Surprise! My Peeps Aren’t My Closest Peeps

Remember, for the non-Hollywood types, peeps means people.

DNA and genetic research  has changed our lives in so many ways. It is hard to believe that the jurors didn’t believe that the DNA of OJ Simpson truly convicted him.

PROUD ANCESTRY
We all want to know where we come from–we are proud of our nationalities and believe that our ancestors made us what we are.

Growing up, I knew I was Norwegian, Danish and German. There was no contesting that. My paternal great-grandfather only spoke German and insisted that everyone in the house speak German. So, my dad and his siblings learned German. They were lucky they had a teacher who spoke German so they could learn English. My paternal grandmother was born in Norway and came to the U.S. as a child.
On my mother’s side, her family was Norwegian and Danish. She grew up in the town of Denmark, her parents spoke Danish so they could speak freely in front of her and she would not understand them–but she did. My mother also  played the organ in the Danish church. Therefore, I staunchly believed that those three countries were my absolute and only heritage.

When my husband was mad at me, his insult would be to call me a Neanderthal because  I was being “stubborn.” I guess he believed all Neanderthal were stubborn because of their jutting jaw and large brow that made them look like they were constantly frowning.

 

23 AND ME

Then along came 23 and me.

My beliefs were not shattered,Continue reading

How Do You Operate This?

CALIFORNIA DROUGHT

California’s severe drought lasted about 5 years. In 2015, the state was the driest it had ever been in 500 years.

2011-1016

There was a total of 38 inches of rain in those five years combined. That is an average of a little more than 6 inches
a year. The average yearly rainfall should be 23 inches. As you can see, we had a problem.

TURN AROUND

This year we have been blessed with lots and lots and lots of rain. The snow packs are 170% of normal. Dams are threatening to break because of the excess water in the reservoirs. Yesterday we had two inches of rain in one day!!!!

Remember, this is Southern California and it doesn’t rain in Southern California. Well, it did this year!

 

 

RE-LEARN NEW SKILL

No, this is how you open it!

We have not used umbrellas in six years. We have forgotten how to open them. Some children probably have never seen one.

Yes, we need to re-learn how to open the umbrella. It took some time. I knew there was supposed to be a button somewhere to open it, but I had to turn the umbrella around twice to find it.

Ok, it opens easily.

But, how do I close it?  Wait, it takes more pressure to close it than I remembered. I drag it into Continue reading

Here We Go Round Again!

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Merry Go Round

We know our life goes in cycles, just like everything in the world from fashion to politics to educational views.
I wish my cyclic Merry Go Round was as beautiful as the one below But I have been around and around and around
so often that my Merry Go Round does not look like this. It has lost its glimmer, glitter and glamour and is
just a hard metal disk that gets harder and harder to push.

This is my Merry Go Round of Weight Loss!

I will not put a before picture in here because I don’t want to present that image of me. I–me–Virginia–is not that picture.
Unfortunately, the world only sees you from the outside. But the real me is my humor, my love for family and friends, my creativity, my
love for writing, my love for biking and walking on the beach–any time of day. When you see the picture you see a matronly, retired woman who
looks like she hasn’t seen a gym in years–even though that is untrue. I do visit the gym often when I am well.

Also, one thing that makes Virginia is my belief that I cannot quit and give up. A sane person would say, you are old, you’re retired, you really
don’t have to do anything but relax and watch the world go by. I cannot do that.

So, once again, I am starting a weight loss journey. I was successful a year ago, and I am determined to be successful now.
This is my first day on a quest to reach my goal. I feel like I am Don Quixote fighting against the impossible or the absurd,
but I will grab my stick , just like Don Quixote, and set forth to find my beautiful Merry Go Round again.

I Found My Peeps

How far back does culture affect your life?

As a family, living in rural Wisconsin, meals were never something we rushed through.
No one was in a huge hurry to get up from the table and start whatever they needed to do. It wasn’t because we were lazy, it was because we enjoyed sitting and having a conversation while the food started to digest. We knew the table would be cleaned up, but it wasn’t urgent.

We Are All Immigrants

My paternal grandfather came from Germany, and my paternal grandmother came from Norway as a very young child. My maternal grandparents are a mixture of German, Norwegian and Danish.

My Peeps  (For the non-Hollywood types peeps means people)

We in dined in Munich with our German friends last night. They lingered after they were finished eating! One even commented that in Germany one must linger over dinner. Yipppeeeeee! I found my peeps!

Not Just Us

Now I know it just wasn’t my family that lingered. This is a custom or part of the German culture that was passed on to me.

Conflict of Cultures

My husbands culture is to finish the meal quickly and clean up the dishes before–god forbid–the sauce dries on the plates.

