Staying Young and Young at Heart

Back in the nineties, hubby and I went to Hong Kong.  While there, I saw an elderly man standing beside a light pole and he reached down to his ankle with one hand and stretched his leg up, all the way up, and over his head.  Basically, he was doing the splits while standing on one foot.  I was awed and without even meaning to I blurted out the question, “How can you do that?”

Sounding very wise he said, “The secret is to never stop doing something.”

Now that I’m on the downward slide of fifty, I think about that piece of advice that I didn’t follow.  I walk almost every day for about 40 minutes, so I’m not one who doesn’t exercise.  But I admit there are some things I wish I hadn’t stopped doing.

On occasion, I’ll turn on some music and dance around like I was fifteen at a sock hop.  And yes, the next day my muscles are screaming at me that I don’t move things around enough.  Then not so long ago, I bought my granddaughter a hula hoop.  I slipped it over my head to show off my moves, and was dearly disappointed when I couldn’t even get the thing spinning. So, I think I’m going to try dancing and hula hooping more often.  

But it’s not just the physical stuff I think we neglect as the years tick by.  I recall the saying: We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing.  I do believe writing helps keep my mind fresh and my outlook young.  But not everyone writes. I think reading can offer some of the same benefits.  I know a lot of people who are enjoying going back to their childhood hobby of coloring.  Or pulling out the old board games.  

There’s a country western song with a line I heard that I really like,  “When was the last time, you did something for the first time?”

I know that a lot of you are still teens. Well, heed the advice of never stopping anything. If you are older, what do you do to keep your body and mind young?  Have you done something for the first time lately?  Any hula hoop advice?

Dreams

This blog was published several years back but I thought it was interesting. So enjoy!

Just the other night I had a dream.  A bad one.  Okay, let me just call it what it was, a nightmare. I woke up, heart racing, unable to breath.  I was at an airport and someone had stolen my purse, my phone and my ticket.  I wasn’t even sure which airport or how I’d gotten there.  Or where I was going. Now, I had my clothes on, because I have those dreams too where I’m naked and afraid, but even with my clothes on in this dream, I got so upset. I felt completely lost.  Unsure of myself. I admit, I didn’t like that dream.

But not all dreams are bad. Several times in my life, I’ve dreamed that I was flying.  Man was that a high.  It made me feel unstoppable. Yes, dreams can be powerful. They can make us feel elated, unhappy or as with the airport dream, terrified. Did you know some statistics state that the average human spends six years of their life dreaming? Except for a few people with psychological problems, they claim everyone dreams. You may not remember your dreams, but you still dream.

Some people look to their dreams for signs, for something that can help or even warn them in their waking life. I kind of believe that.  I think the airport dream is about me feeling lost because I’ve been writing something different.  I feel a little unsure as to where I’m going with this new project.  So my takeaway from the dream is that I need to stop questioning myself.  Remind myself that it’s okay to try something new, maybe relook at my plot to confirm I’m on the right path.

In doing some research on dreams, I found some interesting facts.  Men and women dream differently? Men are more likely to have violent and aggressive dreams and they dream more about other men, about 70% of the dream characters in a man’s dream are men. On the other hand, women dream about women and men equally. See, we females believe in equal opportunity.

In a survey, it was found that between 18-38% of people have experienced at least one precognitive (future sight-acquisition of future information) dream and 70% experienced déjà vu. In addition, 63-98% of people believe that it’s possible to have a precognitive dream.

I have a friend, who is a psychologist who says when you dream of someone, that person is really you.  To interpret the dream, ask yourself how you view this person.  If she a little shy and timid, the dream is trying to tell you something about that part of you that is shy and timid.

In This Heart of Mine, Leah MacKenzie has some really scary nightmares. She’s pretty sure Eric, the organ donor for her heart, is trying to tell her something through her dreams. She’s ready to discount them until she discovers Eric’s twin brother Matt is having the same dreams.

Escaping into a Series

With the sheltering place and all the unrest spilling in from the news lately, hubby and I have found we need some mental escape. We are both readers and we do that, but we needed something more.  We found binge watching shows is helping us escape.  It needed to appeal to both of us.  My friend recommended Longmire.  I recalled seeing some of it when it was on regular TV.  So, after dinner and reading time, we went to Netflix and watched Sheriff Walt Longmire solve murder after murder all the while trying to get the relationships in his life right. I loved the western ambience mingled with the suspense. I loved Walt’s characterization and watching him deal with the grief of losing his wife.   

I was sad when we finished it.  So sad that it made me realize that by binge watching a show, I get closer to the characters. So close, it’s similar to what I do with characters in a book. When we finished Longmire, I knew I was going to miss my good buddies, Walt and Henry.  And like I do with characters in books, I kind of miss them and still think about them.

Well, that same friend recommended another show.  She assured me that if I liked Longmire, I’d like Justified. And she hit the nail on the head with that one, too. While I know it’s not really a western show, I love the ambiance—small town crazy—that it portrays. The suspense, with flawed, yet relatable characters, and the use of humor in the show is fabulous. The blended tone of suspense, romance, and whacky off-the-wall humor is what I love writing. What I love reading.  What I love watching.   

And dare I say that Timothy Olyphant is easy on the eyes. 

I know most of us find comfort by falling into a book.  But is there a show you have discovered in these hard times that entertains you and makes you forget what’s happening in the world?  Have you watched Longmire and Justified? If not binge watching, what is it other than reading that offers you an escape? Do you read in the same genre that you watch on television? 

Southern Sandwiches

Because of my hubby compromised immune system, we are still sheltering in place.  Which means, no going out to eat.  So forgive me if my post have been focused on food lately, but I’m stuck in the kitchen cooking way more than should be allowed. 

Two weeks I talked about the craziest fried food.  In that post, I mentioned fried Bologna and it got me thinking about the things we slap between two pieces of white bread and call lunch.  Being from Alabama, I remember being served a fried spam sandwich.  The thought kind of makes me a little green now.  

That said, the south just seems to have more than their share of odd sandwiches—especially those of the sweet and savory varieties.  

In my book, Blame it on Texas, the heroine was fixing herself a sandwich and offered to do the same for the hero.  When she asked what kind of sandwich he wanted, he replied, “I’ll take whatever you’re making for yourself.”  Big mistake. Let’s just say it was a funny scene when he bit into the southern delicacy of banana and mayo on white bread.  Poor guy, no matter how much he wanted to pretend to enjoy it, he couldn’t swallow it.  Nope.  Couldn’t do it.

We also ate can pineapple and mayo sandwiches.  I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of fruit sandwiches.  Unless you consider tomato to be a fruit.  And yes, I know it is, but that’s different.  If you start talking bad about mater and mayo on white bread, well, those are fighting words.  I love, LOVE, me a mater sandwich, extra mayo and heavily sprinkled with salt and pepper.  Now I insist, the mater needs to be fresh, and if it’s so fresh you can taste the sunshine on it, well, it’s to die for. 

Of course, in the south, they eat a lot of peanut butter and banana sandwiches.  My father would put mayo on it too.  Not me.  Nope.  But I had cousins who ate banana, mayo and potato chip sandwiches.   Or banana, bacon and mayo.  Yes, bacon is a southern stable, but let’s keep it away from fruit, maters excluded.   Then there’s peanut butter and onion sandwiches.  I’ll pass on that one.  My father was known to enjoy a pickle and mayo sandwich.  

How many of you have dined on a banana and mayo sandwich?  What is the oddest thing you slapped between two pieces of bread and call lunch?

Step Away From the Deep Fryer!

Being from Alabama, I grew up on fried chicken, chicken fried steak, fried potatoes, fried green tomatoes, fried Okra, fried squash, fried bologna and fried pickles.  Notice the key word here is … fried.  Yup, in Alabama we fry stuff.  I’m amazed we haven’t figured out a way to fry Sweet Tea.  Or maybe they do fry it?

Not that Alabama is the only one who fancies frying.  Recently my adopted state, Texas, had a state fair with a deep-fried menu that left almost nothing to the imagination.  We’re talking fried butter, fried beer—seriously?—fried coke—do they have that in diet?—fried jelly beans, and fried peanut butter banana cheeseburgers.  (If your head is spinning at the last one, you aren’t alone.)  How about some fried salsa?  Or you could tickle your taste buds with some fried kool-aid, fried pizza or a fried pop tart.  Not to your liking?  How about some fried pig ears?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer that a little batter and a lot of hot oil can make anything tastes twice a good. But I do believe we might have taken it to the limit.  And as much as I like touting the southern states, we aren’t the only frying fools.  

And I think I have a winner for the state offering up the most absolutely-absurd deep-fried item.  You ready?  Arizona touts their fried scorpions.  You want that plain or with chocolate sauce?  My response… are you freaking kidding?  I refuse to batter and fry anything that I’d yank my shirt off in public if it accidentally crawled on me.  Yeah, I know China is famous for their backyard creatures-turned-snack-options, like crickets, grasshoppers and lizards.  And I’ll turn my southern nose up to them, too, but scorpions?  No.  Just no!

I’ll confess, I’ve eaten fried Oreos, fried Twinkies and even fried gator.  The last was not my favorite. What’s the craziest fried food you’ve sampled, or even heard of?  Are you brave when it comes to trying new delicacies or do you have a sensitive palate?