Tag Archives: Humor

A Retiring Mind: Part IV: Amoke’s at it Again

Amoke Kubat
Amoke Kubat

My retiring mind is on the mends.  It’s a fighter!  I’m on the other side of a health crisis. Physical conditions finally identified, and I have clear directives for maintaining my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

My days begin in deep gratitude.  I wake up.  Others don’t.  I’m not in pain.  I herd bottles of pills around, vitamins and minerals and one for blood pressure, until I get them all down, generally needing 2-3 cups of tea to do so.

tea time

I make it my job to laugh at least 3 times daily.  The shaking, hurting belly laughter, you know, that breaks out from between your legs, whereas you just might pee yourself, if not sling snot, piggy snort or cry.  Sometimes I laugh at myself.

I’m at that age where you have to have TESTS and PROCEDURES that nobody really wants to talk about: example, the colonoscopy.  At my appointment, I arrived feeling confident about the necessity for this procedure and what to expect.  I balked upon entering a very crowded waiting room.  My ticket was number 26.  I took a seat and summoned my big girl attitude.

My name was called.  I was ushered to a room, guided through changing into a gown and positioning myself on a table.  I would watch the exploration of my guts on a big screen.  I thought the whole thing to be cool, like my own Magic Science Bus adventure.

I greeted and asked the doctor, “Have you really seen 25 assholes today”?  She blanched but continued her preparations.  Her nurse struggled to keep a straight face.  My excitement and curiosity blinded social decorum, “What kind of doctor are you?  What did you have to study”?  I continued my own bedside banter.  The doctor muttered something about gastrointestinal something or other.  She was quick, thorough and seemed surprised that she didn’t discover nothing from rooter to tooter.

Fast forward.  Last week, I began a more aggressive response to the arthritis along my spine’s lumbar region.  A young physician and two assistants injected epidurals into my lower back to shrink bulging herniated disks and relieve pain, spasms and numbness in both legs and feet.  I was positioned face down on a table.  My pants were rolled and tucked to reveal the small of my back and a behind that gives “mooning” a whole new concept.  Think, “A Total Eclipse of the Heart” (as in cardiac arrest) or “Bad Moon Rising”. They informed me about possible discomfort as the series of injections begin.

As the team worked, they chatted about a ten dollar taxable bonus check gained for their personal healthy health practices.  What could you buy with less than ten dollars, they lamented.  The physician, young and slim said, “SUBWAY”!  She loved SUBWAY!  They discussed in details the variety of breads and endless combinations of meats, cheeses and veggies.  Mind you, I was being stabbed in my behind. They asked if I liked SUBWAY.  I told them about how I loved a very carefully constructed BLT Footlong on wheat, with spinach instead of lettuce.

We were all done in about 20 minutes.  I was sat up, stood on my feet and given after-care instructions.  Did I need a wheelchair?  I bristled.  I was independent and capable.  I stepped, and my right hip swung like a wagon turning a treacherous corner.  Tried again, and my step produced a swagger and a slow dragging foot.  I walked like a pimp! They assured me this would pass.  I told them that I really hoped they wouldn’t think of my butt every time they went to SUBWAY.  We laughed. I t wasn’t the socially polite and awkward giggling but deep women’s laughter.  I accepted the wheelchair.

Despite trekking along a path I never imagined to take, I remain really optimistic.  I take my vitamin L (for laughter) as often as I like, it’s addictive!  It’s real medicine.

She knows it, too.

Amoke Kubat

I’m a writer, artist and community elder living and working in North Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 

Growing Old Gracefully

Betsy

My mother used to say, ”It’s better to age gracefully than to fight it!”  When I was young, this advice seemed quite sensible.  What a good way to look at the natural process of aging!  But now that I’M aging???  I wonder just how gracefully I’m doing it.

I find myself experiencing things I don’t remember my mother experiencing.  Sometimes I wonder if that’s why she could age so gracefully – she didn’t really know what it meant to age.  I get out of a chair after an extended time reading or watching TV and can’t move properly.  I limp, while uttering the words, ”ooh, eeh, aaah, ow,” until I finally get rolling. When I get out of my car after a 30 minute ride and have to walk across the road to collect my mail (yes, we still have rural delivery), I can barely get one foot to go in front of the other until  I’m on the way back.

In other ways too, aging gracefully is difficult.  I find myself in conversations like this:  “Well, the most extraordinary thing happened earlier on Tuesday.  Actually, I think it was Monday because that’s when I had a doctor’s appointment, and I got stuck in traffic on the way home.  No, actually it was Wednesday.  I remember telling Fred I’d meet him at the library by 5:00.  No: wait.  I guess it was Monday because after the doctor’s appointment, I mailed that package I was planning to get out the week before…anyway, I walked into a room and all these people stood up…[pause]…you know I guess it was Tuesday….”.

Get my point? Why do we feel it essential to relive whole segments of our lives just to relate an interesting (or in some cases, not so interesting) event?  Or, is it just me?  My mother never did that!

