Day 243 – Last Commandment for Seniors (#12)


You sill haven’t learned to act your age – and hope you never will!

Hear-Hear! I never ever ever wanted to act my age. I never acted my age all my life, and now is most certainly not the time to rethink that strategy.

When I was in my early teens – and by this I’m referring to that torture chamber we call High School – I was way to studious and concerned with math and science in particular to take notice of the things ‘girls my age’ considered important – like clothes and boys. To be very honest – I’m still not overly concerned about clothes – See Commandment #2 for Senior – “In Style” are the clothes that still fit.

I did go thru a ‘boys are amazing’ period – but for my time – it was very late, and ended rather abruptly with me marrying my still to this day husband – Victor! I arrived at University as a ‘Southern Belle’ – complete with breathy accent – and was immediately considered a very desirable date. This was beyond amazing to me – no boy had ever considered me interesting outside of class before – and I would have 4 dates a weekend. One on Friday night, One on Saturday afternoon, One on Saturday night, and one on Sunday afternoon. With 4 different boys. And for the record – no kissing until the third date!

Sunday night thru Friday afternoon – I was the model student – taking high level math and science classes, and for the first time discovering that there was history after the end of the civil war (for the record – that ended in 1865). I was raised in Atlanta Georgia – and that’s when our history classes deemed that history stopped. Surprise Surprise – it didn’t stop!

So between fending off boys (I took to hiding in libraries to be sure to get my studing done) and then going to parties all weekend – I was very busy.

I suppose this period is the closest I came to acting my age.

After I met Victor – things got really interesting in the ‘boy’ department. Victor was in the habit of waiting until the last minute before making a date – and I would be ‘taken’ long before. After several ‘I’m sorry, I can’t go out with you, I’m busy” conversations, he learned to book me ahead – and eventually we agreed to go steady. I think the crisis was ‘Homecoming Weekend 1967’ when I was the Princess from one fraternity – not Victor’s – and thus too busy to be with him. I think he asked me to go steady so that he could stop having to ask me out so far in advance.

But I still had to keep up my studies – but now I had to hide out in new places – and just from one boy! Fortunately, Victor pretty much hated libraries – and there were lots of smaller ones on campus that I don’t think he ever found. I was able to keep up my work weeks, play weekends lifestyle.

Then I spent my Junior Year Abroad. I choose to go to London to study Drama – which for a Math/Physics Major was a bit of a stretch. But the folks in the Drama department were ok with it, and while the Math Department got their knickers in a knot (I had to drop my double major), the Physics Department agreed to it. So – London, without my boyfriend, for a full year abroad.

This was, I admit, one of my favourite years (Fall of 68 to the Fall of 69)… and again – I wasn’t acting my age. I was interested in studying, getting good grades, visiting Museums and Art Galleries – and my Drama Department co-students thought me dull, boring, and not really a decent drama student. Push came to shove when I won a lottery to go behind the scenes at the Royal Vic and meet Sir Lawrence Olivier – then starring in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters”. Despite pressure to give up that opportunity to a ‘real’ drama student – I persisted in taking advantage of that win, a meeting I remember to this day.

My year aboard ended the way a year aboard for a square peg in a round hole must always end. I drove with my friends to Istanbul – then waved goodbye as they crossed into Asia on their way to India. I traveled alone by train and hitchhiking (ok – I was 20 – it seemed acceptable) back into ‘Europe’ and met up with a friend who I didn’t really know – but who wanted to do a bicycle trip thru the German speaking section of Romania. We met up in her university town – took our bicycles by train into Romania and spent 2 weeks or so biking from village to village. In those days (Summer 1969) the way you showed off your wealth was by the height of the manure pile in front of your house. I grew to love Lard Sandwiches – and we feasted off the garden crops of peas and green beans. One of the villagers bought my bra for her daughter for the equivalent of a weeks living money – and in a Youth Hostel in Czechoslovakia we swapped a $1 American bill for a day’s worth of food and lodging. Interesting times to visit behind the Iron Curtain.

I eventually made my way back to Paris, met up with my sister who flew in from the US, and we continued to wander thru France and eventually to England. We flew home from London – and while she returned back home to Atlanta and University – I went back to Tufts for my final year. Victor had meanwhile changed schools and was now at Cornell. Our plan was to see if we were still ‘an item’, and if so – I’d graduate and continue my schooling at Cornell – provided I could get accepted of course.

