Loving Sixty Seven

Yup.  Another year older and I had a great “all-about-me” day.

The first thing that happens on birthdays is I go looking for the three cards my husband hides in plain sight. Always three.  This year they were: One) next to my toothbrush.  Two: On top of the computer.  Three) Next to our coffee pot.

That coffee pot deserves a blog post all by itself.  It’s a fancy stainless steel contraption that does everything but babysit.   A gift to us from our friend, neighbor, realtor Lynda after she sold our house.  I love our coffee pot.  I love Lynda too.  But I digress. Back to the birthday.

I held onto the cards until Jim crawled out of the feathers.  My husband is a gifted sleeper.  I envy that.  We always open them together.  He buys fancy expensive cards.  Me, I shop the Dollar Tree.

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While waiting for Sleepy to get up, I began my birthday carbohydrate fest.  Breakfast.  A Gluten-free English muffin smeared with copious amounts of Philadelphia cream cheese.  I toasted it all dark and crunchy and delicious.  Lunch was a repeat of breakfast.  Snack was a repeat of lunch.  It was divine.

Then there was my present!  Copic Markers.   I’ve never used Copic markers and have signed up for a class this week.  The class is within walking distance at a darling art supply store named WhimSoDoodle.  It’s dangerous having art supplies a block away.  I’m constantly buying things I don’t need with money I don’t have.  It’s an illness.

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Then the phone calls began pouring in.  I get lots of calls and cards because years ago, at the end of October, I would send out notices–“Only thirty shopping days left!”  I no longer have to do that.  The people are conditioned.  It’s grand.

Several of the calls are predictable.  Karen always mocks me for being old.  Richie calls to tell me November is NOT my month, it’s his.  Which is wrong.  He gets the nineteenth.  I get all the other days.  The kids call and that lights me up.  Aunt Peggy.  Bunches of other buddies.  Or they text.  Joyous!

Then a very happy surprise.  Elton John got an ear infection.  What does that have to do with me?  Well, Rusty and Lynda were to go to an Elton John concert on November 28th, aka “Alice Day.”  The concert was canceled so they drove to Saint Petersburg.  They brought flowers and wine and joined us for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Gratzzi, also within walking distance.  I can see their black and white awning from our balcony.

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Because I hadn’t had enough carbs for one day I chose risotto.  Delicious.  Lynda and I happily split a bottle of red wine.  For dessert, the waiters brought me tiramisu with a candle.  I made a wish, blew it out and know, for sure, that wish will come true.

Have you ever made tiramisu?  I tried one year for Richie’s birthday.  Ended up serving it in bowls and calling it tiramisoup.  I’ve had my fair share of cooking fails.  One dinner party I left the baked potatoes in the oven for so long by the time I served them all that was left was the skin.  They guys used them as baseball gloves to pass the dinner rolls.  The following day they hauled those shriveled brown shells along to the golf course and teed their balls up on them.  My cooking has improved since I made friends with Ina Garten.

After dinner, we toddled home where Lynda and I opened another bottle of red.  That one we didn’t finish.

The birthday continued into yesterday when Charki and Doug asked us to stop over.  They had a gift for me.  She knows I’m all about positive thinking, saying “Yes” to the Universe.

Here is what I got.

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I just learned more cards are coming my way.  Amy sent theirs early, priority mail only to learn they ended up in Massachusets.  She is disappointed, but I feel like it gives me something to look forward to.

Now, the excitement continues for another year.  My goal, to get serious about writing.  Classes are twice a week, also within walking distance.

Sixty-seven is terrific so far.

 

 

 

 

I used to ask, “Why me?” Now I say, “Why NOT me!”

Positive thinking can manifest whatever we desire.  My entire beautiful life was created by dreaming it up.  The manifestation of this life began after I ended my first marriage.

I was floundering with fear.  My lovely niece, Katie, sent me a small book, “The Prayer of Jabez.”   It’s a short little prayer.  Short was good.   My brain was so fried I couldn’t focus on much.

The prayer is composed of four parts. First, Jabez asks God to bless him. Second, he asks God to enlarge his territory or increase his responsibility. Third, he prays that God will be with him and stay close. Lastly, Jabez asks that God keep him from harm so that he will be free from pain.  In my prayer I changed that last bit to, “Let me cause no pain”– a largely impossible feat when breaking up a family.

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That first summer I walked miles, praying the prayer like a mantra.  Amazingly doors simply flew open.

Probably the most astonishing door was the one leading to product design.  NOTHING in my background would indicate I had the ability to design three-dimensional product, made in China, sold at Costco.

