Mean Girls, I Had a Friend — A Rebellious Retiree

My dad died of cancer when I was twelve years old. Who knows what kind; bladder, pancreatic, who cares. I just remember being a young girl, scared, going every fucking night and sitting in the “solarium” “white room” as I was too young to go into visit my “dying daddy”. Twelve, no brother nor sister, […]

via Mean Girls, I Had a Friend — A Rebellious Retiree

Mean Girls, I Had a Friend

My dad died of cancer when I was twelve years old. Who knows what kind; bladder, pancreatic, who cares. I just remember being a young girl, scared, going every fucking night and sitting in the “solarium” “white room” as I was too young to go into visit my “dying daddy”. Twelve, no brother nor sister, an only child. Where the fuck was the pastor, the neighbor, the friend, not even my grieving mother to console me, where the fuck was anyone? I wanted him dead…and what power I felt when the hospital called, “he’s dead” What power….

I remember the morning, a very early phone call from the hospital. “Mrs. West, your husband has passed”. I had a friend over spending the night. That phone call came; then a phone call from my mother to my friend’s mother, “come pick up your daughter, Patty’s daddy has died”. “Yay!! The drunk, falling all over me grabbing his drunk penis asshole is dead!!!”

Where the fuck did she go??? My friend? I know where my dad went, his sorry ass is in a hole in CA somewhere. Did we go to school together? I don’t even remember how we met. I think maybe we went to the same church. She was my friend and I treated her like shit. I do know that we went to Haydock Junior High together. I would pass her in the halls and act like I did not know who she was. WHAT A SHIT!!! She was there the morning of my father’s passing, the most important phone call, I should have clung to her but no. She was there at one of the most intimate experiences of my life and I chose to later treat her like shit…

Where are you now, Sheila Brown? I just want to tell you that I am so sorry..

Oh my gawd, what did I do!!!

I really am not doing very well with this blogging thing. And it is not for lack of topics to discuss. As there is a constant chatter of conversation going on with myself in my head.

Like I could write about my 80 pound gimpy lab who found us during one of our violent Florida thunderstorms, who was emaciated, ended up having heart worms and now has two blown out knees requiring surgery. He’s also deathly afraid of thunderstorms. I now take him on our walks pulling him in his Radio Flyer wagon. Do we really want to spend that kind of money on an old stray having two blown out knees repaired? Of course we will.

Or I could write about the 3 mile walks my best friend and I take on Tuesday mornings which will end once it starts getting too hot. We are blessed with many trails in our area, Rails to Trails, McKay Estates, so we choose a place to go, walk and bitch.

Then there is the love affair I have with my iPhone, “Hello, Lover,” as Carrie Bradshaw crooned over a pair of shoes on Sex in the City, is how I feel about my phone. It can keep me amused for hours, especially now that I have nothing to do. Silly little games…. Excuse me a minute, my son just texted, more snow in Breckenridge!!! We are trying to plan a trip but so much snow. Oh yeah, I could write about how the trip, flying to Denver, see the family, and rent a car taking Route 66 to California.

Or about my pastor preaching about the Seven Deadly Sins during Lent. What’s his point?????

See, I have a lot to work with, not that any of it matters to anyone, really, it is just that the ADD/OCD will not allow me to sit down a write…

Okay, so getting to my point. I have always enjoyed working out, well I can’t say I enjoy it, I think it is more of an insecure body image thing and now that I am older, it really has become a thing. Step aerobics, I even made my ex husband go to Jane Fonda’s studio in Beverly Hills back in the 80’s!!! Four years of Cross Fit, no problem climbing a rope. But the year that I had my shop, I really allowed myself to let the working out go by the wayside. After closing, getting back into shape has been one of my goals. I was going to a little “preview center” to do my own workout, waiting for the big new gym to open, but I am a procrastinator and I need structure so I joined a new Cross Fit type gym just to do the boot camp a couple days a week until I feel ready to get back into Cross Fit. So, my schedule is: Monday, Friday: Boot Camp, Tuesday: Walk with Girlfriend, Wednesday, Rest Day, Thursday: Pilates. Ouch…..remember I am 62.

