Thursday, December 31, 2009


Last week, Christmas Eve day to be exact, Jer and I went grocery shopping at our local supermarket. Immediately upon entering we found a huge display of Poinsettias right in front of us – big ones, little ones, real ones, fake ones – and amazingly not even marked down yet, although the time had almost passed that anyone would purchase one. I might have bought a couple more to set on my porch but at that late date I sure wasn’t going to pay full price for them.

So we ignored them, headed on into the market and found ourselves next in the middle of a monumental pink, fluffy and frilly display of all things Valentine. February 14th had come before Christmas even got off the calendar. Today’s marketing strategies say good-bye December hello February all in one breath. January doesn’t have a chance. I suspect if I had looked in the middle of the Valentine’s Day display I would have found heart-shaped or cupid-shaped Peeps for the granddaughters. But I couldn’t bring myself to look. Yet.

When I saw the picture above of women running I was struck that it pretty much reflected today’s woman and today’s world. I see myself in it. There is not much that is leisurely anymore. Money flies out of our hands. Fashion seasons are gone before we get to the store to make a purchase. Go back to a restaurant for your favorite sandwich and it’s no longer on the menu. What IS on the menu costs a dollar more than it did last week. You are lucky if you get a year’s use out of a new coffeepot before it breaks and you have to buy a new one. Even the use of e-mail, as much as I love it, is a hurry-up thing -- sit down at the computer, whip it out, and get on with the day.

I remember my teenage years, when each summer we walked to the beach, spread out our beach towel, and baked in the sun for four or five hours before we headed back home. I remember my years of living in Orange, when the pool in the backyard beckoned me to come float a while on the raft and unwind from a day’s work. I remember sitting outdoors on the porch of a rented house in Lake Tahoe, doing cross-stitch for hours at a time and watching marvelous patterns develop in the piece of stark white fabric. And of course there were the times of reading and of listening to Faure’s Requiem…. Life for me then was not so fast paced and I did take time to smell the roses.

I look at my girls and feel so sorry for the monumental pressures they have at their jobs, the huge amount of stress they have just to get through the day. They seem to have no time to savor anything. It seems to me that they are all doing the work of 2 people – and I see them running in the photograph too. And for the most part I think their kids are going to be running like that too.

In retirement I have the option of slowing down a bit. I just think I might try to do that in 2010. Listen to a little bit more good music. Go to a few art galleries. Take a day off and walk around Laguna Beach. Drive down to Balboa on a summer evening and get a frozen banana like we did in the old days. Go visit a few old friends. Yep, I just think I might try to slow down a bit.

Maybe I’m just entering 2010 a little bit tired. But hopefully a little bit smarter.

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