Archive for the ‘feeling older’ category

All That Jazz

September 2, 2022

This is this week’s Playing Favorites, in disguise with a different title.

music notesLast year, we watched the Super Bowl at my daughter’s house.  Not likely this year since theyve moved to Texas.   Anyway, the halftime show included an assortment of hiphop-rap-whatever performers and when it was (blessedly) over, I said, that was awful.   My daughter turned to me and said, What do YOU want for a halftime? Jazz?  Not likely.  It seems to me jazz has fallen hard times, at least as far as getting any airtime, except perhaps on streaming services’ specialty stations.  It wasn’t too long ago that groups like Steely Dan added flashes of jazz to their top-twenty hits and, occasionally, a jazz number would make the pop music charts, like Chuck Mangione’s Feel So Good in 1970 which reached number 4 on the pop music charts. (more…)

An Old Man Back

August 2, 2022

mareIn my mother’s later years, one of her favorite sayings was, The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be.  She certainly had more than her share of maladies to deal with as she aged.  To my mind, it is proof that God or nature (depending on your stance on spiritual matters) doesn’t dole out maladies according to virtue of the recipient, otherwise she would have had a much easier time of it.  On the other hand, I had reached 77 with virtually no major maladies.  That may prove the same premise because although I have tried my best to be a good man, I am not the saint that my medical history would seem to indicate.  (more…)

Bunco

July 9, 2022

buncoOn Tuesdays here in Springhouse Village, it’s Bunco night.  You know.  Bunco.  That mindless little dice game designed as much to socialize as to amuse.  No … you don’t know it?   It is played with three dice.  You score points by trying to roll a particular number with the number progressing through 1 to 6 with each round.  Let’s say the number is 1.  You get one point for each 1 you roll and you get to keep rolling as long as you are scoring points.   If all three dice come up as the number, that is a Bunco and you score 21 points.   If all three dice come up any other number, that is a Funco and you get five points.  It is played with 2 two person teams at each table where the number of tables is determined by how many players turn up each week.  Now, the social part.  After each round, the winning team moves to another table … BUT you can’t stay partners with the same person.  So, in the course of an evening (we play three rounds, with the number going from 1 to 6 in each round), you get to spend some time with lots of different people.  Wikipedia says that the skills required to play Bunco are counting and simple mathematics.  Indeed. (more…)

Playing Favorites 6/24/2022

June 24, 2022

turnIt has been 5 weeks since my birthday.   It was a wonderful birthday … followed by what can best be described as a shit-storm.   Sorry if my choice of words offends you.   On the evening of my birthday, our son texted me with some legal issues he needed help with.  Never good.  The next day, my daughter told me they are moving to Texas, which is really hard to take, since to my recollection their promise not to leave Utah was one of the reasons we moved here.  The sense of betrayal that brings has been keeping me awake nights.  Then, we both came down with COVID.   A trip last weekend to Virginia to attend the Bar Mitvah of the son of our dearest friends left us exhausted but probably kept me sane.   It was a joyful occasion but seeing them surrounded by their kids and grandkids was also a reminder that ours would be moving away.  So, the last time I posted Playing Favorites, the song of the day was the saddest song I know, Shattered by Linda Ronstadt. (more…)

The COVID Club

June 6, 2022

Clipboard01Wednesday I woke up with an annoyingly persistent cough, the kind of cough I’d probably had hundreds of times in my 78 years and thought, Shoot, I must be getting a cold.   But that was before the arrival of COVID 19.  As a senior with several medical issues, I tested myself one of the COVID self-test kits President Biden sent (for free, imagine that).  In case you haven’t seen one of these, it looks like a pregnancy test.  I was neither infected with COVID or pregnant.  After 24 hours of worsening symptoms, I tried again and tested solid positive.  Welcome to The COVID Club.  I received a club T-shirt in the mail from Biden and a card from Trump that said, See? I told you it wouldn’t kill you!  DONATE NOW TO STOP THE STEAL! (more…)

Playing Favorites 5/27/2022

May 27, 2022

greyghostIt has been a long week, a descent from a very happy birthday through the news that my daughter’s family will be moving away to my own futile attempt to avoid the sadness through denial, anger and bargaining (see Navigating Grief).  Last night I sent my son-in-law and daughter a note, telling them I was trying to accept their decision.   The very act of doing so stoked my anger again but this morning, I feel different.   I think am ready for the Grey Ghost of depression to wring the tears out of me and guide me to acceptance.

If you knew me personally, it wouldn’t surprise that I carry on my music devices a Heartbreakers playlist of sad songs to help this reluctant crier bring the tears.  All beautiful sad songs.   But which one gets to be the Favorite played today.  Easy.  Shattered  Beautiful melody written by Jimmy Webb.   It is remarkable how many songs by Webb grace my music files.  The most perfect pop female voice in my generation (perhaps any), Linda Ronstadt.   And the lyrics …

Shattered
Like a windowpane
Broken by a stone
Each tiny piece of me lies alone

They would rip the heart out of the Gray Ghost himself, if he had one.

