Steampunk, penguins and earthquakes

This is why AGMA will never be a travel blogger.

It’s taking me longer to get the posts done on our trip to Fiji/NZ than the entire trip lasted.

AGMA’s a bit like a hyperactive puppy.  All kinds of things (squirrels, squeak toys, etc.)  distract me and cause me to run amok for a spell.

(The etc. being devastating Austrian wildfires, the assassination of a high ranking Iranian official in a neighboring country, and the potential start of WWIII.  And Christmas and New Years – but they seem a pretty minor compared to everything else aside from the squirrels and squeak toys.)

I WILL finish the saga of the Great AGMA Adventure to the lands of Fiji water and Kiwis!

9.  Oamaru.  Oamaru is generally not on the radar when most folks think about visiting New Zealand.  But AGMA thinks it should be.  First of all, it’s the Steampunk capital of the world.  Yeah, I said Steampunk.  S-T-E-A-M-P-U-N-K.  Very surreal. Second, it’s one of the few towns in New Zealand that still has its original Victorian architecture and it’s gorgeous.  Third…PENGUINS!!  Cute, adorable little blue penguins (also known as fairy penguins.).

But oh Lordy…that Steampunk thing…

 

 

10. Christchurch.  AGMA and hubs were in Christchurch for the first time in 2014.  We were shocked to see that the city had barely begun to recover from the devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011.  Unsafe, unstable buildings still stood in the CBD.  All over the CBD.  I remember a parking garage that had cars in it that had been sitting, parked in the same spot they were in when the last quake hit 3 years before, because the structure was too damaged to safely be able to remove them.  But you could tell that the people of Christchurch were determined to see their city come back better than before the quakes.

And AGMA’s happy to report it has!

Other than a few sites we recognized on our first trip, it was like visiting a totally different city.  New office buildings, lots of gravel lots where old buildings used to be, cute laneways with kickin’ good restaurants and bars, new shops, and some buildings severely damaged in 2011 that were still sitting abandon.

We stayed spent the night outside of Christchurch at an AirB&B in the caldera of an extinct volcano turned inland bay.

We flew out of Christchurch on 12/5 with a 4 hour layover in Fiji then on to Los Angeles.  We landed 3 hours before we took off…  That International Date Line screws with AGMA’s head.  Spent a couple of nights in LA visiting a friend then headed back home.

As Dorothy chanted, “There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.”  She was right.

Thanks for hanging with AGMA while I chased those squirrels.

And between 3 international trips, the upcoming presidential election (if we haven’t been nuked before then as a result of tRump’s psychotic madness), the grandkids, and the possibility of selling our house, I think 2020’s gonna be a wild ride…

Hang on!

P.S.  Happy birthday to me!  Today Mrs. Mowry’s little girl completes yet another trip around the sun.  Now I’m one number shy of the mark of the beast (just need to add another 6) so nobody better give me any sh*t this year!  🙂

 

 

Bloomin’ n struttin’

clydesdale

Time’s a cruel bastard.

Yeah – that’s right. I said it.

Time’s evidently decided to run at a full gallop in 2017, and passed me so quickly that it’s already been two weeks since the last AGMA post. Yikes!

When I was young, Time seemed to be extremely lazy and liked to lolly gag around. Like he had nothing else to do but to taunt me with possibilities beyond my reach. I thought I would never turn 16. Or graduate from high school. Or go be grown up enough to go on a date…

Louise, my sweet step-mother, in the midst of my late 1960’s teenage angst, used to tell me I was going to be a late bloomer. She was trying to comfort me on those many (most) Friday and Saturday nights I would be chilling at home or over at one of my girlfriend’s. And not 16. Or a high school graduate.

And definitely NOT on a date.

But she was right. As usual.

AGMA turned 63 last week. And miracles of miracles, I think, just maybe, I’m starting to bloom. Like one of those century plants that flowers every 100 years.

But it only took me 63.

It feels like, after so many long, tumultuous, crazy  years, I’ve finally – finally – started to hit my full stride. And gotten my sh*t together. Sorta kinda.

But seriously?

At this point, there’s a heck of a lot less time to stride than when I was angsting in my parents home in the 60’s.  A lot less time to show off my lovely sh*t.

Round about early January, I got this sweet notice from WordPress congratulating me on 3 years of blogging. “What?” I noodled, “I’m pretty sure it’s only been 2 years. It can’t be 3 years already. I couldn’t have lost a year in there right?”

I was wrong. WP was right. Show offs.

So I was at my local tattoo parlor last week…

Did you you hear that? I said I was at a tattoo parlor!

Yeah baby – the ink’s gonna happen in 2017!

Last week was the first round of the design phase. After a couple of years of indecision and the inability to commit to a design, suddenly it all became clear. It was like divine inspiration. I knew what I wanted and why I wanted it. And where…

I’m not a Pinterest person, but I filled up my Tattoo ideas board with 23 pins. Typical AGMA.

The guy at the tattoo place was really nice. The woman I want to actually do the tattoo wasn’t in yet, but Stan helped me pull together the ideas I had into one design. It’s not there yet but it’s a great starting place.

AGMA’s pretty excited.

Stan said something to me that really struck me. It was something practical like needing to be careful about something because it could cause the colors to fade over the course of time. And, before I even knew what was coming out of my mouth, I said, “Honestly, I probably won’t live long enough for that to happen.”

Stan kinda looked shocked. AGMA, the good time tattoo buzz killer.

I guess I’m feeling a little angry at being a century bloomer. It just feels like I’ve wasted a hell of a lot of time. Time that I will never, ever get back. A lifetime almost.

But then a wise person might say that I wasn’t ready; I hadn’t learned the lessons I needed to learn. Until now. So that makes now the perfect time.

To everything, there a season and all that crap.

And I remember Ken, my 58 year old friend who died suddenly in December with still so much life ahead of him.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, is guaranteed.

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”   Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Act 5, scene 5, 19-28

I guess that decides it.

I’ll bloom whenever and wherever, strut my together sh*t whenever and wherever, for as long as I have.  And get my ink ASAP.

Watch for AGMA blooming and strutting this Saturday at the Women’s March on Washington.  I probably won’t make The Guardian this time, but then again, maybe I will!

My next post could be from the pokey (great word!) asking for a donation to my GoFundMe page for bail…

As birthdays go, this one sucked

catinthehataging

Aging is not for the faint of heart.

It takes guts to get up in the morning, mentally and emotionally feeling like you’re 35.  Then you walk into the bathroom and look in the mirror.  The horror strikes.

WTF?  When did that happen?

And it really is like that.  One day you’re young and the next day the cashier gives you the 5% discount on Senior Discount Wednesday at Kroger.  And you didn’t ask for it.  Or is Senior Discount Day on Tuesday?  I guess I should figure that out…

It all happened in the blink of an eye.  But I honestly don’t remember blinking.

Maybe it means that my life has been full and busy.  Time passed, but I didn’t notice.  Everything seemed pretty much the same day to day and year to year.  Yeah, and that’s exactly what the Grand Canyon said when it was little gully with a stream flowing through it…

I just had a birthday recently and turned 61.  Happy birthday to me!

But last year’s birthday was tough.  Not being one to really ever be age sensitive, the whole turning 60 thing last year kinda shook me. It took me nearly the whole of 2014 to get used to having a “6” in the first position of my age.  Now I’m very zen about it.

Not for the faint of heart.

And, not only do you age, those all around you are aging too. Friends, family, co-workers, TV and movie icons.  Except Meryl Streep.  My God, that woman must have a pact with the devil.  Did you see her at the Golden Globes?  So amazing…

As a Baby Boomer, I’m doing what all Baby Boomers are doing now. I’m “reinventing” myself in an attempt to defy the aging process. Becoming a massage therapist in my late 50’s, starting AGMA last year, going for my personal trainer certification in 2015, training to run a marathon next month, traveling overseas as often as I can. Didn’t you know, 60 is the new 40?  Yeah, right.

I’m running just as fast as I can.  But I can’t hide.

That was made brutally and tragically clear a few days ago on my birthday.

A woman in my running group turned around about a mile into an eight mile run saying she wasn’t feeling good and was a bit dizzy. Nothing she said gave anybody cause for alarm.  When we got back to the parking lot ninety minutes later, she was found non-responsive in her car.  One of our group immediately started CPR until the EMT’s came.  She was taken to the hospital and was pronounced dead.  Heart attack.  She was only a few years older than me.

Here one minute, gone the next.  Literally.

Two days later, the husband of another person in my running group died very suddenly, with no warning.  Seriously?  Has the world gone mad?  Maybe I should quit my running group.

Can’t hide.

But honestly, maybe I don’t want to hide.  If it’s my time, then it’s my time.  Frack the Grim Reaper…  Hell, I didn’t even eat the salmon mousse!

“Getting old is a privilege denied to many.”  It’s a corny saying going around social media, but it’s kinda true.  It was denied to my friend and my friend’s husband this week.  It was denied to too many generations of young people who dutifully marched off to war.  It was denied the victims of 9/11 and the Indian Ocean and Tohoko tsunamis.  It was denied to the staff of Charlie Hebdo.  You get the picture…

So I guess I’m actually feeling pretty good about this aging thing. Sure, some mornings the knees take a while to get moving and I’m getting cataracts and many times I don’t remember what I went upstairs to fetch.  But all in all, it ain’t bad.  Yet.

To celebrate, for the next week, I’m planning on eating some amazing food, drinking some outstanding wine and savoring some of the best coffee in the world in a city full of really old, ancient stuff. Way older than me.  Roma.  I expect I’ll feel like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert.  Oh Baby!

Ciao!

“My name is Sally O’Malley and I’m…”

Image

Wait for it…

Sally O’Malley is my hero – still kicking and stretching and kicking at fifty.  It was a sad day when Molly Shannon left SNL and took Sally with her.  I miss Sally’s unique zest for life and her fabulous red jumpsuit.

BIG birthday for me in a few days.  60.  Epic.  I joke around with people, “I don’t how this happened!”  [obligatory smile], but the brutal and mystifying truth is I really DON’T know how this happened.

Just a few years ago I was part of the all powerful, forever young Baby Boomers right?  The Pepsi generation.  Sex, love, and rock and roll.  Tuned in and turned on.  A hot babe in hot pants on the prowl for a hot time.  Cue snare drum strut…

Now, apparently out of the blue, the Regal Cinemas ticket lady is giving me the senior discount (she didn’t even ASK me how old I was!), I have no clue who the guy is on the cover of the People Sexiest Man Alive issue and I’m still hot, but not in the good way.

What a mystery – the passage of time.  Small, subtle changes like the wearing down of bedrock by a small, but relentless stream.  Day to day you don’t notice any changes but come back years later and it’s a whole different story.  The Grand Canyon, you know?

Graying hair, acid reflux, sore joints, jowls (ick!), techno/pop impaired.  Bummer man…

As a young goddess, I rolled my eyes when “older folks” nattered on about how fast their lives went by, their regret for not doing more, seeing more, being more – blah, blah, blah.  Boring…  Of course my life was going to be different – I would have it all under control.

How’d that work out for you girlfriend?

So now what?  Like bedrock, change. Adjust. Transform.  No food after 7 PM, ice knees, hormone therapy, smile at the Regal Cinemas lady, Google Adam Levine.  Run some half-marathons, start a blog, road trips to visit old friends and distant lands, tweet with professional cyclists.  Blah, blah, blah.

And of course I will KICK and STRECH and KICK!