Musings on anything.
| What is it about a diet that makes you obsess about food? You can cut out sweets, including ice cream, but then you want cold cuts, or deli sliced meats and cheeses. There's no sugar, but still a small amount of fat and lots of calories. I can't wait for my next serving of fruit or veggies. I can pig out on steamed asparagus. Unfortunately, fruits and veggies when done to excess can play havoc with your GI system. I can't give up carbs!
I start my day out planning meals and exercise. I'm not getting something right, because I'm stalled. I write everything down, even if I don't want anyone to see it. I sound like I'm making excuses for myself when I remember my swollen knees, my advanced age, my A-fib, my numerous prescription medications. The knees prevent stair climbing, the A-fib makes me walk slowly, but I can keep going at my slow pace. So I do keep going.
I keep doing the reduced sodium thing and almond milk. My fantasy: I can afford a coach to monitor my food intake and coax me into taking more short walks or stretching more and planning healthier foods to have on hand and readily available. I guess I really want some other person, an expert, to take the responsibility, to make my health a priority.
Well, I will keep trying. I will put my failures behind me and prioritize my own health. I have to take care of me; no one else will. I'm hoping that I'm building some good habits which will eventually pay off. The quality of my life and how I feel is my problem, my job.
| What is it about flat surfaces? We just feel some innate need to fill them up. A coffee table, a dresser top, a microwave top--all will do. Just fill them up with unopened mail, notes from teachers, pay stubs, unpaid bills, half-read magazines. These things must remain on flat surfaces in every room of the house!
I heard a woman say her husband wanted to build a house with all built in furniture so there would be no flat surfaces. That doesn't work for me. Where do you put the antique collectibles or the pretty jewelry boxes? We had built in china cabinets around the fireplace, and my father would put the mail and the bills inside the glass doors so he could find them. Pencils went into glasses, and stamps stayed in full view. The unsightly part was not resolved.
I have tried to discipline myself. When I leave a room for the night, I look around to see what should be put away or carried to another room. I give the kitchen a quick once over to be sure there will be no shocks in the morning. But inevitably I miss something! What was I thinking leaving that screwdriver on the dining table? How can I mail that bill if it's hidden under papers that need reviewing? I know I'm not alone in this. The fly lady calls these flat surfaces "hot spots". I have a friend who complains loudly when anyone places anything on her kitchen counters. I don't want to be a nag, especially since I haven't nailed the good habits yet myself. Is it just laziness built into us all? Or too much stuff?
I hear complaints all the time from others. There are people making money advising others on how to control these flat surfaces. I want my space to look neat and organized without obsessing over it or making others feel uncomfortable when visiting my space. I guess we all have to learn to live peacefully with flat surfaces.
| Today the public schools were closed in order to allow polling. So I babysat 3 of my greats at my house. Their mom works in town and dropped them off. They were good, probably the best they've been for me in years. Oh, they're growing up, I guess. One has only recently taken to coloring; he's always resisted up until now. So I watched a lot of "Big City Greens" in the morning.
We had pizza from the freezer. An hour later, they wanted hot dogs which I didn't have. So I offered French fries. They went out to play in the fort while I baked them. (They have a homemade fort behind the shed, which they have modified over time with whatever they could find in the shed or the yard). After eating fries, I went out with the boys to get some weights I found recently in the shed. I'm sure they belonged to their grandfather, my late brother. They didn't want to take them home, but carried them out to the "back room" of the fort (these were dumbbells). We pulled up ivy which is rampant and fast growing, and I inspected the "barrier" they were reinforcing.
Later they all went outside to ride bicycles down the hill. I had to stand in the street to watch for traffic. They have gravel at home and no hills. Who knew that a long winding hill could be such a thrill? It was against my better judgment to let them do it, since it's difficult for motorists to see at the top of the hill where I live. We lucked out. No cars for about 20 minutes. Then I made them go back to my level driveway where they circled around the trees in the yard and my car and me. The six year old did cartwheels while his siblings raced him. It soon turned too dark to be in the street, anyway. So I know they got exercise and will sleep tonight.
In between "Captain Man" on TV and bikes. I took the 8 year old boy to the garage where I gave him my old tool box. We then went to my dad's workbench and found some tools I don't plan on using. Two extra Flathead screwdrivers, one Phillips, a package of small nails, a few long screws, a couple of band-aids, and a measuring tape (I have surplus tapes), some black electrical tape. He found a vise in one of the drawers; I wouldn't have included it, but I have no plans for it. He turned down needle nose pliers, but I talked him into some wire cutters. We found a small hammer in one of the drawers, and then he felt satisfied with the box. I explained that these were not weapons, that he could never stab or hit anyone with them. I also reminded him that if anyone borrowed one of his tools, to be sure it went back into the box and not left out on the porch or the ground. He agreed.
It felt kind of good, thinking that his great grandpa would be happy to see the boy have his own tools. He was very excited to take everything out of the box and show his mother. He's carrying on a family tradition.
| I have wanted to travel all my life but couldn't afford it. My nieces, who are half my age, travel all over the country with kids. Now they're taking the kids out of school for a week in December and going to Jamaica. I should be happy for them. And I don't want to go with them and crash their younger lifestyle or babysit. But I'm so jealous! I should be ashamed.
I've been to Merriam, Kansas, and north to Montreal and Quebec. I've seen Louisville and Churchill Downs. I've spent time in West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North and South Carolina, Ohio, Missouri, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Buffalo, even Niagara Falls. And Virginia and DC. I camped in Indiana where the rain flooded my tent. The places I haven't been still call my name.
I fantasize about Christmas in Paris. I want to roam ancestral grounds in Scotland and the Channel Islands. I'd go anywhere around the Mediterranean, including Tunisia. I have known people from many places, and they always made their home sound enchanting. I read stories about New Zealand or travelers on vacation in Vietnam. I want to see these things for myself. I want to cruise around Alaska and see American Samoa. Of course, I have to see Easter Island and Christmas Island, listening to Jimmy Buffet songs. I'm dying to go to South Dakota and learn Indian history and culture.
I've led such a sheltered life. I've never been to New York City or Hawaii, or anywhere in Texas. I have been on the Ohio River and spent an afternoon on the Mississippi on a showboat. Some people don't desire to travel much. But some of us have itchy feet without the means to do anything about it. Now I'm so old, I'd have to worry about taking enough medicine and where to find the right kind of doctors wherever I go. At least the younger generation in my family is doing something about wanderlust.
| I thought the movie version was excellent. However, it pales in comparison to the opera version. It is a presentation of a book written by the nun who is the key female figure in this story. It is a true story of a man on death row in Angola, Louisiana. It is the largest penitentiary in the U.S., primarily black inmates, but this character is white. It is a huge prison that once had gardens and stables and barns that supplied all the food consumed by both staff and inmates.
This nun was requested as his spiritual adviser, so she was allowed to visit him on death row. She became obsessed with the salvation of his soul, desiring him to confess his crimes. She was afraid of the prison, afraid of this man and his horrible deeds, but she grew to care about him deeply. The opera show her anguish, as well as his as he awaits his death, denying his wrong doing. It shows the anguish of his mother and brothers, the victims' parents. The music intensifies their pain.
The movie took some liberties with changes and added a little Hollywood flair. The opera is more closely written to the facts. If you have never seen an opera, or generally hate them, this is a good one to start. It is all in English. The musical styles include some gospel, some jazz, a little rock. There is even an Elvis scene where they are alone and discover they are both Elvis fans and imitate him. It is a riveting story. You cannot take your eyes off the action, and you will not fall asleep. They take a few daring new moves to make it a truly contemporary opera.
You might be able to catch it on a cultural TV station, like VPM, or you can go the Met library to watch online. It runs about 3 hours, which includes a long intermission. I saw a live broadcast from the NY Met. I observed people wiping their eyes and heard them saying how exhausted they felt afterwards. Warning, it will engage you.
It is very religious. It is a morality play. However, it does not make the argument for or against capital punishment.
| When I was younger, I could do a lot of last minute things. I can't any longer.
I have to plan my wardrobe the night before, including jewelry, and lay it out for easy access. I have to plan my meals ahead of time, or I go bonkers on whatever I find in the kitchen. I have to make a daily to do list or I waste the day with whatever comes up. With a list, I feel obligated to check things off. But then, I want to tell someone how much I've done, but nobody cares or there is no one to tell.
On Fridays, I try to clean the inside of my car and my purse and wallet. Receipts in all places go in the trash. Parking passes, half used Kleenex, they all have to be tossed. I haven't done the car today, but I did clean out the purse. I've never been a planner or a prepper, but I find that old age makes me slow, so my lack of organization shows more. I can still walk out of the house on the way to volunteer work or a meeting and walk right past my needed papers of the lunch I packed.
Gotta run. I have to put clothes in the washer that I need tomorrow morning.
| All Saints Day is always Nov. 1. I suppose it started as the church's response to the Day of the Dead or Halloween. It is simply a day to remember or honor all saints, both known and unknown, even if they have their own commemorative day. The non-Catholic version began after that, in which you simply honor the memory of anyone you know who may have died since last All Saints Day.