Well, my OCD schedule got screwed up so I decided to go to Boot Camp on my rest day, Wednesday. I was very sore waking up Thursday morning but thought that Pilates would help and it did, we did a lot of stretching that day which was good. Then came Thursday evening. I had purchased tickets to see The Commander Cody Band, but more so to see our long time friends “Fat Frank & The Plank Spankers”. More of us baby boomer refusing to grow up; they are awesome! And then who do I see, my Pilates instructor just looking like she was ready to cut a rug, so I told my husband, who dances like a white boy, that I was going to to dance with her. Walking up front I see the daughter of one of the band members and asked her if she wanted to dance also! We have known this darling girl since childhood, she is now in her 30’s and while silly dancing I am remembering that she went to high school at the School of Arts for dance and is a yoga instructor… we have 30, 40 and 60 on the floor, having a jam up time. It was so much fun, at the time, but Friday rolled around and this old lady could barely get out of bed.

Yesterday, ouch, was spent dozing, playing with my lover, iPhone, and watching recorded television. It was a gusty, overcast kind of a day so no guilt. Much better today. Time to help husband in the yard.

Oh yeah, then there is the girlfriend’s lunch I have started every other Friday, I could write about or one of the Foundations of Blogging lessons was to find a blog that you related to and I found “When Guts Attack”, “The good, the bad, the steroids”. I have plenty to write about colitis and auto-immune disorders since I am plagued with a host. It’s all in my head and will someday show up on a blog. I promise……

My Thoughts on This Day

Today is March 8th. “International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8 every year. It commemorates the movement for women’s rights. The earliest Women’s Day observance was held on February 28, 1909, in New York and organized by the Socialist Party of America.” I took this from Wikipedia.

Shame on me….I was not even aware of “International Working Women’s Day” until recently. I guess I was too busy working, “for the man.” This past week I have asked several women in my tribe if they were not going to go to work, stay home, do nothing. They had not heard of such a thing, work is too important, people are expecting us to show up. They must not read The Huffington post. I even looked on a website to see if there were any protest, marches in our area and there were none unless, again, they did not make it to the website in which The Huffington Post directed me. Me, I am now retired and can do whatever I want. So, instead of tending to my home I am writing this blog. I will not neglect the dogs, they would not understand and husband is in Tallahassee politicking so no dinner this evening. I need to ask him if anything is going on at the Capital.

To my thoughts….I remember the Women’s Movement of the 60’s. We had powerful women speaking out, Angela Davis, a professor at the University of California. She was the leader of the Communist Party, USA and very involved with the Black Panthers. She is quoted as saying “I am A Black Revolutionary Woman” (1971)
Then there was Gloria Steinem who was head of the Women’s Movement in the late 1960’s to 1970′. She was a journalist for the New York Times and co- founder of Ms. Magazine. I remember a time we demanded to be called Ms. We were neither Miss or Mrs, Ms. She remains strong in her beliefs as she spoke at the recent Women’s Movement. I am sitting here contemplating who our strong activist leaders are of today. Some would say Hillary Clinton, maybe, certainly not Madonna. I have jokingly made the comment that if you have not watched “Mad Men” then you need to, to get a reality check of how women in the workplace were treated. “We have come a long way, baby”. That was a slogan for a Virginia Slim commercial! Then there was that Hane’s pantyhose commercial about gentlemen preferring Hanes!! Oh, man…..

I was looking at one of the posters a woman was carrying at the New York march and it read equality for all, equal pay, stop the violence. I believe all this and more. I would have added, “keep your hands out of my skirt” maybe she did not have enough room on her poster. I am a Christian woman, or should I say a follower of Jesus, and I am pro-choice. Not pro-abortion but pro-choice. Women are going to get an abortion one way or another and I would rather them go to a clean sterile clinic than some back alley somewhere. I did tell my husband if they took that right away I was moving to some other country. I mean it too! He feels we need to do a better job as Christians, I offered up our 3 spare bedrooms to house young mothers to be, he didn’t say much afterwards.

