Sunday, February 22, 2015

Between Girlfriends

Jane:  Did you ever call that guy I told you about last week? 

Trish:  Oh yea, yesterday.    

Jane:  Great!  When are you going?

Trish:  A week from Friday, before the party at night that I got the new dress for that I showed you.      
Jane:  Cool. Want company?

Trish:  No thanks, I'm good.   

Jane:  Call me afterwards and tell me all about it.    

Trish: Will do.

Jane:  I wonder if he'll remember me...tell him I said "hi" (giggle giggle)

Is this conversation between Jane and Trish about:

A - Trish's personal fitness training session with Jane's hot trainer

B - Trish's tattoo with the guy who designed Jane's sun and moon on her neck

C - Jane's nosey personality

 D - None of the above

If you picked D, you are right! 

The answer is...

E - It's about Trish's colonoscopy, with Jane's gastroenterologist.

WOA...exciting, I know.

When did life change from girlfriends talking about guys in muscle shirts at the gym to guys in white coats at the surgery center? 

Try age 50, or thereabouts.  That's when I noticed the shift in topics between my friends and me, morphing from stuff that's fun and exciting to...well, the opposite.

It's not like every conversation centers on procedures that make us all cringe, but I've noticed that we end up talking about things we don't like and don't want to do as much as what we do like and do want to do.  But, we always laugh...even about colonoscopies, and since laughter extends life. we are living proof that they can in fact be life saving in more ways than one.  My favorite reason so far as to why one girlfriend has put off her colonoscopy for 5 years:  "There's no way I'm doing that...That's an exit only," she said. 

We can tell ourselves that 50 is the new 30, but that's just lip service - to ourselves.  Who are we kidding?  The 30 year-olds are still having a blast with the guys at the gym,  planning trips to faraway beaches with a bikini in tow and without a care in the world, and going out at 10 pm for a night of dinner and dancing...when by then I'd have been in bed for an hour or two,   

It's hard to believe - but I know it will happen - that one day I'll be sitting around with my girlfriends and we'll be saying "Remember when we were 55, and we thought we were soooo old?"

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Boxers

Valentine's Day happens to be my husband's birthday.  Some might think this combo celebration could be extra challenging when it comes to presenting David with a creative, exciting gift or two.

Not to brag, but rising to the occasion has become easier than I could have ever imagined.   

For the past 10 years, my gift to David has been and will continue to be a handful of men's boxers.  I know I'm going to do it, he knows I'm going to do it, and there's no mystery involved.  Better yet, our expectations match.  We are in sync with this plan.    

To make matters even more simple, I even know where I'm going to get them. I'm going to walk into The Gap sometime after the New Year and load up with Valentine-themed boxers - hearts - and other designs that he would never wear publicly.  These could include bold patterns or hot pink or pictures of goofy things which are nowhere to be found in his wardrobe for others to see.

I know some folks may think this is b-o-r-i-n-g and wonder why I don't try harder to please my man.  After all,  this is a second marriage, with one unsuccessful one already on my resume, and I have no little ones running around to deter me.  It would be a thought I might have if I had me for a friend.

The reality is, however, that when I first gave boxers to David many moons ago, he declared this gift to be a winner, stating he wants a new supply every year so that he doesn't have to go out and buy them for himself.  He has never said, "How about a new album this year for a change?" or "Instead of this year's boxers, could you look into a rare tube for my collection?" He knows better.

I am fairly certain that if I tried to pick out a "special" gift for him with the expectation that he'd ooh and aah, there's a 50% chance that I'd end up disappointed by his reaction.  Then, he'd feel badly that I felt badly, and I'd feel badly that he felt badly that I felt badly.  What a way to ruin a birthday.

The fact that we've taken the surprise out of the gift-giving portion of this celebration is, frankly, a huge relief - for both of us. We have learned over time that the expectations created through communication with one another are far more realistic than those created by trying to read each other's minds, hoping for the best. 

For the record, I do try to add some intrigue to the gift box by purchasing other things to accompany the boxers.  This year, I used a box that could hold about 100  DVDs and made a Gap Lasagna, layering the boxers with other GAP items.  He liked the sweater, was concerned that one shirt might be clingy and didn't  appear impressed with the other stuff. 

The boxers were a hit, as always.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Free Again

A:  Catching a glimpse of Mom scurrying from the living room into the bathroom, in her wheelchair.

Q: What image will you remember most about your beloved mother? 

Back in November, I entered her apartment and was shocked by what I saw.  My mamma, who had been wheelchair bound for a couple of years, had morphed into a most energized and fixated athlete, utilizing her powerful arms to propel her wheelchair to move at lightning speed.   

