Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Manual

Halloween is nigh, ready or not. October is in our face, even if middle age has us blinking and rubbing our eyes to see it clearly. When you're as old as the trees in front of your house like I am, things take a flip. Special measures need to be taken for your safety now on Halloween night, no longer your kids'. You may not like being a pedestrian in the dark (pesky uneven sidewalks) and you may get colder than usual (darn that aging thyroid) but you still have to get out there and walk the long orange mile of jack o'lanterns and scarecrows propped up on adirondack chairs.

When it's a middle age you taking the kids out on all hallow's eve, it won't just be the ghosts and floor boards they'll hear creaking in the night, it'll be your knees. Well, I've got you covered, friend, from greying head to bunion toe. With a few necessary adjustments designed to keep yourself safe, you'll be able to groan and moan along with the best of them. (moaning will be for our fallen arches and groaning for our aching backs, but who needs to know, it'll just sound that much more authentic)

How To Be Safe on All Hallow’s Eve [geriatric crowd edition]:

1. With your advancing short term memory loss, it’s a good idea to plan a route and draw out a map with familiar landmarks. No one is saying you’ll get lost, but ’tis better to have it and not need it, then to be found frozen behind your neighbor's house in the morning. (oh, but she was sooo close to home!)

2. Aging eyesight makes contrast between light and dark a necessity for clear vision. Walking in the dark against a dark sidewalk isn’t going to help you. Bring along the glasses you’ll need for your night blindness–or not, if you're okay with feeling your way around like a naked mole rat.

3. Choose face paint over face mask any time you can. Masks will muffle your voice, causing you to feel disoriented when you hear it; throw in the night blindness and hyperventilating panic that will make you think it's the big one, Elizabeth, and you’ve got the makings of full blown chaos and confusion. Don’t do this to your kids. Say YES to paint.

4. Bright colored clothing, for real. Go as Gramma Neon. Be Seen, Be Safe, that's my new motto [patent pending].

5. Wigs, capes, costumes: the triple threat! Wigs will overheat you when you’re already hot-flashing, capes will make you feel claustrophobic because of the string tied around your neck waddle, (a new thing that takes getting used to) and costumes?? Just wear what you wear when you shovel snow. Go as “Mrs. She-Just-Gave-Up-One-Day.”

6. Stop muttering and talking out loud to yourself when you cross the street. Wits about you, people! in the face of traffic. Small, darting children–yes, motorists are prepared to be on the lookout for those BUT doddering off-kilter adults? You'll catch them off guard, not a good thing.

7. Please don’t go inside anyone’s house. The home owners will grab you, lock the door behind you, then run out the back shouting “Kids! Surprise! Your new gramma and grampa are gonna babysit tonight!”

8. Older men, watch your choice of costumes. With your hairy ears and eyebrows, the werewolves of the night will find you and drag you back to their den to be their new alpha male. Ladies: now is not the time to stop the botox you just discovered. You'll look ripe for the picking when they come looking for lost souls of the dead.

9. Once home, have someone with good vision inspect your candy for hard and too sticky to chew pieces. Last thing you want on a night like this is to bite down and crack a tooth, or pull a crown, or snap your bridge in half, all from cheap peanut butter twists or stale popcorn balls.

10. Finally, TAKE CARE. Remember that this is the only night of the year that the door to the underworld is open. The departed are allowed out to harvest souls. Be careful, with our one foot in this world and one foot almost into the next, we are the tenderoni the underworld seeks. *I know we're starved for having someone look at us hungrily the way they once used to, but this kind of lip licking and eager hand rubbing in our direction, is not what we think we want.

Are we ready, troops? All right then, everyone grab their neon vest and flashing pumpkin necklace, we've got our job cut out for us staying on this side of the underworld for a few more eves.
Glaucoma badboys courtesy of Walgreen's
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Best of The Internet

We were soccerbusy this weekend. Those who know what I mean are shaking their heads, I hear them, "Ohhhhh, yeah." But it's Monday night now and I'm 1/4 caught up with the things. So, here we are, the best of the internet from, um, errr, last week (still amazing info., check it out!)

