Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Cat Toenail Whisperer

It started over ten years ago.  Hubby had taken my now dear departed cat, Bony,  to the vet for a check-up.   What he wasn't expecting was a lecture from the vet about the state of Bony's toenails.   They had begun to grow into the pads of her poor little feet.    Then I got the same lecture when Hubby got home.  Apparently, when Bony was young and active and running around everywhere, her toenails were keeping themselves in check.  But at the ripe old age of 15, she had slowed down quite a bit and  her toenails were growing unchecked.    We felt bad.  And Hubby was determined that he would never be subjected to such humiliation again.

Now Hubby is a Cat Toenail Whisperer.  You are probably thinking....huh? what?

You see, when I trim a cat's toenails, I am lucky if I can get one paw trimmed before the cat wiggles and squiggles so much I can no longer hold on to it.  That means getting all four paws clipped can take days.

This morning Hubby announced it was toenail trimming day for our two rambunctious felines.   He aligns with trash day so he remembers.   In less than five minutes, he had successfully trimmed eight paws.  Imagine!   How can such a miracle occur?

Zori dreaming of kitty treats
His methods are simple yet mystical.   First, he waits until the kitties are taking naps.  Hence, they are still dreaming of kitty treats when Hubby begins the process.  He also holds them very close and whispers things like, "you're such a good kitty" in a sing-song voice after every clip.   Before they realize what's happening, it's over.    The Cat Toenail Whisperer has struck.

I do not need a Whisperer to get my nails trimmed. However, having someone around who can whisper sweetly in my ear and help me through less than wonderful moments, may come in handy.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Who Knows What's Best for a Child

I have been embroiled in a battle over a child's schooling.  And it is not even my own kid.

Not quite sure how I got into this position, but I can confidently say, the child had nothing to do with it.  I think it started when Hubby said to me, as I was reading my Thermostat post to him,  "you have too much time on your hands."

My neighbor, who has no teenagers,  is hosting a foreign exchange student.  I call him the Italian Rastafarian.  Cute as a button.  Since he goes to Grace's, our DD's school, we have given him some rides and generally provided some help where we could.   Another neighbor, who is on the school's Music Board with me, also took an exchange student, the Dutchman.   It turns out that parents of kids in the music program are pretty big in the exchange student world and I know four of the families with kids.  Given how few families of any kids from DD's school I knew a year ago, this is quite the coincidence.

So when my neighbor called with the news that she took in a 2nd exchange student, a boy,  on an emergency basis and that he needed a new home and would I make a few calls to my friends who also have boys and see if there might be any interest, I said sure.   She also added, he goes to a not so great school and it would be wonderful to get him transferred into our neighborhood school.

So I began.  First I learned his exchange agency had placed him originally in a home that turned out to have "problems".  Not the kid's fault.    Should the agency have rooted this out before even making the placement?    I think so.    Then I learned that I didn't know enough families with boys.   I got a few responses.  One even passed the note on to someone else with experience with taking an exchange student, but my vast network did not materialize anyone.

Now I was invested.  After consulting with Hubby and DD, I offered my home, with the idea that I would be able to switch him to the neighborhood school.   That was my condition.  Hubby says I sounded like I was asking for a puppy.    "Can I have him pleeeeeze?" The agency made a quick call to the school district, asking if a transfer was possible, and was told yes.

So the Exchange Student with No Home, was brought into the loop, told about my wonderful family but also told he would have be switching schools.  He smiled.  He'd think about it.   Could he meet us?  What is the school like?  He would miss playing soccer for his team and leaving his woodworking class.   He's not sure.   So we decided that he would meet us and I would take him to see the school.  I begin making calls to the school's Soccer Coach and Athletic Director.

Oooops.  Turns out, the Exchange powers that be had not been consulted by the mere lowly staff member making the calls locally.  Sorry, Charlie.  You cannot move the child to a new school.  Has to stay there.  I make a few investigative calls and learn it is best not to move Exchange Student with No Home until the end of the quarter anyway.    How about we agree to that?  He can finish up Soccer and Woodworking, get his credits and then make a move?   Nope.

I stood firm.  If you want my home, you've got to give us the option to move him.  I'm willing to let the Exchange Student with No Home, a voice in the final decision, but at least give us the option.   Nope.

