Old Wives Tales

Evernote Snapshot 20150929 090252

If your parents ever told you, “that’s just an old wives tale,” you aren’t alone. However, these ’stories’ can run the gamut from curiously helpful to completely whacky. Here are the Top 5 best ‘luck’ ones I’ve heard to date:

     1) A cricket in the house brings good luck – not to the person who can’t sleep through the noise.

     2) It’s bad luck to leave through a different door than the one used to come in –  ummmm, anyone ever hear of an apartment?

     3) If the palm of your right hand itches it means you will soon be getting money – that’s not what the nuns told my male Catholic school friends.

     4) It’s bad luck to leave shoes upside down – especially if you stepped in something outside.

     5) An apple a day keeps the doctor away – not a good thing if you’re married to the doctor.

So, all in all, as long as you refrain from crossing your eyes, making an ugly face, stepping on a crack or swallowing a watermelon pit, you should be just fine. At least until the next time you eat before swimming, sit too close to the tv or crack your knuckles!

Advertisements

Giving Thanks Day

Evernote Snapshot 20151119 141339

Once a year on Thanksgiving, we sit around a large table filled with an abundance of food. I won’t even bother mentioning how gluttonous that is. But what I’d like to focus on is the custom of giving thanks. It’s not a custom in every home and it shouldn’t only happen once a year. But it usually does. And it goes something like this:

I’m thankful for…

  • My family
  • My health
  • This food

But what we’re really thinking is:

I’m thankful for…

  • The big screen tv we’re about to watch the football game on
  • The yelling and screaming around the table that is ‘expected’ and somehow okay on the holidays
  • The weight I will enjoy putting on today because I can always go back to dieting tomorrow 

Like most holidays, we’ve lost sight of their true meaning. They’ve become commercialized, money-oriented and largely NOT having much at all to do with why we’re supposed to be gathering to celebrate in the first place. One day observances have now stretched into months-long events. Between over-advertising and decorations, it’s all a bit nauseating. And, instead of spending ‘that’ special day with friends and family, we’re more apt to spend it out shopping for the next ‘big’ day.

So, what’s the solution? I’m not sure there is one. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen or donate canned goods at any number of locations to ease your conscience. But, at the end of the day, your thanks ‘giving’ is really a self-giving of yet another year of excess!

Sell By Date

Evernote Snapshot 20151104 170446

Whenever I look in the refrigerator and see something that I’m pretty sure belongs in the garbage can, I know it’s time to call the expert on all things date-challenged… my Dad.

Somehow, he has this uncanny talent for distinguishing between freshness and over-ripeness. Sure, I can see mold on a strawberry or on a loaf of bread. And I don’t even need to smell the milk once I see it curdled on top. But it’s the ambiguous items I have trouble with.

I tend to rely on terms such as:

  • Expiration Date
  • Sell By Date
  • Best If Used By Date

But, as my ‘advisor’ has advised me on many occasions, canned foods and boxed foods have different freshness standards. Stale cereal, for instance, won’t harm you but it might not be the crunchy consistency you desire. And I remember all the people stocking up on canned beans and tuna during the days preceding the millennium. Would those foods still be edible today?

I will always have my suspicions and will continue to throw out perfectly good food (like millions of others) because, “why take the chance?” That said, on any given day, you can still find me pulling out all the milks in the store till I get to the latest date at the back and I wouldn’t hesitate to bring back any moldy food (even if I’ve already eaten some of it) for a full refund!

Defensive Driving Training

Evernote Snapshot 20151104 184034

In my community, I recently saw a sign posted that offered a class in defensive driving for seniors. My initial reaction was that it was a bit of an oxymoron. After all, more people today are living longer lives and driving vehicles long after they really should be. No offense to anyone whose faculties are still intact but there are some statistically accurate points that need to be addressed.

Reflexes slow down as a person ages. There’s no disgrace in that fact but that doesn’t mean that you can react with the same speed and accuracy you once did. Your eyesight is less sharp and that, added to slower reflexes, is more of a menace when faced with a sudden oncoming obstacle. Even though you’ve clocked an impressive amount of years (even successfully) behind the wheel does not guarantee you immunity from error – both in judgment and in action.

So, next time I see a senior driving over the speed limit, or over the center line, or over my shoulder as I’m walking, I will secretly hope they attended that driver’s training class but will, nonetheless, give them a very wide berth!

Your Soul Mate

Evernote Snapshot 20151104 170012

You can live an entire lifetime and never know true love. You can live a long and productive life and never be loved. You can love someone and never have that love returned. Love is… complicated.

But if you’re lucky enough to find true love and to live a full and joyous life with that one special person, then you’d be in the same small club that my parents are members of. How do you know? Simple.

  • You have been with the same person for more years than you can count.
  • You can barely remember a time when you weren’t together.
  • You think about that person first thing in the morning and last thing before bed.

So… Still not sure? Then ask yourself this question: “Am I a better person because he/she is in my life?” If the answer is, “yes,” then chances are you have found your ‘sole’ mate!

Leave Em Smiling

Evernote Snapshot 20150713 151608

As you age, you notice certain parts of your body fail to work quite as well as they used to work. Your eyes don’t see as well and your ears don’t hear as well. You might experience a change in your taste buds and certain smells that you used to enjoy may now seem unpleasant.