--I stumbled onto "Tech4Moms," founded by  Sarah Kimmel. Sarah is a Microsoft Certified IT Manager who blogs on new apps, new gadgets, everything you need from toddler to teen technology. Click over and find out more about family tech news, apps, digital equipment...

--Never rush a story. Easier said than done when the words are all pushing to the front to get out first. But, it's important, "let your story simmer." Great writing advice on penning your best, via HippocampusMagazine  "Craft: The importance of the simmer."

--And this one. You'll have to play it to see what I mean, but typing lower case letters in an orange square was never this much fun. Via craymachine.

Have a great week, everyone, I hope it was off to a productive start.


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Strength That is Found - To My Sister

My older sister would take me to the library. She never came out and said we were going, it would just happen. We had one a few blocks away, but she would take me to the city's central library. It wasn't close to our house, and we would have to take two buses to get there. She would hold my hand for the block long walk to the bus stop, and then we would wait for the bus to come. Something that seemed  much longer than it had to be.

We would see the No. 22 bus lumbering closer in the distance, and when it finally pulled in front to pick us up, she'd help me climb the stair well and hand me my coins to drop into the token slot. We'd still be holding hands while we'd look for a seat near the driver. I'd sit and look out the window quietly, wondering what everyone else was going to do on this day. The ride was long, and if you included the idle minutes of waiting time, both ways, our entire Saturday afternoon would be spent getting there.

The first bus would take us most of the way there, and then we would transfer to any next one that would take us up the main downtown street. Though you wouldn't be able to tell by my face, I couldn't wait to get there. Our central library was a huge concrete structure with majestic columns in front that told you, this was the library that counted. Our one level neighborhood branch held a corner of the building for children's books, but this library had an entire floor for children.

As we neared the library, my sister would help me pull the buzzer to signal our stop. She'd leave the bus first, then turn around and hold her hand out to help me jump from that last step that seemed so high and far away from the street. I was a child that feared disaster. Life had shown itself to be unpredictable, and I knew that things could happen in an instant. I worried, minute by minute, that I could disappear in the unexpected flip of fate, like rolling under the front door of a city bus. I'd grip her hand tight, feeling the rings on her fingers cut back into mine, but she never pulled back. She stood, and gave me the time I needed to decide to make the jump from bus to sidewalk.

Without a word, she'd walk me up the twenty cement steps to the heavy brass front doors. She would press the heavy door open, and I'd walk in first, so scared that the back of my shoe would catch on the door before I got my body all the way in. We'd cross the slippery marble floor, me on tiptoes to keep my heels from echoing against the tiles under us. The children's section was on the second floor, and though taking each step upstairs had my knees tapping my chest with their height, I managed with the railing and her hand.

On the second floor was every book I could have asked for and dreamed of. Shelves no higher than my shoulders, so I could see things for myself, filled with books on princesses, queens, servant girls, and saints. Books on fairy tales, rescue dogs, stories of girls and boys. Tales of families, heroes, history, made up silly nonsense rhymes and achingly true biographies. I read them all, not for pleasure, but in hope that if I read every single word, I'd find ones that matched the silence caught inside me.

I would pull a book off a shelf, and turn to the last page, first. I couldn't bear to read to find an unhappy ending. If I saw that everything worked out well, I would walk the book over to the pile where I had set aside the other ones to take home.

An odd thing happens as you get older, things occur to you that never did before. I remember the ages I've been, and what I did then. When I think back on being a child, I don't hear much laughter in those memories. I don't hear the sound of my voice, or the sound of anyone's voice. Our house was a stunned silence, not by nature, but by the drop of a bomb. Our father's suicide, when I was 6 and my sister was 18, had left us wide eyed, and without tongues.

