Category Archives: Getting old

You know you’re old when . . .

. . .  you are writing something and put down the correct year – on Day One.

Julian Lennon is 49 and tomorrow Earth Day is 42

In the 1950’s film Gigi, Maurice Chevalier (I know, you never heard of him)) strolled the boulevards of Paris singing:  “Oh I’m so glad that I am not young anymore”.

None of us iz anymore.

Be kind to your planet.

A new walker for the next generation of seniors

George Takei is inventive and prolific and endlessly entertaining on facebook, where he has a MILLION AND A HALF followers – because he brings us stuff like this: presenting the next big thing . . . The Imperial Walker.

What Kevin Drum and I share

My lamb Pinky. Back when.

Liberal fans of the blogsphere probably know Kevin Drum. He launched his independant blog Calpundit around ’02. He later moved to Washington Monthly, where he wrote Political Animal, and a few years ago took up residence at Mother Jones.

The most important thing to know about Kevin Drum is that he invented Friday catblogging (now an actual verb). Before Atrios’ normal and handsome cats began making regular appearances, or the  intoduction of John Cole’s appalingly fat cat Tunch (who now has his own product line) – even before TBogg and his bassett hound  – Kevin was showing us the kitters every Friday.

Turns out we have something surprising in common. He posted this yesterday:

My memory has always been terrible. My mother is nearly 80 and still remembers classmates from her kindergarten days. I barely even remember going to kindergarten. Actually, that’s too charitable: I don’t remember going to kindergarten. Or first grade. Or fifth grade. Or high school. Or college. Or, for that matter, stuff I did two years ago.

Is this an exaggeration? Only barely. I remember occasional shreds from years past, but that’s about it. On the bright side, this means that if I had a nasty fight with you a few years ago, there’s a good chance I have no memory of it. On the not-so-bright side, it means that if we were close friends in high school, I might or might not even remember knowing you, let alone remember anything substantive about what we did together.

Most people don’t believe that an otherwise intact person can have such a profound disability – and I do consider it that, though not the kind that gets one special treatment. In fact, I’ve never met another person whose memory is as lacking as mine.

I sometimes slight people or insult them or even astonish them. It didn’t go down well the time I forgot I’d been an attendant at the wedding of a woman I saw at our 30th HS reunion. I still don’t remember that. I’ve since learned to fudge and be non-committal – I let the other person do the remembering. I figure they’ve probably got it right, so I nod my head. It covers the awkward moments anyway.

Adding to what Kevin said . . . before my father died at 98, I used him as my resource in matters of memory – I turned to him for dates and names and chronologies. He never forgot anything. Like Kevin’s mother, to the day he died he was able to recall all of his schooling, teachers, classmates. I’m kind of jealous of that.

I hope I can be this witty when I’m old (really old I mean)

You’ll be glad if you stay to the end; it’s short. And clever. And funny. And kind of endearing.


Can. Not. Beleive. It.

MTV is 30 years old.

Words I never hear anymore

  • Guess I’ll have to call back, the line is busy.
  • No answer. I’ll have to call them later.
  • I need directions to your house.
  • Why, it cost hundreds of dollars!
  • Whose turn is it to change the channel?
  • Where’s the fax machine?
  • I’ll check TV Guide.

Feel free to add .  . .

Tomorrow – it’s only a day away

From Atrios yesterday – this is going to be a real problem in our future. Are we even thinking about it? Are the folks we elect to think about such things thinking about it? Probably not. Guess we’ll just wait till granny’s pantry runs out and she says ‘now what?’.

Paratransit Is Going To Be Expensive

“I don’t know how universal this trend is, but suburbs are not well-equipped to provide transit services for those who can’t drive.

. . .  half a century later, suburban communities designed around the autombile are facing difficult questions.

What happens when many residents can no longer get behind the wheel?

Who will bear the costs of getting them to groceries, to doctors and to a host of other places?

“As they age, they need more services, and those suburbs are not designed for more services,” said McIlwain, of the Urban Land Institute.

Age is merciless

Woke up this morning feeling great and with a busy day ahead. After putting the coffee on, I went into the bathroom to brush my teeth. I reached up grab my toothbrush and my back screamed  “Oh no you don’t!! Stop it right now!!’ Let me repeat, I had moved my arm slightly away from my body to reach my toothbrush. That is what I did; that is all I did. And that is how it goes, children,  that is how it goes.

I have put on a neck brace (I have one – this has happened before). A shower is out of the question which is annoying as I’ve a ten o’clock date with a dozen people who will be assembled because I asked for their help in a volunteer project. I’ll get to watch them which might cause some hard feelings. I hope the neck brace convinces them that to go easy on judging me.

Blogging will resume later today, assuming the damn neck allows me to use these fingers on keyboard (not actually going very well right now).

My kind of woman

Over at I Tried Being Tasteful one of my favorite bloggers – Texas Trailer Park Trash – has written the very best first sentence ever. It beats the blue jeans off “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

“I’m almost sixty-four years old and I don’t own a dress.”

Women may read the whole thing here.

An actual new idea

From today’s New York Times, an op-ed by two academics – a law professor and an economics professor – offers a unique proposal. Their column is titled Paying for Old Age. They propose government-issued annuities which could be as attractive as those issued by insurance companies are not (AIG anyone?).

This new product wouldn’t cost the government a penny. In fact, the Treasury would benefit. It is only an incremental move beyond issuing inflation-adjusted bonds, which the Treasury already does. By allowing the government to tap a new class of investors, the cost of government borrowing over all would probably drop.

Ohhh, my aching back

My back hurts. It does that sometimes, and when it does the ache plays hell with any plan to sit and/or concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. So I get up and down and press my hands against my lower back (a firmly established medical principle by the way). Any attempt to focus and thus distract does not go well.

Quite a shame since I had so much bloggy brilliance  building up inside me. It was  all scheduled to burst forth this very day! But my back hurts.

I iz teh stupid, I iz

He-l-l-o-o . . . over here!

I have apparently forgotten how to use a regular phone which, upon reflection, is like forgetting how to tie shoes. My new MagicJack works just like a regular  old phone, but I keep treating it like a cell – punching in the number without first getting a dial tone and then looking for a ‘send’ key. There’s a pick up/hang up button on this phone (cuz it’s cordless) – I find myself hitting the ‘hang up’ multiple times, like I sometimes have to do with the cell. Then I put the phone down and it’s ‘off the hook’ as we used to say.

This can’t be normal.

An old friend found

After my Dad’s recent death, I found myself in touch with a number of people I hadn’t talked to in some years. One old friend directed me to this video – the Nantucket ‘Diddy’ Bag man here was part of my life growing up (at one point, he was my sister’s boyfriend!).  Look at what Charlie has invented! (Buy one here!)

Well, at least we had Woodstock

I wish there had been Facebook when I was younger. Just read through last few days and there’s so much affection, so much humor, so much fun dirty talk. I’d like to participate at that level, but it’s entirely inappropriate for someone my age, so I pretty much stick with comments, gentle ones at that.

But it would have suited me very well back when.

Before the day is over

I forgot it’s my birthday

. . .  until I opened my email and the facebook messages were there (more bithday wishes than I’ve had since I turned 16 – reason #422 ‘why I like facebook’.)

Look at this rare birthday recording from the Beatles – posted by neice Kate! Everyone over 50 should save this one.

Friday, Friday, so good to me . . .

Because on Friday I can go peruse my youtube favorites. In so doing, I generally spend an hour or so lost in the 5’s.  When one is retired, there really is no such thing as wasting time – in fact, slow, pleasant, lost hours are often quite delightful. When I was 16, I sat on a lawn with Frank Halprin, wearing a white pleated sharkskin (actually a fabirc) skirt, and we listened to the young Johnny Mathis.

Here’s what I found today:

Not just unbloggy; a blog break

Some of today, all of tomorrow, and a good part of Saturday will be occupied with my Father’s memorial service and reception and with family from around the country who even now descend upon our environs. Siblings must sit down like the real grownups we must be and finalize the ‘estate’, such as it is, given that a condo purchased ten years ago for almost $200K may bring $40K if we’re really lucky (this is, after all, South Florida).

These things must be attended to, decided upon, all the hugs must be given, the cheeks kissed, the food offered and then offered again.

And then it will be over. And oddly, now that the end of planning and executing  it all approaches, I will finally and maybe for the first time, look in the mirror and see someone without a buffer generation between me and that big Marlboro in the sky.

Or maybe I’ll just take a nap, blog up a storm and clean the refrigerator. One never knows, do one.

Here’s a song by a guy who used to say just that – in case I don’t get back here tomorrow.

If John Lennon would be 70 . . .

. . . how old is Yoko Ono? Well, two years from now, John Lennon’s wife will be 80.

I am having difficulty processing this.

The unlikely orphans

When my mother died, my parents’ home, their furnishings (much of it family antiques), their photos, memorabilia, books, china, everything . . . remained in place because my father survived. But now he too is gone.

Yesterday my brothers and I spent many hours going through it all. We had to empty his unit at assisted living. We had to move it all into the as yet unsold condo that was their last home and was still fully furnished. Since it now must be sold, everything in it must be disbursed one way or another. We would love to keep some of the antiques in the family but shipping a piece of furniture to another state is remarkably costly. Furniture,  no matter how valuable, doesn’t sell for much anymore. The market is glutted since all the foreclosures. So what to sell? What to try to keep? What to donate? (Actually, this is how most of it will go.) Making these decisions elicits a vague sense of betrayal.

But we got a lot done, made long lists of what must be dealt with from cancelling pensions to returning ‘talking books’ equipment to – and this was the hardest – sorting through photos and letters etc. (I ended up taking most of that home to do when there’s more time.) We’ve given ourselves a month to get the place ready for a realtor. Need to have it carpeted and painted and deeply cleaned. And everything must be out of there.

Yesterday, we moved a lot of the furniture around to prepare for what had to be brought in. We disposed of all clothes, most of the kitchen and bathrooms and lots of other miscellaneous detritus of a lifetime. And now – with empty drawers, no pictures on the tables,no paintings on the walls,not even a telephone or TV remote – the things of their lives no longer seem familiar.

They look forlorn. Lost. Unattached to any person or function. Orphans.


Since installing the pool, I’ve swum lengths every single morning. I do it the very minute I’m on my feet, knowing how easy it would be to blow it off if I did something else first.

I began this regimen on Day 1 with five lengths, after which I could barely breathe. Today I reached 40. I am proud. I am also breathing just fine.  

There is hope.

I wish this hadn’t occurred to me

PBS is broadcasting the Paul McCartney White House concert from a mnth or so ago. I was enjoying it until I realized . . .

Paul McCartney is old enough to be Obama’s father. Worse, Obama is young enough that Paul McCartney could be his father.

That is all. I am now turning to drugs.

Friday! Time to get all old

The next time you see an old guy sipping his early-bird soup at a family restaurant . . . make no assumptions about his previous life!

No competition really

There’s a certain serenity that comes at a certain age that I don’t believe is even possible when one is younger. It’s something that generations hide for themselves. We don’t all get there right away, but it’s not elusive – it’s just waiting for us.

Friend Elaine, following a dialogue about brothers (and other males) defined it:

“I was on the back porch looking for new blooms when 4 count them 4 goldfinch landed on a spidery plant and rode the swaying thin stems like a swing, then one of the male hummingbirds that make my backyard a regular haunt stopped by to feed on the dontknowthename purple flowers they like so much while the baby chipmonk foraged around the plants.

“Screw the men, I have a garden. “

Say again?

Dennis Hopper is dead.

Good morning. I am drowning. Not in water. Yet.

Before retiring, I visualized my life-to-come in various ways. All of them included devoting serious time to reading. I would do this in an orderly fashion – perhaps devoting one week to early American History and the next to environmental issues. Perhaps spend some time on the history of Persia/Iran which I find endlessly fascinating. It would be a civil life, a contemplative life. There would be order to it. I dreamed of a discipline I never had.

In the real world, I have twenty magazines at a time open to articles I’ve not yet finished – in the bathroom, on the bedside table, even here by my laptop so I can advance by mere minutes  into the article while rebooting. There are five or six books open on the nightstand. Just shoot me.

There is no order, no theme at all. A few weeks ago, just to give myself a rest from chastisement for failure to follow the ‘plan’, I grabbed some mystery novels at the library and read them to the exclusion of all else for days. And it was FUN. Until I realized that my little R&R had not had the slightest impact on my reading habits at all. I went right back to where I was – complete disorder.

 Such disconnect from what we want and what we do. I imagine – dear Elvis, I hope! – this is a shared experience.

I also hope things are okay for the guys and gals in Afghanistan, where it is the  222nd day of the ninth year of the War; 143 days until we are in the tenth year.

Ah. I am not alone.

Well, a very very very good morning

Ah, that's a bit better now . . .

Medicine, it appears, works quite well. I am one, who, when sick, crawls outside and hides under a shrub to get better or die. But yesterday I observed that hiding under my shrub was not bringing any positive results.  In fact, the dreaded pink eye had invited itself into both eyes. So after two weeks of coughing till my insides hurt and sleeping in spurts of two or three hours max, I returned to the walk-in clinic. (These places have improved remarkably – terrific place).

Turns out, as the 17-year old who claimed to be the “Doctor” said, I was ‘actually quite sick’. Well. That got my attention. I returned home an hour later, burdened with seven (SEVEN!!!) various prescriptions and miles of small type to read. I am now to follow a carefully scripted five-day regiment of magical potions.

About four o’clock yesterday I began the dosing as instructed. At 11pm, I became weary, went to bed and fell asleep. At 7am, I awoke refreshed. As I said medicines indeed work. Quite well. I think I shall allow them into my life in future on an as-needed basis. Learning new tricks and all.

So being unbloggy as I briefly noted a post ago or so, was much more than not being in the mood. Now it’s time to catch up, especially as our little adventure in Afghanistan is much in the news again, and our prom date from last year, Al Quaeda in Iraq, is back in let’s-party! mood.

My morning nap (doctor’s orders! doctor’s orders!) commences shortly, but first let’s be reminded that today is the 180th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.


Very. Nasty respiratory relapse (bronchitis lasts a long time), which means melon head, which means inability to concentrate on anything more demanding than Joe Leaphorn and the many murders on the Reservation.. And rereading the stories at that – but when you have melon head, that’s fine as memory becomes just  as fuzzy as head.

So, unbloggy I am.

I’m sure someone, somewhere, is blaming Obama for the eight years of George Bush’s stellar leadership. I care, but not enough to go looking.

Carry on.