Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year: Eastern Time!

Our tradition of having friends over for NYE dinner and games will go on tonight, despite my spouse's constant discomfort. At this point, any distraction until surgery is a good thing. That said, I told our pals it's likely we will ring in 2014 on New York time, so the hipster can get off his feet and into bed an hour early. Absolutely no one objected....except my husband. Figures.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Out with the old...

These are the days of media retrospectives - obligatory montages of "best of" highlights, obituary compilations, and the 'most important stories of 2013'.  My personal yearbook seems to contain more endings than beginnings: retirement (the end of my career), illness (the end of my husband's right hip) and relationships (including the end of my son living in the same town.) Then again, maybe I'm looking at it "glass half empty." After all, 2014 promises new and different work, a shiny new Stryker hip joint for the hubs, and a great excuse to travel to New York City to visit the boy. It's all in how you look at it. My new year's resolution: To always keep that in mind.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pope Francis, may I call you frank?

As I continue to marvel at and admire the new pope's 'take no prisoners' style, I can't help but wonder what my dearly departed father - devout Catholic convert and diehard Reaganomics fan - would have thought of this quote. Oh, the dinnertime debates we could have... with me on the side of the angels! 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sex and the married hip patient

My husband was the only male - and hip candidate - in Joint Replacement Class last night. The rest of the students were older women scheduled for knee replacements. I was the only spouse/"coach" in attendance. We took our seats at the U-shaped table and the hubs opened his Guidebook for Hips.
Look at those hip patients hula-hooping. Wow!
On the right was the table of contents with tabbed sections like Preoperative Checklist and Postoperative Care.
On the left was a pocket containing this....
 Without hesitation, he opened the booklet on top of the table and started reading. At least two of the gals took notice. One lady shot me a knowing glance. I think she may have winked. The teacher, a very pregnant R.N., started the Power Point but he kept reading. "Pay attention!" I whispered, at which point he lowered the booklet to his lap, under the table and pretended to watch the presentation. Afterward, on the way to dinner, I asked, "Did you learn anything from that sex booklet?" "Yes," he replied, "it says you should have as much sex before surgery as possible. At least, once a day. Something about getting oxygen into the blood." "Nice try," I answered.
    This morning, I decided to read the booklet myself. The information was good, but the pictures told the story....
Something tells me this guy isn't going to wait.
This photo seems to suggest hip patients do it at the kitchen table.
Uh-oh. Looks like he should have waited.
My favorite. I really like their hairstyles.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Back to school we go!

This is fairly close to what we actually looked like in '81.
The last time my husband and I took a class together was in 1981. Childbirth class or Lamaze, I think they called it, at St. Luke's Hospital. Our teacher happened to be my best friend, an R.N. who would help deliver our firstborn child. After class, we went shopping for baby stuff, then to dinner at a cheap restaurant. It was the best class we ever attended with a comprehensive exam at the end...one that continues 32 years later (which is something they don't teach you: the test goes on till you're in the grave!)
Look at us now! Apparently, we'll both be really good tennis players after the hubs' surgery.
Tonight, we will complete our educational circle by attending Total Hip Replacement Class at St. Luke's South. I don't know who is teaching the class, but the flyer promised good information, snacks and things to take home. After class, we'll go shopping for a new exercise bike (recommended for hip patients) then to dinner at a moderately-priced restaurant. The test at the end will come after next week's surgery, when I am the nurse (read: boss) and he is the patient at home. For the record, he hasn't exactly been cramming for the test.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day: Detoxing, decompressing and deals

I'm not really sure what Boxing Day means, but it's the day after a wonderful-yet-exhausting Christmas and I couldn't be happier NOT to be working today.  I am sipping my detox tea, tidying up the empty gift bags and savoring the solitude of an empty house (both kids are house-sitting elsewhere and the hubs has to work.) I'm also taking advantage of some great deals from Apple on apps for my new iPad.  Note: These deals are only good for today.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Eve din-din

Good thing we only eat like this once a year.
The individual Beef Wellingtons came out better than ever last night. So much so that my son - not I, surprisingly - hopped up and said, "I know we're going analog, but I have to get a picture." I don't think it made Instagram, but his compliments made this chef's night. Sides were horseradish mashers, Brussels sprouts with bacon, onion and dates, and a kale Caesar salad. There were no leftovers for Santa.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

'Tis the season, after all!

Ho, ho, ho!
And, suddenly, it happens. You're driving around running last-minute errands, wearing your funny stocking cap with the bell on the tip, listening to Mariah Carey on the radio...and it hits you. The spirit that has fully eluded you for 24 days. You suddenly feel so good, you snap a selfie in the drive-through line at Walgreens (because sinus problems never take a holiday), then cruise head-on to the grocery store where everyone is in such a freaking good mood, they don't seem to mind the insane congestion in the aisles. Every last shopper is smiling, meeting your eyes as they pass. Maybe it's that crazy hat you're wearing, who knows? Even the overworked sackers are happy. Things are going so well, you think, "I might as well fill up for the road trip to Mom's tomorrow." So, you wait in another line, now listening to Nat King Cole and, my God, who is better than Nat King Cole?! And, it doesn't matter if you have tons of wrapping and cooking left to do. It's Christmas Eve, your favorite day of the year. And if the Christmas spirit took a little longer to get here than usual, it will be well worth it when you're gathered around the table with family, enjoying a traditional Beef Wellington dinner, great wine and love, love, love.  Merry Christmas and happiest of holidays, no matter how you celebrate. xo

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas magic!

So, I'm browsing the Internet, doing God knows what God knows where, when all of a sudden Google does this to my last photo, automatically:
I'm freaking out a little bit right now....but in a good way.

Getting in the spirit

In an effort to get more festive today, I took steps to force myself into the holiday mood:
1) I started wrapping presents behind closed doors... 
Our bedroom door, which looks like our front door because it used to be.
2) I tied little bows and tags on the neighbor gifts....

This year: Papa, Mama and Baby Bear honey jars from the holiday farmers' market.
3) I dusted my nutcrackers. (Don't laugh. It's only when you get up close and personal with a nutcracker that you appreciate his fine characteristics.)
Nutcracker selfie! Sort of.
This "staying busy with festive things" strategy seems to be working. And now, more shopping.

Doggie upper!

I'm not feeling as festive as I should be. For a number of reasons, really. Yesterday's snowfall helped. As did this little internet gem: a series of pictures of Theo and Beau, two peas in a pod....at least, every day at 2 pm. Peruse. Be amazed and heartened. And, try not to envy Theo's incredible collection of bed linens!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Another 'why didn't I think of that?'

You know that shiny, little light bulb that magically appears over your head when you get a bright idea? Well, somebody decided to shrink that bulb, make it an LED and place it between the prongs of a pair of tweezers. The result: The greatest stocking stuffer ever invented!
Note to self: Must change trampy party polish before neighborhood open house today.
These LED Tweezers from the DCI company are just $5.95 at the little general store downtown. I found a pair from Sally Hansen here and several other brands and styles elsewhere. I guess the idea is neither new nor novel. (I don't go shopping much since I've retired.) Still, they work like a charm. Just yesterday, I was able to spot an errant hair under my chin that had clearly eluded me for some time. Between these and my lighted magnifying mirror, no whisker is safe!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Raising the blood pressure bar

There is nothing I would like more than to kiss my blood pressure pills buh-bye...which would make me med-free. Today, I read new guidelines for blood pressure in the over-60 set might make that possible. Huh?!? First, the hubs doesn't need his cholesterol medicine after all, and now this? Seriously, which study and who can we really trust? I'm tempting to take a break from the pills, monitoring myself every day, to see what happens. But, not until after the holidays, the hubs' hip replacement surgery and my son moving to New York.  I may or may not be hypertensive, but I'm not an idiot.

Cyber crooks hit the bullseye

It's nothing short of amazing that I have NOT visited Target this year since Thanksgiving Day. That makes me one of the lucky ones whose credit card info didn't get compromised/stolen in one of the largest retail cluster hacks in history. Honestly, I'm surprised this doesn't happen more often. But, in case it happened to you, here's some good info on what to do from the FTC.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Ho, ho, go!

Dear BoomerGirl's children and husband...none of whom ever read her blog,
   I've asked countless times, but if you don't tell me what you want for Christmas, I can't buy, er, make it for you...now can I? YOU are the reason I'm only half done with my shopping, er, making list seven days out. You're the reason my elves are paralyzed! Now, put your greedy little minds to task and come up with something toot sweet!
   Thank you.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Organizing: The mental game I mostly lose.

     At the risk of sounding like a shill for Flip-Pal - who provided me their fab portable scanner free of charge - I must (again) promote the idea of digitizing all those old photographs before it's too late. Because, you never know. Your house might burn to the ground, or a hoarder reality show might come calling and toss out your picture boxes like so much garbage. I have managed to scan about 70% of my photos (no small feat) and am now brainstorming ways to organize them. Not easy for a right-brained person like myself.
     My current plan is to create folders titled with the addresses of where I've lived, then fill them with photo albums from events that happened while I was living in that particular place - parties, holidays, vacations, silly moments, etc. 
    The plan would work beautifully for a photo like this: 
Mercier Street > 1985 > No. 2 child's baptism
But, not for a photo like this...
"Care Bear" party for golfer Tom Watson's kid, year/address unknown but I think I was pregnant.
    See what I mean? I need a plan in which memory doesn't have to be a factor. But, I don't want to end up with hundreds of folders on my computer either. I think "tagging" may hold the key to the solution, but I don't know how that works exactly. Back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Just two of my favorite things

Besides the aforementioned iPad mini, I really loved this birthday present from my sister - personalized gift enclosure cards from Embossed Graphics...
Measuring only 2.75 by 3", they're the perfect size for wedding presents or to attach to a bottle of wine for a hostess gift, which I will do tonight when we go to the neighbors for soup supper.
Another birthday treat was from my daughter, the esthetician. This is KSS mineral make-up (or 'miracle make-up' as I call it) which she's used on me, to great effect, as she's honed her skills as a make-up artist. It covers spots well, doesn't look heavy and provides healthy benefits to the skin, to boot. I've never been a big fan of mineral foundation, but this brand converted me. Highly recommended.

58 is pretty great

Last night, the family and I celebrated my birthday by dining at my favorite downtown restaurant. I had the trout. We left our smart phones - and my new iPad mini - at home. My son calls it "going analog." No checking messages, no taking photos of food, no Google'ing to settle arguments...it was delightful. And, it set the tone for wanting a little less "digital" in my next trip around the sun. Life, simplified. That's the ticket. Now, if I can just put the new iPad down long enough to do some yoga....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Digitize your memories FAST with Flip-Pal

I told the folks at Flip-Pal I didn't know when I'd get around to test-driving their sweet little mobile scanner. The holidays and all. I figured I'd need a a huge block of time to get my (thousands of) pictures organized. But yesterday, the weather outside was frightful and I had a few hours on my hands, so I decided to go for it. I hauled out boxes of old photos and started scanning to my heart's content. The machine is super simple to set up and, because it's battery-operated, you can scan anywhere you have a level surface - on the breakfast bar, in bed, on the floor while you pretend to be doing yoga because you wimped out on going to the pool in the cold. And, it's fast! When I got in the flow, I was scanning 4-5 photos per minute. (Hint: you don't have to wait for the second pass before lifting the lid and inserting the next picture to be scanned.) By the afternoon, I had over 400 photos in my laptop - all cropped, color corrected and optimized for slide show viewing:
Oh, those crazy 80's. May we go back, please?
Hippies on Halloween.
Little girls' luau birthday party
Sorority shenanigans, circa '76
Caution: The Flip-Pal can be additive, not only for its ease of operation but for the sheer joy you'll feel (those 80's hairstyles notwithstanding) seeing the happiest moments of your life flashed across the computer screen. (Because who snaps pictures of the bad times?)
    Flip-Pal has extended their special offer from Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Receive a $20 discount on the Pink Bundle, which includes the Flip-Pal scanner, commemorative scanner lid and pink carrying case by using coupon code pink6 as well as the following link: http://flip-pal.com/breast-cancer-awareness Once the pink bundle is placed in the shopping cart, just enter the pink6 to enjoy the discount. The offer is now good through Dec. 31.
   The price after the discount is around $175, so I'd suggest extended families chip in and buy one together. After I finish scanning all of my pics, I'll be lending the Flip-Pal to my mom and each of my siblings so we can pool our photos and swap. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Head shots: Stark reality in high rez

Due to my desire to reinvent myself as a commercial actor, I am examining my aging self in a new, not always comfortable, light. First, there was the 'go-see' audition for a print job - promotional materials for a bank. I knew my gray hair would read "mature," but seeing the words on the casting sign: Needed: "Woman, old".... that was hard to swallow. I didn't get the gig. Maybe I just wasn't old enough, I rationalized. My ego was still intact. Then, I got my new head shots back.
I don't mind this one, except it looks like I'm about to fall down. "Woman, old...with Ménière's disease"
Here's what I should have done before looking at over 30 photos of myself:
      1) Have a stiff drink
      2) Take off my glasses
      3) Repeat #1
      4) Repeat #3
Now, I'll admit to taking a selfie or two with my phone, but seeing yourself through someone else's sharp lens - especially in close-up - is a reality more disturbing than "My Strange Addiction." That's right. I would rather watch someone eat a phone book than look at those crevices on my face. (Kids, stay out of the sun! I can't emphasize this enough.)
"Woman, old" on phone with her dermatologist: "Are you kidding me with this Retinol crap?!?".
But, the show must go on and now I must choose three to five of the best "looks" for the talent agency's website. Let's consider the other possible choices, shall we?
"Woman, old" laughing hysterically for no reason on a staircase in Barnes & Noble. She might be lost.

"Woman, old" giving it one more shot as a hooker.
"Woman, old" still at B&N. Yep, lost and terrified.
There are more proofs, but I won't do that to you. It's the holidays. My one consolation? At least, I'm not reinventing myself as a swimsuit model.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Grapefruit and apple water

Half a red grapefruit, sliced and squeezed, and a whole apple sliced thin
So, you know that 'I'm definitely breaking up with coffee' post from yesterday? Yeah, not so much today. I woke up fifteen minutes before I needed to be at my volunteer gig and, without even thinking, poured and consumed a cup of that damn Joe (the pot was already made by my early-rising spouse.) Only then, did I remember I had given it up. 40-year habits are hard to break. Oh, well. "Tomorrow is another day," said Scarlett.  To counteract my blunder, I decided to up my water consumption by doing another one of those spa-inspired, healthful infusions.  This time, it's red grapefruit and apple. Super simple to do. Just add slices of whatever fruit or veggies you like (cucumber is delightful) and float in a large pitcher or carafe of H2O. Keep adding water to the concoction as you drink during the day.  Eliminates those cravings for soda and keeps you nice and detoxed. I'd like to think it will help fend off this cold I've been fighting for a couple of weeks, too.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Breaking up with Joe. For good.

I broke up with wheat. I broke up with diet soda. I even broke up with vodka, except for the occasional Tito's (no wheat) and diet tonic which, I know, is just like diet soda but give a girl a break. It's the holidays. What I haven't been able to do is break up with coffee.
Until today. Today, I woke up with new resolve to kick the coffee habit once and for all. Why give Joe the boot, you ask? After all, my morning companion for 40 years has been so stimulating, so tasty! Coffee causes weird fluctuations of blood sugar and tends to spike blood pressure. Not so good for a person like me. Plus, it dries you out and causes calcium leakage which isn't good for bones. And, sometimes, you just have to kick an addictive habit to get healthier...in mind and in body. So, it's tea for me. Black or green in the morning and herbal in the afternoon.
Thankfully, I have this stimulating tea drawer that gives me a little buzz every time I open it. Polly, put the kettle on...and wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Total hip replacement countdown: 1 month

The bad news: We were bumped to Jan. 3 for the hubs' hip surgery due to the hospital's busy schedule. (Apparently, there's an end-of-the-year last-minute rush for ORs.) The good news: He'll be up and running (well, more like limping along slowly) for the holidays. Beyond stopping certain medications and supplements on a timetable, there's not much prep required....except for the post-op exercise plan. Treadmills are out. Ellipticals, too. So, we're shopping for a stationery bike.  I'm looking at the Schwinn AD6, seen above, and wondering how far the price will go down right before New Year's Day. This will require more research. Anyone have any experience with pricing/buying exercise equipment before making your annual resolutions?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Careful, people. I could get crafty!

This used to be an expensive wool sweater purchased for me in the early 90s by my family. I loved that sweater but I wore it only a few times due to its tendency to make me sweat like a sailor in all but the coldest weather. Eventually, it went out of style and became too big for me. Still, I could never bear to give it away. Inspired by the felted goods for sale at Bizarre Bazaar last weekend, I dug it out, felted it (by sending it through the washer/dryer in hot water/air....twice), then cut and sewed to make this cozy Santa Fe style pillow for the living room. I even made boot toppers with the sleeves!
Not these, but like these.
I'm bursting with pride, I tell ya, and scanning the closet for more old wool sweaters. If you have any hanging around, send 'em my way.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy decorating day!

I stole this from a friend's Facebook post because a) I hadn't posted anything here for a while; 2) it made me laugh: and c) I'm so busy getting decorated and polishing off the turkey, I can't keep my letters and numbers straight.  Here's to three weeks of low-carb eating again!

Boomer Girl Review: Ultimate Oriole Feeder

I've still got a way to go before I'm feeding pigeons on the steps of St. Paul's (which I never thought was a bad thing to do ...