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Melissa Carter: Make mid-life your beginning, not an end

Melissa Carter

Seems now that I am 42 I should be having a mid-life crisis. At least that’s what I keep hearing.

Those younger than me oddly keep using the term “your generation” around me and I have even heard more than one menopause joke directed my way. It’s not worth explaining that the “Change” won’t come for me for another decade.

When I left the Bert Show last year, some even accused me of doing so because of some age crisis. So I decided to look up exactly what a mid-life crisis was on Wikipedia, in order to understand how to play my part, and found it is “a time where adults come to realize their own mortality and how much time is left in their life.”

You’d think the Grim Reaper baked my 40th birthday cake.

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Melissa Carter: How to keep from driving your partner crazy while out of work

Melissa Carter

I had dinner recently with a friend who was laid off a few months ago. Comparing the experience to getting a divorce, he said the separation from his job of 12 years was something he saw coming, but he just didn’t get out in time.

Blanketing his industry with resumes, he still has not been able to find work, and is fighting depression because of it. The worst part of it, he says, is the feeling that he has let his wife down.

Unable to give advice on the job front, I certainly had some feedback on how to make sure his wife didn’t resent him while he was out of work.

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Atlanta singer Doria Roberts starts lesbian Twitter trend after Fla. politico flap

Many of our readers know Doria Roberts as a local legend with her music and activism, as well as the good food she and her wife, Calavino Donati, cook up at their East Atlanta bodega, Urban Cannibals.

But many may not realize that Doria Roberts likes Twitter  (@doriaroberts). Well, when Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll was allegedly caught in a "compromising position" with a female travel aide, Carroll was beside herself and had this defense: "Usually black women that look like me don't engage in relationships like that."

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Melissa Carter: Vision, vanity and breaking my streak

My avMelissa Carterersion to wearing glasses comes from sibling rivalry. My older brother and sister needed glasses young, so this offered a challenge for me to see how long I could go without them. At 42, I still pass my driver’s license test without my glasses. But barely.

I am near-sighted. I think. Much like the debate over “affect” or “effect” seems to commence whenever either word is cautiously used, a similar confusion occurs whenever one gives an eyesight diagnosis.

I can see things near me, but the detail of things far away is blurry. I have a prescription for this condition, but find I only use these glasses in dark places, like a movie theater or driving at night.

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Melissa Carter: We can help bridge the gap between past neglect and future stability

Melissa CarterI think we’ve made great progress with Trevor. Our first foster dog, this GoldenDoodle was found on the streets of Alabama and sent to Adopt A Golden Atlanta.

A few years ago, we adopted our dog GiGi from Adopt-A-Golden. They asked that we foster Trevor and try to get him more comfortable and emotionally healthy so he could one day soon be moved into a loving and permanent home.

When Trevor came to us he kept his distance, literally. We let him out in our fenced back yard and that is where he stayed, choosing instead to sleep outside the first night. He wouldn’t let us pet him and showed his teeth to our other animals when they came too close.

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Melissa Carter: How can we help LGBT youth be not only out, but proud?

Melissa CarterIt seems that suicide is spilling into our headlines more than ever before, with another gay teenager falling victim to this tragic trend a couple weeks ago.

Kenneth Weishuhn Jr. of Iowa took his own life at the age of 14, after being tormented by classmates for his decision last month to come out. His mother told The Washington Post that Kenneth quickly became the target of threatening cellphone calls, voicemails, and online comments.

Kenneth was a popular kid in school, but only when classmates thought he was straight. Once they learned his truth, Kenneth’s peers quickly turned on him and that rejection led to his death April 15.

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Melissa Carter: TV made me smarter

Melissa CarterI am a smarter person because of Made-for-TV movies. I realized this the other night when Katie Jo and I were sitting on our back porch talking. The topic of Helen Keller came up, and I began to tearfully recall the scene from “The Miracle Worker” where Patty Duke’s Anne Sullivan finally gets through to Melissa Gilbert’s Helen at the well.

W. A. T. E. R. Who doesn’t get choked up at that memory? Katie Jo.

When I realized my other half gave no reaction to my description of that pivotal scene, I questioned if she had ever seen “The Miracle Worker.” She had not, and went on to tell me she really wasn’t that familiar with Helen Keller’s life. I was shocked, but remembered that if it weren’t for Duke and Gilbert, I might not be either.

So much of my early education came from those mini dramas, which provided greater opportunities for learning than books or theatrical releases ever could. That’s because Made-for-TV movies came on one of the only three or four channels available then, and the lack of choice forced everyone in the family, and the country, to watch it together.

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Melissa Carter: Chill pill anyone?

Melissa CarterDoes your family accept your sexuality? Do your friends and co-workers? If the answer is no, and there was a pill that would cure them of that prejudice, would you give it to them? I’m sure most would say yes and the possibility of such a pill is not science fiction.

British researchers have been studying the issue of racism and found that a common heart disease drug seems to lower racist attitudes as well as blood pressure.  The study was conducted at Oxford University where volunteers were divided into two groups.  One was given the drug Propranolol while the other took a placebo.  Propranolol is a beta blocker used to treat blood pressure, but can also be used in managing panic and anxiety disorders.

In one test, the groups were asked to sort pictures of black and white faces into categories along with positive and negative words.  In another, they were asked to report how warm they felt towards certain groups, including blacks and Muslims.

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Melissa Carter: It’s not new love we should celebrate

VMelissa Carteralentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love — or at least the idea of how love could be. We see plenty of examples of young romance on television and in movies. But I wish there were more portrayals of couples still hot for each other after years together. Those are the couples who have figured out what true love really is and remind us that sometimes the secret is more simple than you would think. 

My parents were married for 50 years until my father passed away from cancer in 2001. Their unique and touching romantic gestures towards each other began when they were newlyweds and had no money. On their first anniversary she arrived home from her teaching job and checked the mailbox first like she did every day.

Inside was a letter informing her that her gift was upstairs waiting for her. When she got to her bedroom, there was my dad waiting for her wearing a bow. My mom is in her ‘80s and this story still makes her smile and blush when she tells it.

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Melissa Carter: Listen up, ladies. Stop being gross in 2012.

Melissa CarterIt’s a brand new year. Crowds of resolution-inspired men and women are rushing to gyms and health food stores all over town to satisfy their internal promises. This time of year we make all kinds of goals. We pledge to spend more time with family and friends, kick the smoking habit, get out of debt, and try the latest diet.

I have another resolution to add to the To-Do list, but this one is just for women: Get cleaner in the public restrooms. Quite simply, ladies, you are nasty in the bathroom. And it needs to change. Now.

In recent weeks, I attended the standard regiment of holiday parties at bars and restaurants, and scoured the city for the perfect Christmas gifts. While on my trek, I was forced to frequent several public bathrooms. This is the breakdown of what I have experienced. And it isn’t pretty.

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Melissa Carter: A dog with special needs and a special spirit

Melissa CarterWhen enough pressure is applied, a piece of coal turns into a diamond. In nature, this process takes a great deal of time. But I saw this same process happen in a matter of days with GiGi.

A couple of years ago, Katie and I adopted a special-needs dog from Adopt-A-Golden Atlanta. GiGi is epileptic and suffers seizures periodically. Based on first impressions, she didn’t seem to be a dog that people were rushing to adopt.

When we first met her she wouldn’t even look at us and withdrew to the protective legs of her foster family. After we adopted her, she spent the first few days hiding in the corner of our kitchen. Her silence and reclusive nature is how she earned the name GiGi after the famed recluse and silent film actress Greta Garbo.