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 229 – Being a Senior – Commandment #1


It’s okay to talk to yourself. There are times you need expert advice.

If only my kids appreciated how expert my advice is.. I’ve had years and years and years (ok – only 72 years altogether, and some of them might have been repeats) to hone my advice.

Why won’t my kids listen?

I’ll take it one step deeper – why do they persist in thinking that ‘googling’ information is more reliable, more dependable, more correct, more appropriate, more ‘right’ – then my advice?

I have their absolute best interests at heart – and have for years. Why does that make my advice 2nd rate? And I’m not sure it counts as even 2nd rate sometimes.

There is no question – giving advice to my kids is like pouring water on a fake plant. There won’t be any growth – no matter how great the water, nor how plentiful.

But that’s not the only point of this commandment – there’s the talking to yourself issue.

Am I the only senior out there who starts every day with a cheery – good morning – get out of bed – get moving message (often aloud… if there’s no one else in the room)?

Come on – I’ll bet more of you do than don’t. And if you don’t – you should!

We all need to wake up these days to something cheery – the trust me the election news isn’t doing it for me – nor the endless videos from both camps – nor the repeated messages from government. I just wish everyone would grow up and move on!

Covid is real, it’s killing people – and while there’s news of a vaccine (yea!) – the math is pretty bad. There are 328 million Americans. At 20 million shots of vaccine a month – we’re talking 16 months to get everyone in the US vaccinated. Which end of that line do you think you and your family are going to be standing at?

Bet ya didn’t hear that number during Operation Warp Speed.

Now try to get everyone in the world a vaccine at 20 million a month (which is a challenging figure to believe to be honest) – and we’re talking 7,800 MILLION people in the word – that’s 390 months to get every one a vaccine – or 32 YEARS!

Ok – we don’t have to vaccinate everyone. But I’m not in a position to suggest who should and who shouldn’t get a vaccine.

Bottom line – I don’t think talking to myself is such a big problem.

Signing off – The Soup Lady

Day 219 – Traveling under COVID Restrictions


Getting stir crazy yet? How about a trip across the Ocean – does it sound a bit scary? Well – It seems really scary to me

But my daughter lives in London – and she needs me/wants me to come. And I need/want to come. And since saying no to my daughter just isn’t happening – I’m heading out, masks in hand.

All this explains why I am sitting in a deserted airport lounge waiting for my flight to London to depart.

Last time I flew was April 1 – on my escape from St. Croix (I’m still sorry I had to go – but that’s another story). The airports were deserted then – and trust me – that has not changed! If anything, more things are closed, there are more barriers up, and you can forget about eating anywhere that looks like an inside.. Closed, Closed, Closed!!!

And coming into the airport is now restricted – or at least there is only one working door (conveniently in the middle of the airport – so FAR from where I need to go). I snake around the barriers, spritz my hands, and walk into the empty main concourse. Air Canada is located to the far right – so I drag myself and my luggage basically 1/2 the length of the very long terminal building to the check-in desks.

The plan is for me to leave Montreal and fly to London. I first checked with American Airlines – who are holding my tickets to London on British Airways. BUT… they can only fly me to London via the US. And I’m not going into the US right now. I’m not easy about being in the airport in the US – I’m definitely not going to be in an airport on Election Eve in the US.. Nope. Not for me.

So I had to get a credit for that trip – and re-arrange my trip. I had a choice – X for a flight that changed in Toronto – and Y (X ++) to fly direct. I choose direct. I am not comfortable with going to any more airports than I need to.. No way.

Ok – so I choose Air Canada. My logic here was – it’s the national airline of Canada – no matter what they will get me home from London.. At least that’s the plan.

I had pre-checked in – which may or may not have helped because when I get to the check-in counter they ask for my COVID form for the UK.

Huh? What form?

Conveniently they have an OR code for me to scan that takes me right to the form – so I stand near the check-in desks to fill it in – Nope, I don’t know anyone with COVID. Nope, I don’t have a fever. Nope, I don’t have other symptoms, and Yes – I have a place to Quarantine when I get to London.

Form done – I go back to the counter – and the gal makes a scary statement – “Cutting it close aren’t you?” I immediately start to panic. I thought I’d have 2 hours to clear security and walk to the gate before it was time to board. Time to even include a bathroom stop. Now I’m upset and alarmed – I must have the time wrong – I’m going to be running.

I do the really old lady run (ok – don’t laugh – we can run, it’s just a very slow thing to watch) and get to the snaking line that goes to security. No surprise – it’s empty.

As will quickly become the norm here in the airport – there is more staff than customers in the security area. I breeze thru – well, except I forget that my watch is made of metal – which causes the bells on the metal scanner to go off. Take off watch, leave on counter, go back out, come back in – all clear. Sigh.

