Errands, Errants or Creative Excursions

 

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The other day after announcing I was going out to get a few things, my husband inquired, “Where are you going?” I drew upon my friend Claire’s wisdom and answered, “To do some errands,” and was out the door before he could ask, “When will you be back? Did you make a list?”

His questions were simple, and deserved simple answers, however, it seemed tedious to explain; I was going to deposit empty egg cartons and a wad of plastic bags in Publix Market’s recycling bin, then instead of having a colonoscopy was dropping a stool sample off at the lab, swinging by the hospital to leave dated issues of Southern Living Magazine in a waiting room and probably get gas, to which he would have responded, “You can’t get gas at the hospital.” 

A discussion as to why I was not discarding Styrofoam cartons, plastic and old magazines in our recycling, and why not have a colonoscopy, it had been ten years, would have been lengthy, and besides he would predict I would be back in an hour, leading to another explanation as to why that was not necessarily so. That would lead to a discussion of the differences between us, and how we manage to stay married, neither one of us knows.

Eventually, it would have come out that I might possibly check out the Hospital Gift Shop because you never know; get coffee, and walk on the beach, or stop at an antique store, a small table would be nice in the guest room. I was not just going out to do errands.

Which got me thinking about the difference in errand and errant; an errand is a task, duty, chore or job; a short trip somewhere to do something on behalf of somebody else and an errant is wandering from an intended course, not reaching an intended destination, looking for adventure; wayward, sinful, naughty, misbehaving, delinquent.

Therefore, the difference in errand and errant is bigger than d or t and in the hope of maintaining a happy marriage, now will be called a creative excursion because although my going out is task orientated I an still looking for adventure.

. . . . just saying

Take The D Train

The D Train is part of the New York City Subway System and runs from Coney Island in Brooklyn to 205th Street in the Bronx. When my friend and I discussed a meeting place The Bronx Botanical Gardens was ideal, there was an Orchid Exhibition. The pictures below show the beautiful flowers and perfect sunny day we enjoyed. We decide, she would drive in from New Jersey. I was visiting my daughter in Brooklyn and would take the D Train.

It was a ride down memory lane for me; I was born in the Bronx.

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There are five boroughs comprising New York City; Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Bronx. Jerry Seinfeld uses humor to emphasize the mystery of why The Bronx is the only borough with that prefix, and the truth is no one knows, you simply say, The Bronx.

20160311_112654My Friend, Betsy

I was born in The Bronx,  moved to Long Island at a young age, and spent my teenage years in Hensonville, New York, but returned as a newlywed to a fifth floor walk-up apartment across the street from where I was born, on Hull Avenue in The Bronx.

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I miss The Bronx.

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The D Train leaves Brooklyn by crossing the East River via the Manhattan bridge; travels along Sixth Ave on the east side of Central Park stops at 59th Street and Columbus Circle, next stop Harlem at 125th Street, and down the Grand Concourse; Yankee Stadium at 161st, Kingsbridge Avenue, then Fordham Road, next to the last stop 203rd  is on the Concourse, then the train crosses Bedford Park to the final stop; 205th & Bainbridge Avenue. It is a short walk from there to the entrance to the Botanical Gardens.

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Bainbridge Avenue is  where my grandmother lived and when visiting her we would take the D Train to Radio City Music Hall wearing a green winter coat with a black velvet collar, a white fur rabbit muff to keep my hands warm and Mary Jane shoes.

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My Aunt lived at 3042 Grand Concourse the 203rd Street stop. The street was Grand not only for its size ( four lanes with a divide) but for its elegance. Aunt Carol had a Baby Grand Piano in her apartment. We traveled down town to Broadway Theatre Shows wearing cardigan sweaters and white kid gloves. Now the Concourse is not so grand with bedding hanging out apartment windows, I  guess to dry.

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I  miss The Bronx and wearing mini- skirts to work at the Plaza Hotel, before Trump owned the landmark hotel. The year was 1968 and I took the D Train to 59th Street then walked five blocks to the Plaza to work as a file clerk, earning sixty dollars a week. Subway tokens were twenty cents each. On pay day, I would buy a roll of ten and save the rest to return to college, which I did after purchasing a gold crepe blouse and matching bell bottom pants at Alexander’s on Fordham Road.

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I still miss The Bronx and our fifth floor walk-up apartment. We took our kids on the D Train to Radio City Music Hall, the Bronx Zoo every Tuesday, the free day and of course a Sunday walk through the Botanical Gardens.

. . . . just saying

 

 

The Ten Year Challenge

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You would have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the “Ten-year Challenge” or like me, learned late in the game of the latest social media meme.

What is a meme you ask? Again, I am learning after the brou ha, ha. Merriam/Webster.com defines a meme as an element of a culture or system of behavior passed from one individual to another by non-genetic means, especially imitation. In other words, the latest craze or fad proliferated by social media.

Richard Dawkins, the British Scientist, first used the word in 1976 as “a unit of cultural transmission” to describe behavior. He was not talking about the flu.

The latest meme, the Ten Year Challenge, started on Facebook as a mindless past time; the craze took to Instagram and everyone jumped on the wagon, environmentalists reviewing how the past ten years have aged nature, and intellectual types, like John Dickerson of CBS News, talked about the benefits of aging on character, mind, and moral responsibility, although there was no mention of the President.

While celebrities are flaunting their good looks and comparing themselves in their twenties to their thirties, I wonder how I will look in ten years when eighty. Will I recognize myself?

The fun however, was short lived as suspicion arose that Facebook’s real purpose was for facial recognition, then lead to rumors they are colluding with Russia, and hint of a Muller investigation. The President did not comment on Twitter nor post before and after pictures on Instagram, while Sara Huckabee rolled her eyes and quietly said the rumors are unfounded and fake news.*

Investigations aside, facial recognition is becoming a scary issue for me. Life expectancy for a person my age is eighty and increases with age. My mom is ninety-five and still alive, factor in modern medicine and there is a good chance I will live another twenty-five years. Will I recognize myself?

Probably not, so I am working on a ten-year plan for Elderhood, you know like childhood when you wore diapers and had temper tantrums when told what to do.

The solution, I am going to lean in and embrace Elderhood; lose five lbs, travel more and write everyday.

 . . . . just saying.com

 

*Really fake news and not true, I made it up, unless proven otherwise

 

Make Your Bed Exercise

 

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 If we cannot change the behavior, can we change how we view the behavior?

One year ago, while struggling to make our Queen Size bed I questioned when did this bedspread become so heavy?

The task had become tedious, requiring walking around the bed about ten times to achieve a wrinkle free look, all the while complaining. I did not have the strength to flip the comforter across the bed.

I recalled working as a waitress/chambermaid at the Green Gables Hotel in Hensonville New York, how we would run upstairs after serving breakfast, to strip and remake beds, each bed taking approximately five minutes. We were back downstairs before the quest left the dining room. The year was 1964, and I was sixteen.

Bob, my husband, said, “Don’t make the bed. It’s only going to get messed up again.”

He is right, however I am a tidy person, an unmade bed was not an option. Call it a routine or habit started in childhood, you dressed and made your bed before breakfast.

I prefer the clean orderly picture a well-made bed creates and remember as a Mom of toddlers tripping over Lincoln Logs, Match Box cars, baby dolls, and diapers in the living room to find refuge in my bedroom and look at a tidy bed, knowing hospital corners were concealed under the spread.

Now, I was not only older, but weaker.

Consequently, I signed up at a gym, even hired a personal trainer, and started treating the task of making a bed a challenge.

The results were slow but steady, considering I wanted to avoid pain and think sweating is highly over rated.

However, in July, we traveled north to escape Florida’s heat for four weeks, and I was at risk of becoming a statistic, most people (80%) stop going to the gym after five months.

13ff6543-74a7-4938-811f-97e6d4c24c9a_1.db6bc136ad0b6ef50bc16d0a248f0d17Luckily, I discovered a PBS program, Classical Stretch. by instructor Miranda Esmonde-White.  Her exercise program is amazing. I even bought her book, “Aging Backwards.” my friends are sick and tired of hearing me talk about her so I have stopped.

However, just listening to her talk while she exercises gave me a new perspective on aging.

She says the notion that muscle atrophy is synonymous with aging is false. The breakdown of muscles, muscle atrophy, is not caused by aging but by lack of use, and can happen at any age, but happens more quickly as we age. She references research to support her exercise approach to counter the premises that muscle atrophy is a side effect of aging.

So making a bed is more difficult at seventy, than at sixteen years old, not because of aging, but because of less activity. Miranda says in layman’s words, muscles not being used are programed to die.

Which came first the chicken or the egg or in this case, aging or less active? It does not matter, the solution is to exercise, all six hundred and forty muscles.

Since doing Classical Stretch, a twenty-three minute program, five days a week I have stopped taking naps and can make the bed in less than five minutes.     

. . . . just saying

 

 

Gray Hair and Feeling Maudlin

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Now that the Christmas tree is back in the box it came in, and the furniture in its proper place, I am excited to start the New Year. Our grand-kids will be visiting this week and my husband, Bob, and I plan to visit Italy in the Spring. The temperature today is sixty-five, and its sunny. Life seems good when Bob mumbles something from the living room.

After forty-seven years of marriage, I am not certain if the mumbling is to annoy me, or he has forgotten I cannot hear with the water running and question what he said, “Really? Alex Trebek is going off the air because he shaved his mustache?”

Bob is watching Jeopardy, and raises his voice to shout, “No I don’t like Alex Trebek with or without his mustache.”

There is something discerning about his tone. I turn off the water, grab a dishtowel, and join him on the couch. “I thought you liked Jeopardy.”

He continues grumbling that if the show had more categories about sports, he would know every answer, and that Alex Trebek is cheap, not giving every contestant all their earnings. I agree, second and third place contestants receive $2,000 and $1,000 respectively not their final Jeopardy winnings.

Understand, Bob can be grumpy. He sports a tattoo; one of Disney’s Seven Dwarfs, Grumpy, however this seems unusual, and I ask, “Are you feeling maudlin?”

He replies emphatically, “Yes! I just don’t know what else can go wrong!”

Surprised by his reaction, I am concerned and say, “Has something happened?”

Now, Bob has had numerous medical challenges and I joke, “He has no pancreas, no spleen, no gallbladder, no thyroid and no appendix but a full head of hair and all his own teeth.” He is a healthy man. So I ask again, “What is it?”

Hesitantly he says, “Today after golf, I showered, and like I always do, combed my hair, head down over the sink, but when I stood up the sink was full of gray hair. I am losing my hair! I can’t believe something else is wrong.”

No wonder he is feeling maudlin, the salt and pepper hair makes him look younger. However, I laugh and through uncontrollable chuckles explain the gray hair is mine, combed into the sink while cleaning my hairbrush that morning, and evidently forgot to wipe up.

“So I’m not losing my hair,” he says and relieved joins me in laughter.

I am reminded of a Betty Davis quote, “Old age is not for sissies.” She is right.

                                                                        . . . . just saying

The Horse That Never Won A Race

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Have you heard of the horse that never won? Zippy Chippy is his name. He is a thoroughbred racehorse who ran in one hundred races, has eight seconds and twelve thirds, but never won. However, his tenacity for staying in the race made him a popular horse to watch and voted one of the year’s “Most Intriguing Characters,” by People Magazine in the year 2000.  “Winners don’t always finish first.” became his charge.

I imagine how he felt showing up at the gate thinking; this race can be won, because I also set New Year goals then fail to achieve them, and like him, come close.

I wanted to lose five pounds, travel more, and write every day in 2018. You could say I took second place, losing and regaining the same five pounds throughout the year, but finished the year at the same weight,  somewhat a winner because I did not gain a pound although my underwear feel tight. My vertigo has improved and I walk crooked only occasionally. I spent three nights in Boston and traveled to Washington D.C.  to see the White House decorated for Christmas.  Melania’s “Red Trees” looked spectacular. I dropped the ball on blogging but started other writing projects.

In 2019, I have the same goals; lose five pounds, travel more, and write every day.

