What Happens When a 77 Year-Old Plays a 3 Year-Old?

All three years old love to run and jump and play–non-stop!

Most 77 year-olds like to sit, relax, laze in the sun, and take long afternoon naps.

 We all know older men tend to grumble a lot and their low voice sometimes sounds like a growl, particularly when they are tired.

The three year-old loves to hear her high pitched voice and shouts it over and over and over hoping someone will listen to her and play with her. She especially wants the 77 year-old to play with her.

They try to play hide and seek, but the 77 year old is too tired to look for a good hiding place and he is found much too quickly. He growls as the three year-old jumps up and down and shouts.

 

The little one is always picking things off the floor and the older one is constantly trying to take it out of her mouth.  It is like a tug of war, that is either won by the three year-old because she just has too much energy, or the angry retort from the 77 year-old stops her in her tracks.

And the problem is, they are making my office their playground.  I am trying to write and their constant chatter puts me over the edge.

But I noticed last Sunday when the three year old wasn’t around, the 77 year-old moped around all day.

 

He kept looking for the younger one thinking she was playing hide and seek. He never found her.  It was a sad day.

The house was even too quiet for me, too.

 

Max is 8 inches tall.  He is a Toy Fox Terrier.  Dakota is a Siberian Husky, and at only three months towers over Max.  She loves to lay her leg across Max’s back pretending they are friends, but Max usually isn’t in the mood for a hug.

Max, my 77 year-old, (in dog years, but 11 in people years) spends most of his time growling, disciplining, and arguing with Dakota.  Dakota is three years old in dog years and three months in people years.  Dakota spends her time chasing, barking and irritating Max as much as she can.

Yes, they are “playing” in MY office.  Yes, Max is always that noisy.

It looks like they are going to kill each other with their mouths wide open, but believe me, they are just trying to prove whose mouth is bigger.

And worst of all..

These are not my dogs! I just get to babysit them both!!!!

I Mean, What Do They Have To Do?

A young mother was watching her one year-old child crawling on the carpet of the mall play area.  She smiled at me and asked if my two grandchildren were my children.  I smiled–wondered if she was blind–and corrected her and said they were my granddaughters.

It was the middle of the week so I assumed she had the day off, but she told me that her mother takes care of her kids during the week. I blessed that grandmother because I could see what a handful the little boy was.

I said that was really sweet of her mother because grandmothers get tired much easier than mothers. The young mother complained that taking care of baby was hard for her, too.  I wasn’t going to argue with her.  I  didn’t say it, but I thought, kids are a lot of work, no matter what age.  But the older you are, the less energy you have for them and you tire so much easier.

I was then informed by the young mother that grandma will babysit during the week, but she refuses to babysit on the weekends.  According to grandma, weekends are babysitting free.

I could see the anger growing in the young woman’s face.  “I mean, that doesn’t make sense to me,” she said. What does she have to do on the weekends?”

My mouth dropped open.  There was so much I wanted to say, but I realize I can’t save all the grandmothers in the world.

But I was thinking…your mom has to take care of her mental health–she raised her kids, now it is your turn.  Grandma has to take care of her emotional and physical

health.  She has to visit friends and play.

How do grandmas play?  They ride bikes, they hike, they swim, they golf, and they enjoy a night out.  How about watching a movie–during the afternoon–when grandpa is less likely to fall asleep?  A meal at a nice restaurant–or even fast food–is a treat because Grandma doesn’t have to cook.

 

Grandmas are NOT the grandmas of the 40’s and the 50’s–maybe even the 60’s.


WE’VE COME A LONG WAY, BABY!!!!

 

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.

 

 

 

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!

 

I Need a Bigger Bucket!

First of all, just VISITING China was high on my bucket list.

Growing up in rural Wisconsin, the thought of visiting China was as alien to me as the UFO’s are now.  Besides, I was a little embarrassed to visit because I had wasted some Brussel sprouts (still can’t eat them) and was scolded for wasting food because the people in China were starving.  Had anyone starved because I didn’t eat my sprouts?

 

Here are a few more things that I can check off my bucket list.

Trudged up the Great Wall like the ancient Chinese warriors.  Yes, I said trudged.  I literally had to pull myself up using the hand railings because the ramp was at least at a 30 degree angle.  Number One thinks it is a 30 degree angle.  I swear it was at least a 45 or 50 degree angle.  The steps were uneven.  Some were a few inches high and then some were two feet high.  They had to have been used by very tall people–another misconception that I had–I thought the Chinese were short. The highest point is 3,330 feet above sea level–I got to the top!

The view at the top was amazing.  I was watching ancient history come to life as it trailed over the mountains at great heights and flowed with simple elegance.  I was entranced by the beauty.

The Great Wall, to the Chinese, can be compared

to Mecca, for the devout Muslims.   The number of people on that wall that day was in the thousands,  and it wasn’t even a holiday or in summer.  It was in November!

This wall has such significance that Mao Zedong said, “He who has not climbed the Great Wall is not a true man.”

I guess I am now a true man.

 

Sipped tea at an authentic Chinese Tea Ceremony.  There are two types of pots for the tea.  One is to brew it and one is to serve it to guests.  They do not use the teapot with the spout to serve, they use  a small pitcher to pour the tea.  I learned you need to wash Jasmine tea before you make it.  You must also pour hot water over the tea pot to prepare it.  They women splash and pour between the two containers to get the tea to the right temperature.   It is pretty complicated.  I think I might stick with my one pop of the can of Diet Coke.

 

This is the tray, pots and cups that they use.   Another sure-fire way to see if the water is hot enough is to pour the hot water over “pee boy.”  If he starts peeing, the water is just right.

 

 

 

 

 

I rode a two hump camel.  Now, I can say that  I have ridden a one hump and a two hump camel.   It looks as if you can use one of the humps as a makeshift handle to get onto the beast, but that hump just wiggles all over and it actually is more of a hindrance  than help to getting onto the camel.  You need to fit between the two humps.  Ok, I got onto the camel, but the owner had to give my backside a boost. Once the picture was taken,  there was no way I could get off that creature.  I finally called to Number One so he could push my right foot up high enough so my left foot would slide down the other side.  It was not a graceful mount nor dismount, but I can check riding camels off my bucket list.

 

 

I rode the one hump camel in Egypt in 1983.

I rode the two hump camel in China 2017.

It took 34 years to accomplish this feat, but I did it!

 

 

 

The largest palace in the world is “The Forbidden City.”  It sounds really ominous, almost scary. It was forbidden for anyone other than the royal family to enter.  This palace, which is the size of a city, housed the emperor, his family, which could be 500 or more children, his 1000 concubines, his wife, and his mother.  Luckily the mother and the wife each had separate buildings.  The number of buildings is astonishing as well as the artwork.   On the roof, mythical creatures of  the sea were carved and placed to protect the palace.  However,  lightning struck and burned a building.  They learned from the Americans that lightning rods do a better job of  protecting than mythical creatures.

 

 

 

The Summer Palace is on an island surrounded by a beautiful lake.  It would be easier to see if the Beijing SMOG was not so heavy.

I loved the city of Beijing.  We stayed three days, but  by then I could feel the smog clogging up my lungs.  The Chinese have plans to fix it, but it will take some time.

 

The Terra Cotta Warriors. These warriors were supposed to be the emperors army in the afterlife.  They were made larger than life. Each facial expression is different and the warriors displayed their rank by their shoes.  The higher the tip of the toes on the shoes, the higher the rank.  You can read anything you want into that, but that was the way it was. This Emperor was 13 when he took power and  was not very nice–like most teenagers at 13– and the people didn’t like him.  So, after he died, they raided his tomb of all the valuables and smashed his warriors.   These warriors have been waiting to fight since about 250 BC. Luckily, in 1974 a young farmer discovered these warriors by accident.  He was digging a well and found what he thought was a ghost in front of him. No ghost, just an ancient warrior.  The farmer now can sign his name on coffee table books.  He was not able to write anything when he found the warriors.  The tour guide said he is very old now.  Number One and I think he is younger than we are.

 

         Japan is not that far away from China.  Number One had a conference in northern Japan.  Once it was finished, I was able to check off one more item on my bucket list.

Growing up right after WWII, Japan was not on the favored list of countries to visit for anyone in the country, so I was sure I would never visit a country that had attacked us.   Well, I did.  And, I am glad.

There are so many vistas of one special place in Japan, and that is Mount Fuji.   Yes, I went to the seventh station of Mount Fuji.  It looks like the mountain has snow at the top, but it is actually sun glinting off the ice which gives it a white color.  This mountain, of course, is a volcano with an interesting shape.  It is almost symmetrical with gentle slopes on each side.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After exploring far-away places filled adventure and intrigue, we get to come home to reality in  sunny, Carlsbad, California!

Duck. Duck. Duck. SCORPION!!!

My First Duck

Peking Duck is a delicacy that must be enjoyed in Beijing (remember it used to be called Peking). I also experienced other delicacies with my first duck that I can truly, and never to be repeated, take off my bucket list.

One of the best Peking Duck Restaurants in Beijing is named, Quanjude.  It was established in 1864.

As a treat, we were graciously hosted in this restaurant. There was a group of 10,  so they ordered two ducks.  Each duck has a code and a number.  Number One ate duck 150062 and I ate duck 150063.  My question is, “Who ate duck number 1?”

Yup, we ate duck, and duck and duck!  Peking Duck meat is very tender, juicy, and delicious.   You put pieces of duck into a Chinese crepe/tortilla along with some veggies and some sweet sauce.  Oh, it melted in my mouth.   YUM, it was good!

First Course

However, the first course was a delicacy I have never dreamed of trying.  I was given the honor of eating the first boiled duck foot.

Yes, the feet of the duck are eaten.  Of course, our hosts wanted to give us their specialties as a treat.  All eyes were on me, when they brought out the feet.  Yes,  it looks exactly like a webbed duck foot.  For flavor, you dip the feet into a Dijon sauce.  However it turned out to be horseradish–closer to wasabi.  I picked up the feet by the ankles, dipped generously thinking it was mustard.

Deep breath,–of course–you know everyone is watching me–and plopped that foot into my mouth.  I chewed.  To be honest, the foot tasted like rubbery chicken cartilage, but the power of the horseradish, shot right through my nose into my sinuses.  Who knows what happened then.   It was so strong, that I felt I blacked out.  They laughed, so I guess that is the usual non-Chinese response.

Fresh Duck Feet

The next course was  fried duck heart.  I am still hoping it was fried.  It looked very red and was sort of crunchy.  I didn’t taste like much, I think my taste buds went on a hiatus after the horseradish.

I enjoyed the sweet, fried, duck skin, mainly because it was sweet.  Yes, I checked to make sure there weren’t any feathers in it.

Dinner Time

We didn’t stuff ourselves by any means at lunch, so by the time dinner time rolled around we were  quite hungry.   We were staying close to the downtown and shopping areas.  One street is completely closed with all the high end boutiques flashing their neon signs and wares.

Old Town China

Surprisingly, we stumbled upon an alley filled with old shops, hole in the wall restaurants and snack vendors.

Our first opportunity for a snack was LIVE SCORPIONS on a stick!  Yes, they were alive.  Their little legs were moving.  I don’t want to know how they were attached to the stick and still moving.  There are certain things your mind protects you from, and that is one of them.

Dinner was at McDonald’s that night.  At least it is filled with familiar ungodly things.