By Leslie Noyes (with Studly’s assistance)
It was a riotous Friday night here at Doright Manor. I was sitting in my chair trying to come up with ideas for this blog, and Studly Doright was sitting next to me in his chair watching Storage Wars on the telly and occasionally reaching over to fondle my, um, upper arm.
No decent writing ideas were coming to me, so in desperation I turned to Studly and said, “Give me a word.”
Now, I cannot type what he said because sometimes his mother reads this blog.
“I can’t use that word,” I said. “It’s not that kind of blog.”
“Oh, I didn’t realize you needed the word for your blog. That changes everything.”
So he gave me another, equally vulgar word.
“Last chance, smarty pants,” I said. “Just give me a decent word.”
See the title of this post? Yep, that was half of what he said. I don’t know why I bother.
Aging sucks, but as I’m frequently reminded it beats the hell out of the alternative. This past October I celebrated my 60th birthday. Six decades on this earth have taken a toll on my body. I’m no longer the svelte, lithesome broad I once was. And everything hurts.
My ankles hurt, my thighs hurt, and my hips seem to be stuck in neutral. I’m okay as long as I move forward, just don’t ask me to pivot or cha cha. Damn, I miss cha cha-ing.
A Facebook pop up advertisement (amazing how they pick up on my personal needs) prompted me to check on exercises designed to ease those frozen hips. Apparently, if I could stretch my hip flexors, I might achieve full range of motion. I could once again cha cha.
I turned to Google, and this stretch was the first thing to appear under “hip flexor stretches.”
Honestly. I can’t cha cha and they expect me to do this? I tried. Lord knows I tried. Studly Doright walked in during my attempt and laughed so hard I would have slapped him if I could’ve gotten up off the floor.
I’ll be in the whirlpool tub if anyone needs me.
My hands are sixty years old, and not the least bit shy about letting everyone know. Several years ago, back when they were only fifty, my hands and I had lunch with two of my oldest and dearest friends. I hadn’t seen these ladies in quite some time, so we had much catching up to do.
We chatted with each other over plates of delicious Tex Mex cuisine at a restaurant in Dallas, alternately reminiscing about our shared histories and filling in the blanks where our paths had diverged.
They’d both gotten their degrees four years after graduating from high school, marrying and having children only after they’d accomplished that educational milestone. My route was different. I’d married Studly, had two children, and then worked on earning my college diploma. By the time this luncheon took place I was already a grandmother, while they still had children at home. Different paths, many joys.
After the plates were cleared I noticed our three sets of hands on the table. Mine were clearly older than theirs. Where my friends’ hands were soft, smooth, and unmarred by age spots, mine were like a satellite image of a desert land, mottled and wrinkled, freckled and uneven.
I brought my friends’ attention to our hands.
“Look at how much older my hands look than yours do!”
They looked at me like I was slightly nuts. Why would I call attention to such a thing? I even wondered that as I left the luncheon.
Maybe I like my old hands. They’re certainly the oldest looking part of me. Good genetics, for the most part, have kept the rest of my body and even my face, from reflecting my true age. I’m not terribly wrinkled yet, except for a few crinkles around my eyes and several decent laugh lines around my mouth. (I’m probably pissing off the gods of aging right now and will soon be inundated with wrinkles.)
But my hands show everything: Years of helping Studly Doright mow lawns in the summer Texas sun to help ends meet during some very lean years, years of being an assistant Little League softball and soccer coach, years of piloting a motorcycle without wearing gloves (stupid!).
Nowadays they’re more pampered. They receive occasional manicures and are treated nightly to a fairly expensive cream to keep them from further deterioration. But they still look old.
On the other hand, they might look sixty, but they are still nimble. They can tie shoelaces and dry tears, pat people on the back, and occasionally shoot someone the finger. My hands are terrific at picking pennies up and at wielding an ink pen. They text pretty well and can scroll through pages on the internet like hands half their age.
I think I’ll take them shopping today. “C’mon, hands, we’ve got stuff to do. You, middle finger, show some restraint. That’s a good girl.”
A friend on Facebook posted a fun activity a few days ago as a way to break from politics. I earnestly searched for her post, but couldn’t find it, so I’ll have to wing the content.
Basically she asked everyone to post something that would be considered unthinkable to most folks, and it could have nothing to do with politics.
