Tag Archives: aging gracefully

Sadhvi Sez: Giving Thanks

Sakshi the Chestnut Roaster
Sakshi the Chestnut Roaster

Being married to a chestnut roaster who’s been making people happy for many years now means we don’t have a big get-together with friends and family on Thanksgiving Day (since he’s working!).  Not having children or family that live close by is the other reason why there is no big gathering.

With everyone else being occupied with Thanksgiving, I feel like I am playing hooky from life.  I secretly love that feeling, and am grateful that it’s possible.

It’s been a busy week, with just about every type of bad weather you can think of — constant heavy rain, extremely high winds, bone-chlling cold, and today, thankfully, weather that they have in heaven every single day — the bluest skies with lots of sun and no wind with mild temperatures.  We did wake up to snow, but having the sun shine made it all right with me!

While driving home everything felt so mellow.  The streets were almost empty, and there was a feeling of peace and calm.

When I got home I took our dog “Bello” for a long walk, and met an older couple who are familiar in the way people are when you say hello while passing them a dozen times or so in the last 10 years.  For some reason I laughed out loud when I saw them.  They stopped and asked me how I was, and I said, “Good”.  They told me it’s the first time there has ever been snow on Thanksgiving since they could remember.  I asked them how they were, and they said, “Good. I mean, we’re still walking!”.  Which made me smile, because it’s so true.

I got back home, fed the chickens and the rabbits, and then started cooking dinner for us.  When he got home, we sat down to eat and we both said we thought it was the best meal we ever had.

I don’t know what is happening, but I am feeling so grateful these days.  I think I even realize how special it is to be alive.  I must be getting older.  The next thing you know is that I will start to act wise.  I will let you know when that happens!

“Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.”
— Rumi



Facebook Fantasy Land


I have been thinking about Facebook a lot lately, thanks to two, separate incidents.

The first thing that got me thinking about it was hearing a friend of mine talk about how funny it was that there was sometimes very little connection between what was actually going on in a person’s life and what they put on their Facebook wall.  I started thinking about how I selectively choose stuff to go on Facebook–the pictures that make me look good, the good news–sort of like posting in the ultimate alumni magazine for your whole life!  And that got me thinking about how I love going to Facebook and seeing wonderful pictures, funny stories, which led me to think that Facebook might be the best kind of fantasy land for people, a place where they can not only spend time with friends and family they love, no matter how scattered they are, but also where they can highlight the things about their own lives that make them feel good and ignore the rest of the stuff–and nobody has to be the wiser!

But then, there was the second incident.  I attended a parents’ meeting at my daughter’s high school, where the principal talked about how much bullying has increased in schools since Facebook–and how it no longer is contained within the school day but continues, ad infinitum, over Facebook pages, 24 hours a day–and how Facebook has made it possible for bullying to reach and hurt an individual more effectively than ever before because it can be targeted toward one person but heard by hundreds of people instantly, unlike the good old days when nasty rumors at least took a while to spread–or could be stopped by teacher intervention.

Which got me to thinking that the fantasy land that Facebook provides might be like the world of fairy tales–full of both exaggerated good and overblown evil–except that the people living there are real people, not made-up goblins or witches or fairy princesses, real people who are telling stories about themselves or about other real people, without ever having to stand, face-to-face, and make a real, live, human connection.

All of which got me worried about how much time my children spend in Facebook-land.

So, I’ll just get my worries on the table:  1) Facebook supposedly keeps people in better touch with friends than they used to be in the old days of hours on the telephone, but is it really a good thing to be in constant touch, 24 hours a day, with people?  Don’t you need a little dead time in your life?  And doesn’t the whole posting deal make it somehow easier to cut people off in a way that you couldn’t when you had to politely hang up the phone? 2) The obvious one:  kids put pictures on Facebook in order to impress their friends, and then those pictures come back to haunt them when they apply for jobs–and more and more employers are using Facebook as a screen. 3) People don’t tend to carry on long conversations over Facebook–they write little snippets, little sound bites, so what happens to what used to be called “the art of conversation?” (This one is probably not a big worry for me, since I know that my kids are still having long conversations with friends, outside of Facebook, but the potential is there.)

