Friday, December 2, 2016

            Merry Christmas, and Thank You, Facebook

     Thanks to you, FB, laughter effects, my daily blog and I are several hundred “hits” richer this Christmas. I have at least a dozen new fb friends (former students whom I adore), a small collection of posters that inspire me and allow me to share with other friends on and off fb. I have a small collection of videos that people have posted that motivate me and keep me humble as I watch and listen to stories of those who are no longer with us. I have photos of friends and former students I haven’t seen for years and probably never will. I have a good idea of what side of the political spectrum people stand and why. I smile every morning at random babies, dogs and cats. I marvel at the personal information people share and the language they feel comfortable using. I wince at bad grammar and poor spelling, but I am reminded not to judge, as I am certainly not perfect. I enjoy seeing art work and


(Audra, a former student, beautiful and talented--a successful artist now)
creations by friends who are so talented. The messages of the “regulars” each morning give me food for thought, and I even get a smattering of news from various parts of the country. For my friends, colleagues, acquaintances who are suffering from illnesses, I can readily wish them well and send my prayers. I can compare perspectives of millennials with those of Gen Xers and people as old as yours truly. I learn about the children of my former students and the battles some are waging. I learn things about my hometown that I never would have found in a newspaper. I can listen to excerpts from concerts I missed or couldn’t afford and I learn about new performers I never would have heard. I can watch my daughter’s career take off, as she writes a blog for her job and posts it regularly I can share my own performance events with my fb family so they know I’m alive and kicking. I can keep in touch with many friends from all over the country without having to write each one a letter. (Does anyone write letters anymore?) I think I have one friend who actually sends me notes in her own handwriting. How refreshing!


Thank you, Facebook, for brightening my mornings and keeping me connected. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. 




Thursday, December 1, 2016

                                   

                           Holiday Hell

      The holidays are not always easy for some people. Apparently, in large families, there is always at least one black sheep that threatens to destroy the Hallmark Hostess’s dream of the perfect celebration. One family dreads the psycho aunt who goes through all the cabinets and drawers of the host’s home every year. Another decries the curmudgeon Uncle Harry who whines if dinner isn’t served at exactly 5:30 p.m. Hostesses who have spent hours planning, days shopping and sleepless nights outlining a seating arrangement to avoid political mayhem complain about all the effort being second only to whoever wins the football game. Today, anyone between the ages of 18 months and 67 years has his or her head in a device, so conversation is at a premium. Ah, the joy of thankful. 

     Then there are those who aren’t blessed with large families. Their challenge is to fast forward past the Hallmark commercials and focus on how to entertain themselves alone while the rest of the world is ostensibly having warm and fuzzy bonding time with families like the above. To cook? to go out? to leave town? 

     I recall holidays when our family was large, loud and loony. I recall years later when there were only six of us: my parents, my sister and me, and my two grandmas. It was kind of sad, and certainly quiet, but little did I know how quiet it could have been. I remember feeling sorry that there wasn’t more jolly when, actually, I should have been cherishing every moment with my two grandmothers who had so much to tell. 

     When my own children were little, there was such magic watching them sneak down the stairs to see what Santa had brought. Tearing through the wrapping paper, barely looking at the gifts inside, they squealed and giggled, and life was rich and full. Now they are doing that with their own children. Some years, I get to watch; others, I just get to see photos, but fortunately, instant ones and videos too.

     When my father got older, I remember him telling me that he and his significant other didn’t celebrate Christmas anymore. “It’s just another day,” he said. They didn’t put up a tree, send Christmas cards or even go out for dinner. I found this strange and sad.

     Now I am “older,” and I understand why they didn’t choose to decorate the house and make a big fuss anymore. We will travel to see our children. We will pack the car, take a deep breath and face two and a half days of driving through sleet and snow to spend less than 24 hours with each of two of the four daughters. Is it worth putting up a tree at home, decorating the front door, buying each other gifts we can’t really justify and sending cards to people who really don’t care? 

     Yes, it is. It is worth doing because once you stop celebrating, your spirit stalls. Christmas is more than the commercial hype that we all criticize but enjoy. Christmas, regardless of your religious preference, is about joy and giving. It’s about celebrating the positive, the fun, the good. Our tree has shrunk in direct proportion to our budget, but we still have one. Where there were gifts, now there are poinsettias. Where there were knicknacks and card baskets, there are photos of past holidays and CD cases of the music we listen to every year. 

     Yes, there is still a half a cup of hell in the holidays, but there’s a cup and a half of joy. From which will you drink?



     

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

  



















HOW DO YOU START YOUR DAY?















     




      How do you start your day? Do you open your eyes and start to soar, or do your eyes pop open, and you say, “Holy shit! It’s Wednesday! Do I have to go?” Are you an early riser or a night owl who eases into the day one baby step at a time? Are you one who’s ready to cheerily chat about what will happen three hours from now, or do you avoid any eye contact in order to remain in a somnambulistic state as long as possible?
     Normally, those who are looking down don’t want to acknowledge the existence of those already flying. They find us totally irritating. Yes, you guessed it; I’m a high flyer. I generally rise between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. If you are in one category married to one in the other, how’s that working for you? I assume you read each other’s manuals the night before the wedding. 

     Now all of the above is predicated on the assumption that you actually had a decent night’s sleep. Hah. One item not included in my manual was the sinus check. If you marry someone with bad sinuses, your work will be cut out for you for the next 30 years. You must make a decision before you walk down the aisle about how long you want to allow each day for your nap. Some of my friends make fun of me because I take naps almost daily. Well, they should listen to the “Snort and Stir sSymphony” in my bed each night. Then they would understand the need for some honest-to-goodness sleep when I start fading about 2:14 p.m. I have never had the luxury of watching an effen soap, as my eyes start fluttering shortly after lunch. Never did I realize the sacrifices I would have to make to marry the man of my dreams. 

     When I lived in the sorority house in college, I recall my sisters giving me a dirty look when I entered the room smiling and cheerfully bellowing, “Good Morning, everyone!” The expletives flew, and I have been whispering before 8:00 a.m. ever since.

     I digress. For those of you who soar, what goes through your mind at those pre-sunrise hours? Are you making or checking your lists? Are you donning workout clothes to be at the gym before 6:00 a.m.? Are you already rehearsing the morning’s meeting agenda while wolfing down your 17-grain toast? Or are you a stand-at-the-counter person who polishes off a protein shake and races for the brief case? 

     So what’s my point? Is it, “Stop and smell the roses?” Is it “Slow down. Breathe?” Is it “Embrace your differences?” “Attitude is everything?” “Be thankful someone you love is sharing your bed?” Yup.

      

     


     

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

     There are so many cultural treasures in our new home town. Today we visited one we’ve been to several times but one of which we never tire. This magnificent property in the heart of Sarasota offers so much to see and do. Set on several acres of banyan-treed, pond-adorned, magnificent architectural masterpieces, crowned with an historic home on the Sarasota Bay, one can wander for hours and just breathe in the beauty. There are several museums on the property which feature the exquisite collection of European and Asian art owned by John Ringling, a generous visionary who left his legacy for all to enjoy. 

     Here are a few photos which showcase the gorgeous architecture, lovely gardens and beautiful trees and sculptures throughout the grounds. Today, we visited the art galleries as well as a special exhibit of photographs by a Russian photographer who captured unforgettable moments of World War II. We wandered through a maize of ribbons which made us feel like we were in a fairyland, and we marveled at the fabulous art collection which included sculptures, art objects and an ornate grand piano built in the 19th century. We live here. So blessed!


    Enjoy.









Monday, November 28, 2016

               

                  Workout Prep for Women Over Seventy

Jane Fonda DVD:

  1. Search for disc
  2. Look in knitting basket
  3. Try looking in the lingerie drawer beneath the Spanx
  4. Locate disc
  5. Put on disc
  6. Find leg warmers
  7. Look in bottom of bed
  8. Locate leg warmers
  9. Turn up volume to 26
  10. Inhale
  11. Roll head around neck
  12. Reach for the ceiling
  13. Exhale
  14. Rest

Rodney Yee Yoga for Beginners

  1. Search for disc
  2. Locate disc
  3. Look for blue mat
  4. Take out from under cat
  5. Lie down on mat
  6. Inhale
  7. Clear Mind
  8. Wake up


Bike ride

  1. Find bike
  2. Find helmet
  3. Put on helmet
  4. Turn helmet around
  5. Get on bike
  6. Push pedals
  7. Go
  8. After 15 minutes, go back and zero out odometer
  9. Get back on bike
  10. Ride
  11. After 10 minutes, get off bike. Sit down between lines of bike lane and rest.
  12. Flip off cyclist with fuchsia spandex 
  13. Duck to avoid gunshot

Floor Exercises

  1. Wash Floor
  2. Take nap


Sunday, November 27, 2016

              
             




                                        Get Your Shot Now Before It’s Too Late

     This is a warning to all women between the ages of 45 and 55. Get Your Shot Now:  the I-don’t-wanna-be-old shot. This revolutionary new anti-aging shot is a phenomenal addition to the list of “must-do”s. In this exquisite formula, some mad scientist from Catchupifyoucan took the  ingredients below, put them into a syringe and began marketing this stuff in the wee countries over by one of the seas. Yup. It’s the anti-aging miracle drug. Consider the ingredients:

2 tbsps. Cosmo mix
3 ounces Retinae
1 cup chocolate
a dash of Viagra
1/3 tsp. of Zoloft zest

     Now how could we go wrong with this formula, ladies? Do not wait until it’s too late. This injection guarantees a minimum of twenty years of flawless skin, an extended sex life well into the 80s, a sense of humor that will keep you giggling and a positive outlook on everything from politics to child-rearing. This syringe is an antidote to mid-life crisis and “Is-this-all-there-is” thinking. The cost is no more than handing over your first born. Act now. Call today: COUGAR-YEAH.


      

Saturday, November 26, 2016

     

















     Do you ever wonder why you dream what you do? Last night, we went to our local movie theatre. When we entered, the first thing we saw was a row of women in the back row with their feet up on the seats in front of them. They all had bare feet. wtf. Who would want to sit in front of them unless you could figure out a way to tickle their toes to get them thrown out. Mr. Wonderful frowned and said, “Do they do that at home?” “Of course, they do,” I quipped. Do their bare feet get the seats dirty? Probably not. Are they hurting anyone? Not really. Then what’s the big deal? Did anyone ever hear of manners, modesty, decorum? It’s a world of “Anything Goes,” but “It’s (not) De-Lovely.” 

   One lady two seats down from us let out a humongous sneeze without covering her mouth. The couple who had just sat down beside her got up to move. They had to come
back, as there were no more seats. We overheard her say, “No, I don’t have a cold. I wouldn’t be here if I did.” I must admit, I worry about sitting next to people who easily spread germs, so I understood the concern of the couple. When we got up to leave, Ms. I’m-not-sick-I’m stupid left her coffee cup not he floor. She couldn’t have taken it with her and thrown it in the barrel provided? I thought, “Does she do that at home? Does she wait for others to pick up after her? Probably.” “Anything Goes.”

     On the other side of us was a group, apparently, a family, who were all speaking French. As I am a retired French teacher, my ears always perk up when I hear natives. My immediate reaction was to listen and to think of an excuse to speak to them. That goes back to the days when I felt I had to prove to myself how fluent I was. I’m over that so I said nothing. The film had a lot of French subtitles in it, and I even heard myself say, “You shouldn’t look at those; you’re fluent enough to understand without them.” Maybe. Screw it. I took the easy way. I did notice that Brad Pitt’s French accent was pretty lame, and I chuckled when Marian Cottilard’s line in the script was, “Your French is pretty good, but your Parisian accent is awful.” I wonder if that line was added because Mr.Pitt couldn’t quite make it authentic. She is, however, “De-Lovely.”

     The film’s plot was fascinating. Without divulging the best part, I would suggest that part of the story is that we don’t always know the person to whom we are married, or even the people who gave birth to us. Sometimes we miss the signs that are staring us in the face—thus, a 50% divorce rate. Speaking of divorce, I just heard about a couple who have been married 37 years. They decided to call it quits. Nowadays, “Anything Goes.”

     So what does all this have to do with dreaming? Last night, I dreamed of a French double agent who was sitting in a movie theatre with her bare feet on the back of the seat in front of her, and some lady walked by her and threw her empty coffee cup in her lap. What?