Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Drug Plans

About thirty years ago, all of my peers would become irritable when our children’s science fair projects were due. Constructing the display board was not an easy job unless you were a skilled carpenter. The three-sided display board didn’t come onto the market until our kids were in college.

The annual stress of yesteryear's science project has been replaced by today’s mandatory yearly reevaluating of my friends and my Medicare Part D coverage. We need to make sure our current carrier of Medicare Part D – the drug prescription program – meets our current needs. You see, individual carriers change their rules and prices every year.

When the program first started, all I had to do was call 1-800- Medicare, and a nice person took all my information – meaning all the drugs hubby and I take on a regular basis – and magically told me what carrier was best for each of us. And, what was most amazing for a government agency, they were right. This year that has changed. Every time I’ve called, the person on the phone told me something else or gave me misinformation.

To show you how this is wearing me down, yesterday when I called a carrier to verify the information the government gave me, I asked the man on the phone if GPS was one of the local pharmacies on the plan. After several minutes, the person said, “Miss, I can’t find any pharmacy by that name.”

Then I realized what I asked him and laughed. That night, while I packed for Thanksgiving in New York, hubby handed me his favorite navigational device. “Oh, the CVS,” I said.

He looked at me as if I was nuts. I wasn’t. Just tired and I still haven’t figured which plan is best!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hot Air Cruise

The election is over and my prediction about Florida going to goof again was wrong. I am now a strong proponent of early voting. It worked out the snags and prevented my fellow Floridians from looking foolish.

Sadly, even though the election is over, the negative talking heads on radio and television haven’t given up. If I knew them, I would call them. I would tell them if they truly loved America, they all should take a six-month cruise – with each other. The only passengers on the ship should be those that work for the talking heads. Communication with civilization would be prohibited. That is the only way these talking heads and their listeners can have a real time-out.

I propose that Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olbermann should be the co-captains. They would be good at steering ships in storms, especially if a lot of hot wind is around. Bill O’Reilly and Rachel Maddow can be co-social directors with Hannity and Combs being their assistants. Hannity would be great at picking questions for trivia pursuit while Combs can lead ballroom dancing. The ship should only stop at ports that have no communication with the rest of the world.

With the talking heads gone, I think our country would have a better chance of letting election wounds heal quickly. Without daily inflammatory information vomiting over the airwaves, people would go back to listening to music while driving or, if they don’t like that, they can listen to books on tape. Instead of watching cable news, situation comedies will once again be in vogue – the kind that leaves audiences with smiles on their faces instead of twists in their guts. Families and friends who were on different political teams hopefully will end their heated dinner table arguments. Discussions will be based on pure facts, not quotes taken out of context.

What other benefits can you think of if the instigators of divisiveness leave the country for six months? And, if America gets used to no toxic programs influencing their lives, will they revert to old habits when the toxic talking heads return from their cruise to nowhere?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Florida Votes - Nothing's Changed

“Can’t you Floridians learn how to vote?” a Northern friend teased when she called me the other day.

She was referring to the fact that our hour’s long wait to vote early had made national news. Since hubby and I had voted that afternoon, I confidently replied, “No.”

There was only one reason for the wait: the length of the ballot. The poll workers were friendly and efficient and doing their best to make lemonade out of a lemon. They even had chairs available for those who could not stand. After our almost two-hour wait, it took another half-hour to “bubble-in” the bubbles on both sides of the five pages – and we had “cheat” sheets on how we wanted to vote for all the amendments, judges, etc. When done with step one, we then had to scan our five answer sheets into the scanner. My poor husband bubbled out of the oval in one spot, so the scanner refused one page of his ballot! His choice was to return to “go” and start the process again or not vote for some of the amendments. At that point, sadly, neither of us cared about the amendments and we left.

I miss the old pushpin ballots. People with minor tremors in their hands didn’t have them rejected because they “bubbled out of the lines.” The “hanging chads” did that method of voting in. I miss the computer touch and vote machines that replaced them. Both systems allowed voters to select their language and not be confused once the actual voting process began. However, orders were given to the powers in charge of elections to come up with a system that had a paper trail. The solution is the present ballot written in three languages. Does it sound confusing? Believe me, it is.

Okay, America, Broward County supposedly now has a foolproof voting system, and according to one poll worker, “It is perfect unless someone misplaces the boxes with the ballots.”

If I were a betting person, I would make a wager that we’ll be up late next Tuesday because people will still be on line in Broward waiting to vote. In fact, I predict we’ll still be voting long after California will close their polls. Hopefully, since I don’t like to be teased about my home state, I won’t win my bet!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

My (Election) Wish List

I wish the election were over tomorrow, so everyone would stop being so angry at his or her friends and relatives who disagree with them.

I wish the “talking heads” on radio and television that thrive on instigating hate would get permanent laryngitis.

I wish there was a law mandating a truth meter in front of politicians whenever they talk in public.

I wish there was a truth meter in front of everyone who appears on a news program be they broadcasters or commentators.

I wish that there were a law making people liable for the lies they send in emails.

I wish that people who automatically send the false emails on were subject to fines.

I wish that the election were over tomorrow. Hopefully, the losing team will not be sore losers so that this nation can heal.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Innovative Ballet Slippers?

I will be attending a party in NY this December and since my one pair of “NY” winter-pumps no longer fit, I need new shoes. Thus, the articles about fashion trends in women’s shoes that appeared yesterday and today in both newspapers I receive, caught my eye. Supposedly, 6-inch spikes are the rage. The price tag on some of those shown in the newspapers cost more than a month’s worth of groceries for Hubby and me.

In my very pre-senior citizen days, I actually would have entertained the idea of buying a pair of these mini-torture chambers -- when the copies in my price range would show up in my stores. In my youth, style was more important than comfort. However, in those days spikes were a tolerable 3-inches. Now, according to one article, a person wearing 6-inch heels while walking in the streets of Manhattan took a bad spill when she attempted to cross the street. Perhaps the stores selling the shoes should offer canes or walkers to assist the purchasers – or even better – ballet lessons so the wearer can stroll around city streets while perched on the tips of their toes.

By the time I put down today’s newspaper, several thoughts crossed my mind. Will the present economy stop people who usually spend over $500 for a few ounces of leather from buying these shoes? And, if so, how long before the $500 shoes show up at greatly reduced prices on the racks in Marshalls or SteinMart? Even if they do, I still won’t buy them. With age and arthritis comes wisdom when it comes to purchasing shoes – however, I still won’t buy black velvet sneakers for the party.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Guaranteed Recipe for Laughter

Guaranteed Recipe for Laughter – Especially for Empty Nesters!

Hubby and I have just returned from spending a week visiting our son and his family. We had a nice time, with only one frustration – which involved electronics, not family. No, not the usual GPS stuff. This time a new remote for their new TV was our undoing.

Unfortunately, when our son and his wife went out one evening, they incorrectly assumed we would be able to work their latest remote. After my husband and I both proved neither of us had the skill to turn on the television, either with or without the remote, we eventually spent the evening reading.

The next day, the other grandparents arrived. The grandpa picked up the remote after dinner. He is much more mechanically inclined than my hubby, so when after several frustrating attempts he too could not work the remote, my husband’s macho self-esteem was repaired.

The below link is mandatory reading for anyone that wants to see the cause of all of our frustrations. I just finished listening to it and laughed so hard that tears poured out of my eyes.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ACP- Huh?

I need to either read or listen to something nice before going to bed. Listening to national news – especially politics – makes me angry. Listening to local news – usually about horrific accidents or murders – makes me sad. So, in order to have pleasant dreams, I record various shows that are usually on the light side. Hopefully, they will be so light that they will lull me to sleep.

The other night, as I was drifting off to dreamland, I was listening to a group of ladies discussing the old rule that a man is supposed to walk on the outside when with a woman. One of the woman stated she hated the custom because when she walks near the apartment buildings, she is hit with ACP. This comment startled me. ACP? I think one or two of the other woman agreed with her about disliking ACP. But no one gave me a contextual clue to help me determine the meaning of ACP – I had no idea what they were talking about.

I finally fell asleep dreaming of things ACP could be. While I brushed my teeth the next morning, I started to laugh. The show is out of NY. Many older apartment buildings are not wired for central air-conditioning. People still use the window air-conditioners of my pre-Floridian days. Window air-conditioners drip. Have you figured it out yet?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

For Sale

We’ve made the big decision – I think. After 35 years in South Florida, hubby and I – transplanted New Yorkers – might be moving to a retirement community in Georgia. We will become what the locals in the Deep South call “halfbacks.” That’s the native southerners’ nickname for Floridians who were born “up North” and are now moving to eastern states located on the map below the Mason-Dixon line and above Florida. Exactly when halfbacks are to complete their journey north, I prefer not to speculate – but I have an idea.

Anyway, to get back to our probable move - Experts have given us much advice on how to ready our home to be appealing to others. First, we had to rid our home of anything personal so the potential buyers can visualize themselves in what we hope will be their future home. This means we had to remove family pictures from every nook, cranny, and wall – even the refrigerator! All but basic essentials – like lamps – were removed from tabletops. Then we dragged any non-essential furniture into the garage to give the illusion our rooms are massive. After we did this, I quickly realized my dusting was cut by 90%. If we ever sell, the pictures, the bric-a-brac, extra chairs, and étagère may never again see the light of day.

