Monday, December 26, 2011

A Christmas Hope

This morning, the day after Christmas, I opened the newspaper to see the blood red letters spell “Christmas Day Killings” and large black bold print shouting, “Apparent murder-suicide leaves 7 dead in Grapevine” making my heart shutter for a minute or two. No, it wasn’t my family or friends. No, I don’t live in Grapevine but the city that has a main street like the one I grew up had is close to me. Too close for comfort. I’ve always known on an intelligential level that the Christmas season can bring out the best in us and it can bring out the worst in some of us. I’m feeling it now after this morning.

This Christmas I experienced the best. Step-children and grandchildren who made time for me and seemed thrilled that they were able to finally give me a gift that I didn’t have and really wanted– a Color Nook. The best part though was that they still know me so well even though our lives have become disconnected in some ways. I was able to spend the day before Christmas with girlfriends, enjoying a movie, a meal, and laughs together. Christmas Eve was a gift from two very special friends who shared their hearts and their Christmas spirit with me and another friend. Christmas lights at the Gaylord, dinner, wine, great conversation and so much laughter and joy gave me one of the best times I’ve had in years. You can’t wrap a bow around that but I wish you could. Thank you so much, David & Lesly!

Spending Christmas Day with the special man in my life, my son, was another gift you can’t wrap. Christmas cards, phone calls from a dear friend in Mississippi, a texted Merry Christmas from my brother whom I haven’t seen since I was 20, Facebook Merry Christmas greetings from old school friends and family, an e-mail from my best high school guy friend: in person or snail mail or electronically, they all mean so much to me.

I had a most wonderful Christmas. One family and friends in Grapevine didn’t. I can’t help from wondering why such a horrible thing could happen. My heart and prayers goes out to their loved ones. And I also realize just how blessed I am to have had such a wonderful Christmas. I hope that yours was too and we carry all the joy and love we were fortunate enough to experience this Christmas into our New Year!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Today’s Sunday newspaper is full of ads, articles on e-readers, and Black Friday. I really want an e-reader, and a new camera, and the new dance Wii game. I really want new clothes as the ones I have don’t fit me like I’d like them to. I tell my friends that I’ve grown up but my clothes haven’t. They are still immature. I want new pillows to brighten up my living room. I want, want, want… And yes, I just noticed that I didn’t list any “I need”.

I remember thinking years ago when I was what I considered “young” that once folks reached retirement age, they didn’t need much money. I never remember seeing my grandmother go shopping. Not for fun, that’s for sure. She had everything she needed and was content. My mother was entirely different. She had everything she needed too. A house that was paid for, furniture for every room, a car, a TV, shelves of books and a closet full of clothes. But she loved to go shopping. It was a grand adventure for us. At least once a month and sometimes more, we spend a Saturday going to the “city” to shop. Sometimes we went to Carroll, a mere 30 minute drive. Or to Ft. Dodge, a 45-minute drive. We often went to Sioux City, Iowa, which was an hour and a half drive and occasionally, for a special treat, we’d go to Omaha, a three-hour drive.

Shopping in the cities were always adventures for us. We’d shop a bit,have a leisurely lunch in the dining room in a large department store or a hotel, then shop a while more before heading back home. It didn’t dawn on me until I started thinking about writing this blog that I never remember my mother buying anything for herself. She always bought for me, saying that’s what gave her the most pleasure and that she didn’t need anything else.

So why do I still have the “I wants”? Because I’m not content with myself or my life? Maybe at one time, but not at this stage of my life. So what has changed? I honestly hate shopping now. It’s no longer a pleasurable adventure. The malls are too crowded, the parking lots too crowded, the people too rude and too loud. And God knows, there isn’t anything I need or want bad enough to go shopping on Black Friday—even if they were giving it away. Maybe my “I wants” aren’t really clothes, pillows, e-reader, but the going back to the time when shopping was an opportunity to spend quality time with a loved one and creating memories more than buying stuff. I guess that maybe that means that my “wants” are really “needs” after all. They are just aren’t the tangible ones. Time for a road trip to Canton or Salado I think. Who wants to go with me?

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time Thief??

A dear friend asked me why I didn’t post a blog last Sunday and I answered, “I didn’t have time.” That comment has haunted me ever since I wrote her that. Because it was true and it shouldn’t be. So….I want know who did it. Who stole time away from me? And don’t blame age. Age has nothing to do with it. In fact, now that I’m older, I should have more spare time.

After all, it doesn’t take me that long to do my hair in the mornings since I have so little of it now. It doesn’t take much time to put on my makeup since I’ve stopped wearing foundation after reading it shows the wrinkles more. And except for special occasions, of which there aren’t many, I don’t bother with eye liner either. I’ve noticed that my eye-hand coordination tends to be a little shaky lately and my eyeliner ends up looking like last week's stock market line graphs, bullish to my eyebrow and then bearish to my cheek bone.

It doesn’t take as long to clean house it seems or maybe it’s just that I don’t care as much as I used to. Even if I’m wearing my glasses, I tend not to see the dust bunnies or wads of dog hair until they attack bomber-style or I start having sneezing fits.

I still remember the good old days when I commuted to work, on a good day, one hour one-way, on a bad day, two to three hours one-way. I cooked and kept house for one husband, two teenage boys, two dogs and one cat while attending college night classes, the guys’ softball games, etc.

So what happened to all of my time? I still work, but my commute is 15 minutes one way. I only have myself and two little dogs to take care of, clean up after and feed. I exercise only two hours a week and try to limit myself to only one hour or so of TV time per night. So I ask ya, again? Where does all my time go for heaven’s sake? I still have the same 24 hours a day that I did years ago.

Hum….. Wonder if it could be all the time that I spend on the computer reading everyone’s blogs or the news or checking my e-mails or Facebook or playing games? Naw, it couldn’t take up that much of my time and energy, could it? After all, technology is supposed to make our life simpler, easier, right?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Blogging Well Refill

It’s been a dry spell for blogging lately. I’d told myself I was quitting when I hit the magical 52 weeks (equaling one full year of blogs) but I pooped out at 51. It just wasn’t worth it, I thought. Outside of my loyal and dear soul sister, I doubted if anyone even missed them so why bother. Plus I had better things to do with my time. Wrong on both cases.

First, I’ve realized that I’ve been blogging for myself all this time. It’s a way to keep my mind and fingers moving in a more creative way than playing Pogo Scrabble and keeps my eyes on the lookout for topics to write about. It’s a way to keep true to myself about where I really am in this life, this year, this week, and today. Without blogging, I’m finding that I’m in danger of becoming the proverbial ostrich with my long skinny neck and head in the sand.

Secondly, like everyone else, I do have lots of things to do with my time. Clean house, mend clothes, do laundry, weed, read, go for walks with the pups, shop, redecorate, paint, write, etc. And since I still work full time, I don’t have enough time to do those things and blog too. Ha!

I took my first full week of vacation in over ten years this past week. Guess what? I started off with a bang but by Wednesday I’d started pooping out. By Friday I was nearly comatose, prone on the couch watching TV in between naps. Now the pups loved it, I admit. But like most of us baby boomers, I was raised by parents who were raised with the Puritan ethics that only by hard work is your being justified. So instead of enjoying relaxing on the couch and the warmth of my pups, I mentally beat myself up for not getting up and doing something worthwhile which then sent me spiraling into a depression which then….

My vacation officially over, I will start work tomorrow well-rested and with a clean garage, a repaired wall where a previous pup had gnawed the sheetrock to the metal, clean and polished bottom kitchen cabinets, some laundry done, quality time spent with my son on a day trip to McKinney, a fun day out shopping with a girlfriend, and two very content and well-loved pups. Plus I’m back to blogging for another year. Maybe it was a productive vacation week after all!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Two-Stepping Back the Time

I went country-western dancing again last Sunday evening with a group of young savvy senior singles. Sundays are when the older set goes dancing, you know. It’s fun watching the old folks get out on the dance floor especially since they haven’t gotten the message that they’re old yet. Women still dress to please men at the dance club. One woman caught my eye as she colorfully two-stepped across the dance floor in her tight sequined pants and shimmering turquoise top. She looked good and she knew it. Another gal, an escapee from the Red Hat Society, stood out about the sea of heads with her red wide-brimmed cowboy hat.

It’s easy to identify the couples who have spent a lifetime together. They move as one on the dance floor. It was hard not to secretly sigh as I watched them, wishing I’d been able to have a lifetime of dancing with my loved one. I also wondered why I was there, especially since I’m not that good a dancer. Still, I accepted every request to dance, even being silly enough to get out there and do the twist. (My hip wasn’t too happy with me about that one the next few days.) But when I started getting out of breath, had to use my inhaler, and realized I couldn’t follow most of the gentlemen I was dancing with, I told myself that this is something I shouldn’t be doing again.