Now I need to get to my gate. For those unfamiliar with the Montreal Airport – there are 3 distinct sections. There’s the part that goes to the US (I’m not there), then there are the co-joined parts that go either to other parts of Canada or to other parts of the world. The issue here is that there’s US immigration here in Montreal – you effectively enter the US on Canadian soil – so that part is isolated.

I’m in the Canada and the rest of the World section – with the Canadian gates to my right – and far far far on the left – the World gates. Naturally – my gate is almost at the end of the far left section. Another long long ‘run’ dragging only my carry-on this time – but still – down an effectively empty concourse.

I reach my gate – and discover that the friendly check-in gal was thinking I was going to Paris – not the UK. Her time is short alarm was based on when the flight to Paris left – not when my flight departed. I do have the hour and more to wait that I’d figured on. But now I’m sweaty, I’m panicked, my stomach hurts – and there’s nothing open. I’m not walking back – so it’s find a seat far away from everyone else, recharge my phone and ipad – and wait….

Eventually – and on time I will admit – they load our flight. I’m counting passengers – and it looks like about 40-50. Given that this is one of those massive trans-ocean flights – seating upwards of 400 passengers- the flight will be empty. In fact – there are more staff than passengers. Not only is my entire row empty – so is the one in front and in back of me.

I’m very happy about that. Fewer people, less exposure.

The food is predictably lousy – a cold Eggplant Parmesan which would have been lovely heated, some kind of strange salad I couldn’t eat, and a too too rich piece of chocolate cake. No dinner for you dear!

Well – my husband kindly packed my grand-daughter’s Halloween treat bag gift – so I ate that, watched a movie, slept in a contoured position, and woke to the flight crew announcing that we were landing in London.

Cool – that was painless.

I’m all the way in the back of the plane – so to get off – it’s yet again with the drag the bag. And then there’s the forever long walk thru the empty terminal towards British Immigration.

Huge lines (where did all these people come from?) snake from the immigration booths towards me – and again I panic needlessly. I’m carrying a Canadian Passport with the seal that lets me use the electronic booths – and I’ve pre-filled in that form. I literally breeze past everyone else – walk up to an empty electronic booth – present my passport – and I’m in! Well – that was easy.

I find my suitcase, exit the secure part of the airport and drag myself, my suitcase, my carry-on, and my Montreal weight Winter Coat to my favourite first stop in London. Cafe Nero at the airport for a Late and a scone with Clotted Cream and Jam. Heaven on a plate! And they are open – and they have seating… And the seating is well spaced.

I’m a very happy camper.

Now I must wait for my daughter to arrive. My plane arrived at around 7:00 AM, I was out of the secure portion of the airport by 8:00 AM – and my daughter can only pick me up at 1:00 PM. I’m going to be hanging at Cafe Nero for a while.

But except for a group of airport employees on break that weren’t wearing masks and decided to cluster at a table near me (I picked up and left that seat) – I was fine. I found a comfy chair, put the cart with my luggage in front of me blocking anyone from coming to close – and I played bridge!

Eventually my daughter arrived – wearing a mask of course. As were most of the folks I saw. We exited the airport, loaded my suitcases into her car – and started the long (over 1.5 hour) drive back to her place. London traffic on the eve of a Lock-down is insane. But the rules are that I must go directly from the airport into lock-down, and we’re following the rules.

Our plan now – my daughter and her husband are joining me for the required 14 days of Quarantine. They have been shopping madly, and stocked up. Plus we can get delivery – no worries. So we’re going to hang out here in her tiny condo and try not to get on each other’s nerves or in each other’s way.

Signing off to finally sleep…. The Soup Lady

Day 170B – Happy New Year to All


How is this New Year different from all other New Years…

The Montreal Gazette just published a wonderful story talking about how the different Jewish Synagogues in the Montreal area are dealing with the challenges of the High Holy Days – when traditionally all Jews go to Synagogue – and the restrictions enforced here in Canada and Quebec by Covid-19

It’s a challenge. Synagogues that normally seat 2000 at this time of year are restricted to 25% or less – and given that we’ve actually had a lot of warning that this year wasn’t going to be like any other year – have gone to zoom and outdoor options.. Making the best of a bad deal.

So I thought I would share a link with you.

Click here

https://youtu.be/KijnnlVzREw

The song was written by Leonard Cohen – who was unabashedly Jewish, and the Synagogue featured is one of the most beautiful in Montreal – the Spanish and Portuguese.

It’s a beautiful and quite emotional appeal for all of us to search our lives and our souls asking if we’ve lived up to our potential as human beings – and asking us to make decisions on how to improve in the next year.

