What Is Good For Us

There are many days when I don’t feel that I am 69 years old. However, I don’t get out of bed unless I’ve done my back exercises. If I didn’t do them I would be creeping along like a crippled crab. The things I used to do, such as climbing trees, ice skating, skiing or running; that’s long gone. But when you have to give up some things you used to do, you just find new things to do.

Some of the new things I enjoy doing, such as walking down to the pond, is not only good exercise, but it makes me feel that all my gears are still working. There are lots of things that we can do as we age, such as meeting new people, joining a book club, playing games (Scrabble is my favorite), going for short walks and so on. These days I can start playing my ukulele again, or, to the cats’ dismay; playing my *didgeridoo.

These days when we are all pretty much home-bound because of the virus, it’s a good time to haul out our instruments and start playing. We can’t let the current virus make party-poopers out of us; we still can have fun anyway we can.

As Thanksgiving is upon us, many of us will not be with our loved ones because of the current situation. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still have fun. The Crankee Yankee and I always go up to Maine for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so we will miss that. But we can still call or get online to see and enjoy each other.

Find the good; it is always there. And as with anything else, this current situation too will pass. Hang in there everyone.

*The didgeridoo is a wind instrument made from hollow wood. The first didgeridoos, played by aboriginal peoples in northern Australia an estimated 40,000 years ago, were made from fallen eucalyptus branches that had been naturally hollowed out by termites. It is also known that the mayan people of Central America had a similar instrument made of yucca or agave and today referred to as “la trompeta maya” (the mayan trumpet).

No Need to be Perfect

When I was a teenager, I was constantly aware of all the well-dressed beautiful girls in my school. I envied their clothes, their make-up and the way they always seemed so confident. It never occured to me that they, like me, were scared and or worried about how they presented themselves.

During one of our school reunions, I happened to sit near a woman who was in most of my classes in school. She and I got talking, and I told her how much I had admired her in school and how she was always one of the “cool” kids. She started laughing and couldn’t stop; tears of laughter were running down her face. When she pulled herself together, she told me that every morning before school she would worry that she wasn’t dressed nicely enough, and that she felt awkward and not as smart as most of her friends.

Well, we started laughing until our sides hurt. How we worry that we are not pretty or well-dressed or smart or whatever. In the general scheme of things, it turns out that prettiness and being well-dressed doesn’t matter at all. What does matter is how we treat other people as well as ourselves.

There are precious few people who are perfect. Most of us are just as we are, imperfect and trying to do our best in life. We may never know that the people we view as perfect may also have their own worries and that they too feel imperfect.

All we can do is what we can do. There really is no need to aspire to be perfect; all we can do is to be who we are and what we can do in life. You may not believe this, but there may be dozens of people you know who envy you for who you are.

In The Good Old Days for the Holidays

Way back when we were all children, Thanksgiving was the harbinger of the crown jewel of all holidays; Christmas. Of course it was wonderful to have everyone together for turkey day, but as kids we knew that Thanksgiving was the first step to Christmas. Many times my favorite unkle would drive down from Maine to join us for Thanksgiving, and he would stay with us for a few wonderful days.

We always drove up to my grandparents’ house for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then there was the food; every year Thanksgiving was the same table full of deliciousness; the beautifully roasted turkey filled with my grandmother’s mouth-watering stuffing, the carrots and celery in a lovely glass bowl, boiled and buttered onions, a huge bowl of gravy, baked potatoes, homemade Parker House rolls, boiled peas and after that, one of my grandmother’s fabulous desserts.

As I was an only child, I used to wonder what it would be like to have brothers and sisters. I also wondered what our Thanksgivings and Christmases would be like as well. Despite what most people think about “only children” who can do what ever they please, who got loads of toys for Christmas and whose birthday was a huge event; that’s just not so, trust me.

