Category Archives: Aging

Would You Like Me to Wax the Hair on Your Toes?

Standard

What the fuzz?
Okay, I realize I’m off the charts here with asking you such a boldly bumptious question. Nor do I have any intention of following through on the answer if you say yes.

I’ve been under a wee bit of stress lately and decided I needed some pampering. So I scheduled myself into a day spa for the usual scrub, rub, soak and polish routines. It was deliciously decadent.

Who me?
But then something happened. As I was getting my pedicure, eyes closed, enjoying the ambient sounds of the soothing spa playlist du jour, the lovely young technician interrupted my zoned-out state by asking, “Would you like me to wax the hair on your toes?”

Ditching the cucumber slices on my eyes, I bolted upright! “What did you say?”
“The hair on your toes,” she repeated. “Would you like me to remove it?”

“I have hair on my toes?” I said to her, like she would make such a disgusting thing up. “I can’t see that far down”…I insisted. “I have cataracts, I didn’t know I had hair on my toes. How long has it been there?”

Stay calm and breathe!
“I don’t know,” she said in her spa-soothing voice. “But don’t worry, just relax and it will be gone in a minute.” She proceeded to take care of the big hairy deal with the speed and diplomacy of the professional she was. Then she quickly followed up with a leg and foot massage that made me forget my bushy phalanges and put me right back into a zen state of mind. I left feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and slippery as a mango pit…my Hobbit feet a thing of the past.

Hair today, gone tomorrow:
What is it about our obsession with body hair and why do we find it so unappealing? Studies have shown that many women hide their depilatory secrets from their partners, too embarrassed or ashamed to admit they keep up high maintenance routines to keep themselves basically as bald as baby kangaroos. The Daily Mail in the UK did an article a few years ago entitled, Top 20 Beauty Secrets Women Hide From Men.” The number one item on the list that women never wanted their partners to know was, “Pluck/Shave hair from the toes.”

Yikes!
We older women usually don’t go baby-kangaroo crazy in our plucking, shaving and waxing pursuits. But with hormone changes, we can have a few surprise visitors in the mirror. Pesky little hair follicles can pop out in unforeseen locations, like chin, nipples, belly, moles, knuckles, shoulders, forehead, upper lip and yes…even our noses and ears, usually reserved for the male species.

Hairy contrary:
Sometimes there are medical conditions that cause this problem, but most of the time it isn’t a problem at all. Just annoying as hell. And some women are embracing their inner-hairiness and growing their own leggings and dyeing armpit hair in rainbow colours. But that’s a post for another day. I worked with a woman many years ago who had a patch of long bushy black hair on the back of her legs above the knee. We wore mini skirts in those days and when she bent over the file cabinet, every chair in the office swung around to check out the view. I always wondered if she brushed it.

Let’s think about this:
So with all the maintenance most of us do to keep the forestry down, let me ask you this. What do you think we would morph into if we were deserted on a south Pacific island with our favourite heart-throb? Picture yourself in a bodice ripping story as a romantic castaway with…(fill in the blanks.) My own personal fantasy includes Nathaniel Bonner, from the book, “Into the Wilderness.” Honestly, I can’t get enough of that man. But I digress…back to the deserted island…

The story continues:
So after a few months or a year under a palm tree in the Pacific, and depending on our own personal speed of hair growth multiplied by genetics and dominant genes – our appearance may be more bewhiskered than bewitching. As our eyebrows spread slowly into a monobrow and we braid our armpit hair to keep it out of the oyster stew, will we still want to frolic on our hairy Hobbit feet into the crashing waves on the beach? And without our dream man’s manscaping routines, will we still whisper sweet and salty nothings as we do the beach tango, like a couple of hairballs in love? Hmmm….

 

Final word:
So the next time someone asks you, “Would you like me to wax/tweeze/shave that?”  know that you’re in the good company of someone from the Secret Society of the Hairy Sisterhood.


See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

Please Follow or sign up for new posts.

The Red Angel

Standard

Image


I need to tell you a story:   

Prologue: The other day, I sat in the lobby of my condo building waiting for Hubsey to pick me up at the front door. As I sat on the bench, I admired the beautiful Christmas decorations all around me. A team of dedicated volunteers take time out of their lives every year to do this, and it truly is spectacular…inviting and festive to all residents and visitors who come through the lobby.

Main character: An elderly woman I didn’t know was sitting beside me, and I commented on how beautiful everything looked. She harumphed and said, “I hate that red angel on the top of the tree.”

The lines in the woman’s face deepened as she glared at the angel and added, “They should have put a white one, or a gold one, but not that cheap looking thing! It ruins everything!”

