Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I want to thank the academy...

I'm accepting an award from the thoughtful Thom Brown at To Gyre and Gambol, because of the nice things he said about me and because the first requirement - telling you 10 new things about me - might help pull together my thoughts, which have been very scattered lately. Here we go:

1. I've just received my first Social Security payment. It's nice to have some regular monthly income after being retired five months. I hope the same opportunity will be available for generations to come, and I worry that it won't.

2. This is our 19th year of season tickets for St. Paul Saints baseball. I can no longer sit through every kind of nasty weather, as I used to. We stayed for two innings of 50 degree wind and rain Thursday night, and nine innings Friday night. When the same weather turned up Saturday night, we stayed home. You might say we're finally smart enough to come in out of the rain.

3. I grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota, on the Mesabi iron range. In my teens I once went with some friends onto the grounds of an abandoned mining facility where we broke windows and then pushed an outhouse off a cliff into a flooded mine. It was my one act of juvenile delinquency; I quickly learned that a life of crime was not for me.

4. I was recently interviewed by a producer for Minnesota Public Radio about having beaten Bob Dylan in a talent contest (Hibbing Winter Frolic, 1959). They're doing a program for Bob's 70th birthday; I don't know whether I'll be included in it. It's a fun claim to fame, and I've already been featured in MPR and Minneapolis Star-Tribune stories a few years ago.

5. I love my iPad, but not because it makes me more productive. I use it for games (currently Scrabble, Snood, and Fish Pond) and a fun drawing-coloring program, and I look up things on the Internet (including blogs and comments) while watching television. It's an expensive toy, with the potential to be much more.

6. Speaking of games, I really do escape into games that require a little eye-hand coordination and reward me with sound effects and bright colors. If I didn't have my electronic devices, I suspect that I could easily get hooked on the machines at casinos.

7. Hubby said to me yesterday, "I just realized that I have never set foot in a Starbucks." I haven't, either. So who's out of step--us, or the people who pay those prices, sometimes several times a day?

8. Evidence that I am a procrastinator: In my wallet, I have unused cards entitling me to $10 at a local coffee shop (not Starbucks), a free loaf of bread, 15 percent off total purchase at Once Upon a Child, and free lunch at the college I retired from. I also have a $5 Target gift card and a $20 Visa gift card (sent by my HMO after I complained about an unwieldy aspect of their online prescription refill service). I hope they have not all expired!

9. For the last couple of months, I've been spending Tuesdays with my 95-year-old dad, who has just entered hospice care. Various factors limited our time together for several years, so I find our weekly visits a satisfying and healing process filled with little moments that I will remember fondly.

10. I keep thinking that I have become lazy and unfocused in retirement. I have unfinished projects everywhere, but I would rather read blogs, play games, or take a nap. Then I remember: I'm 68 years old and I'm caring for two toddlers 40 hours a week plus taking on new responsibilities for shopping and cooking, plus the long drives to see my dad. I like doing all these things, and I'll have the summer to do my projects. Right now, I deserve to relax, without feeling guilty.

I am also to pass along the award to others, and I'll do that another day. Meanwhile, stop over and visit Professor Brown; you'll be glad you did.


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