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That thing that goes off in the highest pitch ever scares the living shit out of me, and I’m a dog. I’m a kick-ass, laid back dog, but that horrific screaming chirping thing sends me to my people’s closest looking for the darkest, quietest place.

But that doesn’t even help. I’m a dog for fuck’s sake and I can still hear that horrible white, round bird that lives on the ceiling.

It rattles my nerves. Literally!

As I tried to escape it I literally started shaking. It was uncontrollable. It wasn’t until my mom took the bird off the ceiling and pulled out its guts that the noise stopped. I was so shaken up I tried to climb out the window but my mom found me and sat down on the sofa with me. She let me curl up next to her and she petted me and talked nice to me and rubbed my ears until I calmed down.

I fucking hate that bird!

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by BarbiJaneW

As a flight attendant, I get to see my share of quirky behaviors (yeah I’m talking about you guy, the one walking around the cabin in your sock feet, and yes into the shitter! Gross dude!). But I am increasingly shocked by how much people “overshare” information these days. There have been numerous times my flight attendant jumpseat has turned into “true confessions” and a therapist’s couch with people I’ve just met. I even once had the privilege of an awkward front row performance to a daughter-father flossing lesson on a horrifically early flight from Phoenix to Salt Lake City. Let’s just say, that did not sit well with my coffee nor empty stomach. 

And yet, you’d think one would get used to all this public display of personal life, however, it’s quite the opposite for me. In today’s world of oversharing and broadcasting every detail of our lives, I have chosen to pull back from Social Media. The frequent connection to it is vexing to my mind, jarring to my soul and disruptive to my life. 

Facebook itself is seeing growing numbers of people reducing their time on the platform because of the heated political debates. A recent survey in eMarketer of Facebook users in Germany found that nearly 21 percent of users were using the platform less because of the increasingly heated debates. 

It’s not that I don’t want to share my life or hear of other’s lives or perspectives; as a journalist, flight attendant, mom, and even fitness instructor, all of my life-roles put me right in the middle of sharing. And for those who know me, I am an open book, I don’t hide my life, but I do keep my deepest and most personal experiences and emotions for only a close few.

I don’t judge those who do, it’s just that as Social Media became so ubiquitous in our lives; and as it’s increasingly become the “Town Hall” for political views, as well as the up-to-the-minute TMZ, People and National Inquirer, I’ve pulled back.

Waaay back.

As a kid (even more so now as an adult), I’ve always pulled back from the gluttonous things that were literally just too much. Whether it be too much food on the Thanksgiving table or a fad that’s gone virally mainstream. I lose my taste for it.

That’s how I started seeing Social Media. I may want to see amazing pics of your adventures, or even those savory photos of your dinner, but I definitely do not want to know how much you hate Trump/ Clinton/ Republicans/ Democrats, or hate anything for that matter, etc.

Megaphone picture
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

I started re-evaluating all of this public hyper-expression and self-exposure and decided to choose connecting in more “old school” ways. So, these days I reach out with personal texts and calls or the occasional private messaging (PM) when there is no other way to contact with a friend or colleague.

I will say that as a very social creature the task of staying connected to people, whether it be long-term or newly-minted relationships without using Social Media seemed daunting and overwhelming when I first pulled back.

But it is a task that has proven fruitful in deciding what really is important to me. I’ve relearned how to connect more deeply with the people I am around, to be less judgmental of them and to sit quietly with my own thoughts before letting them spiral into a vortex of irrational thinking and volatile emotions. (We’ve all seen hundreds of Facebook threads that devolve into bitter fights and hard feelings.)

These skills proved invaluable one particular week over the holidays last year.

While heading off to work for four days in London and Zurich I found out about a tragedy at home that rocked me deeply.

All alone in the early part of my trip I purposely chose to stay away from Social Media and instead, chose to reach out to those close to me and to those affected by the event. I also sat with my own thoughts and emotions and tried to process the news and pain.

Instead of burying myself in Social Media or putting my feelings into that format, I talked with the people I was traveling with, even though most of them were IRL strangers to me, letting them know of the situation, and how it had affected me. And they did what people do in personal interactions, they listened, they were supportive and they allowed me the space to talk openly and to privately handle my emotions.

And it struck me – when people put those kinds of things into Social Media, they’re looking for exactly that – for others to “hear” what they’re saying, and to be supportive and understanding. Or just the opposite, they post things on Social Media in hopes of being heard, but using the barrier of the impersonal connection to buffer any insecurities they have. The computer creates a kind of barrier, Andrea Bonior, PhD, psychologist and author of The Friendship Fix, points out in Real Simple’s article “6 Ways You’re Oversharing (Even With Friends).” 

But we often forget that sometimes our post or tweet can get buried in someone’s feed and we often assume that nobody “liking” or commenting on the post means that nobody cares. However, if one picks up their phone, and calls or texts their friends and family, or goes really old-school and talks to them in person, the hearing, and the understanding, and the support will not only be there, but will be more immediate and meaningful

Over the course of the next four days, other minor and trivial things went awry with our trip and for me personally. Each small “disaster” exacerbating the aforementioned stress.

Yet, each time we reminded each other that in reality those inconveniences were just that, inconveniences. 

I don’t believe things happen for a reason, I haven’t since I found out at 23 years-old that I had breast cancer. And I am most definitely not saying that the tragedy that befell my friends happened for me to gain this understanding. That is not the case at all. 

What I do believe, is this: When bad things happen, it’s what you do after they happen that can provide something meaningful. 

What grace, wisdom, love or peace can you learn from the tragedy, or, from how people around you supported you and cared for you after the tragedy? 

For me, the wisdom I gained here, was learning the importance of respecting people’s privacy and really dealing with my own emotions internally and allowing myself to feel uncomfortable with my sorrow and angst. I also learned to reach out on a very personal level both with my colleagues and my friends back home.

I’m still grateful for being able to mind-numbingly scroll through lovely pictures and videos of puppies on Instagram when I needed a laugh or smile. And although I no longer check in on Facebook to see “what my friends are up to” I’ve come to realize that Social Media is part of the world we live in, as my sage 78-year-old mother, Jerry Knight recently said.

As a freelance journalist it’s part and parcel of the work I do. So, instead,  I make thought out conscious choices to post, rather than just a habit for “what to do when I’m alone and unoccupied for a few minutes.” But I still have to make the personal connection, not just because it’s important but at the core, it’s really who I am.

I'm Here You're Not
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Unsplash

Even in this age of “the constantly-broadcasting newsfeed” world Mark Zuckerberg created, he’s stated he sees the limitations created by it. There’s even a movement of pushing back to the highly curated world of the Influencer. Now, rather than influencing others to buy, try or do, what’s being touted, the Unfluencer, as Marisa Melzter calls them, it’s quite the opposite. We’re starting to see a distaste for all the exposure, disconnectedness and oversharing Social Media has created and some are choosing to avoid these things the Influencer showcases.

No matter what tragedy you are going through or how close you are to it, coping with it is hard. Always and infinitely more so if you are up close and when it’s deeply personal.

And that’s just it: it’s personal and private. In today’s Social Media, oversharing world, we have lost perspective of what is truly personal and private. And we forget that those experiences are best addressed through personal and private conversations, with friends, family, or colleagues that care.

So, with that I will finish by offering you this idea:

The next time you really want to share something, whether it’s happy, sad, frustrating, humorous, or just an amazing experience, try reaching out to someone to make an individual and personal connection instead of a public one, and see how it feels and what it does for your relationship. 

You may find that instead of them “liking” your post – they end up liking YOU a little bit more.

Peace, love & happiness ~ BjW

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Barbi Jane lifting at the gym

At 52 you’d think I’d know what it is that I want, what I need.

For god’s sake I’ve had a lifetime to “get to know myself,” yet I wake up and wonder why I’m angry, hungry, frustrated.

I used to be ripped, fit and L. O. V. E. D. my body like ever before and I was 47 YEARS OLD when that happened!!

Who the hell knows and while I contemplate what is amiss, I’ll just sit back, Bloody Mary in hand, stretched out in a middle seat, 30,000 feet above sea level and think, “ummm if I’m in love with my life does it matter why I’m hungry, angry and frustrated?”

Maybe this is it. Maybe, as I’ve always lived my life, that it just is, as it always has been, no real planning, just along for the ride, a lot of it by the seat of my pants. I’ve been a huge advocate for this kind of living life, I tell others to just sit back and live the life you’re in. You’ll miss so fucking much if you don’t.

At the end of the day life is about living a life that makes you happy, content, successful and one that allows you to give back to the world all you know, with a gracious heart.

That’s what the answer is. Life life to your fullest. Give what your spirit will allow with out it swallowing you and your finances whole. Lead by beautiful example. Be your most amazing, beautiful self, cause you know you’re in there, just waiting for the whistle to blow, to bolt out of those chalks, leaving your mark, setting the world on fire with your amazing gifts, with your own “brand” of unique you.

Like writer’s block, maybe I have “goals block.” I’ve wallowed in my lack of self acceptance, lack of motivation, fully loaded with despair, anger and disappointment at muse and who I am and how I’ve gotten here. I’m even hiding out from my own fear (something I loath and never do!!) and certainly I have not been leading by beautiful example!

So yeah, I can find my way back to the smoking hot MILF I was a few short years ago, but in the meantime, maybe my road block is about living and leading by beautiful example. To appreciate where I am at this exact place in time, physically.

Maybe if I take my own advice, maybe some of the anger, hunger and frustration will dissipate and the anchor that’s been my carnal body, my holy grail, might just appear, or it’ll get easier. Maybe, and who knows, maybe I’ll quit giving a fuck and find some other new amazing holy grail.

So without further adieu, I will leave you (okay me really), these hashtag thoughts. But, I want to know which or if any of these resonate with you and how so.

Tell me know what you’re struggling with and my assignment to you is to attach them to something and tell my why. Tell me where I can find them so that we can learn more about each other and, so we can cheer each other on and support one another.

#Acceptance. #OwnWhoYouAreRightNow! #LeadByBeautifulExample. #NeverBackDownFromFear.

I look forward to hearing from you all 😃

Au revoi, adios mis amigos y amigas, ciao miei buoni amici!


Love, Peace & Adventure,


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Summer is coming to a close and as school ramps up those sweet, fun memories of your hard earned family vacation start to fade. They get lost in the shuffle of Meet the Teacher nights, buying books and new clothes for those always growing kids and just all around RL.

Trying to juggle the real world becomes paramount and your kids are on to the next new thing and you start to wonder if they even remember all the fun times or appreciate every sacrifice you made to make their summer vacation rock!!

Hell, you wonder if you can recall those great memories yourself.

But, preserving those memories and reliving them aren’t as difficult as you think.

