The Younger Man

From a woman’s perspective, it is an ego boost when a younger guy “hits” on you.  It’s been written, that the passion of younger men are better suited to that of older women and yes there is so much more energy and enjoyment to be found between the sheets. Trust me.  But then, to be honest, I’ve not had the pleasure of being with an older man, so who really knows?

My hubby is 13 years younger. We did not intend to become a couple. He was definitely not looking at me in that way, nor I him. We were co-workers. He, worked for my ex husband, truth be told. My Hubby Then was all work and no play. My Hubby Now, was always doing something. He loved the outdoors and mountain climbing, skiing and riding bikes.  I did none of those things because Hubby Then, thought I needed to only do “mom/wife” things, cook, clean and help out at our business. I was in my early 40’s at the time. I still wanted to play.

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I finally talked Hubby Then to let me learn to ski and I got a bicycle, (for Pete’s sake, we owned a bicycle business, how could I not own a bike?) but forget anything else. Can you imagine having to beg someone to do things? I still wanted to learn to rock climb though and it was just killing me.  Especially, when Hubby Now would come back from his trips and share all his adventures. I was envious, but for sure that was out.  Let me point out something else here. Let me also point out and clarify that age is not the reason Hubby Then was how he was, because he was 10 years younger than I, so it wasn’t an age thing, but a power/dominance thing.  Perhaps because of our age difference, he felt he had to exert his “alpha-ness”.

“Hubby Then” liked “Hubby Now” then and gave in to letting me do a few things with him, like… help him shop for a house and later help him pick out stuff for his new house. Woman things. Hubby Now and I became best friends and that’s all it was for a long time. Then one day it changed. I told Hubby Then that I thought I was growing fond of Hubby now and he poo-poo’d it.  I quit working at the business by my choice and eventually divorced Hubby Then. No one wants their feelings trivialized or ignored.

A year later, at a mutual friend’s house, I ran into Hubby Now and we discussed the ridiculousness of our attraction for one another, age not being the main thing and eventually started dating, but not until he went to the ex and asked if that would be a problem, especially since they still worked together.  It wasn’t.  We have little in common other than we like each other. We don’t share the same music, but he’s getting to like mine and I tolerate his (he used to be in a punk rock or is it hard rock(?) band which still exists) and much of the activities we used to do, we have stopped doing to the degree we did them.  Sex is still a perk and life with him can still be an adventure and well, we just get along.

The downside of our age gap are many.  At times, he seems so immature and I ache to be with someone my age. That can be true of any sex at any age. There’s also the broad cultural base I came from and his limited tastes that we are working through.  As a former flight attendant, I had a love for travel, education, culinary tastes, the arts and so much more.  His life was pretty basic and has always been limited to his bicycle, his style music and the sports he enjoyed when he was younger but has little desire for anymore, especially my favorite, rock climbing.  Foreign travel has been unappealing and well foreign to him.  Then he will surprise me with the help of his mom and treat me to a sunset wine cruise on a sailboat.Russ and I

We moved from Colorado to Alabama and now California. We no longer ski, but still hike and he rides his bike. I no longer bicycle here, not since I was run off the road and got a head concussion. Traffic is too intense here, so at my age, I won’t risk it. I am still adventurous and will be taking my first leap from an airplane, any day now.  He will watch. That has to be posted, of course. Even though his mother is extremely well educated, she never taught him anything, but that’s another story.  He is learning though.

One of the downsides is that Hubby Now still needs to work. I’m retired, so that means putting any travel plans on hold until he is able. My friends are all gallivanting around and I must wait.  I sometimes worry, I might not be able to keep up when he’s free to go. I know I’m hardy, but it is still scary because there’s no one I’d love to travel with more.  He’s fun to travel with. He likes looking for the out of the way, unknown places, especially in the U.S.  He’s not as open to foreign travel…yet but I think he’s warming up to it, especially since I made friends with a young lady from France and she stayed with us awhile.

Our energy levels are slightly different and I think I’m stronger than he, at times.  (It must be the sex.)   BTW, I have no clue how I got red lettering up above, I noticed I’d misspelled chauvinistic and when I corrected it, everything in that paragraph turned red, except the corrected word.  Ooops!  When I posted, the red didn’t show up, so now I need to fix it somehow. Well, it bleeped it all.  I guess it wasn’t important.

Anyway, back on track here. Back to the good thing, is that we still have the friend and lover bond in tact.  We can talk about our differences and he is seeing that he does need to broaden his perspectives.  Thank goodness his mom is on board with that too. Fortunately, she likes the arts as well, so he’s seeing it’s importance.  Right now, she and I go to events together, but on occasion, he too will buy tickets to this or another and share it with me, though it’s rare.  One wonderful and humiliating things he does for me,  when I dare to have him look at something I’ve written, is proofread.  He is the best.  So, if this is less than perfect, it’s because he didn’t see it. LOL

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I’m into movies and such and he’s not, but I got him to run lines with me the other day to help my daughter with an audition she was prepping for and he loved doing it. (Yes, that’s my daughter, she likes being the tough “guy”) My daughter Marco Polo’d me that it sounded like he was having fun and it did.  It’s not just him that has had to make changes. I do things with him I don’t care for as well. The main thing with big gap marriages or any marriage or relationship for that matter,  is that for them to work you must be flexible and communicate. Without communication, it can all go to hell.

The Other Woman

A long time ago, too many to count, I lost my first husband to the other woman.  It was sad and I was miserable but I got over it.

I moved on far quicker than I imagined I could.  How and why?

Well… for one, it was the third time.  In my mind, I’d reasoned that a man that strays is not a man worth crying over.  If you take him back  (and I did twice before) then he’ll continue to stray.  What incentive is there for him to remain faithful if you keep taking him back?  Is it worth the heartache?  Not at all. Besides, I had two daughters, what kind of message would that be sending them?

So, I moved on and was eventually okay with it.

Then I married a younger man and he had women pal friends. Oh boy!  They were friends before I came along, so why worry about them.  I found it incredible that there was not more to their relationships.  When he and I started dating, he talked of them often, it was always “Jenny” this or “Pam” that.  So, of course, I thought perhaps there’s more there than I realize?  Hmmmm.

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Jenny was the pretty one and his “favorite” climbing buddy. She was always available to go on trips with him and he loved having someone to climb with. On occasion it puzzled him that her husband had no problem with her gallivanting off alone with a single guy.  In the early stages of our relationship when we were just friends, I ignored any speculation. Easy peasy. Not my problem.

One summer, I took a climbing trip with my rock-climbing buddies and he went trekking with  Jenny and I thought perhaps Pam,  another one of his regular climbing partners, but he reminded me how the two women didn’t get along so it wasn’t likely they’d pair up with him. Could it have been jealousy?  No telling.  It was kind of funny actually.

In the meantime, my guys, ( I was with three) helped me set up my tent on a mound not far from theirs so they could keep an eye out for me while giving me some privacy.  I loved it.  I know little about my BF’s trip, but it didn’t matter.  We were after all only dating then.

Off track for a moment here. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with climbing in general, let me inform you that not all climbing is technical, meaning requiring ropes and harness.  In fact climbing routes have numerical classifications depending on their difficulty, so when I refer to “rock” climbing, then I’m letting you know it is more difficult or as some say “technical” which requires rope and harness pretty much all the time, except for the brave soul, and there are some who free climb regardless of it’s difficulty, but that’s not me. The hardest climb I ever did was a 5.10a (US) which I thought pretty tough,  but for a more experienced climber, probably not. When I refer to climbing fourteener’s, I mean peaks of over 14,000 feet in altitude, these may or may not require ropes at all, although it is possible. In fact, there are peaks of less than 14,000 feet, such as the Trinities in Colorado where you’d like to at least have the option of using ropes if necessary, which some in our group did. Later I questioned my own sanity for not having been one of them.  Most guidebooks will tell you if there is a probability of needing them depending on your own caliber of expertise. There are some heights and areas that although not necessarily difficult are so exposed that they can make you feel a bit woozy, so it then becomes more of a precaution than a necessity.  BTW, For me exposed means straight down or with very little to break your fall, should you fall. In cases like that you could get “sewing machine leg” which means your legs tremble uncontrollably from the tension and trepidation of taking the next step.  That can be especially true on lateral climbs but not so much on the vertical ones.  It somehow feels different.

 

Back on track. As our relationship progressed, my BF and I began going on trips together with his friends.  Mine were not backpacking climbers, so it was just me that migrated to the mountain climbing group.

I was a greenhorn when it came to this distance climbing.  While rock climbing required leg and arm strength with enough stamina to hike into the climbing area, climbing 14ner’s required more long distance stamina and in rare occasions, decent technical knowledge.  Usually in rock climbing, the places I went to required minimal trekking in and most areas, you could practically just drive up to get to them, like the City of Rocks in Idaho.

Climbing 14ner’s was tough in a different way.  I was always out of breath from the altitude… until someone cued me in on a trick.  But before I learned it, these new group of “friends” frequently left me in the dust while they practically ran up the mountain, found a spot to take a break and wait for me to catch up.  As soon as I’d get there, they’d put on their packs, wait a couple of minutes for me to take a swallow of water and maybe, if I was lucky, I’d get a bite of a granola bar before they’d be ready to head out again. I learned quickly not to bother sitting down because as soon as I sat down they’d be up, which was just as well because my legs would start congealing and it would be all I could do to get moving again if I sat too long.  Fortunately, I did get stronger. But that was at first and boy did Jenny enjoy being the queen bee in those early days.

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Even my BF (hubby) didn’t wait for me.  I remember half the time wondering why he was my BF.  It pissed me off because he’d be of with “her” or “them” and I was struggling behind.  I’d have to remind myself how I grew up at sea level and I was considerably older learning all new stuff to do. (I’m nearly 50 in those pictures above) It was all new to me so I was determined and at the end of the day I was glad of it.  I really loved getting to the top of peaks and seeing God’s creations in all their magnificent glory.  Not to mention testing my own strengths and tenacity. Getting left behind while Jenny, him and the rest of the gang were way ahead was quite motivating as well.

On one of the earlier camp outs, Jenny and I were off by ourselves and she tells me how she just can’t understand how he could fall for someone like me.  (Bitch!)  Without malice, I ask what she meant by that.  Her response, was… “you’re old-er”.. . Yes, that can’t be denied I am years older but she didn’t know how much older so her stating it cued me in on how she felt about him and how I was the interloper.

Huh!

I tell my BF and being a guy, a rock could land on his head and he’d never notice, but he laughed and said, “No way, we’re just friends. We both just like to climb.”

Riiiiight!

Then he adds, “besides, she’s married.”

No matter, I kept my eye on her because although Pam was a possibility, as a single woman, she never made any claims or try to mark her territory.

So, I used the principle of keeping your enemies closer and asked Jenny to go climbing on a trip my BF had done several times before and that she had failed on two other occasions, so it was good chance for me to have a partner and her to try again.  Gladstone sits between and near Mt. Wilson and Wilson Peak.  It pretty much required an early morning start, so like at about 3 am I’m up and a little later, pick her up. Soon we are headed out from home and arriving as early as possible and starting the actual climb at daybreak.

picture by John Kirk

We did Wilson Peak first then proceeded to head up Gladstone.  Unfortunately, it started snowing about then.  At first lightly and then suddenly humongous flakes begin coming down quickly.  It was an early autumn snow which was surprisingly wet, so note the foreground in the picture and the rocky ridge?  Well compound that with wet snow that because of the cold will freeze.  We get through about a third of the way and each step becomes progressively more tenuous.  I suggest we turn back. She says no, “she’s failed twice before and just can’t turn away again.” We went on a bit further until the snowfall escalated. In just a few minutes the places we’d passed earlier were completely white. It was my first attempt and though I felt for her, I wanted to see another day and wouldn’t continue.  Plus each step we took became slipperier as we progressed.  Getting there was possible, but the return?  When we turned around to come back, we both looked up to see what looked like giant alien stick figures materializing on the east face of the saddle where the snow had collected, across from Mt. Wilson.  It was like a sign from God.

As it turns out, we barely made it to this old mining shack we’d passed going up the mountain and took refuge there. It was still far from our vehicle, but until it abated some, it was a safe haven.  We worried it wouldn’t stop and we’d be stranded there overnight and I made calculations of what we had in our packs that could get us through the night. In light of that we made the decision to go for it. As it was, it was dark when we got off the mountain (remember, we started out initially at 3 am)  Sadly, it would be midnight before we drug our sorry bodies home.

