Archive for the ‘Growing Old’ Category

A lot of people ask me if I like living in India.

The answer is absolutely.

Well, except for the air quality. 😦 No good.

Also the temps are starting to rise a bit. Today it is 102 degrees (F) or 30 degrees (C).

Despite those two things I do enjoy being here.

I love my neighborhood. Every day I discover something different, new or exciting. I’m totally learning.

We are getting ready to move. Again. LOL. But only a couple of blocks away. Same ‘hood.

Our house is in a lovely area. But the construction next door was/is driving us batty. It is like Chinese water torture. Every. Single. Minute. Drip. Drip. Drip.

We considered moving to a popular expat area across town.

Big skyscrapers in a gorgeous golf course setting. The apartments are ridiculously spacious-like 6000 square feet. The building boasts a movie theater on ground floor. Along with a gym, coffee shop and restaurant. Even a pub.

The outdoor pool would put you in mind of a Caribbean resort. Swimming through a labyrinth that’s shielded by towering palm trees.

Went to dinner there with my husband’s associate and his wife. They reside there and love it. Who wouldn’t? Very nice setup.

Couldn’t punch holes in it if I tried.

The wife of the associate was gracious. Explained how safe it was.

We totally figured that one out.

Had to register with guards to enter the gated community. Told them who we were visiting. Then we were on our way.

Came upon another gate at their actual building. Same drill. Security fellows allowed us entry.

Last line of defense against solar panel guys, Jehovah Witnesses and people like us who slipped past the first two gates? Yes, you guessed it.

One more smiling fellow on the ground floor of the building. Located near the elevators.

I was impressed with all of the amenities that the community offered. The woman told me about yoga classes, golfing, groups, etc.

She continued, “You’d never have to leave here.”

Ahhhh. And there it was. My hole punch.

I tried to hide my “deer in the headlights” look.

I’d never have to leave the grounds of this secure and closed community.

Which is totally fine for a four day stay at an island resort.

Okay, I understand that there are a lot of folks out there that would love this. Never have to worry about a thing. A pristine, sanitized, happy bubble.

I’m not knocking anyone. It’s just not me. At least, not the me I am today.

I know that no one stays in the community all of the time. They do leave the compound. LOL

We don’t drive here in India (company doesn’t allow) so I do a lot of walking. We have a driver but I have him drop me off at a park or I will just roam our neighborhood on foot. I always feel safe and I am careful.

You lose some independence by not driving. So I regain a bit of it by walking and exploring the dusty side streets. Never knowing what I will see. Monkeys, mongoose or sick bat stuck on a fence.

Strolling through the acres of the public parks with the funky birds and different sights.

I told my husband (we were waiting to hear on one last house in our current neighborhood) if the last house didn’t pan out then we needed to do what made the most sense financially, work transportation, etc. If that ended up being this expat spa resort then so be it.

I’d find friends and make the best of it. And leave the compound every now and again. 🙂

 

In the end, the house in our current neighborhood did pan out and we will move there in the next week or so.

Yay!

It really made me realize just how much I enjoy discovering something different, new or exciting. Each and every day in my wonderful host country. In my colorful neighborhood.

I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you.

 

 

 

 

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I’m not turning into a health nut. Honest.

But I was watching “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” on Netflix last month. It’s about an Australian man who juices his way across America. He is obese and not in good health. Focusing on turning his life around.

He’s successful. Ends up clearing up his afflictions and getting off all medications.

One sentence in his documentary sort of struck me. Was something like this.

“I wasn’t being kind to my body.”

It was in an Australian accent so it sounded like, “I wasn’t being coined to my bawdy.”

This sentence stuck with me.

We put garbage in our mouths every single day. Processed food. If we can’t pronounce the ingredients or even know what they are then why would we put it in our body?

Like we only get one body in this life time. And if it’s been kind to us shouldn’t we return the favor?

My brother (who recommended the film) and I were discussing it. He mentioned Diet Coke. Which I loved. It was the actual jolt I loved.

I eventually stopped drinking it in India. They have it here so I am not sure why I actually stopped buying it. But I did.

I’m glad I did. I had it in the States a few times but stopped drinking it by the end of my visit there also. It’s said that the combination of the caffeine and the aspartame is a deadly one. In so many ways. Possibly cancer. Damage to the brain. And more.

Now, I knew that aspartame was never my friend. Or a friend of lab rats. And yet, I welcomed it into my body every single day.

I smoked. I certainly knew that was bad for me but the addiction had me just hoping I dodged the bullets that come with it. So I kept smoking. Because I felt good and I didn’t have any coughs or other things ailing me as a result of it.

I invited cigarettes into my body every day. Numerous times a day. Glad I stopped.

No such thing as a perfect person. But we can be aware of how we treat our bodies. We need them to carry us for a few more years in good health. We probably should be conscious of the ways we can be kinder.

Shouldn’t we be kind to our bodies?

 

 

 

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This past January my friend Di and I had plans for a lunch.

Winter in New England can be very cold. So everyone has to bundle up.

Kind of weird because it seems like the entire Northeast female population is wearing the same fluffy black coat. The ones that can make a person sort of look like a sausage about to burst out of its waxy looking casing.

Both of us have gained weight. Both of us are little women. Like five feet tall.

We hop into my car, try to get situated so we can belt ourselves in and be on our merry way.

Well, there we were. Twisting, turning and almost grunting trying to get comfortable. Picture, if you will, worm larvae. The puffy jackets don’t help.

We came to this stunning conclusion.

Having extra pounds is just downright uncomfortable.

That is really what it comes down to, isn’t it?

I am uncomfortable.

Not body shaming myself or anyone else. I don’t think we should all look like anorexic models. I don’t want to go on crazy diets. Just want to be at the normal, healthy weight I’m supposed to be.

I’m not comfortable in my clothes because they no longer fit properly. I have clothes I cannot wear. I’m not comfortable passing a mirror (clad or not), catching a glimpse and gasping out loud, “Good God!” I’m not comfortable looking at photographs that show the obvious gain.

A lot of people who are overweight are uncomfortable.

In bathing suits. Shopping for clothes. Always leaning toward the stretchy pants. Self conscious.

I recently saw a posting on a page for a reunion at my high school.

A woman said she ran into another gal (did not name her) and asked if she was going to attend the reunion.

The reply was, “No, not looking like this.”

The woman had gained a lot of weight since high school. So she was going to miss this fabulous opportunity to meet with old friends.

Because she was uncomfortable with herself.

I felt really bad when I read that. I think she absolutely should have gone to the reunion. No one cares about her weight gain.

But I understood how she felt.

I weigh more than I ever have in my life. Except for pregnancies.

Never really bounced up and down with weight but in later years I always picked up a few extra pounds on summer home visits. Usually I dropped those within the first two weeks of my return. Getting busy and back to a routine. Shed the suckers without blinking an eye.

This past summer was no different. There was the usual flurry of activity that happens. Graduation party, birthday parties and nights out at restaurants. Eating all of my favorite foods. The veal parms and the fried clams. Steamers dripping with butter and Casserta’s Pizza. Four road trips with food on the fly.

So I picked up the usual few pounds.

When we returned back home, after seeing the kid off to university, I figured I would drop the additional weight.

It didn’t happen this time.

I returned to a different house and country with no set or usual routine. I had an empty nest. Husband working all day. I didn’t know anyone.

Days and weeks passed. I didn’t lose a pound.

Then on November 6th I quit smoking.

Went home for the Christmas holidays. I don’t know a soul who actually loses weight during that time. I was no exception.

So, what to do?

I figure if I can quit smoking I can do anything.

Have to give a shout out to my brother. He inspired me in a few different ways over the holidays.

So when I arrived back home from the airport on February 7th I hopped on the scale. Hopped right off and documented that number which was at an all time high. It’s probably not even the real number. I call it the air travel weight. Lots of bread and junk.

But I documented it just the same.

I used the Fitbit app on my phone. Like I used an app for smoking cessation.

It’s me that is going to do the hard work but I like to see graphs, progress and encouraging messages.

It comes down to this. It’s all about what I eat. And how much.

I do walk at least an hour a day. But that is because I want to be outside and doing something.

My point is that even if I never left the house or lifted a finger I should be able to lose weight. By being aware of every morsel that I eat.

It can be frustrating. Sometimes it seems there is no rhyme or reason to a gain, loss or plateau during the process.

But today when I stepped on the scale it was a solid ten pound (and a few ounces) loss. Finally the scales have tipped in my favor. I have fifteen more to lose.

Some of you reading this might also be feeling a bit uncomfortable.

You can find comfort.

And you can start today.

Hop on the scale. Write down that number. Get a Fitbit. Set a goal. Challenge a friend. Track your progress. Reward yourself. Document everything that goes into your mouth.

You will absolutely get results.

That’s all there is to it.

You can do this.

Be comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My cousin’s wife lost her grandmother the other day. She was, as they say, a good age. Ninety four.

But still. When I read it my eyes filled up.

With all the nastiness in the world that I could cry about this is the thing that finally gets me. Although I only teared up. No fits or anything. I’m just saying.

Grandmothers are special.

My paternal grandparents lived in Ireland (and I did not) so I never really knew them. There wasn’t the money to go back and forth. My maternal grandparents were also from Ireland but lived in the U.S. so I knew them very well.

I was close to my grandmother. I am her namesake.

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She was a gorgeous woman. With auburn hair and green eyes. And a lovely peaches and cream complexion as a young woman according to her cousin Tom Creaney.

I’ve been thinking about her a lot lately. Not exactly sure why she keeps creeping into my thoughts. But I have some clues.

We bought that new house in Rhode Island during the winter so I still really have no idea what the landscaping will look like in the spring. But I did ask the previous owner if they planted lilacs. She said that there were some bushes in the backyard.

Yay! I love purple lilacs. We had them when I was growing up. So it’s a part of the grand scheme.

It made me remember my Nana. She was allergic to them. And there was a bush right outside her kitchen window. Where she sat a good portion of the day. Doing her puzzles, scanning the newspaper, reading letters, cutting out photos with “The Fonz” or “Donny Osmond” for me and eating her meals.

She did not own the house so she suffered instead of requesting the bush be removed.

Wish I could sit and commiserate with her until the allergy season passed.

I now walk every day in Delhi parks. I goof around on the gym equipment that the Lion’s Club has generously provided.

One day, I see a lady who looks like an expat. Maybe I will strike up a conversation. See what we have in common.

Ummm. She’s got banana curls. I cannot remember the last time I saw anyone with banana curls.

My first thought? Friendship might be a tad difficult if she is on the high maintenance side. That’s totally not my thing. I’m thinking banana curls take a bit o’ time.

I envision, “Hey, want to grab a coffee or a drink?”

Response, “Sure! In four to six hours. Gotta curl my hair!”

Okay, totally being unfair to this woman. Plus I am sure they’ve perfected that banana curl look with a simple tool.

Nancy, my Canadian friend said, “You never know!”

But it made me think of my grandmother once again.

I, too, had banana curls. My mom has the photos to prove it. Pictures documenting the before, during and after. I’d share but they are at Mom’s house. In a different country. Plus I was probably in second grade so a bit toothless. Not a good look. Makes me seem a bit off in the photos.

In the “during” photos I am seated at my grandmother’s knees. She is setting/weaving my hair with rags. Once a cotton pillow case but torn into strips that wrapped up my hair.

Wish I could sit at her knee now.

My husband and I would always invite her to join us. Even for a drive. She would say, “No thanks, you kids go on.”

I think the last time she said “Yes” was a trip to La Salette Shrine during the Christmas season. A place where there are tons of Christmas lights. That was many years ago.

Wish I could take her for a drive.

My brothers and I were reminiscing recently and talking about her. My little brother got in trouble with my Dad one day. After Nana had been babysitting us. Nothing to do with Nana. LOL. She just came up in the memory hashing.

Wish she was here to validate the childhood memories.

Anyway, she’s obviously been on my mind.

A grandmother is truly a special gift. If you still have one give her a call. Take her out. Cherish her.

You will never regret the time spent and I can pretty much guarantee that you will always miss her once she is gone.

 

 

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I was reading an article the other day.

Its title?

Six things that can help keep you young.

That caught my eye. Let me state, for the record, that I am aware of the attention grabbing numbers in an article’s title. A marketing thing that seems to work quite well. I’m guilty of succumbing to it. And then cruising through lists.

5 foods that will guarantee weight loss.

Top 20 universities in the world.

10 spots you must visit before you die.

20 best places to retire.

Bloggers are told if you want more “hits” use numbers and lists.

It’s nothing new. Because it has proven to be successful through the years. Most likely because of our limited attention spans and also knowing that we’ll be able to skim through the list in a timely manner. Without wasting too much time.

I don’t usually use it when writing. But I fall for it when reading.

Anyway, this one grabbed my attention and I thought it was a pretty good list.

Six things that can help keep you young. All doable.

Keep moving. Go for a thirty minute walk. Clear out a cupboard. Work in the garden. Don’t have to do everything all at once. But choose something every day to keep active.

Friends. Friends. Friends. Being connected is good for your health. It just is.

Quit smoking. This article stated that smoking one cigarette a day impairs cognitive ability and fifteen cigarettes hinders critical thinking and memory. Okay, I did not know that. If this is true it’s just one more reason that I am glad I stopped. Because my memory is not that great.

Eat like a Mediterranean. Fruits, vegetables, mixed nuts, fish, olive oil and whole grains.

Play games and puzzles. Whip out the daily crossword puzzle and also challenge yourself to some problem solving exercises.

I love, love, love this last one.

Revisit old favorites. Think about what made you feel good when you were young. Not sure why we abandon the things that once made us feel fabulous.

For example. I met a neighbor last Sunday and she brought me to her home. Her kids had friends over and they were playing in the living room. They built this fort with blankets draped over the chairs and sofas. Like I did when I was young. Like my kids did. Because it was soooo fun.

These children were having a blast. Smiles galore. I was happy just looking at them and I told them, “Oh my gosh! What fun! I did this when I was a kid. And so did my kids!”

Now, I’m not saying go grab blankets and build a fort in your living room. Or climb a tree.

But do something. Try to remember what brought you joy.

Ride a bike. Fly a kite. Listen to music. Go to the airport and just watch planes. Picnic with your friends.

Have a great week and I hope you all feel super young!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A few years ago I was walking along a beach with my cousin, Joanne. She would stop, every so often, to excavate a piece of glass from the sand. I had no real interest in this scavenger hunt. Didn’t really know why anyone would want to collect bits of glass on a beach. But everyone is different. We all have our hobbies.

This past January my husband and I moved into a new home that overlooks a bay. A waterway that leads from the Atlantic Ocean to the Port of Providence in Rhode Island.

Even though it was winter, we still walked down by the water to take in the fresh air and the bay views.

I began to notice small pieces of glass. Would just catch my eye. Here and there.

Each tide swept in treasures from the sea. Big wooden pilings, driftwood, shells, rocks, some trash and sea glass.

Sea glass is man made glass (old bottles, dishes, etc.) that has tumbled around the ocean for possibly decades. The sharp edges are dull and soft as a result of its travels. Its surface, once shiny, is now frosted.

Way back in the day people dumped their trash in the ocean. To avoid keeping it on land where it could attract unwanted vermin that spread all sorts of yucky things. Ships also used the water as a convenient place to dispose of their refuse.

Sea glass was once trash but now appears on shores ready and ripe for upcycling.

A shard from a beer bottle thrown overboard could be made into a beautiful pendant forty years later. Sort of interesting.

I am now a collector of sea glass. Once you pick up your first piece and all that. Always on the search for another one. Looking for the pièce de résistance. Not just the green, brown or white ones that were the popular bottle colors of the day. 

It started out innocently enough. I saw a piece of old glass that washed ashore. Picked it up and put the smooth, frosted treasure in my jacket pocket. Wait. There’s another one. And another. Soon my pockets were full and smelled like the ocean.

After a week or so I had a bunch.

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This vase is the result of four beach combing sessions.

I headed out whenever I could. It was very cold on some days (my husband thought it was quite unhealthy for me to be out there) but I felt an amazing calm being by the water. It was therapeutic.

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I collected the glass while I listened to the Canadian Geese honking and landing in unison with a big swoosh.

Other than a few unnatural muffled noises in the distance like the hunters targeting ducks, small clam boats and ship horns it was very quiet each day.

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I totally enjoyed the tranquility that accompanied my beach combing.

Why does the tide deliver pieces of sea glass to our shore?

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The location. Our home is in New England so the weather and tides can get stormy and riled up a bit. A little more than depicted in this photo.

It’s also situated on a busy waterway leading into a port so I am sure there was a lot of trash thrown from the ships in the past. As well as residents of yesteryear dumping on the shores.

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The beach is also rocky and filled with shells after each tide so it’s easier for pieces of glass to get caught on the shore.

As a result of this new discovery I’ve read a lot about sea glass. And everything that popped into my mind has already sort of been written about and totally covered. By those who have been bitten by this bug long before me.

Like I’ve wondered about the origins of certain pieces when I picked them up.

Was it once a bottle that contained a scrolled up love note? Could it have just been a wayward whisky jug shard that was once whole and shared during a drunken night around a camp fire? Was it a lost and broken piece from a terrific shipwreck?

Others have had similar imaginings.

I have also entertained, in my head, the many ways that these newfound treasures could be used. Yup, tons of other people way ahead of me. The internet is chock full of ideas. Jewellery, art, home decor and more.

I mean, it really is a thing.

Who knew?

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There are jewellery making classes in nearby shops. Sea glass shows and conventions. Lots of other things that I honestly did not know existed.

A few tidbits and I will take my leave.

Most countries no longer dump their trash into the oceans. So the opportunities to find sea glass will eventually diminish.

Not everything is trash. In fact, most things can be recycled, reused, or upcycled. Just have to really think about it!

A diamond is taken from the earth and refined by man. Sea glass is originally made by man but refined by nature.

Sea glass can also be a metaphor for life. No one gets through unscathed, right?

Waves knocking us down. Getting a few dents and chips in the process. The current throwing us around a bit. Losing our luster. Edges no longer sharply defined. Clarity sort of dulled.

Sounds kind of depressing until we see the transformation of the surviving pieces.

The frosted hue, softness, beauty and imperfections that are you.

Sea glass.

Really, who knew?

Cheers to your next discovery and have a lovely day!

 

 

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I have a chat group with my brothers. So we are always texting each other and keeping in touch. Sharing photos. Even if I am in India.

Hate it when they veer off into statistics of a sport on the chat group.  But that’s life.

We are special.

No, mentally, we are sort of okay. At the moment.

We are special because we can get same reactions via text that we would get in person.

Had interactions tonight.

One brother says, “I have guests and they probably think I’m nuts.”

Because he was laughing so loud. He said his stomach hurt.

The other brother said his family heard him and wondered if he was okay.

That’s always how it’s been with us. We feed off each other. Until we can’t breathe.

Everyone in the family just lets us be. Because they know. The ones that marry into the family are keepers because they get it. And love it.

I just want to say I’m incredibly grateful for my brothers.

 

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