Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Why The Beatles Matter

That's me in my bedroom with my girlfriends.

It's 1964

I am almost 16 years old. Like many kids my age, I am mad for The Beatles. 

On Fridays at school, we would talk about the new song that WLS in Chicago played the night before.  We would stay up for it.  (They always played the new single on Thursday nights at 11pm).

We dreamed of marrying Paul.  Well, I did, anyway.  But I never thought I would ever get to see him.  He lived all the way over in England, in Liverpool.  How would I get there?

And then it happened. 

I read in the paper or maybe it was "Tiger Beat," whatever...The Beatles were coming to Detroit in six months to play at the Olympia Stadium! 

I sent for tickets immediately.  No matter that I had no idea how I would get there.  I didn't have my driver's license yet, my Mom didn't drive, my Dad was always working, and we lived clear across the state from Detroit.  But I would find a way.  I had to.  My destiny awaited. 

My friend, Janice, was also a fan and Janice's older brother somehow knew the daughter of the manager of the Olympia Stadium, so he threw out the possibility of our getting backstage to meet them.  Are you kidding me?  I just knew that if I met Paul he would look into my eyes, see what an interesting and sincere person I was, and my fate would be sealed.


So Janice and I hatched a plan to get her parents to take us.  And this was no easy task.  It was a long journey in those days and we would have to stay in a hotel, etc. We begged, we cajoled, we put on a talent show for them, we pulled out all of the stops until they said yes. When the tickets arrived, I noticed the seats were in row XX.  Even at that young age, I knew those were crap seats, but I didn't care.  I would see my idols. 

When we arrived in Detroit, we escaped the confines of the adults and headed out to find the Fab 4. We had heard a rumor that they were at a certain hotel, so we headed over there.  There was  a suspicious bus parked in the back of the hotel, so we decided this must be their getaway vehicle.  Didn't matter that we were the only ones who had figured this out and never mind that the bus driver had this silly smirk on his face when we tried to get him to divulge information.  He played along, probably enjoying flirting with a couple of young girls.

And then, just when we were certain we had sussed the Beatles out and they would be making their way to the Stadium via this bus, right in front of us....


Foiled.  No matter.  We still had our tickets and the promise that perhaps we would meet them backstage. 

The day of the concert arrived.  We dressed in our 60's finery and arrived at the Stadium, tickets clutched in our sweaty little hands.  Anticipation was high!

This is how I might have looked.  This outfit was on the cover of "Seventeen" magazine.  Note the matching skirt and beret. How I happened to have it is another story (and remember this is the early 60's.  Hippies didn't exist yet.  We were still wearing white gloves in 1964, and believe it or not, my mother did not allow me to wear jeans!)  I think I also ironed my hair.

As we handed our tickets to the ticket taker ready to run in and grab our seats, he looked at the tickets and said, "Sorry, kids, there are no such seats as those.  Those seats don't exist!" 


He then said, "So we can refund your tickets." 


I think he realized he had  two teenage girls who were about to hit him with their bucket purses and go on a rampage, so he said, "OR you can go sit up in the press box." 


And off we went to the press box, which hung halfway down the side of the stadium, much better than what our bogus seats would have been had those seats existed (SIDE NOTE:  I clearly bought tickets from a scammer, who had no compunction about ruining a young teenage girl's life, so there were bad guys even back in the good old days.) 

So there we were, up in the press box with about 50 others, feeling pretty smug and proud of ourselves.  There were even a couple of guys sitting in front of us who were sporting Beatles' haircuts and clothes.  All of a sudden, when one of them, who was trying to look like Ringo, stood up, a girl down on the floor spotted him, pointed and yelled "Ringo!" At that moment, thousands of young faces turned to look up in our direction and a stampede of young girls ensued.  Before we knew it, the press box was swaying and bouncing.  The ushers quickly locked the gate leading into the press box and spent a good while trying to convince the girls who had made it up the stairs, and who were crying and pressing their noses up against the chain link gate, that the guy in the press box was not Ringo.  When they finally believed him and went back to their seats, the usher went over to the Ringo impersonator and said to him, "Don't you dare get up again. If you do, you are out!"

The show opened with Jackie de Shannon
 (Remember "What the World Needs Now (Is Love Sweet Love)?")

followed by The Blossoms.

