Catapult: A play in 100 words

via Daily Prompt: Catapult

Man: Why did you catapult my golf club into the lake?

Woman: Do you even know what that word means?

Man: That’s not the point.  Why is my golf club not on dry land?

Woman: Catapult means to use a piece of machinery to propel something forward.

Man: Do you know how frustrating you are?

Woman: Your clubs were here.

Man: What?

Woman: You told me you were playing golf the other day.  Your lucky club was here.

Man: So?

Woman: You never golf without it.

Man: I…..

Woman: Now you’ll never get lucky again.

 

We All Get Older

Every day, we get a little bit older.  Every day, the people around us get a little older.  There’s a young woman who lives in my building. I remember the day she came home from the hospitol.  In a month, she’ll be graduating high school.  She got older.

There’s another woman in my building.  I met her when she formed the building book club.  She was 55 then, not much older than I am now.  She was a practicing therapist and an avid bird watcher,- divorced  by choice, with absolutely no interest in remarriage.  She was living a rich fulfilling life.

She retired as a therapist five years later, age 60.  And at age 60, she wrote a book.  Over the next few years she became an active fund raiser for causes she believed in.  Her secret dream was to be a stand up comedian- and she began performing at amateur nights.  To watch her onstage was mesmerizing- she was having so much fun.  Her behavior post 60 was what my teenage daughter would refer to as goals.

A few years later, things began to change.   It was a small thing at first- she had always brought fruit to club meetings, and suddenly she stopped.  I like fruit as a snack, so I began bringing fruit.  And she yelled at me- told me fruit was her thing.  Normally I’m a huge fan of conflict, but this particular issue wasn’t worth my ire.  I just brought something else and book club went fruitless.

A few months later she  quit the book club she lovingly formed and cultivated.  The woman who once embraced all genres suddenly only wanted to read novels of espionage-which was odd in that she had always abhorred books like that.

Fast forward a year.  I saw her in the lobby of my building.  She pulled me aside and said:

“Someone has been taking things from my apartment.  I’m missing things.”

I asked her if she told the super, and she replied that it was the super who was taking things.

What do I do?  Part of me is thinking, she’s a little older, she could be misplacing things.   I knew that her family had recently hired a companion to help her during the day and I certainly didn’t want anyone taking advantage of her.  I knew her son came by weekly to check on her, so I left a note with my doorman.

Her son called.  He was happy that I was watching out for his Mother’s well being.  He explained that he did a weekly inventory of his Mom’s belongings, and everything was accounted for.  The only thing missing were little bits of her memory.

I’ve watched this amazing woman for years.  She lived her life and did the things she wanted.  Her bucket list is all crossed off. So why am I a little bit heartbroken?

Maybe it’s harder to watch someone else get older.  Maybe I worry that this is my fate 15 years from now.  Maybe I worry that one day my daughter will be taking inventory of the things in my apartment.  It’s probably a compilation of all of the above.

So what’s the message?  Live, love, enjoy.  Eat, drink, dance, sing.  Thats all I’ve got.  Perhaps, that’s all we need.

 

Daily Prompt: Adrift

via Daily Prompt: Adrift

Imagine a world……WAIT-  you know those old school movie trailers, with the big booming voice?  I want to to read the first two sentences with that voice in your mind…

Imagine a word with a blank to do list.  Imagine a date book with no obligations……

Do you get the feeling?  Are you imaging a day with absolutely nothing to do?

How does it feel?

To me, that would be a small slice of heaven.  Not every day, but just…..sometimes….I long to be adrift.

What does adrift mean to me?  It means having the time to read the entire arts and leisure section of the Times.  Perhaps watch silly whodunits on the Hallmark Channel.  Eat popcorn for dinner (with butter).  To sit and not think about anything other than the present- to let my mind just shut off.  It would be  like meditation, but without the lotus position.

Now ideally, adrift would be in a hammock on a beautiful beach overlooking the ocean, but I’ll settle for the tan sectional in my living room.  Adrift is not about a place, but a state of mind.  It’s about finding your balance so you can resume your crazy, hectic life.

