No Bladder Issues Here

It definitely doesn’t pay to be frugal when it comes to participation in cultural events while living with a temperamental  body. I’m just going to say it. I can be cheap. I can also easily convince myself that while my chronological age screams out 56, my mental age whispers 25. Those whispers tend to get me into trouble ever time, like when my leg cramps (without fail) each time I rent a beach cottage and assure that inner voice that a “two hour drive is nothing” and that “my ass won’t be numb and my left leg immobile when I arrive.”

I keep telling myself that stairs are no problem, even though I feel like my legs are rather unreliable, especially on the descent, or that my knees and ankles make sounds like popcorn banging away against the lid of a hot kettle. I continue to lie to myself every time I assume that sitting at awkward angles, in small chairs, with my elbows and arms tucked into my lap and my neck up around my ears will not elicit instant pain in my neck.

I also need to come clean regarding the fact that I don’t turn up the volume on my car stereo just because I really like the songs that are playing. Sometimes, especially on a sunny summer day with the windows down and the wind blowing my hair, the volume goes up just because I have this nifty little volume control tab on my steering wheel, and who doesn’t want to play ACDC or Def Leppard at full volume. But mostly the volume is elevated because I realize, that below a certain level, my music is muffled. The crispness is gone. I blame this solely on twenty years of high decibel dental drills screaming at me for eight hours per day…and also a wee bit on attendance at some rather incredibly loud concerts in my youth…okay…I also blame it on age.

Last night, a local venue brought a production of the 1986 final European tour given my Queen. This tour was the one just prior to Freddie Mercury disclosing, in 1987, that he had AIDS. This tour is also billed to be the last time the four original band members played together. While never an extreme fan of Queen, I did like many of their songs, so when I saw this unique ‘concert’ was coming to town I got tickets. I didn’t even fully realize what was truly involved, or how this evening was going to be presented.

This was not a cover band simply playing and singing songs original to Queen. The four men are musicians, amazing musicians actually, but they had no connection with each other until being cast in the respective roles of the original members of the group. What transpired last night was a theatrical production of a real concert event that occurred in 1986. The band last night looked as much as humanly possible like the original. Okay, so maybe the musician playing the role of Freddie Mercury looked a bit more like Hitler than FM, but his musical ability, and the way he carried off the costume changes and swagger associated with FM allowed for forgiveness. Yes, the costumes were authentic, the playlist taken directly from the tour, and played with outstanding musicianship. Even the audience banter between songs was taken from the original performance. Freddie certainly was no stranger to the use of the F word, and our lead actor was proficient in it’s use as well.

Our seats were good, but they involved stairs. Three separate flights of stairs covered in thick, sound absorbing carpet that made for precarious walking. Hand rails are definitely my friends. The chairs were decently padded, but spreading out in any direction is frowned upon in a public locale such as this, so when my neck started to ache I didn’t feel right about asking the gentleman next to me if he could remove his arms altogether from his body so that I didn’t have to hunch my shoulders. Nor did I find it appropriate to extend my legs through the backs of the seats in front of me, and onto the shoulders of the patrons there, when the cramps in my hips and knees began to cause me to fidget.

Ear ringing was also involved, because it was loud inside, but not unbearably so. I had no problem hearing, albeit at a decreased level, shortly after stepping outside to walk to our car.

I realized some things during this event. I must have aisle seating, and it must be on the main level if I am to enjoy productions of any sort, concerts, theater…just about any event that requires sitting for long periods. No more cheaper seats for me with the trudging up and down stairs. No more finding myself pinned into a seat with folks who surely do not want to know me ‘that well,’ if you get my drift. Perhaps, no extensively long events either, unless I make sure to stand during intermission.

The bright spot here… and yes there is still one that stands out. As long as I go pee just before the event begins I can easily make it through and home without issue. No need to attempt navigation of those stairs in the dark. No need for Depends just in case. My bladder is still holding the line and I’m happy to have that positive to hold on to.

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Confessions

I feel a strong need to confess. This has nothing to do with the papal visit. I am not Catholic. However, today I started down a path that I have never taken before. For years I have held my ground. I have resisted the strong desire to join in with an ever-growing rogue group that simply must disobey the rules of American versus British serial television.

The final season of Downton Abbey began in the UK yesterday. The final season of DA will begin in America on PBS on January 3. I always wait for the PBS debut…until this year.

As the beloved (?) former candidate and wacky ex-Alaska Governor Sarah P would note: I decided to ‘go rogue.’

For the past few years Alison has watched DA online, as in tapping into some of those non-sanctioned sites that just happen to post weekly videos after the fact. As this is the final season, and as I felt a need to do something completely out of character, I decided that it was my time to join in.

