I Missed the “Old” Celebration

We have all heard about months that we are to celebrate or to honor ideas or individuals.Of course, I’ve heard of June Dairy Month. Hey, remember, I grew up on a dairy farm.

Then, there is Keep America Beautiful Month, American Heart Month, Black History Month and Children’s Dental Month, just to name a few, but I just found out that May is National Older American Month?

(Of course, I missed it, since I’m talking about it in June.)

I have been an older American for quite a while and I have known many older Americans, but I never knew there was a month to honor them, I mean us.

As anyone who knows me, once I find something that intrigues me, I have to look it up and find the history behind it.

Holy Cow!   They have been celebrating older people since 1963!   But they were called Senior Citizens then.

President Kennedy was the first to declare that May would be called Senior Citizens month.

In 1963, there were not many older Americans.  The majority of the Americans were in their prime and busy MAKING BABIES!  There were a lot of babies.  They called us  Baby Boomers.   In 1963, only 17 million adults had reached the age of 65.  The very sad part about the Baby Boomer’s grandparents, is that one third of them lived in POVERTY.

Well, in 2018, the Administration on Aging still promotes May as Older American Month.  The theme this year was Engage at Every Age.

Many of the Older Americans I know have been engaged at every age.  In my Older American group, we are very much engaged.  This off the wall idea must have come from some whipper-snapper.

One of the activities that they want us to do, is impart our wisdom.

I have been trying to impart my wisdom to my children for years.  I impart, but their hearing is impaired.  They don’t listen to my wisdom very well.  I am sure many others have experienced the same issues.   The person who came up with that idea, was a wise old coot with no children.

There is good news!

The good news is that Older Americans are doing much better than our counter parts in the 60’s.  In fact, in the past 50 years, the poverty level of those 65 and over has dropped from 30% to 10%!

We have more power in numbers.  Now, there are 46 million of us compared to 17 million in 1963.

Yes, the good news is that we are not poor, but us poor souls are continuing to support our children.  There are some statistics about how many millennials live with their parents.   One report says 50 % and other says 1 in 3 are still living with mom and dad.  That is a major drain on the Older Americans.  We need to keep working longer to support the millennials.

But, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  By 2030, there will be 78 million people over the age of 65.  That number will be greater than the number of children.

I hope that by 2030, the millennials will have moved out and they will be supporting their children, AND, they will be supporting all the Older Americans.   I really don’t believe they will give us monetary support, but at least emotional support. Maybe by then, they will be willing to listen to our wisdom.

As we ponder about how our children will support us, we have to remember, that every May we will be acknowledged.


But May?  I got news for you, us Older Americans are not in the Spring of our lives.

I think for many of us it is LATE, LATE, LATE FALL.


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.

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 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.


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


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!



Christmas Central = My Office

Christmas gifts have become true surprises, thanks to on-line shopping.

Remember the days when we would leave the huge, ripped paper bags filled with Christmas toys and gifts in the trunk of our car until everyone went to bed and then we would sneak the gifts into the house to keep them hidden in a closet, or under a bed.  At least, we thought they were hidden.  But sneaky little elves would search high and low to get a peek of the wonders that would be under the tree.

Now, there is no sneaking.  The plain brown box with a big smile is dropped at your front door.  Anyone can pick it up because it gives no hint of what is inside.  Remember, it is illegal to open someone else’s mail.

There is no need to hide the boxes, but they still need to be stored somewhere.

Therefore, my office becomes Christmas Central.

First, My Desk

My desk has always had a life of its own.  It knows how to multiply better than a rabbit.  It’s just that my desk multiplies papers, books, notes, folders, lists, Christmas catalogs,  patterns for crochet projects, receipts and of course, my Diet Coke cans.   The rest of the office usually looks presentable.

In the midst of all this cheery Christmas hustle and bustle and singing–yes I do listen to Christmas carols all month long, my computer caught the flu.  I tried to nurture it with love and care and a few cuss words, but I had to luck.  TA DA!  I bring Number One in to be my knight in shining armour and fix it.

His eyes bulged and his face paled as he stood helpless before my desk. His hands were shaking.  “I can’t fix it with all this stuff here.”   “Sure you can,” I assured him.  I had moved the monitor  and was able to fiddle with the cables, just as I thought he would.  It’s just that somehow his fingers are magic and he can fix computer issues.

As he sat in my chair, I thought he was going to be physically ill.  He sat motionless for a few seconds as he stared at the mish-mash of my life laid out in all its glory. But, it is an organized mess.  I know how many papers or folders down that I have to go to find an item.  Number One could not stop frowning as if I was asking him to put his hands into a messy toilet.

He survived the ordeal, but he wasn’t able to fix the computer flu.   He looked like he had caught the flu as he left my office.


Christmas snuck onto my desk, too!



Just in case you are wondering, that is only about a quarter of my desk.


Christmas Central has taken over my office!

Christmas Central

I do not have a wide angle lens so you can’t see all the boxes on the right or the left.  But believe me, there are more boxes.

Why does Christmas Central look like this?  The closet is open because I am searching for various skeins of yarn to create hats, blankets, and scarves for the holiday.

The card table in the middle was used to write on as I did my Christmas cards.  I am very old fashioned, and like my mom, I want to send out cards.  I do type my yearly letter filled with all the antics of the Ghoniems, but I love signing each card and sometimes writing a little note on them.  I love the gel pen and the feel of my the pen as it  glides as I swirl out our names.  I send out about 200 cards, so these pictured are just what is left after a day-long labor of love, writing.

Either this table or one that is a little longer and higher will be in that same spot while I wrap the gifts.  The gift wrap holder is also hiding to the right.

Hidden in the Costco box are gifts that I don’t want people to think are interesting .  Under the jacket is something else.   (I can’t say what, just in case some is reading this just to find out what they are getting for Christmas.

Those brown boxes keep coming.  I am curious about which one has my gifts in it.  But, my family is smart, they don’t send the gifts in my name, so it stays out of Christmas Central.

Christmas Central will be cleaned up by January, but I can’t make any guarantees about my desk.


We tell ourselves that age is just number.  We still can do whatever we want–our age should not affect our actions.

No matter how smart we think we are, sometimes as our age increases, our Common Sense IQ decreases!

DIY (Do It Yourself)

Doing odd jobs around the house is good for the soul–it gives us a sense of accomplishment.

However,  some DIY jobs are not meant for creaking, aching joints and slow moving reactions.


We purchased three 7 feet tall pictures that we wanted to put on the wall.

I knew it was a huge job, so I tried to hire it out.  Unfortunately, at the last minute, the hired help was not able to come.

Now, once plans are made to do something,  Number One cannot change gears and do something else.  He must continue doing what was planned.  If the handyman couldn’t do it.  He would do it.

Did you hear me scream, “NOOOOOOO, let a younger person hang these?”   ” He will bounce better than you do.”


In order to hang these, you need to stand on the steps.

To make the height of the steps even, Number One  brought in long, flat bricks and piled them on the steps.

He still couldn’t reach the spot for the nail.

So, we added a step stool on top of the bricks which were on top of the steps.



We cannot step back far enough to eyeball it to see if it is straight because we would start walking on air.

So, we need to measure top from bottom, bottom from top and in between–literally in between the pictures.

Now to complicate matters, once on top of the step stool, he had a hold a measure, a level, a drill and a tiny  screw.  Then he had to  reach as far as his arms would go to drill the screw into place,  all without falling off the step stool, the bricks or the steps.







Oh, did I mention that he was hanging these pictures on a 20 foot wall –which means, we have a long way to fall.

I want you to picture Number One standing on the step stool that has the back legs on the steps, and the front legs on the bricks.  I am standing under him, holding my arms up like the basketball player ready to receive the ball for a layup.  What scares me that most was that I believed that I was going to catch him if he fell.  My common sense has also diminished with age.  How am I going to catch a 200 pound man being pulled by gravity 15 feet above the floor?


They are up!!!


If you look closely, those two shining lights are our guardian angels, who are  sorely overworked by two oldie moldies who have lost their common sense.

The Sirens of the Deep are Calling Me.

