"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Saturday, October 25, 2014


I know, I know.

The old saying is, "As the crow flies," not crone.

But just one day after turning the older-but-more-knowledgeable age of 58,  I finally accept  that I have entered The Crone -- i.e., The Wise Woman -- phase of  my life.

No brag, my friends. Just fact.

Artist's rendition of me
I fought aging for a long while, oh, yes, I did. I mean, no, I never considered pulling a Renee Zellweger and drastically changing my appearance. (I'm a simple grocery store cashier, for crying out loud, not a Hollywood diva.)

But I must confess that even before I turned 40, I habitually spent every last cent of my pin moolah on all sorts of lotions and potions promising to erase lines, wrinkles, dark circles, discoloration...blah, blah, blah. Had to stay looking young, attractive, eyes bright, lips plump, yada, yada, yada.

Yeah, well, here's what I now have to say -- and firmly believe -- about that: Oil of Olay Shmolay.

What I have thankfully come to understand is this: Growing older gracefully has nothing to do with outward appearances. It's all about the beautiful, more meaningful, inner/spiritual and intellectually creative transformation that naturally takes place as a woman ages.

Seriously. I've researched this issue.

(Pay no attention to the half-empty bottle of Classy Lady, a sweet, white table wine from Danish Wines and Vines, Exira, IA, stashed behind my laptop.)

Granted, check your online Merriam-Webster and it defines "crone" as "a withered old woman."

Au contraire mon ami!

According to Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of several women's issues books, the woman in menopause, known mythologically as "the crone," her estrogen waning, is a woman at a crossroads in life, torn between the old way she has always known and a new way she has just begun to dream of. A voice from the old way, according to Northrup, tries to convince the woman to stay in place.

(Cue the Tune In To Menopause music station on Pandora.)

Brave by Sara Bareilles on GroovesharkBut, says Northrup, another voice calls her, insisting the menopausal woman explore exciting aspects of herself that have been dormant during her years of caring/focusing on others.

What I glean from all this Saturday night research is this: Through the discovery of those new, more creative/self-reliant traits shines The Crone's/Wise Woman's true beauty. And it has nothing to do with under eye concealers, my darlings.

Hollaback Girl (album version) by Gwen Stefani on GroovesharkBottom line? Evolving croneilogically, as it were, is all about the estrogen. Or lack thereof. And when it comes to blossoming into The Crone, less estrogen is definitely more empowering. Gives one a gutsy, learned-from-experience "Been There. Done That. Don't Mess With Me." mojo.

So what is estrogen, really? Well, the word, estrogen, per Wikipedia, comes from the Greek oistros meaning, literally, verve or inspiration, or figuratively, sexual passion or desire, and the suffix -gen, meaning "producer of".

Hence, waning estrogen obviously means we Menopausal/Postmenopausal Mavens tend to generate/produce our, ahem, verve and inspiration in, um, other, more amazingly strong and spiritual ways.

Hungry for more Ann Heise Kult, The Crone insight?

Fun Fact: Too much estrogen is, obviously, the evil, hormonal culprit that in sixth grade caused me to swoon over Don, a brown-eyed classic Bad Boy in my class who repeatedly replied to my giggly, eyelash-batting "Hi, Don!" with a mumbled, monotone "Go to hell, Heise."

I Will Follow Him (Chariot) by Little Peggy March on GroovesharkMoments later, convinced Don was merely playing hard to get in front of his friends,  I'd dreamily doodle Don and Ann = LOVE on the back of my paper bag-covered spelling book. Don was my Destiny...he just didn't know it.

Two years later, I am sure it was too much estrogen that induced my delusions, as recorded ad nauseam in my junior high diary, that "Don was staring at me in study hall today."

Where The Boys Are by Connie Stevens on GroovesharkNot only Don, but Rick and Gary and later, in high school, Paul, Pete and every other boy in study hall.

In estrogen-reduced Crone/Wise Woman retrospect/reality, not one of those guys was staring at me. Ever. Call it hormone-laced wishful thinking.

More Classy Lady please...

Now, at this point, Dear Reader, you may well be thinking, "At what point can one be sure she has successfully evolved into The Crone/Wise Woman?"

Frankly, my Dear Reader, I don't have a damn clue. To each her own estrogen levels. And they're a wily bunch.

But what I do know is this: Honest to Goodness, last night, after ushering in my 58th birthday -- older, wiser and clearly, sans estrogen -- I dreamed I ran into Brad Pitt at the grocery store, told him how much I loved him in Thelma and Louise, and then, giggling and batting my baby blues, I invited him over for dinner.  Without making one iota of eye contact with me whatsoever, ol' Brad mumbled a monotone "No." I shrugged my shoulders and yawned. "Your loss."

That Don't Impress Me Much by Shania Twain on GroovesharkAnd then, without further adieu, I simply turned and sauntered off, emotionally unscathed, self-respect in tact, leaving the Pittster agog.

Obviously, only a woman in her Crone/Wise Woman stage -- i.e., the spiritual mastery phase of a woman's life -- could so easily shrug off such a rude dis from the likes of  Brad Pitt and leave him agog.  Even, if only in her dreams. So, yeah. I am definitely there.

My point -- and I do have one -- is this: You will know, Dear Reader! You will know!


I Am Woman by Helen Reddy on GroovesharkP.S. If you haven't already, please vote wisely Tuesday, Nov. 4! Remember, our foremothers fought long and hard for women's rights. And we are still fighting. So much is at stake...

Friday, October 03, 2014


So this happened...

A new 40 Days of Writing challenge was issued, and I wanted to sign up but the thing is...I really have nothing to say.

Actually, I have plenty to say, and muse over, and share my thoughts about, etc., etc...but considering the state of the world right now, I just don't think my pontifications (is that even a word?) carry any weight or importance at this juncture.

And yet...

Here I sit, in my backyard, on a 45-degree chilly autumn evening -- glass of Santa Maria Vineyard's crisp Autumn's Hush in hand -- yearning to contribute something to 40 Days of Writing...

For, you see, I still fashion myself a writer, though to be honest I have not written anything in months. I also fashion myself a photographer...have taken to shooting peaceful pics of sunrises and sunsets and butterflies and bees and flowers and trees...and the moon up above...

And a thing called lo-uh-ove...

Yes, as cliché as it sounds, love is what the world needs now -- right now.  And peace. And plenty of it.

I have had it up to here with  ISIS or ISIL or whatevah the hell that horrendous band of terrorists brandishing USA-issued weapons calls itself ...and the Ebola virus...it's all just pissing me off. And we're also bombing some gang of n'er-do-wells whose name I am sure I am not pronouncing correctly...starts with a K, sounds like Kardashian or something...

I mean, seriously? Most of us are just trying to muster the energy, the will, to get up every morning, brush our teeth, raise our kids, and earn a meager-ass paycheck to keep roofs over our struggling heads and now we have to worry about beheadings? And more bombings? And dying in our own vomit? WTF?

I did not sign up for ANY of this shit.

I know what I need to do.

I need to stop reading my Twitter news feed.

I need to just detach from all social media and pretend the world is not engulfed in total effing chaos.

But I know better. And denial ain't just a river in Egypt. Ba-da-bump.

Furthermore, if you must know, I am pissed at the Republicans/Tea Party/Obstructionists, the Secret Service, Faux News, the Koch Brothers, and Iowa Senate candidate -- and Koch Brothers puppet -- Joni Ernst.

I miss the ocean, my misspent youth, and my childhood friends in Cincinnati, OH.

On the upside -- since I last participated in the last 40 Days of Writing challenge -- I have inherited a dog, lost 30 pounds, and gained a passion for photography.

Indeed, for all its terror and tragedy, I somehow remain convinced that life overall remains a thing of beauty and delight. To live is good, damn it. Or is that just the wine talking?

Anyway, here is a helpful hint: If you MUST drink a glass of  Santa Maria's Autumn's Hush wine while sitting in your backyard on a chilly fall night, pounding out your life's frustrations on your laptop, be sure to drop a frozen peach into said glass of wine in lieu of an ice cube.

For while the world spins totally out of control, and uncertainty engulfs us, this much I know for sure: the frozen peach slice totally enhances the wine's deep ruby red tones and dark fruit aromas. Plus, it is a handy stand-in for an ice cube when your effing refrigerator ice maker is on the fritz.

You can thank me later.

Be The Peace!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


So I cried myself to sleep last night.

Try as I might, could not hold back the tears. Long time coming, I suppose. Long winter.

I'm like that guy on the old Ed Sullivan Show who kept all those plates spinning to that crazy, heart-pounding, anxiety-producing music.
Khachaturian / Gayne: Sabre Dance by Khachaturian on Grooveshark

Eventually, however, my plates always drop. Not just one at a time.

Crash! Bang! Boom!

Held my smile, though, until my husband fell asleep while we were watching (oddly enough) that old Sandra Bullock rom-com, "While You Were Sleeping", on Netflix.

There is this scene where Sandra, as Lucy Somebodyoranother, is trying to pull a Christmas tree up from the street, through her apartment window, via a rope.

Her apartment looked so cozy. So adorably decorated. Sandra looked so young, so cute, so spunky...

Big Girls Don't Cry by The Four Seasons on GroovesharkAnd that's when I burst into tears.

(I will leave you, my dear reader(s), to analyze the timing of the tears. Any armchair psychologists out there, please share your thoughts.)

I then dragged myself and a box of Kleenex into the bedroom, crawled under the covers -- clothes and all -- and bawled some more. But softly, so I wouldn't wake my husband.

During my bitchy PMS years, all I did was cry. And rant. And rave.

Don't cry nearly as often these days. Not since menopause. Rant almost never. Rave even less. On the outside anyway.

The lower the estrogen level, the higher the level of introspection. That's my theory. That, and -- speaking of no estrogen -- I am too damn old and tired most of the time to speak in sentences that make any sense.

So I keep it all in.

Which is why I tend to chomp on chocolate. If I am busy chewing, I can't scream.

Tears Of A Clown by Smokey Robinson & The Miracles on GroovesharkAs a writer, to keep my dark side at bay, I tend to write humorous stuff to keep myself and others laughing. An old trick that I gleaned from growing up with a depression-laden dad.

"Ex-Lax. Works while you sleep. Stay awake and fool it." -- My Dad


Anyway, they say the art of survival never ends. When writing doesn't do the trick, I take pictures by the boatload. I lose myself in sunrises, sunsets, swans, eagles, robins, old barns...anything to distract me from the emotional tornado blowing about my gut.

Once that funnel cloud of pent up feelings touches down, well...

Those spinning plates I mentioned earlier? Shattered. Shrapnel.  Aimed straight for my tear ducts. Ka-Boom! Like the Fourth of July!

Tracks Of My Tears by Linda Ronstadt on GroovesharkOh, the salty, stinging tracks of my tears! They burn!

I finally fell asleep last night sobbing into my cat, my mournful moaning well-muffled.

Dreamed all night about trying unsuccessfully to pull a pair of knee socks up and over my ever-thickening calf muscles.

Dream A Little Dream Of Me by Mama Cass on GroovesharkI have no idea what the sock dream meant, but I will bet you a dollar to a donut that young, cute, spunky Sandra Bullock will never have thick calf muscles.

Could I be bitter about aging?


Chocolate, please.

Chomp, Chomp.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


This time change is kicking my ass.

I overslept again this morning.

Must have been a deep, heavy sleep because I was overly groggy when I awoke. Full consciousness came slowly.

Must. Take. Inventory. Who, where and what am I?  Let's see...

My name is Ann. I am on the couch in my living room where I fell asleep in my clothes late last night while scrolling through Facebook and Instagram on my cell phone. I fancy myself a writer.


It's Day 11 of the spring session of 40 Days of Writing! Must get to computer!

Wait! What time is it? Must find cell phone. My cell phone will tell me what time it is.


Must have rolled over on my cell phone during the night.

What the hell? Map My Walk?
I Go Walking After Midnight by Patsy Cline on Grooveshark
Either I butt clicked that app or I was sleep walking.

At any rate, I am running late. No time to crank out a think piece for today's writing challenge.

Last night's dinner dishes piled in sink. Cats crying for food. And I promised myself, my family and my coworkers that I would shower today.

Yup. These 40 Days of Writing challenges consume my mornings before work. Sometimes, everything else gets pushed aside.

Perhaps it's time to map my hygiene.

Monday, March 10, 2014


How are you celebrating National Procrastination Week?

This year the national holiday devoted to putting off important tasks is March 8 through 14.

So if you've deferred beginning your National Procrastination Week celebration until today, March 10, you are certainly keeping with the spirit of this special week that recognizes the art of postponing our responsibilities.

It's an art I have dabbled in for as long as I can remember. I save my serious shilly-shallying, however, for National Procrastination Week.

Thus, on the first day (which was Saturday), I washed my sheets and never got around to drying them. Now, I always tarry when doing laundry, but leaving the sheets in the washer is what I am most beloved for around my house.

On the second day of National Procrastination Week (which was Sunday), I apologized to my husband for my dilly-dallying, promised I would get those sheets back on the bed, then promptly locked myself in my writing room for several hours.

Don't Stop Thinkin About Tomorrow by Fleetwood Mac on GroovesharkFinally, Sunday night, I dragged myself down the basement steps and threw the sheets into the dryer.

And as soon as I am done posting my blog offering today, I swear I am going to march down those basement stairs, grab those sheets out of the dryer and make that bed.

Actually (and much to my chagrin) National Procrastination Week was not designed to promote one's lack of self-regulation. It's true purpose is to encourage us to pursue more leisure activities that tend to be set aside while we are busy being responsible adults.

Activities like reading, for example.

Which makes today -- Day 3 of National Procrastination Week -- the perfect occasion for returning How Much Is That Doggie In The Window, an adorable little book I borrowed from our library back in...let's see...oh, yes!  May 2001. When my son, Daniel, now a college junior, was eight years old.

All hail Ann, Queen Of Sloth.

Ooops! Look at the time! Better hop in the shower. Gotta get to work. No time to get the sheets out of the dryer.

I'll make the bed after work.

Sunday, March 09, 2014


Listen, my child, and you shall hear
Of the late night streak of Mommy Dear,
On the ninth of March in Seventy-four
Hardly a woman remembers more
About a heart so broken that day, that year...

First, apologies, of course, to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

And second -- just for the record -- I never actually commanded my son, Daniel, to listen to the oh-so-enchanting yarn of how, when I was a high school junior, I streaked past my boyfriend Bob's house after he dumped me for some rich tart named Shannon.

Rather, I think, Daniel, now 21,  just happened to overhear bits and pieces of this ancient history over the years because I  have regaled somebody with the details of my youthful shenanigans every March ninth since I can recall.

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do by Neil Sedaka on GroovesharkDid I mention I ground Bob's class ring into the cement?

Not that I was bitter about the breakup or anything.

I merely refused to let Bob have the last word. And that word was "boring." Yes, Bob had the nerve to end our three-month, hearts/flowers/poetry-laden relationship because, he said, basically, I was boring. Apparently Shannon, ahem, was not. If you catch my drift.

I was livid! He was supposed to be my prom date in a few months, for crying out loud! How dare he!?! Well, I'd show Bob who was boring! I immediately rallied my group of best friends and that night-- completely sober, I might add -- we ran, laughing and yelling sans clothes, past Bob's house.

We were usually a fairly tame bunch.
Girls Gone Wild it was not, by the way. Truth be told, although we weren't wearing our clothes, we were carrying them as we ran. Courageous, nonetheless, for a group of  high school girls whose naughtiest prank up until that  point was toilet papering.

Not that it mattered. Turns out Bob was on the telephone in his basement yakking it up with that frisky Shannon, so he missed my daring performance. Apparently revenge is a dessert best served cold...and dressed.

What did matter, however, is that when I was down and depressed after being dumped by a guy who thought me dull, my best friends were immediately by my side, making me laugh and, ultimately, celebrating the anything-but-dull me.

And that's what best friends are for, is it not? Whether we are 17 or 57, we help each other be our wild, courageous, non-dull selves every day. No matter what.

So ends the annual March Ninth Streaking By Bob's House The Night He Dumped Me remembrance.

This One's For The Girls by Martina McBride on GroovesharkThis one's for the girls!

Saturday, March 08, 2014


These days, I'm not one to spring.

Spring infers a certain bounciness, an enthusiastic bounding, if you will.

Since my estrogen packed up and left a few years back, it's more like me to traipse. Trudge. Take my good sweet time.

But spring? Nah.

So being prodded to "spring ahead" and push my clock up one hour before I go to bed tonight because Daylight Saving Time begins tomorrow at 2 a.m. makes me cranky.

As does losing a precious hour of sleep. Less Sleep Sunday. Bah! Humbug!

I'm feelin' a tad growly now merely thinking about it.

Not nice to mess with a circadian rhythm kinda gal like me. I drag around for at least two weeks, while my body and brain struggle to adapt to the change.

Being the stubborn rebel that I have always been, of course, I simply refuse to set my clocks ahead tonight, choosing instead to meander about my home Sunday morning trying to figure out what time it really is.
Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? by Chicago on Grooveshark

Or at least that's the way it used to be before the invention of computers and cell phones that automatically switch times for us.

Who looks at their stove or microwave clocks anymore ? And that damnable impossible-to-set clock in my car? It's been on Pacific Mountain Time for years. But I live in Iowa. Ba-da-bump.

Take my clock, please.

Anyway, while I mourn the 60 minutes of snooze time about to be lost as we move an hour ahead, I shall relish the thought of falling back an hour next fall.

In fact, if I could turn back time this minute, I would rewind to the year 1794, hunt down Benjamin Franklin -- who is credited with first conceiving the idea of Daylight Saving Time -- and throttle him.

If I Could Turn Back Time by Cher on GroovesharkSorry Ben. Like I said, I'm feelin' a tad growly...