As you may have noticed, that is a major difference in our cultures. It is not just the American culture versus the Egyptian culture, it is also the Egyptian culture versus the German ancestral customs that I never realized were so much a part of me.

Clash of Cultures–How do we solve this?

I have found a very simple solution. My husband jumps up from the table and starts washing the dishes. I linger long enough until it looks like he is almost done and then I get up to “help.” If it is so important that it gets cleaned up right away–go for it. I will not stop you.

But don’t even think about stopping me from lingering.

When Do You Pack Them Up?

Is there a protocol for this?

I’ve been retired for 18 months. That’s long enough to have two babies, but it is long enough to wait before I pack up my business suits?
Is there a magic formula the states when we can pack up our career life? No, I am not regretting my retirement. I am writing this blog from Munich, Germany and this is the second country I visited since the year began, and it is only January 16. So no–you can work–and I can travel.

Going Back?

I loved my job. But I am not going back. That job needs endless energy and even though I have a lot of energy, I don’t have nearly what is needed.
But giving up a symbol of your job, that identifies you as a professional woman, is concerning.

What is my career garb now?

I have a lot of careers going on all at once, I am a writer. I can write in my jammies, or if I want, I can dress up. I am a storyteller. Do storytellers wear suits? Nope–they are much more casual. I am a grandmother four times over. To be a grandmother, you have to wear hats at tea parties, jammies at slumber parties and an apron to protect whatever you are wearing when creating beautifully decorated cupcakes. But there is no place for a business suit.

I did it!

Yes, I packed them up. Classic suits can be worn for many years, and believe me, I had mine for quite a while. I packed them up and got them as far as the garage. I was going to give myself time before I took them to Goodwill, just in case I might suddenly need one of them. But, my husband solved the dilemma. He asked if the bags were going to Goodwill? I told him yes, but I didn’t think he was taking them at that moment!!! So, my suits are gone.

Well almost.

I did save one–just in case of an emergency.

Gentlemen Only Ladies Forbidden

A New Beginning

I am entering a truly new chapter and I am beginning at square one. Twenty, no, make that 5 years, ago if you told me that I would be pushing against tradition, I would not have believed you. Yes, I do what I want, but I am still a traditionalist.

I joined an order that has been around since the mid 15th century. At that time “ladies” would never dream of joining this order, but now it is popular for both genders.

What am I playing?

GOLF

Watching it on TV brought tears of boredom to my eyes, so I never put it on my radar. But, to be fair, I have the same opinion of many sports. I like to play softball, but watching baseball is tortuously and agonizingly slow. It guess I am not a person who likes to sit on the sidelines. Does that sound familiar?

I am eating my words.

I am sorry I ever thought otherwise, but golf IS an exercise. It is a great core exercise, particularly when you hit five baskets of balls on the driving range. I think I might have to pick up yoga. It will help because in order to hold the club, you must push your backside out, bring your arms up with your right arm stuck to your waist, left arm straight and the bottom of the handle aimed at the ball while twisting your body and then shifting your weigh from one leg to the other–it feels like more of a yoga move or maybe better yet a contortionist created this sport.

We are taking lessons–they only way for educators to learn–with friends. After three lessons I can HIT the ball seven out of ten times. Sounds good, right? Well out of those 10 shots maybe one goes the direction that I want and half the distance I need. Well, I gotta start somewhere.

I have a new name for the sport. Gentlemen Odium Ladies’ Fairway. I looked it up, Odium means a general disgust towards someone because of their actions.

It feels good to be a member of this old order, even though the originators are turning over in their graves in horror.

Sunrise And A Rainbow–Is It A Good Omen?

Golden Glow

My eyes are closed, but I see a golden glow beyond my closed eyelids. My eyes peel open and the room seems to be gilded.

As we open the balcony door, brilliant hues sing their color like a chorus reaching a crescendo, as they paint the sky. The gold is streaked with soft rose and blues of royal, azure and turquoise. They sky is an ever changing canvas of different shades and tones of peach, tangerine, coral and a blush of pink.

We are mesmerized and awed by nature’s beauty as we are enveloped in a warm cocoon of color.

By its very nature, sunrise is fleeting, but the peace, contentment and awe endures for many a day.

Energized

Waking up to such beauty energizes you to start the day. I dressed in a hurry and scurried out the door to pick up some items at the store.

An Omen?

On my way back, not an hour had passed since the sunrise, and I thought I glimpsed a rainbow. Were my eyes playing tricks on me because there was no rain in sight and very few clouds? As I topped the hill, I realized my eyes were fine. I could see the two sides of the rainbow. One side was in the front of the house and the other was in the back of the house.

At that point I realized someone was sending us a message. There is so much beauty and goodness and we are surrounded by it every day, but maybe we are so wound up in what we need to do and what is happening in the world, that we don’t really see it.

I am going to see them as good omens for all of us.

