Saturday, February 26, 2011

Whining... again.

Have I mentioned before that I dislike cold weather? Not except for the occasional diatribe, you say? The postings where I weep and wail, curse and moan - generally express distress and dislike?

I admire the folks who choose to deal with cold. My friends in Canada and Alaska are hardy types who would consider the twenty-degree temperatures we've been having here as sweater weather. They'd break out the tanning lotion and mop their sweaty brows. I am not hardy. Cold is anathema. But let me assure you that heat, when much above the eighty-degree level is also not on my "Love It" list. There is nothing whatsoever wrong with mid-seventies though. That gets my vote, my praise and my adulation. The snow-boarders can have the slopes, the surfers can have the waves.

Please, I'll have just a spot in the shade, in a green country garden, on a mild summer afternoon. Please?

Friday, February 25, 2011

In case it wasn't official already… I've gone around the bend, over the edge, and off my rocker.

Yesterday I mentioned my love for the music of Fritz Kreisler. This morning I'm listening again to the CD. Listening to Caprice Viennois - over and over, tears streaming down my face at the absolute beauty of it. The first part is so soulful and gentle, like a caress to soothe away sadness though the sadness can be heard. Then it shifts into a bouncing bit that still contains that soulful heart. And it reiterates the emotion. Lovely!

How wonderful to be able to touch the emotions that way. It drives so much of art and I feel like the instrument played upon by the artist.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Do you have a piece of music that, whenever you hear it, instantly changes your mood? I'm listening to one of mine. It goes way back into my childhood… something my mother must have had on a 78rpm. Remember those?

The piece is Caprice viennois by Fritz Kreisler. The opening swoop of notes pulls my heart out and send it into a dance in space. I also love La Précieuse, Liebesfreud, and Liebesleid. All songs that somehow make me laugh as they bring tears to my eyes.

I've loved Kreisler's music for over half a century (!) and finally thought to buy myself a CD - this one by one of my favorite violinists, Joshua Bell. Old favorites and new pieces I can learn to love. I'm listening as I write, trying to see the computer screen through tears of sheer joy in the music.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Old Lady Protesting COLD

I'm starting the day with GR - practicing my GRowling, GRumbling and GRousing. You know I did notplan on living somewhere where I could see, much less experience close up, snow. SNOW. That cold, wet, white stuff that belongs in a cone with flavored syrup poured on top - consumed in a hammock within view of a tropical ocean.

Let the skiers and boarders have it. I wish them well in slush and powder, zooming down steep inclines swathed in mittens, mufflers, and various shiver-proofing accouterments. The cocoa and fireplace part of winter resorts doesn't sound bad but I can get those at home sand a trip through the cold white stuff.

But Mr. Weatherguy on last night's TV news says there will be snow. Here. Soon. So my practice sessions have begun. Kitty and I will glare out the window in disgust and wonder when spring will get here. I will question my decision to retire to the Great NorthWet&Cold and wonder if the gorgeous ocean and fir tree views and the relative quiet are worth the possibility of snow. The answer will probably be yes, though that yes will be weaker and less assured than it would be on a sunny, comparatively warm, summer day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The whole dream of democracy is to raise the proletarian to the level of stupidity attained by the bourgeois.
- Gustave Flaubert

(And quite successfully done here... just a few more cuts in education funding and the congressional leaders can retire happy.)

Friday, February 18, 2011

This is my grand-daughter showing off the parental investment in a properly operating set of choppers. She looks amazingly unperturbed by the installation. I was fortunate in not having to wear metal when I was a kid. Ditto for my daughter. The subsequent generation, despite all the brushing and the excellent diets fostered by their parents, is destined for a metallic grin. It seems to be in the genes, in the cards, a bit of fate.

At least she seems reconciled to the prospect, probably much more so then her female progenitors would have been!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I'm not a big fan of wet, cold, and rainy weather (and isn't THAT a major understatement?) but I do rather appreciate dramatic skies. We are having one of those at this moment. It is threatening rain but the sun has managed to squeak through between the horizon to the east and the heavy dark clouds overhead. The light is brilliant but even as I type the sun is being squeezed out and the sky is darkening. In moments there will be a downpour and very likely a bit of lightning and thunder accompaniment. It will last five or ten minutes at most. Then the clouds will lighten from black to gray again. The sun will probably burn another hole through them and illuminate everything. The change from rain to sun, and back again, is so intense and dramatic it takes my breath away.

