aging, comedy, family, holiday, home, Humor, Travel, women

Old-Blue-Borrowed-New

Christmas celebrations have ended and a new year is already underway.  A feeling of anticipation led me into all of the celebrations while old-blue-borrowed-new are dragging me out.  Yes, I know those are out of order, but I don’t want to end on blue.

A lot of same old, same old happened for Christmas.  It’s been over 30 years and certain family members still can’t decide if they are in or out for parts of the celebration. Last minute calls trying to disrupt the schedule, people getting sick, and others busting a hemorrhoid right before the dinner I worked so hard to make are nothing new to me. I’ve come to expect same old, same old. Oh and by the way, it wasn’t my ‘roid that ruptured.

I have to admit I’m feeling a little blue now that it’s all over. Not the hemorrhoid rupture but the holiday season.  It was a lot of work and I spent 45 hours in the car over the last 3 weeks traveling to visit family members in three different states, but it was well worth it.  All that action came to a screeching halt this past Tuesday and it’s taking a little time for me to adjust.  Actually, since I have some time on my hands I could send out the Christmas cards I bought but never wrote. Eh, maybe next year.

Traditions are things borrowed from previous years and earlier generations.  My family has borrowed a lot.  We make pirohy and mushroom soup on Christmas Eve and drink gawdawful-come on now, I can’t use the real spelling because this is about Christmas-grappa at midnight.  Grappa was made from whatever was left over after the real wine was made.  Enough said on that borrow.

Last but not least is the ‘new’ and it’s always good to end on something new.  It’s a new year and a time when many people make resolutions for change.  My big change was spending New Year’s Eve in Nashville.  It was frickin’ freezing, Mr. Bigglesworth, but it was well worth it. Sure, I missed watching balls drop with the people I always watch the balls drop with, but a bucket list is a bucket list and Nashville was on it.  After all, I’m not getting any younger. The day is coming when I won’t be able to listen to Cheap Trick and Keith Urban while standing in 7 degree weather. Well, Cheap Trick anyway.

You can tell that I have a lot to work through as a result of all the celebrations. Regret over not sending greeting cards, drinking something that tastes like how witch hazel smells-and she smells, and taking action on my bucket list are all dragging me down a bit. So is the fact that the celebrations are over and I’m not sure when everyone will be together again. On the other hand, aside from five fingers and a thumb, it was a fabulous holiday filled with old, new, borrowed, and now, a little blue and I can’t wait to do it all again in another 354 days.

Happy New Year!

Eliza G

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aging, comedy, family, holiday, Humor, kindness, women

Do It Automatically

I babysat 6-week-old Baby the other day.  It has been a long time since I took care of a baby given that my own babies are in their late 20s.  I managed to keep everything under control for the short time I was in charge and when it ended, something beyond the beauty of Baby stuck with me.

It went like this…I smiled at Baby while making a goofy face and talking to her in baby talk and she smiled back.  Yes, I know she’s advanced for her age but nobody should be surprised given her lineage.  Anyway, I was goofy and Baby smiled a few more times, and when she got tired of looking at me, I gave her a break from all the fun.

Later in the babysit I saw a small Minnie Mouse rattle inside the diaper bag so I took it out and shook it a few times for Baby. She smiled.  I shook it again and she smiled again. When I moved the rattle out of Baby’s sight, she stopped smiling only to start again when I moved it back.  I know, big deal, all babies smile at people and toys, including things with Minnie Mouse. But what stuck with me is why she smiled. I always assumed that smiling involved some behind-the-scene processing where the smiler sees, hears, tastes, or touches something, decides if it’s smile worthy and if it is, smiles.  How can 6-week old Baby process a middle-aged lady making a goofy face at her or Minnie Mouse rattling around in front of her and in split second decide to smile?

So it might seem like I’m making too much of a few smiles made by beautiful Baby, but perhaps there is something to make too much of.  Maybe when we see something like a face the natural, automatic response is to smile and for whatever reason we’ve shut off that response so that a smile becomes something we choose to do rather than something that happens on its own. That’s a messy sentence but it comes down to this…Based on my first babysit in a very long time, Baby automatically smiled in response to other faces.  And based on the world in which I live and work, people don’t.  Imagine a world where people automatically smile every time they see another person’s face…even if that other person looks like Minnie Mouse.

I think we could all take a lesson from beautiful 6-week Baby this Christmas and make that imaginary world a reality. Simply smile at other faces, regardless of who they belong to and do it…automatically.

Merry 1st Christmas, Baby.  Merry Christmas and all the holiday greetings, Everyone!

Eliza G.

aging, comedy, Community, family, Food, holiday, Humor, women

One Way or Another

I went to two Christmas parades last weekend.  Yes, that’s a lot of parading in one weekend, but it was worth it. I had a few laughs and came to realize that parades aren’t what they used to be.

