Monday, October 31, 2011

Lock the Doors, Turn Out the Lights

Tonight is Halloween.  When I was the age to trick or treat, I knew the neighbors whose homes I would visit.  We talked for weeks about what costume I would wear, what tricks I would do, and what sorts of treats I would like.  One year, an elderly man on my block promised me he would stand in his hands. I had mastered standing on my head, but standing on my hands seemed much harder. When I got to his door, I reminded him of his promise.  He bent over, put his hands on the floor and then put his feet on top of his hands.  “That’s cheating!” I said, indignantly.  He laughed.


When I was finally old enough to be visited by trick-or-treaters, I spent the day making popcorn balls, which had been one of my favorite treats when I went door-to-door.  My neighborhood children refused the treats.  They said they weren’t allowed to have home-made food. Only store-bought wrapped candies.  I asked if I could talk to their parents.  It seemed to me that if they trusted me to feed their children at all, they should trust me to make popcorn balls without razor blades or rat poison.  But their parents weren’t with them.  They left, eager to get to a house with candy in wrappers.


The next year, I bought wrapped candy.  That year, children I didn’t know came to my door.  They complained that I’d bought little candy bars. They wanted regular sized candy.


I like my neighborhood children. I like seeing them in costume having a good time. I like making popcorn balls.  I do not like a bunch of begging children I don’t know demanding commercial products.


I now celebrate Halloween by locking my doors, turning off my lights and going to bed early.  I’ll see my neighbhood children at a block party where they aren’t afraid to eat my home made goodies.   

Friday, October 28, 2011

Am I "The Man?"

In the middle of a discussion of Occupy Wallstreet on Facebook, I found myself defending my generation. One opponent insisted that those of us in our 60's or “from the 60's”  - odd how that’s mostly the same group – have become “the man.”  This woman stated that we’re not green enough to claim any credibility.


I found myself listing my “green creds” and when I looked them over – they’re not just “green creds” they’re also the marks of being an eccentric geezer.  I have a dryer.  But I prefer to hang my clothes on the line.  The neighborhood store sells whole wheat bread, but I prefer to make my own from scratch. I’d rather mend my clothes than go shopping for new ones.  I like hardcover books which I often buy used. I compost my kitchen leftovers.  I ride my bike or take the bus, when I could easily check out a car from the local car co-op. I grow my own herbs and veggies. I use herb medicine in preference to prescription drugs.  I’m definitely someone from the previous century.


But here I am on Facebook, using complex computer skills.  I’m not retired. I belong to a gym, which I visit almost daily. But the young folks have written me off as “the man.”


It’s an extreme case of “Don’t trust anybody over 30.”  I admit – my generation started it.  But at the same time, we did respect our elders if they took the time to explain things to us from their point of view instead of just bossing us around as if we were automatically going to copy them. 


I remember seriously considering trying LSD.  The older woman I talked to said she understood why I might want to have a spiritual experience “the easy way” or see something trippy, or enter an altered state of mind.  But, she said, she knew smart students who had bad trips. She asked me if my curiosity was worth risking a bad trip.  No lecture. No orders.  I decided not to take LSD. Not even to try marijuana or cigarettes.  I didn’t need “the easy way.”  


I have had spiritual experiences because I meditate. I have had artistic experiences – again because I meditate.  And I have learned to respect opinions from anybody who will discuss them without claiming to have the absolute truth on his or her side.


When I was in my teens and 20's “the man” thought he had all the answers and I thought his answers made no sense.  Now, I’m being called “the man.”  Something in me says “don’t deny it.”  If I have become “the man” my denying it won’t change anything. And if I have not, my denying it won’t convince anybody.  


I’d like to think I’m something new – “the woman.”  I have yet to define what that is.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Jumping Rope and My New Hip

Jumping Rope was one of my favorite activities in elementary school.  I did the research. It’s low-impact. Not much different from jumping on a trampoline which I do all the time.  So, I bought one of those new-fangled plastic jump ropes that is much easier to spin than the old rope and wooden handle model I grew up with.


The first thing I noticed is that I’d forgotten how to jump rope.  I didn’t know the body could forget such things.  It never forgets how to swim, or spin a hula hoop or ride a bike.  So, I watched YouTube videos on how to jump rope.   Ah – yes – let it slap the ground, then jump.  Slap, jump, slap, jump, slap, jump...


