I hate winter in the Bay Area. It’s dreary, wet and cold. It’s not the exhilarating cold of the East Coast wrapped up in a furry coat of snow or the sparkling dry cold of a Tahoe or Aspen ski run. It’s just damp and depressing weather day after day. It’s how seasonal affective disorder got it’s name– it’s just SAD, SAD, SAD. Not to mention it’s dark early these days.
I’ve upped my vitamin D. We’re running full spectrum lights around the house and I’m dreaming of a winter getaway to sun-soaked Mexico where the mojitos and guacamole never end. But meanwhile, I look out my window, pull my sweater tighter and brace for my dark and rain-soaked, high traffic commute. The only saving grace is a fabulous book on tape that is keeping me company for 30 cds worth (that’s a month of commuting). I’m listening to Ken Follett‘s thrilling opus: Pillars of the Earth. When I compare medieval monastic life in Olde England‘s cold and dank climes to my rainy S.F. Bay life, I gain both a literary escape and a reality reminder to quit my whining. It could be worse!
My friend G brought up a great topic on our Sunday walk. Can we all agree not to talk about our aches/pains and parent issues at our social gatherings? Her last dinner party seemed particularly focussed on talking about losing parents, recovering from surgeries, elder care issues etc. “We don’t want to become the crotchety seniors we always complained about.” Agreed.
What’s new in our lives these days is not always fun/good stuff but we don’t need to wallow in the bad stuff, either. Despite that, we’re still capable of cooking and sharing great meals, going out to movies, taking interesting trips, enjoying the new pleasures of our adult children, etc. Talking about my sore knee won’t make it feel better but talking about The King’s Speech which we saw last night triggered so much more interesting conversation about contemporary politics, history, war, overcoming adversity and, the movie’s staggeringly good performances.
So, let’s button up on the bitch & moan and let’s grace our friends and family with scintillating conversation, new ideas and shared humanity.
My dear friend N has glossy grey locks, a smokin hot body, a curious mind and lives and works on a spiritual path. She’s only improved with age. In just the years since turning 50, she’s become a mountain hiker & biker, a global trekker, a yoga powerhouse and a professional healer. She’s nobluehair and so this shout out is to Miss N. Keep on dancing to your own music and inspiring us all. Who are the nobluehairs in your life? Give them a shout out here.
I have followed Amy Gross, editor extraordinaire since I was 15 so I’m guessing she’s a wee bit older than me. But her clever writing in Mademoiselle & Glamour magazines captured my young imagination. She was a big city girl whose humor & wisdom jumped the pages. Later she moved on to Vogue and then to Oprah’s O Magazine which she recently left. Everywhere, Amy left her literary mark and everywhere I followed her writing and her editorial impact. And then, today, I saw her article on meditation in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living Magazine. She has dedicated over a decade to trying to get meditation right a and is a vigorous propoent. I still can’t figure out how to quiet my mind enough to sit still for meditation. But Amy makes it sound reasonable, good & doable, and she’s been having that effect on me for decades. Write on, Amy Gross.
I vacillate between obsessively staring at and pinching my falling face to imagine if surgery can save it or avoiding mirrors altogether and being thankful my vision (and my husband’s) isn’t as sharp as it used to be. Gravity may be what holds us on the planet but it’s also dragging our bodies down to earth. We saw the flick Black Swan yesterday, revealing the great insecurity and short shelf life of ballerinas and the sheer amount of time they spend staring at themselves in studio mirrors. I found myself fixating on the older ballerina Beth who was destroyed by the limelight moving on as well as by the tortured relationship Natalie Portman,the prima ballerina, had with her reflection. The looking glass doesn’t just reflect, it distorts and affects.
I don’t have a pithy solution to this daily mirror, mirror on the wall conflict we face with our faces. Guess I’ll continue to manually imagine a professional nip and tuck or avoid and duck so long as this fleshly body continues on its gravitational journey. Where am I headed? South, apparently!
Clearly, the evening news is no longer America‘s dinner companion. After all, who gets home at 5:30 anymore & anyhow? And if you Tivo the news it as we do, you are mercifully spared the commercials for mechanized wheelchairs, urinary leakage and dental glue. That’s the new Nightly News demo..seniors and the infirm. Like everything else, our national news is now parsed by partisan opinion. MSNBC for progressives, FOX for Tea Partiers and CNN for the undecided. I feel bad for Diane, Katie and Brian. They’re a long way from being our era’s Cronkite, Brinkley and Brokaw. But I’m more sad that we are so far away from being the united country that once shared powerful news moments together …on a common screen and with a common voice.
After shopping, cooking and cleaning for 17 people this Thanksgiving, I’ve actually learned a few things:
1. You don’t need to do it all. Family will help if you ask.
2. Leftovers are better in concept than reality.
3. Freeze the carcass. Make yummy soup some cold winter weekend. You’ve done enough.
4. Despite days & hours of prep, the eating part still takes only an hour.
5. I’m grateful I still have the energy for this and also grateful that a new generation will be cooking Thanksgiving in the future. Hopefully, they will also agree that real plates are better than paper.