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  • Dear Ann, I am afraid your niceness is not a veneer.

  • Oh. I thought you’d got vaseline on the lens or something πŸ˜‰
    Shut up, you nice person you!
    B x x

  • I felt a lot like that when I turned 40. Like this is who I am, take it or leave it. And if you chose to leave it, then go on because I’m busy.

  • I’ll take ’em. I think the design looks pretty fabulous.

  • You rock that supercheesy filter action, girl!

  • You rock that supercheesy filter action, girl!

  • Yup. Just the other day I was thinking, “When do I get to talk as crusty as I feel so much of the time? When do I get to stop saying, ‘That’s OK. I understand'” when what I really want to say is, “You know, I did everything possible to help you do this right the first time and you blew it off and now I get to suffer for it. I’m annoyed and I think you should be the one going out of your way to fix this rather than me, the customer.”
    This was after having to, yet again, smooth the ruffled feathers of a contractor I hired. I’m so sick of having to look out for the feeling of people who kind of suck.
    Wow. I think you might have struck a chord with me!

  • Since I’ve been in the Frank 50s longer than you I’m just going to say it: why are you knitting a sweater rug?
    But go ahead and rip off the cover and show us all that hideous goodness and mercy underneath. We can take it.
    Also, am I the only one wondering if I’m going to get told off by New Ann?
    Apologies in advance!
    I love you!
    Kay!

  • Fine snaps of a marvel-ous sweater, taken by an extremely likable knitter/photographer/person whose blog posts and tweets always make me smile or think – sometimes both. Thank you.
    The year I turned 50, I made a decision to celebrate with a splurge on something exciting and new: I went to Europe. Then I did it again. Then I did it again. Then I turned 51. Crikey, a lot happened that year. Hang onto your hat, Ann.

  • Oh, yes, I know just what you mean…though many might say I stopped trying to be nice well before the age of 50!
    I saw something to this effect recently, which sums it up nicely. “I’ve reached the age where I’ve stopped walking into a room and wondering if people will like me, and started wondering if I will like them.”

  • cranky old crabby-pants

  • Also, I didn’t know that you were the Ann referenced on this mug. I should have figured! : )
    https://www.facebook.com/KnittingFeverInc#!/photo.php?fbid=638070229550544&set=a.130128197011419.17039.119906661366906&type=1&theater

  • Ann, frank.

  • oh and love the sweater by the way!

  • Just wait until you hit 60 – then it really hits the fan.

  • I think “frankly-ness” hits New Yorkers in our 20’s (and yes, I’m still a NY’er even if I live in MA. I kind of like knowing where I stand, good or bad! Can’t wait to see that sweater on, it is inspiring me to finish my husband’s last sleeve and 1/2!

  • I’m glad you are back, in all your outspoken glory. That sweater is full of outspoken glory, too.

  • read an article once that said, once you hit a “certain age,” you no longer have to worry about protecting children so the “niceness” is no longer necessary. Made total sense to me! (Liked your description of your mom, how she was harder to be around but easier to understand). best wishes (and sweater looks great!)

  • You Go Girl!! The New Frankness Rocks!!

  • You Go Girl!! The New Frankness Rocks!!

  • I read recently that as estrogen begins to wane, so do those impulses to fix everything for everyone and put ourselves last. I love what you wrote about your mom: “She was harder to be around but easier to understand.” I hope they engrave that on my tombstone.

  • And your camera filters are cheesy… why? The cobalt blues in the second photo just knock me out.
    I still haven’t shed that tiny bit of Minnesota Nice that I absorbed as a young’un. Probably I shouldn’t, since it is such a teeny tiny bit. It’s the only thing that makes me bearable.

  • Welcome to the Frank 50’s. It’s not so bad here.

  • This clarity is what led to me leaving a job I loved because I couldn’t be everyone’s mommy any longer. I love my fifties, both age AND music.
    Welcome to the club, lady!

  • I have heard it said that sometime between the ages of 40 and 50, a Southern woman outgrows the need to be nice. I had it happen last year; it has been incredibly liberating to be able to finally speak my mind. I do make an effort not to be rude or cruel, but I no longer hold back my opinions, even when speaking with difficult family members. They can take it; if not, they’re not the men (or women) I thought they were and I might as well find that out now.

  • You are in for an adventure Ann! My niceness shedding has come in fits and starts but always so wonderful when I break out of the mold. What a chord you have struck with all of us women. (And why in the heck is it a ‘requirement’ that we even have this so-called “niceness” to grow out of in the first place, anyway! — Group discussion tomorrow at 8 p.m.-:))

  • My mother was from Alabama and totally did the “sniff” too!

  • My mother was from Alabama and totally did the “sniff” too!

  • I hear you sister! But at 55, I am still having “niceness” inner conflict. Maybe if i got divorced….. Anyway, that is one awesome sweater you are working.

  • I hear you sister! But at 55, I am still having “niceness” inner conflict. Maybe if i got divorced….. Anyway, that is one awesome sweater you are working.

  • I think the change in attitude coincides with the ‘change of life’. I went from polite to ….f…’em.

  • I think the change in attitude coincides with the ‘change of life’. I went from polite to ….f…’em.

  • I must be a late bloomer…took me until my 60’s to ‘get real’. Why wait? Being honest with other and with ourselves is such a stress reliever. Being honest is being sincere, not mean.
    Thank you for you introspective post.

  • The colors of the sweater are gorgeous ! so where in the archives can I find out about the sweater and the yarn and the pattern and how the colors are chosen ? Gorgeous … amazing …
    On the other topic … frankness can be the kindest response because it is truthful…and truth can be spoken without rudeness or anger … the nicest person I know is also the most willing to speak her mind all the time.

  • The colors of the sweater are gorgeous ! so where in the archives can I find out about the sweater and the yarn and the pattern and how the colors are chosen ? Gorgeous … amazing …
    On the other topic … frankness can be the kindest response because it is truthful…and truth can be spoken without rudeness or anger … the nicest person I know is also the most willing to speak her mind all the time.

  • If you think 50 is liberating, wait until you turn 60!

  • Just glad to have you posting, whether it involves frankness, cheesy lens filters, impulses for acceptance, or whatever. It’s just so FUN to see what you two are up to!

  • #1–Long as they’re in focus, the MDK pictures always look good to me. It’s hearing what you guys have to say and seeing the latest things that you want to show us is what i find interesting and meaningful.
    #2–Re: dropping the niceness/no longer worring if folks like you, been there, done that OVER and OVER since age 40 ( a little over 19 years). If I am not mistakenit is not unusual to struggle with these kinds of new postures. Often it is “all or nothing at all” as we struggle to maintain the “new me” persona. Speaking for myself, I am a Pisces, and it was/is tough to put the old “niceties” away. After all, as Rumi wrote, “there are many ways to kneal and kiss the ground”. What I am just lately finding is
    when those genuine feelings of loving oneself kick in, everything else starts to fall into place. I guess this can happen at any age. For me, 59 is turning out to be the “magic number” for this transplanted (fro CA) New Yorker. It has been more about being a work in progress, rather than having “arrived” because I am still “arriving”.
    #3–It’s been good for me to remember the airline wisdom that says for adults to put their air masks on first before helping children with their masks. After all, if I don’t take care of myself, of what assistance can I truly be to another?
    LoveDiane

  • My two favorite sayings now that I’m over the 50 age mark:
    “Bitch is the new black”
    “Bitches get stuff done”
    Sandy

  • Oh, Ann! THANK YOU for sharing your revelation. Nothing is more magnetic than frankness. Superfakeyniceness is repelling, but frankness + kindness (which you are made of, I’m pretty sure) = unbeatable.
    And this: “She was a lot harder to be around, but she was easier to understand.” I am making the sniff now. The sniff of tears. That’s beautiful.
    As always, your writing is a little miracle to me. I shall never get enough.
    Thank you. xoxox.

  • I have also recently turned 50, just a few months after my mom passed. The biggest piece of my grief for her is that she never outgrew her need to have everything be nice. She was the Audience of One for the play We are a Happy Family, and there is a relief that the show has finally closed.

  • I am 61 and have lost the need to be fake nice to eveyone in the past couple of years; it is a liberating feeling, when I think “Why am I listening to this drivel, person, complaint?” etc. You can still be kind and genuine without being false, to yourself or others. The funniest thing is when I see the shock on my kids’ faces and think “I wouldn’t have said that before!” Usually they just laugh, and I have the feeling that they are more open with me, not thinking they have to ‘protect’ me as much as before. Love the sweater (and that’s the truth!)

  • I am 61 and have lost the need to be fake nice to eveyone in the past couple of years; it is a liberating feeling, when I think “Why am I listening to this drivel, person, complaint?” etc. You can still be kind and genuine without being false, to yourself or others. The funniest thing is when I see the shock on my kids’ faces and think “I wouldn’t have said that before!” Usually they just laugh, and I have the feeling that they are more open with me, not thinking they have to ‘protect’ me as much as before. Love the sweater (and that’s the truth!)

  • It’s very liberating when you decide not to worry about what others think of you. As long as you are not deliberately hurtful in your words and actions, GO For IT !!! That’s the beauty of becoming a Crone !!!

  • I always thought it was becoming invisible at 50 that made it possible to do whatever I wanted and not fake anything. I like the idea that it is the estrogen levels dropping. I’m over 60 now and pretty much over doing anything I don’t want to do.

  • You go! I’m loving your post, the comments, my reaction. No wonder I have MDK bookmarked for daily reading. I struggle with the niceness thing; I’m 54, finding that I don’t need to search out new friends. Is this bad? I don’t want to become a hermit, but DAMN I just don’t want to be around idiots! Rock on Ann. Thanks for your posts.

  • I think this would be a lovely jacket
    it looks woven
    beautiful

  • Nice!
    (I mean knitting and photos, not you or Alice Cooper. Cf. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0YrXjeRSoE)

  • Love the sweater, and the sentiment. πŸ˜‰ At 46, I’ve been on the ‘no more niceness’ bent since I turned 40. It is a process, just like a Kiki Mariko sweater! πŸ™‚

  • As I read I said out loud to the room, “WoHOO, you rock the house girl, tell it!” Love the discussion. I have long thought this blog needed a LIKE button in the comments, so much that’s been said would’ve had the LIKE button clicked. “Discuss at 8” among them! xox

  • Susie @ 9:42AM, I’m with you. I don’t want to be a hermit either but I’ve let go of more “friends” who are more work than fun over the last year than in the rest of my life. I’m 62 so I’m a bit of a late bloomer but I hear what you’re saying. I too am tired of being nice and tired of being everybody’s mommy. My husband’s health is crap so I take care of him, I take care of me. Period.
    Love the sweater colors, cheesy filters notwithstanding. I see no cheese, and I live in Wisconsin so I outta know.

  • That sweater is freaking amazing. Just had to say it!

  • I know exactly what you mean. I am there now. I have a big mouth and say stuff I probably shouldn’t sometimes. But it’s liberating after all the years of being so damn nice it wasn’t fun or funny. I no longer need to be liked. I know longer care what people think (or even if they do think) about me!! I consider this and grandchildren to be the only things good about being old. And I’m grateful for them both. Hang in there, Ann. Knit weird stuff! Say what you think. Because everything I’ve heard from the nice you is great and I’m sure the older you will be even better!

  • I wonder if I am the oldest reader of your blog?!! Haven’t been 50 or even 60 in a loooong time. Being raised a Nice Southern Girl from Louisville still is with me even though I haven’t lived there in years and years. I just avoid people I don’t care to associate with because of their attitudes, whatever. Being “retired” from public service/life let’s me do what I want to do when I want to do it. Knit On!!
    Fantastic Sweater!! Looking forward to seeing it finished and modeled.

  • Having just turned 50 myself, I am finding that I have both more compassion (for others and myself) and no time for baloney (in others and myself). Do whatcher gonna do; make no excuses, and have a good time doing it.
    I think that’s a nice looking sweater.

  • Beware the slippery slope. I used to be a model of southern noblesse oblige, but now I’m 69 and just called a woman who cut in line in front of me in Target (with a gazillion items) a Fucking Bitch. I think I may have gone too far.

  • Yeah, I love that I’m through to the core of me now, too. Isn’t it freeing?

  • Can’t wait to see the finished sweater …. It truly is lovely!

  • You go, girl! Happy 50th! You’ll always be, like, barely-40’s to me anyhow….

  • In my early 50’s here–just the other day I was venting to my husband about what I’m NOT going to do for Thanksgiving This Year! I like the freer me, but I think it’s a process. Hard to let go of all that people pleasing! Welcome to your 50’s, Ann. Your sweater (and pictures) are beautiful!

  • I’m proud of you. And the sweater looks stunning.
    Keep growing, keep knitting!
    Cindy, Green Mountain, NC

  • OK…I can’t leave it at that. The Thanksgiving comment needs explanation–I don’t want everyone to think I’m mean (lol). I recently found out that I’m gluten sensitive/intolerant, but for the past 2 years I’ve still made traditional gluten-containing foods for the family at holidays and other food for me– not doing that this year.
    Off topic, one of my summer projects was inspired by Kay’s post in Feb 2012 about the High Line baby blanket. Moss stitch, earthy colors, random-width stripes. Cute.

  • I love the pictures.
    And Welcome to 50! It is quite liberating.

  • Bring it on!
    But I suspect that you actually are a nice person with the grace to suffer fools gladly ( a gene I have missing, I always admire it in others).
    Also: never apologize for cheesy filters. Literally or figuratively!

  • Love the new attitude! It will get even better as you move through your 50’s.
    I just turned 60 this year, and that’s even more liberating. REALLY don’t care to please anyone but myself anymore, and that sure does shock the kids & hubbo sometimes. Nurtured them all enough through the years, they know I still truly love them, just don’t need to ‘mommy’ anyone anymore-except the dog.

  • I’m afraid I’ve always been pretty frank. Now I’m a month away from 50, I’ve learned to be kindly frank. Or really, just let stuff go. I’m not spending my time on other people’s dramas.

  • I’m near the frank milestone. But even as a child, growing up in Alabama, I was known for being, ahem, plain spoken. Does that mean I’ll be worse?
    Will you please write a pattern for your sweater? Those sleeve seams make me swoon!

  • Woo hoo! Happy Golden Jubilee! My sis makes that sniff sound when she’s hopping mad, and I’ve been trying to talk her into letting it out.
    (I’m sort of the opposite, everything is out before I really know how I feel. When together, Laura and I add up to one nicely balanced person; too bad it’s only about 3 weeks a year we spend together…)

  • When I was about to turn 40, a beautiful woman of 42 said, “Embrace it. You will become more yourself.” Every passing year I become more and more myself as the layers of BS fall away. I’m 52 now and wondering how I will be in another 12 years!! I am a Southern girl, too, but always liked the “Yankees” who were so straightforward. I’m as blunt with compliments as I am with criticisms, though. I LOVE the sweater! Am working on a Kiki Mariko rug right now.

  • These 50s are liberating, but for those of us who had children, ahem, “late in life,” it’s tough, because our nurturing impulses just begin to run down.
    Read all about it in this wonderful book, The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, MD. There’s a chapter on the teenage female brain (arghh!) and also on the menopausal brain that describes me to a T. My whole family needs to read it . . .

  • I was always frank. My mom’s reply to complaints that I was fresh was to say at least a person always knew where they stood with me. Welcome aboard.

