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.

Arizona

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AGMA’s on the road. Again.

Thank goodness.

We got back from our New Zealand trip on 12/7. I was getting antsy.

This trip is a total trip down memory lane.

Right now, at this very moment, I’m in Tucson, Arizona where the weather is spectacular and the Margarita’s are cheap.

But my first stop last Wednesday was – Sun City, Arizona.

I was there to visit my foster family. Well, they weren’t legally my foster family. I just lived with them when I was a toddler for a couple of years. They were friends of my parents.

It was a complicated situation.

Sun City is somewhat amusing to AGMA. It was a joke back in the 70’s with the Baby Boomers. Only the old folks went there. People who are just waiting to die. How sad…

Guess who’s living in Sun City now?

You would be correct if your answer is…

Wait for it…

Baby Boomers!

Irony is so cruel.

Second stop – Sedona, Arizona.

Sedona is absolutely gorgeous. Especially on a January day when the sun is shining on the glorious red rocks.

Good friends have recently moved into a house they have had custom built. The house has been under construction for 34 months. Yes, you read that right.

34. Months.

And it’s still not done.

The reasons are complicated.

And it will be spectacular when it’s finished.

The view is already spectacular. The picture above is what I awoke to every morning.

Crazy beautiful.

Third stop – Tucson, Arizona.

Tucson and I go way back. I transferred to the University of Arizona in 1973 as a junior.

Waaaaaaay baaaackkkk.

I met Hubs the first week I was there in 1973. That was nearly 47 freaking years ago.

Holy crap!

Does anybody else think that this whole passage of time thing is a bunch of bullsh*t?

Thank you…

Tonight, I took my mother-in-law out to dinner. And her daughter, my sister-in-law. I haven’t seen them in 3 years.

It’s complicated.

And Hubs is safely ensconced at home in Atlanta because he didn’t want to deal with the multiple issues between he and his mom. But I get it.

Complicated.

AGMA will have to say dinner went as well as I think it could have gone.

Afterwards, I went to an iconic Tucson restaurant/bar for a drink to help steady my nerves. Casa Molina. The bartender was very sympathetic and made me the most amazing skinny Margarita I’ve ever had.

So I am writing this under the influence.

Don’t judge me.

Casa Molina is a Tucson institution. It’s the same restaurant/bar that Hubs went to in the mid-70’s with his fraternity advisor/mentor, Danny.

AGMA could go on about Casa Molina and Danny and his Mexican heritage and his incredible influence with young men at the University of Arizona at the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity in the 1970’s, but I won’t.

It’s just a place that has meant a lot to Hubs and AGMA from ages past.

I’m here for another couple of days. I have a couple of friends from “the good old college days” who still live here that I am going to connect with. I even have a friend from my former life in Ohio (my kids 4th grade teacher!) who retired in Tucson. He and I are meeting for pancakes tomorrow.

Interesting connections.

But AGMA won’t be seeing a dear friend the I’ve always visited on returning because he passed away too young in 2018.

This a complicated visit for AGMA with complicated emotions.

And I’m thankful for strong Margaritas.

Cheers!

Crones of Anarchy

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Facebook and AGMA have been a ‘thing’ for over 10 years now.

Mostly, it’s been a positive ‘thing’. To prevent hacks, my page’s security is as tight as Melania’s face. And I’ve been able to reconnect with people I haven’t seen since Richard Nixon was pseudo-President and The Beatles were still making beautiful music together.

Facebook has changed a lot these past 10+ years.

Now it has all these algorithms built in it to target tons of advertising and the appropriate Russian trolls to on your personal FB page. They also dictate which one of your friend’s posts appear on your timeline. So you can have 400 ‘friends’ (serioulsy?) but only see the posts of 25 of them on your timeline. You can always pop on over to those 375 other ‘friend’s’ (seriously?) pages to see what they’re up to, but c’mon…

“What the hell is an algorithm anyway?”

I’m glad you asked.

According to the first definition that pops up on Google, an algorithm is “a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.”

Clear as the accounting on the Trump Foundation’s balance sheets, right?

I guess Facebook used special algorithms when it sent all of our personal information to Cambridge Analytica for the tRumputin campaign.  Those wacky kids!

But AGMA fully believed Mark Zuckerburg when he said Facebook would change it’s ways. And AGMA fully believed that Facebook would do an amazing job of protecting its users data in the future from unauthorized collection. AGMA also fully believed that Facebook would not need any government regulation – they would do just a dandy job policing themselves.

