Technology Zooms and We are Getting Old

When I was a kid, we had a telephone attached to the wall in the kitchen.  It had a flexible cord on it so you could only walk so far away from the wall.  The phone also had a dial with numbers.  We would use one finger and place it in the hole that corresponded with the number we were dialing.  We then turned the dial for each number.  Somehow, we were able to communicate with the world through that phone.  Back then, we didn’t have to dial an area code.  I guess our world was a little smaller.  Just to reference what I am talking about, think of the song that says; “8675309”.  We were privileged to even have a phone.  Not everybody could afford to have this contraption on their wall.

The world has changed and so has our communication technologies.  We moved forward in the evolution of the phone by getting rid of the dial and making it a push button.  It was so exciting that we could punch those buttons so much faster than dialing.  Still, the phone was attached to a cord to limit our movement while talking.  But, the wheel was set in motion.  The telephone was taking on new qualities that blew our mind away each time something changed.  The phone was still a permanent structure in the home, either anchored to the wall or sitting on a side table.  If you weren’t home and someone called, they would have to call you back later.  There was one other way to communicate via telephone when you weren’t home and that was the telephone booth. There was a slot for dimes, pennies, nickels and quarters.  We would place a dime in the slot and dial a home telephone number.  If the dime didn’t cover the time frame that we were using the phone, an operator would interrupt and tell us to place more money in the slot.  Otherwise, we would be cut off.

Then a new revolutionary idea was introduced.  We called it the bag phone.  This phone was mobile and plugged into the lighter compartment in our car.  It was amazing.  This was considered a new safety measure.  We no longer had to find a telephone booth and get out of the car to call someone if we had an emergency.  We could make our calls from the safety of our own car.  The connections weren’t always the greatest but if you were alone and traveling within a reasonable distance, you could get help if you needed it.

From the time of the bag phone until present the telephone has morphed into an unimaginable contraption.  Our lives will never be the same.  The problem with this upsurge of fast-moving changes is that humans don’t always evolve as quickly as technology does.  The telephone is no longer a telephone.  It is a computer with a camera.  It has maps and talks to you.  You can talk to it and it answers back.  It thanks you for stopping into a McDonald’s Restaurant. How did it know I was in Mcdonald’s?

The smart-phone world is getting more crazy by the minute.  The changes move at lightning speed.  But, as we age, our minds no longer move at lightning speed.  Aging people struggle with all the new technology and get frustrated.  But, I have to say, it can be quite an entertaining experience watching us old folks traverse into the unknown.  For example, my boyfriend is 64 years old.  He has had a flip-phone up until two years ago.  Now he has graduated to a smart-phone.  He doesn’t know what to do with it.  But, he likes that he can say “ok google” and command it to text something or give him the score of the baseball game.  The smart-phone is smarter than he is.  I also have to admit that it is way smarter than myself too.  Last week, he tried to use the camera on the phone.  When he turned on the camera he could only see himself.  But he didn’t want to take a picture of himself, he wanted to snap a photo of something else.  He stared at the phone wondering how to make it flip the lens to take a picture of the outer world.  In his logical aging mind, he decided to turn the phone around and try to look through the lens from the back of the phone just like you would look through the lens using an old camera.  The fact that he even was brave enough to tell me this story had me rolling on the floor laughing.  He just couldn’t figure it out so I had to show him the little icon that switches the lens from selfie to outward camera.  I couldn’t keep this information to myself.  I had to share this hilarious story with everyone I came in contact with.  While sharing the story with my brother, who is also in his 60’s, he told me a story of his own.  My brother was at work and a customer called from overseas, needing help with a machine maintenance problem.  My brother informed him that he would take a picture of a particular machine part and send it to him and they could figure out the problem over the phone. After my brother took the picture, he sent it immediately to the customer.  He followed up and called the man to see what his thoughts were about the picture.  The customer stated that he indeed had received the picture.  He told my brother that although it was a very good photo of him, he really wanted to see the machine part.  My brother didn’t even realize that he took a selfie and sent it instead of the machine part.

My mother is 87 years old.  She has a flip phone for emergencies.  When my sister offered to get her a smartphone, she got scared and said, “No, I don’t want to learn how to use those things.”  The other thing about aging is the fact that after a certain age it is very hard to read from those tiny screens on smartphones.  That is one reason that my boyfriend liked the idea of moving from the flip phone to a smartphone.  He likes that he can talk to the phone to text or call people, simply because he can’t see the tiny numbers and letters on the phone.

My final thoughts on the subject are this:  Just because we are older, we are not stupid.  But, our minds do move at a slower pace than when we were young.  New technology is a scary thing for older people.  Most people are afraid of change but the speed at which these technological changes happen is even more frightening to those of us who are moving along where age is concerned.  If you take anything from this post, please be patient with those of us who can’t text at lightning speed like me.  One letter at a time is all I can do.  Slow and steady is the name of the game.  At least we are trying to move along with the pace of the ever-changing world.

What’s Under the Cover?

Recently, I’ve been hanging around with some awesome ladies.  Some that I have known a while and some new friends.   There are the elderly ones, those of my own age and some younger.  Once again, I become an observer of people who are not what you see visually.  You can look at a person and see an old woman and leave it at that.  But, after taking the time to listen, you find that you can never judge a book by its cover.

For example, I’ve met this wonderful woman, who I have seen before and known her only as a friend’s mother.  I assumed she’s mother material just like all mothers.  Now she’s older and that’s that.  After spending an evening with her, I found her to be spunky, strong, independent and hilarious to be around.  She has lived a hard life of sorts, raising three daughters as a single mother.  She’s worked her whole life in a time when women were considered lesser than men in the workplace.  Now wait a minute, I should say in a time when it was even worse for women in the workplace than it is now.  It still isn’t equal in my opinion. She recounted stories of her working days of how men tried to undermine her because they didn’t want a woman in her particular position.  She’s a soft-spoken woman so you would never think that she would stand up for herself.  But in her soft-spoken way, she handled these men with the might of a warrior.  She put them in their place and would not accept being looked down upon because she was female.  She’s had to be the strong one her whole life and she knows that there are times when men will take advantage of the unassuming old woman who just walked in the door of a car dealership.  They are eventually sorry for their mistaken assumptions when she tells them exactly the way it’s going to be.  They never saw that coming.  The treasures that she has lived need to be shared.  Younger people need to hear her stories because they don’t have a clue about how good they have it now.  It’s so refreshing to see the elderly and realize that were young once, they have lived a life and yes, they know about all the stuff that we think we should shelter them from.

I have a friend who just became a grandmother for the first time.  Her daughter is a hard-working young woman and is just returning to work after being out on maternity leave.  My friend shares the ‘goings on’ of the new young family.  Her son-in-law is not as prepared as he thought he was to be a parent.   The baby was born premature so it has been even more difficult these first few months than with having a full term pregnancy.  With that being said, the mamma has to go back to work and schedules have to be rearranged.  The daddy will need to take a more active role with the baby.  But, as my friend relays to me:  “I think he’s got a screw loose.  He doesn’t have a clue.”  My friend is the easiest going person with a great sense of humor.  The young family is preparing to go on a ‘vacation’ to visit daddy’s family.  As they prepare and begin packing the car, the son-in-law seems not quite up to the task and states, “I am on vacation.”  I had to laugh when my friend told me this story because her eyes got so big as she was telling me this.  Both of us were shaking our heads and almost simultaneously said, “Doesn’t he know there is no vacationing from being a parent?”  Oh My, mister, mister has a rude awakening coming.

A new friend of mine who is around my age, in her fifties, has a remarkable sense of humor and a glorious soul filled with love.  She is the true example of, “When life gives you lemons…”.  When situations get difficult and stress is riding high, her mind just grabs out of thin air the funniest responses.  She told me a story of when her mother was in the hospital after an accident.  She and her sister were in the waiting area of the hospital for several hours.  They both would go in and out of her mother’s room and check on her.  As they were sitting there, someone came out to let them know how their mother was doing and out of the blue, she said, “What are you talking about, our mother is in the room down the hall.  She’s been sleeping this whole time.  We have been checking on this woman because we heard of her troubles and thought we would just wait here and keep an eye on her.”  Of course, she was joking but the attendant didn’t understand and noted how wonderful these two women were for waiting and attending to a complete stranger. This woman makes everything fun and she makes everyone that comes in contact with her feel like family.  She is the most hilarious person to be around.  When I am around her we laugh and giggle and share off-color silliness throughout the day.  This is how she is every day.  I just love being around her.  It’s funny to watch younger women around her respond to her humor.  There’s a younger woman in her 20’s that works with her.  A young person at first doesn’t know how to react to a woman in her 50’s with such a sense of humor.  The younger ones think the 50’s crowd is old and stuffy and that we don’t know what’s what in the world because they are young and they have created everything new.  Hahaha, the joke’s on them because we are the ones who really know how to have fun.  The 20-year-old is now getting used to the silliness and is enjoying every bit of it.  Hopefully, she will realize that us old folks do know a thing or two or three.

