Tag Archives: Aging

Give Me a Lift…..

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img_1355I never knew I made noise getting up until my first grandchild was about two and everytime he got up from sitting or moved something or did any kind of lifting, he would make these sounds of extreme effort.  I thought it was quite odd in such a young child until one day when I was lifting my fat arse off the couch, I made a sound very similar to Jack and then the proverbial light bulb went off in my head.

Jack was imitating the noises he had heard me make whenever I had to “move it, move it” (did you just sing it like the King Lemur Julien from Madagascar?)

How long had I been doing that?  Do I do it in front of others?

Getting older has not been pleasant for me in terms of both my physical limitations and my mental state.  I just cannot wrap my mind around being in my early 60’s…it just seems impossible for the young girl inside me to be that age in body.

But my body is certainly trying to convince my brain we are the same age.

Besides the huffing and puffing (you would huff and puff too, if you were carrying the extra weight of a full-size human around), it seems every part of my body that could sag or hang has decided to give up the ghost of fighting gravity and is racing towards my knees….even those things that are supposed to be stationary inside my body.  My bladder has decided it would like to see the light of day and it is fighting like hell to get out and since I have gotten rid of my lady parts in my Southern Hemisphere, it has clear sailing to someday pop out and say, “Surprise”!   Not that it will really be a surprise as it is certainly giving me clues as to it’s trajectory.  I am afraid I will soon be asking my youngest granddaughter for her Dora the Explorer pull-ups.

Is there truly any way to tighten the bat wings which have now become my upper arms?  I would trade a kidney (tho, I better hang on to both since they are not working up to snuff and two bad kidneys I suppose are better than one bad kidney) to get an upper arm lift. Actually I need a full on body lift.  Like how “Egger” from the first Men In Black movie just grabbed the top of his head and lifted all his excess skin.  Why is there not a need for more human skin.  I would be first in line if they needed it.  Go ahead, cut a slab off here and there….just make sure you cut both sides the same….liposuction ain’t gonna help me none since once the fat is gone, I would have miles and miles of defatted skin…..

If I had known I really would live this long, I might have taken better care of my body…key word here folks is: Might.   Because when you are young and everything is where it should be and nothing is hanging, you never give a thought to how fast you will age and if it hangs at 35, watch out at 62….

People will tell you that “you are never too old to start getting healthy or in shape” but that’s a load of crap.  Which is harder on a body, staying the same or starting to stress it out by not eating your favorite foods, giving up drinking, and taking long walks when the thought of falling is paramount in your mind and you just shuffle down the road in your crocs, hoping against hope that your bladder will stay put, you won’t sneeze or cough, and nobody you know will drive by.  I don’t think my heart could handle that kind of stress.

I just want to wake up some morning fit as a fiddle and as long as I am feeling delusional, I might as well wake up with a taunt neck, unspeckled skin, with upper arms like Michelle, and a body like JLo and legs like Taylor.  And a Kim K. bank account ( I would have said an Oprah bank account but that would be just crazy thinking).

I would love to continue chatting but I must go pluck those eyelash hairs that have transplanted themselves to my chin….how do they do that?

Keeping my chins up till next time,

Your aging Queen

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The Truth About Aging (and it ain’t what you think)

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Last week my mom just lost another close friend.  And I wonder what it is like to be my mom’s age and to have suffered through the loss of most of her childhood friends and those women whom she knew so intimately all during the newlywed/young family/teenagers/empty nest/marriages/grandbabies/widowhood years of her life?

How do you  cope with funeral after funeral?  Do you lie in bed each night and wonder if tomorrow it will be your time to die?  Do you long for sleep to dream about all your loved ones who have been gone these past many years.  Do you wake up in the middle of the night and relive the past….the joys and the sorrows?

Even at 62, I often go back to the past when I can’t sleep.  I see the neighbors who are now gone, some who had a profound part in my growing up.  I see them all in their younger years, gathering for coffee at one another’s house or on the tiny patios or lawns each had.  I see Eleanor and Bernice, Joyce and Cel, Millie and Sylvia, Diane and June, my Grandma Tillie and Mrs. Kiehl, Nancy and DeMaris and Mrs. Persh sitting out on her back steps.  In my mind’s eye, I see them all, I remember their homes and the scent each one had.  I remember being yelled at by some and being given cookies by others.

