“If Mr. McMurphy doesn’t want to take his medication orally, I’m sure we can arrange that he can have it some other way. - Nurse Ratched in “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”
Have you missed me? I hope so. I am taking a little hiatus from my blog while I play nurse to a friend who had hip replacement surgery today. It will be a real test of our friendship, because I am moving in with her for a week starting on Friday, since she will need 24/7 care for the first week. And Friend is not the most cooperative patient.
In preparation for the adventure, I had to go to a “Coach’s Class” with her last week, and I was awarded my very own Coach button to wear. Of course, because Friend was petrified to have the surgery, she buried her head in the sand and refused to think about (much less discuss) said surgery. And although I insisted I needed to read the notebook they handed out at the meeting inasmuch as I will be responsible for making sure she does her rehab exercises correctly and that she eats correctly, I was not allowed to see this notebook until today.
Now, Old Gal is one of those people who takes her commitments VERY seriously; and I need to know everything in advance so that I am prepared for any and all emergencies. Therefore, this lack of information has been stressful to say the least. Most of last week, I spent hours on Google to try to educate myself so that the contents of this notebook would not be a complete surprise. This afternoon after I left the hospital WITH THE BOOK, I went home and read it from cover to cover.
So now I understand why Friend did not want me to see this notebook. She has no intention of following the instructions. I know her that well. SO…”Nurse Ratched” will be reporting for duty. Friend should be VERY afraid! Ha, ha.
Have you ever had your friendship tested by such a situation? I am a compassionate person, but I feel for safety’s sake, I must be firm. Am I right?
If I don’t get to blog again for a week, just know that my hands are full. But I WILL be back!
Latest weight report: Lost another pound and at last an inch in my bust!
Copyright August 2011
“The more you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” - Dr. Seuss – “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
While cleaning out my attic, I’ve had a lot of time to think about finding a passion in life or, more specifically, how I might be able to use my time to help make the world a better place. There are so many worthwhile opportunities. I have done a lot of volunteer work in the past, but it has always been on a large scale in the area of fundraising or publicity. I believe I would like to work on a more personal level this time and try to make a difference in an individual’s life.
I recently spotted an article that announced September 8 is going to be International Literacy Day, and it struck me that I take for granted how fortunate I am to be able to read. My oldest sister taught me to read before I entered the first grade, and my summers from elementary school through high school included weekly walks to the public library to check out as many books as I could carry home.
* In the US, 30 million people over 16 read no better than the average elementary school child.
* One in three adults cannot read this sentence. (National Assessment of Adult Literacy, 2003)
* More than 60% of all state and federal corrections inmates can barely read or write.
* Low literacy’s effects cost the US $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment. (ProLiteracy)
* 85% of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate.
* As the education level of adults improves, so does their children’s success in school.
* Better educated citizens pay more taxes. 50% of the chronically unemployed are not functionally literate.
* A rise of 1% in literacy scores leads to a 2.5% rise in labor productivity and a 1.5% rise in GDP.
* People with low functional health literacy are less likely to understand written and oral information given by medical professionals.
ProLiteracy advocates that adults need strong literacy skills in order to:
* Raise children who have strong literacy skills.
* Be good employees
* Keep themselves and their families healthy.
* Be active in their communities and be “informed voters.”
* Advocate for themselves and avoid human rights abuse.
* To avoid crime.
With these statistics in mind, I checked out local resources for adult literacy and have just sent a message to our local READ Center for information on becoming a tutor for adults who want to learn to read. I have never done anything like this before, but I am ready for the challenge. Wish me luck!
Copyright August 2011
“You can’t upload love, you can’t download time, you can’t Google all of life’s answers. You must actually live some of your life” – The Random Words
So on Thursday night, my computer stopped working, and I didn’t have time on Friday to worry with it, so I missed my blog post on Friday. I was cut off from the outside world, and I felt like I was going through withdrawal! It was then that I realized I have been spending too much time sprawled on the sofa with my laptop on my tummy. And I thought of the above quote. I needed to get out and live some of my life. So I did.
On Saturday morning early, I pointed my little car north and headed to Older Daughter’s house for a week-late celebration of her birthday. Younger Daughter flew in to meet us. Lunch at a wonderful Mexican restaurant in northern DC (Guapo’s) was followed by present exchanges and birthday cake at Older Daughter’s house. Then little car headed south, leaving my sweeties to enjoy a weekend of sister bonding while I combated gridlock and what turned out to be a 5-hour drive home.
Sunday I met a new friend for brunch at a restaurant in an area called The Fan in Richmond. Strawberry Street Cafe’ was opened in the same year that Younger Daughter was born, so I guess that was an appropriate venue for part 2 of Old Gal’s attempt to get out and do some living. The food is consistently good, and the Sunday brunch is to die for. We got there just in time to avoid being in the long line of people waiting to be seated. Our taste buds were not disappointed.
After saying goodbye to my friend, I next rewarded myself with a movie. If you have not seen “The Help,” run…don’t walk…to your nearest movie theater and treat yourself. This is one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. In fact, the audience in the filled-to-capacity theater actually stood up and applauded when the movie ended. It was THAT good! Superb acting. I walked straight from the theater across the parking lot to Barnes & Noble just to buy the book and am reading that now. I’m sure Old Gal will go back for another viewing.
Needless to say, I was dreading stepping on the scales this morning for my weekly weigh-in after the weekend of indulgences that my mouth was allowed to savor. But I didn’t do too badly:
Pounds lost this week: 2 Total pounds lost: 6
I can’t find my tape measure this morning but will buy another one and report on any loss of inches on Wednesday.
Now that you’ve read my blog, it’s time to turn your computers off and get out there and do some living, you guys! Have fun….
Copyright August 2011
“The first thing I remember liking that liked me back was food.” – Rhoda Morgenstern
On Wednesday I went “home” (1.5 hours from here) to visit my 90-year-old mom. And NO ONE goes “home” without stopping in at our local “Greasy Spoon” (not the real name). All high school reunions include a get-together in this seedy old hole in the wall. All local funerals include some grieving time in the dingy booths. All trips south include a detour off I-95 to grab a few hot dogs and hamburgers with chili and slaw to go (see above picture which is an actual photo of the hamburgers there…and, YES, that shine on the buns is grease…MMM). In short, life in this small town revolves around our much loved diner, which was started by the current proprietor’s father in 1949. We’ll call the current owner “D.”
I grew up eating this food. My favorite is the hot dog with chili and slaw only. I don’t know where they buy these hot dogs, but they are skinny and red…full of red dye #2, I’m sure. These must be hot dogs bought on the black market, because they smack of that wonderful taste the FDA has ruled out of the healthy hotdogs you buy in the grocery store. The chili is made fresh on site (D’s father was a military cook), and it is thin and watery but good. The slaw is finely minced and full of mayonnaise and sugar. The buns are steamed and soft. The combination is perfection personified.
My sister’s preference is the grilled cheeseburger. I know. You are thinking all burgers are grilled. Well, I’m not talking about the burger. To make this concoction, they grill the burger, slap the cheese on top, place it on a white flour bun, load it up with toppings (my sister goes for “full dressed”) and then take the whole sandwich and grill it in what must be partially hydrogenated margarine just like you would do to a grilled cheese sandwich. Heart attack on a plate. And would you serve that up with greasy fries, please??
The waitress who takes your order is the one who prepares it. Consequently, patrons have their favorite waitresses, since there are understandable variations in the taste of your order depending upon who cooks it.
But one of the best things about our diner is the owner. A regional magazine wrote an article about our diner and had this to say about D:
(Patrons) “understand the gruff 71-year-old seaman with a scratchy beard and gray hair. They know the rules. They don’t wear UNC T-shirts; D’s a State fan. They don’t pay with plastic; D accepts only cash. They don’t need a menu; D recommends his hot dogs and burgers full-dressed.”
Last year, the residents of our home town voted for Scrooge of the Year. D won hands down. You are nobody until you are insulted by D. I noticed a new sign there last week that said, “(name of Greasy Spoon) where the customer is always WRONG.” D serves both Coke and Pepsi because he doesn’t let soft drink companies “dictate what I sell.” He tells credit card companies to take a hike even though they promise a short two-day processing period, because “I’ll have my money in my hand before they leave” he told the regional magazine. But we all love him because we know he only insults those of us he likes.
Some things in life never change. I know I can go home, stop by our Greasy Spoon, and imagine I am still a silly teenager while sipping Coke through a straw in a small glass bottle.
And if that pleasure includes eating three hotdogs and delivering a setback to my “best me” goals, so be it! At least I didn’t eat the fries!
Results of Monday’s weigh-in and measure:
1 pound lost for a grand total of 4 pounds
1/2 inch lost from waist for a total of 2 inches
1/2 inch lost from hips for a total of 1/2 inch
Copyright August 2011
Well, Marilyn, I don’t think I can 100% agree with you on this one! I want more than that. I read another quote recently that might be more realistic: “Life is like Google. You just need to know what you are searching for.” – ispeakquote
With that bit of wisdom in mind, I spent time this week just as I promised putting into action one of the rules I learned from a career in corporate sales: Identify your optimal client base.
What I worked on is a list of desirable characteristics for a potential life partner for Old Gal. Actually, I have had this mental list over the years and have tweaked it when needed based on life’s experiences. So this will be the latest version, separated into “must haves” and “nice to haves:”
Alive and breathing (recent add since at our age it’s harder to find one..LOL)
Honesty/high level of integrity
Ability to communicate/in touch with feelings
LIVES ALONE (I am NOT sharing a home with relatives unless it’s a parent!)
Assets equal to mine (I’ve worked too hard to support someone who has not prepared for retirement.)
Interesting personality/sense of humor
Interests of his own (to allow for alone time for each of us)
Educated/well spoken/good manners
Good personal hygiene
Some matching interests
Cares for others…kind person
Attentive without being suffocating – mutual “chemistry”
Willing to share household duties (I am not a maid, but I will cook!)
Enjoys family (The relatives can visit.)
Even tempered – positive outlike
Nice to Haves:
Knows how to dress
Enjoys healthy food
Desire to exercise together
Interest in traveling
Enjoys museums and the arts
Likes the beach/mountains
Enjoys cooking (This would be Heaven!)
Enjoys cards and/or crossword/jigsaw/sudoku puzzles
Likes to dance or would take lessons
Now, I know that sounds like a lot. And I am realistic enough to know that although I do have that long “must have” list, I would not throw away a potential match who had everything but one or two on the list (depending on what was missing…certainly not flexible on honesty).
I’ll also have to put a sticky note on my list to remind me of what I used to tell my girls when they were little: “Make your list for Santa, and remember…he might not bring EVERYTHING on your list, but he always tucks in a few good surprises!”
Next week (while I continue on my journey of becoming the best me so that I will be equally attractive and interesting to such a prize), I’ll explore exactly where I might best meet the man of my dreams…or should I say man of my list!
Do you think I missed anything? What would you have on your list?
Copyright August 2011
“To feel fit as a fiddle, you must tone down your middle.” - Unknown
This journey started with my idea to apply to my personal life what I have learned from a successful career in corporate sales. One of those rules was to set up a system to monitor your results.
It’s been one week since I started my fitness program. So I was naturally anxious this morning to step on the scales and to get out the tape measure. How successful have I been? Is my diet and exercise plan working? Am I on the road to getting my hourglass figure back?
Well, I’m happy to report…YES!! I have lost 3 pounds this week (goal: 2.5 pounds). I have lost 1.5 inches from my waist but nothing from my bust and hips (goal: 1 inch from each at the end of one 1 month). I notice no change in my waddle. But I’m going to keep using The Old Gal’s Gobble Getter because I believe it will eventually start to firm up my neckline.
And what will I do differently this week to improve these results? Let’s see…
Fitness: I have to admit that I did not lift weights this week, although I did power walk for 5 days. Today I promise myself to lift weights, because I feel sure I will begin to lose inches in my bust and hips if I do that.
Weight: I must admit I had a small glass of white wine with dinner each night. I have maybe 2 glasses left in the bottle in my fridge, so on Wednesday I promise I will refrain from any alcohol at all for the rest of the week. I’ll drink water with lime instead.
Health: I finally got a letter from my doctor on Tuesday with the blood test results from my annual physical. OUCH!! I knew my total cholesterol and my LDL (bad) cholesterol would be atrocious (they are), but at least my triglycerides are great as is my HDL (good) cholesterol. I am NOT going to take a statin. They make my tummy hurt, and I am a great proponent of listening to your body. On top of that, I have read that women do not get the same benefits from statins that men do.
So this is what I have decided to do about the cholesterol problem: I heard on the John Tesh radio show early this morning that a cup of blueberries each day has been found to be just as effective as statin drugs in lowering cholesterol. I read a similar fact about beets last year. Starting today, I will focus on adding both to my daily dietary intake. I will freeze lots of blueberries for a winter’s supply for my morning smoothies. Every month there seems to be somewhere I can go to get a free cholesterol check, so I am going to take advantage of those opportunities to monitor my progress in improving my cholesterol naturally.
The good news is that I feel great! How about you? Will you join me in this quest to become “fit as a fiddle?”
Copyright August 2011
“Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.”
- Dorothy Fields, Lyricist
I told you in the beginning that the “finding a passion” part of this blog was going to be the hardest and that the “finding a relationship” part was going to be fun. Well, I might have been wrong.
You see, I had this blog planned and ready to roll out in 2009. And just as I was trying to find someone to help me with the technical side, I received a phone call on a Saturday night (does that make me a loser since I was home alone on a Saturday night?). It was from a man who was in the first grade with me (Old Guy)…a man whose wife had died only six weeks earlier…a man I had not seen face to face since the day we received our high school diplomas (6 classmates between us in line)…a man who was really only an acquaintance even though we had just 130 people in our graduating class.
Well, I’m not ready to talk about the details other than this: I fell head over heels in love with this man. I realized I had never really been in love before. When I married in 1965, I thought I was in love but perhaps it was really a rush of hormones. I was raised with the expectation that my virginity was to be in tact until my wedding night, so I got married.
A little over a year after that first phone call, Old Guy laid out his plans for our wedding, which included getting married in our high school auditorium with family, friends, and old classmates in attendance. Be still my heart! I thought I had never heard anything so romantic in my life considering our heritage. My life seemed perfect. Sadly, I was soon to find out my life was only a dream.
And then it all ended very quickly. The Old Gal was left trying to put my life back together. I wish I could say he was a cad and I hate him. But I cannot. Sometimes life gets in the way of love, and that was the case here. After the breakup, it was a long road back to my real self, but I do not regret the experience. I firmly believe that people are brought into your life for a reason and someday I’ll figure out why Old Guy was destined to be a brief, but important part of mine.
So…I’ve dusted myself off and finally feel ready to start on this adventure of finding a life’s partner because one thing I know for sure: I do not want to spend the rest of my years alone. I very much neglected that part of my life, and I am wistful when I read all the blogs of the Boomer couples enjoying life together now that the kids are gone. I know that I want that, too.
I was married at 21 for 21 years, and then the pace of my life as a single parent did not allow me to ponder what I really want in a man. With this blog, I hope to change that.
So what rules from my career as a corporate salesperson can I apply here? I think the first one would be this: Identify your optimal client base. The second would be: Determine the best way to access that market.
By Friday, I will have made a list of the characteristics and qualities I would want my future partner to possess…both the “have to haves” and the “nice to haves.” And I will also have devised a list of where I might meet such a man as the first part of my roadmap to coupledom.
How about you? If you are single, have you gone through this thought process? Or if you are married, did you really think about what you wanted or is your spouse someone who just floated into your life and you clicked (which, BTW, must have worked since you are still married).
Copyright July 2011
“If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.” -Michael Jackson
Wednesdays are supposed to be the day that I focus on finding a passion in life. As I was thinking about where I should even start, I remembered this line from Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror.” And his words spoke to me. Before I can really even think of a passion, I need to make a change. I have unfinished business that must be taken care of.
And what might that unfinished business be? Well, I don’t know about you, but when my daughters moved out, they left a bunch of “treasures.” You know what I mean: stuffed animals, cassette tapes, swim team ribbons and trophies, picture albums, dolls, toys, formals, the 20 large Clothtique Santas in the original boxes (times 2) that my ex gave them but I somehow had the responsibility to keep, etc., etc. Younger Daughter even left me with a cat that she talked me into buying the summer after her freshman year of college…with the promise that she would take her when she finished school. But then she bought a dog. You know how it goes. That was in 1995…and I still have the cat.
For years I begged them, bribed them, and even threatened them with destruction of said treasures if they didn’t come to claim what they wanted. They were indignant. Older Daughter even polled her friends about whose responsibility it was to keep those things, and (of course) they said YOUR MOM. Well, it has now been 15 years since Daughter #1 finished college and moved out for good. It’s time for a change…
I must admit that in the last couple of years Older Daughter (now married and in a home with more space) has taken most of the things she wants from her room. I am gradually off-loading stuff on Younger Daughter now that she has bought a house. But my attic still looks like a war zone with Barbie campers and cars and horses, Fisher Price Sesame Street and Playground sets, the original Star Wars everything, Cabbage Patch kids….a veritable treasure trove of goodies that simply cannot be thrown away.
I still think the best solution I have heard was given to me by the wife of a young man I knew. When I posed the question of responsibility to her, she said she had taken all her stuff but that her husband had not. So his parents took advantage of their living in another state, and every time they shipped him his birthday present or Christmas presents, they also shipped another box of items he had left with them. They gradually got it all cleaned out. I should be so wise.
All of this “stuff” keeps nagging at me, because I feel like the last real gift I can give my girls is to clean out everything so that when I croak, they are spared the grief of having to do this themselves. So even though it is over 100 degrees outside and I know my attic will be unbearable, I am going to spend an hour up there in the early morning each day. And while cleaning, I’ll think about what my true calling might be.
How about you? Have your kids appointed you Keeper of the Treasures?
Copyright July 2011
When I was a young newlywed back in 1966 being measured for a bridesmaid’s dress, I was surprised to find out that I had what the seamstress called an hourglass figure: 37-24-36. This was back when Annette and Frankie were doing the beach movies and the ideal figure was more voluptuous than it is today. But, even so, I would love to have that body back again. It seems I have traded in an hourglass for a highball glass: my waist has all but disappeared!
Yesterday, I reported on my new invention, The Old Gal Gobble Getter, which I feel confident is going to postpone the onset of sagging skin on my face at the same time that it is getting rid of the turkey waddle on my neck. So I can at last give up sacrificing my fanny for the sake of my face and can concentrate instead on improving my figure.
I have gone on diets and fitness programs before with some success, but sooner or later I always fell off the wagon. Today, I decided to use a few rules from my years as a corporate salesperson to increase my chances of being successful.
Rule #1: Set goals higher than others believe you will achieve. Write them down.
Rule #2: Implement a plan to achieve goals and a system to monitor your progress.
Rule #3: Motivate yourself by displaying visual reminders of your goals.
There are three areas of focus in my plan:
HEALTH: Because I have a family history of high cholesterol, I am setting a goal of reducing my total level by 20 points without medication by August 22 (4 weeks). I had my annual physical last week, so it will be easy to pop in for another blood test in August and compare the numbers.
DIET: I am setting as a goal a weight loss of 2.5 pounds a week for a total of 10 pounds by August 22. To achieve this, I have put myself on a modified version of the American Heart Association’s DASH diet. I will eat the DASH recommended foods within the Weight Watchers Point System and in accordance with the Let’s Do Lunch diet (protein at lunch only). I have set up a log to record my daily food consumption. It is small enough to keep in my purse so that I’ll always have it with me. Writing down what I eat really helps me stick to a diet. Additionally, I have posted pictures of how I’d like to look on the fridge, in my car (no fast food), and on my bathroom mirror. I will also step on the scales each morning and enter my weight in my food journal. Again, easy to monitor my progress.
FITNESS: I have set up the following exercise plan: walk for an hour 4 days a week, lift free weights 2 days a week, and rest one day. I will have as a goal a one-inch reduction in chest-waist-hip measurements by August 22. I will measure myself once a week to monitor my progress and record the results in my diet journal. The same pictures I am using for diet motivation will work for fitness, too.
I am excited by this new commitment, and after two days of clean eating and exercise, I am feeling upbeat and energetic tonight. I did have a friend take pictures of me in a bathing suit before I started this journey, and when I have lost 20 pounds, I will post a before and after to celebrate my achievement. Eventually, I will lose 25-30 pounds.
Now off to do my two minutes on the Gobble Getter….
Copyright July 2011
So I’ve reached that age when I need to be concerned about the genetic curse that flows to me from my mother’s side of the family: the waddle. In case you don’t know what a waddle is, it’s the gift that gravity gives some of us in the form of loose skin in the neck area as we age.
Now, I guess I could consider surgery, but I’m more than a little chicken (although my neck screams “Turkey!”) to undergo the knife. Instead, I’ve been looking around for alternatives, and I came across an item called the Neckline Slimmer. Dr. Oz reported on his show that Consumer Reports says it does not work, and he recommends using night creams with Vitamin A or a cream with AHA’s or BHA’s instead.
However, almost all the Amazon.com product reviewers gave the Neckline Slimmer a thumbs up, and Philly Fox News gave it a test run with these results:
Click here if you can’t see the video:Neckline Slimmer
Well, I didn’t want to shell out the money to test this product, so I decided I could make one myself. I mean, really. What was the first thing you thought of when you saw the woman use the Neckline Slimmer in the above video? It’s merely a toilet tissue holder with glorified ends! And what better way to “wipe away” the flab? (OK..that was a little weak and a bit naughty.) So I quickly ripped off the holder from my least used bathroom, tossed the tissue, and searched my handy tool box for anything I could put on the ends. And, voila! In a matter of minutes I had created the Old Gal’s Gobble Getter.
Mark your calendars. Starting today, I am going to use my new invention just as demonstrated on the video for the next 8 weeks. Then we will compare the results with this photo of my waddle that my good friend took just last week:
Geez. Let’s hope I can correct this before Thanksgiving, because I’m looking too much like the turkeys in the first picture to feel safe leaving the house in November! Wish me luck!
PS – Tomorrow I will do another post to get back on track with my goal setting. I had to do something a little humorous today, because Daughter #2 thought my blog was too serious, although I am serious about this commitment.
Copyright July 2011