Number Fifty-Nine

It was Tuesday, April 18, 1950, the opening day of Baseball Season when I came into the world at 7:20 in the morning. This could explain my rabid interest in the Detroit Tigers when I was a young girl. I knew all the players, how many kids they had, where they lived, (stalker?) their batting averages, the whole ball of wax.

When I was growing up the only time we went out to dinner was for our Birthday. We all looked forward to it with great anticipation. The place was always Bill Knapps. How I loved the Au Gratin Potatoes. So much so that I don’t really remember what I had with them. But that was then and this is now.

I married a man who always has made a big deal of my Birthday. There are lovely, well thought out presents, a lavish dinner at the restaurant of my choice, and always a small party with cake and ice cream and family. When we moved to Washington it turned into a present and dinner. I am not complaining, just stating the facts. Even though I was older every year I still looked forward to my Birthday.

The last few have really been grating on me. I am starting to show my age. Those lines on my arm are not sheet marks because they still are there later in the day. Age spots dot my face, arms and legs. I have the post menopausal paunch that I fight daily with crunches, and the list goes on and on…..

This Birthday is especially troubling for me. Number Fifty nine. Sounds like a train locomotive. Here comes old number fifty nine around the bend. Johnny Cash is singing “The Orange Blossom Special” in the background. “I ain’t seen the sunshine, since I don’t know when”. You get the picture.

In six months I could start to make withdrawals from my 401K, if there was any money left in it. What I am getting at is that I am starting to realize that I am old. Do not give me that “age is not a number it’s a state of mind” crap. Age is a number and it is going up. Fewer people know who I am talking about when I mention Glenn Miller, or Howdy Doody. It’s a little depressing.

Tonight we are going to the Portland City Grille for a nice dinner, no presents, at my request.

When I got up this morning my card was waiting for me by the coffee pot. On the front was a chubby Shar Pei with posable thumbs holding a pair of large pink granny panties. It read “At our age, thongs are not an option.”

Amen, Sister.

Excuse Me Ma’am, Do You Have A Permit For That?

It was January of 1980 when my friend Joyce and I decided to take a self-defense class at the YMCA in Kalamazoo. I was a single Mom working nights at a trucking company, so taking a Judo class sounded like a good idea. Barney Fife came to my mind from the old Andy Griffith Show, when he said he probably would have to register his body as a deadly weapon because he knew Judo.

Walking into the dojo in our judo gees one thing was obvious, we were the only women in the class. So much for the self-defense aspect. Not that we wouldn’t learn some great techniques, but these guys were there to wrestle!

Each week we learned a new hold or throw and paired up with someone in the class to practice with. It was a lot of fun, taught us some self-discipline, and to always be aware of what was going on around us. The secret was to get below your opponents center of gravity and throw them or trip them to escape.

One night I was paired with a cute blond guy who appeared to be 6’4″ and weighing in around 220. First of all, what is this person doing in a Judo Class? The holds on the floor went okay, had him right where I wanted him. Then came the throws. It was easy for me to get below his center of gravity and he hit the mat like a rock.

Now it was my turn to be thrown. A shiver ran down my spine when I realized I might be sailing over his shoulder at a high rate of speed with a 6 foot plus drop.

There was a 16 inch difference in our heights and he was perplexed as to how he would get beneath my center of gravity. He decided to get on his knees to execute the move. Aah, I thought, this won’t be so bad.

When you land from a throw you are supposed to slap the mat to absorb some of the shock.

Okay, I didn’t slap the mat. Okay, I couldn’t breathe. The fall ended up being more like 4 feet and it knocked the wind out of me.

All of us in the class went on to earn our Green Belts. And the big blond guy?
Well we will be celebrating our 26th Wedding Anniversary in May and I couldn’t be happier.

Sometimes God Says No

It seems that over the last five years, I have wanted nothing more than to move back home. Knowing that probably won’t happen, I would settle for moving closer, like Chicago, perhaps. Almost made it a year ago.

My husband’s Company was transferring us to their Bensenville office (that’s near Chicago) so we put our house on the market and made plans to move only to be disappointed when the company canceled the relocation due to the economy.

When I went home for my Summer and Christmas visits I had to tell people that we weren’t moving closer, much to our dismay. I told a friend that I keep praying to come home, and she said, “sometimes God says no.” I felt especially sad when a few days later her daughter, who we had all been praying for, lost her battle with cancer. God has a plan and sometimes it isn’t what we are looking for.

I believe that we are out here for a reason. I don’t know if I would have started writing back home, there is a much more creative spirit out here. Sam and I have become a lot closer as it is just he and I now. It has brought me closer with my family. When you live within a 25 mile radius of each other you tend to take each other for granted.

So being out here in the Northwest has brought with it a sense of joy and sorrow for me. I would never have felt the utter joy in seeing my loved ones if I hadn’t moved so far away. The reunions are sweeter, the goodbyes are sadder. There is no doubt we appreciate one another more than ever. The hugs are longer, the words more meaningful.

I know we will get back there, it is just a matter of time, God saying it is time to go back home now.

Trying To Keep It Simple

In an attempt to save money I have been examining our monthly outlay for bills and trying to find ways we can cut expenses.

We have all but given up eating out. Now eating out consists of stopping at Subway and getting $5.00 Foot-longs on Friday night. When the lease expired on my BMW, I bought a 1998 Volvo Station wagon with a $158 monthly payment. We keep the heat turned down all winter and watch our water usage. So now what?

It is time to look at the cable TV and broadband. Yikes! For obvious reasons, I am not willing to give up the internet. So what about cable? Basic cable is $12.95 a month, but I can also use an antenna and get the same channels for free. So I am thinking ok this should be simple enough.

Then I start thinking, what about football season? I love College Football on Saturdays. While it is true that there are games on the networks, they don’t tend to show Big Ten games out here. We usually get the Ducks (?) and the Beavers. Oh and don’t forget about the Huskies. What will I do without ESPN? And then there is the whole PBR Bull riding debacle. I have to spend an extra $20 a month so I can get Versus. So I guess I am not ready to totally simplify my life.

I mean I have given up Starbucks coffee at home,(I now have Maxwell House coffee on my counter.) What more can a girl do? I believe it to be prudent to get rid of the extra $22 a month for Starz and Versus.

So I guess it’s adios to the PBR, I can live without it. If any of you know me, you know this is a HUGE step, and so it’s one step at a time for now.