And for many – this is the raisin d’être of the High Holy Days… to force us to re-evaluate our lives.. to consider how we can be better family, better friends, better neighbors, better citizens..

Happy New Year

The Soup Lady

Day 166 – How do you celebrate 50 years of marriage?


Just to set matters straight.. We were married on Friday, September 11th, 1970.

Yes – I know – September 11. Not our fault. That date became infamous way after we were married – not fair really – a group of terrorists stole my anniversary date and made people think of something other than us..

For many years – because we were married on a Friday – Victor thought our anniversary was on September 13 (Friday the 13th) – but no… it’s Friday September 11, 1970. For sure.

6 months later, we went back to Atlanta to visit my parents – and Victor tried to return me. My dad told him – nope – warranty is up.

And on Friday, September 11, 2020 – it was 50 years…

Which is almost impossible for me to truly believe.

I was 21 when we got married. Hopelessly young and innocent and foolish and so much in love. I’m still in love you know – I adore my husband – ponytail and all.

I’m kinda hoping I’m no longer foolish and innocent – but I keep thinking that I’m still young..

Doomed to disappointment I’m afraid to say.

So just how does one celebrate 50 years of doing anything.. It’s a really long time. Way more than 1/2 my life. And here’s what really scary – longer than 80% (according to the US Census) of folks alive today have been alive!

Martin, the charming manager of Boneparte’s here in Montreal – where we celebrated our anniversary with an absolutely lovely dinner party for just 6 – annouced that he was born – BORN – the year we were married.

Our celebration – as most of our celebrations these days – was broken down into parts.. We celebrated in March in St. Croix – right as the COVID lock-down was happening with just our kids.. First time in over 20 years that it’s been just the 5 of us. It was really great – but the conversation centered around the COVID cases and how the world was going to react. We now know the answer – not great. But at the time.. we were a bit optimistic. Wrong – but positive.

Then we celebrated by traveling to send a lovely long Labor Day weekend in Barrie with our friends and Lucy and Lacy – the horses. It was a blast… a long drive each way – but worth it.

Then we had a wonderful dinner party at Boneparte’s – filled with laughter and gift giving and my kids and their kids.. Only Grover didn’t come, but the feeling was that perhaps the party would go on past his bed time. So we shared videos of him. He stayed home and went to bed on time. Probably better all around.

We got caught up on the lives of our two charming grand-daughters – who look more and more beautiful every time I see them. Their lives – like the lives of all kids from 13 to 21 these days are complicated by the truth of COVID. The youngest one is caught in a ‘bubble’ at school that doesn’t include her closest friends, and the older one is trying to have a relationship with a guy, be a young adult, start her working career – and dealing with idiots who refuse to wear masks, to social distance, to admit they are COVID positive, and thus put her life in danger.

I just don’t understand why people are so sure that their right to do what they want trumps the right of other people to feel safe. Why would any one who knows they are COVID positive not alert their friends. What is there to gain by not saying something. It confuses me.

As usual – I have digressed…

Back on track – Saturday afternoon we had a Zoom conversation with all the family – my daughter and grand-daughter in London (hubby was sick with a cold in bed – not Covid), my son and daughter-in-law in California, and my kids here in Montreal.

The we finished off with an equally splendid dinner party – period correct this time – which means we were dressed in our 1812 finest… Silver service, candles lit, music softly playing, amusing conversation, and No IT! Unfortunately for our hosts – their maid and butler had taken the day off (they always do when we come over… ) so while the service was excellent – it was our friends doing the service!

The meal celebrated our trips together. First course was a salmon tartar (yummy) with ground cherries. They are one of my favorite ‘fruits’ – which my friends only discovered when we were together in Quebec City. The 2nd course was a lobster Bisque with shrimp – we’d gone out to Boneparte’s – in period clothing – and three of the four of us ordered the Lobster Bisque… The 3rd course was Rabbit with Olives – in honor of our time together in Malta. The cheese course was again in memory of the Quebec City trip – we had cheese every evening before dinner in the ‘lounge’ area of our room in the BnB in Quebec City. And the desert course was a magnificent Charlotte Russe with a fruit topping. This was in honor of our times together at the Regimental Dinner parties in Vaudreuil.

The dessert was amazing. The dinner outstanding. The wines were well chosen to compliment the different dishes, and the conversation was delightful. We dragged ourselves out close to midnight – feeling very well feted indeed.

So this is how we have celebrated 50 years of being together.. And today is just another day – we’re headed off to buy fruit at Costco and the Marche near by – and having dinner together…

Life marches on… It’s 50 years and 2 days – if it lasts…

The Soup Lady