Archive for August, 2011

Is There a Pill for That?

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

by Samantha Prust

I panicked because I thought I my midlife crisis was beginning, but then I really examined the situation. What the heck is a midlife crisis anyway? I mean, how can you have a midlife crisis in a country where you can go to one department store and get everything you need to make your life better; full of appeal and free of all pain and inconvenience, all in all, more wonderful?

You start out in cosmetics: rows of coal black eye pencils, luminescent lipsticks, tubes of gritty mud masks, tubes of rub-in cellulite remover, tiny clear jars of sticky age-defying gels, pink bottles of hair-strengthener, and dandruff remover.

Then on to the pharmacy: headache-aides, stomach-aides, pills that make you alert, pills that put you to sleep, pills that dissipate uncomfortable and embarrassing gas, pills that make you think better, powders that make you thinner, powders that make you stronger.

In aisles of kitchen wares: shiny silver garlic presses, stout wooden pepper grinders, white plastic-handled carrot peelers, handy egg slicers, electric can openers, electric breadmakers, electric knife sharpeners, electric woks, electric waffle irons, electric sandwich makers, even electric salsa makers.

Make your way to bath items: faux-marble toothbrush holders, in green, black and grey, little matching rinse cups, little wicker baskets for soaps and bubblebath or shells, if you prefer, plush toilet seat covers in sheepskin, or a new toilet seat altogether in wood or sponge-filled plastic.

In bedding, bigger, softer pillows, double-cushioned mattress pads, fuzzy flannel sheets, smooth satin sheets, flouncy dust ruffles that hide unsightly junk lurking under beds, satin eye masks you wear to keep out all light while you’re sleeping so that even your dreams are better.

So what is a midlife crisis? It must be discovering that it's not much longer before you're halfway to death and there’s no mud mask or gel, no pill or powder, no electric anything, not the plushest toilet seat cover in the world, not the softest pillow, that can stop that. But that's okay. I don't want to live forever—unless there's a pill for that.

Are All observers Writers?

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

I don’t mean the casual observer

I’m talking about someone who will stand at a checkout line

in the supermarket and study the merchandise of the customer in front of them.

Then concentrate on each of their articles, decide what it might be used
for, and imagine

what type of life they were living.

They’d sneak into people’s lives with their eyes and their


No one escapes it.

There lying on the counter, waiting for its turn to be

scanned, is Mucinex. Obviously someone is ill in the family or has sinus


The next thing is a medium size box of Milk Bones, with a

Beagle on the front, which tells them this senior citizen must own a small dog.

In back of the box was Mascara Noir, which was quickly

packed into her purse, before they could identify its brand. But after studying

the woman’s attractive face, as her spectacles dangled from her nose,

revealing a very becoming green eye shadow, it didn’t matter what company

produced it.

Without purpose these people see things beyond their present

appearance and sometimes connect them to a story idea. Then if there is time,

might even take notes, at the expense of a clean napkin. And eventually

relive those moments of beauty.

I know, because, I’m one of them.

This talent has been with me from childhood. I was never

taught, and I did not glean it from any lecture on writing.

I not sure this is a positive thing or not.

These are my day dreams. The ones that let me get a glimpse

into other people’s lives, which is fascinating, no matter where or when the

circumstance takes me.

I cannot help myself to a portion of their lives, just by


Is that wrong?

Am I a writer or just a voyeur, with imagination?

I’ll let you decide.

Nameless, Faceless Society

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

I miss being a person with my own individual characteristics and idiosyncrasies. I know that I’m sounding like the old lady I am, but I reminisce about going into the bank and visiting with the teller when I cashed a check. Now the tellers can’t be bothered with cashing checks. It’s “use the ATM” to get your cash. I liked to go to the gas station and not only have someone pour the gas but, also, wash the windows and check the tires and talk to me about my car. Now I must get out and pour my own gas and wash my own windshield. I used to go to a corner grocery store and visit with the clerk, who was also a friend from school. Now, it’s rare to have the same checkout person twice in a row – and, of course, you’re encouraged to do self-check out if you are only buying a few items. The personal contact is gone. The sense of the individual is no more.


This anonymity has recently manifested in my life in even more ominous ways. When I moved into a large apartment building (200 units) about four years ago, I knew that it was owned by a large corporation and managed by another big business enterprise, but I still felt like the local people listened to me when I had suggestions or complaints. The building was sold on December 1st of last year and a new management company was hired. Now, everything is decided on the corporate level. The employees at the building level have no authority. The response to every concern is, “It can’t be changed. It is the established policy.”


So preference for parking is given to nonexistent possible patrons of the few businesses occupying the ground floor of the building. Residents are not allowed to park in the rows of spaces near the doors and elevators for easy access to their apartments. Nameless, faceless people inTexaslook at the listed number of spaces and the number of residents and decide that there is no problem. They do not look at the parking area.  Never mind that there are huge cement pillars to hold the building up and that many of the parking spaces are difficult, if not impossible, for me to park in. I am just a nameless, faceless person carrying heavy bags of groceries struggling across all the empty spaces reserved for others to park in. The local manager says “I will pass your concern on to the corporation.” Nothing changes.

Music & Memories

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

During the past three weeks my life has been filled with a variety of music events. Each one offered a unique sound, different venue and performers who entertained with style and class.

Every performance generated its own hand clappin’; foot stomppin’; body swayin’; up on your feet dancin’ and singin’ along music. They stirred up memories of my younger self, some unforgettable life experiences and jolted me into realizing just how quickly time passes. And because events occurred all within a short span of time, I experienced a moment that gave me pause to think that lead to questions: Was this a sign or omen that my time on earth was nearing an end? Was this a message from God? A coincidence? A joke?

Let me explain…

One night I listened to a concert given by IMAGINE – a Beatles Tribute Band. This group took me on a musical journey with costumes and Liverpool accents that transported me back in time. As happened, I again boarded a Yellow Submarine, walked down Penny Lane and revisited YESTERDAY. What made it special was that everyone was there: Eleanor Rigby, Sargent Pepper, Lucy, Walrus, Nowhere Man and Jude. How quickly the days of my early twenties flashed before my eyes bringing both smiles and tears with the memories.

On another evening I attended a performance of MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA. All I’ll say to this is, “Everybody, at every age, can relate to one of his songs, whether ones from the1940’s, the Rat Pack or beyond.” His music is fun, romantic and unforgettable. Tunes like Strangers in the Night; Fly Me to the Moon; Chicago; New York, New York; My Way and more were a delight to hear. They took my breath away and brought back memories from long ago that related to a different part of my life—a young, dating adult.  Once again my life flashed before me bringing both smiles and tears along with these memories.


Next came a night at the Battle of the Bands where local teens showcased their talents and age appropriate energy.  The five finalist groups took to the stage like real pros. They drummed, strummed and sang. They hopped, bopped, jumped and twirled to popular cover tunes and their own compositions.  I watched with interest and appreciation for their efforts, applauded with supportive vigor and experienced a night with the musicians of the future. This time my marriage and family were the focus because my oldest son participated in this same event so many years ago.  My life flashed before me bringing both smiles and tears along with special memories from this time in my life.

Okay, so what’s a body to think? Not much...flashes of memories came and went and I’m still here. Guess I shouldn’t think too hard, just enjoy the music and the memories, head off to Heaven Fest…a Christian music concert and Annie Get Your Gun show at the Dinner Theater, and hope for the best…music, memories and being here to post again next month.


An awkward conversation

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

With too many spaces between words, the talk turns into a battle of silence. What are you thinking, I wonder, as sparrows skip across empty patio tables. A game-after crowd hops in and out of chairs, yelling over conversation layers as they spill into back slapping.

“Guess who’s the flavor of the week?” one of the gaggle giggles.

Whoever he is, he’s just a number I figure as I lose the disco dance of her words.

I wish I knew what that was like. I could stray into drink and trash talk, instead of engaging in the serious business of shyness.

How do the shy, boring people talk? But are we boring, him and I? Introverts find it too hard to translate into language the inner rollercoaster of quiet, reflective observations.

How can I tell him that words are how I breathe, the written ones, not the ones I wish I knew how to sling into the comfort of being with another.

I start telling him a story, but it goes nowhere, and I feel stupid. That’s how I often feel, but it’s not exactly an emotion. It’s more of a sad-edged embarrassment that sours my tongue.

I ask him, “Are you bored?”

No, no, it’s okay, he says.

I lower my head and stare at my plate. I lift my fork and taste discomfort, afraid to look at him. I think about lists of questions and wait for the sound of his voice. I look up, seeing that the stillness of my breath makes shyness scream in my ears.

And I smile. He smiles back, almost as if he were frowning. And we begin to talk about something of little importance, what I can’t remember. All I remember is the bitter taste of bad conversation tightening my chest as I forget how to relax and just be myself.

I don’t know how to do that with someone who’s more of an introvert than me. But then I feel lucky that I can talk, strike up conversations and get the surprise that other people don’t consider me shy.

From Wild to Wow!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011


Eight horses, all mustangs of assorted sizes and colors, march by twos into the center of the arena, split to the rail and circle back around. They trot into a line and form a pivot. On cue, the pairs turn and execute a circling pinwheel formation. The Mustang Riders of Northern Colorado wear traditional cowboy scarves around their necks— fun splashes of reds, blues and pinks. Each American Mustang sports a long white neck brand--to identify the Federal lands they roamed and the year they were gathered. Like the cowboy scarves, the mustang brand evokes a Wild West mystique and says “Wow! I am a mustang.” They recently performed at CSU, Ft Collins, CO for the June 10-12, 2011 EMM, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management and the Mustang Heritage Foundation.

I admire the calm horses and the horsemanship. Even more impressive when I consider that five of the eight mustangs on the team are from the 2010 CO Extreme Mustang Makeover, (EMM). A year ago they were wild.

Each horse is unique. Cindy Loader, our hostess at the Spirit Dancer Ranch arena, describes her chocolate gelding, Calypso, as “totally loco” last year, a real challenge to train for the 2010 EMM. Today, he trots calmly next to Bo, husband Marks’ mount. She laughs and says “Here we are having a good time, showing off our mustangs and what we have done with them -- from wild to wow!”

There is Marvin, the dapper sorrel. He has curious ears and a sweet expressive face. He is ridden by Pat Burge, the founder of the group. A lifelong horsewoman, she wanted to showcase the versatility of the mustangs and to help everyone see how much fun they can be. She says, “I got involved with the Mustang Heritage Foundation in 2007 when I realized that wild horses are gathered on federal lands – taxpayers lands. I wanted to do something to help these animals find homes and jobs.” She adds, “These are great horses to adopt. They make wonderful mounts.”

Taryn Hillman, a therapeutic riding instructor with Loveland’s Hearts and Horses, trained the bay gelding, Coda, for the 2010 EMM and then, also bought him. Today, he is a beautiful citizen, friendly and confident under saddle.

Nevada, owned and ridden by Megan Jones of Loveland, marches obediently. His brand gleams against his black neck. They recently graduated from an intensive mounted patrol clinic. He looks solid and dependable.

More than one spectator exclaims “Wow! Who knew you could teach them this stuff?”

Kudos all around for these Mustang Riders.

Check out this website—for more information and a chance to Ride for the Mustangs, on September 10, 2011, in Ft. Collins, CO sponsored by the American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA):