Posted in Family

I Want to be Old Enough

“Ohmygod, Mom . . . ”  says any one of my children interchangeably.  This is how I know I have said/done something eccentric/old-fashioned/embarrassing/inappropriate.  And I, quite proudly will smile and say, “What?”

Years ago, working in the coffee shop of a popular book store, I saw a little old woman with a pleasant smile, hunched over a display.  She wore a cap on top of her freshly dyed auburn hair.  This was no ordinary cap.  This cap had bill on the front and was hand-crocheted in the brightest hot-pink yarn ever made.

Old People Crossing

I watched her for a minute, and then told my young coworker, “That is what I want to be when I grow up.”  She looked amusingly at the small-framed woman, now shuffling off to another table, and then back at me.  “I want to be old enough to wear a hot-pink crocheted hat in public, and have everyone go on about their business like it is a perfectly normal thing to do.”

Elderly people do and say the most astonishing things.  Why, a couple of months ago, I saw one stop in the middle of a four-lane road, put his truck into reverse, and despite the vehicle behind honking like a banshee, backed full-throttle into it.  It appeared he had missed his turn.  Stopping to give my name and number as  a witness to the accident, the old man exited his car with a “Whoops!” look on his face and a shrug.

"Grampa" Simpson
“Grampa” Simpson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During their later years, Gramma and Grampa said some horribly embarrassing things while we were in public.  You see, Gramma had a very weak voice.  And Grampa had a severe loss of hearing.  They remarked on politics, drug use, the decline of America, the uselessness of the next generation, and even old people.  That last one always confused me.

You could see it coming.  Gramma would zero-in on the “poor soul” wearing a tie-dyed shirt or bell bottoms, then discretely lean over to Grampa and say the offensive remark in his ear.  She’d say something like, “You know those young people are all smoking the marijuana these days.”  Then Grampa would look at her like she had two heads and shout, “Eh?”  (They were Canadian by birth.)  And that was my cue to put down my fork and duck under the table.

My own mother told a completely inappropriate joke at the Christmas Eve table one year.  I responded, “Mother!”  and my son echoed, “Gramma!”  She upped the ante by replying, “What?  You think your grandpa and I never did it?”  Mom was a good fifteen years older than I am, so I have time to hone my skills.

Today on our morning run to get coffee (Coke for Bubba), treats for the dog, and little donut holes so good we call them deep-fried crack, the following conversation took place:

ME:  That guy had a sticker on his car that said Take me to Regions Hospital.  Is he sick?  He’s driving. . . can’t he take himself there on his own?
BUBBA:  That’s for if gets in a wreck.
ME:  If he gets an erect?
BUBBA:  Yes, that’s for if he has an erection that lasts more than four hours and he needs to talk to his doctor . . .

I’m not quite there yet, but I think I’m getting closer.

Peace . . .

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Posted in Lore

My Biological Clock Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking

Make no mistake.  I gave birth to four wonderful children, and that is quite enough.  I am elbows deep in menopause, and the last thing on my mind is having another.  But today I heard a strange ticking . . .

At a restaurant, a little boy came out of the restroom with his dad.  His mom was our server.  He said, “Mom!  I go poo-poo!”  On their way out, he walked up to another table and told them, “We’re going to the park!”

I found myself wanting one just like him.  Not for keeps, of course.  Just for the day, or the hour, or an overnight.  What I am looking for, of course, is a grandchild!

. . . tick, tick, tick . . .

Other women before me have mentioned this deep yearning.  To be honest, I thought they were crazy.  Hormonal voices of people with nothing better to do than spoil one of their unsuspecting offspring’s children.  How can you be “ready” to have a grandchild?

. . . tick, tick, tick . . .

The dogs and gardens satisfy my urge to nurture, protect, and keep something alive.  I certainly have enough to keep myself busy between work, errands, home maintenance and self-preservation.  What then, am I missing?

As a grown up, I have expectations.  I can’t go around saying poo-poo in my outside voice at a restaurant.  I can’t go up to strangers and tell them what I get to do next, much less expect them to get excited with me.  I can’t scream when I’ve had enough of the grocery store, and I can’t stare at people who look interesting.

. . . tick, tick, tick . . .

I miss having someone around who experiences all those things in an honest, whole-hearted, genuine way.  Little children remind me of the person I want to be.  I want to cry hard, laugh till I can’t breathe, and fall asleep anywhere.  I want to learn new things.  I want to cry and throw a tantrum when it’s time to go to work.  I want to see the wonder in very simple things.

. . . tick, tick, tick . . .

I want to play on the rocking pig . . .

06.08.2013.17

. . . okay, so maybe I’m just looking for a buddy on the playground . . .

. . . tick, tick, tick . . .

Peace . .