Where is the horse that never won today?

Zippy, retired from racing in 2004, had a brief second career as an outrider’s pony at his  home track in the Finger Lakes. Thanks to his longtime owner-trainer, Felix Montserrate, he currently resides nearby at “Old Friends at Cabin Creeks” where this winner still loves attention from fans and appears happy.

Today is January 6, 2019. There are 359 days left in the year to achieve my goals; lose five pounds, travel more and write every day, or at least finish with a second or third place.

Winners don’t need to be first!

. . . . just saying

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If I Could Turn Back Time

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I  am not the only one getting older, I thought watching the Kennedy Center Honors program the day after Christmas. Many honorees are older, their achievements come over time. Cher looked fantastic at seventy-two years of age. In tribute to Cher, Cindi Lauper strutted her sixty-five year old body across the stage, singing “If I Could Turn Back Time”. Cindy appeared a little winded and I worried her wig would fall off but delivered a great performance that had the audience on their feet.

“You go girl!” I said out loud repeating the refrain If I Could Turn Back Time, and clapping along.

It is not possible to turn back time, really, but the program was a reminder that some people are better at aging. Is it possible to slow down the aging process and not become old people: frail, feeble and decrepit?

Take a  look at Nancy Pelosi, who sat in the balcony during the show, totally enjoying herself.

220px-Nancy_Pelosi_2012Politics aside, she looks marvelous at seventy-eight years of age and according to VeryWellHealth.Com her life expectancy is increasing.

Statistics indicate,  “If you make it to 75 your life expectancy increases to 86.8. You gain another 3.4 years. That means the average 75-year-old will live 9.3 years longer than the average child born in 2006. Go figure, you can increase life expency by living longer.

Nancy Pelosi is aging well. She probably has a fitness trainer and had “work” done., however, would never be called old.

So where does that leave the rest of us? Can we avoid becoming “old people”?

Aristotle said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act but a habit.”

I looked at the habits of old people and came up with seven.

Seven Habits of Old People

  1. They spend a minimum of five hours a day sitting
  2. When shopping, they park as close as possible to the store, shuffle in and lean on the shopping cart for upper body support.
  3. Stay home when it rains.
  4. Complain they can’t remember and don’t.
  5. Think getting mail, even junk mail, doctor appointments and garbage pickup are highlights in a day.
  6. They yell at other drivers, scream at computers and curse at their cell phones
  7. They talk mostly about medical issues, who died and what is wrong in the world.

If I have left something out, but you cannot remember what; type CRN (Can’t Remember Now) in the comment box which can be found below.

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                                           Just Saying . . . .  If we could turn back time?

 

Fourth of July

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This  photo inspired my poem, I saw a bug colored red, white & blue, and hope you do too!

 

Red White and Blue

Can an itsy bitsy bug be patriotic?
His red, white, and blue symbolic,
A political view
Understand freedom . . . be equal too

Like a school age kindergartener
Raise his hand to hold the flag
Chosen, glad with honor
Knows to say a prayer

Can an itsy bitsy bug be patriotic?
Puff his chest, recite the pledge
Listen to a voice within
Battle for the helpless, or let the bullies win!

Stand side by side with those who care
Silently and stare
Misty eyed while taps is played for those who dare
Think America is beautiful

Can an itsy bitsy bug be patriotic?

. . . . just saying

 

Previous post, “Bored On The Fourth of July”

Summer Time

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Summer Time

Today is Thursday, June 21st, the 172nd day of 2018, there are 193 days left in the year, officially it is summer and the song Summer Time, and its refrain, living is easy  repeatedly plays in my head.

I am remembering the time in my life when school was almost out and a Fourth of July Parade followed by fireworks signaled the start of endless summer days. Some mornings there were swimming lessons at one of the Levittown pools,  other mornings I would meet my friend, Vicki Love, under our weeping willow tree to play cards, search for a four-leaf clover or read Nancy Drew Mysteries.

It was not necessary to phone, text or email we made plans the night before as the streetlights went on signaling everyone to go home.

Lunch was either peanut butter and jelly, bologna or tuna fish on white mushy bread, then we walked once again to the pool for an afternoon swim. We may have watched cartoons before the Dinah Shore Show followed by dinner woven with family discussion. The girls did the dishes while the boys disposed of the trash.

We now live in Florida where the kids have been out of school and the days hot since the end of May. The sun is too strong, the humidity an albatross around my neck and I spend most of the day inside wearing a sweatshirt because air conditioning and I do not get along. We will head north to New Jersey in a couple of weeks to a cabin rental on Cozy Lake to visit family and friends and fend off mosquitoes.

I have a long list of books to read because I made a commitment to the Great American Read. So far, I read 1984, The Giver, neither of which was cheery, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland a story of nonsense I returned because it made no sense, and Invisible Man, feels like homework, I will let you know.

 In between, I am reading books by Alexander McCall Smith, a favorite author of mine known for the PBS series The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

The song, Summer Time is still rumbling around my head causing me to wonder why the living was easy and  I have concluded it was not because I was a kid and times were simpler as much as, kids were not allowed to watch TV and did not read the newspaper.

I have news fatigue, so without naming names, decided to dust off my Nancy Drew collection.

Its summer time and living needs to get easy.

.  .  .  . just saying

The Lost Art of Thinking

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Auguste Rodin
“The question is, not what you look at but what do you see”  Henry David Thoreau

The Lost Art of Thinking

Jesse Itzler, owner of the Atlanta Hawks and author of “Living With Monks,” responded to Nora O’Donnell’s interview question, “What did turning off your phone teach you?” by saying; “That I wasn’t doing a lot of thinking, thinking is a lost art.”

Evidently, he had to shave his head and travel to Tibet to figure that out. And although shaving his head was unnecessary, as Monks no longer shave theirs, he gained enough wisdom to write a book and speak out about this epidemic of not thinking. I am calling it an epidemic and believe it began with the introduction of calculators in classrooms. Think about it, can anyone do simple math?

Itzler is married and has four children, and went on this quest to be a better husband and father. Previously his focus had been on physical strength and endurance discussed in his book, “Living With Seals,” which John Dickerson was quick to clarify were Navy Seals.

Itzler is not the first or only person to suggest that there are side effects to technology and benefits to turning off your phone. Ted Koppel (CBS News) interviewed Nicholas Carr, Bryan Reeves and Justin Rosenstein on the topic and all agree the internet is making us stupid, tinkering with our brains, and future advances will make matters worse.

We have apps to remember our favorite songs, ask Alexa for basic information, and depend on Google Maps or a GPS for directions even to walk. More alarming is our assumption the answers are always correct and no longer question the logic or accuracy of the information being sought.

We have heard stories of automobiles hanging off cliffs and drivers hesitating before driving into a lake because of GPS misinformation, proving the point.

Were they thinking?

In defense, Google Map says the driver failed to upload current information to their device and or the roads were yet to be constructed.

Worse, research now indicates that apps are “remapping the brain,” an NPR radio discussion explored the topic saying;

Writer Alex Hutchinson explores this phenomenon in a recent issue of the Canadian magazine The Walrus. “Neuroscientists are starting to uncover a two-way street: our brains determine how we navigate, but our navigational efforts also shape our brains,” Hutchinson writes. “The experts are picking up some worrying signs about the changes that will occur as we grow accustomed to the brain-free navigation of the GPS era.”

Hutchinson’s  explanation about spatial navigation reliance  on the hippocampus, and stimulus methods that use the caudate nucleus, the brain’s center of motor control having different effects on the brain is complicated, my take; if you use a map you have to think, if you use a GPS you are following directions, blindly, there is no time to think.

Technology eliminates the step of thinking, which is the reason we want more of it. It is easier, faster, and smarter and dependence on a calculator or GPS does not appear to be a problem, yet. Although Hutchinson also states, “Other studies have tied atrophy of the hippocampus to increased risk of dementia.”

Perhaps we do need to think about those things?

I remember Mr. Davis’,  my WAJ High School math teacher, response to my belly aching about Geometry saying math trained the mind to think logically.

What do you think, have we lost the art of thinking?

.  .  .  .just saying