Country Music Makes Me Cry

WHRO, our classical music radio station here in Hampton Roads, plays constantly in our  house. I tune to it in my car, hum along with the recurring themes, and win, more times than not, the classical music quizzes.

I have never been a fan of country music, but that’s not to say I don’t appreciate it. Certain times in my life I have found myself drawn to country. When we moved to San Antonio in 1980, it was such a foreign place to us, I wanted to drink in the flavor of our new city. I started listening to one of the many country music radio stations. My two favorite songs were “You Picked a Fine Time to Leave Me, Lucille” and “If You’re Going to Do Him Wrong Again,You Might As Well Do Him Wrong Again With Me.”

I finally outgrew my country craze and went back to my classical music. But recently, I’ve started listening to Emmylou Harris. Don’t know why. One of her songs which I play over and over is “Calling My Children Home.”

Country music is so plaintive, drawing out every loss and sorrow. It tugs at your heart.  My children all live far from us, and we don’t get to see them but two or three times a year. It’s been this way for years. Emmylou’s song grabs hold of the raw edges of my heartstrings and plucks away. These are some of the lyrics of her song:

“Back in the years with all together,
Around the place we’d romp and play.
So lonely now and oft’ times wonder,
Oh will they come back home some day.”

“I’m lonesome for my precious children,
They live so far away.
Oh may they hear my calling…calling..and come back home some day.”

I can listen to that song over and over again as tears stream down my face. I’ll make myself a cup of tea as I hear Emmylou’s sweet twang. The tea isn’t always enough to stem the flood, so I will add a few biscotti (Sorry, Darling, I didn’t save any for you. I was too sad). Sometimes I need to pour myself a glass of wine. Or two. Wine is always best with cheese. Or dark chocolate. I try not to cry into my chocolate chip cookie dough–oh, did I mention cookie dough is fab with cab?–because I don’t want to make it soggy.

I’ve added a few pounds lately since Emmylou has taken up residence. I suppose I could turn that durn song off. Or maybe I could just retitle this blog post, “Country Music Makes Me Fat.”

Listen to this at your own risk.

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Toward a Realistic Body Image

I had weighed nearly the same for decades. No matter what I ate, how much or how little I exercised, my weight didn’t fluctuate more than a pound or two. Even when middle age hit and my hormones went on permanent vacation, the needle on the scale stayed the same.  I was  satisfied with what it said.

Why, then, when middle age is a distant memory, has my body decided  to sock away some extra pounds? I could understand if I were in my forties or fifties. But with seventy  looming in three and a half years, I am crying, “Foul!”

If all the extra weight were evenly distributed, I could live with that. I could get new clothes and feel stylish. But the poundage has settled in one area: not north of the equator—which would be much appreciated—or south of the equator, but totally at the equator. If I buy new clothes to fit the equator, the rest of me will be swimming in them. I’ve taken to wearing my husband’s shirts to cover zero degrees latitude.

I used to look at other women’s bodies at the gym and pick one I wanted to model myself after. The young women leaving the body-sculpting boot camp class always inspired me. I’ve become more realistic lately.  I look for women with more mature bodies and aim for that look.

Yesterday, in yoga class, I saw a woman with the perfect body for me. She was sleek and toned. However, she did have the slightest pooch to her stomach. Granted, she just had a baby. But, hey, I just had three children. A little while ago. It takes time to get back in shape.

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My Best Friend, Dave

My time is running out, and I’m beginning to panic. When I bought my most recent computer, I purchased a year’s worth of one-to-one sessions with a techie to help me with things I didn’t understand. You would think that I would require fewer and fewer of these sessions, but  the opposite is true. The closer I get to the end, the more questions I have. Just when I think I’ve got a handle on one of the computer applications, Apple decides to update it. Nothing works the same way anymore, and I can’t figure out what I’m supposed to do.

For example, iPhoto no longer exists. It is now called Photo. How could the removal of a little “i” cause such chaos? I have three separate photo libraries–make that had–which I could switch between at will. The dropdown menu gave me the choice. When I updated to Photo, that option disappeared. With the help of Dave at the Apple Store yesterday morning, I was able to find my three libraries again, but accessing them wasn’t as easy anymore, and my default library had changed without my permission.

I’ve thought of never doing another update, but sometimes you have no choice because something else won’t work until you do. I think this is all a scheme to get me to buy another year with Dave.

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Engaging My Inner Smile

I have a love-hate relationship with yoga. I love how my body feels when it’s over, but I hate all the work I have to go through first in order to feel that way. If I’m going to put in all that effort, I want the experience to be everything it’s supposed to be. And that means I don’t want to be disturbed during class.

Yoga is a meditative affair as well as a physical one. It engages the entire self, mind and body. The episode is incomplete if one of those two things is not engaged. During our session, our yoga teacher constantly brings us back to our inner self to “check in” with how we are feeling. She stresses that we need to be in the here and now and drive all other thoughts away.

Our class starts at 10:45 a.m. sharp. By 10:55 we are deeply in the zone. We have cleared our minds of distracting thoughts and are absorbed in our practice–and then this woman disturbs us by coming in late. Every time.

We have a large class, and I always get there early to claim my spot in the last row, nearest the door. That spot is like my pew in church. It has my name on it. Last week this woman came in late as usual and couldn’t find an empty spot. She had the gall to squeeze next to me where there clearly was no room. I felt suffocated. Claustrophobic.

The next time she came, she tried to do the same thing.

“You can’t put your mat there,” I said. “It’s blocking the door.”

She looked at me with disdain, as if I could possibly tell her what to do.

“Fire code,” I added.

“Oh!” she said sheepishly and moved.

Today at 11:00, after we had done a strenuous warm-up, our teacher told us to close our eyes and engage our inner smiles. As my insides were smiling, I heard the door handle rattle. Uh, oh. The door was locked. Someone must have accidentally pushed the button on the doorknob when they closed the door at the start of class. I assure you it wasn’t me.

A few seconds went by and the door rattled again. No, I was not mistaken. Someone was definitely trying to get in. The perpetually latecomer was seeking entrance. I peeked at my compadres, and they were deeply engaged in their inner smiles. A few more seconds went by, and the person rattled the doorknob again. Since I was closest to the door, I should have let that person in. My inner smile was turning into a frown.

I was about to get up and unlock the door–I really was!–but the rattling finally stopped. Problem solved.

My inner smile was matched by my outer one.

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Color My World

My husband and I were on our way home from visiting my brother and sister-in-law this weekend when I asked my husband if he had remembered the items my brother left for us on the dresser.

“Yes, I put them in the blue bag.”

“Blue bag?” I asked. “What blue bag?”

“You know. The bag we put our clothes in.”

“Do you mean the lavender bag?” I shook my head.

“Is that what you call that color?”

No, my husband is not colorblind. Not in the traditional sense of the word. But he is limited by his maleness to knowing only the simplest names of colors.

I know this narrow color vocabulary is not true of all men. However, I’m willing to bet it describes the majority. Things are either blue, green, red, yellow, brown, black, or white. How many times have you heard a man use the words mauve or teal? My husband  says he also knows gray.

Last weekend we finished painting our living room. If you ask me what color it is, I will tell you it is an extremely light shade of celadon or cucumber. My husband will tell you it’s green.

When we were at my brother’s, I had the pleasure of playing with my two-year-old grandnephew.  I asked him what color his pajamas were.

“Gween,” he said.

“What color is Grandpa’s shirt?”


“What color is Uncle George’s shirt?”


If I don’t intervene soon, this little guy will be as colorblind as his great uncle. But if I get to spend enough time with him, I expect this to be his response to my questions in a year:

“What color are your jammies?”

“They are Kelly green, Aunt Toosie (his name for me), with a touch of cyan. And Grandpa’s shirt is a lovely shade of citrine with cadmium overtones on the collar.”

I have a lot of work to do.

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Decisions, Decisions

Our Hammacher Schlemmer catalog came in the mail this week, and I’m having trouble deciding what to buy. I don’t have unlimited resources, so I need to be selective. I’ve narrowed it down to three items. Maybe you can help me choose.

First up is the Fish Catching RC Boat. It is a 17-inch remote-controlled boat that can catch up to a 2-pound fish. It has prerigged tackle that secures to the boat’s faux engine. You stand on shore and direct the boat back and forth over the area you want to explore. When a fish is caught, you bring the boat back to shore with the remote controller and snag it and the fish with the provided grappling hook. Couldn’t be simpler–except maybe if you sat on the shore with a fishing pole. But where’s the fun in that?

The next item I’m considering is the high-definition camera drone. It captures pictures and video from up to 300 feet away. The images are saved on a 2GB microSD card. Is that cool or what? Think of the possibilities. I could keep an eye on what’s going on in my neighborhood. Make sure everyone’s on the up and up.  If they’re not, I’d have video to expose their nefarious activities. Of course, that SD card can get erased–for a price. It’s not too early to start my Christmas fund. I wonder if this technology is something the government would be interested in?

What about the smartphone controlled electric skateboard? A person’s leg must get awfully tired propelling that skateboard forward. Brilliant idea to make an electric skateboard.  I’m sure it’s perfectly safe maneuvering around pedestrians and through busy intersections while looking at your smartphone. It’s not like you’re driving a car.

The item my husband wants to get for me is the bug vacuum. It can vacuum 24 crickets in 15 seconds. Then what?

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These Shoes Were Made for Walkin’

My favorite picture of me and my mother and me.  Click to enlarge.

My favorite picture of  my mother and me. Click to enlarge.

Last week my mom and I were having a conversation about shoes.  My mom has always been a lover of shoes.  Not quite with Imelda Marcos exhuberance, but had Dad been a richer man, maybe a close rival. Because my mother has such a narrow foot, she has always had to wear very expensive shoes. Only expensive shoes come in AA with a AAAA heel. In fact, when she was growing up in a small town in Kentucky, her father had to drive all the way to Lexington to find shoes that would fit her.

My mother can wear high heels and wear them well, something I have never been able to do. I am a flats girl all the way. Her shoes are always in fashion, yet classic, and she has a zillion different colors that go with every outfit. I have a black pair, some sandals and flip flops, a pair of sneakers, and am desperately in need of something brown.

Anyway, in our conversation, my mother said she wished that with all the shoes she owned, she had some that were truly comfortable. I told her about my SAS shoes and had her try them on. Though I tightened the straps as tight as I could, they fell off her tiny feet, but she marveled at how comfortable the footbed was. I told her that I would make sure I found her a comfortable pair, a pair that would become her favorite. I was looking forward to going shopping with her, just the two of us girls together.

Then the alarm clock rang and I woke up. My mother has been dead for twenty-one years, so this, of course, was a dream. But it felt so real, and it stood out because I rarely dream about my mother. I woke up with a smile because being with her had seemed so real and felt so good. Then it made me miss her even more.

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