So now what do we do?  Tell the ESwNH, "Oops, never mind.  We don't want you anymore."  I woke up early this morning, and thought, I can't do that.   So I was apparently standing firmly on jello.  I wrote a note this morning saying, I give.   Is it right for the kid?  I don't know, but at least now he only has to decide do I want to live with you or not.  I'll try not to take it too personally if he doesn't.

I hope he's been house trained.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thermostat Hanky Panky

Attention Readers!  I have just learned that my home does not have five thermostats.  It has seven.    The sixth thermostat was discovered in the 3rd floor bathroom.  It operates the radiator that hangs on the wall and holds towels.  I missed this one because Hubby generally keeps this one off.  The main 3rd floor thermostat tends to keep the bathroom warm enough.     I occasionally turn it up because I like a warm towel.  Since he seldom hangs his towels up, he wouldn't know what he is missing.

The seventh thermostat is in the kitchen, tucked away in a corner.  It operates the radiators in the kitchen which were put in new when we remodeled.    At least that's the official story.

I'm thinking a little thermostat hanky panky may have been going on between those two heat meters in the back room.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank Goodness for History Books

Time magazine ran a feature on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorists attacks.    Grace, my Darling Daughter, noted it sitting on the kitchen table and commented something along the lines of "Mom, there are kids that don't have any memory of this day.  They weren't even born yet.  That seems so strange."  My response, "Yes.  It's like Pearl Harbor to my generation."  

She's becoming cognizant that there are generations following us who will know nothing of what we experienced growing up.

The other day we were talking about movies.  I mentioned to her that she should go see The Help (and/or read the book), which I can attest was a very fine book/movie.   The conversation led to her observing that she forgot I was alive and kicking during the civil rights era.   This led to me saying, "Yes, I am old."  

But it also gave me a chance to talk a little about that time, to tell her about some of the things I was involved in with regard to civil rights.  I was still pretty young during the height of the riots, but could talk about my adventures working behind the scene at an NAACP telethon or posing as an interested home buyer to determine if discrimination was going on,  about busing.    Had I thought I could sustain her attention longer, I would have also sung, "I Am Woman, Watch Me Roar."   But I moved on and drew the comparison to what she sees/hears about efforts on behalf of GLBT.  She totally gets that.

I'm left thinking that history books are a good thing because I could just try and fill my DD's head with all kinds of info about things she never experienced but there just isn't going to be room.  The world is busy filling her head with tomorrow's history.  

Sadly, much of it sounds the same.




Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Boomer Enters Thermostat Battle

Hubby just left yesterday on his annual trip to the Boundary Waters.  If you have been a long time follower of my blog, you know that these trips are generally preceded by careful lawn watering instructions.  This year, since he left with predictions of cold weather on the way, I also got instructions on how to operate the thermostats to generate heat.  

You are probably wondering how a highly educated boomer such as myself needs such remedial lessons. Well, it is not that I am slow.  It is because Hubby has set up a system of heating/cooling controls that make no sense to the normal  homo sapien.  By the way, did you know that was Latin for "wise man or knowing man"?  Just an interesting tidbit I picked up from a google wander.  Wonder what Latin for "wise  or knowing woman would be?  I digress....

We have five different thermostats in our house.  Two are even in the same room.  All of them work.  All of them do something.  It is always confusing to me, however,  what something each of them do.  I grew up in a house with one thermostat.  When I was young we didn't have air conditioning so that thermostat was all about turning on the furnace.  It seems to me that you should need only one thermostat.  Turn it to the temperature you want and magic takes care of the rest.  Apparently not.

Here is what I have learned.

One thermostat should be voted off the wall.
Three thermostats are on the ground level.  They are all heat providers.  Two  are in the back room and operate a) in-floor heat and b) baseboard heaters.  Despite the presence of these two powerful devices, the room is still cold whenever it reaches below zero.

How to overcome a hold?
The third is in the dining room.  It makes heat appear on the rest of the first floor and 2nd floor.  It is one of those programmable thingies that is never programmed to a heat level I consider comfortable.  Hence I just keep hitting the "warmer" button hoping that it over-rules the programmed settings.
Apparently we like it warmer upstairs.

The third level also has a thermostat because....well, I don't know why.  It just does.   I generally leave it alone, because at my age I am seldom  cold at night.