Other experts gave great advice on what to say in the ads: We’re within walking distance to all schools, the little league field, food shopping and even a major mall - if you like to hike in 95 degrees. Since my area is what I call a city-suburbia, large lots like mine are highly unusual, so that is also a big selling feature. (I won’t mention to any prospective buyers that gardeners charge more to mow large lots, and in Florida, mowing a lawn is not seasonal.)

We have had two prospective buyers so far – unusual in this real estate market. What’s the attraction? Next to the little league field there is a dog park – a feature that dog-less me, and my dog-less realtor didn’t even put in the ad! In fact people are spotting my For Sale sign on the way to and fro the park. If one of them makes an acceptable offer, I’ll leave some meat bones in my freezer!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Over the River and Through the Tunnel

Once upon a time when I traveled, I would call the people I was visiting to ask them for specific driving directions. If I were going to tour the country, I would rely on AAA Trip Tics. I rarely got lost. Then someone invented the computer and someone else invented the internet. That begot Map Quest. Map Quest has been superseded by the GPS.

Thus, last week when my husband and I arrived at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, I carried our portable GPS and a ream of directions from Map Quest in my tote bag. I knew how to get to almost every place we were going with my eyes closed, but my husband insisted we needed them, “just in case.”

We picked up our rental car, plugged in the GPS, and I read the directions on the screen. Then I compared them to Map Quest’s. “They’re both wrong,” I informed my husband.

Please realize that we both grew up in a neighborhood in Queens midway between LaGuardia Airport and JFK Airport. I know the area where both major NY airports are located. So does my husband – well enough to know I was right. The shortest route via neighborhood streets, which they were sending us on, was far from fastest one to take. The car rental agency’s directions to the Williamsburg Bridge - we were headed to New Jersey - were also incorrect. They told us to take one highway until we reached another. Neither of the highways intersects.

We decided to ignore all the directions until we got to New Jersey – the only partially unknown territory to us. For those that know NY, you can appreciate our amazement when we exited the Grand Central Parkway– the first of five highways we needed - onto the Long Island Expressway and our GPS informed us that we had reached our destination. For those that don’t, let me explain that we were on a highway an hour from our destination – without traffic – and still needed to go over one river, through the island of Manhattan, under another river and then over various highways until we would arrive at our destination.

I miss my AAA Trip Tics. They were so much lighter than the GPS and took up so little room. Even better, they indicated to me where public restrooms were located!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Assumptions: Dangerous for the Assumer

When you have gray hair people – usually much younger – look at you and make certain assumptions. The first time it happened to my premature gray husband, he had yet to reach his fortieth birthday. Hubby and a friend had gone to the movies.

“That’ll be $1,” the teen behind the glass said to my husband.

His friend, who had a full head of black hair, did not stop laughing. When they sat down, my husband said, “I don’t know why you’re laughing. I paid a dollar and you paid three!”

Now, 35 years later, Hubby is still blessed with a full head of hair, only it is no longer gray, – it is pure white. When we went to check our bags at the airport last week, the young skycap glanced at my husband’s hair as he asked for our boarding passes. “I see you checked in on-line,” he said. “You’re lucky you have grandkids that can do it for you otherwise you’d have to pay $3 per bag!”

The skycap turned redder than the red cap the skycaps of yesteryear wore when Hubby informed him he did it all by himself. Since our bags were the first two to appear on the luggage carousel in New York, I decided to forgive the skycap for assuming everyone with white hair is demented.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Warning to Candidates: Don't Call Me!

Today is primary Election Day in Florida. That means the incessant barrage of political phone calls trying to scare me away from evil candidates will cease. So will the calls from famous people advising me to vote for their candidate of choice. The calls will start again in October. When they do, I would like to leave this message on my answering machine:

“If you are calling on behalf of a candidate, this message is for you. The more you call me and tie up my line, the less likely it is I will vote for your candidate. In fact, I may keep a tally, and the candidate who calls the least is the one for whom I will vote. If I intended to vote for your candidate, I won’t unless your calls cease. If you are saying lies or distorting facts about your opposition, forget about getting my vote. If you keep calling, I will convince others not to vote for you. And, if your voice is that of a famous person, you are not impressing me. I’ll hang up on you, too.”

I would like to leave the message, but there would be no point. The robotic caller doesn’t hear or record. The constant interruptions prove the candidate doesn’t care about me at all. So, if any of you know anyone running for office, give them my message.

Thank you.
I’m Eda Suzanne, and I approve this message.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What Not to Name the Baby

Many of you have written to ask me if I ever found out the new baby’s name. (See last week’s blog – Color Wise). I did. Her name is Aerin. It’s different. It’s pretty. However, I feel sorry for the child.

