My “life” movie

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Some Baby Boomers define their lives by the music they’ve loved.  Some Boomers look to  look to the Golden Age of television and beloved classic shows like I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners or The Ed Sullivan Shew (really big shew!)  Some BBs identify with a movie that has had a lasting impact on their life.

AGMA is in the last category.

It hit me this past week that my life has been profoundly and deeply influnced by one movie.  My entire view of the world and adulthood is inextricably linked to this masterpiece of the big screen.  The themes have been woven into my life to the point where I don’t know where the movie ends and my life begins.

That move is, of course…

(wait for it…)

White Christmas!

The picture was to throw you off track.

AGMA needs to set the stage for you (pun intended)…

Last week we went to the Atlanta Fabulous Fox Theater to see White Christmas, the musical.   Although it’s been making the rounds since 2004, I’d never had the chance to see it and was pretty darned excited to go.

I gotta tell you, I had high exceptions.  AGMA’s seen WC the movie so many times that I pretty much can recite the most of the dialogue.  Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen are like family that I visit once a year and it’s always a glorious reunion.

Sadly, I was pretty disappointed in the stage adaptation.  I’m sure it’s difficult to take a classic movie and remake it for the stage, but it’s even more challenging if it’s an iconic movie adored by literally billions of people around the globe.  And on Mars.

That may be an exaggeration…

The stage musical was choppy, disjointed and sorta kinda followed the basic plot of the movie, but not really.   There were glaring omissions, unnecessary additions and sh*t that was just plain wrong.

It was all AGMA could do to not walk out.

It starts out like the movie in 1944 with Bob singing White Christmas and General Waverly leaving his troops.  Then the next scene is Phil and Bob doing a nightclub act in 1954.  WTF?  No building falls on Phil so Bob doesn’t get to save him?  How did they become a duo?  Gone from the play is Phils “injured” arm that was a running gag thought the movie.

And there’s no Novello’s in the play.  Phil and Bob meet Judy and Betty at a club in NYC not Florida.  And in the play, Bob and Phil were going to be heading to Florida after the girl’s show. Holy crap, my head was spinning…

Once they got to Vermont, things went from bad to worse.  Emma, the busybody, but lovable, housekeeper in the movie is replaced by Martha, the busybody, not that lovable, former vaudeville star who belts out songs like a wannabe Ethel Merman and wants a part in the show.   Is nothing sacred?

Oh, and the General’s niece, Susan (her name in the play as well), is also a singing and dancing showbiz wannabe who really should have been cast as a snarky orphan in Annie rather than WC.  Evidently it’s a hard knock life in Vermont.

Ed Harrison is gone, and The Ed Harrison Show is replaced with the Ed Sullivan Show Huh? And there’s a farm hand (ski lodge hand?) named Ezekiel who was cute but totally superfluous.

There were extra Irving Berlin songs thrown in that didn’t seem to fit the theme and pretty much wasted time that could have been used for backstory.  And movie songs were left out – Mandy, Choreography, Gee I Wish I was Back in the Army.  WTF?

And in the play, when the Army rejects the General’s request to be put on active duty, he writes to President Eisenhower.  And the President pulls some strings to get him back in and assigned to a post in Europe.  But at the end, he turns it down.  WTF?

Oh, and Bob was taller than Phil.  And Betty was not nearly as snarky in the play as she was in the movie and the stage Judy tried really hard, but her dancing paled in comparison to Vera Ellen.  Oh the humanity!

After being traumatized by the play, AGMA HAD to watch the movie again to set the universe right.

So Hubs and I settled in on Sunday evening to drink some ‘nog (the stuff you buy at the liquor store) and watch White Christmas.  I felt my anxiety easing and the earth started turning on its axis again.

Then it hit me. Like a Robert Mueller subpoena slap across the face.

White Christmas is my “life” movie.

It was made in 1954.  I was made in 1954. We have experienced childhood, puberty,  middle age and now, the beginning of our golden years together.  And I’m pretty sure the movie is aging more gracefully than AGMA.

I realized that a lot of my ideas of adulthood came from WC.  As a teenager, I wanted to be one of those very lovely, sophisticated women, all dressed up to the nines in the final scene, drinking a martini with my brave ex-soldier husband at my side in a ski lodge in Vermont.  In the snow.  On Christmas Eve. With Bing, Rosie, Danny and Vera entertaining me.

I still do.

AGMA loves the themes of the movie – self sacrifice, bravery, loyalty, friendship, love, the importance of family, honoring those who served in the armed forces…

Noble stuff.

Stuff that the stage musical tripped over terribly.

I can hear you ask, ‘Did you like ANYTHING about the musical, AGMA?”

Fair question and yes.

I liked the tap dancing scenes.  And that General Waverly was played by John Schuck.  You remember John Schuck right?  He’s best know for playing dentist Capt. Walter “Painless” Waldowski in the 1970 move M.A.S.H.