While they were performing, I turned my binoculars over toward the entrance to the stadium where the Beatles would be coming out and noticed an arm leaning up against the wall.  The arm sported an ID bracelet which was a  popular item at the time. 

"Paul wears an ID bracelet," I thought.  "PAUL!" 

I watched that arm throughout the entire first two acts. 

And when it came time for the Beatles to enter the stadium, that arm came out attached to Paul!

The Beatles performed for exactly 20 minutes.  I know this because there had been much made in the press about the fact they were getting $20,000 for their performance, $1000 a minute, which everyone thought was just outrageous! 

And of course we couldn't hear a thing. 

Everyone was screaming from the moment the Fab 4 came out until they left the stage.  Janice and I had decided that we were not like those other girls.  We were more mature and sophisticated.  No screaming and crying for us.  But when Paul sang "All My Loving," I turned into the screaming mimi I really was.

Turns out there was no backstage invite, so I didn't get to meet Paul, but being able to see them perform, even if I couldn't really hear them, was a highlight of my young life, because the Beatles really mattered to me. 

Years later, I did get to Liverpool.

Paul's Family Home

Strawberry Field

Cavern Club

Penny Lane

And can I ask - what the hell was I wearing? 
It was the 90's - what can I say?

So the Beatles mattered then...

And the Beatles matter still...

They brought England out of the shadows of the deprivation that came with the end of WW II and created hope and enthusiasm for the future.  America was in mourning for President Kennedy and needed a lift.  With their "long" hair, Carnaby Street attire and music that came from the American black rhythm and blues they so admired, The Beatles inspired my generation to throw off the strictures of conformity and head into the future knowing we could do anything.  It was a time of promise for us young Baby Boomers, and the joy and cheekiness the Beatles exuded spilled over onto us and made us hope and dream for more.  Goodbye "Man in the Grey Flannel Suit" and the subservient housewife.  Hello freedom and equality.

Flash forward 49 years. 

Getting to the stadium to see Paul was almost as difficult as it had been 49 years ago (traffic, lines, crowds), but at least my ticket wasn't a fake.

 And there he was last Friday night at Safeco Field in Seattle. 

 Paul McCartney.

A 71 year old man, richer than Croesus (as my mother used to say, when describing someone richer than we were), but not sitting on his laurels as a Beatle, one of the most influential musicians in one of the most influentical rock bands in history.  He clearly still enjoyed performing and playing and now he was being enjoyed by, not just us Baby Boomers, but also our children and grandchildren. 

He performed for three hours straight, rocking around the stage like a young man, voice still intact, obviously enjoying what he was doing, jamming with the remaining members of Nirvana during his encores.  

And as I looked around I could see that everyone there was in awe. 

Look at those faces.

Paul McCartney. Beatle.  Fantastic musician. He had mattered to them too.  You could see it on their faces. They all had a story to tell like mine. The Beatles had mattered to their generation, later generations and will to future generations. 

All of my feelings and memories from 49 years ago came back and I realized, I may be 65 now, but it's still a time of promise for this aging Baby Boomer. 

I can still do anything.

Do you have a favorite Beatles memory?

Rosy the Reviewer's
Week in Review
(and it's been a busy week)!


As a side note, I get my films from top 100 lists, but that doesn't mean there aren't some stinkers in there, especially when you hit 88 or so on the list. 
I watch the bad ones so you don't have to!


Speaking of bad ones, this is definitely one of those movies where the preview was better than the film itself. 
After having seen the preview for this many times,  I was really looking forward to it, only to be disappointed. 

Rosy the Reviewer says... In fact, I thought it was almost unwatchable.

Tuesday after Christmas

If you can't abide subtitles, you had better skip this one.  And if you don't like sex and nudity, ditto. Though I don't consider myself easily shocked, this is what I looked like after the first scene. 
Just kidding. 
But you had better also skip it if you don't like  movies where nothing happens for the first hour.

Rosy the Reviewer says...But if you can get past that, this Romanian film is a cinema verite character study of a man and the two women he loves and the secrets that lie beneath the mundaneness of life.  Very raw and painful. The acting is superb.

Jack the Giant Slayer

This one was lots of fun. 

