IntrepidWoman's Journey

Posts Tagged ‘seniors

Change in life is constant. Our journey has forks in the road; we constantly have people enter and leave our lives as we trudge along through time. We move, we change jobs, (and sometime partners) and do our best to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Each of our paths is unique, but is filled with valleys and mountain tops. Life is often hard; we experience pain, loneliness and sorrow. Life is also glorious, filled with joy, love, and hope. If it was not for the valleys, could we really appreciate the mountain tops?

For me, retirement has been one of the biggest changes in my life. I moved through the adult years as a single parent struggling to juggle family and finances and finally stepped off the hamster wheel 21 days after my 66th birthday. My first year after was spent just recovering from life’s hectic pace. I was so exhausted!

Now in my second year, I am on a journey to cleanse my body and become the best I can be. Chronic illnesses have plagued me for many years. After a near-death experience in February 2013, and the recent realization that my life expectancy is not way into the future, I have taken control of my physical self.

First thing was to research to find out why there is so much chronic disease, obesity, and early deaths due to so many cancers and the effects of high blood pressure and diabetes. It all comes back to what we eat and the amount of exercise we get. Desk job + processed foods in the stores and quick-and-dirty drive-thru meals all add up to an unhealthy life style. Research has proven it. There is lots of data out there. Nothing new here, but changing it however, is not easy. We live on treadmills. Ours lives are super busy. We are raising our kids to be super busy as well and in between work and chauffering kids to lessons, we are thankful for the chicken nuggets and drive-thru coffee.

It is life. It is how it is. It has evolved over time to this. I have the privilege now, in the winter of my life, to make big changes and it is going well. My taste buds have changed after a few months of eating fresh foods, juicing vegetables and fruit daily, riding an exercise bike and taking yoga and NIA. I rarely eat bread products and have sworn off processed meats and most processed foods. Research has helped me locate locally grown and raised food where I live. Life is good. My energy is through the roof. Physically, I feel better every day.

But… Isn’t there always a but? My poor brain continues to suffer from information overload. Easy access to social media fills my head daily with the horrors of murders and natural disasters. The provincial and federal elections this year were full of hateful statements and images. I have witnessed how abuse and bullying are alive and growing on the internet.

So, what to do about it? I get up, have my hot lemon water and turn on my computer to Facebook, then read emails, then news sites. I end the day the same way. I check in during the day when I am at home. (At least when I worked, I could only do it in the morning and at night.) Some of what I see is good. I like pictures of ex-students and their families and seeing how their lives are unfolding. I enjoy posts from long-time friends and knowing what is going on at Jack’s school and in my neighborhood. Facebook has become the window to my retired life, but I have been sitting in front of it way too much, reading about other people’s lives instead of living my own.

The elements of negativity in social media are pulling me down, mentally and spiritally. As I gain energy and improve my physical self, my mental self is deteriorating.

My addiction to social media is keeping me from real-life experiences. It is time to do something about that. Tucked into my fleece sheets last night, trying to clear my head and go to sleep, I decided to go off Facebook for a month. If I can learn to love vegetables over chocolate, surely I can learn to love real people interactions over FB interactions. There is much more to me than being a Facebook troll!

I am going to deactivate my account today. For 30 days. I would like to never go back, but time will tell. Just as I crave a little chocolate once in a while and hope to learn to eat it in moderation some day, my desire is to limit FB to maybe once a week for only for a few minutes. Maybe I could eat a piece of chocolate when I check Facebook? I would have to turn it off when the chocolate is gone. Lofty goal! Better to say I could drink a freshly-made vegetable juice while I check FB for a few minutes once a week.

I will be back on December 2nd to check in. Wish me luck. I will have 30 days to make art, interact with real people and connect more strongly to my Higher Power. I will still have email, but I think Messenger will be gone with FB.

Now I am going to make my vegetable juice, and while I sip it, read Facebook, then press ‘Deactivate’. The rest of the day will be an exciting, blank canvas!

It is all about finding balance in one’s life, as well as living it to be our very best! Every single day.

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I am in the winter of my life. It came so quickly, too quickly it seems. When I look back at my childhood, then life as a single parent raising a family, and the autumn period when I was a free spirit with a horse, running a cafe in an old church and ‘finding myself’, I accept that every experience has melted together to create who I am today. A lot of the past feels like it happened to another person. A lot of the past fades into vagueness.

I do not have any regrets, not because I did everything in my life ‘right’, but because it is a waste of time to regret. Of course there are things I should have done and many that I should not have. I can wile away the hours by reminiscing and wondering what would have happened if I had taken a different turn in the road at the many junctions in my life. That is actually a fun thing to do, as long as a person does not get sad from these contemplations. It is not something to do more than once and it certainly can be replaced by better activities like a nap or entering a book.

It is done now. I always learned something of value from every decision, good and bad that I made in the past.

I cannot change anything in the past and I cannot totally predict the future, so I am only able to happily enjoy the present. The winter of one’s life has really only one downside – that it comes so quickly. Other than that, it is a wonderful time.

Did you ever ride in a car at night during a snowstorm when the snow was falling softly and the headlights lit up the flakes like a million twinkling stars? I remember that, when I was about 19 and in love. I remember the magic, and I had so much emotion about life and love and trying to control my path. It is a comfort to be old and realize that you have very little control, but what you do with life’s events is what counts.

In the winter of my life, I am enjoying each day, literally. I stop during the workday to think about what fun my job is, even though it can be stressful as well. I am trying not to get caught up in the “what ifs”. I see others do this and they create stress that is a waste of their time. I used to do that in my youth. So much time is wasted on ‘what ifs’ that never happen. Enough does happen that you will need your energy to deal with when it comes.

The winter of my life is still too busy at the moment, but it has more periods of stopping to enjoy the smell of rain, feel the cool breeze in the evening, enjoy the satisfaction of a good book or working with a soft wool and turning it into a warm scarf for a wee grandchild.

I hope the winter of my life is long, but there are no guarantees, which is why it is so important to feel each day and don’t leave it until the clock says you must. I am learning to live in the moment, in the winter of my life.

My Number One Son turned 42 this week. I had to work that day, but felt that anyone with a ‘child’ that age should be home in bed, resting. I am too old to still be working full time!

Jim is easy to look up to and I admire the man he has become. He is a voracious reader and knows something about almost everything. He is very hardworking, but balances his job with his home life better than a lot of people in his generation.

On his birthday, I always think about him as a child. I go back to the day I was at work at the bank on the university campus, married for over a year, suspecting I was pregnant and not sure how I felt about that. It was one of those “oops” things. Anyway, it was before the time of home pregnancy tests, so when the doctor’s office called me at work to confirm that I was indeed expecting, I still remember saying, “Thank you for calling.” Then I walked out of the bank, down the hall to the washroom in the student union building, (we did not have our own), sat in a cubicle, grinned at the closed door for a few minutes, and then went into panic mode. I was 21, playing at being an adult, and was soon to be responsible for another human being – a helpless, wiggly, poopy and non-talking little creature who I could royally screw up if I royally screwed up!

When Jim was born, I brought him home to the house I had grown up in and I learned to take care of a baby. The years flew by and he was such a delightful little boy, so smart and succinct when he began talking and so eager to learn about everything.

As a teenager, he always had me in stitches – what a sense of humour! He also had a serious and thoughtful side and when he was president of the school council, he came up with the idea for his grad class to give back by hosting a supper for seniors at Christmas time, a tradition that is still going strong today at the high school.

He used to clean our house every Friday after school so that I would say yes when he asked to borrow the car for the evening. When he left for university, I could not understand why the house was always untidy, when there were fewer people living in it.

Years later, he loved to tell me all the things he did while living at home that I had no idea about at the time, (thank goodness!) I would try to stop him by saying I did not need to know after the fact, but there was joy in the telling for him.

He has had a wonderfully interesting life, living in China for a few years on two occasions and always working at figuring things out about life and stuff. When he finally made me a grandmother, I felt he was really doing his most important life work. He is an awesome dad and delights in his beautiful wee son and daughter, stating that they are a prince and a princess and he is just there to serve. We laugh, but I think he really means it.

