The Rules Changed

Evernote Snapshot 20160418 095048

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?!

My Dream Job

Evernote Snapshot 20160328 155232

“Hello… Hello… Is anybody there?” I often hear this refrain from my Mom who just can’t seem to figure out ‘call waiting.’ I put it on her phone so that she would never miss an important call (from me) while chatting with her friends. I might need to tell her that I’ll be home late or that they didn’t have the library book she asked me to pick up for her and is there a second choice on her list. But if she’s going over the crossword puzzle answers or debating politics for the umpteenth time with her friends then I better just give up and come home (of course then she’ll tell me she was worried sick and why didn’t I call).

There’s been a fairly contentious TV battle going on in our home, too. We have several TVs (one in each room not including the bathrooms) so it’s not like you’re outta luck if one of them goes dark. I have repeatedly shown my mother the art of HD and explained that the HD TV does not respond as well on standard channels so just add 500 to all your favorites and the TV will be your new best friend. Simply waiting for a service call is, obviously, not an option.

I’ve long since lost the ‘computer’ war with my folks but that doesn’t mean they don’t see the good that my having one does them (in full disclosure, I don’t actually have one either because I do all my business on my phone). 

For instance:

  • “Ellen, what is 10 across and 29 down – can you look that up for me?”
  • “Ellen, can you deposit this check for me and check my bank balance?”
  • “Ellen, can you get me a digital coupon for this week’s shopping?”

And so on and so on…

The bottom line, clearly, for them is that THEY don’t need to have a computer because they have ME!

 

The New Normal

Evernote Snapshot 20160129 143126

There’s nothing wrong with getting older. It’s almost as if the ‘over 65’ crowd is ‘the new normal.’ Aches and pains aside, more people than ever before are living into their eighties, their nineties and even living long enough to hear Willard Scott read their names (not as part of a memoriam but) on a Smuckers jar.

One noble aspect about aging is that it doesn’t discriminate – all races and genders, if they’re lucky, can be members of this inclusive club. The only rule is that you do it right… the living, that is, not the dying.

Old people are constantly portrayed as those suffering from incontinence, heart disease, arthritis and memory loss. They’re seen as cranky, unattractive, frail and forgetful. The fact of the matter is, today’s elders are actually computer literate, taking classes, starting new jobs and finding ways to improve their lives.

It’s no longer enough to just sit back and enjoy your retirement. You must keep an open mind and not be afraid to fail. You have to be open to discovery and appreciate life – especially knowing that your time may be limited.

Always remember this… You don’t get to choose how you’ll die but you sure can choose how you’ll live!

The Write Way

Evernote Snapshot 20160104 185023

It’s hard for anyone under the age of 40 to understand how things used to be. They never had to get up off the couch to change a channel on their tv; they never had to fight over the one phone in the house that was attached to the kitchen wall; they never knew how much a stamp cost or how big a deal it was when the price increased (usually by a cent or two) and they never had to carry around gigantic copies of their MRI films. Today, everything is conveniently stored on computers. Doctors can view your entire medical history with the click of a mouse.

They don’t even hand out illegible scripts anymore.

I’ve always liked writing*. I’ve written numerous music books and a series of YA stories. Even as a young child I remember writing absolutely everything down – my favorite foods, my favorite songs, my favorite outfits, my favorite movies… As a bored middle-schooler, I often created detailed polls for my classmates to vote on – and, yet, I still managed to graduate (ONCE, at the end of my senior year, not every few years as kids these days do – starting with Kindergarten).

Much like my Mom tells me how she likes the feel of a good book in her hands (I’m a proud 3rd-generation-Kindle-r myself), there’s just something about holding a freshly sharpened pencil (with a working, not chewed up, eraser) in your hands and knowing that there’s an infinite world of possibilities lying at the tip.

So whether you’re an academic, an artist or just a doodler, a simple pencil and a blank piece of paper can add hours of entertainment and great accomplishment to your life without the need of an electrical outlet!

*Hope you’ve enjoyed my first 100 hellomuddahhellofadduh blog posts…

For The Record

Evernote Snapshot 20160130 183911

“All you need is LOVE…” Is it really that simple? So much of what we’re told to believe in is a lie. As children, we’re ‘lied to for our own good.’ As we get older and have witnessed, first hand, some of the less-than-fair parts of life, we reexamine our beliefs and challenge hypocrisy.

All the pretty little sayings and colorful cards we’ve both given and have received seem to take on a whole new meaning. Sure, they’re still nice to read but we’re far less gullible about their sugary messages than our younger and less experienced selves.

When you’re older and they tell you you’ve shrunk, you can accept it because you know that your heart, at least, is still capable of growing and loving. And after watching what you eat your entire life, upon reaching a certain golden age, you just kind of smile, nod and continue to pile on that sugar and spice.

But when they tell you (without just cause) that you’re too old to do something, you just look them square in the eye and say,“talk to me when YOU’RE my age.” After all, who even cares if you ‘look your age’ as long as you ‘don’t act it?’ And, for the record, there will always be plenty of love to go around!

 

Ready Or Not

Evernote Snapshot 20151223 144023

 

“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

Evernote Snapshot 20151223 144724

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!

Hurry… Slow Down!

Evernote Snapshot 20151123 100713

We’re in such a hurry all the time. We eat fast food, we get instant messages – we place too much emphasis on instant gratification… we do everything at top speeds from driving to speaking to shopping. Why can’t we slow down anymore?

Where’s the fire in our lives?

From the time we’re little we’re in this giant hurry to grow up. Then, when we’re grown, we wonder where all the time went. We have indigestion yet we eat some of our meals while driving to and from work or while standing in line waiting to catch a train.

My mother always used to say: “A watched pot never boils.” Sounds profound but, seriously, it ‘always’ boils. In truth, it only seems to take longer because we’re focused on it and, now that we’re all multi-taskers, who’s sitting around watching water boil?

So, give yourself a break. You don’t have to make every single moment count. Don’t go directly from one activity to another. When eating, don’t forget to chew and (maybe) even savor your meal… There will be plenty of time to rush when you’re done!

Just In Time

Evernote Snapshot 20151027 130900

Just in time for winter… when your t-shirts and jeans are all put away and your long-johns and fleece pullovers are neatly folded in their place. The leaves have all fallen, the days are much shorter and you can see your breath in the air.

Just in time for spring… when the last of the snow has finally disappeared (hopefully) and the buds are starting to reappear. Some of us use this time to begin our seasonal allergy regimen – whether it’s getting shots or taking pills or spraying our noses.

Just in time for summer... My parents have always used my brother’s birthday and mine, which are six months apart (plus two years), as the dates they change over their closets and bedding for the season. The pool will soon be open, the bees are buzzing around us and the ice cream truck melody can be heard in the distance.

Just in time for fall… the cycle is almost complete with the leaves turning vibrant colors and the warm days behind us. The water’s too cold to swim in and our bathing suits are no longer of any use. We spend as much time as possible outside – walking and biking and exploring nature – before the dark days of winter are once again upon us!

Conditions And Treatments

Evernote Snapshot 20151104 181338

When are you too old to need your Mom? I think we can all agree that the answer to that question is: never. No matter what you have to deal with in life – no matter what obstacles you must face – there is one person you can always count on and that’s your Mom.

Married couples have each other and siblings have each other, too. But sometimes there is just no substitution for the one person that gave you life (or chose to raise you as if she did). When you’re really little, having your Mom kiss a booboo is all you need to feel better. When you’re older and you get your heart broken, crying in your Mom’s arms usually does the trick. When you leave home for the first time, just hearing your Mom’s voice on the other end of the phone can make all the difference.

But, no matter what level of pain or unhappiness you’re experiencing, your Mom always has just the right treatment for any condition!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!