I’m Beginning to Feel Old

SADHVI

SADHVI

I have not felt like sharing much in the last month or so…not on FB, not on Instagram, not on Google+, not on nothing.  How about you?  You don’t have to answer that, I was just being facetious.

Lately, I hear the word “awesome” being used to describe just about every feeling, item of food, and life situation that one can experience.  And the other day, I heard my first “Super-Awesome!”, which is how the women behind the counter described a tea-towel with hand-stamped chickens on it.  I mean, it was nice, but it was not “Super-Awesome”!

Maybe it’s the equivalet of the word “Cool” that we used to describe everthing back in the day.  There was not, however, so much positive and prozac-y emotion put into it, and frankly, it makes uncomfortable.

If my generation was low-key, this one is high-strung!

I am easily annoyed these days, and I think it has something to do with the fact that everything seems to be changing so much.

For instance, I used to enjoy being greeted by salespeople, and to start interacting with them in a fun, easy-going way.  But no one does that these days.  The new way to interact is through “social media”, which to me, is just another way for company’s to sell gadgets, devices, and toy’s to the masses.  That’s about all it is about, really.  We are just consumers in the end, playing “awesome” games, and being hooked to our TV’s iPads, mini iPad’s, smartphones, and sharing everything we got via FB.

I guess I miss relating in the way that satisfied me way back when: in person, on the phone, or in a letter.  Yeah, I am getting old.

I do talk to a lot of younger people, and I am always amused when I hear them say they are “getting off of the gadget thing”, or, “nah, I don’t do FaceBook anymore”, as if they are drugs, which of course, they are.

Despite all the changes and Grand-T conjuctions, and the U.N. saying that it’s either clean up the planet or die, well, I do take time to feel grateful for things in my life, as crazy as it feels to me.

If nothing else, it makes me feel more vulnerable and small and human.  And since I don’t have to worry about going over my minutes, or recharging my device to feel that, I like it.  In fact, it’s awesome. :)

Take a look at the video…try it, you’ll like it.

Sharon Is Definitely Not Done Yet –Read All About It!

Sharon Willen

Sharon Willen

I must confess, when this book Not Done Yet:  A Tale of Transformation Through Transplant Surgery was first brought to my attention, I felt a bit of trepidation, the trepidation that comes from social responsibility.  After all, the writer was a neighbor, and reviewing it would be a neighborly thing to do.  I thought, “Well, what’s the harm in a short read, a quick compliment, then back to the bedroom for a short nap?”  Well, it didn’t turn out quite that way.

As sordid as the subject matter may appear on the surface (a tale of  transformation through transplant surgery), the author, Sharon Lamhut Willen, handles it in amazing fashion.  The book made me cry, but it also made me laugh:  a hard thing to do when writing about our health care system in this country on a social level and about the incredible personal angst one must feel when dealing with the imminent failure of one’s vital organ.

So many rules and regulations, so many forms to file…a forest so thick there seemed no path through it.  Yet the grace, strength, and most importantly, the spiritual faith Sharon brought to the battle won her the victory.  The ease and eloquence of her writing turned this hard distasteful journey of hers (and her husband’s) into a triumphant mission from which we can all take solace and wonder.

Not Done Yet

Sharon’s story made me revisit my own story.  It made me reflect on how I was handling my own distress, my own disease and dis-ease.  Whether it be my Parkinson’s or just my own reflections on aging itself, I thought about how best to embrace it.  What there is in this book, is validation.  With dedication and diligence, my friend and author found equanimity, and with that tranquility, reaching a near Satori experience in some of her meditations.

And in the end, she proves once again that the love you take is equal to the love you make.  And that love is the balm that eases the pain.  She documents the process in a striking way in some very dramatic circumstances.  She’s made it hard for me to give up, that’s for sure.

Sharon Willen

Sharon Willen

The book reveals a tear-filled wonder into what a truly loving couple can do even under the most dire of circumstances.  In the end, the book is a story of journey, of discovery.  It is not a journey of youthful exuberance about the world, but rather one of an older, wiser, more seasoned toughness.  We travel with the author as she leads us along the way to her entrance of grace, in spite of its ineffable way. This is a book well worth your time.  I will end by saying, I hope to go through the rest of my life with half as much dignity and grace as Sharon has.  

Here is the link to Sharon’s book:

http://www.amazon.com/Not-Done-Yet-Transformation-Transplant/dp/0991298209/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397683931&sr=1-1

And here is the link to Sharon’s website:  http://sharonwillen.com/

This is Nancy Puetz’s first contribution to our blog, and we are happy to have her!  Welcome, Nancy, and thank you for this review!

Nanci S. Puetz and her family

Nanci S. Puetz
and her family

I’m Getting Sentimental Over You!

Jane On a recent visit with my three sisters (our annual get-together), we got to talking about all sorts of things, including, of course, our children and how quickly they have all grown up.  One sister said the hardest thing for her about having her children grow up is that, in the process, she lost the little people they were at age 2, 4, 6, etc., as if someone came and spirited them away.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I got back from the trip and realizing that there is always a part of me that is half expecting those little ones to show back up, as if they are hiding somewhere in the house.  And thinking about them makes time compress and expand at the same time.

Lizzie and Parker in Roxbury, NY

Lizzie and Parker in Roxbury, NY

If I close my eyes, I can remember Lizzie, our first daughter, tromping into our kitchen in upstate New York in her favorite rubber boots and saying, “I ahna Goo-Koo,” (I want a cookie) or singing her way downstairs in the morning.  Same with Parker, next in line.  I can see him playing Power Rangers with his buddy Max or sitting at the kitchen table with his pirate ship and pirates and doing all the different voices for the various pirates and their enemies.  Becky is often sitting in her high chair (I think I must have left her in there a lot!), smiling at the thought of all the mischief she is cooking up to get her brother or sister to pay attention to her or standing at the bathroom mirror, cutting herself trying to shave her chin with her father’s razor.

Becky

Becky

Josie, the youngest, is always living in some story of her own making, like the millions of worlds she created for her dolls, or like the Madison Avenue world she inhabited one night in the bathroom, washing a hand towel over and over while singing out her version of the ad for OxyClean: “it gets your whites whiter and your bwights bwighter!”

Josie in Asheville

Josie in Asheville

 

So, the memories are vivid, but, if I think about it hard enough, they are not as fresh as I would like them to be.  And sometimes it’s hard to sort out what I really remember from what I have recorded in pictures and videos.  The hard part, I guess, about trying to hold onto memories of your children as little people is that, when they are actually little and getting bigger every day,  every memory is constantly getting replaced with a new one, each time the child does something new and different. (This is why I should have written things down in baby books!)  Before you even have a chance to catch your breath, the two-year-old version of your child is replaced with the three-year-old version, and you’re off and running on a whole new child!  Or, to state it more accurately in terms of how it feels, the two-year-old is replaced with the twenty-six year old version!

The "Men in Black" Christmas Card

The “Men in Black” Christmas Card

One great thing is that I still get glimpses of those earlier children in their new, larger bodies.  Every now and then, one of them will smile or laugh a certain way or turn their head at a certain angle, and there is the three-year-old version of themselves peeking out from behind their eyes or the six-year-old version looking worried and serious.  Same look, new source of worry!

Here’s to all the different versions of my children, in all their glory, including those little people who are hiding somewhere (maybe they will come back as grandchildren?) but especially these wonderful and strange grown-ups now inhabiting my world and saying they came from me and Tom!

Lizzie's Wedding!

Lizzie’s Wedding!

The Swiss Way to Make a Good Soup

Sadhvi

Sadhvi

There’s nothing like a blizzard in Spring to make me want soup for dinner.  My favorite weatherman Ray said we would get snow flurries with high winds all day and night, but being the type of guy he is, he didn’t come out and say, “OMG. This rare and deadly combination is coming straight for us, and there’s no where to run!!!”.  Thank you Ray for just reporting the weather.  And Thank You Dear Jesus for making the sun shine all day today, with the bluest sky, and melting all the snow.  Amen.

I learned how to cook while living in Switzerland.  I love just about everything Swiss, including the food.  Quite possible my favorite sweet treat is a nice Linzertorte…and the easy recipe for that is right here.

Those Swiss are so practical about everything!  There are packets already made up with the five vegetables needed to make a delicious soup in every grocery store.  They even put a bay leaf or two in!  Just these 5 vegetables give such a  flavorful and satisfying soup that there is really no reason to vary it, it’s the best soup base – period.  Try it and I know you will agree.

I chop up the onions, and put them in the bottom of my pressure cooker pot with a few turkey necks, or chicken wings or legs (to get that full flavor of the bone marrow) while I’m cleaning the leek, the carrots, chopping the celery root up, and the cabbage.  It’s all getting nicely carmamelized, while I add some salt, some pepper, a couple of bay leaves, and water.  I always add a spoon of vinegar too, to help bring out the marrow (you don’t  taste it in the end, by the way).

After about 20 minutes or so, the soup is ready to eat, and so are we!  A few large pieces of bread, a glass of wine, and it’s a very nourishing meal.

I hope you are enjoying the thoughts of the spring, and the longer days and light, because they are…I can feel it!

Swiss Soup Vegetables

Swiss Soup Vegetables

 

 

Oops50 Gets a Makeover

Annice

Annice

Oops50 is getting a makeover.  And, why not?  She’s almost five years old and we’d like to give her a lift.  So, if you’ve noticed the blog looking odd, things out of place, colors not yet perfect, it’s because we’re at the back end making changes. The changes are thanks to my brother, Max.

Max

Max

His company in DC (well, one of his companies) is giving us the makeover.  His creative team at Bravery Corporation is helping us re-energize our brand by designing a new logo and giving us a cleaner site.  It’s not that we didn’t like our old one, we loved it, (thank you Diane), it’s just that when we created our blog we didn’t know what the hell we were doing despite the fact that the WordPress founder claimed he designed his template with his mother in mind.  Well, he should’ve talked to us baby boomer women because we didn’t find it so simple.  We forced too many balloons in the template, and couldn’t take them out because we paid someone too much $$$ to put them in and had no more money $$$ to get them out.  So, that screwed us up every time we wanted to load images, videos, etc.  I’ll just end there as that story is way too boring to explain further.

Bravery Corp.Superteam

Bravery Corp.Superteam

Now we have Bravery’s super team, and specifically Marcus (from the prestigious Savannah College of Art & Design), who truly embodies their corporate identity in a way that was probably never intended.  Bravely and patiently, Marcus answers our tech questions about what we want our blog to look like and what functions we want which seem to change by the hour.  We have to keep reminding him we are older than his mother and not yet as old as his grandmother– subtext — somewhere between menopause and post-menopause so we don’t make decisions quickly.  So to you Marcus, we’d like to say, “Be brave, young man.  It’s almost over.”

Marcus

Marcus

We’re aiming for April 1st to officially launch our new site, so be on the lookout for a new Oops50 logo, a cleaner and easier site to navigate, and an Pops50 store showcasing some of the favorite products you’ve shared with us over the years as well as some of our own. In our store you’ll find books, garden supplies, pet supplies, cooking supplies, shoes, bras, and anything else you bring to our attention or we think you’ll want to know about.

Finally, and most importantly, thank you Bravery Corporation for taking us on – and thank you to our readers for almost five years of reading, sharing, commentating, and sticking with us.