Monday, December 27, 2004


The tsunami disaster is so huge, it's hard to wrap one's mind around it. It's like when someone talks about a billion's too big and it's very hard to relate to. You see the pictures on TV and you know this is a horrible, horrible thing. At the same time, unless you know someone there, you feel distanced from it. When there is a disaster, and they tell the number of Americans who died on the news, it can be infuriating, like they're saying that's what matters. I think the purpose, though, is to make it more real for people. I pay more attention to things that happen in the world now if I have, or have had, students from that country, or if I have visited that place. Also, because this was perpetrated by nature, not human beings, the sense of helplessness is compounded. There is no one to hunt down and punish. I guess all people can do is make some contribution towards disaster relief, or for the very bold, go and help with it.


Although this was a wonderful Christmas Eve/ Christmas (mostly), I'm glad it's over. I used to not want to take the decorations down after New Year's Day, but now I think I will put a few things away every day so it's not such a daunting and depressing task at the end of the holiday season. Because there is so much stuff, I think I can still maintain an air of festivity while still taking down some stuff each day. What I'm really dreading is seeing the credit card bill next month. Since my husband insists on paying it off every month, I'm anticipating a dreary January, in which I will have to eat healthy food, go to the gym regularly, and avoid shopping, movies at the theater, and restaurants. What kind of life is that? Actually, once I get into it, I will enjoy living like that.
Also, this is really superficial (per my quest), but I got a Coach purse for Christmas. I've never had one, and it's beautiful. It's downright cuddly. Although I have requested one for years, and thought I might get one next summer, I got it for Christmas and it was a total surprise, which made it very special.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Jingle Bell Vault

Last week, my husband and I made a decision about Christmas music. Just as Disney puts movies "into the vault" where they can't be accessed until the studio re-releases them, we are sending five songs every year "into the vault" for five years. We will then decide if we ever liked them. (A couple are no-brainers.) Our nominations for this year are "Jingle Bell Rock," "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," the barking "Jingle Bells" dog, and I can't remember the fifth one. It was going to be "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" but it gets a pass this year because it's the 40th anniversary of the Christmas special.Oh, yeah! It was "The Little Drummer Boy." Along with Frosty and Rudolph, it goes in the category of bogus made-up Christmas stories that turned into animated specials. If these songs are played in our presence, there will be repercussions. Those will probably include our grousing at some length, which can be quite intolerable.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

My New Rule

Here is something that's bugging the crap out of me--the neighbors across the street put up their Christmas decorations a week ago. Now I am a lover of freedom of self-expression, and I hate stupid neighborhood association rules that dictate what color you can paint your house and how you can landscape it, blah, blah, blah. Your property is your little piece of the earth for which you have paid dearly, and while I'm all for architectural integrity and that kind of thing, a good many of these people who make neighborhood association rules don't know what the hell they're talking about. They also make rules like no clotheslines, because damn it, who cares about using all the energy we want to run our gas dryers? (Don't get me wrong. I love my gas dryer. I'm just sayin'.) However, I would support a federal law that said no Christmas decorations before the day after Thanksgiving. (Retailers have different considerations, so they are exempt.)

Also, I love Christmas. However, since I am now one of the ones with the major responsibility to make the magic, it's a lot of work. I save personal energy all year so I can cook and shop and wrap and decorate and entertain. This is why I need Thanksgiving. Even though I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, and that too will be a lot of work, it's different. Thanksgiving is laid-back and sweet and relatively simple. Therefore, I don't want Santa and reindeer and bows and lights and a lit-up American flag and all manner of glittering kitsch staring me in the face everytime I look out my living room window. Believe me, no one loves glittering kitsch more than me after Thanksgiving. I love that these people go all out. They do it for Halloween too. I realize that some people like to put up the lights on nice days so they don't have to do it in the freezing cold, but they don't have to turn them on. Can't they wait two weeks?

Thanksgiving is wonderful, and it's for everybody. People like me will inundate everyone soon enough with our peculiar celebrations of this religious season. Can't these folks give everyone a break, and let Thanksgiving be the lovely calm before the storm?