 

The End (of a theater)

One of my favorite movie theaters will be closing in January.  The building is going to be torn down and supposedly will be replaced by a retail establishment (as yet to be determined).  There is no historical ot cultural significance to this theater.  It is not a landmark, nor do I have specific memories tied to it.  So why is this seemingly benign event bothering me?  Let me count the ways:

1) They feature under the radar movies.  Critically acclaimed, foreign, documentaries- movies that I love to see but are not shown in a traditional cineplex.

2) The seats are large and comfy, with decent legroom, and most importantly, stadium seating.  As I’m short, I appreciate being able to see the screen instead of someone’s head.

3) They serve hot tea.  My beverage of choice is tea.  Very few theaters serve tea.  The combination of tea and a movie is intoxicating.

4) An usher comes out before the film starts and welcomes us to the theater.  The usher tells us that they will come back into the theater 15 minutes after the film has started in case we have issues with volume, picture quality or temperature.  I like this.  It makes me feel cared for in an often uncaring world.

5) The theater is easily accessed by public transportation.  This is important during bad weather when movie viewing is highly desirable.  It is also a nice walk on a pleasant day.

But most importantly:

6) The theater is in the middle of a virtual food Mecca.  All types of cuisine, all price ranges, casual to trendy to fancy.  It’s perfect.

So why is this the most important reason?

I love quirky movies.  I embrace sub titles.  I look forward to learning about something new.  The husband though…..not so much.  His passion is not film, it’s food.

So I approach my husband as follows:

Me: There’s an awesome documentary about cats in Istanbul out in the theater.

The Husband:  That’s nice.

Me: I read about an awesome Sri Lankan place.  They have this dish called roti, which is where they take the roti, cut it up, and sauté it with this marinated chicken.  It’s right around the block from the cat theater.

The Husband: What times the movie and do we need reservations?

And everyone is happy.

Until now.  Cause this perfect theater is closing.  But until the credits roll in January, I’ll take advantage and savor the moments.  And start looking for theaters with good restaurants around them.

Happy Monday!

 

Fill in the Blank: _________ can wait

No, this is not one of those dreaded tests you took a kid.  This is just a little exercise in mindfulness.

I went to see the movie “Paris Can Wait” yesterday.  (Side note- starring Diane Lane.  When there is a movie about my life, I want Diane Lane to play me.  I think she’s perfect.  And look at my optimism- I’m sure I’m going to do something notorious enough to warrant my life on screen)

But anyway.  The literal plot of the movie is that it takes 2 1/2 days to make a 7 hour car journey to Paris. The figurative plot is that sometimes we have to slow down and savor life and remember what’s important.  The figurative plot is the winner here.

On their journey from Cannes to Paris, they stop at museums and old churches.  They buy gorgeous fruit from vendors, indulge in luxurious wines, order every chocolate dessert on the menu.  They try.  They experience.  They slow down.  They live.

How often do we actually live life?  Savor the taste of food?  Sit and actually listen to music, paying attention to its subtle nuances?  Sit at a dinner table without a phone or electronic device?  Sometimes we need to slow down.  Sometimes we need to live in the moment.

So- I said it wasn’t a test, but I didn’t say there wouldn’t be homework.  Here’s your assignment:

1) Figure out something that can wait, a chore, an obligation, anything.   (Mine would be shredding.  There is no timeline on when routine household shredding needs to be accomplished)

2) Engage in an activity you love

3) Stretch out the time you engage in this activity- pay attention to each step of the process

4) Live in the moment

5) Enjoy

Couples Night: Paint and Sip

As I’ve gotten older, my style of socializing has changed.  Back in the day, double dating, or going out with other couples usually meany hanging out at a bar. As we got a little greyer, we went to dinner.  Now that we’re a lot greyer, we started planning activities.  Last night we tried a painting class.

Forgive me if I’m momsplaining, but paint parties consist of you, a bunch of other people, a painting guru, a small palette of paint, a canvas, three brushes and an apron.  And wine.  You bring your own wine.  The guru gives you step by step directions, (literally, mix red and white paint to create pink), and explains things in a clear and easy format (paint a grey line that extends 3/4 of the way down your canvas).  You joke around with your friends.  You talk about how your own work looks like a Picasso but is supposed to be more realist….and you have fun.

You have fun because your relaxed.  You’re relaxed because your out of your comfort zone and you don’t care.  (Unless you’re actually an artist, which one of my friends is, and you’re freaking out because you own a very expensive MFA and you think your work is the worst.)

What’s the take away?

1) Socialize- its important to listen to other opinions and points of view.  It’s fun to share experiences with people.

2) Be creative- especially if you usually aren’t.  It allows you to look at things from a different perspective.  It helps keep your brain active.

3) Go out of your comfort zone.  Change and new can be good. You might find something you really enjoy.

4) Don’t worry that you’re not very good at something.  Relish your imperfections.

5) Don’t do a paint night on the same day as you tried a new exercise routine.  My shoulders were killing me.

Happy Saturday!

ps

the painting is not for sale!

1st Rule of Aging: Flexibility

I tried a Barre class today.  Essentials, the 60 minute class consists of a variety of stretches and lifts that utilize many of the muscles in your body.  The goal of the class is to create long and lean muscles, and help increase flexibility.  I’ve never been a flexible person.  In my youth I had trouble touching my toes and doing splits, and my flexibility quotient has only decreased with age.  I’ve begun to dread any activity that requires sitting on the floor.  It takes me hours to stand back up.  Ok maybe I exaggerate…a little.  Last year I ended up with a case of heel spur, most probably caused by not stretching my legs after exercise.  So I’m trying to add stretching into my daily routine.  I stretch first thing in the morning.  I get to the gym a little early so I can warm up my body, and I don’t leave class early and skip the cool down.  The foam roller has become my best friend.  I think the path to aging gracefully and maintaining a healthy body begins with keeping the body loose.

But……your mind must remain flexible as well.  Often, as we age, we become set in our ways.  We read the same type of things, watch the same type of shows, do the same sort of activities.  There is nothing wrong with doing things you enjoy.  There is nothing wrong with having the same hobbies.  There is nothing wrong with reading the same authors…..

But…..

You need to venture out of your mental comfort zone.  Your brain needs exercise as much as your body does.  It’s fun to try something new, you may actually like it.  And if you don’t, it gives you a fun story.

I enjoyed my Barre class today, even though I really didn’t know what I was doing.  Though it was hard, both my mind and body were invigorated.  Now, my body might be a bit stiff tomorrow, but that’s ok.  My mind is going to be open.

Happy Friday!  Try something new!

 

The B Word- Part 1

As we starting warming up our legs for spin class, our instructor shared some news.

“I got yelled at my someone in my afternoon class yesterday.  She told me I shouldn’t use songs that contain the B word.”

Hmmmm.  It took me a second to digest this news.  First off, I can’t believe anyone actually listens to the words of a song during an exercise class.  To me, it all becomes a big jumble of sounds.  I’m just trying to find the beat (which is a very hard task for someone rhythmically challenged as myself) and trying to slog up that hill, or sprint to the finish line.  The goal of the music is simply to motivate us.

Now to the harder part.  Music with what some consider vulgar language.  Personally I don’t like overly graphic lyrics.  I don’t like the use of vulgarity simply for the use of it.  I don’t like it in film, or novels, or stand up acts.  I think we have a rich and diverse language, with millions of words that can be used to convey our thoughts.  But that’s my personal opinion when it comes to my own listening/reading time.  I think every person is entitled to express themselves using any word or expression they want.  I don’t want to be told how to speak, and I don’t think anyone else should be told how to speak.

Then there is the public domain.  The appropriateness of music that will be listened to by many people who don’t have the ability to opt out of hearing it.  Music played in stores, or restaurants, or exercise classes.  How explicit should the language be in public areas?

Heres my line of distinction: in a place where children are highly likely to visit (supermarkets, malls, etc) I think the music should be “clean”.  But a health Club?  Where members are required to be over 16?  (I realize that 16 is not an adult, but really….) I’m not so sure.

Then there is the actual word itself, which I will refer to as the B word in case there is anyone under 16 who wants to read musings of a middle aged woman.  Is the B word bad?  Is is demoralizing?  I realize this is an easy question to answer, but for arguments sake, let’s say it’s not.  My opinion- as a lyric, as a line in a book, I think it’s fine.  I think it’s a form of artistic expression.  I think it’s a powerful word that can be used to clearly state a specific point.

