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A Short Thought

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A friend’s son told her some of the most useful education he ever received came from “McDonalds University” when he spent a summer working at the local establishment. Don’t ever say “how are you” to an old person. Because they’ll tell you. While I refuse to define myself as old, I am surely circling the drain of middle age.  I find it’s easy these days to learn about new ailments for which there may, or may not, be viable assistance available. Just listen to the latest television commercials. It seems constipation is a big hoot these days and the drug they’re recently hawking days has fetching side effects.  I say, more fiber first!  

When I’m home during the day I admit to having a television on for background noise, and find the target audience for many health accoutrements are definitely women of a certain age. We really seem to need a whole lot of help for a myriad of issues. My personal offensive favorite are the women jumping around doing the twist ~ badly ~ while the lyrics commend leak proof underwear. Seriously? Men are portrayed as handsome, virile and “ready for anything when the moment is right”  because “this is the age of knowing what you’re made of “and we look like lunatics who wet our pants?

 Really?

Tena

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Life is Not for the Faint of Heart

How is it that we don’t know how hard it is to live until it’s just that?  If we’re lucky, we wander through childhood blissfully unaware. Or we’re subliminally aware something isn’t quite right but not savvy enough to know what quite right is…or isn’t. Then all of a sudden the you know what hits the fan. For some of us it happens when we’re very young. Divorce…death…harsh realities come crashing down and we’re there just living with it. Handling it…or not.

I had no idea my world was seriously off kilter until I was twenty eight. Oh, there were signs. There was an undercurrent of ugly. Yet life in an idyllic bubble was easily skewed into a variety of excuses that wound up with “me” being the problem. There is no need to get into any of that. Suffice it to say, I was a good kid. Curiously creative during a time when there was so much to create. Also, in many ways, very fortunate to live an upper middle class life in an amazingly amazing environment.  Where I grew up, from ten to twenty-one, was incredible. The sweet smell of green grass in the spring and summer. Fireflies. Croquet in the back yard. Walking home past the Fire House after school from the Valley Tea Shoppe following a ciggie and a vanilla coke.

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Yet, reality reared its’ head from time to time. The Cuban Missile Crisis. New-York-Times-on-Cuban-Missile-Crisis

My husband grew up on the West Coast and to him it was merely a blip. To me, it was the possibility of the ultimate “duck and cover.” Seriously, we hid under our desks? To avoid nuclear obliteration. I clearly remember walking home from the Tea Shoppe during those days and hitting some leaves on a tree as I walked around the curve between the library, the fire house and our street, The Knolls. I remember thinking, “I might never do this again.”  Our family, like so many others, had put lots of Campbell soup in our basement ~ despite multiple above ground windows.

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While extinction seemed possible ~ and imminent ~ there was the underlying belief it would all turn out alright, because it always had during my lifetime to that point.  After days holding our collective breaths, it did turn out alright.  And life went on in a mostly bucolic fashion.  Yet the peace of our reality continued to run parallel to intermittent blips of national and world wide horrendous. We remember what they were ~ no need to recount again.

In the bubble we moved forward ~ got our drivers licenses and went swimming at Shu Swamp in March just because we could. Shu Swamp

Our rebellion included a few beers and the refusal to go into school one day late in the year in protest. What were we protesting? The right of boys to not wearing socks and girls to wear cullote pants. Seriously. We wearers of circle pins were true rebels.

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My life mirrored that of so many others during that time.  Smooth sailing on the surface as we paddled madly to stay afloat.  A sense of discontent that all was not what it seemed without having any idea how to change the status quo.  No one I knew was wildly problematic.  We weren’t type cast to be “flower children.”  We sat on Stehli’s beach during the summer slathering ourselves in baby oil with iodine and worked at the Pig ‘n Whistle.   stehli sign

Yet the time of real change was rapidly approaching.   What would happen next?

 

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Break a Leg…or not!

