Monday, April 27, 2015

My Annoying, Unfocused and Lovable FB Friends

Do you remember the days when someone would be surprised that you were on Facebook and that you sent a message wanting to friend them? If you had gray hair, older children, and/or an established career or were retired, you were joining the college (young adults) kids hangout. You had entered their little social club and they were not sure that, as much as they love/like you, they wanted to let you into their fun and "edgy" lives.  You were an archaic part of the world, part of the more established and boring social world and you would water down their happy little group!

No?  You have forgotten?

Well I can remember a 20-something being amazed in comments on FB to my son that I, my son's Mom, was on FB and wanted to 'friend' him!  My son did not respond because he was probably crying in the bedroom of his apartment.  I am an in-your-face snarky kind of mom, so he knew this could be the end of his social life as he knew it.  

Well, as we all know, 20-somethings are now closer to their 40's than their 20's and have families of their own whom they worry about allowing getting a FB account in the immediate future.  FB has become less edgy and less young and more like the rest of the social world full of people wanting your money, your ID, your time and in some cases your soul.

I still like FB.  I have some great friends on FB and am able to keep in touch a little better with long lost friends and far away relatives and to actually see some great images after I wade through all the memes and useless personality tests and directed ads.

Still I have "those" friends on FB who are gentle and very social souls and whom I view with some condescending superiority (I'm sorry).  They post endless posters of sunsets or kittens with uplifting quotes, photos of baby animals, photos of wounded veterans they do not know, photos of animals in shelters, photos of missing teenagers they do not know.  Others find it necessary to post photos of their latest meal, photos of their latest manicure, their latest haircut, and of course, those photos at the bar with friends celebrating endless birthdays and get-togethers.  (Maybe I am jealous that I do not get out more...not.)

I have friends, like me, who post news from Public Broadcasting sites, "interesting" arguments on political issues, and interesting studies found about demographics or psychology or this insane Congress and its add-ons to bills, and volunteer group items.   AND I post endless photos that I am addicted to sharing.  I also do communicate with friends in my comments.  Of course, none of this is annoying to MY friends.

FB has changed in that members can now create groups and post certain things to only those groups, so some folks (son?) can now keep me out of a certain part of their life.  Oh well, it worked for a while and while it has competition with other sites, I will still hang out there for a short while in the morning and late afternoon.

(Yes, I fiddled way too much with the font and I am not going back and changing any more <span> stuff.)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Spring Silliness

Did you read about the canoe trip on my other blog?  Not yet?  Go there and then come back here for the after party....

Did you read it?  OK.

I had to set up this story with the afternoon canoe post you just perused so you can see that I was not on Prozac...just some Tequila, too much sun, hungriness, and good spring weather.  Yes, it was a LARGE Margharita, but in my defense they only listed LARGE and EXTRA LARGE on the menu and in further defense I actually drank only 75% of it.

Well, as elderly people who are off schedule and eating dinner later than usual and who combine that dinner with a cocktail (only me), we easily slid into super relaxed mode after the end of an afternoon in the spring sunshine.  Hubby guessed that we had paddled about 3 miles, which is not a huge amount, but proves we did lots of poking about.

I was dressed in ratty old denim jeans and a denim shirt that had also seen better paddling days.  I had a royal blue Stephen Colbert duck bill cap on my head (in this very conservative county) which mashed my short hair cut and gave me a more boyish/mannish look than I ever wanted.  My face was sunburned and it was shiny from sun-tan lotion.  I just write this, because I am vane enough to state I rarely go out to dinner looking like this and I was self-conscious on top of being tired.  

We ordered our drinks and having been together all afternoon we became silent and began people watching from our window at the restaurant.

While waiting for the guacamole to arrive, I saw a sleek convertible pulling into the parking lot.  There were three people who emerged, an elderly man and woman and one younger woman.  Very conscious of how others were dressing on this beautiful spring evening, I realized I had even forgotten to bring a brush to fix my hair when I removed my baseball cap, so I must have looked like a very lost soul.  Hubby retreated to the restroom while I watched the two woman wearing long flowing skirts and looking so summery nice.  The younger woman was helping them carefully put up the convertible top and returning some new plastic cover to the trunk of the car.  As they shut the car trunk the younger woman reach up to loosen her hair from a tight bun which had held her hair neatly for the windy top down drive.  As she released the pins, silky hair flowed in a wave of the most beautiful brown and shiny sweep that fell across her bare shoulders.  Ummm!  I was feeling even mousier as I took another sip of my Margarita.

