Shop ‘Til Your Fingers Cramp

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I have always loved to shop. I admit it. I used to pour over sale flyers and advertisements on a Saturday morning with my coffee. Now, I simply use my Flipp App on my phone to check grocery prices and other items for my home. I can go several weeks without ever stepping inside my local Winners store. That is unbelievable! So what happened? Is it my age? Do I not care about what I am wearing anymore? Is there no extra money left from my pension to make frivolous purchases? None of these apply!

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I always noticed those ads that appear frequently on my Facebook news feed, but I never really payed them much attention. I would simply scroll on by. Then one day, an ad for twinkle lights caught my attention. Yes, I said twinkle lights. The picture of a garden alight with these teeny,tiny bulbs looked so beautiful, AND they were solar. I had never seen them in any store in my city. I was truly intrigued, so I clicked on the site.

There they were. Beautiful strands of 100 lights for a mere $19.99. I had to have them. So, throwing caution to the wind, I began to fill out the order form. I discovered that the more you ordered, the better the price. When I got to the payment section, I started to rethink my actions. Should I give out my credit card information? I mean after all, I knew nothing about this company except that they had something I really wanted.

I noticed a PayPal option. I had heard of it. I knew it was touted as the safest method of payment, but I did not have an account. Those lights kept twinkling in my mind. If I wanted them, then I was signing up with PayPal. The process was so simple, even I had my account set up in a matter of minutes. My twinkle lights were paid for with just a click of the mouse and before I could log off my computer, notification arrived in my email to confirm my purchase.

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It was all so easy. Now all I had to do was wait for my parcel which came in a matter of days. The lights were exactly as I was hoping and I love looking at them every evening as darkness moves across the sky.

And that is how easily I became an online shopper. Since then, I have purchased shoes and clothes, accessories and jewellery, tech items and more lights. The transactions are so easy, and I can do it any time day or night.

Now I am by no means suggesting you become a shopaholic. The same restrictions apply whether you are in a store or on your computer. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. I am simply suggesting it is the way of the future, and there is no need to think you can’t handle using the technology. Who would ever have imagined that you could shop all over the world from your own home? And just think of all the wear and tear on your feet. Save them for doing something more fun like dancing.

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Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Woof, Meow, Squawk!

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I am an animal lover. I grew up with dogs and have always had one, but never did I appreciate them enough for what they brought to my life until I became older and lived alone. Despite the muddy paws, fur balls rolling across my floors, hair stuck to everything I own, and drool dampening my surroundings, I could not imagine my home without one. 

I am currently sharing my house with the massive fur baby above. Her name is Lola and we have been living together for almost 5 years. I’m not sure what it is about large dogs, but I seem to be drawn to them. Lola is of course a St. Bernard, but I have also shared my home with a Bouvier de Flanders and an Old English Sheepdog.

This is Columbus. 173154_1524523612_609273480_n I rescued him from the Humane Society several years ago. He was labelled not adoptable because of aggression issues relating to abuse. We were together for exactly one year when he randomly attacked me and sunk his teeth into the side of my face. He had to be put down. I held him and cried as he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I think of him all the time and wish I could have helped him more.

Sometimes an animal will come into your life in an unusual way. Such was the case with FUI_01Fui Fui who came here from the streets of Hong Kong. I learned about Fui Fui through a strange trail of connections. To make a long story short, Fui Fui’s mom was having to move, and she could not keep him. His story broke my heart, and I volunteered to take him in to live with my Bouvier, “Sydney” and I.  The transition was difficult for everyone, but especially Fui Fui. He suffered from separation anxiety. One evening when I was out for a couple of hours, he almost chewed through the door looking for his human. However, this story had a happy ending. His mom missed him so much that she decided to take him back and make other living arrangements. I had to give up Fui Fui, but I gained a new friend.

Although my pets have been dogs, I know people with cats and birds feel the same strong bond. Animals seem to know when you need them. They make you laugh, and they make you cry. They take away loneliness like nothing else can. It is amazing how they are using dogs, and occasionally other animals, in nursing homes. I think it would be beneficial to have resident pets in these places for the people who need to live there. Animals are proven anxiety relievers.

There are several other pets who have touched my life like my furry grand pup, Stella, the Newf. A sweeter soul has never lived.

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And then there are Tuesday (I think she has used up her nine lives a couple times over.),

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Miles, who takes time to smell the flowers,

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and Sideways, better known as “Baby Girl”. These three are my grand cats, and they all are rescues from the streets of Toronto.

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So, whatever your preference, enjoy your cat, dog, bird,or whatever. They are only in our lives for a short time, but the love and joy they bring us lasts forever. 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo         

 

 

Where Do You Live?

