Posted by: maggiesails | November 12, 2007

Birthdays

Today is my birthday. It’s a good day. I started by doing some yoga and playing with my big crazy dog and helping my old dog navigate stairs. When they participate in my yoga ritual as they did this morning, it becomes Doga instead of Yoga. As Rodney Yee tells me to relax, a tongue licks my hand on one side and on the other, I feel a warm body snuggle up close and sigh. Sometimes the big crazy one drops his ball under my nose when I’m doing downward dog as if he recognizes that position as a signal to PLAY!

Later I spent some time thinking about Merton’s questions:  What am I living for?  What is getting in the way of what I’m living for?   I have a fuzzy idea that I’m living, now, entering into my crone years, to make the world a better place for future generations.  This sounds all lofty and grand but the specifics of it are quite mundane.  I want to be kind.  I want to take care of that and those put in my path.  I want to be lighter in spirit and help others grow lighter too.  I want to do my bit to help save the planet.  I want to leave the place better than I found it.    I’m not sure what is getting in the way of these things but will ponder some more.

Later today, after working awhile, I’ll go play with my friend Susan whose birthday is today too.

Happy Birthday to us both.

Posted by: maggiesails | September 25, 2007

Irrelevant?

Several people have told me lately that they feel irrelevant. It doesn’t seem to matter if they’re discussing work or play, an oppressive morass seems to have settled. Even those who are (or have been) deeply religious struggle with finding meaning.

Is this because we’re constantly barraged by advertisers telling us we don’t feel good enough or look good enough (often translated as ‘young enough’) , aren’t successful enough, aren’t (fill in the blank) enough? Just plain aren’t enough? Or are we afraid to look deeper inside our psyches to find that we’ve forgotten what’s really real or as Saint-Exupéry wrote “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Is it because we seem to live in a country that has the best government money can buy and only those with deep pockets or loud, incessant voices can affect any change? Or are we so accustomed to immediate gratification that we’re unwilling to do the long, often tedious work of bringing about change?

Have those of us living in urban areas lost our sense of community? With our nation’s heritage of the ‘rugged individual,’ are we too proud to ask for help when we need it or afraid of interfering with our neighbor when we think they might? What do we risk if we get involved?

I don’t have any good answers to this quandary but I think it is worth exploring and not burying with pills or busy-ness or shopping therapy. Any comments?

Posted by: maggiesails | September 19, 2007

Wandering again

I’ve been traveling and as far away from all things electronic as I could be for awhile.   Part of my journey included spending time with other crones and I always come away from these encounters recharged and in awe of the wisdom and energy of some of those twenty-years my senior.

In a culture that seems to worship at the fountain of youth and treat aging as a medical condition, it was refreshing to be among women who refuse to succumb to the pressures of Madison Avenue and embrace their lives  .. each era  .. even the older chapters .. with both realism and gusto.    I listened to a ninety-three year old tell raucous jokes and heard a new song composed by an eighty-four year old.      I learned about “Raging Grannies” and “Code Pink.”  I learned about elders who are writing books, combating global warming, attending city council meetings, pursuing their art and enjoying life.    We drummed, we danced, we sang and we heard each others stories.   It was grand.

These women had nothing in common with the ones we see portrayed in the media ..   meek,  a bit dotty, sickly and unable to articulate an opinion.      As we boomers age, we aren’t going to go quietly  or just sit, rocking on the porch.    If you’re of the right age, join in.  If you’re younger,  pay attention.

Posted by: maggiesails | August 28, 2007

Sailing Crones.

I spent the first part of last week on a sailboat with 3 other ladies.  Each traveling from a different part of the country, we had planned a sailing vacation but the weather didn’t cooperate.  Northern Ohio had torrential rain and several communities flooded.  Our homestead for the week floated so we didn’t have to worry about floods but  since I was the hostess / captain, I worried how I would entertain my guests.  The worry was wasted.  These women knew how to make the best of a bad situation and after too much time in airports and a very wet welcome, they did just that.

We shared stories, movie and book titles, played cards, read books, made some soggy trips by land, drank wine and ate well.   We laughed.  The newcomers learned about living together in the small space of a boat cabin and how to use a marine head! The two of us who were long-time sailors enjoyed teaching and watching them make discoveries.

On the last day, we sailed for a short time, anchored, swam and had lunch.   By this time, the galley wasn’t a mystery any longer and both newcomers thought they would be ready for a real cruise.

For the record, all these women are over fifty.  Next stop, the Virgin Islands.   Then, who knows?

Posted by: maggiesails | August 16, 2007

Mid life long distance romance

How much more difficult could this be?  My mate and I live a four hour drive apart.  We see each other, either at his place or mine, about every two weeks, sometimes more, sometimes less.  It’s always a long weekend.  So … guess we’re spending 7 – 8 days a month together, not counting vacations and holidays.   Jobs and family obligations keep each of us from moving to the other’s location.  It works for us.  At least for now.   At least sometimes.

Then there are those other times.  It’s not the crisis — it’s the little stuff.   A second opinion on a chair to be purchased.  Cutting the cats claws.  Laughing at a funny scene in an old movie.  Cooking for one.  Or not cooking because it’s too much effort to do for one.  Dining alone (except for the 4 legged company).    It’s the warp and woft of life we’re missing.

Those are the reasons that leaving after those long weekends is getting more difficult.   We both had good marriages to people we’d expected to grow old with but lost them, much too early, to illnesses.   We’re both “of an age” (don’t you hate that term?) when we know we don’t have limitless time in front of us to spend with the people we love most.    It would be much easier to have two people maintaining one household even when we KNOW we won’t agree some of the time.  I think we would even appreciate the arguments.

Now, what are we ready to give up?

Posted by: maggiesails | August 9, 2007

Sauna time..

All of us in the midwest have a free sauna and we don’t even have to drive to the gym to access it! All we have to do is go out our door where we are greeted by temperatures in the 90s accompanied by equally high humidity. Morning and nightly newscasters give advice to drink lots of water, find cool places to stay when possible and limit activity. Local firemen are collecting fans to give to people who need them. There’s a water brigade who are delivering bottled water to street people. One county jail opened its doors to people wanting a cool place to sleep for the night.

Some wonder if this is yet another effect of global warming.

It may be but I do remember hot sultry days fifty years ago. We had no air conditioning; we fanned ourselves a lot; we drank lemonade and iced tea and water. We were always sticky even if we’d just had a bath. Physical activity was limited to necessity. My favorite thing, though, was that my brother and I moved our beds to the upstairs porch and slept outside. There was no screen so we improvised with netting and pretended we were in the deep jungle. Tree frogs and katydids sang us to sleep and we were awakened by the lowing of the cows waiting to be milked. Perfect.

It seems more complicated now; we don’t adapt as well; we complain more; we expect to continue to do the things at a rush hour pace even though Mother Nature is screaming at us to slow down. Slowing down in this kind of heat makes sense doesn’t it?

Posted by: maggiesails | August 4, 2007

I miss my delusions..

My friend, Mike, and I watched the movie Chicago yesterday; he usually doesn’t like musicals but put Catherine Zeta Jones in the line-up and he’ll watch it. I don’t blame him .. she IS gorgeous! Afterwards, we were talking about what seedy characters most of the players are. They will do anything, say anything, manipulating the press and the public, to get what they want. Amos and Hunyak, the only two characters who are truthful and innocent, both come to bad ends.

I couldn’t help but compare these fictional characters to the very real ones both in Washington and now running around the country trying to get the highest seat in Washington. No-one seems to care about truth or integrity on either side of the aisle. When someone does speak their truth, we marginalize them. I’m thinking about Dennis Kucinich, the representative from Ohio who always seems to be outside the mainstream, even his own party’s. At the last Democratic debate, I heard him speak to the truth that until we have the political will to do something profound about our dependence on oil, we’d never pull troops out of the middle east. He may be a maverick and people may shudder to think of him in the White House, but we need to listen when these mavericks speak their truth.

Why is it that we want, no, demand, easy answers? Why do we want to hang onto our delusions of simple solutions for complicated problems? Is it too tedious, too much work all interested parties to come to the table, be willing to both give and take and come up with workable solutions for our most pressing problems? Workable solutions don’t have to be perfect — they can be tweaked as more is known.

I’m longing for a politician with some humility who will stand up and say they don’t have all the answers but are planning to bring lots of people to the table to come up with the best answers we can have. I want someone who isn’t deluded by their own ideology or genius or position of power. Charles de Montesquieu, the seventeenth century philosopher said “To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.”

I don’t see many of these players on the current stage … at least not yet.

Posted by: maggiesails | August 1, 2007

Angels

Okay, what stain color?  Before I was a widow, I could decide these things easily.  Now, I seem to second guess myself constantly.   Sometimes, I seem to need second and third opinions.    The first opinion came from my Angel Daughter who stopped by to pick up the dogs and take them home with her for a few days so they won’t push the door open (as the goldendoodle has learned to do) and come barreling in over newly stained floor.  She liked my choice of stain.   Next, my Angel Friend, Susan, called to tell me she and her husband, Jerry,  were taking me to dinner to get me out of the mess.  They came in and verified that my choice was perfect. 

It may not be what they really thought.  It doesn’t matter.  What they really thought is that I needed some help and they were blessedly there to provide it. 

Everyone needs their own flock of Angels.   

Posted by: maggiesails | July 31, 2007

Wanderings of a crone

Since my house is in pounding, whirring, noisy floor-finishing turmoil, I’ve been spending most of my time outdoors with the dogs and the cat.   The crone dog, Molly, seems to be hunkering down in her doghouse until the seige is over.  Fergus just wonders why these new people won’t come out and play ball with him.  Shadow, the cat, is in a real snit and may not come home for a week or until she’s hungry.  

So, being a bit uprooted, I’m contemplating how much uprooting I could stand.  Could my three pets and I hit the road for a late-life adventure?  Sounds like a lot of fun until the Scot in me starts thinking about the cost of gasoline.  Sigh.  I guess it’s too late, in many ways, to emulate Jack Kerouac.   It’s becoming clear to me, though, that I need to jettison some ballast and do something different.

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