About Cathy Green

Posts by Cathy Green:

I’m in a Bah-Humbug Kind of Mood and it’s Time to Change My Mind

It’s the second week of December and I’m not yet into the Christmas spirit.

Ray says that I go through this every year and that I just need a few more days. Hmmm.

When you’re a kid, Christmas can’t get here soon enough. The 365 days until it’s time to decorate the tree again, watch anxiously for snow, count the days until school is out, and hope you get the presents you want seems like an eternity.

At this age, it seems like Christmas was yesterday. Wasn’t I just recently sending cards to friends, trying to figure out what to get the five grand-kids and getting irritated by loud, inane TV commercials?

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I really don’t want to be a curmudgeon about Christmas. It has always been my favorite holiday. I love the smell of a Blue Spruce tree in the living room, the soft glow of lights around the house, poinsettias everywhere and the chill in the air.

So why am I not in the mood for Christmas?

Maybe it’s the news. It’s certainly not easy to be happy when so many bad, sad things are happening around the world and in our own country.

Maybe it’s politics. The “race” for the presidency this year is a slow, agonizing slog… no one on either side makes me want to ring bells of joy.

Maybe it’s buying presents for teenagers. The five grand-kids want gift cards. Period. How boring.

Maybe it’s because I couldn’t find a Christmas card I liked … even though there are thousands of them to choose from.

Maybe it’s the impersonal feeling of buying things online. It’s easy, sure. But there’s no touching and feeling the gifts (one of my favorite things), there’s no temptation to pick up impulse gifts, and there’s no satisfied feeling of carrying shopping bags to the car in the crisp late afternoon air.

Maybe it’s the busy about being busy syndrome, feeling inundated with a lot of “stuff to do”.

Or… maybe it’s just me being nostalgic for the good old days.

Whatever the case, I’ve still got a couple of weeks, so here’s what I’ve decided to do to get me out of my bah-humbug mood:

  • I’ve planned three outings to sites that are Christmas-y. I’m lucky to live in Asheville NC, so one of those outings will be to a Candlelight Christmas evening at the Biltmore House. The lighted trees, carolers and musicians throughout the house are magical. In addition, an evening walk through the NC Arboretum’s Winter Lights show is part of my plan, as well as driving through the holiday lights display at the NC Agricultural Center.
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Biltmore House on the Biltmore Estate, Asheville, North Carolina

  • I’m going to attend and enjoy several parties during the holidays, and I’m having one of my own with lots of sweets and some new holiday music.
  • I’m going to spend several hours shopping with Ray for a couple of gifts. We used to surprise each other with presents under the tree. These days, we’d rather have things we can actually use and enjoy the experience of shopping together.
  • I’m going to write holiday greetings on Christmas cards, stamp them and send them to people I like — old-fashioned as that is.
  • I’m going to buy the grand-kids’ gift cards … but I’m also going to send each of them a book chosen especially for them. I’ll feel better about sending something unique to each of them (while doing my part to keep real books in circulation.)

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  • I’m going to contribute more than I had planned to a favorite local charity before the end of the month, and I’ll put money into any Salvation Army bucket I see.
  • I’m going to reach out to family and close friends to let them know I love them.

And, most of all, I’m going to be consciously grateful for what I have – rather than what I don’t. A beautiful home, a wonderful partner, a fire in the fireplace, a Blue Ridge mountains “eye party” out my window, a healthy and happy family, great music and friends and fun times together …..

Bah-humbug? Me? Never mind!

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Cathy Green

Are You Confused About What To Eat, Too?

My husband returned from a doctor’s appointment with the ominous news that he has to go on a low-acid diet. His acidic body is apparently the culprit in recent arthritis attacks in his feet.

What’s a low-acid diet? I asked.

I don’t know. He responded. I guess I’d better look it up.

So began his 5 minute internet research project.

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He printed out an article containing a sample list of acid-forming foods which should make up a very, very, very small portion of his overall diet.

