Sawdust Festival, Laguna Beach, Calif.

 

The Sawdust Festival
 
A wonderful day spent at the Sawdust Festival in Laguna Beach, California.  The temps in the mid seventies, a breeze blowing, wonderful art and artists, hotdogs and tacoes AND my son the musician playing jazz on the main stage.   See http://www.DaveVictorino.com.      
 
After several hours wandering around the art exhibits, listening to the wonderful music and talking with friends we decided to call it a day.    
 
As we were leaving the Festival my husband remarked that he could not find his car keys.    I had left my keys at home as they are heavy and figured we didn’t need both sets.    Well, Wrong!   We retraced our steps thru the Festival, the food stands, the lost and found and no luck.   After much discussion we decided to return to the parking lot where we had left the car, hoping we had dropped them as we exited the car.     So, back on the trolley to the parking lot and needless to say a bit agitated.  
 
So, you can probably guess what comes next.   Yes, the keys were in the ignition and the car door was unlocked.     Whew! What a relief.    
 
My mind had gone through all possible solution if we could not find the keys.   Call my granddaughter, see if she could come pick us up, then drive us home (2 hours) then we would drive back to Laguna Beach with my car keys and return home.     What an ordeal that would have been.
 
Just prior to leaving to go to the Festival I had thought I should hide a key to the house in case we should ever get locked out.   So, I hid a key, emailed a friend as to where the key was in case of an emergency.     I had not thought that we would ever be locked out of our car.     
 
So, Now, we have to figure out how to hide a key somewhere on the car and of course both of us will carry our keys with us when we travel together.     
 
The Vicissitudes of Living and getting older.   The Mind is always either in the past of the future, rarely in the NOW.    

 

Kate, Our Senior Cat

The picture on the blog is not of Kate, however, it is a very close likeness.   We adopted her recently from a rescue situation.     She is 10 years, plus.   WE are not sure.     When we first picked her up she looked very much like a drowned rat.
Her eating habits are erratic.   WE believe she has never eaten any canned food, only dry.   She eats once a day, irregardless of whether we put food down more often.
She has a heart mumur  per the Vet, underweight, 6 lbs.
Slowly she is gaining weight, not much, but looks as if she may last a few years.  She has adopted my husband.    Goes to bed with him, sleeps with him, sits on his lap.     I do the feeding, the littler box and wash her face when she can’t clean herself. She does not sit on my lap 🙂
We are happy to have her in our lives. We had lost our dog of 15 years and needed something to love.

Seniors Living with Children

I sit and listen to a new friend, age 82, who talks about why she relocated to this community to live with her daughter.    She also has a son and made the decision about one year ago that it was better to live with her daughter.   The daughter is single the son is married.   She did not feel comfortable living with the son and his wife.    A bit of tension there as she described it.
Lots has been said about the wisdom or not so wise decisions of living with your children when you are old.     Bottom line it comes down to wanting to be with someone you trust when you become infirm, unable to drive, the little grey cells don’t click as fast as they used to and the fear of being with strangers when you get to the stage where you are totally dependent on other people.
When the children do not offer, when they do not acknowledge that you are fast approaching a time when you will need help, what does one do?     A good friend says to me often when we talk of children. Who else is going to love and forgive them.   I ask, who else is going to love old parents except their children.     At least that is how it is “supposed” to be and certainly what I hope for.
Asking for advice and help at this stage is difficult, especially when your entire life has been one of independence.
Do I want to live with my children?  I prefer not, however, I do want to be close enough to them to see them often, have them make important decisions for my husband and I and visit as frequently as possible.     Living in the same house would not be a first choice for any of us.
Living next door or down the street would be perfect.    Can we make that happen? Very difficult in this high priced housing environment.
I give thought to all of the above, see the stumbling blocks, feel sometimes overwhelmed and then depressed.    There are no easy answers.
For my friend who is living with her daughter, in my opinion she is very fortunate.    Daughters care about you, take care of you, do the nurturing thing that women do.   Daughters in law do the same, sometimes under circumstances that are not ideal.    I am reminded of the story of Ruth and Naomi in the Bible.
Getting older by the day.    For once in my life I would like someone else to help make the decisions.

EIGHTY YEARS

EIGHTY YEARS
I sit across the table from friends at a restaurant for lunch.    They mention that they are looking for a new eye doctor, their’s recently died.   I ask who he was, they tell me.   I am shocked as he was also my husband’s eye doctor.    How old was he  I ask, he was eighty. I used to say to the dental hygienist where I had gone for many years that I hoped she would not retire until after I had died.   Well she retired, I’m still here.  
WE talk of our careers.   Most of us feel we’ve had a pretty good life with a few hiccups along the way.     One friend lives with her daughter and is grateful.   She now has company and is able to share the expenses of housing.    Another friend age eighty five is getting married this next week, he just bought the rings for his new fiancee whom he met at a square dance social. 
We speak of a friend who at 85 when she was told she needed minor emergency surgery in order to live.   The surgeon told her if she had the surgery she would probably live another 10 years. She chose not to have the surgery.       
Children are mentioned.     Those we see, those whom we rarely  see.    Among all the friends there are few who have children who make regular or any contact.        There is a generally an accepted resignation that you cannot count on your children to care for you or about you at this stage of life.  No-one wants to be a burden, no one wants to go into a nursing home or assisted living. We all know, however, that is where we will go if we  live  past eighty.   “Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.”  Oscar Wilde.   
To divert from feeling depressed and hopeless about our futures some have martinis, some travel a lot, some stay busy with a multitude of committees and volunteer work.   Our memories are going, not being able to recall certain words is common.   We laugh and commiserate.   We are all in the same boat.    
The meaning of life has to shift from being the center of someone’s life; i.e., your children a spouse who has since passed on or a parent who was responsible for the family.     You are now on the edge of the circle and to find some meaning as you start to become invisible to that family and community is a challenge.   Knowing that we only have a few years left,we want to  be at peace with ourselves and our families .   How we get there is the challenge.     We are not reared in a society where we are expected to be alone.   It is easy to become curmudgeon and frightened.   
          

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Getting Old is not for Sissies

OLD AGE AND LOSING IT!
It had been a long day and for any of you who are familiar with driving in traffic on the freeways of Los Angeles you will understand what I mean.   If you are fortunate and don’t live in a city where the traffic is a nightmare it is much akin to being in a crowd of people and there is no way out except to wait your turn behind hundreds of others who are also waiting to get in or out of an event or a parking lot.   It does pose the question as to why anyone who is sane would want to live in this or any other large city?  That, however, may be the subject of another post.     
What’s  the Old Age got to do with it.  Well my husband and I are both seniors well past 70 years.      We live in a rural area outside of Los Angeles and go into the city to visit family.  In this particular case the family is our granddaughter who is in the hospital undergoing chemo treatment for Lymphoma.   So, the visit was important for us and for her.    For events that are not so important we usually choose to stay home and avoid the traffic and for us the long and tiring days.   
My husband is a stubborn person, not a believer in gyms or what he thinks of as necessary measures to stay healthy.   He grew up in the country, worked hard physically and was a tradesman all his working life prior to retirement.    So, his belief in staying healthy and old age is  to 
eat right, get enough rest, don’t drink too much and work around the house for your exercise.  
Unfortunately as we age we no longer move the body as much as we did when we were 30 years.    We do less lawn work, less work around the house and in-between those chores  we take naps.    This seems to be the pattern of aging and as nice as it sounds to be able to take lots of naps it does also mean we are not moving very much oxygen around in the brain cells and the body.    Those little grey cells in the brain are starting to diminish and need more exercise not less.  
In addition  to the aging my husband is in the habit of driving with one hand.   The reason being that his right shoulder is impaired due to a rotator cuff issue so use of that arm and shoulder causes him pain.   So, we are driving  up a narrow grade with a concrete divider between ourselves and the oncoming traffic, both tired, and my husband using only one hand. I had been napping on and off in the passenger seat so was not very alert.   Suddenly the car swerves in the direction of the concrete wall.   I yell, grab my husband’s  arm, my heart pounding , the sounds of tires screeching  and horns of honking.       He swerves the car back  away from the wall, using of course the arm and shoulder that are already damaged.    We are both shaken.  Heart pounding, blood pressure shoots up, and in a cold sweat.      A very close call, to say the least. WE assume he had fallen asleep at the wheel.   Something else perhaps, time and doctor visits will determine.       We arrive home with only emotional damage and the reality of the vicissitudes of  aging.  We are not as agile or quick thinking as we need to be in order to drive after a long day in the city and many miles on the freeway in traffic.      
Changes have to be made.  There will be many fewer trips into the city.   Public transportation is almost non existent where we live so again we must think of the time in the not so distant future when we will not be able to drive at all.  What will we do…, no clue.  As Tolstoy stated “Age is man’s greatest surprise”.

So… Not so sure we are losing it as perhaps we’ve already LOST it. Can’t say I’m surprised, just a bit depressed.      

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Cleaning Ladies

Recent thoughts about being house proud, cleaning houses, etc. made me aware that it took me a long time to give myself permission to hire a cleaning lady.  
Even many years after having a family and working full time I still had the left over message from my working class growing up that I was supposed to take care of my own house and it was frivolous to hire someone else to do the mundane work.  
Well I finally gave up and recognized that if I didn’t hire a  person to do the job  it wasn’t going to get done. I quickly found out that they  did a much better job than I 🙂  Those ladies do know how to do deep cleaning.   I was reminded of a swarm of bees that came  into the house and after a few hours left and everything was in order.  That was indeed a wonderful feeling.    
I don’t have a regular cleaning lady at this stage of my life.  Both my husband and I are retired and we both actually enjoy doing the mundane.   We do, however, still hire someone every few months to do the hard work that neither of us have the energy nor the bodies to do any longer.      
So, for those of you who like your house in order but find it just doesn’t happen by itself, please, give yourself permission to hire yourself a regular cleaning person.   They are worth every penny. 
Peggy

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