Thursday, March 31, 2022

Being Prepared! It's a Good Thing

 Now, I'm not being morbid. We all die. But, some folks just won't even think about it so they make no plans. Then they are gone.... and their kids are running around, blowing their noses, tears streaming down their faces, trying to keep a stiff upper-lip while they are going crazy trying to find Mama's will or her cemetery papers. They have no idea if she has a favorite song, and what in the world will they bury her in. That's a lot to put on grieving children. 

                                        And, I am not gonna do it!

I got me one of those portable file carry thingys. I labeled the compartments and everything that my kids will need when they go to plan my funeral is right there. 

There's my will, my DNR (do not resuscitate), cemetery papers ( I have a pre-paid plan). I put in the car title (I don't know if they will need that, but probably so) and my marriage license. My power of attorney and even a list of how I want to be treated if or when I get to where I can no longer care for myself. That's important. These kids don't have a clue what you want. Have you ever told them? Did they even hear you? 

And, of course, there's the passwords to my phone, my computer etc, etc. etc. (They'll be updated regularly. Not my choice, you know what I mean) 

My bank acct. #  oh heck, I could go on and on. You can find online a list of what you should have in place in the case of your demise! 

Many of you remember Leslie, my partner of 5 years after my husband passed away. That man wouldn't get rid of one thing! And, he knew where his important papers were but nobody else. What a mess he left. I hope that's not the last memory that his children have of their dad. "Well, good ole Dad just put us on a scavenger hunt, didn't he?" 

But, what I am trying to get across here is... it's gonna come whether we like it or not. Please don't leave your grieving children with the task of tearing your house apart, looking for this or that, while they are in such a terrible shock. I think that's the cruelest thing a parent can do to their child/children. 

Oh, and a side note: If I ever have a fire or have to evacuate for any reason all I gotta do is grab up that file box and it goes with me. I intend to put a couple (or more) hundred dollars in there, in case I need gas or a snack or something. 

Monday, March 28, 2022

Mama, Where Are You?

 Two of my daughters just spent a week at Universal in Orlando. It was a spring-break for one of the grandsons sort of trip. 

Anyway, the daughter that lives near me (I won't tell her name.... but you all remember Shirley, don't you?) She's the type that if she can't get ahold of her Mama it's panic time.

I don't always hear my phone. My word, old people's hearing isn't what it used to be. But, if I don't answer she thinks I have fallen down a flight of stairs or choked myself to death on a tater tot. So, she calls the other daughter in New York to see if she knows where I am. Like Susan would have any idea where I am or what I am doing. My gosh, she's 800 miles away! 

So, like I say. These two are off having a grand ole time and I had not one call from either girls.... all week long! I mean I could have fallen down that flight of stairs for all they knew. 

Isn't it funny how your priorities change when you are the one out having fun?

I had a great week. I felt free as a bird. No phone calls, no one checking up on me. But, if I had fallen I might have wished one of them had been on that phone checking on why I didn't answer. 

Friday, March 25, 2022

Happy Friday


Half the time I have no idea what day of the week it is.
They are all so alike anymore. 

But, I do know that today is Friday. The sun is shining and that makes me happy.
Hope you are happy wherever you are, too. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

"The Wife Upstairs"

 Recently, my Susan sent me a package with three books in it. She does audio, I usually read on my kindle so having a physical book in hand felt good. 

I tell you, gals, you really need to read this one. It's easy read but will keep you guessing and wondering and it gets time to go to sleep and you can't put it down! Yeah, it's one of those kinds of books. 

A story of a out-of-luck gal running from 'something' from her past. So, she starts walking dogs for people in this ritzy part of Birmingham. 

I lived a large portion of my life just 35 miles from Birmingham so I could figure out where everything was taking place. That's fun when you are familiar with the setting of a book.

Anyway, she starts walking this handsome dude's dog for him. He's rich, lives in a big house, newly widowered. (is that a word?) She ends up moving in with him... and I am not going to tell you any more. Or it will spoil the surprises for you. So, read it if you like mystery page-turners. 