Let me first say my bones are intact. Not for lack of slipping and sliding on my part, being a “flounder foot” since childhood, but that’s a whole different conversation. I went back to work. Briefly.  At an amazing venue right here in Vista, California ~ Moonlight Amphitheatre. While I’d hoped to have some time to acclimate, I was on-stage on Day Two practicing a “curtain speech,” and in front of more than twelve hundred on Day Seven.  Gulp!!!  There I was, right up there on that stage.  Luckily, not alone.  Steve Glaudini, the amazing Creative Director ~ now starring as Mr. Banks in Moonlight’s wonderful production of Mary Poppins ~ kindly encouraged!  

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I’ve spent many hours in television studios but I am definitely a behind the scenes sort. Nonetheless, I did not fall into the Orchestra pit, but my dear husband ~ being a “front of the house” person often ~ kindly suggested we prerecord the speeches so they were as professional as the rest of the show.

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I did not take offense. The shows put on at Moonlight Amphitheatre are amazing. I knew I was the dancing popcorn box amid the preshow flurry. And I didn’t even have to ask anyone to turn off their cell-phone. Now that I think of it, no one was looking at their cell phones. They were ~ gasp! ~ interacting with one another. They were having a picnic on the lawn with their families. Or eating at the Artisan Restaurant with friends. Or meeting friends and talking before the show.

What an amazing concept!!

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My Fair Lady begins on August 13th.  If you live anywhere near North County ~ San Diego, come enjoy an amazing evening!    

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I Plead the Fifth ~ July 5th

I keep meaning to post to my blog, but I don’t. Kind of like I keep meaning to stop eating chips. The “statistics” on the blog are on my desktop, reminding me daily of something I keep meaning to do but don’t. It’s interesting to me that just about every day one or two people look at various posts on the blog. Some from South America are very interested in the old posts about Mrs. Grenville and Peacock Point. I wonder why briefly and then usually play Candy Crush Saga. I’m on Level 309 in case you’re interested. Pathetic, perhaps. Addictive, definitely.

But now that I remembered the pass word and got onto my blog I have to figure out all the new bells and whistles they’ve introduced in the three months since I last posted. I am a luddite technilogically ~ it will take longer to figure out how to post what I write than it will take me to write it. Bet? OY! I don’t have time for this frustration. I’m tired…I went back to work three weeks ago. Part time. Sort of. But that’s a whole different story for another day.   www.moonlightstage.com

Today I’m thinking about past adventures. Friendships old and new. Life. Memories. I love that I still see people I’ve known for many, many years. Last week I had lunch with someone I’ve known for fifty years. Yesterday a BBQ with two forty year friends. Catching up with old friends is easy. There’s something about knowing someone from your past that makes it simple to fast forward to the present.Timo

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Exercise Hurts

ImageI wish I could say I’m one of those really athletic types, but I’m afraid my prowess was accurately noted in seventh grade when I accidently shot Betty Dykstra in the calf with an arrow during archery in gym class.   I’m a pretty good swimmer, had a proclivity for golf at an early age but wanted to spend my summer days drenched in baby oil and iodine at Stehli’s Beach rather than pursue whacking a little ball around.   Let’s just say my exercise regimen has been spotty.  ImageIn the eighties I wore leg warmers during step aerobics and have the crunchy knees to prove it.  And with the big hair and big glasses I fit right in.  Image    I did take tennis lessons with my husband and was better than he was and I didn’t let him win so we stopped taking lessons.  Then we got divorced.  I never played tennis again.   I did a half marathon once.  In the pouring rain.  I ate the hugest steak after.  And ached for about a week.  I have a edal to prove it somewhere.

