The Twelve Days of Christmas Pneumonia


(you know the tune)
On the first day of Christmas, pneumonia gave to me,
some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 2nd day of Christmas, pneumonia
gave to me, a brand new box of Kleenex, and some
cough drops for watching TV.

On the 3rd day of Christmas, pneumonia
gave to me, a cup of hot tea,
a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 4th day of Christmas, pneumonia
gave to me, a way to order cat food, a cup of hot tea
a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 5th day of Christmas, pneumonia gave to me, crap!! I need cat litter!!, need to order cat food, have some hot tea, here’s a brand new box of Kleenex, and some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 6th day of Christmas, pneumonia gave to me, my HOA is due now, Crap!! I need cat litter!! How to order cat food, have a cup of tea, here’s a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 7th day of Christmas pneumonia gave to me, the trashcan’s overflowing, my HOA is due now, CRAP! I need cat litter!! How to order cat food, have a cup of tea, here’s a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

(Let’s face it: it’s humbug time.)

On the 8th day of Christmas pneumonia gave to me, the outside lights have gone out!, the trashcan’s overflowing,
my HOA is due now, CRAP!! I need cat litter!! How to order cat food, have a cup of tea, here’s a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 9th day of Christmas, pneumonia gave to me, the GFI keeps popping, the outside lights have gone out!, the trashcan’s overflowing, my HOA is due now, CRAP! I need cat litter!! How to order cat food, have a cup of tea, here’s
a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 10th day of Christmas pneumonia gave to me, UPS has LOST the package???
The GFI keeps popping, the outside lights have gone out!, the trashcan’s overflowing, my HOA is due now, CRAP!! I need cat litter!! How to order cat food, have a cup of tea, here’s a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 11th day of Christmas pneumonia gave to me, my neighbors all now shun me, UPS has LOST the package???,
the GFI keeps popping; the outside lights have gone out! the trashcan’s overflowing, my HOA is due now, CRAP!! I need cat litter!! How to order cat food, have a cup of tea, here’s a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

On the 12th day of Christmas, pneumonia gave to me a cursing THREAT to Christmas, my neighbors all now shun me, UPS has LOST the package???, the GFI keeps popping, the outside lights have gone out!, the trashcan’s overflowing, my HOA is due now, CRAP! I need cat litter!! How to order cat food, have a cup of tea, here’s a brand new box of Kleenex and some cough drops for watching TV.

I wish the happiest of Holidays to all of you and your families. (keep your distance, I SHALL return!)

How can I ever Thank You?

Am I the only person who thinks a gesture deserves thanks? What about a full-fledged gift? What about the time to shop for the gift, the money to purchase the gift, wrap the gift, package the gift, and ship the gift? Does that deserve something in the line of ‘thanks’ or am I being too old-fashioned and stodgy?
People I dearly love are aggravating me. They do not know they should take the time to write me a note, acknowledging my time, my money (I am on social security), and my love.
I feel hurt. I feel dismissed. Are they taking advantage of me? Yet I am the one hoping that someone appreciates the gift that I shopped for, selected, wrapped and shipped. So, am I nuts?
My peers raised the kids in question. People just like my parents raised them. People just like me raised them. Except they do not thank you. “Thank you for taking time out of your life to shop for me, to spend money on me, to spend your valuable time on me, to go to the post office for me, to wrap gifts for me”. Nope. Absolutely nothing.
I sent 6 gifts last year. One cost over $100 to ship. Nothing. I sent a gift card to a youngster. $45.00. Nothing. I wrote. I sent toys. Nothing. One of my favorite relatives said she had been too busy to thank me. This, after I inquired if the huge box had been received. It had been 3 weeks. Yet, nothing more. Still no note.
Another said she had been busy and was ‘behind on thank you notes’. Uh huh. That set of gifts cost me about $65. That was Christmas. It’s April. I am now due another gift for the birthday. I am really rethinking all of this. For some reason, as I slash my personal budget and see my ‘gift’ budget consistently too high, I am questioning the logic of sending things to people who don’t feel a need to thank me for my time, my trouble, my money, my love and caring.
What in the world is happening?
When I discuss this with my friends, they say, “cut them off”. I understand that thinking. I have thought that so many times. My issue is that the kids are paying a price because my peer group, my relatives, did not bother to insist on the kids learning this important lesson.
Please. Thank You. Remember that? It is as old as “Dick and Jane”.
My step-mom called them ‘bread and butter notes’. You owed them within 3 days. Even ‘within a month’ would thrill me these days. My mom taught us that we did not use the item until we thanked the sender.
I know generation after generation complains about those following us. We think they are spoiled. We think they are entitled. I think we are right. What do YOU think? What do you do?

It’s Valentine’s Day. Let’s be nice.

I love hearts and I love flowers
I love women with equal powers
I want people to live in kindness, to exist in harmony, not in blindness.

To celebrate a loving day is empty if you can’t display the goodness we are meant to show,
The acceptance of what we really know.
To offer words with candy and hearts doesn’t matter if you don’t offer smarts.

So all this thinking has gotten me down. I suddenly realize my smile is a frown. I feel so hopeless that our world is not well. I wish the politics would all go to hell. I swear to Heaven things ought to be better. It’s all up to us, not just this dumb letter.

getting turned on

Men love theirs. They are so proud of them. Oddly, they believe women should be excited, interested. Most men seem to think that this is an impressive sign of their manhood to all women. Most women, actually, have little interest. We have seen enough to recognize a bighead is not our style. If you have to flaunt it, we pay little notice. We might have been interested when we were younger. Women re-focus as they mature. What men love to brag about and show off just is not as impressive.
Interestingly, as men age, they seem to get worse. They really want young women to pay more attention to theirs, as opposed to the guys most young girls would date. Again, younger women might be smitten in the beginning, but it fades.
We hear the stories and just shake our heads. What are men thinking? Why do they believe women find ‘this’ attractive? Why do they feel the need to exemplify macho instead of sensitive? Why do they persist in playing with their things to get more attention? Why do they feel a need to show off regardless of their ages? Why do they believe that young women will feel excited at the image of ‘young and virile’ they are trying so desperately to portray?
Laugh if you will. One day the man in your life will probably do the same. Sadly, most do. We can feel pity for the wives. We can feel dismayed at the actions of the husband. We can sympathize with the younger woman who so often is the target of this ‘need’ in so many men. We can try to warn our daughters.
These men disappear for hours, pretending to run errands. Actually, they are hoping women are noticing them; hoping women want them. They do their best to be where the younger women are. Is it ingrained or is it acquired?
They cannot afford to do this but are unable to suppress. They just have to have that new car. Sporty. Hopefully a convertible. They cannot help themselves. Just try to muddle through. Men love theirs.

wishes and dreams

I want to eat what I like
I want a drink when my long day is through
I don’t want to gain any weight
I want to look just the same as I do

I want to play in my garden
I want to watch “too much” tv
I want to fool with my computer
I never want to run out of money

I want to help with our planet
I want others to help with it too
I don’t want our kids to be poisoned
by the careless things that we do

I don’t want my parents to die
but I want to be brave if I must
I don’t want to worry about so many things
but try as I might, it’s a bust.

So these are my hopes and my dreams
And I don’t think my list is that awful
My dreams run me crazy but I don’t really mind
’cause at least what I love is still LAWFUL.

Ode to Aging

(Sung to the tune “where have all the flowers gone?”)

Where have my eyelashes gone?
They’re so skimpy….
Where have my eyelashes gone?
I just don’t know….
Where have my eyelashes gone?
They used to flutter at everyone.
Oh, why did they ever leave? Oh, why did they have to leave?

Why do I have facial hair?
It’s sooo tacky….
Why do I have facial hair?
I just don’t know.
Why do I have facial hair?
It’s here, it’s there…it’s everywhere
Oh why has this had to be, oh why has this had to be?

Why do I snore when I sleep?
I don’t like that
Why do I snore when I sleep?
I… never did.
Why do I snore when I sleep?
I want to breathe…not make a peep
Oh, why do I have to snore? Oh, why do I have to snore?

Why don’t men have menopause?
It’s annoying.
Why should they escape that clause?
It’s just not fair.
Why don’t men have menopause?
I crawl the walls with this new cause
My hair, my snoring, my moods, my hair… my snoring…my moods…

Flying Our Flag….

I fly the flag because I CAN
I am grateful to be free.
I fly the flag because my dad
fought for my liberty

I fly the flag to show I care.
I remember what that means.
I feel so blessed that I can show
our country ‘never leans’.

Our fathers and our uncles fought
so we could fly this flag.
We have the right; we have the job
to never let this lag.

So please remember everyday
to fly our flag with pride.
We owe it to the ones who fought.
And to the ones who died.

Threw Momma from the train

My parents loved to travel. They handled their finances so well that they retired early, to enjoy their lives together and explore the country.

When I was flying, they had the ability to use my airline passes and they did. Nevertheless, they loved taking the train.

Often they would take Amtrak from Florida, through Chicago, to Colorado to see me, then onto California. They had no particular schedule. When they arrived in Denver, they always had stories from their trip, people they had met. Dad was super shy, mom was extremely outgoing. They had a blast.

I was following their trip once because this time they were coming to see me on the way home as opposed to on the front end of their trip. They had wanted to take a different route, see more countryside, and visit the Grand Canyon.

The phone rang in the middle of the night. When I answered, the connection was poor and it took me a second to realize it was my mom. She was upset. I was instantly alert. Their train had gone off the tracks in Arizona. As it jumped the track, it fell over sideways and down a ravine. After she and my dad had helped everyone they could, they began the climb up the steep slope. A young man was kind enough to let my mom use his cell phone. The connection was poor but I was at least able to learn they were not part of the group going to stay overnight in the hospital. She was so shaken. She kept saying, “We’re too old for this, Alexa, the train ran right off the tracks and down a big hill.” I realized she was in shock. Well, I was in shock. I asked what she knew about how I could find her after she got away from the wreckage. She told me that firefighters and medical people were the only ones around and she just had no idea but needed to return the phone and would call me again. She was gone. An hour later, I made coffee because sleep was out of the question. I began looking around, online and finally saw some information about the accident. My parents were there! This was so frightening.

I heard nothing for 12 hours. I was trying not to be totally frantic. I probably cancelled my business day to wait by the phone. I do not remember much about that day. She finally called again to say they had been put on a bus, taken somewhere I cannot remember, then put on a train and would be in Denver in 6 more hours. Ok. I organized myself and headed to the Mile High City to hug my parents. They had come for my birthday.

Our visit was filled with ‘what if’ and ‘thank goodness’ types of conversations. I really have little memory of that visit. We were all tired, they were so sore all over their bodies and bearing in mind that they were 70 years old, it was too much to absorb.

Being of sturdy stock, they continued their trip back to Florida on Amtrak.

My mom passed away when she was 77. Alzheimer’s had really made a mess of who she had been. My dad lasted longer than anyone expected, such a love shared and such a huge loss.

I am living in Washington State now and during a workout, I injured my leg somehow. After being misdiagnosed with a muscle injury, the MRI showed my extruded disc and broken tailbone. Well, no WONDER it hurt to walk and try to work out. I started physical therapy.

I became a regular at the clinic, everyone trying to recover from various issues smiling and saying hello. One day I arrived 20 minutes early so settled with a book in the waiting room. I was chatting with a woman and her husband, until her appointment and he left. A biker walked in. This guy was big. He was wearing his HOG jacket and lots of chain type things. His face was weathered; he appeared to be around 70. We struck up a conversation. He was wearing a doo wrap, bandana of the US flag.

I asked what he had done to end up in a place like this. He reached down, pulled his jean leg up to reveal a prosthetic leg. When he walked in, I just assumed he bent a little because of a back injury or something. I waddled for 3 years after my 3 discs broke.

I asked him how he lost his leg. He said he was an engineer. An Amtrak engineer. He derailed years ago into a creek bed in Arizona. He lost his leg under some wreckage. Tears were immediate. I asked what year. What time. The answers were already familiar. I told him my parents had been on that train. We had to hug. He apologized for my parents’ bad luck and asked about them. I told him other than shock, they had been fine, just sore. I told him my mom had passed 2 years earlier.

He told me that he does not live in Spokane but was having pain from his bike and called his doctor for referral to a specialist in the area. Incredible.

We just stared at each other, holding hands. It was odd but it was right. Then he was the one who said it. “How likely is it that I am in a city 100 miles away from my home, in a rehab clinic because of my accident, you are here, you actually ASK about me, and your parents were with me during the accident?” I had to say, “I don’t believe for a second that this is an accident.”

What a full circle moment. I asked about the derailment. Someone had sabotaged the track and a section was missing. I had not known these details, so grateful just to have my family intact physically. It was a dangerous place to jump track. He was so grateful to know my parents were not badly hurt. The derailment happened at 130 in the morning. Total darkness. It was miraculous that so many survived.

I went into my rehab appointment. When I came out, he was gone. I got into my car, started crying, and called my brother. What a story I had to share.

that yours?

Something is happening. As I progress to the inevitable, I recognize how many before me have dealt with the very same issues. I hope to show grace during my tenure.

My elders are leaving the planet faster than before. Some are great friends; some are dear family. It is difficult to endure but everyone knows the transition must come.

I keep seeing the same scenario: who gets or wants what. Even as I begin my relocation, people ‘shop’ my belongings, knowing I have to downsize. They love me. They love my things. They want my things. Sometimes I am thrilled to give things to certain friends, as a memory of our relationship. Sometimes I would appreciate people recognizing that I love these things, that I have treasured them, and that I am out of money and asking for my belongings as gifts could get a little old.

I am not being selfish with my things. I have given more business clothes away, designer clothes, evening clothes, and accessories than I ever realized I owned. I will never use these things again and I want them to make someone feel good, or happy or well dressed. Fine. I am getting rid of furniture constantly. Then, there are the collections that I need to sell to pay for my move. Friends want them, at a huge discount. I have written before that I recognize how little something actually costs when you have owned it for years. It is miniscule. There are still times that I find it a little hard on my heart to have people ask if they can have an obviously expensive item for no cost. I realize they will sell my treasure. I no longer have time to sell the small stuff. Maybe I have just had too many people ask in too short a time. I know they mean no harm. It just causes an odd feeling. I have become a thrift shop. I ask my step kids and my nieces and nephews about things they might want. I have asked my sisters. That is my choice. If I can get things to people before I pack, we both win. I think sometimes people forget that I have family to consider. I think sometimes people forget losing your favorite things does not feel as good as they feel, sniffing out a bargain.

As my relatives reach their ending, the family is already asking for things. I admit I used to have the same thoughts. I reached a conclusion years ago: I would prefer having the memories of spending time with my family. If they decide they want or need more money and I cannot help them enough, I hope they sell everything and live on the proceeds. I would be thrilled to see them well enough to take a trip around the world; selling off every single item, they own to finance it. No inheritance is necessary. It was never mine to begin with.

None of these things belongs to me. They belong to the person who actually owns them. The person who remembers why and where they purchased that item and the memory that belongs to the storyline. It is not mine. It is not yours. It is not OK to begin pestering people for ‘when they die’. I heard someone not long ago ask if she could go ahead and take a table, since she was going to get it anyway. I almost gave her my jewelry because after that comment, I was about to die right then.

No. it is not OK to ‘go ahead and take belongings that you want from someone who still wants them’.

A very dear relative of mine says that my brother, a nephew, and I are the only people not expecting things from her demise. It made her sad. It broke my heart. When I see her, I always ask about family, about where she purchased things, what the reason was. I love to see the history of items and think about when she and her husband were young and furnishing their homes. Those are cherished memories, not things that ‘would look good in my place’.

So, as I craft my new will, making lists of things that will go to my relatives who will live much longer than I care to, I try not to be offended by the things I’ve already had people ask me to ‘gift’ them. Selfish as it seems, I am still using some of my things. All of us are. They will one day be a gift. When that day comes, enjoy, appreciate, and have a kind word to say about the true owner.

Only then will it be yours. Sometimes the price is higher than expected.

About Face

I am in my 60’s. Not terribly long ago, a woman told me she ‘bet I used to be attractive’. I can handle that. I DID. Now, I am older. I am not as upset about that, as I am that people are unaccustomed to what we should really look like as we naturally age.

I saw Goldie Hawn on TV today. Face-lift. I remember when Mary Tyler Moore got hers. It broke my heart. I watch some cooking shows. Sandra Lee suddenly looked very odd. Honestly, I thought she had been in a fire. Nope. Face-lift.

As I see women changing their entire facial structure, I question for whom they do this. I used to wonder the very same thing about men who wore toupees. Did they sleep in them at night with the person they loved most? Probably not. They wore that stupid looking fake hair or did a ‘Donald Trump’ every morning for the people who do not really matter. Why is that?

We are the baby-boomers. We are supposed to have more answers than our parents had. We are supposed to be more perceptive. Why in the world are we afraid to be ourselves? Why are WE pretending to be younger than we actually are instead of showing how well we can age? I am perplexed.

I stopped coloring my hair a year ago. I know it ages me. I look so much better with my hair hi-lighted. Now, there is no mistaking that I am an elderly woman. Nevertheless, I AM an elderly woman! I recognize that 60’s isn’t the end of the path but when we start retirement, get our social security and have problems remembering and falling and driving, why should we be trying to look like we are a decade or two younger? If we were acting this way in our 40’s we would seem daft or drunk. If men could really see what a woman is SUPPOSED to look like as she ages, maybe they would stop trying to date women 20 years younger than they should. Maybe. Ok, bad example.

While I am on that subject, why do older men need to date younger women? Everyone knows how foolish they appear. They are trying to ‘borrow’ the youth of that younger woman to appear younger themselves. They are trying to appear more virile. They are trying. Trying. If you need a pill to have more sex than your body can accommodate, you are too old to be having that kind of regular sex. It is not the end of the world. It is just a slowing of a chapter in a section. We all live.

So, as I watch women I have admired throughout my generation, I am saddened. Too many of them have decided they cannot stand to be their age. They are pretending to be of a different age while all of us watch, distressed at how fake our generation is threatening to become. We do our daughters no favor.

Gloria Steinham had it right at one time: ‘This is how I am supposed to look’ or something to that effect. I felt the same way for ages. I let myself be what I was supposed to be. How sad that our society does not. How sad that again, men are telling us we are not ok unless we do ‘this or that’ and sadder still is that women do it to each other. When Marlo Thomas got a face-lift, I was heartbroken. Another woman who is supposed to be secure, brilliant, honest, talented, and beautiful. She used to be.

Yep, I used to be attractive. Looks fade. I hope I have managed to cull more than the skin on my skeleton for the next chapters of my life.

Joan Rivers aside, how often are you disappointed in the women you once admired because of plastic surgery? Plastic: doesn’t that say it all?