Remembering that mock burial scene with him in the coffin made me smile.

Don’t judge me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A day in the life…

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I know that ya’ll have been wondering what my ‘typical’ day might look like.  “How does AGMA pass the time?” is a question you probably ask yourself on a daily basis.

Understandable.

Let’s use today as an example of a typical, dysfunctional day in my life.

While my day usually starts around 6:30 AM or 7:00 AM, I slept in a bit.  What??  But I had good reason.  Last night Hubs and I went to see….

…wait for it…

Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle!  Yeah – THAT Jon Stewart and THAT Dave Chappelle.

With special guests Michelle Wolfe of the 2018 White House Correspondence Dinner fame and Chris Tucker of the Rush Hour movie franchise fame.

AGMA stayed up way too late gaffawing the night away.  But it was epic!

At 7:20 this morning, our cats, Gux and Max, made it known that they were over this sleeping nonsense, and that I needed to get up chop chop and feed them.  I went back to bed after depositing kibble in their bowls.

I got up again at 8:00 to clean up some food that Max puked up.  On our bedspread.

Delightful.

Hubs and I discovered about 20 minutes later that the REST of the food expelled by Max was in a huge pile on our bed sheet in between our pillows.  Glad I didn’t try to shimmy over to snuggle Hubs.

Double delightful.

With the washing machine now swishing in the background, AGMA got ready for the day.  This required I look in the mirror which is always a shocking proposition in the morning.

Washed, brushed, curled and flossed, it was time to take care of some work stuff.

My little Ebay business is picking up again so I needed to get a package ready to ship.  4 English china teacups and saucers.  Scary.  I know I used too much bubble wrap.  AGMA’s  anal in that way.

With the package sealed and labeled, now I needed to figure out if I had enough time to go to the USPO before my physical therapy appointment.

My appointment was in 40 minutes.  I still hadn’t had breakfast, the post office is 15 minutes away, then another 25 to my PT appt.

Just enough time if I grab a banana, put in a mobile order at Starbucks for a mocha, and get all green lights.

Unknown…how long of a line there would be at the Post Office.

AGMA’s always willing to roll the dice.

All green lights?  Not nearly, but there was no line in the USPO and I managed to avoid some accident brouhaha near Starbucks.

I got to my 11:00 AM appointment at precisely 10:59 AM.

It’s a charmed life!

My PT specializes in spine issues.  This is good since I recently found out I have a nasty case of scoliosis in my lumbar spine.  Really nasty.

Bummer.

But it explains a lot.  Since February, running has caused me a lot of hip pain and, later at night, radiating pain down my entire right leg.  Really ouchy stuff.  Difficult to get comfortable.  And I was limping like Chester on Gunsmoke (not everybody’s going to get that reference…)

This has been cause for concern.  I’m supposed to run 26.2 miles in early October as a charity runner.  Friends and family have donated over $2100 to the cause.

AGMA. Must. Run.

Exercises over the course of several weeks proved unsuccessful, so last week my PT tried “dry needling”.  Yeah – it’s just like it sounds…

He exposed my cellulite infested right buttock and proceeded to poke needles into my hindquarters.  It’s sort of like acupuncture, but the needles go deeper and into muscle tissue.

AGMA only yelped twice.

THEN he hooked some of the needles up to an electrical current.  He let my rear end pulsate for 15 minutes.  It felt like simmering butt stew.

But it helped immensely.  There are still some sensations down my leg, but no hip pain during my runs.  And my limp is still there, but it’s much reduced.

So AGMA showed up to my PT appointment today and said, “Bring it on!”

Because there’s been a bit of numbness in my right foot the past few days, he put even MORE needles in this week.  And he turned the current up so that, every now and then, one of my lateral rotator muscles in my rear would start to jiggle.  Like jello.  Cellulite jello.

AGMA kinda wanted a cigarette afterwards.

I’d love to have a picture of the whole set-up, but couldn’t figure out how to ask him without him thinking I was a bit of a freak.

Maybe next week I’ll try a selfie.  Of my butt with needles sticking out and little electrodes hooked up to them.

I am a freak.

And now I’m at Dancing Goats reading blogs, making comments, answering comments and writing this post.

Cats puking on the bed, speeding to the Post Office, shoving a banana down at a stoplight for sustenance, getting electrified needles stuck in my rear, blogging….

Pretty much a typical day for AGMA.

Aging Gracefully My Ass (literally…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crones of Anarchy

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Facebook and AGMA have been a ‘thing’ for over 10 years now.

Mostly, it’s been a positive ‘thing’. To prevent hacks, my page’s security is as tight as Melania’s face. And I’ve been able to reconnect with people I haven’t seen since Richard Nixon was pseudo-President and The Beatles were still making beautiful music together.

Facebook has changed a lot these past 10+ years.

Now it has all these algorithms built in it to target tons of advertising and the appropriate Russian trolls to on your personal FB page. They also dictate which one of your friend’s posts appear on your timeline. So you can have 400 ‘friends’ (serioulsy?) but only see the posts of 25 of them on your timeline. You can always pop on over to those 375 other ‘friend’s’ (seriously?) pages to see what they’re up to, but c’mon…

“What the hell is an algorithm anyway?”

I’m glad you asked.

According to the first definition that pops up on Google, an algorithm is “a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.”

Clear as the accounting on the Trump Foundation’s balance sheets, right?

I guess Facebook used special algorithms when it sent all of our personal information to Cambridge Analytica for the tRumputin campaign.  Those wacky kids!

But AGMA fully believed Mark Zuckerburg when he said Facebook would change it’s ways. And AGMA fully believed that Facebook would do an amazing job of protecting its users data in the future from unauthorized collection. AGMA also fully believed that Facebook would not need any government regulation – they would do just a dandy job policing themselves.

Oh crap! I misspoke. I meant wouldn’t! WOULDN’T!!

But despite the trolls and stolen personal data, AGMA still has her FB page. They say a bad love is better than no love at all…

However, the number of ‘friends’ AGMA can claim has dwindled a bit since November 8, 2016. My posts since that day have tended towards scathing criticisms of Putin’s Puppet and his band of merry traitors. I asked people to de-friend AGMA if my posts offended them. Some obliged. Quite a few actually.

Including my brother. He also de-friended my sister, who is the most gentle soul you can imagine, because she’s against caging children, supports common sense gun laws and wants a President who actually likes the rule of law, democracy, American, and Americans. And our allies.

Go figure.

One day, under the “Facebook Pages You Might LIke” side bar on my FB page (clearly al-go-rhythm driven), a page named Crones of Anarchy popped up. Clearly the name held great appeal for AGMA.

Why not?

AGMA’s definitely a Crone, and a little bit of Anarchy is good for the soul.

But to be a part of the Crone club, you had to take a test. AGMA hates tests. I guess they don’t want any posers – Russian trolls or males or unCroney women. Or Cult45-ers.

I get that.

The good news is that I passed! I’m in baby!! AGMA’s officially a Crone!

But then you knew that.

So if any of you ladies are on Facebook and have felt, deep on the inside, that you are and have always been a Crone, check them out.

Guys…AGMA doesn’t know what to tell you… Maybe the Crones of Anarchy can start a fraternal branch. You know, like the Eastern Star is to the Masons?

I’ll make that suggestion at our next Crone meeting and get back to you.

 

P.S. AGMA sincerely apologizes for my unexplained absence these past 2 weeks. Been visiting the MAGCITW (the grands) which is always exhausting and all time consuming.

I missed a lot of sh*t that went on in the world while I was immersed in Peppa Pig and playing good car/bad car/good train/bad train.

Sending late, but very hardy KUDOS to my friends living in the UK (or is it England, or Great Britain, or the United Kingdom?) for the AWESOME BABY TRUMP BALLOON!

And having a Queen who, very passive aggressively, wore her Barack Obama gifted brooch when meeting Putin’s Poodle. You rock Beth!

Hail Britannia!

Blessed exhaustion

Tired

Yeah – that’s what I’m in store for this coming week.

As I write this, I’m, once again, partaking in one of AGMA’s favorite activities.

Not.

I’m flying the ‘friendly’ skies. More like flying the ‘you should feel humbled that we let your natty butt on this airplane at a ridiculous price for no service’ skies. As anybody who has flown in the past few years knows, it ain’t what it used to be.  But it’s a means to an end, so AGMA will put up with the poking, prodding, starving and herding.

Moo.

Destination – Chicago and the cutest grandchildren in the world (TCGITW).

A year ago, this journey was relatively inexpensive. With several discount carriers having recently entering the Atlanta market, we could fly round trip for around $125 per person. AGMA’s all time fabulous fare was $56 RT with no bags, no food, no drinks and a randomly assigned seat. Those were the good old days…

Then something happened.

I’m not sure what or exactly when it happened. But fares soared to $200+ RT. Even on the no service airlines, the cheapest fare you can get if you go on an odd numbered Tuesday in a month starting with ‘A’ in an even year is $176.

WTF?

For this trip AGMA used sky miles. Our next trip coming up in August is BOGO, but that still averaged out to $160+ a person. At this rate, I’m going to have to start using getting bumped from flights as a discount airfare strategy. Sadly, there were no calls for volunteers today.

AGMA is bracing herself for the week to come.

Just between you and I, I’m not sure I’ll survive.

Normally, a 3 day visit to TCGITW leaves me as tired as Donald Trump when he has to read words.  Any words.

