Furniture talk

AGMA’s been on the go!

After Meh Las Vegas, we went to Arizona. That trip covered the Grand Canyon, Phoenix & Tucson. We call it the Thumbs Up Arizona trip!

Then we had friends come to visit from Kansas City. That was fun. It felt a bit like life might be returning to normal.

I know AGMA’s a dreamer…

Now we’re in Atlanta for a week. Actually, the week’s almost over.

We leave tomorrow.

AGMA is back at her favorite coffee shop, Dancing Goats. It’s still not back to normal even through Georgia’s governor, Brian “no water for you” KKKemp declared that, since Georgia is at the bottom (or close to it) of list in states by vaccination rate, he was opening up everything at full capacity.

OMG.

Thankfully, some businesses are wary of throwing the doors wide open and letting the 71% of Georgians not vaccinated in to crowd around their staff. My Dancing Goats is still being cautious so most of the inside seating is still not available.

I’m sitting outside, but I’m still getting the creative “Goats vibe” so the words are veritably pouring out of me.

Actually, it’s more of a dribble, but AGMA will take it!

We have been staying with our fully vaccinated son and his unvaccinated two cats.

Our son lives alone (other than the cats) and has lived alone for the past 14 years. He is not used to sharing his space with anybody (other than the cats.) It took a bit of convincing for him to let us stay there, but I think he’s discovered that we are pretty undemanding and quiet guests.

Still, tomorrow probably can’t some soon enough for him.

We are sleeping in his guest room. It’s furnished with a chair & ottoman, a dresser, and a bed. A full sized bed.

A.Full.Sized.Bed.

COVID has been rough on AGMA and hubs in terms of our lack of exercise. And no lack of “treating” ourselves (I mean, it was COVID right?) as far as eating goes. And it shows.

We are extra full sized people crammed in a full sized bed.

It’s been hell.

AGMA had no idea they still sold full sized mattresses. I am going to write to my Congressional representatives upon my return home and demand that they introduce legislation outlawing the sale of full sized mattresses for use by more than 1 individual. I bet the GQP’s Marjorie Taylor Greenweinie would love to waste more of Congress’ time with that one…

But honestly, it’s cruel punishment to put 2 “jolly” people in a bed that size.

There is nothing special about the chair & ottoman. But the chest of drawers (picture above)…now that is a special piece of furniture!

Yeah – I can probably guess what you’re thinking…

“But AGMA, it looks so tacky & beat up! How could that be special?”

Well, for a start, AGMA is a bit tacky & beat up. So I relate to it.

But this chest of drawers is the last remaining piece of furniture from the bedroom set Hubs and I bought waaaaayyyyy back in 1978 as two young 20 somethings. We bought what was known as an ‘apartment set’. It had a sofa & loveseat, a coffee table & 2 end tables, a dining table with 4 chairs, a QUEEN bed, chest of drawers, dresser with mirror and 2 night stands.

I think it cost us all of $1200. Our paychecks back then were so meager, we had to pay it off in installments.

The chest is made of real wood. Imagine! And it’s incredibly heavy and well made.

Wait for it….

They just don’t make things now a days like they used to. (Wink)

Oh, but the stories this chest of drawers could tell.

It has watched us age from a young married couple, to a family with young children, to a family with teenagers, to being empty nesters, to a separation, to a reconciliation, and into our early senior years.

It has heard our most intimate, loving conversations. Our hopes and dreams for the future. It saw us get up and down multiple times a night to feed hungry babies or comfort sick children. It’s listened to the wonder of our young son’s voices as they came to get us to tell us Santa came or the Easter Bunny had been there or that they had a quarter under their pillow from the Tooth Fairy. It’s heard prayers for the safety of teenage drivers, college students away from home, young adults trying to find jobs, love and a place in this crazy world. Prayers of hope and thankfulness and even some of desperation.

It’s felt me reach in its drawers for skinny clothes, fat clothes, maternity clothes, more fat clothes, more skinny clothes, etc.

It’s also witnessed tears shed at the loss of elderly parents, at the loss of dear pets, at a home empty of children. Tears shed in sadness/anger/frustration of complicated marriage, family and friend relationships.

AGMA likes to think that, most of all, it heard more laughter and happy voices than anything else. Saw smiling faces and witnessed unconditional love.

I had forgotten we gave the chest to him about 10 years ago when we moved from Atlanta to St. Louis.

It was a bit of a jolt to see it again.

I normally live out of a suitcase when I travel, but I put my clothes in the chest drawers my son had cleared out for us. And every time I touch it to open and close the drawers, I ask it to tell me a story. Maybe one I’ve forgotten (there are a whole lot, AGMA’s pretty sure) about a time long ago when 2021 seemed like an eternity away and life seemed like it would go on forever the way it was. Stories about the person I used to be.

And it just stands there and tells me not to be concerned about the stories that happened long ago. It tells me that there are still good stories I have yet to live. And I need to get busy living them.

Good advice from an old friend who’s known AGMA a long time.

Stronger

What-doesnt-kill-you-makes-you-strong

 

Disclaimer:  Always checks with your health care provider before starting any exercise program.  And then take their advice with a grain of salt.

AGMA has issues.

I think some of you know that by now.

