The William Morris Project: 2014 | Week 5

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Thank you so much for all your kind words about Buster. They were much appreciated. I had a migraine ALL DAY YESTERDAY, so the comments were a bright spot in the day. Hmmm…I wonder why I had a migraine? Anyway, here is an update on my little red head: the vet called yesterday and his results came back negative for bladder cancer. I was euphoric at first until I remembered he still has trouble urinating (and when he does, there’s blood), a growth in his bladder (possibly a clot), enlarged lymph-nodes, and unexplained weight loss. He goes in today for a “senior panel” to rule out other forms of cancer and problems with the kidneys.


I went on my 35th walk of the year yesterday. It also happened to be my 400th walk! I’m still plugging along, and I can only call it plugging along because my walks have been slow and short. I haven’t walked more than a mile in a month, but I keep reminding myself that I’m still walking daily, which is more than I did 401 days ago.

Yesterday I saw my legs in the mirror and I panicked for second. They kind of looked like old woman legs from the knees up when the light hit them just so. The other day I noticed a definite wrinkle in the middle of my brows and I panicked for a second then, too. Every time I try to join in on a conversation about “hot” actors with my hairdresser or the students, they politely compliment me on my choices, calling each of them “cute for an older dude.” I’m pretty sure the actors are younger than me.

I had to google Ariana Grande today and I have so much gray hair now that I’m going to have to change my color if I want to avoid brassy blonde.

I’m feeling old on the outside for the first time and it’s unsettling.

The Mister and I watched all available seasons of Luther on Netflix a little while ago, and Great Britain–or at least the BBC–sure knows how to make a woman feel normal. I could be wrong about this and exaggerating it all in my head, but I feel that female actors outside the US are allowed to have wrinkles, gray hair, and average bodies.

I want to age with grace, to slip into the second half of my life the way you glide into a calm body of water, instead of acting like a cat about to take a bath.

We don’t have very many women in our culture who are allowed to age gracefully, or at all. Sure, there are women over 40 in entertainment, but they are usually in slideshows about women over 40 who are still smoking hot. Even blogging lacks a “40 and love it” mentality. I happen to love being over 40 more than I ever loved my 30s and {shudder} my 20s, but I need to start acting like it, dammit.

I also need a skincare routine. I put in my life list that I wanted an all natural routine. Maybe it’s time I get on that.

Jules Kendall writes about books, family, and easygoing simplicity.


  1. Tes says

    I have to say, I love being in my 40’s too. I’m lucky, as my sweetie is a real horror movie buff, so he kinda likes the natural Bride of Frankenstein streaks I have acquired! What I really came to say is that this…”I want to age with grace, to slip into the second half of my life the way you glide into a calm body of water instead of acting like a cat about to take a bath.”…should be cross-stitched onto a pillow or something. Love it! :)

  2. Lu says

    Ditto previous comment about getting older. I’m adopting that as my maxim rather than wearing purple. I’m in my 40s and feeling fabulous (most days). My poor eyesight helps that I’m not able to see any grey hairs etc. I have been challenged by your writings many times to reexamine what I think about myself and I love that you have been posting more pictures of yourself. It encourages me to be me. Thank you. I read on the back of a van (?) recently ‘I’d rather be a first rate version of myself than a second rate version of someone else.’

    • says

      I’ve been trying, Lu. I’ve been really trying to be better about taking pictures and publishing them. I don’t want to be a bad role model for the boys, but every picture about kills me! :)

      p.s. The question mark after “van” made me laugh out loud.

  3. Shaina says

    I’m not in my 40’s yet but I also have the gray threatening to change my overall hair color. I am currently excited for it. I remember my grandmother with a shock of gray/white hair and longed for the day that would arrive for me.

    I have been cold all this fall and winter long. I’ve always been the warm one in the past. I’ve been griping to my friends about this sudden change and they just smile at me knowingly, wait for me to ask why, and remind me that I’m aging.
    I take that answer much like the cat in that video. I might even growl.

  4. says

    Yeah, I dunno what to do about the grey thing. I had figured I would go away for several months in the winter but not before shaving my head and then when I returned I would have a gorgeous head of short grey hair. But I haven’t gone ahead with this, largely because I can’t afford to be away for so long…;c)
    On the Buster front, Yay for it not being bladder cancer, but has your vet screened for either a UTI or lymphoma, or even thymoma? I might recommend a consult with a veterinary oncologist. My own dog was diagnosed with lymphoma almost three years ago and underwent chemo for six months; she continues to be in remission and reasonably healthy, although she is 11 1/2.
    Good luck! Please let us know what you find out.

    • says

      He had a senior panel today, which they rushed. We got the results about an hour ago, and it is normal for a 13 year old beagle. There is some water in the urine now, which is better than blood, I guess. We’ll see on Monday how his lymph-nodes respond to the antibiotics he’s just started. Then, we wait until the 17th and if his lymph-nodes are still enlarged, then we’ll biopsy them, ultrasound his bladder, etc. Hurry up and wait! Ugh.

  5. Jeanine says

    Hoping and praying for a clear diagnosis and healing for Buster!
    I have been using the oil cleansing method to clean my face for several months now and really like using natural ingredients. It has definitely helped my skin feel softer and smoother, and I love that it removes mascara easily while washing my face. If you want to check it out, has a couple of good posts on the method, which is really simple. Of course, you can also google it.

    • says

      Thank you. I keep getting optimistic that Buster will be fine, but then I remember he’s 13. Even if he’s fine…when will the next illness come? Sigh. I’m too negative.

      What oil are you using? I tried oil cleansing once, but it didn’t work well on mascara for me. Plus, it burned my eyes!

  6. Kathy says

    My sympathies to you all for Buster’s health difficulties. Our dog, Boo, will be nine this year. My eleven year old is ver focused on Boo’s “advanced” age.

    I turned 48 in November and I can truly say I don’t care any longer that I am beginning to look older.
    I take care of my self ( eat relatively well, exercise, sleep enough) and that is enough. I’m never going to be taller, have fuller hair. I have wrinkles and age spots and it’s ok. You’re 40? You just need more time to pass. I think acceptance comes with time.

    • says

      Thank you. The boys pray for Buster every night. It kind of kills me. I worry so much about how they will respond.

      I’m 41. Maybe I will get to your level of peace once I treat myself better. I’ve done better in the sleep department, so that’s good.

  7. Fairfax Avenue says

    Judith Viorst wrote Necessary Losses…although I read it decades ago, I think some of her thoughts on finding peace with one’s maturing self offered me a great deal of wisdom.

    The late Jack Smith, columnist of the Los Angeles Times, said something like “I want to stick around and see what happens next.”

    Now you’ve presented us with “I want to age with grace, to slip into the second half of my life the way you glide into a calm body of water instead of acting like a cat about to take a bath.” — It’s a keeper!

  8. says

    I’m sure the vet has already treated and / or ruled out a urinary or prostate infection as the cause of the blood in the urine, but if not, it could be a very straight-forward situation. Given the blood in the urine, if you’ve noticed his stool to be darker than normal or black in appearance, be sure to mention that to the vet. Speaking from very recent experience, that information can be very helpful to the vet. Continued best wishes for Buster.

    • says

      Yes, I’ve been looking at his stool and it’s fine. I’m hoping this is just an insanely bad UTI? But the weight loss! It’s the weight loss that has us all stumped.

  9. says

    ” I feel that female actors outside the US are allowed to have wrinkles, gray hair, and average bodies.” YES. omg yes. One of many reasons I love the BBC.

  10. Heather says

    “I want to age with grace, to slip into the second half of my life the way you glide into a calm body of water instead of acting like a cat about to take a bath.” I needed this today — as tomorrow I turn 40. And I’ve been acting more like the cat. Thank you.

    • says

      Well! Happy pre-birthday! You’ll love it, mostly, I promise. The worst–for me, anyway–is year 39. The absolute worst is the night before your 40th birthday. Then, on the actual day/day after, it’s better. A relief to just get it over with.

  11. Hazel says

    Glad you enjoyed Luther. :-)

    If it’s any consolation, my 15 year old looked over my shoulder as I was reading your blog and commented on how young you look! She knows all my ‘imaginary friends’ (as my husband calls my favourite bloggers) are about the same age as me; I’m 42 and don’t think I look particularly old!

    A new BBC series that I’m enjoying at the moment is The Musketeers. The plots aren’t very challenging, but there’s lots of swashbuckling (my 13 year old son is loving it) and the actors are very….pleasant to watch. Santiago Cabrera is possibly the most beautiful man on the planet and I was admiring D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino) until I realised he was born in 1990. I’ve been married almost that long- I had a bit of an aging crisis at that point. Sorry, that probably doesn’t help…

    • says

      We LOVED Luther! When is it coming back? I need my Alice!

      And if you liked The Musketeers, I’m on it. I’m intrigued that you find the…scenery…so enjoyable. Must check out.

      • says

        I just MUST say that the…uh… scenery in the BBC production Endeavour is very much to my liking. Since I’m watching it via Amazon Prime I’ve not been able to squee with other females about the main character, so thanks for giving me the opportunity :-)

  12. Sarah says

    Have you read Lisa at ?
    She is a style and lifestyle blogger in her 50s and I really like her take on getting older with style and grace – not striving to be “smokin’ hot.”

    • says

      No, but I’ll check her out immediately. I hate the “smokin’ hot” goal everyone seems to have. I’m going for general bad assery and good skin. :)

  13. says

    I started using Kiss My Face olive oil soap on my SUPER dry skin and face…it is working wonders…it is “all natural” and is not insanely expensive…and can be bought at the grocery store :) All important to me.

  14. Hallie says

    Ugh, yeah. I have so much to say but I’m just throwing out a few random comments.

    I keep trying to embrace the good things about getting older.

    I keep trying to decide if I want to be a curmudgeon or a sweet old lady.

    I keep trying to embrace getting older. I know, I already said that. I keep trying. I mean, it’s happening no matter what. I gotta keep trying!

    I’ve bought a ridiculous number of collections of 70s/80s commercials and do you know, WE WERE RAISED looking at normal people!!! One of the things that jumps out at me when watching these commercials is the normal people and normal decor. This place is twisted! Let’s get our minds out of it!


    • says

      That’s how I remember the 70s/80s! I don’t remember grandmas being sexy. I remember them being grandmas or “ageless” beauties, meaning they were classic, elegant, refined creatures who wore blouses and sensible heels with bows at the toes.

  15. Missie says

    I’m going to be 42 next week. I feel young & 42 doesn’t sound old to me. I’m still fighting like a cat though, just because I don’t feel like I’m the best me I can be at the moment. I don’t need to be skinnier, just stronger. As for the gray, I intend to keep coloring my hair because I feel better and I don’t need to totally cave! Funny, I read Kathy’s comment about starting to not care about looking older. I cringe every time my mom says that, I’m like “how can you not care???” I suppose I’ll be there one day…

  16. says

    I’m standing firmly in my mid-30’s right now, but I’m starting to notice things that weren’t there 5 years ago…

    It’s pricey, but I started using Dr. Weil’s skincare line (specifically the Mega Mushroom facewash and serum and I’m never looking back. I have sensitive, finicky, dry skin and it’s gotten rid of the flaky skin, blotchiness, and random breakouts (that I never had in my teens and twenties).

    • says

      I started to notice changes at 35 appearance-wise. 40 is when I started noticing changes in my health (my eyes being the prime example here).

    • says

      Thank you so much for this! I have tomorrow off from the library, so I’m going to read all the posts she linked to. It was a great post. She said it all far better than I could have.

  17. Phaedra says

    I hope that your family gets good news for Buster as I’ve had several friends dealing with similar things with their long loved family pets and it’s such a difficult thing to get those scary diagnoses.

    As for the aging process, YES! How are you always reading my mind??! My mom and I were just discussing that it’s not as if I want to ‘let myself go’ and ‘not care’, but at age 41, I have been asking the question of when do I get to just be happy with looking my age (instead of trying to look like my age 10-15yrs ago??!) I realize it’s all my decision, but this world. My God, this world. It’s hard to get off the treadmill and embrace the next stage of life gracefully. (and, yes, I am the cat in your quote!)

    • says

      Life is such a cycle. We get married around the same time, get pets around the same time, have kids around the same time, lose pets around the same time. It’s bittersweet.

      YES! When do I get to just be happy? I’ve been asking myself this, and I think the answer is “when I choose to be happy.” Freaking worthless, impossible simple answers.

      • Phaedra says

        Thank you! ‘when I choose to be happy” perfect. I know it’s the truth and yet.. I struggle. Loved all the posts/replies on this! I am not alone! (is my battle cry)

  18. J.Lee says

    I have very shiny skin by midday, even at my age. I use proactive cleanser and very cold water 2x a day with maybelline baby lips (no color) and lancome renergie eye cream before bed. I exfoliate with a soft damp cloth in the evening if my skin feels a little textured and avoid heat or hot water on my face as much as possible. Enjoying very good results with this.

    Also, have had for quite some time now, a 30’s plus folder in my Pinterest. Now more than halfway through, I’m still glad to have it.

  19. jo says

    if you have a moment, i recommend reading the gardener’s cottage posts on skincare & beauty. janet is over 50 and in my opinion looks fantastic! i have no affiliation with her or her blog but just stumbled onto it and its really opening up my eyes to aging gracefully. i think you’d really like her posts about simplifying her life and home too.
    all the best.

  20. says

    A) I got my first grays at 18, so I have more now than anyone I know (who’s not a grandma). I need to dye every 5 weeks or so but can’t afford that, so my secret is out.

    B) I’m older than most bloggers I read (45) and that often freaks me out and makes me feel older than almost anything else I encounter. But I like reading blogs, so there’s that.

    C) I’m way more interested in the high-end skincare at Sephora these days than high-end eyesshadow. Not that I can afford that, either.

    D) I feel sexier and like myself and my personal style way, way more now that I did 5, 10, or 20 years ago.

    E. Retinol.

    (And crossing my fingers for good/fair news about your sweet Buster.)

  21. Becky says

    “cute for an older dude”-I had to share a somewhat soul-crushing episode that took place on Pinterest (which has apparently been taken over by 15 yr. olds). Someone had created a collage of “Hot Middle-Aged British Guys”-each one of which was at least 5 to 10 years younger than me. I will be 43 on Saturday, and I keep reminding myself that age is just a number, but the blinding amount of gray hairs and the random dark spot on the backs of my hands make it difficult sometimes!

  22. Bhavna says

    Hey I am writing to tell you that Cats do not take showers at all, you might think its fucking funny but it is almost like torturing them, your cat is crying from the heart right now and you think its fucking funny, SHAME ON YOU AND SHAME ON PEOPLE LIKE YOU, YOU THINK YOU ARE SO FUCKING SMART NOW THAT YOU HAVE A FUCKING BLOG, THAT IS ALL THAT PEOPLE LIKE YOU THINK IT TAKES NOW DAYS TO BE SO SMART….BUT YOU ARE A LOSER

    • says

      Hmmm. I need to think about this. I think you might be onto something.

      1.) I have a blog and can write in English using rules of grammar Mrs. Burns, my 3rd grade teacher, taught me over 30 years ago.

      2.) You don’t have a blog–that I know of–and seem to have the same aversion to punctuation cats have to baths (note that ‘cats,’ a noun, is not capitalized).

      3.) The post is not actually about bathing cats, and yet here you are, talking about–you guessed it!–bathing cats.

      4.) That is not my cat and, by consequence, not my video and–here’s where we come full circle–not my laugh.

      Bhavna, I can’t believe I’m about to write this, but after reviewing the evidence, I have to admit you’re actually right about something: I am that fucking smart.

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