Rosy the Reviewer says...If you are a lover of fantasy, highly recommended.  If you are a lover of Ewan McGregor, so am I!

Road to Nowhere

Though director Hellman is considered by many as an overlooked auteur and this is his first film in 40 years:

Rosy the Reviewer says...this film within a film is aptly titled:  it should have been the road not taken for me.

When you are attending a concert attended by 45,000 people don't assume you can walk into a restaurant and sit at the bar (which you can usually do most nights).  But fortunately, after wandering hungrily around near Safeco Field, Il Terrazzo Carmine took pity on us and we were able to secure a seat at the bar, where I think I had the best Caesar salad of my life and the most delicious crab bruschetta (and people, it's pronounced "brewsketta," not "brushetta," just so you know).

This picture doesn't do the bruschetta justice especially since it looks like hubby had already taken a bite out of one of them!


For fall, leopard is the new black.  Trust me.


Though the Paul McCartney concert was the main event of the week, the night before we attended an outdoor "Music at the Marina" concert with our friend Karin starring the "Dusty 45's", a local rockabilly group that has recently been touring all over the country.  If they come your way, they are worth a look especially when lead singer Billy Jo Huells sets his trumpet on fire and plays it!

We are working our way through the book Seattle Stairway Walks by Jake and Cathy Jaramillo.  This last weekend we toured the Mount Baker neighborhood.  We are discovering neighborhoods in Seattle we didn't know about and getting exercise the same time.  Ninety minutes, 2.5 miles, 300+ steps up, 500+ steps down and many hills, but for me this is one of the most fun ways to get exercise.  Plus it's beautiful. 

You might not have stairs to climb in your town but there could be guidebooks for walks around your area and you can discover some new places and get some exercise at the same time.

As for books, I was into cults this week, though some would probably argue that Scientology is not a cult.  I have always been fascinated with the line between religion and fanaticism.

Banished, Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church by Lauren Drain.

Escapee from the Westboro Baptist group.  Those are the folks that picket soldiers' funerals, etc. saying God hates them. This sheds some light on where that all came from, though it still doesn't make much sense, which is probably why this person left the group.  

Rosy the Reviewer says...In general, these people are crazy.

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood & the Prison of Belief  by Lawrence Wright.
A really excellent look inside the world of Scientology.  It explores what constitutes a religion and whether Scientology is in fact a religion and deserves the constitutional protections of the IRS.

Rosy the Reviewer says...Recommended, if you care about this sort of thing.

Beyond Belief, My Secret Life in Scientology and My Harrowing Escape by Jenna Miscavige Hill. 

A more personal look inside Scientology by another escapee, the niece of David Miscavige, Scientology's leader

Rosy the Reviewer says....Again, crazy.

Well that's Rosy the Reviewer's Week in Review. 
 Now pull out those Beatles records and get inspired!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Retirement as a Real Housewife

[I review the movies "Glorious 39," "The Brass Teapot," "Beware of Mr. Baker," and review a few good books.]

But first
Retirement as a Real Housewife

I was emptying the dishwasher for the seventh day in a row, something Hubby used to help with when I was working.  I realized that now that I am retired and Hubby is still toiling in the fields of employment, many more household tasks have fallen to me.  So as I stood by the dishwasher, a clean coffee cup in one hand and a grater in the other, a little thought bubble appeared over my head:  "After a 40 year career with only the usual few weeks off, even to have my children - Am I now a housewife?"

 And if so, am I a "Real Housewife?"

Though many of you may disapprove of such reality shows, I have the feeling most of you have heard of this franchise:  "The Real Housewives of Orange County" started it all, followed by "Atlanta," "New York," New Jersey,: "Beverly Hills," and "Miami."  There was even one in Vancouver, B.C. which I tried desperately to find, but it was not available in the U.S. and I found one in Sweden called "Swedish Hollywood Housewives," which featured one of Paul Anka's wives (saw some of it in Sweden).  If you crave a little more background, click here.

Anyway, again, as I let my mind wander while putting the dishes away, I wondered if my retirement would encourage my slipping into a meaningless life full of shopping, plastic surgery and flipping tables, just like the "Real Housewives." Would I be the star of my own life in  "The Retired Housewives of Snohomish County?" 

