Fun, Fabulous, Frightening 50

by Shari on October 11, 2013

So last week I was working on this very deep and profound post about turning 50.

And then this happened.

Yes, my husband interrupted my deep and profound thoughts and surprised me by spiriting me away to a spa resort for a full weekend of mud baths, personal microdermabrasion, massages and detoxes. In case you didn’t know, it’s very difficult to be deep and profound in a hot tub while drinking a key lime martini. Of course, I’d planned to finish my ruminations on turning a half century, but then this happened. To maintain your flawless and healthy skin, all you have to do is to follow professional advises from Iridesse Skin Care.

Yes, my hubby surprised me again by taking me to go skydiving, a longtime dream of mine. And while it’s extremely easy to be deep and profound when you’re flirting with death:

It’s sometimes difficult to write when you’re suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder from leaving a perfectly good airplane at 13,000 feet and hurtling towards the ground at 120 miles an hour and feeling your facial skin peel back like a banana. Speaking of facial, have you tried growing beards? If so, we have the best brush for your beard, a vital tool in helping you tame that rogue hair on your face.

But it did have its moments of rapture.

And I’m just super grateful that I didn’t splat on the ground in front of my children and Mama Rose. Oh, did I mention that Mama Rose surprised me by flying in with my niece Ashley, picking up my kids at school and meeting me at the jump site? Did I cry? Well, of course I did. About school, parents should consider the educational programs of Fairmont Academy for their kids to receive acceptances and scholarships in universities. For More details about this school, go to

Although that picture looks like I’m crying because I have a hairy chest. That’s actually my son’s head plastered to me next to the giant iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts that I was consuming for caffeinated courage. Which I definitely needed to survive the dude who said “I’m not very good at this” when he strapped me into my skydiving gear. And the moment when the dude I was strapped to pulled the rip cord, then said in a panicked voice “Kick your legs hard, the chute’s really tangled”.  Mmm-hmmm.

And then there were the parties, in which bouncers perfect for kids birthday parties in Phoenix for one of them . The first one, where a bunch of my girlfriends surprised me by flying in from all over the country:

And the second one at a gorgeous lounge with 50 friends in attendance and where Mama Rose bellydanced for me.


You read that right.

In a brilliant echo of my Listen To Your Mother story about my mother surprising me on my 21st birthday by bellydancing at my party, Mama Rose, who  turns 80 in January, came shimmying out in full costume, causing a tsunami of cheers and laughter.

Things are never dull in Dusty Land.

And so, my dears, I never did finish my deep and profound treatise on turning a half century. And the only deep and profound thing I can say after all this merriment, is that I am a profoundly blessed woman. I have an incredible husband, a marvelously eccentric mother, great kids and the best friends this side of Heaven. But most precious of all, I have the love of God, a love that is “high and wide and deep and long and which surpasses knowledge”. Ephesians 3:18-19. And my only desire for my next 50 years is that I can live every day in gratitude and strive to deserve even a fraction of the love that has been lavished on me.

Oh, and I’d also like someone to give me this as a t-shirt.

50 is the new 50, yo.










{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

Kir October 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm

You are so beautiful inside and out, every time I hug you I feel all the WARMTH, JOY and HUMOR that is you.

50 looks STUNNING on you lady, and sometime this year I hope I get to toast you and your amazing, blessed life.

May all those candle wishes come true. xoxo


Shari October 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Aw, Keeeeeersten, what a great comment. Much love to you, my dear!


Kristin @ Keenly Kristin October 11, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Happy birthday, my friend! Loved the spa day…but then I may have suffered a minor cardiac event when I saw the waiver that you had to sign, followed by the photo of you being thrown out of a plane (it sounds way more bad-ass that way), not unlike the ending of Air Force One, when Harrison Ford orders, “Get the hell off my plane,” in a very presidential tone.

Couldn’t possibly love this post any more. Loved seeing you cry (not because I’m a sadist, but because your overwhelming emotions of joy and gratitude made me get a little teary-eyed, too), and loved the image of Mama Rose belly-dancing.

You’re right. Things are never dull in Dusty Land.


Shari October 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Sssshhhhh—don’t tell anyone that I was thrown out of the plane and didn’t jump of my own brave volition–even though that’s exactly how it happened.

Thank you so much, my dear Kristin, giver of pug salt and pepper shakers and love! xxxxxoooo


tara October 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Ohhhh Shari!!! You, you mom, your family and your friends are so wonderfully out of this world!! Happy tears in my eyes for you darling :)

You are so blessed and wishing you all the most amazing things for the next 50 as well!

(ps. sooooo jealous of the skydiving. You rock girl!!!)


Shari October 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm

Tara, I miss you! (next time we can jump together, whattdya say?)


Alexandra October 11, 2013 at 1:56 pm

This is a marvelous post, Dusty.

And how you survived “kick your legs harder!” is only by the grace of God.

