Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Clay as Life’s Guru . . .

 Or How Many Cracked Bowls Does It Take To Learn To Let Go?

I’ve been working in clay for over 40 years. (Gasp! I just figured that out and can’t believe it myself!) After all these years, I still get nervous/anxious/excited/relieved when I finally have the work ready to be glaze fired and bring it to the kiln. It’s a weird bundle of floating anxieties, which begins as I’m glazing the pieces and doesn’t end until I get the very last fired piece out of the kiln.

If I haven’t mentioned this recently, it’s good to say again: The lesson you learn early on when working in clay is not just the parable about “letting go”.  Rather, it’s the huge slap upside the head that inevitably happens just when you think you’ve got it all figured out. In clay, as in life, you are bound to learn sooner rather than later, you are NOT in control.

Once you’ve handed over your painstakingly, lovingly crafted pieces to the kiln gods, it’s over. You have relinquished your authority. You can hope that the firing will go well, the glazes will perform as expected, the results will be as imagined and planned but, really, you never know.

Yesterday, I delivered twenty pieces including the commissioned platters to be fired by my fine friends at the Potter’s Studio in Berkeley. In 2006, I moved into my Oakland studio and found out there wasn’t a 220 amp hook up nor an easy solution to venting my electric kiln through the roof. The only alternative was to find a place which would take outside work to be fired. Voilá!  The Potter’s Studio has been my preferred choice for outsourcing the firing ever since.

At first, I was very leery about giving up this important part of the clay making process as I’ve been doing my own firing since 1977 when I bought my first electric kiln. When we sold our Berkeley property in 2006 where I had a wonderful studio, I still used that small kiln, a raku kiln and a new larger digital Skutt kiln. I sold the first two and moved the Skutt into the new studio.

The Skutt has now morphed into a largest most expensive display unit ever made.

Skutt kiln as display unit

I have to admit, both Bob and Jasmine, two of the Potter’s Studio technicians, are so versed in kilns, firings, etc., I’ve come to not just rely on them, but to actually feel a sense of relief knowing that they’re professionals who take special care when stacking and firing the work. While I’ve had a few disappointing outcomes, they were not the result of technical misfirings, but rather my own slipups.

Here’s one that happened to a couple of porcelain pieces. It took Bob to point out that glazing just the inside of the piece was creating stress on the thin unglazed outside porcelain wall as the glaze began to melt. The expansion of the glaze as it matured on the inside made it crack. 

cracked porcelain pinch pot with unglazed exterior

interior of the cracked porcelain pinch pot with matte glaze

I have since begun to use a clear matte glaze on the outside of the porcelain pieces to prevent this from happening. It rarely happens to the stoneware pieces because they have more grog or clay strength to hold the walls together, thankfully.

porcelain pinch pot with clear matte glaze exterior

interior of the porcelain pinch pot with matte glaze

So now I wait with baited breath to get the call that the pieces are ready to be picked up. Until then, I’ll be sending up little prayers to the kiln gods, hoping they’ll do right by the work. After all, it’s now in their hands. OK, theirs and the folks at the Potter’s Studio.

Lesson learned once again. We are not in control.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Collector or Hoarder? . . .

Or You See Piles, I See Creative Clutter.

“An artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference: hoarders collect indiscriminately, the artist collects selectively. They only collect things that they really love.”

From How to Steal Like an Artist, www.austinkleon.com

Being an artist, I would like to think of myself as a collector. I can point to my collection of 13 tea pots (a couple inherited, some bought from other potters, some made by myself), 18 baskets – mostly bought while traveling in exotic climes) and textiles too numerous to count at this point as fine examples of my artistic penchant for having and keeping lovely things. But lately, this label has been called into question.

Our "basement" which will soon be transformed.

We are cleaning out our “basement” (really, just an overly large furnace area with shelving). My husband decided, oh, maybe a year or two ago, that our basement needed some organizational updating. Translation: Let’s just get rid of stuff we aren’t using, haven’t used or never will use again.

This presents a dilemma for me. I have a very difficult time letting go of things, especially things that, well, could actually be used or useful once again or even more difficult, things with a history, a story, a heart connection (I still have my Junior prom dress).

All you have to do is look inside our guest room closet. There you will see a lovely array of beautiful clothes - some, mine from the 60’s (the pink strapless is the prom dress), some, my mother’s from the 50’s and a few, my grandmothers from the 40’s, who, I might add, had many of her things made to order back in the day. 

A few of the lovely frocks from days past.

But luckily for me, we’re not cleaning out closets just yet.

The basement project started out slowly. First I had to get up the gumption to sell my prize antique full size wrought iron bed – the bed given to me by a college paramour. His dad owned a junk yard where he found it, had it restored and presented it to me with its original springs AND a new mattress. I had this bed for 14 years before I met my husband-to-be. It was the first bed we ever slept in together. We moved it from our first little home in the flats of West Berkeley into our huge master bedroom in our new home in the East Bay hills. 

The antique wrought iron bed we moved into our new master bedroom.

When we decided to get a new, bigger mattress, we decided to get a new bed. The wrought iron bed was put down in the basement and sat there languishing for six years.

I guess I always thought that I might redo the guest bedroom and use it there instead of the serviceable but not so romantic full size futon bed we have there now.

The iron bed sold for $200 on Craig’s List a year ago April.

The next big thing was my husband’s tatami mats and queen size futon. When I met him way back in 1986 this was one of the few possessions he had in his rented room in the Berkeley hills. Being a huge fan of things Japonesque, I was smitten immediately by his aesthetic taste. We used them in our guest space in West Berkeley but never arranged them here in our hillside home. They sat in the basement for eleven years.

They were sold as a unit for $140 on Craig’s List this May.

A few other things have been sold, given away or taken away by various non-profit organizations and e-waste outfits. Our garage has become the staging area for the piles of stuff we moved out of the basement. This past week, I spent at least 2 full days going through boxes of saved financial documents and other papers from 1998 until the present, where, to my delight, I happened upon all my old employers' and college professors’ evaluations (was that ME they were lauding?) And finally, I went through one box of my mom’s stuff when we moved her out of her last independent living situation. That’s where I found a treasure.

It was stuffed in the box with an old pillow and a mattress pad, balled up in a plastic bag, all stained and smelly. Luckily, I took it out and had a look. Here was this incredible hand cross-stitched quilt my mom had made years ago. But so stained I was afraid it would never be useable. Tide, OxiClean, a good spraying of Shout and a long soak did the job.

My mom's cross-stitch quilt now in our guest bedroom.

Our basement is on the way to being the clean, well-organized storage space my husband has been dreaming of. Thankfully, he rarely comes to my studio where I’ve collected hundreds of old Ceramic Monthly, Art In America, American Craft, George, and other nifty magazines, which I plan to use in my work or sell someday. And then there are the rolls of paper, the boxes of boxes, the piles of mat/foam board, the stacks of old frames, the drawers filled with tools, paints, craypas, pencils, erasers, foam cups, paper clips, straight pins . . .

Collector or hoarder?  It’s all in the eye of the beholder.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Clap if you believe in Qi . . .

Or How I Got My Groove Back.

What would you be willing to change to get your life back on track?  A long held belief system? Or something as trivial as your small glass of wine with dinner? Or your nightly dip into the ice cream container? 

This is what it has come to in my quest to reclaim my life as I once knew it.

It’s totally against all of my innate beliefs to go to a doctor of Chinese medicine. My father was an eye surgeon and my brother followed in his footsteps. I grew up just outside of Davenport, Iowa, home of the Palmer College of Chiropractics, which my dad used to infer was the “College of Charlatans.”  In my family, if standard medical practice didn’t administer it or prescribe it, it was worthless.

My dear friend Roberta, who suffers from MS, is now taking Chinese herbs given to her by a doctor of Chinese medicine, Dr. Z. She went from being almost bedridden for months to getting on a plane and going to a mediation workshop in Denver less than two weeks after she’d started on the herbs.  When she suggested I go to Dr. Z to see if he might be able to help me with my own lack of energy, I’ll admit I didn’t race right over.  My familial background made me a bit skeptical even though I could see how it was helping her.

That said, three weeks ago, I went.

After looking at the three pages he had me fill out about my health and dietary choices and asking a few pertinent questions about my current lymphoma diagnosis, Dr. Z. took about 5 minutes to feel my pulses, look at my tongue and palpate my abdomen. He then gave me his Chinese diagnosis:

Qi/blood vacuity
Phlegm heat nodulation
Blood stasis
Spleen/kidney vacuity with some yin vacuity
Wei Qi vacuity
Liver depression/Qi stagnation
Blood heat

And I thought I being diagnosed with lymphoma was worrisome!

Of course, when I got home, I ran right to my computer to Google these odd phrases. What do I know about vacuity or Qi stagnation?  (After the fact, I realized I should have just questioned Dr. Z about them but I was in a “this-guy-has-the-OMD-after-his-name-just-nod-and-thank” mode.) Their meaning can be summarized in a few simple words. I’m clogged up. Nothing in my body is flowing.  Qi, (pronounced ch’i for those of you who are unfamiliar with this Chinese term), refers to “an active principle forming part of any living thing. Qi is frequently translated as ‘lifeforce’ or ‘energy flow’, and is often compared to Western notions of vitality, as well as the yogic notion of prana and pranayama. The literal translation of "qi" is air, breath, or gas,” from Wikipedia.

You could say Dr. Z found, not that my body has run out of gas, but rather it has difficulty getting the gas/breath/blood/phlegm to move around in a healthy fashion. For this he sent me home with a small bottle of powdered herbs I’m to mix with warm water and drink, twice daily. OK.  No problem.

The magic potion

My morning and evening brew . . .
. . . good to the last drop.

But there was another little problem. According to Dr. Z, my body’s fat stores are holding onto toxins. His thoughts are this could very well be the cause of many of my symptoms, even, perhaps, the lymphoma. For this he sent me home with a diet.

It's basically the Atkins Diet – very few carbohydrates, no sugar, no wine or alcohol, only certain fruits and vegetables, and of course, protein.  And on the first page of this diet, are these instructions: 

“The goal for you is weight stabilization. Your diet is the strategy for achieving. . . a 10 lb weight loss.”

For those of you who don’t know me personally, you might be thinking, “well, Bobbie must be a tad zaftig and could use to lose a few pounds.” You would be wrong.

I am 5 feet tall and I wear a size 4. Everyone who DOES know me to whom I’ve told this, has said, to a person, “You, lose 10 pounds? You’ve got to be kidding.” Exactly what I needed to hear because, really, did I want to go on this diet?


The strange thing is when I brought this diet home to my husband, he took one look at it and said, “Let’s try it.”  This is a guy who goes through several loaves of Acme rye or olive bread a week and can’t do without his glass of wine or beer with dinner. He also isn’t really overweight but always thinks he needs to lose a couple of lbs.

OK, so I’m willing to give it a try. I can easily forgo bread, potatoes, rice, pasta (not as easily), and my occasional glass of wine (I’m not a beer drinker). I can cut my ½ of a banana a day down to ½ every other day. I can give up certain fruits and vegetables listed on the diet’s page marked “unfavorable” – i.e., mangos, prunes, figs, lima beans, acorn squash, turnips – and fill up on the favorable ones – i.e., apples, blueberries, strawberries, artichokes, broccoli, cauliflower.

But what I’m not willing to do is give up my chocolate and my ice cream.

The chocolate addiction is merely a habit I picked up over the years. I blame it really, on being female. I know very few women who don’t need their chocolate fix daily. And as we all know (or if you don’t, you should by now) good dark chocolate is a health food. Yes, it has lots of those healthy antioxidants, and there are now studies, which show those people who eat chocolate with 70% cacao or greater have a 400% less chance of getting Alzheimer’s! We’re not talking Snickers Bars. We’re talking the good stuff. I have mine, a small square once in the afternoon and once in the evening daily. Heaven.

My ice cream addiction? It’s genetic. Truly. My mother told me years ago that when she was pregnant with me she ate a pint of ice cream a night. A NIGHT! And you don’t think I came out of the womb screaming for ice cream? It’s always been one of my four major food groups. Even as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda, where it wasn’t that easy to get decent meat, I managed to find a source for buying a half gallon of ice cream to keep me from going through withdrawal symptoms. Now, I can’t say ice cream is a health food, but, in my case, it is a good source of calcium. And since my favorite flavors these days are strawberry (there’s my fruit/berry antioxidant) and chocolate chip (read above ¶) I think I can safely say ice cream in my diet is definitely a healthy habit.

