a strange calm day: birthday countdown sunshine

My 20 year-old son and I spent the morning preparing to open the pool, which we work hard to care for as though it's our own, though this place is a rental. But it has a terrible old porous cover, and if winter isn't super cold, it opens green, no matter how carefully we close it. This year, opening it a month late, it was green with the first signs of some new species of life developing on the surface. 20170603_113450_HDR
Well, he's in charge of the mechanics, I do the chemistry. But the pump wouldn't start! Signs indicate it must be replaced. So green the water will remain for now.

It is a sunny, sunny day, the kind of sunny day this area is not at all known for. And it's 85 degrees, but a nice 85, with a light breeze instead of a heavy stillness. 20170603_083538-EFFECTS
He wanted to take me to see Wonder Woman tonight. I felt excited at the idea, then demurred after several hours of expense leading to futility. We will go on Monday. But I sent him with another brother to see it tonight, anyway. I feel like being quiet and comfortable and reflective. With The Mary Tyler Moore show for background.

Isn't perspective a funny thing? Set in the background this way, the green pool is kinda pretty, isn't it? 20170603_175849

But not as pretty as my birthday lily. Birthdaylily


grocery luxuries for birthday week

499 words is all, I promise. I went to Jungle Jim’s today, and got four big full bags of groceries. And the thing is, I got a lot of things specifically for me to enjoy. For the past three months and more, I’ve been eating noodles and eggs, and two or three good dinners a week, and just not a lot else, and I gained ten pounds. It really is like that, when you don’t have any money. And exercise vigilance is nearly impossible as caloric energy wanes.

I saw at least six people riding on electric shopping carts. All of them were very, very large, of a size that would have been incredibly uncommon to see when I was a child. I knew a few fairly heavy people, but they still fit into chairs and could push a shopping cart in a store and did all the other usual things people do. You thought, “that’s a large person,” not “that’s kind of unbelievable.”

But life seems like something else these days. One of them in particular was of an astounding size. She didn’t fit into the cart and rode it side saddle. Her belly reached her feet. I am not exaggerating. And she made the cart go way too fast, if you ask me. It didn’t seem safe for anyone coming around a corner. Maybe she was the impatient type. Her husband (in his own cart) might have been the “I will go slower to make you more calm when in fact it will agitate you instead” type. I’ve known men like that.

So anyway, I indulged myself for birthday week. This was also produce delivery day, so the larder is quite full now, and the only guilt would come if any of it goes to waste. Here’s some of what I put in the bags. I bagged the groceries myself. The cashier was not going to be up to doing it correctly, and I can do it much faster, anyway, plus use fewer bags. I brought in five, and used only four, weight evenly distributed.

First, mark-down meat! This should last a good while, going to freeze most of it tomorrow. I got the regular-priced ground round to go with the ground pork for meatballs. And I couldn’t pass up the jowl bacon; guanciale, during birthday week. It is de rigeur for Amatriciana, but I don't know what I'll use it for this time. Meat
Next, things I will enjoy for lunch. I couldn’t remember the name of that eggplant stuff I like from the Indian section, but they didn’t seem to have it, anyway. Frozenstuff
A few miscellaneous items also for lunch and this and that. Misc
And a few bonus items that were good prices. Cans
Oh, and I got cherries yesterday! Don’t you love when it’s cherries season? Cherries are great because you simply do not buy fresh ones in October or March, except frozen. You buy them in June. June really is the best month.


Pure Blather: a birthday countdown post

I’m wearing the eye shade from having my pupils dilated at eye exam, and who knows how this typing will go? I’m inclined to include all mistakes. Shade
Man, there I was, being my brother, and really probably my other brother, and my dad, having this whole long exchange with the various eye people and another customer and the Starbuck’s girl, and by the way, hush, on that point. That was a treat, which I have maybe once a month or every six weeks. I get a double tall breve latte, which is to say, some espresso and half and half. In winter hot, in summer on ice. More on that in a bit.

The front lawn is covered in clover, which is basically awesome, but not in my neighborhood, because you can’t putt theoretical golf balls on a clover-filled lawn, and it “don’t look classy” or whatever these people think taste is. Clover is important; it provides nitrogen to soil and food for bees. And I kinda think it’s pretty. But it has to be mowed, and it won’t be me doing it today, because my pupils are wide open and feel pretty weird. And it will rain yet again tomorrow, so one of these characters who isn’t working today needs to get to it.

Anyway, I thought I would tell you about my day. I meant to do a birthday countdown post each day this week, but was sort of bummed yesterday, and now I know it was probably because I didn’t hang around in the sun for awhile. I require sunlight in order to do life. And so here we are today, in which the minimum level of sunlight has been applied.

Hot flashes! I was being all tao about that, you know, because this thing is dragging on forever, it seems, but while I have said all along I want nature to just take its natural course, I would now like nature to just go on and get it done. I reflect on that perhaps differently than some other women, because my mother was a few months younger than I am now when she entered full menopause, and then she died two years later with breast cancer, eyes clouded by cataracts. Well, my eyes are real healthy, despite no longer being astounding at their assigned roles. I’m carrying less extra weight than her, though a bit more than I’d like. And last time I checked, I didn’t get the cancer. But I don’t want to be in a hurry to pass to the next stage of life; I have no frame of reference for it.

I like to think I won’t get the cancer, but part of it is a kind of crap shoot, they say. I have, at least, fewer risk factors than she did. I’m going to assume cheerfully that I inherited Dad’s family’s tendency toward long life, instead of Mom’s family’s much more uneven record.

Okay, here’s the thing. This is a long blog post already, so if you’re bored, let’s call it done and say these were reflections on soon turning 52 that I thought others might find amusing or thoughtul. It was lovely to see you again. And if you like, you can tune in tomorrow for something undoubtedly different.

Shopping

On the other hand, I am still typing, so if you want to carry on reading what spills from my mind, here you go.

First, have you ever listened to Andy Griffith tell a story? It’s how he made his mark before playing a couple super creepy characters in the movies and then getting to be a hokey version of himself on TV for eight years. Anyway. It’s something quite…unto itself. Watch this bit in which he’s explaining a country feud to Opie.



I always crowd-source new glasses choices if I can. Today two opticians and a customer helped me choose new frames after I had my checkup with the doctor. I picked blue ones. Well, the first blue ones I picked were 200 dollars. That wasn’t happening. We managed to find some for 80. They won't be 80, though. Partly why I go to Target is that they know me there now, and Amy will play mob accountant for half an hour to get me the best I can get for the least I have to spend. I asked her about those mail order glasses things, and about how easy it might be for somebody to measure their own eyeballs at home in the mirror, which sounds absurd to me. We agreed it’s probably all right if you’re just regular near-sighted, or need readers. But add in two different astigmatisms, and middle-aged close-up needs, and then that middle bit which needs a number of its own? Then it starts to seem silly. Glasses
The doctor informed me I’ll never be able to clearly see the bridge on a cello from the gallery again, unless I use opera glasses. Well, she said binoculars, but we meant opera glasses. I told her I would feel okay about it if I had a better understanding of what normal far-off vision is. Apparently it’s pretty much what I have now with the corrective lenses. I am no longer special in this regard, alas. :-)

Let’s pause for hot flash time. My ceiling fan remote and I are growing very intimate.

Okay, well, I went down the hall to Starbucks before leaving and got my iced double tall breve latte, aka espresso with half and half, and I asked about these cold brew options being advertised. One is sweetened and contains coconut milk. The other is just coffee. I said I might try that one sometime (next month) because what I think of as properly sweetened is just waving the notion of the sugar over the cup, and other people seem to like a whole other thing. The girl nodded and told me yesterday someone asked for “14 pumps” of vanilla syrup in her drink. I estimate that to be around 7 oz of syrup. In a 20 oz cup. We shared a sick face at the thought.

The dilation is wearing off much quicker this year. I think they got a new style of drops. I don’t feel normal yet, but can see fine, and the light isn’t bad.

It occurred to me today that I’ve often mentioned how I learned about cultural equality, that is, the need for it, from music I heard as a child, but actually and also, I learned about some important elements of social “justice” from my favorite TV shows, M*A*S*H and Barney Miller, as well as a few others from that era. I’m going to take up that topic sometime soon and talk it out. Maybe tomorrow, maybe some other time. Petunias


Windmills of my Mind: a Birthday Countdown Post

See, I wrote about four posts in my head that you never saw. One was written in my head a few nights ago when I suddenly couldn't sleep, which is super weird, because sleep is one of the things I do best. It was all about my career in being best at math in school and then being left behind because of some pretty weird educational "experiment," so that when it came time to help my son learn the Law of Cosine, I just basically failed.

And then I went to my notes on the desktop to search for the things I'd been planning to share about the number 49 (which I will now do on Wednesday,) and found the following, instead:

1. Those who consider the pre-determined gender title of male part of their general natural or established makeup: there are these men, though (whoops, sorry, I do not have the exact precise up-to-the-moment percentage, but assume I don't mean you, and I'm ever so sorry if somehow you might think I did mean you, instead of specifically to whom I'm actually referring,) who are feeling the contemporary effects of women getting along pretty well in life without seeking out a "steady date," husband, or even occasional lover, like {that one specific guy she mentioned but also x others where x=>0 but <all} and they really want to talk to a woman, but don't know how, so they "kid" her about her smile or lack of one, and so forth. They tend to be of (but not 100% inclusive of) a certain generation. When I was "young and pretty," I encountered it often (by which I mean rather more often than never, but not precisely all of the time,) and found it creepy, yet I had the understanding they didn't realize how off-putting it was.

2. lamp, potato battery, extension cord,

3. Well...is it okay for someone to say, "Everybody knows the Chinese can't even sew on buttons?" Perhaps if she'd said, "It's my belief Chinese products are awful," that'd be somewhat less rude.

Do you desire context? Too bad.

On Saturday, I did the unthinkable and set my blanket in an area for baseball viewing where I'd be around other actual people, and had some general conversation with one, sort of two. I showed you a phone pic of me that day, but good lord, the phone was like, "let's make a caricature of you, just for kicks!" And what I'm saying is that I looked pretty good that day, but I'm also going to be terrible and say this isn't really difficult in relative terms, because what I do is what I don't do. I don't wear ill-fitting man t-shirts with funny sayings on them, or old "athletic" shoes, or the adult version of Garanimals from 1989. I wear contemporary clothing suited to my age and figure, and attractive coordinating footwear, which I remove as soon as possible. And surely you know about my pretty feet by now. They are the stuff of legend. This is in part because I almost never wear shoes, but also, Raphael.*

And so this man, whose son needs help correcting his swing and some time at the batting cages to improve his timing, ends up whispering to me, "Are you still married?" This after I'd done that thing I do, practically given him and his...younger relative a satellite view of where I live, how we'd ended up there, and more, because if you ask me questions in person, I either demure like you're a spy hunter, or I tell you everything ever. However, I never think to ask like questions in return, because I don't care about any of your mundane details, even though if we were on a "date," I would be polite and ask you about your job and pretend it's fascinating. If we were talking at baseball, though, my conversation would be about baseball. Poor Mr. Polomsky failed with me.

And where was I? Oh, yes. I said, "Mmhmm." And then he whispered, "Oh, I saw you weren't wearing your wedding ring."

So I answered somewhat loudly,"Yes, I'm still married. It is actually very Facebook complicated, but mainly, I don't think my ring fits anymore."

And he told me he is in fact no longer married anymore, so therefore he wondered. And then ran away.

If you've read the entire 700 words up to now, you can see why that's always for the best.

*No, but yes. I receive many compliments on my feet, regularly, when I'm out and about places. If they appear in a photo I share on Google+ which is actually supposed to be about the ovarian arrangment of items on the cover of a Nero Wolfe book, someone has to comment on that instead of pondering if that's the reason police officers' hats are smaller these days. And the point is, my mama would talk about how important it was to make really proper shoe selection, because her father, who hand-fashioned orthopedic shoes as his trade, insisted upon it. But that's not actually the point at all. Maybe if I had not been born with incredibly attractive feet, I'd have taken less care to ensure they were never misshapen by poorly designed footwear. They don't make up for having lost out in the dental lottery, though.

Here is your reward for in case you read that entire thing. I was going to share the one with "Bob and Donna's" wedding, because wow did Bob lay a kiss on her. But it was too melancholy.