Oregon can do dismal and continuous rain. It can do sunny and gorgeous sunshine. But it can do both in sequence, over and over, better than anyplace else I've lived. Folks come to the coast here to be storm-watchers. They rent houses along the ocean to watch the waves and see the ocean in the winter tempests. I'm every bit as satisfied to experience the on again-off again days, the sucker weather, when the sun beacons you outside only to chuckle and disappear as the clouds burst overhead.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Dumb!

Sometimes I think there can be few organisms dumber than a cat. Perhaps I should credit ours with amazing survival instinct but from the human perspective it closely resembles dumb. And stubborn.

The situation right now is that the weather outside is frightful. It is pouring buckets and barrels: rain mixed with cold chunky bits that are banging the windows with the sound of a gravel storm. Flickinger, the brainless cat, is huddled on the porch, barely out of the rain blowing through and saturating a good bit of the usually sheltered area. I've opened the door and beckoned her inside. She gazes at the open door with suspicion and remains crouched just beyond. I beg, cajole, and plead. She acts as if my primary object was to capture her for some imagined kitty torture to come.

I'm guessing she is reluctant because a friend of mine was here earlier for morning coffee. Flickie does not suffer strangers lightly. She is suspicious that someone may be hiding inside the house with nefarious intentions. She knows the car that was NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HERE is gone but obviously that is simply a ruse to catch her unaware. We are not to be trusted.

This is the same cat who, despite eight years living with us, still panics at the sound of the heater coming on. She seems to believe we have that noisy thing simply as a form of continual cat disturbance. If she makes the mistake of being inside and it starts going she dives for safety under the bed at the furthest corner distant from it. Eight years and she has never gotten used to it, never tolerated it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day…

Himself and I got into a discussion about how the Catholic church appropriated a fine old pagan day, attached a saint to it, and tried to subvert its earthy origins to some airy-fairy idealized and sanitized church sanctioned affair. I rather favor the old concept of get-it-on and procreate in the fields version. Don't you?

Happy Day You All!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I'm cold!

Whatever is happening to my circulation? The older I get the less willing my blood seems to be to warm up my hands. My feet do okay most of the time. It is my hands that feel the cold firstest and fastest. Especially the right one, the paw I use most. Wouldn't you think all the exercise it gets would keep it the warmer of the two. After all it is my Trackball hand. Let's face it, that particular appendage gets more activity than… well, let's just say it is used quite a bit.

Are there any seniors out there who suffer from over-warmth? I spent a lot of younger years deploring the heat and sweatiness of my amplitude. I was told being weighty was the problem. Why isn't it a warming problem NOW when I could use it?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I used to hold closely to my dignity. It didn't help much. I'm just not the dignified type. But when I was young indignity seemed important and loss of it somehow meant loss of an intangible bit that would somehow diminish me. It is a good thing I got past that particular bit of misinformation. My old age certainly isn't headed toward dignified. It seems instead to be careening toward total silliness. And Himself is going along for the ride.

Take, for instance, yesterday evening.

It is one of the daily chores that the family chickens be locked up at night for safety. (Foxes, raccoons and opossums need to eat but they can dine elsewhere, thank you very much!) The chore belongs to Himself, the fowl-keeper, since my arthritic knees don't appreciate the awkward step up into and down out of the poultry mansion. Last night Himself left the front porch with a chuckle and moments later the phone intercom rang in the living room.

"I'm out in the chicken house."

"Uh-huh." Like I always get calls from the hens in the evening.

"Brandon wants to say good-night."

And so I find myself carrying on a telephone conversation with our rooster. I crow. He crows. I crow again. And so forth for several exchanges. Until, poor fellow, he is silenced by an irritated clucking of his ladies wanting silence so they can settle down to sleep. Roosters really are hen-pecked. Himself would certainly agree.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Who tech? Me tech?

