Bloomin’ n struttin’


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…

Alma Mater memorial


AGMA is going to go to her 45th high school reunion in September.  Up until a couple of months ago, I had very mixed feelings about going.

I went to high school in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but I didn’t grow up in the community my Alama Mater is located in.  My parents moved there right before my freshman year of high school.  That’s a tough time to move in a teenagers life.

Hard to believe but AGMA was so shy and introverted, it was hard for her to make friends.  It took about a year before I found my niche.

Not the cool kids.  Not the nerdy kids.  Not the honors kids. Not the band kids or the sports kids.

They were the AGMA kids.  All female because, God forbid I actually talk to a boy.  My face used to get red and I’d break out into a sweat when I talked to boys.  Seriously.  It was so embarrassing. Just better just to try to avoid them.

No wonder I never went to a high school dance where you did the date thing.  I didn’t go to one dance – not even my senior prom.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  I’m really not sure.

But I do remember going to dances at the local community center.   We just went to hang out and get out of the house.  And away from the parents.

These dances were terribly awkward affairs.  It was the late 60’s so there were a lot of black lights and glow in the dark things  and rock music and  “clumps” of teenagers littered around on bean bag chairs.  My friends and I would go and hang out for a few hours.

And not talk to boys.

We all managed to get over the boy thing.  All of us got married at least once at some point in our adult lives.

As my step-mother used to tell me,  we were a “late bloomers”.  I still haven’t figured out what that means.

I’m still in touch with my five closest friends from high school.  We live scattered about in the Midwest and the South.  Only one still lives in Pittsburgh.  They’re the only reason I’ve gone to past reunions.

Oh – I need to mention that, up until this year, we’ve only had reunions every 10 years.  We’re starting to have them every 5 years now because we’re all getting to “that age”.  I guess we’re starting to drop like fruit flies in a biology student’s genetics lab.

We have a In Memory page on our class reunion website for classmates who’ve gone over the rainbow way too soon.  I was shocked when I went into it last week and instead of having the 10 names it had listed a couple of months ago, there are now 45 names.

We had 700 and some in our graduating class.

45 names.  Even out of 700, that seems like an awful lot of names to me.  And that’s only the ones they know about.  We have a lot of MIA’s from the class who can’t be tracked down.  The list could grow.  Dismal prospect.

To be honest, for a while there, I was a bit concerned I might end up on that list sooner rather than later.

After (and I know that some of this is definitely TMI) 6 blood draws, one set of “specimen” collection tests (still a traumatic memory), an ultrasound of my pancreas and gallbladder, a colonoscopy, an MRI (with contrast), an endoscopic ultrasound and biopsy of my pancreas, and multiple pathology reports, I’m feeling much better about my odds of not being on that list for my 50th.

Instead of having the suspected pancreatic cancer, I have something called autoimmune pancreatitis (AIP).  That darned AIP can mimic pancreatic cancer.

What a little dickens.

So having AIP means my white blood cells are waging war on my pancreas.  Charming.  And my pancreas isn’t very happy about it.  Understandable.  Why can’t we all learn to get along?

But I’ll take the AIP any day over cancer.

Oh, a lovely side “benefit” of my AIP is my newly discovered ulcerative colitis.  The GI doc expects the AIP to pretty much clear up with a course of steroid treatment which is no less than miraculous.  I’m stuck with the colitis.  But I’m okay with that.  There are some amazing pharmaceuticals out there these days.

So AGMA will be glamming it up and dressing to the nines to go to her 45th reunion!  I might even put on make-up and heels.  Because, unlike 45 of my former classmates, I can go to our 45th reunion.

I’m sure there will be toasts and fond remembrances of them, and we’ll all feel sad at their premature loss.  It’s right to pause and remember them.

But then I hope the dancing and wild rumpus will start!  I’m pretty sure there aren’t going to be any black lights and glow in the dark stuff or bean bag chairs.  But, oh yeah – there will still be rock and roll!  Lots of rock and roll.  And we’ll all celebrate being able to celebrate making it to this milestone.

And this late bloomer is actually planning on talking to some boys!










Every beat of my heart


Twenty years ago, a co-worker of my husband shared his interesting (but completely unscientific) theory of human physiology.  He believed that every heart was created with a finite number of beats.  When you use all the heartbeats up, that was it. Poof, goodbye.  You went over the rainbow post haste.

He used his theory to justify why he didn’t believe in any sort of exercise or physical activity. The faster your heart beat, the more of that finite store of heartbeats were used up. He believed those heartbeats were precious and needed to be conserved.

I wonder how that worked out for him?

No doubt he would have been horrified by me on Sunday.  I probably used up a good three months worth of heartbeats in six hours.  Yikes!

AGMA ran her second full marathon in her life.  26.2 miles.  That’s a lot of heartbeats right there.

What was I thinking?

Like my first 26.2 earlier this year, I was not fast.  “Not fast” being an understatement. As I wrote last February, I am turtle-like when I run long distances.  Or like the little engine that could, just chugging along.  I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can.  Maybe.

Little has changed since last February.

People still think I’m a bit off for starting to run marathons after 60.  To be honest, I still think I’m a lot off.

But, as you know, aging gracefully is not part of the plan…

My ass.

I’m careful. I’ve learned that there are certain physiological limitations of my aging body that demand some modifications and cautions when I run.  That’s why I do interval running.  Run-walk-run.

My muscles don’t have the capacity to work as hard or recover as quickly as when I was thirty.  I guess.  I was never really that physically active when I was younger.  A couple of 5K’s, exercise classes at the YMCA a la “feel the burn” Jane Fonda, racquetball and some tennis, but they were all short lived.

I kind of regret that…

But on the plus side, I didn’t really screw up my body by being uber aggressive at any particular sport or trying to out-downward dog the lady next to me.  Which is probably why I’m doing okay at running +60.  I’m a late bloomer.

Part of the “problem” is that AGMA’s drinking the Kool-aid of the Growing Bolder Facebook page.  Growing bOLDER. Get it?  Cute right?

Growing Bolder’s mantra is hope, inspiration, & possibility; that growing older doesn’t mean that you have to stop dreaming of new possiblities.  We can pick up old dreams or passions that were set aside during the busy years of work and family, or find new dreams to pursue.

And I promise, you don’t have to run a marathon to grow bolder. Or even a half-marathon.  Not everybody’s THAT crazy…  But you can still find new adventures to live no matter what limitations you might have.

Like The Golden Girls, we can still get into plenty of trouble.  Oh, oh – I want to be Blanche!

So two days after my run, I admit I’m still a bit sore. But not as much as you might expect.  Again, AGMA’s all about being careful…  Possibly excessively so.  I’ve got a lot of German in me.

And I’m experiencing a bit of the low-down, ain’t-got-nuttin’-to-train-for, post-marathon blues.  *sigh*

But I’m pretty sure it’ll all pass.

Until it does, I’ll just dream of using up even more heartbeats maybe zip-lining or kayaking.  Or maybe I’ll learn Italian or help people to register to vote or start delivering meals on wheels.

Or dream really, really big…

Running a sub-six hour marathon.