Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things I Have Learned About LIFE

  • Less is more. Possessions can weigh down our spirit.
  • The written word is a cornerstone of culture. Somehow we began to murder the English language mutating words and slang.
  • Having teeth is important. We need to pay attention to oral hygiene.
  • Reading books enriches our imagination.
  • Giving and receiving love makes us better human beings.
  • Laughter and humor are necessary. Don't take yourself too seriously.
  • Believe in "something".
  • Celebrity is incipient.
  • Live life without regret.
  • Be a good listener.It makes it hard to get into trouble.
  • How you dress leaves a lasting impression.
  • There is no such thing as having too much humility.
  • Sex is a way for people to physically connect and promote intimacy in a relationship.
  • We need food to provide fuel for our bodies.
  • Size matters. Have a big heart.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


As birthdays go I think I'm ready to call it a draw. "Don't ask don't tell". I go through the motions of celebrating my birthday but honestly I would rather not acknowledge the growing old part. I have joked with friends and family that it is time to start counting backwards. I remember in my younger years looking forward to birthdays and celebrating but now it is more something to endure.Yes,with age comes wisdom but you can't really do much about it other than to look or act wise.
The aches and pains are not things I bargained for. I don't recall my parents complaining but then again maybe I just wasn't listening. I recall thinking they were old but now at the same age I am declaring to myself "I'm not that old!" Fifty is the new forty and forty is the new thirty. Don't believe it for a minute. When you begin to grow older you no longer stay up all night "partying" with friends and a 10:oo bedtime seems rational. After a long day I'm ready to rest and retire early, "tomorrow is another day" and pace yourself. When you reach a certain age you start to loose your youthful glow and sadly things begin to sag with the inevitable gravity. Don't get me wrong , I accept all of this but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
I work with some people who have parents my age and we often joke about it and I will say "I have shoes older than you". They were born after John Kennedy was president so for them that constitutes history. So I guess to them I represent history.When out in public I will sometimes look over at other individuals who look about the same age and inside I'm despairing about how old they look. We start to move a bit slower and youth passes us as if we are in the way.
At some point it is acceptance to stop fighting the aging process. We can't reverse the aging process so why not embrace it if possible.I do not quite agree that people should have" work" done as a way of stalling the inevitable. I think that is more for the Hollywood types not our everyday people.
I'm not ready for the grave yet but I have come to realize that even middle age is past its bloom.
So for now I will try to keep my appearances up as much as I am able but have stopped dying my hair.I'm okay with having to wear bifocals to see up close.When I gaze in the mirror I am sometimes shocked to see this older friend looking back at me with a reassuring smile that everything will be okay. So you're not 19 anymore, get over it.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Secret Hiding Places / Innocence Lost

When I was growing up in the 1950's and 60's kids could freely roam the neighborhood and there was little or no worry about being abducted by strangers. Neighbors watched over all of us and if you happened to do something wrong your parents were called and told about it. Punishment would be swift and appropriate, usually grounded to your own yard.

Things seem to have changed quite a bit now. You very rarely see children out playing. Play dates are arranged and parents drive their kids over to some one's house. In my neighborhood growing up you just walked down the street until you found other kids playing and joined in. Our parents told us to go out and play and that we did. Everyone in the neighborhood knew everyone else and every yard was a playground. My best friend Jane and I used to wander into other people's back yards, play on their swing sets or whatever, and be invited in for cookies and milk by nice old people. We had quite a racket going until we knocked on this one lady's door who had given us some candy one day. She worked nights as a nurse and slept during the day and we woke her up so she had to inform our parents that we were knocking on her door asking for candy and it wasn't Halloween.We were "spoken" to and told to stop knocking on people's doors asking for candy.

Every kid has a secret hiding place. When you grow up in a neighborhood where safety and security are expected as part of an innocent childhood you are free to explore within the boundaries of the area defined by your parents. At the end of our street was a small wooded area where kids were always building forts and clubhouses. It always seemed to be a magnet for playing army man, jungle, and spy games. There was a small hill which we would climb up and slide down on pieces of cardboard boxes when some one's parents purchased a new TV or washing machine. All kinds of schemes were hatched, our plans to find out things we overheard our parents talking about. There was this poor lonely man named Oscar that did nothing to harm anyone but somehow when a kids imagination takes over anything is possible. He apparently worked at one time as a mortician and the kids in the neighborhood believed he had dead bodies in his basement so we were always skulking around trying to peek in his cellar window. We probably terrorized the poor man. We would run and hide when we saw him walking down the street. He had an unfortunate sister who dressed in old fashioned black clothes and carried a large bag, probably to put groceries in, but we had our own theory that she carried her own dead baby in it.

The only toy a kid really needed was a bicycle. We would spend hours playing chicken on our bikes which lead to at least one trip per summer to the emergency room.We would make pretend we were riding horses and have riding competitions.The only thing that would interrupt our play is when we had to run home to go the bathroom. We were expected to show back up at home for lunch and then try to escape our parents list of chores so we could continue whatever game we were playing. You had to be home when the street lights came on at dark and if you were late they would yell your name out the door until you heard it and hurried home.