When I was growing up, we would go to the annual university homecoming parade that marched right past my dad’s gas station.  It wasn’t a holiday parade, but it was all we had. It was fun to see all the princesses and fancy floats and hear the bands.  Then one year, when I was older, I had to be in the parade.  No, I wasn’t a princess-I was in the band. That was my mother’s fault-she made me join to keep me out of trouble.

Fast-forward to the Christmas parades last weekend.  I still wasn’t a princess and I certainly wasn’t in the one high school band that marched by while playing an actual Christmas song.  I was just a spectator,  but what I saw made me realize that parades have changed.  It’s no longer about the people, floats, or bands; It’s about the candy. When did taking home bags, and I mean bags, of what used to be penny candy and bubble gum become the reason for the season?  Don’t parade goers know that the only person happy about them eating all that junk is Hermey the Dentist who will have to repair the damage caused by too much sugar?

Candy distribution at the first parade consisted of paraders throwing handfuls of candy into the crowd.  You’d think that kids would be the ones going after it, but in many cases, it was their parents and sometimes, their grandparents.   After all, you have to be aggressive if you want all that free candy and sometimes, Junior just can’t muscle out his competitors to get that one Tootsie Roll that’s out in the street.  “Come on boy,” I thought, “If you want it, go get it and let grandma sit in her lawn chair holding the first full bag of junk.”  He obviously couldn’t hear me. He made grandma go get his fair share.

At the second parade, there seemed to be an unwritten law that prohibited throwing of candy.  Paraders handed candy directly to parade goers.  I never saw such a thing and after thinking about it, I’ve decided it’s either due to lawsuits or the ‘Everybody Gets a Medallion’ era.  At some point in the past, Grandpa must have gotten run over by a hot ball and sued the parade sponsors.  Or, Junior must not have been aggressive enough to reach Tootsie out in the street and his bag ended up being emptier than everyone around him. To make things fair, the law of candy distribution was changed so that every person has an equal chance of getting a piece of candy.  Now Junior doesn’t have to rely on grandma or figure things out for himself-because everybody gets a medallion.

Yeah, parades aren’t about princesses, floats, and bands anymore.  They’re about free candy and making sure everybody gets fair share-one way or another.

aging, family, Friends, holiday, Humor, introvert, women, work

For That, I am Thankful

I’ve heard people say that they like to look at the sunny side of life. I’m not that optimistic.  Instead, I like to laugh so I look at the funny side. The reality is, there are a lot of funny things that happen in everyday life…if you just look. Trust me, I looked a lot over the past 8 months and had many laughs in the process.  In fact, today, I’m sharing my 70th story about the funny things that happened in my life. And just so ya know, I am thankful for every one of them.

By choice, I don’t have a lot of friends.  I believe in quality rather than quantity in most things in life-including roses. I guess you could say the older I get, the wiser I become. My friends and loyal followers read my stories even when they don’t find them funny.  Well, at least they appear to be following and reading them and for that, I am thankful.

Also by choice, I have a job where I make a difference. Well, at least I think I make a difference-even for those who can’t keep up. The downside is that I encounter a lot of people at work who act high schoolerish and others who fuss when Grandma gets run over by a reindeer, but I have a job, and for that, I am thankful.

Partially by choice, I have a family that includes members who murmur, others who read every story, Kristi M. who always has a quick comeback, and my fabulously funny editor who takes the time to share the laughter before anybody else has a chance to do so.  For all of them, I am thankful.

Not by choice, I have the ability to shuffle. Sure, it’s fully by choice that I actually go out and pretend to run while almost falling over Willy, being outpaced by a dog on a jog, and acting tree-huggerish, but I’ve been blessed with good health and for that, I am thankful.

Lastly, and fully by the grace of God, when all the funny stories come together, I have a life that’s good and for that, I am thankful.

Wishing you many fabulously funny stories from around the Thanksgiving table and a life that’s good.  Cheers!

Eliza G.

aging, comedy, family, holiday, Humor, women

Start Knocking

It’s Halloween time.  I think I can still use the word ‘Halloween’ without offending too many people. There are so many rules about what you can and can’t say that I have trouble keeping everything straight. The bottom line is this…I have a lot of fond memories about my childhood Halloweens. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost interest and only a special treat can change that.

I remember going trick or treating back in the day.  It wasn’t just one day-it was several days-and it began before October 31st.  My sister and I, along with a few friends, collected treats together. We didn’t go to the same houses each day because that would be greedy. Instead, we visited homes on certain streets on certain days so we didn’t double up. The weather was always cold so we had to wear a coat over or under our costumes to keep us warm while we visited strangers.  Actually, our village only had 5 streets so we knew most of the people and stayed away from those who gave out apples or home-baked goods.

I also remember that there was a Halloween protocol.  It went like this…You knocked on the door and said “trick or treat” when the treat-giver-outer answered. They tried to guess who you were-by name, and then you removed your mask so they could see if they were right.  Only then did you get a treat.  You’d say “thank you” and then fall down the steps while hurrying to the next house.  There was none of this running up to the door, holding open your pillow case, getting your candy, and running off without saying a word. You had to say “trick or treat” and “thank you” otherwise you were just being rude to the stranger who was giving you candy.

Today, trick or treat is just a few hours on one day.  Safety is more of an issue now although it could have been one back then too and we just didn’t know it. If you think about it, hiding your identity in exchange for candy isn’t exactly safe. In fact, it’s kind of odd that we send kids out into the dark neighborhood one day a year and tell them it’s okay to collect candy from strangers. Then we spend the remaining 364 days telling them not to do it again.

Yes, I have a lot of fond memories about my childhood Halloweens.  I don’t have much interest in it now because I don’t have to dress-up to get candy. I just go to the store and buy what I want from strangers at Dollar General while wearing my every day clothes.  But this year is different.  I’m interested because a shiny new Halloweener-well, minus the weener-is supposed to be trick or treating this year. Hopefully, she’ll take after me and her grandmother and start the protocol a few days before the actual holiday. But time is running out so come on little lady, start knocking.

1980s, aging, comedy, family, home, Humor, women

The Trouble with Tweeners

Downsizing isn’t easy.  I’ve been working on it for over 4 years now and I’m not sure I’m making much progress.  I keep asking myself, “How did I get so many tweeners?”

Let me start by saying that I don’t consider myself to be a hoarder. I can get rid of things that I don’t need or use without a problem. The ‘go pile’ contains things that can be donated, recycled, or as a last resort, taken to the dump. They are dumpers. Yes, I know, I heard it too-the collective gasp of the tree huggers when they read the word, ‘dump’. I can’t help it-some things just have to be dumped. Anyway, I also don’t have a problem holding onto the things I definitely want to keep.  Keepers are things that I use and/or that hold personal value for me so I have a good reason for keeping them. I do, however, have a problem with tweeners; the things that are between the dumpers and the keepers.

Living and raising a family in the same house over a 26-year period played a big role in the number of tweeners I am dealing with during downsizing.  For example, in my sons’ bedrooms I found things like academic award medals, graduation tassels, artwork made in high school art class, and baseball bats used in what seemed like a million baseball games. These things marked life events, but what do I do with them?  They are not trash-worthy but if kept, where do they go?  Sure, I can send them off to the rightful owners who now live somewhere else, but what will they do with them?  Store them for another 30 years?  Show them to their children and their children’s children while telling them about the time that they won the award, graduated from school, made the piece of art, or hit the winning run? Better yet, how did their things become my tweeners?

The reality is my kids’ things are not the only tweeners that are holding up my downsizing project. Some of my own things are tweeners. My wedding dress, shoes, and purse are at the top of my tweener list.  I don’t need and I certainly don’t use them. I tell myself someone else might wear the dress, but then I realize the only place they’d wear it is to a Halloween party and for some reason I don’t want that to happen. So there it sits, nicely folded in the dry cleaner box with the ‘fra-gee-lay-handle with care’ label on the outside.  It’s not a dumper or a keeper; it’s a tweener. And there are many others.

I keep asking myself how I got so many tweeners. I think I finally found the answer. I kept ‘this’ because it reminded me of ‘that’. I guess when it comes right down to it, I am a hoarder-I just don’t want to forget.

 

1980s, aging, comedy, family, Health, Humor, women

I’m Not Humpty-Dumpty

My last story about almost falling brought back memories of quite a few times when I actually fell. I made out a little better than a certain nursery rhyme character we’ve all read about, but it wasn’t easy to always be the faller.

When I was little-in age, not size-I used to fall quite often. Sometimes I fell on my own like when I pushed the merry-go-round too fast and couldn’t keep up. That was in elementary school and it took a long time to recover, but I got put back together with only a few scars. Other times I had help falling. My Pammy, who was bigger than me in both age and size, knocked me over as we raced to get a winning egg at the annual Easter Egg Hunt.  Two skinned knees didn’t stop me. I won a rabbit. As a consolation prize, My Pammy got some marshmallow peeps, which she really didn’t need. I guess sometimes you get what you deserve.

Regardless of the severity of the injury from falling, my parents used Mercurochrome or Merthiolate as part of the first aid regimen. Back in the day, that stuff contained mercury yet it was common practice to smear it all over cuts and scrapes to help prevent infection.  It burned like hell on open skin and my mom and dad would blow and fan to try and make it bearable.  My dad used the applicator to draw things around my boo-boos just to add some fun to it all. The year of the egg hunt mishap I wore an iodine-colored TV set with antennas on each knee. The color just happened to match my Easter dress, hat, gloves, and pocketbook. My sister wore the same outfit, minus the TV sets with antennas.

It’s funny how one shuffle stumble brought back a lot of childhood memories.  Sure, who wants to remember falling or being covered in substances containing mercury?  Probably nobody. But when you fall a lot you learn that sometimes you fall on your own and sometimes get pushed, but somebody is always there to help put you all back together again. Sorry Humpty!