Point of view: Now the tree had to be 15 feet high, so from where I was sitting I had to really squint to see the details of this monstrosity she was talking about. But what I saw was a beautiful angel in a red velvet dress trimmed with white fur, sporting a set of magical feathery white wings. She was beautiful and angelic as angels should be, and simply perfect for the treetop.

Motivation: I thought about this woman for the rest of the day…I’m still thinking about her. Why was she so unhappy with this red angel and how could it possibly “ruin everything” as she said. And while I know deep down it wasn’t about the angel at all, I can’t help but wonder  what made her see the little red angel in that particular way?

Perhaps her children don’t call at Christmas?
Perhaps she deals with pain every waking moment?
Perhaps her shoes were too tight?
Perhaps Santa has forgotten her too many times?
Perhaps she is lonely?
Perhaps her father was a nasty drunk every Christmas?
Perhaps all her old friends have died?
Perhaps she has outlived her money?
Perhaps the colour red makes her see red?
Perhaps she was simply constipated?

Epilogue: Whatever the reason, the fact remains that we see the world from where we sit…together with all our glory and carbuncles. And our view is distorted by the amount of baggage we choose to drag along behind us.  Life’s a bitch, there’s no doubt about that! It’s how we deal with the successes, failures and challenges that defines how we see life’s ever changing landscape.

Serendipity: Coincidentally, someone tweeted this picture recently, which I would like to share with you. I don’t know the tweeter, so I apologize if I am using the picture without permission, whoever you are. But it’s a great message and if I knew who the woman was that I met in the lobby, I would stick it under her door. It’s never too late to see the beautiful red angels in our lives.

Image 1

 

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

 

 

 

 

 

10 Senior Secrets Unplugged

Standard

baby boomerAll hail my aging flower children!  Oh get a grip…you know you are, even if Miss Clairol is still your best friend. I have some inside secrets to share with you today;  real living-large secrets to help us through the crusty/rusty years. And I don’t mean the obvious stuff like eating right, getting regular exercise and seeing your doctor. I’m talking about the hard core, inside scoop on making everyday count and being the best we can be.

10 Top Senior Secrets

1. Crush it!  Chalky-type pills and vitamins can be difficult to swallow.  Cutting them in half doesn’t work because the sharp edges can slice your throat with surgical precision on the way down. Try using a mortar and pestle to crush the pills and put the powdery residue in your tea. So easy peasy!  (Check with pharmacist before doing this with prescriptions.)

2. Extend it! If you’re having trouble bending over to get your shoes on, there are extendable shoehorns on the market. Most extend to 24 – 30 inches and retract 12 – 18 inches. But there is one product called, Ease Squeeze that extends to 32 inches and retracts to 6 inches, so you can put the shoehorn in your pocket for visiting and medical checkups etc. Have shoehorn, will travel!

3. Pump it!  As we age, we lose circulation in our extremities while we sleep. Before getting out of bed, pump your fists open and closed for a few minutes and circle your ankles around in various positions to get the blood flowing before you get up. Works wonders for low blood pressure too. Play it safe!

4. Poop it! As you learned in The Scary World of Aging, when we get older, our hair gets whiter and our poop gets tighter. Ground flaxseed in your daily diet guarantees that you will hear the voice of angels on a regular basis. Try it in oatmeal, salads and in your baking.  Hallelujah!

5. Surf it! Learn  to use the Internet for more than sending jokes. Surfing around the world can do wonders for your outlook and feelings of connectivity with the universe. Research shows that more seniors than ever are using the Internet and Facebook to stay connected with friends and family. So get your surfboards out and let your fingers do the talking. Kowabunga!

6. Pluck it! Listen up codgers. You simply have to own a good magnifying mirror to check for rogue follicles. Women – check your chin, upper lip, neck and (dare I say it) your boobs for stray whiskers. Men – for all that’s holy, check your nose and ears for overgrown tufts and mini-bushes. All together now…pluck, shave, tweeze, clip, wax and do what it takes to search and destroy. Zap the nasty beggars.

7.  Say it! It’s easy for the voice of seniors to get lost in the loud noises made by the many masters of the universe. What we have to say matters and we need to make ourselves heard. Don’t just complain to your spouse and family. Tell your MP’s and town councillors, write a letter to the editor,  call the people at the top and don’t give up until you make contact. Don’t tread softly and always carry a big stick!

8. Use it! Do you have  “good things” sheltered away in a dusty old cedar chest waiting for special occasions? Newsflash! Every day is a special occasion as we enter the dawn of the golden era.  So don’t save it…use it or give it away. You can’t create memories with something that isn’t active in your life. Our “things” are only as precious as the memories they create. Share the joy so you can see the joy!

