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Category Archives: Middle-aged Musings

Musings or Whinings? You Decide

So I watched two movies yesterday in hopes of having Movie Monday. Um, not Monster Movie Monday, unfortunately. Instead, I must resort once again to Middle-aged Musings Monday. Or a Pedestrian Post. I think it will turn out to be a little of both.

I have been remiss lately in writing postcards. This morning (oh, yes, I’m off work today, ah ha ha!) I sat down and wrote out four. My store of postcards is becoming a little depleted, but I found some nice Vermont ones. It has been dreadfully cold lately for March, but I thought I could wear my warm coat and be OK to walk to the post office with Tabby (my schnoodle, I explain for new readers, if any).

And here’s a slight musing about perspective: twenty-some degrees does not feel as warm as it did when temperatures rose to it in January. At that time I mused how 20 degrees felt a lot better when you got up to it than when you first went down to it. Well, now I find the second or third time I go back down to it… I was about to say it increasingly sucks, but I really don’t like to whine too much about the weather. After all, I can wait five minutes and it will probably be different (though not necessarily better). But I must observe: it does seem colder.

I’m thinking (I started a new paragraph, because this is a new musing) that it really truly does make a difference to get older. Dammit, my body does change! And sometimes so does my mind! They say change is good. I say loose change collects in the bottom of my purse, but perhaps I should save that line for Non-Sequitur Thursday.

Where was I? Ah yes, on the way to the post office. A light snow had fallen since the sidewalk plow last went by, but it was the loose kind that blows around, so it did not obstruct our way much. The temperature was not too bad, till later when the wind started blowing. Then, yikes! I had on my warm coat that I don’t often wear for over 20 degrees. My mom gave it to me years ago, when the coat I was wearing met with an unfortunate accident (so did the car I was driving, and my head, but long story, not very interesting). It is a wonderfully warm coat, and it has deep pockets. I had poop bags and tissues enough to ensure a comfortable walk.

If only I had also had a scarf. Now, remind me, what did I say about not liking to whine too much? I guess that was not exactly accurate. Tabby wanted to stop and sniff each yellow patch of snow as well as burying her nose in a few purely white patches. As usual, I tried to strike a balance between letting her enjoy herself and not taking eight years for a simple walk to and from the post office.

The walk actually felt good on my legs. I was glad I had gone. I couldn’t help thinking longingly of spring, though. I only hope we get some nice in between temperatures, and I don’t skip right to Middle-aged Musings in which I whine about how damn hot it has gotten. Oh dear, what a kvetch I have become. I do hope you’ll stay tuned.

Questionable Musings

Middle-aged Musings Monday is just about what I’m up to today.

Oh, I don’t feel too bad. I’m actually reasonably content with my lot in life today. For one thing, if I can just get through the week, I have a three day weekend. And Monday off makes next week only a four day week. Talk about a win/win!

But to get on with the musings, lately I’ve been alternately musing on and beating myself up over the fact that at this late date I still don’t have my act together. I’ve written posts about this before. It should surprise no one that writing these posts has been no help in the getting together of said act.

I marvel at my continued capacity to Just Not Do Things. For example, daily stretches to minimize my recurring back pain. Every couple of days I think, “Oh yeah, I was going to start doing those stretches every day. That would be a good idea.” Do I sit right down and start stretching? Do I even set a time to plan to do them in the near future? You can guess the answers to these questions.

Oh, but that reminds me of something else I’ve been musing about lately that I find more interesting than my ongoing tribulations: I HATE it when people don’t answer a question but instead make a remark calculated to convince you that you are an utter idiot for asking.

I used to have a rather nasty college professor whose favorite response was to look at you as if nothing could exceed her pity for such stupidity and say, “I think you can answer that question for yourself.”

I can just hear people with higher self-esteem than mine piping up with remarks such as, “As your professor, it was her job to challenge you,” and, “Didn’t you learn more by finding the answer yourself than by her just feeding it to you?” and, of course, “Well, you probably could answer the question for yourself.”