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Spring Begins

 It's Spring!! 

I am so ready. There is something very special about spring. Everything wakes up from a long winter's nap and starts decorating the world with color. 


Have a Happy Spring,

Friday, March 18, 2022

20 Years Cancer Free

                                                   It's time to CELEBRATE 

20 years ago today (March 18, 2002), I was in the operating room at MCV hospital in Richmond, Va. having a hefty length of my colon removed. I had colon cancer. Had no clue. 

I was supposed to be getting a knee replacement but during pre-op for that, they discovered I was anemic and set about finding out why. 

Well, they found it alright. And, it wasn't fun, I tell you right now. The nurse told me afterwards that I would be shocked to see what all they had to do in there. It 'a'int' been right since!! But, I thank my lucky stars that my knee saved my life. For, if it hadn't have been for that knee surgery that cancer probably wouldn't have been discovered in time. 

After months of chemo, life slowly got back to the normal we were living with at the time. I had a husband, who had Alzheimers, to care for. I always thought God saved me so that I could share my hubby's last years. 

So, today, 20 years later I am celebrating being cancer free. Y'all, having a colonoscopy isn't fun. I know... but it sure as heck beats the alternative. So, get yours!! 

       Here's a picture of my husband taking me for a walk. First time out of the house after my surgery.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Call The Cops!

                                    Today is St. Patrick's Day! Wishing all of you a happy one. 

                                        Boy, did I have some excitement the other night! 

I had been in bed a couple hours (I do go to bed early) when I heard some, what I thought, was loud talking. I looked over at the clock. It was 11:15.  I crawled out of bed and peeked out my balcony doors to see 3 vehicles (2 pickup trucks and a car) sitting lined up in the driveway. Lights on the vehicles, truck lid open on the car... then I spied 4 men milling around some residents cars. Couldn't tell what they were up to. 

Surely they weren't stealing anything since they had RAP music going full-blast from one of their vehicles. 

                     But, this was suspicious and it is private property so I called the police.

After the officer talked to a couple of the guys, all of them left. The three vehicles in the driveway and two cars in the residents parking spots just eased out of the complex. 

You'd think that since I called and reported it, the officer would have been nice enough to tell me what was going on. But, no... he got in his cruiser and left. I have no idea but I hope it doesn't happen again. 

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Laughter Is The Best Medicine


We have a new Comedy Club here at Centerbrooke! Yes, I did sign up. Then I wondered why I did but as we closed our first show last night, I was happy I stuck around for the fun. 

two of the actors discussing their skit.

I was in 3 skits. They were pretty short and since we are in the 'forgetful' stage of life we read our lines from the scripts we held in our hands. No one was making pictures so between my skit activity, I'd sneak around and try to get some shots of us in action. 

A Mom reads a letter she wrote to her son. It appears that neither of them are too bright so it's funny.

Every skit drew laughter and boy, we all need laughter these days, what with the world the way it is. Some of the skits were hilarious and the audience really enjoyed themselves. 
Our emcee

People just haven't been turning out for things here. I think we got so used to being isolated that it's hard to turn around and go in the other direction. Last night we had a large (well, for us anyway) crowd. I know our director/organizer/promoter was more than surprised and excited. 

People getting settled waiting for the performance

The ending skit was performed by the director and her husband. They were in bed and she was trying to get him to get more 'intimate' and every line had a sexual 'overtone' (at least that's where your mind went) but the ending was something totally different and the audience loved it and just howled. 

'But, Honey, you used to kiss me goodnight."

There will be more events for us to be involved in. I heard the director that we have a meeting coming up next month where I suppose we will be making plans. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

We Explore the Cliffs of Moher

 It's cold and windy when we get to the Cliffs of Moher. I mean, it's September but that doesn't mean it can't get cold around here. In fact, this tour is the last one John will conduct until next spring. 

We start up the path to the overlook and, as we walk, we hear some hauntingly beautiful music wafting over the wind. A young Irish lass, all wrapped up against the chill, is sitting on a little stool, her harp hugged tight in her arms. She plucks the strings and the sound is heavenly. She softly sings the old Irish tunes. 

From the overlook we see the moss-covered cliffs rising up from the Atlantic ocean. The view is breathtaking.  

Not far away sits O'Brien's tower so we pay our toll and climb the steps to the top. There are the Aran Islands is in the misty distance. 

And, Nag's Head. The story goes that an old woman lived at Nag's Head (maybe that's where it got it's name). She had a lot of, shall we say 'admirers' and when she tired of a particular suitor, she'd go out and chang the signs to her house. The unlucky fellow would plunge to his death below the cliffs. And, then, I guess, she was on to the next 'victim.'

Now for a bit of tourist info. 

            O'Brien's Tower was built in 1835 and sits atop the highest point of the cliffs. 

                    The 3 very small islands of Aran guard the mouth of Galway Bay. 

The Cliffs of Moher is a favorite tourist attraction bringing in about one and a half million people annually. A lot of movies have been filmed here. Perhaps you saw it and didn't realize what you were looking at. Did you watch 'The Princess Bride'? Or 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince' or perhaps 'Leap Year'. 

We climb aboard the bus once again. Actually we have to wait for Marie as she comes straggling along the very last one. She doesn't want to leave this fascinating place. Frankly, I was happy to get on the warm bus and thaw out my toes and nose.

Lunch is at 'The Lantern', this nice restaurant just sitting beside the road. Irish food is something Marie and I are 'exploring'. For our noon day meal we both order poached salmon with mixed vegetables. Salmon is a very popular fish for the menu here. So, we try it. 

The Lantern (the area) got it's name from one of John Paul Jones' heroic deeds. During the War of 1812 when Jones had slipped away from the British Fleet, he'd moved the lights from his ship and hung them in the trees on the shore to confuse the British. 

So, we head to Killarney.... More about that next time. 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Bunratty Folk Park and an Irish Ceili

Get your passport, pack your bags. We are headed to Ireland this month. Come along and have some fun. 

In 1996 my daughter, Marie, and I flew to Ireland and joined a bus tour for an exciting 10 days of adventure and learning. 

It is a long night. After being up all day and now when I'd love to sleep, the noise in the plane is just too much. I do doze some and once I open my eyes to see the sun rising over the horizon. It looks so different with us being at that altitude and is a sight I'll never forget.

I always thought most of my ancestors had come from Ireland. I love so much about the Irish culture. But my DNA test came back saying I was mostly English. Oh well. There's a drop or two of Irish blood in me. I am sure of it. 

After a very brief rest at the nearby hotel, John, our amazing tour guide/bus driver, loads us up on that big bus and takes us to Bunratty Folk Park. Here is our group of travelers. Marie and I are right in the center of the photo. That's a bunch of us, isn't it? 

Once we arrive at the Park we wander around the grounds waiting for time to gather for the Ceili. There were old thatch-roofed houses to explore showing you what living in Ireland in the mid 1800s must have been like. 

We take pictures on the Bunratty Castle grounds but we didn't go inside. It's our first glimpse of one of the hundreds of castles in Ireland (maybe thousands, I didn't count them). This one was built in 1425. That just blows my mind...

 I am surprised to see a bride and groom coming down the path having a wedding photo shoot. What a place to have a wedding!

Then it was time for the Ceili. We all troop into a large room set up with long wooden tables and benches. As soon as we are seated, servers start at the end of each table with large bowls nestled in their arms and lift spoonfuls of yummy Irish fare onto our plates and bowls. We have our picture taken with our server. 

As we eat, we are entertained by a variety of musicians, all dressed in Irish costumes, playing the fiddle, the flute, the bagpipe and the bhadran, a flat drum held in the hand. (picture from the internet of a rhadran and a fiddle below).

There are pretty Irish lasses dancing jigs and singing songs and you can't help getting into the Irish spirit. It didn't hurt one bit, either, that we have wine with our meal. (grin)

Worn out after such wonderful food, music and being on serious jet-lag still, we are happy to arrive at our bed and breakfast, Brookfield, in the town of Killarney. 

Hannah, our hostess, greets us at the door. She is jolly and such fun. Just like I think Irish are. Parts of our group are deposited at various places to sleep as we travel the countryside. No place big enough for us all in one location until we arrive in Dublin. 

Brookfield is sitting on a little hill. Across the road are mass graves, victims of the potato famine.  Such a tragic time for Ireland, that potato famine was! Next morning, I miss Marie and find her standing amidst the tombs and weeds paying her respects to those gone on. 

We climb back on the bus and head to the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. 

(check back for more tales of our Irish adventure)

Friday, March 4, 2022

Living Life To The Fullest

 For the past several years I have been interested in learning to 'live life to the fullest'. There are so many misconceptions about aging so I have read, studied, absorbed all I could about how I could age gracefully. 

My daughter Susan sent me a link to Maria Shriver's Summitt on Aging and I signed up right away. It's been online all this week, 2 sessions per day and I have sat taking notes and loving it all. Well, not all but most. Alas, today is the last day. It was free if you watched it this week, you can pay if you wish to have it available permanently. If I'd had any idea it was going to be so insightful, I would have sent you a link before it happened but I didn't. Sorry. 

Being 88 there are times I feel really old. Other times I feel energized and ready to go on a new adventure. I guess that's common. But, I learned that 80% of how we are at this age depends on us. On our mindset and our willingness to reinvent ourselves. Of course, there's the other 20%, genetics, environmental, accidents, etc that we can't control. 

I am so inspired right now and I don't intend to lose that if I can possibly help it. There was a 95 year old woman on there who is in an aging study. She was delightful. There was Goldie Hawn. I always thought of her as that ditzy blonde on Laugh-in. Had no idea she has a foundation to teach children how their brain functions and how to deal with stress and other issues. So, I have a new respect for her. There was William Shatner. Did you know he was 90!! When was it he went up in space? Just recently. He has a new album out, is taking the family to Hawaii in a couple months, fell off a horse a couple weeks ago while out riding. And, he is a big advocate for those wheel chairs in airports for getting around. He was so funny. 90!! What an inspiration.

There were expert on aging, nutrition, genetics, so much more. I loved it. I am ready for a new chapter in my life. How about you?

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Our Comedy Hour

 A couple weeks ago we residents got notice that if we were interested in joining a comedy club to meet in the community room. Well, I wander down there, say 'Yes, sign me up' and I am feeling excited.

Later we meet to get our scripts and practice. Yep, we are going to put on a Comedy Hour which will consist of 12 short skits aimed for the older generation's funny bone. 

To begin with I had been assigned as narrator. But, I get scripts for 3 of the skits.. What! I am going to be in THREE of them. Oh Lordy. 

I am sitting there watching everyone mill around, One of my scripts is the wrong one, a fellow is trying to get the microphone to work and the lady in charge is about as ditzy as Lucy! I keep thinking, 'What did I do? Why am I here? I wonder if it's too late to run.' 

But, I've stuck it out and it's beginning to take shape. We rehearse twice a week and I think we are getting better. Some of the skits are so funny, even if the delivery lacks finesse. 

Here's a shorten version of one of the skits:

Wife is nagging husband. ''Hon, will you fix the washing machine. It's been broken for weeks." at which he replies "Do you see Westinghouse written on my forehead?"  

Wife: It's so dark in here. Please fix that light switch

Husband: "Do you see General Electric written on my forehead?'

Wife: Well, at least fix that broken front step. Somebody's gonna get hurt.

Husband: 'Do you see Home Depot written on my forehead?'

So, he gets in the car and leaves. But, he feels bad so he goes back. As he's going up the steps he notices that they are fixed. Inside the house the lights are on and the washing machine is going. 

Husband: 'how did all that get fixed?'

Wife: I was sitting on the front step crying when this nice young man came by and asked me what was wrong. I told him and he said he'd fix it all if I would either go to bed with him or bake him a cake.

Husband: 'What kind of cake did you bake?'

Wife: "Do you see Betty Crocker written on my forehead?'

So I guess things will turn out alright. Now, if we can just get someone to come see us 'perform'.