But two images from that night remain in my mind taunting this decision: An old man, back hunched and feet shuffling to a nearby table, asked a young woman to dance. She graciously accepted. His lined face broke into a wide smile and while his back remained rounded; his feet became alive when they hit the dance floor. A dance turned into an instant shot of youthfulness with little side effects. I saw another scene that made my heart warm, a woman obviously in her 80’s beaming as a young cowboy gently two-stepped her across the dance floor. When the dance was over, she leaned against him for support on their way back to her table, her face flushed with joy and youth. She now had a story to tell and something to dream about again.

Maybe if I take some dance lessons….

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Cool 65

I missed blogging last Sunday but I had a good excuse. No A/C in a record-breaking Texas heat wave tends to divert all creative thinking into strict survival mode. The week before that I suffered a computer virus. OMG! With the famine in Southern Somalia, the heat wave, and the computer virus, doomsday cannot be far behind, can it? Of course not but I will admit to having a full-fledge meltdown of “what if?” for a minute or two before I called the air conditioning repair man for the third time.

I also turned 65 since my last blog – a number I mentally was terrified of. Surprise of surprises—I didn’t vaporize into my grandmother as I feared. In fact, just the opposite. Unplanned and unexpectedly, I’m finding 65 to be freeing. All of a sudden, “what will they think?” has been replaced with “who cares what they think?”. So who cares if the adorable sleeveless top I fell in love with shows my old lady arms? It makes me feel pretty and that’s what counts. So what if I went boot-scooting last Sunday evening with friends and danced until I was breathless (which was about 2/3 through the first dance)? I had a blast and I didn’t have a heart attack. Who cares that I can’t touch my toes in my exercise class? I’m content to keep on showing up at class and so is the instructor.

Was I trying to find my youth by going to a Harley Davidson Garage Party to support a friend’s daughter’s marketing event? No way. But you know what? It was interesting, entertaining, and I saw a Harley Davidson jacket I really, really want. I attended a stimulating panel discussion on To Kill a Mockingbird this week so I think I have a healthy balance. Now if I can start eating healthy and keep on exercising and somehow stay cool in this Texas heat wave, I will keep looking for more opportunities to enjoy life at 65. It won't be fast lane but it's going to be enough for me to become a cool 65!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summertime Blues Book Review

What does this baby boomer blog about when this baby boomer does nothing but goes to work, goes to two work-out classes from Hell, eats at Al’s Hamburgers on Friday nights, and has breakfast at the Neighborhood Café on Saturdays? Think I’m a rut? Lol. Hey, the exercise classes are a new addition and I order a grilled cheese sandwich at Al’s Hamburgers!

Getting back to my subject of nothingness, based on this past Saturday morning at breakfast with dear friends, we baby boomers sometimes find conversation challenging. Mr. D was being a bit peckish because his wife and I were discussing our health issues. He said we were talking “old folks’ talk”. Okay, so he's younger than we are--his day will come. It didn’t seem help either when I, trying to polite and include him in the conversation, asked about his next colonoscopy. I mean, doesn’t he watch the tv show, Men of a Certain Age? If you don’t either, you got to! Great insight to guys’ minds, gals. Talking about work was off limits at the breakfast table, and frankly, we were too bummed out over Oslo’s tragedy and the big boys in Washington playing “Blind Man’s Bluff”. And then there’s the heat! I think we are all really tired of hearing the weatherman tells how many days it’s been hot. We know that already! Even if we never ventured out into the front or back yard, our electric bill would tell us.

So as in real life, when it gets too intense for comfort, I turn to books. I just finished Lisa Scottoline’s latest novel, Save Me and I loved it. I’m surprised, too. Not because I don’t like this author, I love her, but because this particular novel starts off with a raging school fire. I escaped from a fire many years ago and once you’ve been through something like that, the senses never forget. But Ms. Scottoline had captured this reader and carried me through the flames into the main story – a woman who had to choose between saving her daughter or someone else’s. Rose does what we like to think we would do—manage to save them both.

Perfect ending? No, only the beginning of a powerful, compelling story of a woman who did the right thing and it backfired. She finds herself being sued and criminal charges filed against her for abandoning the child she carried to safety before going back for her own daughter, Melly. She can lose her home, her husband and perhaps even her freedom. As she struggles to find out what went wrong, why Amanda, the other little girl, went back into the burning school cafeteria, she also has to face her past and the secret she’s kept from everyone, even her husband.

Lisa Scottoline, a prestigious trial lawyer is unique author, one who can write women’s fiction that holds you capture until the very end and nonfiction that will make you split your sides from laughing. I didn’t discover Lisa until I saw her first nonfiction book, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog sitting on a shelf at Barnes & Noble. I normally don’t pick books just because of their title but come on, this was so different and I’m such a dog lover, no way was I going to pass it up. Her next nonfiction book, My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space is just as warm and funny and fast-pace as her first. Lisa also writes a delightfully humorous weekly column that you can read on her website:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Camp HRC - False Advertisement!

Okay, I am making this my official charge of misrepresentation and false advertising by a local rec center. This summer I had decided it was time for me to get physically fit. Please note that I did not end that sentence with “again”. Not with my history of being one of the few to have flunked gym class in the 60’s thanks to President Kennedy’s national fitness program. No way could I do twenty-five pushups, five chin-ups and scurry up some darn rope back then! I’d lost most of my baby fat by the time I was in high school but my idea of exercising was turning pages in whatever novel I had my nose in or riding shotgun in a speed boat while everyone else water-skied.

When I studied the rec center’s catalogue of activities, I immediately vetoed the Energize Exercise class that promised that I’d like to exercise in the morning and feel energized all day because I knew I didn’t and wouldn’t. I passed on the Spin & Sweat class because I already have a problem with dizziness and no way do I like to sweat. It just feels yucky. The class for Active Independents sounded good but it was all daytime classes. Apparently the rec center hasn’t gotten the message most of us baby boomers can’t afford to retire so we need evening classes.

I finally settled on signing up for Camp HRC. The title sounded scary until I read the class description, “Do you have low back pain, feel sluggish, and just physically unconditioned? Exercise can prevent, treat and cure diseases associated with poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.” Hum…. I met all of the qualifications, so it must be the class for me.

Here’s where I got in trouble. I take things literally. Therefore, I assumed that if someone was leading a sedentary lifestyle, their exercise class should be fairly sedentary to start off with. Like musical chairs or a slow hokey pokey perhaps. So when I walked in and saw folks dragging out mats, huge rubber balls and weights, I figured I had the wrong class. “Oh no, you have the right class,” I was reassured by a group of very friendly folks about my age. “You better start with the light weights, one pounders.” So far so good. I knew some yoga and I figured I could handle the hand weights so I picked up the 3 and 5 pound ones as well.

“So what do you do with the ball?” I asked. “Sit on it while you do your hand weights?” “Yes.” Cool, I could handle that. “While you lay back on the ball facing the ceiling.” Huh? The darn ball was a size of a small planet. “So how do I get back up?” “We’ll help you.” At that point, I turned to run away, but they quickly locked the gym door on me. Class started and I immediately realized while the class was titled Camp HRC. Our instructor had to be an escaped drill sergeant from some military boot camp and HRC had to stand for Help me, Rescue me, and Crisis, I’m crashing!

After a ten minute warm-up from hell that caused me to sweat profusely and pant, we then proceeded to do pushups, crunches, planks, free weights, lifts, toe balances and squats. I was back in high school again, only this time with a 50-year older body. After class, these very nice classmates came over to me (probably to see if they needed to call 911) and reassured me that when they’d first started this class two years ago, they’d had the same problems! “After a year or two, you’ll get the hang of it,” they said. We’ll see.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Betty

I ran into an old friend yesterday while shopping. My hair was a sweaty mess, I had no makeup on, and I was wearing a sleeveless top that exposed my old lady arms and a pair of baggy jeans that drooped along with my rear. Isn’t it that way it always happens? Except—this was the way I looked, minus the sweaty hair, earlier in the day when I met two friends for breakfast. Ah, the joys of growing up.

I apologized with the customary, “Doesn’t it always happen this way – running into someone you know when looking a mess,” as I greeted Diane. We exchanged the typical “How have you been” and “how’s the kids” and “Gee, I’ve been thinking of you,” before she asked, “Are you still living alone?” When I said yes, she looked at me and smiled, “You like it, don’t you? Living alone?” Without any hesitation, I said, “yes, I actually do.” She nodded and said, “I thought so.”

Sitting this morning at the computer, still in my pj’s, my hair uncombed, wondering what to blog about and procrastinating the best I could, I played computer scrabble, then decided to check on what my favorite blogger, Dominique Browning, had written to see if I could get some blog inspiration. As always her blog was entertaining and thought-provoking. She sometimes has great links and I followed one this morning to where I discovered my future.

A blog entry in written by Roz Warren titled The Library Witch starts off with “Betty wanders through the library muttering… In her 70’s with scraggly gray hair and a hard, troubled gaze, she resembles a witch, but in baggy sweats and faded T-shirt…..”

