Touching the Planet

WordPress offers the opportunity to look at your blog statistics. Those include how often people clicked on the blog and in which countries. So far my blog has had views from twenty-eight countries. According to Google, there are 196 countries on this planet. I just stamped the math out with my hoof. According to my calculations, I have 164 countries to go.

I’ve only been blogging for since April. It’s exciting to imagine what countries I’ll have touched by this time next year. My goal is one post each day, Monday through Friday.

Dear Readers, if you know anyone in the countries not listed, please send them a link!

Loving Sixty Five has traveled to:

The United States is the winner with 3694 views. Thanks, Americans.

India  Germany  Kenya  Canada  China

The United Kingdom  Pakistan  Ireland  Philippines

Belize  Australia  Hungary  Czech Republic

Singapore  Italy  South Africa  Belgium

Sweden  Brazil  Costa Rica  Spain  Thailand

Bahamas  Greece  Venezuela  Switzerland  France 

 

Isn’t the internet astonishing?  I’m delighted Al Gore invented it.

 

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Great discounts for being sixty-five. Who knew?

Being sixty-five is good because I now get Medicare, who doesn’t like to save at the Doctors office?
Geriatric stuff will soon be advertised on my old people’s blog —Stuff like Cialis. I love that name “Cialis”.   cialis
In my brain, I spell it “See Alice.” tee hee.

Here is a list of great stuff for us oldies.

Discounted Memberships, Travel, Entertainment, and More: Numerous clubs, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and other organizations that begin their discount programs at 65 years old. Here is a very short list of a few.
· Boston Market offers 10% off
I love Boston Market, particularly their chicken salad.   Boston market

· Taco Bell offers 5% off and/or a free beverage  taco bell

· Rite Aid offers a 25% discount on the first Wednesday of each month I don’t think we have Rite Aid here in Q-tip country. (We Floridians are called Q-tips because to the drivers behind us we look like little fluffy white blobs, our heads barely above the head rest.)

· Alaska Airlines offer 10% off

· American Airlines offers several discounts

· InterContinental Hotels Group offers various discounts

· Southwest Airlines offers many discounts

· United Airlines offers numerous discounts
(I had no idea! We always fly United. Hopefully, the discounts include terrific things like money and sparkly stuff.)

· U.S. Airways offers varied discounts

The next few are blah blah blah saving…..If they help you, yay you…As for me, shrug and fuggedaboutit.· Carmike Cinemas offers 35% off

· AT&T offers their special Senior Nation 200 Plan for $29.99 a month

· Verizon Wireless offers their Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan for $29.99 a month
· AARP Membership Discounts – Membership is only $16 a year and worth it for the discounts, you can get.

Okee Dokee all you big money advertising folk—time to find my blog and make me rich and famous. I know you will. It’s just a matter of time.

Hip Hip Hooray, Sandy came to stay!

My excellent friend, Sandy, came to visit!  She and I were neighbors when we were married to our first husbands.  Sandy moved on shortly before I did.

We each bought small Sears Bungalow homes in the Village of Barrington.  We would meet early every morning and walk for hours, covering mile after mile.  Following our rambles, we’d go to the local Starbucks, sit outside with coffee, and watch the commuters heading to the train.

We often bumped into a former neighbor, Ned.  Ned was reputed to be connected with the Mafia.  He always sat in a corner with his back to the wall.  I have no idea if the Mob rumors were true.  Sandy and I liked to imagine they were.  It made Ned seem mysterious and vaguely dangerous.  We envisioned long-lensed cameras trained on us as we sat chatting with him and his brother, the head of the local Teamsters union.

In spite of Mafia speculation, both guys were friendly, made us laugh, and paid for our coffee. ( Tony Soprano was often fun and funny too.  Until he wasn’t.)

Clearly, the law thought Ned had done something nefarious. He ended up doing a stint in the men’s penitentiary.  Each holiday Sandy and I would sit at Starbucks, write him letters, and clue him in on who was swilling coffee that day.  He always wrote back.  Following his release, he told us how much he appreciated those wacky notes. (*see note at end of this post)

My first Thanksgiving as a single person was spent with Sandy.  We’d both been invited to share the day with different large families, but we chose to put on our walking shoes and hoof around town.  I remember kicking dried autumn leaves and smelling the scent of roasting turkey wafting on the chilly breeze.   Unconventional, we planned to cook a Thanksgiving meal of steaks, baked potatoes, and asparagus.  Instead, we ended up swilling apple martini’s and too schnockered to turn on the grill.  Fortunately, my daughter Mo turned up and did the food prep.  The parts of the evening I remember were lots of fun.

Ultimately Sandy made the decision to move to Colorado.  She loaded two bikes on the back of her car, set out alone to parts unknown.  Now she’s as happy as a clam (where does that saying come from?  How does anyone know if clams are happy?), spending her life teaching Pilates, mountain biking and taking long rocky hikes.

I have a million happy Sandy stories.  She’s delightfully childlike.  But also really deep and into metaphysical reading.  I will give her Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Maybe she’ll get it.  I sure didn’t.

Here is a curious Sandy fact–In the early ’80s she and I lived within two miles of each other in Buck’s County, Pa.  We both happened to shop at a tiny independent grocery store.  Mo threw up there several times.  (I blogged about Mo’s constant car sickness and was going to reference the blog date here….Can’t ferret it out. ) Trust me, Mo tossed her cookies frequently for the better part of her first four years.  I clearly recall being in the produce aisle at that independent grocery when Mo was puking.  I noticed a petite young mother with a cart full of tiny girls.  Three blonds and a red-head.

Fast forward to the Chicago suburbs.  I met the petite young mother and her four little chicks!  She and I put it together she had lived in Yardley, Pa. when my family was in nearby Washington Crossing.  Clearly destined to be friends, eh?

Yesterday Sandy and I spent the entire day in silly and serious conversation, reminiscing, and putting Ina Garten’s cookbooks in the order we figured they’d been published.  Ina has gotten chunkier with each volume.  We examined Ina’s book jacket photos, peering at her freckled, round face.  Sandy devised a competition.  Who could line up the books in chronological order based on the fullness of Ina’s face?  Sandy won.

I served only Ina recipes during Sandy’s stay.  I’ve gotten chubby on Ina’s good food.  Ina’s gotten chubby on Ina’s good food.  But Sandy didn’t get one ounce fatter!  How does she do that? Furthermore, she gobbled darn near an entire bag of Dove dark chocolates.  Not fair.

Friday Sandy went to the fancy schmancy Don Cesar Hotel on St. Pete Beach, where she attended a wedding.  I loaned her Gracie, my designed-to-impress Honda mini-van.  I know the well-heeled guests were awed when they got a gander of Gracie’s Dollar Tree steering wheel cover.

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Only the best for my Gracie girl.  Yes, I’m a hillbilly at heart.

Jim and I took Sandy to the Tampa airport on Saturday.  When we got home we read what she had written in our guest book.

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Jason is Jim’s son.  Jason has scads of entries in the guestbook.   We are delighted Sandy has chosen to compete with him.  Go forth and depose Jason as king of the guest book.  I’ll  start stocking up on Dove dark chocolates.

Yay  Sandy!  We are thrilled to know you will be back again in July,  September, November (bring my birthday gift. cash is king)….and so forth.  Love you, sweet friend.

*Sandy read this and reminded me we got one letter back, “return to sender.”  We’d glued bits and bobs of random stuff to the card.  Seems glue is penitentiary prohibited.  So, gentle readers, keep that in mind when next you write to felons.

 

Dieting…does it ever end?

I was a chubby kid.  I don’t think I realized I was chubby until riding my bike past neighbor Sam Overman’s house.  I was rounding the corner when Sam shouted, “Hello, Fatty.”

I already felt like an odd duck due to my rampant freckles, vivid red hair and titanium white skin.  Adding “fatty” to my list of perceived flaws was uncomfortable.  Red, white and fat-all-over.

Thus began my journey of starvation.

My sister Marilyn and I started our first diet together the summer between my ninth and tenth grades.  We drew a small grid of squares on paper and taped it on her closet wall.  Each day we were allowed to advance thumbtacks a certain number of squares determined by how many calories we ate daily.   500 calories, three squares.  600 calories, only two squares.  If we went as high as 900 calories we couldn’t advance at all.  Marilyn is four years older than I and has amazing self-discipline. She was the ideal first diet coach.

Normally sedentary as kids–Marilyn a voracious reader, me a sit on my butt and color kid—we began taking long walks.  Yup, we lost weight.  I went to tenth grade looking radically different from the girl Sam Overman had taunted.

Twiggy was in Vogue back then.  She became my role model for perfection in body type.  Remember her? Bone thin, toothpick arms and legs, big eyes, short skirts.  She painted long black eyelashes on her lower lids.  I did too.

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My 1960s dream body

Other diets I recall–

College with room-mate Kris Kraft.  We shared clothes and religiously recorded calories.

Starving with another college buddy, Joanne Pickle.  Pickle’s are a slimming food and Joanne was also slim.  But we starved together in spite of her name and our already tiny frames.

At twenty-eight I got pregnant.  I gained sixty-five pounds during my nine pregnant months.  A friend told me I looked like my pores would soon ooze yellow fat.  He asked, “Are you going to deliver out of your gargantuan thighs?”  He was teasing, but the message was clear.  I was a behemoth.

Nearing pre-eclampsia my family doctor, Perry Mitchell ordered me to bed rest.  (Yes, I used a family doctor to catch my breech baby.  But that’s a  story for another day.)  I was to spend the last thirty days of my pregnancy in bed, lying on my left side.

I was allowed one trip a day up and down the stairs.  Each morning I waddled down, loaded a tray with food–mostly cream cheese and crackers—then struggled back up again. I laid down on my left side and spent my day reading and pigging.

Shortly after Matt’s birth, while at a restaurant, I was in a lady’s room stall and over-heard two of the women in our group cattily discussing how large I’d gotten.  “She’ll certainly never be slim again!” one crowed. The other gleefully agreed.

I got mad.  And I got thin.  Following Matt’s birth I ate carefully and nursed.  Eating carefully was a new wrinkle.  When I got pregnant the Doctor told me to eat an egg a day. I chose a Cadbury Creme egg.   Eating carefully meant switching from Cadbury Creme to chicken eggs.

My goodness!  Did the pounds fall off!  By the time Matt was six months old I weighed less than I had at his conception.  Plus I nursed.  Nursing is an excellent weight loss tool.  (Note to self: Perhaps I should become a wet-nurse.  That would keep me slim for life.)

Clinical depression is also a useful weight loss tool, but I don’t recommend it.

I’ve been dieting again and it’s working.  I’m on a low carbohydrate, scads-of-protein-not much fun, diet.  It includes appetite suppressants and weekly shots in the butt.  I’m supposed to drink a gallon of water daily.  I spend lots of time in the bathroom and little time perusing the refrigerator.

My mother spent a lifetime dieting. Mother loathed her middle-aged plumpness.  Whenever a group photo was taken she insisted on standing behind others.  In most old photos only her head appears peeking between the shoulders of those in the front row.

She died in her sleep at eighty-two.  After her death, while cleaning out her things, Marilyn and I un-earthed a small calorie counter book in her purse.  Eighty-two and she was still striving for some body other than the one she lived in.

Here’s what I wonder…Why do most women feel as though if they don’t look like Twiggy, or whoever is their ideal body role model, we aren’t good enough?  I’m not saying it’s smart to allow ourselves to get morbidly obese.  But how sad so many of us expect to still be sporting the bodies we had at age sixteen.

When I die in my sleep  (Yes, that’s my intention.  Just not tonight, thank you very much God)  my kids will come to clean out my stuff.  I sincerely hope they do NOT find a carbohydrate counter in my purse.  But I’m hoping they find Continue reading “Dieting…does it ever end?”

Pony Club Wanna’ Be

I went to a huge birthday luncheon yesterday.  There must have been thirty women, of whom I knew about five.   I rarely attend big functions because I can’t hear.   I take my response cues from visual indicators when a person speaks to me.

If you smilingly tell me you’re having your head amputated tomorrow, I will grin and respond, “That’s terrific.  Sounds like fun.”

But I like the guest of honor, so I crafted a small gift, filled out a lovely Dollar Tree card and hitched a ride in neighbor Lynda’s fancy new white BMW.

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That’s Lynda in the middle.  Gayle, on the right, has all the red carpet poses when being photographed.  She has tried to teach me.  It involves a lot of twisting hips one way, shoulders another, and crossing legs in a balancing act I’m incapable of.  They were both laughing at my Joe Cocker-like attempts to “Gayle pose”.

By now you might be wondering why I titled this post “Pony Club Wanna’ Be”.

Here’s why:  In an attempt to meet a few strangers seated near me I began asking, “So, what do you do when you aren’t attending birthday luncheons.”  The woman across from me said she rides horses.

Horses!  I was immediately transported to my youth when I so BADLY wanted a horse.  I’d watched both the movie National Velvet and the early 1960’s TV show of the same name.  At one point the TV show offered a colt to the viewer that came up with the best name Colt name.

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I mailed in many name possibilities.  One was Misty,  after Misty of Chincoteague.  Certain I would win, I begged my mother to allow us to house Misty in our backyard.  We lived in a suburban split level on 1/4 acre.  Amazingly, she agreed easily.  In retrospect granting Misty a home was a simple “yes”,  since the odds of my actually manifesting that animal was slim to none.

I didn’t win, but later I had the opportunity to (sort of) have a horse.  One winter friend Ann Purcell’s parents took in two camp horses, animals ridden hard at summer camps and needing foster care for winter.  Ann and I spent hours riding those animals.  Her’s horse was named Party Line, far more spirited than the short, round, brown and white animal I rode.  (name forgotten)  I loved old What’s-His-Name.

Such a delicious experience.  I can still picture looking down the road between my horse’s  ears, watching Party Line’s russet rump and tail swaying.  There was one big hill where Party Line would take off at a gallop. What’s-His-Name and I would race along behind.  I could still hear then, and the sound of thundering hooves was thrilling.

One day in late spring our mother’s gave us permission to cut school and spend the entire day riding.  We rode those animals all the way into Newark, Delaware, and right to our houses.  Yay!  Even though it wasn’t Misty, I finally did get to have a horse in my own backyard!

I’m glad I stepped out of my silent comfort zone and went to yesterday’s party.  It gave me an opportunity to reflect back on that happy horsey experience.