  • As a woman proud to be of a Certain Age, I think we all revel at a certain point in realizing we can and could speak our minds, and the universe still kept on spinning,.. And sometimes for the better. At a decade after yours, I am softening my approach somewhat. Ladies, I present to you, Violet, the Dowager Duchess. Not a tittle or a tot gets by her, and yet, she knows when to hold ’em or fold ’em – and is much more potent as a result.

  • Thanks to Gloria for the mention of the book The Female Brain. I just reserved it at my library. I also became a parent at a “later” age: I turn 50 and my daughter turns 13 the same week in November!

  • I so get this. 30 was my “frankness” moment. It came during my very volatile divorce. I went from being my family’s “good” girl to the new black sheep (divorce, even from an abusive alcoholic was frowned upon). The third or forth time the police come to your home, you either crumble under the weight of what the neighbors think, or you stop caring. Surprisingly, I liked myself a lot better when I stopped caring about them and started caring about and for my (then) one year old son and myself.
    Having said all of that, when we moved from the NY metro to NE FL, I fell off of the “big girl” wagon. For the first time in my life, I was finding it difficult (an understatement) to make friends. Then, I realized that I was trying too hard. It took another year or so, but I eventually found a community where I fit, rather than having to bend and twist to fit someone else’s idea of what “good” is. Oddly, enough that realization came to me right around my 50th birthday.

  • I so get this. 30 was my “frankness” moment. It came during my very volatile divorce. I went from being my family’s “good” girl to the new black sheep (divorce, even from an abusive alcoholic was frowned upon). The third or forth time the police come to your home, you either crumble under the weight of what the neighbors think, or you stop caring. Surprisingly, I liked myself a lot better when I stopped caring about them and started caring about and for my (then) one year old son and myself.
    Having said all of that, when we moved from the NY metro to NE FL, I fell off of the “big girl” wagon. For the first time in my life, I was finding it difficult (an understatement) to make friends. Then, I realized that I was trying too hard. It took another year or so, but I eventually found a community where I fit, rather than having to bend and twist to fit someone else’s idea of what “good” is. Oddly, enough that realization came to me right around my 50th birthday.

  • Congratulations, Ann, 50 is a wonderful age.
    When I turned 40, I felt depressed. It didn’t help that my mother (in all gratitude for the things I was doing for her) said, “Oh honey, what will you do for a daughter when you’re my age?” I cried all afternoon.
    When I turned 50, I felt liberated. All those massive and unrealistic life goals? Probably not going to happen. That subtle pressure of attention from men? Suddenly I was COMPLETELY INVISIBLE to them. (Also to clerks in stores, but hey.) I was off the hook for so many things! Such a relief.
    I’m 18 months out from 60 and can’t wait to see how THAT feels. Probably something like “Hey, I still have most of my parts, and they still mostly work! AWESOME.” πŸ™‚

  • HA! Wait till you are 60+…even better….or worse…depending

  • You go girl! Be true to yourself! I love getting older (except for the arthritis…). I’m 59 and I embrace it. Went back into the work force 2 1/2 years ago and loving it. I wouldn’t say or do anything to hurt someone, but I do give my opinion when warranted, perhaps with a little editing to prevent hurt feelings. It isn’t a bad thing, turning into our parents–but sometimes I choose to be the best of who they were.

  • Gloria @ 3:50…thank you for articulating with something I’ve been struggling with for a long time. I had children at 36 and 40, and my nurturing impulses are indeed subdued at times. It never occurred to me that it might be an age-influenced phenomenon instead of me just being a sucky mom. I’m definitely going to check out the book!

  • Ah yes, we do get a little “frank” & are pretty fearless about it! Also I notice I have more patience for some things. I have less for others (for example, rude people!). It’s a great time of life, experiencing the freedom of letting go, and having gratitude and extreme joy for life’s blessings.

  • I just turned 50, too. I’m a big girl now and I can grow my nails and turn off the grumpy voices of my big sisters. Time to grow up.

  • I just turned 50, too. I’m a big girl now and I can grow my nails and turn off the grumpy voices of my big sisters. Time to grow up.

  • Dear god, if I get any more frank at 50 then watch out world! Slightly terrifying.