Do I fit the profile?

Let's see....

Blonde:  Yep (and it ain't easy). 
(Though not all of the Housewives are blonde, the exceedingly high proportion of those who are, makes that one of the important criteria.)

Speaking of proportions...

Advanced plastic surgery, especially lips and you-know-whats: Nope (not yet anyway).

Rich:  Nope, not likely either.

Skinny Bitch:  Not the skinny part, anyway.

Thrives on drama and attention:  I suppose. 
There were some exciting days at the library trying to explain to the same customer over and over why the drinking fountain didn't squirt the water higher or getting the homeless guy, who took a sponge bath every Monday night at closing, to come out so we could lock up. "Yoohoo, Mister."  Knock, knock, knock.  "We really want to go home." 
Or the "not all there woman" who thinks celebrities, including President Obama, are having sex on her bed and it's driving her even further around the bend eventually leading her to punch a library customer in the nose. 
Ah, libraries, dusty bastions of books and quiet.  NOT!

Revels in gossip:  I do revel in gossip about people I will never meet, such as celebrities, which I think is OK, but I don't approve of it when it comes to my friends.  But did you hear about...?  Just kidding.

Excessive Shopping:  Guilty as charged. 
With three closets full of clothes that I will probably never wear again, this is my Achilles Heel and puts me right there in the "Real Housewife" sphere,  but so far, since I have retired, I haven't been to the mall once.  Somehow my urge to shop is balanced by the horror I feel when I check the bank account and look at those platform sneakers I just had to have. 

Flips furniture over:  Though there were moments in the library when I wanted to flip the reference desk when a customer asked for his library card number for the 30th day in the row or when a customer rushes up to the desk, says she is in a big hurry and can I please look up the meaning of life on the computer really quick, but I managed to fight off the urge.  But good thing I retired when I did.

Is known to dress up little dogs in costumes:  Oops.


Tarquin as Scarlet O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind."

Tarquin as Melanie in "Gone with the Wind."

Tarquin as Baby Huey.

Tarquin as "Little Tiny Tim" in "A Christmas Carol."
Tarquin shows his Huskies pride as he prepares to attend a University of Washington football game.

But what sets me apart from a Real Housewife is, I don't just dress up the little dogs.
I dress up ALL of the dogs!

Here is Fred as an intellectual.
And Mildred as a Fashionista wearing a Beatles T-shirt, trendy red leather boots and a fetching Fascinator.

Despite my penchant for dressing up my dogs, not sure if I really fit the "Real Housewives" criteria.  However, Andy Cohen, Executive VP of Development and Talent at Bravo said in addition to being wealthy, the main things he looks for when casting a "Real Housewife" is being strong and having a point of view.  I think I qualify there. 
So no starring role in "The Retired Housewives of Snohomish County," but I am the star in my own life which consists of films, food, fashion and fun!

Speaking of which, here is Rosy the Reviewer's Week in Reviews:


An interesting British Film about a young woman who uncovers a plot by her father to avert plunging England into WWII by appeasing the Nazis.  Downton Abbey fans will recognized Hugh Bonneville and if you are a fan of British actors in general, they are practically all in this film!  A bit weak in places, but it definitely pulls you in.
Rosy the Reviewer says... Recommended for the acting and the ambience.

British Actress Juno Temple seems to be everywhere these days.  She was in "Glorious 39" (above) and stars in this indy dark comedy about a struggling couple who find a magic teapot that dispenses money every time they or anyone else feels pain.  Much pain ensues. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...Highly recommended, especially if you like movies like "Eating Raoul."
A profile of drummer Ginger Baker, who was most famously a member of the band Cream.  He's one angry guy. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...Highly recommended documentary, especially if you are a fan of Cream or "The Golden Age of Rock and Roll."
Haven't been out to eat much this last week.  I am still working on my plan to dine at every fine restaurant in Seattle from A-Z but, though I made it to F, they kept opening new restaurants that started with a letter from A-E, so now I am working my way through the neighborhoods instead. 
So in lieu of a restaurant review here is my recipe for the best chicken wings (and they are baked not fried so calorie friendly:
You can use split chicken wings or whole ones, it works both ways.  Use about 2 and a half pounds, and though the recipe calls for you to puncture the wings with a knife all over, not sure that's really necessary.  Guess that would help hold onto the sauce.  Cover a rimmed cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with foil, put a wire rack on top of that.  Place the wings on the wire rack, sprinkle with salt and put in a 425 degree pre-heated oven for 35 minutes, turning once.  Then broil them for 7 minutes on high, turning once. 
Then toss with your favorite sauce.  
 I do Buffalo wings by melting 2T butter and whisking in 1/2 c. buffalo sauce such as Frank's and 2T distilled white vinegar.  Toss the wings in the sauce along with 1/4c. blue cheese dip.  Yum!
The other sauce I like is the sweeter Thai sauce:  Mix 1/2 Thai sweet chili sauce with grated peel from one lime and 1t. fish sauce.  Toss with the wings and some French-fried onions.
For more sauces, this came from the January 2013 issue of Good Housekeeping and if you want to get that article?  The Library of course!
Nothing to report.  I look like hell.
I have three books to recommend this week:
Shoreh is an Iranian actress who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "House of Sand and Fog, one of my favorite films.
Rosy the Reviewer says...It drags a bit but is recommended for her account of life in Iran under the Shah and his ouster by the Khomeini and how one becomes an actress in Iran.
This is similar to Richard Templar's "The Rules of Life," which I also liked.  And if you are a fan of Bucket Lists, you will probably like this. Jones and Templar are both Brits, so very British in his prose, such as giving yourself a Boxing Day once per month.  He uses Boxing Day as a metaphor for having one day per month where you do whatever you like, without planning, just going with what presents itself.  He adds a Now List Day, which is one day per month you work on your Bucket List, and a Goals List Day where you work on the top three things on your "Wish List" - those things you wish for that would make your life better.  He is very list oriented, but I liked his approach as I continue my quest for the meaning of life.  For more information, check out his website.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you are on a similar quest or just want to fix what's wrong with your life, give this one a look.

Here is the true-life account of the film "Heavenly Creatures," another favorite film. (Both Kate Winslet and Melanie Lynskey came to the forefront in this film.  Winslet has reached superstar status and Lynskey has been in "Two and a Half Men" for the last 10 years, but I am also seeing her more and more in recent films). 
Anyway, back to the book.  Two teen girls in New Zealand kill one of the girl's mothers as part of their elaborate scheme to not be separated and to live a beautiful and fantastical life together.  One of the girls grew up to be best-selling author, Anne Perry.
Rosy the Reviewer says...If you like true crime, this is a good one.
More Fun:
Saw The Fixx at The Triple Door last Thursday.  A really great performance from a band that has been rocking since the 1980's.  And The Triple Door is a great venue for seeing bands.  Feels like a nightclub but big enough to feel you are seeing a concert. 
Rosy the Reviewer says...If The Fixx performs near you, go see them. You will enjoy it.
Well, that's my Week in Reviews. 
Now back to being a regular housewife.
But before I go, here's one more for the road.
Mildred as Joan Crawford!
Disclaimer:  This blog in no way disparages housewives, only "Real Housewives."

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Retirement: First Week in Review and What I've Learned So Far

We all fantasize about having all of the time in the world, but if you ever really had all of the time in the world, would you know what to do with it?

If you are blessed with a passion and the talent to go with it, perhaps you really are just waiting to quit your crappy job so you can devote all of your time to your passion.  But for most of us, being given all of the time in the world can present us with new challenges, problems even, as we try to create structure, purpose and community, the supposed three requisites to a happy and successful retirement.

So I have set up a sort of schedule for myself in order to create requisite #1:


  • Get up when I feel like it, unless I have something pressing I need to do, which so far, I haven't had
  • Read the paper and assorted magazines to keep up with the films, food, fashion and fun I so adore (I may be retired but I'm not living in a bunker)
  • Look over recipes for menu ideas
  • Clean up the kitchen
  • Waddle upstairs with tea to watch "The View"
  • Check Facebook, email, bank account (start worrying about bank account)
  • Go to the gym
  • Errands (if I have any)
  • Return home
  • Shower
  • Read, blog, watch TV, special project
  • Happy Hour with hubby
  • Dinner
  • TV
  • Bed

During this first week, I have learned the following things:
1.  How long it takes a woman to finally give up on herself and let it all hang out
2.  What I was glad I missed while working
3.  Meditation is not easy
4.  The common plot thread that governs Lifetime movies
5.  I am very boring

So let's break these down in order

1. You might remember in an earlier blog, I asked the question, "When does a woman stop dyeing her hair, wearing make-up, etc. and turns into a little old lady?" 
Well, a few days ago during this first week of my retirement, hubby said me, "What's with your hair?" 
And my reply was, "What's with my hair is that this is what it looks like when I don't do anything with it as in getting ready for work. Who's going to see me except you?"