Studies show that visual, verbal, smell and taste help recall memories. Ever hear a song, or have the smell of honeysuckle that transports you back to a magical moment in your childhood? You can use these same cues to create everlasting, great memories of your family vacations for your kids (and yourself, bonus!!) for years to come. 


Sure, photos, we all know that photos are memory builders. But with smart phones and social media we have thousands of images socked away on our phones and Facebook, Instagram etc., but are we using these pictures to the best of their use?


Who really looks at them again? And no, very few of us are going to print them out and put them in photo albums circa 1980? Not me, and I was a verified photo album geek!! However, what you can do is load up some of your faves as screen savers for your wide screen TV, laptops, tablets and smart phones. 

I suggest the TV because then everyone gets to see the revolving photo album which can spark conversation, thus leading to solidifying the memories even more. 

Story is a powerful component of making memories stick, says Carol Peterson, Ph.D, in her article for NPR on kids and memory. When a child creates a good chronological story, these memories will last, she said in the article. Seeing your vacation photos help create the story. 

So when we return from a vacation (okay, when I say we, I mean my techie husband), loads up some of the best shots from the trip to our screen saver for the TV. Now when we turn off our TV, photos scroll through and even on busy days we can see our happy vacationing faces in high-def. 

Of course, I also recommend printing out just a few pics and putting into frames, or blowing up into a canvas for your kids’ room. Maybe even buy a souvenir picture frame to create a more tactile memory. It’s a twofer!!


Make a vacation playlist! We are a very music friendly family. My husband codes to music, I write to music, our son plays his from his iPhone in his cruiser cupholder like a mod version of the 80s ghetto blaster.  Spotify is on much of the day in our house. Plus, I like to make playlists (a throw back to my mixtape days of yore), so this last vacation I got the idea of making one for our trip to Italy. It’s been on loop for both me and my son since we got home. While we were out I used Shazam to capture songs in restaurants, gelato shops, cafes and even some museums, then created a playlist on Spotify from there. You can link Shazam and Spotify making it easy to create a playlist from the songs you hear. Watching my son’s face with his lips curled in a little smile, bobbing his head to the beat of his Italy playlist, I can only hope that when he hears these songs years later they will transport him back in time.

Extra points for making a slideshow of pictures to the playlist or better yet a mini movie with the soundtrack. If you make it a family project, even better!

Plus, scientists have found that the brain “…links music, memories, and emotions” through a “hub” known as the medial prefrontal cortex, according to Dr. Petr Janata and his team. In fact, a multitude of research shows the positive effects of music on the brain, from helping with everything from ADD to Alzheimer’s patients, so let it play I say, get connected and dance around the living room or cruise the neighborhood blasting your iPhone. 🙂


Basil, honeysuckle, lavender, dried up pine needles, were on our trip. Tastes and connect with the brain too and maybe recreating these aren’t as easy as the two above, but if you like to cook or garden then add these elements to your repertoire. Try making a dish or dessert you had on vacation together and see what conversations these stir up.

I’ll try something simple like this gem my good friend and photographer, Emily Carroll, taught me; basil leaves wrapped around mozzarella balls, drizzled with olive oil and stabbed with a toothpick, à la Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. I’ll buy the live basil plant and until I kill it with my brown thumb, its fragrant leaves will permeate our kitchen, creating one more link to our vacation in Italy.


These tips aren’t just for exotic vacations, they are for all vacations! From summer fun with the family at the lake, to camping trips or road trips to Disneyland, okay, I’m dating myself here, but you get the idea. 

You took the time, energy and money to plan a summer vacation, now it’s time to get your ROI. So take just a little more time when you get home to put together a little family vacation montage for lasting memories and some family bonding.

I’d love to hear and see what you come up with, so share the love!

Love, Peace and Adventure,


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Leg one of Phoenix to Rome (PHX-DFW).

Let’s see, seltzer water, for hydration; orange juice, vitamin C for my immune system; vodka for, you know, “yoga” in a bottle; and a biscoff cookie, just because it’s freakin yummy!

Non~Rev travel is always an adventure, its like a crap shoot. You go to bed late (after ninety repacks and two last minute runs to Target and a packed mall), and the flights look good. But the next morning, the one rainstorm of the season has wrecked havoc on your yard, your trees AND your flights.

Canceled flights from the night before and cautious, savvy travelers have decided to get out of Dodge earlier, just in case shit hits the fan again.
Okay, we’re airline people, we get it, we start researching other options, maybe take the 8:30 to Dallas, maybe divide and conquer ~ two of us on one flight, me riding the jumpseat, Chris taking the less full flight with Henry… options, options, options. Quick thinking and even faster decision making.

No worries, (after a Zanax full of worries!) there enough seats, well all get on, then WHOA!!! Her comes two more people also traveling on our, limited but awesome, Vacation Passes, which include an automatic upgrade. We’re traveling on same said passes, but, crap where’d the come from and how’d they get ahead of us?

Ooooh… they’re day is harder than ours. They’re going to Narita, Japan by way of Dallas. UGHH!!! Their LAX flight was full because of said canceled flights due to the one rainstorm of the year. One more adventurous, wanderlust airline peep’s gotta think fast and move faster.
After some swearing, blood, sweat and tears (okay can’t back that all up!) plus a little praying to the NonRevenue gods, things smooth over and our Rock Star gate agents all get us all on without any drama (other than our own internal drama!). We’re separated from our traveling companions, but we’re on!!! Woo hoo!!
So, yeah, this is the breakfast of fly-by-the-seat of your pants, champions travelers. The people who can run the gauntlet of world travel on a “maybe” seat.

I admire my colleagues like no others!! The tenacity, the bravery, the determination to “Go. See. & Do.” as Gwyneth Paltrow’s moniker goes on her fabulous goop website, is pure inspiration!!

Dale Churchill, my longtime college and AWA pilot, has been saying for as long as I can remember,”Sleep when you’re dead.” I’ve been following this sage advice since my early 20s snd it’s paid off. I’ve seen and done more than most people my age. It’s been worth every exhausted day. Thank you Dale!
So, yeah, I’ll sleep when I’m dead so I can Go. See. & Do. 😀 but for now, I’ll sleep cause this a.m. was freakin’ exhausting and we’ve got a long day ahead of us, and for now, there’s nothing else to do.

Ciao ~


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I was tired when we arrived at the hotel today. I’ve been off work for the last three weeks and it’s been wonderful and not, all at the same time. Besides adjusting to Chris’ dad moving in with us while he “finds” himself (k- that’s what I call it), I’ve struggled to find myself as well. From a groove for my diet and fitness to a semi-routine for my international flying this last year, or three rather, has been an interesting challenge and study of myself.

Today or tonight (depending on where you as I write this), I sit in the beautiful restaurant of the Olympia Hilton hotel in London eating my grilled salmon and crisp salad watching the cars and the double-decker busses drive by and lament not getting out of the hotel at all today. Yet, listening to the voices and laughter and catch the spasmodic behavior of the woman just in my periphery, I feel very content. The South African fuller bodied white wine went down fast, as my first glass of wine usually does, I find myself happy and easing into observer rather than navel gazer.

Sitting in my layover “uniform” of Athleta fleece lined tights and body-adjusting thermal top, my not quite black not quite green Doc Martins and yes, my Burberry cashmere coat, I can’t help but be a tad envious of the chicly dressed patrons in the bar/restaurant. Even one of my crew members, sitting alone at her table FaceTiming with a loved one I assume, looks lovely in her creamy scarf and dark top. Her red wine doesn’t hurt either, lol. Only her extreme blonde hair gives away that she “isn’t from around here.”

***TOTAL SIDE NOTE*** the fish and chips just delivered to the elderly woman on my left LOOKS DEVINE!!! Fuck I wish I could eat THAT!! But this damn ketogenic diet has me eschewing my normal carb battered English delight.

Three silver haired men join the crowd, alone and not together. One sexy, one twitchy but very hiply dressed and groovy for an ‘old guy’ (certainly better than nearly any American man his age, I mean he has a slim fitting shirt on for god’s sake!). Oh, then he speaks, and it isn’t English, ‘nuff said. The other one, who in his white tee, yet again not an extra large, I cannot figure out. The two of them often look over their shoulder, glancing around the room. Hip and Groovy looks my way, we’re closer than Tee-Man. Tee-Man has engaged the two single females just to his right. Neither of them picking up on the convo or him for that matter. As for Sexy, well he’s slumped in his high-backed leather chair, one seat over from my single crew member, checking his phone from time-to-time and occasionally leaning forward to read something on his table. From my spot he almost looks like he’s asleep, which from my experience lately, doesn’t seem that far off of a speculation of anyone that age, I’ve seen it from Chris’ dad on numerous occasions.

If I were to engage in a conversation with any of them I’d pick Hip and Groovy. He’s more energetic when he looks around the bar, a wee bit expectantly, but still active. He is also the only eating. He eats his fries with a fork, again, clearly not American, cleaning his knife against his fork, which he holds in his left hand, also a very European thing. He’s finished half of his red wine. Watching him closer, I think he’s even eating his burger with a fork. K, that’s definably not American… lol!!

Tee-Man looks like he got soup. Not a bad choice for this freakin’ crazy cold London weather – it SNOWED here today! But as for conversation, I’d put my money on Hip and Groovy. He’s not as sexy as well, Sexy, but for conversation he’s probably a lot more interesting. And now he just swiped the edge of his plate with his finger which he noisily sucks clean. How can that not be an interesting person? He suddenly trumps Sexy on sexy in the general sense.


He appears to be someone who is alive, engaged and interesting. This is what I think as I watch him. I think to me, it’s important in life. To be alive and looking at life instead of waiting for life. As I approached 50 this year, I thought a lot of what it meant to get ‘older’ to be on the back half of life so-to-speak. I was tasked by Christoper to write a blog post about turning 50 on my birthday, which I failed to meet (as is often the case with writers!). None-the-less, I did continue to think about it; what it means to be changing decades, especially this one! And from my observations of those my age or older the jury is still out, but I think I’m different in a lot of ways. And completely the same in others. Maybe that’s what it’s like to be 50. To refuse to let go and give up. To refuse to slow down, to stop playing my loud, heart racing, nerve jangling, techno music at the highest my Carmon and Hardon stern will allow in my Porsche Cayenne. Yes, I just name dropped my stereo and my car, but it’s still an SUV, cause, you know I have a child and I’m successful enough to pay for both. To drink more wine than I ever have, but to also have a very Helen Mirren attitude, of ‘fuck off” kind of principle, also because I’m old enough to pay for both.

I think 50 is an interesting age. You’re old enough to seriously not give a rat’s ass but still vibrant enough to know that and flaunt it if you wish.

