Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Downer Hill Skiing

I recently visited the website of sillyswedishskier who sounded eerily like a younger version of me…I, too, like to peel things! And I am compelled to peek behind shower curtains at parties!

Except that she calls herself a skier. That’s where we part ways. Dramatically. In fact, just the word brings back traumatically suppressed memories….

Warning. This is long.

I’ve snow skied twice in my life. Once was in Nebraska, where I’m from, so it probably only counts as half. In Nebraska, you basically ski down into a giant hole. Since I didn’t have the slightest idea how to ski, I snapped on those contraptions and just went, thinking it would somehow come naturally. It didn’t. My legs were locked perfectly straight with fear, which makes you go really fast. I managed to stay upright due to the same force that kept my legs so rigid—sheer terror of falling. I had no idea how to stop, but the good thing about skiing into a big hole is that you automatically stop when you start to go up the other side.

So I had done that once in my early 20s and thought it was a good beginning.

Then in my late 20s, I moved to Denver for about three years. During that time I only skied once. It was enough. I went to Breckenridge with my friend Deb, who is also from Nebraska, but Deb had truly lost her ski virginity due to having skied on an actual mountain before. Whereas I had maybe only been felt up by one. Deb and I both got instructors, but hers was more advanced than mine.

In hindsight, I should have known that things were not going to go well when Deb got Jean-Claude as her instructor and I got Bob. (Note: These are actual, non-made-up names.)

Bob was proud of the fact that he could teach any beginner to ski. He kept telling me his statistic: “I’ve never been unsuccessful in teaching someone to ski!” I have to hand it to Bob, he stuck with me for a long time—even after he had to take away my poles because I narrowly missed impaling him—long, long after I begged him to stop. But even Bob eventually gave up and left me in a snow bank along with his former record and the shame of being the one person who had broken it.

The rest is sort of hazy because it was so traumatic that my brain actually blocked it out. I believe nuns were involved, or maybe that was my mind playing tricks on me, but I don’t think so, because my mind was too exhausted to actually make things worse. I do distinctly remember these smiley older women zipping past me, and when I would fall and flail about in the snow like a stranded June bug, they would stop long enough to help me up. That’s when I’m sure one of them told me that she and a few of the other sisters were on vacation from some convent in Iowa. But I also think she told me it was their first time skiing…and then she zipped off again. She was about 60.

The EVENT happened, I think, when I was getting off the lift. Or maybe trying to get on. The memory is gooey from the horror of it. I just remember not jumping at the correct time and getting stuck, and then getting tangled maybe, and somehow dropping like a lead weight. I do know that I landed on people. I also know that a little girl was one of the people I landed on, but I also know everyone assured me she was just fine and that there were no serious injuries! Really!—and I know for a fact no ambulances were called—but I also remember that it was scary for a while when they shut down the entire ski lift and had to untangle the big pile of people. Oh, the screams, the horror, the pandemonium.

Because of me.

So nuns were involved in the story, but not in the actual mayhem. I’m almost 100% sure they weren’t using the lift then because I don’t remember their smiley nun faces. Unless they were buried under the pile of human rubble. So at least 60% positive for sure.

But that’s really all I remember, other than searching for someplace that sold alcoholic beverages after that. I do know I never found a toasty ski lodge with a fireplace and cute guys in casts sipping hot buttered rum like you see on TV. I seem to remember a picnic bench, and beer. And I discovered that you can cry pretty effectively behind sunglasses as long as you wipe the tears when they escape from underneath and also if you are careful not to sob much.

What I remember most is vowing NEVER to ski again. My guess is the nuns prayed on it as well.

“In the foster home, my hair was my room.” ~Erin in “The Office”

Friday, July 30, 2010

Senior Sex(less) and the City: Episode #3

E-pologetic Guy asks you out by email. Okay, I get it, no one likes rejection. And frankly, it was great to discover after my divorce that courtship-by-email is much easier (for both parties) because you get time to think about the wording. So after I sent my “no, thank you, I’m not ready to date yet,” here came the email apologizing for not being clear. Did I think it was a date? He didn’t mean it as a date. It was just dinner! Because everyone has to eat, right? And he just thought I’d want to sit next to him at the same place and eat at the same time. So sorry; he certainly didn’t mean to offend! Excuse him for even suggesting such a thing! Really! Stupid me: I emailed back no problem. His response to that was so huffy that he practically came out and said it was a pity invitation, anyway, so there! ‘K, E-pologetic, I get it! You don’t like me! You really, truly don’t like me! Does this mean we can stop emailing now?

Next week: Episode #4, The Flaky Fake

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Totally Random Tuesday-Magic Words

Asking a friend how they are (in that sincere way that means it and listens for the answer) is like offering magic words, because the question itself is a gift. Whenever someone sincerely asks me that, I want to say, "Thanks to your question, I am cared about."