We did, I was – and we got married Sept 11, 1970. It’s 50 years and counting today…

Enough of this – bottom line – I’ve always persisted in being a tad different. I had my kids a bit later than other folks, I got married a lot earlier (I was 21 – Victor was 20), I was studious to the point of embarrassment to most of my peers, and when I got close to retirement – my friend ‘The Intrepid Traveler’ and I started our yearly trips to far off places. Not to be left out Victor and I did a fair amount of traveling too!

I’ve been to China, Mongolia, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Japan, South Korea, Bali, France, Fez, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Scotland, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Malta, Liechtenstein, Vatican City, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, Turkey, Israel, Amsterdam, South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Rwanda, Zambia, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Czechoslovakia, Greenland, Northern Quebec, Most of the US, Eastern and Western Canada, Venezuela, US Virgin Islands, Mexico, British Virgin Islands, Grand Cayman, Belize, Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. I realize of course that traveling now is not the same – but I was young, I was keen – and I was willing to travel cheap. Mostly – I was lucky to have a friend willing to travel with me! And grateful to have a husband who also found travel interesting.

There are so many places that I loved at the time I was there that I couldn’t imagine going back to – my ‘roughing it’ ability is seriously suffering from concerns about where there’s going to be a clean toilet – but I would recommend doing it NOW – don’t wait till you are your age to travel. It’s never too late – and it’s always rewarding – Masks on for safety of course.

Enough of this trip down memory lane. It’s getting embarrassing. Bottom line – I’m not planning on acting my age any time soon… Get over it.

Signing off to think of something else crazy to do… Mask on of course – The Soup Lady

Day 240 – Commandment #11 for Seniors


“One for the Road” means peeing before you leave the house.

I looked it up – One for the Road – besides being a hit song for the Arctic Monkeys (ever heard of them? Song was published in 2013 – never made it to my hit list) – is actually a two part phrase.

The ‘for the road’ is the earlier portion – dating back to at least the 1700’s when finding food and drink during travel was problematic. The smart thing to do of course was to take something ‘for the road’ – generally considered to be provisions of a general nature.

However – by the 1930’s – the ‘One’ because associated with alcohol. With the generally understood idea that you were taking an extra drink (generally grog in those days) to carry you thru your journey home.

None of that has anything at all to do with the fact that today – when I say ‘One for the Road’ – it means that I’m visiting the toilet prior to leaving the house. And we all know why of course…

With COVID restrictions the way they are – finding a public toilet is not easy. I mean it was never ever simple – unless you were in Tokyo where public toilets are as common as fleas (which one doesn’t see in Tokyo), super clean, and absolutely wonderful. In Montreal the law was that you had to have a public toilet if you were a restaurant – so finding a place to ‘go’ when out wasn’t difficult when all the restaurants were open.

But now – with the COVID lock-down happening – all the Restaurants in Montreal are closed. So where does one go to ‘pee’? Problem. Big problem.

But I’m in London right now – so does that change anything? Quick answer – NO! Unfortunately – all the Restaurants here are open only for Take-out, and unless you have a really solid relationship with the owner/staff – going to the door and looking desperate won’t get you access to the toilet.

The good news – there is a place near where my daughter lives that both has a toilet – and friendly enough staff to let us take advantage of it. That’s a shout-out to #The Pear Tree – if ever I saw one.

But even knowing of one place to go doesn’t solve the basic problem – you just don’t want to be caught short….

Hence – ‘One for the Road’!

The Soup Lady

Day 239 – Commandment #10 for Seniors


Aging has slowed you down, but it hasn’t shut you up!

And nor should it. Just because I’ve gotten older certainly doesn’t mean that I’ve gotten smarter – or in more control of my emotions (ok – for sure I’m less in control of those) – or more able to keep things to my self!

In fact – if anything – I’ve gotten MORE and LESS – not necessarily more smarter, but maybe more experienced, definitely less in control of my emotions, and for sure less able to keep things to myself. I’ve also become more social. I find myself chatting with anyone who stands still long enough – and in fact, that’s a bit embarrassing. At least to my kids.

Ignoring how all this impacts my family (specifically my kids and grand kids who I’m sure often find me a bit of a show off), lets chat about how it impacts one of absolutely favorite activities – playing Bridge!

There is a function in the on-line bridge games called Chat. And for months now – that’s the only way one can play bridge. So while I should be concentrating on the game (I love bridge because it requires so much focus) – I find myself chatting.

And with bridge On-line – I’m playing games all over the world from the comfort of my easy chair. I’ve played all over the US – from Florida, to Arizona to SoCal (Southern California), to Saskatchewan and on to Australia, Israel, Turkey, France, and of course in Canada. It’s fun! And folks are often quite chatty! We’ve discussed the Forest Fires in California (they are out), we’ve touched on COVID (it’s bad everywhere), and we’ve discussed why I’m in England, not Canada as it says on my profile.

Ok – maybe I’m being way way too chatty – but it livens up the game, and if I win (and I love to win I admit), I don’t feel so bad about trashing folks – because I was nice about it!

Question – does being nice about trashing folks make it ok? Do I even want to ask that question?

Here’s the worst part of my being so chatty – I’ve apparently given the gift of gab to my daughter too! Yesterday we were taking a walk with my grand-daughter and passed some folks with plastic bin bags and those hook things you use to pick up garbage without touching it. They were clearly a family group – doing their bit to clean up the area around their home. So of course we start chatting. Turns out they are actually part of a ‘home-owners’ group for one of the condo associations – and it’s a project.

Wow – what a wonderful idea.

In Japan – every housewife is responsible for keeping her doorstep and the area of the public way in front of her doorstep clean. The result is amazingly clean streets. No one has to do a huge job – but everyone does a tiny bit and it adds up fast.

And here I am in England seeing folks taking that kind of community spirit seriously to heart. How cool is that.

And if we hadn’t stopped to chat – we’d never have known about it. Which brings me full circle – I don’t think chatting to folks – even folks you don’t know at all – is a bad idea. It’s the best way to broaden your outlook, to get at least a quick glimpse at how they feel/are doing. And it’s fun.

So hey – Age may be slowing me down (My daily bike ride here in London is not nearly as fast as it was even a year ago), but I hope it never shuts me up!

Signing off to go find someone else to chat up – The Soup Lady

Day 238 – Commandment #9 for Seniors


Growing old should have taken longer.

Question here – how ever did it go so fast. Where does the time leak away to anyway. How did the years go by so fast..

Particularly since 2020 has seemed endless.

The problem really is – how do you treasure the time when you are young? Answer – you don’t – and my telling you – as Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw said – slow down and smell the roses – won’t work. Never has worked actually.

Shakespeare knew that when he penned: Youth is hot and bold, age is weak and cold; Youth is wild, and age is tame. Age, I do abhor thee; youth, I do adore thee; O, my love, my love is young!

I don’t feel weak or cold – well actually – I do feel cold often – but I don’t think it’s just my age – I’ve been cold for YEARS! Which explains my heavy socks and warm fuzzy jackets. I didn’t just start making that collection 2 years ago you know! I will admit that I only bought my electric Ski gloves 2 years ago – but that’s because it took me that long to decide they were worth the money. (Side note here – They definitely are worth it!)

As for weak – that’s what weight training is all about – combating the effect of too much couch potato action these days. I work out at least twice a week – and I’m proud of my ability to use 5 lb dumbbells, not just the 3 lb ones. (Ok – I hear you laughing – but truly it was a huge step up!)

But this isn’t about how fast time goes by – and how after 72 years – I still don’t understand how so many of those years are a blur.

I think slowing time is about picking out highlights – and low lights. Any teacher in the world will tell you – the students we remember for years are at the top and the bottom. So it’s highs and lows you recall. And I think this year might actually end up being memorable – as a low of course!

But unlike other truly solid memories – where I was when Kennedy was shot, when Diana died, my wedding to my husband of 50 + years (and counting), the births of my three kids, key moments in the lives of my kids (which are often clearer to me that key moments in my own life) – there are years that frankly flew by almost un-noticed.

It’s too late to reclaim those years – but folks – think about it. Make memories, take pictures, start today!

Signing off to give my daughter a hug – The Soup Lady

Day 237 – Commandment #8 for Seniors


Lately, you’ve noticed people your age are so much older than you.

Oh boy – is this true! I can’t BELIEVE how old some people my age seem. Clearly I’m not that old. Can’t be. I was just 20 only a few years ago (Ok – 52 years ago – but it seems like yesterday). I remember better what I was doing than than I remember what I did yesterday.

Which is probably not a great thing. At least my kids love to remind me of the things I’ve forgotten – like reminding me will make me remember.

Hint to the younger folks out there – it doesn’t work! We might nod and go – oh right, sure I remember that – but we don’t. It’s gone. Might as well not have happened. No reason to stress over it.

But back on topic – when my Dad got too ill for my sister’s and I to deal with (along with our kids, my middle sister’s brain surgery, and jobs), we had to put him into a care facility. It was a really lovely place, with a garden, nice rooms, great staff – honestly – super nice. His comment – I’m too young to belong here!

I thought he was being silly – my Dad was always one for the wry dry jokes – but now I realize that he was being honest. I look around at folks ‘my age’ and I can’t believe how old they are.

There are of course exceptions – my friend Sonia is a tip older than me – and she’s hugely active – and so is my friend Jill. And Arlene is a marvel at exactly my age. My mother-in-law is 85 – but you’d have trouble believing it. So this isn’t true of all people – but it’s true of a lot more than you think.

As a corollary to this – Younger people tend to look a LOT younger. Doctors are the worst offenders at this. I hate going in and finding that the Doctor looks to be 20.. How can he have enough knowledge to treat me? Of course the Doctors are actually the age of my kids – which is an average of 40!

So the real question is – how did my kids get so old? I’m still young, except in the morning – or as my friend Jill discovered – when shovelling snow! (Yes I warned her not to do that.. Will she listen – take a guess…)

Anyway – the cure to folks your age looking old is to simply stop looking. What I can’t see – I won’t worry about.

Signing off to put her head back in the sand – The Soup Lady

Day 235 – Commandment #7 for Seniors


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes, then come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller?

That definitely sounds like a great idea – and with the toll that COVID lock-downs have been taking on folks waist lines – we could use that technology sooner rather than later!

I read somewhere that we have 3 choices during Lock-downs – to be come a drunk, a hunk, or a chunk. In my opinion, break maker should be on that list – but I guess it doesn’t have the same poetic resonance..

Re Drunk – One of my friends actually commented that she was taking out her recycling and was stunned to discover how many empty bottles of wine had gotten into it! Yikes.

Re Hunk – Yes my hubby and I are exercising more – a LOT more to be honest. Where a walk was a once a week treat, it’s now become a daily event. And we are also working out more often – thank you Zoom. So we have managed to keep the weight off – and my arms look awesome… But I’m not sure I can keep it up if I try to go back to working. Which hasn’t actually happened yet – but I have high hopes.

And of course – Re Chunk – The subject of this blog post. Weight loss is such a touchy subject – we don’t want to stress it, but we all (ok – maybe only women) would love to be a slimmer version of ourselves – even if our current version is just fine – Thank you very much!

And gaining weight when you are effectively confined indoors is way too easy to do. I have no solid advice on this topic of course – but I am hoping for that washing machine fix.

I do have one crazy suggestion to share – I never eat after I finish dinner. It takes hard work I have to say – but it’s been like that for years. At best I might treat myself to a few pieces of liquorice- but if I’m really having issues resisting the food – I brush my teeth. That tends to stop my food cravings completely.

In any case – I’m signing off now. But keep me in the loop if you ever find a machine that will create that magic fix… The Soup Lady

Day 234 – Commandment #6 for Seniors


“On Time” is when you get there.

Look – it’s not my fault I’m moving slower these days – it’s not for lack of trying or of organization – it’s often just a challenge to get my shoes on.

I lie – it’s not about getting the shoes on – it’s about finding all the things I’m supposed to be bringing with me.

Did we always travel with so much ‘junk’? Ok – having to have a Mask is rather new of course – but shoes, keys, phone, wrist watch (which fortunately helps me find my phone..), reading glasses, sun glasses, coat, scarf, hat, gloves, whatever I told whoever I’m going to see – if anyone. I mean the list is endless.

So of course I’m never on time – just gathering all the stuff I need is tough – really tough.

And then there’s the travel time. In Montreal they have torn up our roads so many times it’s virtually impossible to guess if, by some miracle, there’s no construction between me and where I want to go.

The cure – start a LOT earlier. Which given how little sleep I need – it’s not that hard to accomplish at least that part of the job. I can definitely get an early start to most jaunts.

Not that there are that many jaunts these days. And I’m so keen to get in an outing – I’m starting to count just talking a walk on my own as a jaunt. No destination, No path – but getting outside totally counts.

Ok – enough on this topic – Just get over my being late – and don’t fuss at me over it. And don’t worry about me showing up early. I always bring a book on my ipad… (Don’t you just love Libby – the free library lending book app?).

Signing off to set a timer for her next ‘jaunt’- which is going to pick up my adorable grand-daughter from Day Care. Now that’s a jaunt to look forward too. My plan is to pick her up, check out a playground – and then come home to make dinner. And I’m doing my darnedest to make it happen “On Time”.

The Soup Lady

Day 233 – Commandment #5 for Seniors


The biggest lie you tell yourself is, “I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.”

Isn’t that the truth. I don’t write it down there is NO CHANCE I’m remembering it – and there’s a good chance I’ll have forgotten it – what ever it is – by the time I put down my pen.

I was never great at remembering. I’ve been using lists of ‘To Do’s’ since I was a babe in arms… ok – maybe more since I was in high school. But we’re talking at least 60 years of list making. If I had a dollar for every list…

It’s not really about the lists to be clear. It’s about the writing down for me.

When I go to class – I spend most of the class taking copious notes. Not that I’m going to refer back to those notes in most cases – for me it’s the act of writing down that used to put things firmly into my memory bank.

And that’s what has really changed as I’ve aged. We don’t write things down as often as we did before. We take notes on the computer, we record important dates on our cell phone – and even our watches are in on this acts of keeping us away from good old fashioned pens and paper.

Speaking of pens… an aside here. I always took exams in pen – not in pencil. I know – absolutely cocky of me. But true. I didn’t like the ‘correctability’ of writing with a pencil – it implied that I wasn’t confident of my first answer. And generally – I was absolutely sure I was absolutely right the first time.

I might not have BEEN right you realize – I was just sure that I was.

The problem was, I was right often enough to encourage me to continue with that cocky behavior – often to my regret.

I think one that that playing bridge has taught me – in hard and no uncertain terms – that making snap judgements isn’t always the best way to go. It can be the right thing of course, but sometimes taking just a bit more time to consider other options pays better rewards.

And aren’t better rewards what we all want?

In any case – I’m sitting here with a note pad, a scrap pad, a note book, an ipad, a computer, a cell phone and an Apple Watch – all trying hard to make sure I don’t miss appointments, I don’t forget what day it is – I can recall the time – and at the end of the day – most of what I’ve promised to do has gotten done.

Yeah Me!

Signing off to jot down yet another note (or 2 or 3..) – The Soup Lady

Day 232 – Commandment #4 for Seniors


Your people skills are just fine. It’s your tolerance for idiots that needs work.

I think this is almost the same as Commandment #3. It’s not me that’s the issue here – it’s other folks that don’t listen, don’t appreciate my brilliance, don’t give me respect.

Moral here – don’t deal with idiots clearly. Pick and choose the roles you volunteer to fill to only fill the ones that will require you to work with folks as brilliant as you are. Got it!

I could do that… Of course it would mean cutting down seriously on some of the groups I belong to – but that would mean less time on ZOOM… not a big thing perhaps.

On the other hand – I love being part of lots of groups doing interesting things – particularly now during yet another enforced lock-down. (I’m in the UK – nothing is open except essential businesses – so Grocery stores and the like)

Being part of a group is essential for my sanity. So if I have to deal with idiots – that’s the choice I’m going to make. And Maybe – Just Maybe – they aren’t really idiots at all.

Ever think of it that way?

Signing off to do the only thing she can do during the UK lock-down – take a nice long walk… While it’s grey in London – at least it’s neither cold nor snowing!

The Soup Lady

Day 231 – Commandment #3 for Seniors


You don’t need anger management. You need people to stop pissing you off.

I must agree with this totally! It’s not ME that’s the problem here – it’s the world around me.

Ok – that’s pretty self-serving, particularly for me. I’m really not that sure I’m right all the time, in fact I’m often apologizing for myself. But I’ve been told that’s typical of Canadians. We apologize quickly, often, and with determination.

I once apologized to a chair – an empty chair – that I bumped into. The folks near by immediate asked – “Are you Canadian?”

So maybe this commandment isn’t as relevant to me as some of the others..

I’m stopping here. It’s not me that needs Anger Management. IF everyone just agreed with me more often, there wouldn’t be a problem at all.

Signing off to check out Anger Management sites… The Soup Lady