People often ask me why I don’t move into a smaller place with less maintenance. Believe me, before I moved to my present home, I gave that question a great deal of thought. I used to live in a large four bedroom, four bathroom , two-story house that sat on a large city lot. When my two kids were still at home the space was perfect, but I knew once they left, I too would make some major changes.

I often thought that I would love a centrally located condo in downtown Toronto. It made sense in that both my kids lived in the city, and I truly love all that a big city has to offer. At the time, my eighty year old mom was still living, and I knew she was more comfortable having me nearby, but that was not the only consideration in my decision to stay where I was already living.

All my friends live close by, and I knew if I moved away, I would see a lot less of them. It was an important factor in my consideration. We do things together several times a week, so my lifestyle would have changed dramatically. Yes, I could make new friends, but at this point in my life, I am rather attached to the ones I have had for many, many years. I was definitely not prepared to trade them in.

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About a year after my kids moved out, I decided to look at some local condos and townhouses. It would definitely be a lot less work to move into something smaller, and the financial benefit was a given, but I could not get used to the idea of being attached to my neighbor, having little or no yard, and rules…lots of rules.

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So, I decided to simply down size to something more manageable. I hunted and waited until I found the perfect fit for my lifestyle. It ended up being a detached, two-story in an old neighborhood of my city. There was plenty of work to do to make it just right, but I loved every bit of it. It is less than half the size of my previous home, but plenty of room for my needs and best of all a nice yard to putter in. 

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My plan is to stay here until I can no longer manage by myself which I hope is never. People often remind me  that the stairs will be a problem, that I only have one bathroom on the second floor, that the yard is too much work, and on and on.

There has been a lot of buzz about “granny pods” recently. They look like small cottages constructed in your children’s backyards. It allows for independent living, but your family is close by to help out as necessary. MedCottage2

I’m afraid this is not an option for me; although, my son has offered his garden shed. He owes me after turning my shed into an art studio when he was in high school. There was no electricity! No problem! He ran an extension cord from the house for lights and an electric heater ALL winter. I don’t want to talk about my electric bill, but trust me, he owes me big time.

Another option that has come up in conversation with the girls is”cohousing”. Apparently, this new trend is becoming quite popular. Statistics show that seniors who cohouse with friends live ten years longer than their normal life expectancy. Socializing is a key component to a long life. About a year or so ago, my friends suggested to the owners of our favorite pub that they build apartments upstairs. That way we could live together, and not have to go far from home for wine. I think we were on to something before it became a trend. 10246695_10152384871960049_3597235499566508595_n

So, where do you plan to live as you get older? I guess no one knows for sure what lies ahead, but it is nice to have lots of choices. For now, I plan to stay right here in my own little piece of heaven and enjoy. 20180528_182906.jpg

Oh, by the way, if you are thinking of making a move and you are in the Toronto area, I happen to know an amazing real estate agent. Give her a call!

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Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Seniors in the Limelight

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David hit the proverbial “nail on the head”. Oh, you don’t need to remind me that there are plenty of negative aspects to getting older; I have addressed many of them already in my previous posts. I have often heard younger age groups espouse the sentiment that your youth is the best time of your life, or getting married is the best time, or having children are the best years of your life. The fact is, as I see it, all these are true because at the time you have no idea what the future will bring. However, once you reach your senior years, you can look back and make the comparison with clearer insight.

Speaking for myself, I know I lived most of those early years trying to be the best wife, and mom, and person I could be. Admirable qualities for sure, but if I am to be honest, I often did and said things that I thought were expected of me, not always how I really felt. I’m not much of a gambler, but I would bet most of you went through the motions, just like I did. I think Helen Mirren echoed my thoughts when she said,

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As we move further into the twenty-first century, I think people look at seniors differently. We are not a group to be ignored  as though we have used up our usefulness. With better health care and lifestyle, many individuals are living well into their eighties and beyond. Many are fortunate enough to have livable pensions which obviously improves our lifestyle. However, I now know for certain that money cannot buy us happiness and contentment in our “golden years”. It is truly the people around us, both friends and family, who enhance our lifestyle and sense of well-being.

Just recently, I read a wonderful book by Frances Mayes called “Women in Sunshine”.

20180512_124242.jpg The story is about three women heading into their senior years. They meet when each decides to have a look at a retirement home. The unlikely friendship that evolves with these three very different strangers is amazing. Although they are moving into their retirement years, they are nowhere near ready to stop living their life to it’s fullest and enjoying new adventures. I really hated for the book to end and wished I didn’t have to return it to the library. It was so easy to imagine myself and my friends doing the same thing.