So here I am, answering my own question about when a woman gives up on herself. 


So that's how it starts.   First you don't care what you look like around hubby.  Then when you get used to that, you don't care what you look like at the gym, then you don't care when you are out shopping and, pretty soon, before you know it, you are wearing old lady shoes (AKA comfortable), polyester elastic waist trousers and all hell breaks loose.

Geez, I had better add personal grooming to my new daily schedule.

2.  While standing in the kitchen waiting for one of my delicious casseroles to cook and wondering how many calories it has in it, I looked up at the curtains over my sink.  We have been having day after day of sun, something unusual for the Pacific NW, so I was inclined to look upward more than usual.  I noticed something and called hubby into the kitchen. 

 "What is that up there on the curtain?" 
Hubby squinted and said, "Looks like dirt." 

After closer scrutiny, I realized it was not only dirt, but years and years of dirt and grime! 
Well, they have been up there for 8 years, I thought. 
I know what you are thinking, but, hey, when I was out of the house commuting and working 50+ hours per week, did I want to spend my leisure time spring cleaning?  Hell, no! 
Add to that the fact that it's usually gloomy and gray here in the Pacific NW and nobody notices dirty curtains, so those curtains had been languishing unnoticed. 
But when I found a half-eaten bone that had been under the couch so long it had petrified, that did it!

"HUBBEEEEEE!, " I screech!!!!  We need to take down all of the curtains and clean everything!"
Down came all of the curtains and I am happy to report that they are now washed and ironed and I am surveying the house for all other tasks that need to be addressed. 

Add another task to that old schedule I am compiling. 
The garage is next and I have declared Wednesday as "House Project Day!" 

Hubby is starting to rethink my being home all of the time.

All clean.

3.  Meditation - I thought I had sat quietly breathing and counting and watching clouds and letting thoughts come and go like little wisps of fairy dust in my mind at least 20 minutes this time.  Made it to 3.7.

4.  After years of watching Lifetime Movies, I have finally found the common plot thread: 
If you have followed any of my blogs in the past, you probably know I already have an unnatural attraction to Lifetime movies.  And the fact that I am even thinking about them is alarming, but I finally realized the thriller style movie - woman being stalked by a crazed, obsessed lover/husband/roommate/teacher/garbageman - always starts with a cold opening teaser, usually of the victim or bad guy running away from something. 
Then the screen will say "Six months later" or "Ten years earlier. 
The ending shows the crazed, obsessed lover/husband/roommate/teacher/garbageman caught or killed or put somewhere where we will never have to deal with this person again...and then the last scene shows a character looking straight on into the camera with a look that implies...
or will we? 

I bring this up only because I want to give you the full picture of the demons I must fight as I try to figure out the difference between leisure and goofing off.  I am having to restrain myself from TIVO-ing the next new movie with the intriguing title, "Deadly Spa."

5.  Dylan Thomas said, "Something is boring me; I think it is me." 

See "Structure" schedule outlined above.

So I have structured my time

Now I need to figure out the Community and Purpose parts of the three things I must have to be a successful retiree...I will tackle that later. 

In the meantime, since I bill myself as "Rosy the Reviewer, Thoughts on Films, Food, Fashion and Fun," I had better review something.

Here is the week in reviews:


Identity Thief - Terrible.

A Good Day to Die Hard - Hated it.

So those are my film reviews for this week.


Trying not to think about it.


Full-figured women can wear skinny jeans, just know you will look full-figured not skinny.

(and just so you know, I love to read, so books fall into the Fun category, since I couldn't think of an "F" word that would embody books - and I don't read much fiction):

Moving on to a higher note, here is a really fabulous book for you literary types.  And even if you don't consider yourself a literary type, this is a good read.

