Thank you all for your kind comments about Shingles. What a zoster, huh? I feel like I've crawled out of a hole of sorts. Has two weeks really gone by?
I am fortunate to have not been hit quite as hard as some of you though I understand that the pain can arrive 3-4 weeks after the rash disappears.
At any rate, I'm still pretty worn out and not doing much. I've missed two weeks of teaching and I am far behind on everything else. So I won't be blogging much here till I get my sea legs again. And until my brain un-fogs.
But again, I appreciate all your kind and poignant comments. Chicken Pox came back to bite me in the neck all these years later. Who knew?
And for what it's worth, it hasn't been a high stress time for me, especially compared with other times in my life. I guess my body figured that the horrible cold that was brewing in my head and chest were an opportune time to introduce an old virus friend.
Be well my reader friends. Good health, solid rest, and kindness to you all. Now I'm going to lie down again!
Yup, I've got them, and not the kind that sit on the roof.
I've got the shingles zoster and so I've been learning new things the past few days, such as...this is not an "old persons" virus and that the rash can appear before the pain and so on.
On top of it, I've got a heck of a head and chest cold...all inter-related I'd guess.
So, I'm gonna take a few days off. The Tao will return next week. Be well my smart Intertube friends. Or if you'd like, share your own Shingles stories here. It's been fascinating to learn them from my friends. Who knew?
Barbara Alfaro is one of my favorite writers. She's even one of my favorite older women writers. Or even one of my favorite older, women writers (note the comma)! Here's an essay she posted on her own blog and has given me permission to place here. Every day when I look in the mirror I think: this is what 50 looks like. I hope Barbara looks in the mirror every day and thinks: this is what it looks like to be a smart, beautiful, lady writer who writes beautifully! Please welcome my good friend!
BEING SIXTY-NINE AND NOT JUMPING OFF A HILLTOP
by Barbara Alfaro
Being an older woman in an ageist culture is a lot like wearing an evening gown to a baseball game or being a vegetarian at a pig roast. I’m used to not fitting in. At sixteen, I was reading Shakespeare when other girls were thumbing through the pages of fashion magazines. I always cared about what in another century was called “the life of the mind” and wore the wrong shoes while caring. I remember Gloria Steinem’s famous remark in 1974 when told she didn’t look forty – “This is what forty looks like – we’ve been lying for so long who would know?” Thirty years later women are still lying about their age, if not with words, with botox. Admittedly, I hesitated about the title for this blog post. Thanks to Google + , much of the cyberspace world now knows my age but unless I’m beginning a romantic alliance with one of my readers, is my age really an issue? I do run the risk of being thought of as an old biddy – you know, those dear aunties with lace doilies everywhere and a propensity for tea drinking. The doily darlings were my grandmother’s generation. Except for special occasions, I practically live in jeans and a sweatshirt and I’ll take a cold beer over hot tea any day. Often, I receive left-handed compliments like “You look pretty trim for a woman your age.” I’m trying to imagine me saying to Wolfgang Puck, “That was a superb duck confit, for a partially balding man.”
The thing that bothers me most about America’s collective aging phobia is its soullessness. What else can obsessive concern about your face and body looking young be called? And how else can those emotionless faces locked from surgeries be described? I saw a funny, bizarre, and totally wonderful film last night. Written and directed by Sophie Barthes and starring Paul Giamatti, “Cold Souls” is about “soul trafficking.” Giamatti puts his soul in storage and rents the soul of a Russian poet but he finds he misses his own soul and wants it back. Unfortunately, his soul is in a Russian soap opera actress. I don’t have to travel to St. Petersburg to find my soul, I only need to write. Here's a quote from an article about Salman Rushdie: “There’s a writing self which is not quite your ordinary social self and which you don’t really have access to except at the moment when you’re writing, and certainly in my view, I think of that as my best self. To be able to be that person feels good; it feels better than anything else.” Each of us, whether writers or waiters, has a “best self” that comes from within, not from fashion and facelifts. And my best self knows the only thing I’m going to do on that hilltop is feel the sun and say, “Thank you, God.”
If you don't already know Teddy the Porcupine, then you should. Here he is celebrating Easter with a most excellent piece of green thingy. At around the 1:20 mark, he wishes everyone a happy holiday. I believe he is also reminding us to be good neighbors, to welcome strangers, to feed the poor, and to know hope. No matter how dark it gets, the light always shines again. And no matter how tall your bunny ears, you will always be a porcupine. Happy Easter and Passover everyone!
For governing a country well, there is nothing better than moderation.
The mark of a moderate man is freedom from his own ideas.
Tolerant like the sky, all-pervading like sunlight, firm like a mountain,
supple like a tree in the wind, he has no destination in view and makes
use of anything life happens to bring his way.
Nothing is impossible for him. Because he has let go, he can care for the people's welfare as a mother cares for her child. Verse 59