Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Getting older...it's not all booze and crying!

As another birthday looms in my not so distant future (okay, it's today), I decided to put my Pollyanna hat on and make a list of some good things about getting old. If you get the Pollyanna reference, this list is for you, too.

Before I was 55 and a cashier would ask if I was eligible for a senior discount, I would immediately go home, make a cashier doll, and stick pins in it. Now, when asked, I simply reply "Hell yeah, how much do I save?!"

I haven't had a zit since 1998.

Now when old men flirt with me, it's only slightly creepy.

I always wished for curves. Hmm, I should have been more specific where I wanted them.

I don't mind admitting I have three cats. But, their photo is not the wallpaper on my phone (yet).

I'm now comfortable bringing reading glasses to restaurants. It's a lot less embarrassing than asking for "the fourth thing down, make it medium rare", only to find out it's a chicken entree. Which leads me to the next one...

I am getting used to quizzical looks.

Medical personnel have stopped asking if there is a chance I could be pregnant.

I no longer have a need for belts.

I'm less likely to get patted down at the airport. It still happens, but not as often. I'm not so old I enjoy the personal contact.

Taking a nap is completely acceptable.

I am not a slave to fashion trends. I now have something called "my style" which includes sweatshirts with shoulder pads, baby bunny heels (lower than kitten heels) and lots of vertical stripes.

When a driver honks at me, I simply mouth the words "That's right, I'm old, now #%?@ off!"

And the best thing about getting old?

It's okay if I can't remember the name of that actor who was in that movie with that other actor, you know, the one married to that blond. I remember the exact time my kids were born, what they weighed, their first words, and what they wore on their first day of school. I remember every detail of when I met my husband, though I couldn't tell you what I had for lunch yesterday. I remember the exact words my mother said to me before she passed away (she called me by my sister's name, just like she had a thousand times before) but I have to set new passwords every day. You discover that what you thought was important, isn't important at all.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Scary Movies: Rules for staying alive...

I love scary movies. Not gory slasher flicks, but ghosts, portals to hell, and haunted houses (and a scene where someone has to look through microfilm to find old news articles.)  But, I can’t help but notice that they are getting a bit cliché. I’ve put together a list of suggestions if you ever find yourself in a scary movie setting.  They could just save your life...

1.      When a house tells you to get out, GET OUT.


2.      Do not let your dog dig…anywhere.


3.      If you have lost a loved one, by no means participate in any kind of ceremony to bring them back.


4.      If you hear a noise in the middle of the night, instead of grabbing a baseball bat and walking around in the dark, grab your keys and leave.


5.      Never walk into a cornfield.


6.      If you and your friends are bored, go bowling. Breaking into the town’s creepiest abandoned house is the last thing you should do. Actually, drinking in a cemetery is the last thing you should do.


7.      Avoid little girls with braids.


8.      Always, ALWAYS walk forward. If you must walk backward, at least look behind you first.


9.      Never take the trash out after dark.


10.  Add a priest to your speed dial.


11.  You should immediately leave town if you experience any of the following:


An unusually large amount of crows, bees, or flies


A large hole which doesn’t seem to have a bottom (and whatever you do, don’t drop something in to see how deep it is).


A doll, ANY doll


Your new neighbors moving in after dark


A chair rocking by itself (not necessarily a rocking chair)


Your child’s imaginary friend talking back

12.  When searching for something or someone, never suggest splitting up.


13.  And last, but not least, if you need to check into a motel in the middle of the night, look for a brightly lit Holiday Inn in the center of town. Evil has never checked into a Holiday Inn.


Following my rules won't guarantee you'll never see a ghost, or a clown doll come to life, or the walls of your house bleed, but if I've saved you from at least one scary movie cliché, I've done my part. That being said, if they ever do come up with something new and original, you’re on your own (insert scary laughter here).

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why I Don't Skydive...

Before I get into this post, I have to show you a couple of definitions that are very important.

1.      Clumsy (adjective) Done awkwardly or without skill or elegance.

2.      Accident-prone (adjective) Having a greater than average number of accidents or mishaps.
I feel certain that after you have finished reading, you will agree that I fall into the category of the second definition, not the first.

It started in early childhood.  I cracked my head open sledding down a hill on one of those extremely dangerous metal saucers. Apparently, you should not lie in them in a fetal position. This was before safety warnings. Any time I was placed on a stool, I would fall off backwards. Another hazard no home should have. One Christmas morning, I fell down an entire flight of stairs. Cause: A deadly combination of pajamas with feet in them and carpeted stairs. Add Christmas morning exuberance and you have a cocktail for disaster.
As an adult, the “accidents” continued. Most of the time I stayed safely indoors, but every year, we would go on a vacation (I can’t even say the word without shuddering). One year, while in Florida, we decided our second child was old enough to play miniature golf. We gave her some basic instructions as she stood ready at Hole 1. She swung. The next thing I knew, the world went black. Apparently, our little girl, who has always been an overachiever, took a full swing, hitting my sunglasses, which I was wearing on my face at the time.  I spent the rest of our trip with black and blue circles around each eye.

A year or so later, someone in my family decided it would be fun to go inner-tubing down a river. We got on a bus which dropped us off, inner-tubes and all, upriver. My son got in first. Then, it was my turn. My husband volunteered to be tethered to my daughter, so he could keep an eye on her. We were promised a relaxing ride. Because my son and I were lighter, we drifted quite ahead of the group. Just when I started to relax, I saw a two foot drop ahead of us. I watched my son go over it with ease. As I think back on what happened next, I believe I panicked at the last second and tried to grab a rock. The river didn’t like that and swallowed me up. I went head first into the cold mountain stream. The current was too strong for me to stand, so I bobbed up and down getting mouthfuls of water each time. I managed to get to one side and climbed the embankment. My shoes and sunglasses were gone.
I had no choice but to get back in the inner-tube, my only mode of transportation back to civilization. As our ride came to an end, my son stood up, big smile on his face, and said “Look, Mom, I rescued your shoes!” Sure enough, he had scooped them up as they floated by. When my husband finally arrived, I asked him why he didn’t come to my rescue. My daughter informed me that when I capsized, my husband told her “Hey, that lady just flipped over!” and my daughter had to tell him “DAD, that was MOM!!!” That’s when I realized the man who was keeping an “eye” on our daughter was completely blind without his glasses.
Over the years, I was chased by bees on a hike and went over a cliff, I fell off a surfboard and then got smacked with it in the face, I flipped over on an ATV and got pinned, I rolled off the back of a snowmobile, I was in the front seat of a small plane, when my door flew open at several thousand feet, and if you are a regular reader, you know I broke my collarbone walking the dog.

So, I’m sure you will agree that I am accident-prone. We can rule out clumsy, because I fall, dive, and trip, with great elegance.
Oh yeah, one more thing…yes, I live in Colorado, but don’t ask me if I ski.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Dirty Little Secret!

My name is Elaine and I am not a hoarder. I prefer the term curator of my own personal museum. Okay...I may have some hoarding tendencies. In my defense, I do believe it is in my DNA. I had an aunt who was a hoarder, my father is a hoarder, and I believe my mother also had some hoarding tendencies.

In the case of my mother, it’s not that she had an attachment to things; she just didn’t like to waste anything. Growing up, we had two newspapers delivered every day. They both came wrapped in rubber bands. Those rubber bands got saved. In a year’s time, and we will assume that a rubber band a week got re-used, she would have saved six hundred and seventy six rubber bands. She kept them neatly bundled and wrapped with (you guessed it) rubber bands. She also had a massive collection of twist ties and grocery bags. Does this sound familiar? Maybe it was more generation-related than anything else.

I don’t have that excuse. Ten years ago, I made a big change in my life, and rid myself of most of my possessions. What was left could fit in a car (not technically, since the treadmill had to be strapped to the roof) and it felt wonderful! During the next two years, the only purchases I made were a computer, a camera, an artificial Christmas tree (I had two ornaments, both gifts from friends), and a kitten.

Fast forward and I am now drowning in a sea of stuff. Let’s see if I can explain the logic behind my problem. I bought a pair of rustic candleholders made of metal with columns which look like branches. I paid practically nothing for them. I bought them because someday (and the word “someday” is a hoarding mantra) we may have a log cabin and they would be perfect. I also have a quilt, a set of dishes, and a lamp that would be perfect, too. Okay, multiply this example by ten (I also have things for a beach house, a downtown loft, and a farmhouse) and you will understand why I am starting to get frightened.

And, buying stuff is not the only problem. I save things just like my mother. I have enough bubble wrap to circle the globe. In the event of an apocalypse, I'm just sure it will come in handy. I have enough cardboard boxes to start a mail order business. If I had a dime for every time the words “Oh wait, I want to save that box” came out of my mouth, I would have enough money for a second storage unit. Yes, I said second storage unit. I have enough candles that if I lit them all at the same time, they would be visible from outer space.

I moved into the house where my husband already lived. I wasn’t comfortable for a long time because it didn’t feel like my house, too. The other day someone came to visit and commented that it looked like a woman lives here now. I smiled because I thought it was a compliment. My husband mumbled under his breath that the only place left in the house that was his was a corner of one room. It’s true. He has a humidor and a stack of motorcycle magazines. Every other inch of the house has been swallowed up by my tsunami of clutter.

Oh yeah, and the clothes. My closets are divided by fits now, fit last year, fit five years ago, and brand new clothes, with the tags still on them, that fit my dream body, not the nightmare body I actually have. And jewelry--I have enough necklaces to wear a new one every day for a year. And, of course, every piece of jewelry has a matching pair of shoes.

They say confession is good for the soul, but writing this has just depressed me. Now, what can I do to feel better? I know! I’ll find another place for the humidor and magazines so I can turn that room into a kid’s room!  It will be perfect for when the grandchildren visit! I don’t happen to have any grandchildren, but I know I will have them…someday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This Is Your Brain On Shopping!

Shopping. Is it an activity or a condition? In my family, it’s a condition. I would like to describe a few examples of the brain disconnect my family suffers from.

My sister will buy a blouse for $25, change her mind, and go back to the store to return it. She will then find a tablecloth and a set of glasses she likes which cost $30. At the register, she only pays the $5 difference. In her mind, the tablecloth and glasses cost $5. So, she feels very good about her purchases.

I will buy a pair of socks on sale for 40% off. In the same store, I buy a pair of boots for full price. In my mind, the sale item and full price item average each other out, so I feel very good about my purchases.

When I mentioned to my daughter that I was going to blog about my shopping condition, I expected her to roll her eyes, which is the reaction I get from both of my kids, no matter what I say. She is extremely bright and I knew she wouldn’t get my shopping “logic”. What she said next almost knocked me off my chair. When she buys something online, and then cancels the purchase, she considers the refund "free money". And, she feels good about it. Poor girl. I guess it’s in her DNA.

I’m sure by now you are wondering if you, too, suffer from the shopping condition. There is a simple test. Go to a store you like and buy a gift card. The next day, go back to the same store and make a purchase using the gift card. If it feels like you are getting the item for free, you could be a long-lost relative of mine.

Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

P.T. is no F.U.N!

I know exercise is good for us. But, I find it to be a little bit dangerous. For example, a few months ago I was doing some exercises with ankle weights on. I guess I was daydreaming, which to me is the only real benefit of exercise time, and I felt a pull in my knee. Long story short, I strained my meniscus, a part of the body I had never heard of until I injured it.

I managed to hobble around for three weeks before deciding I needed to go to the doctor. His recommendation? Three weeks of physical therapy, and if there is no improvement, an MRI. I was really looking forward to my first appointment. I had physical therapy after I broke my collar bone and I still remember the heating and icing treatments, and the deep tissue massages administered by a young attractive pro cyclist named Matt.

I arrived and was introduced to Denise, one of the many all female physical therapists I would work with. She looked me up and down. “Next time, wear athletic shoes” she said after her gaze lingered on my black sparkly flip flops. I couldn’t imagine why I needed athletic shoes. I started to take in my surroundings. Holy crap, I was in a gym. My dreams of a green tea body wrap and pedicure flew right out the window. Well, there was one positive—I was on the young side of the other patients I saw. Good, I thought. If we are forced to compete against each other, I have an excellent chance of winning.

After measuring how much movement I had in my knee, I was led to an exercise bike. Ten minutes, she said. This didn’t seem like a good idea to me, but no one asked what I thought. I survived bicycling, and waited for my next instruction. That’s when I met my first of many elastic bands. She tied a length of elastic around my ankles and told me to walk sideways for forty feet and back again. I felt ridiculous—like I was walking the ledge of a building with pantyhose around my ankles. There was a man throwing a ball against a slanted trampoline and catching it. That looked like fun. Why couldn’t I do that? The next circus trick exercise she had me do was stand on a board with a ball underneath. Talk about being set up to fail, this was an impossible feat. I guess she took pity on me and told me to follow Jason and he would set me up for a something something treatment. I really wish I had heard what she said, but asking someone to repeat something is like shouting I AM OLD AND CAN’T HEAR A WORD YOU ARE SAYING. I find it more agreeable to go through life completely clueless.

Anyway, I was really encouraged when he told me to lie down on the table and he would get some pillows for me. I was still in denial, so I thought I was finally going to get my spa treatment. Next thing I knew, he had rolled a machine over to my table and started attaching wires to my knee. “This is going to stimulate your muscles with an electric current” is all he said. He turned on the machine and there was a fun little tickle going from one electrode to another. He continued turning up the current until the tickle had turned into a jolt. He said that the highest current I could tolerate would do me the most good.

Now, I have no explanation for what happened next. I didn’t know this kid, would probably never see him again after I was done my therapy, but I did not want him to think I was a baby, so I allowed him to turn it up until my leg was literally jumping off the table. He said he’d be back in ten minutes. I looked around for something to put between my teeth so I wouldn’t bite my tongue. When I wasn’t wincing, I watched the big clock on the wall. When I thought I couldn’t take it any longer, I looked pleadingly at the man on the table next to me. His leg was being iced and he was fast asleep. I wanted to sit up and yell WHO is this man’s therapist? How do you expect him to heal just lying there being comfortable? He needs the jumper cable treatment!

By my last appointment, I had gotten smarter. I would say the current was high enough, even before they turned on the machine. I no longer cared what they thought of me. When a young man asked if he could get me something, instead of saying “No thanks, I’m fine”, I asked for cucumber slices for my eyes. As I was leaving, my therapist smiled and said “Now keep up your exercises. You don’t want to come back here.” I smiled back. Ah, truer words were never spoken.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

To Stir With Love

As we enter the holiday season, I can't help but think of all the cooking and baking that will go on all over the country. I consider myself very lucky, because my husband is an excellent cook. And, he is really wonderful about stepping in and helping prepare holiday meals. But, I can't help but notice that we have very different cooking "styles."

To me, preparing a meal begins with opening the freezer and deciding what I can thaw in fifteen minutes.

To my husband, preparing a meal begins with sharpening the knives.

I can measure out ten different ingredients using the same measuring cup. I will measure all the dry ingredients first, and then the liquid ones, just so I don't have to rinse and dry the measuring cup.

He will use every measuring cup and measuring spoon we have, and even some I didn't know we had.

If a recipe calls for two bowls, I will use the measuring cup as one of the bowls.

He will dirty half a dozen bowls in his attempt to find two the right size.

To add extra flavor, I will grab black pepper and the first jar I see containing something green.

He will get out a mortar and pestle, mix together a dozen different herbs and spices, resulting in a magical fragrance and taste.

I take full advantage of the microwave oven.

He believes the microwave oven is for cooking instant oatmeal, and nothing else.

I clean up as I go.

After he is done cooking, the kitchen needs to be hosed down, including the ceiling.

And, last but not least...

My meal is rubbery and bland.

His meal is robust, savory, and delectable.

Happy eating, everyone!