Please Note

I am having some surgery soon so I may not be posting each day for a while. I’ll be back on line as soon as possible; writing this blog is one of my real pleasures.

Thank you with all my heart for reading; that you would take time out of your day to read my blog means so much to me!

Back soon!

 

 

Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

I am pretty much a goody-two-shoes when it comes to signs; I obey them all. If a sign reads, ‘Don’t Park Here,” then I don’t park there. If there is a “STOP” sign in the middle of a parking lot, I stop. I am so used to doing it that I don’t even give it much thought.

However, the Crankee Yankee thinks differently about them. For one thing, he claims that ‘there are no driving rules in parking lots.’ Huh?! Which is probably why the following happened:

The other day we went to a Chinese restaurant we hadn’t tried before. There wasn’t a single car in the parking lot, so we parked close to the door—right under a “Take Out Only” sign. I pointed this out, and he said, “There’s no one in the parking lot; it doesn’t matter.” And refused to move the car.

The weird way my mind works is this way: all of a sudden there will be a great stampede to this very restaurant, including a couple of people who are picking up a huge amount of take-out food. Then it will soon be revealed that us, Mr. and Mrs. SelfishJerks, have parked where no none-take-out people should park and we will be forced to flee the restaurant while villagers with pitchforks and flaming torches chase us out of the restaurant……

Well, I could be carrying this a tad too far, but honestly, I was  constantly looking out of the window to be sure that a crowd wasn’t gathering….

 

 

To the Forgetful Ones

When the dish soap is all gone,

REPLACE IT!

When the last of the peanut butter is on a sticky knife (with a fly trapped in it),

CLEAN THE KNIFE AND BUY MORE PEANUT BUTTER!

When there is one sheet of toilet paper on the roll,

REPLACE IT! (or you’ll find that roll under your pillow)

When you’ve made your sandwich,

PUT EVERYTHING AWAY!

When you see that I’ve just mopped the kitchen floor,

TAKE YOUR MUDDY BOOTS OFF!

When the phone is ringing and I’m in the shower,

PICK IT UP!

When you use a tissue to blow your nose,

THROW IT AWAY! (You’re not going to use it again, and we have about a dozen boxes of Kleenex)

When you have eaten everything on your plate except for one pea, a scrap of potato and a teaspoon of stew,

DON’T PUT IT IN A CONTAINER AND SHOVE IT TO THE BACK OF THE ‘FRIDGE–NO ONE’S GOING TO EAT IT!

Speaking of the above, when you’ve saved half a cupcake for two weeks in the ‘fridge and I’ve eaten it,

DON’T BE SURPRISED!

 

 

New England Chic

After seeing the outfits at the Oscars not long ago, it’s easy to see what Hollywood chic looks like; fabulous designer dresses, killer heels, breath-taking jewelry, tuxedos, handmade boots and bespoke suits. On the other side of the country, there is  New York City business chic; clothing tends to be black or gray, tan or taupe, with designer shoes and boots. Then there is also New York City street chic: plaid coats, cashmere scarves, skinny jeans at $200-$300 a pair, knee-high leather boots, wild tunics over black leggings, armloads of bangles and bracelets, and so on. California chic can be denim shorts (expensively distressed, of course), vintage-y lacy tops, peasant dresses, leather thongs, etc.

And then there is New England chic. Bear in mind that we in New England can never truly count on the weather. We’ve had hot days in March, snow in June, hurricanes in summer, and the list goes on. So we women have to be prepared for anything. We know to “layer up” in cold weather; start with long underwear, flannel-lined jeans, thick wool socks, L.L. Bean boots that can handle anything from deep cold to spring mud; turtlenecks followed by flannel shirts, a sweater, a down coat or jacket, wool scarves, earmuffs or wool hats, and wool mittens or gloves.

In summer, we stick to shorts, sandals, light t-shirts or linen tops, capri slacks, and some summer-y jewelry. More jewelry is up to the person–not all New England ladies stick with dainty post earrings, a tiny necklace and a ring or two. (Some of us believe that MORE is more!) Most all of us carry jumper cables and emergency kits in our cars or SUVs or trucks, and we all know how to change a tire. Most New England warm weather “dress up” is casual; a nice dress or skirt and top, or linen slacks and a cotton sweater, espadrilles or good sandals, and no stockings.

You see, chic is really in the eye of the beholder, and it also depends on the weather. We New England women understand that weather can turn in an instant, and we don’t like to be caught in an icy downpour with only our flip-flops on our feet. It’s not unusual to find a change of clothes for every season in our trunks, as well as emergency granola bars, water, aspirin, duct tape, a First Aid kit, soap, paper towels, Kleenex, mints, extra underpants, and a long and heavy flashlight which can also be used as a weapon.

Part of what we call “chic” means that we can change in a very few minutes if we need to. Our kind of chic also means that our daddies have taught us how to maintain our vehicles, fire a gun, make a campfire and put it out correctly, and our  moms have taught us all the “lady” things.

All this is what we in this part of the country call “chic.” And chic is as chic does!

The Wanderers and the Stay-at-Homes

There are people born with what I call itchy feet–they long to wander and often wander far. Then there are those who are born with a preference to home and all its comforts. My late wonderful mother-in-law told me years ago that, when she had her two boys (the oldest of which is my Crankee Yankee), she said that you could tell what kind of men they would be when they grew up.  The Crankee Yankee walked before he could talk. His younger brother was the opposite; he talked before he could walk. To this day, they are still walkers and talkers.

My step-daughter, mom of Ava, is a wanderer, too, as is her husband. At age four and a half, Ava, is also a wanderer. In fact, she’s already traveled more than I have! My one big adventure was going to Rome on a class trip when I was a teen. Back then, I didn’t realize that I was a born stay-at-home.

Look, it’s not that I don’t like or appreciate travel; I do. It’s just that I have to have time to process all the reasons why I should travel and not stay home all the time. Oh, and did I mention that I am a worrier as well? That’s an offshoot of my stay-at-homeness. I worry about how well will someone other than me or the Crankee Yankee take care of our cats, and will they remember to put food and water out for the strays, will they remember to lock the doors and pull the shades down at night, will they leave too many lights on, or worse–not leave ANY on? And so it goes.

It is said that, horoscope-wise, we Cancerians vastly prefer our homes to anywhere else. We would love to carry our homes on our backs so that, wherever we go, we would be home. Ah, well, you can’t keep a wanderer home all the time, and you can’t push a stay-at-home to travel all the time. Suffice it to say that we stay-at-homes can’t learn something from our wanderer peers, and vice-versa.

That said, I am still, and always will be, a CRAB.

 

 

 

Things That No One Will Tell You About Being Over 60…But I Will!

Remember what the first day of school was like when you were a kid? I don’t know about you, but I expected that I would come home from my first day knowing how to read and write perfectly. Needless to say, I was pretty bummed out when that didn’t happen.

That experience taught me that reality doesn’t always meet expectations. At each stage of my life, I found that to be true, and gradually learned to accept things as they are, not as I wished them to be.

Same with getting older. One of the major milestones for me was turning 60, which, if you live in China, means a huge celebration of your new elder status, bringing you oodles of respect and gifts. In America, not so much. However, in the four years since I hit that major milestone, I learned some truisms about being over 60. I’ve spoken before about the many benefits of  being over 60, such as senior discounts and the joy of having grandchildren; there are many, many more.

But there are many other less delightful things you can expect when you’re 60 or older, especially if you’re female. If you’re female, there are a host of things that will happen when you’re 60 or older. In no particular order, they are these:

  • No matter your hair type, your hair takes on a life of its own after 60. Mine, for example, has developed zillions of frinky little curly hairs around my hairline. (I swear my hair was as straight as a stick until until then.)
  • You no longer need to shave your legs or armpits; the hair just refuses to grow anymore. No loss in my opinion.
  • Sadly, farts are inevitable. They happen when you bend over, walk up or down the stairs, move suddenly, or when you’re sitting in a crowd.
  • You notice that your formerly young-looking hands have developed brown spots, raised veins and knobby knuckles. (I say let’s bring back those nice lace mitts that just leave your thumbs and fingers showing!)
  • Toenails morph from pretty pearly shells to yellow-y little horns, and you are forced to buy those huge clippers that can also be used to trim horses’ hooves.
  • Your cleavage becomes the Valley of the Wrinkled Dolls.
  • Your nipples now look down disconsolately at your feet. They no longer have anything to look up for.
  • The skin on your heels, no matter how many gallons of lotion you put on them, turns into sandpaper rough enough to sand oak.
  • If you care to look at your bare butt in the mirror, you will notice that you now have pleats under your butt cheeks. (Do yourself a favor–don’t look.)
  • You avoid direct sunlight like a vampire, and protect any uncovered skin with number 3,000 SPF lotion.
  • Even if you stop drinking liquids at noon, you still find you have to get up to pee in the middle of the night.
  • Speaking of pee, you often find that laughing, coughing or sneezing can bring on what I call “happy piddles.”
  • You find that you can no longer wear eye-shadow; eyelids wrinkle right alongside everything else.

Look, I don’t want to view all these things as terrible, they are just hallmarks of getting older. I find that my sense of humor has gotten a real workout through all these changes, plus I take myself so much less seriously. Honestly, it really is all about your mind, your outlook, your values, your love of family and friends, and all those things that you love doing. The physical part of getting older is only the outer shell; it really is what’s inside that counts.

And speaking of that, here is a truth you can take to the bank: do not mourn your youthful self. Celebrate this new, older, smarter, savvy, amazing and unique YOU—warts, wrinkles and all. The fleeting beauty of youth inevitably morphs into a different beauty, and the greatest prize in that particular Crackerjacks box is that you get smarter and take less crap.

Appreciate the past, embrace the now, and keep looking forward. That’s the thing that will keep us happy, healthy, appreciative and positive.

Really.

Seriously.

I’m not kidding.

 

 

 

Lists, Lovely Lists!

Oh, where would I be without lists? I love all forms of writing, and list-making is one of my favorites. I know I’ve written about lists before, but frankly, they are an important part of my life. Lists make a foundation to the day; I know what I want to accomplish, and even doing 3-5 things on it make me feel I’ve justified my existence–for that day, anyway.

For example, here’s my list for today:

  • empty the dishwasher
  • do laundry, and, in a separate load, wash the *winter comforter
  • clean the bathroom
  • remind the Crankee Yankee that he promised to vacuum yesterday
  • dust and polish the furniture (once the Crankee Yankee has vacuumed, that is)
  • finish hemming the **quilt I made for Ava, my granddaughter
  • try to fix the zipper on one of my jackets

It may sound funny, but ever since I stopped working, I find I need this daily structure. Lists are how I conquer the dragons in my world; I can go to bed at night and feel I’ve made a good dent in the day.

Simple, I know, but it works for me.

*This thing has been living in a loosely-tied trash bag in our attic and Heaven only knows what it may be harboring! If so, I wish them an quick death in the clothes washer.

**This was supposed to be a Christmas gift LAST Christmas!

 

It’s Hot, Hot, HOT!

I don’t know if you are experiencing the same hot and humid weather that we in New Hampshire are experiencing, but as my grandfather used to say on a day like this, “It’s hotter than the hinges of Hades!”

I started looking around for quotes and one-liners about hot weather, and here they are. Enjoy them, and go get yourself a nice, cold drink.

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“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.”(Jane Austen)

It’s so hot…

  • the robins are laying their eggs sunny side up.
  • all the water buffalo at the zoo have evaporated.
  • the trees are whistling for the dogs.
  • the birds had to pick up the worms with potholders.
  • I saw a dog chasing a cat and they were both walkin’.
  • farmers are feeding their chickens crushed ice to keep them from laying hard boiled eggs.
  • the HABANERO peppers in my garden are hunting for some shade.

You know it’s hot when:

  • Electric bills for A/C are more than the house payment.
  • You’ve canceled your Hotmail account because you didn’t like the name.
  • You refer only to a Celsius thermometer to enjoy summer temperatures that rarely exceed 35 degrees.
    Corn on the stalks starts popping and flying through the air.
  • Popsicles melt completely within 20 seconds of removing them from a container of dry ice.

More jokes:

“I can’t believe it,” said the intern sometime in the future.

“I’ve been in Washington, D.C. for most of the summer and it’s been excessively hot and humid the whole time. When do you have breaks with periods of cool/dry conditions, as my parents told me were common even back in the early 2000s?”

“Well, that’s hard to say,” replied the local. “Last year, it was on a Wednesday.”

Q: How hot is a Los Angeles summer? A: So hot that I saw a fire hydrant chasing a pack of dogs!

Q: What do you need to visit Death Valley, Arizona? A: Dental Records

Q: What are the only two seasons in Phoenix, Arizona? A: Hot and Hotter.

Q: What did the one pig say to the another at the beach? A: I’m bacon!

Q: Which is faster, heat or cold? A: Heat, because you can catch a cold!

How hot is it?

The cows are giving evaporated milk.

Hot water now comes out of both taps.

You actually burn your hand opening the car door.

You realize that asphalt has a liquid state.

You start putting ice cubes in your water bed.

You no longer associate bridges (or rivers) with water.

You can say 113 degrees without fainting.

Satan decided to take the day off.

The four seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot and ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

You eat hot chilies to cool your mouth off.

You learn that a seat belt makes a pretty good branding iron.

The temperature drops below 95, you feel a bit chilly.

****************************************************************************************************

Now, all that said, it still doesn’t feel as bad as it did when I lived in Texas. I read this once: “the white-hot lobotomy that is Texas in the summer.” Boy, were they right!

Stay cool, everyone!

