Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right knee yesterday. I was advised that it is a normal part of the aging process.

"Aging process?"

No way. Not me. My trick knee is not a product of age, no sir-ee. My crunchy, crackly knee is the result of riding, running, cycling, rock climbing, swimming and most definitely DANCING.

I was (and still am when I have the occasion) a dancing mo-chine. If there is a tune with a beat, honey I am all over it. I embarrass my kids, I amuse other drivers and I think Hombre might possibly be tired of my 21 years of repeated pleas to take dancing lessons with me. I love weddings for many reasons, not the least of which is a dance floor and folks to shimmy with. I'll do The Bird, the chicken dance, the limbo and the hokey-pokey. I'll circle up for the Hora or what ever ethnic flavor is offered. I will square dance, line dance and bump. I have no shame.

In college, my nickname was "Meg Pauken On The Dance Floor." If you remember the '80's, you may know where this came from. My all-time favorite band (after The Talking Heads) - Midnight Star.

And my favorite song? No Parking On The Dance Floor, of course!

I have loaded it onto my iPod so I can listen while I do my knee-strengthening exercises. As my Dad used to say, I may wear out, but I'll never rust out!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What If?

It's unavoidable, the looking back to what was happening last year at this time.

The health of my parents had begun a very rapid decline. It was an intense, emotion-filled and exhausting time.

This morning, I thought about the gradual and then accelerating pace of the narrowing of their lives. First it was Mom forgetting things, then she no longer drove and finally she walked only with a walker for support. Dad played his last game of golf. The summer condo became their home, and then they moved again to an even smaller apartment. They rid themselves of a lifetime of possessions. Dad took his last steps, unassisted, on February 10, 2012. His car was returned to the dealership last March. There came a point when they no longer left their apartment.

I was reminded of the death of a star: how it collapses in on itself. The energy of its core sucking everything nearby into itself; retracting, at first imperceptibly, then faster and faster until nothing of its previous fiery glory can be detected. All that remains is a black hole.

All that remains except for one thing: the light it gave off that is still traveling through the universe, illuminating far flung planets, being picked up by telescopes unknown.

What if we are like the stars? What if the energy we emit remains in the universe after we are gone, traveling far beyond the spheres we knew, continuing to provide warmth and light?

Our jokes, our stories will continue to be told, our likeness will appear in later generations. The advice we gave will come to mind (and continue to be disregarded). The love we gave will still be felt. Our energy, our light, radiating on through time and space.

My parents' words still echo in my head though their physical presence is gone. The habits they inculcated and the values they taught still linger: self-sufficiency, generosity, humor. I think of them often and I tell their stories to my children. The birds at the feeder remind me of them, as does a nice glass of wine. Their energy lingers in our lives, certainly.

So, what if? What if we are like the stars? What energy am I sending off into the universe?

Monday, March 4, 2013


Weathering The Funk.

That's what I have been doing for the last two months or so while you drummed your fingers on the desk and waited and waited and waited for another insightful, funny or merely banal post.

I'd be lying if I told you I dislike winter. I don't dislike it at all. In fact, I look forward to it, eagerly, every fall. I love the cold. I love the crunch of snow under my feet, the magic of it covering the brown, dead earth with a quilt of bright white. I like fires in the fireplace, frosty starlight and sweaters.

What I don't like are days and weeks of gray skies and gloom. Days and weeks that feel like months and years. Days in which it seems pointless to even get dressed or showered. Where time seems to stand still and suddenly it's 2:45 and a kid is getting off the bus and all I've done all day is a crossword puzzle.

And so, much as I love winter and the new phenomenon of the Named Winter Storm, I was filled with glee at the sight of blue sky and sunshine this morning. I laughed aloud as three vivid cardinals flounced around the bird feeders while a bored female watched from a nearby limb. Courting season has begun!

I uploaded Turbo Tax onto my computer and assembled the papers to calculate our annual dues for the privilege of belonging to Club USA. I briefly sketched out new vegetable garden plans on a piece of scrap paper. I even considered shaving my legs.

There is a lightness to my heart as I flip the calendar page to March.

Once again, I weathered the funk. WTF!