My Aunt Mamie and the Power of “Flopping”

Jane

Jane

My aunt loved to “flop” in the afternoon.  After eating lunch and taking care of one or two things she needed to do, Mamie would always retire to her bedroom and lie down on her bed for about an hour. First, she would read her daily devotion from a little book she kept by her bed called God Calling. Then, she would write down in her journal her daily record of everything she and her husband, my uncle Jack, had done the day before.  And then, she would either take a little nap or lie there in bed, reading. I guess you could say she knew about the value of meditation long before it became popular with the rest of us!

When things got stressful in her life, she would “flop” more often, maybe once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  Her “flopping” time seemed to work almost like a recharging station.  If she felt herself getting stressed or exhausted, she would always take the time to relax, unwind, and breathe.  Nothing could stop her.  She would just announce to all around her:  “I need to go flop!”

Mamie with Lizzie, our first baby

When I was about ten years old and spent time with her one summer for a few months, I at first hated her flopping time because it meant she wasn’t available to do something with me, like going grocery shopping or going to the library or just laughing together about something.   But, as the days went by, I came to love that time of day.  Mamie would flop on her twin bed, and I would flop on Jack’s, andwe would both read or sleep until Mamie was ready to get up.  I suspect I was one of the reasons she needed to flop that summer, but she never made me feel like I was a burden.  We just flopped together.  It was during those afternoons in Mamie’s room that I read all about the history of the FBI and several biographies of famous people.  Sometimes Mamie told me stories about her childhood or I wrote postcards to my family and friends or worked a puzzle book.  All of those memories are pleasant and relaxing and calming to me, even now.

Mamie had a pretty hard life in some ways, but she learned how to deal with her problems in a real practical way.  I’ve never known anyone better at taking care of herself.  She never allowed herself to get too stressed or worried or busy or anything.  She just “flopped” when she needed to, the rest of the world be damned!

I have decided that I need to learn from Mamie.  I think I need to worry less and recharge my engines whenever possible. I need to learn how to “flop.”

On My Daughter’s Rapidly Advancing Pregnancy

Jane

Jane

I remember, back when I was pregnant with Lizzie, that I was talking to my mother about some of the stuff my doctor had told me, and her response was, “I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about all that when I was pregnant!”  I wish I could call my mother up now and say, “Mama, you ain’t seen nothing yet!” Women nowadays sure do have a lot more to worry about than when I was pregnant ‘back in the day.’

Here are some examples:

1) My daughter has so many more eating restrictions than we had; for instance, no soft cheeses, so no Feta, Brie, Roquefort, etc.; no luncheon meat; and, of course, very limited tuna! (I’m glad to see that last one on the list!)

2) At least one hour a day, when the baby is active, Lizzie is supposed to count kicks and other movements—and if she can’t count up to ten, she’s supposed to call her doctor.

3) When her “fundal height” was not exactly what it was supposed to be, she had to have an ultrasound (this, mind you, is the fourth time she’s had an ultrasound in this pregnancy!)

4) She’s not supposed to sleep on her back at all because it might restrict the baby’s breathing.

Lizzie, 7.5 months

Lizzie, 7.5 months

Those are just four of the ones that come to mind.  I appreciate all the advances in research that have made these things necessary, and I love to know that Lizzie’s doctor is watching out for my grandbaby, but I also think there is a lot to be said for less worry on the mother’s part! Lizzie’s pregnancy is much more stressful to me than any of my own.  After talking to other grandmothers, I know that this partly comes with the territory:  you are going to worry more about your own baby (and her baby) than you ever did about yourself.  But I also think the culture of pregnancy has changed.  Isn’t there something to be said for trusting in nature, for knowing that women have been going through this same process since Eve, and that, with of course some exceptions, things usually turned out all right?  I can’t see Eve sitting there and counting kicks!  I also can’t help questioning one more expensive medical test/procedure and wondering if they would be calling for that test if my daughter didn’t have insurance.

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Promises, a new novel by Casey Curry

Casey Curry, author

Casey Curry, author

Let me introduce you to, Casey Curry, wife, mother, and educator who has just published her first novel, Promises.  Curry is a master at weaving together fragile family alliances and with four aspiring African American daughters growing up in a military family all over the world, Curry has tons of material to not disappoint her readers.  Like her protagonist, Pamela Sloan, Curry is a woman over 50, and the wife of a naval officer who takes us on a thirty year journey full of family secrets and promises.