From the Kindness Blog: Scars of Love

I found this recently on the Kindness Blog, and it struck me to the heart. I want to share it with you, because I am in the process of losing my mother to incurable cancer. My bright, talented, graceful, beautiful, funny, clever, wonderful, loving and amazing mother, who survived two bouts of breast cancer, is in Stage 4 lung cancer due to metastatic breast cancer. She has lost nearly half of her body weight, and is fragile and in pain. However, my wonderful 90-year old dad and Hospice are taking wonderful care of her. On my visits I bring food (as do many of her loving friends), and we talk and laugh together.

She may have as much as six months to live; perhaps less, perhaps more. She considers it a blessing that she can chose how she leaves this world. At age 83 she sees no reason to endure the pain and sickness of chemotherapy. She now enjoys some medications that dull the pain, allow her to sleep, have decent mobility, and have also brought her appetite is back. Her mind is as sharp and clear as ever, and she is glad to be able to direct and manage her remaining time.

My dad and I agree completely with this decision, too. If I were in her shoes, I would do exactly the same. Quality of life trumps length of life every time.

I have loved and lost both my grandparents, some aunts and uncles, and a few friends. I am incredibly lucky to be 64 years old and still have both my parents.

The following offering from the Kindness Blog touched me deeply, and helps me to see better the road ahead. I am going to miss my mother’s physical presence for the rest of my life. I know that there will be good days, bad days, amazing days, sad days, and just ok days. I also know that both my mother and father raised me well and raised me to be resourceful and strong. I know I can survive this. I also know beyond any doubt that I will see her and everyone I have ever loved and lost again where we all will be together in endless light and love.

Posted on The Kindness Blog by G. Snow

“All right–here goes. I’m old. What that means is I’ve survived (so far) and a lot of people I’ve known and loved did not.

I’ve lost  friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can’t imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here’s my two cents.

I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter.” I don’t want it to be something that just passes.

My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.

As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function.

You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.

Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”

“Thank you, Captain Obvious!”

Have you ever seen that dog food commercial where the woman keeps waving the food bowl in front of the dog’s face, asking, “Do you want to eat? Do you want to eat?” The dog says, “Yes, I want to eat. In fact, let’s just assume that I’m always going to want to eat at this time every day.” (Thank you, Captain Obvious!)

I used to have a friend who was a real Captain Obvious. He’d walk by me and say, “I see you wore a sweater.” Huh?! Um–yeah, I did in fact wear a sweater today. What does a person say to that? (Thank you, Captain Obvious!)

As we are approaching election time, there are more candidates out there than ever, all whistle-stopping and showboating. They all say things like “We need America to be strong.” “The middle class is suffering.” “We need reforms, and we need them now.” (Thank you, Captain Obvious!)

Another real Captain Obvious was Yogi Berra, who left us these gems:

  • “This is like deja vu all over again.”
  • “He must have made that before he died.” — Referring to a Steve McQueen movie.
  • “I’d find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I’d return it.” — When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.
  • “I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early.”
  • “If you don’t know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else.”
  • “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”
  • “You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I’m not hungry enough to eat six.”
  • “Baseball is 90% mental — the other half is physical.”
  • “It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much.”

I even find that the Crankee Yankee can at times be a Captain Obvious. He knows that I don’t sleep well–ever. A really good night of sleep for me is about five hours, and often less than that. Often I fall asleep in his recliner, which we call the Coma Chair because it’s so comfortable. He goes to bed at around 8pm, and I’ll stay up reading or blogging or watching TV. I’ll sit in the recliner “just for a minute,” and then wake up hours later. (And yes, that also makes me a Captain Obvious as well–if I got into bed sooner, I would sleep better, etc.)

I always feel terribly guilty when I do this, and berate myself for not getting into bed at a reasonable hour. I try to slink into bed without waking the Crankee Yankee. But inevitably he hears me and asks, “so how long did you sleep in the chair?” Bear in mind that I’m already feeling bad about this, and don’t want to face an inquisition at that time. So I’ll snap at him saying either I don’t know or I don’t care or what in the hell does it matter anyway? Then I’ll lie there fuming until I fall into a less than satisfactory sleep.

Also every day of our lives together, the Crankee Yankee knows that I want the following two things each and every morning without fail:

  1. I will need to get up and pee immediately, so get out of the bathroom.
  2. A mug of fresh hot coffee.

So far, number one (ha, ha–a pee joke!) is usually not a problem. But number two–I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled blearily into the kitchen, wanting that first cup of fresh hot coffee and he is standing there, warming up the dregs of yesterday’s coffee. He smiles and says, ‘do you want me to heat up some of this for you or shall I make a fresh pot?’

Really? While I want to scream ‘do you even KNOW me? I want fresh hot coffee not that murky old swill from yesterday!’ But I generally settle for giving him the fisheye and pointing to the coffee can.

So I guess that, at one time or other, we all share the gold bedecked hat of Captain Obvious. Obviously….