I'm a low tech woman living in a high tech household. When did that happen? It doesn't seem all that long ago that the house and I operated on a level where we were equal. The devices of daily living were such that I could easily cope: how to run the vacuum cleaner and the shower, how to play a record or change the television channel, how to take out the garbage and read the mail.

What happened?

The vacuum and shower are still fairly comprehensible as long as I don't change the spray head from regular to pulsing or skin-penetrating or attempt to use some of those odd attachment that clean under (or though) the furniture. Garbage has gotten more complicated as paper gets re-used, goes one place, stuff to burn into another, plastic and glass and metal go out for monthly trips to a recycle center. Mail comes in varieties too. Bills to pay go one direction, ads another, correspondence is email and that requires sorting of all kinds. Music and TV? Oh dear!

There are currently 4 remote controls for operating entertainment - one for the television, one for the disc player, two more for the satellite box. I have only vague ideas what does what and my method is to poke at buttons in wild abandon until I get a result I can cope with. I avoid playing CDs in the living room player since I never seem to be able to figure out how to make the speakers work with the player. But that leaves me to listen to music on the player in my sewing room (haven't a clue how to anything other than put in a disk and listen to it clear through) or on the player for my iPod (ditto!).

I could listen to individual tracks on my computer but sitting in front of the screen isn't my favorite spot for enjoying Mozart or The Beatles. It is laughable and this is a grin you see on my face, not a grimace. Betcha I'm not the only SixtyPlus out there increasingly baffled by technology.

Left Over DOOR PRIZE

Any questions? Query the boss at NCC-MAC.blogspot.com/

We didn't get enough attendees at tonight's NCC-Mac meeting whose computers met the minimum System requirements for our door prize. If you or someone you know would like a FREE copy of ESET Cybersecurity for Mac, send me an email message at ncc.mac@me.com with "Left Over DOOR PRIZE" in the Subject line. This is a first-come-first-served offer, and quantities ate very, very limited.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'm beginning to think that seniors, the over-50 (or in my case well over 60) crowd, have the best senses of humor in regard to themselves of any population. This is based on the number of humorous emails passed from one to another added to the number of wry stories we tell about ourselves when gathered into a group. We gleefully share stories of forgetfulness, incontinence, aches, pains, and lapses of judgement.

Does any other bunch of people share so many stories about themselves? Do blondes pass around blonde jokes, or any ethnic group laugh quite so heartily at their stereotyped foibles?

Maybe we've gotten past a lot of the posturing and need for dignity we had when we were younger. Getting old can't be hidden no matter how hard someone like Joan Rivers tries. We may as well get comfy for the ride and enjoy the scenery. There is plenty to holler at, make no mistake. And I shall certainly do my fair share, and more, of belly-aching. But I'll be laughing too.

Monday, February 7, 2011

What, again?

A day in the emotional dumps. Nothing much put me there but after I woke up this morning and had a chance to look around all I could see where the precipitous sides of a dark and dreary pit. Very irritating! It is a fifty-fifty situation between sitting and sobbing (and feeling stupid for sitting and sobbing) and getting irritated to find myself here again.

Picture me as a cartoon character grabbing my own bootheels and trying like mad to lift myself up! The best I could manage was to stumble forth and go to the Monday morning meeting of the local writers group where I had a chance to try to avoid pummeling myself for another week of attending without any contribution to share. It is important never to miss an opportunity for an impromptu flogging!

Himself wants so much to help when I get depressed. He has learned after 40 odd (very odd!) years of marriage to offer and beware of return snarls. I've learned to try and keep the snarls from turning into lunges for his throat. It is as easy for anger turned inward to to to anger turned outward as it is vice-versa. Deep breaths and remembering not to hurt those I love.

He did manage to help - quietly being beside me as I sat with my feelings. And later an ice cream cone that made me feel like a five year old on holiday. I'm mostly better now and hoping tomorrow will an Annie sort of day.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Do you ever have one of those mornings when there simply isn't anything you want to do? I've looked around and there isn't much that is compelling at this moment.