My response to these arguments is to realize that the world is just chock full of people who delight in trying to make me feel even more stupid. Well, you needn’t feel so pleased with yourselves; it isn’t that hard to do.

A favorite answer of army sergeants to questions they don’t feel like answering is, “Well, that’s where common sense comes in.” I always wanted to say, “In other words, you don’t know either,” but you want to watch how snarky you get with people who outrank you.

It is really no wonder that I got into the habit of prefacing questions with, “This is probably a stupid question.” The pat response to that, of course, is, “There are no stupid questions,” or “The only stupid question is the one not asked.” If this is truly the case (and I like to think it is), why do so many people not just answer the damn question?

I had one platoon sergeant who would say, “There are no stupid questions, only stupid people with questions.” This did not offend me, because at that time in my life especially (as, I confess, at many other times), I spent a good portion of every day feeling stupid. Also in his defense, he would usually answer the question.

I wonder if my low self-esteem and perception of myself as stupid have anything to do with my inability to get my act together. This is surely a point to ponder. I will not phrase it in the form of a question, however, because I have a pretty good idea of what some people would say.

In Case of Emergency, Hit Publish

Sometimes coffee is not the miracle one is hoping for.

Full disclosure: This is a Middle-aged Musings post I’m writing with no real plan as to when to post it. I thought it might be useful to have a spare column kicking about, in case of emergency.

It is Monday as I write this. Many people do not sleep well Sunday night. I’m one of them. One can temporarily overcome the deficiency with coffee. Coffee also has mood-boosting properties, which I, for one, find welcome. Sometimes not so much.

Well, at my age (middle), one does not lightly abandon an old friend after a disappointment. Besides, it still tasted good.

My second musing for the day is: sometimes the Write It Anyways philosophy works. I wrote a whole post on Saturday about how I could not write a post about my intended topic. I felt even worse on Sunday but was too embarrassed to admit it could happen to me two days in a row. The result was perhaps not brilliant but perfectly acceptable.

A small side note about the post: my sticking point was the first sentence. I wanted something less mundane than “We went here and did this.” And I felt quite incapable of going on to the second sentence and writing the first one later. Sunday, I accepted the mundane. There’s some half-baked philosophy lurking around there somewhere, but I’ll save that for Lame Post Friday.

Getting back to the Write It Anyways school of thought, I drove to work this morning feeling dry as a bone, writing-wise. I was even composing in my head a lead of “Sorry, kids, it’s Middle-aged Musings Monday.” Then when I sat down with my notebook (I had some time before I had to start work), I thought I would just try to write about a local business we had recently patronized. It worked!

So what have we learned here? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say, “Not much.” Like coffee, sometimes Do It Anyways works and sometimes it does not. And the next time it doesn’t work for me, now I have a spare column.

Side note after I typed this in: Regular readers may remember I mentioned this column yesterday, saying that I had not typed it in. So today I in fact had to type it in and not just hit Publish. Still, I thought it was too good a headline to waste. My only regret is that now I don’t have a spare post any more. Guess I saw that one coming.

No, I Don’t Have a Plan

I must check to be certain, but I believe last week I eschewed Non Sequitur Thursday, Lame Post Friday (cue jokes about all my posts being somewhat lame) and Wrist to Forehead Sunday. So today is Middle-aged Musings Monday, and anybody who doesn’t like it should stop reading now.

I’m not sure I like it much myself, now that I’m writing it, but I shall persevere. And I shall continue to refer to myself as middle-aged, because there is no reason to think that I will not live to be 98 years old (I can see some of you doing the math now; I had to). After all, I quit smoking, I exercise regularly and I only occasionally eat deep fried foods (at first I made a typo and said occaSINally. A Freudian slip? You be the judge).

Be that as it may, I have been musing over my life lately. I thought perhaps to use this post to outline a grand plan for at last getting organized and accomplishing my life’s goals, after first setting a few. Mind you, I do not actually have such a plan. I had hoped that if I started writing about it, one would magically appear, much the same way characters and plot points magically appear when I write fiction.