When hubby returned from the restroom I made note of the fancy convertible in navy blue and brown to him.  We think the car was an AUDI, but not sure.  I pointed out the lovely lady as they were seated at a table nearby.  Hubby nodded and then said there was a much nicer car catching his eye, but it was behind a more closely parked car and I could not see it from where I sat.  I saw just a bit of the bright yellow hood and silver hub cap.

We continued to people watch, as two young teenage girls with actual flower crowns in their hair entered with their parents.  Just before our entree arrived hubby commented several times again on the fancy yellow car.  I suggested as our meal ended that we go out that way and look at the car.  By then I was feeling a bit fuzzy from the drink and mentioned that we could give customers a laugh as they saw us walking around and around the building thinking we were looking for our car and forgotten where we parked our car---which was on the exact opposite side of the building from this yellow car.  Would they shake their heads at two old people walking in circles...or would they even notice?  Still hubby wanted me to be able to see the car so after we paid the bill we took a right instead of a left at the front door.

A woman in her late 40's with a man in his 60's followed closely behind us as we exited and I suddenly became self-conscious once again of not actually walking to our car.  Being in a silly mood as well, I turned as I held the door open for the woman and said that we were not parked on this side of the restaurant and we had not lost our car!  We KNEW that it was parked on the other side of this building, but wanted to check out a car parked on this side.  She smiled (patiently?) as she held the door for her companion.

"Oh, I get distracted by cars as well," she said and winked at her companion.

I went on to explain it was fancy yellow car.

She put her hand on my shoulder and said, "You know, yellow is my favorite color."

I laughed.

We turned the corner of the building and I pointed out the car at the end of the row.  She smiled again and said "That is my car.  I like to check it out every once in a while as well!"

"Your car?" hubby and I said together.

"Really." she smiled.

"Well, we were admiring it through the window during our dinner," Hubby replied.

"I like to look at it through the window when I eat dinner also!"  she laughed.

"What brand is it?" I asked stupidly.  I know nothing about cars and neither my husband nor I would ever crave such a status symbol, but we were both in a silly mood on this evening...obviously.

"It is mustang."  she smiled.  Her male companion could barely contain himself as he watched our surprise at her having such fun with us.  She had read us from the beginning, I guess, and knew exactly where we were headed at the outset.  Maybe this often happened to her?

Yes, it was their car as we saw them drive past us out onto the highway and we must have made their day.  (The only thing I regretted later is not having children or grandchildren around so that I could have embarrassed them.)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Found It!

Shortly after posting the prior post I found a plastic shoe-box-size container that I had moved all of my seeds into sitting on the top shelf of my closet way up in the dark with the spider webs and dust to keep it company. I opened it, noted most of the seeds are now years old, went outside and scattered a bunch of seeds everywhere in my wildflower bed and raked them in gently and watered. Keeping my fingers crossed.

I then planted small potting containers of sunflower seeds as these get eaten by critters before they get a head start.  Some of the sunflowers we might give away at one of the garden events.  All of this stuff is now going into the ground here and there and anywhere, because the seeds are probably not viable. I certainly do not need to save them.  I have two packets of Forget-Me-Nots and most people know that these are hard to kill even with time.

I have resolved to empty this box and start fresh this fall.

We are now planning some more weeding and then maybe a sunset canoe trip from a nearby woodland park boat ramp. I will, of course, take the camera, and if I see anything worthwhile, I will share.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


My life is better and more normal these days. The meeting in the previous post was a terrific experience.  Yes, I did get a great night's sleep for a change as I was exhausted upon my return.  I met some new and interesting people and found I have much in common with them. The only downer is that few people ate my soybean salad.   I always try to bring something vegan and healthy, but the chile, pulled pork, baked beans, cakes and pies all seemed to be the favorites, as usual.  Next year I am bringing fudge---or some really decadent pie.  Screw it!