There are two divisions in the what-to-name-the-baby camp: those who select unique names and those that select Jacob or Emily. Obviously, because of a lifetime of having to explain my name, as Aerin will probably have to do, I believe parents should select a name from the top 200 “in” names. New situations are not always easy for those of us with monikers that are rarely found in a book of names for a baby.

On the first day of school, my name always drew negative attention to me – usually when I corrected the teacher’s mispronunciation of my name. Today, if it’s not important, I no longer correct people. If I’m listening for my name to be called, I respond to Etta, Ed -a, Edna, Eva, Ida, or Edith. On a rare occasion, a stranger will actually pronounce my name right, with a long e.

Since I’m conditioned to answer anything that remotely resembles my name, yesterday at the doctor’s office, when the nurse called, “Rita,” I stood. Another woman got up at the same time, so I sat down. A minute later, the door opened and this time the nurse called, “Edna.” I went in – without asking the nurse if she sees an “n” on the chart in my first name as I once did.

But, just as having an unusual name can cause adjustment problems, having the “in” name can cause constant confusion, especially in school. My sister once had nine Leslies in one class – 6 boys and 3 girls. In high school, I had five Linda’s in my P.E. class. By the end of the school year, everyone called them by their last name. My gut feeling is that when all those Leslies and Lindas grew up, they gave their children names like Aerin or Eda! And why not. The Edas of the world tend to give our children names such as Charles or Marc.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Color Wise

A birth announcement printed in neon colors arrived in the mail from a relative’s relative whom I rarely see. I studied the baby’s name, but could not read it. The curlicues in the calligraphy made the first letter virtually illegible, and the letters I could read didn’t resemble any name I ever heard of.

“Is it a boy or girl?” my husband asked after he looked at the brightly colored design.

“Beats me,” I answered.

I couldn’t call my relative to see if she could decipher the name because she was away on vacation. I put the announcement next to my computer as a reminder to order a gift. For the next several days I studied the name but it still left me baffled. Finally, I decided the safest gift would be to send books, so I ordered them on line. Instead of addressing the gift card to the new baby, I addressed it to the parents.

I usually keep announcements until I receive a thank you note. When I went to put it in my correspondence basket, I laughed aloud.

“What’s so funny?” my husband wanted to know.

“Well, I still don’t know the name, but I figured out the sex.”


“The name is printed in hot pink.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Blame It on the Ringtone

I didn't win one Mah Jongg game yesterday because every one of the players received too many phone calls. Each interruption was necessary and more than acceptable, but -

The different ringtones of everyone’s cell phones had my mind on anything but the game. Sometimes I wonder if advertisers pay cell phone companies to do subliminal advertising via the selection of songs everyone seems to use for ringtones. Each unique signal of incoming calls yesterday forced my mind off of my game.

When we started to play a few years ago, a few of us used the conventional ringtones offered by our cell phone carriers. This created minor confusion when our phones rang since our purses were usually near each other’s, so we all switched to unique ringtones. Yesterday, the blast of "When the Saints Come Marching In" signaled pictures of an adorable grandchild that all the grandmas at the table enjoy seeing. The only problem with that ringtone is it makes me hungry for a beignet – the fried donut-like cake they sell in New Orleans.

Another friend’s ring is reminiscent of the songs played by the Caribbean bands as passengers board the cruise ships headed for the islands. Instead of thinking about the hand I was playing in Mah Jongg, I had the urge to do the Conga around the table with a Pina Colada in my hand.

"Rocky Mountain High" had me remembering some of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. Instead of concentrating on what tiles the other players were discarding, I was thinking of the fun my family had when we went water rafting down the Snake River.

The second time the phone with a song about New York rang, I decided that instead of making Tilapia for dinner, I would stop by the deli after the game and buy some corned beef and fresh rye bread.

Perhaps if my phone rang, I would have won a game or two. If my "Lullaby and Good Night" ringtone had the same effect on my friends as their ringtones were having on me, perchance they would have dozed off during the game. The way I played yesterday, that would have been the only way I could have won a game.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tight Squeeze

Several medical tests confirmed my doctor’s original suspicion about my swollen toe: my sneakers were too tight and irritating my toe.

“If I lose 10 pounds, will they fit?” I asked the doctor.

He was unimpressed by my humor, but I’m not one to give up easily.

“I really hate to get rid of all of my sneakers. I have them in five different colors. Can I stretch them?”

Dr. Stone Face ignored this question too. He was busy writing. When he finished, he handed me a prescription for new arches and special sneakers to help my newly diagnosed arthritic toe.

I wasn’t upset when I left his office. After all, as illnesses go, this will not alter my life style

I headed straight for one of the orthopedic shoe stores the doctor recommended. A very nice man measured my feet. “Size 9.”

I paled. Every closed shoe in my closet was an 8 and my sandals ranged from 7 ½ to 8.

