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Showing posts from February, 2013

We Were American

My father loved history, especially anything to do with our Spanish ancestors.  Along with bedtime cuentos, I grew up listening to stories about our antepasados who came over in the mid 1700’s. The harsh, lawless terrain of southwestern Texas proved too much for these court-bred Spaniards, so they retreated to the civilized comfort of Mexico City until the crown warned them and their leader, the Visrey de Escandón, that they had to settle and populate their claim or lose their land grant. Besides England and France, there were other Spaniards waiting to grab a share of the new world. There is no record, oral or written, of our antepasados before they came to America, so our history starts suddenly in 1747. It sprung up in the desert like the mesquite and the nopales.  They founded what are now the towns of Zapata, San Ignacio, and Ramireño, Texas. That area was so forbidding and undesirable that the rest of the world ignored that no-man’s land. Only marauding Comanches and murderous t…

Rethinking Retirement

One should never retire “from” a job; one should retire “to” something.  Sure you officially resigned or quit from a position, and everyone gave you a retirement party (hopefully), but what comes after?           And there is an after.  For most of us, it will span 20-30 years after we leave the daily grind.  That is a long time if you don’t plan for it. 1. Are you financially able to retire?  Do you have a savings or retirement account? Are you planning a second career or a part-time job? Sorry, but without money, full retirement is not in your immediate future. 2.Are you planning some sort of health routine?  You certainly want to spend the majority of your remaining life span in good health, so make sure you consider a consistent health routine and a healthy diet.  This includes visits to the doctor and the dentist. 3.Have you discussed your retirement plans with your spouse, partner, and/or family?  Include them in your plans, so there is no misunderstanding about how you …

Remnants

The daytime nurse reminds me that tonight is the all-male choir program in the dining room.  Do I want to wear something special for the occasion? I show her my comfy gym outfit.  I have chair yoga at ten and a Scrabble rematch with Mr. García after lunch.  Any singing Romeo who spots me in the audience tonight and is hot for my phone number can just take me the way I am dressed, walker and all. The evening nurse works our wing because we are ambulatory.  We can bathe ourselves and change our own diapers.  He’s afraid to touch us, afraid we are contagious.  In a way he is right.  Everyone ages; everyone dies. When it is time for the evening program, I shuffle back to the dining room on my own.  A creature of habit, I head for the one spot where I sit for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It is my lucky chair.  This is where I beat Mr. García at Scrabble for the fifth time earlier in the day.  I lean my walker against it before I make my rounds. “Hola, Gloria.” In her late sixties, my frie…

My 10 ½ Romantic Movie Recommendations (In Honor of Valentine’s Day or Anytime You Need a Smile)

1.Crazy Stupid Love – to quote the movie, it is a combination of sexy and cute, especially Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. (Okay, mostly Ryan Gosling.) 2.Dan in Real Life – told from the male perspective. A lonely widower raising three daughters falls for his brother’s girl.  Best quote:  You are the murderer of love. 3.Falling for a Dancer – an Irish mini-series; a hidden gem.  I fell in love with Mossie the first time he set eyes on his cousin’s wife, a feisty woman in an arranged marriage of convenience. 4.Murphy’s Romance – a May-December romance played by Sally Fields, a divorcée, and James Garner, a widower. He makes the screen sizzle in this one. 5.One Special Night – another James Garner romance, but this time he goes after Julie Andrews, a widow.  The one bad hitch – he is still married to a wife with Alzheimer’s. 6.P.S. I Love You – this is a romance between a widow and her late husband.  He sets a series of letters and gifts in place to help her face her grief after his death. 7…

Happy Breastday to Me!

I gave myself a very special birthday present this year – I had surgery. Before you think it was to increase, decrease, or “lift” something, let me tell you it was not cosmetic (though I could probably use a few nips and tucks at my age; the infinite number of creams I buy OTC are not working their promised magic). About four or five months ago, I discovered a hard lump about the size of a large marble in my left armpit.  I had been feeling small pangs of pain in my left chest for several months, but I figured it was just my turn to dance with heart disease.  Everyone in my immediate family is diabetic and suffers from strokes or heart attacks, so I thought – here we go; my turn. I was going to tell my internist about the pangs during my next visit, so imagine my surprise when I discovered the lump. The Drama Queen in me immediately manifested herself – cancer, I thought.  I have cancer. I searched some more and found that the texture on the left side of my left breast felt different t…