From Cracks In the Writer’s Block Wall

1.  I don’t like to go inside to the prescription counter at the drugstore for my refills because that’s where all the sick people congregate. I’m not a germ-a-phobe, but I do try to be sensible.  Today, though, the drive-thru closed for remodeling. Only two people stood ahead of me in line and neither one coughed. Thank you, God. The woman at the head of the line had a problem so I had time to look at all the magazine covers under the counter.  Cosmopolitan screamed “BEST SEX EVER!!” in gigantic letters right next to Weight Watchers and Cooking Light.  I used to read Cosmopolitan before I had kids.  I remember not wanting my mother to see it, but today’s cover goes way beyond trashy to inappropriate. I’m quite sure I’m not in their demographic anymore.

2.  As I drove out of the drugstore parking lot, I looked at the Hardees next door. A big sign promoted a “Fried Bologna and Velveeta Biscuit.” I had to read it twice to be sure I saw it right.  Yes, my friends, I do live in the South.  True confession–I was tempted to try one. Bologna and cheese sandwich (not on white bread anymore) with potato chips on the side is one of my comfort foods. What? Don’t you have a secret junky comfort food?

3.  The retired man I live with felt crummy yesterday and again this morning.  Nothing serious, although any amount of illness is serious in his world.  He can’t usually just sit around and do nothing so by this morning he needed a project.  We are members of the Apple cult–laptops, phones, iPod, iPad and we use AppleTV for streaming Netflix, etc.  He decided he wanted all the music in his iTunes account to be in the AppleTV thing so he could play music through the television.  (Why?) He did it, after he finally got the right password for iTunes. The Cloud is a powerful and spooky mystery.

4.  A while back, my family discussed inner age vs chronological age. At the time we ranged in age from about 30 to late 50’s. The young ones thought of themselves as close to their chronological age. I was at the other end of the age range and thought of myself as about 35. These days, at 62, I feel more like mid-40’s inside. I liked my 40’s—some maturity (and sobriety) and wisdom but still plenty of energy. I developed spunk and comfort with being myself. I still have those characteristics inside, including a somewhat warped sense of humor, but my body has slowed down. I know what I like and need and I appreciate the good things in my life. Time with my grandchildren makes anything negative disappear. Their delight at all the world offers them feeds my soul. And when they get grumpy or poopy, I can give them back.

5.  Because of damage from years of rheumatoid arthritis,  I periodically search for comfortable, attractive (or at least not ugly) shoes.  I came across a blog recently called Barking Dog Shoes (barkingdogshoes.com). The blogger, Kirsten Borrink, has reviewed over 1000 pairs of shoes since 2007! Lately I’ve been looking for a walking shoe so I can walk outside.  I’ve tried more than a few, but nothing just right yet.  (Hint: if you order shoes online, you can wear them inside a bit and still return them for a full refund.  Try to stay on rugs or carpet.) On the desk beside me is an ad I tore out of the Arthritis Today magazine for Gravity Defier.  G-Defy, they call it.  “Science in every pair!” “Feel weightless!” Here’s how I know I’m an optimist–I’ll probably order a pair.  They just might be the ones.  Kind of like trying to find the perfect pair of jeans for a 62-year-old body. Must be out there somewhere, right?

6.  Most of the public schools in our county started today. (Some magnet schools run on other calendars.) Adaline started 4-year-old preschool today, too, at the same place she went last year.  Her mom posted a picture on Facebook. At 4, Adaline knows how to “work it” for the camera.  Cute, but a bit unnerving.  She wore a purple jumper with a big turquoise peace sign on it.  Back when I was wearing peace signs (late 60’s and into the 70’s) I didn’t imagine my grandchild wearing one the 1st day of school! Does that mean 80’s hair is in her future?

7.  I drew from both Cosmo and Arthritis Today for this post.  I think that adds up to groovy grey-haired grandma! (told you I had a warped sense of humor.)

 

Published in: on August 25, 2014 at 5:10 pm  Comments (7)  
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Litter and Bubbles and Comfortable Shoes

He littered.  The guy in a red pickup truck flat-out littered.  I decided it was a man—I couldn’t quite tell.  He threw a bright yellow box with a red  logo on it (Bojangles, maybe) right out his window.  The box landed on the highway right in front of me.  I crushed it.  That thing had probably surrounded a sausage biscuit or a couple of pieces of fried chicken.  You know it smelled good.

We drove 75 miles an hour on I-40 East, past Raleigh.  I was headed to a week-long mostly silent writing retreat.  He was obviously headed to Hell.