This can be very meaningful to a family that has lost a member or to a community that has lost a beloved leader. Many Protestant churches will take a small part of their first Sunday service in November to name its members or family of members who have passed. I have seen whole families go up front just to light a candle in honor a parent or sibling and have observed their continuing grief. I was especially moved when my young nephew went up with me to light a candle for my father. Since then, it has become an even more meaningful and moving experience for me. I want others to have that opportunity when they lose a loved one, to remember publicly in a reverent moment. Depending on the numbers, it's a very short ceremony.
So if you have lost someone, a co-worker, neighbor, a friend, a family member in the last twelve months. Do yourself a favor. Light a candle tonight and just watch the flame for a minute or two in your own private moment of reverence. You will experience peace. Tears are permitted, but not required.
| In my part of the world, the weather is unpredictable. One year for a Christmas outdoor light show in the closest botanical garden, we were freezing. I wore two pairs of gloves and my hands were like icicles. The following year, I went with family and a lot of children, including a 2 year old, warning them to wear coats, heavy socks, gloves and scarves, and we all thought we would suffocate. The kids shed clothes as they ran around in the grass in the dark.
Some years for Halloween it is extremely cold. Kids wear coats over costumes, and some years they sweat inside the costume alone. I remember working in a haunted house downtown for Halloween and we had fans blowing to cool us down. Tonight this year, it will be very cold. I have to cover my plants for frost prevention. Last year for Thanksgiving, we ate outside on picnic tables. So much for the snowy roads to Grandma's house. Yet I've seen it snow on Veteran's Day before Thanksgiving.
At least the leaves are beautiful this year. You can't always count on that either. You can count on raking a mass of them. I'm going to wait until the trees are bare, then mow the lawn. and rake all at once.
I like the changing of the seasons, I just want Mother Nature to stick to a timetable.
| I really anticipated this show with excitement. Finally, someone was going to recognize that people don't die inside just because they get old. They still have feelings and hopes. I am going to say after watching almost to the conclusion, that it is a disappointment.
First, the whole idea of a competition for love and romance is ludicrous. I'm glad that no back stabbing or devious plots have taken place yet. The drama queens are definitely toned down. However, it's such a phony setup to build a relationship. They are all attractive women over 60, but they are all "in love" with this one very nice, always on his best behavior, guy. No way. Such artificial circumstances cannot lead to undying love. It's as though they all have agreed to be let down and feel like failures. Very few are walking away like it's been a fun adventure.
Next, I wonder what kind of man, no mater how charming or polite he may be, can date all those women and believe that "she" might be the one. He's a floozy. H makes out with multiple women per day. If I were there, I would be thinking, "Keep your lips away from me. They're full of germs" or "I don't want to kiss her. Why let you carry her germs to me?" It is just gross. Why aren't these women thinking about things like building exclusive relationships, not shared ones. They're only responding to chemistry at this point, and the desire to win the competition. He's thinking about earning his paycheck by courting these women. He might even be overplaying the sympathetic role, worrying that he's hurting someone.
If they run this another season, I hope they pick real women over 60, not potential models. Let them show a man and women with arthritis and a steady medication routine. People with bad tickers and hearing problems want love, too. Or is it only about what the audience is willing to watch? Surely, there are plenty of sponsors appealing to senior cash reserves.
| Why is it so satisfying to dig in the dirt? To get your hands dirty and plant things or to pull stuff you don't want to grow? Why does dyed mulch please the eye so much?
I don't do it to keep up with the neighbors or to brag about it. Sometimes I wish someone would notice my hard work and pay a compliment, but it doesn't happen. I am not going to win any prizes for outstanding blooms or best produce. The work has to be for the sole satisfaction of doing it. I only have to meet my own standards, no one else's. I stay out to nearly dark, dodging gnats, and getting cold. But I do feel a satisfaction I don't get from many other things. Lawn work is a solitary activity.
I am stumped by transplanting peonies. I can't get them out of the ground without destroying them. I have a trench around a clump of them. I figure they've been there 15 years or more. They're intertwined which I'm told is normal. They are shallow, but I can't get the shovel underneath them. I'm told to get the whole clump up, then separate them. But I just can't get them up out of the ground, no matter how deep I go. That's frustrating.
I'm doing much better with irises in a back yard bed, and begonias and geraniums in pots. I have to bring those in for the winter. I admit I do take some pride in having them survive from year to year and look beautiful. No one cares but me, but that's okay.