Equality in pay; maybe I should ask my female gynecologist if she makes less than her male counterpart. Oh, right, she doesn’t have one she owns her own practice. I was telling my husband that the male actors of The Big Bang Theory, which I don’t watch, I think it is silly, had given up 20 percent of their salary so that the women of the show could share equal pay. How noble of them, I wondered out loud why they had not done that ten years ago. And again, husband has an opinion. If Jim Parson were not the lead character of the show would as many people turn in to watch Kaley Cuoco? He then stated that he deserves to make more, he’s the reason people watch the show. I don’t know but he has a point!!!

I was a bit confused about the “violence” part of her poster. I am aware that bad stuff happens to women every single day, and it is sickening. I do think that we have evolved a bit, when we were young, it was “it must have been your fault.” Heaven forbid we try and put the bastard in jail, “if you had not worn that skirt so short it would not have happened”. Today, I know that rape and abused women are treated with much more compassion by law enforcement with special training being mandatory. My heart goes out to women in the Middle East that are still murdered by their husbands for some minor infraction, or the women of Africa that are sexually mutilated in order to keep them unequal. That will be my march…..

There is a story in the Old Testament, Numbers 25:10 – 30:1 that tells of The Daughters of Zelophehad. There were five daughters and no brothers. The father dies and at the time the women had no right to the land. These sisters boldly went to Moses and demanded their land. Moses took the dilemma to God and God changed the law forever. Women, continue to make history!

Rock on, sista!

Our Daily Bread

I can’t say that baking is my “passion” as it can be quite laborious at times, especially now that my autoimmune disease has plagued me with arthritis as well as several other disorders. I am old school, even though my husband bought me a beautiful Kitchen Aid for Christmas, I choose to mix and knead by hand. When I had my shop I was blessed with loyal employees who did not mind baking and so I gladly passed the responsibility on to them. What did bring me great joy was that look of complete bliss on a customers face as they consumed one of our many yummy treats. We had one woman that insisted that we make her fresh, warm chocolate chip cookies. We kept dough in the fridge and made our cookies in small batches so it was easy to do for her. We later figured out that she was taking the cookies to her grandchildren and telling them that she had made them!

One day a member of the church we attend came into the shop. Sweet older woman, not 5 feet tall and does not weigh 100 pounds, and with such an incredibly soft voice she tells me that she makes her own bread. I replied, “that’s nice, I enjoy making bread myself”. She then tells me that I did not understand, that she grinds the grains herself to make her bread. Well, this piqued my interest as I had never heard of anyone doing such a thing. “What”!! She told me that I was more than welcome to come to her house and I took her up on her offer. She has converted her laundry room into her grain room. Buckets and buckets of all varieties of grains. And, on a table sits her grain mill. She is part of a grain co-op having grains delivered four times a year. She had already made an Ezekiel Fasting Bread and we were going to make brownies together. The bread was amazing the brownies not so much as she does not use sugar. Gotta have that drug….

We held Bake Camp during the summer. One week in June, July and August, two hours, three days a week, twice a day. We tried to limit the camp to just 8 kids, but you know how that goes; “can you fit in just one more”? They were hugely successful, waiting list and all. The very first class was bread baking. We made a bread using yeast and one without. We did science experiments with food, this class was about how yeast works. My friend was gracious enough to come to the bread baking class and share with the kids about how flour is made. She brought a chaff of wheat and her grains and miller. The kids had absolutely no idea where flour came from. The grocery store!!! They were amazed! When parents heard that I was closing the shop I got many emails asking about Bake Camp! As with baking, it brought me great joy seeing the kids having so much fun but what a job!!

I have another friend who owns a juice bar and has recently moved into a larger location. I told her about my friend and her grains and she asked if I could make her some bread. Well, I don’t have any grains and I couldn’t ask grain friend if I could buy some of hers so I asked her where I could get them, quickly, and she said Whole Foods. Well, we have no Whole Foods in our town so this required a rode trip. Apparently, we do not have enough highly educated citizens to merit a Whole Foods. Legoland, yes, Whole Foods, no. We are about 30 minutes from Disney World and, of course, Orlando has a Whole Foods, it’s actually a tourist destination. I overheard a group of women exclaiming excitedly that there were tomatoes in the grocery store!! Would someone please tell me where they could have possibly been from that they could not get tomatoes in the grocery store. Grain friend asked if she could go with me and I am so glad she did as I would have been lost without her.

