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
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.

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


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

"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


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


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

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


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...