Sunday, October 31, 2010

You know you're getting old when...

Yes, I know. This could be the longest blog post in history. Could be, but won't be, because I'll need my nap pretty soon.

Seriously, I looked at yesterday's mail and was assaulted by an envelope. There, on the top of the wad of stuff that passes for correspondence, perched a letter from The Scooter Store. The Scooter Store! I couldn't believe it. Did they think I was old or something?

I assessed the situation. Well, sure, I had spent part of the previous evening with the latest issue of AARP on my lap, reading an article in which Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis and Betty White shared advice about aging. I identified best with Betty White's remarks. Hmmm. Betty White.... And when did AARP, replace my Grisham novels, anyhow?

What else was in the mail? Oh, perfect--two pitches to change my health insurance plans. Change them? Not likely! I still bear scars from having to wade through all that paperwork when I approached my 65th birthday -- not that all the "wading" did a lot of good. In the end, desperate to make a decision--ANY decision--I played what I call Medicare-meeney-miney-moe, arbitrarily picking a plan and tossing around big words like "deductible" and "co-pay" to justify my decision. It had all the science of throwing a dart at at target and being satisfied if it landed somewhere on the wall. Why can't health insurance selection for seniors be easy? We old folks confuse easily, you know.

And don't even think of getting me started talking about long term care insurance (yup, did that, too) or the dreaded "doughnut hole" in prescription coverage. Being a senior citizen is not for sissies, indeed.

And how about that term "senior citizen"? Remember when being a "senior" was something to anticipate with pleasure, the year you'd attend your senior prom and later parade across the auditorium stage wearing a robe and mortarboard, diploma clutched in hand? Anticipate being a senior citizen? Not so much.

You know you're getting old when you can get fired up talking about health insurance before most people half your age have had their first cup of coffee. Me, I'd had three before I even penned the first line of this post.

You know you are getting old when a New York Times article by Sandra Day O'Connor and others, called "The Age of Alzheimer's", reminds you that you now are in the age bracket of those whose chance of developing Alzheimer's doubles every five years. The article, concise and powerful, clearly describes what the US must do to prevent the dire future these numbers portend. I encourage you to look it up. It's not pleasant reading, but remember, we aren't sissies.

Much of the remainder of my day will be spent writing and preparing for an upcoming writers' retreat. But, before I do anything else, I'm going to snatch up that letter from The Scooter Store, toss it into the recycle bin and then plot a few other acts of senior disobedience.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

St. George Island Writers' Retreat 2010

NOVEMBER 10 - 14, 2010
I can't wait--white sand sparkling, sunlight dancing on surf, shrimp boats plying through gentle waves...the perfect backdrop for four days of glorious writing, of putting all other distractions on hold. I am SO ready for the retreat to begin.

We have a super group this year. As always, Adrian Fogelin, award-winning author of over seven young adult works, will be our author in residence. She will lead workshops and feedback sessions, offer private consultations, advice and encouragement. We'll have large blocks of writing time, too, so plan on making significant advances with your personal work-in-progress. The experience is magical.

Six of us who have attended one or more times in the past (this is our fifth year at St. George Island) will be there, laptops and dog-eared novel or memoir drafts in tow, and three new writers are on board, too--a great mix of interests and experience. We can fit in two more writers, but after that I have to close registrations and will be able to place interested writers on a waiting list only.

We check in at beautiful Abbeyfeale (a spacious private home overlooking the Gulf of Mexico) the afternoon of November 10 and stay through Sunday the 14th. If you are on the fence about signing up, do visit my website to look over the information and photos, and email or phone with questions or concerns. Hope to see you at the retreat.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You know you've been too busy when...

The summer of 2010 saw the arrival of three trains weekly at Thurman Station, and, as president of the Thurman Station Association, I was involved in helping to create and publicize special activities in Thurman to attract and entertain rail passengers. Added to my other regular activities, it made for one crazy summer, with way too much stuffed into my volunteer schedule. Not only did I not blog, I let myriad other things slip between the cracks of my life, as well. I've finally found a few minutes to reflect on that crazy busy-ness, and the impact it had on me:

You know you've been too busy when your "short" hair cut is curling down around your collar and you realize it has been three months since you felt you could afford twenty minutes to sit down and have it cut.

You know you've been too busy when the pile of documents to be dealt with on your desk teeters above the screen of your open laptop and threaten to topple down onto it.

You know when you listen intently to a story your spouse is telling and realize moments later that not one word pierced your brain --- which was focused on that teetering pile.

You know when you forget to eat, to sleep, to go to the bathroom.

When you forget what file you were just about to open, whose number you were about to dial, what face belongs to the name on the page in front of you.

I knew best yesterday, when I sat down to work and suddenly was flooded with the awareness there was nothing -- NOTHING -- that I needed to do right away for any of those volunteer projects. It took a few minutes to fully realize that I had time what? I'd almost forgotten the alternatives.

I had time (not unlimited, but time, nonetheless) to phone a friend. Time to listen to some music and plug a few pieces into a jigsaw puzzle on the coffee table. Time to pull up a piece of fiction I wanted to noodle around with before my next writers' retreat.

Time to share a few thoughts with you in this long-neglected blog.

I've missed that.

Till soon,