Friday, February 25, 2011

Mom's Day

Friday's have turned into my Mom's day.  She moved into a nursing home for the winter and needs transportation to the hairdresser on Fridays.  I suppose the nursing home would provide it or she could have the beautician who comes to the home do it.  But she also has other needs.  She usually has a list of "stuff" she needs from her house, so we spend time there.  She still has a vehicle there in the garage that needs to be run now and then.  (Already dealt with a dead battery once.)  

She now says she plans to stay in the nursing home, but can't quite come to a decision to dispose of the house, car and other possessions.  Watching her go through these difficult decisions and changes is partly responsible for my own musings on aging these days.  There are a lot of conflicting emotions involved in this role reversal too.  At first I struggled with anger and impatience at her decreasing functional and mental abilities.  Where did that come from?  I think it was just that I didn't want those things to be happening.  I still have an occasional flash of irritation when she can't recall something, resists my suggestions or complains about her health.  But I've learned to stifle it most of the time, and it's not about her personally.  It's about me and my need to adapt to the changes!  She's actually doing great at letting go of her independence.  I should do so well when it's my turn!

So today is our day, and I know she's stressing over her income taxes and bills.  She's finally agreed to set up automatic payments on her regular bills like the utilities for the house.  (I think she's missed some payments.)  I tried to get her to do that some time ago, so I now have to stifle my "I told you so" attitude.

Bottom line:  Who is going to put up with me and help me when I get there... and I'm next.  Yikes!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Since I titled this bit of whimsy "Senior Secrets", I suppose it's only right to let you in on some.  We who grew up on farms way back years ago were instilled with really, really, really rigid work ethics.  We not only had to work hard, we absolutely never stayed in bed past 6 or 7 a.m. unless we were sick.  So here's the secret... I usually get up at 6 a.m. to see that my son gets off to work, but then shhhh..... I sometimes go back to bed!  Being retired can be fun!

I like the poem that inspired the Red Hat Society:

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple 
With a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn't suit me. 
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves 
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter. 
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired 
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells 
And run my stick along the public railings 
And make up for the sobriety of my youth. 
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain 
And pick flowers in other people's gardens 
And learn to spit. 

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat 
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go 
Or only bread and pickle for a week 
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes. 

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry 
And pay our rent and not swear in the street 
And set a good example for the children. 
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers. 

But maybe I ought to practice a little now? 
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised 
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

Jenny Joseph

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Do I like change or not?  Well, if it's something good, sure I like it.  Mostly I'd rather be in control and only change things when it suits me.  But....  well you know and I know that "being in control" thing eludes us at times.  It seems to be a lot more elusive the older I get.  Mostly that applies to physical changes, but also to habits.

Lately I've been wondering when I changed from an avid reader to one who nods off in the first minutes of opening a book or a magazine.  I think I pinned it down to the time I got my son as a foster child at age 2 months.  Working full time and caring for him, the house and the yard required change.  (There's that word again.)  Out went the hobbies and the reading.  Well, that was in 1979.

Now I've decided I really want to read again.  Got some books from my sister and finally did manage to get a few read.  Then I got an iPad.  Took several months to really get going with it, but now I love it.  It has the lighted page and I can adjust the font size and really zip right along.  

So am I back in control and changing that in my life?  I got so absorbed in a spy thriller that I read until 4 a.m. yesterday morning!  I only quit because I finished the book and my vision was totally blurred!  Had to have a nap yesterday afternoon, and it will likely take several weeks for me to be able to sleep at night again.  But it was like old times!  I used to do that once in a while and still work all day.  Yep, feels good and I plan to keep that change!

This is the day the Lord has made!  Rejoice and be glad in it!  (... even if you didn't sleep well)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 2 Now What?

As I said I retired 5 years ago.  It has finally occurred to me that I no longer have goals or a focus for my life.  Slow learner I guess!  So that's what all this self examination is about... mostly.

Lately I've noticed that most young people, under 60... (oh gad under 60 is young!)... have goals and a focus in their lives.  So then I think back, and realize I once had those too.  One of my main goals "back then" was to have my mortgage paid off by the time I retired.  Almost made it... got 'er done 3 years ago.  The most recent major goal was to stop smoking.  Of course that is an ongoing effort reaching 2 years next month.

So, now what?  The phrase "aging gracefully" comes to mind.  What the *_____* does that mean?  I, personally, would never put aging and gracefully in the same thought, let alone in the same sentence!  Who DID that?  When I think "aging", I think gray hair, middle age spread, arthritis, vision problems, hearing loss.....  Ah, maybe I've just found the problem!  Those are all negative perceptions.  Still... "gracefully"?  Don't think so.  Vigorously maybe (but not me).  Even cheerfully or willingly are a bit more than I can handle right now.  Realistically is more like it.  I'll have to go google some of this and come back to it later.  (I'm big on googling.  Shouldn't there be some reward for frequent googling?)

Meanwhile, my best thought for the day is the serenity prayer:
Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference. (or to google it) 

Happy Monday!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


First, I was longing to finish high school and start college.  
Then I was longing for a good career.
Then I was longing to marry and have children.
And then I was longing for my son to grow older...
Then I was longing for a paid up mortgage.
Then I was longing to retire.
So now it occurs to me 
that I may not have fully appreciated the journey 
while I was longing for all these things.

I'm a 67 year old (really!?) female, not fully in touch with how I got this old.  I retired at 62, and it has taken me this long to regain my balance.  More on that later.

When the subject of age 67 comes up:
Anyone under 49 says nothing and gives a look that says, "I can't comprehend that.  You are a whole different life form."
Folks 50 to 60 would say, "Oh that's not that old!"  because they don't want to think old yet.  Denial is still fully in charge.
70 and over say, "Oh you're still young", because they'd rather think of it as their younger years.  They are entering the era of taking pride in the number of years, gray hairs and ailments, and want to put down any competition.  
Only those in their 60's would nod knowingly when I admit my age. "Ah, yes."  

And if anyone says, "You're as old as you feel", they will receive one of my "drop dead" looks since there are too many days that I feel 67 going on 100, and have to work hard to think positive!

I really want to think that the 60's are an awkward transitional phase (sort of like the teen's) and that the next decade will bring something a bit less unsettling.  If it isn't, don't tell me, just let me hang on to that illusion.

I read somewhere that all adults (over 40) still "feel" 30'ish mentally.  In some ways that may be very true.  I still can't accept the fact that I can no longer move a sofa bed down a flight of stairs without help... or even with help.  *sigh*  And it was just forced upon my consciousness the other day, that I will never lose these extra 60 pounds mostly around my belly.  This is largely because I can no longer walk over half a block without huffing and puffing.

Well, enough of the negative!  What do I like about my advancing years?  
I like the fact that no one seems to expect me to move sofa beds down stairs or walk like an athlete in training.  
I can get by with some of the extra weight since I'm a "different life form" anyway to those under 49, and those older are beginning to deal with their own weighty issues.
I like the lack of schedules and deadlines.  My life used to consist of work with a few short breaks.  Now it is more like one long break with a few spurts of work.
I like having the time and immodesty to sit down and write this!  And I don't even have to write something every single day!  

More whenever....