Tuesday, June 8, 2021

On Saying "Thank You"

I belong to a group of women on Facebook...interesting midlife women...authors, influencers, lifelong learners, mothers, grandmothers... Everything from an author of teen books to wonderful fashionistas grace that group...2.0K strong.

But more than that, the group has come to epitomize the online friendship that has meaning. Many of those woman have been in my online life since those day when I wrote to a "prompt" on Friday or Sundays. I loved those day because they were the ones that built the ability to get words down on the page in some order. We wrote thoughts on things that we were not necessarily passionate about but that, at the moment, were inspiring. We all know that the need to write comes from somewhere inside much like our appetite. We don't know what we are hungry for. We just know we are hungry. Yes, it is just like that.

So on that connection with midlife women there is a woman that keeps us on track even though it may be weeks between times that we visit. AND she is alway there...dependable and interesting.

I went back the other day, in a way like going home, and there she was inviting us to share our thoughts. It then occurred to me that I had not ever told her "thank you" for just being there. I decided that I would do that and invited others to do the same. At last count 69 women had come forward.

The most interesting thing was that she was sitting with  her mother as she lay dying when that thought and action came to me. Don't you wonder at that? 

So we all think of her, pray if that is our way and watch for what the outcome will be. 

Hopefully, "thank you" will help just a little bit. Be well Ann Parris and know that we all love you in our own way.

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Thursday, June 3, 2021

Books: Margaret Atwood's Fan Club (is there such a thing?)

I read as a part of the healing process. It is not a burden. Those periods of time when I am under the weather, I read books that are memorable and wonderful. It is a a good memory...I don't remember the pain. Just the words.

Today a book of poetry by Mary Oliver was purchased. Dog Songs was the one I chose. It turns out I love dogs a lot. I don't own one but I have a lot of "dog" friends. They are perfect, barking and alive. It is a comfort for me somehow.

The quote I saw today on Facebook was from Swan: Poems and Prose Poem.  Beacon Press. It went like this:

finally i saw

that worrying had come to nothing.

and gave it up. and took my old body

and went out into the morning

and sang.

-mary oliver 

Such a few words but such a beautiful thought. That is where we come to when we live inside an old body. 

So now I have to confess that I have a pain (not am a pain which is different). I went to see a doctor, made an appointment for an ultrasound so I feel better today...of course. But, even though I feel better, I will keep the appointment like a good patient. 

And I will read and write in the mean time.

So finally, I am down to the book I just finished. I am a late arrival in the Margaret Atwood fan club so those of you that have appreciated her writing forever will have to forgive me. I have read The Handmaid's Tale  and the sequel to that book called The Testament. Both were excellent. But the last book was the best of any so far. Cat's Eye really did call me back over and over. It was published in the late 1980's so had been around for a while. I picked it up at a second hand store for one dollar less than the original price. (a steal in this day and age)

I think that this story felt real...it could have easily have been an autobiography even though Atwood put a disclaimer at the front of the book stating that it was not. From beginning childhood memories to that part of the heroines life where she came to terms with what had happened then, I was carried along in the story. 

I kept saying to my husband...how did she do that? It was believable and relevant. I can see how anyone of any age could learn from her words and enjoy the experience of reading words at the same time. To say that I loved the book just isn't enough.

What Fan Club are you joining? I would love to know.

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That's How It Goes...Retirement Life

Texas
Mexico

Spain

Arizona Park Model


Shanghai China

My husband and I have been retired for 24 year...I know, how did that happen. For the last 16 years I have been writing about our life. All of those posts have been about travel, books, family and retirement. The first three are what we do. The last, RETIREMENT, is about our lifestyle. I have been selling "Retiring in Style", you know, living well no matter what you have or where you live. If you haven't bought in to the concept, you really should. Life is good.

Have things changed a lot? In 24 years? You can bet your life it has. In past posts I have written about stages of retirement and all that involves. From the first day my husband and I have been working through it. Thankfully, change is in our DNA.

It has been said that retirement is the third act of life and, if you desire, you can choose to find a new career or learn new things. That is so true but it isn't the big picture, the one that shows the patterns that older human beings follow in their old age.

I am sure that some anthropologist has written a thesis on this subject. I am just that person that lives out here in life, walking around with my feet on the ground. All I can speak to is what has happen in our stylish retirement.

In the very beginning, was filled with our children and grandchildren and all that a grandchild demands. 

We moved from one side of our state to the other so we could be closer to our family. That is I wanted...I am still not so sure that my husband wanted that but still...we settled for what we could do. It was good.

The adjustment to retirement didn't come easy. We were restless and bickered constantly. The rainbow that hung over our parade also had some pretty cloudy days. We just hung on for dear life.

When we did travel, I could hardly wait to get back home and my husband kept saying that he could stay gone forever. He waited until I worked out a way to stay away. 

I convinced myself that it was best for our children and their children. Phrases like "I let they learn to fly on their own." came out of my mouth. The truth is all three of our children are well educated and I think they did not regret it when we left town.  It was a good break for us all. At least, that is the way I would have felt at their age. 

Actually, as we grew older our income increased. Medicare and Social Security coupled with a very good retirement plan worked. We saved when we could, did without when we needed to and as we aged, our needs changed. 

We discovered the RV lifestyle and owned several different types. A resort for RVs became our winter home and we gradually turned into experienced snowbirds.

Life in a resort is very like going to college. A feeling of youthfulness returns. Because or our life choices, I really had never experienced being a young adult. I went directly from my home to being a wife and mother (with a college education thrown in). Life was busy and fill with responsibility.

When we were in the resort I just went back to those youth filled days and got it out of my system. We made friends, golfed, partied and danced (a lot). It was so much fun and I think we both have happy memories of those day.

THEN something happened...it was like growing up for me. My husband and I both knew that the resort lifestyle had worn itself out and we need to move on.

We had owned RVs and later a park model that we restored. We saw that, unlike what we had expected at our age (80 and 76), we were still very much alive and healthy. Work actually made us happy and improved our health. We moved out of the resort and bought a townhouse. 

After restoring the small townhouse, we sold it for a profit and bought a 4 bedroom home on a golf course. 

We actually have come full circle. An original dream was to have space so our children and grandchildren could spend time with us in the desert. Finally, we can have the whole family come to play with us.

Lately I have begun writing about that 4th act of life where age sneaks up on you. This stage is not a repeat of the other three at all. I don't know if I can explain. I am content to be where I am no matter where that is. I no longer yearn for things like I once did. I am quieter and softer than I was when I was younger. We are very lucky to be here to enjoy it all and are grateful each and every day. 

And, I like it a lot!

Thank you for reading and come back soon.

Let me know...how is your life unfolding?

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If you click on the tags you should see more posts on related subjects.

A Helpful Hint...if you click on a label under this post, you will be taken to other posts on the same subject. 

Friday, April 30, 2021

The REAL Old Age Dilemma

Remember back when you were 55 or even 65. You THOUGHT you were old and wise. Yes, indeed, you knew what you were talking about and by golly, people should listen and take your ideas to heart. Remember that...or maybe you just turning that age and you think you know it all. Period!

I was like that. In fact I began writing this blog back in 2006...15 years ago when I was a young 64. My husband and I had been retired 9 years and had traveled to Europe and the middle east. At the age of 64, I felt like an expert on so many things.


When we were young and knew it all!
BUT the one thing we did not understand was the process of aging and how we would feel at 75 or 80 or 85. We had some pretty strong feelings about that stage of our life but we truly had no idea...none at all! Another chapter was waiting out there for us.

Happy Hour in the RV resort
I can remember that group of friends we had when we were living in a RV resort here in Tucson AZ. They were older than my husband and I used to think there was magic in the water that kept them young and enthused. Even though we had cocktails every evening in the winter, we did not really get to know each other that well. Oh we had a feeling of great affection for each other but most of our conversation were about the past. And it was very interesting. But we did not share in the health issues that faced us all. When one of us died, it truly was a surprise.

So, in my mind, I came to the conclusion that aging was not going to be hard or even uncomfortable. I swore that my husband and I were not going to go into the night moaning and groaning. That is still my greatest hope. I wanted to be like them. The truth is I had no idea what they were going through behind closed doors.

There are, however, a few people that I have known as close friends for many years. We are so close that it is as though we are sharing each others thoughts. I am sure you have friends like that. They are always there.

Carole on the left...bocce ball in the park

My close friend Carole is one of a kind. She is so wise yet childlike in many ways. The qualities she possesses make her unique. Her husband, Kenny, like the rest of us love her to pieces. She has so many friends here in Tucson and back in Washington state that it would be arrogant to claim her as our own.

But Carole's life is not perfect.

Carole had surgery again this last week...again I say. It seems her body is frail and has been failing her. This time she was a surgery of many hours on her back and the ordeal left her feeling worse than ever. On top of that an old surgery is failing and it could be the breaking point for her.

I visited Carole the other day and we sat down and talked the way we always have. I guess she does this with everyone. But when you sit with her, you feel very special. We talked about her first marriage and what people think of us and then the conversation turned to our quality of life.

See, the thing is Carole would golf 7 days a week if she could. She is or was moving all of the time. Her knees would bounce up and down when she sat still. Now she can hardly walk across the room. The pain is in the old surgery on her hip. It is not a good quality of life at all. If you have endured cancer or knee surgeries or prolonged illness, you know what I mean. There is a choice to be made...are you willing to fight for your life betting that you will get better and live on? Is it worth the pain and suffering. Or will you sit down in a place where there is no pain and nap, read, watch tv and do puzzles. For Carole, friends would play a big part in her life. For me friends are hard won and far between. 

There you have it. What would you choose?

Then all of those things that we as women have done is as wives and mothers came to mind. We wondered at the fact that we have cleaned the kitchen sinks, toilets, tile floors and dusty furniture for all of our adult years...and each time we do it we know that we will need to do it again tomorrow or the next. Men have those same unending jobs and for some, they include those cleaning chores.

I really am coming to the conclusion that this next stage of aging is not about aging...it about just getting tired and bored and well, fed up. We made the leap to change when we retired and both Carole and I embraced that life and grew with that time in our life. We had it figured out and we were cruising...then a fourth stage, the real old age came and I suppose we were surprised. What is this all about?

I still have those ideas and dreams about new things, travel and even new clothes. My health is reasonably well. The challenge of keeping it that way is interesting I think. I love to cook and write and created and work hard. My husband and I just bought a bigger house here in Tucson after selling a fixer we bought 3 years ago. But, if we were in constant pain, what would we decide to do? I just don't know. 

What would YOU do or what have you already done?

Take care.

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Click on the aging label to see other posts on this subject.

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Rules Worth Following: NO BEING CREEPY

In 2017 ago I wrote a post about rules from a Cranky Old Man blog. His take on the rules were just plain fun and interesting. The rule that I loved was so to the point and I have never forgotten it. It went like this:
  • "NO BEING CREEPY". 
I try to follow that rule everyday...and it is truly is hard sometimes. 

But today's post is a little more serious. I want to talk about road blocks we put in our own path...ones that can in may cases make a bad time in our life even worse. 

I was going through my Facebook page last night reading all those items I have shared over the last few months-words of wisdom from people wiser than myself yet actually could have come from my mouth. 

The one that struck me was an idea about all the rules we abide by in our daily life...sort the laundry into several piles, sort the knives, forks and spoon before returning them to the drawer, sort the laundry again before returning them to the drawers, push in your chair when you leave the table and don't drop the baby.

Most of these rules, except the one about dropping the baby, are just suggestions. If you have ever looked up and found your world in shambles to the point that you feel worthless, you will know what I mean. Rules can do that.

In the Facebook post taken from Quora, the lady that wrote  was very depress and actually could not do her work because the rules were just too much. So the dishes sat molding in the sink. Her house began to smell. It all seemed so insignificant that she hesitated to share her increasing depression with her therapist because...who care about dishes? Other people were in a lot worse shape over really big stuff so dishes were simply not important.

After much urging she finally talked about her problem. She hated to prewash the dishes before them went in the an old not working very good dishwasher...it went like this:

“Run the dishwasher twice.” [the therapist said]

I began to tell him that you’re not supposed to, but he stopped me.

“Why the hell aren’t you supposed to? If you don’t want to scrub the dishes and your dishwasher sucks, run it twice. Run it three times, who cares?! Rules do not exist. 


Rules do not exist! I think the therapist is a genius...washing the dishes before washing the dishes does not need to happen. And adding a cycle or two was not really important if that is what you need to do to get through the day. It is o.k.

Most rules are not written on a big tablet and handed down from the mount. Most of them are more guidelines that can be erased or skirted around.

So the thought for the day is "Getting it done might be more important that how you are getting it done!" The rules be hanged. 

S-o-o-o-o...what rules did you break today?

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I have written several posts on "Rules". I like this one:

Friday, March 26, 2021

Just Plain Stuck

Do you think this is going to work?
Egypt: I suppose you noticed on the news today...a gigantic ship is stuck in the Suez Canal, just plain stuck tight in-the-mud. My husband read me the article this morning. Since the Suez Canal is a world away, I could listen without feeling much of anything. 

However, as with everything in our world today, sooner or later what happened will effect us. The world just keeps on shrinking and we are all so closely connected.

No single human being is getting blamed...yet. It turns out the wind did a number on the ship that is as long as the Empire State Building is tall. My husband comment was, "I suppose sometimes a ship of that kind can actually be too big." Yes, I think he might be right.

But the thing that made me laugh was the picture of a lonely heavy equipment scoop moving earth beside that huge monolith of steel sitting stuck in the mud. All I could think was that this is the ultimate "can an ant move a rubber tree plant?" event. Holy Cow!

I hear Egypt is going to start dredging and are hoping for high tide soon. They have also talked about unloading the 10 of thousands of containers the ship is transporting. I wish them good luck, lot and lots of luck!

The worst thing of all is that ships are arriving all of the time, waiting their turn to go through the canal...many hundreds of them. Commerce from around the world is simply going no where soon.

