About Heather McPhaul

Creator of AgingGal.com. When I'm not fretting about getting older, I am acting on TV shows and writing books.

10 Things to do during Menopausal Insomnia

1. Turn on the ceiling fan and open all the windows

2. Confirm the actuality of restless leg syndrome

3. Mentally rehash every time you were a jackass to someone

4. Mentally rehash every time someone was a jackass to you

5. Turn off the ceiling fan and close all the windowsTips-To-Beat-Insomnia

6. Watch TV to find an Oscar winner pitching skin products and wonder why is Helen Hunt doing that?

7. Listen to your stomach growl and hope the fat eats itself

8. Go online and Google “Menopause” and “Insomnia”

9. Write a blog post

10. Finally get back to sleep ten minutes before your alarm goes off

The Tipping Point of Bad Behavior

When do we reach the tipping point on bad behavior? Aren’t we saturated yet? God knows, I never need to see another “real” housewife from anywhere or keep up with a single Kardashian. But, for me, the tipping point came when I heard about Self magazine making fun of a woman running the Los Angeles marathon in a tutu. Now, I personally think that ANYONE who has got the guts and tenacity to run over 26 miles in one day should not only be celebrated but probably be elected to Congress because they have got more character than I (or most Congressmen) will ever muster.

But, evidently, the sultans of style at Self think anyone running in a tutu is lame (I shudder to think how they’d judge me). So they ask this runner for permission to use her photo in their magazine and she says yes and is excited to be in the magazine and then sees this under “BS Meter — what’s lame this month”:

image

And here’s the kicker (wait for it…): the tutu-wearing runner is running her first race… After. Surviving. Cancer.

Now the lame editor of this lame magazine has apologized — perfunctorily — and gotten a whole bunch of press (although I think Sheryl Sandburg needs to buy up this rag and fire the whole lot of them). But my point is not merely that ridiculing a sick person is evil, it’s that this constant state of one-upmanship that has been trending — and gathering steam — in social media is evil.

There is a tsunami of bad behavior that has invaded our television channels and our magazines and, well, us. I can’t watch it anymore. I can’t read it. Look, I’m no Pollyanna by any stretch and, yes, I love sarcasm and banter that is witty and intelligent and helpful to individual and cultural growth. But this epidemic of bad behavior fueled by the 24/7 infiltration of media is, I’m convinced, going to lead to society’s downfall — a bunch of self-absorbed, snarky, entitled cliques interested only in their own shallow needs who thrive on degrading those of us simply trying to get by. Did our ancestors fight and win World War II so their heirs could watch trash TV and take non-stop selfies and surf the internet all day? Really?

We’re better than this, America. And the only way to prove it is to stop watching, stop reading, and stop buying this crap. The one thing of which I’m certain is this: If we don’t buy it, watch it, wear it, or tweet it, the media will stop producing it. Show that we are more discriminating in what we consume and we will rise above this degradation being shoveled at us.

I vow to turn it off and tune it out. Anybody with me?

 

Are We Looking at Ourselves Too Much?

SelfieIt dawned on me the other day that I never look in the mirror anymore. In fact, I don’t think I’ve looked in the mirror since 1988.

I look inwardly a lot, constantly self-evaluating and analyzing. But, since I never look outwardly virtually at all, I still think I look like I did in 1988.

So my mind’s eye sees myself as a svelte 26-year-old while my real self is a 51-year-old who’s rapidly losing the war to muffin top. No wonder I haven’t really looked in the mirror in three decades.

article-2272983-17544E69000005DC-62_634x405Now this wouldn’t be a problem — and I’d certainly be happy to continue living in my river of denial — if I weren’t an actress who auditions in front of other people for jobs that require me to be in front of the camera. This is the revelation I had the other day upon leaving a meeting with an agent and noticing that 1) I had failed to notice my blouse had come unbuttoned and was exposing my bra and that 2) a watering eye had caused my mascara to smear the side of my face. I looked like Ray Lewis in drag. Well, at least I’m not a vain actress…muffintop-large

Still, is it better to not look at yourself at all or, as is the trend lately, to look at yourself all the time? I say this is a recent trend because a study just came out stating that elective plastic surgeries are on the rise because of selfies (photos taken of yourself via a smartphone). So young women — beautiful young women — are getting unnecessary Botox, facial peels, and nose jobs because they look at themselves too much. Come on, ladies, you are more than your imperfect nose, your thin lips, your porous skin. At least, this muffin-topped, slightly rumpled Hollywood actress thinks so.

 

Get Mad, Not Sad

20120909-210601Last night I went to bed mad. Not Hulk-throwing-furniture-out-the-window-mad, but disgusted mad. Last week was an unusually frustrating and misogynistic week in Hollywood for me and it all boiled up as I tried to squash my emotions and just sleep.

And I thought to my self, “Self, you can sit on this anger or you can use it.”

I’m aiming to turn my anger into a positive. Here’s how:

1. Recognize that life is not fair. Not for me. Not for anyone.

2. Number 1 sucks, yes, but move on. Action is key.

3. Use anger to motivate, ridicule, self-analyze. But, for God’s sake, use it. Remember number 2: Action.

I write these rules for myself as much as for anyone else. An old therapist once told me that anger is simply depression begging for action. If I don’t use my anger as motivation, I will fall into the inactivity of depression. And if that happens, who wins? Certainly, not me.

 

 

Too Old for a Lead Apron

My right knee has been hurting me lately (like for the last 20 years) so the other day I had it X-rayed before seeing the doctor. The X-ray tech took one picture and when she returned to set me up for the next shot, I said, “Don’t I get a lead apron?”

download (1)“Oh,” she said, “I can give you one, but we usually don’t offer after a certain age.”

