Saturday, December 31, 2011

Why they get no respect!

We usually discover them when we’re moving or cleaning closets. Magic boxes filled with cards and letters from family and friends.

Each card and letter a treasure with its personal message to no one but us. Ours alone to save and savor over the years.

But, see, here’s the thing.

How many envelopes have we thrown away over the course of our lifetime that contained something equally as special as the cards or letters they enclosed?

Now before you shake your head or turn up your nose convinced those envelopes were of no significance, think about this. 

Someone other than you handwrote your name.

Hey, we all recognize our own signature. And frankly, take it for granted every day.

But think how you felt as a young girl pulling from the mailbox your first piece of mail hand addressed to you. Your name scrawled on the envelope big as life. Not your parents’ names. Your very own name.

Or how it felt the first time you saw that a boy wrote your name on a Valentine envelope. You held it in your hand knowing his fingers, hand and wrist had dipped and looped just to create your name as only he could.

For a moment no one and nothing else had mattered to him. Only you as he spelled out every letter of your name. Again, as only he could.

The connection is beyond the message on the card or letter. The sender has a motive for writing “Dear Sue” or signing with their name.

An envelope is so much more. It’s like the person who wrote your name on it forever put your name in lights. Like on a huge billboard or neon sign on Broadway!

What do we do? We rip it open and toss it aside while we go straight for what it had selflessly delivered.

Envelopes. Time to give them the respect they so richly deserve. Together, we can lick this thing!

~ Diana

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"why does this woman work?"

In 1975, the flicker of 50 birthday candles in the not too distant future, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis dusted off her resume’ and went to work.

Did she have to? No. And, yes.

No, because she had money enough to live extremely well.

Yes, because money can’t buy “me” love.

The former First Lady supposedly told a friend that she’d always lived through men. And she couldn’t do that anymore.

The suggestion of another friend coupled with her lifetime love of books soon led her to a career as editor; a damn fine editor.

Such a fine editor that she revised, corrected and updated some of her own personal thoughts and beliefs as well. Four months after John F. Kennedy was assassinated at her side, she’d shared that her opinions depended on those of a husband. One might assume she carried that conviction through her marriage to Aristotle Onassis.

But in an issue of Ms. Magazine in 1979, the cover posing a question “Why Does This Woman Work?”, Onassis wrote, “What has been sad for many women of my generation is that they weren’t supposed to work if they had families… the definition of happiness: ‘complete use of one’s faculties along the lines leading to excellence in a life affording them scope.’ It applies to women as well as to men.”

After tragedy and triumphs, as many aspire when we reach midlife, Jackie O. found happiness within. Though one might argue even she would have been at a loss for words to describe how much her two children filled her with pride and joy. She often said they were her most important responsibility in life.

Bottom line, when her kids were grown and a man’s values no longer determined her own, Kennedy-Onassis discovered something that allowed her to feel vibrant and alive.

Work. Work that didn’t feel like work.

Work she loved. Love that worked.

~ Diana Black
(content & grahic copyright diana black 2011)

Vibrant Nation!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thelma & Louise: Who Knows Why

Did you see it coming? The end. Literally. You know, of Thelma & Louise?

I didn’t. I still remember leaving the theatre a zombie.

Two decades later, I lapse into that same shock and disbelief just thinking about the movie and those two characters.

If the film has impacted your then or now self, check out a recent article about its message and the lack of substantial women flicks these days. I won’t rehash the writer’s conclusions. They are well drawn and worth the read.

But before you click away, I’m curious. Do you identify with either character? Is it Thelma? Louise? A composite? Or is it more like no way in hell does either realistically portray you or women in general then, now or ever!

Note: In case any of you tend to confuse the characters (okay, I’m really doing this for me!), a little refresher, Susan Sarandon played Louise; Genna Davis was Thelma. (You know, the one who got lucky with Brad Pitt. Ah, NOW you, I mean, I remember!)

Well, having established who is who, back to that identity question. Personally, I’ve always thought of myself as the Sarandon character BUT with the name Thelma. (That right there says a lot about me and my split-personality.)

Yes, the one who does NOT get Kickapoo high school’s alumni. Because she had something better. A teal 1966 Thunderbird.

And, man, could that thing fly. Literally.

