Beauty is a Sense of Freedom

Sep 5, 2012 by

It was a warm, wonderful summer day. We’d all piled into the car, my step-mother, my Dad, my two sisters and myself, and were taking a leisurely drive to the lake. I say leisurely because that’s how I remember it. It could have been hurried and frantic, for all I know. In memory, I savor the warmth of the sun pouring in those fully rolled down windows of the car (no, I have no idea what kind of car; to this day, my relationship to cars is to answer the, “What kind of car do you drive?” question with, “A gold one.”), and the chatter of the family talking about what we’d do once we arrived at the lake. The lake was a frequent destination. Dad likes boating and while our boat was nothing...

read more

Beauty is as Beauty Does

Aug 13, 2012 by

That’s what my mother used to tell me, back in the ancient days of my youth. I’d be all dressed up for a special occasion, preening in front of the mirror, and she’d come up behind me and give me a small smile, then fling that dinger at me. “Beauty is as beauty does.” Since I never considered myself beautiful, I was clueless. What did she mean?  I seldom pondered the answer to my own question. I had places to go. I know what she meant, now. I know she was trying to tell me to behave; that my looks could get me in trouble. But, as a teenager, all I could think was – “Do I look all right? Is my eyeliner straight? Is my blouse tight enough?” Yes, I was fortunate to...

read more

Beach Fare: Oysters

Aug 10, 2012 by

I grew up in the Northeast where we followed the “R” rule for eating oysters: You must only consume oysters in months with an ‘R’ in them. From May thru August, fresh shucked oysters were not an option. Not so in the Northwest where oysters are available year round – many varieties in many preparations. Why? Colder waters, more varieties to choose from, better farming techniques and more knowledge on the part of oyster purveyors and patrons. Seattle is home to fabulous Happy Hours and qualifies as an oyster-eater’s paradise. Several popular restaurants start serving oysters at 4:00 PM for a $1.00 each. By 4:30 you can’t get a seat. But you can always find fresh shucked oysters in jars or containers at reputable seafood sellers and quality markets to transform in cooked preparations....

read more

Change or Die: My Job Hunt

Aug 9, 2012 by

I’m an optimist. That should explain why, around my 66th birthday, I decided to look for a full-time job.  It wasn’t that my consulting business was in the dumper.  It was just that I decided it would be a good idea to have a regular paycheck, some benefits, people to be around, and learn new skills “on the company.” According to Buddhist philosophy, adversity is a gift since in it we are presented with lessons we can’t ignore. That gift was a big one.  Those employers inviting me for interviews probably hadn’t Googled me.  Otherwise they would have known my age.  Forget all that crap about “not looking your age.”  The reality is that we are older.  Employers don’t want older. It was a shock to be knocked out of the box because I was old,...

read more

To Grit or Not To Grit

Aug 3, 2012 by

As a Yankee living in the South I quickly learned there are certain foods that one is suppose to like. Like grits. Whenever I think of grits I can’t help but but remember the scene from My Cousin Vinny when Vincent Laguardia Gambini, played by Joe Pesce, and his girlfriend Mona Lisa Vito, played by Marisa Tomei, first encounter a grit. Not unlike my own experience I must admit. Today I met a colleague for breakfast at one of Atlanta’s trendy morning meeting restaurants — the West Egg Café.  As I was about to take a bite of my grits I stopped mid fork and said to Mathilde, “I hated grits until I tried these (stone ground grits).” She looked at me and said, “That’s a pretty strong statement.”  My thoughts turned to other...

read more

Cats in the Gap (A Memorial Essay)...

Jul 31, 2012 by

It’s 93 degrees and the sun is relentless.  It’s hard to dig in the dry Colorado dirt, but I’ve done this before.  I know I’ll need the rubber mallet and a tent stake to pry out the rocks.  I’ll need the square shovel to shave down the sides, making room for the box, and the big shovel to carry out the loosened dirt. The sharp shovel cuts through the tree roots, and I feel every blow and break.  The roots, sheathed in red, scream a painful mess of color into the soil.  I don’t know which tree I’ve severed, lilac, elm or fir, but I know how it feels. We called Snowball the Last Cat Standing.  He lived the longest of the three and a full year from the time of the first cat’s...

read more

Why Colorado Springs Loves Fire Fighters...

Jul 9, 2012 by

I did not know about the trails. The wildfire burned through the neighborhood that had served as a refuge for me the year after my husband died. Tired, I had rented a townhouse after we moved across the country from that place of ghosts and trouble. We lived for a year surrounded by meadows; a quiet, orderly subdivision with just enough mice to keep the cats occupied. I walked its streets, up and down the hills, admiring the wild sunflowers. I remember it as an oasis in the chaos of living a life. That is until chaos, in the form of high heat, low humidity and flames found the neighborhood this past week. I stand, stunned, in the familiar parking lot of the dentist office a week after the conflagration Sure, I saw the pictures of the fire...

read more

Lessons on Life from Sir Noel Coward...

Jul 2, 2012 by

You ever know when a good quote will come in handy. I was asked to appear on the local Fox News channel last week to respond to a newly published study showing that loneliness can be fatal to seniors. The study confirms what many people in the aging field know: loneliness is bad for your health and people who feel isolated are at high risk for a range of unhealthy results, death being the ultimate bad result. I am not sure how the host of the show found my organization, but I assume he did a quick search of the word Aging and found us. (My unofficial ‘mission’ is that whenever anybody puts the word ‘Creative’ in front of the word ‘Aging’, they think of us: Northwest Center for Creative Aging.  So whatever the...

read more

Small Plates Are The Key

Jun 22, 2012 by

It’s now been two months since I had my bariatric surgery and I’m still struggling with some food issues. However, being Foodie Friday, I thought I’d write about some of the wonderful meals I’ve been enjoying. First let me state that the secret is to use small plates. Yes, not the regular dinner plate, but the salad or dessert plate works best.  This creates the feeling of a large amount of goodness while maintaining portion control.  I know this works because I made an amazing grilled smoked pulled pork, baked beans and coleslaw party and still managed to drop another 5 pounds.  Below are the recipes and directions for the beans and pork. Howard’s Baked Beans:  Howard is my older brother and these baked beans are the easiest and best tasting I’ve ever had.  There are...

read more

In Case Of Emergency Break Glass...

Jun 19, 2012 by

While being alone in the world has tremendous advantages, there is one major disadvantage – accidents. And accidents to tend to occur when you least expect them. Case in point, last year when I was in an automobile accident – exactly one week from my birthday a driver, on her mobile phone no less, hit my car from behind forcing me into the vehicle in front of me. My car was totaled, my ribs were cracked.  The adrenaline was rushing so quickly through my veins that I could not feel anything other than a sharp pain in my abdomen and shoulder. Having been hit so hard, the airbags in my vehicle deployed and I was hit directly in the face by the drivers’s side airbag. Smoke and this strange white dust were filling my...

read more