It’s inevitable, you and I will die. As biological beings we have a life cycle that goes from birth, growth, then death and somewhere in the middle, for most but not all, there is procreation that continues the cycle. You cannot stop it, nor can I, although we can in some instances postpone or hasten it. You would think that because it is a natural part of life that we would be prepared and yet most people avoid the topic. Discussing death does not cause it to happen! Perhaps it is the current trend that highlights zombies and the supernatural that causes us to fear death more so now than ever before. The topic makes for great movies to scare the dickens out of folks. Logically, death should be as prepared for as entering any new phase of life: kindergarten, getting a job , buying a car, getting married or purchasing a home. Not having discussions or making preparations for your own death and disposal leaves a great emotional and financial burden on loved ones. My husband once told me that funerals are not for the dead but for the living. It provides comfort and peace of mind allowing for final farewells and closure. I feel it is much more. A funeral should be a celebration of the deceased’s life and personalized to fit who they were. Those in the funeral business conduct most services in generic, solemn prescribed pageantry; kind of a one size fits all method. It does not have to be that way. For example, my mother was a Kobe Bryant fan. We dressed her in a Kobe jersey, and in place of flowers to drape the casket, we used a Lakers blanket. She always said to give her flowers while she was alive because she could not see them when she died, so we gave a rose to each person attending instead of them sending flowers. She ate popcorn every day, so we gave bags of it away as guests left. My husband loved a good joke, so we told some of his favorites in the eulogy and even more at the reception. For my sister’s service, we played her favorite songs and left the sanctuary dancing and singing. Perhaps it was their passing that started my passion for planning my own service. I do not want to leave the celebration of my life up to strangers that did not know me, for I do not want a sad service, if anything, I want it to be festive. While my plans are still in the rough draft stage, I do know I want there to be laughter and joy, and ok, a few tears for I’m sure there will be some who will find it difficult. I definitely don’t want to be dressed in lace and ruffles, that wasn’t me. I do want to hear the voices of young children singing with all their gusto. I want folks to come dressed comfy and in bright colors. In place of a dinner afterwards, I want a BBQ, better yet, make that a party. When people remember me, I want them to say, “Wow, now that was some send off. “ Of course, I will need to put all this in writing and work with a funeral planner to hash out the technicalities, legalities, and financial arrangements. While I plan to live a good while longer, I want to be at peace with my plan and make my passing easy on those I leave behind. I hope you celebrate your life’s end in a way that reflects who you are and what your life meant with a plan that leaves no doubt.
I watched a video today on how the French are reducing fresh produce waste by changing their marketing strategies. The problem: Supermarkets only sell fruits and vegetables that meet set standards of appearance. These make attractive displays which entice consumers to purchase the produce. Blemished or odd shaped fruits and vegetables are rejected and disposed of for fear they will not sell. There is nothing wrong with the rejected produce except that how it looks does not meet the standard. The French decided to make the rejected produce appeal to the public. They developed a campaign to promote the fruits and vegetables. Special displays were developed and given their own space in the store to showcase them. Free samples of juices and soups were given away to shoppers to prove that there was no difference in taste and quality. Finally, the supermarket offered a 30% discount on the produce which was indicated separately on the sales slip. Social media, magazines, newspapers, and special TV news spots promoted the sale of the ugly fruits and vegetables. Amazingly, the store sold out in two days. Due to its success other stores were encouraged to try the same strategies, dramatically reducing the country’s agricultural waste.
I live in central California. A huge portion of this nation’s produce comes from this area. Supermarkets here practice attractive displays of perfect fruit and vegetables discarding tons of not so pretty produce. Fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive making getting the daily recommended amount for good nutrition difficult. Recent drought conditions, increased jobless rates, and rising prices makes affording fresh fruits and vegetables out of the reach of many families. As a result, families resort to high calorie, low nutritional meals because they are cheap and filling yet contribute to the ever increasing obesity rate in this country. Would it not benefit California, or even the nation for that matter, to follow the model that has helped the French reduce their produce waste? I strongly believe that if supermarkets made the “ugly” fruits and vegetables available at a reduced price, more families would try to prepare balanced nutritional meals reducing not only the embarrassing agricultural waste but help stop or reverse the trend of obesity in this country.