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Posted in Family, Room and Board

My Week of PTO, Part 3

Wednesday Weather
Wednesday Weather

Wednesday, Day 3:

Wide awake at 2:00 a.m.  It happens, especially at a certain age, as I am told.  At least I don’t have to go to work today.  On work days I usually get back to sleep within 20 minutes of my alarm going off.  But on this morning I wandered out to my computer to plan some menus until sleep once again requested my presence.

I planned some healthy breakfasts that sounded really great until I was ready to eat.  By that time, all I wanted to do was snack.  If I ever retire, this grazing at home will kill me in a month.  Nuts.  Dried Fruit.  Yogurt.  Berries.  Granola.  Oh sure, it’s all healthy, but you can’t eat it ALL!

Reading and writing took up most of the morning.  Then I ventured outside at noon.  The sun was shining and the last of the snow was melting.  I was finally feeling comfortable setting up my straw bale garden.  There were hopes of getting it going about 15 days ago, but I’m glad I waited.  This has been some spring, eh?

The back yard is a muddy mess right now.  My neighborhood is on a hill.  I am in the middle.  My first inclination was to build a trench through my yard so that all the water that comes from my neighbors up the hill would drain through to the neighbors down the hill.  But then I had a revelation.

The clouds opened up and the angels sang.

cloud

Well, it was almost like that.

I realized this is the same stinking thinking that all the people up the hill have which leads to the mud lake in my back yard.  I decided that I would like to make a rain garden to keep the water from flowing downhill and into the lakes and streams.  It is still just a mud lake, but someday I will make it into a rainwater garden.

Plus the little pup runs for Frisbees back there, and she is ripping it up good!  I almost took a couple spills out there — which actually would have been pretty funny!

The afternoon was spent streaming movies and surfing the internet until my youngest called asking if we were still going out for coffee.  At about that time Bubba came home and I realized I was un-showered and looking like I had wandered in off the street.  Ah . . . this is what PTO looks like!

I met my daughter at the local bookstore/coffee shop where I used to work.  The staff has almost completely turned over since I was employed there, and we were left alone to chat all evening.  Life.  Love.  Money.  School.  Peace . . .

Me:  After I divorced your dad, people would ask me if I was happier.  And I would tell them I didn’t know if I was happier, but I was more at peace.
Her:  Oh.
Me:  That’s all I really want for you kids.  Right now you are under a lot of stress.  Money is tight, and you’ve made some bad choices.
Her:  Yeah.
Me:  My hopes for you — for any of you kids — is not to make money, or get married, or have children.  You make your own brand of happiness.  All I want for you is to be at peace.
Her:  Yeah.
Me:  The hippies were on to something.
Her:  (Smiling) Yeah.  They were.
Me:  You know, happiness isn’t everything.  Peace is huge.  And actually, money might not buy happiness, but it can buy a certain amount of peace.
Her:  I’m going to post that on Facebook.

I guess this is how the modern parent knows their kids are listening.  If it shows up on Facebook, you said something worth hearing.

Peace . . .

 

Posted in Lore

Detachable Magazines

Motive fascinates me.  Every choice you make, is governed by motivation.  Whether you get off the couch to use the bathroom, or head to the kitchen, is motivated by a full bladder, an empty stomach, or maybe that Doritos commercial you saw.  Marketers know this.  It is their job to find out what drives you to part with your most prized possession; your MONEY.

diabetic livingJust for fun, browse the magazine isle at your local supermarket.  See if you can figure out what motivates the potential readers just by looking at the picture on the front.

I can tell, for instance, that diabetics will pay for a magazine that tells them they can enjoy a luscious brownie parfait layered with gobs of whipped cream.  Crafters get excited being reminded to start their Christmas projects in July.  Car enthusiasts like to think they can get a scantily-clad woman to lean against their car provocitavely — Okay, okay . . . who doesn’t? — but you get my point.

8579204216_9fb4c0ebd3It makes sense that if a publication appeals to a larger audience, they will have more people who will ultimately fork over their dough.  Consequently, you regularly see articles for “Look your best in your 30s, 40s, and over 50.”

The age bracket I now fall into is “over 50.”  Apparently, I am no different than those in their 60s, 70s, 80s or even 90s.  We are all lumped together.  I am as likely to have ads directed at me for retirement, golf courses, and expensive vacations, as I am adult diapers and nursing homes.  If the baby boomer generation has the purchasing power they say we do, the marketers haven’t figured it out yet.

retirementEven the wrinkle-repair skin cream is advertised by models at least twenty years younger than myself.  Is it time for me to say goodbye to pretty cosmetics and succumb to false teeth and slippers?  Many of us in our 50s, 60s and 70s are still actively working out, buying computers, having *gasp* SEX, wearing make-up, and looking for some trendy fashion.  I have peers raising young children and starting new careers.  We grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.  We wrote the book on groovy and invented free love!  Now your going to tell us it’s time to tie a sweater around our shoulders and ride a bike with a basket on the front?  Hold on here!

