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

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

 

Regrets I’ve Had A Few

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Just like the song says, “Regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again too few to mention…..la, la….la, la, la”. We’ve all had at least something that we wish we had done better, or not said, or not done at all. At this point in my life, I am prone to reflect back and wonder “what if” I had made different choices.

So many of the decisions that I made throughout my life were based on other people like my parents, my friends, my husband, and yes, even my children. That’s not to say that they were to blame for my choices because they had no idea what went on inside my head. I, alone, am responsible. In all honesty, my family and friends were very supportive of me. So, why did I always feel I needed to put them first?

After all these years, I have come to the conclusion that it was my self-confidence. I somehow made decisions that were safe because I was afraid to let anyone down. Never mind that I was letting myself down. The signs were all there if I had cared to open my eyes. Every once in a while, I would step outside the accepted proverbial box, but then I would give in to pressure.

When I was in high school, I told myself adamantly that I was not going to get married, and at the first opportunity, I was moving to a large city. Well, I did get married, and I still live in the small city where I was born. I could easily have changed those decisions, but I didn’t. I was pretty much one of the last of family and friends to walk down the aisle. At the time I remember questioning my decision, but went ahead because I felt it was expected of me. How foolish!

Now, before you start to think that I regret everything in my life, I assure you I do not. Many good things came from those decisions, like my two kids. They are my world! But what if, I had decided to become a writer like I had always wanted. Or what if, I had moved to the south of France or Italy like I had always dreamed of doing.

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Would my life have turned out any happier or more fulfilling? I will never know.

I do know you can’t go back, but you can decide to take charge of your future and do it your way. I am glad that with age came self confidence. My hour glass still has enough sand in it to enjoy.

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So what do you regret? I know there is something.

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

 

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

 

 

 

Bucket List

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On the small bulletin board in my home office hangs a yellowed and dog-eared sheet of paper. It’s my bucket list.

Not long after my husband died, almost forty years ago now, I sat down and made a list of all the things that I had ever wanted to do or try. Some were very simple, while others required a lot of planning. Some seemed ridiculous when I looked at them written down, but I decided they should remain on the list. Some shocked me. My paper filled up quickly, but I continued to add items as they came to me. It gave me a sense of direction that I needed at that time. It made me feel secure for some strange reason. Bucketlist

I had become a single parent virtually overnight, and I remember feeling almost paralyzed by fear. I knew it was time to put my “big girl” pants on. Three people were depending on me…. my two kids and I.

There is a quote from “Dead Man Walking” that comes to mind, “you had better get busy living, or get busy dying…..”. My bucket list got me busy living again. It gave me goals beyond just the routines of everyday life. I had something to look forward to accomplishing and I really needed that. Besides, my kids needed a role model.

Making the list was fun actually. It made me really think about myself for the first time in many years.

First on my list was “Graduate from university”. I had been taking courses over the years, but it was time to buckle down and get this important item out of the way. And so I did. The fall of that first year of many changes, I graduated from Trent University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. It felt amazing to look into the audience and see my son and daughter clapping for me.

Well, that was the first of a long list of items and at my first opportunity, I marked it off as completed in yellow highlighter. 20180726_134828As I accomplished each thing, I marked them off as well. As you can clearly see, there are entries that are as yet unmarked, but I’m working on them, and it is very gratifying to see how far I have come. I continue to add to the bottom when a thought strikes me.

So, then, do you have a bucket list? If not, take the time to sit down with paper and pencil and make your own list. It might surprise you the things that turn up on it. They do not have to be grand and complicated, just significant to you. TheBucketList

 

 

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo