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It was inevitable that I would spring this on you sooner or later. It’s audacious, I know, so it’s OK if you’re chuckling already.

If you live long enough it only makes sense that you’ve learned a few things worth passing on. I claim to know two valuable tricks … perhaps more than my share.

Both of these secrets to a better looking you work for men just as surely as they do for women. Best of all, they’re easy and fast. The first one you’ll want to do every morning because every morning you will be able to look into the mirror and see immediate results. 

I always brush my teeth first and let the rinsing bring in warm water to the tap. The rule reads to use “tepid” water – warmer than your face but not a lot warmer. You simply bend over the sink, and using your hand, splash your face thirty times with the nice tepid water. Count them.

Then you take a towel and lightly pat your face dry looking into the mirror to notice how different you look than you did just seconds before. That’s still true at 84. Cheapest moisturizer on earth.

The other secret is much easier to incorporate into your life because it only has to be done once in awhile … whenever you think of it. And then once a day is plenty.

The purpose is to tighten that sagging throat below the chin which we seem to develop over time. You’ll find it pretty amazing what a difference this simple isometric exercise can make.

Sit down at a table. Rest an elbow on the table and place your chin in the palm of that hand. Using that resistance, gradually force your mouth to open as wide as possible and just as slowly and deliberately to close it again. You’re done.

You’re beautiful.

The gods had their way with me, uprooted me from my old Fort Bragg office and dropped me in a wonderful new location.

I’m working for a newer brokerage in town, Pamela Hudson Real Estate, on the corner of Main Street and Evergreen in Mendocino.

It’s heavenly. We’re across the street neighbors, half a block down, from that world-famous, old church with the remarkable spire. Our charming Victorian building is surrounded by lucious flower gardens, a nice lawn and picket fences.

The house itself has sets of tall bay windows and a unique, staggered floor plan that showcases interesting nooks and crannies everywhere. There are fireplaces, and ocean views. It’s elegant but warm and friendly with touches of the whimsical that make me smile.   

Yesterday I took a snack to work; an apple and some chunks of Jarlsburg cheese. I sat down on a small brown leather sofa, perfectly warmed by direct sun streaming into the south-facing bay window. I shuddered with pleasure. It felt like the universe was welcoming me into her arms.

On the coffee table I saw an array of Mendocino brochures and promotions (there’s a lot to brag about in this quaint little village.) And then I spotted a book of old photographs, collected and beautifully presented in this hard-cover book. I know the author. He’s a delightful local by the name of Nicholas Wilson. This particular book is like actually visiting here in the 1970s. I couldn’t put it down.

And, again, I was warmed, gladdened, and amazed at how the universe takes care of me.  It took me back to the words of that tear-jerking song from The Sound of Music … “somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something right.”

Love you all.

I’m enchanted and fascinated by the many visual trips I have taken since joining wordpress less than a year ago. I’m grateful to all of you “fellow pressers” for sharing with us your wonderful photographs which have allowed me to “know” places I would never have otherwise known. 

About an hour ago, any one of you people with cameras would have given anything to be where I was, if only for a minute or two. It was an unforgettable moment in time.

Let me try to decribe the miracle that nature brought me. I was sitting just inches inside my picture window (6×6 feet of panelled glass) that opens into my enclosed backyard. I was aware that a larger than usual apple had fallen from my nearly exhausted old apple tree.

It was like a prayer being answered when I looked out to meet the eyes of a full-blown, black-tailed buck deer walking straight towards me … and towards the fallen apple (in all honesty).

He cautiously moved forward. I sat motionless, waiting, breathless, observing the details of his powerful, perfect body. Everything about him excelled above all the other deer I have provided apples over the many years I’ve lived here.

The prize apple was not more than four feet from the glass of my window. And, yes, that apple was his goal.

They are rather dainty, you know, deer. His slender legs were not as wide at the ankle as his eyes were wide. Yet he had a heavy coat of hair and was muscular from the legs up. 

It takes deer awhile and several chomps to consume even a small apple. When particles fall back to the ground, they seem to know that and will always go back and retrieve them. And deer chew their food far better than we do, over and over and over again they chew before they swallow.

This evening my guest must have been especially hungry as he was not satisfied with the big apple. He made a big circumbulation around the central garden area and then decided to see if any apples had fallen into that central area itself. It is enclosed on three sides by a narrow walkway, shaped like a huge  letter A. There is a good-sized holly bush, next to a large fern and an ancient fuschia. All around that are what I believe are day lillies, a very hardy species, and, nearest to my picture window, a wonderful bird bath that David and Donnie found for me.

My magnificent buck gently seached every inch of that flower bed. He got lucky a few times, didn’t do too much damage to the plants and posed for a thousand pictures you would die for.

In 84 years I have never seen such a beautiful sight. I swear to you. I so wish you had been here to live this with me.

What a mysterious set of circumstances it was that got me going last week. It had me going for days. That’s why you haven’t heard from me.

It all started with a google alert in my in-box. For anyone who does not have one of those, I do recommend it. It’s free and easy. I always have a google alert set to give me a head’s up when my own name makes a new appearance on the internet—anywhere.