9. Stretch it! Okay, so I’m a big supporter of yoga for seniors as per my Dem Bones Dem Bones post. But seriously, if you only try one item on my list, make it this one. Choose a class that teaches  “therapeutic yoga” and get the best physiotherapy ever. This type of yoga will teach you how to scan your body for stress, how to safely exercise and stretch your back, muscles and joints – and how to  breathe energizing life back into your body . Ommmmm…

10. Hear it! It’s easy to become disconnected in group conversations as we age. It can be challenging to keep up with how fast everyone seems to speak, as our ear-intake valves slow down. But if we compound that factor with hearing loss, it’s a downhill slide into isolation, as our ability to interact with others deteriorates. We shouldn’t let our vanities and intolerance for change, keep us from getting hearing aids. Listen up and stay involved!

Please Follow or sign-up to get new posts. 

See you between the lines,
Follow me on Twitter @PatSkene 

Dem Bones, Dem Bones…

Standard

13653755-yoga-position-funny-cartoon-and-vector-isolated-illustrationDo brittle bones drive you insane?
Does bending put your back in pain?
How are your hips, your neck, your knees?
Do you need help? Keep reading please…

(originally posted November 2012)

What now? Last year, I noticed that everything in my body was tightening up like the sticky lid on a honey jar.  The doggerel lyrics of that old song about how the toe bone’s connected to the foot bone and the foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone, etc., blasted away in my brain. A cruel reminder that I was coming of age.

All pain, no gain: Every morning, my stiff joints and rigid spine felt like they would crack wide open if I moved too quickly. Well, I wasn’t happy about this decrepit state of affairs. Yes I was Living with Lupus, but I was swimming and walking regularly, so what more could I possibly do and why wasn’t my exercise routine working?

Out of the blue: Then my doctor recommended yoga classes…which in itself was a refreshing thing for a doctor to do!  Thank goodness for our new younger female doctors who know how to think outside the pill-box. But seriously…could yoga really help me?

Well-kept secret: What is it about the word “yoga” that conjures up images of skinny contortionists in leggings, eating raw carrots and tree nuts…while standing on their heads? Think again! Yoga is becoming a serious contender for seniors – to improve strength, endurance, balance, joints and spine. In my experience, it’s nothing short of amazing.

Scaredy Pat: At first I was reluctant because it had been 25 years since I uttered the Ommmm mantra. I would make a fool of myself without a doubt, and I wasn’t even sure I could get down on the floor – or more importantly – get back up again. But fear notwithstanding, I strapped my new yoga mat over my shoulder and hit the yoga scene with my aching bony knees a knockin.’

A big relief!  Thankfully my yoga instructor was excellent and he modified each pose to the comfort level of the participants. It wasn’t pretty at first. I initially had to do some positions with the help of a chair and some poses were easier if I leaned against the wall, instead of getting down on the floor. But that was only in the beginning. There was a natural process from there to feeling stronger and eventually finding my way down to the mat.

Tempus fugit: Now here I am one year later, still attending yoga classes twice a week and loving every minute of it. And listen up!  The improvements to my knees, back and hips is nothing short of amazing. This is serious stuff! I still have some neck problems, but I’m working on that.  And although I will never perform advanced yoga postures, my progress to date is remarkable. But most remarkable of all is how good I feel and how much I look forward to every class…the postures, the deep breathing and the meditation.

The secret’s out: I simply wanted to tell you and pass it on. And do I recommend yoga to everyone out there who wants to slow down the aging process? Absolutely! And not just for flexing your arthritic joints, or lubricating your dried out vertebrae. Yoga also teaches us relaxation techniques and everyday coping skills for life  in general.

Things I learned: But before you run out and book your class – here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. Do your homework: Start by researching the different kinds of yoga in your area…at community centres, YMCA or yoga studios. You may not be up to trying a “hot yoga” class where you sit in a 105 degrees Celsius room and sweat out the garlic from last night’s dinner. Instead, I suggest that you look for a yoga class with the words, ‘gentle’ or ‘beginners’ or ‘therapeutic’ or even ‘chair’ yoga if you have more serious disabilities.

2. Speak to the instructor: Before you book your classes, make sure the instructor is willing to modify the poses as you go along, to accommodate different levels of ability. Ask if you can attend  a trial class to see for yourself how that will work.

3. Choose the right class: While there are many places offering yoga for the 50+ crowd – as long as the instructor is open and accommodating, a beginner’s class for all ages should be fine. You might want to avoid the ersatz yoga classes – where the attendees are all lulu-lemoned-up and the focus is more about image than the practice of yoga principles. Use your good sense to sort out the fakes.

4. Don’t compete: Don’t worry about your abilities to keep up with the class, if others around you are more flexible. It’s not about who can twist themselves into the tightest knot, or do the most impressive downward dog while trying to locate their third eye. Push hard, but pay attention to your body and don’t go beyond the edge of your ability. Go at your own pace and I promise you – the benefits are awesome at any level.