Then I remembered what a truly terrible idea it is to share plans of any kind with anybody. I have been more likely to meet with discouragement than otherwise. Career plans get, “Those jobs are hard to get” or “You need a lot of education for that.” Novel ideas get, “That’s been done,” often with an eye roll. General life organization plans get, “Will you actually do that?”

Does this happen to anybody else or is it just me? I suppose it is possible that all my plans happen to be stupid. Well, one can’t be good at everything. Maybe I’m just not good at having a plan.

I do seem to recall once meeting with a not discouraging response to a plan. I said I was going to write a romance novel, and the fellow I was talking with said, “Oh, are you thinking of writing?” in a casually interested tone of voice, as if it were not a completely ridiculous ambition.

“I’m always thinking of writing,” I said. “I’m just never writing.”

I never did write the romance novel, by the way, although I worked on one for a while. I would dress in a fancy nightgown with high heels and sip water from a champagne flute while I wrote. I later learned that many romance novelists work in sweats, drinking coffee out of a ceramic mug like a normal person. I think my way is more fun.

I’m still always thinking about writing. But now, thanks to the internet, I actually write every day (as you see). I think for a writer, a blog is a beautiful thing. I’m sure there are people out there ready to say things like, “You need to write more than just a blog to be a writer” or “There are so many people writing blogs, you’ll never amount to anything” or even “You blog isn’t really very good, you know.”

OK, nobody has been rude enough to say the last thing to me, and I think I said the first one to myself. And the person that said the middle one didn’t EXACTLY say I’d never amount to anything.

But let us not give ear to discouraging sayings. Let us make our plans, write our novels and our blogs, and feel good about it. It’s Monday. We have a whole week ahead of us. Let’s enjoy it (Oh, I can just hear somebody saying, “It’s not a WHOLE week; we’ve already had Sunday and Monday, you know.” Some people just have to be that way).

Have Yourself a Merry Post-Christmas Let Down

Look, bloggers get post-Christmas let downs, too. Today I can only offer a little more Christmas Carol commentary. I hope you find it amusing.

Regarding “Do You Hear What I Hear?”: If I would have been the little lamb, the second verse would have gone, “Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy, ‘Hey, the wind is talking to me.'” Then the third verse could have gone, “Said the shepherd boy to the Hollywood agent, ‘I have a talking sheep.'”

I realize neither of those lines is in the rhythm of the original tune, but you know how singers interpret things (I actually hate it when they do that, but hell, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em).

One other thing: What if I don’t WANT to have myself a Merry Little Christmas? What if I want to have myself a Merry Big Fat Christmas? What are you going to sing to me then?

I have no other silly observations to make, so I will finish by sharing a Christmas Carol memory.

One Christmas many years ago, my husband Steve and I as well as my sister Diane and her husband, Chris, were staying at my parents’ house. To complete the picture, I’ll just mention that at this point my parents’ house only boasted one bathroom.

Christmas morning I was up before anybody else and got into the shower. I thought since everybody was still asleep, I could get away with taking a long shower. I sang Christmas carols in the shower. In retrospect, I don’t know how I thought anybody could sleep through that, but I do love to sing Christmas carols. Indeed, other people were up when I emerged from the shower squeaky clean.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “If I had known you were awake, I would have taken a shorter shower.”

My sister Diane retorted, “You would have taken a shorter shower if you didn’t have to sing every verse!”

It’s still five days away, but my New Year’s Resolution is to have more Mohawk Valley adventures, so I don’t have to make such silly blog posts all the time. Hope your own post-Christmas let down is mild.

In My Defense, I’m in a Play

This is a Mid-Week Middle-Aged Musing. At least, that’s what I’m calling it. In fact, once again, I got nuthin’.

Part of the problem is that I am in another play at Ilion Little Theatre. You see, after Dirty Work at the Crossroads got postponed, our little group needed another play for our fall production. After much discussion (to put it mildly), we decided to host another group’s play.

