Celebrating 70 in the Hyperborean North

Most people, when they arrive at a major age milestone, seek warm weather.

Number One wanted to see the Northern Lights for his 70th birthday!

I forgot how cold a -19 (yes, that is a minus sign before the nineteen) really feels.  I experienced that kind of cold previously, but it wasn’t by choice, as it was in early March 2018.

In order to view the Northern Lights, you have to go north–as in UP the mountain.  Once we survived the jostling and bouncing of the snow-cat ride, the full moon lit the  Seussian landscape of trees burdened under the weight of what looked like giant snow monsters, climbing to the sky.

We stayed on that %$%^*^$ cold mountain until 3:30 a.m.   We saw faint white colors and some green streaks of the Northern Lights, but not the vibrant colors that you see in National Geographic pictures. Yet, it was a great “Anventure” as my granddaughter used to call adventures.

We can only, sort of, take the Northern Lights off our bucket list, because we are greedy and we want to see the colors in all their glory.  (So, I guess we are going to Iceland for my 70th.)

The fun did not stop with the lights.

The hazy white in the background is not snow, but it is mist from the Chena Hot Springs.   Number One was not brave enough to plunge into the hot springs in 13 degree weather. (Oh, 13 degrees felt warm and comfortable to us at this point)  The snow creatures that the mist created, looked as if they were ready to pounce as they guarded the spring.

 

 

 

The buildings look like cupcakes frosted with a thick layer of butter cream frosting.

 

No, this is not a black and white picture.  This is high noon in Northern Alaska in early March in full color.  The trees fill an endless, forbidding landscape.  I really don’t want to meet some of the inhabitants of that wilderness, they might think I said, meat, not meet.

 

 

Snow!  The snow flakes were wet and fat and I was soaked, but our hyperborean adventure was fun and truly memorable.  My dad knew his hats.  This high-fashion, orange chapeau kept my head warm and cozy.

Hyperborean is my second new word.  It means very cold.  That is number two of my ten new words!

 

One Lesson We Were Never Taught

Every dentist, I mean every dentist, tells you to floss between your teeth.

My Worst Nightmare
Looks Like An Electric Chair to Me

Now, with age, dang-gunit,  I’ve learned it is even more important to floss. That is  because, for some reason,  our teeth separate and lots of gunk–disgusting gunk–gets caught between our teeth.  Both my niece and nephew are dentists, but I love them, anyway. My nephew explained why this happens.

Be forewarned, this is a translation of what he said.  He is much more technical.

The area around the teeth as in gums and bone can be diseased, but most likely it is due to stress and how we deal with it.  You know when you clench your teeth because you can’t say what you want.  Or your brain is still dealing with the stress of the day, or of problems you have no control over, so you grind your teeth in your sleep to chew away the problems.  Oh, by the way, it doesn’t work, it just messes up your teeth.

Another reason could be that a dentist left a gap where he/she shouldn’t.

Or simply, your teeth grew in weird.

I spent many long hours at the dentist as a child.  As an adult, I only have 5 of my original teeth that can get cavities, so I don’t have to spend quite as much time there.  But, I do have an occasional crown replacement and I do try to clean my teeth professionally every six months.

And what do they tell me to do?  Brush for two minutes at least twice a day and floss.

Floss–It sounds so bunny-like, as in Flossy, Mossy, and Cottontail.

But there is nothing cute about flossing, your hands and arms contort into weird angles as they try to find a way to get that stupid string between your  teeth. And then, why is it so difficult  to find the  space between the back teeth to put the &*&%^$ string into.

I am a person willing to learn, so I told my nephew I didn’t really know how to floss.  My daughter was there and she fell over laughing. “How can you not know how to floss?”

My  kind nephew kept his laughter inside, but I could still see it in his eyes.

He explained and let me try, and he saw I had problems.

Read the next part as they do on commercials when they speed read through the fine print.

According to Dr. Laurent in the AARP Health article,  “Proper flossing involves wrapping the floss in a ‘c-shape,’ and covering as much surface area of the tooth as possible. You should cover about half the diameter of the tooth from each angle. Make sure to move the floss up and down along the outer surface and under the gum tissue,” says Dr. Laurent. “This way, the floss will clean plaque from both the outer and inner surfaces of your teeth, as well as beneath the gum tissue.”

Ok, do you know how to floss now?  Nope, me neither.  I could explain it to anyone, but I can’t do it to my teeth.

Did anyone ever teach you how to floss?  All my dentists every said was, “Floss.”

I guess I heard, “gloss over it” because if they don’t show you, it must not be important.

You are taught to brush by your parents.

Most adults do not floss.  Research articles tell me that 40% of the people say they don’t floss.  You know as well as I do that the other 60% are lying.  Ok, maybe the other 59% are lying–I guess dentists actually do floss.

The only time most of us get anything between our teeth, like a toothpick or the newfangled floss on a stick is to remove an irritating piece of food.  Once that is done, we don’t even think about the others.

But, we continue to clench and grind.

We need to start a new educational movement!  Just like they did in the 60’s with the seat belt campaign.

Children need classes in flossing! The dentist has to let them floss between their teeth, themselves.  Make a game of it.    You know the old adage, when you do something you remember it.   At the same time, parents need classes and need to be given a chance to do it themselves.

I really think there are more people out there like me who struggle in  getting their hands into their mouth just like me, and say, screw it, and stomp on the string before throwing it away.

By the way, don’t tell my niece and nephew that the closest I get to flossing is using a newfangled TOOTHPICK.  And, dang-it, it is expensive.

 

Just don’t tell my niece and nephew that I gloss over flossing.

Boost Your Salary With a Messy Desk

After reading this title, how many of you think you should be billionaires by now?

Well, I think my desk could qualify me for a trillionaire.

 

Now, why do I think this way.

Well according to an article in Woman’s World magazine, us messy deskers are 36 percent more resourceful than those with an organized desk.

Supposedly, people like  Number One, who are so organized and their schedules are so inflexible and uncompromising,  they miss out on out-of-the-box thinking and different  creative solutions.

No, I did not say Number One was inflexible, I said his schedule–I just want to make that clear.

A study was done using 240 companies and this study found that the most creative and productive  employees have terribly messy desks and offices.  Also very interesting, is that they had they had advanced the most in the company and they made the greatest amount of money.

All my life, my desk has been covered with the tools of my trade and papers were piled high.  As a principal, the teachers knew the only time my desk was clean was when the high-mucky-mucks were visiting.

You may find it hard to believe, but when my desk is clean, I feel paralyzed.

When the desk is clean, and I can see the color of the desk, I fear that if I start working, I wont see that pretty color again for weeks.

But there comes a point, even for me, that the messiness becomes a little overwhelming.

So–I did it.

Yes,  I cleaned off my office desk!  I could hear the angels sing AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.

Cover your eyes, the sight might hurt them.

I wasn’t kidding when I said I am paralyzed when my desk is clean.  You know so because you have not heard from me in twelve days.

Now with a clean desk I  can’t find my trillions, either.

I guess the balance between a clean desk and a messy one is as volatile as the stock market.  But don’t worry,  now that I have starting using it again, my desk will get really messy and my funds will grow.

Chivalry Exists in My Knight in Gray

I can take care of myself.  Women, in most situations can take care of themselves.

But sometimes,  it is nice to know that a male will come to your rescue.

Yes, I was well protected this weekend.

I admit I was being a little lazy and didn’t want to get up–of course it was 6:45 a.m. and I am RETIRED!

Anyway, my  daughter’s  method of encouraging me to get out of bed was to  hit me (playfully) with the decorative pillows on the bed.

 

 

That’s when it happened.

 

That is when I was rescued.   My rescuer is old, at least 91!

He is small, and  frail with  very spindly legs, but he is surprisingly agile for his age.

Max–91 in dog years–jumped up on the bed, growled ferociously and leapt at Jazz.  He didn’t stop and think that he weighs eight pounds and is barely 8 inches tall. He thought he was David fighting Goliath.  I was impressed and felt humble that he would save me and not even think about his size.

Yes, I did save my daughter from my gallant knight in grey. (No injuries on either side, but my daughter snarled  louder than Max when I grabbed him in mid-air.)

When it comes to chivalry, size doesn’t matter, nor does age.

 

 

 

I Can Relate to the Newly Convicted and an Addict.

My stomach is in turmoil.

It is going to happen tomorrow?

Do I really have to do it?

What happens if I don’t?

All day today I have been thinking about how I can relate to a newly convicted prisoner going to prison.  Her  life will be so restricted and much too structured.  Even before she goes in she thinks about escaping.

The addict wants to go to rehab, but she doesn’t want to go.

She doesn’t want to give up the things that make her feel better–even if it is only for a short time.

She starts rocking in her chair, hoping that this is a nightmare and she will wake up and she will continue to take what makes her happy.

Yes, I can relate because tomorrow I am starting a new diet.

Di–ets, are painful, restrictive, and make you a little crazy.

Like the addict, I have done this countless times before.

Yes, I relapsed and relapsed badly.

I want to feel better.  I want to be able to move easier. I want to be able to exercise every day without soaking my aching knees in Epsom salts for three hours. I want to stop buying big clothes.

I DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP CHOCOLATE!!!!!!!!!

I don’t drink.  I don’t do drugs. I am very well behaved in most situations.

But I do, do chocolate.

Of course the new diet I am starting does not include chocolate.

It has vegetables, vegetables, vegetables,  vegetables and a few more vegetables.  Not much fruit (I love fruit).

I can eat chicken and eggs and chicken and eggs and chicken and eggs all day long. Oh, I can throw in a little red meat and a little more fish, too.

NO CHOCOLATE!

My weekend treat is a 1/2 cup of brown rice and a piece of fruit.

NO  CHOCOLATE!

I made the first step in my journey.  I admitted I have to lose weight–I have been admitting this for a long time.

I set up my environment for success.  I went to the grocery story and the only things in the refrigerator are vegetables.

Before I go to bed I will make the big sacrifice to finish off whatever chocolate is in the house.

Tomorrow–I think I will sleep in so I won’t have so many hours to go through without carbs and chocolate.

Tomorrow will come all too soon.

Good-bye chocolate! I will never forget you!

 

 

Will Books Be As Obsolete As a Rotary Phone?

 

I walked into a bank last week and while waiting to speak to the accounts person, I sat in the conformable chair facing a bookshelf of books.

But it was not a bookshelf of books.  It was a PICTURE of a bookshelf of books.

It made me think that a lot has come and gone over the past 60 years.

You cannot find a typewriter, except in antique shops.

 

 

 

Anyone born after 1970, most probably, has never heard of a slide rule.  And for sure, they never used one.

 

 

 

The  rotary phone–you know–the kind that you have to dial is now considered a novelty.  My daughter has this one in her room as a “dope” (i.e. cool) decoration.

When we use the phrase “dial a number,” someone from my generation knows what it means to actually put a finger in the little hole and turn the dial until it reaches the concave finger stop.

There is nothing to “dial”, as in moving in a circular motion, on a cell phone or a push button phone!

Push button phones came out in November 1963 and Bell had to convince customers it was better and faster.

By 1980, almost all phones in homes and offices were push button.

The phrase, “dial the number” is an antiquated term.  I wonder how long it will be before that term is as obsolete as the rotary phone.

Back to my picture of the bookshelf of books.

Will future generations only know about books from paintings or pictures that are hanging on the wall?

Will you only be able to find them in antique shops, or will children only know about them from stories handed down from generation to generation?  Will they be a “dope” decoration in a room?

Will the real meaning of the term “turn the page” be a term that is as vague and unknown as “dial the number?”

I was just wondering because the flat screen television above the picture was real and working just fine.

 

 

Daughters Chit Chat, Sons Grunt

Spending time with your grown children gives you insight into their lives and personalities.

 

My daughters and I chit chat when we are together.  We chatter about the kids, how busy we are, and how we hate grocery shopping.

We prattle, babble, rattle on and blather–I guess I am the one who blathers–about anything and everything.  We are interested in each other’s lives, needs, goals, dreams, trials and tribulations.

However, sitting in a room with my son is an entirely different experience.

It is silent! Pure uninterrupted silence.

When someone is in the same room with me and we are absolutely quiet, I suffer extreme pain.  My ears ache hoping to hear some sounds, some voices, or even a ticking clock.  Digital clocks don’t tick.

 

When my son does speak, it is usually a grunt, a grumble, a mumble, a groan, a sigh or worse, I get the look.  The look says all the above, but with extreme sarcasm.

He mumbles a quick answer about who is playing in the game–I really don’t care–I just want to hear someone speak.

He groans when I start telling him about my day.  The purpose of this is to encourage him to tell me about his day.  Guess what?  It doesn’t work, but I have to keep trying.

He grumbles if there isn’t some ready-made food in the house.

I actually got a response from him the other day.  When I told him I was going to write this, he said, “A grunt is an effective form of communication.”

Eight, count them, eight words in a row!

Now, that I think about it, I do know the meaning of his grunts and groans.

They mean,  “I don’t feel like talking.  I am ignoring you. I want to sit in peace.  I am busy doing nothing.  It is too much work to make some food for myself, why can’t you do it?”

Maybe he is right, a grunt is an effective form of communication!

 

 

Dwayne, Dwayne, Dwayne, I’ll Never Forget Your Name!

Remember the adage?

There is an  old adage that says you should say a person’s name three times when you meet him/her.  This repetition will assure that  you will not forget the name.

I forgot the adage!   Or maybe I just thought it read old age, and I was trying to ignore anything that mentions old age.

WRONG DECISION!

As I have mentioned, I have been going to Orange Theory. I was quite flattered when the manager of the gym asked if she could do a member profile on me for the newsletter. Maybe I shouldn’t let it go to my head.  It could be that they just can’t believe I am still there–meaning I haven’t keeled over yet.

I answered the questions and sent the manuscript thinking that the editor would edit my blurb.  Nope.

Another lesson learned, do not assume anyone else will clean up your mistakes.  You have to take responsibility to make sure you get it right.  Which I didn’t.

I mentioned the names of individuals who had encouraged me to keep coming, pulled me off the floor a couple of times, or just smiled at me when I was scared I wasn’t going to survive a session. I remember the names of Zack, David, Jeff, Dana, and Lauren, but the name I mentioned in the article was not Dwayne.  I don’t want to say the name I wrote because if I say it too often it will get stuck in my head, again.

Now, this young man was raised right.  He takes the time to talk to old ladies, laugh at old lady jokes, and encourage the old ladies.

I am horrified that I hurt his feelings and now I’m afraid  he won’t speak to me, chuckle at my jokes, or support me.

Any good suggestions on how I can ask him to forgive me, other than handing this apology to him?

If he reads  this, it will be my luck that Dwayne is spelled either as Dwaine or Duane.

 

 

A Greenland New Year and Resolutions

We rang in the New Year–but I we did our countdown from Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland–meaning, it was 9 p.m. in Washington D.C, but we had the kids convinced it was midnight.  Are we going to hell for lying to the kids?  Thank goodness for Netflix and their pre-programed countdowns.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

RESOLUTIONS

I gave up resolutions for lent. Oops, wrong holiday, we are not there yet.  Every year I try to be resolute, but I make resolutions that are impossible to do–such as losing weight.

 

This year I will be resolute in drinking more tea and learning 10 new words for the year.   I’m not promising myself that I will remember the words, but I will learn them.  Does it mean I am hedging my bet,  if I get an email every day with new words? Unfortunately, I know most of them. But 10 is doable.

So far this year, I drank more cups of tea than I did in six months last year, so I think I might make it.

And, I already learned one new word.  Senectitude.

If I want to live a long life, it is important to stay active in my senectitude.

You will find the meaning in the text above.

Now, it’s only 9 new words to learn in 12 months!

 

Warm tea on a frigid 68 degree day, sound so comforting.  Want to join me?

I’m Afraid I’m Growing Up!

 

Imagine if you will, sweet, creamy, scrumptious, chocolate melting in your mouth and filling your every sense with happiness, contentment and joy.

Since the beginning of time chocolate has been the temptation of the gods.  My history may not be very accurate, but since the beginning of my time, it has been my temptation.

My family celebrated Christmas with chocolate.   Thank you, Jesus, for bringing chocolate into our home on your birthday.

In the center of the dining table, my mother’s crystal, lazy-Susan was brimming with chocolate kisses. Chocolate flowed  from and overflowed  the candy dishes.  When you picture this, don’t see it from the adult view from above.  Look at the candy dish as a child would with your nose level with the table.  The dish sparkles and shines and holds a delightful treasure.

With the help of huge chairs, I reached and grabbed and reached and grabbed until my hand was slapped for taking too much, or I felt really sick from eating  so much chocolate.

Long after I left home and had my own children, Christmas always included Hershey kisses.    Like the child I am, I couldn’t properly execute my Christmas duties without the ever-present Hershey Kisses.

They could have silver wrapping or red and green, it didn’t matter, as long as they were filled with chocolate.

Every present I wrapped, was accompanied by a chocolate kiss.  My family always wondered why they got so many presents.  Duh!  If they only got a few gifts, I would only eat a few kisses!

Then, while sitting under the tree on Christmas morning…yes, you guessed it–each gift had to be UN-wrapped with a kiss.  By the time Christmas was over I had the same funny tummy ache that I had as a kid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, this year I grew up.

 

How do I know this?  I know, because this year,  I wrapped ALL my gifts and DID NOT eat one kiss.

Once, while in the grocery store, I picked up a few packages of kisses, thinking I wanted them, but I put them back.  It wasn’t the child in me who put them back.   My hand just did it by itself! I would NEVER have put them back before.   (If anything I hid more packages than most people saw.)

There are NO kisses in the house and there are only two days until Christmas.

Is growing up my Christmas present?  That is as bad as coal–maybe worse–you get coal only once, but now I will be grown up, forever.

 

Is There Any Hope?

 

Maybe I’m  not really growing up.  Maybe my tastes are maturing?  No, that means growing up.  They are expanding, or maybe evolving, but I won’t accept that they are  maturing.

 

A few days ago, after all the gifts were wrapped,  I walked past the bulk candy display in the grocery store.    

The chocolate covered peanuts called my name.  My whole name–not just Virginia.  I swear the peanuts were shouting so loud, that I thought the whole store could hear them.

I succumbed to their pressure!

I bought a bag.  I managed to dump only a little in the bag, but, unfortunately,  those were eaten far too quickly.

 

Yesterday, I went back.

Again, the peanuts were  screaming my name, so  I pulled on the lever.

 

NOTHING CAME OUT!

 

A kind lady–she said her name was Claus–saw my utter disappointment and slammed the container with her hand a few times, and then hundreds of peanuts filled my bag– over three pounds worth.

You can’t put bulk candy back, so I had no choice, I HAD to buy it.

Yes,  I feel better.

With that kind of behavior, it is obvious that I can’t be growing up.

It is merely that my tastes are developing and diverging!