Sunday, December 18, 2016

Have You Ever Wanted To Just Be Done With Stuff? Here's An Idea!

It's Time To Do My Annual 2017 "I'm Done" List

Every year a friend, of about 10 years, and I get together for our annual “I’m Done” list.  This list, when finished, is comprised of all the things we’ll be done with by the end of the following year.  I’ve been told by my friend that this list has helped her be stronger person over the last 8 years we’ve been putting these lists together for ourselves.  I have to agree, making a list with someone can help make me accountable for what I say I'm going to do.  Goal setting with accountability!

We always plan to do our "I'm Done" list about a week before the new year.  The day starts with a celebration champagne cocktail before we start.  Then we open our little spiral books and click on our pens.  We read aloud, each of us taking turns, what we wrote the previous year for the current year.  Some of the things we previously wrote were funny but most were serious.  A few things we wrote down had to do with what we were going to say or not say anymore.  For example, if someone were to ask us to explain what we meant by no?  We were to say “no is a complete sentence.”   Because both of us have a hard time saying no or we’re not quick enough to make up an excuse if we don’t want to do something we wrote it down our list.  If someone asked us if we wanted to go to a movie and we didn’t want to, we’d say “I have a deadline” or “I’m exhausted” or “I’m booked that day.”  We tried to convince ourselves that being honest and up front was the way to go but if we couldn’t do it?  A lie was better than hurting the feelings of friends so the list of excuses was born and incorporated into the “I’m Done” list. 

After reading through the prior year’s list we would then go back to the beginning of the list and begin the hard part which is talking about what on the “I’m Done” list did we accomplish this year.  It was hard the first couple of years to accomplish the many goals we set for ourselves.  Quitting Multi Vitamins, Nylons, Antibacterial Soap, Cheapskates, Bad Bras were a few of the easy things.  But others were more difficult to accomplish like:  Done with self righteous people, Satan, airline layovers, abuse, alcoholics, cell phone plans, living in altered reality, drama and white trash.   We say some were more difficult to overcome and accomplish because some of our relatives are alcoholic, some abusive people have been best friends, layovers we really can’t help unless we book a nonstop for more money and Satan?  Well sometimes he just pops up when one least expects it and we’re both in agreement he’s too quick for us to think fast and verbally abuse him .  One minute he’s there, the next second he’s gone.  One of the easiest to conquer has been “People Who Look Like Birds”.  We both have had no problem quitting them.

It’s time to get together before 2017 for our annual “I’m Done” party.  
We’ll read through our list from 2016, have some mimosas and laugh.  Especially when I say “2016 was a good year and it was easy to be done with crazy people, rubber gloves and bad bakeries, shitty waiters and mice.  I conquered!”  My friend will roll her eyes, read through what she accomplished and we’ll laugh again.  
And yes, I’ll have to repeat some of last year’s goals and try again in the new year to be done but practice makes perfect.  The real fun of the “I’m Done” list is getting together with my friend.  What a way to begin the new year!  

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Best Children's Books Of 2016

I am posting this reprint today because the holidays are upon us and I still believe giving books as presents encourages people to read, especially children.  Here is a list of the best children's books of 2016.   
"From love to mortality to the lives of Einstein and Louise Bourgeois, by way of silence and the color of the wind."  Brought to you by
Happy book buying!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Here Come the Hectic Holidays...Again

It’s that time of year again when people are getting on my nerves.  The frantic, frenetic pace of the holidays seems to make everyone crazy.  Driving like maniacs to get to the mall, running into people with their shopping carts, ripping stuff off the shelves and not putting it back.  

And the parking lots!  Pulling in and out without so much as a turn of the head to see if anyone is behind them.  The other day I saw a huge pickup truck pull into a parking space where the mom had her door open and her child standing between the door and the vehicle and this monster truck pulled in so fast and close the mom had to close the door so that the child and herself were between the door and her vehicle to be relatively safe.  If the truck would have been one inch closer he would have squashed them both, maybe to death.  Inside the store, he was walking hard and fast, fists clenched, I thought he was deliberately on his way to punch someone out who worked in the store.  Normally I would have said something but this beefy guy looked so angry that I thought it best to keep my mouth shut.  And this is supposed to be the happiest time of the year?  Seems to be it’s the scariest time of the year.  You know, like the song: “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why...people out there are angry, wigged out and stay out of their way or they just might punch you out or run over you.” 

What happened to getting together with family and friends for a little fun, food and cheer sans hassle?  Or did that never happen?  Has the craziness of the holidays always been around us?  Is it just my wish that people stop it, take a deep breath, scale back on the buying of a gazillion presents and make life simple during the holidays?

My goal this year is to abide by the KISS rule:  Keep It Simple Stupid.  Not that I’m stupid but seems to me I’d be stupid if I made myself crazy again, like I normally do, for that one day of the year where getting together with family should be something to look forward to and not something that in the end sucked the life out of me.

My wish for all of you out there is KISS.  Have a safe and happy holiday season.  Slow down, breathe and enjoy.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Goals, Goals, Goals Are Driving Me Crazy

Why Can’t I Follow Through With My Goals?

I want to start my goal setting, again, before New Year’s Day.  I try to do this every year and it doesn’t work.  Then I say I’ll start my new goals New Year’s Day and then that doesn’t happen.  As you can see I haven’t posted in quite some time, a long time.  All because I can’t seem to follow through on my goals – again.   And there seems to be many different reasons (excuses?) why.
  1. Tomorrow’s another day. 
  2.  I’ve had to do things my entire life, now that I’m retired I don’t have to so I’m not going to
  3.  I’d rather be doing something else
  4.  I’m afraid I might fail
  5.  Writing seems like so much work.  I think I’m going to clean the house right now
  6.   I’m retired.  Why am I forcing myself to do things?
  7.   I’m afraid I might fail

These are just a few of the reasons I procrastinate and I’ve gotten better at procrastinating than at *doing*.  This year I’m going to try to figure out how to get out of this rut which contributes to my complaining every year around this time.
Anyone out there feel like this?  Anyone have ideas on how to get past the putting off doing today until tomorrow or never?
So tired of making excuses,

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Best Movies of 2015 For Older Adults

These are picks from AARP. Check them out!
Best Movie for Grownups Our Age - Any Age

The Theory of Everything
The true story of astrophysicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his first wife, Jane (Felicity Jones), starts out as a tale of young love. But as Stephen falls ill, the film supernovas into matters both painfully personal and mind-blowingly cosmic.

Best Director
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Richard Linklater admits it was “insane” to start a movie about a 6-year-old and continue filming it with the same actor (Ellar Coltrane) through age 18. Maybe, but it's fun watching the boy get older while his parents enact growing up too.

Best Actor
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
In Foxcatcher, the Steve Carell (left) we’ve known for his hilarious turns becomes the dead-eyed John E. du Pont, a wannabe wrestling coach whose delusions, combined with his vast wealth, spelled disaster for all around him.

Best Actress
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
As a 50-year-old professor enduring early-onset Alzheimer’s, Julianne Moore conveys the experience of losing her identity. Never settling for cheap sentiment, Moore allows Alice to rage against the dying of the light.

Best Supporting Actor
J. K. Simmons, Whiplash
This journeyman actor, best known for countless TV commercials, springs upon film audiences with a fierce, disorienting turn as an über-demanding music teacher whose insistence on perfection is merely a bellows to stoke his brutal nature.

Best Supporting Actress
Rene Russo, Nightcrawler
On the surface, Jake Gyllenhaal is the crazy one as the lensman who loves filming grisly accident scenes. But Rene Russo is even scarier as the TV news producer who enables him because she never questions how he gets that gory footage.

Best Screenwriter
Nick Hornby and Cheryl Strayed, Wild
Cheryl Strayed provided the tale of her 1,100-mile solo hike; Nick Hornby shaped her fiercely personal memoir into a wilderness adventure with Reese Witherspoon portraying the angst-ridden heroine.

Best Comedy
Jon Favreau plays a master chef who reinvents himself as a food-truck sensation. The writer-director-star surrounds himself with colorful characters who share his passion for authentic cuisine. Do not watch on an empty stomach.

Breakthrough Achievement
Israel Horovitz, Director, My Old Lady
After writing a handful of acclaimed screenplays Israel Horovitz directs his first film, at age 75. A less-confident rookie might have balked at taking on Maggie Smith and Kevin Kline, but Horovitz elicits strong performances from both.

Best Time Capsule
Big Eyes
The saucer-eyed waifs who populated the paintings of Margaret Keane helped define early- 1960s American culture; no wonder Tim Burton’s version of her story is up to its peepers in period atmosphere with wide ties and capri pants.

Best Grownup Love Story
Love Is Strange
The married couple at the center of Love Is Strangehappens to be two men (John Lithgow and Alfred Molina). But the crises they face could be the lot of any aging pair.

Best Intergenerational Film
St. Vincent
Grumpy loner (Bill Murray) reluctantly babysits the adorable little boy next door (Jaeden Lieberher). The two bring uncommon warmth to the relationship as their characters accommodate each other’s quirks to fill their own personal voids.

Best Foreign Film
Diplomacy (Germany/France)
Paris stands as a tribute to the backroom victory won by Swedish diplomat Raoul Nordling (André Dussollier) when he persuaded German general Dietrich von Choltitz (Niels Arestrup) to ignore Hitler’s orders to raze the city.

Best Documentary
Keep On Keepin’ On
Trumpeter Clark Terry was the first music teacher of jazz legend Quincy Jones. Here Terry mentors Justin Kauflin, a 23-year-old blind piano prodigy. Their friendship makes this a timeless document of generational torch-passing.

Best Buddy Picture
Land Ho!
One is waiting to die; the other can’t wait for tomorrow. Against Iceland’s barren and beautiful volcanic landscapes, two longtime friends Earl Lynn Nelson (left) and Paul Eenhoorn (right) discover new life beneath their crusty selves.

Best Movie for Grownups Who Refuse to Grow Up
The Lego Movie
This animated film builds upon the collective boomer experience of playing with Legos back when bricks were all there was. Chris Pratt stars as a plain Lego figure tasked with saving the entire click-brick world. The rest is pure, manic magic.

There are so many more good movies out there - Indy, Foreign, movies regular movie goers might hesitate to see.  Do you have a favorite?  Let us know.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Things We're Too Old to Say - reprint from Politico by Jacquelyn Mitchard

Things We're Too Old to Say - Sounding off on slang we should drop

by Jacquelyn Mitchard, March 11, 2011

I'll never be too old to say I love you. I'll never be too old to say I'm sorry. I'll never be too old to ask an obnoxious jerk if he's this rude to everybody or if he's running a special just for me.
Still, I am too old to keep on saying certain things. Being part of the generation that won't grow up means that I still have many friends (female) who announce that they're going "to the little girls' room" to "tinkle," and many friends (male) who clap their pals on the back and cry "dude!"
We may be young at heart. We may even fit into our wrestling singlet or cheerleader uniform. (No, you don't have to prove it … I believe you!) All that said, we could at least talk the talk of gracefully grown people.
What follows here is a smattering of silly syntax — slang that people of my generation should never utter.
Panties. Did I ever actually say "panties"? Nobody should say panties, even toddlers. Did this infantile, diminishing, eroto-weird noun come out of my mouth? Why is it still used in catalogs ... or outside brothels? Or inside brothels? Let's say underwear, smalls or simply point.
Cool. I was young when I first became a parent, and when my first child was a high school senior, I had license to use this word. It was, however, a probationary license. Now, the silence that falls on the room when I say "cool" means that it's not.
Smashed, over-served, hammered. If you're embarrassed that you did it, you should be doubly embarrassed to confess it. The boasts of youth are the secrets of age. Or should be.
Freakin'. When little kids say it, their mouths cry out for soap. When we do, it cries out for restraint. Or restraints.
LOL. It makes me want to ROFB (see key).
Panties. A word 50 plus should avoid using. — Nini/Istock
I'm like … It's not our fault that we use this all-purpose way to explain any reaction. Our kids have defenestrated our brains and replaced real language with this easy-to-install catchphrase. Of course, we mean, "I said" or "I say" or "I looked this way." So that vulgar but somehow cute Top 40 tune should actually go, "I see you driving round town with the girl I love, and I say, 'Forget you.' "
Don't say that, either.
Chill out. If you are forced at knife point to use this phrase for relaxing, at least don't say that you are "chilling." Or worse, chillin', or anything with a dropped "g." If you get all worked up and have to start chillin', please, just don't ever, ever chill-lax.
Kick it. If you're in your 50s or 60s, in a rock band and still being paid — even at state fairs — this is OK. Only if.
As if. Along with "Dream on" and "I'm so sure," this is another bit of bytes-generation banter, shorthand for a dismissal in the most certain terms. When we say it, we sound as if we believe we are 20.
Whatever. If, when you hear it, this single word makes you want to hurt yourself and the speaker, how do you think people feel when you say it?
Hot or any derivation thereof — unless it refers to the air temperature on the 10th tee or the tingle of the habaneros.
Totes or any derivation thereof — unless you mean that clever little travel umbrella, not the text-form of "totally" … and as for "totally," well, that goes without saying.
Sick! or any derivation thereof — unless handed a pencil-shavings-flavored jellybean. Today, of course, as now used, this is meant to connote something wonderful, as in "He is so hot and his car is totally sick!"
The next few beggar even codification.
It's a Snooki thang.
Friend me.
I heart you.

There. We can do this together. I'm just sayin'.
Or, are you worried? It seems that only last week we were working on a groovy thing and now we're on the verge of exclaiming, "My word!"
Nah. We're way too you-know-what for that, and the coolest speak loudest when they whisper.
Key: ROFB means "roll on the floor barfing."

Jacquelyn Mitchard is a best-selling author of more than 20 novels, including The Deep End of the Ocean, the first selection of the Oprah Book Club. Her next novel appears in September.

Friday, July 24, 2015

What Old People Know About Sex That You Don't

This is an article from the Huffington Post today by Dr. Karl Pillemer.

I'd like to share a revelation with you. It took me months of pondering my interview data from hundreds of long-married elders, but I finally got it. It's about sex and older people -- not something younger folks think about a lot. However, when I have given talks to 20- and 30-somethings about my book of advice from people married a half-century or more, I know there is one question in the back of their minds, even if they don't come out and say it:
How can sex possibly stay interesting for a lifetime?
I have good news for you. I'm going to allay your worst fears and help you to relax about the idea of sex in the later years of marriage. I will tell you the spoiler right now. The message from our elders is: don't waste your time worrying about sex in later life, because it's pretty good. But first, here's the revelation. Ready?
The reason you are worried about this issue is because sex between people a lot older than you always seems kind of gross. I don't know if this characteristic is bred into us through evolution, if it is the product of ageist stereotypes, or what. But if you think about it, we have a lot of trouble imagining people a lot older than we are having sex. I will now prove this fact to you.
Imagine yourself at age 8. You get out of bed and sneak downstairs to get a snack. Your 18-year-old babysitter and her boyfriend (where did he come from?) are engrossed in making out on the couch. And what did you say to yourself?
The 18-year-old babysitter goes home that evening a little earlier than expected, and her 50-year-old parents are making out on the couch. What does she say to herself?
And that weekend, the 50-year-olds watch a movie that involves two 80-year-olds making out on the couch. What does that couple say?
Yes, you guessed it: Yuck.
The problem I discovered with younger people thinking about sex in later life is that they envision themselves now, at their age, somehow with an 80-year-old. But the revelation is this: It's just fine when you have grown old together. You've learned what your partner is like (and likes), you are comfortable with one another -- and you're older, too. The beauty of staying married for a long time is that you enjoy each other and giving each other pleasure is fun. And there is absolutely nothing yucky about it.
Alfredo, age 77, captured this phenomenon succinctly. He pointed out that when you are aging together, a lot of things just seem pretty much the same:
Somehow as you get older you kind of get blind to the infirmities that affect the other party. And you always see them the way they were. You don't see aging. It's a wonderful thing. I don't know if the brain is wired for that, but that's the way it is. You just need to have a spark to begin with. And whatever it is you're doing, just keep doing it. We're in our mid-70s, and we still have a fine sexual relationship, it's wonderful. You make do with what you've got, basically.
And the elders assure you that you are likely to feel the same way.
I have some credibility on this issue, because I don't know anyone who over the past few years has talked to as many very old people about sex as I have. At first it was awkward, but after the first two or three elders eagerly embraced the topic, I was no longer embarrassed. It's something they have thought about a lot and still think about. And indeed, they have some lessons for you about it.
First, let's be clear: many elders continue to have sex, and most believe that it is important to keep up a sexual relationship. Although younger people often hold a negative image of the "sexless older years," research shows that in marriages (or long-term committed relationships), rates of sexual activity are actually quite high. Indeed, for married people whose health does not interfere with intimacy, the vast majority of people age 65 and over are sexually active.
And that's what the elders will tell you. Diane, age 74, speaks for many of the elders:
I think sex is very important because it's kind of the glue that keeps the spark alive in a marriage. The one special expression that a married couple has is through sex--sexual intercourse--through keeping your bond just very close and very tight. It's that expression that makes your spouse know that they're loved and well cared for and you put all the other things with it.

To be sure, there are elders -- just as there are people at any age -- who are sexually incompatible or for whom their sex life is contentious or unfulfilling. In some cases, physical illness leads to lack of sexual interest or ability, causing distress for one or both partners (and again, such maladies can occur at any age). But the majority of the elders in long marriages found that sexuality can remain interesting and fulfilling into the ninth and tenth decades of life. Indeed, they believe that young people are just plain mistaken when they worry about "the sexless older years."
As Rachel, age 86, told me:
If you're really physically and sexually attracted to somebody and your head is working right, then you should be able to feel that all the way until the end of your life. And what fun that is! I don't know whether young people hear that kind of thing. They think, you know, when you get to have gray hair that the sex just removes itself from your life, but that's not true. Not at all.
So for many, sexual activity doesn't stop. But there's even better news: As you grow older, the idea of "sex" expands. It grows to include -- and even to emphasize -- a much wider range of loving and romantic behaviors. Over and over, the elders used the term intimacy, which they believe goes beyond sexual intercourse itself. Many described the deep joy of emotional and physical intimacy with a partner of many years, adding that having sex itself was additional spice in the stew -- or a tasty side dish, as Gertrude, age 73, says:
How important is sex? Well when I was young, I thought it was 90 percent! But at 71, it's a very lovely side dish. And I do think it's important -- yes, I do. At our age, it's not as much the hot romance kind of thing as it is for young people. But there's a certain wonderful friendship that exists if you have the basic foundation for it; if you've made that, you've got each other. And it's quite nice! Of course this is a woman's viewpoint, but the comfort of touch: a hug, a kiss . . . those are things that mean I love you.
Or as Beverly, age 70, put it: "The great thing at our age is that sex is not about procreation; this is purely about recreation!"
I was surprised to hear many of the elders describe intimacy in old age as satisfying as (or even better than) when they were younger. They tried to convey -- sometimes with difficulty -- the sublime pleasure of physical intimacy with a partner of 50 or more years. Mason, age 77, described his feelings, based on his 40-year marriage, in a way I found deeply moving:
I think what happens is the spark changes. You know, initially there's a lot of physical attraction and that continues. But it changes over time so that the romance or whatever you want to call it becomes actually much more profound. It's less, what's the word -- frenetic maybe. For me anyway it's really wonderful just to be able to sit together reading or watching TV, and I'll just hold her hand or touch her arm or whatever. There's a kind of a quietness there that's quite deep. It's very fulfilling. You feel a peaceful intimacy that's in a way really more meaningful than the frenetic thing.
So here's the lesson to carry with you, whether you are a 25-year-old pondering marriage or a 60-year-old wondering about the future. According to the elders, the sexual side of things -- barring a troubled history or serious physical problems -- is going to be at least good enough to keep you happy, and may be much better than that. There are lots of things to worry about in life. But fretting about sexless later years isn't one of them.
Do you think sex can stay interesting for a lifetime?