20 Signs You’re Too Old for 20 Somethings to Get Your Pop-Culture References

Electric Avenue - 15 SignsA lifetime ago I worked for a madman (all of the sexism and alcohol of Madmen but without Jon Hamm) in an office with an eclectic cast of characters.

One of these characters was named Rita Mae. Rita Mae wore big Jersey hair, spoke with a high-pitched New York accent, and on occasion, walked around the office with one hand on her hip and the other positioned as though she was carrying a tray. At least once a day Rita would walk up to us, imaginary tray held high, and ask, in that high-pitched New York accent, “Cigars, cigarettes, Perillos?”

None of us knew what the hell she was talking about.

It was 1994 and the office was rife with 20 somethings who knew everything about nothing, and while we knew Rita Mae was referring to something from her generation, we hadn’t a clue what, and she, in turn, had no clue we were clueless.

Fast forward 20 years, and I have become Rita Mae.

I’m a dozen years younger than she was at the time, and now kids can Google anything they don’t understand, but still, when I say something about answering machines, white out, or Mr. Drummond, the glazed looks I get from the 20-somethings in the office make me realize that I now have more in common with Rita Mae than I do with them. Wanna know if you’re one of us now and not one of them? Here are 20 signs:

  1. You’ve told someone age 16 or older that you remember them when they were “just a baby.”
  2. You’ve started a sentence with, “Back when I was a kid…”
  3. You spot a mouthy teen and think, “If I’d ever said that to my mother…”
  4. You’ve said, or thought, “That’s not real music.” In all fairness, a lot of 20 somethings say this just so they can impress themselves. The difference is, we mean it.
  5. You’ve referred to Twitter as “the Twitter”, Facebook as “the Facebook”, or added “The” in front of any social media site – even if you only called it that when “it first came out.”
  6. You’ve recently used the words cassette tape, vhs, or answering machine in a sentence because you were about to use one of them. That you still own. In your home.
  7. You remember sliding around the back seat of cars, unencumbered by seat belts.
  8. You remember white-out and it had nothing to do with the weather in the northeast.
  9. Growing up, your version of Instagram was taking a Polaroid picture, shaking it, then showing it to your friends.
  10. You remember when Madonna’s decision to keep her baby, while instructing her papa not to preach, was the height of scandal.
  11. You owned a Vic 20 or Commodore 360.
  12. You remember when every sitcom had a “very special episode.”
  13. You’re older than the Internet…
  14. and cell phones…
  15. and the DEA.
  16. Beepers were a thing.
  17. Your kids raid your closet for vintage clothes.
  18. You’re disturbed to learn that some guy you think is really cute, was born the year you graduated from high school.
  19. You remember Neil Patrick Harris when he was Doogie Howser, M.D.
  20. Some part of your body popped, snapped, or cracked when you sat down to read this post.
  21. *Bonus – you get the pop culture reference in the photo above.

Have I missed anything? Add your own signs in the comment section, or head on over to the Women at Forty Facebook page, hit like and add them there. And don’t forget to subscribe to the blog so you’ll never miss another post!

Kalin’s Chronicles: Girlfriend Getaway to Norfolk

Kalin & Erin of Visit NorfolkWhile covering the Norfolk JazzFest in Virginia, I realized the waterfront city is perfect for a weekend Girlfriend Getaway.  And even though the JazzFest is over, you can still visit during the Norfolk Latino Music Festival August 24, the Norfolk Indie Music & Arts Fest September 14, or the Norfolk Gospel & Jazz Celebration Weekend October 4 – 6.  So here are my suggestions for the perfect Girlfriend Getaway for fabulous food and fun.


Fly in early and check-in at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott  – just two short blocks from the waterfront and downtown attractions.  Then walk a few steps across the street to VisitNorfolk  for coupons and maps to the city’s neighborhoods and attractions.

Next, head over to the Ghent district for lunch at No Frill Bar & Grill.  The name doesn’t do it justice – menu items are huge and delicious, and served with friendly customer service.  I recommend their “Famous Meatloaf!”

