How the Cookie Crumbles

Life and scribbles on the far side of SIXTY-FIVE


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100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups – Week #35

Always Cesare

Nine-year-old twins kneeled before the travel trunk in the attic.

“Where’s that key you found?”

“Here,” squealed Alexa,

“Ta-da!”

Small hands tossed yellowed clouds of tissue paper around them. A soft thump sounded.

They stared at the red box; lid popped, brooch spilled. Alana grabbed it. “Love always, Caesar?”

“But that’s not gra…

“No…”

“L-u-n-c-h, girls!”

* * *

“Grandma, who is Caesar?” Alexa asked.

“It’s Chey-za-rrey . He was my Italian dance partner.”

“And this brooch?”

“From Cesare.” Grandma turned away; eyes blurring.

The twins blushed.

‘He’s gone now,” Grandma said.

The twins looked at each other. Before Grandpa?!

—————————————————————————————————-

I’ve been meaning to try this challenge for a while. Here I am: (Join us).

http://jfb57.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/100-word-challenge-for-grown-ups-week-35/


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Heaven Waits

When I retired, I thought: I can do what I want, when I want. No more trying to go grocery shopping on the way home from work. Everyone else in the world does that and is in my way. Irritating and slowing me down. Ever try to go to the liquor store on a Friday night? Yep. Same thing all over again. I don’t want my co-workers to see I’m  getting my supply of wine for the weekend. My co-workers don’t want me to see them either. Enough said.

At last, no more trying to squeeze all the running around at the end of the workday when I’m tired, hungry and agitated after a long week. All that I need is a sit-down and a glass of wine! Peace and quiet. Perfect.

Finally, I can get away from the rat race—the proverbial hamster wheel. That’s the same reason I didn’t enjoy Christmas shopping. Too many people; elbow to elbow.; crashing buggies with strangers and trying to pretend I’m not bothered. My focus is on just getting the hell out of there in one piece and getting HOME.

My illusion pointed out some bumps in the road.

GROCERY SHOPPING

One of my favourite pastimes in life  is grocery shopping. I love comparing next week’s grocery specials. Don’t ask how that happened. Most females love clothes shopping. I have to be different. I’m not a food junkie but I like to see my larder well stocked. Where / how did I become a grocery junkie? For the life of me I’ve no idea.. My mother didn’t head out to the store just because there was a storm coming. She didn’t worry that we might run out of milk by morning (we were 5 kids). Why did I, even before I had a family? How different were the storms then—and now?

Retirement shopping isn’t anything like I had imagined. Great, I thought. I can shop at 10:00 a.m. or 1:30 pm or 3:00 pm before all those poor working stiffs make a mad dash for the supermarket. At first it looked like a shoe-in. I felt so clever and of course my feet weren’t touching the ground yet. The feeling was almost spiritual. Fruit and vegetable aisles were free of traffice and I loved it. In the bread and cake aisle, things were starting to pick up. I had other things on my mind so all I noticed were more buggies in my way.

In the cereal aisle, I had my first breakdown. A buggy stood blockig my way. There were a few items in it so I figured it wasn’t abandoned. Up the aisle, two souls were wandering , as if losts, squinting at labels while muttering. I’m a polite person; well brought up, so I waited for a moment. I breathed in and out. Nobody knew I was alive / or even there. I cleared my throat. Nothing. I tapped the buggy gently. Still nothing. I started to MOVE the obstructing buggy out of the way—oh, oh. . .

“That’s MY buggy,” a squeaky voice reprimanded.

“Sorry, I meant no harm. I’m just trying to get through. Excuse me.” Suddenly, the spouse shows up at my elbow.

“What’s going on here? Are you alright dear?” How sweet. I didn’t even know the old guy and I felt I should show some appreciation for his coming to my rescue.

“I’m fine. I’m just moving this buggy so I can get through. This old biddy thinks she owns the store.”

He’s holding the old biddy’s hand. But I thought . . .

Oh . . . faux pas?

This is only one example of many. Why don’t all people keep their buggies close at hand and remember they are not the only two ones in the store. Would anyone attempt to drive down the middle of the road just because there was no-one in sight at that particular moment? Hmm. I remember when we were about twenty . . . especially if someone can’t see oncoming traffic. Right now, some people could use a booster chair. Maybe two.

