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!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm melting

Gravity has a number of unfortunate effects on those of us entering elderhood. Besides discovering that, no, I still can't fly, my corpus has become less and less delecti and is apparently sliding off my somewhat unsteady bones. The bad witch in Wizard of Oz? A victim of extremely quick aging. Her everything slid south in one dizzying rush and instantly became one with the earth. No burial or conflagration needed.


Most of us go slower, but go we do. Maybe it begins with a few bags under the eyes that we blame on years of partying hearty, and subsequent work keeping up with the Joneses. But the carry-ons turn into luggage for an extended stay and are joined by sagging bosom, dragging butt, lagging kit and cascading caboodle. Underarms flap. Thighs flop. Skin un-tautens and taunts instead. I'm sure one day I'll trip over a jowl or step on some flabby ankle skin that didn't keep up with the rest of me. I shuffle-step just to avoid it.


Remember when we worried over six-pack abs or bikini bulges? Well, actually maybe not... but that is so far from these days of needing a dozen helium balloons to elevate the dripping, dropping derma. Glances at my reflection have me wondering if a fun house is missing their mirror. Who'd choose multiple surgeries to counter the dissolution? Plastic melts too, and the interim stretch is to look like the love child of Gloria Swanson and Michael Jackson. Eeek!


So, high-ho the derriere below, a-sliding we will go!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Life is a gas!

I can't recall flatulence being so predictable nor so... loud, in my youth. It is a fact of nature, certainly, one that inhabits every body. Age has made it a regularly scheduled event. Whether this is a quote normal unquote effect of aging, or simply one personal to me, is up for discussion and it is not generally a subject chatted about at the table.


Males often seem quite proud of their power, both in sound and fury, and break wind with an exuberant gusto females find dismaying. Display that one has bodily functions? Horrors! I learned early to stifle the bubble clamoring for release or to exit company and even then hope for a soundless, odorless experience. Where the guys would guffaw over a "barking spider" girls of my generation would be mortified, doing all in their power to subdue the beast within.


At least in those days of yore the need to fart seemed infrequent and often food induced. Stay away from beans, avoid the brassicas, and minimal intestinal fuel built up. And we gals learned to assume the slightly puzzled facial expression of innocence when guilty of a dainty emission.


After sixty my internal system began to ignore the niceties. On schedule, as soon as my body gets horizontal at night, there is a trumpet anthem from the underground. Each bedtime is accompanied by the clarion call of my colon relaxing in preparation for sleep. The once-dreaded sound signals rest and any hint of delicacy or lady-like reserve is crushed by an old-woman sigh of comfort.


Himself cheers me on. He has long held the little-boy fascination with bodily functions we girls shudder to admit exist. What used to annoy me about that now reassures me that joining his solo efforts with my evening serenade is togetherness in a senior mode.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Back to the Subject

When I started this blog it was my intention to write about getting
older old. I'd gotten through menopause relatively unscathed and was
feeling rather pleased with myself as I advanced on seniortude. How
difficult could it be? All one had to do was sit back and hang on for
the ride. If you already know how to do grown-up in a least passable
fashion, what could be different about old age?

Naive doesn't begin to cover it. I was smug and certain I understood
what was ahead.

Shortly thereafter my body accelerated on the trip over the hill. The
climb up was slow and steady but hang on for the ride? The descent,
once begun, is a theme park ride with no slow stop at the last
station, only the sight of a fast approaching brick wall and a final
Splat!

So, this is fair warning that I'm returning, at least for a while, to
the subject of the trip down that hill. Hang on to your hat.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Feelings...

"It isn't what happens to us that is hurtful but how we think about
what happens to us."

My online pal, Snowbrush, attributing it to Marcus Aurelius, reminded
me of this recently. So true. It made me glance at a ink-faded quote
I have pinned on the corkboard next to my desk, from a forgotten book:

"You can't help what you feel, Moira once said, but you can help how
you behave."

They go together. What happens to us and our emotional reaction to it
is one thing. What we believe thereafter and what we do about it are
within our choosing. Depression and anger take hold when I forget
that. I'm lucky that so far in the game I still return to choice and
my choice is to be glad and to celebrate.

Not that I won't moan and complain. I'll get irritated, peevish,
gloomy and generally snarky. My path is to wobble about and always
try to return to center. Being Pollyanna isn't my style, after all!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gulf Oul

More pictures on tonight's news of coastal and seabirds smothered in
the crude oil leaking from BP's fractured well. Such an anger comes
over me! I'm horrified by the sight and filled with anguish at the
misery these poor creatures must be enduring.

The volume and intensity of my fury as each fact of the appalling
lack of care and refusal to follow procedure backed by BP is
frightening. It takes gritting my teeth to avoid the curse that
rises: Each executive in the chain of command should wear on of the
oil smeared corpses around his neck, should be coated in the foul oil
himself, should rot in it in a Dantean hell his greed and impatience
created.

It was bound to happen, of course, this environmental tragedy. It
will likely happen again. It is approaching summer and the line of
land yachts is stretched north, south, east and west. Speedboats and
jet skis and ATV's are being revved up to guzzle more gasoline as
their owners tut-tut over same the evening news pictures I saw. I
wonder whether the choice made at our home, the single vehicle we own
that gets 40mph per gallon of fuel and sits in the driveway half of
each week unused, makes any difference at all.

Where do we go from here, America? The so-called "oil shortage"
barely slowed our consumption, the Exxon-Vadez was easily forgotten.
Will this time make for changes? Why do I doubt it?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Kiva Update

I just made my eleventh Kiva loan. No further money out of pocket, just a reinvestment of funds paid back from other loans I've made. On days when I'm feeling depressed, when the world seems overwhelming and grim, it feels good to know that a small part of me has extended itself outward to help, to touch someone else's life.


Loans made to Peru, Samoa, Nigeria, Tajikistan, and Senegal have all been completely repaid.


Currently I have loans to Togo, Pakistan, Mongolia, Palestine, Guatemala... and added today is Rwanda.


The investment from me has been little, probably less than dinner and a movie out. A couple of loans I made were from gift certificates given by friends who understand the purpose of my web around the planet.


We all reach out in our own way. Please share with me your choice(s) and how you feel about them?