Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Short Drive (story)

The half-hour drive to town was one they made once a week, a trip
they'd been making for years. It was grocery and errand time, and
when they could afford it lunch-out time. She settled into the
passenger seat, he started the car and they proceeded down the long
dirt road and tuned right onto the highway.

Several minutes passed in comfortable silence. She glanced at him and
asked, "Did you remember to bring the... the thingie you said you
needed to buy?"

He frowned and replied, "No, darn it. I forgot it. But I know the one
I need and we can get it at... um... what-its-names. I need to stop
there anyway for a... widget. You know the gadget for that What-chama-
call-it of yours."

She shook her head. "You can't get those there. We got the last one
at... Oh, you know the place. That store right next to... Mc-what-
it's-name. The place where Bill... no Bob... the guy from that garage
place..."

"Phil, I think it was Phil," he interrupted, "from the market."

"Right, Phil from Ray's, or was it McKay's? Anyway, where Phil
ordered the... what was it he ordered?"

"I think maybe he worked at the Quick Market Stop & Shop... Whatever.
Was he ordering something? I thought he was trying to buy a... one of
those little, what are they called? Anyway he couldn't get it there
and had to get it at... the place over near the store we went to to
get the deely-bob for the tractor. Or was it the mower?"

She grimaced. "I forgot about that. Anyway, should we stop for lunch
at that new place over on.. what street is it... the one where that
Mexican place, or was it a Chinese place, used to be? You know the
place, the one where Bill and Charlene got such terrible service that
they walked out?"

"That was Gail and... what's her husband's name... Jim? Jeff? And
wasn't it a burger place? Or was that the place on Maple Street?"

"Elm. Avenue. Gail's husband is Buck. Or is it Chuck? I don't want
Mexican though. How about that fish place we went to last month over
by the jetty?"

"Didn't they close? Or was that the place that was there before, the
one with the great prawns?"

"We had oysters there I think. Didn't you get sick afterwards? Or was
that the time we went with Whats-their-names, that couple from church?"

"No, we had clams and you got sick, didn't you? That was the day we
saw that movie... what was it called? The one with Brad Somebody and
that girl you like who was on that show. You remember the one, about
the two guys who go to some big town and try to rob some bank or
something..."

That was Jamie, Jamie... the one who was on... yeah, I remember. They
had a kid that was sick, or did the kid get lost? And they hired that
guy, the one from the sit com you used to watch."

"The show I started watching after our trip to, was it Mexico? Or was
that the cruise to Alaska? I LOVE that show! Did you remember to set
the timer to record it today?"

"Darn, I forgot. Do you want to go back so you don't miss it? I can't
recall what we were going to get anyway, do you?"

"No."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

CAT!

If you already have a cat that you love dearly yet occasionally want
to strangle
OR
If you don't have a cat and wonder why those who have them are
totally insane
please read this blogpost by Snowbrush. It couldn't be better summed up!

http://snowbrush.blogspot.com/2010/12/cat-35-toys-and-accessories-783-
damage.html

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Making It Stick

Let us all kneel down and give thanks to the inventor of scotch tape.
Can you think of getting through the holiday season sans the
wonderfully convenient sticky stuff that strips cleanly from the
dispenser and happily holds the edges of wrapping paper and sticks
labels in place?

I've tried using just string or ribbon to affix paper to a gift. That
is a job for the extremely patient, wonderfully ambidextrous, or just
plain insane. It doesn't hurt to be alien born and have an extra
arm... or two. Even a tentacle would be useful.

No tape was made for the rest of us. The ones with only two hands and
minimal adroitness in their use. I might have better use of my manual
digital extensions but for the number of times as a child I was
summoned to "hold this" while my mother tried to subdue creased
corners and folded edges long enough to strangle a box with ribbons.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Short Short for the Season

Weighty Issues

A glance down at the scale was all it took to start a case of holiday
depression. Five more pounds gained since last month's Trim Off Your
Stomach meeting. All the good intentions to lose those extra inches,
to look like the sexy young models in the magazine ads, were for
nothing. No matter how many calories were counted or how many miles
were logged on the belt pedometer, it seemed there had been no change
in the belly. It stayed a paunch and grew daily as the holiday season
progressed.

"I'll lose weight after New Year" was the annual mantra. And it did
always happen. Once the candied apples and fudge, the cider and
eggnog, the pumpkin pie and fruitcake were gone, the pounds were a
bit easier to shed. Every spring there was a smile of success as the
numbers on the scale crept slowly downward. There was more time for
jogging when the weather was warmer and the temptation to stay inside
by a warm fire wasn't so strong. There were more miles logged on the
treadmill to counteract long hours at a desk job supervising and
doing paperwork.

The new suit had needed to be altered. Thank goodness there had been
enough extra cloth in those seams. It had taken quite a bit of
shopping to find the right fabric. All those articles in the AARP
magazine about looking your best for the season and choosing
something becoming for your color palette. Pastels might be best but
the spirit wanted something primary and bright. Mauve simply wasn't
appealing and didn't go with fur trim. And yes, the fur wasn't
politically correct but it was warm and age had made being warm an
issue. And thank goodness there was someone local who could resole
the old boots. The new ones in the stores had such pointy toes and
were very unkind to bunions!

Eyes back to the numbers on the scale. Ah well, everybody gains a few
pounds at Christmas and it is harder for senior citizens to shed
them. He gave a last glance at the mirror, chuckled a Ho!Ho!Ho! at
himself, and went out to hitch up the reindeer.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

R-r-r-r-ing!

Tick...

Do you hear the clock? I sure do. Christmas is less than a week away.
There are gifts to wrap, parties to prepare for, cards to send. Yes,
I started a month ago but it matters not because it always comes down
to "OMIGOD... I still need to (wrap/buy/mail/cook) time's a wastin'!"

Tick...

All those lists I make and things still get overlooked. Or I make a
decision and change my mind. Mornings begin with making more lists.
Checking them twice. I need to check yesterday's list for the things
I didn't get done so I can add them to today's list. They probably
still won't get done.

Tick...tick...

Our Christmas bush isn't in the vase or decorated. It is pouring
outside. What are the chances Himself will get out to prune one of
the Douglas Fir trees and bring me branches? (possible) What are the
chances I can get Himself to wrap family gifts or decorate the
aforementioned fir branches? (slim) What are the chances I'll get any
of it done today? (none)

Tick...tick...tick...

Shut up clock! Today is for wrapping. I remembered to stock up on
tape. I have bows. I think I have paper. I hope I have plenty of
paper! Oh please let there be enough paper! Oh well, at least I have
tape.

Tick...tick...tick...tick!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Countdown

I always try to plan ahead and approach the holiday season with a
minimum of furor and fuss. Try. Plan. Such slippery words. It always
comes down to the week before the 25th with me waking in the wee
hours making my mental lists and checking them twice, thrice, and a
few more times to boot. Items get added, crossed off, moved around,
and altered. I ponder, and revise, and re-write. I worry.

So much for the planning and preparing. No matter how far in advance
my shopping is begun I can't be quite sure all the bases are covered.
"Is the X I bought for Y the right size/color/style?" "Will the J I
sent for in November get here in time?" "Did I get/buy/order enough
spices/ornaments/sugar plums to decorate/donate/give?" Things I
forgot must be remembered. Things I don't want to remember must be
forgotten. It is as if somewhere inside I crave the fussing and
worrying.

Maybe I do. Maybe the anxiety and the bother have become one of the
traditions of the holiday season for me. Some folks thrill to the
Black Friday shopping extravaganza. Some crave the writing of a
zillion cards or attending dozens of parties. No matter how much I
try to resist the worry it comes anyway. Somehow or other it comes
just the same.

---------------------------------
sixtyup.blogspot.com/
relpersvillage.blogspot.com
ncc-mac.blogspot.com/
kiva.org/team/north_curry

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh Boy! Oh Boy!

Today marks the 41st Anniversary for me and Himself. We're still
trying to figure out how we lasted this long. He says it must be
distemper. I suggest perhaps a difficulty making decisions. Either
way it seems odd to still be so in love... No, make that MORE in
love, after so many years. We have our moments, mind you. Some rather
uncomfortable ones. But generally we are good friends and I think
that is the best part of marriage.

I can't not mention his gift to me today. He bought me a Kindle. Did
you hear me squeal with delight and break into tears? I've been
eyeing them since they came out. My "almost 64 year old" learning
curve will get some exercise today!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Silly Things

Sometimes it is the nonsense that delights me most. My friend Charlie
sent this little lighted Christmas tree to me for the holidays. It
plugs into my keyboard and you can't tell from the photo but it
lights up and glows various colors - purple, white, red, green, &
yellow. I wish you could see the foolish grin on my face. It is hard
to summon a "Bah, Humbug" today.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Testing?

The electronic/internet/modern world looms larger and more confusing
all the time. I can recall when Himself and I happily inhabited the
front edge of that world. We were some of the first in our group to
own a home computer.

In the pre-i days we ran a BBS. I wrote my correspondence, kept notes
on my computer, and was comfortable drawing and editing pictures
pixel by pixel. It was all very cutting edge and up with the
technology of the time. But the i-World moves a lot faster than this
old lady can manage. My place toward the front of the pack has slid,
and slid, and continues to slide backwards. New hardware and new
operating systems fly past as I struggle to find my way around the
ones my retirement budget was able to afford a while ago. I'm able to
manage my blog and can handle Facebook. I have a cellphone. But my
phone doesn't take photos, access Twitter, or deliver the newspaper.
It is a phone. I'm still with the pack but now waddling at the rear,
barely keeping up.