The critical AC OFF button.
Finally, there's the all-powerful 2nd floor thermostat.  It is the one and only thermostat to operate the air-conditioning.  I learned this when I tried in vain to cool the house down using one of the other four thermostats.  Here's the key lesson I was given.   If I want to turn on the heat, I must first turn off the air conditioning.  Otherwise we will have the battle of the thermostats.

A house with "hot flashes".  Seems appropriate.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Downside of an Even-Keeled Life

I'm feeling a little blue tonight because I'm channelling my daughter's feelings.  Her absolute favorite place in the whole world, her Spanish camp, is going to close and she is devastated.

Grace is currently there working in the kitchen.  She attended the camp for eight years as a student and hoped to go back next year as a junior counselor.  This is her home-away-from-home in the summer.   Even though camp is over this Saturday, she came home briefly today just to tell us about it.  She's that sad.

It makes me sad to see her sad.  But it also makes me a little envious.  She has bonded so much with her fellow staff members and the students she has met over the years, that it is a little like her heart being torn out.  When was the last time I felt that way about a group of people?  When did I last cry over a parting with friends?    When did I last feel excited about everything and love everything as much as that?

In the 70's I went to Montreal for two-weeks to watch the 1976 Olympics.  I was twenty-one and traveling alone. My lodging was a hostel set up in a suburban elementary school.  Within the first hour of my arrival at the hostel I had met two women from Miami, two from New York City, two from Boston and one from Sydney, Australia.  We were best buddies for the next two weeks experiencing the excitement of an event watched the world over in a cosmopolitan bilingual city.  We met boys from other cities and managed to have a year's worth of crushes and romances in two weeks time.   A Frenchman, Jean, wrote me poetry.  When we went our separate ways to Olympic events, we met at the end of the day and told our stories.  I remember laughing a lot.  To this day I look back on this trip as the best adventure I've ever had.  When it all ended, it was truly like the ending to a great book with characters you want to see continue on with their lives.

In the 80's I came to Minneapolis to work for General Mills.   I wasn't alone.   Within a few weeks I had met women who to this day I still count as friends.  We started our careers together, all fresh and green.  Most of us were single and through the next four years, we had crushes and fell in love and (some of us, not me) got married.  We explored the city, partied, spent holidays and vacations together.  We gossiped about the same people at work and ragged on the bosses who couldn't figure out how great we were.  We compared notes on our latest and greatest projects.  And almost as a group, we decided to leave and go our separate ways.   I didn't fully appreciate how special that time was until I came back to work for General Mills in the 2000's.    Great people are still there, but that feeling of being with people who see everyday as something new and full of possibility was no longer there for me.

In the 90's I went to work for a start-up company.  We were all working to make a great success out of something that in the end turned out to be a great failure.  There's nothing like the stress of a great high profile failure to bond you together.  We laughed to keep from crying.   We went through a battle together and now bear the same scars.  And like soldiers who fought together, only those who were there can understand what we went through.   I'd drop everything for a reunion with these comrades, but alas, I've lost touch with most of them.

So I'm a little jealous of my Darling Daughter.  I miss the camaraderie and support that you feel when you are joined at the hip with a group of friends.  She's got so many more chances at intense friendships and experiences.  I don't know if my future holds similar possibilities.  Surrounding yourself with new people in a new adventure is risky, while an even-keeled life, a life with little change, is comfortable.   I like to be comfortable.

I just suspect it's not nearly as much fun.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

What's the Rush?

Just when I think there's not an ounce of Mattingly in my Darling Daughter, she unveils her hidden side.

She was explaining to me that she discovered she could possibly graduate from high school after completing her Junior year.   I was secretly cringing, wanting desperately to yell, "No!  I don't want you to!"  But I held back and, as luck would have it, she announced that she wanted to graduate with her class, hence saving me from being the bad guy.  

My Darling Daughter seems in such a rush to grow up.  To get on with what's next.   And I keep thinking, "what's the rush?"  Then it hits me.  What was my rush?  I couldn't wait to get out of high school, to move away from home and be on my own.    To that end I finished high school in February, started in secretarial school in April.  Finished that in December and started my first job.  Moved out of the house by the time I was 19.

