Some things get better – right?

50 for molly3

Part of an ongoing-but-irregular countdown to 50.

75. Everyone talks about how things start to get more difficult as you age: losing weight, exercising, reading without glasses, finding your car keys, remembering just why it is you walked into a room or opened a closet door. I get all those – and fully agree with all of them.

But there are a few things I really hope get easier as we age.

  • Budgeting money – I’ve never been a financial whiz, to be sure, but learning to live on a budget – and to say “no” to myself – has become a priority to me since my divorce 15 years ago. Part of it comes from the fact that until three years ago, I didn’t have any credit cards – we gave them up as part of the divorce proceeding (never mind) and I never got another one until recently. Truly living on what you have is an eye-opening experience. I’ll admit to splurging a bit when I finally did break down and get a card, but I’ve tempered that part of my brain with the, “but if we save we can go places!” philosophy (Ireland, here I come!). So far, so good. It’s still tight, I still cut things out of my budget to make room for other things, but, as they say, “You’ve come a long way, baby.”
  • Budgeting time – This one comes a bit harder to me. It’s no secret that I tend to spread myself a bit too thin (that came up twice in my performance review at work) and – more times than I’d like – I run late to personal events and outings. I think one of the reasons I don’t go to a lot of movies is because I worry about being late. Mostly because I usually am.
  • Dating – While this will certainly make a best-selling book someday, dating in my 40s was … interesting. There were a few relationships and an awful lot of awful lines from potential suitors (“I’m getting tired of the five-knuckle shuffle” or “Like most redheads I bet your [sic] built like a brick house”) or from those who I actually went out with (remember the gross, “I’d like to put my skin boat in your tuna chute”? Still makes my skin crawl.). I swear I’m hearing more bad come-ons now than I did before I was married.
  • Living – This one definitely gets better with age, at least I think so. I gave up home ownership seven years ago and really, really like renting – the idea of someone else picking up the tab when the water heater dies, or the air conditioning goes out is quite appealing. And right now I’m in the middle of another transition – moving from a building where I’m kind of embarrassed to have first-time guests visit – the smell of marijuana is overpowering, litter in the yard is off-putting, the broken front door and burned-out hall lights slum-looking – to a secure building where, theoretically, “shit gets done.” Living better to me also means enjoying life, being happy – you never know when you won’t get another tomorrow, so enjoy today. That’s what I try to do. Live with no regrets.
  • Finally figuring out why I really did go into that room – Yeah, I doubt I’ll figure that one out, either.
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Apparently my mom is worried

Part of a countdown to 50.

79. I remember growing up watching certain sitcoms and watching single women – think Rhoda or Mary Tyler Moore, for those of you old enough – get calls from their mothers admonishing them for being single.

When my own mother confided that she was proud of me for my strength in being a single mom and moving to a new place and raising my two kids virtually on my own, I remembered those shows and thought, “That’s awesome. My mom won’t be like that. She thinks I’ve got this.”

carrie-bradshaw

How I picture my single life …

This week, though, she’s changed her tune. We were on the phone one night and she told me how much she enjoyed talking to me, and that she often thought about calling but “I don’t want to bother you, I know you’re busy.”

“Mom,” I said, “you can call me any night. I don’t have a life, I’m available. I mean, I go out with friends sometimes, but it’s not like I’m seeing anyone or anything.”

She went silent for a good five seconds. (In Mom Phone time, that’s a fairly long silence.)

“You’re not seeing anyone?” she asked. Another five-second pause. “Well, how do you feel about that?”

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… and how my Mom apparently sees it.

How do I feel about that? Ummm … fine? I’ve been divorced for 15 years, and have spent only a total

of eight of those years in various relationships. “Single” is a regular part of my life. Suddenly it seemed my mother thought I would be a total wreck unless I was partnered with someone.

I don’t know where that came from.

Suddenly I think my mom is worried that my turning 50 alone means I’m going to be an old maid.

Hey, Mom, it’s OK. I’ve got this.

 

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I’m a crazy dog lady

IMG_20161118_173613Part of a countdown to 50.

80. One of the things that worried my daughter most about moving out of our apartment was leaving me alone with the animals.

