Friday, February 23, 2007

Not Much of a TV Fan....But

Only last year around November, when I returned home from the Catskills, did I turn on the television one evening--Tuesday? Wednesday? and got hooked.

I'm talking about "American Idol." As I wait anxiously each week for another segment, I examine my taste in television. I'm a mystery fan, but few of the detective shows interest me. I enjoy the History Channel, Discovery, but why, all of a sudden, am I involved in kids auditioning for a place on Idol? Education...that's the only answer I can think of.

I was a high school teacher for nearly 30 years and traveled with my students of Spanish to Mexico for one or two weeks each year. I loved and appreciated these kids, showing them a different culture, teaching them the history of Mexico. Spain and South America. And I thoroughly enjoyed the new method I used enabling them to speak and understand Spanish within six weeks. I enjoyed seeing them excel in this language, in their lives. I had hoped they'd be travelers in their adult life as a result of classroom learning.

So I think watching "American Idol" allows me to cheer the talented young people who become a part of the show endeavoring to achieve the goals they set for themselves. I'm horrified at the some of the early losers who used profanity to express their idea of the unfairness of the judges decisions and demanded a second chance. Where did these kids grow up? Didn't their parents teach them that losing was a part of life? Who gave them the authority to believe that they're entitled to be the next "American Idol"?

Entitlement is not a part of "American Idol." Entitlement needs to be overhauled and many young people should learn that to get somewhere one has to pick oneself up after being knocked down. It was heartening to see a number of earlier years' losers who were auditioning again, having learned to improve their singing.

School hasn't been a part of my life for over 10 years. I still have a tightening of the throat when I hear a high school band play, see local talent in plays and shows, hear a debate between schools. I see in them the future of my community, my state, my nation.

So if I keep my television set on Fox Tuesday and Wednesday nights, I know I'm seeing a show devoid of crime, sex and vulgarity. Why would I want to change channels?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Impending Appointment

You might say I'm in the last 1/4 of my life. I really want to live to be 120, but I may only get to 100--if I watch my diet, weight, visit my doctor annually, get the necessary bone density and other tests, avoid accidents,I should meet my goal.

I'm preparing for the next doctor's appointment. In order to appear interested in my body, I'm now in a Pace program at the fitness center. Sort of. I've only been in it two weeks. There are only four machines I can exercise on without damaging my arthritic fingers, my miniscus in the left knee, and my body when general fatigue hits me after 30 minutes of work. That is when I feel "OLD". After Pace I hit the water (well, that's too strenuous to state. "Walk into the water" is more like it.) and work steadily for ten minutes, exercise slowly while I catch up on the news of my fellow water sprites, then out of the water in ten more minutes. If I reveal this information to my doctor, it will seem I'm not serious about exercising.

I can hear hear her questions, my answers, and my thoughts at my March appointment:

Do you exercise daily? Yes(when I think of it.)
Are you walking daily? Yes(when I go from one side of the house to the other.)
Are sweets a part of your routine eating? Of course not! (I don't eat candy now, cookie craving is slowing down, and I eat an ice cream sandwich occasionally.)
Do you realize how much weight you are carrying? Yes(But I don't think I'm fat! Just a tad big around the waist, and the hips, and the thighs.)
Do you drink sodas? Rarely (But I have to have a Coke occasionally!)
What size clothes are you wearing? What? That's not a doctor's question! (I hate to admit I used to be a size 8 and now a whopping 14!)
Hmm. I think you underestimate the necessity of eating correctly, exercising at least an hour a day, and going without sweets of any kind. Do you understand the importance? Yes'sum (I solemnly swear to do my exercises at least three times weekly-and drink water every time I crave a sweet.)

I dread the annual doctor's appointment, but if I work hard to have good, solid answers to any question posed, I should get out of the office with little admonition.

It's not my entire fault that I'm bigger around than 50 years ago. It's genetic.(No one will take that as an excuse.) OK, so my waist has an extra fold, my tummy difficult to suck in, my thighs glue to each other in summer heat--I still love me!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Latte, Please

The first time I saw people sitting at a table sipping coffee and reading was in a Boston book store over 20 years ago. I thought to myself then, why don't we have those in my hometown? Can a person bring a book into the shop, open it and read all day? How many coffees or teas must one drink to keep the table?

Next time I saw coffee drinkers not in a restaurant was in Seattle. At that time Starbucks was in its infancy. There were those little shops for take outs only with small tables outside for lingerers.Seattle was also the first place for coffee take outs, too. August being the best month to be outdoors in this city,I saw more folks chatting over their java. I admired them and the time they had to sit, drink, and talk with friends. I know, Europe has had this tradition for eons. But not the South.

I've never sat anywhere chatting over coffee. By the time I married the neighborhood kaffeklatsch was nearly extinct. Coffee and chatting were usually after dinner in a restaurant. However, since lattes have come into existence, I can enjoy a cup here and there. But sit for hours and read or watch the world pass by? Never. Until Saturday night last.

Our oldest son, who is the only unattached male of his community of friends, spends hours on the weekends at a local coffee shop. Since our small community has grown, so has the increase of coffee shops. "Shop" sounds like the old fashioned cafes where one can get a quick breakfast or lunch with one's coffee. "House" may be a substitute.

After a Saturday of errands, we weren't ready to go home. R and I decided to try out the coffee place nearby. New Experience. We called our son and asked him to meet us and instruct us on the modern manner of sitting and drinking.

Luckily, this night a jazz trio played. As I said to R, "This is our music; we can sing along." This was not jazz, our son said, but then again, he doesn't know the jazz his dad and I grew up with. We ordered our drinks and after emptying the cups, we ordered a light supper of sandwiches. As the music drifted in and around the patrons, I relaxed and thought, "This is nice!Maybe we can make this a regular stop." We thought of all our friends who may enjoy accompanying us next time, giving us someone our age with whom to chat.

The three hours we spent at Java and Jazz was quite an introduction. Since Saturday I've tried to figure out when I can drop by with a friend, but other matters seemed more pressing. I just am not one to drop by for a cup of java. Unlike our son, I have to have a reason other than needing a caffeine fix. I refuse consider surfing the web while sipping, or read the latest mystery and slurp. I can do those activities at home (and prop my feet). But come this Saturday, March 3, I'm going to listen again to the jazz trio and order a large latte.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Weather...What Else is There to Talk About?

The central area of Mississippi isn't experiencing snow or weather that is considered "winter". We have lows in the 20's nights and highs daytime in 40's, but inconsistently. I have no idea what really cold weather is like, say in northeast NY, where the snow has compacted house roofs with over 9.5". If bad weather comes here in January or February (maybe every 10 years), it's usually in the form of an ice storm. And the natives in their cars may as well be novices on ice skates.

I'm beginning to believe that this area is quite a comfy place to live. The summers are as hot as those in Manhattan; the fall is warmer; and when cooler weather hits, it's around the time the state fair arrives in town--mid October. Then, like magic, the weather turns warm again, sometimes into December.

We have lots of rain. And unlike what I've seen in upstate NY where I live summers, we have mud puddles, water puddles. In the Catskills, the dirt is similar to loess, and water passes through the soil or runs along the base of trees, taking with it the precious grains that hold up massive pines.

Most of the state has good soil, except around Natchez, along the bluffs, where the loess is sliding into the Mississippi River by the inches. Some of the once beautiful homes, now only housing vagrants, sit perched on the bluffs, waiting for a thunder roll and a hard rain to push them into the river. One has to see the sights of these homes to realize the danger imposed by the soil. It's been said that part of downtown Natchez will eventually dump into Ole' Man River.

Weather used to be the topic for old folks only. Now we have a weather station to keep us appraised of changing climate. Weather used to be more predictable. Remember putting away your winter clothes and bringing out your summer ones? Not now.

There's something beautiful when the warmth surrounds us in the fall and a heavy rain pours out like salt from a shaker. It's a challenge to run into the open, raise your face to the heavens and feel first the sprinkle, then the force of drops, and finally the pouring rain that forces you onto the porch. Even the lightning that streaks across the sky is like a pen of silver ink scribbling warnings.
All this seems friendly, kind...until you're warned of an impending storm, perhaps one of tornadic proportions.

Weather has become a national crisis. How little we onlookers understand the exhaustion and frustration victims go through as result of losing their homes, their personal possessions, their...everything.

Let's not forget all those suffering from weather's torment as we squish through the snow, as we breathe in the freshness of a cold morning, as we run in a pouring rain to shelter. Better yet,read the following blog: http:\\

Monday, February 05, 2007

One Language I Can't Learn

Trying to conform to the new blogger standards, I run across Template. Shall I replace or keep the old one? I had difficulty with the old one, but, pray tell, what does all the mumbo-jumbo/gobblygook/ mean in the new Template? I can't even copy and paste a section without a warning telling me my HTML cannot be accepted!

Needless to say, I'm not into learning a new language at my age. I had difficulty with the template before a new one was introduced. I guess I'll have to be content with moose hill journal and wildside musings remaining with no blue line underneath. However, I hope you readers are checking those websites weekly.

With my computer tech son now engaged in wooing his girlfriend, setting up appointments with him to relieve my computer anxiety is like getting a date for surgery. So I'll just let Google know how confused a little ole' lady from Mississippi is, and maybe a simpler way of explanation will be printed.