For the most part, they are charming foibles that only endear me more to my good and extremely patient readers.

Some, not so much.

The quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.”  has always been a favorite of AGMA.

Honestly, I didn’t know that it was from Nietzsche.  The first time I heard a version of it was on WLW radio in Cincinnati in the 1980s.

There was a DJ named Gary Burbank who created around 17 incredibly funny radio personas during his nearly 27 years with WLW.

One of Burbank’s most interesting characters was Smilin’ Blind Muddy Slim, the 60- Minute Jelly Belly Toejam Man.

Seriously.

Smilin’ Blind was a Blues man who had had a rough life but stayed optimistic.  His favorite saying was, “What does not kill you, will only make you stronger.”

Be it Nietzsche or Smilin’ Blind, there’s a lot of wisdom in that phrase.

Some of AGMA’s issues are not strictly “Oh my God, is she crazy?” type issues.  Yes, I like young men in spandex on bicycles, fantasizing about my next tattoo and sharing stories about my latest colonoscopy.   To name a few.

But I also have been having more physical issues.

This does not make AGMA happy.

But I’ve decided that I am just going to ignore them.  And it’s kind of working in a weird sort of way.

I have a disintegrating L3 vertebra with a compression fracture, significant multi-faceted spinal stenosis between my L4 & L5, a variety of bulging discs and scoliosis.

AND a partridge in a pear tree!

But I love to run and I’m training for a marathon (my 7th) in 2 weeks.

How is this possible?  I’m really not sure.

AGMA is a very slow runner which helps.  Actually, I’m a run/walker.  I use the Galloway Method of interval training and do 15 second intervals.

I started having pain in my right leg/hip last year.  Went to an ortho-pod for a diagnosis and a PT who helped me do as much as I could to mitigate the issues through dry needling and making some changes in how I sit, sleep, travel, etc.  It worked!  I was able to do the Chicago Marathon last fall – very slowly – relatively pain free.

Fast forward to AGMA’s starting to run this spring again after several months of being ill  and lots of traveling.  And very little running.  The occasional pain I felt in my right leg/hip now became a steady pain and started making it difficult to sleep.

Ouch.

A trip back to the ortho-pod and an MRI revealed the source of the pain as the previously undiagnosed significant multi-faceted stenosis between L4 & L5.  Basically I have stuff poking out from my vertebral body in the back and the facet joints in the front that is compressing the L4 nerve root that runs down the middle of those vertebra and goes into my legs.

Double ouch.

The doc said as long as I can stand the discomfort, running isn’t going to make the condition any worse, so have at it.  So I took her at her word and amped up my running.

But here’s the weird thing…

And as I increased my mileage, AGMA’s leg pain decreased.  Now, about 80% of the time, I have little or no pain in my leg.  But the pain consistently comes back when I don’t run for a few days.

It doesn’t make any sense.  But I’m going with it.

Last week, I tweeted my back on the left side.  But I kept up with my running and it started to improve a bit.  It really got better over the weekend when we were out of town and I didn’t run for 3 days.

But damn – it came back the day after we got back.

AGMA thinks it’s our pricey ($$) Sleep Number bed.  I tried adjusting my “number” last night to hopefully make things better.  I got up this AM feeling worse. It kinda hurt to even walk.

Oops!  Wrong number I guess.

But, it was a running morning and I was going to run come hell or high water.  Even if I had to limp my way through it.

Foolhardy, you say?  Stupid, you say? I don’t disagree.  I was second guessing myself for the entire 2+ miles of my run/walk thing this morning.

BUT…

My pain level before my run was a 7.  It was a 2 after I got back home. I realize it sounds crazy and counterintuitive but something happened during those 2+ miles that “corrected” whatever was ailing my poor back.

I don’t understand it.  I can’t explain it.  It doesn’t make sense.

But I’m going with it.

Is AGMA advising everybody to “play” through pain?  Not really.  As we age, we really do have to be more prudent.

And understand that I would never encourage anybody with any serious medical issues to go against their doctors orders.  That would be irresponsible and cruel.  And dangerous.

BUT…

I think what AGMA has learned is that, sometimes, we – people of a certain age that is – can be too careful.  Because we’re told that getting older is supposed to bring on more aches and pains, we passively accept that we can’t do X or Y anymore.  We let those aches and pains dictate our level of activity.   When sometimes, X and Y activity is just what our body needs to strengthen it and make it more resilient.

Inactivity can actually make things worse at times.

And to those of you who are still aghast that I ran with a sore back, AGMA did ice it for 20 minutes later on in the morning.  My nod to being prudent.  Feel better?

What does not kill us, will only make us stronger.

Aging gracefully my ass!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old-Fartitis

old fart

There’s a serious malady out there affecting our older citizens.

It’s actually been around for years and years with little or no recognition by the medical community.  Sadly, my father had it and now my brother has it.

The CDC evidently hasn’t seen fit to do any research or alert the general population to its existence and the dangers of contracting it.  This is puzzling and alarming.

AGMA is shocked that, until now, it has even gone unnamed.

“Old-Fartitis” is a serious condition has always existed, but is now reaching epidemic levels since November 8, 2016.  And it’s spread rampantly among some family members and many peers.