By now I am lol when I should be wondering why I am laughing. The red cardinal who only visits me when I’m blogging or should be blogging raps on the still-clean window and Petie, my one-eye sweet pup, is pawing my leg to be picked up.

I continued reading. “..Bob, the man who brings Betty in (the library) isn’t her husband. We don’t know what he is. All we know is that he sits down at a computer and ignores her, leaving her to wander the library unsupervised…..What will become of Betty? She’ll probably continue to haunt our library until she manages to spark a conflict with one of crazy patrons…Betty will glance at Old Baldy the wrong way and the next thing you know, we’ll have a good old cat fight on our hands.”

This, of course, isn’t my future. It’s about another Betty, much older than me. All we have in common is our name and our love of libraries. So far. But as I enjoy living my life as I choose, dressing up or down as I like, reading and laughing out loud at something someone else might not find funny, while shouting and waving away a demented cardinal, I think I might consider making a few changes—starting with showering, doing my hair and makeup, and dressing up for going out for an afternoon adventure today with a girlfriend who is not named Bob. Yours truly, Elizabeth.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day Everyone!

In the spirit of Independence Day and the typical Texas summer heat, I am celebrating the freedom that our forefathers fought for us in the comfort of my air-conditioned house with a good book and my sweet pups. I will still be enjoying the summer sunshine beauty (and the red Cardinal who is determined to keep knocking at my window) thanks to my freshly hand-cleaned and cobweb-free windows and screens. And no, I certainly did not do them myself. I am thankful that I live in a country that gives me the opportunity to work so that I can pay it forward by hiring someone to do my windows for me. It was always a Midwestern tradition to welcome summer in by taking down the storm windows, cleaning the window panes and hanging freshly brushed window screens. Come Fall, the tradition was reversed to welcome Winter. I have missed these coming-of-seasons rites since I moved to Texas many, many years ago.

And on this Independence Day, I have also decided it’s okay to celebrate our independence by accepting that maybe we can have too much independence, hence hiring someone to clean my windows. I’m starting to realize that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help or allow assistance or even take shortcuts when necessary or desired. I didn’t do my blog yesterday for several reasons. One, it’s been brought to my attention that sometimes they are downers. Two, I didn’t think it would be missed. Three, I had a fun day planned with a friend and really didn’t have the time. Two proved to wrong! Hurray and thank you Soul Sister for letting me know that you missed it!

Today I am going enjoy my freedom in blogging by paying it forward again and directing you to two of my most favorite blogs (if I can get the links to work!) If not, the website addresses for both are as follows: (Look for her June 30th blog. I really got a kick out of it.) (This one is a total hoot for all of us single gals at any age.)

Happy 4th everyone!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Choosing a Vice on Purpose

I honestly don’t have anything to blog about. Okay, that’s not quite true but if I wrote about what I’ve really been up to, then that just might be TMI for yours and my comfort. (Got your attention, didn’t I? lol!) I’ve been attempting to make a few changes in my lifestyle, hair color being one of them, and I’m now back to my nature color—that I had when I was sixteen. As thrilled as I am to still be on this planet and able to enjoy good health, a good job, and fantastic family and friends, I confess my upcoming birthday next month seems to be emotionally traumatic for me. I’m from the generation that considered anyone over 30 old, anyone over 40 really old. I now think anyone in their 50’s as young, and anyone 60 or over as in-between young and old.

I’ve been consumed with reading all the ‘how-to-knock off ten or twenty years from your age’ books lately which means I should be adding 10-20 more supplements to my armory of pills, toss out all the carbs and sugars from the pantry, and start exercising a minimum of two hours a day. I’m making some progress as one of the changes I’m considering is hiring a personal trainer – if I can find one who can promise to change cellulite into muscle in three or less thirty minutes sessions a week.

Another change is that I’ve decided to add, okay, let’s be honest here, increase one of my personal vices—laziness. A friend at work pointed out last week that I had used the word “too old” at least four times as I was telling her why I couldn’t get out of my rut. Another time this past week I was talking to a potential new friend on the phone and I heard myself saying “I’m too old” at least half a dozen times. The saddest part of this scenario is that I’m starting to actually convince myself that I really am every time I say that phase.

So….. I’ve decided to slow down the aging process at the root of the problem. Every time I am about to say “I can’t ______ because I’m too old”, I’m going to say instead, “I can’t ______ because I’m too lazy”. Now before you say, “OMG, she’s losing her mind,” here’s my rational: I can change a vice like being lazy. I don’t want to change or halt the aging process in its entirety, just slow it down a bit. After all, getting older can be a good thing when it’s not being used as an excuse to live life.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Baby Birds and Father's Day

I thought I’d lost this picture, the only picture that I have of the father who raised me. I found it while looking for something else which is usually the way it happens with clutter. (It does seem that I’m becoming obsessed with this subject, doesn’t it?) So why do I have only the one picture of my adopted father amidst the paper clutter in my life? Maybe because of too many moves too early in my life and an apartment fire in Houston that stole everything but our lives, my childhood bible, a few pictures, and a folder of poems I’d written.

Regardless of all hype that a successful blog must have a theme, mine being the first of the baby boomer era, blogs are still online journals. Journaling, by nature, is a journey into one’s self and I think I just might have discovered the reason for my clutter obsession. Maybe I use clutter to hide the void for all that I’ve lost over the years?

This picture of my father, Harry, and I, was taken when I was six, our first summer together. I hope that I was scowling because the sun was in my eyes but I can’t be sure. The transition for both me and my new parents must have been a rough one. My father, a CPA, was 54 when I entered into his life. My husband, Eddie, had already become a proud grandfather by that age. I never knew my father was older than most parents of my friends. In fact, I didn’t learn his age until he died and I thought the newspaper had made a mistake when they wrote he was 64.

It didn’t take long for me to learn to love this new father though. His stern features in this picture, perhaps it was the sun in our eyes after all, masked his gentleness and giant heart. He spent many a frustrating hour trying to teach me math, the term dyslexia unknown to both of us at the time. He never raised his voice even though I’d stomp out of the room yelling, “It’s not fair! I knew the right answer!” And I usually did. Know the right answer somehow. I just couldn’t prove to him how I got to it.

He taught me the love for dogs and all living creatures—except for cats. (I still ended up being a cat lover as well.) He hated cats because they killed birds and he loved birds. I still remember him coming home one day, his broad hands cupped gently over a baby robin he’d found in the alley. He showed me how to nurse the baby bird with an eye dropper. He then showed me how to let the bird we had raised and loved so much go once it learned to fly. The robin returned the next spring, and the spring after that. We always knew it was him when my father whistled and the robin answered with a short song, then flew in low, glazed my father’s shoulder, then flew back into the trees. A few years later he found a baby sparrow and brought it home. I found a baby rabbit whose mother had been killed. He always made sure that once they were strong and able to survive on their own, that we release them back to their world. His time was cut short but he still managed to do the same for me. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In The Year 2525

I have never been a science fiction fan but I have always loved the 1969 hit song, In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans. I occasionally hear it on the oldies but goodies stations and I always find myself tapping my feet, swaying my hips and singing along off-key with gusto. Not the best visual of a woman my age, I know and a dangerous one if I’m driving, which I usually am when listening to the radio.

I thought of this song again yesterday evening as I stood drooling in front of Barnes & Noble’s newest color Nook. I’d dashed over there to pick up the June issue of Whole Living, Body + soul in balance, a magazine that I love. I once gave a friend of mine a subscription to this magazine but never wanted to subscribe to it myself for one reason. It gave me an excuse to go to Barnes & Nobles at least once a month, my place of refuge and anti-depression therapy.

When the Barnes and Noble Nook representative showed me all the clichéd bells and whistles I started to hyperventilate. I had managed to resist the e-book reader so far thanks to my passion and dedication to books. Not only do I love to read, I truly love books: the feel, the scent, the beauty of them. I also am addicted to magazines, a trait I inherited from my mother. As the sales clerk continued titillating me with all the Nook features, I rationalized that I needed it to reduce clutter in my life. Fewer magazines stacked on chairs and floor and maybe a few less books on the shelves. "I might buy a color Nook next month as a birthday present to myself," I told her.

When the sales clerk told me that they were reducing the discount rate for my membership card and that last year they had sold more Nooks than books, I swear I started hearing the lyrics to In the Year 2525. More Nooks than books? Does that mean that the day will come when there will be a Barnes & Noble in the cloud only with no physical store to stroll through and books to scan through? Will that become the fate of our libraries as well? With the 64% budget cuts made recently by Texas legislation for libraries, this could be sooner than we think.

In the year 4545, ain’t gonna need your teeth, won’t need your eyes. You won’t find a thing to chew, nobody’s gonna look at you.

I am a hermit by nature. And that is one of my biggest fears about retirement. That I will end up sitting in front of a television or computer screen rest of my life, never having to leave my house. Never have human contact.

In the year 5555, your arms are hanging limp at your sides. Your legs got nothing do. Some machine is doing that for you.