She wasn’t afraid that I’d neglect them, or that they’d overtake the palace. She was more concerned that I’d turn into a crazy dog or cat lady, talking to the animals, having conversations, neglecting human friends in favor of my canine or feline furbabies.

At the time, I thought the concern was sweet but needless. I understood its base: I did (do) often talk to my dog and cat, and sometimes think I know what they’re trying to tell me. Mattie, my cat, will wrap herself around my feet every morning when we get up and every evening when I get home, meowing and looking up at me the whole time. I look down at her and say, “I know, I know.” (I really don’t know. I don’t have a freaking clue.)

Ceili, my 2-year-old Lab, and I often communicate through the morning and night, too – often with her trying to get me to play and me trying to get her to understand, “In a minute.” And then, equally as often, with me ending up throwing the ball or the rope or the squeaky toy until she’s worn out.

But that’s all normal stuff, that’s what all pet owners do.

Then yesterday happened. I had an argument with Ceili. What’s worse – she won.

We were in the hall between the living room and the bedrooms and she was barking at the spare bedroom/storage room, which is closed to her via baby gate. I knew she was trying to tell me her tennis ball was in there, and I didn’t see it. The conversation went like this:

Ceili: woof

Me: It’s not in there.

Ceili: Woof

Me: I don’t see it, it’s not there.

Ceili: Woof!

Me: It’s. Not. In. There.

Ceili: WOOF!!

Me: Oh, for the love of … (moves small box) Shit. There it is.

I threw the ball, she gave me an indignant, “I told you so!” look and off she went. And I was left there, both wondering what the hell just happened and concerned that my daughter might just have been right.

I might need a roommate. Or more human friends.

 

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Biting off more than I can chew

IMG_20170327_141052Part of a fairly frequent countdown to 50.

83. See what I did there? I’ve gone from a “daily countdown to 50” to a “fairly frequent” one.

Who’s surprised, really? I mean, a 100-day countdown is a fairly lofty project, really, and while I’m sure there are more than 100 reasons to look forward to my 50s, trying to locate them all while under pressure is kind of intense. It’s like going to the doctor with a full bladder because you know you’re going to have to pee in a cup, and then not being able to produce once you’re in the bathroom.

It’s exactly like that. Pressure is the devil.

I still hope to do a mostly daily countdown – provided I can perform under pressure – but 50 for molly3don’t be surprised if I miss a day here and there. Like yesterday. And Friday.

It was a bad weekend to be blogging – for no reason at all. I was out with a migraine on Friday (I get “weather headaches” like I’m a walking barometer – anyone else get those?) so Saturday’s post was a two-fer. Saturday morning I was part of a project covering the transfer of the final pediatric patients from our old children’s hospital to our brand new building, and then yesterday … Yesterday I was a sloth. I did manage to make it to the laundromat, but most of the day was spent watching season 3 of  “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix (if you haven’t see that show, you really should, it’s awesome).

Everyone needs a quiet weekend every now and then, and looking forward to my “summer of 50,” those kinds of slothing opportunities won’t come very often. Margaret Cho, Willie Nelson, Keith Urban, farmer’s markets, day trips – my summer is getting pretty booked.

And I like it that way.

 

 

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50 isn’t all that old – is it?

50 for molly3

Part of a daily countdown to 50.

86. Migraines are the devil. That’s my post for 86 days out. They’re evil.

85. I got a text this week from a high school friend who said she’d been reading these posts and they were making her feel old, that it “doesn’t seem possible” that we should be this old.

I totally agree. I certainly don’t feel the way my younger self perceived 50 would feel, I don’t think I look like I’m nearing 50 – at least, others seem surprised to hear that I’m close to that milestone.

Actually, I still kind of think of myself in my late 30s-early 40s. You know, not a kid anymore but nowhere near retirement age, either.

And then I think of my kids. And their friends.

How is it that I can have kids that are going to be 25 and 22 this year? (When I was 25, I had been married for two years and had just given birth to my first child.) How is it possible that several of my kids’ friends have kids of their own? Or are buying houses?

How has it been 30 years since U2 released “The Joshua Tree”? I remember several of my friends from college were going to see them in their concert stop in Kansas City that year and I begged and begged my parents to loan/give me money to buy a ticket. The concert came and went I didn’t get to go – only to learn a week later that my parents had, in fact, given me the money for the tickets. (We didn’t have ATMs then, and forget about online banking.)

How has it been 34 years since I first got my driver’s license in Missouri, or 32 years since I cast my first vote? How has it been 36 years since I first started paying into Social Security with a non-babysitting job? I should be 36, not have 36-year-old memories.

Now, suddenly, I feel old. I need a nap.

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Some things never change

20170323_094736

Part of a daily countdown to 50.

87. We’ve all heard the saying, “with age comes wisdom.” I’d say that’s mostly true – I’ve learned a lot over the years and often catch myself using another old saying, “if only I knew then what I know now.”

Sometimes – more often than I’d care to admit, actually – I find myself making the same mistakes, generally with the end result being the same injuries.

When I was 15, my parents sent me to modeling classes – not because I was some super-thin raving beauty (even at my thinnest, in photos above, I was a size 11 – well beyond the requirements for even “plus size” modeling) but, well, they thought I needed to learn how to walk properly.

It was a safe and correct assumption: I grew way too fast – I hit 6’0″ by the time I was 12 – and so did my feet – a women’s size 12, also by the age of 12 – so “balance” and “grace” weren’t exactly in my vocabulary. Before the classes, I’d fallen up a flight of stairs and ended up with a knee brace for six weeks, tripped over several of my sister’s dolls, got hit with a softball while trying to catch it because my feet got tangled up in each other – you see where this is going.

Fast-forward 35 years and I’m still having the same accidents, or at least the same kind. I’ve been sleeping in a queen-sized bed since college – which means I’ve made the bed thousands of times, walked around the bed even more. Yet I still somehow manage to break my little toe once every two or three years by ramming it into the leg of the frame. I still run into tall bookshelves in my office, or into door frames as I’m walking through them. Apparently I think I’m living a life-sized pinball game.

Not convinced? Here’s another one: I started curling my hair when I was in high school – with the exception of a few ill-conceived perms in the ’80s, that means I’ve put a curling iron to my head about 12,000 times, give or take a couple hundred.

Yet, without fail, every time I get a new curling iron I have to break it in by burning my forehead. Every. Single. Time. My arms are as long as they’ve always been. The barrel of the curling iron is the same size. Yet for some reason, I can’t seem to stop rolling my hair when the hot piece of metal gets too close to my face.20170323_161959

I just got a new curling iron this week because the cord on my last one split. Here’s what happened the first time I tried to use it. >

That shiny stuff on the injury is a first-aid ointment that will hopefully take some of the sting out. It works – until I go to spray hair spray. Ouch.

(And yes that’s me in the morning, sans makeup and with still-damp hair. Ten years ago this photo, if it appeared at all, would have had me with makeup and styled hair.)

I still also burn the roof of my mouth on that first piece of pizza, pull hangnails even though I know they’ll bleed, run my knees into the legs of the table and occasionally forget to duck when putting something in the back end of my Escape.

So there’s that.

 

 

 

 

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Staying out on a school night

20170322_193334Part of a daily countdown to 50.

88. Weekdays have always been “school days” to me, so the nights – even after my kids grew up and moved out – have always been “school nights.” When the kids were little, our weeknight evening activities were limited to those that ended early, were school functions or were special occasions, like birthdays.

Most of the time, though, we stayed in because “it’s a school night.”

As they got older, those rules began to get more lax – sports, youth groups, even just hanging out with friends sometimes kept them out later, and as long as they were getting good grades and good sleep, we made it work.

My weeknight routines began to get a little more lax, too. It became OK to go out with friends after work, or to go see a movie.

The older I get, though, the harder it is to go out on a school night. Sleep almost always seems the better option.

Sometimes, though, there are exceptions. Gaelic Storm is one of those exceptions. They were in Iowa City this week and I won two tickets to see them. On a school night.

No regrets.

Here’s one of my favorites  (one of many – which probably doesn’t make them “favorites”, right?) (not from the Iowa City performance, though they were even better now.).

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