About Cathy Green

Posts by Cathy Green:

“Happy” Memorial Day?

Yesterday was Memorial Day.

I confess. I wasn’t thinking about Memorial Day as anything other than a holiday. I was busy with a house remodeling problem. I had a deadline for a company project. I was thinking about what to wear to a Memorial Day party.
 
And then Ray reminded me. As a Vietnam veteran, he never forgets what Memorial Day means. It doesn’t mean parties, rug sales, outdoor barbeques, baseball games or the opening of swimming pools. It isn’t even a holiday to thank veterans for their service (that’s Veteran’s Day). In fact, it’s not a “happy” day at all. It’s a day to honor those who died in our country’s many wars. It is a day of memorial and remembrance.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Washington, DC

Vietnam Veterans Memorial at Washington, DC

I know that I’m not the only one who wasn’t thinking about it that way. In fact, I think it might be the most misunderstood “holiday” of all.
 
I looked it up. I learned that the first official Memorial Day observance was May 30, 1868 when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. I learned that until 1971, Memorial Day was observed on May 30. Then, the National Holiday Act of 1971 was passed and Memorial Day began to be celebrated on the last Monday of May.
 
I learned that the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) believes that the change of date that created a three day weekend has “undermined the very meaning of the day” and has contributed to the “public’s nonchalant observance” of Memorial Day.
 
I realized as I thought about my own nonchalance that I have been very, very lucky. I have never been directly touched by death from a war. My father and uncles were in the service at the end of WW2 … no action for any of them. Even though my college years of 1968 to 1972 were key Vietnam era years, no friend, boyfriend or classmate was killed in action. In fact, few of them even went to war. My brother and cousins were too young. And, I didn’t have sons who could be sent to Desert Storm or subsequent wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.
 
I’m glad that Ray reminded me about the day’s meaning. It’s unlikely that families of men and women who have been killed in war – or veterans who came back when others didn’t — wish anyone a “Happy Memorial Day” or spend it shopping for bargains.

Cathy Green

May 28, 2013

Advice for Young Dr. Wilson: Zip the Lips!

Hello. My name is Dr. Wilson. I’m your anesthesiologist.
 
 
You’re my anesthesiologist? But you’re only 16, aren’t you? Is there someone a little older I can talk to?
 
I didn’t say this, of course.  But I was definitely thinking it.

I had heard his voice outside of the flimsy curtains that surrounded my bed in the surgery prep room. He was joking around with the nurses. It was 6:30 am and I had him pegged as a medical assistant of some kind, the guy who would wheel me into the surgery room. But, he was the anesthesiologist.
 
It got worse.

“I’m the supervisor of anesthesiology for the unit. The people who will actually administer your anesthesia in the surgery room are part of my team and will alert me to any complications. Do you have any questions?”

 
Just one: You are 16, you are my anesthesiologist, you have other people working for you who might be younger, and you won’t even be in the room when they plunge a potent, potentially life-threatening drug into my body, right?
 
Again, I didn’t say that.  Instead, I said … “What kind of anesthesia will you be using?”

He smiled. He was ready for my profoundly pertinent question.

“We’ll be using propofol today – you know, the drug that killed Michael Jackson. Ha-ha! I thought I’d mention that before you asked. Ever since Michael, we get a lot of questions about what we’re using. Not so much before that. But you won’t get too much of it, so don’t worry.”

Well, thanks for that piece of reassuring information.

I think he knew that he might have screwed up, so he went back to the basics.

Is this your first colonoscopy?”

“No. I had one 10 years ago.”

He glanced down at my chart. Looked up at me.

“Wow. You’re kidding. I can’t believe you already had one screening. You’re 62? Wow. You don’t look it at all!”

Maybe he’s not all bad, I thought charitably.
 
And then he screwed up again.

Instead of letting me feel good about the compliment for a little while, instead of letting me revel in the feeling of how young I looked, even hooked up to IV’s with no make-up and a bad hair day, instead of leaving well enough alone, he pulled the first passing nurse into my space and said loudly enough to generously include the 10 or more other people in the room in his remarks.

“Look at her, Jane.  She doesn’t look 62, does she? She really had me fooled. Ha-Ha. Doesn’t she look good?  She should keep doing what she’s doing, right?”

