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Oct 20, 2014

The Rugrats Cartoon, Responsible TV Viewing and Bitchy Barbara

I remember watching TV with my granddaughter back when The Rugrats were very popular. You remember...that was the TV show with the darling babies that lived in a playpen, a self-centered girl named Angelica that messed with their life and a dozing oblivious grandpa that was in charge a lot of time. I thought at the time that Angelica was seen by my granddaughter as a bad little girl that made life miserable for everyone around her. But as I watched my granddaughter more, I came to realize that Angelica was becoming a heroine of sorts. Angelica always got her own way and never took any sas from anyone. We quit watching The Rugrats and my granddaughter moved on.

Flash forward 13 years to 2014. Now it is me that needs to be careful what I watch on TV. One of my friends was describing a show she liked that had a very strong woman lead...a little edgy and very in your face kind of show. I had to stop and think about whether that was a good idea for me...probably not. The spill over from watching certain shows will inspire me to be more opinionated that I already am. I am not even a good TV news viewer. My inner feminist will emerge immediately.

See being an angry feminist is not a good thing and when I watch a show that stars a woman that is being challenged because she is female or hear about a women's issue on the news, I get very ticked at the world. Where is the justice in that? The feeling will take a while to go away and in the mean time, the people in my world have to put up with a Bitchy Barbara.

So I try to be a responsible TV viewer. The world does not need another Angelica of any age. Especially mine.

Just a thought.

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Oct 18, 2014

Humor: How Many Things Are You an Expert In? I am up to 9!

Not very long ago I wrote about the 10,000 hours it took for the Beatles to become the rock stars that they were. My friend Bob Lowry over at Satisfying Retirement put a comment on the blog post telling how many years he and his wife had been married and how many hours they had spent together. He was wondering why he wasn't a better husband if it only took 10,000 hours to perfect a skill.  When I read his words I could only think that it must be a lot harder to be a husband that it was to be a Beatle.

Anyway that got me to thinking about being an expert. I know how long it takes because I have done the math. The chances of me being an expert on anything that I am not proficient at now are slim to none.

If it really does take 10,000 hours of doing something to become an expert what does that mean. I know the Beatles played for eight hours a day at a gig in Hamburg and they did it long enough to become THE BEATLES. The only thing I can think that I might be an expert at is cleaning and raising children. I suppose that is enough.

But surely there is more. At my age I must have a lot to show for just being alive for 73 years. So I began a list:
Be nice boys!
  1. Giving advice...I have made sure to practice that skill to be the point of being banned from cocktail parties and family gatherings.
  2. Making spaghetti with meat sauce. My family doesn't say "oh goody, spaghetti!" they say "spaghetti again?" They started saying that very early in our marriage. We eat spaghetti a lot...maybe a few kabillion times in my 54 year marriage.
  3. Blowing problems off...my favorite response to a big problem is "You will be JUST fine!" I may have said that 10,000 time during my lifetime.
  4. Procrastinating...I never go to the dryer when it buzzes. I wait until the clothes are really wrinkled in, say, a day or two before I fold them. I also put off ironing, grocery shopping, clearing out the refrigerator and getting my junk and gum wrappers out of the car. There is more but you get what I mean.
  5. Not putting gas in the car. I can run on fumes longer than anyone I know. I am almost 73 and started driving when I was 16. You add up how many tanks of gas I have NOT filled. It is a lot.
  6. Saying "Be nice." I never talk things over with the small children in a reasonable voice like their parents do...my go to admonition is simply "Be nice." I even say it on this blog occasionally. Want to guess how many times I have said that? I only continue because it seems to work...heaven only knows why. 
  7. Sitting...a lifetime of practice has made me the world leading expert on sitting. I sit at the computer, on the couch, at parties, on curbs and park benches. If it can be sat on I have sat on it... Next to standing I like sitting the best of anything, right after...
  8. ...sleeping. I don't sleep like I did when I was younger but I wish I could. I suppose that we are only allowed 10,000 hours of sleep in a lifetime and I have already used mine all up. But ask me about sleeping and I can give you a lot of information.
  9. Reading...thousands of hours of reading is a good thing. However, in my case the house could burn down, my husband divorce me and the dog pee on my leg. I would not notice. Fortunately, none of those things have happened in my many hours with my nose in a book.
What are you an expert at?

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Links to Humor on this blog.

Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 Hours to Succeed and an Aging Writer

Oct 16, 2014

Ageism or Agism: On Smelling Musty

  1. Ageism (also spelled "agism") is stereotyping and discriminating against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. This may be casual or systematic. The term was coined in 1969 by Robert Neil Butler to describe discrimination against seniors, and patterned on sexism and racism.
Have I said this before, "Just shoot me now and get it over with!"? Honestly, it is getting so I am almost afraid to go out in public looking and smelling like myself. See, the thing is I am getting old. That "getting old" is just plain annoying to most people that are not old yet. It is a problem.

Image from genfringe.com
Take the blog post I read yesterday about old people going to the grocery store. Wednesday With the Old Folks was written tongue in cheek and I think the author was just being funny. But it hit way too close to home.

I have heard almost every complaint about the grocery store already ...old people are slow walking down the aisles. Old people want to buy things at the deli counter and the young people want to take them out for doing just that. Old people go shopping on the wrong day, a young person's private day evidently. Then there is the complaint about old people writing checks (something I have actually thought about starting to do again because of credit card problems). It seems NO ONE does that anymore. Old women go out in public with flat hair in the back...I know isn't that horrible? And the list goes on.