 

Then there’s the situation in which people tell me things I said or did that I’d swear never happened.  When this happens, I just figure they don’t really remember and are trying to pin the whole thing on me.  Really, I’m sure they’re wrong; I never said or did what they say I said or did.  Then, in the middle of the night, I’ll wake up with a start and realize…oh oh…I DID say or do that!

If all that isn’t bad enough, then there’s the situation where I try to change the TV channel with the telephone or answer the remote.  I mean…really!!!!  But, it happens!  Or, I carry the TV remote into the kitchen when I hear the kettle boiling for tea, and spend the next 45 minutes looking for it in the TV room, only to resort to having to change the channel by finding the channel+/channel- button on the TV itself–0h, woe is me…that’s black and dark and can’t be seen without a flashlight!

Oh, and I’m absolutely scared to death I’m going to have a car accident.  I’m so confident when I drive that I don’t pay attention.  After 44 years of driving, who needs to pay attention?  Duh! Apparently, I do.  The other day I nearly ran into an oncoming car because I suddenly realized that I had spilled my coffee on the steering wheel (how could I not notice) and I looked down to be sure I hadn’t soiled my outfit for the day and would have to go home and change.  It’s happened before, too, when I looked off into a field watching a doe and her babies. For some unknown reason, the car seemed to veer toward a guard rail at the side of the road.  I’m not even going to mention the adjusting of my kindle or iPod to find my place on the audiobook I’m listening to!

When my mother advised “grow old gracefully”, I guess she was talking about resisting dying your hair (which I don’t do) or having a facelift (something I couldn’t afford even if I wanted to endure the pain involved, which I don’t).  Now I’m beginning to realize that, in today’s world, as with everything else, it seems growing old gracefully means so much more and is so much more complicated than it was when my mother was growing old.  It means accepting your limitations:  whether they’re physical things you can’t do any more because of the stiffness (I still don’t know why my mother never groaned going up and down stairs or getting into or out of a chair. Wasn’t I noticing or was she holding back – gracefully?) as well as the idea that you must pay closer attention to what is going on around you.  What it means today is that you need to be much more vigilant because there is so much MORE going on around you than there was in her day.

Although I still feel like the 15 year old I was in 1964 in my heart, I need to pay attention to the fact that I’m not that person anymore in so many ways–to ignore this fact could be dangerous!  So, Mom?  I AM growing old gracefully, but the world is moving so fast and changing at such a speed that it’s hard to keep up.

What Worries Me

JANE

At 5, which is the first age where I can remember the feeling, I worried that I would never see my favorite red-and-white cardboard bricks again, since my parents had “loaned” them to my cousins as we were leaving for a four-year Army tour in Germany.

At 10, in addition to worrying that our house might burn down, I lost sleep thinking that if Santa Claus wasn’t real, then what other lies might my parents have told me?  And, since Tony Ludholz had stuck a ring with a blue stone in my hand and said “now we’re engaged,”  did that mean I really had to marry him?

At 15, I spent a lot of time worrying about that horrible guy who killed the nurses or those two men who killed the family in Kansas ‘in cold blood’.  I worried that the first men on the moon might not make it back home safely–and that every single person who had a chance of saving the world would get assassinated.  I also worried a lot about nuclear bombs, when I wasn’t worrying that Michael Krick would not ask me to dance at the end-of-the-year dance.

OH NO!

At 20, I worried that I would never, ever finish all the work I had to get through to graduate from college, that we would never get out of VietNam, that even if I graduated, I would never get a job because all I knew how to do was go to school and pass my classes, and that I would never, ever fall in love because men were all sexist pigs–and that I would never be able to tolerate my father ever again because he sat and read the paper while my mother fixed dinner–and because he thought “Ms” was an unnecessary addition to the English language!

At 30, I worried that my new marriage would end in disaster, that childbirth would hurt worse than anyone had said it would–and I would die in the process–and that nuclear war would happen right at the point where I had discovered I could love someone.

At 35, I worried our baby girl would grow up in a world full of pollution, nuclear bombs and global warming–and would blame us.  I also worried that she would die of SIDS, be kidnapped, get injured, have a life-threatening illness, or choke on bacon.

WORRY DOLLS

At 40, I worried we would never get out of Iraq, that my son would end up being drafted, that my children and my parents would die at any minute, that nuclear war would destroy us all, that Bush would always be president.

At 45, I worried that I had not read to my youngest child enough (or ever taught her to floss), that my parents would die, that I would die of heart failure caused by obesity, that my son would end up a crack addict, in jail, or a paraplegic from a skateboarding accident, that, despite all the changes of the ’70’s, my daughters would live in a world of sexist pigs and their souls would be trampled.

At 50, I started worrying about growing old before I could ever finish a single good poem, that our troops would never get out of anywhere, that  my parents would die before my kids were old enough to remember them, that September 11th was just the beginning of a horrible end to whatever was left of the American dream, that there might not be a God, and that my children might hate me forever, since I was making daily mistakes with their teenage psyches.

