Archive for November, 2008

Coffee with Friends

Yesterday I attended a coffee party with some friends, set up to visit a mutual friend who was in town for only a few days.  As I drove there I realized I hadn’t been to a “coffee party” for years.  When I was an at-home mom, I met with 2-3 friends every week, at one home or another.  We took our kids, made them all play together in a separate room, and the 2-4 of us sat at the kitchen table, drank coffee, nibbled on cookies or cake, and talked our hearts out.  The coffee parties kept us sane.  We were young moms in the 1960’s, before Betty Friedan’s “Feminine Mystique”, and felt right about being at-home moms to raise the kids until they were in school.  Then we drifted back to our earlier careers.  We were too old and responsible to join the hippy revolution, and too young for the second wave of feminism.  That was then. 

This time, I cancelled attending a study group (which had been feeding my mind and spirit) in order to have coffee at my friend’s place.  There were five of us, ranging in age from 60 to early 80s.  What a hoot!  The young one has recently dyed her hair a reddish brown and looks 10 years younger.  She said she didn’t like it when salespeople referred to her as “Dear” and condescended as they waited on her.  Since dying her hair she has been treated better.  We all understood that one!  We talked, laughed, interrupted each other, talked politics, colours (what colours go best with our skin), spirituality (where are our leaders with vision?), food (great pull-aparts Doreen!), debated and disagreed, and changed to decaf coffee earlier than we ever would have done 40 years ago.   It did my heart good. 

Having coffee with friends is never a waste of time.  Stimulating conversation is vital to our health. Here’s to at-home women everywhere!  Whether raising children, or raising Cain as seniors, we need to get together frequently.  We need to keep each other sane.


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Ripe When Wrinkled

It wasn’t a dream.  It was a pre-sleep image.  It wasn’t a dream because I had already been awake for an hour, writing after a disturbing nightmare.  As I relaxed my head against my down-filled pillow, I saw a dark hand descend toward me.  In the hand (which looked male) was a large wooden bowl.  In the bowl were five brown fruits that looked like over-ripe pears, except they were round, not pear-shaped.  I didn’t recognize them, and pushed my eyes forward to focus on them.  Then a voice said, “Here, make molasses.”

What? What is this?

“Here, right here.  It’s ready and the fruit is ripe.  Make molasses.”

But what is this about?

“You know what it’s about.  You have to make molasses.  But you can’t wait.  The fruit is ripe now.  It’s work, but you have to do it.  You have to do the work now.”

I struggled through the veil of sleep-tuggers to write the message in my journal.  That should be a good one for my analyst later today.  I would turn 60 in three months and I’m trying to define myself aging.  During this indulgent year of study and growth at U of C, I’ve tried to make molasses, tried to sweeten my life and experiences.  But what about my unexplored future, after I retire from teaching in five more years?  Will my early desire to become a writer be met?

After breakfast and required text reading I went grocery shopping.  In the produce section I was startled to discover the same fruit that appeared to me at six a.m.  It was round, dark brown, and wrinkled.  The label said it was Passion Fruit, which fascinated me because I had never seen passion fruit before (at least not consciously).  I picked one up, discovered it cost $2.00.  No wonder I had never bought one before.  I marvelled at its density and texture as I turned it over in my hand.  Across its bottom was a narrow strip which read Ripe When Wrinkled.

I bought it.  It tasted delicious.

(first published in FORUM magazine, Fall 2002, Issue 14)

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Getting help is always good

Thank you, Marlene Hielema (aka. imagemaven) for your help in explaining blogs.  The session you held with me on Monday was superb, and now I think I have enough knowledge to proceed.  For me, in my seventies, learning how to do something new on the computer is always a stretch.  I recall talking to a university prof when I was 45 years old, and struggling with learning how to program computers.  At that time we had to learn Basic, not Fortran (that came the second year).  I found it terribly confusing to master these new terms, and doing it all sequentially was a real pain!  I’m not a sequential learner.  I told the prof I thought I was too old to learn that stuff, as I was really discouraged.  He looked dumbfounded.  “Do you really believe that?”  I wondered what planet he was on, because I was superbly discouraged.   However, his hesitancy and unwillingness to accept my cop-out did force me to continue.  I asked him for more help, and he gave it to me — through extra individual sessions as I needed it.  He was a pretty good teacher too.  So thank you to all good teachers, wherever you are.  Even old people can learn, if they get the right help.

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Why do I write?

Welcome to my blog!  This is the blog for my business,  “Words By Montgomery”.  My business is writing.  Not a money maker, but a very satisfying activity.  Writing gives me clearer thinking, gets my creative juices flowing, improves my language, teaches perseverance, expands my networks, and leads to better ideas to share with others.  I think that last phrase, sharing with others, is my purpose for being on this earth beyond selfishness. Well, maybe not beyond selfishness, as for me writing is very selfish. It’s what I do to know who I am. In some ways it is totally self-centred, and Self-centred.  It is a journey, spiralling down, around, and out.

Why do other people write?

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