Wednesday, February 10, 2016

In Love with my Grandmother

When I was about six, my mother served me milk with my dinner. Milk and I have never gotten along so she usually served me water.  When I politely refused, everyone was allowed to leave the table except me. 
I sat there and watched the milk get more and more tepid by the hour.
Hours later, everyone started getting ready for bed and lights started to go out. My mother in her night gown checked on me one more time. She reminded me to drink my milk.
The house went dark except for one bathroom light. I felt abandoned and unloved.
My grandmother who lived with us walked into the kitchen to take her nightly meds.  My mother yelled from her bedroom, asking Mama Ene to check on my progress.
My grandmother ran the sink faucet, walked over to the kitchen table, drank my glass of milk in one swallow.  She never once looked at me but yelled into the darkness toward my parents’ bedroom. “She drank her milk.”
“At last.”  I could hear my mother’s relief. The impasse was over.
I have NEVER loved anyone as much as I loved my grandmother that night.  


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Lifetime of Learning

In my earliest memories, I am outside playing, scratching “words” into the dirt. In one, I estimate I am about two (because we still lived in Laredo at the time), and in the other I am about three (because I see the duplex we rented before my parents bought the San Antonio house we lived in until I was 18).
I also remember my father teaching me to read using the encyclopedia we had in a place of honor in the living room.  I had to be about four years old.  
Ask me anything about aardvarks.
The brain is an amazing muscle.  It hungers for input for the span of its life. I have witnessed delight in a baby’s face when the brain first grasps new information, and studies have shown that an aging brain that is kept active stays healthy longer than one that is not stimulated.
If we love and value ourselves, we should care for our bodies and our brains. We should keep ourselves active and mobile for as long as we can. For this reason, I did not retire without a plan.
I read, I write, I socialize.
I create more memories.

Monday, February 8, 2016

If I Were to Recommend Books to Read during February

I read the following ten books for book club and at the time they weren’t my favorite reads, but they have stayed with me longer than the other three dozen assigned books I had to read.  
Have you read any of these? 
·       Bel Canto – Ann Patchett 
·       Book Thief – Marcus Zusak
·       Distant Hours – Kate Morton (or anything by this author)
·       The Double Bind – Chris Bohjalian
·       Girl on a Train – Paula Hawkins
·       Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
·       Life After Life – Kate Atkinson
·       Private Practice – Samanthe Beck
·       Storm Siren – Mary Weber
·       UnDomestic Goddess – Sophie Kinsella ( or anything by this author)
What books have you read lately that stayed in your thoughts long after you put them down?

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Book Club Built on Friendship

Before I retired from my last job, HoneyBunch suggested I make a plan.  He was afraid one of us would go insane since he was used to living out here alone but I wasn’t. 
I promised him I would think about it.
I signed up for real estate classes.  I joined Weight Watchers and a gym.  I looked into several writers’ groups that might help boost me into my next career.
After a few months, I ditched the real estate license and decided to concentrate on my writing.  I chose one writer’s group that fit my needs the best and have stuck with them for the last six years.
One of the many benefits I acquired from this group was an offshoot (rebel) group of ladies who formed a book club. We have been together since the spring of 2011. 
In that time we have read over three dozen books together.  Many of those books have gone on to become best sellers and about a dozen of them went on to become award winning movies.
But the best thing of all is the friendship and the stimulating conversation. 

My husband was right; it has kept me sane. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

I Had Three Whole Dates in High School.

One boy survived my father’s inquisition when I was in the 9th grade and I was allowed to go on a date to a high school dance. Somewhere between the first and second dance, Bachelor # 1 confessed that he only asked me out so he could get close to my best friend.  I dragged him over to where she was holding court and left him there to bask in her beauty until it was time for his parents to pick us up and return me to the bosom of my family.
When I was a junior, my mother set me up with a young man who worked with her and I was his date to a Christmas banquet.  We double dated with another couple and I was sequestered with Bachelor # 2 in the back seat to and from the steak house. After the banquet the other couple wanted to go make out but I was not about to swap spit with someone who smelled of medium rare and baked potato.  He had sweaty hands, leered at my chest and mini-dress, and his right leg shook like Thumper’s hind leg in Bambi.  I demanded to be taken home and when the driver didn’t make a u-turn immediately, I said it several more times loudly.
Mom was a slow learner. 
When I was a senior she found me a date for my prom, but one week before the big affair, we had a death in the family and we cancelled everything.  Bachelor # 3 was not out any money since my mother had paid for everything but later that summer, he felt obliged to make up for the spending money he had kept and asked me out to go bowling.
On the way home, he attacked me in the front seat. When I pushed him off and threatened to jump out of the car, he told me I should take whatever was offered to me since “my mother had to pay guys to take me out.”  When he continued to point out my failings, I stopped him and told him I would rather go to my death a virgin than have sex with someone who had smelly feet and yellow teeth.

When and if I ever “did it,” it was going to be with someone who knew my name, with someone to whom I was attracted, and with someone who respected me for who I was.