But Wednesday With the Old Folks pointed out a problem with old people in the grocery store I had never heard of before...it turns out they smell musty! You heard me right. When there are a certain number of old people in a store, say on senior discount day, the store smells funny...musty it seems. I suppose the smell might be like the smell of old books...I don't know for sure. (See link for Why do Old Books Smell below) Now I think I have heard and seen it all but I am sure that being old and in the way will bring up something new before I post this article.

So, I repeat, just shoot me now!  Or.....

...if you want to solve the problem ask the old person in front of you to excuse you when they are in the aisle. They will move over. Try smiling as you go by them. If you are in a hurry to buy something at the deli counter go find another person to wait on you. If the old person in front of you is having trouble writing a check, offer to help. If there is a little musty smell, get over it. Sometimes being old is very hard.

Honestly, be nice people! It will help another human out and it will make you feel better.

Ageism is not nice, it hurts not only the person that practices it but also their parents and grandparents. There, I said it!

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Oct 15, 2014

Retirement: Wednesday...that in-between day!

I have a friend that loves Tuesday gifts...they are given for no articular reason. It is not a birthday or a holiday. It is just Tuesday. She loves that day.

I love quiet Wednesday a lot. Is that in-between time that Dee Martin wrote about in a poem called It's My Birthday and I'll Write if I Want To. She talked about dawn and dusk...not day and or night but the time between the cracks of time that pass unnoticed and very quickly.

For me quiet Wednesday...a whole day of peace uninterrupted...is like that. It isn't close to the weekend on either side. Quiet Wednesday is very muted and restful for me. I can just be. I know it will pass quickly so I need to take time to look and feel. I like that a lot. A good book or even a very long movie is waiting. Soup, coffee at a coffee shop or maybe a little drive so I can take a picture might be my choice.

Yes, Wednesday is a favorite day for me...especially since that is today and I am here to share it with you.

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My Memory Art

Oct 13, 2014

Where is the Child's Voice in the Empty Nest Syndrome Discussion?

I know I have written about almost every issue that Boomer parents deal with. Boomerang kids, downsizing, grandparenting and wrinkles...but I do not believe I have ever taken the time to say what I really think about Empty Nest Syndrome. Boomers going into a deep funk when their children grow up and leave the nest is something I have a hard time buying into.

It took a conversation with my daughter who will become a mother with grown children before long to make me face how I really felt. When I mentioned the fact that parents her age are having a hard time letting their children go, she just wrinkled her nose. She couldn't imagine. We share the life experience of leaving home to attend college. It was a wonderful time in our lives. I believe that neither of us would want to deny the next generation that same opportunities to find a life of their own. My parents did not want to give me any reason to think that growing up and moving on was not the best thing in the world. I did the same for my children.

So you can understand why I think the thing that what is missing in the empty-nest conversation is the effects this trendy syndrome has on the growing children. In fact I think that boomerang kids may be the fallout from parents bemoaning the child's independence in the first place.

But it is all the trend to talk about Empty Nesters and the burdens they must bear. The New York Times carried an article in their Style and Fashion section called Empty-Nest Book Hatchery. It was taking note of all the books coming out right now with "The Empty Nest" theme. In the article one author promoted the idea that previous generations were not focused on their children. I could only think that my generation must come off as a bunch of slackers in that book. I took exception to that notion with more emotion that I thought was possible. Here is a quote from that article:
“There is a huge difference between this generation and previous ones,” said Wendy Aronsson, a therapist in Greenwich, Conn., and the author of “Refeathering the Empty Nest: Life After the Children Leave.” Unlike their forebears, who cheerfully waved goodbye as their offspring headed into the world, “parents today are challenged because they are much more front and center in their children’s lives,” Ms. Aronsson said. “They approach their parenting as a career, regardless of whether they work outside the home.” from Empty-Nest Book Hatchery, NYT
Mother/Daughter Team
Really?  Really?

Later in the article another "expert author", Christie Mellor of Los Angeles, the author of “Fun Without Dick and Jane: Your Guide to a Delightfully Empty Nest", was quoted. She said:
“The next time an empty-nest expert suggests that you might be feeling lonely, sad and abandoned, run as fast as you can in the other direction,” she continued. “You’re not a bad parent because you’re excited about finally having your freedom.”
That is more where my generation fell in the scheme of things. But there was a reason...we rejoiced in our children's opportunities. It was not a given that child would go to college or even have a job and be able to leave the nest. We did not take that for granted and neither did our children.

From the child's perspective, the whole world was waiting to be explored. I even felt that way when I left the nest to go to college. I don't think my parents were unhappy and if they were, they did not tell me. Why should they? I would have had a hard time understanding how they could feel sad why I was so excited and happy.

What is missing in this discussion is the voice of the child...growing up and trying their wings for the first time. Why should any mother or father burden their child with the image of them pining away because the child has done exactly what they were reared to do...fly away? It doesn't seem fair to me. If the child were to be asked, I think they would tell their parents to grow up too. They are all starting a new stage in their life and that is the way it should be.

I might also add that if a child can go to college they are very privileged...there are so many that will never have that opportunity. Finding a job and moving out to become independent is a real accomplishment. Joining the military is an act of courage. I applaud the tenacity of young people today. Let's be happy for them...OK?

What do you think?

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