Oh crap! I misspoke. I meant wouldn’t! WOULDN’T!!

But despite the trolls and stolen personal data, AGMA still has her FB page. They say a bad love is better than no love at all…

However, the number of ‘friends’ AGMA can claim has dwindled a bit since November 8, 2016. My posts since that day have tended towards scathing criticisms of Putin’s Puppet and his band of merry traitors. I asked people to de-friend AGMA if my posts offended them. Some obliged. Quite a few actually.

Including my brother. He also de-friended my sister, who is the most gentle soul you can imagine, because she’s against caging children, supports common sense gun laws and wants a President who actually likes the rule of law, democracy, American, and Americans. And our allies.

Go figure.

One day, under the “Facebook Pages You Might LIke” side bar on my FB page (clearly al-go-rhythm driven), a page named Crones of Anarchy popped up. Clearly the name held great appeal for AGMA.

Why not?

AGMA’s definitely a Crone, and a little bit of Anarchy is good for the soul.

But to be a part of the Crone club, you had to take a test. AGMA hates tests. I guess they don’t want any posers – Russian trolls or males or unCroney women. Or Cult45-ers.

I get that.

The good news is that I passed! I’m in baby!! AGMA’s officially a Crone!

But then you knew that.

So if any of you ladies are on Facebook and have felt, deep on the inside, that you are and have always been a Crone, check them out.

Guys…AGMA doesn’t know what to tell you… Maybe the Crones of Anarchy can start a fraternal branch. You know, like the Eastern Star is to the Masons?

I’ll make that suggestion at our next Crone meeting and get back to you.

 

P.S. AGMA sincerely apologizes for my unexplained absence these past 2 weeks. Been visiting the MAGCITW (the grands) which is always exhausting and all time consuming.

I missed a lot of sh*t that went on in the world while I was immersed in Peppa Pig and playing good car/bad car/good train/bad train.

Sending late, but very hardy KUDOS to my friends living in the UK (or is it England, or Great Britain, or the United Kingdom?) for the AWESOME BABY TRUMP BALLOON!

And having a Queen who, very passive aggressively, wore her Barack Obama gifted brooch when meeting Putin’s Poodle. You rock Beth!

Hail Britannia!

Who’s the fairest?

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“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

Bejing 2022…here I come!

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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!

Mr. Wizard, my hero

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Science geek.

That’s me.

AGMA’s always loved science. My undergraduate degree is in Geobiology.

Huh?

FYI, the most memorable part of my undergraduate curriculum was the summer I spent in Baja, Mexico in 1974 studying crabs. Crabs. Seriously. But I think that needs to be a separate post.

I wanted to become a environmental scientist and maybe get a job with a fledgling five year old government agency called the EPA.

But that goal demanded an advanced degree. AGMA said “Nah baby nah.” I was tired of school and was ready to bail. Guess I wasn’t totally committed to the environment thing after all.

I blame myself for global warming.

So AGMA went into the new frontier of IT after working as a hotel clerk, and a corporate credit and collections agent. A career progression that makes perfect sense…

But I never lost my love of science.

Hubs likes science stuff too. This has made us dedicated fans over the years of everything from Cosmos (astronomy) to our beloved Kangaroo Dundee (zoology).

Hubs also likes understanding how things are put together. He’s had an obsession with the TV show How It’s Made for quite a few years.

How It’s Made is a Canadian production that has been shown in the US since 2001 on the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. In a documentary format, it’s name says it all. It literally shows how stuff is made. Everything from bubble gum to guitar picks to alligator handbags. They show you how three totally unrelated, random things are manufactured in each episode.  All with a monotone, droning voiceover.

ZZZzzzz….

AGMA’s not a huge fan.

Sometimes the Science Channel will have a How It’s Made marathons, playing episodes back to back all day. Hubs loves that.

My eyes just glaze over, roll back and I start drooling.

But I saw something in it that caught my fancy the other day. And the AGMA fancy is very difficult to catch.

Season 27, Episode 22. They showed how to make uranium from uranium ore (along with endoscopes and megaphones, naturally.) WTF??

I wonder if Kim Jon-un and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei took notes.

But it got me all gooshy nostalgic. It stirred up a passion of years gone by. A longing for one of AGMA’s most cherished childhood possessions.

Something I had hours of fun playing with that probably caused my little body irreparable damage. Something that stoked my love of science, but could have been my untimely demise.  Something that appealed to the left side of my brain while at the same time potentially destroying it. In other words, one of those “toys” that kids absolutely loved!

My Chemcraft chemistry set.

