A is for Attitude

A is for Attitude

Tony Bennett

A recent interview on CBS Morning News with Susan and Tony Bennett revealed his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and the challenges of aging. The discussion highlighted how helpful the disclosure was for the general public. His wife said, “Tony Bennett is battling Alzheimer’s disease, but singing is saving him.”

Well, singing is an option. Remember the songs Get Happy sung by Judy Garland or Happy; written, produced and performed by Pharrell Williams? Both are uplifting and yes after humming a few bars people feel happier. 

The correlation between attitude and quality of life has never been clearer. Books, lectures, magazine and newspaper articles go on and on describing the benefits. We frequently celebrate one- hundred-year-olds who may need help blowing out the candles but nevertheless are recognized for their positive attitude, activity and ability to socialize. Captain Tom Moore published his book, Tomorrow  Will Be A Good Day at age one hundred.   

Having the right attitude matters.

There are more indicators that quality of life can be maintained as we age and questions about the inevitability of dementia in seniors.

Attitude can be a challenge and I used to coil at the phrase happiness is a choice.

But now think; happiness may be a choice. . . some days, although maybe not every day . . . even if the sun is shining.

Well, just hum a few bars of your favorite song.

. . . just saying

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Y is for Yawn

New Thoughts on Words


Aging & Attitude

Conversation. . . is the art of never appearing a bore, of knowing how to say everything interestingly, to entertain with no matter what, to be charming with nothing at all  Guy de Maupassant

The Florida sun, hot and heavy on our heads and shoulders, does not dissuade us from sitting outdoors at Flagler Beachfront Winery. Late in the day, the sun will set behind the renovated “little blue building” and create shade soon. The owners Ken and Kelly planned it that way. Their tag line Come for the wine, stay for the view sums up the intent. Wine is made on site and customers buy wine by the glass or bottle, and order from a tapas menu of grilled flat breads with Brie & Prosciutto or Artichoke and tapenade, to name a few of the food choices. Select grapes from Ken’s 100 acre organic family farm in Ohio, and other vineyards around the country, are used to make their label Beachfront Wine. Ken and Kelly are working owners and a four-year old son is under foot.

Mr. Wonderful, my husband of 42 years, places our order, and we get comfortable for the view. I chat away about what I cannot remember and Mr. Wonderful yawns. A big yawn and uses both hands to cover his wide-open mouth, “I must be tired after playing golf in this heat.”

I think nothing about it and continue, picking up for his lack of participation, when he turns his head distracted by the conversation at the next table. He is not listening to a word.

“Am I a yawn? A bore.”

Yawn is an involuntary reaction to fatigue or boredom.

Since even I cannot remember what I was saying,  conclude the conversation is tedious, monotonous, humdrum, and ho-hum.

“How do you keep the music playing?”  A Tony Bennett song, creeps into my head.

What to talk about?

Weather is a safe topic, changes every day, but unless you are a meteorologist, discussing rain only takes a few minutes.

Politics, World News?  Both seem risky. That leaves us with humor.

So I say to Mr. Wonderful, “Did you remember to take the garbage out?”

….just saying

M is for Minutiae – The Alphabet Series

New Thoughts on Words


Aging & Attitude


Traffic on Granada Street was light.  An intense Florida sun warmed the car’s interior and made the steering wheel hot.  My plan was to leisurely drive home along the Tomoka River, when a young woman walking caught my attention.  She could have been me forty years ago, her long oval face and golden blonde hair looked so familiar.

Circling the block for a second look, I saw she wore a lively yellow and tangerine colored sundress exposing the right amount of skin.  Spaghetti straps tied in bows relaxed on her shoulders.  The dress was vintage hippie.

I parked, got out of the car and stood in the shade.  In the distance, she sat on a bus stop bench, her straight back and firm chin taken for granted, a slouch bag at her side, intriguing me.   I approached her directly, “Excuse me, can you tell me where Found Treasures Consignment Shop is?”  It was a ruse.  I had been there the day before to leave clothing and knew the exact location.
Looking up, she smiled and repeated my question, “Found Treasures Consignment Store?  Sure, go across the street and see that alley between the buildings?  She raised a hand wearing a mood ring and pointed. “By the Oak tree there’s like a narrow path that like…. you know what; I’ll show you.”

