Confounded By Group Photos

“Time can change me, But I can’t trace time.”

~ David Bowie

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A few months ago I was talking on the phone with a friend who happens to be in her eighties.  She is a delight– mentally with it + honest to a fault.  In other words, exactly who I want to be when I get to be an eightysomething.

In our conversation my friend mentioned that her granddaughter had emailed her some photos of herself with her friends.  The young women had gotten dressed up and gone out to brunch together somewhere pricey.  The photo of was of all of them in front of the restaurant.

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I asked my friend how her granddaughter looked in the photo and my friend said: “Cute, I guess.  All the girls look alike to me, so I can’t tell which one she is.  They all have long, stringy hair and carry huge purses.  I think that my granddaughter is one of them.”

As we talked a bit more about kids.these.days. I chuckled to myself about me humoring a delightful older woman who was clearly confused by the obvious.  I mean, how could she not know which girl was her granddaughter?  Really.

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A younger friend of mine, who is not on Twitter, has a high school daughter, who is on Twitter.  And as you know, I’m on Twitter.  So, every once in a while I check to see what my friend’s daughter is doing on Twitter.

What I have discovered is that this girl is a good kid.  She has pleasant friends, likes ice cream, doesn’t like schoolwork, likes sports, goes on dates.  Nothing scathing at all– unless you consider a few swear words once in a while to be trouble.  Which I don’t.

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One day last week I was glancing at the photos that my friend’s daughter had added to her Twitter feed and I saw a group shot of a bunch of teenage girls.  They were all wearing skinny jeans and white t-shirts and pumps with 4″ heels.  And I thought: “What a cute photo.  I wonder which one is my friend’s daughter?  They all look alike.”  

Then it hit me. *BAM*  I had just said exactly what my older friend said about her granddaughter and her friends.  And I realized that I had morphed into an old woman who couldn’t distinguish one child from another.  

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This means, of course, that now I must admit to my younger friend that I can’t recognize her daughter in the photo.  I can’t help but wonder if my friend will politely listen to me on the phone while chuckling to herself about humoring me, a delightful older woman who is clearly confused by the obvious.  I mean, I would understand where she was coming from… as I was in that same situation only a few short months ago.

Oh yeah.  Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes.

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Because We Are Just That Exciting, We Went On A Date

On Thursday I got home late in the afternoon and saw that there was a message on the answering machine from Z-D.  This struck me as odd because I had my cell phone with me and if he really wanted/needed to get hold of me STAT he’d use that method.

So I listened to the message, wondering what was up.  As I did not just fall off the new wife-y turnip truck, I figured that there was something going on that was a bit wonky.  And I was right.

• • •

First: He said, “I have an idea– let’s go out on a date tonight.”

[ME, suspicious:  Hmmm.]

Next: He told me his date night plan.  He wanted us to drive to a town about an hour away & pick up some sandwiches at a local grocery store that has a deli sandwich counter inside it.

[ME, with raised eyebrow:  Okay, maybe.]

Then: He told me that he wanted us to go sit in a parking lot to watch some lights in the parking lot come on.

[ME, stunned:  Do what?!  That’s a date???]

Finally: He said, “I’ll pick you up at home in about an hour or so.  See ‘ya soon.  ‘Bye.”

[ME, shouting at the phone machine:  That’s not a date.  That’s something you have to do for work, isn’t it?]

• • •

And you know as I stood there staring at the answering machine I had three thoughts.  Simultaneously.  Before the machine even turned itself off.

  • My God we are old if this is his idea of a date.  Honest to Pete, watch lights come on?!!  What kind of date is that?
  • Rather clever of me to know that there was something up with this message before I heard it.  I’m getting good at this marriage thing.  Yeah me!
  • Well– phooey, I don’t have a thing planned for this evening and those sandwiches are yummy, so I guess that I’ll go out with him.  Might be kind of fun.

… and you know what?  It was.

In Which I Am Not Mindful While Shopping In The Grocery Store

I found myself with an hour of free time late in the afternoon.  As I was already out & about I decided to run into Kroger to pick up a few things.  Because I wasn’t planning on going there, I didn’t have my shopping list with me.

I knew that I needed 6 items to make what I had in mind for dinner, so I decided to assign each ingredient to a finger/thumb.  The result of this impromptu shopping list was that I looked like a child counting on my fingers as I shopped.  Goofy as it was, my finger list did work.  BUT it also meant that I started pushing my cart, a large one, with one hand.

And if there is anything that you must remember about me, it is that I am not too coordinated.  Clumsy, even.

