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.