But I'm still not sure why...

~ Diana Black (art copyright 2011 diana black – all rights reserved. no reproduction or use without written permission)   Vibrant Nation!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

why u r beautiful

Seriously. Can you honestly say you are beautiful?

Is it because your definition of beauty has changed over the years?

Has your need to be beautiful lessened or increased?

Is this you? You’ve suddenly blossomed into the vibrant woman you always wanted to be.

Or are you still struggling with the image in the mirror on those rare occasions you find courage to face it?

But, really, how much does “beauty” actually have to do with our lives? Is it just one of those overused words and ideals? Or is it the basis of all life? Of every woman?

“Beauty once seemed to me to be an accident of nature. …But now that I can see my life on my face, I realize we earn the way we end up looking. Time, it seems, gives us all a chance to really be beautiful.” – Ann Curry

So, is it safe to say that beauty has nothing to do with physical perfection? That therein lies confusion?

Perfection is often seen in terms of flawlessness and directly linked to beauty. Sure, that’s one way to look at it. But perfection as demonstrated by excellence is … perfection!

Can it be beauty is simply being the best we can be…physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?

So, let me ask again. Are you beautiful? And I don’t mean when you’re dressed to the nines. I mean right now. Where you are this very minute. In front of your computer screen. In your nightgown. Hair uncombed. Nails chipped.

Do your lips have a slight upturn? Are your shoulders relaxed? Are you content to be reading about beauty and seeing yourself for the amazing woman you are? Does your heart flutter just a bit…falling in love with yourself all over again or for the first time?

Not because you’re flawless. (There’s always room for improvement!) Because u r beautiful.

~ Diana Black

On Vibrant Nation!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Why Women Boomers don't "beat around the bush!"

Please carefully read this short email thread (there’s a test!):

The tree person was here this morning to look at the pine trees and give a quote.

Do you like them so far?

Yes, I have estimates and they seem very nice.

So, who do you think composed these emails?  
A. two males
B. two females
C. one of each 
D. none of the above

Bravo! Yes, the messages were written by two females!

Seriously, guys just don’t ask the hard questions when it comes to determining qualifications for removing 5,000-foot pine trees tucked between two houses in a densely populated area.  It’s not about whether the company is insured, bonded or licensed for longer than two hours.

Good grief, no.  Why, Boomer Women understand there’s no time to “beat around the bush” on matters of such importance.  The following query is where the timber hits the ground.

Did the business rep:

·       Ring the doorbell and respectfully retreat to the edge of the porch?
      ·       Say “please,” “thank you” and “yes, ma’am”?
      ·       Wear their hat with the brim in front and shirt neatly
               tucked in, and appear to be someone who 
              invites their mother for Sunday dinner?

I haven’t confirmed this with my next door neighbor, but I’m confident she’ll choose a peach of a tree service.

One where everyone concerned adheres to the best practices and strictest standards—professionally and personally—known to all of humankind.

And where they report to the custodian of those principles weekly.

Sunday at dinner.

~ Diana

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why it's toodles to tofu!

Launching "fiftease!" to keep the fifties fun!
Got a suggestion for a future cartoon?
Please leave a comment, and if I use your idea,
I'll give you credit for the inspiration!
Keep smiling, and pass the french fries!

Vibrant Nation Blog Circle Member!

Friday, July 22, 2011

No Sissies Allowed!

Sisters, 50 ain’t for sissies!   Why?
  • Oily facial pores turn into lava beds beneath six layers of moisturizing products.
  • Willowy waists expand into redwood trunks after one bag of movie popcorn.
  • Steel-trap minds unhinge at the drop of a…uh, what is it? Oh well, something or other.
Just sayin’ it takes courage to face and admit to being that ever-changing woman in the mirror.

 Someone, somewhere, sometime made this profound statement: “We admire a woman for the courage to show herself to the world as she is, and in the end it's the courage we find attractive.” Imagine we’d all like to thank this “unknown author,” wherever and whoever she is.

And also like to ask her if she always had the courage to show herself as she is. Or did it come easier after she reached middle-age.

Because in the big scheme of things, what’s a little dry skin? Or adding belt holes? Or…there was a third thing, but I forget.

So here’s to our fearless sisterhood, slathering as fast as we can.

Yet plucky enough to be good with however it plays out.

(Plucky. That reminds me, where are my tweezers? Or should I just break down and get the hedge trimmers?)

~ Diana Black

Vibrant Nation Blog Circle Member!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why It's Hats Off To The Mature Woman!

I don’t remember running into BBC Woman’s Hour psychologist Susan Quilliam when I stepped onto the Florida beach in my animal print swim top and black skirted bottom. But then, it was hard to see anything from under my wide-brimmed straw hat.

Apparently though, she saw me. Or a reasonable facsimile. I’m basing this on her recent quote in the Daily Mail: “While mature women may effortlessly balance work and family life for 50 weeks of the year, when it comes to holidays even the most self-aware women may find their confidence slipping.”

Come to think of it, maybe she was that bikini-clad number who glared at me as she executed a grand jeté across my flamingo beach towel, finishing with an arabesque as she caught a Frisbee with her buttocks. Or perhaps the young woman sunbathing on her tummy, topless, her “lungs” apparently filled to overflowing with salt-sea air.

Anyway, Ms. Quilliam further implied that boosting the mature woman’s self-confidence on vacation is paramount. And as any mature woman knows there’s but one way to attain a goal as critical as that. It requires a plethora of…clothes, accessories and shoes.

The fact is, those items are so paramount, studies have been conducted. Online retailer discovered that over half of 50-something women pack, per trip, up to 10 individual outfits. Nearly 100% of those women then stuff their suitcase with 5 pairs of shoes. Add to that 5 handbags (the average most women claim to take on vacation), and you have the making of a stylish, senior sightseer.

Now this next part is just crazy if you ask me. Sixty-five percent of these women, at the end of their holiday, wore half of what they’d packed. What diligence it takes to return home with as little dirty laundry as that. And yet others described that as excessive packing!

Seriously, how’s a woman in her prime to feel good about herself labeled as an “overpacker”? Why, it’s enough to justify her “accidently” mistaking someone’s swim top for a bookmark or stretching her legs at the most inopportune time.

It is, after all, so hard to see anything from under those darn big hats.

~ Diana Black

BlogCircleMember Vibrant Nation!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Why Woman's Work Is Never Done!

So, I log on to a free clip art site. Hmm, I’m thinking, maybe I’ll start by just typing the word “women” in the search box.

Wow! Lots of great pictures! Women reading. Women talking. Women exercising.

But it’ll take a month of Sundays to view all the photographs, and who really has that kind of time. Definitely need to narrow the search a bit. Did I mention I’m creating a photo collage of women of, you know, a vibrant age? No? Well, I am. Or was.

Anyway, to tell the truth, when I looked at the first few pages under the broad (gotta love homonyms!) search, it was hard to determine if some women had yet reached the big 5-0.

The next thought was what if I use a picture of a woman who isn’t at least 50? Of course the clip art is free and the woman photographed obviously provided the picture for use within public domain rights. So, no, I wasn’t worried about getting sued or anything. And anyone seeing the collage might question the age of certain women, but still that wasn’t my main concern.

Face it, how many of us want our 49-year-old or younger countenance portrayed a day older than we really are? Seriously, not good.

Kind of like when someone asks you when the baby’s due, and you’re not pregnant.

Nothing would do but for me to search again. This time I precede “women” with a dreaded word. Slowly I type s-e-n-i-o-r. It results in four pages of pictures.

Oh, I could have stopped there, but no. Still don’t know if the next search makes me feel better or worse, but I typed “older women,” and only one picture surfaced.

I’m choosing to believe it is not because people do not wish to see pictures of older women. I submit it is because a woman runs the clip art site and refuses to use that label. (She was probably on vacation the day that one picture was added.)

Bottom line, I thought the search was over. The product finished. Because just look at it, it’s indeed a vibrant nation of women, don’t you think? Yes, definitely vibrant.

But, how do I say it… Now you’re reading this post. And I’m thinking, the reflection on your computer screen, yet another vibrant woman has appeared and should be included!

Oh, woman’s work is never done!

(No clips or art were harmed in the making of this collage :>)

--Diana Black

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Why It's Matt & Me 4-ever!

He’s tall, dark and …100% rubber.

Yes, I’m talking about my yoga mat,

It was love at first plank. And trust me, I’ve been through one or three “Matts” in my day, so I know what I’m talking about.

Naturally, at first I was leery, fearing yet another mat would dump me. After all, the number of failed moon salutations over the years was astronomical. And downward-facing dogs? They were never a “pawsitive” experience with those other mats. So, no, not this girl’s best friend.

Then along came Matt.

I’d heard Matt could handle a really hot woman. It’s true. Perspiration is no sweat. Matt lays there almost begging “Bring it on!” Another positive, going longer than 20 minutes is no problem for Matt, which is good as the classes I attend are generally over an hour.

But, you ask, you’re over 50, don’t you worry Matt will leave you for a younger “yogini”? Sometimes. So, here you have it. When we’re not together, I tie Matt up. I use my yoga strap so it looks innocent enough, like you know, I’m just trying to be neat and keep my yoga gear in order.

So far Matt hasn’t complained. That’s right, Matt has no opinion…and could care less about the TV remote.

-- Diana Black

Now a Blog Circle Member! Read it at
Vibrant Nation!

Monday, June 13, 2011

In Why's Defense

* Why did we meet that Kroger shopper?

* Why did we hear that NPR interview?

* Why did we win Bob Dylan concert tickets?

Why, why, why?

Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “Theirs not to reason why…” (The Charge of the Light Brigade) might suggest there are times it is irresponsible to question why. Example: in defense of country.

But a closer look at events that inspired Tennyson’s poem—half a league’s attack during the Crimean War—begs the question: Why should we not believe the men silently reasoned why?

Or, maybe the more important point to explore is this: Is there a "right" why and a "wrong" why? Or a right time and a wrong time?

Once you’re actually riding into the valley of Death, you may already want to have the “whys” pretty much sorted out and resolved. Just sayin’.

Before that charge, though, that’s the time to reason why. So that when the big day comes, we know who we are, how we got there, and what really matters.

Problem is, today we seem to have it all turned around. First, we ask what matters; then we ask how we go about getting what. But the thing is, forget how we get what, we never asked “why” what matters. (Is there a “who’s on first routine” emerging?!)

Again, just sayin’, might we ask ourselves why meeting that shopper seems special; why that interview sparks our interest; why tickets to a Dylan concert makes our heart sing.


That’s the leftfielder’s name.

- Diana Black

Thursday, May 26, 2011

That wallpaper! WHY?!?

You know how it is. You’re excited to move in a new place, still you notice LITTLE things that bug you A LOT, and you swear in a couple weeks, okay, maybe a month, you’ll have them whipped into shape.

WHY, you ask yourself, would ANYONE live with, for example, that wallpaper? Outdated? Ha, that doesn’t begin to describe it. You dare say downright repulsive is more like it.

Now, hypothetically, let’s imagine the above scene taking place in, oh, 2006. In the fall.

Summer 2007: well, the AC needs work, and new deck furniture would be nice so you can enjoy your beautiful backyard.

2008: election year and you need to vote.

2009: who can remember.

2010: the house exterior could use a fresh coat of paint, and lord knows, you have to keep up with the Joneses.

Spring 2011: YOU CAN STAND IT NOMORE! You are out of control. You sponge bathe at the kitchen sink because you can’t bring yourself to enter either bathroom. The service station down the street refuses you the restroom key even when you argue there’s no sign limiting number of uses by one individual, or family.

So the transformation of both rooms is sanctioned. It’s the best of times; it's the worst of times.

You and your sister spend amazing time together and have funny new stories in your repertoire. The rooms look amazing, and really, the worst of it? You have a little less money in your bank account, and there’s only that one associate at Home Depot who issued a restraining order.


That’s blog for another day…

~ diana

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Why @[insert name]?

I admit. I used it, too. It happened when I wrote on a Facebook Friend’s status. I wanted to address another person’s comment out of a string.

I’d seen others use, for example, “@John” or “@Jane,” and thought, well, I guess that’s the wave of the future.

So, not wishing to offend the Status Syntax Gods or appear Facebook illiterate, I smugly inserted @ and felt very hip.

It was like I dared others to read my comment directed only to whoever’s name followed @.

I mean, even I know enough that when I leave a comment, and later get notification that someone else has added their thoughts, if it begins with @, and my name does not follow,
“Back off, Bub!”

It’s like in the “olden days,” steaming open someone’s personal mail and reading it. (It’s just much easier on Facebook because you don’t have to apply glue to reseal the envelop. No one is the wiser.)

Then I thought, what happened to that cute little curly thing we learned to use in elementary school? What’s it called? Oh, yeah, the

So like if I wanted to let Jane know I was mainly addressing her comment, again in the “olden days,” I would have typed “Jane,”. How cute is that?

But, @you, you’re probably right. That little squiggle’s way too subtle. With overwhelming amounts of information bombarding us 24/7, @ is the most efficient way to get our attention. Clearly it filters through all the “stuff, ” so others need not waste time reading a comment directed solely

Of course, there’s always a downside to everything. @ has caused another victim of unemployment.

Hope the salutation comma finds other work soon…or, better yet, is rehired.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why Not Jump?

I love yoga. Love LOVE LOVE it! (did I mention I'm kinda crazy about it?)

Partially because every time I go to the mat, I discover something new... about the practice and myself. This week, it was forearm stand.

No, the picture isn't me...for lots of reasons! One being if it were, there would be a yoga friend, Sheri, holding my right leg so that I would not fall. (Thank you, Sheri, for giving me the courage!)

So here I am, nearing a birthday that I'm sure the numbers got reversed somehow (yeah, that's about right...36...that's how old I feel...most days!) and tackling something like nearly standing on my head. (actually that's one of ultimate yoga goals.)

Now, I'm finally getting to the point of all this. Lately I've been letting myself jump from one creative project to another. Allowing myself to jump from this activity to that activity. From one book to another (before reading "The End.")

WHY? It makes me feel alive. It keeps me MOVING! (Used to be I was afraid that if I did not stay on one thing until it was completed, I would never finish it. And that would show lack of committment and ownership.) But what I've learned instead is this: If there is something my heart aches to do (okay, let's assume it's within the "cause no harm" category!) in any given moment, and I deny it...that moment is dead.

May every moment we are priviledged to live, be alive.

Jump to it!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why a Pulitzer May Not Be The Real Prize

Listening to NPR recently, I heard a conversation with Studs Terkel. Agreed, you’d have heard news of the interview before now if it had been live. It was actually held a short time before his death in 2008.

For the better part of the discussion, Terkel’s signature voice maintained its gruffness and enthusiasm. Thinking back, it must have been the change in tone that caught my attention—I was after all listening and trying to be a conscientious driver! Though I can’t recall if his manner of speech shifted in response to a particular question, it seemed to result from a natural progression of his thoughts.

It also appeared he was hearing his thoughts for the first time along with everyone else.

Studs Terkel—author, actor, historian, broadcaster and Pulitzer Prize winner—questioned (forgive me for paraphrasing) if he’d been a success at the things that really mattered, had he done the right things and always been a good person.

The interviewer, apparently overcome with a self-imposed need to ease Terkel’s internal dilemma, quickly interrupted with reassurances that he was human.

The ninety-six year-old remained in that soft-spoken place, saying he’d used that excuse all this life.

Terkel sharing his inner-most thoughts at the end of his life, yet another reminder: If, on our deathbed, we have regrets, none will be that we’d spent more time on the job.

Why, I ask you, is it so hard for some of us to remember that?

Oh, right. We’re human. --Diana

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Why Art?

In the most troubling times, times of financial stress or illness, art may seem most unnecessary to our survival. Yet it is often the most essential to our wellbeing.

Muriel Barbery writes in The Elegance of the Hedgehog Chapter 11: "What does Art do for us? It gives shape to our emotions, makes them visible and, in so doing, places a seal of eternity on them..."

Can it be that it also places a seal of eternity on us? That if we feel an emotional connection to a work of art, and art is destined for eternity, then we are, by association, and in a sense, immortal.

Perhaps that is what we need most to be reminded of in those times of peril or uncertainty. That we share emotions with all other human beings ...the artist, other viewers of art past present and future, our friends, family and even enemies.

Art touches our soul, our very core. That part of us in no need of money or healing.

That part sealed for eternity.

Pictured: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Renoir 1881