I Do…… I Don’t!!

6a325db5099aae7d13b395d949349028

It’s that time of year when so many brides plan their weddings. It is a time of sunny days and fresh beginnings. I have attended my fair share of these events over my lifetime and each one was lovely. Most memorable was my niece’s wedding held in a lovely, older church and the reception took place in a beautiful winery setting. Everything was perfect!

So, some of you may be wondering why I am on this topic. I am certainly not walking down the aisle myself, nor are either of my children planning a wedding. The reason I am writing this particular blog is to vent! I am so fed up with these reality programs like “Say Yes To The Dress”! Can anyone tell me why this needs to be taking up airtime? Surely the networks are not so hard up for content that these shows play back-to-back for hours every day. If that is the big fascination for viewers these days, then society is really hopeless.     67152b1f03e03fb81266d6dc8f68042a

Also, please tell me why a bride needs 10-12 people to help her pick out a dress. It’s like a contest for who can have the biggest, boldest entourage. If she cannot think for herself, perhaps she should not be getting married in the first place. I understand taking your mom or dad or a sibling. Yes, it is more fun with someone along, but when I see brides being torn in different directions by friends, or the groom’s mom, or Aunt Matilda….enough! It’s not your day!!! A bride should not end up in tears on national tv over her damn dress.

7f4960a97cf09f418b9d4bfc3804d2cd
Pretty sure no one helped her.

And speaking of the dress, is there a good reason why someone would spend $10,000 or, $20,000 or more for a gown for one bloody day? I must be really showing my age because I think this is absurd. If a bride needs to spend that much on a gown to be happy, she has issues.

I know I must sound very negative, but the entire wedding industry today is out of control. Wedding planners make you feel guilty if you don’t get the extravagant venue, or rent the best linens, or spend $1000’s on flowers. Yes, it is only one day, but that is my point. It makes me think their life is all down hill from there on. Come on, ladies! You are better than that. Have an amazing day, but you have the rest of your life to make amazing also. Don’t get sucked up in trying to outdo the next girl. And most definitely, the rest of the country does not need to watch it all on television and judge your dress or venue or center pieces.   6a2351c165fa554989a5da35d0ca3570

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, can we get some decent programming on television, please?

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Aging vs Getting Old

97d5c2f8f67c2175c2de49f63b3e4c80

Well, now that I have your attention, I’d like to get your opinion. Are aging and getting old the same thing? The reason I ask is that over and over I constantly hear complete strangers say, “I hope I can have as much fun as you and your friends when I am your age.” It’s puzzling to me. Do these people think that we are unusual? Do they think they have to wait until a certain age to enjoy their selves?

9303fad3b7332e77bc8a9f08be02bf9d

I especially cringe when I hear, “You look great for your age,” or “You don’t look your age at all”. Is there some kind of measurement standard that I don’t know about yet? I always enjoy going someplace and running into people that I have not seen since my twenties. Admit it! We all do it! We compare how they look to how we “think” we look. Now sometimes this backfires when they say, “You haven’t changed a bit and I have no clue who they are because they have changed a lot.” This happens a great deal with former students. I am sure I have that “deer- in- the- headlight” stare because they were eight when I last saw them. When I hear comments like, “You look exactly the same,” I secretly laugh because I like to think I look better now (just joking).

A very close friend called me one day. She was furious! She ran into a very old friend who she hadn’t seen in quite some time. This friend was in her wedding. My friend spoke to the woman saying, “Hi, how are you?” This comment was met by a blank stare. The friend from the past had no clue who she was. My friend explained and they laughed and had a brief conversation, but my girlfriend was offended so she called and asked if she really had changed that much with age. a74604d51ab735b64a6292f1b7c23b45

We all change as we grow older. Our hair grays, our skin sags and wrinkles, we often put on a few extra pounds, and our aches and pains often show as we may move slower or have a limp. However, none of those things have anything to do with getting old. We get old when we stop enjoying and participating in life.

 

Just because we have a few more birthdays, doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you loved to do. Well, within reason I guess!

3fd1e7cbb83b7c25314a119884b97805

We all come to know our own limitations, but it really has nothing to do with the number of candles on your birthday cake. I know people much younger than I am who do very little in life other than going to their job and sitting in front of the television. I feel sorry for those individuals. They are missing out! If you enjoyed a certain activity when you were younger and you are still physically capable, then do it again. Do not let anyone tell you that you are “too old”. And by the same token, If there is something you have always wanted to do, then do it; you may not get the same opportunity again.

3d741ae1bc545024ca5f784e43d7f93f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, if you will excuse me, I believe there is a lovely, chilled glass of wine sitting on the bar waiting for me. b1f0e9a96abbb9fd68cc6dfd9487bc55

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

You’re Never Too Old



It feels like forever since I last posted here. It’s amazing how busy life gets when you are retired. I must admit, I really worried about being bored when I no longer had a job to go to.  I felt my life would somehow have less meaning. It has become abundantly obvious to me that all of those concerns are in my control. I know that sounds like a very simplistic observation, but sometimes we can’t see things that are staring us in the face.

I recently finished reading Debbie Travis’s book, Design Your Next Chapter. Deb TraI know I mentioned her in a previous blog. Her message is simple. No matter what your age, if you can dream it, you can do it, and no one can tell you otherwise. I’m sure many of you are already saying, “Oh, sure! Debbie Travis lives a very different life than I do. She is younger, well-known, well-off, etc., etc.” All of that is probably true. I know it is for myself as well, but somehow her message struck a chord in me.

I have always liked to keep myself busy, but I have not always followed my dreams because I was afraid of failing. So, in 2019, at the age of 71, I have decided to confront my self doubts and step outside of my comfort zone. If I fall flat on my face, I will be fine. What is the worst that can happen?

So, to start off the year I decided to enter the Toronto Star Short Story Contest. 20190323_100545

I have thought of doing this for years, but the fact that they receive over 2500 entries kept me from trying. My entry was mailed off in February well before the deadline. It is out of my hands now.

For years, I have worked on and off writing a romance manuscript. The idea of completing an entire book seemed impossible to me. I mean, I type with two fingers. Well, I finished! I was so proud of myself. Then, I took it one step further and I have submitted it to a publisher. Now we wait!

My third project this year is a little venture with my daughter. I have toyed with this idea for a while, and when she casually mentioned it, I saw my chance to give it a try. We are starting an online business together. Neither of us has any experience in web design, or shipping out products, or any other skills involved, but we are learning tons and doing a lot of laughing along the way. Yesterday, we went to the bank to set up our business account. The young guys in the bank were in stitches. They said that we “made their Friday”. Our launch goal is April 1, 2019. Yes, it is April Fool’s day!

20190323_104015-e1553352349314.jpg

Oh, I forgot to mention, I am sewing many of our products. Wish us luck!

So, my time has been filled recently, and I am so excited to see where all this goes. I hope this inspires or gives you the push to try something new. Live your life to the fullest in your own unique way.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Should I Stay Or Should I Go

431378ae288ffc23058a9c876faa340a

A while ago at the pub, I had a discussion with a gentleman who stopped by our table to chat. He was there for a friend’s retirement party in another room. The conversation eventually got around to the concept of forced retirement. He was quite annoyed that we are often shown the door before we are ready to leave just because we have reached the magic age. Then someone else added that some people stay longer than they should at their jobs.

It got me thinking back about my own retirement. After 32 years of teaching, I was definitely ready to leave my profession. I had had my fill of unreasonable parents, constantly changing curricula, watered down educational standards, and all the political crap that went with it, but I was only 53. Had I reached my employment expiry date? How do we know when it’s time to go?

safe_image.php
Perhaps it’s time!

Initially, I was excited to begin the next step, but also filled with trepidation at the thought of endless time and no place that I HAD to be. Ideas consumed every free moment. I could volunteer; I could catch up on all the reading that I never found time for; I could redecorate the old house that I had just purchased; I could travel; I could write the book that I had always wanted to write.  Yes, I could do all these things and more. So why did I feel so apprehensive, so lost for direction? It took me only a few weeks to realize I  was not ready to be unemployed. 022e426bff51a2f8732e1ea44a72525d Even though I had a decent pension, I worried about having enough money to live my new life with so much extra time to do things.

I had spent a lifetime raising two kids, looking after a home, and getting my university degree while working full time. My life had ticked along on a tight schedule for as long as I could remember, and now all of a sudden there was no discernible routine. I could do what I wanted, when I wanted, and even if I wanted.  I was totally unprepared for these circumstances and I was forced to take a long, hard look at myself.

So, how do we decide it is time? Sometimes that decision is made for us. An unexpected accident may take away our ability to work. As we age, our health changes. For many, they can no longer physically do their job. Occasionally, we are able to handle modified work, but this is not always an option. For me, I felt like I was fighting a losing battle. I disagreed with so many of the changes happening within the school system that going to work each day was becoming frustrating. I loved working with the children, but it was not enough to sustain my interest anymore. I was beginning to feel like I was just putting in time to collect my pay and that did not sit well with me. When a colleague suggested that I retire and do supply teaching, I responded, “Hell, no!”

Well, it has been 18 years since I retired from teaching children, but I did not retire from working. About 2 months after my retirement date, I started working with a private company that retrained injured workers to start new careers. I remained with this company for 12 years until it eventually closed its doors. I also did a brief stint in retail just to ease myself into permanent retirement. I can finally say that I am just fine with my status.

Only you will know when it is time to leave the workforce. Just remember, if you feel that you made a mistake, try something new. Life is not carved in stone!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

What Is Happening?

What is happening to our society? I know changes in our way of life are inevitable and to be perfectly honest many changes have been a vast improvement on the quality of life that we enjoy. However, when did we become so thin-skinned that people are taking offense to poor little Rudolph? This year for me has been a sad realization that even the simplest joys in life are threatened and seem to be disappearing right before my eyes.

When the “Me Too” Movement first began gaining momentum, I understood and had no problem getting on board. I don’t know a single woman who has not been the victim of unwanted sexual innuendos. I also knew many women over the years who sought out this kind of attention. We can’t have it both ways. Flirtation between men and women is part of the mating process just as it is for many animal species. Of course, the line must be drawn at forced sexual situations. Are we headed to male/female partnerships which are nothing more than business transactions?

Every time I turn on the radio or television there is something new that has been banned. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” is too manipulative! Are you kidding me???  “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” promotes illicit affairs. Really?? I think it is pretty obvious to everyone that Santa is actually Daddy. mommy

It never ends. Songs that once brought happiness and laughter are now considered dirty and sordid.

 

Rudolph promotes bullying; Frosty promotes smoking. What’s next?

rudolph     frosty

I reached my limit today! Someone I know well posted a picture of herself wearing a sweater given to her by her son 20 years ago. She was wearing this article of clothing today when a woman approached her in a store and told her it was inappropriate. What do you think?

49268345_10156767421200140_8816320540055699456_n

People, we are officially out of control. When did it become okay for someone to make his/herself judge and jury over anyone  else. Who are these people who decide that something that has been around for decades is suddenly offensive and why are we listening to them?

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

It Takes Two…. Not Always!

0b5ca459c72b872979bc60e8d37913aa

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.

8e99e6550626d2a9cdeabc8f9859ec32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

84f1fe1dd33bd10c8f0ee2b52e797988

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.

51c521a82398ef8faf6d8bb6874885fd

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.

65751b12424853a29297be7dd6647636

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

A Force To Be Reckoned With

d336c679136a855c5c448aeb734c566b

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.

shoppers-drug-mart-seniors-day-promotion

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.

d33f0c13a3dd43106763e49e3762f8c1    936c1916a63bfbfa3cba970834fc3591

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, …..

1c65974ad77491bb9b310a9e5818cf76

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo