I’m writing this from Venice, CA, where I arrived last night after twelve days on the road. I’m here for a three month hiatus, hoping to do daily yoga and learn the tarot, while also working and getting to know lots of LA women. Those are my West Coast goals for this unexpected mid-life adventure:)
It’s been quite a road trip, and the highlights for me have been numerous:
Driving through North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas for the first time, and meeting some really fantastic Woolfers along the way (shout-outs to Liz Schenck Phillips, Sarah Newstok, and Jennifer Dawes), made me realize we need a Southern subgroup, so I created WWVWD The South from the road. I hope you Southern Woolfers (or anyone who spends time there, or wants to spend time there) will join and start sharing local bits of interest. I went to bookstores in every place I visited, including Ann Patchett’s Parnassus, a long fabled treat. My other fave highlights from the South were Crystal Bridges — a truly world-class art museum despite being founded and funded by the heinous Walmart fortune — and the total surprise gem just oustide Bentonville, AR, the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel, a stunning little piece of achitecture nestled in the woods and built entirely out of love for one particular middle-aged woman.
Then a long haul driving west, across the plains of Kansas and into Colorado, which might be the most beautiful state in the nation? Best part of that stretch was seeing my dear friend Sarah Holbrooke in gorgeous Telluride and meeting new friend, Woolfer Lisa Cox. And I got to see Sarah CURLING, which is one of the funnier physical activities I’ve ever witnessed.
While on the road, I got word of the first early reviews trickling in for my book, coming out in April, and that was both nerve-wracking and thrilling, as it will potentially mean changes for this community, which has been so organic from the start and may now open up to a wider world.
As I sign-off, I realize that Feb 2nd is my half-birthday. In six months I’ll be 49, and here I am, an empty-nester, twice divorced, trying to figure out what the hell is next…
What We’re Talking About…
“Remember your dreams, Woolfers.” A call to arms from our very own Mattie Allen, who quit the 9-to-5 grind to chase her girlhood dream of riding horses on the big screen, and then actually made it happen. For months, she rode rugged country all over New Mexico and Colorado as a double in Hostiles, out in theaters now. This gorgeous photo of Mattie shooting a bow and arrow, lit by the rising sun, reminds us that we are never too old to reinvent our lives, and ourselves, on our own terms.
Perhaps it’s the afterglow of sisterly solidarity, or following Nina’s adventures driving across huge swaths of the country meeting Woolfers along the way, but the vibe in the group has been distinctly Thelma & Louise the past couple of weeks. (For a fascinating look at the making of this classic female buddy movie, read Becky Aikman’s book Off the Cliff.) Between conversations about the most daring places we’ve had sex (check out our upcoming special Valentine’s Day issue for more on that…) and the politics of Melania’s white pantsuit at the SOTU (or cream, as Fox News ridiculously insisted), we have cheered each other on through surgeries, breakups, first dates, last dates, thinning hair, meditations, and so much more. We are in constant awe at how a group of thousands of women from around the world has become such a close-knit community and rich resource for each other, both online and off.
On that note, the articles and videos that have resonated with us lately come from our amazing and talented members: Janice Eidus’s Zen of Female Friendships, explores why some friendships last and others don’t; Jillian Medoff writes on imposing relationship boundaries at work in I Refuse to be the Office Mom; Anjali Kumar gives an inspiring TED talk about her failed mission to find God — and what she found instead (hint: something equally mighty); an op-ed by a Woolfer’s sister tells of her car breaking down on the drive home from the Women’s March, and what she learned from the experience. And, oh, how we loved the news that Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer bundled their salaries on a movie they are doing together so that they both are making five times what they originally asked for.
PSA: One of our favorite podcasts, 2 Dope Queens, is being adapted for TV, and we are beyond excited. Starting tonight, HBO will air an hour-long episode every Friday for the rest of the month. See the trailer here.
Woolfer of the Week
Paulette Beete, 48, Silver Spring, MD
“I ‘stan’ for ice cream. And as a social media manager,
I also speak (mostly) fluent Millennial”
Tell us what you’d like us to know about you, in under 50 words. Let’s get the scary part out of the way first: I’m a poet. I’m also an immigrant, a practicing Christian, a reader, a Paris-ophile, a student of Italian, a chair-dancer, a caffeine-induced chatty Kathy, and Josh Groban’s future wife. (One of these things may not technically be true.)
Learn more about Paulette at her blog: www.thehomebeete.com and on Twitter and Instagram at @mouthflowers. If you’re in the DC area, you can hear Paulette read her poetry this month on February 18 at 5pm at Busboys and Poets (2021 14th St. NW; for tickets, visit EventBrite.)
If you had a warning label, what would it be? I’m a hugger …
If you could tweet something to your younger self, what would you say? “I promise you that there’s no monster inside you that makes you unlovable. Let the people who want to love you love you. And stop believing unrequited love is all you deserve just cause it feels familiar.”
What’s the one thing you most hope for personally in the coming year? That I act from a place of wisdom and courage more often than I react from a place of fear.
Bonus question: Xanax or weed? A gin martini—preferably Doc Porter’s gin—with a twist of orange.
We Woolfers are at our best when it comes to book recommendations. So when a woman asked the group for advice on buying a literary gift for one of her beloved high school teachers, whom she had not seen in over three decades (and, she admitted, would probably not see again), the suggestions poured in. Touched by the back story of her request, Woolfer after Woolfer offered forth a cherished keepsake, and all of our to-buy-book lists grew like crazy. Below, just a small sampling:
These last days of January have us focused on sleep, whether sharing tips for a more restful eight hours (ha! as if!), recommending special blankets or acupuncture, suggesting diet modifications (no alcohol or sugar make all the difference, alas), trying new pre-bedtime routines … or even just giving up, embracing the night, and binge-watching Netflix.
Kris finds Sleep Tonight, which was recommended by another Woolfer, to be “miraculous.” Others report success with listening to guided meditation and podcasts. Nina swears by magnesium citrate, and others in the group shared a litany of OTC and prescription combinations, including the zinc-magnesium-B6 combo ZMA, and Valerian root. Zzz-Quil is popular too.
If you haven’t already seen the latest season of Netflix’s Grace & Frankie, it’s an absolute must; you can stream new episodes HERE.
Reminder that the first book club discussion, led by Woolfers Carla Sarett and Katy Aisenberg — on Laurie Colwin’s Happy All The Time — is being held on February 11, 2018 from 4:00-5:00 p.m. ET via Facebook Live, in the WWVWD book club sub-group on Facebook.