I remember them all.

Is that what it all boils down to?  To be remembered?  Does anyone lay in bed and think of me?  Will anyone remember me?

I hate with a passion getting older.  Not because I have lost my looks or that my body has expanded and that everything hurts.  No, it is the future that scares the heck out of me.  The inevitable losses that must come.  I am not a brave person.  I don’t do well with emotional pain….it sits like an elephant on my chest and the ache overwhelms me until I retch with unnerving sounds that crawl up from the deepest parts of my soul and frighten me with their intensity.  It is in that pit of despair and hopelessness that I struggle with ending the pain myself.  But I have to remind myself that ending my pain will only bring pain to those left behind who care for me; and do I not love them more than myself?  If you have ever struggled with the longing to step from this world into the next, you know the fight that goes on inside your brain.

I am not brave.

My mother is brave.  She mourns her loss and then goes on with life.  She is the poster child for aging right!  She looks forward to each new day.  To the adventures that day may bring.  She does not hide from the pain of life.  She LIVES.  And LIVES well.

I hide.  I close up.  I retreat.  I am not aging well……

I WILL go gentle into that good night…..

img_1341This poem is by Dylan Thomas.

This post is in memory of Bernice Olson who died last week and who was the “Ethel” to my mom’s “Lucy”.  Bernice lived next-door to my mom for 47 years.  She was my “second mom”.  We had keys to her house and she ours.  Need something from her cupboard?  Go on in and find it.  It was normal to come downstairs in the mornings and find Bernice in her robe having coffee with her hair up in pincurls or rollers.  She had piercing blue eyes that she highlighted by the use of cake mascara….like clumps of black spider legs were surrounding her eyes.  I was always fascinated by those clumps.  Bernice seemed to bring me a lot of places with her.  She had one son who was like six or so years older than me and who got the biggest kick out of teasing me.  He was the love of her life.  I don’t think she had the easiest of lives.  Her husband died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 62 and then her beloved son died of a heart attack at 54 and if memory serves me, she was there to witness it.

Rest In Peace, dear Bernice, with Larry and Laird….as long as I live, you will be remembered with love……

Robyn

BATHTUB WENCH ISO BATHTUB WINCH

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I have been waiting YEARS to take a bath.  Yes, I said YEARS.

I grew up having a claw foot tub. Most of the places I lived in had claw foot tubs.   A few years after only having a shower when we moved into our country house, we put in an old three foot claw tub. (The tub was three feet long, not sitting on just three feet!)  I loved that tub.  I named him “Brad” (LOL).  I could sit for hours in that tub with my back against the cool porcelain and my feet just touching the other end of the tub.  It was heaven.  image

Not so for my 6’2″ husband.  When he was in the tub his knees were up by his ears.

So finally I gave in and we bought a new shower/tub unit.  I hated it.  It was long and skinny and I kept slipping under the water when I would try to lay back on the crappy acrylic back.  My elbows would bang against the sides of the tub when I would try to read and since it had no “lips” to grab on to, I had to roll over on to my hands and knees to get out of it.  So for years, I would only use the shower.

Two years ago or so, we completely redid the bathroom and my husband went out and found an old claw foot tub but it needed refinishing.  Long story short, we finally got it done and it took him months to get it hooked up and the feet to stay on (the feet that came with the tub were NOT the feet that the tub originally had and so he had to find a way to make them stay on and I insisted that he put wood blocks under the tub just in case the feet gave way while I was splish-splashing.). Last week he finally finished it and other than needing to paint the outside, it was ready!imageSince it had been years since I had taken “a tub”, I was a bit nervous if I should attempt it only when Scott was home.  But waiting until way after bedtime or getting up early to make sure he was here just wasn’t working out.

Today, I was up at 5am and when Scott got up a couple of hours later, I told him that today was the day I was going to test the tub.  I had no bubble bath or anything fun to put in it but I was dirty and hairy so I just pretty much wanted to de-filthify myself and would save my “true” 1st time for a night where I had candles, a good scary book, some adult grape juice, tons of bubbles  and no deforesting to do.

But like most days, after eating breakfast I got super tired so I laid down for my afternoon nap (only it was 9:45am).  I slept for a couple of hours and when I got up I noticed Scott had texted me and tried to call me numerous times.  He was so very worried that something had happened to me.  I texted him back asking what was his problem and he said he was worried that something had happened to me while I was in the tub.  Like what?, I asked.  He texts back, LIKE THE TUB FLIPPED OVER.

imageOk , so now I’m thinking why on earth would the tub FLIP OVER if he had put the legs on right and secured them and there are blocks of wood under the tub, right?  Tipping over in the tub was never really on my radar…..I was more afraid of me and the tub crashing through the floor as I am not sure how sturdy our floor is!imageAfter reassuring me that the tub really was in no danger of tipping over, I decided, “What the heck?”

I filled that gorgeous tub as full as I could and I got my stuff all ready and made the discovery that I had no where handy to put anything.  So I had to just drop the soap, washcloth and razor into the tub…no reading today, I guess.  As I was getting into the tub, I was surprised at how tall this tub was and getting my abundant leg over the side was proving more difficult than I remembered.  Once I had both legs in, I knew that lowering myself in gracefully was not going to be happening and so I set off a tsunami as my zaftig body dropped straight in from about three feet.imageBut, I have to admit, the tub never moved and felt super sturdy.

Like I mentioned before, it has literally been years since I have been in a tub and I have aged and gotten bigger and have not had many occasions to lift my legs in such a manner that one needs to to shave said legs.  Thank the Lord that my bathing suit really does have leggings down to my ankles as only the fronts of my legs are going to get shaved in this tub.

I also noticed that sitting on a hard surface is really painful on my Fibro pressure points and that the tub water doesn’t flow to the back of me very well since my ample hips seem to make dams on both sides of the tub.  And worst of all, I no longer can manage to maneuver myself so I can get my bum very clean…I know…TMI….but if you know me, you know I keep it real!!!

imageFinally, I decide that I have had enough “fun” for one day and I better get out before my energy drains as fast as my tub is.

I knew somewhere in the forgotten recesses of my mind that getting out of this or any other normal tub was going to be a bit of a challenge.  OH MY GOSH…..it took me more than 10 minutes to figure out a way to get out of that damn tub.  I tried just lifting myself up like I used to back when I was still young and weighed a whole heck of a lot less and had good knees and back.  Yeah, right, I could get my arse up half way but I had no leverage to heave ho myself.  I tried turning over but I couldn’t do it.  I even grabbed my back brush and used it to drag my grands little stepstool over to see if I could get it into the tub and get myself on it and the whole time I am hearing my husband’s voice warning me to not use anything in the tub that might scratch it and the stool is vintage and has metal legs and it was hitting the inside of the tub as I wrestled it in behind me.  Still couldn’t hoist my fat a$$ onto that little stool.  So now what?

I contemplated calling my husband (I was smart enough to put the phone on the toilet so if I had to use it, I could reach it) but he would not be happy to have to come home from work to get his fat, old wife out of the tub.  And I would not have been happy to have him have that image burnt into his memory forever.  I thought about just sitting there until he came home but by now I am feeling pretty beaten up from all my banging around trying to turn over and I can feel my back starting to stiffen up and it would be at least five hours before he got home and by then, I would need to be cut out with the jaws of life.

So I did what any other woman would do in my situation, I cried.

Then I got ticked and tried one more time to get as close to the front of the tub as I could and I used every ounce of strength I had (which honey, ain’t much) and I pulled and pulled and grunted just like I was giving birth and damn, I got myself up!!!!

I want you to know I am pretty proud of myself for being able to do that.  And when you visit me in the hospital for pulling muscles in my back, thighs, arms and jaw and in full body traction, I want you to “fake high-five me” as my arms will be hanging from some pulley connected to the ceiling.   I am not kidding.  I will not be able to move tomorrow.  Already my back is killing me and it is just early afternoon.

So, how do I tell my husband that this tub I have been pestering him for for YEARS, is not going to work for me.  That to use it, I will either need a winch chair to lower me in and out of it or I will need some kind of pulley system that it can lift me out by my arms! Or he will have to invest in this tub…

imageI like this idea.  You roll into the tub.  Take your bath. Empty the tub. Roll back out.  I could do this!!!!  And it is PADDED.   Dang, why didn’t I see this before we bought another business as I am sure it costs as much as a car!