Between going to bed late to spend some quiet time with my son and DIL, getting up early with my grandson so said son and DIL can sleep in, being a bucking bronco for said grandson, walking my granddaughter around to try to get her to sleep and lack of food because I’m too busy to eat, AGMA comes home exhausted.

Because Hubs had his mobility and balance issue, he can’t do any of the heavy lifting (literally) with TCGITW. But he can provide entertainment and a lap for reading and give a bottle. But even with his help, I still get pooped.

This trip will be 6 days. By myself. Because they are moving.

As James Brown said, “Have mercy!”

Hubs and I moved twice when our kids were tiny – 22 and 4 months and then again when they were 4 and 2.. And we had a dog and two cats. We fixed up/cleaned up our houses by ourselves to sell them. And kept them clean with the two munchkins causing the normal munchkin havoc until we sold them. When we moved, we did everything by ourselves – packing, moving the boxes, unpacking – other than moving the big pieces of furniture. I actually think some old neighbors helped us move our piano both times (which nobody really played…) in a UHaul because it was too expensive to have the movers do it. Money was tight. Money was always tight.

With no family in town or willing to come in to help, it was a two person show.

I honestly have no idea how we managed.

When my son & DIL put their condo up for sale, our DIL took TCGITW to her parents house for a week so the place would stay clean for showings. Cheaters. The Chicago real estate market is hot right now so they were counting on a quick sale. They were right. 3 offers for above asking price.

Crazy.

Now we come to moving week.

Thankfully, they have hired packers to pack their ‘stuff’. AGMA’s a master packer, but I’ll gladly abdicate that responsibility. But I still forsee early mornings and late nights, and nothing but kick ass busy in between. Probably with a few bronco rides thrown in.

Can I run a marathon instead? 26.2 miles is nothing compared to what the next 6 days will be like.

But I’m happy (maybe) to help them and so glad (sort of) that they took me up on my offer. “I’ll be glad to come up and help when it’s time to move.” I said.

Seriously?

AGMA was actually thinking of how wonderful it would have been to have family support for our young family. At any point in our lives when our kids were young, not just when we moved.  But it never happened. And while we managed okay, sometimes I wonder how different it might have been…

So I AM happy I can fly the mediocre skies to help them. And I’m very happy that my DIL’s family is a 3 hour car drive away. It makes for two sets of Nanas and Bumpas who, like good Baby Boomers, can’t do enough for their grandchildren and are delighted to help out.

This is all to say, if you don’t hear from AGMA for a few weeks, don’t get alarmed.

I’m just suffering from blessed exhaustion.

ZZZZzzzz….

UPDATE: It’s Tuesday now. As usual, when I got to TCGITW’s home, AGMA got caught up in the whirlwind. It’s been 48 hours since I wrote this post on the plane and this is the first time I’ve had 10 minutes to myself. Other than sleeping. And that’s a survival necessity, so I sleep as much and as often as I can. All is well, but AGMA can read the handwriting on the wall.

It’s gonna be one wild ride.

I repeat…

ZZZZzzzz….

Mr. Wizard, my hero

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Science geek.

That’s me.

AGMA’s always loved science. My undergraduate degree is in Geobiology.

Huh?

FYI, the most memorable part of my undergraduate curriculum was the summer I spent in Baja, Mexico in 1974 studying crabs. Crabs. Seriously. But I think that needs to be a separate post.

I wanted to become a environmental scientist and maybe get a job with a fledgling five year old government agency called the EPA.

But that goal demanded an advanced degree. AGMA said “Nah baby nah.” I was tired of school and was ready to bail. Guess I wasn’t totally committed to the environment thing after all.

I blame myself for global warming.

So AGMA went into the new frontier of IT after working as a hotel clerk, and a corporate credit and collections agent. A career progression that makes perfect sense…

But I never lost my love of science.

Hubs likes science stuff too. This has made us dedicated fans over the years of everything from Cosmos (astronomy) to our beloved Kangaroo Dundee (zoology).

Hubs also likes understanding how things are put together. He’s had an obsession with the TV show How It’s Made for quite a few years.

How It’s Made is a Canadian production that has been shown in the US since 2001 on the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. In a documentary format, it’s name says it all. It literally shows how stuff is made. Everything from bubble gum to guitar picks to alligator handbags. They show you how three totally unrelated, random things are manufactured in each episode.  All with a monotone, droning voiceover.

ZZZzzzz….

AGMA’s not a huge fan.

Sometimes the Science Channel will have a How It’s Made marathons, playing episodes back to back all day. Hubs loves that.

My eyes just glaze over, roll back and I start drooling.

But I saw something in it that caught my fancy the other day. And the AGMA fancy is very difficult to catch.

Season 27, Episode 22. They showed how to make uranium from uranium ore (along with endoscopes and megaphones, naturally.) WTF??

