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50 Things I Want To Do In My 50s

old-ageHi, Loves!

So as you all know I am turning 50 in about a week.  That’s a big one. It actually seems surreal.

You know how people often say, “Oh you don’t look like you’re 30, 40 or 50!” Like what exactly does any age look like? I am not sure what 50 should look or feel like.  I guess it feels exactly how I feel right now.

And I feel pretty awesome.  In a great place.  I love my job.  I have an amazing family.  A nice circle of friends.  I have health most importantly, but I feel like, and maybe some of you guy feel same- I feel like there are so many things I haven’t done. So I have compiled a list of things I want to do this year, experiences I want to have, places I want to go.

I’ve been really thinking about things I’ve always wanted to do and have not done yet. So in commemoration of my blogs one year anniversary – here is my list of  50 things I want to do in my 50s. (And these are not in any particular order of importance.)

  1. Do more yoga. Like aside from the physical I would like to know yoga with my yogaspirit.
  2. Go to Maine and eat lobster.
  3. Move to a nicer, bigger place. Maybe even become a homeowner.
  4. Skydive, though I don’t know if I’ll actually do it.
  5. Go to Europe, I’ve never been.
  6. Blog more.  At least once a week. Really grow my blog and hopefully do some influencing.
  7. Write. Start writing that book. About what? I’m not sure yet.
  8. Probably take some writing lessons in order to write that book.
  9. Run a marathon.
  10. Sell at least 5 homes this year.
  11. Go visit Graceland. I am a huge Elvis fan.
  12. Become debt free.
  13. Go on a family vacation with my girls and grandkids – something as simple as the shore.
  14. Volunteer more.
  15. Take a road trip cross country.
  16. Meditate more.
  17. Create a meditating space at home.
  18. Find a Buddhist temple near me and engage in some learning.
  19. Read more books- hard copies!
  20. Spend more time with my mom. Create some kind of a tradition/ritual with her.
  21. Journal EVERYDAY.
  22. Write a letter to Oprah. Don’t ask. Hopefully get a response.
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    Self-care is most important in my 50s.
  23. More self-care things like monthly massages and/or facials.
  24. Grow my hair and possibly let it gray naturally.
  25. Declutter. Really live minimally.
  26. See my dad more often.
  27. Learn some basic photography.
  28. Start a Vlog
  29. Send birthday cards to people instead of a social media post.
  30. Work out at least 5 times a week
  31. Move away from Facebook.
  32. Speak more Spanish to my grandbabies.
  33. Maybe learn another language – I love Portuguese, BUT I know some Italian, sooo maybe.
  34. Apply to be on a game show – I’ve done this several times (never made it) – the freaking application for Wheel of Fortune is insane.
  35. Play in the rain/mud.
  36. Spend more time down the shore
  37. Live a healthier lifestyle overall
  38. Learn how to swim finally!
  39. Quit drinking alcohol.
  40. Go parasailing.
  41. Take tango lessons.
  42. Create a daily practice of journaling, meditating, exercising, and eating healthy.
  43. Be kinder to people – smile more (guilty of RBF). LOL!
  44. Build my family tree (I did my DNA and it was sooo interesting).
  45. Go ziplining again – IT was amazing.
  46. Visit an ashram.
  47. Visit more bookstores.
  48. Celebrate NYE on an island somewhere.

Isn’t this list amazing?  Now listen, clearly I can’t do all of this in ONE year, but you best believe I am starting.

I will reflect on this list throughout this year and make sure I am making moves to check off these 50 items off my bucket list in my 50s.

What’s on your list of things to do?  You don’t have to wait until your 30, 40 or 50 to start your list and to start checking off those things that stir your soul.

Life is so short and in my almost 50 years, I’ve seen how quickly a life is snuffed out whether to disease or accident.  I have been blessed thus far and I’ve done a lot, but there is more I want to do and plan to do!

Someone I knew once said, “Don’t wait for another day or another hour or another time.  Go and Do It. Now” – Kyrzayda –

So just watch me guys!  Here’s to 50!

Happy birthday to me!

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Cheers to me!

Thanks for stopping by and reading.  Make sure to like, comment, share and follow!

LolaUncorked♥

 

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Be Careful What You Wish For

Oh boy, sometimes you really do have to be careful what you wish for. It’s like people who want to be in a relationship and then get it and then it’s like ugh!? But why?

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Or you want a baby and then you get one and it’s like “WTF was I thinking? This is a lot of work”.

Or a “dream” job that turns out to be a complete nightmare because of an asshole boss.
Listen, I am not saying you shouldn’t wish or desire things, just be careful and be sure that YOU really want what you’re wishing for.  Make sure it isn’t for stupid reasons like all your friends are in relationships, or everyone is having a baby, or look at that influencer’s life seems great and easy, when in reality that’s just social media.  You get my point right?

Anyway, a friend of a friend of a friend shared a story about a couple. I’m going to change names (actually this happened so long ago, I really don’t remember the participants’ names, so I’ll make them up). Her name is Maria and his name is John. Simple.

DISCLAIMER: This is a friend of a friend of a friend, and I heard this story last summer and jotted it down as a possible blog but other blogs came before. With that said, some of it may be embellished or made up from memory but you guys will get it. The story itself is not the point though.

Anyway, John and Maria have been married for a while, have kids, go to work, have friends and family, vacations, etc.

Maria was feeling a little bored with the relationship.  You know the usual humdrum that happens when the passion fades and people have to grow up and adult as a couple. Handle a home, bills, work, etc.

Maria broached the conversation with John a few times. They tried to figure out different ways to spice things up. She was sure John must be suffering the same ailment. From what I gathered I don’t think he was at this point, but her proposition must have sparked something in him.

She proposed that they try a sort of open relationship, they could both see/sleep with others, the only rule being they didn’t let it intrude in their home and family life. So don’t be seen out in public with the other person, set boundaries for communicating, use protection.

Well, John was completely offended and taken off guard and was like “ABSOLUTELY, NO WAY, NO HOW!” They had a couple more conversations trying to negotiate, but John was not for it.

Instead what John did some time later was that he took it upon himself and embarked on an affair and he got caught. And she was NOT happy about it. At all! Threatened separation, divorce, etc.

Now, now!! You all are thinking well she wanted them to see others, right? At least it’s what ran through my mind. Why is she so upset? I also wondered why did he go and cheat when the when the idea of an open relationship was so off the table for him?

Well, I have my thoughts. Selfishness and ego. Men are selfish creatures. Men also have HUGE egos. I am thinking that when Maria approached him with the idea of an open relationship, his initial thoughts went something like:

“Why? Am I not enough?”
“What’s wrong with me” “Why do you need another man?”
“Am I not good enough in bed?

(And I could be wrong, as I am not a man-so men correct me please.)

Anyway, Maria was so offended, mortified, hurt, broken. She demanded that they go to therapy to rebuild the trust and relationship.

Wait, wait, wait, but wasn’t it Maria who approached John with the idea initially? Why was she now so indignant and repulsed by what John did when this was what she wanted?

Just playing devil’s advocate here.devil

As a woman, I completely KNOW why she was so upset.

He didn’t agree to it initially. He was adamant about not wanting to share. His love for her was so great, according to him, that he was afraid an open relationship would open them up to issues of mistrust.

But then he went and cheated.

What are your thoughts? Is Maria right in her reaction? What about John? Why do you guys think he cheated when he was so against the idea of an open relationship?

How about this question: Is monogamy sensible? Reasonable? Attainable? Well we know it’s attainable but can anyone be monogamous for years and years and years and still feel passion and excitement for their partner?

I have many thoughts about monogamy we can talk about in another post, but I will say this like most things in life relationships take work, daily, consistent, present work. And couples need to understand that needs change, during your 20s, your 30s and so on.

To believe that what satisfied you in your 20s, could satisfy you in your 30s or 40s is simple minded. Now is this to say you should cheat? That is not what I am saying.

I think every relationship is unique and different and can only be negotiated and or navigated by the people involved. With that said couples at the very least need to engage in conversations about their needs and wants and expectations on a consistent basis.

Can we maybe step back and think what might have happened instead, had John been willing and open to renegotiate the marriage? Maybe not an open relationship but perhaps giving Maria an alternative. Rather than shutting down to the idea completely and shutting down the conversation.

I don’t know what happened to John and Maria, but what happened got me thinking. It got me thinking about relationships, how to sustain them, and stay in passion. healthy relationship

But all that aside, be careful what you wish for, because the very thing you want can be the thing that bites you in the butt!

Thanks for stopping by!

LolaUncorked♥

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I can’t believe I have to blog about funeral etiquette…SMH!

Hey lovies!  I have so many drafts of blogs to finish and post- BUT I had to come on here to address death and wake/funeral etiquette.  Because apparently in this day and age of technology and social media many have lost all common sense.

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We recently lost a very much loved member of our family.  It was one of those expected, unexpected things.  And at almost 50, dealing with death, wakes and funerals is no easier than it was in my teens, 20s or 30s.

What I have noticed however is that the way people grieve coupled with techonological access equates to such an unbelievable disrespect and disregard for the dead and their families that it compelled me to write this blog.

Listen, I think that technology has so many advantages and has opened endless possibilities for networking, entrepreneurial success, and solving crimes and just spreading information.  I mean, I myself can’t remember life before all this access can’t imagine life without it.  Though the idea of disconnecting for a month sounds heavenly.

But in the midst of all these technological gains, we have also suffered many losses – common sense and sensitivity.   We have become so desensitized to real live human interactions that we don’t even know how to act when someone passes.

I get that we all grieve and suffer the loss of a loved one differently.  Some people maydeath1 cry uncontrollably for days on end, others may not show any emotion and people may think they are insensitive and yet others may have a need to inundate themselves in work and mundane tasks in an effort to not deal.  Everyone grieves differently, but I am going to remind some of you of things NOT to do at a wake or funeral.

This list was compiled as a result of a conversation I had with my family about the things we observed over this past week while making arrangements.

And as you guys know I love lists – it just helps me organize myself.  So here goes – things NOT to do at a wake or funeral.

  1. When a family is grieving and planning for their loved ones services, do NOT impose your thoughts, practices, or opinions into the arrangements of the deceased UNLESS you’re planning on paying for the services. Like who else would know a father or mother better or more, than their own kids. You can’t force your ideals or practices from the past on today. Just, just, be still and offer comfort in silence.
  2. The wake, especially, is a time to sit in reverence, remember, cry, and support. The receiving line is your time to offer some words of comfort, a hug or a handshake and done. This is NOT the time to ask the family what happened. How did it happen? or to offer words like, “Oh but he was so young.” or “Maybe if he or she had done this or that.” Like really?
  3. This one is huge! The Biggest! The Most Important! DO NOT TAKE OUT YOUR
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    Like really, I googled cell phones and funerals and I can NOT believe what I found….

    PHONES.  If you  have to make a call, step out.  If you have to give someone information about the services.  Do NOT Snap or post IG Live videos, do NOT take selfies or group pictures next to the casket or anywhere for that matter.  Do NOT, please do NOT video tape people at the wake, who are crying and grieving. Do NOT video tape the funeral mass and please do NOT video tape the lowering of the casket!!! (Someone did at the funeral site and I kept wishing they would drop their phone in the grave. SMH!)

  4. Common sense folks!  I don’t care if you ask the family.  Actually don’t even ask the family. These people are in mourning, they are sad and upset, they are probably exhausted from the planning and visits and crying.  Just don’t do it.  It’s disrespectful to the people who are there honoring a life gone. Not to mention to the deceased.
  5. This is a funny one and actually happened.  LOL. But should be addressed.  Make sure if you go up to someone, a family member you haven’t seen in a while, that before you start sobbing on their shoulder they know who you are.  AWKWARD!
  6. And if you’re that person that someone goes up to sobbing uncontrollably and you don’t remember who they are because maybe you haven’t seen them in decades, don’t look around at the crowd with a stunned look on your face and hands out like “Who the hell is this?” Play it off, please and ask questions later.
  7. And lastly, but I am sure not least, after the services are done and the family has said their goodbyes remember they have been going through the process long before you heard about the person passing, especially if the person had suffered a long illness.  So when it’s over the family needs time to sit, pray, cry, remember and  be alone.  Don’t show up at their house unexpectedly.  Don’t get upset if your calls or texts go unreturned.  Just let them be.  Let them absorb it all.  Let them be quiet.  Let them be still. Let them mourn.

Watching some of the above, actually occur left me perturbed and kind of sad   We can’t even go to a wake and sit in reverence and pray for the deceased and that’s a shame.

Here are some websites on funeral etiquette if you’d like to do further reading: https://www.frazerconsultants.com/2017/11/funeral-etiquette-cell-phone-use-at-funerals/, and www.funeralwise.com/etiquette/. Apparently I am not the only person out there who feels people need a common sense refresher.

We will profoundly miss our Moises.  What an honor it has been knowing him and becoming family.  He leaves behind a legacy that we all hope to live up to.

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In loving memory of Moises Santos

Thanks for reading lovies! Remember to like, follow, comment and share! See you soon!

LolaUncorked♥

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You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books…

There is something magical about finding a quaint little bookstore in the middle of the hustle and bustle of a city.  A place you can slip into and escape the outside noise.  That’s not exactly what happened to me, but close enough.  I found this treasure on a quiet side street in Montclair (NJ).

