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February 2012
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March 2012


Warning:  This entry is probably not of interest to men.

From time to time in this blog I update the status of my 70-something body.  There was never good news on this subject.  Until now.

About six months ago, I had a leg pain that I reported to my trainer/physical therapist Kathy.  I was sure I was doomed to have my second knee replaced.  Kathy did not think I needed a knee replacement.  So she gave me a set of exercises for my legs involving something called a “foam roller”.

Since I always do what Kathy says, I started the regimen of exercises she prescribed—about ten minutes, three times a week.  Basically, I roll my body back and forth from my knees to hips on the foam roller, on my stomach, back and both sides. As usual, Kathy was right. 

I kept up the foam-roller exercises when the problem went away as a preventative.  Six months later, anticipating a vacation to the beach with the kids this summer, and facing my “I hate bathing suits dilemma” again, I took a look in the full-length mirror.  And then I took a closer look.   Those ever-present skin dimples, aka cellulite, in my thighs had miraculously disappeared. 

In the morning, they were still gone.



Yesterday our baby turned forty.  (I was just forty, wasn’t I?) 

Here is Jeremy at forty.  Well-educated, good resume, great wife and children, good health and still a kid at heart.  He has had some challenges but he has faced them with grace and wit. 

This month he accepted a new job that suits him to a T.  He is as happy as a pig in mud.  When we talked yesterday, he was on his way to McDonalds to eat forty chicken McNuggets, keeping up a birthday tradition his parents would like to see end.

There is nothing a parent wants more than happy children.  

It’s bliss.



I’ve been thinking about how lucky our grandsons are to have all four grandparents still living. My mother’s mother passed away when I was two years old.  Her husband who lived well into his nineties was the only grandparent in my life.

I never knew my father’s parents and that didn’t bother me until we became grandparents. If I knew their first names, and I don’t think I did, I have forgotten them.

I decided to do some investigating.  I called my older brother. He didn’t know their names either.  Then I tried Google. 

I was surprised to see that my father and mother showed up—no details, no Facebook page, but a record of their existence.  And for a fee, I might be able to learn more.  However, I know a lot about my parents, so that was not necessary.

Without their first names, I couldn’t find anything about my grandparents.

So I called Florence, my 95-year old half sister.  She didn’t remember when our father's parents died, but she knew that their names were Philip and Rebecca.  She said Becky was an angel.  She didn’t say much about Grandpa Philip.

Our grandchildren won’t have to search the Internet to learn about us.  A couple of years ago, our son Jeremy asked us to write about our lives, which we did. He also videotaped us talking about our lives for our grandchildren to have after we are gone.

No such luck for me.


Warmth and Azaleas

We found spring this week on a short vacation in Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.  It’s peak azalea season there, and the daytime temperatures were in the mid-seventies.

I am happy to report that southern hospitality is alive and well.  Strangers on the street greeted us, “Hi, how y’all doing?” Everyone was helpful.

We walked many miles over those four days.  Our highlights were the gracious 18th century homes near the Battery in Charleston and the squares in the historic section of Savannah. 

We enjoyed each other, as always.  But there was one event that topped the others.  We were walking along King Street in Charleston one early evening on our way to dinner.  Peter was in khakis, a striped dress shirt and a navy blazer.  I was wearing tight black slacks and a chic gray jacket.

Two twenty-something blonde women passed us going the other way.  One called to us over her shoulder as she passed, “You are one good looking couple!” she said.

It’s hard to beat southern hospitality.


Losing Friends

The fact that so many of my friends are alive and well is a blessing.  There was a time in my early forties when three of my close friends died.  Two died of lung cancer, although neither of them had smoked, and one died of liver cancer while she waited for a transplant.  They all had young children.  It was very sad.

My close friends have been well since then.  But as the years add up, and if I’m lucky enough to stick around, this will change.  Aunt Ruth, though 100 years old, has two friends who are older, but enough who are younger to add up to sixty or so guests at her recent birthday celebration.  Her advice—have younger friends-- is worth taking.

We were out with dear friends who are five and seven years younger than I am the other evening.  I told them why Aunt Ruth advises us to keep them in our lives. 

We had a good laugh.

Family Secret

About ten years ago I found out that I have a half-sister.  Her name is Florence and she is twenty-one years older than I am. It seems my father had a family before he married my mother, but no one told us.

I got a letter from Florence that January, and three months later we met. She is a widow with her own family so I also acquired a half-niece, a half-nephew and some half-grand nephews.  We have been together a few times since then, including a couple of years ago when Peter and I attended her grandson’s wedding and met the rest of her family.  

Florence has many friends and a very active life in New York City—the theater, the gym and more.  But she is now ninety-five and beginning to feel her age.

When I spoke to her the other night, she talked about her busy life, and said she could be out every night.  But she also said she didn’t think she would take another trip to the west coast to see her new great grandson.  She said that she has some days when she goes to the gym and her body refuses to do what she wants it to.  She said she is tired, and I got the impression that she meant life is a bit much these days.  At ninety-five, that is OK. 

I can only hope that the half of our genes that we share keep me as clear-headed, charming and loving as she is for the next twenty-one years. 


Kids Do the Darndest Things

Our children are our children—even when they have their own.  Our son Jeremy has two children, and therefore is a legitimate grownup. Although he is thirty-nine years old, he is as fun-loving as either one of his kids.

For example, on every birthday, Jeremy goes to McDonald’s and eats the number of chicken McNuggets equal to his age. He entered a McNugget-eating contest once and ended up on the McDonald’s Hall of Fame website.  Not exactly the role model you would want for your grandchildren…

One year he decided to have a meat-free September.  A huge carnivore, this was the supreme sacrifice for Jeremy. He got friends to support him and he raised some money for charity.  It was a struggle, but he made it, probably because September only has thirty days.

So we didn’t think much about it last month when he said he was going to eat an apple every day in February.  No big deal.  But then he told us last week that he has extended his commitment to1000 days, and who knows after that?

Perhaps the U.S. Apple Association will also want him on their website.

Our kid does the darndest things.

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Recently, we went to a 70th birthday party for a close friend.  He is an internationally known academic, an authority in his field and one of the most modest, generous and loving people I know. 

Three of his college roommates were there along with about two- dozen other guests.  We’ve known him for more than twenty years and we were probably the newest of his friends there.  The toasts were amusing and moving; it was a love fest.  But it was more about celebrating the past than anticipating the future.

Everyone making toasts expressed their hope to celebrate his 75th  birthday with him.  But, looking around the room, I felt a bit of a chill run down my spine.  I couldn’t help but think that some of us might not be there in five years. 

At our age, looking back is easy.  Looking forward is a bit more difficult.

Sadie Hawkins Day

Yesterday was February 29th, aka Sadie Hawkins Day.  Sadie was the daughter of one of Dogpatch’s earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins.  When she reached age thirty-five and was still a spinster, according to Wikipedia, her father called together the eligible bachelors of Dogpatch and declared that day to be Sadie Hawkins Day. “When ah fires [my gun] all o' yo' kin start a-runnin,” he said. “When ah fires agin - after givin' yo' a fair start - Sadie starts a runnin'. Th' one she ketches'll be her husband."

Forty-four years (or eleven February 29’s) ago, I was skiing in Lech, Austria with my boyfriend Peter.  Riding up on the chairlift, I reminded him that it was Sadie Hawkins Day, and that meant I could ask him to marry me.  So I asked him.  He turned me down, saying that when he was ready to get married, he would do the asking.

Four months later, he did.  Forty-four years later, I believe it was worth the wait.