Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm in a book club and this past month we read "My Antonia" by Willa Cather. I'm sure lots of you read this in high school. I didn't but I do know my son read "Oh Pioneer" by Ms. Cather and everyone in his class hated it so I was leery of reading "My Antonia". I loved it. Since I live in Colorado now and drive through Nebraska every June I could picture much of what Jim, the narrator of the book, was talking describing. Also, my great-grandmother did what Jim did, at nine (Jim was eleven, I think) she moved from Virginia to the Midwest, though she went to a very small town in Missouri rather than a small town in Nebraska. Missouri looks nothing like Virginia and nor does Nebraska.It must have been quite a change for her, as it was for Jim. If you haven't made a trip across this beautiful country of ours I highly suggest it, though I can't say Nebraska or for that matter, eastern Colorado are the most picturesque, but they do have their own lonesome kind of beauty as they are filled with almost nothing, a raw sometimes rolling nothingness.

Books! I think I cannot exist without them. I was given a Kindle for Christmas and have a love/hate affair with it. I truly love it for many reasons and at times want just and "old fashioned" book. On another post I will talk about the Kindle. From now on in this blog - which I can't see that anyone is reading anyway, I am going to start recommending books I have read and why I liked them. I am starting with "My Antonia". Written around 1917, published in 1918. An interesting aside is that it thought that Willa Cather was a lesbian. She entered the University of Nebraska under the name of William Cather, she dressed like a boy throughout childhood and later in life had long term relationships (they said then "lived with) two women (at different times). Antonia is based on a friend of Willa's and I dare to think that Willa is really Jim telling the story. No matter what, "My Antonia" which is about a young Bohemian girl immigrating to our country, to Nebraska and her friendship and affect on Jim, and which is a very easy read, is certainly worth your time. It is beautifully written and beats a trashy beach book any day. And if you have already read it way back when I suggest a re-read as the reviews I read on Amazon of people who read the book when they were in high school and didn't like it then liked it much a lot as an adult. I didn't spring for the scholarly edition but I did get the paperback with the footnotes, which I suggest, though some are no brainers - there are many different publishers out there. Anyway, happy reading.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On Pitchers and Umpires

I do not follow baseball on a regular basis but the story of the Detroit Tiger's Pitcher, Armando Galarraga, is a baseball story that I tuned into, in fact I bet most of America did. The grace with which he accepted the loss of his perfect game due to a bad call by the umpire is a lesson we can all take to heart. He is an athlete that we can admire and hope that we see more of in the arena of sports. It is assured he will be remembered more for this gesture than for a perfect game. And I do not want to leave the umpire out of this, he was a man big enough to say he was sorry, to acknowledge his mistake, another wonderful example for all of us.

It seems to me there used to be more of those kind of athletes around when I was young. People we could look up to and strive to be like. Is it my age or is it this age? Armoando Galarraga's perspective was clear, his grace abounding. How refreshing and how amazed we all have been. We again have someone to look up to!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Is Your Cell Phone That Important?

I have put a " no phone zone" sticker on the back of my car. I took Oprah's pledge not to talk or text while driving. Not a hard thing to do as I already knew it wasn't a safe thing to do while driving and didn't. Now the studies on the subject confirm what I thought was true. It is extremely dangerous. Did you know that studies show that while talking on a cell phone objects in front of you literally disappear because your brain cannot take everything in - hopefully, it is not a mother and child crossing the street that vanishes from the driver's sight while on a cell phone. And, texting, well, that's just an accident waiting to happen and many have.

Testing drivers on a test course they have found people, of various ages, all sure sure they were competent drivers while they texted, could not stay on course, in fact they drove way off course and hit many pylons even though they drove fine when they weren't texting. Several of these people admited that they texted while they had their young children in their cars. It was an eye opener for them to see how wrong they were. All pledged to quit.

This week a woman in my city, a woman who advocated no distracted driving, was killed by a 17 year old girl who was a distracted driver. Our city has been having it's own campaign. 6,000 people were killed last year by distracted drivers. So needless.

Do you talk on the phone while driving? Text while driving? Is it worth it?

