Saturday, February 22, 2014

Mirror Reflections

There’s another trouble spot.  Am I talking about a writing block or another age spot I’ve just noticed in the mirror? Maybe a little of both. For the most part, I avoid mirrors.  I quit looking at my reflection in store windows as I walk by. I don’t stop at every mirror to smooth my eyebrow or adjust a wayward curl anymore. I don’t even carry a purse-sized lipstick mirror, or even a lipstick for that matter. All that was left back in the Second Quarter of my life (the 30’s and 40’s maybe).

 As I am ending the Third Quarter completely absent of the daily required primping for meeting the masses at school or work, I consider myself free of society’s judgment to defy my age, shrink my pores, or make my age spots disappear as the ads so profusely promise.  I don’t think about styling my hair, or apply the latest goop to provide sheen after the once in the morning ritual of tooth and hair brushing. I am finally a Wash, Rinse, and Go Girl.  Free at last.

That is, until I finally glance in the mirror at night to repeat the morning’s ritual. Staring back at me is always a shock. My God, did I look like this all day? I can no longer just repeat the cute phrase that I see Mom looking back at me as I am more than a decade older than she would ever be. The sagging eyelids, sallow skin, and dull graying hair are harsh reminders that the Fourth Quarter is beginning and I have no chance to be the stunning athlete who will save the game.

How can I sing the “Aging Gracefully” mantra when I look like I tripped over a wayward tree root or piece of cracked sidewalk? It’s hard to be proud of the glorious claim that I earned every gray hair. To see joyous memories in every wrinkle or sag. That my waving wingspans were once firm loving arms holding children. I’m supposed to embrace the terms “seasoned,” “intelligent,” “mellowed”…hell… I love to pick wine that way, not feel like I look that way!  It’s plain and simple, this girl is aging, and faster than ever before.
Trying to find comfort in my reflection is really difficult right now.  Except I do try to think of the good side to all this.  I can still walk up to the mirror; I can still see it (if my glasses are on); lift my arms to brush that mop. I can just as quickly turn around and flip off the offending light and retire to bed with the same aging man of 40 years who unwittingly still thinks HE is the starring quarterback and I am his head cheerleader. Thank goodness  "the eye of the beholder" isn't lost on me!

Monday, February 17, 2014


I have had fitful sleep times lately, mainly just aging issues that keep me from having a full night’s sleep, so my mind flitters about so many different thoughts, problems, ideas, and such. Lately I have been giving a lot of those nocturnal thoughts to Diego. I’ve meet with him twice, once with Wayne and Stephanie as backup, and once alone.   There’s no real “I know he’s the one” or “You just know when you know” kinds of feelings. I try to think back to last time I picked out a dog. That was really more than 20 years ago.  I can recall the scrambling pups in the kitchen and seeing the beautiful golden retriever mom and the black lab dad, and the pup’s funny cowlick on his nose that dubbed him the name Spike. We didn’t name it that.  I don’t even remember the “picking” though.  I don’t remember the “he’s the one” thoughts. I was doing it on my own, and Spike, later named Odie, was a beloved treasure in our family for 13 years, but the memory selecting him fades, and doesn’t help me much now. 

This time Diego was picked for me; from trainers who have been matching owners and service dogs for more than 30 years. I should trust them, and they said that they did pick a matching personality to me. Maybe that’s the problem. He’s boring because I am boring, and I hate to admit that about myself. My cover is blown.  (Okay, I can hear someone chiming in, “What cover?”) Not so boring,  when I am comfortable with friends and family, but for the most part, I don’t do too much. Watching TV, writing, quilting, cooking, grocery shopping and the occasional cleaning duties when I’m in the mood are about it. So why wouldn’t they pick a dog that is comfortable just sitting at my feet and happy to have his “babies” (aka toys) around. Playing fetch is pretty much out of the question. Balls are not his thing. I can tell he would love to take walks and mark every bush within a quarter mile radius, if I’d let him.  A little hind leg walking action seems to be fun, but he is the ever couch potato for the most part.  And I’ve been troubled that I can’t even get him to look me in the eye. Oh, man, my biggest fault is not looking people in the eye; I’ve been so used to looking at lips for lip reading!  Well, there you go, he is a little fluffy, puffy Suzy!

My initial “dislikes” have eventually been put aside. I was put off by his name, his penchant for wanting to mark in the house, his watery eyes and nose (pretty much a norm for the breed, mixed though he is) All of those issues have melded into ”he is who he is” and any un-wanted behaviors can be easily addressed with better training and attention.  I did seem to dwell on the fact that maybe I didn’t really “need” him anymore because my implant was so successful. But I’m not too unrealistic to know that when this processor is off, I am for the most part completely deaf.  Even though I am doing so well there are still many instances that I miss the direction of noise. And sometimes, I just like to be in the beauty of “deaf mode” and enjoy the quiet.  I could never do that for fear that I might miss someone calling out to me, or a doorbell ringing, for example.  Besides, I was wanting a new “project” and responsibility.  I wanted to give a rescued dog a chance at a better life all the while he would be a companion to me. Therein lies the rub, that I do already have a lifelong companion… my husband.  Although he has given me his blessing on this endeavor, I can’t shake the feeling that that we are not making this choice together, and Diego for the most part has to be “my dog” to maintain his hearing training.

So these are the thoughts that occupy my spinning mind when I can’t sleep. I really don’t blame this issue on my sleeplessness; it’s just the topic of choice these days. I will pay another visit to Diego tomorrow, hoping that when he does come to live with us next month and the real training begins, he will be familiar with me. I picked up a new squeaky toy that he will associate with me and will be at the house when he arrives. We may not have that love at first sight bond, but I do think he is a wonderful little dog, and I can’t wait to see how he becomes another member of our family as the sweet animals did before him.  I think it is going to be marvelous to discover what talents he will possess to help me through my new hearing world.  I hope you want to hear how this new chapter will develop.