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…

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ALL Lives Matter

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As yet another September 11th approaches, with a 3-hour televised reading-of-names, we should be asking ourselves why (even after 15 years) these particular lives seem to matter more than others. Regardless of your beliefs about destiny and happenstance or your definition of a true hero, there has never been an event in history that has been as publicly commemorated as this one.

September 11th is now part of our history and our culture – alongside two World Wars, too many genocides and the Holocaust. But we have never before dedicated a single day, every year, to publicly name those millions of people who have perished. Didn’t their lives matter, too?

Tragedy and heartbreak come in many forms – death from disease, arson, shootings, car and plane crashes. Who are we to decide whose death is more horrific or more memorable? We ALL matter both in life and in death. Isn’t it possible that the 9/11 families are not so much ‘honoring’ their dead as making their own lives (and losses) matter more?

New York has renamed countless bridges and streets in honor of politicians, policemen and even sports figures. The 9/11 Memorial, in its entirety, takes up much of downtown Manhattan. Since when isn’t a ‘moment of silence’ – generally heard around the world – enough?

I’ve always felt bad for people born on September 11th. How do you celebrate your special day when there’s such sadness all around? Do children innocently ask their parents why THEIR names aren’t being read aloud? Everyone grieves in a different way but most observances are kept private.

There’s a time and a place for remembrance of all kinds. But I believe it’s up to individuals to take on that personal burden if they so choose. We will never forget the events of September 11,2001. But isn’t the whole point for us to move ON and look FORWARD to a brighter future?

 

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!

What The Tech?

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Can someone please explain to my Dad that I am not a ‘techie’ – I don’t fix phones, TV’s or cable and I don’t know why they go out or simply fail to work. There’s no reasonable explanation as to why things keep happening and, yes, we still have to keep paying for them.

My Dad and I are both musicians and, therefore, suitably unqualified to fix stuff – sometimes even the very instruments that we play. That’s what other people are for. And don’t bother asking us to read an instruction manual either. That’s also what other people are for.

So, the next time some household gadget or machine refuses to cooperate, I’ll just walk away and lament, “what the tech?”

The New Normal

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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!

For The Record

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“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!

 

Read My Lips

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Have you ever yelled at the driver in front of you (when they stopped short for no reason) from the safety of your locked vehicle? Did you ever curse out the person in line in front of you (under your breath, of course) when they asked the cashier to check the price on several items or to ring up a few items separately for another purchase?

If either of these scenarios happened to you, did you really think the intended victim could ‘read your lips?’ And what would you have done if they could…?

I’ve thought, on more than one occasion, that another human being was:

1) Stupid
2) Illiterate
3) Entitled
4) All of the above

It’s amazing to me that people consider themselves above the law or think that somehow rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve seen people smoke in front of NO SMOKING signs; use cell phones after NO CELL PHONES announcements are made; talk when NO TALKING has been instructed and play loud music (with or without headphones) when there’s a clearly marked sign telling you that it’s NOT PERMITTED.

So, what makes some individuals decide that rules apply to everyone BUT them? I don’t have an answer to that. But I do know that, next time someone takes it upon themselves to ignore such warnings, I will not hesitate to speak my mind, loudly and clearly, so that there is no misunderstanding MY words!

Hear Me Now?

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For quite some time now I’ve been hoping to convince my Mom to get a hearing aid. She wouldn’t be the only one, by far, as I’ve seen (and heard) those tiny beeping devices in many an ear throughout our community.

It seems like I spend an inordinate amount of time repeating myself because Mom is completely deaf in one ear. So I have to shout out every question and statement in order to be heard.

When I leave, Mom doesn’t hear me say goodbye. When I come in, she doesn’t acknowledge my presence. And when I need an answer (“where is Dad?” “should I get the mail?” “are you ready to go?”), I practically have to stand directly in front of her and let her read my lips.

So, why is she so dead-set against getting a hearing aid and making her life (and that of those around her) easier?

I’ve finally figured it out. Mom likes not being able to hear… some things. It’s not that she has selective hearing and chooses what she hears. No. It’s actually quite brilliant. When Mom is talking to her friends on the phone, she is using her good ear to listen and, therefore, cannot hear all of Dad’s rantings. When she wants to take a nap in the afternoon, she curls up on her ‘good ear’ side and isn’t disturbed by the tv or Dad’s constant questions.That is how I know the ‘real’ answer to the question in the ad: “can you hear me now?” And the answer is: “not unless I want to!”

**** ‘Hear’ (haha) are a few hearing aids I’ve heard about (but not personally used):

  • Miracle-Ear
  • Lyric
  • Esteem
  • Phonak
  • Siemens
  • Rocker