Thursday, February 12, 2009


Is finding pleasure in being at home with nothing to do a sign of age? It seems as though my sons think they need to have someplace to go every night. I think I remember feeling that way. But its been a long time and truthfully, I am so pleased to have a night at home with nothing to do that those memories are really dim. Somehow I think when we get older we appreciate the simpler things in life.

Of course, I also enjoy going out and there's nothing quite as exciting as dinner and a movie. But with all the meetings I attend in the evening I've come to value some mindless hours in front of the TV or just reading a book.

Of course the only thing that could improve on the stay-at-home scenario would be a chef to feed me something absolutely delicious (but low calorie) and someone else to perhaps give me a nice massage. They say some husbands offer those services, but not mine....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Oy vey!

My father used to say that old age was not for the faint of heart. I think the same can be said of middle age! How ignorant we were before we got into our forties! Life just sort of rolled along, year after year, without any health issues to deal with. And then - bang! Between the two of us we'll have endured - and survived - five surgeries, heart disease, and cancer between the ages of 43 to 58. What a difference a few years makes!

We were fortunate really that we were so healthy when we were younger. Neither of us had as much as a cavity to worry about and that was a good thing since we had four kids and not the greatest health insurance. Just getting the kids their inoculations and antibiotics was a challenge, as the formidable bill from the pharmacy that we were constantly trying to whittle down attested. Ear infections and strep throats are costly and my children had plenty of them! So the fact that our medical issues were non-existent was a blessing.

But now - well, every year I cross my fingers when we're going through our screenings and check-ups. It seems as though anything can and will happen once you hit middle age, so we grin and bear it as much as possible. It truly isn't for the faint of heart. But then again, another of my father's favorite sayings was "It's better than the alternative!"

Friday, January 23, 2009

Hospital bracelets

I've decided to start a new collection - hospital bracelets! It seems that with middle-age and the accompanying medical tests and screenings comes a stack of these silly plastic bracelets that they put on you, I guess in case you can't remember who you are or what you're there for. Quite often they never look at them again and I just cut them off when I get home and stick them in the top drawer of my vanity. It seems to be a nice bunch now, so why not make them a "collection" and give them some prominence in my house? Like badges of honor that announce to all the world that I'm doing my part to support the local hospital!

I remember my mother showing me a little beaded bracelet that the hospital put on me when I was born. Apparently the custom then was to string cute little white and pink (or blue, as the case may be) beads with letters on them that said the last name of the new baby - and the date of birth. What a nice idea! And how much more delightful to keep as a memento than the ugly plastic ones that they put on my babies! Unfortunately I don't know what happened to that little bracelet. I haven't seen it in years and it didn't turn up when we cleaned my mother's house out after she died two years ago. I wish I had it. I could do a collage of hospital bracelets through the years, all with my birthday!

What have I come to anyway?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I finally got my last medical test of the year done - a little late for 2008 but still part of last year's inventory. I had my mammogram today.

Now, I'm not someone who particularly likes medical tests but I know they are a necessary part of living well. And the truth is that the older we get the more types of tests we need. Of all those tests, from blood work to bone scans, the mammogram is right up there with the ones I least look forward to. I swear, they were invented by men. And I'm also quite sure that if a similar test were developed and was the only way to screen for testicular cancer, there is not a man on earth who would have it done. But we women, bless us, march in there every year and suffer through the humiliation and discomfort of our mammogram becaue we are stoic and obedient, and we know our bodies. From the early years of gyno exams through the indignities of childbirth, we have learned to grin and bear it all. And the men really haven't got a clue.

Well - its over again, along with all my other tests, for the year. Of course, it's 2009 now. Which means it all starts again soon. I'm marking my calendar now. And if I procrastinate enough maybe I can squeeze (poor choice of word there) an extra month out of the schedule and end up finishing the rounds in February of 2010...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Christmas is over now and I'm exhausted. I remember when we were first married and I so looked forward to the decorating and the celebrating and just the whole holiday thing. I still love the whole holiday thing but it's becoming more and more difficult to drag all that stuff out of the attic to decorate every year and I think my age is catching up to me. I wish I had a nice dry basement where I could store all my Christmas containers, or a big closet on the main floor would be nice as well. But no - for us it's a pull-down attic staircase (which should have been replaced years ago with a newer, sturdier one) and an attic packed to the rafters with "stuff" to work around. And while the anticipation of the fun to come makes to set-up tolerable, all that cleaning up and putting away - well - that's another story altogether.

I remember when my father-in-law died, over twenty years ago now, and my mother-in-law was not going to bother putting her tree up the following Christmas. We were horrified! We went to her house and dragged everything down from her attic and put the tree up and decorated it for her. It made us feel better but I'm not sure now that it did anything for her! And then we had to take it all down again in January. At the time I couldn't imagine how she could not want to do the whole Christmas thing. Now it makes all the sense in the world to me. All that work, all alone, and no one to enjoy it with when it's done. Hummm.

I think about downsizing a lot. In fact, this Christmas I gave quite a few things away to my kids for their own decorating pleasure - ornaments, wall hangings, fake greens - but I still have plenty left to pack up again and drag back up those attic stairs.

I'm thinking next year, a little fake tree that sits on the table....(only kidding kids!)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is it me?

OK - is it just me or are the holidays getting busier every year? I'm so well organized and think I have everything pretty much under control, and still-there is just so much going on!

Perhaps it's simply a result of my age, but I think there are other factors at work here. For instance, for so many years I shopped for my family of four children, our two sets of paretns, and my husband. Now I have, in my immedate family alone, my four grown children, their three spouses, and six grandchildren. And my husband of course, who becomes more difficult to buy for every year.

In the early days we were so poor that it was easy to shop for him - I knew a sport coat or some work clothes would be treasured. Not any more! What he wants, he buys, and then when Christmas comes along what's left to surprise him with? I'll never forget a couple years ago when he came home in October with the exact thing I was going to get him for Christmas. How annoying!

Also, as my children grew and moved on I became more and more involved with other things, all of which come with schedules and demands of their own. So that is added to the mix as well. Oh for the days when I was stuck at home with little ones and had plenty of time to hand make and wrap gifts!

Anyway, I think its more than old age that I'm dealing with here. I think its a heavier work load and a busier schedule. But I guess I can't complain. After all, there's nothing like a big family and lots of activity to make the holidays just perfect...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


The interesting thing about middle-age is that I find myself reflecting so often on the past. Which is a bit scary because I used to think that elderly people tended to live in the past rather than embrace the present, so it's sobering to find myself sometimes fixated on times gone by. But I understand that now. Because there are so many memories that are part of who I am.

The holidays are full of memories. Perhaps losing both our mothers in the past two years has made them more acute for me because I am thinking so much about Thanksgivings and Christmases past right now. I remember happy times in my own childhood, which for a troubled girl like me did not come that often. They were mostly centered on holidays. And as a young married woman I think about those first holidays we shared together and they always make me smile. There is nothing like the optimism and joy of young love. And of course, so many years spent with my little ones, those wonderful beings that make our lives so amazing. I remember mornings around one Christmas tree with those kids and afternoons around another as we moved from family to family to celebrate. I remember laughter and joy in those homes. I miss those people who raised us and loved us and helped us become the people we are. I will always miss them at the holidays.

But I still have plenty of holidays left in me I hope! And I think there are many wonderful memories to still me made. It's not a bad time in life really - plenty to remember and smile about...and plenty to look forward to as well. Not such a bad place to be!