Her example was that she hated The Walking Dead. I was aghast! Who hates The Walking Dead? I mean, it’s the only thing that keeps me sane between Star Wars films. Of course someone then posted they’d never seen a Star Wars film. I almost had an apoplexy.
Why is it that when I try to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw…
…my outer Phyllis Diller shows up?
Yesterday morning I posted a piece about a recipe for a candy my mom used to make. I couldn’t find her recipe for Date Nut Loaf and had to turn to Google for one.
My youngest brother, “JB,” read my post on Facebook and subsequently found his copy of the recipe. I give you the famous Date Roll: The recipe that only turned out perfectly about 10% of the time.
Why has that become such a big deal to me? I mean having a sample of my loved one’s handwriting? It’s so personal, I guess. What will our children have of us? A text? An email?
For goodness sake, sit down right now and write a note to someone you love. Write out a treasured recipe. On paper. With a pen. In cursive.
Those of you who are new to my blog might not realize that I have a life outside of bashing our president-elect, but I do! I live with my husband, Studly Doright, and our two feline supervisors, Scout and Patches, in our own little piece of paradise that I like to call Doright Manor.
We have two perfect children and five absolutely superior grandchildren (funny how that works, seeing as how Studly and I just barely peek over the average range), but they live far away from our home outside of Tallahassee, Florida.
Studly and I were high school sweethearts in Texas, and in forty years of marriage we’ve moved 14 times, lived in five different states, and I’ve lost count of the number of homes we’ve shared. We aren’t retired yet, but it’s number one on our bucket list.
Studly married me thinking I’d turn out to be a great cook like his mom (Saint Helen) or my mom, (Gingymama), but I had neither the aptitude nor the attitude to develop into much more than a mediocre heater upper. Poor, poor Studly.
Twice a year, though, I focus all of my energies into cooking a kick ass holiday meal. I plan and prepare and check ingredients off of lists and shop and preheat–all the necessary stuff. Sometimes, it all turns out perfectly. Other times we pretend. Wine helps.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the US. So today I’m baking a pecan pie, hard boiling eggs, and making cornbread. Doright Manor smells amazing. I’ll arise early tomorrow to prep and roast a turkey, make cornbread dressing, a fruit salad, and deviled eggs, along with Studly’s favorite green bean casserole (ugh!) and cranberry sauce. With any luck neither of us will need to pretend that it tastes great. Again, wine helps.
It’s just going to be the two of us for dinner, well and the cats, but I’m thankful that we are healthy and have each other. I’m most thankful that at Christmas we’ll get to see our kids, grandkids, and Saint Helen, when we congregate in Nashville, Tennessee, for a family holiday extravaganza.
Now, the smoke alarm hasn’t sounded even once this morning, so all is well at Doright Manor. I’d best go, though, and open a bottle of wine. Just in case.
Peace, and Happy Thanksgiving, people.
After weeks of dragging my feet, on Sunday evening I finally finished reading the eighth, and thus far, final book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. Fittingly, my well worn Kindle Paper White e-reader bit the dust with less than 3% of the book remaining as if it knew I didn’t want the story to end. Thank goodness I have the kindle app on my iPhone, though, so I was able to cry myself to sleep with Siri comforting me.
As soon as I was able to leave work on Monday afternoon I drove with cautious haste to Best Buy and bought a new Kindle Paper White. The relative ease with which I registered the device and downloaded my virtual library restored my sense of well being. Once again all was right with my world.
Except that now I had no idea what to read next. At random I chose a book with a catchy title. The Shelf Life of Happiness by David Machado. In contrast to the weeks, nay months, I’d spent with the Outlander books, The Shelf Life of Happiness took exactly four hours to read. It’s a good book, totally unlike the Outlander series, and I found that comforting. The last thing I needed was a poorly written replica of a cherished series.
Currently I’m looking for my next great read, and I’m open to suggestions. My tastes are eclectic, but I greatly enjoy science fiction/fantasy and post-apocalyptic novels, (zombies are a plus), as long as they’re well written. Outlander was a bit of a departure for me because it was a historical, albeit, time-travel romance.
So what are your suggestions dear readers? I’m eager for some new perspectives. The world is my library, and this is my motto: Have Kindle; Can Download.
Note: I still purchase physical books, just in case of an apocalypse, lest anyone should fear for my reading soul.
Peace, and happy reading, people.