Angela Harris, a Mohawk Valley native, has written a readers’ theatre piece about the Little Falls textile strike of 1912, entitled Strike Story. It was presented in the Black Box Theatre at Canal Place in Little Falls recently (I may have mentioned in a blog post that Steven and I attempted to attend but it was sold out). One of our members went to see it, liked it and thought it would work just fine on our stage. The Little Falls group was amenable, and so it was arranged.

Unfortunately, not all participants could make all the production dates that were set. This is where I come in. I was suggested for one of the parts. I felt so flattered, how could I say no? I somehow had the impression it was a small part. Thinking back, I don’t know where I got that impression, because it is not the case. It is kind of a large part. Oh dear.

All this by way of saying, I have been studying my part on breaks at work, not writing blog posts. I made it OK yesterday by running after work and writing about that. Today after work I had to do something else (which may make tomorrow’s blog post), and somehow it got to be after 6:30 and I have neither fixed supper nor made my blog post.

Anyways, here is the one musing I can come up with: I am a theatre junkie. I just can’t say no! It doesn’t matter what it is, if it is theatre and somebody asks me to do it, I jump in with both feet. In this case, I am kind of glad I did it. I never did readers’ theatre before, I love local history, and I am inspired that this lady actually wrote a whole script and finished it. I’m going to start writing myself. Only, it seems, not blog posts. Try me again tomorrow, and Happy Wednesday.

Karma and Krispy Kreme

Why is it that sometimes I remember something that happened years ago and it still makes me just as angry as if it just now happened?

Other people say, “Oh, I don’t get angry about the past — it’s PAST,” or, more metaphorically, “You’re letting those people live rent-free in your brain.” That’s all very well, but what if they ignore the eviction notice? The worst one, because I fear it is true, is, “They’re not here. You are tormenting YOURSELF!”

This is one reason people like to believe in karma. It is very comforting to think that some time, some place, some how, THEY’LL GET THEIRS!!! (number of exclamation points dependent on how much dirt they did you)

It is hard to argue with karma theory. I can say, “It’s not true! Look at them, still living high off the hog (or is it high on the hog? Subject for future post), still getting whatever the hell they want, because they just take it.” The karma person replies, “You might not be there to see it, but…” Like I said, it’s a comforting thought, but I’m not quite sure I believe it.

One thing that occurs to me, though, is that people are rarely truly contented with what they have. I look at Matilda (I use the name because I have never in my life actually met anybody named Matilda), and I think she has everything: husband of her choice, nice home, beautiful clothes, lots of money. What I don’t see is that Matilda is absolutely tormented every time she looks at Winifred, who has a nicer home! And more money! And is single so she can sleep with whoever the hell she wants!

I don’t think that’s karma, though. Karma would be if Winifred slept with Matilda’s husband, because Matilda stole him away from Audrey years ago. Audrey would not necessarily be there to see it, but…

I did not start out to write about karma today. I had quite a different Mid-Week Middle-Aged Musing in mind. However, while I was thinking about it, my mind started to wander and suddenly all I could think about were a few particular people who did me dirt. What’s a writer to do but write what’s on her mind and hope to segue into something more interesting as we go.

Well, at least it interested me. The funny thing is, I’m feeling better now. Because I think karma is going to get them? Because I realize that in their minds they have their own unhappiness to deal with? No, I think I just took my mind off it.

And that raises another interesting thesis: the advice Just Don’t Think About It, while often good advice, is not always easy to follow. I don’t know about you, but for me, as soon as you tell me not to think about something, that is the only thing in my brain. Try it. Don’t think about donuts! Now I got Krispy Kreme on my mind. I can just hear some of you now (you know who you are): “I find it very easy not to think about donuts. I don’t even like donuts. I never even eat a donut.”

Some people can invoke Scarlett O’Hara’s famous mantra, “I’ll think about it tomorrow.” As long as they tell themselves they can think about it another time, they can put it out of their brain. Me, I need to displace what I’m trying not to think about. If I can think of something else to think about, I’m gold. So thank you, Matilda, Winifred, Audrey and Krispy Kreme.