In 1969 we thought we’d never live to see these lyrics come to life. It was not in our future. But we’re ahead of schedule and it scares me.

In the year 6565, you’ll pick your son, pick your daughter too from the bottom of a long glass tube.

Now it’s been 10,000 years….. No. Maybe it's only yesterday.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Walking, Talking Oxymoron

Per Jane Glenn Haas’s column today, there are 77 million of us baby boomers who are reaching 65 and will be altering life as we know it in the United States. Wow! And here I thought I was unique – one of a kind. According to her, we baby boomers who have settled in the West and Sun Belt areas are part of the “silver tsunami”. I don’t appreciate being coined with that phase for several reasons. Most of us prefer to disguise the silver, men included, and more importantly, I can’t shake the mental picture of the horrific damages that the tsunami did in Japan and Thailand. Coming of age in the 60’s and 70’s, we wanted to change the world for the better, never destroy it. That hasn’t changed.

What’s changed for me personally is that I have become a walking, talking oxymoron. I have dozens of hair, skin, and wrinkle-reducing products lined up on my bathroom counter alongside dozens of makeup that I can’t apply without using the tripled-magnified mirror that does not dare answer “Who’s the most beautiful of all?” for fear of being shattered with one of my deadly glares. My medicine cabinet is stocked with supplements, herbs and minerals that promise to reverse the damage that I’ve done to my body throughout the years but I forget to take them.

I am currently multi-reading two books, Forever Young by Nichols Perricone, M.D. and 20 Years Younger by Bob Greene. In other words, I am obsessed with becoming young again even though I know it’s impossible. Turning 65 will do that to a gal. Yet, I balk at getting Botox, fillers, face-lifts, liposuction and exercise. Another side effect of coming to age in the 60’s and 70’s is wanting the “natural look”. I want to still be me and me is getting old so I tell myself, “deal with it. “ But I keep on reading.

I’ve also culled from my closet the clothing that no longer accents the figure that I no longer have, replacing them with flowing skirts that show off my still trim ankles. Suddenly I find I want to look more feminine when I didn’t want to when I was younger and had some sex appeal. I’m trying to add more color to my wardrobe of black that has filled my closet for years.

I signed up for an online dating service even though I am quite content with the unconditional love of my two sweet pups and good friends. It was a disappointment as I anticipated, especially when I realized that I was too old for the young cuties and way too young for the men my age. I am apparently still a teenager at heart.

I also complain about having to work full-time even though I know I am blessed to have a job. Yet, deep down, I dread retirement. To me, retirement is a synonym for becoming old. I went out to dinner a couple of weeks ago with a very nice man that I’d met online. Although he was a few years older than me, he looked younger than his age, was pleasant and had a nice sense of humor. But when he asked me for another date, I quickly declined. At first I thought it was because I either really didn’t want to date or I just wasn’t attracted to him (like I said, I’m still a teenager at heart). While both may be true, I finally figured out the real reason. It was all the “I used to ride horses” and “I used to have two dogs” and “I used to….” in his conversation that turned me off. I don’t think I want retire after all. Not if it will keep me from becoming a “used to”.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Blog Days

My Sunday “B” day has been temporarily moved to Monday because I had an expired license renewal sticker on my car. Actually I’ve had the new sticker for over a month but never bothered to put it on the car windshield. It was one of those “I’ll do it tomorrow” types of things. After all, the current one on the car didn't expire until the end of April.

So when I agreed to drive the car pool to Midlothian, TX for a Sunday afternoon rowdy game of Mexican Train with a wild bunch of librarians, I planned my morning quite carefully: Get up early, read the Sunday paper, have breakfast, walk the dogs, fill the gas tank, and get the car its semi-annual bath and grooming for the upcoming 40 mile drive. This would still leave me plenty of time to shower and dress and write my blog. So I thought.

With the car now spit-shiny, the expired license sticker loomed menacingly on the windshield, almost like it was just waiting to flag down the first patrol car it saw so it could embarrass me in front of my friends. No problem though. It’d only take me a minute or two to retrieve the new sticker from the glove box where I’d shoved it until it was time to apply it. I hadn’t counted on two things: one, the clutter in my glove box and two, the renewal sticker not being there.

New problem. When I had the laminated flooring put in a couple of weeks ago, I had to remove all my papers from the computer room. I hadn’t moved anything back yet (another one of those “I’ll do it tomorrow” things). This meant that I now needed to search through boxes and sacks crammed with very important papers to try and find my license renewal. Papers and cuss words flying about, I was determined to find that damn sticker as if my life depended upon it. And in a sense, it did.

We baby boomers pride ourselves on our keen minds. We can accept the sags, the wrinkles, and the aches, but we cling to the façade that our minds are as sharp as ever. I knew I had put the renewal sticker in the glove box, damn it! I remembered thinking that if I did ever pulled over by the police, I could pull it out of the glove box and say, “See, I have it right here.” I had to have put it there! Where else would it be? Then I remembered. Duh, I’d put it in my purse to put into the car’s glove box. So I hadn’t lost my mind; I just hadn’t complete the process.

Lessons learned? I still need to work on that clutter, I need to stop the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality and I need to relax more. My first blog happened to be posted on a Sunday morning so I made a rule that it always had to be done on Sunday morning or I might never do it again. Wednesday evenings also became a “B” evening as I now write a library blog and you got it, my first posting was on a Wednesday evening. Ah, the ruts we crawl into because of fear. Hurray for the ruts we can crawl out of if we allow ourselves to do so.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spiders and Snakes and Poodles and Marigolds or the Perils of a City Baby Boomer Gal

No baby boomer blog today folks. I am too pooped out from protecting my castle and my rescue pups. My nerves are frazzled. My back is aching and I need to take a shower. You see, I just finished planting a flat of marigolds in the once-upon-a-time luscious but now barren flower bed near my back door. To plant these pungent annuals, I first had to dress for gardening: long pants, heavy socks, tennis shoes, long-sleeved t-shirt covered with a long-sleeved blue-jean jacket, a hat, and elbow-length rubber gloves. The temperature and humidly was already high this morning when I finally ventured out to the back yard carrying a shovel, a spade, a rake, a foam rubber cushion, and my cell phone.

A bit over the top you think? Not if you’re allergic to wasps and fire ants, suffer from arachnophobia, and had an encounter with Fred, the snake, this past week. Now I confess that I have a few phobias but fear of snakes isn’t one of them. As long as they aren’t poisonous. A major point as I’m not an expert on snakes so unless I see “red and yellow will kill a fellow”, I don’t know for sure if they are or aren’t. I also don’t like snakes well enough for them to be house guests. But nevertheless, Fred, the snake, was determined to be one this past Wednesday when I came home for lunch to let the pups out. We met almost face to face as he crawled up the brick wall by my back door. I screamed and ran. He stuck out his forked tongue and moved closer to the door. The door that I hadn't closed all the way!

I had to stop him, protect my pups and myself. But how? The front door was locked and he was blocking the back door. I did what I had to do. With my eyes glued to his, I inched along the opposite wall until I could reach the door knob and pulled the door closed. I ran again. The 3 foot plus long snake refused to take the closed door hint and leave. I had to get the pups to safety now and remembered the garage door opener in my car. I carried both pups into the house and saw my neighbor’s car. Hurray, Bill’s home! Being a good neighbor and fellow Midwestern, Bill came to my rescue and with shovel in hand, politely suggested that Fred move away from the door. Thank you, Bill!

Bill took a picture of Fred with his cell phone which I used to ask everyone what kind of snake he was. I was told that it was copperhead, a rat snake and red tail boa. It was finally confirmed by a snake guru that Fred is a harmless rat snake. I still don’t like him as he seems the pushy kind of snake who can still grow another 4 feet, I’ve been told. No one had suggestions on how to get rid of snakes other than moth balls which are poisonous to my pups. I read on the Internet that snakes didn’t like the smell of marigolds so I brought a flat that evening. They are finally planted and I’m rather proud of myself for braving the wild to do so. They probably won’t deter the likes of Fred but at least they will add color and beauty to the barren flower bed.

Now if I can find some way to deter that darn little poodle that chases me and my pups whenever we go for a walk…..

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Moving Walls

Ah, the joys of remodeling. It was supposed to be a simple job. “It should take only a day to install them,” the contractor assured me when I ordered my new laminated flooring. In a perfect world perhaps, but then my world has never been perfect! They started on a Monday and finished on Saturday. (And no, it was not a full 8 hours each day although it seemed that way to me.) Between ripping up the old carpet, cleaning the cement, sanding, sawing, vacuuming, hours after hours of the smoke alarms screaming at the top of their decibels, the sounds of continuous hammering along with nail guns shoot-outs, to say it was an ordeal for my five senses is putting it mildly.

End results? I hated my new floors. They were too dark, too rich-looking. They made the tile floors I’d been so proud of before now look drab and dull. And I was left with having to move everything back that I’d moved out—only after I cleaned off the inches of white dust frosting. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and depressed, my life seemingly in chaos and my decorating taste questionable.

That was last week. With major help from my dear friends David and Lesly, adequate rest and food, I love my new floors now. I’ve rearranged furniture, electing not to move everything back which in turn, makes me feel freer, less stressed. My walls aren’t closing in so much. I hadn’t realized how confining my world had become. Even my rescue pups had been too confined, their world being their crates and the front of the house. With the new floors, I’ve given them the freedom to roam the halls and explore my bedroom in the daylight with only the two spare bedrooms with carpeting off limits. Whenever I’m home, that is.

Who knew that getting new floors could move walls or give me and the pups a “get out of jail free card”? Too often I think I need to make major changes – get a face lift or change jobs or move – when in reality it’s the little changes that count. Hindsight, I’ve been making them already. I had my hair highlighted, cleaned out my closet, and even signed on an online dating service recently (for blogging research only, of course). And yes, I had my first date in thirty years this past week. (Probably won’t do that again anytime soon! Lol)

So what’s next? I turn 65 this summer. Up to now, I’ve been guilty of thinking like a teenager-- that becoming 65 will mean that I will really be old. But I’m also smart enough to know—only if I let it. So I guess I better get busy and get rid of some more clutter, both physical and mental, so that I can move more walls.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Paying It Forward - Happy Mother's Day

Well, this is a hard one. How to blog on Mother’s Day without making it sound morose and depressing when many of us, baby boomers and not, no longer have our mothers with us? I don’t think I’m that good of a writer. I take that back; I know I’m not that good of a writer. I know this because I have tried writing about my mother many times before and still can’t do her justice. So I’ll fall back on the cliché that says a picture is worth a thousand words.

This old snapshot of me holding my son, Jeff, captured the love and pure happiness I felt as a new mother. It was a moment out of a lifetime of joyous moments I've had being a mother. When I look at this picture, I hear my mother’s voice saying over and over again, “It makes me happy to make you happy. Someday when you’re a mother yourself, you’ll understand what I mean.” She was right as usual. Happy Mother’s Day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Having A Shredding Time

When I moved into my new house seven or eight years ago, I moved only what I needed. My new abode was clean and uncluttered. Closets were neat with the only bare essentials folded and stacked; countertops and table tops barren. I relished that feeling of freedom from “stuff”. Yet, I was told by a friend or two that I needed some warmth in the house, some colorful knickknacks, and items to personalize it.

Well, let me tell you --my house is now so personalized that no one would want to come into it except for the most of loyal friends. Two little dogs have done more than their fair share of “personalizing” my carpets, gnawed wood moldings and sheetrock, and scattered their toys throughout. This is why I am spending this weekend cleaning out drawers and moving furniture so that the laminated flooring I have ordered can be installed. It shouldn’t be such a big deal since I’m only doing my computer room, the hallway, and my bedroom. However, it is day three (I took off Friday as a vacation day) and I’m still working on the computer room. That tells me that I may be part of problem myself. It’s time to admit to myself and the world that I am a paper hoarder.

It’s not all my fault though. I blame most of it on those darn credit card companies who insisted on cluttering my mailbox with blank checks. “Just fill in the amount you want and spend, spend spend,” they shout. “We’ll only charge you 32% interest and your first born child” they whisper after handing you a ballpoint pen. I’m not dumb enough to fall for their lines but I’m also smart enough to know that if a garbage thief got a hold of the blank checks, I could be in big trouble. So I add them to the ever-growing stack of other papers that are waiting to be shredded so as to avoid identify theft.

The other papers I store are important and must be protected. Insurance policies and income taxes and receipts and bank statements, many of them way past their expiration date, but again, what do I do with them? I can’t have a bon fire. It’s illegal plus Texas has had too many wild fires already. So I’m back to shredding. I’ve burned up three shredders in the last three or four years. My latest purchased shredder has said, “Enough” so I am now hand-shredding. I figure it should help firm up the part of my arms that wave “hey there, I’m old”.

Finally, we get to those papers that don’t need to be shredded but need be tossed: my unpublishable short stories, essays, three novels, and the beginnings of the five or six novels that never made it past the first ten pages. I can’t do it though. They are a part of me that I can’t destroy. Not yet.

What does this blog have to do with baby boomers? Not that much although I can’t see the generations coming behind us being paper hoarders. Maybe they’ll be floppy disks hoarders? I doubt it. I know I’m keeping my sack full of them. Flash drives? Probably not – they’re so small that they are easily lost any way. (At least mine are in all the clutter.) What’s left then? The cloud? Could be. Oh well, that's in the future and I'm in the now so back to shredding.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I was able to spend Good Friday in Temple, TX with my soul sister-in-law, my brother-in-law, and a nephew by marriage; I spent Saturday with rest of the family that welcomed me into their clan 30 years ago. Wow! 30 years! I hadn’t realized it’d been that long until just now.

I still remember the first time my husband, Eddie, took me to Heidenheimer for Easter Sunday. I was petrified they wouldn’t accept me since Eddie and I were only living together at the time. I knew they were a very religious family and would frown on our living arrangements. But this large family had a large heart and lived their faith without judgment of others. Out of 30 years, I think I’ve only missed five Easter Sundays with this wonderful clan. I always felt guilty each time I didn’t go. It'd become tradition.

Traditions are comforting but they can also be confining. At times we want to break free of them, try something new. Time changes, families go different directions and Easter Sunday was moved to Saturday last year. Since I wasn’t able to go last year I didn’t know if it made a different or not. This year I went to the Saturday Easter Sunday in Salado. As much as I enjoyed seeing everyone, it didn’t seem like Easter yesterday. Maybe it was because I’ve missed the last two years. Maybe because two loved ones are not here with us anymore. Or maybe because it really wasn’t our traditional Easter Sunday.

I returned home late yesterday afternoon to my two pups thanks to Lesly and David who picked them up for me from the La De Da Pet Spa (only the best for my pups). I was fortunate traffic from Salado was light and I beat the storms home. By the storms finally arrived, I was nestled in bed wedged between the two dogs. This morning Petie is curled up on my lap – the one-eye dog who has brought so much love into my life. Shelby is asleep on the bed of her choice at this moment--my sofa. We have a nap planned for this afternoon. The storms have passed and the sun is shining. I am content.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter, Girl Talk, and Reflections

I was two and a half in this picture. It was the day after Easter and my Easter basket looks empty. Still I appear happily content with my basket. Maybe we are born with eyes that see baskets still full, life still good in spite of disappointments and sorrows? Or maybe it’s the gift of a mother’s or God's love that reassures us that our basket will always be refilled? Regardless it’s what keeps me going. The attitude that when the doctor says my bones are so brittle that I am considered high risk and have a 25% chance of getting fractures, I mentally think, “Woo hoo, I have a 75% chance of never breaking any bones!” (Yes, I’m finally going to try the pill that will fossilize them old bones of mine.)

I’m not that same little girl obviously although that soft squishy tummy of babyhood has returned along with the sparse baby fine hair (i.e. second-childhood joy of getting old) but I’m still adorable. Lol. But that’s the way life is supposed to be. We evolve with age and life experiences, remaining work in progress. Then why do we gals insist on keeping clothes in our closets that defined who we were, not we are today? Or am I the only one who holds up that Corporate America business suit that hasn’t been worn for ten years or the sexy-fitting jeans that now mock me with an unsexy muffin top when I squeeze into them and say, “hum, maybe”? And how about those purchased mistakes sadly awaiting their turn off the hanger as they hang unworn beside my worn favorites?

Well, no more. Yep, I cleaned out my closet yesterday and I’m feeling pretty good now. Slept like a baby last night. I purged some of the past and got rid of some of the mistakes that have taunted me. I know it was only a closet but isn’t that what Easter should be about? Forgiveness of our sins and starting anew?

Sunday, April 10, 2011


This Saturday, like most Saturdays, I met friends for breakfast at the Neighborhood Cafe. It’s a family-owned restaurant like the kind that once thrived in small town American where the owners/waitresses go out of their way to learn your name and greet you with a smile and a steaming cup of coffee. If your coffee cup needs refilling and you see they are busy, they’ve got no problem with you getting up and helping yourself. “Just leave us the tip,” the waitress will tease. It’s a feel-good place.

Since a friend of my friends had flown in from Chicago this Saturday morning, she joined us at the Neighborhood Cafe. After breakfast, we three gals headed off to have massages. Full and content from good food, good company, and good conversation peppered with bouts of laughter (mostly at me), the relaxing massages pretty much finished us off. Nap time.

That evening we three gals went to Dallas to get our hair colored, cut and styled by our own personal stylist. (Doesn’t that have a nice to ring to it?) We four gals (the stylist being a friend also) wiled the time away talking books, dating, tattoos, and neck lifts. Three hours later we were tired but gorgeous gals. I’m mad at myself because I didn’t think to take a snapshot of us to capture that feel-good moment. It isn’t often I feel pretty and my two pups didn’t take time to compliment me as they raced for the back door to go outside when I finally got home at 11:30 p.m.

