Friday, July 22, 2016

     
STILL STRUTTIN’ FROM 17-73:)











     












     Today is my birthday. Yup, it’s all about me today, and I do not  apologize. If there’s one day a year that any of us can focus on ourselves, it should be our birthdays. On this day, as I turn 73, I count my blessings. My mother died at 73, and I have dear friends whom I’ve lost over the past few years. Every healthy day is a blessing. I’ve learned so much, but I know I have so much more to learn and share. I pray that I can remain healthy so I can be the “rainbow in someone’s cloud,” as Maya Angelou so eloquently suggests. Lord knows, I have had many clouds in my life—some self-inflicted, many uninvited. Every cloud had a silver lining, but it wasn’t the next day, the next month or even the next year that I recognized it. Sometimes it took a while to realize that it was, indeed, a silver lining, and it never meant that I didn’t suffer from whatever caused the cloud. I have learned, however, that being the rainbow in someone else’s cloud is a wonderful feeling, and my goal is to continue to search for ways to shine and light up others.

     Don’t get me wrong. I have been selfish, and sometimes I still am. Sometimes, we need to be selfish to take care of ourselves. Sometimes selfish keeps us strong to help others. Sometimes selfish is shameful, but self-care is important, and I’ve learned that in order to be strong for others, I must take care of my own needs. Sometimes, too much giving can slap us right in the face. I have friends who give and give to the point of exhaustion. That’s admirable, but they pay a price. 

     As I reflect on past birthdays, I remember joyful family gatherings as well as lonely, tearful times when I just felt sorry for myself. Sometimes we build up special occasions in our minds to the extent that they cannot possibly be as wonderful as we imagine. Now when my birthday approaches, I ask myself what will make me feel most at peace and content. It’s usually being somewhere with my love in the sunshine or talking to my daughters on the phone. It’s not so much material gifts anymore (although they are always welcome:); it’s the gift of good health, love and friendship. I cherish the friends I’ve recently left, the daughters who live far away with my precious grandchildren and the loving man I married. I thank God for the strength and energy with which He has blessed me, and I pray that my legacy will be sunshine in someone’s day or a rainbow in someone’s cloud.

     When your birthday rolls around, give yourself permission to revel in it. Celebrate yourself. Congratulate yourself on all the shit you’ve endured and how you’re still here struttin’ or kickin’ or whatever it is you do. Be a little selfish, especially if others will benefit, and think about in whose cloud you can be a rainbow.

     



From 4:23 a.m. piano practice in headphones to the first neighborhood ladies' luncheon to mornings on the lanai to furniture shopping with Mr. Wonderful to musings at the tiny desk to early morning walks on Lido Beach, the sun is shining. Four weeks today in our new home find us NOT settled, thrilled with the warmth of neighbors and friends, at peace in our respective corners and happy to be less than a half hour from the beach. Tile laid next week, furniture coming mid-August and activities to begin September something. Change is an adventure requiring energy, stamina, patience and money:) Feeling blessed.

Four weeks today












Thursday, July 21, 2016

         Sole Searching 


     It used to be that I was unique, as I was one of very few women my age in my social circles who wore stilettos on a daily basis. I am 73. I’ve been wearing heels regularly since I was 11, and my body is used to being carried at this height in this distorted position. I am most comfortable here. Can I walk in flat shoes? Of course. Do I? Only on tennis courts or for long walks. Can I walk in shorter heels? No. My balance is thrown by a shorter heel. I almost stagger. So what? So, my unique “ain’t she special?” days are over. I have moved to a very cosmopolitain town where not only do I see women in heels, I see women of all ages in heels. 

     When we go to the theatre, a large percentage of the women are wearing heels. When we go out to dinner, the same is true. Now, they may not be stilettos; they may be high wedges or high clunkies, but they are high. My mother taught me early on that the female body looks most chic and feminine in high heels, particularly when dressing up. 
When I was a teen-ager, all the girls wore high heels to our school dances, and our pledge formals (we had sororities and fraternities in high school). We didn’t wear heels to school, of course, but for most dressy occasions, we did. When I began my teaching career, I wore heels every day, and that continued for almost 40 years. 

     Up until a month ago, I would be in a grocery store, a department store or even on the street, and some woman would come up to me and marvel that I could walk in heels. The common statement would be “I used to be able to do that, but no more.” People from my past know me from my shoes, not my face (that’s probably a good thing these days). Unfortunately, those days are over for yours truly. It’s humbling, to say the least. All of a sudden, I’m just like everyone else. 

