Saturday, November 24, 2007

Impromptu Travel

Oh for the days when I could make a sudden decision to hop in the car
and wander off, destination vague, plans changeable, free and
spontaneous as all get out. Trips have a whole new meaning when one
must make sure the medication is packed, the pets provided for, the
sleeping arrangements carefully thought through, and those behind are
notified of the itinerary: who, what, where, when, and why.

Spontaneity once measured in moments is restructured into hours, or
even days.

Small expeditions to third world countries travel lighter than I do.
No longer are journeys taken for adventure and excitement. Actually
the words seldom and avoided are more often combined with journey. My
choices are more hedonistic than exhilarating. Packing is an attempt
to provide for every contingency. I'll skip the details but mention
that I generally take more clothes than needed (what if I stay and
extra day?) and plenty to occupy me (book, iPod, camera, sewing,
notepaper, etc.) and return with large portions unused. Ah, but I was

I never was one to flit off for the weekend with only a toothbrush
and an extra pair of undies in my purse. Having traveled with a
family I've been accustomed to thinking ahead and packing for
everybody. I've always acted as if my destination was the moon and
even the oxygen needed to be crammed into the suitcase.

As I now contemplate a four day junket to another state I'm
determined to pack lightly. Do you think one suitcase a day plus the
briefcase, laptop, and backpack is enough?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

More on Technology

When I was younger I felt pretty much on that cutting edge of
technology. I'd been through the move from mono to stereo and from
tubes to transistors. I'd gone from vinyl LP's cassettes to CD's. I
could manage a microwave oven and make popcorn in a bag and had gone
from a Princess phone to a cordless. The 8mm gave way to a video
camera and the 35mm to a digital. And television had progressed
black&white to color, from rabbit ears to cable to satellite and DVR.
Each incremental thrust into the future was met with enthusiasm and
made part of my everyday lifestyle.

Somewhere in the last fifteen years I began to lose ground and
stumble. The move from CD's, to MP3's and downloads, from cordless to
cell phones, came around the time when a retirement income (or lack
thereof) made me eye technology more warily. Moving to a rural
setting where internet remains on dial-up and cell towers are far
between makes embracing the newest electronic whiz-bangs problematic.
I find myself caught between intense yearning and anti-materialistic
disdain - very fox and grapes. I got my iPod, thanks to a dear friend
who was tired of hearing me whimper. And another great
philanthropical pal upgraded me to a much loved iMac, though I gnash
my teeth daily craving high speed internet in the boonies. But I've
only used a cell phone once or twice and I tend to sniff in disgust
at those who require one for life while wishing I could have one...
minus the monthly bill.

Here I am, the world racing ahead as I watch from a spot on the
sidelines - lost somewhere between trying to jog along and wheezing
in total defeat. Every generation must find itself here, tut-tutting
or outright puzzled as they become history. So why did it come as a
surprise when it happened to me?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mood Swings

I'm in a very peculiar mood. Something between, or composed of,
nostalgia and depression, with a soupçon of whimsy and a tidbit of
laughter. Odd melange of flavors, no? A gallimaufry brought on by
rain and gray sky, Mozart soaring in the air (composer hang-
gliding?), odd dreams lingering from the night, all stirred with a
large dose of caffeinated wake-up juice.

This is the sort of feeling that could turn into impetuosity in the


This from my Google homepage weather report Sunday Morning:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holiday Thoughts (part 1)?

The holiday season is approaching and I'm not ready. I used to be one
of those annoying people with their shopping done and packages ready
to mail no later than the end of November. I began sewing and
planning in February, concocting lists and completing projects
through summer and into fall. Quite satisfied with myself, I toddled
to the post office the first week of December then settled back to
observe the rest of the world, rushing and buying as the last few
weeks from Thanksgiving to Yule counted down.

In recent years I've experienced a shift, or is it a slide, toward
that "rest of the world" experience? Projects were conceived and
started a bit later in the year and were finished just in time. Gift
lists were trimmed and fewer items were purchased- though that was as
much a result of retirement income as of the OMIGOD-the-holidays-are-
coming panic.

This year has been the worst to date. I looked up earlier this week
and noticed it was almost Thanksgiving. No plans for that holiday and
nothing at all for the next one beyond a few stray thoughts. As the
commercials for Christmas have begun to flood the TV I find myself
possessed of a stubborn need to rebel against most of the season, at
least as it has come to exist in corporate America. Such money as I
have to spend is going to a gift to Heifer International and cards
will go to my pals with Seasonal Greetings that include them in that
gift giving. Family gifts will take the lead and I hope to make those
as locally made/bought as possible, in keeping with our attempt to
eat locally grown food and restrict our footprint on the planet.