“Please measure again.” Surely I knew my own shoe size!

He did. The results were unchanged.

I was bummed. If he was right, my life style was about to change, and not from the arthritic bump on my toe but from a dent in my bank account - I would need to replace all my closed-toed shoes.

He brought out a pair of size 9 sneakers. I winced when I saw the price on the box. The cost was triple what I normally spend. I slipped my feet into them. He tied the laces. “Walk around the store,” he instructed.

I stood up, fully expecting to clip-clop up and down the aisles with sneakers way too big for my foot. To my dismay, each step convinced me that my feet and the sneakers were a match made in heaven. I looked at the salesman. “I don’t understand. All my other shoes fit.” I pointed to the ones I wore into the store.

“Ma’am, you’re pointing to sandals. Nothing’s rubbing on your toes – but they barely cover the soles of your feet.” He proved his point by showing me that my toe imprints reached the end of the shoe.

When did my feet grow?

He went into his storage room and returned with a pair of sandals. “Here,” he said and showed me the almost identical orthopedic sandals my mother wore all the time when she retired and moved to Florida. “These will really help your feet.”

Last week not only cost me a small fortune, but it also moved me up one more rung on my Morph to Mama Ladder.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Treasure Hunting Without Leaving Home

The big discussion between my husband and me these past few weeks is should we move from our home of 35 years to what I call a seniorville. To both of us, retirement communities are sleep away camps for active seniors who are looking for a large menu of activities to keep them busy. We concluded several years ago that this kind of lifestyle was not for my husband as long as he was working full time. But his needs and work hours have changed, therefore we are making lists of all the reasons to move or stay.

Today, while I unsuccessfully searched for my gold hoop earrings that I wore last week, I thought of a unique new reason to make the move. Think of all the misplaced jewelry I could find -and the treasure hunt won’t be limited to that alone. Last week when I cleaned out our hall closet, I found a long- forgotten-about tablecloth hanging underneath a blazer I haven’t worn in years. By the time I finished that one closet, I had also recovered almost six dollars in change and one long lost gift card!

As of now, we still are wavering on our decision to take the big step, but one thing is certain - I’m going to continue to act as if we’re moving until I find my gold hoop earrings!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Irregardless - Ouch!

Could my ears have deceived me or did I actually hear a popular talk show host on a cable news network use the word “irregardless?” I’m tempted to send off an email and correct this man who interviews presidential candidates and an infinite number of dignitaries – tempted, but not sure I want to do so. I was stunned he obviously didn’t know there is no such word as “irregardless.” The pedestal I held him on tilted a little when I heard him utter the word. However, I would like to prevent him from further mortification since I still like him – regardless of his error.

I learned years ago that not all adults appreciate when you correct their grammar. When a young neighbor, who was once a friend, told me, “Me and my sister love all the flowers in front of your house,” I made the mistake of correcting her grammar. She turned red, snapped that she was no longer in school, and insisted she didn’t have to impress anyone.

My mother ranked proper speech next to cleanliness when it came to making first impressions. Mom was forever correcting her own three children and continued the practice with her eight grandkids. Once she corrected a letter one granddaughter sent from camp and then sent it back to her. Like my neighbor, my niece was anything but grateful. “You’re not my teacher, you’re my Nana,” she told her. “You’re supposed to love everything I do.”

Guilt worked. My mother stopped correcting letters from her grandkids, but it didn’t stop her if they spoke to her incorrectly. “Smart people should know the difference between ‘can’ and ‘may’” she would tell them.

When the principal of my son’s high school spoke during open house for the freshmen’s parents, he used the word “irregardless.” Half the people in the room cringed. My husband warned me not to correct the principal when the evening was over. “You can tell him after our son graduates, but not before.”

I listened to my husband, but it was frustrating – ‘irregardless” was one of the man’s pet words. According to one of my friends on his faculty, he was finally corrected by one of the English teachers – at her retirement party.

So, now to my dilemma: should I email the blond-haired, rapid-speaking talk show host or continue the policy I have followed ever since I offended my neighbor? On the other hand, I could write him and tell him to read my blog!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Beginnings

I wrote a corny poem for one of my female friends who recently retired from teaching. I thought you would enjoy some excerpts because the advice is applicable to new retirees in other professions as well. Please remember counting beats is not “my thing.” I don’t aspire to be the next Shel Silverstein.

The first year in the real world you still will care,
When teacher friends call to share.
The second year away, you’ll pretend to listen,
While teachers tell their stories about lousy discipline.
The third year out, you will think about anything you can,
As those still handling students tell you their master plan.
Year four, when you hear school personal discuss their school’s situation,
You’ll shudder when you recall you once enjoyed this kind of conversation.
Year five you will learn to change the topic with hopes,
Your friends will soon retire, so you can show them the ropes.

