Sunday, February 26, 2012

blubs bloomin'

We're in an early spring mode and although I told myself I was going to wait to buy new flowers until we returned from back East the end of March, I succumbed. How could I resist the glory at the home improvement store? I didn't buy these tulips but they look like a bit of Holland in Tucson, don't you think?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

giving in

The past few days I pulled back from activities as I gave in to my first cold virus of the season. Our weather has been unusually warm the past two weeks and desert daisies and golden poppies have already begun to blossom. Both my husband I thought, at first, we had allergies along with the flowers but the symptoms lingered and "giving in" to a cold is not such a bad choice, sometimes. I know the language of being sick usually involves the verbs "struggle" or "battling", but I just didn't do that--this time. And today, when I read a wonderful op ed piece by Vernon Klinkenborg, I connected with his references to the Lenten Season and "giving up" to what I experienced this week.

My "giving up" or "giving in" wasn't just about a virus. I also have been slowly relinquishing my diverse roles in the professional field I have acquired over the past thirty plus years. Partly because the field of civil conversations now seems to be more "in vogue" than it was in the early 1980s, there seem to be younger professionals who are interested in acquiring the skills I have toned. So I have mentored several and will probably mentor one or two more this year. And, as they develop, they take on some of the tasks I used to do. This feels a bit awkward, but mostly good. And it leaves me with a sense of emptiness and humility that Klinkenborg describes in his essay.

I was reading another blog writer's entry whom I follow who has been working out with "love pushups", suggestions from her personal coach as affirming her worth and purpose in life . That's a fun way to start the day and week and "love pushups" are what I have energy to do today.

So, here are three questions for you (the last one is my creation):

1. What are you willing to give up, give in to, let go of this week in order to experience humility?
2. What do you love about yourself?
3. What evidence do you see around you that there is Good Orderly Direction in your life?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

thinking it over

It will be almost two years this coming April that I broke my ankle and started this blog. It's been a good experience for me to write my way through some mini life chapters, but I am rethinking whether I will continue with it or not. My readership hasn't expanded and it's been quite a while since anyone posted any comments. As with my "morning pages", the voice in this blog has been personal and, occasionally, I have made missteps with my sharings. All lessons learned in writing on the internet which I will take with me as I grow.

But does this blog serve a purpose any longer?

Who really cares if I post or not? It's that questions, again, of the "sound of one hand clapping"?

No answers on this Sunday morning where I am still in PJs, with an old Rock Hudson/Doris Day movie ("Lover Come Back") playing in the background. The neighbor's dogs started barking at 7:30 a.m. and didn't quit until 10 when I complained, so my mind was distracted by the barking and I could barely read the newspaper or listen to the morning news stations. A vintage movie seemed a soothing choice to the noise. And that led me, eventually, to the computer.

I read in the NYTimes, actually, I skimmed, not read the article--that we should be planning to live to 95. I tended my dad's vascular ulcers three times this week and, as he approaches 93, it doesn't seem a very glorious way to live in old age. So, I will look forward to a lazy Sunday and maybe go back to bed to read a novel that takes me to Pemberly (Elizabeth Bennet/Pride and Prejudice), post Lizzy and Darcy's romance, as it traces the blooming of her plain sister, Mary. A pleasant distraction to the possibility of vascular ulcers and reality of barking dogs.

What pleasantries for the day are you planning this Sunday, this week?

Sunday, February 5, 2012

When I was a child, I loved old people.

This is a line from a perfect essay by poet Donald Hall in the New Yorker, 1/23/12, p. 42. The essay is entitled "Out the Window" and it's about life, love, family, aging, and death.

When I was a child, I loved old people, too. I acquainted them with my Grandmother and Grandad Dice whom I loved for their farm, their stories, their hardwork and consistent care. When I moved to Tucson, my first two jobs were working with Seniors and several of them took me in as one of their own grandchildren for holidays and Sunday dinners. As I married and had my own family, those relationships faded away and my own parents became the older people in my life.

Taking care of my mom in her last two years took some of the idyllic bloom off my memories of aging and now, taking care of my dad, the petals are definitely falling off the stem. I don't care for him in a daily way, except for phone calls, and that was true with my mom as well. I don't know how 24/7 caregivers do it. I couldn't and stay sane. So I am grateful that their frugal living and my dad's wise investments make a retirement community possible. Even so, the neediness of her and his aging stings my days like a sharp thorn.

And now that I am heading toward 63 myself, I realize that I am becoming one of those "old people", too. My husband says, "you're a young 62-63 year old." Hmmm. What does that mean? I can touch my toes easily; I can swim laps; I can walk the Rillito River Park.... What benchmarks are meaningful that signify when a person is "old"?

From my reading, Donald Hall suggests that when younger people condescend to you and talk to you as if you were a child (again), you know you are old. Also, he suggests that, with the passage of time, remembering how a farm or landscape used to look and how it has changed, is another indicator of oldness.

I have more questions than answers about this stage of life but I know one thing: I hope I am loved (still) when I am old.

What aging questions and answers do you have tucked away in your psyche? And how is that working for you now?

post on Public Conversations Project blog

Yes, this is a previous entry, but you might want to check out the site and, in particular, read the other postings on For years I have tried to create a community project that will bring in this fine group to assist Tucson in taking public conversations to a deeper level. Maybe this year, we'll do it.