Sunday, February 11, 2018

Winter Olympics

Now that the excitement of the Super Bowl has died down, it's time for the Winter Olympics in South Korea.  Honestly, I didn't know South Korea was a winter site with high mountains.  Sorry that my geography background is so limited.

This Olympics has lots of political implications.  Will combining their athletes lead to peace between the two Koreas?  Did Mike Pence ever interact with Kim Jong Un's sister, or if he's still there, will he?  Given the political climate in today's world, I worry a lot about these things.

Thursday night I watched the figure skating and wondered why it was scheduled before the opening ceremony.  It seemed like most of the men favored to score highest fell down, including Nathan Chen of the U.S. Imagine how it must feel to skate the event of your life and fail.  Of course, they have another chance but still, it must be humiliating to topple over in front of the biggest audience in the world.  The pressure has to be excruciating and maybe that's why things don't go well.

I wanted to watch the opening ceremony but kept falling asleep.  When you think about it, watching dozens of athletes marching into a stadium isn't the most riveting spectacle.  I missed the lighting of the Olympic torch, which I always enjoy.  Oh well.

I watched the snowboarding and wondered who would allow their kid to engage in such a perilous sport.  Those guys jumping into space, twisting and turning themselves into pretzels, was terrifying.  I was happy for the 17 year-old from the U.S. who won gold, but he could have killed himself along the way, and given his age, he'll probably compete again and again.

Today I watched the "skiathlon" a cross-country ski race and cheered for the Norwegian who crashed during the race, got up and kept going and won gold.  What perseverance does that take?  Amazing. 

 I wonder if the silver and bronze medalists in Olympic events are disappointed they didn't win gold.  No one seems to remember #2 and #3.  But worst of all, imagine coming in fourth, so close to the podium but so far.  That must hurt.

I now know the difference between Alpine and Nordic skiing.  Alpine skis are wider and the skier's heel is fixed.  Alpine skiers go downhill. Nordic skiers have longer, narrower skis and their heels aren't fixed so they can lift them.  Also, they go up and downhill both.  Cross country skiing is a Nordic event.  Will I remember this when the next winter Olympics comes up?  Maybe. 

The 5000 meter speed skating event was fun to watch, too.  The Dutch athlete who won is the "king of speedskating."  He's now won 3 gold medals.  He seems like a nice, modest young man, too.

More figure skating to come, more skiing and speedskating.  My TV watching for the next two weeks is set.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Sunday

Well, Super Sunday is almost over.  This afternoon, after lunch at the Backstreet, a group of us went to the Alley Theater to see The Great Society, the second play about Lyndon Johnson, this one about his struggle to get the Voting Rights bill and other bills on his domestic agenda passed as the country becomes mired in the Vietnam War.  When I called to make our reservation, the nice guy at the box office said, "You know it's Super Bowl Sunday."  "Yeah," I said, "but I probably won't watch.  I'm tired of seeing the Patriots win."  He agreed and I ordered our tickets.

The play was. amazing.  My friend dropped me off after kickoff in the game I wasn't going to watch.  I went upstairs and turned on the TV.  

The game was being shown in the Event Center downstairs, but I didn't go.  I had bought some guacamole and chips to take just in case, but I didn't even open them.  I'd had an awful stomach bug this week and had been living on ginger ale and crackers, so guacamole?  No, no, no.  It sits unopened in my fridge and I'll probably throw it away tomorrow.

I  missed one of my favorite things on Super Sunday--the Puppy Bowl.  There's a Kitty Bowl, too, and I heard this year there was a Shark Bowl.  Never mind that one.

Another thing I enjoy is NPR's Super Bowl haikus.  Here are some of my favorites:
         Five thousand dollars
         One seat in Minnesota.
         How much are nachos?

        Lone bird swoops earthward
        To see Super Bowl for free!
        Too bad it's indoors.

So anyway, I watched the game.  Couldn't help it.  Nick Foles is my sister's friend's cousin (Got that?) and he's a hometown boy from Austin, so I had to root for the Philadelphia Eagkes, or the Iggles as they say in Philadelphia.  It was a great game, down to the very last seconds.  I'd watch it again if they'd show a replay.  And here's my haiku:
        Nick Foles gets the ring.
        Does Brady have six fingers?
        One win too many.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Quotes for the Week

Reading is not an operation performed on something inert
but a relationship entered into with another human being.
                 Clifton Fadiman

To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for youself
a refuge from almost all of the miseries of life.
                 W. Somerset Maughan

It is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily,
often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul.
                Joyce Carol Oates

This little poem was in the library of my elementary school, and it always inspired me:
Books are keys to wisdom's treasure,
Books are gates to lands of pleasure,
Books are paths that upward lead,
Books are friends.
Come, let us read.

I hope you're reading a book this week.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Never Too Late; Never Too Old

I am a lousy tennis player but a devoted tennis fan, so devoted that I got up in the middle of the night, two nights in a row to watch the women's and men's finals in the Australian Open.
Caroline Wozniacki, the women's final winner, has been trying and failing for years to win a Grand Slam tournament.  This was her 43rd try!  She lost in two U.S. Open finals and hasn't made a final since.  But she's kept trying, never giving up her dream until it's finally come true.  (By the way, in the midst of her tennis career she trained for and ran a marathon.)  She's an example of perseverance and she's earned a well-deserved reward.

Ho hum, Federer again?  He won his 20th Grand Slam in Australia.  But he's 36 years old, Methuselah-like in tennis years) and last year sportscasters were saying maybe he had one more slam still to come.  Instead, in the past year he's won 3 slams.  Most 36-year-old tennis players are sitting in lawn chairs, nursing their sore muscles and watching tennis matches on TV, but Federer still loves the game and he's still the best ever...and he trains in Dubai in the heat.  He's an inspiration for elderly folks like me, telling us in no uncertain terms that life is still to be enjoyed and there are still goals to set and to meet as long as you're still around.  

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Quotes for the Week: Heroes

Everyone is necessarily the hero of his own life story.
                                               John Barth
Or her own life story.
                         Thelma Zirkelbach

No man is a hero to his valet.
          Anne-Marie Bigot  

Life, misfortune, isolation, abandonment, poverty  
      are battlefields which have their heroes,
obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes.
                  Victor Hugo

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Woman Power

Yesterday was a national Women's March.  Crowds of women marched for various causes, but what inspires me is that they marched at all, making their voices heard, demonstrating our power as women.

Today two friends and I saw "The Post."  Meryl Streep as Katherine Graham realizes her power as she is brave enough to order her newspaper to "go ahead" with publishing the Pentagon Papers.  At one point she quotes Samuel Johnson, who said after hearing a woman preach at a Quaker meeting, "A woman preaching is like a dog walking on his hind legs.  It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all."
Disgusting, isn't it?  Johnson would have been flabbergasted to meet Katherine Graham, a woman of today.

When I was a youngster, women stayed home, kept the house spotless and raised the children with little help from their husbands.  Some women of my mother's generation "helped out in the store" but rarely did women have jobs of their own.  Women didn't aspire to professions or higher education.  My mother at one point thought of going to college  at the University of Texas in Austin, but my father nipped that idea in the bud.

Although I finished college with a major in speech pathology and worked for a year, as soon as I got married, I quit my job and got pregnant immediately thereafter.  None of my friends worked or even thought about it.  In our organization directory we were listed as "Mrs. XXX," with our first names in parentheses.  When I was asked to donate to various causes, I always answered, "I'll have to ask my husband."  After I was divorced, I announced to my family, "I'll have to start thinking like a man."  It never occurred to me that women might think about a lifetime career.  I believed I was thrust into a man's way of thinking; however, being female, I was unable to get a charge account and my automobile insurance dropped me because divorced women were "more likely to have accidents."

Not surprisingly, I embraced the women's movement.  I attended the first national women's conference in Houston.  One of my favorite souvenirs was a button that said, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."  Yes,  I married again, but I didn't give up my career, and my husband and I shared equally in responsibilities around the house.  I'm proud to say I've never cooked a Thanksgiving turkey; that was his job.

I have watched times change, have seen women become public officials, CEO's, doctors and lawyers.  I have seen women stand up for what they believe in, and this year I've seen women speak up about sexual harassment and march to end sexual abuse.  I'm proud of what we've done and what we're doing.  I'm glad to be a woman of today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Quote for the Week

The journey between what you once were and what you are becoming is where the dance of life really takes place.
                           Dr. Barbara De Angel

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