Posted tagged ‘getting older’

“I like it where it gets dark at night, and if you want noise, you have to make it yourself.”

August 5, 2016

My usual quiet morning disappeared with the jarring sounds of saws and wood chippers. The house on the corner is minus a tree, but I don’t know which one as the truck obscures my view. It is the house of a new neighbor whom I met only once when I introduced myself. Earlier, she had a backyard fence added for her dogs, and in taking down a tree she is beginning to make the house her own.

Last night was a delight. It was actually cold enough for a blanket. When I woke up, the house was only 67˚. Gracie was again lying right beside me and Fern was at my feet. Fern comes upstairs, jumps on the bed and meows over and over until I wake up and pat her. After I do, she settles in on the bed.

The noise stopped for a while giving me hope that my quiet morning is back. I was wrong. It is even noisier than it was. I wish I were a cat. Both of my cats are sleeping soundly.

Sounds like bells or buzzers I can tune out after a while. Other noises, especially loud noises, seem larger than their reality, and this truck is one of them. It intrudes. It makes me grimace in annoyance. I want it gone. I want my morning back.

Yesterday was one of my most constructive days of late though that’s not really saying much. I did two loads of laundry, swept and wet mopped the kitchen floor, dusted down the stairs covered as they were with dust balls and cat hair and watered the plants. By the afternoon, I was tired and sweaty and on went the air conditioner. I have to make a dump run, but I’m leaning toward Monday. I feel lazy today.

I’m thinking of spending the afternoon on the deck. The breeze is wonderful, and my table is under shade from the trees. Gracie always follows me out and sleeps where the deck right angles. It too is a shady spot.

It’s getting on to lunch time. I’m thinking grill cheese.

“We are a noisy and blessed little family”

November 4, 2014

Today is the perfect fall day, sunny with crispness in the air. It is 57˚but without any wind it seems warmer. I have no front lawn just a bed of mostly pine needles and some yellow leaves. Even the front steps have disappeared. Many of the oak leaves are hanging on but have turned brown. The sun slants a different way so the shadows have changed position. Fall is ending and moving slowly toward winter.

When I look in the mirror, I see a face with wrinkles, laugh lines my aunt used to call them. I see my hair far more grey than brown, but I like it that way. If I’m not wearing my glasses, I see a blur. I am getting older.

I keep thinking about the old aunts for that’s what we called them. They were my mother’s aunts. I’d see them at some family parties and most times had to identify myself as Margaret’s oldest. Nobody called my mother Margaret except for them and my father’s mother. To everyone else she was always Chickie. One old aunt played the piano and everyone would stand around and sing. That’s how I learned the words to so many songs. My family wasn’t shy about singing. I can still see them standing at the piano each with a glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. My grandmother would sit in the comfiest chair and watch. She wasn’t a singer. My grandfather with drink in hand would be chatting with one person or another. My grandmother always kept an eye on him.

My mother’s family loved to party. Everyone lived close to one another so they all showed up for the festivities. I always felt lucky to be so close to my aunts and uncles, especially the old aunts.

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.”

August 6, 2013

Last night my feet were cold, and I closed the window in the den facing north. It was a wonderful evening for sleeping and both Fern and Gracie slept right beside me for warmth. Today will be another delight and tonight might just mean socks. The temperature all week will be in the mid to high 70’s during the day and the high 50’s to low 60’s at night. I figure that’s about as perfect as August can get.

My factotum is back today. Skip is right now replacing the two steps out my back door. Later, he’ll replace the long board on the deck that has a weak spot then he’ll paint the downstairs bathroom. This is the perfect week to work in the coolness of these days.

When I was young, I loved August because it is my birthday month. I knew I’d get presents and always a card from my grandparents with a five dollar bill inside. That was a treasure of great value in those days. Her whole life my grandmother never missed sending a card, but later, when I was older, the card had two one dollar bills instead of a five then a few years after that no dollars, just the card. I guessed she figured birthdays should only be celebrated by the young. I, of course, am of the opinion that birthdays should always be celebrated. The big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas are celebrated by most people, but that day, that birthday, is so special you never have to share (I know-one of you might mention twins but I’m disregarding that for now ). About this time in August I’d start the countdown to my birthday. It always seemed so far away. Time seemed to take forever to pass back then.

Time now runs swiftly. Once I was told the reason for that, and it made perfect sense. When you were four, that year was only one-fourth of your life, but each subsequent year you got older and the fraction got smaller. This last year was one-sixty fifth of my life, and that took only the blink of an eye to pass.

Yesterday my grand-nephew, Ryder, started school, second grade. Where has the summer gone because I didn’t notice it’s been leaving.

“Colors, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.”

May 14, 2012

My deck is now ready for summer. All the candles are in the trees and the furniture uncovered. I just need a warm day or two to get out to my favorite spot under the umbrella with book in hand. Right now it’s 65° which is considerably cooler than yesterday, and the sun which was so bright earlier this morning is popping in and out of the clouds. Gracie has had her morning run and is now in the midst of her morning nap. I have a few house chores to do then a bit of shopping, but I’m in no rush. I have the whole day ahead of me.

I like week days here on my street. The mowers are in the garages, the leaf blowers beside them, kids are in school and most parents are at work. I hear dogs barking, sometimes answering each other, sometimes just barking for the sake of it. Gracie, though, seldom joins the chorus of barkers. She mostly ignores them. They are familiar sounds and Gracie only acknowledges the barks of strangers.

I’m thinking of having my living room repainted. It is red right now, and I figure it will stay red, but there are some chipped spots which are driving me crazy. The bathroom too could use a make-over, and I might change that color. It’s pink now, a bright wear your sunglasses pink. A few years ago all the rooms but this one were repainted. They had been white for 25+ years, and I went with color, bright color, in all the rooms. I don’t even know why. I just know I wanted color and I still do.

My doctor once told me our systems change every seven years, nothing drastic, no extra toes or fingers or limbs but more subtle changes. According to him, that’s why my allergies and asthma developed. I would have preferred an extra toe, but I wasn’t given the choice. I wonder where in those seven-year cycles I might be now. I’d check my feet but that would be futile.

“What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?”

March 25, 2012

Finally we had some rain, last night and this morning. It has made for a day dark and dreary. I went out for my usual Sunday breakfast and brought some bacon to the car for Gracie who was patiently waiting. When I got home and got out of the car, I turned to get her and found she had jumped into the front seat, a spot she seldom likes. Well, the bacon was now on the back seat cover and no longer in Gracie so she had decided the front seat was the better option. I put her in the house, cleaned the car and then went back inside. What did I find but another dead mouse, this one on the floor of the bathroom. Back outside I went to fling the mouse into the brush next to my house. This has been an interesting morning.

The last week was a busy one for me from Thursday on through Saturday. I was a social whirlwind, at least in comparison to my usual schedule, and it was exhausting. This week looks to be quiet. That’s fine with me.

When I was working and much younger, the weekends were always busy with meeting friends, a little bar hopping, dinners out and all the chores like laundry and the dump. I’d fit everything into Friday night through Sunday afternoon then I’d spend that afternoon getting my teaching plans in order for the week. Sunday night I’d decompress and get ready for Monday. My energy seemed limitless back then. I was up early every day and up late every night and none the worse for wear.  I now nap before I go out.

I always understood the Riddle of the Sphinx, but it was just a clever riddle to the younger me. The older me is part of it, closer to the evening than the afternoon; however, that hasn’t stopped me, but it sure as heck has slowed me down.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

March 1, 2012

A late start for me today as I slept in until quite late. The rain continues. It started early yesterday and hasn’t stopped since. Gracie has yet to go outside. She detests the rain though I did notice she now goes under the deck near the stairs to do her business when I force her out. Animals are ingenious.

No birds are at the feeders. They too must be hunkered down somewhere away from the rain. The other day the birds swooped in non-stop at all three feeders. I just added a new suet feeder, but I can’t see it from here so I’ll move it after the rain stops. The feeder holds two bars of suet but it is a bit strange as the bird has to be upside down. I was assured by the man at the store that the birds don’t mind.

I never stop to think that I am in my 60’s. That has so little meaning to me. In my mind, I still think of myself as young. I know some of you will argue that 64 is still young, and I agree, but I remember thinking how old my parents were when they were in their 60’s. My dad passed away at 66, and I’m still a bit angry at all the time we missed together. 66 is far too young. I was reminded of that when I read that Davy Jones was 66 when he died yesterday. I figure he should have had at least another 15 or 20 years.

I am definitely far slower than I used to be, and my knees hurt. My mind has selective memory lapses. The other night I couldn’t remember the name of the star of The Closer and my friend Clare couldn’t either. We had to look up Kyra Sedgwick on the computer. When my sister told me my niece and her husband had decided on Declan for their baby’s name, a baby due in a few months, I told her right away that Declan was Elvis Costello’s real name. Why in the heck did I remember that and not Kyra?

When I wake up in the morning, I sometimes have to stretch to get all my parts working in sync, but I figure that’s okay. The joy of living far outweighs the aches and pains of getting older.

“Activity conquers cold, but stillness conquers heat”

September 9, 2010

The other day I read an article where a woman of 65 was described as old. I was taken aback because I remember wanting to be old. I remember wanting to be sixteen. It seemed the perfect age. You could drive at sixteen, go to the movies at night and even sit in the balcony. Streetlights no longer set a curfew. I could go to bed when I wanted, and I wasn’t forced to eat vegetables. Life was getting more and more interesting. It’s funny how age becomes relative over time.

Air conditioning is being installed today. Most summers have been tolerable, but this summer was so humid that even reading a book caused me to sweat, and I refuse to go through that again. I wanted the air installed earlier, but it seems a huge number of people had also reached their boiling points, and I had to wait my turn.

When our choices are limited, we seem to be far more tolerant. I didn’t even have a fan in Ghana, in Bolga, and it got so hot a candle melted without ever being lit. I’d stand up from my living room chair and the imprint of my body would be left  in sweat on the upholstery. I went to bed still dripping from my shower so the air and water would cool my body enough so I could fall asleep. I never complained. That was life in Bolga.

I have been back here far too long. I am now spoiled. My expectations are grand. I don’t need to be hot. I don’t need to be cold. Every discomfort has a solution.