Category Archives: Barbara Barth, CEO of Life

Barbara Barth wrote a book after her husband died, essays on her first year as a widow. Not your typical widow book, but her journey on finding joy again with a little help from a vintage Corvette, bad dates leading to good things, a bunch of hooligan dogs, and the best group of girlfriends in town. “The Unfaithful Widow” placed as a finalist in the 2011 USA Best Book Awards.

Barbara is an essayist, promoter, antique dealer, and dog whisperer. Her stories on daily life can be found on many women’s sites. She was featured in an e-book, “Women Who Make A Difference” by Silver & Grace in Canada. She went on a virtual blog tour with WOW (Women On Writing) for a month and was featured on “The Friendship Doctor” blog on Psychology Today.

A life long antique dealer, Barbara sells vintage art, garden items, and cottage furniture in a small Southern town forty miles from her home in metro Atlanta. She recently closed her own shop to allow more time for the things she loves. The shop was a haven for writers and artists. Every weekend included a book signing, art opening, or writing class. The shop created the Gwinnett County Writers Guild, which still meets twice a month.

Her “children” are dogs. She adopted five from her local shelter in nine months. Barbara works to help raise money for animal rescue groups. Her ezine “Writer With Dogs: Where Dogs Meet Art” featured dog shelters in the US and Europe, along with a selection of art for dog lovers. She writes under the header “Writer With Dogs” and recently set up a company with the same name to help other authors with online promotion. She is a member of the Atlanta Writers Club and Dog Writers Association Of America. No matter how hard she tries, she is always covered in dog hair. Be advised; do not wear black if you visit her home!

She is a member of the Dog Writing Association of America and The National Association of Memoir Writers. Her publishing company, Gilbert Street Press will soon be open for business.
Follow Barbara on her websites www.barbarabarth.net and www.writerwithdogs.com

The Curmudgeon Get Romantic

My teenage foreign exchange student got me thinking about romance again! Let me explain.

I have become a curmudgeon about dating. At sixty-four, my patience runs thin meeting new men who have more issues than I have dogs. I’d given up dating until I tried it again this past Saturday night. The evening started out well, but landed in the same pile marked “bad dates, let’s write about them” as my previous dating attempts. My posts on how silly dating is are famous with my friends. A free meal, and material to write about, things could be worse. But somehow, with the holidays here, I wanted to find a bit of romance myself. It just didn’t happen.

My student was out of town with another host family for Thanksgiving week. That left me plenty of time on my hands. A new man contacted me. I am on a dating site, not actively, but my profile is up…just in case. My just in case contacted me.

I’m working on a screenplay. I see you write. Want to get together and talk?

Did I ever. Alone all week, I was lonely.

We chose a little pub close to my house. Dinner at 7PM on Saturday sounded like fun.

Bring your book. I want to read it.

I’d bring it. He could peek at it, but I didn’t want him reading my thoughts, before I got to know him better. He left with my book. I won’t get to know him better

We talk from 7PM until the restaurant closed at midnight. He grabbed my book. I talked about the shop I used to own, the events I hosted at it, my six dogs, and my foreign exchange student. Someone was interested in what I had to say and I said whatever came to my mind. Laughing and drinking coffee we had a ball.

“I brought my guitar.” He smiled at me. “Care to sit in my car and I’ll sing the songs I’ve written.”

We sat with the lights on in his car in front of the restaurant. I nearly froze to death as I listened to him play his heart’s songs. He was cute.

At 1:30 AM he put down the guitar and asked a question.

“Do you want to talk about where we go from here, or wait until later?”

Expecting an invite for another date, I answered, “Now is fine.”

My evening went flat within the first thirty seconds.

“You are great. I’ve had fun. But your energy level is too high for me. I don’t see a future for us. I’d like to call you, say, in three months, as a friend, and catch up.”

How do you reply to that? I was kinder than usual, since he was new at dating. I have four years of dates behind me!

“My advice to you, if you want to date. Don’t ever say that again at the end of the evening.”

I had gone from having fun, to actually having my feelings hurt. He was not going to be my soul mate, I knew that from the beginning, but it was fun to have fun for a change with a member of the male species.

Then because he was nice, just naïve on what to do with dating, I rated the date for him.

“As dates go, this rates an A-. It would have been an A+, except for the final critique.”

I went home depressed. I didn’t care about another date with him, but his remarks made me doubt myself.

Sunday the curmudgeon in me resurfaced. I swore of dating. Yet again.

My student was back in town, and due home at 9 PM. She went to the movies with the girls. Dinner was with the male friend she sorta, kinda, liked and dated. As much as host mom (me) lets her date.

On my way home. I got her text message right before nine.

Within minutes a car pulled into my drive. She and her boyfriend came up to the door. She’d been gone all week, I’d forgotten how pretty she is. Her face was flushed. She was radiant. The boy, who I like a lot, carried in her bags from her trip with the other family. He said his goodbye at the door.

“Oh, mum, we need to talk!” She flopped down on the couch, clapping her hands.

I knew she and the boy were sweet on each other. She had told me they were not officially ‘a couple’ yet.

“Look what he made me!”

She pulled a frame from her backpack and handed it to me. It was a portrait of her, drawn by the boy, so perfect, at first I thought it was a photograph. There was a sweet saying about the future being open to them at the bottom.

“He asked me to be his girlfriend!” She was so excited it was infectious. I got excited.

A small panic followed. What does this mean exactly? I kept that to myself. I am not ready to be the kissing police. I don’t know what teens do. Remember to ask the other host mom for advice. I made a mental note.

“Nothing has changed. But it is official. We won’t do anything different than we do now. You know, hang out with our friends.”

A bit of relief on my part.

She was so lovely, so happy, my heart melted for her. It also melted for me. I felt the curmudgeon leave as memories of my late husband surfaced. It was wonderful to be in love. She is just learning about romance, I had a long history of it.

They say history repeats itself. My teen student made me realize love could appear at any moment and in any form. She is infatuated with a really nice boy. I am falling in love with her. Who knows, maybe I’ll still find a date for the holidays.

As a new, kinda, sorta, ‘mum’ at sixty-four, it is amazing what you can learn from teens!

Barbara Barth, CEO of Life

In Texting Hell….Hello? Living With A Teen At My Age!

      OMG. At my age I am texting a teenager with regularity! My fingers can’t hit the right letters on the pad of my Droid, so I’ve learned to use the speakers and dictate my messages. Unfortunately, Droid does not speak the same English I do. My text messages have said more weird things than I care to admit!

     How did I land in texting hell? Simple. I now live with a teenager. At age sixty-four, I am a host mother to a high school foreign exchange student from Italy. I’ve never had my own kids, and for that matter, my friends didn’t have kids either. I’ve been in a void about teens my entire life. Now I am taking a crash course.

     “Remember when you were in school?” A well-meaning mom with her own teen asked over a group dinner. I got to sit at the adult table. I was the oldest adult there.

     “Things have changed since I was a teen!”

      Boy howdy. I didn’t have much freedom. We didn’t have cell phones, or any of today’s technology that the kids are covered with now. I had to sneak phone calls to boys when my parents were watching TV. In fact, I don’t remember much of my teen years, except by today’s definitions, I was probably a nerd.

I was raised when you wrote letters to relatives, sent postcards on vacation, and, if lucky, got to use the home phone.

      No, my letters were not sent Pony Express! They went through the US mail. I am not that old.

      My point is a simple one. I now live with a teenager, age seventeen, and my life is in constant upheaval.

      I love it. She is a joy. I am discovering what I missed by not having children. I have the best of both worlds. Her parents raised her to be smart, independent, and thoughtful. I reap those benefits for the year she is here. I count my blessings every day I volunteered to be a host parent for the foreign exchange program she signed up for.

     Texting? I’m learning. It is the way kids keep in touch. I’ve laughed over scenes in movies, especially one of my favorite movies with Meryl Streep, “It’s Complicated”. Her young daughter is moving away from home, as family members try to say goodbye to her, she is texting in the car to her friends. John Krasinski, who plays Meryl’s soon to be son-in-law, motions with his hands, like he is texting and says, “None of this, it’s not safe.” Or words similar.

     Adorable scene. True to life.