This was the fodder for what became "The Bell Jar."  In the early 1950's, Plath was chosen as one of 20 young college women to be guest editors at Mademoiselle magazine, back when Mademoiselle was as much a literary magazine as a fashion one. The title characterizes how she felt during her month in New York City.  This was a huge honor for her, but that summer led to her breakdown, famously documented in "The Bell Jar."  What is interesting here is the dichotomy that was Plath - she was as much into champagne and frilly frocks as she was villanelles and sonnets, something that is often overlooked because of her often dark writing and her suicide.

More Fun:

Attended two concerts this last weekend at the Chateau Ste. Michelle, a wonderful outdoor venue on the grounds of a winery.

Robert Plant

who was fantastic.  Never was a big Led Zeppelin fan, but he certainly played the Rock God role to the hilt.

Terri Nunn and Berlin were next.  (Remember "Take My Breath Away?") followed by Pat Benatar.  Loved Terri - she came down into the audience and mingled with us regular folk. The last time I saw her, I was on the aisle, so when she came down she stopped and put her hand on my cheek and looked deeply into my eyes.  One of those groupie moments I love so much!
Terri Nunn
And Pat was in great voice.
(Did you know she trained as an opera singer?)
Pat Benatar
I guess as long as I can still rock, there's hope.
And that my friends, is the long and the short of it for this week. 
I know, that was a cheap laugh.  Couldn't resist.

Adorable children and dogs in costumes work every time!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Retirement: Day 1

Since my last day at work was last Friday, I know that Monday is not really the first day of my retirement, but since the last couple of days were weekend days, I just pretended it was a normal weekend, such as our typical Sunday.  Slept in, went into Seattle for a long walk along Millionaire's Row on Capitol Hill, watched a movie...all the usual weekend stuff putting off the inevitable of...

What's next?

Millionaire's Row - Capitol Hill - Seattle

In retirement, with no real obligations except those you set yourself, time takes on a whole new meaning.

So here I am, alone with myself and my future, not knowing if today will be a typical day, a special day, a day filled with meaning...but here it is.

Day 1

9:00am  Got up, but had to make myself. 
I could have slept and slept.  I have never been a morning person, but this is ridiculous.  Am I going to go back to my teen and early twenties days when I could sleep until noon?  Must be this hot weather has a soporific effect on me. Anyway, I'm up.  Decided, OK, Monday and the first day of the rest of my life.  Better weigh myself.  You could have heard my howl all the way into the bowels of hell.  Geez.  Not good.

Padded downstairs for some sparkly water from my beloved, Sodastream, vowing to not put one carb in my mouth ever again (and, by the way, if you don't have a Sodastream and you like sparkling water, it's a revelation.) Read the paper, and yes, we are some of the few who still subscribe to a print version of the paper.  On days off, I usually spend an hour or so getting caught up with my magazines.  I love magazines, everything from" People" to "Self" to "Vanity Fair." Then cleaned up the kitchen and made some tea.

10:00am  Again, out of habit, took my tea upstairs to my office. 
Checked Facebook (where I overshare like mad), email, bank accounts, etc.  All part of my usual morning.  Then turned on the TV, put in the contacts, made the bed, put on those pants with an elastic waistband, which I know is a recipe for disaster, and watched "The View." Wouldn't you know.  A special episode about people who have transformed their lives through extreme weight loss! I absolutely cannot abide Elisabeth Hasselbeck.  She annoys the hell out of me, from her nasal voice to her interrupting all of the time to her smug views.  Can't wait until she is off the show.  Then my sister called to wish me well on my first day of "real" retirement, assuring me I will love every minute of it. 

11:00am  This is the "sweet spot" for me to go to the gym on my days off.
 If I am not out of the house sometime between 11am and noon, I just won't go. I am going, but first, I am going to add something new to my repertoire.  I have been reading about meditation and mindfulness and I want to add this to my life.  I really recommend "Wherever You Go there You Are" by Jon Kabat-Zinn.  Very informative about mindfulness and very comforting as well.