Oh, the humanity…

Old-Fartitis can be recognized by two unmistakable symptoms:

  1. The longing for the past. (Defined as “the good old days” to many, these days gone by were only truly good for a small segment of the population based on skin color, national heritage, gender identity and religious affiliation.)
  2. Resisting any change that is a perceived threat to one’s narrow view of how the world should “work”.

Old-Fartitis is a state of mind that will eventually, if untreated, destroy the soul.  It’s mental, emotional and spiritual imprisonment influenced by the 4 F’s of Old-Fartitis:

  • Faulty memory
  • Fading influence
  • Fake news
  • Fear.

AGMA is really just scratching the surface of the nature of Old-Fartitis.  Much more research is needed into this serious condition with emphasis on a cure.

Having my BS (yes, I said BS), I am familiar with scientific principals, and would suggest the following as mitigation steps until a cure can be found for Old-Fartitis:

  • Travel. As far as one is able to go and meet as many different people as one can.
  • Volunteer in some capacity with disenfranchised individuals (homeless veterans, immigrants, the disabled, at risk youth, abused women, etc.)
  • Reference multiple sources (NOT just one and you know the one I mean…) in print, digitally and on TV for local, national and world news.
  • Read books/poetry by diverse authors with diverse viewpoints.
  • Walk in nature.  Like, a lot. I mean, a lot.
  • Visit an art museum.
  • Listen to a musical artist who is younger than Keith Richards.
  • Nurture friendships with people who are younger and/or of a different race, religion, nationality or sexual orientation.
  • Develop a spiritual practice.
  • Extra credit item: get a tattoo (ya’ll know I had to throw that in!)

This is just a preliminary list I’m still fine tuning for submission to the CDC.

IMPORTANT!!!  Do not confuse being an old fart with Old-Fartitis.  While the two can coexist in one individual, they are separate conditions.

While an individual with Old-Fartitis will be always be an old fart, AGMA is here to declare that one can be an old fart without succumbing to Old-Fartitis.

Your relief is palpable.

An old fart is defined purely by the objective measurement of number of times a person has sucessfully circled the sun.  However, the specific number that defines an old fart is subjective to individual interpretation.  Some say you are an old fart at 60, some say 65, some say 70.

By my own definition, AGMA is an old fart.  I’m on my 66th journey around the sun.  My body is showing some of the wear, both internally and externally, that is bound to happen to a piece of finely engineered machinery after extensive use.  And massive quantities of Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies over the years.

But I still look fabulous!

Until a vaccine is discovered for Old-Fartitis, I hope and pray that none of you become afflicted with this serious condition.

However, between AGMA and your tattoo artist, I think you’ll be just fine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What happened Nana?

V

Ah…out of the mouths of babes…

We were up visiting the MAGITW (most adorable grandchildren in the world) a couple of weekends ago.

These are always bracing visits.

AGMA always thinks I’m doing pretty well physically until we visit the MAGITW.  They have a way of breaking you down and making you feel your age.  I realized my self-deception on this visit within the first 24 hours.

It all started with the bounce house.

My 2 1/2 year old granddaughter, V, has been a pacifier addict since she was a tiny babe.  Her “paci” was a source of comfort, stress relief and just plain ole good times.  80% of the pictures I have of her up until now has been with a paci in her mouth.

Like she did with B, V’s older brother, when he was small, the Paci Fairy made a visit to their house.  In case you didn’t know, the Paci Fairy – a distant relative of the Tooth Fairy – takes away all of the pacifiers in a house, but in their place, she leaves a gift.

On this visit, she cleared out all of V’s pacis and left a bounce house.

A full sized, air inflated, skull cracking bounce house.

Sweet!

So of course Nana AGMA had to give the bounce house a try.

Of course.

I cranked up the inflation thing-a-ma-jig.  The bounce house filled up with air, and B, V and I piled in.

Up to this point, I was still under the delusion that I was in pretty good shape.  Then the bouncing commenced…

It was fun for the first 2 minutes.

Round ’bout minute 3, AGMA started wondering, “What the hell was I thinking????”

B, my grandson, is a large 4 year old who’s a bit hyperactive.  He was literally flinging himself against the sides of the bounce house with all his might.  So much so that I was afraid he was going to collapse one side and all three of us were going to tumble out.

Evidently the frenetic bouncing got to V too, who is still getting the hang of using a potty.

She slid down the little exit slide and announced, “I have to go pee pee.”

Panicked, AGMA tried to get out of the bounce house to assist her, but in my haste, I fell down several times.  B thought I was intentionally flinging myself around so he decided to body slam me a few times.  The last time, as I was sliding down the exit slide lying sideways.  He slammed his full weight down right on top of my left shoulder which jammed my right shoulder into the hard floor.

I remember thinking, “Oh – this is not good…”

Fun times.

And as it turns out, it was all for naught.  V peed in her pants anyway.

Oh well.

AGMA feels like I was in an episode of I Love Lucy.

So, in addition to screwing up my right shoulder, all the bouncing and falling and flinging aggravated AGMA’s lumbar discs that have been squished due to my scoliosis, causing lumbar nerve compression causing my right leg and hip to ache for the next 5 days – 24/7.  Fun times…

“Mr. Feder, you seem like a really delightful guy!” to quote Roseanne Roseannadanna.

The bounce house was NOT inflated again during our visit.

Screw you Paci Fairy!

My granddaughter, V, is actually an incredibly sweet and kind child when she’s not acting like a 2 year old.  She likes to take my glasses off and wear them.  Then she orders me to “Ki Nana!”  And I have to play-act cry that she has my glasses until she gives them back.

It’s the dance we do.

At one point during this visit, before I put my glasses back on after being ordered to “Ki!”, she got up really, really close to my face and looked deeply into my eyes.

At that moment, I was looking into the eyes of pure innocence.  And kindness and goodness and gentleness.  Looking into her young, full of love, beautiful blue-gray eyes that have so far seen nothing of the harshness of the world, I was transfixed.

Then she winkled up her nose and whispered…

“What happened Nana?”

And pointed to the bags under my eyes and the age spots around them.

“Oh sweetie,” I replied,  “Nana just got old.”

AGMA felt like Wendy Darling when Peter Pan comes to visit and and finds a gray haired Wendy with her grandchildren.

Nana just got old.

It happens.  If you’re lucky…

But don’t take it all too terribly seriously.

Betcha AGMA’s back in the bounce house in June.

Aging gracefully my ass!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September Yin and Yang revisited

bookbag

Plaid seemed to be the design of choice for a bookbag back in the day!

September.

AGMA wants to write about September.  But I did that in a post in 2014.  And I pretty much think that it said what I want to say about September.

But this current September begged me to write about it again.  And I can’t say no.  I’m a sucker for September. So I’m ‘refreshing’ the 2014 post to a 2018 AGMA sensiblity.

“AGMA sensibility” seems like an oxymoron, right?

So here’s AGMA’s post from September 17th, 2014.  With a little tweaking and word ‘massaging’ that is…

Yeah, yeah – I know I’m a little late since it’s already past mid-September (back in 2014 it was.)  This is a post that really wanted to be written at the beginning of the month.  It begged me to be written.  But because it’s not my normal “wry humor” (and AGMA says that wryly…), I said no.

It’s been nagging me ever since.  It would not relent.

I gave up.

September’s a very special month to AGMA.  I always feels big changes in the air.  Aside from the changing leaves and temps, I can hear and smell the changes.

September is chance to start over. Brand new beginnings.  Most good and welcomed.

But not all.

September always means back to school.

As a child growing up in Pittsburgh in the late 50‘s/early 60’s, school didn’t start until after Labor Day.   AGMA was always excited to go back to school.  Not because I liked school, but because I couldn’t wait to see my friends again.

And back to school meant a new dress and a new pair of shoes for the fist day.

Getting a new dress was a big deal for me.  Due to divorce, AGMA lived in a single parent household – unusual for that time – and my mother was a nurse in a VA hospital.  There was never much money for new clothes.

Or new anything else.

But for the first day of school, not only would I get a new dress and shoes, but a new notebook, new pencils and a new bookbag.  For you young’uns, bookbags were the old school version of the modern backpack.  And ever so stylish…

It was a huge treat to go shopping with my mother.  She was always so busy all the time.  Between work and house maintenance and doing laundry and grocery shopping and cooking, we never had time just to hang out together. But for back to school shopping, we would ride a trolley to downtown Pittsburgh.   We’d shop at one of the big department stores – Hornes or Gimbels or Kaufmanns.  And then we’d eat lunch in a restaurant.  It was probably a Woolworth lunch counter, but to a little AGMA, it was fine dining!

Many years later, when my sons started school, I felt the same excitement going back to school shopping. We’d head out to the mall with the list of “suggested supplies” and shopped ’til we dropped!  The kids had fun, but I’m pretty sure that AGMA enjoyed it the most…

And September was always the beginning of another busy year of volunteering.  Because I only worked part-time in my IT job, I could volunteer at the kid’s school.  And volunteer I did!

Yeah – AGMA was one of ‘those’ moms.

All through their grade school, middle school and high school years, I volunteered.  AGMA was in PTA (president twice), helped out in their classrooms/computer labs, worked in the school bookstore and on after-prom, baked 1000’s of cookies, worked the school carnival, was a football, soccer and homeroom mom.  I even was the advisor of the Junior High Student Council for 2 years when it was in danger of being eliminated because no teacher wanted to be the advisor.

One of ‘those’ moms…

And AGMA loved every minute of it.

Now, every September, my heart and soul flood with the memories of those happy new beginnings as soon as I feel the chill starting in the air and hear the unique early morning sounds of September insects and see the leaves starting to strut their colors, .

But September also reminds AGMA that every season, of neccessity, comes to an end so a new one can begin.

And that very happy season in my life has ended.

My children have long been out of school.  Some of the children I used to read to in 1st grade in the late 1980’s are now PTA presidents, and homeroom & soccer parents.  And our high school PTA and after-prom committee and football boosters are now run by people whose children were just a twinkle in their eyes back when AGMA was involved.

I’ve more than adjusted to the empty nest over these past 18 years and have reinvented myself several times over.  Ya’ll know that I  stay pretty busy.  I became a massage therapist.  I travel. I run a little Ebay business. I’m a political activist. I run marathons.

I even started a blog.

But so far nothing has equaled the sheer joy and delight I had in parenting my kids when they were growing up.

September reminds me, sometimes cruelly, that time marches on.

Relentlessly.

Also, on a September day in 1965, my dear, sweet mother who worked so very hard to support my sister and I, died suddenly from undiagnosed pancreatic cancer.  She was two weeks shy of her 47th birthday.

AGMA had just started 7th grade.  After the funeral, I was shipped off to a new city in a new state to live with my father who I had barely seen since he moved away when I was six, and his new wife, who I’d never met.  I would never see the house I grew up in or any of my grade school or neighborhood friends again.

The smells and sounds and feelings of September remind me of new beginnings. And sometimes that new beginnings aren’t always welcome.

But they come anyway.

Then I sigh.  And remember.

And mostly smile.

Who’s the fairest?

snow-white-magic-mirror

“Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief” – Jane Austen

Beloved author and all around awesome English babe, Jane Austen lived from 1775 to 1817. She died waaaayyy too young at 41 from, what scholars believe, was Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Unlike “I can’t sit still” AGMA, Jane never went more than 150 miles from her home in the south west part of England. But nevertheless she had a keen understanding of human nature that shines in her works. Her characters are just like people we come in contact with everyday. I mean, we all know somebody like Mr. Darcy or Elizabeth Bennett or Lydia Bennett or Mr. Wickham.

Did I mention Pride and Prejudice ROCKS!

Emma was updated on the big screen in 1995 for a new generation by the movie Clueless.

And who can forget the 2016 movie classic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

Jane understood people, and their flaws and their strengths, and how it all impacts them in their relationships . Because she was so spot on in her assessment of the human condition, her books transcend time, culture and geography.

Can you tell AGMA’s a fan?

And she sure as hell knew about vain people.

Just look at the massive Orange Cheeto in the WH with his hair transplants, his fake tan and his Twitter account.

Weak head? Check. Mischief? Understatement.

Baby Boomers are in their 60’s and 70’s. Our youth obsessed culture is more obsessed than ever.  Forever 21 is more than a retail store; it’s a way of life.

There is a pot load of money to be made out there from folks like us.

Google “anti-aging products” and you get like a kazillion hits. The global (‘cuz nobody, no matter where they live, wants to look old…) was 250 billion – with a “B” – in 2016, and is expected to reach nearly $331 billion – with a “B” by 2021 (according to a report by OrbisResearch.)

Holy Hyaluronic Acid!

I am not immune to the power of the dark side.

Don’t judge me.

AGMA has always been an “au natural” beauty. I kind of grimaced when I typed the word “beauty”…

I’ve never worn much make-up. A touch of eyeliner here, a bit of blush there for the last umpteen years. Of late, I’ve given the eyeliner and blush.

And AGMA has never had a skin care regiment. I wash my face and smear a moisturizer with sunscreen on afterward. The sunscreen part makes my dermatologist happy.

While my extremely oily skin was a cause for much gnashing of teeth, wearing of sackcloth and sitting in ashes when I was young, it’s served me nicely as I’ve aged. Once I stopped getting zits. In my 50’s.

OMG.

But of late, AGMA has wondered if I need to start a “formal” skin care regimen. Should I wade into anti-aging money pit?

“What do you mean you don’t use retinol on your skin? You should use it everyday Aunt AGMA!” exclaimed my 46 year old niece when I visited her a few weeks ago. I should?

Maybe I should.

I did some research when I got home. Evidently there are things that I could be doing to my face that would make it “brighter, clearer and removes fine lines and wrinkles”.

Welcome to $250 billion band wagon AGMA!

The basics seem to be a mild cleanser (check), a toner, a moisturizer during the day (check) and a cream with RETINOL at night. I call them the Big 4. Plus you need to add a facial mask once a week to “pull out the impurities”.

Sounds like something that needs to happen at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

So companies will sell you their specially packaged skin care regimen. The cult of Mary Kay and the pink Cadillac has been doing this since 1963. My MIL has been selling and using Mary Kay for years.

Based on her skin’s appearance (somewhere between the basketball from the first NCAA championship in 1939 and my old hiking boots), AGMA will pass on that one.

There are a lot of other companies that want me to contribute my share to the $250 billion.

One has the Big 4 for $170 on Amazon. Plus eye cream for $65. And “Renewing Serum” for $94.

Does anybody actually know what renewal serum is? Sounds like something they used in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

As usual, AGMA went in a “value” direction.

I ordered a witch hazel (an oldie but a goodie) hydrating toner for $13, a night cream with RETINOL (my niece would be so proud!) for $24.00 and bentonite clay for a facial mask for $9.00. I already had the other stuff.

Excitement filled Casa AGMA when my Amazon package appeared two days later (Prime of course.) Next stop…clearer, brighter and less wrinkled/fine lined skin!

So it’s been 2 weeks now. And while AGMA’s skin is softer to the touch I can’t say I look much different. Not clear, not brighter and definitely not less wrinkled/fine lined.

Bummer.

Maybe I need to adjust my expectations?

Maybe AGMA should keep on keeping on because what I’m doing now is healthier for my skin, and not worry about that other stuff?

Maybe I should embrace my aging skin and celebrate the wisdom behind the wrinkles?

Maybe I should rejoice at the smile lines that reflect past laughter and joy?

Nah…

Botox anybody?

“Vanity is the quicksand of reason.” – George Sand

“This House is Clean!”…rewind

roto

(This post was originally published in 2014.  It’s a humorous take on a subject most folks are reluctant to discuss.  For obvious reasons…

I’m reposting because it want to make sure EVERYBODY (and AGMA means EVERYBODY) over the age of 50 knows how critically important it is to get regular colonoscopies.  Sooner if there is a history of colon cancer in your family. 

A little over a year ago (February 2017), Hubs went in for a “regular” colonscopy (his previous ones had been clear).  The GI guy removed a large polyp and it turns out there were cancer cells hiding in the polyp.  

Damn cancer cells.

It was very, very early colon cancer – literally only a few cells grouped together.  It wasn’t even staged.  In May, the area around the poly was removed and the margins turned out to be  clear.

There was much dancing and celebration at Casa AGMA the day the pathology report came back!

The survival rate for early detection of colon cancer is very high.   This is a very good thing!

So this is all to say, if you’re over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, get thyself to ye olde butt doctor NOW!)

On the way to a group run Monday, my running buddy told she was getting her first colonoscopy next Thursday. A colonoscopy virgin. Grasshopper has much to learn…

(Leave now if you don’t like TMI ‘cause this is going to be “one of those” posts!)

She complained that she couldn’t have any solid food on Wednesday; just clear liquids. She said she would be hungry. She was obsessing over how hungry she would be. “Oh honey,” I wanted to tell her, “hunger will be the least of your worries next Wednesday.”

I’ve had two colonoscopies. I think this puts me into the “experienced” category when it comes to this sort of thing. Lucky me.

Studies show that early screening for colon cancer save lives. I’m all over that. And, a colonoscopy really isn’t as bad as people say. Really. Maybe not.

I’ll give you that the prep is kind of yucky. My friend is going to be taking pills to “get ready” for the big day. I’m jealous. I was never offered a pill option.

The first doc in Ohio wrote me a prescription for something that I had to mix with water. It made 30 gallons. It seemed like it was 30 gallons. They said I had to drink it all over the course of the afternoon and evening the day before the procedure.

Game on!

Initially, it tasted like a cross between Gatorade, Pediacare and lemon-lime Kool Aid. Not too bad I thought at the time. “At the time” being the key words here…

Three gallons and three hours later into the prep “protocol”, my upper GI tract started to rebel. It was getting hard to drink the stuff. It was now tasting like a cross between horse sweat and liquified, stale Easter peeps. My throat was starting to clamp shut.

‘Round about that same time, my lower GI tract started to join the party. That’s the nice way to put it. I hovered close to the water closet. Very close. I was thinking of moving in for the night.

Several hours and several more gallons of the now totally undrinkable foul witches brew later, I took a stand. Enough is enough. The gag reflex had started kick in. This is never good. And what I did manage to force down started to shoot through me like I was a goose on speed. I made the unilateral decision that I had successfully completed the prep phase.

My second doc in Missouri didn’t write me a prescription for a prep concoction. He told me to get several over the counter products at the local drug store. Said they worked just as well. And it was cheap. No 30 gallons of toe jam peep sweat. No clamped shut esophagus. It was much more civilized with basically the same squeaky clean results. Easy peasy. Kind of…

So once the prep work is done, you’re basically home free. Other than the next day they snake about 15 feet of tubing up your colon while the doc wears a miners light on his head, a hazmat suit and stares at his monitor with live video of your now clean as a whistle innards. Can I order that on NetFlix?

But the best part of the whole process is the amazing twilight sleep stuff they use to knock you out! You have no idea at all what’s happening. This is very good. And you wake up feeling like you’ve had the best sleep you’ve had in years. In a sick way, it kinda makes it all worthwhile…

So if you’re over 50 and haven’t had a colonoscopy yet, for heaven’s sake schedule one! It’s a relatively simple procedure that could save your life. Plus you end up (get it – end up?) with some pretty good stories that you can swap with other 50+ types. Good times.

But I do have one question – when did they stop calling them proctologists and start calling them gastroenterologists? Proctologist is just such a great word. It’s the stuff great jokes are made of…

Two proctologists were talking about their patients (obviously pre-HIPPA…) The first one said that he was probing one of his patient’s “nether regions” and pulled out a bouquet of flowers. In stunned amazement, the second protologist said, “Where did they come from?” The first proctologist answered, “I don’t know. There wasn’t a card attached.”

Badum-CHING!

That Depends…

Purple

Hubs and I have been put on notice.

We went out to dinner with Son#2 who also lives in Atlanta. He is #2 strictly because he is our second son, born 18 months after Son#1. Son#2 in no way alludes to his position in our hearts and affections.

Although after last night, we may revisit that.

After some discussion about a class Hubs was taking in a seniors continuing education program at nearby university, my younger son made an announcement. I could tell that he had been thinking about this for a while and was waiting for the “perfect time” to bring it up.

Not sure he got the timing quite right.

He told us that it would be best if we found an senior living facility to move to sooner rather than later where we could get involved in “activities and arts & crafts.” He cautioned us no to wait too long. He said he didn’t want us to insist on living in our house until we got “old and bitter, and then fall on the floor and poop all over.”

Yes – those were his exact words. You can’t make this sh*t up.