5. Ignore the scale: Yoga classes are all about relaxation, stretching and toning. Your motivation should not be weight loss, but overall good health and healing from the inside out. This is the greatest gift from you to you.

6.  Be committed:  Try to go once or twice a week. But if a live class is not available to you, there are many level-appropriate DVD’s out there you can purchase. And while this is a viable option, nothing can replace the positive energy you get from a class of like-minded people and a qualified instructor.

7. Stick with it: Don’t get your yoga pants in a pretzel if you don’t get instant results. Be patient and committed, even on those days when you’d rather stay in your stretchy sweats and eat a tub of rocky road. And although you should feel results in 6-8 weeks, please give it a good year. I promise you a better, more flexible body, with less pain and a noticeably improved sense of well-being. Have I ever lied to you before?
(Okay maybe i-Lied once about being i-Crazy…but only that once.)

8. Be brave, be bold and be healthy: You may want to google “yoga for seniors” and read more about this important emerging trend. Yoga should be safe for everyone. However, if you have specific health issues, you may want to check with your doctor before beginning.

Final word: This has been my story. I know it’s easy to dismiss all the reasons why you need yoga. But all I can say to that is, blah, blah, blah! We boomers and zoomers need all the help we can get! Our aging bodies are going nowhere but down that long mudslide to perdition. (I’m just thankful wrinkles don’t hurt!) So get off your sorry excuse, stuff your chakras into your sports bra – and give it a try! You won’t ever be sorry you did.

This message brought to you by Pat,
Was dreamed up on her yoga mat,
For this, she doesn’t charge a fee,
‘Cause bloggers do it all for free.

See you between the lines and on Twitter @Pat Skene

Please sign up or Follow for new posts. Thank you.

Fit…bit by bit

Standard

k15661613Serious condition; Have you ever noticed that many seniors suffer from flat buttocks? It has less to do with sagging gluteus maximus muscles, and more to do with lazy-asset syndrome. I’m not talking about our lagging mutual fund portfolios, although in today’s market they’re probably flatter than our backsides. No, I’m referring to the act of vegetating in our recliners for prolonged periods of time.

Last year I turned 70. I’m in good enough shape for a gal of my vintage years, but some days I feel every one of the 26, 876 days I’ve been on this earth. And as much as it hurts some days when I shake my booty, it hurts even more when I don’t. So I might as well get on with it and keep moving.

Fit…bit: If you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll know that I’m a technobot. New electronic gadgets really turn my granny-crank. (And this from a little girl who grew up without electricity.) So at Christmas, my lovely daughter gave me a Fitbit – a wearable fitness tracker device. It’s like a 24/7 Uber pedometer, and you wear it like a wristwatch.

So what? Now you might be thinking…why does an aging boomer like me need one of those gadgets? It’s not like I’m at the gym every day sweating into my stretchy spandex, or even give a damn about measuring my BMI. Nor am I looking to develop a six-pack, other than the one I get from the beer store.

And yes, I’m sure the companies peddling these activity trackers have a younger audience in mind. But there’s a whole market of seniors out there who could benefit from wearing one of these devices. Seriously! Stay with me on this…

Senior alert: Retirement is lovely. Not having to go to work is even better. Watching commuters slip-sliding through snowstorms from our warm cozy chairs, coffee in hand, better yet! Been out there, done all that for nearly 40 years! But this aforementioned lazy-asset syndrome can creep up on us and before you know it, there’s a deep indentation in the seats of our recliners as our aging derrières flatten out like pancakes. What’s the cure? We need to get up and MOVE!

Ginny-walking-clipartWalking gunslinger: Strapping on my Fitbit changed everything for me. Suddenly I’m aware of how many steps I actually take in a day. And it tracks my heart beats, the stairs I’ve climbed, the calories I’ve burned and how I sleep at night, just to name a few features of this wickedly excellent contraption.

Simply put, the Fitbit has changed my behaviour:

  • I’m aware of how sedentary I am when I don’t make a conscious effort to MOVE.
  • I’m motivated to park the car further away from my destination to get my steps in.
  • I’m encouraged to get out of the car a few blocks from home and walk, when Hubsey is driving.
  • I’m reminded to keep my heart rate within my max range when exercising.
  • I’m incented to take the stairs instead of the elevator to achieve my daily goals.

Game on: It’s also fun to challenge friends who wear one of these gadgets to help you stay focused. You can cheer or taunt those in your group, which sounds rather hokey but is so much fun. I’m in a group with my daughter, my niece and a friend in B.C. We may not all achieve our goals every day, but we do what we can and support each other in the process.

Each person sets their own step goals. I started at 4000 steps one month ago, and now have reached the 7000 steps a day level. That’s about 5 km a day, or just over 3 miles. Not a lot but enough for me. FYI…the default is set at 10,000 daily steps. But everyone is different with individual limitations and health conditions.

Good vibrations: The big reward when you meet your daily challenge is what I call a Fit-gasm. When I reach my daily step threshold, the Fitbit vibrates on my arm to let me know I have achieved my goal. It’s oddly rewarding to get that sexy jiggle on my wrist and I must say, getting a few Fitgasms every week is a very satisfying feature indeed.

Last word: As a result of all this, I have walked 112 kilometres to date with my Fitbit – which is apparently the same distance as the March of the Penguins – the annual trip emperor penguins make to their breeding grounds. But I digress…I’m hoping my ongoing condition of lazy-asset syndrome will dissipate, allowing the seat cushion on my recliner to retain its shape for many years to come. And who knows, it just might breathe new life into my buttocks as well.

See you between the lines and on Twitter @PatSkene

Please sign up or Follow for new posts. Thank you.

There’s Nothing Like a Dame

Standard

Image

“Never be afraid to laugh at yourself.  After all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.” Dame Edna Everage. (81 years old)

Hello Possums! Sometimes there are moments in life you need to capture and swallow whole to keep them inside you. (Sometimes, there are moments you need to masticate into mush and spit out into the nearest spittoon.) Well, thankfully, I have one of the former moments – one of pure zen, that I want to tell you about.

Eureka! I was watching television with my 12 year-old granddaughter the other day, when an advertisement for gigastar, Dame Edna and her Farewell Tour flashed on the screen. There she was, her Edna-ship, complete with perfectly coiffed mauve hair, rhinestone-studded wingtip glasses and outlandish wardrobe. My granddaughter jumped out of her chair and said, “Nan! That’s totally you – on the inside!”

How awesome is that? For someone like me who values imagination, creativity and freedom of expression as my raison d’être, it was the highest compliment possible. My eyeballs were sweating tears of purple glee. What more could a grandmother want in life, than to know her granddaughter thinks she has a colourful, funny, nut-ball of a Dame Edna lurking on the inside?

Shake it up! As we get older, it’s easy to become crotchety and bad-tempered, as we deal with deteriorating bodies, death of spouses and old friends, and of course, lack of identity and loneliness. It becomes too easy to feel forgotten and left behind, as we see younger people around us enjoying a more robust lifestyle. And it’s natural to be afraid to step out of ourselves; outside of our comfort zones to try something new. Sometimes the only difference between a recliner and a grave is the view!

Inner Dame: In my opinion, we all need to channel our inner Dame Edna to shake us awake and make us feel alive. There’s nothing like boredom and complacency to cause wrinkles ladies…and for the men out there…Dame Edna is really Barry Humphries, so there’s a message in here for you too. And no, I don’t mean cross-dressing! Although, if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do…?

Outer Dame: So to celebrate this momentous gift given to me by my granddaughter, I bought some new face furniture – a pair of purple cat’s eye glasses, trimmed with pearl. So cool! But for now, I’ll keep my hair white and leave the “wisteria hue” to the Grand Dame!

See you between the lines,

Follow me on Twitter @PatSkene

Why?

Standard

question-mark-face1Ordinarily, I am quite content to seek out the solitude of my own company. But recently, I’ve had a bit too much quality time with myself…and frankly, I found that I am quite lacking in the answers to many of life’s complex questions.

They say when you’re drowning, your life flashes before your eyes. Well, I’m happy to report this did not happen to me. But in my extended state of reflection and solitude, many burning questions flashed relentlessly before said eyes, and I was reminded of how little I knew about the many ordinaries of life.

My Top 20 Burning Questions:

1. Why do grandchildren and grandparents pass each other in opposite vertical directions so quickly?

2. Why does life bitch-slap you awake, just when you doze off snuggled in the comforts of old age?

3. Why is it always the patient’s fault when doctors make a mistake?

4. Why are all nurses not angels of mercy? Have mercy!

5. Why do men put fruit and veggies encased in sweaty plastic bags, directly  into the refrigerator?

6. Why do men put beer or yogurt encased in cardboard boxes, directly into the refrigerator?

7. Why, when I’m not well, do I look out the window and think everyone has a life but me?

8. Why are big honking boobs supposed to be so spectacular?

9. Why does my oldest besty Marjorie never email me from BC?

10. Why do socks in my sandals feel so flippin’ good and look so freakin’ bad?

11. Why does time go like stink when I’m well, then hang around like a bad smell when I’m sick?

12. Why do I insist that my toilet paper roll be placed in the “over” position and not the “under” position?

13. Why, if some words in the English language are considered bad, did we invent them in the first place?

14. Why are simple blue jeans not allowed in some places, but bad-ass-red or trailer-trash-white jeans are?

15. Why can geese poop their brains out in the park and we can’t kick their feathered arses outta there?

16. Why can’t parents get it right by being grandparents first?

17. Why can’t I find out how much wood a woodchuck would chuck, if a woodchuck really could chuck wood?

18. Why did I get cancer?

19. Why do I float effortlessly in the pool, but my daughter and granddaughter sink to the bottom like mafia snitches?

20. Why do so many people hate nature’s beautiful dandelions?

Help!! Does anyone out there know WHY?     

See you between the lines

Pat Skene

 

Hanging Out With Mary

Standard

clip-art

Happy International Women’s Day: To celebrate this event, I attended a dinner this week where Canadian comedian Mary Walsh spoke to over 700 people…in a black bra! There was nothing sexy about it.

What’s this about? Mary is an entertainer of a certain age, who changed her costume in front of the audience, as part of her routine. She simply stood there in her underwear with all her jiggly bits jiggling, as she kept right on talking. It was a hysterically funny and incredibly beautiful thing.

Just hanging out! Now I don’t normally get excited about seeing an middle-aged woman in her underwear. But the sheer comfort and confidence Mary displayed, with her muffin tops muffin-topping, and her cellulite and wrinkles winking at the crowd…well, it was a vision of divine intervention. Especially for anyone in the room wearing Spanks, body shapers, control top pantyhose and all things that pinch and squeeze us into unholy togetherness.

Starving for attention: What a refreshing change she was from just a few nights before, when I watched the beautiful people of Hollywood parade their botoxed, surgically altered Oscar worthy bodies up and down the red carpet. The fact that many of them can no longer smile…or eat for that matter…doesn’t mean a thing. All that does matter is for someone to ask, “Who are you wearing?”

Mirror, mirror: Our obsession with perfect bodies is like a social piranha, eating away every day at our confidence and self-respect. Yes, the magazine and movie industries have nurtured this obsession, but so do we, as we continue to buy and watch and compare…in the mirror. And as we age, as Mary is doing, graceful acceptance of our sagging bits and bobs is a rare gift. We need to learn to embrace our softer squishier parts without wrestling them into a spandex torture chamber or underwire harness.

Key note: Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t strive to have as healthy a body as we can. That goes without saying. But if only we could be more like Mary…and let it all hang out with pride and humor. And while I enjoyed the entertainment value of Mary’s keynote address at the dinner, her confidence and charisma while standing there in her black bra and middle-aged body, said more to me about International Women’s Day than anything in her evening performance. It was downright liberating, even for a tough old broad like me.

Seriously: Mary made us laugh at her, with her and at ourselves. We need more women like that. And more real women who can stand in front of 700 people in a black bra ala muffin tops, and not give a damn. And as I am reminded by the sign on my desk, “She Who Laughs, Lasts.”

Pat Skene

See you between the lines.

One Day Indeed!

Standard

woman on swing

 “The nice thing about getting old, is you might become young again.”

                     Edwin Honig, American Poet and Playwright.

My rant du jour: Today is National Senior’s Day in Canada. It’s a nice gesture in a world where seniors are mightily ignored and largely    invisible to the masters of the universe. But there is a change brewing, as boomers come of age and take charge to voice their opinions.  This is a good thing.  So why do we need a “Senior’s Day” to be recognized as a valid part of society?

More please! I guess a few token hours out of one token day, is a nice polite gesture to celebrate our aging population and the contributions this generation has made to the country we live in. Do we really need a flag raising at City Hall to remember that seniors are an intricate part of the web of  everyday life? Could this day to focus on seniors be nothing more than a hypocritical salute to “old people” because of a lack of respect and understanding in all levels of society?  Why should we have one stinking day?  We don’t want “one day.” We want every day!

Senior immersion: Like it or not people, the world is flooded with seniors. I myself am surrounded by seniors because I am one of the gang.  Some of these cranky codgers and codgerettes walk the face of the earth in a constant state of angry birds.  Many more seniors tread softly with a quiet wisdom…like they’ve cracked the code of the Mona Lisa smile. I love this group. And I am honoured to listen to the stories seniors have to tell…the teachers, the lawyers, the nurses, the business leaders, the everyday people of yesterday, today and tomorrow…with all their successes and tragedies.

I digress: When I was a toddler, I was apparently fascinated by old men. I would crawl up on the knee of any old geezer I could find, much to my poor mother’s horror! I am happy to say, I no longer hold that fascination. But I still do like some old men, especially the old fashioned kind…like the gentleman who tips his hat, holds the door open for me, respects my opinion and treats me like a have a functioning brain.  Hubsey is an old man too, and I like him a lot because he never grew up. And I love to crawl up on his lap!

What’s old is new: So here I am, in the dawn of my twilight years, surrounded by a gaggle of gently used human beings. I live in a condo full of seniors, I sit next to them at the doctor’s office, my friends are getting more wrinkled everyday and my dentist is an old man.  Even my two younger sisters are getting long in the tooth. We used to giggle and talk about boys, fashion, careers, bringing up kids and planning vacations. Now we talk about old men, sciatica, knee replacements, grandkids and constipation. But we still manage a good giggle fest from time to time.

About old men: Have you ever noticed how the older generation of men in our lives clear their throats, like they’re constantly trying to get your attention? Or how they grunt when getting out of a chair to let you know they’re on the move, so you can get out of their way? Old men don’t talk a lot. But when they do, it’s mostly to tell you how it used to be, or complain about the government. And as any long-standing married woman, who’s had the same husband for a while will tell you, they’re very well trained and worth hanging on to.  Trading a used model in for a new one is out of the question for most old broads. Remember, your old man may come with some saggage, but a new old man comes with big baggage!

About old women: Here’s something about we older women…we worry about wrinkles and waistlines, instead of celebrating our cellulite and the wisdom of our years.  We worry about that whisker that popped out on our chin overnight, instead of taking comfort in the freedom that comes with getting older. We worry about our white hair and thinning locks, instead of enjoying that second cup of tea in the morning…happy that we no longer have to strap ourselves into a pair of pantyhose to go to work.  And we wear far too much beige and black…never enough electric blue and emerald green!

Warning: As everyone knows, when seniors are around, you must get rid of area mats because we’ll trip on them. Get rid of shoes at the door because we’ll trip on them. Get rid of toys on the floor because we’ll trip on them. Do we seniors never think to look down? Someone should invent a senior-sensor-sonar device to clip on our shoes, which would automatically make loud beeping noises like a truck backing up…and zap the floor of any debris as we pass. Is that brilliant or what?

Final word: Anyway, that’s all I have to say on the subject for today. Seniors are alive and well and we don’t need a special one day flag raising ceremony at City Hall to mark our existence.  We need every day to do that –  and it’s up to each one of us to shout it out and make every day count!

Pat Skene…see you between the lines.

senior_xing

In My Dreams!

Standard

old-people-friendly-happy-coupleYikes!  Have you noticed as we age, we start looking more like our husbands? We wear our pants higher, our underpants looser, our hair shorter, our shoes flatter and we even have the odd whisker popping out in the darndest places. And don’t get me started on the old-man grunts I make when I get out of a chair!

It’s a crap shoot:  What is it about getting older that makes us want to get special deals and free stuff? Is it because we’re on a fixed income, or maybe because we’ve lived long enough to earn a better price? Or do we just get cheaper as we age; afraid we’ll outlive our money in the reality game of aging roulette?

Cheap cheep: And you gotta luv how so many aging boomers eagerly morph into early-bird cottonheads. Not only do they get the wiggly worm, they get 2 for 1 dinners, 1/2 price drinks and doggie bags filled with mushy leftovers.

Like crows on a wire: Years ago, before I was a woman of a certain age, I used to visit my aging aunt Bernice in Florida. She never cooked and ate out all the time. I was horrified at how we would always arrive early and line-up  for dinner at 4:00pm. It was usually a buffet so the old codgers and codgerettes could get their money’s worth.

Free take-out: I remember once, aunt Bernice had forgotten to take a Ziploc bag into the restaurant. But that didn’t stop her. She simply fished a plastic rain-hat out of her purse – you remember the kind that folded up like a cheap fan? Then she asked me to load it up with chicken thighs from the buffet on our way out. Kill me now!

Words to live by: My aunt has sadly passed on and here I am, the same age she was at the time mentioned above. But I don’t feel old, I don’t own a plastic rain-hat and I don’t steal food from a buffet…as yet. And, as  Hubsey always says, “I don’t line up for food or sex.”

Stuck in time: In my dreams, I’m always 32. I know this because people ask me my age (in my dreams). I’m never any older and never any younger; always 32 years old! Slim waist, long blonde hair, killer stilettos, and not an aching bone in my body.

Reality bites: But then I wake-up and see that strange old woman in the mirror, and I ask her, “Who the  hell are you?”

stock-photo-5993527-broken-mirror

Pat Skene
See you between the lines!

I’m Shrinking!

Standard

This post is all about my size,
I’m shrinking right before my eyes,
So as I share my tale with you,
Prepare to shed a tear or two…

I’m definitely shrinking. It’s been a gradual process, but I think I got the first clue of my true adult size when I fell off my platform shoes in the 1970’s. But thankfully, along came the 80’s with 4″ pumps, big hair and monster shoulder pads. I’m not saying that I looked like a linebacker in drag, but I felt I could tackle the world in that decade. Then with the 90’s, came a more scaled down version of my mega-self, although I still sported the highest heels I could climb into. But all good things come to an end.