I spent today looking for my file container of seeds.  I keep in storage folders and plastic vials with seeds collected from last year and new packets from the seed exchange a while back.  I opened the portable carrier that was labeled "Seeds and Plants" and not a single seed was inside!  All my notes and plant information and plant stakes were there...but not a single packet or container of seeds?  I know that I cleaned out the old seeds last year, but am totally lost about where I put the new stuff that I got from the seed exchange.  I am also missing a batch of plastic vials that may or may not have seeds?

I looked into another file carrier that had a lot of travel brochures, maps, notes, etc.  AND another carrier that has some older files.  As an elder it is easy for me to get distracted, so, I spent the better part of the day sorting through this old stuff.  I actually had old pay statements and evaluation reviews from my last job!  What a fun time I had shredding those files for the compost pile in the garden!  I threw away a number of items that were dated regarding national and state parks and hotels we had visited, saved some of the old stuff from trips (Jamaica, Ireland) as memories, and made newly labeled file folders for it all.  What a good girl am I. 

Still I cannot find my seeds!

I was going out tonight for dinner and then maybe buy some seeds, but I gave in and have made mole' chicken, friend rice and leftover green beans and we will stay at home. We have never seen House of Cards (the American version) and maybe we will watch two episodes of that.   Hubby is now water spraying the oyster flats of their winter growth and he will be both dirty and exhausted upon his return.  (Maybe he will remember to bring up some oysters for tomorrow's dinner!)  Thus dinner should be waiting for him...not a shower and trip to our local restaurant.

Oh, our osprey (Fred and Ethel) are having a rather risque old time and I will try to remember to post something about that on the next blog.  They returned close to St. Patrick's Day as they always do.  The photo below is not good as it was taken through a window on a rainy day...but you can see how drenched the poor thing was.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


I do not know why age and aging are more on my mind these days.  April is spring and renewal and getting to start new things.  Yet, I am drawn to articles about aging, loss of faculties, changes in outlook and reduction in activities, and even poetry on dying.  Not in a depressing way, but in a thoughtful and curious way.

It does not help that every month or so I notice some new mark on aging in my body or my ability to do things.  I can still put on my pants standing up and I can still get up off the floor without too much difficulty...both actions which I hold close and dear as hallmarks of good health.

As a result of this gloomier mood, I have been more prone to avoid getting together with others unless they are family.  I used to be this way when I was middle-aged (decades ago), but it was just a light mood.  Now when I have a meeting to go to, as I do this evening, I really want to just stay home and curl up with a good book or TV British mystery and some hot tea.  The meeting is a "meet-and greet" for new members and almost everyone that shows up is a wonderful person!  We all have the same interests anyway! Yet, I am not eager to be in welcoming mode and small talk mode and eating a buffet of homemade goodies, for some reason.  It all seems like taking a 5 mile walk in the heat of the day.  I can do it; I know it is good for me; but I do not want to.

I wonder if this is a natural process as we age, because we have less energy and are less eager to think quickly.  I mean, if you looked at me, you would not see someone doddering or slow.  You might actually think that I look fairly good for my age and be impressed that I have many interests.  But maybe this process is to avoid being exposed to illness, avoiding energy draining talk, and preparing us for a time when we will naturally be less active and less conversational?  Of course, there are many elderly, like my husband, who live for "meet and greets" and who will hold audience with many at his deathbed.

Oddly enough, I just wrote on someone's blog that they should look forward to the challenges of getting out and about and not be so withdrawn when they complained of  avoiding going out to dinner with loved ones...little hypocrite that I am.

(I think I figured out how to change the font size in html with this template..not too old.)

Friday, April 10, 2015

Post It

Too busy to post something thoughtful or insightful...which, of course, is my style.  I currently have dirt under my fingernails from weeding the last two beds in the front yard and planting petunias and pansies in a few of the pots on the deck.

I have called two of the Master Gardener volunteers this week for their brief interview and will write up the notes on that when I  am done here.

Calling various handymen for repair work and have made a dent in the fix-it list.  Got our 9 (NINE) smoke alarms rewired, got the outlet to the freezer fixed so that we can now begin stocking it once again...perhaps with spring fruits and jams soon.