I guess for now, I will use my tub more as a storage space imageKeeping it real in Culver,

Your clean and semi-shaved Queen

NEW CLASSIFICATIONS FOR FOLKS OVER FIFTY

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imageIS THIS TRUE OR WHAT?

I would be willing to bet that most of us over 50, woke up one day and looked into the mirror and thought, “Damn, when did I become this old person when I do not feel old inside?”

I know for me, when I write or tell someone I am 61, it always surprises me that I am really that age.  It just feels false.  I am now older than many of my relatives who died when I thought they were “old”.   I wonder, did they feel young inside, too?  Or because they lived in a whole different era, were they “old” before their time?

With this in mind, I would like to propose a new classification of what to call us besides “Senior citizens” since anyone 55 to 120 is lumped together in one class.

Here is my suggestion (and please feel free to share this with everyone you know who is 50 or better)!

NEW CLASSIFICATIONS OF AGING BY QUEEN ROBYN

50-59 years~THE FRESHMEN CLASS OF AGING

60-69 years~THE SOPHOMORE CLASS OF AGING

70-79 years~THE JUNIOR CLASS OF AGING

80-89 years~THE SENIOR CLASS OF AGING

90-99 years~ THE UNDERGRAD CLASS OF AGING

100-110 years~ THE GRADUATE CLASS OF AGING

111 years and up~ THE ALUMNI YEARS OF AGING

Don’t you just love it?  I am so comfortable being called a SOPHOMORE citizen.  It makes me feel so much younger than being called a “Senior citizen”.    If we have to have labels on our age, let’s change them to reflect where we really are in the SCHOOL OF THE SECOND HALF OF LIFE.

So, what do you think of this?  Are you on board?  Will you classify yourself now as one of the above?  Let’s spread this around.  Let’s make it viral so everyone can see it and we will all have something else to talk about other than The Donald, Bathroomgate, how Prince died (does it matter?  The man was a genius no matter what) and anything to do with the Kardashian Klan!  Let’s change how the world classifies us that are over 50!!!!

WE STILL ROCK N ROLL, BABY.

Sending you all groovy vibes…..

Queen Robyn, Sophomore citizen and damn proud of it!

MOST FRIGHTENING MOVIE I EVER SAW

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I love horror films. I love to sit in a dark house all alone and watch movies that make me have to leave the lights on when I go to bed. I love a good scare. Tonight I watched a movie that no light could ever erase the terror of seeing it. I am forever changed by viewing it. What could be so frightening you ask? Was it a slasher movie or a ghost/zombie/vampire gore fest? Was it a movie based on a true story murder or abduction? Nay, nay, my friends it was much worse….it was a movie that will chill you to the bone, make you wish you could go back to the innocence you had before watching it. The scariest part of this movie is that this could happen to you, to me, to our loved ones. It happens to thousands of people every day….some of us may even think it is happening right now to a person we know….or even to ourselves….be afraid, readers, be very afraid.

The movie was made in 2006 and stars Julie Christie as a 60something woman who starts to lose her memory and the journey she takes in that process. What scares the bejeepers  out of me is that I have walked that journey with a woman who began it in her mid-fifties. (The posts titled, “Oh Death Where is Thy Sting”, “The Empty Purse”, and “Bittersweet” are about her journey. Take the time to read them if you haven’t already. Some of us will be talking that road in the years to come.)  What I saw could be my story or yours and it truly scares me.  In my line of work I have intimate access to assisted living/nursing facilities and every time I go into one of these places, I pray, “Oh Lord, let me die before I have to go to a place like this”.   Not that they are bad but I don’t want to end up old and alone and sharing a room with a stranger.   Walking down the halls talking to myself (bad example as I already do this) or sitting in a chair with a blank look (ok, another bad example as I often walk into a room and have that look when I try to remember just what I came into the room for) or dropping food into my lap as I eat (ummmm, ya that’s happening now, too).   Going to bed at 6:30pm not because I want to but because the staff has to get everyone to bed before their shift ends and there are only two people working a floor.

I could go on and on but if I do, you won’t be able to sleep tonight.   I have seen movies like this before but never has one affected me so badly.  Maybe because the main character reminded me so much of my friend.  Smart, talented, beautiful, fit, educated,  she had it all.  I have it all.  You have it all.  We are no different from this character, from my friend.  If it can happen to them, why not us?