As we grew older the parameters of our explorations were extended further. There was a very small "secret"military installation on the other side of a causeway road that held endless fascination for all of us. We grew up in the era of fearing Russia was going to attack the United States so there were fenced in missile bunkers hidden in several innocuous locations which just happened to be very close to our neighborhood. The view extended into Boston Harbor so it was of strategic importance in case the Russians tried to sneak in a submarine.(I am not making this up.) Things were very different back then when the Cuban Missile Crisis had occurred. We would hide in the grass watching helicopters land and take off and sometimes a loud whistle would blow and out would come these missiles out of the hidden bunkers. They would test them every few weeks to make sure they still were operational. You can imagine being a kid seeing this. Our parents did not seem overly concerned about this. I guess they felt a certain sense of security. As long as we stayed away from the fence no one seemed to care. Who knows if the military guys were watching us with binoculars and viewing it as benign activity.

I guess childhood was not as innocent as I choose to remember. Maybe the world hasn't really changed that much. Now we have to be vigilant about another group of bad guys.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good Morning! Shut up and leave me alone.

I had to give up caffeine several years ago when I began to realize it was effecting my sleep pattern and causing me to feel "wired". I noticed that it was taking me a long time to fall asleep at night and there were occasions when I was laying awake in bed trying various techniques to induce slumber (no nasty thoughts please). You can't function very long with disrupted sleep but I know quite a few individuals who survive on only a few hours each night. That isn't me. When I was in my teens I would engage in marathon sleep sessions until my mother would come in to my room and check to see if I was still breathing. I used to enjoy sleeping " in" on the weekends which is nearly impossible and unrealistic when you are raising children.
I seem to do okay with about 6 1/2 hours sleep each night but 8 is even better. I am not one of those people that wakes up in the morning all chipper and lively. When I first wake up it takes me awhile to figure out what day it is and then once I realize it isn't the weekend I start to convince myself to assume the position (upright), and stare blankly at nothing imparticular, dangling my legs off the side of the bed. I have been known to utter nonsense and confusion, likely related to the last thing I was dreaming. The other morning I woke up in my usual catatonic stupor and began to relate that the circus had come to town and there were no parking spaces. My husband is used to this behavior by now and tends to just go with the flow and will offer a benign comment , "oh that's interesting".
In order to further orient myself I will sometimes totter over and look out the window and check to see what the weather is outside. Lately it usually involves snow and cold temperatures.For part of the winter it was even more disconcerting because it was dark outside when it was time to get up at 6:30AM. Lately it has been getting lighter out in the morning and it also stays light out till 5:30 - 6:00 in the evening which makes it an easier ride home after work.
In the summertime we have our windows open and the birds will start chirping out as soon as the early dawn shows its light and it is hard to ignore the crows plaintive caws. By the way, I really dislike crows and consider them evil.
Suffice to say I am not a morning person. When the children were young and needed to get up for school it became my husband's job to interact with them and supervise because Mommy wasn't quite that swift. When I would try to help it usually would not be a good thing because I was unable to absorb details nor operate my motor functions. They still like to tell the story about how I was really trying but ended up pouring orange juice into the cereal bowl. So it became usual for me to remain in the bedroom and gradually begin my morning routine instead of worrying I might burn the house down by turning on the wrong burner on the stove (been there done that).
If I'm allowed to gradually gather myself within an hour I'm usually myself then but people who have stayed overnight have made the mistake of trying to engage me with verbal interaction and learn I can be unpredictable. I've been known to fade out of the room and seek a quiet corner. It's not meant to be rude I just can't deal with people babbling at me too early in the morning. Of course my husband knows all of this, saint that he is , and has learned to only speak when spoken to. Once I'm talking he knows that my brain is fully functional and it's safe to initiate conversation.
Since I am expected to get myself ready for work I usually pick out what I'm going to wear the night before if possible so I don't have to think about trying to match something in the morning when I'm not at my best. I have also learned from experience that I need at least 90 minutes to get myself on the right track and out the door. By then I'm fine to drive to work and I usually arrive early so I can take some time to unhurriedly get my desk in order before my usual busy day starts.
I guess I am a creature of habit but that is how I have learned to survive not being a functional person in the morning. It would be great if I could sleep until 8:30-9:oo and leisurely meander into the kitchen and have a relaxing cup of decaf tea and maybe watch a little of the Today Show, which frankly I haven't been all that enthralled with lately, especially when they show screaming people as they pan the camera across the crowd and Al Roker starts his shicht. Let's face it I'm kind of a grouch first thing in the morning and my family has learned to adjust to that and stay clear of me. I won't go into further detail but I'm not a good phone talker in the morning so it's not really a good idea to call me before 9:oo especially on weekends because I'm not sure what might be said.