China: In 2010 China had a traffic jam that held people hostage for over 10 day. Wikipedia has it's very own page about that disastrous even.

The China National Highway 110 traffic jam was a recurring[1] massive traffic jam that began to form on August 13, 2010, mostly on China National Highway 110 (G110) and Beijing–Tibet expressway (G6), in Hebei and Inner Mongolia.[2][3] The traffic jam slowed thousands of vehicles for more than 100 kilometers (60 mi) and lasted for 10 days.[3][4][5] Many drivers were able to move their vehicles only 1 km (0.6 mi) per day, and some drivers reported being stuck in the traffic jam for five days.[5] It is considered to be one of the longest traffic jams by some media.[6][7][8]

My son and his wife were living in Shanghai at the time. They told about the Chinese people and their ingenious reaction at that time. Vendors set up shop on the highway feeding the people in the cars. It is hard to imagine I think. While the Chinese people as very used to crowds of citizens pushing impatiently, I can imagine that the honking of horns much have driven them mad.

In the time we were in China we noticed that the Chinese way of solving a disagreement ends in a fist fight. I think that that traffic jam may have pushed many people over the edge.

Boston, Mass.: We were on the East Coast back in the early 80 when an airline went on strike and traffic across the country came pretty much to a halt. I think it was United. We were trapped with a plane load of teens in Boston, I had the flu and those famous Boston blackouts were happening all of the time. AND Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant malfunctioned. It was a nightmare. Still it was nothing compared to the "just plain stuck" others are and have endured. Besides we had good bragging rights for many years! That is important.

As for the Suez Canal, at least people are on ships and cannot get at each other or I think that the captain and crew of that ship would be in great danger. The whole world will probably be very mad at them.

Have a wonderful day...read the new and tell me what you know!

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p.s. Did I mention that oil prices will probably be going up? Of course they are!

 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

What will that look like?

Many, many times I have written about growing old with a positive attitude. I am beginning to wonder if I truly understood what that looked like in real life.

I turned 79 on my last birthday but this is not really about me. Those people around me are a little older and a little younger in their age. But this is not about that either.

I have often talked about a study group in San Diego that focused on cohorts...age mates I suppose. They were all women. But more importantly, they were not well at all. But in spite of aches and pains, these women remained positive. I thought, great, at least we will not be grumpy or angry. That is good I think.

My friends was celebrating 100 years of
Life at a party. She played 18 holes of
Golf with lady’s club.
They have special rules for her.

But what I did not realize is that as people grow older they miss what they cannot do anymore. Finding a replacement for a lifelong love of reading or golfing or even mowing the lawn is not easy. Each person misses something just a little different. What I would miss more than anything is being a snowbird...I love my life today. It is perfect for both my husband and me. There would be an empty space left in life.

I was at a gathering for my friend Franny last Wednesday. (She was being given a 100th birthday party.) I sat with a group of seemingly well, happy and satisfied women...my age I suppose but some were younger. Their age was not so much important as their health. I am talking about health issues that cannot be fixed. 

After the obligatory “organ recital” were everyone shares their aches and pains, the conversation moved to things everyone loves to do and a could not do anymore.It was very interesting how they were all struggling for that next passion to replace what was gone.

I think we should start a handicapped golf league so we could still play a little golf and have a happy hour afterwards.

I love playing cards and it fills most of my social time.

The thing I really want is to spend time here at the golf course with other women...I love the social part of golf almost more than golfing!

 

Visit to a local resort in Tucson.

Of course there are ways to all of those things. A game at putting, cards in the club house and even a scheduled happy hour. Most holes can be filled I suppose. 

That was when I began to wonder about that fourth stage in life. That one where life goes on in spite of it all. That part where disability sets in. Now I am talking about myself. What will I want to do?

One ladies husband is turning 90 soon and she said that he didn’t want to eat anything that was good for him...it sounded so wonderful to him. 

Carole and I always said that when we reached that stage we were going to do all those things that were absolutely forbidden...in her case she is going to take up smoking again. I might have wine for breakfast if that sounds good or eat butter. 

The truth is that making ourself miserable with overdoing our forbidden doesn’t sound like as much fun as it did at one time.

Do you suppose that a day will come when there is an acceptance of the fourth stage or will it be thrust upon us? Will it be on a Friday or a Tuesday? Will in be in the spring  or the summer? Then will we all stop fighting what is happening to find some peace? I don’t know but I do know that my husbands’ s life has never been about sitting still physically or mentally. I am right there with him. I am hoping that being mentally active will be enough to keep us both happy.

Do you have any thoughts?

Have a wonderful day.

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Oh, and as for Franny...she loved her party. She played 18 holes of golf and she beats everyone every time. They are rethinking letting her hit the ball closer on one par three...that is her special rule! She is an amazing women and we all want to be like her when we grow up!

 

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