You will offer them the same advice I now give you:
In the beginning, have no planned schedule.
Your life will now be one long summer vacation,
With plenty of time to get your chores done.
Each day is a new flower for you to smell,
Pick it and use the time to play very well.
Mah Jongg, Bridge, photography classes, or just lunch,
You’ll find your place, I have a hunch.

Think of your new life as a permanent luxurious cruise,
That has a total blackout of standardized test scores and other school news.
There is a whole world to enjoy that is very real,
A world where schools are just one spoke on the wheel.
You’ll meet new people, who have never heard of detention,
Lesson plans, interim reports, guidance referrals, or external suspension.
And after a few years these teaching memories will be surreal,
And sometimes you’ll wonder why you made them such a big deal.
Like me, you will come to enjoy each day of the week,
And realize the world of retirement is anything but bleak.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

U2, The Platters, and the Bump

“What’s ‘the bump’ signify?” I asked my young friend. I was referring to what the newscasters called the cute gesture the Obamas did with their fists.

“Don’t ask me. I’m old,” she said.

“You’re not even officially middle-aged. How can you call yourself ‘old’?”

“Easy. When I watched the Grammy Awards, not only didn’t I know any of the songs, but when I heard the lyrics of some of the winners, I thought they were obscene.”

I laughed and recalled the first time I realized was no longer “with it.” I was glancing at a teen magazine and saw “U2.” I couldn’t figure out why an article about an airplane was in a magazine about entertainers, so I asked one of my students.

“I can’t believe you’ve never heard of them – they’re a famous rock group.”

At that point, I realized that if I asked my class about The Platters, they would say they were trays of food, and if I asked the same question about the The Four Aces, they would say they were cards.

When was the first time you realized you were clueless as to what songs were in the top ten in the country and who was singing them?

Oh - my husband laughed when he read this while I was typing it. He says a lot of the athletes have been doing “the bump” during the games, and it means the same as a high five. My husband's pretty hep for an ol’ guy!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Senior Moments

My husband was reading an article about early warning signs of dementia. He asked me one of the test questions. “If you wrote three things on a paper, would you remember what they were in half an hour?”

“I would remember what I wrote, but I would have no idea where I put the paper.”

Momentary amnesia has plagued me my entire life. When I worked, I hooked my keys to my belt with an elastic stretch loop before I exited my car. This stopped me from locking the keys in my car as well prevented me from having to spend half the day looking for them. I didn’t remove the key ring from my belt until I was inside my home. Then I hooked it to the strap of my handbag.

The first time I had my lifelong habit of momentary amnesia linked to age was the year I turned the big five-o. I had walked to the rear of my classroom and stood staring at my file cabinets. I wouldn’t have given my mental blackout a second thought if I didn’t overhear one of my students say, “She’s like my grandma. She forgot what she went to get.”

Panic set in. Did my constant forgetting have more significance than I was ready to admit?

That night my husband reassured me that I was not suddenly “losing it.” “There hasn’t been a day since we met that you don’t stop in the middle of a sentence because you forget what you’re talking about.”

At the time, I concluded my brain froze now and then because it was in constant overload and needed a short rest. However, now that I’m collecting Social Security, the momentary amnesia I’ve had my entire life takes on a new meaning. Many others dread dementia or Alzheimer’s or else there wouldn’t be so many tests and articles in magazines and newspapers about the topic. In fact, a few days after my husband’s question, there was an article in the paper about the medical reasons for “Senior Moments.” It seems my brain started shrinking around the time the rest of my body started stretching – somewhere in my fifties.

I put down the article and came to a serious decision: as long as I can remember the three things I would write on the paper, I would not panic because I don’t remember where I put it. A lifetime of experience has taught me it will turn up eventually - probably in the lint filter of my clothes dryer. When I get to the point that I can’t find the dryer, I will begin to worry.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Did You Know ...

Last week I informed a friend that salt air causes clothes to shrink. Someone told me this, and I agreed with her 100 percent. It is the only logical explanation for so many passengers on cruise ships to have their clothing suddenly become too tight. It’s happened to me several times. Everything fits me when the ship leaves Ft. Lauderdale or Miami for the Caribbean. By the end of the week, both my husband and I notice a sudden tightness around the waist.

Another unknown fact is that gold rings shrink if you leave them in an airtight vault. Why else would rings I bought 30 or 40 years ago not go past my knuckle? In fact, when I brought the rings into the jeweler to stretch, his wife agreed the airtight vault was the cause of the shrinkage. So did two other customers in the store.

Now if only the cleaner could stretch my pants as easily as the jeweler stretched my rings!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Lost No More

The GPS really works – if my husband inputs the correct information and then listens to it when driving. His life would have been so much less stressful if he had one when he drove our sons to school. Our neighborhood streets resemble a labyrinth that necessitated many needless turns until he found his way out of the development. Car pooling was pure torture for him.

Years ago, the city removed the flagpole my husband relied upon to help him find our children’s school. Needless to say, he missed the turn. A GPS would have saved the day!

A few days ago, our eldest grandson admitted that he did not have the greatest sense of direction and feared this would be a handicap when he begins to drive.

“No problem,” I assured him. “I’ll get you a GPS for your car. Maybe if your grandfather had one, he wouldn’t have turned gray by forty!”

Monday, May 26, 2008

Remote Anxieties

Just when I thought my new HDTV was becoming my friend, I accidentally sat down on top of the remote control. Nothing appeared broken, but when my husband attempted to turn on the television, all that appeared was “no signal.” He pressed all sorts of buttons, looked in the owners manual, but nothing helped.

We called the cable company, and a human eventually answered. She “walked” my husband through the steps to reset the remote. I watched, but even if my life depended on it, could not repeat his actions – and I’m not sure he could either.

I shared the story with my Mah Jongg group. “You’re not alone,” one of my friends said. “When my husband goes on his fishing trip next week, I’m going to have to come to your house to watch television. I still can’t get anything other than ‘no signal’ half the time.”

“When my TV breaks, I’m buying another analog,” another friend said.

We informed her that unless she gets one in a second-hand store, she won’t be able to find one. Then I reminded her that my major problem was not from the television. “It’s the cable company and all the extra gadgets that are driving me to gorge on chocolate.”

“I've a great idea,” she said to me. “Why don’t you write a book called, Remote Control for Dummies?”

It is a great idea – and when I come back in my next lifetime with a computer chip in my genes – I will definitely do it. But by then, the remote will probably be obsolete.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Reservations Preferred

Friends stopped over my house last night before we all went out to dinner. They were inspecting my newly renovated kitchen. “How come you invested all the money into this if you only make reservations for dinner?" one of the men asked.

The stale joke didn’t bring a smile to anyone’s face – not even my husband’s.

“Adds to resale value if we decide to move,” he answered.

I love my new kitchen. The granite counter tops, the glass top stove, a new double sink, and wooden cabinets – everything was designed to make cooking and cleaning easier than before. No more bending to get pots – deep pull out drawers instead of cabinets are a godsend. Slide them open and everything you need is in front of you. The original designer deserves a Congressional Medal of Honor. I no longer have to do deep knee bends to find my food processor and all the attachments. Even better, I don’t need my husband’s help to get up from the floor after I retrieve a pot from the rear of my old kitchen cabinets. It makes what little cooking I still do a pure delight.

Years ago, I overheard my son tell his friend, "My mother used to cook. Now that she works full time, she just makes supper."

He was apologizing for the store bought rotisserie chicken, pre-cut salad, and frozen vegetables I was serving them. After teaching the entire day, the last thing I had the energy to do was stand on my feet for another hour and prepare veal scaloppini or pepper steak. If I had my dream kitchen 25 years ago, would I have continued to cook after I returned to work? Nope. Tired is tired. There is a reason the stale joke about making reservations for dinner has survived for so many years. That’s what we tired women like to do!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Once in a Lifetime

This morning I dialed my cable company, put my phone on speaker, and put my breakfast on the table. Experience has taught me I had more than enough time to finish before I would reach a human.

I pressed a number in response to the first question. Then I took a bite of my toast. “Good morning. This is Tasha. How may I be of service?”

My food went down the wrong pipe. I coughed incessantly. Then I heard a voice say, “Would you like me to call 911 for you?”

I took a sip of my coffee and was able to stop coughing long enough to gasp, “No.” Then I hung up.

After my voice returned, I redialed – with no food in my mouth. This time it took the usual eternity until I heard a human’s voice. Opportunity didn’t knock twice.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Timing is Everything

On Sunday morning my husband and I walked in our first 5 K. I cannot write my husband’s exact words when I told him I signed us up for the charity event. Let’s just say he implied something about my mental state.

“We walk that distance almost every morning,” I said. “Why are you complaining?”

“Because we walk at the crack of dawn, we don’t walk as fast as we used to . . . and I don’t want to be the last across the finish line.”

The tropical sun was above the horizon when we knelt with the other participants to insert the timers in our shoelaces. Before the race began, we were instructed to let the runners go first. We listened. The other walkers did not, thus we were the last to leave the starting gate. My husband was not a happy camper and let me know several times as we trailed the pack around the track. Thankfully, we were not the last to cross the finish line – and the few behind us were decades younger. My husband’s ego was intact.

Doing a 5K in Florida with no shade along the course is not something we would ever do again. We were hot, tired, and sweaty when we finished. I did what I always do when I feel scorched and no longer care how I look: I drank some of my bottled water and poured the rest over my over my head. We chatted with friends for a few minutes and then headed home to shower.