Friday, July 23, 2010

Senior Sex(less) and the City: Episode #2

Sporty Skimpster
“Sporty” is an older gentleman, and good for him for being in such great shape. The problem is that he wears shorts that are really short. No, I mean reeeeally short. As if that’s not bad enough, when Sporty climbs off his bike, the shorts remain in a seated position. You just know that at any moment, there’s going to be a spillage of junk in a catastrophe that rivals BP’s. It’s hard to talk face to face with Sporty because you’re just waiting for that avalanche to occur. Whoa—get back on that bike, Sporty! Wait, no, don’t do that, either! Sporty was, no doubt, a Speedo man 40 years ago. Or last week. There’s a male friend in my biking group who claims that older men should never wear spandex, either, but said friend also commented that my silver nail polish was the exact color of a Ford truck he used to own. Even though I later had trouble driving due to counting how many cars matched my fingertips (three), we won’t listen to him! Spandex is way better than the reeeeally short shorts because at least those macho man-girdles restrain the bits—perhaps a little too violently—to keep them from escaping into the great outdoors. Who cares if that shiny black pelvis-stocking would fit a Ken doll when he first took it off the hanger? Either way, to the Skimpster, sports are a chance to sport body parts that should be kept under wraps. And not Saran Wrap, either! Bigger wraps. Much bigger, roomier wraps.

Next week: Episode #3, E-pologetic.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Psst—Does This Make My Blog Look Substantial?

When I heard the news that I was going to be an official “Blogger of Note” (BON) at Words of Wisdom (WOW) today, I was flattered to think that anyone would consider anything I have to say to be substantial. WOW is right. BONs mots, moi??! For a while I was left positively typeless. Click the WOW link above or the typewriter link on the sidebar to get to this great place that helps “bloggers of substance” to find one another!

When you connect with a person through writing, you know you are the truest of kindred spirits. That’s what happened with the person who nominated me, Becky Povich. We first met through our writing, but Becky is one of those people whose warm, fun spirit shines though both in writing and in person. Now when we occasionally get together for a cup of coffee, we usually end up laughing so hard that coffee comes out our noses (well, okay, mostly mine). So thank you to Becky, who was a BON herself on Monday.

This blog has changed a lot since its inception, and it’s still changing. Life is like that, though, right? It was originally a way to help me connect with others who shared a particular set of difficult circumstances, but a funny thing happened. The more I launched my message that I will survive into the sea of blogdom, the easier it became to survive. We’re all, of course, surviving something. Sometimes we do it by being silly, and sometimes by being serious, and sometimes by just trying to figure it all out. That’s the art of being broken: as soon as we celebrate the brokenness, it ceases to be truly broken and becomes merely…art. Isn’t life wonderful?!

So now this blog is less about being broken and more about being silly and being serious and trying to figure it all out. It’s about the art, about writing. No, that’s not quite true…it’s about rewriting. It’s about taking a look at the poopy things in life and saying, I will rewrite this. Not rewrite it in a way that changes the truth or covers bad behavior, because that’s how evils are allowed to flourish in the first place. But rewrite it in a way that tries to find the art in it. Art that heals.

That’s the intent, anyway.

I’ve loved words as long as I can remember and have tried to embrace that love as long as I could grip a pencil. Even though my topics are all over the place, I’m trying to keep certain ones scheduled for certain days so that it’s easier to skip what doesn’t appeal to you. I hope you are, in some way, a kindred spirit.

Because it’s our link with one another that is the sea, the art, the hope, the healing, and the divine. Thank you for bothering to reach out, however briefly, and read my little message. Thank you for casting your own laughter and wisdom into the sea for me to find (and I cherish them!—just read the quotes). And thank you to Sandy and Pam for not only helping us to find one another, but for making my random, bobbing “bloggle”…oooh!...could it be??!! More substantial.

-Tammy (wish I knew how to do those cool signatures! I’m shamefully tech-challenged. So just imagine one, ‘k?)

WOW is a place for bloggers who enjoy reading and writing great content to find each other. ~Sandy and Pam, Words of Wisdom

Totally Random Tuesday-Rose

A rose by any other name will smell as sweet, sure. But if you give a rose a name like, say, “smick,” and you have a celebrity go on TV and say smicks are passé and tacky, and then you sell long stemmed smicks for 5 cents at the discount store, I guarantee you that sophisticated people will sneer at the ones who exclaim, “Yippee, cheap smicks!”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

And AFTER Them, Too

When I married, I wore white pearls. And when I divorced, I purchased a strand of black ones.

It was the only time I’ve ever bought myself better jewelry. It was an impulse. They were the perfect divorce gift. Although not usually a jewelry person, I love them and all that they celebrate.

There is nothing proper or pristine about them. They are neither trite…nor polite. They don’t stand at picket-fence-perfect attention or march virtuously across my skin. No Pearls of Innocence, these.

To me, they are smoky, exotic. They are sultry sunset-lustered and night-nacred. They are city lights in the rain. They are oil slicks on blacktop after a race. They are a Caribbean adventure. They are the sea just before sunrise. They are the anti-June Cleavers.

And they represent a promise to myself, my black pearls, that I will take me for better or for worse, that I will honor me all the days of my life. And that I will stay true to myself, always.

The simplest things are often the truest.~Richard Bach

Friday, July 16, 2010

Senior Sex(less) and the City-Episode #1

Welcome to my very first post in which I will showcase the various hot senior single men out there! Here we go…DRUM ROLL!...I will start off with this one that I’ll call:

Cool Dude

I’m not sure if he was trying to convey the image of international playboy or trying to get in touch with his imaginary inner black man. He went on and on…and on…about his various trips around the world. I couldn’t tell you about those, though, because my mind kept wandering to his ear. This overly white, 50-something man was sporting gangsta bling in one ear. Only on him it looked a little like he was affixing pieces of Great Aunt Esther’s mourning brooch to random body parts. He was probably a strawberry blonde back when he had a full head of hair. Now the places where the hair had vacated were getting sunburned to a disturbing shade of pink. Note to pink, fleshy men in your 40s and beyond: Nix the earring. Really. You do not look like a rapper dude. You look like a large, sweaty Muppet who’s maybe considering transvestitism but just isn’t willing to fully commit.

Next week: Episode #2, Sporty Skimpster.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Midsummer Night’s Magic

 Here in Missouri there is usually about a week around this time when the lilies and jasmines and phlox and alyssum all bloom at once (with a few other things thrown in), and the summer breeze waves like a gentle baton that orchestrates their various perfumes.

And then there are those magical few moments during summer twilights when the various scents of day and night briefly mingle just as the lightning bugs start to glow and the cicada rhythm pulses and the sky turns a rainbow of sunset-colors. When that time of year and that time of day happen to collide, there is a summer concert of senses so magical that life itself takes on an almost transcendent quality. I think these must be the midsummer’s eve moments of lore, as rare and fleeting and exquisite and uncapturable as fairies. All you can do is sit outside on a glider at twilight and just…breathe, trying to become one with it.

All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One. ~Black Elk, Lakota religious leader

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Totally Random Tuesday-Talk

Not only is talk cheap, but insincerity is a theft.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Senior Sex(less) and the City-Intro and Disclaimer

It’s coming, so prepare yourself. It’s—are you ready?—Senior Sex(less) and the City! Can you even imagine anything more exciting than reading about an older woman’s sadly sexless escapades as a single woman about town?!? I know! So hang onto those red hats, ladies, because I am about to put the KABOOM in boomer!!! That’s right—prepare to fan yourself with all that mail that the A.A.R.P. keeps sending me (and believe me, I have plenty to go around because they seem to be confused about my age—silly them!), because…wait, what was I saying? I lost my train of thought again. Oh, yes—it’s about to get HOT in here!

Or maybe that’s just a hot flash?

But first, a serious word. I’m sorry if it’s snarky of me to poke fun a bit. YES, I am aware that there is plenty to make fun of about me. And I have! And fear not, I will continue to do so. So I figure I’m covered there. Time to spread the joy around a bit!

Also. We’ve all heard the saying that there are “no good fish in the sea.” True, at my age that sea has shrunk to a very small dating pool. A wading pool, really, like the ones you had when your children were toddlers? That hold about 3” of warm, greenish water with some leaves and dead June bugs floating around, that the dog thinks is a big water bowl? That one. BUT as simple as Suess, there will always be good fish and bad fish—just fewer of them. So I certainly don’t mean to imply there are no good ones out there! And at some point I may just give those a nod.

But let’s face it, they’re just not as much fun to write about. And who wants to hear about normal?? So every Friday in the coming weeks (or maybe Saturday), I plan to showcase the various older single men I have met. There will be no quotes.

All righty then…enough for today! You have been forewarned!

Coming next week: Episode #1, Cool Dude.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Totally Random Tuesday-Writing

Writing, to me, is cheating. It’s like having a therapist you hope will pay you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

And Speaking of Signs

I have a teen and a young adult at home. We keep this dry erase board on the refrigerator to let each other know where we are, when we’ll be home, etc. My son and his friends think it’s funny. Wise guys.

At least no one said, “Went to the bathroom.”

Do Not Lock This Door! See Smaller Sign Below!
                   This Door Is To Be Kept Unlocked At All Times
~Sign seen hanging on a door at a local high school