Don't get me wrong. It isn't that there aren't stacks and piles and lists of things around me that aren't calling for attention: housecleaning, correspondence, hobbies… these things are always jostling each other for my attention. But the housework that must be done has been done and the remaining can wait. Pressing correspondence has been dealt with - bills paid and daily emails sent. None of the hobbies have sent out waves of inspiration so the relping, writing, sewing, and such are not hollering loud enough to compel my attendance.

The sun is hiding so the outdoors isn't beckoning. The book I've been reading hasn't grabbed me enough to make me want to read. Sunday morning TV is the pits for anyone over 10 years old. I suppose I'll wander around the house for a bit, tidy a few things as I go, and have a sort-of walking meditation. Or perhaps I'll sit quietly and let my mind do the wandering. So much of life is chock-full of input. Life keeps us working and playing until we forget how to stop and listen to… ourselves, to the quiet voice inside. Thanks for reminding me.

Have you stopped to listen to your heartbeat, hear your voice inside recently?

Friday, February 4, 2011

After saving for a year and a half I finally had enough money to buy myself a new computer. We've only recently (very recently!) gotten high speed internet here. Until the sped arrived my aging Mac was fine for what I could do on (shudder) dial-up. With the added speed online it seemed time to let my machine also be speedy, so I took the plunge.

There is both joy and pain here in Mudville. Joy in that sped I was hoping for. The internet stuff I do takes so much less time now. I'm no gamer but there are a few "old timer" games I like to play, mostly through Facebook. Those are so much quicker and I no longer tear at my few remaining hairs while waiting for a response. Such shopping as I do is quicker. SInce Himself and I are retired that is minimal, but it is nice not to fall asleep while waiting for a screen to load. And at last I can join the rest of the world in wasting vast amounts of time watching videos on YouTube.

The pain is in coping with the changes. My screen acreage is vast compared with my older computer. It is so big I had to put the monitor further away to keep from getting whiplash looking at things. All the icons and text now seem miniscule. It is easier to locate a kid in a backyard than to search a city park. It feels like that sort of search as I scan the screen looking for anything familiar. I'm having to cope with new territory and new ways of dealing with that territory. Amazement and thrills fight for space with irritation and confusion.

I know that in a week or two I'll be used to it all. The different keyboard will feel familiar and I'll have forgotten what the old machine looked like. In the meantime that low rumble you hear is probably not thunder, or the sound of heavy machinery. It is me fussing, complaining, and… learning.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The sun peeped over the hills and blazed forth this morning and once
more it became clear that sunshine does not equal warmth. This seems
to confuse my primitive brain. It equates sunshine with warmth and
refuses to take into account that the sun shines over snow-filled
landscapes just as well as it does over the trees canopy of a hot and
steamy jungle.

I want to go outside to bask - but I'd quickly find icicles dangling
from my chin.

Basking *IS* possible. Inside. The trick is to find a window where
the sun can get in and the heat can't get out. Once installed in such
a destination I can wallow in warmth.

Guess where I'm headed now...?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ow!

Land Sakes Alive! Is it February already? I'm totally unprepared for
the year to be dashing around with such energy and enthusiasm. A
sedate stroll, maybe a reluctant crawl is something more suited to my
state of being. Time moves faster and faster as I get older, while I
move slower and slower... or some days, like today, not at all.

And that brings up the subject of arthritis, quickly followed by you
don't appreciate what you have until you haven't got it.

The first swollen finger joints of my mid-40's have progressed to
distorted finger joints, painful knees and hips, and occasional nasty
seasonal distress like spring's "entire left foot in agonizing
inflammation". I'm hobbling, when lucky enough to move at all, and
swearing lustily. Being an indolent person I'm seldom interested in
moving around all that much. Until I can't. Amazing how the "You
can't" gets my back up and makes whatever I can't do exactly the
thing I want to do most.

I won't introduce you to the sorts of language I'm using this week.
It would put the proverbial dockworker to shame and blush. One gets
so inventive when in the throes of pain and I'm sure the neighbors
think we're having yodeling competitions at our house this week.

Once again I'm chanting "This too shall pass". But that applies to
the good times too, doesn't it?