I can't imagine my sister, being newly 18 and all that a monumental loss at a time like that knocks out of a tender budding adult. But she found the strength while in her own darkness to take a little girl, numb and holding her breath, to the only place she could exhale, in between the spaces of those shelves of books. There must have been so much she needed to do for herself in her new life as a grown up, but she was with me.

I'm moved to tears while I remember, because she knew. I had lost the words of my own, and so my sister took me somewhere where I would find books that spoke for me, until I found a way back to my voice again.
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Post of Mind Blowing Facts

While listening to NPR, I heard a guest say that we are at our most alert and excited when we are learning. Anytime we are given new information that we can process and understand, we're like gratified monkeys who just figured out where the bananas are kept. I get it, I, along with my family, spout random facts at each other around the clock, because information is irresistible.

Every year, I learn something mind blowing. Through magazines in Dr.'s offices and newspapers at the dentist, listening to public radio, TED talks, school field trips, or what my children tell me when I pick them up from school and say, “Ride home will cost you one interesting fact from today.”

They've coughed up some good stuff this year.
Now, tell me these things don't get you all hot and bothered, too:

George Washington lost most of the battles he fought in.

You can prove anything with math.

Eating less carbs and more protein makes you feel better. ( I did it. It worked.)

You can make yourself exercise, even if you don't want to do it and you can do more than you want to. (1st part yes, 2nd part, no)

Drinking water does cure a lot of what ails you.

Naps matter! They allow our brain to “housekeep” and solidify memory. (say no more)

Meditation helps with anxiety.

Music will always help with any mood or long put off task.

A hot shower is still the best, cheapest, most possible escape. And one at midnight puts you to sleep like a powdered baby. (the 2nd sentence is my fact)

The word ‘man’ was originally completely gender neutral, meaning more or less the same as the modern day word “person”. It wasn’t until about a thousand years ago that the word “man” started to refer to a male only.

The bigger the navel on a navel orange, the sweeter it will be. (I still can't believe how it's always true.)

Dogs and cats do not see in only black and white.

The NFL is a non profit and receives 100 percent of ticket sales. (and are tax-exempt)

The first physician to perform a C-section was a woman disguised as a man. She attended medical school dressed as a man. This wasn't discovered until after her death. (women are more awesome than history lets them be)

Cheerios was originally Cheery Oats. (this is my favorite)

Mild mannered Mr. Rogers swam naked every morning. (still waters run deep)

Coffee in the morning does make you more alert. (duh)

Teddy Roosevelt was shot in Milwaukee. (WOW)

Andrew Jackson lived with a bullet inside of him for a long time.

If the population of China walked past you it would never end because of the continuing birth rate.

Russia didn't consider beer alcohol until 2011. Until then it was a soft drink.

Caterpillars totally liquefy before transforming into butterflies or moths. wuuuuuut??

Naked mole rats are neither moles, nor rats. They are also incredible in the physiology department: most amazing: imperviousness to pain, low-oxygen needs, and resistance to cancer. (and still ugly)
*I'll stop here, because a heart can only take just so much heart pounding enlightenment. But I promise you, if anything new comes my way, you'll be the first to know.

Xo (origin of the xo signoff: middle ages, the X because many were illiterate and the O for the eternal circle of love)
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Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Best of The Internet

The week's best, links that had me saying, I gotta share this.

Have a beautiful week, guys.

--An eye-opener: An hour of sitting affects our heart health, but a study reveals that just 5 minutes of walking every hour can help. "Five-minute walks prevented the decline of blood flow and arterial function during sitting. Walking does not erase the effect of sitting, it just does not allow sitting to be as harmful." Read more here 

--What happens when 2nd graders are treated to a 7-course, $220 a person meal. From the NYT: and absolutely delicious. Watch and see.

--Just for fun, and an interesting read, who wants to know how hard life is for a billionaire? A handful tell us here, and one of the most common complaints? "What adds to the stress: billionaires can never publicly complain about how tough their money-filled lives sometimes are, because everyone else will freak out." How right they are.


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