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

Life is (Not) a Bowl of Cherries

Peter will be 91 years old on Wednesday.  A year ago, we had a wonderful party to honor him.  One couple didn’t come because they were worried about a new virus, now with us for over a year.  Many of our guests tell us that Peter’s celebration was the last social event they attended “live”.

In January, Peter broke his hip.  Since then, I have seen him five times.  I couldn't see him in the hospital.  I was permitted to see him once during the two weeks he spent in rehab.  Three days after he came home, he was back in the hospital with excruciating pain in his other leg. He is now back in another rehab for a couple of weeks.  Seth and I visited him briefly on Wednesday, but visits are permitted only once weekly.

Peter is working hard to regain his strength despite his worsening Parkinson’s.   And I am here for him.  But…

“Life is not a bowl of cherries.”  


Alarm Clock

I stayed up way too late on Sunday night talking with our son Seth who came home for a short visit.  Since I had an early Monday morning walking date, I decided to set an alarm just in case. I cannot remember the last time I did that--no early morning flights (pandemic-related), no go-to-work (retirement), usually turn out the light by ten (eyes closing over a book).

Why am I reporting this?  Because although I have set that very alarm clock thousands of times, I had forgotten how.  Of course, I figured it out, and all ended well.  I was sleeping when it rang at exactly the right time.

That got me thinking about what else I’ve forgotten how to do.

Not a good idea.


Whatever happened to......?

“Have half-slips disappeared from women’s lingerie drawers?” Lisa in Indiana asked a newspaper’s fashion editor. “Not totally” replied the editor. “They’re considered old-fashioned, but like many fashions, they could come back.”

I remember my pile of carefully folded half-slips—yellow, blue and white, all laced-trimmed.  Today I have none. 

Remember garter belts?  They held up stockings before pantyhose took over.  What about carbon paper to make copies or adding machines that you had to crank to enter a number? When is the last time you saw one of those thin blue overseas letters?

I have gotten along without all of the above. There is something I’d like to get along without…it’s called a pandemic.


Newsletter Creep

The other day I realized that it is taking me a lot longer to get through my email.  I wondered if I might have over-subscribed. 

For years, I have had an online subscription to The Boston Globe. More recently, I signed up for “The Morning,” a daily look at the news that “matters” from The New York Times.  Then, I got tired of not being able to read more than a few lines of interesting-looking stories from The Washington Post.  That paper had begged me to subscribe, and I finally coughed up the $29 for the one-year special that brings in five-ten emails daily. Finally, I had been seeing interesting snippets quoting Boston College professor Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook for so long that I subscribed to her daily newsletter too.

Is newsletter creep a pandemic thing or will it be with me forever?

We’ll see.   


Dressing Up

It’s been a year of sweatpants.  Until Wednesday.

On Wednesday, I was allowed to visit Peter in rehab for the first time since he broke his hip last month. I decided to dress up for the occasion.  I chose my nicest slacks and a très chic tunic sweater.  I added a long double strand of colorful beads.  It felt terrific.

Wednesday was also my birthday.  When six neighbors came to my door with birthday treats later that afternoon, everyone commented on my outfit.  Especially the beads.

Maybe on my next birthday, I can invite them in.


Update on a Venture

Six months ago, 80-something.com introduced Live Campus Tours, an exciting new venture that the next two generations of Kugels had launched. Their new organization makes it possible for high school students thinking about which colleges to apply to, to “visit” the campuses they are considering without incurring the costs of having to go there. 

LiveCampusTours is now giving one-on-one tours on 177 campuses nationwide via Zoom. These are not like the canned virtual tours that the universities offer, but a chance to get all your questions answered about life on campus without it being filtered by the admissions office. If you want to see what it looks like, here's a condensed version of one of the tours.

You can reserve tours at livecampustours.com for $39, or if you'd like to buy a tour gift card for your grandchild or child or godson or next door neighbor, you can just write to Seth at seth@livecampustours.com and he promised me he'll tell you how you can do it. 

Please tell him that his mother sent you.


Bedside

For our entire marriage, I have slept on the left side of our bed. In all the places we have lived, the left side of the bed was closer to the bathroom, but I don’t think that explains it.

Peter used to help me change the sheets every week, but now that he is unsteady on his feet, I do it myself. However, since he has been in the hospital and rehab with a broken hip for two weeks now, his side of the bed has been empty.

It occurred to me that if I slept on my side for a week and then slept on his side for a week, I could change the sheets less often.  I decided to experiment.  I climbed into his side the other night, noting the different view of our dresser and closet.

In the morning, I expected to find myself back on my own side.  But my side looked completely untouched. Now, I’ve slept on his side of the bed for three nights.

In these pandemic days, it doesn’t take much to boost your spirits. Just having to do one less load of laundry every two weeks for a while is nothing to sneeze at.


Leaving the Fifties

Twenty years ago, Peter and I went to Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico for a week of healthy eating, challenging exercise and new friends. A moderately priced spa, the “ranch” offered a discount to guests who would teach something.

I proposed a program called “Leaving the Fifties”.  Having left my fifties, I considered myself an “authority”.  I also planned to publish something on that subject and had conducted an informal (my friends and their friends) survey of women in that age cohort.  

Since I expected some younger attendees, I had some advice for those entering their fifties also.  If I were giving that advice today for people turning eighty, it wouldn’t change much. 

                            Accept the person you are.

                            Feel your unique identity.

                            Nourish your emotional self. 

                            Stay fit.

                           Have multi-generational friends.

Remember that "if you do what you want, at least one person will be happy".

*Many thanks to everyone for their good wishes for Peter's recovery!

 

                       


If This Week Were a Fish...

On Monday, Peter fell and broke his hip. On Tuesday, he had surgery.  Although he will be okay, his hospitalization and the search for rehab were not easy.  In addition,  I am not allowed to visit him.

Also, on Monday our son Seth tested positive for Covid19. So far, he is doing all right, quarantining at home.

There were also some good moments this week.  I am auditing a twice-weekly class called “Guns in the U.S.--A Love story”.  Our outstanding teacher is an historian, who starts every class with some country music, usually with a gun theme.  I also heard a wonderful talk by Moshe Safdie, the world-famous architect who in his eighties is still masterminding innovative projects around the world.

Still, if this week were a fish, I’d throw it back.


Soccer Grandmother

Both of our sons played soccer in high school.  Both of them were goalies.  It is true that the hardest position on the field is “mother of the goalie”.

Both of our grandsons play soccer.  Both are goalies.  We go to their games when we visit Maryland.  In those games, “grandmother of the goalie” is the second hardest position on the field.

Leo, our older grandson just went to a soccer event in Florida—some college coaches were there, and he got to play a lot with some excellent kids from all over.  He’s hoping to play soccer in college.

I saw a video from that weekend that focused on Leo’s playing.  His  performance was impressive.  More impressive, while we haven’t seen him during this pandemic, he seems to have become an adult.

 I watched that video on my phone.  It brought tears to my eyes.