When I was 15, I used to look at my mother and say to myself:
“When I get old  (mind you, she was only 41 at the time!), I will not be overweight like she is. How could I be? I have always been skinny!”
“I will certainly not comb my hair over in front and fasten it flat with a bobby pin like she does.” I thought she could look much better if she tried.
When we both got older and I’d married and had kids, somehow 25, 35, and then 40 extra lbs. had mysteriously been added to my weight. I’d lost a few teeth and had to wear a partial plate. I was still not FAT, I told myself, and I could lose it if I needed to. But I wouldn’t be caught DEAD without my partial plate, I thought. My Mom and Dad both had dentures when I was little, and they soaked in a glass of water at night. So I often saw my parents without their teeth. *Gross!* I thought. And I would certainly not get a HUMP like my mother had by then.
I would make sure to “stand up straight” so that didn’t happen. I did lose those extra pounds, several times, in fact. When I was near 50, I even gave myself a makeover, started wearing more stylish and flattering clothes, and I colored my hair.
How sad, I thought then, that my mother, who was a widow by then, did not seem to care what she looked like. She never wore makeup. Her hair was short, but not styled at all, except when she got a poodle perm. And she had started wearing those shapeless long dresses that used to be called “muu-muus.” Although she visted her friends who lived near her, she didn’t care to go anywhere unless she had to.
At that time in my life, I was just beginning to LIVE! I took cross-country trips by car, train, and plane, often with a friend. I wore contact lenses for a few years.
And then it happened. I began to get OLD. My hair turned a lovely silver, which I did not want to color. My eyebrows became invisible unless I drew them with a brow pencil. I actually looked better with only muted lipstick tones and light blush than with foundation, powder, eyeshadow and mascara. I began to get stiff–more than usual–from exercise or work. The extra weight did not come off, no matter how little I ate.  And just before I retired, I lost my dear, kind-hearted mother, who would have loved to have me living near enough to visit much more often.
And here I am, in 2010, wearing a long, shapeless dress now called a “lounger.” My hair is short and easy to care for, though I do style it with a wave and half-bang in front. I leave my partial plates in their box if I am not going to see anyone. And I hardly ever go anywhere that I don’t have to, even though I can still drive, which my mother never learned to do.
Oddly, I almost never look in the mirror, although when I was young, I could never pass one without checking my appearance. When I do look at my reflection–and actually SEE myself–I see my mother looking back at me! How did that happen? WHEN did it happen?
I hope she sees that and laughs!

By the way, I chose to have her buried wearing her dentures. 😉


Hard to Believe, but I Did It!!

Noplace Sign-cf
Happiness is a warm computer

This morning I finally took on the task of installing a matched pair of new memory cards in my 6-year-old desktop. The CPU has been trying to function on its original RAM all this time, and beginning to freeze continually these past few months, as I demanded more from it. So, armed with all the information I could find, and a grounding wristband that attached to the metal case of the CPU, I disconnected everything and opened her up. (This was not as easy as it looked, since I had never opened it before.)

Lying on its side, and full of bundled wires, the working space inside the tower was cramped, but not impossible to manage. It did take some effort to settle the new cards into place, but finally the clips came up to secure them, and I knew I had succeeded.  Next, I removed the dustballs that had collected on the fan filter and  everywhere else that I could reach with a big, soft cosmetics brush. And finally, I got the  panel back on correctly and reconnected everything.

Then the test came. I turned on my newly-upgraded computer. The message on the black screen told me that changes to the hardware had been detected. I was directed to press F1 to continue, or F2 for setup. I chose F1, and much to my relief and delight, the machine booted normally–and quickly! I find that my programs now load faster and perform their functions with more speed and energy. Windows Media Player does not stop and start [much], but I still have to wait for Youtube videos to buffer every few seconds. (I don’t know WHAT I have to do to fix that!!)

But I am happy and proud that I was able to do this job by myself, at my age.  And I say, if I can do it, almost anyone can! HOORAY!

On Turning the Big Seven-Oh

To Me!
To Me!

What  is left of my small family (most of them) and a solid group of friends have really made an effort to let me know that my birthday is remembered and celebrated. I get cards, telephone calls, and e-cards from those who can’t visit me personally, and cards, gifts, and dinner on the town from the local group. More fuss has been made over my birthday since I retired and moved to South Texas than at any time since my Sweet Sixteen party when my father danced with me!

It’s really beautiful to feel that I am loved that much! And that may be why, as I turn 70, I feel younger, rather than older. Of course, I can credit 6 months of stationary bike riding (and some walking), a spectacular recovery from a spinal diskectomy, fusion, and extended antibiotic treatment, taking care of myself with a few necessary meds and a shelf full of supplements, and having something to do. I can also credit  having no chronic debilitating diseases. I have been extremely fortunate. 🙂

Writing has always been a natural and easy way of expressing myself. I have self-published in text form my one fantasy e-novel (see the “Feline Fairy Tales” link under Blogroll in the sidebar on this page.) And writing songs that I can perform in church has developed into a well-defined part of my personality–I am a resident singer-songwriter in my small church, as well as Secretary of the Board.