Sure, the body doesn’t cooperate like it did when you were 30, hell let alone 47! but from my limited observations of older people, it’s less body and more brain.

I think the reason older people stop connecting with their kids or any one from the younger generation (if they ever did), is because they have become stifled, stagnant, smile less, and have less fun.

Yes fun. And although I may be the original excuse maker I am also the first one to say “who cares what the past is, it’s the future that you make. So make it what you want. Let it go.” And yes you can throw in the Disney tune for your pure enjoyment here! Wait, never mind, I’m more a Tay Tay kinda gal, I say Shake it Off! But you pick whichever motivates you to get up and shimmy around the room like no one is watching. 😉

See that’s my total point!!

Let something move you!! Bring you back to life, inspire you shoulder roll, head bob, and lip-sync in your car, shower, or bedroom. Better even if you do it in your underwear. Don’t let THAT part of you go, I say go with it!

My ex-husband, whom I adore, signed my 50th birthday card with this: To the wildest 50 year old I know! Yeah, THAT’S what I want to be every year. To me THAT’S a huge compliment that something I’m doing is right for me. And that the beauty of 50. What is that’s right for you?? You have the rest of your lifetime ahead of you. Think back, the first 50 years took a while to get here, so who’s to say the same won’t be the same for the next. Yeah, we’re older and we’re closer to dying than we were maybe 10 years ago, but that should be the reason you really reach for the ring. Cause what if? What if you catch it? Could this not be the best decade yet? And if not, either by choice or failure, what the fuck do you care, cause “… honey you’re older. wiser and have more insurance.” Boooya!! And what a memory you’ll leave for your kids, grandkids, family and friends. 🙂

The younger generation by definition is all about change and learning the new stuff of the world. As the older generation we have a lot to teach them and an obligation to do so, but if we get too bogged down in the “Woe is me” mentality, the “World is a tough and bettering place and it’s no use fighting,” then we make ourselves obsolete. A dusty piece of art or object to just to be observed or discarded. Not relevant really, except to the past.

Yes, half the time I wake up and do not have half the energy, or care for that matter, to bust ass at the gym or aggressively pound the pavement for a lede on a story that I think will make headlines, shit, I’m lucky if I get up and trot my sorry ass to the Roman Colosseum, um  for fuck sake, and you know it’s less than 15 minutes from my hotel. Yeah, I’m a sorry. lazy son-of-a bitch sometimes, but I still like to make a mark in my day. To meet people, to experience some of the most amazing things this lie has to offers, to take a few moments in my day to say I WANT FCUKING DESSERT!!! like a spoiled baby. Some days my mark is the deep impression in the sheets and pillows i’ve left while I get up to take a pee and a sip of some stale wine. And you know what? I say “who the fuck cares!” It’s a passionate moment, in my passionate life. Winston Churchill napped every single day while at war, Earnest Hemingway drank his way through multiple highly, over prosed novels and Anis Nin played with one of our most famous writer’s heart and emotions, and what I get when I read them is a sense of life. And “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead” as David Glasgow Farragut, the first rear admiral, vice admiral and admiral of the United States Navy says at his order at the Battle of of Mobile Bay, in which he won victoriously .

Yes a life of Damn the Torpedoes or Running With the Bulls, or toying with one of our greatest poet’s heart, could be life changing. And I totally support it. In fact I relish in it. It’s not an act of defiance, it’s an act of live, of showing the strength we have no matter our age. That it’s a whole lotta more fun on this side of 50!! That is should be life changing. We have the knowledge, we have the connection. we have the confidence and most of we should be lacking the fear that has kept use frozen for so long. And that’s exactly how it should be: life changing. Take risks. And if you’e like me you take calculated risks. Clause you know what?? It should be way more fun getting older, no parents or teachers to threaten you with “permanent grades” or expulsions.

To be relevant you have to make yourself relevant. And that’s entirely up to you of what that looks like. Who cares if your idea and strength of relevance is about the top 10 places to eat in London. People. Dig. That!! Or if your is about a certain mascara!! Women love feeling good about themselves and do you know what people who feel good about themselves do? They make others do the same. You know what that doesn’t do? Make other harm each other. It’s collaborative. It’s sharing and giving and helping. There is no bad thing in that!

~Anyhwho, take my observation and see it for what it is: People connecting to other people. AT then end of the day thats the one thing we long for; to feel connected, to feel loved, to feel heard, to be respected. It’s what I bring to my job every single day. It connect with each of my passengers. It’s small but it’s my gift. I want everyone on ,y flight that I’ve come in contact with to know they mattered to me. That I say you. I heard you. I felt your joy, your pain, you happiness. I want to be able to share all of that with you for the time that you are on my flight. I’m excited for you!! What an amazing adventure you’re one, you’re brave, you scared and you’re doing it anyway. Godspeed to my passengers! I hope my crew and I have given you any last bit of needed push to help you feel amazing on your adventure!

At the end of the day, I find humans to be quite interesting, I mean a) I am a 30+ year flight attendant, b) a journalist and c) a writer. I’ve made lifetime careers out of interacting with people. Humans are the most interesting species I’ve ever come across. We are simple yet complicated. We are boring yet exciting. We are stupid yet smart. All with the same functioning parts. We have so much in common, we long for the same things, we have so many opportunities, regardless of our locale, and yet we make such a muck up of our lives it’s insane and completely compelling to me. And to quote a journalist’s creed, we all have a story to tell. Yes, yes we do. Even the ones who on the surface are lame, boring and a big yawner, but if you dig a little deeper you’ll find something of interest. It just takes time, patience and curiosity focused on someone other than yourself to get to it. I guess I’d say that’s what makes great journalists and writers good at what they do. They watch, look and listen. Becoming 50 has helped me a lot at getting better at the above three verbs. Having been on my journalist sabbatical theses last three years I’ve lost some of my skills and it’s challenging to get them back, but just thinking of getting back into the frey has me chomping at the bit to get started. So yeah, we’ve had a new ‘roommate’ that brings new challenges, but it also brings an opportunity to ask observe him which beg the tough questions of myself that I sort of cringe at the answer. This is what I call growth and if we don’t grow at 50, we are seriously dead on the vine and  we are no longer vintage and when we loose that, we cease to be relevant. We’ve become something to dust and wonder at from time to time and to replace upon a shelf. Yea, that ’s not me, never has been, never will be. So here you go Christoper, my dissertation on turning 50.

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The Flawed Writer

by BarbiJaneW

Nearly a year ago, with fresh and renewed enthusiasm I started back into the world as a journalist, as a blogger as a writer, the deepest of my passions. I had an entirely new life. From my job, to my partner, my zip code, my life, everything was new, different, exciting and scary all at once and I was feeling fierce. Feeling alive and ready to get back into the most challenging part of my life: writing.

When my life turned completely around (by my own doing) I took a sabbatical from my freelance journalism career. But in the end of summer of ’14 I was ready to dive in again. My new job posting with its four hour commutes to Philly gave me time and space to think, create and write again.

So late one summer day I posted here about my experiences as a “flawed mother” something that had resonated with me in a lovely book I’d read. I posted my angst about being a working mother, a mother who chose life for myself versus a life living through my darling, adored child. I felt selfish, yet my beliefs about living for yourself while giving your loved ones time and attention is the best lived life. I exposed myself, my fears, my flaws. I felt brave in doing so, despite knowing that some would vehemently disagree with me. But a writer knows that being true to oneself and putting it out there and hoping to get at least one person to consider a different point of view IS being a writer, and damn the torpedoes!

That’s me, in a nutshell. Me, The Writer.

Yet what happened to that one vulnerable post took the wind out of my pages. More than anything I’d expected to ever encounter.

The timing of my “Flawed Mother” post came just days before a very personal, difficult death in my “family”‘and unfortunately for me one of the people also affected by this tragic moment is a bully. She did not like the role I played during this most emotional and personal time. She felt “ousted” so she did what bullies always do when they are most insecure; lash out and aim to hurt. She made things personal. She  attacked me and my “Flawed Mother” post on a very, very personal and inappropriate level. She attacked me publicly, but worse she attacked my family and loved ones through this public post.

That was the last time I wrote.

Until now.

As insecure writers, this would be difficult enough to handle, but she made it about my family. I don’t take that lightly and rather than attack back, I circled the wagons and put up the armor to protect them. And yes at the same time I shielded myself.

Nearly a year later I was bullied again, this time at work and as I sat in my jumpseat, tears falling into my lap wondering how to deal with this face to face bully I knew to I couldn’t confront her like I did in junior high school with a knock out punch that earned me the knickname Muhammad. But I HAD to confront it. I thought about what I’d tell my son if he was bullied, if it happened to him. And that’s when it actually occurred to me that I’d been bullied publicly too and that I hadn’t written since the attack on me almost a year ago.

See the one thing I hate the most is fear.

I’ve never lived my life in fear, except now. Now I was afraid to write, to confront my bullies head on. To keep doing what I love, writing and flying, to face my bullies. To live fearlessly in ALL aspects.

Well I thought a lot about what I’d say to my work bully, and you know what? I never got the chance to say what was on my mind. She treated me VERY differently from the moment we got out of our jumpseats, and it’s continued that way ever since. But I was prepared. I was not afraid of her anymore.

And the same goes here. My fearlessness is back. I’ve found my thick journalist’s skin I wore so well not that long ago. And I feel at home in my skin and in the pages once again.

So yes, I am truly a flawed mother, but who isn’t? I deeply love my son and would die for him, but I also have a life and spirit that is all my own. And what kind of mother would I be if I didn’t get back into the fray and fight to be true to myself? What kind of journalist, what kind of writer would I be if I didn’t lay bare my soul for all to see? I wouldn’t be ME that’s who I’d be, and for me that’s no way to live, scary fear and all, cause honestly that’s half the fun. 😉

As the anniversary of this tragic life changing death in our family approaches I am grateful to the one adult person it affected the most as I watch her grab a new life, leading HER family through the fray, more beautiful and strong as ever. I dedicate this post to you Emily Carroll. Thank you for being fearless and spreading love everywhere you go.

So I’ll leave you, my dear readers, with my favorite quote so you can trust I will be true to me the writer for YOU my reader:

“Write what disturbs you, what you fear, what you you have not been willing to speak about. Be willing to be split open,” Natalie Goldberg


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The Flawed Mother

by BarbiJaneW

On a whim I picked up a book today, “How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits” by the quad  Parisiennes ~ Berest, Diwan, de Miaret, and Mas.

It was the “Bad Habits” that hooked me, cause let’s face it, if you know me at all you know I am a keeper of bad habits (and an enthusiastic one at that!).

So I thought, hey, if the iconic Parisian women also have bad habits then well,  je bascule! I don’t consider myself anything as classic, fashionable or even remotely a woman with that, ummm… je ne sais quoi. You know, in short, nothing like a Parisian woman. Yet, I deeply admire them (at least our stereo typical view of them, because that’s really all I know of them) and I find them fascinating.

But then I read something that made me feel somewhat akin to these amazing women. The section titled “A Mother with Flaws.” Now this is something that resonates with me!

I eagerly devoured every word on the page. It’s a short section but filled with truths for me. As I read, these four mothers, these four authors who put their feelings, emotions and realities on the page for us all to see, admit to being selfish women. In the first line no doubt!!

Yes, I am selfish as well. I’ve struggle with my needs versus my duties as a mother. I feel guilty when I do put mine first and I frequently fall victim to feeling that I am not as good of a mother as I should be (no surprise if you’re a mom, or parent for that matter!). That I should give more to my son, or that I’m not creative enough or entertaining enough for him. That a lot of the times what I chose to do with him is what I like or know. I often feel a lack of parental creativity so I fall back on what I know, which tends to be more adult like or things I would do.

And then in comes the guilt.

Let’s face it, all parents struggle with balancing our needs with those of our children’s, and often to the detriment of ourselves. I know countless women (and men) who put their own needs so far at the bottom of the list that they never get to their needs and that isn’t good for anybody. But neither is putting our needs ahead of theirs at all costs.

So what’s a parent to do?

Be yourself. Revel in who you are and what you have to offer.

So as I read on I noticed something: I am more Parisienne-like than I thought, at least in motherhood and maybe this isn’t a bad thing.

“Let’s be honest: the Parisienne is a selfish woman. A loving mother, yes, but nonetheless incapable of forgetting herself completely…. The Parisienne does not stop existing after she has a child. She does not give up her somewhat adolescent lifestyle…” the section goes on to explain. I can soooo relate to this. I’m feeling better about my own selfishness to some degree at this point.

“She wants to be there to educate her child, to watch him grow up, to pass on her values, her culture, her philosophy… Her child is not king, because he is a satelite to her own life. At the same time, her child is omnipresent because this satelite follows his mother everywhere and together they share valuable moments. He might join her at a lunch, accompany her to a boutiqiue, end up at a concert or cocktail party, where he will fall asleep on a sofa where she watches over him with equal parts guilt and tenderness.”

Yes. Yes I have done that. On more than one occasion. And yes I have felt the guilt but also felt the excitement of him living in the moment and being a part of the “real” world around him. And it is here that I fully connect with these Parisiennes. That these moments that detour off the schedule, where he sleeps in a pub in Hong Kong or a football game that goes past his bedtime, will show him moments of what lies ahead for him in the adult world. Together we share memories and experiences of life beyond childhood. These are the parts of life we dream about as children! It is also here, the authors point out, that what he sees as these joyful moments are also his future, or this joie de vivre, according to the Parisienne. And also “…the best way of inspiring children to grow up. And the best way for mothers to never miss the lives they led before they had children.” I love this because as I’ve stated before I believe in living life to its fullest, to experience life and loving what it has to offer.

And what better way than to than to share your life with your child, to show him that being a grown up is just as fun as being a child.

Asleep at the pub Honk Kong nights.

Asleep at the pub Hong Kong nights.

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Yeah, I made the decision to change bases from Phoenix, AZ where I’ve lived and worked for the former America West Airlines for almost 30 years as a flight attendant, to Philadelphia, PA. But decisions are hard, especially for me – let’s clear here – I really hate to make them, especially the last minute ones. I agonize over them!! The, “well if I do this, A could happen and do I want that?, What if I do and B happens? Or not…”

Strangely tho the best and easiest decisions for me to make are the kind I don’t think too much about, the ones I just dive right into, the “by the seat of your pants” kinds my mom always said I lived by. Sure, that creates its own set of problems but I’m usually in it and can adapt and see the silver lining. A blessing or a curse, I don’t know which. Either way, every good parent in the world will tell you they struggle, feel guilt, experience anxiety, stress and fear over making big and small decisions that affect their kids. It’s called “Parenthood.”

But also in the big scheme of things, a) life goes on, b) don’t sweat the small stuff, and probably the biggest one of all, c) the kids are gonna be alright.

Which was NOT my mantra yesterday when I’d turned down/missed my opportunity to move my Paris trip up a day earlier so I would be home all day for Halloween instead of getting home right at candy collecting time (yes, please play the violins for me here… immmm, what? Crickets? 🙂 Yeah, yeah, I get it, but to finish my point it’s still work and I could’ve finagled things to have my crepe and eat it too. But I didn’t. Why? The aforementioned fear of change, fear of decisions, fear that I’d mess up everyone else’s schedules I’d already committed too. Sorta solid reasons, but in short, thinking too much about it.

So when I looked at the flights for yesterday’s four-hour commute to Philly (should I have done the trip) they were wide opened, stress free! (No I do not get paid to get from my home base to my work base – that’s all me baby!). But today’s flight, ugggh!!! FULL, full, and fuller. Oy, and to top it off my position on the standby list was falling, fast! Hmmmm.three seats, and now instead of being no. 1 on the list I was no. 8. and there were a few other flight attendants commuting so it would be fingers crossed at how many jumpseats were available to get us all there on time.

Crap no 1! Shoullda taken the damn earlier Paris trip!

Flights wide open both ways, getting home on Thursday evening instead of Friday… BONUS!

