Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oh man, blogging is a chore!

I've been blogging since 2009 -- not here, but in a different site about healthy eating. And I am worn out! There is too much effort for too little reward. Getting old might not be the whole story here. (And by the way, I am now an official f-ing senior citizen, hitting my 65th birthday this month.) It's just... like, why?
Maybe when I stop working, the idea of blogging will regain some appeal. For now, I have little to share.............

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Time, money....and energy

For most of my life, whether I could do something or go somewhere depended on having the time and money for it.
Not there is a third factor: will I have the energy? Not just to do the thing, but to enjoy it. To make whatever it is worth the effort....and the time and money.
I mention this as my husband and I are about to go downtown to an outdoor event in Cincinnati called Lumenocity. It is a beautiful production that combines music, dance and an incredible laser light show. But you have to be there about 5 hours before the thing claim a space....and wait in the sun with thousands of people. Not to mention, you have to park far away and carry all your supplies including chairs.
I think we will be okay, and have a fun time, but it is not easy for us old folks to tolerate the hassles. Or certainly, not as easy as it used to be.
True confession: I've never been a fan of street fairs, festival seating, big crowds, etc. Old age is just bringing out those dislikes and making them harder to ignore.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Don't get fat, but by all means don't get too thin

For quite some time, I've had a BMI that's on the high side of normal. And I've always wanted to be thinner. I've done a good job of maintaining my weight thanks to healthy eating (with some indulgences along the way, to be sure) and very, very assiduous exercise every single day.
Even so, I've longed to weigh 5-10 pounds less than I do.
But over the winter when I was in the hospital twice for a heart issue, two different nurses told me that my weight was perfect.
And I know what they mean -- a thinner body also means a thinner face, and my already prominent wrinkles and sag would just look worse.
So I'm trying to be OK with the weight that I'm at.
She's elegant, but TOO thin

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

"Seniors"? "Elderly?" Not so much...

Heard a reporter on NPR yesterday talking about the language she and others use to describe people over 60.  Apparently, folks get annoyed by some of the old standard expressions, such as that we are in our "golden years," or that we are now "senior citizens." Just the word seniors by itself isn't much favored, either.
She said that the most neutral, non-annoying expression is now "older people."
They also asked listeners to get in touch if they had any better ideas.
I can't think of anything. Mostly, getting old sucks no matter what you call us.
On the other hand, there are some facets of being past 60 (but not near 70 yet) that aren't too bad. I don't have periods, I don't sweat the small stuff much anymore, I have more money and fewer financial obligations to others, my wisdom factor is higher, I don't worry about my weight and appearance as much as in younger days.....

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Older husband syndrome

My husband is 7 years older than me, in good physical health now, but that won't last forever.
He's also a bit of a hypochondriac who assumes that any ailment is a dire one. I think that's a characteristic more common in men, but he's the only one I've ever been this intimate with for this long (almost 20 years), so that generalization is something of a guess.
My overall health seems really fine, but I have an underlying heart condition that means it all could take a serious turn for the worst in short order.
However, this post is about the back-of-my-mind anxiety that I'll have to be his caregiver in the coming years. I love him, of course, and want to help make his life easier and more comfortable. But I'm not exactly the nursing type, and have had not a moment's training in caring for someone who is chronically ill.
I guess, you get the training you need when the time comes?
At least one of my friends is married to a man 14 years older than she is, and I have an aunt who's been married for 30 years to a man almost 20 years YOUNGER than her. (At least in her case, the physically stronger person -- the younger man -- is likely to become the caregiver to his older wife.)
These age differences don't mean much when you're young or middle aged, but as old age creeps along.....well, it brings a new set of circumstances.
By the way, a recent issue (dated April 7) of New York magazine has some interesting stories and features about being old in New York City. Much if not most of it applies to being old in any city. Or maybe anywhere.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Slacking off

I desperately need to post something here, but it's the end of the academic year and everything piles on at once. I teach in two different departments and thus get double the end-of-year commitments that can't be gotten out of. 
SO while I have thought of many things to write about here.....this is going to be a place-keeper for now.
Topics to come:
--The lessening importance of material things (so why do I still love to shop???)
--The challenge of having an older husband (he's OK so far but there's probably a big care-giving shakeup ahead, someday)
--And that whole loss thing........doesn't go away.

Monday, March 10, 2014

On life, love and loss

The longer I live, the more it seems that life is about loss. Or partly about that, at least. I'm not really old yet, but even in my 60s I'm outliving people that I care about. My father died long ago, when I was still in my 20s, and that loss seems so remote to me now. Plus I wasn't that close with my dad. Much more recently, my best friend's husband died of pancreatic cancer in his 50s, just two years almost to the day after they were married. Then came the death of one of my great loves, a man named Louie who was many years my senior. He was one of a handful of soul-mate lovers (or I thought so at least) in my whole life, and the first to die. He lived in a small town in North Carolina where my parents lived, and to this day when I pass through that town, I miss him so profoundly -- even though I never ran into him for many years after we broke up. There was some comfort in thinking that I might see him again, and we might be able to say a few more things to each other.
Me and my mother, about 2000

The most profound loss however was the death of my mother, two years ago this month. She was the love of my life -- for almost 62 years! I'm not as bereft of her now as I was at first, but there are still times when my mind reels with the knowledge that she is gone from this life forever, and that I have to live the rest of my days without her.

One saving grace -- I'll close with this so as to end on a more hopeful note -- is that I try to replace these thoughts of loss with feelings of gratitude for what I DO have. That is, think about what I have and not what I don't have. When it comes to my mother, I was so blessed to have had first of all a full-time mother (she didn't work outside the home while she raised us), and a woman who was born and bred to be a mom. She did it so well, so lovingly, from the bottom of her heart.

That makes me very rich in love!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Terrific piece about being (really) old

I've always loved the baseball writing of Roger Angell in the New Yorker (my favorite magazine in any case). In a recent issue, he wrote this terrific article about what it's like to be 93 years old.
It's poignant, amazing, humorous and of course wonderfully crafted.
Here's the link:
Roger Angell

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Counting Blessings

1. My health has stabilized (only occasional, and minor, heart symptoms)
2. Winter is moving along and will be over in a month
3. We are having a few days of thaw (related to #2)
4. My grief over losing my mother is fading (but I still want her back!)
5. My course load this semester is less burdensome than last semester
6. My husband loves me and tells me so all the time
7. In a few weeks, we're taking a short trip to Georgia, our first getaway since Thanksgiving
8. We have several dear friends, and I have two cherished brothers
9. I should be able to come up with 10 but will stop here.
Point being, it helps to focus on the good things.................
Me, brother Don, sister-in-law Jo

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Adventures in Snow Shoveling

It's never bothered me to shovel snow. I like the exercise, the sense of accomplishment -- and of course the ability to get out of my driveway when I want to. So last Wednesday after a nasty storm of a few inches of snow topped off by several hours of sleet and freezing rain, I joined my husband for an hour of clearing our front walk and driveway.
About halfway through, I started to feel "taxed" and began sitting on the front porch for occasional breaks.

It was not a good thing to have done. Caused myself at least a couple of days of recurring heart symptoms similar to the ones I had before my recent angioplasty. Thursday and Friday, I felt awful and took nitro a few times to relieve the chest pressure.
What a dummy.
We saw "Wolf of Wall Street" Friday night -- hilarious -- and it distracted me from the discomfort. By Saturday I finally started to feel normal again.
My husband says no more snow shoveling for me, and I ain't gonna argue the point.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Getting through a dreadful winter

I went to church today for the first time since my heart procedure. It was a good service -- our pastor spoke about the amazing time he had on a recent mission trip to Africa -- Kenya and Ethiopia, to be precise. I almost always get sad in church though, and today was no exception--missing my parents. Only a few days before my mother had the stroke that led to her death on 3/21/12, she was suffering from so many pains (at 91, bless her) that she cried out "Why doesn't the Lord just take me?" It was a hard thing to hear, of course. But today I thought, oh how I hope that is where she is, with the Lord. She led a good and long life, she loved and was loved, and if there is a heavenly reward she is one who deserved it.
Which of course has little or nothing to do with my headline about the dreadful winter!
As I look out my window now, it's gray on gray on gray, a chilly day in early February after a horrid January of extreme cold and significantly more snow and ice than our "normal" January. The few leaves left on the trees are shivering in the frigid wind. It's Super Bowl Sunday but we have no interest in the game, the spectacle, the media craziness, the commercials, so we don't pay attention to much of it. (I might try to see the halftime show to catch Bruno Mars though.)
Thanks to any who are reading this personal blog.
Blessings to you!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Modern medical miracles

Things have taken a turn for the better with the old girl. The angioplasty (stent #5 added to the previous four, from 2010) seems to have been a pretty good success. For the most part, I've gotten relief from 80-90 % of the disturbing, heart-related symptoms that had plagued me for at least a couple of months. It took almost a week for a noticeable improvement to kick in, but I've had several really good days since about Monday of this week -- a week after the surgery.
And it really is quite a blessing that in the space of one generation, our lives can be extended and improved thanks to the incredible advances in treating diseases of the heart that the medical profession has achieved.
I'm grateful for that........and sad that it happened too late for my dad.
It did help my mom, though -- she had very seriously clogged arteries and triple bypass surgery at 87. She lived almost four more years, and died of something else (high blood pressure that led to a stroke). Those were bonus years, and such a gift.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Woe is me -- ?

I'm trying not to be just a complaint. A good day is any day that you're alive, and I am alive today.
But I have a bad heart; just had another stent put in this week, which makes five of them.
On top of that, the procedure doesn't seem to have fixed the symptoms that made me go through the ordeal of this invasive procedure.
So I'll have to see other types of doctors to find out why I have chest tightness and other weird, creepy symptoms.
One thing though: I'm truly grateful for the miracles of contemporary medicine that makes it possible to repair my heart. My father died at 58 from heart disease, back in 1977, and didn't have access to a fraction of the medical help that I (and my brother) are blessed to receive.
So.......I guess it's a good day.
Bad hearts, all.......

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Here's the thing.......

It starts to dawn on me that my life is near the end. Oh, I might have 20 more years, even.....but the end is in sight and could be a lot sooner than that.
All the things that matter to me now -- all the little and big things, from which shoes to wear to how/whether to patch up a broken relationship, will mean nothing.
It's a terribly hard thing to get your head around. Daunting. Depressing. And of course, reorders your priorities. Does it really matter the slightest bit, for instance, whether I eat one cookie or two?
Beneath and behind all this, I miss my mother so much and also can't get my head around the idea that she is gone from me and from this world forever.
To end on a less sad note though, CARPE DIEM, my friends (if any are reading). Seize the day, and make the most of all our time here. To quote a song I used to like: "A good day is any day that you're alive." Amen.

Friday, January 3, 2014

This is pathetic

So far this blog is going nowhere. That's OK because nobody is reading it anyway.
At some point perhaps I will take it up for real.....

Because it really IS a drag getting old.