No pun intended.

Hubs and I burst out laughing. It was just so unexpected and graphic. He was laughing too.

When the belly laughs subsided, he assured us that we were a “long way away from getting to the point of pooping all over.” We must be a bunch of middle schoolers…everybody started laughing again.

We moved on to other topics, which with Son#2, is always interesting. Since he was little, he’s always had strong opinions about things (translation, he was a pain in the arse a good deal of the time…) That hasn’t changed. But at least now he has the maturity and wisdom to select his words and timing, except when he’s talking about us falling down and pooping all over.

But it got AGMA thinking…

When is the right time to give up your home for an alternate living situation due to aging issues/concerns?

We may not be as far away from that as Son#2 thinks.

Hubs is afflicted with that $^#%@%*& neurological disorder. It’s robbing him of the use of his legs. We live in a 4 story townhouse.

Lots.O.Steps

And he has to be very careful going up and down all those steps because the weakness in his legs causes him to lose his balance easily.  He almost tripped this morning.

While we may not be ready for a senior living situation quite yet, we may not be that far away from moving to one level living.

AGMA’s father believed in reactive crisis decision making. And because he was an absolute monarch in a kingdom of two, my poor, sweet step-mother had to go along with whatever he said.

After my step-mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1990, we lobbied very hard to have them move closer to us after they sold their home. They lived a 4 hour drive away with no family close by. Not really easy or convenient for us to pop by… We got a realtor involved to try to find a place that they (my father) liked in Cincinnati (where we lived at the time.)

In the end, they (my father) decided to stay where they were, 228 miles away, and rent a townhouse.

Then my father promptly had a nervous breakdown due to the stress of trying to care for my step-mother, and had to be hospitalized.

Within 3 weeks, we moved my father to Chicago with my sister to recover after his release, moved my step-mother to Cincinnati to live with us, packed up their townhouse and had movers put it in storage. And that was just the beginning of some pretty major changes/upheavals in their/our lives brought on my father’s refusal or inability to admit they needed to live nearer to family.

Needless to say, AGMA was close to a nervous breakdown after it was all said and done…

I DO NOT want to do that to my children. I truly want to recognize when it’s time to throw the cards in and give up being lady of the manor.

That will be hard.

Lady AGMA’s had a manor to rule over since we moved into our first house 40 years ago.

But part of not aging gracefully is not being a major pain in the arse to your children as you age. Just a little nagging one…

Just enough to let them know you’re still around.

AGMA has to believe that no matter what living situation we’ll find ourselves in, that I’ll continue to be a crusader for coloring outside the lines and laughing as much as possible.

And tattoos.

And using colorful language.

And young men in spandex.

Pass the Depends!

Bejing 2022…here I come!

grannyskiing

It’s happening.

As much as I’d like to think it isn’t, it is. Follow that?

My body’s getting older and starting to develop some significance health issues.

Bummer.

Conventional logic would tell me that I need to start fading into the sunset and taking it easy while I tend to my AIP, UC, HPB and CKD.

And if you don’t know what any of those are…be glad. Sheesh.

But in my head… Ahhh…in my head AGMA is an energetic 26 year old who can do all the things I did when I was young and carefree.

Full disclosure: I was pretty dull as a 26 year old. I’d been married for 3 years, had a full time job and was going to graduate school part-time.

Yawn.

But, hey, I was 26! Young and strong and healthy. Sure that I knew everything about the life. AGMA had it all figured out. The world was my oyster and I was having it broiled with garlic butter. Yum.

But time and life are great teachers…

It will come as no surprise to any of my wise readers that AGMA did indeed NOT have everything figured out. The world was NOT my broiled oyster with garlic butter – it was more like a sea urchin served raw in saltwater with sand still sticking to it.

Ouch.

But somewhere deep down inside of me, there is a spritely spirit that still thinks AGMA is 26. A vivacious spirit that still, for some odd reason, thinks that the world is her BWGB oyster.

But a shrewd spirit that acknowledges I did NOT have everything figured out.

I still don’t.

But why let that spoil the party?

So when a co-worker was in tears on Sunday because she was behind in moving out of her apartment, totally exhausted and having horrible back pain, 26 year old ‘spirit’ AGMA (in the 64 year old body) said, “I can help you for a couple of hours!”

What I forgot was that her apartment is on the 3rd floor. With no elevator. And what I didn’t know was that her new apartment (same complex, different building) was on the 3rd floor. With no elevator.

At the end of two hours, I thought my legs were going to collapse and my arms burst into flames. It’s nearly 48 hours later and AGMA’s still sore. And tired.

What’s that old saying, “The spirit’s willing but the flesh is weak?”

Yup.

But I’m really glad that 26 year old ‘spirit’ AGMA is there. She keeps me interesting. She keeps me engaged. She keeps me optimistic in the face of yucky stuff. She also probably keeps me sane.

Okay…maybe semi-sane.

She’s the one who pushed me to go back to school to become a massage therapist at 54. And run my first marathon at 60. And get a tattoo at 63. And play granny superhero with my grandson. And buy a backpack suitcase “just in case” I decide I want to backpack through Europe. Or Thailand. Or Mexico. She’s the one who is making me want to start skiing again after a 20 year haitius. Downhill.

