You’re As Old As You Are

Age

It’s said that old age is not for the faint of heart. It’s not easy getting old and, especially, being old.

My mother tells me that she hates being old every time I talk to her. She said she envies those who didn’t have to endure old age.

I know other old people, however, and they’re happy and grateful for every day, even though they have health problems and their friends and relatives are dying.

I remember being 21 and having a boyfriend who was 29. When I asked him his age, he said, “I’m as old as time.” Next year, I’ll be double the age he was when he said that. I wonder how he’d categorize being 58. He’d probably say that I was “old as dirt.”

I work in an office where everyone is in their 20s or early 30s. The CEO is the only person who has hit the 40 mark. To everyone there, I am a relic … but a well-shod relic. I do like shoes.

It’s also said that age is just a number and you’re as young as you feel. Age may just be a number, but let’s not fool ourselves. You’re as old as you are. How you act at that age is up to you.

I heard a funny line the other day, “How can I act my age? I’ve never been this age before.”

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Don’t Fart in a Puffer Coat

As a public service announcement to all of you out there who are about to start shopping for winter coats, you should know that puffer coats grab onto smells, absorb them, and hold on like a baby to a pacifier.

I went to a Korean-barbecue restaurant the other night and came out smelling like I had never left. My coat drank in the pungent scents and retained them like water. It’s two days later and that coat still reeks.

Which brings me to some other aromas that will stick to your coat like glitter to anything: body odor, bodily gases, perfume, and cooking smells. Basically anything that your nose can sense will move into your coat and start unpacking immediately.

My husband has asked me not to wear my puffer coat until it’s stink-free. He came at me today with a bottle of Febreze but I wouldn’t let him spray my coat for fear of staining it. So, for now, it’s hanging outside in the yard. I hope there’s nothing smelly out there. Wearing a skunk coat would really stink.

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Photo from kohls.com

People With Dementia Shouldn’t Tell Lies

OmaUndOpa-ganzI know an elderly couple who both appear to have the beginnings of dementia, or at least short-term memory loss. Visiting them is interesting, because every time I go to their house, the conversation is the same as last time, but it’s new to them. When they tell me, for the 17th time, that their son and his family are planning to visit them, they’re just as excited as when they told me the first time, because, to them, they just heard the news.

Their short-term memory loss goes in and out, though. Sometimes one or the other will remember something that happened recently, but then he or she will immediately forget the memory.

The other day, the wife called me. “Did you send us something?” she asked. “A box arrived here today.” I had sent them a down comforter for Christmas, but I had only ordered it online the day before, so I did not expect it to arrive in one day. It’s interesting how, when you need something to arrive during Amazon’s two-day delivery window, it doesn’t, but when you’re not in a rush, the thing almost materializes at its destination.

Anyway, I told her that she should open the box on Christmas. “Oh, don’t worry,” she said. “I won’t open it until then.” Then we talked about other things and, as I was about to hang up, she said, “We got the prettiest down comforter today and it looks so nice on our bed. I wonder who sent it.”

“I told you that the present was from me,” I said. “And you said you hadn’t opened it.”

“Oh,” she said. “I didn’t open it. We’re saving it for Christmas.”

“Great!” I said.

I mean, really, what else could I have said?

 

 

 

 

Yankee Manager Candidate Rundown

Yankee Manager Candidate Rundown

Reblogged from New York Sports Roundup. Please share if you want to continue the conversation!

New York Sports Roundup

There is a ton of buzz surrounding the Yankees prospective new manager, and there have been some of the current coaches, as well as some fan favorite Yankees rumored to be the next manager. While Joe Girardi did a great job managing the team, especially this past season, the Yankees have moved on from him and are now focused on the future. Here are some of the candidates and my take on each one.

John Flaherty-  It was announced this past week that Flaherty expressed interest in being the Yankee manager. Flaherty was the Yankee backup catcher from 2003-2005, and can be remembered for his pinch hit walkoff single in 2004 in a game against the Boston Red Sox that went 13 innings. Flaherty has been no stranger to the Yankees organization after he retired, as he has been a broadcaster for the YES Network since 2006. Flaherty would make…

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Fashion Advice to Younger Women from an Older Woman

If you’ve gotten past that headline and are willing to hear advice from someone who might be significantly older than you are, then you are probably … alone.

When I was young, I would always roll my eyes far back into my head when an older person would give advice or reminisce about the old (better) days. Now I know how dumb I was to not have listened. Why make mistakes that have already been made before? Today, I always listen to advice from someone who has been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt and the rear-window cling. I prefer to avoid as many of life’s pitfalls as possible, so I’ll have plenty of time to make new, never-done-before (to my knowledge), outrageous, creative, fresh mistakes.

So, here’s my advice to take or ignore:

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Mel B 08/12/2015

Bodycon (tight, clingy) clothes should never be worn by anyone who isn’t stick-thin, or who doesn’t have a flat stomach and controlled curves. Otherwise, every roll, cellulite dimple, droopy bottom, and belly bulge will be visible. Always look in a multiple-sided mirror before going out in this type of clothing. Celebrities work hard on their bodies before slipping into bodycon clothes. If you don’t, then don’t.

Speaking of bellies: I know it’s all the rage for women to have abs, but a long, flat, sleek stomach is sexy and looks sleek in tight clothes, whereas defined abs can make a woman in a tight dress look pregnant. One more tip from the old days: Hold in your stomach!

Zippers belong inside clothes, not outside of them. Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 4.35.20 PM.pngI don’t know why this ever became a thing. Some designer probably made a mistake when sewing in a zipper and said, “Hey, let’s give this a try.” And women went along with it, because it was “fashion.” No, it isn’t. It’s stupid and unattractive.

Wear full-coverage underwear that matches your skin tone when wearing white pants. It looks much more respectable than a thong. Thongs don’t hold anything in, remember. It’s all there to see in its droopy, dimply state. And thongs look tacky when you can see them through pants.

Straight-leg ankle pants, including skinny jeans, are not flattering. They’re fashionable now, and I admit to owning several pairs, due to buying some and accidentally shrinking long pants, so we’ll all be wearing them. But, they were hideous in the 1980s and they’re still hideous. Wide-leg shorter pants (called Capris not that long ago) should only be worn in the summer, if ever.

It’s okay to say no to wearing something that is having its fashion minute.Screen Shot 2017-11-06 at 4.12.10 PM Not everything will look good on you. I remember my mother telling me when I was a child that, in the 1950s, she refused to wear the sack dress because it was so ugly. Most women agreed, and abstained.

She also said that most women refused to wear midi skirts in the 1970s because they cut the leg off at an unattractive point. That was back when there were three lengths in fashion at the same time (which was groundbreaking in that era): mini, midi, and maxi. I think that rule doesn’t apply now, because back then, women mostly wore heels with dresses and skirts, and today boots look great with midis. Converse sneakers, though, not so much.

The last thing I can thing of is cleavage. Stop showing it in the daytime. Period. And if it’s wrinkled, don’t show it … EVER.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If You Could Do It All Over Again …

Back when I was a kid, whenever I came within hearing distance of two or more women talking together, I often heard one of them say something like, “If I knew then what I know now … ,” or “I’d love to be young again, but only if I could have the knowledge I have today.” Occasionally, I’d hear someone ask the other, “If you could do it all over again, would you do it the same way?”

Now, I am one of those women. Actually, I’m probably older than those women were then, by 10 or 20 years. That means that those women were questioning their choices, or were just plain unhappy with them, in their thirties or forties.

In the 1960s and 1970s, in my Irish-Catholic, middle-class neighborhood, women didn’t have as many choices as they do now. Money was tight, education beyond high school was rare, and kids were plentiful. The men made the money and the women stretched it for all it was worth. Women couldn’t get credit on their own. Their economic situation depended entirely on their husbands’ ability to earn.

Not long after, women went to college, got jobs, moved out of their families’ homes, and had mostly-worry-free sex, due to the introduction of birth-control pills. Women supported themselves, traveled, worked, and lived in their own homes with or without a man to whom they were or were not married. Life changed drastically and very quickly. Education and birth-control made this possible.

But, despite these changes, adults still had to make choices and decisions. Some of us got married, some of us had children. Some of us raised our children without working outside the home; some did both, with varying success. Others dedicated our lives to our careers, or that’s the way it turned out, anyway. That was because, even though women had far more options than our mothers did, we didn’t have them all. Sometimes our choices were limited, so we chose between what we were offered. Some people never met a man they wanted to marry. Some women were unable to have children. Some women got the jobs they wanted; others took the jobs they could get.

Even with all of the new opportunities that were offered to us, they weren’t all offered to every one of us. We, like previous generations, did the best with what we we chose from what we were offered.

My friends don’t seem to ask each other the questions that our mothers asked. Maybe that’s because if we don’t like our marriage, we leave it. Or, if we’re unhappy with our job, we look for another. We don’t feel pinned down to choices we made when we were young, or younger.

But, the prevalence of divorce, relocating, changing jobs and/or career paths, depression, homicide and suicide, indicates a great unease with our original decisions. I believe we’re all still asking ourselves if we would have done things differently if we knew how things were going to turn out.

What would you have done differently? Would you have married the same person, had the kids, chosen the career you first decided on? Or, knowing what you know now, and how things played out, would you have gone a totally different route?

A Fly in the Cafeteria

I saw a rumpled, paunchy, balding, middle-aged man in the company cafeteria. His fly’s zipper was down, and part of his shirttail was sticking out through the opening. He had probably just come from the restroom. At least I hoped he had just come from there and hadn’t been walking around in this state all morning.

Being a person who tends to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak, I sidled up to him in the line for the register and whispered, “Your zipper is down.”

He looked at me and then down at his fly. He promptly zipped himself up. Then he looked me up and down and said, rather snidely, “Thank you for noticing.”

You know, some people just don’t want to be helped.

 

via Daily Prompt: Zip

The Trump Chamber

Today, President Trump’s press secretary banned a number of prominent news outlets from his press briefing.

From The New York Times (online): Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.

The behavior of the White House is eerily reminiscent of the Star Chamber, an English court that started out with good intentions but which grew, over the centuries, into a court with endless authority.

From Wikipedia: In modern usage, legal or administrative bodies with strict, arbitrary rulings and secretive proceedings are sometimes called, metaphorically or poetically, star chambers. This is a pejorative term and intended to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the proceedings. ‘Star Chamber’ can also be used in its original meaning, for instance when a politician uses parliamentary privilege to attack a powerful organisation or person. …

The power of the Court of Star Chamber grew considerably under the House of Stuart, and by the time of King Charles I, it had become synonymous with misuse and abuse of power by the King and his circle. …

King Charles made extensive use of the Court of Star Chamber to prosecute dissenters, including the Puritans who fled to New England. This was also one of the causes of the English Civil War.

On 17 October 1632, the Court of Star Chamber banned all “news books” because of complaints from Spanish and Austrian diplomats that coverage of the Thirty Years’ War in England was unfair. …

The Star Chamber became notorious for judgments favourable to the king. Archbishop Laud had William Prynne branded on both cheeks through its agency in 1637 for seditious libel.

President Trump isn’t a court of law. In fact, he sometimes acts as if there aren’t courts of law in the United States. American citizens must fight to protect our free press and our civil liberties. To do this, we must keep up with current events and learn about previous abuses of power, so as to prevent them from being repeated.

As George Santayana, wrote in The Life of Reason (1905), “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Other people said the same thing, using slightly different words, and they were all right.

 

Reading About Writing

Back in the day — I like this expression because it’s so vague — my sister used to buy and read every cookbook she could get her hands on. She never followed one recipe from any of them, but she had lots of information to share at parties. I thought this was a riot.

Until I realized that I was currently doing the same thing, but with a book about writing.

I like to write, and the occasional person has occasionally suggested that I should write a book because I’m a gluttonous reader of them. By their calculations, I should inherently know how to compose a novel, by osmosis.

However, I have no idea how to plot a book, or how to make the characters come to life. I also remember a college professor saying that it is damn near impossible to find someone to publish a first novel. Some writers do, of course, but if you look at the New York Times Best Sellers’ list, the same writers’ names appear there week after week and year after year. That fact alone suggests that publishers (and readers) like to stick with already-successful authors.

So, I bought a book on writing, written by an author I admire, Lawrence Block. The book is Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel. Block broke down every step of how to write a book, and how to get it published. I read the first 13 chapters with a student’s attention (a good student’s), but stopped reading a few pages into Chapter 14, “Getting Published.” That chapter is followed by chapters on “The Case for Self-Publishing,” “The Case Against Self-Publishing,” “How to be Your Own Publisher,” “Doing It Again,” and finally, “Now It’s Up to You.”

What I learned from the first 13 chapters is that writing a novel is extremely hard work that must be done consistently. What I learned from the beginning of Chapter 14 is that, while I might produce a publishable book, getting someone to actually publish it is an even harder job. I didn’t even bother reading the self-publishing chapters, because I know many people who have self-published and, once their friends and family bought their books, sales dried up. The authors had no idea how to market their books and no giant publisher to help them, so along with sales, interest in their books disintegrated as well.