Monday, November 15, 2004

Fecundity and Dispersal

OK, one more election thing, then I'm moving on. Today I heard something on NPR (an advertisement for something upcoming on Day to Day) that confirmed what I suspected. Conservatives have more babies. Now, barring the kind of religious and political diversity that exists within my own family--we have Libertarians, Democrats, Republicans, liberal and conservative Christians, agnostics, Wiccans-- usually that certainly improves one's chances to eventually produce voters in concert with one's own ideology. I thought it was just a goofy notion of my own, but apparently someone else checked it out , and it is so. Now, I am pretty much out of that loop at this point, but young liberals: have more babies!! No more of these two-child, environmentally, socially responsible families.That's just cutting off your nose to spite your face. Even if one or two of your kids turn, surely you'll keep a few of them within the fold.

Here's my other idea. There was (still is) a sub-group of Libertarians who support something called called the
Free State Project who got people to sign up and pledge to move within a certain number of years to a state on which they would vote, and therefore create a political majority in that state. ( They eventually voted for New Hampshire.) Now, considering the Electoral College, that's the wrong way for liberals and Democrats to go. The blue states are too concentrated. The red states must be infiltrated. It seems the best strategy would be to go where margins of victory were narrow, and move in enough blue population to create an electoral majority. What made me think of this is that my husband and I have been thinking for some time about moving to one of the red states once he retires. In recent weeks, this has seemed like a horrifying thought, until it occurred to me that some of my like-minded friends are also in various red states.

As Linus Pauling said, you have to have a lot of ideas for a few good ones to show up. I'm not saying this is a good one. (It will probably turn up that I'm not the only one it occurred to.) I'm just working on having a lot of ideas.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Election perspective Part 2: Action

In my last post, I stated that two things were called for: perspective and action.I It's very important that we think about what we can do over the next two to four years to ensure that 48% of us are recognized and heard. Some things we can do are join and become involved in our local Democratic parties. We can e-mail our legislators. We can send letters to the editors of our local newspapers. We can e-mail and call in to radio and television talk shows, including the ones we disagree with, so we can challenge the logic of those with whom we disagree when necessary. In short, we can stay informed, aware, and make sure that we are very, very visible All politicians understand numbers.
Now here's the hard part: when we do these things, we must temper our passion with respect. We must be behavioral, and we need to anticipate their counterarguments and be prepared to answer them. Here is an example of what some people did locally shortly before the Iraq War started that I found disrespectful, off-putting, and ultimately counter-productive. They had an anti-war protest, all well and good. However, they took their protest out into the street and blocked traffic during the late/afternoon and evening rush hour. They did not think about the fact that they might be thwarting someone anxious to get home to their latchkey kids, or perhaps a single parent who would now have to pay the day-care provider for the extra time. They did not think that they might be blocking someone trying to get to their night job, the kind where you get paid by the hour. They were very committed to their point of view, which was good, but I'm sure they turned off a lot of people who before that might have been willing to pay attention and listen. I think seeing people protesting with dignity and consideration would have been more thought- provoking. It's about trying to win people over, not piss them off..
Of course, almost everybody is busy and we can't do all of the things suggested all of the time. However, we can take 15 minutes to write and send e-mail to legislators and media outlets. We need to ask ourselves if we have made ourselves heard lately, and in many forums where there is a great deal of visibility: not just electronically but in the kinds of newspapers and magazines that people hold in their hands and maybe stash away for later reading, and in the kinds of radio and TV talk shows that a lot of the people who disagree with us listen to. I think a lot of us do a lot of preaching to the choir, and we associate most of the time with people who pretty much think like us. That's natural, just not really that effective in trying to change things.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Election perspective

The number of people who have been shedding tears (including me) over Bush’s win and Kerry’s loss has surprised me. I thought campaign workers and I were the only ones who cried over election outcomes. I think there are two things that will help us through this time: perspective and action.
When I first started voting in presidential elections, Reagan and Bush, Sr. were the victors the first three times I voted. By my fourth presidential election in 1992, my guy won. So, to the young folks who came out enthusiastically to vote for Kerry, I say, don’t get discouraged. There will be elections in which your candidate will prevail. Not only that, but in two years there will be mid-term elections in which people in many states will have the opportunity to reconfigure the House and the Senate, and herein lies our opportunity to hold the people who represent us accountable.
Also, I take heart that 49% of those voting did NOT vote for Bush. Even though Bush/Cheney are claiming a mandate, their side knows we’re out here. If not, we will remind them.
As for the country, I think we’re still in a state of grief but don’t always recognize that . As I told my son, it’s like in some families when someone in the family dies. At first everyone comes together and supports each other through the rough times. Then before you know it, everyone’s at each other’s throats about who gets Granny’s teacups. Of course, Granny’s teacups are worthless, certainly not worth tearing the family apart; people aren’t thinking rationally, although in better times they are quite capable of rational thought. Eventually, some people come back to their senses and realize the family can’t go on like this even though they know they‘re always going to have to deal with the few remaining hotheads. It was never about the teacups at all, but not knowing how to deal with that sense of helplessness.
I think another thing we have to avoid is the us vs. them mentality. The most important reason is because it’s beneath us both as Americans and human beings. Another more practical reason is that we have to listen in order to understand what drives and motivates people. If we take the position that we are smart and they are stupid, we are kind and they are heartless, people with different philosophies are going to become further alienated from one another. Then one side wins and another side loses, and it doesn’t have to be that way.
Another thing I think is going on is that there have been so many changes in perspective and culture that people are overwhelmed. People are at least talking about things that they never would have discussed 20 years ago, let alone 50 years ago. For people who are younger, it’s hard to explain the massive culture shift that has occurred. When I was a little girl, I was the only kid I knew with a divorced, working mom. I did not meet an openly gay person until I was in my second year of college. Now there are 5 gay guys with a hit TV show based on the idea that they are gay. I think there are many younger people now are used to dealing with things changing quickly, but there are other people whose heads are spinning .
I have more to say about this, but for now I think we have to be careful of how the media sometimes reduces people's deeply felt beliefs, fears, hopes and values into stupid pundit-friendly and inaccurate sound bites, which I believe minimizes our complexity as human beings and causes us to misunderstand each other even more than we already do.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

The Purge

Inspired by our recent visits to my mom's to help her move, Ron and I decided that we MUST get rid of some of our own stuff. This was accomplished in three ways: a garage sale, a major trip to the landfill, and a donation of items to charity. We have done these purges from time to time in the past, and once the trauma of selecting items to dispose of is over, it is so liberating. However, this is the biggest clearing away of stuff I think we've ever done.There was even stuff from the marriage before me, such as the delightful camper toilet from the attic. (I'm kind of a hotel- dwelling princess.) The garage sale was last Sunday, and even though I didn't make much money, I had a delightful assortment of characters come by.They bought some bulky items like blankets and comforters, so that was good. The landfill trip was this morning. We took the seats out of a huge van, the kind of van churches use for youth group trips. We loaded it from floor to ceiling with stuff, some which we had taken apart or broken up to make it fit. Finally, we took a lot of other stuff to a charity store.
This is always a somewhat emotional thing for me, but it was especially so this last time. The blankets and comforters were Ninja Turtle and Jurassic Park themed items that my son used when he was a little boy. We also got rid of the crib that he and two of my step-grandchildren had used, and I sold some of his old toys. There are still plenty left that I will try to sell in a spring garage sale, but I'm still having trouble dealing with the idea of selling the tin bucket full of Transformers. My son told me I could go ahead and try to sell them, although pieces might be missing from some of them. He loved those so much when he was little, though. To paraphrase Charlton Heston, someone will probably have to pry that bucket of Transformers out of my cold, dead hands.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Too tired; just writing so I don't forget my username

I am so freakin' tired. My brain needs a nap while my body does good things like go to the health club and exercise. Last Tuesday one class session ended and Thursday another one began. I spent the weekend grading papers (essays and research papers) and having a garage sale (netted $25.00...not retiring yet). I think the change in weather/seasons is exacerbating the fatigue, and it will be worse next week when Daylight Savings Time ends. I am extremely time and weather sensitive, so I picked a really good state in which to be born (Michigan). I had some fun last week, though. I wanted my son to have his picture taken for his senior yearbook at his university, so I had to drive his suit and tie down there. When my friend Donna heard I was going to Ann Arbor, she said she would enjoy coming along, which made it a lot more fun. After we dropped off the suit to my son and ran an errand at a pharmacy, we all went out to a vegetarian restaurant. After we dropped my son off, Donna dropped some homemade relish off at her friend's house, then took me on a nighttime tour of her hometown of Saline. I'm not really crazy about driving in unfamiliar places, so she drove. I was weirdly excited when we drove through Chelsea and saw the factory where they make Jiffy mixes (muffins, cakes, etc...very inexpensive). I remember now I spent one summer of my life in college living on Jiffy muffins. There's a big lit-up Jiffy box sign in the front of it. We also stopped in another small town and dropped off some clothes for her son (lots of dropping off of clothes for sons going on.). Anyway, it was a pleasant high point in a very busy week. Now, if I can arrange a nap for about 48 hours, I think I will have the energy to face another eight weeks of teaching.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Birth Week

A few years ago, birthdays between my husband and me started turning into "birth week," depending on what day of the week they fell, and instead of being king or queen for a day, we could pretty much get our way for about a week. This time, I think I got over a week, because my friend started 8 days before my birthday with a little party. It was especially nice because I was a little nervous that this was a "5" birthday. Some people in my age bracket dread birthdays ending in a "0" , but since I have been 25, my "5" birthdays have been the defining ones for me. I really enjoyed this one, though. My mother-in-law took me to lunch on Friday along with my two sisters-in-law, and my husband went too since he had a day off from work. On Saturday, which was my real birthday, we went out for breakfast. I got cards from my brother & sister-in-law, aunt and uncle, youngest stepson and his wife & kids, and my sister. My son called me, and today his card arrived, which took me by surprise, since he had called. My step-daughter-in-law and the kids stopped by and brought me a beautifully wrapped gift. The gift was great, but my favorite part of her gifts is the way she wraps them. This had beautiful hand-stamped paper, a beautiful ribbon and a beautifully tied bow, and a sunflower. Later on Saturday, we got all dressed up and went to a new restaurant in town. It is Cadillac-themed and fun in a themey way. I really want it to succeed because the owner built it in an older part of town that was kind of dilapidated before, and I really respect people who take that kind of risk, that, if it succeeds, can improve the community around it. The food was really good there, and we had a really nice time. I had duck with Chinese-style bbq sauce, sticky rice, and cucumber-daikon slaw. My husband and I shared one of the best pieces of chocolate cake I have ever had, and they didn't charge us for it. The next day, we went to breakfast again and drove up north for a color tour. We stopped for lunch at a horrible diner that didn't seem to know how to make a proper Reuben or club sandwich, which is really typical diner food. Go figure. The ride was nice, though, and we saw some really beautiful scenery around Cadillac. (the city, not the car or restaurant. I guess this was a Cadillac themed b-day.) This was also interspersed with some home maientenance projects, but even those were pleasant becuse of all the fun activities. The only weird thing is I haven't heard from my mom yet. Since I am her baby girl, maybe this "5" birthday is hard on her, or maybe she can't get through on the phone b/c I have been on the computer all the time. Or maybe she doesn't love me anymore. No, that can't be it. Who wouldn't love ME? My new plan, which I thought up last week, is to spend my 50th birthday at Oktoberfest in Munich, so I had better start planning/saving now.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Catching up

I actually wrote a lengthy blog entry a few days ago, but since I still have a telephone hook-up (yes, I am a dinosaur, but I've been assured by my spouse that we'll be getting DSL any day now) I was interrupted by a telephone call from the computer that calls substitute teachers. My stuff stayed on-screen for a while, but as I listened to the info in the call, all that I had just written disappeared. Quick replay of last week: Sunday: Helped my mom move. Was inspired to purge many of my own things collecting dust lest I face a nightmare like that in my own home. However, Mom is in new apartment. Mom seems to be happy. This is good. Monday: Went to bookstore to see Chuck Palahniuk, author of Fight Club, Choke, Diary, Lullaby, etc. Must admit I've only seen the movie Fight Club but did read Choke & part of Lullaby. Talked to Chuck and got book signed. Was one of three oldest people there, and felt very conspicuous without tatoos, piercings, interestingly styled hair. Chuck told an interesting story called "Guts", which basically involves three apparently true and increasingly grisly um...self-satisfaction mishap stories. The way Chuck told them, they were rather strangely funny and I wonder why I found them amusing. When I repeated them to my husband, who is a Palahniuk fan, he didn't think they were funny at all. Maybe it's my delivery. And of course, if I met these people, I probably wouldn't laugh. Okay, maybe I have to know the stories. They will be in his book that is coming out in June, I think. Wednesday...had a mammogram. Also somewhat grisly and not really that funny, except during one of the "compressions" as they euphemistically call the crushing, squeezing pinch (but it only lasts for a few seconds and can save your life) I said,"F-----!" which I usually save for when I get to know people a little better and know whether or not they would be offended. I apologized to the technician who was very nice and said they were used to that kind of thing. It seems appropriate to do this kind of thing in the same week one sees Chuck Palahniuk. Friday I went to my friend's house for a "girl's night out" and she surprised me with a little early birthday party. She gave me a soapmaking book, also appropriate in the week I saw Chuck Palahniuk, and you will know what I am talking about if you saw or read Fight Club. So, that's last week,which was a little busier than most for me.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Passages, choices, and consequences

On Saturday, I went to a reaffirmation of wedding vows and subsequent celebration for a friend from college. She was married for the first time last summer (2003), but at that time they weren't ready to do the whole big ceremony and reception thing. Saturday's event was in their back yard under a big white tent, and there was a nice luncheon following the very sweet ceremony. I had not seen LuAnn for many years, so it was great just to see her (although I did get an e-mail from her when she got her Ph.D. about five years ago.) This sort of thing happening among old friends and acquaintances is what makes this a somewhat "nebulous age", per the title of my blog. I have friends my age who in the past few years have attempted to conceive their first child, while mine is in college. Also, because my husband is older than me and I have grown step-children, I'm a step-grandma of eight and recently found out I will be a step-great-grandma next spring (or is it great-step-grandma?) My friends who started the personal stuff (marriage, kids) later in life tend to have advanced degrees. I had a lot of family stuff settled early on but I don't have an advanced degree. It's something I've been thinking about a lot for many years, but the time, money, and opportunity have not all fallen in line together. These seem to be the kinds of choices many women have to make, and the waiting often seems to leave at least one of the options compromised. For example, it is harder to conceive children later in life. On the other hand, there is some awkwardness and opporunity cost getting the degree later. One has to consider whether the money (which is now a family, not just an individual issue) and the time is going to result in a satisfactory return on investment. Now, I am noticing some young women getting married at earlier ages. When I got married (at 21, almost 22) I was one of the only ones among my friends to get married that young. (I did have one friend who was married at 19). Since I am a happily married woman (23 years) I know I did the right thing. However, I wonder how it's going to play out now for the women who marry so young. My friend's wedding reception came just two weeks after her niece's, who married at age 22. This is a highly educated, accomplished family, and I'm seeing more and more of this. The trend of postponing marriage seems to be turning around. I think when businesses hire people they have to consider that life does not follow our preconceived timelines, and when they bemoan the "graying" of this or that profession which is experiencing shortages, they need to consider that there are a lot of "graying" people out there just ready to get started. They have the time, the experience and the motivation (for example, if we are even silly enough to count on having Social Security payments, we will have to work increasingly longer to collect our full benefits.) We need to rethink our traditional notions of who does what at what age.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Good Book

While looking through the bookstore for books for my ESL class book club, a little paperback caught my eye. It was the color of this template and had an upside-down die-cut dog on it. The name of the book is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. It's a wonderful book if you are curious about autism. It is a fiction story, though, a little mystery. I never put it down unless I had to attend to the duties of life. It's a pretty quick read and a very interesting journey inside the head of someone who views the world differently. Although I have chosen different books for our book club this time, I'm going to consider how we could use this one in one of our next sessions.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

No changes, 2004-2005

I started substitute teaching again yesterday, after a year and a half break. I teach ESL reading and writing classes twice a week at a community college, and until the end of June I was tutoring three Korean children, first two, then three nights a week. So now, because I didn't work for actual money after June this past summer, and because September is a money-eating month, I got myself back on the sub list. I actually really love substitute teaching. I work in four different school districts, and it's interesting to observe the differences. One is in a university town, two are in McMansion filled suburbs (that still contain the older smaller homes, duplexes, etc. and one that is not in the city but near enough to the city that it has some of the best features of city and suburban schools...cultural diversity (also present in the university town schools), and a pretty decent quality of education, parental and student involvement, and so on. The one where I taught yesterday is my son's old high school, so except for a few building improvements, things seemed very familiar. I like each school district, but I wish there was more diversity in some of them. When people don't interact with each other on a daily basis, they can form some strange beliefs. The only thing I don't like, as in yesterday's case, is getting a call at 7:40 a.m. to take a job that started at 7:35 a.m., as I was in my pajamas breaking an egg for breakfast. I got there in time for second hour, then had to go to a work meeting immediately after work, then there was dinner to make at home, etc. Therefore, when I got home from my regular job today and there was a message for my husband reminding me that he had an appointment, and if I wanted to go to the health club I should meet him there around fiveish, my mind and body just rebelled at having to change my mental plan. I thought we would go after dinner. I'm feeling a little guilty about not wanting to drive by myself to the gym and back again by myself, the first trip in 4-5:30 traffic. That's pretty much rush hour around here, and my health club is on the east side, & I am on the west side. The bad thing about subbing is it makes one extremely averse to last minute changes in the other parts of life. The kids I teach are great, though. They're usually high school kids, and they're funny and weird and interesting. That makes the rest of it tolerable.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Evil cantaloupe

My husband (who, incidentally, is 13 years older than me, which will eventually become relevant due to the theme of my blog)has been being very conscientious about diet and exercise for the past six months or so, and has taken off about 40 pounds. When I came home from China, I had lost about 10 pounds, and he had lost his last 10 pounds while I was gone.He had both been doing an individualized workout plan, and also following advice from a book called The Perricone Prescription. Dr. Perricone is a dermatologist who has done a lot of work with inflammation, which has been being explored latelyas a trigger for heart disease and other illnesses. Long story short, while not following it to the letter (particularly not me) we have been using much of the advice. Because of his weight loss and exercise, he has been able to have the dose of his Lipitor reduced. While not really losing any more weight, I have been maintaining my China weight loss. Anyway, his last two blood tests showed high levels of potassium, about which his doctor was concerned, because apparently this can trigger heart problems. He asked about it, and she said if it got too high, they could treat it. He asked if diet would cause this, because he'd rather prevent it than treat it. She said yes, and when he asked what kinds of food had high levels of potassium, the first food she mentioned was cantaloupe. Well, per Perricone, we eat a lot of cantaloupe. Between the two of us, we go through one a day. So, it's six of one or half a dozen of the other. His new lifestyle has helped with one problem (cholesterol) but may have resulted in another (high levels of potassium), both triggers for heart problems. Of course, he can eat less cantaloupe, but this is illustrative of one of the frustrations about trying to take responsibility for one's health without over-reliance on medication.

Friday, September 03, 2004

I don't understand (but I want to)

I noticed after doing a profile, and taking a look at it, there are links to profiles of people who share the same interests, favorites, etc. And again, I noticed everyone who posts an age seems to be younger than me. Now, I don't think I put an age on my profile because it seems more consistent with the title of my blog, but I will say here that I am 44 years old, and will be 45 in October. So, are those of us in this age bracket not reporting our age,or do people my age just not do this kind of thing? Am I again poking around in a venue not meant for me? One of the things I have promised myself as I grow older is to remain curious about new things, and not to say, well, that doesn't mean anything to me or I have no interest in that. Of course, there are some things I really have no interest in, but I never want it to be just because it's new or different. One of the best, most useful things I learned in high school was from one of my art teachers. We were going to a gallery or something, and he told us we shouldn't say we didn't like something, because he said maybe we didn't know yet whether we did or didn't. Instead, he advised us to say, "I don't understand that." When I remember that, it serves me well in life.Thanks, Mr. Hoover.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Cool! I have a blog!

So, greetings to anyone who stumbled upon my humble blog.I was inspired to do this by a lovely young woman named Dana, with whom I shared a room for much of my recent trip to China. Dana is highly computer literate, but I am not. However, she assured me that this was an extremely user-friendly site. This summer it became so very clear to me that I am no longer even close to young, but I am not yet old. I am demographically, from the last few years of the so-called Baby Boomers, but I'm not really one. Someone actually tried to create a name for us, pointing out that during the Boomers' years of raising hell and changing society, most people in my age bracket were children. and, of course, we are not the so-called Generation X. I think the name we were given was Generation Jones, but I could be wrong. Not only that, but I, or we, are at an age where we certainly aren't young, but we're not old yet either. Some of us have small children, some of us have grown children, some no children, and some stepchildren...or some combination thereof. The frustration at this point is that there is very little intended for us in terms of fashion, music, entertainment, or really anything in the popular culture. Or maybe I'm missing something. I recently heard the guy who wrote and sang the song "Closing Time" on NPR. Maybe a lot of people know this, but I didn't. Several versions of a song are made for radio the case of "Closing Time" the one for alternative had lots of tambourine and vocals. The one for top 40 featured a lot of electric guitar. The one which I suppose is marketed for my demographic (O.K., I know I just contradicted myself a little here), adult contemporary, toned down the electric guitar and had synthesizers. What the hell? So, I only ever heard it on what passed for an alternative station around these parts, but I had the feeling I wasn't supposed to be listening to it because of the nature of the ads, etc. I guess my point is, can I hear something that has not been dumbed down and still listen to it on a station intended for my demo? OK, so I guess that's my frustration. There are things intended for us, but the powers that be assume we love mediocrity. Hey, if anyone reads this, can you tell me how to start new paragraphs on here? I usually don't jam everything together in one paragraph.