Wednesday, November 30, 2011

That Time of Life

(My guy readers can skip this one.)

Many years ago a stand-up comedian Roseann Barr had her own television show.  It was the counterpoint to Bill Cosby's upper middle class black family.  It was about the lower blue collar white family.  It was brash, loud and different.  While I did not like Roseann's character nor her real personality I did find the show worth watching as they tried to deal with issues of the day.  For some reason the show was almost like the reality shows today, in that you sometimes forgot it was people acting.  The dialogue was real.

Last week Roseann Barr, who now lives like a retired farm lady in Hawaii, guest wrote a column in Newsweek on how she had changed since she went through "the change."  She said she was mellower, calmer, less angry and more laid back.  She was an angry bitch in her earlier years, and that is why I didn't really like her.  But this column was so well-written  with touchstones you can believe that she wrote much of her own show.

Below just a few quotes that I found worth 're-quoting' on this article about menopause.

  • In discussing Madonna's May-December romance:  "Despite the Botox, spas and youthful boyfriends, about the time you acquire gray pubes, a clothing line not with Dolce Gabanna, but at Macy's, will be all the haute couture your dusty old brand can muster."
  • "After menopause, I discovered the joy of drinking wine, and of sinking deeply into writing and time alone."
  • "My three daughters are approaching middle age themselves, the age when the libido of a woman speeds up for a time, just before it has a stroke, goes blind and dies."
  •  "Hey for starters, we only get old if we are lucky!  Can we let the logic of that sink in Sisters?"
  • "Menopause is the victory lap over the curse of being born female!"
  • "Sometimes, as the months whip past now, like telephone poles from the window of a bullet train, I continue to realize how much of my life I spent firmly under the thumb of Mother Nature..."
  • "...what do I do with some of the time that I don't spend being whipped around by the desperate process of staving off the appearance of aging and all the rest of the crap we're sold 24/7?  For one thing, I meditate, and then think for a bit."
  • "I am here to say, we could use a lot more women who don't beome mothers of their own offspring, but instead Mother the world in a more expansive way..."
  • "You don't need a young athletic body or piles of money to read some of the world's great books; or to soak up brilliant music and art; or to grow something beautiful (and edible?) in a garden spot.  May your uterus remain relatively undisturbed during these, your glorious turban years!"
Seems that I have more in agreement with this lady than I thought...

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Whew. Everyone  has eaten too much food and they have finally left in their cars, one family to head home and decorate their house and the other couple to head to (future in-laws) the house of the girl friends parents which is a 6 hour drive north.

The house is peaceful and I am sure, once I find energy, I will be retrieving left-behind treasures and other nefarious surprises.  I still have windows filled with scotch-taped home-made Thanksgiving decorations.  I may just leave them up and write off the Christmas decorations altogether!  I have linens from the dining room and the bedroom and bathrooms to wash, crumby floors to sweep and bathrooms to clean (not sure why young boys miss more often than hit the target).

Fridge is stuffed with food and I am loving not having to cook for days only needing to make a few sauces and perhaps rice.

Hubby wanted very much to take a canoe trip today after we waived goodbye.  I really wanted to collapse and do nothing, but he really needs the water exercise for his peace of mind after days indoors with toddlers and I agreed.  It was lovely in the 60's. misty sun through the clouds and mirror still waters to make the ride so smooth.  Photos may be posted on the other blog.

While it was not a perfect TG (turkey was finished 2.5 hours early...another story if you request! and some toddlers had various melt-downs, my son-in-law and I try hard to find more to agree about) it was the closest I have been to a perfect TG in years.  I am blessed this year, and thus, will not complain on any future holidays that do not meet my  high expectations.

Having returned from the 4 hour canoe trip, I am going to heat a cup of apple cider and add some spiced rum and put my feet up and watch a little TV before heating leftovers for dinner.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Another American Holiday

I sometimes have holidays filled with guests, friends and relatives. Some holidays are quiet as I try to get through them by avoiding the crowds.  I am having a reasonable sized group of the above this year for Thanksgiving and started the shopping and cooking yesterday.  It is so much easier since I no longer work!  I am doing all the traditional cooking and decorating and planning and working into the traditional frenzy of a love/hate project.

Thus, I have decided to provide a link to a more subdued Thanksgiving that I posted about a while back, just to let you know that there are no best ways to celebrate a holiday.   It is usually whatever works and we just have to go with the flow.

Go to the link below for our box lunch.
Box Lunch.

Friday, November 18, 2011


Kerredelune brought this to my attention.  Get yourself something 'cool' to drink, put your feet up and listen to this:

Manhatten Transfer and Route 66

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I have been watching a retro TV show called Route 66 while resting my ankle in the afternoons. Route 66 was a famous highway in American history that ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and ended at Los Angelos, California...a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).  This was the artery for those escaping the dust bowl recession in the 1930's, although the TV series was from 1960 to high school years!  This highway has been removed and replaced by the Interstate Highway system, but parts of it still exist and are designated as scenic byways.  It still holds its romance for many road warriors.  (If you have read any of my blog posts about my youth you know that I had wanderlust big time.)

I was a fan of the black and white TV series not only for the wanderlust it satisfied and the edginess of the stories, but also because there were two young male leads.  One dark, handsome, and rebellious (Buzz), and one well-educated, rational, and boy-next-door (Tod).  I had a crush on both males in the series and had fun fantasizing how the romance would pan out with each one.  My decision recently to re-watch a few episodes revealed how well written this series actually was.  The dialogue might seem somewhat derivative today, but then it was written more like a play with emphasis on characters and with the words that were being said more important than any car chases or stimulating violence or naked skin that drives TV series today.  The themes dealt with the difficult social issues that were at the forefront of the 60's decade.  Still, CBS producers (most likely male) were concerned about the heaviness of the show and wanted to see more "broads, bosoms, and fun".  The older generation was more widely and fairly represented than today, although the series was darker than the perfect suburban family shows of the 1950's.  A bit of information that I learned about the series was that Robert Redford had been considered for one of the parts.  The crew moved to a different location every week and Newsweek called it "the largest weekly mobile operation in TV history."  Perhaps, this series was the precedent to "On the Road" and "Easy Rider."

My son had mentioned watching something from his youth and commenting on how times have changed!  Just wait, I thought.  I watch stuff from decades ago and am fascinated by the even greater cultural changes today.  Since there are no cell phones characters must run or race everywhere to deliver those important messages. Sex and violence are presumed and not shown in glorious HD.  Both the leads were always well-groomed unless emerging from some day spent in blue-collar toil.  And blue collar work seems to be romanticized.  Buzz's darker side is subtly they would have him getting drunk or taking drugs.  The rich are rich but not disgustingly so and the poor are poor but shown sometimes through overtly pink romantic glasses.

Apologies to those who were looking for a more interesting post.  When I reached the well and brought up the bucket, this was all that sat in the sludge of the bottom.  So, let me know, did you have a favorite TV show in your youth?

Saturday, November 12, 2011 it all?

"In conventional parlance, vanity is the excessive belief in one's own abilities or attractiveness to others," according to that virtual authority Wikipedia.  I have always had  a tug of war with vanity.  I would never leave the house without a good outfit, groomed hair and make-up.  But if I was hiking and camping I could care less what I looked like.  In contrast, at the end of a sweaty day of hiking hubby cannot take me to a restaurant of any stature.  I refuse to look that bad when eating dinner. 
I had at least 25 pairs of shoes when I was working full time.  Now I tend to purchase only sandals, tennis shoes, hiking shoes for this new life style but I have a dozen pairs of these in various styles and colors. 

Today, the problem is that I can only wear two pairs of tennis shoes comfortably since my injury.  Fortunately I have not been anywhere special in months and do not need fancy shoes.  I rarely attend the holiday fund raisers that are around the corner. My mother wore tennis shoes to my daughter's wedding beneath her long dress.  I honestly thought she was just being difficult, but now I realize I was the one who was being difficult.  Her feet had not been in fancy shoes for years and she was not going to be in pain all evening just for us.  She was never a vain woman.  I remember giving her a magazine haircut when I was 13 or 14 and being so proud of how she looked.  She just seemed amused.