Those were good times, and to this day I think of them fondly. Sadly because of the corona virus, we won’t be going up to Maine this year to be with the grandgirls. The same may happen for Christmas as well, but we will make the best of it. Thankfully in this day and age we can still see each other via the internet.

While things change around us, what stays with us is the love and good memories of the holidays gone by. Even the corona virus can’t dampen our spirits or our memories. Things may be a bit different this year, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have good memories and the hope of even better ones again.

 

 

Going With the Flow

Since the corona virus is and continues to be a massive party pooper for us all, we need to find ways to not let it get to us. Of course we know to wear masks when out and about, washing our hands many times, and we are spending more time at home than usual. Usually we would all jump in our cars and take off to be with our relatives for Thanksgiving this year, but at this point it’s wiser to stay home. Sooner or later there will be a vaccine for the virus, but in the mean time, it’s smart to just stay put.

So how can we make the holidays seem cheery these days? Well, it isn’t easy, but it can be done. We can still have that turkey dinner and dessert; at our house this also means filling tiny little plates of chopped turkey for the kitties. (Don’t ask me how they know it’s Thanksgiving; they just know.) Then we search for a good movie to watch while enjoying our lunch.

A day or so before Thanksgiving I make three batches of apple crisp; one for my best friend and her husband, one for our amazing vet (who has kept our cats healthy and strong for years) and one for us. Normally we would be bringing apple crisp #4 to our loved ones in Maine, but we will have to wait until there is a cure for the corona virus.

As with everyone else in this country, we will go with the flow and carry on as usual. Or as I like to say in circumstances like this: “this too shall pass.” And sooner or later, this too WILL pass. In the meantime, be well, be happy, and be careful. While we will sorely miss seeing our relatives and friends at the table, staying safe will make sure that our relatives and friends will be there with us next year.

 

The “New” Holidays

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and Christmas isn’t far behind. Because of the pandemic, our usual holiday jollies may be a bit flat this year. That said, there’s no reason why we can’t make new holiday traditions.

In fact, it’s not a bad idea to do something different this year—just speaking for the Crankee Yankee and myself. Usually we go up to Maine to have Thanksgiving and Christmas with the grandgirls. This year we won’t be doing that, thanks to the pandemic. However, there’s no law saying that we can’t make new holiday traditions.

Since we have more time on our hands, we can get creative about the holidays. Just because we’ve done holidays the same way since the year one, we can make some changes. If we can’t travel to be with our loved ones, we can call them or get on line and zoom.

Just because we can’t be with our people, it doesn’t need to be the end of the world. In fact, distancing may even become a new holiday “thing.” Like everyone else, I am hoping for a vaccine that will stop the virus cold. But in the meantime, let’s use our creativity to make the holidays special this year. There will be a time when we all look back on these days and laugh and cry.

While my heart breaks for all the people who have died from the pandemic, I know that sooner than later, there will be a cure. For now, let’s be as hopeful as we can, as happy as we can, and as loving and kind as we can.

Staying Home Poem

Staying home may not be fun

But at least you won’t be overrun

With people snatching TP by the ton!

At least at home we know what’s what

To take it easy and not slam the door shut.

We are used to wearing masks now

And hardly remember how

We got along without them on our faces

Whenever we go to different places.

Being home is not so bad

It’s a lot better than being mad

At where we are now—

But who actually knows anyhow?

But not to worry and not to fuss

As most others are doing the same as us—

Sooner or later, this too will pass

And we’ll have learned how to make things last

And remember how we got through it

And all we did to do it.

 

 

 

When Funny Was Funny

I grew up watching *Laurel and Hardy, the **Three Stooges, and the ***Little Rascals (from Hal Roach’s “Our Gang”). At the time, all of them were hilarious, and as a child even I knew that all the stunts were just part of the show. Looking back, it was just funny and nothing more. These days there would be law suits and mothers demanding that such shows should be taken off the air, and so on.

But even as a kid I understood that no one really got hurt or in trouble; it was all in fun. To this day if I just think about those shows I can’t help but smile. Seriously, all it takes to make me howl with laughter is seeing some man slipping on a banana peel. Silly, I know, but funny.

Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be too much “funny” these days. Granted, we are in a pandemic right now (and wouldn’t you think that we could all use a few laughs to get through it?), and most people are just trying to stay safe. Many of us will not be with our loved ones for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but seriously, it’s not the end of the world. Luckily we can get on the computer and see each other and talk and laugh together.

And as things always sort themselves out, this too will pass. But in the mean time, take the time each day to find something funny; you’d be amazed at how it makes you feel. If you, like me, absolutely loved the Carol Burnett show, look up “*the dental skit” with Harvey Corman and Tim Conway.

From God updates: “Tim Conway was one of the stars on The Carol Burnett Show, a variety/sketch show that aired from 1967 to 1978. The show featured good, old-fashioned humor the whole family could enjoy.”

My favorite was Tim Conway’s dentist skit. Tim played a bumbling dentist fresh out of dental school and co-star Harvey Korman played Tim’s very first patient. In the skit, Harvey has come in with a terrible toothache. But as a brand new dentist, Tim is extremely hesitant to work on a human for the first time ever. He confesses to only being an average student who has only ever practiced on animals while in dental school.

As the dentist, Tim Conway nervously bumbles through the procedure. He even winds up accidentally numbing his own hand with the novocaine rather than the patient’s mouth!

That’s when co-star Harvey Korman starts losing it. In fact, Tim Conway later confessed to talk show host Conan O’Brien that the skit was so much fun, Harvey Korman actually wet himself during the filming!

Those were the days when funny was really funny. Do yourself a favor and look up skits from the Carol Burnett show (or any other show you loved) and start laughing. As an old doctor of mine once said when I was a little girl getting a shot for something, “it couldn’t hurt.”

*Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957).

**The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy team active from 1922 until 1970, best known for their 190 short subject films by Columbia Pictures that have been regularly airing on television since 1958. Their hallmark was physical farce and slapstick.

***The Little Rascals is a 1994 American family comedy film produced by Amblin Entertainment, and released by Universal Pictures on August 5, 1994. The film is an adaptation of Hal Roach‘s Our Gang, a series of short films of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s (many of which were broadcast on television as The Little Rascals) which centered on the adventures of a group of neighborhood children. The film, with a screenplay by Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur, and Penelope Spheeris – who also directed – presents several of the Our Gang characters in an updated setting, and features re-interpretations of several of the original shorts.

Keeping It Together

As the pandemic keeps on ruining just about everything we love, we can still “keep it together.” If we have to stay at home and just go out for groceries or a walk, we can enjoy that time. If we haven’t started thinking about Christmas gifts, this is a good time to order things for our families and friends. It’s also a good time to take up a hobby; you’d be amazed at how that can give you some much-needed happiness.

The Crankee Yankee and I will dearly miss being with our grandgirls this Thanksgiving and Christmas, but there is the phone and the zoom to see each other and chit-chat. We will send the girls and their parents their gifts and make the best of things.

Years from now, we will tell young people about how we survived the corona virus. By then there well could be a wonderful cure for all diseases; who knows? But while we have this unwelcome guest in our midst, we can still get by.

Not to sound like an annoying Pollyanna, there are lots of things we can do to make us feel better. This might be the time to blow the dust off our guiters and ukuleles and such and actually learn to play some songs. Personally, I am taking that to heart with my ukulele this winter. I also have a *didgeridoo. While it’s fun to play it, the cats usually grump off to anyother part of the house; they are not fans.

However, during this time in our country and while we wait for a vaccine, it’s the little things that can get us through. Even if it’s a didgeridoo.

*From didg project: The didgeridoo is a wind instrument made from hollow wood. The first didgeridoos, played by aboriginal peoples in northern Australia an estimated 40,000 years ago, were made from fallen eucalyptus branches that had been naturally hollowed out by termites. It is also known that the mayan people of Central America had a similar instrument made of yucca or agave and today referred to as “la trompeta maya” (the mayan trumpet).

 

 

 

Remembering All That is Still Good

There’s no getting around it; these are tough times. It’s been decades since we had to worry about polio and the like; now we worry about the current pandemic. Most of us are doing our best to stay healthy and positive. Granted, there are a lot of things we can’t do right now, but there are still a lot of things that we can do. If we can’t drive to see our loved ones for the holidays, there still is the phone and zoom on our computers. We can also send Christmas gifts this year instead of being there to watch the gifts being opened.

If we can remember to do all the safe things such as wearing masks when we are out in public, we can get through all this. Of course it’s a general pain in the hinder to not be able to sit down at a restaurant, or go visit our family and friends, or go outside where there is a crowd of people. We just have to remember two things: 1) the vaccine for the pandemic is nearly ready, and 2) the current situation will not last.

This is a time to reflect on what still is good in our lives. Even during times like this, there is always something to be thankful for if we just think about it. Then there are some of the things we can do at home: for example, this is a good time sort out the winter clothes in the closet. If you haven’t used them last year, donate them to someone who could really use them.

  1. Ladies, go through your jewelry. If you haven’t worn any of it for years, think about donating them to a nursing home. They can be Christmas gifts to older women who may not have any children or family to visit them, and who may not otherwise get a Christmas gift.
  2. In our neighborhood, we share homemade goodies at Christmas time. We make chocolate chip cookies to share, and our neighbors give us the treats that they usually make for Christmas.
  3. If we haven’t had the time to buy gifts, we can do this instead: write your own “gift card” that contains a note and some cash or a check. This way the recipient can buy whatever they want with it.
  4. If you know that you can’t drive to your family and friends, prepare in advance. Get yourself a turkey and stuffing, an obscenely delicious dessert, and a nice bottle of wine.
  5. By all means, trim the Christmas tree and put up the lights. You would be surprised at how much cheerier it makes us feel.

Not to sound like a Pollyanna, there still is good to be found these days. All we have to do is be part of it.

How the Pandemic Makes Us All Cranky

Let’s face it; we know that we love our family and friends deeply. However, during the pandemic, we find ourselves with our family (and sometimes friends) to the point where we get sick and tired of them.

Granted, we can’t do much about the corona virus except to wear masks and to wash our hands frequently. The holidays are coming up, and most of us will not be visiting our loved ones or having them come over to our houses. That stinks of course, but at this point in time we really need to be careful.

Staying at home with our loved ones sounds great and is a smart thing to do. That said, there always comes a time or two when we would rather be sitting with a giant turtle instead of our family. Crankiness becomes a regular thing with us all, and we start to wonder how bad it would be to sit and sleep in our cars by ourselves for a while.

The smallest things start to annoy us; things that wouldn’t have bothered us *BTP. For what seems like the first time, hearing our loved ones sneeze so loudly that everything in the house jiggles makes us seriously want to club them over the head with a frying pan. We try to make the best of it, but sometimes we think we will go mad if we have to listen to the news on TV for hours on end—because our partner just has to know what’s happening.

But, as with all things, this too will pass. Let’s hope that there will be no bloodshed during the holidays (or any day for that matter). During this time it’s a good idea to take up some hobby that keeps our minds from exploding. These days I find myself baking more than usual, and also making jewelry again. Reading and writing are two of the many things I enjoy, so that helps as well. Then there are walks going down to the local pond; that always lifts my spirits. Granted, I walk down there with a mask on, but everyone else does as well. Let’s just call that the new style these days.

So, before we go nuts with our spouses or family or friends, keep saying this mantra (which, if I did NOT do that, I really would club someone over the head): “This too will pass.” And it WILL.

*Before the pandemic.