As a sort-of footnote: A wave of depression seems to accompany the
thought of the holiday season. But focussing on those things in life
that make it all worth the living helps. First: grandchildren. I
never realized the same fierce love I had for my daughter could
happen again. Ruthanne and Charlie and Kyle are the best and
brightest spots in my universe. Ditto my NOD and SIL. And there is a
terrific husband. And a boatload of the best friends anyone could
ever have. Pets, home, sunsets. sunrises, birdsong, daffodils,
apples, great books, music, the ocean and rivers and trees and.....
(Bye-bye depression. Hello humble gratitude!)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My thought for today

Everything we know is contained in the droplet of a cosmic sneeze.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Things that set me off - Part 2

People who pronounce nuclear as Nuke-You-Lure.
Really loud car stereos - especially the bass.
Trash along the highway.
Plastic grocery bags.
Bottled water.
Ants in the house.
Cigarette butts.
Political advertising.
Fake surveys in the mail.
Catalogs I haven't requested.
Cold feet.
Reality TV.
Slasher movies.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


My friend Kathy called last night to catch up on the news, the way
two women who have been friends for almost 45 years will do. We
talked about family and health, and about the high school reunion
she'd just attended. Kat and I met in our high school days when she
dated a friend of mine. I was a senior, she a freshman and while the
guy she dated became lost in history the friendship between Kathy and
me hung on, past the difference in our ages back then, past gaps when
we lost touch, and across sometimes huge distances from each other.
We wrote letters, called, and visited through marriages, through
jobs, as we each raised a daughter and became a grandmother.

Back to that high school reunion: As Kathy related the activities of
her weekend around our old stomping grounds and reminisced about the
school itself, I realized what a different experience we must have
had during that time. Her voice was fond and nostalgic over teachers
and classes, friends and dating; her memory of the time sharp and
focussed. She'd been eager to attend the reunion, had indeed gone to
a previous one despite living thousands of miles distant.

And me? I returned once to wander the campus and found so many
changes it was hard to recognize. My memories of those days, at least
as far as the school itself, are fuzzy at best, painful at worst. I
was a fat, self-conscious girl and suffered painfully from the
teasing of the teenaged boys and the derision of the girls. School
was legally mandated torture both physically and spiritually. It was
only occasionally, by accident, intellectually stimulating. I
learned to cut class and forge notes, nearly flunking my junior year.
Only in my senior year, after learning to laugh first and loudest at
myself, did things brighten up a bit. I made some friends and found
enough emotional armor to cope.

High school class reunion? Not something I've found myself eager to
do. I did go to a smaller meeting of the theatre rats - the group who
saw me through that last year of high school. The years stood like a
wall between us. I do have minor curiosity about a few folks from
those days but nothing beyond Googling their names, and no need to
see or talk to them. And I have no reason to believe there is anyone
from school who is curious about, or even remembers me. There were a
few years when I fancied a Romy & Michelle reunion experience but
those have thankfully gone. Let the bad memories stay faded and the
good shine brighter in comparison. I see no high school reunions in
my future.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Every Generation says:

Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is
writing a book. -Marcus Tullius Cicero, statesman, orator and writer
(106-43 BCE)

Friday, November 2, 2007


The flames of a burning hell must have originated as a middle eastern
concept of suffering and torture. Only a people who lived in an
already hot climate would consider more warmth as a terrible fate. My
people, the already semi-frozen denizens of northern Europe must have
imagined damnation as cold-Colder-Ohmigod, there go the toes! I
certainly do - well, at least I do now. Hmmmm, maybe the idea of hell
changes with age and residence?

When I lived further south, where summer temperatures could make the
3 digit mark, heat was not a desirable effect. My espoused belief was
that when the body heated, only so much could be done to remove
clothing and cool off. Eventually there was no more apparel to remove
and nudity became a public nuisance. Theoretically cold allowed for
more mitigation since layer after layer of clothing could be added
until warmth was achieved.

Interesting concept, obviously conceived where heat was common, now
tossed to the ideological scrap heap with "Don't trust anyone over
thirty" and "Money is the root of all evil". Whether it is advancing
age or moving north, cold is now hell. It slinks into my polar fleece
swathed body and settles into the center of the bones, hunkering down
for a prolonged stay. Adding blankets or hot water bottles is no help
when the cold seems to come from inside as well as out. The fiddley
body bits: nose, toes, and fingers, turn cube-like and seem ready to
abandon ship and sail south on their own. Tahiti. Hawaii. Somewhere

And if my extremities and I go to a warm climate, will hell resume
its flames and heat? Whaddya wanna bet?