A few days ago I misplaced something in my own house.
It was a small stack of books. Five copies of my own novel that were earmarked for a giveaway on Goodreads. I had them. They were on the kitchen counter, right near the breadbox. They were there for days. And then I picked them up because I began to worry that they might get dirty, so near the breadbox – and the fridge. And the dog treats. And the amazingly agile high-jumping cats.
So I picked them up.
And then I couldn’t find them.
Oh my God, how I looked.
I remembered picking them up to protect them. I sort of remembered that it was about the same time I put away the Christmas presents. So I checked first with every Christmas present I put away. And then I checked where we keep the gift wrap and gift bags – since I probably put the good reusable stuff back there – I’m conscientious that way. Just not conscientious about whether I had books in my hand at the same time.
I checked in the box where I keep the copies of my first novel. I checked my “office” – the extra bedroom that I have made over as an art studio. And that room was NOT in good shape. But a lot of the stuff hanging around in there hasn’t been touched in a long time. Newer shit wouldn’t be under the older shit. Would it?
I checked every bookcase in the house. I could have put books in a bookcase. That would make sense.
I checked every shelf, every windowsill. Every flat surface and every surface that is not flat but could still hold shit if you balanced it just right.
I checked every cabinet. If I was seeking cat-protection, inside a cabinet would be a good place. Or inside a closet. I checked even the hallway closet, which contains coats and boots. Because ‘boots’ is only one letter away from ‘books’, and I could have been free-associating.
I checked the pantry. Maybe I was snacking when I put the books away, and I put down the books to get a cookie. That happens.
I checked inside boxes with Christmas decorations. Which would have been interesting, since I didn’t put up any Christmas decorations this year.
I checked all my bureau drawers. Did I fold the books inside a sweater?
I checked and checked and checked.
I checked in my head when I was supposed to be sleeping.
The following morning, I told my husband I was distraught. Which I am sure he did not know. Because I had been so calm and subtle about the whole thing. Especially that fifteenth time I said that I hated myself.
And I started to tear the house apart.
Three hours later I found them. In a box. Under the stash of copies of my other book.
How in the world does new shit end up under old shit?
But here’s the thing:
I was delighted. I was happier than if I had never lost the books in the first place.
To found what was lost – it truly makes the found items so much more precious.
And of course, it made me contemplate more than just the Prodigal Son parable. Yes, that kid was pretty much of a disappointment, but Dad sure missed him when he was gone. And celebrated his return.
It made me consider how much we take for granted that we would miss if it were gone.
Years ago, my own Dad temporarily lost his senses of taste and smell. My happy-go-lucky father became a grouch. He realized how much pleasure you get from the taste and even the aroma of good food. How he celebrated the eventual return of that pleasure.
Maybe there are a few things we should “misplace” once in a while. So when we finally rediscover our lost items, their return can be even more sweet, more precious.
A few that I can think of:
Old Friends. I have misplaced an old friend or two myself. Oh, but to see them again! Someone who you giggled with over your own secret jokes, someone whose hand-me-downs you shared, someone you learned about the world with, who knows how your bravery is all pretense.
Ambition. I don’t mean, ‘I want to be a manager by the time I am 40’ type of ambition. I like to think of ambition as that unique combination of passion and perseverance. When you love something so much you’ll put any amount of time into it, willingly, in order to see, to have, to tend your desire. The rediscovery of that pure ambition invigorates your brain.
A Sense of Wonder. Life can be pretty boring when you lose your sense of wonder. But there are so many ways to rediscover it. You can take photographs with your phone, for God’s sake. How does that even happen? Watch ducklings follow their mama. Who taught them to do that? Who made the first violin? Did that inventor plan on making the most beautiful sound in the world? What makes a pineapple look so spiky and yet taste so sweet? Don’t be in such a rush. Let awe overtake you. A sense of wonder invigorates your soul. Stop and look at the ceiling at Grand Central Station. You are not too busy to look up.
Speaking of looking up –
My cousin Jim took this time-lapse photography of the stars.
And come to think of it, my cousin fits all three of the above things that are easy to misplace, but oh so sweet to rediscover.
Jim’s an old friend. My cousin my own age who celebrated every holiday and birthday with me. Who knows the awkward and earnest, fragile and spunky, silly and serious kid I was. And I know the brilliant and shy, curious and kind, athletic and happy kid he was. And he is a man in possession of the very definition of ambition that I desire – that pairing of passion and perseverance – for Astronomy. From his earliest boyhood until now. More than sixty years of looking into telescopes because he needed to know what was out there.
Wonder is out there.
Just a quick reminder that the Kindle version of my new novel, LUCINDA’S SOLUTION, is on sale this week on Amazon for just $1.99.
And we are on the home stretch, with only 1 day left to the sale. Then back to $4.99. If you have a Kindle, now is a good time to add it to your reading list.
The paperback is a great deal too, at $14.95.
LUCINDA’S SOLUTION is a historical fiction set in the aftermath of the influenza pandemic of 1918 and the end of World War I. Enormous changes were taking place in social structures and the roles of women in society.
Lucinda Benedict at seventeen has finally convinced her father that girls can go to college too. But when the influenza pandemic takes the life of her older sister, Lucinda is forced to step into her sister’s life, to become mother to two toddlers – and wife to a man overwhelmed by grief.
The story – although entirely fictional – was inspired by my own family. My great-aunt was pressured into taking on her sister’s family after the influenza epidemic – and this was not uncommon. With no social safety net, families needed to survive. And so families were rebuilt as quickly as possible.
But is love rebuilt quickly too?
Here is Lucinda on her first night in bed with her sister’s husband, now her own husband:
How would I know what intimacy he shared with my sister? Or whether he would ever share it with me?
I undressed with my back to him, in case he should waken. Given the warm night, I chose my lightest nightdress. It was plain but pretty. I loosened my hair. I laid down on the bed beside Martin, and I felt him stir.
“Goodnight, Lucinda,” Martin whispered. And he turned on his side with his back to me.
I was so relieved. I was so heartbroken.
You can find the novel at this link: LUCINDA’S SOLUTION.
P.S. If you have already read Lucinda’s Solution, thank you so much. I hope you will consider leaving a review on Amazon. (and if you were an early purchaser of the paperback edition that had deleted pages, please remind me and I will send you a new book.)
This weekend I went to a birthday celebration. The man who was being honored is a ballroom dancer, and so the party was filled with other dancers. Oh my, the dancing was so lovely, I watched like I was at the ballet. And I need to take some dance lessons this year!
But something else that was lovely also occurred.
I sat at a table with a woman I have met a few times. She is 80 years old, a classmate of the birthday “boy.”
AnnaMae is an avid reader, and she was delighted to tell me that she is currently reading my first book, JUST WHAT I ALWAYS WANTED. She said this with an embarrassed smile – just like you might approach a “real” author – the kind you might sheepishly ask for an autograph from. It was rather enjoyable to say the least – especially since I was feeling very humble about my inability to dance. But although pleasant, this was not the other lovely event.
With so many talented people in attendance, it’s readily apparent that many people are gifted. We should enjoy their gifts. And while not diminishing our own, recognize that no one is more special than anyone else.
We are all unique – in our talent, experiences, and nature.
And AnnaMae is no exception. For she told me a small fact about herself that was actually not a small thing at all. It amazed me.
AnnaMae loved to read from the time she was a very little girl. And way back then, she kept a list of every book she read.
And the habit stuck. She possesses a wondrous list – a list of every book (and they are many) she ever read. From the time she started to read until today. That must be 75 years in the making, that list. I imagine a file cabinet, paint chipped but well-dusted, just full of her list of books! Titles and authors and dates. Can you imagine?
I hope there is such a thing as reincarnation, because I would like to keep a list like that.
There are so many singular things we do – what makes us “us” – I am overwhelmed this week by the idea of Life as a list of our experiences. And there are so many! Even introverts or the very lonely (which is not the same thing) have boundless small experiences that make them who they are.
Imagine how long your list is:
Every class you ever took and every teacher who ever taught you.
Every trip to the beach. Every lake you ever visited.
Every song you ever heard.
Every dog you ever petted.
Every baby you ever held in your arms.
Every ice cream cone you ever bought.
Every movie you ever saw… and every one that made you cry.
Every person who ever said to you, “I love you.” Every person you ever said “I love you” to.
Every joke you ever heard.
Every time you signed your name. How many times in your life do you affirm who you are?
Every flower you ever planted.
Every street you ever lived on. Every town.
Every bit of clothes and shoes and furniture and beautiful things you bought.
Every car you ever owned. Every one you ever rode in.
Every wedding you ever attended.
Every walk in the snow.
I could go on and on.
The list of our awesomeness is endless.
Never tell me you’ve had a boring life.
I have reprinted this before, but it’s appropriate, I think, to do it again. Here’s a small poem I wrote after my father died. He had his own list.
About a year and a half ago, I became momentarily famous around the world.
But not in a good way.
Now I have become famous again. It is in a much much better way.
I am not directly famous.
My dog Theo is getting the credit.
But I swear – I solemnly swear – that I helped him a little. Don’t believe his denials.
First. My Infamous Fame.
Here’s my post from August 2016:
FAMOUS – BUT NOT IN A GOOD WAY
I love to write.
I love being able to create a world of my own. I love telling stories. I love the feeling when I come up with just the right word or phrase.
I love writing. I love what I’ve written. All of it. The good and the not-so-good. The words are mine and I find great pleasure in them.
And I also love being read. I love an audience. I love making someone laugh. Or touching someone with a heartfelt paragraph.
Of course, when something gives you this much satisfaction – and bliss – you do it for the sheer joy of it.
Recognition is secondary.
But oh, I will confess, I have an egocentric little piece of my brain that would love to be famous for something I have written.
And it has happened!
And not just in my little corner of Connecticut. Last week I became an international sensation.
On August 10, someone who logged on as “Your Friend” commented on my blog,
“You made it to a finnish newspaper”
And this “friend” added a link.
Oh boy, I thought…perhaps they have picked up one of my best blogs – maybe the one about visiting a nude beach (I still get hits to my blog from that one), or maybe one of the posts about my sweet puppy, or one of my pieces about being happier as I age. Or maybe the one I am most proud of – my essay on living with childlessness.
So with great anticipation, I clicked on the link.
And there it was. My tweet from a few days earlier.
Yes, my Olympic tweet.
A fortunate photographer had captured two of the German Field Hockey players standing side by side, and their names delighted the most tasteless and silly the of internet world.
And out of the probably hundreds (or maybe thousands) of the crassest of tweets, Finland chose mine!
What an honor!
I thought about the enormity of my Finnish fame for a few minutes.
Then I googled:
Nancy Roman Butt Fuchs
And OMG, my fame was everywhere!
“Kindisch” — Ja, I sure am.
And the U.K.
And dozens right here in the old U.S. of A.
Can you imagine?
Maybe I am famous all over the world right now!!!
My Dad would be so proud.
Thankfully, I did not use my maiden name.
AND NOW – My current claim to fame!. Or rather, Theo’s.
There is a Twitter person called “Thoughts of Dog” (@dog_feelings). This Tweeter has over 600,000 followers. And for good reason. His (or her?) tweets are just Perfection.
He tweets daily (sometimes more than once a day) on the thoughts of his sweet, generous, ungrammatical dog. The dog-thoughts brighten up the whole Twitter world – which is often a most depressing place.
And a month or so ago, I started tweeting back.
I always start, “Your fren Theo here.” (As Thoughts of Dog always uses the word fren – for both his real and imaginary frens.)
And since my twitter image is my dog – well, it works pretty perfectly.
And my responses are often well-liked by Thoughts of Dog’s many followers.
And two days ago I thought I hit the jackpot. Here’s the original tweet and my response.
Well, more than 100 Likes! Nowhere near Thoughts of Dog’s 40,000, of course, but pretty good! Although I was wishing that Theo could have shown a little more class.
But it turns out that was just a little taste (so to speak) of Theo’s coming fame.
For yesterday, Thoughts of Dog posted a tweet and Theo couldn’t wait to jump in and comment.
Yes. Theo crudely confessed that we have yet to have company he hasn’t peed on.
And Twitter really, really likes him. More than 600 likes and still counting.
Oh, Theo! You silly rascal you!
PS: If you have a Kindle, and haven’t yet bought my latest novel, LUCINDA’S SOLUTION, it is on sale this week as part of a special Amazon promotion – only $1.99 (versus the normal Kindle price of $4.99.) Click here to take a look.
What do I wish to accomplish?
Of course I want to lose weight and exercise and clean the house and take better care of my skin. And also, of course, write another book.
But on a day-to-day basis. I want to think.
And I want those thoughts to go to work. Maybe not go to work. To come out to play.
A while back I wrote about how I measure whether my day is successful. I have a checklist to ensure that I have done something good for
- My home
- My body
- My mind
- My work
- For someone else
- For sheer pleasure
That is a pretty reliable checklist.
For this new year, I am going to simplify it even more.
Every day: I want to THINK.
Think of something nice to say and say it.
I have long believed that every day we have opportunities to say nice things – to pay sincere compliments. To say, “What a good idea!” or “I love your shoes” or “You have been a great help to me.”
I saw a story on the internet of a woman who was trolled and harassed and ridiculed because she posted a photo of herself – and she is very overweight. To every person who harassed her, she answered with something nice about them. “I love that shade of lipstick on you!” “Your name is so cool!” etc. She wrote later than some people actually apologized, but many did not. And she said, “Maybe it didn’t do them any good at all… but I felt better.” Saying nice things does indeed make you feel better.
Think of something nice to do and do it.
I like to paint. But to do that I need to remind myself to do it. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of lots of nice things we can do. Because it is so easy to forget. Today, when I took the dog out, I did not also check my email, which I often do. Or even take his photo. With him being so cute, I take pictures almost every day. I can’t help myself. And although it is nice to do, something that is even nicer – is to just watch him be cute. To know that he is being cute just for me. To give him my total attention.
And tomorrow, I will bring lunch over to my mother. That’s easy. I already love doing that. But on the way, I will stop at the warming center and donate my old parka. Something nice to do. And I can.
Think of something nice to feel and feel it.
I don’t mean that in the physical sense, although that counts too. My kitten Thor is so warm and soft. Just holding him while he snuggles on my lap is a sweet sensation.
But I mean feeling a nice emotion. For New Year’s Eve, my husband came home with several pounds of king crab legs. Nice! When we put them on to boil, he commented on the old enamel stockpot. “Remember when we bought this?” he asked. And I did. We were just married and vacationing on the cheap in a small cottage in Rhode Island. We bought lobster and went to the local hardware store for this big pot. And every time we take it out, we remember our vacation. And feel that pleasure all over again.
Think of something nice to eat and eat it.
It doesn’t have to be king crab legs… though it’s pretty nice when it is. But as I just recently discovered – but should have known a long time ago – mindless eating is such a waste. After I eat something, I often don’t even remember eating it. I need to slow down. Savor.
Yesterday, I made popovers. I hadn’t made them in a very long time. I was kind of stressed, thinking about all the ways they could go wrong. And eating the first half of my popover, I was judging it and judging myself. Was it light enough? Cooked enough? Cooked too much? But I managed to stop. With the second half of my popover, I felt the airiness on my tongue, the perfect moist egginess. The popover-i-ness.
Yogurt is creamy, Peanuts are crunchy, Olives are salty. And coffee is heavenly. How lucky are we that we have such wonders to enjoy?
Think of something great to wear and wear it.
I know I am a bit of a broken record on this subject. But so many people dress in any old thing. It saddens me to think that they don’t enjoy the beauty and pleasure of clothes – a lovely color or a luxurious material. Shop with discrimination. Don’t say “good enough”. If you need a new sweater, buy one you love. If you only buy what you love, pretty soon your closet will be filled only with things you love, and you can wear something you love every single day. Even if it’s sweatpants – buy the soft ones.
Today I wore warm leggings to my yoga class. They are a crazy print of coral and jade and purple. All my other leggings are black or grey. These colorful ones were just what I needed.
I already know that tomorrow – when I visit my mother – I am going to wear the soft oversized pale pink sweater with my faded jeans. I can hardly wait. How nice is that – to be so happy thinking about a sweater? And how easy.
Think about something nice to listen to and listen to it.
With my popover (and yummy prime rib) dinner, I played my husband’s favorite – Roy Orbison. His plaintive unearthly voice broke through all the busyness and activities of the day. We had to put down our forks during “Blue Bayou” and just take it in.
Tonight while writing this, I put on Yo-Yo Ma playing Saint-Saens’ “The Swan.” And stopped typing.
Whether it’s Pit Bull or Judy Garland or La Traviata – we live in a world of music so accessible and yet so often taken for granted. Choose to listen.
Think about something nice to see and see it.
Sometimes you can plan this. Sometimes it just happens. But you have to SEE it.
When I dusted today, I picked up old brass candlesticks, a porcelain cat, a vase in the shape of a horse, a photograph of my husband as a baby, a heavy glass paperweight, a wrought-iron toy cash register that I use for a bookend. I am surrounded by beautiful things. I have joy in my house every day. It waits for me to see it.
And the unexpected beauty is just as wondrous. Be ready for it.
I have been practicing Yoga for 16 years. I’m still in the beginner’s class, and I probably will be for all my life. But that is okay with me. Yoga is called Practice for a reason. It is not called Competition.
So it does not matter if I’m not good at it. What matters is that I am “at it.”
It makes me feel good. Inside and out. I feel soothed after my practice. My mind is calm and my body is relaxed.
Here’s a benefit I will share with you, as I have shared with everyone interested in Yoga: I had suffered most of my life with debilitating backaches from Scoliosis. From the time I was fourteen, I spent more evenings than I can count lying on the floor, hoping for release. And 16 years ago, when I began my Yoga practice, the backaches went away. And they have stayed away.
Over the years I have had many Yoga teachers. Overwhelmingly, they have been wonderful. Yoga teachers are kind, supportive, and gentle.
There have been a couple of exceptions. I had one Yoga teacher a few years ago who seemed to get a lot of satisfaction by exhausting his students. He seemed happiest if he had managed to get us all down in Child pose, collapsed and panting, while he continued with his amazing poses. I discussed this with him. I said I felt discouraged because I couldn’t keep up. He told me Yoga was not a competition. Well, if you go back to my very first paragraph, you will see that I knew that. But I also knew it was not supposed to be discouraging either.
And then there was the very first Yoga teacher I had, who was actually a terrific teacher for beginners. She excelled at explaining and demonstrating the different poses so a novice could really understand. But the following year, she grew more and more what my husband calls “out there.” Her idea of Savasana (the relaxation period at the end of a session) got weird. The final straw was a 40 minute guided meditation where she thought we could join our minds to find the body of a murdered missing child.
Yeah. I’m not kidding.
But neither of those unpleasant experiences made me want to give up Yoga – not for one minute.
And I’ve had dozens of magnificent teachers. Like the teacher who told her class that she had a round soft belly, and showed up how easily Yoga can accommodate her belly and ours too. How nice is that? Not to have to be perfect.
And I had a teacher who took out all the mirrors in her studio so we could get better at feeling when our pose was good. It was Yoga from the inside out.
And there was the teacher who would raise us up from Savasana with her lovely songs. She sang to us and her sweet voice elevated our Yoga.
But teachers and students move on. They move to other jobs or other classes or other cities.
I really like my current Yoga teacher.
She’s graceful and talented and yet so down-to-earth. I especially like her knowledge of all the ancient Sanskrit yoga terminology – like “criss-cross applesauce” and “one potato, two potato”.
But she was away for the Christmas holiday.
So we had a substitute Yogi.
A young guy. Really tall and lanky. Very cute. Dimples. The kind of guy who made my heart melt – forty years ago. Not that I don’t enjoy looking now.
He may have been on semester break from college. I heard a couple of women say, “Oh, everyone knows your father.” But I didn’t listen further, because if his father was anyone but Darth Vader or James Taylor, I would have been disappointed. So I left the possibility in the air.
He was a challenging instructor. But his challenge was exhilarating, not discouraging.
And he had a very interesting outlook.
He possessed a philosophy about Yoga that upon reflection, was a philosophy that could be applied to Life.
And you’d be better for it.
Here are some of the ideas he shared with us.
“Your knees are the middle child of your legs, and so they need some special loving.”
All our body parts are in need of special loving. And like middle children, they are often ignored or just taken for granted. I wrote last year that I always hated my neck because it was short and thick, but now that I am older I have realized that it has always held my head up just fine. This nice Yoga teacher had us massage our knees. I came home and wrapped a nice warm scarf around my helpful – albeit short – neck.
“Throw back your head but in slow motion. Be like a shampoo commercial.”
We could all benefit from slowing down, being more graceful. And good background music wouldn’t hurt.
“If you don’t like this do it quickly and so it will be over. If you do like it, do it slowly and make it last.”
Sometimes you have to do things you don’t especially like. But there is no reason to agonize over them. Do it and move on. But if you are doing something you love – Savor it. I had a luscious piece of my favorite chocolate a few days ago, and I ate it while I was skimming through Twitter. Afterwards, I didn’t even remember eating it. I didn’t remember tasting it. Today, when I had one of my sister’s homemade chocolate chip cookies, I ate it tiny bit by tiny bit, and let it melt in my mouth.
“Take your face out of this pose.”
Relax that jaw. Unclench your teeth. My old Zaftig Yogini would say, “Use your cow face.” When I asked her what she meant, she said, “Did you ever see a tense cow?” And it’s true – when you unclench, you instantly feel better. But I see even more meaning in taking your face out of the pose – or out of the situation. To a great extent, your face reflects your feelings, your emotions, your reactions. Your body doesn’t always have to think. You don’t always have to think. You can just Be.
“Don’t be so “Yoga” about this Yoga.”
I think the Yoga dude was trying to tell us to relax. Not to be trying so hard. Yoga should not be stressful. Lots of things we do every day should not be stressful either. We don’t need to be so “kitcheny” when we kitchen, or so “worky” when we work, or even so “worshipy” when we worship.
On the other hand:
“You’ve already started the class; it’s too late to stay home.”
Once you commit, you might as well give it a try. It is actually possible to not stress and yet do your best at the same time. I found that out when I started painting again. I can give my work my full attention without a death-grip on the paintbrush.
Enjoy the smell of what you are cooking.
The flow of the ink through the pen and your handwriting on the paper.
The breeze you create when you swing that golf club.
The car moving when you step on the gas.
The warmth in your face when you smile.
When you laugh.
When you look at someone you love.
Time for Christmas reruns…
Here’s my favorite Christmas story. To my husband’s chagrin, I tell it often.
O CHRISTMAS PAN!
I met my husband in November 1989.
By Christmas, we were pretty much living together. We weren’t kids – he was in his forties and I was thirty-eight. So we didn’t see much sense in taking it slow.
Over decades of dating, I had learned one thing about love. You’re better off not expecting him to be perfect. Real love is not loving everything he does, but forgiving him for most of what he does.
The following year was the test.
Christmas 1990. We had been together just over a year, and I was just six weeks away from my fortieth birthday. These two events led me to conclude that my Christmas present would be an engagement ring. I was
And that Christmas morning we exchanged gifts. I can’t remember what I gave him. But I remember what he gave me.
A roasting pan.
And that’s not all. It seems he did all his shopping in one store – a kitchen store. I got dishtowels too. And an apron. Let me repeat. AN APRON.
I can’t even express how disappointed I was. I knew that he was a sweet guy, and didn’t mean to give me servant’s presents. He was actually excited about the pan. It was big. He likes big.
I smiled through it all, even though my jaw was beginning to hurt.
Then we went to his brother’s house for Christmas dinner. His brother had met his girlfriend about the same time my husband met me.
And guess what his brother’s girlfriend got for Christmas.
A diamond ring.
And she was twenty-six. I was thirty-nine. And what comes after thirty-nine? It was bad enough to be a forty-year-old bride, but now I wasn’t even going to be a forty-year-old bride.
“We’re engaged!” That little
That’s when I stopped smiling.
And later that evening, back at home…well, let’s just say I was slightly upset in a moderately loud way.
“You wanted a ring?” he asked, completely surprised.
It all ended well enough, I guess. I got my diamond ring six weeks later for my fortieth birthday. And we squeezed in a wedding before the end of the year (November 30, 1991 ) – so I didn’t have to be a forty-one-year-old bride.