When I opened this one, I saw my author picture and the title of the book I authored shamelessly posted in large print. It was a website called BestFreePPT.com. They had grabbed my digital book off of Amazon’s Kindle, I suppose, and were offering it free. A button said, “Order Now” and a machine answered my phone call asking me to leave my name and number.

I don’t think so. Instead I put on my detective cap and went to work. Eventually I succeeded in reporting them to both the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. The BBB could not do anything about the “robbery” because this was not an Amazon website. Believe me, this was not an easy task for a little ole lady who loves computers but still expects them to bite any minute.

Two days later (perhaps related) I got an email from amazon.co.uk telling me that my Kindle listing has been extended to the United Kingdom et al. More goose bumps.

I noted that that pesky BestFree site had added a Chat Button. I left a chat, “So how does the owner and author ever get paid?” Never heard back, but I don’t see the chat button OR the order now button, or the word “free” on that site today. They may have been still working on it when they entered my name and I was alerted.

Anyway, it’s been quite an adventure, and I suppose it kept me out of some worse kind of trouble for a few days. We do like to keep busy, don’t we?  

Another day when I read a blog asking everybody to “pay it forward today,” I bought coffee for the car behind me in line at Starbucks. That fun, $8.00 investment led to my writing up an offer that day and having three new clients this week. Just a coincidence, of course.

But the best news of all was this: I got to read two chapters of a racey, unfinished novel coming together somewhere in Canada. This section of her novel generously and accurately quotes from that old manuscript, dated 1976 and entitled “Gentlemen Prefer Bitches.”

Try not to be sick. (Thought you ‘divorced’ that old thing, Mavis.) That was, after all, my first attempt at writing a book. It’s very hard to let go of something you gave birth to.

Much more on this new novel later, OK?

MISSING MY PEOPLE

This has to sound oh, so silly, but when I miss a week posting something on my blog, I feel that I’ve let you all down.  It’s true; I actually feel that whatever I am led to write, could be important to someone, if only to one someone, to get a glimpse of their own future because none of us is going to escape old age–alive.

I’ve been thinking about what is probably the very worst part of getting old.   I think it’s only fair for me to pass that one on to you, my people.  And, of course, no matter what I say, you’re going to totally ignore it and do exactly what I’ve done, what we all do.

You’re going keep on doing what you’ve always done, and keep on believing what you’ve always believed, until sudddenly, with no warning whatsoever, one day you start to do something you’ve done thousands of times and find that you can’t do it anymore. 

The only thing that has changed is your body.  Your senses alternate between failing and painfully over-sensitive. Your balance is a little askew.  You think it’s remarkable when you watch other people playing tennis,  football, dancing, heck, running, or just walking briskly.   

The ole body doesn’t feel that different, but it surely is different because there’s not enough energy wherever we store energy, to keep it doing what we direct it to do anymore.

 What we have to learn from that is this:  It’s OK.  Youth is youth, with all its folly.  Maturity is security.   That entitles an elder person to smile.  Smile at life; smile at others lack of understanding or  their lack of caring; smile at yourself.  You’re still around for a reason.

Being a Realtor, I worked yesterday.  Not the first time I’ve spent the Fourth of July and countless other holidays at my office.  But, I figure you can’t serve your clients roasting hot dogs. 

It had been a beautiful day; perfect even.  My drive home offers an opportunity to drive right down to the water to watch the waves and all the living things who get to spend their lives there.  I find that just breathing in the salty air and having both negative ions and positive ions coming at you at the same time can be very healing, exhilirating even.

I have never seen so many people down there before.  I got parking space # one, of course, like I always do, clear on three sides.  Directly in front of me was a toddler rehearsing to be an American, maybe even an American hero.  He was demonstrating those qualities that make for success and give us our reputation as Americans.

He was at the highest point of a mound of sand and had a little yellow cart to play with.  I’ve never seen one just like it.  It was small, had four matching wheels, was no more than 14 inches wide and half again that long.  It had a low back and two sides but the front had been dropped down making it like a tiny dump truck. 

This little guy could not have more than 17 or 18 months old, tiny little thing still unsure of his footing when he walked.  When he backed up to the cart, it only came to his knees.  He was oblivious to anything else going on around him.  His mission was to climb up into that cart, butt first.  Oh, yes, he could.  He would get into that cart no matter what it took and no matter how  long it took.  There is no such word as ‘can’t’, just watch me. Nothing was going to stop him.  

He would try and fail, over and over and over again.  He would put a handfull of sand into the cart (I don’t know what that was about) and try again.  Finally, ‘daddy’ took notice, came over, picked the little kid up, put him into the cart facing the front and went back to ‘mommy’.  

Seconds later, this determined kid crawled out of the cart and started trying to get himself back in all over again.  He didn’t want to BE in the cart.  He wanted to GET in the cart.  How American.

How could any body in their right mind refuse an evening out with their most appreciative son? Nobody. So that’s how I happened to see Avatar;  Dave took me.

I’m not into sci-fi. But I’m glad I went so that I don’t have to wonder whether, if I had seen it, I would have known what this extravaganza was all about.  

I loved the 3-D presentation. That, in itself, is remarkable. I spent half of the one-hour-too-long movie with my toes curled under. That happens to me when I experience the feeling of height; the soles of my feet get all prickly and I clench my teeth to “hang on.” So by the time Avatar finally ended, I was exhausted.

Frankly, it’s a waste of money for me to go to see movies at all any more. Since they started giving us only glimpses of faces and scenes and playing little sound bites instead of dialogue, I seldom connect the dots and make a story out of them. Which is to say, I rarely know what new movies are all about.  Fortunately, there are more old ones than I can ever see.

OK. Avatar. The oldest story in the world – bad guys vs good guys – conquering and resistance. Only done with bigger and badder beings and equipment with modern technology removing all boundries. If you can think it, you can fake it. Yes, these fanticizers really are beyond belief. You have to appreciate that.

My disappointment came from exactly that fact. That with all of the lessons of  history and the miraculous technology at our disposal, why are we still telling the same old stories? Stories that perpetuate ignorance, arouse anger, encourage greed, selfishness, fear, and isolation rather than promoting a desire for higher awareness? 

Movies are ficticious. Real life is always changing, always evolving to a little higher level. That is happening right now;  in, and all around, every one of us.

I would give almost anything  to think differently than I do about the castrophy that’s happening in the Gulf of Mexico. I would give even more to see some indication that they are actually trying to seal off that gushing oil flow; to stop it from pumping millions of gallons of oil out of the bowels of the Earth. 

But, from a layman’s point of view, it does  look as if maybe they’re trying to salvage that oil instead, not trying to stop the flow or to give it back to the Earth, but to reclaim it for BP.

In other words, it looks as if the highest priority must be to save the oil, not the planet; to recapture that oil somehow; to not let it get away. I hate that I think this way.

But we’re living in a whole new world now. Many of mankind’s most admirable qualities are disolving before our eyes. And maybe as a result we’re all a little paranoid.

The whole purpose of this blog is to selectively share with any person who is getting older, and I know there are many of you, some of the things you can expect to happen sooner or later because you’re growing older. Aging is a post-graduate course in Patience. It has advantages you may never have dreamed of.

Unless I am open and honest with you there is no purpose at all behind these posts. So, that’s what you’re getting this time … some of the cynical thoughts that I entertain as I sometimes subject myself to TV newscasts.

So, as in most other world events, the highest priority in the oil spill mess is m-o-n-e-y! This will all end when somebody figures out a way to get rich from fixing it. And they will.

Upon turning 65, I toyed with the idea of becoming a writer. I rented a computer and took a few baby steps. My background in writing had been decades earlier and limited to spots and commercials for radio … a very disciplined form of writing indeed.

Now at 65,  I got exceptionally lucky; eight out of the first nine articles I submitted were published. One of those eight articles was entitled, Is Abortion Fatal? It was the result of hours of meditation.

I won’t presume to have found the answer. What I did in Is Abortion Fatal? was to ask some thought-provoking questions. The same questions that I had asked myself.

That article is still floating around on the internet and has brought more than its share of comments over the years. One of the places where you could read it is: http://ancientsky.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=101 (Cut and paste this.) Or just Google it by its name or mine.

Sorry it’s such a long link. Maybe it’s like a few other things in life where longer is better. You know, like vacations or friendships or dates that are fulfilling.

If you read my latest blog, you know that I have just returned from a great vacation that wrapped around Mother’s Day 2010. I spent it with my younger daughter and husband and their son and his wife and kids in Alamogordo, NM. We also spent a day at White Sands. What a miracle that is.

Never have I been more grateful than having the pleasure of looking at my grandson’s distinguished face for days on end. Wonders never cease.

I would love to hear from you if you’ve read this.  mavis@mcn.org

I’m flying that high and my whole heart is dancing. My grandson has made it home.

Last October 4th, I posted here that my kindred-soul grandson, S. Sgt. Dustin E. Lawrence, USAF, was being shipped out to Afghanistan. Now it’s finally over and he’s back on US soil.

He surprised me a couple of weeks ago with an email notice that he’d bought me an airline ticket to El Paso to join others in welcoming him home. He’s right. A road trip alone to Alamagordo would be too much for me, but I might have tried it anyway.

You can’t imagine how hard it is to remember that you’re this old when you are feeling this good inside. Like, when I’m trying to learn how to belly dance to that strange and inspiring music or celebrating that Dustin’s months in the sand are over and I’ll be seeing him on May 6th. Things that make me feel forty again. 

But then, too, I always thank God for that parking space next to the door which, speaking of miracles, is always there for me. Or I find myself reaching for a cane when I have to walk any distance in the dark.  

There are many things that serve to remind me that I’m eighty-something. Sometimes that stops me short. Other times I just let it go and feel happy that there’s nothing left to prove and nobody is depending on me.

So what shall I have for dinner? Anything I want. Whenever I want it.