But a wonderful neighbor, Cynthia Voetsch, saw my struggle.  She owned a business that did exactly that–designed and manufactured lawn and garden items, as well as furniture–all of which was sold at Costco not only in USA, but England, Mexico, and Canada.  Cynthia  hired me on monthly retainer.  Here is one of the first products I ever designed in collaboration with my later partner, Mary Beth Vieha.

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This is Sarah.  She is a resin sculpture/bird-bath.  When we first bought our copy she was nice and clean. I lined her bowl with ice, topped the ice with lettuce and she served shrimp cocktail.    Now she stands in our front yard.                                                                                    Yes, that is a chain around her ankle.  We don’t want her to run away from home.

I even got to have my picture on the box!  You bet I’ve saved that giant piece of cardboard.  Co-worker Mary Beth touched up my make-up.
Another, Terry Pfister, dragged me outside to stand in front of a tree and shot several pictures.  This is the one that made the cut.

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Many of  my friends and neighbors bought Sarah.   Judy Nolan sends me photos of her Twin Lakes, Wisconsin Sarah every season.  Sarah has acres of lush flowers and foliage at her feet.

Costco sold a ton of those Sarah’s.   In fact, last summer while visiting Chicago, I ran into a Sarah in Roscoe Village.  I felt fancy.

So, take it from me, positive thinking can change your world.  Now I’m off to meditate.  Will put a post-it note on my chest saying, “Meditating not sleeping.  DO NOT HURL THE POOL BALL.”  Life is excellent.

I’m deaf, and this is good because…..

Jen Sincero writes that we need to think positive thoughts in order to manifest all great things in our world. If there is something negative in your life, you tack on the words, “….and this is good because.”

Tried it with my husband, Jim. His was, “I’m bald. And this is good because I don’t have to comb my hair.”

I’m deaf. I’ve been deaf for about 15 years. Lost my hearing when I had pneumonia.

Being deaf is good because…..

Loud noises don’t wake me up at night.
When I read I simply take out my hearing aids and instant quiet.
I get attention by saying, “I’m hearing impaired.”
I’m learning to lip read.

Try this little exercise! Last night I talked to a great friend who has very little money. She tried it. She said, “Being poor is good because I don’t have to worry about fluctuations in the stock market.”

Keeping the positive vibrations flowing. So, all of you, go forth and prosper. Have a beautiful positive day. Hooray for today. Is anyone reading this? Maybe not many, but eventually the multitudes will discover my blog and yay yay hip hip hooray I’ll be rich and famous and tall with long legs.

jen sincero    Go buy her book!  So great!

Ah! First crushes were enormous, weren’t they?

Recently I found my meditating mind circling back to my youth. It occurred to me that another great thing about being sixty-five is the angst of my younger years is behind me.

When I didn’t have much time booked on this planet everything seemed enormous! Now, not so much.

For a time being my big anxiety centered around Carl Jacobson. I clearly remember the hours/weeks/months fretting over him. He was the dreamboat I “loved” in Junior High. He was gorgeous in a Paul McCartney floppy hair way.

Carl played alto saxophone, so I took up sax. I planned to sit next to him in band practice. Little did I know he was lead chair, I was last chair. Our paths didn’t cross. Plus I learned playing sax was a pain–you had to put the dry reed into your mouth and hold it until it became flexible. That made me gag. Furthermore being in band involved wearing ugly black and gold wool uniforms with ridiculous tall feather adorned hats.

Another “nab Carl Jacobson” plan involved basic stalking. Walking by his house. Going wherever he might go. Once I went to a MYF dance (Methodist Youth Fellowship) because rumor had it he’d be there. The passing clothing fad was denim pants that rolled up to just above the knees and wide horizontal stripe t-shirts. Mine was navy and white, purchased at National 5 and 10 on Main Street, Newark, Delaware.

The afternoon of the dance I worked for hours on my “look”. Set hair in big rollers and sat under the dryer. The dryers in the 60’s were plastic boxes with flexible tubing attached. The other end of the tube was hooked into a bubble cap that blew up like a balloon when the dryer was running. My dryer had a fancy feature whereby you could put perfume into a certain spot and your hair would come out smelling amazing. I used Jean Nate.

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Then I put on my jean shorts and tee-shirt. Standing in front of my mom’s full length mirror I saw I had very big, very obvious thigh saddle-bags. I reasoned that I could reduce the look of those fat wads by stuffing Kleenex into my pants just above the widest leg lump. Not the best plan. I didn’t consider the fact the tissue balls would shift. By the time I ran into Carl Jacobson my backside appeared to have tumors.

Goodness, I spent a lot of my youth sweating the very small stuff. Being old is good because it’s given me perspective. Yay for being sixty-five.

Growing up in a college town was good because…

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I grew up in Newark, Delaware, home of the University of Delaware and the Fighting Blue Hens.  As a kid I took hearing the marching band on autumn Saturdays completely for granted.  Now, looking back, I realize what a gift it was to live close to the Delaware stadium.

In junior high school I had a close friend, Ruthie, who lived a stones throw from a boy’s  dormitory.  We were eager to get inside that dorm.  I was thinking we might actually see a naked boy or two.  I didn’t have a brother, so the prospect of seeing boy body parts was thrilling.  We dug through her brother Steven’s drawers, pulled out piles of guy’s clothing and dressed up like boys.  We then marched our male selves into the dorm.  I don’t remember much about it other than the place smelled like sweaty sneakers.  No naked guys, but it was still a big adventure.

The college campus was a wonderful playground.

I went to U of D and was an art major in the early 70’s.  It was a fun experimental time.  Junior year I gave a friend a bong for  her birthday. When her dad found it she told him it was a sculpture I had made in class.  Wild times and lots of laughs.

That same year  I got a job working at the Stone Balloon serving pitchers of beer.  My mother was horrified that I was “a bar maid”.  The Balloon was owned by a man named Bill Stevenson.  His then wife, Jill, was a beautiful blond who would come into the bar  looking somewhat bewildered.  She later married Joe Biden, and the rest is history.

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Who out there remembers the Stone Balloon?  Bruce Springsteen played there as did Tiny Tim.   The other bar in town was the Deer Park.  That’s where the frat boys hung out. The Balloon was for “hippies” according to my ex-husband.  Guess I was a hippie.  I had a peace sign necklace and marched in a Viet Nam war protest ( but only because I had a crush on a guy who was marching…I now realize a lot of my choices in life were motivated by crushes.)

I dated that boy for about a year.  He went on to become gay.  I wonder if dating me drove that?   He was the drum major in Delaware’s marching band and a fellow art major.  We tie died tee shirts together and spent an illegal night in the art studio.  He was cute, funny, and a wonderful dancer.

Somehow I wandered off the growing up in a college town topic.  Oh well.  It’s my blog.  I get to do whatever the heck I want with it.  Life is good.

University of Delaware

 

 

 

Once every sixty-five years I do yard work whether it needs it or not.

Four years ago Jim and I bought our little patch of Florida.  The house we chose was built in the 1980s  (a grim chapter in architectural design) and had absolutely no landscaping.  In nearly forty years not one previous owner dug a hole and dropped in a bush or two?   Weird.

Shortly after moving in we found a landscape designer and had the place prettied up.  Along the sidewalk he planted Emerald Goddess Liriope.  It was beautiful the first year, pretty the second, tired the third and now, coming up on four years, it looks sad and mostly dead.

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Our pathetic plants.
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What they are supposed to look like (only in focus instead of all blurry).

Yesterday I suggested to Jim we rip out all thirty-two plants and replace them with something that “stays nice.”  Jim simply laughed.  I took that as a “fat chance, lady.”

So I decided to do a little internet research.  It seems liriope is to be pruned back early each spring.  Who knew?

I have always loathed yard work.  I know some among you find it therapeutic and satisfying.  By all means, come here for your therapy and satisfaction.   Me, I’d sooner endure a root canal than a day yanking weeds.   However, yesterday some insanity overcame me!  I decided to cut those darn bushes to the ground.  I grabbed the kitchen shears and had my way with seven of them.

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An hour after hacking away, seven down twenty-five to go!  Keep scrolling down here.  There is a big dead white space under this photo.  Figuring out how to do away with it is above my pay grade.  And no clue where the “K” below this post came from.

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Early this morning I hit the yard once again.  Halfway through the first bush of the day my arthritic old hands declared a strike.  I went to Jim and he set me up with a power tool!  I ripped through the rest of those plants like a hot knife through butter.

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Power!  It was a chain saw massacre.

Now I merely have to sit back and wait for manifestation of new growth!  Altogether the yard work was a satisfying experience.  Perhaps I’ll do it again in another sixty-five years.

Bovine Belly-Aching

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I have been wrestling with this painting for months. Three cows on a canvas 5 feet wide and four feet tall.

What? You say you only see two cows? Well, look closely. You’ll see the ghost of number three there on the lower left hand corner.

They are a family. Mom, Bossy, is in the middle. The other two are sisters.  Maisie is on the right. Daisy is the ghost.

