Ahhh! Spa!

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For Christmas, our kids gave my friend and I a gift certificate for a day at the wonderful Elmwood Spa located in the heart of downtown Toronto. The gorgeous building built in the late 1800’s was originally home of the Y.W.C.A. The exterior has been beautifully restored to its original condition while inside houses four floors that are a mix of the old with modern aesthetics. When you enter, there is an immediate sense of calm that pervades the reception area.

Our reservation was to begin at 10:00am and we agreed to meet at the Elmwood since I was driving in from just outside the city. A drive which would normally take me 45 minutes stretched into double that time due to morning traffic and after searching for parking, I found myself scrambling to get there on time. I needed this spa day more than ever at this point.

We checked in immediately and were escorted to the change area on the second floor to doff our belongings and don their wonderful white robes which would become our uniform for the day.

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First on our agenda was a facial. Our personal technician guided us to the treatment room. While relaxing on the warm bed, my face was scrubbed, waxed, plucked, squeezed, massaged, steamed and lubricated. During the treatment the technician also massages your scalp. When it was time to leave, I peeked in the mirror by the door to find my hair standing on end like an oily mop. Any attempt to tame the mess was in vain, but luckily everyone wandering the halls looked the same, so I felt right at home.

Next on our schedule was lunch, so we headed up to the 4th floor. We chose a seat outside on the patio in the shade. The warm breeze felt lovely.

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Included in our package was a three course lunch. I chose a beet, arugula and goat cheese salad to start. This was followed by a NY sirloin steak with sautéed parsnips. Delicious! For dessert, I chose warm pumpkin pie with cinnamon whipped cream. It was lovely to relax and eat at a leisurely pace. I was very surprised to see almost an equal number of men and women; some were couples, but many were alone or with a friend.

After our leisurely meal, it was massage time. Surprising to me was the fact that most of the masseuses were men. The room was dimly lit and soft music played in the background. As I lay on my very full stomach, it was clear that the timing was not ideal. I eventually settled in and thoroughly enjoyed the experience which was enhanced by the scent of lemongrass that I had chosen for my oil. A second head massage left me looking frightful, but I couldn’t have cared less.

Lastly, we headed back to the second floor for our pedicures. Our technicians were so much fun and we laughed the entire time. Screenshot_2018-08-02 Elmwood Spa (Toronto) - All You Need to Know Before You Go - UPDATED 2018 (Toronto, Ontario) - TripAd[...](1)

We gave our newly polished toes some time to dry before heading for the change room.

It had been a truly, lovely day. Everyone needs a day like this every so often just to be pampered and cared for. So, remember to take some time for yourself. You deserve it!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

 

 

Everything Aches!

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I’m an early riser. It has become my habit when I first open my eyes in the morning to lie flat on my back and take stock of the aches and pains that emanate from various parts of my body. Anyone watching me would wonder what on earth I was doing. I lift and bend various limbs to see what is new or different. Sometimes, I am pleasantly surprised to discover that a previous problem seems to have resolved itself.

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It used to always be my right knee that gave me the most discomfort, but with continuous use of cannabis cream (I use it religiously.) , I no longer feel the throbs consistent with the arthritis in that joint. I am currently plagued by pain in my left shoulder. So, I am trying out various products from the arsenal in my medicine cabinet.

This week, after a tug of war with my 177 pound St. Bernard, I am treating lower back pain. I really should learn that if she doesn’t want to move, she won’t move. I am always the loser in this battle of wills.

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I am quite aware that the aches and pains that I am experiencing are just another reminder that I am getting older. Among my group of friends, there are knee replacements, and hip replacements aplenty. It started me wondering why these surgeries are so common place today, and the wait time for doctors doing these procedures is long. I think back to when I was much, much younger and these kinds of operations were virtually unheard of in medicine.

How did our parents and grandparents and those before them cope with these ailments? My mom, in her eighties, was still maintaining her large home and garden, roller skating twice a week, and occasionally going downhill skiing in the winter. Were they made of better stock? Or were they simply more active during their lifetime than people are today? Has technology robbed us of our physical health? 2a78e38dd433824c51357eb0c258e02e

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I have come to the conclusion that it is a combination of many things, but I guess the proof will be in the younger generations. It will be interesting to see the outcome because as you have heard many times before “use it, or lose it”. I think there may definitely be something in that old adage. So get off your sofa, and phone, and computer and at least go for a walk. You may meet some new friends and discover a whole world of fun just beyond your front door.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Who’s Old?

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Driving to the cottage one weekend with my mom, I asked her, “How do you know when you are finally old and mature?” Without a moments hesitation she replied,” How the hell would I know? I’m not there yet!” She was 81 at the time. Now my mom was an amazing example of the idea that you should “die young as late as possible”. She was still rollerskating twice a week and downhill skiing in her 80’s. e9f84813bed03e5582ce442b45bdb0ef

I am by no means saying that aging is a piece of cake, but when you weigh the options, it’s the best choice. From my own experience so far, it is the physical changes that are the most difficult to accept. In past blogs, I discussed the visual changes of growing older like wrinkles, unwanted hair, sagging boobs, and graying hair, but those are relatively minor compared to other body functions.

One of the most obvious signs of getting older is Menopause. I put a capital on that word because it’s a big deal. In fact it is to blame for many of the things I listed above. I will go out on a limb here and say that no one misses their monthly period, but  who looks forward to those damn hot flashes? Those hot flashes affect you and everyone close by you. I remember when I first started to get them; I was teaching grade one. It was the middle of the winter, and I would throw open the windows in my classroom. One morning the principal dropped by for a visit. There sat all the kids wearing their mittens and hats. The principal looked at me and said,”Should I know what’s going on?” Before I could respond, a little voice spoke up, “Mrs. F. is hot!” My principal could barely contain his laughter as he closed the door behind him. He never mentioned it again.

Changes in our vision and hearing are other problems that creep up on us much more slowly. I remember my arms seemed to get shorter and shorter as I strained to read the newspaper, and I had to keep adjusting the volume on the phone and television. I have been wearing “reading glasses”  for several years now, but I am starting to notice that it is more difficult to see distances when I am driving. I guess there is an eye test in my near future.

9c054ffb4fa960ff23b81a5f2d140bd9  Sitting with the girls at the pub is a good demonstration of hearing deficit. Someone will say something and ultimately someone else will tap their neighbor on the shoulder and ask, “What did she say?”It turns into that kid’s game of “Telephone” where they pass a message down a line.

I was talking to a male friend at the pub one night and after the conversation, one of the girls asked what we were talking about for so long. I said that I had no idea because I can’t hear him very well with the music and talking. She said, “But you were answering and nodding your head.” I replied, “I just agree with everything he says and smile a lot.” She started laughing. “That could get you into trouble.” She’s probably right. I may have agreed to wild sex!!! I am counting on the theory that he can”t hear very well either. 5afd794f8e18a60044af87d79ab1fca4

I think the worst part of getting older is leakage. That’s right! I said leakage. You laugh and you pee. You cough or move the wrong way and you fart. There is no getting around it. www.pinterest.caLuckily most of us are in the same situation, so there is a general understanding among our age group. You know you are not alone with these issues because the store shelves and television ads feature helpful hygiene products that are readily available.

And how many others are up several times during the night to visit the bathroom? I can’t remember the last time that I went to bed and slept through until morning. Eight hours of sleep a night be damned!

Oh, I almost forgot! There is one change that makes the other issues less problematic. Memory loss! How many times a day do I go up the stairs and wonder what I am doing there? By the time I walk back down, I have remembered and head back up again.

0793f1b6c625ca3bcb5f78d34abba691 It’s like an involuntary exercise program.

They say that when you are a senior , you are “over the hill”. Where is this hill and what’s on the other side?  I’m not climbing it unless there is wine.

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I think the best piece of advice that I could pass on came from my own doctor, surprisingly. She said that no matter what, keep moving and living your life because when you stop doing all those things that make you happy, it’s downhill from there. And speaking for myself, I am in no hurry to get to the bottom of that damned hill.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

 

Sex and the Single Senior

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One of my favorite television series was “Sex in the City”, and I now watch it every day in reruns. I always fancied myself as the Carrie Bradshaw character, and here I am writing about sex and the single, senior woman. Dreams can come true! All kidding aside, I get the impression that many younger people think that once we hit a certain age ( I have no idea what that age might be ), we are no longer interested in sex. I am here to set the record straight. Yes, we are still interested! (Except those who perhaps never were.)

