Wit - no wisdom?

Some things are just plain funny, and it doesn't matter if we learn a lesson from them...therefore, I shall plow ahead and tell the stories without any particular purpose but to share them. I do hope that you laugh (or at least smile).

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

My doctor says I am typical.  Actually, every health care person in my life says I am typical.  I earned this label by asking questions about bothersome changes in my health.  The answer has become standard, "this is typical for your age."  Thank you very much, I am so grateful to be typical.  To be aged. 

Thus begins the standard reaction to my bothersome issues - grease it up.  Dry eyes?  Wash your eyes out every morning.  Follow this with special viscous eye drops, the ones that cost $25 for a months' supply.  Blink profusely for about an hour before you can actually read the morning paper.  Use less expensive eye drops all day, especially if you are indoors, or outdoors, or active, or not.  Use the expensive drops again towards the late afternoon, then at night pull down your lower lid and smudge greasy stuff (about $12 a tube) into your eyes and hope you can find your way to the bed. 

This is just the eyes.  Let's move on to the skin.  Do you like the appearance of dry crepe?  I don't.  But it is typical for your age.  Try more lotion, more often.  Special face lotion.  A different one for around the eyes (delicate area).  Different hand lotion.  Legs and arms get something else.  Cracked heels cream.  Coat your hair - it's dry! 

Nails and cuticles so dry they crack and hurt?  Oil them.  A lot.  Of course you can't touch anything for a while, but try to do it when you are not busy.  Not busy?  I'm constantly busy creaming and oiling up my body parts.

Brown spots.  Where the heck did they come from?  Are those my mother's hands?  No, they are mine, and now there is a twice daily cream added to the back of my hands to try to "diminish the appearance of brown age spots".  Lovely. 

I'm not even going to go into the greasing up of "other parts", let's save ourselves the "ugh".

Now I know why we sleep less as we age.  It's because we need more hours in the day to organize the order and application of our lotions, creams and gels.  And believe me, the order you put them on is important - you want to finish with the hands, because if you get going with that before you've done all the others you have to wash your hands and lose a step.  And believe me, you are washing your hands more frequently because they have to be clean to put on all the products.  And that makes your hands drier, so use more hand cream. 

I also need more time to organize my products.  Because when my eyes are blurry with goup, I have to grab for things without really seeing them clearly, which means the hemmorhoid cream could end up on the back of my hands for the whole brown spot thing.  These tubes can look alike when you are squinting through greasy crud.

I might just have to sleep in a vat of crisco.  But, that would be typical for my age, and I am typical.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow Treasure

1978 found me quite pregnant, awaiting the birth of our first child during a very cold January.  I was already on maternity leave from teaching, having finished up at Christmas time.  First time mothers are either confidant or petrified, although I prefer to think they are all petrified, but can’t admit it.  My darkest hours were literally at night, Tom sleeping innocently in our bedroom, me in the bathroom for the umpteenth pee of the night, in the solitude of our little brick home, peering out the window into the night, wondering how in the heck this baby was coming out of me.  It sounded ludicrously impossible.  We hadn’t attended Lamaze class; Tom is not a candidate for any discussion of any sort of a medical intervention, mole removal and pregnancy included.  I was doomed to conjure up circumstances that would literally scare the maternity pants off of even the most stalwart woman, which I apparently was not.
January 28th was a Sunday and another day of waiting.  Watching the snow coming down and the thermometer drop, Tom and I realized we were in for quite a big storm.  Little did we know when we went to bed that Emily was attempting her appearance. 
At that time we lived literally a half block from the hospital.  Looking out our back door we could see the emergency room entrance, across the alley, and then across the street.  It didn’t seem far, good for us, we thought. 
More snow, deeper, faster, big flakes, cold, cold winds.  Not a storm, a blizzard at this point.  Good old fashioned winter, like the one we have now.  My bag was packed, as I was told to have it ready for “whenever I went into labor” whatever that meant to a not-too-informed person (me).  I’m not sure exactly what time I awoke, it seemed like maybe it was shortly after I fell asleep, and an excruciating pain seemed to be grinding me in the back.  It didn’t come in waves as I thought it would,  it came and stayed, gripping me like a vise, to be honest.  I decided to tell Tom that “it was time”, that age-old phrase.
Tom jumped into action, loaded my bag and me into the car, raised the garage door and gaped at the already quite high snow.  At the time he was driving a VW Scirrocco, quite the sports car, and he managed to back out of the driveway, onto the street and drive a few feet before it became obvious that we wouldn’t make it around the block to the hospital that way.  Fortunately I had put on my snow boots.  Out of the car, back to the house, Tom trying to find someplace to park the car on the street now, since he wasn’t certain he could get it back into the garage. 
We decided to walk through the back yard, across the alley, the parking lot, down the entrance ramp and into the emergency room.  That sounds like a short walk, but with twenty extra pounds wobbling on my then small body and something kicking me in the back the whole way, the foot of snow seemed to be more like sinking sand then pleasant fluffy stuff.  The wind made it unbearably cold. We made it, obviously.
Too many details of births are unnecessary reiterations of mothers, but suffice to say, my doctor decided pretty quickly on a C-section, the place was fairly deserted, I have no idea where Tom went to wait, and soon enough I was counting backwards from 100 to 99 to 98 to “you had a girl, what will her name be?  Was I pregnant?  I thought I was just sleeping, dreaming, drifting.  “Emily Susan” I finally recalled.  It was after 2 am in the morning, so her birthday would be Monday, January 29.  Monday’s child is full of grace.  
Sweetly, in the recovery room was a familiar face, a friend who was an RN,  a bonus.  She coaxed me out of my fog and gave me a run down on what to expect, how things had gone, etc.  When I was able to leave recovery and be placed in a room there was Tom, cradling a little gift so sweet it made me hold my breath in awe of the scene.  A tall man, holding a tiny bottle, and attempting to get Emily’s tiny mouth to suck on it.  Wow seems like a dumb word for that moment, but it was wow to me.  Or maybe I said “Yikes”.
One full week later, yes, in 1978 you had a week to recover from a C-section, Emily Susan was sent home with me, all 5 lbs 14 oz of her.  All week the temperatures had been between 0 and 10 degrees, more snow fell, and a wintry grip was maintained on our little corner of the world.  Tom was directed to bring me one of the new blankets for Emily; he managed to bring a receiving blanket, which caused the discharge nurse to have quite a snort.  But he did warm up the car sufficiently so the little dear didn’t even notice.  I was just thankful we didn’t have to walk home. 
From that day, everything changed, didn’t it?  A treasure arrived, out of the blizzard, into our hearts.  Corny; yes, you bet.  Very, very corny.  We loved her then, and even more now, that treasure from the snow.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Underpants sometimes fit better when you put them on backwards.
Swimming pools are giant bathtubs that you do not drain but must keep immaculately clean at all times.
Dogs are antidotes to boredom.
This morning I discovered accidentally that my underpants fit better when I put them on backwards.  It does make sense though, considering the shifting of my innards.  My back side is sliding down and becoming part of my thighs, and my lower belly jilts and tilts outward awkwardly, obliterating what used to be my slim waistline.  So go for it girls, try your underpants on backwards.  If you’re anything like me, it might be a revelation.  I couldn’t speak for men on this topic, they’ll have to discover their own truth.
Don’t put in a swimming pool.  Really, don’t.  We didn’t, but we did buy a home that already had a pool, and all we could say was okay, we’ll figure that out.  You can’t imagine how much time and money an in ground swimming pool can swallow down its main drain, not to mention the skimmer, both of which you will pay to tear up and replace, along with filters, pumps and sundry equipment.  Today I had the pleasure of hanging out down there after a typical rainstorm where literally thousands of leaves were blown into the pool, along with twigs and acorns.  It is late September, so we are obviously not swimming, but the pool is still open and a maintenance nightmare.  Just in case you were planning on putting in a pool or even wondering how nice that would be…STOP.  Please, before you go do something you will always regret, think of this.  Imagine owning a giant bathtub.  You fill it once, and the water is pricey, indeed.   For months you all take a bath in it, without ever draining the tub.  Now imagine the immense amount of work to keep that giant bathtub clean, without draining it, even though lots of people use it and many things fall into it.  Are you starting to get the picture?  First, you dump huge amounts of environmentally unfriendly chemicals into it, which cost about the same amount as your monthly electric bill.  Then you jack up your monthly electric bill by “filtering” the water regularly to keep it free of debris, while it is OUT IN THE OPEN SITTING IN YOUR BACK YARD WITH TREES AROUND IT.  Did I mention the debris?  A pretty little leaf, blown by a sweet wind towards the pool edge, and you find yourself lurching towards it to prevent it from becoming part of the never ending pool cleaning scene…yes that ten minute swim sure felt good, didn’t it?  Right after the ninety minute maintenance session.  Final tip – join a pool, take a shower, or if you must, must put in a pool, make sure it is indoors.  But that’s another story, and those who have an indoor pool will have to give their version of the Giant Bathtub Escapades.
We currently have four dogs; let’s call them the leftovers, from when we had seven dogs.  No matter what else I have on my calendar, I always have the daily antics and activities of the group.  We have rescued elderly, disabled, or otherwise unwanted dachshunds.  Not a winner in the bunch, sorry, pups.  Don’t try lying in bed in the morning, because the barking begins at dawn.  Someone has to go out, or at least, they bark because they barked yesterday at dawn, so it must be the same, right?  A slight linger in bed can be disastrous; Roxie can’t hold back on anything (old war injury) so you’ll be cleaning that up as you let the others out.  During breakfast they will take turns going in and out, except for when they lick Tom’s cereal bowl, which he makes a huge production of, and frankly, is gross.  I just woke up for heaven’s sake, stop annoying me!  Once Tom leaves for the office more barking until I feed them, it’s a choreographed dance to feed four prancing pixies, one of whom might poop again, because she is so excited and can’t hold it…clean up again.  Next, do the laundry which consists largely of dog blankets and rags from clean up.  Take out the smelly poop garbage.  Dogs take turns going out again, after all they just ate.  I can’t get anything done around here!  Nor can I read the paper or check emails without punctuations of barking and the going in and going out scene again.  To spare you the details, this goes on all day.  And just in case you think it ends when they finally go to bed, no, it doesn’t.  Most nights there is a spate of barking, unpredictable, but you better get up and check it out.  Possible causes:  Daphne got her head caught in a hole in the blanket, Roxie pooped again and they are all grossed out until you clean it up, Max growled at somebody but no one knows why, so they all bark, or a leaf dropped outside and they all woke up to tell us about it.  I actually think toddlers who wouldn’t stay in bed were more tolerable, although I admit I did find that exasperating.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Everyone reads articles that begin with the headline “Research Shows…” so there you have it. Don’t let the fact that the research at hand is personal to myself only deter you from tapping into this important announcement…couples who are Baby Boomers need to learn all over again how to talk to each other. My inner Goddess says so, and I’m certain my gal friends will agree.

Yesterday while performing my twenty minute hygiene ritual I discovered something new. I have wrinkles on my ear lobes now, which I am sure were not there yesterday. I know because I have to use a 10X magnifying mirror to even see my face (to put in the eye drops required by my aging condition called dry eye) and to put on even a dab of lipstick. Are ear lobes that heavy, that gravity pulls them down? I thought mine were rather dainty (and I have seen some big ones, even on women). Now I’m not talking about a crease here, that is natural, and many people have creased ear lobes. These things on both my ears are decidedly wrinkles. I have come to know wrinkles when I see them (or craters, canals or cracks which are better names for them).

For a moment I studied them, trying to decide if having pierced ears was the cause (one single hole in each ear, since I was 16?). Then I thought maybe I should stop wearing earrings at all, it may just draw attention to the new wrinkles. After a deep sigh I moved on, readying myself for church.

In the car on the way to church I remarked to my husband, “This morning I found wrinkles on my ear lobes.” Tom glanced in my direction and said “You’re right, but don’t worry about them. It’s time for us to forget about those things and only worry about big things.”

What? What? What? Are you kidding me? One glance from three feet away and he could see them? I pulled my hair over my ears and turned, looking out of the passenger window, trying to figure out how his vision was still so good when I’ve been counting down the days until the eye doctor says I need cataract surgery (last time I was there she said, “not yet”). I dwelled on his comment about letting go of the little things for about one millisecond, whatever that amount is.

Thus, my instant conclusion from my own in-depth research: Baby Boomer couples need new communication skills for this stage of our lives.

Here’s an improved conversation:

She says, “This morning I found wrinkles on my ear lobes.” He says, “I doubt it, you hardly have any wrinkles anywhere, why would your little sweet ear lobes get wrinkled? Maybe you stayed in the shower too long, or you’re having an allergic reaction to a new shampoo?” She says, “You’re right, it must be a mistake. I’ll throw out my mirror and get a new one.”

Let’s clarify something about Baby Boomers before we go any further. Baby Boomers are technically people born from 1946 through 1964. Now I’m sorry, folks, but 1964? You’ve got to be kidding me. They are in their mid-forties now and they had no experiences like we did, navigating tremendous cultural change otherwise known as the late Sixties and early Seventies. We went to college when girls and boys were separated in dorms with house mothers, sign in sheets, panty raids (what the heck was that?) and dresses mandatory at certain times and emerged from college with war protests, co-ed dorms, co-ed lifestyles, plenty of experimentation- - am I making my case here? (If you were born in 1964 I am not dismissing you, I’m just saying I can’t accept that you have lived the true Baby Boomer experience. Find another name for your group, please. I have no suggestions.

Anyway – I think I’m on to something here with my research. Every few years I re-invent myself and come up with something else to do to keep me occupied, i.e., prevent me from finding signs of aging on myself. I’ve decide to gear up a training program for Baby Boomer couples. I’ll keep the price reasonable; after all, the darn recession has ruined our retirement prospects for the most part. I’ll throw in some yoga for free (that’s another story) and I’ll guarantee results, or you can take the class again. And again. There are some stubborn Baby Boomers out there.

Believe me, after this experience I will hold my tongue when looking at the top of my husband’s head. There isn’t much there to talk about, so I just won’t say a thing. Although it’s possible if I say something he won’t hear me…

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pappy and the Snake - a tale for children or your inner child

[editor's note: pictures of this story are not yet available...stay tuned...]

"Uh, oh," said Pappy. "A doggie is barking and won't stop. Nana, why don't you go outside and see what is going on?"

"I can't right now" said Nana, I am cooking our dinner and trying to talk on the phone to our son. "Why don't you go out?"

"Arggghhhhh" said Pappy, but he went out.

"It's a snake, there's a snake in the fence!!" shouted Pappy when he returned to the kitchen.

"Well then, bring in the dog, and I'll take care of it after dinner" said Nana. "Okay", said Pappy.

After dinner, Nana quickly cleaned up half of the dishes then left the pots and pans to soak. It was getting dark, so she thought she should check on that snake soon.

"Uh, oh" Nana said to herself when she saw the snake; he was caught up in the fence netting and looked terrible, but was still alive. He was pretty big, and awfully scary. But Nana knew she had to try to free him from the netting.

"Ugh" she thought. "What should I do?". Meanwhile, Pappy was watching the news and the weather.

Nana got out two barbecue tools with long handles, and a scissors. Her plan was to try to hold the snake's mouth away from her while she tried to cut him free. That might work!

Outside, Nana could see she would have a big job ahead. The snake was very close to dying, and yet he still could bite, couldn't he? Nana knew she needed help, and looked around the neighborhood to see who might be there. A noise from across the street - Mr. Rogers! He can help! Nana didn't want to "bother" Pappy with this whole snake business, after all, he had a busy day at work.

Just then it started to rain, rather hard. Nana and the snake were getting soaked, so Nana went down the hill as fast as she could to get Mr. Rogers. Her shoes fell off in the wet grass! But Nana kept going, barefoot and holding the barbecue fork and spatula and scissors, and rang Mr. Roger's doorbell.

Mr. Rogers is always a big help, and sure enough he put on his raincoat right away and trudged up the hill after Nana. He was puffing a little, but he made it! They passed Nana's wet shoes on the way.

Poor Mr. Snake! He was tangled even worse. "He's pretty long" said Mr. Rogers, but he's a good snake, so we'll help him. I'm glad he's not a copperhead snake. "Me, too" said Nana.

Mr. Rogers went right to work. He took the barbecue fork and pinned Mr. Snake's head down to the ground, not too tight, but just enough to hold him. Then he put the spatula on his head, gently, and said to Nana, "hold this steady while I try to free him. He shouldn't be able to move with the fork and spatula in place". Nana did as she was told, and Mr. Rogers went right to work, with his pocket knife, cutting gently away every little bit of mesh that was strangling Mr, Snake. Nana's scissors weren't needed. Mr. Roger's pulled the snake's long tail out and checked it all over for any more mesh. He was free!!!

Just then, the front door of the house burst open, and Pappy came out! "Hi, Shorty (that was Mr. Rogers first name)! I would have come out and helped but it started to rain!"

Nana couldn't believe her ears...is THAT why he didn't come out to help? Oh, that makes sense! She thought it was because he didn't like snakes. But, no, Pappy didn't like the rain.

Mr. Rogers didn't seem to notice Nana's surprising look, but he took the snake (carrying it with the barbecue fork) over towards the woods, and said "get going, fellow!".

Nana and Mr. Rogers talked a little more about the big rescue, and both went home feeling glad that they could help out Mr. Snake. Nana did get her shoes back, too.

So THAT is the TAIL of PAPPY and the SNAKE!!!!!

Watch for our series of stories: Pappy and the Mouse, Pappy and the Broken Air Conditioner, Pappy and the Bat, etc.