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Questions: How much malarkey can one person put up with? And are you full of malarkey?
Being helpful and creative - what a great way to live one's life - always - and especially as we enter our next stage! Such good advice. How lucky we are to be able to have such an option!

Today I was back seat driving, s usual, and my husband said to me, of course he was taking a turn, didn't he have hia blinker on? I had to laugh as my kids would have told us it was a turn indicator, not a blinker! And it's called a remote, not a channel changer! And why haven't we taken the plastic sticker off the phone (cause we couldn't be bothered! duh!).

This year for Christmas my son's girlfriend gave me a mug with the word malarkey with its definition printed on the side. She had heard me say it over and over last summer and couldn't believe it was really a word. After much searching she found it on one site, the urban dictionary, and believe it or not they had a malarkey mug, so she got it for me. How fun and thoughtful is that? And where did I get that term - my father of course.

What words do you have that have or haven't passed down? Blinker doesn't seem to be one that my kids will pick up from me. I'm not sure marlarkey is either but that's okay, it may show up eventually, when they turn 60!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Years ago when I was pregnant with my first son, who will turn 35 this month, I met a woman who was in her mid 80s, had been a tennis champ and at this point, 1975, looked truly very old and worn out, over weight, wrinkled, white hair, etc. She was a wonderful woman who lived in a big house in Old Greenwhich, Ct. and had one of the most incredible music boxes I have ever seen. little bees striking the notes! I still remember her name, though I will not tell you that now for matters of privacy. Anyway, she told me that even though she was in her 80s she still felt she was 18! She would look in the mirror and be surprised every time. Do I feel that way? Well, not 18 but somewhere in my 30s or 40s and I too can be quite surprised when I see the woman in the mirror with the wrinkles looking back me. Yet on the other hand, I think of Bob Dylan's song "Forever Young".

Are We There Yet? Or is 60 Just the Beginning?

Are We There Yet? Should I type this in large print for all of us that are 60 and over or will we pull out our readers so we can continue on? Will I worry about the little stomach I'm getting(okay, maybe not quite so little, but, geez, I have had kids, but maybe even if we haven't, should we worry?)? What about the parenthesises around my mouth (okay, there are more lines than that) and the "laugh" lines around my eyes, not to mention the "worry" lines between them (and for very good reason, I raised two boys), should I care?

This year I turned 60 and it was the first birthday I was remotely upset about. Why? Was it because it had a six in it with an zero following it? Or is it that I remember my grandmothers at 60? Lucky that, but I remember they looked old! Do I? Compared to Lady GaGa I do. Maybe it's because my mother was a grandmother three times by 60 and I have yet to see a grandchild, but truly I don't think that's the issue. Maybe it's the fact that the health care bill scares me as I worry that it really won't care about anyone over 60, that we are not worth the money to fix up (the ones making the rules seem to be able to afford to keep themselves healthy, and wrinkle free - see Nancy). Don't think I don't want health care for all, just my taxes keep rising and I don't want to be left in the lurch because I'm over a certain age!

Maybe it's the fact that I miss the values of the past as well as the etiquette and manners that we grew up with that seem to be sorely lacking these days. It seems to date us if we want to cling to some of them. Example, do you have to text when I am taking you out to dinner? And I'm luckily not talking about my sons!

Time seems to fly as we get older. I once read why this was so but sadly I didn't keep this reason, either in my brain (another problem of age) or on paper, but there was a scientific reason for it. If anyone out there knows it, please share. But do you remember when a weekend seemed ages away? Now the week flies by and the weekend is gone in a nano second. It is spring and suddenly it is Thanksgiving.

And as we age we lose those we love, our family, our friends, knowing our turn will be there as well. Sixty is just getting us closer. Though we must savor each day I can't help but wonder if I am there yet. Where I want to be. No, I don't think so, but not sure I will ever be.

Where are you? Are you starting a new life or are you happy with where you are? Are you fulfilled, sad, tired, excited, embarking on something new? Are you rooted in tradition and happy to be there or are you uprooting and starting something new? I think I am mulling over just what I am and where I will be, so, I don't think I am there yet, but working on it. So, where are you? What do you face on a daily basis that makes you wonder if you are there yet at our 60 plus years?