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If you had one, you know how awesome they were. But evidently they were somewhat dangerous even by 1960’s standards.. Which is kinda what made them so awesome.

I read a great article about chemistry sets back in the day. The title, Cyanide, Uranium and Ammonium Nitrate: When Kids Really Had Fun with Science, says it all.

I’m not sure if my set had cyanide in it, but AGMA’s fairly certain there was ammonium nitrate and some radioactive substance in it. I remember a pamphlet, Fun With Radioactivity.

This could explain a lot…

And although my cherished Chemcraft set gave me hours of “living better through dangerous chemistry” fun as a child, sadly, it turned out chemistry was not older AGMA’s strength. I’m more of a “close enough” type person rather than an “exact” type of person.

Chemistry evidently is not down with “close enough”.

I struggled to get a B in Inorganic Chemistry as college freshman. None of my experiments in lab turned out because of my “close enough” philosophy of life.

And chemistry prevented AGMA from graduating with my college class in the spring when I should have. It’s a sad story…

Organic Chemistry was a requirement for my degree. I had to drop it the previous year because I was close to failing with 2 weeks left in the term. I know…AGMA can hear the gasps. I hope I’m not letting you down too hard.

This meant that I had to retake it before I could graduate. And I had to pass.

Picky, picky.

Better to extend my college career a few more months and take it during summer school than shove 4 years of college down the port-a-john.

Damn carbon molecules…

Second time around, I barely got a C. But I graduated albeit 3 months late.

BS for AGMA!

A life mantra…

As it turns out, the chemistry set wasn’t the only old school toy that was a bit iffy from a safety standpoint. For those of you who want to toddle down memory lane a little bit more, check out this article with the irresistible title, The 8 Most Wildly Irresponsible Vintage Toys.

GenXers and Millennials, eat your hearts out.

Elvis has left the building

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After 44 years of service to the good people of the United States (Army plus Federal job) Hubs has retired.

That was a freakin’ fast 44 years.

His original plan was to retire at the end of January 2018.  After the election of a President hostile to everything his agency is tasked to do, he moved it up to May 2017.   The difference in his monthly pension for those 8 month would be like $1.20.  We decided we could deal with this financial blow…

Smart man.

Then in February, he came home one day and asked if I would mind if he pushed his retirement up to the end of April.  He said, “I just feel dirty working for ‘that man'”, referring to his new boss, the man-child Cheeto-head.

Very smart man.  Hubs that is, not Cheeto-head…

The level of his job prohibited him from saying or writing anything about the U.S. Government that was political in nature.  That was a big no no.  It didn’t allow him to follow the example of his bitchy, feisty wife (AGMA) in posting/sharing scathing commentaries on social media about He Who Must Not Be Named and his contingency of thugs, criminals, henchpeople and traitors.

I know – I really need to quit tip toeing around the subject and say what I really think.

But he’s bound by those chains no longer!  I have to say that, while he has posted several mild critiques about the deteriorating state of the office of President and our nation, he as not been nearly as prolific or wickedly cranky as AGMA.  But we do have very different temperaments…

It’s been 4 weeks since the wild rumpus of retirement celebrations and so far, so good.

In all seriousness, AGMA realizes it’s been difficult for him to go from managing 5 offices spread across the southeast U.S. and being responsible for some very important cases, to being the guy who scoops the cat litter and de-cat-hairs the furniture.

Serious demotion.

I know he misses the 8 to 5 regiment Monday through Friday, and having his days very ordered. He’s a very logical person who likes routine and needs structure.  AGMA doesn’t help the situation by getting up early one day to go running and sleeping in the next just because I can.  I’m very used to unstructured, unordered days with no routine, and flying by the seat of my pants.

But then again, you probably knew that…

Thank God he has multiple interests, nurtured over the years, to occupy some of his time.    He’s been a chess player since high school; a bridge player since college and a genealogy researcher since before it was cool to be a genealogy researcher.  And more recent events/pursuits such as becoming a grandpa twice in 2 years and becoming proficient in French help tremendously.

He also signed up at our local senior center and is taking a class on Astronomy.

So while he seems a little lost right now, AGMA’s pretty certain that he’s going to be just fine.

But I’m also pretty certain that he thinks I’m a slug.

Yesterday, he got into a declutter fit.   While asking himself, “Does this item bring me joy?”, he totally cleaned out his side of the closet, all the drawers in his chest of drawers and his night stand.  He took 5 bags of stuff to Goodwill this morning.  He had a very smug look on his face as he loaded the bags in his car.

That look that says, “I’m an awesome time manager.  I’ve only been retired 4 weeks and I’ve managed to do something that you’ve been saying you need to do for months but say you just can’t find the time…”

Bastard.

Between my running schedule and my AGMA blog and my eBay business and my massage therapy practice and my travels and my domestic duties and maintaining family/friend communications and my political activism, finding what gives me joy and what doesn’t in my closet isn’t very high on my list.

But then again, he’s clueless.  He’s never had any idea what I did from 8 to 5 Monday through Friday.

And that’s about to change.

I will have given him a 5 week grace period.  Fair right?

Next week, we’re going to sit down to create the dreaded wonderful “Honey do” list.   This will be a combination of mundane, repetative domestic duties, one-off things that AGMA hasn’t had time to do that are within his skill set, and things that need to be done by a professional.

That’ll keep him busy for a few years.

Friends who’ve retired or spouses of retired folks have told AGMA that it took them 1 to 2 years to really settle into a new lifestyle.

So whaddaya think?  For those of you who have gone before, does this sound about right?

Any pearls of wisdom that you can drop AGMA’s way will be eagerly appreciated.

elvis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

πάντα χωρεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει

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I know, right…it’s all Greek to you.

FYI, the above phrase translates to “Everything changes and nothing stands still.” According to Plato in his dialogue titled Cratylus, this was written by Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (535 BC – 475 BC)

AGMA is aware that this is pretty heady stuff. Thank you Wikiquote.

I was going for “Nothing is constant except change.” but there seems to be some dispute as to who really said that. AGMA tries to avoid conflict at all costs.

Aside from having a name that 14 year old boys would love to make randy comments about, Heraclitus was a very wise man.

He was all about change.

And it’s more of a constant in our lives now than ever before in human history.

Just when you think you’ve mastered how to take advantage of the “smart” in your smart phone – or at least the 10% that you actually know about – an updated operating system downloads and boogers everything up.

“Rizzle frazzle what the hell sh*t frack damn now what??”, as heard in AGMA’s house after such an update.

Or SmartPhone V108.5 comes out. Now you have to go back to the very beginning and learn  the new 10% of the new phone that doesn’t operate at all like your old one.  Yet again.

Some of us have children or grandchildren who can help us. The lucky ones have children or grandchildren who actually do help us. There’s a difference.

AGMA’s still waiting for her younger son to reprogram our universal remote because we changed from cable to satellite. Over a year ago. In the meantime, our coffee table is once again littered with remotes of various shapes and sizes that don’t get along with each other at all.

Kind of like Congress.

There are dozens, nay, hundreds, of other examples of the constant changes in technology, meant to make our lives easier, that actually screw it up. At least in the short term.

Please don’t think AGMA is a “Make America Great Again” type who wants a general store/soda fountain on every corner, a black and white television with rabbit ears in every living room, and telephones connected to walls. With cords.

On the contrary, she has been known to be an “semi”-early adopter.

We bought our first PC in 1984 and had an email account shortly afterwards. We also had a Betamax back in the 80’s. I know, AGMA was young and foolish about the Beta thing…

I bought my first Prius in 2006 and got the first Google smart phone, the G1, when it came out in 2008. Both went better than the Betamax debacle.

AGMA also uses cloud storage for her pictures/videos. I just need to remember where they are – Dropbox, Amazon Photos or Google Drive.

I’m hoping the dementia onset will be delayed until I can figure it all out.

But there are times when AGMA takes great comfort in the unchanging nature of some things. Familiar things.  Things that I grew up with and have basically stayed the same my whole life.

The flush toilet for example. Invented by John Harington in 1596, but bought into common use in the late 1800’s by Thomas Crapper (14 year old boy alert!), the flush toilet is brilliant piece of engineering. Other than the occasional need for a plunger, it’s the execution of a near perfect concept in public sanitation that has withstood the test of time. And Hub’s occasional splurge of pork and beans.

And the iron. While the design has changed a bit over the years, it’s still basically a water chamber and a metal plate that gets hot, and is used to get wrinkles out of fabric. And, if too hot, as AGMA learned the hard way, melts synthetic fibers together into a disgusting lump that has an alarming smell. And sets off the smoke detector.

But that’s another post…

Other than setting the correct temperature (see above), there aren’t many tricks to the iron. You fill the water chamber (if you want to generate steam that can burn off your face), plug it in, and press it down on the wrinkled fabric strategically positioned on an ironing board.  The ironing board – yet another comfortingly unchanged household item.

AGMA is, of course, assuming that the iron hasn’t changed over the last 10 years or so. It has been that long since she has actually used one, but she’s pretty sure they’re still the same. She believes that if God had intended for her to continue to use an iron, God wouldn’t have put the $1.99 dry cleaner so close to her house.

And then there’s the toaster. Again, simplicity that’s hard to improve on. Bread, a heating element and time = toast. Pretty damn basic. And comforting.

Just make sure you unplug it before you stick a fork in to pry the toast out that got stuck.

So the next time your head starts feeling like it’s going to explode learning yet another “indispensable” app, or programming your new Nest, or figuring out the difference between Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and 10 other social media sites AGMA doesn’t even know about yet, go back to basics.

Think of the simple, familiar, unchanging, comforting toilet, iron and toaster.

You’re welcome.

Namaste.

Mama needs a new pair of shoes

OldVegas

AGMA found herself part of a uniquely American ritual this week. It’s one that thousands upon thousands of American Baby Boomers participate in a regular basis. One that knows no racial, gender, cultural or economic barriers. You just have to be over 21…

She made a pilgrimage to one of the 600+ casinos in the U.S.

Cha-Ching.

I realize that casinos are present and popular in other parts of the world.  But our casinos in the U.S. are gigantic, over the top affairs filled to the brim with aging Boomers. Graying, sallow, drawn and sometimes wheezing Boomers.

Makes me proud of my generation. Not.

Don’t get me wrong. There isn’t anything wrong with a bit of dabbling in games of chance now and then as long as it doesn’t consume your life, retirement account and make you like the Walking Dead.

Must. Press. Button.

It’s actually kind of fun. Especially if you win.

I wouldn’t know about that.

My first encounter with the gaming world was in Las Vegas in 1987.  The AGMA’s celebrated their 10th anniversary of nuptial bliss with a trip to Sin City. I was 33 years old. It was pretty much fun.

That was at the very tail end of the Rat Pack Las Vegas. The last gasp of the Vegas glory days. Hotel coffee shops still served 50 cent shrimp cocktails, $3 prime rib dinners and $6 all you can eat crab legs. Rooms were cheap and drinks in the casino’s were always free.  And dark, smoky lounges were sprinkled throughout the casino floor with smoky, sultry lounge singers.  It was a veritable cacophony of sights and sounds when somebody hit a jackpot – flashing lights, sirens and that wonderful loud klink, klink, klink of coins dropping down.

Those were the days of The Tropicanna and The Sands and The Stardust.  When the concept of the mega hotel-casino was in it’s infancy and thoughts of bringing your kids there were ludicrous.

As cliche goes, those were “the good old days”.

I’m glad I got to see that remnant of the old Vegas.  It was iconic, and, for better or worse, a quirky, crazy part of American history that’s now gone forever.

Anybody who’s been there in the last twenty years knows what I’m talking about.  Now you need a 2nd mortgage just to be able to stay and eat there.  No more smoky lounges on the casino floor. No more coins – now you get a piece of paper from the slot machine with your winnings printed on it to a recording of clink, clink, clink.

Totally lame.

Back in the day, I played $1 minimum bet blackjack at The Hacienda.  Some of the places off the strip were 50 cent minimums.  Now, it’s a miracle to find a table with even a $10 minimum. Too rich for my bank account…

Oh – I never won.  Ever. It didn’t matter what I played.  Blackjack, slot machines, roulette, machine poker.  But I never gambled much – maybe $50 in a day.  A good day was when I went up to the room at night with anything other than nothing. Cha-Ching.

Once pretty much confined to Vegas and Atlantic City, now it seems like casinos are everywhere.  The expansion started on Indian reservations, then to riverboats, but that wasn’t enough.  States, many of them Bible thumping red states (go figure…) wanted a piece of the multi-kazillion dollar gambling pie so they legalized casinos. The revenues support the schools you know. Yeah right…

Fast forward to a few days ago.  I’ve been on a trip.  Again.  Visiting family and old friends in Arizona. Good times.

On the drive up from Tucson to Phoenix, I made a pilgrimage detour.  The casino I went to is on some of that prime real estate that the U.S. Government graciously gave the Native Americans as a thank you for “allowing” the white settlers to have their sacred, traditional rich hunting and farming lands.  In other words, it was a barren patch of scrub desert that couldn’t support a family of kangaroo rats. Thanks Uncle Sam.

Kudos to the Native Americans for now having a lucrative purpose for that God forsaken, piece-o-crap land. Thanks Uncle Sam.