The barometer was down. Pain shot down my thigh and up my butt. And throbbed deep inside where my leg meets my pelvis.


I hurt when I rolled over in bed. I hurt going up and down stairs. I hurt just going for a nice walk.


A few days later the barometer was up, and I felt better.  I jumped some more.  It rained some more.  And I hurt some more. I blamed myself for overdoing it in gym class.  We’d been doing step work. 


But the pain kept getting worse.  I emailed my surgeon.  He wrote back that it looked like back problems to him.  I looked up the symptoms on the web.  Not a good idea.  From that, I’d have concluded I had sciatica.  But sciatica is supposed to have a slow onset and not be affected by the barometer.


I went to my chiropractor.  He asked what I’d been doing. I told him about my new jump rope.  How much fun it was.  He suggested I stop – I have plenty of other exercises I also enjoy.


My leg is feeling better.  My jump rope is going to a new home.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Balls are for Sale

I saw a quote recently that read, “People keep saying I should grow some balls.  Why? Testicles are delicate and easily hurt.  What they really need is to grow a vagina.  Vaginas are built to take a pounding.”


Since menopause, I’ve developed a sneeze and leak problem.  Yes, I’ve bought panty liners.  But there has to be an exercise to fix this problem.  I tried kegels. I got really good at squeezing that plastic vaginal insert.  But along comes a sneeze and I still leak.


Off to the web.  Where I learned that ben wa balls, which I’d heard of as a sex toy that didn’t look like much fun, are supposed to strengthen the necessary muscles to prevent sneeze-and-leak.  The idea is to put these things in my vagina, and get strong enough to keep them in while hurrying up and down stairs 4 times.  Beginners just have to stand still with their feet hip-width apart.  And even experienced users are advised to keep underpants on at all times.


So, I ordered a pair.  They come in a fancy velvet-covered jewelry box with a piece of foam rubber inside which has little holes cut out of it to hold the little metal balls.  This item costs $15 plus shipping.  And it’s just a pair of 3/4" spherical stainless steel ball bearings.


For about $18, Amazon sells 10 of them. Stainless Steel 440C Ball, Grade 100, 3/4" Diameter (Pack of 10)


Okay, I can’t use 10 of them, but I could give them to friends and female family members.


So far, I’ve managed to stand still and keep them in.  I even made it walking at a somewhat-slow speed down and up my stairs once.  I tried for twice, but one of the balls fell out.  Supposedly anybody can master this in 6 weeks.  5 weeks and 6 days to go.  This is an experiment.  Balls for women are tough.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Peer Gynt and Cats and Mice

My co-author and I have some overlapping cultural experiences and some that seem completely detached from each other’s worlds.  I love Peer Gynt. The play, the music, the imagination and even the debate about whether the story “really happened” or was all in Peer’s head after he got knocked unconscious by that rock.

My co-author has no idea what the play is about and claimed to me that she had never heard the music.

So, I sent her the links to two of my favorite pieces:

 Hall of the Mountain King?  I think you'll recognize this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRpzxKsSEZg




Here's Anitra's Dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55lZ3LE7tHg



My co-author gleefully told me, “That’s cartoon music. It’s what they play when the mice sneak up on the cat.”

Cartoons as the vehicle for great music.  Who’d a thunk it?

Peer Gynt and Cats and Mice

My co-author and I have some overlapping cultural experiences and some that seem completely detached from each other’s worlds.  I love Peer Gynt. The play, the music, the imagination and even the debate about whether the story “really happened” or was all in Peer’s head after he got knocked unconscious by that rock.

My co-author has no idea what the play is about and claimed to me that she had never heard the music.

So, I sent her the links to two of my favorite pieces:

 Hall of the Mountain King?  I think you'll recognize this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRpzxKsSEZg

">Hall of the Mountain King


Here's Anitra's Dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55lZ3LE7tHg

">Anitra's Dance

My co-author gleefully told me, “That’s cartoon music. It’s what they play when the mice sneak up on the cat.”

Cartoons as the vehicle for great music.  Who’d a thunk it?