     My student texts in the car when I drive. She is not allowed to drive in the states per the program she is on. And I say amen to that rule. She texts at breakfast. She texts all her friends all the time. Then she texts me, while I am driving, and my panic in not being able to text her back, while I am in traffoc, is only surpassed by my rising blood pressure that she keeps texting me wondering why I haven’t replied.

     Mum, where are you? She texted me three times on my way to pick her up at school. She wanted to leave with friends and needed my permission. Driving down the road, construction all around me as they were digging up the streets with huge machines, I finally had to pull in to the shopping center.

    “I was driving and couldn’t text.” Exasperated I hit the speaker and yelled my words into the phone.

My Droid came back with something that did not make sense.

      After deleting that message, I tried again. This time calmer.

      Have fun. Be home by six.

      Delivered and responded to with a Thanks Mum.

      I grew up when you used the phone to call. So simple to say what you needed to say, and if there was a question, it was resolved during the call. Texting goes on and on trying to make the same point.

But it is the way of the world with teens today. I am on board. My student answered my last text message with ?????. She had no clue what I had texted. I went in to look at my text and Droid had misunderstood me again.

     My dog Bertha is still learning manners. I crate her when someone comes in the house. I spoke into my Droid the simple phrase, I’m putting Bertha in her crate. My student was on her way home. My text went out with some catchy phrase about birthdays.

     Who knew Droid was dumber than I am?

     I had to text someone myself at breakfast. I put Droid in front of my face, clicked the speaker icon on the text page, and spoke into the phone.

     “You talk into the phone?” My teen was impressed and surprised. Her fingers fly a across her phone, texting none stop. “Now I understand why you sound so funny. Ahahahaha!”

     Yes, laugh all you want. I may be in texting hell, but I am in teen heaven!

     It is never to late to be the mom you thought you could be, if only for a short while!

Barbara Barth, CEO of Life

Join A Party! 2012 Chick Lit Author Blog Hop Begins Today

Did you know that May is International Chick Lit Month? I have to confess, I didn’t. But as soon as I found out, I had to be a part of the celebration!

Chick Lit, Chick Lit, Chick Lit. I said it fast the other day, excited to be part of a newly formed author blog hop honoring Chick Lit that begins on May 14th. I should have enunciated clearer.

“Are you talking about that gum, chicklets?”

I rolled my eyes thinking of the candy-coated gum. When will I learn to slow down when I speak?

“No, I am talking about writing, books, you know, Chick Lit.” I formed the two words carefully.

We’ve all heard the term Chick Lit but do we really know what the genre covers? Some people give it a bad rap.

“Romantic fluff. I never read it.” A friend of mine had her nose up in the air.

“Well you read my memoir, my widow story, and loved it. That’s Chick Lit too, you know.”

“Really?”

Yes, really.

Let’s talk briefly about this misunderstood genre.

Chick Lit books are mainly written by women for women. The characters range from early twenties to past middle age. The stories, whether fiction or non-fiction memoir, have a light, personal, and humorous tone to them. They revolve around issues real women have in their daily lives: romance, dating, jobs, friendships, jealousy, weight, family. Chick Lit can be frothy, it can be deadly serious in topic.

Is there a difference between regular women’s fiction and Chick Lit? The answer is a big “yes”. Chick Lit books are written in a personal, confiding tone. It is like having a good friend talk about her life over a cup of tea. Humor plays an important role in the delivery of the plot. At the end of the book, the reader feels she has been on a journey with someone she has gotten to know. They have laughed and cried together.

Tracie Banister, author of “Blame It On The Fame”, decided it was time to give this underappreciated genre a bit of promotion. She pulled thirty-four authors together to celebrate a week of Chick Lit writing complete with a grand prize and e-book giveaways on each of the author blogs. I am excited to be included in this great event!

Start on Tracie’s blog http://traciebanister.blogspot.com/ . You can link to the other authors on this hop from her blog. Each blog has a secret word in italics, collect all thirty-four and you are entered in a drawing for a $150 Sephora gift certificate. Leave a comment on every blog and you might win an e-book. Directions are clear on how to proceed once you hit the first blog.

You might be surprised to find some of your favorite books and movies fall under the heading Chick Lit.

Happy reading and happy blog hopping!

Barbara Barth

CEO of Life

My Lack Of Fashion Statement

Saturday I decided to buy a new pair of shoes. While this is a daily, and much anticipated, event for most women, for me it escalated into a full panic attack. I became so depressed I called a few friends.

“I need a shrink. Do you have one?”

My pen and paper was ready to jot down a number.

“Get real! I don’t have a shrink.”

Three calls later I had the same reply from my friends. No one was in therapy. I was on my own.

I need new shoes, and a business casual outfit, to meet an agent for the book idea I am pitching this weekend.

“Be relaxed, but professional in your attire.” The e-mail with directions for the conference was clear that I could not wear my jeans and Mary Janes.

Casual has been my fashion statement for four years. I tossed all my working clothes when I retired. As an antique dealer I didn’t need to up my game, I needed to spend money on my inventory.  My idea of a social outing included jeans and a frozen Margarita. I rarely date, and my wardrobe reflected such. I was hung out to dry, unless I jumped in quickly to wet my feet with style.

The pressure overwhelmed me.

I’d gained twenty pounds in the year I had my shop.

Nothing looked good on me, not even my basic jeans and T’s.

My canvas Mary Jane’s were raveling. If I got close, I could smell feet.

I entered Marshals filled with hope. A bargain and a new pair of shoes. What could be better?

I bypassed the shoe area twice.

I thought it was the costume department.

All the shoes looked like alien beings would wear them. Spiked heels, straps up to heaven knows where, platforms taller than the small stool I stand on the change a light bulb.

When had shoes changed so much?

I don’t live in the dark ages. I watch Entertainment Tonight, Dancing With The Stars, and read ‘More’ magazine (yes, for women over forty). I thought these fashions, these shoes that seemed fantasy, not reality, were worn only by celebrities. Now I know everyone is buying them. They are a fashion statement.

My statement is dead.

To my total emotional demise, I also realized I wear mom jeans.

Not only am I dated, this explains why I can’t get a date.

I have to revamp myself in less than a week.

Witty and smart did well for me when I was younger and hot. But now that I am lukewarm, I need to up my fashion game.

I did what any fashion-deprived gal, who needed an outfit quickly, but got ill at the mall, would do. I hit Ebay. I found my Mary Janes. Black leather. Gently used. But guaranteed to look like new.

I found a new black T-shirt and a topper.

I do own a short aqua and black skirt that I wore once on the last date I had.

It has an elastic waist. I am safe.

My Pay Pal payment included expedited shipping fees.

“Bring it on!”

I am ready for Saturday.  My purchases are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. My pitch should be flawless.

Unless…

There is just one final problem with my outfit.

Five dogs.

Dear God, please let me out the front door without getting covered in fur.

But then, that’s the title of my new book, “Covered In Fur: My Life With Dogs”.

Perhaps a bit of hair of the dog will be just the fashion statement I need to close this deal.

Barbara Barth

CEO of Life

Executive Blogger

Not Your Mother’s Vintage Clothes

Want to be hip this spring with a one-of-a-kind style you call your own? Then it is time to shop ‘vintage’ to make your statement. Buying vintage, or gently used clothing, is the rage from young gals to celebrities who know how to shop!

Mention vintage clothing, and most people think of classic vintage fashions from the 1920’s through the 1970’s, with a heavy emphasis on the 1940’s. Today’s vintage is modern. The hottest clothes now for all ages fall under the descriptive words boho, cowgirl, and gypsy. Think lace with cowboy boots! Even brides are wearing real western boots under their gowns. Not new boots, but gently used, slightly worn ones, that have character and are comfortable.

I don’t shop for age as much as I look for style when I hunt for my vintage treasures. Padded shoulders tell me a piece is vintage, but do I seriously want padded shoulders to be my fashion look? I want to be hip in vintage, not dated in vintage. For me there is a huge difference between the two. If I love a piece with pads in the shoulders, a quick snip with my scissors takes care of that problem. I have the look I want, without feeling dated.

Tags are a great clue to the age of a piece. Union tags attached to the inside seam is proof that piece was produced by a clothing union prior to the 1980’s. Square in size, about ½ inch by ½ inch, the name of the union will be stated and “Made in U.S.A.” A union tag assures you your piece is at least twenty years old. Today’s modern vintage dates clothing from the 1970’s through the 1990’s, however the later dates may also sport “Made In China” tags.

Another clue to the age of a piece of clothing is the label design. In the 1980’s tags were usually “bigger” and brought more colorful designs compared to earlier years, like the 1950’s and 1960’s, when labels were simple in design. With the brand name you can do a trademark search and see when the trademark was first filed.

In 1971 the Federal Trade Commission issued care symbols. A piece of clothing was not required to label its fabric content until after 1960, when the USA Textile Products Identification Act was introduced. If your garment does not reflect this information, chances are it was made prior to 1960. Remember, however, there are always exceptions to any rule.

Dating your vintage find can be fun, but it is not necessary if you are just simply trying to develop your own style. If you are spending big dollars for a piece of clothing, you need to know what you are getting. I shop thrift stores, estate sales, flea markets, and garage sales to find my vintage treasures. The cost per item is low, so if I feel I have a bargain, I grab it. A “Made in U.S.A” tag makes my day! But if the style is cool and I can pair it with an older piece for a statement, you will find I buy “Made in China” items too. I love cotton sundress with gently used denim jackets as toppers for cooler summer evenings. A boho styled skirt with a newer, vintage look, lace blouse is another trend I love. One piece may be from the late 1980’s and the other new but gently used. The look I’ve created is what is important to me. The cost was minimal, the style priceless!

I am always a sucker for vintage Scott McClintock prom and evening dresses as well as anything made in white cream lace, or net lace, to pop over jeans or leggings.

I do check out my purchases carefully before I hand over my money. I don’t care how great a piece looks, or how little it costs, if there are stains, holes, and odors, I do not buy. There are so many wonderful items of clothing available in more modern vintage I can find something else I love as much. I insist my vintage clothing is in excellent, wearable condition.

Recently I opened a small clothing boutique in Monroe, Georgia, at Hodge Podge Art, Antiques and Interiors. I call it ‘Gypsy Lace Vintage’. The name speaks volumes as to the look you will find there. In additional to clothing there are shelves of cowboy boots, old Mexican tooled handbags, western belts, and leather shoes made in Brazil, Italy, and Spain. I love the feel of gently used leather too.

I recently visited a metro Atlanta hot spot to see what new clothing looks like. I am so out of touch. I was excited to find that the vintage boho look I sell, was the look new clothing manufactures are producing in China, and with prices starting at $200. The clothing at my shop has “Made in U.S.A.” tags for the most part and items are between $25 and $65.

Vintage clothing can be fun, it doesn’t have to be expensive, and you can define your own style without breaking the bank. It just takes a little initiative to know where to shop and to shop often to find the real treasures.

Barbara Barth, C.E.O. of Life

My Life In Blogs

I didn’t keep a diary as a teen girl. I spent my time reading and dreaming of boys. When I finally got to the point in my life where I was kissing, I didn’t want to kiss and tell. I never wanted to have my secrets written down where someone might find them and my escapades would fall into the wrong hands. My parents. Don’t ask how many years ago that was!

Today everyone’s personal life can be found online. Who needs a diary, when you have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and all the many social media outlets available for personal posts, videos, and photographs?  But for a young girl in high school in the sixties, I was naïve, and the slightest kiss was kept secret. I did not dare put my thoughts on paper.

Now in my sixties, I am writing about my life. My essays are personal. I wrote a book on that first year after my husband died, doing all those things I never thought I’d do again. Dating for one. While I wouldn’t put a kiss in a diary as a teen, I have written about having sex as a widow. My secrets shared with the world, and the only comment I received, from a friend older than me, “I was shocked to read you only own one bra!” It seems that sex did not seem as unusual as the number of my under garments.

We’ve come a long way baby.

I don’t keep journals either. I hate to write in longhand.

It seems I like to live my life in blogs.

For those who are not sure what blogs are, here is a quick explanation. Blog (short for weblog) is basically a journal available on the web. Blogs are usually written by one person and updated frequently. The subject matter is as broad as the universe to include every topic from photography, decorating, hobbies, to personal diaries. There are many formats (templates) to use to design your blog. My preference at the moment is “Blogger”. I don’t have to think too hard on how to move around the site. You can dress up your blog with backgrounds, photos, illustrations, slideshows, and music. From your blog you can link to other blogs that interest you. The possibilities are endless for your creativity. If you want to share your posts, it is simple to drop them on social media sites.

“How many blogs do you have now?” My friends are curious about my numbers. They know I spend hours on the computer. I have my dog blog, my widow blog, my shop blog, and then, when a new idea pops into my brain, I start a new blog. I have blogs I keep private and those I use for shameless self-promotion of my work. I am also blogging for others, helping authors who don’t have time, or interest, to do a blog of their own.

“I’ve lost count.” That’s the only answer they’ll get from me.

I guard this secret as closely as when my husband asked, early in our relationship, “How many men have you slept with?”

Too many to mention.

I am more possessive about my blogs than I am about men. It took me twenty years to marry my husband. We lived together, but I didn’t feel the need to tie him down on paper. Yet, every time I think of a cute blog name, I buy the web domain. Do you like my title here ‘My Life In Blogs’? Me too. I just bought the dot.com. Should I also buy the dot.net?

April, the fifth rescue dog to enter my house, was painfully distant. Her damp nose bumped my elbow one night while I was on the computer. That bump took out a task bar but let me know she wanted attention.

“I’ll call you Miss April In Paris,” I whispered as I leaned over to kiss her head. I started her blog, a rescue dog turned diva dreaming of Paris. She liked wearing a hat and posing for the camera. Shy, demure, she finally started mixing with the pack. Giving her a blog gave her confidence, not because she was ‘online’ (how would she know?), but because she knew she got more of my time than the others for a brief period.

As it turned out, Miss April’s blog helped me with my book promotion. During my virtual book tour with Women On Writing (WOW) one of the sites I landed on was “Tilly The Dog” in England. That post had to be written from a dog’s viewpoint. Miss April in Paris was Tilly’s guest, and although April has not made it to France, for a shining moment she was a star in England. This experience only fed my need for more blogs.

Writing on blogs is spontaneous for me. Finding the artwork relaxes me. When I need to relive a moment in time, I’ve posted it somewhere, and can retrieve it. I don’t have to dig through piles of paperwork scattered about the room, wonder where I’ve put my notes, and in my case, never remembering. I just go to the computer and link to my blog. I don’t worry about a computer crash, as my work is online for me to find from any computer I’m working from.

We live on in our writing. Whether we write for ourselves, or to make a difference for others, the written word completes a life by saving it for all time. The emotions are as fresh as though it had just occurred. Things we’d long forgot are there to remind us of what was and give us fuel for what will come.

Blogs connect us to others. They are a soft touch promotional tool or a way to share personal experiences, interests, and talents with like-minded souls.

So, I continue to drop my thoughts in blog posts. Some you will read, like this one here. Others will surface when I call them up to work for me. There are a few that will be mine alone. Some secrets are more fun to keep, to keep others guessing.

“When you die and someone goes through your things, will they be surprised with what they find?” This was actually a generic question on a dating site. I laughed. My life is an open book and I write about most everything I do. So my answer to that question was “No!” Then I thought about it. No one will be surprised about what they find in my house, or desk drawer, but if they get my passwords, who knows what they will find online in my private blogs!

That might stir some things up! I only hope someone will turn it into a best selling memoir! If I live long enough, I will.

Color Me Happy

It has been raining cats and dogs for a week in Atlanta. To say the weather mildly depressed me, is an understatement. My normal colorful aura now matched the bleakness outdoors. I also had a cold, which made things worse!  In fact, I will share a mental visual with you on how bad things were!

Picture this: It is late last Monday evening, raining, and my cold has finally hit me full force. I am coughing so hard I can’t stop. Two dogs have their heads on my chest, bouncing in rhythm with my spasms. I gently push them to the side and get off the couch hoping to find something in the bathroom medicine cabinet to soothe me. The image staring back at me in the mirror is scary. My hair, normally bouncy, was flat and in odd spikes towards the crown. Grey was the color of my roots and my mood.  Sad, tearing eyes were accented with dark circles. To my dismay, but not unexpected, there was nothing in the medicine cabinet to take for my cough.

Lately, I am unprepared for anything at home. The only staple in my house is dog food.

I had no energy to run out to the drug store. I could not stop coughing. I had a sharp pain in my head from hacking so hard.

Surely I had something I could take!

Next stop was the kitchen. My hopes were high as I flung open the pantry. No honey. No syrup. No tea. Nothing, except an outdated box of microwave popcorn.

Frantically, I pulled open the bottom cabinet. Tucked in the back was a bottle of bourbon, leftover from my cousin’s visit last spring. There was a half-inch of booze in the bottle. I grabbed it, twisted off the cap, and took a quick swig. My throat calmed immediately. I felt a warm fuzzy go through my body. I relaxed.

The dogs and I curled up in bed. I caught another image in the mirrored closet door that horrified me. I had become the old dog lady of my nightmares. My flat hair outlined in grey was the least of my chagrin.  My usual lovely looking bed was unsightly. The vintage quilts I love to snuggle in were lumped up on the bed. A dog head peeked out from under the pile. Dressed in my pink knit sweater and turquoise polka-dot PJ bottoms, I looked rumpled and frumpy. The only good news, the colors blended nicely with the quilts. Five dogs were sprawled in all positions around me on the bed. The almost empty bottle of bourbon, tightly tucked under my arm, was ready in case of a coughing attack. The last thing I remember, my hound dog licking my bare feet as I fell asleep.

“I looked like a derelict!” I told my best friend when I called her the next morning.

“You need to re-stage that and get a photo. Perfect for your next book cover!” She always inspires me.

My cold is over. But the rain lingered for longer than my sanity could handle. I was in a funk, depressed all week. I was late opening my shop. I let the dust bunnies roll across my hardwood floors. I went to dinner with a friend wearing the white T-shirt I had slept in for three nights, covered by a sweater vest. I did spray my favorite perfume around my shoulders before I ran out into the rain to meet her. When I don’t wear perfume, put me in the ground.

This morning the sun has come back to visit. It is bright outside my window. The leaves are sparkling, as if covered in diamonds. I am euphoric. My energy level is high.

This week taught me two things.

Keep cough syrup at home.

The merits of sun are not over rated.

Research has shown that sun is a key factor in our moods, energy levels, and outlook on life. Extended periods of cloudy weather can make people irritable, stressed, and depressed. (Me this week!) This is also a problem for people who work inside and miss getting out in the sun.  The medical community has a name for those who suffer from depression due to lack of sun, SAD. Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The sun, a natural source of Vitamin D, protects against a host of diseases. Even though there are many benefits from being in the sun for brief periods of time, many experts worry the health warnings about skin cancer may keep people from getting a proper amount of sunshine. Vitamins are recommended to fill in for lack of sun.

I am not a health expert. You need to do your own research.

I do know that between writing and working in my shop, I am rarely outside. My last blood test was excellent, except my vitamin D levels were way too low.

“You need to take a vitamin D supplement,” my tiny doctor, with her thick German accent, waved her scrawny finger in my face. “Your body is not functioning well without it.”

“I just started taking vitamin D!” I was so excited I could say something positive about my health. I had received a sample of Easy-2-Swallow vitamins a few weeks prior to my visit and wrote about them in a post here on The Balancing Act. My smile was eager, waiting for her praise.

“Well, lose some weight before your next check-up.” She closed my chart and left.

You can’t please everyone all the time

However, I am pleased as punch today! One morning of sunshine has chased away a week of lethargy and depression. I am my old self. My mood has a lightness about it that makes me hum.

Oh, that bottle of bourbon, it still has a tiny sip left. I’ve placed it back where I found it. You know, in case another health crisis! Chances are I’ll forget to buy that cough syrup. I am over my cold now.

The sun is enticing me to get outside. I am not over wanting to bask in its glory. In just a minute I’ll be heading out to my deck with five dogs yapping at my heels. I am working on my healthy dose of sunshine today. The vitamins are a daily given. After all, they are Easy-2-Swallow!

Color me happy! I am no longer blue.

Watch The Balancing Act’s segment on Easy-2-Swallow vitamins here: www.thebalancingact.com/story/?id=3557.