Friday, June 22, 2012


Seniortude has magnified the fact that I am a creature of habit. I no longer have to respond to a morning alarm clock yet my daily rising is around the same hour, irregardless of bedtime. My morning routine of bathroom, vitamins, coffee and toast follows in order. I move to the computer and attend to the same list of visits, games, mail, and such. The regimen is mostly the same and I find comfort in that.

Perhaps in a previous life I was a cat? My furry feline companion is also a creature of habit. She remains in bed until the toaster pops whereupon she attends my meal expecting her morning peanut butter. If upon occasion I change the menu to plain buttered toast or a cream-cheese daubed bagel, she will accept the substitute but does it grudgingly. Her every whisker twitch serves to let me know the aberration is not appreciated and I'd best return to her preferred cuisine as soon as possible. Her day proceeds to a series of ins and outs with her human attendants opening and closing the house door upon demand. It isn't a bad life, now that I think about it, though having the open-air bathroom in an environment this wet wouldn't be my choice. It seems to be hers though. There is a kitty box available which she refuses to use. She ignores it and sits on the porch staring balefully at the rain.

Okay, I'm not quite sure of the logical sequence of the proceeding paragraphs. Chalk it up to stream-of-consciousness. Or maybe it is another similarity of seniortude to catitude. My mind proceeds from subject to subject in the manner of a cat walking across a room suddenly stopping for a bath.

Hey, I think I'll go take a shower. And have a cup of coffee. And…. (Meow!)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Note to Self

Admit it kid, you are a NOTE TAKER. Your computer desk is always littered with notes reminding you to email this friend, to order that item, to investigate a news story mentioned on television or to find some particular factoid. Chores get finished and that note hits the trash but there is always another to take its place.

Each chair you occupy in the house is equipped with a side table bearing a pad of paper and a pen. There are shopping lists and reminders. There are items of interest and notes bearing interesting quotes. You have lists of the dietary preferences of friends who occasionally visit and of books you might want to read. There are reminders of events coming up and birthdays for which you want to send a greeting.

All your notes have kept you on track for your life and now that you've reached seniorhood they've gone from convenient memory joggers to absolute necessities. If you don't write it down it simply doesn't exist. You haven't quite reached the stage where you have to stick a Post-It on your forehead so you remember who it is in the mirror as you brush your teeth (you did remember to brush your teeth didn't you? Do you need a reminder?) but there may be a day…

Make a note of that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zynga! Zynga! Zynga!

When I got interested in the internet I also became interested in on-line multi-player games. Not the shoot 'am up, maim and kill sorts of things. That type of scenario makes me gag. My preference is for the build-it-up and decorate it sort of thing. For quite some time I was very involved with a game that had cartoony animals as characters and another that featured pirates. I'd spend hours clothing, arranging virtual furniture, and learning bits and pieces about the other folks playing on "my team".

When I got onto Facebook I discovered the games of a company called Zynga. Zynga seemed to specialize in the sort of game I liked and I began playing Farmville. Later on when Google+ got started I discovered another Zynga game called Cityville. Lots of similarities between the games and loads of entertainment pursuing my own goals and acquiring game neighbors. But, as the saying goes, all is not well in Mudville. The more I played Cityville the more I discovered what happens to a game when the company running it is too ambitious and/or too greedy.

Zynga has a whole slew of games and their online card playing must be more lucrative than the Cityville I play. The programming of Cityville is more full of holes than Swiss Cheese. Features aren't and supplements don't. Tasks are removed from the game but steps leading up to those tasks are left behind. Some players find their games won't load and they get various "canned" error messages that are totally ignored by the programmers at Zynga. It is easy to see why the "help" at the home page is all pre-messaged. They simply don't want to hear complaints, especially ones they have no intention of attending to.