If any of you know Montclair, have visited, worked, or lived in Montclair (or still do) you know that Montclair is known for its chic little boutiques, bougie international eateries, yoga studios and cozy cafes.  It’s a mini NYC right in our very own backyard.   https://www.montclairnjusa.org/

We weren’t looking for a bookstore.  We meaning myself, my photographer, Geraldine and her assistant.  We were just looking for a location to shoot some photos for my blog when we happened upon the Watchung Booksellers, a cute bookstore near the train station.   https://www.watchungbooksellers.com/.   

I literally felt like Dorothy arriving in Oz or Cinderella at the ball.  Watchung Booksellers has got to be the cutest little gem I’ve come across in a long time.  It was like a three scoop sundae with all the toppings! Want to know what the cherry on top was? Well, even if you don’t I will tell you anyway.   

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Look at that smile….books stores feel like home to me…

As I walked in absorbing the wooden shelves, rows of books and cozy reading areas, I turned to my left and to my wandering eyes what should I see?

A little cafe – Da Pepo.  Complete with chalkboard announcing “Wait to be seated”, wine glasses for BYOB, farm-style grey washed tables where you could partake of paninis and things. 

I wanted to squeal like a kid on Christmas morning!  We immediately took over the cafe, after ordering three coffees and asking for permission to shoot some photos, of course.

We were having a ton of fun and just loved the space, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the bookstore next door.  I had peeped a wooden stepladder through the connecting doorway and I really, really, really wanted some photos on it!  I kept thinking Carrie Bradshaw with my cute french beret.

I finally asked an employee if we could take photos.  I explained that I am a blogger who blogs about a little bit of everything and I loved their space and really wanted pictures.  She referred me to a younger girl who I guess is in charge of social media.  She asked about my blog, agreed to the photos and asked that I tag her so they can follow me. Oh! She also asked for my blog site so they could follow it! Winning!  

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Books, books, and more books!

Look I know we have bookstores like Barnes and Noble and they serve their purpose, but it’s so big and bright and formal.  This book store was small and quaint and familiar.

Now let me back up a second.  I wasn’t planning on writing about this bookshop – it really was just a prop.  But something stirred in me as I walked around, posed, touched and smelled books.  A long hidden memory was tickling the edges of my mind.

And then I suddenly remembered a bookstore I used to frequent  (no let me rephrase that – nearly lived in ) back in Passaic where I grew up.  I can’t remember but I believe it was just called the Passaic Bookstore.  It was located at the end of Main street.  I remember spending hours a day several times a day after school in there as a depressed and angry teen.  LOL!

I would get lost picking up books, touching them, browsing, reading the first few pages trying to decide if it was worth the 75 cents it cost (clearance shelf).  And there was so much clutter!!!  Heavenly clutter! Every wall was lined with books, aisles had baskets filled with books and little tables piled high with more,  nooks and crannies where you could hide and get lost in.  

I remembered  that when I was no more than 15 or 16, I told myself I wanted to own a little bookstore when I grew up.  

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Cozy cafe attached to the bookstore…Da Pepo…Go check them out…they literally had a soft opening the day before the shoot..

I wanted something that felt like someone’s living room with dark wooden shelves, comfy plush seats, the smell of coffee brewing in the background mingled with the smell of old pages in a book. 

I haven’t held a book and read in a long time.  I used to read 3 or 4 books a month growing up.  Now I listen to 1 -2 books a year on Audible because I am always running around.  I have to say it’s not the same half-listening to a book while waiting to order coffee at the drive thru.

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Books are like heaven to me!!

I didn’t buy any books that day as much as I wanted to, but something about that bookstore stirred a long dormant love of books.  I don’t know if I will ever own my own bookstore, but I will definitely be going back to the little community bookstore in Montclair because if I can walk into a space that brings me as much joy as it did that’s a place I need to frequent more often.

Thanks for stopping by lovies! PC|geri_1221   http://www.geritorres.com/

P.S. Here a list of some of my favorite books EVERRRR! (I hope you share yours with me too!)

  1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  2. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  4. Pillars of the Earth . by Ken Follet
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (of Course!)
  6. Passing by Nella Larsen (A MUST READ!)
  7. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez
  8. Counte of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  9. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

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♥LolaUncorked

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Why I decided to leave the classroom….

Hi my loves!  I am so excited to announce that I am officially leaving the classroom after almost 14 years!

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On my way to a new adventure…. PC | geri1221

I did it!  I am so excited to venture out into something new, though leaving my longest running job is bittersweet and scary.  Notice I called it a job,  not a career, because that’s really what it has become for me.  A job I had to go to so I can have an income and be an adult.