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A friend of mine has a mother who is living in a retirement home. She is in her late 80’s. One evening at a large, family dinner, her mother needed something from her purse, and she proceeded to pull several items out to find what she was searching for. Out tumbled a condom package. Her children and grandchildren gasped. She was unfazed. When questioned about the condom, she simply said that they give them out in the “home”.

“You have to be careful, you know,” was all she said as she refilled her purse.

And she is correct. Sexually transmitted diseases are sometimes rampant in retirement homes. The residents may be old, but they are not dead.

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Not so long ago at our weekly pub dinner, the conversation got around to sex, as is often the case. We were laughing and joking, but one of the girls became serious.

“I’m worried that if something happens to me, my children will find my “special drawer” where I keep my vibrator,” she admitted.

The table went silent for about a second. Then another voice piped up, “Just pair up with one of the other girls, and if either of you becomes too ill, the healthy  one will go in and hide the evidence. Problem solved!”

Everyone laughed and nodded in agreement.

Then another friend announced that she had already given this some thought, and she had a better solution. ” Never mind a vibrator,” she said, “what you need is an electric toothbrush. No one will think twice about an electric toothbrush in your bedside table.” We were puzzled for a minute or so. Then we burst into gales of laughter, but she was serious. Now let this idea sink in for just a moment. Are you still with me? Just use your imagination. ( I think the toothbrush manufacturers should be paying me for this plug. )

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“I wonder if I can get a motor for this beauty?”

The point of this post is that age has nothing to do with desire. And while aging bodies do create more challenges , where there is a will, there is a way. As I have said so many times before, life is not finite or predictable. If something is enjoyable and you are hurting no one, then I say go for it. At what other time in your life can you have the fun without worrying about getting pregnant? But as always….be safe!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Who’s In Charge?

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There is nothing like a health scare to get your attention. Most of my life, I have sailed along enjoying good health and apparently taking it for granted. With the exception of a gall bladder surgery almost 18 years ago, I have not had to deal with doctors or medication. Getting older, of course, brings the aches and creaks of joints, but I try not to give it much thought.

I have lived in my own home and managed just fine for almost 40 years. My independence is my most prized possession and I guard it closely. So, when a recent health issue threatened that possession, I was alarmed.

My problem started with a lovely walk to the hospital to keep a friend company as she sat with her son who was in a coma. It was cool, but the sunshine felt wonderful. I arrived in the I.C.U. department and sat in the lounge to wait for my friend. As I sat there, a pain developed first in my chest, and then between my shoulder blades. Next, I felt chill, but perspiration beaded on my forehead and I could feel a headache gaining intensity. When my friend came to join me, I told her I wasn’t feeling well, and shortly after decided I should go home.

As I walked toward the exit, it occurred to me that I should walk directly into the emergency department, but as I processed that idea, I noticed the taxi phone at the door. I picked it up and called for a ride.

At home my symptoms remained the same, so I took an aspirin and went to bed for a nap. When I woke several hours later, I still felt terrible and in the darkness of the night, I also felt scared. I could have and should have called someone, but I was determined to muscle through this.

By morning, I felt somewhat better. After all, everything seems more manageable in the daylight. The cold sweat had disappeared, but was replaced by nausea. The chest pain was almost gone, but the headache remained.

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Common sense kicked in and I called the doctor and made an appointment. A short while later, my son called. He asked how I was, and I admitted that I had felt better. I gradually retold my experience, and he listened patiently until I got to the part about going home instead of to the emergency.

“MOM! What were you thinking?” he exploded. I knew he was right, but I said nothing.

“That’s it!” he announced. “If you can”t look after yourself, I am going to move in to look after you, or you are going to move in with us. It is obvious that you are irresponsible about your health.”

Well, that certainly got my attention and frightened me more than my symptoms. Remember my closely guarded independence? No one messes with that!

“I am doing no such thing,” I retorted. “You are not my boss!”

“Well, if you aren’t going to take care of yourself, I WILL be the boss.”

I told him that I had a doctor’s appointment and if the pain resumed, I promised to get to the emerg immediately. For the next several days, he called or texted to check on me. Sometimes the message said simply, “Are you still alive?” which made me giggle.

My doctor arranged several tests which did uncover a health concern, and I am now taking medication for the first time in my life. My independence is still intact, and I will continue to protect it with my life. I have a great many things on my bucket list, and I have no intention of jeopardizing my future. So, just a reminder, if it doesn’t feel right, get it checked out. Do as I say, not as I did!

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I’m the one on the right!!!!

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo