Mirror, Mirror!

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We all do it! A child is born and instantly we compare their appearance to one family member or another. It always reminds me of that childhood story, The Ugly Duckling. If there is no family resemblance, everyone seems to be in a fluster and they begin going back generations to find something that says the child belongs. Growing up, family and friends often remarked that I looked like my paternal grandmother. She, in turn, would maintain that I was a true likeness of family members in Ireland who I had never even seen in pictures. As a young child, this analogy secretly bothered me. I didn’t want to look like my grandmother. She was old and wrinkled!

As with all aspects of life, our perception of most everything changes as we age.

My daughter recently posted on Facebook a picture of my mother and I on my wedding day. I always knew we had many similarities, but for the first time, I was struck by our uncanny likeness.

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So many friends commented on how much we looked alike. Why had I never noticed this before?

I have gone through my life believing I looked like my grandmother. What has made this realization even stranger, is that I have let my gray roots grow out, and my hair is now almost white. When I look in the mirror, I feel like I’m looking into my mom’s face, not mine. I catch my reflection in a store window and see her looking back at me. Sometimes it is just the way I tilt my head or smile, but it’s her. More recently, I have heard myself using expressions that my mom used. The words flow out as though it was her talking. It always catches me off-guard.

Do we eventually become our parent as we age? I can’t imagine ever being that lucky.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Good Night…. Not!

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I love Maxine. She tells it like it is. Among many other things, aging takes a notable toll on our sleep patterns. Sometimes just getting ready for bed is exhausting in and of itself. This verse lays it out…..

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I am probably considered one of the lucky seniors because my teeth are still in my head and I have not yet succumbed to the need for a hearing device. I do, however, suffer from night sweats. 7586027ddb3f4b9d537e45b71ea27cfbThose wonderful menopausal years are pretty much behind me, but too often I wake from overheating.

 

 

 

 

Off go the duvet and sheet in an effort to cool my clammy body. Some nights my hair is damp and matted to my head, not the most attractive sight. And if sweltering doesn’t wake me, my bladder does. I swear I have an internal clock because I seem to be heading to the bathroom at precisely the same time every night. And speaking of my bladder, I never dreamed that Poise or Depends would be part of my shopping list.46ee29e16e320c5ce4ec03d1b3cf9a78

If it is not my bladder or a hot flash that keeps me awake, it is insomnia. I can solve all the problems of the world on these nights. A little while ago, I started using cannabis to help me sleep. I make cookies and rice krispie squares which are actually quite helpful. Who doesn’t enjoy a little treat before bedtime? I try to time eating them just right knowing they start to work in about 45 minutes for myself. At first, I worried about waking to pee, but it’s just fine. I have also noticed that I do not have night sweats or perhaps I just don’t notice them. Occasionally, I have very colorful dreams, but I wake feeling great.

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Just when I think that I have been through all the wonderful changes that aging brings, there is something new. Recently, it has been my constantly running nose. I do not have allergies, nor do I have a cold. When I bend over to pick something up, my nose starts to drip. Oy vey!

Believe it or not there is an upside to all these annoyances. 7d304744411991e5ad1ec11a710b289c

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

It Takes Two…. Not Always!

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Let me preface this post by saying, “I like men.” I enjoy their company, their sexuality, and if they like to dance as much as I do, so much the better. I also need to make it clear that I am single and have been for the last 34 years. (That number surprises even me!). I have dated and had brief “flings” for want of another word, but I have never felt the need to remarry or have a permanent man in my life. When I was much younger, I would see the sad look on people’s faces as they reassured me that I would find another partner to share my life.

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I truly love my own space and independence. I will admit that along the way there were times when I was angry at my husband for leaving me alone with all the responsibility of raising our two kids. In retrospect, he did me a huge favor. I had no one to lean on, but myself and this forced me to dig down deep and be strong. For that, I will forever be grateful.

In a world where couples sometimes change partners more often than their socks, I tend to wonder why they marry in the first place? The television is inundated with these bridal shows  like “Say Yes To The Dress” or the one where four brides compete for the best wedding to win a luxury honeymoon, or “Married At First Sight”, but my favorite has to be “90 Day Fiancé”. What the hell are these people thinking? Blending two lives together is difficult enough without these additional stresses.

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Most of the women in my circle of friends are single and most of us are widows. We all love the company of men, but at this stage of our lives, I think I can safely say that none of us would remarry or live with a man again. We all enjoy busy, interesting lives. We have no one to worry about except ourselves, or perhaps our kids.

I have discussed this topic with several men my age. None of them want to live alone and all would like to find a woman to look after them as they get older. Somehow I fail to see the romance in that situation.

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Several weeks ago, my cousin posted her frustration on Facebook. She is married. The post went like this, “You’d better get the projector lights out on the lawn before the ground freezes,” he said. “Yes I know, that’s why I’m going out to do it now.” Three hours later, “When are the lights going out ?” he asks as I stand in the front hall warming my frozen hands from driving stakes into the ground and trying to attach extension cords that actually work. “I will need help with the blanket lights over the bushes when they thaw out.” “When will that be?” “When they thaw out.” “When what thaws out?” 🙄 I asked her why he wasn’t helping and she responded saying apparently the Christmas lights are hers now.

I was incensed, and it wasn’t even my problem. I said, “You are a couple, and he should help because it is important to you.” This simple situation resonated with me. I really appreciated my singleness. I have no one else but myself to depend on for these kinds of things, and I know I will never let myself down. I will never have to feel that frustration.

Before you think that I am completely against marriage or having a permanent partner, I am not. I love seeing senior couples who are still very much in love. It worked for them! They learned the secret to a successful partnership. It is the little things you do for each other without being asked, not the grand gestures.

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So, do not feel sorry for those of us who have remained single. We are managing just fine! However, if you know a single man who just wants to have fun, you know where to find me. LOL

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Granny Panties

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The other night, one of the girls mentioned that she had made a new purchase…. shape-wear. When I was much, much younger, we called them girdles. They were heavy elastic garments, some with metal stays and heavy duty zippers, that were supposed to squeeze you into a smaller size. As far as I remember, all they did was push the extra flesh out the top and bottom of the thing giving you a bigger chest and bigger thighs. Needless to say, these hot, uncomfortable pieces of clothing are still in demand, except today, the fabrications are lighter.  You can get them to cover from your chin to your ankles and everywhere in between. Hollywood stars are always talking about their Spanx.

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This got me thinking about underwear in general. I always remember helping my grandmother with the laundry. She would let me stand on a stool in the back porch and bring in the dried clothes from the clothesline. As I carefully unpegged my granny’s silky, white bloomers, I would sometimes wonder why they were so large because she wasn’t.

Growing up, I assumed everyone wore plain white, cotton briefs like I did. I remember one Christmas receiving a set of “days of the week” panties. Not only were they in a variety of soft, pastel colors, but they were embroidered with the name of each day of the week. I was most upset  when due to inclement weather on wash day, my “Wednesday” panties were still in the laundry hamper. My mother insisted I should wear the “Thursday” pair, but it felt wrong. If only problems were still so simple!

Few people know that I am a huge fan of “Sex In The City”; I watch the reruns every day. It seems that fashion does repeat itself. Carrie is often seen in her apartment wearing none other than those old cotton briefs.

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When I hit my teens, bikini panties were the rage. My mom said she felt like they were always falling down. I loved them! They had a kind of risqué feel, and they came in so many beautiful colors and sheer fabrics.

As with every generation, things change. My daughter thinks thongs are the way to go. I even tried! No one will ever convince me that a string in the crack of your butt feels comfortable. And as for the tiny triangle of fabric holding the string together, well, why bother? You might as well go commando and call it a day.

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Men can choose between boxers and briefs; oh, and there are some out there who like  the “banana hangers”, but I know of no man who worries about body shapers like Spanx. Ladies, I think we do this to ourselves.

In retrospect, I think my grandmother had the right idea. There is a lot to be said about comfort…. silky bloomers with loose legs, plenty of air flow and a comfortable waistband. What more could a woman want? There may be a pair of these in my future!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

 

A Force To Be Reckoned With

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When I was growing up, any reference to seniors made me immediately think of my grandparents. They always seemed frail and in need of assistance. They led rather boring lives and rarely left their homes. It appeared to me at my young age that their main purpose in life was to babysit the grandchildren and host large family get-togethers. I must admit I was in no rush to reach my senior years.

As I got older and had children and  my own parents became grandparents, I gained a new respect for the importance of these seniors. However, my parents seemed more active for their age, and their own social life was busier. They went out places together and even traveled a bit. I sometimes envied their freedom as I changed diapers and did endless loads of laundry at home.

Now that I am a member of the Senior Set, my views have changed completely. Seniors are a force to be reckoned with everywhere. I can’t help but feel that the Baby Boomers altered the concept of aging.

For instance, we have a day named after us EVERY WEEK! No self respecting business can compete without a Seniors’ Day on their agenda when they offer discounts of some kind or another. Just try shopping on these designated days to see how popular they are.

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Almost every city, town, or village has some kind of Senior Citizens’ Center. These centers offer a wide variety of programming to appeal to every taste and the cost is incredibly reasonable. You can line dance, exercise, learn computer skills or do Chinese cooking to your hearts delight. Seniors line up in great numbers to snag a spot in the popular classes.

Gorgeous models in their senior years are making a big resurgence. Take a look at Maye Musk or Daphne Selfe (age 86) as examples.

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Even movie theaters offer senior pricing, and we take up the same amount of space as any other adult. And has anyone else noticed the number of movies that focus on seniors’ lifestyle? ” The Book Club” comes to mind immediately.

Statistics show that seniors are the fastest growing group to use and promote cannabis these days. Surprised? Not I. Everyone I know is talking about it and comparing information.

