The 70-Something Blog is now The 80-Something Blog. Stay tuned in ten years for The 90-Something Blog!

Wendy and Hal

On a May afternoon when I was a sophomore in college, I sat on my dorm bed and waited for the phone to ring (down the hall!). My sister-in-law was in labor. After an interminable wait, I learned that I had a beautiful niece named Wendy.

Today, sixty-three years later, Wendy is a successful entrepreneur, author and speaker. But we have not been close. 

Until Zoom.

On Friday evening. Peter and I spent two hours catching up with Wendy and her husband Hal. We chatted and laughed like the good friends we should have been all along.  I have no idea how or why it took so long to happen, but I am thrilled to have her back in my life.  And when this pandemic thing ends, we will celebrate.

Without Zoom


How Old I Am!

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I don’t feel like I’m eighty-two.  Most of the time, I feel fifty-ish. But of late, I’ve seen some signs that I am not.  For example, our staple house jam is orange marmalade.  Yet when I bought a new jar home the other day, it was apricot jam. 

I seem to be dropping things or knocking over glasses or forgetting what I came into the kitchen for more than I used to. Sometimes I lose track of where I am in my exercise routine, and I’m really not clear about what a meme is.

I can live with all of the above.  But last week when I let a glass bowl slide off the kitchen counter and shatter into a million pieces, requiring me to throw away two big scoops of coffee ice cream, I realized that my best years might be behind me.


Shoulders Back

In junior high school, I was five feet, ten inches tall which was tall for a girl of my generation.  And my closest girlfriends were short—a couple were under five feet.  My mother attributed my poor posture to my having to bend over to hear what my friends were saying.

When I walked next to Mother, she would whisper “SB” to remind me to stand up straight. It was annoying.

My mother died in 1989.There are many reasons I wish she were still around.  One is that she would see that one of her grandsons and one of his sons have rounded shoulders, evidence that my poor posture was genetic.

I also would like her to be around to see how it doesn’t matter.


The Long and Short of It

It’s almost five months since the pandemic turned our lives upside down.  In retrospect, it seems like it’s been forever since life was “normal”.  But the days still go by much too fast. 

Each day I have a plan for what I want to accomplish.  Often, I make an actual list. But I never do everything on it.

So many books I’ve meant to read, and so many closets I’ve meant to clean. So many friends I haven’t called, gourmet meals I haven’t cooked, and podcasts I haven’t listened to. 

What have I done?  Well, I’ve washed my hands a lot.  I’ve waited for a lot of elevators because the policy at our condo is only one party in an elevator.  I walk almost every day if the weather is agreeable and sometimes when it’s not.  I’ve ordered my books for my classes which will resume by Zoom in September.  I do more for Peter as his Parkinson’s Disease progresses.

And I’ve just written my 1,307th blog post!


Ha! Ha!

Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving our resistance to disease. Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. (Help-Guide.org)

These days, people have plenty to worry about-- the economy, the pandemic, our nation and the planet.  As a worrier myself, I can attest to the fact that worrying is a waste of time.  But I still worry. 

It would be much better to laugh.

And I’m not laughing much these days.  I need  a good dose of my kids and grandkids.  They make me laugh like crazy.  But at the moment we have no plans to see them. 

The other evening was different.  We gathered in the garden behind our condo, with three good friends, socially-distanced, for take-out pizza.  We did not talk about politics.  We did not talk about the pandemic.  We did not talk about Black Lives Matter. 

Instead we laughed. 

The chemistry worked that evening, and it was a welcome change from our habitual grumpiness.

I wonder if there’s a way we could bottle it.


I Do Windows

We live in an imperfect apartment with a perfect view.  Floor- to-ceiling windows that look out over the Charles River stretch across our dining and living area, giving us a view that is constantly changing.  I could watch the sky, the clouds, the river and the boats for hours.

But floor-to-ceiling windows have a downside.  They get very dirty, especially in years such as this one with its bumper crop of pollen.

Finding myself at home more often, (like most people in these pandemic days) I decided that I had the time to wash the windows. With my little stepping stool and what seemed like gallons of Windex, I got the job done in a couple of sessions. 