My phone rang just as I walked into my house. The caller ID said the call was from the friends we had just left. "Eda, you’re famous! You came in third for your age group!”

Timing is everything!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Modern Day Swingers

On Tuesdays, my friends and I meet for lunch and laughs before we head to one of our homes to play Mah Jongg. “Did you see the article in today’s paper about the germs on the bottom of purses?” one friend asked after we all sat down.

None of us did, so she gave us a quick summary: the bottoms of our purses are laden with germs, especially if we ever set them on the floor. We should never place our handbag on any surface where food is prepared or served.

In restaurants, most of us tend to keep our bags under the table between our feet. By the time she finished talking, we lifted our bags from the floor and hung them on our chairs. We knew that was a good way for a pickpocket to relieve us of our wallets, but decided we were safe since the eatery was not crowded.

The following week one of the “girls” came to lunch with a present for the rest of us - fancy hooks designed to hang a purse from a restaurant table. When the waitress came to take our order, she couldn’t help but notice five handbags swaying from the table’s edge. She sucked in her lips, trying to suppress her giggles, but finally burst out laughing. Others in the restaurant turned to see what was so funny. Had our lunch bunch just become known as “The Swingers?”

The next time we met for lunch the hostess seated us in a round booth. There was no room to hang our bags from the table, so we asked for a chair. “Is someone else coming?” she inquired.

“Just our purses,” I answered.

"Ah,” she said. “You read the article too.”

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Prior Knowledge

"People born before 1960 don’t have a computer chip in their genes.”

I can’t take credit for the quote. My older cousin told it to me about 20 years ago. I was marveling at how fast my sons grasp all the intricacies involved with day-to-day usage of the computer while I needed tutoring on each new program I used.

Writing a blog is new to me. Friends and relatives have asked me why I don’t have the “thing” on the bottom of each entry that will help them subscribe to my blog. The answer is easy. I don’t have the prior knowledge to understand half the words on the page that tells me how to set it up. An easy way to explain prior knowledge is you can’t teach multiplication and division until students have mastered addition and subtraction and you can’t teach those skills unless the pupils know how to count.

To me, “feed” means to nourish and “burn” means to destroy by fire. Common sense tells me that the directions are not using these two words the same way my 30-year-old Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines them. I wish someone would inform those that write the directions for blog sites that some of the people reading them are the same age as their grandparents. Perhaps my age is why the directions for the blog feed make me visualize a feeding tube. Did my computer come with a DNR?

Many people born before 1960 are still learning their basic numbers when it comes to computers. Hopefully, the directions for the “thing” that let’s readers subscribe will be rewritten with more clarity. Until they are, I have to find someone born after 1960 that will help me feed and burn my blog site so my readers can subscribe to it!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Is It a Plane?

Florida cockroaches make their northern cousins look like ants. In fact, their droppings are larger than ants. Officially named palmettos, they grow to several inches in length. They also fly. When my family moved to Florida many years ago, I encountered my first flying monster while my husband and I were playing bridge with our new neighbors. When someone opened the terrace door, a mini-airplane flew in right towards us. My husband and I dove for cover, positive we were in a scene that could be in an Alfred Hitchcock thriller. “What’s that?” I asked my new neighbors.
“A palmetto bug . . . you’ll get used to them when you’re living here awhile.”
“Not in this life time,” I guaranteed her.
Ten years later, I was in front of my classroom opening a wall map – the kind that pull down like a window shade – and a palmetto fell out. I stepped on it without missing a beat of my lesson. That’s when I realized I was a full-fledged Floridian just as my neighbor predicted.

Friday, April 4, 2008

More on Table Manners

Constant complaints by dinner companions about health during dinner, especially if the complainer isn’t really ill, is another way to get put on my mental “do not call” list. After listening to someone spend the entire evening talking about her bowel problems, I could not down my favorite dessert, chocolate mud pie.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Table Manners

Table Manners

One of Hubby and my favorite social activities has always been dining out with friends. We like to laugh and, until recently, all of our friends had great sense of humors. Maybe the acid reflux that plagues many seniors we know is affecting their funny bone. At one time, the only unofficial rule we followed was never to discuss politics unless we knew our dinner companions agreed with us. If our dinner companions insisted on toxic political conversations, we deleted them from our unofficial supper club.

Now that we are seniors and Hubby has lowered his tolerance for nonsense level, I find we are expanding our do not call list to include self-absorbed, negative people. Yes, we want to hear about everyone’s lives, but not if all they do is complain. It’s worse than incessant bragging. How many hours can we long time residents of Florida listen to new northern transplants insist everything was better up North?
“Move back,” my husband tells them.
So far, no one has taken up his suggestion.