Sued51's Blog

{December 16, 2010}   Connected but Disconnected…

Okay, it has happened.  I am momentarily speechless, unable to communicate.  My husband recommended that I jot down my thoughts and feelings in a notebook for later blogs.  I am trying to do that, but the rawness, the changeability, the pain is so acute.  I felt I had to write SOMETHING for my readers.  I have a lot of blog ideas written down but they just seem so ridiculous and so trivial right now.

My beloved father is in hospice at home.  Just let me say, they are WONDERFUL: kind, skilled, and sympathetic.  They know that when you are going through it, it feels like you have been transported to another world, connected only to your family and those strangers that come in an out: nurses, social workers, chaplains and home health aides.  You lose track of what day it is, yet you are acutely aware of every hour.

I try to see some light.  I appreciate the new connection to my family…I don’t think we have every talked to each other this much since we were children; we share and yet, we each deal with this quiet emotional cocoon in our own way.  Sometimes we don’t like how another family member copes, but we make no judgments in this world, just go with the flow.

While in the outside world, people Christmas shop, mail Christmas cards and go to parties.  Life goes on for the living, as it should.  For those in between, the world appears as a hazy gray blur.  It hasn’t snowed here yet, but I’m in the midst of a blizzard I have to find my way through.

{November 29, 2010}   Curley’s Secret of Life

No, I’m not talking about one of the Three Stooges; I’m talking about the cowboy character (played by Jack Palance) in the movie “City Slickers.”   I just recently watched this 1991 movie again.  The lead character, Mitch (played by Billy Crystal) goes on a cattle drive with his friends to find himself and the meaning of his life.  He confides in Curley about his angst while they ride along, and Curley’s response is to hold up his index finger.  It took the entire movie for Mitch to find out what that meant for him.

I bring this up because a good friend of mine who loves history recently went through a rigorous training course in order to be able to give tours of a local historic site.  She was working full-time (at what she felt was an unfulfilling day job), and yet she managed to put in sometimes up to 30 hours a week studying, reading, writing, and preparing and practicing sample tours.  In the end, she passed the required 45-minute tour “audition”, and she is now giving tours.

She told me that if she knew up front how much work it would be, she might not have taken on the challenge, but she is glad she did.  A funny thing happened during and since she completed all that intense work — she said she stopped focusing on how much her full-time job bored her; she still has the desire to read and learn even more about the subject of her tours.  She rediscovered a passion.

On the way home from dinner with her and her husband, I told my hubby that I found her experience inspiring.  He said nothing but smiled and held up his index finger like Curley.  In that moment I was struck by a realization: I have always known what that meant for me, but I was always afraid.  Afraid of the commitment and that the work would simply be exhausting, not energizing.  Before I even tried, I regretted all the things that I wouldn’t do because I was concentrating on the “one” thing.  I was deathly afraid of going down the road to failure and whether I could ever return.  I always turned around when I saw a curve or a hill in front of me and kept going back to the crossroad to try another “easier” road.

Well… I’m at the age now that there is no regret to feel because I had fun and had great experiences.  Like Warren Beatty when he finally settled down with Annette Benning, I know it is time to stop being afraid, embrace the work of commitment and really enjoy the rest of my life feeling I’m in the right place and doing the right thing.

A veterinarian told us that treats for our cats should not be those packaged as such, but a piece of chicken or fish.  But our cats go crazy for some of the packaged treats (especially the ones called “Temptations”), so it is hard to adhere to that advice.  What would the kitties pick if they could?

I remember as a child what an exciting treat it was to go out for an ice cream cone or sundae.  I live near a couple of dairy farm ice cream stands that have lines all spring and summer long, but I’m never in them.  I rarely eat ice cream anymore, and if I do, I eat it at home.  It just seems too expensive to go out to get it served to me when I can buy it at the store and eat it at home.  When did that treat change for me?

Economic and/or health concerns have changed my idea of what a “treat” is for me.  There are some things I miss and some things I don’t.  When I was young I worked at a movie theater.  I ate popcorn just about every day.  When I stopped doing that, I went through a phase when I was working in an office and was eating microwave popcorn several times a week, resulting in a lot of extra pounds.  I figured out it was the popcorn and stopped eating it.  Now every once in a while I drag out my popcorn popper at home and make popcorn.  I now consider it a treat.  Similarly, because donuts are so bad for me, I almost never eat them.

I don’t seem to have as much time as I used to just to read a book or magazine without feeling guilty.  These days I concentrate most of my energies on saving money (i.e., cutting coupons, shopping for deals, making food from scratch, etc.).  So, to take some time to quietly read a book or magazine nowadays is a definite treat.

I would like to say the change in my thinking is an age-related phenomenon, but the other day I met some elderly people who were making an event out of going to one of the dairy farm ice cream stands.  My parents do the same.  So why isn’t it a treat to me?  Mindset – Mine is set in practical/economical mode right now, which doesn’t include going out for an ice cream sundae.

To go back to what the veterinarian said, the best treat should not be something unhealthy for you.  But doesn’t the definition of “treat” include “fun” combined with a certain amount of “guilt”? My treats these days are virtually guiltfree and the fun factor is much diminished.  So…are they still “treats”?

{May 17, 2010}   To Color or Not to Color

I mull the choice.  A few gray hairs are okay; they represent wisdom acquired from life experiences and the reality of truly being a grownup.  But when you start to look like you got sideswiped by a wet white paint brush, it is time to make a decision.  I find myself torn.

Professional coloring at the hairdresser is expensive, and it is necessary to do it multiple times a year.  With my current state of part-time employment, this is money I don’t have: therein lies the rub.  In answer to that issue…I can do it at home, but that choice, though cheaper, requires a lot of time and clean-up.  It doesn’t last as long so I have to do it more often, probably negating the savings to some extent.

Another factor I consider: it is better for my health (as well as my pocketbook) not to do it (not to mention a heck of a lot easier).  But though my husband doesn’t mind the “no makeup” look, his opinion is that hair with too much white/gray looks “frumpy”.  He teases me constantly about my white/gray hair, which I have to admit is a big factor in my decision.  He was lucky to be born with blonde/light brown hair that doesn’t show the gray and constantly receives compliments that he doesn’t look his age.  I don’t get the same comments, especially if I let the grays grow wild like groundcover on my head.

Bottom line:  because of our youth-oriented culture and due to my part-time employment mode, I feel like it is really a necessity to do it.  The choice really isn’t to dye it or not to dye it at this point; the choice really is, do it myself with washout color, or pay the money and get it done professionally. And so a new debate begins…

{April 25, 2010}   You Know You Are Old When…

Your formerly cutting-edge music is on the easy listening station.

The eighties were my music decade: it was when I was going to clubs and buying cds and when listening to music was a constant in my life.  Most of the music I listened to was not popular with my mainstream friends. I was wearing buttons (badges as the Brits call them) for Elvis Costello and The Jam and some of my friends would say, “Who are they?”

On a trip to England, I made friends with the tour guide because I was wearing a Lloyd Cole and the Commotions button.  He thought it was great that an American knew who they were!  Also, I dated a guy who wrote music reviews.  He went on a trip to Australia and introduced me to the Go-Betweens and Paul Kelly.

The other day I was in a major chain store and the music playing was…what?  The Go-Betweens??  Then I heard The Style Council, a later less successful band formed by the lead singer for the Jam.  Am I hearing things??

It made me think of my father commenting years after he shook his head over my brother’s love for that long-haired British band, The Beatles…”you know, the Beatles actually wrote some nice music.”  Aah…perspective.

et cetera
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