     There is a silver lining, though. There are actually stores that sell high heels. Now there’s a concept. I don’t have to send to Sri Lanka to get mine anymore. I can go right down to our fabulous mall and find a large inventory in at least a half dozen stores. Bless my sole! 


     

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

     This is my dining room. This is my pride and joy lying on her side wrapped in a blanket. This is my life for the next two weeks. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to practice her this way. I’ve laid down next to her and tried to squeeze my hands under the blanket, but that was futile. I am resigned to practicing on her little brother in the guest room (hopefully, sans guests). 

     I know what you’re thinking. Why on earth did you decide to rip up the carpet and tile the floors AFTER you moved in? Bonne Question. Well, it had something to do with the gazillion dollars it would have cost to store the furniture in a climate-controlled warehouse, pay the movers an extra year’s salary to hang out at the beach while waiting and then hand over our first born to the hotel so we could afford to stay there for two weeks eating cardboard breakfast while the job was being done. 

      So, for the next two weeks while dust and grout fly all over our newly-painted walls, we will just hang out in the laundry room. Yup. We have a nice space of about 6’ x 4’ where we can line up for naps, eat our cereal out of the Tide box and watch TV on our phones. Can’t wait.

      “Begin with the end in mind.” I made the mistake of quoting this to a former colleague last week. Who am I trying to kid? Did I mean the “end” of me? Probably. No, really, it will be beautiful once the tile is down and “cured.” I may be sick, but I will have the healthiest tile in the hood.

     One thing I’m learning is that if you intentionally put yourself in miserable situations, you really appreciate what you have once the hour has passed. 

     BTW, the new bedding looks gorgeous on our big bed. It’s all poofy and pretty. Only issue is where to take the afternoon nap. I have decided to try the floor (forgetting there is a concrete slab under it). It wasn’t too bad for the first few days, but I’m beginning to realize that the surface is a far cry from the dough we sleep on. (Mr. W. must sleep on dough topper due to bad back). “Damn the dough! Dough trumps concrete!” I was heard to moan at 4:11 p.m. from the bowels of the bedroom.


     What experience have you had recently within your own walls that made you appreciate what you have? If you can’t think of anything, you really owe it to yourself to confine yourself to the pantry or something so you feel so free when you exit. What do you mean, “You have too much time on your hands?”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

     After 830+ blogs in less than three years, it’s hard to believe that there are any topics I have not covered. Alas, there are hundreds left, most of which are either inappropriate, boring or just plain feckless. As I approach my three-year blog anniversary (October, 2016), I feel that I must include all categories, however, so I have decided to include the above categories before I wrap up this three-year cycle. 

     Hmm. Inappropriate. How does one find such a topic? If you read Facebook, there are a myriad of examples. If you read the news, this category may be found on almost every page. If you watch TV, there is hardly much else. So to target a topic in this category that is new and fresh will require some deep pondering over my morning peanut butter.

     Some famous people have pretty much covered this category. Racism, female harassment, outrageous insults—I’ve left that to the Donald. Filthy, disgusting language: many athletes, stand-ups and rappers. Private parts:  numerous commercials from men’s no-stink, no-itch underwear to women’s leaky pipes. Stomach-wrenching emergency room scenes:  Gray’s Anatomy among others. No manners:  there are manner-less folks everywhere, and there is no demographic (Remember the 70-something who stuck his fingers in the dessert tray at our upscale restaurant last week?) Cleavage:  I’m going to get me some of this in my next life. For now, the K family has this covered along with the Oscar stars who no longer tape their gowns to cover their nipples—apparently, nipples are in.

     So, where does that leave me in my quest to discuss the “inappropriate?” I guess I’ll just have to be satisfied with a short list of inappropriate statements and be thankful that most of you cannot comment on this blog.  Here goes.

     1.  How do you feel about Charmin Ultra compared to Cottonelle?
     2.  Did you stop growing arm pit hair after 60?
     3.  Do you think Sharon Stone ever farts?
     4.  Do you ever wish that people who brag would lose a tooth with each statement?
     5.  Would you like to know a scandalous secret about someone you have always admired?
     6.  Would you throw up if your food touched each other?
     7.  Do you wish flossing was acceptable at upscale restaurants?

     I’m sorry, that’s all I can muster at this hour of the morning. If you need to entertain yourself today, just make up your own list. You’d be surprised just how inappropriate we can all be if we set our minds to it.
  


