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Growing older should be an adventure.

I thought I’d share with you a family photo of a recent trip to Rock City.

Doesn’t Mark look happy?
Oops. That isn’t Mark, that is my Elf on the side. And by the way, doesn’t my youngest look intelligent? Ahem.

I’ll try again.

Here is my family at Rock City. We were pretty cold, thus the red noses – I was the only one bundled up as well as need be, but then, that is always the case. Sometimes I think they are all lizards – cold blooded or something. 


Now, my daughter looks drunk. A bit too much dipping into the coco, I guess. Denver was, unfortunately, working. Mark’s Sister, Dianne cohearsed a stranger to take the photo for us.
Mark looked at this picture and said, “What? Was it snowing outside? Gee whiz, I am totally white!”
I grinned.   
He snorted and said, “I’m look like an old man.”
“White is considered ‘distinguished’.” I pointed out, thinking that if George Clooney can get away with it, so can he.  The next day, he got a hair cut and trimmed his beard short. Guess he isn’t ready to go all “Grisly Adams” yet. Pity.

Between you and me, I like my men slightly vintage looking on the outside (with a fire in their belly, of course). I have never been one to swoon over Tom Cruise. Give me a smart, soulful fellow like Gene Hackman any day. Besides which, it is all about kind eyes, a sense of humor, and the intellectual property under the surface to me. It is the mind I fall in love with. The rest is just packaging used to hard-sell the product.

There is another fact to consider – I doubt there is a man on the planet that wouldn’t go gray early living with me. I must take responsibility for my portion in wearing a fellow out. Frankly, I am weird that way. I like my husband’s gray hair and his more mature size. It makes me feel he’s journeyed some distance through life, which means he has experience to draw upon when he looks at the world. Age and years of conflict and challenges, makes a person much more interesting in my opinion. Give’s them depth. Wisdom. Humor.

Today is my sister in law’s 50th birthday. Wow. She hates hitting this milestone. She has always lied about her age, and refuses to admit she is over 35. Unlike me, She doesn’t find men our age attractive. She finds maturity on many levels, totally off-putting. I am her opposite. I tend to round up my age, and I am forever telling people I am 50 (I am actually 47). I like growing older. I much prefer telling people my age and having them think, “wow, you look amazing for your age and you’ve done interesting things during your time on earth,” Rather than acting like I am 35 and them thinking, “Gee, you aren’t aging that well because I can see wrinkles.”

All I know is I can’t wait for my 50th birthday. I plan to celebrate big-time. In fact, I don’t plan to celebrate it on American soil at all. I want to be somewhere interesting. Perhaps Scotland, inspecting sheep now that I spin wool, or standing on a pyramid in Egypt. I think the tulips bloom in Holland in April. That would be fun to see. I could stick my finger in a dike. (No cracks from those of you with foul minds) Of course Africa and Alaska are highest on my exploration wish list. When I travel, I am not interested in visiting big cities that look like New York, only with my needing subtitles. The world is getting more and more generic, and in Europe, while the art and architecture is remarkable, the people are not so very different. They have cell phones and I-pods and McDonalds just like us. I think that will disappoint me.  I want to see nature, diverse culture, a mode of living that is far removed from what I understand. Paris would be romantic, but I’m guessing there are places far more brain stirring to visit. I want to see wigwams, and thatched huts, and eat things that are looking back at me. Of course, I wouldn’t mind being in America for the big 5 0 if I was going down the Grand Canyon in a raft. That is big on my desire list too.  I really must do that soon while I can manage to still look good in a wet T-shirt, ya know.  

For this big Birthday, we bought Dianne a gift certificate to the Campbell Folk school for $300. Her mother also bought her one for 150. This gives her plenty of credit to select a course or two she will enjoy. She loves the school and is fascinated with handcrafted arts. I figure the best gift of all is the gift of a remarkable experience. I also bought her a book called “Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures that you Absolutely Can’t get unless you’re over 50.” She’ll probably hide the book. Ha. I think it is wonderful and I want to buy one myself – no reason not to begin planning early, ya know.

By he way, I also signed up for a weekend class in May while I was at the school. The class is only held once a year.Last year I was at the school when it was taking place and I was jealous of those attending. But I was sort of “forbidden” to consider it. I have since worn my husband down and received his blessing to follow my interest.

Ready for this. I’m taking Beekeeping!

Yep, I am going to learn how to manage a beehive. Mark’s blessing was quite a gift, because he has a huge fear of bees. When he was a child, he stuck a hand in a hive and was stung many times. Now, he becomes an  unmanly screaming mimi when a bee buzzes near. Always a funny sight, my big husband running wildly, flapping his arms whenever a little baby bee files near.   But, I understand it.

I figure I can set up my hives in the far corner of the land, so he won’t have to deal with the bees at all. And it is not like we don’t have bees around already. In spring, our blueberry bush looks absolutely alive because thousands of bees swarm around, pollinating it. They say you get up to 100 pounds of honey a year from a single hive. The course will teach me to set up and maintain a hive, give me hands on experience with the tools and equipment (and bees) I’ll be working with, and they even show us how to make beeswax candles and such. Fun! I will have to learn how to cook more with honey, I guess. Now, I can drown my friends in honey along with my blueberry jam (still giving the stuff away….) Sweet. I suppose I will get stung now and again, but I have learned that most things you love will sting you on occasion. If you turned you back on everything that hurt, life might be comfortable, but it would sure be bland.

I am also already signed up for a soap making weekend course in May, but that is OK. I turn my thesis in April 9th, so after that, I’ll have the time to explore other interests. And I’ll deserve the chance to do so. My birthday week, they are offering several classes I would love to take. Book arts (where you make books by hand in the manner of ancient bookmakers) Native American Tools and Culture (a course on Indian studies, which would be useful for my writing) and woodcarving where you make a flute – how cool would that be? But I’ve decided to wait. I might just want to sit out on a hammock and do squat this year for my birthday, considering how difficult working on my thesis has been. It is too soon to tell what I’ll want in April. But I must admit, when I am on the grounds of the school, I tend to want to sign up for all kinds of things regardless of my schedule. Dangerous place, that den of creative leisure. It beckons you like the singing sirens calling Ulysses into the rocks.   

But, in the meantime, I am dreaming of bees. I’ve always been a girl mighty interested in the birds and the bees, and wouldn’t ya know, it was only a matter of time before it manifested
into the literal version. Thanks to the chickens, I’ve got the birds part down pat. Now, I’ll add the bees. Ha. My life will be a tribute to the greatest theme of nature. Suits me, don’t ya agree?
 



    

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

2 responses »

  1. Ginny,How Lost I get in your stories. The Family looks beautiful. Beekeeping sounds amazing. Good Luck. Happy Holidays and have a great New Year’s.

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  2. Very convenient to include a hyperlink letting me share this story on Facebook

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