One of my friends and supporter, David, commented at breakfast yesterday that my last blog was a bit of a downer. He was right. I was tired of whining about getting older and yet I didn’t know what other subject to blog about. My life isn’t that interesting and I even considered giving up blogging. This week thanks to David, Lesly, Alexis, and Oprah, I know what I want now. The feel-goods instead. Not just blogging about them, but finding more of them to add to my life. This Saturday was a heck of a good start.

The latest Oprah magazine was in my mail box yesterday when I came home to nap. It’s theme is, “Live, Love & Thrive All the Way to 95!” and “O’s Guide To Aging Beautifully.” Just what I needed. More tools and inspiration for feel-goods. Okay, I know she didn’t write it for me but hey, Oprah’s getting older too and we know she’s not going down without a fight! lol

I also discovered an awesome website with an interactive online journal by Christina Carlino, creator of the beauty brand Philosophy. It is for all women of all ages and I’ve added to my Favorites. I hope you check it out.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bah Humbug

When I started this blog, I knew enough to know that I was supposed to have a theme or a platform or a cause that I believed in. I also knew that a good writer writes about what they know best so I chose the aging baby boomer angle. I seem to be aging quite nicely with wrinkles, sags, and cricks and all of the in-betweens so it seemed appropriate.

Now I wish I hadn’t now. No, I don’t the mean the aging part – I’m still looking forward to doing more of that but hopefully without any more wrinkles, sags, and cricks although I know that’s impossible. What I do mean is that I am getting bored with the subject. Heck, if I’m really lucky, I could be writing about this same old dull subject for another twenty years!

Another reason I’m tired of this subject is that I’m getting tired of reminding myself on a weekly basis that I am getting to be an old lady. I have enough reminders each day that I look into the mirror or hear my faint “ugh” when I get into my car. Even my mailbox shouts on an almost daily basis “Hey, lookie, here’s another Medicare candidate coming around the bend,” with onslaughts of brochures on Medicare insurance supplement carriers. I had no idea how popular I’d become when I turn 65. Woo hoo.

There’s a stubborn and rebellious streak in me (surprised, anyone). I don’t like being labeled and that’s what we baby boomers are allowing to happen. Newspapers, statistics, and financial planners constantly bombard us with doomsday reports. Just read today’s Star-Telegram’s column in the Financial Section about retirement. We’re either too old to work or can’t find a job because of our age and we’re all going to become bag ladies because we didn’t save enough to retire. Bah humbug.

What brought me to this point, besides boredom and rebellion with a dash of denial, is a comment that Maya Angelou made recently on OWN’s Master Class presentation. I was surfing at the time so didn’t have a chance to tape it or even catch the beginning of her comment. As I stood listening to her talk about how the 60’s had been wonderful, the 70’s had been even more wonderful, I assumed that she was talking about the decades. Then I heard her say something about that the 80’s were going to be great too; that she was working on a new poem and had just finished a new book. I know I don’t have the words correct, but I sure and heck got the message correct.

So gee, what I am going to blog about now if it’s not about being an aging baby boomer? My adorable dogs, my friends, a new beau, or the book I’m going to finish? Any suggestions?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor

A famous movie star passed away this week and I teared up. What gives? I’ve never been a groupie or read any of the tabloids shouting at us in the checkout line. Magazines like True Romance or Movie Fan or Screen Stories were a no-no in my house when I was growing up. Still, I didn’t live in a glass bubble and yes, even in the small farm town in Iowa, we all knew about Elizabeth Taylor with her exceptional beauty and her scandalous romances and marriages.

What made this famous actress so special to me? Because, in spite of her natural beauty and stardom, she didn’t live that Hollywood perfect life that we early baby boomer gals had been taught to believe really existed. She had affairs and was a home wrecker. So was the wife of the owner of a store in our little town and the father of my best friend. Liz Taylor was a divorcee who remarried. So was a couple who moved into our town and was not welcomed in a particular church society. My mother immediately changed churches to one that welcomed everyone into its arms.

Elizabeth Taylor was a sexpot and a lady at the same time, a concept foreign to young teenage baby boomers in the 60’s. She wore furs and tiaras but had to fight weight problems like many of us. She married eight times and we never considered her a failure. Yet I considered myself a failure after my second divorce.

It wasn't her beauty but her failures, her successes, her weight problems, her health problems, her zest for life, and her randy laugh that made her real to us on screen and in our lives. She was a classy and a bawdy fighter to the end. Elizabeth Taylor was an oxymoron. But aren’t we all? I can only hope.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lesson Learned

I missed the Supermoon last night, darn it, and it wasn’t because I was doing anything important other than finishing hand scrubbing my kitchen floor and playing on the computer. There won’t be another Supermoon until 2029. Whether I’ll be fortunate to see it then, I don’t know but I do know there are plenty of other things I can look forward to:

The aches and pain from scrubbing floors on my hands and knees,
The painstakingly clean floor being muddied with tiny paw prints within the next twenty-four hours,
The weeds in my front yard mocking me with each gentle pollen-carrying breeze,
The dust bunnies under the stove and my entertainment center coming back out to play,
Laundry to do and dishes to wash, groceries to buy,
Income taxes and bills that need to be paid, and ….

I wished I’d watched the Supermoon last night.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday Morning Ritual

After spending Friday evening and all day Saturday with 28 other women at the 3rd Annual Ladies Only 42 tournament, I am beat. Who’d think that having a blast can be so exhausting? I thoroughly enjoyed the games, meeting women I’d never met before and reconnecting with those I had. However, (a fancy “but”) as much fun as it was, the nonstop conversations and laughter echoing through the acoustical-lacking club room were over stimulating and I looked forward to my Sunday morning quiet time ritual. Coffee and the Sunday morning paper.

This ritual, handed down to me by my parents, is probably a universal ritual for most of us baby boomers. In my house, my parents still got up at the same time they did on a work day, started the coffee maker, and retrieved the Sunday morning paper from the front porch steps. I’d come downstairs to find the house quiet, the only sounds being the rustling of paper and the soft chime from a silver spoon meeting the side of a china cup. Conversation was held to a minimum with the occasional, “Hum…. What’s the world coming to….more coffee?”

Breakfast would follow, and then church, Sunday dinner, and naps or Sunday drives. The Blue Laws were still in effect back then meaning no stores were open, no malls to roam in, no errands to run. I miss the Blue Laws. It made life so much simpler and peaceful. Saturdays were days for housework and shopping. Sundays then were truly a day of rest, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Much needed downtime for the busy workweek ahead.

I’ve managed to keep part of the ritual: coffee and the Sunday morning paper. This is my quiet time. I refuse to turn on the TV, the radio, the CD player, or the computer until after I’ve finished reading my paper, my only distraction being a noisy woodpecker outside my window or one of the dogs pawing my leg to be picked up and held. I don’t often follow reading the Sunday paper with church and that bothers me. I say I don’t have the time which is a poor excuse and only partly true. But that is another blog for another time. Still, the demands for my Sunday time are legit, especially this Sunday that starts daylight savings time and steals an hour from us. There is housework to do, laundry, grocery shopping, yard work, dog walking, etc. And oh yes, a nap.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Doing It All

I’m pooped this blog-writing morning and my back and wrists ache from the part-time job that I hired myself to do yesterday. Yesterday being Saturday and one of my only two days off from my regular full time job. I was paid $4.00 an hour for two strenuous hours of manual labor that included cussing, sweating, panting, huffing, and wondering what in the world had I been thinking. I am sitting on the results. A new desk chair that actually supports my back while not spewing screws whenever I leaned to the side like my old chair did making me feel like I was on a tilt-a-whirl ride most of the time.

I’ve been wanting a new chair for quite some time but hated to spend the money on something that would make me more comfortable. I also knew that when I went to make this purchase I would face another dilemma; how to get it home. I had looked at several stores and it appeared that all the task chairs came unassembled and contained in large boxes. I don’t have a hydraulic lift at home or even a dolly. I also assumed that I didn’t have the physical strength to even assemble the chair once I got it out of the box.

Never assume. I found a chair on sale yesterday that offer support for my sway back. The store clerk would even assemble it for me for $8.00. Woo hoo! Get out the charge card. One small problem. The salesman assured me that if assembled, the chair would not fit in my car. However, the boxed one would fit in my trunk. He even offered to take out to my car (with his dolly) and put in my trunk for me. He did not offer to follow me home and get it out of my car though. So much for going that extra mile customer service. lol

Now I could have called my friends who’d already offered their services and SUV, or my son, or my helpful neighbor but I have a stubborn streak. I wanted to do it myself. This has been an-ongoing problem with me. I still remember the time that my mother hired moving men to move some furniture from our home to our lake cottage. I was fourteen and I was determined that I was going to do my part. It was a struggle, but I got the twin mattress down the stairs. I didn’t have to work nearly as hard to get the box springs down. Not after it escaped my grip and bounced down the stairs and crashed through the window on the landing.