Unlike my sister, I’m not going to buy more books on writing. I’ll either write a book, using what I learned from chapters 1 – 13, or I won’t. I probably won’t be able to find a publisher without having an agent represent my book, or find an agent without having published before, so I’ll have to leave it up to serendipity, or luck.

It’s worked for others. Those others were probably predestined to become published authors, and there’s no way to check if I’m on that list, so I’ll have to leave it to chance. I’ll cross that bridge, as they say, when (and if) I come to it.

Right now, I think I’ll go read a cookbook.

Why I Didn’t March Today

Today, January 21, 2017, the day after the installation of Donald J. Trump as the 45th President of the United States, tens of thousands of women, and many men, marched on Washington, D.C., as well as in cities across the country.

When I first heard about the march, I got excited. Two of my sisters immediately made plans to go to Washington with their daughters. One flew in from California, and one took the train from New York.

However, I had a previous, unbreakable commitment and was therefore unable to go to Washington. I could have participated in the satellite march held in Stamford, Connecticut. But, I didn’t.

I didn’t march for a number of reasons. Chief among them was that I wasn’t sure that I supported all of the causes that precipitated the march. Of course I’m for equal rights for women. Of course I don’t like the idea that our president has treated women like sexual objects. I also want Obamacare to continue to exist because my family bought a health-insurance policy that exists only because of the Affordable Care Act. And I especially don’t want the repeal of HARP (the Home Affordable Refinance Program, the government program instituted by President Obama,) which has saved the homes of many Americans. And finally, I believe in the accuracy of the statement chanted by thousands of marchers and emblazoned on their signs, “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.”

But what does “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” really mean to women in the U.S.? We women still have glass ceilings to crack in business, salaries that need to be equal to those of men doing the same jobs, not to mention housework and childcare that need to be more equitably split between partners but, all things considered, women in the United States have it pretty easy compared to women who live in countries that routinely disfigure their genitals, stone them, refuse to educate them, or keep them hidden from society.

After much thought, I’ve come to the uneasy conclusion that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights” is code for “Save Our Right to Legal Abortions and Impeach President Trump.”

“Not true,” you say. “We’re marching to ensure that all women in this country have equal rights—no matter their race, creed, sexual orientation, or income bracket.”

And here’s my problem with that argument: The demand for “equal rights” loses its power for change when the expression is used like an umbrella to cover every eventuality, even one such as not liking who is president.

It is no secret that the catalysts for this march were the election of President Trump and the subsequent precarious position of the “Roe v. Wade”decision. Abortion rights have long divided our country and our political parties, and now that the anti-abortion candidate is our leader, those who champion the right of every woman to be able to choose birth or abortion are very nervous.

So, I understand why many people felt the need to make their voices heard. As U.S. citizens, we have that right. However, every demonstration needs a clear goal. What do the marchers want to accomplish, besides the impossible? President Trump is not going to step down, no matter how many women and men express their anger at his election.

I am not happy about the outcome of this election. I didn’t vote for President Trump, but as a citizen of the United States, I will support him. It was drilled into our heads during the presidential debates that, “the peaceful transition [or transfer] of power” is a key element of our democracy. The concept has existed since the election of Thomas Jefferson in 1800.

That contest made this race look like a picnic. Elections were far more complicated then, with two men running for president from each party (Federalist and Republican). By the time Thomas Jefferson had become president, there had been bitter name-calling and character assassinations, threats of secession, possible backroom dealings, rumors of a mob breaching an arsenal in Philadelphia, destroyed correspondence, and a deadlock between Jefferson and Aaron Burr (the Republican candidates), after the Federalist candidates (John Adams and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney) were eliminated. The election resulted in a bitter divide between the Republicans and the Federalists, and between people within each party. However, Jefferson’s election didn’t result in the overturn of our republic or the overturn of his election. Federalists didn’t like it, nor did some Republicans, but they dealt with it.*

And we have to deal with the election of Donald J. Trump. If you’re unhappy with the results of this election (and/or with the results of the George W. Bush v. Al Gore race in 2000), identify the cause of your wrath—the existence of the Electoral College, which is able to negate the true wishes of the electorate—and protest that.

There’s a march I would support. If anyone wants to organize a march on Washington to repeal the Electoral College, I’ll be there. Secretary Clinton, let me know if you need a ride.