So settled down in a chair in my office, set the timer, closed my eyes and started counting my breaths.  One -  breathe in, two -  breathe out, breathe in, breathe out, letting my thoughts float in and out like clouds passing through the sky like I am supposed to do, thoughts like "I wonder what time it is?"  "How many more minutes?" Time passes slowly in this state of calm.  Finally I just have to see how well I am doing and how many minutes have flown by as I get in touch with my inner self. It must be at least 30 minutes. I sneak a peek at the timer. Oh, geez.  TWO MINUTES.  Ok, this is going to take some practice.  Better head to the gym.

11:30am  Put the top down on the Mustang.  Crank up the Bob Seger. And head to the gym.


11:45amArrive at the gym. 
Wouldn't you know, right out in front, the "Measure Your Body Fat" clinic.  Nope.  I will save that for another day when I am really desperate for something to do.

2:00pm  Back from the gym.
Now what?  I realize this isn't like a regular day off from work. I may be retired, but Hubby isn't.  So he is in his office working.  On a usual day off we would be planning our afternoon - stairwalking in Seattle, a nice lunch or dinner somewhere, a movie...now it's just me.  Can I save the world in one afternoon?  Nah, I think I will watch TV.  No, I shouldn't do that.

I will go outside and read.  Am reading Amanda Knox's book "Waiting to be Heard." If you followed her case, there are some interesting new facts presented here, not to mention insight into the young woman herself.  I was already aware of the details of the case because she was from Seattle, so found the details of the trial a bit long. 

3:00pm OK, that's enough sun for one day.
And it's hot, hot, hot.  The only room with air-conditioning is the bedroom, so headed up there where the TV calls to me. 

It won't hurt if I watch just one thing.

4:30pm  Got totally sucked into "Celebrity Wife Swap" and the Anna Nicole movie.   I know, I know.  I'm a hard case. 

Too hot to cook, but thinking about dinner and cooking something, because I enjoy the act of cooking, but the refrigerator is already jam packed with leftovers from my cooking frenzy over the weekend.  Hubby gets upset when I make huge batches of food when it's just us, but I love to try new recipes.  I cook it, I try it, and then he has to eat it all!

5:00pm Well, I made it through my first day - well, to Happy Hour, anyway.  Hubby and I had a nice tete a tete on the deck with a refreshing adult beverage and shared our day.  Lots of talk about our upcoming concerts - Robert Plant, Pat Benetar, my idol, Gladys Knight - lots of schooling about music by the hubby as he plays a song on Pandora and says, "Recognize this?"  He loves to do that but it's all good.  He is also very supportive of my current road to discovering "Leisure Rosy."

7:00pm  Dinner over.  
Was happily ensconced in the air-conditioned bedroom watching a "48 Hours," when hubby arrived wanting me to watch a YouTube of Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Brown, Bruce Hornsby and Shawn Colvin singing "The End of the Innocence."  It was awesome.
8:00pm Watched "The Bachelorette."  I know.  Three steps forward, two steps back.

10:00pm Followed by The Real Housewives of Orange County. 
(I didn't want you to see that part).

So as I get ready for bed, I reflect on my first day.
I can see this whole retirement thing is going to be harder than I thought. 

When you have worked your whole life and then spent your free time with your family, your other interests and ideas take a back seat. In your career, you are driven by that whole thing about feeling like you need to either be working on or producing something significant every single day. Then the kids move away, you retire and need to rediscover that non-working, non-care taking self. When you are producing something you can point at, then it seems like it's OK to waste time on reality TV and sitting around. That's the dilemma for me.  So it's all about finding that real self and creating structure, purpose and community in this new world.

Day 1 of reinvention over and not a lot of reinventing took place, but tomorrow is another day.  I've got the chess board out and a "no parking" sign on the chair in front of the TV.

Here are the questions "the experts" say you need to ask yourself to make retirement work:

What is extremely important to me?
What makes me happy?
What made me happy in my childhood and teens that I want to do again?
What made me happy in my career that I would like to do again or continue?
What talents or skills am I most proud of?
What special talent have I neglected while putting in long hours in my career?
How would I like to make the world a better place in my own way?
What sort of legacy would I like to leave?

You would think those would be easy questions to answer, but I am finding them difficult - difficult to translate into this new world of leisure.

But I will keep asking, just like I will keep working on meditation. Maybe tomorrow I can make it to 5 minutes!