Today I tend to begin to limp and walk slower if I have been on my feet for hours.  We take a flat long walk down a wooded trail and I find my vanity forces me to try to hide the limp and to try and walk more steadily, in spite of any pain in doing that, if I see other hikers!  I get irritated that hikers pass us on the trial when I remember I was the trail blazer in past.  If we stop to chat I find it necessary to explain my ankle injury so they know I don't walk like this without reason.  This must be vanity.
Recently, I had one of the clerks in the department store offer me a wheelchair from the front of the store and it took all my resolve not to deck him!  I try to hurry when people hold the door to the Post Office open for me, embarrassed that I cannot walk faster. 

How do people with permanent handicaps show such dignity as they hike through life?

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

You Need More Greens

Many years ago when my son was a teenager just a year away from college, we had reached that stage that some families reach where you are terrified that your child cannot make it on his own, and yet, you are so sick of dealing with him that you want him out of the house.  Yes, some families do not have to undertake crises management with their children, and you are blessed.  You can believe it is because you were such a great parent, but in reality, luck of the gene pool has something to do with this.  (Your gene pool...not your child's.)  He did end up being forced to go to a therapist for a handful of times, which resulted in a diagnosis of depression.  Glad my health insurance covered this waste of time.  When he found out the insurance would run out and we would be paying out of pocket for the sessions he refused to go.  He insisted he was smarter than the therapist, and I actually think he was!  I tried to get him to test several therapists to find one he liked, but he has the same stubborn dynamic of his dad.  He wanted to deal with his life on his own, a sometimes dangerous decision.

Anyway, he did survive college (majoring in that super useful undergraduate degree, Psychology, oddly enough) and went on with additional training to become a successful sound engineer.  He recently won an award as sound mixer for the year from his company.  He still has issues with mild mood swings, but can deal with it without relying on drugs or alcohol.  We are blessed for that.

I remember his freshman year when dropping him off that I noticed a lovely woods near the campus.  I told him that was the place to work out issues.  Lone walks, intensive runs, whatever he could squeeze in to help with the stress of college.  He actually agreed with me.

To this day, we both realize that the great outdoors is the place to go when life seems so heavy you are down on your knees and knuckles facing the dirt with the hot sun at your back.

In the November issues of Newsweek magazine, Dr. Andrew Weil (one of those new age hippie philosophers), emphasized the importance of getting away from our artificially created environment whenever we can.  The noise of city life, the smells, the continual stimulation is ruining us.  The stimulus of technology which brings us instant entertainment, instant stimulation, superficial connections with people, and overwhelming information is not something our brains and senses were designed to assimilate in such constant and large quantities.  Most of us now have sedentary indoor jobs which are also unhealthy.  Our natural sleep cycles and other circadian rhythms are not followed.  "Human beings evolved to thrive in natural environments and in bonded social groups."  Depression has become so common that children today have been diagnosed with 'nature-deficit disorder.'

Sitting in a field or on a cliff is not as exciting as shooting down a helicopter with your remote control and not as compelling as checking Facebook on your phone every 15 minutes.  But I feel safe in insisting it will keep you alive so much longer and that you will actually enjoy your life so much more.

Now, turn off the PC and go talk a walk.

Friday, November 04, 2011

In a Fog

I am standing in the IHop waiting to be seated.  An IHop is not a dance hall nor a kiddie zoo with rabbits, for those who live outside the United States, Canada, Mexico or Guatemala.  An IHOP is a restaurant famous for its high-calorie, salt-fat-sugar rich breakfasts.  They also serve standard dinners and lunches.  It is very popular (especially with old farts) because the servings are large, the service is usually fast and the prices are not high.  It takes a really bad restaurant to screw up a breakfast of eggs and pancakes.  I am rewarding the healing of my ankle with my first trip to the outside world.  I admit that I am a fan of the International Crepe Passport breakfast.  (Doesn't THAT sound sophisticated? -International Crepe Passport*  Two eggs, two crispy bacon strips and two pork sausage links served with your choice of two crepes with fruit)  I do not eat both sausage and bacon, my heart-attack-waiting-to-happen husband is happy to help with those.  But I do order a side of hash browns which I split with him as well.  I do not weigh 250 pounds and this meal, over 2,000 calories, is usually eaten about 9 to 10 AM and pretty much the only thing I eat all day except for snacking at dinner!  Sinful to have such an abundance of food in a world where many are starving, I know.  Sorry, but like most liberals I carry my guilt to the food table.

Anyway, while I am standing waiting for the hostess, I notice a really sweet little 4-year-old girl in front of me with a 250 pound mom carrying a new baby.  The little girl is focusing intently on something in her hands.  The hostess returns and takes the mom to a booth.  The little girl remains standing in front of me.  I tap her on the shoulder and tell her that her mother is down the way.  The girl looks up at me and I see she has been intently focusing on an IPhone.  (IHop, IPhone?)  She is moving images and links across the screen like an expert.  She looks back down and continues her screen activities.

The mother gets seated a short distance away and gets the baby in a high-chair and then turns back to the little girl and calls her.  The girl does glance up, has heard, but still does not comprehend.

The hostess returns to seat us and I point to the mother as I place my hand on the little girl's shoulder once more before we begin to scoot around her.  The little girls looks up at me again with clear blue eyes and then back to the phone.  We walk around her and head to our booth and I will be darned but she follows us not looking up at all!  Clearly she is joining us for breakfast.

It actually takes some effort on the part of the mother and me to convince the little girl that she is at the wrong booth. Actually the effort is on getting through the fog of technology.

I hate these technological babysitters...they are a drug!  Thank goodness they were not crossing the street and it is amazing they made it across the parking lot.

(For a more enlightening day in the fog...go here.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Enduring Waiting Without Anger

Well, I am guessing the evil spirits of Halloween or the good spirits of All Saints Day have worked their magic as I am almost back to normal today.  Just the rare achy night and not being able to run are my worst problems!  Still cannot see my inside ankle bone, but swelling is only a 10th of what it was.

I was totally fascinated by the gradual healing which I monitored daily.  I could not push it faster whether I rested more or exercised more.  Yet, every day, probably because I no longer work and can stay at home and have few distractions, I noticed a measurable improvement.  This slow healing reminded me of so many things in life that move forward at a snail's pace.  (Actually these last two days I have been able to noticed a faster improvement if I took two aspirin in the late afternoon and then put my foot under a heating pad...this blood rush did make things better more noticeably.)

  • The slow emergence and growth of a seed into a plant.  You can check it each day and see the growth, but there is nothing dramatic or surprising in its changes, unless some rodent eats it to the ground.
  • Losing weight requires endless patience and if you give up just one day you will not see measurable loss.
  • Babies change so slowly if you are able to study and watch them each day.  They look toward your sound, than at your face and finally are able over time to focus on your eyes and then respond to your smile.
  • Good poetry must be read slowly, then re-read (out loud for me) and then over time it grows on you and thickens with meaning.
  • Love, real love that goes beyond sex and eye candy, takes such a long time.  The melding of good and bad habits and trust happens over days, weeks, months and becomes a strong if not beautiful foundation only over decades after all of life's tests and challenges have been met.
  • Developing an expertise in something comes only with time.  Talent you may be born with, but honing that into an expert skill requires time.  Malcolm Gladwell ( a somewhat controversial author) in his book "Outliers" writes about how long it takes to really become an expert. "Gladwell explains that reaching the 10,000-Hour Rule, which he considers the key to success in any field, is simply a matter of practicing a specific task that can be accomplished with 20 hours of work a week for 10 years. He also notes that he himself took exactly 10 years to meet the 10,000-Hour Rule, during his brief tenure at The American Spectator and his more recent job at The Washington Post."

I do not think it will take me 20 hours of walking for 10 years to be an expert at walking, because clearly I never had the talent to begin with!  My point is that everything worthwhile seems to take a lot of time and therefore we all better learn patience.