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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Old?! Not Me!


There are those who say living with young people, will keep you young. There are also those who say, the earth is flat or that real butter will kill you. Obviously, they don’t know what they are talking about.

I’ve also heard it said that living with young people will age you before your time. Bah-loney!  -------- only if you allow it to.

I live with a forty-ish daughter and a 15 year old grandson. Or they live with me, depending on how one looks at it. I guess it is safest to say that we just live together. They spoil me outrageously, which I encourage, and I do pay a greater percentage of the costs.

When I was 62 years old, my husband died from bone cancer. I lived alone for nine years. I got along pretty well after the initial adjustment, but as time went on, I began looking for other arrangements. I simply didn’t need a big, five bedroom house, large swimming pool, and lawns that I kept manicured. I looked for a two or three bedroom condo, in the same general area of Augusta where I lived, near friends and my niece and her family.

At about that same time, Dee adopted a little girl, from Russia.. Long story/short, we decided I would sell my home in Augusta and Dee would sell her nice condo, here in Atlanta, and we’d buy a house together, here. That’s what we did. Then Dee adopted a ten year old boy from Kazakhstan; her daughter grew up and left home; and here we are.

Getting old is not all bad, I’ve learned. What one has to remember is that it is perfectly OK to accept a little help, now and then. My daughter takes exquisite care of me, as she should. But that’s the kind of family we are. When the shoe was on the other foot, I did the same for her. When she was living alone, a few years ago, she had wisdom teeth pulled. Her brother, my son, drove all the way from Columbia, S.C. to be with her and he is a pretty good nurse.

One way that I give my kids full credit for helping me age more slowly mentally is through making me accept electronics.

While still living in Augusta, Bruce and Dee asked if I would like to have a computer. I said, absolutely not, no way. They ignored me.

My son arrived a few days later with a computer and - this is important - he said if I broke it, he’d fix it – “So just go ahead and give it a try, Mom!”

I did the computer a go, and even took a course up at Augusta State that was incredibly boring. I have a good time with my computer; stay in touch with 30-40 folks, depending on the season or who is on vacation. I research all kinds of people and everything else that interests me. When I can’t sleep, I often get on the computer for a little while until I get sleepy again.

Three close friends got computers about the same time I did. Not one of them enjoyed them or even learned to use them easily. I attribute that partly to the locations (they put them in back bedrooms, upstairs etc.) My first computer was placed on my desk, in my kitchen, along with my phone and small TV. I could check messages while the chicken was frying and answer the phone at the same time. (I have about the same set up here, in my bedroom.) All three of my friends got rid of their computers. Two woman became alcoholics before they died, and the third is depressed because she says no one pays any attention to her. A fourth, close friend died this past year also but she stayed active until nearly the end. Interestingly, all four long time friends were 83 yrs old last year, and they were all widows.

Last fall, Dee asked if I’d like to have a Kindle. I read all the time. Of course I said no because I love books and the feel of them in my hands. She ignored me. So I received a Kindle for Christmas and I am loving it. Have more to learn but have read two books so far and have about eight more loaded and ready. Mike is my “go to” person on the Kindle, and actually gets me out of trouble on the computer as well. I do have a cell phone for any emergency, but normally just use the house phone which is portable. Presently I have no need for all the other gadgets.

You know that thing about being only as old as you feel? That’s a bunch of whale poop! Actually, you’re only as old as you feel mentally!  Physically, I feel about sixty-five , oooh maybe one or two hours per week. Other times, I’d say, somewhere between 78 and 95 ! My health is not perfect but problems are being controlled and I’m not complaining… (most of the time) 

You know, I have a theory that other folks can tolerate a little grunting and groaning, once in a while. But a person who feels sorry for herself is a royal pain in the ass!  When one is old, all the same rules we were taught as kids still apply. Kindness and reaching out to others still matter.

On my own, I decided to stop driving. I’ve never had even a fender bender or any kind of ticket. I am a good driver and, even my husband said I was a good driver. I used to enjoy driving my old Caddie and, later, my brand spanking new blue Toyota Highlander. The problem is that I have arthritis in my shoulders and knees. I’d grown uneasy that my response time, in case of even a small emergency, would be too slow. I’d never forgive myself if I hurt someone because I was too proud to stop driving.
Interestingly, Dee’s car died at about the same time so she now drives mine.

I enjoy doing crossword puzzles but seem to lack the time at present. I had written a dictionary, two volumes, but they got misplaced when I moved here. The title was, Words I can Never Think Of or Spell……  kind of tongue in cheek.

So that’s my take on aging and living an active life. Dee always says “Mom is sharp as a tack!” and she’s right. I am also never bored. Next time you hear of a senior who is depressed and/or bored with life, get them a computer or a Kindle, and show them how to use it! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm Thankful For...


Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows how thankful I am for my precious family. Goodness knows, I write about all of them often enough. But recently, I’ve thought about other things for which I’m thankful.

BLUE. I am thankful for blue in all its tints and shades except pale, baby, blue. Yes, I’ve known people who are seemingly unaffected by colors . In my own mind, I think of those folks as, well, space taker uppers. 

 Then, there are the beige people. These come in two kinds. There are the ones who paint everything in their homes beige. They have beige furniture, beige floors, and beige on their windows. When I encounter one of the former, I assume they have either just bought their home or are fixing to sell it. You know, don’t want to offend anyone if money is involved, especially theirs.

The other beige people are fairly easy to spot if you just pay attention. They are usually attractive, blonde, kind of blonde, kind of thin, mostly female, and kind of rich. You don’t see many poor folks decked out in beautifully coordinated beige outfits. If you see a beige street person, think dirt.

MUSIC. So thankful for music. Now, I am speaking of real music, not so much just classical because some of it is awful, to my ear. No, I mean music with nice melodies that one can hum or sing. I know very little about music that became popular in the most recent years. I simply cannot understand grown women who think singers who sound like ten year old boys, with whiney voices, are sexy. Yes, I love to hear normal kids sing, but I do not want a man to sing like he has been neutered. Then others sound like it has been slammed in a dresser drawer, if you know what I mean.

Some of our older, so called, country music is the closest thing we have to American Folk Music. I’ve heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sing some of the old songs, and they were lovely. The same goes for our patriotic music. I think children should be taught the words to the Star Spangled Banner and NO person should be elected to office unless they know those lyrics. When I was growing up and when I taught, we sang it every morning and said the pledge. We also read one of the Psalms and said The Lord’s Prayer. I’m not talking about just one school but, several – in two different states.

The South.  I am not only thankful to be an American, I’m extremely thankful to be a Southerner.  Yes, I could write a book about this but there is no need. As the saying goes, few people retire to the north or other parts of this country. Yes, it gets hot in the summer but my husband would have told you that the worst heat he ever encountered was in Chicago, one summer when he was taking yet another graduate course. The following year, he switched to Batan Rouge, Louisiana and got along fine.

However, the South is about lots more than the weather or its beauty. My dad was a good example of a true southerner. He had lived in or traveled to most parts of this country. He was strong in every way, even tough when he needed to be. Not only was he very intelligent, he was a gentle person who showed respect for others. Actually, that pretty much describes the other men in my immediate family and my husband.

Coffee and Sweet Tea.  Oh my, just love both of them, especially when they are good and strong. My dad did not allow us to drink coffee until we were about grown but we drank sweet tea all our lives. I do have to say that Mother’s sweet tea was almost always sweetened with artificial sweetner, not sugar, and lots of fruit juice. I used to always travel with a small container of instant coffee in my cosmetic bag. No, I don’t especially like instant coffee but it is better than no coffee. Now days, I am thankful for Starbucks, robust blend or whatever they call it.

Dogs.  I just love dogs. When Tony asked me to marry him, I told him I wanted at least four kids and I had no intention of living my life without a dog. If he couldn’t handle that, there were lots of tall, skinny, cat loving girls, just the opposite of me. Our Yorkie-Poo Coco is the first tiny dog we’ve owned. We’ve tended more toward Labs, German Shepherds, and hounds. I truly feel they have enriched my life.

FOODS: Coke, Chocolate, and Pecans. They just brighten any day, so thank you, Lord. Guess I could have added homemade hot biscuits but I have to stop somewhere.