The Sirens of the Deep are calling ME–not just my husband.

Ok, the pool is not THAT deep, but it does go over my head!

Since I have become Darth Virginia with my mask, I discovered I really like swimming.  (If this doesn’t make sense, check out “My Husband’s Mistress.”)

Now, that it is October,  those cold winds are blowing– 0k, the scorching California Santa Ana winds aren’t cold, but the pool is a frosty 72 degrees.

The sun doesn’t heat up the solar panels  to get the pool to the 85 degrees that is perfect for swimming.



Why, now that I like to swim, I can’t?


A few days ago, as I walked on the beach and watched the surfers, I had a thought.

I was thinking that Number One has a wet suit, so why don’t I wear his wet suit and see if it will keep me warm in the pool.

There was no way I was going to try it on while anyone was home–which in hindsight–I should have re-thought that idea.

The wet suit was heavier than I expected.  Oh, did I forget to tell you that I have never put on a wet suit before?

I pulled and pulled and twisted and sweated and yanked and cussed for 20 minutes before I finally got that thing on.

I feel as if  I did 20 minutes of weight training because my arm muscles were killing me.  And, my back was a little wrenched, too.


When I looked in the mirror, I saw a cross between the Cat and the Hat minus the hat and the tail, and a Penguin.

I didn’t have the smooth strides of a lithe cat.  I waddled like a penguin because the suit wasn’t fitting quite right.


Was this going to work?   Was I going to freeze in the water after building up such a sweat putting om a second skin?



I grabbed my Darth Virginia helmet, stuffed the earplugs in my ears, and donned my swimming mitts.

Now I looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon!

Our dog, Max, ran back into the house once he saw me.


I stepped into the water.  I felt a tiny chill.  Then I bravely  jumped into the water and swam to the other end of the pool and back.

Holy Moly!  The water wasn’t cold!


I swam for about 40 minutes–it was invigorating!


My next problem.   How was I going to get out of this contraption?

I twisted, turned, pulled, swore and finally I got the suit  to my feet.  I only had to pull my feet out.

I felt I was giving birth again.  I haven’t pushed so hard to get something out of/off of my body in 31 years!           

How do surfers do this every day?

The Sirens are calling me, but the Creature from the Black  Lagoon is holding me back.

Are you taking bets on who is going to win?




Remember When Biking Was Just You and Your Bike?


Growing up, my pink Schwinn bike was my escape and my fast getaway.

I remember bounding down the steps of the side porch-actually I missed a few, but still landed on my feet.

I jerked my bike away from the house, slid my leg through (I didn’t have to swing it over, it was a “girls” bike) stood up and peddled as fast I could  to the road.

Our road was the best to bicycle on, because it was the only paved road in the area.   It was so much easier riding on blacktop than the gravel roads.

I spent hours biking around the neighborhood and going up and down the street at top speed–or as fast as a ONE gear bike can go.



NOW, there are no more quick bounds out the door, jumping on my bicycle and riding on the street in front of my house.


I still do bike in  the neighborhood, but not directly in front of the house because there are LONG and STEEP hills.

So the next best thing Number One and I do is bike in our neighborhood by the beach.

As you can see our neighborhood is not flat, even along the beach.

No bounding out of the house because:

We must don our bike shorts and shirts.  We do  have to look the part, so we can fit in with the “professional” bikers that wiz by us at 95 miles an hour.  You think I’m kidding, come ride with me.

Since we cannot bound down the steps and jump on the bike, we need to take it to somewhere we can ride.

So, that involves putting the  bike rack  into the hitch that was specially attached to  Number One’s car so we can ride our bikes “in the neighborhood”.

To install the bike rack, you need two wrenches.  One to hold the end of the screw and one to turn the bolt–but that is after you  fiddle around with the rack checking to see which hole we need to put the screw into.

We still need to put the bikes onto the rack.  However, Number One stores the bikes on the ceiling.  Only someone with strong arms can bring them down–meaning it is not me!

Then, check the air in the tires.  Why are they always low?  My Schwinn tires were never low and if they were, I never noticed it.  As long as I could ride, I was happy.

Next, we fit the bikes into the specially designed  holders and pull the straps into place, then we double and triple check to see that the bikes are held in place so they don’t go flying off the rack..

As a kid, I wonder how far I could have biked by now?

Once we get to the street where we can park our car, we have to go through the same process with the rack, only  in reverse.

The bikes are finally  on the street that we will ride on–yeah!!!!!



First, we need to put on our helmets, then we put on the gloves that do not cover our finger past the first knuckle.  I  slip on the camel-back backpack so I can drink  my water whenever I want.


Now we need to put in the earplugs for our iPods (yes I am behind the times) or our iPhones.  Next, check to make sure it is playing the tunes you like.

You grab the handle ready to go and uh-oh–I need to turn on the RunKeeper App on my phone.  I need to know the distance I have traveled,  my speed, my average speed, and how many calories I spent on this ride.

Finally, I am ready to go!

I swing my leg over the bike–I know–it’s a bummer that they don’t sell girls bikes.  I could have very easily slung my leg over when I was kid, but now it is like slinging my leg over a horse.

I push down on the pedal, start off and oh my goodness, I forgot!



It almost seems pointless to ride now because I forgot my Orange Theory heart monitor.

I won’t be able to see how orange and red I am.    There is no record of my heart beat!  I could have shown the young coaches  that I was exercising over the weekend.

Yes, I biked 10 miles, rode up steep, heart pounding hills, but it DIDN’T COUNT.

Tomorrow,  I am creating a bike check-off list that will be attached to my helmet!

I just have to remember to tape it to my helmet!


There Is Orange Theory and Then There Is My Theory

Oh what a mother will do to hang out with her grown children!

My oldest has been going to a workout center named Orange Theory.  Sounds strange, I know.  The name comes from the idea that we need to be in a “zone” of 80% of our heart-rate in order to get the maximum benefit from our workout.

While visiting last month, my oldest convinced my youngest to go workout with her and sort of guilted me into going, too.  I told her  I was afraid that everyone there was going to be young with perfect bodies.

“Oh, no,” she said.  “there are older people and”–then she hesitates–“those that are not in perfect condition.”    That was a good save!

My daughter needs to get her contacts changed–there were no old people there.  Oops, maybe I saw a 40 year old.  Again, not old.


Yes, you guessed it, I think there was one person there who could maybe have lost 15 pounds.  No where near my numbers!

I was fitted for a heart monitor–that should have been my first signal that this was going to be more than I bargained for.  Oh, they give you a free first lesson to entice you into coming.  That is not an enticement.  Give me a piece of chocolate cake if you want to entice me .

Once inside, you can either start on the treadmill or the floor lifting weights.  I started on the treadmill.

All I can say is that Thank Goodness the trainers and staff are really sweet and supportive while they are giving orders like a drill sergeant to increase the pace or increase the incline.


I was red.   My face was red, my neck was red and the screen displaying my colors was RED.  I skipped orange and went straight to RED.

I had to keep up.  There is something in my genetic makeup that if someone tells me to go faster, I go faster.  If they tell me to go higher, I go higher.





Noooooo, I was  NOT done.  I still had to lift weights and contort my body to make it stronger for another half an hour.

“I’m so proud of you,” both my daughters cheered.

I got news for you.  Moms want their kids to be proud of them, too.

“We have to sign up for this,” my younger daughter said.

I had no problem having her sign up.  More power to her.

“But, mom, you have to sign up with me to encourage me to go.”

I can encourage her from the kitchen table.

Nope, no such luck, I had to GO and encourage her.  We signed up for 8 sessions a month and got the heart monitor–otherwise you can’t see yourself go orange, or in my case,  red.

I have survived three classes.

My muscles are sore.

My knees ache.

And, I am so tired all day long after the session.

But, I feel better.  I feel tighter.  I feel stronger.

So I keep on going to the classes.

Oh, and I was right.  There are only young, thin, people there and me, the old, not thin one.

Today my youngest said that next month she wants to sign up for three sessions a week.

My daughters say they want me to do this for my health.


My theory is that my daughters are looking for an early inheritance!