4) Having a place like Facebook where you can record every little detail of your life, your status (the stuff people used to write about in diaries) and know that there is a captive audience out there, waiting to hear it, might make you feel like you are a celebrity yourself (something that Woody Allen pointed out in his latest movie, the one set in Rome–the movie was awful, but it did make this point–over and over again, ad nauseum); in other words, you might get a false view of yourself which could be hard to maintain if Facebook ever went away or was temporarily unavailable due to a power outage! I’m happy to say I haven’t witnessed this last one in my own children, since they take the whole Facebook thing with a grain of salt, but I have noticed it in some of their Facebook acquaintances–both kids and adults. I guess there is always room in the world for one more narcissistic person, but Facebook does seem to bring out a huge number of them.  And doesn’t this maybe tie in to the whole bullying part?  After all, if you can build up a self-image through endless postings about worthless details of your life, what happens when people are not really interested?  Is that when, if you are insecure teenager, you go after those people and make their lives miserable?

Enough ranting.  But I’d love to hear readers’ thoughts on all this, and please remember that I am a Facebook junkie–I spend time there almost every day, and I don’t want to give that up!



Oops50: Farmer Nancy Shares a Pet Peeve


I miss Andy Rooney, and, in tribute to him, I am going to air one of my pet peeves.  I’ve gotten so I read through the obituaries, partly for that feeling of having won a little lottery when I don’t see anyone’s name I know (so at this point, I still win a lot) and partly to read about strangers’ lives and marvel at the detail in some of them.  I have to admit that I also look to see mentions of a beloved pet left behind.  I do that with wedding announcements, too, and feel instantly connected when I see a pet in the picture with the happy couple.  I guess I should disclose that my dog “Pasha Bird” shared space with me in my college yearbook.

But, back to obituaries!  Often I see a picture of a young person staring out at me, and I gasp to myself, thinking, “how sad,” but then, when reading on, I discover the person is actually way past 60.  It happened just today in the Chapel Hill News.

Are we trying to say we are now forever young?  I don’t get it.  There was a flapper not long ago in the Raleigh paper, hair flattened down with tight curls, in a roaring twenties dress.  So, of course she was in her nineties.  Would any of our current acquaintances recognize us if we put our high school picture in our announcement?  Is it the families that do this?  Or do we, upon reaching a certain age, pick out our best shot from fifty years ago and designate it as our ‘parting’ shot?

I can see that some people may just not have a more current picture, but in this digital day and age, I would think they would be in the minority.

So, for heaven’s sake, anybody who doesn’t have a recent picture, please ask your grand kids to snap one of you, so we won’t have to move you through all three focal levels in our glasses to figure out even that we knew you!

Now I’m going to look up Andy’s obit to see what his picture was like.  Here it is:









I Did A Really Stupid Thing


Oops.  I did a really stupid thing.  I was driving around doing errands on Saturday when I looked into the rear view mirror and saw how ghastly my hair looked.  I was in the middle of a hair emergency without an appointment.  I haven’t been happy with my stylist lately, and in fact I’ve been shopping around.  I’m tired of paying a lot, and not being satisfied.  All that to say, I ended up driving to the nearest cheap hair salon I spotted on the highway, and walked in.

After all, aren’t all the stylists in those kind of places recent grads who know the latest techniques?  Aren’t they just working at these cheap places to get experience, build up a clientele, and move on?

I walked in.  “Hi, can someone cut my hair now?”

Behind the desk, the receptionist, sporting a great haircut, looked up.

“Sure.  Give me your coat and take a seat.  I’ll get Terry (not her real name).”


Sitting in Terry’s chair, I looked around.  The place was dumpy, looking like the low-end salon it was.

Out walks Terry smelling badly from cigarette smoke.  Her face was covered with deep wrinkles and when she smiled, she was missing a few teeth.  I won’t bother to detail the many different colors of her hair ranging from burnt orange to caramel.

OMG.  I had a sick feeling in my stomach as I sat in Terry’s chair, a prisoner, held hostage by my own stupidity.  It was too late to turn back.

I tried to imagine the best case scenario.  Maybe she was a recovering addict from NYC and came to the mountains to get her life back together.  She wouldn’t be the first.  Or maybe she was a super stylist from NYC.  Anything was possible.

“Is that a natural curl?” she asked.