At 55, I worried that my children were growing so fast that I couldn’t even take a breath before they’d be grown.  I worried that my brain would stop working before I could finish anything, that my daughter/son/daughter would hate college, be unhappy away from home, get hurt without me there to fight off boogeymen, not want to come home because they took a Sociology class that made them realize all of their parents’ inadequacies.  That I might be turning into my mother!

THE ICE CAPS ARE MELTING!

Looking back over this list, I realize that 1) some of these things came true, and, although they were bad, they were not as bad as I had feared–some of them were worse  2) there was nothing I could do about it, no matter what.

I wish I could say that now, at 58, I’ve stopped worrying.  But I can’t.  I think I might be addicted to worry because of the elusive sense of control it gives me.  If I can make sure I worry about something, maybe I can stave that thing off for a few more seconds, keep that wolf away from the door.  After all, bad things always happen when you least expect them.

I do know one thing:  after all these years, I have at least learned to take some of my worries with a grain of salt–like , for instance, the one about the ice caps melting and carrying away our house.  I have a few years before that could happen, right?

Second Attempt: Tequila Holiday Cake Recipe

Annice

This is one of my favorite recipe’s from my dear friend Va at Sheville.org.  I tried to make this Tequila Christmas Cake recipe for Chanukah again this year, but it didn’t work out so well.  So, I’m trying again for New Year’s Day.  Here goes:

 Ingredients 

.
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar  Lemon juice
4 large eggs
Nuts
1 bottle Jose Cuervo tequila
2 cups dried fruit
.

Sample the tequila to check quality.  Take a large bowl; check the tequila again to be  sure it is of the highest quality.  Repeat. Turn on the electric mixer.

Beat one cup of butter in a large fluffy bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Beat again.  At this point, it is best to make sure the tequila is still OK.  Try another cup just in case.

Turn off the mixerer thingy.  Break 2 eegs and add to the bowl and chuck iin the cup of dried fruit. Pick the fruit up off the floor.  Mix on the turner.  If the fried druit getas stuck in the beaterers, just pry it loose with a drewscriver.

Sample the tequila to test for tonsisticity.  Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or something.  Check the tequila. Now shift the lemon ice strain your nuts.  Add one table.  Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

Greash the oven.  Turn the cake tin 360s and try not to fall over.  Don’t forget to beat off the turner.  Finally, throw the bowl through the window.  Finish the tequila and wipe the counter with the cat.

Too Much Tequila

Pahhpy New Gears!

I Did A Really Stupid Thing

Annice

Oops.  I did a really stupid thing.  I was driving around doing errands on Saturday when I looked into the rear view mirror and saw how ghastly my hair looked.  I was in the middle of a hair emergency without an appointment.  I haven’t been happy with my stylist lately, and in fact I’ve been shopping around.  I’m tired of paying a lot, and not being satisfied.  All that to say, I ended up driving to the nearest cheap hair salon I spotted on the highway, and walked in.

After all, aren’t all the stylists in those kind of places recent grads who know the latest techniques?  Aren’t they just working at these cheap places to get experience, build up a clientele, and move on?

I walked in.  “Hi, can someone cut my hair now?”

Behind the desk, the receptionist, sporting a great haircut, looked up.

“Sure.  Give me your coat and take a seat.  I’ll get Terry (not her real name).”

.

Sitting in Terry’s chair, I looked around.  The place was dumpy, looking like the low-end salon it was.

Out walks Terry smelling badly from cigarette smoke.  Her face was covered with deep wrinkles and when she smiled, she was missing a few teeth.  I won’t bother to detail the many different colors of her hair ranging from burnt orange to caramel.

OMG.  I had a sick feeling in my stomach as I sat in Terry’s chair, a prisoner, held hostage by my own stupidity.  It was too late to turn back.

I tried to imagine the best case scenario.  Maybe she was a recovering addict from NYC and came to the mountains to get her life back together.  She wouldn’t be the first.  Or maybe she was a super stylist from NYC.  Anything was possible.

“Is that a natural curl?” she asked.

“Yes, and I happen to have a photo of the cut I like in my wallet.”  I handed the photo to Terry.

She looked at it for a second.

“No problem.  I’m great with curly hair, been cutting hair in Asheville since 1994.  Raised four kids as a single mom cutting hair.”

“Ever been to New York?”  I could only hope.

“Never been out of Asheville.  Never had the desire.”

“Never.  Not even for a visit?”

MY NEW HAIRCUT

“Nope.  I’m gonna  cut your hair dry.  It’s the best way to cut curly hair.”

I knew that was a fair statement and such technique existed, so I did not argue with Terry.

Chop, chop, chop.  Terry cut away until I was left with a short pixie.

“What do you think?  I think that looks about right.”  Terry picked up the photo and held it up to the mirror next to my image. “What about color?  We use a very good color here.”

I could not speak.

“Would you like to schedule your next appointment?”

“Next appointment?  Oh, well, I won’t be needing a next appointment until April – 2013.”