Is there anything more satisfying than newly-washed floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Charles River?

Yup, newly-washed floor-to-ceiling clean windows overlooking the Charles River with no missed spots.


Pandemic Fashion

One of the things that the Covid pandemic changed in my life is how much less time I spend in my closet. The other day I took an inventory. This summer, I have worn less than half of the clothes in my this-season closet. And of the twenty-three pairs of shoes on the closet’s shelves, I have worn none. I know this because my shoes come off just inside the front door where you will always see a pair of walking shoes, two pair of sandals and, if I’m out, the Birkenstocks that I wear around the apartment.

I know exactly the last time I looked like I cared how I looked. It was more than four months ago at our party for Peter’s 90th birthday. I wore all black, a fashionable new top, a great purple and black scarf, tights and knee-high boots.

When was the last time you looked spiffy?


Hamilton and Me

Unless you have been off the planet for the last five years, you’ve heard about Hamilton, the musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda that took Broadway by storm and packed theaters around the world until the pandemic closed them.

We tried to see it many times. We entered all kinds of contests that offered Hamilton tickets as prizes, but we never won any.

So imagine my delight, a while back, when a friend said she had an extra ticket and asked me if I wanted to go. I spent a milli-second wondering if I should go without Peter. Then I said yes.

Our tickets were in the last row of the balcony. The acoustics were not ideal. The stage looked like we were seeing it from the wrong end of a telescope.

To complicate matters, my friend fainted as we waited for the theater to open. At one moment, she was standing beside me. The next moment, she had collapsed on the floor. She recovered and we went in. But worrying that she might faint again affected my enjoyment of the show.

So when I learned that a film of the show with the original Broadway cast was opening on Disney+ ($6.99/month), we subscribed and watched. I was captivated. The next day we watched again.

It won’t be the last time.  

 


The Waiter

About ten days ago, Peter finally got his pandemic-delayed hernia operation.  It required the usual preparations, even though it was only minor day surgery.  And, of course, it required someone to take him there and bring him back home, supposedly after a couple of hours.

The hospital was forty-five minutes away, and we had to be there at 7:45 in the morning.  No problem.

But, when we got there, I was told that I couldn’t go into the hospital because I had not been tested for Covid-19.  Fortunately, I had my book and my phone. I went off to park the car in the designated lot.  I phoned a friend and we talked for about an hour. When the excitement of that wore off, I walked around the parking lot for a bit of exercise.  Then I read the paper.  Then I walked around the parking lot again.  Then I picked up my book and started reading, expecting a call from the doctor at any moment to tell me “we’re bringing him down”. But it didn’t happen.

After a while I began to worry—not about Peter, but about my bladder. Some more time passed and I realized worrying wasn’t good enough anymore.  Fingers crossed, I stepped through the hospital door, and shouted to a woman behind a desk, “Can I possibly use a restroom?”  “Of course”, she said.  “There’s one just around the corner.”

Peter’s surgery went well.  They had kept him longer because he had been given general anesthesia.  He said that everyone and everything about the hospital, from the intake to the juice and cookies after he woke up, was perfect.

Not clear who was the “patient” one that morning.


Precious Days

Although those of us living in our “bonus years” appreciate our “bonus days”, we also anticipate a diminished quality of life as we grow older.

So I propose that we all get a seven-day reprieve at the end of our lives in which we relive some of our most perfect days.

And if that were miraculously to happen, how would we decide which days to relive?  Perhaps the day we fell in love.  Or the day we became a parent.  Or perhaps the day we made a life-changing discovery.  Or won a marathon.

Here’s my list as of today. 

  1. The campfire on Martha’s Vineyard more than a half century ago when I realized I was in love with Peter.
  2. The days our children were born (not the labor, the first holding).
  3. A day of biking in the Dordogne region of France.
  4. The day I held our first grandchild.
  5. My first book talk after publishing 70-Something.

My list could be longer.  It could change every day. 

But it’s fun to think about.