“Yes, and I happen to have a photo of the cut I like in my wallet.”  I handed the photo to Terry.

She looked at it for a second.

“No problem.  I’m great with curly hair, been cutting hair in Asheville since 1994.  Raised four kids as a single mom cutting hair.”

“Ever been to New York?”  I could only hope.

“Never been out of Asheville.  Never had the desire.”

“Never.  Not even for a visit?”


“Nope.  I’m gonna  cut your hair dry.  It’s the best way to cut curly hair.”

I knew that was a fair statement and such technique existed, so I did not argue with Terry.

Chop, chop, chop.  Terry cut away until I was left with a short pixie.

“What do you think?  I think that looks about right.”  Terry picked up the photo and held it up to the mirror next to my image. “What about color?  We use a very good color here.”

I could not speak.

“Would you like to schedule your next appointment?”

“Next appointment?  Oh, well, I won’t be needing a next appointment until April – 2013.”

Aging & Gratitude

Dee Charlton

I’m grateful to be one of the lucky, reunion re-connections that formed over the past 18 months with Annice, one of the co-founders of this wonderful blog Oops50.com.  Our friendship goes back to 6th grade summer camp, and if my math is right, that’s 47 years ago.  The camp was devised by the school district to facilitate kids from several grade-schools to meet and spend time together prior to the major transition into the adult world of 7th grade!  We became fast friends.  We were 12 years old.

October 23, 2011 – I turned 59.  How strange it feels to be writing for this blog and and saying, I’m almost 60 !!   How did that happen? The Bonnie Raitt song; “Nick of Time” keeps playing over and over in my head, especially the lyric; “… no matter how I tell myself – it’s what we all go through,  those lines are pretty hard to take when they’re staring back at you..”   In the Nick of Time  You ain’t never lied sister Bonnie!

My husband, Scott and I have been traveling the country in our motor coach since April.  We just returned to beautiful Sarasota, Florida Nov. 1st, and I’m sitting in front of the computer looking at our wedding photo taken in Italy.

Dee's wedding in Italy

Next to that is the photo we had taken last month in Las Vegas, it was our 5th anniversary – wow.  What a life, what a journey this has been!  I can’t say I remember what I wanted my life to be when I was younger except that I wanted to be independent and travel, and now I can say yes to both of those goals.

I’m also feeling how fortunate I’ve been to experience the wonder of this country – the canyons, the mountains, the Bad Lands, Death Valley, White Sands, Alaska and hot air balloon festivals.  I’ve even jumped out of an airplane and para-glided off a mountain.  I’m grateful for it all, and for Scott.

Next - Pilot's license

Back to my birthday – it was harder than I expected it to be.  All day, I was fighting back tears.  I know I’m not afraid of death, I’ve been faced with it on more than one occasion.  So what was tearing me up?  Aging?  Vanity?  Am I that vain?  I guess I am, but is that worse than death??

I think it finally hit me when I texted Fran (my wonderful step-daughter) something my mother said to me on my birthday: “Welcome to the last year of your 50s!”  Thanks Mom.  Her stand-up routine could use a little refining, but I love her anyway.  And thank you Fran for letting me cry on your long distance shoulder.  For every year that passes me by, I come one more year closer to losing my Mom, and that hurts a lot.

Dee with Mom

Honestly, I’ve just gotten to know my mother well about seven years ago, and I cherish her as my real best friend.  I am a lucky 59 year old woman in so many ways!

Born in Collinwood (Cleveland) OH, Dee’s family followed what she likes to refer to as the Italian Migratory Route from Little Italy in Cleveland to the ‘burbs where her mother still resides. 

After graduating from high school, she struck out on her own in her first apartment, later to be hired by the same people who built, owned and managed the complex.  

Her career in Property Management took her to New York, New Hampshire, and finally Florida, a place she wanted to stay.  In the early 90’s, Dee was hired by a national company and traveled the country promoting motivational speakers to help people get rich quick – just like they did.  It wasn’t unusual for her to come home with half a million dollars in her briefcase.  Eventually, Dee settled down in Sarasota.where she met her husband, Scott, and married in Santa Maria di Castellabati, Italy, just south of the Amalfi coast.  Today, they live in Sarasota during the winter months and travel the rest of the year in their motor coach.