Sunday, March 30, 2008

Goodbye to ???

I'm subscribed to The Week magazine and in the April 4th issue, page
36 article entitled "Goodbye to all that" there is a list of cultural
items the author, Anna Jane Grossman of the Washington Post, claims
are on the way out. Scan through the list and, like me, you'll feel
really old. Some of the soon to be gones are: Short Basketball
shorts, Cash, Having the Blues, and Getting Lost.

Wait a doggone minute! Let me think about this...

I'm not into team sports so beyond the fact that something about
baseball uniforms makes all the players look like they have mega-
butts, I've been unaware of changes in uniforms. It's March Madness,
or so the TV ads scream, so it was easy to punch up a basketball game
and take a look at the couture. Eeeek! Tall men in satin skirts! The
baggy knee pants look a lot like appropriate wear for a 50's Junior
Prom. Whatever happened to a bit of masculine thigh? Any woman with
long gorgeous legs would want to show them off. These guys look like
they need better elastic in the waistbands!

And Cash? With credit cards and debit cards folks have been waving
bye-bye to cash for a long time. But Ms. Grossman says that
technology will soon have us able to tap a cell phone to pay for a
purchase. Sure hope that advance isn't headed my way. I'm of the
(gasp!) cellphone-free contingent.

Having the Blues apparently died with the medicate-it-away decade of
the 1990s. Maybe that is why so much music seems to me to be
indecipherable thumping about better left unmentionable humping?
Oh dear, I'm sounding like my (grand)mother!

I'm sorry to see the end of Getting Lost. GPS systems are a wonderful
thing but it used to be such fun to just go for a drive and see where
you ended up. In a day when geography is suffering neglect, a bit of
map reading practice would be good for us all. But then again, who
can afford the fuel to go for a drive?

Who's feeling old? Not me, I'm approaching ancient!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A gift is an obligation?

With my birthday having just passed I find myself wondering where I
developed the internal conviction that a gift equals an obligation.
It must have been picked up in childhood. "Sally gave you a birthday
gift and now you have to give Sally a gift on her birthday."
Christmas gifts and birthday presents were carefully tallied by my
mother, who created a list for the next year. If something was
received from so-and-so this year then next year a gift was required
for so-and-so. It was an embarrassment to receive a gift and have
nothing to give in return. Our Christmas tree always had a few "in
case" presents tucked underneath in the back.

I like presents. I love to give them as well as receive but the sense
of obligation, always heavy, has become more difficult now that my
husband and I are retired. Our money is limited as is my energy and
enthusiasm for handwork. I try very hard to see presents as an
expression of the generosity of the giver, to say thanks and be
appreciative without feeling the Oh-My-God guilt required
reciprocation. It is tough.

Help comes from good friends who, perhaps feeling something similar,
have agreed that an exchange of cards is quite sufficient for
birthdays. And we are working on making our Christmas gifts a
communal gift to the world via The Heifer Project or another
charity. I will give the occasional Un-Birthday gift when I find
something wonderful for one of the terrific people in my life.
Perhaps with exercise and experience the emotional sense of
obligation will fade and leave just the joy of giving and receiving.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

BDay

Winter is reluctant to give up her dominance on the Oregon coast.
Spring may be shouldering her way in but winter is willing to slug it
out for a while. The two of them are having a fine wrestling match
and we weaker creatures are kept confused as to whether we should go
ahead and wear shorts, so the legs can begin reversal on the whiter
shade of pale they've acquired, or return to wearing thermals and
parka. Some days it can go from brilliant sun to dark rainclouds in a
heartbeat.

The change from winter to spring (repeat, repeat, repeat) is what we
call Sucker Weather. "Hey!" Nature hollers, "It's summer!" and we
dash out for a morning stroll, sans coat so we can enjoy those warmer
rays from the unfamiliar glowing sky orb, and just as the ramble
reaches its furthest point from shelter the clouds zoom back and the
heavenly bathtub drains out over your head. Can you hear Nature
yelling "Gotcha"?

I rather like the changeable weather and find it preferable to every-
day drizzle and rain. The sun is brighter, the clouds darker. But
then I have the advantage of not having to go out in it if I don't
want to.

Today, by the way, is my birthday. I'll bet there isn't another
SixtyPlus woman in Oregon who began her day with a semi-naked man
singing Happy Birthday to her... in Hawaiian! What more do you
suppose my day will hold?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Thank you

May the universe bless good friends who are also good neighbors and
generally wonderful and considerate adults. I hope I grow up some day
to be like that.

My husband and I are still in recovery mode after 2 weeks of flu with
pneumonia for the dessert course. This being spring break, my
daughter and three grandchildren have come for a two day visit. Put
these two together and the result is one extremely exhausted Grammy -
even though she did little beyond watching the kids at play and
intense granddaughter cuddling.

The friend and neighbor, noticing the weary look on my face and
almost teary waver in my voice, took the crew home to her house for
dinner and even put them up overnight. Is this a hero, or what? I was
in bed by 8:30pm, slept like that proverbial log, and feel better
this morning. Ready to cope and enjoy what remains of the family visit.

Thank you my friend. And thank you daughter for understanding that
Mom was not rejecting you and yours but just too pooped to pop!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter

What an interesting Christian holiday. So many of the folks
celebrating this day are in the belief that their particular version
of deity invented death and resurrection. They hide eggs and send
cards decorated with bunnies and lambs in complete denial of the
pagan source of all that symbolism.

It would be so nice to be able to open their minds and hearts to the
incredible universality of the concepts. It is one of the wonderful
things about the celebrations humans have invented for the spring
equinox, that we recognize the circle of life and death across
religious and cultural differences. How wondrous the god that can
speak to each person in a language their ear can hear! How wondrous
the god who can appear male or female, or both. Or neither. And how
wondrous the knowledge that death may happen but life goes on.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Quote

It is inaccurate to say I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of
common
sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever
ineligible
for public office. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Gardening Aversion

My aversion to gardening is very politically incorrect. These are
times when one is supposed to feel the need to plunge one's hands
into the earth and reconnect with nature. Worse yet, I'm an avowed
pagan and thus should respond with delight when experiencing the
magic of germination, ripening, and eventual rot and compost. Oops.

The cycles of nature are wondrous indeed and they thrill me to my
core. I do not, however, wish to partake closely. Let me savor the
scent of rich loam on a gentle walk in the woods. I will observe the
tiny sproutings, I promise. My eye will cherish the greensward as I
side-step the fertilizer left by some beast or other. My heart will
soar at contemplating the circle of life. From a distance.

As a liberal (mostly) post-hippie era adult all the phenomena of the
environment deserve my consideration. And consider them I will as
long as it does not necessitate physical intimacy with muck or mud,
bugs or poop.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The O Word

Obama, Obama! I'm sick to death of politics in general and Obama
specifically. So the candidate(s) come to Oregon? Big eff-ing deal.
None will show up anywhere near this part of the south coast. My town
is not only unknown nationally, but it unheard of in Salem, barely
suspected by the county seat (Gold Beach) and even missed by folks
driving straight through on 101.

Listen you politicos. Whichever of you shows up in Langlois to orate
at The Greasy Spoon or shake hands at B&B Feedstore... that's the one
likely to win my vote. And hey! If you come to the door I'll fix you
a cup of tea and introduce you to the livestock. Even if you are a
Republican.

More on Spring

Spring is barely here and everyone around me is pouring over seed
catalogs, discussing the relative merits of fertilizers, and
pondering the planting of gardens. I even received a gardeners
equipment flyer in the mail yesterday. How I ended up on that mailing
list is a mystery. My interest in gardening is limited to 3 small
ceramic pots just outside my front door - and even those often look
wretched as I forget to water or trim whatever drug store flower I
tucked into the dirt.

I admire gardeners, and love the sight of a verdant well-tended swath
of vegetables or lush masses of colorful blooms, as long as the labor
is not mine. Utter laziness descends when digging, weeding, bug
removal and hungry mammal repulsion is required. Salad is wonderful
but requires picking, washing, chopping and dressing. I'm more the
plastic bag opening sort of cook. Considering my aversion to the
process it is all the more amazing that my only child is avid for the
whole thing. She is an urban farmer in Eugene with 3 chickens, a huge
vegetable patch, and an enthusiasm for soil creation and earthworm
tending. This sprang forth from MY loins?

Spring. I shall listen politely to the pros and cons of French
Intensive and organic. Peas, beans, and the occasional tomato will
arrive at my door as the abundance engulfs neighbors and friends. But
I shall not partake of the orgy of planting except maybe, just maybe,
I will buy a new geranium for the big pot by the front door.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Feeling Better?

Apparently the snap, crackle, pop in my chest wasn't just a Mariachi
band rehearsing the percussion section of their San Pedro Day
concert. I used the "P" word yesterday and since the first letter is
silent anyway, I'll not repeat it. But, gee! So much for my belief in
"just a head cold!"

One trip to the doctor, an antibiotic, and some OTC phlegm-
frightening drugs have changed my non-productive lady-like cough into
something earth moving. No reclining gracefully with a dainty lace
hankie pressed to my lips. The cough begins somewhere around my
ankles and lurches upward to escape confinement bringing along the
entire lobe of a lung. Think of a cartoon elephant with a snootful of
pepper and translate the sneeze into a cough. All appendages headed
in different directions, EXPLOSION, collapse into limp puddle trying
to recover any internal organs that flew out. Productive ain't pretty.

Maybe I'll dig out my CD of The 1812 Overture. My cough and the
cannon fusillade should be compatible.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Erin Go Bleagh!