It is tempting to pooh-pooh the fast pace and all the innovations
flying past. E-books. On-line everything. I fall into that too often,
all very Fox & Grapes stuff. What I can't have, what I can't
understand, must be bad, right? Ha-Bumbug! And an extra dose of that
particular cheer to getting older, and tireder, and less in tune.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Ms. Moody

The holidays are fast approaching. As they get closer I can feel my
mood getting moodier. My roller coaster emotional self feels poised
at the top of that biggest hill on the roller coaster and about to
take a dive. I've been here before, lots of times. I haven't a clue
what it could be like to live a steady low-key existence where the
highs may not be so high but the lows stay out of the sub-basement.

I know this gloom will pass. It always has, thank goodness. Being
familiar with the cyclic nature of this trip I can watch the scenery
and wait for the change. Getting off the ride would be nice but the
precise nature of options for disembarkation seem limited. There are
some places worse than depression, at least they look worse from
where I stand now. I'd rather the ride than the choice of a
destination that final.

As I wait for some holiday cheer to pass within grabbing distance I
find myself sourly watching what has become of Christmas. More
commercials and exhortations to buy, Buy, BUY! But more people
tempering that as well, more searching for a way to have the glitz
but also retain the joy. Maybe it has always been like this... a
confusing mish-mash of the spiritual and the secular?

Ah, perhaps there is an antidote to my mood in focussing on what I
want my holiday to be. Stuff a sock into the mouth of my social
critic! Use that sock's mate to muffle my personal just-for-me judge
and commentator!

(Well... maybe just for a few days and on THIS particular topic!)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holiday 2010

The holiday gives rise
To the carol Have To
Have to buy
Have to fly
Have to decorate
Have to participate
Obligations
Expectations

It isn't Jesus and Santa
Love and Joy
It is Barbie for the girl
A skateboard for the boy
Plane tickets to Memphis
Holly for the door
Carols and fruitcake
More, More, and More

Sparkling lights blink in
Green, blue, and red
Folks facing Yuletide
Hearts filled with dread
In year end rebellion
Try to simplify
Halt buying
Quit trying

Stop fixing the feast
Desist and cease
No eggnog or cookies
No warbling carols
Let go the worry
And stop all the hurry
Find quiet and calm
Lasts a day at least

The season's a Siren
Jump back to the fray
Tree lot hopping
Online shopping
Light stringing
Bell ringing
Celebrate Christmas
The 2010 way


~M. Schram 12/2010

Friday, December 3, 2010

It is axiomatic that no matter how early I begin my holiday shopping
the first part of December rolls around and sudden panic sets in.

I trimmed my gift list to fit my limited budget.
I have ordered early so there is plenty of time for packages to arrive.
There are three weeks left for anything that may have been forgotten.
While others make dashes to the malls in shopping frenzy I should be
able to smile serenely and feel pleased with myself.

Yes, you guessed it... not my style. Is it the style of anyone? Is
the Martha Stewart version of cool, calm, and collected just one of
those images we are sold on television along with Currier & Ives
landscapes and jolly Father Christmas Ho-ho-hoing as he piles lavish
gifts under a perfectly decorated symmetrical evergreen?

No wonder 'A Christmas Story' is our favorite holiday movie. The
image of outlandish gifts, cursing parents, and a dog stealing the
dinner turkey is a more realistic image. In our world of crowded
airports, pre-decorated trees bought at the mall, and gun-dealers
advertising Christmas special sales, swearing over a recalcitrant
heater is every bit as seasonal as singing carols!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK


(or at least some of it)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Phew!

The last day of NaBloPoMo. The last day of November. I managed to
blog each and every day this month although it was certainly touch
and go for a while. Trying to write every day makes me so much more
aware of my paltry efforts. At my speed, should I ever take it into
my head to construct a novel, it would be years before even a first
draft got completed.

Writing is wonderful and a skill to be greatly admired. Those
intrepid folk who push their minds to author and then manage to
actually get the ideas from brain to print form receive my heartiest
thanks. I'm much better and happier a reader than I ever will be a
writer. I listen to members of my authors group telling their need to
write and I'm shamed by my own ability to avoid and make excuses not
to. Not so much that I spend hours toiling at my stories or that I
hover over a well-worn keyboard. No stubs of pencils litter my desk.
I travel most times with neither notebook or scrap of paper at hand.

Only my own commitment and sheer stubbornness pulled me through the
every-day-in-November writing. That and the thought of the wonderful
few who bother to read, the even fewer who comment and return. What
is wrong with you anyway?

(And thanks!)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Jingle Bells?

I'm steeling myself and gritting my teeth for the onset of holiday
music that will soon be entering the house. Don't mistake me, I love
music. Hardly a day goes by when my iPod is not accompanying my
relping. Yesterday I spent the morning needle-felting to the sound of
early-Beatles songs. The day before my choice had been classical
music (I'm partial to Chopin and Liszt), the day prior to that a
variety of Bhangra tunes. I can warble a Christmas carol reasonably
on key and sometimes provide a passable harmony.

BUT

Himself collects holiday music. I use the word holiday since his
taste is quirky and he hardly sticks to carols. No, he choose (ahem )
variety.

I'd like to provide samples of the sort of thing he chooses but aside
from dogs barking Jingle Bells or a college marching band version of
O Holy Night I have mercifully blotted much of the collection from
memory. I'm rather fond of Jingle Bell Rock or Santa Baby. I consider
those standards alongside White Christmas. I even manage to laugh and
sing along with the South Park kids singing the Dreidel song. But he
has punk rock versions of Silent Night and... Oops, sorry. I think I
passed out for a moment there in terrible, horrible anticipation of
sounds to come.

There is admittedly one variety of seasonal music that is worse -
that awful Muzak stuff played in the background at shopping malls. At
least I will be spared that!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

'Tis the Season

The beginning of the Christmas season is here. You can tell by the
increase in hysteria among television commercials as advertisers
frantically whip up shopping frenzy. The news programs last night
contained video of people camped in lines outside large retain
outlets waiting for the pre-dawn door openings on Black Friday and
shots of mad dashes inside to load carts with televisions and video
games.

Is this Christmas? I'm no longer a Christian, haven't been for over
half my life, but the sentiments supposedly engendered by the season
seemed worth supporting once-upon-a-time. As a pagan I celebrate the
seasonal changes and this time of year the turn into darkness is
evident and we look toward the day when spring reasserts the life in
the earth. It was easy to let the birth of Christ and the spread of
love between all beings be part of the celebration.

But I seem to also feel the curmudgeonly bah-humbug of the year. It
is difficult to ignore the commercialization, the exhortations to
Buy! Spend! Consume! Like the love I wrote about yesterday the love
of the season has been complicated. I do what I can to keep it simple
here at home, to enjoy the gift-giving while remembering my budget.
My wish for all is that the golden spirit of the season manages to
rise up and shine above all the tinsel.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Star light, star bright...

On this, the day after Thanksgiving, Himself and I will tend to my
favorite household holiday tradition. We will put our lighted star in
the front room window. From now tonight the end of the year it will
sparkle and glow each evening bringing me a feeling of happiness on
these dark, rainy winter nights. There are no neighbors to see it. It
is purely for our enjoyment.

What is it about holiday lights? I have days when the entire fuss and
bother of indoor trees, decorating, cooking, shopping - all the
hassles that accompany a modern Christmas - depresses me. But I never
tire of those colored lights, sparkling in the darkness.

A few years ago we hung a string of them in our dining area window.
We liked the color and cheer so much that we've kept them there ever
since, lighted each evening, shining all night year round. They are a
cheery sight, a great night-light for middle-of -the-night trips to
the bathroom or to let kitty out (or in) at night. Having them
doesn't diminish the joy I get from putting out lighted star in the
front room window during the holidays.

We don't do much holiday decorating any more. The full sized tree,
the wall banners, my displays of Santa statuettes and the doll-sized
Santa workshop no longer go up in the living room. Our tree has
shrunk to a vase of fir branches on the coffee table around which Him
self and I place our gifts to each other. We share Christmas morning
with a friend who has become family and make a holiday visit to the
grandkids during the week between Christmas and New Year. I'm not
enthusiastic for the fuss and bother I once embraced.

But I cherish our lighted Christmas star.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks

I spend a lot of time blogging about the things in life that irritate
me - making me a very minor league curmudgeon. But today is
Thanksgiving, a day to remember that there is plenty in my life that
is pleasing. Here are just a very few of the little things for which
I am thankful:

The color green. Oregon has more shades of green than any place else
imaginable and every one is a joy to my heart. We do pretty good up
here with blue too.

Dragonflies. In late summer they whiz through my yard with speed and
purpose. That the purpose changes from moment to moment is obvious by
their sudden complete change of direction.

Seagulls. Himself says they are out to clean the world. Seeing the
way they inhabit a dump proves his point. I prefer them perched
picturesquely on rocks or pilings along our glorious coast.

Fast food. We have to travel a little further to get it than when we
lived in the suburbs but I appreciate every meal devoid of cooking
after over 40 years of fixing meals.

Morning sunshine. Something I took for granted during the many years
I lived in California. Moving to the NorthWet makes it a rarer and
more appreciated commodity.

Any Thankful List begins with family and friends and in both of these
I am exceedingly blessed.

And a Happy Thanksgiving to you... thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Music in My Head

Another morning when I woke with an earworm going round and round in
my head. This one is an oldie, one of the many songs I learned from
singing along with my mother: Al Dexter's "Pistol Packin' Mama".
Great old honky-tonk western song - though I imagine me belting it
out as a grade-school kid was something to hear. It is still odd to
hear me bellowing it with full-lung capacity, though for entirely
different reasons.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

SNOW

Snow? Here? Oh, good grief!

Okay, much of the northern latitudes wouldn't be impressed but I am.
Perhaps "impressed" isn't quite the term. How about appalled. Or
disgusted. Sickened? Nauseated? OUTRAGED?

Some folks love snow. They want to ski, sled, snowboard, skate or
otherwise cavort in the cold. They best use for it I can see is for
landscape decoration, preferably mountaintops some distance away. As
a scenic backdrop to setting with fireplaces and hot cocoa I can
appreciate sow. As a substance in my front yard it is despicable.
Especially this early in the not-yet-officially-winter season.

At least those big fluffy white wads aren't sticking. Yet.

Bah! Humbug!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thank you Bandon Power

We've had an interesting 24 hours at our house in the cold Pacific
NorthWet. Late in the afternoon yesterday we experienced a strange
"half power" arrangement. I had just put dinner in the oven and
suddenly the electric got odd.

We had no computers or TV, no stove/oven or lights in certain rooms,
but the refrigerator and microwave worked as well as lights in the
bedroom and dining room. Himself tested outlets and figured we had
only one phase of the two phase power with some leakage from the
working phase to barely power the other. Sunday night - no one is in
the Bandon office of our power company so the rule is to call the
county sheriff to report electric problems. Himself handled that
while I was able to finish heating dinner in the microwave.

The power crew on duty showed up surprisingly quickly. Out in the
dark and the rain they investigated and found frayed wires which they
were able to kludge to work overnight. We understood the repairs
needed (new meter base, etc.) to be at our cost for parts/labor and
expected to call around this morning for an electrician. Instead of
us calling an electrician the two guys returned this morning, moved
the (new) meter and rewired to it.

All seems in working order again. The guys seem to have had a field
day chopping a hole in the holly hedge. We didn't mind since the
hedge is a misbegotten leftover from previous land owners. I imagine
we'll get some sort of bill for the work but I for one am thrilled to
have a house with lights and heat in the miserable weather we are
having here.

We've seen the guys from Bandon Power out in storms with horrific
winds and horizontal rain. In major outages they work around the
clock, hanging on to their elevated buckets and climbing poles in
harrowing conditions. They have been unfailingly polite and helpful
above and beyond the job. Real hero stuff!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Got Chocolate?

Living in a small town in the Pacific NorthWet can be wonderful. It
can also be frustrating. Shopping is severely limited. Simple grocery
marketing takes almost a thirty mile round-trip. Larger markets and
department stores? Eighty+ miles to and from. One learns to shop Oh-
Oh-No: Occasionally, Online, or Not.

Some items become out of reach. Like chocolate. I have a love of a
European brand of chocolate bar made by Sarotti. They have a dark,
dark bar that comes in a black wrapper that is unbelievably
delicious. Smooth. Barely sweet. Very high in cocoa. Nearly
impossible to find.

My friend Babs the Ripper introduced me to Sarotti chocolate. I
thought Hershey's milk chocolate was okay until this chocolate junkie
converted me, hooked me on the good stuff. Some folks swear by Lindt
or Godiva and I admit I'm not likely to turn those down when offered
but Sarotti is the one that satisfies. It is the one chocolate so
satisfying that instead of grazing continuously until it is gone I
can eat a small piece and save the rest for another fix. It melts
slowly and caresses my tongue. The flavor holds. I'm in chocolate bliss.

Sarotti is unavailable around here so of course, I looked for it
online. And faced the reality of shipping charges. On my budget
shipping charges are the perfect halt to a shopping experience. I
couldn't locate my beloved black label bar but the next-best-thing,
the dark Sarotti chocolate in the navy-blue wrapper is available at
$3.99 a bar. And $5.99 shipping. Even if I purchase half a dozen bars
and only get socked with one shipping charge (and that's not clear
without filling in an order) it comes to 25% added to each one to
send them. Uh-uh, no way. Even a chocolate junkie has limits.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Pens

Ballpoint pens are one of those ubiquitous and mostly unnoticed
items. Unnoticed, that is, until you need one and can't find one. My
attention was drawn to the ballpoints around my life when I reached
for the one kept next to the TV and realized that it was a pain to use.

We have pens all over the house. They sit on desks and tables, hide
in drawers, fall behind and under things. Some are favorites because
of shape, ink color, or size of the point. Himself prefers a chubby
grip with a thick line. I go for variety and switch favorites from
time to time.

I don't think any of the pens in current use around our house are
ones we've purchased. The one in my purse is from a local golf
course. (No, I don't play golf!) The two one the kitchen table are
from the same motel chain. We have pens from banks, credit unions,
garages, and not a few small businesses. A few others, sans,
advertising, have been gifts. Those are the strange ones that light
up or are barely identifiable as useable writing tools.

That one I reached for? It is one that is hard to get working. The
ink is sticky, a terrible color of light purple, and blotchy. I
should throw it out but it is hard to throw away a pen that still
works, even badly. I keep a second ballpoint beside it for actual
writing.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Restful sleep?

I can't remember when I last woke up in the morning feeling rested,
when last I woke with energy and enthusiasm. Waking has become a time
for taking stock and determining what hurts the worst. The body which
has been so kind to me, despite my neglect, is getting even.

Arthritis seems to be the greatest culprit. It aimed at me early, in
my forties, beginning with the joints in my hands. I can tell the
seasons by the aches and pains - winter cold and spring pollens
seeming to cause it to flair the most. Old injuries have become focal
points, twists and falls that seemed minor at the time must have left
behind damage that lodges swelling, stiffness, and throbbing
discomfort. not liking to be lonely, one pain gives rise to a
companion until my body is a convention center of hurt.

There are good days - as in not-so-bad. And there are days like today
where it seems more time effective to point to where it doesn't hurt.
There is a poster where some athletic looking senior is posed with
the words "Old age isn't for sissies' as the caption. Pish-tush... It
isn't the lucky ones with bodies hesitating to age that deserve that
quote. It is the rest of us, crumbling steadily into ruins, trying to
continue to function, who are not sissies. So there!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What, Me Work?

It isn't exactly a job, but on occasion I sit at the desk at Wild
Rivers Wool Factory in Langlois while one of the two owners (or both)
is called away elsewhere. Tending the shop involves chatting with the
folks that stop in and selling the merchandise the shop carries. Both
of those are things I greatly enjoy.

Selling? The shop carries items, wool hats, socks, scarves, etc. made
by a number of women I know. It also has spinning wheels, felting
tools, and all sorts of wool in various configurations from raw
fleece to beautiful handspun yarn.

Chatting? Ah, my favorite part of the job. SInce the shop is on the
main north/south highway along the coast there are tourists. It is
fun to ask about their homes and their eventual destinations as well
as what interest they have in wool or sheep in general. It is
wonderful how friendly we humans can be, how willing to share
information, histories, smiles.

So today I will sit at the desk with some handwork of my own. I will
listen to music and hope some tourist driving the coast highway comes
in to spend a few minutes of their time in the shop.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Being Online

Now that all the hoo-ha is over with our credit card I'm settling
into the yearly shop-for-the-holidays routine. In the past I'd found
shopping to be an enjoyable activity even with the self-imposed
pressure with which we modern Americans approach it. In the past.
That means when I was younger, hardier, and wealthier. Before Himself
and I retired to Hooter's Holler, about a gazillion miles from any
town with a variety of retail outlets. Before my knees and hips made
strolling the endless department store aisles, amidst crowds of grim
humorless shoppers searching for a bargain, a form of torture worthy
of Vlad the Impaler.

Ah, but these are modern times. The internet is now the WWSS, World-
Wide-Shopping-Source. Rev up your browser and click away! Oh, I
wish... Remember, Himself and I chose retirement to Hooter's Holler.
We made that decision before the internet went big time. If you ever
wonder if America leads the planet in computer connectivity try a
vacation with us. We hear about people wandering city streets
accessing the web on their phones, reading and watching movies on
laptops, sending videos back and forth as they download TV shows and
stream audio files. We hear and we weep.

Here in Hooter's Holler we use (are you sitting down?) Dial-Up. Some
of us have tried satellite but between the mountains and the nasty
weather it is a lesson in frustration. So Dial-Up it is. If you ever
have an excess of patience and plenty of time for contemplation try
using a Dial-up connection to the internet - today's graphics
intensive can't-use-one-page-when-two-will-work internet. Your hair
will rapidly turn gray. At least it will if you have any left after
tearing at it in frustration. Your fingernails will be chewed to the
knuckle. Your breathing will be rapid and shallow. You will invent an
amzing variety of epithets to call the company which provided high
speed internet to town north and south, but skipped the folks in
between. You just haven't explored frustration until you surf at 30k
baud. Or less.

Yes, I'm complaining, but I know things could be worse. Even when it
takes half an hour to make a simple purchase online at least it is
possible. For that I'm grateful - mostly. But Santa, if you are
listening, please can you make high speed access available to us in
Hooter's Holler for Christmas?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Adjustment?

So the day wears on and I avoid my computer ( ! ) because I have to
write something. Anything. Blog!

