Quarantined!!!

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When the virus first arrived, I must admit that I was concerned. I am a senior and have been diagnosed with COPD, so there are a couple of strikes against me to be sure. As the pandemic gradually took hold, and we were asked to quarantine inside our homes, I wondered how I would manage this new reality.

Living alone had prepared me well for the “no contact” rule, but how would I get groceries and pet food and the one prescription that I take? Not to worry! My daughter insisted on getting these things for me, but she lives about a 45 minute drive away, so deliveries had to be co-ordinated. She would arrive with my shopping, leave it on the porch and stand well back for a brief visit. Our system worked fine, but it left me feeling sad (because I couldn’t touch her) and more isolated than I had ever imagined. I had never realized how much my social contacts meant to me; even those brief conversations with grocery store clerks, strangers on the street that say “hello”, weekly dinners with friends, the barmaids at my local pub, and acquaintances from classes that I take, I missed them all.

My friends and family are only a phone call away and in the beginning the calls were frequent, but when no one is going anywhere or doing anything, there becomes less and less to talk about. On a recent Saturday night, a friend decided to set-up a group video call for all of the regulars of karaoke. It was wonderful to see everyone and enjoy a virtual drink together.

The truth is I missed those people even more when the call ended.  It made me sad to think that this damn virus was stealing precious time from me. The reality is that the longest part of my life is behind me not ahead of me. There are so many things I still want to do and time does not stand still, even for Covid-19.

I am also blaming this bloody infection for turning me into an eating machine. I must finally admit that  unhealthy eating is my coping mechanism for depression. The strangest things have become my cravings. Items such as licorice all-sorts, cinnamon buns, and marshmallows to name but a few. quarantine pic #1

My cravings led me to take the chance on a trip to the grocery store. I did not want to add junk food and wine to my shopping list because my daughter thinks I am a responsible person, and I did not want to dispel that myth.

The grocery store venture gave me the courage to join the line at a local liquor store. I felt like a kid in a candy store. Even the lengthy, socially-distanced line could not deter me. It was my chance to interact socially with strangers, and it filled that void albeit temporarily.

Well, weeks turned into months. I missed my life, my hair was a mess, my feet looked like they belonged to an unidentifiable creature, and I followed our infection numbers like the stock market. We were indeed “flattening the curve”, but what next?

Several weeks ago, we moved into Phase 1 of opening our area. It didn’t really mean much to me because the places included in this phase were of little interest, but then we reached Phase 2. I was ecstatic! That first week, I went to the dentist, the hairdresser, had drinks on a patio, had a pedicure, and dinner with friends, all maintaining proper protocol and safety rules. It was better than winning the lottery.

This virus has reiterated what I already knew. It is the little things in life that bring me joy, and most importantly, it is the people in my life that matter most. We are not out of the woods yet, so keep following the rules. There will be life beyond Covid-19.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo
 

 

 

 

Burlesque….. Seriously?

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Every fall, as regular as clockwork, new classes begin at our local senior citizens’ centre. One of my groups favorite classes has been zumba; we all love to dance and so, it is a perfect fit for us. This fall, however, as I perused the registration catalogue, my eyes fell on a new offering….. burlesque! Really???? I read the course description, “come bump, grind and laugh”. I was intrigued to say the least and apparently I was not alone. It wasn’t long before a text came from one of the girls asking me if I had seen the program in the book. Without a moment’s hesitation, I replied, “We have to do this!” And after a flurry of calls, all four of us agreed.

Last Tuesday was our first class. Like a young child, I was most curious about who the teacher might be, who else would sign up, would it be too difficult, what should I wear? Surprisingly, the class was full. Who knew there were so many senior ladies wanting to release their sexy?

The teacher jumped right in with a light warm-up and before we knew it, we were putting together the first steps of a cheeky routine. Giggles broke out here and there as we moved our hips and caressed our curves with our hands. Some of those ladies were concentrating as though they had never moved sensually in their lives, but they were enjoying unleashing their new-found sex-goddess.  bdc50c16f91622bb4641792f6ff2884d

 

 

 

 

 

As the hour slide by, we repeated steps over and over to build the routine. Our instructor had to keep reminding us to put on a sexy smile. It is challenging to count steps and look provocative.

The men in the next room were playing a lively game of darts, but their curiosity must have gotten the better of them because every once-in-a-while one would peek in the door to see what the laughter was about.

According to our instructor, we will be learning two routines. For the second number, we will be using a chair as a prop.  I can hardly wait! I hope that my arthritis does not get in the way of my “sexy”. 26dfb1759291bd5f60112d8c30b4564a

Go ahead try something new! And 1, 2, 3, 4…. swing those hips!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Life Is Fiction

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I love reading stories about women who do an about change in their life because their circumstances are making them unhappy. Two well-known examples that come to mind are “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “Eat, Pray, Love”, but I have discovered there are many more out there to discover. I can hear the groans now! You’re probably thinking this woman’s age is affecting her brain. Yes, these stories are fiction, but often real life is stranger than fiction. And I honestly believe that writers use real life situations in their novels because the readers can relate to the characters easily.