He has been the teacher and I the student for many years now, which brings me to the fact that he is my only son who I did not teach in the small-town high school when I worked there. He missed me by a year and was glad of it!

When other young boys were out playing ball and riding bikes, Jim was  spending long hours with his Apple 2 E computer. Now he rides his bike, taking great, long road trips. He was not into team sports in school, but decided, with a push from his math teacher who was also the coach, to play basketball in grade nine. Coach Bruce would come to my classroom to report what a great player Jim was. We were both so proud.

When he was in university in Edmonton, another teacher from our high school came into my classroom one day, waving a news article from the paper and exclaiming how proud he was of ‘our boy’! I had not heard about it until that moment, but it seems that Jim was inspired to strike against the cafeteria at the university about the quality of food or supplier or ? My memory fails me, but I do remember how proud his social studies teacher was as he presented me with the article and the photo of Jim, staged to look as if he was eating out of the cafeteria garbage can.

Jim is my Number One Son because he came first. He had to suffer through the mistakes made by a novice mother.  Your oldest child is your prototype. It gets easier with each one that comes along. By the third time, another ‘oops’ arrived in son Dean and I think I actually let him raise himself! Middle son David loves the fact that he was my only ‘planned’ child.

For my oldest son, I have miles of praise and the deepest admiration, and I love his wonderful talent as a master story-teller. He expertly plays to the audience when family members and friends get together. He keeps us laughing and can also make me shake my head in awe as I listen to his serious thoughts on other days. After a visit where the kids have gone to bed and Jim quietly shares some insights with me, I drive home asking myself how I got to be such a lucky mother.

My three sons and I grew up together, and they did such a great job of raising each other! I hope Jim is not even half way through his life and I wish him at least forty two more birthdays. If a mother’s love could guarantee an extra long life, he would surely live to be at least two hundred. Happy birthday Jimmy!

Living in ‘the home’ has turned into a most interesting phase of my life. I have always lived in large, old houses with some seclusion involved and walked around picturing what they would look like if I could fix them up, which I could never afford to do. I spent a lot of years living an enjoyable fantasy.

For 3 months now I have lived in a nearly new and very compact condo with other ‘over 50s’ and find it fascinating.

My unit is probably the last one a body would pick for purchase because it is on the main level, near the front entrance with visitor parking right out front, near my patio with a small lawn area between. I do believe that is why the rent is lower than the average in here. It is a good revenue property and I love renting it. I am not paying the condo fee and taxes, etc. Watching people come and go and feeling like I’m in ‘Hotel Silver-Haired’ is just great right now for me.

I do have a concern however. I seem to be turning into my grandma. She was a dear lady who lived her later years in a lovely, older residential area of Calgary and she people-watched. I remember going for tea (6 bags in the pot; she was English), and she would tell us all about the neighbors. She knew their comings and goings and general habits, even though she had never met any of them. I used to wonder about that, but now I understand.

I am not here all that much with working full-time, but when I am home, it is easy, with my big windows, ahem, to watch the comings and goings and recognize the routines. There is the lady who walks at least once and often twice a day who completely covers up from the sun: broad-brimmed hat, dark glasses, long sleeves, long pants, and away she goes.

There is the gentleman who leaves at 6:30 in the morning and does not return until very late in the day. He always has a coffee in his hand and looks too old to be working full-time. He has a slight hunch and is quick to a brief conversation.

There is the man who paces the foyer and the hallways and is eager for a verbal interlude.

There are the card players who come out from all three buildings at the same time on the same evenings and head to the club house. They join together as they meet on the way down the communal road.

The odd things include the skateboarders who are young and ride through the complex, over the speed bumps after 11 pm, ignoring the signs, “Private Property” and don’t seem to know or care that they wake people up.

And lately, there has been a cat who comes into the complex area, which is unusual because it is totally pet free. You cannot even visit with a pet, as there are signs everywhere. He seems to enjoy running around the area after dark and perching on the edge of patios before disappearing into the night. He either can’t read or is a bit of a rebel.

But last night was really intriguing. I was unable to sleep, as sometimes happens, so at 1:15 a.m. I was at the computer, researching RVs (don’t ask), when a white half-ton parked right out front and two younger-than-fifty people came into my building. Did they ring to get in or have the special security key? Strange time to arrive for a visit.

An hour later, they were driving away with what looked like a recliner chair and some other items in the back. I only looked because it was stranger still to hear someone leaving in the middle of the night. This is a quiet place where the residents are in bed very early. Yikes! I have become my grandmother! At least now I understand her.

So my challenge to you, dear reader, is to complete the story.

“x and x arrived at the seniors’ condo, precisely at 1:15 a.m. Slamming the truck doors, they both walked to the entrance and . . . “

6 + 3 = 9. Today I had a perfect ninth birthday.

Combine a gentle, blue-eyed, blond almost five year old with an exuberant, 5 and a half year old whose hair and eyes are the color of dark chocolate, and sit them side by side in a worse-for-wear 2004 Cavalier to drive across Calgary to Tommy Ks, and everyone knows what you get – bathroom talk in the back seat. It starts with farts and goes downhill from there with giggles and ‘I can do better than that’ comments swinging back and forth.

The birthday girl in the front has the fleeting thought, “What WAS I thinking?” as she misses the turn off Deerfoot and has to backtrack to 130 Ave. (Jack is staying with her for a few days and she has picked up Michael so the boys can spend the afternoon together.)

Upon arrival, the who-can-ever-tell-them-apart cousins make a dash into a world of fun, and Nana makes a bee line for the soft chairs in the front row where parents and grandparents sit and keep a watchful eye on their youngsters as they work their way through the maze of kid-happy things to do.

‘It’s my birthday and I’ll do what I want to’, so Nana checks FB messages on her Ipod, checks her phone for text messages, pulls out a new book on ‘how to write a book’ by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum series – awesome), locates her lime-green Ipod Shuffle containing a zillion songs from a generation ago, plugs in and zones out.

Occasionally, she glance around to see where the ‘twins’ are before jotting down some notes, adjusting music volume and heading into the next chapter. The boys return periodically for cold drinks and snacks, then breathlessly run off again.

Nearly four hours later, the boys are sweat-soaked, worn out, and ready to go home. Again, Nana thinks, as she madly adjusts the air conditioning in the car, “What WAS I thinking?”

Bathroom talk picks up where it left off with the addition of a tickle or two and we head to Michael’s house to be greeted by three year old Laura. She runs up the steps, singing “Happy Birthday Nana!” and “It’s a secret. I can’t tell you! It is a ladybug cake!” as she gives Nana’s legs a bear hug. “Nice,” says mom, Carmen.

Dinner is a delight and the crowning glory is the ladybug cake with three candles, one representing each grandchild. The little ones sing in unison and with enthusiasm, and Nana tries hard to stop time forever at that moment when her throat closes up and she feels the swell of gratitude in her heart for such a blessed life.

Three grand puffs of air extinguish the candles and requests are made for “an eye”, “the icing side”, “a second piece”, etc.

Because cake is just an excuse to eat icing, it disappears within minutes and the kids are off to play for a while.

When it is time to go, Laura jumps behind Nana on the couch and wrapping herself around her neck, says, “I am a backpack!” as she hangs on for dear life.

Jack’s birthday is in 13 days so he gets presents from his cousins and we head back to Okotoks, kids blowing kisses and Nana honking the horn and annoying the neighbors. (You don’t turn 9 that often. Well, after 50 I guess you do, once every 10 years.)

Every year a birthday is different. Each unique celebration of another notch on the belt of life is a present to be unwrapped and savored.

Sometimes a birthday arrives during a fine time in life when all is well with nary a worry and other times, well, let’s just say ‘challenging’ is a polite description of those other times.

Either place is okay to be if it includes the gift of children. Michael, Jack and Laura are Nana’s gifts that ‘keep on giving’. They give joy and laughter and love beyond description.

To sum it up, when Jack asked for toast this morning and Nana said, “What should you say, Jack?” he replied, “Can I have toast PLEASE, Nana Banana?” He grinned from ear to ear and Nana laughed. Happy 9th birthday, if I do say so myself…

So, I’ve lived in the home (condo for over 50s) for over a month now, thinking I really had it figured out. Everyone’s lights are off by 9 pm and some start walking the neighborhood as early as 5 am. The road thru the 3 buildings is private, (says ‘no thru road’) and the speed bumps keep the senior lead foots from gunning it in and out.

People are friendly, and when I arrive home after a grueling day in the right-brained work-world, I am greeted in the hallways then I enter my oasis of serenity, fresh air and complete calm.

Yesterday I worked a 14 hour day and could hardly wait to get back to ‘the home’. After a hard night and several painkillers, I awoke at 5 am this morning, drank fresh coffee, then went back to sleep on the couch.

The cool air was waltzing in thru the screened windows and I fell sound asleep.

Then it happened. I started hearing the sound of clomping feet and they were getting closer and closer, louder and louder. It must have been a weird dream because Clydesdales did not frequent ‘the home’, so I willed myself to stay asleep. A few minutes later, I heard them again, getting closer and closer until they were right outside my window and then they faded out again. Okay. I didn’t care what it was. I was tired and I was not going to wake up and look out the window. On about the 4th time, I had to.

Wagons of people with balloons and cotton candy were touring past my windows every few minutes. Then I heard the sound of a fellow talking into a mic. Oh joy! There was a stampede breakfast, hoedown, cowpoke and hay-chewing event happening a block away by Safeway.

All the years I lived in Calgary I stayed away from the stampede. Never liked it, never set foot at it, but it found me here in the Ok corral, at the home, where I thought I was safe amongst the retired middle class.

It lasted all day. All Day. Those poor horses and two wagons kept coming past every few minutes for hours. The fellow on the mic was yee-hawing and I could only imagine the hat and boots and checkered shirt with snaps that he must have been wearing.

I had a miserable day. It was too hot to close the windows so I had to let the western ‘you-all’ invade my space all day. Finally, finally it ceased, only to be replaced by a second event at the George. My pub, my place for Caesars that I had always wanted to live within walking distance of was hosting another stampede event that started in the afternoon and went on to the evening. They had live music, cuuuuuntree music and mics and amps and …. They had it all.

By the time Michael and Laura arrived for their ‘two sleeps’ at Nana’s, the cow-roping and corn-chuckin was finally over.

The folks at the home sure loved it though. They were out there in herds with cowboy hats and cotton candy and were really enjoying the whole western action.

But for me, all I can say is humbug.

If this means I am going to be visited by the spirits of stampede past, present and future, I can only hope one of them is John Wayne ’cause I think I would not mind that too much.

All is quiet as I type this. The wee ones have finally settled and there is not a sound outside. Lights are out at the home and I am going to catch a few winks now and hope that the stampede spirit of the present does not arrive in a wagon pulled by Clydesdales. They leave such a mess…

Dear Friends,

Intrepid Woman has moved to ‘the home’. It has been 31 days now. Not sure why I am counting because it is not a life sentence. It is likely a two-year time of living the good life surrounded by middle to upper class silver-haired, retired, but not tired seniors.

This was a big move up. I am on the main floor now, but used to be in the basement. Is that how one gets to heaven? One floor at a time? I sure hope there is an elevator or at the very least, an escalator at some point in this trip as it is going to be a long one…

So, back to ‘the home’. It is awesome. After 40 years of living in “old, with character”, I am finally living in new, and I am the character. Nice.

