Wednesday, August 24, 2016

On Being Positive
People who must use walkers in their daily activities are often seen shopping, and they do it without problems. They have a bag at the front of the walker in which to deposit their purchases and thus can remain independent.
          A few days ago as I was grocery shopping, I saw a lady pushing a walker down an aisle while also pulling a shopping cart. She had already deposited several items in the cart and was adding to her purchases. As it was a lot work for her, I offered to help. She smiled and replied: “Thank you, dear. You have your own shopping to do. I can manage. Do it all the time.”
          I was really impressed by her positive attitude. I did the rest of my shopping slowly while keeping an eye on the woman. She managed well despite some physical limitation and has obviously learned to make the best of her situation to remain independent.
          At the cash, the bag boy who knew her by name helped her to empty her cart, then carried her purchases to a waiting taxi. I wondered if someone would be waiting at home to help her with the groceries. No doubt the cabbie, who also seemed to know her, would do just that.
          What I found nice was that through it all, she was pleasant and grateful. So much better than some people with mobility issues who seem to be always cursing their fate while complaining. Makes life so much less enjoyable for everyone.
          A nurse I know told me recently that she takes grumpy patients to task for their attitude. She says that a positive outlook can have a positive effect on health, something she tries to instill in the patients who are rude.
          And the amazing thing is that a smile costs nothing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back in the Day
Adults have a reputation for boring kids with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were back in the day. What with walking twenty-five miles to school every day...uphill... barefoot...yadda, yadda, yaddaHowever, now it is hard to not notice how the youth of today has it easy compared to when we were growing up! I wonder if they appreciate it.
= We grew up without the Internet.  If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up, in the card catalog!! 
= There was no email!!  We had to actually write somebody a letter with a pen! Then had to walk all the way to the corner to put it in the mailbox!  Stamps were 10 cents!
= There were no MP3's or iTunes!  If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself! Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio. There were no CD players! We had tape decks in our cars to play our favorite songs, and when ejected the tape would come undone rendering it useless.
= We didn't have cell phones. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". Think of the horror of not being in touch with someone 24/7!  And we didn't have Caller ID either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was!  It could be your school, your boss, your bookie, the collection agent ... You had to pick it up to find out!
 = We didn't have any fancy video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics!  We had the Atari 2600!  With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'.  Your screen guy was a little square!  You actually had to use your imagination. 
= You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! When it came to channel surfing you had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel.
=There was no Cartoon Network! You could only get cartoons on Saturday morning.  Unlike today’s spoiled kids we had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons.
 = And we didn't have microwaves.  If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove! 
=And our parents told us to stay outside and play all day long.  No electronics to soothe and comfort.  And if you came back inside you were doing chores!
As for car seats, mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on.  If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place! 
            The question then is: How long would today’s kids last in the “back then” world?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Beware of Cons

As I was happily doing a bit of shopping in the cool air at my local mall recently a man approached me to ask for money. I assumed the man to be in his late fifties, early sixties. He was well dressed, well groomed and appeared to be in fine shape. His graying hair gave him a sophisticated look. He told me someone had stolen his wallet and that he had absolutely no money to get back home on the bus.

Being at an age that leads me to be somewhat weary of strangers wanting money—any amount—I told him that unfortunately I was broke myself. He then boldly suggested that we might go to an ATM where I could get cash so I could give him some money. I firmly told him no and walked away, but I did keep an eye out. Women of varying ages seemed to be giving him $5 and $10. He was after all a poor boomer who had been victimized by a thief. Who could say no!

A bit later as I approached the ATM at one end of the mall, I saw an older woman, no doubt well into her eighties, trying to get money while the well groomed con man stood close by keeping an eye on her bank card and certainly her PIN. Using my cell phone I dialed 911.

Luckily a patrol car must have been around the corner because two large policemen quickly accosted the man. After some verbal exchange they took him away. I later learned that the man had been sought by authorities for milking older women of money. Just goes to show you that con men come in every age group.

I am firm in not believing every sad story. I let my instincts guide me and I am rarely wrong. Of course, for me the best way to help others is to give to recognized charities. That way I’m sure the money goes to help those who really need it. Not con men.



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dog Days
The stores may be full of reminders that the start of school is not far away, for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere there is still a lot of summer left as we bask in the dog days. Typically, the dog days are mid-July to September 2, the hottest time of the year. Some believe the term dog days originated with the Romans who were convinced it was a period of the year when dogs became mad and wine turned sour, a time when man was plagued with disease and discomfort.
         Mankind is still plagued with the discomfort of heat and humidity during the dog days of summer even more so now with global warming, just ask those who work outside. However, not everyone is complaining. Some people just love the summer heat, the higher the thermometer reading the better. Those people are easy to spot: during the dog days they vacation in Florida or they don a sweater when the temperature drops a few degrees; the latter is especially true of older individuals. Although I’m not as young as I used to be, this definitely is not for me. Yet.
        Those of us who endure the dog days of summer more or less graciously have a tendency to forget that in a few short months, the temperature will dip to an indecent level. When reminded of that fact, we quickly realize that this is the time to make the most of summer.
         But the dog days are brief indeed and we’ll get to welcome fall before we know it. I personally like experiencing different seasons, but it’s not something all countries get to see. I recently read a comment by an African woman who cannot understand how people can survive in snow and ice. We all get used to our own world, don’t we?
          When I get older I may need to wear a sweater during the dog days as an older relative had on when I visited her recently, but in the meantime if I could spend the dog days in a swimsuit I would. Some people do, of course, but they have the shape for it. In my case it might well make people think that the dog days do indeed bring discomfort to mankind!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Life as Knitting

Recently I came across this poem by the famous poet, Anonymous. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a nice metaphor for life. After all, just like knitting, our lives are constantly changing and evolving, and this relentless motion colors our moods and emotions. We don’t know what the final piece will be, but one thing is certain, no matter who we are, it will be worth being on display for all to see.

Life is like knitting

God gives us the wool and the needles saying:

“Knit as best you can, one stitch at a time”

A stitch is one day on the clock of time

As you go, you knit one, you purl one

When stitches are dropped, they are worked back up

The wool we have been given is multicolored

Pink for our joys; black for our sorrows;

Gray for our doubts; green for our hopes;

Red for our love; blue for our desires;

And white for our faith.

How many stitches will we knit? Only God knows.


Summer is here, so I’m taking a few weeks off to enjoy it all. I’ll be back in August.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

What’s your Yardstick?
In my view, the only way to deal with age is to lie about it. Of course, you can’t fool relatives or friends who know you well. So every year they send a cardeither an e-card or a traditional one sent by mailpraising the fact that you’ve reached another milestone and make it a point to display the correct number in as big a font as possible. I suspect that they simply want to point out that they are not there yet.
            We all age no matter how we feel (or lie) about it. Would we want to be younger? I suppose most of us feel that it’d be a good thing.
            The mother of a friend just celebrated her 90th birthday, and someone asked her that exact question: Would you want to be younger? In her wisdom she answered: Not especially. Of course, she would prefer that her body not be on its decline, but she said that she was proud of what she had done and had seen. It had been her life, her time. “Younger folks will see other things, live in a world quite different from mine, I’m sure,” she said, “but the important thing to consider is whether they will be happy. I was happy. That’s my yardstick.”
            Wonderful perspective, don’t you think? We should spend less time worrying about the number marking the years we have lived and more time making the most of our lives at this point in time. Sure, aging is not always easy, but to me it’s a time when it’s easier to accept what may not be perfect in our lives so that we can concentrate on the reasons we should feel blessed.
            Counting blessings instead of birthdays is a nice yardstick, don’t you think??

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

We are all aware of the many health benefits of physical exercise, but what about weightlifting? Is it dangerous as we get older?
          The American College of Sports Medicine is recommending that adults aged 50 and up include strength training as part of their exercise routine because it can help prevent osteoporosis, increase bone density and improve cognitive functions.
          As it builds balance and flexibility, regular exercise is linked to the prevention of aging-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, back pain, joint pain and cardiovascular disease. But while weightlifting (strength training) improves muscle strength thus lessening the risk of hip fractures, it has its own unique benefits in that it can prevent falls and make it easier to engage in daily activities as we age.
          A University of Vermont study found that after 12 weeks of weightlifting, a group of healthy seniors aged 65 to 79 were able to walk almost 40% farther. After just eight weeks of weightlifting, a group of seniors ages 87 to 96 improved their muscle strength by nearly 180%.
          If you have never engaged in strength training, you should make certain that you know how to go about it so you don’t end up injuring yourself. It is a good idea to start by seeking the advice of a professional to learn the correct techniques.