About Cathy Green

Posts by Cathy Green:

I Love Fall … Again!

Last year, I posted a blog (see below) about my favorite season… fall. Once again,  I’m taking photos of beautiful autumn scenes in and around Asheville, NC. This one is shot from my deck… with a Halloween theme.  

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My blog partner, Patty, tells me that she had one of the greatest fall foliage trips ever as she drove from New York to Chicago a couple of weeks ago. Here’s her shot of pumpkin season in Chicago.  

IMG_1383 Enjoy fall, everyone!

Via Cathy – November 5th, 2014:

Fall is my favorite season. I have loved it since I was a young Cincinnati girl growing up on Vittmer Avenue, a cul-de-sac lined with large oak trees that turned bright yellow, brown and orange in October.

When I moved to Florida in the late 80’s, I missed fall so much that I traveled with Ray to Maine trying to “time” the peak colors each year. When we finally bought a home there, we stayed until mid to late October when our “leaving” tree would tell us it was time to go. That’s what we called a beautiful birch tree in our yard that turned bright colors before shedding its leaves and ushering in the beginning of winter.fall-pic1-300x200

And now, living in one of the most desirable “leaf peeper” cities in the country – Asheville, NC – I get to see the spectacular changes in color at several different elevations over about six weeks. Traveling on the Blue Ridge Parkway almost every day – only 5 minutes from my home – is incredible.

Here are a few of the reasons that I love fall so much…

  • The changing colors of the leaves always amaze me. I take more pictures in the fall than in any other season and most of them are of yellow, red and orange trees glowing in the sunshine. My cell phone has at least 100 of those photos right now. Here’s one:

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  • The air is crisp and clean. I have good hair days, I can wear light jackets and there’s a spring in my step. Lexie, our Labradoodle, is thrilled because she gets to be outside with us – running around the yard, hiking or going to festivals called Pumpkinfest, Octoberfest or Pecan Harvest Fest in small cities all over Western North Carolina.
  • I enjoy a fall wardrobe. I look better in sweaters and scarves, and they feel “cozy”. Bathing suit and bare legs season is over (thank god!) And, fortunately, orange, yellow and black clothing looks good on me.
  • Halloween is a great holiday. I like the scary ads and ghost stories, the Halloween pop-up stores, corn stalks, pumpkins, candy corn and parties. I don’t go to the haunted houses, but I read about them and might just get courageous enough to walk through one someday.
  • A fire in the fireplace on those first cool evenings is a special treat. The hypnotic flames, combined with the smell and warmth of a fire, makes me want to bundle up on the couch with a blanket and listen to James Taylor and Bruce Hornsby.
  • It’s time for crockpots and chili – my kind of comfort food! And, I love the strange looking squash, the thousand varieties of apples and the weird-shaped pumpkins that are everywhere – in stores, restaurants and at roadside vegetable stands.
  • It’s great to decorate the house with fun things … witches, ghosts, black cats, pumpkins, candles, cinnamon brooms, door wreaths and mums. And, the color orange – a bold, optimistic and uplifting color – is everywhere you look!

Just one thing has been bugging me this fall. For the first time that I can recall, it dawned on me to question why this wonderful season – unlike the others – has two names: fall and autumn. If you don’t know the answer to this either, I found a blog that seems to provide an answer. It seems to be one of those British vs. American things!

Whether you call it fall or autumn – it’s a great time of year, so enjoy!

Cathy Green

A 19 Year Old Granddaughter Raids My Closet

This weekend, granddaughter Rainey drove more than an hour out of her way to visit us in Asheville. Ray and I were thrilled. She had been with friends in Johnson City, Tennessee, and was returning to Knoxville where she is a sophomore at UT.

She called us that morning – right after her decision to visit with us – and we invited her to stay overnight. We were even more thrilled when she said yes. Ray and I decided to take her out to dinner in downtown Asheville.

She arrived mid-afternoon, beautiful as always, dressed in short shorts and a tee shirt carrying a small bag. We hugged, we talked, we began catching up on her college stories and, bundled into one of our fleece jackets, she accompanied her grandfather as he took Lexie on her afternoon walk.

Rainey and Lexie

Rainey and Lexie

Around 5:00pm, Rainey casually mentioned that she didn’t have anything else to wear to dinner. She hadn’t anticipated needing anything when she headed out with her girlfriends.

Can I wear something of yours, Grandma Cathy?

I knew immediately that this would be a problem. Rainey is about 5’ 3”. I’m over 5’ 7”. She wears a size 0. I wear a size 12. She weighs about 100. I weigh…. never mind!

Maybe a sundress or something? she said innocently.

A sundress? When was the last time I wore a sundress? 1985? And, even if I had one, it would definitely be a Large and she would need a Small if not an Extra Small.

I’ll come with you to your closet and we can find something! She said brightly.

I knew immediately that this exploration of my closet would prove embarrassing. I was wracking my brain for anything I might have kept buried in a drawer somewhere that could work. An old pair of leggings? A blouse that didn’t fit anymore?

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I reluctantly accompanied her to the closet and watched as she began pushing hangars aside to check out the selections. Looking through her eyes, I saw how big the pants were, how drab the colors were (lots of black) and how big everything was – and I mean everything.

Things were looking bleak and I was feeling ill. Wasn’t there anything that could work? Was I going to have to admit that it would be better for her to wear short shorts and a tee shirt on a cool evening in Asheville than to put anything of mine on her tiny body? Would she remember forever that she couldn’t find anything to wear in her Grandma Cathy’s closet?

And then a miracle happened. I saw it: a dark blue silk pull-over blouse that I had worn earlier in my life over matching slacks. The slacks had gone to Goodwill many years ago, but I had saved the blouse – “just in case”. Well, it was just in case time.

The blouse was over 30 inches long, and Rainey was excited. Perfect length, I thought.

I could wear it with a belt to make it shorter! Do you have a belt I could use?

I opened my belt drawer, once again eyeing all of the Large size stretch belts. But Rainey saw the chain belt before I did and determined that she could wrap it around her body – probably more than once.

Perfect! She said.

And it was. She looked beautiful and elegant. She had a new silk “dress” that she would wear with her pretty sandals. Voila! She was ready to go to dinner.

It worked!

It worked!

Well, almost ready. The blouse/dress was silk and wouldn’t provide much insulation for the cool night, so we went on a mission to my coat closet. Fortunately, I had a beautiful new silky black jacket that fits me perfectly as a jacket. It became a big slouchy silk coat for Rainey. She was set!

So, my blouse became a dress and my jacket became a coat.

And, hopefully, that’s all Rainey will remember of Grandma Cathy’s closet until one of her own granddaughters puts her through the same embarrassing closet raid someday!

Cathy Green

Don’t Say It If You Aren’t Going To Do It

Today, I ran into a friend of a friend who has been at several of the same parties we’ve attended.

Ray and I have always enjoyed our conversations with her and her husband and on every occasion, including today, she has made a point of telling me that she will call so that the four of us can get together. So far, that hasn’t happened. It’s been at least a year since she first told me she would call.

Did she mean it at the time, but then forget or get too busy? Or, did she just consider it a friendly thing to say?

Whatever her reason, I now feel somewhat uncomfortable running into her since those unmade phone calls hang over us.

waiting-adoption-call

From time to time, we all get caught up in the moment and make a quick commitment to do something. Later, it’s not always easy, or comfortable, to follow through.

Case in point: Ray and I were at a party two years ago and were introduced to another couple who spend the winter in St. Petersburg, Florida. We sat with John and Sue over dinner and drinks, talking for more than an hour about mutual memories of Florida, shared acquaintances, reasons for moving to Asheville and more.

Several times, Sue mentioned how great it was that we would be in Florida at the same time and only a few miles apart. “I would really like to take you to our favorite restaurant”, she said more than once. I agreed it could be fun.

As I left the party, she handed me a slip of paper. “Here’s my number. Since you get to Florida a little later than we do, please call us and we’ll get together.”

Yes, I will, I assured her. Please don’t forget, she said.

About two months later, settled in Florida, I called her.

Cathy, who?

Somewhat uncomfortably, I explained where we had met, what we talked about and why I was calling.

She was distracted, apologized for not remembering me, and explained that she and John had guests in town, and then would be hosting family members, so this would probably not be a good year to get together.

Although a little embarrassing, that was fine with me. Ray and I were busy, too. I didn’t call her because I needed more things to do in Florida or because I wanted to go to a new restaurant. I called her because I said I would and I would not have felt right if I hadn’t.

I ran into Sue a couple of months after getting back to North Carolina. When she saw me, she realized who I was. She apologized again and said that she was going to take the initiative next time. She took my cell number and the dates we will be in Florida. We’ll definitely go to that restaurant, she said. This time, it’s her commitment to keep or break.

It isn’t always easy to say what you’ll do and do what you say, but I believe it’s one of those important rules to live by at any age and in any situation.

To live it, you first have to really mean what you say. Even with the best intentions, some of us fall into the trap of over-committing or of not being totally honest. It often seems easier, or more polite, to say yes when we’d really rather have said no (or nothing at all).

yes-no-maybe-pinboard

Once you’ve said it, however, it’s time to follow through. That means remembering what you promised (this one gets harder as we age!) and taking action even when it’s hard or inconvenient.

The bottom line, fabulous women, is that when you say what you’ll do and then do what you say, you are operating with integrity and demonstrating respect for yourself and others.

And, according to Gandhi, you’ll be happier.

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Cathy Green

Musings about Celebrating Birthdays….

A wonderful friend had a party for me on my birthday last week. She assembled other good friends who gave me fun cards and presents, she orchestrated a great meal and she served my favorite birthday cake… white cake with thick white icing. She even made sure that there was only one candle on the cake. So thoughtful!

And, of course, as the cake was presented, everyone sang the obligatory Happy Birthday to You. As always, faced with being the center of attention during that song, I just smiled, nodded and felt a little foolish.

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Let me digress about the birthday song for a minute.

Did you know that there is a lawsuit currently pending against Warner Music Group, which has had the rights to this song since 1988? The lawsuit is attempting to get the song declared in the “public domain” and not subject to licensing fees. Apparently, any use of the song in a for-profit venture is subject to a hefty fee. No wonder the chain restaurants have come up with their own versions of birthday songs to torment diners!

Here’s an article about the lawsuit … you can also watch the video to see how TV shows have been getting around the fee.

While my birthday was a great excuse to get friends together for dinner, drinks and laughter, I was torn about being the reason for the party.

Celebrating the day one comes into the world is supposed to be flattering. “We’re so glad you were born!”

But as the years go by … and especially as the decades go by … I worry that the celebration might have some overtones of “We’re glad you’re still with us!”

I have to admit that I used to enjoy birthdays and birthday parties a lot more. Even when I hit some “big” numbers (like 40 and 50) and protested getting “old”, I didn’t really feel that old. Now, I really feel old (and cranky).

I know that my parents had birthday celebrations for me when I was young because I have pictures to prove it. Here’s one of me when I obviously decided that receiving presents was fun.

It’s all about me!

And here’s a more thoughtful photo of a wiser, more mature me:

These are really for me?

These are really for me?

My celebrations were small ones, though. The next-door neighbors may have come over for some cake and ice cream, or occasionally one or the other set of grandparents would show up. Not like the parties that seem to be so popular today with tons of other kids and their parents.

During my busy career years, birthdays flew by without a lot of celebration. I received some cards in the mail (such a quaint idea these days!), got a few calls and was invited out to dinner once in a while. The only “big” celebration I can remember was when Ray had a 40th party for me. I was not yet that cranky about my age, so I remember enjoying it a lot.

Then, over the last decade or so, Ray and I have tended to use the week of my birthday for travel. It’s a good time since it tends to be less crowded in the islands, or in Maine, or in many of our other favorite vacation spots. Kids are back in school and the fall tourist crowds haven’t yet begun to hit the roads or airports. So, celebrating my birthday “on the road” — just the two of us — has become the norm.

These days, Facebook provides a way for a lot more people to say Happy Birthday. It’s easy. No one even has to keep track of your birthday. A notification shows up on their phone or tablet that morning. Since I’ve been on Facebook these past several years, I’ve kind of liked getting greetings from a larger group of people than in the old days.

So, now that I think about it, I like having my birthday acknowledged every year. I don’t always want to be the center of a celebration, but once in a while that’s pretty nice too.

So, friends and family, I’m going to keep celebrating my birthday every September 12 until I can’t. And, if there are any future birthday celebrations, I’ll just assume they are “glad you were born” parties … just don’t forget the white cake!

Cathy Green

I’m Not Sleeping Well And My Cat Knows Why!

I have always been a good sleeper. Eight hours easily. Not anymore.

My 16 year old Maine Coon cat has decided to meow in my face at least 3 times during the night. With my sleep interrupted so often, I find myself tired during the day. And, I’ve lost my husband. More about that later.

This is new behavior for my cat, so I did what any addicted internet surfer would do. I checked out websites, blogs and chat forums for hours.

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First, all of the sites agree that a physical exam is the first step. I took Ms. Blue (who was named for her grey color which for some reason is called blue by cat people) to the cat vet. $400 later I got the good news that everything checked out perfectly, except for her high blood pressure. Of course, the fact that she relentlessly hissed, lunged and clawed at the vet and her assistant probably accounted for that spike. The vet happily reported that Blue could live many more years.

So, she has no obvious physical ailments.

Ms. Blue in her younger days, eager to travel

Ms. Blue in her younger days, eager to travel

Next, the sites say that hearing problems could be causing her to vocalize more loudly than normal. There are apparently expensive tests for hearing loss, but cat hearing aids aren’t an option as far as I know. I can’t rule hearing loss out, but there’s no solution anyway.

What about senior dementia? Just like people, aging cats can get confused and might be signaling this confusion during the wee hours of the morning. Cats can’t be asked to name the month, day and year, or the current president’s name or to count backward from 10. So, I can’t rule dementia out either, although I haven’t noticed her wandering aimlessly or losing stuff.

And then there is the possibility that in her old age, she just wants more attention. This one is the most likely, in my opinion. She definitely hangs around me more. And she begs for her Temptations treats every night before I go to bed, a practice I started several years ago when I thought it was cute. Yes, it’s possible that her middle of the night meows are for treats (which I never give her), but I don’t think so.

I think she wants to be petted. If I touch her, she settles down.

But the websites agree … DON’T DO IT! You’re reinforcing the behavior by rewarding her, they say. Ignore her, they say. Only pet her when she is quiet during the day, they say. And, don’t scold her, knock her off the bed or swat her either. She could decide that any kind of attention is good attention and come back for more.

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So, what else is recommended?

  • Feed her a meal before bedtime since a full stomach might make her sleepy. (I’m trying that one, but so far it’s not working.)
  • Play with her during the day, and then again right before bedtime, to tire her out. Sounds promising, but at 16 years of age she has no interest whatsoever in cat toys. If I bounce a fake mouse on a string in front of her nose, she might deign to swat it twice. Then she puts her head back down and goes to sleep. It tires me out trying to tire her out. And yes, she sleeps all day so that she can be awake enough to keep me awake at night.
  • And, finally, add a second cat to the family so that they can play with each other and leave you alone. They’ve got to be kidding! If Ms. Blue didn’t immediately kill the other cat, the thought of them frolicking together in the house during the night is scary. Wouldn’t I be exchanging one problem for another?

So, what can I do? My husband – after threatening to move into the guest room several times because of his interrupted sleep – actually moved last night. “I have to get up early for a meeting and don’t want to be tired”, he said. He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed this morning, which I was not. I’m taking bets on whether he’ll move back into our room tonight.

What is his solution? Put her in a big cage with her litter box, food and treats and place it in the furthest reaches of the house, far away from our bedroom. Then let her meow all night if she wants.

Did I mention that he’s a dog person?

I told him that I hope I don’t start wandering aimlessly or losing things. Maybe I should be checking to see if he is doing any online shopping for extra large cages.

Cathy Green

P.S. Seriously, I’m open to all suggestions!

P.S.S. During my internet surfing, I spotted a YouTube video that I used to think was funny. Enjoy … or not.

An Open Letter To My Friend Patty: Get An iPad*!

I now own my second iPad. And you, my dear friend Patty, continue to tell me that you are thinking about buying one. If you make your purchase anytime soon, you will join the 250 million of us who have already purchased some version of the iPad since its introduction in April of 2010… a little over 5 years ago.

ipad

We are not affiliated with nor paid by Apple

Why spend money on an iPad, you tell me, when you have a laptop that is portable. Why learn another device, you say, when you are comfortable with your laptop. And, of course, you have an iPhone.

The truth is, I’ll admit that you don’t really need an iPad. It’s much more of a luxury than a necessity these days. It’s kind of “in-between” a laptop and a phone. But, there are still some reasons I think you should consider it.

I know you well enough to know that you travel a lot, and plan to travel more. You are a voracious reader – books, magazines, articles and newspapers. You work on your laptop computer for business purposes, but not as much as you used to. You keep up with the latest news and movie reviews. In short, you are a busy semi-retired vibrant intelligent up-to-date woman who is on the move a lot and deserves to have the best of all technologies. (Did that last sentence sway you?)

Here are some things that are nicer and easier for me with an iPad:

  • Traveling. It’s lighter than a laptop, has some really great cover options, and even has lightweight keyboards that can be attached to make email or blog writing easier in planes or hotel rooms. And I can watch videos or movies in those same planes and hotel rooms.
  • Reading books, emails and newspapers. I can access any reading material I want – anytime and anywhere. And the screen is large enough for my eyes. I can even adjust fonts and letter sizes. I prop it up next to me when I’m having breakfast and sometimes take it to bed with me. (Yes, I’ve seen the latest studies about electronic devices and their impact on sleep. Don’t judge me!!)

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  • Seeing the grandkids’ photos on Facebook. Yes, I can check my phone. But it’s just a lot clearer and more enjoyable to stalk the family on a larger screen while sitting out on my deck or at the dentist’s office.
  • Checking information when watching TV or movies at home. What is Pierce Brosnan’s net worth (I can dream, can’t I?) What is the name of that actress in that movie that was directed by that guy who was married to that woman? Critical things like that.
  • Watching videos that Ray doesn’t want to watch. Orange is the New Black, for example, isn’t anywhere on his radar. But I can stream it on my Netflix app, sitting or lounging anywhere around the house, while he listens to music streamed from his new Sonos app – conveniently located, of course, on his iPad.

So, what apps do I use most on my iPad? Facebook, certainly. But also Netflix, iBooks, Email, Google Earth, CNN Breaking News, The Weather Channel… and about 20 others from time to time. (The one I don’t use is FaceTime. It’s just too depressing to see my face that large on the screen!)

Yes, iPads aren’t cheap. Depending on the amount of memory you want and the Wi-Fi and phone data network options you choose, it will cost you between $500 and $1000. (You can get an iPad mini for around $400, but why would you?)

You’ll also need to spend a little money hiring a teenager to set it up for you**.

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Is an iPad a necessity? No. A luxury? Yes. But, as a fabulous woman, don’t you deserve luxury? Of course you do!

Think about it, girlfriend!

Cathy Green

* I think iPads are pretty cool, but there are other “tablets” to consider if you really want to complicate your purchase decision.

**As an alternative to the teenager, there is an iPad for Seniors Dummies book… which apparently is a more dumbed-down version of iPad for Dummies. Sad, huh?

*** We are not affiliated with nor paid by Apple

 

In The 50’s, Crackers Were Saltines

While shopping for crackers to accompany a cheese and charcuterie* platter for guests, I was reminded just how many choices we have these days – especially compared to the 1950’s.

Crackers back then were saltines. Remember?

saltines

Not anymore. Since I knew that there would be gluten-frees and wheat-frees at our party (and some lactose-frees, too, no doubt), I thought that shopping at the local gourmet market would be my best bet.

There were 10 shelves of crackers. The choices were overwhelming. Should I buy wheat or rice or sesame or organic or whole grain vegan crackers? Should some of them be gluten-free or wheat-free or grain-free? How about multi-grain, 8-grain, 5-grain, rye, flaxseed, pepper, sea salt, almond flour, asagio cheese, cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese crackers? And, would any non-dieters eat the jalapeno macaroni and cheese crackers?

This headache-inducing exercise in choice made me realize how much easier and faster it must have been for my parents to shop for food in the 50’s. My mother was a terrible cook (see my previous blog post about this subject). My dad would do the grocery shopping using her list. He would buy what she wanted, but would always return with other things, too. In retrospect, it was probably his way of making sure there was something edible in the house at all times.

Here are some of the things I remember about eating at home in the 50’s:

  • There was no such thing as pasta. We ate spaghetti. Covered with red sauce from a jar.
  • Meatloaf and pork chops were weekly staples. Served with mashed potatoes and gravy and succotash (corn and lima beans). Mom would throw in another “healthy” starch once in a while just to jazz up the meal.
  • Pizza was from a box. Pre-made dough, red sauce and parmesan cheese in little packets. (I looked it up. Pizza Hut wasn’t around until 1958 and even then, my parents seemed to have missed it).
  • My dad didn’t like salads. End of story.
  • Yogurt wasn’t invented yet. Or, at least, we didn’t know anything about it.
  • Chicken was always fried. Actually, deep fried. (Just writing this reminds me of that greasy oil smell in the kitchen that lingered for days).

fryer

  • Speaking of oil, there was no palm, sunflower, avocado, sesame, coconut or extra virgin olive oil in our house. Mom used Wesson.
  • Bread was white. Sliced and packaged in plastic. White bread went into everything (like turkey stuffing at Thanksgiving) and could be served with anything (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on two pieces of white bread served as my lunch in grade school and high school).
  • Breakfast was cereal and milk. Period. (Lactose intolerant? What was that?)
  • Fruit was either sliced pineapple or mixed fruit – both from cans in syrup.
  • “Pop” (sodas) all contained sugar. Coke was our favorite because it was so healthy according to the Coca-Cola Company’s ads.

coke a cola

Now that I think about it, I’m glad mom wasn’t a good cook. I would probably have weighed 400 pounds at my high school graduation.

Despite the occasional shopping frustrations, I like today’s choices – both the quantity and the quality of the food I can buy and the stores where I can buy them.

But I am trying to imagine what Dad would have done in one of today’s gourmet groceries with a list from my mom that included “crackers”.

Cathy Green

*Charcuterie … a fancy, French word for cold meats. I’m confident that this is a word no one in my family ever used in the 50’s.

 

Blogging For Fun or Blogging For Money?

Last week, my blogging partner Patty and I decided that we aren’t interested in making a million dollars from this blog site. In fact, we aren’t even going to shoot for a few thousand or a few hundred dollars. Why?

Well, to be perfectly honest, a million dollars would turn our heads. But when we checked into the “blogging for money” issue, we realized that making money is a lot of work! More importantly, it doesn’t match our reasons for having the site.

ways-to-make-money-blogging

If you’ve read “Creating Fabulous over 60” you know that the idea came from a discussion we had on an annual spa trip a few years ago about the good, bad and ugly of being over 60. We thought – and still do – that the 60’s are a very interesting time for women and that sharing some of our thoughts, stories, ideas and complaints would be fun for us and might be interesting and maybe even helpful to some other over-60’s.

We started Fabulous Over 60 as “…a place online to share and discuss being in our 60s and wanting to create and maintain terrific lives…. We welcome all women who see themselves as fabulous, or who just want to dish with other smart, strong women who have a sense of proportion and humor.”

Our first blog was in September of 2012. For a couple of years, we posted pieces whenever we felt like it and sent them out to relatives and friends, some of whom sent them to their friends. Some women even found us on their own as they searched for sites like ours. Then a year or so ago, we began posting them – and occasionally other information or links – on our own Facebook page. More people found us there and our number of readers every week has gone up. We now post something every week.

Do we have thousands of readers? No. But we do seem to have a growing number of “likes” on Facebook and more regular followers on our site.

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As we began to post on Facebook, however, we received a couple of inquiries about whether we would be willing to endorse products. Then, we started to get more.

Most recently, a body lotion company sent us samples of their product and suggested that we might want to mention it in a blog. They were also willing, they said, to provide giveaways to our readers.

Patty and I did some research. If we wanted to make money with our site, it would first require that we get many, many more followers. We’d have to work the site like a real business – investing lots of time in reading and commenting on other blogs/websites while also investing even more time in our own site’s content.

Then, we could pay Google to find advertisers, and pay Facebook to advertise our blogs more widely. And, when we built a huge follower base, we’d need to negotiate directly with advertisers or develop our own products –the two most lucrative options.

This is what we decided:

  • We don’t want to endorse things we don’t believe in, whether in exchange for samples, giveaways or money.
  • We are doing this for fun and enjoy having some “likes” every week and hearing from some of our friends.
  • We enjoy sharing our over-60 journey with others, both friends and strangers, and reading their interesting comments and personal stories
  • We like learning about each other. The site has brought us closer together.
  • We both like to write and the site provides us with the discipline to do it.
  • We don’t want the site to be a “job”, so when we don’t want to do it anymore, we won’t.
  • We will continue to mention products, places and services in our blogs when we really like them and want to share them with our readers. But, when we do, we won’t be taking any money for those mentions.

bffun

And, if we ever do decide we want to make money, we’ll come up with our own product(s). Fabulous Over 60 Age-Defying Body Lotion, anyone?

Cathy Green

 

A Perfectionist Tackles The “Game” of Golf

I never wanted to play golf.

No one in my immediate family played, or even mentioned golf when I was growing up. I didn’t have any friends in high school or college who played. I tried it once in my early 20’s and concluded that it took too long to play, I didn’t like men scowling at me on the course, and the clothes and shoes were not flattering.

And then one day a few years ago, as my husband and I were beginning to take more time off from the business and could envision the possibility of retirement at some point he said: Why don’t you take golf lessons so we can play together when we move to Asheville?

I told him I’d think about it and then promptly decided not to think about it. But a good friend, who is also a psychologist, told me that I might want to consider Ray’s suggestion in another way. How many men, he said, invite their spouses into their lives this way? I had to admit that I didn’t know many.

So, I decided to give it a try.

Did I mention that I’m a perfectionist?

prince-golf-course

My first lesson on the driving range didn’t go well. I kept missing the ball, no matter how big the golf club head was. I was sure the guys around me were laughing and hoping they never had to play behind me on a course.

Keep your head down, the golf pro said. Down where? Keep your body still but twist your hips, he said. Huh?

Somehow, because of or despite those directions, I finally managed to hit the ball – or more accurately, I hit the ground behind the ball which caused the ball to dribble a few feet. By the end of the hour, I was hitting the ball about half the time and knocking it erratically but at least a little further.

My second lesson was better. I seemed to be getting the “swing” of it and I actually hit the ball 50 yards or so a couple of times.

Ray thought I was ready to play. On a real course.

Will there be any players behind us, I asked. Yes, that’s the way it works, he said. Men? He gave me one of those “of course, darling” looks. But don’t worry, he continued encouragingly, we’ll just pick up your ball and move it along with us on the cart, OK?

Riding around in the cart with my ball – that sounded like something fun to do for 4 hours.

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Let me digress a little. Ray played on a college golf team, but only played occasionally throughout his business career. He once lived on a golf course, though, so I figured he knew everything there was to know about golf and that he had learned everything needed to pick up the game where he left off.

During our first game together, I moved my ball along many, many times in the cart, lost at least 5 balls in the woods or the water, scowled back at the guys behind us and kept tugging on my ridiculous golf “skort” – an item of clothing that should never be sold in any size over 4.

Ray seemed to be playing well, although I was a little surprised that some of his shots weren’t all that straight and some didn’t go very far. Was I interfering with his game, I wondered?

And then he hit an incredible drive. It sailed through the air, maybe 200 yards, perfectly straight – a thing of beauty! And, before I could censor myself, I said…

Why don’t you hit it like that every time?

I knew right away that this was not an appropriate response to his great shot. He scowled in silence. But then he seemed to realize that I had actually made this remark in total sincerity. I really thought that once you learned the game of golf, you would be able to hit the ball well – every time!

Cathy, he said, if I hit the ball like that consistently, our lives would be much different. I would be on the road with the Senior PGA Championship Tour and we would be friends with people like Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer! (I had actually heard of some of those guys).

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Point well taken.

I have now been “playing” this game of golf for a few years. Not often and not well. I threaten to quit every third time I play. I have learned not to make remarks about others’ shots. I occasionally still miss the ball, but if I can get away with it, I pretend it was a practice shot.

I’ve taken many more lessons from many more pros: Keep your head down; keep your head still; place the ball closer to your left foot; twist your body; make sure your belly-button ends up where you want the ball to go; use your shoulders when you putt; chip without bending your wrists; keep your arm straight on the backswing; follow-through; keep your weight on your left foot; don’t sway; lead with your left hand… and on and on and on. I write everything down and usually forget what it means.

But occasionally, just occasionally, I hit a shot that is incredible, if I have to say so myself. The club hits the ball with a solid “thwack”, it soars through the air and lands perfectly in the middle of the fairway and I am close enough to the green that I might actually feel good enough about this hole to put a score on the scorecard. I’ve even been known to pump my arm like Tiger Woods. And, when I make one of those shots, I’m hooked enough to schedule another round with Ray.

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I can’t say I’ve learned to love golf, but the perfectionist in me continues to think that it will “click” one of these days. Who knows? Maybe it will. Most likely, it won’t.

And the clothes? I still don’t like them.

Cathy

p.s. The other day, Ray and I attended a woman’s professional golf tour. As one of the golfers walked up to the tee, Ray whispered … you would look good in that skirt. I stared at him. Did he really mean the silky, form-fitting, short, pink polka-dot golf skirt that was being worn by a tall, thin and athletic 21-year old? He smiled at me and I realized he meant it! I decided to keep my mouth shut. It’s nice to know that he thinks it could be true.

Cathy - May 2015

Cathy – May 2015


A Mother’s Day Story About My Sister Christine

About eight years ago, I wrote a short essay about becoming a mother to my mentally disabled sister Christine when our own mother died. Later, It was published in the St. Petersburg Times in November of 2009 with the editor’s title: A New Parent; An Unlikely Child.

Since Mother’s Day is approaching, I re-read the story today.

Much has changed, including Christine’s engagement with people (very low), her mobility (not great), her financial situation (much better since I  found a Medicaid program that covers her assisted-living housing and care), her love of bingo (not so much these days) and her “mom” in the story (now deceased).

She still has the caregiver I found for her years ago (her current local “mom”), but the nurses give her insulin and take care of her pills.

She still likes candy, watches TV most of the day and doesn’t like to shower.

Since Christine and I are sisters in our 60’s, I thought I’d share our story on this site.  I hope you like it.

Here it is:

At 56 I became a first-time parent. Christine is about 10 years old, generally. She gives herself insulin injections, for example, but would have a hard time filling a syringe. She can bathe herself, but she doesn’t do well with time so she always thinks she took a shower yesterday. She can write a short note on a birthday card, but can’t remember how to address the envelope. She knows she has diabetes, but she doesn’t understand why she can’t have cookies and candy like everyone else.

I always knew that someday Christine, just a year older than me, would be more than my sister. Our father died more than 20 years ago, and my mother did the best she could as her own health deteriorated. Although it was more and more difficult for her to take care of my sister, she resolutely stayed in her own home until the last week of her life. I now realize how much of a gift that was to me and my brother. Instead of expensive care in a nursing facility, she held on to her money market account and her home for Christine.

I didn’t have kids of my own, but I knew that I would inherit a child someday and would need money to care for her. Now, more than two years later, Mom’s savings are gone.

Me and Christine at her apartment, 2010

Me and Christine at her apartment, 2010

Most of the time, that seems like the easy part. I’m also Christine’s health care advocate, her caregivers’ manager, her phone friend, her motivator and her disciplinarian. Yesterday, I made a deal with her about how many times a week she’ll wash her hair. Last week, I talked to her eye doctor about the pros and cons of a lab test. Two weeks ago, I worked with her caregiver to manage the amount of allowance money she spends on stuffed animals.

I sometimes feel angry about having to take on this responsibility. I remember my father telling me not to worry because he had taken care of Christine’s future. I’m sure he thought that her Social Security check, the money he left to my mother and the proceeds from the house would be enough. How could he have anticipated the cost of care 20 years later? Christine lives in an independent care facility in our hometown of Cincinnati and has a private caregiver 12 hours a week. The cost is high — more than $40,000 a year — and growing.

I’m glad that I’m in a position to help her live well. She loves the other residents, except the one who eats too loudly in the dining room and the one who smokes too much in the garden. Since she is by far the youngest, she is watched over by both residents and staff members. Every day, twice a day, she walks through the same hallways into the same dining room and is greeted warmly by her many friends. “Hello, Christine” and “How are you today, Christine?” She knows all of their names. She can tell you who lives in “independent” and who lives in “assisted.” She happily repeats all of the staff gossip. She loves bingo. She gets a big kick out of visits from Elvis. And, in her room, she watches Bewitched, Gilligan’s Island, black and white movies and Dancing With the Stars.

I’ll have many more decisions to make about her care and her health in the coming years. Will I move her closer to me when I retire? How will I continue to support her financially? What will happen as her health worsens? I don’t dwell on these things too much, though. They are just there, as they’ve always been.

For now, I talk to Christine every day. I ask her if she has taken her pills. I visit her as often as I can. I talk to her caregiver weekly. I send her cards and gifts every holiday. I mark her doctors’ appointments on my calendar. I tell her I love her.

The last time I was in Cincinnati, she introduced me to her table-mate Audrey. “I call her mom,” she told me later. “I’m going to get her a Mother’s Day card. I think she would really like it. Do you think that’s okay, Cathy?”

“Yes,” I told my sister, “I think that’s perfectly okay.”

 

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