Reading Elizabeth Gilbert's "The Signature of All Things" and no matter how many reader blew off "Eat, Pray, Love" (which I read twice) I think this writer has a great talent and ability to write in different styles and I do like her ability to take me away from it all.

Now, I am resting on my laurels and read your blogs during this time.

I drop back, in a few days.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Being Honest(?) With Myself

My blog is anonymous and one of the reasons for that is this odd post below where I am sticking my neck out.

I remember a lecture about prejudice that I attended many years ago when I was "probably" in college.   A black man gave the lecture and one of the very first questions he asked was "Who in the room was racially prejudiced?"  A very few tentatively raised their hands before I cold even get the question around in my mind.  Then he went on to say that every single person in the room was prejudiced to some degree because of their background and experiences.  He included both black and white people in the room.  This was a new concept to me at that time; remember this was almost 50 years ago and I was very young and naive, which brings me to this past weekend.

Easter Sunday was a day my daughter had scheduled for one of her son's birthdays.  Her other son's birthday party was on the Saturday!  They were both born close to Easter.

Daughter selected a museum in Baltimore for the little guy and allowed him to invite his closest friend from preschool. Since my grandson had mentioned this friend a number of times, I was glad to have the opportunity to meet him.  The friend's family came as well...parents and their 2-year-old daughter.  We ate at a seafood chain restaurant and then spent time in the museum designed just for children.  Exhausting for us old types, but lots of fun as well with all the unusual physical activities. 

It was not until well into the afternoon that I realized I had been very careful of my behavior (internally) for most of the day.  The mother of this family was black and the father was white.  I realized that each time I approached their young boy to help or distract in an activity I was conscious of trying to be as 'politically correct' as possible.  Stupid and odd on my part, but I subconsciously kept making sure my actions were balanced and fair and "liberal" between the two four-year-old boys.  I did not want a hint of accidental prejudice to show!  I did not want to make some mistake.  This is a really odd feeling and I have no idea where it came from.  (No bleeding heart liberal comments please!)

I am not prejudiced.  At least I think (hope) I am not.  Then why was I so conscious of  the possibility of making a mistake?  I will honestly admit in my little old lady white world these days, unlike my younger years, I am not around black children very often.  I have a few adult black acquaintances at meetings, etc., but my life is so white bread. ( I am trying to change that with some new volunteer work which is not evolving as I hoped..not even getting off the ground.)

Am I too old for words?  Or am I just overly sensitive?  Am I a relic of the older generation that millennial types try to ignore??  Am I prejudiced and just don't know it?  If you are black, do you sometimes go through this when you are around white kids or is that too dumb a question?

One fact, which is undeniable and which I really do not fear, is that my world is becoming far more plural each day.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Please Tell Me This is Over

You know how they say that things come in threes?  I am beginning to think they come in 33s.  Our nightmare began when we left for Florida to escape winter last month.  On the way out the door Hubby noticed that the keys to our other car were hanging on the key rack just inside the garage door.  He thought it would be prudent to move these elsewhere in case someone did break into the house.  The keys sitting there would give them easy access to stealing the car.  I was busy loading stuff into the other car and said "ok" casually over my shoulder on the way out the door.

Upon our return almost three weeks later, Hubby comes up to me and asks where he hid the keys!  I explained that I did not even see which room he went back into as I was loading the car.  Well, it is now almost a month later and while we have torn the house apart we have not found this second set of keys which will take $500 to replace!

The week after our return hubby's car starts acting up in that it refuses to lock.  The lock on this car was an add-on many years ago when we lived in the apartment and the landlord's son tried to break into the car destroying the lock.  We got a brand new system that worked (somewhat) for years.  Last year we replaced both keys to the tune of several hundred dollars, and now, this year, once again we had a key problem.  Hubby took the car up to a company that fixes locks in cars and they had to replace the entire system (computer chip and all) and we now have two NEW keys for that car!  I would tell you how much it cost,but hubby won't tell me!

Yesterday, after driving hubby to the town up north to pick up his newly re-configured car, I came home and went to unlock the garage door to the house  It is a bit tricky and you have to remember to always turn it to the left and NEVER to the right or the key sticks and you can neither unlock nor get your get back out.  Well, I was hungry, had to go to the bathroom, etc. and completely turned the key the wrong way and was stuck!

We have a hidden key around the back of the house at the patio door and I hurriedly headed in that direction down the hill toward the river side of the house and pulled the key out of its hiding place and put it into the french door lock and TA also stuck and would not turn or unlock the patio door, no matter how much I jigged or jagged!  I was seriously thinking of going to pee in the trees but walked once more back up to the garage and fiddled with that door again and luckily it broke free of its stasis and I got it unlocked and went inside!

Is there some universal key god that is punishing me for some sin I have committed this year?  And what can I do to repent and end this expensive nightmare?  You may remember in a prior post that I have been trying to hire someone to fix the front door latch as well since the front door fails to close correctly and therefore makes it hard to turn the deadbolt with that key.  There must be some bad spell about keeping things in or keeping them out that has been cast my way.

(Oh, I almost left out that they lost hubby's luggage (over 4 days and waiting) on his trip to the tiny island school in the Caribbean last week where there were NO stores and where he had only one pair of underwear.  I also almost forgot to throw into this mess that the breaker outlet failed in the basement for on our chest freezer resulting in the loss of hundreds of dollars of food yesterday!  Good luck has to be around the corner....right?)

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Story Time

Still struggling with this short story assignment.  Each time I listen to a writing lesson I try to incorporate what I have learned and the darn story takes off in a slightly different direction.  As it pulls away, some threads get broken until what I have left is a rather frayed compilation of words and I must go back and repair paragraphs, scenes or dialogue so that it appears to belong to the story.  Each day I admire more those bloggers I read who can write fiction so well on their blog...and elsewhere.

On the good days my analogy is that colors start flowing into each other making magnificent new colors I had not seen emerging, but then I cannot corral the flow into the direction that I want it to go and I have some mosaic that is a free-formed artwork instead of a structured story.

The story does not have the contemporary energy that I find in stories I like to read.  My problem is that when I started to write this I was sort of in the genre of Virginia Wolfe because that had been the example given in the lesson.  Lord knows, I am not Virginia Wolfe but the rhythm and flow had been set, so just like a Yoga exercise I am going to stretch in that direction and hope that I do not fall over and break something along the way.

At least I am secure in that I now seem to have found an ending that I like and therefore my path is a bit clearer. The photo above is much like my story...poorly framed and poorly cropped right now.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Paris in the Springtime

I am in the process of planning a spring trip on a river cruise through France in the spring.  Please do not be jealous of my opportunity, but share my joy and I hope you will enjoy my sharing the trip in photos, a few, later.  Yes, I am very, very lucky to be able to afford such an expensive trip, and in truth, I am spending my children's inheritance, but I also have TIME chasing behind me and reminding me that these travels will not be so easy or even enjoyable as I age.

Some folks (those who have discretionary income) spend money on homes or jewels or sports or fancy cars or even fancier hotels, or their children and grandchildren but my money goes to travel.  So much of the world still to see before we destroy it all and find ourselves involved in global terrorism and maybe even war. I have been reading about the history of France and feel that much has not changed from the 1600's and 1700's except for the speed with which hatred and prejudice and war and rich taking advantage of the ignorance and powerlessness of the poor can travel and spread.  That does sound like a depressing note, but we are an ugly species and hard pressed to see others viewpoints.  They have their history of genocide just like we do.

I never really wanted to see France among the many places of the world, but this will be a trip with my sister whom I see so few times and really am looking forward to the close memory making.  

According to Gertrude Stein the French did not invent the "croissant" but it came about as the result of Ukrainian soldiers making bread and using a Turkish recipe during a war.  I have no idea if this is true because Gertrude Stein rarely uses commas and writes in a sort of stream of consciousness style but it is a lovely idea.  

In my reading I am surprised at how France has come about much like us from disparate groups of people over the years.  Gauls, Romans, Flemish, etc. have combined to create this complex culture.  The mapping of the country over the years created three major and many other meridian line claims and maybe I will see one or two.  The Tour de France was a commercial enterprise that became more successful and very different from its original race with country picnics along the route.

Anyway, I will be leaving at the end of May and hope it is not too canned an experience and I just thought I would share.