When I was about 21 my father died and I qualified for tuition and other financial support so off I went to college.  Because I started late, I wasn't going to waste time.    Took 18 hour class loads and went every summer so I could finish a year early.   Then I went to work.

Eventually I went to graduate school and started my career.   It's hard to rush a career, but I tried.  Whenever I was changing companies, I could have held off the new company starting date, but I never did.  When do you want me?

I began to seriously plan my retirement when I was in my late 40's.  I targeted 52.  Didn't happen.  I had to wait to 55 because rushing to retirement any earlier was clearly a bad financial decision.  But to many people, age 55 is pretty darn early.  So here I am.  I rushed my way to retirement.

When I look back I wish I'd finished high school with my class.  I  envy those kids who take a year to just backpack their way across the world.  I wonder why I didn't take just a little more time before moving on to the next thing.   Would life now be much different?  Did all those rush decisions make me who I am today?  I can only presume the answer is yes and be satisfied.  Certainly, I'm glad I was able to retire when I did.

However, I thought when I retired I wouldn't need to rush anymore.  I would have all the time in the world to do whatever I wanted,  but there's a problem.  Time refuses to hold still for me.  The days, months,  and years fly by and I look at the calendar and say, "slow down, what's the rush?"  But time doesn't listen.  It just speeds up and I'm left thinking,  I've got to hurry.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

What Was That You Said?

Two posts in the same day.  Must be a record.

I want to go on record that I have a foreign language disability.    Somehow I was able to avoid taking a foreign language in both high school and college.    Actually I agreed to take Russian during my High School study hall period, but not enough students signed up, so it wasn't meant to be.

So why the talk about foreign languages.  Because I went South and the further South you go the less you understand.   It's a little like entering a foreign country.   I can generally act as interpreter for my Northern Hubby but at times even I was lost.

We were doing a little grocery shopping in Dale Hollow.  The conversation between me and the sales folks..
               Her:   "Can ah hep yew faaan sumthin?"
               Me:  "No,  am jus' waitin' for my husband." (I find it helps to try and blend in)
               Her:  "Oh, he's done lef' yew.
 I thought about protesting but then realized this was her idea of a joke so I appropriately chuckled.
             
Hubby has perfected the southern version of Thank You....Thiank yew!  (I've no idea how to spell this out, but if you have ever been South you know what I mean.)  It comes in handy and we use it a lot.

Sometimes we just looked at each other and said, did you get that?  Even my Elder Brother, who is still living in Kentucky, was baffled at times.   We just shrugged it off.

Getting directions from someone was always an adventure.  No one uses a street name or number.

             Hubby:  "Can you tell us where we can find a grocery store?"
             Him:  "Yer not from around here, are yew?"
             Us:  Unspoken: How'd you guess?
             Him:  "Yew go up there and take a raht.  Take the first left.  Then yew go down the hill.  At the
                        bottom of the hill look to yer raht and yew should see a restaurant and the grocery will
                        be on yer left."
             Me:  "Thiank yew!"

So we followed the directions and found the grocery.  But it would have been a lot simpler to say...go back out to the 111 (the main thoroughfare), turn left and you'll see it about a quarter a mile down on your left.

We rented a pontoon boat for a day out on Dale Hollow Lake.  Before going out we had to receive an overview of the boat.   I was prepared to hear about the operation of the boat, where we could/could not go, who had the right of way if you met up with another boat.  That kind of thing.  The first thing he told us?  "You have five chairs."

Yes, indeedy.  We did have five chairs and unless someone decided to throw one into the lake, we were going to have five chairs when we returned.  At this point, I decided there wasn't much of value in listening real hard.

But lest you think I dislike the Southern language, let me set you straight.  I thoroughly enjoy it.  It sounds a little musical I think.  Makes me feel at home even though I never spoke this particular dialect.

Plus, I like saying Thiank yew!


Porkin' My Way Through the South

(Wow.  It's been awhile since I posted and the sight has a whole new look.  Hope I can manage!)

Hubby and I just completed two weeks of vacation in the south.  By that I mean Kentucky and Tennessee.  As my ardent followers know, since retirement I have lost about 25 pounds through exercise and a lot of watching what I eat.  But two weeks of eating my way through my home state and its neighbor almost "done me in" to quote Eliza.

Let's recap.  Hush puppies.  Is there anything better than a hush puppy.  Apparently they are the perfect accompaniment to a fish dinner in the south.  I ate about six of them across two meals of catfish and trout.  Fried pieces of cornbread.  Yum.

I ate quite a few pig parts at our B&B breakfasts (Eight Gables in Gatlinburg, TN).   Monday: sausage patties; Tuesday: sausage links; Wednesday: bacon; Thursday: pork chops.   Poor porker.    Mr. Piggy came with a healthy dose of fruit and bread (i.e. muffins, banana bread), scrambled eggs and some kind of carbo delight.  Monday:  Blueberry waffle; Tuesday: Banana nut pancake; Wednesday: Cinnamon French toast stuffed with cream cheese; Thursday: Cheesy Hash brown potatoes.   To give myself some credit, I generally only tasted Mr. Porker, then offered the rest to Hubby who wolfed it down.

We did exercise.  Walked about twenty miles over the course of three days, a lot of it uphill, in the great Smoky Mountain National Park.  Lunch was a packed sandwich, pretzels and apple.  Not bad.

Then we had dinner.  Other than the hush puppies and maybe a serving or two of coleslaw,  I maintained some control.  We always said no to dessert at the restaurants.  Brave, huh?  Actually, no...our B&B provided dessert every night.  Monday:  Chocolate Cake with Peanut Butter/Chocolate frosting; Tuesday: Paula Dean's Sour Cream Pound Cake; Wednesday: Coconut Cream Frosted Yellow Cake; Thursday: Key Lime Bars.   I ate every morsel.

Then there was the free candy in the lobby.  My hands were controlled by an alien being.   Every time I passed by the plates my hand reached out for a handful.   I didn't know what was happening.

It was hot too and you know a beer tastes mighty good when it's hot and you're in the south and the sweat is dripping.  I had a few.

But I'm back home now so I'm under control.  If only I could figure out what to do with that 1/2 pound of Cherry Nut Chocolate Fudge I bought in Gatlinburg.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Boomer Notices Disturbing Trend in Advertising

Time sure flies when you're retired.  Actually I think time just goes faster the older you get.  It's already April.  I only posted once in March.  Hopefully I can do better this month but time is running out.

Speaking of time...I seem to be wasting a bit more than usual.  We just got a more premium cable package so that we could get Fox Sports Network, the only way to get Twins' games on TV.    What that means is I also get a lot of other channels and I've become movie addicted.  I've been staying up until all hours of the night catching the Elizabeth Taylor movie highlights among many others.

But with TV shows also comes TV ads.  I don't like most TV ads.  Can't watch them without dissecting them.  Do I remember the brand?  Is there a benefit?  A reason to believe?  Usually the answer is no.    I've also noticed a creative trend.  Human beings playing inanimate objects.  Granted it is not a totally new idea.     Fruit of the Loom underwear has used people dressing up as fruit for decades. This trend is a little different.

It started with the PC/MAC commercial.  You know the one.  Two men..one young and hip, the other sort of chubby and uncool.    They aren't dressed as computers..they just represent them.   Then came the Mayhem man for Allstate Insurance.  I actually like these.  Things began to go a little downhill when Mucus made an appearance.  I remember the mucus man, but not what was advertised.    Then it hit rock bottom with two women portraying Mud and Dirt hoping for a Swiffer to pick them up.    The ad may work, but people playing things other than people is getting a bit old.

I just hope the next manifestation isn't "Hi, I'm Condom."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

My Kid Has It Under Control

Last night I attended a meeting at Grace's (Note use of a real name as requested by said child) school to hear all about her test scores on a pre-ACT test.  As I walked into the building I thought back to when I was in high school.  I don't remember my parents going to the high school for any reason other than attending a basketball game for my brother or maybe a track meet for me.    It's not that my parents didn't care.  I just think high schools in my day didn't have these kind of meetings.

So last night I heard about what her scores meant.  (She did well.  Not surprising.) Then I heard about things the kids should do to get ready for the college application process.  And I heard all about the PSEO option for kids that want to attend college while going to high school.  And  I heard all the questions the parents asked.  At the end I concluded that my kid doesn't need me to hear all of it.  She does just fine navigating the system on her own.  

Here's what I mean.  While some parents are asking how their kids can learn about PSEO,  mine has already applied, is writing her essay, has checked out the possible schedule of classes she might take and how it will fit into her high school schedule, and has figured out the bus route and what building the classes may be in.   (And she doesn't perceive organizing and planning as a strength..hmmm)

What's left for a mother to do?  I suppose I'll keep going to the meetings.  I get to socialize a bit which is nice.  But like my parents, if I didn't go, I'm guessing things would work out just fine for everyone.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Pussy Cat Mom

There's been a lot written lately about the Tiger Mom.    It's been very handy.  Whenever Darling Daughter   needs to put forth a little more effort on something,  I can say "I'm being a Tiger Mom" to make my point.  She's read the articles, so she knows what I mean.  And she's got very accomplished friends who are the products of tiger moms so she knows what can result.

But the reality is, I'm no Tiger Mom.    This has become evident to me as my DD puts together her course work plan for her Junior year.  Her wish list line up is:  AP Calculus, AP Physics, AP Biology 2, and 3 classes at the university, Spanish, Social Studies and English.  Plus she wants to fit in Wind Ensemble and Zero Hour Jazz as electives.    It makes my head spin just to think about it.

So what would a Tiger Mom do?  Probably not what I do, which is try to convince her to sign up for Pre-Calculus and regular Physics and to take English in High School rather than college.   Why make the course load harder than it needs to be?  Why put the grade point at risk?  What will it really matter?  Either way it's an impressive workload.   Am I doubting her or just being sensible?

I'm just a Pussy Cat Mom.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Boomer Looks Back on Retirement: Year One

I have completed a full year of retirement.    It's been a good year.  

I didn't have any big goals for my retirement years.   Just wanted to get back to doing things just because I wanted to.   I wanted to avoid the "have to do's".  What I've discovered is that  the "want to do's" come with their own "have to do's".    That has been my biggest discovery.

What does this mean, you ask?

I wanted to do a little volunteer work and I figured doing something at Grace's school made some sense.  So I started doing a little this and that for the music department.  Then I was asked to join the board.  Hmm, not what I had in mind, but okay.  After all,  I had plenty of time, which many people do not.  Two meetings later I was asked to be the "chair in training" in order to take over in 2011/12.  This I didn't want to do.  Could have, should have said no.  But, I said yes.  After all, I had plenty of time, which many people do not. (My rationalization for everything involving volunteer activity.)   One of the big fundraisers is an auction/party event.   I signed up to get the volunteers for the event.  Asking people I don't know to give up time for a charity event was definitely a "have to do".  It reminded me a little too much of work.  Admittedly I did not enjoy it.    But I wanted to get involved and the have to do's came along with it.    Plus, I met a lot of new people at the school who can hopefully help in the future and that's really want I wanted to do.

I wanted to take piano lessons.   Started slowly doing a trial run with a teacher who came to my home.  Wasn't working for me, so I stepped back and found a new teacher.  I've been at it a couple of months.  But you know what comes with piano lessons?   Piano practice.  Yes I "have to" practice.  Admittedly, I do not enjoy practicing.  But I wanted to learn piano so practice I must.  And my Darling Daughter has actually said she'd do a duet with me.  This I definitely want to do.

I wanted to lose weight and get in better shape overall.  And I've done it...lost 20 lbs. and dropped a couple of sizes.  Feel pretty good too.  But you know what?  I "have to" exercise.   Admittedly, I do not enjoy exercising, even after doing it for a year.    And changing how I eat has been tough.  I want to eat my Hershey bars and popcorn and pasta in vast quantities.   But this is a "want to do" that had to be modified.   I change it up now and then and that helps.    A little bike-riding, cross-country skiing, hiking.   A little piece of pie for breakfast!   But it is mostly the daily grind of treadmill and lifting weights, a bowl of cereal and sandwich for lunch.  (Thank goodness for my Light Chips!)   If I want to hold on to my gains, exercise and watching what I eat is what I have to do.  My price to pay.   I got to wear my slinky black dress to our fundraiser event.  I really wanted to do that.

So much from moving from a "have to do" to a "want to do" life.  No such thing.  But the rewards of these "have to do's" feel pretty good so I'll be adding to my list in Retirement Year 2.  I'm thinking some dance lessons with my Hubby.   Totally a want to do!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Boomer Tackles The Great Outdoors..Alone

I finally decided it was time to go it alone. Take matters into my own hands. Be the master of my fate. I went cross-country skiing. Alone. By my lonesome.


