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 clich├ęd 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”.