I feel like a dog expected to salivate on command. It matters not
that I took this on myself with full knowledge and (some)
forethought. I pace around my world with a gray cloud of irritation
floating above me. I mutter and writhe and complain.

Wait a gol'durned minute here. This is MY blog, isn't it? I can write
- or not. I can write something interesting... or (sigh) not. This
isn't a paid position. I'm not completing a school assignment. There
is freedom of choice involved here. I can choose NOT to write a
(expletive deleted) word.

So - I'm NOT writing a blog entry today. I'm taking the day off and
resting my typing tentacles. Maybe I'll write tomorrow.

Maybe.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't put it off!

Today has been a great example of why it isn't a good idea for me to
put off writing my blog until... later. Procrastination comes so easy
and hangs on so nicely.

I'm an early morning person - not as early as I once was, not the 5
or 6AM chirpy let's-get-going type anymore - but a reasonably-shortly-
after-sunrise kinda person. I was at my computer by 8AM and tending
to my normal morning online stuff: email, Facebook, blogs I read.
Writing comes afterwards. My plan today had been to stay home but
Himself urged me to join his Monday trek to town. He drinks tea, and
downloads whatever it is he downloads on his Mac laptop, a pleasant
morning at a coffee spot. I attend the weekly meeting of a writers
group. We have a fast food lunch while wave watching where the river
joins the ocean.

Back home my intention was to write that delayed blog entry.

But the phone rang. And then I was reminded to call another friend to
check on her case of the sniffles. And one thing followed another,
each one with a good reason to be brought to the head of the To-Do
list. I found myself at one point in the shower (hair needed washing)
with a dozen ideas, excellent topics for blogging, words rushing into
my head. Why is it that by the time I was clean, and dry... all those
great ideas had disappeared? Dry, dressed, topicless once more (I
like that word, don't you - topicless?) a neighbor dropped by to
visit. She left and it was time to start dinner.

It is perfectly plain that unless I grab topicless and run there will
be no blog and if nothing else I'm stubborn so once more, Ta-Dah! A
blog about nothing to blog about.

(I'll accept suggestions and ideas if YOU have any!)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday

Sunday. The traditional day of rest, not that many folks actually
treat it that way. In the past it was a day to head to church for a
few hours of Hellfire-and-Damnation sermonizing. In my grandmother's
day it was the Fix-a-big-family-meal day. When I was a kid it was
Football-on-television day.

I used to go to church - until I learned to bring my spiritual life
home with me. I avoid cooking big homemade meals... heck, I avoid
cooking ANY meal! Himself and I have never been football fans except
for the once-a-year Super Bowl thing, although recently we've found
ourselves watching and cheering for The Ducks.

I'm more the rest type. Rest used to be a big deal before retirement
and Sunday was a respite from having to commute to work. Now Sunday
is much like the other days - but I still find myself thinking of it
as Do-Nothing day or Kick back day. So I'll take the day off from my
hectic schedule of NotMuch and see if I can manage to do EvenLess!

Happy Sunday Everybody!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

No plastic?

I wrote a few days ago about having our credit card compromised. I
took the event in stride, no panic, merely a temporary inconvenience,
right?

The replacement card hasn't yet arrived and THAT is more annoying
somehow than the cancellation of the original card. In true human
style as soon as I can't use a thing, THAT is when I want it most. My
holiday shopping, steadfastly being avoided, suddenly assumes
critical importance. MUST.....SHOP............NOW!

It is rather a giggle. I feel like the toddler who ignores a toy
until some other child picks it up and then throws a tantrum because
suddenly that toy, and only that one, is the wanted one. Where I had
no ideas for gifts inspiration has descended. Don't you just admire
the perversity of human nature?

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaBloPoMo?

The problem with pledging to write a blogpost each and every day for
an entire month is that some days there is nothing at all that serves
as inspiration for writing. A newspaper columnist must have that sort
of experience with a deadline approaching and no ideas. I often write
about the small things in life that annoy me. Mine isn't the sort of
life that abounds with large events. I'm not complaining. I like it
very much that major happenings pass by. I may not win the lottery
but no jetliners have landed on top of my house either!

But here I am, muse in absentia, yet nagged by my promise to write
every day this month. I've avoided my keyboard and submerged myself
in a book. I finished the story and thought maybe I'd write about
that but it really wasn't that great a book. Avoidance is easy - but
not a lot of fun when the inner nag is carping at full volume.
Himself suggested that I write about not writing. That has been a
topic in the past and is certainly one familiar to me.

So here goes: (back to the top and start again)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Childhood memory

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
Rivers and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!


The poem is by Robert Louis Stevenson. When I was a little girl every
ride on a swing was accompanied by this - sung by mu mother. I can
only guess it was put to music sometime in her own childhood. I sang
it to my daughter when she was little, always accompanying a ride on
a swing. I wonder if she has ever sung it to her children?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pass it on...

It irks me when folks who have me in their email address book send a
message consisting simply of a .url. No actual message. No
explanation of what the .url is about or why it might be something I
should see. Just a naked little www.somethingorother.

Perhaps www.somethingorother leads to the most wonderful,
interesting, informative site on the entire internet, but I'm not
going there. The email message is deleted.

If the site being touted is nifty-keen, tell me so. Use (gasp!)
words. If you get points for recommending it, or think a product they
are selling is terrific, say so. Get my attention - in a postitive
way. Nobody I know is so busy or important (sorry ya'll) that they
don't have time to type a few words to explain why they sent
something my direction... especially if they expect me to use my
online time to follow where they point.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Houseplants?

Do you have houseplants?
Would you like a couple?

I used to have a bunch of them. I was pretty good at caring for them -
watering, feeding, watching out for bugs.

That seems like a lifetime ago.

My compliment of surviving houseplants now equals three. Three very
hardy, determined to live in spite of me, plants. I neglect them
terribly then suffer from guilt and water them. They receive just
enough to barely survive which may only prove that some living things
don't know when to quit. I don't really want them but can't throw
them away or kill them outright. We have a complicated emotional
bond, these three tough plants and me.

They deserve better, perhaps some dedicated plant lover who
recognizes their tenacity and appreciates how they respond to a
little love.

Unfortunately, they have me. Do plants carry karma?

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kate Hepburn

My desktop calendar says today would have been Katharine Hepburn's
101st birthday. After I Facebooked the date I checked with IMDB and
found a birth date of May 12, 1907. My commemoration of her birthday
may be off but recognizing her talent is good for any day, right?

On Facebook I asked friends what Hepburn movie was their favorite.
There is certainly a list to choose from. Some of mine: Little Women,
The African Queen, Bringing Up Baby, Sylvia Scarlet. I can't forget
Stage Door - "It's spring, and the Calla Lilies are in bloom
again..." And my all time favorite: Desk Set. Watching Katharine
Hepburn and Spencer Tracy together? Sublime!

A lot of her films are in black & white. Non are 3-D, thank goodness.
Will she be forgotten when my generation is past?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Credit Card Fraud

My chosen topic for today has hit the recycle bin after the phone
call I just fielded. One of our credit cards has been compromised.
The issuing company called, verified that certain recent charges were
not ours, and assured that we weren't responsible for paying them.
The company is canceling the card and sending a new one.

How many pleasant voiced representatives from how many credit card
companies make how many phone calls every day with this sort of news?

So, all fixed, right? Well, not exactly. There is a list of places we
used that card that will require new numbers and information when/if
we go to them again. And since that is our "online" card, used only
for purchasing over the internet, the question of where the number
was stolen is a concern. Hassles and worries will cling to future
purchases over the .www even though I know we will continue to shop
that way.

I'm glad we decided long ago to keep one card separate for internet
use. It was probably only a matter of time before we joined the ranks
of the defrauded. In a week or two this will be a memory, part of the
price of living in the digital world. But I wonder at the costs
involved and the number of crooks behind the scenes. And I sigh and
shake my head over how we sigh and shake our heads and go on.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Grin, dagnabbit!

There is a tendency when folks over the age of sixty gather together
for the conversation to gravitate to certain topics. Like the ancient
Greeks and Romans before us, and probably like those "over the hill"
in many ages and cultures, one of those topics is how the world
around us id going to hell in a handbasket. We grumble about politics
and how the government doesn't listen to its citizens. We complain
about the high cost of living. We grouse about the younger generation.

In my younger days I swore not to be part of those complaining
sessions. But my memory dips. My restraint slips. My lungs gather air
to sally forth with verbal stabs and jabs. It is easy to leap into
the crowd and lambaste the world with the opinion of age. Or should
that be senescence?

Among a room full of friends recently I heard the topic take flight.
The elections revved it up but it settled quickly into discussion
about rudeness which was somehow linked to youth. As I listened I
found myself irritated with the negative talk. Is rudeness somehow
owned by teenagers? Himself says the kids in our area are uncommonly
polite and recalls his rudeness at their age. And some of the
nastiest comments I've ever heard were made by well-dressed ladies
strolling in a mall and looking down their pointy noses at everything
around them. Their asides were acid, petty, and loud.

How about if instead of griping and holding on to the unkindness we
see around us we balance it out? Instead of churlish judgement we
could gift the world with a considerate thought. For any petty action
seen or tactless snipe heard, we could seek to create a smile or laugh.

(Okay, you're right. I've been sinking into depression and this is an
attempt to pull myself up. Think positive! Grin dagnabbit!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I've said it before AND...

Using the internet from this area of Oregon is an exercise in
frustration. Technology has leapt over us and left us in a cranberry
bog between Port Orford and Bandon. Both those towns have high speed
internet available. The phone lines that carry it pass us by and the
choices here are dial-up and satellite.

Dial-up. Last century technology. It would work okay if the
destinations on the information super-highway weren't all traveling
at the speed of light. Think of attempting to merge into traffic on
a six-lane freeway while driving a buggy pulled by a skittish mule.

I'm not a patient person. Perhaps this experience is a lesson from
the universe on equanimity. Should I meditate? There is plenty of
time for that while I wait for pages to load on my computer. My teeth
are gritted, my fists clenched, my breathing rapid and shallow. This
is NOT a good time to approach me.

Serenity NOW!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mine! Mine! Mine!

Himself and I stopped in town for our weekly Burger & Fries lunch the
other day. Living close to the Pacific Ocean we've become delighted
Water Watchers so we take our lunch To-Go and park at one of the
local beaches for an in-car picnic. Our preferred spot is next to the
mouth of the Coquille River where the waves push back at the water
flowing seaward. It is an amazing panorama and one that is shared by
many tourists and locals.

On this occasion we enjoyed the interplay between gangs of gulls and
tourists with lunch. The seagulls prowl the parking area as insistent
beggars. Some opt for the pathetic "feed me please" downcast look
while braver pals choose the "stare in the eye" method, winging their
way to the hood of a vehicle and demanding food. Feeding one abject
individual beside your car is the immediate signal for the entire
flock to descend to bullying insistence.

The gullible lunchers were in a mini-van, the side windows slightly
opened to admit a breeze and allow for crusts of sandwich bread to be
tossed out. Have the pickings been low at the beach lately? The van
disappeared under a mass of fluttering and flapping. Gulls jostled
for position on the roof, clung desperately to the small expanse of
hood, and massed beside the doors. It was very much an Alfred
Hitchcock moment. "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

Himself watched for a moment as we both chuckled. "They're thinking,"
he said, "If we all work together maybe we can take it home. Damn
these webbed feet!"

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

GIANTS!

Himself and I watched the ending game of the World Series last night
on television. We aren't sports fans but the finals of certain games
- baseball, football, soccer - will take our fancy and we'll sit in
front of the set with our popcorn and cheer a "favorite" team.

This World Series caught us up because IT WAS THE GIANTS! My husband
grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and even though he isn't a big
fan has always had a soft spot in his heart for the GIANTS. Sorry,
must use capital letters because the GIANTS won!

Our hearts soared as that last out was reached and the GIANTS
celebrated. It was even better knowing a certain Bush was there to
see the Texas defeat.

The series is over now so but pardon me for asking again - I'm sure
I've blogged this question before: What is it with baseball players
and spitting? They spit in the dugouts. They spit on the field. Big
wads of phlegm fly out of mouths and arc to the ground in glorious
color and, if you have it, High Def. Just imagine the joy of 3-D
viewing! Perhaps tossing a lugie is considered by the spitter as a
sign of manliness but it is merely bad manners and poor (excuse the
implications here) bad taste!

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo? Again?

It is that time again. November. The month of NaBloPoMo (National
Blog Posting Month) when I try to join in and do the once-a-day blog
writing for an entire month. If only I had a file full of sharp,
crisp ideas to draw from. One look in the mental drawer showed I'd
over-drawn my account and was left with a negative balance. Do I run
and hide? Retreat to a reasonable distance and contemplate? Think
about it for a minute... does that sound like me?

Nope!

It is jump in with all four feet, or maybe two feet and two hands at
least, and resort to my usual mixture of part observation (preferably
wry), part nonsense (suitably seasoned), with a generous sprinkling
of reminiscence and, with luck, a kernel of wisdom.

Beware ye that enter here for the next 30 days. Or ever, now that I
think about it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Scattered

Scattered showers
Scattered Leaves
Scattered thoughts
My mind in tune
With autumn
It twists turns blows around
Can not light long
In a single place
Time to dig in
Dig down
Hang on tightly
That isn't a pumpkin smile
It is winter's grin
Teeth bared
Wanting a bite
Of scattered me

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Email

Email may be faster than SnailMail but it certainly produces a mental
confusion in the criss-crossing of information. My aging brain has
problems all by itself these days. I wake and do brain somersaults
trying to recall the day of the week. My thoughts chase each other
o'er hill and dale in attempts to sort out commitments made and
appointments scheduled. My memory struggles with a tap dance of who,
what, where and when. We agree to surrender on why.

Back to the speed-up of the world... and email. I correspond with
several friends, each correspondence having its own speed of
exchange: daily, weekly, etc. and the lag in wending/receiving has
the messages hiccuping around in some sort of wild communication
abandon. Answers seem to precede questions sometimes or don't arrive
in timely fashion so things are repeated, and repeated, and re

Uh, did I already say that?

Answers arrive to questions I've forgotten I asked. Questions show up
about things I'm sure I either never mentioned or already answered. I
grope around trying to sort out the sequence of events. This message
was in transit when I got those queries, do I answer again or assume
that the answer will eventually arrive? Here's an answer to a
question I don't remember asking, and I have no clue what that
question was anyway! I mentioned THAT this morning, do I repeat
figuring the answer fell into the bit bucket?

Wasn't the "information age" supposed to make things easier?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tunes!

A morning for some music to lift my spirits. March music I think,
music with energy and direction, that sets the tone and whips up some
enthusiasm.

I listen to some sort of music almost every morning. There is a CD
player on one side of my comfy chair - the chair where I sit to sew
and think - and on the other side, a speaker that holds my iPod.
Quiet and music share my time there. When thoughts are busiest I
silence the tunes and listen to the thoughts inside my head.
Otherwise I fill the air with sound. Yes, I get plenty of music...

Today it will start off with the Radetsky March by Strauss. Marches
are excellent for setting the blood to whirring around inside and
waking such zest as remains in my aging bones. The Grand March from
Aida is another favorite - once it gets going - it starts off a bit
tentatively but builds to a proud head-lifter. And The Entrance of
the Gladiators, though who can NOT think of a circus with that one?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Flotsam

The Artist/Writer Exchange show opened in Bandon on Sunday. I was
excited to be a contributor. Having several of my pieces of writing
on public display, even if buried among dozens of other writer's
contributions, is as close as I expect to get to being published. But
what is this emotional reaction all about? I was excited to go and
then completely deflated. Did I have expectations of which I wasn't
aware? Anticipation can lead so quickly to depression as I rattle
along on the ancient roller-coaster of my feelings.

Saw a crow flying across the parking lot at the local supermarket
carrying a huge wad of bright pink bubblegum as his prize. Have been
wondering ever since whether he found it edible. Or did the treacly
stuff give him a self-sticking beak? I prefer to think of him perched
in a tree somewhere blowing immense bubbles.

Limerick I need to shed from my brain:

I dated an actress named Twiggy
Who said over-eating's no biggie
She ate and she ate
And cleaned every plate
Twiggy's now doubling Miss Piggy

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Stocking up

Maybe it is the autumn season and the sense of winter chugging
inexorably toward me that brings out the instinct to squirrel away
food. Perhaps living in the country, surrounded by women who make jam
and can tomato and apple sauce, awakens old human patterns that tell
me to prepare for the future. Either way I'm alert to the imperative
and readying our cupboards for the winter.

When Himself and I moved to the country I tried my hand at making
jam. FInding that easy enough I moved on to relish and ventured from
there to chutney. Tomato sauce was more trouble than it was worth. It
is a lot of work for something easily obtainable from the store. My
independent spirit was not up to the task.

Sixteen years later my knees are not up to the work of standing,
mixing, stirring, and pouring. The urge to fill the cupboards remains
so instead of do-it-myself I resort to fall canned food sales and
extra trips to the market. I'm hoping to tuck away enough of those
items we use regularly to make trips to town optional rather than
imperative during the nasty wet rainstorms to come. There is a
satisfying feeling that accompanies a well-stocked larder. The
household is provided for and we can settle in and wait out the dark
months ahead.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's Getting Chill Out!

Despite the date of the fall equinox having passed, the leaves on
trees beginning to turn golden, and the change happening in the local
bird population, last night autumn really began to assert itself. The
season is clambering its way out of summer and stumbling toward winter.

The change in seasons seems to seep into my consciousness. A few
leaves on the alders show yellow among the still green boughs.
Mornings turn crisp, and the fences drip with heavy overnight dew.
The summer birds are replaces with those migrating to warmer climes
and I hear the song of a few early arriving winter residents. These
occur over a number of weeks from the still warm days of late summer
until well past the TV weatherman's official pronouncement in late
September.

I've watched all those events pass this year and muttered to myself
about summer being over but last night was a more bona fide sign in
my personal world. Last night was the first night since summer
arrived when I wanted more blankets on the bed.

Hey, this is serious business! I've already blogged about the various
different night-time warmth installations I use. As winter approaches
the blanket quality gives way to quantity. Instead of switching from
a sheet to a flannel blanket, from the flannel to a light quilt, from
the quilt to a fuzzy synthetic cocoon, it is time to begin the
complex layering process. By the middle of winter I will spend the
night in several discrete layers of flannel garb, with socks and head
cap, and buried under several blankets. I will be complaining of a
cold nose, cursing the rain, and daily praying for summer's return.

One more hurdle of fall has arrived. A whole slew is one the way,
including the first night we turn on the heater. My intimations of
the season are as sure and predictable as stacks of Halloween candy
in the supermarket or pumpkins on porches. Onward to winter, ya'll!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Animals

No, not the 60's R&R group with Eric Whatisname... Burden? Burton?
Something like that. No, I'm thinking about the ones we share our
lives with. Around our house there is the one who rules, Queen of her
domain, our cat Miss Flickinger. Then there are the outside ones -
those we feed and care for but who don't sleep in our beds. We have
chickens, pond fish, and an ever-changing variety of wild birds who
frequent our bird feeder.

I'm somewhat fond of the fish. They live just beside our deck in a
300 gallon stock tank planted with water lilies. They are nothing
fancy - a small community of feeder goldfish that range in size from
several 3 inchers that arrived this past spring (half that size then)
and a handful of earlier arrivals that have now grown to the 6 inch
and over size. I feed them daily in summer. They swim to the surface
when I knock on the edge of their pond, and make "gawp, gawp" noises
as they eagerly gobble up the food I toss. Like the chickens they've
had a variety of names, mostly because I quickly forget what it was I
called them. They don't mind and they never respond to their names
anyway.

I named all the chickens once-upon-a-time. The sheep too. Except for
the rooster I've forgotten all those names. And the rooster, Brandon,
often gets called Johnny, which was the name of a previous rooster.
I'd worry about forgetting those names but it doesn't seem to be a
senior thing so much as a who-cares sort of thing. I know the name of
the neighbor's dog and cat (Ginger and Ratty Junior)... and the next
neighbor over's horse (Buddy). And I recall (most of the time) the
names of various canines owned by non-neighbor friends: Sam, Moxie,
Bob, Chloe, etc. Now where was I going with this?

Oh darned. There was a point when I started but it wandered off
somewhere. It had something to do with animals, but I forget exactly
what.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Kneezles

After my post yesterday these strange apparitions appeared on my
knees. Yes, I was the victim of a spousal felt pen attack! With my
arthritis it seems proper to bring happy faces to these joints,
don'tcha think? Thank goodness I wear long slacks when I leave the
house. I'm not quite ready to flash these smiles in public - though
I'm sure they'd get a giggle!

Annual visitor

Every fall a praying mantis finds our front porch. This one is 2.5 -
3" long and first appeared on the screen door, almost as if it was
about to knock and request entry. It spent the afternoon
investigating the ceiling and corners of the entry. There are lots of
webs but we didn't notice any spiders willing to engage in battle. I
don't know where she has gone now but I wish our autumn visitor well.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Playtime

It might not be obvious from my more recent posts but I'm a great
believer in the power of play. Too many of us forget how to have fun,
how to be silly, how to giggle and enjoy the absurd. We grow up and
grow out of the mindset of discovery, abandoning it for cynicism and
world-weariness that seems to represent adulthood.

If you haven't done it, don't! And if you have, take the time to
recover what is lost. Our lives are tremendously short and we should
pack all the laughter in that we can. I fret and fuss in time with
the best worriers but I'm equally disposed to titter and guffaw. My
joints ache and I roll in angst but I also sing out loud and indulge
in writing limericks.

So join me in doing something delightful, or something childlike at
least once a day - more if you can manage it. Find the absurd in life
and display it. Here are a few ideas:

Got a sore knee? Draw a happy face on it with a purple felt pen.

Stand in the elevator and sing (loudly) "Row, row, row your boat!"

Make a funny face and wave at a baby in a shopping cart.

Tie a striped ribbon around a light pole.

Make yourself a bouquet of weeds. Add a ribbon and display on your
desk or dining table.

Buy yourself some crayons and a coloring book. Spend your lunchtime
"outside the lines".

Make some soap bubbles and use them. Outside in a public place is good!

Find some way to be whimsical and tell me about it. See if you can
find something different every day for a week. I dare you to be
sillier than me!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Identity Theft

I was having tea with a friend from my writing group this morning,
talking about computers and the internet, when the subject of
identity theft was mentioned.

"I don't worry about it much," I said. "If somebody wants my identity
I intend to curse the thief with all the things that go with it."

So, if some scurrilous character wants my identity here's some of the
things that go with it:

Being far enough over-the-hill to have forgotten what the top looked
like.
A sense of self-worth that is, too often, subterranean.
Arthritis, bad knees, sinus problems, arrhythmia, and a weight
problem that is out-of-control.
You can have my self-consciousness and my insecurities.
There's a whole cartload of memories I'll toss in gratis.

Yes, Thief, there's a lot you'd have that is important and precious
to me but there is plenty that goes along with being me that you're
going to wish you'd passed by. So give it some thought and make sure
you really want my identity.

Footnote:
On consideration if you take my identity do I get yours in return?
Will I be gifted with a serious lack of integrity, a willingness to
take advantage of others, wealth without work, and invisibility?
Golly, let me think about this. Maybe we can strike a deal!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And while I'm on the Subject...

Being in a writing group is, for me at least, both a blessing and a
curse. The group of which I'm a member meets every Monday morning at
a local church office. There is a core group, there nearly every
week, and a variety of folk who attend on a more "here and there"
basis. We pursue a variety of writing types: fiction (of various
flavors), biography, poetry, scripts. The writing is generally pretty
darned good.

My mornings with these people are wonderful. They are an interesting
bunch, as storytellers most often are, lively and engaged in life and
in their craft. In the several years I've been attending I've learned
more about the technique of writing than years of school would have
taught me. They listen carefully, offering good criticism along with
generous encouragement. I cherish my time in their company.

Ah, but my nagging internal-critic latches a heavy sinker onto the
tail of my Monday morning happy-balloon. Her voice yelps in despair
when Monday approaches and I have no story to share. She refuses to
allow me to consider myself "a writer" and belittles my completed
work. Her voice screams "ego" as an epithet and threatens to expose
me as a fraud, a pretender. I'd love to duct-tape her into silence
but inside my head she's hard to silence.

I've heard that all writers write about themselves so I write about
my critic and me. Maybe if I expose her enough she'll get tired of
having her naked behind out in the wind and she'll zip her vaporous
lips? Beware you unwelcome backseat driver! The constant nagging is
rendering your voice less, instead of more, powerful. You've been
looking over my shoulder a long time and we're going to have some
payback.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Writing

The darned page is still blank. Like my mind.

I listened to the writing teacher: "Write what you know."

I can do that - words telling what it is to realize I'm getting old,
that life feels mostly over and has passed by - like the railings on
a bridge from there to here - gone before I knew what they were, what
they meant.
I can write about children, about a middle-class existence without
bliss, without tragedy.
I know about a life where you never fall behind but never get ahead
either.

"Write what you know."

But what I write lacks a WOW.
It is a so-so telling of a so-so life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Music!

My life is full of music. I've not had the diligence to study and
learn to play an instrument - except for those few years of violin
when I was in grammar school - but I did become accomplished at
playing records, then cassettes, and now CDs. Not a great talent
perhaps but one that fills my need for melody and rhythm.

I remember the little yellow vinyl disk I had that played "I'm a
Little Teapot". "Here is my handle, here is my spout" I'd sing, my
arms making the appropriate movements as I swayed to the song. A bit
later I discovered my mother's collection of 78rpm Big Band
recordings and I learned to swing and sway with Sammy Kaye and belt
out a tune with the Andrews Sisters. Remember - Rum and Coca Cola?

In my pre-teens I discovered folk music and then in my teens - The
Beatles! Like many of my generation I had every recording as soon as
it came out and played the LP's over and over again. I also
discovered Broadway musicals and learned all the lyrics to The Music
Man, The Sound of Music, and South Pacific.

My taste in music seemed to be all over the place. Many folks seem to
settle into a genre, Country/Western or Classical, for instance, and
these days Hip-Hop of some kind, although my SIL assures me that kids
actually do listen to an amazing variety of music, not just the
thumpety-bump we old-folks might imagine. I listen to C&W and Pop,
Broadway and Folk. Classical and Salsa, Bhangra, Cuban, and New
Orleans Jazz. I'm always pleased to discover something new, something
I haven't heard before.

And if that sounded like a request, consider it one. Share your
favorites with me!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Zucchini

Himself and I visited a friend the other day and as we prepared to
drive home she asked if we would like some zucchini from her garden.
Zucchini? Yes, please! Summer squash is one of my favorite vegetables
and since I don't garden I'm pleased to be gifted with the fruits of
someone else's labor.

At home that night I prepared a quick meal, happily slicing up fresh
zucchini to steam. We settled down to eat and I noticed the less-than-
enthusiastic expression Himself had and upon enquiring he admitted a,
well... less-than-fond feeling about zucchini.

Huh? He doesn't love it? It isn't a preferred vegetable in his
gustatory repertoire? I was truly amazed. Himself and I have been
married over 40 years. How could it be that I'd not noticed a drouth
of gusto on his part? Why hadn't he said something?

I've considered the matter diligently overnight and have realized
that he has said something. Not loudly. Not vehemently. And not
often. But he has stated a general ho-hum attitude toward the Z
vegetable which has been so opposite of what I wanted to hear that
I've apparently immediately forgotten it. Yes, the world makes fun of
zucchini. People give it away. It is the fodder of stand-up
comedians. I may be one of the six or eight people in the world who
absolutely love it.

And I'll probably forget, real soon now (again), that Himself is not
a zucchini fan.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A couple of questions:

Why do I keep that moisturizer bottle in the shower? The scent under
the perfume of that stuff is hideously petrochemical and small drops
that splash to the floor in the shower make a surface slipperier than
Teflon. I keep intending to replace it but can't quite throw away
"good stuff".