Mirror, mirror: My diminishing condition went into overdrive when I retired from banking several years ago. Since then, a strange thing has been happening to my reflection in the mirror. I have progressively become smaller, shorter, lighter and significantly more…comfortable.

A good dressing down: The first thing I did after retirement was give away all my business suits; designer suits, power suits and tailored suits that made me look like the rest of my corporate comrades patrolling the concrete jungle. This was a major stage in my shrinking process. When I stopped wearing suit jackets, I thought I looked minimized and almost vulnerable. I was definitely more compact as I entered the shrink-age.

Hair today, gone tomorrow: With my new pared-down look, my daughter suggested that I go all the way and get a funky new haircut. She said that while my old ‘do’ didn’t exactly scream “I love Elvis”, he had not quite left the building. I have always been a white-knuckled makeover subject and I headed for the salon, feeling as comfortable as a twelve-hour ponytail.

Like phoenix rising: When I emerged from the chopping-chair, I found myself sporting a short spiky new look, not unlike that of the porcelain cockatoo sitting on my kitchen counter. And there was no doubt that my head had shrunk! However, my daughter assured me that I looked thoroughly modern and we had lunch to celebrate another important stage of my arrivement into retirement. Next, I was going for the big one. Shoes!

Heavenly bliss: I eagerly set out to explore life beyond stilettos – and maybe even find shoes that didn’t burn the soles of my feet, or pinch my toes into a pointed vise. Like a woman possessed, I searched until I found the Holy Grail of comfortable shoes. I discovered cushioned soles, marshmallow foot beds and lightweight walkers with attitude. I bought them all! Flat comfortable rubber-soled beauties that gave me more satisfaction than an itch in a box of sandpaper.

Melt down: The downside of this orgasmic moment of chiropodist bliss happened when I noticed I was much closer to the ground in my new shoes. Once again…I was wilting. Now, inches shorter without my height-boosting pumps, I was without a doubt – taking up less airspace. Friends looked at me rather strangely, as they continually struggled to adjust their eye level. “Didn’t you used to be tall,” they said.

No gobbledygook: Even my everyday language has been shrinking down. Power phrases like “organizational infrastructure, strategic inflection points and transformational leadership,” no longer roll off my tongue. There’s something refreshing about speaking clearly, without the need to fight your way through the fog index.

Scaling down: So over the years and during this metamorphosis, I have been shrinking steadily into a more compact and petite exterior. And even now, as I continue to wend my way from foxy to functional – I’ve developed a new and unfortunate intolerance to wheat, dairy and sugar. Consequently, even my bathroom scale has taken a sharp left turn into the skinny zone.

When will it stop? On top of everything else, my doctor tells me my spine is compressing, my dentist tells me my gums are receding, my hairdresser tells me my hair is thinning, and my younger (and always shorter) sister now thinks we’re the same height…delusional woman!

Final word: As an addendum to my shrunken condition, there are even more indignities to endure. According to the gravitational gurus, as we age – gravity will cause the tips of our noses to droop, our ears to elongate, our eyelids to fall, our jowls to flap, and our boobs and scrotum to sag. And while I’m thankful I don’t have the whole scrotum thing to deal with (although some may disagree), I do have all of the other aforementioned body parts. Get the picture? I hope not!

So here I sit in baggy pants,
To write this post for boomerrantz,
I vow to do the things I must,
And blog until I’m blogger dust…

Pat Skene


Scary World of Aging

Standard

As I flap around in my post-retirement years, I’m not happy about getting older. But when I consider the deathly alternative, I tend to buckle up and dig in. 

Brave new world: Last year Hubsey and I sold our home and moved into our first condo. Why we’re still married after going through the grueling experience of downsizing hell, is something of a mystery. We had so much stuff – all his old junk and my priceless collectables.  Well, we lived to tell the tale and now enjoy the comforts of our beautiful condo – despite being surrounded by a gaggle of cotton heads, dictatorial condo boards and antiquated rules. After decades in the corporate jungle, I’ve seen enough office politics to strangle a condor. So I plan to ruffle some of those dusty old condo-condor feathers. Old farts in corporate boardrooms and old farts on condo boards are all the same to me. To be continued so stay tuned…   

Scary stuff! This mysterious aging process can be almost as frightening as buying a new bathing suit. And besides the whole emotional gridlock of downsizing – how do I handle my husband losing his driver’s license due to a stroke? How do I cope with chronic illness, old bones and the shocking reality of my white hair? And what do I do when I discover Blackbeard’s whiskers popping out on my chin – or other unsuspecting body parts? And do I accept or reject the irresistible lure and blissful come-hither comfort of wearing granny panties and orthopedic shoes? Read the rest of this entry