The list of no-no’s contained beef, chicken, seafood, lamb, pork and turkey. What else is there?

It also contained all fruits except avocado, grapefruit and rhubarb, all dairy products, most oils except hemp oil and primrose oil (whatever they are), all drinks including beer, liquor, fruit drinks and coffee, most nuts, all candy and sweet stuff, white anything (like bread and pasta), and condiments like tomato sauce, mayonnaise, eggs, honey and vinegar.

Well, what can you eat? I asked.

Vegetables, lentils, tea and water, he groaned.

We looked at each other.

A rigid low-acid diet, of course, isn’t going to happen in our house.

Ray is the cook. I have never liked to cook, which means that in the early days of our relationship he had to learn to cook or starve. These days, whatever he cooks I eat.

He loves steak, pasta Bolognese, hamburgers, bread, fruit for breakfast and a couple of drinks in the evening. He hates vegetables, lentils, tea and water.

We already attempt to watch how much “white” stuff we eat, we avoid desserts more often than we’d like to, and we don’t have steak or hamburgers all that often. We eat a lot of chicken and fish (OK, I eat fish), we have salads fairly often (OK, I have salads), we eat some veggies with every meal (OK, I eat veggies with every meal) and we drink non-sugary drinks or water (OK, I drink water).

So, now what?

He says that he is going to “cut down on some things and eat more vegetables.” I can’t wait to see how that goes for us.

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Since I hadn’t heard of an Alkaline Diet, I decided to Google diet plans to see how many others I hadn’t heard about. WebMD lists 107 of them.

The list is in alphabetical order, starting with the African Mango diet and ending with The Zone. I had heard of the Zone, but couldn’t resist looking into the African Mango diet. It’s actually a supplement made from the seeds of African Mango trees. The research is almost non-existent, but expensive pills are available everywhere.

Like the Zone, I’ve heard of the Dr. Oz Ultimate Diet, Jenny Craig, The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Grapefruit Diet, the Slim Fast Plan and Wheat Belly. (A friend recently gave me the Wheat Belly book and I’m now overly conscious of the puffiness of my belly, especially when I’m with her.)

Others on the list sound really weird, like the Baby Food Diet, the Cheater’s Diet, the Morning Banana Diet, The Raspberry Ketones Diet, the Skinny Vegan (is there such a thing?) Diet, the Fruit Flush Diet and the Hallelujah Diet.

The only ones I like the sound of are the Cookie Diet, the Fast Food Diet and The Lemonade Diet.

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I haven’t looked into all of these, but I know enough from my many years of investigating diets that if I want to stay healthy AND lose weight AND enjoy food, I probably won’t find one I’ll stick with very long.

I have actually given up the quest for major weight loss, even though a 15 pound drop would probably make my doctor happy. Instead, I stay within 5 pounds of my current weight and feel OK about myself except at swimsuit season. I have developed my own simple diet when my weight creeps up a couple of pounds. I call it the BBC diet. It has no relationship to the British Broadcasting Corporation but the acronym helps me remember what food to avoid.

Here it is: No Bread (or pasta, potatoes and other white stuff), no Booze (including wine) and no Candy (which includes cakes and cookies). When I don’t eat or drink these for a few days, my belly gets less puffy and a couple of pounds drop away.

Feel free to steal my diet if you’d like.

But if you want to check out the 107 A to Z diets on WebMD, here they are: 107 Diets.

Good luck.

Cathy Green

Halloween in the 50’s: Better or Worse than Today?

This past Saturday, I dressed in 1920’s cocktail attire for a “wake” at a local speakeasy. It was the first time in years that I had participated in a costumed Halloween celebration and I enjoyed playing the part of a grieving relative along with other women in their feathers, headbands, sequins and diamonds, and men in their black suits, shiny shoes, silk bow ties and fedoras.

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The next day, while looking at photos posted on Facebook by relatives, friends, friends of friends and total strangers*, I was reminded how much the celebration of Halloween has changed since the 1950’s when I was trick or treating around Vittmer Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio.

A lot of those Facebook images showed children in elaborate costumes enjoying a neighborhood party before sunset with their parents, many dressed in larger versions of those same costumes. Kids of all ages were also shown gathering candy from stores in the mall, or partying at large school or church events. And, of course, there were photos of ghoulish house decorations: witches with lighted eyes, ghosts flying through the air, creepy mechanical vampires and zombies and, as one friend reported, the sounds of chain saws and screams.

What I experienced in the 50’s was very different.

First, there weren’t any parties, except for some small celebrations at school as teachers tried to keep us calm as we waited for the big night.

And… yes, Halloween trick or treating was always at night. It had to be almost dark, no matter how much we were bouncing off the walls with anticipation. It just wouldn’t be spooky enough to go out earlier.

We stayed around our neighborhoods and our parents didn’t go with us once we were old enough – around six or so, I think – to carry our own pillowcases. They didn’t really want to go and we didn’t want them to either. And they never dressed up or went to their own parties.

Instead, they stayed at home to give out candy and sent us on our way with a few warnings. In my case, they went something like …. “Don’t cross the main street, stay in the general vicinity, don’t lose your younger brother, and be home in a couple of hours”.

I can’t remember any store-bought costumes. I think they became more available in the early 60’s. Although we could get some accessories like masks, face paint or costume jewelry at Woolworth’s Five and Dime, we’d have to shop at home to find things that, with a little imagination, would make us look like a pirate, a princess, a ghost, a witch, a cowboy, a rabbit or a clown. One year, I was a hobo (there’s a word you don’t hear anymore) and borrowed clothes from my dad’s closet that had to be safety-pinned everywhere so that I could walk. I remember my brother wanting to be a mummy and my mom cutting up strips of old sheets to wrap around him. It didn’t take long for those strips to begin coming apart and I had to keep re-wrapping him, which was annoying since it took up too much of my candy-gathering time.

Typical 50s costumes

Typical 50s costumes

Ah, candy! Getting chocolate bars was a big deal. Most of the treats were popcorn balls, candy apples (which we didn’t want because they would melt in our pillowcases), bubble gum, candy cigarettes (remember those?), candy corn and pennies. We had to go to a lot of houses to make sure to get enough of our favorite chocolates like Hershey bars, Milky Ways, Baby Ruths and Butterfingers. And, when we got them, they were full size chocolate bars … not like today’s little bitty versions.

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Jack-O-Lanterns, carved by our dads with kitchen knives, were everywhere. I can still remember the smell and feel of the slimy seeds and stringy pumpkin fibers and I can see the pumpkins melting toward the end of the evening after candles burned in them for hours. Almost every house had at least one Jack-O-Lantern to indicate that trick-or-treaters were welcome. And, there was an occasional ghost made from a sheet or a tombstone made out of cardboard.

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1950’s style Jack-O-Lantern

I tried to find even one photo of me in costume as a kid. I have many Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and birthday pictures, but apparently Halloween wasn’t a particularly important holiday to my parents. And, they didn’t have the pressure of social media requiring them to post pictures of their precious kids for friends and relatives.

Halloween was always a magical night, though. Keen anticipation, a little fear, a lot of greed, glowing pumpkins, and a dose of independence made it exciting. When I’d dump my candy on the floor that night and realize that I’d be able to have a sugar fix for days, it was a satisfying reward after an exhausting night.

I don’t think that Halloween in the 50’s was necessarily better than Halloween today. In fact, I wish I could have been a much more authentic mermaid, or rock star, or superhero. And, it’s no doubt a good thing that parents are more involved and cautious these days.

It might not have been better, but it sure was a lot simpler.

Cathy Green

*When I first “joined” Facebook to see photos of the grandkids and a few friends, those are the only photos I saw. Now, the ads and videos are overwhelming and the photos of strangers who are in some way connected to the people I’ve “friended” are getting really irritating. What happened to Facebook?

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.

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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).

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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!!)

i2

  • 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**.

i3

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.

 

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