However, my Friday night commute home flight looks good seat wise, and all good until I learned there is only ONE afternoon flight home from Philly Friday!!! HOLY SHIT!! How’d I miss that nugget?1?

Crap no. 2! Again!! Shoulda taken the damn earlier Paris trip!! (Now to be honest, I had a slim chance of getting it but I should’ve been more proactive in securing it, and yes, this is where parent decision fear of missing Halloween comes in). Followed by the inevitable guilt that I may screw up being with my son on Halloween comes in. Followed by the anxiety and stress of any crazy shit happening with my last chance commute home for Halloween.

Great!! LOVE being a working parent with limited controls over my schedule!!

But then I hear my mom’s soothing voice in my  head, “honey don’t sweat the small stuff.”

So what is the small stuff exactly here??

One small stuff: You can’t control everything so just let it go. When you’re sweating the small stuff you don’t allow yourself to enjoy the great big stuff right in front of you, HELLO?!? Umm, Im going to PARIS!!

Two small stuff: One Halloween missed does not make me a bad parent, just a lonely albeit thinner one. (Bonus on the laterlol!)

Three small stuff: And major blessing at the same time: My SON will not miss the amazing Halloween I and his Modern Family and friends have set up for him. He will still get to Trick-or-Treat with his friends in his own cool costume as Jeff Corwin (the animal biologist on the Discovery Channel). His “people” aka dad, dad’s girlfriend, my boyfriend and his friend’s moms and dads will make sure he gets his costume set, a candy bag, his friends to and from the State Fair  for the ultimate Halloween (thank you Kristi Meyer Walsh for that!!) and then back to our house for the Halloween sleepover. I am at peace knowing he will have the Halloween we planned for him. And grandma is always at the ready should anything fall through the cracks!

I hate when I second guess my decisions, especially when I find out that decision A would’ve, in hindsight, been better than the decision I’ve made (or not, by default) and currently living.

Yes, these are the small stuffs we parents sweat every day. But we also have to make a living, we have to do our jobs and when I think about all the parents I know that are working their butts off providing for, succeeding at and yes even loving their jobs while missing some events throughout our kids’ lives, I realize, in the Big Picture it is just the small stuff.

But the one thing I want to teach and instill in my son more than anything else in the world is that life is full of choices, ups and downs, fun and not so fun stuff, but I want him to learn to LIVE LIFE FULLY. To enjoy the moment he is in, because if he’s not then he’s missing the great stuff that’s happening RIGHT NOW. I want him to live a little like I do, looking for fun, enjoying life at it’s fullest even if the day or moment isn’t exactly what you expected it to be, because life is great if you let it be. And not to put too small a point on it, I will always be his mom, I will always love him and he is always in my heart even when I’m not with him while he’s living his life. And that’s the most important thing I can instill in him, to be confident he is loved, cause this isn’t about me, it’s about him.

May all your frights stay at bay this Halloween and your pumpkin filled to the brim with treats!

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The Quiet Observer

by BarbiJaneW

There are times in my life as a mother where I get to quietly observe my son and his experience of life. Although these moments are rare they are my most cherished memories. It’s in these moments I am fully engaged, everything exaggerated. I can remember the smells, the temperature of the air, when the breeze blew and ruffled my hair and when it did not.

Recently there have been three that stand out, where I truly allowed myself the luxury of being what I call the Quiet Observer.

The first was when we were in Hong Kong. The second was the day he road his bike all by himself. The third was the day we went for a bike ride, just the two of us, to the park.

I let him lead the way and make all the decisions on where we went and as beautiful as that was, what I remember most, was swinging with him on the swings in the park.

Henry has never learned how to swing properly. It’s been starts and stops and fits of frustrations with lectures and examples of how to “Pump your legs! Do it like this! Watch me, watch your friends! “which usually ended in tears or more often in a silent giving up by both parties culminating with tummy swinging and spinning in circles, feet dragging in the dirt creating whirlwinds of dust clouds.

Today was different.

Today, in my reverie, my Quiet Observer moment, I was asked by my son if I would hold his hand while we swung next to each other. This was the first time he’d asked me this and I said yes, of course, very aware of the moment, the freedom of being without expectations of what I needed or wanted him to do.

I will never forget when he streched his little hand out to mine, smiling up at me, the warmth of his palm, his little fingers clasped tightly around my hand, as we pushed away from the ground together, hand-in-hand, little swirls of dust kicking up under us as we glided over our starting point.

And we swung. HE swung, small legs pumping in rhythm to my much longer strides, but he was doing it! He was swinging for the first time ever, on his own he was doing the movements that every kid, this big one included, takes for granted when you get on a swing. I watched as he’d lean back and pull forward, the wind blowing his hair away from his forehead. His eyes closed and a smile on his face. I couldn’t have been in a more blissful state. I was so at peace watching him float through the air that I too decided to let go and just swing. Leaning back, floating forward, air running along my arms and face, through my hair, his hand in mine. It wasn’t easy this tandem swing but we did it, the two of us. When I opened my eyes I turned to look at him and he was looking at me, his beautiful smile on his face and his blue-green eyes twinkling in the dusk light. His checks, flush and rosy from the cool evening air, forever captured in my memory. In my internal flash drive, I still remember it all.

As often as I try (and wish) to capture these moments on film, I realize that sometimes being IN THE MOMENT, REALLY, being in the moment is better than any picture. The feelings, the tactile experience, the emotions cannot be captured on film and it’s these moments that will be with me a lifetime.

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