I actually enjoy reading Cosmopolitan.  The fashion news is up to date, and the sex tips are always fun.  But when scantily clad boys stare seductively at me from the pages, I can’t help but feel uncomfortable.  Would it hurt to have one guy with a little grey at the temples . . . I mean, just to represent the small percentage of their readership over the drinking age?

I’d like to think I’m still a marketable demographic.  Yet, opening up the pages of this national publication, I found that this cover story actually included How to Dress in Your 30s, 40s, 50s and also 60s.

More_2

If you remember nothing else about advertising, remember this:

Nothing is an accident.

While I applaud their effort to include women in their 60s, from a marketing perspective, thirty-somethings are not going to pay for pictures of clothing for old people.  It is more profitable to this editor to sell publications to the younger group than the older one.  Thus, the 60-year old customer was not advertised to, and she will have to stumble onto the article by chance.

Are the “50 and over” customers a tough crowd?  Maybe we have grown too wise to be fooled out of our money.  After all, I know the models are airbrushed, and I’m never going to see my abs again.  (They left, actually, without leaving so much as a note.)  I don’t need advice on asking my boss for a raise.  (If I’m lucky they won’t notice I’m still there drawing a paycheck.)  I know diets are a farce and I plan on living each day like there are no brownies in heaven.  Only the AARP is still marketing to me, sending me eleven brochures every month.  So far, not even the promise of member savings and a secret handshake have been enough to loosen my purse strings.

Opening the magazine below, I was promised ageless, chic looks.  I found only . . . good God! . . . the Bride of Frankenstein!

And they wonder how they’ve lost the purchasing power of the baby boomers!

bride of frankenstein

ageless

Posted in Lore

Just The Way I Am

There was a WordPress daily prompt some time ago asking what one would say to one’s 14-year old self.  The prompts make me think, and maybe one of these days I will even join in.

This particular prompt I found very intriguing.  In the days that passed, I found myself thinking more about it.  No answer to the question really moved me, until this morning.  I felt like listening to music, and I set my iPod to play anything it damn well wanted to.  The first song that came up was Bruno Mars, Just The Way You Are.

I was already looking in the mirror, and smiled at myself.  I hadn’t realized how seldom I see my own smile.  That’s not to say I don’t smile, but I rarely do it genuinely in the mirror.  The way my eyes lit up and the lines turned to joy surprised me.  It has taken a half of a lifetime to accomplish, but I do like myself just the way I am.  I thought about my young self, sans the fine lines of the years, with soft, silky hair, stronger, nimbler.  How did that young girl lack appreciation for her beauty?  Where was her confidence in body and spirit?

I thought of singing that song to her . . . and my face turned to sorrow.  I cried for the love I should have given her; for the mental abuse she suffered from herself.  Lastly, I smiled for the long-overdue love I can now give this youngster, residing deep inside me.

Ignore the kissing the lips part, it’s just weird in this context.  And if my two daughters are reading this . . . Girls, you are amazing just the way your are . . .

Oh, her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they’re not shinin’
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday
Yeahh

I know, I know
When I compliment her she won’t believe me
And it’s so, it’s so
Sad to think that she don’t see what I see
But every time she asks me “Do I look okay? “
I say

[Chorus:]
When I see your face (face face…)
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile smile…)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
Yeah

[Verse 2:]
Her lips, her lips
I could kiss them all day if she’d let me
Her laugh, her laugh
She hates but I think it’s so sexy
She’s so beautiful
And I tell her everyday

Oh you know, you know, you know
I’d never ask you to change
If perfect’s what you’re searching for
Then just stay the same
So don’t even bother asking if you look okay
You know I’ll say

[Chorus:]
When I see your face (face face…)
There’s not a thing that I would change
‘Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile (smile smile…)
The whole world stops and stares for a while
‘Cause girl you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

The way you are
The way you are
Girl you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)

[Chorus:]
When I see your face
There’s not a thing that I would change
Cause you’re amazing (amazing)
Just the way you are (are)
And when you smile
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you’re amazing
Just the way you are

Posted in Fun

Destined To Dream

dscn0827Every now and then I have inspiring, thought-provoking dreams.  I have dreamt solutions to problems.  I have dreamt new schemes for life or work.   And then sometimes I have dreams like I did last night.  I dreamt I was looking for a movie.  Not just any movie, but either a horror flick or an erotic film (it was a DREAM . . . remember?)  I don’t watch that stuff in real life.  Whatever . . . .

On the computer was a screen much like what I use at work.  Instead of inventory scrolling down the monitor, it was movies.  In each description line were the genre and gender and ages of the main characters.  It looked like this, except I’m making up the names of the movies because I don’t remember any of the movies listed.

First House on the Right   Horror    male(17), female(15), male(19)
Susie Wants a Slo Poke    Erotic     female(21), male(25)

Time out:  I’m chuckling to myself, because that’s a really funny title for an erotic film, right?  Anyone remember these?

None of the films fit what I was looking for.  I was looking for older main characters.  Something to which I could relate.  I was thinking how I was tired of seeing some stupid teens mess about in the woods after his friend’s head just got ripped off.  And I love the new cable series — admit it, they border on soft porn these days — but I know that no one looks that perfect in real life, and sex does not die at age 35.

dscn0838Is it because writers think that people who are 40/50/60-years old don’t think about getting it on?  Maybe we would think about it more, if they portrayed it more often.  Are we too old to fantasize about the guy next door?  Is it because we cringed at the thought of our own parents having desires?  Instead we are supposed to be gardening and having heart attacks.  Often, if we are depicted in love-making it’s a humorous scene.  All I’m asking for is equal time in a seriously dirty scene.

dscn0834As for the horror scenes, wouldn’t it be scarier to see Grampa climbing up to check out the knocking in the attic than some 30-year old?  He isn’t as strong, not as quick, and nobody wants to see Grampa get hauled off by bloody claws.  That’s just spine-tingling, nightmare-ridden stuff!  I feel Gramps is a forgotten character in the spooky flick genre.

If the older generation are represented in terrorizing scenes, they are often the cause of it.  They don’t want you to guess who dunnit, so it’s kids or old people — who would suspect the innocent child or helpless elder?  Where is the older victim?  I want to see a demon beast roaming the halls of a senior center.  How scary is that?

dscn0820
The Demon Beasts in my basement

 

Posted in Lore

A Certain Age

Happy Birthday?          Yes please!

It’s been an interesting year.  Almost a year ago, to the day, I turned fifty.  It was no big deal.  Just another birthday.  It’s only a number.  That was before my body rose up against me.

Every symptom I Googled brought up an article that started with the words “At a certain age . . .”  WHAT certain age?  Surely I’m not at any certain age.

Look, it took me forty years to feel beautiful in my body, only to find a completely different one now, just a few years later.  What cruel joke is this?

Well I’m not going back to hating myself and despising the person in the mirror.  There is another birthday looming, and I am determined to find the beauty in my new self.

The following is what I have come up with so far:

  • Older and wiser.  The decisions I make are based on experience, not whim or intuition.  When people ask my opinion they take it to heart.
  • Beautiful.  People are beautiful.  Faces are stories.  Eyes are windows.  My face and eyes say I have a story.
  • Confidence.  Having experience brings confidence.  As I age, I am more confident in the beliefs I hold, based on my experiences.  Having confidence allows me to be myself.  Right out loud.  Ever wonder why Gramma Shirley was so outspoken?  The span of life experience and the confidence it gave her, earned her to right to speak up.  I can’t wait to be really old so I can say some really outrageous stuff!
  • Death defying.  Let’s face it.  Every day is a gamble.  Step out your door and you take your life in your own hands.  Heck, stay in and suffer stroke or fall on a wet floor.  I have made it through FIFTY-ONE Minnesota winters and have lived to tell about it.  As of this writing, I have defied death 18,625 days in a row!
  • Touch.  Never underestimate the power of human contact.  As we age, we are touched less and less.  It is a hunger from which many don’t even know they are starving.  Hug much.  Squeeze a hand.  Kiss a cheek.  Pat a back.  Link an elbow.  Nudge an arm in jest.  It is the one gift I receive as I give.
  • Openness.  I keep my mind open, and let everything fly in.  I believe it is when we close our mind to ideas and people that we become old.  I’ve met a great deal of young people who seem very old because they have closed their minds to new things.  And my heart.  I keep my heart open.dscn0572
  • Hands.  My hands may be arthritic, but they can type my thoughts.  They can prepare meals, work in the garden and scratch a dog’s ear.  They wear rings that carry meaning for me.  They remind me of my mother’s own arthritic hands which never stopped moving despite her limitations.
  • Peace.  The opposite of peace is fear.  Fear comes from worrying about what has happened in the past or will happen in the future.  There is only now.  Right now, and only now, can I choose to be at peace.
  • Passion.  For life, for love, for creation.  My passion starts and ends with me.  No one can give it to me, nor can they steal it for their own.  On these pages are my passion.  Enjoy it, hate it, comment on it, but you will not feel it as I feel it.  And as long as I feel it, I am new.

Clicking on the cupcake photo above will bring you to a recipe for
Brownie Batter Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes
on Kevin & Amanda’s Recipes/Delicious recipes to spice up your dinner rotation.