I forget sometimes what a safe bubble of a world I live in at home in Greensboro.  I have a reddish-brown leather chair with a back that reclines and a matching ottoman.  That chair and ottoman fit my short body and sometimes-sore back better than any chair ever.  I read the paper and fall asleep in it.

My husband has changed out the 50-year-old worn brass doorknobs for new lever ones.  Some of the old ones are too hard for me to turn.  A couple of lamps are modified, too.  One turns on when you touch any metal part and one has a big screw instead of a knob to turn.  My husband has a lot to do with my bubble being safe.  I have a Tempurpedic bed and pillow that support my back and let my joints rest peacefully.  I sleep well and long on it, especially when it’s cold and we use the poufy down comforter.

My bubble includes friends who I am sure do not litter.  I doubt if most ever eat fast food from a clam shell box in the car and the few who might, including my husband, would most likely recycle the box.

I live easily and peacefully inside my bubble with my husband, a few friends and, often, two daughters with grandchildren and husbands.  They light up my soul.

I have commitments.  They fit in my bubble, too.  I spend time at a day center for people who are HIV positive called Higher Ground.  Sometimes I help my church bring in lunch, sometimes I lead a writing group, and other days I just hang out.  I feel safe there.  I can be myself.  I know their secret and they trust me enough to tell me their stories.  I learn from them every time I go.

A while back I wrote a blog post titled “You Can Tell By the Shoes.”  A friend and I traveled in her minivan to Atlanta for the Spiritual Directors International Conference.  There were to be 500 of us at a huge hotel and conference center.  We waited in a slow line to check in.

“Hey look, Marjorie,” I said.  “Look at people’s shoes—you can tell who is one of us.”  I wore clunky Teva sandals and so did she.  At least we didn’t wear socks with them.  Other (younger) women wore pointy-toed, stylish shoes, even with tight jeans and t-shirts, that clicked on the polished, bare floor.  Our shoes maybe squeeched a bit and our pants were not tight.

Now I’m at a Women’s Writing Retreat for a week at a big house close to the beach with 7 other women.  We line up our shoes by the front door.  Sandy or dirty shoes we wear outside, then we switch to clean shoes or slippers or just socks.  I didn’t pack my super-thick European hand-knit cotton slipper-socks so I just wear regular black socks.

Here’s what I see by the door at 4:30pm on a cloudy, chilly Sunday afternoon:

4 pairs of broken-in sneakers, for serious walkers, maybe.

2 pairs of black clogs, one SAS and one Merrell.

1 pair of tall black Ugg boots.  I’ve never tried one on.  I almost did just now but I decided that would be nervy and rude.

1 pair of slip-on Reikers.

I pair of flip-flops.  She must have been outside.

1 pair of brown Finn Comfort loafers.

And, yes, I did look inside to see the brands.

I am with my people, again.  No clickety soles.

Published in: on January 8, 2013 at 4:48 pm  Comments (8)  
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You Can Tell By the Shoes

Spiritual Directors International held their annual conference in Atlanta this year.  My friend and I waited in line to check in at the Westin.

The Westin is 73 floors.  We (spiritual directors) were not the only ones staying at the hotel.  Men were in suits and ties, young women in sundresses or tight jeans and t-shirts.  Other women wore black pants and loose shirts or crop pants and cardigans.

“Hey, Marjorie,” I said.  “You know how to tell who is one of us?”

(It was my 3rd SDI Conference, her 1st.)

“Check out the shoes.”

She looked around the lobby.  And laughed.  We looked at our own shoes–Keen sandals for her and SAS sandals with adjustable velcro straps for me.  We laughed even more.  Spiritual Directors like comfortable, practical, wearable, walkable shoes.  Sexy?  Not so much.

My feet have required not-cheap, comfortable shoes for years.  Even for weddings.  Sigh.  (I know–who looks at the mother-of-the-bride’s shoes?  But it mattered to me.)

I bought a pair of black sneakers/walking shoes a couple of years ago.   I chose velcro straps instead of shoestrings because rheumatoid arthritis has done some damage to my finger dexerity.  (Ask my husband/kids about how I give someone “the finger” these days.  It looks like it’s in code.)

Those black shoes were kind of clunky but sort of okay with long black pants or jeans.

I couldn’t wear them.

They were really comfortable shoes.  But UGLY.  My pride and vanity won out over comfort and common sense.

I know a woman who has no car and no money for the bus.  She walks a lot.  I gave her the clunky, comfortable black shoes.

She LOVES those shoes.