I could entertain you with many more Betty Oops stories but my point is that as baby boomer, I grew up in the era where I learned that “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man.” We baby boomer gals not only were encouraged to do all with cute ads and songs, life circumstances like divorces, bad economies, and deaths forced us to do it all. Along the way, we worked hard to obtain equal rights and to make our own decisions. Yet, with all that we have accomplished, it seems that some of these rights are being threatened to be taken away by Texas legislation and the Federal legislation. I’ve never presumed to know what is right or wrong for someone else or have all the answers, but I do know it feels like we are taking giant steps backwards and that scares me.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blooming in Spite of It All

I purchased my current house for two reasons. One because of all the windows. They reminded me of the house I grew up in. Our house had lots of windows. Twenty-two to be exact, on the first floor alone. I know because every Saturday it was my job to clean the narrow venetian blinds that bent and twisted with each wipe of the dust cloth. Slat by slat. No cheating by closing them and dusting the top slats only allowed. Regardless of my being so abused as a child, I still love windows. They allow the beauty of the world to come inside while still protecting me from the perils of the world. Which, in my case, are bugs.

The second reason I fell in love with my house was the beautiful landscaping. The previous owner had every inch of the front and back yard covered with flowers and trees. Again, another factor to remind me of my childhood home. Our back yard was an oasis of roses grounded in green grasses and framed by a white picket fence. I forgot a few important facts though. My folks had a gardener. I know nothing about flowers or gardening. And I am allergic to insects.

So, seven years later in this house that I bought and love, the venetian blinds have been replaced with wide faux wood slats. Much easier to clean and kinder to my hands. But you will still find plenty of dust on them if you are prone to check, which if you are a true friend, you won’t. My time and energy are limited these days and the dust bunnies on the floor shout louder.

It’s the yard that embarrasses me and makes me feel like a failure. All the beautiful flowers the previous owner planted and nourished are mostly gone though not totally all my fault. Gardeners are expensive I learned and other priorities fought and won the battle of the pocketbook. The bulbs grew older and weaker and less productive. (Hum, sounds like me.) Storms attacked and felled the two breathtakingly beautiful Bradford pear trees that bordered the street and sidewalk. (Hum, sounds like life.)

Yet, in spite of storms, life, neglect, and age, these daffodils refused to give up. Am I embarrassed by their tenacity? You betcha. Will I allow them to be mowed down or risk death by uprooting them to a more appropriate abode? No way. They are inspiration to me! I'm hoping that every once in a while I can still bloom too.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Watching and Learning

My blog is late today because I and a friend went to Dallas early this morning to get our hair done. My friend has friends in a high places (obviously I’m not one of them) so we could get a color, cut, and style done in a premier school setting by a master colorist on a Sunday. While we were there, we had the opportunity to watch three young models get their hair and makeup done professionally for a photo shoot that was going to be held there later that afternoon.

The first young woman, blond and blue-eyed with a flawless complexion, needed no makeup as far as I could tell, but maybe I was too busy bemoaning my wrinkles and old lady hair while fussing at God for never giving me a chance to be a young blond, blue-eyed beauty to be objective. The makeup artist used an air brush to apply the first round of makeup on her. It’s an interesting process if you’ve never seen it. It’s also time consuming. Next he used a brush, contouring to accent her already perfect cheekbones. He then followed up with blush, eye lashes, eye liner, eye shadow, more contouring, etc. until she was transformed into an even more strikingly beautiful model.

For almost two hours, she sat perfectly sit through this process. No smiling, no talking, no frowning, no eating or drinking, no reading, or dancing or wiggling. And they hadn’t even started on her hair yet! I realized then that I was thankful God had never made me a blond, blue-eyed model with perfect cheekbones. I’d been bored stiff!

The other two young ladies each had a hair stylist who tediously curled, sprayed, twisted, sprayed, flat-ironed their hair for almost an hour while waiting for the makeup artist to finish with the first girl. It almost made me grateful that I had been cheated in the hair gene pool. Naw. I’m a’stretchin’ the truth a bit too much there even for me. lol

The lesson I learned today was that being beautiful is a lot of work most of the time and while it’s fun to play dress up, make up for a day, it isn’t a life style we really want. Not most of us. It’s just one of those, “I wish...” that takes up way too much of our time and our youth. And unfortunately for some of us like me, it took way too long to realize it never was that important to begin with.

P.S. My hair looks fabulous! Now if it just would stay that way.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sugarfree Blogging

Why I am blogging? And what do I expect to get from it? To be honest (and one cannot blog without being totally honest – my first blog lesson learned) I think I was bored and wanted to try something different. I also wanted to hopefully reignite my passion for writing. And, this is a subconscious reason I believe, I wanted to blog to stay young. Of course I realize that blogging, twittering, Facebooking and goggling when I should be googling isn’t really going to keep me from aging, but just maybe it will keep me connected to youth somehow. Ya know there’s that old cliché that says being old is a state of mind. Ain’t quite true says my mirror and my brittle bones but I’m willing to give it a try.

As I do every Sunday morning, I read Jane Glenn Haas’s column, Our Time, which is all about us baby boomers. Her subject this Sunday is, “Baby boomers are doomed to grow old in public.” Not one of my favorites of hers. Personally, I’d change the title to “Baby boomers are growing old, dang it, and so are you!” I’m starting to resent the media and scientific focus on us aging baby boomers. We are the lucky ones; not some bizarre sub-culture. I can say this because my mother never lived to see 50; my father never lived to see 65; my husband never lived to see 57.

Yes, I am one of the leaders of the baby boomers aging sect. I don’t have many role models so I have to find my own path. It’s scary and lonely at times. And I prefer to stay in denial. Until I look in that mirror or my hip refuses to move in a certain direction. So what I am going to do about it? Well, for one, I want to stop complaining about it. I want to stop listening to and reading the doomsday boomer media. And I want to start listening to what my body and Dr. Oz says to do. He claims to know how to reverse the aging process and at this point, I am desperate.

So…. Dare I write it for the whole world (okay, the handful of my blog readers) that starting at noon today (breakfast was the sweet rolls I’d baked yesterday and didn’t want to throw out unappreciated) I’m going to divorce myself from refined sugars and baked goods. I use the word “divorce” because of the thirty day waiting period in which I can change my mind. Lol

No, I will not be giving up chocolate. Dr. Oz says it’s good for you. I’m also going to eat more veggies, lean protein, and drink more wine and beer, the beer being especially good for brittle bones. I’m hoping enough wine and beer will numb me to the sugar-withdrawals and make the world more tolerable. Or me more tolerable to the world. Lol. Stay tuned as I share my progress and slips. P.S. Helpful hints appreciated.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Friend & Bat

After my adventure with an alleged bat in my dining room Thursday evening there was no doubt what the subject for this week’s blog would be. Friends and critters. The two seem to go together – at least for me since I’ve been fortunate to be blessed with both. And I’m a city girl. Go figure.

Setting the stage for Thursday night and the alleged bat: It was a dark ice-filled, snow-clad night, about 9:30 when I let the dogs out to do their thing before bedtime. When I opened the door to let them in I thought I saw Petie, the one-eye dog, grab something before running back into the house. Sure enough, he went under the dining room table, his favorite hiding place (remember he only has one eye) and whatever he had brought in with him was still alive.

I’m going to use the excuse that I wasn’t wearing my glasses. My friend David says it’s just the way my mind works. Either way, when I peered closer, closer being about three feet, I saw Petie batting back and forth under the table and chairs what looked like a gray bat. I’m rather proud of my reaction considering Petie has had his rabies shot and I haven’t. I immediately snatched up Petie and put him in his crate, yelled at Shelby to stay, grabbed a bath towel and threw it over the gray bat. I then found a large storage box, dumped its contents, and tossed it over the towel that was over the bat. Screaming and squealing the whole time, of course.

Now I was stumped. What to do next? It was big bat, the size of a fist. It was still alive. What if….. So I phoned my friend, David. (If you’ve ever heard the story of my son and the squirrel, you’ll understand why I called him instead of my son.) I didn’t expect or want him to drive over, not with the dangerous road conditions. So what did I want him to do? Hindsight, I guess I expected him to do exactly what he did. Listen to me, calm me down, make me laugh, and make the bat go away. And he managed to do it all. Thank you, David.

You see, he didn’t laugh when I thought of getting my recycle bin to put over the box that was over the towel that was over the alleged bat so that it couldn’t crawl out. Instead he agreed to wait on the line and call 911 if he heard me scream. And he was still on the phone with me when I moved a chair to make room for the large plastic bin and saw a feather rise up from the carpet. A gray feather. And he stayed on the phone while I removed the box to remove the towel and found a bird about the size of a small fist instead. And he never made me feel stupid or insane for thinking it was a bat in the first place. Like he said, that’s just the way my mind works. Only a good friend would know that.