Because?” I prodded.

“After a certain age a woman is no longer likely to be pregnant.”

“Well, God knows I’m not pregnant, unless it’s the second coming…”

“After 50,” she said, tired of me already. “We don’t offer the aprons after 50.”

So, ladies, if we’re too old to be fertile, we’re too old to protect from unnecessary radiation. Just think of all those years I wasted (by choice) not breeding like a rabbit. Now I’m old, useless, dried up, and childless. Luckily, the X-ray technician came from a family of fourteen which is plenty of breeding to make up for my idle barrenness.

Oh, and, yes, for the remainder of my X-rays I did use the lead apron to cover my 51-year-old fruitless ovaries. Why? Because I am, women are, more than our reproductive systems.

images

Jack T. Dog’s 2nd Annual Oscar Review

"Can I have a slice, Ellen? I'm a good, good boy." -- Jack T. Dog

“Can I have a slice, Ellen? I’m a good, good boy.”
– Jack T. Dog

Last year, my dog, Jack, wrote arguably the most insightful review of the Academy Awards telecast in the history of reviews. This year, he’s doing it again:

“‘What are you wearing?’ Grrrr… ‘What are you eating?’ That’s worth paying attention to…”

“‘Happy’ makes my mommies want to dance and makes me want to chase them with a toy…”

"I'd run this guy out of my yard." -- Jack T. Dog

“I’d run this guy out of my yard.”
– Jack T. Dog

“Oh, Ellen’s passing out pizza… Rufff… Now that’s a good host…”

“Who is that plastic monkey introducing Idina Menzel… even I know who she is. ‘Let it Go’, girl…”

Crime Reenactor

Starting tonight, I officially journey into a new phase of my acting career: crime reenactor. (Cue music: Da Da Da Dum…)

First up is an episode of Unusual Suspects titled “Death of Innocence” in which I play a neighbor who witnesses a crime. It airs Sunday, February 23rd at 9pm on the Investigation Discovery network. If you should miss tonight’s premiere, no worries, it will also be repeated frequently.

Mixing the recipe for murder...Wahahaha

Mixing the recipe for murder…Wahahaha

But Thursday things really heat up when I portray the killer in Deadly Wives’ “Acid Lady.” I am the bat shit crazy real-life woman who kills her perfectly lovely husband by boiling him alive in a vat of acid. While this is a tragically horrible true crime, I never had so much fun as an actress. Catch this show on the LMN network on Thursday, February 27th at 10pm eastern time. Again, this episode will air into infinity, so if you miss Thursday’s premiere, you can catch it in subsequent airings on LMN. In fact, watch it once by yourself, then a second time with your husband. That should fix any marital disagreements forever…

 

 

The Happiness Equation

download (1)Sometime last year, I came up with my own happiness equation. Evidently, there are lots of equations for happiness out there, but this one works for me: Gratitude minus Expectations equals Happiness (G – E = H).

Clearly in 2014 I need a swift kick in the rear because I am forgetting my equation and my happiness quotient is suffering.

So I decided to get out in the world more and see how grateful I should be. Saturday, Bitty and I went to a volunteer orientation at the Motion Picture & Television Fund, the entertainment industry charity that “takes care of its own.” We learned about assisting seniors with ties to show business by helping them with everything from computers to grocery shopping. And I was pleasantly surprised to see several volunteers there who are younger than me, who are looking for grandparent figures in their lives.download

Hopefully, I will make new friends and grow as a person, and I will be grateful should that happen. But, hey, no expectations.

 

Price of Fame

I’ve wondered lately given America’s — heck, the world’s — obsession with fame just what the cost of that fame really is.

The death of Philip Seymour Hoffman comes to mind. The genius with which he mined his characters for every ounce of humanity — pathetic and poignant both — takes a toll on an actor. On a person. How can it not?

As an actress myself, I understand the catharsis of touching on certain emotions and the wrenching agony of accessing others. I am not, nor will ever be, in the realm of Mr. Hoffman’s prowess. And because I don’t want to dredge up and dwell in those minefields of anguish, I never will be.

imagesBut another consequence of fame is being bluntly tossed aside when the business — and the public — is, for whatever reasons, done with you. Some celebrities adapt, even plan for, this phase in their careers. Many, many more do not.

In fact, I’ve encountered several of them not only in my acting life, but also in my “money” job as an English tutor. An idol from an 80s sitcom, a crush from a 70s cop show — I’ve met both in their homes. One is a divorced, but well-adjusted dad; the other is a hoarding recluse.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this: Life is hard. From our vantage point down on the ground celebrities may look like they have it better as they orbit the galaxy, but sometimes the spotlight is simply too bright. Remember, all stars — eventually — burn out.

 

 

Time Travel with Deepak Chopra

Aging Gals and Guys, have you ever dreamed about traveling through time? Well, we may not be able to visit Pompeii in its heyday or fast forward to the year 2070, but we can change our perception of time and even reset our biological age.

time-travel-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve decided I want to be forty again.

And Deepak Chopra is showing me how. In a new interactive online journey, Mr. Chopra is meshing the biology of youth with the wisdom of experience. Chronologically I may be 51, but Timeless You is teaching me how to biologically be up to fifteen years younger.

Positive affirmations lead to belief and that belief becomes reality.

Before you dismiss this all as a bunch of baloney (and I say this to myself as well): “Why not try it?” Starting each day with a positive affirmation has got to be better than waking up deciding if I’m more repulsed by my morning breath or my crusted eye mucus.

So — up and at ‘em — Aging Gals and Aging Guys. Check out Timeless You at http://www.siminars.com/timelessyou and get young with me.

Race ya!time-travel-10