Grace brings us face-to-face with aging as she relates her experiences, her memories, advice for surviving the aging process...with Grace. This is a place for humor, sharing, and learning as well as what I hope are some entertaining meanderings of my thoughts.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

A Smile a Day & All That Stuff

This has not been a happy week around here. No one feels much like smiling. It is hard to find one when friends come to the door. Our Fur Friend, Katie was put to rest on Tuesday, as you may have already read in my earlier post. Tears are easier to squeeze out than a grin.  It won't last forever, but today, our smiles are hiding.

Do you ever wonder why people who ask us why we aren’t smiling are…yep, you guessed it – not smiling? I do. Are they really asking us if we would please smile because they just can’t? All of my life, it seems, people are either asking my why I am not smiling or telling me they remember me for my smile. Hmmmm…so which is it? Do I smile or don’t I? Truth is, I do both and I have never felt compelled to smile just because someone else thinks I should. Smiling is for joy, jokes, surprises, and happy occasions. They are special for the very reason that we don’t constantly smile at every little thing. Am I way off base here, or do you feel the way I do? What would a smile be if that was all we did? We’d look like the “What, me worry?” kid if we did that.

There are different kinds of smiles. Some people have a sly smile, like Mona Lisa. Others crinkle up their eyes and smile with their entire face. Or how about the ones who laugh/smile – they can’t help doing both at the same time. Did you ever snort milk out your nose, laughing or smiling? Or cough till you nearly choked? Who’s got a good belly laugh out there? You? Your Uncle Harvey? We all know someone who has a certain way of smiling and laughing.

Health gurus tell us to smile because it is good for us.  So, okay, I can agree with that.  I do feel better when I am smiling.  I try to give away my smiles, and that makes me happy.  Smiling at babies always fills my heart when they just naturally return the favor.  Maybe I just lost my smiles for a couple of days and - poof - I'll find them again tomorrow?  I hope so.  I want some of those smile wrinkles to go along with the other crinkles I have going on on my face nowadays!  The last thing I want to be is a grumpy, frumpy ol' lady.  Here's a promise...I will pop out of bed in the morning and smile at every little thing I see!  Well, almost everything, anyway.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thursday Favorite Things

Food For the Brain / Food For the Soul

Reading is a pastime I enjoy daily.  I love a good mystery or Christian novel.  Stories of war, spies, conspiracy, or murder keep me riveted until all hours of the night.  My favorite Christian series is Neta Jackson’s Yada Yada Prayer Group books.  It was a lesson in patience to wait for the next book to be published.  Now her husband is writing a parallel series featuring the men in their lives.  If you haven’t read these authors, I highly recommend them.

Clive Cussler is another favorite.  I absolutely can’t put his books down once I start one.  He totally messes with my body clock, turning my nights into one long day and my days into one nap after another.  I have yet to figure out the ending before he tells me who did what and why. 
HB (HoneyBunny) is a book-lover, too.  We have hundreds of books.  After I read mine, I either save them to read again or pass them on so someone else can enjoy the story.   HB can’t seem to part with his.  It’s like there is Velcro on each cover that grabs hold of him and won’t let go.  His office has books on shelves, on his desk, on the floor, in the closet, and any flat surface available.  Eek – it is chaotic.  But, that’s the way he rolls…

Last year I bought HB a Kindle Reader for his birthday.  I wasn’t sure he would use it, but I wanted to take a chance.  As luck would have it (my luck, that is), he didn’t catch on to the thing and since it was just sitting around, I decided to give it a try.  I have hardly set it down since.  I love it.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the feel of a real book in my hands as much as the next person, but it is so easy to hold that reader when lying in bed, and so quick to download a new book day or night.  I’m sold on it.  So, of course, that encouraged HB and we bought a second Kindle so we could both read in bed!  Tsk…is that what getting older means?  Really?  Getting all tangled up…in a good book???  Sighhhh!