After 26 months in the hole, not knowing what the weather was like, not being able to open a window, having a dark green carpet and always having the lights on, I have been promoted to three BIG windows that slide open with massive screens, brand new, light-colored carpet, a full glass door to a balcony… Bliss, baby, pure bliss! You take fresh air for granted until you live in a basement suite without windows that open. Granted, it was cozy and clean, and the landlords were the nicest people, which is partly why I stayed so long. The new landlord is another story.

~~~~~~~

Life in the Home –

is interesting and different. The complex has 3 buildings facing each other at angles so you do not see directly into anyone’s windows. Someone was thinking when they planned that. It was not the same guy who designed the kitchen however. The kitchen has tons of cupboards and is laid out in the classic U of convenience, but it is walled in with a little pass through to the main room. It should have been wide open to the rest with a breakfast bar so you would not have to turn on the light every time you enter, and there would be the illusion of a larger space.

Ah, but I am not complaining, just explaining. The condo is awesome and the only place it has that hospital smell is in the foyer by the elevator, could be the cleaning products that are used. I love that the hallway to my unit is hotel-typical and the number on my door is a shiny circle of imitation brass. Hotel living at its best, but much less expensive.

Other perks include: in-floor heat, underground parking, dishwasher, stacking washer/dryer hidden in kitchen, storage room in suite and another near parking space….

The landlord is another story – the male counterpart to the team of owners is the “Mr. Fixit” of the investment properties. He comes with a big tool bag and is a personable fellow, but his fix- it skills are nil. I am not sure if this is on purpose to scare me so I never call again or what.

Case in point: day one – no hot water at all in the tub. He tried several things, called a friend, and finally had it half fixed, saying he was out of tape and would return to fix now-loose faucet. Never returned.

I mentioned that a warped lid to the  dispenser in the dishwasher should be added to ‘damages in suite’ list. I also mentioned that it must have touched the heat element but it was still totally in working order. Instead of adding it to list, Mr. Fix-it took it with him. I have never seen it or a replacement since. Sigh!

Next: toilet handle stuck when flushed. I thought this was minor to fix. The F Man was here for several hours, ended up with water everywhere and left a toilet that ran non-stop and leaked from the tank to the floor as a bonus. And he never came back. After waiting two weeks, I emailed and asked if they could call a certified plumber. Have not heard back. But he IS a really personable fellow. I just wish his current choice of careers was manager. If he could manage to call a plumber, I would appreciate it.

~~~~~~

A Moving Day….

Move-in day was… there are no words to describe it, at least not briefly. I hired a guy off Kijiji for the big move. He said ‘one price, no surprises’ and gave me a quote. I replied that it was too low and added 50%.

On the day of the move, he said he might not be able to move it all in one trip. I said two trips then. He said he only did one unless we re-negotiate the price. I said, right – negotiate back to the original amount! He said he was a family man. I said I was a senior….

Of course it all fit in his trailer with room for lots more and we headed to the condo complex. BTW – he was 26.

Kijiji Man said he was going to move everything over the balcony into the unit. Out comes Condo KOP (Keeper of Policies) to tell him, “Not! Against condo rules!”

K-Man yells some profanities and C-KOP says, “Not open for discussion. Against the rules!”  Intrepid Woman takes K-Man aside and says, “Sorry, must follow rules. I know they suck, but I have to live here”; then takes C-KOP aside and says, “Sorry! I found this crazy guy on Kijiji!”

K-Man moved my belongings in so fast, through the front door, that I was running behind him, picking up the things that were falling out of boxes. AND I had to deal with the meeters and  greeters who lined up to watch all my earthly possessions being moved in. It is ‘An Occasion’ for residents. They were dressed in their Sunday best, (it was Sunday,) and they watched each piece of furniture move through the doors. I was introduced and shook hands and will never remember who any of them were as I was hot and sweaty and attempting to keep K-Man away from C-KOP.

For the first time in my life, I questioned my lack of interest in material possessions. As my white princess dresser from when I was 15 and my metal bed frame that I took out of a friend’s garbage 30 years ago passed through the line of seniors, I was a bit embarrassed. Then came the flowered sofa from the Sears catalogue about 30 years ago. Everyone was quiet until K-Man walked through with my saddle.

“Nice saddle!” one woman said. “Yes, nice saddle!”, said another. Then C-KOP asked, “Do you have a horse?”  “Uh, no…”  Later, I decided it is time to donate my saddle to a ranch where they have kids’ camps, near Longview. Freckles would like that.

K-Man finished in record time and headed into the condo. I side-tracked him out to the front sidewalk. We stood there. He said, “You know it’s cash, eh?”

“Yes,” I said as I pulled out a pile of neatly folded twenties from my pocket. He left and I walked very briskly into my new domain and locked the door.

Later that day, a sheaf of papers was slipped under my door – ”Rules from the Condo Board.”  Condo KOP stopped me a day later to mention the two stained glass pieces I had propped in my windows. “Not allowed” she said. “Did you read the rules I left under your door?”   “No”, I replied. “I have been busy moving.”

Did I mention – I LOVE my new place. Really.

~~~~~~~~~~

I thank my ex-husband for . . .

4 things. No, Jim, David and Dean do not have a sister I never mention. (It is MY sister I never mention.)

On my list of fave things from my ex is #4 – the egg in the hole.

This culinary delight was explained to me by a 20-year-old, red-haired and freckled boy scout leader who had cooked many of these over open fires at numerous scout camps. If you have not had one, you are missing a great wonder of the world. I have been a fan since 1968.

Since moving into ‘the home’, I have been craving an ‘egg in the hole’.  Because it is very light and bright at 5 am and I do not have room darkening curtains, I am up prowling around for a few hours before work every day. Today is a holiday, so I made some Tim Horton’s coffee, added a little chocolate and started thinking about an egg in the hole.

With great excitement and giddy anticipation, I realized that I could actually cook one, have it for breakfast and not run out the door to work. So I did it. In my wonderful U-shaped kitchen of convenience, I got out the teflon fry pan, a small glass, margarine (made from olive oil), one slice of bread, a knife and an egg. Life is good when you live in ‘the home’! I added Adam Lambert as a garnish.

Recipe for those who’ve never been a boy scout: butter the bread lightly on both sides. Use glass to cut a circle out of the middle of the bread. Lay slice in heated pan with cut out right next to it. Break egg gently into the hole in the slice. Cook for a few minutes and then flip both slice and cut out. It is up to you whether you want it over-easy, sunny-runny or cooked firm. Remove to plate and cut into bite size pieces. If you feel really adventurous, add jam to all or just to the round cutout for a sweet treat.

Add juice or coffee to the place mat, “Jeramiah was a Bullfrog” for ambiance and enjoy! I forgot to mention that the knife is useful to pull the cutout of bread out of the glass after you have forced it in there….

My friend’s mom is in her 80s and has isolated herself from her family and 99 percent of her friends. She is a feisty little lady who thinks the world has done her wrong and everyone she knows is out to take advantage of her ‘good nature’.  The problem is, she is getting forgetful and mixes up facts more each day. My friend is in a dilemma because, what can she do? I have no idea. Her mom refuses to move to a seniors’ lodge and lives alone in her house. Some days she does not answer the phone and some weeks she does not speak to another living soul except her television.  Sometimes she does not even answer her door.

I wonder how many seniors end up like that? I also wonder what can be done about it? Is there a point where a relative can step in and ‘help’ the person by moving them to a safer living situation without their cooperation? I remember an elderly lady a few years ago in Blairmore who passed away and no one found her for a few days. That is so sad. I hope I never withdraw from my family and friends like that. I expect I will be the other way – a total burden on everyone and a royal pain in the ass. I would expect the same from any of them in return. Ha! Ha!

Happier thoughts – Tonight I am in my church in Bellevue where I live alone on days off and cannot bother a soul by turning Hall and Oats up to concert level. Oh Yeah! Windows are open to enjoy the mountain air and I don’t have neighbors on either side to complain about my taste in music – as if they should! Hall and Oates are the BEST! I love walking to all their best tunes. I really have to hoof it to keep up to their beat. “Private eyes are watching you….”

So, it is just me, my blow-up bed, Hall and Oates and Mac. No alarm clock and the blinds are down to keep out the early morning light; I am wearing pink fuzzy socks so I don’t wake up cold during the night, and I suddenly feel like dancing. Oops! I was gearing down for bedtime and the combination of pink and fuzzy and Hall and Oates has just inspired me to dance a little and sing a lot.

There is no doubt that I am turning into a crazy old lady. I wonder if my kids have started talking to each other about moving me into a seniors’ building for my own safety?

One of my favorite poems has always been the one about getting old and wearing purple with a red hat…. Well, today I wore purple with bright green and added a scarf of multi colors. I still know my name and can sing about 500 songs, word for word, so I think I still have a few good years left!


Historically Speaking

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