But sometimes she makes AGMA really sore, achy and tired.

Still, she helps me see the world as a place of ‘the sky’s the limit’ potential through younger, enthusiastic, unjaded eyes.  She encourages me to move forward when I want to stop.  Or retreat.

And when I resist her suggestions, she gently reminds me that the sand is quickly running out of the AGMA hourglass; I’ll have plenty of time to rest ‘afterwards’…

Beotch.

Aging gracefully my ass!

Christmas rewind

ornaments

Whoa.

Christmas is over already? What?

And it’s 2018 already? When did that happen?

Well – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to ya’ll! A bit late…

AGMA’s been taking an mini-sabatical. Unplanned.

Between spending a week in Chicago for Christmas and catching a pretty bad cold from TMAGCITW (otherwise known as the adorable walking petrie dishes), finding the time and energy to write’s been challenging. Actually, finding the time and energy for most of AGMA’s recreational activities has been challenging.

No running, no writing, no reading.

‘shame since I have Fire and Fury downloaded on my Fire. I just haven’t regained quite enough strength to tackle the inside scoop on our like, really smart, stable genius Twit-in-Chief.

OMG – I think I threw up a little in my mouth.

Since it’s early January, AGMA did muster the strength to take the Christmas tree down with Hubs this past weekend. We sucessfully wrestled all 4 sections into the box in the garage.

Score!

11 years ago, we gave up, after 30 years, having a fresh cut Christmas tree. It was traumatic.

For nearly all of those 30 years, we went to a “cut you own” tree farm outside of Cincinnati. And for about 20 of those years, we plunged deep into the bowels of the tree farm to find the Griswold Family perfect Christmas tree and cut it down. We DID remember to bring a saw… Then Hubs and I schlepped the tree 1/2 mile back to the parking lot. And onto the top of the car.

Imagine our euphoria those last 10 or so years when our two strong sons we old enough and big enough to take over the schlepping duties!

But we had built some beautiful family traditions around our annual Christmas tree farm visit. Traditions that disappeared when we moved to Georgia.

AGMA has this thing about traditions. I hate to let them go.  My head told me it was okay for multiple reasons, but my heart was sad.

It’s difficult to say goodbye to some seasons of life.

But our 11 year old artificial tree is big and pretty and doesn’t need water and doesn’t drop needles and looks pretty realistic.

Hubs bought our first tree Christmas Eve 1976 for $5 from a gas station tree lot. He brought it back to our apartment, decorated it with lights he got at the drug store, and surprised me when I got back from a doctors appointment. No ornaments; just lights.

To a 22 year old AGMA, it was beautiful.

Things have changed since 1976. This year, there were still lights on the tree. And some garland. And 184 ornaments. That’s 1 – 8 – 4.

To a 63 year old AGMA, it was beautiful.

The tree was up and decorated when my son and his family visited us in mid-December (see the Pink Paradise post…) My DIL asked me, “How did you get so many ornaments?”

“A lifetime of collecting.” I answered.

My answer hit me like a ton of bricks. It HAS been a lifetime since I’ve been collecting ornaments.

Holy sh*t!

And almost every one has a story to tell about our family. It takes me a long time to hang them all on the tree because I like to hold them and remember…

Some hung on our Christmas tree when AGMA was a child. They’re old!  I have “Welcome baby” ornaments from 1982 and 1984. And 2014. Poor V doesn’t have one!

Some ornaments were made by my sons when they were children. There are intricate dough ornaments I bought in 1987 from my neighbor’s sister. 30 years is a pretty good life for ornaments made of flour and water!

Of course, there are many, many ornaments from our travels. And ornaments that others have given us from their travels.

I have ornaments that aren’t really ornaments, but AGMA made them into ornaments.

We have a set of The 12 Days of Christmas ornaments I bought in the 80’s, a particularly happy time in my life. A lovely local family in Cincinnati who worked in ceramics started designing them in 1981 and produced a new “day” ornament every year. They accelerated their production and completed the last 4 in 2 years due to family illness.  These are some of my most treasured ornaments because they are so beautiful and were purchased during a season of AGMA acute happiness.

Sadly, the entire family has passed on – the mother, father and two children (who would be in their 60’s had they lived), but I think of them every year at Christmas. I remember how gifted and warm and welcoming they all were when I hold their creations in my hands.

And how life was so sweet.

Many ornaments have been retired over the course of 41 years. And there have been ornament ‘casualities’. Some of our dough ornaments have lost appendages. Other ornaments are missing the hangy things. A few years ago, one of my childhood ornaments was broken. And this year we lost a glass Santa from Ireland my sister gave us. But they were all individual ornaments, not part of a set.

AGMA knows that it’s just a matter of time before one of my 12 Days gets broken. And it will be irreplaceable. And I will be devastated in a First World Problem kind of way.

But I think that maybe it could be a sign from the Universe that it’s time to move into a new season.

Or in AGMA’s case, dragged kicking and screaming into a new season.

A season of dispersing instead of collecting. A season for a tabletop tree rather than a 9 foot monster.

A season of greater simplicity as I get ever closer with each passing year to encountering Child of Bethlehem in person.

Until then, I’m going to go for 190 ornaments next Christmas.

Happy 2018 my friends!!