The newest confirmation that seniors are impacting society is this sign that was brought to my attention only yesterday. There are school crossing zones, and 45960158_10160729602020467_7700565530649821184_ndeer crossing zones; there are falling rock zones, and loading zones and now we have senior safety zones. I have to admit I am a little surprised and perhaps even a bit offended. It had to be some young whippersnapper who came up with this idea.

So don’t count us out quite yet. The wrinkle wranglers still have plenty to offer society. And if you don’t agree with me, well, …..

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Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Reconnect

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How many times have you met an old friend or family member on the street or at an event and after a brief conversation, you both agree to stay in touch, have lunch, or give each other a call? It never happens! We get busy with our own lives and never make that call. So, why do we say it?

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A while ago, I noticed my cousin on Facebook. I had not seen her or talked to her for several years. The actual last time we were together was at a family wedding. I have a good-sized extended family, and we all live fairly close. We grew up attending big family gatherings, and I saw aunts, uncles, and cousins very regularly. So how did we grow so distant? Yes, we all got older, married, and had families of our own, but that couldn’t possibly be the reason. So what changed?

I have given this a great deal of thought. In my own life, the person who kept me connected with my extended family was my mom. She made a point of calling her brothers and sisters regularly to find out how they were. That contact was very important to her. She made the effort to attend dinners and picnics, showers and weddings, new babies and funerals for everyone. She was the glue that held us together and kept us up to date on what was happening within our larger family circle. And then, she died.

Almost overnight, I fell out of touch with many family members. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I did not make it a priority. My only brother lives close by, but if it wasn’t for the fact that we frequent the same local pub, I would probably rarely see him, and this is someone who means the world to me. Unfortunately, this disconnect is not limited to family; many old friends have also fallen by the wayside.

Several weeks ago, I again saw my cousin on Facebook and for some reason it struck me that I am not getting any younger. I clicked on her name and sent a private message. I asked her if she would like to have lunch. She responded immediately and said, “YES!” And without further delay, we set a date to meet. As the day grew closer, I decided to ask my 96 year old aunt to join us. She was thrilled. We spent a lovely afternoon together catching up and reminiscing.

As I drove my aunt home later that day, I told her we should get together with family and friends more often. She was quiet for a moment, then replied, ” I’d love to, but most of my friends are dead.” It was my turn to pause and think now.

I finally said confidently, ” Don’t worry. I”ll find people for us to have lunch with.” Her face lit up. Until now, we had  only been attending funerals together.

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That night I promised myself to start reaching out to both family and friends. So far the response has been amazing. It is much more important to spend time with people when they are able to enjoy your company, than mourn the loss after they are gone. It takes nothing to pick up the phone and arrange a visit. You may be surprised at how good it will make you feel.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

What Shall We Do Today?

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I was scrolling through Facebook today and a beautiful picture of Amsterdam popped up in my news feed. It reminded me of how much I missed that amazing city, and also that I had not finished my final post about my vacation there.  So here we go!

As with any vacation, there is the universal question,”What should we do today?” Some people take trips where everything is planned for them. You are told when to get on the bus, when to eat, what you are going to see, where you are sleeping at night, and in some cases when you can go to the bathroom. I hate that kind of vacation! Been there; done that! No thank you. It is my vacation, and I will decide what and when things happen.

Our Amsterdam trip was no exception; however, when there are four people sharing the same holiday, there have to be compromises. My friends are the best at this. We are also a “fly by the seat of our pants” kind of group. Yes, we had some loose outline of things we wanted to do like our visits to the Van Gogh Gallery and the Rijksmuseum. For those two exhibits, we actually purchased our tickets online before we left because we did not want to wait in long lines.

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We also arranged to visit the cousin of one of the girls, and she lived in the northern part of the Netherlands. She was expecting us for lunch, so we planned our day accordingly. Here we are waiting for the train. It took us about an hour to reach her beautiful, small town. 20180902_101743

One morning we woke up and during breakfast, we decided to take a ferry to the “Eye” and the “Lookout”. The “Eye” is a film museum and the architecture is very modern in contrast to much of Amsterdam. “The Lookout” is the tallest building in Amsterdam; however, in comparison to skyscrapers in other parts of the world it is actually small.

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I took this picture from the ferry (which is free to ride). On the left is the “Eye”, and on the right, the “Lookout”. If you look closely at the top of the “Lookout”, you will see a metal frame hanging over the edge of the building. That, my friends, is a swing which sways back and forth over the side. I must say, when I woke up that morning, I certainly had no idea that I would agree to doing that ride. But I did!

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I was terrified, and shocked even my kids when they saw the video.

Some days we headed out from our boat just to explore. We visited the flower market.

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We shopped and checked out markets in various squares. We walked, we took the ever so efficient tram, we used the “Hop-On-Hop-Off” boat, and even a bicycle taxi. We crammed as much fun into our ten days as we possibly could, and that included an evening in the famous “red light district”.

For myself, I prefer to experience things at my own pace. I have no idea where I will venture next, but I can assure you, it will be a blast.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo