head-on into a palm tree. He was only 32.

“Jimmy Joe” was my kid brother who made me his tomboy, a caddy for all of his sports. He threw catcher’s gear on me so he could pitch – made me break all the rules by playing baseball in the front yard – made me lie about balls he crashed through windows –and dragged me to the baseball diamond to chase after his ground balls. He was young, but a determined baseball player and the first ten-year old major league player at Sunset Little League in La Puente, CA. He once hit a grand slam and was our hero of the day! My parents, active in the Little League, were always ear-to-ear proud! He was our golden boy, and my brother was kicking butt in on his team.

Dedicated baseball player

But soon, the chubby boy in the Senator’s baseball uniform grew up and slimmed down. Like his dad and grandfather before him, he was obsessed with music, both playing and singing.  He banged his drums for years, forming mini-bands he strung together in the garage. Jimmy was into music and into the girls, none of which was in short supply.

But it all changed when he met Diane. It didn’t take long before they decided to get married – both only 18 years old. The wedding weekend was a great time, laughing and crying at their wedding at Wee Kirk o’ The Heather Chapel in Las Vegas.  Jimmy and Diane became a unit –a young, fun couple, always having a good time with family around. Everything revolved around his wife, his two baby boys – and his music.

Jimmy and Diane

Jimmy was our brother – the epitome of tall, dark and handsome. He was gentle and funny and loved to bug me incessantly to listen to his latest recordings on cassette.

In 1990, Jimmy and Diane had their third son Aaron, named after Elvis Aaron Presley, Jimmy’s mentor from childhood. After Aaron was born, everything seemed to be working, everyone seemed to be happy. Family get-togethers were about the kids and everyone hanging out together always sharing a nice time. Baby Aaron was given seven precious months to feel his father’s touch, to breathe in his scent, to listen his songs, to know and feel the very man that created him and loved him. That man that used to play little league baseball and play with a dog named Flo.

_________________________________________

Doctors say that our bodies have a natural response to an adrenaline rush. Information during the rush gets hard-wired into our memories, often permanent, but yet easy to be recalled. This is what happened to me. From the “call” informing me of the accident, to sifting in the dirt with my fingers at the accident scene — every moment is imprinted in my mind, every detail.
Each year on October 13th I systematically recall them, as needed, to remind me of the reality. My unanswered questions though, still linger.  I want to know everything he did that day, what was he wearing, what his last 10o words were. I want to know why he wasn’t more careful, what happened to his seat belt, and why was he out so late, and what was the last thing that he laughed about.
If Jimmy were here today he would be living the life of a loving grandfather to his new grandbaby girl. His oldest son and his wife have a little beauty named Laila. Two of his sons are now married, one is a teacher, one in college, one blessed with fatherhood. He has two awesome, smart, daughter-in-laws, and he would be loving and enjoying all of them, surrounding himself with his family. Jimmy had a big heart. I could go on about him, talking about the goofy gifts he gave my sister and I growing up that proved his heart and soul. He loved his grandmother, his parents, and his sisters, and especially his wife and boys. That was his life, and he showed his heart each day he lived, in his own way, and on his own terms.

We miss you, and we honor you,  Jimmy “Joe” Joseph Alvarez.

You are here.

Lately, I have found a major shift in how we think, and in a good way. Everything from how and where we spend, what we’re cooking dinner  — to new ways of marketing our home businesses; the tools for communication are red hot, and talking about it has never been easier. Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts have given us incredible jumping boards to more information.
So — yes, you are here! And, thanks for joining me. I have come to realize that there is expert in all of us, and we are ready and happy to share that with our peers. Regardless of how old you are or what your background is, we can learn from each other in ways that are simple and straightforward. 50sFab is part satire, part how-to, but more importantly it will grow into vital discussions about life as a 50-something and above. My goal is to share with you things of interest, topics that affect those within my age group including health and wellness, humor, fashion, work, family, and most importantly, how to see the brighter side when dealing with life’s angsts.

As a working woman in corporate America, I am obsessed with people and people watching. I take what I need, and leave the rest.
Each and every day I experience bloggable craziness from the moment I enter the slow lane on the 15 freeway early in the AM, until I call it quits at the end of the day, and then some.
I think you will relate to some of the madness of which I write — so I say, let’s blog! And come together to share our fabulous life in the 50s.