So it is St. Patrick's Day and I'm on the way to the doctor to find
out if that cough left over from the recent flu is indeed PNEUMONIA?
No corned beef and cabbage in view since, having been sick the past
two weeks, I haven't been anywhere near a grocery store. I do have
half a cabbage in the house and half a boiled cabbage might be a REAL
authentic Irish meal but somehow it isn't thrilling to contemplate.
Feeling pretty pathetic and sorry for myself and needing some sort of
a whoopee moment.

Inspiration! We stopped on the way home from the doctor and bought
take-out chile verde burritos. Mexican seems to suit us better on the
west coast than Irish anyway, and no cooking is always a special
happiness for me. So Happy San Pedro's Day, muchachos!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring (again)

You can tell I am drunk on the very idea of spring. The sound of a
Flicker pounding wood somewhere nearby swells my heart with joy as it
brings awareness of the life surging forward around me. Ah, rapture!
Ah, vernal abundance!

A bit later in the season the same sound will send me flying to the
door, arm raised in protest and voice screeching to proclaim that the
wooden house I occupy is not to be considered a convenient drilling
platform for some hammer-headed, feather-brained opportunist.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday - almost spring

The exuberance of spring is irresistible. The daffodils reflect the
sun or promise its return when the rain is pouring. Buds swell on the
fruit trees and break out in masses of pink and white blooms. The
birds of summer begin their flirting from bush and twig. The whole
heart of the land swells in a great sigh of awe at the life bulging
out. Global warming? Okay. Pollution? Political intrigue? War?
Recession? Repression? Okey-dokey. Whatever. And nature proceeds
somehow.

That pulse to continue, that push for life despite everything, is
God. So beyond comprehension or control. It makes me the tiniest
fragment and the most magnificent creation of itself. No shadow
figure of man's imagination, made in his image but an immense creator
who imagined man. I am humble and grateful, scared and thrilled at my
glimpse of it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Colors of the Air

These are the colors of the air:

On this rainy March morning it is a thin, sharp blue-gray.

The air at sunset can be a rich, thick, syrupy shade of golden green.

At sunrise I have seen an orange pink that is full of the character
of heat - if not the heat itself.

And I have laid awake at night when the dark air was a soft and
muffling navy blue, brushed with ebony.

These are the invisible colors of the invisible air.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Onward

I've rounded the bend and am galloping up the recovery highway
somewhat like a1/2 ton tortoise in full forward panicked sprint. That
noise behind me is the flu delivery system in pursuit, looming like
an eighteen-wheeled log truck doing 70 up the coast highway.

Must Go Faster! Nope. No more speed to be had. It is all luck,
genetics, and chicken soup from here on.

At least now I can read again. Many hours of staring at the white
walls didn't produce any amazing hand-written wisdom. Hundreds of
channels of satellite TV yielded almost nothing worth watching. It is
so good to be alert enough to settle in with my current book (Rogue
River Journal by John Daniel), a cup of tea, and a blanket. Let the
virus discover I still can sidestep! Better yet let it run out of
fuel and sputter to a stop where it will be left in the dirt. I
remember my Aesop and intend to keep plodding along.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Got the RE's

Relapse.
Remain reclined, reliving recent recycled viruses.
Feeling rebellious. Wish to rebound!
Need reanimating, refocusing, rewinding, reactivating, readjusting,
re-ascending.
Recovery.
Relief!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Energy Crisis

Today is the fourth full day of intimacy with the flu. This stuff is
more enervating than any illness I've ever had, including
mononucleosis. For the first three days I alternated half hours of
being awake with half hours of dozing. Staring at a blank wall was
the sum of my activity.

Yesterday I managed to stay awake four hours in a row in the morning.
I watched the cat take a bath, and exhausted, took a nap. By mid-
afternoon it became obvious that my Spousal Unit was next in line for
this virus. There went the terrific caregiver! He went to bed and I
staggered into the kitchen to do dishes and feed the cats. I was so
wiped out by the hard work I went back to bed.

Today? Much like yesterday. The sum of my labor has been to microwave
water for tea and to stand in the shower for five minutes. I tried to
watch some television but the sound is like dragging a cheese grater
over my nerve endings. The SU slept past noon and judging from the
look on his face will be headed back to bed early. Me too.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Comfort Food

For a very few moments yesterday I smugly assumed the flu was over.
Conquered. Kaput.

WRONG. It reasserted itself during the night and somebody snuck into
my bedroom and painted my throat with battery acid. It figures that
the virus would lodge itself firmly in the weakest spot. That also
explains the constant headache.

But to the topic:
My neighbor, taking pity on me, she had this a week ago and proabably
could hear my moaning from her house, brought me my favorite comfort
food: Tapioca Pudding. Bliss! Cool, soft, delightfully bland and
unchallenging to the stomach. It is the equivalent in food of a hug
and kiss from Mommy.