I wonder if Kim Jon-un and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took notes.

But it got me all gooshy nostalgic. It stirred up a passion of years gone by. A longing for one of AGMA’s most cherished childhood possessions.

Something I had hours of fun playing with that probably caused my little body irreparable damage. Something that stoked my love of science, but could have been my untimely demise.  Something that appealed to the left side of my brain while at the same time potentially destroying it. In other words, one of those “toys” that kids absolutely loved!

My Chemcraft chemistry set.

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If you had one, you know how awesome they were. But evidently they were somewhat dangerous even by 1960’s standards.. Which is kinda what made them so awesome.

I read a great article about chemistry sets back in the day. The title, Cyanide, Uranium and Ammonium Nitrate: When Kids Really Had Fun with Science, says it all.

I’m not sure if my set had cyanide in it, but AGMA’s fairly certain there was ammonium nitrate and some radioactive substance in it. I remember a pamphlet, Fun With Radioactivity.

This could explain a lot…

And although my cherished Chemcraft set gave me hours of “living better through dangerous chemistry” fun as a child, sadly, it turned out chemistry was not older AGMA’s strength. I’m more of a “close enough” type person rather than an “exact” type of person.

Chemistry evidently is not down with “close enough”.

I struggled to get a B in Inorganic Chemistry as college freshman. None of my experiments in lab turned out because of my “close enough” philosophy of life.

And chemistry prevented AGMA from graduating with my college class in the spring when I should have. It’s a sad story…

Organic Chemistry was a requirement for my degree. I had to drop it the previous year because I was close to failing with 2 weeks left in the term. I know…AGMA can hear the gasps. I hope I’m not letting you down too hard.

This meant that I had to retake it before I could graduate. And I had to pass.

Picky, picky.

Better to extend my college career a few more months and take it during summer school than shove 4 years of college down the port-a-john.

Damn carbon molecules…

Second time around, I barely got a C. But I graduated albeit 3 months late.

BS for AGMA!

A life mantra…

As it turns out, the chemistry set wasn’t the only old school toy that was a bit iffy from a safety standpoint. For those of you who want to toddle down memory lane a little bit more, check out this article with the irresistible title, The 8 Most Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys.

GenXers and Millennials, eat your hearts out.

Cold sores and lip fungus

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This past June marked the 45th anniversary of AGMA’s first tentative, wobbly steps into adulthood. Very wobbly. I was naive. I was shy. I was mousy.

But I was ready to start my real life.

45 years ago, I, along with 700+ classmates, graduated from high school.

And those of us who are still fortunate enough to be around and in relatively good health and with the means and desire to travel to Pittsburgh, got together last Saturday night to celebrate that momentous event. Or we were just looking for a reason to party.

Yes.  It was my 45th high school reunion.

And as promised in my earlier post in June, AGMA was boldly and proudly in attendance. Because, unlike 50 of my classmates who are no longer with us, I could go.  And not to be morbid, but of those 50 classmate who have gone over the rainbow, 22 have passed in the last 5 years since our last reunion in 2011.

Holy crap on a cracker – 22 in 5 years!  Poof, gone.

I think it’s a good thing we’ve started having reunions every 5 years now.

Aging is clearly a risky business.

Contrary to my plans in my June post, AGMA didn’t get glammed up or dressed to the nines. I didn’t wear heels or lots of make-up. I didn’t buy a new outfit either. It was billed as a casual affair so I went casual, wearing clothes I already had, and a bit of blush and eyeliner.

But I looked good… Darned good.  And people noticed.

It was a good night for AGMA’s normally fragile, humble ego. Like the Grinch’s heart, AGMA’s ego grew three sizes Saturday evening.

Because only 2 of my 5 BFF’s were there and Hubs stayed back in Atlanta,  I wandered around most of the evening striking up conversations with former classmates and/or their spouses/partners.  I call it social “cold calling” and I’m pretty good at it .

“Hi! My name is AGMA. I’m sure you don’t remember me because I was very quiet and shy in high school, and didn’t move into the community until 9th grade. So do you still live in PIttsburgh?” It was an effective opening line.

And if I was talking to a man, I added, “And I definitely didn’t talk to guys. I used to blush and turn red.” I was surprised at the number of men who laughed and said, “And I didn’t talk to girls!”

Turns out many of them were as terrified of me as I was of them! Who knew?

Based on AGMA’s observations of the 80+ people who came the reunion, my classmates, 45 years later, fall into one the following groups:

  1. People who have become self actualized enough to leave the cliquishness, “labels” and insecurities of their teenage years behind them and are now really nice people. AGMA falls into this group. Of course.
  2. People who are still suffering from self confidence issues and are still reluctant, after all these years, to go outside of their comfort zone.   So they still stick like glue to their old high school peeps for support. That’s just sad.
  3. People who have never gotten over the trauma of _________ (fill in the blank) from their high school years and have come back to prove a point. They are now (take your pick…) successful, beautiful, handsome, have a head full of hair, skinny, rich, have a hot spouse and/or successful kids, and have come to rub it in the face of the cool “kids”. Who really don’t give a flying f*ck. Still.
  4. The people who were self confident and nice in high school, and are still self confident and nice. Yeah – there were a few of those.

In general, the women have aged better than the men. Although I do have to admit to a few double takes with some of the guys. A few of them have gotten better with age. Much better.

But the big story of the night was that I did what was totally impossible and unthinkable to a 17 year old AGMA. And it only took 45 years. Who said crazy dreams don’t come true? You just have to be willing to be patient…

AGMA got to kiss our former class football jock hero. He was the quarterback of our state title winning football team. He was so popular that a quiet, shy mouse like me would never even think of daring to have a crush on him. That would have been just crazy.

Lest you think AGMA was dallying on Hubs, it wasn’t like that. Really. Although after 2 Moscow Mules, I’m not exactly 100% clear on how it all happened. I’m pretty sure we ended up kissing dramatically for a photo op.

Keep a lookout for it on Facebook. That possibility kinda makes me quesy…

At least there were no tongues.

Now that would’ve been gross. He’s turned out to be a kind of a slimy ,used car sales person type who drinks too much.  It’s tough being a washed up jock.

One of my first thoughts afterwards was that I hoped he didn’t have anything that was contagious. Not the reaction AGMA might have dreamed of 45 years ago….

But I was young and naive then.  And not aware of the dangers of cold sores and lip fungus.

I’m really looking forward to our 50th.

And I wonder who I’ll pucker up for in 2021?

Aging gracefully my ass!

πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει

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I know, right…it’s all Greek to you.

FYI, the above phrase translates to “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” According to Plato in his dialogue titled Cratylus, this was written by Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (535 BC – 475 BC)

AGMA is aware that this is pretty heady stuff. Thank you Wikiquote.

I was going for “Nothing is constant except change.” but there seems to be some dispute as to who really said that. AGMA tries to avoid conflict at all costs.

Aside from having a name that 14 year old boys would love to make randy comments about, Heraclitus was a very wise man.

He was all about change.

And it’s more of a constant in our lives now than ever before in human history.

Just when you think you’ve mastered how to take advantage of the “smart” in your smart phone – or at least the 10% that you actually know about – an updated operating system downloads and boogers everything up.

“Rizzle frazzle what the hell sh*t frack damn now what??”, as heard in AGMA’s house after such an update.

Or SmartPhone V108.5 comes out. Now you have to go back to the very beginning and learn  the new 10% of the new phone that doesn’t operate at all like your old one.  Yet again.

Some of us have children or grandchildren who can help us. The lucky ones have children or grandchildren who actually do help us. There’s a difference.

AGMA’s still waiting for her younger son to reprogram our universal remote because we changed from cable to satellite. Over a year ago. In the meantime, our coffee table is once again littered with remotes of various shapes and sizes that don’t get along with each other at all.

Kind of like Congress.

There are dozens, nay, hundreds, of other examples of the constant changes in technology, meant to make our lives easier, that actually screw it up. At least in the short term.

Please don’t think AGMA is a “Make America Great Again” type who wants a general store/soda fountain on every corner, a black and white television with rabbit ears in every living room, and telephones connected to walls. With cords.

On the contrary, she has been known to be an “semi”-early adopter.

We bought our first PC in 1984 and had an email account shortly afterwards. We also had a Betamax back in the 80’s. I know, AGMA was young and foolish about the Beta thing…

I bought my first Prius in 2006 and got the first Google smart phone, the G1, when it came out in 2008. Both went better than the Betamax debacle.

AGMA also uses cloud storage for her pictures/videos. I just need to remember where they are – Dropbox, Amazon Photos or Google Drive.

I’m hoping the dementia onset will be delayed until I can figure it all out.

But there are times when AGMA takes great comfort in the unchanging nature of some things. Familiar things.  Things that I grew up with and have basically stayed the same my whole life.

The flush toilet for example. Invented by John Harington in 1596, but bought into common use in the late 1800’s by Thomas Crapper (14 year old boy alert!), the flush toilet is brilliant piece of engineering. Other than the occasional need for a plunger, it’s the execution of a near perfect concept in public sanitation that has withstood the test of time. And Hub’s occasional splurge of pork and beans.

And the iron. While the design has changed a bit over the years, it’s still basically a water chamber and a metal plate that gets hot, and is used to get wrinkles out of fabric. And, if too hot, as AGMA learned the hard way, melts synthetic fibers together into a disgusting lump that has an alarming smell. And sets off the smoke detector.

But that’s another post…

Other than setting the correct temperature (see above), there aren’t many tricks to the iron. You fill the water chamber (if you want to generate steam that can burn off your face), plug it in, and press it down on the wrinkled fabric strategically positioned on an ironing board.  The ironing board – yet another comfortingly unchanged household item.

AGMA is, of course, assuming that the iron hasn’t changed over the last 10 years or so. It has been that long since she has actually used one, but she’s pretty sure they’re still the same. She believes that if God had intended for her to continue to use an iron, God wouldn’t have put the $1.99 dry cleaner so close to her house.

And then there’s the toaster. Again, simplicity that’s hard to improve on. Bread, a heating element and time = toast. Pretty damn basic. And comforting.

Just make sure you unplug it before you stick a fork in to pry the toast out that got stuck.

So the next time your head starts feeling like it’s going to explode learning yet another “indispensable” app, or programming your new Nest, or figuring out the difference between Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and 10 other social media sites AGMA doesn’t even know about yet, go back to basics.

Think of the simple, familiar, unchanging, comforting toilet, iron and toaster.

You’re welcome.

Namaste.

The Hostess City

Savannah

AGMA’s been on the road. Again.

This time it was a long weekend in Savannah, Georgia. It’s an easy, albeit boring, drive from Atlanta, so AGMA’s had the chance to visit there lots of times in the past 10 years.

There’s no place quite like Savannah.

For those of you who’ve been to there or read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – referred to in Savannah as “the book” – you know how beautiful and interesting and unique it is. Exquisitely restored Federal and Georgian homes, ancient giant oaks draped with Spanish moss, 22 beautiful shady public squares (each one different), Forsyth Park, and lots and lots of Southern charm. Quirky Southern charm. Savannah style.

I read a great description of Savannah that’s meant to be a joke, but is pretty much true.

In Atlanta, they ask you, “What you do for a living?”

In Macon, they ask you, “What church do you attend?”

In Charleston, they ask you, “To what family you belong?”

In Savannah, they ask you, “What you want to drink?”

Yup – that’s Savannah. It’s nicknamed the Hostess City for good reason.

It’s one of the few cities in the U.S. where you can openly, legally drink while walking around the city. With this crazy ass election coming up in November, maybe every city needs an open container law to help us all through the trauma of the next six months…

It’s a city that has the second largest St. Patrick’s Day blow-out in the U.S., innumerable stag and hen parties, and is one of the most haunted cities in the U.S. according to paranormal investigators from the Travel, History and Discovery channels.

In other words, it’s a real party town whether you’re alive or dead or any where in between!

And, sadly, AGMA and her 60 something friend fell in that “any where in between” category…

We took afternoon nappettes every day we were there. The first night, we watched the first two episodes of Downton Abbey in our lovely AirB&B townhouse apartment circa 1885. Then went to bed. The next two nights we enjoyed the pianists at the Planters Inn Tavern. We listened to the music of Cole Porter, Rogers & Hammerstein, Savannah’s own Johnny Mercer and…well…you get the idea. I had two adult beverages the entire weekend. My friend doesn’t drink.

AGMA n friend gone wild! Out of control. Not.

I’m worried. It was definitely an aging gracefully weekend which you know I really don’t approve of…

But I guess we’d be pretty pathetic if we tried to act like we were crazy kids in our 40’s. There’s nothing worse than 60 somethings on faux Spring Break fishing for Mardi Gras beads. And I really don’t need to get up more often at night to pee than I already do. Plus the hangovers are far more wicked at this stage of life.

So. Much. More.

Still, in a strange way, I sort of miss, a tiny bit, those semi-lost weekends of my youth. Or maybe I just miss being able to semi-successfully “pull off” those semi-lost weekends without being like the Walking Dead the next day.

AGMA was never a huge party animal, but I did have my moments.

I bet you did too.

And maybe you haven’t wimped out quite as much as AGMA and you still do.  Lucky you.  I think.

I’m holding out hope that I’ll have a active social calender in the after-life. Then I can party with all the rest of the ghosts of Savannah without having to worry about extra safaris to the bathroom or the horrible hammering in my head the next day.

Prince and I’ll be partying like it’s 1999.

Next to Godliness…really?

funny-pictures-history-instead-of-cleaning-the-house-i-just-turn-off-the-lights

If you’ve been hanging with AGMA for a spell, you realize that I have a number of dirty little secrets. My thin mint addiction, my obsession with professional male cyclists in spandex, my desire for a tramp tat…

All are things I wouldn’t want to share with a child under ten. Or my husband.

And I have one more. Not really dirty. Just a secret. It better not be dirty for what I shell out…

I actually pay somebody to clean my house every two weeks.

I’m so ashamed. I feel like an elitist 1%er. What would Bernie say? What would my stern, frugal father say? What would my step-mother say?