So far I’ve “killed” Daisy four times. Paint her. Hate her. Obliterate her.  Paint her again.  Hate her again.  Obliterate her again.  And so on…
Our garage has been a bloodbath. Whenever Bossy sees me approaching the canvas with my black paint loaded brush she trembles.  Meanwhile Maisie smirks.  Sibling rivalry being what it is, Maisie kind of likes Daisy meeting her demise on a regular basis.

I’m considering painting a tombstone onto the left side and calling it a day…”R.I.P. Daisy.”

I paint in the garage, thereby rendering half the space unavailable.  Jim has been enormously patient with my plodding pace. He buys into my lies that, “Art can’t be rushed.” Tee Hee. My bad.

This huge painting is destined for our kitchen wall.  The fact that I’ve not finished the painting is GOOD BECAUSE when I finally do complete the girls, we will enjoy them all the more for having waited. Yup. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Now, all you peeps go have a very good nice fun filled and possibly cow filled day.

Time to manifest a shower. 🙂

I finally learned to cook, thank you very much Ina Garten!

I love the Barefoot Contessa.  If you don’t use her recipes, start! They are all marvelous.

I used to be considered a terrible cook. My go to dinner party recipe was mom’s “Party Chicken”. Party chicken consisted of rolled up boneless chicken breasts wrapped in bacon,  then smothered with a mixture of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and sour cream.  I sprinkled on a dash of paprika to make it beautiful.  The recipe was very 70’s and evidently not very good.
There came a time when one regular guest announced he wasn’t coming to dinner ever again if I served “f’n” party chicken.  (Richie, you know I’m talking about you.)

Then I found Ina! Last night we had dinner guests. I served all Ina recipes. Oven roasted chicken with lemon and onions (See sidebar) .  As sides I served green beans gremolata and  herbed basmati rice (both also Ina’s recipes).   The chicken recipe came from her latest book,  Cooking for Jeffrey.

Yum Yum and triple yum. One guest gushed about how much he loves my cooking. Clearly he never had my party chicken.

I did go off the reservation and make key lime pie with Joe and Nellies key lime juice. Easy Peezy and always delicious. Made real whipped cream to top it and even zested a lime for garnish. Yes, I’m awesome. You will be too once you start making Ina’s recipes.

I love Ina.  Maybe I’ll write her a letter today.  Better yet, maybe she will stumble across this blog just as you have!

I know you are out there. It’s just a matter of time before you find me.

Now, on to finish my book club book–The Girls of Atomic City.  After you read Ina’s recipe, go read that book.  Very good read.

Barefoot Contessa

joe and nellies key lime juice

The Girls of Atomic City

Sixty-Five! And this is good because….

Most people aren’t thrilled about sixty-five. They think of it as the beginning of their last chapters on this planet.
Whooo Hoooo! I’m sixty-five! I’ve been sixty-five since November 28th, but only recently embraced it.

Sixty-Five is a turning point age. Like thirteen, without acne. Or sixteen, but already have a driver’s license.
Other turning point ages: Eighteen, Twenty-one, Forty….then they sort of go along for decades until you hit SIXTY-FIVE!
But here is why I have embraced sixty-five (other than Medicare): I read a TERRIFIC book and I’m planning to use the tools in that book to manifest the most awesome rest of my life possible.

The book, you ask? (Yes, there are many “yous” out there. Eventually, you will all find this brand spanking new blog and possibly ride along with me now and again.)

The book is You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. It’s a fun read and quite convinced me that I can manifest anything I want in my life by the amazing wattage of hooking into my higher power. I think of my higher power as “BF”—aka Benevolent Force. Sometimes I call BF God. But mostly I call BF “best friend.”

Check out Jen’s best selling book at jensincero.com

This refreshing down to earth fun funny little book is my starting point for rocking the rest of my life.
She maintains we can manifest anything we want in our lives simply by the power of our thoughts! Everything we desire is already HERE, we simply have to believe and BF mixed with our beliefs will pop that no longer elusive marvelous item right into our world. How cool is that?

I tested this yesterday in the packed parking lot of our local Publix grocery store. Not one single open space to be found. So I said to myself, “Yes there is. There is an open space quite near the entrance.” Lo and Behold, just as I thunk it a car pulled out of the exact perfect spot and we pulled in. Now that is quite the ideal litmus test, eh?

There’s lots more. Like the little line “….and this is good because.” More on that tomorrow. Now I’m off to manifest clean laundry. 👏20170326_192704     go buy the book!  It’s terrific.          jen sincero