I had a feeling something had been going on in recent weeks based on the newly-battered doorways which were perfect when mom first moved in.  It seemed rather strange that they'd look so weathered in just a couple of months, but I assumed at some point I'd figure it out.  It became clear when I saw her flying around:  sometimes her navigation was off a bit.

Watching Mom maneuver her wheelchair with boundless determination provoked mixed emotions in me: 1 - I felt sad that she was most likely painfully aware of her physical limitations, and 2 - I felt happy that she was then, as she always had been, a woman on a mission. 

What completely thrilled me was to see that Florence got her mojo back. 

I learned a couple weeks before my mom passed, but after I had mentioned to one of the nurses that I saw her flying around, that the staff viewed her as a "fall risk" between 1 and 4 pm - after lunch and before dinner, when she was most often hanging out, often on her own.  They checked in on her more often during that time period but always reminded her to press the pendant and then WAIT for assistance before she decided to take matters into her own hands.

When her more vulnerable time of day was brought to my attention, I spoke with my mom about adding a caregiver for that time frame, in addition to the morning and nighttime hours when she also had extra help. She resisted this suggestion at first which did not surprise me as I knew she was very happy to have unloaded the 24/7 help that she had for 3 years.  I said, "Fine mom, but then you have to WAIT for help when you press your pendant, ok?"

She never answered any of the times I asked her to confirm the instructions.  Instead, each time, she'd just stare me down.  I knew this meant "I'll do what I want, and if that means I want to take myself to the bathroom or move from one chair to another, then you're not going to tell me otherwise."  Besides, she wasn't going to take direction from her youngest child. 

It would frustrate me to no end that she wouldn't wait for help, even though at first I was annoyed that the wait could be quite lengthy, almost forcing her to proceed without assistance.  I soon learned that regardless of the wait times, my mom had no intention of asking for help to do the things she at one time did on her own.  It finally clicked:  my mom was reveling in her regained freedom.

For the first time in years, she didn't have round-the-clock care hovering over her, and she was willing to take the risk. If she fell, she fell. At least it - her life, essentially - would be on her terms.

It made perfect sense that such an independent woman would feel that way.  I just didn't like it.

If I'm lucky enough to live such a long, full life, I will most likely turn into my mom, if I haven't already.

Sunday, February 1, 2015


It's Superbowl Sunday, and my husband...watched the Superbowl! 

You'll never guess what I did tonight. It definitely wasn't watch the game.

I...obsessed over Pandora! 

I'm generally not one to follow the crowd, but in this case, I can't help myself. 

Add me to the billion fans of Pandora Internet Radio.

I love classical music, thank you Florence, and accessing a myriad of "Canon in D" variations, "Moonlight Sonata" and "Fur Elise" along with other pieces in that genre which highlight the piano have been awesome.

It's only been a month since I was introduced to her (Pandora is a she, right?), but I have to say that my infatuation has grown exponentially since.

It all started one morning when I was hanging out with my mom, who was bedridden.  The sun was shining in to her bedroom, and she squeezed my hand when I asked if she could feel the sun on her face.  I knew the only thing more I could do for her at that time was to play the music that she had always enjoyed at home.   

One of her favorite pieces that marked my youth was Dvorak's New World Symphony.  As I looked around her apartment for her CDs, I stopped when I saw that mom had a mix of classical favorites already in her boom box, so I hit "play" and felt momentarily pleased.     

I then mentioned to her caregiver Tina that I wanted her to keep mom's music playing and that hopefully I'd return with a Dvorak CD.      

"Just put it in Pandora," she told me.

WHAT?  Put WHAT into WHAT or WHOM?

Very patiently she explained what Pandora is all about, and how I could download the Pandora app on to my smart phone and have access to all sorts of music.  It took us about an hour to get Dvorak's New World Symphony and like music available for my mom's listening pleasure, but once that was set up, we were in business.

I don't know if my mom heard the music, but she squeezed my hand when I asked her if she did, so I am hopeful that she was comforted by it. Pandora became our most beloved friend for several days.

It took awhile for me to grasp how Pandora worked, as the app doesn't allow for the listener to repeat a song or skip too many songs that are listed under a particular genre, which I always do:  I repeat what I like and skip what I don't.

A different music streaming app, Spotify, would allow me to listen to the same song over and over which is cool too, but I have come to appreciate that the set-up of Pandora will naturally expand my music knowledge. 

Now I can be serenaded all day long (at home) if I want, as long as I carry the phone with me which I tend to do anyway, although my husband doesn't get what all the Pandora fuss is all about.  

He doesn't understand how I could be content with music coming out of my phone when he listens to his high-tech equipment every chance he gets, but the reality is I can't turn any of it on!