I want to know what happens to the Grantham clan and their downstairs staff now, not months from now. I welcome the tiny thrill that accompanies knowing how life progresses for the ladies and lords long before many in America tune in on January 3rd.

I want you all to know that I won’t reveal any outcomes, just in case you are DA fans…although I do enjoy pumpkin flavored desserts, dark roast coffees, a nice Malbec wine and Amazon gift cards…in the event that you would like to swap any or all of those for some insider information.

Page addition…

I just spent the morning revising how I originally set up my ongoing blog share series. In the interest of this new, simple, concise format, the blog share has now become a list of blogs that I highly recommend.

You can find that list inside the little menu icon, or for now, here.

It will be an ongoing, perhaps changeable space, as we progress.

And because I can, and I have not for most of the last 36 weeks, I give you the final countdown on the road to granddaughter #2, due within the next 4 weeks.

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Changes

It was time for one of my theme changes again. Can’t make this blog much simpler or it may just not exist anymore.

This is the first time that I’ve adopted a theme with the little menu icon by the title. I sort of like having the extra pages and archives and buttons hidden away…makes the reader work a bit if they desire to learn more. However, I think that I’m contradicting myself with this theme. I seem to remember stating my own personal dislike associated with hunting for information about the blog/author.

Oh well. Let’s give this a go. Let me know in the comments if you, dear loyal readers, absolutely hate the format. I’m always open to a re-do, and making your reading easier.

And She Shakes Her Head, Clearly Confronted By Such Ugliness

I have to believe that most of you have been there.

You, the individual, are pretty positive that you know something, yet you want not to believe, you want to overlook, you want to hide the realization because it is ugly, and embarrassing, and bad, and goes against personal beliefs, and is sadly associated with someone close to you.

I have long known, through off-hand comments and outright confrontations over word choices and attitudes, that my spouse holds beliefs about specific members of society that are not okay. That are wrong. Call them stereotypical. Call them profiling. Call them flat out prejudiced. I have seen and heard examples of his underlying beliefs, on occasion, for over 30 years. I have heard words directed toward other cultures, other ethnicity’s, both genders, women in particular…all relatively subtle, but still present enough to occupy a place within his ideology.

I could turn this post into a reflection of how and why I came to be living with a person who holds ideals so far beyond my own. I could defend actions and choices that I chose to overlook early on. I could try to explain, but I will never attempt to defend, or agree, or allow his words to be brushed off as unnoticed, or acceptable. As with much of our relationship, I chose to see some aspects and also chose to turn a blind eye to others. The whys behind those choices don’t really matter now, although they are so much a part of the disillusionment I feel with this relationship and marriage.

What does matter is that I have to give voice to injustice, to document here – no matter my association – a blatant act that has left me cringing and ashamed.

My spouse has left for an annual weekend away. Just minutes ago, he was ready to leave, ready to pack up an SUV driven by his friend. His gear was ready to be loaded and I expected to hear the sound of the car driving away. What I heard was our door closing, his footsteps in the hall and then these words: (I apologize for any offense they bring)

“We’re going to wait a bit before we load. I don’t want the Mexicans next door to see me loading up all my stuff.”

I stopped what I was doing and stared at him. Our neighbors have hired a gardening company to take care of their lawn. The crew today happened to be two Hispanic men. The same men who routinely take care of this lawn, who have on every occasion that I have encountered them been nothing but polite, efficient, non-threatening. In other words, simply two men doing their jobs.

Not people deserving of assumptions, or ridicule, or derision. Not people deserving to be stereotyped because of their ethnicity, skin color, or job.

“What do you mean, you’re waiting for them to leave?”

“If they see us loading, you might just have a few visitors after we pull away…figuring you’re home alone.”

Do you know that moment when you are so very shocked by something that you’ve heard that you literally cannot speak?

That was me, just after those words came out of his mouth. It was that gut-punch moment when everything that you want to scream out loud is just clenched inside your core because you simply cannot imagine that someone you know could ever utter words like the ones you just heard.

Before I could shake myself back into the moment, he had taken himself back outside. I managed to get out a sentence about his unfounded need to ‘protect’ me, and his hateful stereotyping, but he was already out the door and all I caught was a response about “…deserving to be stereotyped.”

He left. He did not come back into the house and I did not follow him to further attempt to defend my position, or call him out on his hate-filled words.

I had to sit down here, and write this. I had to get those words out. I have to acknowledge that I am so ashamed of this individual, that he is someone so foreign to me at this moment. That he is a part of the problem that holds our society behind walls of hate.

I cannot make excuses for him. I cannot change him.

But, I can challenge his ugliness. I can speak out.