What Are You Thinking?

 

Bings Landing, Hammock Florida

A friend phoned to invite me out today, I declined saying I was hoping to have a thought, something to write about, as Sunday is my day to post. I had not had one yet, and explained that these days I have to jumpstart my brain, and in addition, my sister had been visiting and we had been sightseeing. The pictures above were taken at Bings Landing where we had lunch at The Captains BBQ and enjoyed the view.  

The conversation caused me to think about thinking, or my failure to. I take that back, I think but not quickly and grab paper and pencil to write down my thoughts, so I do not forget. It didn’t used to be this way.

Before turning 70 years of age, I could keep a thought or idea in my head to be retrieved later. It occurred to me that maybe there is no more room in my head for new thoughts and perhaps the reason we keep thinking old thoughts, i.e., when I was young milk was 25 cents a gallon is because we have accumulated too many thoughts, many of which are dated.

Is there a way to get rid of old thoughts? Head concussions and strokes cause memory loss although these measures would be drastic. Perhaps we can delete or compress some thoughts to make space for new thoughts by viewing old thoughts from a new perspective. For example, can stale bread be made into bread pudding?

The Daytona Beach News-Journal article, ‘Luckiest guy in the world’ reported on the 100th Birthday celebration for Howard Turner a volunteer ambassador at Daytona Beach Airport. When asked about aging he said, “I’m lucky to be walking around. I don’t have a cane. I’m not in a wheelchair, I’m the luckiest guy in the world.” Who could argue with him. He did not talk about memory loss and says he looks to the future, perhaps that is his delete button.

We know the body slows down and the mind becomes stale with aging, but should we throw the loaf of bread out or make bread pudding?

I am thinking of standing on my head, it is just a thought.

What are you thinking?

. . . . just saying

 

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

 

 

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?

 

Welcome to the ’70s

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Welcome to the seventies, not as in 1970, as in this year I will be seventy, and please do not attempt to console me by saying the seventies are the new fifties or sixties, because I have to de-stiff-i-tize when I stand and cannot move my thumbs.

De-stiff-i-tize? You know what I am talking about. It occurs upon rising from a sitting position and can barely stand, you moan and somehow crunch your back and neck into a marginalized upright position. Dining in public restaurants I have observed others replace the moan with an inconsequential laugh, grab the back of a chair then straightening.

Seriously, I cannot move my thumb, and now question what the seventies will be like, every day there is a different challenge, last week it was a hip, this week hands. Therefore, I took to vigorous hand exercises, which resulted in trigger thumb.

Surely, you do not want to hear the full medical prognosis, or perhaps you do, however I swore health would not be the topic of every conversation and yet it is.

Thinking I can nip this in the bud by glimpsing into successful seventy-year-old lives I have started watching “Grace and Frankie,” a Netflix comedy and it is a hoot! Perhaps laughter is the best medicine.

Grace, played by Jane Fonda and Frankie, played by Lilly Tomlin live together after their husbands, gay lovers secretly for the past twenty years, announce they want divorces.

Jane Fonda an eighty year old in real life, pays the part of a younger woman, Grace who is in her seventies and yes, we all wish we look as good as Jane Fonda does at any age and of course the place they are forced to live in is a beautiful beach front house. Actor Martin Sheen plays Robert,  Grace’s ex and Sam Waterson, Saul, Frankie’s.

The plot is fast pace, the cast constantly moves, and there is no on camara de-stiff-i-tizing, although Martin Sheen’s movement getting out of bed, reminds me of how the president got into his suit jacket in West Wing and wondering if his elbows ever could bend.

After falling neither Grace or Frankie can get up and crawl to a phone resulting in their children purchasing First Alert devices for them and Jane Fonda, Grace, smashing hers with her high heel.

My kind of woman, she plans on getting older but never old.

.  .  .  . just saying