Sunday, August 11, 2013

So Proud To Find That Damn Phone.

I've always believed that it's important to be able to laugh at yourself.  Now, that probably came about a little from self preservation because from early childhood, I've given myself plenty of opportunities to be embarrassed .  I was, and still am, one of the clumsiest and scatterbrained  humans that ever graced this earth.  Yes, some people would say, 'crazy'.

But, with the heralded advance of time, I seem to have reached new highs (or lows) in those achievements. Just the other day I did something that both embarrassed me and amused me at the same time.  I remember thinking,  "Thank God no one else knows I did that!"

Oh hell, I might as well share my funny story with the world.  Everybody needs a laugh huh?

Last Thursday, I finally received a replacement phone from Verizon because of issues I am having with my original phone.  I drove into town where the reception would be better to facilitate changing the phones over.  After getting the new phone up and running, I went into Pizza Hut for lunch and continued to work on setting up the new phone.  At one point, my husband called and we chatted for a while as I sat in the restaurant.  While listening to him, I was idly playing with the old phone and getting it back in the box to be returned to Verizon.  Suddenly, I realized that I couldn't find the new phone anywhere!  I continued to listen to him but I was beginning to panic.  What in the hell had I done with the NEW phone?  I slid out of the booth and looked under the table, fished frantically in my purse and dug down in the back of the booth seat.  I even began eyeing other customers, thinking they might have stolen the phone from the table.  All the while I was not wanting to let my husband know I had already lost the new phone.  

(Anyone figured this out yet?  Cause I sure hadn't).  I got so flustered that I ended my conversation with my husband rather abruptly so I could concentrate on finding that damn phone.    Yep.....nothing gets by me.  That's when I found it.


Holy cow, I think they call that senility.  I prefer to think of it as 'blonde to the roots'.  You can call it what you want.  I was just proud to find that phone.

Monday, August 5, 2013

6 'Moves' To Kill Yourself ( AKA CrossFit Training)

You know, sometimes my 'want to' completely overloads my 'can do'.  After a pretty serious bout with bronchitis and near pneumonia, I just haven't regained what I consider to be my strength back.  My breathing is labored and I just don't seem to be my old self.

A friend of mine (considerably younger than me) has become very involved in a program called CrossFit training. She sings its' praises about how it has so improved her physical fitness and mental toughness.  I did some research online and was very intrigued with the concept, especially the competitive nature of the training.  (Just a side note....I am a wee bit competitive).  There are several gyms here in Phoenix that offer the program and they offer a free session to allow you to become familiar with it.

I thought I would call and schedule an appointment for my free trial.  In the meantime, I ran across an article online from Womens Health magazine that was about CrossFit exercises that a person could do at home or on the road when you couldn't get to the gym.

Being the cheapskate I am, I decided I would try them out and see how I did before going in for the orientation.  There were only 6 'moves' and the instructions said to do as many reps of the moves as you could in a 30 minute session.

I read through the instructions and settled on what I thought was an easily attainable goal of 10 reps per move.  (Just to get warmed up I thought)

Christ on a crutch!!!  I only managed 5 of the first move before I had to sit down and gasp for air.  Undaunted, I moved on to #2.  I did execute 10 of that maneuver and was feeling pretty proud of myself, thinking that #1 was obviously the toughest and the remainder would be a breeze.  Move #3 nearly killed me and after only 3 reps, I had to lay out on the bed and convince myself I wasn't dying.  To my credit, I did attempt moves #4, 5 & 6 over about a 1 hour time slot.  My body was aching and my pride severely wounded.

I have vowed to try again and now my goal is simply to add one rep per move at each session.  Thank God I didn't go into the gym and try this.  I would have had to call someone to bring me home.

Dear God.....what has happened to me?  It can't be the age thing can it?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Saying My Goodbyes

I often write and joke about the 'atrocities' of growing old.  I bemoan my dwindling physical and mental status on pretty much a daily basis. Yesterday I was reminded once again that the alternative is not so good either.

I won't go into all the details but Monday evening,  July 30th,  one of my 4 legged children went into colic.  I stayed with her through a long night and together, we fought a good fight.  But around dawn, we lost that struggle.  And it felt as if the air had been sucked out of the world.  She wan't old, she was in the prime of her life, strong, beautiful, healthy and happy.  And then....she was gone.

On July 30th, 1989, I was performing at a rodeo in Arkansas.  After the rodeo, a group of us went into to get a bite to eat.  A local approached our table and asked if we were from the rodeo.  Then he said,  "Did you hear? Lane Frost got killed on his bull in Cheyenne today!"

In the stunned silence, it felt as if the air was sucked out of the restaurant.

I knew Lane.  I knew of his incredible talent, I knew his smile.  I knew of his struggles and his dreams to win a World Championship and plans for a ranch in Oklahoma with his wife Kellie.  He wasn't old, he was in the prime of his life, strong, handsome, healthy and happy.  At 3:30 PM, in chute #7, with his rope on a brindle bull called "Takin' Care Of Business", Lane nodded his head and then....15 seconds later, he was gone.

Maybe getting old isn't so bad after all.  Goodbye Touch of Onyx (Classy), goodbye Lane.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Good God, I'm Pissed!!!

I'm mad, I'm so mad I can hardly type. I hope after reading this, you will be mad too.

Hitting the newstands on Friday, July 19 will the the latest edition of Rolling Stone Magazine. Not a publication I subscribe to or purchase. And I sure as hell won't buy one now.

The magazine will feature on it's cover, a photo of Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. ( By the way, that's the only time I will type his name. From here on out I will refer to him as the "killer")

Now it's my understanding that the magazine cover is considered a great honor and has been basically reserved for legends in the rock music industry. Some of the greatest rock musicians in history have graced that cover.

So, what the hell is that killer doing on the cover? I can tell you .......he is going to sell a lot of magazines for Rolling Stone. And why will people buy that magazine with his picture on it? Simple.....

We are all looking for answers. Everyone wants to know why 2 young men with their lives ahead of them, would do such a unspeakable act? How could they deliberately kill so many innocent people? What did they possibly have to gain from this? Why did this happen?

Unfortunately, that article, and no other article, will be able to answer those questions because people....You CAN'T EXPLAIN CRAZY!!! It's that simple. They may be intelligent but they are CRAZY!!!

There is no explanation for something like this. There is no excuse, not religion, not politics, not revenge, not money, NOTHING explains something like this except CRAZY!!!

And so, what do we do? We continue to ask and in the meantime, we feed the egos of these killers by giving them this notoriety. We buy into the idea that we must have the knowledge to prevent another such tragedy. You can't FIX CRAZY!!!

What will the families of all the victims feel when they walk by a newstand and see that photo? Where are the pictures of the dead, the horribly wounded, the ones who's lives will never be the same? Why can't their pictures and their stories be on the cover of magazines? Bluntly put, it wouldn't sell magazines.

It's a CRAZY world we live in. I won't be buying that magazine, EVER. But I will be offering up a silent prayer for comfort and peace to every family that was affected by that killer. Damn, I'm still mad!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

My Dad's Legacy

Fourth of July.  A holiday that through the years has meant many things.  As a child, it was lighting 'snakes' and penny poppers in the driveway.  During my rodeo career it meant lots and lots of performances, usually in the heat.  

Then one day, it meant loss and sadness.  My Dad passed away on the 4th of July and now it will forever have the stigma of that event.

I think about him a lot more now than I ever did before.  Or maybe just in a different way.  My Dad was 44 years old when he and my Mom adopted me as an infant.  That means he was 58 years old when I turned 14.  The same age as I am now and God help me, I can't imagine having a 14 year old right now.

What I have come to wonder about is, "Did he have the same doubts then as I have now?  Did he hear the tick tick of the clock and dread the steady advance of aging?"  If so, he never said so.  Maybe I just didn't notice but I look back on memories and I can't remember any indication of his trepidation into the 'golden years'.  I remember that he got up every morning and went off to open his businesses.  He came home usually after dark for supper, then a little television and a nap in his recliner.  He lived for the stolen hours he could have on the golf course.  And all the while, I never noticed that he was getting old.

I wonder when he knew?  I wonder  what he thought in his private moments, about the loss of his youth, his physicality.  And most of all, I wonder how he reconciled the image he saw in the mirror with the image he had of himself in his mind.

Maybe it's easier for men but I suspect they are just less vocal about it.  You know, most women feel the need to 'cuss and discuss everything stage of this journey.  Maybe men simply suffer in silence.

After pondering this, I have a new appreciation for my Dad.  He died at 82.  I'm nowhere close to that but some days I think I've got one foot in the grave.  I wish I could know now, just what he knew then.

What I do know is....the world was a better place for having had John A Crews and my life was so blessed by his presence in it.  That is a legacy I hope to claim someday.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

With Age Comes Resiliency.

The past few days I've been whining and complaining (to the dogs since there is no one else  here to listen) that I am aching from last Sunday's trick riding practice.  I probably overdid the riding in the heat but, the resulting pain has made me begin to wonder if I really am getting too old to do such a physical activity.

I guess everyone gets to that point at some time in their lives, some earlier and others.  But,  I could never see me conceding that point.  I sat at the computer thinking about this and was idly watching one of my Boston Terriers make her way through the living room, around the bar, through the kitchen, right turn at the utility room and then heard the sound of the doggie door swinging back and forth.

Now this doesn't sound all that noteworthy until you realize that she is 13 years old and totally blind.  Jazmine  lost one eye in a dog fight over a new Christmas toy several years ago and 2 years ago, she lost sight in the other eye due to cataracts. She is grayed out and her hair coat has patches of  missing hair .  She is by most standards, old and disabled.

I don't think Jazmine got that memo.  Weighing at around 10 pounds, she is by far the smallest dog here.  That fact has also escaped her.  As a young dog she was what we call 'scrappy'.  She would fight over food, toys or just for general purposes.  And the size of her opponent never fazed her.  Her personality was 'determined' on a good day and down right aggravating on most days.

Now, in her senior years and blind,  Jazmine is STILL 'scrappy' and 'determined' and Lord help me, but sometimes she aggravates me so badly I want to scream.  You see, Jazmine has not changed her mode of operation in anyway.  It does no good to yell, "Jazmine, get out from under my feet!"  She has no idea that she is under your feet and has no inclination to remedy that situation.  At feeding time, with 7 dog bowls on the floor, she eats her food with the ferocity of a lion then, using her nose, she locates the next nearest dog bowl and not caring if it is being used by the 180 pound Great Dane, she stumbles in, grabs the rim of the bowl with what teeth she has left and tries to drag it away from it's owner.  This invariably starts a dog fight.  EVERYDAY!

You see, Jazmine has always done that and even with her blindness and advancing old age, she doesn't even consider stopping that behavior.  It doesn't occur to her that she is 'too old' to do that.

And then there are her navigational skills.  She does not timidly move around, sniffing the ground but instead, walks confidently into walls and furniture.  You can hear the thump of her little head from other rooms.  But, she is totally unfazed.  She merely turns left or right and proceeds forward again.  Thump!  Right turn,   Thump, Left turn.  You get the pattern here?  Wouldn't you think she would just give up?

I watch her from my chair and I silently cheer her on.  She gives me  hope that with age, I have that same tenacity, that same resiliency.  Thump, turn, forward.  Thump....turn....forward

Thursday, May 23, 2013

That Joyous Gift

Yep, it's been a long time since I have posted.  Writing about getting old seriously crimps the whole "I'm getting old" denial thing and any woman who is still trying to trick ride at 58 years old is in serious denial.

But today, something happened that I wanted to share.  Today I attended my first Kindergarten graduation.  No, I never attended kindergarten or pre-school as a child.  Things were different back when wheels were still square.   I was invited to attend this ceremony by a friend whose little boy was graduating.

I must admit, my expectations were not high, but it was an excuse to put on a sundress and venture off the ranch and into public.  But, sometimes you get a gift you aren't expecting. This was a joyous gift.

The auditorium was packed with nervous parents.  Every hand in the room had held a camera or cell phone. Music was softly playing as I took my seat with my friends on the front row.  Then the ceremony began.  Little people filed onto the stage, dressed to the nines and wearing their caps and tassels.  They formed 3 rows on the stage.  First order of business was The Pledge of Allegiance.  Even the most jaded and disillusioned patriot would have been moved at the bold and determined voices reciting our Pledge.  It only got better.  On cue from the music teacher, they sang.  Boy, did they sing.  Some with exuberance, some with timidity but each one was searching for their family in the audience.  Each one had a vested interest in being there.  My friend's son took the stage with one pant leg tucked down in his cowboy boot.  God I loved that!

After taking their seats, the procession began.  One by one they came to the stage.  The principal shook the hands of tiny little girls, swaggering boys, timid children, bold children. Each one stepped up to applause.  One little girl had obviously been coached by her Mother to pose onstage for pictures.  Even though the principal was urging her to move on, she determinedly held her ground until the camera flashes stopped.  (Shows who has the most authority huh?  Mom trumps Principal everytime.)

And then the gift happened.  That joyous gift.  As one young man accepted his diploma and turned to leave the stage, from somewhere in the back, a deep voice boomed out,  "Good Job!  I Love You Son."

That was IT.  It was instantaneous, that lump in my throat, that wetness in my eyes.  And I wasn't the only one.  Everyone around me felt it.

I knew the gift was an affirmation of love,  the family kind, the kind of love that encompasses all ages,  all genders, all paths of life.  I may be getting older, but I can still recognize love when I hear it, when I see it and I hope I am never too old to feel that joy.

Thank you to the friends that included me in their joy and to that father in the back who wasn't at all embarrassed to share his joy.  For in the end,  it is JOY that sustains us all.