Monday, January 31, 2011

Nana Ponders the Open Road

We’re thinking about buying a motor home. We’ve been to the RV show and been overwhelmed by the choices and appalled by the prices. We’ve searched Craig’s List and toured the RV lots in the big city. Part of the challenge is that we’re not sure what we want. We’re not even sure that we will like RVing.

The spouse wants something small that can pull his fishing boat. He envisions being able to spend the night at his favorite fishing spot and beating the morning rush. While others have to get up in the dark to drive to the river, he will be enjoying his fresh brewed coffee at the launching ramp. I don’t mind going fishing, I just don’t like to fish. I like camping…as long as I can be warm and comfortable. My old bones don’t respond kindly to sleeping on the ground in a tent. I need a real bed, preferably with a down comforter and feather pillows. While the spouse is off trying to land the big one, I will sleep late, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then walk the trails along the river or sit under a tree and read.

Our current thinking is to find a small used motor home and see if we even like RVing. We’re searching for that jewel that has low miles, is in good condition, and doesn’t smell like a pack of wet dogs. So far we’ve looked at a lot of fixer-uppers, but we’re not interested in buying someone else’s problem. Several times we’ve had appointments to view a motor home that was then sold before we could see it. The spouse is sure that those were the perfect RV’s and we just weren’t fast enough. Hope spring eternal…we’ve got an appointment to view another one on Wednesday.  This one has relatively low miles and is stored under cover.  The owner didn't mention any unusual odors, so we have our fingers crossed.

My fantasy is to take an extended road trip and visit the national parks. Finding our starter motor home is a first step. If we can tolerate each other in close quarters at our local fishing spots and the Oregon coast, perhaps, once the spouse retires, we’ll step up to a more deluxe motor home and hit the open road.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nana's Buttons Are Pushed

January 22 is the anniversary of the historic Roe v Wade decision that made abortion legal in the United States. The Supreme Court determined that the Constitution protects a women’s right to privacy. A woman, not the state, retains autonomy over her body.

Every year our local Catholic Church, Our Lady of Angels, recognizes this anniversary by setting up a display of white crosses across the street from the church. A large banner proclaims that each cross represents lives lost to abortion. The display evokes emotion in me, but perhaps not those that the organizers intended.

It makes me angry. Angry at a church that doesn’t trust women. Angry at church doctrine that denies the kingdom of heaven to couples who practice birth control. Angry at the paternalistic church that encourages third world women to reproduce, thus ensuring the continuation of the poverty cycle to a new generation. Angry at a church that would deny an abortion to a 12 year old child raped by her father. I’m angry that this church presumes to impose its beliefs on all women. I’m angry that it would take that most personal decision away from me, or my daughter, or my granddaughters, or any woman.

My child bearing years are behind me. I never had to make a decision to terminate a pregnancy. But then, I didn’t follow church doctrine on birth control either. But just because I never had to exercise my right to control my own body doesn’t mean that that I don’t value that right.

Since the shootings in Arizona there has been much in the press about the level of harsh political rhetoric in the media. The abortion debate has been laden with inflammatory language on both sides, and yet it adds nothing to the discussion. It seems that we are not seeking solutions, but passing judgment.

I am not a supporter of abortion, but I strongly believe that the decision to have an abortion is mine to make.  If I cannot control what happens to my own body, then I am a slave to the state. I want my government to trust me, to trust that I am smart enough to make an informed decision. This is an issue of privacy. Only the woman who is facing this decision knows all the reasons why or why not abortion is an option for her, and she shouldn’t have to justify that decision to anyone. Trust us to make a good decision.

As a propaganda device the white crosses deliver a powerful message. If we want to continue with the inflammatory language and media manipulation, perhaps it is time for the pro-choice voices to speak up. I’m thinking of running a similar campaign in the local paper. Picture rows of teddy bears on a blank page. The caption reads, “Each teddy bear represents a childhood lost to molestation by a pedophile priest.”

Yeah, it’s a cheap propaganda device, but effective, don’t you think? I won’t be handing out these fliers on the sidewalk in front of the church, inflammatory ad campaigns contribute nothing to improving our society...someone has to show restraint, trust me.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Nana's Culinary Legacy

My mother was English. She cooked traditional English food…and by traditional, I mean bland and over-cooked. I grew up with beans on toast, Yorkshire pudding and roast beef, and fried English breakfasts. I don’t think I ate pasta until Chef Boyardee created spaghetti O’s. I mention spaghetti O’s as an example of an international meal in my house.

The only fresh vegetables in my childhood home were served boiled. Canned peas, lima beans and brussel sprouts were the vegetables of my youth. When I tried to think of memorable meals from my childhood, it wasn’t a Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner that came to mind. I mostly remember having to try evil smelling concoctions of kidney, liver, or tripe. The only pie my mom made was of the steak and kidney variety.

My gastronomical horizon was expanded at George K. Porter Junior High School when I took Home Economics. Girls took Home Ec. and boys had Shop. One of the first things I learned how to cook was French Toast…how international is that! In addition to French toast, we also learned to make banana bread in a soup can.

With my culinary history, it’s no surprise that I came into marriage with few kitchen skills. Fortunately we received several cookbooks as wedding gifts and I know how to read. Armed with the rudimentary knowledge of cooking I learned at George K. Porter Junior High and the Betty Crocker’s Cooking For Two Cookbook, I managed to keep my family fed.

I am reminded of my culinary legacy every Thanksgiving. For the past several years we have celebrated the holiday at my daughter’s house in Austin. My daughter has blended the traditions of our family with those of her husband’s. From her husband’s side of the family she makes a rice stuffing. From my side of the family we have little weenies in barbecue sauce in the crock pot and “green salad.” The green salad is cool-whip and Jello pistachio pudding with pineapple and little marshmallows. So, I guess my culinary legacy isn’t any better than my mother’s.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

WTF Wednesday: Nana Passes Through Utah

WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.

Last month my husband and I flew to San Diego for Christmas.  We were routed through Salt Lake City and had a layover of several hours.  We had lunch at Squatters Pub Brewery in Concourse C and laughed about this beer:

Then I went to the gift shop and found this displayed on the magazine rack:

and I wondered which wife she, two, five???

WTF Utah!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Nana Celebrates the 1st Anniversary of Benchmark 60

One year ago I made a resolution to blog for at least three months.  Last week marked the one year anniversary of my blog!  You can read my pathetic first post here. 

I started to blog to give myself something to do in retirement and to document that journey.  It has been a year of blogging and this is what I've learned:
  • I still don't know what I'm supposed to be doing in retirement, but it doesn't bother me much anymore.  I'm content puttering around the house, traveling occasionally, and substituting infrequently.
  • Just because I have more free time in retirement doesn't mean that I am any more productive.  It just takes me twice as long to get anything done and I have lost the skill of multi-tasking.
  • I have made new friends in blog world and my cyber-friends feel as real to me as my other friends.
  • I've stopped worrying about maintaining a theme in my blogs and just write what I want to write about.
  • The blog has given me new eyes.  I find myself constantly searching for blogable content.
  • I feel connected to other bloggers and I have been surprised to have so much in common with others, especially other women my age. 
  • I find it easier to express myself in writing than in person.  Even though I know that I am not really anonymous, it's sort of like talking in the dark...easier to get my feelings out because I can't see you.
It has been a year of learning and I haven't even considered not continuing to blog.  I am grateful to all of you who have followed, friended, and read my blog.  I look forward to the next year.  Thanks to all of you for your support.

Jann aka Nana
Related Posts with Thumbnails