But here’s the real justification for not cutting out the things I really love from my diet. If not eating the chocolate and the ice cream means I’ll live another three weeks in a skilled nursing facility, sitting in a wheel chair wearing an adult diaper, not remembering who I am or who anybody else is with spittle drooling down one side of my mouth, I’ll choose having my chocolate and my ice cream every time.

It all comes down to this. Do I care about how long I live?  Maybe. But I care more about enjoying the life I have left. Isn’t that what we all care about?

So here is the update on the results of taking the herbs and sticking to the major parts of the diet. I’ve lost 4 pounds in 3 weeks although that’s not really my goal. My goal is to get my energy back. The last four days I have gone without a nap. I have been working in my studio for hours at a time. 

Wedged clay waiting to be rolled. . . 

. . . into a nice slab. . . 

. . .which will become a lovely platter.

I have been out with friends and/or my husband after a full day and not felt totally depleted. And friends who have seen me at my lowest, dragging my butt along day after day, have said recently, “You really seem brighter.” I can honestly say that’s exactly how I feel.

Tonight, I think my Qi is flowing fine and feeling groovy. 

It’s late. I’m going down for my last dip of ice cream and ½ banana before bed.

It’s been a damn good day.

 feeling groovy Pictures, Images and Photos 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Where Oh Where Has My Energy Gone? . . .

Or It's Amazing What You Can Do When You Don't Feel Like Doing Much.

Running on Empty
I suppose I could blame my absence from the blog on the energy drain I’ve been feeling since I last wrote. Or the fact that in the past couple of months my immune system seems to have taken a hiatus and left me unprotected from the internal viruses my body harbors or the external ones passed along by friends and family. Having just recovered from some debilitating infection and before I could get myself back into my routine of gym/studio/dog walking, I would come down with something else. OK, let’s just say, health not withstanding, I haven’t felt much like writing.

And yet, it’s not as if I’ve dropped off the edge and stopped participating in life. Besides getting into the studio weekly (or weakly, however you want to characterize it), I went to see the A’s lose to the Giants at AT&T park, then lose to the Yankees at the Coliseum (depressing and energy sapping in and of itself). I sat through six and a half hours of Wagner and his Walküries, sang in the three hour production of Kurt Weill’s Street scene with OSC and OEBS, and have managed to be available for convivial visits with friends and family. All that and I even planted our Victory Garden 2011.
Looking down at our Victory Garden 2011
If you ask my husband or my close friends, they would tell you I’m overly busy, doing too much and that’s why I’m so tired by the end of the day. I’m almost embarrassed to admit naps have become commonplace. Unfortunately, most of the time, I wake up from a nap almost as tired as when I put head to pillow.

Energy in a bottle? 
So now the search is on for what hopefully is the answer: Energy in a pill. Advice is coming in from all corners. I’ve got the bottles of Coenzyme Q10, Juvenon, Wellness Tablets all lined up in the bathroom. The trick is to remember to actually take the damn things. Being a formerly fairly healthy human being, I’ve been fortunate enough not to have to take much in the way of medications and still be well. When I go in for a routine exam these days I seem to be an anomaly – a person of a "certain age" who doesn’t have a list of medications an arm long to rattle off when they ask, “So what medications are you on?”  In fact, I’m not on anything but Vitamin D3 tablets when I remember to take them. That’s it.

Maybe what I need is a medication that will help my memory so I can remember to take the other medications? Or I could get what my mom had which helped her after she’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and couldn’t remember from one day to the next if she’d taken her meds. We got her this wonderful device, which was a kind of alarm clock that held each day’s worth of meds. It would ring and open up right at the time she was to take the pills, like once every 8 hours. This worked like a charm. I wish now that I’d kept it when she went into the nursing facility and no longer needed it.

One of my dear friends who is suffering from MS has found a medical doctor who also dispenses Chinese herbs. She’s been working with this fellow and has found a new “core of energy” and is encouraging me to seek him out to see if maybe he can be of help in my situation. I’m willing to try.

Meanwhile, even though it seems not much has been happening in the studio, since I last wrote I finished making the platters, which are now ready to be bisqued. I also glazed the last few vessels and have to admit I’m very happy with the outcome. 
Pinch pot with Koke Blue Glaze

Pinch pot with Textured Bronze Glaze

Thrown and altered vessel with Textured Bronze Glaze
I even sold an older 2D piece off the mantle of our living room to a good friend on whose wall it looks spectacular, if I do say so myself. Unfortunately, the frame took a beating (inadvertently dropped awhile back while being dusted) so I had to search out a new framer, my old trusted framer, Chris of Design Framing, having retired. I delivered it into the newly trusted hands of Heather Piazza, owner of Creative Framing & Gallery in Oakland – what a find! She’s not only going to be able to save the frame, but she’s actually taking the whole thing apart and redoing it so the piece once again floats rather than being shoved up against the Plexiglas. All done for a very reasonable price. Perfect!

And (with a little smile) I might mention I recently made a deal with my husband’s former business partner who has decided (with my slightly veiled threats of taking it off the office wall where it’s been hanging for probably 15 years) he might want to finally purchase my drawing. With the downturn in business, we mutually agreed that he could buy it in installments. So as of today, I get a little monthly income which will help pay for my monthly studio rent.

Hey, I can say I'm single handedly keep this miserable economy going!  Amazing what can be done even when you think (and sometimes feel) you've run out of gas. I guess the answer is – not special pills, not Chinese herbs but . . . OK let’s hear it for . . . TA DA . . .


Friday, March 18, 2011

Still Waiting for Godot . . .

Or What's the Difference Between Lymphoma Fatigue and Just Being Damn Tired?

Pigpen in his dust cloud

After my previous upbeat declaration that I was going out and living my life to the fullest, a huge cloud came by and just hung over me like the dust endlessly flying around Peanuts Pigpen. A combination of my own uncertain health issues, the progression of one of my dearest friend’s MS symptoms prompting us to form a “meal/ride” chain for weeks and leaving me to revisit the meaning of having a disease and how it zaps one's mental as well as physical being, and then the unprecedented number of cold, grey, rainy, stormy days, has left me flattened.

Nothing much seems to enthuse me. Granted we took a lovely little vacation to Baja California Sur to celebrate our birthdays in February. The fine dining at a few terrific restaurants, the Mojitos and Piña Coladas served pool side, the sun which never heated up more than we could bear, the day long boat ride which took us to swim with the sea lions, the arts and crafts fair in Todos Santos, the walks along the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, all had me feeling somewhat relaxed and in fairly good spirits. 

Sailing out of Cabo San Lucas to watch the whales
The lovely doll maker at the Arts and Crafts fair in Todos Santos
Walking the beach along the Pacific Ocean near San Jose del Cabo
It also helped that I didn’t have my computer with me nor did I watch TV or see a newspaper for nine days. Sometimes, putting oneself on a ‘news/information’ holiday helps clear the clouds, if only for those cyber/news-free moments.

Leaving the sweet sun behind in Los Cabos, when we arrived in the Bay Area, a huge storm was raging on shore bringing with it high winds (we sat in the plane on the tarmac at LAX for over 1 ½ hours waiting to take off for SFO), rains, hail and flooding which didn’t stop for the next week. Apparently, my ‘fairly good spirits’ were left behind with the sun.

Nothing seems to perk me up these days. Not working in the studio. Not singing or knitting or reading a good book. Not walking the dog on the rare sunny day. I haven’t stopped going out into the world and living each day, but not much seems to be sparking that zest for life.

Last week I decided to go back to the gym again hoping to get those crazy happy-making endorphins stirred up. My endorphins are either still in deep hibernation or have gone out on strike. Five days at the gym in ten days and you’d think a little burst of good vibes would have surfaced.

Nada. Nothing. Zippo.

It doesn’t help that the news around the world is dire – Christchurch, New Zealand, Japan, Libya, the Middle East in general, the union folks in Wisconsin. How to force myself to take a ‘news/information’ holiday when I read the newspaper daily with my morning cuppa joe? And then there’s the computer, the radio, the TV. How do I discipline myself to not go there, not turn the damn things on? Not look, not listen, not watch?

And honestly, I don’t know how much this “Waiting for Godot” syndrome – waiting for the night sweats, high fevers, anemia, chronic fatigue - is affecting me, but I’m beginning to think it isn’t helping. 

Maybe this is simply a case of "chronic disease depression"? Or more to the point, that age old question, "Is life just getting you down, honey?" How will I know when being tired is more than just being tired?

Frankly, I’m too tired at the moment to even think about it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Feeling Downright Snow White-ish . . .

Or When Life Gives You Poison Apples, Make Apple Strudel.

Dreams are a wish your heart makes.

The season of gift giving is over and yet, as I take time to reflect upon the last few weeks of 2010, I am left to wonder about the meaning of “gifts” in general and what I have come to know about gifts in my own life, in particular.

According to the dictionary, a gift is something given voluntarily, without the expectation of receiving something in return. And if we are fortunate enough, some of us are given the gifts of talent or aptitude. And let’s not forget the legal definition of gift – “a voluntary transfer of property or of a property interest from one individual to another, made gratuitously to the recipient.”
I am pleased to admit over my lifetime I have been the fortunate recipient of gifts in each of these categories.

But in the past couple of weeks, I have received a gift that doesn’t really fit neatly into Webster’s definition. Of course, I was tickled with the sweet gifts from friends – chocolates, special soaps, meals made and meals shared, time together.  
Japanese ornament for 2010 from Jürgen
And I was especially delighted with the thoughtful presents my dear husband gave me for Christmas which included this beautiful Japanese ornament – our 2010 ornament – to add to our growing collection I place every Holiday season on our little Smith and Hawkins wire tree replica. It takes the place of the real trees we used to have every year my mom-in-law, Gerta, came to us for Christmas. Then, we always had a Noble fir with real honey candles, which she’d bring from Germany. We would light those candles every evening and each time we did, we’d say, “Now it’s really Christmas.”
Nowadays, I say that when I finish decorating this little tree.
Our Little Tree - 2010
But the one gift, which came disguised as a ‘poison apple’ is the one which seems to be the most profound on a deeply personal level. On December 17th I went through a painful bone marrow biopsy, the results of which were used as a medical base line to determine the stage of my cancer (stage 4) and the prognosis (intermediate as opposed to good or poor). The lymphoma is, in fact, in my bone marrow and in my bones.
Dr. K called me with these results the week after Christmas. According to him and from all he had told me beforehand, this was not unexpected. So I took it in stride. After all, there is still apparently nothing to be done but wait for those pesky symptoms to show up – the night sweats, the fevers, the anemia, the tumors – before they will begin treatment (chemo). The plan is to see Dr. K. every three months for a physical exam and blood work and if after a year of these appointments, nothing has changed, I’ll see him every six months.
That all seems reasonably doable. I’m feeling fine physically except for the occasional backache and I'm looking good according to everyone who sees me these days. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “You look terrific!” in the past month or so. I think it’s not so much because I look terrific, but because I don’t look sick. But, all right, I can take that in. I look terrific! 

And until I see Dr. K in three months, I won’t have to think about having a terminal illness. In fact, lately, I’ve been thinking how we all suffer from a “systemic disease with no known cure”, as Dr. K so succinctly put it when he first described the type of lymphoma I have. The disease is called “being human”. Every one of us will die of something at some point. No one gets out of this life alive.
So that was that until the ‘poison apple’ came this week in the form of the final piece of information from the bone marrow biopsy. I have an abnormal gene formation, a trisomy 12, which according to my Google research, is a prognostic indicator of the disease. This was the test I thought I would decide to have or not and without knowing was already done through the biopsy.
The prognosis is not good. According to the percentages of patients with this particular abnormal gene, I will be dying sooner rather than later from the lymphoma. Of course, I could always be in the smaller percentage of those who live a bit longer, but then I could win the lottery, too.
Big inhale. Bigger exhale.
So here is the gift – the “Prince” I’ve found having taken a bite of this poison apple. It’s very simple. In fact, it’s my real “wake up” call – a real slap upside the head (not the gentle kiss promised) telling me, “Wake UP, you idiot! This is your life! THIS is the day you have. There is NO and there has NEVER BEEN a guaranteed tomorrow. Take this day and make the best you can of it. Whatever crap occurs, deal with it or not, but take what’s good of the day and be grateful for it.”
And that’s what I’m trying to do each and every day. I’ve never felt more alive, alert and engaged. My Snow White-ish days are over. No more singing “Someday My Prince Will Come.” 
My Prince "Today" has come and we’re going out on the town. Feel free to join us.