A Boomer's Blog

Notes for the Boomer Generation

Critique-al Mass

Some of my fellow writer friends and I want to start a critique group.  We all live in the same part of the huge metropolitan area…. none of us would have to cross any bridges or traverse glogged freeways to meet up.  But where?  The library charges money.  The Senior Center doesn’t have a room for 4 to 6 writers to sit around talking about their work.  Restaurants are noisy.  My apartment, frankly, is a dump.  My project today is to Do Something About All These Damn Books.

Well…  about the apartment….  I just moved a couple of months ago and still have boxes here and there.  But the real problem is the books.  Stacks and stacks of them.   Books I read years ago.  Books I’m in the middle of reading now.  The hundred or so that are “To Be Read”.  The reference books, which one doesn’t ever really read.  They are only to be referred to.  In emergencies.  That probably explains the dozen books I have on Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse, The Complete Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide, How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, The Field Manual FM-21-76 US Army Survival Manual and 75,000 Baby Names.  Wait, that last one is in the wrong pile.

So, of my thousand books, the reference section is quite extensive.  There are the 31 cookbooks, most of which have only been used during the annual Hallo-Giv-Mas three-month-long food fest that is part of my heritage.  Not to mention my waistline.  I could use some of these cookbooks to create treats for my writer’s critique group and invite them here…. if only I could dig out from under the books to make some room for guests.  Should I use the books to create chairs, instead?

I also have 17 books on Organization.  Organizing from Within.  Stop the Clutter.  It’s All Too Much.  One Minute Organizer, Unclutter Your Mind, Clutter’s Last Stand…..  as soon as I can decide on the best spot for the organizing books, I’ll read a few of them.  Most of them are in the “To Be Read” category.

Well, of course there are other categories.  There are the wishful thinking shelves filled with gardening and home repair books.  I have been an apartment and condo dweller for most of the last fifteen years.  But I know how to change out the flush assembly in a toilet and diagram the central fuse box.  Actually, that does come in handy, even in an apartment.  Better hang on to that book.

Finally, there are all the writing books.  How To Write A Romance, Memoir, Screenplay, A Book In Thirty Days, How to Write How To Books, How to Write When You Can’t Write, How to Write When You Are Surrounded By Mountains of Books and There Is No Room For Your Damn Critique Group To Sit Down And Eat A Cookie.

I will take that last one off the To Be Read list right now.

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Meryl and Tommy Lee Give Hope

My sister made a special trip, 30 miles one way to visit me, so that we could see “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.  She loves Meryl, her favorite actress.  I have always found Tommy Lee, with his gruff, no-nonsense screen persona, combined with brains (I know he was Al Gore’s roommate at Harvard) to be an irresistible combination.

My first reaction? Boy, have they gotten older along with the rest of us!   Then I admired these actors, Meryl and Jean Smart and Tommy Lee, for not having the plastic surgery like so many other celebrities do, trying to keep their 35-year-old faces.  They all looked like people in their sixties, and they are.  I really liked that.

The theater was full of other boomers like my sister and I, even at 2:30 on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  There were a lot of laughs, especially for Tommy Lee who played an unbearably pessimistic and complaining husband.  His character got a lot of laughs every time he complained, but I thought there was only a little exaggeration of this personality.  I’ve met, and married, a person like this character.

I’ve been on my own for many years and think that there is not a lot I could put up with from a partner or a boyfriend or a date.  I don’t give many second or third chances to correct a bad impression.  I have a tendency to walk off if confronted with bad behavior.  But I have not invested thirty years in a relationship.  It was hard for me to leave my marriage of only eight years, and I was suffering emotionally for most of it.  But I can understand Meryl’s character in the movie, wanting to work at a solution.  She wouldn’t walk away from her 30 year marriage and her emotional suffering was obvious.  They were living separate lives.  They had separate bedrooms and minimal, businesslike conversations.  He falls asleep in his chair every evening.  His wife decides to fight against the rut.  She wants her original husband to come back to her.

I have had this marriage.  My parents had this marriage.  I know several women of my age who have had or currently have this awful excuse for a marriage.  This movie addresses a problem that is widespread, if my anecdotal evidence can be trusted.  The saving grace of the marriage in the film was this:  they did still care deeply for each other.  Tommy Lee’s character, keeping his own counsel, gruff and uncommunicative, still respected and loved his wife.  This is what allowed them to bring the joyful aspects of their marriage back to life.

There was sex in the sixties in this movie.  No, not the Sex in The Sixties that some of us recklessly indulged in, but sex by people in their sixties.  No nude scenes!  But, be warned, pretty realistic.  These two veteran actors have my lifelong admiration for putting themselves out there in this performance.

‘Hope Springs’ is a hopeful movie.  But if a stagnant marriage includes drugs or alcohol dependence, mental cruelty, physical abuse, chronic infidelity……….  Steve Carrell’s counselor won’t be able to help.

Yay for writer Vanessa Taylor for providing a good script and a movie for the boomer demographic.  Ms. Taylor, I have learned, is unmarried, in her thirties, and is a writer for “Game of Thrones” on HBO.  Who’da thunk it?

Biker Boomer Babe

Last year I took a motorcycle license class at the local community college, thinking I would buy a scooter.  I would be the Biker Boomer Babe riding my scooter to the coast, my scarf floating out behind me like Snoopy in flight, or like one of those romantic heroine pilots in old movies whose movie lives ended in a fiery crash.

I came to class prepared with a knit cap such as burglars wear, black boots like the ones the goth girls wear, big sunglasses that I saw Diane Keaton wearing in a magazine, and a Ron Jon Surfshop sweatshirt from my last trip to Florida.  Oh, and puffy gray winter gloves.  Ready to ride!

During the classroom portion, I am the class ace!  The instructor calls on me more than anyone.  I’m sure it was NOT because I was the oldest person in the room, nearly the shortest, and certainly not because I had the cutest love handles of anyone there.   But, classroom has always been a strength.  The field was a different matter.

The college provides the helmets and the bikes.  Big fat helmets that make you look like a bobble-head souvenirs from Ron Jon’s.  Big fat bikes that require a short, pudgy old lady to stretch out her toes and fingers to reach everything.  The right hand is in charge of the start button, acceleration and the front brake, the left hand does the clutch, the right foot is the back brakes, the left foot does some other damn things, all of it at once, while keeping your ass off the pavement on a surging, smoking, roaring,  wobbly, tottering machine.The first time I fell off the bike the young people in my class all offered encouragement and consolation.

I am embarrassed to admit that after my third fall, I slunk home, unlicensed and bruised.  Time for wine and a bath.

But I was invited for a ride this weekend by my good friend Shirley, a true Biker Boomer Babe.  She came into a few dollars last year and instead of dumping them into some boring old 401K, she bought a trike.  A three-wheeled motorcycle with two wheels in front and one in the back.  She even has a ‘gang’, a friendly group she met through Biker Or Not.

Shirley provided me with a sparkly do-rag and a helmet that fit snugly to my head.  We had a beautiful sunny afternoon drive through the backroads of Washington County, with people waving as we zoomed by.  People see more of you on a trike, and, converesley, you can see more of THEM.  We passed people with dogs, up close and personal.  Speaking of personal, I swear I saw a man strolling naked in his backyard towards the hottub.  Shirley wouldn’t double back to verify, but I know what I saw!

Shirley, A Real Biker Boomer Babe!

Shirley, A Real Biker Boomer Babe! 

The trike has a very comfortable and ample seat,  front and back.  There is even a backrest for the person on the back, and handlebars on the sides for the passenger to hold onto.  It was a very comfortable ride!  Shirley’s trike will go 60 – 80 mph, and is much easier to operate and control than a regular motorcycle.  No clutch to worry about and one brake action for all the wheels

When we stopped at Helvetia Tavern for dinner, everyone on the patio was gawking at the two Boomer Biker Babes, tossing our hair after the helmets came off!  It was great!

Next time I take a motorcycle class, I’ll bring my own trike, my own helmet, and a sparkly do-rag!

Hello world!

This blog is for all the Boomers out there.  But it’s 2 AM now, so I’ll be getting back to this later.  I’m just so thrilled to have the blog up at last!

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