Where did that new hair on my chin come from? I tweezed yesterday. In
bright sunlight. Using a magnifying mirror. This morning a casual
glance in the bathroom mirror revealed a coal black strand over 1/3"
long right in the center of my chinny-chin-chin. Can a single hair
grow that much overnight? Or do they play hide-and-seek with us old
dames?

Does the blackberry bramble HAVE to grow up through the deck?

With three different weight blankets to choose from why is the one I
pick always either too warm or not warm enough?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Out of sight...

I get these urges to organize. They are often accompanied by flights
of what seem like logic. If luck is on my side they pass before I act
upon them. Luck is for gamblers - the outcome here is certain.

I've mentioned before how in my youth my memory was dependable. A
dependable memory is important when one is wading into a known system
of storage, a linen cupboard for instance, with the intent of tossing
out the old and bring system and order to what remains.

Do I listen to that small inner voice of caution? Did you think I would?

Ah, the bliss of springing into action. Disemboweling the crammed
shelves is somewhat a voyage of discovery. Where did these dozens of
kitchen hand towels come from? What is in the box? Didn't I have
sheets that matched this pillowcase? Should I continue to keep this
old quilt? What happened to the hot water bottle? I'm teeming with
answers: Gifts! Nothing! Nope! Good question! In the back, crammed
under an old tablecloth...

Now that the cupboard is emptied I can make decisions and restock,
refold, re-catagorize and re-think. Or can I? Those towels are
stained but they are still useful. Maybe I can put that quilt in the
box, just in case. The hot water bottle can go under those sheets. We
seldom use it. Keep the pillowcases if I can find a place to stack them.

Much of what came out goes back in, although the piles are neater.
There is a stack of too-good-to-throw-out but not-good-enough-to-
donate items. Trash? My use/re-use voice cries out in alarm! Rag-
bag? Probably - though just how many rags does one small household
require? Much of what is now marked as "extra" ends by being put in
the attic where "I'll know its there if we need it".

Memory. In the weeks to come I'll search the cupboard for that towel.
I'll think about it in sleepless hours at night. Did I give it away?
Throw it out? I'll remember having it but have no clue where it is.
Out of sight, out of m..... darn it! What did I come here looking for?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nine-One

I've spent most of my life being a very organized person. I was that
kid who didn't wait until the last minute to research a term paper or
study for a test. I knew where my tools where located and was
prepared for each task I undertook. And yes, I was smug about being
that way.

As I've moved into the arena of senior citizen - there, I said it -
the urge to stay on top of things remains but in truth the urge is
not the thing. Always being early has slid to being close to on time.
Readying myself for events with every contingency thought of? That is
changing to a final moments scramble that culminates in a shrug of
"Oh well!"

My sense of self is having trouble coping with this new laxity.
Inside my head I'm still orderly and efficient and that once-was
person has taken to haranguing the new - can I call her sweetly laid
back? ME and yanking freely on her guilty chain.

Ah, it is a wonder being a committee of one. We argue, critique, and
condemn ourself. We are judge, executioner, and prisoner of our own
standards. I'm watching me though. If I get too loud I may lead a
rebellion and fire myself. Down with the Queen! And long live the...
Queen?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Here I go again!

There is nothing like the impending arrival of company to set the
"Not OK" voice inside me to haranguing at triple decibel level. If my
Internal Critic has been on an extended coffee-break (she never takes
a vacation), she rushes back to her desk to begin sending memos
regarding my house-keeping, cooking skills, and general hostess
abilities.

No matter that the company-to-be are old and dear friends, the sort
who would never criticize and probably hardly notice the dust under
the beds or the streaky windows. The Internal Critic has gone into
over-drive and her notes and inside-the-head lectures drown out any
contrary opinions. Even if the household surfaces were spick and span
(they aren't!) she'd know the places the dust-cloth had missed. With
my increasingly "casual" standards of house-keeping she has
ammunition a-plenty and works herself into a hysterical froth of self-
loathing.

Deep breath. I'm having to learn that despite the lessons learned at
mother's knee - whether or not those were lessons she was teaching -
I don't have to be the aproned- high-heeled homemaker greeting guests
with a cocktail and a perfectly cooked standing rib roast. The mental
picture garnered from Life magazine ads and episodes of Father Knows
Best may have been an ideal, but it was never reality. That wasn't
the home I grew up in and wasn't the home of anyone I knew.

Another deep breath. Welcome friends. Put your feet on the furniture.
Relax and stay a while. Mi casa - su casa and feel free to ignore the
dust... or grab a cloth and chase it around! I'm so glad you are
visiting AND helping me learn, slowly, that it is okay to be me.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Whazzat?

Urk! Icon recognition! Even after years of using a computer I'm not
adept at the "little picture" method of identification. I use the
dock on my Mac every day and most of the time locating and choosing
the applications presents no problem, but...

...there are days when I stare at the rows of mini-symbols and draw a
blank.

That happened just a couple of minutes ago. I wanted TextEdit. I
stared at the icons and nothing registered. Several seconds went be
and my fingers selected a picture and clicked. I say "my fingers
selected" because my brain didn't seem to participate in the process.
My email program opened.

Dismiss the email program, go back to the dock and stare again with
no further increase in recognition. Fingers leap into action and - up
comes my internet application. Huge sigh and a shake of the head as I
listen to marbles rattle in the cavity.

Close the browser, look again at the dock. Stare harder That always
works, especially if I add a frown. And wait. Aha, Got it! That
little picture of a piece of paper with lines of writing on it and a
pen in close proximity. Of course, that's it! The one right between
the picture of paper plus pencil and the picture of ink bottle plus pen.

(Yes, the names of each program do come up as I run my cursor over
the icons but the signal from brain to finger-click is often faster
than the processing of written word into action. This is what causes
the Uh-Oh and following rich language after a quick click.)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sock it to...Whom?

I just made Himself throw away a sacred sock. Extremely sacred. He
wears his toe-tuckers until they are so holy they could ascend by
themselves. This resulted in the following conversation:

Himself: You wear underwear with holes.

Me: (silence)

Himself: You say so in public.

Me: (silence)

Himself: You told the entire world!

Me: (silence)

Himself: I'll put it back in the drawer.

Me: Throw away the sock.

Himself: (silence)

Sacred Drawers

So there I am, folding clean laundry. Among the items in the basket
are multiple sets of underwear, some mine and some belonging to
Himself. I see tattered seams and a few encroaching holes.

Do I set those aside for repair? No I do not!

It occurs to me, as I consider the situation, that the wheel of life
has made another revolution.

In olden times when I was the child of the household my mother would
fuss at me over my disreputable undergarments. She didn't often see
them. As a full-time working Mom she taught me early to tend to my
own laundry. Knickers with torn places or lapsed elastic I treated as
perfectly sound items. Bra or slip straps might earn a safety pin but
seldom were worthy of actual repair. Mom would shake her head and try
the old line, "Think of how embarrassed you'd be if you had to be
taken to the hospital!" I could only think back (I was smarter than
to utter this out loud) "I'd have more important worries if I was in
the emergency room."

In mid-life another attitude prevailed. Any unraveled seams earned
the undergarment a spot in the stack of mending. I learned to darn
holes and stitch seams, finding some pleasure in the jobs accomplished.

I'm headed back toward my former, blasé way of looking at things.
Underwear is UNDERwear. As long as it stays in place and covers the
unmentionables it does its job. Since I have no aspirations as a
Flasher mine should remain un-viewed by the public. I will stitch up
what must be stitched and fold the rest away as is.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lists

How could I survive without my lists? A single glance at my desktop
reveals half a dozen scribbled on various scraps of paper. Things to
remember. Things to buy. Dates that shouldn't be forgotten. There are
sticky notes attached to lists that are stacked on notepads. It is
getting to where I need lists to keep track of where all the lists
are kept.

My computer provides another desktop that I litter with lists. I have
virtual sticky notes reminding me of appointments, There is a whole
application that is composed of various lists: books read, gifts
given or received, topics and ideas for future writing. There are
virtual folders stocked with items that, all things considered, are
simply lists unto themselves. A folder labeled "Quotes" is stocked
with page after virtual page of pithy sayings gleaned from online.
The folders are imbedded enough that I need lists to recall half of
the lists I've listed.

I'm not sure my life is any more organized with lists and it would be
without them. It used to feel that way but evidence doesn't suggest
there is truth in the matter. I ignore evidence. I abjure it totally.
Lists show order and organization, really they do. Mine will be
clutched to my ample bosom and will have to be pried from my fingers
someday. I have it on a list!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hirsute, Or Not Hirsute?

Has anybody seen my hair color? It seems to be missing. This
particular shade of what once was brown(ish) is a non-color. It has
always been non-descript. For a number of years I dyed this scrawny
tresses in an attempt to give them some sort of identity. Instead of
dishwater blonde-brown it flamed red. The chemical process being what
it was in those days red was distinctly un-auburn. My head was less
autumn tree and more fire-truck in character.

Eventually I gave up trying to enhance my hair and resigned myself to
the wispy wishy-washy locks I had. I coveted the thick braids and
electric naturals of the hippie culture and wished for... well
certainly at least for MORE hair.

The aging process has finally granted my wish - with the caveat of
"Be careful what you wish for." I do have more hair and the hair has
more color. Robust strands now sprout from chin and cheek. Curly,
dark strands lengthen overnight twisting into embarrassing lengths
just out of my line of sight. Self-examination in wall or hand mirror
reveals nary a wisp unless my head tilts in an exact angle for the
light to glint off an elusive strand.

Then the hunt is on! You ladies know what I mean. We twist and turn,
tweezers snapping and eyes-crossing as we try to seize and pluck
those hairs on our chinny-chin-chins. The hairs seem to do a bob-and-
weave to out-maneuver us. Each capture and removal results in
jubilation. Gotcha' ya little monster!

The hair atop my old noggin? Its wishy has washyed. It is fading
slowly from dark beige to sort-a semi-gray. With the window behind me
I face into my bathroom mirror and can still see it as brown. It pays
to have an active imagination.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What was that again?

Sometime after birthday number sixty my brain started to dissolve. It
went soft around the sides and began to lose its edge. What is with
that anyway?

Behind me is a life where I was the person who remembered dates,
organized vacations and closets, and kept track of dozens of facts,
figures, and miscellaneous trivia. It was easy to have a dozen phone
numbers in memory. I could rattle off the account numbers for my
credit cards or any of the monthly bills I paid. Birthday dates vied
for recall with license numbers from all the cars I'd driven - and
both were at hand when needed. I remembered every address I'd lived
at and could rattle off those of most of my friends. My brain was
able and happy to retrieve all sorts of information.

Now my life is a constantly shifting Swiss-cheese landscape of
memory. One day I can access old phone numbers and the next day I've
forgotten the one I have now. Zip codes are irretrievable but the
lyrics to a song I haven't heard played in thirty years are playing
non-stop in my head. What I had for dinner last night is a mystery,
requiring reconstruction of intention and hour-by-hour retracing of
footsteps. Carefully planned future events become a question. These
are balanced by total visual recall of a fabric pattern I saw last
week, or sudden memory of a factoid that had bemused me yesterday.

Is it that after a certain time of life we are gifted with a random-
access memory attached to a spinning arrow method of retrieval? Whee!
Whirl that dial and up comes a conversation from ten years past. Give
it another push and the recipe for a casserole glimpsed in a magazine
last month bubbles to the surface. But try to remember the name of
that new member of the budget committee or attempt to retrieve the
date for a grandchild's birthday? Nope. The system puts you on-hold
and plays some elevator music. (Where WAS it I heard that tune? It
sounds familiar!)

It isn't that memory is gone: it is simply unreliable. Maybe some
facts have been mis-filed, while others are in the very back of a
cabinet with a sticky hinge. A few are sitting on a desk waiting
attention while others are mistakenly marked and sorted for quick
access. The staff members in charge of the memory office are taking
long coffee breaks. The clerks have just come back from a martini-
fortified lunch. Chaos reigns.

By the way, did you know that the first phone number I remember
having was an Oliver-6 number? And... oh dear.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Old Outsides

The years of peachy complexion and smooth, baby-soft skin are long
gone. I was never a beauty but I did have some small pride in my
skin. In the teen years when other girls watched for signs of acne or
the dreaded pre-prom zit, my skin stayed relatively blemish free. I
murmured in sympathy as friends worried over sudden hormone-induced
complexion eruptions and tried not to yawn as the merits of Noxema
took over a conversation. Youth was kind to me in the epidermal sense.

The dewy skin of youth seems to have hopped on a yacht for the
Bahamas and left me facing a vast field of approaching wrinkles, with
their accompanying entourage of sags. My old skin bags, droops,
dangles, flops, wilts, and sinks. My epidermis these days resembles a
week-old balloon. It still covers my insides but just isn't packing
them very efficiently.

When I was a kid - more than toddler, less than teen - I was
fascinated by the skin on my grandmother's hands, so different from
mine. I'd run my fingers over the back of her hand, gently pushing it
into little peaks and lines. Mine didn't do that. I didn't understand
that age decreases the skin elasticity I just knew that Grandma's
outside was very different from mine.

It isn't different any more.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

There ARE benefits to getting old!


The greatest benefit of getting older has been to have grandchildren. The role of grandmother comes with all the marvelous joys of being a mother, and none of the duties. It hasn't been a full-time job fraught with the worries and responsibilities. My daughter carries those now. Being Grammy means hugs. It comes with the joy of watching some extraordinary young people grow and discover their world, guided by two intelligent and loving parents. It is a job I highly recommend.



(Ruthanne took the picture of Charlie & Me)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Speaking in Tongues?

We of the "Over Sixty" crowd are now able to speak our own Secret Old
People's Language and hold conversations among ourselves that the
younger generation cannot fathom. They have the Facebook/Twitter/
texting shorthand way of communicating that seems incomprehensible to
my senior understanding, but my generation still understands lots of
expressions that bypass younger minds.

The AARP magazine (of course!) recently listed 50 of them. Here are a
few examples:

Sounds like a broken record
Close but no cigar
Best things since sliced bread
E coupon ride
Cut to the chase
Put through the wringer
That's all folks

There are tons more expressions we grew up understanding that simply
no longer have a meaning in our technological world. What can "in the
groove" mean to today's kids? Or full steam ahead? How many will soon
know what dial-up is, or understand what a bottle of milk could be?
We can no construct sentences and have conversations that are so
loaded with anachronisms that they seem like some sort of code.
We've shifted from our years of talking so our parents couldn't
understand us, to talking so that our children have trouble following
the meaning.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

It Ain't Much - But It's Gonna Be Home!


Geodesic domes and cantilevered decks have nothing on the amazing constructions made by barn swallows. This nest is being built under the eve of our roof, just above the entrance to the porch. Adn humans think they are so clever.

Look Ma... no hands!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Where'd they go?

When did my feet get so darned far away from my upstairs bits? Being
of a rotund nature (I'm shapely: round is a shape!) they have always
been somewhat remote for me, difficult to view up close, but this
getting older thing has made them so far-flung as to be extrasolar.

Even the pretzel bent neck of a few days ago fails to bring my feet
into a reachable position. Yes, my spherical shape complicates
things, but the problem would remain as knee-senescence has set in.
Having bendable joints is convenient. Once the arthritis does its
damage and pain asserts dominance, flexion starts becoming history.
My knees will bend for sitting but when walking I look like the Tin
Man in full rust. From hip to ankle a locked position is necessary
for ambulation. Creak! Creak! And a couple of Ow! Ow! Ows! I sing my
way through the merry old land of OZ.

You don't value knees until they aren't working. Suddenly dropped
objects are irretrievable. Step up a ladder? No way! Trip and fall?
Expect to remain down indefinitely. Steps, curbs? Obstacles all. My
way through the world is made with waddle and lurch as if my legs
were in plaster casts. Life has a different rhythm these days: less
cha-cha and more dirge. My allegretto has gone very andante.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Alla time COLD!

Surely I've mentioned the shift in my temperature paradigm: a product
of the maturing process, otherwise known as oncoming decrepitude? My
grandkids dash around their world bare-assed and barefoot never
seeming to notice the ice crystals forming on their noses. The young
are either tough or perhaps simply oblivious.

I was like that once upon a time. At the age of seven I could splash
happily in the shallows of Lake Michigan shortly after the ice had
left the beaches. Snow was for playing in, sweaters, coats, and
mittens were for leaving behind.

Once upon a time is fairy tale time, right? It can't be real, at
least not past sixty. After crossing that threshold my internal
thermostat reset itself to COLD. I assembled a closet full of
sweaters, sweatshirts, and swaddling garments with emphasis on wool,
flannel, and fleece. Barefoot days gave way to sheepskin slipper days.

Retirement to the Northwet was made before I fully understood the
reason old folks head for Arizona and Florida. It is gorgeous up here
on the Pacific coast but it compounds the chill with dampness.
Warmth is an illusion, even in midsummer. I bundle up and hunker
down, always c-c-c-cold.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pretzel anyone?

My body must have assumed a pernicious position sometime during the night. Instead of waking refreshed and energetic I woke stiff, cranky, and irritable.

*

*

*

Now that those of you who know me have enjoyed a good laugh I will retract that sentence and dissect it, back to front.


I woke stiff, cranky, and irritable: I could almost hear you say, "What's new?" Waking up this way is common for the dedicated curmudgeon. Every decade survived increases the potential and it takes a mighty morning shake to adjust the outlook.


Waking refreshed and energetic: Isn't that what a night's sleep is supposed to accomplish? Sometime in the post-55 period that stopped happening.


My body must have assumed a pernicious position: I can only guess on that, based on the rather interesting angle my neck is choosing in an effort to avoid shooting pains in my right shoulder. The guess is supported by the even more interesting hair style that materialized this morning immediately above the place where my shoulder wants to hurt. Was there a midnight yoga session of which I was not aware? Was I acting out a forgotten dream of being a circus contortionist?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sunshine

The concept of browning skin in summer sun wasn't one of my youthful
passions. Sitting immobile on a chaise, slathered in lotion, soaking
up rays in an effort to appear tanned and healthy? The sitting part
is okay but my preference would have been for shade, iced tea, and a
good book. Sun-worshipper just didn't appeal to me.

Retirement to the NorthWet has changed that somewhat. Oh, I don't
want to don a bikini and achieve an all-over shade of caramel.
Goodness knows that exposing that much of my pale skin to the public
would provoke panic from the reflective glare alone! But living in
the north creates a craving for sunshine. The mature bones soak up
the warmth of sun with an audible sigh that is delightful after the
normal creaks and groans of their usual daily discourse.

There is sun today. The air temperature should soar over 60 deg. F. -
Balmy! In a few moments the direct sun will toast my surface and the
heat will sink inward to soothe aching joints. Listen for the moans
of rapture!