Musings and Amusings

Archive for the ‘Baby boomers’ Category

A is for Anniversary


A Letter (2)

Yes, I’m breaking my own Theme selection on the first day of the Challenge. Anniversary is not an object, unless you count it as an object of affection. Let’s go with that.

May 14, 2014 will be my 25th wedding anniversary. No one is prouder than I am to own that milestone.

Soon after we met, Hub began talking about marriage, certain very quickly that we were the real deal. While I fell in love with him within months of meeting, I was content to live together; to share our lives without taking that formal step called marriage.

It was so perfect already, why not enjoy that stage indefinitely? Why mess with perfection?

As two years went by, I continued to resist his requests to marry, assuring him I’d marry him someday, just not now. Eventually we reached an impasse. He needed my commitment of marriage, and I couldn’t give that to him.

My hidden truth was I didn’t trust that I could follow through with the “forever, till death do us part” promise. My first marriage lasted only seven years. It took me another six long years to recover from that sadness. No matter how much I loved my new partner, I couldn’t vow “forever” when I had already failed to keep that commitment.

One day, both of us in tears about our impasse, I admitted my fear about not being able to actually follow through on “forever”.

His response?

“If you can’t promise forever, how about 39 years plus options?”

Now THAT sounded like a commitment I could make. AND fulfill. Reasonable, measurable and renewable if I succeeded with the initial term. I eagerly and wholeheartedly said, “YES!”

And that’s what we vowed at our wedding: to marry for 39 years plus options.

If you asked me today, 25 years later, if I could make a “forever” commitment to Hub, I’m happy to say I could; I would. But it took his love, patience, understanding and creativity to get me here.

A to Z Anniv pic

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The Zap App

Bam! Thud! Ouch – my bladder!

Clunk! Bam! Ouch – my neck!

Those were the sounds my car and I made as we drove ONE BLOCK on a busy Denver street and hit FIVE POTHOLES!




Sure, they don’t look very big in these pictures, but they are on EVERY block and are going to get bigger, deeper and ouch-ier as our freeze-thaw winter cycle continues.

What if …

You know that NSA agency who has promised not to spy on our phone calls, so now they’ve got all those under-utilized spy eyes?

You know those drones that farmers are already using to monitor single plants and single rows amid huge fields of crops? The same drones Jeff Bezos claims will soon deliver my Amazon orders to my front door?

What if those idle NSA Spy Boys collaborate with our street maintenance crew, and they create the Zap App?

You spot a pothole; zap the Zap App button on your phone; and a drone zooms in overhead to instantaneously shoot a laser dose of hot-mix asphalt goo, followed by a rapid blast of sealant, right into that pothole.

The Zap App – zappin’ potholes before they zap us.

Are You Lost in Transition?

A new blogger recently contacted me with a question about Word Press “how to’s” and a more cerebral comment about retirement and her “what’s next” dilemma.

I’m the “blind leading the blind” on WordPress processes. I recommended she pose her question to the support/help forum where I’ve had good response to my own questions.

I hope I can give her more insight into her “what’s next” dilemma.

I’ve been where she is: leaving her career at its peak, not wanting to call it retirement, not sure what’s next and wondering how others figure it out (and make it seem so easy). It sounds like she’s enthusiastic about specific ideas for her future, but she expressed some anxiety and admitted her motivations are somewhat driven by her need for approval. She wrote she wants to find a calmer method of planning and, perhaps, seeks reassurance that her ideas will lead to fulfillment.

Here’s my perspective:

Explore all your ideas. Feel scattered. Make mistakes. Change direction. Start again. And again.

Even if it takes several years, that’s what transitions are.

Most importantly, seek what feeds your soul with the knowledge that even the “what feeds” evolves as we, and our external influences, change.

We are each unique in our needs, motivations, and ability to adapt to changes. What works for me won’t work for any of you. The main objective is to understand and embrace your authentic self. If that takes awhile to accomplish, what have you got to lose by trying?

When I first retired, I often found myself saying, “I’m retired, but I used to be a …” as if my career was the only interesting thing about me.

I also – being a Midwestern child raised to be productive or feel guilty when you’re not – wrestled with how others, or I, would judge me if I wasn’t significantly engaged in “saving the world” after leaving my career.

I loved my career (accounting, finance, venture capital), and I served my fair share of stints on non-profit boards, neighborhood task forces and fundraising activities. While it was all worthwhile and stimulating, I also paid a price in stress-related health complications .

While I was ill, I read a book titled Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin. The book is about the trade-offs between making money and having time for living; how to recognize and choose the balance that works for you. It was the only instance when I’ve seen the message that valuing and nurturing your relationship with your partner/spouse is just as much a legacy as the money or accomplishments you achieve.

The principles in that book have guided me in retirement as well. Now I make my mark and spend my “obligatory energies” in smaller ways. I provide long distance care to my 88-year-old parents and mother-in-law; I help raise my grandchildren; I actively participate in my relationship with my husband. I choose small, manageable activities to give of myself to my community and our deployed troops.

We move beyond careers and live our later years in varying ways. Some travel extensively; some develop new careers; some give tirelessly to a cause they love; and some choose less expansive, but no less meaningful, pursuits.

My wish for each of you is to give yourself permission to find what fits you and wholeheartedly do that.

Does That Come With a Swizzle Stick?

Every year, although I reassure him it’s not necessary, Hub insists on taking me out to dinner for my birthday.

In January.

After several weeks of holiday parties and over-indulging and way too many nights away from my comfy perch.

This year, in lieu of dining out, he bought tickets to Ladies’ Comedy Night at Miner’s Alley, a teeny tiny theater in Golden, Colorado. I wasn’t sure he realized that meant THE CROWD would be ladies, not just the comedians. Sure enough, when we walked into the theater, the cacophony of voices was decidedly high-pitched. We spotted three vacant seats in the middle row (there are only five rows) and sat down.

To the left of us – a group of women complaining about work. Behind us – three women yakking about their kids. In front of us – two women loudly discussing their post-divorce status and luck (or lack thereof) on the local dating scene.

“You ok?” I asked Hub.

“Sure”, he smiled gamely, his eyes searching the crowd for signs of testosterone.

I thought to myself, “at least he’s got an empty seat beside him to buffer him a little.”

Just before the show began, an attractive 30-ish blonde, holding a cocktail, excused herself across several seated patrons and slid into the seat next to Hub. Looking at both of us, she smiled brightly and said, “Hi, I’m Casey. I have a Perky Nipple. Would you like one?”

Hub turned to me, arched his eyebrow, and we burst out laughing.

“Sure,” I piped up. “Give the man a Perky Nipple. Lord knows it’s been awhile … “

Should I be worried that Hub bought himself a season ticket to Ladies’ Comedy Night?


Chubby Cheeks & Chubby Checker

My sister and I are the original Cougars.

She was 11 and I was 10 when we went on our first double date – with younger men.

I know. You are wondering what our parents could possibly have been thinking, letting us prey on younger men, when we weren’t yet teens ourselves. It turns out my parents knew something about creating a fun family evening while also teaching us social skills that would serve us well throughout our lives.

I don’t remember exactly how the first date came into being. I suspect it had something to do with my parents anticipating an approaching evening out for themselves and wanting to give us something in return for their absence.

The preparations went something like this:

Around 6pm, my sister and I retired to our bedroom where we rummaged through our closet seeking our fanciest fashion ensembles – our recent Easter garb, including black patent leather shoes, turned-down white sox, and hats shaped like wide headbands covered with white flowers. We carefully styled each other’s hair (which in my sister’s case meant doing nothing because hers was so short it didn’t even require combing).

After looking each other over, we preened in front of our mirror making last minute adjustments while we eagerly awaited the arrival of our evening’s escorts. Promptly at 6:30, our dates knocked on our door and we opened it with high hopes for good-looking dates and a fun-filled evening.

We weren’t disappointed.

Greeting us with wide grins, chubby cheeks, twinkly eyes and enthusiastic “good evening, ma’am’s” were my debonair 7-year-old and 3-year-old brothers.

Handsome dates, indeed!

They were both dressed in their finest (and only) blue pajamas and brown bathrobes, with belts carefully tied to accentuate their sculpted physiques; velvet slippers that could only have been purchased for the dancing to come; and trendy hats borrowed from Dad to mark the occasion.

The 7-year-old, never missing a chance to give his best Jimmy Durante impression, gave a “Ha Cha Cha Cha Cha, Ladies. Let’s go dancing!”

Taking their arms, we proceeded downstairs to the dining room, where the DJ (Dad) was warming up the record player and the cocktail waitress (Mom) was waiting to take our drink orders (“white milk or chocolate milk? on the rocks or straight up?”)

At the first sounds of The Twist by Chubby Checker, the four of us hit the dance floor and never stopped until the DJ announced the final song, The Lion Sleeps Tonight by the Tokens. My sister and I performed our tried-and-true line dance moves; and my brothers showed particular talent for exotic twist gyrations (the 3-year-old gripping the table with both hands and shaking his booty like he’d been dancing all his life).

Ravenous, our dates escorted us to the dining table where we devoured a feast of locally-sourced scrambled eggs, crisp bacon and lightly buttered toast. Conversation was lively – topics such as who had the most Girl Scout cookie orders, whose turn it was to pick tomorrow night’s tv show, and who had shown the best dance moves.

After settling the bill and generously tipping our DJ and waitress (Monopoly money – the precursor to BitCoin), our dates escorted us back to our rooms. Air kisses and thank you’s and “I’ll call you’s” ensued, after which my sister and I retired to our room, rehashed the night’s events, agreed we’d date those guys again, and fell asleep to dream of dances yet to come.

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