Just yesterday, I finished the book, ” Under Italian Skies” by Nicky Pelligrino.

20190724_095220 It was recommended by a friend who knows I love Italy and France as much as she does. The book itself was entertaining, but more important was the fact that it was written about middle-aged women and their lives and dreams. Fiction, yes, but those women could have been any one of my real friends. All of the characters had come to a point in their lives where they thought they had to accept their situations. They were all beautiful women with so much more life to enjoy. All they needed was a gentle push.

 

We often fall into ruts throughout life. Our days become routine and mundane. If you are raising a family, this is especially true, and having been a single parent who raised two children alone, I know how easily we can lose ourselves in their lives. Dreams fade into the background of every day requirements so far that we often forget they even ever existed. When I was younger, my own mom often reminded me that I had no time of my own, but even back then, I knew my turn would eventually come.

My children grew up and left home, and I found myself with a great deal of time for me. Luckily, I had an amazing circle of friends, all in similar circumstances. As time went on, more women joined our group. We were drawn together by our common interests, but we have also expanded our lives by trying new things together. There is something very reassuring about the support from others.

I can’t say it enough. Live your dreams as much as possible; you will never regret it. Just today, I came across a post by Humans of New York in Facebook about a woman who is doing just that. I enjoyed the piece so much, I am including it in this post. It reads as follows:

“I spent thirty-six years as an editor at the New York Times. There were so many rounds of layoffs, and so many buyout opportunities– but I kept turning them down. I was terrified of retirement. I never wanted to ‘retire.’ The word sounded terrible to me. It meant going to Florida and dying. It meant sitting in a chair and watching daytime TV. It meant not working anymore. Not thinking anymore. Nothing but play and relaxation. And that wasn’t enough for me. That’s not living. You always need to have a goal. Grandchildren are great, but they’re not enough. You need something to wake up your brain. A reason to focus. A reason to get out of bed and use everything that you’ve ever learned. I’ll never see myself as retired. Right now I’m trying to become a fiction writer. I love it because my brain is always working. Some days I think about my work so much, that when I finally sit down to write, it just comes pouring out my fingers. I’d love to finish a book one day. Something that people enjoy. And I’d love to have it published. Maybe a hardcover from Random House. That gets optioned for a movie. And wins an Oscar. Oh it’s exciting, isn’t it? I could go on and on.”

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So, the next time that you read a lovely fictional story, and you find yourself wishing that was your life, think again. You are the author of your own book. Write it the way you want it to be.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Single and Happy

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The name of my blog includes the word “single” for a reason. At this point in my life, I have no desire to remarry or be a part of a committed couple. I have lived alone for twenty plus years, and I am quite content with my situation. Even before that, when my children were still living at home, I was very much single. After my husband passed away, they had made it perfectly clear that they did not want a new dad, period. And so, I grew to accept my singleness gradually.

As my kids got older and needed me less, I did date occasionally. Friends often tried introducing me to available men, but I never found that special someone who I wanted to share my life with again. I was set in my ways and did not want to adjust to a new partner’s habits. As I got older, the men I met seemed needy. They were looking for someone to care for them as they aged. 77b4f23c73b1a4f0f8ef9dda08bbed5d

 

 

 

 

I would often look at the relationships around me and hear the partners’ complaints about each other.  “He’s never home; I will have to check with my husband; He never leaves the couch on weekends; He’s out with the guys drinking; I’m always stuck with the kids; and on and on. I was not in a hurry to join their ranks. I did not have to check in with anyone, or ask if I could buy something, or ask about someone else’s schedule.

ba2e18a1d5a8bd1d14d29d209a36c257  My life is uncomplicated. I come and go when and where I wish. Believe it or not, being single is very liberating. People used to look at me with a certain sadness in their eye. I was asked so many times why I had not remarried in all those years. Wasn’t I lonely? How could I manage a job, home, and family on my own? If I had to be honest, I never wanted to marry in the first place. In the 60’s, it was just expected that you finished school, got a job, married, and had a family. So, rather than buck the norm, so to speak, I did what was expected.

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Now all this sounds like I do not like men. Nothing could be further from the truth. I enjoy their company immensely. I would love to be able to date casually, but from my own experience, men my age want commitment or a much younger lady. To be honest, the men my age that I meet seem OLD! Perhaps that’s the problem! I need to focus on a younger age group. Hhmmm!

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

 

I Do…… I Don’t!!

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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.

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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

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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!

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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