Supposedly (much like ‘when a door closes, a window opens’), when one of your senses starts to decline, another one becomes stronger. People who are born without sight or hearing or even limbs have been known to accomplish incredible feats due to this phenomenon. Some of our best known artists, musicians and athletes are among them.

So, if it takes you a little longer to get around or you have to rely on the kindness of others when performing daily tasks… fear not. We’re all in this together. Today you may notice the daily struggles encountered by your elders but tomorrow (or soon enough) your day will come. And even if (one day) your teeth come out of a jar, you can still command an audience with your Life Songs. Just remember to always keep em smiling (and, more importantly, make sure you take those teeth out of the jar first)!

Don’t Judge Me

Evernote Snapshot 20150708 195831

In today’s society, we often act as our own worst critic. We have something to say about everything – the way people look or talk or smell or walk. It’s as if the whole world is a stage and we are the judges. Thanks to the glut of Reality TV, we now critique looks, talent, strength and even cooking ability.

But when an opinion is expressed about us or our behavior, we take it personally and feel the need to justify any negativity. We no longer have as thick a skin as we once did – or maybe we’re just so tired of hearing it all the time that we immediately go on the defensive.

At a certain age, people tend to believe that that, alone, allows them the freedom to express their anger or frustration because they’ve lived a long, hard life. Not so. In reality, what it does is allow us to see into our own futures and, hopefully, grant us the compassion to withhold that judgment and to acknowledge the gifts that all those years of living have bestowed!

Separate But Equal

Evernote Snapshot 20151104 164709

Here’s a little bit of a conversation I overheard Mom having with her sister on the telephone the other day:

Mom: “Who told them they can sing?” – that would be Mom (who is tone-deaf) discussing a performance on a TV singing contest that she did not even watch.

Mom: “Why can’t they wear more clothes when they dance?” – that would be Mom giving her opinion of a performance on a TV dancing contest that she also did not watch.

Mom: “They don’t write songs like that anymore…” – that would be Mom’s take on any Broadway musical written before the 1950’s.

In my Mom’s world, nothing is as good as it used to be. All the ‘real’ singers and dancers have mostly died (a few, like Tony Bennett and Baryshnikov, are the obvious exceptions). So for her, and possibly for many others of her generation, the caliber of talent of today’s artists is in no way equal to that of their predecessors. But, hey, you can’t please everyone and (as my Mom has often been heard saying): “That’s what makes horse-racing!”

Finding Your Match

Evernote Snapshot 20151104 164152

Stripes or solids? Plaids or polka-dots? Finding the right match can be difficult. Some things and some people are just meant to be together. Others, not so much.

Whether you like peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and honey, you’d be hard pressed to find anyone willing to challenge your taste in food preparedness. That said I, personally, can’t see why anybody would put ketchup on their hot dog instead of mustard but, then, I also don’t find the need for ketchup on my fries… so there’s that.

Black coffee or coffee with lots of milk and sugar? This, too, is a seemingly debateable issue between caffeine drinkers. I prefer tea so it matters not to me but stop in at any Starbucks, any time of the day, and you’ll see not only long wait lines but lines of predilection as well.

Finding your match can involve anything from your taste buds to your heart’s desire. Preferences in food, music, art and clothing can change as often as the days of the week. Traits we like about our friends and even about ourselves sometimes change as we get older. Love, on the other hand, is a many splendored thing and should always shine as radiantly as a struck match!

Piece Of Mind

Evernote Snapshot 20150518 213542

Did you know that when you live with your parents, later in life, you actually start to lose large pieces of your mind on a daily basis? It’s not like when you temporarily lose your keys or forget someone’s phone number. Or when you sit in traffic because it was decided that rush hour was a convenient time to pave the road or there’s an accident on the other side of the divider and all the drivers in front of you decide to look and take photos and you think, “there are two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”

No, this is something entirely different. 

When my Dad – who has very limited sight and even more limited acceptance of that fact – insists on pouring his own drink and I then spend my few free moments of the day cleaning up the spills that could have been avoided if he would have just allowed me the privilege of doing it for him in the first place… there goes one piece of your mind. 

Then when my Mom thinks she is saving 15 cents (yes, cents) by using a coupon from one particular store that is miles away from where I’m doing their regular shopping – resulting in my having to spend a half hour more of my valuable time, traveling in the car (not to mention about 10x as much in gas as the coupon is worth) – just so I can buy that item that she didn’t really even need but had a coupon for… there goes another piece of mind. 

And, finally, when I spill some yogurt down the front of my new shirt (because I’m so tired from running around doing errands and fixing things around the house) and I realize I’ve witnessed this same scene before but, instead of me, it was with the very people I’m usually helping clean up after – that’s when it occurs to you that it’s not a piece of mind you’ve lost but your peace of mindfulness!*

*Don’t sweat the small stuff… Listen to your heart… Take time for yourself… Set clear boundaries… Give yourself the gift of forgiveness… Go ahead and vent… Remain calm… Make the best of a bad situation… Don’t take it all so seriously… Treasure the journey… And when all else fails – LAUGH!