I have friends of all different ages and each age group and individual friend has so much to offer this world.  Sometimes I think we should put blinders on when we meet people so that we can’t make a judgment by what we see.  Too many people are missing out on real, meaningful relationships because their vision is so short-sighted.  There are treasures out there but I think we have to close our eyes, open our ears and our hearts so that we can feel the abundance of love that everyone has to offer.  Love comes in all different forms.  The story of a person’s life is a gift of love, knowledge and a new way of envisioning this life.  Grab the jewels and keep them with you forever.  They will enrich your life to the fullest.

 

This Morning’s Ponderings

My family woke up to a beautiful, calm and sunny morning.  We live near the bay so we decided to grab McDonald’s and go sit down at the dock and eat our breakfast. Sitting by the water can be contemplative.  We sat in silence for a bit as we ate and then we chit chatted.

Between my observations and light conversation these are the things that came to mind:

We were talking about the tide.  Today it was high but we discussed how last week when we came it was a moon tide and at high tide, the water was exceptionally high.  This took my mind to ponder the power of the moon.  I began to ramble the following; “Don’t you think it is amazing how powerful the moon is?  The moon has power over all of the water on the earth.  The moon has power over the big water that seems so uncontrollable.  You laugh at me every time I get excited about the full moon but look how cool she is?  Family looked at me and just shook their heads because I get so emphatic about such things.

There is a large diving bird with a long neck that was floating out on the water.  These birds are known as Cormorants.  They float on the water and then they dive deep into the water looking for food.  The amazing part is how long they can stay under the water.  We were watching him dive under and speculating where he would come back up at.  Once again, I rambled.  That’s what I do.  I can’t help but find wonderment in the little miracles of life.  I mean, here is a bird that flies but he can also dive deep into the bay.  I think that is really cool.

We sat and soaked up the morning sunlight and the very slight breeze.  The morning salt air was so refreshing.  I always look around and see who’s coming and going and this morning was no exception.  The first thing I noticed was all the old men lined up on the dock with their fishing poles.  I love listening to the old men discourse about using the right bait and tell silly stories back and forth.  Somehow I find it gratifying to hear them banter.  There seems to be treasure in their conversations.

Step-daughter and I walked along the dock, peeking over to look at the water.  It’s intriguing to watch the water move.  You never know what you might see swimming by.  I always try to envision what’s going on down below.  Are the crabs swimming beneath, what kind of fish are coming in with the tide?  Today it seemed that the old men were fishing for blowfish, a kind of fish that inflates it’s body when alarmed.  And of course, that leads to another mesmerizing observation for me.  I could go on all day about how fascinating nature can be.

We joined step-daughter’s father to observe and soak up some more delight on this fine morning.  A mother came walking with her three young sons, probably around the age of 8 or 9, as she pushed a stroller with a little girl of about 3 years of age.  The three little boys each had a fishing pole and a net.  They were all barefooted.  When I saw this vision of a family come to the dock, a huge smile grew across my face.  In the world we live in today, it’s an unusual sight to see children enjoying kid stuff.  The three boys immediately cast out their fishing poles into the water.  They weren’t worried about having the right bait or what kind of fish were biting this time of year.  They were simply living in their moment of glory, doing the things that memories are made of.  I watched the little girl climb out of her stroller and walk from one boy to the other while her mamma just sat back and watched.  It was truly a magnificent sight to behold.  Immediately, my rambling began;  ” I just love watching kids be kids.  I remember when I was little, I never wore shoes in the summer.  I was always barefoot.  We used to climb trees and play in the dirt with our hot wheels cars, my sister and I.  It gives me great satisfaction to know that there are still the little pleasures of life being enjoyed by these kids.”

