Balancing Act

Balance. With each passing day, it becomes more important.

If i lose my balance at this age, i can break a hip. Falls are the leading cause of accidental death for the elderly. As with any other skill, it must be practiced – which explains why i watch the news on TV while perching on one leg. Frequently screaming obscenities at the television when the news is particularly stupid. Balance is more challenging for me when i’m standing still.

But i have not been standing still. So far this year, i’ve been out of town, or out of the country, for 18 weeks. Given that i haven’t poked my head out here since August, here’s a glimpse of what i’ve been up to since my last post.  If you want more detail, just ask! Hoping to have some time next month to write more…

  • It’s not just about balance, but flexibility. Studley’s daughter, Pixie, moved to Alaska last spring. We decided to visit her before it became too cold and dark. Two weeks of exploring a few tiny corners of the state left us both ready to go back for an extended visit!  In two weeks we barely scratched the surface. We also deployed our small town tactic – stop by the local VFW or American Legion hall for a beer. Drink cheap, talk to locals, and find out what’s going on in town.
  • Speaking of what’s going on… We went to our first regional “burn” – like Burning Man, but on a much smaller scale. We felt quite at home among the 500 or so burners assembled at the site of a reclaimed strip mine. My days of sleeping on dirt are mostly behind me, so we brought our teardrop camper. One of the requests by the organizers was that we find a way to disguise the camper to better blend into the temporary tent city. i think we did ok…
  • Speaking of camping… We’ve been off in the woods a bit this autumn. That little metal egg keeps us plenty warm down to freezing. The bourbon helps, too.
  • Speaking of bourbon… Haven’t seen much of the extended family this year – in large part due to me being gone for months at a time. When my Florida sister, T, was selected for a significant honor this month, it presented an opportunity to reconnect. Oldest sister, S, has had a tough year – she beat back another round of cancer (Lymphoma), and finally retired. We decided to grab some cheap tickets and head south. A lot of water under these bridges, but there indeed be bridges. Baby steps.
  • Speaking of babies, i miss the crap out of these two li’l critters. Max is 3, and Ellie is now 1, and they are so much fun! But The Boy and his family are 1,000 miles away. That’s harder than i expected. Even more fun? The Girl is due to shell out her first child in a few weeks – which means i’m packing a large suitcase, and preparing for a trip to Turkey (the country, not the poultry). My third grandcritter is about to arrive – and will be living 5,000 miles away.

There’s more. So much more… but i seem to either have time to live hard, or time to write. For the moment, it’s going to be “live hard”. Operation “Speedball to the Finish Line” is well underway…

26 thoughts on “Balancing Act

  1. Yay! for all the well-balanced lives and those living them. We only get one shot at this ride, don’t we! (And you can tell S. she looks pretty good for a lymphomaniac!)

    • She is ten years OLDER than me! i’m the one that looks like the senior citizen in these pics! Even though her hair is growing back, and looks good, she hates it and chooses (for now) to wear the wig most of the time… She just got her chemo port out last Friday when we got home. She’s stronger than she ever realized.

  2. If I don’t write down what I’m doing as soon as I’ve done it, I have no chance of writing about it later – my memory just won’t cope. Have you been keeping a diary during your adventures?

    • When we walked the Camino, i did keep a journal – and it was therapeutic, but i failed to keep writing when i got home. That’s partly why i’m going to attempt to get back to regular blogging. This has been the space where i organize my thoughts and feelings. Facebook is a quagmire, and i primarily use that to promote local charity and art events, and to stay in touch with people i don’t see often. Instagram is fun, but lacks depth. Twitter is the place to go scream into the ether – sometimes necessary, but not productive.

      The transition into retirement, into grandmotherhood, is fraught with deep thoughts. i am privileged beyond measure to be where i am, but still need to get my head around it all…

  3. Glad you’re back! Looking forward to more posts from you. It’s always a pleasure.

    (And not the town of “Pleasure” that His Orangeness called the fire ravaged town of Paradise twice when he visited it. Sheesh. What a tool.)

    • i really miss the depth of connection possible out here – just haven’t found it on other forms of social media. Blogging also forces me to get a bit more organized in my writing (not that i did much of that today!).

      That press conference in California may have been one of the things that had me screaming at my tv. i swear, would it be the end of the world for him if he just did a teeny bit of homework before blovating?

  4. Jobs fill your pockets, adventures fill your life. I am delighted you are living a large life, having just retired myself, look out world I had stuffs to get doing! All the best to the fam write when ya can

    • I love that! I’m lucky enough to still have enough in my pocket to keep funding the adventures! But we are getting good at cheap travel – that little camper is kinda like endless pre-paid hotel nights! State parks, national forest campgrounds, and boondocking are helping us do things cheap!

      Congratulations on your retirement! I think the two biggest adjustments were Lear,ing how important the calendar becomes (when every day feels like Saturday), and being able to do all of my errands on Tuesday mornings (shortest lines at post office, oil change shop, etc). Hope to hear about your doings as you enjoy the new freedom!

    • I still have moments of darkness. And one of the things we learned by being on the road so much? One of our favorite destinations is “home”. Building that in to the 2019 plans… Being in my own bed, taking care of household repairs and maintenance, brunches and visits with friends. These are important, too..

  5. Balancing on one leg – that’s a joke.

    For an hour earlier I was on the floor as standing on two legs was just inconceivable. Even when I tried to crawl on all fours at one point when I thought I might be sick as it was spinning so much I couldn’t manage that without falling over!

    You look to be having a great time in your retirement – congrats

    • I am so sorry that your vertigo continues to wreak havoc on your life. Cannot comprehend how to you manage with that, but I continue to hope for improvement. I recognize the good fortune I’ve had for avoiding major medical issues thus far…

  6. Speedball to the finishing line…. I like that! Here’s hoping you continue to find the odd time to stop by and organise your thoughts and feelings on here though- always great to read your stuff. Always little details that pique the curiosity…. an American Legion Hall, for example- I’ve never come across mention of one of those, but just from your fleeting description of one I feel like it’s the sort of place I’d love to hangout in if I suddenly found myself transported Stateside!

    • The American Legion is a nationwide network – fraternal organization of those who have served in the military, although it doesn’t take much to become a member (parent, grandparent? Sure!) Likewise the Veterans of Foreign Wars, VFW. Every small town seems to have a legion hall – which is usually a bar. Cheap drinks, occasional meals, charity fundraisers, and community. Hanging out at a legion hall is certain to connect you with local people, who have the scoop on events happening in town! Oh, and $2 pints of beer!

      Retirement brings a reduced budget, and more time, so we are using this to get a better feel for the places we visit – not just the tourist highlights!

  7. A grandchild growing up in Turkey. I do remember a few past postings about your Turkey travels. You certainly have family spread out. Alaska to Turkey and points in between. Your teardrop camper looks fun.

    • On the one hand, Studley and I are both proud to have raised adult children who are fierce, independent, and loving lives of deliberate choice. On the other? We miss having them close by. So we travel… And they visit as they can, given the restrictions of jobs, young families, vacation time and funds…

  8. Break a hip?!?! You aren’t that old! Are you? I’m glad your kids are thriving. (And you.) I worry about your daughter. I hope she’s okay. It’s an incredible adventure she’s on. Please tell the Mr. I said hello. Don’t forget!

    • 56 isn’t exactly elderly, but definitely past middle age. Before we walked Spain, I had to get steroid injections in my hip due to bursitis. BURSITIS?!?!? Isn’t that the ailment that afflicted my ancient auntie as she sat around grandma’s kitchen table comparing aches and pains with the whisker sisters?

      Seriously, I’m feeling good, maintaining some degree of cardio and strength training (I call myself “physically fat”), and have added yoga to help with flex and balance.

      Studley says “hi” back!

    • Grow up? I’m regressing in some ways – and trying to be a bit more like you! Enjoying the freedom that comes with never having to piss test again, the availability of high quality recreational edibles in AK and CO has brought me some mellow!

  9. If you want to take your balance to the next level…

    While you’re standing on one leg, hook the up leg behind the calf of the leg you are standing on, and then close your eyes. Learn to do it for 30, 60, and 90 seconds. Switch feet and do it again.

    My physical terrorist taught me this many years ago as a method to strengthen the muscles in my foot after a minor break. Turns out that as we age, we don’t practice with our balance as much as we used to. We decide when we turn 50 or so that we’d rather hire someone to climb a 24-foot ladder to lean out and clean out the gutters so we don’t exercise our semi-circular canals in the same way.

    About 5 years ago, my 70-ish father was frustrated that for the last 2 years or so he was repeatedly falling sideways when he was water skiing. I guessed it could be balance. He practiced the method above during the off season and when the summer rolled around again, he was skiing all over the lake on his slalom ski again.

    • This is a great idea! I already do the balance with my thighs parallel to the ground, and try to do it with my arms at my sides, or above my head. Closing my eyes? Holy crap! That’s Master’s level! Will add it to the regimen!

      Maybe i’ll get good enough that i stop falling over when i try to put on my undercrackers!

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