Thus, it will come as no surprise when I tell you that while counting on one hand and pushing the cart with my other hand I managed to block a produce aisle with my catty-wampus, slightly out-of-control cart.

I knew immediately that I was in the way.  Pretty much because I heard the metal clank of my cart bumping another cart head-on.  It’s a sound one recognizes even while staring at one’s fingers and thumb.

I looked up ready to offer an apology when I  realized that the woman who I’d inconvenienced was Lilias Folan.  As in someone famous.  As in someone with a nationally syndicated PBS TV show.  As in the woman who is sometimes credited with introducing yoga to the USA.

Yep, that’s who I bashed into in the grocery produce department.  Good job, Ms. Bean.

But here’s the thing, Lilias was just standing there with a kind smile on her face waiting for the crazy lady [moi] to get out of her way.  She had no where to back up to, so her choice was to be patient OR to get angry.  And because she was living her life off the mat as she did on the mat, she chose the former.

Of course, me being me, after I said that I was sorry I tried to explain myself by babbling about fingers and no shopping list and dinner– et cetera, et cetera.  And my dithery explanation, I’m happy to report, got Lilias laughing.

This made me feel better about my screw-up and got me thinking that it’s time for me to get back into yoga because I want to be that older woman with perfect posture, a calm aura & the ability to laugh when things go wrong.

And who better to emulate than Lilias?  The bumpee in my brush bump with greatness.

Doctor, Doctor, Give Me The News

In one week I went to the eye doctor and the lady bits doctor.  They are not on the same page as to what I need to do, henceforth, to stay a healthy and whole woman.  In fact, putting together their advice I am left with a math word problem.

I never liked math word problems when I was twelve– and I do not like them any better now that I am many decades beyond twelve.  Here is what I have to figure out:

<begin snarl>

Ally wants to be a healthy person.  She is on a train called YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME heading toward the town known as OLD AGE.

According to the eye doctor, who wants the redness and dryness in her eyes to abate, Ally is to take 2 antibiotics each day.  These are to be taken on an empty stomach 1 hour before eating OR 2-3 hours after eating.  They are never to be taken before eating anything with calcium in it.

According to her lady bits doctor, who wants all women to have strong bones, Ally is supposed to eat 3 servings of calcium-rich food each day.  These foods include all sorts of low-fat, no-fat dairy products + soybeans + raw spinach.  Also, she is to take 1 calcium supplement each day.

So, how does Ally get to the junction of SEEING CLEARLY and NO BROKEN BONES while riding along on the YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME train without making a major stop at I NEED TO GET MY HEAD EXAMINED?  Or before becoming derailed in the ‘burg known as YEAST INFECTION?  Or before being stopped by the outlaw gang known as RAW SPINACH MAKES MY FACE TURN RED?

Hmm?  How does Ally do this?

<end snarl>

And with that question in mind, I shall wander off to solve this ridiculous word problem with a pad of paper + pen, a mug of coffee & a less than enthusiastic attitude.  If figuring out word problems such as this is what old age is going to be all about, I’m having a few doubts about my ability to age gracefully.  Or to even care about good health.  ‘Ya know what I mean?

This is craziness.

The Poinsettia On The Kitchen Table


::  Some of you who’ve been reading this blog for a while know that this poinsettia came into our home the weekend after Thanksgiving Day 2011.  It has lived, bloomed, grown while sitting on our kitchen table ever since.

This is unprecedented for me.  Never once has a poinsettia, entrusted to my care, lived more than a couple of months after it came into our house.

Yet this wonderful plant has shown me that with the right amount of indifference and the right amount of sunlight, a poinsettia can thrive, at least for a year or so, in our home.

Truly this is a case of… who knew?

::  I was staring at this plant the other morning as I sat at the kitchen table and drank a mug of coffee.  Bay windows surround the table on one side so I had the choice of looking outside into the grayness or looking inside at this colorful, drooping poinsettia.

I went with the colorful alternative.  I mean… who wouldn’t?

::  According to a fast bit of research on the topic, a poinsettia can live for years inside someone’s home.  I like knowing this, but doubt that this will be the case with our poinsettia on the kitchen table.  It is beginning to look frazzled and worn out.

I’m not going to do anything in particular to encourage it to keep on growing, but at the same time I’m not going to withhold water and sunlight from it.  I’m just going to let it go through its process of aging gracefully.

This plant’s sense of purpose has charmed me.  All plants are like this, of course;  but seeing the process unfold in slow motion in front of me each day for well over a year, reminds me that we need to define ourselves as we see fit.

Do your own thing, says our poinsettia on the kitchen table.  And all that I think is… why not?