So, I had to take grains to friends house as I do not own a grain mill, yet. And I made the bread yesterday. Husband thought it was good, took it to juice friend today and gave some to my Pilates instructor, she passed it around and everyone thought it was good. Today, as soon as I get off this computer, I will begin the three day process of making Spelt Croissants. We will see how that goes.

Amazing Grains

Glittery, not…..

Here it is Monday, again. I check my iPhone calendar and nothing, until Saturday, and that is a wedding for one of my husband’s employees. Yikes, I need to get some kind of life. Well, the sun is making the pool deck and pool glitter. It is quite beautiful out. My 80 pound lab is loving it. Oh, he is standing at the screen door. He must need to use the facilities. Excuse me, obligations, jeez.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a stabbing pain in my jaw. Is it sinus or a tooth? Guess I could call either the dentist or the PA, or take an aspirin and hope it goes away. Go back to bed and binge watch “This is Us” but it is too lovely a day.

Blame It on the Rock & Roll

From the Velvet Underground

Jenny said
When she was just five years old
There was nothing happening at all
Every time she puts on a radio
There was a nothin’ goin’ down at all,
Not at all
Then one fine mornin’
She puts on a New York station
You know, she couldn’t believe
What she heard at all
She started dancin’
To that fine fine music
You know her life
Was saved by rock ‘n’ roll
Despite all the amputations
You know you could just go out
And dance to a rock ‘n’ roll station

It was my mother’s fault, actually.  I came home from school one day and our little black and white TV was on, my mother watching American Bandstand!  “What is this?” I asked.  She had it on wanting to know what the Twist was.  I was hooked and still am.  From then on it was my tiny transistor radio underneath my pillow at night playing until the battery ran out or my dad yelling at me to turn that off!

Oh my, and then I discovered Soul Train on Saturday mornings.  Exotic thin black people with their perfectly groomed Afros and matching polyester jump suits dancing single file showing off their individual moves.  Mesmerized and hooked was I.

I grew up in sunny California in between Santa Monica and Santa Barbara close to Silver Strand Beach.  We lived right next door to a black family.  They had a daughter the same age as me and she was my best friend.  I thought nothing of it at the time, more on that  later.  Anyway, I was allowed to go see James Brown with my best friend and her family.  I was probably ten and the only white kid, person, there.  The show was being held in the back of a restaurant in the Wagon Wheel section of Oxnard.  It was a dried up river bed.  I just remember standing on our old 60’s cars watching James Brown gyrate across the stage, never giving a thought to being the only white kid, person in the crowd.

My dad passed when I was twelve.  We moved away from that neighborhood and I pretty much lost my best friend.  It was during the time of the Watts Riots and I guess it was not cool for black and white kids to hang out; I just thought she did not like me anymore.  I became a very sad melancholy teenager; the times were so tumultuous with racial tensions and the Vietnam War, scary trying to survive in a California high school.  Joni Mitchell became my go to girl.  “River”, “The Last Time I Saw Richard” “California” “You Turn Me On, I’m a Radio”.  She knew my pain and she could say what I could not.

Teenage years were full of drugs sex and rock and roll.  I think back now of the musicians we saw, living in sunny California that no one else even knew about yet;  Jimi Hendrix in a tent in Santa Barbara, Johnny Lee Hooker in some dive, Little Richard one New Year’s Eve. And the Moody Blues at the Los Angeles Forum.  Oh yeah, let’s not forget the mini Woodstock featuring Earth, Wind and Fire. Our “New York Station” was KMET in Los Angeles with Eddie Rabbit crooning over the airwaves with that country cowboy twang.  I look back on all those “good times” and have to believe it was my mother’s prayers that got me through.

And now, music is still so important to me, but it is different.  If I do not recognize a song I am hearing I can lift up my iPhone and Shazum will identify it for me.  I have my Pandora and Spotify apps, I can listen to any type music I want.  I have Sirius in my car, no commercials for this girl. I live in sunny Florida now and  have already purchased my tickets to see Commander Cody, “Hot Rod Lincoln” next month at our local venue with a very dear friend opening.  Can’t wait, no drugs, though.

Think it is time to turn on some tunes.  I hear Dwight Yoakam calling my name.