But what about the other use, when someone uses it as a weapon against someone else?  I’ve been called this word (more often by other women actually) and have used this word.  It’s usually used out of anger.  It’s often used in retaliation.  It’s most commonly used when someone doesn’t have the language skills to convey their meaning in a different way.  (I’m still thinking this out, which is why today’s blog is called Part 1.  Expect a Part 2 when I’ve thought about it some more, or been referred to as one)

So let’s get back to the exercise class.  I think it’s ridiculous that someone complained about the language in a song used for a class.  I defend the instructors right to use whatever music she feels is best for the choreography of the workout routine.  But I can’t deny the complainers right to complain about what sort of music she is forced to listen to in a class.  It’s a slippery slope- what’s right?  What’s wrong?  How do we preserve the right to play music we like without offending others?  I wish I knew.

 

Over The Edge

“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the water slide.  Overthinking it.  You have to go down the chute.” Tina Fey.

i was that kid, always standing at the precipice, thinking about what I wanted to do, but too scared to take the plunge.  I know why I was like this.  Let’s blame my Mother for this.

When I was growing up, my Mother had invented a character, Jan.  Jan broke her arm jumping on the bed.  Jan got hit my a car crossing the street.  Jan got poison ivy playing outside.  My sister and I were encouraged to not do anything Jan might do.  Jan got hurt.

So I didn’t do anything that Jan did.  Including living a life.  I was quiet and bookish.  I admit, the list of books I’ve read and movies I’ve seen is impressive.  But it’s not how I should have spent my time.  I should have participated.  I read about all these wonderful adventures, watched others have fun.  But I stood to the side, side in my own little bubble.  I would never slide down the chute.

But as a Mom myself, I try to push my daughter to take acceptable risks.  I cheer for her when she goes down the chute.  I watch her parasail, and jump off cliffs, and push herself past her insecurities.  I tell her to go for it.

I watch her from the sidelines.  No amount of therapy can help me overcome my inate fears.  But I am able to push my daughter to try new things.  To push past her fears.  To live a life.

via Daily Prompt: Precipice

Paris is always a good idea

 

The daughter turns 16 this year.  Sixteen has become a cultural rite of passage, and when a young woman turns 16 there is an expectation of some sort of celebration.  Personally, I’m not big on parties, the cost and planning being equally reprehensible.  So, borrowing an idea from a friend, I came up with an alternate way to celebrate.  I asked the daughter if she wanted to go on a Mother/Daughter trip.  “Paris?” she asked?  And an idea began to turn into a reality.

Out of all the parenting decisions I’ve ever made, the decision to  go away with the daughter was one of the best.  It sparked a slight shift in our relationship.  I got to be slightly, (I emphasize slightly) less parental, and a little bit more of a friend.  I began to notice what an amazing young woman she’s become.

How come I hadn’t noticed before?

What was it about the trip?

We all lead busy lives.  And when life gets busy, we tend to shift into autopilot.  My morning routine is just that, a routine.  Alarm, stretch, bathroom, coffee….it just goes on.  I don’t even think about what the steps, my body just acts.  So my interactions with my family take on a similar turn.  I ask the daughter if she slept well and she said yes.  It’s always the same opening.  Then we go through our itineraries…..what time are you home, I’m going to the store do you need anything…..that sort of thing.  We sit at the dinner table and we discuss our days, but it’s 15, maybe 20 minutes.  It’s nice, but she’s still sitting at the same place at the table that she has for fifteen years.  She still eats with a salad fork instead of a big kid dinner fork.  In that setting, she always appears to me as a little girl.

So we change the setting.  Going to a different place automatically puts two people on a more level playing field.  In our case, the daughter speaks French.  I relied on her to tell me what I was ordering at restaurants.  I relied on her to figure out what to do when there was a service change on the metro.  (She handled it expertly I might add). I looked to her to help figure out directions.

And it hit me.  My daughter had the capability to take care of herself.  She was calm and cool and collected.  She was aware of her surroundings and used a combination of intelligence and instinct to navigate her way around.  She was going to turn out fine.

I started to think of my daughter as more of an equal (let’s not get too crazy though…I’m still the Mom and there’s still a curfew and an allowance and certain household responsibilities that are not going away).  I absorbed her opinions and thoughts on life a little differently.  Sometimes I can be accused of thinking her ideas are silly or unformed, but I realized she has a different perspective than I do, and more importantly, it’s ok for her to have a different perspective.

Sometimes you need to change your surroundings to see things a little more clearly, even with the people you interact with everyday.

Au Revoir!