Becoming feeble and dependent scares the crap out of me because unlike zombies eating me or men in hockey masks coming for me on Halloween, this is real.  This might actually happen.  And it could start anyday, maybe it already has.  Maybe my “Senior moments” are really the start of this awful, awful journey.   And it chills me to my very core to think about it.   And nothing can stop it.

What I really found so disturbing in this movie was how the staff at the “home” was so unaware of the person each patient used to be.   What ever distingushed us from one another was gone and they couldn’t even keep the residents from taking each other’s clothing and so they all ended up wearing each other’s clothes.   They became a blended mass of broken humanity.  It reminded me of a once vivid photograph that is left out in the sun and each day the brightness fades away until there is nothing left but a shadow.  I don’t want to be a shadow.  I don’t want to lose my vividness.  My quirkiness.  My uniqueness.   What if my grandchildren never know how funky and eclectic I am.  Who will color my hair purple and teal and blue?   Will I be allowed my collection of mannequins and body parts?   Who will remember the REAL ME?   Who remembers the REAL people in all of those places?    I want to be remembered as I AM, not as how I might end up.

Watch the movie if you dare.  It’s called, “AWAY FROM HER”.  But remember, you were warned……..

GOLDEN OLDIES?

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I am listening to an oldies channel on cable TV and what a rollercoaster of emotions these songs can be.  Some of the songs (all from the 60s) can make me sad…not because of the lyrics but from the emotions I must have been feeling when the song was popular.  Some times I could just sob but I couldn’t tell you why.  Some songs actually make me sick to my stomach…not because they are so hokey but because of the turmoil I was in during that time.  I can’t pinpoint what exactly.  My teen years were not something I would ever care to go back to as some of you can imagine!  Yet there are the songs that bring back memories of a young girl.  Perky bust, tiny waist, nice booty, large eyes, smooth skin with that unmistakable glow of youth.  Ahhhh, if only it was that way now!   When you are young, you are invincible.  You can only imagine the life you may have.  Who knows what may happen.  Everything is open to you.  Life is exciting and fresh.  The possibilities of what you can do is unlimited.  It’s like living in a CandyLand world or a Katy Perry video!  You wake up excited to see what the day brings……

And here I sit, 40 years later.  Bust has gone South, waist has expanded like our government debt, booty is as large as a third world country, eyelid droop has made eyes half their size and what of that smooth skin? The only smooth skin I see nowadays is my grandbabies bottoms!  I look into the mirror and think, “who the hell is that?”  Inside I am still 21.  Outside I am on the wrong side of 60.  When did the transformation happen?  Where was I???  How could I have let this happen?  Sure, I suffer from SO’HS (Scarlette O’Hara Syndrome….”I’ll think about it tomorrow. For tomorrow is another day.”) but seriously, you would have thought in 40 years I would have taken a good look at myself and said, “Damn, girl.  You better do something quick or you’re gonna be in deep &^%$”.   Must have been too busy dying my hair or cutting it myself (whole nother post!!!) cause it’s the one thing that doesn’t take any self control and no sweat or grunting (tho, I did scream in shock a couple of times).  And shopping on Ebay.  I have very muscular fingers from typing and scrolling  and very good eye/hand coordination from trying to outbid others at the last minute.   And let’s not forget my all time favorite pastime…..napping.  I have had a sleep disorder since my early 20’s so I never get quality REM sleep at night so I tend to nap for three hours or more anytime I get a chance. Somehow, napping doesn’t seem to be an aerobic activity (Ha…you should see what I can do in my dreams!) and snoring must not burn many calories.  Still, it’s not like I was sitting on my couch eating bonbons 24/7.  You’d think you’d get some points for just breathing.  And what about all those hotflashes?  You would think that those suckers would burn the calories like hellfire on a sinner.  I should be glowing just from the constant heat and sweat.   And all the walking I do….from one room to the next saying, “What the heck did I come into this room for?”  But most of all, I should be in much better shape as I am carrying around an extra human woman.  Like in that movie, “Shutter”.  There has to be a person sitting on my shoulders cause I can’t possibly weigh what I do all by myself!!!!  Everytime I get my picture taken I can see parts of her under my chin, around my upper arms, behind my butt and thighs.  Oh ya, she’s there….just like a Siamese twin…..only headless.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!)  So next time you see me,  see if you can see her, OK.  And get that beyotch off of me!!!!!!