PARKING LOTS AND ROADWAYS

I’ve tried backing out of parking spot at the supermarket, the dentist’s, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker—who cares where. I feel I’m being followed. I have a cell phone now and CAN call the police.

Nice late model car. Nice body (CAR body). Must have just come off the factory floor. . .

“Hold it buddy!” I screech. That’s weird. I don’t see anyone behind the wheel? That car can’t be driving itself. I’m not stupid. I know there are no remote control cars going to pick up groceries.

Oh—is that a patch of hair I kind of see? I push myself up higher in the seat as I turn to squint inside the car. There IS someone behind the wheel. Man or a woman? A child? Nope, I could be wrong but s/he can barely see over the dash. We’re going to crash for sure and I haven’t even moved out of my parking space.

Crap. Retirement is hell. Who are all these people? Why aren’t they at work? Oh, they’re retired too. Retired w-a-y before me? Don’t they have children who can run their errands for them? Don’t their children care about them?

A SHOULDER TO CRY ON?

One day I just couldn’t help myself. I complained to my daughter how difficult it’s been because OLD people keep getting in the way. I explained about blocking buggies, playing bumper cars in the parking lot, non-existent drivers and kings/queens of the road.

My daughter’s smile was like a Cheshire cat’s. All knowing.

“Mom, you do the same things.”

“What are you talking about? What things?”

“You leave your cart in the aisle as you wander up and down collecting things.”

“How can you say that? I do NOT.”

“Yes, you do and I cringe every time you back out of a parking spot.”

“Are you crazy? I do NOT.”

“Mom, you are just like them—the old people.” How humiliating that my OWN daughter feels it’s OK to say those words out loud and way before it’s time. I want to slap her. I am lost for words.

I’m retired now ( five years) but I  don’t know who I am anymore. I’m confused. What the hell has been going on?


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Late to the Party

Recently, I read an article in the New York Times that in such diverse cities as Paris (50% of households) and Stockholm (over 60%) of the population live ALONE. Solo. By choice. They rambled off numerous other countries one of which surprisingly was China as among the fastest growing population of single people.

WHY?

Because of all the lovely technology we have today, we are able to stay connected and never feel alone or lonely. A person can live alone but still engage with others whenever or however it suits them. The opportunity to pursue various interests is limitless. Personal space, privacy and freedom are closely guarded advantages.

Mostly, I can figure things out for myself but in this new blogging environment, I’ve become more curious. As I mature, I tend to ask questions. When I was young, not so much, because we all know that the young know everything. Some of my most recent questions are:  Can you help me find my car? Where did I leave my keys? Who moved my coffee cup? Where the hell are my glasses?

HOW?

Here’s the rub. Seriously, how do bloggers who have spouses, children and jobs find the time to keep up with their blogging community? How do you manage to read, comment, write, take photos and generally beautify your posts?

I’m asking outright because I’m supposed to be retired. I’m supposed to have all this time on my hands to do whatever I want to do. I love reading everyone’s posts and enjoy picking up marvelous new ideas, thoughts, and frankly reading some darn good writing. However, it’s nearly impossible unless I’m at it every single day, at least a couple of times a day. How do you do that and still find time to do anything else? Read a book for instance? Find the time to go shopping other than a one-stop shopping centre? Find time to sleep? Go for a walk?

Either this can be up for open comments OR I’d be happy to hear from you at:

gettingreal@hotmail.ca


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Truths, Lies and Wishful Thinking (not necessarily in that order)

I had a friend in a similar living arrangement as I’m in: daughter / husband / no children plus MOM living in granny suite downstairs. “Mom” met someone and moved OUT to live with new beau upsetting the status quo of the household. I got to thinking. Hmm. What if I met someone who got my mojo going? I’ve been abstaining virginal for a couple of decades—but, if I met someone now, which way was I likely to swing?

I’m no longer a nubile female. So, I suddenly realized I wasn’t. I freely admit that. OK, I’ll come clean—I’m a little older than that—over forty and then some. Well, maybe just a touch and a little bit.

If I think about it, some of the reasons I like living alone is that I’ve picked up habits over the years I’m not sure I can change. Also, I can get cranky, eat you out of house and home and drink all your fruit of the vine—on some days.

How does a body move in with her kids and then move OUT into a beau’s abode? What about the capital investment? Frankly, would I be the super granny to accept more change? Let’s see how things stack up in the sharing / living together department in my neck of the woods. What are my chances?

  1. When it gets cold out (or in), I get phlegmy. It’s not a nice word, I know, but I use it because I don’t know any other that says it like it is. There are times I have to work it out and sound like a sailor who’s choked up his gob of tobacc-y. Not lady-like, but this is my life.
  2. Not often, but at sporadic intervals, certain foods don’t agree with me the way they used to. I’m not fit for company. Why make someone else suffer just because I can’t be social? I don’t have a need to die of embarrassment even if I could find it in my heart to share those moments. I don’t want to do share-zees either. Phe-w!
  3. I’ve finally gotten in touch with myself and found I’m an OK old gal. Somehow, I’ve become greedy with my time and don’t want anyone to feel left out or ignored just because I have lots of plans that new beau might not be interested in. Well I AM and I’m going for it!
  4. I need to read to live. I can’t sit and watch football, baseball, hockey or golf as I’ve never been into sports before. Why would I change now at my ripe old age? It would upset me to hurt anyone’s feelings but on the other hand, I can’t keep changing all the time either. What about ME? If I can’t, he can’t either?
  5. I have only one bathroom. We would need to have two if you were to come on board. They would have to be far apart—I like my privacy. Also, I like to read in there so I don’t want anyone knocking on the door to tell me to hurry up. Some things take time. And, I don’t want anyone within shouting distance anyway.
  6. My bathroom time is sacred. Since I am not twenty forty plus and a little bit, it takes three times as long to get ready to face the world than ever before. I do not intend to share my secrets with anyone either. These have taken a long time to perfect and they are all mine.  I intend to keep them to myself. Forever. Especially the before part.
  7. When I shower, I might not feel like shaving. At my age I mostly need to shave in the summertime. In winter, there doesn’t seem to be a problem. Unwanted hair seems to thrive when there is heat. Still, should I not feel like shaving, it should be my choice, OK?
  8. I enjoy the company of other women. Why is that so strange to you? There are more women in my age group than eligible men. I’ve never been in a cat fight over a man in my whole life. Why would I want to start one now? I’d be outnumbered by all those other women, you see, vying for your attention. I’m just not willing to die this young—even in the name of lust or what have you. Do I even remember what that is?

There are lots more assumptions to examine. These are just a few but it’s a start. What a crazy world I live in now. Things aren’t as clear as they once were. I’m still able but am I willing or interested in any MORE changes in my life?

I need to sit down right about now. Maybe I could sip a glass of wine while I’m—you know—thinking about the possibilities. It could happen; I’m not sure I’m ready though!

THE END.

(until next time)


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Let Me Count the Ways

Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed. This morning was one of them. There’s a certain order to my day usually. I start out by reading our skinny local newspaper. It’s what I’ve been doing for six or seven years with breakfast and the habit is hard to kick. In all that time, I’ve actually missed receiving my paper only once. The other two times, well . . .

I ran up the stairs to the front door. No paper. I looked to the right of the stairs and then to the left. We haven’t any snow so it wasn’t buried. I called out to my daughter to check her bathroom. Nothing. I called the newspaper. It’s all automated now. After I punched in my phone number and then my house number as directed, a mechanical voice informed me that another paper would be out to me later the same day. It arrived in less than half an hour!

I didn’t know what to do with myself while waiting. Having this extra time at the wrong time of day didn’t suit me. It upset my schedule. I couldn’t even eat breakfast without my paper—I was out of sorts.

Why do I mention my daughter and son-in-law?  We’re all in the same house. I live in the granny suite down stairs. Since I have only one daughter this is a win / win situation for both parties. For the most part. As least so far.

My only child, a daughter, was gone from home. I’d hosted ESL students but quit after ten long years. It was a waste of money living in that big house all by myself. The property taxes alone were making me cringe once I’d been retired two years.

I thought it was a good idea if both my daughter and her husband and I sell our houses and buy one for all of us? Bear with me here. This was her inheritance, only earlier than usual. It was also about my golden years. Get the kids used to having me around and when the time came that I needed help, well, I’d be handy and so would they. Right? Sort of.  It’s a good thing I’m patient. I know they are a busy young family but what’s convenient for me is sometimes the opposite for them. Like the newspaper this morning.

After lunch I went upstairs to babysit my four-year-old granddaughter. She took one look at me, ran down the hall and came back with today’s paper in its plastic bag, “You forgot your newspaper,” she scolded.

“Where did you find it?” I asked stunned. (I’d forgotten…?)

“It was in my bathroom,” she informed me dramatically, handing over the paper like the miss-know-it-all  she is.

Sometimes my son-in-law likes to check out the paper before he leaves for work. It seems in his hurry to get out the door, he used the other bathroom (today) and forgot that it’s my paper and that I’d be looking forward to reading it. With breakfast. Same as the last three years. Like the weekly flyers he forgets to save for me instead of trashing when he’s finished. Also weekly.

Luckily the day got better as it went along.


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Out With the Old; In With the New

I don’t want to come off as too sappy although I suppose I’m going to anyway. This last year, although it’s passed much too quickly, has been good to me.  These are some of the things I am grateful for.

My granddaughters keep me young. I laugh more, smile often and am surprised easily. The four-year-old especially warms the cockles of my heart. When I’m cooking dinner she asks. “What are we having that’s delicious tonight, Babcia?” I go to bed and wake up grinning with thoughts of either of their latest antics.

It has been a three-year learning curve since I moved into the same house as my daughter and her family. This year has been the best one as we grow to respect each other’s space and resources. My daughter continues to come down to borrow this or that but less often because I’ve learned to say, “Whoa, I’m not a built-in convenience store, sweetie. Plan better next time.” Of course she never returns things either. Is that written somewhere as a given? It must be.

I’ve been retired five years last month and am finally doing the things I’ve been putting off all my life—things for ME. This past year I have learned to say, “Sorry, I’m busy . I’m going golfing / out to dinner / the theatre, etc.,” without a second thought and without guilt anymore. Old softie has changed her shell. Who says a leopard can’t change her spots?

I’m lucky another year has passed peacefully. Atmospheric conditions in my smudge on the map have been kind unlike other parts of the world: tsunamis, earthquakes, oil spills. My family and friends have come through this year in good health as have I. There have been no serious blips and I’m more than pleased.

Along the way, I’ve started golfing. It’s a start. I’m not kidding but I’m tickled that I’ve moved out of my comfort zone and tried something new. Never in a million years would I have guessed I‘d be on a golf course willingly. No, I haven’t lost my mind, even though I thought I might have.

I’ve made some wonderful friends in the past twelve months. Lucky for me, I’ve also crossed paths with  friends from the ancient past again, taken on projects I never thought I’d have the guts to finally face down and have generally become more adventurous. For ME, that is. I don’t plan on jumping out of any airplanes or going bungee jumping anytime soon. I’m not crazy. But that’s ME (again).

In a nutshell, I have been seriously happy and content. Hopefully this doesn’t make it harder to pull my head out of the fridge in 2012.

I make no resolutions. Ever! I lie. I tried once but all that did was stress me out because the devil had a sweeter voice and I had to make choices. The wrong ones and kept arguing. With myself. Nope. That’s not for me.

Instead I plan to get better organized, work hard when I need to, goof off when I want to, read voraciously so I don’t get bitchy (cause I do if I don’t) and stop to smell the roses along the way. No matter what.

Last, but not least: I shall try to blog more regularly and possibly twice a week in the new year.


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Love You to Pieces

Grandparents would be lying if they didn’t admit that even though they LOVE their grandkids to pieces, the OTHER best part of their visit with you is that they get to go home and sleep like your children all tucked into their beds—the sleep of knowing THEY are yours and you have full responsibility for them.

Remember the sleepless nights: the sore throats and fevers? Let’s not forget the diapers, the wet beds, the potty training days when our kids came along—the ones who are now the parents? Been there. Done that already when you were born! It’s one thing to step in and help out once in a while but where is it written that we’re automatically on call? Ya gotta live your life as as we lived ours: on your own two feet.

I always said I wasn’t going to be a built-in babysitter but I got sucked in when I looked at those sweet innocent faces, with their luminous eyes and satiny skin you ought to be able to buy in the nearest drugstore. Now it’s a slippery slope between getting to do what I’ve been gearing up for in my retirement and giving in yet again.  Stop trying to influence me by using my  grandkids like the proverbial  carrot.

Why should I feel guilty every time you’re in a fix? You say you don’t trust anyone else with them? Ah-huh. I’m retired now. I’m FREE to do as I please. FINALLY. I have a life. Yay. Do you HEAR me?

Knock, knock?

I can’t hear you. Didn’t you say that grandma is going a bit deaf?