Ladies, I think you know where I’m coming from when I say that he should have shut up sooner. One compliment works nicely. But, one that goes on too long AND involves the sharing of one’s age — well, let’s just say enough was enough.
 
I was finished (in more ways than one) with Dr. Wilson. I closed my eyes. It was time to meet his “team”. They couldn’t be worse, could they?
 
Cathy Green

Friend Time is Important: The 2013 Spa Trip that Wasn’t a Spa Trip

Patty and I enjoyed our annual spring spa trip this past week. But, we didn’t meet at a spa.  Instead, she flew to join me at my condo in St. Petersburg, FL. My husband and our dog went on a road trip to North Carolina and Patty left her husband in Tucson.

It was a different kind of get-together for us. We didn’t check into an expensive hotel, we didn’t sit around in spa robes listening to “soothing” (boring) music and waiting for our “just OK” $150 massages and we didn’t get into a car to drive to any restaurants or shopping areas.

Instead, we met each morning in our bathrobes for coffee and toast, we worked out in the condo gym (well, at least we worked out one morning), we walked out of the lobby directly into the beautiful, high energy city of St. Petersburg – we visited the Museum of Fine Arts and the Chihuly Museum, we had massages and facials at a small “day spa”, we shopped at interesting boutiques and gift shops, we ate lunch and dinners at sidewalk restaurants overlooking the bright blue ocean, the Vinoy boat harbor and the iconic St. Petersburg Pier … and we talked and laughed.  In our 60+ hours together from late Thursday afternoon to early Sunday morning, our only car trip was a window tour of the city and its surrounding neighborhoods.

st-pete-pier

We’ve gotten together annually for many years. It’s not easy. We don’t live close to one another, we both travel with our husbands, we both have two cities we call home, we both have step-kids and grand kids and we both still have business interests that consume some of our time. It would be easy to skip a spa trip once in awhile, but as “over 60’s”, we’ve realized how important it is to work hard to spend regular one-on-one friend time together. Even though we also try to see each other as couples once a year, that’s a different experience and doesn’t “count” in the same way.

On our last evening in St. Petersburg, we sat on the balcony with a glass of wine, looking out at the lights of the city, and discussed next year’s trip. We’re thinking about doing another city adventure. We would like to stay at a hotel that gives us a base but which also allows us the freedom to walk to unique places for meals, shopping and pampering ourselves. Ideas, anyone?

We know we’re lucky to be able to get together like this, and we acknowledged to each other on that last evening how grateful we are for our health and for our financial ability to plan these kinds of special trips.

As we hugged goodbye the next morning, we promised to write a few blogs about our time together – and to get ready for next year’s trip. (Love you, Patty!)

Cathy Green

April, 2013

Cathy Patty spa trip photo

Dinner Reservations

We made plans to meet friends at a new restaurant last Friday night. My husband and I arrived early, got a window table, and ordered our gin martinis.

As we watched the steady flow of downtown St. Petersburg sidewalk and street traffic, I had one of those “damn, I’m getting old” moments.

It dawned on me that in the early days, we made our Friday and Saturday dinner reservations at either 8 or 8:30pm.  When we were in New York or Atlanta or New Orleans or Las Vegas, 9:00 was even better.

We worked or played until late afternoon, had a couple of cocktails and watched the news. Then, it was time to get dressed to go out on the town. We knew that we wouldn’t get back until at least 11:30 – maybe even later if there was a jazz club or other music venue to check out.

Back to last Friday night. As we sipped our martinis, we watched downtown office workers heading to their cars and 20-something’s running and biking.

Why? Because our dinner reservations – made collaboratively with our over- 60 friends — were at 6:30pm!  We would be home by 9:30 and in bed by 10:00. To sleep.

I remember times- it doesn’t seem that long ago- when “older friends” would want to meet earlier than 8:00pm. We would roll our eyes and chuckle together: Why so early?

Well, now it’s us. It happened gradually, but it happened. We became the 6:30pm reservation crowd. Restaurants love us since they know we’ll be out of their way before the “real” crowds arrive.