Footnote 1: Unfortunately the bird didn’t survive.
Footnote 2: David just called to tell me about the sparrow that flew into their house this morning. Welcome to my world, David & Lesly!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

One of Those Days

I had decided that I wasn’t going to blog this Sunday. It would be a blessing to anyone who actually reads them because I woke up on the wrong side of the world this morning. I wish I knew why.

I know why I shouldn’t have. I got a good night’s sleep. I even got to sleep in, whispering to Shelby, the dog that sleeps at my right side and was nuzzling me with wet kisses, “go back to bed”. Even half asleep, I remember being awed that she understood my words and curled back under the covers; Petie, the dog on the left, snuggling even closer when he heard them. Surrounded by love, safe in a warm bed with a peaked roof over my head, the sunlight streaming in through the window, I should have woken in a great mood. I didn’t. And the day has steadily gone downhill. And I don’t know why.

Is it some kind of body chemistry that alters a good mood? Maybe a food allergy to pizza and the too many sweets that I treated myself to on Saturday? Or is it because of boredom? A lack of motivation, creativity, or any newness in my life that crept in through the night and attacked my feel-good mood cells? I think it must be the lack of creativity for I have no other reason for depression, not while I’m enjoying good health, good friends, and a good job and good life. And to be honest, it doesn’t feel like depression, a feeling I know way too well. Instead, it’s like I’ve lost my footing, a case of mood vertigo.

So, instead of torturing myself and you with a blog, oops, I’ve already done that, I’m going to head to the craft store. I have no idea what I want to make but surely I’ll find something to peak my interest, activate the “I wanna” cells. Maybe next week’s blog will be a “show & tell” or “how not to”. Either way, I promise it will be a better one.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Time For A New Decor

It’s another gray winter morning. It matches my mood today. Perhaps that is where I am in life at this age though. Days turning into more gray than golden. Gray being a color in transition, losing its brightness, a safer hue, a more “content” hue (nicer than saying “boring”) isn’t necessarily bad. The morning gray gives me the opportunity to be just for a while longer; not belittle myself for delaying cleaning the bathrooms, cleaning the closets, clearing the clutter from my desk, and struggling to write my weekly blog. Instead it is letting me go with the flow while typing and nestling a one-eye pup on my shoulder, savoring his warmth, his neediness, and his love along with the peace in my mind and heart.

I’ve always said and believed that I need sunshine to be my best or even to get me moving. It is fuel for my body, the light bulb for my mind, and the matchstick for my emotions. But do I need to be “on” all the time? Can I instead be wise enough to realize that I no longer have the energy to go and do all? That I don’t need to anymore? That I no longer have to prove to anyone that I’ve earned my worth?

No. I don’t. In fact, I think it’s time for a new décor. A mix of grays and golds. With a dash of Cardinal red although he hasn’t showed up today. Hum… maybe he knows he no longer has to hurl him against the window pane to get my attention.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Point of View on Self-Publishing

As I have done lately, my own life being quite comfortably boring, I looked to the Sunday newspaper for this week’s blog inspiration. I opted to disregard the Sunday column that totes another banner for us Boomers who are turning 65 this year by the droves. Old hat news which only serves to make me feel really old. While 65 is a milestone that I’ll be delighted to reach, it’s not the pinnacle, or so I hope, of my life and what I still hope to achieve: becoming a published novelist.

But what I still hope to achieve is rapidly becoming passé and that saddens me as well as depresses me. I am referring to the article in today’s newspaper about e-books and well-known and respected novelists preferring to self-publish. This isn’t new news. I’ve read about it before (and chose to forget that I did) and I’ve had discussions with a friend or two who knew this was coming. I chose to disagree with them. Today the multi-columned article about authors abandoning publishing houses and self-publishing instead wormed its way into my reality which is now being challenged.

I’m of the age where self-publishing, vanity presses as we boomers know it, was the avenue a writer took when all other roads were too bumpy or too hard to navigate, i.e., those whose work didn’t cut the mustard so to speak. Call it what is was and still is for some of us—writer snobbery. I’m not ashamed of it. I received way too many rejections from publishers and editors because my work wasn’t what they wanted or wasn’t good enough for them. I’m proud of those rejections because of the euphoric high I got when I’d finally received those acceptances for that short story or a creative nonfiction piece. The rejections made me want to write better, made me determined to keep trying, and in turn, made me succeed. In other words, whenever I got an acceptance, I’d earned it. My writing had been better than good. You don’t get that validation when you self-publish.

For those novelists who’ve already proved their work’s worth, if they are writing purely for money and their egos are so secure that they don’t need to fear their work isn’t as good as it could be, maybe self-publishing is the right path for them to go. I also realize that there are those successful writers who choose the self-publishing route to make their books more affordable to their readers. That’s a good thing. But I’m not in that writers league, so if I ever get that novel or memoir published, I want to know it was because someone else besides me and my friends recognized that it was worthy of the publishing investment and that I earned that advancement check.

P.S. The Cardinal is back at my window this morning doing his best to get my attention. I learned from my dear niece that seeing a Cardinal in winter is a blessing. Since he only shows up for certain blogs, maybe this is a sign that I should finish this last novel that I’ve been working on.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


It is a rainy, cold, and dreary Texas winter day but I wasn’t too depressed until I read a column this morning about Hugh Hefner’s engagement to a 24-year old Playmate. Woe is me. I never was a Playmate and never will be. Never got to out with the likes of Hef when I was young and sure can’t now that Crystal has snagged him. Oh God, please let me count my blessings!

What depresses me, if I force the issue, is that I wouldn’t want an 84-year old geezer no matter how rich he was. Heck, I wouldn’t want a 70-year old. So where does that leave me? I’m not rich enough to be a cougar nor do I look the part. I’ve kept the nature look going except for the hair color, not because I don’t care anymore, but because I’m a wuss. Pain doesn’t interest me nor does injecting myself with poison. So that means that I’ve reached that age when any sex appeal I had went south with everything else. Don’t tell the old farts, but so has theirs!

I confess I’ve looked on the senior online dating services (for pure writing research only of course) and I ain’t seen nothing that I wanted to buy a subscription to the service for. I admit I’m shallow. Looks do mean something and a photo of some ogre who should have a number tag hanging under his double chin doesn’t peak my interest. Nor does the some of the profiles these senior charmers write. “Love to skinny-dip with that special one.” OMG! Hey, Crystal, have you and Hef gone skinny dip yet? Bet if ya did, you’d break off the engagement. Or about the one that writes “Am extremely affection and will smother that special someone with kisses.” Hum, I’ve got two adorable little dogs that do that.

Nope. Now that Hef is taken, I’m going to give up on the hunt and resign myself to my life of singleness. It’s a good life filled with family, friends, books, and puppy dogs to give me all those kisses. But hey, if you know of a handsome, well-built and fit senior between 62 and 66 who would be interested in someone who’s not beautiful, well-built and fit, but is funny, reasonably intelligent, love dogs, and hates to cook or clean house, well….. I guess you could give them my name and number. Or maybe not. I really am quite content with my singleness at this stage of my life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 New Year's Resolution

I’m not an especially religious person but I do consider myself spiritual. I am also a superstitious person which, to me, is a direct conflict. (Maybe that explains some of my personality quirks.) Now I’m not the kind that throws salt over my shoulder or believes that if a black cat crosses your path, it will bring bad luck. I’ve had four black cats in my life and I’ve never blamed them for any of my bad choices: the cause of most of my bad luck. Yet for some reason, I avoid walking under a ladder, mostly for fear something or someone will fall on me, and as a child, I always was careful not to step on a crack so I wouldn’t hurt my mother’s back. Unless I was roller skating, playing hop scotch, or running away from the boggy man. But I do believe in omens—sometimes.

The reason I chose this theme is because there was a beautiful scarlet cardinal hurling himself again my window. I was afraid he would hurt himself so I went outside to chase him away. Several times. He'd fly a few feet then relay his message with loud chirps. I didn’t have a translator. I wondered if maybe a dear friend was in distress but I didn't call them. They might think I’m crazy. But they know me and love me so they already have accepted my eccentricities. My neighbors not so much so I can only imagine what they were thinking as I stood outside pleading with “Pretty Bird, please go away” or when I brought out wind chimes and a decorative wooden bird cage to distract or catch the manic cardinal, neither of which worked by the way.

The cardinal left yesterday afternoon when I did or so I assume since I did not find a corpse when I returned and I no longer hear or see him. But I can’t help thinking he was trying to tell me something and that I didn’t get the message. That has happened so many times in my life. I didn’t get the message or the invitation. When I told my friend, Lesly, yesterday about the cardinal, she said, “He’s trying to tell you to open the damn window!” So that is my 2011 New Year Resolution – Open that damn window! I just might be surprised at the friendships, joy, beauty and music that fly in. Now if I could figure out what that damn ugly possum sitting on my fence is trying to tell me…