Tag Archives: womenbabyboomers

SENIORS WHO SPELL

Audrey Fischer Partington
Audrey Fischer Partington

They came from all over the county to participate in a Senior Spelling Bee, sponsored by the Friends of the Montgomery County (Maryland) Public Library.

But this was not a competition for high school seniors. Competitors were seniors citizens. You know, the generation born before spell check. The folks who learned to read phonetically, and who memorized rules like “i before e, except after c, or when sounding like ay as in neighbor or sleigh.”

Yes, those seniors.

Some came in wheelchairs from a nearby assisted living facility. What they lacked in physical ability they made up for in mental agility. A few were retired English teachers. But what they had in common was the love of words and libraries.

“Public libraries are one of the best things about America,” said a competitor whose first language was not English.

Senior Spelling Bee
Senior Spelling Bee

The joy of browsing the library shelves may be lost on younger generations for whom “googling” too often replaces a visit to the library.

Another lost art is etymology (word origins). Contestants not only asked for words to be repeated, defined or use in a sentence, but their place of origin, which can provide clues to their correct spelling.

Phonics and etymology have been replaced with … “magic spelling.” My daughter was introduced to this approach when she started first grade in 1992.  In a desire to get young children comfortable with writing, teachers told them not to worry about spelling correctly.

Okay. That made some sense, but why not at least correct the misspelled words for the child’s edification? Unfortunately, the writing and spelling methodologies of the day childwithtrophycoincided with the self-esteem movement. You know, “No Child Left Without a Trophy.”

And also lost to posterity is cursive writing. How are future historians going to decipher primary source documents written in cursive?

Oh, of course, they’ll be an app for that!

 

 

Audrey:  I’m a writer-editor with nearly 35 years spent working in the federal government. When I think I began working for the government at the tail end of the Carter administration, it really does seem like a lifetime ago. In a way, it was a lifetime ago. I’ve since married and raised a wonderful daughter with my husband, with whom I now share our empty nest. Our baby bird flew across the pond to live with her British husband. So, to keep up with her life, I got on Facebook, where I have since reconnected with many old friends from my childhood in Brooklyn, New York, as well as from my other walks of life. Most recently, I had the joy of reconnecting with Annice, who launched this blog. It should feel like a lifetime ago since we met in our twenties, but happily, it’s like time never passed. That’s one of the secrets of getting older—the face and body may change, but at heart you may remain very much the same.

 

 

To Shop or Not to Shop On-line: What do you do?

Annice
Annice

To Shop or Not to Shop On-line – That is the Question? I am not an on-line shopper – at all.  However, after spending an evening with several female friends (they know who they are) I’m wondering if I should be.  Over dinner, they listed all the advantages:  time saved; never running out of things; catching some great deals; and of course they never pay shipping.  So there I sat eating my Salad Niçoise at the Laughing Seed with two nicoisewomen I admire and respect trying hard to figure out what’s up with me that I don’t shop on-line.  Weeks rolled by, and I forgot all about that conversation until I grabbed my must-have Deva (curly) hair product only to realize I couldn’t squeeze out one more drop, and I did not have another one stashed away in my closet.  I’d have to live with a bad hair day for sure.  Digging deeper into this 21st century  phenomenon, I started thinking about my big aversion to shopping on-line is and why I find it all so overwhelming.

Deva
Deva

For starters, I’m on the computer much of my day at work, and then again in my spare time at home working on my book whenever I can, so getting back on the computer to shop doesn’t excite me.  It’s not that I’ve never shopped on-line.  I admit to buying presents at holiday time for out of town family and friends because I hate packing up presents not to mention the waiting in line at the post office during Christmas time. Another reason I hate shopping on-line is all the popcorn, bubble wrap, shredded paper and boxes I have to deal with from my husband who does shop on-line. The packaging spills all over the kitchen and then it piles up in the garage where I then have to nag my husband to break it all down and schlep it to the recycling bins across town.  All that packaging can’t be good for the environment and then what about the carbon footprint?  Besides, I still like to touch things and try things on and neither my feet nor my body always fit into the same size.  And returns?  I really hate that too, re-wrapping and taking it to the post office.

Last Saturday, I was out doing errands – a lot of errands.  I think I spent close to 4 hours driving all over town to Trader Joe’s, Pet Smart, the dry cleaners, and worst of all to the Mall to get the Deva product I had run out of, and then finally to the kitchen store to get the Veggetti Spiral Vegetable Slicer Cutter (millions sold in Europe) and I got to thinking veggie cutterabout my two smart friends who said they save SOOOOOOOOOOO much time, and what about the price of gas? It’s a dilemma for me.  So, what do YOU do?  Any advice?

In the Summertime

SADHVI
SADHVI

Let’s face it, the world is crazier than ever.  The genocide in Gaza, the ice caps melting, the ebola virus, the strange world of politics and food and GMO’s, fracking all over, and now, Toledo, Ohio not having any water.  It’s enough to make you want to run and hide, except there is no where to go.  So these days, I am all about creating beauty and being surrounded by things that bring me a certain feeling of joy and bliss.

This Summer has been heavenly in my little corner of the world, and as we float towards Autumn, like some of the crimson leaves that I see drifting from the trees, it’s all so beautiful.

The tomatoes have started to ripen and we’re eating them like bandits enjoying the bounty.  Which makes up for the disappointment of last year with all those weeks of constant rain and not one tomato.

oops50 torchflower

I have the feeling that it’s all a yin and yang thing, and the iChing that I just now consulted said that is correct 🙂

sadhvi quan yin

The zinnias and cosmos that I planted late, on purpose to feed the bees, are blooming magnificently.

oops50 tomatoes 1

As I sit here looking out my window to all the flowers that are colored with the light of the sun, the bees and butterflies are all gathering to feed.  Everything feels perfect.  Which is why I plant flowers and food for me and them – because more bliss in these crazy times is what I can contribute to keep the balance.  At least in myself.

I stumbled onto a short little clip that Isabella Rossellini made, about the bees: take a moment out of your crazy day to watch it.

Om Shanti.

The Thrill of a Second Chance

Martha Carr, author
Martha Carr, author

My fifties started with a bang.  I jumped out of a plane, following behind the person I was interviewing for a book.  As soon as I was clear of the plane I felt myself relax and one clear thought came to me, “You’ve done it now, you might as well relax.”  If I was going to hit the ground, I might as well enjoy this last minute.

I landed successfully and stood up with another clear thought: Stop doing anything that isn’t working.  There was a long list.  My entire way of thinking up to that point was to try and make sure everyone else liked me, no matter what the consequences.

By the time I turned fifty, I was more of a chameleon than a human being and I had no idea what I liked to do.

As a writer, I was all over the map.  Fortunately, it turned out I had some talent that over time became stronger.  But as soon as I was headed down one path, someone would point out how I could be getting ahead faster if only I changed direction.  Doubt would set in, and I’d let go of the plan that I had and set out again.  Frustration and resentment built as I blamed others for why I wasn’t getting ahead in my life.

However, just a few months after that skydiving trip I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given one year to live.  One month later, an unrelated cancer was found that took a good part of the skin on the lower part of my face.  Suddenly, all of the outward need to please others fell away and I was able to give myself permission to say what I was really thinking, and stick with it.

The cancer didn’t spread any further, something the doctors only have ideas about but were never able to explain.  No matter, the entire episode, which included having to learn how to walk again, transformed my way of thinking and then my life.

I started out in life being told that I was part of American royalty. I am the great-great-great-great-niece of Thomas Jefferson, named for his sister, Martha Randolph Carr and with that came a certain responsibility.

I interpreted that as a responsibility to look a certain way but had no idea what would be the most acceptable or virtuous front.  Over the years it became whoever I admired or at least saw as successful and I’d change to match their vision of me, as I saw it.  I wasn’t running my own race as much as playing a part in a lot of other people’s lives whether they even knew it or not.

2ndchanceGetting a second chance at being alive changed that and as usual, it’s reflected in my writing.  I finally started writing a thriller series, The Wallis Jones Series that focuses on a woman a lot like myself who’s doing a pretty good job of building a life until she finds out that she’s part of a legacy she can’t just leave behind.

In The Keeper, the second in the series, Wallis finds out just how deep those family ties go and realizes running away won’t work anymore.  There are a lot of people who have an idea of the right thing to do but Wallis has to find out for herself her own definitions.  It’s going to take faith in herself and those around her like her husband, Norman and her tween son, Ned to find peace again in the middle of a dangerous situation.The Keeper front cover

The legacy of finding out that our roots are legendary is not to try and appear as if everything is alright.  It turns out that my fifties gave me the gift of learning how to live up to the past by creating my own future, even if it doesn’t look a thing like anyone expected, including me.

Manicures & Spring Rolls

Annice
Annice

Recently, I decided to get a manicure.  It’s not something I do very often but I needed a fast and cheap escape while waiting for my husband at Verizon.  He either lost his cell phone or had it stolen in Miami where he went to have back surgery in April.  Buying a new phone should be simple, right?  But, nothing at Verizon is simple.  Since Len was not driving yet, I had to take him there but the thought of sitting in Verizon and dealing with his problems just felt too overwhelming.  I’ve got my phone and it works just fine – thank you.

Off I went to Hollywood Nails & Spa at River Ridge shopping center.  I had never been there before and was pleased to see how clean and shiny it was.   As soon as I sat down, my manicurist gave me a bottle of water. A few minutes later she came back with two piping hot spring rolls on a little white paper plate and placed them on the table between us.  I’m thinking it’s her breakfast, after all it’s only 9:30.  The aroma is killing me but I pretend the spring rolls aren’t there.  The manicurist (promise to get her name next time) begins to clean and prepare her tools .  “Eat,” she finally says.  I look around to see if anyone else is eating spring rolls but no one is sitting close enough for me to know for sure.  Delicious.

spring rolls

I tell her how much I love her spring rolls and ask her where she is from.  Viet Nam.  I love Viet Namese food and tell her I wish Asheville had a Viet Namese restaurant – or at least a good one.

I’m devouring the second spring roll when the manicurist removes the empty paper plate and replaces it with hot soapy water. “Soak,” she says.  Once my nails are polished and dried, the manicurist gently massages my hands and arms.  Thinking this is it, I’m ready to get up and pay, but the manicurist says she will be right back.  When she returns, she’s got two white steaming towels to wrap my hands in.  So, so nice.  Finally, I get up to leave and I notice several customers chomping on spring rolls.  I asked the other customer at the cash register if everyone here gets spring rolls.  Affirmative.  OMG, this business owner knows a little something about customer service!  Maybe she could teach a class at Verizon.  

hot towels

One more thing, the price was five dollars cheaper than my last manicure.  Guess who got a five dollar tip?

manicure
After the manicure!