Reality is Real World Nightmares

Not Into Politics

I am not a political animal. I have enough people around me who tackle politics not only in the US, but in many other countries. I hear their constant opinions. They do not argue, they just have opinions.

Nightmares

In truth, it does not upset me if a Republican or a Democrat wins. If they have the country’s best interest at heart, I know they will do their best and we will continue to be a strong country.

But this election was different, we were not voting Republican or Democrat. We were either voting for a woman or a host of TV reality show.

I have been up for quite some time now because I cannot sleep. The fact that I am writing at 5:30 A.M. should be proof of that. This is an hour I see only if we have an early flight. I am not a morning person!

I cannot sleep because I have nightmares. The last one was a doozy and it wasn’t the weird ones that you cannot explain. This one was clear. Our President Elect was angry at a comment another person said and he pulled out the football and was searching for the codes. I woke up–glad that this was NOT a reality nightmare.

And It Continues

Since it was four something in the morning, I had to get some more sleep so I flop over and close my eyes. My dreams are like movies because they continue after the break. In this part of the nightmare, we are watching the nukes fly west. I know that it is the end because we see a barrage of missiles coming our way. We are running, but there is no place to go. I try to scream, but I cannot make a sound. I wake up again, this time I am shaking. I refuse to go back to sleep. This is one movie I don’t want to see the end of.

Am I going to live in fear for the next four years?

If It Is Sunrise, Then I Am At The Beach

In case you didn’t know, it is very dark before the sun rises.

Darkness and Dragons

I will admit, I do not like the dark. It truly gives me the willies. But in order to see the sunrise on the beach, you have to be up and out and walking on the beach when it is still dark.

Imagine if you will, a dark sky, towering cliffs to your left, the sledge hammer-like pounding of the surf, and an ocean that is as black as the obsidian sky. The waves crashing against the shore break in huge, white, frothy, steaming, caldrons of white-water that seem to pulse from an unseen sea dragon.

My vision at night isn’t very good, but I swear I could see the dragon. To me, the waves were two hundred feet tall. I asked my daughter why the waves were so big. She looked at me as if I had lost my mind. “They aren’t big. They are normal size or even smaller,” she reprimanded me.

I didn’t believe her and quickly grabbed her elbow so she could lead me along the sand. It was low tide which made the beach ever wider.

Wet Sand Walk

Walking on the wet sad is easier and we walked together arm in arm. (She was still giving me the “Are You Kidding Me?” look when I was holding her arm, but I prevailed. I think she felt sorry for her aging mother. I did have another means of protecting myself, though. I carried my long, walking stick. I know it is meant for hiking on uneven trails, but it also has a bit of a sharp end on it in case I need to keep dragons or other sea creatures away from me. Maybe it would help if I took up fencing?

We do not stroll on the beach, we power walk. My daughter sets the pace, as this is her morning exercise. The fact that she is over thirty years younger than me, doesn’t faze her one bit. She just knows that I will keep up with her. My competitive side won’t let me hang back and she knows it. As we begin our walk, I feel as if I could play the big bad wolf, because when we start out I am huffing and puffing. Eventually, my lungs adapt and I can say a few words here and there.

Vigilance and Guard Duty

As we walk, I keep turning around to make sure no one is behind me. I know my daughter is being diligent and checking the front. (If you believe that, I have a bridge for you.) As I turn, I start to see the sky lighten behind us. The darkness turns to midnight blue and then morphs into royal blue and then sky blue. The western sky doesn’t have the pinks and yellows of the eastern sky, but it has a beauty of its own.

Either my eyes have adjusted, or it gets light faster than I think, because very soon, we encounter other walkers and joggers wandering, running, and meandering down the beach from the opposite direction.

Two Mile Mark

By the time we reach the two mile mark, I am no longer looking for dragons and demons in the dark. I know they don’t exist in the light. We turn around and I get a chance to fully enjoy the cerulean sky. Blue is my favorite color because it gives me energy and is an uplifting color.

Take a chance, get out of your comfort zone and see the sunrise from the west, just minutes before the first light.

If you are afraid of the dark, bring a friend and a big stick!

Fringe Benefits of Old Brains

Fringe Benefits

Look, there has to be some fringe benefits to getting older. And now, research has shown it! How did they come to this conclusion?

By Watching A Movie?

Yes, researchers proved it by having their participants watch a surprising or suspenseful movie. Of course, we don’t know which one they saw.
They monitored the brains of young adults and older adults.

Results

The young brains all “lit up” in the same way at the same time.

The old brains all had unique patterns of brain activity, Their brains “lit up” in different places a different times–they didn’t match their counterparts. According the article in Women’s World, this is a “sign of individualized thinking and better brain development.”

I COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT!

Without going through all the trouble of hooking peoples brains upContinue reading