Little Miss Sunshine

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Did you know a smile can increase your face value? Well, not really, but I’ve got your attention now don’t I?

So much can be read in a person’s face – their happiness and sorrow; their shock and surprise. When we attempt to cover up our feelings, we are doing an injustice not only to the person we’re conversing with but also to ourselves.

Even though the world, at times, seems like it’s spinning out of control, just take a moment to breathe… and smile!*

*it can’t hurt…

Home Cooking Demise

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With all the new cooking shows currently on TV, you’d think any person watching would be like ‘a child in a candy store.’ But, if that person happened to be me, you’d be sadly mistaken.

I was never a great cook but the meals I prepared were pretty good. I certainly never poisoned anyone. But I also, for instance, never learned how to make a turkey. Why should I? Mom always had that particular honor (still does) and, ‘if it ain’t broken, why fix it?’

My parents now get meals-on-wheels a few days a week because even Mom doesn’t feel like cooking anymore. And, when visiting friends, why bake a dessert to bring over when they make exceptional ones in your average, local supermarket? I just don’t see the point.

So, if I can get away with buying already-prepared food from any other source (as long as it’s reasonably priced), I’m doing it!*

 

*In full disclosure… I DID bake cookies and cupcakes for my kids’ bake sales and classroom celebrations for years.

Savor Every Moment

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Getting ‘old’ is hard work. Not only do you have to think about yourself but, if you’re lucky enough to be in a relationship, you also have to think about that other person.

When you’re young, you’re much more self-centered and tend to feel immortal. As you age and your body fails to keep up the pace, you start to look at things in a different light. Suddenly, life has an expiration date and you cherish things more because it might be your last time doing or seeing them.

So, savor every moment and don’t take anything or anyone for granted!

 

Advice Worth Taking

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I find it amazing that the very people (our parents and grandparents) who taught us life lessons can be so hypocritical when it comes to the ‘new’ generation.

I was taught:

  • No sleeping together before marriage
  • Marriage before children
  • Go to college and then get a job
  • No car till you can afford gas and insurance

Now, my parents (I have no living grandparents) allow their grandkids to do pretty much whatever they want. There are suddenly no more rules or restrictions and they even help finance some of these questionable choices.

What’s a modern parent to do… Is turnabout fair play? Perhaps that dreaded nursing home is starting to look a bit more tempting! 😉

 

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!

Caregiving In America

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Ever notice that there are more new drugs on the market every day? And just the side effects, alone, can make your pulse quicken. In 2016, we should be curing diseases not still suffering from them. Why is healthy, affordable living so out of our reach?

Watch any black and white film (and even most current ones) and there’s not an actor to be found without his/her lips wrapped around a cigarette. People sometimes have to work at jobs surrounded by carcinogenic substances because that’s all they are qualified to do. We can’t start living in bubbles so what’s a person to do?

It’s true, for the most part, that we are living longer but we’re not fully prepared to care for our loved ones when they reach those new stages of life. Once upon a time, your grandmother might have lived with you and helped raise you while your parents worked. Don’t these same selfless people deserve our love and support? Not everyone can afford to take on that responsibility but… isn’t it worth looking into other options?

It’s not unusual to see multiple videos on social media showing stray animals being rescued and given another chance at life. Shouldn’t we do at least that much for our elders?!

See For Yourself

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You can’t always take someone else’s word for something that you can’t see for yourself. It’s fine to participate in a good debate and some people enjoy taking classes as adults because they’re still interested in learning. But never settle for accepting someone else’s opinion.

We often tell our children to be leaders, not followers. We encourage them to think and act for themselves (of course, they’ll only listen to what we say for a few short years). Then it’s on to their friends as their closest advisors.

It’s certainly easier, by far, to just be a bystander and not commit yourself to a cause. That might be okay for some people but others like to take a more active part. Standing up for or standing beside another human being takes a different kind of person – one who is completely dedicated and accepts the risks involved.

Open your eyes, your mind and your heart and, together, let them lead the way. You’ll sleep better, you’ll feel better and you’ll never again doubt your choices!

Disrupt Aging Now

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What’s the difference between ignorance and apathy?

I don’t know and I don’t care.

Sadly, that’s a more truthful answer than you’d like to believe. Elderly people get a bum rap. They’re made fun of and they’re underestimated. Older folks have always been depicted as decrepit and powerless in movies and on TV. They are often seen as victims and tend to be the brunt of youngsters’ jokes.

But the joke isn’t on them… It’s on the jokesters themselves.

Celebrities like Betty White and politicians like Jimmy Carter can teach us all a thing or two. They’ve not let time slow them down. They are as active and as productive as ever.

So, next time you see an elderly person (possibly even walking with the help of a cane or a walker), don’t assume they need your pity or your assistance. They may surprise you!*

 

*holding the door open for YOU or even bopping you on the head with their handbag like Ruth Buzzi @Laugh-In

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!

High Tech Drama

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Last night, I innocently showed my Dad a video on my phone. Granted, he couldn’t actually see it but he heard it and was able to get the gist of its content. This morning, he told me he had a restless night because he couldn’t stop thinking about that video.

Because I know how my Dad’s mind works (most of the time), I was able to decipher that what bothered him was not so much what he had heard but, rather, that I was able to access it. He was concerned about how and when I managed to ‘get into this person’s house and possessions.’ The fact that anyone at anytime has free and clear access to the ‘Internet’ and all that that entails, is beyond his comprehension.

I would imagine that, to his mind, I am someone akin to an Edward Snowden for his generation. All kidding aside (and, yes, I am most definitely kidding), I  am much less computer savvy than even MY contemporaries. So I can, truthfully, see how confusing that must have seemed to him.

But his mind, nonetheless, went immediately to his own privacy and he just couldn’t shake the idea that ‘big brother’ was now watching him. I tried not to insult him by explaining that no one was looking into his past – not the time he argued with his classmate at the bus stop and not the time he drove a few miles over the speed limit when Carter was president.

Unfortunately, what started out as a simple means of sharing (what I considered to be) interesting information turned into an eye-opening, educational lesson for us both!