Beauty Queen

Two weeks ago I went to a networking meeting. I went in my standard work clothes attire, which is basically a suit consisting of a jacket, a pair of slacks, and a blouse. The pants were black as were my shoes, but my shirt was striped with green and gold and purple and my jacket was a very fine stripe of cream and green.

But this isn’t about my clothes.

What it’s about is that after the meeting, a young man came up to me and said that he didn’t mean to stare at me during our meeting but had to tell me that I was a beauty queen. He went on to tell me that everything about me from my hair, to my  face, to my clothes, to my jewelry were altogether wonderful and that I was very beautiful.

My immediate  response is really quite sad. Because my response was essentially that nobody in 55 years has ever said that to me. (My mother reminds me that she tells me that I’m beautiful but understands that it’s not quite the same.) I’ve certainly never had a man (that I can recall) ever speak so eloquently about me in that regard.

When a friend, who was standing there at the time, heard this she couldn’t believe it . So I told her that I was always the smart girl not the pretty girl.

In any case,  I have been really quite thrilled with the idea that someone thought I was a beauty queen and beautiful and altogether stylin’.

It’s had me smiling ever’s not enough to live on, but pretty damned close.

No Internet or Phone? Can’t Connect?We Don’t Care!!

I was away last week and for large swaths of time had no internet access. I also had even more time without any phone connectivity.

I learned a lot about this inability to connect quickly.

People don’t pay attention to what you tell them. “I have no internet or phone where I am” fell on deaf ears. When I was in range, I’d have 20 texts and emails and voice mails asking me why I wasn’t responding. “I’m away” has no bearing on others wanting your attention. How dare I not be available right NOW!

It has also taught me that I can be away from social media but it’s going to take a lot of willpower. Why you ask? Well, here it is. It has finally occurred to me what Facebook or Instagram is like. It is like one of these:

  1.  A bad car accident that you just have to look at even though you know it’ll upset you (or fill you with envy).
  2. A place to get information on friends because nobody calls (or emails) to let you know  anything anymore. Without FB, you often don’t know what is going on with anyone or anywhere — how many events will I miss if I don’t see anything on FB? Good question. Friend going out of town? Read about it on FB or Instagram .
  3. Friends like to drink. Apparently a lot.
  4. That Christmas letter you used to get once a year? Yeah, now it’s every day. Just as annoying but you get to be annoyed by how perfect their lives seem to be every – single – day.

I have tried to cut down on FB (I don’t use Instagram much). I have almost totally stopped posting anything very personal. I’m not posting pictures of my food (unless I’m doing a restaurant review), selfies, pictures of where I am, and other pictures that say “hey! look at me!!

I mostly enjoy those pictures and posts that are of flowers, sunsets, puppies, kitties, other cute critters, books and music.

Considering that all I seem to post lately are political posts and about reading, or puppies, kitties and other cute critters, I don’t really know why I even bother.

Hmmm. That’s a thought.

Why Should I (exercise & eat right)?

Ever since my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I’ve been asking myself, why I bother to eat right and exercise. Dad did yoga and walked and lifted some weights for years. Dad ate very sensibly all of his life, even trying vegetarianism for a while. He stopped smoking when he was around 40 years old.

Cancer still bit him in the ass. In the 15 months from his diagnosis to his death, that suckie cancer drained all the vitality from that man. I admit I’m resentful. So much for good health practices (not to mention my grandmother’s good genetics which didn’t help either).

I saw this cartoon by  Roz Chast on The New Yorker Magazine FB feed and was reminded, yeah, don’t be crazy with either diet or exercise because they are not a free pass.

ate kale for nothing

Mind, I don’t eat dairy or grains or much sugar or nightshades. Why do I bother? Because I get sick when I eat those things and I’m very much alive and really dislike the stomach bloat and upset as well as the general feeling of malaise that sometimes occurs when I’ve eaten something I shouldn’t (whether deliberate or cross-contaminated).

But I am not going to make myself insane counting calories or macros or shoving an extra serving of greens into my gullet at 10 p.m. because I’m one serving short that day. I think those days are over.

I also think those days of trying to push more and more weights and making myself puke from exercise are over as well. In fact, I just read about a study about yoga , which piggy backed on a study about tai chi, both of which found that yoga and tai chi were very effective forms of exercise — without weight lifting and heavy cardio. Thank God! I’m so tired of the aches and pains that I now have in my body from all that joint and muscle pressure I put on myself for the last number of years and I just want things that help me feel better. I’m done counting steps and if anyone locally wants my Fitbit, I might just sell it to you for a deep discount (hardly worn).

I want to maintain my balance and flexibility, and be able to breath. Those are much more important goals than anything else.

Because what I’ve learned over the last 18 months is that truly, we make plans and God laughs. We have no guarantees in this world. I think it’s more important to be happy. That seems to me to be a much better goal than counting steps and macros.

Sol 365

About a year ago I read The Martian by Andy Weir which I really enjoyed a great deal. Last night I watched The Martian with Matt Damon which I liked as well. The book was better.

But that’s not what this is about.

What this is about is that a year ago I was reading this book while traveling back and forth to Texas. At that time, my dad was valiantly fighting stage 4 non small-cell lung cancer and 365 days later he’s gone.

I cannot begin to express what it feels like to not be able to call my dad everyday just to chat the way we used to. For the last months of his life he was living with me. Admittedly, there were days we drove each other nuts. But most days we sat and talked much in the same way that we talked on the phone except we were able to do it face to face. We literally would talk for hours. Those times with him have been some of the best of my life.

The house is very quiet in comparison to when he was living here. Before he moved in I lived by myself for about a dozen years. I wasn’t used to music blasting at all hours and the TV sound set at 40. I wasn’t used to hearing someone yell from another room “Suzan, come here please”. I wasn’t used to anything remotely dealing with another human since the cats frankly are not affected by my idiosyncrasies.  Yet now, in the span of just four months I am having difficulty adjusting to living by myself again. Compare that to the character in The Martian, Mark Watney, who was living on Mars alone, with no one to talk to,  for over a year. Compared to that, this loneliness is a cake walk.

Yet this is also very different and I am having difficulty processing it. It is really quite surreal. There are days I don’t believe it’s real. Don’t get me wrong. I’m well aware that my dad is dead. But there are days that I think that this is all a dream that I will wake up from.

Friends of mine who have also lost their parents have told me of similar feelings so I know I’m not alone in this. Each of these friends has told me that he or she has been dealing with feelings like this for years. In fact, my dad told me a few months ago how much he missed his father and my grandfather has been gone for over 40 years. That’s a long, long time missing someone. It tore at my heart to know that my 83 year old dad missed his dad.

I’m reminded of something said in The Martian in which Mark Watney said that you just keep working the problems one after the other, and if you work all the problems you get to go home (from space). I’m similarly taking this as one step at a time, one foot in front of the other.In other  words, I keep working the problems; I keep living life one day at a time.

I know for a fact that’s what my dad would want me to do and so I do what I must. But I would be lying if I said that it was easy. I just hope that I will arrive someday in the future, sol 1000 or sol 2000, and find that the day went without that horrible feeling of knowing that I can never speak with my dad again.wp-image-1901019737jpg.jpg

Go Fund Me and Please Send $$

dollar-499481_1280Anyone that knows me knows I donate my time and money on a regular basis. Maybe I’m just getting old, but I honestly do not get the constant barrage of people asking for donations for money online and off.

Help fund my brother’s surgery. Help pay for my father’s funeral. Help pay for my dog’s hip replacement.

Today I got a letter from someone I don’t know, but likely knew I donated to a particular local charity, asking for a donation for softball scholarships so girls could go to a softball tournament. Dear person, the letter went in the trash. If you want me to donate money to you perhaps you should ask me personally and not send me an unsolicited letter. Years ago, someone I barely know asked me to give them $100 for a trip her daughter was taking. I was flabbergasted. If she had asked for $10 I likely would have helped but it seemed like a lot of chutzpah for someone I really don’t know to ask for such a sum.

Why you ask? I get asked for donations at home and at the office on an almost daily basis. I can’t donate to everyone no matter how much asking or pleading happens.  Frankly, if I gave to everyone that asked, I’d need a Go Fund Me account myself. If the Red Cross asks for donations because of a disaster, well of course! Otherwise I make my donation decisions in December for the following year and with few exceptions, I stick to it.

Am I being too harsh? How do you determine to whom you give your donations?