As we waited for our friends, we talked about what we should do when planning dinner with younger people, including the kids (in their 40’s) and grand kids (in their teens). We decided that we should suggest 8:00pm. We would seem “cool”, wouldn’t we? Maybe we could nap instead of watching the news to gear up for such a late dinner?

Unfortunately, it might get even worse. Could this be the next step?

NsyOystr-EarlyBird-Shrimp-poster-72

4:30pm dinner reservations, anyone?

Cathy Green

Bookstores, Amazon.com and Me

I love to read. Fiction is my favorite, although the occasional biography or business book gets sandwiched in from time to time. I go through at least one and sometimes two books a week.

Last April, when we sold the home we had lived in for 25 years, I gave away over 200 books – some to my reader friend, Ella, and most to Goodwill. I kept about 100 books I couldn’t part with, shipping them to my new home in Asheville, NC.

I bought a Kindle several years ago when they were new and cool, learned how to purchase books and found that the small, light-weight reader was great to take on trips. Now, the Kindle lives in a drawer because I’m on my second iPad with about 15 current books in my library, purchased from the iTunes store.

Although I often enjoy the electronic reading experience, I still like “real” books best. Their colorful covers intrigue me, I always know how much more reading remains, it’s easy to go back to an earlier page or chapter, they are comfortable companions at bedtime, and I can keep the ones I fall in love with on a bookshelf.

So, buying real books is an experience I give myself at least a couple of times a month. Over the past year or so, I have found it quick and easy to order books through Amazon.com. The site is simple to navigate, most authors allow potential buyers to read the first couple of pages and to browse several other pages, reviews by readers and critics are enlightening, and ordering is a breeze… all of my information is in the Amazon system and all I have to do is confirm where the book should be mailed and click BUY. It arrives within a couple of days.

But, I recently read that Barnes and Noble will be closing 30% of its bookstores over the next several years. The competition from Amazon.com and electronic readers is fierce. And, remember Borders? They went out of business in 2011. Small, independent bookstores have been struggling for a long time and many predict that they are doomed.

I realized that I’m one of the people helping ensure the demise of bookstores. And, I’ve decided that I don’t want to be.

I walked into Malaprops in Asheville last week. Malaprops is a 30 year old, much-loved bookstore in the downtown area. It has great books, great food, great coffee and lots of author events throughout the year. I loved browsing through the store… I loved the feel of the small aisles and massive bookshelves… I loved the smell of coffee … and I loved the sound of an author reading from his book. I bought two books from the “staff recommendations” section.

I had forgotten how much enjoyment I’ve gotten over the years from the book shopping experience. I would miss that experience if bookstores were to go away completely. So, whether it’s Barnes & Noble or a small independent store, I’m going to make it a point to purchase at least half of my books each month in person … and have a cup of coffee too.

Although I don’t suppose my purchases are going to turn the tide, I hope there are enough readers like me who don’t want to see bookstores go away and will take time out of their busy lives to visit rather than click.

What do you think?

Cathy Green

If only I had these products when I was a teenager!

Remember the hair styles of the early 60’s?  To be “in”, you had to have thick hair that could be teased… especially at the crown… so that it looked even thicker and could be flipped.

Well, I didn’t have thick hair … in fact it was thin and (horror!) wavy.  The waves made me look like a young child, and the thinness didn’t lend itself to the “pouffed” look that was so popular when I was in my early and mid-teens.  So, what did I do?  Everything I could to get it to stand up taller and thicker, which meant a lot of teasing (we called it “ratting”, remember?) and a LOT of hair spray. It took forever to get ready for school, even longer if I was going out somewhere with a boyfriend. With one bathroom in the house, containing the only decent mirror and lights, and four other people who had to use it, I was not very popular at home. I can still hear my dad yelling “Cathy!  Enough already! When can I get in there?”

It was so difficult for me to get the crown of my head to stand up rather than lay flat that I remember buying a small hairpiece with a comb that I would wedge into my hair, cover with my own hair and spray like hell. Of course, the synthetic hair was a little different shade of brown than my natural hair, but I’m sure that no one noticed, right? I loved that little hairpiece, now that I think about it, but it was truly time-consuming and difficult to work with.

For a while during the 60’s, the style was to have absolutely straight hair (but still pouffed at the top, go figure), so I ironed it. Yes, don’t pretend you don’t remember ironing hair. It was quite a feat of athleticism to lay my head on an ironing board and try to iron hair that I couldn’t see very well while not burning my head or face. My father thought I was crazy and my brother laughed so hard one time he fell on the floor.  This picture isn’t me but it could have been!

Zironhair

Note: Products mentioned in our blogs are not ads; we receive no compensation of any kind.

Over the years, I’ve had a lot of different hair styles, but I’m still partial to having a little pouf at the crown of my head. Teasing (not as much as in the 60’s) and hair spray (less stiff these days than Aquanet ) have gotten me through many years.  But now, at 62, I have discovered a product that I would have killed for back then. Bumble and Bumble Hair Powder … a spray-in thickener that gives a little pouf where you want it!  I get it in the “blondish” color (yes, my hair “mysteriously” went from brown to blond over the years) and it is one of my best discoveries ever. I now know that there are many hair product companies with similar products … Haze is the name of another one I’ve seen….so I suppose that it isn’t really that new. But, it’s certainly new to me and I am enjoying it.

And, about that thickness I wanted so much as I seethed in jealousy of my friend Bonnie’s thick, straight, shiny hair…. There are now hair extensions! Real hair. Hair that matches your own hair color. Hair that gives you a thick and luxurious mane with only periodic refreshing, so the ads say. I would have given a LOT in my teens to afford hair extensions – I would even have done more babysitting, which was not one of my favorite money-earning activities.

Hair powder and hair extensions – poor dad – he could have had the bathroom more often if these products had been in my teenage beauty arsenal.

Encourage a man to get a facial? Beware!

I love facials. I find them relaxing, refreshing and, above all, moisturizing. I didn’t begin getting them on a regular basis until I was in my 50’s, but now I enjoy one every six to eight weeks, along with an eyebrow waxing. What luxury! The fact that a foot and hand massage usually accompanies them is a bonus.

I recently began going to a new day spa one block from my condo. Ashley did a great job and my total walking commute was 10 minutes. What could be better?

Over the years, I’ve occasionally mentioned to my husband how much I’ve enjoyed facials. His usual response has been a grunt. I’ve subtly suggested several times that his dry skin … tortured by daily shaving … could probably benefit from a “Men’s facial”. Louder grunt.

So, imagine my shock when I told him about Ashley … “right around the corner” … who does many, many, many men’s facials (well, she does some)… and his response was “I think I’ll try it out”.

I didn’t want to ask why he changed his mind. Instead, I made him an appointment early the next morning. I was happy. I knew he would love it. I envisioned his and her appointments in the future. I pictured his soon to be moisturized, glowing skin. I anticipated his smile as he returned from the experience.

“Walk over with me”, he said the next morning. That was fine since I could make sure he actually showed up for the appointment.

“How much is this going to cost?” he asked as we walked toward the spa.

“$79 for a men’s facial” I responded warily.

He was quiet for a minute.

“$79?…. How often do you get one of these?”

I said something like “not very often” and changed the subject. I didn’t tell him that a woman’s facial costs at least $90.

Until that time, he hadn’t been curious about the cost of my small luxuries. Now I figured that he was wondering about my acrylic nails, my pedicures, my hair color and my occasional massages. Ka-ching!

When he got back from his appointment, I complimented his glowing skin and asked what he thought about his first facial.

“It was OK”, he said.

“Will you go again?” I asked, already knowing his answer.

“I don’t know, maybe.” That means no, of course.

So much for my fantasy about his and her spa appointments.

The bottom line? I encouraged him to get a facial, he still doesn’t like them, and he now knows what they cost.

Beware, fellow fabulous women!

A different kind of spa adventure

Patty and I have gone on a number of spa trips over the years… very nice ones, but also very similar. Massages and facials in dimly-lit rooms smelling of eucalyptus and fragrance oils, listening to new age music with calming names like Ocean of Peace and Tranquility.

So, when I received an email about a new type of women’s adventure, an adventure that could be much different and potentially very exciting, I thought I’d share it with my ‘fabulous’ pal.  It’s called “Botox and Bullets” … a week-long retreat for women that involves skeet shooting and gun instruction during the day and getting Botox shot into your forehead at night.

Here is Patty’s emailed response:

Oh my God — really????  NO WAY am I in on this one!! Of course where is this craziness located?  Outside the USA — in Texas!!! 

I guess she doesn’t even want to talk about it.  

 

(By the way, sincere apologies to our Texas ladies from this half of the FabulousOver60.com team.)

Actually, if we DID talk about it, I think we would both agree that this is not the right adventure for the two of us, but probably for different reasons:

  • I would like the guns and skeet shooting … but wouldn’t be comfortable with a group of women sitting around the fireplace at night over glasses of wine and shooting Botox into our bodies.
  • She would no doubt hate the skeet shooting, but would enjoy the female camaraderie of the Botox party… even if she didn’t get shot up herself. (She doesn’t need it, of course!)

So, I’m back to searching for a relaxing, comforting spa trip for the two of us … outside of Texas.

Christmas Cards … Are They Optional?

Before the 2012 holiday season is too far behind us, I wanted to blog about sending holiday cards – addressed, stamped and mailed by the United States Post Office.

A few weeks before Christmas, Patty asked me if I planned to send cards this year. I was surprised by her question since I have never really considered NOT sending cards. Yes, I complain about it every year when the time comes to write notes, stick stamps and return address labels on envelopes, and haul them to a mailbox. But holiday greetings have always seemed like an important part of Christmas to me.

Patty said that over the past few years, she has been sending many more cards than she has been receiving and that younger people are ditching the tradition altogether.  So, I paid attention this year.

My husband and I sent about 200 cards. Fifty were sent to employees, the rest to friends and family.

MC910215612

We received about 100 cards, which means that a fairly large number of our greetings were not returned. Hmm…  There were a few “e-cards” … not many, but more than last year… and I did notice fewer cards from younger people (the ones who sent cards sent the family photo kind, primarily).

I went online to search for statistics and found a recent blog called Sending Christmas Cards: A Dying Tradition.

Here is an excerpt:

Research shows that the pre-baby boomer generations felt so strongly about sending Christmas cards during the holiday season that the average family sent around 300 cards ………..But in recent years, numbers for greeting cards have dwindled. Large companies like Hallmark Greeting Card Company report a 33.7% decrease since 2007 in the numbers of Christmas cards purchased each year. And in a recent survey at Parenting Magazine, only 22% of all households said that they would be sending out traditional Christmas cards………Last year, the American Greeting Card Association compiled numbers that show that Americans on average only sent 8 cards per household……………

I haven’t been able to verify these stats … but it does seem as if Christmas cards might be going the way of letter writing.  I find it sad …it was a tradition I grew up with and still enjoy.

How about you?

Am I really old enough for that?

Last night, my fabulous friend Patty and I shared our frustration with computers, restaurants, politics, men, doctors, people in general, life in general – in other words, everything. We weren’t proud of our shared stories of impatience and negativity, but it was what it was.

When I got off the phone, I remembered a word that I used when I was young to describe my grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother, Aunt Ethel and just about anyone who was old: “crotchety”.

I haven’t heard it used recently, so I looked it up. Here is the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition:

Crotchety: given to whims, crankiness or ill temper

And the synonyms for crotchety? Choleric, crabby, crank, cross, irritable, fiery, grouchy, grumpy, irascible, peevish, perverse, pettish, petulant, prickly, quick-tempered, raspy, ratty, short-tempered, snappish, snappy, snarky, snippety, snippy, stuffy, testy.

Well, if the shoe fits, wear it, right?

I have definitely become more crotchety lately. Why? I’m not sure. My life it good, I have a wonderful partner, I live in a great place, my company is doing well, I am relatively healthy… but I’m pissed off a lot. And I mean A LOT.

People in grocery stores, computers that aren’t fast enough, stuff I can’t find in the house, relatives who don’t do what I want, shoes that hurt, limp hair, waiters, waitresses, store clerks, phone operators in India, political ads, politicians, cars on the road, cars in parking lots, overcooked food, undercooked food, people who don’t talk to me, people who do talk to me, crying children, children in general…. OK, so you get the picture.

I never thought that I would become old enough to be considered crotchety, but based on my conversation with Patty last night, that time has come.

Damn, that really pisses me off!

Cathy

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