So, do you have a food that soothes and comforts when you are feeling
icky? Let me know since I may have a chance to try further
suggestions... (sob)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Flu - part 3: Whatever gets you through the night

Whimpering. Moaning. Occasionally descending into tears. I
metamorphosed from a mature sixty-plus into a helpless and pathetic
toddler. My husband earned his battle stripes by solicitous attention
mixed with fetching and carrying. He still refuses to shoot me
despite my pleading. This alone should earn him a medal for courage
under fire.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Close Contact

Okay, I'm wavering - just a little bit. Miserable night. I'll spare
you the gory details since you've probably had this bug already and
your own nasty symptoms were far more of interest to you than mine.
Or, you're going to get this bug eventually and can make your own
list of miseries.

I'm dialoguing with the little virus beasties, trying to explain how
it isn't the best survival strategy to make the host so ill she goes
for eviction. Symbiosis seems a better idea. They've responded that
they're surviving just fine, thank you very much. Effectively
silenced my argument.

Secondary discussion going on with the internal anti-viral response
units. I'm certain they are all politicians, since they are busy
discussing general policy and potential plans while I am begging for
immediate action. It is like congress: lots of wrangling and nothing
accomplished.

I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

And the score is...

Grandson-1 / Grandmother-0

I've been felled by whatever virus the grandson was incubating when I
saw him last week. It is one of those special services little kids
offer to their elders: the harboring of germs which happily migrate
to the older generation during hugs.

One look at Charlie's runny nose (Do toddlers ever NOT have a runny
nose?) and I was certain this particular germ had me on its To-Do
list. Being of robust nature few of the popular viruses passed among
the senior crowd bother me. The pre-school viruses however, are
stamped "Robuster Than Thou" and deem me a challenge to be attempted.

Yes, I know. Close contact could be avoided. And Phooey on that!
Grandchildren are all about hugs. And holding on laps. And reading
books to. And catching things from. I wouldn't change that close
contact.

But ask me again tomorrow.

Does it count?

A poem of mine got published on another blog. I'm honored! Thank you,
Karen.

http://365waystoliveinpeace.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Achy-achy spring

Spring is a beautiful and welcome season here in the Great NorthWet.
We've seen months of gray, dismal clouds interspersed with intense
bursts of wind, rain, and hail, in various combinations. The promise
of spring bugles over the hillside with the relief of sun and warmth,
like the cavalry galloping to save a beleaguered wagon train.

Spring has a few drawbacks though. As the flowers bloom and the
pollen count rises the resulting allergy reaction affects not only
sinuses, but arthritic joints. Morning stiffness elevates to pain.
Daily pain just elevates. Fingers that were willing to hold a crochet
hook or sewing needle refuse to bend sufficient to the need. Knees
that once notified their displeasure for rambling now threaten
outright revolt.

Ah, the blessed sunshine! It lifts the sullen emotional mood of
winter but also soaks in to sooth the swollen physical hinges of
spring. We bake head, hands, shoulders, and knees in warm, golden
light - thankful for spring, looking forward to summer.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Laundry

Observations made today while doing laundry:

The number of socks coming out of the dryer (S) is always one less
than the number entered (N) so S=N-1. This is always an odd number.

Sock holes multiply. To infinity. This may account for the -1 in the
above formula.

Underwear assumes an inverse position to the one desired for folding.

There will always be slightly more dirty clothes than one optimal
washer load.

Caked laundry soap becomes gravel. Use it to pave the driveway.

Rural living encourages the saving and wearing of clothes no longer
fit for a second hand shop. Is there such a thing as a fifth hand shop?

(Please feel free to add your personal favorites.)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Differences

My husband and I were on the TO leg of the seven hour round trip to
visit our grandchildren. He was in the midst of his usual automobile
meditative monologue about computers, the one where I get to listen
and he goes on and on about geeky, nerdy computer ephemera in which I
am totally uninterested. As I listen, sort-of, I'm struck by a basic
difference in the way he and I approach life. Like, a really deep
inner difference in character that hits me with a "Oh Wow!" smack to
the brain.

HE: The kind of person who has sets of Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs,
Legos, an Erector Set and adds rocks, blocks, rubber bands, paper
clips, cans, jars, 2X4s, nails, pins, string, books, tongs, prongs,
and thongs to build a tipsy-topsy structure that entwines an entire
room and which then is left standing (mostly), dust and cobweb
encrusted, until gravity disassembles it.

ME: The kind of person who has sets of Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs,
Legos, and Erector Sets, which after each use are carefully returned
to their individual boxes in the proper places, so nothing gets lost.

Can you believe this is a marriage that has lasted 38 years? The
saving of it may be that just often enough I toss my pieces in the
boxes helter-skelter, and just often enough he puts his away.