Enjoy … or have a good cry … whichever suits your day.

Navigating Grief

May 24, 2022

griefMany people think grief means deep sadness, particularly due to the death of a loved one.   But grief is more than that, it is a process we as humans must go through to come to acceptance with any loss, from the death of a loved one to the end of a relationship or the end of a dream or a life phase.  According to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss American psychiatrist, there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  What makes this path hard to navigate is the fact that after working though each of the first four stages, all of which are painful, all you get is acceptance.   Not happiness.  Not peace.   The sadness continues to echo in your life as one of those things you cannot change mentioned in the Serenity Prayer, but at least you accept it. (more…)

Playing Favorites (5/20/1944)

May 20, 2022

wpid-happy_birthday_to_you.jpgNo, that’s not a typo in the title.  In spite of my advanced age, I know what year it is (2021, right?).  But I was born on this date in 1944, making this my 78th birthday (2022-1944=78.  See?  I is still good at math).  So the question of the moment is what a music loving septuagenarian music lover will play on his birthday.  The obvious (if not original) choice is the classic Happy Birthday we been forced to sing since we were kids.  My favorite version:

Happy birthday to you,
You belong in a zoo.
You look like a monkey,
And you act like one too.

Cute but hardly appropriate … monkeys rarely life beyond forty.   Or, I could find a page like 33 Best Birthday Songs Of All Time and choose one of the dozens of birthday songs that were recorded by various artists.   I could reach back to my youth and choose The Crests Sixteen Candles, but that would be about 55 candles short (see?  I is still good at math).  Besides, the song is about heartbreak and I am a happy old goat today.   I could choose Happy Birthday songs by The Beatles or Stevie Wonder, but as much as I love both artists, their birthday songs feel like half-hearted efforts.   I could go modern with 2 Chainz – Birthday Song featuring Kanye West and the lovely lyric, All I want for my birthday is a big booty hoe.  Not a freaking chance … we’re talking music here.  And it’s crap like that that makes me feel even older.

So, I’ll pick a birthday song with a brain by one of my favorite singers, Carly Simon, who tells a story in every song.   In her Happy Birthday song, Carly talks about all the things growing old has cost her, including caffeine and dessert.  It’s a great birthday song, but it’s also a reminder of all the things you have to do make it to your seventies.  And appropriately enough, she’s also a septuagenarian.  Be sure to listen to the lyrics (or read them here).

Useta

May 19, 2022

happy_birthday_to_youLooking back a bit on the eve of my 78th birthday …

I useta get up the day after a marathon with legs so sore I could hardly walk.  Now I don’t need the marathon.

I useta think my wife was lucky to have me.   Now I know that I’m the lucky one and that spending fifty years with her is the best thing in my life.

I useta solve complex mathematical and statistical problems.   Now I do Wordle and figure out how to fix the shutters in our office.

I useta ride a bike fifty miles a week.  Now I ride a stationary bike that goes nowhere for 30 minutes.

I useta think that people were basically good.   Now I look around at what’s going on in the world and I’m not so sure. That makes me very sad.

I useta be an engineer who thought he was meant to be a writer.   Now I am a writer who useta engineer.

I useta do triathlons … swim, bike and run.   Now do the old guy triathlon … I walk on the track at the gym, ride the stationary bike and shower.

I useta be a liberal.  Then I was a moderate.   Then a conservative.  Now I’m not so sure I want to be associated with any of them.

I useta think that 78 sounded very old.   Now I know I wasn’t wrong.

I useta know the words to virtually every song I loved.   Now I still do but I can’t always remember who sang them.

It useta make me sad that no one seemed to feel music like I do.    Now I know it is a gift that brings me untold joy and connects me to the Infinite.

I useta think I’d never move to Utah.   Now I am happily living there, ten minutes from my grandkids with a view of the mountains.

I useta be a seeker.   I still am and will be to the day I die.   I’m OK with that.

New Tricks

May 18, 2022

old dogWe have all heard the old saying You can’t teach an old dog new tricks and speaking as an old dog, I can testify that it is often true.   We old dogs do like things our way.  Mostly.  But every once in a while, life intervenes in a way that breaks through our old doggedness and makes us change.  As I mention a while back in my post, PT, I have been subjecting myself to Physical Therapy in an attempt to reduce nerve pain radiating from my back into my legs.  In the first three weeks it has been unclear whether the assortment of massages, stretches and exercises prescribed by my physical therapist have helped, made the pain worse, or simply moved it around in this old body.  If it were you going through this course of PT, I’d be telling you it takes time to work, but this is my body … and I want to feel better now.   My therapist is understanding and tries to keep my spirits up with jokes like What is the difference between a physical therapist and a terrorist?   You can’t negotiate with a physical therapist.   Funny and true but not helpful. (more…)