Actually, she would probably say, “Atta girl!” Louise hated doing domestic stuff. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect she probably had a housekeeper/cook when she was working full time and married to her first husband.

After she married my father, he persuaded her to quit her job. It was important that he be her first priority. Not surprising. So she went from business woman to full time domestic goddess. It wasn’t her dream job.

However, she dutifully executed her work. She was after all, from a good German family where all the walls got wiped down every spring, floors were scrubbed until they shone and sheets were ironed to make them “crisp”. I never really wanted crispy sheets, but I didn’t have a choice. She made all of the sheets “crisp”.

But she really didn’t like any of it. And, for better or worse, she passed on an extreme dislike of domestic duties to me. I nearly flunked Home Ec.

But like Louise, I was a trooper the while my kids were grown up.

I made dinner every night. The cuisine was mostly Midwestern post-modern – meatloaf with ketchup and onion soup mix, a variety of Hamburger Helper “flavors”, frozen chicken nuggets, and whatever would cook in a crock pot and still remain edible.  Fruit and vegetables were from cans.

Hey…they survived.

My 32 year old son, who now eats raw kale, chard and other woody, stemmy, barely chewable vegetables, mentions how unhealthy my dinners were when he was growing up. Quite frequently.

The last time, I shot back, “When you work part-time, take care of aging parents, drive in multiple carpools, hate to cook and are married to your father, then talk to me. We’ll see what YOU make for dinner.”

That shut him up.

But really, nothing compares to the battles fought over the years trying to keep our house from disintegrating into a scene from some post-apocalyptic world. AGMA turned from caring, understanding, encouraging, loving wife and mother into loud bitchy shrew. I wasn’t about to clean up their mess.

I realize we’ve found out that Bill Cosby is a sexual predator and has left many victims in his wake over the years. His immoral acts and attempted cover-ups are reprehensible. But I have to admit (sheepishly) that I still consider some of his family themed comedy classically brilliant.

On his comedy album, Bill Cosby Himself (1983), in describing his angry wife, he uncannily describes AGMA on housecleaning day…

I’ve always heard about people having a conniption, but I’ve never seen one. You don’t want to see ’em! My wife’s face… split! The skin and hair split and came off of her face so that there was nothing except the skull! And orange light came out of her hair and it lit all around! And fire shot from her eye sockets and began to burn my stomach!

Despite my head splitting open with dizzying frequency, I really was sad when both of my son’s went off to college. On the other hand, I was finally going to get to the bottom of many household mysteries related to moldy food stuffs  and sour smells discovered in unlikely places.

Of course, when they were all at home, none of them was ever the guilty one. It was always somebody else who left toast crumbs all over the couch or spilled the juice on the floor.

But as they flew from the nest, things began to change. This list of the usual suspects got much smaller.

Then it was just hubs and myself. And there was nobody left to point a finger at when toast crumbs littered the hardwoods or milk soured in a puddle on the counter. The house slowly started not looking so post-apocalyptic.

But it still wasn’t good.

Coming from a long line of lackadaisical individuals, my husband was not raised in an environment that believed, as my mostly German father and step-mother did, that “cleanliness is next to Godliness”. Hubs pretty much wouldn’t notice if our house was featured on the reality show, Hoarders.

And while AGMA never fully committed to the “next to Godliness” thing, I do like having a semi-clean and tidy home. This however, does not seem to extend to my car.

As it turns out, recruiting outside house cleaning help was a marriage survival strategy.

Now I don’t have to feel like Cinderella, cleaning the whole house by myself and missing the ball. And he doesn’t have to take time away from….ah….whatever it is he does when he isn’t working. Most of it appears to revolve around his smartphone, his laptop and the TV.

But hey – I’m busy too. I have my part-time massage therapy practice, the New York Marathon to train for, an eBay business to build and, most importantly, a blog to write…

So for the near future, it looks like we’ll continue to be 1%ers. Sort of.

We’ll probably revisit this line item in our budget after he retires. I’m sure he’ll be much more engaged on the domestic front after that. And he’ll be happy to dust and scrub sinks.

And Donald Trump is a really nice man who’s just being picked on by the RNC and Megan Kelly.

Putting the Us Back in UterUs

AGMA’s back!  Yes – I’m back, but my brain and body are not fully functional from that loooonnnngggg trip yesterday.  But we had a layover in Amsterdam and I bought some gouda in the airport so it wasn’t a total loss.  Since it’s doubtful my brain will start working properly anytime soon, I’m reblogging this very funny post from Life in the Boomer Lane.  I was laughing out loud in my fave coffee shop and people were staring at me so you know it’s good!  Enjoy!

 

Life in the Boomer Lane has noticed that, in addition to car keys, cell phones, and Kindles, she has also lost body parts. Her knee, brain cells, the better parts of several teeth, several i…

Source: Putting the Us Back in UterUs