Beauty is only skin deep for beneath that ugly fruit and vegetable exterior lies good nutritional value and great taste.
Jeans are comfortable, there I’ve said it. It has only taken me 60 years to come to that conclusion and to openly admit it. I swore I was never going to wear them for several reasons. First of all, my body shape is not conducive to wearing anything that hugs the hips and derriere; second, the fabric was too stiff; and third, does blue really go with anything and everything? I had never been a casual person and jeans looked to be the ultimate in casual clothing. Just the thought of jeans evoked visions of cowboys on horseback after a dusty cattle drive and hippies with tie dyed tees at Woodstock. No, jeans were not my idea of clothing that could be worn for any reason on this body. Then I tried a pair. At first they were stiff and scratchy. I wore them at home or camping, definitely not where people I knew would see me. Gradually the fabric softened and fit my ample curves. I noticed that I began to look forward to getting “comfy” in my jeans after a long day at work. Next came the discovery of a brand designed for curvy women who really didn’t want pants below the belly button. This manufacturer made jeans in colors too. Yes! Beige, black, red, green, gray…even pink! When I retired I started living solely in a wardrobe of jeans! Now I throw on a tee for casual or dress up with a sweater or nice top and that is the extent of variety. I get grumpy when I have to wear anything else. Talk about a die hard believer! But there is another problem…they wear out. My favorite pair,( and I understand everyone has a favorite pair, the ones that fit perfect, are soft and move with you without binding and goes with everything) are now so threadbare that I’d be pressing my luck that they would hold together for another wearing. NO…..NO….I’ll never find another pair that is so perfect. Let the hunt begin!
Today I panicked because I thought I had lost my wedding band. I was washing my hands in a public restroom after having lunch, when I noticed it was gone. I searched the trash can in the restroom, the trash can in the restaurant, under the table, the path back to the car and then the inside of the car, convinced that it had to have fallen off somewhere in vicinity, after all, I would have noticed its absence sooner, wouldn’t I? I was downhearted as I drove home. This had been the longest I had worn the ring in a while, almost a whole year this time. This was not the first time that I had lost my wedding band. My hands have gained in fluffiness since it was first placed on my finger in 1986. In fact it could no longer fit on the ring finger but had to reside snugly on the neighboring pinkie. As it grew tighter and tighter over the years. I would remove it, forget to put it back on and it found its way to some pretty interesting places. Once it was in a file cabinet in the garage…hmmm how it got there is a mystery. I found it after I retired and was preparing to downsize to another house. Another time it was in the back of the bathroom drawer, a more likely place, since I probably had removed it to apply hand lotion. Today I located it on the kitchen counter where I had removed it to wash dishes. I think I have a guardian angel that keeps watch over that ring. I am grateful for that. You see the ring is more than just a reminder of the love I shared with my husband. This small, round piece of metal is more than jewelry. Given as a token, it symbolized our lifetime commitment to boundless love. It is all that I have left of him. He died a little over a year after we were married. We wore matching bands, he was buried with his and I have tried to wear mine as a reminder of that perfect time when I was loved unconditionally. That ring held a promise that we would always respect, love, honor, and cherish one another. I still love the memory of us, and therefore, for all of my lifetime, I will wear the ring to remember that promise. A promise that death could not break.Thank you.
Today I decided to start a blog. I am not quite sure why, all I know is that I love to write. I have some tech skills but am really uninformed on the use of the internet as a communication vehicle. Perhaps there are other “old folks” out there that would want to read my wandering thoughts thrown out into cyberspace, but then again, maybe not. If you choose to read my posts then I am grateful for your allowing me to entertain, amuse, confuse, validate, or bore you. There is no particular plan for my writings. I try to put into words topics when I think deeply, or compassionately, with some degree of wit and wisdom but there are times that I must confess, its just an “in the moment” piece be it a vent, rant, Ah Ha! , reflection, or insight. It is my sincere hope that you enjoy the writings, ignore the ones you don’t like, but return to see what wandered through this brain sparking a need to write. Thank you, and hope you are a return guest.