A simple but beautiful morning at the dock digs deep into my soul and gives me the satisfaction of a spiritual revival.  I feel invigorated after our visit this morning.  My soul feels at peace and satisfied.  I love watching life being lived in the simplest ways.  My heart is so full I think it could burst.

Enjoy your day, your family, and find peace in all that you do.  It feels amazing.

Visiting the Tax Man

 

 

The way my brain works is a wonder.  Sometimes, I surprise myself by the craziness that ensues while the wheels turn inside this clock of mine.

Recently, we went to get our taxes done.  I am very particular when it comes to having everything organized and ready for the tax man.  By nature, I am a very organized individual.  I have a folder for all the owner’s manuals from items that we have bought.  I still have owner’s manuals for items that are long gone.  But, if something goes wrong with the lawn mower, the treadmill, the television or the dog feeder, there’s an owner’s manual in that folder just waiting to be read.  My boyfriend admires me for keeping good records.  I admit, I am a little over the top.  Anyway, that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to organization of financial or important materials.

Last year, we went to get our taxes prepared and we were listing the donations.  Of course, I have all receipts to back up my listings but there is a gray area.  That would be donations of clothing.  Usually, I bag everything up and take it to the local donation box.  I then grab a receipt and estimate an amount that I think the bag is worth.  Our tax man said that he thought that I was undervaluing those items.  He suggested that I take a picture of the items so that the following year we could get a better idea of the value of the clothes.  For the entire year of 2018, I took photos of each and every item that I donated.  When we had our taxes done and came to the donations part, I handed the tax man a stack of pictures of each and every item.  He looked at me like I had 3 heads.  I responded to him by reminding him that he was the one who told me to take pictures.  He laid each and every picture out all over his desk and with a smirk, he called in his assistant and asked him, “What do you think this Tshirt is worth?”.  At that point, I was embarassed along with my boyfriend and step-daughter.  The laughter ensued and we couldn’t stop.  We literally took picture by picture and estimated it’s worth.  Our tax man had never dealt with anything like this before.  I think he might have thought I was crazy but I was just following instructions.  That situation is going down in history like so many other ridiculous things that I do.

 

We Actually Like Each Other

 

 

I live with my boyfriend and his 19 year old daughter.  We have a nice, small, cohesive family unit.  We are not an exciting bunch but we do know how to laugh and have fun together.  Yesterday, my boyfriend and I went to the diner for dinner.  It’s a local diner that we often go to and everybody knows everybody.  We had an early dinner, as we usually do, so the diner was empty.  We sat and ate our dinner ,as my boyfriend began to tell me stories of his first job, when he was fresh out of high school.  He described the crazy shenanigans that went on.  He worked with his father, uncle,  brother and cousin.  The young ones would torment their boss and anybody that crossed their paths just for a laugh.  As he told me story after story, I laughed my head off.  We were carrying on at the table and having a great old time.  As we were leaving the diner, we stopped at the counter to pay and the owner was asking about my step-daughter.  You know, the typical, “How is she doing?, Is she working”, and surprisingly, “Would she like a waitressing job?”

I began to give all the details of what she’s doing in her life and how proud of her we are.  After a few minutes of my bragging, I said to them, “Look at me going on about my step-daughter.”  They laughed and said that they thought it was great.  They have often seen us together and commented on their admiration of how good we get along.  As the conversation continued, they both mentioned to me that they thought that my boyfriend and I were a cute couple.  I have never considered us a “cute” couple.  We are 64 and 58 years old.  How “cute” could we be?  They went on to say that,  they observed how we laughed together and that we actually seem to like each other.  That just cracked me up.

Their statement made me think about when I was married to my first husband.  We would sit in a restaurant and I would observe other couples eating and conversing and laughing.  I always wondered what they were talking about because we never did such a thing.  I didn’t realize then that, that was the way it was supposed to be.  It’s sad to think,  at that time in my life, that I didn’t know that couples were supposed to have fun together.  Unfortunately, that marriage ended after nine years.  On the upside,  it was an educational period for me.  I am grateful for the lessons learned from that marriage.

As I left the diner last night, I was smiling.  I got in the car and told my boyfriend what our friends had to say.  It is a treasured endowment to realize that my life has changed and evolved into a healthy and satisfying experience.  Gone are the days of constant struggle and strife in a relationship.  We have been together for 14 years and have learned to communicate with one another through good and bad.  That’s why we have so much fun.  We feel free to divulge our thoughts and feelings without judgement from each other.  We’ve learned to work through the distressing times and to respect each other throughout the process.

