30 Day Writing Challenge — Day 11: Your Current Relationship; If Single, Discuss That Too

One day, I was trying to relax before bedtime when my friend (we’d been chatting over Facebook) told me to face facts: we were both middle-aged.

Wait.

What?

Do you hear the crickets chirping? I did.

I’d never thought of myself as middle-aged. Not that I really worry about my age. (See entry for Day #9 of this challenge.) But wasn’t I still the girl who loved wildflowers, lattes and knitting?

When the pressures of the world get to me, I crawl back in bed with a hot drink and a good book, and I push the outside world away. And that’s really what I want to do right now. Instead of writing about this topic.

Strangely, I’m not longing to be married; and I don’t remotely feel like my biological clock is ticking. Nor am I worried about being single – I rather like the freedom that being single affords.

But I don’t want to write about it. It’s hard for me to even want to discuss the topic. So why the aversion?

I will think on this one some more.

(Added a few minutes later after chatting with a friend…)

You know, it’s not the age that gets me. Why, at 40 years old, do I hate to talk about relationship statuses, even though I’m rather apathetic about my own???

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30 Day Writing Challenge — Day 10: A Fruit You Dislike and Why

I’ve sat here for the last hour, frowning. Trying to come up with a fruit I don’t like.

I guess I don’t like the really sharp grapefruit. But it’s the ridiculous sharp/sour flavor I don’t like. When your mouth puckers and your eyes squint.

But I had grapefruits from the tree in my uncle’s backyard last spring and I liked those. So I’m not sure I don’t like grapefruit.

I’m a fairly adventurous eater, and I love just about any fruit I try. My favorites would be the wild blueberries up in Alaska and the wild black raspberries I picked around Mount Rainier.

I would pay money to do some berry picking like that again next summer.

30 Day Writing Challenge — Day 9: Your Feelings On Ageism

Ageism sucks.

It makes me roll my eyes and stick out my tongue at those who tell me I am too young.

Really, the problem is that I look younger than I am. Ok, so that isn’t so much a problem for me, but for those who judge me.

It’s the worn-out stereotypes that are associated with specific ages that really irk me the most.

Just because I can my own tomato sauce and am a master knitter does NOT mean I need to fit some “crazy old cat lady” stereotype like you see on TV or in the movies. It just means that you underestimated me. Congratulations.

I don’t really like house cats. They irk me too.

So get over the “Don’t old ladies do that?” garbage and learn a skill. You might find something to make yourself proud. And you’ll never have to wear crappy Hanes cotton socks again.

30 Day Writing Challenge — Day 8: A Book You Love and One You Didn’t

Since I have bookshelves in three rooms of my apartment, it’s hard to narrow down which book I want to discuss here.

So I won’t choose, because I want the best of both worlds.

Here are two that I have read many times and love, each of which shows a different part of personality, tastes and dreams.

First, Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen). If you don’t fall in love with the father’s snark from the first chapter, you’ll probably never appreciate all of the great lines, characters and nuances of this classic. So while my everyday life is nothing like that of Elizabeth or Darcy, I see parts of most of the characters in me at some point. Like Elizabeth, I can be stubborn, strong and I sometimes see the world differently than the people surrounding me, or so it seems. Really, aren’t we all blinded by our own perspectives at one time or another? But like her sisters, I sometimes want to be responsible for nothing more than choosing my clothing and dancing all night.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have next to no limit and be able to buy what you want and need? And maybe buy something pretty while you’re at it?

Of course, my relatively free life would have never been possible back in Regency and Victorian Periods in England, so I’m also glad I’m living now. I’m not forced to spend my days crying because my neighborhood doesn’t have enough eligible bachelors. (No matter how true it might be.)

Of course, if you look at the screen versions of Pride and Prejudice, you can’t help falling in love with Darcy. Oh, dear god, Colin Firth.

I’ll leave that topic alone for now. Suffice it to say, I have wanted to be like each of the women in that book at sometime or another. That’s parts of what makes a book great – characters you can identify with and who can make you feel emotions.

My other book love is One Man’s Wilderness (Richard Proenneke). Like Austen’s classic, One Man’s Wilderness shows how one person made a life where he was. Proenneke had a lot more freedom than any of the women in Austen’s day, but he did have limits. His limits (if any really existed) were self-imposed, rather than imposed by society and law. He chose to build a cabin by hand in the Alaskan wilderness, far from roads, people and the comforts of his younger days.

I think his choice of lifestyle was his ultimate mark of freedom. He lived without running water, he had to chop his own firewood, hunt his own game, tend his own garden and find ways to make it through tough situations – completely alone by choice.

I’ve always loved little cabins in the mountains, and after reading Proenneke’s journals (the book is the first compiled volume of what were his daily notes, observations, and musings), I became more entranced with the wilderness. Not that it was my first experience with wilderness, but I read it for the first time while living in Alaska for the first time. I’m not a fast reader and I had to spread the book out over many days. One thing I do remember about that time in Alaska were the rainbows – the simple beauty of the natural world around me. Beauty unlike the ‘beauty’ so often described in novels like Pride and Prejudice.

There is a part of me that longs to live the life that Proenneke lived at Twin Lakes, at least partially because he was so skilled and could make just about anything he needed. He was a master of invention, not spoiled by modern invention, and creative. He came up with solutions for everyday needs and comforts. I often think I’m skilled because I can make my own clothes. I’ve watched carpenters, woodworkers, and various craftsmen all my life, and I could probably talk through some of the steps it takes to build a cabin like Proenneke’s, but could I do it all by myself? No. For that, I am jealous of him.

But isn’t that was Lizzy was fighting for? Independence?

A book I didn’t love: Um, just about any history book from any such class I had to take in school, at any level of school. Let’s face it, those classes put me to sleep. But I can’t actually say I hated those books – I don’t remember a word of them because they bored me so.

It wasn’t until I finally got to learn history hands-on in parks, museums and monuments that it started to sink in.

History textbooks should be banned.

30 Day Writing Challenge — Day 7: What Tattoos You Have and If They Have Meaning

Let me make this perfectly clear: I avoid pain at all costs. Add to that reason the fact that I am completely commitment-phobic.

So I do not now have, nor will I ever get, a tattoo.

I know this guy who once told me about the tattoo that he wants to get, when he has the money: a tree of life. He wants it big and covering his back. I wish I could remember the details of his explanation and/or the meaning he ascribed to this design because he’s a deep fella and I know we talked about this for a while. But tonight, all I can remember is the (imagined?) sensation of pain all over my backside while he talked about his idea.

I know it’s his body. And there’s no real reason why he shouldn’t do this if he really wants the tattoo.

But it still causes me pain to even think about it.

And what if my tastes or styles change over time? Would I be embarrassed by something I did on a whim? I love art, and even wearable art. I make some of my own clothing! But that can be changed with the seasons and tastes. A tattoo is pretty permanent – unless you want to go through even more pain to get it removed.

I’d like to use the excuse that I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, when large tattoos were associated (at least in the mass media of TV and movies) with bikers, gangs and troublemakers. I could say I don’t want to be like them.

But since that stereotype no longer holds any truth, I’m stuck.

I’ll just have to be honest. I don’t want something on me permanently and I really don’t want to take a chance at all of the pain getting a tattoo ensures.

30 Day Writing Challenge — Day 6: Someone Who Fascinates You And Why

“Elementary, my dear Watson!”

Like many people, I am quite a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in Sherlock. But theirs is not the first incarnation that I enjoyed. Jeremy Brett was so true to character that, when I re-read a short story about Holmes and Watson, I picture Brett as Sherlock Holmes.

Sherlock has this amazing logic and power of deduction, of which I am very jealous. I cannot keep a cool head under pressure like the master consulting detective. I love logic and puzzles, but I am not even remotely on the same level as Sherlock.

Not only can he put a few clues together and figure out the bigger picture, but he can do so while saving a friend. People ask me for recipes and knitted clothing, both of which I love, but I rarely do anything so noble – or exciting – as save a friend in need.

Of course, I don’t have too many friends that go up against evil masterminds regularly.

Sherlock is a classic – he and Watson have stood the test of time. They are well-loved all over the world. To me, this shows the longevity of a character – he must have traits with which we can all identify. (So far, I think the most we have in common is the fact that we both keep a messy apartment with projects and experiments lying strewn about.)

I also happen to love (wait, do I love Sherlock?) Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s little Belgian sleuth with the formidable grey cells. His brain also fascinates me. As does his eccentricities and love for good chocolate.

I know both of these are fictional characters. Most likely, if they were real, I would be a client who lost her puppy and needed help finding the runaway pet. Neither man would take the case because it was all rather mundane. I think I dream of living an exciting life and going to far-off places in search of missing treasures and people. Solving those mysteries and puzzles might overwhelm me at times. But if I could be Watson or Hastings, and just watch the masters at work, I might satiate my fascination.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 5: A Place You Would Live But Have Never Visited

Oh, I had a place in mind immediately after reading today’s prompt.

Switzerland.

It seems to have everything I’d like.

It has stunning mountains and landscapes with ample opportunities for hiking, snowshoeing, wildflowers, and wildlife. I love looking out at snowy landscapes from a cabin, and sadly, I haven’t had this experience nearly enough in my short life.

There is a valley in Rocky Mountain National Park that always seems to me to be like a natural cathedral. Instead of glowing stained glass windows, it has snowy peaks in winter that reflect the sun in a majestic glow. In the summer, the slopes are dotted with a rainbow of wildflowers, each meadow a painting. The birds and rushing waterfalls create a symphony that even the best orchestra could never duplicate.

I imagine the Alps to be like this. Except I’ll save you the Austrian/Julie Andrews references.

Next, Switzerland has a fascinating history and is right smack in the middle of Europe, with history and culture all around. It provides a different perspective on world events than what I was taught as a youngster, so I bet my curiosity would never be satisfied. A day or two in any direction and I could find an amazing museum, landmark, or cultural site to absorb hours of my time.

Add to those reasons all of the FOOD. Cheese and Chocolate. Two of my favorite things! And right across the border? Italy. And a day’s train ride in any direction will bring me into the company of tasty local treats.

I would live in Italy too. Never been there, either.