Reading can be a pastime or a learning time.  My most precious time is reading to learn and to know Jesus.  Our church encourages us to read through the Bible in a year.  I was amazed to find that this is a history book, full of romance, dysfunctional families, unsavory characters, mystery, and all of the excitement I find in my other books.  Growing up our Sunday school class memorized Bible verses, but no one had ever suggested that we actually try to read all of the books in the Bible, from beginning to end.  I never knew what I was missing.  I never knew what a blessing it could be for me.  I was pleased to find out I could also use my Kindle for Bible reading.
So, have I become a techie Grandma?  I guess I am.  I have two computers, a digital camera, a Kindle, an iPod, a smart phone and hearing aids with Bluetooth.  No, there are no robots roaming our halls and no spy bots buzzing over our heads (at least not any belonging to us).   Mercy me…will my brain cells be able to keep up with all of this?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Farewell To A Fur-Friend

Today the vet is coming to our house to put our fur-friend, Katie to rest.  She has several tumors and an enlarged liver and has not eaten in four days.  She is just not interested in any food anymore.  It is time to let her go wherever it is that dogs go to wait for us.  Some say they play in a field near the Rainbow Bridge until they see us again.  I am not sure, but I want to believe that our pets will be in Heaven, running and playing in a complete and pain-free body until we join them.  The Bible mentions other animals in Heaven and my heart says dogs will be there, too.

Katie found us one day when she was approximately five months old.  HB (HoneyBunny) was stooped down, checking something or other under the car, when -“slurp”- he got a big ol’ wet kiss on his cheek from this little brown puppy that had just appeared around the corner of the garage.  It was love at first lick!  We tried to find who she belonged to, but we were not successful.  The animal shelter told us if no one claimed her after three days, we could keep her.  No one did, so we took her in to join our other two dogs.

Right from the start, she was a wonderful pet.  She loved people, especially the Grandkids.  Strange dogs and any cat were another story, however.  She faithfully protected us from any such interloper throughout her eleven years with us.  She romped with and chased our other pup, Annie, endlessly until the two of them wore a path around the yard!  They shared the role of Alpha dog – Annie taking control through the early years and Katie taking over once Annie got diabetes and wasn’t feeling quite so chipper. 

We will miss our “Little Girl” and the house will not be the same without a 100 pound lump of brown fur lying right where we need to walk.  She had a knack for being smack in the middle of the traffic pattern of whichever room she decided to be in.  Towards the end, when it was too difficult for her to get up and down often, she just picked a spot and stayed there for hours.

HB tells me we will never have another pet.  He says it is just too heartbreaking when they die.  I believe that especially in our older years it is important to have an impartial companion who loves unconditionally, to help us through lonely times, sickness, and just to talk to when no one else is nearby.   Pets are good therapy for us elders, and there are so many animals that need homes.  Perhaps one day he will change his mind.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Bee’s Knees or Flying Trapeeeeze?

When we were young we only thought of our knees in terms of our skirt being above or below them.  Some of us cringed when we wore a bathing suit and had to expose our dimpled knees to the world.  They were simply a necessary evil to most, while others thought they were the “bee’s knees!”  (If you know what I mean.)

My knees were used and overused as I was growing up.  I ran everywhere.  No special reason, I just loved to run – barefoot.  And, I climbed trees, hung upside down from the limbs and dropped to the ground instead of climbing back down the way I came up.  Tomboys did those things without a thought of what was to come later as we aged.

At school I could be found swinging from the trapeze, spinning 360 degrees by my knees, or just dangling and watching the other kids play right-side up.  I hung by one knee, then the other, and with both knees for what seemed like forever.

In high school, like everyone, I carried a mile-high stack of books on my hips, which happen to be just uphill from my knees.  A few years later, it was a baby (or five) who perched on my hip.   Up until a few years ago, I could be found lifting all manner of heavy objects as I worked on yard and home improvement projects.  All of these without a thought of how this could impact the joints.  Ahhhh, youth and stupidity – a perfect combination.

Which brings me to today.  My knees are a wreck.  I am waiting for the results of yesterday’s x-rays.  The primary care physician suspects arthritis.  But, then what?  Can arthritis be evicted?  Tossed out?  Or does someone with a needle or a knife need to be called?  I don’t even want to think about it, but I can’t help it – I hurt and that’s all I can focus on right now.  Of course, I understand I am not the first to have this problem.  There are millions of us who are limping, hobbling, shuffling along due to one joint dysfunction or another.  However, this time it is personal and I am not taking it lying down!  Listen.  Do you hear a whining sound in the distance?  It’s me.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dive Bombers at 2 o’clock!

Why do those pesky little mosquitoes hover over my computer desk?  Well, that’s not hard to figure out!  They are pretty certain that a fluffy ol’ woman will soon be plopping her pudginess down on the chair and will become an easy, tasty target!  Within minutes of settling myself at my desk I feel that all-too-familiar sting and up pops a welt that itches like crazy!

I am the only person I know who sprays insect repellent on before going indoors, for goodness sake.  I practically bathe in it.  And, still they come, zeroing in on ears, cheeks, hands, elbows & ankles.    What do they see in my elbows, I ask myself.  Or my ears?  Is there enough blood in an earlobe to quench a skeeter’s thirst?  And, elbows are one of the most uninteresting parts of the body to humans, so why is it that critters find them delicacies?  Ankles, now, might be another story altogether.  I used to have nice ankles.  I am pretty sure they are still nice, but I haven’t seen them in some time. 

Being attacked by a swarm of butterflies would be more to my liking.  I can imagine them sitting gently on my shoulder or my hair, fluttering wings and waiting for a gentle breeze to carry then off to places unknown.  Or perhaps a herd of dragonflies, flitting around my arms, looking for whatever it is that dragonflies are in search of.  Even a flock of ladybugs, if you please, would be more to my taste.  It’s just those nasty, bothersome mosquitoes that make me crazy!

Fall weather cannot come too soon to suit me.  I want that first freeze to rid me these tiny dive bombers.  Take them away, never to return.  If I lived in a world without flying little blood munchers I would be more than content.   “Buzz off!” I say! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Frogs on a Blog

In some circles, I have become known as Froglady. My Grandchildren use that nickname for me, I sold on eBay under that name and I sometimes use it for a signature on emails. I started collecting frogs when I was in my twenties. Not just any frog, mind you. These had to be frogs with character! I wanted cute, not ugly or full of warts. They needed their dignity; after all it isn’t easy being green!

No room was without one or more. No color was off limits. I had them on the floor, on the furniture, on shelves and on walls. I was single back then and no one but me had to see them every day! Then, one day, I changed my mind. I was finished with frogs I told myself. I am too mature for all this stuff! So, away they went. I don’t even remember what I did with all of them.

Fast forward to sixteen years ago, when HB (HoneyBunny) entered the picture & we got married. He noticed that one of my kids gave me a frog on a special occasion and he picked right up on it. There was no stopping him. It wasn’t long before I was the proud owner of frog earrings, a frog business card holder, frog planters, frog wind chimes, ceramic frogs, and so on, and so on. Now, you will find them in the bedroom, the bathroom, the living room, well…everywhere except maybe the kitchen!

I am at the point of wanting to declutter, but what to do with all of them. As I get older, I know I do not want so many dust-catchers on shelves and on walls. I want some decoration, but not to excess. So, several Kermits and other fuzzy, fluffy green critters have found new homes by way of yard sales, as did the salt and pepper shakers. It wasn’t easy, but I simplified. We ought to do that now that we are older and wiser. I am content with only a few froggy friends now. I am “hoppy!”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"You not Old"

This was written by a Guest Blogger...please visit her blog, too, and say "Hello!" 

One Christmas about four years ago, our oldest son and his wife were talking about having a baby. All three sets of parents (his two blended sets and her one) were a little leery. They were a young couple just starting out in life and we tried to convince them to wait as long as possible. Well, a few short months later they made their announcement that they were pregnant.

While I wasn't surprised, because they'd been talking about it for awhile, the sudden realization that I would be a "grand" mother scared the beheejies out of me! For years I'd been talking about how wonderful it would be to be "old" someday and say and do whatever I wanted with no recourse. Well, old was NOT 40-something in my mind, it was 80-something, but didn't becoming a "grand" mother mean I was old? BigRigPig went through his own "grand" realizations and both of us finally got to a point where we were excited.

I didn't have any living grandparents as a child, so I didn't know what their purpose was. But here are a few things I've learned about what being a grandmother is all about!

  • Smell the flowers. Young parents are too busy trying to make ends meet and other such responsibilities that they forget sometimes that you have to stop and smell the roses. Chica and I always walk around and find the flowers wherever we are. We don't just smell them, either, sometimes we pick them.

  • It's okay to push the boundaries. Sometimes what can't be done at home with mom and dad is okay with PaPa and Abuella!

  • Eat dessert first. All things are good in moderation, so it doesn't matter which order it comes in.

  • You're never too old or too young. Those stairs just seem to go on forever? If a 2 year old can go up them over and over again, you probably still can't! But when you tell her, "Abuella can't go up anymore, Chica, I'm too old." She'll hold out her hand and say, "You not old... here, I help you."


@Fat_n_HappyHW on twitter

Mom to five, wife to a long-haul truck driver… fat and happy am I!! Always looking for recipes that store well on the truck or even for camping.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Autumn Giveaway

welcome autumn giveaway

Here's information on an Autumn giveaway being offered by Katherine's Corner blog! Just click on the button and get all the information! The winner will receive 2 ceramic birds (cute), a beautiful trinket box, an Autumn greeting sign and an embroidered tea towel.

Good luck! And, let her know GraceinAZ sent you!

A Whole Lot of Fixin’ Goin’ On

Major house repair for seniors is either a necessity, a dream, or a nightmare.  Ours was a mixture of all of those.  For the last two years there has been a lot of fix-it stuff happening at our house.  It all began with a leaky old roof that needed to be replaced.  That was a blessing in disguise!  Day one – rip off old shingles and some of the plywood underneath.  That night – unexpected rain, or should we say…downpour!  A call to the contractor at 1:00 am got quick results, but not soon enough to prevent water damage to our ceilings.  Before the tarps could cover the exposed roof, enough water had soaked the ceilings that we had major damage in the living room and master bedroom and water stains in two other rooms.

That’s where the blessing comes in.  In the process of making repairs to the ceilings, the workers discovered that the drywall was installed backwards and it was also coming loose from the rafters!  I never knew there was a right and wrong side to drywall, but there is.  The primed side should be facing the room, but ours was not.  That meant that the lovely (snicker) popcorn stuff was barely hanging on, and that the ceiling was not secure!   That old saying “going bump in the night” suddenly had a whole new meaning for us! 

While that repair was going on, we decided to replace the popcorn ceilings in the rooms they were working on.  The newly textured ceilings needed to be painted, which led to the walls being painted, which led to chair rail, window and door trim and baseboards being added (and painted).  Whew! 
Now, after a two year break, it is time to replace windows.  We have already replaced three.  This week three more were done, plus window trim and blinds added …and I am painting again!  And, eek – I even scraped off the popcorn ceiling and textured the sitting room myself!  As I write this, there are six one-gallon cans of paint sitting on the floor looking at me.  They will be upset when they find out I may need to wait until my knee swelling goes away.  There’s no telling what’s happened, but I suspect age, arthritis and being out-of-shape may be the ugly truth here.  My ups and downs on the ladder have sent me to the rocking chair!  Sigh.  I don’t think I am ever going to get used to this aging business!

Friday, September 16, 2011

How’s That Fit ‘n’ Trim Working Out For You?

Here’s a confession…when I married HB (HoneyBunny) sixteen years ago, I quit going to the gym. There is no excuse, just the facts. And, today, I am the picture of fluffiness as a result. I’m sorry, but as nice as it is to hear, telling me that I still look as beautiful as ever just doesn’t boost my self-image. I see lumps and bumps and too much of me in the mirror (when I am brave enough to even look!). And, while I am not overly over plump, there is more of me than there needs to be for good health!

(Thanks for the bumper sticker, CafePress)

With my weight weighing on my mind, I signed us both up at one of the local gyms. The one that has the senior demographic, by the way. This works out fine (pun intended) since it means we rarely have to watch some muscle-bound hunk strutting around from weight bench to weight bar and back again. Instead, we see bent and slow elder folk shuffling from the treadmill to the leg press and on to the rowing machine. It does mean, however, that we must wait longer to use a machine – long enough for Old Ed to get his breath and to saunter on to the next exercise. That’s fine with us, though, as we are still trying to get enough oxygen in our own systems to make a move!

Our trainer gave us three sessions to get us on the right track to firm up and tone up.  HB prefers to go off on his own and in his words, “do the fun ones.” Personally, I haven’t found those “fun ones” yet, but I have found machines that seem to be adding some firmness in my arms and legs, and the ab cruncher is definitely making a difference. It is hard not to want to do more sets than we should, just to try to hurry the process along. After all, sixteen years of no exercise other than housework and yard work has taken quite a toll. But, slow and steady are the watchwords – necessary so neither of us ends up in traction somewhere! This will take forever, but we are determined to stick with it three times-a-week for as long as it takes or forever, whichever comes first.

As we age, it becomes all the more difficult to make that pesky tummy roll disappear and to drop a few unwanted pounds. Not to mention that my Wii is constantly nagging me about my BMI (body mass index), which is a tad higher that it should be for my age, height and weight. And, don’t even ask me about that other Wii exercise thingy that came with a webcam so I can watch myself sweat! Whose bright idea was that?

Starting off our hour-long workout with 20 minutes on the stationary bike is almost more than a body can bear. You will find us plugged into our iPods listening to some lively music or a teaching from our favorite pastor as we pedal our way to fitness. Then it is on to the upper body machines, the leg machines, the ab cruncher (just the name makes me wince!), and more. Then we drag ourselves back to the bike for another 20 minutes of torture…err, um…exercise. By the time we are finished, we are finished! I’m pretty sure we feel better somewhere deep inside, but it’s the outside that aches and groans as we head for the car. Why couldn’t I have parked a little closer to the door? Next time, for sure…

Thursday, September 15, 2011

“It’s Around Here Somewhere!”

In our home this is an everyday phrase.  A more than a few times a day phrase.  Sometimes it is said with a smile, often with a sigh and usually by me when HB (HoneyBunny) can’t find something.  Take his glasses for instance.  No, I don’t really mean take them – he’s already wondering if I took them – or hid them – or sold them.  I mean for example.  

HB has at least six pairs of glasses, some of which he prefers over others.  He can rarely find any of them.  They hide out in those mysterious spaces only glasses know about.  More times than not, they finally make themselves visible again so he can read his magazine or drive his truck.  “I found them,” he’ll tell me.  “Where were they?” I’ll answer.  “On my nightstand under a book,” he’ll respond…or…”In the door pocket of the car”…or…”In the bathroom.”  Name a place and his glasses have most likely found their way there!
One time his truck keys disappeared for weeks.  We were ready to see about getting new keys made when LuLu came to clean house.  While vacuuming she tipped over (on purpose) HB's favorite chair and when she set it up right again, the keys fell out.   A miracle, I tell you!  It's just amazing that they could have stayed hidden all that time.
Then, there is the cell phone vanishing act.  It is almost a weekly event.  One we can count on.  “Honey, will you please call me so I can find my phone?” he’ll holler.   We may find it in that same overstuffed chair, down in the little space between the arm and the cushion, or in one of the vehicles, or under the bed (I haven’t a clue about that one), or much, much later find it by accident because it was turned off the whole time and we couldn’t hear it.  Sigh…
Now, I don’t want you to get the idea that HB is the only one who loses things around here, but since I am writing this and I rarely see the humor when it is me looking for things, I am going to skip that part for now.  You understand, don’t you?
It’s a documented fact (by me) that I am married to a PackRat.  Everything is kept, just in case it might be needed for who-knows-what & who-knows-when.  Just in case.  But there isn’t a place for everything.  Instead, we have some chaos going on here.  Some rooms resemble the hoarding shows on TV (not really that bad, but it sounds more dramatic).  You see, HB loves books, is addicted to books, isperhaps even a book hoarder.  He owns hundreds of books.  He even reads a few of them.  But, in the last few years, focusing on a book for any length of time has gotten harder due to his sleep disorders.  Still, the books keep finding their way into his cart at the Thrift Shops and later into our house.  They soon become orphans destined to sit on the floor until they are in the way, and then relagated to a box and sent to storage.  Poor things.   Call me a detective, but I am guessing this just might be the answer to the mystery of the lost items. 
I am thinking that we are probably not the only ones who go through this losing stuff/finding stuff scenario daily. As we age, our brains lose some of that important gray matter needed to recall where we placed our treasures and necessities. It is part of getting old – perish the thought!  I am thinking that we should find a way to count these times as blessings instead of being frustrated and muttering to ourselves. Yes. I believe I’ll work on that. Yes.  While I am down on my hands and knees searching, I will use that time to say a few words of thanks and praise for being in such a situation. And, I will feel better.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Memories of Utah

After noticing so many "Wordless Wednesdays" on blogs, I decided this is a good idea!  So...enjoy some of my favorite photo from a trip to Utah.

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