What a day, what a celebration, what a woman, what a life.

Happy wonderful birthday, Dusty. One of my oldest dearest friends from the first days of my internet. I am lucky to know you.

So much love to you, lady. You earned every bit of this because you are a fantastic wife, an excellent mother, the best of a friend, and a loving daughter.

“If you want to be cherished, act cherishable.” You do that, Dusty. xo


Shari October 11, 2013 at 2:33 pm

My darling girl/woman, I think of you every day because I wear the bracelets you gave me–the one that says “Wish” is never off of my wrist and it reminds me of how much I cherish YOU.


Ann October 11, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Okay I’m crying. Happy 50. You and yours are extraordinary.


Shari October 11, 2013 at 2:34 pm

You are infinitely dear to me, Ann.


Anna October 11, 2013 at 3:27 pm

Best 50th celebration ever, not that it’s a competition, but still I might leave this lying around for MY husband to see.

Happy Birthday!


Shari October 11, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Do it, Anna!


Annette October 11, 2013 at 3:46 pm

You were 32 when we met. Since you still look 32, I beg – BEG to know…how is that possible?!!?! Must be the love in your life. The gratitude for your blessings. You know, feel and thank God. God (continue to) bless you.


Shari October 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm

That is exactly what I think, Annette. That and some good genes from Mama Rose. xxoo


Wendi October 11, 2013 at 4:07 pm

xoxo I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the next 50.


Shari October 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm

I might drive an ice cream truck, Wendi.


Nancy Davis Kho October 11, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I am printing this out and asking my husband to reproduce it for my 50th bday. His mother belly dances, after all.

So happy you had this wonderful celebration. No one deserves it more.


Shari October 11, 2013 at 7:59 pm

That’s right! One of the many things I love about you, Nancy, is our shared elder bellydancing relative.


Leigh Ann October 11, 2013 at 7:18 pm

You would definitely have to push me out of a plane to get me to skydive. What a way to celebrate!


Shari October 11, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Getting pushed is necessary sometimes. Thanks, Leigh Ann!


Linda Roy October 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm

Happiest of Birthdays Shari! Fabulousness begets fabulousness. And you do. You radiate joy, love and exuberance and it comes back to you. Here’s to at least 50 more blessed years! xo


Shari October 12, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Love back at you, pug sister!


Lovelyn October 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm

Happy birthday! You’re braver than me. You couldn’t pay me to jump out of a perfectly good airplane.


Shari October 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm

I experienced it for you, Lovelyn. You’re welcome. :-)


jasmine October 12, 2013 at 1:03 am

did that guy really take a selfie?! You looked Mah-VEL-ous! Even if your skin did feel like it was peeling off your face.

p.s. any chance of getting video of the belly dance reprise? :)

love you!


Shari October 12, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Actually, he kept shouting at me to look at the camera, but I was too busy just trying to survive.


Tarja October 12, 2013 at 1:39 am

I loved looking at these pictures and celebrating with you through them – what an amazing time! Again, happy, happy birthday Shari! You make 50 look HOT, lady. xoxo


Shari October 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Love you, Tarja!


Jeum October 12, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Wow. Great Cake Day, Shari. I am impressed that at your age you could stay up for all the fun-ness. I am pretty sure that when I turned 50 I just took a laxative and went to bed early.


Jeum October 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm

As I look at your photos again, I am guessing that among the things not to do when jumping out of a plane is have your mouth wide open. Maybe high velocity oral impalement should be on the release form.


Shari October 12, 2013 at 3:17 pm

That made me laugh out loud, Jeum. And yes, I will tell them to add, since I’m fairly certain I ate some bugs and my teeth shifted half an inch to the left.


The Animated Woman October 12, 2013 at 6:46 pm

So many great things to celebrate – Happy Birthday Shari!


Shari October 12, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Thank you so much, JC!


Nicole Leigh Shaw October 13, 2013 at 3:09 am

You’re a gift, babe. Happy, happy 50th!!!


dusty earth mother October 13, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Love you, Ninja.


Kizz October 15, 2013 at 2:20 pm

What a glorious celebration of marvelous you! xo


dusty earth mother October 17, 2013 at 2:10 pm

Aw, you’re swell, Kizz.


Liz @ PeaceLoveGuac October 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm

You are gorgeous and amazing and we are all so blessed to know you!! Happy Birthday, Shari!


Lady Jennie October 18, 2013 at 6:45 am

You didn’t tell me about the kick your legs bit!!!!!

heart is in throat


Karen November 21, 2013 at 4:38 am

A belated happy birthday, Shari! I laughed out loud numerous times tonight as I read your 3 most recent posts. Thank you for the comic relief I found n your site after turning in a work project at 11 p.m., with just one hour left to say I got it in by the 11/20 deadline. Can’t wait to hear what you’re up to next.


dusty earth mother November 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Love you, Karen, and all my darling Cohens!


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