Head back to the waterfront for a tour of Nauticus and the Hampton Roads Naval Museum – for a closer look at Norfolk’s history as the world’s largest naval station.

Then make a short trip over to the Chrysler Museum of Art’s Glass Studio for a glass-blowing class that will have you feeling just as artsy as the Ghent community.

You can carry your new glass over to Mermaid Winery for wine tasting at Norfolk’s only urban winery.  Walk through a very small “vineyard” into the entrance for an atmosphere perfect for wining and dining.

Try the “Elizabeth River” raspberry wine with your meal.  You may even catch “Movie Night on the Patio.”


Saturday is for shopping!  But you’ll need a good breakfast to fuel up first, so walk three blocks from the hotel to MacArthur Centre.  Have breakfast at Café Nordstrom, then hit the shops.

For more shopping, catch The Tide light rail at MacArthur Station to the Ghent district for eclectic buys at galleries, boutiques, consignment and antique shops.

After a long afternoon of shopping, enjoy a casual dinner and dessert at Doumar’s Barbeque – it’s home to the original waffle cone.  And you can watch Mr. Doumar himself make the cones on the original four-iron waffle machine, built in 1904.

Back at the hotel, get in a good nap and throw on one of your new buys before walking over to the waterfront for a Midnight party cruise on the Spirit of Norfolk.


Start your morning with a relaxing meditation class at the beautiful Norfolk Botanical Garden. This is the only site on my list where you’ll need a car.  Try Orange Peel Transportation,  which has great customer service with friendly and knowledgeable drivers.

Head back to the hotel for a quick shower and change, and then back to the Ghent district for Sunday Brunch at Press 626 Café & WineTry their “Pecan Pie Belgian Waffle.”

Before heading back to the airport, pick up a few Norfolk souvenirs at one of my favorite stores – Dollar Tree.  Norfolk is the company’s headquarters, so there are plenty of locations around town.  It’s a lot cheaper than shopping at the airport.

This itinerary let’s you see just enough of Norfolk to want to come back.  On your next visit, make time for a day trip to nearby Virginia Beach.  And remember:  Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness – Mark Twain.


Kalin Thomas is an award-winning multimedia journalist.  She is a former travel & lifestyle correspondent for CNN where she traveled to six continents, including Antarctica.  She is writing her book, Do You Know She’s Black?  The journey of CNN’s first black travel correspondent, for a 2015 debut.   For more, visit www.KalinThomas.com.

Why Uncomfortable is The Place Where Things Happen

fork in the roadI’m a member of a writing group and every couple of weeks a small number of us get together and place our hearts on the table. It’s challenging, it’s scary, and it’s uncomfortable. It’s also one of the few things that pushes me to write consistently, and with more honesty.

I’ve been plagued with headaches my entire life. Even when they weren’t full-on migraines, they lingered above me like a warning, reminding me that they were always on the horizon. I’d gotten used to them and taking medication to relieve them. But then I learned more about the medicine I was taking, learned about the long-term effects, and became uncomfortable with the idea of taking this medication for the rest of my life. I consulted a nutritionist and with her help, adjusted my diet (more on that in a future post), eliminating foods that were triggers. Removing foods from my diet that I’d once thought were harmless (and in some cases healthy) was uncomfortable, and at times difficult, but we pinpointed my triggers and I’m happy to report that staying away from those foods have left me virtually headache free for longer than I can remember being anytime in the recent past.

In order to progress, we’ve got to leave our comfort zone behind us. Sometimes that takes the shape of a big, uncomfortable, scary-as-hell leap, and other times it’s in small increments, every single day.

Uncomfortable is the place where things happen because that tension, that discomfort, is what reminds us that we want and deserve more.

because I know no other way

Love’s been on my mind all week, and then my cousin posted this poem on her Facebook Page (you can follow her at Ask Jackie O’ Nappy) and I was all, “This, right here.”  You will find love, imperfections and all, because the heart knows no other way. Enjoy, and may the love you deserve find you wherever you are today.

Pablo Neruda