I had been waiting to go with my Hubby. I've only done cross-country a few times so was a little unsure of myself. But it was 20 degrees and sunshiny and Hubby was still suffering from a bad cold. Several other nice days were already behind me, so I couldn't let another pass.

So I dug out the gear, made sure I could put the skis on, then walked down to the lake. It was a good decision. Despite falling three times, one of which didn't count because no one saw me, I enjoyed myself immensely. Went at my own pace, where I wanted to go, for as long as I wanted.

The dog race from a previous Loppet
Ice made beautiful
The lake is soon to be the site of The Loppet, a day of cross-country ski events. This provided lots of things to check-out on my little adventure. The ice luminaries are all in place for the night time event. Skiers with their dogs were practicing for the very amusing dog pulling master (or vice versa) event, and best of all, the trail was nicely groomed.

Doing things by myself is nothing new. When I was young and unmarried I did it all the time. Vacations, movies, plays. But almost 20 years of marriage has made me more partner dependent. The other day I mentioned to DD that I might go to an afternoon movie by myself. She was appalled. Thought it was so sad. I just saw it as exerting my independence once again.

I'm a retiree with time to do things again. Waiting on someone else to come along will hold me back. Cross country today. Tomorrow..who knows?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Saying Goodby to Childhood

DD and Humpty
I cried at the end of Toy Story 3. SPOILER ALERT. When Woody is watching Andy go off to college leaving all his toys behind I could not help but think of the day when my own Darling Daughter heads off.

She's ready to pack away her childhood already. Take the case of Humpty.

My BFF, Darling Daughter's godmother, had an oval shaped pillow with a Humpty Dumpty pillow cover.  She called it her "Conker" doll and carried it around till it was threadbare. When my baby was born, BFF found what may have been the last place on earth to buy a Humpty pillow and presented it to her. That pillow was bigger than my girl.  We called it "Humpty" because we are a less creative family than hers.

There were two constants in DD's little baby/toddler life: her blankie, made by her grandmother, and her Humpty pillow. They were the only things that had to be packed when we travelled and went to bed with her every night.  When she decided she was too big for stuffed animals and the like,  Humpty got squished into a drawer, forgotten, much like Woody got tossed in the toy box, forgotten.

A short time ago Daughter decided to make room for her growing collection of clothes. The floor was apparently out of space. Humpty was put in her Basement or Toss pile in the hallway. I don't know if she felt a little sad or not, but for sure I did. Humpty, now much smaller than my DD, looked a little torn, tattered and forlorn, and I wanted to scoop it up and put it into my bed, keeping a little piece of my baby close by.   For sure it isn't getting tossed.  But I'm figuring Hubby is not quite as sentimental so Humpty will live with all my other baby memorability until the day DD is faced with going through my stuff.

Until then, rest easy Humpty.  Like Woody you are still loved.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Remembering Dad

Today, 35 years ago, my father died. He was 62 years old. I almost didn't remember. Then I noticed some happy birthday wishes to my nephew who was born 2 days before my dad died.

So I am feeling a little guilty that I did not remember the moment I woke up this morning. Because if I don't remember, who will? So here's to my dad and things I remember.

Riding high above everyone on your shoulders
Standing on your feet while we circled the dance floor at the Swiss Hops
Watching you sit in your chair reading the newspaper everyday
Doing the jig in the hallway just for laughs
Teasing mom
Taking grandma to church on Sundays
Sitting in the Consolidated Sales parking lot waiting for mom to get off work, taking bets on whether she'd be the last to leave (and she always was)
Bringing me into the freezer at A and P and showing me how you ground the hamburger
When I got all A's, asking why that 95 average wasn't a 100...just to tease me.
Letting me take the car to Tennessee so I wouldn't be another St. Matthew's driver, like mom.
Buying me a bag of groceries when I moved into my first apartment
Coming out to rescue me at work when I locked my keys in the car even though you were sick
Pretending that you were a monkey because the nurses made you eat so many bananas in the hospital
Finding my 2nd grade picture, with my crooked bangs and crooked teeth, still in your wallet when you died.

Your little girl forever.