     

Monday, July 18, 2016

     With all the advances in technology, it appears that the techies have forgotten a few essential innovations that are greatly needed these days. We need an 800 number that we can call in case:

     we run out of Edy’s Caramel Delight
     we feel like crap and need a lift
     we need something lifted (like our jowls or our butt cheeks)
     we need someone silenced (like the woman at the luncheon who needs to tell you every effen detail of her story that includes people you don’t know or would not care to know.)
     we need someone to come quickly to prove our spouse wrong
     we need someone to snore loudly in our spouse’s year
     we run out of money before payday
   

     We need an “I’m right” app. This would flash wildly on his phone with laughing hyena accompaniment.

     We need a “Call the maman” app for children who spend more time  thumbing their yoga instructors than their parents.
  

    We need a pop-up cook when we’re not in the mood to prepare dinner (again).

     We need a “pet-for-an-hour” app for those who would like to play with a pet but don’t want to take care of it.

     We need a “Grandma” app for those of us grandmas who would like one of our own.

What app do you need? 

     

     

Sunday, July 17, 2016

     



















     It's All In the POV (Point of View)

     When you look at the photo above, what is your focus? Do you admire the color in the sofa? Do you like the room arrangement? Do you wonder why there is nothing on the wall? Do you wish you had a grand piano like this? Do you wonder why there are no drapes on the windows? Do you focus on the carpet and thank goodness you have hardwood? We all bring our own personal perspective and experience to every scene. Each of us has a different filter depending on our backgrounds. No one POV is correct; it's just different. This brings me to today's reflection on perspective.

    I always find it amusing to listen to couples describe a particular experience. The wife has one version, and the husband often has a much different one. If you were to ask Mr. Wonderful and I about the transition to our new home and community, you might get two different perspectives. For example, yesterday, I was anxiously waiting for him to hang some art work on our very bare walls. I have been waiting for several days, not very patiently, so I was all psyched to see a room or two come to life with some color and charm. Just as he was about to hang the first three pieces in the master bedroom, he decided to go check the new landline voicemail. Why at this particular time, I don’t know, but he did. Over an hour later, he was still on the phone with the internet/phone company trying to figure out why the landline didn’t work. Meanwhile, I am pacing the floor stewing about my bare walls. 

    
     With nothing else I felt like doing at that moment other than wondering the obvious, I sat down poolside and began my new novel. The sun was shining, a gentle breeze ruffled my too-long frocks, and I settled into a story about a guy on death row who was now given a last-minute reprieve. Point:  I am lost in fantasy basking in the sun while Mr. Wonderful is “on hold” for 25 minutes waiting for some 12-year-old in India to fix our phone problem. 

     Another example of a difference in stories might be the evening we spent last night with our new neighbors. I was deeply enthralled with a story told by the woman who described her experience as Director of Nutrition for a New York hospital while Mr. Wonderful was straining to hear her husband talk while a large table of 20-somethings was chattering loudly in his ear behind him. If you asked us about the ambiance of that restaurant, you would have heard this:

Moi:  Lovely place, excellent food and service and a lively upscale crowd.
Mr. W:  A dim, noisy venue with too many tables and bad acoustics.

     I am not criticizing Mr. W’s response, just making the point that we all have different perspectives when we are in exactly the same place.  

     We talked about many subjects with our delightful neighbors last night, and it was interesting to consider the perspective we all share about where we live in our “golden years.” We are all done with the big, impressive custom homes and their responsibilities. We are happy with “small,” and have adjusted to “same-as-everyone-else-on-the-block.” Well, almost. Even downsizing over 800 square feet, I still wish I had someone to help clean. I still don’t like front garages with tiny houses on the side, but such as it is, I am grateful that all the 20 or more people we’ve met who live in our immediate circle here are perfectly fine with the adjustment. They are all professionals who are highly educated, looking to kick back and do whatever whenever and who are focused on nature, staying active and fit and talking about the next play or concert downtown or their next tennis match or round of golf.

     Final point:  Are you very different from one or more of your siblings? As you both had the same parents, consider how you each saw your world depending on your birth order, your parents’ situations when you were born and the state of the world at the time. My sister and I have completely opposite opinions of our upbringing. You would have thought we had different parents. We did. When I was born, World War II was affecting the lives of all young couples. When my sister was born, the war was over, and my parents were focused on recovering and living the best life they could make. Parenting was definitely affected by our birth orders and by the state of the world. How about you?