Friday, January 27, 2012

Growing Older Gracefully

My daughter's partner asked me last year why I didn't dye my hair..I told her once you start you have to keep it up. As I've given myself permission to go grey or white as nature intended I imagine if I started to color my hair at this stage of life, it sure would be obvious. And at times I'm tempted.

When I met my spouse of the last fourteen years, I noticed the word "blond" came into conversations quite a to surprise him one day I had blond streaks added to my hair..I rather liked it but my sister-in-law told me much later that she didn't like it at all..she has always been blond.

In the above picture, I'm third from the left. My girlfriend Carroll to the right of me is the same age and still working three days a week in an office. So I can well understand why she wants to keep the grey out. Her and I have been friends since we were three years old and she is one of the four High School friends that meet up once a year for a three day holiday together. Lois on the far left is also one of our group.  Anne the other lady who joins our group could not make the high school reunion at which this picture was taken.

As I weighed myself up against many old school mates at the reunion several years ago, I felt I had aged quite well actually. There are people who seem ageless and some who age rather quickly. I met one friend who I know must visit a gym, she was so well toned and slim, did I feel a bit of envy, you bet I did..but my skin doesn't look good "green" so I let it go..

I was born with the thickest head of hair, a shiny dark brown in color. As I worked in an office after first married, it was my hair that received the most compliments from office staff.."Your hair is so Thick and Shiny!". How little did they know that I used to struggle with such thick hair as a teenager, never knowing how to tame it, never loving and appreciating it as I should have.

Now that the years have greyed my hair and thinned it out, how I wish I had that unruly thick hair back again. And the shine and sparkle it used to have. It appears dull to me but my hairdresser thinks it's great and has a shine.  People still say: "how lucky you are to have such thick hair"..they should see how many hairs I sweep up every day..will I be bald someday?

It's not only the hair that grows thinner but so does the skin. My doctor warned me over ten years ago to wear long sleeves when outside gardening. Hardly seems fair after covering up in layers all winter, but I do try. I know when I cut myself it seems to take a lot longer to heal. And I've stopped counting old age spots, those brown spots that seem to grow overnight which one simply can't pretend are freckles. My one friend got a special cream to erase hers but I'd have to buy a vat full. I've heard lemon juice might bleach them a bit too but I just can't be bothered.

At five foot two I didn't think shrinking half an inch was bothersome as long as it ends there. Weight seems to go on by just looking at food, so I try and walk everyday and have lost three or four pounds but that's just the tip of the iceberg. I'd have to walk around the world to get back to the weight I'd like to be!

I just realized it doesn't sound like I'm growing old very sounds like I'm complaining a lot, hair and skin getting thin, waistline not! But to be honest I do have a lot to be grateful for, my energy level is still quite high, I can still see with glasses being very near-sighted, I can walk, run if necessary, have great hearing and right now I can hear the refrigerator calling me to come eat a piece of the left-over Christmas cake with a cup of tea!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Books versus Electronic Readers

I have two main loves, well besides my husband that is and one is gardening, the other reading. I can be found either in my front yard which is pictured above or in my back yard most of the spring, summer or fall. If  I'm not on my knees or bending over from the waist gardening you might find me in a comfortable lawn chair in my screened in gazebo reading.

During the winter months it's a surprise I don't wear out the left end of my couch, nearest the lamp sitting on a small maple table that used to be my mother's. The table has a drawer holding my diary and packed full of bookmarks. (and don't tell anyone but there are chocolate Turtles in there too)..On the bottom shelf of the table are piles of books..Under the table is a wicker guessed it...full of books.

I don't usually have two on the go at once but right now I do. Most of my books I buy cheaply either at our downtown library sales or at the Salvation Army. Scooping up treasures still thrills me! As soon as my husband comes home from work I just have to share how lucky I was to find for example: "The Good Wives" by Louisa M. Alcott who wrote "Little Women" and "Rose in Bloom" two of my favorite books. "Little Women" was also a wonderful movie.

Or I might be excited as I found another book by Luanne Rice or Bonnie Burnard who wrote "A Good House" another super read..One of the books I'm presently reading is actually a book for teenagers called "Alma" and the author lives in Orillia just a half hour away from me. Another book I'm enjoying is called "The Bridge Club" as the author mentions many places within Muskoka that I've either visited or know fun is that when an author mentions places I actually know.

As I was reading "Alma" the young girl in the book arrives at the library and opens the big heavy double doors. What a memory that evoked in me as I never, ever got over the thrill of opening the big, heavy wooden doors of the library back home in Norwich as a child or later as a teenager to peruse all the glories contained within those walls. It didn't hurt in later years that my mother worked there as a librarian as she gave me some of my most precious keepsakes, some old discarded books.

 My husband purchased for himself a Kobo E. Reader just before is a refurbished one he found online but he loves it. He has downloaded hundreds of books and signed up at the Orillia Library so he can download books from them. The only hindrance there, he must read them within a two week period or they disappear! No worries with my beloved paper books. I used to visit the library but it's a half hour walk downtown and some winter days are too cold and treacherous for walking..I ended up with so many late fees. I found purchasing books cheaply and stacking my book shelves with them, okay... they are stacked up almost everywhere, suits me very well..

Once I finish one I pass it on to family and friends.  I finally decided this winter at my husband's suggestion to start a diary of the books I've read to which I also note how much I enjoyed it...or not. My husband is trying to get me to swing over to the Electronic Age but I've dug in my feet so far. I need to hold a book, turn the pages and have them beside me, I just like paper! The feel of it, the look of the different styles of print, the beautiful covers.

I'm coming ever so slowly into the electronic age, more slowly than most.  Don't have a lot of expertise on the computer, don't own an I Pod, don't understand all the Cyber lingo, don't want to. Some of us have to remain old fashioned and behind the times so as our grandchildren come along they can have the excitement of showing granny what it's all about. I don't even know how all their new toys work! As long as my husband is in the know with all the new electronic gadgets, I'm content..

There are some "new" things I will try gladly like the new sturdy, weeding tool my British penpal airmailed me this week. Once all this snow is gone and spring is here, you'll find me out back figuring it out.