As a family unit, we engage in silliness and laughter.  We enjoy each others’ company within the home and when the three of us go out together we always have a great time.  Life is good when a person can finally grow and learn to laugh at themselves.  Laughter is the best medicine and although it’s not always time to laugh, it’s always time to enjoy and respect each others’ presence.

B.M.

I spent three days with my adult children.  I have two sons and a daughter.  We all live in different states so it was a very special experience to be all together again.  It sounds all fluffy and nice doesn’t it?  It was nice and special, but not so fluffy.

My children can have conversations about most anything.  I’m all for that because I am usually the subject of their laughter.  This particular weekend, for some reason, focused on the need to share the habits of our bowels.  I told you it wasn’t so fluffy.

One son has shared that his bm habits have graduated to becoming events that no longer require toilet paper, they now have been upgraded to a new level that requires wipes.  While he used the lavatory, we heard sounds that have never been uttered in this world and when the realization came that he did not have enough wipes, we heard him loudly call his wife to handle this emergency situation.  The rest of us couldn’t stop laughing as he finally emerged with a smile on his face and sweat pouring from his brow.

As we all ate breakfast around the center island of the kitchen, we were laughing and having a good old time.  At that point my other son stood in the middle of the hallway.  There is a bathroom at each end of the house.  As he looked , he noticed that the one bathroom door was shut.  I saw him rubbing his stomach as he asked if anyone was in the other bathroom.  He announced that time was running out and he needed to get to a bathroom.  I quickly checked  the other bathroom and ushered one of my granddaughters out.  I stood in the hallway and shouted his name, waving him along like I was waving traffic at an intersection.  Whew, he made it just in time.

The next morning, my daughter, three granddaughters and I wanted to watch the sun rise over the mountains.  We got up early and made our way in the dark to the mountain.  We arrived at our destination, a calm, peaceful area on the side of the mountain and stood outside my daughter’s car awaiting the arrival of our maginificent friend.  As we stood there, my stomach started making sounds.  I turned to my daughter and said, “oh no, it’s happening.”  She knew exactly what I meant.  I have had this issue for a very long time and she has been with me while shopping in stores so she knows what I mean.  I said that I needed to sit down and maybe that would settle things.  Well, it didn’t.  As I pondered what to do next, I came up with a plan.  We noticed that back behind the trees there were two tractors parked, the kind used for cutting the grass.  They were well hidden.  My daughter suggested that I walk over there and take care of business but I told her that if I walked, it would make things happen before I got to my destination.  She decided to back her car up to get me there.  Now, I had more decisions to make and I had to make them quickly.  Toilet paper was not handy so I had to improvise using other sanitary items that were in my purse.  I grabbed them along with a pocket knife that my daughter gave me.  I looked at her like a deer in the headlights because I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with this knife.  She told me three different times but I didn’t understand and she got frustrated with me.  I just grabbed the knife and my other tools for this emergency debacle I was in.  I headed in.  I had a mission to complete.  Getting there just in time, I completed the first part of my task quite easily as it had a mind of its own.  The second part of the plan came together as I had hoped, using the formentioned tools.  There was one problem, I didn’t have enough items to complete the project.  I had to think fast.  I had to think on my feet, literally.  I looked down at my feet and made the decision to sacrifice a sock.  Oh yes I did.  Now, I still had this pocket knife with me and I didn’t dare tell my daughter that I didn’t need it because she said it was a survival tool and I should use it as such.  Proudly, I dug up the ground with that knife so that I could cover any evidence that I had been there.  I emerged victoriously as my daughter and granddaughters laughed until they cried.  I joined them and we peacefully watched the sun rise over the mountain.  Mission accomplished.

As much as these three days were so special for us to gather as a family, the stories and carrying on  will live forever in us.  And we will amuse ourselves at the memories and the subject of the memories for a lifetime.  Of course, with my family, no subject is off limits as you can see.  Sometimes we are not so prim and proper and we share things that can fall under the category of “too much information”.  But it’s all in fun.  It’s all part of the game of life.  It’s okay to laugh at the things nobody ever talks about, out loud that is.

P.S.  My daughter later told me that the knife was to cut off my undergarments if necessary.