My brother-in-law doesn’t even have that wife anymore.
And I have a diamond ring (a big one), and the same husband, and a roasting pan to boot.
But every Christmas, when I take the roast out of the oven, someone inevitably says, “What a great pan.”
I would recommend you not do that.
Want to give yourself a nicer Christmas present than a roasting pan? How about a good cry? I love a sad story, and my new novel, LUCINDA’S SOLUTION, is guaranteed to generate some nice cathartic tears. It’s available on Amazon by clicking this link.
I am by nature a cautious person.
It’s a well-entrenched part of who I am. And I don’t really expect to change significantly as I age. I don’t believe I will ever climb onto the back of a motorcycle or scale Mount Everest or throw a fit in public. Or go to Costco without a list.
But on the other hand, I am also discovering that caution can be confining.
Every month or so, I see a posting on a social media site about regret: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.” This is usually attributed to Mark Twain, although Mark Twain did not say it. But whoever did say might have been on to something.
Now that I am officially old – I used my Medicare card again this week – it always shocks me a bit to take that out of my wallet and see my name on it – I wonder sometimes what I missed because I was cautious. Interesting places I didn’t go to, jobs I didn’t apply for, delicious things I didn’t eat, fascinating people I didn’t talk to.
Although I am quite certain I will never be much of a reckless soul, I do think I am getting a little less reck.
And why not?
Whoever said that old age should be safe?
I’m 66.86 years old.
At best, I figure I have only 33% of my life left. And the first 67% went by in a flash (all except high school – that was interminable), so imagine how fast the rest will go when it is only half as long as my prior existence.
At worst, I am at the tail end of my life and I just don’t know it yet.
Either way – I’m on the downside.
So instead of taking itty bitty steps like you do when you are going down a slippery hill, why not sit down on your ass and SLIDE!
I’m having more fun now that I have less to lose.
I’m dying anyway. We all are – but there’s no denying I’m getting closer and closer. What the hell do I have to lose?
So I wrote those books that I had always been meaning to write.
I bought the convertible.
I got the dog. (see above photo.)
I went all the way blonde.
I kept all three kittens we were fostering. (see above photo and triple the cats.)
I took off my clothes at the nude beach. (no pics on this one!)\
My husband, being older than I, and male, is statistically on an even steeper, even slippier slope.
And he has often been even more risk-averse than I.
He has a generator AND a stack of wood that will fuel the woodstove and fireplace through 2027.
He feels we are dangerously low on eggs when we have only a dozen left.
The only place he would drive on a half a tank of gas is to the gas station to fill up.
But … on the other hand…
He built a house – an unbelievably magnificent house.
He also got the convertible, the dog, and three kittens. And accompanied me you-know-where – and loved it.
And this week he did the craziest thing a guy in his seventies could do.
And I encouraged and cheered him on.
If we are on the edge of the steep, slippery slope, we are not going to tiptoe over.
We are going to slide on our ass – and enjoy the ride.
So here is the newest member of the family.
His name is Moonlight.
P.S. After much distress and effort, My latest book LUCINDA’S SOLUTION is finally looking as good as I dreamed it could be – and is available on Amazon. I hope you will give it a try. Here’s the link: Lucinda’s Solution.
This morning at breakfast, I had some very nice toast and butter. My husband and I are careful with the carbs and the calories, so really good bread is a treat. We are also careful with the evening snacking, so I was really hungry.
But there was a pair of sad, pleading eyes staring up at me. A bottom lip thrust a little bit out.
And as hungry as I was, I gave that last bit of toast, so nicely buttered, to Theo.
Which of course made me think of:
Oh, she doesn’t have those mournful eyes or that trembling lip.
I’m thinking of her because now…
Now I understand.
I never had children of my own. Motherhood was a concept always just out of my reach, always just a bit out of focus.
But now I have a dog.
And now I am just a little bit closer to understanding motherhood. To understand my mother.
And I have something to say.
To Mom, who turns 94 this week, I’d like to say more than ‘Happy Birthday!’
I’d like to say:
I’m sorry for all the times you gave me the last cookie, the last M&M, the last piece of pie, when you really wanted it for yourself.
I’m sorry for all the times I acted like a brat to get your attention when you were with friends or talking on the telephone.
I’m sorry for all the times I was sick and I didn’t even try to make it to the bathroom, but threw up just wherever I happened to be.
I’m sorry for all the times that you were sick, but got up and got me fed and clean and dressed anyway.
I’m sorry for all the times you got me all bundled up in sweaters and snowpants and boots and scarves and mittens and hats and parkas – and then I stayed out for four minutes and wanted to come back in.
I’m sorry for all the times you told me that something was a really bad idea, and I did it anyway, and then I found out it was a really bad idea.
I’m sorry for all the times you were tired from your job and from making supper and from cleaning up from supper, and all you wanted to do was sit down and watch Andy Griffith, and I said: “Play with me!”
I’m sorry for all the things I broke because I wasn’t supposed to throw that thing in the house or run in my slippery socks or jump on the sofa.
I’m sorry for all the times I “helped” when I was much more of a nuisance than an actual help.
I’m sorry for all the noisy toys you ever bought me.
I’m sorry for all the times I whined and pleaded for new clothes that I just “had to have’ and then didn’t really like them that much after all.
I’m sorry for all the times I didn’t come when you called me. I’m sorry for all the times you wondered where I was and for all the times you had to picture me lying in a ditch.
I’m sorry for all the times you had to step in and settle the petty squabbles I had with my siblings, when it would have been so much easier to let us kill each other.
I’m sorry for all the times I made a mess right after you cleaned the house.
Oh yes. Now I understand.
And I understand how a mother forgives even before you say:
Happy Birthday, Mom!
Thanks for forgiving me for all that and more!
I wrote this blog exactly 2 years ago.
It’s a trivial subject – but then again – maybe not so trivial.
So I have added an update at the end with some recent photos.
This is BEAUTY!
Last week was Goldie Hawn’s 70th birthday.
I’m about a medium when it comes to celebrity infatuation. I’m not overly obsessed with the famous, but I am not above enjoying People magazine in the doctor’s office.
I like Goldie Hawn. She always had a unique look, and seemed to accept herself just as is. She appears to be at ease, embracing even, the character she created – the ditzy blonde who’s intelligent and shrewd underneath the giggles. And she even produced a couple of movies – like “Private Benjamin” – that exploited (in the best sense of the word) her rather adorable persona.
And on top of that, she has lived her life on her own terms.
So I like her.
And I became mildly incensed – is that possible? – mildly AND incensed? – it seems like a contradiction, but that description feels right – when I saw TWO internet articles recently about
“Stars Who Have Let Themselves Go”
And there she is: Goldie.
In the most unfair way possible.
First, these articles show a photo of Goldie in her most youthful loveliness
And then they jump to this:
This pisses me off.
The first photo is a glamour shot – taken by a professional, with hair and makeup and lighting just perfect.
And the second is probably the result of some paparazzi with a telephoto lens shot while Goldie was taking out the garbage or something.
And that’s called “Letting Yourself Go.”
Why wouldn’t they compare the first photo to a comparable contemporary pic? Nicely dressed, hair and makeup done?
Like this one:
Or perhaps, let’s do the opposite.
If you are going to show a bad “Old Goldie” – why not compare to a bad “Young Goldie”?
Or – even better, why not show “Bad Young Goldie” side by side with “Nice Old Goldie”?
And then you could say:
“Stars Who Just Keep Getting Better”
For God’s sake, Goldie is SEVENTY years old! She isn’t letting herself go. She is letting herself AGE. And pretty well, I might add.
And some nasty folks might be thinking, “She’s probably had some work done.” Well, sure. She works in HOLLYWOOD. Where you are not allowed to age, remember?
And while I’m at it, let’s defend Barbra Streisand too, who always makes these “shocking photos” lists.
Instead of showing her horrible aging process:
Wouldn’t it be so much nicer to show her fabulous aging process?
Holy Crap! She’s gorgeous!
Right now! Gorgeous!
In the U.S. there are 43 million people over the age of 65.
And in a few months, I will be one of them.
And we are getting more beautiful every year.
So here is my update:
Here’s what we old women look like in 2017:
Goldie – Now 72:
Barbra – now 75:
And me – closing in on 67:
Us three girls!