I was passionate and excited about teaching maybe 3 out of the 14 years I’ve done it. In the short time (and I say that in comparison to friends who have been teaching for over 20 years) the shift in education has been disheartening and disenfranchising.   

It seemed that every year there were new initiatives and mandates put into place by individuals so far removed from the classroom they wouldn’t survive a day. 

A profession that commanded the highest level of  respect back in the day has now placed teachers at the bottom of the societal totem pole.

Why did I stay so long? Well, #1 I racked up tons of student loans to pursue what I thought was a respectable and rewarding career.  And I needed to pay them off.  (Which I haven’t). #2 I was working on a pension and retirement.  And  #3, most importantly, because every year I really believed something would reignite in my soul and I would be like “Woohoooo!”  Sometimes it did, but that fire quickly simmered down to a dying ember.  Sad but true.  

I went back to school for two reasons: One my kids, my girls.  I kept saying how do I instill in them the importance of education if I hadn’t placed importance on it myself.      

The second reason is that while working at Montclair State University in their education center, this professor who later became my boss, mentor and friend, looked at me one day and said, “You HAVE to go back to school!  Let’s get you a PhD!”

Ha! Really???  I was just trying to wrap my mind around a bachelor’s degree.  Especially since at that point, I already had two kids and worked full-time.

That’s where it all started.  In retrospect, I really loved what I was already doing   supporting teacher candidates, graduate assistants, my boss and other faculty in the teacher education department.  But, I believed in order to be credible in the field of education, I had to get my teaching degree and get some experience in the trenches.  And boy did it feel like the trenches!   

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And who are the experts? The front line – teachers!

Little did I know that the disconnect between theory and practice is so wide that I could have totally stayed in my job and done an amazing job supporting others.

But we live and we learn.  Now thousands and thousands of student loans later,  I have eagerly decided to hang up my dry erase markers (yes, because I don’t even have a Smart Board this year) and leave the classroom.

I haven’t loved it in a very long time.  I’ve had moments of love and passion for sure, but those feelings were repeatedly squashed by over zealous administrators, red tape, favoritism, nepotism, sexism, to name a few.

Each September, I kept thinking:

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I’ve done a lot of thinking and praying about making a move….

“This year, I will feel completely supported and prepared to service my kids.”

“This will be the year that the powers-that-be finally decide to back off and just let me teach.”

“This will be the year where the assessment is aligned to the curriculum to the state standards to my students’ language levels and abilities and culture and backgrounds.”

That year never came.

And so I’ve decided to leave, not completely leaving the profession.  I will still be in an educational setting but working for a non-profit corporation that supports literacy practices in a public school setting.  I am EXCITED!

But I wanted to leave administrators, instructional coaches, superintendents, curriculum writers, parents and policy makers with this:

Before you criticize or demonize (as has happened to many of us) a teacher, think of the task you are asking teachers to take on – educator, mother, nurse, social worker, psychologist, interventionist, for pennies a day.

Before you jot down that 1 or 2 on a teacher’s observation report, because you as an administrator need to show data growth think about what that 1 or 2 does to your teacher’s motivation level and how that impacts his/her work in the classroom.

Before you go on your walk thrus change your mindset from a negative one to a postive one so you can catch all the good that is going on versus the one or two things that might be going wrong that day.

Before you give feedback to a teacher about what to make better, make sure its something that you yourself can go in there and model and do well.

Before any of you make another policy regarding children and schools, spend ONE day in a classroom where there are 25 1st graders some with classifications that are not being serviced, no books, no reading rug, no supplies, whose parents don’t speak the language or have limited education or work 15 hour days, where all the kids are on different academic and behavioral levels.  One day!  I can guarantee many wouldn’t last a half.

Listen, I am not asking for pity on teachers for the work they chose to do, what I am saying is to be a little more empathetic and thankful for the work teachers are doing day in and day out across the nation.

I don’t know what this new career will bring for me, but I can say that I was able to recognize that I could no longer go to a place where every morning it felt like a chore and every evening was filled with anxiety thinking of the next day. 

I recognized that I was doing my students and myself a huge disservice going there.

I have made some amazing friends and have met some amazing teachers doing amazing work despite all the people working against them and I wish them continued success.

I leave you with this thought: 

“I think that education in our country is going to self-combust and when the dust settles, my hope is that those “others” will finally let teachers teach.”

Thanks for stopping by.  Remember to like, comment, follow and share!

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LolaUncorked♥