I didn’t climb with her again.  Without sounding sexist, I observed that the climbers with more sense were generally guys and I trusted my hubby’s judgement best of all.  Some time later Jenny, would get a divorce and surprisingly, she did drop hints here and there which confirmed what I’d said.  Was he disappointed? I  asked.  Had she been free, would he have given her a second thought?  He was honest and said he didn’t know. The truth is, it was actually Pam he’d been more attracted to, but only because she was always up for a trip, other than that, he didn’t find her that attractive and she was so dang radical that he’d pretty much nixed her out as well.  As for my queries about Jenny’s climbing passion being more akin to his?  He said “No”, she wasn’t that great.  Yes, sure she liked to go out but he questioned her motivation because,  in retrospect there were times when she went on climbs with him that she failed the ascents, bailing halfway up. Her reasons were complaints of nausea and headaches, which to be honest, if you don’t adequately hydrate at those altitudes, it can be a problem.  As for abandoning climbs? Well, I too,  abandoned climbs before and in both instances I was with a singular other woman and both times it snowed heavily. I’d also heard stories my BF told me of times he should have and didn’t and how it could have been fatal. Then there were the news stories of people getting caught in blizzards and ending up dead or lost for days. It happens.

As for Jenny, I felt sorry for her because even though she remarried, it didn’t work out well for her that time either. From then on out, she climbed less and less but then so did we.  Age has a way of catching up to us, but for as much older as I was than they, I outlasted them all.

Oh, as for the trick I learned to survive the altitude and breathe easier?

Aspirin.

Bayer Aspirin Regimen Low Dose 81mg, Enteric Coated Tablets, 300 Ct

Women’s Day

I’m going to keep this one short and sweet in honor of all the women in my family who’ve reinvented them self late in life.

First, I salute my sister Diana.

My sister Diana, who with me found the stresses of caring for our aged and dying parents quite trying at times. It forced us to find ways to grow and be better than we once were.

Di found that drawing would calm mother as well as herself and she developed her own unique style of crayon art

and from there she wrote her first book “The Importance of Thomas” which reveals, as told to her grand kids, her journey  with me in caring for our parents.

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Available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback

Second, My daughter Andrea:

My daughter Andrea, who just started writing her own blog, I salute as she embarks on a new career which is growing stronger everyday.

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Andrea

At 34, she went back to school and was the first girl in my family to finish college and get a degree.  You can read her story and goals at the link that follows. (Actually, Diana was the first in my family to finish college, but of me and my girls, Andrea was)

Her blog: http://usmountainstandard.com/about

Third, I salute my daughter Tina

Now, my firstborn Tina,  married at 17 and didn’t even finish the last 6 months of school thinking marriage was her destiny, At 45 she found herself evolving.

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Tina

Tina in Bali 2

Despite the fact that she didn’t start her family until she was 29, my former 3.5 grade point average student took her time getting that GED.

I only list her third because she is only now starting her journey.

At age 47, she started college and is now waiting to be admitted for a nursing degree, which I don’t think will be a problem with her getting straight A’s.

Both girls following in their mother’s footsteps taking strides, moving forward late in life. I guess you could call us late bloomers.

And well, most of you know my story. It’s been a rocky road but I keep on truckin’. I’m blogging while embarking on a screenwriting career.

And finally, I salute me:

My first screenplay was written with Andrea in mind, but even though her acting career took a detour, she is now back on track. With encouragement from Sean Astin and others, she has renewed her enthusiasm for film. Like me, she doesn’t know where that will end up.

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‘Baja Run” is the story of a woman who goes up against the Mexican drug Cartel and her father in order to save her son.

With Andrea, I have just completed the first phase of a web series we hope to start filming sometime next year.

Both girls are supportive of my efforts and eager to collaborate.

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Andrea, my grand daughter Becca and Tina showing their best sides.

Everything I’ve done I did after 45.  It took three marriages for one to take and that was at 45. I raised four children, two girls and two boys and in the interim pretty much kept my dreams on hold.  Now it’s my turn.

At 45, I learned to ski and…

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Cross Country skiing in this pic, but I did downhill as well.

I rock climbed and loved it. I would say it was my favorite sport. I also climbed mountains.

and at 50 I got to go to one of the most prestigious acting schools in LA, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

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Dance Class

In addition, I got to learn more from  LA Coach Molli Benson, Check out her site: “Specialty Acting Workshops”

At 65, after mother died, I learned belly dancing, Jo 1

It’s been quite a journey for us, but here’s to the ladies…AND we’re not done yet!