Closer, I saw freckles on her nose like I had.  Her platform sandals looked comfortable and practical. Her toenails painted cherry red.  She looked stylish, as I remembered myself to be.

“That isn’t really necessary.”

“Oh hush, I love that store.”

“Thanks, I’m fairly new to Florida and never sure where I’m going.”

“Me too, I’m like forever lost.  Where are you from?”

“New Jersey, I retired and moved here two years ago.

She came to Daytona for bike week and met her boyfriend.
“You know that show Jersey Shore?  You know that guy Mike, “The Situation”?  That’s who my boyfriend looks like, only he’s got bigger muscles.”  She chewed gum and blew a pink bubble announcing, “No way was I going home.  He’s like not the one, but it’s cool.”

The traffic was heavy now. We stood on the sidewalk waiting for an opportunity to cross. Standing in the hot sun, my mind wandered to the time I was her age and realized how lost she was.

A yellow corvette exceeding the speed limit created an opening in the traffic.  She looped her hand through my elbow and we rushed arm and arm across the street.

Standing on the cracked sidewalk, she turned to face me, patted my thin windblown hair in place, and asked, “Did I tell you I’m going on tour with Tony Bennett?”

Tony Bennett, the singer?  I thought her too young to know a favorite of mine.

“Yes, THE Tony Bennett! You know cause of Daytona’s Music Festival, he, well, Mr. Bennett was performing at the Peabody.”

“Ms. Witch”, my friend Michelle, that’s what we call her cause she’s nasty, we’re like playing Beach Volley Ball and there’s this fight. Witch got into it, scratching, and pulling hair, using the F word and the N word.  I got my tanning lotion and walked away.  Mr. Bennett’s daughter, Toni, saw the whole thing.  She liked me, like right away.  Said I had character or something.  Like, she just gave me a backstage pass.  I started hanging around, helping, and now we’re going on tour.  You know, he’s not Lady Ga Ga, but it’s cool.”

We arrived at the Consignment Shop and opened the door.  A tinker bell jingle announced our entrance. Women’s cast off clothing, many with designer labels packed the shop.  Displayed on the walls were glass necklaces, teardrop crystal pendants, and Swarovski pearls.  Coordinated outfits in shades of green, their potential enhanced by pink accessories, were arranged on hangers.

“I love this stuff.  Look at this.”  She wrapped a four-inch wide black plastic belt with a rhinestone buckle around her waist, shook her head, and returned it to a rack.”

“Minutiae,” I mumbled.

“What did you say?” she giggled.

“Minutiae, little stuff, the details of life.”

“Mi-nooshee-sha, I love that word! What does it mean?”

“Small, insignificant things that don’t seem to matter, then do.”

“Oh, my God! I’m trying this on.”  She exclaimed and slipped into a dressing room carrying an old dress of mine.

It was made of rich black crepe fabric.  The neckline flowed off the shoulders leaving a v shape in the back. Two panels buttoned creating a peak-a-boo above the waistline of a pencil thin skirt.  Its hem had hit the crest of my calf.

“I’m buying this.  It’s like the perfect dress!” she said emphatically outside the dressing room, twirling, as I had done, her blue-green eyes so young and true. I smiled remembering that pleasure of certainty.

“You look great in it.”

She did. I felt light-headed as a wave of emotion cascaded through me.  I had worn that dress to a friend’s wedding, a business conference, and my fortieth birthday party.  “Do you need shoes?”  I asked reminiscing about an elegant pair worn with the dress.

Tasteful, is how to describe them, the heels not too high, the straps not too tight.  I kept them. They were barely worn.

“I got black flip-flops.”

At the cash register, she counted six singles and forty-two cents turning her head with perfect range of motion to ask, “Do you have children?”

“A daughter.”

We left to say goodbye.

“It’s been cool meeting you.”  She said hugging me.

Happy my dress would be going on an adventure, but not wanting to give my secret away, I hesitated then whispered, “Don’t live your life in regret.”

I strolled toward my car, looking back.  The late afternoon sun filtered through the oak trees creating a shadow on her diminutive figure and the sun’s glare caused me doubt she had really been here, while my wedding song, “We’ve Only Just Begun,” played in my head.

...just saying