Cha-Ching.

Unfortunately, AGMA was not shocked at what she found inside.  The Woodstock generation fighting over the Davincci Diamonds quarter slot machines.  Boomers who protested at Kent State sitting in front of poker machines with their oxygen tanks beside them.  Smoking a cigarette.  Slumped postures and glazed over eyes and a big line at the ATM machine.

All incredibly depressing.  It was the middle of the day on a Thursday, the weather outside was spectacular – sunny and mild – and the joint was full.

How the mighty are fallen.

I fished my $50 offering out of my wallet and started my dance with several one armed bandits.  Twenty minutes later, when the carnage was over and the dust cleared, I cashed out.  I tenderly put my redemption ticket in the payback machine, grabbed my 55 cents, and fled into the sunshine and fresh air.

It was difficult to find an exit. They do that on purpose.  Bastards.

Actually, I consider my bad luck rather fortunate. It gets me in and out pretty fast. And I know I will never become one of the gambling Walking Dead.

Must. Push. Button.

AGMA’ll be back in a casino again.  Oh yes….  Hope springs eternal in AGMA-land.

I know that the big jackpot is waiting for me one of these days. Not.

But it’s fun to dream about seeing those flashing lights and hearing that clink, clink, clink sound.  Even if it is a recording.

Come’on triple 7’s!  AGMA needs a new pair of orthopedic shoes!

Every beat of my heart

growingbolder

Twenty years ago, a co-worker of my husband shared his interesting (but completely unscientific) theory of human physiology.  He believed that every heart was created with a finite number of beats.  When you use all the heartbeats up, that was it. Poof, goodbye.  You went over the rainbow post haste.

He used his theory to justify why he didn’t believe in any sort of exercise or physical activity. The faster your heart beat, the more of that finite store of heartbeats were used up. He believed those heartbeats were precious and needed to be conserved.

I wonder how that worked out for him?

No doubt he would have been horrified by me on Sunday.  I probably used up a good three months worth of heartbeats in six hours.  Yikes!

AGMA ran her second full marathon in her life.  26.2 miles.  That’s a lot of heartbeats right there.

What was I thinking?

Like my first 26.2 earlier this year, I was not fast.  “Not fast” being an understatement. As I wrote last February, I am turtle-like when I run long distances.  Or like the little engine that could, just chugging along.  I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can.  Maybe.

Little has changed since last February.

People still think I’m a bit off for starting to run marathons after 60.  To be honest, I still think I’m a lot off.

But, as you know, aging gracefully is not part of the plan…

My ass.

I’m careful. I’ve learned that there are certain physiological limitations of my aging body that demand some modifications and cautions when I run.  That’s why I do interval running.  Run-walk-run.

My muscles don’t have the capacity to work as hard or recover as quickly as when I was thirty.  I guess.  I was never really that physically active when I was younger.  A couple of 5K’s, exercise classes at the YMCA a la “feel the burn” Jane Fonda, racquetball and some tennis, but they were all short lived.

I kind of regret that…

But on the plus side, I didn’t really screw up my body by being uber aggressive at any particular sport or trying to out-downward dog the lady next to me.  Which is probably why I’m doing okay at running +60.  I’m a late bloomer.

Part of the “problem” is that AGMA’s drinking the Kool-aid of the Growing Bolder Facebook page.  Growing bOLDER. Get it?  Cute right?

Growing Bolder’s mantra is hope, inspiration, & possibility; that growing older doesn’t mean that you have to stop dreaming of new possiblities.  We can pick up old dreams or passions that were set aside during the busy years of work and family, or find new dreams to pursue.

And I promise, you don’t have to run a marathon to grow bolder. Or even a half-marathon.  Not everybody’s THAT crazy…  But you can still find new adventures to live no matter what limitations you might have.

Like The Golden Girls, we can still get into plenty of trouble.  Oh, oh – I want to be Blanche!

So two days after my run, I admit I’m still a bit sore. But not as much as you might expect.  Again, AGMA’s all about being careful…  Possibly excessively so.  I’ve got a lot of German in me.

And I’m experiencing a bit of the low-down, ain’t-got-nuttin’-to-train-for, post-marathon blues.  *sigh*

But I’m pretty sure it’ll all pass.

Until it does, I’ll just dream of using up even more heartbeats maybe zip-lining or kayaking.  Or maybe I’ll learn Italian or help people to register to vote or start delivering meals on wheels.

Or dream really, really big…

Running a sub-six hour marathon.

What???