In past years, the “Golden Girls” were a comedy hit on tv. Four senior women living under the same roof and all with very diverse personalities. I know at the time the subject matter raised some eyebrows, but today it would seem completely normal. Some of the comments they made shocked the audience, but in all honesty, they were saying what many seniors at the time were thinking, but afraid to say.

Well, all that has changed. More and more seniors are living the life they want.

Who has not enjoyed the antics of “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix?

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Check out the trailer…. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3609352/videoplayer/vi4150769177?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_1

These characters are my fantasy idols; however, I do not plan to live vicariously through them. I fully intend to live my own dreams as much as my circumstances will allow me.  My remaining years will not be spent doing arts and crafts or playing Bingo in a retirement home. I want to try new things and see new places. I do not plan to sit back and watch others live their life while mine ticks away a day at a time. Remember the saying, “It’s not over until the fat lady sings”.

So try something fun or something you enjoy. Or join my friends and I for the weekend. Tomorrow we are getting together at 5 am to eat scones, drink tea, and watch the Royal Wedding; at 6pm we will be off to karaoke and dancing at our favorite pub. Sunday we have plans to see “The Book Club” at the movies.

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What are you doing this weekend?

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

Dressing Room Drama

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When was the last time you bought a bathing suit? For me, it has been many years. Our family no longer owns a cottage, and I don’t have a swimming pool, nor do my friends; however, recently, the girls have toyed with the idea of going away to a beach somewhere like Florida or a tropical island. At this point, it is only talk, but I always like to be prepared. Relaxing on a beach is not normally the kind of holiday that I would choose, and I now know why. The thought of trying on bathing suits is horrifying!

Remember the days when we looked like this….e565aaf5a831c1ff5c43d8391c0be40a
Well, now some of us look like this.

A few weeks ago, while wandering through a local shopping mall, I passed a store called Bikini Village. I paused to look in the window at the shapely mannequins in their colorful outfits. A large banner announced a “Welcome To Summer Sale”. I briefly recalled our conversation about going south and decided to have a look.

I wandered among the racks of bikinis and tankinis for a few minutes. Eventually, a store clerk asked casually if she could help me. I reluctantly admitted it had been a long time since I had bought my last swimsuit. She tactfully sized me up and led me across the store to the one piece suits. After she carefully selected three suits of varying styles for me to try, I followed her to the dressing rooms.

Ensconced inside alone, I slowly undressed remembering to keep my underwear on. I chose the first suit…a black one-shouldered number with ruching across the tummy area. It apparently hides bulges. I tugged and wiggled and yanked and squirmed until I was squeezed inside the stretchy fabric. It was exhausting, and I gasped for air. 4075f49a915dc139b393e748a8704cf2

I stood up straight to check out myself in the mirror. What the hell!!! The mirrors were arranged so you could see yourself from ALL angles. My loud outburst, “Oh my god!” brought the clerk running. She knocked on the door and asked if everything was alright. I apologized for my outbreak, but told her there should be a warning about the three-way mirror.

After another few minutes of pulling and holding my breath, I managed to extricate myself from the swimsuit and got dressed. I was not mentally ready for this task.

I thanked the clerk, and left the store.

A little further down the mall, another window caught my eye. This was more like it, so I headed inside. After looking around, I selected my perfect beach ensemble.

023ddc38b21707cd63cdb450e705f2cc1e5a2ddc9097d318ac0ec268e2f30808927f04ddc21f47aabcf25f95774deaa5 I am now ready to hit the sand. No worries about unsightly bulges, and I can save money on sunscreen. It is light and airy and stylish. And most importantly, easy to get in and out of. I can see myself now relaxing on a chaise lounge under an umbrella with a lovely pink cocktail in my hand. 

I know I need to address the actual swimsuit problem because I do enjoy the water. Perhaps something like this ingenious outfit. 07c654f92c114980a6d78664d2af7d80

I wonder  where she found it?

My only other option is this…66a99ae806df40816ae3795d10d4eaa8

and no one needs to be subjected to that vision. So, I will keep trying to find a suitable swimsuit, but until then, just look for me in my new beach wear.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Where Is Prince Charming?

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There are some things in life that change very little over time. MEN!!!!! I am being somewhat sarcastic, but the truth is that they don’t really change. Yes, they age! They lose their hair and their teeth, and put on a few pounds around the middle, but they remain under the influence of that organ that dangles between their legs. It is really quite amazing that it wields so much power. And they don’t seem to mind admitting it. I met a very nice-looking 80 year old man not long ago. He invited me for lunch and over coffee and dessert, he told me he was in love with me. My immediate reaction was, “But you barely know me!” He responded with, “I’m eighty and all my parts still work just fine. I want to make love to you.” Well, I have to admit I was lost for words, and that is a rare occurrence.42b3fbfea992e02c3890d4d0fdd39dd6

Now before you get the wrong idea, I really like most men. They are fun and relatively easy to understand. What you see is pretty much what you get. So I have to wonder why finding someone to date is so difficult. Is it me?

I have been single for a very long time. Oh, I have dated now and then, but the men I have met  seem to  want either a serious commitment or a one night fling. I have lived alone for over 30 years, and I have grown to like my solitary arrangement. I really have no desire to live with another person at this stage of the game. And as for a one night stand, unless the sex is amazing, why bother? Whatever happened to just dating? You know what I mean… going to a movie, dinner, a sports event. I would love to find someone who would enjoy doing these things with the intimacy thrown in, but no living together. Perhaps single living has made me too independent.

Just where does a woman go to meet interesting men? I have heard all the suggestions like… join a club or a gym, singles dances, singles clubs, the grocery store or hardware store, volunteer, through friends, and online dating sites.

The craziest dating experiences that I have had so far were through online dating. It is amazing the things guys, and I am sure girls as well, put in their online profiles. Do they not realize that the idea is to actually meet in person at some point? One gentleman admitted to using his brother’s picture in his profile because the brother was younger and still had his hair. Imagine my shock when we met for coffee. a4d8775a8e71bc9974b87ec702d349eb

The biggest eye-opener for me was the number of younger men who are looking for older women. At least half of the guys that contacted me online were 15 to 20 years younger, and I stated specifically in my profile that I was only interested in my own age group. One guy, who was 14 years younger than I, was so persistent that I actually agreed to meet him. I mean maybe I was missing something here. We met at the zoo of all places. We looked at the animals for a couple of hours and then grabbed a bite to eat. The conversation was easy, and our “date” turned out to be fun, but I felt like I was spending time with my son. The guy was surprised when I said “no thanks” to date number 2.

The other single women in my social group agree with me. Where are all the eligible senior men? Oh, they are out there, but they are looking for younger women! If you have any suggestions for us, please let us know; we welcome any help we can get. Short of that, we may have to get fishing nets and head to the closest frog pond.

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo

 

Pssst! Password?

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Yesterday, I spent an endless amount of time trying to log into my online banking. The computer kept telling me that my password was incorrect. I persisted, but no luck. I eventually had to call the “Help” line and get assistance. My frustration level was over the top because I needed to transfer funds immediately, and it was of course past regular banking hours. It started me thinking about all the places where we need passwords today.

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Why can’t I remember???

 

Growing up, the only password I ever needed was the three number combination for my high school locker. I would use the same three numbers all year, but by the end of summer vacation, I would have forgotten at least one of them necessitating the purchase of a new lock for my locker. After the second year of forgetting, my mother insisted I write it down. I guess she envisioned a draw full of unusable combination locks by the time my brother and I finished school.

The world today is controlled by passwords. For me, I think the first actual password or pin that I had to remember was connected to my first bank card. Everyone seemed so nervous of a card that was attached to all your bank funds and seemed protected by only a secret pin number. Today the world revolves around passwords.

I grew quite comfortable using my card, and took my banks advice and changed the pin number from time to time. One day while paying for groceries, I confidently slipped my card in the machine, and my mind went completely blank. I tried every pin number that I had ever had, I think. No luck! The line behind me grew longer. Others offered suggestions… your birth year, your kid’s birthday, your anniversary. Nothing worked. I was panicked and embarrassed. I had no other money  in my purse, and was not carrying my credit card. Just as I was about to give up, I took a final stab at the buttons. Eureka!

When I got home, I decided to take my mother’s advice and I wrote the pin down on a piece of paper which I slipped into the back of my wallet. I now have a small book with all the passwords that I use. Please do not let me ever lose it!

As an aging woman with questionable memory retention, passwords are most definitely a stumbling block. Think of all the things that require passwords: bank cards, credit cards, house alarms, garage openers, car door openers,  computers, online shopping sites, cell phones, internet connections, PayPal, cable companies, and many more. I just love when you are signing up for yet another service requiring a password and the instructions say ” a minimum of 8 characters, must include 1 upper case, 1 lower case, a number, and a symbol”. What the hell!!!! My mind is already on overload.

The idea of being fitted with a chip under your skin to replace all those passwords seemed absurd to me at one time, but about now, it is looking like a great alternative to taxing my memory space.

dadc49fac003d9684bbf51dbfa6a5a27   I wonder if she needs a password?

 

Thanks for reading,

Penny xo