Friday, June 28, 2013

Nun with A Ruler

My self-discipline has really been flagging lately. There are several big-ish house projects that have been nagging me and I want to have done, but not actually do. The only way to get these projects done is having nothing else on my plate, so I've created that reality.

Yet I procrastinate on the tedious info gathering and the many decisions that need to be made. I read, I write, do the dishes, water the plants. I plod through my house projects list like a reluctant teenager. Do I haf ta? Also part of this self-imposed lethargic reality -  I can’t seem to plan more than a week in advance or motivate beyond my few weekly commitments to various exercise activities. And I’m not paying attention. In the span of three days, all these things happened to me: 1) I went to a meeting and parked in the downtown library garage underground. Came back at 8:30 and it was gated, locked, inaccessible. I had failed to see the sign that said when it closes. It was daylight when I went in. 2) I had my credit card in my hand in a weird way when putting the movie into the Redbox slot and it got sucked in with the movie. No way to get it back. I checked. 3) I was tired driving back from horseback riding and saw the flash of the remote camera. Looked down - eleven miles over the limit. Looked around - no other cars.  I’m waiting for the envelope in the mail.

I completely re-habbed my little house in 2008 before I moved. I don’t remember it being this tedious. I just added all the rehab tasks into the fast track that is the work world. And work filled in the spaces between the numerous small accomplishments that it takes to get a project completed.  This is not enough to make me miss work however.

Clearly, instead of an inner child, who has pretty much been running the show lately, I need an inner nun with a ruler. A taskmaster who can tell me Pay Attention! And yes, you haf ta. So you can get on with the rest of your life. I’m visualizing:




Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Workshop Confidential

Apparently I'm a cliché. Or not, I'm telling myself.

In keeping with my “methodology” of getting out there and exploring things of interest to see what sticks and wanting to write more better, I go to the 25th annual  writers workshop sponsored by our community college. I’m in line with the other retired people, or at least a lot of people in my age group, thinking they could be, or who are, writers.

Apparently, older retired people who take up writing are a known element with established writers who have been dedicated and paid dues for decades. "Uhg, another retirement blog" can be an initial thought that needs to be transcended. As quickly as possible. I'm already contemplating taking “retirement” out of my blog title in order to capture the attention of the retirement-blog-adverse. 'Cause this ain't your grandma’s blog. Or so I want to think.

Quite a few of the participants looked grandmotherly or conventional.  Others reflected a sensible-shoes, makeup-less look….bookish. Duh. Of course: Writers. Books. Reading. This wasn’t what I expected, even though I didn't realize I had expectations. Probably  something more like this:


I’m like the homosexual who is uncomfortable with the effeminates in the community. “No. I'm not like them. Please don't put me there.” But we need to embrace the whole of our communities least we engage in self-hatred.

The diversity evened out a bit over the weekend but I was one of the few people in the crowd looking at the internet during presentations. Probably because I was the only one that needed to look up the authors to whom references were made. Not sure if I should be apologetic, although no one noticed because it was in an auditorium, or a bit "hey girl" for my modern habits.

I learned terms like project, voice, and platform.  Are you working on a project? Uhm. Pause. Oh, project means some piece of writing .... a book, a play. Quick. I think. Is a blog a project? Sure. Make up the elevator speech on the spot. Try to describe using terms that resonate.

And I got an encouraging review of my manuscript (aka this blog) from a published author. I really appreciated being matched with a writer young enough to be my daughter. Score!

Main take-away: be more descriptive. Not the first time I’ve heard that. So if you see my posts getting a bit longer, blame the workshop. It’s called scene-setting.

I can see that being a writer requires deep commitment, especially if you want to get published - like, for real. I’m not ready for that, for so many reasons. For now, and so as not to get too self-conscious about words, I’m going to focus on the art of living, rather than the art of writing. So I have something to write about. Descriptively.







Friday, June 7, 2013

Owning It

I’m on a roll. Having faced certain truths and accepted that the limits of my physical abilities no longer encompass tens of thousands of stone steps, I’m letting go of more outdated images from the past.
Another nostalgic pipe dream I had for retirement was also based on the image in that forty-two-year-old self photo (see my last post). I was thinking I could get back to that weight and cohesiveness of flesh. Despite efforts - I tried - I really, sort of, tried - that hasn’t happened. And isn’t going to happen. Instead I find myself, for the first time ever, accepting and owning the excess. Or at least some of it.

I let go of self-consciousness and wore a sleeveless blouse, which I haven’t done in several years. No one even noticed, of course. I didn’t catch anyone starting disapprovingly at my crepey underarms.  Not even me.

Growing up labeled a “big girl” puts down deep roots. Now, I’m digging them up, tossing them out and just accepting what is. Perhaps some of the recent press on and advocacy by fat girls has bolstered my shift. For example, check out local rad girl, The Militant Baker. However, those images are limiting – it’s always young women. With zaftig flesh, yes - but its firm, smooth - young  - flesh. I see the pictures and think: talk to me in four decades girlfriends, when gravity and time have worked their magic. That will call for a whole new support group.

On the other hand, there’s the photo-retouch-plastic-surgery-industrial-complex that creates impossible images to emulate.  I thought once I got older, I’d be free of that. But no, here we have Helen Mirren in her skimpy two piece bathing suit, Jane Fonda all sleek, Susan Sarandon's unrestrained boobs,  and Diane Keaton (skinny bitch!). There is no end to the images of the ideal. I just had to stop looking.

I still notice the number of products it takes to keep it all going though. I remember thinking when I was in my twenties, when I had not-much money and smooth skin and wore little make up: Who would pay $40 for under eye cream? Uh, your future self, sweetie. I’m not letting go of that hedge against deteriorating aesthetics.
Just as I’m not going to start sitting in cafes because I no longer will be doing tens of thousands of stone steps, I’m not giving up. I‘m still going to wage battle with gravity and time, but in a more aikido kind of way. With love and acceptance of what is no longer possible. And know that just as I look back on photos from decades ago and think “hey, you looked pretty good despite what you were thinking at the time”, I’m going to look back on photos from now and think the same thing.