Late Bloomer
Late Bloomer
I also have my wild birds to feed and my container garden to care for. And I am content to do any traveling through the books I read and the internet–journeys of the mind. I have a 5-year-old car that I drive only where I need to go (or occasionally, where a friend needs to go.)
I am not afraid of dying. I only hope it is peaceful, and I hope to finally find out what experience for the spirit may lie beyond death of the body. But in the meantime, I look forward to many more Happy Birthdays.
Well, open it!
Well, open it!



There is such a thing as getting too much rest, and the excuses persuade me to put off exerting myself for another day, and another, until I have to stir what energy and will that remain before it is too late. Another few days and I might need help to rise from this chair. The muscles have begun to hang from my bones. The energy I must expend to bathe and dress leave me with little desire to embark on my errands. But necessity propels me from my abode, and once in the car, moving through the streets and seeing the world I have shut out (except as seen through the window of the tv screen), I begin to feel better.

Last month I confessed to my doctor that I knew most of my health problems would be greatly helped if I could lose 50 or 60 pounds. He printed out a 1,000-calorie diet and told me to buy an exercise bike. The diet contains almost no fat, no desserts, no snacks, and no chocolate. A half-teaspoon of butter will not cover the thin slice of bread I am allowed. Skim milk tastes like chalk dissolved in water. But I stuck to the diet for 3 weeks. I lost 3 pounds, and even though I am not hungry on these reduced rations, I did not lose any more weight.

So I have bought an exercise bike with moving handles. My son put it together for me. It sits on the porch where I have promised to ride it at least once a day–twice if I can–to start getting back my strength and endurance. If it also burns calories, so much the better.

Getting started

I rode the bike this morning for 10 minutes, slowly until my knees stopped aching. After 5 minutes I sped up, but did not turn the resistance knob. Eight minutes, and I became aware of my heart rate speeding up. I began to breathe a bit faster. My legs felt a little tired, but I knew I could make it to 10 minutes, and I did. Don’t overdo it, I told myself.

I got off the bike and put the cover over it. My lower back felt warm and loose; my leg muscles were numbly tired. I can do this, I thought. And soon I will crave the effort, will need it to relax the tension of responding muscle. It is a new level of inertia–not inaction, as before, but a stable rate of motion that can be more easily increased with a little extra effort. And it will feel good. I know it will.

On Turning 69: So Much Younger than 70?

MyselfRecently I celebrated my 69th birthday. My daughter and her (now our) friends took me out to a fancy restaurant, had the waiters do their birthday act, and brought presents for me to open at the table. It was the most special birthday I have had since I was 16 and my father danced with me!

But I have to admit that there is a little psychological trick that the mind does with those decade markers. To be 69 definitely feels much younger than to be [OMG!] 70! When I am 70 I will be OLD–until I have been 70 for a while, and then I will think that 80 is old. It is the same trick that some adman dreamed up to make prices that are just 1¢ less than a whole dollar seem a LOT less expensive.

Does anyone remember when things were still priced in numbers that matched our most-used currency? Things did not cost 49¢, 99¢, $1.99, or (that horror) $99.99. They were 50¢, $1, $2, or $100, and that seemed a lot more honest. Storekeepers didn’t have to keep a drawer full of pennies for change, and it made the arithmetic much simpler.

While I am at it, when did the 0.9 creep into the price of gasoline? And on most service station signs, this little 9 is so small that you can barely see it. That is intentional, I am sure. Our brains do not move up to the next whole cent. We believe we are paying $2.69 per gallon, and not $2.70 minus 1/10 of a cent.

Well, it never bothered me so much to be turning 30 or 40 or even 50 that I would claim to be 29, 39, or 49 for as many years as I could get away with. I knew that I looked too young to be my real age, and I enjoyed having people tell me so when I told the truth about my age. (Good skin and a pleasant smile, there.) I still don’t feel almost 70 unless I overdo the exercise, and then I can hardly move for 3 days. When I dream, I always seem to be about 40, for some reason. That’s how old I feel inside, I think. It’s a good, comfortable age, 40: wise enough, yet not set in my ways (though I had to turn 50 before I was able to risk everything to change a situation that I felt trapped in.)

Happy Birthday to me! I am happy to be here, healthy and mentally fit, with some limitations. I don’t know what is ahead or how many more years are left, but I believe I will be as blessed as I have been up to now with good parents (both gone now), good friends, God’s grace, and a loving family. What more do I need?