Friday, July 31, 2009


The telephone no longer rings

A quick call from Audrey, wondering

If I'd like to go with her to Nordstrums

To return a blouse

Or need a ride to book club -

Maybe this time we won't get lost.

She didn't like the book.

I don't have breakfast with Elaine

At seven in the smoking part of Denny's

Before we go to work.

(No one smokes at Denny's any more).

The King Size Kents Elaine once smoked

Destroyed her.

I see my mother in my children's kids

As they devour the latest paper back,

Or lose themselves in the delight of wondering

What an ant is thinking -

Seeing living things not quite the way

That other people do.

I don't call Mother when I'm stuck

On Sunday's crossword puzzle.

I don't write my father every Saturday

(and try to catch the mail before it comes)

I don't tell him about the kids and grandkids -

How his namesake Guy's decided that he's Buddhist

And Steffi's playing saxophone in band,

About when I'll be flying east to visit.

The last time I saw Leonard

(You know, the one who came into my office

And told me jokes he thought my father'd like)

He asked if I could sit and talk with him

Just for a moment, he had things to say -

I couldn't, though, I had someplace to go -

He died just two days after that.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Wii Fit for Seniors

First of all – let me clarify. At 73 I’m really not a senior, I’m in the second half of middle age.

Now that that’s clear, here I am, hurtling down a ski jump at 50 mph, knees bent, – I reach the lip of the jump and I’m off, leaning forward, skis together, perfect form, and wow – I made 270 feet. The best part of that is I don’t have to climb the steps to the top of the lift to jump again.

Fred and I gave each other a Wii console, including the Wii Fit for our 50th anniversary. Like many people my age my great fear is falling. A sprain, tear or break could lead to a pretty radical change in life style, and I don’t want that to happen to me.

So, with the Wii Fit, I stand on the balance board and do a series of exercises that not only improve my balance (believe it or not I can stand on one leg now!) but I can do yoga, aerobics and strength exercises in my living room. Each day as I get on I am measured, and my balance is evaluated. I am given a “Wii Fit” age, and a few times I’ve even been in my 20’s. I have a choice of personal trainers who give me encouragement. “Well done” they say, or “It looks like you’ve had trouble with that one. Keep trying.”

The animated trainers are depressingly agile, but I mind it less than I think I would with real people at a gym. In my living room, I’m not competing with slender young women in the early part of middle age.

I love the balance exercises, the salaam skiing and ski jumping. I’ve done pretty well with the snow board, too. I am terrible at the hula hoop, but I am full of admiration for my granddaughter, Elizabeth, who at 7 is a real pro. Ten year old Nate is best at the push up/plank exercises. In fact, it is Nate’s record that I try to beat ski jumping. That isn’t likely to happen any time soon. The boxing coach is downright insulting, but I don’t box much in real life anyway.

The Wii Fit was released in May of 2008, and is already the fifth best selling game of all time according to the Wikipedia. Maybe that’s because it’s fun and probably good for you whatever age you are. Combining the regimens of the Wii Fit with my daily walks around the neighborhood, will keep me, I hope, in the latter half of middle age for a long time.

I understand that there is a Wii Fit Plus coming out. I’m happy with what I have, but it’s nice to know that if I tire of it there will be more. I wonder if the Wii Fit Plus will have an upper middle aged slightly overweight personal trainer?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Memorials to Bill W, Co-Founder of AA

Traveling through Vermont, we were searching out the headstone memorializing Bill Wilson, co-founder of AA. East Dorset, Vermont, we were told, but East Dorset has no cemetery of their own – it is Dorset Vermont. We found it on Mad Tom Road, off of US 7, heading north from Bennington to Burlington.

“Look five markers from the dead tree stump, you know, where the oak was felled on the right side of the cemetery,” we were told. Five markers - we would have had no problem if we had found the stump, but we searched that bit of ground from corner to corner, and while we found roots we found no stump.

We searched instead for names. Bill is not the only Wilson in that graveyard. Were the other Wilsons relatives? Fred, my husband, found Bill’s marker, distinguished only by the flag honoring Bill’s service in World War One. By the headstone is a cup where people had left their anniversary tokens, or written notes of gratitude for their sobriety. Someone had placed a simple small bouquet on the grave the day we were there.

Down the road we came to the village of East Dorset. The home where Bill W was born is identified by an historic marker, and is now a bed and breakfast where meetings are held for various 12 step recovery programs on a continuing basis. Bill was born, ironically, behind the bar at this house, but was raised by his grandparents at the Griffith House across the street.

At the rear of the house is the meeting room. Furnished with memorabilia from the various places the Wilsons had lived, it is a simple room with wooden beams, on which people have nailed personalized license plates honoring Bill W’s legacy.
For information and rates for the Wilson House B&B, visit

Dr. Bob, the other AA co-founder, was born in St. Johnsbury in the northeastern part of Vermont. We were told that his birthplace had also been purchased and is being renovated.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Black cat name of Blue
Lizard on the window glass
Lizard watching Blue

Blue is nonchalant
Looks at lizard on the glass
Stretches, stares some moreS

Slowly Blue gets up
Does not know the glass is there
Suddenly he leaps!

Lizard scurries off
Blue says “Knew it all along,
Was not fooled by glass!”

Dignity intact
Blue struts, tail in the air,
Hunter Blue, the cat.

Mellow Blue, worn out,

Stretched out on my favorite chair,

Yellow eyes are shut.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts on God

I just don’t know who God might be,
Might God just be a part of me?
Oh, well, I only know for sure
There’s lots that I don’t know of God!

Sometimes I wonder if an ant
Looks upon me as a god
Capricious in destructiveness - and huge –
I wonder if an ant would pray
Please save me just for one more day
From monster foot or lethal spray
To go about my chores?

My grandson, Guy, came by last week
He’s ten years old this coming May
His folks were going skiing, but Guy
Elected to hang out with me.

We took a walk, just Guy and me;
We saw a lizard in the street.
Guy poked him, and he spun and bit
And rustled off into the weeds.
“I think I saved his life,” said Guy

“I like amphibians,” said Guy,
“But reptiles I like best.”
We spoke of Loch Ness Monster lore
And wondered as we walked
If monsters ever lived in lakes
Along the California shore
And just how big were crocodiles
And how dart frogs could kill a man
“At fifty feet,” said Guy.

We watched the geese and ducks and birds
And swung on swings and kicked our shoes
His went furthest – “by a mile,”
Said Guy.

Guy told me that he thought a lot –
“I think I’m Buddhist, more or less,
I think that we’ll come back some day,
I think that I’ve been here before,
I think I was a warrior”
“I think you were,” said I.

I really don’t know much of God
But as I walked along with Guy
I thanked that God that I don’t know
For lizards, frogs, and ants – and Guy.