"" Writer's Wanderings: February 2005

Sunday, February 27, 2005

...For a Woman/Man Your Age

My husband's very faithful about getting his yearly checkup with the doctor. I'm not as good. After skipping a couple of years, I decided to bite the bullet and make the appointment. Part of the problem was that the doctor I was really beginning to feel comfortable with moved out of town. (Hope it wasn't because of me.)

I found another doctor much closer to home and covered under our insurance policy (gotta love those insurance agencies). The appointment went well. I gave blood at the lab and signed up for the mammogram and, at the suggestion of the doctor, a bone density test. The bone density is so that we will have a base line to judge whether or not my bones are thinning or I'm just shrinking from drying out in the hot sun (I wish--we have 12" of snow today).

When Bob comes home from the doctor's office, he's usually a little agitated because the doctor uses the phrase, "...for a man your age."

"What is that supposed to mean," he rants. "For a man your age. You just don't want to hear 'for a man your age'."

I generally humor him and soothe the bear in him with some chocolate chip cookies.

So, the other day, I finally get my report on my bone density test and what does it say? "You have normal bone density FOR A WOMAN YOUR AGE."

Where are those chocolate chip cookies?

Noisy Shoes

I have my noisy shoes on this morning. That's what my grandson, Tyler (age 3) calls them. They are my good shoes that I wear on Sunday for church. The heel is about 2 1/2" high and kind of thick. They do clomp as I walk, warning everyone of my approach.

I find the heels very helpful in warding off blind corner collisions. There are a couple of hallways in our church where, if you're not careful, and bustling with Sunday morning business, you could collide with someone rounding the corner. This isn't too bad physically if it's a visitor. They are usually wandering slowly down the hall, getting their bearings, and trying to decide if this is the place for them to be. Colliding with them would make an impact and maybe cause them to reconsider their safety within those walls. If you meet up with another busy bustling all-Sunday-business person however, there could be major damage done. The sound of the clomp warns them someone is coming and they need to slow down.

When I was teaching (many, many moons ago), I wore "noisy" shoes on those days I felt I needed a little more authority. There's nothing like the sound of a determined step to make kids straighten up in hurry. Of course if you want to catch them at something, better wear sneakers.

Finally, my noisy shoes help my husband's patience. When he hears the clomp of my shoes, he knows I'm almost ready to leave for wherever we are going and it's the signal to put down the remote.

These noisy shoes, alas, are needing replacement. The sound of the heels is telling me the metal is emerging from the protective caps on the heels. The clomp is changing to a click. I wouldn't want someone to think they were about to meet 5" stilettos.

Friday, February 25, 2005

American Idol

This morning in our writer's forum, I met a lady who has been married over 50 years, retired (not from being married), and four years ago began writing to publish. Just about the time I think I'm getting too old (57) to worry about this or any new venture anymore, I find another inspiring woman to spur me on.

Actually, I have one I can always look to--my mother-in-law. She's my "American Idol". At 60, she learned to golf. At 65, she took up snow skiing. At 76, we went SCUBA diving together (just a resort dive--she's not certified). At 77, she began learning how to use the computer. And, this past Christmas at 83, she went parasailing in the Bahamas--that one scared me though. She's been in excellent health. Takes good care of herself. But the thing that's inspiring is that she doesn't give up on life. She's ready to try new things (although I wish she'd try something a little less hazardous to her bones.)

Did I also mention she entertains a group from church frequently, cooks on Wednesday nights for the Church dinners, and visits the nursing home regularly to cheer up "the older folks"?

So, you see, it's never to late to get started with whatever you've been putting off--as long as God gives you the keys to start the engine and keeps putting fuel in the tank.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Hazardous Mail

The airport is not the only place putting you through a game of 20 questions when you engage their services. Now the Post Office is playing the same game. I went to the P.O. to mail two proposals for critique at a writers conference today. The man behind the counter started off with "First class? Overnight? Express?"

"First class," I answered.

"Certified? Delivery confirmation? Insurance?"

"No, thanks."

"Anything breakable, liquid, or hazardous?"

I looked at him with a sly smile. "Only hazardous to my career if it doesn't get there."

Monday, February 21, 2005

Oh, NOW I get it!

It will be 40 years this June since I graduated from high school. Somewhere in my sophomore year (that would have been the first year in high school--before the middle school concept), the Phys Ed. teacher decided to have a unit on modern dance. To this day, I still do not understand what that had to do with my physical education. It should have taken place in a music class--one that I'd never take.

I don't want to appear to brag, but I was good in gym class. I played a good game of basketball, could hit well in softball, and would have loved to have gone on to Olympic training in gymnastics--I even made the cheerleading squad in junior high. I was too shy to make it in high school. And then she threw this modern dance unit at us. We had to pick out a piece of music and interpret it in some kind of phyiscal movements. Not all of us had dance lessons. I'd had them but that was when I was 4 or 5 years old. Obviously no one saw anything in me then to encourage my mother to continue with them.

There was a piece of music on one of my LPs that sounded like a busy person so I decided to imagine a secretary at work. I bustled around on an excercise mat, did a couple somersaults, squated as though I were sitting at a typerwriter, and, in general, felt like I had made a real fool of myself. I can't remember my grade. I didn't care what it was. I just wanted it over with.

This past week, we went to see Movin' Out, the musical. It is Billy Joel's music arranged into a story about coming of age during the 60s-80s. While the musicians sit above the stage in the background, there is a troupe of extremely talented and energetic dancers who, through dance only, portray the action. It didn't take but a minute for me to recognize that there before me, in much better looking costumes than yellow gym suits, was the modern dance unit from my past. There were a few elements of ballet thrown in, but other than that, the physical movements, the gymnastics, the portrayal of anger, grief, etc., through the movements on stage, were right out of that gym class.

So, 40+ years later, I finally get it. I wasn't so far off back then. I should go back and get take a look at that grade. I'm sure it should have been better than it was.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Behind Every Good Man...

I picked up the paper to do the crossword this morning. Problem was, my pen was out of ink and I didn't feel like foraging for another. I was forced to read the Arts & Life section. I found an interesting column about the late Arthur Miller. Most of us know him for being a playwright and especially for being married to Marilyn Monroe. But there was a Cleveland connection I didn't know about.

His first wife, Mary Grace Slattery, was from Lakewood. They met at University of Michigan (we'll forgive him that). They were married 16 years and had two children. She worked as a waitress while he did his writing. It was during this time that he wrote his most famous works and according to the columnist,Tom Feran, Miller got many of his ideas for those plays from Slattery's family background.

There is little written about her since everyone is more interested in his escapade with Marilyn. But while he was hooked up with Marilyn, he wrote very little of significance. It just goes to show you that those "trophy wives" might not be all they're expected to be at least in the area of creative endeavors.

Monday, February 14, 2005


We just spent the week visiting the Mouse in Orlando. There were 15 family members on the last leg of the trip aboard the Disney Cruise ship the Wonder. Our niece is one of the entertainment crew members and we were there to support, cajole, and generally let her know she's loved as well as enjoy our granddaughter's first trip to the World and the Wonder.

Throughout the World and the Wonder little girls of all ages are addressed as "princess" and most wear the costumes of Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Sleepting Beauty, etc. They stand in line with their parents (or are carried if they don't walk yet) to garner a signature from the Disney characters. The Princess characters, however, are the main attraction. What little girl doesn't dream of being a princess?

All of this seems a little one sided to me. Where are the male heroes? The ones who rescued all those princesses? Why aren't we promoting them with costumes and signature books? Well upon examination, I realized that most little boys would not dress to look like Peter Pan, Prince Charming, or even Mr. Incredible (that would require tights). Moreover, their fathers would not let them dress that way.

Finally, in my search for heros and heroines, I found they wore costumes made of everyday stuff--jeans, shorts, T-shirts. They were the ones who took a vacation with the family and found themselves exhausted from giving their kids the best time they could in a world of fantasy and dreams. One father commented on the bus to the airport, "It was great. I'm tired. But it was worth it."

And it is.

We watched our child play with his child and become a child again. He exchanged memories with his brother of long-ago vacations as children. Who would have imagined that what we did in the moment to entertain and please them as children would have lasted as fond remembrances of shared experiences? It almost made me feel like a princess again as I walked next to Mr. Incredible (in jeans, not tights).

Sunday, February 06, 2005


I think SOS must have started it--all these letters that are the shorthand for our cyber messages. SOS is thought to stand for "Save Our Ship". It was preceded by CQD which was the British distress signal. CQ were the letters for a general call on a land call and the D meant distress. It was a universal code for all telegraphers.

In 1908, SOS was adopted as a distress signal. the three dots, three dashes, three dots were thought to be less likely misinterpreted. Then came the Titanic. The new signal was not generally recognized yet. The telegrapher on the Titanic began by using the CQD code and then remembered the SOS and sent it.

Our messaging is constantly changing. Everything seems to be known by letters. WIP is a work in progress. CU means see you later. Some of them are easier to catch on to than others. I like the one our youth group has adopted--BCNYA. The letters match our church name followed by youth association. But it's also a neat way for the kids to say "Be seein' ya!"

All that aside, it is hard to keep up with everything. So, I'm sending out an SOS to anyone who knows what LOL is in a message. It really bothers me. But I'm finally admitting my lack of IQ in solving the IM.


Thursday, February 03, 2005

Rock On!

This morning, the NBC Today show was warning parents about the kind of music their kid's might be listening to on the internet. It is truly disgusting what some "artists" are promoting in the name of art. While I don't appreciate the type of music they are playing, the musical notes are not the problem. The problem lies in the violence, sex, and obscenity they attach to the written scores with their words and videos.

My son is the GM for a Christian rock station in Miami, 91.7 FM The Call. I don't appreciate the type of music they play either. But the difference is in what the message is. While it boggles the mind to understand how the words are understood with all the noise that accompanies them, somehow the younger generation seems to "get it".

There was an interesting response to the station from one listener. He emailed the station and said the music "really rocked" and he liked listening to it but he couldn't understand why they were talking about God between all the good hip-hop. What an opportunity for God's message to sink in. Eventually, I think, he'll hear the words and maybe it will be a life changing moment.

Sad to think that so many others are listening to words that will change their lives in a different way with a message that encourages drugs, violence, and sex. To those critics of Christian rock I ask, what message would you rather the kids find on the internet or the airwaves? They love the music. Let's give them a message to love as well. Rock on!

(You can listen to The Call online: http://www.callfm.com )

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Groundhogs Rule

So, today is Groundhog Day--the midway point of winter. In a carnival atmosphere, Punxsutawney Pete will poke his little nose out, sniff the air, look for his shadow and decide if we will have an early spring. Following his lead will be Ohio's Buckeye Chuck. (Can Michigan Mike be far behind?)

It has always been difficult for me to understand why Pete or Chuck would run back into his hole for another 6 weeks of winter if he sees his shadow. A shadow would indicate the sun was shining. I should think that would be encouraging enough to want to be outdoors and catch a few rays. The sun shining around here in February is encouragement enough that spring will come...someday. It's very discouraging to hear that a groundhog might commit us to enduring another six weeks of hard winter.

I propose that if seeing his shadow is the reason we have to suffer the cold and snow of an extended winter, build a sunscreen over his hole. Offer him his favorite foods. Give him a hot tub. Whatever it takes! Keep that little guy out of his hole.
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