I am a strange anomaly.  I am a left-handed person who does all sports right handed.  I think that has to do with age.  They handed me scissors and I used them with my right hand.  But those desks…and loose leaf notebooks.  Wait, this has nothing to do with sports other than the fact that about two weeks ago I decided “enough.”  Time to get back to exercise other than the walks I take with Riley and Harley each morning.   But…what to do?  A high school friend, Annie Durkin lives here in San Diego and loves Jazzercise.   So I looked up the schedule…about three months ago.  I used to love yoga.  I found a couple of places near home and looked up the schedule…about three months ago.  But now with my declaration of “enough” I started seeking.  My doctor said “walk forty-five minutes in one direction and then head home.”  Yeah, sure.  I said, “let’s start small and head for the beach.”   So I went to the beach.  I took deep breaths and in an instant I remembered just how much I love the smell of salt air.  There is nothing quite like it.  If you grow up near salt water it is truly ingrained on your soul.  I walked down the sea wall path the first day to Life Guard Stand 37 and back to the lot where I parked my car.  A half hour.  Ok…that was good.

The next day I made poor Harley and Riley walk farther.  Riley was on board but Harley has a very set schedule and breakfast at 8:00AM is etched in his brain.  He kept putting his leash in his mouth and dragging me in the opposite direction.  OK, pound puppy.  Next day I decide to find out just where the sea wall ends and park my car on the street above the parking lot and climb down 50 steps at Lifeguard Stand 36.  I head North to find out where the sea wall ends.  It ends with a steep hill up to the street and as I walk back to my car I think “OK…down stairs don’t count as much as upstairs do but that hill sucked.”  Forty-two minutes.  Works for me.  I am inching up to that 90 minutes one step at a time.  And don’t 50 steps count for something?  Even if they’re going down?Image

That afternoon I was meeting a good friend.  We’d reconnected after years apart after I moved to San Diego.  Such bliss!  We decided to hit golf balls and then attempt a game at some future date.  I forgot to mention that somewhere in the 1990’s I dated a great completely wrong for me guy, who was an excellent golfer so I played once again.  Muscle memory is amazing and I’d accumulated not one, but two sets of golf clubs that we moved from city to city over the past seven years.  Jay, a non-golfer, commented upon each move, “so we really have to take these?”  So glad I always said “yes.”  We whacked those balls…about 60 each.  By the time I went to bed I thought perhaps I had overdone my activity that day.

When I awoke the next morning I was more certain.   I don’t know about you, but mornings are the great equalizer in the muscle equation.  Somehow sleep, no matter how fleeting, along with lying dormant bring those facts into clear view.  I got out of bed and said “ouch.”  But I was determined to get up and walk through it because I had promised to go to a Jazzercise class at 8:45AM.  I admit to being insane.  I will do nothing for months and then…well, do this.   The Jazzercise class is about two minutes from my house.  I got there and discovered that instead of whatever Jazzercise is they were doing body sculpting today.  Body sculpting?  The ship sailed on that years ago.  What I’m hoping for now is a small reduction in my bat wings.  But I soldiered on with the weights and the mat and the plastic rope thingy.

Then I went walk the sea wall.  Let me explain about my love of water.  The smell of salt water soothes my soul…seriously.  Image

To me a long soak in a hot tub is about the best way to end a day.  Add candles and bubble bath and I’m happier than I can express. Two days later I decided to park in the parking lot and walk in a circle. Yet the circle includes walking UP the stairs.  All fifty-five of them.

My friend and I have played golf since…I have walked the walk.  I have climbed the stairs.  My body accepts and rejects these advances toward fitness with amicable distaste.  I recognize this and agree.  Yet I am enjoying the resurgence of endorphin, that marvelous chemical that tells my brain “I feel better.”

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When will it tell my body?

We shall see.

 

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Throwback Thursday

ImageIs Throw Back Thursday a Facebook creation?  All I know is that about two months ago there were pictures on my feed…great pictures, posted “Throwback Thursday,” or “tbt” which completely confused me.   So when I went through my box of “stuff” and found great pictures from my past I started participating.  Mr. Zuckerberg then took us each down memory lane with our “videos.”  First, I believe the music they chose was perfect for compressing ten years into 1.02.  Most of my friends joined about the same time I did and I looked at Facebook as an interesting diversion.  Then I kept finding more and more people from my past.  Some had been close way back then, but we’d lost touch.  Some hadn’t been very close but soon became closer through this new virtual connection. Those of us from our home town environs on the North Shore of Long Island bonded over that idyllic youth we shared  and reminisce over it wonderfully and often.  Others who tempted me into the political arena during the Presidential election became annoying…or maybe that was me? 

Facebook became a way to stay in touch, but more important to keep up with the happenings of friends’ lives in an amazing way.  I know when you’re trapped in the snow.  I know when you’re having a tough time, how smart was Mr. Z to include “private messaging.”  I love when you are sarcastic and so dark with your humor I laugh til I cry.   Speaking of which, back to the video.  Mine made me cry.  Every single one of yours made me cry.  Jay, who is not a Facebook devotee, hadn’t posted enough to have a video, and I sensed a hint of disappointment upon this realization. 

And now today is Thursday.  I stored all my found photos in a Throwback Thursday file.  I was amazed at the random pictures I’d collected, not stored in albums but carted around with me throughout the years.  Even more amazing were the collective memories I’ve loved sharing with people I am still friends with.  That we’re able to talk about it in just about real time, on Facebook.  Without Facebook I’d be unable to share a photo and have my friend from all those years ago remember she took the picture. Image. I’d be unable to keep in touch with people I’ve known for so, so many years.  I know the details of their lives and I love that.   They post pictures of nature, families, snow, vacations, animals.  I notice funny quotes and videos appear at almost the exact same time from people I know don’t know one another.   A great inspirational, or beautiful, picture makes my day.  Some of you really do make me laugh out loud.  I love your humor, the way you laugh at yourselves and make me giggle when you share what’s happening.           

Then there are the people on Facebook who aren’t really my friends…except they are.  People I’ve met through common experiences, common goals, and common causes.  One of them recently shared a Facebook plea … “don’t friend people you don’t actually know in person.”  That seemed confusing because some of the greatest people I’ve met, especially in the last couple of years, are people I don’t know in person.  Yet our bonds run deep. Image  I care about them deeply.  Facebook doesn’t get to be the boss of who I “friend.”   So there.

There are those who share their deepest personal issues and thoughts about them publicly. Some things are not meant for the internet ether and when they pop up on my wall ~ usually early in the morning ~ I wonder “you really thought sharing this made sense?”  But I guess late last night it did.  There are people whose cryptic posts beg the question, “what is going on?” or “are you alright?”   I wonder why they didn’t just spell it out and break the suspense if they so obviously want us to know what’s happening, just tell us.   I guess they just want us to ask.  My first look at Facebook is usually before I’m fully caffeinated so maybe that’s why I’m so cranky.   I’m sure there are many who find the pictures of my dogs incredibly annoying, although I can’t possibly imagine why.   

 Jerry Seinfeld was on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last night.  His routine was on phones, the internet, texting and its’ eliminating the need for us to talk to one another.  In some cases I agree it’s probably not the way to go, especially when I people sitting in a restaurant together busy on their cell phones rather than talking to one another.   I also wonder about the future of our youth.  Image  Will they even know how to interact in person?

As an extroverted introvert, ImageI like people in small doses and now that I have a choice about my method of interaction, I find many did not make the short list as I use the phone less and less.  But my phone rings less these days, too, so I guess I didn’t make their short lists either.  I still care about them… a lot.  I just don’t need to actually talk on the phone that often, because I know what’s happening with you.  My not talking on the phone a lot is really crazy cause I used to get into nothing but trouble when I was a kid for talking on the phone too much.  It was always the go to punishment.  We’re taking that turquoise princess phone out of your room.  But when I do actually call someone these days we usually talk for a long time, so I know I still have the phone-a-holic gene, out of practice though it may be.    Image    

When cell phone, pagers, fax machines and e-mail were new I resisted.  I said “I’m not that important that people know how to find me 24/7.”  Truth be told I didn’t want to be found 24/7.   Now, with Facebook, I do.  It’s interesting though because I get to check in on my terms.  And respond on my terms.  Hmmmmm….control much?   Yet I agree with Jerry Seinfeld when he said, “We don’t have to work as hard when we don’t talk to one another.  No facial expressions, no hand movements.  It’s just easier.”   Maybe that’s the truth…maybe not.    Maybe there are more extroverted introverts in the world these days who enjoy texting, reading and writing better than talking.   Although my husband still says I talk more than anyone he knows.  Maybe it’s all the words I’ve saved up by not talking on the phone as much as I used to…maybe not.  

I still sound cranky and I’ve had two cups of coffee so I will step away from the computer and re-read before I post this ~ with love ~ on Throwback Thursday. 

 And then I’ll call somebody.   Image 

PS  Candy Crush is going public with a stock offering …I will sponsor the first rehab group… on-line, of course.  #KingMedia #ohnoistweetingnext?

   

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What Goes Around Comes Around…Eventually

So, you all had to listen ~ well, read ~ about our move to San Diego a few months ago.  I think I’ve finally recovered and the garage does have room for at least one car now.  It also contains the beautiful dining room set we bought in Seattle and have had dinner at exactly two times.   Kathleen Fitzgibbons, my childhood next door neighbor commented that it looked  a whole lot like the ones we’d all sat around for holiday meals on The Knolls.  The dining room chair of my childhood is in the first picture, during one of the infamous slumber parties we all remember.  The one below is one of six sitting in my garage, but that’s a whole other story.  The fact that they are almost identical was  Image  subconscious, perhaps, but there nonetheless.Image

It made me think about things going full circle.  I had time to think as I decided to finally go through a box I’d schlepped from pillar to post but hadn’t looked at since 2006.  It contained lots of “stuff.”  Pictures, notes, more pictures, cards, letters, more pictures.  Many memories.  I whittled the box down to three large envelopes and found a few treasures along the way.  I put a very large pile together to toss.  I held onto the pile for a week and went through it again.  Things I thought I’d care about forever were disposed of.  Things I didn’t even know I had remained.  One of those that remained was a note I received from a contestant on “Name That Tune.”  In an earlier blog post I mentioned my first date with my ex-husband occurred following a taping of that show.Image  The lovely contestant who named the tune, “Some Day My Prince Will Come” kindly remembered me and sent the note via the contestant coordinator of the show.  She’d dated it so I knew the timing was right.   I felt like I was reading it for the first time and was astounded when I read a sentence describing her appearance.  “It’s bringing so much happiness to others and it’s the biggest thing that’s hit Novato in a long time.”  I’m certain, in 1977 I had absolutely no idea where Novato was.  In fact, until Jay and I moved there thirty years later, in 2007, I had no idea it was the sweet little city at the edge of Marin County in Northern California.  Now what are the odds of that one?

I haven’t gone to the blog in a few weeks.  I’ve been trying to be “bold.”  The nails aren’t wild and crazy ~ a bit more orange than red ~ but I am due for a manicure. Image

Instead of bold, what I’ve actually been is “peaceful.”  Where we’re living isn’t nearly as crowded as where we’ve lived.  My patience, or rather my lack thereof, is sorely tested in crowds.  I’ll take peaceful, with gratitude, and enjoy meeting penguins and petting dolphins. Image

Yet, sad things have been happening around me. Not close-close, but rather peripherally, and as I extend condolences I remember the times when I was locked in the sadness of my losses with twinges rather than with mind-numbing grief.  While discussing loss just today, a dear friend mentioned the “trails of junk” so many leave behind, both literally and emotionally.   So sad and so true.  I decided that since I had started this post about things going full circle I would end with that same thought.

So, just as I went through the box of tangible stuff I had been carting around for years, I will consider the trail of junk I have accumulated emotionally, sort through it, repair or toss.

Right after I get my nails done!

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Smile, stay safe and hug someone you love today!