I mention that the daughters are African American because it was that one fact alone that piqued my interest enough to read the book.  It made me realize how little I knew about Black families in our military.  Truth is, I had not read much about military families in general, and must confess, had only seen films about families coping with war and death as a young adult – starting with WWII, Viet-Nam, and now Iraq.  Films or TV series that stand out are: Coming Home (1978); MASH (the 70’s); even Hogan’s Heroes from the 60’s and all those had an all white cast – or at least that’s how I remember it.  It wasn’t really until Glory (1989) and Red Tails in 2012 that Hollywood portrayed African American families in the military.

Casey Promises CoverSo, Curry’s book allowed me to enter a world I knew very little about.  What did I find?  Having grown up with two sisters, I found the relationship between the siblings to be not all that different from my own EXCEPT mine didn’t involve military espionage, family sacrifices, or vacationing on the Vineyard.  Interwoven between the daughters’ stories is Pamela’s story, their mother whose past is nothing like her daughters.  Raised by a father because her mother was either absent or should’ve been, Pam managed to marry well while her half-sister struggled as a poor single mother with an ungrateful and selfish daughter.  The contrast between Pamela’s tight knit family and her sister’s rather sad existence with her spoiled daughter is significant and what stories are made of.

I think Casey’s story will resonate not only with readers who have struggled with an empty nest or who are military wives but with women of all ages who have struggled to protect their family.  The whole time I was reading Promises, I kept thinking this would make the perfect Lifetime channel movie – one of my guilty late night pleasures.

Casey Curry is the Director of Creative Writing at a fine arts magnet school in Tampa, Florida where she teaches poetry and fiction to high school students. She holds a B.A. from Hood College in Frederick, Maryland, and M.Ed. from Norfolk State University in Virginia. She is a 2012-2013 National Arts Teachers Fellowship (NATF) winner. The novel, Promises is her second book, and was born out of the NATF project, formerly funded by The Surdna Foundation. Ms. Curry is married to a retired Naval Officer and is the mother of three adult daughters. Her youngest daughter, Tori Rose, was the inspiration for her first book, I Remember You Today, and died of a brainstem tumor at the age of three.

Sadhvi Sez “Adieu”!

Sadhvi

Sadhvi

While it’s been wonderful to share what’s  been going on in my world all these years, I don’t feel like sharing anything of me anymore.

So after more than 5 years and 210 posts, it’s time for me to leave Oops50.

Call it a coincidence, but The New York Times had an article recently on blogging burnout, and there is even a new word to describe it called “slog”.  Maybe that’s all it is; I’m just tired of sharing my world, myself…

I want to let all of you faithful fans know that it has been a pleasure to share with you things that mattered to me during this time of my life.  And to wish the women of Oops50 much success!

I’ll leave you with one last clip from a man named Vereesh (see below), and wishes for Peace, Love, And the Pursuit of Happiness to you all.

The Perfect Pouch to Stash Your Stuff

Annice

Annice

Ladies, (not only women over 50), have you ever left your cell phone on a restaurant table?  Or how about searched for your glasses when they were already on your head functioning as a headband? I’m sure none of you have ever lost your keys even though you threw them in your purse – that infamous black hole where objects vanish.

If you’ve ever done any of these things, you will surely identify with our beloved Nora Ephron when she says, “I am living in the Google years, no question of that.  And there are advantages to it. When you forget something, you can whip out your iPhone and go to Google.  The Senior Moment has become the Google moment, and it has a much nicer, hipper, younger, more contemporary sound, doesn’t it?”  I Remember Nothing.

Eleanor at Woolworth 'Walk

Eleanor at Woolworth ‘Walk

So, now you’re wondering what my memory has to do with the perfect pouch.  For starters, it’s attached to my body.  It is a perfectly designed, handmade pouch that clips to your jeans or any pants/skirt via belt loops.  It’s stylish and sized perfectly for your cell phone, car keys, and lipstick.  I love it, and so do all my friends who’ve received them as gifts who in turn buy them for their daughters.  It’s my gift du jour and I have designer, Kathleen Lewis, to thank.

 

Kathleen Lewis

Kathleen Lewis

Kathleen Lewis has spent over forty-five years creating art with fabrics, fibers and other art mediums in Asheville, NC. Kathleen can take a piece of fabric and change it into something totally different such as a whimsical owl to carefully stitched bags, one-of-a-kind hats, and beautiful hand-dyed clothing.  I can’t thank her enough for that perfect pouch.  

Please take a look, and if you’re in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC you can find them at Woolworth Walk, (the chicken salad is pretty good there, too.)  eleanor standing

Visit Kathleen at:   kathleenlewisdesigns.com/