Man’s Best Friend

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A unit down the hall from ours has been vacant for several months. The owner died and her kids put it on the market. They were there so often during the end that my Dad got really attached to their dog.

Imagine our surprise when, after returning home from the doctor the other day, we saw the dog (and his human) walking in front of our building. My Dad was so happy you’d think he just won the lottery. 

Oh, to have that much power…!

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It’s That Time…

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Last weekend I went out to dinner. My table was still set with the orange napkins they used for Halloween. On the windowsill next to me a gaudy, red and green Xmas decoration peeked over onto my place setting.

Considering it was the second week of November in New York and it was still in the 60’s, I can’t help but wonder why I couldn’t, instead, have enjoyed a little dressed-up Mr. Turkey or some cornucopia.

Is it too much to ask for a little equal time for Thanksgiving celebrating? Since when does Xmas begin right after Halloween? Doesn’t ‘Santa’ usually appear at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? 

Safe And Healthy

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Notice I didn’t say safe and ‘sound.’ That was deliberate because, at almost 86, my Dad isn’t quite as sharp as he used to be. He knows it, we all know it – we just don’t put a label on it.

What constitutes being ‘sound’ really?

Ask a person, who has lived a long hard life, how they feel and they’re just as likely to answer, “fine,” as they are to actually attempt to describe how difficult their day was beginning with getting out of bed to completing a few everyday tasks. Or, as my Dad often answers the doctor when asked that question, “how much time do you have?”

Mom, on the other hand, seldom leaves her place at the breakfast table because even the slightest exertion gets her winded. She watches her programs, she reads, she does her crossword puzzles and she organizes my Dad’s meals and meds. Mom (who’s deaf in one ear and has perfected the art of ‘selective hearing’) has a unique way of filtering sound. When she sleeps, it’s on her ‘good’ ear so she doesn’t get bothered by outside noise.

Dad, like myself, not only hears every annoying beep and bang but involuntarily waits for the next one to disturb him. And, with nothing but time on his hands, that’s a lot of disturbance.  As musicians, Dad and I are literally victims of the very sounds that we’ve spent our lives crafting for others’ enjoyment.

Is it healthier to face your demons head on or to ignore them in hopes that they’ll eventually go away? I guess that’s for each of us to discover!

You’re Old If…

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You’re old if…

  • Everything hurts and, what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work anyway.
  • You get winded playing chess.
  • Your children begin to look middle aged.
  • You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.
  • Your knees buckle but your belt won’t.
  • Dialing long distance wears you out.
  • Your back goes out more than you do.
  • You answer automatically when someone addresses you as “Old Timer.”
  • You burn your midnight oil at 8pm.
  • You sink your teeth into a steak and they stay there.
  • Your pacemaker makes the garage door go up when you see a pretty girl walk by.
  • You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.
  • The best part of your day is over when the alarm clock goes off.

Every Second Counts

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This statement can be taken in two completely different ways:

Don’t waste a ‘second’ of the time you have left.
Castoffs and reduced price ‘seconds’ never go out of style.

Some people get hung up on labels. They won’t take generic pills or eat store brand foods or wear anything but designer clothing. What a waste of your hard earned money.

Time and time again we’re seeing that you don’t always get what you paid for. I saw an interesting report this morning about sunglasses. Several pairs (from high-priced name brands to dollar store rip offs) were put to a test. All reportedly gave the consumer 100% UV protection. So why would anyone buy the pricier brand?

Medicines are so expensive that we’ve grown accustomed to the generic brands that the pharmacies dispense. We don’t even question it anymore. We’re just happy to pay less for the same exact thing.

If you’re vain enough or it’s imperative that you show off to your friends and family, then continue paying outrageous prices for the same items that the rest of us happily engage discounts. At the end of the day, those ‘seconds’ will have saved us enough money for a second pair!

The Rules Changed

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Sunday morning I decided to take the train into NYC to visit my boys. What a mistake. Not the visit but the method of transportation at that particular day and time. I didn’t realize it was a Yankees-home-game and that suburban families from upstate NY would be making the long journey with me. And I didn’t even bring headphones…

Toddlers cried incessantly and crawled all over the seats until their indulgent parents gave them their very expensive phones to play with… Men, way too old to still be wearing the names of other grown men on their Yankees jerseys and t-shirts, strutted around the aisles ‘replaying’ past Yankees highlights.

Look, I have nothing against America’s favorite pastime. I think it’s an overpriced day out but to each their own (the train ticket price alone was staggering for these families and I can only assume the stadium ticket price was well beyond my monthly car payment). 

But where was the ‘old time’ fun? I remember going to games with my parents and older brother. It didn’t bankrupt us and we needn’t bring our own food from home because it was mostly affordable. And actually keeping score was a skill we perfected after repeated attendance and something that made us feel like a part of the entire ballgame experience.

Somewhere along the lines the rules changed. Prices skyrocketed and manners plummeted. I wouldn’t bring a young child to a game today – they’d hear foul (pun intended) language; reek of warm, spilled beer and be exposed to a world of entitlement, rudeness and bad sportsmanship.

But, hey, how else will they learn how to act on their own school turf?!

High Blood Pressure

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Few things in life naturally lower our blood pressure – but plenty can raise it. Between worrying about our health, our families, our pets, our friends, our careers, our finances… there’s little time left over to just ‘chill.’

There are numerous drugs on the market that will help keep BP at an even keel. Doctors tell us to give up almost all of the things that give us the most pleasure. “Everything in moderation,” they tell us. Yeah, and we’re also told to ‘just say no’ and ‘you can’t eat just one…’

But these are, literally, words to live by.

We should eat right, exercise, do yoga and/or meditate and all our troubles will magically disappear. Really? Just like that? Yet we continue to abuse our bodies – putting chemicals and additives and artificial coloring and preservatives into our system on a daily basis. We have little if no self control and, when we feel poorly, we blame everyone else but ourselves.

I, for one, do not have high blood pressure. I’m as stressed as the next person but I don’t keep things bottled up inside. I yell, I complain and… you know what? I feel better.

So, do what your doctor tells you and take meds if they’re recommended but the rest is up to you. Find something that calms you – I knit and I color. It relaxes me at the end of a long and stressful day. So does drinking a cup of hot tea and eating a whole lotta chocolate!

It’s My Turn

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At the end of a hard day, all I want to do is put up my feet, have a hot cup of tea and listen to blissful silence. I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to think, I just want to do… nothing. For a few moments, I just want to be me.

Maybe that’s a little profound for those of you who choose to make every second count. Some people have no idea how to just ‘chill.’ They don’t feel accomplished unless they’re doing something at all times. That’s sad, really, because there is so much more to life – and many people miss out on that.

I’m not knocking a great work ethic but I’ve known people who have slaved at jobs their whole lives – only to die way too young. I truly believe that all work and no play makes a person old before his/her time. And, as my Dad always says about the rich, “you can’t take it with you.”

So, after all my work is done and I’m sure that Mom and Dad have everything they need for the moment, it’s my turn to sit back and just relax!

Ready Or Not

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“Ready or not, here I come…,” we shouted as children playing Hide and Go Seek. And, not surprisingly, we always found our playmates. “Are you ready, yet?” we asked our own children when we were running late to an appointment. “Let’s Go” and “Chop Chop,” I often, and as kindly as possible, say to my parents when I know they would rather just stay home but they’ve got places to go and things to do.

With 24 hours in a day, you’d think that we would have plenty of time… we rush to work, we rush getting dressed up to go to events and we even rush so that we don’t end up having to rush. Time is a funny thing. We think we have so much of it when we’re young so we’re always late. Then we want time to slow down because things were so much easier when we had nothing BUT time.

“Youth is wasted on the young.” Wouldn’t it be great to have known then what you know now that you’re older and more experienced? Sadly, all of that knowledge and wisdom comes too late to be able to really enjoy it – as our younger selves could.

They say you’re never quite ready for marriage or children. There isn’t necessarily a perfect time in our lives for such life-altering events. But we do our best whether or not we’re truly ready!

 

High School Reunions

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Reunions are a great time to take stock of how fortunate you really are. A lot of people use these occasions to see how well (or not) their ‘friends’ fared. We take pride in looking thinner (women), hairier (men) and less wrinkled (both) than our contemporaries. It doesn’t matter the circumstances that brought them to that state – we’re always quick to ‘judge a book by its cover.’

Abraham Lincoln wrote: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” Elderly people understand this sentiment. The rest of us, sorry to say, do not. Or at least not yet…

Older people rarely regret things they did. They only regret things they didn’t do. When you’re younger you feel invincible and think there will always be tomorrow. But, sadly, sometimes tomorrow never comes. What then?

You try to live each day as if it’s your last, you try to be kind and compassionate toward others and you never, ever (as my grandmother always said) go out without first applying lipstick and a little blush!

 

FYI… my Mom is the dark-haired beauty in the back row, second from the left!