Farmville works, mostly. But the programmers are busy rolling out "NEW" scenarios that are simply re-works of the old with a very few changes. And the subsidiary tasks appear so often that I learned to ignore them unless I was willing to be connected to the game 24/7. I wasn't. Cityville works fine for players for a while, but the longer one plays the more obvious the problems become. I'm still in the stage of trying to work around them but find myself fast headed for give-it-up and at that stage will resolve to avoid anything labeled Zynga in the future.

I will miss those games. And I will have to work hard not to wish bad things for Zynga as a whole! 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Aging - a subject that occupies my mind a bit these days as it is a subject demanding attention and impossible to ignore. Joints that should bend don't want to. Muscles that were reliable aren't. Things that once seemed important seem less critical if not outright pointless. Some folks might say I'm mellowing but it is more a case of simply running out of steam.

In the middle years of life a good amount of human energy is spent on acquiring. Status. Property. Money. Experience. Now that I'm past the procuring stage life is more guided by a bit of verse a friend once quoted:

Use it up
Wear it out
Make it do
Or do without

Not bad advice for everybody in these difficult times.

Monday, June 18, 2012

I've once again been reminded about how much my husband and I differ with regards to holidays. In my family holidays - everything from birthdays to Christmas and the Fourth of July - were a big deal.

As a child I looked forward to holidays and enjoyed the preparations for them. My family dyed Easter Eggs. We carved pumpkins. We decorated a Christmas tree and I had a stocking hung on the mantel. Mother's Day was celebrated and Mom did not cook or do dishes. She always got a card though it was crayon on construction paper and made at school. Those special days were ways we measured time and made one day different from those around it.

Himself's family didn't make much of a fuss, at least as he remembers it. There were birthday presents and a small tree for Christmas but other holidays seem to have passed without fuss. For various reasons the days made big in my childhood didn't get focussed on in his.

When we married our two different experiences came together. Probably because I'm big and loud and blithely unaware that such differences could exist, holidays and celebrations got attention in our house. Our daughter had birthday parties and we decorated like mad for the Yule season. We watched fireworks in July and hid dyed eggs at Easter.

Even now as "empty-nesters" we manage to have small celebrations for many holidays. He finds importance in some of these now. Not all. Father's Day passed with him barely taking notice. But in December, when I balked at the imagined mess of pine needles and wrapping paper HE was the one who insisted that we have them. I guess we've found a place in the middle where we are both comfortable.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Children's Books

When was the last time you read a book? And when was the last time you read a kid's book? In this world much of what adults read is limited to snippets on Facebook or one-liners on some other social media site. If you are one of the world's remaining book readers your last choice was probably one from a celebrity's "must read" list or something from a media giant's best-sellers column.

The last time you read children's literature was probably a picture book as you learned your alphabet (A is for alligator…) or some book in school such as Charlotte's Web or Tom Sawyer. As a parent you probably went back to these old favorites when your own children began to read. I did, though I added a few more children's classics like Peter Pan or the Laura Ingall's Wilder books.

Now I am a grandmother, still familiar only with those long ago favorites. Recently though I've become introduced to a new world of literature for children. During the last school year my granddaughter became part of a program called Oregon Battle of the Books ( Ruthanne competed and did a good job. My daughter subsequently sent me the list of books for the 2012/2013 OBOB and I began to read a few from Ruthie's 3-5 division and from the 6-8 division. It has been an eye-opener.

There are a couple of familiar titles such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (actually in the 9-12 division), but most of these are books completely unknown to me. And they are so good! I've read The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Either of these would be excellent conversation topics for adult and child. I've read Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman, a wonderful tale of an inner-city community garden told by characters who become involved with it. This last book has been on the shelf of our local library for years and I'm the first reader to check it out.

Many of my friends believe reading is becoming a lost art, that books and the love of the world they open to us will disappear. Perhaps they are right. But having met some of these books I have hope. There are still good stories being written and a generation of teachers and librarians encouraging children to expand themselves in a world of written words. I invite you to join them. Try a few of the OBOB books, find a young person in your life, and share!